Getting my learn on.

If you’re getting sick of motherhood posts, you might want to unfollow this blog.

I can’t stop. I won’t stop.

It’s been a huge life change and it’s different every single day. It consumes just about every waking moment in ways that are equal parts fascinating and frustrating. There’s so much I want to remember and reflect on — if only there was time to record it all.

1. Moving into a dorm was tough…getting married was an adjustment…but parenting is the hardest thing ever. I have a newfound respect for everyone I know with children. Add another boatload of credit to anyone with more than one child, a child with special needs or single parents. You are heroes.

2. Babies make marriage different –but not worse. Having a child has given me — no exaggeration — a thousand new ways to love, appreciate and respect my husband, and it’s shown us lots of new ways to work together as a team. This includes everything from tag-team diaper changes and baths to knowing when the other person has hit a wall and stepping in before disaster strikes.

3. Everything changes all at once. Your very existence will be rapidly redefined. I thought nine months of pregnancy prepared me for being a mom but alas, I was blissfully ignorant. Suddenly, none of my decisions can be made independently, and the whole idea of “me time” is redefined as being able to take a shower. And it’s forever.

4. Despite intrinsic tendencies, being a perfectionist is impossible and a waste of time. Same goes for being a control freak. Nothing is ever going to be perfect or under control again, which is surprisingly ok. Rolling with the punches means not batting an eye when your daughter poops in the bathtub for a fourth night in a row, or screams bloody murder at a tailgate party.

5. Thought you already were mature? Oh, no. Babies require you to grow up more and faster than you ever anticipated. For us, this meant big things like buying more life insurance and filing a will, and smaller things like missing a lot of social events and not shopping as often.

6. Friendships change after kids. No way around it. But the strong ones — the ones worth keeping — find a way to adapt and continue, even if it means more time spent texting and less time at happy hours. It’s a sacrifice that’s simultaneously heart breaking and ok.

7. You will question why you did this on a daily basis.

8. You will be humbled and thankful to the point of tears on a daily basis.

9. Small and simple pleasures are increasingly important. Taking a walk, having a glass of wine, vacuuming…everything shifts to keep baby at the center, so that even the smallest things elicit deep gratification.

10. You will have a dumbfounding new respect for your own parents. Oh man. No words.

11. There’s a lot of pressure. Nursing, sleep training, vaccination schedules, milestones. Geesh. Staying true to yourself and knowing your baby are the most important factors, but it’s hard. Outside pressures are intense and all around.

12. Post-partum depression and anxiety are real and they are crippling. I never knew it was possible to feel so horrible. I was terrified and miserable and so fortunate to have had support from my family, friends and doctor. Knowing when to ask for help is the hardest part.

13. Smartphones are life-saving devices. The amount of things I google is absurd. Not to mention I have a way to stay in touch with friends when I’m stuck at home, and can read books or watch tv when I’m being held hostage by a crying baby.

14. Babies are sometimes loud. Really loud. And sometimes they smell and make disturbing noises.

15. Deep breaths and wine are a powerful combination.

16. No one’s ever going to follow your instructions for caring for your baby perfectly. And it will make you batshit crazy. But it will be ok. I think.

17. Everyone will give you advice. Some of it will be really good, life-saving, even. And some of it will make you want to projectile vomit.

18. Speaking of projectile vomit…babies do that. And they poop and pee and drool on you. Best to just get over it and embrace doing laundry as an even greater necessity.

19. Severe fatigue is a funny thing. Your body will astonish you with what it can do on absolutely no sleep, but it will be a painful experience.

20. It’s ok to let people help you and to be bossy about what you need. Ask for food and babysitting and whatever will get you through to the next hour.

21. The connection and support among moms is beautiful. I mean, it takes my breath away when I stop to think of the support and advice I’ve gotten from moms of all ages and walks of life. It’s a silent and unbreakable bond because there’s no stronger connection than the love a parent has for her child.

IMG_0541.JPG

IMG_0542.JPG

IMG_0543.JPG

IMG_0544.JPG

About these ads

Some goodness

So many things are happening that make me want to use exclamation points! I want to remember them all!

1. Arizona now recognizes marriage equality. Finally. My heart is so happy.

2. We got an Honest Company gift certificate from Anna and Josh after her wonderful visit. I’ve always loved this stuff but never wanted to splurge on it. As Anna noted, “Products that are good enough for Jessica Alba are good enough for us.”

3. We survived taking the baby to a brewery event and a tailgate party. Minimal crying. Great teamwork.

4. Ally is about to have a baby! I am WILDLY excited about this!

5. Michelle is coming to visit.

6. Dan is coming to visit.

7. Our new AC was installed and new roof is almost complete after July’s crazy storm damage.

8. Jennelle and I took the kiddos to the zoo. The weather was beautiful and it was an unexpected workout. And we both mastered stroller assembly, so we’re basically certified engineers now.

