Write 31 Days, Losing My Mind

Hello,

I’m popping in to explain why I am so far behind on this weeks’ posts.

My husband recently took a new job, and it’s turned our lives upside down.  I signed up for this challenge before he had the job offer.  I figured, if I could do it last year, with a 6 week old baby, I could do this.

It turns out, my husband’s actual support (with the kids, household stuff) was a major factor in last year’s challenge.  While his emotional support matters to me, without him being around I just can’t keep up.

I’ve been attempting to write the night before, edit in the morning and sharing socially throughout the day.  Unfortunately, as I attempt to wake at 5am to write, one or more of my children wakes up with me.  One morning, it took me 4 hours to edit a post while taking care of them.  I had thirty minutes to make breakfast, get myself ready and leave for work.

My husband is basically gone Monday-Friday, even though he sleeps here.  He sleeps from 3am-3pm on Sunday then leaves for work at 5:30 pm and gets home at 5:50 on Tuesday morning, sleeps, showers and goes to work.  On Fridays he wakes up early, so I can go to work at 11am.

Last week, he had a 10 overtime shift, and then he got sick.  It was a rough weekend for me emotionally and physically.

That leads to this week, I am also dealing with kids who miss their dad like crazy.  With all the waking up early, very little napping they are struggling to get good sleep.  So, by the time I get all 3 kids to be, it is 10pm.  Three times I have sat down to type, what I feel is the most important post in my series, and FALLEN ASLEEP AT THE COMPUTER.

Obviously, it’s normal to hit the wall many times int eh writing process.  Tonight is the firs night this week that I have any energy when the kids are all asleep.

Another factor that I have been struggling with is the reality that my husband’s work does not pay enough for us to put money in savings, and we really need to save.  We don’t have a car, and could really use one.  Our emergency fund is still a baby one, and I am just tired of that.  I am emotionally ready to push hard on Baby Step 3 (6 months of expenses saved) and move forward.  Being out of debt is a huge blessing, but I just want to start moving forward financially, even if all that means is we have money to cover an emergency.

That being said, I need to continue to work.  Childcare costs take up such a huge portion of the money I earn, that it hardly seems worthwhile.  So, I am working one afternoon a week doing massage, in addition to teaching essential oil classes.

I’ve been struggling between the demands of keeping a home, homeschooling, massage practice, oil business and the blog.  Taking two hours last night (I woke up at midnight, having fallen asleep on the couch again) and some quiet time this afternoon, I realized that I need my focus to be on homemaking and homeschooling/parenting my children.

Yes, I must continue to work.  Yes, I want to continue to work, but in a limited capacity.  I think I am allowing myself 10 hours of work a week, for this phase of life.  I’ve felt so much peace, and way more energy today.

Someday, I might work more, but for now I am keeping it limited.  There is a cost with that (less in savings) but it seems worth it to pour into my family.  I hear a baby stirring as I type this.  So, I’m not quitting write31days, but I may give myself some grace to extend it into November to keep my schedule.

Writing nourishes my soul, and I must continue to do it.  The SEO, the social media may take a back burner to allow me to finish.

Tonight, I’m going to watch another episode of Portlandia (Season 6, on Netflix!! Yay!!) and watch my first “TV” in a month.  It’s not holy, admirable, and probably will rot my brain.  It will however, help me laugh, relax and feel a bit more human.

So, I hope to be back very, very soon with my story on how God had shaped my heart and drawn me closer to his.  Thanks for reading.

 

Making a Difference in my Home

*Trigger Warning*

If you are a mother who struggles with not being at home because of work, or emotional issues (like anxiety or depression) some of what I write here may be triggering for you.  Please skip this post, if you think that might be the case.  I only share, because my experience has been dramatic from being the “primary breadwinner” to being at home most of the time.

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The atmosphere has changed in our home recently, and truth be told, it is because my attitude has changed.

Here are 3 external ways I know the atmosphere has changed in our home:

  1. Obvious decrease in yelling (both kids and parents)
  2. My husband told me, “the kids are not usually this calm.”
  3. The house is much tidier.

Here are 3 internal ways I know the atmosphere has changed in our home.

