New Year goals for the New Mama

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Happy New Year! We returned from our annual trip to South Carolina last Friday, recaps of previous years here and here if you’d like to walk down memory lane with me. I’ll post more photos from this year soon!

In the meantime, let’s jump back to my previous post on self care and consistency. The first thing I noticed when we touched down in NYC last week was how quickly all my anxiety returned. A wave that hit me so hard I haven’t been able to shake it for a few days now. Instead of letting the worry marinate and ruin the first few days of 2019 and the last of my Winter Break, I’m tackling it head on. Not making a ton of resolutions because I break those. What I am doing is putting my foot down and not letting the bad habits, the reflex to feel anxious and flood myself with activity and no recharge time take over.

Being a full time working mother has been a huge adjustment. Massive. It’s time to adapt my self-care to reflect that change.

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New Year Goals for the New Mama

  1. Spend one hour a day alone. Alone time is as important as family time. Whether it’s going for a walk or sitting down for coffee, I am committing one hour out of every day for me to spend with me. Not alone but sorting laundry and not alone but making dinner. Even on days when it seems unreasonable, one hour isn’t that hard to cobble together. Getting off the subway a bit earlier and walking to work, even that counts as alone time.

  2. Exercise. This is a longer, much more sore subject but, going forward this is a non-negotiable. Just like brushing teeth or showering. More to come, when I’m feeling a bit more brave to share.

  3. Stop running on sugar + coffee. For all my cooking, I tend to fall into a pattern of snacking and drinking coffee throughout the day to keep myself going. Instead of starting my days with a cup of coffee I’ve been opting for some hot water with lemon. Packing my water bottle into my work bag daily is also a new must.

  4. Read. I used to be a voracious reader. Like, the kind of obnoxious person who actually gets through an entire issue of The New Yorker in one weekend. Of course with baby and work I don’t have that kind of time anymore. But before bed, when I usually have an hour or so and scroll through social media, I’m going to start choosing books again.

  5. Work my way through a cookbook. My hobbies have taken a backseat to a million other things. In order to get back into them I need to recommit to making time for interests, old and new. I know there are things I enjoy beyond making bottles and pureeing baby food. Recently, I made meatballs from a cookbook and followed the directions word for word. The entire time I felt relaxed and motivated. Picking a few cookbooks in 2019 and working my way through them. I have some ideas but also open to suggestions! Comment below.

  6. Keep a written planner. I referenced this in the last post, but I’ve fallen into the bad habit of making lists in my head and not writing things down. Instead of having a tangible way of looking at my week, I am a whirlwind of mental notes to not forget. Reminding myself not to forget is a sure fire way to forget. To stop this mess, I bought an old fashioned planner. No Google calendar, no Outlook, just pen to paper. My goal is to start writing things down. Not just “to-do” things but also ideas, notes to myself. One day at a time feels much more manageable than the entire week in my head all at once.

  7. Clean out my purse weekly. I don’t know how else to describe the contents of my purse the last few months other than as a cacophony of crap. Everything is in there. Bibs, bottles, 3 lip gloss/moisturizer situations, two lip stains, receipts, pens, a picture frame, balls, puffs, you could probably find apartment keys to someone else’s home if you looked long enough. I get so much anxiety just trying to find something I’ve started carrying a separate tote for my wallet. No more. I’m reclaiming my space and committing to cleaning it out at the end of the work week. Organized purse, organized life - something like that.

There you have it. Or more like, there I have it. A few steps to put me on the right path in 2019. If any of you have experienced a similar tug of war between self care and all the rest, let’s talk. I would love to know how you approach taking time out to make yourself a priority.

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On Consistency + Self Care

“It’s been a while since I’ve posted.” Have you read that one before on here? I always feel so guilty when it’s months between posts but I’m often not sure what to write about. Everyone makes dinner, works hard, is balancing a million things. Instagram, if anything, has turned into my little scrapbook. A much easier (and lazier) way of sharing than actually taking the time to sit down, focus, and write.

A blog is such a strange medium when the intent isn’t for it to be a full time gig. The last thing I want to do is produce content for the sake of content. Over the last few weeks I’ve revisited old posts to get a sense of theme and purpose. Also, to get motivated to write and develop more. In a lot of my writing, specifically around this season, two main themes emerge: self-care and consistency.

Self care, especially as a new mom, is critical. I would argue, even more so when you’re working full time. When I was pregnant with Ben, I wrote about slowing down and making time for my pregnancy. Now that I’m a mother, I realize that I need to slow down and make time for me. Time for myself outside of Ben, outside of being a wife, outside of work. I’m sure it sounds selfish to some but I’m learning that without self fulfillment and alone time, there is no quality time with the baby. Almost eight months into motherhood, it makes sense to revisit the conversation.

