Good morning, Mighty Ones!
Today is my very first “What I Wore…” post and I’ve been excited about it for weeks. Let me tell you why.
As many of you know I recently returned to work after twenty-two months at home caring for my three little people. Big deal, right? Going back into the workplace after nearly two years of working at home changes nearly every aspect of your life, both big and small. Because I think that this is something we mothers don’t talk about often enough, I’m going to risk sounding a little shallow here and go so far as to say that one of the biggest changes for me, and one that I thought about often and planned for extensively, was the necessary wardrobe shift. I love clothes and I love to look nice whether I’m running to the mailbox, chasing my people at the playground, hanging out at home to bake something yummy (never underestimate the mood-boosting power of a fabulous apron, people!), attending church on Sunday morning, on a date with my (very) handsome husband, or teaching middle school. I like to look my best because, whether I like to admit it out loud or not, feeling like I look nice has a huge impact on my mood. And we all know the power that “Mommy’s Mood” has over a family. And thanks to Spiderman, we also know that with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, I have come to the very scientifically-based conclusion that it behooves me to take care in this particular area of my life, since it can and does affect my entire family. Don’t mistake me: This conclusion is never, ever, to be used as an excuse to shop. Ever. But it IS to be used as motivation to put thought and effort into creating a sustainable and well-planned wardrobe of things that make me feel fabulous. There is much more to say on this topic, but I will wait for another time.
Anyway, today is a Monday, and therefore a work day for me. At this point I would normally be teaching my first class of the day in one of my fabulous new-to-me (I have recently become a highly successful thrift shopper…more on that later as well!) work outfits. But instead, I find myself at home nursing the inevitable “Back to School Bug” that teachers and students know all too well. This of course means that instead of a professional dress, make-up, pumps, and pearl studs that I am actually rocking some black maternity yoga pants, a sports bra, and a long-sleeved cotton tee that used to belong to Monique’s sister. No make-up. Messy bun. Runny nose. Hacking cough. Snuggly quilt. Classy.
I did however need to run out and drop my children off at school and daycare early this morning, so I decided to show you that outfit instead. This could also definitely be worn to work for Casual Friday, errand-running, and pretty much any other time I need to come across as put-together, but relaxed. All these pieces are either hand-me-downs from friends or thrifted with the exception of the sunglasses (which are prescription), the earrings (which I bought at Walmart for under $4), and the lip-gloss (Covergirl Wetslicks Crystals, in “sassy”).
Here we have a cosy belted cardigan, a simple black cotton tee with a neckline that is flattering on my body-type, dark-wash skinny jeans, black Blowfish ballet flats, black ball stud earrings, sunglasses, lip-gloss, and a messy bun. Comfortable, simple, tidy, well-fitting, stylish, and EASY. Also, highly affordable.
So there you have it, Mighty Ones: What I wore to drop my kids off at daycare.
1. I’m pleased to announce that Fred has been officially adopted by our family! He’s been the perfect addition in every way. Thanks to Gail and all her helpers at Home to Stay for rescuing Fred from an unimaginable situation so that he can live out his days with us. We love him so much! If you’re looking to add a four-legged member to your family, please consider adopting a rescue animal. He or she will love you forever.
2. It’s back-to-school week for me. I have been taking courses from a local university via distance for over a year now. I’m still a little amazed that I can work towards a degree while maintaining a full-time job and a family. What a time to be alive! With The Boy starting school this year, I am happy to teach him that learning never ends.
3. It’s basically fall. It’s my favourite season in many ways, but I think I only wore sandals about a dozen times this summer. No fair.
4. The Boy had a fire drill the first week of school, and he was terrified by how loud he imagined the bell would be. His teacher had practiced with the class the day before it was scheduled, and he freaked out, so she wrote me a note asking if we could talk about it a bit that evening. He freaked out again just talking about it. I found a fire alarm on YouTube and played it for him a couple of times, during which he continued to freak out. At bedtime, he asked if we could say a prayer together that he wouldn’t be so afraid of the bell the next day, and we did. I got an email from his teacher the next afternoon saying how well he did and how brave he was during the fire drill. I am just so pleased with his teacher, his school, and the way he’s adjusting into this new phase of his life.
5. My buy-nothing year is off to a great start. I’m documenting most of it on my personal blog, Monique Makes Do. If it interests you, please follow along. If you’re like-minded, then you can join us over at our Facebook Page!
Last night we celebrated going “Back-to-Homeschool” with a fun and kid-friendly supper. Cheese pizzas, a Caesar salad and our favorite homemade brownies to finish off our feast. It was simple, quiet (as quiet as three kids under the age of six can be) and just what I needed to remind myself why we do this thing called homeschooling. We have many reasons for that and maybe someday I will share them here but for now this is enough for me. To know that we all sat together and ate and laughed and shared about our hopes and goals for this year. I know it is going to be rich with memories made and a year of wonder and growth for all of us.
Please join us in welcoming Kim to Mama Might!
Motherhood, for me, has been a struggle. Or, I should say, learning how to enjoy being a mother has been a challenge.
I always knew that I would have children. Even when I was a child, I knew I would be a mother and I knew – deep down in my bones – that I would love having babies. I didn’t know how many I wanted but two or three sounded good at the time. Like every other child in history, I was going to be a “way-funner-mom” than mine was!