  1.  I have so much motivation. I’m normally quite a motivated person.  If you saw the list of business ideas I have written down in my planners, you would call me a crazy person and remind me that I have 3 kids.  So, motivation isn’t necessarily different, but the focus of my motivation is different.  I am still avoiding the spider-filled trips to do laundry as much as possible, but I am not avoiding daily household tasks.  I’m still helping my kids to learn how to do them, and I still get annoyed at things I think others should put away.  I’m not a brand-new person with a desire to be a maid, but I’m embracing (not grudging) my current role as “keeper of the home.”
  2. I have so much more peace. This kinda feels like everything to me.  Since I went back to work in February of 2011 when our first baby was 8 weeks old, I have not felt much peace.  I’ve felt duty, determination, guilt, anxiety, hopelessness, shame, desperation in regards to my role as mom and homemaker.  Now, remember that I am a motivated person who loves praise.  Today, I thought about how nice it was not to feel anxious about all the business tasks I hadn’t done yet.  I thought, “what I am doing here with these children and in this home has eternal value”.  I have a long list of blogging tasks, business tasks, videos to make; and I feel PEACE about only getting 1-2 of those tasks done a day.  PEACE, how refreshing you are.
  3. I feel like it’s very easy to see what my true priorities are. Putting that sentence into words was a bit ironic for me.  You see, I am a Franklin Covey girl.  That’s right, a company that technically speaking, no longer exists.  I worked there when FC was at the height of it’s game.  I knew how to use a planner, sell a planner, teach planning, teach goal setting, write mission statements and I still do.  Honey, I know all about how important defining your priorities are.  I could probably give you examples in my sleep.   Somehow, in the past 4 years, I have STRUGGLED to define my priorities, to write a mission statement, to know who I am and what my calling is.  I’ve been really lost.  Suddenly, almost in the blink of an eye, everything just “fits” and “makes sense.”

You may be asking, what changed?

It wasn’t a motivation sermon or a grand spiritual moment.  It was that I woke up one day and my husband had a new job offer.  He accepted and started THE NEXT DAY.  It was quite the juggling act on Monday, let me tell you! Rather, I won’t.  Suffice it to say it involved LOTS of driving and very little sleep.

On Sunday, Amazon called and asked my husband to take a 2nd shift position (6:30pm -5am) effective Tuesday with training on Monday.  In an instant, our lives changed significantly.  Monday, I must have spent an hour writing out ideas of how we could homeschool during the day while my husband slept.  At the end of my planning session, I gave up.  I have no idea how to make this work. I asked my husband to pray for me, because I couldn’t figure it out.

Tuesday came, our day to go to play group, but I had a terrible sinus headache and we didn’t go.  Wednesday rolled around and we just did it.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, laundry, homeschooling, quality time and BED TIME.  Let’s hit that last one again.  You may be the mom who has been doing bed time by herself for years, but this is new territory for me.  3 kids, same circadian rhythms, and one parent.  Not a desirable job, bedtime.  But I am doing it!

My living room is clean, my dishes are almost done, I’m on top of laundry, the bathroom has been deep-cleaned, the fridge has been cleaned out, bone broth is brewing in the crock pot and I am ready to make soups tomorrow with all my amazing CSA produce.

It’s not perfect, and neither am I

I barely see my husband, I have to come up with a new plan for my massage clients, I have still yelled at the kids, the kids miss my husband, and some things are just going to have to wait (true love waits? lol!!).

Yet, I think the fit is right

Now this is an Amazon job, which probably means January 1 will bring another job search.  I’m still taking this as a lesson for my momma soul:  my family really does need me. 

That’s a big deal, I’m not suicidal, but I have thought that my life insurance money may actually be more valuable than a stressed-out me shouting about something insignificant because I’m just spread out too thinly.  I’ve felt almost daily that I am completely failing as a wife and mother and business woman.

I haven’t felt futile at all this week.  I’ve felt certain tasks (dishes, laundry, reminding people to put things back in the fridge) are a bit futile.  But I can see I am integral to this family.

Not just for me

My husband is so creative, and is clearly the fun parent.  He’s been the primary care-giver since I returned to work.  He has his own business and has worked part-time for others, but the “child care” has mainly been on him.  I was SO NERVOUS about him working at Amazon.  I won’t go into the details, but he actually likes the work.

