I’m “THAT” Mom

“Don’t be THAT mom.”

This phrase haunts me. I feel ashamed that I’ve said it; and I would be willing to bet there’s not a woman reading this who hasn’t said this to a mama and meant it to be sage wisdom.

I’ve been thinking on this phrase for months, after a dear friend and dedicated mama came to visit with her family. Her sweet almost-one-year-old often has trouble falling asleep; so to help her, they walk her in the stroller or take her on a drive. One night her husband loaded their baby in the car for a goodnight drive and she looked at me and said, “I was never going to be that mom.” And my heart felt so sad. This woman is THAT mom who doesn’t want her baby crying in her crib for hours. This woman is THAT mom who pumps 5 times a day in order to feed her baby nutritious, immunity-building breast milk for the first year of her life. This woman is THAT mom who loves her baby. I learned so much about being a mom from my friend that weekend.

Before becoming a mom, I said I wasn’t going to be THAT mom who takes her baby on a drive to help them fall asleep. Guess IMG_0191what? I’ve done this when Grace refuses her nap for 1.5 hours and I am about to pull my hair out.

I wasn’t going to be THAT mom who shamelessly breastfeeds her baby in public. Guess what? I refuse to cover my daughter’s head in public because her eating offends you. Guess what? It shouldn’t be the social norm that I need to leave a conversation or a social situation because my child needs to eat.

I wasn’t going to be THAT mom who babywears because their child doesn’t like to be put down. I’ve vacuumed the whole house with Grace in the carrier because she would not stop crying. Guess what? I love baby wearing. And Grace loves to be carried. So it’s a win-win.

I wasn’t going to be THAT mom who lets her baby sleep in her bed. Guess what? Grace sleeps in our bed [part of the night]! Oh the horror! And I bet you would be surprised at the number of people who bed share but keep it a family secret. And for those of you concerned: No I’m not afraid we’ll crush her. And guess what? I have been getting a full night’s sleep since 2 months. Sleep regression? What is that??

And just because Chris and I have chosen this parenting style for our family does not mean we think it’s for everyone. Because every baby is different, every mom is different and every family is different.

No 16 year-old is going to need dad to drive them around the block to fall asleep. No 18 year-old will want mom to carry them everywhere (and I think my back hurts NOW). No 20 year-old will want to share mom and dad’s bed. Every stage is a temporary season which brings new challenges, new joys and new judgements.

We should love THAT mom who is struggling with a nap schedule and exhausted from driving around town 3 times a day for hours. We should encourage THAT mom who is having anxiety about leaving her child for the first time. We should be patient with THAT mom who calls the pediatrician for every sneeze. And we should support THAT mom who doesn’t want to let her baby cry it out.

I’m THAT mom. The one you’ve warned other moms not to be. The one I’ve warned other moms not to be.

And I’m a damn good one.

 

 

 

Reflections on Motherhood: Two Months and Counting

I feel as though I needed to write this post to assure you all that I am still alive. And Grace is still alive. And Chris is still alive. We are all living – running solely on coffee and love. Mostly coffee.

Two months have passed and things have gotten better. Not easier… but certainly better. Not sure if Grace is crying less/hating her life less; or if I am getting used to her misery and tuning it out. I think it’s a little of both. After months of trying to figure out why my child is so miserable, I believe I’ve finally thrown my hands in the air and accepted that this is just how it is. Don’t even try to make a suggestion on how to fix it. Because I’ve tried it. Out efforts include:

  • Colic Drops (Probiotics)
  • Happy Tummy heat pad
  • Giving up dairy
  • Giving up about EVERTHING in my diet
  • Bouncing on the yoga ball
  • Car rides
  • Football hold
  • Gripe water
  • Gas drops
  • The womb app
  • The swing
  • The mamaroo
  • Doing bicycles with her legs
  • Chiropractor (for the record I’m convinced this is the only thing that makes a consistent difference)

It would be unfair to say she cries all the time. I am counting my blessings where they come. She is a great sleeper – particularly at night. Also, she’s started smiling and cooing. And while it sounds incredibly cliche, this all gracemakes the misery worth it. My shirts are covered in leaking breast milk, my arms and hands are consistently soaked with drool and there’s poop under my finger nails (because who has time to wash their hands)… but it’s really worth it.

In just the last week we started putting her in the crib to nap. Previously she was napping in a wrap while we wore her, or in our arms. I cried when she took her first nap in the crib and felt completely morbid because I thought her silence must have meant she died. I’ve also started putting her to bed on her own before us. She goes down between 8:30 and 9:30. And it’s glorious. Seriously. I have time to write this blog post.

And while I now have a little bit of time to myself in the evening and several hours during the day while she’s napping – motherhood is still hard. I’m currently on a diet where I eat only meat, beans, vegetables and fruit. I am hangry all the time. I’m freaking starving. I can’t go out to eat. I can’t go to anyone’s house to eat. I spend a small fortune at the grocery store on flax milk and quinoa pasta. The worst part is – I’m not convinced it’s doing anything. I will be having a heart-to-heart with the pediatrician next week about this. I cannot live this way.

