We try and do family pictures, or at least pictures of the kids a couple times a year. This summer I wanted to do something different. After moving we have spent much of July getting settled and living a low-key life. I have loved it, I love that we are both teachers and we get so much time with this little family… (that is another post altogether) Anway, I really wanted these photos to represent the joy in the little moments, not a staged “look at the camera honey” sort of way.
I talked to my cousin’s wife Whitney, who is a mega talented photographer and like a cosmic coincidence, this is the type of photography she is hoping to grow into. She even had a name for it “lifestyle photography”
She came over to our crazy house and just hung out with us. We did bath time, ate, and read some books. I didn’t honestly even know when she was taking pictures.
They turned out so beautifully. They perfectly captured our tiny moments.
She also made these adorable short videos I can’t wait to show you!
I have, what I like to think as, a modern marriage. We split everyday tasks and chores evenly. Traditional roles did not suit us and so we didn’t go down that road. When we became parents, all of that shifted. The duties did not fall evenly on our shoulders starting with pregnancy. I don’t need to explain how lopsided that journey was. Our modern marriage made my transition to being a mom jarring. What was a balanced relationship suddenly resembled a marriage from our parent’s generation. I was staying at home, doing mindless housework, not having adult interaction and Matt left the house each day to go do work that he was educated to do.
My husband hasn’t had it easy but he has had it different. He has been working long hours which wears him down. Meanwhile, my life has seemed like groundhog day lately. The same day happens over and over again. The same fits, the same long hours, the same messes to clean up, the same messes to clean up, and the same messes to clean up. I ask sir to put on his shoes 1,000 times a day. So today I decide I will just do it… He takes them off so he can do it himself.
This is insanity.
I want to slink out of my body, out of my mind, out of this role. It all feels so uncomfortable, like sitting for too many hours on a folding chair. My legs are sticking to the metal, and my tailbone might bust through.
I am eating a cold Easter dinner, intended to be delicious but it’s missing the mark.
The thing is, I love this little family and there is no one in the world I would rather be spending my days with. My husband is a gem. Really. I got a good one in many many ways. He is the yin to my yang. He is the type of guy that is all in, has no hesitation in baby wearing or wearing an Elf costume to our son’s third birthday party, let alone changing diapers or spending all of his spare time with our kids.
It makes me feel conflicted about what an escape might look like.
I had a revelation, it isn’t that I don’t want this life, it is just that I want a different perspective…
I want to be the daddy instead of the mommy.
-I want to be the distant second choice in the middle of the night for the baby that needs nursing and the toddler that wants to snuggle to fall back asleep.
-I want to be the first choice for play time, for lofting little ones into the air and for playing pretend with.
-I want credit for being an excellent parent just by being present.
-I want to to be brave enough to venture to Target without a diaper bag.
-I want to get dressed in the same clothes that I wore before children.
-I want to lay down, turn my mind off, and go to sleep.
-I want to be the one with more patience.
-I want to be able to be away from my kids for more than a couple of hours without finding a place to pump.
-I want the possibility of going on a bender.
-I want to not be the one in the relationship that worries about birth control.
-I want something in my voice to make my kids know that I mean business and results in compliance.
I know the role I play in my marriage doesn’t look the same for everyone and trading places for you would look very different, but wouldn’t it be nice? This isn’t about penis envy or that I think my job is harder, but I would like to give the daddy business a go, just to see. Just a small respite from being the mom.
Cuban men were the most well kept male population I have ever seen. Eyebrows, hair, well fitting shirts… Everyone seems like they are ready for picture day.
Matt seemed to notice this as well because he decided that he needed a haircut. Wandering through the streets on the first day, we happened upon a little salon, the man sitting in the doorway said to Matt “haircut, $7”
Matt replied with “I’ll pay $5”
The salon, like the rest of Cuba, had high ceilings and had parts of the space that were under construction. When looking all the way back, it opened to a courtyard where people lived.
I decided to get a cheap pedicure while we waited for Matt. After I was seated, and taking a good look at her nail station, I was a touch worried about sanitation standards but I threw caution to the wind and shared a beer with the “technician” as she painted my toes.
As we sat there, I couldn’t help but marvel at how beautiful she was not to mention, Francis, the guy cutting Matt’s hair who by this time, was onto Drew and would finish with Tyler.
There was no covering on the door or windows, the beautiful warm weather allowed for this. People walked by on their way, chatting, small street carts went by selling fruit. From time to time someone would pop their head in, greet those inside, and be on their way.
When someone would come inside, whether they were there for a service or just visiting someone inside, they were greeted with double cheek kisses. Sitting there watching interactions and people move by, I started to fall in love with Cuba.
