…And We’re Back!

It’s been awhile Farmgirl sisters…Time for some catch up, let’s get to it:

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  That pretty much sums up parenthood, right?  I’ve come up with another summation: childcare and coffee.  That’s what my days have been made of for the last couple of months (and laundry…piles and piles of it! Thank you washing machine!).  Like many aspects of parenting, just as we are getting used to this phase it shifts as we emerge out of Opal’s newborn days.

She's getting to be a big girl!  #MNrepresent

She’s getting to be a big girl! #MNrepresent

Wait–she’s not a newborn anymore?!  That’s right, it’s been that long since we last shared some stories.  Opal is 3+ months!  Ava is talking up a storm and POTTY TRAINED! whoa.

I could probably end my post here.  On the surface, that’s what we’ve been up to: learning how to use the potty (did you know that there are potties everywhere?! I’m reminded of that often :) ), laundry, coffee, spit-up, playgrounds, some sleep here and there.  But, I don’t want to be superficial with you…I’ll let you into what’s been going on in my slightly overwhelmed mom brain:

I should have known that a well socialized kid is constantly sick!  Daddy is reading her Winnie the Pooh.

I should have known that a well socialized kid is constantly sick! Daddy is reading her Winnie the Pooh.

Being a parent to young children is amazingly difficult on many levels.  Being a feminist stay at home mom is confusing. Being an outdoorsy, environmentally conscious mom in a concrete jungle apartment can be frustrating.  Being a stay at home mom can be lonely and isolating (even though I’m never alone…).

I made this Super Ava cape for Easter.  She refused to wear it at first.  I was a bit devestated.

I sewed this Super Ava cape for Easter. She refused to wear it at first. I was a bit devastated.

However!!!

Being a parent to young children expands one’s heart, patience, intuition and acceptance of the unknown on many levels.  Being a feminist stay at home mom further deepens my support of a woman’s right to choose the life she wants to live. Being an outdoorsy, environmentally conscious mom in a concrete jungle apartment challenges me in ways beyond the general modern “fluff” of parenthood (not that the fluff isn’t important, as well!).  Being a stay at home mom can open doors into meaningful conversations with family and friends (old and new!) who have been through it before.

Honestly, I’m tired. All. The. Time. Sometimes I don’t know how the human race has survived with the total and utter exhaustion these littles inflict on us not-so-littles.  But then they smile when we sing out of tune, or draw a picture of our family, or just give a huge hug out of the blue and say, “me love you, mommy.”

Catching Rainbows

Catching Rainbows

I’ve noticed that I’ve been speeding through phases of personal growth.  I think they are phases that everyone goes through: Contentment–>frustration–>improvement–>contentment–>frustration–>improvement–>repeat ad nauseam.  I think I’ve traditionally gone through these phases at a “slow” pace: somethings are learned over years and years, others over months, some over a week or so.  Recently, these phases have been like a day to day roller coaster! It starts with feelings of personal disappointment (feeling like an inadequate mother/partner/human in some way).  Then, after briefly feeling badly about it and voicing concerns to whomever will listen to me I make some plans to improve whatever it is that is troubling my psyche.  I enact these plans (for the most part…) and everything feels great for a moment.  Repeat.

A toddler and her shadow.  I caught her giving it a smooch the other day! Precious.

A toddler and her shadow. I caught her giving it a smooch the other day! Precious.

Things I’ve “improved” upon in the last couple of months:

January: Spend as much time snuggling Opal as possible.  Heal.  Nourish. Sleep?

Early February: Feeling homebound. Decide to do something unique every weekday: an outing or art project.  Going to the grocery store counts!

Potting up rootbound Houseplants is a special thing to do!

Potting up rootbound Houseplants is a special thing to do!

Late February: Feeling unfulfilled. Start to breakdown my SAHM (stay at home mom) duties into “payable” tasks.  This gives some accountability, stability, direction and fulfillment in what can seem mundane.

Opal, 8 weeks.  Worth it all!

Opal, 10 weeks. Worth it all!

Early March: Feeling unimpressive. Declare that if I’m going to be a SAHM I might as well kick butt (I used a different word…) at it!  Take on some bigger building/learning/art projects.

IMG_0550

Ava wanted to make elephants out of the sun. This is what we came up with…Moose are Alaska’s elephants!

I made this "baby gym" for Opal.  She loves it!

I made this “baby gym” for Opal. She loves it!

Mid March: Prioritize outdoor time–feeling cabin feverish!

Family hikes in the Alaskan mountains make us all happier and healthier!  I think they are feeling moss in this picture.

Family hikes in the Alaskan mountains make us all happier and healthier! I think they are feeling moss in this picture.

