blech (but ultimately yay)

I have felt out of sorts for the last week. Just a general, gnawing anxiety and insecurity that totally blows. And, you know, yes, my hormones are nuts right now but, no, that is not why I am feeling this way. It’s all very annoying and boring to me because these aren’t feelings I often sit with and here I am sitting.

sometimes I feel like face-planted raggedy anne

I am a closure gal. Chat, work it out, move on. But right now, there’s no closure to be had and I am left feeling blech. It’s all surrounding giant changes in my life that, while I am quite confident with my choices, are rocking my current understanding of my world. I am having another kid at which time I am not returning to the museum, where I have poured my heart and soul for seven years. I don’t talk much about work on dig but it is an important part of me. So no closure cause I have to just wait it out and let it happen. No way to know what it’ll be like. No previous experiences to draw from. No way to prepare.

mama, I know you’re exhausted but can we go for a walk?

mama, I know you’re exhausted but can we go for a walk?

I am frustrated with myself even as I write this because, while honest, it doesn’t feel true to me. I also feel shy about complaining when I know I am so fortunate. I am emotional. I am tired. And it is all compounding in these hideous ways like when I feel anxious and tired and emotional I then feel the wrinkles are deeper in my forehead and my thighs touch a bit further down. I question myself in situations I should feel confident in. My house feels especially messy and I am snappier with my kid and my dog and my husband. I don’t like any of it and I can’t wait for the next part when I learn some big lesson that makes all this tumult worth it.

piles of books, Art in America magazines, Chronicles of Philanthropy newspapers, clean napkins and underwear = perfect playground

The area I am so so resolute and confident in is the choice, the result. When I focus on that, I get all zen (0r closer). Life, I am more comprehensively understanding, does indeed pass quickly. Lately there’s been lots of important talk about priorities in our household. I just can’t wait to spend my days writing, making art, sewing, cooking, canning, gardening, all with my children. Going to the library at 10am on a Tuesday. Camping mid-week. Running. I have little nuggets of creative endeavors lined up that’ll provide two necessary roles: stimulating my brain and passions and generating cash money.

And I am trying to just get over the fact that sometimes, when I am so so tired I feel like I could crumble into a heap of goo on my doorstep, I can’t and shouldn’t rally (I am a rallier. I get shit done. I like it.). And that at times I need to sleep hard for nine hours while drooling on my pillow or let Margot throw credit cards and tampons and flip flops all over the house while I sit and sip ice water and take deep breaths. We’re really busy. Right now, in my house and my brain are piles of to-dos all over the place that’ll eventually get done but currently lay in piles because we are focusing on bigger stuff: love, eating, planning, sleeping, walks, art, each other.

amidst the chaos of laundry taking over my home, there’s a kid growing in my body. amazing.

Ah so it’ll pass and I’ll be better for it. Still effing hard. Big changes, changes in identity and purpose, how you answer the question and what do you do? are tough and they should be. So, as much as I can, I am trying to like and grow from the little bit of crazy my life is not-so-gently throwing my way. I’ll get there but I have to work for it. I can feel my core self returning already. I do enjoy a challenge…

33 Responses to blech (but ultimately yay)

  1. lera says:

    Oh, girlfriend, I know exactly what you are going through. I left my job when I had baby #2. And look at me now! A mother of six! Who knew my life would be so much more full and exciting?!?

    Joking aside, it was a very difficult transition going from “someone important” at work to “someone-not-so-important-but-necessary” at home. I wondered for months if I did the right thing. Looking back, I KNOW I did. No doubt about it.

    It will all work out. It might just take longer than you’d like.

  2. info says:

    Hang in there girl. I think I had a bigger bout of freak outs with #2 because I actually had a clue as to the changes that were coming and felt as though I couldn’t handle one more LITTLE thing, much less another BIG one.

    Rest easy in that I will keep finding rooms for your writing. You will find room for everything. And the laundry, well F*@% it.

