Reflections on 3 Months and 3 Years

Lyla just turned three months old and my Leo is about to be a three (going on 13) year old. At times I still can’t believe I’m a mom, yet these days I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t. Like what did I do with all that free time?? And all that money now spent on diapers and daycare?? It must have been glorious, but I really can’t remember…

I do vaguely remember a time of eating a lot more meals out (and drinking A LOT more drinks out…), getting a lot more mani/pedis, and buying clothes for myself whenever I needed a new “going out” outfit, rather than just mostly shopping for my son, who is already quite the brand snob (Nike everything, New Balance is acceptable also).

I had high hopes that giving birth and the newborn stage would be a bit easier and less panic-inducing the second time around, and for the most part it has been. Giving birth was no picnic and I’m not a huge fan of hospital stays (is anyone?), but when Leo visited us and we gave him his superhero themed big brother bag, and he held his little sis for the first time, it definitely turned my heart to mush and I didn’t really care at all that I was in a tiny sterile room, unshowered and wearing disposable underwear. Thanks to some sweet nurses and our second timers status we were able to go home a day early and get the whole two kid party started right away. I hate to jinx things and I’ll probably eat my words in a few weeks or months, but Lyla has been a very chill baby so far, sleeps through the night (and has been since like 6 weeks!) and is usually smiling, cooing or just hanging out and watching her crazy brother’s antics.

I was able to mostly take the summer off of work, and the whole marrying a teacher thing showed itself to be a real perk as we were able to spend a lot of time together adjusting to life as a family of four. Now as my husband heads back to school and I begin to dip my toe back into the working world, I’m left with a mix of emotions (as usual). Here’s what I’m pondering these days as I adjust to life with two…

I’m not sure what the perfect age difference in kids is. My brother and I were four years apart and I always thought it’d be cool if we were three or less, so we could have been in high school together. Leo and Lyla will be two grades apart in school which seems ideal, but I could also see how having a slightly older kid at home with a newborn would sure be helpful. No one tells you nor can you prepare for all the potential dilemmas that will arise when you have a semi-independent toddler and a brand-new newborn. Like when your toddler suddenly “has to go poop!” (and still needs assistance in that area) but your newborn is nursing away and cannot be disturbed…

Once you have two kids, there’s really no turning back. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but somedays it seems like “getting my groove back” is just so far away. I wonder when I’ll ever have “me time” again, when I’ll no longer have to worry about whether my outfit is nursing friendly, or dare I say “get my body back,” when I’ll ever go back to yoga class, read a good long book, actually get to sit in those new comfy chairs on my deck, read the paper and sip my coffee, and so on.  I’m so grateful for my kids (a boy than a girl, a billionaire’s family so they say), and some days I think, lets just have another since I’m already so deep into this motherhood thing, but other days (most days) I do the math in my head to calculate “how many more months until she’s done nursing?,” “how many more years until they’re both in school?,” “how old will I be when they graduate high school?” (the answer to that one btw is TOO OLD!). I want to live in the moment, enjoy each phase, each hard day and each less-hard day, celebrate every milestone big and small, but I also want to take kid-free trip, wander around the mall by myself and sleep in on the weekends. I think this is every mom’s internal struggle though. We love our kids, they make us happy, but sometimes we yearn for who we were before kids, and maybe more so than for a man, it seems harder to get back to that person. (And don’t even get me started on work/life balance, “leaning in,” “having it all” and all that other crap, I’ll save my thoughts on being a working mom for another day and another post, but speaking of, have you watched Workin’ Moms yet? Best. Show. Ever.)

I’ve had the Darius Rucker song “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” running on repeat in head recently and it sorta makes me cry when I think about it. I feel like there’s always this constant internal struggle for me between “time hurry up and time slow down.” So my goal for this year (I always think of September as the start of a new year, school-aged or not), is to at least TRY to live in the moment, appreciate every day – and when all else fails, just laugh it off and try again tomorrow.

 

Life Update

Been a while again. Whoops.  But I’m back. With another round of life updates because change is inevitable, right?

