Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Motherhood is not all roses and rainbows

Motherhood is not all roses and rainbows.
You will never sacrifice more than you do the second you become pregnant. Dads sacrifice too - but it's not the same - not even close.

Your body incubates this little being for 9 months and then you have to get it out. Your insides literally shift positions and organs move around to accomodate your little bundle of joy.

(If your jeans don't fit after you give birth it might be because your hip bones literally spread out to allow for more space for the baby to make it's exit)

Your hormones are INSANELY wacked out.

Women who have been vegetarians for years suddenly crave rare cheeseburgers, some women can literally throw up at the first smell of a particular food and you will be exhausted like you have never experience before. I hardly ever made it to 9 pm with my first pregnancy and I had to nap during the day with my second otherwise I would not have survived until dinnertime.

Some women experience nausea so bad they need to be medicated and the same goes for acid reflux. Sleep issues can be present from day one- either needing too much or not getting enough because you can't get comfortable.

At the end of all of this, and hopefully after a mostly painless childbirth (I have heard HORROR STORIES about deliveries gone wrong) you are presented with a slimey, crying, red faced little human to love unconditionally.

Love you will - you will kiss their toes, and their hands and their heads and you will stare at them for hours. You might not even want to let them go back to the nursery when you are in the hospital because you can't imagine one second without them.

Then you go home.

And the baby cries and nothing you do can stop it and you don't remember the words to any nursery rhymes and you smell like spit up and haven't brushed your teeth or showered in days and you haven't made dinner yet and the baby hates his bath and isn't napping like newborns are supposed to and your husband comes home from work looking refreshed and relaxed and you want to punch him because you can't remember the last time you felt relaxed.

In honor of being honest - I figured it was about time we discussed postpartem depression/baby blues.

Not everyone suffers from it and not everyone that does suffer from it, has the same experience. Some feel it right away, some don't feel anything for weeks to months after giving birth.
For some women, it's extreme and debilitating to the point where they can't function and for others, they just need to cry for 10 minutes at the end of a particularly hard week.

ALL OF THIS IS NORMAL - however it doesn't make it any easier.

I don't think I experienced Postpartem at all with my first child which is weird because it was the dead of winter and my husband had to commute so he was out of the house a lot more than he is now. Granted - staying home was brand new back then and a novelty and all I could think of was how lucky I was to be able to stay home with this perfect little being.

Katie also was good in the car seat - took a bottle and slept when we went places.

Fast forward to now where I have a 2.5 year old who is very demanding and too smart for her own good and who NEVER STOPS TALKING - I mean never - not for one second when she's awake and a newborn. My newborn won't take a bottle, hates his car seat and screams bloody murder when we go out places lately. He won't stay in a carrier and wants to be held all the time - but at least he sleeps well at night - only waking me up once to nurse and going back to bed immediately.

Ladies, I'm afraid I am suffering from a mild bout of post partem depression and I don't think I should be embarrassed to talk about it. It's out of my control. My hormones are still running amuck and I've been home for 2.5 years, so I think my claustrophobia from being in this apartment all this time has caught up to me and I'm sure the isolation of being out here hasn't helped either.

I'm overwhelmed all the time and more exhausted than I think I should be at the end of the day and I'm crazy moody and super resentful of my husbands ability to just get up and go wherever he wants - whenever he wants. (he doesn't actually leave me except to go to the gym - but the fact that he can just pisses me off to no end.)

I literally countdown to bedtime some days because I just can't take it anymore. The neediness, the talking, the demands, the breastfeeding, keeping up the house and all of the finances and not even getting 1 hour to myself 2 or 3 times a week to go work out at a gym class because every time I leave, I come home to complete Chaos. It's like my kids want to ensure I never leave because they somehow manage to have complete meltdowns with Dave which just makes me feel more trapped than I already do. It also makes him frustrated because then I'm pissed I can't do anything and he's pissed because he's trying to help me out and the kids are tag teaming him.
It's a miserable cycle and I'm hoping it ends soon.

