Posts tagged ‘motherhood’

February 10, 2011

Two years.

by Hannah

This tiny baby is turning two today.

Like many mothers, I am reflecting on a 40ish hour labor and the unspeakable joy it was to look at his face for the first time. I’m thinking about all that has happened since that night- how I fell in love with all 5 pounds 11 ounces of him, and more and more each day since. How he’s changed, and become this smart, funny, spirited little boy.

More than all the memories, I am thinking about who he is, and who he will be, and how this is only the beginning still. I wonder who he will be and what he will do. I hope that I will guide him well on the way.

Right now, he is affectionate and loving, stubborn and full of spirit. He loves to play outside. He has an insanely long attention span for his age. He likes to color and play instruments. His favorite shows are Caillou and Blue’s Clues. He loves to read with us. He adores his dad, grandpa and uncle (me and his grandma too, but you can tell it’s important to him to be one of the guys). His vocabulary grows every day, and he points out every car and airplane. He notices tiny details and points them out- like a crescent moon out in the middle of the day, or a bird high up in the sky. He amazes me.

Happy birthday, Seth my love.

January 14, 2011

his world.

by Hannah

he reaches up to give me the little flower he just picked- only the bud, plucked from a weed that made its way through a crack in our patio cement. i really should get out there and pull all the weeds around the edges- it looks messy.

“here, mama.” he says as he hands me the flower, smiling. he does this over and over, so proud and purposeful. if i am slow to reach for it he says sternly, “mama!”. i tell him thank you, and that i love him, and that they are so beautiful. i give him a hug, and smell his hair, still baby-soft and curly at the ends. he lays a little kiss on my cheek, and then pushes me away to trot off, seeking his next adventure.

our days are roller caster rides of the sweetest moments, the fits of giggles, and the passionate tantrums and tireless testing of boundaries.
i try to steal a few minutes, an hour, a moment- here and there throughout the day to keep up with my to-do list. it is a delicate balance- motherhood, work. he is more important, every time. yet in a certain moment sometimes work is more immediate and pressing. it is hard not to feel guilty for that.
he sees birds in the park and makes his signature bird sound {it sounds just like a seagull- we were at the beach the first time he did it.}
he chases them and they scatter into the air. he laughs, and does it again. his joy is pure and real, and contagious.
i watch him, sleeping, and he looks the same as i remember him looking when he was tiny. he’s on his back, arms and legs spread out. i think about how if i try to sleep on my back, i startle. he is so full of peace and innocence that i practically tear up. once again i see that it is all going so fast, just like people so love to tell me it will.
but in this moment his world and mine are still intertwined to the core. and i let his contentment wash over me and every worry die away for a while.
in his world there is only this moment.
a gift, and a lesson.

November 18, 2010

practicing peace

by Hannah

“No” Seth screeches again. This time there is no obvious reason. I lift him up- my arms have gotten stronger as he’s grown- and breathe deeply before calmly asking him (once again) what the matter is. This happens so very often throughout the day lately- the breakdowns interspersed with the joy and wonder of this little being. We’ve been battling teething pain and the frustrations that accompany toddlerhood. He wants to do everything, yet he can’t. He wants independence, and yet he afraid of it too. Aren’t we all?
My patience level seems to correspond closely with my sleep patterns, which have not exactly been ideal. Aside from that, though, I have found that the times I get most frusterated are when I’m interrupted from something else I’m doing- or when I’m trying to focus on more than one thing at once.
I long to be a pillar of calm and peace in Seth’ life, never yielding to frustration. I want to respond to everything with love and gentle discipline, but sometimes I feel my peace slipping. Okay yeah- sometimes it completely flies out the window and I break down right along with him.

Peace is not something I feel often right now. I am always, always being pulled in multiple directions. I am mom and business owner. Working from home while raising children is… well, a bit crazy sometimes.

In the midst of it all, I am trying to make sure that I am truly present for my son when he needs me. While my work and home lives are so deeply intertwined, I am intentionally separating them when I can- taking some time to give each my undivided attention for a while, on a regular basis.
Peace is not going to come naturally here, but I am learning to create it- to practice it and incorporate it into my home, my life, my parenting and my business. A huge part of this is being present in each moment. I am a planner, and I need organization to function, but I find that if I take it to an extreme and am constantly looking ahead or  mentally reviewing my to-do list, I get anxious.
So when I’m working, I’m working, and when I’m with my family, I try to put work out of my mind and focus on them. Then I no longer feel so pulled, so divided. I can handle each situation more calmly and rationally because I am not simultaneously trying to focus on something unrelated.

There is more peace everywhere in my world.

November 1, 2010

Something I didn’t expect…

by Hannah

…about being a mother:

He teaches me.

Patience. Grace. Unconditional love. Trust. Life moving forward. The fleeting nature of time. Priorities.
And the list goes on.

It amazes me every day.

Isn’t he just the most precious thing?

Today on The Creative Mama, Stephanie Beaty shared some of her favorite quotes about motherhood. I love them.


