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I Should Be Sleeping

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I Should Be Sleeping

Song to Match: "Lately" by Memoryhouse

I should be sleeping, because I’m so tired. The day has been hot and long. I had many important conversations about things that change lives. My daughters used up every ounce of patience I had left in my thirsting body, the one that deals with a chronic pain illness every day, the one that grew them and birthed them and fed them. The one that is passionate and purposeful, gentle and full of all kinds of mystery. The one that’s for sure PMSing.

I should be sleeping, because I’m touched out. The same body mentioned above is aching to lay down with no more than a sheet covering my skin, for comfort reasons more than anything else. Certainly not for warmth. My room is 85 degrees and doesn’t seem to be cooling. When the bodies of my children touched mine today, I inched away because everything intensified. Energies intensified, body temperatures intensified and my perception of the progress of the day intensified. So I told Lorelei to move her small feet away from my legs. I was simply burning. But I felt bad doing this. I should treasure every moment, right?

I should be sleeping, because I’m a badass boss mom who works hard to accomplish her goals and make life better for others. My blog posts are sometimes really long and my work ethic is sometimes unreal, meaning I am undeniably persistent and focused. But this is all good I am told. This will make money. Sleep will not. Sleep is for the weak, right? But I know that I’m strong no matter what, and sleep only makes me stronger, better, funnier, kinder and more efficient. If only my children understood. If only I understood, myself. Then they, and I, would provide my body with rest as soon as it became an option.

I would go to bed at 8:30 p.m.

I would be a morning person.

I would get more done and the mornings would be much smoother.

My body wouldn’t hurt so much.

We’d always be on time to preschool.

I would be patient.

But I, like every woman, have a dark side. A shadow side, if you will. It’s a side of me that prefers the evening and the alone time it brings. It is self destructive in such a way that requires me to persevere against my own desire to defy authority, me being the authority in this situation.

For so long I have guarded myself from all that tries to limit me and apply frivolous rules to all that I do. In giving myself an evening routine, no matter how much I will benefit from it, I feel that I am punishing myself. I should be sleeping, but I should also do whatever I feel like doing. I’m a mother. I’m allowed this time in the evening, when my children are asleep and I am at peace to explore my innermost thoughts and cave in to the slothy couch lover that I sometimes crave to be.

So rather than go to bed at a decent hour that would have an amazingly positive impact on my mood overall, I stay up late reading, taking notes, watching HBO (currently Insecure), watching the news, scheduling various business tasks, responding to emails, responding to texts, sharing uplifting shit with my mom and husband, reminiscing about what I used to do at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, making outlines for my first novel, writing children’s books, eating lots of pistachios, fighting baby fever, shaking my head at another traumatic birth story that’s made the news, or at a Facebook post where hundreds of moms are talking shit to each other.

Sometimes I just do yoga and dance by myself to what Lorelei calls “Buddha Music” (Paul Avgerinos is my fave Pandora station to soothe my fascia to).

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I call a friend. Sometimes, if it’s a significant moon phase, I set intentions or release that which holds me back.

Then, my husband gets home from his late evening at work (which is the only reason I have this kind of indulgent alone time in the first place), and we crawl into bed, wishing we both could have done so earlier.

But, I suppose I could have. The issue is that I don’t let myself.

I can’t decide if this is something I need to change. It’s a battle I’ve fought and lost for years, and it’s also a character trait of mine that doesn’t always seem to serve me well. But does it only seem that way because I am fighting my shadow side, a part of me that I need to nurture in order to fully function as my truest self? Probably. I hope so, because if that’s the case, even if I should be sleeping, it’s totally okay that I’m not. Who doesn’t love an excuse to keep things just the way they are?

But at the same time, I really, really like challenges and coming up with creative ways to get what I want while also doing what’s best from a logical standpoint.

And so, I intend to learn how to satisfy my shadow side during the dark hours of the morning instead of the dark hours of the night. In going to bed earlier and waking up before the sun rises, I will allow myself the darkness my soul needs in order to feel whole. I will use the extra morning hours to welcome the day and set intentions for all that will be accomplished, with love and understanding at the forefront of all I do.

Instead of allowing hungry children to be my incessant morning alarm noise, a digital chime will stir me up and out of my dreams, which I always remember, by the way. I can ease into my wakeful state slowly and purposefully, and then I can read, take notes, watch HBO, watch the news, schedule various business tasks, respond to emails, etc. All will be the same, yet my mind and body will feel heard, respected, loved and cared for.

