June 30, 2011

Truths About Motherhood

Once you make the decision to have children, you are actually making the decision to turn yourself into a completely different person, whether you know it or not.  No matter how many times you say "I will always be unique, nothing is going to change that", "I would never say/do that" or "That's just gross", it will happen to you.  In fact, before you have children, you should never look at a situation or start a judgmental statement with "I would never..." because I guarantee that at some point you will.  Then you will be stuck with the realization that everything you once told yourself was a lie.  The person you worked so hard to become is gone and will probably never resurface.  You are now just mom and motherhood lasts forever.  There are so many ways you change after having children and so many things that will almost certainly happen to you that no one ever thought to prepare you for.  Some things I learned right away and some it has taken having 4 children before I learned them.

After having children:
-You can never confidently sneeze again.
 
-Your house will never be ready for unexpected company.  There will always toys on the floor or someone running around naked.

-Breastfeeding is DIFFICULT, but so worth it.

-There will come a time when being peed on is OK because you know it's probably not the worst thing that will happen on any given day.

-You will leave the house with unidentified crud on your shirt or in your hair.  Someone who has no children will find it and point it out.

-You will never run out of things to talk about with your partner.  In the first couple years, you will be amazed at how many of your conversations will be centered around poop.

-Using cloth diapers really isn't so bad.

-Showers become less of a necessity and more of a luxury. 

-Your idea of clean becomes relative.

-You will not shower or pee in private for a very long time.  They always find a way in, or knock on the door to see what you're doing or shove their fingers under the door.

-Babywearing is a necessity if you ever what to accomplish anything.

-Co-sleeping isn't really as dangerous, inconvenient or creepy as you may have thought.  In fact, it's the opposite.
 
-At some point, expressions like "turn that racket down" will fall out of your mouth before you can stop it.

-You will be expected to have a good answer for everything.  Remember when you were a kid and you always knew that your mom would be able to give you sound advice on everything.  That is now expected of you.

-You will no longer be the center of your own universe.  Your needs/wants/hopes/dreams/expectations will be put on hold for a very long time.  You don't even get to be sick, tired or injured.

-Your children will embarrass you in a way you never thought they could.  While in the checkout lane, they will very loudly ask if the man in front of you has a baby in his big belly, tell their teacher that you spent too long in the bathroom last night or loudly comment on the way the lady sitting next to them in church smells.

-You are not alone. 


June 16, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons

A while back, I was reading a post that someone had written about her Mother's Day gift.  She was upset over how little thought her husband had put into it.  She liked what he had bought, but thought he could do better.  This is something I can relate to.  My husband buys some of THE WORST gifts.  Seriously.  Sure, there have been a few good surprises, pearls for Valentine's Day, Chanel No.5 in my Christmas stocking, but those are few and far between.

As I was reading this post, I was almost green with envy that her husband had bought her plants, which she felt it was a totally thoughtless gift.  I completely understood and felt for her, and I was so tempted to share with her what my husband bought me.  I could have made her husband look like a hero, but I didn't.  Some things just shouldn't leave your house.  I'm sure nobody would believe me anyway. 

So, here is some advice I'd like to share about receiving awful gifts.  First, try not to look disappointed, disbelieving or disgusted.  This is hard to do.  I still need LOTS of practice at this.  Second, give your husband a list.  Be very specific, and don't forget to include where and how he can buy it.  This has worked for me in the past.  Third, if your list didn't work and your gift is still awful, buy your own gift.  After a while, you can really convince yourself that he bought it.  Fourth, don't pay him back for his bad judgment.  He wasn't trying to be malicious when he bought you the gift, and you never should be when buying him a gift.  Lastly, go ahead and buy him something awesome and say nothing about it.  If you're the kind of couple who keeps score, this can totally come in handy when you want something big!

This year, I replaced my mother's day gift with this.

Soon, hopefully the memory will also be replaced.  If not, we will always have something to laugh about.  Case in point-my 25th birthday.

