Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 110: The One on Muscling Through.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Mini’s Spring Shoes.

I shared some of my favorite sources for traditional baby shoes a week or two back and then invested in a few new pairs for mini’s wardrobe just this week, especially with Easter and a lighter palette for her wardrobe right around the corner. I went with a classic pair of white Elephantito Mary Janes (heads up: these were surprisingly challenging to track down in mini’s size — they seem to be low in stock everywhere), these velcro Supergas in the pretty pink/lavender color (also low in stock), and these linen bow shoes (heads up: in select sizes, you can find this exact pair for nearly $15 less on Amazon). Between these three pairs, I feel like we’ll have casual, dressy, and in-between moments covered for the vast majority of spring outings. Three other pairs I am eyeing seriously but trying to hold off on snagging until a little later in the season (I have a hunch mini will outgrow her current size by mid-summer): these Cientas in the washed denim or the pink (I like the way these look with sundresses and more casual outfits, too) and these blue toile espadrilles (ZOMG).

I also have in my cart a pair of Baypod pram shoes and some Elephanito mocs (somehow marked down to $15?!) for micro’s first “dressy” shoes!

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Celine Trio Crossbody.

The most popular items on the blog this week:

+I referred back to a post on the best bags for everyday adventures and a bunch of you cottoned to the Celine Trio crossbody, which you can still find (gently used) at The Real Real. An incredible snag for everyday. I would love to own one of these elegant classics, preferably in this gorgeous powder blue color.

+An on-trend smocked and puffed-sleeved blouse for the romantic at heart.

+A gorgeous lace midi at a reasonable price — perfect wedding guest or Easter Sunday attire. (And it looks like Self Portrait.)

+A smart solution for bedside cord management.

+A stunning ladylike dress for a Baptism or shower or springtime garden wedding.

+The pointelle sweater you’ve been dreaming of.

+A perfect everyday, every-occasion flat.

+A gorgeous, artful pillow cover to spruce up your home for spring.

+A chic hat for summer adventures (love the pink band).

+Precious (and inexpensive) Easter baskets for your minis.

#Turbothot: Muscling Through.

I was so moved and inspired by the many thoughtful comments, emails, and direct messages I received after sharing an update on this pregnancy earlier this week. Thank you times a million. I heard from several moms who have had multiple c-sections and many of them mentioned that the second recovery was easier — maybe because we know what to expect? Or our bodies recognize the recovery path? Or we are simply too distracted by our children to be able to dwell much on the recovery aspect? (I also personally feel as though motherhood has reconditioned me with regards to my squeamishness around medical and physical issues. You’re wiping butts and cleaning spit-up for a living: you’ve got to adopt a shrugging attitude towards the many emissions of the body.) Whatever it is — I found that remark heavily reassuring. Amidst the many words of encouragement, this stood out to me from one reader:

“In the moment it can all feel so scary. Take it one day at a time and don’t get too far ahead of yourself.”

I have opened up my phone to re-read this note about fifteen times this week. Upon each re-reading, a wave of serenity washes over me. I am reminded of something I told myself in the days leading up to mini’s birth: “you can do anything for an hour.” (I had been told a c-section would last around an hour.) Then, as I lay on the operating table, I found myself thinking: “you can do anything for ten minutes. Just make it through the next ten minutes.” Then: “You can do anything for a minute. Just make it through the next minute.” Then, I finally broke it down into Hail Marys: “Come on, Jennie. You can make it through a Hail Mary.” One day at a time, one minute at a time, one word at a time. It all becomes so much more manageable on those terms.

What a gorgeous reminder of two things: first, to set realistic goals (read: small, measurable ones — which in turn reminded me of my mother’s “one per day” rule) and second, to live in the moment. These are two exceptionally difficult charges during pregnancy, which can occasionally feel like a long and unwieldy sit in a waiting room, spiked with unrealistic expectations, but are more broadly applicable to any particularly fraught or frenetic stage of life.

Sharing this lovely reader’s entreaty in the hopes it might find companionship with one or many of you on this spring Saturday, whether you’re lumbering through the final weeks of your own pregnancy, grappling with a break-up, grieving a loss, or struggling with any personal woe, be it big or small. (There’s no hierarchy of pain on this blog.)

How do you muscle through a tough time?

Blast from the Past.

From “Firsts and Lasts“:

“It feels like yesterday that I woke every morning to the sight of minimagpie’s empty bassinet, its vacancy engendering the deepest sensation of longing and anticipation.  Mini had not yet entered the world, but there it stood–open-armed, waiting, a visual reminder of what was to come.  (As if I needed the cue–my belly growing by the day, her kicks so forceful they sent electric shocks through me multiple times a day.)

These days, I wake to the sight of her empty bassinet, but feel something entirely different.  Most mornings, my eyes travel over it thoughtlessly, so accustomed am I to seeing it there, her existence and all of her paraphernalia so deeply incorporated into the quotidian activities of my life that I barely give it a second thought.  I’m too distracted by her cry, or too tired to think much of anything.  Other mornings, I wake and look at it and fight the urge to cry.  I thumb through pictures of her in it from just a few months ago, her limbs scrawny and her face red and squished and my recollection of this time continues to soften and float, suspended, in a haze of tenderness.

Did I adequately cherish those moments?  Those mornings and noons and nights with her snoozing in it by my bedside?”

#Shopaholic: The Whimsical Raincoat.

