February 20, 2014
A couple articles across the interwebs have got me thinking lately.
Deep in the trenches of Toddler motherhood it seems every day I’m faced with new challenges (like the need to THROW ALL THE THINGS AT MY HEAD), frustrating whining fits and tantrums, and several “ah-ha” moments when I realize that HOLY CRAP HE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I’M SAYING!!! And those same days I question if I’m doing the right thing…setting enough boundaries, reading him enough books, making enough animal sounds. So to ease my stress and worry I turn to the internet…naturally.
Like a lot of new moms I’m drawn to those bloggers that make me feel right at home…that I’m not alone and that
sometimes half the time having kids is NOT all butterflies and rainbows. So called “Bad Mommy” bloggers. The ones that aren’t afraid to be honest and tell us how it really is…to get peed on, the unexplainable crying, nonstop whining, food throwing, biting…all before 8am. Sometimes I’m left terrified of what’s yet to come (terrible 2′s, troublesome 3′s…having multiple children to care for (deep breath in)) but often I find myself nodding my head thinking YES OMG YES THAT IS EXACTLY IT!!
So when I came across this article I surprisingly agreed. As my co-mother friends can attest…I will be the first one to admit my shortcomings or mistakes as a mother…(yep we turned Jack’s car seat forward already…and this one time he fell out of the cart at Target b/c I failed to strap him in)…but I often wonder if this comes off as a competition?! Like some warped competition of being the “worst mom ever” which makes everyone else feel better about what they do. If I’m not perfect…am I also not Bad Enough either?! I love how Elissa ends the article:
“This isn’t to say we didn’t gain anything from the bad mother. The spirit of confession she brought, the invitation to reveal our deepest doubts and frustrations, has surely benefited many women who felt suffocated by the mother mystique. But now we need to take that slightly selfish, sometimes bored and occasionally uncaring woman and just call her a mother. Not good, not bad, just mom.”
I’m not perfect, and I’m not bad…I’m just a Mom.
Along the same lines…when I was pregnant these “bad mommy” blogs were totally foreign to me. I lived in a blissful fog of “omg my baby is going to be AMAZING!!!.” I read weekly pregnancy updates of fellow bloggers, and birth story after birth story. So when my life was flipped upside down during those first months…I wondered WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS?!
Turns out…the internet tried to. At the time I turned a blind eye but it seems like now the “Things no one told me about having a baby” and “What I wish I knew…” or “What I would tell my Pre-Pregnant Self” posts are littered across the internet and fill my facebook feed…thanks to a lot of my new mom friends. So it’s not exactly new news…having a baby is hard and life changing. I’ve even made it my unofficial “job” to tell people this before they have children themselves. I don’t want to be blamed for not giving fair warning.
As an example…a few weeks ago I was guilty of doing the head-tilt “awwwww” look at another couple with a newborn at the liquor store. After I realized I was probably making them uncomfortable with my wide-eyed stare and huge grin, I asked how old their son was and if he was their first. When they both replied yes…and had that all-to-familiar tired look of “please don’t say how amazing this time is” I quickly replied with “it’s hard huh?!”. Now thankfully they must have agreed because instead of cursing me they gave me agreeing looks…and even bigger smiles. It felt good. Maybe that is what they needed to hear. Being me…I also threw in a quick “well that’s why we’re here buying booze right?! (awkward laugh)”
While I wholeheartedly agree that as friends and Moms is it our duty to let our fellow moms, especially our closest friends, know that they are not alone during those hard times…that they are doing great…and yes you can admit it is hard you can tell me your deepest honest feelings without the “but it’s the best decision ever and i wouldn’t trade it for anything” end comment…. (I KNOW. Trust me…I know. My days are filled with ups/downs and yet my love for my son is unquestionable and deep and scary strong** ) I also worry that by pushing too much negativity about what becoming a parent is “really like” in the faces of those friends of ours who do not have kids yet (or ever), or even our pregnant friends can be a bit much…and even make them question why we did this in the first place?!
Like most things…you can’t fully grasp it until you experience it. You can tell someone how hard it is and try to explain just how evil sleep deprivation can make you…they won’t get it until they are deep in it themselves. So I’m torn. I inhale articles and blog posts that talk about how hard motherhood is and the daily challenges we experience before we even have our morning cup of coffee. But on the other end, I don’t want to be so negative that those around me question even for one second my choice to become a mother.