Late March: Feeling fat (so stereotypical…). Realize that I’m not necessarily disappointed in the appearance of my postpartum body (this body has done A LOT for me and others), but in some of the lost strength and agility that I’ve been experiencing.  Start more intense physical workouts.

My friend let me tag a long to her Aerial Dancing class.  Amazing! Empowering! and SO difficult.

My friend let me tag along to her Aerial Dancing class. Amazing! Empowering! and SO difficult.

Some acroyoga with one of my favorite people!

Some acroyoga with one of my favorite people!

Early April: Feeling stretched too thin. Try to achieve some balance between personal goals, household duties and child development–bonus points when they coincide!

You win some, you lose some....

You win some, you lose some….

Present: Feeling frustrated. Learn to let go of expectations. Take deep breaths.  “Plan” life in five to thirty minute increments.  Tell myself that keeping the whole family alive, fed and (generally) clean is a HUGE accomplishment.

Party Animals.

Party Animals.

So, there it is.  I want to be the mom who is like, “Everything is butterflies and rainbows all of the time!  Parenthood is nothing but a blessing!”  But that mom is fictional.  I swear that any parent who says everything is great all of the time is lying to your face!

What could be cooler than a dinosaur shaped sandwich? A bunch of things, apparently.  Not one bite was eaten of this creation!

What could be cooler than a dinosaur shaped sandwich? A bunch of things, apparently. Not one bite was eaten of this creation!

There is a trend right now to tell people that they are “enough.”  I appreciate this sentiment, but there is something about it that doesn’t sit well with me.  It doesn’t encourage improvement or support aspirations.  Understandably, it is aimed at people who are full of self disappointment.

Also, truthfully, the good and great times FAR outweigh the frustrating and stressful.  However, like most things in life, I tend to remember and dwell on the rough patches.

Ava reading us a story.

Ava reading us a story.

 

I made this little pacifier holder lovey for Opal for Easter.  She digs it.

I made this little pacifier holder lovey for Opal for Easter. She digs it.

One thing that really helps me and my family is a good Farmgirl attitude.  Farmgirls know that everything happens in cycles.  We recognize that there are positive and negative aspects to nearly all of our daily activities.  We see grandeur in the mundane and simplicity in the complex.  We have seen calves born in the morning mist and we’ve heard piglets scream as they leave their mothers.  We’ve sewn quilts that will be handed down for years to come, and we’ve created outfits that our children have scorned from day one.  But in the end…in the end we know it is all good.

It Begins Again

It Begins Again

Quinoa starts.  My friends are pretty cool!

Quinoa starts. My friends are pretty cool!

As the winter ends and spring starts to unleash its explosion of green I’m preparing to start farming again!  five years ago, there was still a considerable amount of snow on the ground at this point in time. Tomorrow, I’m going to help put up high tunnels for anticipated planting in the next couple of weeks.  It’s going to be an early season!

Let’s not go that far between visits again, okay?!  I missed you all and hope everyone is happy.

Sending peace and love from Alaska,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

Leave a comment 19 Comments

  1. Carol Slater says:

    As a grandparent that stays home with my granddaughter, let me tell you that I understand what you are going through. I find that the winter has been hard as we have stayed in so much although it really was an easy winter. I am thankful for the summer like weather we are having and I am looking forward to getting some outside time now with the baby. The blessings are worth the effort and disappointments, but remember that you are what is important to them. Teach them to do the things you like as they grow. One day you will have friends that are interested in the same things that you are.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! For the most part, parenthood is awesome. My kids are pretty cool and we all do fun things together. I’ve already been dreaming of visiting them in exotic places to go on fun hikes and adventures…but it will get here faster than I realize!

  2. deb says:

    My daughter’s second son is now 1 yoa and it’s been a tough year. She’s exhausted all the time. I live too far away to be there all the time to help. I still remember (following the birth of my second 34 years ago-ahem) how difficult it was to fill the coffeemaker with grounds and water just to get it ready to brew in the am! You know you’ll get through it and it’ll get easier, but it’s still tough. Feeling for you – hang in there!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      The struggle is real! haha. Coffee….we are out of coffee this morning. It’s a sad day. Luckily we are going to do some farm work today (skinning high tunnels, woohooooo), so that makes everyone happy!

