inner & outer


[crawls out from under rock]

Apparently, if you want to kill your blogging mojo dead, just get an iPad for your birthday, come up with a really good idea for a blog, have a 19 month old son, and then just do absolutely nothing.

Well, technically, more like absolutely everything except blogging.

I have lots of good posts that I semi-wrote in my head, but they have been in that slow cooker of my brain for so long that all the ideas have dissolved like overcooked potatoes and the meat has gone all stringy. So I begin again.

I think I am ever so slightly depressed. Nothing is wrong, exactly. But I just can’t seem to feel on top of anything. I have a feeling that it is related to the ongoing enthusiasm that my boy continues to show for breastfeeding, and the ensuing hormonal bath my brain has been floating in for this last year-and-more-than-a-half-and-how-the-dickens-did-he-get-to-be-so-big-already. I am starting to weary of it, the breastfeeding, just ever so slightly, when those same hormones aren’t making me want to smoosh his creamy little body into a 20-minute embrace that involves smooches and made-up words and almost certainly much squeezing of his delectably plump little thighs. Any thought of weaning, however, just overwhelms me because a) I am too lazy to figure out other parenting tactics and b) he just loves it so much. As in, he laughs and claps when he sees my bo.obs coming his way. As in, he can get my bre.ast out of the top of any shirt that is not a turtleneck. As in, sometimes he just puts his face in between my bre.asts and holds one in each hand and just kind of rests there for a second, sighing in contentment.

Yeah, I can’t really imagine taking all that away from him. I’m starting to do the slow, gentle weaning thing, but I reckon it will be slower than with many little ones I know. So my mental health will require other remedies.

I was visiting my friend K yesterday, and in her wisdom she very gently reminded me that sometimes our striving for order or achievement or whatever is not really about what we are striving for. She talked about strategies versus needs – that we can tend to focus on strategies and making plans and achieving goals when instead we could ask the question “What do I need?” The fact that I am constantly berating myself for having a messy house and too much stuff (just for starters, really – my list of aspirational self-improvements could fill our spare room, if I could ever get it cleaned up) could quite possibly be hiding the fact that I need some space. I mean some space for me, some space to welcome joy and sadness and confusion and, well, everything.

Maybe space like this blog. Maybe space in my body – through restarting my yoga practice. Maybe space in my life – like time to rest and dream and write and create. And maybe space in my heart – where I can let go of the habit of judging myself so harshly and practice peace with the way things are.

I shared with K yesterday that another woman, a mutual friend, was at my place this week, and she just sighed with happiness and said “I love your house!” I think I kind of snorted and then mumbled some bashful gratitude in her general direction. She told me that my house and K’s house both had that kind of happy and relaxed feeling. I knew what she meant – K’s house is exactly that way. And I wondered why I so rarely feel that way about my house. Why I am always looking around and seeing only what I want to change.

My son has recently started saying “happy” – in quiet moments, like the other day when he was just sitting in his chair, leaning back, taking a break. And he just said it, a propos of nothing: “happy.”

I have all these wonderful teachers around me. Now to start learning.

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10 Responses to inner & outer

  1. Nadine says:

    I stopped breastfeeding at 6 months because the thought of 2 babies crawling all over me demanding was too much, I needed my independence. Then I went to a moms group the other day and they refereed to formula as the “f word”. I wanted to punch them. Gotta stop joining these groups, I quays think I will feel better if I can just meet some moms who get what I’m going through, but it’s like high school all over and I just don’t fit in.

    I too have lack of space, no space for me, love my babies, but I only get a few random hours alone, and I have no career, anyhow, not my blog space, just wanted to know that it made me happy to know someone was out there having similar kinda feelings…

  2. LisainSK says:

    Hello Vulnerable!! Hope you shake these blues soon…take care!

  3. Wordgirl says:

    You and me babe, honestly — weeeeiiiiirrrrdddllllyyy alike. In fact I just made a new “space” on my blog (another blog) to address my own journey back to self — and yes I berate myself for all the same things — the messy pantry and the back of knitting stuff I just took out of a drawer and my jewelry that spills out of all the pretty little ceramic pots and why do I still have THAT beaded thing I never wear…etc. And I had to laugh about your little one and the BFing because Z is SO much the same — the minute I take my shirt off her eyes light up — and she’s tackling me all the time and, well — there is this element of “my body is not my own” — and I have loved every single minute of it — but at nearly 18 months here — I am wondering what the future looks like because I assumed, like most babies and mothers’ I’d heard of — she’d wean herself at nearly this point — but she shows no signs of that.

