I spend the vast majority of my time caring for one small human and one tiny one. It is an occupation that brings me deep joy and purpose. It feels lasting. It feels important. It feels right.
Most of the time.
Sometimes it feels demanding and exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I would rather do anything else. That’s where my new mom jeans come in. Stay with me here.
(Humblebrag alert!) Thanks to Shaun T’s T-25, My Fitness Pal and breastfeeding, I recently hit my post-baby weight goal! To celebrate, my mom and Ike both offered to treat me to a shopping spree.
Even though my weight is exactly where I want it to be, my body wears clothes a little differently. My old skinny jeans now feel like a torture device. When I put them on, they make me either want to burn more calories OR them. It was totally discouraging to feel like I had already eaten too much before I’d even decided what I wanted for breakfast!
So I hit the internet, typed in 2016 denim trends and found this.
With this look in my head, I headed to J Crew Factory. And there they were. A lightwash cropped denim with a fitted, but not skin-tight silhouette. They made me feel slim but had a stretch for those “you deserve this” cookies I indulge in every now and then.
A quick trip to Banana Republic offered similar results on the woven pants side of the equation. A cuffed and cropped pant in a neutral but still fun olive? Yes, please. Ike told me that they look comfortable, and instead of reading into the mom-ish implication of that statement I’m going to own it. They are comfortable, thank you very much.
For tops, I don’t know how to say it other than my body craved knits. Easy, breezy knits. With interesting feminine detail and casual charm. Basically I wanted to wear t-shirts everyday, but not the college club (or for you non-Harding people, sorority) variety.
And in a hurried “the baby has started to hate the stroller and will melt down in any second” mode, my mom and I picked out 6 t-shirts in a variety of “Yup this color makes me happy” colors (not to mention the 2 nautical stripe tees I picked up at J Crew). The Banana shirts have a variety of cuffed sleeves, scoops and v-necks and a few high-low hems for good measure. Easy, breezy knits. Casual Charm. Feminine detail. Check. Check. CHECK.
And while my body craves knits Monday - Friday, it craves a more elevated structure for Sunday. Don’t ask me why. I don’t make the rules. I just follow them. So for church and date wear, I’m on the hunt for tunics. I just picked up this one this weekend. I can wear it with leggings when both my jeans and olive pants have inevitably been pooped/spit up on.
So how do my new mom jeans help when I’m tired/stressed/anxious? They represent a little self-care. A little part of my day that doesn’t have anything to do with helping the boys and everything about making me feel cute and comfy. It’s a small symbol of the time I spend working out, eating right and taking care of myself. #WhenMamasHappy
I’ve had to learn that self care isn’t selfish. It’s essential. It helps me recharge so I can be the best mom I can be. And thankfully, my self care tips don’t all involve spending money or clothes. Here are my latest list of “baby vacations” and intentional use of free time that I’ve added to my May agenda.
Not as dramatic as it sounds! But every weekend, I will try to leave both boys with Ike for a few hours to recharge. I’ve gone to the movies, run errands and gotten my library card. Nothing mind-blowing, but staggeringly refreshing.
Monday (Wednesday/Friday) Mediation
I have felt the tug toward meditation for a while now. A little dose of peace and quiet? Yes please. But on a deeper level, I want to be more in tune and in control of my thoughts and emotions and this practice could be an important part of that.
Savoring a Sunny Moment
Along with meditation, I want to be more intentional when I am with the boys. So instead of just surviving until nap time (or the utopian DOUBLE nap time), I try to make an effort to savor at least one moment with each boy daily. I heard on an interview with contemplative priest Richard Rohr that for the mind to really hold on to a positive experience you have to focus on it for 15 seconds. So if Ira is transfixed with the wind blowing the trees, I try to take a beat and just watch him discovering his world. Or if E is singing the Ramones at the top of his lungs, I watch and savor as he drums away. Moments like these help me LIVE life, not skim the surface, and if that’s not self care, I don’t know what is.
And finally, Ike and I have pledged to spend two nights a week each working on our own short piece of fiction. It’s been nice to work deliberate practice of something I’ve always wanted to try into my life. So scheduling time to try things, even if it’s only a couple of times a week adds another “You’re living life” layer to a busy life. If this fiction thing goes well, I hope to rotate through to other projects. Maybe finally learn a song on guitar or how to sew.
And for those of you still wondering about our vegetarian project, here’s the latest. We are still cooking mostly vegetarian at home (Ike did buy some bacon for my Mother’s Day breakfast). And we are using the term “Flexitarian” for our new lifestyle. Meaning we’re mostly eating vegetarian, but we also eat meat sometimes. It’s so perfect and we didn’t even make it up!
Here are a few more recipes we’ve tried since I posted!
Crispy Quinoa Patties: Most flavorful quinoa patties I’ve tried and they freeze well for easy dinners down the line.
Lemony Hummus: This one is in the cookbook, seriously amazing! Probably my favorite homemade hummus ever.
Garden Veggie & Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups: I made both of these to take to friends with new babies. They are easier than traditional lasagna, tasty and vegetarian.
Better Broccoli Casserole: This is probably the most toddler accessible way I’ve seen to present quinoa yet! Yum. Just, yum (that is if you like cheesy goodness).
I’ve dusted off my wok and declared Friday “Stir Fry-Day.” All these varieties have been oh so good. It’s made me wonder why I ever go out for Asian food when I can make such delicious dishes quickly in my own kitchen. AND why I waited so long to have Sriracha in my life.
Spicy Coconut & Kale Stir Fry
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry
Black Bean & Kale Burrito Bowls: This one uses the same creamy avocado dressing as my favorite new black bean and sweet potato quesadillas (which I made again for my parents when they came to visit!).
Zoodles: Favorite zoodle recipe I’ve found so far! Lots of good flavor. Elliott tried the zoodles and the tomatoes, earning some banana swirl (blended frozen banana) in the process.
And that’s it! I will be back and blogging as soon as I can. See you soon!