If I asked you what the above image was, what would your answer be? A toy giraffe? Maybe if you're a parent, you know it by its proper name: Sophie La Giraffe. Either way, you wouldn't be wrong. But this little slobber-covered rubber toy is so much more.
One of the best ways I've found to grow a life that's simple yet still abundant is to appreciate what you already have. Celebrate your victories. Mark your progress. What you use as a marker might surprise you.
One question that's been on my mind a lot lately is this: how long am I considered a "new mother"?
If I had to guess, I'd say you're considered a new mother until your kid turns one, max. But even now, with a barely-five-month-old, I feel like I'm expected to be an old veteran. I mean, my kid breastfeeds like a champ and sleeps through the night. I've lost the baby weight and successfully transitioned back to working from home. Why am I complaining about feeling lost? I basically have the holy grail of babies!
A couple of months into my work-at-home-mother journey, it became obvious that something needed to change. I had the time and ability to do everything I needed to do. But somehow, every day was a disaster. Every second of my time was taken up, but somehow I was getting nothing done. And my nerves were frayed to the breaking point.
I washed dishes while I waited to hear back from colleagues or interview sources. I checked work emails while feeding and playing with Graham. When I got a few minutes to myself, to refill my tank, all I wanted to do was sleep. By the time Brian got home from work, we'd eat dinner, and then I'd hand Graham to him and go upstairs to get a few, elusive quiet minutes to myself - inevitably interrupted by a screaming baby who wanted his dinner.
We got our first taste of fall last weekend here in South Carolina. The temperatures dropped to the mid-60s at night, and we slept with the windows open. That was one of the best nights' sleep I'd gotten in ages - and not just because I have a four-month-old.
Nothing fires up my heart and makes me happier than the changing of the seasons. I really, really don't like summer, so the arrival of fall is particularly welcome. Maybe it's just the memory of all the years of going back to school, but the transition from summer to fall makes me feel so alive, so hopeful, so motivated, and joyous. Pumpkin spice cappuccinos don't hurt, either.
But though I love the changing of the seasons weather-wise, when seasons change in my own life I fight it tooth and nail.