I also believe that my shadow side will feel inspired and invigorated by this change because, for me, the early hours of the morning remind me of Disneyland. They remind me of waking up early for road trips and weekend plans. They remind me of excitement and happiness. They inspire me in a way that my Self is afraid of.

But really, I should be sleeping, and so I will. At this point, it seems like the rebellious and clever thing to do, and my shadow side never could turn down an adventure. Yes, for me, flipping my routine will be an adventure of the most intimate kind - an adventure of will power, self care and lifestyle changes.

What morning routines make you feel empowered and on task? Any and all advice is welcome. It makes no sense to journey without a map.

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Why Motherhood Kicks Ass

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Why Motherhood Kicks Ass

Ever since I became a mama, I've gone back and forth on whether or not I'm having more fun now as opposed to when I was free to do whatever I felt like doing, when I felt like doing it. Back in the day, I used to go dancing with friends whenever I needed some exercise, and I used to drink white wine every night while I binge-watched Friday Night Lights and How I Met Your Mother...by myself. I enjoyed learning and studying and writing, so I continued to do those things even after I graduated from college. I never cooked though. I totally hate cooking. 

Then I had a VERY important realization. I still do that shit! When I need some exercise, I put on Lorelei and Isla's favorite songs (which are my favorites, because what else would I play for them?) and we dance like crazy people all around the living room until we're out of breath. Major benefit? No creepy dudes trying to touch my butt. And when I'm alone at night when Ryan works, I drink wine and binge-watch all kinds of shows and documentaries, just like before! Except now I drink red wine. That's the only difference there.

Regarding learning, studying and writing, I still do those too! I have spent the last three years writing blog posts and e-books and long-ass Instagram captions while also obsessively studying pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Lucky for me, these three life occurrences are something that will always be happening (during my lifetime at least), and they are all areas that we continue to learn new things about constantly so I won't ever be thirsting for knowledge - I'll probably end up being overwhelmed by it and end up thirsting for more red wine instead.

As far as cooking goes, I bet you're thinking I have to cook all the time now because I'm a mom. Wrong! I'm lucky enough to have a neighbor that likes cooking and invites us over for dinner once or twice a week, and a mom who also likes cooking and invites over for dinner two or three times a week. The other nights are the nights Ryan is home, and he doesn't mind cooking (that's why I married him). So how often do I cook dinner? Negligent amounts of nights. And breakfast and lunch are easily created with non-cook things like turkey and yogurt and cereal and Trader Joe's chicken noodle soup, which is the bomb. 

What I've come to realize is that becoming a mom didn't turn me into someone without a life, and it definitely didn't take away the fun. Everything's just...better. It's better in so many ways. I enjoy dancing sober now and my drinking habits have clearly matured. I created life and I get to watch those lives grow and have fun being silly by my side. I have a family to care for and a small village forming around us. I also have found my life's calling, and I know it's my life's calling because I've spent years pursuing many goals that center on it.

That's why motherhood kicks ass. It's everything and more, and, in my case at least, I'm a much better person because of it. Because of motherhood, I crave life. I focus less on the things I hate about life and strive to create and do more things that I love about life. 

So for those of you considering starting a family but worried you'll never have fun again, don't be. You'll have MEANINGFUL fun, the type of fun that shapes a small person's love for life - and you will never, ever truly regret becoming a mama. It's definitely not an easy role to have, and there are many times you'll cry and scream, "Why is this so fucking hard!?" But after that 30 seconds has passed you'll realize how strong you are, the goodness you are capable of, and your baby will be looking at you weirdly and then flash a big gummy smile your way, and you'll melt a little and move on with your day. Believe me, mama, you can do everything that has been asked of you by the universe that blessed you with your child. Stay strong. You have the strength of every mother before you holding you up. 

kaitlin coghill doula writer be always blooming

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Double

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Double

One year ago, I wrote about one of the most intense weeks of my life. When I was three months pregnant with Isla, I witnessed a birth, grieved a death and cared for Lorelei while she endured Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (which I then caught myself). We traveled to Orange County before the illness and were able to spend some much-needed quality time with Ryan's side of the family. It was my mother-in-law's father who had died, and we were blessed with the opportunity to say goodbye to him hours before he passed. 

This year, Ryan's family gathered at his mother's home to honor her father's life. Because Ryan was coincidentally given an extra two days off of work that same weekend, we decided to take advantage of the four-day weekend and have a mini vacation with our two girls. Isla would be meeting many family members for the first time, so the trip was meaningful on a variety of levels. 

