Parenting

I Just Wanted a Bath

Single moms, I salute you.
I usually wait until the husband is home to even attempt to bathe myself as anything involving a bathroom means certain emergencies in the area of childcare. Someone will lose a crayon, crap their pants, spill their juice, or try to bludgeon their sibling to death with a shoe if you choose to step foot into the bathroom.

Having two previous children and currently approaching the third trimester for baby number three, my recently contracted hellacious cough has all but obliterated my bladder. What does that mean? That mean whenever I go into a coughing fit I pee myself, pretty basic. No amount of leg crossing is going to hold that mess in when I can’t even catch my breath from the phlegm bombarding my airways.

So, as one can imagine, I felt gross and after ruining my last pair of jeans I needed to get to clean water. Husband was still at work and the teenager was out with friends so I thought I’d attempt it alone. You may wonder, “Well why not a quick shower?”. A couple reasons come to mind. I can not hear the blood curdling screams that would most certainly take place if I placed my head under the stream of shower water. I also can not see anything of the outside world from the confines of my master bath shower stall. So into the tub I go, all the doors wide open so I can hear any catastrophe in my house and see any disruption between me, my bedroom, the small hallway, and the door to the garage (which the toddler like to try to escape through).

Enter the five year old. 

The toddler plays quietly in my bed. I can hear his tablet and his giggles and all is well in the house. Five year old enters room and his very presence disturbs my toddler to his core. Toddler screams in unseen pain and darts for the door to lock five year old out. A brief fight ensues over closing the bedroom door. I shout and do my little “What the heck is wrong with you two?” thing and they decide it’s not fun anymore.

The five year old, who hasn’t spoken to me in hours, now decides this is the best time to ask me where plastic comes from. He then needs to tell me about every level and character in some game called PigMan (sp?). I decide to send him on a mission to get a moment of peace; I send him to get mom a little cup of sugar to exfoliate with. He returns looking very proud from what I could see through water filled eyes. I blindly dip my fingers into the “sugar”, and .002 seconds from coating my face in this white substance, I realize its flour. I was so close to antiquing myself true Jackass style. I wash the now dough from my fingers and send him to try again.

Five year old returns with sugar, I wash, and ask him to go dump the rest for me. All is well again until I hear *ssssshhhhhh* “Oh no!”. Look up to see a bedroom floor coated in sugar granules. Walking on sugar is the worst! We all know this. Being the helpful child he is, he runs for the broom. Meanwhile toddler has become interested in what is taking place. Sugar is all swept neatly into a pile awaiting me to get out and put into a dust pan. Toddler decides hiding the pile with a pillow would work better. *Plop* Goes a pillow on top of the pile sending sugar gliding in all directions across the floor once again.

The next 5 minutes are spent in utter confusion between me and five year old.
“Move the pillow”
“Now set it down”
“No not BACK on the pile”
“Omg. You put it back in the sugar”
“No don’t put a sugar covered pillow back on the bed”
“Why do these things happen to me!”

I dash sopping wet from the tub to broom to sweep up stupid sugar, leaving a wet trail from tub across bedroom floor.

Helpful five year old, “Mom, what do we do about this water now?”. I tell him just to grab a towel and wipe it up. I’m planted firmly in my now room temperature water and I’m not getting back up. I see him scooting toward me on a towel as he’s soaking up the water and I realize, he is using the towel I grabbed for myself to dry off with. The only clean towel in my bathroom.

Somehow in the middle of all this I managed to bathe, shave half my leg, and apply oil to my pregnancy dried hair. I completely forgot to finish shaving and about an hour ago, as I was preparing to run errands, I realize I never rinsed the oil out of my hair. As if having to look at my ever quickly changing body when I get naked wasn’t punishment enough.

The kitchen… the kitchen in which the flour and sugar was previously retrieved from? That’s a whole other story.

So, shout out to the ladies who can accomplish basic tasks without a spouse or partner! Apparently, I can not.

ventura

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I’m Married, but I Want a Boyfriend

Say you have a dress. You love this dress. you wear this dress as much as possible. You feel sexy, confident, happy, or maybe even just content in this dress. One day you notice a stain on the back. Now you only worry about this stain. How long has it been there unnoticed? You suddenly feel self conscious. You are no longer confident when you wear it because all you think about is that stain. It is amazing how when unnoticed, it was the best thing in your closet and now today you just let it stay on the hanger.

This just happened to my marriage.

My wonderful husband and I, after 3 LONG years without one, went on a date. For the first time since April of 2013 we went without kids to do something together. We are a very happy couple. I do not mean it in a cliche way when I say we truly are best friends. I think we are a perfect partnership. We argue very little, we laugh very often, and we have a healthy sex life, which is the key to a healthy marriage right? …Wrong.

Very shortly into this date, stains began to uncover themselves on the fabric of our marriage. We sat in silence for an awkwardly good bit of the hour drive. When we did speak, what did we talk about? Kids and bills. We discussed disciplinary areas that needed work, the current insurance claim on my totaled car, how we felt bad leaving his parents to handle our rambunctious little crew.

Once arriving at the the theatre (we saw Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast) the situation became even more obviously apparent. Our discussion once again fell to kids, how I couldn’t wait till the boys were big enough to appreciate the theatre. We even found ourselves looking for the best Belle inspired princess dress on one of the many little girls running around. Kids, kids, kids.

While standing in this exquisite and almost surreal theatre lobby the answer hit me hard. I watched two other couples near us, one stood very close, leaned into one another while talking to friends, another couple holding hands and snapping selfies, both with those ridiculously adorable puppy dog grins. The answer was right there; my husband was no longer my boyfriend.

