Califargo: Sense of Self

One of my dear friends inspired these thoughts when she randomly asked me the other day, “Do you ever miss you Minneapolis or California self? I’ve lost my sense of self lately.”

I’ve grown close to this friend in the past couple of years as we work together in hospice care but also have a lot in common with being moms to three young kids. I find myself being able to be refreshingly honest with her, and I hope she finds the same with me.

Her comment made me reflect on how life was so different just ten years ago. Do I miss those days? Yes, there are certain parts of my young adult days that I miss. I miss the freedom of being able to pick up go….to be able to plan a trip in a few days and not have to worry about arranging child care or pet care. I miss being able to spend more money on new shoes or buy yet another cute outfit with that hard earned money. I  miss being able to have more than one drink with friends without dreading the recovery the entire next day (plus who really wants to be hung over while tending to and chasing two little kids and toting around an infant). I miss concerts in the bigger city venues. I miss the ocean (Half Moon Bay near San Francisco is magical). I miss fresh seafood. I miss late night cramming sessions with nursing friends sharing not only facts for the exam the next day but also a lot of laughter. I miss movies at the theater. I  miss being able to watch my niece and nephews as much as my sister requested.

You know what though? Although those pieces of my life are more so part of my past now, I know they hold a special place in my heart…those experiences that helped shape me into who I am now and allow me to appreciate them even more. Yes, I have many more responsibilities these days, but what I find relieving is that I’m not alone. My village of hard working mamas also share these sentiments and sometimes reminisce about these days as well. I can also trust this same village of women will be there for one another and help each other when we just need a break from our responsibilities to remember, even for a few hours, what our old selves used to look like….from getting all dolled up for a date night with the spouse (and being able to eat a warm dinner with both hands) ….or breaking away for a weekend get-away. And just maybe this is not “our older selves” that have disappeared completely, rather still there but with additional factors that enrich us even more.

I know that in ten years from now,  I will miss other parts of my younger self as well, such as the scent of a newborn baby….frequent snuggles with babes and toddlers….teaching my first born how to read….witnessing my youngest learn how to walk…and so much more.

Because really, it all contributes to who we are…So when when my good friend and I are missing our younger, more free and careless selves, we should take a moment to remind each other that we will one day miss this part of ourselves too….this sleep deprived bliss.

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Thoughts On Three

I have been pondering about my thoughts on three for about four months now. On November 7th, 2017, I gave birth to our final baby, Thomas Jordan Miosek, or “Tommy.” Perhaps it’s the chaos around here that’s prevented me from finishing the draft I started when he was just one week old…or the broken sleep…or having to really choose wisely when I get precious free time…or a combination of it all…but regardless, today I attempt again. Much like my piles of clean laundry on the couch waiting to be folded and put away, most of the tasks on my “to do list” take many attempts these days.

I would be lying if I said it’s easy with three kids. In all honesty, I was on the brink of a mini breakdown a couple months ago. It was a Saturday afternoon in the dead of winter. The two older kids were obviously feeling cooped up with pent up energy, cabin fever at its finest. The baby needed a nap. The husband was running an errand. Gulp. As I leave my mischievous three-year-old unsupervised for about ten minutes to nurse the baby and put him down for a nap, I cross my fingers that all hell won’t break loose while he runs free. I call him my Dennis the Menace after all. I had set out all the ingredients to bake chocolate chip cookies once the baby fell asleep. As he fell asleep, I realized the house was much too quiet for my liking, as that almost always means I will be welcomed with some kind of messy surprise. Sure enough, my Dennis poured all of the baking ingredients on the kitchen floor. I am greeted by him standing on mounds of flour mixed with a carton of cracked eggs, a bottle of vanilla extract, and a bag of chocolate chips. My angry response triggers a full meltdown complete with him throwing handfuls up in the air, leaving a trail down the hallway. If that wasn’t enough, he decides to go back to the mound and pee on it. Yes. He peed on the already goopy, sticky mess. And the baby starts to cry. Again. My six-year-old promised to alert me when her brother was getting into mischief, but she became absorbed with her tablet. As I hold the crying baby and scrub the floors while desperately waiting for the husband to come home, I can feel each muscle of my body tighten and my blood pressure rise twenty points. Once he arrives, he sees the sight and offers some unwelcome feedback. We argue about the situation and how it could have been prevented.

I will share this story years down the road and will likely do so with a smile on my face or giggle as I tell the details. But in the meantime, it serves as just a common occurrence of what life with three kids is like now. There are moments like those that make me weep with frustration and exhaustion. But then I get a moment or a gentle reminder that while this life is chaotic and messy (pee mixed with flour and eggs kind of messy)….I also get so much more to hold onto. From bedtime snuggles… to huge toothless grins… to the sound of genuine belly laughter, I get it all. Beautiful. Messy. Chaotic. Loud. Zoo-like. Blissful. Annoying. Frustrating. Joyful. Because really, if it takes an unexpected mess by the idle hands of a wild threenager to show me that life is beautiful in a messy unpredictable way, so be it.

Do I share all the mishaps and stressful moments? No. But I should share more. Because in a world of perfectly crafted social media posts depicting we all have our shit together, let us be more real. Sticky mounds of pee infused flour and all.