Dear New Mom

Dear New Mom,

I know you’re in some ways happier than you’ve ever been, soaking up all those newborn cuddles & feeling your heart expand to give out a kind of love you never before knew possible.  But I also know you’re struggling under the weight of what feels like an obnoxious burden that was thrust on you just when you needed to rest & recover from birth. guilt

Being a new mom is HARD.  So hard.  And what often times makes it even harder is all the people telling you exactly how ecstatic & blissful you should be.  Please remember this: most of the people saying that haven’t had a newborn to care for in YEARS.  They have largely forgotten how INTENSE this phase of life really is.  Yes, it’s wonderful, but it’s also REALLY FREAKING HARD.

I’ll be honest with you & admit that I probably experienced a mild to moderate form of postpartum depression.  I didn’t fully realize it at the time but thankfully I was already on Prozac for anxiety before & during pregnancy & was quickly switched to Zoloft after giving birth because it is considered better for breastfeeding.  I believe this kept any PPD I experienced from completely devastating me.  But even so, trust me I had my moments of utter despair & confusion.  Moments of loneliness & uncertainty when I questioned why I had ever thought I should be a mom.  Moments when I had to step out of the room & just cry or scream so that I could be sure I wouldn’t hurt my baby. PPD_Graphic.jpg

But that’s exactly what they were: moments, nothing more.  They didn’t define me as a mom because I didn’t let them.  Even on my worst days/nights, I somehow managed (most of the time) to give myself a little grace.  That & venting to some truly wonderful friends (most of whom were already moms) is how I survived those first few weeks of motherhood that were in so many ways like one longgggg march of fatigue & confusion.

Here’s what I think you really need to hear as a new mom: it gets easier.  Yes!  It does!  It really does!  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  And it may come sooner than you think. pema chodron quote 2

If you’re breastfeeding, there will come a time when you don’t spend every waking moment with a baby attached to your chest.  It WILL happen.  I promise.  Trust me, I was so, so close to giving up so many times.  But I held out largely because so many women had told me that everything would get magically easier around six weeks.  And to my great surprise they were right.  I made a vow to myself that if it didn’t get easier by six weeks I would quit for the sake of my own mental health, but I am eternally grateful that it did get easier.  But if that isn’t true for you & you feel like you need to supplement with formula or switch to formula entirely, DO IT!  A mentally stable mom is the single most important thing a baby needs, so (within reason of course) do whatever you need to do to achieve that goal.pema chodron compassion

The next time someone says “Oh, just wait till she’s crawling all over the place” or “You’re going to miss this when he’s talking back to you someday,” just smile & nod & know that that person has not one clue what they’re talking about.  Or better yet, you can be braver than I am & tell them to mind their own damn business.  Because the truth of the matter is you may not miss the newborn stage.  And if you don’t, there is NOTHING wrong with you.  I know I don’t miss it!  I have only come to love my daughter more & more the older she has gotten, & I have learned that every stage has its advantages & disadvantages.  Thus the best thing we can do is try to relax & enjoy each one as best we can.  Easier said than done of course.  motherhood-quote

The truth about motherhood, especially the newborn phase, is that it is the most intense emotional & physical experience of your life.  There will be moments you love, moments you like, & moments you hate.  But they’re all just that: moments.  Give yourself the grace to experience every emotion that crosses your mind.  And trust me, in those first few weeks every emotion known to man (or should I say woman?) will definitely strike your heart- often times many all at once, some of which may be contradictory.  Just allow yourself to experience them all & remember that this will get easier.  As time passes you will have more arrows in your quiver, so to speak, so even if the challenges you face seem “bigger” you’ll have more ammunition to throw at them.  And you’ll have the confidence that comes from knowing you have survived every challenge you’ve faced so far.  And that, my friend, is worth a lot.birth-of-mother

If you’ve made it this far, congrats!  Who knows how many times you had to stop during the course of reading this to nurse your baby, make a bottle, or change a diaper?  But just know this: it gets easier, it gets better, & you can do this.  If I can, anyone can.

Never Say Never

Well, it’s been forever since I blogged.  Life has been a bit of a blur lately.  I truly do not know how moms who work full time survive.  I feel like I’m running ragged a lot of the time & I only work two days a week.  Then again, being a stay at home mom is in some ways the hardest job I’ve ever had, so maybe it all evens out in the end.

