motherhood musings.

It's been raining non-stop for exactly one whole week in Atlanta now. I thought that seasonal affective disorder was kind of an exaggeration, but the greyness coupled with the incessant raindrops in the last week are enough to make me a believer. But honestly, it's not just the weather that's making me feel a little less than fabulous today. It's because I'm exhausted.

Before I get into it, let me put this on the table: having a brand new baby around is an amazing and beautiful thing. It tugs at your heart strings, tests every fiber of your patience, makes you question how good you actually are at taking care of another tiny being (let alone yourself) and leaves you bleary-eyed and foggy. It's a magical experience to witness their first smiles or laughs. To figure out what makes them happy and sad. To have your heart explode with love over and over and over. It's realizing that everything you thought you wanted suddenly is so unimportant or is less important because the needs of your child far surpass anything you could have ever imagined. And then they start crawling and walking and talking and before you know it, you've got a toddler who can hold conversations with you and use reason and logic to figure things out. It is mind-blowing and awesome. I wouldn't ever trade this life in for something else. I am a stay-at-home mom and I am proud of that. I'm thankful for the honor and privilege I have to be able to raise two kids while my husband works his ass off to make sure we have the lifestyle we have. I'm grateful that I can go about my day in pajamas or sweatpants or some combination of that repeated wardrobe choice. I can have dirty hair and no make-up and smell like some weird fragrance of breastmilk and baby poop and not worry that my kids will think any less of me. (I'm really selling being a SAHM, aren't I?)

Yet, despite the love I have for what I do, there are days when all I want to do is throw in the towel, hide under my blanket and quit. Were you expecting me to say that? Doesn't everyone hate their job at least sometimes? Surely, there isn't someone who loves what they do 24 hours a day. Right?

Real talk: raise your hand if you've had or are having a shitty day at work. I'll be honest. I'm having a one today, only I'm not at work. I'm at home with the kids. And this isn't a job. It's life. It's being a parent. But for the sake of keeping it linear and clear-cut, let's call it a job. I "work" in a place with two very demanding people under the age of five. I'd like to think I'm "self-employed" or that I'm their "boss", but who am I kidding? I'm actually working for them. I'm each child's personal assistant, chauffeur, nanny, nurse, chef, pal and teacher. It's not like they're super chill, either. Anaïs goes from zero to sixty in five seconds flat and Akira is a ticking time bomb when he isn't fed in a timely fashion. I can't take fifteen minutes of time to myself in a break room and have a silent lunch. And I'm left feeding one of them every 2-3 hours. Think about that for a second. What other activity in life do you have to do every 2-3 hours? A girlfriend of mine pointed that out and reminded me that we don't do anything for ourselves every 2-3 hours. Nothing! When one naps, the other needs my undivided attention whether its for help opening her play-doh, help finding a dress-up toy or just wanting me to sit with her to talk about everything and nothing at the same time. I don't walk out the door and blend in with the rest of the world and feel autonomous for a few hours a day. No, when I walk out the door to run errands, my "bosses" come along--one in the carseat that I'm carrying on one arm and a toddler on my other side constantly tugging at some part of my body. Along with midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, who else is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? You guessed it: mothers! Then there's the constant cleaning. Oh, my god, the cleaning. It's like you are picking up and straightening up the house after an all-night rager that you weren't even invited to. All day. Every day. Not only do I have to keep both eyes on each child simultaneously (oh, it takes talent, trust me), the rest of our daily living still needs to be maintained. Dinner still has to be made. The laundry still has to be done. And the vacuum cleaner still has to be run.

It's a total cliché--feeling like the over-tired, under-appreciated, oft-overlooked mom. I see it. And I'm cringing as I write this. I never thought I'd actually sit here and write something remotely resembling this. I've read and enjoyed and related to many a post about being a SAHM. But I never thought I'd be one to join the circle of women who shared the same sentiments.

Yet!! YET, (and please let me be brutally honest here) for all of those times that I've felt invisible, there are an equal amount of times (or more) when I've felt invincible. There are moments when everything just clicks and the days flow seamlessly. Those are the days that feel victorious. Those are the days that remind me of why I chose to stay at home. Those are the days that encourage me to keep doing what I'm doing. Those are the ones that make me feel like even though I'm not winning any bread, I am molding and shaping two humans. People. Members of society. Those are the days when I pat myself on the back for "doing a good job". I don't get a biweekly paycheck directly deposited into my bank account. I don't get a bonus based on performance. I mean, I don't even get a performance review (which, honestly, I'd love to get from my three-year-old). But I do get "paid" in hugs and kisses and love and everything intangible but genuinely heartfelt. So maybe I'm harder on myself than I should be because I expect to be able to just do it. I place those expectations on myself to be able to run a household and take care of children because it's what I want to do. It's what I choose to do. And it's what I love to do.

