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!

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.

 

The Reality of Mom Life


This blog post has been two days in the making.  Actually longer than that because I came down with the stomach bug from HELL this weekend & am just today feeling more or less like a normal human being again.  I would seriously take pneumonia or the real flu (you know, the respiratory one) over the stomach bug ANY day of the week.  I know some people say “But the flu lasts a week; the stomach bug is just 24-48 hrs.”  HA!  Maybe for some folks but for me it’s always taken 3-4 days minimum to truly recover from a stomach bug, & it was MUCH harder this time because I was breastfeeding & caring for a 12 week old baby the entire time.  Thank goodness for my husband for helping to care for me & Rachel & for my parents for coming down on Monday to help me when my husband had to go back to work.  It’s been my nightmare ever since Rachel was born that I would come down with a stomach bug.  Well, it happened.  And it sucked.  Royally.  But I lived to tell the story.  Which brings me to the point of this post.Lavendar hanging from an old vintage door, room for copy space

Motherhood is a lot of things.  At moments it is the most glorious, wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced.  At other times it’s so incredibly hard that I wonder what I was thinking getting into this.  The good news is, as the weeks have passed, the former moments far outweigh the latter moments.  And I’ve learned that I am SO MUCH STRONGER than I ever thought possible.  So in honor of that I thought I’d post some of the realities of being a mom, at least for me, many of which are really quite humorous.  If you’re a mom I think you’ll find yourself smiling & nodding along.  If you’re not, hopefully this post will make you want to join the club.  Or not; that’s a totally acceptable choice as well!motherhood-quote

(FYI, I used feminine pronouns throughout this post simply because my baby is a girl so it was just easier for me that way . . . Also, this post is most applicable to moms with infants.  As I only have one child myself, who is just 12 weeks old, I obviously can’t yet speak to motherhood beyond this point.)

Being a mom means . . .

  • Learning to do almost anything & everything one-handed.  This includes cooking, cleaning, using the bathroom, signing for pizza delivery, texting, typing, etc, etc.  The list could go on forever!
  • As soon as you finish laundry for the day the baby will have a poop-splosion (i.e. an explosion of poop) that soils her entire outfit & possibly yours as well.  So then you have to decide if you want to hand-wash everything or run the washing machine for just a handful of items.  Usually I go with the former & figure I’m getting a taste of what motherhood must have been like for my great-grandmothers in the days before washing machines.
  • As soon as you take the burp rag away thinking for sure the baby won’t spit up on you, that is the exact moment the baby will spit up on you.motherhood not for sissies
  • As soon as you change the baby’s diaper, get her outfit on her, & put her down for a nap or to play in her bouncy seat, that is exactly when she will have yet another poop.  Babies are not economical or efficient.  But they are born with a sarcastic streak, I swear!  I know mine has one . . . But then again, how could she not with parents like me & my husband?
  • Googling everything under the sun at all hours of night & day, scouring the interwebs for any sign that whatever “strange” or annoying thing your baby is doing is normal . . . or for how in the world to make her STOP CRYING?!
  • And eventually figuring out that, despite all of your doubts, you really are the expert on your own child.  After a while you recognize patterns & pick up on cues that in the early days were all just a mysterious blur.  And when you realize how far you’ve come you feel like a TOTAL ROCK STAR.  And you are!!motherhood grocery store
  • Never eating a full meal in one sitting (or at least very rarely) because the baby always needs something as soon as you sit down to eat.  You soon get used to either eating cold food or reheating things a bunch of times.
  • Taking the fastest showers of your life because you’re scared to death the baby will explode while she’s out of your sight . . . until you realize she actually won’t & you WILL hear her crying over the sound of the water . . . So then you start taking longer & longer showers just to have some time to yourself.
  • Making up excuses to drive places just because the baby loves her carseat & takes some of her best naps while you’re in the car.
  • Loving & appreciating your own mom more than ever because you realize just how amazing she truly is.daughter quote
  • Feeling a sudden, however slight, connection to every mom you meet just because you know you share so many of the same daily struggles & delights.
  • Being willing to make career changes you never considered before becoming a mom.  For some this means becoming a stay at home mom.  For others it means changing careers completely or going part time.  For me it has meant leaving hospital nursing to pursue part time clinic work. (I was originally planning to go back to the hospital part time but decided the schedule as well as the hectic, often stressful shifts there just didn’t fit with my priorities anymore.  That’s a whole other blog post that I’ll get around to writing eventually.)
  • Experiencing a love like you’ve never experienced before.  It really is indescribable.birth-of-mother
  • Loving (& often missing) sleep more than ever.  I’ve almost always been wise enough to choose sleep over housework or any other task when I know I really need sleep . . . And I know I’m saner for it.  Trust me, if you have any doubt, the best choice is always sleep.  Husbands, moms, dads, & friends can all help with housework or caring for the baby.  But none of them can sleep for you.
  • Learning to love your body for what it can DO as well as how it looks.  It means learning to embrace your “flaws” & knowing that even if your stomach is never quite as flat again (Who am I kidding?  Mine was never super flat anyway.) & even if the stretch marks never fully fade away, you’d still choose your precious child over your old body a thousand times over.
  • Learning to give yourself a lot of grace.  I learned very fast that there were certain things I just wasn’t going to be able to do as a mom, at least as a new mom.  For example, using cloth diapers is just not going to happen any time soon.  I need my sanity, & there is no way I could handle all the work that comes with cloth diapering & stay sane right now.  It also means learning to forgive yourself when you find yourself getting frustrated & angry with your own child sometimes.  We have to learn that none of us is perfect & we all have our less than stellar moments, but it’s all just part of the journey.children-work-quote
  • You can’t watch/read the news without feeling like your heart is going to break.  Every tragedy in the world is suddenly magnified a thousand times because you realize that was someone’s BABY who was hurt/killed.  So, if you’re like me, you decide to filter most news through your husband & friends & otherwise be the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand.
  • Every time you start to think about having another baby in the future, something happens & you’re convinced there is no way you could ever handle more than one child.  At least not for another 3 or 4 years.  But then you worry that if you separate your kids that much they won’t be “close.”  But then you remember that having them close together in no way guarantees that they will be close to each other, just as having them further apart in no way guarantees they WON’T be.  Basically when it comes to having kids there are no guarantees.  Ever.  Which brings me to my final point . . .
  • Being a mom means learning to laugh at the chaos, to “roll with the punches,” to take whatever life throws at you & find a way to not only survive but thrive.  As I said at the beginning, being a mom means learning that no matter how hard things get, you somehow find the strength to keep on trucking because you are SO MUCH STRONGER than you ever thought possible.

    'Hey, half my chromosomes are YOURS, you know.'

    Considering my husband is a geneticist by trade, our daughter may very well say this to us someday.  Ha!