Steve: I made your gift for you.  I thought it would be more meaningful than a store bought gift.
Me:  oh, really? I can't wait to see it (thinking what kind of crap is this?)
Steve:  you know how I always call you bunny cup?
Me:  No
Steve: Well, I do.
Me:  You have never called me that
Steve: i call you that all the time
Me:  No you don't.  What does this have to do with my gift?
Steve:  I made you a bunny cup!
(hands me a Styrofoam cup with button eyes and nose, a yarn bunny mouth and whiskers, construction paper ears and Easter grass hair.)

I kid you not.  This actually happened.  That was still better than this year's Mother's Day gift!

What is the worst gift you ever received?

June 9, 2011

So Far, So Good

While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time worrying about what was going to happen after I had the baby.  I was scared to death of PPD and rightfully so.  I was lucky to come out of it alive after Kennedy and lucky to come out of it without losing my family after Georgia. 

Stella is now 6 weeks old and I'm happy to report that everything is pretty much wonderful.  I have loved every minute of the last 6 weeks.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Stella and the transition from 3 children to 4 has been pretty effortless.  This is the way it's supposed to be.  Georgia was 6 weeks old when I ran away from home the first time.  I was overwhelmed and confused and feeling so worthless that I knew my family would be better off without me.  This time, I haven't even suffered from the "baby blues" at all. 

So, what makes this time different?  There are so many things I've done differently this time and so many precautions I took.  I can't say with certainty that any one thing was the thing or that I'm out of the woods yet.  You can suffer from PPD anytime in the year after your baby is born.  So, here are some things I should point out.

Exercise.  I started exercising on a pretty regular basis.  Exercise makes you feel good. 
Fish oil.  I read an article that taking fish oil may replace some chemicals lost in the brain (or something along those lines), resulting in depression.  So, I take a fish oil supplement.
Nursing.  All I know is that after I had Kennedy, I didn't have a problem with the way I felt until after I stopped nursing her.  When the doctor suggested I supplement with formula because she wasn't gaining weight, I became discouraged and gave up nursing all together.  With Georgia, I didn't even attempt to breastfeed her.  I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to this.  Maybe nursing keeps your hormones from changing so suddenly, maybe it's just having a special bond with baby, maybe neither, but it can't hurt.
Medication.  I started taking medication while still pregnant.  When my anxiety and depression started to get out of control and I realized it wasn't getting better, I went to my doctor.  I knew that if I didn't do something about it, it would only get worse, especially after I had the baby. 
Expectations and comfort.  Kennedy was 14 months old when Georgia was born.  I knew it would be difficult and I needed to get organized.  A couple hours after giving birth to George, I was sitting in my hospital room, trying to make menu plans and schedules, both of which were new to me.  I had very unrealistic expectations and when my plans fell apart on day 1, I started to feel like a failure.  This time, I just built on the routines we already have in place.  I expected to be tired and have a dirty house.  I planned as much as I could for help.  I don't freak out over things being left undone.  I know I'm not superwoman.  Also, at this point in time, I am comfortable with who I am.  It took me a long time to adjust to staying home all the time and having people depend on me.  Now, I'm OK with me and where I'm at in life. 
Knowledge.  They say "Knowledge is Power" and it is very true.  This is the most important, I think.  I have read so many books, articles and blogs about PPD.  I know what signs to look for.  I know what other people have gone through.  I know I'm not crazy.  I know I'm not alone.  I know that help is available and where to find it. 

So, here we are, a happy family, enjoying our new baby in a way we never have before.  I am slowly starting to realize that my life just might be perfect, or at least as close as it can get.  This is such a far cry from where I was 3 years ago. 




June 8, 2011

Not Me

"Not now", "we'll see", "maybe later", "no", "I don't know", "I'll try".  These are the most used words in my vocabulary.

This is not the kind of mother I want to be.  I want to say "sure", "why not", "good idea", "let's go", "yes", "I will". 

I want to relax, be spontaneous, have fun.

Instead, I make sure the laundry is finished and the floors are swept.
I'd like to be a littl more like...gulp...Steve.





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