It was our choice. We don’t regret it. My marriage has changed, my free time has changed, my workout schedule has changed (if we can even say it exists), my view on what matters has changed, but most importantly my role in this world has changed. I’m a Mom. My son deserves whatever I can give him…whether it’s “bad” or “good” in the eyes of the internet.
** I’ve been thinking a lot about how negative posts must affect those who are unable to have kids or those who experience miscarriage and unthinkable loss. A beautiful blogger friend recently lost her daughter at 37 weeks and it just breaks me inside to think of the pain she and her husband must be going through. PLEASE please please send her and her husband your thoughts and prayers.
December 18, 2013
In the past Holiday commercials have mostly annoyed me…cars and jewelry being the top contenders. But this year I’ve seen a couple that have made me laugh and cry…all at the same time. Maybe it’s the Mom hormones in me…or companies are finally figuring out how to tug at our heart strings…but these are good.
You may have already seen them…esp if you don’t live under a rock.
This one from Apple.
This one from Coke.
See what I mean?! Tears.
Happy Holidays All!!
November 19, 2013
You guys…Jack’s 1yr photo shoot did not exactly go as I had hoped. I guess I should get used to this.
Instead of crawling around smiling, laughing, and hamming it up like the perfect little boy I envision him as…he was NOT HAVING IT. As in…every time I tried to set him down so you know…we could get a picture of JUST HIM…he screamed bloody murder and grabbed onto me with a death grip. 30mins into it when he was STILL not cooperating I wanted to cry…pretty sure Sam thought I was a crazy mother who has no idea how to even make her child smile. Ugh. So it turned into a “Mom&Jack” photo shoot.
Here are a few of my favorites.
See that last one is pretty good of him right?!
Oh and here’s what I mean about clinging to me for dear life…
Another “Mom lesson” learned…things will not always go as planned…but try and roll with the punches and make the best of it.
And bring snacks…always.
*All photos by the lovely Sam Kelly.
October 22, 2013
A year ago today we met Jack.
This past year has been the hardest of my life. They say a mother’s love for her son is something fierce…and I get it now. Although it took a little longer for me to develop that real strong bond with him…the love and joy he brings to my heart now grows at an exponential rate. It’s indescribable the way his little looks make me feel…and when he tucks his head just so on my shoulder I want to stop time and never move from that moment.
Turns out…I’m not a baby person. The 6 months mark was right around the time Jack’s personality really started to show…he became such a cool kid. Being a Mom became fun…not just work. Still hard yes (oh man is it still hard!) but fun too…enjoyable. The last couple months have been even better. We wrestle around on the floor. We sing and yell. We dance. We chase each other. We laugh.
Jack is Me in miniature form. (and a boy..duh) He has that spitfire redhead personality. Lance evens us out…and one can only hope our next child is more like him…calm, relaxed, chill…or else he might have to move out.
Jack’s favorite things right now are (in no particular order):
blue blankie (although this is probably the top one)
Me…obviously (ok and Dad too)
pushing ALL THE THINGS around the house (his clothes basket being his first choice…activity table a close second)
The dishwasher…well actually the silverware in the dishwasher
Strawberries, grapes, and mac-n-cheese.
Pairs of things…and crawling with one in each hand. (ie., pan lids, blocks, cups, socks, toy cars…)
Piles of magazines stacked on side tables…that he can one by one throw off and rip up.
Jack’s least favorite things right now:
Diaper changes and getting dressed/undressed. (so dramatic!)
the Stroller (actually he has NEVER liked this)
Sitting in the cart at Target (only wants to stand and throw stuff around…makes for tricky shopping)
He doesn’t walk on his own yet…but he seems to be getting more steady and braver by the day. He’ll get this look on his face like he wants to walk from one point to the next…but then he’ll drop down and crawl. He is getting a lot better at standing on his own. All these skills I feel like have gotten stronger over such a short period of time. When he first started pulling up he was so wobbly and unbalanced…it’s amazing how quickly they change. I still gasp a little when I see him standing independently.
I think our nursing days are over. We had slowly gone down to just morning and night sessions…which i loved. Then that turned into just morning sessions…and then the other day he refused…and my boobs didn’t mind. So yeah…I think it’s over. Man…breastfeeding was SO MUCH MORE than I thought it would be. More work, more pain, more exhausting, more emotional…just all of it…MORE. But it was good…at times very good…and worth it. Oh so worth it.
Although that barely scratches the surface of the past 6+ months…it’s what’s on my mind now. I wish I had updated here more often…but such is life. I hope to drop in from time to time still…if anyone is still reading.
