Motherhood

To the Perfect Mom

If you have been reading my blog(s) for a while now, you know I always aim to be honest. Even if that means not appealing to all the different groups out there. Well, today is another one of those posts.

More often then not as I scroll through social media, I see the mom shaming and the mom bashing. I see the hashtags, the photos of your little one, the photos of you being perfect. I see the Facebook groups you are a part of, the posts that you share and the comments you make. I see it all.

Now let me just say this, although I have used my blog to express a lot of truth about my rocky journey into motherhood, I also hold a lot back. Why? Because I feel shame. I feel shame because of those moms.

The ones with their very, very clear expressions about how their child should sleep – co-sleeping, bed sharing, anti-cry-it-out. The ones faithful to the boob – the exclusively breastfeeding, the “I don’t care when my child weans”, the “baby led weaning”. The ones who don’t need a wink of sleep but complain about their exhaustion. The ones who are against store bought purees, against non-organic options. #ebf #breastfeeding #anticio #babyledweaning #noformulahere #nastypurees #illsleepwhenimdead

I could go on and on. Let me say this – I HEAR YOU. WE hear you! WE – the ones who don’t meet your expectations as a mother yet we don’t have expectations for you. The ones who had a very painful, rough start to motherhood, who didn’t feel adequate from just hours after our baby’s birth. The ones who hated pumping at work and looked forward to the day that their baby was weaned. We are the ones who had to use formula and breastmilk because breastfeeding wasn’t working out as society had made it to be. We are the ones who don’t have time for, or maybe just aren’t interested in making homemade baby food. We buy Gerber’s purees and on a good day, I buy the organic kind. We are the ones who can’t always afford organic so we settle for the generic version. The ones who go through CIO here and there, maybe consistently, maybe not, because sleep helps us be better mothers. We. Hear. You.

In fact, on Thursday Lincoln had a donut for lunch. A donut. And Monday at baby story time at the library, he threw his first actual meltdown. He screamed and cried the entire time. I knew he was tired because he missed his morning nap but we were there at the library so we were going to make it through that session. And when I got home, I gave him a nice warm bottle of FORMULA and laid him in his crib. In his crib, he cried for a bit and I WALKED AWAY. I had to. I needed a break. He had been on a crazy episode for well over an hour. I have a right to walk away. And ten minutes later, I went back in and rocked him and he fell right asleep. Guess what? When he woke up, he was happy to see me. And my pediatrician reassured me that his brain isn’t in stress or feeling neglected because he has to cry by himself sometimes. He told me this because I told him about all the crazy articles you share. I’m not neglecting my child.

So please, stop with the hashtags, the article sharing and the hurtful comments that indicate you are a much better mother than the rest of us. Because at the end of it all, one day your child will be eating leftover French fries off the floor of the car, or licking mud, or eating Domino’s pizza from a friends house. And our kids will be in the same classes and they won’t be discussing the time their mom let them cry at 10 months old or how their mom is better because she never, ever let their mouth touch a puree pouch. No. They’ll be talking about the latest TV show, movie, sports, toy, or maybe classroom drama.

In the end, after these couple of baby years are over, none of this stuff really matters. We are all equal. And all I have ever cared about all along, from day one, is that my baby (and yours) is happy, well fed and has parents that love him dearly.

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Motherhood

Being a SAHM

This is one of those posts that I have been a little hesitant to write only because I feel like there are so many mixed feelings,  misconceptions and stigmas associated with being a stay at home mom. Let me start by mentioning that being a stay at home mom has always been something that I have wanted to do and have seen myself doing. I absolutely love teaching, but I also really love my child. Once Lincoln was born, I knew that my time with teaching was coming to an end.

