10 Reasons Being a parent makes you feel Old

1. Bedtime is at 8:30pm.  For you.

2.  You have to eat dinner by 6pm or you’re so hungry you feel like you might pass out.

3. You discover all new aches and pains.  Probably because you spent the last 4 hours of the night sleeping in a chair so your little one could sleep.

4. When you get up in the middle of the night with the little one, you have to pee.

5. You are now up by 7am every day, no matter if it’s Saturday or not.  Even if the kid actually sleeps in, you can’t.

6. You get really annoyed when your neighbors are being loud past 7pm.  If they wake up your kid, there’s going to be blood.

7. You are tired almost comatose after 1 beer.

8. Your back or arms or shoulders are always sore.  (You do carry around a sack of potatoes 99% of the time).

9. You almost always have food on you, or drool, or snot…

10.  You discuss bowel movements on a regular basis.

Cheers to being a parent and everything that goes with it 🙂

 

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Scheduling Conflicts

The moment you become a parent all your priorities change.  I know, captain obvious over here, right?  But seriously, you don’t really realize how much everything in your life will revolve around your little one.  If you used to have a social life, you won’t anymore.  If you used to have free time, kiss it goodbye.  If you used to have time to sit around and do nothing, consider yourself lucky cuz you’ll never see that again.  At least not for the next 18 years.

It is easier to some degree when you little ones are newborns because they do sleep a lot.  More often than not really.  And they tend to be able to sleep through just about anything.  Take full advantage of that, because once they become mobile you’re really in trouble…However, while it is easier to travel with then when they are younger, you will still struggle with it.  For instance, when they are really tiny you spend 75% of your time feeding them, and if you are breastfeeding and have any issue with whipping out your boob in public (cover or not) you will probably try and schedule your day so that you are not out of the house for more than 1 hour at a time.  Add in being an overwhelmed new mama and you probably won’t be able to handle leaving the house with more than one errand in mind without totally breaking down into a sobbing mess.  To the outside world it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to leave the house with an infant.  But let me tell you right now, it takes as much time to get out the door as it does to run whatever errand you have planned.  So one errand can be a half-day marathon.  By the time you get the little one changed, dressed, fed, and yourself ready to go, it’s time to feed them again and you’re lucky if you get out the door anywhere near the time you planned.

Once they stop needing to eat every hour, and once you get a system down for leaving the house, it does get a bit easier.  And they will still sleep just about anywhere.  We took J to a bar (real bar, not like in a restaurant) when he was about 3 months old.  He slept through most of it.  Amazing.  Although we did feel like we were “those parents” who brought their newborn to a bar…

Once they get mobile though it’s a whole ‘nother ball game.  Yes, they can entertain themselves for a bit longer in the car seat while you drive (sometimes), and now you can take them out of the car seat instead of carrying that extra 10 lbs wherever you go, but it takes 2 times as much work and as much muscle to take them anywhere.  Chances are they won’t sit in the high chair at the restaurant, or sit in the seat of the grocery cart for more than a few minutes…so get used to carrying them e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  Oh, and they get vocal too.  Yup, you will be that parent who’s kid is screaming at the top of their lungs in the middle of the store.  The first time it happens you’ll totally lose your cool too.  Get used to it.  It happens to the best of us.

All that being said, what does happen to your social life?  Remember when you used to go out to dinner or catch a movie with friends on the weekends?  Well, you may be lucky enough to still get a chance to do that…when you can find a sitter, or as long as the kiddo isn’t sick, or if your friends are willing to catch the matinee so that you can be home by 7pm for bedtime.  If you have really great friends, they’ll totally be willing to take whatever time you have available.  You’ll also have some friends that will drop off the face of the planet since you “don’t have time for them anymore”.  Sorry, I have more important things to focus on now days…

It’s not that parents don’t want time out with friends.  We do.  We like seeing our friends, we like going out with just adults sometimes.  But other times we are perfectly content with staying home to feed out little ones dinner, give them a bath, put them in bed at 7pm and spend the next hour vegged on the couch until we pass out ourselves.

