Finding My Passion

Being a SAHM is hard. Really hard. I never expected it to be this hard. Apparently my mind lives in a place full of gum drops and unicorns, and when that reality is crushed I tend to cry. Not only is being someone’s sole source of entertainment for twelve plus hours a day completely and utterly exhausting, but it also leaves very little time for me to do anything for me. For instance, I’m not even a full paragraph into this post and have been called away by Little Bear three times. I had visions of fun outings, cuddles, and nap times that lasted two hours or so. 

We do have fun outings, every now and then, but there is only so much that you can do with a five and half month old and only for so long before he starts to freak out! There are lots of cuddles…and lots of crying too. Don’t even get me started on nap times.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my time. I have no desire to put Little Bear into daycare. Being with him is the most wonderful, joyous thing in the world to me. I can’t imagine someone I barely know being there to experience all of his “firsts” instead of me. But I must admit that this whole SAHM thing leaves me with a feeling of wanting more.

Where did I go? Before Little Bear there were so many things I was passionate about and loved to do. I was in the middle of starting my own business. I had a direction that I was headed in and my future was a little uncertain but I at least knew the general path it would take. Now I feel lost. I’m not used to not contributing financially to our family and that is something I find myself struggling with quite often.

I thought about opening an Etsy shop, but unfortunately my sewing skills are not quite good enough to sell anything that I’ve made (So now Little Bear has an overload of stroller toys to play with!).  I’ve thought about writing a children’s book, and might still do, but I can’t draw more than a stick figure so that puts a bit of a damper on that possibility. I do love street photography and have quite the collection of shots from when we lived in Amsterdam, but at this point in time getting them all together is just a little too time consuming.

I guess I’m facing the conundrum every mother faces…can we have it all? At this moment my answer is no. Me time will just have to be put on the back burner. Because for now Little Bear time is just too important to miss out on. He needs me a lot more than I need to feel totally “fulfilled”. In the meantime I’ll try to suppress the guilt I feel for not wanting to spend every waking moment with him!

 

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Cloth v Disposable

Little Bear has been in cloth diapers since he was old enough to fit into them; at about two weeks old. Before he was born I was a bit nervous about using only cloth, but determined nonetheless. I knew, if for savings reasons alone, it would be worth it to have him wear fluff. Still, it was intimidating. There is an OVERabundance of information out there, so much so that I caused myself to have a mini panic attack over what I was going to put on my baby’s butt! (Diving Into Fluff) Thankfully after all the research I did…who knew one person could become so obsessed with something that catches poop…I was completely prepared and the system we chose was the perfect one for us.

As it turns out my stressing and panic attacks were for naught. Cloth Diapering is in fact incredibly easy. The most important thing is to find a system and brand that works for you and your little one. Because I’m a SAHM I don’t need to use a diaper service. I just throw everything, wet bag and all, into the washer, set it to sanitize and three hours (!) later they’re ready for the dryer. I have to admit if we didn’t have this amazing washer and dryer with their sanitize/antibacterial settings I may have used a service; but we do, so…

We do use disposables at night. Little Bear outgrew his newborn size All In One’s before we even had a chance to put them on him, and fitting a prefold into a cover in the dark at 3am is just a little too much to ask of me when I’ve got one foot in dreamland!

Recently, though, we’ve been having to use ‘sposies a lot more than usual. Little Bear has had two ear infections in a row. Anyone who has experience with babies, ear infections, and antibiotics knows that they will go #2 anywhere from 5 to 6 times a day, if not more. Frankly, that is just too much laundry for me to do. Call me lazy if you want but that’s how I feel about it!

Here’s the thing…when we were talking about using cloth the one thing all the skeptics said to me was, “Aren’t you worried about how much they leak?”. Turns out the disposables leak more than the cloth do! Just this morning Little Bear woke himself up because he had leaked out of his ‘sposie and it was ALL OVER EVERYWHERE. That wouldn’t have happened if he’d been wearing cloth. I can’t tell you how many pairs of pyjamas I’ve had to bleach because of disposables. There is no way that we could do disposable full time. Even Hubby, who swears he can’t fit the cloth onto Little Bear as easily as I can (which is just nonsense), prefers to use them over the disposables.

Little Bear is growing at such a break neck speed that he’s about to outgrow the newborn size and move up to the One Size diapers. These will last us until he makes the big boy step of potty training in a couple of years. Another thing that cloth has over disposables is that they’re so darn cute! Have you seen the patterns on them? I mean, whoever decided diapers could make a fashion statement…genius! I can’t wait to go shopping for new covers! As if I needed another excuse to go shopping for Little Bear…. 

