Wednesday, February 17

On the Other Side

Warning: This post is full of my bitching, but also full of pictures of an adorable toddler named Alia so its misleading mkay?

One of my favorite pics of her and her sweet smile. She is like a disney cartoon of a baby most days, until she isn't.
Alia is one and a half years old!!! This is totally blowing my mind right now because I still don't feel like I have both feet under me, and I think its because I became a mother overnight basically (three weeks if you will recall) and I realize now that I really haven't, like you know, settled into it or something. And how has it been a year and a freaking half and I am just now thinking to myself "ok, this is permanent and I need to figure out how to make my life work better." When you have a newborn its like all hands on deck for a while, but then it gets easier. I just went right back to work when she was around five months and have been trying to get my shiz together ever since.

My girl loves cheese! Also, O dresses her most days so he tends to choose the least pretty clothes she has. natch.
Truthfully O and I have been doing a really great job. Our girl is healthy and so happy and loved and we are sharing responsibilities like real modern parents. Exactly as I hoped for when I was a youngster day dreaming about having a husband and a family. I just can't shake the feeling that since Alia has come into our lives I have been coasting. I didn't realize how tired I was, how chronically sleep deprived, how distracted and listless until my friend pointed it out to me. Thank goodness for friends who can see you for how you really are right? I mean, at the end of the day I am wiped out, like just throw myself down on my bed...more like I need a glass of wine, or two every single night to deal with a cranky, crying or screaming toddler, making dinner, dogs all over the place, a messy house and hey, I still have work to do after this little one goes to sleep finally. Add my autoimmune issues into the bargain and well, it isn't a pretty picture. Not to mention we have been ordering dinner, and groceries in way too much, I wasn't eating my healthy diet, did I mention drinking too much, avoiding really doing any self reflection or growth because it has just been easier to try to distract myself from how miserable I have been feeling. I have even struggled this year with my workouts! I mean, I have to cancel going to the gym every other time it feels like due to some malarky or another. Wha Wha

I am growing her hair so we are in this amazingly adorable strange hair faze. 
Mothers: when does the constantly getting sick from your kids end? I am at my wits end guys. I have been sick FIVE MOTHER EFFING TIMES! since Christmas, which was hard for me to enjoy b/c, you guessed, I was sick. I honestly think that Alia will be an only child because the thought of going through this again with a baby and toddler is just too much to even imagine. Its like a bad nightmare.

First thing in the morning.

So what? Is this a bitch fest Michelle? Yes and No. I am making positive changes, being proactive about eating Paleo and reading some great stuff. I love When Things Fall Apart. I am trying not to beat myself up about gaining weight even though I feel old and nasty every day. That is until I give myself my usual pep talk/ mantra and I feel better. Honestly. Other great things: I have a few shows that I am excited about scheduled so far this spring. Most importantly, I know that when I reach this low place I always push through and feel better for it in the end. I just wish I could fast forward and get to the part where I am spinning around like one of those girls in a diet yogurt commercial. Sigh. 

Alia and her "Abuelo" my daddy. He is teaching her how to fist bump. I am so grateful for my folks who take Alia not just when we are sick but anytime we need (read want to) take a trip, visit friends or need a break. 

Now comes the worst part. You know when you feel miserable, and ugly and stupid? You know that feeling? Then you start to doubt yourself in your work and you look around you and see how perfect and happy and brilliant and beautiful everyone else is and then...major sad face. This comparing myself, feeling inadequate and having no confidence business sucks. SUCKS I TELL YOU. I am finally starting to feel better, thats why I am able to write about it and joke about it. But you know what? I bet someone is looking at my instagram right now thinking "this bitch has it all, and my life sucks." Hopefully they will find this post and feel better knowing that this bitch feels like a crusty ol bottle that someone left behind the sofa for a month sometimes too.

How do you pull yourself up when you fall down the comparison rabbit hole? ... and land in a pile of rabbit dung?

24 comments:

  1. Oh girl! My husband and I are just now talking about starting a family, like in the real, non-hypothetical sense we've usually done the past ten years of our relationship. And I AM TOTALLY FREAKED OUT. About how t make it work with my career, how to not lose all the momentum I've built the past few years. (and more practical things like is it even safe to use oil paints pregnant?) I talked to one of my art professors about my concerns and she basically said "if you're not ready to put everything on hold for a year, or longer, you're not ready for a baby." YIKES. I know your life is much different than mine, but your concerns and stresses, are basically everything I'm stressing about and it hasn't even begun for me yet. Life. Motherhood. Art. How do you/will I do it all?! But thanks for being real, as always. I needed this reality check.