That is not to say he is at any fault, as I am no longer his girlfriend either. I found myself standing next to a very attractive partner and friend. We are a team, Mommy and Daddy. We are business partners running a home for the Wicker bunch. We are friends who share interests and can keep the other one entertained and out of trouble. (Seriously, the only thing keeping us from being the perfect bro-mance couple is my lack of a penis.)

The stain was suddenly so vivid it could not be ignored. When I started the day I felt totally confident in my wonderful marriage, by the end I was completely taken aback by how we could let this “stain” go so long unnoticed.

On the ride home I tried to think of ways to act like a girlfriend but I was stumped. In the early years my girlfriend behavior was all just my reactions and responses to his boyfriend behavior, which I’m sure he feels the same about on his side. Luckily, on the ride, a friend had added us to a new very risqué Facebook group. We spent the ride checking out photos and laughing with one another, but before we knew it, we were back in the friend zone, laughing, discussing other people’s lives, being…. well… bros.

How did this go this long unnoticed?

Sex, that is how. Sex had become the big bow trying to cover the stain on our marriage. Of course the kids do occasionally nap, though its never for a very long period. In those rare short moments of being alone together we do one of two thing. 1. Sleep 2. Have sex.

Sex after kids is always rushed or extra quite and sneaky.  It is almost job like, not to say it isn’t a pleasant experience, it’s just less build up. There is no time for playful banter, flirting, build up. It is “take it while you can!”. Because every second we were ever alone was spent trying to fill it with physical pleasure, once we were alone and sex was no longer an option, we didn’t know what to do.

Sex was not an option on this date night for reasons of a personal nature, so even the flirting and little innuendos of “I can’t wait to get you home”, were taken off the table. That left us naked and exposed to only each other’s company. Since this date night last week it has been a festering stain. What was once my favorite “dress” turned out to be my comfiest pajamas in disguise.

Yes, I am comfortable. Yes, we have fun. Yes, I am happy. Am I satisfied? Not even close. I want a boyfriend. I want to be a girlfriend. I have the perfect man for the job, but how do you date somebody you already know everything about? How do you rekindle the spark in what has become your dearest friendship? How do you step out of Mommy and Daddy an into lovers again? More importantly, how do you do this with kids always present?

I just want to be his girlfriend again….. and I will be.

***UPDATE*** How this Married Woman got her Boyfriend Back

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My Best Friend, husband, partner, and soon-to-be boyfriend.

 

 

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Mama’s Hands

Never underestimate the small moments and simple touches.

My mama’s hands are one of my fondest memories. We attended church 4 times a week. As a child sermons are naturally a bore. I would fight with my siblings to get the seat next to Mama just so I could occupy myself, holding her hand. These moments to her were probably seen as nothing more than a clingy child pulling and tugging in impatience of dismissal. As a mom I often feel these small gestures to also be a nuisance at times. What she couldn’t have know was the memories these long sermons of studying her hands meant to me.

I can recall every nook and cranny. Her fingers, long and lean, her knuckles rather large for her rather tiny framed hands, giving her an almost skeletal appearance. Her nails were filed to a oblong curve, making her slender fingers seem even longer. I would use my own nails to push back her cuticle beds and wonder why the ridges across her nails were do much deeper than my own. You could tell when it was cotton season. She didn’t make it to church as often then, but her hands much dryer than usual. They would catch as they ran across the fabric pew. She would apply more lotion during this time of year; she always had lotion in church. She would let me apply it for her. I remember every bump of the knuckle, every dry patch, the wart right by her nail bed that she didn’t like me picking at.

I would sit in service and wonder if palm reading was real. I would imagine what each line could possibly mean. Does this freckle mean she is happy? Does this line mean she will live a very long time? I would often find myself transfixed with the meaning of each line on her palm before realizing it wasn’t an appropriate thought to be entertaining within our Pentecostal church. 20150626_185947

These memories are so minute in the grand scale of things. However, they are more vivid that any birthday party, Christmas gathering, school event, or game night. These are the memories that I cling to because they do not fit the cookie cutter idea of childhood memory.
I wonder everyday. Will my boys remember my hands? Will they looks back and remember Mama always had paint up her wrists and thumbs. Mama always had fabric dye in her nail beds. Mama always had uneven jagged nails. Mama’s wedding ring was always sideways with chew marks on the bottom. Mama had scars on the backs of her hands. Mama had a faded out tattoo on her wrist.

So while we tend to focus on things like providing our children with the nicest clothes, newest toys, cleanest house, biggest parties, let’s stop and think, “Is this what they will really remember?” Maybe it’s our hands, our face, our hair, even our feet, but the best memories are the ones they create on their own.

The greatest memories come from the small moments and the simple touches.

Dirty little little chubby fingers are the sweetest!
hands

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Why You Shouldn’t Expect Me to Visit.

I often feel incredibly guilty about not visiting my friends more. They often make the long trek south to visit us which makes the guilt even worse. So I feel I should explain, to my friends without children or friends with older children who may have forgotten, why it is that you should not expect to see me anytime soon on your door step. I promise it’s not you.

