Last weekend we celebrated our anniversary in North Lake Tahoe and brought along the baby. I know what you’re thinking. Not too romantic. However, we took a page out of a friend’s book, and invited the in-laws.
Weekend getaway bliss!
We got a couple hours to ourselves, enjoyed the sunset and live music on the lake, then took back over the baby watching so grandma and grandpa could have their fun. In fact, it worked out so well, we are now hoping to pair up with other couples to take weekend trips and trade the baby-watching duties for a couple hours apiece. That way, we get the best of both worlds, family and couple time.
A big shout-out to the Hyatt Regency at Incline Village in North Lake Tahoe for being so family friendly. Even though we reserved our rooms on Hotwire, we were still treated well, which is not always the case with some hotels when booked at a discount. If you’re interested in replicating our deal, check out Hotwire in Incline Village, the Hyatt is the only 4-star hotel with 100% positive feedback, so you can pretty much know which hotel you’re getting before you book. Our rate was even better once we clicked, so head over and check it out!
This is not a new question. Everyone has their own approach. Some of my friends share nothing, others share everything. As a blogger, I often get caught in the middle. On the one hand, sharing is part of what I do, on the other, I want to protect the stories of others, the stories that do not belong to me alone.
When it came to pregnancy, my husband and I were cautious about how quickly and how much we shared. Still, as time passed and we became more and more excited, more and more trickled onto the web. Then, when E. was born, I could not help but shout everything from my keyboard, pictures and all.
The reality is we live in a world where a lot of our connections are enhanced by technology. When I share pictures, it is not so the girl who sat four desks behind me in sophomore chemistry can tell so-and-so, “Guess who had a baby?” Instead, I share so my mom, mother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends can take part in my joy, (and, it is a whole lot easier to post an album to Facebook than to try and email a batch of pictures. Trust me, I have tried).
So, this morning, I deleted more than 100 “friends” from Facebook. I went quickly, so I am sure some stayed who shouldn’t have, and some went who maybe should have stayed, but it felt good. Darn good. I only kept people who I see in real life, who I would love to see if they were closer, or who I have formed an Internet connection with because of similar-aged babies, etc. Everyone else went, including I am sure, some perfectly nice people who I hardly know.
While the Facebook cleanse was liberating, it still did not address the bigger question; how much of my family should I share on the Internet? Here is what I have decided:
1. Facebook: I only plan to share pictures for extended family/close friends. On that same vein, I am only accepting friend requests from people who meet the above criteria. While I get why some people want huge friend lists for networking purposes, I have decided my personal Facebook will be used to share my (somewhat) personal life. This still does not address the issue of how companies use Facebook to data mine for personal tidbits, but I figure if I use it more for pictures than for words, the better.
2. Blog: This is where things get trickier. I want to blog about motherhood but I don’t want to give away my daughter’s story without her permission, (and, let’s get real, she can’t give her permission for another seventeen and a half years…). My decision is to focus my blog more on my experiences as a mom than on her experiences as a child. Along that same vein, she will now be referred to as E. and pictures will be chosen very carefully, especially as she transitions out of babyhood. Eventually I plan to include no pictures of her face.
Phew. That’s a lot to decree and the truth is that I am still figuring it out. My generation is in a unique position as new parents because social media became a big part of our lives before our kids arrived. I completely get wanting to share more or less with this digital world, as I often feel conflicted myself. I would like to hear about your approach to sharing your family on the Internet. Where is your line of comfort? I realized I had been skirting along the edge of mine for months and it was time to take a new approach.
After Eloise fell asleep last night, I started this post about surrendering to our children. Appropriately, she woke up again before I had time to write anything other than the following quotes about new parenthood:
“I no longer know where you begin and I end. Days and nights blend into a haze of brilliance and fatigue. I am elastic, rubber, and wax. I bend to your will with no resistance, no boundary, transparent like glass. Even when you aren’t with me, I am with you, imagining you. There is no moment in which I exist separate of you.”
