Modern Motherhood, Redefined: A Reflection

Obviously, it’s been some time since I’ve published here.

Why? Two primary reasons:

  1. Just like most people across the globe, this year has thrown countless curveballs my way, and I’ve struggled to carve out time to steadily do anything for myself, including (and especially) blog.
  2. Amidst the many crises we’re facing right now — including the coronavirus pandemic, an economic downturn, heightened awareness of racial injustice, and impacts of climate change — blogging about “mom stuff” felt so inauthentic.

And that’s when I asked myself: why am I limiting myself from addressing these things on my blog?

Because, I realized, these crises that we as a society are collectively experiencing — they are directly impacting my identity as a modern mother. Not only because my professional life tasks me with programmatically responding to these different events. But also (and more importantly) because these current events are forcing me to seriously consider:

Am I responding to what’s happening in the world in a way that I’m proud to model for my children?

  • Am I modeling the importance of looking beyond myself and considering how my actions impact those around me?
  • Am I actively fighting social injustice and trying to make the world a more equitable and loving place, both for people now and in the future?
  • Am I exercising my rights — and helping to preserve the rights of those around me?
  • Am I demonstrating the importance of civic engagement?
  • Am I showing what it means to be a steward of the earth?
  • Am I prioritizing what means the most to me (my husband; my children; my family; my physical, spiritual, and mental well-being), and do my everyday actions reflect that these are my priorities?
  • Am I comfortable showing vulnerability to my kids — and sharing that it’s okay (even necessary!) to show when I’m not okay (and that I’m actively working to heal myself)?
  • Am I embodying what it means to be a loving member of our greater community, in my thoughts, words, and actions?

I can’t answer all these questions with a confident and resounding “yes!” — every day, I struggle with near debilitating feelings of inadequacy. I’m constantly plagued with the fear that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not outspoken enough, that I’m hesitating to make the appropriate decisions I can make to make the world better for my children and their children.

But I’m trying. And I’m giving myself the grace to “unlock” this blog as another way for me to process this journey. In dialog with other people (other parents and caregivers, maybe?) who are constantly questioning in this day and age, whether or not they’re doing what’s best for society now and for future generations.

So what does this mean? This means that the content in here is going to a cover a broader spectrum.

I will still share anecdotes of pregnancy, parenting children with severe allergies, being a working mom, managing my own household, etc. But I will also start to share some commentary on current events, modern-day trends in light of our many global crises — topics that some people may deem “too political” for a blog initially framed as one on motherhood.

But, if I’m honest, modern motherhood (parenthood) includes addressing these kinds of topics with our children. Well, at least that’s the case for this modern mother.

So that’s why I plan to do. Hopefully you’re willing to figure this all out alongside me — I definitely welcome the company on this journey.

Getting a C-Section: A Refresher

A little over one year ago, I published a few posts in my “Getting a C-Section” series (click here to read the first, second, and third posts) with the intent to finish the entire series by the end of April — Cesarean Awareness Month.

But, as sometimes happens in life, I became too busy with other obligations, and I never finished writing about my experience.

Now, as April 2020 comes to an end, I’m revisiting this time in my life and finishing the series.

Continue reading “Getting a C-Section: A Refresher”

2020 Goals: Quarterly Check-In

At the beginning of the year, I shared that I had set a few goals for myself (you can read the full post here). Now, given that the first quarter of the year is over, I wanted to complete a quick check-in and share with you all my progress so far… So, here we go!


