Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Green Parenting

Just a quick note to let you know I've written a post on green parenting on The Baby Standard, for those who are interested.

Short and sweet!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm having one of those mornings

You know the kind I mean. The bad mommy mornings. The kind where you only slept 3 hours the night before, and you dragged your husband out of bed at 5 am to give you just a couple hours of sleep, please, for the love of God. You stumble out of bed when he leaves for work at 8 and your child won't stop crying because she is teething, and the highchair she's in is filthy, the dog is barking nonstop, all the bottles are dirty, and every last diaper you own is in the wash so she has to wear a dishtowel fastened with a safety pin. Suddenly you remember that you were supposed to go visit a friend today, but there's no way that's happening any time soon, so you call and apologize profusely and she's very nice about it, but she doesn't have kids so you are pretty sure she just thinks you are being lazy.

You finally get the baby down for a nap and are too worked up from all your failures of various kinds to go to sleep yourself. So here you are, blogging, when you should be sleeping, or at least working on one of the 89 loads of dirty laundry lying piled on the bedroom floor. It's okay, you rationalize to yourself, I probably need ten minutes to myself more than I need ten minutes of sleep anyway.

You know what I mean, right?

Sigh. We all have those days. I hope. I admit that I am writing this mostly so I can look back on it when I am back in school and think, "well, at least daycare is dealing with that today". I doubt it will help much, since I am already in full-on "I don't want to leave my baybeeeeeee!!" mode.

Anyway, in other Caroline news... drumroll please... she has her first tooth! I've been waiting and waiting for it. Pretty much every time she was fussy starting at around 5 months, Tyler and I would say to each other, "she's just teething." And this week, it was finally true! I was changing her diaper and she was grinning at me and I saw a little white ridge. (It was tooth #P, FYI. ;) I am ridiculously excited about this development, for obvious reasons. I can't wait to brush it!!

We also went to a pumpkin patch yesterday to pick Caroline her first pumpkin:

We had a fantastic time, as you can see. Fall has always been my favorite season. I think it's the same for everyone who lives in New England. Summers are humid, springs are rainy, and winters are damp and cold... but the fall is gorgeous and sunny and the leaves are beautiful.

Not much else to report, other than the fact that we have booked another trip to spend a month in North Dakota before I go back to school. I'm so excited! I can't wait to spend more time with my sister-in-law and her girls. We'll leave right before Thanksgiving and get back just in time for Christmas. That also means that Caroline will spend her first Christmas here with my family, and that makes me happy too.

Now, to just get through this morning...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Halloween!

A little early... from Caroline! I made that pumpkin hat for her, and the peapod costume was her cousin's first Halloween costume too.

Mom, I don't know about this outfit...

I don't want to be a peapod!!

If I pout, will you take me out of here??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Single-mom'ing it

That's pretty much what I've been up to since we got back from North Dakota.

I love my husband, but I hate his job. I've complained about this before, long ago, but I think it's time for another round. I used to dread him leaving even before we had Caroline, but now that she is here, it's a whole different ballgame.

He's been away for most of the time we've been back... usually internationally, so I can't even call him. I'm so tired and lonely. I start to forget what it was like to do anything other than take care of Caroline, because that is literally all I do. I wonder all the time how single or military parents do it-- I cannot even imagine doing this as a permanent thing!

That said, I am grateful for two things...

  1. The internet. My mom friends are always here to keep me company! And I actually relate far better to these people who I've (mostly) never met than I do to my old friends, who have no idea what my life is like now and who are too busy for me anyway.
  2. That I've been able to stay home with Caroline all this time-- it allowed us to go to North Dakota with Tyler so that we wouldn't be here alone all summer, and it's probably saved my sanity... because if I had to go to school all day and then come home and single-mom it, I might die.
I feel badly for Tyler because I know it's hard on him not to see Caroline that much, but it's hard on me too. When we got married, we decided not to have kids until he would be able to spend more time at home, but... that didn't go as planned. I knew he would be traveling a lot these next few years. It was one of the reasons I was so worked up about being pregnant-- not just because I didn't feel ready for the experience, but because I knew I would be going it alone for a lot of the time.

But, hey, life goes on. I feel really competent and confident when it comes to taking care of her now, because I've done it alone so much. (Tyler, on the other hand, I would worry about-- he has literally never been alone with her for more than an hour or two at a time!) And now that my return to school is rapidly approaching, I try to remind myself every day to just soak up the time with her. That is usually enough to snap me out of my self-pity.

New topic: Caroline is 36 weeks old today-- so she has been alive outside me for as long as she was alive inside me. So strange... it went by so quickly, but it seems like I have known her forever. I went through her closet today, which is always an experience that brings out the crazy in me: "this is probably too small, I should put it away. Oh my God... I remember when she wore this and we did X. I can't believe she's never going to wear this again. She's growing up so fast. Too fast. I can't believe she used to be this small AHHHH MY BABY IS GOING TO LEEEEAVE ME!!!" Annnd, repeat. With every single article of clothing. I told you I was crazy. I used to be afraid that I had no maternal instincts, but it turns out I do have them, and they are on crack.

Don't get me wrong, though, I don't really miss the newborn stages. I don't miss her seeming so breakable and sick... and she is so much more interactive now. I think I have more and more fun with her every day, and I am so excited for all the milestones ahead (she still isn't mobile)! And now that she is over 17 pounds and has continued to gain well, the GI says we are officially out of the woods as far as her reflux goes. We're down to one medication and we don't have to go back until she is one year old! It's all good news-- but I'm still allowed to be a little sad about my baby growing up, right? ;)

(Photo courtesy of the lovely eris1995, with whom we had a wonderful get-together last week! Her son Mason is adorable.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guilt trippin'

Can we discuss mommy guilt for a sec?

After you have a baby (and before, a little bit, but mostly after), it can be really hard to avoid feeling guilty about everything you do, no matter what you do. You constantly wonder, "am I doing enough? Did I do that right? Did I make the right choice? Am I doing what's best?" Right? I know I'm not alone in this.

First, there are the parenting decisions that you have to make that you just don't know the "right" answers to. Which vaccination schedule? When to start solids? Do I call the pediatrician for this (insert random baffling baby symptom here)? You do your research, but your time and energy is limited, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut and hope that you made the right choice.

Then there are the decisions you have to make that involve balancing your baby's best interests and your best interests. Those are the ones that really suck. Do I quit breastfeeding/pumping because it's making me lose my sanity? Do I go back to work full-time because I love my job, even though it means very little time with my baby? Do I sleep train her so that I can get just a couple hours of sleep, please, for the love of God? In these cases, I have found it's best to consider both sides, but remind yourself repeatedly that a happy baby means a happy mama, and if you are miserable doing something just because you think it's best, your baby is going to pick up on that, and that's no good for her either. (Of course, you will still feel guilty no matter what you choose. That's part of the job description.)

Aside from the big decisions, there is just the day-to-day guilt that you can't really escape no matter what you do. "Am I doing enough to stimulate her? Am I hovering over her too much? I should read to her more... I feel like I never read to her. Oh no. She's going to grow up to be illiterate and hate school and will never succeed in life." (When really, let's be honest-- at this point, she thinks books are for teething.) Maybe this is just a new-mom thing, or maybe I way-overthink every little thing and I'm a crazy person, but I think it's freaking exhausting.

So tell me, what gives you mommy guilt? And more importantly, how do you let go of it in order to keep your sanity?