Baby Talk: Parental Pressure

Have you noticed there’s a sense of pressure to enjoy certain things? I’ve written about this before in regards to summer. Summer stresses me out because you’re supposed to do all the things, soak in all the sunshine, experience all the activities… No. I’m hot, it’s hot, and I’m sweating. Let me sit inside with the a/c and burn winter candles, please&thanks.

Mom Guilt aside, there’s a similar pressure in parenting to enjoy ALL the things.
“Being a mom is the most amazing thing I’ll ever do.”
“Dad life is the best life.”
“There is nothing as rewarding as changing a poo splattered diaper and rocking a screaming kid to sleep while your coffee gets cold and your dog eats your dinner off the counter.”
You get it.

The reality is many parts of parenting aren’t fun or glamorous or rewarding. But you feel like a complete tool for admitting as much since the whole world has dubbed the experience “mAgIcAl.”

We’ve been working through this in our home.
I love sleep and there are occasionally nights when Moo decides she NEEDS held from 1:45am to 3:27am. I am VERY aware that it won’t be like this forever, that the extra snuggling is something I will miss, and that her need for me is natural. But I still effing hate being awake and sitting awkwardly hunched over in that damn glider. I love Moo. These moments are not magical.

I LOVE being M’s mom. I would not trade it in for anything- including my former freer life pre-kids- but I am so much more than a mom. I enjoy things OUTSIDE of being a mom. I require and demand time alone. I love my daughter so damn much. I love spending time with her, teaching her, taking care of her. But I don’t love every moment of motherhood. No one does. And so often I think there’s an unrealistic pressure that parents should.

I don’t have an ah-ha moment, but I wanted to share these thoughts because if you’re currently in the parenting trench of very tough stuff (teething, sleeplessness, infancy, day 5 of no shower), you’re not alone and you are 100% allowed to say to yourself (& other), “This sucks.” You can dislike it.

And that’s my up lifting Mom Minute for you today 😆 Sometimes it sucks and that’s normal.

(Thanks, Michelle)


Tune in next week when I talk about random exorcism-level vomiting and how to remain cool, calm, and collected when you’re covered in spoiled milk.

Baby Talk: Dear New Mom

Happy Thursday. This has been on my heart so I wanted to get it out.

Dear New Mom,

First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how are you? Welcome to what I would describe as the hardest month/six weeks of your life. I am 7 months and 3 weeks into this parenting thing and, admittedly, we both have a long way to go… but there’s a massive difference between where you’re at and where I’m at, so I wanted to give you some encouragement.

Let’s get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with you.

If you want to do laundry and organize the pantry while baby sleeps, do it. If you want to hold your baby while she sleeps, do it. If you want to take a nap while he’s snoozing, do it. There isn’t a wrong way and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Listen to your body and your brain.

But also… tell your brain to can it. You’re going to feel guilt. Guilt over a dirty house. Guilt over “spoiling” your baby (<< impossible.) Guilt over wanting to hand baby off to a visitor while you do dishes/nap/shower(/cry).

Stop that. Guilt only sucks whatever energy and stamina you have left. There is no wrong way to survive the first month as long as you’re taking care of your brain and body.

But let’s talk about your body. Girlfriend… it’s straight up broken– whether you pushed baby out or underwent a cesarean. (And if you adopted you’re STILL not running at 100% because babies suck the life out of you no matter what.) I know it takes all your energy to stand or roll out of bed for the 100th time to feed a crying baby. I know you pee when you sneeze… or cough… or move. I know there are stretch marks and swelling and ouchies everywhere. I know your boobs hurt.
Not to mention your brain and your hormones and your insides…

The six week gap between birth and your first appointment is B U L L S H I T . If you need to see the doctor sooner, do it. (I went twice- once for PPD and once for an infection.) Give your body what it needs- antidepressants, sleep, Tylenol, etc. Even if you’re breastfeeding, the doctors can work with you and figure out how to help. Talk to them.

And now for the most important part: accept the help (& do so without feeling guilty!).

If you have a spouse, let them raise that baby, too. They’re not helping you or watching the kid, they’re raising their child. If you have family nearby that you trust and love, accept their help. Let them spend the night or drive you to your doctor appointment or pick up the groceries for you. If you have a trusted neighbor let them come over and rock the baby to sleep while you shower. Say YES when you need the help or want the break. I was bad about this & I regret it.

I know you’ve heard this before & I hope it’s not coming across as unsolicited advice.