I have two boys, currently 7 and 4. After my first was born, I had a fairly rude awakening. I loved him more than life itself, I really did (and still do) but this motherhood thing was really hard. I’d like to say that I rose to the challenge, but for the first year or two of his life, I really was a very unhappy soul. I just couldn’t figure out how to balance shift work (I’m a nurse) and housework and the baby and my husband and everything else that needed to get done. I had big dreams about going back to school to be a Nurse Practitioner and I was so overwhelmed with motherhood that I thought that would never happen. More than once, I thought: “Maybe we should have waited. Maybe I wasn’t ready.” Of course, this made me feel guilty. How could I have any regrets when my child was perfect and healthy? Why couldn’t I just be happy? Wasn’t this what I wanted? Would I ever feel like I was ready to have a second child? I wanted another child, but the idea of anything else on my plate seemed like insanity.
After a particularly rough month where I seriously feared for the integrity of my marriage, I sought help and began counseling. It helped enough that we were able to make the decision to have another child. After my second son arrived, I began to get overwhelmed again, much quicker this time. At three months, I began taking antidepressants and started counseling again. It all came as such a huge surprise to me. While my postpartum depression was mild, it still took me by complete surprise. My life was going according to the plan I had set out. Why couldn’t I happy with that?
Motherhood is the most life-changing thing that has ever happened to me. Even happy events can be stressful! I didn’t really prepare myself for the stress of it all (I’m not sure that there is a way to prepare for it); I just daydreamed about it and fantasized about it. I didn’t really consider how much my life was going to change. How full my heart would feel. How difficult it would be to go without sleep day-in-and-day-out. How a smile from your four-week old baby at 1am can make the sleep deprivation worth it.
I didn’t really consider how much of a learning curve it would be. I just thought I would know what to do and that I would love it right away. I didn’t know that it would take time, like any other skill. I have been a mother now for seven years and I am still learning how to be a mother, every day.
Kim is married with two boys (age 7 and 4). She lives in rural Nova Scotia. She is a Registered Nurse and is currently studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She has always wanted to write! She loves laughing, reading (especially Outlander!) and spending time at the cabin (where things seem much simpler). She has a blunt outlook on life and thinks it is important to both see the bright and dark sides of parenting.
When Jenna shared her experience with miscarriage here nearly a year ago, I was eager to follow her post with one of my own, based on my own experience with miscarriages. But at the time I was pregnant, and my previous pregnancy had ended in miscarriage. When I sat down to write, I found it made me too anxious to try to share my thoughts and decided I’d rather wait until after my baby was born. Now that Pooter is six months old, here are my thoughts.
I remember having moments of crippling fear, back in high school, that I would one day get married and discover I was unable to have children. I don’t know where that fear came from, but it was very real and very upsetting. When my first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, I felt like that fear was being realized. I felt that I had somehow failed in one of my most basic roles as a woman – that of child-bearer. My body had failed, and my baby had died. I blamed myself. Many years, one more miscarriage, and four healthy children later, I have come a long way and learned a few things I’d like to share with you.
For those who have experienced (or will one day experience) miscarriage:
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Some people are able to take it in stride, while others need to go through a grieving process. You are not callous if you feel okay about it, and you are not weak if it brings you to tears to think about it even months or years later.
People don’t know how to talk about miscarriage, and as a result you may receive some insensitive comments. Try really hard to be patient and understand that it’s unlikely someone is trying to make you feel worse by saying, “There was probably something wrong with it anyway.” or, “You can always try again.”
Take as much or as little time as you need to process what happened. If your experience was particularly difficult physically (if you had to have medical intervention, for instance), be sure to rest and recover.
Name your baby, if you’d like. After both of our miscarriages my husband and I felt certain of the baby’s gender, and we chose to name them Sophia and Thomas.
You may find some comfort in finding a way to remember your baby, whether it’s planting something in your garden in their honour, wearing a special piece of jewelry, marking their due date each year, etc. We say grace together every evening, and at the end we give thanks for each member of our family by name, and we include the names of our miscarried babies to show our other children that they are still part of our family.
If someone in your life experiences a miscarriage:
Tell them you’re sorry for their loss. Do not use the words “little loss”. While the baby may have been physically small, the loss itself is not.
If you know them well enough, you can ask if they would like to talk about it.
But let them talk. Don’t feel like you need to say anything. There is nothing you can say that will make them feel differently, so you don’t need to try.
You can also ask if they need anything, particularly any practical support. Especially if they have other children to care for, they may really appreciate a bit of babysitting, a load of laundry being put in, etc. When I had my first miscarriage, hardly anyone even knew that I was pregnant. But one of my friends who new I was miscarrying showed up at my home with cheeseburgers, salad, and chocolate. I will never forget that gesture of love and support. (As a general rule of thumb, in times of grief a gift of food is always a thoughtful thing.)
In a culture that so openly accepts abortion, it’s sometimes hard to talk about the loss of a pre-born baby as a loss that needs to be grieved. It’s sort of invisible, especially when so many miscarriages take place before the parents have shared their pregnancy with the world. Mothers are often left feeling uncertain of how to feel, or how to cope. We are accustomed to mourning the loss of people we’ve had the pleasure to know and spend time with, but a miscarriage is the loss of someone we had yet to meet – and yet still loved deeply.
I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, dear reader, but I will tell you mine: I truly believe that each lost baby is now in Heaven, I believe they are grateful for the parents who loved enough to bring them into existence, and I believe that they rejoice with the Father for all eternity. And I live with the hope of one day being reunited with my Sophia and my Thomas.