Moving through it…

Oh, where to start?  I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around your comments- I have read them, and re-read them, often with tears in my eyes, and a tug at my heart.  The fact that you take moments out of your busy lives to visit me here, and that you leave feeling a bit uplifted, or inspired… and that you took the time to tell me so…  well you will never know how much that means to me.  And the affirmation that we all feel this way at times- lost, lonely, discouraged- well, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings. I think (okay, I know) I have the dearest group of readers in this whole darn blog-o-sphere!  You have truly lifted me out of a dark place, and encouraged me to examine what is working, and what is not, in my life.  Your comments (and they were substantial- wow- not a sentence or two, but heartfelt letters, whole letters!) made me ask myself some important questions- why do I blog, who do I write for, where are these feelings of inadequacy stemming from?

I am happy to report that I am coming out on the other side of that dark tunnel… I am moving through it.  I know that motherhood is a work in progress, always changing and evolving.  Just when you think you have a handle on it…poof…it shape shifts into a new, unrecognizable form, and you are left wondering where you left your road map.  I guess that is life in general, though, isn’t it?

But this is what I know- I have been working hard since the moment Vijay was born, working to write and promote my book, working to seek out new writing opportunities, working to keep my photography and writing fresh and relevant, working on other side gigs that help to pay the bills.  When you work for yourself, and you try to fit in work around your kids, it often means that you don’t have any “time off.”  I am always squeezing in work during naptime, and at night when the boys are in bed.  I am always looking ahead to what is next, and with no one to give me direction or guidance, it often means these thoughts consume me- am I doing enough, am I doing the right things, what’s next…  I haven’t really taken a break to examine where I’m going, and last week, thanks to your comments, I realized that I was burned-out.  My head needs a rest from all that planning, and working, and doing.

And so I hired a sitter and went on a breakfast date with my husband to The Grange (pictured here), the coolest new joint in town.  I went to the gym and signed up for personal training twice a week for the next six weeks.  I joined a community garden and spent two hours alone on Saturday digging in the dirt, and planting my spring crop.  I signed up for that lacrosse league I was talking about.  I watched as the weather shifted, and the sun shone, and with it my spirit lifted.  I took the boys on long walks where we tried to find every crocus and daffodil in the neighborhood.  I gave over our backyard to Vijay’s various “construction projects” and realized that my prefect yard will just have to exist on Pinterest this year (bonus- he plays out there with his trucks for hours with little need for mama- if this is what independent play is all about, I’m in!).  I shut off my computer and was amazed at the clear head-space that resulted, and I realized that it is much more rewarding and pleasurable to cook instead of read food blogs, dig in the dirt instead of looking at perfect yards on Pinterest, and take pictures instead of looking at other peoples “perfect” pictures.  I watched the entire first season of Meet the Midwife, while knitting, and fell in love with the characters. I took my camera out just to capture the gorgeous hellebores in my friends yard.  I received the sweet gifts that were given throughout the week by friends who knew I was down and out: an iced latte and mini-cupcake left on my doorstep as an afternoon pick-me-up, dinner dropped off so I wouldn’t have to cook, a fat slice of carrot cake hand-delivered, a book sent in the mail to boost my spirits.

Most importantly, I listened….really, truly listened to all of your encouraging words.  “This too shall pass.”  “Cherish this precious time with your babies, it goes so fast.” “Give yourself a break.” “You are worthy, and talented, and we appreciate you.”   We all need to hear these things more often- to be told that we are valued.  I made a promise to be better at leaving comments on the blogs that inspire me.  I also made a promise to tell the people who are important to me that I value them, and love them, and support them, no matter what they are going through.  Vocalizing it is so important.  So I’m here in this space with a renewed energy- knowing you are reading, and that you care- well, it makes me want to drop by more often.  I think spring, with its flowering trees, and outdoor farmers markets, and rhubarb, and strawberries, and gardens and warm winds, will provide all the inspiration I need to keep on blogging.  And the answer to the question- who do I blog for- I do blog for myself, but I also blog for my readers, and I really try, with every picture, and every word, to provide a glimpse of something simple and beautiful.  And I realized I would miss sharing my finds with you- who else in my life would appreciate hand-stitched bunnies, and firetruck sweaters and eggs wearing tiny hats?!   Yes- I’m moving through it…with help from you.

29 thoughts on “Moving through it…

  1. Anonymous

    Bravo, darling…Bravo! It's fun, yes…just plain FUN to see your pictures and read your words. I check every morning to see if there's a new post……so if it pleases you, keep 'em comin'. We love you!

