Mom Doubts

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Photo by freestocks.org downloaded from http://www.unsplash.com

I never realized how many doubts I would have after becoming a parent.  It started right away: I remember being in the operating room during my C-section and thinking Can I really do this? when they placed Abby on my chest.  Since then it has been a never-ending barrage of doubts about myself, my abilities as a parent, and how I am handling all of this new found responsibility called parenthood.  It seems the questions never really go away; they pop up in bed at night when I should be sleeping,  when I’m in the shower, or while on a walk.

-Am I doing anything right?
-Do I spend enough time with her?
-Am I doing enough to help her developmentally?
-Am I the reason why she won’t sleep alone?
-Is she too attached to me and not  connecting enough with my husband? 
-Does she drink enough milk?
-Is she getting enough solids?  Enough of the right solids?  Too much solids?
-Should I only be feeding her organic food?
-Is her occasional TV viewing when mommy needs a break bad?
-Does she get enough attention at daycare?
-Am I on the path to spoiling her too much?
-Am I giving my husband enough of my attention?  Do I spend enough time with him?
-Is there something wrong with me because I want/need time alone? 
-Why can’t I seem to be able to juggle all the demands of family, home, and work?
-Do I spend too much time playing with the baby and neglect the housework too much?
-So and so makes ____ look so easy; is there something wrong with me? It is not so easy for me.
-Am I providing a good example for her? I want to be a good role model.

I know these thoughts will only increase as Abby gets older and I have more children.  They will evolve as our family does.  Maybe it’s silly. Maybe I overthink and overanalyze, but itnis hard not to. So what to do about all those doubts?  I think the best thing to do is to not see them negatively, but to use them to push myself to do my best and to do what is best for my daughter and my family.

How do you handle your mom doubt?  I would love to hear from you.

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I Need to Get Her to Sleep Alone… But I Don’t Know How

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Photo by Benjamin Combs, downloaded from unsplash.com

It is a problem I have helped create.  I don’t know how to fix it. 
I posted a while back that Abby had slept in her own bedroom.  Prior to this she had been sleeping in our bedroom in the Pack and Play.  I thought we were finally getting her established sleeping in her crib in her own room.  Then she got sick and would only sleep if she was with me on the couch.  After that I thought she was teething and was very clingy.   No teeth ever popped through and she continued to be clingy and only want to sleep on top of me on the couch.  I recently had surgery and with the weight restrictions I was given I wasn’t supposed to lift Abby for two weeks,  but anyone who has a nine month old child will tell you that didn’t last very long.  I could not, however, lift her up and over the rails of her crib so I had been putting her back in the Pack and Play each night when she first falls asleep.
She will sleep on her own for usually about forty five minutes.  After that she generally wants to nurse again and then will only sleep on top of me.  I try depositing her back in the crib or Pack and Play, but as soon as she feels the movement of being put down or as soon as she has been put down she will wake up and cry.  We can literally do it over and over again all night long.  As soon as she is asleep I put her down and she wakes up.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  Usually I just give up in order to get any sleep.
Why don’t you just try the cry it out method?   I’m sure some of you will ask.  I tried it one night for hours and it was horrible.  Neither of us got any sleep and nothing was accomplished.
When recently talking to my friend, a mother of seven, I mentioned that I would like to stop the cosleeping.  She said that none of her kids wanted to do that until they were one.  One?   I thought.  I can’t wait that long!
I don’t know what to do.  I don’t mind waking up to nurse or change her, but  I want to sleep in my own bed.  I want to sleep next to my husband.  I want Abby to sleep by herself.  I wish I knew how to do it.

I Need ideas

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Saturday I started a mixed media collage and I am “stuck.”  I am not sure what direction to go in now.  It needs something,  but what that elusive something is, I don’t know.
I painted the canvas and added a lot of texture to it with a plastic sack.  I cut out the two figures and words from some old alcohol advertisements.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, it doesn’t show a lot of detail.

Any suggestions?  I would love to hear your ideas.

30 Day Diet Challenge

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Photo by picjumbo.com

If you remember I posted a while back about wanting to work hard to be a healthy role model for my daughter.  So for the last three weeks or so I have really been complacent about watching what I eat…  Honestly, I have let all self-control go out the window and have eaten anything and everything I have wanted.  As a result, I have felt really crappy, my clothes have started to get tighter, and I have just been generally unhappy (not usually when stuffing a ton of chocolate in my mouth, but afterwards).
I decided this morning that it is time to get back to the gym.  A friend posted on Facebook that they have started a 30 day diet challenge and I think since it is the beginning of the workweek I will join in and hopefully it will kick start me into feeling better.