Three Months Old and An Ear Infection

As usual I am behind. Little Bear actually turned three months on Tuesday, but hey, at least I’m managing to get this written at all. Unlike two months which I started and is still in draft mode on my dashboard…oops!I still cannot believe that it’s been three months since we welcomed our Little Bear into this world. Where has the time gone? It’s so amazing how much he has changed and grown in such a short period of time.

In the past month he has:

-Discovered that his hands are attached to him…and they couldn’t be more delicious!    -Put on more than a few pounds…he’s a little chubba weighing in at 14 pounds!             -Started being able to recognize the difference between “new” people and his favorite people…for the moment, he is a serious Momma’s boy!                                                     -Begun to reach for toys and things that interest him, his favorite toy is his “kitty”; a light up cat that plays music.                                                                                              -Been trying to learn to roll over and sit up. He can’t do either yet, but wants to so badly and gets very frustrated that he can’t yet!

My favorite new development is that he has just started to laugh. It is so cute! It’s not a full on belly laugh yet but it’s a definite laugh that is interspersed with a few squeals of delight. One sure fire way to get one out of him is to play patty cake or sing the cookie monster song, he loves them!

Unfortunately, this month hasn’t been all happy moments. My Little Bear is sick for the very first time and it is breaking my heart. He has his first ear infection, and for a few days he was absolutely miserable (which means Hubby and I were miserable too). Frankly, I’m not sure who was more upset…me or Little Bear. Probably him but it truly hurt my heart to see him in even the tiniest amount of pain. All I could keep thinking was how much I wished that it was me with the ear infection instead of him. That I would do anything to make him not hurt anymore. It was such a powerful “Mother” emotion.

I always love him so much more than I will ever be able to express in words; but seeing my sweet baby boy in pain and feeling this overwhelming feeling of “I wish it was me instead” made me realize what a mother’s love truly is…selfless. It was the recognition of how I would do anything for this sweet little creature that I am more than blessed to have been given. That my first and most important job in this life is to protect and love him…above all else. Very powerful stuff. All from an ear infection.

Thankfully we caught it early and the little bugger is on its way out and Little Bear is, for the most part, back to his usual smiley happy self. Which makes his mommy very happy…and now I can get back to making sure the house doesn’t become one big pile of dirt and junk; because trying to get ANYTHING done when there’s a sick baby in the house is like trying to build an igloo in the desert…it’s just not gonna happen!

My Baby’s Better Than Yours

We all know them, those parents who can’t seem to stop talking about just how wonderful and happy their baby is and how they never cry. Not that I can blame them. But I would like them to please shut up and stop rubbing it in the faces of those of us whose life with their children is not all sunshine and butterflies.

Frankly, I would give anything for a day without screaming and tears. It doesn’t just give me a headache it gives me a heartache too. There’s a reason I call him Little Bear; he’s a very high needs baby. Unless he’s being cuddled he’s not happy, and while giving him cuddles is my absolute favorite thing in the world it also makes it almost impossible to get anything done (especially blog posts, which fall distantly behind all the cleaning I need to get done!). He can placated by his bouncy seat and a soothie for a few minutes but soon figures out that they are a poor substitute for my arms and quickly fires up those vocal chords. It makes me feel terrible that in order to cook dinner I have to listen to him cry. But we have to eat. And Hubby is still working while I’m cooking, so what choice do I have?

I love this smile…

…But he does this a lot more

So when I look at Facebook statuses from other new moms about how their baby is all smiles all the time and are the happiest baby ever I feel all sorts of upset. It‘s like saying that because Mason cries he’s unhappy, and that’s just not true! And I’m also jealous, because, of course I don’t want him to cry or be fussy. And truly being a new mom is a lot harder when your child is screaming than when he or she is laughing and playing peacefully by themselves.

But the worst part about it is when you get asked if your child is a “good” baby. What exactly constitutes a BAD baby?? Because my child needs to be held makes him bad? I don’t think so.  The three year old, I used to nanny, that told me he was going to cut my throat with a knife because I turned off the TV at dinner time (seriously!)…that’s a bad kid. But even that wasn’t all his fault; that was his parents allowing him to watch R rated movies and living in an incredibly dysfunctional household. Babies are not bad. Some may be a little more challenging than others but in the end won’t that just make me a better parent for having gone through it? The way I see it, I’ll be this much more prepared for days of temper tantrums and teenage hormones because I’ll already have experience. And lets face it…no child is happy all the time. At some point your “perfectly content” little one is going to have a bad day.

