Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lest you think my life is perfect . . .

I know so many people's lives look perfect on their blogs, and I don't want people to have a misconception of my life around here. On average, I try to focus on the positive, but I want this blog to be an honest record of my life so I try to do a little reality check around here once in a while.

So the truth is, I'm leading a pretty lonely life these days. I'm one of those people that needs some alone time, but lately, almost all of my time is alone time. Someone called the other day in the middle of the day and thought they woke me up because my voice was husky from not using it (I do talk to Creed, but I guess we'd had a quiet morning of me following him around an empty playground and then he'd taken an extraordinarily long nap). Larry works six days a week and he's on call six days a week (it is home call, which is much better than residency, but those calls while we're trying to spend time as a family are so annoying). His only day off each week is Sunday, and since we're Mormon that means three hours of church in the middle of the day along with other meetings and we will never get a chance to explore some of the fun places around town together since we try not to do anything that requires anyone else to work on Sundays. And did I mention that's his schedule for the entire year? That means no long weekends to escape and take a road trip, and no time for Larry to watch Creed so I can do things around the city that aren't fun for a toddler like explore boutiques or buy new jeans or have lunch with friends. Larry has always had to work some Saturdays, but I never realized how important it was to me to have him around for a Saturday here and there.

So people out there who wonder how I do all the things that I do (and I really don't do much, you just get the highlights on my blog) I have more time to myself than I know what to do with. I'm busy with Creed, but at some point, he has to sleep and then I'm on my own.

And speaking of Creed, I love him and find myself constantly blinking in wonder at how cute he is and how quickly he's growing, but it's really tiring being in charge of him 100% of the time. Larry's been trying to help out and take him on some jaunts in the evening, but by the time he gets home and we pull together dinner, Creed is getting tired and cranky and it's probably better for him to stay home and wind down.

And I have so many insecurities as a mother. Am I feeding him well enough? There must be other healthy foods that I can get him to eat. Should I convert to one nap a day and how do I know when that nap should be? And he has a farmer's tan, which means I'm not making him wear enough sunscreen. And we don't know any kids in our neighborhood his age so should I be taking him to playgroup or something so he's used to being around other kids his age? And it is so crazy hot in the afternoons that I feel so bad every time I have to put him in his carseat, aka insulated oven, and he looks at me with those sad eyes. And I'm worried about his loss of vocabulary lately. And . . . and . . . and . . .

I definitely have my flaws. I'm not a good cook and I'm so uninspired in the kitchen. I HATE exercising and tell myself that chasing Creed is enough right now. I keep saying the word "stinkin'" which I hate (why did I even start saying that?) and I can't stop! I'm obsessed with finding a new rug for our living room that's beautiful, yet affordable and it's driving me crazy that I can't find one. I have a totally irrational fear of ducks and geese and they are all over the parks here. I stay up later than I should and I'm grouchy in the morning. I'm terrible at returning phone calls, not because I'm busy, but because I especially don't like talking when I'm feeling blue. If you came to my house right now, you'd think we moved here a week ago instead of a month because I'm not in a hurry for this new place to feel like home and it's not like I have any friends who are coming by so I still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do (which I guess is a sign that we own a lot of stuff that we don't need).

I totally have a lack of focus these days and am not really sure where I want to head from here. Do I want to try to work as an adjunct professor if it would mean adding more chaos to our families schedule and less time together? Do I want to keep selling fairy doors if that sucks up a lot of my creative time? Do I want to keep accepting freelance graphic design jobs? Do I want to be a little more active in the children's literature blogging world? Should we have another baby and could I really handle that and still be the kind of mom that I want to be to Creed? Should I be focusing more on writing while Creed naps? Should I just drop it all and focus on Creed while he still wants to shadow my every move? In what areas should I really be trying to develop and why do I let all this other stuff get in the way?

I'm not saying all of this to get down on myself or make you think that I'm depressed. I know that I'm blessed and I'm really happy with my life. I just want you to know that I'm not even in the same realm as perfect and I embrace that. Someday, when Creed is feeling lost or lonely or questioning his parenting skills, I want him to be able to read this and know I was there and it's ok. You don't need to be perfect to be happy.


I am Laura said...

Your still pretty perfect in my book. I am also feeling a bit lonely these days. My kids play together so well that they don't want me around. I just clean, clean, blog, do bills, and think am I worth anything at all. It can be discouraging to be a mom sometimes. hang in there. Creed is very cute and you are a wonderful mother.

Anna said...

oh Stephanie I really want to hang out with you, are you free this Saturday?

also, my ward is starting a play group, if you are interested I know they'd like more members; the area we live in only has a few stay at home moms.

also I have a friend who I think you have a lot in common with who moved to Salt Lake not that long ago and has son not much older than Creed, I would love to introduce you two so you can both get out of the house more.

and you are a fabulous mother and Creed is wonderful.

and I loved the post.

lisa (lost pezhead) said...

whew, i bet that felt good to get out! i think you pretty much voiced what lots of people have on their minds. i can't believe larry's schedule....whoa. i'm sure you'll find plenty of time to do family things, but that does sound rough. does it get any better after the first year (it's a 3 yr fellowship right)?

when my kids were about 1 i switched them to naptime at 12:30 to about 3pm...and my kids have tans even when i lather sunscreen all over them at the park....

sorry about the lonely feeling, i went through all that last year and i'm just now finding a friend who i feel like we are getting close and starting to see each other tons throughout the week. i remember v/t you and your friend alicia was over helping you w/ a quilt project or something and she was going through your kitchen and getting dishes and i was thinking, i wish i had a friend like that who would come hang out and feel comfortable enough to go through my kitchen cabinets and help themselves. that might not help you feel better, but i know you'll find those friends again, it takes a while though.