In trying to help me with all of this, my husband and I were talking the other day and we came to this conclusion - I need a lunch hour. Time JUST FOR ME - to browse the internet or eat a meal at my own pace - or read a book before bedtime. That's what I resent the most - is the loss of time that is truly just for me. I feel like I don't get that anymore and the breastfeeding is a HUGE reason for that. However, as moody as I am and as unhappy as I can be on some days - I honestly believe that breastfeeding is best for him so I will keep on trucking :)

My clothes don't fit at all even thought I'm 10 pounds away from my target weight,
My boobs leak,
I'm exhausted,
My body temperature is still whacko,
My hair is falling out by the handful,
and now due to us moving into a rental house - I'm stressed about not making money. I'm just one of those girls who likes to make her own money - and since I haven't been for 2.5 years - and we are adding to our expenses, it's stressing me out.

Luckily I have an amazing husband who helps me out as much as anyone could ever want and who understands that this crazy version of me is temporary. I am also looking forward to moving into a 3 bedroom house with 2 floors of living. We are thinking of making the kids share a room too so that I can set up an office for my PT consulting work and Dave's guitars and my arts and crafts along with space for guests in the extra bedroom.

I think all of this will help get me back to me which I'm desperate for as I feel like I've been out of whack since my first tri-mester.

And the older Ben gets and the less he needs to eat and the more I can get outta the house alone - the better I will feel - so I just keep trying to tell myself it's temporary and I will one day miss how small they are - and I will keep asking Dave to help me get mini breaks when he gets home so that my feelings and frustrations don't affect the kids and I will make sure that I make time for myself in any way I can so that I don't get resentful.

I love my kids more than I thought possible and I don't regret having them - but like I said, motherhood is not all roses and rainbows and if you suffer from the baby blues or postpartem depression- you owe it to yourself and your family to talk about it and acknowledge it and get help. It's nothing to be ashamed of and in more serious cases than mine, can only be fixed with your doctors help - that's what they are there for.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and frustrated - ask your friends and family for help and back up and make your husband do stuff. I have absolutely no love for husbands who don't help out at home - I think it's a cop out - this isn't the 50's - put your big boy pants on and be men and help out your wives and spend some time with your kids!!! I'm just saying - marriage and parenting should be a partnership - everyone will be happier that way!

Thanks for listening!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Things that happen when you become a parent

  1. You will become obsessed with your child's poop - trust me
  2. You will realize your first week home that you don't know any nursery rhymes or childrens' songs (unless you work at a preschool) We sang Christmas songs to our daughter her first few days because we couldn't think of anything else
  3. You will learn to survive on VERY broken and often Very little sleep
  4. You will get spit up on almost daily and probably get pooped and peed on too
  5. You will give up dressing nicely for awhile because of number 4
  6. You might forget to brush your teeth every once in awhile - baby wakes up - you rush to get a bottle or nurse him, you change a diaper, probably change his outfit from spit up and then you grab your morning coffee - it happens
  7. You will contemplate whether it's worth peeing before you rush to bed once the baby is asleep because those 30 seconds could be precious sleep time
  8. You will either LOVE or HATE car rides depending on whether your child likes to sleep in his car seat - my second child HATES the car - thus making any errands or trips torture
  9. You will probably not eat out at a restaurant for awhile - unless you have a babysitter - you don't want to be those people with the screaming kid
  10. If you do end up being that person with the screaming kid (like I was the other day in Target) you will learn to ignore those around you and curse them for their ability to run in and run out and finish their errand in peace - then when your child falls asleep and is quiet you will forget all about how stressed you were when he was screaming.
  11. You will wipe your kids noses with your bare hand or your clothes to avoid having them be the snotty kid
  12. You will change diapers on tables, floors, in the middle of dinner and it won't affect you
  13. You will get over that awkward reading to a kid out loud thing - I always felt weird with my friends kids like I had to perform for an audience - you get over that
  14. You will no longer listen to your own music in the car - if there is a kids CD that will quiet your screaming baby - that becomes the regular soundtrack to your driving life
No matter who you are or how you feel about the things above now - they will all change once you become a parent. Don't let this list scare you - you will embrace it and love it and when your kids are smiling and hugging and kissing you - you will not miss your old life.
At the same time, when your child is screaming and crying for no reason - you will miss your old life just a little - it's a cycle that is never ending but well worth it in the end.


