If I only had a brain…

I stood in my child development group, bouncing up and down, swaying back and forth, trying to soothe my screeching child, when our leader looked over and calmly reassured me,

“You are a great mom.”

It seems like a thoughtful and encouraging comment, right?

But I couldn’t stop the devil on the shoulder from whispering, “No, you aren’t.”

At 5:30am, when my daughter has decided that it is a perfect time to kick her little feet in the air and declare it morning (and breakfast time!), I often struggle to resolve how I am going to get to the end of the day. Merely bare bones survival. How will I find it in me to wake up, feed her, feed myself, and make it to the precious time when I will crash into the soft caress of my pillow once again. With such low expectations, it is impossible for me to reflect on this attitude and exclaim, “Woo hoo! I am SuperMom!”

Wait a minute...that's the cat...so, where's the baby?

Wait a minute…that’s the cat…so, where’s the baby?

Combine this trudging through the day with a complete lack of brain activity, and, well, yeah, the result is keys in the freezer, coffee poured on cereal, loads of laundry run without detergent, and hair washed with shave gel.

I recently read this article about how a child’s DNA has been discovered in their mother’s brain. Creepy. But, seriously, I am beginning to think another DNA exchange may occur. One where the mom’s brain cells attach, and leave, with the placenta.

It would explain sooooo much.

Honestly, due to the zombie-like status and self-doubt, I often feel like my daughter ends up being a 15lb shadow. Hanging out in the baby carrier as I fold laundry, chop onions (which you should NEVER do with a baby… it only leads to tears), or pay bills. It is on these days that I wonder if “a mother’s love” is really enough (this was especially questionable on the onion day). After all, when I became a mother, I knew NOTHING about raising a child. Does motherly instinct automatically embed itself with all this traveling DNA?

I am left confounded at the erosion in my confidence over the last 6 months. If you had told me during my professional life, “You are a great organizer” or “Wow, that is one good-looking spreadsheet”, I would probably have agreed and taken the compliment (after all, if you need a sexy, multi-tabbed, inter-linking, color coordinated spreadsheet, I’m your gal). So, why do I find it so hard to believe that someone thinks I am succeeding in motherhood? Is it because the stakes are now so much higher? Because I am responsible for another living being? Because adults are always blaming their parents for one thing or another and with each move I wonder if this will be the thing my daughter discusses in therapy 30 years down the road???

Why is it that we are our own worst critics?

And, really, is anyone actually good at motherhood? Or are we all just flying by the seat of our pants?
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Liebster Award – Somebody Loves Me!

liebsteraward

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Momsasaurus! She is another mommy blogger striving to find balance in a world of binkies and bumbos. Thanks, Momsasaurus! Then, I was nominated for a Sunshine Award! sunshine-award-1Thanks, 1tric at My Thoughts on a Page! So, I thought I would combine the two. Here goes:

These are both awards given to bloggers by bloggers to help build community and get to know each other. It is also a great way to help your readers learn more about you. Here are the rules of the Liebster Award (the Sunshine Award had ten similar questions, so I am going to default to these…just call me a rebel.)…

1.  Copy and paste the award on your blog. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Nominate blogs with 200 or less followers who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

11 Questions from my presenter:

1. What one change would you like to see most in the world?

Well, this is totally dorky, but I am going to quote Amy Grant’s song, Grown-up Christmas List for this one, as it normally makes me tear up whenever I hear it. So, grab a glass of wine to go with all this cheese…

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.

2. What is a culture you admire and why?

I do not know if this counts as a culture, per se, but I am going to go with the Quakers. I went to a Quaker University and was astounded by their desire to find ‘center’ and peace in a world so full of chaos. I remember how the concept of spending time in silence and meditation was so foreign to me when I began my Freshman year. This is something I still value whenever I can get it.  I also admire their emphasis on caring for the elderly and serving those around them.

3. What is your favorite childhood memory?

Every summer, I would spend one week with my grandparents. I loved being the only child during that week. My grandfather had trained the local blue jays to sit on your hand for a peanut, so I would spend hours out in the garden squealing when a bird Corningwareswooped down and landed on my hand, and rolled with laughter on the cement paths when they tried to nest in my grandfather’s coarse, curly hair. After giving the birds their daily allotment, into the house I would go to deliver a bouquet of freshly cut roses to my grandmother. She would then tie a fluffy, ruffled apron around my waist and assign me the task of measuring out the dry ingredients for a cake, dumping everything into her large corningware bowls. After baking, we often would finish the afternoon walking up and down the Santa Barbara Pier. It was perfect.

