I’m blessed to be home with the girls while they are so little, I know, but at times I feel like I’m on the mommy hamster wheel: diaper, breakfast, dishes, stroller, lunch, dishes, diaper, nap. It’s a lot of the same, and my two strong-willed balls of energy can be a lot to handle sometimes.
But you know that one catchy phrase, “how you spend your days, of course, is how you spend your life?” The first time I heard that, it took my breath away, and I think about it all the time still.
I would be devastated to look back on these early years with them and remember feeling overwhelmed and exhausted every day. So instead of hemming and hawing about how hard being a mom is, I try to fold in things that–dare I say it–spark joy throughout my day.
This whole mindset shift has actually helped be more present with the girls. I think it’s my best tip for new moms: find a routine that gives you time to be YOU (even 15 minutes helps!!), and add simple moments of magic to your every day. And now that I’m typing this, I think it applies to everyone–not just moms.
It’s all in the reframing.
Walk to the park? A refreshing jaunt through nature. Opening the windows on a spring morning? Rejuvenating. Afternoon coffee? FESTIVE. My nighttime skincare routine? A sacred ritual.
When it seems like the world is spinning out of control, I like to focus on what I can control. It doesn’t take much, really, to make the “everyday” rhythm feel precious and fun.
The title of this blog post was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s podcast (which I highly recommend, by the way). At the end of every interview, she asks her guest, “what is saving your life right now?” I LOVE hearing the answers. I think Jen got this question from Barbara Brown Taylor.
Anyway, that’s the theme of today: small (or big!) things that feel special and fun.
I’m sharing three things that have made my days/weeks brighter lately. And I’m hoping to create some hype in the comment section at the end, so be ready to share your own little rituals or pieces of sunshine.
1. Herb garden
I’m unreasonably hyped about my new herb garden. It’s my obsession and pride and joy.
I have wanted one for YEARS and just kept putting the project off. Finally, my dad surprised me last weekend with one as my early birthday present–I was thrilled. My parents have one too, so now the three of us are just constantly geeking out over our collections and what recipes we’ve been cooking up with our fresh, fresh herbs.
Charlotte is loving the “garden” too. She is constantly asking to water it, and it’s been so much fun teaching her about the different herbs and what we use them for. Her new love language is being asked to help pluck a few basil leaves, lol. The girls helped me make a vinaigrette last night, and it was the event of the year.
It sounds silly, but nothing gives me greater joy than walking outside each morning to grab a few mint leaves for my water. And when a dinner recipe calls for an herb?? PURE ELATION.
I could see myself taking the whole thing way too far–planting vegetables, fruit trees, etc. It’s a hobby that’s always felt inevitable for me, and I’m just so excited to start the journey with my little collection of herbs (or “guys” as we call them).
From a more practical standpoint, I can already see how the herb garden will save money too. Those little plastic packs of fresh herbs from Trader Joe’s add up.
2. Good TV about bad people
This one isn’t necessarily productive, and it’s certainly taken some reading time away this past month or so. But sometimes you just hit a streak of amazing TV and have to ride it!?
It seems like most of the shows we’ve been watching lately are all “true” stories of misguided/narcissistic alpha-types: Inventing Anna, Superpumped, and The Dropout. In summary–really smart people doing really dumb things. I’m eating it all up.
Inventing Anna, created by Shonda Rhimes, is a depiction of the Anna Delvey saga that happened in NYC a few years ago. And while I have a few qualms about the writing, Tyler and I were thoroughly entertained by Julia Garner as Anna Delvey. That accent is WILD. THis was a really fun show to watch (cringe level 1,000, though, fair warning).
The Dropout is one of the best shows I’ve seen. Amanda Seyfried’s portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes is absolutely jaw-dropping. And the story of Theranos, as most are at least somewhat familiar with, is fascinating. It’s very different from the podcast that came out a few years ago, so I think it’s definitely worth watching even if you’ve already listened to the podcast. Tyler and I were working in tech in the Bay Area when it all came crashing down, so it’s kind of nostalgic for us to relive the drama through the show.
Speaking of Bay Area tech scandals, we just finished Superpumped last night. Joseph Gordan Levitt stars as Travis Kalanack, Uber’s former CEO and co-founder. When I was working in recruiting in the Bay, everyone knew Uber was toxic, lol, but there’s no denying the impact the company has made on the world. The show isn’t award-worthy necessarily, but it’s VERY entertaining, especially if you’re interested in the tech world at all.
3. Reading with the girls
I know most/all parents read with their kids at night, but this has been so sacred to me lately. It’s our time to unwind and relax together before they go to sleep.
Early literacy was one of my favorite things I learned about in college–-I actually have a Liberal Studies degree that I was supposed to use to go get a teaching credential but then I remembered in the nth hour that I don’t like kids–close call!! The whole topic is so fascinating to me though. Children start “learning to read” LONG before they actually “learn to read.” It begins at birth!
I love watching my girls start to “get it.” For instance, Charlotte has certain books memorized even though she doesn’t know her letters yet. And Emmie has learned to point as we go and sort of understands the left-to-right concept.
Char’s attention span has grown so much in the last year. Instead of choosing an easy-peasy rhyming book like I would have when she was younger, now I try to choose longer, richer stories that spark conversation or at least require a bit more concentration. Some of her favorites right now are Miss Rumphius, Rechenka’s Eggs, and every Angelina Ballerina book we can get our hands on.
And after a very indifferent start to her reading life, Emmie is starting to love it now too. At the end of every book, she signs and says “one more,” so we usually end up reading three or four before she goes to sleep.
Tyler and I usually divide and conquer and do their stories/bedtime separately, but I’m hoping in the next few months we can start to do it together and have family reading time before bed. (Basically just waiting for Emmie to be able to tolerate longer stories without rioting).
I don’t really feel like I have a handle on the “learning at home” scene at this point, but AT THE VERY LEAST, I’m committed to reading to them every single day. Just hoping their preschool teachers can pick up the slack and help me fill in the gaps when they start in the fall?
So, now I turn it over to you: what’s saving your life right now?
What small things are making a big impact on your otherwise “normal” days?
Let’s inspire each other to turn everyday into an occasion!