  1. I don’t have the time. Remember prom? We spent hours upon hours getting ready and wished we could do it everyday? Lucky me, I do get to do that everyday! I spend hours upon hours getting my little bunch ready to leave. Only now I look more like the hungover morning after prom when I finally get out the door. Only took 4 hours, but you can bet I have enough gear to survive in the wild a few days!
  2. You live too far away. I use to measure distance in things like miles, minutes, songs, or cigarettes. I now measure distance in bottles. If you live more than one bottle away, I am NOT coming. Here’s what will happen. My toddler will be lulled to sleep by the gentle hum of the car. My youngest will finish his bottle in roughly 10-15 minutes. He will then realize he has been swallowed by a loud roaring robot monster, he can’t see mom from his rear facing seat which means she is gone forever, and he’s strapped down in an obvious torture device. I will have sung every lullaby in the English language and be on the verge of tears when I arrive. Now I will have to wake my sleeping toddler. I love you, but no friend is worth what is about to go down right here in this driveway.
  3. Your house isn’t kid safe. I’m flattered that you lit all your lovely scented candles in preparation for my arrival. Your home truly smells like a majestic unicorn fart, but did I mention my 3 year old caught my table on fire last month? I would love to drink coffee on your lovely deck, but that wood doesn’t look treated and is a splinter catastrophe waiting to happen. My, what a lovely pool! Can we go in now? I’ll just lock every door and window, and block them all with furniture now.
  4. Your house isn’t kid/mom accessible. My youngest can not sit unassisted, which means I will be holding him this ENTIRE visit. You have no bumbo, swing, bouncer, play saucer, or even a high chair. You know what you have? A blanket in the floor. Let’s just hope he developed a sudden love of tummy time on the ride over here. The toddler can’t work your remote, but he is trying. I hope you have your rentals locked because I’m sure he just ordered pay-per-view.
  5. I’m not going to have fun. Believe me, you won’t either. While you are telling me about the fun weekend away you had and the interesting people you have met, I am only thinking about how much I am dreading that drive home. It will be very obvious to you that I am only half listening to what you say. I am constantly interrupting you mid sentence to calm a crying baby or get my toddler out of your refrigerator. By time we say good bye I am both mentally and physically exhausted. I am going to ride home worried about how badly I must look to you with my dirty hair, spit up on my clothes, no makeup on my face, chasing tiny people around your house.

So no, it is not you. I love you. I miss you. If you expect me to visit though, you have lost your mind. Let’s give it a few years. Then I’ll be there, watching you wrestle your kids. Don’t worry; I won’t expect you to come to me, I’ll give you home field advantage.

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Dear Breasts

Dear Breasts,

Why? What happened to us, or more importantly what happened to you? I held up my end of the deal. I have loved you, held you, played with you, flaunted you, fondled you, put you a hypothetical pedestal for as long as I can remember. I have spent more money on providing you with a warm supportive embrace than on any other items in my wardrobe.

I have lathered you in coco butter to keep you smooth and supple. During that short clubbing phased, I even let you wear glitter! I have proudly exclaimed you as my favorite attribute, sacrificing the feelings of my eyes and smile. Pushing you high above the appropriate necklines, I allowed you to become my defining feature in the teen years.

Remember our first Mardi Gras? We had so much fun. I let you girls take center stage. I gave you both your moment in the spotlight and boy how you shined. Remember high school? I kept grimy perverse hands from you; reserving you for only those I thought worthy of your awe inspiring fullness…. at least it seemed that way at the time.

When you showed up overnight at the tender age of 12, I did not get angry. I welcomed you with open arms, and it took both of them to keep you up. I forgave you, left boob, when you decided to make a surprise appearance at my wedding reception. I forgave you both of growing so out of control that I can never own lingerie or a store bought bikini. I have always forgiven you!

We were best friends. You were my wing women, helping me to snag up my husband. You helped me to excel in tip earning jobs. You made up for all the things I didn’t like about myself. You gave me self esteem I so desperately needed. I have always loved you, but now….. why have you failed me?

I have pampered, primped, and primed you for the day you would fulfill your one true purpose, your destiny, your meaning in life. I have been the Merlin to you, my King Authurs. I have been preparing you for an important role, unbeknownst you. You know what though breast? Authur pulled the freaking sword out of the stone and united a whole freaking kingdom!

All you had to do?……. Produce milk.

Your one purpose! The one thing you were born, bred, built, created for… milk. Generations of biology and subconscious chemical attraction has led you to me. You had ONE job, ONE J-O-B! I poured my love and devotion into you. Even after every suggestion from others, I never once even considered having you reduced. I supported you and your overwhelming neediness knowing that one day you would return the favor. Lies!

You even let me believe my failure at breast feeding 4 years ago was MY fault! After massaging, supplementing, changing my diet, drinking herbal teas, trying every wives tale and doctor’s suggestion, I learned it was you all along. You made me look weak, embarrassed even, when pro-milk moms would ask why I didn’t breast feed, they would assume I was making excuses or just lazy.

So now I go, to prepare bottles for the $20 can of formula I had to go out and get after midnight. Preparing bottles for my son, OUR son, which you helped bring into this world with your seductive bouncing only to ignore him like a useless baby daddy once he arrived. This is your fault breasts. I did my part. I leave you with this, you deserve every inch of saggage coming your way, TRAITORS!

Sincerely,

One disappointed formula feeding mother with a useless rack.

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Ignore all the Hype, Babies are Easy

Babies are easy

Note: Every pregnancy and every woman is different. This is written based off MY own personal experience.  I know a lot of women can not relate but I know a lot also can.

For your whole life, especially if you are a female, you have been drilled with the notion that babies are hard. Our mothers and aunts wanted to scare us into being sexually smart, and it usually works. Once we are married or out on our own it is still drilled into us so as to curb our desires for children until we are 100% for certain that we are ready. Nothing wrong with that thinking, but I’m glad to say babies are not hard.