4. What first inspired you to start blogging?

After I became a mom, I realized how quickly my little one was growing up. So many little moments were being forgotten before they had even happened. I wrote my first post The Dog Ate the Umbilical Cord: Reflections of Pregnancy and the First Twelve Weeks of Motherhood after having a bit of a down day and panicking that my baby was going to be a teenager very soon (she turned 5 months old this past week). Not knowing what to do with this piece, if anything at all, my hubby suggested that I start a blog. And so it began…

5. What impact has blogging had on your life?

I find blogging a soothing way to sort through some of my feelings, so in a way it has been a bit of online therapy. I also have really enjoyed finding other moms who blog – it is encouraging to know that my fumbles and failures during this new phase of life are somewhat normal.

6. What is the most profound thing you have ever done?

Give birth, in a tub, in my living room. I have never felt more alive than in the moment I pulled my daughter out of the water.

7. If you had one super power, what would you want it to be?

I am afraid that if I go with telekinesis, it will be a bit too close to Stephen King’s Carrie, so I will go with Omni-linguism. Languages have always been difficult for me to pick up, so the ability to simply understand them all would be awesome.

8. How do you spend your free time?

What free time? I have a five month old.
One day, I will return to some of my hobbies which include quilting, gardening, and canning jams and jellies. For now, I keep pretty busy with a baby and a blog. Here and there, I sneak in a bubble bath.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Ireland. One day, you will find a very content Carrie eating Shepherd’s Pie and drinking a beer in a pub near some big castle, researching some of her ancestors. And, perhaps meeting up with Tric. =)

my dream vespa :)

my dream vespa 🙂

Getting my motorcycle license. I really would love to own a Vespa and zip to and fro on it. Currently, this is completely impractical as I do not believe they make baby side cars for Vespas…

11. How do you imagine your life will be different in two years?

I will have a 2-year-old! Beyond that, well, it is anyone’s guess.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.  I’m a tetrachromat. This freaky condition allows me to see color much differently than the average person and gives me a trump card whenever picking out decor for our house with my husband. (Sorry, hunny.)

2. I am somewhat obsessive about Christmas. I have a countdown going year-round on my computer (291 days to go!), I own more Christmas music than any other genre, and I find nothing more enjoyable than admiring twinkle lights while sipping a peppermint mocha.

3. I studied Musical Theatre. Favorite past roles include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible and Jack’s Mom in Into the Woods.

4. I have been in a French ambulance. (horrific bout of food poisoning…I will not go into details)

5. I have a mole inside my belly button. Gross, I know.

6. Autumn is my favorite season.

7. I cry at Hallmark commercials. Furthermore, I weep at ASPCA commercials, especially the one with Sarah McLachlan. What can I say? I’m a softy.

8. During my career in non-profits, job duties have included:

  • Mopping up a flooded shark tank
  • Leading full moon hikes through sand dunes
  • Giving a bearded dragon an enema
  • Assisting with cutting open a Jeroboam of Champagne with a sword
  • Pumping the pedals of a 1910 player piano
  • Arranging a black tie gala for 200+ guests
  • Sampling wine and chocolate truffle pairings

9. My father was quite the marksman. He put a strong emphasis on proper training, and so I have been trained to throw knives and shoot various weapons. Tomahawks and spears were never my strength…

10. My Amortentia (Harry Potter love potion) would smell like rain, freshly grated nutmeg, freshly baked bread, burning wood, ocean air, and coffee.

11. When I was young, I had two hamsters named Ding and Dong. This was all well and good until Ding died.

11 Questions For My Nominees:

1. What one piece of advice do you wish someone had told you?

2. Chocolate: Milk or Dark?

3. What is your favorite childhood memory?

4. What first inspired you to start blogging?

5. What impact has blogging had on your life?

6. What is the most profound thing you have ever done?

7. If you had one super power, what would you want it to be?

8. How do you spend your free time?

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

10. What personal goal do you doubt you will ever achieve but still strive for?

11. If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?

My Nominees:

The sisters, Wendy and Karen over at After the Kids Leave. These ladies live an ocean apart, and write letters to each other in their blog. I am always laughing at their clever banter.

Melanie Jean Juneau at The Joy of Nine. Yup, you read that correctly. She still uses ‘Joy’ as a descriptor for raising NINE kids! I am in awe!!!

My dear friend, Emily, at things that make you happy. She is giving up processed food, one box of Velveeta at a time. =)

And, my absolute favorite blog to read, Jenny at The Momplex . She has made me snort my coffee on more occasions than I would like to admit.