Check-In: My 2020 Goals

  • Achieve my goal weight of 140 lbs.
    • Progress: In an unfortunate turn of events, I had actually gained quite a bit of weight between January and February. Probably due to the free food at work? Nevertheless, since I started working from home full-time earlier this month due to coronavirus concerns, I’ve been more intentional about eating home-cooked meals, implementing intermittent fasting, and staying active. So I’ve actually lost a few pounds and a couple of inches since the beginning of this month! Still quite a ways away from my goal weight, but I’ll keep moving forward.
  • Publish 52 blog posts by the end of the year.
    • Progress: Given that this is Week 14 of the year, I should have published 14 blog posts by now. Sadly, this post brings my total published post count to five. Don’t worry: my COVID-19 creative sprint actually put me in a good place to publish a bit more content this month, so you’ll be reading more from me in the near future.
  • Practice self-care regularly: daily prayer/meditation, journaling, gratitude, exercise; monthly date nights with Reggie.
    • Progress: I know that I’ve skipped a day or two here and there within my different daily practices. However, holistically, I’ve made these different tasks a priority in my daily routine — even intentionally carving out time in my work-from-home schedule, given that I no longer have my one-hour commute to meditate, journal, and read. Overall, I feel positive that these daily self-care regimens have been helping with my mental and emotional health.
      Monthly date nights with Reggie, however, have not been a priority. Partly because quarantines don’t allow us to go out on dates. But also because, candidly, we’ve been struggling to balance taking care of our marriage with all of our other obligations (i.e., my work, Reggie’s work, our children, our home life, our extended families, this global pandemic, a complete shift in how we manage our family life since being forced to shelter in place, etc.), that carving out time to spend one-on-one didn’t seem like a possibility. Don’t worry: we’re not in crisis mode; however, we’ve realized that being stuck together in quarantine — without work or other people as distractions — is an opportune time for us to tackle some underlying marital woes. More on that later this week.

Check-In: 20 Things to Do in 2020, a.k.a. My Annual Bucket List

(listed in no particular order)

To-DoStatusNotes
Sign up for a library card.PendingUnfortunately, didn’t get a chance to do this before the current shelter-in-place order impacted the local libraries’ operating hours. TBD on whether or not I can do this by year’s end.
Plant and maintain a terrarium with the boys.In progressPlanted a little terrarium kit with Tadashi* and Hiro* some time in January. Terrarium is currently sitting on the window sill by my desk. Is the plant alive? Questionable.
Take a calligraphy class.PendingI was hoping to do this in-person, but I think I should research some virtual options at this point.
Complete a Couch to 5K program.In progressJust started my Couch to 5K program this week! 7.5 more weeks to go…
Run a 5K.PendingI intended to sign up for a formal race. However, I may be a bit more flexible and count an “unofficial” 5K, a.k.a. running that distance on my own time, given the potential that formal races might not occur for the rest of the year.
Go to a live concert.PendingSame concerns as above.
Buy a house.In progressYes, “in progress”!
Get triple lobe piercings.PendingSame concerns as above.
Get a tattoo with Vinh Huynh at Ironwave Ink.CompleteGot this done in mid-January!
Get a tattoo with Sai Li.In progressI initially had an appointment scheduled with Sai this Thursday, April 2nd. However, we had to reschedule due to the shelter-in-place orders. I’ll reschedule as soon as Sai confirms when she can reopen her tattoo studio.
Read at least 20 books.In progressCurrently reading my ninth book of the year! I definitely need to thank my Book of the Month subscription for making this bucket list item so easy to maintain.
Listen to one album a week.In progressFeel free to leave any album recommendations in the comments!
Re-learn (and memorize!) Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# Minor.PendingI’m happy to share that I’ve been playing a lot more piano recently, since I have more time to spare during the day. However, have not yet cracked open Rachmaninoff’s Prelude.
Travel to a city I’ve never been to.PendingI was supposed to go to San Antonio last week for work, which would have completed this to-do. We’ll see if I can still make this happen this year.
Take an overnight trip with Reggie (no kids!).PendingSame concerns as above.
Dine at a Michelin star restaurant.PendingSame concerns as above.
Visit Disneyland during Christmas.PendingGod, I hope that Disneyland reopens by Christmastime…!
Complete a 30-day plank challenge.PendingI’ll tackle this after I complete my Couch to 5K program.
Host a private movie screening.PendingHopefully movie theaters reopen by the end of this year…!
Complete my 2020 bullet journal — artistic spreads and all!In progress… And I am oh-so-proud of how my bullet journal looks so far! I’ll share some spreads on here in the coming months.

And that is my progress so far this year. I admit that I haven’t completed as many things as I had hoped to do by this point. But I’m going to give myself some grace and recognize that, within this past month alone, my whole life (and the world, in general) has been completely upended. We all deserve a bit of a reprieve and some allowance to adapt to this new normal.

Looking at the month ahead, I’m committing to a sense of positivity. I’m prioritizing my personal (physical, mental, and emotional) health, focusing on my marriage, and aiming to keep my children healthy and happy. If I maintain this focus, I know that — organically — I’ll make more progress on my goals.