Now before you read further keep in mind when I reference Baby I am refercencing a healthy infant. My first son had so many digestive issues that were not resolved until after his first 4 months of life. Believe me, baby was excruciatingly hard.

So….. now for the bombshell. Babies are not hard…… Motherhood is.

A healthy baby will sleep the majority of the first few months. They will eat and poop and just want your touch. The late night feedings are the closet thing to hard they will be. You will be tired and groggy and wonder why that thing is still crying, you just held it for at least 20 minutes! During the day they will sleep, you will go about your chores, budget your bills, do the laundry, only now your stopping to feed/play with/hold/rock baby. I see that as you now have a mandatory sit down break every 2-4 hours.

So where is the negative? Why not just pop out kids to your hearts content?

Because Motherhood is Hard

Delivery. I am sad to I was never able to deliver vaginally, I can not speak on the behalf of those who have. I can only offer them an envious glare. Both my boys were cesarean sections. Maybe I am weak, though I have always had a good tolerance to pain or illness, but both surgeries where nearly unbearable.

I was fortunate enough the first go-round to pass out from the combination of an epidural (I was trying to go for vaginal) and the surgery meds.  My second delivery I was only given the spinal. I did not fully go numb and when the doctor began cutting I screamed. I do not remember the majority of this, thank Yahweh! After my outburst on the table I was given a sedative that sent my mind on a drug induced adventure that lead me from my home to a delivery table in a strange futuristic sci-fi laboratory. My mind really screwed with me there. I woke up 20 minutes later thinking I had been out for days.

Once the recovery room stopped spinning and I realized my husband was not reading my mind and that I was in fact actually using my mouth to talk, I started to worry. I though I had been out for days and I needed to know where my baby was. However, it would be nearly 24 hours before I ever laid my eyes on him.

I couldn’t feel my legs for the next hour and would not be allowed to walk till the next day. Standing up felt like my guts would fall out the hole in my lower abdomen. I vomited almost immediately after the feeling came back and the pain… oh my the pain! Surgery also causes trapped gasses to move around in you. I don’t mean “just fart it out” gas, I mean holding my shoulders because they are the only thing more painful than an toothache and earache combination.

You deal with the gas for a for a few days to a week then you deal with the incision another 6 weeks. The first 3-4 weeks I couldn’t laugh, cough, sneeze, gag, strain, yell, nothing! I am on week 5 as I write and still have to hold my incision to cough and brace myself for pain when I sneeze. Your doctor also forbids you to drive at least the first two weeks.

Delivery……. is hard.

Hormones. From the moment you get off the delivery table those invisible chemicals of destruction set on fire. You think the pregnancy hormones were bad, HA! Now, if your bundle of joy comes out all pink and snuggly, these hormones will bring you tears of joy and elation. Those tears however, can easily turn into worry, panic, and the realization of what you have just gotten yourself into.

If your bundle of joy comes out and is in distress or unprepared those hormones can send you into panic. As if having a sick child isn’t scary enough, they make your mind feel like it is suffocating under the overwhleming negative thoughts of “what if?”. When I first saw my second son, hooked to wires and tubes, I had a brief moment of “I can finally lay eyes on my child” followed by a 2 week long worry of “Why is this happening to my innocent child?”

Our first encounter

Our first encounter

I began to think “What I had done wrong?”, blaming myself for trying to induce labor by walking, having sex, getting a pedicure. Nurses and family assured me that nothing would have made him come unless he was ready, it didn’t help. I was discharged and sent home, while leaving my new baby at the hospital under the watchful and caring eyes of the NICU doctors and staff; leaving the hostpital with a diaper bag where tiny outfits, blankets, and socks, were all still neatly folded in the bottom.

After coming home, without the celebration of baby, I recall being so angry at myself and my body. My first pregnancy lead to me going into early labor at only 28 weeks. I was put on meds and full bed rest to wait out the rest of my weeks. The memory of that failed attempt at a healthy pregnancy and the premature baby laying at the hospital led me to hate my body for not being able to correctly do what a woman is suppose to do. I kept asking myself why, of all things on earth, the most natural of them, I could not do right. That kind of anger will eat away at you.

I began pumping my breast the first day in the hospital, though I could not feed my baby at the breast it did offer me pride and comfort in knowing I was providing for him with the best there was to offer. My supply came in early and plentiful. I continued to pump the entire 13 days of his stay. Driving 2-3 times a day to see my boy and deliver his milk. I remember the pride I felt when the nurses jokingly told me “Please, no more, we have plenty as we are running out of freezer space”. A few days before his discharge he performed a perfect latch. After a failed attempt at breast feeding my first, I just knew this time I had it.

This glory was short lived. After working with a lactation consultant doing pre and post feeding weigh-ins, we discovered he was what they refer to as a lazy sucker. He could latch but couldn’t suck enough out to constitute a meal. It was a downer but I was okay; I had a great supply and could pump away. I figured I would continue to let him try at the breast, then offer a bottle of reserved milk, and finish off with pumping out another 3-6 ounces. This feeding process took well over an hour to accomplish, but the site of a freezer and fridge full of milk kept me going.

Less than 3 days after he came home things changed. I was pumping less and less each session. My abundance was dwindling. I switched pumps, let him latch more, took herbal supplements, drank herbal teas, even gave beer a try. I talked with multiple consultants and nurses and researched every breast feeding site and forum I could find. His appetite was growing faster than I was pumping. It took a little over a week for him to burn through my reserves and catch up to my pumping. We had no choice but to drop the “F” bomb… formula.