Life Update #1 – I’m preggo again. Yup, baby Fusco 2.0 is currently cookin’ and expected to arrive in early June, though I’m planning for an early arrival this time… call it a hunch.  We haven’t (yet) found out the sex but more on that in a future post…

Life Update #2 – My job has changed a bit. After five years working for a content marketing and publishing company on the Cape, the company abruptly shut its door four days before Christmas with no notice. My role with this company was dual-sided; working as a social media manager on the marketing side for boating and lifestyle clients and also working as a writer and helping with blogging and social for our magazines, tv shows and websites.  In October, I was notified that the company would be going through some changes and that a spinoff digital marketing company was being formed. There was a large round of layoffs and I was offered a job with the new spinoff, effective Jan 1. Business was to essentially “continue as usual” until then for those of us who remained.  Fast forward to Dec 21st when an email went around AT NOON to all remaining employees that the company was shutting its doors for good at 5pm. To make a long story short and spare you the nitty-gritty details (although if you’re curious, start with the Cape Cod Times article I linked to and do a bit of Google/Facebook searching of the company/former CEO to see the outrage that ensued), let’s just say that the spinoff never happened and my employment status (at least in the full-time sense) has changed.

If-you-dont-build-your-dreams-someone-will-hire-you-to-help-build-theirs-Tony-gaskinWhat’s Next – I have been extremely lucky since moving to RI five years ago to have a steady stream of freelance work/side hustle to supplement my full-time job. Armed with my NYC work experience and thanks to some local connections and some good luck, I was a big fish in a small pond as my dad would say, and without having to do much, I was in demand for many social media consulting and writing projects around the region. I’ve had the chance to work with some really great local companies and brands, and see my work published in several regional publications and websites.  I’m currently still freelancing and I’ve recently had an epiphany of sorts, not to be all dramatic about it. I realized quite frankly that while I really do love the variety of my work and plan to continue down this path, I have been busy building other people’s brands, and oftentimes, their dreams, instead of my own. Every time I celebrate a milestone with a client, whether it be a great PR hit, an increase in followers, etc., I feel conflicted. On the one hand I am so happy for them and proud of my role in it, but on the other, I can’t shake the nagging feeling that I’m building someone else’s future and not my own, while mine is just sitting on the runway somewhere waiting to take off itself. I realized that I have a lot to say, a lot I want to share and many professional goals of my own that I have not yet fulfilled. As my husband says, I’m a dreamer I guess, always have been and probably always will be. It’s not necessarily a great thing but it’s also something I’m not sure I can change. Ignore – maybe, but change, probably not.

So to wrap up my rambling, I guess this recent career change was the kick in the butt I needed to not give up on my dreams just yet. One of them is to write a book. Others revolve around ultimately being my own boss, building my own brand and being able to do what I love everyday on my own terms. Being able to freelance and work remotely has been a great luxury that I in no way take for granted. It has allowed me more time with my son, more time to take on passion projects and more time for myself. I’ve been away from a big city and an office setting for so long now, I don’t even know if I could go back. When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s and living in NY, I absolutely loved my lifestyle. I loved commuting, I loved working long hours with coworkers who quickly became good friends, and I envisioned myself climbing the corporate ladder and living the fast-paced city life forever. But then I grew older, and the call back to the ocean and back to a slower pace came, and now here I am. I’m in my mid (late??) 30’s, I’m about to be a mom of two and while that’s a big part of my identity, it isn’t the ONLY part by any means.

So, TLDR, expect a lot more frequent posts here, and probably a lot more self-promotion (sorry in advance) while I give this a go. I’ve updated my blog a bit and hope to get some professional photos and maybe a new logo made in the coming weeks, and I’m working on my portfolio to better showcase my writing and work experience.

So stay tuned friends and as always, thanks for reading!

