Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes from Under a Rock

...aka life with a newborn. Or at least the way life ought to be with a newborn.

1. This is my first go-round where hideous, creeping PPD hasn't been on the menu for the post partum period, and oh my GOD is it a game changer. (I say that prayerfully. I am so profoundly grateful for not having to shoulder that cross this time around.) I am actually experiencing those moments of joy and wonder where I've got nothing more pressing on my agenda than staring at my sweet baby's fluffy duckling hair and pink cheeks. Okay, that's a lie, I've had a fair share of weepy/enraged outbursts and, okay, certain members of this household have really let their personal hygiene standards sliiiiide (I'm looking at you, 21 month old who pissed on the oriental rug yesterday morning) … but for the most part, it's like a honeymoon. If a honeymoon involved very little sleep, relaxation, or clothing that was attractive in any way, shape, or form. But still, it's good. So good.
She looks the grumpiest, but she's really the best.
2. I've been trolling everyone else's blog and reading some of those end of the year recap posts and thinking about what I want to accomplish/shoot for this year, and to be honest, it's not really something I generally go in for. New Year's resolutions are somewhere between wearing green on St. Patrick's day and eating hot dogs on the 4th of July in my hierarchy of holiday observations, but I think reading some excellent and insightful content from other peoples' mental to-do lists has inspired a touch of aspiration in me. Just a touch. I thought about the possibility of having a word to inspire/aspire to for the new year, and I came up with 'Focus.' Which is really fairly ridiculous, because I now have 3 kids 3 and under, the best sleeper in the lot is 18 days old, and I'm stupid tired all the time. But I think I might be stupid tired for the next several decades, actually. So I want to sharpen my moments, if you will, into something resembling meaningful experiences, be they tedious read-alouds with the non-verbal set or cathartic late-night vacuuming sessions to soothe my tired soul. (Please tell me I'm not alone?) So, Focus. As in, wherever you are, be there. Be all in. So 2014, I'm going all in. And I'm going to start by purchasing 3 different sizes of diapers in bulk.

3. Reading actual books. I spend so much time on the internet and so much time reading 800 word snippets of news! information! breaking! relevant! now! that I'm kind of rusty in the practice of actually consuming entire volumes of thematic information. And I don't think it speaks well for my intellect that the past 10 works of fiction I've dipped into would all be on the same shelf at the library, and that shelf would also include the Twilight series. Dystopian YA fiction, we're on a break. I'll call you when I've had my space. I'm loving reading her list and also hers, and then I happened upon this one last night and basically i have my work cut out for me. And speaking of libraries, I should probably start using one again because Kindle will bankrupt us on my watch if I'm not more careful.

4. Okay also this one.

Because a friend of mine wrote it. And I love this picture of Papa. I'm really hoping to work through EG as a couple this year, but daily reflections are probably more along our stupid tired speed right now.

5. My baby, that adorable squishy fluffy haired baby, hates dairy and alcohol. I'm like, seriously kid, you were friggin conceived in Italy, put your game face on… but she's like, "No thanks mom, I'd prefer if you'd stick to seltzer water and lara bars. Okay, and scrambled eggs are fine with your black espresso."

Little tyrant.

(Hence the above-pictured lime soda water I'm currently enjoying for my midday happy hour on the front stoop. Did I mention it's 60 degrees in Denver today?)

6. In the spirit of being more 'focused' I'm going to try really hard to write at the same time each day, be that for the blog, for Catholic Exchange, for CNA, or for some other publication. What that translates to on a practical level will be a steadier stream of content, I hope, though perhaps slightly less frequent posting overall. But the fact that my nap-boycotting three year old is shrieking at me from his room right now is probably a fair indication of how this will pan out.

7. Speaking of being up to my ears in babies…does anybody out there in blogland use a mother's helper? Where did you find such a magical creature, what do you pay them, how many hours per week do you employ them, and how do you define their roles? Ideally I'm looking for 10 hours of housework/meal prep/kid entertaining so that I can either a. nurse the baby b. hit a deadline or c. leave the house for a mental health break/a work meeting. Can a mother's helper meet these pressing and exciting needs? Should I offer a 401k package? Do I need to clean my house frantically every day before she shows up so I won't engage in self-shaming behavior the entire time she is here? Do tell.

Head over to Jen's, the list-whisperer, for more.


  1. I actually kept a list of all the books I read this year, (which I have yet to write about). Like you, I have an infant (and a handful of other kids) and I often find myself wondering what it is I do!!! all day. Keeping track of the books I've read (as silly as this might sound) has made me feel like I accomplished something this year other than diapering bottoms and filling sippy cups (important things indeed, but sometimes banal). I love to read and escaping into a book (and writing about that book when I find the time) is therapy.

    Congrats on your new baby. She's darling! Prayers for your adjustment.

  2. Her hair kills me!!!

    I haven't been in the mood to pick a word or generate a list of goals for the year. The thought of all that introspection makes me want to curl up in the fetal position...

  3. I have not hired a mother's helper but I have hired a nanny and have many friends who have hired nannies using They do background checks and everything! Check it out. There are lots and lots and lots of students from DU, Metro State, School of Mines, and Regis who are looking for part-time work of this sort.

  4. Find a homeschool group near you and see if anyone has teenagers. They make GREAT mother's helpers. I have several friends whose girls do that for extra money. Also, the suggestion above about college students is an awesome idea. A good friend lives in a college town and she has a student that she met through another family who comes a couple days a week to entertain the kids while she writes. I think it's an awesome idea - sanity breaks make for a much nicer, calmer Mommy....!

  5. Modern Mrs. Darcy uses a mothers helper; she might have some tips. I had no idea you wrote for CNA! And that is such a sweet grumpy face. Darling.

  6. I have been a mother's helper! In fact if I lived where you do I would totally volunteer for the job!!! lol I would say totally get one! and yes they can do all of the above if they are a good one!! Someone homeschooled problably has the flexibility you would like. The one I work as right now I get paid $8 an hour but the kids are all fairly self-sufficient. Honestly I enjoy being a mother's help because 1) it's a job that I love and 2) it is a really nice break from school 3) you get to know awesome families and help them out! As a helper I have found the experience to be awesome! Since you get to expeirience being a part of someone else's family and get to know them. I would highly recomend it-any sanity givers area always good!!! :) and don't clean before she comes!!! Otherwise you could drive yourself nuts. A Mom's helper is just to help YOU in whatever way you need it. I would love to know if you do get one and how it works out. :)

  7. Hey! I started working from home when I had my little guy in June. Because my little divo baby only takes 20-30 minute power naps throughout the day, I ended up needing a mother's helper to make sure my work was actually getting done. I was literally trying to work through the night just to keep up with everything. It sounds a little crazy, but we were new to our town and didn't have any family around, so I used Sitter City's website. I figured since I was going to be home with them most of the time, I could observe them together on and off. Anyway, it's been three months since she started and it's great! My clients are happy, the baby gets used to having other faces around, and I'm no longer sending email and working on spreadsheets and projections at 2 AM. They offer background checks, too!

  8. I'm so glad that life is as it *ought* to be with a newborn! That's great news!

    How do you know that your squishy, adorable, fluffy haired baby hates alcohol and dairy? Also, how did you know Joey was sensitive to the gluten? I know sometimes allergies are pretty obvious, but other times they go unnoticed, so I give myself a panic attack over all the things that *could* be allergic reactions. I feel like I never know for sure. What do you think?

  9. Im glad to read you again. Thanks for this post.
    Best for you Buddy!

  10. Genevieve is FABULOUS!!

  11. I hope this isnt a creepy weird question but do you have an email address where I can contact you?


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