Now I am not judging anybody who uses formula and there are many reasons why somebody would do so, but it is not for my liking. My first son’s constant digestive issues were only worsened with each formula we tried. I wanted to avoid it like the plague. Sure enough within 2 days of supplementing with baby number two he went from happy and content to much more frequent crying and wanting to be held. Within the last 3 days I have all but completely run out. He has lost all interest in even latching on. Hormones saw this coming a week ago and crept back in.

That same hate I felt for my body only 2-3 weeks earlier hit me like a semi truck. The 2 most natural things for a woman to do and provide, I had failed. I wondered why, if I couldn’t do the things that are required of a mother, God would allow me to be a mother. My mind imagined what if? What if he can’t stomach formula? What if a time came I could not access formula? What if? What if? What if? I continued to struggle with the pump in hopes that more sessions and longer session times would increase my supply. I continued to let him latch for as long as he could before becoming exhausted and wanting the bottle. It felt like I was always in my rocking chair with suction on my nipple. I convinced myself it was better for me to stress about providing for my healthy baby than stressing because he was sick without it.

I broke down. I sat in my bath tub, allowing my breast to soak in the hottest water I could stand, massaging and placing them directly in front of the water jets, anything to promote a better flow. All the while crying, beating myself up for failing, remembering the words of the nurse who told me “I really admire you, most give up”. I was feeling as though I would not only be failing my child but I would be seen as a quitter by my fellow pro-milk moms.

Hormones, they made the worst of a bad situation. All the breast feeding pages and groups I had joined online were now a constant reminder of my failure. One by one I removed each of them as the constant photos of smiling babies on the breast made me angry with envy. My nursing cover, that laid gently across the back of my glider rocker, now lies in a crumpled mess in the bedroom floor.

Hormones…. are hard

Self Esteem. I have never considered myself Miss America but I am instilled with a healthy level of confidence. I can embrace my tiny chin, large forehead, thin hair, pale complexion, and I love it all.

I wish I could say your body has settings like the personalized driver settings in a car. When baby comes out it doesn’t recognize non-pregnant mom and adjust to her original setting. There is extra everywhere. That adorable belly is now a sagging piece of skin. In some cases, what was once silky smooth now looks like purple and pink claw marks. People will tell you they are battle scars and be proud of them. I’m no idiot; they make you feel ugly. Your hair, though fixable, will sit in a mess on your head because you are too tired to try or your recovery makes reaching any higher than your nose painful. You haven’t been able to reach your legs, much less your crotch, for weeks and you will hate to see what they look like. After a c-section you will catch a glimpse of your no longer bandaged incision and feel like frankenstein. The clothes you wore before you were pregnant are still much too small and your maternity clothes are much too large.

It’s one thing to know you look a hot mess but it’s completely different to feel ugly. When you feel a hot mess you can dress it up and paint it on. When you feel ugly, no amount of makeup or clothes will take it away. Those same hormones will only add to your already low tolerance for the mirror. The first time I stood up completely naked from my tub, I had no choice but to be face to face with a mirror with full view of the damage. Once again, I cried. Be prepared it happens a lot after baby.

All women want to feel wanted, they want to feel sexy. You see this often in “loose” women; we say they are seeking attention for their low elf esteem. Married women are no different. There have been days of recent I just wanted my husband to touch me. I have gotten internally angry with him after days have gone by with nothing more than a good bye kiss in the morning. I painted my face, squeezed into the most decent clothes I could fit in. Why does he not want me!? Am I not sexy in his eyes anymore? What am I doing wrong?

Then he tried. He attempted to touch me in a sensual way and I swatted him away. WHY! Here he was doing what I had been wanting all this time and I swatted away his advances. In that moment, when his hand brushed against me, I suddenly felt every insecurity I had experienced in the past weeks. “I am gross”, is all I could think. I know I have stretch marks where he use to only feel smooth skin. I know I haven’t been able to take care of my nether regions. I know there is a over hanging belly hiding a crooked and red still healing scar. I know my breast will probably leak on him. I know if I allow him to study my skin and face closely he’ll see the dry skin, the stress induced acne, the over grown eye brows. I know I am still limited in my physical activity and he will think he is hurting me by even the slightest movements.

It is a vicious cycle. Why would he even attempt to make advances if I only push him away? Why do I feel this overwhelming need for his attention to feel better about myself but feeling worse when I get it? Why am I crying to be held but disgusted to be touched?

Self Esteem… is hard.

Pride and Paranoia. Don’t lie. We have all judged that friend who asks for a weekend baby sitter more than once in a 2 month period. We say “She needs to be home with her kids anyway!”. What do we know? She may be with her kids sun up to sun down sunday through friday, maybe her friends have finally asked her out again for a kid free night.

We say we don’t care what people think of us, but the moment a stranger compliments your parenting skills, you will change your mind. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent. We are already paranoid that we aren’t good enough. To be called a bad mother would probably be the biggest injury to my pride. I am paranoid that any slip up will lead me to looking like that girl we are all silently and not-so-silently judging on our news feed.

We get prideful. We are scared to ask for help. the whole time you are pregnant you hear “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” which should be true but isn’t. If you want to remain prideful you have to suck it up and deal with it. It shouldn’t be this way. Every parent needs a break, maybe not every weekend but at least once a month would be nice. The minute people hear you’ve left your kids for the second time in 3 months with a relative, you become considered a selfish parent.