  3. sarah says:

    wow nics, i had no idea you were going to leave the museum! you’re right, it is hard to imagine, because that place is such a part of you. but i know you’ll figure it all out. did you know that my mom stopped working while grant and i were kids, but then she went back when we got a little older. and i really believe i’m the person i am because she stayed home and hung out with me. and, obviously, did other things too. wow wow wow.
    miss you.

  4. paige says:

    It is a roller coaster… this life thing. We know it will work out in the end, but that doesn’t make it feel any better while you are living through the tough bits.

    And my house is a complete disaster, and I don’t even have one kid or a dog. So you are not alone in the chaos.

    Us creatives have better things to do than tidy and clean.

    love you, hang in there… we’ll be sipping martinis together again soon.


  5. Katie says:

    If anyone can make the jump successfully, it’s your little family. :D

  6. Kelle says:

    big smile. just feeling every single emotion you are feeling to the umpteenth degree right now. even down to the tampons because, swear to god, i let lainey pull every tampon out of the box and unwrap half and throw them the other day because it thankfully occupied her and hey, i’m not gunna need them for months. but yes…if anyone can work it out you will. insecurities are SO a part of life even when you are the last person i would think to find them on. but then again…why not? it’s part of us…women and mamas. and if we didn’t have times of questions and doubt and not liking ourselves at times, we wouldn’t have growth and that beautiful propulsion toward that better version of ourself. i can’t wait to see what your propulsion brings you. you ARE going to do fabulous things in life, i know it! and just like your last essay…fabulous just may be cooking and baking and sewing and being a mama. good will come to you…because you are good, real and inspiring. love to you, my inspiring mountain friend. oh, please remind me to tell you my raggedy ann story. it puts a new twist on a face-down raggedy.

  7. Poppa says:

    I am wondering….no, I am afraid you and my daughter were strangely separated at birth–phantom, psychic twins…but it is good. The same heart that always looks for more will find a way to fulfill it all. And as for the house, remember, someday it will be neat, quiet and orderly…and you will long for the return of these days when Raggedy Ann, crumpled on the flooor, told you that you were home. Thank you for being Kelle’s mystic mirror.

  8. jen says:

    that jump to two … is a reflective time of life. there is so much more than just preparing for a new baby. other thoughts and people … and then it just happens and it is all amazing and wonderful in the end.
    now that you’ve accepted the challenge … i can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
    take care darling.

  9. So I just returned from a walk that was kind of magic in that I happened upon a garage sale with tables and tables of beautiful fabric for mere pennies, but that’s another post… Anyway, checking in and getting these thoughtful comments from people I know and don’t know is so heart-warming it brings tears to my eyes. thanks.

  10. Jean says:

    I love you, Nici. Have you talked with Neysa lately?

  11. TRB Holt says:

    OH my beautiful child….you are an amazing soul! OF course you are tired, you accomplish more in one day than most do in a week. Change is something than can be a bumpy road, but then the light goes on and you know what you decided was the right path.

    I loved being able to be with you and Travis when you were little & throughout your lives. Birthday parties, room mother, Bluebird/campfire leader, Cub Scout den mother, dance recitals, pinewood derbies, science projects, sleep-overs, costume making, track meets, soccer games, softball, baseball, proms, camping, family vacations, swim lessons, ski teams, measles, goodbyes to college, skinned knees, bruised hearts, weddings, grandchildren……I cherished EVERY minute, & still do. Now you too have the privilege of watching your children grow and knowing that how they turn out you played a major roll. Judging by you and your brother….DAMN I did a good job! NOW I get to enjoy it all once again through your eyes and my darling grandchildren.

    xoxo, Mom/Gram

    See you in 16 days, be prepared to be pampered!