+I think mini needs this whimsical printed raincoat for spring. Love!

+If you are attending a horse race with your littles in tow (we went to Foxfield in VA for many years and then the Kentucky Derby a few years back), this is the PERFECT outfit for a mini.

+Dying over this gingham flat!!! (Should have included it in my roundup of spring trends — gingham was one of them.)

+Love this $30 floral/smocked jumpsuit for an easy spring everyday look.

+I’ve worn bare legs a handful of times and am truly astonished by how colorless I’ve become over the winter. Should I try this?

+OMG: in love with this minimalist slide. How chic?! Very MK + Ashley Olson?

+OK. OK. OK. We need to talk about the book Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. A few of you recommended it to me over the course of the last few months and then my sister said she could not put it down. I am blown away by the portraiture. I’ve never met a female protagonist quite like Frances, or a love interest quite like Nick, and the book’s simultaneous sangfroid and candor are remarkable and fresh and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Be warned: there are a lot of explicit sex scenes in it and I would not recommend it to most people for that reason. But the writing is absolutely incredible, I have to say. I’m shook.

+Loving these wood toys from a Russian Etsy shop: keys for an infant and a lace-up activity for toddlers.

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13 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 110: The One on Muscling Through.

  1. Just finished Conversations with Friends per your recommendation and WOW. I couldn’t stop reading it. At on point I turned off my beside lamp, laid in bed for a few minutes, and then turned it back to continue reading until I finished the book.

    I can’t stop thinking thinking about the last line. (What does it mean?) I also can’t decide if I actually like any of the characters…(Does that matter?) Wishing we were real life friends so we could discuss over coffee or tea! Thanks for the recommendation. Xx

    1. I loved hearing this! I’m with you — I just could not put it down. It was bewitching. I was in a fog!

      I can’t figure it out either — but I think in general (spoiler alert for those who’ve not yet read) it’s a fairly optimistic take on love in the modern era. Love is possible in the context of this book, right? More to come — still mulling this over. xxx

  2. I love your advice to take things moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, etc. This approach is so wise! Sending you the best thoughts during the waning weeks of your pregnancy — it will all work out and soon you’ll have your son in your arms!

    Re: Conversations with Friends … I couldn’t resist and picked up a copy earlier this weekend after I DMed you about it. Ha! I’m so excited to read it. xx

  3. I LOVED Conversations with Friends, devoured it. Can’t wait for Normal People in a few weeks.

    I thought Elif Batuman’s The Idiot had a similar tone/mood, with that very restrained kind of emotion and plot unfolding to it. Also, I found myself craving Raymond Carver stories after reading Conversations with Friends; it reminded me so much of his style/tone, and then I read an interview with Sally Rooney and found out he was an influence of hers!

    1. Oh, I totally get Raymond Carver — the detachment! The sangfroid! So interesting. Can’t wait for Normal People, too!

  4. Another beautifully written post and I love the sentiments of both taking it one day at a time and that you can do anything for an hour. Absolutely perfect in the context of preparing to give birth, actually giving birth and honestly, motherhood as a whole.

    On a much lighter note, speaking of minimalist slides,I just bought these and they are great. Super neutral, but the texture makes them a little more interesting. I hadn’t bought anything from BR in ages, but they are comfortable and at 40% off, you can’t beat the price!

    1. Ohh, I love those! I can imagine they’d go with EVERYTHING. A great basic. Love the canvas fabric, too.

      So true what you said about motherhood, too: take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. xxx

  5. Conversations with Friends — yes! The characters and observations were so sharply drawn; I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me, somewhat, of The Line of Beauty (realized I’d left that off my list of re-readables, but it’s up there!). The Brits and their simmering South of France vacations! (I know Rooney is Irish to her core, but the novel felt British to me.)
    Re muscling through — I _try_ to focus on/distract myself with whatever’s going well, and it generally works. Though sometimes a good wallow is just what the doctor ordered (like facing your fears, in a way). Anyways, you’ve got this! And I’m going to refer back to the comments on that post for bolstering when my own time nears.

    1. Thanks, friend — yes, please bookmark that post and visit in the final weeks of your pregnancy. So reassuring visiting with so many fellow women in thought and spirit. We can DO it.

      Also, something you said — “focus on whatever’s going well” — reminds me of another highly helpful thing my mom said to me this week: “Focus less on the birth, more on the baby.” It’s been super useful any time I feel the anxieties crowding into my mind. The birth itself will last max a day, right? (Probably for me, under an hour with c-section.) But then you’ve got your babe…!!!


  6. A follow up to your earlier blog post — My Report from the field re: hospital bag.
    Leaving hospital now after a planned c-section with my 2nd. Really only needed nightgown (I wore a soft button down for easy access) and toiletries. Didn’t shower as both sore and shower super tiny.
    Other – journal, pen, phone charger and baby book (they took his footprints for us), 2 different sized outfits for baby, pillow from home for husband.
    That’s it! Our hospital provided EVERYTHING else — for nursing, pumping, post c-section “things”, etc.

    1. Hi Jenn! WOW, congrats! Hanging in there?! When I read this, I literally stopped and thought about all the moms like you on the other side of things, in recovery, and my heart went out to you.

      Thanks for the recap! Sounds like I’m overpacking, ha. I have it on my to-dos this list to repack my hospital bag to remove all unnecessaries and generate a short list of the last minute things I need to throw in there.


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