You’ll also find that it becomes harder to schedule time to see your friends who also have kids.  Unless you share the exact same sleep, eat, play, poop schedule with your friends kiddos, you’ll be trying to figure out a time where all the kiddos will be awake at the same time.  This tends to be even more difficult as the age groups vary.  Nap times become the deciding factor in what your availability is.  Sure, you can shift a nap back or skip one all together, but only if you’re really willing to deal with a totally out of control kid the rest of the day.  You’d be amazed how missing one normally schedule nap will screw with everything from there on out.  So us parents try to avoid that at all cost.  Which unfortunately means that you’ll miss out on lots of play dates and birthday parties.

You’ll also find that it’s hard not to judge other parents.  Or you friends.  And other parents and your friends will judge you too.  It’s hard not to be able to find the time for everyone and everything every time.  You have to somehow learn to take advantage of the time that you do have with those people and that even though it’s few and far between now, it’s still valuable.  Besides, the ones that stick around through all your scheduling conflicts are the ones worth keeping around anyway.

Warning: Mommy Button

I’m going to try and write this post without sounding like I’m just whining and complaining.  That’s really not my point for this, although I’m sure that’s how I sounded today while this was happening.

For the last 2 days at the office I’ve been spending more time than not trying to get our network and internet to work.  I consider myself to be pretty computer savvy really, and I can figure out most things.  But the last two days I’m pretty sure I’ve turned into a raving maniac.  Anyway…needless to say I’ve been a little preoccupied and more on edge and easily aggravated than per usual.  Although this specific situation may not happen to all mama’s out there, I’m sure that we’ve all been in similarly stressful situations.

About 2/3 through the day I was hitting my stress-high for the afternoon.  It also happened to be when J was a little bit fussy.  So, I put him in his pack-n-play which is right in my office and gave him a few toys so that he could somewhat occupy himself for a few minutes while I tried to get through some more *&@#*^$ computer stuff.  Well he continued to fuss a little, mainly because I wasn’t giving him my full attention.  I get it, I know sometimes babies need your undivided attention.  But right at this moment I was not in a place where I was willing or able to do that for a short period of time.  He was safe in his crib and had plenty to keep himself busy for a few minutes.

Well, it must have seemed apparent to everyone else in my office that I was ignoring J’s needs.  Next thing I know, everyone is swooping in and taking him out of his crib with “aww mommy’s not giving you enough attention”  streaming from their mouths…

NO, right now, at this particular moment I am not giving him enough attention.  He is fine being by himself for a few minutes.  Yes, I know it’s hard to hear him fuss.  He will be just fine.  I’m right here, I will give him attention in a minute when I’m done with this task.

As if I didn’t feel guilty enough already!

Now I also know that they were just trying to help keep him occupied so that I could actually focus, but unfortunately this must be another one of my Mommy Buttons.  I should have a warning sign that says:

warning

I’m pretty sure that it all stems from the guilt.  Guilt that we can’t give our little ones our undivided attention 100% of the time.  Guilt that the attention we can give them isn’t as much as they’d like or need.  Mommy guilt.  Then mommy guilt turns into “someone telling you that you’re not being a good enough parent” syndrome.

But I also think it’s important to teach your little ones that it’s OK for them to spend a few minutes by themselves.  They need to learn to be able to sit quietly and entertain themselves while Mommy or Daddy are working, or cooking dinner, or whatever else requires them to not be able to give 100% of their attention to the little one.

At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it to make myself feel better.  Mommy guilt doesn’t go away quickly or easily.

I’m finding that it’s hard not to take everything having to do with my parenting skills or style personally.  It’s hard not to internalize a little comment or act of judgement or even a simple suggestion on how else you should/could do things.  As parents we do the best we can with what we have.  We do what we think is right for our kids.  And yes, sometimes we have to make a judgement call and teach our kiddos the hard way that we can’t spend 100% of our time focused on them.

Baby Must-Haves

Registering for your Baby is kinda overwhelming when it’s your first one.  I remember standing in the bottle isle at Babies R Us and just staring at the seemingly hundreds of different brands, sizes, types of bottles in front of me.  It was like this in pretty much every isle we went through, and the “must have” list that they give you in the store has about 99% of the store on it.  How could all of that be “must have”?!?