Also, one of my favorite bloggers, Karen Walrond, has written a lovely book called The Beauty of Different. I have been wanting to read it (and definitely will!).
Actually, a self portrait of mine was featured here not too long ago on her blog of the same name. I feel so encouraged every time I read the beautiful different blog- such a breath of fresh air to see women everywhere declaring who they are in their unique beauty. It is so in line with my own worldview, and I just love it.

Karen is doing a very generous giveaway to celebrate the release of her new book, The Beauty of Different, which is available from Bright Sky Press and Amazon.

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October 15, 2010

Your heart on your sleeve.

by Hannah

There is so much emotion in motherhood that I never expected. This little boy can bring me utter joy and intense frustration- often both within the same hour. His personality is blossoming before us. He is stubborn and passionate, and sensitive to those around him. He knows what he wants and does not let go of ideas or objects easily. He tests, watching for reactions, pressing the boundaries. He loves laughter, and expresses so much inner turmoil when he can’t communicate what he wants. His attention span frequently amazes me. He is ever changing- moving from perfect calm to full-on tantrum in moments. He knows when I am sad, and wants to comfort me. He does comfort me. He is smart and spirited. He has brought a million laughs into my life, but a few tears as well.

Motherhood forces a woman to have her heart on her sleeve, so to speak.

You make yourself emotionally available to your child, and therefore you are open. And so you feel everything, more.
The frustration of growing pains, the joy and excitement,
and then there is the inexplicable aching.
You watch them growing more each day, and it is so wonderful, and yet it aches.
I shed tears the morning of Seth’s first birthday. I watch him becoming less dependent on me, and I am happy, and yet it aches.

I think the aching is from wanting to protect, forever, this baby of yours, and yet knowing that you can’t always. I will be less and less able to protect him with each passing month, as he grows.

Motherhood is a series of letting go.

We let go when we give birth, and with each stage afterward we let go a little bit more, until they’re grown.

At least we’re weaned into it, rather than the baby in your arms suddenly going off to college the next day.
Though I can see the truth in the words of a hundred seasoned mother I’ve talked to– it feels that way nonetheless.

Letting go is hard, especially when your heart is on your sleeve, rather than safely guarded and locked up. With our children, there is not the defense mechanism we might have with other people, to protect our hearts.

So the letting go aches us very deeply. We do it because we must allow our little ones to fly, because we love them too much not to.
And we are at once joyful and aching each time we let go some more. It is the nature of this role. And I think it makes us stronger, and it gives us wisdom, and it adds richness and depth and life to our lives overall.

Because life, without both the joy and the pain felt deeply, would not really be life at all.

July 31, 2010

What I have learned from motherhood.

by Hannah

little boy

Seth helping me in the garden today.
Yes, he really did cover himself in dirt- hair, ears- everything. Yes he had a total blast doing it. Yes he went right into the bathtub afterward. :)

I have been a mom for almost eighteen months now.

Before that, I had so many ideas in my mind about how I would raise my children, and what kind of mother I would be. I had image in my head of what it was to be a parent.
But now that I am one, now that I have been on this motherhood journey for a little while, I understand what people meant when they told me having a baby would change my life. I knew that they were right, but I wasn’t worried at all. I knew that having a baby would be worth anything I might need to give up. I knew that I would love this child with every fiber of my being.
About those two things, I was right.

Here are some things I have learned from motherhood…

The intensity of a mother’s love.

There was nothing that could have prepared me for how much I would love this child. So much that it practically hurts sometimes. That love has exceeded the limits of my patience so often, smoothing things over and making me able to handle the harder times.
It also makes me care more about the future, about the earth and about humanity. I see the world differently, now that I am a mom. When a piece of your heart is going to outlive you on this planet, suddenly the future state of the planet matters so much more.

Live in the moment.

Being a mom has taught me to focus more on the present, to be present more than ever before.
I often feel like I gave birth, blinked, and suddenly he is a year and a half old- walking, talking, and asserting his independence at every turn. One of the universal truths of parenthood seems to be that time flies- that children grow up too fast.
Experiencing the fleeting nature of each stage in Seth’s life has made me slow down and appreciate who he is right now. Savor the present rather than constantly barreling ahead, a slave to my to-do list.
This is such an important lesson for all of life- to live in the present- its something I feel I will always be working on. I am thankful for all that Seth has taught me about not taking time for granted.

Have more grace toward other parents.

This is not an easy job. Every family is unique, with different sources of stress and pain. Raising children in the midst of the rest of life can be so incredibly hard at times. I try not to judge other parents, even when it might appear they are making some negative choices. Instead of thinking negative thoughts toward them, I send them silent love and understanding. We all have our moments, and we are all still learning to be what our kids need- no one has it down perfectly yet.
Along with that, being a mom has giving me a completely new perspective on my own mom, who I am so very thankful for.

Life is a beautiful mess.

When you have toddler, messes are just part of everyday life. My floors are usually dirty (even if I just washed them), food gets smeared everywhere, toys scattered randomly throughout the house. I don’t always feel “put-together” each day when we leave the house, because I often just don’t have the time.
But it’s all ok. Life is being lived in my home. It is filed with laughter and babbling, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
I am not always organized. I forget things- sometimes even important things. My hair is often neglected and most of my clothes either don’t fit or are quite worn-out. I feel lucky each time I get a chance to shave my legs. I don’t sleep enough. I get impatient and frustrated. Once in a while I yell, or cry. I’ve even had bouts of depression (which I’ve written about here before.)

