welcome, 2018

and just like that, another year has gone by.

in previous years, like millions of other people, my new year’s resolution used to be to lose weight. although i would love to get my post-pregnancy bod back into shape i really want to focus on my emotional and mental state as well as my overall happiness and well-being.

my close mom friends know what i’m talking about because i’ve discussed this with them on many occasions, and they certainly can relate to the emotional and mental toll motherhood can take on you. some of you may wonder what could possibly have such an effect on me when i am blessed to stay home with healthy children who sleep well. that is certainly what my mom and sister wondered aloud when i had a breakdown at my mom’s house a few months ago.

no matter how well your children sleep, you’re always going to be tired. that’s being a parent. i think the chronic tiredness just becomes a part of you until your child moves out. i know i’m always tired because i choose to stay up late. every night i tell myself i’ll go to bed earlier, but i rarely do. if i happened to fall asleep at an earlier time it’s because i fell asleep on the couch while reading a book, trying in vain to update my blog, or while watching netflix. if i don’t stay up, i won’t get the chance to indulge in adult activities such as reading uninterrupted or even just getting to linger over a meal. these are all things i took for granted before i became a mom, and it’s the simple things i yearn for the most.

i’m going to try to put myself first sometimes. or even better, put dennis and myself first over the children.. for certain things. as parents, we sacrifice so much for our children but having a decent meal, for one, shouldn’t be one of them. sometimes i’m too tired to cook because of all the time i spent catering to penny’s ever-changing palate, but take-out isn’t usually healthy nor financially savvy.

i also used to love reading books and was reading a new book every week/every two weeks for a while until i hit a rut again. i got caught up in all of the things i had, and wanted, to do during my downtime like attempting to update my blog! i’ve had to renew two books three times already because i was having difficulty finding time to read. one of the books is the handmaid’s tale and i’m still only a quarter of the way through even though i just renewed it again.

i had also recently gotten a haircut, something i hadn’t done in 14 months(!) and had also recently wrote about. jjust having that done made me feel really good about myself. now i just need to get a massage soon as well as a mani/pedi 🙂

what i really aim to do is just be more h a p p y. this is tricky because you can’t exactly will yourself to be happy, you just have to be. by happiness, i mean… to relax a little, let things go, revel in whatever it is you’re going through, and enjoy life. nowadays with social media, it’s hard to actually enjoy the now because we’re so busy trying to document it for… later. i’m totally guilty of this as well. sometimes i have to restrain myself from whipping out my phone to take yet another picture to add to my library of 15,000 images.

i also have a bad(?) habit of building great expectations… for events, but mostly for people. i can hold a grudge like my life depended on it.. so i want to be more, not really forgiving, but more… understanding, and empathetic. often times i fret over certain friendships and wonder if the effort is really worth it. i feel like i’m usually the one reaching out to certain people, even just to ask how their day was and i just want to stop. i’m tired of wondering how they are. i’m just tired! i want to try to focus on the few great friendships i have instead of trying to cultivate a bunch just to feel like i’m part of a certain group. basically, this calls for me to be more loving to myself.. to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel like i need the validity of others – friends or family.

even with all of these revelations, 2017 was a wonderful year with the most memorable moment being the birth of ezra, our darling boy. it was also a challenging year as our family adjusted to a new family member and also having to endure the newborn demands once again.

it was a huge year for miss penny. not only did she lose her only-child status, but she also got potty trained in a week and a half; night-trained in a week; and begrudgingly gave up her nap/bedtime pacifier all within several weeks of each other. i blamed most of penny’s sudden mood changes and behavioral issues on the “terrible twos” but penny experienced many developmental growths and achieved big milestones (no diapers!)

i definitely can be too hard on penny sometimes. i’m just an impatient person to begin with, and i have a short fuse. maybe it’s because i get easily flustered and frustrated but i find it so difficult to understand, and empathize, with a two-year-old. i feel like a terrible mom most of the time because i get unnecessarily angry and annoyed at her behavior. it’s not like she’s an awful child; she has typical toddler behavior: jealousy over the baby and hangry meltdowns, to name a couple. my reactions sometimes make me wonder how i ever even enjoyed being a teacher until i remember i had specifically chosen elementary over early childhood for the reasons above. (and my experience at home is also why i don’t want to go back to teaching.)

every day i pray for more love, more patience, and more understanding. i want to love myself more so i can teach penny and ezra to love themselves more, too.

2018 – bring. it. on.

[ these are some pictures i took from new year’s weekend in massachusetts. ]

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dessert crepes for dinner at burlington mall

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double duty: cleaning the floor and entertaining little brother

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a “typical” lunch made by my mom

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we forgot yuri’s booties so we used ezra’s socks

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it was stiflingly hot in grandma’s room

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grandpa lee and ezra passing the ball back and forth

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grandpa lee playing the fishing game, one of penny’s favorite christmas gifts

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ezra has been pushing himself forward for a couple of weeks now. he still can’t crawl; he has trouble lifting up his belly so far. he is over 23 lb so maybe weight is one of the reasons! he seems pretty content on moving around this way or just wanting to stand even though he can’t do that on his own.