I can feel a difference with me being the “primary” and I’m not sure how to explain it yet, but it’s real and it has been GOOD for us all.

Some of it seems “not so good”

I’m wondering what it says about me that I feel better being the one “holding down the fort”.  I wonder if that makes me a control freak or if I’m just thriving in my skill set.

I’m wondering if things going more smoothly means that my husband and I don’t agree on things enough as parents.

I’m wondering A LOT of things like this, and I think it needs reflection and probably some reflection will lead to some much-needed repentance.

In the end, I think that this change has been God-ordained and GOOD.  I’m still nervous about job security, afraid of messing up my kids, concerned about money, but I feel so much PEACE, MOTIVATION and CLARITY about my priorities, and to find they truly are AT HOME. 

I feel like I am finally, making a POSTIVE difference in my home.

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Free from Mommy Guilt

The Day The Internet Did Not Offend Me

I am saddled with mommy guilt, the Internet often contributes to this burden I carry.  Recently, I had an experience unlike my normal scroll through my newsfeed.1nse.  That is not an excuse, but an awareness that this is one of my battles.  I read something, and wasn’t offended.  For a moment, I was FREE from mommy guilt.

I have often closed my laptop, slammed down my phone and then begun a long explanation to my husband as to why so-and-so said _______ and it offended me.  The other day, I read something, it seemed like  direct attack on my parenting choices.  I read it and thought, “That’s not really how I want to parent.”

Then something amazing happened.  I moved on. No anger, no impulse to start typing all my thoughts on the topic.

Clearly, there have been second, third and fourth thoughts, I mean I  am writing a blog post about it.

That day, I chose not to be offended. It is noteworthy because this is something I struggle with often.  As a sensitive person, I am probably pre-disposed to offe

It’s rare for us to address offense as a bad behavior or sin, but I think God’s work makes it clear that offense has no place in our hearts.

Proverbs 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it his his glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Clearly, I am in the wrong when I find myself consistently offended and upset by something I come across online.  That is on me though, my reactions to your words are my problem and my responsibility.  Even when someone purposefully says words to hurt me, my response is up to me.

Holding offenses and anger benefits me in no way, it damages my relationships and it clearly impacts my soul.

So, why this ONE time was I not offended by a seemingly clear jab at my parenting?

I have confidence in this area of my parenting choice. We can never know fully the implications of all of our decisions.  This is why parenting is such a challenge, we don’t really know that our choices will achieve their desired results.  In this area, I feel very strongly that I am making the right choice for my family and I firmly believe that my choice is a reflection of God’s standards.

I was open and vulnerable in a comment, someone made commenting affirming her parenting choice (which I did not attack or bring up).  Based on her comment, I knew our parenting styles differ on this topic and I thought “that is not the kind of parent I want to be.”  That was pretty much that.

Until I realized how spectacular it felt to just move on and not be upset, not feel like our relationship had changed.  It was so freeing!

I imagine this is how our walk with Jesus should be. At times culture will conflict with the teachings of Jesus.  We can (and must) make different choices than those around us.  Instead of explaining all the reasons why we are doing it Jesus’ way, instead of pointing out that our friend’s way of doing it is not what the Word says, we simply live according to his word.  We don’t get our undies in a bundle, we don’t worry what people think about us. We simply follow Jesus and walk in FREEDOM.

My experience was so freeing.  It’s an election year, I will soon have an opportunity to be offended.  I’ll also have the option to not be offended.  I can just walk with Jesus, and treat others with kindness and respect, even if they don’t extend that courtesy to me.

#nomommyguilt

Love is Not: Jealous, Boastful, Proud or Rude

Love Is Not: Jealous, Boastful, Proud or RudeOh, today we get down and dirty as we explore what love is not.  Here is our reference point:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love Is Not Jealous

I’ve found that I am far less loving than I thought I was.  In my early days in the trenches of breastfeeding with low supply, I discovered the big green jealousy monster was alive and well inside my heart.  I knew of many women with over-supply and personally knew a few who had this problem too.

