Motherhood lessons – five years in

Well, Motherhood has been my biggest teacher to date. It’s taught me my most important lesson – that I have worth and dignity because I exist, not just because I do…and do…and do.

The first several years of motherhood were rough. I tried to do everything, and failed… repeatedly. I’ve learned and am still practicing.

Because I have worth, because I exist, that means I get to, no NEED to, take care of myself. That looks like knowing and honoring my limits and capacity, and doing what I can when I can to strengthen myself. This looks like recognizing and honoring my needs first.

When I first had Olie, I essentially forgot that I existed, and did everything that was best for him. I gave up sleep. I gave up my job. I gave up so much of myself. To be what I thought he needed. To give him everything I thought he needed.

More than all the things I tried to give him, he needs a happy mother, and a happy father, in a happy relationship. And to be happy, I need to take care of myself. I need to be selfish, so that I can be who I want to be in my relationships, to my self, husband and son.

I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done, because I needed to do it that way to learn what I needed to learn, but I would do things differently if I were doing it again. (and we’re not.)

Here are some of the changes:

I would ask for help early and often, especially babysitters. Babysitters are good, essential, necessary, and cheaper than counseling.

I would take time for myself sooner, a day, a night, a weekend. I would involve Mark more in the daily parenting. I would let go of my ideas about how things needed to be done, and let them learn on their own – a lot sooner.

I would plan for my capacity, not Olie’s. What I can handle matters more than what he can handle. You have to understand, that my capacity rarely exceeds Olie’s. =)

I would prioritize sleep. If I don’t sleep, I don’t function, and everyone’s unhappy. If I were doing it again, I would get more sleep sooner, and do what it took to get it.

I would take time with Mark more. Dates. Weekend trips. Make our time together the highest priority after I have taken care of myself.

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Olieism 2.18.13

Situation: Sitting in the car before dropping Olie off for his first day of pre-school.

Olie: Will you be going home to work?
Me: Yes, I get to work on taxes.
Olie: Texas is a weird state.
Me: Yes, it is.

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The significance of the nautilus shell

I love this.

The ancient Nautilus Shell is a symbol of proportional perfection. It is the most inspiring and energetic form known to human kind. It is also the perfect paradox – having survived relatively unchanged for millions of years, the Nautilus Shell is, oddly enough, a symbol for expansion and renewal as it grows increasingly larger chambers throughout its life. Its shape represents the golden mean number, known as PHI, in which the digits continue indefinitely without ever repeating themselves. PHI is found in all living forms, and when used in artwork and architecture, it renders the object beautiful to the human eye.

To me the Nautilus Shell encapsulates what I try to achieve in my work: balance, beauty, consistency and continual growth. I strive to integrate that perfect paradox…to create stability by keeping what has always been good, but to generate change by discovering what needs to improve. I want to strike that perfect balance between justice and progress that helps us become a more civil society. I want to provide my clients with beautiful, top quality work that inspires and energises them to continue evolving, whilst always retaining that which is good.

Thank you, Rebecca Cotton.


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Growing Younger

From the March 30, 2012 issue of magazine “The Week”

A 101-year-old great-great-grandmother was recognized by the Guinness World Records this week as the oldest woman to ever tandem paraglide. Mary Hardison of Ogden, Utah, took her record flight to celebrate her birthday in September of last year, while being cheered on by four generations of her family. This week, Guinness said it would officially add her feat to the record books. She said she was “humbled” by her record, and encouraged other elderly people to try to break it. “Do things as long as you are physically able,” she said. “Be positive. Friends don’t like a grumpy person.”

Redwoods Camping

When we were camping at Sam Taylor Redwoods State Park two summers ago (campsite pictured above), I met another camper who was a retired woman traveling across the US in a converted van. I love meeting adventurous people of any age, but I especially LOVE meeting and hearing about adventurous elders who knock holes in my unquestioned assumptions about what it’s like to grow older. I want to be like these two women.

Who do you want to be like when you grow younger?


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Hello, 2014!

2013 Happy New Year, Everyone! Sometimes it takes me awhile, but better late than not at all, I say.

Mark made the lovely image above. Here are the captions, starting in the top left corner and going clockwise:

1. Nana and Olie – day at the park

2. Olie’s first snow – in Yosemite Valley at Curry Village last February. It was crunchy, but he didn’t care.

3. Olie licking the spatula. He now also insists on the beaters and the bowl, and sometimes snitches nibbles from the cookies or muffins on the pan.

4. Olie and our friend and neighbor George – looking out the window during a jet test ride on the runway.

5. Digging – a favorite activity.

6. Swimming. I got Olie a great life jacket this summer. He loves it and, after three or four times swimming over the course of a month, he was maneuvering himself around the pool.

7. I gave him his first haircut, just after he turned three.

8. Hug. =)

9. Mark and Olie camping this summer at Sam Taylor State Park – our favorite family camping park.

10. Nana got Olie a typewriter for his birthday. He loves it!

11. Beach Day on Tomales Bay. It was warm enough to get in the water, though most of the time was spent building sand castles.

12. Ah… Nap time… How I miss thee… Naptimes went out with the old year.

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