Growing up I never imagined I’d be a stay-at-home-mom. I grew up in the outskirts of Washington, DC in the 90s and was surrounded by mothers that worked, many of them single mothers with out a choice. When I was in 8th grade we had to write an essay about what we imagined our daily lives being like in 15 to 20 years. I wrote about being a mother to five children (two of them twins) with a great teaching career. It must have been a lucrative teaching career because in my essay I very specifically describe my fashion-forward outfit, which you would think was all I really cared about.
Even when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t think I’d be a stay-at-home mom. I was in my last semester of college at the University of Hawaii. I was still looking into summer internships, knowing that my daughter was due in early May. I thought I’d have a few weeks at home with her and then go back to work. I had no clue.
Nursing my newborn daughter while studying for a final
My daughter was born ten days before I graduated from college. I actually took her with me to one of my last finals. I was adamant about breastfeeding so there was no other option but to nurse her outside my class before the final, leave her with my mother while I took the test, and come outside and nurse her again. I like to think I gave the freshman a reminder of the importance of birth control that day.
After the excitement of her birth and graduation was over, the family had gone back to the mainland, and her father back to a crazy work schedule, I suddenly found myself in a very strange place. I had a college degree. I had been working since I was 14, the youngest age I could get a work permit in my home state. But suddenly I was at home alone with a newborn, nursing for what felt like 20 hours a day, changing diapers, and figuring out the mysteries of why 3-week-old babies cry … a lot. Needless to say, it was a completely different world. But the idea of leaving my daughter for more than an hour was something I wasn’t ready to face. My big plans were going to have to wait.
Often times, what made my daughter stop crying in those early weeks, was a calm walk outside. Luckily Hawaii yields itself to this kind of activity year round. So many times, when the 6 o’clock gassy colic witching hour hit, I’d hold her close, or carry her in the Moby wrap, and calmly walk around the grounds of our apartment building till she quieted, relaxed, and enjoyed the fresh air with me.
Now, there are people, my daughter’s father is one of them, who are perfectly content to spend an entire Sunday relaxing indoors. I am not one of those people. The idea of spending an entire weekend with out leaving the house is enough to bring me to tears. But here I was by myself with a newborn, spending day after day after day in our apartment, and I knew there was more to motherhood than Beverly Hills 90210 reruns and laundry.
Who me? I never get cranky in my stroller!
She was too young to play on a playground. I wasn’t comfortable enough nursing her without a nursing pillow which pretty much prevented any activity that was longer than a half hour (she was THAT kind of nursling). And what if she had a blow-out diaper? What if she started crying and wouldn’t stop? What if we were a mile from the house and she decided to have a meltdown about being in the stroller?
One day, when my daughter was about 3 months old, I decided to try out Stroller Strides, which is an excellent way to lose the baby weight with out having to find a babysitter. I was nervous about going. What if she wanted to nurse while everyone was exercising? What if I’m late because she needs a change right as I’m leaving? What if she’s cranky?
Then my sister gave me some surprisingly excellent advice considering she doesn’t have any children yet:
“If you’re not ready to go… just go anyway. Just grab the baby, get in your car, and leave.”
And so I did.
Stroller Strides was great. We did exercises in Kapiolani Park, perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Waikiki. We pushed the babies along the water and I didn’t feel pressure to run even though some of the mothers were running. And when my daughter started to cry and wanted to nurse, I saw another mother pull her son out to nurse right in the middle of the park, so I felt comfortable to do the same. Afterward all the mothers got their babies out of the strollers and did abdominal work on blankets in the grass just yards from the stunning beach. The babies were happy, my daughter was happy, and the mommies – who now could relax and chat while they changed any wet diapers – were happy too.
The truth is I don’t feel like I’m alive if I’m not enjoying life. Motherhood is one of the most important, and yet, under-appreciated jobs that exists. We’re responsible for getting the next generation off to the best possible start. In short we’re responsible for the future. And it can be easy to lose sight of yourself and the empirical and proven human need to have fun, when that responsibility feels so great.
But we need to have fun. And our keiki need to have fun. And life is just better when we’re excited about something. Even when my daughter was an infant and we didn’t get out a lot, I used to always tell her “Alright, Baby, We’re going on an adventure!” every time we went on a well-baby visit or to the grocery store. So that’s how I look at life. There’s adventure and fun all around us, we just have to embrace it.
Even four-week-olds can enjoy putting their feet in the sand
This site is as much for mothers as it is for the keiki. Countless studies show two things.
1. Children who are exposed to a wide variety of healthy stimulation in their early years often grow to become more creative and intelligent adults.
2. Happy mothers make happy children.
So I’m going to explore this island, and share what I find with you, so your family can take some adventures of your own.
It’s also important to note that this site is not just for stay-at-home mothers, or even mothers in general. Anyone caring for someone young, or even just the young at heart can hopefully benefit from some of the hidden treasures this island has to offer.
Hopefully you can find some of these informative reviews useful, and please email any suggestions for places I haven’t yet visited so I can add them to the site.