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    1. I really REALLY hope that you didn't get from this post "don't have kids, its not worth it!" Because that isn't the truth, in fact the truth is that having Alia is the BEST thing we ever did. Its just also the hardest. Plus, probably honey you won't have a kid in just three weeks. We were just not prepared really, although re handled it like champs. Cuz thats what you do when you have a kid, you just do it. My issues with feeling like I have my feet under me have many componants, like my health issues, and me avoiding dealing with it and just ignoring the nagging feeling I have had. Thats something that can happen to you anytime in life, for any reason. It happened b/c our lives changed so fast, but I would give Alia back for all the time in the world. I love her so much it hurts. Its the most magical blessing in the world to have a child. I am convinced that is why so many people have more than one. Its just such a heart full feeling that you want to do it again. You will be a wonderful mom, and you will figure it out and your confidence will grow b/c you go through low moments like this and you finally realize that its up to you, as everything is when you are a mom, and that ultimately makes you grow and overcome! I am honest on my blog b/c I its just my style. I like talking about real things, and I don't mind looking like I don't know what I am doing b/c I know KNOW deep down that no matter what I say. I got this. And I know that b/c I am a mom damnit. :) Love to you. (and yes, you can paint while you are preggers). Also, its just one year (or in my experience just about five months) where you are thrown for a loop. After that you get daycare or whatever works for you and you keep working. You won't be able to keep yourself from working. In fact you will feel like if you don't work you will break. And maybe your work will be even stronger b/c you are a stronger person when you have a kid. You can always email me personally if you wanna talk about adoption, or motherhood or whatever! armas.design@gmail.com

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  2. OMG. All so true! My (sweet, amazing, adorable) son turned two in January. And I am with you on the wine and the tiredness, the ordering out too much, messy house, wine (do i really need to cut back from a glass or two every day?!)... I work full time as a brand strategist and a designer and I am trying to break into painting. Today i just finished a 100 day project actually - ink on paper. figured if i could draw every day for 100 days, that would be the indication that i can also commit to painting and becoming a 'real' working artist, someday.... Anyhow, I follow you on IG and you totally inspire me! I appreciate your post today - thanks for your honesty. You rock! :)

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    1. Yes! Wine is helpful. I personally just have to cut back due to my autoimmune issues. But if I could handle it, I would totally keep on with the daily wine. Sob! Congrats on accomplishing 100 drawings! How amazing that you have the stamina for that. I would love to be able to see them, comment on instagram or something :)

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  3. It's good to complain & get it out in the open. Having two girls myself I understand that it is hard to try & get energy & want to work when they finally go to bed! I have been lucky & haven't caught the cold my 4 yr old has had for over a month. Take your vitamins & hopefully when Spring arrives the shitty feelings you have been having will vanish. I have read your blog for years & admire you as an artist, not sure I ever thought " wow that bitch has it together!" but after reading your candid stories about all of the mistakes you have made throughout the years I know that you are human & it's nice to hear that. I find that comparison is a tricky one with all the social media we are consumed with. I love how your style has evolved & that you do what you are into at the moment (i.e. big beaded necklaces!) You are amazing & when you are feeling shitty read one of your old blog posts from like 2010 & see how far you have come. Have you found a new studio space yet? I follow you on IG & mentioned that I also love Interior Design. Looking forward to seeing more photos of your home, even if it's messy with laundry everywhere!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. I am so glad that you have been sticking around to read the blog for this long, I appreciate it! I love your idea of looking back and seeing how I felt back then, what a great idea! I do promise to do posts on our home soon!

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  4. Gawd, I needed to read this today. Feel like I have been in a rut for almost 2 years! YEARS!! When I say it out loud that sounds insane!!! Finally have been a bit clearer the past 3 weeks or so and I know I'm on he upswing. I'm not even a creative (former school psychologist who now has a home daycare so I can work and be home with my 4 and 2 year old) but I NEED so badly to be creative and haven't carved out the time because I have just felt shitty, which makes me feel shittier. Love my family but I need more me. Anyway, thanks for your voice. Xoxo

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    1. oh boy, do I know how that feels. The second you begin working on art again you will feel better!