Please know that sometimes these are not the golden days… Sometimes these are the make-it-or-break-it days. You’re tired and sore; it’s tough to truly enjoy anything in those moments. But the days will get better and better. Motherhood will start to feel more natural over time. Your baby will recognize you and smile at you. You will figure out how to squeeze in sleep and brushing your teeth and maybe even a shower.

It doesn’t get easier necessarily, but you get much much better at it. And you’ll realize that all things end- good or bad. The crying, the sleepless nights, the snuggles, the helplessness… it will all end eventually and you’ll come out on the other side.

For the new moms in my life, if you want to reach out I am available. You can vent, ask me to mask-up and hold your baby, or run to the grocery store with a long list.

You will get through this. Your baby will thrive. You are doing a fantastic job. ❤️

Introducing Madelyn Louise

HI! I am alive and also a (human) mom now. My, how quickly things change. This won’t ever be a mommy blog, but there are baby related things I want to record and write down so my next few post might be mom-heavy. But also some book posts. (LOL because I have any time to read… #dillusional)

Most longtime readers know that my husband’s name is Kyle, but I typically shorten it to K when I blog because a) ease and b) semi-privacy. That said, Maddie is getting shortened to M once this post is done and over with.

I want to share about her birth and about our first few days at home. I want to talk about the pressures of motherhood (which have thus far only existed in my own head- the family and friends we surround ourselves with are incredible and supportive). I want to talk about how our family looks now and about all the wonderful people who have helped us these past two weeks…. and I will. But today I’m introducing our newest little love to my blog family and giving you a quick update on the rest of us.

going home outfit

Madelyn arrived on Dec. 4th at 8:36pm weighing 8 pounds 2.3 ounces. I am well aware things with a baby can change daily, but as I write this she is darn near perfect… She loves to sleep & eat. She doesn’t mind being laid down or held by “strangers” (to her). Nights are still a little rough. She’s cool with noise or silence, light or darkness, pacifier or no pacifier. She’s completely unphased by dog barking. We are counting our blessings for her temperament during this stage. (We imagine karma has something good cooked up for those toddler years- lol.)

The dogs are perfect. The initial meet-and-greet was Enzo gently sniffing M and Bristol barking/growling at her 😂 Bristol is a husky mix who does husky-talk & based on her physical cues, it was not an aggressive growl- she just wanted the new human to play with her.

first meeting with fur sibs

Since that first meeting, Enzo is loving but indifferent to M. (He still love his mama and his sleep most of all.) Bristol is glued to her freaking side. She keeps her eye on M all day long and checks out every visitor who holds the baby. She checks on her throughout the day and usually lays near me while I feed her. Maddie has essential become Bristol’s baby.

*(We’re not irresponsible- we never leave the dogs and baby alone together.)

Moving on…

Kyle is the best human in the world. The dad life looks so good on him but the husband life is even better. He’s been so supportive, patient, attentive, loving, focused… with both Maddie & myself. I handle most nighttime duties and I change most diapers, but he is willing to do whatever I ask and is wonderful at entertaining, cuddling, comforting, and loving on baby. And spoiling the pups, too.

I love this picture

After the hospital I was hit HARD with emotions. They started on the car ride home. I spent 5 days in a complete fog. I cried off and on daily, felt awful about the present and the future, and moved through the current hour dreading the next. Baby blues/PPD/hormones at its finest. Finally on day 5 Kyle and I made some big decisions regarding life and the fog lifted. We’re still keeping an eye on my mental healthy, but those were some dense, dark woods and I am grateful to be out of them. Again, thank God for Kyle slogging through those days with me. He is a workaholic and he put everything on the back burner to make sure I was ok and Maddie was doing alright. Obviously that’s the job of a husband and partner and I’m not surprised by his attentiveness, but I know not all partners can/would do that.

running on 2 hours of broken sleep in this one… lol

I’m going to dive into that fog more in another post- I promise. This is already longer than I intended. Haha.

We’re doing well. We’re starting to kind of slip into a routine. Every day Maddie gives us something new- whether it’s a schedule shift or gas smile or physical development. I will say more about her, my postpartum experience, and our life soon (for those interested).

Before I go, a HUGE THANK YOU to my blog friends for the well wishes, gifts, advice, and friendship. Your love has been overwhelming- esp in those first few days. I have utilized some blog friends as resources for parenting and I really, really appreciate the time and energy they’ve given me. This community is incredible and I’m so grateful for all of you ♥ You all helped carry me through those first few days.

