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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Coming in Live: Thoughts on Being a Mom.

I love a good live blog. I woke up way too early today and Jack is still sleeping peacefully sprawled all over my personal space, snoozing away next to me, so it seems like a perfect morning to type one out. 

I was sitting in the bathroom the other day while Jack splashed around, laughing. He's at an age where he's big enough to want to give himself a bath, but not big enough to be left alone in the tub. It's easier for me, it's harder for me. He loves baths, so I spend a lot of time sitting on the bathroom floor, watching him be amused and enamored by shampoo bubbles in a way that only a two-year-old can. 

Anyway, I'm sitting on the floor when I have this thought-becoming a parent is one of the few things in life that takes one single moment and instantly changes all of the rest of your moments, forever. 

I became a mom and, suddenly, every single moment after that was filled with Jack. My Tuesday nights are filled with the same things-workouts, group texts, cooking dinner-but they're also filled with sitting on the bathroom floor, making sure he's safe in the bathtub. Even when I'm not with him, he's still changed my moments-I'm in charge of leaving him with someone responsible, of checking in, of eventually going back to get him. 

It's exhausting. 

And fun. 

And joyful.
And terrifying. 

And hilarious. 

And exhausting. 

Someone asked me the other day, "Do you enjoy being a mom?" And I found it hard to answer. Not because I didn't know the answer, but because it has never occurred to me as a question. It felt like someone asking me, "Do you enjoy being female?" Or, "Do you enjoy having been born in America?" Things that just are. I just am. 

From the moment Jack was born, I became his mom. I just am his mom, always. No matter where I am or what I'm doing. 

I get a lot of comments about how it's cool that I don't let being a mom be the only part of my identity. That I do things other than only "mom things." And while that's true (and I think so important), in everything I do, I'm his mom. 

I just am. 

I think a big perception of becoming a parent is that suddenly, you are just a parent. Your identity becomes singular and the list of things you can't do anymore becomes long. But that's not true. You are everything that you were, everything you want to be and a parent. 

My identity didn't shrink to just one thing, it expanded in everything I already was by double. 

I think that's pretty cool. 
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Rainy Day Coffee Date.

Happy Monday! We're having the dreariest, rainiest weather over here (anyone else?) and it seems like the perfect day to curl up with a cup of coffee and catch up. 

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you. . .

. . .that I legitimately have bad luck. I just do. I got a brand new phone in February and bought Apple care. I cracked my screen a few weeks ago, so decided to go get it repaired on Friday. When I came back to pick up my phone, everyone was really weird to me and then said, "uhhh let me just get a manager." 

The manager informed me that they'd broken my phone while trying to fix the screen. Like, the whole phone. "So we're giving you a new phone! Here ya go!" Which, in theory, is nice...but I didn't need a new phone! Mine was perfect other than the cracked screen! 

I got in my car and realized my phone won't connect to anything...can't make a call, send a text, nothing. So I go back into the store, and they tell me, "Oh that's a provider issue, go to the Sprint store." 

Which is, of course, words that everyone wants to hear on their day off. 

Long story short, these people got rid of my phone without turning it off, so my new phone wouldn't connect to my number, and it was the BIGGEST PAIN. Next time I'm just keeping the cracked screen. 

...that I'm on a tea kick. I go through phases with tea. I'll buy all of the tea and drink several cups a day, then I'll go months without drinking any. But I'm in a big tea phase right now, specifically, this tea. It tastes like Christmas dessert and is the coziest drink. 

...that it feels like it's been raining for 87 days and nights and I am ready for the sun to come back. Rain is just part of summers in Florida, but it usually is about 20 minutes in the afternoon, not the whole dang day. I miss my pool days! 

....that I've got vacation coming up. We're going back to the place we went last year and I CANNOT WAIT.  I think Jack will love it even more this year. Counting down to nachos by the pool and splashing around with my little bub!

Your turn! What's going on with you? 

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Friday, May 18, 2018

The Good Old Days.

When I walked out of my last final of college, I sobbed the whole way back to my dorm. It was a creative writing class, taught by a man I had grown to deeply love and admire. As I realized that would be my last day with him, that no one was going to be there to talk about my writing, to teach me how to write, to force me to write, my heart hurt. 

Pulling away from graduation, I couldn't stop crying because for a year, I had eaten dinner with my best friend every single night. For a year, she'd been a few steps away. We'd gotten ready together and drank coffee together and lived daily life together for a year, and that was over. 

