still learning to breathe

Last night was a rough one.  I sat rumpled in the dimly lit front room after the kids had finally gone to bed.  The embers were dying down in the wood stove and I was in dire need of quiet.  Just as I was about to take a deep breath I heard Silas wake and asking to ‘nuggle Mama.  All at once, I felt like I was suffocating.  I had nothing left and needed a moment to regroup.  I needed the night air so I slipped on Mike’s big plaid coat and sat on the porch.  The night was cold, but not as cold as I needed.  I listened to the river rushing across the road and the crisp quiet until I caught my breath and dried my eyes.  Mike’s relief was tangible as my shadow entered our door frame.  With one final “mama” whimpered, Silas ‘nuggled in and played with my eyelashes until he fell back into slumber.

Sometimes it is all just too heavy and I lose myself in the muddle of cuddles, diaper changes and refereeing. I have been feeling myself slip into February’s darkness.  It happens every year and it is only the subtle lengthening of daylight and kinder sun that sustains me some days.  It is intensified by two very young and very clingy babes who climb onto the stove and counters and rifle through the cupboards relentlessly.  We have been watching too many movies and spending too much time online, though I do try to fill our days with fresh baked food, puzzles, crafts, books and time outside.  It has been weeks since we pulled up that horrid carpet or slept in our own room.  Most of our clothes are in piles and bags as I try to find the time to put 2 or 3 coats of finish on the new pine floor with 2 hours drying time between and another 72 hour wait before I can begin putting it all back in place.  Oftentimes the kids are just happiest when they sit on me for hours so instead of doing everything else, that is what we do.  A bit mind-numbing after a long winter.

All that to say, today was good.   I made a pie and a double batch of pitas (with spelt flour this time) with some fresh tzatitki.  We did some puzzles and ate our pie first.  I did some homestead dreaming and came up with a rather perfect name for the sweet lemon cuckoo orpington I have my heart set on.

Sometimes I need to reign myself in a bit and remember that me being home isn’t about me or the crafts I want to make or the home improvement projects I want to complete.  I am home for them.  And all they need or want is for me to love them.  Mike put it into good perspective when he told me he was about to get frustrated by their lack of cohesion and understanding while putting a puzzle together when he realized that it wasn’t about putting the puzzle together, but about spending  time with the kids in a moment of joy that they could understand.

Yes, we still have different ideas of what is fun or joyful.  I am still learning to slow it down for all of our sakes and sanity.

We do need to find time to breath though.  We can’t give everything without giving a little to oursleves.  The same is true when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before you put your child’s on.  We must be fed, loved, and breathing before we can give it all back to our families.

I will let you know when I figure it out.


go gently + be wonderful


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  1. Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm by T | Permalink

    You say “I will let you know when I figure it all out”. But where the real jewels lay is right here in your truthful words. If you “had it all figured out” I would either a)not believe you- and delete this link from my favorites; b) believe you and feel bad about myself because I DON’T have it all figured out; and/or c)completely miss out on the feeling of affirmation and the rush of faith I get when I read your words and share in your experiences- for they are long lost sisters with my own! :)

  2. Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm by sarah | Permalink

    well, I am years ahead of you on the journey … and I still haven’t figured it out yet either. The best advice I could give? Breathe. And you already have that one worked out. Sometimes its the best we can do. And by best, I don’t mean “good enough” but “exactly right for that moment.”

  3. Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm by Jeanine | Permalink

    Sometimes I wonder if some of us just feel these things because of who we are. Our emotional roadmaps. I feel like this, sometimes more often than not, and I used to crop it up to my own childhood, my mom, my own impatience…but I think it’s really just a part of my own rhythm. Sometimes I’m on and sometimes I’m not. And when I’m off I just can’t help but feel annoyed that I can’t get to all those things I’ve been dreaming of doing during this time. And then a few days later, some primrose oil in the system, I seem to level out again and feel my feet touching the ground. The last part of your post feels tangible and I wonder how I lost touch with myself again.
    Anyhow, your post stuck with me. There are others who do this too. Others with one kid. Others with three kids. It’s an inner struggle played out in the family domain sometimes. I just hope I can show my own kids the tools, that I at times forget, that can help along the journey.

  4. Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:13 am by KC | Permalink

    What a great post. I’ve been feeling the same thing lately. As I write this my youngest daughter is asleep on my back. We’ve had a week filled with nights of her waking up every half hour while I’m not in the bed with her, trying to have “me time”. So rather then be in bed at 7:30 with her I just put her on my back and went about my “me time”.

    I too spend a lot of time not doing anything else but being sat on while reading the same book for the hundreth time. As I watched my first daughter make faces at herself while brushing her teeth, I had a vision of her being 13 and not wanting to do our night time routine anymore. I thought, “me time” can wait.

  5. Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:59 am by Bea_OT | Permalink

    Beautiful post. I hope to be reading when you figure it out. A nice breath of fresh air helps me too.