So with that…Happy Birthday handsome little man…I love you more than you’ll ever know. You are my happy.
August 1, 2013
I love this picture. I look happily in love and glowing as a new Mom with my almost 3 week old little boy…which is exactly how I want to remember that time.
But what the picture doesn’t tell you is that I was also suffering from my first case of mastitis, uncomfortably squeezed into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, deliriously tired, and feeling guilty that my baby was not blissfully sleeping through his newborn shoot but instead screaming (look closely). It’s a good thing we have professionals to take pictures that paint a different story than reality…the one we want to reflect on and remember as the truth.
A friend of mine recently had a baby and jokingly (honestly?) pokes at me for not telling her exactly how hard it would be in those early weeks. Hard doesn’t even come close. Everyone and their aunt Sally will tell you it’s “hard”…but no one can actually explain it in a way you will ever be able to comprehend until you’re living it. But how can you expect them to? I came across this article via another blogger and it really resonated with me. (if you’re a new Mom…or even considering the idea of ever becoming a Mom I suggest you read it…then read it again at some point during those first weeks….and then read it again…) Our minds have this amazing way of working…or maybe it’s just the magic of sleep deprivation…that the early months of new motherhood slowly turn into a fog…and what’s left is a montage of fond memories. We slowly forget…or maybe just gloss over…the bad…and focus solely on the good.
It took me a while to start writing in Jack’s baby book about the early months…because I was terrified of what I might write. In hindsight I wish I had written it down somewhere and kept it for me personally just so when #2 comes around I can reassure myself that I am not crazy and my feelings are totally ok. Even now at 9 months in…and what feels like a lifetime away from those early days…I still feel a small shutter of terror and anxiety with the thought of ever caring for a newborn again. Yes my controlling, change-hating, stress-ball personality may also play a role. The thing about babies is they can teach you a lot about yourself…or more realistically force you to acknowledge things about yourself you stubbornly don’t want to admit.
Even now the fogginess has already begun to set in. The relationship with my son blossoms on a daily basis…and I no longer think of him as an angry blob who only wants my boobs…but instead the funniest, cutest, sweetest, ( and on and on and on…) little redheaded kid I know. Lord help the woman who wants to marry him someday.
It took me a while to accept that life would not go back to normal….THIS…life with Jack…is our “new normal”. Some things will never be the same as they were pre-baby. Seems simple enough…but it was (and continues to be) a hard adjustment to accept. Although I’m getting more comfortable in my roll as a Mom… I may never feel fully confident. But I think that’s ok.
As Jack grows older, and I learn more and more about him and myself…we make our montage of those early days that much more beautiful.
Photos by the wonderful Jylare Smith.
June 19, 2013
May 13, 2013
Jack is over half a year old. How did that happen?! I meant to update sooner but there’s this thing called work I have to go to…oh and then I also have to take care of a small human who hates to sleep during the day. So yeah…when I do get some time to myself I usually opt to just sit and stare at the TV and zone out with a glass of wine instead of doing more important things….like cleaning and shaving my legs. Such is life.
So the past 3 months have been pretty great overall. Each
week day Jack seems to change and develop more into a tiny little person right before my eyes….it’s amazing and so so fun to watch. This past month has probably been my favorite thus far. The newborn phase is cool for like a week…then I’ll take this age please. Jack is so aware of everything around him and it is so fun to watch him explore with all his senses.
The “big” story at 4 months was Jack starting daycare as I headed back to work full time. No I haven’t been sobbing at my desk. I still get Friday at home with Jack (Lance has Mondays) so really he’s only there 3 days out of the week…and somehow I think he wishes he was there EVERY DAY. The kid loves it and the nursery ladies love him too…and every time I’ve picked him up he’s been just happy as a clam. So that is a huge plus and makes going to work so much easier knowing he is in good hands. The 4 days I do work are long though and I am usually racing to get home in time to put him to bed…which means I barely get 20mins of interaction with him on days I don’t pick him up from daycare.
The other big story from 4 months (and continues to be…) is SLEEP. Yep..the never ending battle. Some days I swear I spend more time trying to get this little bugger to sleep then he actually sleeps. To say it’s exhausting is an understatement. As much as I hate to admit it…we’ve done a LOT of CIO in this house. It’s not fun…but those of you that have been there know that sometimes it’s the only option left. You know…unless I want to re-insert a pacifier every hour all night long and co-sleep till he’s 30.