Except, I thought they had a blessing not a problem.  I was terribly jealous, and I found it a little hard to reconcile my supposed “love” for these friends with an intense jealously.  I’ve heard “stupid is as stupid does”  I think, this logic applies to love.  “Love is as love does.”  What do you think?

If I love someone, it is more than affectionate feelings, it is my actions towards them.  And as Jesus teaches, our hearts define us, not only our actions.

I can look back and see the pain in my sister’s eyes as she struggled with an insane over-supply and feel pain for her.  It is not the result of “time heals all wounds.”  It is the humbling realization that jealousy is sin, and it does not demonstrate love.  It is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin, and guiding me into truth.

Love Is Not Boastful

Let’s be real.  Every time I am right and my husband is wrong, I want to boast about it.

Every time he is right and I am wrong, I suspect he wants to boast about it too.  He doesn’t.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but he loves me more than I love him.  Daily, his actions reflect a true understanding of love.  I’m a little more sporadic in my true demonstrations of love.  For many years of our marriage, I thought I had to try harder and do better.  The Lord has shown me it is not about being better, but relying on him for what I need.  I need to show love by being humble.  I

Love is Not Proud

Pride destroys intimacy in relationships.  The inability to recognize when I am wrong, or when someone else is right.  My unwillingness to be vulnerable and imperfect before another.  Pride is something I struggle with, yet I am also very aware of it’s harmful place in my life.

I never want to be the parent who won’t admit she’s wrong to her children.  I almost think this is my most important value as a parent.  How can my children ever become people of integrity, with meaningful relationships unless they see me model laying down my pride?

I would estimate that I apologize to my children more than once a day.  Painfully, but freely admitting when I have behaved badly.  When I’ve made the wrong choice and seeking their forgiveness.  I love my children, and refusing to apologize or admit weakness corrodes our relationship.

Love is Not Rude

What is rudeness to you?  Maybe you hate being interrupted.  Perhaps you want to throw my phone across the room when I look at it while we grab a cup of coffee.  You might be sitting on the edge of your couch waiting to see if I’ll reply “yes, no or maybe” to your Facebook event.  You might consider these behaviors of mine rude and ultimately hurtful.

Am I aware of these things?  Maybe, maybe not.  Whose job is it to know what matters to you as my friend?  It is mine.  Loving someone means seeking to understand.  One way to avoid love-corrupting rudeness is to understand what YOU see as rude.

Love is patient.  Love is Kind.

Love is not Jealous, Boastful, Proud or Rude.

It is quite the task to love.  Are you up to the task?

 

Priorities and Goals

My maternity leave is almost over, with that brings the realization that not every goal I have can be a priority now.

Is this hard for anyone else?  Or am I the only one who wants to do “all of the things”?

I want to make my own skin care products, toothpaste, laundry detergent. I want to make perfectly delicious paleo meals three times a day.  To eat at all the RSA restaurants in town, to support the small businesses in our community.  I want to homeschool, I want to take the kids on fun adventures.  I want to travel the world, learn Spanish.  I want to beh a involved at church, and connected to my community.  I want to have a really tidy house, be a super-blogger and a fantastic massage therapist.  I want a great marriage too, oh and be a good friend.

That is impossible.  Somehow, I really have a hard time accepting that all of the things can’t be priorities.  I just can’t be a good mom and do all of the things.

So let me pause for a minute and define my idea of “good mom.”  I can summarize it in two words: love and presence.  With few tragic exceptions, we all love our kids.  It far exceeds the affectionate feelings of holding a squishy baby.  It means choosing to be peaceful and kind when they melt down.  It means more than words, I guess “love” is meaningless if my kids don’t know and accept that love. I want to be a loving mom.

I want to be present, not just physically there, but emotionally available.  You know, turning off my phone, looking into their eyes.  Listening to understand.  Present.  This one is very hard for me, because I want to do all the things.  I’m easily distracted and can fall into traps of busy-ness and lose focus.

It’s almost like a grown up form of peer pressure, to do “all the things,”  This friend does this, this book recommends that.  On, and on it goes.

In an effort to give my self a chance of reaching my goals, I am making three things a priority:

  • Connecting with each child, every day for 20 minutes.
  • Cooking healthy food
  • Establishing a good breastfeeding relationship

These are my goals for this phase of life.  I still have to craft a plan for these goals, I think I have nailed down the breastfeeding plan.  The other two I am working on.

