I saw this on the way to work this morning.

Simple concept, to be sure, but it was so lovely and so easy to implement that I just had to share.

Frugal, utilitarian, and elegant. So very Maine.



We’ve had a few hard days this week. Nothing terrible has happened. There have been no catastrophes outside the fairly minor (and oft repeated) issue of hitting the snooze button seventeen times. But the days have still been hard.

Last Friday, Henry came home early from daycare with a fever and with reports of diarrhea. All has righted itself now, but I think this first baby sickness triggered a disturbing thought: am I doing right by my son by working all day, every day?

It was all the classic separation anxiety stuff–Why am I not at home with him? How could I leave his care to someone else? Does he even know that I’m his mother? You know, the standard sprinkled with a liberal application of guilt, guilt, guilt. I think I escaped much of this early on after returning to work, only to have it rear its ugly head now.

So what about you? How do you cope with being away from your little one? Is it worth it?

I’ll be collecting tidbits of advice and reposting them in another entry, so advise away!

Did you feel the need to buy the biggest and shiniest baby stroller out there? How much did you (or a friendly gift-giver) spend on yours? How much have you used it?

It’s not that Simon and I didn’t want a stroller, or would have turned our noses up at one, but we just sort of never got around to getting one. More importantly, we never got around to needing one. Instead, we wore Baby H. A lot. And he loved it. He dozed, cuddled, snoozed, cuddled, slept, and cuddled. And we scampered blithely about from restaurant to cafe to store to more restaurants and even more cafes. No problem.

But then he became aware of his surroundings. Then he learned to keep his head up. Now, he’s taken to leaning out of the Baby K’tan wrap we stuff him into in an attempt to observe/explore/conquer his environment. While the wrap is absolutely secure, it still feels to me like he’s going to topple out of it at any second.

So, we went and bought a stroller for $17.99. Go us.

Yeah, it’s pretty standard. Umbrella. Fire-engine red. No frills. And the best $17.99 we’ve spent so far. It doesn’t off-road too well, which is where the oversized, stub-your-toe-on-it-every-time-you-walk-past stroller comes into play, and for off-roading occasions I wouldn’t mind having one. But baby wearing has gotten us this far, and I suspect it will get us much farther.

If you’ve never considered baby wearing, you should check it out. It’s cost-effective and keeps down the clutter in your mudroom. Oh, and you never have to worry about fitting that baby wrap into the trunk of your car, or stress over whether it’s going to crowd the diners next to you in a restaurant.

Besides. Your you and your baby look badass doing it.


Since giving birth to Baby Henry last November, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back in shape. By “toying,” I mean signing up for a gym membership (year-long commitment) and buying new yoga pants (yes, size large). I’ve been three times since. No, wait…four. The journey is a slow one.

I had a wonderful plan all worked out. Two or three times a week, I’d get up at 4 a.m., nurse Baby Henry, kiss the husband goodbye, put on the coffee, and dart off in the dark of pre-dawn to the gym. I did this twice, and it was actually very pleasant. And then I got home with only 45 minutes to spare before I had to have myself and Baby Henry fed, dressed, ready for the day. Not okay. Simon is a great partner in this, but we never really got the timing down.

So, okay. I’ll go after work.

Yeah, right.

By the time I get home, it’s usually about 5 o’clock. Not so bad for a working mother, but once I or Simon pick up Baby Henry from daycare, we have all of three hours to spend with him before Baby Henry turns into Baby Hyde. Oh, yes…And dinner. Laundry. Dishes. And wasn’t I supposed to be a writer, too?

So, what to do?

Step 1: Suppress the guilt

Being a results-oriented semi-high-achiever, I create and carry with me a Judgment Zone that I not only inflict on myself, but on other people, too. But since Baby Henry’s birth, I’ve found that the things that drag me down emotionally (not going to the gym, not working on my fiction, not having enough breast milk, not being able to be a stay-at-home mom), really don’t hold as much weight as they once did…

…Until they do. Then, they are the worst things ever.


Step 2: Try again

Trying again is a lot easier when one doesn’t feel guilty for not trying hard enough to succeed the first time around. I’m not sure if this means that I don’t care. Or perhaps it means that I’ve reached a healthier mind-set. Or maybe it means that I’m doomed before I even begin because I won’t be so hard on myself when I choose to hit the snooze button for the 8th time. But, I’m not living with the guilt anymore, which does indeed make me happier. So what if I’m 20 pounds heavier than I’d like to be? Is it anyone’s business but my own?

Snooze button successfully hit.


Step 3: Try again (for real this time)

Yeah, it’s freaking hard to get myself up to go to the gym. Especially when it’s still dark out, and Baby Henry has just finished nursing and he’s cooing and cuddling next to me in bed. And Simon’s on the other side of me, snoring softly and smelling of woodsmoke and cinnamon. But I will try again. Because ultimately, I want to be lighter, healthier, and unencumbered–both by guilt and these extra 20 pounds. Soon enough, Baby Henry will weigh 20 pounds. And not far after that, a brother or sister may be coming along.

And I want to be ready for both.

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