Happy Monday

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Healthier eating challenge

I don't know what my problem is because I like healthy foods.
Whole grains, green leafy veggies, squashes, salads, even raw and roasted beets, beans, nuts, seeds, plain old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast, etc...
But I eat crap instead.

We have stepped away from having an overabundance of processed foods in the house, but I still eat them. I also tend to eat TONS of sugar and lately crazy amounts of salt.

Which is dumb, because when I have a wheatberry salad made with beets, carrots, orange juice and cranberries - I would just assume eat that instead of a cookie.

I think my problem is that although I like these foods, I do not know how to really cook with them all yet. "healthy, Vegetarian cooking" seems so daunting to me - which is ridiculous because I rarely cook meats and actually prefer vegetarian dishes. So, what am I so afraid of? I think it's a comfort factor. I am intimidated by cooking healthier - so I tend to just be lazy and make the same 10 things over and over again - some healthy - some not so much.

I also think that in my mind eating healthy has to take so much more time than grabbing something out of the fridge or pantry that's already made and fast.

(having 2 kids - meal times have to be speedy if I want to finish)

So, I have decided that this move is the perfect time to totally clear out my pantry and start over with whole wheat flour - less sugar, less processed chemically crap and WAY less sugary snacks and treats. Once we eat it - I will try very hard not to replace it - except for a few small treats every now and then.

I promise to buy more fruits and vegetables and to come up with meal plans that will force me to cook them before they go bad.

One of my NEW FAVORITES is Kale Chips - you take raw Kale and bake them in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you might want and they come out as tasty, crispy yumminess that is WAY healthier for you than a handful of potato chips.

Dave got me a Super Duper cook book for vegetarian eating and I haven't used a recipe yet because I was intimidated - but once we are in the new house with my newly stocked pantry - I think I will try one recipe out of it a week. (to start)

So, here is my challenge - can you swap out one or two of your unhealthy staples for a healthier option?

My first swap will be Kale chips for Potato Chips.
I read a book once that explained it pretty simply - real food is what grows in nature and animals that we kill. Processed, chemically produced versions of food are not natural and certainly not healthy.

The guy in the book made 3 points that really stuck with me -
1) if your grandmother wouldn't have it in her pantry - don't have it in yours
2) try not to eat things you can't make yourselves (potato chips, cookies, french fries, etc...)
but if you really want them - make them yourself. Peel, slice and fry the potato chips - it's a lot of work and it might deter you from eating them all the time!
3) cooking should be a process - taking it out of the freezer and heating it up is not cooking

So, since I'm still breastfeeding which provides more motivation to eat healthier options and it is making me hungrier than I was when I was pregnant, I vow that the next few months I will be making healthier food options for me and my family. I will take more time to cook the food that we eat and not allow making meals to stress me out .
I will try to find ways to enjoy it again - because I realize that now I have 2 little ones looking to me to teach them to make good choices in eating and chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all the time is not fulfilling that responsibility.

I owe it to them and I owe it to myself.

Plus, I always feel better when I'm eating healthy and taking care of myself - so it really is a win win for everyone!

Will you join me and share recipes, swaps and ideas for healthy snacks????

Monday, May 16, 2011

Staying at home makes me cranky

I'm going to be 100% honest here because, well, that's kind of the point of this blog right?

Staying home with my kids has made me super cranky.

I mean I always got cranky before - but not like this...

I think breastfeeding has a lot to do with it as Ben still is refusing a bottle and I mean absolutely refusing. As my husband says, his way of dealing with trying to be fed a bottle is to cry and then sleep. He literally can't figure it out - it just sits in his mouth while he desperately tries to breastfeed off of it. We have tried every bottle possible and are sick and tired of it to be honest.

