Although I already have several blogs, I believe this to be the most important one (at this time in my life anyway). I guess I’ll begin with an introduction to who I am. My name is Carrie Wells. I work for a non-profit organization in South Florida — Abi’s Place. We provide educational and therapeutic services to children with disabilities. My role there is somewhat complex and not easy to define. Last year I was the school’s lead teacher, but after going on maternity leave, I became the school’s grant writer. I am starting to come back to fill many director-type roles, such as evaluations, paperwork, school tours, interviews, mentoring, etc. I am also a graduate-level instructor through the University of Phoenix.
A year ago, I felt very defined by my career. I am also a wife to a wonderful husband named Richard, a pescetarian (and foodie), and a huge fan of MAC Cosmetics. But then something amazing happened… something that changed so many of my beliefs about life and love. I gave birth to my beautiful, healthy, happy daughter Lydia Marie on September 2, 2009.
People always told me that having a child changes you. And while at the core I am still the same dorky girl who got picked last for kickball in elementary school…and the middle-schooler with braces…and the pseudo-goth college freshman at UF, I have been transformed. My mom’s friend used the word “softened.” I’ll take that.
I have always been critical of others, one of my downfalls. But I have learned how to take the idea of being a critic, and make it into something that is meaningful for my family. Becoming a mother has made me think about every moment of my life. Is this the BEST thing I could be doing right now? Am I eating what I should be? How could this conflict have been avoided? Could this be reused/recycled? What can I accomplish today that is meaningful to myself, my family, my community? I hope this blog can be just that.
I became the mother I never knew was in me. Here are some ideas that I very surprisingly have ‘attached’ myself to:
*Breastfeeding – 6 months already, another 6+ months to go!
*Co-sleeping – I always thought parents who allowed their children to sleep with them were suckers. And for some parents who co-sleep, they are suckers. They do it because they don’t want to ‘deal with’ their child crying or having to get out of bed during the night. I do it for what I believe to be the right reasons – simply put, Lydia is my family. She’s a part of me, and I would like to have her by my side until my husband and I feel she’s ready to transition to her crib.
*Holding – When Lydia was first born, I used to put her in the car carrier a lot. This is what I had seen other people doing, and she seemed to be sleeping comfortably, so I thought this was okay. But then I thought about this…car carrier. Shouldn’t that be left IN THE CAR?! That’s when I realized the importance of holding her. Whether using my arms or some other carrying device, I want her close to me. Why push her away now? She has her whole life to gain independence. Now is the time when it’s okay to keep her close as often as I believe to be appropriate.
*Organic flow – As an adult, I became very scheduled, mainly for two reasons: 1. I like to believe I am organized, and this aids in my organization. 2. Children with autism are very routinized. They are taught to follow schedules, they tend to be rigid in their thinking and avoid change, and they thrive when provided with consistency. Being around this population for many years, I think I began to cling to some of their tendencies. As a parent, I have made a conscious effort to avoid real scheduling. Of course, we have doctor appointments, I work part-time, I make ‘dates’ with my friends…but when it comes to sleeping and eating, I like to allow Lydia to let me know when she is ready. Again, she has her entire life to follow rigid schedules…why should she now? Our bodies tell us when we’re hungry and sleepy, and we should learn to listen to them. It’s when we’re deprived of those two things that we generally don’t function as well as we could be.
*Healthy eating – This is something I have always tried to do. Yes, I am guilty of eating the occasional frozen meal or big pile of french fries, but I make a good effort to shop at farmer’s markets or Whole Foods or Fresh Market or the local fish store. I want to buy organic produce and wild seafood. I want to know that what I am putting into my body (and the bodies of those who I love) is fresh and flavorful and good for us. Cooking has always been a passion, but I think this has become even more important to me now that I am a mother.
So, that’s a little about me. From this point forward, I will probably post more about events I attend, stores or websites I visit, maybe some recipes, and anything else that seems worthwhile and relevant.