Like most parents-to-be, the Hubs and I registered for anything and everything that looked like it might be useful.  I think after all was said and done, we ended up returning the vast majority of it.  Between duplicates and things that we needed to exchange for items we needed sooner, I felt like our registry could have easily just been the entire store catalog.  We had no real plan when we registered, we had no idea what things were more important than others or what brands were best.

At every baby shower I’ve been to since J came along, I’ve given all or most of a handful of items that the Hubs and I found to be the most important items baby related.  Truthfully, outside of some clothes and diapers, we could have gotten away with just these few items and not a whole lot more.  If you have kiddo’s you know what I’m talking about…how many items went unopened, unused, or totally forgotten about?  If you’re going to have kiddo’s in the future, try and remember that most of those pretty things on the shelves that look like they’ll be super useful, aren’t.  For instance, why do they sell tiny clippers and emery boards for tiny baby fingers?  Their fingernails are so soft no emery board will work on them anyway, and regular adult clippers are at least sharp enough to actually cut.  But those pretty baby blue care packages sure make it seem like those are the only way to go…

So, for us here’s the few essentials that I can’t imagine how we’d live without for J or any future babies…in no particular order.

baby carrier
Baby Carrier – no brand specifically but these are a must for anything and everything.  Get one that will fit both you and the Hubby, especially since once baby gets bigger you won’t be able to carry them and you’ll have to rely on Daddy for that.

baby gate
accordian style baby gate – these are great for leaving attached to one side of the wall and they stretch farther than most other gates do.  Just watch for pinched fingers…
baby monitor