I do not find myself to be a lazy person or someone who does not want to work. In fact, raising Lincoln, being home with him and taking care of my family is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had – but also, by far, the most rewarding. The topic of me leaving teaching began way before Darius and I had a baby. His mother was a SAHM for most of his life and he really enjoyed having her around and looking back, he really appreciates all she did. When I mentioned wanting to leave work one day, he was ecstatic about it. So, trying to convince my husband one way or another wasn’t something I had to do. In fact, Darius was pushing me to quit my job. Right before giving birth to Lincoln, Darius was promoted to Tech Sergeant which is quite a nice pay raise. It was then that everything just fell into place. We were going to make it work. We knew it would be tight and we also knew it would not be easy, but this is what was best for our child and our family.

It hurts my soul when I hear the jokes and comments made about women who chose to stay at home with their babes. What do they do all day? They must get to sleep in. How lazy are they. Maybe they just don’t want to work? The house BETTER be cleaned and dinner BETTER be made. It’s two steps back for women. Luckily- none of these have come my way yet, but I’ve heard them before, even from those who knew this was the direction I wanted to choose. So, let me go ahead and clear up some things –

What do I do all day? In my short amount of time being home with Lincoln full-time, I am the least bored I have ever been. My day is 24/7 but really it starts about 6am when he wakes up. We go downstairs and play for an hour before breakfast. I make him breakfast, unload the dishwasher, feed him, pack lunch for Darius (because it saves us money). I make myself and Darius breakfast, clean up breakfast while Lincoln watches Bubble Guppies, get Lincoln dressed for the day and then we play some more. We practice walking, talking and following commands. By 9am, it’s time for his first nap. Sometimes I nap too (usually when he was up a lot the night before) and that’s okay with me. Other times, I do a chore like fold the laundry, vacuum, whatever. I will even try to do an in home workout. By 10:30-11 he’s up and we head off to the library, run errands, go to the commissary or whatever I need to do so it won’t be done on the weekends during our family time. By 1:00 to 2:00 it’s time for nap #2. During this time I either work on other chores or I take some time for myself and just watch TV and hang out. The afternoon nap is much shorter so I take what I can get. Once he’s up, we will either go exploring some more, maybe a play date or some time in the pool. Darius is usually home by 5 and I start preparing dinner around 4:30. After dinner, Darius cleans up (holy crap yes Darius helps!), we get Lincoln a bath and Lincoln is in bed by 6:30. I load the dishwasher, run it, and Darius and I get to hang out until around 10 when I go to bed. It’s a long day and not all days are easy or even the same. Sometimes I don’t get anything done and sometimes naps are skipped or things come up.

Do I want to work? Of course I do! Leaving work was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my entire life. But you know what, Lincoln is only this little once and in the blink of an eye he will be in pre-school, so I am soaking it up while I can. I am also looking for part-time work to help bring in some cash for my family.

I bet the house is always clean and food is always cooked. LOL. My house may appear to be cleaned. Yes, after every day the toys are picked up and put away and for the most part I don’t have piles of dust floating around. But, our bedroom is always the last to get attention, I have piles of shit in the guest room looking for a home, we have crumbs on the floor constantly and something in the kitchen is always sticky. So, no. And we do manage to always have food cooked because eating out randomly is no longer an option for us. Everything is budgeted for and because providing leftovers and cooking is cheaper for us, I make sure we use all the food we buy. If we want to eat out one day, it’s already in the budget and planned for.

Being a SAHM is one step back for women. WHATEVER. That all boils down to personal beliefs. I am NOT a feminist and I DO enjoy a “traditional” lifestyle. Again, I have always wanted to be home to raise my kids. It’s easier on me. I was not the best at juggling career and motherhood and family. This is what I wanted. I don’t believe I am causing a step back in women’s rights, I am just doing what I WANT TO DO because that is also my right.

I hope that this was able to clear up my perceptions of being a SAHM and maybe even misconceptions for those out there who believe it’s wildly a day off every day of the year… because it actuality, it’s the exact opposite. If you’re a SAHM, leave a comment below on what made you decide to take the leap!

xoxo!

