Getting Through Summer

Does anyone else feel like they are just “getting through” summer? If you know me at all, you realize I’m more of a winter gal anyway, with my love of Christmas and the holidays. But living in Sacramento has given me a particular distaste for the summer time. The temperature starts to creep up, our AC starts to crank up, and I silently, and sometimes not-so-silently hope for September to get here as fast as possible.

I hate being too hot. I hate being sweaty. I hate that to do anything without sweating, means I have to be up and out and about well before noon. (Sometimes in Sac well before Ten AM)

I know people love the summer because they can swim, kayak, go to the river, water parks, even regular parks, whatever. But honestly when the temperature gauge goes over 85…well if we’re being honest over 80…I don’t want to do any of that. I want to hide in the house with the AC cranked up, dream about fall and pretend it’s not so gross out.

People complain of feeling cooped up in the fall and winter months, but I honestly feel the opposite and feel cooped up in the summer.

On top of that, infants…not so fond of being hot…or sweaty.

It was different growing up in Truckee…summers rarely went over 80 and swimming in the summer was pleasant. Heck, half of my teenage years were spent on the docks at Donner Lake. So I am thoroughly looking forward to 4th of July and the beautiful Tahoe weather we get to enjoy up there, but besides that…I’m pretty much counting down the days until September and October when the leaves change, it cools down, and you can spend time outside without soaking through your clothing.

Sure there are some good things….the summer fruit is way better…but also the farmer’s market is more crowded because of this…We have more daylight…but of course using that daylight would require spending more time in that drenched shirt – induced heat. Summer concerts are fun…but same as above.   The state fair is always fun….if you go when it opens…or at 10pm.

Sigh…maybe we’ll get down to the bay area at some point…and maybe I’ll be taking MULTIPLE trips up to Truckee pre-labor day…

But otherwise I’ll be over here in my ridiculously air conditioned house anticipating pretty leaves, Apple Hill, scarves and what else – the holidays!

Anyone have suggestions for nice air-conditioned places to take infants in the summer besides coffee shops?

Is it enough?

I think a combination of new motherhood, sleep deprivation and emotionality has me constantly asking this question lately. Am I doing enough? Am I helping make sure Clare develops enough? Are we talking to her enough? Are we giving her enough tummy time? I’m home with her the majority of the time, so I’m always wondering – am I giving her enough stimulation? Am I giving her too much? Am I doing it right?? Should she be getting more sunlight? I’m sure full time working moms have different “enough” questions. Am I spending enough time with my baby, etc. With our strong belief in attachment parenting, I’m always wanting to make sure I’m meeting all of her needs. And I start to worry that I’m not when I can’t always soothe her right away. Maybe moms without clinical anxiety approach motherhood with less apprehension…but I do know it’s some modicum of normal to feel this way.

On top of all of the new mother “enough” questions, I’ve been reading so many books and health articles lately about how terrible added sugar is and how basically sugar is what’s causing the obesity epidemic in America and killing us. (No, I haven’t seen the Fed Up documentary yet, but I want to!) And no I’m not exaggerating. I’m reading a memoir called “A Year Without Sugar” right now and it’s really eye opening. Mind you, we eat pretty healthy around here. The majority of our fridge is fruits, vegetables and organic dairy. Chris gets good quality meat. I eat quality fish and try to eat less refined carbs. We check labels. We don’t eat fast food. I don’t put sugar in my coffee. When I do eat sweets, I eat quality sweets. (see organic dark chocolate, organic ice cream from whole foods, etc) All good things right? I have always had a sweet tooth, and not only that, like much of our society, have equated sweets with happiness, celebration and love. Eve mentions this cultural issue in the memoir as well. And now while trying to curb that has me constantly asking “Is it enough??” Am I doing enough?

In my sleep-deprived haze when all I want is another cup of coffee…or a chocolate bar…or 5…or maybe a donut…I ask that same question. And then I spiral…beating myself up for not losing the pregnancy weight quicker, for not finding time (and energy!) to exercise enough. In essence…for not being perfect enough. I try to tell myself when this happens that I need to give myself a break. I need to be proud of what I DO accomplish on a day-to-day basis with Clare in tow, of how much healthier Chris and I eat than we did just a few years ago. And that just by worrying about all of the above parenting things, I AM doing enough.

Sometimes in the haze of the infant days, I forget to be grateful. I forget balance. The better the sleep I get, the clearer my head is on all of this. But since Four Month Growth Spurt / Wonder Week Leap Four / Whatever This Is makes that a little harder to come by…I’m going to just have to keep reminding myself that whatever I’m doing right now….is enough.

On Imperfection

After talking with one of my friends recently, I started thinking about imperfection. I was telling her how some days I feel like I’ve totally got it together when it comes to Clare. Our tricks for sleeping and happiness work, and all is well. And then there are days where I’m at the end of my rope, where I want to cry because she won’t stop crying. I want to help her and I can’t and I feel awful and insecure and that I can’t possibly be good enough. It’s especially frustrating when the good days are straight back-to-back to the bad days. Or there are days where I can look at my body and say “Yes, you are awesome, you built a baby. You are now feeding that baby!” And others where I am so frustrated that I am not the same size that I was before pregnancy. And it’s not just some pounds around the middle mind you, it’s your whole pelvis changes shape after pregnancy. Luckily 90% of the time I’m a skirts and dress girl. But I digress…Anyway, I was telling her all of this and how Clare had kept me up nearly 5 hours the previous night – so fun. And she said thank you for being “real” about things. I thought about how true that statement is. Most of us aren’t “real” with each other. Especially in this social media digital age. People post their best selves online and we end up comparing our ‘everydays’ to other people’s best days. I’ve talked about this before when I quit Facebook for 9 months and I still have times where I waver about keeping my account active… But I am again reminded how important it is to be real with friends and how thankful I am for the friends who are real with me. For the poop explosion pictures…for the messy houses…for the call “when everything just isn’t going quite right” days… for sharing how you just washed the sheets and now they are covered in baby spit up…or cat throw up. Or…pick your poison. Life is hard. Relationships are hard. Motherhood is hard. Every person you meet is fighting their own battle of some sort, and that is always something to be aware of. And something we all forget at times. Chris was getting particularly impatient in traffic recently and I recalled something an old piano teacher had once told me. She said when she had gotten her breast cancer diagnosis; she had been in such shock that she drove home really, really slowly. Now every time I get angry at a slow moving car, I try to remember what she said. I have no idea why that person is driving the way they are. It could be something life changing, and being kind about it is better for them and better for myself. So remember in real life, and when you see something on social media that annoys you or makes you feel down about your own situation or self – that person’s life has a lot more than meets the eye. We all are fighting battles.