In hindsight, college was the best. Being forced to read poetry and write stories and study authors, I miss that. I fiercely miss the community, the friendship, my best friend living with me. Those were the good old days. 

When we lived in Orlando, I had more fun than I've maybe ever had in my life. There were rooftop pools and Sunday brunches. Bars and restaurants in walking distance. A group of close-knit friends. We had family dinners, danced on rooftops, drank champagne on Fridays at the pool. When I think about that time and those people, I miss it and them so much my stomach hurts. Those were the good old days. 

Right now, as I'm typing this on my phone, I'm sitting outside watching Jack laugh and splash around in our backyard. He keeps looking over at me smiling. We shared a popsicle earlier. It's a simple and beautiful and sticky and perfect day. I know that these are the good old days. 

I also know they won't last forever. I know one day I'll look back and miss them so much. 

But here's the thing...I've had so many good old days. So many good seasons have come on gone. Started and finished. Because the thing about the good days is that you don't get to have them all at once. 

When we moved from Tennesse, it broke my heart. But had we never moved, I never would have fallen in love with Florida (CAN YOU IMAGINE?!). If high school days had lasted forever, I never would have met my best friends, or fallen in love with writing the way I did in college. Had that season never ended, I wouldn't have had the dancing on rooftops in Orlando nights. 

Friendships. Travels. Marriage. Jack. Melbourne. Orlando. Gainesville. People. Places. Experiences. 

So many good old days. 

Sometimes you know when a season is over, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you get the finality of walking out of a place for the very last time, and sometimes you look up from life and realize it's been months since you spoke to that person, or years since you've been to that place. 

I guess what I'm saying is this: There is good in every season, and every season ends. With enough time and hindsight, every season becomes the good old days. 

So live in your moment. Live lightly. Don't cling so dearly to what you're enjoying that you might miss the next wave of goodness. 

Reflect on the life you've lived so far with fondness and thankfulness, but don't idolize it. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and all that. Enjoy the present, but don't cling too tightly to it. Look forward to the future, but don't count down to it so much you miss the life around you. Live your moments. Cherish them. After all, these are the good old days. 

They all are. 
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

You Know You Best.

We live in a digital age that is overflowing with advice and information. Some of it great, some of it pretty good, some of it terrible, nearly all of it contradicting. 

You should unplug and rest at night, because self-care. But you should also hustle late into the night, because big dreams. 

You should travel anywhere you want to go, because experiences. But you should also save all of your money, because responsibility. 

You should workout super hard every day, because health. But you should also not push yourself too hard, also because health. 

You will see constant recommendations everywhere (even here!) and most of them are truly well-meaning. Everyone is sharing what has worked for them. And, when something works for you, you tend to want to shout it from the rooftops so it can work for everyone else, too!

Honestly, I think it's kind of amazing. I can type a few words in on my phone and within minutes have lots of suggestions on how to potty train my kid, or what to eat for clearer skin, or how to deal with friendship problems, or how to set boundaries in life. 

But all of it can be just a little overwhelming. 

So just a little reminder that you know you best. You know what's best to take to heart and what's best to read and file under "good for them, not for me." You know the difference between "that will be healthy for me to try" and "I want to do this so I'll be like her." You know the difference between "this will enrich my life" and "this will make my life look more like his life." 

Filter all the opinions and advice and suggestions - even the good stuff - through the filter of, "what's best for me?" 

A silly example: I'm allergic to pineapple. I didn't develop an allergy until I was 22, so I know exactly what I'm missing. When I look up wellness and healthy eating and building your immune system, pineapple comes up a lot. A lot of people I admire and respect and maybe even want to be like recommend pineapple. But I know if I eat pineapple, I'll die (not really, but I'll be miserable and look terrible and feel awful). So when I see people recommending pineapple, I just think, ugh you're so lucky "that's great for you, but I need to pass on that."

Do that. Figure out your pineapple. Maybe traveling stresses you out and you hate it. Maybe spending too much time alone in the name of self-care depresses you. Maybe working out daily is not good for your body. The people suggesting these things don't know you, but you know you the very best. 

Do what's best for you. 
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

3 Things You Need to Know About.

Macadamia nut milk. || If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me crying about mention that I went cold turkey off of my copious amounts of coffee creamer I drink every day. I love me some coffee creamer, but I drink a ton of coffee, so I was consuming waaaaay too much sugar first thing in the morning. 