  12. Jess says:

    Hi there,
    My best to you and your family – I love your blog! I had to drop in here to add my (or rather someone else’s) two cents. I’m training to be a doctor, and as my class is more than half women, there’s a lot of interest in how to balance the family thing. The women doctors who mentor us, treat patients, and raise their kids keep repeating the mantra, “You can have everything you want in life, just not at the same time.” As I’m not very far into my life I don’t know if it is true, but they seem convinced.

  13. Heather says:

    Hey girl. Thanks for sharing the inside of your brain with your far flung people; it’s a gift to get to know both the easy and the hard of someone living a life so full. Like others here, I add my story of absolutely loving my time with my mom when I was a squeak. Things got crazy and single parenty and overworked and tired when I was 8, but the bedrock of almost a decade of play and snuggle and cook and read and park and library and swimming and and and is no doubt what my entire life is built upon: it is good, strong stuff.



  14. cake says:

    “…but currently lay in piles because we are focusing on bigger stuff: love, eating, planning, sleeping, walks, art, each other…”

    sounds to me like you’ve got your priorities straight.

    i know that feeling of not wanting to complain because you know how good you have it. i appreciate the way you share the hard stuff too.

    i also appreciate seeing those comments about how important the early years are, and a reminder about the value of staying home with your kid(s). sometimes i think i am just goofing off. i forget that there is a little person who will be benefiting from this precious time, for his entire life.

  15. Sage says:

    Oh this is hard stuff! I have managed to work part time, and often feel it is the perfect balance. But often, it is not. I get strung out and over booked trying to fullfill two roles, working woman and mama. I truly enjoy reading about how you balance these things too…..I think it would be very hard and expensive to work full time with two kids. But, things change so fast. In just a few short years they are in school and at that time you may decide to rejoin the work force. Think of it as a temporary redirection….I am sure either way I will always be so inspired by the zest in which you live your life. Just curious, how do you anticipate being able to financially manage on one income? I think my decision to not work would be so much easier if I didn’t rely on the money. I know you had mentioned you were nervous to go from full time to 3/4 time? Is money not a concern anymore? Don’t mean to get too personal, just always interested to see how people work it out. Much luck to you, and I am sure you are headed in a good direction.

  16. me says:

    Hello. Can’t ever thank you enough for articulating the complexities of motherhood. Each time you post on the issue of working motherness or non working motherness it sings right to me.

  17. FinnyKnits says:

    You know it’s baseball season, right?

    That’s what always turns out to be my deal when I’m feeling all out of sorts and out of whack and weird. I’m between football and baseball season and I don’t like it. But then baseball starts and WHAM, I’m back on track.

    I hope, for you, it’s that easy to snap out of. Although, you’ll probably learn a more important lesson than I do.

    And it probably won’t have anything to do with who got brought up from the minors.

  18. I’m off to make some pants and shorts for my girls, inspired by you, dig. Thanks for such honesty- I go to parties with old friends and get the “what do you do?” question from now-PhDs and doctors and such. I am a mother to 2 remarkable girls. It ain’t flashy, but it’s where I am now. I won’t be home forever, but this is exactly where I’m needed now. You have so many great plates spinning- I can’t wait to read about the next chapter.

  19. j.j. says:

    Hey Nici~

    You are so inspiring to so many people…those you know and now some whom you have never even met in person. You have and always will be someone I think makes great decisions based on what is really the best for you. I think you are awesome and doing a swell job on life! xoxo

  20. karen says:

    I just wanted to “second that” to all the other comments. I left my job as a pediatric ICU RN after 5 years and it was so. dang. hard. Seriously, I felt guilty. know how hard I worked to get where I was and the whole feminism thing nagged at me. I also loved my job. But- that disappeared one day as I was biking with my girlie snug in her front bike seat. We were crossing a pedestrian bridge over a highway and it hit me- I’m glad I’m hanging out with this incredibly cool kid rather than stuck in that mess down there. Yes, I miss my job, the kids, the social bonding..but I try to remember my kiddo will only be little once and it’s just so cool to do that journey with her. Yeah, I suck at the housekeeping most days but I’m good at loving my kiddo (and throwing the occasional muffin in frustration). Hopefully she’ll remember the fun times and not the constant messy state (unless we have guests over) of our tiny house. People do comment on how agile she is for her age and I know this is attributed to the unintended obstacle course from her room to our living room! My advice…buy more underwear so you can have longer stretches between laundry days. So, not trying to get all preacher on you, it just seemed like you stole me brain from a year ago and transposed it on this blog! Thanks for sharing this’s fantastic.