We’ll see how it goes.

Encouragement for Moms

My son is having a really hard time.  I could be that he just turned two, and it is a rough age.  I could be that those last two molars are about to erupt.  Maybe it’s the change from “baby” to “middle child.”  It could be the stress of not being able to nurse as much as he would like.  Maybe it is something else.

Last night he screamed, writhed on the floor and told me repeatedly “no like it anymore.”  I think it was a blanket referral to everything: his bedroom, me, nursing, baby J, snuggling.  It lasted 30 minutes. I felt completely helpless.

Am I not managing tandem nursing correctly?  Was having a third baby a mistake?  No, I know J’s arrival was divinely timed.  What am I doing wrong? Perhaps it is something in our diet.  It could be the medicine we chose to give him over the weekend.

I have no answers.  He eventually let me nurse him (after lots of prayer) and slept for an hour.  He woke up crying and ate a snack.  He took hours to fall back asleep, but he did so peacefully.

I wish I had answers.  I only have encouragement.  I love this:child

 

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, I am striving to treat my children the way God treats me with unfailing love, patience, mercy, kindness. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;Galatians 5:22-23

I yell sometimes, and I am working on it.  When I am upset I do not want others to yell at me.  The golden rule applies to my relationship with my children too. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7: 12 I want to show them what God’s love looks like, not just tell them.  If I cannot live it out then my faith is meaningless. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James i 2:14

I want to be safe, compassionate, encouraging and inspiring to my children.  I am not perfect, but I am aiming for these virtues.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5

 

Maybe this is too hard

Maybe this mothering thing is too hard. Last night after I published my post I heard Z coughing. It didn’t sound right so I went and got her, she seem to be having trouble getting air out. She’s never been diagnosed with asthma but it seemed like an attack to me. I called 9 1 1. A few minutes later the medics arrived. They said her lungs sounded clear and it was likely she has croup. We could take her to Children’s ER ourselves, take the ambulance or get her in to the doctor ASAP.  We decided to take her to the doctor in the morning.

C woke up, again in tears.  He says he has scary dreams, he’s had several nights waking up crying.  He keeps saying, “I don’t know what it is dada, I don’t know what it is.”  It breaks my heart.  He is of course, rising before the sun.  I’m really struggling to wake up early enough these days to have my quiet time.  I need to banish the afternoon press pot, or at least make it decaf.

My husband slept in the living room and she slept on the couch. She slept well without any further crying or struggles.  Just to be sure, I was able to get her in to see another doctor in our practice.  My husband took her at noon, it was the first time I didn’t accompany her to the doctor.  That felt strange.

Did you ever have one of those days that felt long, but actually breezed by?

I felt fairly good about the stuff we got done around the house, a few loads of laundry.  I made a chicken in the crockpot, and have bone broth going.  But before I knew it, it was bedtime again.  I really, really feel like I spent my entire day nursing.  It is a struggle to balance the tandem nursing with low supply.  Before J was born, C was only nursing for a minute or two in the morning and before bed, plus if he got hurt.  Now that J is here, he nurses for no less than 10 minutes two or three times a day.

This is so hard for me.  I love holding my babies, and I wouldn’t trade this time for all the complete checklists in the world.  Yet, I struggle to ignore or remove the internal pressure to do things.

Writing every day has been very hard to accomplish, but it has brought me so much inspiration.  I’m excited for my next phase of life, and it is hard to focus on the here-and-now.  That has always been my problem.  Master Yoda could have been referring to me:

All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.

Well, after the kids were in bed I decided to watch “The Importance of Being Earnest”  I had never seen it before, and I enjoyed it.  Most of it, until the very end when I projectile vomited all over my couch, and my sleeping baby.  While my husband took her to change her clothes, I tried to make it to the bathroom.  I destroyed my kitchen and hallway on the way.  Gross.

I showered and went to bed early.  I went to bed discouraged, this mothering thing is hard.

