Working Mama’s

There are few mothers I know who are blessed with the opportunity (and the desire) to be a stay-at-home mom.  For some of us mama’s we need an outlet for ourselves, and work provides that for us among the other obvious monetary reasons.  For other mama’s their dream is to be a mother and a wife, and those two things provide plenty of work and rewards on their own.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  I love being a mama, and given the opportunity, I would make the most out of being a stay-at-home mom.  However our family, like many, is faced with the necessity of two incomes…so alas I continue to work.

That being said, my situation is different.  I have the very rare opportunity to bring J with me to work every day.  Yup, I work for my Dad.  And when J came along, our agreement was that I would continue to work full time if J could come with me.  Not that I had to beg or anything, this also means that my parents get to see their little one almost every day.  Win-win.  In a way I get the best of both worlds.  I get to be with J every day, all day, and I get to earn a living.  But there are always drawbacks…

For one, even though J is with me every day, I really don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with him. I do have a job to do every day.  And even though he’s in the same room as me, and I get to give him snuggles all day long, he does not have my undivided attention unless he’s nursing for naptime.  Then I have to try and squeeze as much productivity into his 30 minute naps as possible without waking him up with my typing or paper rustling.

On the pro side, I do get to see him every day all day long.  And he gets to see his gramma and grampa almost that often too.  I do love that part.  He doesn’t constantly get sick from all the germies in daycare, and I’m not shelling out 1/2 (or more) of my paycheck every month to a daycare.

Then again, in daycare he would get a lot more social interaction with other kiddo’s on a regular and daily basis.  He’d get to play in a setting built for him, and he’d probably get a lot more focused attention…

But isn’t it saying a lot that I get to be with him 24/7?  Is that enough? Or too much? Or not enough? Or is he missing out?

Ahh, this must be the same battle that other mama’s have on a daily basis as well.  What is really best for my kiddo?  If I stay home, they get me but maybe not a lot of anyone else….but if I work then they don’t get enough of me and too much time in someone else’s care.

One of the many never ending battles that us mama’s face in the lifelong debate over what is best for our children and how to make the best out of whatever situation we are in as a family.  Be it finances, needs, desires…it’s a matter of balancing what is best for the family and what is best for our kids.  I’d like to think that no matter how “perfect” someone else’s situation seems, or how envious us mama’s get of other mama’s, that we are all having the same struggles.  Somehow I find comfort in the fact that I’m probably not the only one wondering if I’m doing the right thing, or doing things right.

 

He does have a pretty good setup in my office though…his “office” space is bigger than mine!

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Pretty sure he’s got more toys at work then at home!

 

 

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Empty shelves and cardboard boxes are the best toys ever!

 

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Water bottle baby gate?

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Intuition – the good, the bad & the consequences

A mother’s intuition.  We’ve all heard the saying, but until you are actually a parent, you don’t realize the true weight of the truth 3 little words carry.  I always felt like I had good intuition about people.  I think it was more so a feeling of dread or uneasiness about people that were different than myself.  And by different I mean their values – what’s right and what’s wrong.  (Ahem – refer back to the previous posting about judgement).   Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve made bad judgement calls before – but in the grand scheme I feel like my intuition is pretty sound.

Then onto motherhood, where your judgement and intuition about other people in relation to your own child doubles multiplies times infinity.  Suddenly we become aware of every movement, statement, action, reaction of anyone who is anywhere near our precious bundle of joy.  You’ve got a weird walk and a creepy gaze? Back the &$#% off and don’t even look at my kid on your way.  The need to protect also multiplies to infinity.  I don’t know about other mama’s out there, but it hit me by surprise how intense this feeling of intuition gets as soon as you realize you are pregnant even.

Good intuition is a natural response when your main purpose in life suddenly becomes protecting and nurturing another person who is incapable of judging for themselves.  And as the Mama we do know (mostly) what is best for our child.  We are raising them a certain way and we’d like the people and situations they encounter to aid in that positive growth.

Intuition goes array when your own dislike towards another person turns into the uncontrollable urge to jab a pencil in their eye anytime they look your child’s direction or say a simple “hi” to them on their way through.  With “stop pretending like you know my kid” passing through your gritted teeth at a low grumble.

As a result your children pick up on both ends – they’ll be surrounded by people and situations that help them grow, and they’ll pick up on your disdain for the people you personally don’t like and probably learn that trait as well.  Well, crap.  Guess there’s not an easy way around that one…hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I personally haven’t mastered the ability to be nice to everyone in order to be a better influence on J…if anyone out there has figured that one out, you really should write a book.  It’s kinda like a mama bear protecting her cubs – like we literally become the bear…and just want to maul anyone or anything that hurts them…or could possibly hurt them…or might have the potential to someday hurt them.

For now, I’ll keep trusting my judgement and intuition.  If I don’t like something/someone and it gives me a feeling of uneasiness, then I’ll do my darndest to keep J from interacting with that thing/person.  Hopefully my mama intuition won’t lead me astray. So far, so good 🙂

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That doesn’t work

I don’t know about other mama’s out there, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone -anyone really – tells me that the way I do things with my child is the wrong way, or that my way “doesn’t work”. UGH!

For example, I love my hubby dearly, but he did this to me tonight:

As part of J’s bedtime routine, his sound machine plays music while I nurse him and 99% of the time he falls soundly asleep with no problem.

Tonight though was one of the nights that nothing I do seems to be working as per the norm and I had to call in Daddy after 15+ minutes of trying to get J to settle into sleep.

To preface this, as we turned on his music and got him into jammies, Hubby told me that he doesn’t usually use the sound when he puts J to sleep – but then again Daddy sings to him, so why would he need the music playing too?  Me, I’m not a singer, especially at 2 am, so I’ve not gotten into the habit of singing J to sleep.