I wish I could say it was an incredible trip and everything was super awesome and perfect, but it had THE worst beginning - worse than any bad vacation I've ever had before. We decided last minute to leave a day earlier than originally planned, but, due to bad timing, we ended up leaving right before rush hour. This caused our travel time to double, and we didn't arrive at our destination until 8:30 p.m., which brings us to a total of five hours in the car with a potty-training toddler and a baby. Word to the wise - never drive through Los Angeles on a Thursday, and bring lollipops if cry-worthy traffic is unavoidable. I also wouldn't recommend leaving during a full moon, let alone a Blue Moon, because you're basically asking for shit to get weird.

The Blue Moon taunting us toward the end of our incredibly long drive.

The Blue Moon taunting us toward the end of our incredibly long drive.

After a bad first day of travel, things improved immensely. Lorelei became besties with a Chihuahua named Dolce and, later on in the day, a cat named Simba; we got to sleep in a fluffy king-sized bed; and I woke up to enjoy a delicious home-cooked breakfast that was made by someone other than myself.

The girls and I spent the rest of the day with Auntie Taylor (Ryan's sister), and we checked out sea lions and tide pools (or "party water" as Lorelei decided to call them; photos of this excursion are at the end of this post) while our husbands surfed for hours upon hours. After reconvening, we drove to my mother-in-law's together for the gathering, and we enjoyed the company of family we wish we could see much more often than we are currently able. 

The day as a whole was slow, deliberate and fulfilling - despite the fact that it took almost three hours to get Lorelei to fall asleep come bedtime. She was so amped on life after spending the entire night re-telling stories of mine as though the events had happened to her. It was highly entertaining, and I couldn't help but let her stay up way too late just to hear her sweet voice compose all kinds of fiction for her loving, kind audience.

After the majority of the extended family went home, my mother- and sister-in-law joined me to view the Blue Moon that was hanging over us that night (so-called because it was the second full moon in one month). It was beautiful, powerful, huge and probably the main reason things had been so "off" for us the day before. I embraced it, came up with a few thoughts about things I'd like to release to the powers that be and went back inside to finish my wine and pass the fuck out. 

My crap photo of the Blue Moon that I insist on publishing to prove to myself that I'm not scared of future full moons. 

My crap photo of the Blue Moon that I insist on publishing to prove to myself that I'm not scared of future full moons. 

We spent our final day in Orange County slowly, yet again, enjoying coffee and breakfast in the backyard with my in-laws, watching Lorelei play, relaxing while Isla napped next to a beautiful succulent arrangement, avoiding an overly friendly bee, holding an ice pack to Lorelei's head after she ran into a closed sliding glass door and trying to decide if we should leave early, or if we should go to the beach and leave at bedtime so the girls could sleep on the way home.

Obviously, because we're not dumb, we chose the latter, and it was awesome/the only thing that really went completely right all weekend. 

Enjoying the warmth of a wind-free beach day is so, so good for my soul. I was able to sit and relax with a margarita while two extra pairs of hands helped Ryan and I take care of our babies. Lorelei bonded with her aunt and uncle, she figured out how to have fun without any beach toys, she got her hair wet in the ocean and went deeper into it than ever before. Isla napped peacefully in her own beach chair to the sounds of waves crashing and people living happily outdoors. We stayed as long as we could before having to return to the responsibilities of real life, and one last long drive home.

We returned to the beach bungalow from whence we came, and I took a bath with the girls before we dressed them in jammies and fed them as much as possible in preparation for our final adventure. Had it not been for an unexpected detour, they would have slept the entire way home. Instead, both girls woke up, resulting in a mini cry-it-out session for Isla and all of us listening to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on repeat for Lorelei until she fell asleep again.

Thankfully, we made it home safely at a decent hour; both girls transferred to their beds easily without waking; and Ryan and I were able to binge-watch some Seinfeld before finally going to sleep in our own bed once again. 

Normal life resumed the next day, and I felt much like I did when Isla was four months old and thoughts of a third baby entered my mind before quickly receding in fear - I knew I would travel with my children again one day, but it definitely won't be anytime soon. That being said, we love our Orange County (and beyond) family so much. You're all welcome at our home anytime! 

Side note: the number two won't be a chosen number on any future Lottery tickets. 

laguna-beach.jpeg

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