Ultimately, you realize it doesn’t matter. 

Seeing the crumbled probiotic wrapper on the counter today made me smile. Not because my husband succumbed to my constant nagging to remember it, but because I realized I didn’t care whether he did or not. He’s the one that got our daughter up and dressed and fed – and shoot – if she goes without probiotic powder for a day, sister will be juuust fine.

Parenting can be the ultimate exercise in teamwork and the ultimate exercise in battling controlling tendencies. “What if he forgets XX?” “What if he doesn’t do XX the way I do?” 

Ultimately, you realize it doesn’t matter. That he loves her just as much as you do. And you’re both doing the best you can for the tiny human at all times.

The last year I’ve learned to let go a lot. Of “my way” and “Well I heard that…” 

Gosh. How many sentences did I start with, “They say…” 

Who are “THEY,” anyway?

I’m getting better at trusting that children are given two parents for a reason, because there’s way, way more than one way to get things done. 

   
 

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It may not be “Mommy’s way,” but it’s our way.

I loved this excerpt from an article I read today:

“Although we’re doing MUCH better in this regard than we were a few years ago, dads still aren’t taken very seriously when it comes to parenting. In many circles we’re just clueless/unwilling partners who need a whole lot of hand holding to do the job well. Society oftentimes doesn’t trust us to do anything parenting-related (the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms is an example). Some moms (not all moms) don’t trust us, so they’ll micromanage the hell out us – which in turn, takes all of the joy and discovery out of fatherhood.

Dads aren’t wired with maternal instincts (which leads to a lot of parental insecurity on our end) and we’re still fighting the stigmas and stereotypes society places on us – but at the end of the day, our kids trust us to do the right thing for them. The way we do things may not be “Mommy’s way” or the “best way,” but it’s our way – and if the kids are safe and happy, that’s all that matters.”

I’m blessed with a wondeful, engaged dad, and my husband is equally wonderful and engaged with our daughter. To me this is normal and necessary. In another lifetime, dads were busy hunting wooly mammoths and making fire and whatnot, while mommas focused on child rearing, and that makes sense. But life evolves.

Men and women are still wired differently, and may naturally gravitate to different household roles, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of societal expectations. I think it’s unfair to lump dads into a category of inferior parenting based on gender alone. It feeds a self-fulfilling prophecy, bruising their confidence in something society already suggests they won’t be as good at.

People often comment on my husband’s role with our daughter, expressing surprise that he has watched her alone over a weekend, taken her to doctor’s appointments or put her to bed solo. I get defensive for him. Of course he can do all those things. Isn’t it a disservice to not expect this as the norm?

Every family has unique circumstances and needs, and happiness and balance take on lots of different forms in different situations. I admit it sometimes requires a concerted effort on my end to not micromanage and share “my way” of doing things, so that he can have his own.

Someone sent me this article months ago and I have reread it many, many times, excerpt below:

“We do things differently, we worry differently, we parent differently. He thinks I make the bath too hot, I think he makes the bath too cold. We are technically parenting side-by-side, yes, but sometimes it feels like we’re on opposite sides in a fierce game of tug-of-war. I often feel like we’re each trying to pull the other person over to our own side. The Right Side.

But if co-parenting is teaching me anything, it is teaching me this: there is no “right” way to parent these children when both of us love them unconditionally. There is no right way to make a snack or pour a bath or sing a song or even, much to my dismay, dress a baby. There is His Way and there is My Way, and they are each right in their own way. We do things differently, and that’s okay. We are passionate about different issues, and that’s okay. Our parenting styles are not one in the same, and probably never will be. We are learning to be consistent with rules and discipline, but there is also a lot of grey area that we’re simply learning to embrace.

Maybe that’s the beauty of parenting alongside someone else. Maybe we each make up for what the other person lacks, and maybe our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out. Maybe it’s okay for one parent to worry about preschool enrollment while the other parent diagnoses mysterious rashes. After all—both need to be taken care of, right?”

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10 things I actually do when the baby sleeps

Sleep when the baby sleeps, they say.

The baby will nap, they say.

The famed advice everyone (seriously, everyone) feels compelled to tell a new mom is, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Sounds wonderful. Sensible. Convenient.

Also IMPOSSIBLE.

If by some miracle my daughter does nap, I can neither: A) instantly fall asleep after weeks of caffeine-induced mania, or B) forget the piles of laundry, neglected pets, unread emails and hundreds of other things I’d like to attend to.

What do I actually do when graced with these mythical naps I hear so much about?

1. Lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling and marvel at the wonder of silence.

2. Consider showering…try to remember the last time I showered…get distracted by the appalling amount of dog hair on the carpet and then revert to # 1.