    Reply
  2. Rabbit Is Wise

    “I get by with a little help from my friends!” – just keep that song in your head. You have friends – those you know and see in person… and those of us who are your virtual-world friends. And who can help but be inspired with Spring at our doorstep. I'm so glad to know you're finding inspiration again – and will be sure to let you know how much that means by posting comments – and coming here frequently to see what you're up to!

    Reply
  3. Beatrice

    I feel that Mama burnout too, all too often. I too am always staying up way too late trying to fit in just a little more work or relaxation. It's tough business, and I'm so happy for you that you took the time to fit in YOU time! I'm still working on that myself…

    Reply
  4. Susan

    Good for you for carving out some time for yourself! I'm glad you were able to work through it a bit.

    I commented on the last post, but I wanted to add 1 more thing. There is no shame in having a baby nap on the go. As I mentioned in my other comment, my oldest is now on the verge of high school, but when he started kindergarten, my 2nd was 3 and I had a 6 wk old baby girl. My youngest daughter had to sleep while we were out and about otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get the other 2 to kindergarten, preschool or any activities. To this day, she is the kid who naps on road trips which is always a good thing! 🙂

    I hope you have more Spring in your day today than I am having in Chicago.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    And don't count the quantity of comments – count the quality! You yourself noted that your readers are inspired to write whole letters, not just sound bites. So many commenters on other sites just want to get their own blog links in, or want a chance at a give-away. You inspire discussion.
    x
    Clare

    Reply
  6. elizabeth

    I know you aren't on facebook but I shared this post here because it is gorgeous and those PHOTOGRAPHS of the Grange!!! they need to see them! so I linked them on fb, too.

    you are awesome! xoox,e

    Reply
  7. Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud

    This post brought happy tears to my eyes because I, too, like everyone, like every mother, could identify with so many of you “moving through” moments. Keep writing, stranger and unknown friend, there are so many of us out here cheering you on.

    Reply
  8. Julia

    So glad you are back are going to continue blogging. Yay!! Your blog is always such a “happy” place to visit. I always enjoy reading and seeing your lovely photos!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I found my way here via Soulemama after your trip to their farm. After reading that post, I went back to the beginning and read months and months of posts–I enjoyed them all and was inspired by so many of them! So, although I didn't comment last time, I wanted to say how happy I am that there will be more to look forward to.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Lynn Herron

    I have been reading your blog for a few months now and so enjoy it. You have a refreshing style and I am very happy you are finding ways to help get through the tough times. Trying to do it “all” is hard and we need to give ourselves a pat on the back for what we do get done each day!! Thank you for your honesty to your readers!!!

    Reply
  11. Erin

    Christine! It's great to hear that you are feeling better. I don't want to assume that we are just alike, but I think I can relate to the sheer exhaustion and wondering whether I'm doing it all right that you expressed in your last post. I have my two boys here at home with me, too, and it's not an easy job, even with the support of a wonderful husband and great friends and my faith. Sometimes there is an awful sense of being a failure at what I have always wanted to be the best at: motherhood! Just over a year ago I made the decision to put my painting business on hold, at least the full-time job aspect of marketing and promoting and commissions, etc… I realized that I wasn't being what I wanted to be for my boys. I wasn't even focusing on the creative aspect of my art as much as I would have liked. After deciding to take a break from painting I felt very liberated. I was able to disconnect from what those “worldly” expectations were and I could slip into the life I wanted to be living. My computer didn't control my life anymore! I made the decision to be more present in my every day, and it has made a world of difference to me and my boys. I feel closer to them now, and I am so grateful that I'm not missing these years of learning and growth that they are going through. I love what you said about living real life rather than vicarious lives through the internet… Getting up and doing is so much more satisfying than reading what others have done! I have found more opportunity for living that way since I haven't been constrained by the expectations I felt placed on me before. So, in other words, I think finding the balance for me came from first discovering my own priorities, and then trying to find ways to make my life fit them. My family is paramount in importance to me, and I can tell by your writing (and from having met you just that one time) that your family is the same for you! From that it becomes a lot easier to know what we need to do, but the answers don't always come right away, and they are not always easy solutions either. For me, the decision to put my paint brushes and panels away was one of the hardest things I ever did. But I knew it was the right thing for me to do at that time. Since then I have pulled them out again from time to time, and I do still keep my work for sale, but I just let time and patience lead the way. If I sell then it's a bonus. If I don't then that means I don't have to package a painting and get to the post office, etc… So, I just try to keep pace, and I change plans when I need to. I know you don't necessarily need my advice, but I feel that if I keep my boys close to me and let them live life alongside me then they will learn from my decisions, my mistakes, my struggles, my diligence, and hopefully my love. I know you have many friends, but if you ever would be interested in a park play date or some other activity, I am just a few short minutes away to the south of you (Bristol/Warren area). I'm game for an afternoon of picnicking, park going, knitting, etc… Just let me know:) We are in Providence about once a week or more for various things, too.