Baby monitor with color screen.  We found the Levana one on Woot  for under $100 and it works pretty well.  The battery doesn’t last super long, but no problems when it’s plugged in.  Plus it was 1/3 the price of the name-brand ones in the stores.
bassinet
An on-the-bed bassinet.  It goes right on the bed with you so you can just roll to your side to see your little one.  Fits newborns up to 3 months or until they start to roll and such.  It even has a little night-light which makes those late night feedings way easy.  Plus you don’t have to get up and walk over to the crib every time it’s time to eat again.  Life saver for us.  Probably the #1 thing I’d recommend to any new mom who is also a little paranoid.
bath support
Anglecare Bath support.  I picked this one just because of the looks, but it’s worked out pretty great.  You can use it over the sink when they are little, or in the tub until they can sit up on their own.  
boobie pads
In my opinion, the BEST boobie pads out there.  They are even boob shaped so you can’t tell there you’re wearing a pad at all and they’re soft too, so no additional nipple chaff-age.  Plus they absorb a lot and are small enough that they don’t stick out of your bra.
boppy
Boppy!  Best invention for helping Mama’s breastfeed out there!  Big help in holding baby until your arms get enough muscle to not feel like they are going to fall off.  Believe me, 7 lbs doesn’t seem like a lot until you have to hold it steady for 30 minutes at a time…
bottle adapter
I found this cool gadget later on, but I still think it’s ingenious.  It’s a nipple or toddler nipple that screw onto any water bottle.  Perfect for traveling or on the go.
britax mirror
Britax car mirror. One of the few out there that don’t have that circus-carnival warped look to them.  The straps keep the mirror perfectly positioned and the hard mirror stays steady while driving so you can actually SEE your baby instead of a wobbly warped vibrating mess.   
chewy
The best teether/rattle ever.  Got ours through Citrus Lane, but you can find them at Buy Buy Baby or Innobaby.com.  Perfect for little hands to hold onto and J has loved it from the start for chewing on.
elephant ears
Baby Elephant Ears.  Neck and head supports.  I’ll have to expand on this story later, but I wish I had found this product sooner.  We ended up using the head support inserts for car-seats, which did the job too.
goPod
GoPod by KidCo.  Super easy to take with you since it folds up like one of those bag chairs.  Protects the little one’s feet from the ground, and you can attach toys to it or use it as a highchair.  We use ours in the backyard all the time and it’ll be going on camping trips this summer too.
hand pump
I swear by my hand-pump.  The electric pumps seem nice, but you’ll always go back to the hand pump.
jumper
Baby jumper/walker.  This will save you once baby is old enough to support their head and can be in it.  It’s the only way I can take a shower or cook or clean or get a few minutes to myself these days.
mesh bumper
Mesh crib bumpers.  I know, I know…yes I said bumpers.  I realize that bumpers are a total NO-NO, but frankly these are the only ones out there that allow air to pass through them reducing the risks of SIDS (compared to other bumpers) and J tends to flail about all night long so it’s the only way we can keep his appendages in the crib.
nursing bra
Nursing bra’s from Target.  For those of you who don’t want an underwire or are used to soft bras.  I tried a few others before I found these and while they all do the job, a lot of the other ones’ cups get in the way once you unclasp them.  These are awesome, I’m going to be really sad when I have to go back to normal bras…
pack n play lite
Pack-n-Play.  These have so many uses.  We used ours as the bedside bassinet after 3 months and before J was in his own room.  Then I took it to the office with me and he sleeps in it for naptime.  We got the Lite version which is 25% smaller than the regular sized ones, so it’s great for small spaces or for travelling.
saline
These are a close 2nd to the bed bassinet.  When their noses are so tiny it’s hard for you to do anything for them, even sucking snot out is almost impossible without loosening it up first.  This stuff works miracles.
socks
Baby socks.  For those of you who have kiddo’s who refuse to wear shoes.  Also, their little feet get chilly…Even if they do kick one off almost constantly, I still feel better having something between their feet and the air, or the ground.
sound machine
Travel sound machine. Costs about $10 and is small enough to take anywhere with you.  I use it at the office for just enough background noise to cover up some of the other office noises while J sleeps.  
spoons
These are the best spoons I’ve come across. Period.
Tswaddle pod swaddle
Swaddles are essential for those first few months.  I never got to try the SwaddlePod because I couldn’t ever find them in the stores.  But I’d still recommend that one over the regular swaddles.  Plus there are some other brands out there too (Woombie among many many others.)  Get one with a zipper if you can, Velcro is no fun in the middle of the night…
toofeze
This is a new discovery. A tad $$ but it’s a local Colorado company which is awesome and the stainless steel disk stays cool and doesn’t freeze their little hands off at the same time.  J seems to like it.
trash can
Someone told me to just get a big step trashcan instead of a Diaper Genie…I wish I would have listened.  Diaper Genies are great, but they fill up quick and it’s a pain to replace the bag.  Just get a normal trash can, it’ll make your life so much easier.
zipper footie jammies

Zippered footie jammies.  Probably the only thing your little one will wear for most of their first few months.  The zippered ones are much quick to get on and off…how they expect you to snap 15 snaps is mind boggling.  The zippered ones can be a little harder to find though for some reason.

strap covers

Car Seat strap covers. Wish we’d gotten some of these sooner too.  Those silly straps will rub your little one’s neck raw every dang time they’re in the car seat if you don’t have them.  Just sayin’…

OK, those are our essentials.  If you’ve got any that your family can’t live without, please comment! I love seeing new products 🙂

My first Mother’s Day

This is my first official Mother’s Day.  Last Mother’s Day I was still preggers, so Yes I was a mother already, but it didn’t hold the same weight.  After almost a year of being a Mama to little J, I can’t imagine any other way of life.  I don’t remember what the Hubs and I used to do with our free time, I don’t remember how I used to go about my day without J being involved in every part of it.  It’s amazing how much your life changes when you become a Mama.

Mother is a verb.  It’s something you do.  Not just who you are. – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

There are a few things I’ve learned in the last year.  Being a parent changes a lot of things, but these come to mind.