 

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Well… I had a different topic planned for today but the pictures for the post are MIA so we’re changing it up.

Since today is my dad’s birthday and we’re remarkably similar, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite traits that I got from him which I hope to pass down to my kid.

I’m not kidding when I say my dad and I are similar. His name is Kenny and he shares that name with his father so K calls my dad KJ or Kenny Jr. (usually just to me). When I act like my dad, K calls me KJJ. Before we knew if this baby was a boy or girl, K gave it the nickname KJJJ. I kid you not, that’s what she’s called in our pregnancy app. Lol

My dad and I think similarly, learn similarly, argue discuss politics with each other similarly. We carry our own burdens and the burdens of others similarly. We mostly have the same humor & sometimes we say the same thing at the same time. We often spill food on our shirts in the same place. Lol.

You get the point. It’s no wonder I adopted these ideals and characteristics from him.

Pets are our family.
When I was born we had a family dog. Since then my parents have welcomed two more dogs (plus Ly when I lived at home), two rabbits, and five cats. Bristol & Enzo are always welcome at their house. Dad’s also rescued a baby owl, squirrel, and rabbit. Additionally, unless the animal is dangerous or threatening our pets, he traps and releases pests because he knows I value that. My dad felt Lylee’s loss so deeply- damn near as badly as K and I.

Girls can do anything.
I have a little brother. I could have easily been dismissed when he was born. Instead, my dad bought us both four wheelers. He gave us both shooting lessons. He took me camping and trucking. He took me fishing and he’d have taken me hunting if I hadn’t turned him down, lol. I’d give him credit for teaching me to drive stick but that was actually my mom 😉

Forming your own opinions is important & changing your mind isn’t a weakness.
Years ago a friend told me about how her dad’s word was law in their house and she wasn’t allowed to disagree or argue about anything. Another person in the conversation nodded her head in agreement and shared similar stories. Even as adults, they were expected to curb their thoughts and opinions. I can’t relate to that. My parents have never told me how to feel about anything. And if you’ve spent a decent amount of time with my dad and I, you’ve probably heard us discuss/argue politics. I know he takes pride in the brain in my head- even when it believes differently than his. And I’m really proud of my dad because I think he’s changed some of his opinions and beliefs because of things we’ve discussed.

Working hard and breaking your back doesn’t entitle you to a damn thing.
I think my dad might be the least entitled person I know. He went to college, graduated, and jumped into the family business as a truck driver. When the family retired the business, my dad continued to drive independently. His industry is dying and his week-to-week looks different but he doesn’t quit and he doesn’t complain about the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, he does complain about other things but I have never heard my dad complain about being owed anything.
*I actually don’t have this characteristic. Hopefully my kid does.

I can credit my love of history and learning to my dad, too. On top of these things, I hope my daughter enjoys watching old westerns with him and riding along in his semi truck just like I did. My dad is one of my favorite people- and I’m sure it has nothing to do with how similar we are 😉

Happy Birthday, Dad!

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

Thankful Fridays

In case you missed it on Monday I went a little off script and listed the things that I believe are important for our next president to address/believe. This is a blog for everyone and I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, but sometimes I just need to throw that stuff out. I hope we’re all still friends 🙂

Today I am thankful for two parents that encouraged me- and continue to encourage me- to think for myself and make well-educated decisions based on research and personal convictions. If we started throwing around labels I would say that my parents lean a little republican and I might be a smidge liberal . I mean, my dad actually threatened me one Christmas with an NRA membership. (For the record, I am not a member.) There are many things we agree about but there are also a TON of topics we end up debating at the dinner table.

I’m so thankful to have parents that not only allow me to speak my mind and disagree, but also ask me what I think about certain topics and enjoy debating the rights and wrongs of issues. Has it ever gotten heated? Yes. Does it usually stay fairly civil? Usually, yes. I was once talking with a friend who said that her dad got mad if she expressed any opinions that challenged his own. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that…

So today I’m thankful that my mom and dad allow me have a big mouth. It’s gotten me in trouble and I’ve had to eat my own foot in the past, but I feel good about forming my own opinions and having that confidence. (Thanks, Mom & Dad.)

Ceremony3

Also, Happy Birthday tomorrow to the best dad a girl could ask for! You keep hauling coal and I’ll keep fighting for the polar bears 😉

-Louise

Thursdays

Thankful Thursday on From Bisons to Buckeyes

 

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey