about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



One Year: Motherhood.

(…continued from part one!)

It’s hard to know where to start when writing about the first year of motherhood.  It has been such a roller coaster ride, and honestly, the beginning feels so foggy now. 

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I have always wanted to be a mom.  Certain parts of the role intimidated me – like the giving birth part, and then the whole being responsible for another human thing.  I had a good bit of experience going into it.  I was a nanny to an infant for the first year after college, and I also helped a lot with my little sister (ten years younger then me).  So while I knew a little bit about baby care, none of that could have prepared me for the all consuming love that is motherhood.

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One of the things I often though about during my pregnancy, was how I would be as a mother.  I don’t mean how I would be – like good or bad – but more – what kind of mom would I be?  There was a time in my life, quite a few years ago, where I struggled with a lot of anxiety.  It was confusing, often scary, and many times paralyzing.  It took a good bit of soul searching to resolve, but I’m happy to say that it has been behind me for a while now. 

Part of that journey involved learning how to identify things that would potentially make me anxious or worried.  Of course, during my pregnancy, there were countless things to worry about!  But I hoped that I was mentally prepared to handle the stresses and unknowns of parenting.

Once Cullen arrived and we adapted to our new role as parents, I honestly ended up surprising myself.  I have been way more laid back and relaxed about parenting than I ever expected.  That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days, and don’t get super frustrated sometimes.  But for the most part, I’ve learned to go with the flow and just enjoy it.

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I thought I would be the type of mom who called the pediatrician over every bump, bruise, and behavioral change.  And I thought I’d be a germaphobe, a hoverer, and a micromanager of all things parenting.  And while I have certainly had a few minor freak outs, for the most part I’m pretty easy going.  It’s a nice change.  It feels very freeing.

As far as being a stay at home mom goes, I decided pretty early on that even though the title is “stay at home” – we were going to do anything but.  I know there are different schools of thought on this – some people hibernate for the first few months, and some moms prefer to keep things on a tight schedule.  But I learned pretty quickly that being a control freak only led me to frustration.

I took Cullen to Starbucks when he was three days old.  And every day since, we’ve been out and about – enjoying and exploring the world.  He’s an incredibly social little guy, and I can tell he gets restless and bored if we’re at home for too long – just like me.  We have an incredible group of friends who have become a second family this year.  I can’t say enough about the bond between moms at this stage (and likely at any stage) of motherhood.

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I haven’t had much alone time, or time for personal hobbies and things this year.  That’s something I’m try to improve as things move forward.  But honestly, I really really love being at home with Cullen, so it doesn’t really bother me.  I’m planning to do another “day in the life” type of post soon, showing a bit more of what we do at this stage.  Staying home with him has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  I know it’s not for everyone, and that doesn’t mean that some days don’t feel very very long, but I also know that these earliest years are just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.

One year later, I look back at photos of Cullen as a newborn, and think about those early weeks and months.  I feel sad that I have already forgotten so much.  One of my favorite parenting clichés is that “the days are slow, but the years are so fast” – and man, is it so true already. 

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I have bad days here and there.  I get overwhelmed and stressed, I take it out on Cullen and Casey, and I huff and puff and think that there’s no way things will ever be better.  And then I have a good day.  Followed by lots and lots more good days.  It’s easy to let the hard days stand out in your mind, but I go to bed every night and remind myself just how damn good the good is.  It’s the kind of good you can feel in your bones. 

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When I was pregnant, people told me I would be tired.  That breastfeeding would be a challenge, that baby clothes would be outgrown instantly, and that little boys pee in your face during diaper changes.  But no one told me that the first year of parenting can involve both the brightest – as well as the toughest – times in a marriage.

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I have always believed (and still do, actually) that Casey and I have a really special relationship.  Meant to be, soul mates, and all that fluff.  Long before becoming parents, I also knew that when we were good we were really good, but when we were bad we sure knew how to battle.

Become parents together has strengthened that bond tenfold, and deepened our relationship to levels I didn’t know existed.  I can feel Casey squeezing my hand during labor.  I can see him sniff Cullen’s hair when he kisses his head.  I can hear him reading a bedtime story through the other side of a closed door.

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But it wouldn’t be fair to reflect on this year and only mention the parts that make it into photos.  Between long days, late nights, and little relief, it is easy to let things like resentment and competition creep into a relationship.  We went through a few months that were really tough.  But we kept working at it – determined to learn to be better.  Better communicators, better spouses, better parents, better people.

While I certainly wish I could take back some of my harsher words, I know we are both much stronger for having gotten through it.  I learned a lot about my husband and my relationship, and subsequently – about myself – in the process.  I know there will be more challenges and hurdles that lie ahead, but right now it’s all warm and fuzzy.

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And I think really, that’s the big takeaway I have at the one year mark.  I could go on and on for pages about every detail of parenting and motherhood.  But really, it all comes back to one thing – it’s been a pretty incredible year.  Not a perfect year, but really really good. 

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And so I’ll wrap these ramblings up with one more thought…

My favorite time of day with Cullen is first thing in the morning.  He greets me with a huge, playful smile, and throws his arms around me when I lean down into his crib.  He spends the first half and hour or so of each day playing in his sunroom.  I sit back and lean against the wall, still waking up from what never feels like enough sleep.

He plays independently – stacking cups, moving blocks, stacking puzzle pieces.  The blue peg in the yellow cup.  The red block on the windowsill.  Stack, stack, tap, tap.  I sit and watch him, and think about how beautiful it is to have the innocence and purity of a one year old.  He knows enough to feel happiness, joy, and laughter.  But he’s still naïve enough to never feel self-conscious or embarrassed.  He doesn’t care that he’s in a big goofy diaper, or that he has outrageous bed head.  He’s at this amazing age where he seems to only be able to soak up the good.

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As parents, we assume that we are the teachers.  Our job is to guide, to nurture, and to support.  So that is what we do.  But I realized this year that Cullen has plenty to teach me too.  He has taught me to slow down, to let go, to brush off the bad, and to soak up the good. 

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Here’s to the first year of many!

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119 Comments so far
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Laura     at 8:39 pm

Honestly, that was just such a great, heartfelt, make me smile post.

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Tae     at 9:08 pm

This post made me tear up! I have a 9 month old and am already emotional about him turning one. What a year it has been so far! The part about you and Casey was so nice to read and I can relate. Thanks for opening up about the truths of motherhood!

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Jess     at 10:52 pm

Wow! Your words are so beautiful–I loved your postpartum posts. And I appreciate your honesty. I’m a new momma myself and this new role is so rewarding, but so hard. Also, I’m quite amazed by how you find the time to write such wonderful posts :)

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Caroline     at 5:23 am

My favorite post, not just of your blog, but of any. Your honesty is so refreshing. Unlike some other blogs that are crowded with ad links and seem designed primarily to boost the egos of the authors, the joy you get from motherhood, outdoor life and healthy cooking radiates from the pages.

My daughter is 6 now and reading your blog reminds me of the happy, careening toddler she was and the conflicting emotions I experienced going through those early years. I can tell you that it gets even better, if you can believe it! Soon Cullen will be able to tell you what is putting such a big grin on his face.

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Marisa     at 7:52 am

Beautiful.

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie     at 1:46 pm

You’re gonna make me cry with this post!

It’s true, parenthood makes or breaks your marriage. I think because as a parent your priorities are made for you and if your spouse disagrees there’s really no place for it…

My first year of parenting was so easy that it didn’t prepare me for giving birth a second time. Not only was my second son high needs but the amount of energy it took to care for him AND my two year old was so overwhelming that I definitely had some serious melt downs. My husband was such a key factor in the second labor and delivery as well as the months that have followed that I am so truly grateful we’ve taken this path. We’re stronger and certainly more in love than ever.

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Katie J     at 2:42 pm

A beautiful beautiful post!

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Marci     at 7:55 am

I love your motherhood posts. I feel very similar on many things but don’t put them into words as well. I find when I look back to before becoming a parent that I had no idea what to expect and no idea to even think of what kind of parent I would be. It is nothing like I imagined and a lot more frustrating but fun.

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adnana     at 8:14 pm

Nice post. I will tell you something that you might not really like. You may choose not to display this comment. For future, do not under any circumstance disclose personal information. It s for your own good. Even if you go through harsh times, do not share it. Because people are mean and judgmental. It will be easier for you to get through hard times without the meanness of other people. That s what my mom taught me, and she was, oh, so right. Otherwise, you are truly blessed with a healthy boy(so many moms struggle with sick kids), a good looking husband;) and a nice place to live. That s more than a lot and many people dream to have what you have. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your blessings!

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ANH     at 8:35 am

Such a beautiful post. You are so good with words. Congratulations on a wonderful year to you and your family!

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Shannan     at 11:43 am

Great post! It’s so nice to hear an honest account of motherhood. Sometimes people make it look so easy, but it’s nice to admit there are hard times as well. I can see how the good times would definitely outweigh the bad!

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AutumnTao     at 12:02 pm

Aaaahh.. a breath of fresh air. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog Emily. I’ve been reading for years and have taken many recipes from your kitchen, and now I am taking in all that you offer as a mom. I’ve got a little guy just about to turn 4 mo and find myself struggling some days. Reading about your day to day life helps me realize more and more that parenting is the toughest job in the world, and every day won’t be easy breezy. I, too, continue to work on being the best mom and wife every day. In a time where I find myself deleting beloved bloggers from my reader bc they present a very rosy picture of motherhood that makes me feel a tad inadequate, I turn to your posts more for a realistic depiction of family. Cheers to you. You are an amazing girl ;)

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melissa     at 2:43 pm

Honest, raw and beautifully written Emily! I’ve followed your blog for several years now, and enjoyed many of your recipes. I’ve enjoyed reading about your life as a new mom, and watching your sweet little guy grow.

Your openness and honesty is so refreshing! :)

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Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction     at 6:00 am

I have been following your blog ever since before Cullen was born. It is so facsinating to see him grow up and to watch him change as you parent him. You are a great mother Emily, you should be very proud!

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Carrie @ The Cook's Palette     at 12:33 pm

Love this so, so much. Lovely reminder to always focus on the good.

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Claire     at 6:16 am

Emily, I have been reading your posts for the last year and a half, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. However, this post was the most perfect post you’ve written. I surely appreciate your candidness; you have such a beautiful life, and it looks even more so with the struggles revealed. Thank you.

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Lara     at 4:58 pm

I loved reading this. It’s been so great to share in your parenthood journey. It makes me wish I would have documented G’s early days and weeks better. I think I’ll start doing a monthly update now…it’s never too late, right? I was just such a mess in those first few months :/

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Karrie Carr     at 7:05 am

So beautifully said! Made me tear up!

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Heather     at 10:58 am

Reading this again 2.5 years later, and now with my own little one, it tugs at my heartstrings that much more. I love the way you write and your honesty towards life. Thank you for blogging!

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