Anyway, this past week was one of the hardest weeks I’ve experienced since becoming a mom.  I gave Rachel cheese twice last weekend & discovered the hard way that she is most likely not yet over her dairy intolerance.  Thankfully she can handle me eating dairy now (mainly just cheese & butter as I’ve found I actually prefer soy milk & soy yogurt).  In addition to that her acid reflux seems to have made a comeback- AND she got two new teeth.  Needless to say the poor girl was downright miserable!  I ended up taking her to the doctor last Monday & we have restarted her Zantac which thankfully is really helping.  The doctor also told me to bump up her ibuprofen dose due to her weight, & that too has helped tremendously.mommy luxuries

Anyhow, with everything going on with her, Rachel became extremely clingy last week, moreso even than when she was a newborn.  I could not get her to nap anywhere other than in my arms & the second I put her down she would explode in tears & screaming fits.  I felt so bad for her but I was also losing my mind.  Part of being an introvert is that I get touched out really easily.  This was never really a problem before Rachel was born, but it’s something I knew would be a struggle for me as a mom.  And last week I just reached a breaking point.  introverts cats

I have said for months I would never do cry it out (CIO) but after four days of her napping nowhere other than my arms (or a few minutes in the car) I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I talked to several friends whom I really respect as moms & they all told me that there were times when they let their babies CIO for various reasons.  I finally came to a place where I knew that my mental health was being negatively affected by not trying CIO- & that was negatively affecting my ability to be a loving, nurturing mother.  Furthermore, I realized that as long as I could be sure that Rachel wasn’t hungry, wet/dirty, or in serious pain, it wouldn’t truly hurt her to let her cry for a few minutes, especially if it was for the sake of allowing me some precious alone time to mentally recharge.  Additionally I know that Rachel naps great for the babysitter when I work, & she obviously isn’t napping in her arms every time.  There have been a few “speed bumps” but for the most part every time I’ve tried CIO Rachel has only cried for a maximum of about five minutes before falling asleep, usually only two or three minutes.  And she is napping longer than she did in my arms because she’s achieving a deeper sleep!  I am still happy to let her fall asleep in my arms at bedtime because I do love the cuddles (& she’ll actually stay asleep when I put her down at night- I guess because she’s tired enough by then), but I truly do need her naptime to have some alone time to mentally recharge & keep myself sane. introvert fish

To be clear, prior to last week I never felt I needed to do any sort of real sleep training with Rachel because she has for the most part always been a good sleeper.  We have a great routine for bedtime & other than when she’s teething she has never fought naps too hard (with the notable exception of four months when she was just grumpy a lot, but back then she would fall asleep while I wore her in the carrier & she’d actually stay asleep when I put her down in the crib).  I certainly don’t think every parent should try CIO, & that’s not even really what this post is about.  introvert mom

What I’m really trying to say is that as moms we should probably never say never because we’ll inevitably eat those words someday.  And more importantly, we as moms have to advocate for our own mental health.  Sometimes that means doing things we’d ideally rather not do.  For some moms this means giving up breastfeeding, while for some of us it means trying CIO when we would much rather not.  For some it may mean going back to work part or full time despite having planned to be a SAHM.  I have great respect for moms who don’t get touched out as easily as I do.  Trust me, many times I wish I were one of them!  But at the end of the day I’m a saner mom if I don’t let Rachel sleep on me constantly.  And a saner mom is ALWAYS a better mom who is more capable of providing the loving, nurturing care that her child needs.  And at the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

I can’t end this post without saying thank you to all the moms who have supported & encouraged me from day one, especially those who messaged me last week when I was truly struggling.  Y’all are the best.  I really does take a village!

Free Speech Under Attack

If you haven’t yet read about the Google employee who was fired for questioning the company’s diversity policy, then you need to do so immediately.  I couldn’t care less what your opinion is on this man’s statements (they’re actually pretty mild in my opinion), but it’s obvious to me that the company’s reaction to this was way out of proportion to the “crime” committed.  It’s already been proven that Google has far Left political leanings & isn’t afraid to exploit its power to try to sway public opinion.  This was evidenced when analyses found that Google’s suggested searches on Hillary Clinton were largely positive while its suggested searches on Donald Trump were largely negative.  But that’s a story for another day.  voltaire quote

The heart of the matter here is that free speech is under attack in this country like never before in our history.  The Left has so brainwashed us that the moment anyone dares utter an opinion that doesn’t match their own, that person is immediately branded as racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, transphobic, or any number of other polarizing terms.  It’s really a very effective strategy because it largely shuts down that person’s ability to be heard because who wants to associate with someone so “backward?”

free speech

Can I get an amen?!