Life as a mom isn’t as glamorous as the picture I had in my head before Seth was born. It isn’t as glamorous as the lives of some other moms I read about.
But in its own way,
it’s better.
I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world. This is my life.

And motherhood has taught me to embrace it all, including the messy parts.


May 14, 2010

Balance in daily life- some observations.

by Hannah

There are certain elements in my life that are necessary in order for me to feel centered and at peace. If there is balance, then I am happier, and my son is happier. If I don’t include these elements into our day, it is usually a hard one.

1. We have to get out of the house. Sometimes I feel like I have too much to do at home, so we stay in all day, but in the end I get less done because Seth and I both feel trapped and restless.

2. In connection to the above, we have to spend to in nature. Sometimes it’s just our backyard, or maybe the park or beach, but when I make sure we get outdoors and explore the natural world for a while, there is so much less stress in the day. Seth thrives on time spend outside, and I think I am realizing that I do, too.

3. At least every few days, we need interaction with others. Specifically, I need time with friends every one in a while in order to feel less isolated and more understood. This is something I am trying to work on making a habit, because right now it is too infrequent. We mamas need other women in our lives.

4. This is probably the biggest one for me: I have to make times to be creative. Taking pictures, making art-  and sometimes blogging, dancing freely in the living room, or baking something does the trick. If I haven’t created or allowed my artistic mind to take over in a while, I feel lifeless and frustrated. Taking that time makes me a better mother and wife, and a happier person.

5. Finally, I just have to take care of myself, physically. If I am not sleeping enough, getting enough good, nourishing whole foods in my diet, and staying physically active, my mood is very much affected. If I am taking the time to nurture myself, I feel much more balanced emotionally.

These are the things I am making an effort toward right now.

May 13, 2010

a thing of beauty

by Hannah


I love orchids. Manny remembered and got me one for Mother’s Day. Today the last bloom fell off, already. I loved it while it lasted though.

Seth has been teething worse than ever before, and is perfecting the art of the tantrum. I think the “terrible twos” have come nine months early… because today can really only be described as terrible. Sorry for being so negative, but I’m just being honest here. I feel so guilty because I definitely lost my patience a few times. I try so hard to be even-keeled and gentle even when Seth is being difficult, but the lack of sleep and lack of time to myself gets the better of me, all too often lately. I feel so alone and in desperate need of a recharge. I feel like a bad mom because I lost my cool, because I want to respond to everything, no matter what, calmly and with love. But I know I need to be easier on myself. Everyone has bad days, and of course no one is perfect. Motherhood is hard. It is the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life, by far, but no one promised it would be easy.

(So I may be blogging a little less in the coming days. I need to find my inspiration again, life has been kind of sucking the life out me lately and I have nothing to give right now. I am praying for some uninterrupted time to myself to work through some of what is tripping me up.)

Sweet DreamerI love this boy, more than I ever would have dreamed possible. He is my joy : )

March 14, 2010

Some reflections on motherhood and business

by Hannah

In 2008, I found out I was going to become a mother, and I started an independent portrait photography business. I had no idea what exactly I was getting into with either of them.

me & seth no.2

I love to take take pictures, and I was strongly convicted that I must do something I am passionate about. It was a very slow start- I had one paid job that year, and only a few in 2009. Only now I am delving into what it really means to be a business owner and do so successfully. There is so much more to this than knowing how to take good pictures. But in learning all of these other things I am empowering myself to make a living from what I love to do. It’s absolutely priceless. I am even finding that I am really enjoying some parts the process, like branding and creative marketing {finances and legal forms, not as much- they’re sort of necessary evils}. So while by business was technically founded in 2008, 2010 is really the year it is becoming something. It is exciting and scary and wonderful.

The hardest part is finding a balance between this work and raising Seth. Oh yes I mentioned that I had no idea what I was getting into with this as well, right? I know it’s practically a cliche, but it’s true- becoming a parent changed everything. In a really spectacular way though. An unexpected way. This kid is basically the center of my world. He was what made me realize I needed to do what I love in the first place. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant, I would have continued my work at the library, and finished my library science degree. I wouldn’t have been unhappy, not at all, but I wouldn’t have been doing what I was really meant to do. Especially after he was born, I saw so clearly what my priorities should be and how precious every moment of life is.

Taking care of a baby (now almost a toddler) and venturing into the world of independent business at the same time has been a crazy journey. Sometimes it seems too challenging, and I wonder if I’ll be able  to handle it. But I will be able to. I am handling it. One day at a time, with the love and support of my husband and family, this dream is becoming reality. I am learning to find the delicate balance each day between each important role in my life- mom, wife, daughter, artist, business owner, and woman. I think finding that balance will be a lifelong journey, but definitely one worth embarking on.

me & seth no.1

January 29, 2010

What you’re doing matters.

by Hannah

If you are a mom, go watch this video. Really, it’s for you.

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