While breastfeeding, I fell prey to the internet.  First Modern Mrs. Darcy led me to this article 10 types of Odd Friendships You’re Probably Part Of  and then clicked over to Why Generations Y Yuppies are Unhappy.  It had an equation in it that makes perfect sense to me

Happiness = Reality – Expectations

I know this already, but I have trouble setting reasonable expectations.  Then I tend to say, “I’m overwhelmed.” to my husband.  Everyday.  I need to figure this thing out, so I can really enjoy these days with little ones.  I trust every older person who tells me that I will miss it, and that it passes by quickly.

How have you turned off your inner critic?

Any tips to share on minimizing your postpartum expectations?

Please, share your resources.  I’d love to learn from your experience.

Yes, I have my hands full

A day in the life.

It’s Tuesday morning, 6:21 am.  I’ve already shut my alarm off twice.  Baby J is still sleeping, but C is awake.  I’m bursting, but want to get some reading in, so I pump.  I got 1.5 ounces!!!  That is the most I have pumped with her.  She wakes up as soon as I finish pumping.

This morning, I absolutely MUST take a shower, because it has been a few days.  My husband has an interview at 11 am which requires 40 minutes of riding/waiting for the bus.  We just transitioned to the m-card and we only have one. So, instead of needing to leave at 9:20 to catch the bus for preschool playhouse, we have to walk so he can ride.  This is great for my metabolism, but it means I can’t waste any time this morning.

Thankfully, my husband is awesome.  I am also grateful that we have fortified corn balls(cereal) so breakfast is easy.  After some Octonauts, breakfast, diaper changes, my husband gets the kids dressed while I shower.  I get dressed, put their shoes on and we are out the door.

Preschool playhouse seems to be a great success and the littles and I had fun at playgroup. After Z gets out of class she initiates another successful bathroom trip. We stay late, because I just can’t imagine trying to rush them when they are having fun.  Of course the compromise here is we will have to eat out, because it’s past noon and I won’t have time to cook before getting hangry.

We start walking home, and I try to decide where to eat lunch.  My daughter has an accident.  It’s so frustrating.  We ate lunch at McDonalds. C falls asleep in the stroller before we arrive.  It kinda felt like a girls lunch, it was fun.  I feel back about the food, but it was $6 and our bellies are full.

We get home and my husband texts that he will be home in a few minutes.  I nurse J again, while the kids snack on leftover dry cereal.  My husband brought donuts home, we eat them.  We eat them even though we know that gluten makes the kids crazy and our bellies bloated.  Sigh.  The kids play for a while and we discover Z has had another accident.  Oh, oh I was angry.

I am so tired and have no motivation (hello sugar and gluten).  We watch an episode of Portlandia while the kids play.  Before I know it it is dinner time.  We have breakfast for dinner.  Eggs, potatoes and leftover ground beef.  I put on make up, nurse J and head to work.

I agreed to take one client for my mom so she can celebrate her birthday with friends.  I grumble to myself about walking alone at night, when two strange men start talking to me while I am waiting to cross the street.  Ugh. I get to work, everyone wants to know where the baby is.  I get ready and wait for the new client.  The client no-shows.  I clean up the room and head home.

Z is brushing her teeth, H is holding J and C is already asleep in bed.  I say, “He no showed, but I am home an hour early.”  My husband says, “and you are just coming home now?”  I say, “I left at 6:35 and it’s 7:35”  He says, “An hour?  It felt like days.”

Z goes to bed and has a few false alarms about using the bathroom.  We know she must be constipated, but don’t want to deal with fake potty trips, so we put the portable potty in her room.  A friend stops by to try on a costume, we talk for awhile.

There is nothing to watch tonight, since Portlandia (Netflix!!) only had 10 episodes for season 5.  So my husband and I start talking, twoh ours later I remember we have to fill out a survey on line for our health insurance.  We need to submit J’s social security number….oh, where did I put that?  I just came in the mail last week.  Oy.

I put J to bed while H uses the computer.  I check on the kids, potty success!  They are both sleeping. I fall asleep.  He wakes me up, I finish typing.

Time to brush my teeth and go to bed.

I would say I had a great day.  I didn’t meet all my expectations or desires, but it was a good day.

 

If I Could Turn Back Time

parenting This post is not intended to bash any parent, or spark a mommy war.  It’s intent is to share my regrets, why I regret some choices.