    I love you ms. iamvulnerable — it’s wonderful to hear your voice.

    Let’s meet someday at a halfway point.



  4. Bleu says:

    Hello sweet woman. How I wish you were in my kitchen or I yours. Well actually my kitchen, my favorite place to be usually is not great in my home but I have worked hard this year to let that go so I totally get where you are on that.
    As for the bf’ing I can say whatever is right for you I respect but from someone who has been bf’ing over 7 years now I can say that between 1.5 and 2.5 it is really normal to go through a real “touched out” period where you feel so overwhelmed. It can even become painful again like at the start. In case you are interested it totally passes after a bit. I have recently gone through the RE-sensitized phase with Soul. She suddenly began nursing around the clock as if she were an infant and she holds the un-used breasts nipple in her other hand and often squeezes in a way that ouches a lot. But I went back and remembered Bliss did the same thing and then it got easier again. So I work on my breathing during and try to allow the lesson for slowing down and being present to flow through me.
    My las bit is my practice, when I am bemoaning how our upstairs bathtub is useless and the shower to small and just wanting to make 3 changes we cannot afford to this house to make me “happy” and I am being, in no way, compassionate towards Soul and her talent for throwing and destruction and I am feeling sad and overwhelmed and stressed numerous times a day I also know one other thing is ALWAYS true. I have not sat, or meditated, or done our buddhism work that day. And the days we have (Bliss Soul and I) I am grateful and centered (as much as I can be) and patient and compassionate to my children and to myself.

    Now if I could just remember every day things would be so much better.

    I love ya and it is so great to hear from you.

  5. slowmamma says:

    I know that every experience is so different but I can say that, personally, my mental state was affected immensely by weaning. I, like you, had no energy or intention to take steps to wean but my son weaned himself. Afterwards, I found that I could think straight again. While my brain seems to resemble it’s old self again, my post-weaning body is another story. But, as I said, everybody’s experience is unique.

    I hope you can find some space for yourself. It is an ongoing challenge of mine but I try to celebrate every success because they are hard won. I even started a blog and it’s been rewarding to me to have a quiet space to unload some of the static in my head.

    It’s nice to tune into a little of your static as well.


  6. I would love to hang out in your happy home.

    I think deep down, I sometimes feel that if I’m happy, something will go very very wrong. I’ve been releasing that belief.

  7. Jessica says:

    Hang in there 🙂

    I think sometimes we don’ t want to let ourselves relax, because we feel like something else will get dumped on us lol

  8. JJ says:

    Wow you and I are on a similar wavelength in life right now…wanna meet for coffee and talk it out together 🙂 I wish it were that easy! I am wishing you lots of peace and Im always happy when you pop up in my reader!

  9. coffeegrl says:

    Just realized I’ve been thinking about you and this post and never responded. My oldest *loved* breastfeeding. I knew that weaning would be a long time coming. And when it happened at 20 months, it was lovely and perfect for both of us (at least I like to think so since she didn’t seem especially upset at the end). As for the “getting your needs met” part – boy do I need to think about this. I mean, I do think about this a lot. But I found the distinction between separating out the goals/strategies from the actual needs to be helpful. I *need* to think about what I need from my husband. I’m feeling some general…malaise and frustration (as often is the case with a new baby in the house) toward him and his contributions or my perceived lack of his contributions in some areas of childcare. But I’ve not been clear with myself or him about what I really need. Thanks !

  10. Deathstar says:

    Oh, there you are, friend. It seems as if I’m slowly finding myself again (perhaps it was my brief vacation) – my need to be alone has almost been overwhelming and at the same time, I’ve been feeling so desperately alone. My to do list just keeps getting longer, not shorter – I need an assistant I think – to do all the little piddly things that seem to have no beginning nor end. Discovering the courage to do what’s best (near best) for all is always difficult. Don’t give up.

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