When you’re a mom, freedom never feels totally “free.”

So here I am… a fresh latte next to me… The sounds and smells of a bustling Starbucks infiltrating my senses.  Just me and my laptop.  I feel like I’m missing a limb.  Why?

I did a very difficult thing today.  I dropped my sweet baby girl off at “Mother’s Morning Out.”  They have her until noon if I want- the possibilities of what to do with my time are endless, so naturally I will probably just sit here at Starbucks and think about all the things I could do with my time, without actually getting up out of my chair.  I’m literally paralyzed with freedom and choices.

freedom

Is is normal to want to call the nursery every 5 minutes to see if she’s ok?  I’ve blogged a lot about how attached to me and shy Claire is.  That is part of the reason why I finally decided to give this program a try- not only does Claire need to learn to be taken care of by people other than myself, and not only does she need some independent socialization time, but also… mama needs a break.

I went back and forth all last night about whether I would go through with it.  She’s still my little baby, it’s okay if she’s attached to me!  Which for the record, it totally is ok.  I selfishly love that she wants and needs me above all else.  But lately it’s gotten intense and because my husband works such long damn hours, I don’t get a ton of help until dinner time, so I really need a little bit of time to myself.  I’ve been assured it’s a healthy thing to need for oneself.  Currently it just feels like mom guilt.

So, after getting a pep talk from my best friend (all the way from Japan, might I add), I decided to not think too much about it and got us out the door by 8:45 and drove to the church.  The facility is excellent and full of happy little kids, which put me more at ease.  The women running the baby room were extremely nice and not worried at all about dealing with separation anxiety (I warned them several times it might be rough).  They had an electronic check-in system where they print you a ticket and will not let anyone pick their child up unless they have the matching ticket (which also was very reassuring).  I had been explaining to Claire all morning that she was going to go “play with other babies” and that mommy was going to leave but then she’d “be right back,” to which she’d reply “be right back.”  She’s very smart for her age so I thought she would in some way understand what I was explaining.  So then I snuck out while she was being distracted by one of the caregivers.  I waited out of sight in the hall to hear if she would be okay, and when I didn’t hear any crying after a minute or so, I decided I should leave because if she did melt down, it would be even harder for me.

So I walked out, sat in my car… And called my mom for reassurance.  I’m such a cliché.

I’m also in no way the kind of mom I always told myself I would be – you know, the career mom who sacrifices nothing about herself to accommodate her children.  HA!  How stupid I was.  Now that I have a daughter, not only do I know that working moms sacrifice just as much as stay at home moms, but I also learned that I’m a total softie, an emotional blob when it comes to babies and children, and I would sacrifice everything if it were in the best interest of my child.

Which is why it was hard to drop Claire off this morning.  I knew it would be hard for her and she would probably cry (and I might too), but I also knew it would be good for both of us for different reasons.  And it would only be a couple of hours, one day a week or so, and if we both hated it I wouldn’t have to do it again… Although let’s be real, I hope she does great so that I feel like I have a resource at my disposal when I need a break, have appointments, etc.

So now that this if off my chest, I hope this caffeine fuels me enough to get me out of this Starbucks and do something with the next two hours.

If the coffee doesn’t get me out of here, the sound of the man next to me who keeps sniffing back a nose full of snot probably will.  So gross.

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Monday musings

Mondays are always rough for me, and I assume most stay-at-home moms?  After a weekend of having help with the baby, or at least having a second set of eyes so I can detach myself a little bit from whatever my little is getting into (and don’t forget letting my husband make the baby breakfast, essentially giving me one morning off), it’s hard for me to jump back into our weekly routine with no other help.  Today I feel like there’s not enough coffee in the world to make me feel fully alert.  I really need to go to bed earlier.

On a typical Monday like today, I try to plan out my week and get organized with my goals.  I think about what shopping I need to do (this week: all of it), what errands I need to run, what I need to do around the house (all the bathrooms, Lord help me), and what activities I want to do with Claire so she is happy and entertained.  My mental lists are starting to include this blog: what I want to write about, what’s on my mind, what projects or recipes I should share, etc.  I realize I haven’t shared any projects and just one silly recipe so far, but I know I’ll get there.  It is obvious through my posts that my life has been chaos lately, and currently my blog is my way of venting my frustration.  Once my chest feels lighter, the creativity will come…. I actually did a project yesterday that I’m excited to share here, but I’m too tired today, so this is yet another journal entry, if you will.

