Hello Baby!

If you’ve been following me for awhile, I’m sure you know by now that I occasionally write blog posts for my friend Taylor over at Not Just Another Teen Mom. Well, here comes another one!

This time, Taylor has put together a wonderful blog series where moms discuss their birthing stories. And what mom DOESN’T like to talk about their birth stories?! Whether good or bad, most of us will tell you every tiny little detail – sometimes we do it without you asking. I will do my best to limit some of the finer details (no talk of mucous plugs here) and I will try to keep them as short and sweet as I possibly can. Buuutttt, considering that I have two stories to tell and both labors lasted a few hours…. well, you know.

Here are my stories:

Baby J

He is four years old now, but I still remember the day he was born as though it happened minutes ago.

My labor began at home, ON my due date, right at 9:00 PM. Because he was my first child, I was way too excited to want to sleep! No way could I close my eyes – I needed to be timing contractions! They started off every 4-6 for the first hour and rapid increased to every 2-3 the next hour. By 11:00, I was calling my OB to let them know. They gave me the go ahead, so we grabbed our bags and loaded into the car.

After triage and getting admitted, my labor began to stall. I waited until morning to talk with my doctor and we decided to go with pitocin and breaking my water.

Around lunch time, they came in and got the pitocin started. A few hours later, they broke my water.

I wanted to go without an epidural, so I did my best to labor without it for as long as I could. By about 4:00 PM, my knuckles were white as I gripped the rails of my hospital bed with each contraction. My doc came in to check and see how much progress I had made and gave me a grim report. 5 cm. 5 FREAKING CENTIMETERS. After laboring forever and being in the worst pain I’d ever experienced… no. I asked them for the epidural and they brought someone in shortly.

My doctor (who I think was the biggest airhead in the hospital) said she would come back and check on me in a few hours. Four hours later, I was so numbed up from the middle of my abdomen down that I couldn’t feel when people touched my legs – not even pressure. Doctor Airhead came back in, glanced at my monitor, saw that my contractions were mere blips on the screen, and decided she’d come back in a few more hours. Didn’t even bother to check and see where I was at.

Not even 10 minutes after Doctor Airhead left, my wonderful, glorious, amazing nurse, Lauren, came in. They had just switched shifts and because it had been awhile since I was checked last, she decided to check me herself so she personally knew where I was at. Because I was all numbed up, she said she was just going to check while I laid on my side.

She lifted the sheet, pulled my legs apart, and slowly said, “Oh…”

She then closed my legs and began to slowly peel her gloves off while backing towards the door and saying, “I’m gonna go get the doctor… because we’re ready to deliver NOW.”

“NOW?!”

“Yes. Now.”

Then she bolted out of the room.

I thought it was some kind of weird joke. They told me I’d feel pressure. I felt nothing.

His poor, unsuspecting father, was heading into the bathroom when I said, “Hey. What do you see?” and pulled the sheet back…

“THAT’S HIS HEAD?!?!”
“Seriously?”
“NO, SERIOUSLY! THAT’S HIS HEAD! OH MY GOSH…”
“Are you playing with me right now?”
“NO!!! THAT’S HIS HEAD! RIGHT THERE!”

At this point, Lauren and another nurse rushed back in.

Lauren grabbed my legs, flipped me onto my back in one motion (I still have no clue how she did that…), and told me to push. No one dropped down the bottom half of the bed, the giant overhead light didn’t come down out of the ceiling, my feet didn’t go up in the stirrups… just push. My doctor wasn’t even there.

I looked at her like she was crazy and once again, she said, “Push… NOW!”

I gave the most half-assed push of my life (I seriously put in about the same amount of effort I would to pass gas… I still didn’t think they were serious) and he came FLYING out. Lauren caught him, cut the cord, and put him on my chest with a million blankets and told me to just keep rubbing him to keep him warm. I did. And the entire time, I was crying.

I took birthing classes, did my research, read books… none of them ever talked about it happening like this.

But there he was. And with a head full of dark hair.

J&M

Born at 40 weeks and 1 day: 7 lbs 8 oz, 21.5 inches long, 7:19 PM (exactly 15 minutes after my doctor left my room), and absolutely perfect.

Baby N

Now, her story is a little less exciting. ūüôā

I started laboring early in the morning with her, sometime around 6 or 7. I called my dad and let him know so he could come be with J while we were at the hospital, but told him to take his time. When we got to the hospital, it was about 10:30 AM. They took us back into triage where I did a whole lot of sitting and watching my contractions.

They were a little bit further apart, but strong. I had made some progress, but not as much as my doctor wanted to see before I was admitted (SHE was brilliant and compassionate… not an airhead). So my husband and I got up and started walking the halls of the hospital.

Let me just say that walking around with my husband while contracting was one of the funniest things ever. Every time I would pause to breathe through a contraction, he would pause with me. But there was one moment where he made me laugh so incredibly hard in the middle of a contraction that I seriously considered punching him.

He decided to quote a movie to me. So there I am, having a contraction, and he starts saying, “Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up! It’s baby time!”