    Reply
  12. Fatima Ferraz

    Dear Cristine,

    I'm very glad to hear the good news!
    Keep going!! Life is hard but it is also challenging.
    I've been following your blog for a long time (way before the kids) and I can tell that you've grown and became stronger.
    Best wishes from Brazil!
    🙂

    Reply
  13. Gaby

    beautiful post christine. i have felt myself in a blogging funk lately as well, but like you said, who else will appreciate my never ending baby projects? or my pride over having cleaned my house? 🙂 so i'll definitely keep blogging and i'll keep reading yours, because it's one of my absolute favourites x

    Reply
  14. Nan A.

    Gorgeous, lovely photos and your writing is wonderful — you really have a special blog. It's challenging to blog, honestly, because it's a lot of giving and sometimes nothing visible comes back. But you are certainly good at this. I've been reading blogs and blogging (intermittently) for a long time and have become SUPER-picky about the blogs I will read (more now than ever), and I love yours. And I'm not alone — you have a lot of fans. Just keep asking us for blog hugs when you need them, and we'll keep giving them. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Helen

    So good to see you're doing better, coming out of that hole we all seem to fall into at times. Taking some time out to do things for you, What lovely photos and what great places you have that you can go for breakfast etc. I, for one, am happy that you will continue blogging.

    Reply
  16. Christine

    Isn't The Grange awesome!?!?! I'm a huge Wildflour fan (gluten free!) and now I'm loving their restaurant too. My DH loves the beer selection – Bonus!
    Glad you had a good week. I think we all go where you were occasionally. You can always find the good if you look hard enough.

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Honey
    I know I'm not considered an “official reader” because I'm your mom. When I tell you what a amazing and wonderful daughter you are, you say, “Of course you think I am! I'm you daughter!” But I want to go on record as saying you are wonderful and amazing!! Since we don't get a chance to talk much these days because of my 2 darling grandbabe's needs, I get a window into your day to day life thru your blog! I get to see the things I'm missing because of our distance. It really helps to ease the longing!
    And just remember that the measure of success is not a numbers game but if at the end of your day, you made someone smile, if lightened someone's burden, if you soothed a small child's woes, if you inspired someone to create some sunshine in their life, then you are a success in my book!!!!
    so much love, Mom

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    So glad you are working through it and are feeling better. We will be here cheering you on, visiting the blog, and thinking of you often!

    Reply
  19. Shell

    Happy to hear you're feeling more positive, seems like you have some exciting 'me' time coming up. Thanks for writing this down, it's inspiring to see how we all have the power to pick ourselves up 🙂

    Reply
  20. Tracy

    I love your blog and have read it for awhile. I myself am coming to the part of my son's growing up I'm not looking forward to. Next year he will be gong into high school!Now I have more time then I know what to do with so I have started on my art career again. I chose when he was little to put all my effort into raising him and being around. I did work full time in my other career when he was first born. I found it very challenging and went to part time. I wish I could of heard other mothers whoas and that it's not all perfect and its a struggle sometimes. Now that he doesn't need me as much I have no regrets putting things on hold so that could be there for him when he was little.Even though he is a teenager I still get burnt out but I know when I'm getting there and can head it off before I get to far gone.
    Know that you are doing everything possible as being a good mom. No one is perfect and we need to let go of our expectations about what the internet shows us we should be. Motherhood is hard but rewarding. Yesterday my son posting on his facebook page that “his girlfriend,the love he has for his family,friends and what ever the world has to throw at him is his reason to get out of bed everyday. He ended the post by telling everyone he loved them.” So for as many times as I thought I wasn't a good mom it makes me proud that he has turned into a human being with lots of empathy for others and loves life!
    I was very proud of him for that and more so after the horrific events today in Boston.(We had many family members down there in the zone) Enjoy your children, hug them tight and teach them to be the kind of human being you think they can be. Also take care of yourself! Put your oxygen mask on first then you can help your children.
    A happy mom makes happy children!
    Breath, take one day at a time!

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    You are strong and will figure it out.
    Breath in pink,
    Exhale blue.
    Your children will teach just as much as you teach them.
    Can't wait to hug you in June.Xox denny

    Reply
  22. Nina

    I'm so glad you were able to get some rest and I'm so glad you're back! I find that when I feel overwhelmed, it helps to just stop – to empty out everything from my life (activities, etc.) I possibly can for a bit. This helps, not only to give me a break to rest, but also so I can reevaluate what is truly important and where I am wanting to go with my life. I had to do this recently and found that I was burdening myself with so many things that I felt I must do or needed to do that I was getting very little of it done while weighing myself down with a lot of guilt.

    Reply

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