Hey April! I am so glad to see you! March was a hard month, you guys. Between two more sicknesses for Selah, unending overcast skies, and a dog who no longer sleeps through the night (because she’s afraid of springtime thunderstorms), I am wiped.
A lot of really good things happened too: I finished a big editing project at work and wrote a few new essays that I feel pretty proud of. I bought a used jogging stroller so I can get some exercise when I take Selah to the park this summer. I attended the launch party for my friend Ann’s book (it releases TODAY and you can read my review here), and I had such a sweet time connecting with other writers and making some new friends. I read good books and watched good TV and drank good coffee (details on all three below!).
It’s all about perspective right? This season of parenting is tough, and I’m realizing that I have to look closely to see the little wins, and I have to be the one who intentionally celebrates them. Selah doesn’t exactly give out gold stars when I make a great parenting move, so I’m trying to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can — and often, the best I can do is pretty good.
If you’re just doing the best you can this month, consider this a shiny gold star from me to you! I wish we could be chatting in person over coffee and that I could literally stick that baby to your shirt. If we were sitting in my living-room armchairs, here’s what else I’d tell you.
What I Learned
- Sleepovers at Gramma’s house are this mom’s best friend. Dan and I left Selah overnight at my mom’s house for the first time, and it was awesome. We saw La La Land, grabbed dinner, played video poker at a local lounge, and slept in the next day. I love Selah, and I also love my space. I don’t want her to remember a time before Gramma sleepovers were a thing, so I’m glad we’re starting now!
- The pre-verbal toddler tantrums are HARD to deal with. Selah is throwing tons of tantrums these days (TONS). I think part of it is that she’s testing out her boundaries, agency, etc., and part of it is that she can’t communicate the really Big Feelings she’s having (frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, scared). I know she understands more than she can say, so I’m trying to be intentional about 1. modeling how I want her to react in new or frustrating situations and 2. narrating what’s happening in language I want her to use someday. For example, when she throws her sippy cup on the floor for the seventy billionth time, I pick it up, ask her to hand it to me, and model saying, “Here, Mommy. I’m done with my milk.” I get frustrated more times than I can count every single day, and I do not model with perfect patience every time. But I’m trying to practice this as much for me as for her—I want to be in the habit of speaking to her respectfully and empathetically, because she already understands my tone, and someday, she’ll understand and repeat my words. It’s heavy stuff, right?
- Sometimes we just need to speak our feelings. This sounds pretty obvious, but it’s something I had to relearn this month. I’ve been feeling a little tender lately, and I felt silly for being so sensitive. Intimacy is built when we’re honest about our struggles, so I shared what I’m feeling with Dan and a few friends. I didn’t want the tenderness to spiral into negativity, and I could feel it already starting to take hold. Bringing my feelings into the light helped me to see them a bit more clearly and work through them appropriately.
What I Wondered
- How to balance estrogen dominance naturally. I’ve always suspected that my body is estrogen-dominant, but it seems to be especially out of whack since I stopped breastfeeding. If you have any tips for achieving balance, let me know!
- When spring will finally be here. But then I realized that in Chicago, spring means “cold, gray, rainy,” so I guess spring is already here!
What I Loved
- The People vs. O. J. Simpson. Go grab some olive oil popcorn from Trader Joe’s and binge this on Netflix tonight. You can thank me tomorrow.
- Tulips. My favorite sign of spring!
- Busy-mom lattes. I make one every time Selah goes down for her nap as a reward for surviving the morning. Again, the little victories. You can read more about how to make this here.
- Selah’s curls. The air has been more humid lately, and it’s showing in Selah’s hair. All the heart eyes.
What I Read
- Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. A private jet crashes into the ocean for no apparent reason (at first), but then we learn that there are many reasons someone would want the people on that plane dead. I wanted to love this book, because a good who-done-it is right up my alley. A lot of people whose taste in books I trust recommended this one highly, and I liked but did not love it until the very end—where it crashed and burned (pun 100% intended). I expected all the stories to converge with a big twist, and I was left waiting even after I closed the book, in disbelief that it was all that anticlimactic. The story was crafted well enough and the characters were interesting. I think if I’d read this with different expectations—more a character study, less a mystery—I would have enjoyed it. 3 stars.
- Teach Us to Want by Jen Pollock Michel. This woman is a master of the craft—she uses her words well and tells compelling stories. The premise of this book is fascinating, as are many of her points. As Christians, we often feel shamed for having desires, but we don’t realize how those desires are often put in our hearts by God himself. Our desires are easily manipulated or tainted, but God is also in the business of redeeming and transforming our desires. I don’t know that I walked away with any fundamental shift in my thinking, but this book definitely made me rexamine my own heart. 4 stars.
What I Wrote
- 7 Ways I Live Simply with a Toddler
- How Simple Living Saved My Motherhood
- Armchair Chats // February 2017