  • Even though you mastered snaps so long ago you can’t remember, You will come to find out that those 3 snaps on the bottom of a onsie are your arch-enemy during middle of the night diaper changes and all of toddlerhood.
  • Velcro can be a blessing and a curse.  Velcro shoes are nice and quick.  But Velcro on diapers runs in the same family as snaps during diaper changes.  Try getting the Velcro secured with a squirming infant.  Just try.
  • Remember how you used to get to sleep in? Emphasis on USED TO.  Like you will never get to do this again.
  • Get used to worrying. There’s no use trying to deny it or block it.  You have a person that will continue to give you crease lines on your forehead for the rest of eternity.
  • You will get dirty.  If you are squeamish about blood, boogers, poo, pee, vomit or drool you’ll need to get over it. Like, Now.
  • You will know no greater love for any single thing in this world.
  • Trying to teach good sleeping habits to your child will make you think you’ve forgotten that you even know what good sleeping habits are. After all, how long has it been since you got a full nights sleep?
  • Leaving your child with someone else for the first time will break your heart a little.  But it’ll get easier
  • Temper tantrums will happen.  And they’ll start way earlier than you think is possible.  Figure out a way to diffuse them, quickly.
  • You’ll learn how to eat with one hand, type with one hand, shower quickly, and use the bathroom with the door open from the time they are born until they are old enough to entertain themselves….sooo 18 years?
  • Every time your little ones goes to sleep through the first year (and probably beyond) You’ll find yourself glued to the baby monitor to make sure they are still breathing.
  • When (if) your child finally sleeps through the night for the first time, you’ll probably lose more sleep than usual because you’ll be checking on them every few hours to make sure they are actually just sleeping.
  • Grandparents are one of the best gifts your children can have in life.  Let your kids be spoiled, loved, and given everything that only a Grandparent can give.
  • Remember to take some time away with your hubby.  It’ll be like you’re dating again.  You’ll have to learn to be with just each other all over again.

I’m sure I could keep going, but I think you get the point.  Being a Mother is a gift you can’t put into words.

To my own Mama,
Thanks Mums for always being there,
for teaching me so much,
for being my shoulder to cry on and my best friend.

Love you.

mothers day

 

C-Section

When I was pregnant with J I knew that I was going to want an epidural.  No question in my mind that I wasn’t ready for a natural childbirth and so for me, I always planned on the epi.  When I went into labor they were sure J was going to be born within about 6 hours from my water breaking, he was moving along pretty quick.  But I didn’t get my epidural until 8-9 cm and then it was overkill and I completely lost feeling and the ability to push effectively.  So my labor stalled.  12 hours into labor I was finally able to push and pushed for 2 hours with no significant movement.

My midwife had told me at my 39 week appointment that J’s head was on the large side.  Well apparently my pelvis, while plenty wide, is also oval-shaped.  Something I’d have no way of knowing…until I tried to give birth.After 14 hours of labor, even the vacuum didn’t help any and the decision was made to take me in for a c-section.  There was no way that J was coming out as planned.

I’d never really thought too much about a c-section.  Mainly because I didn’t think there was any significant risk of needing one.  I didn’t have any specific ill-thoughts or feelings about c-sections either though.  Beyond not wanting to go all-natural, I didn’t have a specific idea of how my birthing plan would be carried out.  When my midwife told me that I would need a c-section after all, she approached it with some apprehension.  I think a lot of mothers who go through the initial parts of labor and really disappointed when they have to go through a c-section too.  I appreciated that she approached it carefully and explained to me what was happening and that J just wasn’t going to fit through the birth canal.  C-section really wasn’t an option at this point, it was mandatory.

My c-section went smoothly, and besides being really exhausted after 14+ hours of labor and then a major surgery, I didn’t have any regrets at the time.  The only major disappointment I had was that I wasn’t able to hold my own baby until an hour after they pulled him out of me.  I made sure that I was allowed skin-on-skin as soon as possible and he breastfed fine, but I missed out on that whole first hour.  Luckily Daddy got to be with him during that time so they could stitch me back up.

Yesterday I shared this post from Facebook:

csection

Five Things You Should Not Say to a Cesarean Mom and Three Things You Should

 

I don’t specifically remember comments that I’ve made in the past to friends who’ve had c-sections.  Nor do I specifically remember comments that were made to me after my own c-section.  But the article did get me thinking back to my experience and how these five things affect me now.

#1 is a very valid point in my mind.  Everyone’s experience with birth is different.  Some people have it really “easy” with no complications, and some people struggle with birth or recovery.  Comparing one birth to another is as valid as comparing a fruit to meat.  Just don’t do it.