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  5. Can I just say that your honesty is refreshing? I would also like to say that if you're feeling like this it also means that you are putting your all into being a great wife and mother and you're doing an amazing job;) My daughter is seven and I still feel this way. Some days are so raw and taxing that I could weep. But I look back and I've gone through nursing school while working and raising her. The days are long but the years are so fast. It is so worth it when they grow and become their worldy little selves with vocabulary that you instilled and creativity/curiosity that you nurtured and set the example for. Motherhood is a force and I feel like you can fight the current or work with it. For myself that means every day baby steps. I love walking so I make sure I get that walk in. I either paint or write something every day. I do a work out whether it's half hour or ten minutes. That way it doesn't seem like much daily but I can look back and see progress. The picture emerges little by little. I keep fresh flowers in the house. These years are temporary. Each sickness is temporary. You're doing what you're supposed to. "Mama said there would be days like this." Thank you for your post. Hope everyone gets to feeling better. Your daughter is beautiful:)

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    1. I thought about your comment when I bought some beautiful flowers for my house this weekend. Thanks for your comment, and I like the baby steps idea. Very good to keep in mind.

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  6. Thanks for sharing and being so honest!! It is great to hear the real deal and know we are not alone! If I can remember, I think Alia is around the same age as my youngest son. So, I totally hear you!! I feel like it comes in waves, sometimes things get really hard and then all of a sudden things get much easier- and teething throws everything off!! But remembering that things always change helps me keep my sanity! I was trying to get him to go to sleep the other day, while he was rolling on top of my head, and kicking me, I thought to myself..."could I do this again with a newborn?" hahaha --I'm not sure I have it in me to go through it again- it gets tough! I do think it gets easier as they grow, I guess that brings new challenges, but my 3year old is so much easier now and we are getting more sleep, feeling a little more human again! I have started a kundalini yoga meditation practice in the mornings, so far everyday at 6am, and it has been a great help- I get a little workout and clear my head- It took a couple of days to get into the groove but I'm feeling the benefits and i look forward to having at least an hour to myself!

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    1. You are so right! Its like overnight they just get better, or they get aweful. Right now she is a little angel so I am really happy. Good for you for doing yoga, and I love Kundalini, I always cry when the throat chakra gets released. Also, damn, you get up at 6am! thats like a super power to me. I think it would honestly be easier to fly. I appreciate your comment!

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  7. Oh gawd, this speaks to me! The things that help me the most are working out and having a clean house. However, this almost never happens. But the few times that it does I feel much less stressed out. There's something about having pet hair tumble weeds float across the floor that really brings you down. Before I had a kiddo I painted on an easel in my studio, but now that just doesn't happen, so I started working through big pads of paper with acrylics and colored pencil and scraps of paper and whatever else I could do while sitting at the coffee table while watching Octonauts. It's not perfect, but being able to still create a body of work feels really good. Bourbon helps too.

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    1. YES! having a clean house when you walk in the door from a good workout. Its like heaven! My hubs knows this so well about me, he just automatically knows when I get stressed to clean like the dickens. Also good for you for getting that painting in any way that works for you! If you like Bourbon you may like this drink:
      http://armasdesign.blogspot.com/2012/10/death-and-company.html

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  8. My daughter is five now and this is the first year that our family has not all been horribly sick for what seems like eternity. I think the first year and the first year of school are THE WORST. Now I feel like we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I think. I hope I'm not jinxing myself!

    That negativity said, you are most likely doing a wonderful job and as the years go on, you may start feeling like "hey, that raising a baby thing- I was pretty good at that. But why did it not feel like it at the time? Could have saved myself from so much stress.
    -T. Domingos

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    1. ah, yes. Looking back and seeing how it wasn't so bad. Kind of like I still look back at college and think why didn't I have more fun? Why was I so stressed out? I am going to keep that in mind!

