Day 1: Confessions of a Humbled and Stripped-Down Me

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer is nearly "officially" over. On Tuesday of this coming week, Noah starts KINDERGARTEN.  

.... Said the start of a blog post I began three weeks ago. 

And yet, here we are. Three weeks later. Noah's been in kindergarten for days and days now... old hat. Summer is basically a memory, except for the 95-degree heat outside and the little attempts of mine to get one more summer memory in every few days... a snow cone here, a trip to the spray ground there.... 

And here is my blog. My sad, sweet, beloved blog. Started it SEVEN years ago, and have been a committed and mostly regular poster. Until this year. 

So I am here to confess. Confess a few things, actually. 

Confession 1: People said going from 2 to 3 kids was going to be a game-changer. I shrugged it off. I figured I'd had my "tough transition" when I went from 1 to 2. I'd gotten a colicky Lucy instead of a dream baby, I'd been out of baby-practice for 3.5 years by the time she came around... getting used to having her was HARD. So I figured with this baby #3, I'd be a seasoned pro-- and pretty freshly trained since they were only going to be 21 months apart. I was gonna be FINE. 

Except I wasn't. I really should've listened to EVERYONE. Going from 2 to three was SO hard. IS SO HARD still. I confess I was a jackass overconfident mama, and I didn't listen to the veteran mamas warning me. 

Confession 2: It always seemed like these mama bloggers I knew went from pretty passionate, consistent blogging to just fading away one day... no explanation. And I smugly KNEW that would never be me. I was COMMITTED. I was not just a MOMMY BLOGGER, I was writing beyond just the report for the kids' grandparents. I was a WRITER, ya know? I had THINGS TO SAY. 

Looking back, I think probably most of my mom blogger friends who faded away did so right about that third kid. And I am mortified at that awful smugness that I felt about it all. Turns out, it's basically the hardest thing ever to get myself to sit still long enough to write any kind of post. EVER. When I have the thoughts and the ideas and the epiphanies, I DON'T HAVE THE TIME OR THE FREE HANDS. When I have the time and the free hands, all I want to do is use them to watch DVR'd episodes of Family Feud (oh yes I did. I began DVR'ing F.F. because it is so mindless that I never have to commit to a plotline or keep up with episodes. And I love "Fast Money". Sue me.) And honestly, if I'm not watching Family Feud, I'm falling asleep in my soup or trying desperately to keep my business from falling apart. There is simply not enough brain power to fuel pithy blogging as well. And it is breaking my heart. 

I am here in spirit. I have not given up. But maybe that's its own kind of unhealthy--- another burden, another thing not done well, weighing me down... 

3. One of my dear mom friends told me it was at baby #3 that she stopped sewing. I was horrified. Again, I vowed, "NOT ME." I would always make time, even if it was just the littlest bit, for sewing something pretty. If I only committed 15 minutes a day, I could still make things happen. Fifteen minutes is not hard, right? 

And here I am, shocked-- SHOCKED -- at how impossible that feels right now. Fifteen minutes? I definitely have that TIME to carve out. It's not that. Its the mental commitment I am not handling at all. I am simply not mentally able to juggle as many balls as I used to be able to. As I so smugly did with ease just one baby ago. 

This has been a humbling journey, this baby number 3 and the new lifestyle he brought along. Since baby #3, I simply AM LESS than I used to be. Less able to think sharp and clever thoughts. Less able to act quickly and efficiently. Less able to manage most things outside my immediate day-to-day tasks. Even now, with baby #3 being SEVEN months old, when someone asks something extra of me (can you join this committee? Can you babysit my kiddo? Can you feed the missionaries?) I get almost INDIGNANT that people cannot see how thin the thread is that I am barely hanging onto.. that I cannot FATHOM adding something else, however small, to my plate. 

And that humbles me. Because I used to be able to "do it all". 

But now, for my very sanity and happiness, I have had to let so much sit and rest on the sidelines while I try to catch up or just stay afloat.