Sarah S said...

Hi, I am a totally lame blog stalker that has really enjoyed reading your blog for months now and never made a comment! I can't remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but it's been so fun to read.

So sorry if that's weird - I'm a normal, fun LDS girl living on the north shore of Chicago who loves blogs, photography, and being crafty. I have a 14-month-old little boy Eli - and it's fun reading about what you do with Creed since they are a few months apart.

I finally decided to comment because your post rang true for me on so many levels! The insecurities in being a mom, worrying about my child and his eating habits, his sunscreen use and moving to one nap issue...

My husband works in finance and is gone from 5:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. When he's home, he's exhausted and tries to help out, but I feel bad since he needs a break too.

Anyway, I can hear my little guy screaming and NOT falling back asleep. He went to sleep at 1, then woke up at 2 because he had a poopy diaper. He's exhausted but won't go back to sleep! Ahhh the joys of being a mom. There are lots of highs but definite lows too...

Sarah S of :)

Stephanie said...

I usually stalk your blog for creative ideas (which there are always a ton of!) but after reading this post I decided to comment.

This post rings so true for me - although our lives are very different - I feel the exact same way. Sometimes it just seems so difficult!

The one thing that I try to keep in the forefront of my mind is to take it a day at a time (and sometimes I break it into an hour at a time!).

All the best to you,

Cassie L. said...

Thank you so much for that post Stephanie!! It always feels better to know that it is not just you that is borderline insane with wifehood, motherhood, and whatever you have time leftover for personal lives and development. There are just too many times that I have thought "I didn't know it would all be this hard." But I sure didn't realize the extent of the blessings either. You are simply amazing though and always someone to inspire me.

By the way, you continue to be a topic of conversation in the circles of previous Ohioans. We thought you were far to busy to come hang with us, but now I know otherwise, we are going to have to see you soon!!!

Malinovka said...

Steph, I really loved this post. I don't love that you are lonely or that you are frustrated and have so many questions and not many answers. I love how you can point out that the joy in life comes in moments and how extraordinary things are done by ordinary people--meaning that your life everyday isn't perfect. I'm VERY glad, though, that you have things to be happy about as well. Hang in there. There are so many people who love you.

Kate said...

Even off the blog you're still pretty amazing!! "It will all work out. Don't worry. I tell myself that every day. It will all work out." That's one of my favorite President Hinckley quotes. If we move to Utah next summer you'll have to teach me how to adapt back to utah life after being gone so long.

Annie said...

I have been reading your blog for sometime now...(got the link off your sister's site), but I do feel the need to comment on your post. I LOVE YOUR HONESTY. It so describes the life of a stay at home mom...we want to be perfect, and think we should...but we know we can't...and that is SO frustrating and downright depressing at times.
Right now my three kids are 22, 18, and 16 years old, but your post made it seem like yesterday that they were Creed's age. I just want to give you a couple of ideas to help:
1. JOIN A MOM'S GROUP. This was my salvation..technically it was a "playgroup" for the kids, but the Mom's need it SO much more. My husband worked long hours then and these women (who are still my best friends) were such fantastic support. There is a group here in CT that is called Mom's Club, for SAHM; I'll bet there is a similar one nearby...even worth driving 30 minutes to...and don't worry about the hot car :)
2. PLAN VERY SIMPLE MEALS. I would encourage you to print out 10 very easy meal ideas from the internet and just rotate through them. Crockpots are great. To change things up, switch the side veggies. Always make 2 of everything, either for leftovers or to freeze. Make a huge salad and put it into a big Tupperware so it last for 4-5 days. Are you still nursing Creed? Cause if you are, he is still getting unbelievable superior nutrition from you.
Do you like to ride bikes? I'll bet there are lots of bike trails in SLC...strap Creed on and go..or go for a walk in one of the local parks. If you go during the day, you meet other SAHM's. There are a lot of mom/stroller walking clubs around here...I'll bet there are some there, too.
4. Sign up for some Mommy+Me classes at the local Y, or Rec center. Fun to go to to talk to other Mom's and fun for Creed.
And, Finally...what you are feeling IS NORMAL!!! (HUGS)

Reba said...

This is such a good post, Stephanie. I love that you're so blessed at focusing on the good in your life even when things aren't perfect, you're such an example of that to me.

I hope every moment you get with Larry is good and that the quiet times are filled with what makes you happy.

And I hope you can come visit me.

Eva said...

steph, i have this friend named rick steves. i'll introduce you to him, if you want. (totally platonic, of course.)

but seriously, i love you! you're perfect in your imperfectness.

Eva said...

i mean, imperfection. man! i need to go back to english class.

Sarah said...

stephanie - you are my hero. :-) hugs galore!!! creed is really a lucky guy. so very lucky and you are...what's the word? *radiant* you are! xo - sarah h

Sarah Lunt said...

k - I seriously just stumbled onto your blog tonight and I'm in tears. Thank you soo much for this post. I too am not happy that you're lonely right now, but I'm so grateful that you are honest. You are such a blessing to everyone around you and I am grateful that I had the chance to meet you. Here's a big hug from Columbus. I just feel so much better knowing that other moms are consumed with the same thoughts that I have.
So amazed by you,
Sarah L