Phew! Now to positives. Grace is so stinking cute. She’s growing and learning every day. She’s laughing, “talking”, trying to imitate my hand movements, kissing (with her mouth wide open) and bringing me incredible joy. I feel as though my greatest success as a mom is our great breastfeeding relationship. She’s a great eater and I love feeding her. In my next life I want to be a lactation consultant and empower women to breastfeed for the health of babies and the incredible bonding it ensues.

We’ve also been surrounded by incredibly loving, caring and supportive people. People that we are proud to surround our daughter with. To help us love her, pray for her and teach her. It takes a village, and we have an amazing village. Right now, these people are mostly loving on us, encouraging us and praying for us, but we know that it will translate into raising a beautiful, loved, woman of God. And this is the true desire of our hearts.

So again, we’re still alive. I could not believe the amazing outpouring of encouragement I received from my last post. The amount of women – some who I know and many who I don’t – who shared that my experience was also there’s gave me great hope and encouragement.

Hopefully I will get back to crafting and cooking soon and will post something other than an update on motherhood.

The First Four Weeks of Motherhood – Is This Real Life?

Damn. This is hard. Everyone tells expecting mothers (often in a taunting or demeaning manner) that motherhood is the hardest thing they’ll ever do. And sure, I understood it would be hard. But, damn… this is hard.

I consider the first four weeks of motherhood successful because Grace is still alive. And that’s the ultimate goal right? To keep this totally dependent new life alive. Here’s how I am measuring the first four weeks:

  • 4 emotional breakdowns
  • Over 400 tucks
  • Over 100 pads/panty liners
  • 10 depends
  • 16 pounds of epsom salt
  • Hundreds of diapers (who can count?)
  • 7 packages of wipes
  • Too few hours of sleep
  • Close to 300 times of whipping out the breastarants for feedings

The final round of family left this past Wednesday, and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would have eaten, slept or showered over the last four weeks. Let me tell you what mamahood is like…

Time is no longer a reality. I have zero concept of day, night, Monday or Friday. It doesn’t matter. The only reason to keep track is I have an occasional doctors appointment.

Grace doesn’t like to be put down so I’m still trying to master a one-handed life style. And for those of you reading this that roll IMG_9626your eyes and think I’m spoiling my four-week-old rotten because I’m not letting her “cry it out”… let me drop some knowledge on you… It’s impossible to spoil a four-week-old. Talk to any decent pediatrician and they’ll back me up.¬† Anyway, back to my one-handed lifestyle – I can’t put her down while I heat up dinner (because making dinner is no longer a reality), or eat dinner. So her clothes are covered in food that I drip all over her. And showering? Only on days when Chris goes into work at 2pm do I shower. And makeup? HA!

I still have yet to recover 100%, so I spend most of my days sitting. Primarily on the couch, but occasionally outside. I’m fairly tired of sitting and can’t wait to walk and run again. Just when I think I could maybe walk about the block, I bounce Grace¬† around the house to pull her out of a freakout moment and I’m sore again. Ugh.

My house looks like a bomb went off. Seriously. My family cleaned multiple times when they were here and it was wonderful. But now that they’re gone… it’s a disaster. You can’t clean with one hand very well. Also, I said I would never let my house be overtaken with kid crap. Well, I now have receiving blankets strewn across the living room, a play mat, a napper and a swing. I bite my tongue.

IMG_9748Grace hates taking baths. This makes me very sad because I thought this would be one of my favorite things as a mom. But instead, her screaming is mind-numbing, she moves around so much I fear she will drown and she craps in her towel EVERY TIME we take her out.

A few other highlights from the first four weeks – I had an emotional breakdown to a total stranger who came to drop off dinner for our family. I went to bed in the clothes I wore during the day on Wednesday because I was afraid to get out of bed and put Grace down to put my PJ’s on, for fear that I would awaken the beast. No one has seen Grace in my favorite outfit yet because every time she’s in it she craps out of her diaper and up her back before we can leave the house.

So I’m making it seem like I hate motherhood… but this is not the case. I love Grace. And I love being her mom. I have spent most of my days since Grace sitting on the couch, feeding her and staring at her. You would think this would cause time to stand still, but when the sun goes down each day I can’t believe another day has passed. Each day passes and she’s one day older, it’s one day closer to when I have to go back to work and one day closer to when she won’t want me to hold her all the time anymore. And as easy as it is to be frustrated that my hygiene has gone down the tubes, that I have no time to bake or cook, that my house is a mess and that I’m so sleep deprived that I can’t see straight… I am cherishing these moments when my daughter needs me and wants me. Because one day neither will be the case and I’ll look back on this time fondly.