  3. Deb Bosworth says:

    Welcome back, Alex. You ( and your little angels) were missed. My time flies. Reading your post really took me back to my days at home with our kids. Some days my hubby would come home to find them in the tub at 4:30 in the afternoon. My way of trying to force an early dinner and bedtime. It never worked, but it gave us all something calming to focus on before the 5:00 o clock melt down happened. You are doing a fabulous job. As far as that whole feminist thing goes. It’s simple. You are a human being. You live in America. You can make any choice you want to make for yourself and your family. Period. Tap into your intuition. You’ll need that a heck of a lot more as a wife, and mom, whether you’re working inside or outside of the home. When you’re raising two young children there’s not enough energy at the end of the day to be battling yourself about what you “should” be doing. Save yourself the trouble and let what doesn’t fit right now go and make room for what is. That includes the messes, matted hair, no sleep and all. You got this girl!!! Sending hugs from the beach!
    Deb

  4. Krista says:

    I couldn’t agree more! My little man is 4 months and I have been experiencing exactly the same thing. I love staying home with him and watching him grow as well as teach him what I want him to learn but after some time I feel like I’m going crazy and getting cabin fever. I have begun to plan some play dates….mainly for me!!! It’s amazing all the emotions you can experience with children but in the end you realize it’s such a blessing. Thanks for sharing and helping me feel better knowing I’m not the only one!

  5. Denise Ross says:

    The days are tough and a juggle when your kiddos are young and you’re straying to get things done. But in the end being kind to yourself, acknowledging your planned day will not go to plan and learning to laugh and allowing yourself to cry when it all gets too much doing it all and being it all helps. They do grow up quickly. Parenthood is a crazy adventure filled ride no matter their ages, the challenges just change.
    Feeling you here, big hugs from Australia xo

  6. Susabelle says:

    Have missed your posts and had a niggling worry in the back of my head about you as a week would go by and there wouldn’t be a new post. Glad you are okay, just figuring out how to adjust to the new “normal.” And I agree with you, being “just enough” is not really enough. We don’t need to grow by leaps and bounds, and being able to feel some satisfaction at normal is great, but we really do need to be expanding. Our minds, our bodies, our goals. Hang in there, it DOES get better, although the next two years will be a lot about being pulled in too many directions and not reaching as many goals as you would like.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Susabelle–sorry to cause worry! I was just really bad at keeping track of anything for a little while there. We’ve also changed our blogging schedule a bit. You have done a nice expansion of what I mean with those “enough” sentiments, thank you! Funnily enough (ha!), yesterday I drove for a good ten miles behind someone who’s license plate read URENUF. Coincidence?

  7. Susan T says:

    As one who has raised her children while working, I envy your time taking care of your littles. I, personally, wish I had stayed at home with ours, playing, doing wonderful art projects and other things with the children instead of allowing someone else to fill their days. We told ourselves at the time I must work, but I think the young Moms today have it right, do without a bit to mold your children into the humans you wish them to be. Enjoy this time Alex. It passes way to fast and you’ll look back and remember all the frustrating and even lonely times with such love.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Yes, I know I would not enjoy working away from the girls. We are lucky that I can stay home, and I’m very happy to do it. Just like with any job, there are some frustrations and some adjustment period :). I already look back on the “hard” times from just a few months ago as more comical than anything! Thanks for your words.

  8. Candace Segar says:

    Dear Alex,

    This was one of the most beautiful and inspiring posts that I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughts and feelings and pictures. It made me think about a lot of things in life. You have a wonderful way of putting everything into perspective! Candy

  9. Bonnie ellis says:

    Having been a stay at home mom for two active boys, I’m tired with you. But life’s experience tells me it too shall pass. Each stage is so short (even though it seems like years). You WILL look back on it and wonder how it went by so fast. Cherish your children at each stage. You are where you are supposed to be doing what you are supposed to be doing. You are great parents. There will be time for you. God bless.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Bonnie. I’ve already realized where the phrase “The days are long but the years are short” comes from. The weeks are flying by!

  10. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for this post and update. I love reading about Ava and Opal, they are beautiful and adorable.
    Marilyn

  11. Pam says:

    I just found your blog. When I saw the word Alaska, I just had to learn more about you. My husband and I live in the lower 48 but we were just in Eagle River staying at a B&B while we waited for our newest grandchild to be born at the Wasilla Midwifery. So I was excited to learn that you are familiar with the area and most likely delivered at the same midwifery. I look forward to following your blog.

  12. Joan says:

    Yes it is a bit trying to be IT!!! but your beautiful girls are an outward showing of your love. Be sure to love you too. Ok so life isn’t what it used to be but the time will come that being out in the garden again will make it all worth while —- oh my goodness am I talking to myself? Today, a young man that helps me in my yard/flower gardens each Spring called to see if Sunday would be a good day to come — had to say ‘don’t think so’ still have drifts – so guess I was telling myself — ‘the sun will come out — someday’. Do take care. God bless.

  13. Susannah says:

    Love this! You really spoke the truth here of what it’s like to be a SAHM. I have a 2 yo and a 14 yo who is homeschooled. Much love to you and your babies!
    P.s. You did it right having them close together in age. They will be each other’s playmates soon enough.

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