The Best Part of Summer

by Rachael on July 14, 2015

Welcome to the July 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Summer Fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month participants talked about getting out to enjoy the warmer season as a family.

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No matter how many times I have experienced it before, every year the damp heat and abundant greenery of summer astonishes me. Whereas the wind and cold of January and February feel utterly real to me, the sunshine of July and August feels too impossibly good.

Impossible, too, often seems the task of surviving these weeks as a work-at-home mom with two young kids around day after day after day. A sitter takes them out for several hours on Thursdays and Fridays, but otherwise they’re my responsibility through these long, hot days until September. I long for a home with a yard for them to run around in; lacking that, I take them to the park, garden, beach, or playground. We spend as little time inside as I can manage, because inside is where everyone seems to get in everyone else’s way, and the bickering, once it starts, is often interminable.

Meanwhile, I’ve temporarily traded my personal writing time for two hours of working on my current job every day before breakfast. Given that I also have a three-year-old who suddenly just won’t nap anymore, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside doing nothing in particular with the kids — but not much time doing my own thing by myself.

I want to enjoy these aimless days! After all, how lucky I am to be able on a Tuesday morning to sit under a tree in the park and share a snack of bunny crackers and raisins with the Gnome while we watch an enormous tractor mow the lawn. But I quickly become a resentful Mommy if I’m only Mommy all the time. When, in our current routine, is my time just for me?

The other night, I remembered that the best part of summer (or one of them) used to be taking tall stacks of books home from the library, reading them all, and going back for more. Though I might not be able to devour books as I once did, I certainly can take one (or more) along with me to the park, garden, beach, and playground, and I certainly can steal some time actually to read it (or them).

So for the remaining hot weeks of summer (eight until L’s first day of school), books will be my portable escape from life as Mommy — the escape that I hope will help me to relax and see the best part of summer as the whole thing.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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To Myself on the Last Day

by Rachael on June 9, 2015

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month participants wrote letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Dear Rachael of September 16, 2008,

As I remember it, you woke in a panic at 4:00 this morning and were unable to go back to sleep. You were certain that your life as a writer was just about to end, even before it truly got started. If you had trouble making the time for your writing in all those years before you became a mother, how could you trust that you would do so with a child to take care of all hours of the day and night?

You might not be in labor yet, but trust me: your life as you know it is about to end. Your baby is going to be born tomorrow. So I wish you’d get some rest. And I wish you’d stop worrying, too, because your life as a writer is hardly over.

Let me tell you what things are like now, nearly seven years later. More often than not these days, I wake at 5:00 — on purpose, not in a panic. I might “snooze” once or twice (a bad habit I’d like to break); even so, I’m usually on the cushion doing zazen before dawn. Afterward, I make a cup of coffee and write for a bit. Often, I am interrupted by a child who wants help with the potty or getting a toy. Nevertheless, I do my best at the very least to finish the next draft of whatever poem I am working on.

It’s not much, but it’s just enough. With daily effort, the poems get written, however slowly.

Of course, I get greedy, wanting more time. Maybe I’ll start waking at 4:30. Maybe I’ll find a way to write another draft in the evenings. Or maybe (more likely) the boys will continue to grow, needing a bit less of my help in the mornings and giving me a bit more time to myself before breakfast year after year. I’m sure I’ll be glad then to have that time, but the truth is, I also like things just as they are right now.

Have your baby. Fall in love. And please don’t worry. You’ll find a new way to practice writing. Trust me. Trust yourself.

Love, Rachael of June 2015

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she’s come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
  • Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
  • A Letter to MyselfThe Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
  • A Letter to Myself — Holly at Leaves of Lavender offers a missive to herself in the past… three years in the past, to be precise, when her little one was only four months old.
  • Dear me: Nothing will go the way you’ve planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
  • A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
  • Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she’s about to enter called parenting.
  • Talking to My 18 Year Old SelfHannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
  • Dear highly sensitive soulMarija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits — one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
  • Talking to myself: Dear Pre StoneageparentStoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
  • Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
  • My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she’d figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that’s when her first baby was 6 moths old).
  • A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment postpartum.
  • To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
  • To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.

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in Just-

March 10, 2015

We are not quite “in,” but with the return of Daylight Saving Time, warmer weather has come, and with it, many puddles. L and the Gnome do so love the puddles, but for some reason the uck of mud troubles L. As for me, I love the squash of luscious mud underfoot and to gaze […]

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The Pleasures of Childhood

March 3, 2015

The pleasures of childhood should in the main be such as the child extracts from his environment by means of some effort and inventiveness. Pleasures which are exciting and at the same time involve no physical exertion, such, for example, as the theatre, should occur very rarely. The excitement is in the nature of a […]

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Gifts

December 25, 2014

It’s been a difficult December, and difficult for reasons other than the usual holiday madness, though truthfully the madness felt even more maddening than usual this year. But yesterday I thought, for perhaps the millionth time so far in my lifetime, at least I have poetry, and language. And, of course, these guys. Many blessings […]

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Don’t Steel Yourself

December 18, 2014

On the day my mother died, one of my cousins drove my sister and me from New Haven to the house where we grew up. “Don’t steel yourself,” he told us that night. I don’t remember anything else he said then, but that one sentence has been a mantra for me in times of sorrow. […]

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The Process

December 11, 2014

Everything changed this fall. In September the Gnome started preschool, where his schedule more or less matches L’s at the public elementary school. For the first time since I became a mother, I have all the weekdays to myself, at least when there’s school, and at least until about 2:30 (when I really ought to […]

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{this moment}

August 29, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama …

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Swimming

August 26, 2014

It was about four years ago that, in reference to the lake, he said his first sentence: “No like it.” Thus it was to my great surprise yesterday that he said, “I love to swim!” Never mind that he wasn’t actually swimming. He was in the water, and he was smiling: close enough.

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{this moment}

August 15, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama …

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