It’s a good thing we bought a king size bed when we moved into our house last winter! Our precious little girl is only 8 months old but with the accumulation of baby stuff laying around, you would think she’s been around for 8 years! I wish I could find the pictures of our home before Melody was born, when we were just two enthusiastic newly wed home owners. Well, I would rephrase that by adding the word – “anxious” to enthusiastic new homeowners. We have been renters all our lives and in our more adventurous days of our youth, we enjoyed the flexibility of being free to move anytime we like. In fact, we moved around a lot! So this move into “home ownership” was a big step.
Then, only three months after living in our new home, we find out we are expecting our first child! After losing our first, through miscarriage, we were a little nervous about this pregnancy. So I made sure I was eating well and keeping up light exercise, while trying not to drive my husband nuts with my moody hormones which made me a little more neurotic than usual! We signed up for Bradley Classes, and off we went into the mysterious world of labor prep. We did pretty well with the whole natural childbirth, as outlined in my previous blog…
Nursing was tough the first 3 months dealing with mastitis twice and plugged ducts multiple times due to over supply issues, but I had a great la leche consultant who helped me through it. I am so grateful I stuck with it- because now it is so easy!
But parenthood in general?
There is NO preparation for that!
Message for new parents:
You just have to jump in with both feet and hope you don’t drown! But don’t worry- one thing I can promise you is that being a mom is the most beautiful gift and no one can quite prepare you for the journey you are about to partake.
Let me try to paint a picture for those expecting parents…
I wake up to whimpering from a little voice between my lover and I. I roll over, half asleep, and begin to nurse her. She is quiet now. For the moment… In a few minutes she is back asleep. I hear my husband grunt and shift positions. I know he will help me if she wakes up again before her next feeding. He will change her diaper, or bounce her on the ball and sing to her. But I also know he has been working later into the night, taking on more clients and working more music gigs, so he’s exhausted too. He’s an amazing father and my best friend, but through the first three months of our journey as new parents we definitely hit some bumps along the road. It was probably the most testing three months of our marriage.
Issues that come up for new parents:
Lack of sleep- late night cries that could not be soothed by feeding or just a busy baby, who doesn’t sleep a full 12 hours. These are difficult too because they are happy, but they want to play when you want to sleep!
Battles over who is doing more “work” and how do you define “work” anyhow? –
Is it the amount of hours spent in one day fixated on diapers, teething toys & fussing with baby carriers when you just need to get some chores done around the house?
Or is it defined as the one who gets to leave the house everyday to do what they love- teach?
This is me being subjective and my bias is not fair because, on the flip side, I know how hard it is to teach all day and then come home and have more “teaching” to do (as a parent).
Nursing vs Bottle? Co-sleep vs Crib? Montessori vs traditional? Daycare vs stay at home mom (or dad)? Expose to allergies or protect from allergies? What is “dirty”? (This issue went from neurotic clean freak to germs are good for ya!) seriously with teething EVERYTHING ends up in the mouth so be careful, but dont be too neurotic about it or you will never be relaxed! Later on- Should we home, private or public school? Religion- should we expose to both of our roots? explore all? focus on one?
Ultimately, you can search the internet, talk to friends and discuss these styles until you’re blue in the face, but eventually, you will have to decide together what is best for your family.
Remember I said TOGETHER- Ladies, don’t decide FOR him… let your husband be a part of the discussions because these are important decisions and even though we tend to think “momma knows best”, as spiritual beings, we know that we have to step outside our own perspective that is probably egocentric, and give in a little. Usually what ends up happening is the husband and wife find a “middle road” to live by so family unit is content.
I do wish I had pictures of our house before and after baby arrival, because I think that would possibly better prepare some new expecting parents out there sitting in their Bradley birthing class practicing their breathing exercises and rehearsing birthing chants when they really should be renovating their house to welcome the new arrival, who will, without a doubt be taking over the house soon enough! There is no fighting that battle, it will happen.
