I'm honored to include our Mom Next Door this week, Lindsey M, in my interview series. I was first introduced to Lindsey through her blog after I stumbled upon her review of my 25 Rules for Moms with Sons post. I have been a regular reader of hers ever since and I get nearly daily inspiration from the gorgeous way she strings together words and ideas. Her writing about the passing of time in particular, stop me in my tracks and stay on my mind for hours, days, weeks later.
I feel jolts of deep sadness at the sight of my daughter's cheeks after a nap when they look somehow; impossibly so, less like a baby and more like a toddler- surely a change imperceptible to anyone but me. I occasionally find myself mourning moments that have yet to happen, knowing that it will be one of my child's lasts; this fall will be Greyson's last fall before school starts, these next few weeks will be Gemma's last time as the baby of our family. Lindsey's writing encourages me to reflect and recognize the beauty and pain of noticing the passing of time, as she writes about them in a much more beautiful way than they are stored in my own heart. I have linked up some of her writing below in her interview as a way to share some of my favorite posts of hers with all of you.
Please carve out a little time this morning to sip some coffee and read more about both a mom and writer that I much admire.
Who are you? My name is Lindsey Mead, I’m about to turn 40 (eek!) in August. I live outside of Boston and I write regularly at A Design So Vast and for other publications.
Who is in your family? I live with my husband, daughter (11) and son (9)
What do you do for work? I work full-time in financial services.
What has become (at least for now) you're parenting mantra or guiding principle? Be here now. It’s frankly my life principle as well. In the last few years I've become incredibly aware – keenly, painfully, sometimes suffocatingly so – of how numbered are these days, with the four of us living together under one roof, of my children wanting my company, of this particular season of my life. Sure, there are things that aggravate me – every day! – but I want so fiercely to live in these days, to really be here, while I can.
What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood? I think my pre-mom self would be surprised at how completely motherhood has redefined my sense of self. I never really thought about being a mother – I never babysat, I never daydreamed about babies, for example. And my introduction to motherhood was complicated – I suffered from severe postpartum depression that I've written about a lot. Motherhood wasn't as obvious or intuitive as I imagined it would be. But now, deep in it, after almost a dozen years as a mother, I can say unequivocally that being a mother brings me joy I could never have imagined.
Which chore is your least favorite? I hate vacuuming. I’m not entirely sure why but I really don’t like it!
How do you unwind ore re-charge? I read. Most days end with me in my pajamas reading in bed for at least an hour. I get up early, so I go to bed early, which means this pajama-reading usually starts around 8 or . Often my children join me, which is probably my favorite thing in the entire world. I read memoir, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, magazines, everything. I also unwind by going for walks in my neighborhood on which I often take pictures of the sky. This practice – being outside, noticing the world – is hugely calming to me.
What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom? I wish I was more outgoing and a more natural den mother. My own mother is a voracious extrovert who never met a party she didn't want to join or a person she didn't want to get to know better. Our childhood home was an open-door place defined by a bright swirl of friends, family, and activity. I’m much more closed and quiet and I wish I could create more of that loving chaos for my children, knit a wide web of friends and acquaintances.
What do you feel like you are really good at as a mom? There’s no question my family is sacred and I’m pretty sure that my children know that without a doubt. I am pretty good at creating opportunities for us to all be together, whether it’s visiting our favorite beach or picking out a Christmas tree or simply walking around the neighborhood. We have rituals, big and small, which I think of as the scaffolding on which our family life hangs.
Who are the moms you look up to? My own mother. We’re very different in a lot of ways but one of the primary surprises of my own adulthood has been the ways in which I am, as a mother, like her. Not on the outgoing dimension I discussed above, but on others. She’s relaxed and competent and calm, and while I don’t come anywhere near her example I aspire to them.
What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now? Sitting in my bed, with Grace on one side and Whit on the other, all reading our books. Walking around the neighborhood that we know so well and feeling one child slip their hand into mine. Admiring the fledgling independence that I see in each child while also knowing they will come back. Bedtime, which remains a magic time of day, in many ways my favorite of all. They talk to me, they want hugs, the bedrooms are dusky and faint lullabies play. I love bedtime.
What do you miss most from Mom days already gone by? I miss the time when whole days seemed to unspool in front of us, empty, unstructured. Before school and sports practices and homework. When all we had to do was hang out. I miss holding my children, carrying them. I miss their gap-toothed smiles when their front teeth fell out. I miss picking a post-nap sleepy baby up out of a crib. Oh, I miss so much!