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  9. nope. we all feel miserable and ugly and stupid. all those things. i am here to commiserate because from my perspective it doesn't get any easier. just different. but you'll learn how to navigate the hard times and the self doubt a little better. the feelings pass and are replaced by different ones. over and over again. from my end having a toddler was FAR easier than having a tween. and god help me when she's a teen. you're an awesome momma. and wife. just keep doing that and you'll come out right in the end. the work thing...might i suggest a book? (i always do i know) but this one is something you most absolutely need to read. it's called the divided heart by rachel power. another good one but totally different is the artist's way by julia cameron. all artists should read it. i read it from my perspective as an actor not a painter but it applies to all forms of artistry.

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  10. but wait...i don't want to sound like having a toddler is easier than having a tween. in some cases it isn't. in my case it was. but i only can see that now because i have some perspective. at the time is WAS hard. the no sleep thing ruined me so much. but i think my point was that you learn ways to cope and to get through it. i guess perspective is the key? and talking about it. :) good friends. wine. good books. it all goes so fast. cherish the good and bad. i'd give anything for one more day with fiona all chubby and sweet. instead of mean and sassy. i can't even hug her without her squirming away like a slippery fish.

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    1. hahha. I totally understand what you mean. Of course it gets harder! Thats just one of the reasons I feel frantic to get my shit together b/c I want to enjoy this stage, it only speeds up from here. The no sleep thing is hands down the hardest part. You are right, perspective is key for sure. Thanks for your commiseration and book recos. I see that "the devided heart" is selling for only 250-2k on Amazon. Must be one fucking hell of a book! Also, the artists way is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time, thanks for reminding me about it~

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  11. I have 5 & 8 year old girls. Our living through the sickness period was like 4 years with the first and then maybe 2 years with the second. We gradually got less and less sick. We have stealth immune systems now. We use a lot of whole food vitamins, essential oils, elderberry syrup, calm ease, and stuff like that to prevent and cope with illness when we do have it. Wine, travels, binge tving, date nights, letting each other sleep in or have time "off" each week helps. Time alone is the way I recharge so it's good to almost schedule that. We have mental health days at my work and I spend the entire day alone once a quarter and try to do once a month within my family where I'm not working or doing. It's taken us really being disciplined and intentional to plan meals and work together to make those happen. That is the hardest part I think so we don't eat shit all the time. Don't beat yourself up. Every parent experiences this and it's normal and also sucks. It does get better and better and better with time. Take heart and experiment with what works for you all for sick prevention as her little immune system builds! Best wishes!

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    1. Thanks for the advice. Its so interesting how hard, and how much it sucks and how much i wouldn't give her back for all the money and time and health in the world :) She is so worth it.

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  12. I can relate with this too, though am back at it with a nine year old, six year old, and now almost 14 month old. When I get the comparison blues I stop looking at the other stuff. Instagram, Pinterest, online shopping. Whatever. Start looking at my family and asking myself what I like, just for me. When I'm really good I meditate regularly. Both of these things help me feel at peace and as though there is beauty in the present moment and all around me.

    I'm sure you are feeling better now. I feel better just reading your post and replying!

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  13. Just catching up on some blog reading. Aside: is there a way to have your posts emailed to me? Sometimes this is available on bloggers' websites, but I couldn't find it here. That way, I won't miss one. Back to your post. I have no answers, only a little perspective. You are in the completely immersive part of parenting. It's part of the deal. It's not a loss to your art. It will inform your art and make your work life better. Just not now and not in a way you can see yet. (My knitting designs grew in part out of making things for my kids.) Being sick sucks, but it is part of toddlerhood. Reach out to your friends. And let them reach out to you when they need help. It's the only way to get through. The time you are spending now is the foundation you are building so that she will come to you when she is in middle school and kids are teasing her or she is in high school and she wants to talk to you about her sexuality. How gratifying that you will be the one she trusts when things get hard for her. It's all worth it. You probably don't realize that you're paving the way with throw up and whining. Also, do you need breakfast cookies? I'm making a double batch this weekend. I deliver.

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    1. Hey! I bet I could add a button with a subscription thingy on it. Ill look into that. Thank you for your perspective, what a nice way of looking at it. Its such a strange sensation to have the most magical, wonderful thing in my life be also the more tiring. I have had a lot of advice about how to stay healthy from friends, and that has been awesome! You are a wonderful parenting role model!

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Yay! Your gonna reach out to me! I am so excited. I have tried to make commenting here easy for both of us. So please try your hardest to read the squiggly letters so I can chat with you.

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