I couldn’t breathe because I couldn’t stop laughing.

Right after that, we went back to triage and my doctor checked up on me and decided to go ahead and admit me.

Once again, after being admitted, my contractions began to spread out and my labor started to stall. They got me on pitocin and broke my water not long after. I was determined to make it through this one without the epidural.

I went until about 7:30 PM before I told my nurse that I felt like I was going to need to push soon. There was SO much pressure and I was to the point where I thought I was going to pass out and throw up at the same time every time I had a contraction. My nurse checked me and told me I was still sitting at 5 cm.

I remember thinking, “There is NO WAY I’m only at 5! This hurts so much more than it did with J!” After thinking a little bit, I told her to go ahead and bring someone in to do an epidural. I decided that if I was hurting that bad at 5 cm, I didn’t want to feel the next 5.

Shortly after, they sat me up to do the epidural. We waited for a contraction to pass, and then I felt the pinch of the needle. Instantly, another contraction started and there was SO much pressure. I began telling them they needed to hurry up because I needed to lay back down so I could push. My nurse kept trying to reassure me that I was only at 5 cm and it wasn’t possible for me to push yet.

As soon as they laid me back down, I said, “I need to push. I know my body. Will you please check?”

She checked again and said, “Oh. You’re complete! I’ll go get the doctor.”

Soon, I had my nurse, another nurse, my doctor, and a whole bunch of nursing students in the room. They got everything ready for her arrival, and then went to get my husband. Once he came back in the room, it was go time. After 3 good pushes, she was out. Her dad got to cut her cord, and they handed her up to me.

I remember my first thought being that she was so tiny and I was afraid I would break her. But she sure was perfect. No dark hair like her brother though. She’s my little blondie with blue eyes.

N&M

Born at 38 weeks and 4 days: 5 lbs 10 oz, 19 inches long, 8:15 PM, and beautiful in every way.

Advertisements

My Baby Boy Is Turning FOUR

He still looks the same when he sleeps. I love that. Although it’s so difficult for me to look at him now and see the once tiny baby I held in my arms. I look at him now and see … Continue reading

My Love/Hate Relationship with “Parenting Styles”

Every so often, I actually get to cuddle with this sweet boy.

I was originally going to write about my love/hate relationship with attachment parenting but decided that if I was going to do that, I should probably know what parenting style I actually use. Turns out, there are apparently 5 “parenting styles” that are floating around out there right now.

**DISCLAIMER: This is my sarcasm font.**

Instinctive Parenting
Parents “go with their gut” or are influenced by their own upbringing. More likely to teach what they know and parent the way they were raised. (In other words, they are copy cats. They mimic the behavior of their own parents and decided to give it a name. Not original.)

Attachment Parenting
Strive to promptly respond to their child’s needs and be sensitive and emotionally available for their child at all times. They often believe in natural childbirth, a family bed, avoidance of corporal punishment, homeschooling, and may be part of the anti-vaccination movement.¬†(In other words, hippies. May smell like incense, patchouli, and borax from homemade laundry detergent. Also known as the “crunchy” parent.)¬†

Helicopter Parenting
They hover. They smother. They cover.¬†(In other words, they like their children like they like their Waffle House hash browns: smothered, covered, and… well… okay. Maybe not scattered. You can usually pick this parent out by the brown discoloration on the end of their nose…)

Authoritative Parenting
Typically establish rules and guidelines and expect their children to follow them. However, not quite to the point of “what I say goes” or “because I said so.” They are still nurturing, forgiving, and responsive. They are assertive but not restrictive and aim to support rather than punish. (In other words, they are not liberals. They aren’t conservative either. They can vote either side at any point in the game. It just depends on which party is presenting the best hand.)

Permissive Parenting
Indulgent. They have very few demands of their children because they have low expectations of maturity and self-control. Lenient. They try to be more of a friend than a parent and don’t like confrontation.¬†(In other words, they are the ones who let their children run around like wild animals and sit back and shrug their shoulders while saying “Kids, eh?” Or flat out ignore the behavior while they tap away at Angry Birds on their phones.¬†*I don’t actually have a clue how you play that game…*)

Clueless Parenting¬†(I came up with this one… last second)
The expectant parent. I mean the “I-just-found-out-I’m-having-a-baby-and-I-have-no-clue-where-to-start-so-I-guess-I’ll-Google-everything-and-ask-everyone-I-know” parent. Like baby ain’t here yet and they don’t know WTF a “birth plan” or “mucous plug” is. They are brand.spanking.new. (Note: no sarcasm there!)

So after reading about each one of these, I have decided that I don’t fit a specific one. I have tried out 4 out of the 5 (Or 5 out of 6… I can’t bring myself to be the parent who is more of a friend than a parent) and not a single one worked for me.

I started off as a clueless parent. I knew what a baby was, how they were made, and that breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for a baby. So, I did what a lot of expecting moms do: I went online. I hit up Google and the message boards over at The Bump. I asked my friends on Facebook. I learned all I could. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I wanted to give natural birth a shot.

