Monday, December 31, 2012


Hello (if anyone is indeed still listening!) Sorry I disappeared for a while. Life was complicated and shitty and I really needed a break from pretty much everything. Things have stabilized and I'm very excited to be back.

Last year I did a "year in review" for 2011. Good god a lot happened that year...I got pregnant and had my second child, got a faculty job, and earned a masters. In contrast, nothing of great note happened this year. In fact, on thinking back over the last 12 months, the time was mostly defined by how much L was or wasn't sleeping. Fascinating stuff, ya'll. (If you care, he's sleeping like shit right now, goes to show that my smugness re: sleep training was a bit premature...wait for n=at least 2 before you go spouting off about your parenting success).

I started off the year with lofty intentions. It came from a reasonable place...wanting to exert more control over my life and my happiness. And things were really going well for a while...until they weren't. And while I have been accused of being harsh on myself, I honestly didn't really care.

Which brings me to this year. I'm going in with a very different mindset. I've surrendered. Life with two kids and a career is really fucking hard. And so far its not a matter of "but when he's sleeping better" (yeah, when will that be?) or "when he's x years old". No, things are not magically getting easier...each phase is bringing new and exhausting challenges and we are barely keeping our heads above water.

Yes, I want to be healthy. I want to have a strong marriage and friendships, to work on my career and even on some hobbies. But really, right now, I am going day to day and just doing the best I can. And that's OK. There is a deep and faint...but definitely present...satisfaction to simply making it through the day. Every day I am being a mother. A wife. A scientist and a physician. A colleague and a boss. A daughter, sister, friend. I am doing things that make a difference to someone. Every day.

Thus, I am not going to set up impossible standards for myself this year, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that even modest seemingly do-able goals are, in fact, impossible for me these days. I've definitely got some lifestyle changes in mind---for our whole family---and coming off a really chaotic few weeks of sickness, injury, and travel, this does turn out to be a good time to start them (more on that later). But its coming from a different place this time. Its about healthier and having more fun, not about changing myself into this idealized vision of uber-career-mother-wife-person. While I am still a great fan of self-improvement in the abstract, I am sitting out this season. I don't need to be better. I'm pretty damn good as I am (if I do say so myself). ;)

Happy New Year! May 2013 bring amazing things to all.


  1. Yeah! This coming from someone who has felt this way for quite some time. No need to decide that we need to become superhuman. We are MUCH better off trying to be happy as the mere mortals (frankly, I already see your achievements as super human since I can barely pull off the two kids full stop).

    You have my sympathy when it comes to L being a poor sleeper. Dario is really a sweet little guy (no bias) but he SUCKS at sleep and it becomes really difficult to function at all without sleep.

    I wanted to let you know that I have been following along hoping to one day again carve out a little time to comment and perhaps even post myself.

    Happy New Year

    from slowmamma

  2. I also have a constant push-pull between Lofty and Barely Getting By. Right now, the latter is winning for me too.

    Happy New Year!

  3. I am so sorry -- REALLY -- that L is still not sleeping well. Did you know that Jodi Mindell works in the area? I know some faculty who have used her services and have said great things...

    As you know, I too have gotten to the point where I am like, F it. I am ALREADY doing amazing, I do not also need to be a champion whatever-er. Sometimes when you have a free moment, just lying on the couch can be amazing.

    And you're right, you don't need to better because you already are pretty damn awesome.

  4. I am all for surrendering. Being satisfied on a daily basis, rather than trying and sometimes failing to be "better" or "more," makes a lot of sense. In fact, isn't what you've described what we all really want? To have a productive and relatively enjoyable day-to-day life and to be doing good things in the world? Yes, yes, and more yes. If we had perfect lives that looked like Hollywood movies, we'd be bored to death. And you're right that having two kids and a career and a marriage IS fucking hard. I raise my glass of dark beer (not a wine drinker) in a toast: here's to messy, satisfying, and occasionally beautiful lives! You *are* amazing just as you are.

    BTW, sorry that sleep is sucky right now. We're not getting much sleep either--E is up almost every night at 3:30, fussing and crying. She fussed for an hour last night after we went in once to check, pat her back, and say, firmly but kindly, "go to sleep." If you find a great sleep training solution for extended waking-up (we've tried them all), report back. But otherwise, we're experiencing a looong sleepless phase, too. I think some kids just don't take to sleep training as well as others. W is still a pretty great sleeper, but E resists.

  5. I am so sorry about the shitty complicated stuff, and glad it's better enough that you are back. I admit I was curious to see how you were going to handle this new year's season. I love that you made the effort last year, and I love that you're sitting this one out. This post made me tear up a bit. Every day. I wish I believed that I am making a difference to someone every day, or at least a positive difference... Anyway, I love it, and I wish you a super wonderful year.

    1. Thanks bunny. Yeah, sometimes I'm not so sure what I'm doing is "positive"...i.e. am I scarring my kids for life by my nagging & yelling? But...I am keeping them fed and warm and well-rested. That's gotta count for something?