We started with Ferber…then moved onto extinction…because it just wasn’t working. Some nights it would…other nights it wouldn’t. No “3 nights and it’s AMAZING SLEEP FOR EVERYONE” around here. Then you throw in teething, wonder weeks, colds, and every other excuse in the book and here we are at 6 months and I still don’t feel like we’ve got it figured out. He goes through phases of being easy to put down…to absolutely fighting it like a madman (45min+ screaming sessions) Night wakings are tough too…some nights he’ll just fuss a little and put himself back to sleep…and some nights he’ll cry for an hour until I finally give in and give him the boob to put him back to sleep. If we can make it from 7pm-4am w/out any issues/feedings…I consider it
a good night the most amazing night ever. If you try and give me advice I’ll punch you…I’ve heard it all. We’ll get there…Jack just likes to do things at his own pace. I’m slightly bitter toward people that have babies that sleep awesome from the get-go. I just assume they’re lying to make myself feel better.
Oh and “naps”…haha. 30-45mins is the usual around here…3 times a day if we’re lucky. They don’t come easy though. Some days he will go down like a little baby angel and then I race around the house trying to do dishes/laundry/eat/shower all in that short time frame. I’ve gotten crazy efficient at a lot of things and given up on others…like drying my hair and wearing clean clothes.
The good thing is Jack is generally a very a happy kid. SO MUCH happier than those early months. Smiles and squeals fill our awake time. Happy Jack = Happy Momma! He does have his moments though and my mind is sent racing back to the colic days…but thankfully those are few and far between. Most of the time if he is fussy he just wants to be held. I know soon enough he’ll be mobile and the last thing he’ll want is me to hold him and carry him around so I’m ok with it. Plus it’s a pretty sweet work out for my arms…since actual working out is a thing of the past. I also like the challenge of doing things one handed…keeps me on my toes.
Around the 5 month mark Jack’s personality really started to show. I felt like I got to “know” him a lot more. He suddenly looked around the room for me when I would talk…and then get this huge smile on his face once he found me. There’s seriously no better feeling than that. He also started doing this thing when we pick him up…he’ll scrunch his legs up and bury his little head into our shoulders. I think that’s his version of a hug. He also gives kisses…at least I think that’s what they are…or he’s just trying to eat my face which wouldn’t surprise me either.
Jack also woke up one day and discovered we have 2 cats! He now will reach out and grab for them…look around for them and watch them as they move about the room. I think he likes Mini the best…as evident in the photo below. They have a certain connection…probably because they both get cranky if they don’t get food at the exact second that they want it.
Jack started showing the signs of teething right around the 4 month mark. He became a drooling machine! And suddenly no finger/arm/toy was safe from his monster chomp. Still I was a tad surprised when around 5 1/2 months his first little tooth poked through…and 3 days later the 2nd one made an appearance. He now has 2 little bottom teeth…and I feel like the top two will be here before we know it. My boobs are scared.
Jack has recently mastered sitting up…and it’s awesome. I can now just plop him down with some toys and he’s happy to just play by himself for 30-40mins! He gets frustrated when he pushes something out of his reach, but that just means he’ll be more determined to move and get it. Watch out world. He’s outgrown his swing, playmat, and bouncy seat so it’s time to pack them up…which makes me a little sad…but also happy that our living room will no longer resemble a baby obstacle course.
When Jack was about a week from his 6 month birthday we finally jumped on the solids bandwagon. Our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start after his 4 month check-up but I just didn’t feel Jack was ready. He hadn’t shown any of the “signs” and could care less when we ate. So we waited and I started doing some research online about the whole solids adventure. Then when Jack suddenly became very interested in us eating and could sit up pretty good assisted…we went out and got a highchair and fed him his first “real” food…avocado! I don’t think he ate any of it…but after a week of trying some different purees he became an eating machine! I’d like to do a mix of purees and BLW…more for convenience than anything…but we’ve mostly focused on the purees so far. I feel a little overwhelmed by it all still and the few times we’ve given him big pieces of food (like the BLW method suggests) he’s taken giant bites and gagged…which freaks me out. All part of the adventure I guess.
I think that about gets things up to speed in the Jack dept. I’d like to do a post on ME 6 months postpartum…if I can find the time and energy to say all that I really want to say. Becoming a Mom has been both the most amazing experience…and most challenging. I’ve grown and changed in ways I didn’t expect and learned so much about myself. Having a baby truly does change everything…and not just in the day-t0-day aspect…it’s all encompassing…even the most mundane things seem to be different now somehow. Yet better in a way.