So! It’s been a while. I admit I didn’t really write about my creative slump intending to stop blogging for a while, but letting myself off the hook in that regard seems to have helped quite a lot. But the year is drawing to a close, and that always makes me reflective (and itching to start new projects. There’s nothing like 01/01 when it comes to beginnings!).
Last year, I wrote that 2013 was the biggest year of my life, and I mean… I got married, became a homeowner, adopted a cat, and got pregnant, all in one year. But 2014, man, it was huge, too. I grew a baby. I dealt with the diabeetus. I left my job. I lived through labor and major surgery. I became a mother. I learned how to be Benjamin’s mom. I began to learn how to stay at home. I had a few identity crises. Everything totally changed.
I knew at the start of 2014 that I would need to be brave and flexible. I knew enough to know that I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. And here at the end, all of that was so true. Pregnancy can be so hard. Making huge life decisions like the one to stay at home is so intimidating. Figuring out how to keep a teeny tiny little baby happy and healthy and thriving is not simple. I was tired. I felt lonely. I cried. I whined about how I don’t even know who I am anymore.
But of course, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Even the parts where my hair looks shitty and even grocery shopping feels like a success some weeks and I am constantly covered in spit up and drool and I may or may not still be wearing my maternity jeans.
When I see people I haven’t seen in a while, they say I look happy. That motherhood suits me. And you guys, it feels so good to hear that, because that’s how I feel, truly. Sure, some of this is hard, and I feel like I should have more figured out. But I’m GOOD at being Ben’s mom. He’s such a happy little guy, and that makes my heart so full. When things start to get to me, like how I should fit into smaller jeans by now, or have a cleaning schedule, or have more time to do things for myself, half the time I just want to go sit in his room because he makes me feel better. Sometimes it feels like he’s the only thing I’m good at anymore. (A friend told me the other day that I’m too hard on myself, and that he is still so little, and that I have more figured out than I give myself credit for. It felt like I got hit in the head, in a really good way.)
There’s always a lot of talk at this time of year in the scrapbooking world about One Little Word, in which you choose a word to keep in the back of your mind, to inspire you throughout the year. I have chosen words for the past two years (in 2013 it was moment and in 2014 it was brave), although I haven’t really done too much more than spend an inordinate amount of time in the last weeks of December stressing about having to find a word before January 1. (Have I mentioned how the 1st of the new year makes me panic and flail to find all the new projects to start neatly and perfectly on January 1?) I have been trying to find a word for myself for 2015, and finding a word that fits what I have in mind has been tough.
For me, 2014 was about being brave as I faced down some big, huge changes, ones that I couldn’t control or know much about ahead of time. But in 2015, I want to start to redefine and reclaim my life. I have a bit of an idea of what motherhood means to me, now, and I feel like the time for basic survival mode, figuring-it-out mode, head-above-water mode is ending. In 2015 I want to take charge, force myself out of some comfort zones, and create some space for myself. I want to embrace who this new Elizabeth is.
So in 2015? I want to just start. (Inspired by Elise’s limited edition stamps because that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get at.) Stop thinking and planning and intending and just TRY. Stop waiting for the perfect moment or the elusive, magical unicorn long nap. I want to stop saying I’m going to send that email to the local Moms’ Club. It’s time to exercise, to raise that daily FitBit step goal. I want to find some clothes that feel good (something other than my Rutgers hoodie). I want to chop off my scraggly ponytail and feel pretty again. I want to savor every snuggle with my little dude and help him learn as much as possible. I want to keep going to library story time. I want to sit at a bar and drink a beer. And maybe most of all, I want to carve out some time for myself, to write or read a book or take pictures or learn weaving or brush script. I don’t know if these are lofty goals or not. If Ben starts crawling as soon as I fear he will, or never grows out of his 30 minute naps, maybe they are SUPER lofty. I really don’t know. But I’d really like to try. I have to start somewhere, right?