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As a full-time working mama, it’s super easy to slide into a bizarre routine of taking care of everything and everyone except yourself. I say “bizarre” very intentionally. When you take a minute to really think it through - making yourself your own last priority is insane. This is not to say that baby doesn’t come first. Not at all. I’m just learning that I don’t need to come last. It’s so easy to fall into coasting on old and unhealthy behavior. After all, it’s what comes most naturally. For me, that’s keeping busy with a million little things that I insist “have to get done right now!”. Then the big things get all muddled and all over the place. With all that, time to recharge rarely enters the equation. Clearly, not a sustainable solution. This is all to say, it hit me like a ton of bricks that making time for myself is a “to-do” as worthy as vacuuming and doing dishes.

When I first returned to work, a friend told me that I will very quickly fall into a rhythm of “burning the candle at both ends”. This is dangerous territory. Another mentioned how every working mother hits a point in the first six months where she will, “feel like she’s absolutely shit at both - work and motherhood". I’ve found each of these statements to be one hundred percent true. Work is full time and motherhood is full time. Instead of fully focusing on playing with Ben, I am thinking about the next ten things that need to be cleaned or finished. The day to day feels like a hamster wheel. I am so burned out. Again. Time for a full stop.

So, this is where consistency comes in. Resolving to practice the things I’ve written about. Consistency around making time for things outside of to-do lists. Prioritizing and actually carving out time for things I want to do. Summed up, all recharging means making time for just me. Nothing else.

In my next post, my resolutions, made before the New Year because that’s just a date. The holiday break is just a few days away. What better time than that to deep dive into some reflection and self care?

i sat down to write this and drank a latte by myself last week. felt like freaking champ.

i sat down to write this and drank a latte by myself last week. felt like freaking champ.

(Even Easier) Easiest Apple Cake

Every fall I get massively overwhelmed by the amount of apple recipes thrown at me from all corners of the food blogging world. Not sure what's wrong with me but all the ways to bake apples, no matter how elaborate, read to me as "spend 2 hours making apple pie". Despite the popular expression, nothing about apple pie is what I would qualify as easy. When I hear the words, I immediately think about crust and filling and blah- I don't feel like spending 2 hours in the kitchen rolling and kneading and stirring... Basically anything apple related is an immediate turn off. That being said, apples do taste insanely delicious when baked. (Breaking news, folks.) All that ooey gooey warm flavor, nothing tastes as cozy and instantly celebrates the season as a warm, baked all the way through apple. This was my dilemma a few weeks ago when I bought ten tooo many apples at the market. There was also a moment of weakness with some cider donuts but, half a dozen for $3?! Cheap! Seasonal! Sale! Surprise, I have no will power when it comes to discounted fruit and seasonal baked goods. 

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In an effort to validate my laziness and make sure that aforementioned apples didn't go rotting away on the counter, I decided to revisit an apple cake recipe I shared last year. I was planning Rosh Hashanah dinner and figured this was the perfect time to test what I had claimed to be “easy”. As with all my recipes the goal is to spend less than 30 min. doing prep work and no more than an hour actually cooking. Minimal effort, maximum flavor. I set a timer and went to work.

After adjusting a few ingredients and cutting down on steps, the result was fast and flavorful. If you're like me and are terrified of baking a cake that involves apples because it all seems as labor intensive as apple pie- this is the cake for you. I highly suggest working this into a menu for a dinner party. I soaked peeled, cut apples in bourbon while I showered, made the batter while my hair dried, and stuck it in the oven while I changed the baby and set the table. By the time my guests arrived the apartment smelled amazing and the cake had time to cool during the main meal.

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easiest apple cake

Ingredients

  • 4-5 apples, peeled + chopped into approximately 1 inch pieces. (I used Granny Smith but whatever you have on hand will work. I sliced some of the apples horizontally for decoration.)

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 cups bourbon (This is optional, the bourbon gives the apples so much flavor but if you don't have any, don't let it stop you from making this. Just mix 1/4 cup sugar with the apples and let them sit to really bring out flavor + juices.)

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1 tsp. ginger

  • 1 tsp. clove

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • pinch turbinado sugar

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  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 

  2. Peel and cut apples into 1 inch pieces, place into a bowl. 

  3. Pour bourbon over the apples and let soak while you assemble the other ingredients or if you’re like me, take a shower.

  4. Make the spice mix: combine cloves, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg in a cup. Give it a stir. 

  5. Thoroughly whisk all the wet ingredients in a bowl.

  6. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.

  7. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix well. 

  8. Drain the bourbon from the apples, reserving 1/4 cup.

  9. Pour bourbon into the batter give it a good stir. 

  10. Fold apples into the batter.

  11. I split the batter between two 8 inch round pans - plenty for 2 small cakes. Alternately, you could make one large cake in a 10 x 3 inch pan.

  12. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar and a drizzle of honey.

  13. Decorate with apple slices.

  14. Bake cake for 35-40min or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. 





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