Mom-motions

Why is it that every emotion seems to be multiplied by 1,000 when you become a mom? Today was the first day of school in our neighborhood, and for my husband (a HS teacher in the town next to ours). It was not however, the first day of school for my son. Our little trooper has been in “school” since he was just shy of 4 months old, including summers. It’s not even his first day in a new classroom (he “graduated” to the toddler classroom in June) but still, it felt like a new beginning for all of us this morning. For one, Leo miraculously slept in until 7:30am and woke up smiling as he sauntered over to his doorway, proud of his newfound freedom having recently moved into a toddler bed. He had his “Li-Li” (stuffed Lion he’s slept with since his infant days), “Payay” (his pacifier) and his blankie in tow. He was in a happy mood, well rested and ready to play. I gently broke the news to him that it was a school day, that daddy was back to school and mommy had to work.

“No mama, I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay on the couch with you.”

Stay strong I told myself. DO NOT go cuddle with him on the couch. He must go to school! You must go to work! You have bills to pay!

I resisted the urge to lie to him, to bribe him, or the strongest urge of all, to plop down next to him for one more episode of Daniel Tiger.

Instead, I told him that he was a big boy and that we we’re so proud of him. That big boys go to school and make friends and learn new things and of course, they tell mommy and daddy all about it when they get home. Then I really hit the jackpot because just as we were leaving (new sneakers on, one Marshall sock, one Rubble sock, donning his Yankees hat and a skeptical smile), the school bus came down our street.

“School bus, school bus!” he cheered.

“Yes Leo, today is the first day of school for all the kids, and they are riding the bus to school.”

 “I wanna ride the bus mama!”

“You will, when you’re a little bigger. But today you are going to school just like all the big kids. Should we follow the bus to school?” (Another win, the route to his daycare passes by the middle school so there are always buses on the road.)

 “Ok. But I wanna play basketball after school. And baseball. And golf!”

“Deal!”

 And off we went. Behind the school bus as it picked up the little kids, the big kids and the really big kids, while moms, dads, siblings and pets watched, waved, cried, smiled and snapped photos. And I myself fought back tears behind my sunglasses because the days really are long but damn, those years are so short…

“Mama! School bus! There’s the kids!”

 “Yes, buddy.”

 And on to school we went…

“Hold my hand in the parking lot, bud.”

And in he went. Trying to be brave but holding my hand just a little tighter than usual. He ran to play but then quickly came back over when he saw me lingering, chatting with his teacher and unpacking his stuff. He signaled for one more hug and I gladly obliged.

And off I went…

2018 To-Do List

Let’s face it, I’m not very good at keeping resolutions. Is anyone??  It’s well into February already and I’m only just now even writing them down (actually, that’s not true, I started this post on January 8th but am only *just now* finishing it/publishing it!) so I think we all know where this is going… That said, I am surprisingly good at making to-do lists and enthusiastically crossing out items (does anyone else write things down they’ve already done just to cross them out? No… ok then moving right along…). I figured if I wanted half a shot at getting some things accomplished this year and sticking to my “resolutions” I should at least document them here on the blog so I can be accountable (can you guess what one of them will be already?).  So here goes – in no particular order here are some things on my list:

#MomLife

  • Work on Leo’s baby book (he’s 16 months old now… umm, ooops?)
  • Take Leo on a weekend getaway with no agenda, just wander around and explore somewhere new. We’ve taken him on a few trips, but it’s always been to visit family, attend an event, etc. While those trips have been fun (albeit hectic), I want to do something a bit more laid back with no set schedule or expectations.

