You are safe here. In the dark corner of your cozy nursery.
There is no hate, no school shootings, no grocery store tragedies.
There is no racism or sexism. You are accepted and loved, just as you are.
There is no poverty or excess.
There is no hunger or hypothermia. There is no disease or virus.
There is no pressure to please others or obligation to fall in line.
There is no bullying. There are no politics. There is no dishonesty.
There is no scale. No size. No style. No budget.
There is no violence, no yelling, no anger.
Sometimes there are tears, but I will always take care of those.
And there is a warm bottle and worn blanket.
There are two strong and soft arms, just right for your little frame. Always right for you. Any time.
I know there is a certain level of privilege in this space. I know that. I am grateful to have the means to provide this for you.
I wish I could bottle up this time. I wish I could save this contentment and peace for you.
And when you enter the world, and the world shows you its ugly truth, I would gift you these perfectly packaged moments of safety and love and wholeness. I would stock my closets and cupboards with memories and moments of serenity for you.
Because the world will try to shatter you. It’s how it goes. It is an unperfected world.
It doesn’t deserve my perfect little human. And you most certainly deserve better than this world.
But you will leave this chair. And this room. And even this house someday.
You will follow your dreams. And I will quiet my nightmares. And you will do what you were born to do.
And when the broken world tries so hard to break you, I will hold you. You are safe here.
I use Instagram for three things: keeping up with all of you (& my non-blog friends), inspiration for my Animal Crossing island (#nerdalert), and parenting information.
Let’s hone in on that last one.
Recently I started following some new (child) sleep experts and questioning every single thing I’ve done for M and her sleep habits. (Fear not- I question my parenting every hour of every day. All parents do…) It got me thinking… when it comes to parenting, advice and research is thrown at you from every direction.
Let’s think about a generic law. You show up to a store at 6:17pm and try the handle, only to find it locked. You notice that they closed at 6pm. What do the laws of the land dictate? You shrug your shoulders, turn around, and try another day. Breaking in would be wrong.
Ok… same situation, but apply the rules of parenting. Door is locked. Well… some experts would suggest you jiggle the handle. Try tickling or stroking the keyhole to inducing unlocking. Or you might try talking to the door about why it’s locked and whether or not it thinks that’s a good idea. If you’re more hands on, you might spank the door or shatter its glass to teach the door a lesson in defying you. Try putting the door in time out and return 2 minutes later to see if anything has changed. Maybe you don’t believe in locked doors. While locked doors might protect the herd, it’s not good for you and your family. You prefer open doors and plenty of sunshine. **And there are no true consequences for any approach you take.**
That is a silly example, but it’s how it feels to read conflicting parenting advice on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
“You can’t co-sleep with your kid, you’ll crush them.” // “You put your child in a crib at 4 weeks?? Do you WANT them to die from SIDS?!”
“French fries will poison your toddler.” // “You know they make jar baby food, right? You don’t have to puree like a hippie.”
“Don’t give your child peanut butter(/eggs/fish/etc.) until they’re a year old.” // “Give you baby peanut butter before 6 months to reduce allergic reacts.”
“Breast is best.” // “Fed is best.” // “Goat milk is best.” // “Formula is full of sugar.”
“You must adhere to a strict and early vaccine schedule.” // “Make sure you talk to your doctor about spreading out shots and eliminating unnecessary ones.”
You get it.
It’s exhausting. (Arbitrary rules exist in more than parenthood, but this is trench I’m stationed in right now.) Like… give me a tried and true manual and I will follow the rules. Don’t give me this “Some experts say…” bullshittery.
Also… is fussing the same as crying it out? Because I would argue no but please don’t call the baby sleep police on me.
So what do you do? I don’t know. This isn’t an advice article. I’m just as clueless as the rest of ya.
A while back Kristen commented that she goes by, “Eat the fish, spit out the bones.” I can get on board with that. So here’s my not-tested, nonexpert-approved parenting advice:
Learn who your kid is. It’s tough because babies are potatoes but as they grow and their personalities emerge, change some of your routines and activities to foster their growth (and energy and sleepy cues and hunger pangs).
That’s the best I’ve got. Also- watch out for sleep regression and one-year-molars; they’re a true b*tch. I’ve heard the two-year-molars are just as gnarly. Will report back.
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.
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.
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. ❤️
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.