“The transition to parenthood is complex, requiring us to surrender to an irrevocable loss of our identity as we have thus far known it. To create the internal space required to embrace the tending of a new spirit, the pillars of our old lifestyle have to crumble. Who we were before becoming a parent doesn’t and cannot exist with the same ferocity. Once children enter our life, their impact is indelible and we are required to reinvent ourselves in response.”
Maybe it is better this way, just to leave some words to digest. I feel myself both surrendering and reinventing on a daily basis. I always worried about losing myself in the process of becoming a parent. Instead, I feel I have found myself, but I have to be patient for those moments that are my own. Admittedly, I fight this loss of control. Leaving unfinished tasks drives me crazy, but the feeling of surrender is also beautiful.
It is a hard lesson to learn, especially after night upon night of hours spent lying in bed just to keep her asleep. Thank goodness for the glowing words of Dr. Shefali Tsabary on my Kindle. If you haven’t read The Conscious Parent, I highly recommend it.
If you are a parent, what kind of reinvention have you undergone? Have you surrendered? If so, what are your secrets?
If you aren’t a parent, what other parts of your life have forced you to surrender and reinvent?
I always envisioned parenthood involving plenty of travel adventures. However, now that I have a little one (LO) of my own, I realize just getting out the door can feel pretty intimidating. This summer we have taken three road trips with Eloise. It hasn’t always been easy but we have learned a lot in the process. Here are some of the tricks we have found most useful:
1. Unless you have one of those magical babies who will sleep anywhere, you have to build in nap time(s) for your LO. This changes the dynamic of travel. In my opinion, accommodations are key. You want to stay somewhere comfortable enough that you still enjoy being away from home while your LO sleeps. A view is a major plus.
On the flipside, you have to be strategic about actually getting out and seeing/doing things during your LO’s wakeful hours, otherwise the trip may feel like a waste. This may mean sacrificing a nap or two. Finding the right balance is key as too little sleep can make for terrible evenings but too much may mean you don’t get to enjoy your destination.
2. Bring a sound machine! White noise will help baby (and you) tune out unfamiliar noises and sleep better. A rested baby (and family) makes travel more enjoyable.
3. Pack more clothes for your baby than you think you will need. Blowouts don’t just happen at home. Two plastic bags, (one for soiled clothes, the other for trash), help too!
4. Be prepared for shifts in feeding (and sleeping!) patterns. If you are a breastfeeding mom, this may mean bringing a manual pump. Eloise is a distracted nurser and it takes time for her to focus. This means she sometimes skips feedings on the road, causing me a lot of physical discomfort. On the same token, a major traffic accident left us at a standstill for a couple hours on the way home from Mendocino. Expressed milk would have been wonderful when she started screaming. Instead I did the famous lean-over-the-carseat trick. Not fun, (except maybe for the bored passengers in nearby cars).
5. Carseat safety seems obvious but it is easy to make mistakes when harnessing LOs. In Eloise’s case, I had the straps too high above her shoulders, (straps should be positioned at or below shoulders). Little things like this make a huge difference. Check out this FB group for advice regarding seat safety. You can even post pictures of your LO and techs will tell you whether you’re using your seat correctly.
6. Long rides inevitably involve a meltdown or two, (unless of course you have one of those aforementioned magical babies). I discovered a good bag of tricks goes a long way. Light-up toys that make noise distract Eloise during a tantrum. Likewise, a selection of pacifiers helps to put her to sleep. We hit up the local grocery store before our first road trip this summer and bought a variety. I now won’t drive without a pacifier handy and prefer to keep a few different kinds as she alternates preferences. And, if all else fails, you can annoy other passengers by singing Christmas songs, or my absolute last resort, play cell phone videos. Eloise has a thing for watching her cute self. I’m sure she’s not the only vain baby out there.