Here is an “after” pic…
Since we have a split level, It started with buying some kind of small baby chair or bouncer for every level of the house so there is always somewhere safe to put her down if we have to use the bathroom or leave her sight for a moment. So now there are plenty of things for us adults to trip over! Then it was our beautiful glass coffee table in the living room being replaced by baby foam tile, toys and a playpen! Finally, an exersaucer was placed in the kitchen so when we cook, she can entertain herself, because the fisher price vibrating musical chair was way too boring for our little adventurer by about 7 1/2 months.
BEING A STAY AT HOME MOM is an ADJUSTMENT…
I love it but I do miss the stimulation of teaching. My mommy goal is to stay home for the rest of the year and when she turns 1 and begins weening off breast milk, I will really increase my hunt for another FT reading teacher position. For now, sub teaching every now and then will be enough.
Here is a sample mommy day:
8am: Wake up, usually to cries…1) Nurse
2) PRAY (I try to remember to say serenity prayer in AM and a gratitude prayer in PM in order to keep spiritually fit)
3) bathroom business (some days this can be overlooked- Don’t let this happen too often- TAKE CARE OF SELF FIRST!)
4) Cook / eat / coffee ( must for me)!!
5) Baby playtime in playpen
6) Now it is probably around 10 am or so and this is where I can go one of three directions- spend this time cleaning and/or organizing, creative outlet- writing/music/art or I can exercise. It usually depends on how antsy Melody and Reece (our hound dog) are looking! The exercise is a MUST- so it WILL happen at some point. If I am lucky she will nap for an hour. But lately, she skips morning naps and makes up for it in late afternoon with a 1.5-2 hour nap, or she will just take 20 minute catnaps all day (especially if we are out running errands)
The things that usually get neglected are either the housework or the creative outlets. So here we are, squeezing in every minute of our free time to try to keep up with the housework while also finding time to balance between cooking meals and venturing into our creative pastimes, arguing over who is more out of balance today. Something wrong with this picture? I think if most couples on the journey of parenthood are truly honest with themselves, they would relate to this conundrum and it is my hope to reach out to those who still struggle. Thank God my husband and I are on a similar spiritual path. I don’t know what we would do without our spiritual program of action.
What works for us is faith and a strong belief in the order of the universe, some refer to as “God”. Although I was raised Christian in a protestant congregational church and my husband the Jewish faith, we have come together over the years through our mutual interest in Buddhist principals and practice, particularly prayer, meditation & mindful compassion while also holding onto our religious roots- using them as the foundation of our faith in that omnipresence many of us seek throughout our lifetime, that “higher power” greater than our own self will. Our wedding incorporated all three religions and was the most beautiful ceremony ever! (Although I am very biased of course!)
It doesn’t matter whether you believe in Buddha, Jesus, Nature Ali, or the Universe… as long as the message speaks to you. Sometimes I do attend Church because I enjoy the sermons and the community, but I am not one who believes in dogma or that has “chosen ones” whom he brings to heaven if they believe in him. This evangelic literal interpretation of the Bible can be a very dangerous for the world, causing unnecessary segregation among good people. I have met people who really think there is only “one true path” when I was “Church shopping” and it was scary. I told them my husband is Jewish and she said she would “pray for him.” Weird. I didn’t think their were so many fundamentalists right here in New Hartford! Don’t they realize Jesus was Jewish and that Judaism came thousands of years before Christianity? Anyhow, I digress… but I was just bizarre that people still think in such black and white. I am so lucky I found two great communities of faith where we are treated like family.
Speaking of “Higher Powers” it is important to note that we all have “Lower Powers” as well. We just recently watched the movie, “Tomorrowland” where the major premise revolves around the story of the two wolves, Darkness and Light, which were constantly fighting for their cause. Ultimately, it is up to us which one survives and that depends of course on which one we feed more. We all have both wolves inside of us. So the question to ask yourself is, “Are you feeding the right wolf?”
I know this blog was all over the place, but I had to get my thoughts out and this is just a manifestation of my “momma’s ramblings” for the day!