#PersonalLife

  • Write more. For me, not work. This one’s on my list every year and every December I look back and think, if I had just set a schedule or been more diligent, or not laid in bed scrolling through Instagram photos, I would have so much writing done!  For one, I want to get this blog going and although I would like to get to one new post per week, I’m going to be realistic and set a very attainable goal of one post per month starting NOW.  Baby steps, right? (I won’t even go into the whole “write my novel” thing here.)
  • Read more. I miss books and magazines. Ever since the demise of my book club, I’ve barely read anything that isn’t on a screen. I subscribe to several print mags, not to mention all the ones I get for free from my company, and they just pile up lately, making for a lovely decorative “stack” on our accent chest.  I want to get back into the groove of reading a book or magazine before bed every night, and am committing to reading at least one book per month in 2018. This is sad, especially when I see all my Insta-friends doing the #52book challenge, but again, baby steps.
  • Exercise everyday. Ha, right? No, really, I’m using the term exercise loosely, but I really should be able to commit to 20 minutes a day of some sort of physical activity (or at least, on average, so a rare 60 minute workout day counts for 3 days… that’s how it works, right?). I love taking walks and if this frozen tundra ever lets up, that will be most days activity, with the occasional yoga class, swim, etc. thrown in.  Also, chasing your toddler around and dancing to “The Hot Dog song” counts too, right?

#ProfeshLife

  • More freelance writing. My current specialties are #rhodylove and now, #momlife, and I’d love to share my thoughts on both with a wider audience.  Whether it’s local publications, mom blogs or guest blogging, I plan to find another outlet or two to add my voice to in 2018. Any reccos?
  • Learn photography. I’ve had this one on the back burner for a while now because I always thought I needed an expensive new camera to really do it right, but I’ve recently discovered that iPhone photography (or “iPhoneography” as the kids are calling it) is a real thing and I can learn some basics of photography with just my handy little pocket device. One day I DO want to invest in a *real* camera and take classes but for now, I’d love to just learn how to sharpen my skills, for the ‘gram if nothing else! 🙂

Thanks for reading and here’s to a productive 2018!

11 Months and Counting…

It took me nearly 9 months of pregnancy before I blogged about that so are you really surprised that it’s taken me almost an entire year to blog about the whole motherhood thing? I’ve decided to dust off the blog this week to finally attempt to put into words the whirlwind that was the last year or so.

Perhaps at some point I’ll hit publish on some more specific posts about Leo’s birth, those first few hazy weeks (ok, months) and other bits that have crept in and out of my mind this past year, but this post is more of a quick checkin, as well as a way to hopefully clear my head and deal with the heart wrenching emotions of dropping my little guy off at daycare the past few weeks. Writing can be cathartic, right?

I’ve been trying to put into words the way it feels to have a child, and also how it’s changed my life so significantly, but also in a million little ways too.  The best way that I’ve been able to sum up my emotions since being called mama is this: It feels like I am walking around with my heart outside my body all the time. I have never felt so deeply every emotion there is to feel until motherhood. Love. Happiness. Fear. Admiration. Hope. Loneliness (100% honesty here). Trepidation (aka more fear). Excitement. The list goes on.  One day it’s just you and then there’s this crazy – not possible to be prepared for – birthing experience and then you return home and your entire world has changed and you are now responsible for another life (one that did NOT come with an instruction manual btw). Maybe this was part of my struggle, because I’m actually obsessed with instruction manuals, just ask my husband. I save them all in a binder and feel the need to refer back to them when operating everything from a dust buster to our coffee maker to confirm I’m “doing it right.” No one can really tell you exactly what to do every minute of the day and how to handle every situation that parenthood throws you into and because of this, I really struggled at first. But what they say is true. The days are long but the years are short. And also, it DOES get easier. And you get better at it. You learn what each little cry and sound means. You change diapers like a pro. You rock them and swaddle them and nurse them. You obsess about their bowel movements, their sleep habits, their milestones. Your heart nearly explodes when they smile for the first time. Then laugh. Then say mama. and dada. And become this tiny perfect little human that you created who also has their own unique personality and learns things on their own and amazes you every single day.  Yeah, its kinda like that.

And then nearly a year passes and you can’t believe how quickly it went by. And then your sitting in a coffee shop trying to do some work when you overhear two adorable parents next to you giving their even more adorable son a pep talk on what to expect for his first day of kindergarten. “They’ll be a lot of laughing and there might be some crying… And mom might be a little sad…”And your heart nearly explodes again because it’s just about the sweetest thing you’ve ever witnessed. And you can’t believe you’ll be doing the same thing in the blink of an eye…