As 2011 comes to a close, I’ve been pondering the life lessons that this year has taught me. Do you also find yourself reflecting on the past year? If so, what are some things that you have learned?
1. Becoming a parent is life-changing. Even though you have the entire pregnancy to prepare for parenthood, the actual transformation is almost instantaneous. Shortly after I had gotten my epidural in the hospital, Hubster went out to get himself dinner. We knew there was a long night of labor ahead of us. I’ll never forget how I shocked my nurse by choosing to lay in silence instead of turning on the television. I told her that my life would never be that quiet again and I wanted to relish in it. Wow, was that the truth. Leaving our home as a couple and returning as a family was an amazing experience for which I don’t think we could have emotionally prepared.
2. Being vulnerable can be a good thing. I’m usually the stoic, “everybody’s fine” type of person. I was terrified to publicize my postpartum depression diagnosis; but at the same time, it was a very easy decision to make. I had recognized my symptoms by reading someone else’s story and I knew that I needed to share. Within 24 hours of publishing that post, I realized why my gut instinct led me to exposing this secret. Several women in my life shared with me that they had or currently have the same feelings; and once they knew what those feelings were, they also decided to seek help. Allowing people to peer into the anything-but-perfect part of my life has helped me begin my journey to healing, helped other people to recognize the symptoms of PPD and has reinforced and/or built several of my relationships with friends and family. Their love and support brought me to tears. It’s always the tough times that highlight the people in your life that accept you as you are and will support you through anything. In 2012, I challenge you to be a little vulnerable – you may be surprised by the growth that can result from it.
3. Parenthood isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. After your second straight week of sleeping a few hours per night or less, the joy of having a newborn can start to wear thin. Cleaning up poop explosions, trying every possible soothing method for your screaming newborn, wiping spit up off your baby’s face, wiping spit up off your own face…parenting is not for the faint of heart. Funny how no one tells you this when you’re expecting. At least I could have mentally prepared myself.
4. BUT…it is immensely rewarding. The first time your baby smiles at you, all that poop and loss of sleep will be worth it. Then there’s the first laugh, first time they say “mama” or “dada,” and so much more. Sometimes I still look at C in pure amazement that Hubster and I made him. Your child is at once the most perfectly adorable, smart and funny human being you have ever met in your life.
After C woke up for a night feeding, I just sat there adoring him instead of putting him back to bed right away. I was just sitting there staring at his little face and holding his soft little hands, thinking about how awesome he is. Here are some of my thoughts on what I love most about my little C…
C’s cheeks are the softest, most kissable cheeks I’ve ever seen.
His hands reach up to touch my face while I feed him.
His favorite napping nook is with his body turned in toward ours and his head resting on our arm.
C can rattle off a fart like a grown man and it cracks me up.
He often keeps his eyes closed tightly during night feedings, and softly drifts off to sleep immediately after eating.
Even when he’s content and playing with his toys, he likes to look up at his daddy and me to see what we’re doing.
C has started to kiss me once in a while. I end up with a wet face, but those are still some of the best kisses in the world.
Whenever we smile and say, “Hi!” to C, he reciprocates with a huge smile and often a squeal.
He’s so curious about everything that is going on around him.
His wide array of facial expressions are hysterical!
His laugh is like music to my ears.
C is happiest when he wakes up in the morning, showering us with smiles, noises and squeals of delight.
What are some of the things your little one does that makes your heart smile?
I heard via the wonderful world of Facebook yesterday that my friend was in the hospital to have her baby! Maybe having C made me a softie, but now whenever a friend of mine announces a pregnancy or has a child, I get teary-eyed. It’s a mixture of happiness, nostalgia from a flash of fun memories and excitement because I know the joy she’s about to experience.
So here’s to you, dear! When I saw your Facebook statuses, I had a rush of memories from Bible studies, late night walks, and “rawhide.” I’m so excited for you and your hubby and, despite the distance, I hope to meet her someday. Love you!
My dad recently mentioned to me that I’m doing laundry every time he visits – for the entire time he’s here. He doesn’t only come on my laundry days and, since we live in different states, he is here for more than a short visit. He’s right. I do A LOT of laundry.
