Miles is almost 6 months old! So many people talk about how quickly it has gone, and while part of me feels like it has, another part has felt every moment of these past 6 months. Every new coo and wiggle and laugh has brought me here.
Now that Miles is at an age where he can tag along with mom and dad, participate more fully and take in so much I have been thinking more about our consumption and our values.
From pregnancy to about 4 months I was in self preservation mode. I gave myself grace and gave into cravings, conveniences and consuming more than usual. I tilted toward self-care and loving myself and my baby well.
Now that we are in a different stage I am ready to shift back toward value based living and away from as much consuming and convenience.
Now, if you are currently in a stage where you feel like you’re slipping up, like your new habits aren’t working for you anymore, give yourself grace.
My favorite Podcaster, Brooke McAlary wrote to me when I was struggling and said the following, “You’re smack-bang in the middle of such a big,emotional time that it makes sense for newer habits to slip away. These old, well-won tracks of previous habits seem really comfortable when we’re under a lot of stress and coping with a lot of change…honestly the thing that we always find helpful in those instances is to simply reduce expectations. There’s only so much of us to go around when there’s another more immediate requirement of our time and energy, it makes sense that we slip up. If there’s one tiny little thing we can do in our day that brings us close to where we want to be (add a serve of veggies to dinner, drink an extra glass of water or sit and enjoy three sips of tea, two minutes of deep breathing, deleting the online shopping app etc) then start there.”
If you are not currently in a healthy place to change your habits, that’s okay. There are plenty of podcasts, blog posts, books, quotes, etc. that I have come back to at a later time when they made more sense for me.
If this is the right time for you to make a habit shift I would love for you to join me for Plastic Free July! I attempted this last year with great success. One day, our little family hopes to be zero waste. For now, we’re settling for less waste and plastic free July is a wonderful place to start!
So, what is Plastic Free July? The Plastic Free July Foundation’s mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. Click here for steps to get signed up and get started! We’re only in the middle of June so there’s still plenty of time to sign up, join in, and get your zero waste kit ready!
This is a great joint activity for the whole family, or for just you and your little ones! The world is hurting and we have to change if we want it to be here and healthy for our children, grandchildren and the other beings we share our earth with.
My zero waste kit, which I will carry each day, includes: my reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bags, reusable coffee cup, one glass jar, a glass straw, reusable cutlery and a cloth napkin.
Sure, it’s a bit more to carry but it’s an amazing reminder of how much we send to the landfill without thinking about it- my purse and zero waste kit are one in the same.
If you plan to join leave me a comment below! I would love to know what you plan to carry in your plastic free, zero waste kit.
Recently, I asked on my Instagram if readers would like to see my current capsule and everyone said yes! So here it is.
In the past I had much more time to dedicate to perfecting my capsules. I also didn’t have a nanny and baby to pay for, and so I’m shifting to a capsule starter kit. A concept originally created by the wonderful Caroline on her blog Un-fancy.
What is it? A capsule starter kit is pulling 10-15 pieces of your wardrobe together while answering the following questions.
1. What is the weather like where I live this Spring?
HOT. It’s hot and humid here in Virginia, plenty of rain and plenty of heat. But you know where there’s no heat? My office building. They blast the air conditioner as soon as the sun makes an appearance so I am dressing for VA weather and for my office.
2. What is my lifestyle like right now? Where do I spend most of my time?
I’m a mama! A mama to an adorable, nursing, drooling 5 month old. I don’t see a ton of crisp white, easily stained,” hand-wash only” items in my future. I see lots of button ups that allow for nursing and pumping and clothing both professional for work AND comfortable for cuddling my little one.
3. What colors am I into right now? What colors do I already have that might work for spring?
4. How can comfort and function fit into this wardrobe? (or any of your non-negotiables when it comes to clothing)
Even with the best intentions I know I will not wear something if it is not comfortable. No matter how many times I add a dress or skirt to my wardrobe I rarely wear them. I put comfort above all else!
Now, stand in front of your closet and pull 10-15 pieces with these questions in mind.
“I had no idea it would be this much. I had no idea I could handle it. I had no idea how beautiful it all actually is.”
To my baby, on our first Mother’s Day.
I love you so much little one.
I love you in that big big way where your heart aches just thinking about it. I love you so much I forget to breathe sometimes. I just stare down at you not blinking or breathing so I won’t miss a single sound or eyelash flutter.