  6. Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:56 am by Stephinie | Permalink

    This is beautiful. It’s such a sweet & honest real moment of the intensity of being a mama. I feel this story in my heart as I read through it…. so much like my own. xo

  7. Posted February 16, 2012 at 3:39 am by Monique | Permalink

    Wow.. it’s just not only me…

  8. Posted February 16, 2012 at 6:29 am by Heather | Permalink

    Excellent words! I am right there with you as well. I have been trying to take a step back and really view the world from my babes eyes, and it is so much different than what I see. I keep reminding myself that they are growing up fast, and I better enjoy the cuddles while I can get them! Oh, and waking up super early so I can have some me time has helped me too :-)

  9. Posted February 16, 2012 at 6:56 am by amy | Permalink

    I have been reading your blog since the beginning and I want to say Thank You. Your words help me take a deep breath and prepare for the day with my two beautiful little ones.

  10. Posted February 16, 2012 at 7:46 am by Marnie | Permalink

    This was amazing for me to read right at this moment. It was like you read my mind. Thank you so much for making me see things a little clearer.

  11. Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:27 am by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    I hear you, sister. I work part time and recently find myself frustrated, irritated, and unable to deal with refereeing…I just want things to be peaceful, for heaven’s sake! Realising that they’re NOT peaceful because I’m not totally engaged is a hard truth to face, until I realise that it doesn’t take much to just turn the laptop off and play princesses with them. That’s what I’m here for, really…I know exactly how you feel.
    Thanks for your honesty…I have been where you are so many times.

  12. Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:50 am by Kate | Permalink

    I have been following you for years now. I have always admired your honesty, vulnerability, and tireless effort to make your ideals become reality. I have seen you grow so much: in confidence, in photos, in your stories as a mom. The new look of your blog is amazing along with the subjects you choose. You truly have accomplished your goal of “more answers, less questions” and I am inspired. Yet what inspires me the most is the fact that you still show the “real” and the whole picture. In a world of perfectly discouraging blogs — it’s yours I find the most comfort in. Thank you…. and I totally understand the kind of night you had last night.

    • Posted February 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm by erin | Permalink

      This touched me in such a warm way.
      You may never know the weight your words carry.
      Thank you.

  13. Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm by Michelle | Permalink

    Erin, first of all I want to say that you have a lovely blog. I don’t know if I have commented before but I want to today.
    I am an older mother (46). I have three adult daughters, 3 granddaughters and an 8 year old daughter at home with me now. Same marriage, same husband. What I do know, because I have done this before, is that we give too much and do too much for our kids at the expense of ourselves. One of the most important things we can give our children, besides a healthy relationship with their dad, is for them NOT to think they are the only ones around whom this world revolves. We need to take time for ourselves, every day and often. It is good for them to see that we are important, just as important, as they are. Would you like your children to grow up thinking that when they are parents that they must put aside everything they are to serve babies? No, nor do I. I have always stayed at home with my children and I applaud you for doing so. It is not easy in any sense but I have learned that we can do too much for them, for the house, for everyone but ourselves.
    I hope you take these words in the spirit which they were meant. That is with love and kindness. You man now ban me from your blog if you wish. M

    • Posted February 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you for taking the time to write and I don’t think I am alone in my gratitude for your perspective! It is always nice to hear from the other side. I shall not ban you from my blog! 😉
      It is a very fine balance to walk and it is just so hard in these early tender days. Though we are stressed and tired my husband and I always make time to reconnect, communicate and love each other too.
      As the kids get older I am more ok with letting Daddy do the comforting while I take some time to bake or craft or sit in a snow bank in the sun to watch the chickens. They need to learn that we all need space and time to ourselves and I have every intention of teaching them balance as I learn it myself.

  14. Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm by Kira | Permalink

    We are going through the same ups and downs here as well. I think its just winter. Once we can get outside and play not that we can’t now it just takes a half an hour to get ready to go out and by then someone has to pee so the snowsuits back off… Ugh. Your a great mama. It won’t be long before we are out gardening and playing with the little ones in the mud.

  15. Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm by Ally | Permalink

    Thank you. This post was much appreciated today. With a 4 year old and a 2 month old, I too am still learning to breathe. Some days I get it, some days I don’t….and then some days I dissolve into tears. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  16. Posted February 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm by Heather | Permalink

    I am moved equally by this great, honest, & truthful post, as well as these phenomenal comments. Thank you for creating this, and for the reassurance born out of this comment community.

  17. Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm by Emmy | Permalink

    I love the truth that is in this post. And once again so close to home! I found myself thinking just the other day that my job here at home is to raise my kids, be there for them, nurture and teach them. Yes, I want to do projects, craft and do yoga – but all in its own time.
    You’re so blessed. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Posted February 17, 2012 at 6:44 am by teresa c | Permalink

    My guess is that every one feels a bit like this, onetime or another… I know I do, after a day at work, getting home with my baby, playing and reconnecting with him, then dinner, then bedtime routine, then prepare the next day, then… I’m just too tired, I feel all touched out and just want to be left alone. Oh, my love has to be patient with me those days. He feels I’m far away, too, and that’s probably not a good feeling. I don’t think one can just figure it out, not always anyway. Hopefully we get it most of the time. Thank you for sharing your feelings!

  19. Posted February 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm by Meryl | Permalink

    I’m coming late, and much that I would say has already been said…but this is very honest and true and I’m right there with you trying to breathe.

    • Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:05 am by erin | Permalink

      That alone is comforting to hear :)

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