Motherhood

Marriage + Motherhood

Ahh.. marriage and motherhood. A post I have been writing off and on for quite some time now. A topic that is tricky to discuss as each couples situation is unique and different. How I feel and have evolved to this new life can be dramatically different than the next. But, here it goes – all my thoughts, feelings and advice on being a newlywed and adjusting to motherhood.

A month into our marriage, Darius and I found out I was pregnant with our rainbow baby, Jordan. When I started going through the miscarriage, I didn’t know it, and my body was going through postpartum depression and crashing hormones. this caused a huge strain on our relationship because dealing with the loss of the baby and not knowing how to handle my feelings, I just was not available. All in all, the challenge brought us together and though it took weeks to realize what was happening, we were able to do our best to make a plan for ‘next time’.

During pregnancy with Lincoln, we were living the dream. We had bought our first home, we were in the middle of fixing everything up, nesting and creating the perfect life for our little man. I was incredibly sick for 16 weeks and although that was f***ing horrible, having Darius as my support system was so meaningful. It wasn’t until after giving birth to Lincoln, the next day precisely, that shit.got.real.

Having a baby and struggling with anxiety and postpartum depression simultaneously really throws a wrench into your love life. Being that I don’t adjust well with change, after bringing Lincoln home I remember two things: 1. Apologizing to Gus for ruining his life and 2.  Texting Liz asking how the hell to get out of this nightmare (of having a baby). I wanted my husband back, my quiet life back and I definitely didn’t want Darius to love Lincoln more than me. Looking back and even in the moment, I knew all of this was irrational. I knew it wasn’t normal. When bringing Lincoln home I envisioned us being madly in love, taking care of our baby in unison and suffering through sleep loss like a champ. In turn, it was absolutely nothing of the sort.

Having a newborn, and now a 9 month old meant a lot of adjustment for our relationship. At first, my hormones weighed heavily on us. I cried all the time. I needed Darius and Lincoln needed me and Darius was taking care of all of us. He had to drop his math class to pick up the slack of me being a hormonal mess. I cried all the time. It was like he was actually taking care of two babies instead of one. Once that passed and I received help, the new adjustment was what would be our new normal? 

There were many times that our conversations were minimal, and dinners consisted of shoving a luke warm dinner down our throats. Many times we didn’t speak about anything significant and neither of us really knew what was going on in the others life. We weren’t making one another or our relationship a priority. That was something that needed to change. A lot of times there were arguments – about who to change Lincoln, who fed him the most, who was the most tired, who works the hardest, who does the most in the house… I could go on and on. And sometimes it felt like this has to be the end, although we both absolutely knew it wasn’t.

Things didn’t get “better” right away. And it really wasn’t even that things had to get better, we just had to adjust to the way life was and accept that’s how it would be. It wasn’t like we had some drawn out, silent treatment or screaming argument. We slowly started have more open conversation. It happened in places like the car, in the kitchen when making dinner, on the phone on the way home from work. We would talk about how we were feeling, how we read an article about our marriage coming first, we would reminisce about how life is now and how it used to be. We made more time for each other and allowed for family to help out in order to give us a break. We began to be okay with not being at Lincoln’s side 24/7. We know that in order to have a happy, healthy family we need a happy, healthy marriage. And we need to nurture that marriage and be supportive of one another.

Nine months postpartum I finally feel like we are in one of the best places we have ever been in our entire marriage. I feel more that we are the best of friends than I did two years ago. I feel I have a partner who truly values me, who respects me as a wife, mother and friend. I have someone who knows me inside and out and who will always have my back.

So, my advice to you out there who has the newborn? Life isn’t over. It’s just beginning. And what you’ve done is beautiful and fantastic. And you may be sore, you may be exhausted, you may be wanting to give up. Those feelings are valid. But, as time always does, it heals all things. You will get back to yourself. You will begin to find a new normal in this crazy, hectic life of mommy hood. But, it is imperative that your marriage is nurtured and that your independence is nurtured. Make time for yourself and one another. Your baby will never forget having happy, committed parents – and will never remember the one time you left him with the grandparents for two hours.