President Trump’s recent decision to exclude transgender folks from military service is an excellent example of how the Left has used its political & social clout to silence those of us who dare to agree with his decision.  Please hear me out here.  I am by no means a big fan of Trump.  I could not bring myself to vote for him (or Clinton).  Furthermore I 100% support gay marriage & respect for transgender people.  HOWEVER, the military is SUPPOSED to be elitist.  The military can & does turn folks away all the time for medical issues such as asthma or psychiatric illnesses.  This may seem unfair but the function of the military is to support & protect the safety & integrity of the United States.  Because a transgender person cannot serve in active duty while undergoing gender reassignment therapy or surgery, it seems to me it is only logical to exclude them from military service the same as I might be excluded for having asthma.  The military never has been & never should be a true equal opportunity employer.  I am trying really hard not to say duh here.  Oops, I said speech cartoon

When it comes to diversity in the workplace, I could take the Left a lot more seriously if I saw them campaigning for more men in traditionally feminine fields such as childcare, nursing, or teaching.  But I have yet to see that happen.  I’m a woman & I personally couldn’t care less if certain fields are dominated by men & others by women.  So what?  As long as both genders have the freedom to pursue whatever career we choose (which we do), it makes no difference at all to me if more women choose certain fields over others.  orwell quote

Free speech is the most fundamental right of American society, & it is truly horrifying to me how quickly so many folks want to throw this away in the name of “security” or out of fear of offending anyone.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I think Neonazis, the KKK, Westboro Baptist Church, & other such fringe groups are lunatics.  But I absolutely support their right to say whatever they want to say, so long as they are not actually harming anyone in the process.  Burning crosses on someone’s lawn because of their race or ethnicity?  Hell, no, that’s obviously a crime.  But voicing your opinion in words or writing?  That’s their right as much as it is anyone else’s.  I don’t worry about such fringe groups because I truly believe most people are logical & decent enough to see how ridiculous they are, so it’s extremely unlikely that their ideas will ever become mainstream.  Besides, once we start criminalizing certain things as “hate speech,” the cycle has begun & there’s no way to know when or where it will end. fact feeling

Milo Yiannopoulos is an excellent example of how the Left portrays anyone who dares to question them as a lunatic.  I’ve read Milo’s book & there was very little in it that was really all that radical.  In my opinion his only truly “radical” beliefs are his opinions about transgenderism & his belief that birth control makes women unattractive.  On those issues I strongly disagree with him.  But on most everything else I think he is spot on.  But dear lord, how hard it is for me to admit that because I fear that I too will be branded a white supremacist or some other such nonsense!milo book

But I’ve finally gotten to the point that I’ve had enough.  You can call me a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a bigot, a redneck, or any other denigrative term you desire.  It doesn’t matter to me anymore because  it’s all such bullshit & if you took the time to actually know me, you would realize none of those things could be further from the truth.

Well, it is possible I might be a little bit of a redneck . . . But the educated articulate kind who loves classical music & heavy metal, enjoys defying stereotypes, supports the legalization of marijuana (actually of all drugs) & prostitution, & yes, is a huge supporter of gun rights.  If you’re a liberal reading this, I suggest you sit down & drink a cold glass of water because I probably just blew your mind a little bit- & God knows I hurt your feelings.

Dear Feminists, You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do

Dear Feminists,

You’ve got some explaining to do.  Just a few days ago it came to my attention that due to your efforts so-called “manspreading” has been banned on public transit in Madrid.  I had to stop myself from laughing in public when I first read this news.  Pray tell me, are you next going to campaign for a ban on obese people or people with luggage who also take up “too much space” on public transit?  It’s really the only logical conclusion at this point, yet somehow I doubt I’ll see you picketing for this.manspreading

Furthermore, in the past few months it’s become common practice for feminists to campaign for Sharia law (Linda Sarsour, anyone?).  Honestly just writing that sentence makes me want to puke. It’s full of such cognitive dissonance that I truly do not see how you can sleep with yourselves.  Feminists by definition are supposed to support equal rights & fair treatment of women, & yet here you are supporting a culture that continually tramples on women’s rights & treats them worse than cattle.

sharia law

And yet feminists are supporting this?!

