This Sunday is Mother's Day, my first as a mama. What I didn't see coming before Juniper Claire entered my life: she has become my guide. There is so much I've learned in these last 10+ months from my amazing baby girl (who's hardly a baby anymore now that she's getting close to walking and wants to hold her spoon all by herself.) One of the greatest gifts she's given me is a better understanding of how to start fresh. Being the type A person that I am, it's easy for me to dwell on what's not getting checked off on my daily mental list: the backup of laundry, the dining table that can never stay clear, the thank you cards that I was supposed to write in January and it's now almost June, the art project I imagined for our walls, the many blog posts I've not had time to pull together, the email inbox that is almost too terrifying to tackle, and the list goes on. And all of these to-dos that don't get done just add up to me feeling very often like I'm not making it work as a working mom in this big city. It's that big F word we're drawn to as new mothers learning the ropes of everything at once from feeding your child to how to do a back carry with your carrier — failure. And I've learned that labeling your misses as failing doesn't help you get it right the next go around.
Juniper works through things in such a different way than my default method of tallying what I've accomplished in a given day. Every day is a fresh start. In fact, even her naps are like a reboot. She goes to sleep and wakes up and goes at it again, exploring her toys and working on her movement and speech. Right now she's working on standing all on her own. She pulls herself up, balances, then lets go with both hands, and stands for a minute with this look of sheer wonder in her eyes, and then falls back and plops on her butt. And then she does it again, like 20 times in a row. It's both hilarious and endearing to watch how she doesn't get discouraged even when she can't fully stand for more than a second after 20 plops on her tush. Even after a day's worth of attempts to stand. She goes to bed, and then the next day it's like a fresh start. One day soon she'll be standing, but until then she'll have fun with standing up and reaching the knobs on every dresser. She can't quite get the wood disks onto the pegs, but she keeps at it. I watch her expressions and can see how she doesn't let her misses get in the way of enjoying the moment. Babies are such little buddhas because they really live for the now. And they are fearless.
So last week, I tried to be a little fearless myself and stop focusing on what I haven't done and try to work on just one thing. I asked my friend Adriane at Caribou Baby to show me how to put Juniper in a back carry in our Ergo, something I've been wanting to figure out for a couple months. But all the "that will take so long to learn, you don't have time" mental junk had gotten in the way of me doing the first thing you must do to succeed in anything: try it. And you know what, she showed me how to put Juni in a back carry once and it clicked. It was so much easier than I thought! Juniper loves her new piggyback ride perspective and likes to hug me like a monkey, which is so cute. It felt so empowering to walk home with her on my back. It was a fresh start. I love this photo of us in our first back carry, even though the bed is a mess. Maybe next week, I'll find a moment to make the bed. But in the meantime, I'm ok with where I am.
Juniper, you make me smile, laugh, and help me look at every day as an opportunity to try anything — and have fun with it. I love you so. xo Mama
To all you mamas out there, enjoy your special day and be kind to yourself. And to my mom, thank you for showing me so much love from day one.
ps. I am working on a few posts to share some of my mama must-haves with you in the coming month. As well as some of the things on my home wishlist.