You made me a mama. You are the reason I’ve been invited into the secret club of motherhood, full of so many amazing, strong women who have gone before me.
Whoever you end up being Miles, I will love you. You are magic. You are made of love and light and I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you will be.
You taught your dad and I how little we know about the world. We were so sure and righteous about things before we met you. Now we know how young we are- how much growing and knowing we have left to do. You taught us that little one.
Miles, whoever you grow up to be, I know you will be kind. I know you will know deep in your bones what is right and wrong and that you will act on it- even if it’s not right away. You have all of the answers to life inside of you. Adversity and challenges will bring these questions out of you but you’ve already got the answers tucked away.
Your dad and I only have one expectation of you little one, that you celebrate others the way we celebrate you. That you see the light inside all living things and recognize it is the same as the light inside of you.
Miles, you brought your mama to life. Your happiness is my happiness. You filled parts of my heart I didn’t know existed.
“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.”
I am almost done with my third week of work post maternity leave. I don’t know how it has been three weeks already. My days are separated into three chunks of time. The mornings with my baby getting ready for work, my day at work without him, and the evening time after I pick him up from his amazing nanny’s home.
Let me start with his perfect, mennonite nanny Ms. B. A friend from work found Ms. B through care.com, a wonderful place to search for childcare in your area. We had desperately wanted to have Miles stay with Ms. B and her family very early on in our child care search but when we were first looking she didn’t have any space for our little one- so we kept looking. We found a wonderful local daycare that was more traditional but felt much better than some of the large daycares we found in our area.
It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the people were kind and I was exhausted and growing our baby so we settled. Then, the week before I was supposed to start work we set up a visit so Miles could see the space with us. We walked in and I immediately felt sick. Miles eyes were wide with worry and the chaos that surrounded us. To some I’m sure it was the exact place they wanted their baby to be, but for me it was too loud and sterile and too different from our home.
So, I followed my mommy gut and told Chase I would not be taking my baby there. I had no alternative, Miles was supposed to start that Monday and I was supposed to return to work, but I couldn’t. I knew my mental health would suffer if I had to leave Miles there while I worked.
I told my office what was going on and my supervisor and colleagues gave me so much grace. They told me to take the time I needed to find the right place for our family. I know what a privilege this is. I am so aware that a majority of people do not have this option. This is why I work where I do. In a place where you are a person first and a professional second. I’m lucky. Lucky and grateful.
My gut told me to text my good friend from work to see if she knew of anyone like her nanny Ms. B, and so my friend asked her nanny Ms. B, and by some manifested, beautiful chance Ms. B had a spot. If I hadn’t listened to my heart and my gut Miles would not be in the perfect daycare that he is now. Trust your instincts. Listen to what you know is true deep in your heart.
Yes, the thought of staying home crossed my mind. To be a stay at home mama would be such a privilege. To snuggle my baby every second and smell his head ten million times a day. To bear witness to every development and stage he goes through. But that is not a possibility for our family right now for a variety of reasons- also, deep in my heart, I don’t want to stay home with him all day. I know that this is a taboo thing to say so let me explain.
First, stay at home parents are epic. You all use your gifts and strengths to love and nourish your babies and I think you’re amazing. But for me? My strengths help me love and nourish college students as they navigate the challenges of young adulthood. I’m good at my job, I love my job, and becoming a mama has made me even better at it.
I was intentional and compassionate with my students before, but now? Now I remind myself that each one has a mama that loves them the same way I love my Miles. I think about how I would want a career counselor to speak to and help my baby and I do just that.
Miles is growing and developing each day with Ms. B and that is her strength and her gift, caring for our little one. My time with Miles is after work and on weekends when I get every cuddle, squeeze and kiss that I can! It’s okay to want more. To love being a mama and to love your work. It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.
To my working mamas, I salute you. Keep sending your gifts out into the world in your work place and keep cuddling those babies at night when you’re done. Let them fill your heart and take all that love into work the next day.
And Miles? He saves his biggest smiles for Ms. B each morning. He’s as obsessed with her as he is with Chase and I. It takes a village, Ms. B is part of our village.
Follow your gut. Listen to your heart. Sometimes we create our own struggles and heartbreak when we ignore our intuition and do what we think we’re supposed to do, or what the world tells us to do. Deep down you already know the truth, let your values and gut guide you. Listen listen listen.