30 Day Challenge:
-No chips (easy, I don’t eat chips)
-No sodas (easy, I don’t drink soda)
-No diet sodas
-No chocolate (yikes! Chocolate is like a food group!)
-No candy
-No white breads
-No cookies or biscuits
-No fast food
-No cakes, pastries, or muffins (there’s cake in my fridge right now so this will be hard when the snack cravings start at night)

Here we go!

Brave New World

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Well, I covered up my mistake and decided to show my painting as it is now.  I’m not quite sure if I am happy with it yet.
If you didn’t read my last post, I am referring to something I decided to add to my painting.  I still don’t like it as well as before,  but it is better than it was. 
So, I’ve been rereading Brave New World after several years.  As I was working yesterday I was thinking of the story and thought the circles looked like cells dividing and reminded me of one of the first scenes from the story where the Director of Hatcheries is giving a tour and explaining how they create the clones and condition them for their jobs and place in society.  I thought it would be cool to add a gloved had holding a test tube, and then add a Huxley quote.  At the time it seemed like a great idea, but when I added the hand it did not look as great as in my imagination.
Anyway, I thought I would post a follow up.

Crap, I Ruined It

I don’t know how many of you paint, draw, sew, or do something equally creative.  Have you ever made something really cool and then thought,  what if I add _____, wouldn’t that be awesome? And then when you do, it didn’t look as awesome as you had pictured in your head? That’s what happened to me tonight.  
My dear husband took the baby out for a while this afternoon and I took the opportunity to paint.  I bought some new paint yesterday and was enjoying  just playing around with color.  I had watched some YouTube videos yesterday and I decided to experiment with some painting techniques I had seen.  Eventually, they came home and I had to stop, but I realized what I had made was pretty cool.  Actually, it was probably the best painting I have ever created.  Now understand,  I am not a great artist.  I just paint for the fun of it.  I know my work will never hang in the Met or the Louvre.  I have walked among Van Goughs, Monets, Renoirs… my art will never be of that caliber;  I accept that.  But I was pretty stoked and proud that I had made something so great.
After having so much fun this afternoon, I was itching to get back to painting and had an idea of something to add to what I had already done.  When Abby went to bed and my husband left to go meet a friend I got back work.  All too soon the baby woke up and I couldn’t get her back to sleep, so I carried her out to the dining room table where I had been working so I could clean my brushes. 
When I looked at the canvas I realized that I had totally ruined my painting.  Why did I touch it?  I felt like screaming.  I should have left it alone.  I’m not exaggerating, now it looks like crap.  I am so mad at myself.
I’m hoping that I can get some time tomorrow to be able to undo some of the damage done, but I doubt it. 

Expect the Unexpected

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This morning started out like most others.  Abby and I woke up at 5:45 am.  She nursed and them we began our morning routine.  Just like most mornings, we begin with coffee and breakfast while my husband sleeps later.  Abby rubbed her eyes, hair wild, as she snuggled up to me.
We went to the kitchen to make coffee.  I gave her something to hold on to because she likes to “help” me.  While I balanced her on my hip and spooned coffee grounds into the filter she gnawed on the plastic fiber jar.  I moved on to making myself some oatmeal and put it in the microwave to cook.  While the coffee and oatmeal were doing their thing I poured a few Cheerios into a small bowl and offered it to her.  She tried to stuff a whole fist full into her mouth at once so I began doling them out one by one. I tried to give her a sippy cup of water but she shook her head and reached for the Cheerios.  I saw she was done gumming the previous one and gave her another.  As I pulled the almond milk from the refrigerator she gagged a little so I offered her the water again.  Sometimes she starts to gag when something dry like cereal or a puff sticks on the back of her tongue.  She refused again and smiled, eyes sparkling and dimple showing, then suddenly projectile vomited milk and cereal all over herself and me.  And then did it again.  And again.  She wrinkled her nose up and smiled a big toothless, gummy smile, just like she does after she sneezes.
I was shocked because it happed so quickly and it was so unexpected.  Luckily we were right in front of the sink and within reach of the paper towels.  Leaving the oatmeal and coffee on tkitchen counter, we went to the laundry room to get new pajamas from the clothes dryer.  I stripped us both down to diaper and underwear and I cleaned us both off with a wet wash rag then dressed in clean pajamas. Then we ate breakfast and played.
It really wasn’t funny but I just had to laugh.  Once again my baby reminded me of a great life lesson, one I have lived by more than ever since becoming a mom.  Expect the unexpected and roll with it.

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Kown When I Was Pregnant

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1. You will never sleep again
Seriously, my kid barely sleeps at all compared with the kids of other people I know or stuff that other moms post on the internet.  I thought sleeping like a baby was a thing.  Never again will I get a real nap or get to sleep past 6:00 am on a weekend.  I wish I had taken to heart all the times people told me, “Sleep now, because you won’t get to when baby comes!” I thought they just meant the newborn phase, not nine months in.