And so began my love/hate relationship with attachment parenting. I LOVED it… for the first 6ish months. I breastfed, co-slept, did baby wearing, baby led weaning, tried making my own cloth diapers, used all natural lotions, soaps, and creams… and then I started to feel like Waffle House hash browns. Smothered, covered, and definitely scattered. My son slept through the night from the time he was a month and a half right up until 4ish months. Then I hit the “4 month wakeful period.” That lasted until he was about 7 months.

But at 6 months, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t get him to sleep until 11 and I had to nurse him to sleep and try verrrrryyyyy carefully to get up without waking him so I could attempt to clean because, you know, I spent my entire day with him ATTACHED to me and couldn’t get much done. Then I’d crawl into bed. He’d wake up at 1:30, nurse back to sleep, up again at 4:30, nurse back to sleep, up again at 6:30-7, nurse again, and sleep (restlessly) until about 9.

I decided to move him to his crib because I wasn’t sleeping well AT ALL. Every time he moved, I woke. Every time he woke, I woke and HAD to nurse him to get him back to sleep. Plus, he had a tough time staying asleep because every time I moved, it would wake him up. So into his own bed he went. The first night was tough, but I stayed by his side until he fell asleep. The next time he woke, he barely cried and fell asleep easily. I slept in his room that night and stayed right next to his crib until he was sound asleep each time he woke. The second night was SO much easier. Eventually, we got to the point where he was back to sleeping through the night (from about 7:30 until 7:30 or 8!) and he no longer WANTED to be in my bed. He loved having his own space!

When he began walking, I became a¬†helicopter¬†parent. That was short lived. I’ve never been a fan of hovering, so I taught him to “brush it off” and move on. He’s excellent at it now and barely even bats an eye when he takes a tumble, unless he’s seeking attention. Speaking of that, let’s talk about the “terrible twos” for a moment.

He hit that phase and I went into authoritative overdrive. I set rules. I set boundaries. I used timeout. I was firm, but loving. I wanted him to recognize that there are rules for a reason and that they should be followed. I wanted him to learn to respect his elders and use his manners but I also wanted him to know that I would always be there for him and support him and love him.

This also led to my encounter with¬†instinctive parenting. However, there is a difference in how I approached that one. Most parents that use this method do the same things their own parents did. In my case, I took a lot of the things my parents did and used them as guidelines for what I¬†don’t want to do. Now don’t get me wrong – I am¬†NOT saying that I think my parents did a terrible job or I that I didn’t learn any positive parenting techniques from them. I love both of my parents to the moon and back, but that doesn’t mean I agree 100% with their parenting styles.

Anyway, all of this led me to where I am right now with parenting.

I’m going to call it¬†I-don’t-give-a-shit Parenting. And no, that’s not because I don’t give a shit about my kids. It’s because I don’t give a shit about what kind of “parenting style” I fall under. I use a little bit of all the above. Some days I’m more of an attachment parenting person than authoritative. Sometimes I still play helicopter mom. Sometimes I find myself doing things the same way or the polar opposite of how my parents did it.

Our society today has seriously screwed up views of parenting. Actually, PARENTS today have a seriously screwed up view of parenting! I see many parents who think they have to fall under only one of those categories and then they feel as though they have to follow it to a “T” when in reality, they don’t have to. No one out there has said, “If you’re going to do attachment parenting, you have to be all in or else you FAIL or you’re not REALLY doing it!”

The other thing I see is parents using their parenting style as a way to compete with other parents. This REALLY irks my nerves. Grinds my gears. It pisses me off.

“You started solids at __ months old?! Oh no, we’re waiting until the exact second baby turns 6 months old because that’s the recommendation.”

“So you’re kid just hit mine and all you’re going to do is hold them while they cry about how they hurt their hand? You can’t be serious right now…”

“Oh my gosh! Your son just tried to jump off the top of the slide! Thank goodness I just happened to be right there, watching my child’s every move, and was able to catch him for you!”

“I would NEVER let my child say/do something like that!”

“I can’t believe you are just letting her cry! How cruel! I could never do that to my baby.”

You get the point and I’m sure y’all can come up with more on your own.

The thing is, not a single one of these people ever stops and takes into consideration WHY those parents are doing things the way they are.

The parent that started their baby on solids at 4.5 months? Their doctor told them to. Why? Who cares. It’s not your child and none of your business. You want to wait until your baby is 6 months? Fine. It doesn’t make you a better parent, by ANY means.

Maybe the kid that hit your kid isn’t a bully. Maybe the reason they hit your child and are now crying is because they have autism and are having a melt down moment. You going over there and getting in mom’s face isn’t going to help. Try explaining to your kid that sometimes people don’t apologize for hurting people and that it’s best to just forgive anyway and move on (might help in the long run with relationships).

That woman who’s son tried to jump off the slide? She wasn’t being inattentive. She has learned that he’s a daredevil and can totally hold his own when it comes to doing something daring. And your child, who you are smothering with your hovering, has been watching her kid and LONGING to show off their jumping skills too.

