…before we get back to the food. Yep, you read that right! After two years of pouring myself into figuring out this parenting thing (or sometimes having a child suck every last ounce of energy out of me), I’m going to be back to this space in some capacity. Of course, I envision posting regularly three times a week, but I may be settling for posting our very favorite recipes or dinner plans once a week, for starters. You can expect recipes of the same nature–comfort food and new favorites with a healthy twist–but in a lot more family-friendly prep time. Because I’m certainly not GAINING time in life: we’re moving soon and there’s a new baby on the way, due around the end of summer.
So all of a sudden here we are, living in Minnesota, with a two-year-old, and a baby on the way–let’s back up for just a few minutes and try to fill in some of the gaps between Evan’s birth and…today.
The biggest theme of the past two years is that parenting ain’t easy. I have gained so much respect for alllllll of the mamas and daddies out there doing your best for those kids, whatever that looks like. In total honesty, Evan’s first year of life was extremely isolating for me. Sure, we occupied ourselves with some travel, visits from family, outings to the park and baby yoga and sometimes our old favorite restaurants, but those things were just a temporary reprieve from the day-to-day that not even being a stay-at-home blogger can prepare you for. My husband was gone 12+ hours a day working hard, sometimes traveling while I tended to Evan’s every need, primarily for milk. Lots of milk. We were lucky to have a bit of help from a post-partum doula and a babysitter/assistant/fellow mama, the adult interaction of which probably saved my sanity overall. I never fell hard and fast into post-partum depression, but, looking back, I was likely teetering on the brink (and will be much more prepared to tend to my mental health with baby number two).
It sounds ALL BAD, I know. It’s not. Evan is such a joy–adventurous, curious, thoughtful–and I would do many things about our parenting over the last two years just the same, but our society is really not set up to support mamas and other primary caregivers in the way we need. When Evan came along, my identity was very much in my work on this blog. Although I was excited to have a family for years prior, I wasn’t JUST waiting around to have children. I was FINALLY finding and embracing my true self. So when baby showed up, I felt bitter that the way I wanted to parent (and in the end did parent) was largely incompatible with maintaining that established identity and sense of self. Why didn’t anyone tell me as I was setting up the nursery (joke number 1) with a work desk (joke number 2), that in order to keep working, I would need to plan for lots of baby care and also change my expectations about breastfeeding and attachment parenting? I think it’s because VERY few people are doing both with great success (and yet we all seem to be trying). I don’t need to go into it extensively, because there are endless good reads (or at least reads) out there on the topic, but if you’re slogging it out as a new parent right now, I want to send hugs (but really I want to send meals, showers, sleep, massages, help, and maybe some therapy).
In our life, it was clear some things needed to change, and we had the luxury of changing them quickly. As Steve and I had already discussed over the years, we wanted to move back to my home turf of Minnesota’s twin cities, and Evan’s first birthday was just the occasion. This also looked far from perfect: Steve was back and forth between the east coast and Minneapolis for months, I was with a heavily teething baby and two crazy pugs day and night, and we didn’t sell our house back east for months and months. But my parents are close (like, next door close), Steve eventually made his way to us full time, we stumbled upon our soon-to-be home dreamily close to Minneapolis’s Lake Harriet, Evan STARTED TO SLEEP (at about 20 months), and after a bit of trying we found out just before the holidays that we would welcome baby number two late this summer. Despite all the difficulties of one child, when all is said and done and we’re settled into our permanent home, we picture it with multiple children. I wouldn’t say the past two years have gone TOO fast, but I know as they disappear further and further into the rearview, they’ll be just a blip, mostly a blip filled with the chunkiest baby who couldn’t get enough of his mama when he was brand new to the world. And THAT I will miss when life begins to allow me the time again to cook exciting meals and workout regularly.