For the life of me I cannot comprehend how anyone, much less an avowed feminist, could support a system that condones domestic abuse, child brides, & the killing of those guilty of such “crimes” as adultery, being raped, or simply being homosexual.  I thought modern feminists were all about tolerance of “alternative” lifestyles, yet here you are promoting a religious/cultural system that is about as far from tolerant as one can get.

rape culture

Say what?  You have got to be kidding me!

Before you get all self-righteous, yes, I know there are plenty of Christian & Jewish groups who are also guilty of all kinds of misdeeds against women (not to mention homosexuals) as well.  I am by no means excusing their behavior.  It’s just curious to me how those groups so quickly fall under your judgment while Muslims, even fundamentalist jihadist ones, have somehow morphed into a modern sacred cow that cannot be questioned.

And no, I am not naive enough to believe that all Muslims are terrible people.  Of course not.  But far be it from me to promote or ignore segments of Islamic (or any other) culture that so obviously disregard basic human rights for women.

womens rights

I think these women would be ashamed of what modern Feminism has become.

Modern feminists, it seems to me that your real goal is avoiding offending anyone, or at least anyone who you consider worthy (i.e. you couldn’t care less about offending white men of course).  Well, I’ve got news for you.  The world is offensive.  It’s heinous even, at times.  And much of that is never going to change.  But if you want to make the world a better place, stop focusing on non issues like “manspreading” & focus on things that are actually hurting women.  By all means campaign for better maternity leave in the U.S.  I’ll gladly join you on that one.  But let us not forget our sisters around the globe who don’t even have the luxury of campaigning for such things.  Let us not be so cowardly that we tolerate the mistreatment of women & other disenfranchised groups in the name of being inoffensive.offended meme

While horrific honor killings are becoming increasingly more common in European countries such as Germany, not to mention in Middle Eastern countries like Pakistan, you’re focused on how men sit on public transportation.  If this weren’t such a serious issue where lives are literally at stake it would be laughable.

So feminists, once again I say to you, you’ve got some explaining to do.


A woman who is increasingly ashamed to call herself a feministhonor killings

[P.S. I’m not saying manspreading doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem.  But making it illegal is just plain silly.  If you’re such an independent strong woman, why don’t you just ask the guilty party to adjust his position a bit to make room for you?  Duh.]

So What if I Don’t Love the Baby Stage?

There is something about Russian classical music that speaks to my heart in a way that nothing else can.  I’m listening to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture as I’m typing this, & I swear my mood lifted within the first ten seconds of the song.  I actually played this piece in my high school marching band a little over a decade ago, & I’m not sure what made me think of it today but I am so glad I did.  If you’re having a rough day (or a great one for that matter), take a few moments to listen to this gorgeous piece & allow its beauty to enrapture your soul.

Now that I’m a little more sane I just wanted to write that today I am struggling, struggling with motherhood & just with life in general.  There are days when I feel like there just isn’t enough of me to give, & this is one of them.  I’m not sure why I’m feeling this way today, but I am, & that’s all that really matters.  Actually it’s probably because Rachel has been fighting sleep all day long & is FINALLY napping for more than about 20 minutes which is why I’m taking advantage of this time to try to clear my mind.

Lavendar hanging from an old vintage door, room for copy space

Anyway, it’s days like this when I get so frustrated with all the people who constantly tell me Rachel is such an easy baby.  I know they mean well & in many ways maybe she is an easy baby, but the truth of the matter is there ARE no easy babies.  All babies are challenging!  And maybe, just maybe, they’re a little more challenging when you don’t have any family nearby & you had no real experience with babies prior to being a mom & you have your own preexisting anxiety issues, as is the case for me.  I’m not looking for sympathy here.  I’m just saying it’s really frustrating when people tell me my baby is so easy because then when I find myself struggling, like today, I inevitably start wondering what’s wrong with me & how I’ll ever manage if I have another baby someday who is actually “difficult.”motherhood-quote