And it's not like I'm a scrabbling, clinging, terrified mess every day, barely able to manage my little life even without the extras. No, what has happened is, I have had to strip down to the barest minimum of life obligations--- the kids, my husband, my business (workload still halved for now), my home, and my own inner self-- and refine and redefine only those. To get good again at only those, for now. And seven months into it, I am doing okay. I have a good rhythm to my days... a good feeling about my rapport with each of my littles. I feel creatively stimulated even with just the small projects I'm doing to set up our new home. After the refining fire of learning how to have a third child in our life--- those messy, hard, sweaty, complicated early months--- I feel like I've built up those muscles for the most part and have been left with this sparse, but clean and pure version of my life with which to practice living well. 

But it is at the sacrifice of a LOT that I didn't imagine would go. The blogging. The reading of good books. The sewing. The chit chatting with friends on the phone. The trips home to see my parents. But they are pretty much gone, those things.

For now. 

I think (i hope. i pray.) they will come back. That I can reintroduce those things back, eventually. 

But perhaps not just yet. 

For even as I have begun to thrive a bit at this life again, there are so many ways I mess it up daily--- so many things I wish I did better. Eating better-for-me foods. Moving this old body of mine more. Taking more time to really LISTEN to my kids. To Joe. Sleeping even just one hour more a night. If I still have those very basic things to master, perhaps it SHOULD be a while longer before I clutter it all up with more more more. 

Last confession for the night: I used to feel optimistic I could find the answer (any answer) if I wrote or talked or prayed long enough. Blah-blah-blahed my way to clarity. I'm starting to think perhaps I'll never have it all figured out. That maybe there ARE no answers. And that is okay, I guess. Except I'm not entirely comfortable yet with how I am supposed to figure out how to "live the questions", as Rainer Maria Rilke speaks about. 

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

So I'm doing a lot of waiting, a lot of scowling, a lot of needless worrying... And ever ever ever trying to STOP ALL OF THAT and get back to the present moment, to the gifts at hand. It's what always seems to work best when I don't know what else to do. 

So there. Confessions made for tonight. And a ridiculous goal/project for myself this week: I am going to blog every day this week. Because I miss it. Because I miss you readers. Because I want to prove to myself I CAN , even if it is only for a short-term period. 

So. Well. I'll see you tomorrow night. Thanks for letting me be me, flawed and confused and searching and candid. 


  1. Emily, as always, so beautifully written! Your words and your "struggle" touched my soul & brought me to tears, because I so recognize the road you are traveling... I have been on it for so VERY LONG.

    I almost feel guilty saying that... I don't have "3 littles"; just the 1 almost grown boy.... but it is, and always has been, just me, on my own, to be: mother, father, friend, breadwinner, "housewife", "medical director", cook chauffeur, event planner, counselor, good guy & bad guy, mentor.... the list goes on, and on, and while I am truly gratful for him and his role in my life, there are many days that I am simply overwhelmed. .. There are so many different identities I must juggle to make his life happy, healthy and grounded, but NONE of them are MY identity... I have been lost, confused & scrambling, for years, to even figure out who & what I would be if I had to define "myself"....

    If it helps at all, from "this side of the fence" you are a "wonder to behold" .... you are simply amazing to me, in terms of all of your accomplishments & endeavors, while simultaneously being a fabulous, devoted & dedicated matriarch to the family you are nurturing! I am in awe of you... always!

    You are a beautiful & accomplished "you"... even if "life" is currently too "cluttered" for you to see that in youself, at this time... Em, I have known you for a long time.. I have watched you develop & cultivate the "You" that you referenced in your post, and hopefully it well help to know, that to "outside"/ observing eyes, you do not APPEAR to be as far removed from that "old self", as you feel like you are.... and YOU (even the you that is feeling so much intenal chaos, right now) are an amazing woman who provides light, and hope, and inspiration to the many many lives that you touch! (I know this to be true for myself, and I can tellit is true for the many friends & followers you have, by the things that they post to you)

    BIG HUGS, Em.... I love you!