And there is the irritation of having pumped milk for it to just go to waste.
It's very tiring to hear him cry so much with very little result - if he was making progress I would push it, but he's really not - so I am kind of just convinced I will have to nurse him exclusively for the next 4 months at least.

Which is fine - because I do honestly believe that breastmilk is best which is why I pushed myself through the first 4 weeks of absolutely constantly having him on my boob. Katie got breastmilk for 3 full months and she NEVER got sick as a baby and even now - just gets the occasional cold and I chalk that up to her food in the beginning.

I signed up to breast feed - I didn't realize I was signing up to NEVER getting a break from actually nursing. With Katie I pumped all the time which was annoying and time consuming, but we were able to go out and feed her with no issue at any time of day. Nursing is a little harder when I'm by myself with both kids in a public place. Like Katie's gym class - it's a mommy and me class, so if Ben needs to eat - I'm screwed and Katie runs around like a crazy woman and the other moms have to help wrangle her - which makes me feel bad.

I know, I know - back to the topic of this post - why are you so cranky?

I'm cranky because I have had 9 weeks of constantly broken sleep. I'm cranky because if Zumba or spinning start at 6 and Ben needs to eat at 6 - I don't get to go because I have to feed him.

I don't want to go out and party all night - I am even ok with not being able to drink alcohol and limiting my caffeine and diet. I just want to be able to go to the gym, or go shopping alone every once in awhile without having to rush home to feed him.

I need to get these brief times away because staying home full time is HARD. I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom forever. I definitely could not be a housewife for the rest of my life. I give those women a lot of credit because it's just not me. I need a life outside the house. I need adult interaction and meetings, and deadlines, etc... and so far this life hasn't really given me all of that. (moving to a place where we didn't know anyone didn't help in the social life area so I am very isolated - which is probably not your typical stay at home mom situation)

If you read my blog, you have heard this before.

Now that I have the second kid, I thought I'd be refreshed and feel ok to be staying home again indefinitely - but that's not true. I am tired of being home. I love my kids to death - but waking up at 4 am to feed Ben and being bitchy and cranky because he doesn't want to go back to sleep isn't fair to him or to me. I'm lonely and being lonely sucks no matter how many adorable grins and smiles and hugs you get. I've always been super social and this isolation on top of staying home is getting to me.

We are in the middle of moving into a one family house that has much more space and a backyard - so maybe having more space will help me out and help me get through the next 6 months to a year. (which is how long I had envisioned staying home with the 2nd)

Almost every time I hear someone who works FT say that they wish they could stay home with their kids - I almost laugh a little because I think to myself - you can say that because you only have to do it every once in awhile full time. There's always a light at the end of your tunnel and a definite time that you will be going back outside your house on your own.
You also get to experience the best of your kids by not being with them full time. You don't have to deal with meltdowns over lunch or fighting over toys for 2 full hours, or the stress of trying to convince your 2 year old that she will feel better after a nap.

I read countless posts of parents who can't wait for school vacations to be over and I don't blame you - I understand.

I would imagine that after being with someone else all day that most kids are on good behavior with their parents at the end of the day. I fully understand that it's harder to schedule home stuff and kid stuff when you only have a few hours a day to do it. I also believe that some people really would excel and love every second of staying home full time with their kids.

As for me, I have a lot of moments where I have to count to 5 and breathe deep because I literally don't ever get a second to myself - right this minute, the baby is in the swing for a few quiet moments (rare) while Katie is trashing my living room because I am not paying attention to her. When I do pay attention to her, she won't want anything to do with me. It's an endless cycle. I don't get to shower, use the bathroom, eat, clean or sleep in peace. EVER. I can't talk on the phone without Katie telling me to get off and play with her. (only for her to not want anything to do with me when I am off the phone) I can't go grocery shopping without either taking one kid with me so they don't terrorize my husband or having to rush home to feed Ben.

I love my kids and I am happy that I am able to stay with them during these early times. I am sure I will look back and think of these years as some of the best years with my children because I taught them to walk, talk, draw, color, play, jump, etc... I just wish it didn't make me so cranky.

