A letter to me from my past self

A letter to me from my past self

I started a ranting post about how depressed I have become, hoping it would help me like Kelly Rowland says her song Dirty Laundry helped her. And then my friend popped on my screen and reminded me without knowing that I never read the letter I wrote to myself in August 2012 set to deliver to me on my baby’s first birthday. (For anyone who wants to write a letter to your future self, visit futureme.org). I totally blessed myself. I take things one day at a time, but I’m glad I could reinforce what my mom tells me daily and remind myself of where I should force myself to focus my energy. Here it goes.

Dear Ranada,

One year ago, you joined the superwoman club and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after hours of painful labor that you can no longer remember. You didn’t have support from his father despite the love you thought you shared with him–but guess what–you’ve made it an entire year. With the love and support from your mom, the rest of your family (even Clint!), your friends in Atlanta, and your friends all over the country, you and Frederick are doing well and that’s no surprise. You’re the bomb, and Frederick is going to be an amazing young man because he has you for his mom.

Keep up the good work. Enjoy life. Appreciate the blessings of motherhood. Don’t focus on what’s hard–keep your eyes on what’s great. Remember that mantra from 2010?PERSPECTIVE. Things are as they should be. You are loved. Your baby is loved.

With self-love,

Postpartum Musings

Postpartum Musings

Coming home to Mississippi is the best thing I could have done while recovering from having my baby. I really don’t know how I would have made it the past several weeks without my mom’s love and support. And being home just reconnects me to who I am at a critical time when some days it’s hard for me to see goodness in my life and makes me appreciate and savor the days when all I see is goodness.

Since a week or two before having my baby, I have experienced what it feels like to sit down, lol. First, because I was forced to healthwise, and now because of the old school notion that a mom needs to stay inside as much as possible during the first six weeks. At first it was super easy because I was still in lots of pain, but as the pain wears off and I only have short time periods of ailments, it’s still not so hard because being able to sit down and think through things is sometimes welcomed (and other times, I think myself into negativity, so not so good!). And of course, there’s just nothing like being around people who have known and loved you for as long as you can remember and who remind you what’s important in life and how we;ve already overcome so much and will continue to. Here, I can lay some of my burdens down and get myself together before I face the real world again.

And when I do enter the real world again, I have some things I need to change. I’m no longer a single gal doing whatever she wants when she wants. There are several things I need to get done to reorganize my life now that I’m a mom. Here are some highlights.

1. Getting my finances in order. Before I dropped out of my Ph.D. program in 2005, my financial health was pretty much pristine. Then I dropped out, forfeiting the grants I was receiving, leaving me with one part time job to choose which ends to meet. Although I haven’t been doing shabby nowadays, I’m definitely not where I should be to make sure this lil guy is comfortable and well taken care of. So, I’ve logged on to Mint, which I’ve used before but kinda ignored for the last couple of years to retrack my accounts, started on a new budget, and set some goals. I also renewed my LearnVest subscriptions. Now I just need to finish my budget (which includes the new massive childcare expense–I never knew how much it cost!), make sure my different forms of insurance are sufficient and in order, start an actual tax file folder so that I won’t be scrambling next year, and finally look into modifying my mortgage since I took such a hit in value like so many others in this nation (and especially in GA).

2.  Getting my eating habits back on track. There was a time that I was pretty healthy and cooked many meals from scratch (I was a size 4 then). Now that I have this guy, I not only need to eat much better than the routine I had for a while–skipping breakfast many days, eating not so healthy snacks for lunch, eating maybe one real meal a day, which would prolly be from a restaurant on the go–but I also need to make sure it fits within the budget I’m creating in #1. I definitely will have to cut out the eating out so much, just by virtue of budgeting and prolly time management, but I’m much more in tune with what I put in my body since it then goes into his. And I want to go ahead and get reacquainted with cooking regularly again since I will need to be in the habit once he’s eating solid foods. I’ve been collecting recipes (from countless books, websites, and blogs), and I’ve gotten an account on Food on the Table to help me take advantage of deals when I’m creating weekly meal plans (that I pray I stick to).

3. Making my schedule less hectic. I have to let go of some things so that I can have time to myself. Before I had Frederick, I may have gotten up 30 minutes before I needed to leave for work and I may have stayed awake until midnight or 1 am. Now I need to get up much earlier, and I hopefully will, in turn, go to bed much earlier. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to streamline things that aren’t work or taking care of Frederick, but we’ll see. I mean at the end of the day, my home life has now become #1 so anything I can’t get done will just have to wait or disappear. Right now, there’s no new resource for that besides me taking an inner oath to put everything (i.e. appointments, meetings, deadlines) on my Google docs and set a reminder!

4. Making my house a home. Now that I have a baby, I will actually be spending quality time at home. So I have to include in this new schedule of mine time to do a little bit of cleaning each day, including washing dishes and *gasp* doing at least one load of laundry daily. Getting my house to where it is (although I still have a ways to go before I’m proud of it) was overwhelming so I definitely have to keep that up as well as inch toward making it a place where I find peace of mind each day. Watching my mom since the week before I gave birth has been a lesson because it’s amazing how much she gets done each day.

5. Working on my pretty. My mom told me the week after I had Frederick that I have to work on getting my pretty back asap, and she’s right. Weight wise, I didn’t have any to lose (I gained a net of 10 pounds, and he weighed over 8.5), but I definitely need to tone up and work on my skin quality (in the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy I got stretch marks! and since I delivered, my tummy is discolored!) and I wouldn’t mind losing a couple more that was on my to do list before I even got pregnant. I also need to make myself get on a schedule with my hair (instead of waiting until I can’t stand to look at it anymore to do something to it) and go through my full regimen each day instead of going all day if I’m not going anywhere or just running errands looking busted (or my version of busted–I think I can still find a little solace in knowing my busted looks a little better than some people’s best but that’s neither here nor there–we’re talking about self-improvement here) or not fully put together. As my mom says, “There’s nothing like a pretty mama with a pretty baby.” 🙂 And with this also comes inner pretty. I’ve had some good and bad days mentally and emotionally, and I have to try my best to make an effort each day to do what I have to for good days. Learning to forgive, ignore, and focus on the positive isn’t as easy as it can sound, but I have to do what I can to make sure my full person is pretty.

So those are my new goals for the next few weeks. I may even throw in writing a few pages of the book my mom and I started years ago and set aside. But we’ll see. That’s the busy body, gotta pack my day Ranada trying to push through. Being home has taught me to enjoy time, so I need to make sure I incorporate that going forward even when I get back to the A.