To all of you, readers: hope you’re all staying safe and sane and healthy. If you’ve had any goals set for this year, please let me know how you’re doing, as well, and let me know how I can support you! I know that 2020 has seemed like a dumpster fire of a year so far. But we still have nine months ahead of us and opportunities to create something positive.

Motherly Confessions: I Like to Be Away from My Kids

Harsh truth time: I’m a mom who likes being away from her kids.

I came to this realization when I was a little past the halfway point of my maternity leave after I had my second son Noah. I was one of the lucky few people in the U.S. whose employer offered a generous maternity leave (i.e. paid and longer than a few weeks): in all, I had roughly six months total of paid time off both to recover from childbirth and to bond with my newborn baby. And throughout that time, I had an opportunity to reflect on my motherhood style.

I undoubtedly cherished every minute of my leave (and, for the record, I would never exchange that time off for anything in the world, and I fundamentally believe that: one, this country needs to mandate paid parental leave for all types of parents, and two, we need to destigmatize parenthood, particularly pregnancy and motherhood, in the workplace… but I digress, as that is a topic of conversation for another, much meatier blog post). However, I realized during that time that I’m a better mom, a better wife, a better head of household, and, in truth, an all around better person when I spend some time away from my kids.

Continue reading “Motherly Confessions: I Like to Be Away from My Kids”

A Letter to My (Unborn) Second Child

Dear Baby Bean #2,

First off, I apologize if Mommy and Daddy seem a bit preoccupied. Days, weeks, and months pass by, and I realize that I haven’t so much as read you a book or sang you a song or gave you a gentle love tap through Mommy’s growing belly.

I assure you: it’s definitely not because there are more important things going on in our lives. And definitely not because we don’t think about you or have forgotten about you.

That’s the furthest thing from the truth.

It’s nearly impossible for the days, hours, minutes, seconds to pass by without you, Little Bean, entering my thoughts. Especially because you never let me not think about you, with your constant kicks and dances.

I’m so grateful for how much you move. Every movement helps me to learn about you a little bit more and more. 

I can tell you’re going to be a bit of a firecracker, which both warms my heart and terrifies me to no end.

Daddy and I would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that you’re going to keep us on our toes. It’s an inevitability.

When I think about your pending arrival, I get nervous. Not because I’m scared to meet you. Not even because I don’t think that Daddy and I will know what to do (not that we’re professionals — I just know that when I meet you, I’ll be able to figure out what you need).

No, I think I’m nervous because I know that I will love you so much.

My heart has already been full.

With gratitude and joy and unconditional love for the life I’ve had over the past few years. For the people that I’ve been fortuitous enough to surround myself. Especially your daddy and your brother and your fur-brother, your aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins. There are so many people that I have given so much love to; it’s hard to imagine having the capacity to love anyone or anything else at this point.

But I know that’s what will happen: my seemingly already-filled heart will inevitably expand a bit more to accommodate how much love I’ll undoubtedly feel about you.

That much love is hard for me to comprehend.

So, I’m just writing to let you know that I’m anxious to meet you. I’m eager to meet you. I’m counting down the days, Little Bean (but also, selfishly, crossing my fingers that you’re cozy enough in my womb that you’ll wait those five more weeks until you’re “supposed to” make your grand entrance into this world).

We’ll see you soon. And we can’t wait to love you — with all our bodies, minds, and hearts.

Love,

Mama Bean

My Second Pregnancy Struggles

Disclaimer: this blog post is super ranty and whiny and does not, in any way, shape, or form, represent my feelings toward my soon-to-be-born second child.


I’m a little over 34 weeks into my second pregnancy, and all I have to say is this: it has been a huge struggle.

My sister, my doctor, my mother, my aunts, my co-workers — basically every woman I know who has experienced multiple pregnancies — have assured me: feeling this much physical discomfort and pain during my second pregnancy is completely normal. Which, I guess, is supposed to be a comforting sentiment.

But, admittedly, my increasingly disgruntled (and, therefore, increasingly pessimistic) self just can’t help but grumble: this sucks so much.

I’m sure I’ve shared this with you all before, but I’ll say it again: I’m honest with myself and know that I’m not one of those women who particularly enjoys being pregnant. Granted, I love my children, and I’m so thankful that this nine-month journey ends with a little being that I somehow simultaneously love so much and can’t seem to love enough… But the journey itself?