The person who’s kid said/did something you would never allow? Maybe they are going through a divorce or some other hardship. I’m not defending rudeness or disrespect, but what I am doing is pointing out that there are situations that can have a major impact on children and cause them to act out more than normal. And if mom/dad is stressed about something, they may not have a whole lot of energy for dealing with poor behavior. A pat on the back could make their day.

The mother who is “just letting her cry” has already tried everything she can think of to calm her baby/toddler and is removing herself from the situation before she ends up ripping her hair out. Again, another situation where a pat on the back could make all the difference to her.

I guess the point of this whole post is this: 

Figure out what works for you. Maybe you like some of the ideas behind “attachment parenting” but want to be more authoritative in your approach to discipline. Maybe you’re a chronic helicopter mom and want to be more laid back. Maybe you have been too permissive and want to transition into being more attached. Try it all out and stick with what works.

Don’t feel like a failure if you don’t follow one style completely. I have a friend who I’m pretty sure is convinced that attachment parenting is the ONLY way to go. If it works for her, more power to her.¬†However, I have watched her feel like a failure from time to time simply because she didn’t do something exactly like most other attachment parenting moms have done.

Take other people’s reasons into consideration.¬†You will encounter other parents with different parenting styles for the rest of your life. Just because they handle a situation in a different manner from you does not mean they are doing it the wrong way.

Don’t act as though your parenting style is superior.¬†It may be to you, but that does NOT mean it will work for everyone else! This is the second part to taking other people into consideration.

Be kind to one another. You may not agree with their methods or views, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind to them. Besides, it sets a good example for your children, right?

Stop giving a shit about what other people think. Seriously. Just stop. What good is it doing anyway? Are you going to let them be the one to decide how to raise your child or are you going to do that yourself?

…That’s what I thought.

 

Formula = Failure

formula

Now before I have parents jumping all over my ass for the title of my post, let me just say that I AM NOT knocking formula feeding moms!

Nope.
I’m here to debunk this bullshit.

So all you formula feeding moms out there, calm your jets and unwad your panties. And all you lactivists out there, unwad yours as well and open your mind.

Before I get started, I’d like to tell you folks a little story and give you some of my own history.

I am a breastfeeding mom. I consider myself to be a lactivist. I breastfed my son for one year and my daughter is still going strong at 16 months.

So you may be wondering now, “If she breastfeeds, why in the hell is she supporting formula?”

Well, because I am also a formula feeding mom.

That’s right. You heard me.¬†I used formula.

When my son hit 8 months, I brought him in to the docs because I felt like he hadn’t been gaining very well and because I felt like my supply was lower than normal. According to WHO standards, breastfed babies (6-12 months of age) should gain about 1.75-2.75 ounces¬†per week and grow 1/2 inch per month. At that visit, I found that he had gained 2 ounces and grown 1/4 inch… over the course of a month. He had gained a quarter of what he should have over the course of a month.

Considering he was eating solids 2-3 times per day and nursing about 6 times a day at this point, he should have gained more than just 2 ounces.

For those of you lactivists out there who are probably rattling of the numerous methods I could have used to boost my supply, you can stop now. I know about the majority of those methods and gave several a try when I began seeing signs of my supply dropping. Pumping. Skin to skin. Herbs. Cookies. Teas. Beer…

At this point in MY life, I was dealing with a lot of stress in my relationship with his father and battling postpartum depression (PPD) as well. My stress and anxiety levels were through the roof and now I had to add my son’s weight gain and my supply to that list. If you didn’t already know this, stress can have a negative effect on your supply.

So I made the choice to supplement with formula. I continued breastfeeding – we just added in a few bottles of formula each day. Man! What a difference it made! My son gained a pound over the course of a month and continued with his healthy weight gain up until a year. But it didn’t only make a difference for him – it changed things for me as well.

I no longer had to dread feeding time and worry about whether or not I was making enough milk and I no longer had to wonder “is he getting enough?” My stress level decreased significantly and I felt better equipped to take on the monster called PPD. By the time he was 10 months old, I was able to stop taking my antidepressants, I felt the happiest I had in months, and I was enjoying my little boy more than ever and FINALLY enjoying nursing him!

Formula changed our lives and saved my sanity.

So now that you know my history with formula, let me continue on with the rest of this post.

When my son was about 20 months or so, I got pregnant again. I knew right off the bat that I wanted to breastfeed again. I was armed with more knowledge than I had with my son and in a much healthier and happier relationship. By this point, I had helped many other women battle their breastfeeding struggles and learned from there experiences as well. I had also researched the benefits of breast milk versus formula and, thanks to the pro-breastfeeding pages I have “Liked” on Facebook, been bombarded with information on how BAD formula was for baby.

Let’s just get this straight: formula is not “bad” for your baby. Pretty much everyone knows breast milk is the best thing for your baby. It contains all kinds of things that cannot be replicated in formula, the composition changes as your baby’s needs change and throughout the day, it lowers the risks of many illnesses and diseases, and it raises IQ levels. There is no denying that “breast is best.”

