I am a structure person with mild obsessions about cleanliness and order. The chaotic life that evolves with a toddler underfoot has at times left me a bit frazzled and even unhinged. It truly has taken years for me to see the beauty in the disarray. The toys scattered about are signs of imaginations at work. Those stacks of books were time machines to a far away place or vessels of knowledge added to their brain. Sticky floors point to a full belly and most likely some laughs.
I have to stop at times and remember one day my house will sparkle again but with that sparkle will also come the silence of empty rooms as their inhabitants are busy living their lives. Learning new things while the world is shaping them into their people they are to be.
So today I am learning to plan a little less and play a little more. To hold my babies close and pretend about desert islands and buried treasure. To walk over the toys scattered about and cherish each and every moment we have together. Because in a blink of an eye these days will be over and new days will be beginning. I will cherish each stage even through the strife because these really are the days.
A friend posted this article on the book today and I found it so interesting.
Among discussing the ridiculous rivalry that exists in within the realm of Motherhood today it also had her advice for new moms. Honestly, I wish I had read this before EJ was born it may not have made a difference but it really is some of the best advice. There is nothing as wonderful or crazy as motherhood, nothing. But, with all things there is a learning curve. The person you become when you are under extreme sleep depravation is unrecognizable. The emotions are all over the place and not taking time for yourself will result in one insane momma, trust me I know. I learned the hard way. Take a moment and read it. It’s a good read for sure.
What are the most important pieces of advice that you can offer to new moms?
JZ: Here are some healthful tid bits for women to savor as they embark on motherhood. Trust yourself. Rely on others. Ask for help. Seek support. Connect with loved ones. Take time for yourself. Expect to feel amazing, awful, and everything in between. Throw perfection out the window!
Be present. Get professional guidance if you feel you want/need it. Read books about parenting if you find them helpful but ultimately be sure to integrate their wisdom with your own mothering methods. Respect your body and the postpartum journey. Curb unrealistic expectations. Be the role model you always dreamed of having. Be wholeheartedly honest with yourself. Experience whatever it is you are experiencing. Denying feelings does not make them go away. Feelings are feelings not facts. Change is possible. Communication is key. Depression and anxiety do not go away on their own.
Rest when you can. Honor your emotional temperature. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about being you. It’s never too late to revisit your childhood experiences – doing so will benefit and enliven the family you’ve created. Don’t take little people’s behaviors personally. Newborns/infants do not manipulate. Treat yourself like a queen when you can (whatever that means to you). As soon as you feel you finally “figured it out”, “it” will change. Be flexible. LAUGH. Address burning feelings. Whatever you are feeling, other mothers have felt. You are not alone. No feeling is off limits. (New) motherhood is ubiquitously overwhelming. Sleep deprivation can make you meet a version of yourself you never wanted to know. There is not one way to give birth, feed, sleep, or raise your child. Do what feels resonant for you and your baby, not what is trendy. Plan and then roll with what arises. Play and enjoy the ever-changing ride!
Jessica Zucker is a psychologist in Los Angeles specializing in women’s health with a focus on transitions in motherhood, perinatal and postpartum mood disorders, and early parent-child attachment.
While preparing for the first baby life is consumed with learning all about baby gear and what is the best out there. Your life revolves around safety tests and some slight panic on how in the world are you ever going to acquire all this expensive stuff that babies need. Momma’s everywhere share their best and worst products and you are left weeding through all this new found knowledge to select what you love the most for you and your little one. If your like me you gather tons of goodies, ignore the advice from others who may know what they are talking about and basically realize 6 months down the line that you do not like all your stuff. I hated my infant car seat with a passion. I could have listened to my Grandmother. She promise me that I would hate it but instead I listen to the masses. I learned my lesson. It sucked. So far it took me 3 strollers to find one I loved and we are on infant seat #2.
When #2 comes around, you have so much of the stuff that you need already and suddenly preparing for this baby is a lot of fun. I know what I like and I know what I don’t. I have been there already so I have an idea of what I used and what I didn’t. I know baby brands and I know which ones work for us. It is great fun to know enough to just enjoy collecting sweet blankets, clothes, and such. This time I fret over so much less and spend more time just staring at my sweet baby boy’s new clothes and goodies. Not that I have a lot of time to stare at anything with a crazy 2 year old under foot but honestly I can say all this time around is better.
