This is my typical day.
It's not totally in focus, it's not carefully framed or edited in any way. There is clutter along the edges and details I wish you couldn't see. It's also a snatched moment of joy and love, and I feel lucky to be able to say it's my life.
A dear friend of mine has been struggling lately with adjusting to life at home with her sweet little baby. I remember her telling me, when I was pregnant with Phoebe, that she dreamed of quitting her job and staying home with a baby of her own, making art in her studio all day while her darling daughter played happily beside her. I loved her hopefulness and her vision and I didn't want to tell her that it wouldn't ever be that way - because if there's one thing I have learned about motherhood, it's that everyone does it differently and there's no way to predict what it will look like for anyone - but I knew that, for me at least, that sweet dream was never going to be reality.
Being a mother to a preschooler and a toddler isn't everything I ever dreamed of, but that's in part because I never really knew what to dream it would be like. Every day I write my job description anew. And thinking of this as my full-time job - okay, one I don't get paid for, but my job nonetheless - makes it feel different, somehow. I'm not just a stay-at-home mom. I quit my day job to make this my day job. I "do what I love" - or at least I spend my day with what I love most in the world - and how many people get to say that?
I'm not the mom I pictured I might be. I don't have an immaculate house even though I thought I'd have one simply by being home all day (wouldn't that be nice - cleaning that is accomplished by being present near cleaning supplies? Sign me up for that direct-sales home party guest list!). I haven't started the graduate school courses I figured I'd be done with ages ago. I don't play violin and piano with an adoring audience sitting and listening to my practice sessions. My almost four-year-old can't write her letters yet and doesn't know how to bake a cake by herself, despite what all those little kids in France are supposedly able to do by now. No one is putting me on any magazine cover or interviewing me on any talk show or even featuring me in a blog or IG post. I'm not amazing at this in the way I pictured or hoped or dreamed I might be, back when I didn't really know what motherhood meant.
But I'm raising these two girls, and they love each other. Real love - best friend love, that is such a privilege to watch blossom and grow. We play pretend all day long. We read stories and go on hikes and make messes that we sometimes clean up. I have time to myself sometimes, now that I'm out of the infancy trenches, to make gifts for friends and go to book club meetings and sing in a choir and play board games with my husband late at night over big bowls of popcorn. It's really hard when I have days where I don't live up to my own expectations and I'm not the mom I want to be, and I admit to feeling pangs of jealousy when I see the amazing things my former colleagues accomplish. But this is what I'm able to accomplish right now. Actually, take away that "but." This is what I'm able to accomplish now. It's a quiet, cluttered, imperfect life, and I'm lucky that it's mine.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Ingredients for a successful Rex Manning Day party:
Hand-lettered costume party invites, photocopied (remember that Rex's lunch scene?), folded into junior high-style notes, and mailed in shiny silver envelopes
Empire Records on VHS
Swag bags filled with Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, movie-inspired renamed nail polishes, animal-print slap bracelets (to match the infamous couch, of course!), and mix CDs of tunes circa 1995 (each guest was asked to bring one for a swap)
A button-making station and supplies for weaving friendship bracelets while you watch the film
Contests for "best brownies" and "best impersonation" - with movie-themed prizes like this card and this bag
Sugar High punch, based on this recipe
A bunch of friends who love reminiscing about the 1990s and are great sports!
Happy Rex Manning Day! We're open 'til midnight!
Sunday, January 4, 2015
You guys, I turned 34 last week! How did that happen? When I told my mom, she thought I should double-check my math. Nope, it was right - I'm officially older than I feel.
But despite the slight nausea-inducing sensation about being firmly in my mid-thirties, I couldn't be more excited about this brand new year. Since 2010, I've been pregnant or nursing for all but a handful of weeks, and as of my birthday, I'm my own woman again - ready to embrace my 35th year with open arms and an adventurous spirit.
I think the freedom from some of the shackles of early motherhood is making me feel especially inclined towards creativity and intellectual curiosity again in ways I haven't in a long time. I'm longing to read real books again - and lots of them - and I am excited to get started on some special projects that fell by the wayside over the past year due to the nitty-gritty daily life of having a toddler and a tiny baby to care for.
I'm a lot more prolific on instagram these days, if you don't follow me there already - but I'm excited to use this space for more updates about books I'm reading and the things I'm making for the shop and other venues. See you here soon!
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Just a quick update to say "hi, I'm still here"... photos from August and September, from art projects with friends to first birthdays and first days of school and ballet to just hanging around the house together. Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful transition to fall as much as we are!
Posted by courtney - larking. at 1:08 PM