But formula is not bad.

Formula has come a hell of a long way since it first started being used. Hell, I know people who fed their babies Karo and condensed milk for crying out loud (their babies were born in the 1950s). You can now buy organic, soy based, made for sensitive tummies, cow’s milk based, goat’s milk based, hydrolysed protein formula, etc. They now add essential vitamins, minerals, and things like DHA, ARA, and even Lutein (which IS found is breast milk).

If you ask me, that doesn’t sound like it’s bad at all. Is it ideal? Maybe not. But it most certainly is not BAD.

With that being said, many breastfeeding mothers encounter issues at some point in their breastfeeding relationship. Sometimes these are minor issues that can be corrected with a simple adjustment and other times these issues require a lot of time and effort. I recommend speaking with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) any time you feel you are hitting a brick wall. They can encourage you and give you plenty of helpful tips. 

If any of you are like me and run into an issue and someone says the word “formula,” it’s like someone walked up and deflated all of the air out of your balloon.

For whatever reason, formula is seen as “failure” or “defeat” within the breastfeeding community. There have been times that I’ve told people I supplemented formula with my son and instantly got a look that said, “Oooohhh… You’re one of¬†those¬†people. You’re not a true breastfeeder!” Nose in the air included.

Each time I see that look, I want to grab them by their stupid shoulders, smack them across the face, and shake them as hard as I can while I scream, ¬†“I AM A BREASTFEEDER!!! I made it one whole year. I did everything I could think of to regain my supply! I spent all night pumping, hours doing skin to skin, I stuffed my face full of cookies, dammit!¬†I sacrificed¬†MY happiness, sanity, and health. How¬†DARE you look at me that way, as if I am less of a mother than you because I supplemented with formula!”

I want to pause there because I realize NOW that there is a very important statement made in that.

“I sacrificed¬†MY happiness, sanity, and health.”

Each and every single one of us parents understand sacrifice. We sacrifice our time, sleep, schedules, hobbies, money, etc. All so our children will be happy. And if you’re a parent, you understand that those sacrifices are worth it in the end.

However, some things should not be considered “sacrifices” when it comes to our kids: happiness, sanity, and health.

Happiness 

I’m sure some of you read this one and thought something like, “Oh how selfish of her!” and you know what? You are absolutely right. It is selfish, but it’s also necessary. If you aren’t happy, how on earth do you expect to be able to make someone else happy?! I don’t know about y’all, but in my house, if Momma ain’t happy, no one’s happy! Okay… not really. But if I’m in a crabby mood or feeling overworked, under appreciated, sad, angry, or anything other than happy, I’m much more likely to lose my temper when it comes to my kids. I’m also more likely to yell. I also have less patience for playing games like peek-a-boo, teaching them how to do something new, or answering a thousand questions in a row.

When my supply dropped, my happiness went with it. I became so stressed that it was all I could think about. I spent all my time worrying about how much I was producing. I spent hours online reading articles about low supply, how to boost it, how much weight gain was normal, how often he should be nursing, how often he should be eating solids… you get the point. I didn’t want to leave my house because he was easily distracted when nursing in public. And this all leads to my next point…

Sanity

As I mentioned before, I was diagnosed with PPD after having my son. I struggled with it for months at first and finally came to terms with it when he was around 5 months old. I went to my doctor and spoke with her about how I had been feeling and we decided I would begin taking Prozac. It was like someone turned on a light, after the initial adjustment period. I wasn’t exactly happier, per se, I just felt… better. It was easier for me to recognize the things that were minor and somewhat easier for me to handle the things that were major. At least I felt much calmer than I had before.

Encountering low supply was really difficult for me. I was just starting to feel as though I had a good handle on the whole parenting thing and then my supply dropped and it was like someone came and tore down the walls holding in all of my anxiety. Everything crashed down and I was more stressed¬†than I had been before. I spent a lot of time focusing on the issue of my supply. I didn’t want to talk to my friends, didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to do anything except hide somewhere until my supply went back to normal. I had trouble sleeping, trouble waking up, I ate too much, and just felt flat out bad.

Health 

So I’m sure by now you are getting a pretty good idea of just how much these three things go hand in hand. Because I was unhappy and stressed, my health began to suffer. I began gaining weight, felt sleepy all the time, and started getting sick more frequently. If you aren’t already aware, let me tell you right now: your health is important!!! As a parent, it’s your responsibility to set a good example when it comes to health and wellness. How can you do that if you’re over eating/skipping meals or constantly wearing yourself so thin that you get sick often? Besides that, how do you expect to keep up with your kid(s) when you are like that?

It’s just a downward spiral – or at least it was for me.

I am a firm believer of making sure you take good care of yourself. Yes it is our responsibility to take care of our children and do whatever it takes to ensure they are happy and healthy, but it’s also our responsibility to take care of ourselves.

One of the many things I have seen over and over again from parents is that we are all too hard on ourselves. We live busy lives, place unreasonable expectations on each other, hold ourselves to extreme standards, and because of all this, we have a tendency to get wrapped up in the little things. So much so that we miss the big picture.