I got this (at Wal-Mart, of all places), and it has made my life so much better. It's like almond milk, but creamier and sweeter (still no sugar!) and pretty much just magical? You need to know about it.
Pirate Play Center. || It's only May, but this is already the best $35 I will spend all summer long. Jack loves it. It's adorable. It's a pool, a slide, and a sprinkler. We've been playing in it every afternoon and I'll never forget his sweet little laughs from how happy this makes him. 

Walmart grocery delivery. || Okay, I was very skeptical about this. But guys, I GROCERY SHOPPED WITHOUT HAVING THE GET OUT OF MY CAR. You make your list and pay online, then check in when you leave your house. There's a designated spot for you to park in, and someone comes and loads your car for you.  I've never loved grocery shopping at Walmart, but this surprised me in the best way. I'll be doing this a lot more from now on. If you want to try it, click that link and you get $10 off your order!

Your turn! Tell me something I need to know about.
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Monday, May 14, 2018

Some Simple Ways to Just Be Happy Today.

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometimes it's simpler and more easily attained than we make it out to be. Sometimes no big changes need to be made, no big trips need to be taken. Sometimes you're just a few minutes away from happy. 

Some simple ways to find your happiness today. . .

Go for ice cream. There's a reason everyone loves going for ice cream when they're a kid...because it's a happy thing! No reason that should stop just because you're an adult now. 

Watch the sunset. Getting outside in any way helps put me in a good mood, but being outside and watching the sky wind down for the night in the most beautiful way, it's hard to not feel happy. 

Make your favorite kind of cup of coffee. Iced coffee or a cappuccino or a shot of espresso...make your favorite and then take a few minutes to just enjoy it. 

Watch your favorite movie. It's your favorite for a reason! 

Take a bubble bath. It's my personal belief that bubble baths can right most wrongs in life. 

Cook your favorite dinner. 

Or, order your favorite dinner instead. 

Go for a drive and listen to the music that makes you happy. Bonus points if you hit up Sonic while you're out.

Look through the pictures on your phone. I take so many pictures of Jack and Gatsby just on a whim or during a funny moment and then forget about them. Looking back at them always puts me in a good mood.

Plan a vacation. Even if it's not one you can take this year (or even next year), there's something inherently happy about vacation planning. Dream a little, look up the places you've always wanted to go, and start planning!

What are some easy ways you add happiness to your day?

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Friday, May 11, 2018

What I Really Want For Mother's Day. Alternatively Titled: I Have a Two-Year-Old.

Last year, I wrote this post about what I wanted for Mother's Day. Included, but not limited to: All of the sleep, a Frankenstein body situation (with my pre-baby body, my post-baby hips, and my newborn-days boobs), length-changing hair, and a new magical substance that both kept me awake but chilled me the heck out. Spoiler alert, I never got these things and they're all still on my list.

I thought it'd be fun to revisit this a year later, now that Jack is a year older, and see what I have to add to this list. 

A translator. I was just talking to Michelle this week saying I had some questions for Jesus, starting with WHY do toddlers have all the feelings and emotions before they can talk and tell you what they need? A translator would be able to tell me that even though he's screaming at me and pointing at his milk in the kitchen, his "words" are telling me that he wants me to go get his toy that is too far under his bed for him to reach. Silly me. 

All of the energy. All. Of. It. This is different than all of the coffee, because the amount of energy needed to even sort of keep up with a two-year-old is something that not even my beloved coffee can touch. 

Magical carpets that deep clean themselves every night when I go to sleep. It feels like I am scrubbing my carpet every day for some reason or another, and it definitely feels like that scrubbing only touches the surface. I'm legitimately scared about what might be under there at this point. 

A clone of myself. Second Chelsea, if you will. When we go to the pool, she can watch Jack while I read a book. When Jack is so clingy that even throwing a load of towels in the washer is a mission, she can take care of the laundry while I hold him. When he takes a nap, I can take a bath while she cooks dinner. 

An unlimited skincare budget. Things that are bad for your skin include: Smoking, drinking, junk food, and, worst of all, living with a two-year-old. 

A chef. Also probably going to need them to be a mythical creature, because I need them to cook a dinner every night that somehow is toddler-friendly but also packed with nutrients for Jack but also healthy for me but also filling enough that I won't be grazing in my pantry at 11:00 that night. So, definitely a mythical creature. A magic chef. 

Happy Mother's Day. Don't forget to remind the mom's in your life that they're superheroes. And if you know any magic chef's, send them my way. 

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