Like I said, I am guilty too. I think my judgement comes from another place however. I am jealous. I am jealous that I do not have family closer. I am jealous that I can not leave my kids without a good cause without immense guilt. Jealous that I feel it is unfair to leave my kids with other people. Feeling these things doesn’t make them all true but you can’t help how you feel. My pride is often to scared to ask for help.

I am paranoid. Scared I will wear out my “help me” card. This fear left me in a quite a odd position recently. My step daughter had been staying with us to help with the new baby. I felt I was asking for her help much much too often. I have every reason to need help. Telling someody else to feed your baby while you cook supper for the family seems ok but still feels wrong. So when she decided to sleep in one morning I didn’t want to bother her. She had been helping enough already and I was worried she would get tired of it. Then the urge to go to the bathroom hit me. After a C-section, straining is incredibly difficult, so when the need to go hits you, you take it and take it fast. It just so happened to come during feeding time. In my prideful and paranoid state, I let her sleep. 10 minutes later I found myself in the tiny alcove in my bathroom, only large enough to hold one toilet and one person. There I sat with an infant in my lap, holding a bottle in my only free hand, a toddler, in true toddler fashion, at my side shoving an empty sippy cup in my face and dangerousy close to my infants head. With the toddler came his entourage of my small hairless dog and his dad’s 70lb American bully. There the 5 of us were in this tiny alcove when I realized…. how am I going to wipe my own butt?

Don’t worry, I made it out with a clean butt and with the realization that I had to overcome my fear of asking for help and just wake the girl up next time.

Pride and Paranoia…. are hard

Leaving the House. Baby, like I said, is easy. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Love. His things are not easy. Your infant will only weigh a few lbs, but those lbs become tons when you are trying to pack him everywhere. So you have to heave around the bulky complicated stroller or invest in a sling that will make you think you are killing your kid everytime you put them in it. The infant carrier, or carseat, will make your 7lb baby now feel like a akwardly shaped 40lb burden. I relate hauling around a carseat to carrying a a very wide bucket full of water while being sure not to spill a drop.

The diaper bag, you will always over pack it and yet always forget one important thing you need. If you leave it in the car you will most definitely need it. If you pack it around with you, you won’t need it at all. You will eventually no longer carry a purse period because seriously, who has that many hands.

On long drives you will be ever so cautious constantly checking the back seat, of which you can’t see your child because he is turned backward. When driving alone without a fancy backseat mirror you will pull over just to check they are positioned ok. You will stop to feed your baby much like you stop to feed yourself, because, baby is easy.

So this precious few lbs of easy to manuever human being is the least of the problem. It is the 800lbs of equipment that will make you wish to never leave home again.

Leaving the house… is hard.

The Culmination of all this. After the baby is home, the routine is set, and the new normal sets in, it can become anything but. I am sure if you have made it this far that it is no secret I am suffering from post partum. There is no shame in it and recogniizing it for what it is helps to understand that all these things I feel are not as real as they seem. They are only my hormones playing against me.

I consider myself blessed this go round. After my first pregnancy I spiraled completely out of control. I said things to my infant that a mother should never say to a child of any age. I wrongfully blamed him for all my problems. I did not abuse my child but I can never take back the way I felt about him. I can never escape the guilt of my lack of affection for him. He was beautiful and precious and perfect and I couldn’t see it. You never get that time back.

My firstborn

My firstborn

I have but one regret in my entire life; I regret not getting the help I needed sooner. When he was just crawling, I was so busy wrapped up in house work and errands that he wasn’t gettin any attention. He started to cry and follow me around the house. In hindsight it was precious. He was crawling all over our big old house following me like a puppy just wanting love. I couldn’t see it. This was the day that I will never forget.

Had I been in a healthy frame of mind it still would have been stressful but the culmination of all things listed above created the perfect storm. He was right at my heels, crying to be picked up and I snapped. I, an adult, standing feet above him, began yelling. Not just the yell an angry mom does, but the scream of a seriously sick individual. I just screamed “What! What do you want!? Why can’t you leave me alone!” along with things I can’t even remember. Things I do not wish to ever remember. He stopped. He froze. The look of terror I put on his face will always haunt me. It was a look that caused me to freeze as well. I just stopped. I scooped him up and cried like a baby, apologizing to this tiny child for reasons he couldn’t even understand.

I called my mom as soon as I could catch my breath, “Come now, I am scared and you need to get Paxton”. I just knew from that moment on that he would hate me, fear me, run from me. I cried for days after the incident. My huband couldn’t understand why, but I couldn’t and still will never be able to express how violently my words came out or how scared, a child that had never experienced fear before this point, looked.

My mom did come, right away. She knew exaclty what I meant when I said I was scared. No, I wasn’t afraid I would physically assault my child by any means. I was afraid I would do permanant damage to our realtionship. I was afraid I would hurt myself out of guilt. I was just all around scared… of being a mother.

I am very happy to say that I did eventually get help. My son was over a year old before we ever bonded. I have very few photos of us even together though I was with him everyday. Now, you would never in a million years have ever thought any differently. He is my world and though he will always be a daddy’s boy he has mommy’s heart as well.

Even if you don’t suffer post partum, the stress or excitment of baby alone can wear on your marriage. Be prepared. Prepared to be exhausted and snappy with your husband. He is only human and eventually he will snap back. You are both tired, while you suffer from those hormones he is stressing about providing for a growing family. Dealing with a stressed out husband can be as bad, if not worse, than dealing with a crying baby. Men have needs too and men can become depressed just like women. Keep him in mind, they carry their stress much differently.