  2. I was getting worried cause there ware no new photos on your Instagram for TWO DAYS!
    Just wanted to tell you that I think you're amazing. Don't be too hard on yourself. There are times that I think that I am going to break this time for sure but then I remind myself that this too shall pass and in a week or a month or a year from now I will still be here fighting like all the times before.
    Much love

  3. It sounds like you are taking care of what truly matters, and that is enough. It all is enough. When you can fit in extra, then that is enough for that day. You are doing amazing, the kids look wonderful, your life feels chaotic but happy, and one day, sooner than we realize, you'll look back on all the amazing happiness you felt amongst all the anxiety, the stress, and the drudge of it all, and all of that listed will be forgotten. Chin up, Em, you are an wonderful and talented person. 3 kids hasn't erased that, it's just put some of it in the background.

  4. just a thought, maybe just maybe you are being a little to rough on yourself. Maybe just maybe you are doing exactly what you are suppose to be doing? Maybe right now you are bathing in the Grace of your husband and children?
    ...and just maybe, us out here in computer land, will enjoy your blog and be thrilled and excited when a new edition pops up on our screen.
    Here's to you and your journey. We are in this together. period.
    Miss Daleen

  5. I just want you to know that I think you're amazing. Even when you say you're overwhelmed & out-of-sorts (I don't doubt it's true), you still seem like wonder-mom to me. I love how you're quirky & crafty and somehow seem to find time to magic your kids' childhoods magical. I promise you they'll remember the tent forest, trampoline time, robot crafts, dress up, trips to Magic House etc for their entire lives - the daily minutiae will fall away. Remember what they said when our Nov 07 babies were newborns - if you're worrying & double-guessing you can't be doing that badly ;-). The drive to be more then we are is what keeps this journey interesting.

    Even if you only blog once a month (or even less) I'll still look forward to it because I am *always* inspired by you. You're doing what you can, with what you have & I'm sure Joe and everyone else recognizes & appreciates it.

    Plus I'm still envious of the great kid pictures you get :-D

  6. It is true. That jump from 2 to 3 is AWFUL...but I can promise you- it does get easier. It was awful for me for a full year before I started realizing I could handle things again. Life would go on, and I could start enjoying more things in life again :) I am sure that everyone was where you were at...smugly looking at those other mothers saying- not me! I did the same thing.

    You know what it does do? It softens your heart. Watching a mother struggle around with her three little ones all throwing a tantrum in the most public of places. It makes you soften, and instead of judging that mother, instead, you chose to go to that mother and just tell her she is doing a good job. That it will get easier. That as much as it doesn't feel like it now, it is worth it.

    I rarely post on your blog, but have followed for almost 6 years now. I just felt the need to comment today.

  7. Well, this makes me a little nervous seeing as how baby #2 is on the way, and I've been thinking about how life will change and what things will end up going:) But I guess in the end of the day there are seasons, and this one will pass, and you'll have the time again someday.Or so I tell myself!

  8. With how much having 1 kid has thrown me for a loop, I'm not sure I'll ever make it to 3! I'm not going to lie, reading this made me feel like my struggles are ok! Too many moms pretending to be "perfect." Thanks for being an honest mama, I think that makes you awesome!

  9. I kind of am sad to see "confessions" listed in your blog because it implies to me that you think you are doing something wrong. You are doing a SUPER GREAT job!!! In the last year you have traveled across country with all three kiddos (who all arrived alive), you added a baby (someone new to figure out and get to know) and you moved a whole family!! Some people cannot handle all that in 5 years, and you did it in 1!! Give yourself credit for what you DO get done!! Be kind to yourself!! Treat yourself like the Divine Spirit Daughter that you are!! You have done nothing wrong and have no need for confessions. And, in case you haven't read all the wonderful comments listed above, maybe print them out and place them around the new house so you can see what other people see: A wonderful, pleasant, creative woman who has a ton to contribute to the many relationships she has! We all love you and think you are doing an amazing job! Lighten up just a little... :)

  10. A little light for the end of your tunnel of humility (a tunnel I know oh so well!). The jump from 3 to 4 is a piece of CAKE! Honest.


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