My First Mother’s Day

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother; that my main purpose in life was to nurture, love, and guide my future offspring. While I was pregnant I couldn’t wait for my first Mother’s Day. I had been imagining all the wonderful things you see in TV commercials. Visions of flowers, breakfast in bed, and leisurely soaks in a tub full of bubbles danced in my head. But when I was woken up at 5:45 this past Sunday morning I was jolted into the reality that my child is only a month old, and this year, those dreams would be just a figment of my desire.

My first Mother’s Day went a bit like this: WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! ALL. DAY. LONG.

He was quiet for about 20 minutes before we sat down to eat our nice lunch at my mom’s house. But, as never fails, as soon as we sat down to eat he started his engine once again and demanded he be fed first. Which is fine. I’ve come to terms that for right now I’ll be eating my meals at room temperature, and that I have a “high needs baby” who is only happy when he’s being held.

Honestly, I was so frustrated on Sunday that I spent the majority of the latter part of the day crying right along with him. But through all the tears I learned something. If we’re going to get through this phase I need to let go. I can’t control everything anymore (not that really ever could before but back then I could trick myself into thinking I could)…at this point I’ve just got to go with the flow. Or else I’m going to drive myself insane!

This new mom thing is, by far, the hardest most unbelievably frustrating experience of my life! I am constantly questioning myself and wether I’m doing things “the right way”, but in between all of the moments of insecurity are the best moments of my life. Like when he stops crying just because I picked him up. And now he’s smiling…those little smiles make my heart swell to about bursting.
I never thought I could love something so much! So even though my first Mother’s Day wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped it would be it turns out it was exactly what I needed it to be.

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The War on Boobs

I know it shouldn’t have surprised me. I knew breastfeeding wasn’t easy. Just how difficult…that came as quite a bit of a shock. And for a few days I’ll admit I was ready to give up. It seems that I am not as strong willed as I believe myself to be, and to be honest there were more than a couple times when I broke down in tears of not just frustration but serious pain. All I can say is…and I never thought I’d say this…God bless the breast pump!

By day three of Mason’s life my breasts were cracked and bleeding because he wasn’t latching on correctly and I was basically clueless on how to rectify the problem. Every time he would try to eat I felt like punching a hole in a wall it hurt so badly. I wouldn’t wish that type of pain on my worst enemy. And then on day five engorgement reared it’s ugly (and swollen) head. I’ve never had breasts larger than a B, they maxed out at a DD; I wanted to take a machete and chop them off of my body. I told hubby that if, for some unknown reason, I ever say I want implants to please remind me of this seriously off balance moment. That lasted a few days and by the time it was over they had thankfully healed up and stopped bleeding. But it was tough going for a few days…days that seemed like they were dragging on for weeks. And as guilty as I feel to admit this, we switched to a bottle of pumped milk for those few days whilst I was “healing” . But those fews days may have saved me and given me the courage to try again.

It’s day 16 and we have gone back to (almost) exclusively breastfeeding. I say almost because I’m still pumping some during the day so that Hubby can feed him at night when I’m sleeping. Thankfully Mason has a very strong rooting reflex and we bought bottles that mimic the shape and feel of a breast so he hasn’t had any “nipple confusion”.

I’m still in a little bit of pain but I think that’s mainly because I need to “toughen up”…this is still a fairly new adventure fore me. And I’m determined to keep it up as long as I can. Right now the goal is six months. If we can reach that goal we’ll up the ante and see how long we can go from there. But here’s the hardest part, and maybe it would be different if we hadn’t gotten off to such a rough start, but I really don’t enjoy breastfeeding all that much. That’s hard to admit. And I feel so guilty about it. Breastfeeding is supposed to be this beautifully magical bonding experience with your baby and I just don’t feel it. What I feel mainly is anxiousness. I’m anxious to be able to move from the one spot I’m rooted in for up to 45 minutes. And I’m frustrated that it is still taking several tries, sometimes a lot more than several, to get him to latch on right. It’s especially tough when we are both frustrated and he’s crying because he’s so hungry and I’m crying because I can’t get him to latch properly because of his crying. It seems like a never-ending cycle of tears and frustration. So I’m missing out on that magical bonding time and instead am getting an experience that I just want to be over. And this makes me feel so full of guilt like I’m a disappointment as a mother. A feeling that seems, to me, to be firmly connected to my experience as a new mom so far.

Did anyone else feel this way? Please tell me I’m not the only one!!!