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  • Avery Garn

Infants and Intentions

“‘Nostalgia is the suffering caused by our unappeased yearning to return. Whether or not,’ he said, ‘the home we long for ever existed.’" ― Meg Mason, Sorrow and Bliss

We celebrated four years of marriage in December. I spent most of 2021 grieving the end of life as we knew it, life just the two of us. I loved everything about being a post-grad, newlywed: living in a tiny apartment, having no homework, sleeping in on Saturdays (RIP).

Unpacking said tiny apartment the day after Christmas 2017.

I was nostalgic for our life without children before we had a child. I feared I would miss life pre-parentood.

But, unsurprisingly, what they say is true; babies are awesome. Eliza has been a welcome change, a beautiful [seismic] shift in our daily lives.

And she's pretty cute.

On my very first day as a working adult in the fall of 2017, a devotion was given on “The Tyranny of the Urgent”. I had never heard this philosophy before, and I found it strikingly accurate.

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Parenthood has a way of forcing one to reevaluate the important.

And apparently this is the part where I transition to Unsolicited Advice on How To Mom in 2022.

I read a mom blog that claimed the months after baby are the months you can be most up to date on social media and the most connected with followers.

And that was the part where I threw up in my mouth.

I knew I did not want to look back on this season as one where I was most connected with the world, but with my daughter. So I resolved to focus on this fleeting season, because everyone says it's fleeting. I wanted to choose presence over connection. The face of my daughter, not the faces of my friends’ daughters. I wanted to choose the important, not the urgent.

So I made some rules for myself because I like rules. If you’re like Clint and don’t like rules, call them ideas.

1. No phones while feeding

The majority of my day is spent feeding Eliza. Well, not the majority, but a minimum of three hours. I named this time a no phone zone. While Eliza is eating, I can watch TV, read a book, have a conversation, but I am not scrolling, which brings me to my next rule.

2. Read and feed

My favorite thing to do while Eliza feeds is to read. It’s become the highlight and most rejuvenating part of my day. One way to read more in 2022? Have a baby and breastfeed.

3. Chores = Play time

Marie Kondo advises that chores can be activities for children, like reading books or playing games. So Eliza and I talk colors while folding laundry, name utensils while emptying the dishwasher. Our latest activity consists of me hosting a cooking show; it's highly entertaining for at least one of us.

3b. I also heard of using the washer and dryer as a screen-alternative for children. This sounded dumb, so we tried it. Eliza was mesmerized by the tumbling clothes. We sat in the laundry room floor and watched the sweaters and socks go by.

I’ve chosen the word slow as my “word of the year” for the past two years. And it’s the same sentiment this year: mindful. So here’s to mindfully folding the laundry, washing the dishes, looking your child in the eye. Because

If we want to live our best life ever, we must first aim for a good one. Return your grocery cart to the corral. Look the barista in the eye. Plant a walnut tree. Ladle at a soup kitchen. Clap for the street performer. Smile at a stranger. Set the table. Shovel the sidewalk. Rock the baby. Wander the trail. Leave milk for the stray. It’s not a side hustle. It’s the whole good race.

From one of my very favorite articles "You Don't Have to Play Big" by Erin Loechner.



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