I think this is a typical case of the grass is always greener. I am sure those of you who work FT will be aghast saying that if you only had the chance to stay home you would embrace every single second and never resent it at all. I call - bullshit. It's tough. Tougher than I ever thought it would be. Especially with a 2 year old and a newborn. Power struggles and constant breastfeeding don't go well together. Every single parent - no matter how much of a super mom you might be - will have moments of crankiness and sadness.

I cook, I bake, I make her arts and crafts, I sing songs, I make up games, I taught her her letters and alphabet and counting and we are going to try to start learning how to read soon. Hell, I even handmade our halloween costumes this year so she could be what she wanted to be. Tell me that's not dedication!!

I'm dedicated and I participate and I love them - I'm just tired and cranky sometimes and I need to vent and then I feel better and am ready to turn around - give them hugs and kisses and come up with the next art project or special activity to try to keep them occupied for at least 5 minutes!

Today is looking glum- I offered to take Katie to her gym class for a make up cause we missed 2 weeks and she told me she doesn't want to go - so now I either have to force her to go and pray that Ben doesn't need to eat during class (because I really don't feel like trying to nurse him AND chase her at the same time since my friend won't be there today) or throw the towel in the bag and not take her and risk her not wanting to nap later because she's not tired enough because it's crappy out and we can't go outside - not to mention the waste of money since we are paying per month regardless of if you get to go to class...

Wish me luck and anyone else feeling the same way - hang in there - I know it comes and goes. It's natural and it doesn't make you a bad parent - I honestly believe that.

Dear kids,
I'm sorry I get cranky sometimes. I love you and I always will but the constant whining and power struggles and spitting up and yelling and running around naked refusing to put on your clothes or leave the house wears me out. The way that Ben screams in his carseat for a good 20 minutes before he falls asleep makes me not want to leave the house, especially since he usually wakes up wherever we are at and continues screaming if I don't push the cart of stroller at just the right speed. Katie, your ability to run away at the speed of light because you think every moment is an opportunity for a game of chase stresses me out.

I promise that after a few minutes or hours of crankiness I will return to my normal, happy, jolly self and sing and dance and make silly songs and art projects with you. I will try to teach you things and continue to give you a million hugs a day regardless of if you return them to me.

Sometimes mommy gets cranky and I'm sorry. I'll try to work on that!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Discipline strategy

How do you all make sure that the discipline in your house is equal and the same between parents?
My husband and I have little pow wows - particularly after hard days with Katie to make sure we both agree on discipline, and back each other up and also to help each other decide which battles are worth fighting with a VERY independent and strong minded almost 2.5 year old.

I think this is KEY in our happiness and success as a parenting team.
We check in and discuss things and if we think we need to change how we are doing something, we both agree to do it the same together.

It's working as Katie doesn't pull the let me ask Daddy to see what he says if Mommy says no type of thing. It's important to be able to touch base and vent to someone. (especially for me as I am with them 24/7 and I think it's harder on a Full time, stay at home parent just because you are with your kids ALL THE TIME) So, having someone who will listen to me vent and help put things into perspective helps alot.

How do you all manage to agree and discipline the same way?

Breastfeeding update

Apparently my boy is a boob man. Exclusively.
We have tried for 2 weeks now with 5 different bottle/nipple combinations and 3 different people giving the bottle to him and he absolutely refuses it.
Doesn't even make any attempt whatsoever to suck on it. Just pushes it out of his mouth and when he actually gets milk - he gets pissed.

So... it looks like we will be attached at the boob for the next few months. I just hope he gets on some sort of schedule so that I can go to Zumba and Spinning.

I feel awful starving him to make him take a bottle - and with Katie around if he's crying, she gets upset - so we try not to push it too much. So, it looks like we will keep trying every day for a little while and if it happens - YAY and if not, I just keep telling myself how amazing it is that I am literally keeping him alive and that he loves cuddling with me because I know it will be short lived and I want to enjoy as much as I can.

How are the rest of you breast feeders doing out there?