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Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Different but great

I’m going to diverge from the nobody-told-me theme to write a post inspired by Todaysparent.com.

Most mommies I know have significant others who work the typical nine to five-ish day. Some have spouses that work shift work, but even that is Monday to Friday.  At my house the “weekend” is Thursday and Friday right now. In six weeks, it might be Tuesday, Wednesday. We’ll just have to wait and see. When Daddy is away, he’s gone for 18 to 24 hours, but then he generally has three days off a week. ‘Tis the life of a railroader’s wife and child.

The upside of having mid-week days off is that we avoid the after work and weekend crowds when we head out as a family. The downside, there isn’t always a lot to do on weekday afternoon that qualifies as a family fun festivities.

When you mix this irregular yet rigid schedule (trains run on a schedule, he can’t be late and he can’t leave early) with the fact that our closest family members are a three hour drive, it means limited child care options. But that doesn’t seem to limit what we do!

Before becoming a mom, I was a very social person and very physically active. I didn’t see why I needed to give up those things just because I had a baby and have to play “single parent” a few days a week. So, I still go to dinner parties or have dinner out with the girls and simply bring my daughter with me. To keep active (and sane) I found a gym that offers child minding or go for runs with the stroller.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not out whooping it up every night, keeping my infant out until all hours while Daddy is slaving  away, but I try to maintain social interaction with other adults (both with and without kids). Any parent who’s been on leave knows it can be lonely at times.

These seem simple, even logical changes to make to your post-baby life. But yet I’ve found that many mom’s don’t do these things on their own.

I loved the life I had before I had a baby. Having her has only seemed to enhance it. It didn’t end it. I look forward to the spring when she’s big enough to go in the baby seat on the back of my bike or in the summer when we can go camping and boating again. It will be different with a baby, but different isn’t bad.

Now those of you with older children or multiple children may be saying “Just wait…” I recognize this isn’t how it is always going to be. When I go back to work, things will be different and more challenging but I’m confident that we will figure something out. We always do. That’s why we are great.

Now back to my regularly themed blog posts:

The What If Monster
Oh the pressure
Yep, she said that

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The What If Monster

What if she’s not healthy? What if she stops breathing? What if I forgot to do up the buckle? What if I forget her in the car when I get to the store?

I had no idea I would become so paranoid when I got pregnant, and I surely didn’t think it would be possible for that  paranoia to increase once the baby came.

When I was pregnant I was much better at reining in these roaming thoughts. “You’re healthy, there have been no issues and there is nothing more you can do, what will happen will happen.” That was the mantra that brought me back to reality when the what ifs started. Now I practically have to slap myself to keep my mind from wandering too far down What If lane.

When we first moved the baby from the bassinet in our room to her own room I had the monitor up full blast and the video function on all night. This completely defeated the purpose of moving her. I got more sleep when she was grunting and farting a foot from my bed! Her room is next to ours and I can hear her as clear as day without the monitor but I insisted on sleeping with it one foot from my head.

In the month she’s been in her own room, I’ve since turn the volume down but I still sleep with the video on.

However, I still can’t go to sleep if checking on her isn’t the last thing I do before I got to bed. I’ve tried checking on her before I start my bedtime primping but it always ends with me laying in bed, looking at the monitor and making my husband hold his breath so I can hear her breath. “Shhhh, you’re breathing too loud! I can’t hear her.”  After a few minutes of straining to hear, I get up and check on her again. I’ve learned to pick my battles with the What If Monster and just make the bedtime sneak peak the last thing I do.

I’ve also pulled over while driving to check on her. It’s too quiet, what’s wrong? Admittedly, I only did this once but have resisted the urge more times than I can count.

I find it amazing that Dads don’t seem to have these issues? Why is this? Are they more rational than Moms?

There should be support groups for this stuff!

Oh the pressure

When I had my baby, I decided to breastfeed for two reasons. The first being the obvious health factor for the baby and the second reason is the sheer cost of formula. The fact that breastfeeding also has a number of benefits for mom’s was a nice consolation but it didn’t weigh heavily in my decision making. However, I vowed I wasn’t going to let the social pressure to breastfeed get to me. I would do what worked for me and the babe.

Nobody told me that most of this “social pressure” was really self inflicted.

When the time came to feed “the natural way”, my newborn and I had some struggles and it felt anything but natural. To start, I couldn’t get her to latch properly (which turned out to be due, in part, to a slight tongue tie) and any woman who’s had latching problems knows the pain that ensues. Feedings were hour long, tear jerking ordeals. For the childless reading this, think of having a purple nurple marathon! OUCH.

It got to the point that I dreaded feeding her. I hoped each whimper or cry could be solved with a diaper change or a pat on the back to get out that last hidden burp. I could feel myself tense up when it was feeding time and often, tears weren’t far behind. But, instead of cracking open the cans of formula that had been graciously mailed to me by the formula companies and giving myself a break and some relief, I plowed through, determined to make this work.

Unfortunately, my determination wasn’t fueled by the right reasons. I wasn’t telling myself, “My baby needs this!” I was thinking that if I can’t breastfeed I’m a failure. And if I can’t do this one simple and natural thing, what else won’t I be able to do.

Six weeks later, she and I finally got everything sorted and started working as a team, so to speak. Breastfeeding wasn’t the painful chore it had been and had finally become the bonding time it’s meant to be.

While there is a lot of encouragement from society as a whole to breastfeed, I never once felt shunned or looked down on when I asked friends or my midwife about bottle feeding and formula. Most of the dirty looks came from the woman in the mirror.

While there is no denying breastfeeding is the best nutritional route for your child, it might not always be best for the both of you. While it may be natural, it’s not easy. As mothers, I think we expect too much from ourselves at times.

I wish someone had warned me about myself.

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