I know that these baby kicks will one day be painful and that sooner than later I will swell and feel gross and be hot all the time. So today, I will enjoy feeling the babe flip and kick and remember that even if I am more tired than I feel I can handle and I hate the scale with a passion this is a blessing. A gift that not all get with ease or ever. So for me even through the sickness and exhaustion I find that pregnancy with number 2 is way more fun.
I swore that I would never ever do belly shots, but with so many family and friends so far away I decided to do it this time. I know how much I enjoy seeing my friends grow from a far so here I am belly and all.
How Far Along: 14 weeks
Size of Baby: The Wee One is the size of a peach
Maternity Clothes: Yep, its amazing how quickly you show the 2nd time around
Gender: 2 weeks to go!
Movement: the occasional thump…flipping over I assume from our few ultrasounds this child wiggles
What I Miss: A day without nausea
Cravings: salsa and ice cream
Symptoms: NAUSEA and a total lack of energy
Best Moment of the Week: Laying on the couch and feeling the baby move a few times.
Have you stopped and looked at life through your child’s eyes? Really paused and tried to see the world the way they do? I try really hard to pause and soak in the wonder of playing in the rain or the first taste of chocolate milk. But, the business of life robs me of this act more than I would like to admit.
Our to-do list couldn’t be longer and the reality that our family’s fall seems to be busier than our summer this year doesn’t help. I seem to be drowning in world of boxes, touch-up painting and cleaning out. Instead of seeing the joy in my son’s eyes as he climbs in out of a big box or dumping my freshly folded laundry on the floor I find myself boiling over with annoyance. Selling a house is hard work but needed. Is it imperative that we sell it? Absolutely not. Will it make our lives easier to move out to the suburbs? Certainly. We are just throwing our hat in the ring and seeing what happens but I am overachiever. If I am going to do something then I put 110% effort into and do it right.
I broke down this week and ugly cried for hours… like snotty, stressed ball of mess. Along with getting our house sell ready, I also decided to move the baby boy to a toddler bed. Mr. Monkey Man climbs right out of his crib with zero effort and does what he wants. Banging his head on our hard wood floor haunted me so onto the toddler bed we went and it was awesome… for about 2 weeks. He slept better than he has slept in months. And then a switch flipped and refused to stay in bed would trash his room, play and scream for hours. Well the screaming has about sent me to a mental institution.
Last night, I screamed “uncle” and put the crib back together in hopes of resetting that switch. He has at least forgotten how to climb out of the crib for now. My plan is that he will learn to sleep again, recover from the sheer exhaustion of many sleepless nights and then we will retry the toddler bed. Hopefully with more success this time. The house is getting there and I even got the hubs to agree to spend all weekend helping me get this house in ship shape. We are getting there slowly but surely and I am just excited to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
This Thursday, I am thankful for loving supportive families. One that offers to drive hours to take a child for a few nights so that you can breathe and get some sleep even if they know I will not take them up on it. A husband who tries to see life from my perspective even if he doesn’t really get it. A perfectly beautiful son whose zest for life is intoxicating. Whether it be dancing in the rain, eating his Great Grandma’s homemade fried chicken or telling me who’s really boss when it comes to bedtime, I am so thankful for his energy for life even if it leaves me exhausted.
So this week, vow to be a cliche. Stop and smell the roses or dance in the rain. It is those little wonders that can turn an ordinary day extraordinary.
|Dancing in the Rain in his brand new rain coat.
|No, you may not take my chicken bone, its way too yummy!
|I want to be just like my Daddy!
|Yes, I am a Monkey… that’s all.
This past week the blogging community had an impromptu family dinner. As with many family dinners, a variety of opinions were shared, lines got drawn and there was at least one big fight. But like a many families, a glass of wine was consumed, emotions stabled and respect won. They still love each other, they still support each other, they are still a family.
As I watched this event evolve my respect for the community grew. It is amazing that technology has not only allowed complete strangers to meet and greet but it also allowed for knowledge to be shared in the quiet of your home with a cup of coffee. I learned a lot this week.