Except today. I don't love what I do today. And that's totally ok.


adventures in motherhood.

You guys. There is a tiny little boy napping. In his crib. In his room and I am actually hands-free and writing this post! Call me crazy, but that is a feat in and of itself. In our first week, we were thrown through the ringer with seemingly endless nights, wailing banshee cries, "threenager" management and getting our sea legs back at this whole new-baby-in-the-house thing. Not gonna lie, it's been challenging to say the least. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion are a pretty tough combination to live through fueled with lots of coffee, but something we keep reminding ourselves of is that this is temporary. This is temporary.

My friend Kaleen asked if she could take some photos of us as a newly formed family of four, so ten days into it, she came over and caught a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what our new life looks like. Don't be fooled by the peaceful beauty these photos evoke! Keep in mind that juggling a newborn and a toddler is complete and utter chaos. Yet, she had a way of making everything look dreamy, serene and magical.

Now, five weeks later, dare I say we're handling this new(ish) lifestyle like a boss? No, Akira isn't sleeping through the night yet. Yes, we are still tired beyond belief. But all of this is not for naught. All of this is what grounds us and makes us want to be better parents, maybe even better people. In the few minutes of quiet that we have between naps or feedings or both, it's what brings Jesse and me closer together knowing that we are in it together and making it all happen. Because you know what? These early days will eventually fade and it will all seem like a blur. Those newborn coos, that fresh baby smell, the absence of imminent sibling rivalry--all of that will one day disappear. No matter how difficult it feels in that moment, I know that we as a family are always about to turn a corner and reach some sort of milestone. For now, we just have to keep on keepin' on, one cup pot of coffee at a time.

P.S. I am now chronicling my Adventures in Motherhood over at Pregnancy & Newborn! Won't you read along? Find my first post here.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KALEEN ENKE (follow her on Instagram!)


welcome to the world, little man.

Akira Fujiki Clark
12 August 2015 | 1:59 pm
9 pounds 4 ounces | 21 inches long

Say hello to the newest member of our small but fierce gang.
We are all so in love.
(Read his birth story here.)


31 weeks along.

Many moons have passed since making the announcement that our little unit of a family is growing! And as unbelievable as it is, time has flown by ridiculously fast and I am now in my 31st week before this baby boy (!!!) arrives. So, what's been happening since I last wrote?


I have been blogging for Pregnancy & Newborn magazine as one of their Knocked-Up Bloggers :-) It has been a thrill to be able to document this journey, revealing all the physical oddities, emotional stresses and everything in between.

Anaïs celebrated her 3rd birthday, which still blows my mind. This little girl is no longer a baby! She's not even really a toddler anymore. She's an actual kid with thoughts and opinions. She has her own voice that we encourage her to use and use often because she has things to say and share. She becomes more animated and so fun. Holy crap, she's just so fun to be around! And it's funny to think back at all the times I would say, "___ is such a fun age for a baby. They just ____, _____ and _____." The truth is, every age is probably a fun age. (If I'm being honest, I feel like I'm going to continue saying that until my children are grown. I mean, come on.) And to see her transition from an only child to the role of a big sister? I can't even. (Oh, and P.S., that pixie cut was entirely her idea. See what I mean?)

We took a family trip to New Orleans over Spring Break and enjoyed the sights and sounds, food and music. It was a heartwarming knowing it would be our last family trip, just the three of us. But how cool, too! I can't help but look to the future and daydream about the four of us on an airplane or train or road trip. Three's company, four's a crowd. That's what they say, right?

Jesse and I celebrated our birthdays in May and I had a bonus celebration with Mother's Day in the same month! To say that this year has been eventful is quite an understatement. Feeling all of these things and experiencing all of this change and love that is continuing to happen right in front of me reminds me of how real everything is and that life just continues to move forward and stops for no one. It keeps me grounded and pushes me to keep doing what I'm doing. It shows me that everything I've ever dreamed of is attainable and turns into my reality because I believe in it and have an amazing partner and husband with me every step of the way.