9. Baby is mostly sleeping through the night. I want to skip through a meadow shouting with glee. Actually sleeping for more than two hours at a time makes me feel like a super hero.

10. I successfully cleaned out the laundry room, which previously looked liked a natural disaster took place within it. It’s much less embarrassing now.

a maternity leave confession

I’ve watched 112 episodes of Parks and Recreation over the past few weeks. That’s six complete seasons. Because maternity leave provides a unique opportunity to binge watch NetFlix, on your iPhone, in a dark nursery, while feeding/changing/rocking/dressing a baby every two or three hours.

This show is like the offspring of 30 Rock and Seinfeld, after being raised in the county government office I worked in after college.

Yes, I worked for the county government after college–it was an absurd interesting career launchpad for a 21 year old.

I feel qualified to confirm that this show portrays EXACTLY what government work is like, only it’s slightly less funny and with fewer hunting trips. And there was no Chris Pratt.

705598-parks_and_recreation_5056431f846b0

Life.

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”  –Fr. Alfred D’Souza

Life Explained

…Another post written in total darkness in the nursery, a baby FINALLY asleep in my lap after defying slumber all day. The irony in how badly she doesn’t want to sleep, and how badly I do want to sleep, is not lost. I’m told I was a very calm baby, so I’m not sure why karma felt the need to punk us…

I can hardly concentrate on typing because the sound machine app on my phone is blasting soothing rain sounds at max volume. This is not soothing to me…it sounds like I’m sitting in a typhoon…but it creates baby zen. Whatever it takes, right? Jim brought me a glass of wine a few minutes ago so I’m fairly content although unable to move an inch without awakening the beast.

Yes, the (adorable) beast is my daughter.

Moments like this make me so grateful for smartphones and social media. Most days I feel confined to the nursery in endless attempts to woo this munchkin to sleep, and it’s isolating. And mind numbing. My phone provides an outlet and a way to connect with friends and family while stationary and silent. It’s also how I keep my brain cells alive, reading and playing games when I need a way to stay awake.

Since Lila was born I’ve thought more and more about what it means to be present and mindful. Babies have a way of forcing you into the present, no matter what you’d rather be doing or thinking about. This is something I’ve always struggled with. Being here, in the moment. It’s scary for me to have to abandon all the things I want to be doing and paying attention to and I feel a little lost at times, but it’s also exhilarating to suddenly realize I don’t know what day or time it is, and that it doesn’t even matter. I’m taking this experience one day at a time — hell, one second at a time — and I think it’s a valuable experience, even though it’s painful. All my tendencies to plan and control are evaporating into hilarious memories and I’m learning to focus on what’s in front of me.

My last blog post generated an overwhelming amount of support and advice that was so meaningful and appreciated. Thank you to everyone for your sympathy, suggestions and offers to help. It’s reassuring to know others have navigated this path before me and survived!

IMG_0257.JPG

adventures in babysitting

I was warned that becoming a mom would involve all kinds of new experiences. Some are amazing. Others are humbling. A few highlights:

1. Using my iPhone flashlight to peek into a diaper at night to check for poop.

2. Using a cocktail muddler to push the air out of baby bottle liners.

3. The realization that I haven’t gotten gas in six weeks and still have half a tank.

4. Having friends come over with their babies and watching us all react like trained canines any time we heard a cry, until we identified the source.

5. Being projectile vomited on, and being too tired to disrupt a feeding to clean off.

6. Being pooped on, and being too tired to disrupt a feeding to clean off.

7. Playing mind games with myself to maintain sanity while rocking baby for hours on end. Count backwards from 500 by 6’s…name a restaurant that starts with every letter of the alphabet…

8. Sharing text and Facebook conversations with other new moms, at all hours of the day and night, that could legitimately be published as: A) sitcom scripts, or B) birth control manuals for teens.

9. Tasting baby formula. From a baby bottle. It’s a long story.

10. Going to bed on the floor of the nursery, under a swaddling blanket and with my head on a nursing pillow, because it was unfathomable to walk 20 feet to the bedroom.

11. Realizing half my vocabulary now consists of bizarre, nonsensical words: bumbo, boba, moby, boppy, swaddle, podster, paci…

12. Spending a considerable amount of time contemplating which pajamas to wear each day, only to resign myself to the fact that I’ll be covered in spit up momentarily and it’s really irrelevant.

13. Getting six hours of sleep and feeling like a complete superhero.

IMG_0194.JPG