So, as I’m organizing my thoughts for a blog post, I realize they (my thoughts) are all over the place.  Here are some things I’ve been thinking about, for your reading pleasure:

  • Ever since I was sick last month, for the entire month, I’ve been taking Emergen-c vitamin packs, and I think they have made a huge difference for me.  Not only do I feel well again, I have a lot of energy throughout the day.  That is probably partially due to the difference in energy levels when you are sick vs. healthy, but I think it’s also the extra boost of vitamins.  Instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee in the morning, I throw back a full glass of water with vitamins and I feel instantly better.  Try it, you’ll like it!
  • This weekend we drove 1.5 hours to Eglin Air Force Base, which has the biggest military exchange around.  There is something so weirdly comforting to me about military exchanges – they are literally exactly the same on any base, anywhere in the world (I’ve been to many), and they all sell the same brands.  They even smell the same.  And you are around families just like you- everyone is most likely far from home, living this crazy nomadic lifestyle.  Plus everything is tax free, so there’s that.  I bought new sunglasses because I lost my beloved Raybans while chasing Claire through Target a couple weeks back.  I am not surprised to report that because I am the pickiest of sunglasses picker-outers, I took a pair home that I will promptly return this week.  Meanwhile I am squinting in the perpetual Florida sunshine until I find the perfect pair (probably by next year).
  • On Thursday Claire and I start a Kindermusik class that I am excited about.  She is OBSESSED with the Baby Bum nursery rhymes on YouTube lately.  Literally, we listen to them every time we are in the car (otherwise she screams, the little dictator), and sometimes while she eats in her highchair.  I kid you not, she is starting to learn the abc’s and can count to five thanks to them.  And she has learned a ton of words too!  She is only 17 months!  Try them here.  But I warn you: I am pretty sure these songs have been etched into my brain for the rest of time- they are CONSTANTLY stuck in my head, never to be fully free of them.  Anyway, she loves music so I’m excited to see how she does in the class.  I’ll share more after Thursday.
  • I need a break.  My husband and I discussed, before we were both sick for the last month, giving me one day per week as a break from mommyhood.  Not the entire day, but enough time for me to go out and get my nails done, or run some errands kid free, or do a little shopping.  OR stay home and enjoy a quiet house while he takes Claire somewhere.  I didn’t get that this weekend, but we’ve decided next Saturday morning will be my “me time.”  I’m thinking a morning yoga class, followed by a pedicure my toes have been screaming for for over a month, and maybe a trip to the book store, as I desperately need something new to read.  Which leads me to:
  • I’m thinking about volunteering and/or getting a little weekend job.  I really want to do something and help those less fortunate, as I am acutely aware of my blessings lately (despite how much I like to complain here), and feel that because I don’t work, I need to do something that makes me feel like I contribute to society.  My husband likes to remind me that raising a child is exactly that, but I need more I think.  I also like the idea of a little Saturday job for some spending cash for me.  Hey, I like to shop.  No shame in my game.
  • Now that I am feeling myself again, I am bursting with creative ideas to turn our new house into a home.  It’s taken me 3.5 months to feel this way, mostly because I know we only will own this house for 3 years max (maybe only 2), so I don’t want to do anything major or sink a ton of money into it, but I have a long list of small projects I want to do, which will make me feel like I’ve left my mark on this house.  I’m anxious to get started and share them with you all here!  Stay tuned!

And lastly, I think I’m figuring out a narrower direction for this blog.  As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I don’t like to talk about it (honestly, I am so much more than just a military wife), I am realizing everything about my current situation is because I am a military spouse… I know, duh, right?  I am far from home, have no family around, and am basically second priority for my husband due to the fact that the government literally owns him.  All the things I feel lately, all my worries and anxieties and frustrations are due to this one simple fact.  So maybe that’s my niche.  I blogged about it a few posts back, but all of my design ideas and repurposing of things and money spent on new things because not everything fits nicely in this house like it did the other house, etc., is due to our military lifestyle.  I am constantly reinventing our little habitat (not to mention, job, credentials, goals, etc.), which has spurred the inner creative in me but which I also constantly try to deny.  So there you (I) have it- my blog is becoming a tool for the fellow military spouse who also has to reinvent her life here and there, even if they don’t want to.  And, you know, it’s also good entertainment for you normal people whom I so envy, who get to stay in place for as long as they want.

With that, the creative juices are flowing a little faster.  I’ll be back in a day or two to extrapolate on some of my Monday Mental List.