Many of us lose sight of the big picture right off the bat. We come up with “birthing plans,” decide to breastfeed or use formula, organic foods or not, homegrown veggies or store bought, green, clean, perfect, pristine… we plan everything down to the moment they become adults with their own lives.

When something comes along and throws a kink in our plan, we freak. We don’t know how to handle it because it isn’t what we had “planned.” So when things don’t follow these “plans,” some of us feel like we have failed.

We compare ourselves to other parents who’s plans are still on track. We wonder, “How do they do it? They make it look so easy.” Or, “What did I do wrong? Why am I having such a hard time with my supply? I don’t want to stop breastfeeding!” I have seen moms struggle with these thoughts time and time again. Only thing is, they are so busy being concerned about their “failure” that they lose sight of the REAL issue at hand:¬†feeding baby.

At some point, you have to stop focusing on those “goals” and “plans” you have made.

Just take them, ball them up, and throw them out the damn window.

Life is unpredictable. You can’t foresee every event. This is especially true when it comes to parenting!

We become so focused on OUR “goals” and “plans” (natural child birth, pain med free birth, home birth, being induced, not being induced, breastfeeding, pumping, blah, blah, blah) that we forget what our goal was back when we¬†first¬†got pregnant!

Unsure of what I’m talking about?
I’ll give you a hint:

“I just want him/her to be¬†happy and healthy.

Ohhhh… yeahhhh…

THAT is the big picture!!!

So if you have ever been in a situation where you have had to supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding all together, don’t you¬†ever¬†feel as though you have “failed” as a parent. Kudos to you for keeping your focus on your child and their health and for taking care of yourself as well.

Breastfeeding CAN be difficult. It can present you with many challenges, but it can also be a lot easier than you expect. It is also one of the most rewarding things you can do for your child. But if you ever run into a situation where you have to supplement (short or long term) or even switch over all together, don’t beat yourself up over it. You are still doing the best you can for your baby.

And that makes you a wonderful parent.

 

To the lactivists out there: I understand how important it is to educate people on the benefits of breastfeeding. I do it all the time. But if you ever encounter a mom who is struggling with breastfeeding, don’t press the issue. Offer words of encouragement and if she asks for your help or advice, then help her. Give her the facts and allow her to do with them as she pleases. IF she chooses to use formula, for whatever reason, do not belittle her, shove statistics down her throat, or continue flood her with tips and information.¬†Recognize that it is ultimately HER decision because it is HER baby. And also recognize that formula is NOT bad.

And formula does NOT equal failure.

Myth debunked.

Pay It Forward

I recently started watching my friend’s little boy during the day. He’s just over 11 weeks old and as sweet as could be. Her maternity leave was up and she was returning back to work. Like MANY first time moms in that situation, she worried. Will I have enough milk? Will it be too much trouble for her to watch him? How will I handle my first day back at work? What will his day be like? Will I cry? Will he cry? Will he be okay? Will I be okay?

Before he started coming here, she and I had several conversations; many of which included the topic of sleep, or lack thereof. He is a VERY smart, alert, and active little boy and because of that, he fights off sleep – much like my son did around that age. He wants to take it ALL in – no breaks!

Isn’t he just precious?!

However, sleep is extremely important for babies and little children. Their bodies need the rest – especially if they are highly active. Plus, us moms need some quiet time too! (I don’t know about you, but after about 30 minutes of “peek-a-boo” and another hour or so of rattling toys and clapping and quietly saying, “Look at you,” “Great job,” or “Yay,” I’m beyond ready for nap time. I have to regain my sanity.)

When I had my son, I knew that sleep was important and did everything I could to make sure he got plenty of it. And I’m serious when I say I did everything I could. From spending and hour and a half pacing my living room while gently bouncing and swaying my screaming/fussy/tearful infant son to rocking for 45 minutes in the chair while I said “Shhh…” over and over or putting him in his swing or bouncy chair and sitting¬†right next to it for 30 minutes while I stared at him and tried to will him to fall asleep… Those are things that would drive ANYONE crazy.

But when you’re a sleep deprived, determined, frustrated first time mom… I can’t even accurately describe what it’s like.

You become frantic and willing to do anything you can think of. The longer you listen to them cry, the more difficult it becomes to maintain your cool, calm demeanor. Then you start to cry because, dammit, you just want to sleep (or eat, or pee, or shower, or put the dishes away… etc)! But you can’t until this tiny person closes their eyes and drifts off into dreamland. Even when that happens, you still hold your breath for another 30 minutes because you’re afraid you’ll have to start all over if you accidentally wake them up.

I experienced all this and more with my son. It wasn’t until he hit 6 months that I finally realized that my sleep was important too. Little guy’s mom and I were talking about sleep again today and she said, “I don’t know how people do it with no support system.” I replied, “With medication.”

Okay, so that isn’t true for EVERYONE. Some of you out there just might be Miss Perfect Mommy and you¬†totally had the hang of it all the second they handed you your tiny bundle of joy. If so, you’re not normal.