#2. Yes, very true, but don’t forget that birth is a very important experience to moms, dads, family members.  If you had a very specific birth plan in place and you were forced to change it, that’s a hard thing to quickly get over.  Consider the mother’s feelings, especially since she birth is exhausting.

#3 If someone would have said this to me I would have either slapped them or not spoken to them for a very long time.  Seriously? Who in their right mind would say something like this to a new mom riddled with hormones and postpartum symptoms?

#4 If you really want a c-section by choice, that’s your own prerogative.  Maybe that’s in your own birth plan.  But don’t cheapen our experience by making it sound like a c-section is the “best” way to give birth.

#5 Some people connect more to their c-sections than others.  For some it is a reminder that things didn’t go quite the way they planned or envisioned. For others it may be a way that they can look back on a wonderful gift.  I personally have no attachment to my scar other than it being a story to someday tell my little one(s).  To each their own.

If you really want to talk to a new mama about her birth story, c-section or otherwise, please keep in mind that new mama’s are very sensitive, overly emotional (rightly so) and sleep deprived.  Be careful with what you say and how your words may come off as judgmental.  Be supportive and listen to what mama has to say about her experience.  Unless she asks, she probably doesn’t give a rats ass about your own thoughts or opinions on the matter.

When baby #2 for us happens, I will tell my midwife that I’d like to try for a VBAC first.  Unless the next one has a head the size of a watermelon too, I’m hopeful that I’ll get to experience a vaginal birth.  My midwife did tell me that the chances of needing a second c-section are higher if you’ve already had one, and that if we are planning on more than 2 kids we will need to discuss the risks of a possible 3rd pregnancy or c-section.  We’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.

Taking offense to what makes a “good mom”

I read this article yesterday:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

I get the overall message of the article, and I see the point of mama’s these days feeling like they have to go above and beyond to make themselves or others think that they are being a “good mom” purely through appearances.  But one of the lines I take serious offense to:

“For a few years, I got caught up in the “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” parenting model, which mandates you scour Pinterest for the best ideas, execute them flawlessly, and then share the photo evidence with strangers and friends via blogs and Facebook posts.”

I’m curious how Pinterest and Blogs and Facebook has anything to do with being considered a “good mom”?  Since when do outside hobbies and creativity and sharing turn into the “anything you can do I can do better parenting model”?  As a crafty person, I’ve always been interested in crafts and organization and blaming Pinterest for promoting a new form of Parenting seems a little harsh.  Yes, I use Pinterest for ideas for J, but I also use Pinterest for home ideas, cleaning ideas, meal ideas, projects for the Hubs etc.  How does that make me one of these so called “anything you can do I can do better” parents?

The fact that I choose to share my ideas and projects and that I have this blog has nothing to do with me trying to show that I’m a “good mom”.  My hobbies do not define my worth as a mother.  My choosing to share with my family and friends and whomever else may come across this blog has nothing to do with trying to prove that I’m a better mom than any other mom out there.  I am a good mom because I love my son.  I love him unconditionally and I do anything and everything that I can for him.  If that involves and idea I took from Pinterest then so be it, that doesn’t mean that Pinterest makes me a good mom.

I share my ideas to help inspire other people, mom’s included.  I share my stories here and on Facebook to keep my family and friends who are out of state in the loop with my family’s life.  I enjoy doing projects and making my home and my life better by incorporating new ideas and trying new things.  None of these things define my worth as a Mom.  I am a GREAT MOM whether I do these things or not.  I don’t know of a single mom out there who rates her worth as a parent by the number of Facebook shares, or the number of Pinterest ideas used at their kiddo’s birthday parties.  And for those of you out there who judge other mom’s because they choose or don’t choose to share their ideas and photos via social media, shame on you.  Mom’s do not attempt to gain popularity points by the number of shares and posts that they accomplish throughout their little one’s childhood.

We are GREAT MOM’S when we love our children.  With or without money, photos, “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality, big houses, more toys that you know what to do with, or fancy schools.  If you love your child and you do whatever you can to keep your child safe and cared for, you are a GREAT MOM.