3. Frantically use my phone to pay bills, check social media sites, news apps and text messages in an attempt to reconnect with reality.

4. Debate making dinner, cleaning, getting the mail or otherwise being productive but decide instead to re-fluff the clothes that have been in the dryer all week and pick my nail polish off.

5. Spend several minutes staring in wonder at the baby and making sure her breaths are perfectly rhythmic. Tear up at the wonder of the life I created. Panic when she stirs and exhale deeply when I realize she just had to fart and is still asleep.

6. Explore feelings of guilt for not doing anything but lying on the floor. Mentally sweep these feelings under the rug (*real* sweeping is out of the question) and attempt to crack my back. Still on the floor.

7. Wander to the fridge. Sigh deeply upon realizing a chocolate cake has not magically appeared since I last checked. Pick up a string cheese…toss it back. Close fridge. Sigh again. Trudge back to nursery to stare lovingly at the baby again.

8. Call my husband to brag that the baby is napping and to prove that I am not.

9. Think about doing some yoga. Execute one or two poses. Feel wildly confident and fit.

10. Go through the 2,000 or so baby photos on my phone and silently vow to be a better, more productive mom tomorrow than I was today.

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Dear Lila,

I have long, in-depth conversations with you. I tell you random things and talk to you like you’re aware of my words. You smile and stare, gnawing on your tiny fist, and part of me thinks you understand me.

Caring for you is hard work, and sometimes I need a break, but picking you up at daycare is the best part of my day, every day. I have to hold myself back from running down the hallway to see you. I want to know everything that happened, how much you ate and pooped. Yeah, I care about your poop a whole lot.

The coos, gurgles and shrieks you make are the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard. They cause this indescribable internal joy that’s a mix of melting and exploding.

Your dad is amazing with you. A-ma-zing. From day one he’s been hands-on and engaged, paving his own routines and games with you. He gave you your first bath, put you in the car seat the first time and stayed and held you when the pediatrician had to prick your heel 10 times…(while I cried and bolted out of the room). You make huge smiles at him and he beams right back. And he’s really good at picking out your clothes and packing the diaper bag.

I feel so proud to have entered a new stage in life because of you. I’ve joined the most wonderful club there is.

You make hilarious facial expressions, regardless of your mood. I often call you the skeptical baby because you give us a bored, all-knowing stare when we do things wrong or say ridiculous things.

Sometimes I check your car seat buckles eight times. Sometimes I rewash bottles I know are clean, “just in case.” Sometimes I stare at the monitor in the middle of the night to see you breathing.

I love wearing you, even when my back aches, and even when you spit up down my chest. Watching you sleep on me is so sweet.

When you were sick this week, getting you better was all that mattered. We went to the pediatrician three times, and I completely overlooked caring for my own illness in the process. PS, we learned you’re allergic to amoxicillin, so stay away from that junk.

I take an obscene number of photos and videos of you. Fortunately people still seem to respond positively to this influx of baby spam. Or they’re just too polite to object. Winner either way!

I’m already sad that one day you will go through things that will be hard and painful. I worry about your future far more than I ever did my own.

I marvel, every single day, that I carried you inside me for 39 weeks. I think of all the places we went together and things we experienced that were just us two. I feel happy about those memories.

I try my hardest every day for you, and still feel like it’ll never be good enough. Not because I’m striving for perfection, but because you’re so perfect, nothing could ever be good enough.

You are remarkable. You are a delight. You are a gift.

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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.

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things that make me happy

1. Nesting. Jim put the entire nursery together as a surprise. And by that I mean he stayed up til 5 a.m. one night painting, hanging art and curtains and assembling furniture. I had everything ready but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, and love that his input and thinking created the layout.

2. Endorphins. The guy who scans me in at the gym and always says encouraging things about working out while pregnant. And working out while pregnant makes me feel less round.

3. Cleanliness. Just got our carpets cleaned. It’s the next best thing to new floors and it feels like the whole house had a spa day.

4. Poop. When I called a friend in a crabby mood this week she told me a story about poop to completely distract and entertain me.

5. Thinking in new ways. This article was captivating and made me reevaluate some of the ways I think.

6. Smartphones. For all the bad things we attribute to an addiction to technology, I love how it allows me to stay connected with so many people that are important to me.

7. Take out. Tonight it’s Oregano’s. All the joy of eating out and I can wear pajamas.

8. Anniversaries. Jim proposed four years ago today.

9. Decluttering. I’ve sold a ton of stuff through craigslist and Swip Swap lately and have had surprisingly pleasant experiences. I’m always fascinated by the people who want my stuff and the process feels like community recycling.

10. Drunk History. Watch it. Trust me.