2. You will not get any alone time with your husband
Maybe if the kid slept more we’d get a little mommy daddy time, but it doesn’t happen often.  When it does, it is always for an unpredictable amount of time… it could be five minutes or an hour.  I think one of the biggest things I miss about pre-baby life is time spent with my husband.

3. Don’t plan on sleeping on your stomach just yet
After my second trimester of pregnancy I longed to sleep on my tummy.  I couldn’t wait until I delivered to be able to be comfortable sleeping again.  I actually had to wait quite a long time to be able to sleep on my stomach.  I had an unplanned C-section so my surgical scar ached and then after my milk came in my boobs were uncomfortable to sleep on for months.

4. Forget about following your favorite TV show
It takes us multiple nights to watch The Walking Dead.  I think it took us four nights to watch Spectre, the last James Bond movie.  We used to binge watch Netflix,  but no more.

5. You’ll do things that you swore you wouldn’t
I swore I would never be a parent who would cosleep or let my kid watch TV until a certain age.  Now sometimes letting the baby fall asleep on my chest on the couch is the only way momma gets any Zzzzs and turning on Daniel Tiger is how I get my coffee and oatmeal some mornings.

6. You’ll doubt yourself
Every day I wonder if I am doing things “right” or if I am a “good” mom.  I always think my sister makes being a mom look so easy and then I am thinking ugh, why does ______ have to be so hard?! Am I doing this wrong?

7. You’ll have conflicting emotions
How is it possible to simultaneously love this little person more than anyone or anything else in the world and also be annoyed AF sometimes?  You know-  when you’re tired, sick, have to get up super early to make it to work for an important meeting, you have to pee sooo bad but can’t get up, it is 3:00 am, and you’re trying to get the kid to sleep for the eighth time of the night- but they are wide awake, ready to play, and showing no signs of being ready to sleep anytime soon.

8. You will worry about them, constantly
I am always worrying that Abby is not getting enough milk, if she is getting all the attention she needs at daycare, if the weird rash on her butt is a diaper rash, heat rash, or chicken pox… I could go on and on.  My mom tells me it never ends, even when they are 34.

9. You will be utterly exausted
I used to drive an hour from my home to college,  go to class for several hours,  workout at the gym, go to work for eight hours,  drive back home, and then do homework for a couple hours each day, five days a week.  Sounds tiring, right?  Maybe it is just because I am older now, but just going to work and then coming home and taking care of Abby leaves me exausted and ready to crash by 8:00 pm.

10. You will be amazed
You created a new life: an adorable,  incredible, beautiful, fascinating little person.  I wonder each day how I made something so great- when I can barely make toast without burning the house down.

Why is it so Hard to Make Friends?

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Photo by picjumbo.com

  I am, admittedly,  an introvert.  I always have been. That never stopped me from having a lot of friends growing up.  After high school though, it started becoming obvious that a lot of friends and I had subtly parted ways.  Sometimes it was due to a friend moving away to attend college or to start a career.  Later, it seemed that a lot of friends were getting married off and no longer had time to hang out with us singletons.  Then a division formed between the friends who had children and those without.  Eventually, I noticed that I was kind of hanging out by myself or just with my husband more often than not. 
Now that I am a mom and need a break or just someone to call and talk to, I honestly don’t really have anyone.  And it sucks.

My husband will say, “What about so and so?  Why can’t you do something with them?”  Most often he is referring to a work colleague.  I look at coworkers as a different class of friend… important and invaluable, but not necessarily the type you want to have a cup of coffee or glass of wine and really talk to about some things.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the people I work with are great and I would love the chance to get to know them better- but no offense to my coworkers, I want a friend that I can honestly talk about stuff with and not worry about the contents of our conversation being shared around the water cooler.  I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic and stuck up, it’s just that I have been burned multiple times in the past by coworkers who I thought were my friends. Plus, sometimes the image of yourself you try to project at work and who you really are aren’t always the same. I want a friend that will make a weekly date with me to watch Girls or Doctor Who, or some other that my husband doesn’t like. Someone who will have a serious conversation but also be incredibly silly. Someone I can call when having a bad day. Someone that I can go shopping with or workout with. Someone that knows me well enough to know what I’m thinking with just a look.

I have tried to put my introverted ways aside and be more outgoing.  I have met other women that I could picture being friends with and invited them for coffee in the attempt to get to know them, but each time it feels akward and forced and nothing has really ever come from it.  (Perhaps it is because I am incredibly bad at making small talk.  That is one social skill I have yet to master.)  My husband and I were invited to a birthday party with other parents of young children but both of us are relatively quiet and thought it felt artificial and unnatural.  I tried joining a mom’s group but only one person besides the person who invited me came to the meeting; they knew each other and were rather talkative.  I felt like a third wheel. 

Why is it so hard to make new friends as an adult?  Have you ever been in this situation?   What has worked for you?