No. Seriously. You’re not.

The¬†normal thing to do is question yourself. Wonder if you’re doing everything right. Question how one tiny choice now could possibly affect their lives later on down the road. Compare yourself to all the other moms you know…

Motherhood is one big mind game. 

Honestly, I think motherhood has changed a LOT over the years but I’m not completely convinced it’s all for the better. Social media has a lot to do with that, in my opinion. So does television. It’s like society has placed some unreal expectations on mothers these days.

I see so many moms who try to do it all and they end up focusing on the mom they think is ideal. In reality, they spend so much time trying to meet the standard set by society and they lose sight of the mom they really are.

  • Instagram – Thank you¬†for showing us that all moms can be “photographers” and document every second of our lives and ensure perfection with just the right filter. Oh, and to the moms who have time in the morning to dress themselves well, do their make up, take a picture, and then upload it to Instagram, pleaseeeee stop! You’re making the rest of us wonder if you have a maid, a nanny, or if you place your children under some kind of magical spell while you get ready for the day. Maybe it’s all three.
  • Facebook – Susan’s daughter can play Pachelbel’s Canon in D¬†on piano at the age of 5? So what! Let me upload this video of my 3 year old solving algebraic equations while reciting the alphabet backwards. Let’s see her one up THAT! Oh! Looks like Catherine has been hard at work today! They’ve made pancakes from scratch, had a snack, built an intricate train track, chased butterflies outside, and created those… whoa! What IS that? Those must have taken forever! Wait… you mean to tell me it’s only 10 AM? But HOW did she get all of that DONE?!
  • Pinterest – Ah, yes. Thank you a million times for shoving in my face how creative every other mom is, except me. Please. That’s an excessive amount of glitter and there’s no way I can get my kid interested enough in that.
  • Mom Forums – You know… The Bump, Cafe Mom, etc. Those horrible places where moms go to post questions, in need of legitimate help, and then are shot down, judged, and belittled by their peers. There are even pages similar to this on Facebook. Usually they are run by a set of admins who post your question anonymously, but there’s almost always someone who walks into that post with a baseball bat – ready to send heads rolling, just because they think they are number one and screw your opinion (I’m very familiar with this. I am an admin on a Facebook page and we see a lot of this).

Whatever happened to it taking a “village” to raise a child? Seeing a struggling new mom and offering words of comfort? Putting the offer to help on the table every chance you get? Sharing the stories of your own struggles? Encouraging her or playing peek-a-boo with her baby in the grocery line while she unloads her cart? Us moms need those things too!

Call up one of your mom friends and offer to watch her kids for a few hours so she can get her grocery shopping done in peace. Talk with her about a time when you felt like you had failed as a parent. Offer encouraging and kind words. Give her a knowing smile and then offer to help unload her cart if you see she’s dealing with a fussy baby too.

When we become mothers, we are expected to become selfless and place the needs of someone else before us. It may not always come easy, but it’s a learning process and something that can be mastered. But who says that selflessness has to only extend to our children? Why can’t we extend it to those around us as well?

Say you see a mom at your child’s preschool trying to juggle a four year old, a two year old, an infant in a car seat, backpack, diaper bag, and find her keys in her purse. Do you sit back and watch her struggle with everything she has and think to yourself, “Well, I have my own issues to deal with. She will be fine,” or could you take 5 minutes of your day and offer to stand next to her van and watch the two little ones while she runs the older one inside to school? Personally, I would pick the second option. I can usually spare 5 minutes and if I know it’s going to make someone else’s life just a little bit easier, then it’s totally worth 5 minutes of my time.

I always try to think, “If I were in their situation, would I be glad someone had offered me a helping hand?” If that answer is, “Yes,” then I do it. Even if it means maybe my life gets a little more complicated.

I have applied that thought to countless situations. I’ve helped multiple women with their breastfeeding journeys. I could have easily given them a virtual pat on the back and sent them on their merry way, but instead I chose to keep in contact with them, check up on them periodically, send them articles I found that related to their issues, etc.

Why did I do that?
Because I was once a first time breastfeeding mom and had someone done the same for me, I would have been on my knees thankful.

So now I’m helping my friend out with her son. I watch him for her while she’s at work. Yes it provides us with some additional income, but that isn’t the main motivation behind it for me. I know how worrisome it can be to return to work and know that you are trusting your child into the care of someone else. I’m not a baby expert, but I have had two of my own and they seem to be thriving so far! She also breast feeds and uses cloth diapers. I am extremely familiar with both. I have also been giving her advice regarding her son’s latch and tips she can use for encouraging a strong latch and bond between them.

And then there’s the topic of sleep. She’s brand new to this and still learning the ins and outs. However, sleep “schedules” are something I mastered with both of my kids. I offered to work with little man on his and he’s been napping a grand total of about 5 hours a day every day he has been here.

I’m pretty sure she’s now convinced I use some kind of black magic.