People also frequently tell me that I’m going to miss these days in the not so distant future.  But the truth of the matter is I’m not so sure I will.  And of course that makes me wonder if I’m a bad mom.  But I’ve jut never been a baby/toddler person & being a mom hasn’t really changed that.  Trust me, I love my daughter more than life itself, but I don’t think the baby/toddler stage will ever be my favorite.  So in the future when she is older if I don’t find myself longing for these days, is that really such a bad thing?  I don’t think so.  guilt

Well, that’s all I’ve got today.  I’m just trying to clear my mind so I can be more rational once Rachel wakes up again.  I also figured maybe there is another mom out there somewhere who is struggling & wondering if she’s inadequate because she isn’t totally loving the baby stage.  If so, please know you’re not alone, & you’re not a bad mom.  Some women are baby people & some of us aren’t.  And neither is better than the other.  We just are.  Lastly, I’d like to send a huge thank you to all the moms who frequently take the time to encourage me & remind me that I’m doing a good job, even when I sometimes feel like I’m just not up to par.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope someday I can encourage other moms the way y’all have done for me.


Why American Parents are So Unhappy

Let me preface this post by saying I am far from a parenting expert.  I only have one child & she is all of 4.5 months old.  Clearly I am not the most experienced mom on the block, & while it’s very true that parenting is one of those things you can’t REALLY learn until you actually do it, I do think the fact that I pondered motherhood long & hard for several years before making the choice to actually become a mom has served me very well.  What I’m saying is I spent a lot of time observing parents I know as well as parents I see out in public & really trying to learn everything I could about the experience before jumping into it myself.  And I truly think that has benefited me greatly as a new mom.

With all that being said, I think I’ve hit upon at least one reason why American parents are by & large so unhappy.  Or maybe unhappy is the wrong word . . . Perhaps I should say dissatisfied & overly stressed.  In any case, it’s pretty obvious to me that a large percentage of American parents these days are frankly not enjoying parenthood the way they probably hoped they would.  While there is no question that being a mom is the hardest “job” I’ve ever had, I can honestly say I’m enjoying it a lot MORE than I thought I would.  Maybe that’s just because I was so hesitant about being a mom for so many years that it’s still somewhat shocking to find myself truly embracing this role.  But maybe it’s also because I’ve chosen to shirk a lot of the modern parenting trends.Print

**Disclaimer: this post was written with two-parent households in mind.  I cannot even begin to speak to the single parent experience.

What it boils down to is this: American parents are trying to do way too much.  We are killing ourselves trying to “have it all.”  We are stretched so thin that we have nothing left to give.  Furthermore we are allowing our children to rule the home which is obviously ludicrous!  What all this leads to is zero time/energy for ourselves which inevitably leads to exhaustion & burnout.children-work-quote

This is just my opinion of course, but here’s what I think is the secret to enjoying parenthood & not being overwhelmed by stress: stop trying to be superwoman (or superman, for the guys reading this)!  Your kids do not need to be involved in every extracurricular activity known to mankind.  They do not need to have every fancy new toy that comes on the market.  (And god forbid you should work overtime to try to purchase such gadgets!)  Our children will not die if they don’t have the latest pair of Jordans or whatever other name brand clothing is all the rage at the moment.  They also won’t be doomed for failure if you don’t bring them their homework every time they leave it at home.

Furthermore, our children should learn to entertain themselves for at least a few minutes a day once they reach the age that this is physically & psychologically possible.  Additionally we must find ways to nourish our own souls.  My daughter is absolutely the best thing that has ever happened to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t cherish my alone time when she is napping or when my husband is watching her while I shower or go to the gym, etc.  And I do not feel guilty for that at all because I know that I am a better mom when I am mentally & emotionally healthy, & that requires a certain amount of “me time.”  rat race

I think most parents today are trying way too hard to give their children a “perfect” life.  I’ve got news for you: that perfect life doesn’t exist.  It’s natural to want better for our children than we had ourselves- but it shouldn’t come at the cost of our own mental health.  Life isn’t fair or easy & while I certainly don’t think we should just throw our children to the wolves, they do need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them.  It’s pretty obvious that children who learn this from an early age are actually much happier anyway!spoiled child

