“Mama knows best” syndrome

As a new parent, you’ll find that you generally aren’t all that open to trying other people’s suggestions and opinions on how to raise your child.  Generally.  However we are much more willing to take advice from so-called experts through books on online postings.  Whether it has to do with sleep schedules, potty training, vaccinations etc. etc., I’ve found it increasingly hard to take other parents advice unless I specifically ask for it.  That being said I am also guilty of this when it comes to my own hubby and his ideas about J.

As you know, J still doesn’t sleep through the night.  The hubby has basically refused to get up with him anytime during the night unless I make him take a turn (which I generally don’t).  On a good night J wakes up about every 4 hours, which is pretty decent…albeit not ideal.  Tonight Hubby suggested that we should try putting J to bed later than his usual 7pm bedtime to see if that makes a difference.  Maybe if we wear him out more, he’ll sleep longer – was his rational.  My immediate answer?  NO.

Aaaaand that’s where my “mama knows best” syndrome reared its ugly head.  My reasoning? Well everything that I’ve read from said so-called experts, is that when kiddos wake up early that means that you need to put them to bed earlier.  Doesn’t really make sense…but in our previous trials with bedtime, it did seem to help to put J to bed earlier.  And I don’t want to screw with his bedtime schedule.  Turns out I do this a lot.  Almost always actually.  Whenever Daddy makes a suggestion I tell him why he’s wrong and we end up continuing with whatever we were doing before.

At this point I feel like it’s reflex.  After all, I should know my little one best right?  I can’t say that I like being “that mama” though.  I don’t think I realized how anti-suggestion I was until the Hubbs pointed it out.  I’m probably more polite about it with other people.  And actually I think I’m much better at swapping ideas with other mama’s.  Why I feel the need to say NO to all the Hubby’s ideas is a little confusing.

Oh, the things you discover about yourself as you are also discovering the many twists and turns of parenthood!  Thankfully I have a wonderful Hubby who doesn’t take my Crazy Mama moments too seriously 🙂

Worst pain most easily forgotten

When I was pregnant with J I had lots of people tell me stories about their labor.  Most of them ended with “it’s the worst pain most easily forgotten.”  That’s a hard thing to believe when you are awaiting your own impending “worst pain” moments.  The anticipation for the impending pain makes you over think how the whole birthing process will go, and if you are choosing to use a epidural you will be sure that you have that plan locked in place with everyone that will be involved in the birth.  My sister-in-law is only 4 weeks away from her due date and she was telling me the other day how she’s becoming almost obsessive about going into labor and can’t stop thinking about the pain part.  I’m sure that I had the same worries and obsessions in the days leading up to J’s birth, but for the life of me I can’t really remember.

There it is.  It’s been 11 months and I can’t remember anything about the pain.  Not really specifically at least.  I remember that when my water broke I was sleeping and I woke up with a start cuz it was a quick sharp pain.  I remember feeling like they were the worst cramps ever when I started having contractions, and I remember that sitting in the bath tub didn’t help a *$&%*& bit with the pain.  But as far as the severity of the pain, I don’t have an answer anymore for what it actually felt like.  Bad cramps doesn’t translate when you’re trying to describe it to someone else who’s about to experience it for themselves.  And “it feels like your insides are being ripped out” seems way to harsh and not even close to the truth.  Yup, I’d say that statement is pretty accurate.  Unless you’ve actually had your arm cut off while you were awake with no drugs, labor probably is the worst pain.  And it’s also the one that you forget about the quickest and easiest.

Granted I did have an epidural, so I can’t compare myself to someone who’s done a natural birth.  Then again everyone’s pain levels are different, so what was an 8 for me could be a 4 for someone else.  I don’t think there’s really a way to compare or prepare for what you are about to experience.  Thankfully you are so overwhelmed and distracted by everything else going on  – pushing, breathing, getting to the hospital, all the nurses coming and going, the actual arrival of your little one – that you won’t really remember the pain after the moment that your little baby is placed in your arms.  The greatest reward indeed.  Thank goodness that all that crap you have to go through leads up to that little one.  Otherwise I swear no one would do it…haha

I think the best thing to do is make a plan, if you’re a planner, so that you can be a little more relaxed going into the whole thing.  It’ll keep you focused and give you some relief…at least leading up to going into labor.  After that, it’s a total crap shoot.  Sorry to break it to you, but chances are that no matter what you “planned”, it’s not going to go that way.  But if making a plan gives you some peace of mind, then do it.  Just also be aware that your plan will go out the window the second your water breaks.

Enjoy the ride though, it’s over far too quickly.

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 🙂

 

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.