It all begin when Allison from O My Family discussed how to her the reality of Motherhood and the dream of Motherhood did not mesh. BA from The Heir to Blair responded with similar thoughts and wondered out loud if that was really reality or PPD talking. Both of these amazing and successful women bloggers sadly suffer from PPD. They have been advocates for awareness and the sole reason many women can look outside themselves and get help. I admire their openness.
A few other mom’s out there decided to step on toes and have a talking to the non-sufferers, the OK women. Those of us that are fine. Yes, we are hormonal. Yes, we have low points. But guess what we bounce back. Emmie Bee from This is the First Day of My Life told the OK moms to “Man Up”. Which was taken all kinds of ways… some got mad and some got it for what she meant. And a few us just got to thinking.
Katie from Baby Bumble B wrote a great response to the whole event. And as I read her thoughts, I wondered if she has been eavesdropping to my mind. I feel the same way. PPD/A is a thief. It steals joy and happiness and causes fear in women and it is just not fair. Motherhood is wonderful, tiring, amazing work. But so is everything worth anything in life… marriage, jobs, family. My heart goes out to these women and I am thankful that being able to sit at our blogger family dinner this week I was able to start to really understand.
And I got my butt kicked because guess what… I got it so much better and that I need to be thankful for. No more pity parties, LA. No more.
Somewhere around my 5th month of pregnancy I was shopping for some new and bigger clothes.This preggo was A. very against all the maternity clothes I had seen so far, I was weird I thought they looked frumpy and I didn’t want to wear them. B. I was hardly showing my stomach was basically a hard knot thanks to only being up 7 lbs (don’t hate me I made up for later) and C. really hormonal… shopping with me was blast. I either cried or stormed out of the store mad.
Since I was just buying bigger clothes in the department store, I had to inform my sales lady that I was in fact, pregnant. This woman was awesome, helped me find clothes and was definitely a mom. She knew the hormones. She had felt the unbalance. She didn’t tell me that the maternity section was elsewhere, instead she helped me get some staples to get through the next few months. And she did what any person does when faced with a pregnant lady… she let me know her thoughts on labor & delivery.
Sales Lady- “You will never feel the same way about your birthday”
Me- ::Blank stare:: “Huh?”
Sales Lady- “Just wait, you will see”
Me- “Uh Ok”
Fast forward 4 months this was me…
Forced to lay on my side with one leg in the air (babe wouldn’t move down) and pumped so full of drugs that one side of my body was numb. I am not complaining, I had back labor… all back and numb was way better than the other. People were coming and going and sticking their hands up me. My water broke in a few huge gushes that conveniently waited until the nurse had cleaned me and everything up and then did it again. Then it was go time and my mom was right there pushing my back up so all my energy was centered around pushing all 8 lbs of EJ out.
This year I spent my birthday thinking of my mom and what this day means to her, her memories not mine. How 28 years ago she woke up and went the hospital and labored and then delivered me. How I tore her so bad she was in the hospital for a week. May 19 is my Mom’s day, not mine.
How thankful am I for her, she gave me life and then she helped me give my son life. What a sweet moment that was. Much sweeter than my poor husband’s moment… holding my leg seeing a scene that I would have rather him not. Things just aren’t pretty down there when babies come out. He is still getting over it 10 months later.
Today, I sat on the couch alone and watched a serious chick-flick. Baby napped, dad was gone coaching a lacrosse game and my kitchen was so messy that there was an odor wafting around. I needed to break out the bleach, throw my hair back and clean but I didn’t. I was good host, no great host last night and simultaneously watched and fed EJ, cooked a lot of food and mingled with old and new friends. I forgot to eat, but I did not forget to drink.
So with a pounding headache, I curled up on the couch and watched a girly movie and realized that I haven’t curled up alone and watched a movie for me since I was pregnant. It was awesome. I forgot how much I loved a dumb movie and quiet.
Most days I do not stop, I move from one project to the next and sitting down occurs only when needed like playing with EJ or folding laundry. Nap times are a race to get as much done as possible before it is back to baby duty. I am a master at a quick deep clean and proud of it. But, I need to remember that occasionally the house can stay dirty, the projects can wait until another day and enjoying the quiet with a movie my husband would never agree to watch is needed… for me.