7. Don’t bring your whole house. You won’t need it. The second trip we took this summer I brought way more baby gadgets than we needed. Clothes, diapers, medical supplies, carriers, and a small selection of toys is enough. Bigger items like activity gyms and rock ‘n plays did not prove necessary. To save space, babywearing can be a good alternative to a stroller.
8. Get gas and stock up on grown-up food before you depart, that way if baby is asleep you don’t have to risk waking the LO for a pitstop. The farther you can make it down the road before stopping, the better. It sucks to be cruising along peacefully and need something you could have prepared for ahead of time. Babies know (and don’t like!) when the car stops.
There you have it. I worked hard to learn these seemingly simple tricks. Traveling with baby has proven to be more work than expected, but definitely worth the memories. I would love to hear your tricks as we are bound to end up in the car again sometime soon (and I still have anxiety about being stuck on the road with a screaming babe). Also, for those of you who have flown with babies, please share what has worked, I need some major encouragement to take that leap!
I have heard of people finding God on their yoga mats, instead I found myself. As I moved my creaky, postpartum body through yin yoga poses, I realized I am not the same person who started this blog. I’m not even the same person I was three months ago. We are constantly undergoing transformations and don’t often pause to think about it. Tonight, instead of writer, teacher, occasional traveler, I am mama, yogi, occasional writer.
It was difficult to get my tired butt to my first yoga class since I got pregnant. Colic usually hits us hard between 7:30 and 10:30 PM and the class I most wanted to attend was smack dab in the middle. Thankfully, my husband pushed me out the door, almost literally. Armed with both his parents and some pumped milk he would not take my worried excuses as reasons not to go. Had it not been for the improvement to her colic with my change in diet (I miss you dairy, wheat, and eggs!!), I would have fought harder. But fortunately, the last few nights have been a little quieter around here, so I felt tentative, but alright to leave.
I am so glad I did.
First, I discovered my body needs to move, everything down to my wrists and toes still hurt. I could feel the fear I was holding from the end of pregnancy and the beginning of parenthood melt on the mat. It is incredible how our emotions manifest themselves physically and so often we hardly notice.
Second, tears escaped. I cried as I realized how much fear I was holding onto, fear to move the parts of my body that hurt worst in labor, fear to leave her tonight, fear to make the right decisions regarding her health. Fear, fear, fear. Then the instructor began talking about what needs we have that aren’t been met, and I realized mine was the need to be brave. She then explained how once these needs are identified, she spends the day recognizing when those needs are being met as an exercise in gratitude for what we already have. As I poured through my recent life choices, I realized I am just as often brave as I am afraid, if not more so. I felt empowered.
Third, as these emotions unfolded, it struck me my fear of leaving my baby girl was unfounded. I had the most beautiful visualization of this invisible cord still connecting us, weaving its way out of the studio and all the way back to our house, where Eloise was safely cradled in a floating bag of water. Powerful symbolism in light of my water breaking three weeks early… More tears, of course. To know I am always connected and protecting her, even when we are not together or things do not go exactly as planned, happy tears.
Fourth, me. I forgot how much I love yoga, how it opens my mind and plants me back in my physical and mental self. I realized I am a new me. The writer, the teacher, the occasional traveler have made way for an improved version. So, I think it is time to rebrand myself, to figure out my place in this world as the mama, yogi, and occasional writer (among a million other things). This means new focus in my writing, I’m excited.
I leave you with a couple questions I enjoyed contemplating tonight. You do not have to answer to anyone but yourself:
First, what needs do you have that aren’t being met? If you stop and pay attention, how are those needs already being met without you realizing it? Or, what do you need to change to have those needs met?
Second, who are you tonight? Not three-months-ago you, or three-months-from-now you– who are you in this very moment? Can you sum yourself up in a few words or is that too stifling, too confining?
And, in case you were wondering, Eloise slept peacefully until about 10 minutes before I got home. Alex even time stamped photos to prove it because he figured I wouldn’t believe it! Here’s hoping all this dietary self-restraint is paying off.