James Kicinski-McCoy is a writer and blogger, specializing in strategic marketing and branding, is a co-founder and editor of Mother Magazine, and co-owner and creative director of Two Son. She lives with her husband and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.
Happy sweet sixteen to the one who made me a mother.
It’s funny how emotional I was when I woke up this morning at 6 a.m. to take Julian to school. This is the day that I thought about while I held him as a tiny baby. I would think to myself, “I can’t believe one day you will be 16 and driving a car. I can’t believe one day you will be married and have your own children and I will be a grandma…” It’s all very surreal. Now, years later that first thought is a reality. We’ve been through a lot together. He’s been my main man for sixteen years now, and I look forward to dozens more.
Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. I am going to shoot straight here and tell you all that I am not thrilled. Truth is, I don’t really like my birthday. I, of course, did at one point, when I was a child and a teenager, and even in my early twenties I welcomed it with open arms. I would get so excited and make long birthday wishlists (because presents!) and wanted to have big parties or celebrations that were all about ME. As I get older, the birthday buzz has faded. I tend to not mention it as the thirteenth of August approaches, perhaps in hopes that if we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen. When my husband and friends ask me what I want to do on my special day, I give them an “I don’t know. I’ll think on it.” response. When being honest with myself, I’ll admit, I am scared of getting older. Thirty-seven sounds old to me. It’s hard not to focus on forty-minus-three. Trying to let it all soak in, embrace it, and give myself little pep-talks along the way.
Something I have been working on is putting together a list of little goals for my thirty-seventh trip around the sun. Here are a five of them:
1. Take good care of myself. Exercise, “me time”, eating right, sleep—all that good stuff!
2. Volunteer. My friend Abi works for a great non-profit here called Thistle Farms. I wan’t to get involved.
3. Learn a new skill. I’ve been talking about taking a pottery class for God knows how long. Time to really do it!
4. Record that song I’ve been putting off. I love to sing—always have, but am insecure about doing so in front of people, unless I throw back a couple of kamikazes and get up on a karaoke stage. Time to face that fear and record it, just for fun, just for me.
5. Take my husband and children to Arizona to meet my mom’s side of the family. Family is a deeply personal and emotional subject for me. It’s something I don’t talk about much, but after visiting a couple of months ago just before my Grandpa passed away, I think we all did a lot of healing. Looking forward to what’s to come.
Those are five good personal goals. I am determined to make this 37th year a really fucking good one. Lucky number 7! Happy birthday to me.
Do you ever feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel day in and day out? I definitely do—early to rise, coffee, kids off to school, work all day, kids home from school, various activities and sports, making dinner, eating dinner, bath time, bedtime. That’s a generic breakdown of a typical day, and there is, of course, much more involved, but that pretty much sums it up. The days often get so repetitive that sometimes I feel a little crazy and burnt out.
So, what to do when all you do is go-go-go? You check out! Take a break for sanity’s sake. Whether it’s a long soak in the tub, an afternoon nap, or even something as simple as an unaccompanied errand-run, solo time is something that we all crave and highly benefit from. Something that really works for me is to schedule in my “me time” just like any other important to-do. I literally write in on my calendar and when that time comes, I go and do it. No excuses. It helps me so much and makes me feel less overwhelmed and more balanced.
When we take better care of ourselves, we in-turn take better care others—and get more shit done! Do you get enough “me time” in?
Photograph from The Royal Tenenbaums via Daily Motion.
Saturday mornings are one of my favorite times to spend together with my family. After a long, crazy week of work, school, and activities, we get woken up by the little kids, bright and early for breakfast and Saturday morning cartoons—yes, we still watch them. We watch the classics like Tom and Jerry, Loony Tunes, Garfield and Friends, or the old Micky Mouse episodes on the computer in our kitchen, since the networks no longer air the nostalgic Saturday lineup we adults loved as kids. When I grew up, there wasn’t access to 24-hour, on-demand cartoons and Saturday mornings were really special. I still want that for my kids, even though times have changed, so this small tradition is one that we look forward to and it always starts the weekend off right.
We usually make a bunch of different breakfast foods to cater to each of our likings or cravings week-to-week—eggs, pancakes or waffles, french toast, biscuits, sausage and bacon, skillet potatoes, and cereal and milk. We stay in our pajamas and powwow around the kitchen, talking about our weekend plans, watching cartoons, telling jokes, and playing this Q&A/trivia game that our family loves. Early morning bed-heads, tired eyes, giggles, the smell of fresh coffee, kids helping crack eggs and stirring batter, the sizzle of bacon, an ice-cold bowl of crunchy cereal, drinking the milk out of the bowl—it’s so incredibly simple, but to us this is the good life.
This past Saturday we watched Chip and Dale classics over a bowl of our favorite new cereal from our friends at Annie’s. The kids love the fun bunny-shaped varieties and the cocoa and fruity flavors (as parents, we’re thrilled we found a line that’s certified organic and free from artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives. Pancakes and fruit were part of the lineup, as well as frozen juice pops that we made the night before. We filled molds with oj, apple juice, and chocolate milk. They were the perfect after-breakfast treat. Even Bijou got in on this weekend’s breakfast party—Birdie poured her a tiny saucer of milk.
This upcoming Saturday the big kids fly home from their summer break in Florida, so it’ll be an extra-exciting day for us and our weekly morning tradition will be even better with everyone here.
This post is in partnership with Annie’s Homegrown, a brand we support and have loved for many years. Birdie and Sailor’s pajamas are from Mabo Kids.
1. My baby boy. I can’t believe he is turning four in a couple of months.
2. Sunday cat nap.
3. Summer dress details.
5. Books I love.
6. My Grandpa’s bell.
7. Living in dresses this summer.
8. On my nightstand.
9. A piece of Marfa in our home.