  21. Heidi says:

    kelle and i were talking about all of this stuff last night…well, almost everyday. i think we chat of everything you wrote about. it is infused somehow into every conversation ’bout life, love, mama-ing, purpose,…

    i think poppa rik is right, you two were seperated at birth. “mystic mirrors!” love that. so true.

    she sent me over to read what you wrote and it is heart tugging-ly (i make up words sometimes) so open and legit and refreshing to read how you wrote it.

    it is a really tough decision, and sometimes deciding, making it real in your mind happens first, and mourning it for a minute or two is what happens next-it does to me. even though i know what i did or decided is right.

    a new chapter in your life. so exciting and full of your creative inklings and writings. i can’t wait to see it! you offer up so much. you are an amazing-ly rare and genuine person. sending you a huge bear hug from michigan!!!!!

    baby bump…beautiful!

  22. Heres to the wisdom gained while in the challenges of it all.

    I always say I do life five minutes at a time. I have a million projects scattered around the house and in the yard. At this point it is rare that something is finished here in a day. When it is I stand back and smile.
    Little at a time here, that’s how we do it.

  23. Linda says:

    Nici, I am really excited for you. I am sure it will be a little different at first, but I know you will love and treasure your time with your children. I get sad when I think about the things I am missing out on with Ashley and I am only work half days. I am hoping I can do exactly what you do and stay home full time when we have our second. Best of luck to you!

  24. Joan says:

    The bummer part of cleaning the house is that is just gets dirty/messy again in a very short time. I happy to see that there is no mention of dirty dishes in the post. Life is good in that department at least. I hope by the time you read this things have taken a turn for you.

    I remember leaving my chamber job. It was not an easy thing to do after mothering it for all those years. Even after 9 years I still pine for it from time to time at the same time happy to have moved on. We never know what lies ahead but it will be something great. In the meantime have that cup of coffee and let the house and its occupants take themselves for a walk. Well maybe in about a dozen years.

    Maybe you should have a brochure printed and whenever anyone asks “and what do you do?’ you can save you both alot of time by just handing them one only adding that sleeping is not listed and no its not a typo.

  25. Preach it sister! I feel like changes always come in batches now a days. No one or even two at a time, oh no, try 3 or 4 or more. You will get through it and you will (and are) getting shit done. Not to fear, this too shall pass. And if all else fails, drink something yummy with your lady friends in the sunset and it will all feel better!

  26. Wow. wwwooooooow. I am blown away by the response this post have received. Thanks so so much for your comments and e mails. There’s something to not feeling like you are climbing a mountain alone, but, rather, with a pack of amazing women all pushing each other up the steep parts. Cheesy analogy? Perhaps. But, seriously, if any of you are even checking back here, THANK YOU for your encouragement and advice and just generally existing.


  27. TRB Holt says:

    YOU know I am “checking back”!

    xo, Mom….only 12 more days!

  28. Joan says:

    Twelve more days? What’s that mean? Are you due in 12 days?

  29. Michelle says:

    I am on the other side of what you are going through. I have to return to work (soon) while my little ones are still too little. I am realizing how much mommy will be outsourced- things like handmade clothing and homemade foods- my time every day and mama love that no matter where they are, they aren’t going to get anywhere else. I know it is hard to leave your career (I did not so long ago- as an attorney) but you can get it back – later- you can’t get the babies back.

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