I can assure you, it’s not black magic. And I don’t have him on a rigid schedule. But I already know what common sleep and hunger cues look like for babies his age and therefore, it’s much easier for me to recognize at what point he needs to be laying down. Because I know that, I have pretty much figured out about how often he naps and when we hit that “sleep window,” I know to keep my eyes open for his sleep cues.

Is it time consuming? Somewhat. But it’s far less time consuming for me than it is for her and if me taking some of my time now saves her time later on down the road, eases her life, and allows her to better plan her days, then it’s totally worth it.

That’s the kind of attitude I’d like to see more mom’s take.

“If I take¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† minutes to help¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† with¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†, will it make them happy? Will it make their life easier in the long run?”

If the answers to those questions are, “Yes,” then just do it!

I’d be willing to bet not only do you put a smile of their face, but you will put one on yours too.

Pay it forward.

“Only the beginning…”

So you’ve stumbled across my blog.

Good.

Welcome!

I’m Calli. I’m married to a wonderful man and I’m a young mom with two beautiful children.

This is me… and my babies. ūüôā

Like many other moms out there, being a mom is something I’ve had to take one day at a time. Some days are glorious – full of smiles, cuddles, laughter, and love. Then there are days where I want to put myself in a day long time-out because I’ve had it up to HERE with the noise and tears and I might go crazy if one more toy travels outside of the playroom and into my freshly cleaned living room.

So this blog is about my journey through motherhood. Looking back on 2013 made me take a close look at my parenting techniques and I decided I didn’t really like what I saw. I’m a stay at home mom (SAHM) and it’s something I struggle with daily. I don’t like being at home 24/7. I could come up with a whole list of things I’d rather do than be at home: go explore a new hiking trail, go downtown and sit in my favorite coffee house with a good book, take a day trip to the beach, spend time with friends, go somewhere different and see what kind of cool things there are to do… the list goes on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my children and I am grateful that I am able to stay at home with them; God only knows how much I would worry if someone else were caring for them full time! But I HATE being cooped up in the house. Sure, I could take the kids out to do things and be out of the house all day, but I would have to plan it all around their schedule. My kids don’t have a strict schedule, but they definitely have one. It’s pretty high up there on the list of important kid-related things, for me. In fact, I pride myself on the fact that they have such a good schedule.

If I want to leave the house for a few hours I have to make sure the activity won’t interfere with nap time or that we will be close by to a place with lunch and then I have to load up my car with everything I need for myself and two tiny people. So much work for such a short time frame.

Anyway, being a SAHM has it’s perks (I get paid in the sweetest hugs and kisses) but it’s still challenging. Not only do I have to take care of both kiddos, I run an entire household. It’s a lot of pressure and sometimes it really gets to me and stresses me out. When I get stressed, I tend to let trivial things frustrate me and am quick to respond in a sharp manner. This is something I am not proud of – especially when it involves my kids.

I have never gone off the deep end or anything like that, but I’ve definitely had my moments of screaming and being so stressed that the only thing that seems to help is sitting down and crying. Those moments happen more than I care to admit. When I looked back on the past year and saw that, I decided I didn’t like it. As my dad would say, “If you can’t change your situation, change yourself.” This is one of those times where I can’t really change my situation, but I CAN change the way I see things, how I respond, and how I handle issues that may come up. In other words: I need to be PROACTIVE and not REACTIVE. (See Dad?! I DID listen when I was a teenager! I just thought I was brilliant and didn’t need to heed your advice. I’m paying for it now… Haha.)

You may be wondering where on earth I came up with the name for this blog. Well, it kind of has two meanings behind it:
1. When you’re a mom, SAHM or working mom, dishes are a common theme. It seems like there are always dishes to be done, therefore “I’ve been washing dishes” is a common answer to the question “What are you doing?”
2. I kind of got it through the song “Washing Dishes” by Jack Johnson. I feel like the lyrics are a pretty good fit for what I’m wanting to do with my life and with this blog:
“In the morning when the world came awake
Before you knew me I knew your name
It was painted across the day as it breaks
An impression in your window frame

When you saw me out your window
Singing from the garden
Only the beginning
I’m only getting started
I don’t mind the digging
Baby, I’ll work harder
I’ve been washing dishes
Singing from the bottom

But one day I’ll be running this place
And one day I could take you away
But I want you to wonder what’s my name
Because I need you to want me the same

When you saw me washing dishes
Singing from the bottom
Only the beginning
I’m only getting started
I don’t mind the digging
Baby, I’ll work harder
I’ve been in the ashes
Singing from the garden

Where everything reaches for the sun
Still unsure of what we’ll become
But I need you to reach out to me
See in me more than I could see
Because I’m afraid that

One day is only two words we say
I don’t want to let them get in the way
Of all the plans that we should be making right now
Right now

Who took the time and where did they take it
I want to take it back
I don’t want them to break it
All these plans that we should be making right now
Right now”

That song says it all. I want to change the way I do things, as a parent, so I can make life better for my family as a whole. I don’t want to keep saying “one day.” That “one day” starts right now.

So join me – It’s going to be a great ride!