I would have trusted my instincts

If I could go back to my pregnant self, I would have trusted my instincts that something was abnormal about my breasts.  I had always felt insecure about the shape and size, but I thought pregnancy would bring the “booby fairy” along to perk me up. When she didn’t show up in pregnancy, I thought she’d show up when my milk came in.  She never came.  I now understand why, but that is for a future post.  Hint: avoid BPA exposure and eat proteins and vegetables.

So if I could go back, I would have questioned this instead of accepting the factual statement: breast size does not impact milk production.  Totally true, but I KNEW deep down that something wasn’t right about my anatomy.  I wish I had trusted my instinct and searched for more answers.

I would think more critically about parenting advice

I tend to accept things I hear pretty easily.  I tend to scrutinize things I read.  I attended a class with my husband “On Becoming Babywise.”  Several friends swore by it, and several friends swore about it.  I thought the baby wise method made sense, and that some people took it too far.  I wasn’t going to be one of those people.

To be fair, we tried this method for all of two days.  When it was clear there was a problem with breastfeeding, it went out the window.  By the way, the book does not recommend using this method until at least 8 weeks, but we were encouraged to start immediately.

Anyway, even when we abandoned the method, I still felt guilt for not doing it. I honestly felt bad about feeding on cue, and allowing Z to just suckle.  I am thankful that I couldn’t let her “cry it out.”  I discovered that every time she cried, I could meet her need or comfort her by: feeding her, changing her or holding her.  I am glad we ditched the hard-core routine message of the book and just took care of her as seemed logical.

I remember being a child and being scared of the dark, or being alone in my room.  I remember being unable to articulate what my need was, but I knew I needed to be physically close to my parents.  Now, as a parent in a full-size bed, I understand how that can be frustrating.  This is why I regret not thinking more critically about BW.  I remembered being scared, sad or lonely as a little girl.  Babywise methods didn’t match up with my experience, and I think I should have evaluated it more before accepting it.

I would have eaten more protein

This was reinforced at every prenatal appointment, every pregnancy book, and all the PCOS research supports it.  Basically, I didn’t think it was for me because I hated meat, so there was nothing I could do about it.  

I now understand that excessive carbohydrate consumption and lack of protein are detrimental to my milk supply.

I would have made it myself

Herbs are expensive!  I would have bought a bottle of More Milk Special Blend to get me through. Then I would buy the same herbs in bulk for $53 and a few bottles of vodka. Tinctures are SO easy to make, and way more affordable.

Skip Oatmeal and Lactation Cookies

Insulin Resistance, which you likely are if you have PCO/S, is a significant gator in milk production.  The last thing my body needed was extra carbs.  The last thing my self esteem needed was weight gain.

So, those are my major regrets.  They might seem random, but each of those choices led me to a series of “what ifs” that I wrestle with to this day.

There is never a shortage of opportunity to question yourself as a parent.  Fortunately, there is never a shortage of grace.  Just don’t deny yourself the grace.  We aren’t failures, even if we make a choice we later dislike.

Making Choices and Accepting Not Having Control

I apologize that this was not posted yesterday.  Our internet was down, so it was out of my control.  I’m trying to get in the habit of early morning posts.  However, I’m just going to do my best, and it might not be 6am everyday.

I’ve been reflecting on the first month after C was born, I learned so many lessons during that time.  Today, I want to write about what I think may be the most difficult thing about mothering.  We must make choices for our children as we bring them up, and all of our research, due diligence and personal conviction can not guarantee the results we want.  I re-learned it during a 7 day stay at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

As you may recall, I was a both of a wreck already.  When C was 10 days old, he felt warm.  I took his temerpature, and it was 101.  This is of course too high, and I got him in a cool bath while I waited to hear from the doctor.  It was terrifying, and we were instructed to head to CHW immediately.

Mom, I do not like this hospital gown

Mom, I do not like this hospital gown

We packed for an overnight stay since it was already late evening when we left.  Unfortunately, we came right on the cusp of visiting hours.  My husband had to take our daughter home, while I stayed with C.  In the ER, I was devastated to learn that with a newborn they have to look for every possibility, and that a 48 hour stay would be the minimum.