Yeah, I’m not a fan.

Continue reading “My Second Pregnancy Struggles”

Mother’s Day 2018: A Quick Ode

It’s my first Mother’s Day. And while the weekend was both low-key and eventful (main highlights: a lot of downtime at home with my three best guys and an emergency visit from the paramedics when Tadashi* had an allergic reaction to formula), it’s also given me an opportunity to reflect on motherhood in general and, specifically, what that means within my life.

Today, on Mother’s Day, I want to recognize that who I am as a mother has only come to fruition because of a few notable individuals around me. So here are a few thank-you notes to a few important people in my life…

On my first Mother’s Day, I can’t help but feel extra grateful for everyone who has helped shape me as a mother — especially my baby boy.

To my mom…

Continue reading “Mother’s Day 2018: A Quick Ode”

Getting a C-Section, Pt. 2: The Weirdest Delivery Imaginable

To all those people who’ve said that a C-section is “easy,” I have one thing to say in response: sure, I may not have pushed a baby out of my birth canal, but getting a C-section has undoubtedly been one of the most surreal and hardest experiences of my life.

People would ask me about my C-section, if I felt any pain, if I were conscious, how the surgery progressed and felt. And all I could say in response was: it felt sterile and all too medical.

But, before I talk about my operation, I think it’s important to share how I felt in the few days leading up to Tadashi’s birth…

Continue reading “Getting a C-Section, Pt. 2: The Weirdest Delivery Imaginable”

Bright Spots: Discovering the Ocean

This past Saturday, Reggie and I took Tadashi* on a day trip to Monterey and Carmel. Reggie had a beachside engagement shoot scheduled with a couple of clients that evening, so he asked if Tadashi and I wanted to spend some time together on the beach while he worked.

I happily obliged: I can never pass up an opportunity to walk barefoot in the sand.

When Reggie and I separated so he could get to work, I strapped Tadashi to my belly, took off my shoes and socks, and paced the shoreline as the sun slowly but surely dipped toward the horizon. I savored the coarse sand on my soles, the biting ocean water lapping over my toes, the cool breeze on my face.

Close to sunrise at Carmel Beach…

And, after much longer than I probably should have realized, something dawned on me: this is the very first time Tadashi has seen the ocean.

And I immediately shifted my focus from the distant horizon to my wide-eyed son. And I smiled at the pure wonder and curiosity on his face. “That’s the ocean,” I told Tadashi. I explained to him that this was the home of all the creatures we saw earlier at the aquarium. I pointed out the waves, coming and going in a steady rhythm; the kelp scattered around the shoreline; the seagulls gliding overhead.

But, mostly, I tried my best to simply observe him. How, as I walked along the shore, he turned his head from side to side in order to keep a close eye on the water. How he kicked his feet in joy as dogs raced past us in the sand. How he craned his neck and reached his chubby little fingers toward the trees above us. How he blinked rapidly and stuck his tongue out at the ocean breeze, maybe to feel the wind on his tongue, maybe to taste the salty air.

This is the first time Tadashi has seen the ocean, I realized. And I am so grateful that I am with him right now.

Because, in the midst of all the chaos of first-time parenthood, I sometimes forget that I have the privilege of witnessing a little human being experience the world for the first time. And that is an awe-inspiring thing.

Getting a C-Section, Prologue: #CesareanAwarenessMonth

I woke up last Thursday morning to an Instagram direct message from my mom: an illustration of a woman cradling a newborn and sporting a slightly crescent-shaped scar across her lower belly. April is Cesarean Awareness Month, the message read.

As her daughter who delivered via cesarean section over half a year ago, my mom obviously wanted to send me a little acknowledgment and a little love.

And that message warmed my heart.

Firstly, because I didn’t even know Cesarean Awareness Month was a thing — and I thought that was freakin’ awesome. And, secondly, because cesarean sections (more commonly known as C-sections) are traumatic medical procedures that are fairly common yet still frighteningly misunderstood. And the women who undergo them — who have to endure ignorance, misconceptions, and judgment, in addition to lengthy recovery periods — need some acknowledgment and some love every once in a while.

Continue reading “Getting a C-Section, Prologue: #CesareanAwarenessMonth”