The Culmination of all this… is hard

So, now you see why I say babies are easy. They are the least complicated piece of a very large and complicated puzzle. Dealing with yourself will be the hardest part of raising your baby. You are creating a person and a life but you are creating a mother first.

Creating a Mother… is hard

Both my boys now

Both my boys now

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

One Baby Down, Another on the Way!

So, as you could tell by my previous post we WERE expecting. We are now the proud parents to Kaston Lambert.

After spending a grueling 13 days in the NICU he came home one week ago today. More on that in a later post.

Here is our bundle of joy!

Kaston

Can you say “ADORABLE”? No? Well don’t worry, I will say it enough for the both of us.

So judging by the title of this post you are probably thinking “This crazy basket case is seriously expecting another?” You are also at this point assuming I am either a backwoods Duggar fan or a serious welfare case. Please curb your judgement as I AM NOT expecting a child but I am expecting a……..  drum roll please……. A GRANDBABY!

As my husband and I close the door on pregnancy and children for ourselves we are making way for grandchildren. It is unexpected and it is taking him some adjusting as the idea of his baby girl being a mom is terrifying.

To add to this anxiety and excitement, after years of boys being born into the immediate family, 4 in a row to be exact, we are having our first GIRL since the twins (one of which is the mom in this case)!!!!!

So, I share her gender announcement made today.

huttobabypin

Congratulations! You got this girl!

Categories: Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Baby on a Budget. What to Buy and What to Skip

So, it has definitely been a minute! My Computer finally quit on me and I was living through my phone for about the last 8 months. Finally, I’m back! What did you guys miss?

WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!!

7 Months to be exact with baby boy number 2!

Kaston Lambert Wicker

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I am determined to be completely ready upon arrival without going broke. Thankfully I have one kid under my belt so I know what I will need vs. what I will be wasting money on.

I do not claim to be an expert, and every mom has different opinions because every child is different. While my child may demand a high setting vibrating chair your’s may be scared of them all together. In a world of motherhood magazines shoving $600 high chairs in your face, I feel the need to bring some reality to the situation. I present to you…

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Broken down into 4 lists

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Here, we have the bigger ticket items you will want to invest in. Don’t fret, you can get them cheaper than you think.

1. Bassinet with wheels. While the magazines show a graceful sleeping baby in a nursery while mom is doing her household work, this will not be logical always. You will spend more time running in to check your babies breathing than actually doing ANY housework. Being able to roll your sleeping baby with you around your home will offer you peace of mind and save you a lot of panic. Roll it right next to your bed at night for close comfort without co-sleeping. Between $40-$70 at Wal-Mart. You can often find these in consignment and resale stores as well.

2. Crib.  These are expensive! Buying new is crazy!!! Sometimes you get lucky and a family member hands one down from a recent baby. A good bet is to look at online resale sites. Think Craigslists, ebay, facebook buy sell and trade pages. (Join as many facebook swap pages related to baby as you can). Check up to date safety recalls before purchasing from somebody other than a retailer. My mom found mine for $20 at a garage sale in excellent shape!

3. Backpack Diaper Bag. Why they even make shoulder bags I will never know. When you are packing a combined weight of what feels like 80 lbs. (infant carrier and baby) The last thing you want is to balance an over stuffed diaper bag on your other arm. Don’t stress about finding an actual double strapped diaper bag. Look into actual backpacks and book bag style bags. It will open up your possibilities endlessly, just won’t say “Diaper” on the tag.

4. Boppy Pillow. This little simple yet wonderful device is a must if you choose to breast feed. It was a blessing during recovery from my c-section. It will double as a tummy time pillow down the road. My son spent more time laid in or on his boppy pillow than in his crib. Great for napping away from home. Can be found cheap online or if  you or someone you know sews, it is a super simple project.

5. Carseat Stroller Combo. We all know you can’t leave the hospital without a carseat ready, but some people think they can skip the stroller. If you can, kudos to you and your deity like upper body strength. Carseats are HEAVY! If you plan on going ANYWHERE that doesn’t provide a buggy, that’s a shopping cart to those of you above the Mason Dixon, you will want… no… NEED a stroller than fits your infant carrier.

6. Vibrating Chair. This really varies by child. Your child may prefer a swing or to be carried in a baby wearing device. However, I have found that with any baby I have come in contact with, a gentle vibrating or slight bounce from one of these type chairs will give your arms a break… how long of a break depends on your little one.

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These are optional. While all these are great to have, when you are on a budget, they are not always necessary. Varies based on you and your child’s preferences.

1. Bumbo Chair. These are great for when baby starts to eat baby food or starts to get curious yet can’t sit up alone yet. Great to have but you won’t notice you don’t have it either.

2.  Bibs. I know, I know, this is the most basic baby need you think. While I did use them, the majority of the time they were used as a wash cloth or burp rag and never an actual bib. I found they never stopped any food or milk from creeping into the crevices of my son’s neck and trying to use them as rags to clean up was only frustrating. This I leave up to you.

3. Swing. Much like the vibrating chair this varies by child. I know babies who do not like being in them at all while my son never wanted to get out of his. Another of those things that would be wonderful to have but you may not notice you don’t.

4. Detergent. Now i know some people are going to disagree, but I am a “bring on the immunities” type mom. I may have washed one load in dreft then just washed with out own. I mean he was going to be held, cuddled, and laid on all type of surfaces in many different places so it seemed pointless. This will all depend on your child’s needs.

5. Rocker. This may need to go on the ‘need” list. I have heard this is something kids become accustomed to. So if you don’t start out rocking them in anything other than your arms they may never cry to be rocked. My first had stomach problems so we did spend a many of night in the rocking chair.