In the ER my baby had 3 pokes in the arms and leg before a blood draw was successful and an IV was inserted.  He urinated right before they used a catheter to “empty” his bladder,  this procedure was repeated again the next day because there was not enough urine in the first test (duh!) to draw accurate results.  He also had a botched spinal tap, and a successful one.  He was put on two strains of antibiotics until the cultures came back.

The last dose of antibiotics!

The last dose of antibiotics!

It was horrible, now bear in mind I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL that we were able to receive the care he needed.  However, watching your newborn endure all of this, while being separated from your partner and toddler is heartbreaking.

After 6 hours of antibiotics it was clear that he had a bacterial infection, but it was a few days before we knew it was a urinary tract infection.

You may already know that UTIs are uncommon in males, but they do occur more frequently in males with intact foreskins.  Our little man happened to be one of those rare cases.

On this topic we had the entire spectrum of advice from different doctors, residents and specialists.  Some of the advice we received was given with great information, some of it was given with great emotion, and some of it was given very disrespectfully.

At the end of it all (and many more procedures) no doctor could explain how he got a UTI or guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again.  We decided that the best way to treat a male UTI is the same way you treat a female UTI: antibiotics, good hygiene and hope for the best.

Now, we had an added layer to these debates or conversations with medical staff.  We had already made a series of unconventional choices for our son, and all of them were questioned:

Home-birth

Water-birth

Using Donor Milk

Declining Erythromycin (antibiotic for the baby’s eyes after birth)

Using oral vitamin K instead of injectable vitamin K

Declining Hepatitis B vaccination

Opting against circumcision

I’m used to scrutiny and lots of raised eyebrows for my crunchy ways, but none of these seemed has intense as it did during our stay after the UTI was discovered.

Baby of Steel, the IV stayed in for 7 full days. Here of our amazing nurses removes it.

Baby of Steel, the IV stayed in for 7 full days. Here of our amazing nurses removes it.

A few reflections on making and living with my decisions as a parent:

At some point you must decide.  

Many decisions in life can be delayed for quite some time, but there are lots of decisions in parenting that are time-sensitive.  Vaccinations was one of them, now if I declined I could change my mind and go ahead and vaccinate as I saw fit.  But once I decided to vaccinate, I couldn’t take it back. This felt like a really harsh lesson, it feels like that often in daily life of parenting.  Eventually, I have to make a decision.

You can’t be an expert on everything

This is a reality of life and it is obvious.  I can’t be an obstetrician and an oncologist, and a rheumatologist, etc,.  I can educate myself, but there is no way to know and understand every debate of parenting.  I just can’t.  With each of my pregnancies and with medical care for each of my children, I have done my research.  No, I could not possibly pour over every research study on each of these topics. I have looked at the spectrum of advice for and against each, and decided what seemed best to me, for me and for my babies.

You should still educate yourself

I firmly believe people, parents in particular, should educate themselves about health care.  We should chose care providers who offer the care we believe in, and they should be people we trust.  Take time to understand why things are recommended and then see if there are reasons to decline that recommendation.

I think knowing why you made a decision makes acceptance of undesirable results easier to bear.  An off-topic example would be my breastfeeding journey.  I believe that breastmilk is the best way to feed my babies, that made it possible for me to push through multiple challen

Your choice does not guarantee your desired results

This is the hardest, isn’t it?  I can’t guarantee that the amazing schooling will make my child a success as an adult.  I can’t be certain that my child won’t get a disease s/he was vaccinated for.  I can’t be certain that my home birth will go as planned.

Oh, this one HURTS.  I had made this series of decisions that, for that week, no one around me liked.  We decided that there was no medical reason to circumcise, and found ourselves in a situation where it might be advisable.  Our research, our prayers, our hope didn’t prevent a UTI.

It is hard, choices we make for the well being of ANOTHER DEFENSELESS HUMAN BEING that we are in love with, come with to guarantees.

This mothering thing, parenting is full of these heart-wrenching choices.  Decide we must, and hope, maybe pray for the best.

Finally, my faith in Christ has helped me through these hard decisions.  Knowing that I am really not in control is hard to accept, but knowing that I serve a good God, allows me to rest in that lack of control.

 

 

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