So back to tonight’s bedtime routine…As I walk out of the room into the lights of the kitchen, squinting as usual, the Hubby turns to me and says “I told you the music doesn’t work.”

*******insert silent 4 letter words here*******

Just because it didn’t work this one time in the last 100 times means that my routine “doesn’t work” all of a sudden?!?!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Now I’m sure that I’ve also done the same thing to him, probably more times than I could count, but why do we always feel the need to correct another parents actions? Even when that parent is the mother/father of your own child?

I think judgement is one of those things that is incredibly hard to quiet.  It seems that in every aspect of anyone’s life, the inert desire or automatic response to any action or response that differs from your own triggers the reaction of immediate judgement.

I admit, I am certainly guilty of this, especially towards other parents or children – more so before I had a kiddo of my own – but still, it was there and probably always will be.

I remember back to when my friends were having children before I’d even gotten married, and all the judgement I’d passed onto them for the decisions they made or the reasons they did the things they did.  Where I thought that I knew anything about their situation, who knows…judgement just reared it’s ugly head without so much as a thought.

I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there judging me for the things I do, the actions I take, the way I raise my kid.  For the most part I really don’t care.  My life, my decisions, etc. etc.  But every once in a while something cuts through and cuts deep.

You want to believe that they way you’re raising your child is the best way you know how and that there aren’t any “better” ways out there that are of any consequence.  Most of us do the best with what we know.  We teach, love, listen, and grow alongside our children as they will eventually become a mirror image of how they were raised.

Here’s to thicker skin, and maybe a little more patience to let it roll off 🙂

Beginnings

I’m the (fairly) new mom of a 10 month old little boy.  I don’t claim to be an expert on anything.  More so, I have big dreams and not enough time in the day.  I am a Pinterest addict (who isn’t?!) and am quite crafty when I have the time.  I like to learn about and try new things that have to do with my family – although I don’t consider myself to be a “fad” follower per say. Product reviews, meals, new mama missteps, crafts & organization ideas, and anecdotes about my own experiences are some of the things you’ll see here.

My goal with this new blog is to share stories and thoughts about things that most other Mama’s may find interesting, new, familiar, relate-able, or just amusing.

As many of my friends are also starting families, I find it comforting to be able to share in my experiences with them and to hear their experiences as well.  There’s something about power in numbers and knowing that not everyone does everything the same that makes getting through the challenges of being a new Mama less.  I hope that it does the same for you as well 🙂

Sleep much?

My little one has never been a great sleeper.  At 10 months old, he’s only slept through the night maybe 3 times, and all 3 times I slept even less being super paranoid that he wasn’t waking up his usual 5 times a night.  Yup, 5 times.  Being that my hubby and I were very new to the newborn sleep pattern thing, we did not start out on the right path.  Our first mistake was right when we brought him home from the hospital.  For some reason I felt like the pack-n-play was too big for him, and his crib was in the other room…so apparently to our new-parent minds we felt that one of us needed to be awake 24 hours a day.  So at night we would take turns sleeping, usually for only 2-3 hours each, then switch back to watching J sleep.  Dumb.  Took us 2 weeks of really bad sleep habits for ourselves to finally go buy one of those little bassinets that you can put in the bed with you.  That was a lifesaver.  Seriously.

At 3 months we transitioned him to his pack-n-play next to the bed.  Which worked OK, and as he was still needing to breastfeed every few hours at night, it was easier than having him in his own room.

Then at 6 months we finally put him in his own bed.  But at that point his sleeping pattern was pre-set to waking up every few hours and Mom being right there to feed him.  Yes, I fell into the “answer them whenever they cry, for whatever reason they cry” pattern.  Frankly I don’t think I would be OK with doing it any other way.  Before I was a parent, setting a baby down to cry it out wasn’t a big deal for me…then J came along.  I couldn’t do it.  If he cried, I needed to be there to make it better.  Judge all you want, but that’s what works for me.

At 8 months, J was still waking 4-5 times a night.  I didn’t have to nurse him every time to get him back to sleep, but more often than not I did just to get him back to sleep quickly rather than have the Hubby do it and be awake twice as long.  Finally a friend of mine with a newborn looked at me and said “you can’t keep going like this, you’ve got to figure something out, this isn’t healthy.”  Of course I knew that, deep down, but it’s hard to admit when your a parent and you don’t know where to look next.  I looked into some of the main-stream sleep advice (Baby-Wise & etc.) and although some of them seemed to have some good ideas, I still wasn’t willing to use the CIO (cry it out) method…at least not to the extreme that they suggest.

That night I totally broke down and after not getting J to sleep after 45 min of trying, including nursing him, I finally had to just let him cry.  15 minutes later he was sound asleep.  Amazing.  Although not entirely convincing as the next night we still had to rock him to sleep after 20 minutes of crying.  But ever since then he’s only been waking up 2 times a night.  I’m not sure if it was just total coincidence, or if that one night of CIO was the reason for the change, but either way things have been better since then.

Although J still wakes 2 times a night on average, I can handle that.  And honestly I don’t mind the middle of the night feedings.  Someday I’ll miss the snuggle time, and besides, this is what works best for him right now.  It did take a friend to look me in the eye and tell me that it was OK to try new things without thinking that I’m failing…sometimes we all need a little reminder from someone in the same shoes.

There are plenty of people, parents, experts out there who would tell me what I “should” do to improve J’s sleep patterns.  Who cares?  I will continue to do what works best for my kiddo, whether it follows what the books says or not.

On his 3rd nap today – victory 🙂