Taxis were more often than not, vintage cars, and the thrill of riding in these relics didn’t fade. One night, looking for a ride to an ice cream spot after dinner, Matt was negotiating the price for the ride and the young driver said to Matt in broken English “You can have ride for $5 but you drive.” Whether or not this guy was serious, is a topic of debate but Matt climbed into the driver’s seat and after a few jarring gear shift changes, we were soaring down the Malecon with Matt at the wheel. The taxi driver and his friend sat in the front often giving directions to Matt in Spanish.
Later we learned that this is highly illegal and had we been pulled over, Matt and the taxi driver would have likely gone to jail. So glad I didn’t know that at the time.
Cuba has been on my bucket list since I learned that it was off limits.
The idea of exploring the country seen as forbidden was as tempting as a teenager girl with the bad boy.
It took some convincing for Matt to leave on a random weekend in April but after having one too many gin and tonics, Tyler, Matt and I booked our trip.
The only options for flights were red eyes which always seem like good ideas at the time but after trying to sleep on a budget airline in the middle of the night, it seems that paying the extra money for a flight during human hours may have been worth it.
The moment we got off of the airplane it felt like we had traveled far beyond the 30 min. Flight from Miami. The customs officials were dressed in fishnet stockings, short skirts, high heels and low cut shirts. It was like they were wearing slutty Halloween costumes of TSA officials. The men, all looking like they came straight from the gym wore shirts so tight their buttons held on for dear life. I don’t mean to over-generalize but every single one of them was exceptionally good-looking.
‘Maybe they just use the most beautiful as the welcoming committee for the country.’ I thought.
In our drive to our Air bnb the infrastructure and foliage reminded me traveling through Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
More to Come!
I have a new creative mom interview up and you are not going to want to miss it.
Her name is Brie and no, I am not interviewing myself, thank you. We met when we were both cast in the 2016 Listen to Your Mother Boulder show. I didn’t want to love her, mostly because she is both stunningly beautiful and hilarious. Nature isn’t always fair this way and she is a prime example. But she is incredibly humble and charming, I couldn’t help but to get over myself and make her be my friend. She hasn’t been able to get rid of me since.
Brie is a former teacher and now an author with big dreams and a the stuff to make it happen. Also, she started this amazing company where she takes women on self-discovery retreats, which, mark my words, I WILL go on one day.
This week, His Lordship and I are leaving Sir and Lady behind and traveling to Cuba. It will be a short trip, only 5 days but it will be 5 nights longer than I have spent away from my babes. When planning this trip I thought, ‘by that point, I will sooooo be ready to leave them to reclaim my passion for travel.’ Now here we are, just a few days away and I feel like I am going to poop. Really, when I get nervous I get diarrhea.
We are leaving them with Matt’s mom and stepdad who absolutely adore my kids and they will do a fantastic job. My biggest concern is my kiddos feeling abandoned or forgotten. I know that I am attaching adult emotions to an 18 month-old but I am just worried.
I think parenting is simply a journey of coming to terms with the mom you are, and the mom you wish you were. Before becoming a mom, I thought I would be traveling at the same rate that I was before, averaging 3 new countries in a year. The reality is, planning to leave these wild toddlers is much more complicated. For instance, I am still nursing and I will have to bring along a pump, what will happen to my milk supply? Also, Benton REALLY likes mom snuggles before bed and when he is tired his cries can turn to a tantrum in a second.
Cuba is a bucket list destination of ours and I am sure it will be all I have dreamed. I can’t wait for the food, the sun, the culture, and the beach. My friend Brie Doyle who organizes women’s retreats reminded me that taking a trip like this with young children is “a trip they will never remember you taking but it is a trip that you will never forget.” I hope she is right, and for the right reasons.
If you get a chance and are the praying type, or the good vibe sending type, please pray for our safety and the littles’ adjustment.
Be gentle with me, I have a confession; I effing hate bath time.
As a parent, I think that there is one task that just drives us mad. Like nails on a chalk board or the parenting equivalent of someone explaining a traditional IRA to me. No thank you. My thing is; bath time. I loathe it. I would rather my kids go without a bath for 5 days and begin to smell like a wet puppy, than have to endure bath time. I can’t explain fully why I hate it so much, maybe it is the time of day, maybe it is getting splashed with water, I don’t know. The good news is; Matt and my mom don’t mind this nearly as much as I do, which means that my kids are regularly bathed and you can hold off on calling Child Protective Services.
Here is a video of the hilarious mom duo from Pump and Dump about her “thing”