The Truth

In case you missed it on Instagram

last week, i tried to text my mother in law while cooking omelettes and knocked the salt mortar all over the floor. we’ve been fishing himalayan grains out of our toes for days. both dogs are after the floorboards like wild deer to an abandoned salt lick.

the truth is, I’m a terrible multitasker, so it could have been anything that caused the great spilling of the salt. but it wasn’t. because the other truth is, when i reach for my phone, stuff falls. i need both hands to type on my phone and i need both hands to do everything else that’s required of me.

i’ve always heard that when you have a baby, you lose an arm. everything is one-handed, everything is a shortcut. you learn to open a pickle jar with an elbow and wrist while pacing around the kitchen island, a swaddled baby asleep on your chest.

so i’ve spent the past two months trying to do everything with one hand. but it doesn’t work that way. i need both hands here. otherwise, the salt spills.

things lately have been mediocre, to be honest. my commitments, my relationships, the state of my laundry pile. it’s not a bad thing. it’s just that i have no hands to offer. they’re tied up with something else.

i think what i’m getting at is this: i do not want to spill this salt. i’m gonna use both of my hands here, at home, and for a bit, things might be fairly spotty. last month, i wrote ‘big jugs!’ instead of ‘big hugs!’ to my publisher in an email, so well, spotty might be erring on the kinder side of things.

i’m a bit of a mess is what i’m saying. a little distracted. my hands are happily occupied, dealing uno cards and cutting grapes and pointing out vowel sounds and pouring coffee (again and again and again). i’m just a slow learner. transitions take me some time, and i felt like i should tell you. i felt like i should tell you because i take this job really seriously and i also take THIS job really seriously and i don’t want to do either of them one-handed, half-hearted, eyes glazed over.

so i won’t. i’m gonna try really hard to be a good steward of my time, and also of yours. because it is not lost on me that when your hands reach for the phone, you might be knocking over your own salt, too.

and i want it to at least be a little bit worth it.

  • Yes, grace for all in this season of new baby! We are eagerly anticipating the same season around here, but I’m cringing a bit at some of the chaos that comes with. Blessings on this new phase and all the joy that comes with it! Mandy

  • As always, you are so so right!
    And I have to say, babies have a way of taking over your brain, or taking IN your brain, so there is no space (attention) left for other things. And that’s ok.

  • I actually had not heard that about doing everything one-handed but it strikes me as the perfect way to describe life with a newborn. Thank you for your candor and I hope the next months ring you some ease. That you can grab with both hands. xox

  • Your writing is simultaneously raw and eloquent. Thank you for sharing your ‘realness’ with the rest of us

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I feel like our culture has created a race to see who can get back to “normal” life the fastest. I’ve had two babies and both times I’ve told people not to expect to see or hear from me for at least six weeks. It’s such a short time in the grand scheme of things. And, besides the exhaustion, it’s such a wonderful time. You have someone completely dependent on you for his survival. And you’re getting to know and love this brand new person. Take all the time you need and don’t feel one ounce of guilt.

    • oh goodness, six weeks indeed! i’m almost at three months and man, it takes me some serious time. it was a good two years before i felt like me after the first, and you know, i think that’s ok. ;) blessings to you, mary!!!!!

  • Your blog speaks to me so much. I am also a terrible multi-tasker and your writing lets me see that I am not the only one who is going through the struggle and at the same time as I am trying to improve myself, I am trying to not be hard on myself. Hope you’ve been able to clean up the remainder of salt.

    Lots of love,


  • Drink lots of water too! No apologies! Enjoy every moment of this life you’ve created – you’re doing such a great job, momma. xoxoxo

  • Here’s what comes to mind:
    You hear it all the time, but I get to say it, too. You’ll never have these infant days back. It turned out to be a mercy that my anatomy required BOTH hands to nurse. No multitasking that required even one hand. So I just rocked and looked into my baby’s eyes and loved them. It felt like they were drinking from my very soul as well as my breast. Savor the season.
    Priority – you may have more than one top priority, but try to have only one at a time. Multitasking is not as important as being fully present with one person/task at a time – when possible.
    Permission – grace and patience for yourself, and for others when they lack grace or patience for you. No one likes to disappoint people who matter, but you literally can’t please all the people all the time.
    Peace – keep it – give it – create it.
    I miss my baby days but I celebrate the loving and lovely adults that used to long for my attention!
    Blessings on you and your precious family!

    • oh barbara, you are such a wise friend. thank you for these gentle reminders, and isn’t that the beauty of this season? it really does require both hands to feed and rock and care. there are no shortcuts!!!! it’s a wonderful lesson in love. :)

  • take the time you need. we’ll be here when you are ready. “big (j)hugs” to you and your family with both arms.

  • You’re always worth it. We’ll wait.

    Let your days drift and unfold…you’ll look back at this time of a dreamy fog and be glad you were really in it instead of groping to get out.

  • THANK YOU for being honest about your struggle to “multitask”! I have refused to multitask for a couple of years now, and although it kinda drives others crazy, I refuse to let it creep back into my life. so it means I don’t answer my phone every time it rings, or I respond to emails a day or two later. But it also means that my family gets more of me – the real me – more hours of the day than they used to. and that’s a really good thing for us all :)

    • ah, thank you melissa! i’m always working through this one – i’ll never be gifted at multitasking even when it’s required of me. but i’m learning to stretch myself when i’m ready, and to learn my limitations when i need a bit more time and space. ;) such a delicate art, yes?

  • Erin!!

    I’m so so happy for you and your lovely and newly expanded family :) it’s funny – I actually saw the update about Scout a while ago and kept meaning to send along well wishes and congratulations, but somehow always had my hands full (with a 4 year old and 15 month old and life ;)) and so I never got around to it! But, after this last post I wanted to use both hands to finally sit and type out a quick note… love your words and your wonderful and wise insights and wish you happiness and the ability to laugh when happiness is not on the menu ;)

    • oh robin, you’re so very kind. thank you for offering me BOTH hands in this sweet message! what an encouragement!!!

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