Furthermore, as unpopular as it is to say this, I truly believe your spouse/partner needs to be at least as much of a priority as your kids, if not more so.  I’m not by any means suggesting you should ignore your children for the sake of your spouse, but I do believe a lot of families are falling apart because the parents put their children first ALL the time to the point that they have zero energy left for each other.  Considering how much research has shown that a stable family provides so many wonderful benefits to children (duh!), it’s obvious to me that as difficult as it sometimes is I need to ensure my relationship with my husband stays as strong as it was before our daughter entered our lives.  duck parenting cartoon

That being said, we have not had a “date” or any true alone time since she was born, but I honestly don’t think that’s what matters.  What really matters is that we talk to each other about our day to day feelings & experiences, & we make a consistent effort to help each other out with parenting & around the house chores.  Equally important, we thank each other frequently for doing so.  The point is that we know that Rachel will benefit so much from growing up in a stable home with two loving parents so we know our relationship needs to be a high priority in our lives.  Not to mention, someday she will grow up & move out & we don’t want to be left feeling like strangers in our own home!  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our roles as parents that we forget our roles as partners, but I truly think it’s crucial that we as parents do not allow our relationships to falter.  Yes, there are all kinds of new challenges that parenthood brings to a relationship, no doubt, but that doesn’t have to mean disaster if we can learn to navigate these challenges as a guilt

Ok, end rant.  I sincerely hope I haven’t sounded self-righteous or like I think I’m some kind of omniscient supermom.  In reality I’m just a normal mom trying to ride the waves of parenthood as they come at me.  There are plenty of days when I question whether I’m doing the right thing & find myself feeling overwhelmed or inadequate.  I know Rachel is never going to have a perfectly themed birthday party or a gorgeous baby book.  She is never going to have a perfectly decorated nursery or bedroom.  I’m just not that kind of mom.  But at the end of the day I remind myself that she is fed, clothed, warm, & most importantly loved, & that is really all she needs.  Furthermore, my husband & I are finding ways to maintain our relationship despite living several hours away from both of our families & not having any real alone time, & I know this will serve us & our daugher well for years to come.pinterest mom

In conclusion, the most important thing we can give our children is our time.  As parents, if we cut ourselves out of the rat race & just focus on spending time with our children, I think we will find that we (& are children) are much happier.  

The Negative Emotion-Guilt Complex: Mom Edition

Woah, I’ve been wanting/needing to write for a couple weeks now but between working two days a week & caring for an increasingly needy & grumpy baby there has simply been zero time for blogging.  I am desperately hoping I can get enough out in these few minutes while Rachel is sleeping to clear my mind & try to save my sanity.  Warning: this will definitely not be an eloquent post.  It will most likely just be word vomit.  But I’m not writing this for anyone else; I’m writing it to try to save myself from my own mind.

One thing I’ve learned very quickly about motherhood is that it makes your flaws become glaringly obvious- at least to yourself.  And I have long been aware that my greatest flaw is feeling guilty for any kind of “negative” emotion (e.g. frustration, sadness, jealousy, anger, etc).  I thought I had made a great deal of progress on this issue but being a mom has been made realize how much more work I have to do.  Furthermore, I swore up & down I wouldn’t let myself become a victim to “mom guilt” but damn if I am not just as vulnerable to it as everyone else!  mom guilt

The first six weeks of Rachel’s life were undoubtedly the most difficult to date.  But the past two to three weeks have also been extremely challenging, perhaps more so in some ways because I had gotten used to her being so happy most of the time.  Between teething & being in the middle of a huge developmental leap, Rachel has become extremely grouchy the past few weeks.  And because she naps so little these days I think that is making things even more difficult for her & thus for me as well.  Everyone tells me I’m so lucky that she has started sleeping through the night more often than not, but frankly things were much easier for me when she was waking up once or twice at night to eat but then napped more & was in a MUCH better mood during the day.  Besides, just because she is sleeping eight to ten hrs straight a lot of nights doesn’t mean I am.  I’m still getting up to pump, not to mention I’ve never been the kind of person who can sleep more than about five hrs straight anyway.  (Hell, even as a kid I remember waking up at least once or twice most nights.)  In any case I’d gladly sacrifice some sleep to have my happy baby back.  parents quote