6. Baby Monitor. With the ease of a rolling bassinet I never much used or needed ours. The only occurrence of using one I can recall is when having company on a hot night, I left my sleeping child in the cool house while we visited on the back porch. I still found myself running back and forth anyway to check in on him.

7. Shoes. Your infant can not walk. While shoes are adorable and my favorite part of a newborn wardrobe they are simply not necessary. Your little one will most likely end up out of them anyway. So unless you have a photo session or big event, skip on the shoes until baby is bigger to save a good bit of money.

8. (not pictured) NURSERY. That’s right. I was so excited to decorate for baby first go round. I went all out! He slept in a bassinet by my bed the first 9 months. By time he was crib ready he was already sharing a room with his big brother. A COMPLETE WASTE. Baby is to small to play in a nursery alone and you are not going to spend all day just sitting in this room so baby can stare at his/her perfectly coordinated room. It is nice, Do not get me wrong, you can store all the gobs of baby stuff there, but don;t stress if you can’t have one. We actually chose not to have one this go round.

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All the small things you will absolutely need and guess what? Most can be found at your local dollar store! Buying these over time will save you tons as the big delivery draws near.

1. Diapers. My advice? Buy a pack EVERYTIME you go grocery shopping. Many babies have reactions to certain brands and you can’t predict that but stores will exchange them down the road!  Don’t just buy newborn, baby will grow and will grow quick.

2. Wipes. They don’t get as much credit as the diapers but they get used just as much if not more. They clean butts, faces, bottles, pacifiers, fingers, sticky tables, you name it! for the next several years you will ALWAYS want a pack handy.

3. Diaper Cream. Diapers make butts red, all you need to know.

4. Lotions, Shampoos, Washes. If you have a shower you will get this stuff and believe me, it will be plenty. I still have bottles from 3 year ago. If you aren’t having a shower only invest a few bottles of each, don’t over do it.

5. Travel Size Necessities. Get all the things I just listed in #4 in travel size. These things, full size, are small but weighty and when put into a diaper bag can feel like bricks. Invest in diaper bag only smaller versions.

6. Gas Drops. I had some bought for me but being a new mom didn’t know when to use them. After having a very fussy son my sister popped a drop in his mouth and it was like liquid magic. It is SUPER cheap as well.

7. Crib Sheets. You really don’t NEED all the fancy and ridiculously expensive crib bedding. I made mine this go round. You Baby isn’t suppose to sleep with a a blanket, bumpers have been recommended against, so sheets are all you need for sleeping baby.

8. ZipLock Bags. These will save your diaper bags and purse. Also great for organizing clothes for quick changes. See what I mean by clicking here

9. Nose Bulb and Thermometer (not pictured). Babies have boogers. period. You  will be obsessed with your babies temperature.

10. Burp cloths. Your best bet is to use actual wash/dish cloths. Cloth diapers are not as absorbent of spit up as you think. They do not grip to your shoulder. I highly recommend investing in pretty dish cloths. Muuuch cheaper as well.

11. Bottles. These you may want to wait before throwing money at. I went through several different brands before finding ones my son was comfortable with. After buying Dr. Browns and every other expensive brand, it ended up being the cheapest most basic bottles on the market.

12. Clippers. Baby has nails like a cat. They are vicious and grow faster than arm pit hair.

13. Breast Pump. If you plan to breast feed this is a no brainer. Very expensive to buy but you can rent them or get blessed with being able to borrow one for free like me!

14. Receiving Blankets. You will use these more than you could ever know. they will be diaper change mats, sun blocks, rags, pillows, and lastly actual blankets. Get as many as you can!!!

15. Socks. Babies tiny feet release heat, trap it in with socks! Their toe nails are also vicious.

16. Bottle Cleaner. A rag won’t cut it, just buy this $0.99 little brush at the dollar store.

17. Infant Stabilizer. It has been said you should not use anything that did not come with your carrier. Your carrier will not hold up babies head. If you don’t buy this you will have one of 2 options. Always have somebody to hold babies head in the car, or you will most likely roll of blankets and stuff around babies head to keep it up. The latter is more likely and I promise you, it will fail more than it works. Just buy this wonderful piece of pillow for baby!

collage no need

This list should have been a lot longer but I was short on time

1. Pack-n-play or play pen.  Unless you travel a LOT with baby, skip this. You have a crib, you have a bassinet, you have a floor to play in. So unless you are skipping the others, skip this.

2. Changing Table. They are pretty, they match the crib, they make a nursery look put together buuuut, you will never use it for anything other than a catch all. Baby needs diaper change? You are going to change him/her right in the crib, on the couch, on the floor, on the dining table, in your bed, on a blanket draped over any flat surface period. Why pay hundreds of dollars for another flat surface????

3. Baby Towels and Wash Clothes. Baby wash cloths are super soft but you can really do without. Baby towels have the absorbent quality of a plastic bag. Literally, a thin piece of super soft yet super water resilient fabric. just stick to your own towels .

4. Baby Bath Tub. Baby can fit in sink. I had a fancy little baby bath with all the bells and whistles and found a folded towel in the bottom of my tub was the much better alternative and baby thought so as well. just skip it! Takes up sooo much space without any good reason to.

So there is my list. There are a million things to buy for baby, but in today’s economy you get what you can and shouldn’t waste on anything that you won’t get your full dollar out of.

If you see anything I missed please let me know! So excited for our baby number 2 who will actually make child #5 in our blended family!

Categories: Organization, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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