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ezra on the move!

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#MomGuilt

mom guilt. most of us moms have it. in fact, I’ll even go as far to claim that 99.9% of us do. working moms may experience it due to balancing the demands of their job as well as parenthood; they also may feel guilty for not spending “enough time” with their children and missing out on their developmental milestones. we SAHMs get it too: hey, since we’re home all day, don’t we have time to maintain an orderly house, cook elaborate meals, and make sure the kids are fed and watered? dear lord, if only.

comparing ourselves to other parents as well as wrestling with feelings of inadequacy and failure probably have been around since adam and eve. of course, adam and eve were the only parents at the time so they didn’t have anyone else to compare themselves to; but they probably felt like pretty crappy parents (for lack of a better word) when their son, cain, killed his older brother, abel. i understand that this is a rather severe example but imagine eve’s anguish, shock, and sorrow upon realizing that one of her sons extinguished the life of another. in the meantime, i get worked up if penny ends up having a shorter-than-usual nap: i should’ve fed her more; i should’ve put her down earlier; i should’ve, i should’ve, i should’ve.

i beat myself up over any, and every little thing, that may go “wrong” in our day-to-day life, and i know many moms do too. the thing is, we know we are being unreasonable and overreacting but we can’t help it. there’s a little voice that nags me saying i could’ve done a better job handling a meltdown, preventing penny from tripping over a toy and hitting her head, and so on.. and yeah, maybe i could have.. but take a mental note and try to move on, right? instead i let it steep and the feelings of regret and shame gnaw at me. whether we are first-time moms or are wrangling five kids, we are always going to struggle because that’s what life is about. we think we got this parenting thing down one day and then it throws a curveball at us and says, “gotcha!” nothing is ever easy, and maybe that’s a good thing… at least, in parenting, because it’ll motivate us to put our best effort into it instead of being complacent or negligent.

boy, does penny keep me on my toes and test my boundaries every single day particularly as she gets closer and closer to the “terrible twos.” i don’t want to just throw her under a label and dismiss her behavior and actions because of what may be expected at a certain age. that’s why i try to hard to redirect her behavior, shower her with positivity and encouragement, and attempt to curb my own frustrations and anger.but hey, i’m only human too.. i lose my cool, i admit it. and it’s something i pray about constantly: learning to be patient but also remembering that penny is not yet two years old and still becoming aware of how amazing and vast this world is; it’s a lot for a toddler to take in and i’ve got to be poised and level-headed to guide her in being a patient and loving person.

just remember that this parenting thing will never really get easy. our generation may have it harder than the past ones because of social media. everywhere we turn, we are force-fed images of people appearing to be “the perfect parents.” but we need to remember that everyone struggles, even the rich and famous. my friend shared an article the other day about chrissy teigen opening up about her struggle with postpartum depression. and she feels guilty because she knows she has it good: money and help (her mom lives with her and she has a nanny) so she was mentally preparing herself for the backlash she will unfortunately experience from those who think that celebrities are above us and shouldn’t complain about anything. i readily admit that celebs and the uber-wealthy do seem to have it easier than us normal folk for many things but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that they’re human too. postpartum depression doesn’t handpick who it wants to affect; everyone’s susceptible.

many women are their own worst enemies.. and each other’s enemies. we should all be helping one another instead of bringing each other down. ever since i became a mom, i quickly saw how lonely and scary being a mother really was. your entire life shifts to accommodate this tiny human and it’s a huge adjustment. friends who don’t have kids can’t truly understand until they have one of their own, and when they do, i can’t help but think, “ha!”

i organized and planned a gno tonight with 10 other women. most of them are mom’s and many of them also don’t know one another; in fact, i am the only one that knows every single person because i put the event together. knowing what it feels like to be a first-time mom (or a mom, in general), i wanted to create a fun girls’ night out where we can not only relax but network as well. maybe it can turn into some sort of mommy’s group and we can do monthly gno as well as reaching out to each other for events and play dates. as much as i am excited to go out, i am experiencing the tiniest twinge of guilt for leaving penny at home. heaven forbid, i miss her bathtime and bedtime routine – i’ll only be gone for a few hours, but there it is.. that little voice.. “aw, you’re leaving penny at home? but she’s been so attached to you lately.. and you won’t get to kiss her good night.” i’d like to think that what i’m feeling at this moment is more that i’ll miss her instead of feeling guilty that i’m going out. yes, she can drive me nuts but i do miss her even when i step out to run an errand solo.

so, i’ll go out tonight – 34 weeks pregnant and all – and enjoy being around other women while relishing a still-hot meal and taking the time to truly relax because, you know what? i deserve it. hey little voice, what now?

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my little helper hands me the eggs