Anyway, the point of all this is that I am really struggling right now.  For the first time in my life I am actually jealous of moms who work full time because they aren’t stuck at home with a screaming infant more than two or three days a week (not all day anyway).  And for the first time since giving birth I am truly missing my pre-mom life.  By no means do I regret becoming a mom of course, but at the same time I do miss the freedom I had to go out & do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (within reason of course).  I knew I was going to lose that when I became a mom but honestly I didn’t start missing that freedom until these past few weeks when Rachel has become so grumpy that even going to the grocery store has become a serious challenge.  Not to mention I miss my alone time when no one needed anything from me.  It’s so hard being needed ALL the time . . . empty cup

Here’s the thing: Rachel has in many ways been a pretty “easy” baby.  Once she got over the ridiculous cluster feeding she did for much of the first six weeks, she has been, all things considered, a pretty happy, “simple” baby.  And compared to some babies, maybe she still is.  But see, half my problem is that I’m constantly feeling guilty for being frustrated because I know that “so many women have it worse.”  In case it isn’t obvious, this leads to a serious boatload of guilt because I’m constantly feeling guilty for “complaining” or feeling overwhelmed when I know that others are facing “bigger” struggles.negative-emotion-motivates-change-dan-rockwell

But the truth of the matter is there are no easy babies!  As a dear & wise friend said to me today “Someone basically handed you a tiny stranger & said ‘Here you go; she can’t communicate either but good luck figuring out everything she needs while you have no time for yourself & are coming to the end of your rapidly fraying rope.'”  Amen!  Furthermore, constantly telling myself I should be grateful because others “have it worse” is incredibly unhealthy.  I thought I’d matured enough to realize that there are no negative emotions:  there are just emotions & then there’s what we do with them, the latter being what really matters.  But apparently I am still struggling with this as much as ever.  The truth is, especially as new moms, we can & do experience a multitude of emotions all at once.  And it’s ok to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, & jealous while also being grateful & in love with the tiny human you’ve created.  In fact it’s not just ok, it’s NORMAL.pema chodron quote 2

It also occurred to me today that I’m doing something that almost no one in my family has ever done.  I’m living in an urban area & one that is several hours away from my family as well as my husband’s family- & trying to raise a baby to boot!  To be clear, I’m not saying I’m better than my family because of this, not at all.  I’m just saying raising a baby is never easy but it’s probably even harder when you don’t have anyone who is “obligated” to help you who is close by & can babysit for you or just help out on a regular basis, even just for 20 minutes so you can clear your mind.  That being said, I am very glad to live where we do & to raise Rachel in a different environment than that in which we were raised, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own unique challenges.  guilt

It has also occurred to me lately that my husband & I haven’t had any true alone time together (as in away from the baby) since Rachel was born other than a quick trip to Target when she was a few days old & my parents were in town.  And that hardly counts!  Not to mention the amount of true alone time I have had is incredibly small.  And as an introvert alone time is not just precious to me, it’s crucial.  So no wonder I’m feeling a bit frazzled!pinterest mom

One of my friends in college told me several times that I’d make a great Jewish mother because I always had so much guilt, most of which was completely baseless.  Unfortunately he was right, & unfortunately I haven’t made as much progress on this issue as I thought I had.  However, my hope is that writing all of this will help me to remember that whatever I’m feeling right now is valid.  Just because my situation is “easier” than some others doesn’t mean it’s easy.  And it’s ok for me to be frustrated & tired & even angry sometimes.  In reality I’ll be a much better mom if I can just be honest about how I’m feeling & stop feeling guilty about it.  Because as long as I’m constantly stuck in a quagmire of guilt, I’m not actually processing my emotions– & that’s a recipe for disaster.  And I’ll be damned if my daughter grows up to feel guilty for every so-called “negative” emotion she experiences!  So that means I need to stop this guilt train right now & just admit that this stage is hard but that doesn’t make me a bad mom or a bad person.  It just makes me a human being. kidney stone

Anyway, I’ve written all that to say this: I’m in over my head.  But I’m doing the best I can & I know this phase Rachel is going through right now is exactly that: it’s a phase which means, by definition, it will pass.  I’m reminded of the phrase “It may pass painfully like a kidney stone but it will pass.”