While I’m “away” on “maternity leave,” I’ve invited some amazing women to come and share their hearts with y’all. These ladies will be dropping in to inspire you with their strengths + their shortcomings–because in this age of Mommy Wars, what we really need is a reminder that none of us can Do. It. All.
Today we have first-time mom, Marie with us. Her blog, The Merry Dreamer, is such a gift; every post touches my heart. I am so excited she’s agreed to share her heart and wisdom. Could you tell us a bit about yourself, Marie?
Well, I am married to my eHarmony match Andy, a Data Analyst, and the smartest person I know. We have a newly minted toddler son, who I call Mr. D on my blog, The Merry Dreamer. I am very passionate about sharing the reality of being a mom (the good and the hard), and I strive to let my readers know that they’re not alone.
I’m originally from the friendly Midwest but have called the Seattle area home for the past 3 ½ years. I’m a talkative introvert, an INFJ in Meyers-Briggs lingo (turning into more of a P lately…mommy brain?). I love books and movies, my Catholic faith, writing, and impromptu dance parties.
I’m an INFJ, too! (Birds of a feather, right?) So, Marie, in addition to the impromptu dance parties (fabulous!) what do you DO?
I do take care of my son, Mr. D, during the day, while my husband works. We run errands, socialize on play dates and our weekly church play group, and we walk every day that the weather allows. (Yes, we even walk in the rain.)
I do have fun. As the youngest in a theater family, I like to perform–even for an audience of one. I contort my face into funny expressions, sing silly made-up songs, dance around the living room, and play peek-a-boo with any prop I can find.
I do keep a (fairly) tidy house. I try to clean the main living space (dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, and the dreaded bathroom cleaning) once a week. This past year, I have been exploring the KonMari Method of decluttering and simplifying. The less stuff I own, the less I have to put away. I’m by no means a naturally tidy person, but since marrying my very organized and orderly (INTJ) husband, I have made great strides in this area.
I do cook most of our meals. Cooking is a place where I excel, and I rarely follow a recipe as written; I love to improvise. I enjoy the dance of chopping, stirring, spicing, and sauteing. And nothing beats the aroma of onions sizzling on the stove.
I do work one night a week. I am a FertilityCare Practitioner with the Creighton Model (modern NFP!), and I enjoy teaching women and couples about their fertility and health. It keeps me sharp, and gives me a reason to dress up and keep the house tidy (see above). I love my work!
I, too, rarely follow a recipe. So much more “scope for the imagination”–and the occasional catastrophe, right? And you teach NFP? That’s an impressive list for a new mama. So, tell us, what DON’T you do?
I don’t do “crafty.” Just the thought of combining glue, glitter, and children makes my heart spasm with anxiety. Especially since Mr. D is in the I-will-put anything-especially-toxic-substances-into-my-mouth phase. But, honestly, it’s just not for me.
I don’t bake (unless chocolate chip cookies or brownies made from a box count!). I love me some cooking, where I get to let my creativity and improvisational skills shine. But measuring? Precision? Chemistry? Yikes.
I don’t give Mr. D a bath every day (and frankly he doesn’t need it!). I’m sure this will change as he becomes more mobile, and more capable of epic messes. But for now, he’s lucky if he gets bathed more than twice a week.
I don’t do the bedtime routine. Early on, when I was nursing Mr. D round the clock, Andy and I decided that he would be in charge of bedtime. It gave me a break from at least that responsibility, and allowed Andy to bond with our son. My heart melts when I hear Andy read Mr. D a funny story, and pray over him before turning out the light. Sometimes, I spend that time picking up stray toys, or cleaning up from dinner. Other times, I just collapse on the couch and listen to Mr. D’s babbles and my husband’s gentle voice. Sigh.
I don’t do it alone. Sometimes, being a stay-at-home mom is a lonely job. So, I strive to surround myself with fellow women and moms, some my age, some older, so I get that “village” feeling. I also am blessed to have my mother-in-law close enough that she can come over almost every week, to help with chores and gardening, and to keep me company. I am also blessed with a very thoughtful and supportive husband. Andy takes over household tasks when I’m having a bad day or feeling overwhelmed. He makes sure I spend time alone and with friends, so that I get recharged. He plays with our son, while I make dinner or throw another load of laundry in. All in all, I am very blessed with community!
I love what you said about community! We modern mamas really do need our “tribe” for support in this mobile world. Before we close, I have to ask: do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share?
I had all sorts of expectations for myself as a new mom. I would breastfeed. I would babywear. I would home school. And then my child was born, and my expectations became burdens that nearly suffocated me. So my advice would be, especially to new moms, don’t let your expectations get in the way of enjoying your child. It’s hard to enjoy your child (which everyone tells you to do: “Enjoy every moment! It goes by so fast!”) when you are stressing about doing everything according to plan. Are you attending to your child’s needs for nourishment, security, affection, and love? Then that’s enough. The details of how you meet those needs are not important.
In addition to the above, surround yourself with positive people. You might face opposition for your mothering choices. I know I did. Trust yourself, and follow peace. And find a few friends who love you and will stand by you no matter what. Then unfollow or unfriend the haters. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that. (Totally pray for the mean people. But you are a tender, new mom. You need to protect yourself from the trolls.)
If you’ve been inspired by today’s post, please be sure to visit Marie over at The Merry Dreamer where she shares her heart so freely and her wisdom with such compassion + grace. Seriously, I love it. Blessed every time I stop by.
We have been blessed by some wonderful voices so far in this series…but there’s still one missing. Yours!
Are YOU a mom who Can’t Do It All? (And really, who can?) We’d love for you to share your story here at Baking Humble Pie! Just contact me with your previously unpublished submission of 500-1000 words, answering the following questions:
Who are you?
What do you DO?
What DON’T you do?
What tips + tricks can you share from the trenches?