Today, I sorted and washed five loads of laundry. I was feeling pretty accomplished when my last load went into the washing machine. Then I walked into the living room to find that C had spit up on himself and everything around him. *sigh*
The tagline to motherhood should read as follows…
Welcome to motherhood: Your restful nights are over and your life now revolves around a washing machine.
Apparently C has decided that instead of the more palatable wake-up time of 7 or 8, he would prefer to wake up at 5:30am. FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING. Naturally, he insists on continuing two night feedings, the second of which is typically between 3:30 and 4:30. Thus, he leaves me with somewhat of a “cat nap” before getting up for the day.
Let me remind you, lest you forget, that C also does not nap during the day unless he is held.
This leaves me with the age-old question (oh wait, it’s not an age-old question? You mean there are babies who actually sleep?): Why, dear child, do you not require more sleep than an adult?
Two sides, equally strong-willed and determined, face off in an epic battle of sleep. A refusal to give into slumber is met with an equal dedication to enforce the rules of nap-dom. Screaming and a theatric conflict of wills ensue. There can only be one victor.
Over the past week, someone said to me that they’d love to be able to “just” stay at home with their kids. (They emphasized the “just.” This person did not have children.) Inwardly, I was outraged that this person thought that life at home with children was so easy. Outwardly, all I could do was smile politely at their ignorance.
Whether you’ve stayed at home with your child during your maternity leave, you’re a work-at-home-mom, or you’re a full-time stay-at-home-mom (hereby referred to as SAHM), you know that the last word you’d use to describe your job is “easy.” In fact, this is easily the most difficult job I have ever had.
Since I’m not going to be a rude, exhausted mother of a fussy newborn and go off on an ignorant bystander, I will provide an outline of my inner tirade that is set off with those types of comments:
There are no breaks in mothering. No 15-minute morning break. No lunch break. No taking a vacation day. Sick? Too bad!
Have a problem with a coworker? At least you can walk away from the problem. Try walking away from your fussy offspring. Not an option.
Hate getting up early for work? Try waking up every couple of hours for night feedings.
Try spending an entire day without seeing an adult. You will find yourself starved for adult conversation, in any form; yet, almost worthless in conversation due to exhaustion. (Next time you see a tired, disheveled looking woman in the store looking at you eagerly, she’s probably a new mother.)
Work 9-5, 2-10, or even 6-6? Hey, at least you can bug off after you get your hours in. My job is 24/7 baby.
Can’t function in the morning without your coffee? Most days, I don’t even have time to make any.
Some days, I would eagerly trade my SAHM duties for some good ol’ workplace stress (not that I don’t love my baby, don’t get me wrong).
And the other thing that really makes me mad on a tough day is the person who complains about how little sleep they’re getting. Dude, I get that you’re busy with work/school/whatever, but don’t complain to me about being tired. You have the option to sleep in on a Saturday or take an afternoon nap if you can work it out with your schedule. I’m at a child’s beck and call 24 hours each day, and I can guarantee that I’m getting less sleep than you and you’re not hearing me complain to you about it.
Truth: Being a SAHM or WAHM is not easy. And don’t tell me it is because if I’m having an exceptionally bad day, I might drop-kick you.
Ever have one of those days that make you want to run far, far away?
Yup, it’s one of those days. And it’s only 12:48pm.
C has been crying constantly for hours. He’s been fed twice, changed multiple times, rocked, put in his bouncy seat, etc. etc. etc….
I would hide, but we live in a one-bedroom apartment. I’d have Hubster watch him, but he has to work. I’d step outside with a baby monitor – but we didn’t purchase one because, alas!, we live in a one-bedroom apartment.
I think I will soon be searching for Hubster’s Bose headphones and watching some Netflix on my iPhone while C continues to cry.
I can’t imagine C putting up with this. He hates being naked. HATES it. I’m not talking about totally naked in the bath type of naked. I mean, unzipping his sleeper to change his diaper naked. Like, any skin exposed. He screams.