Now that summer has arrived, we are now just weeks away from our little boy making his appearance. Anaïs is currently down in Florida spending some quality time with her grandparents as Jesse and I have some alone time to ourselves. We planned a little babymoon to Charleston, South Carolina and just got back to Atlanta tonight. Going through some of these photos just makes my heart swell. And let me tell you, it was exactly what we needed. I think couples who are pregnant should plan a mini getaway before their baby arrives. It doesn't have to be fancy or big. But some time away alone, just the two of you, is something that I feel will bring you closer together. It's a weird thing to say, right? After all, if you're already having a baby, you'd think that you were as close as you could possibly get. In my case, I've never felt a sense of disconnection with Jesse. However, I will say that after this trip, I feel even more connected to him. It essentially reaffirmed the fact that we are on the same team, that we are on the same page. I fell in love with him harder than I think I've ever fallen in love with him before. Sigh. It's amazing to think about how much our lives have evolved independently of one another and then now as they're intertwined. It's the stuff of dreams, you know?

We have one last weekend alone here in Atlanta before Anaïs gets back. I cannot wait to see that little girl's face and to squeeze her again! For now, though, we are enjoying our quiet time together and unwinding before everything turns into the inevitable magical chaos that it will be.


enjoy the welcomes.

Oh, hi. Hiiii. We are well into 2015 and I'm embarrassed that it's taken me this long to acknowledge the new year. So, hello again. I hope your year is going well so far.

What's new with us? Well, let's see. We saw Kishi Bashi play on New Year's Eve. We took A on a streetcar and train excursion around town. We've been staying in a lot hoping for a snowmageddon to arrive (like the two last year), to no avail. Seems pretty ordinary, right? Nothing to see here, folks, keep it moving. But wait. There is something to see. And it's great and fantastic and amazing and we are so so so excited to share. So why don't you just watch the little movie we made and see for yourself? :-) Enjoy the welcomes!


thread and jewel.

Ahem. It's December. December. Which means it's the twelfth month, which also means it's the last month of the year. And that means that Christmas is, oh, only exactly three weeks away from today. But who's counting, right? Yikes.

After having just moved for the billionth time this year, we [sadly] broke the news to our families in Florida that we would not be making it down for the holidays. We have a boatload of boxes still waiting to be unpacked in our living room. We just got back from Thanksgiving in Florida. Taking a road trip with a two-and-a-half year-old kid is no easy feat. The list goes on and on. The flip side of that is we'll have each other in the comfort of a new space to get settled and start fresh. But I digress. This post is actually about something else that could be related to to the holidays. Sort of.

You see, I have a friend named Zuri who is (for the lack of a better word) sublime. She's fierce and intelligent and creative and stunning. She has grace and courage, wit and brawn. She's also a mom to two bright girls and has a blog. Not only is she all these things, she also believes in social justice, teaches yoga and even curates a line of jewelry (designed by herself!). I mean, please. So when she asked me if I would be interested in [hand] modeling some of the pieces she has for sale, I jumped at the chance.

Say hello to Thread and Jewel. Aren't these rings beautiful?

Now...going back to Christmas. While trying on (and ooh-ing and ahh-ing) these baubles the other day, I couldn't help but think they'd make a lovely gift. So, if you're feeling stumped on what to get your girlfriend/bestie/wife/mom/sister/aunt/cousin, you surely can't go wrong with one of these. Amiright or amiright?



Sometimes, you have a bad moment (that you can laugh about later). Sometimes you have a bad year (that you can hopefully grow from and pat yourself on the back for). And sometimes you just have a bad week that you don't know how to snap out of but know you will because, hey, life goes on and that's what you gotta do to survive.

I am no stranger to change, both good and bad. As time goes on, something I've realized about myself is that I've learned to adapt and make limoncello out of lemons. It's been a weird week full of reflections about my past, present and future. I've thought about my family, particularly my dad who I miss so much at times and wish I could just hear his voice, even if it was just for a few minutes. I've also been thinking about my sister who has just embarked on the adventure of a lifetime living and working abroad in Seoul and how it must feel like she's got the world right at her fingertips just waiting to snatched up. I couldn't be more proud of her!

I've thought about my friends, both near and far and those who have come in and out of my life. Having moved around so much as an adult, it can sometimes be hard to maintain very close friendships with people, but when those friendships are found and cultivated, I affix them to my heart and they hold a permanent place. It made me think about sympathizing with each other during times of sadness and celebrating greatness in times of happiness. Friendships shouldn't be mutually exclusive to one of those two feelings. Friendships should encompass it all. Yet it's not always easy to put into practice. Human emotions get in the way of being fully present at times and eventually people sometimes exit to start over and make their own new beginnings without really knowing if they'll ever return to their past. And that's okay.

So, while this week may seem bad to me in this moment, I'm keeping perspective and paying attention to this quote I found from Socrates to help me persevere. I think it's working.