Author: Andrea Herrera

10 Lessons Learned about Starting Babies on Solids

For today’s edition of Babyology, I thought I’d offer ten lessons/tips that I have learned about starting infants on solids.

1. In the beginning, it takes 15 or so tries of giving a baby a new food before you can definitively know their opinion on it. After three “unsuccessful” tries and pureed sweet potatoes down the drain, I concluded “Oh, she must hate sweet potatoes.” This “truth,” of course, set in my motherhood paranoia and led me down a mental trip of guilt of her one day becoming that “chubby kid” who only ate McDonalds and couldn’t make it up the hill at camp. (sigh). Over time, I realized in giving her the same foods other and other again that it wasn’t that she didn’t like, for instance sweet potatoes. It was just that sweet potatoes and all the other weird veggies that I was giving her were so different from breastmilk. Once she became used to the texture, taste, smell of these veggies, she loved them. Now that she is older, it is much easier to introduce her to new solids.

2. Solids are ok.  I was (and still am) in denial about my daughter’s interest in solids. I have to tell myself often that in her starting solids, it does not mean that she is rejecting me as her “other food source.”

3. Spoons are weird objects to a baby. Can you imagine someone attempting to shove an unfamiliar object into your mouth? (I hope you answered “no” to this one.) Whenever I would give Nya solids in the beginning, she would attempt to wrestle the spoon out of my hand. I would like to say that she was always unsuccessful in her attempts, but, hey, even for a six month old, she is a strong girl with a very good grip. Once I figured out how weird having a spoon in your mouth for the first time could be, I made an effort to first get her used to the idea. When giving solids, I would take out two spoons, one for her to play around with in her mouth and another for me to use to feed. I also randomly gave her spoons throughout the day for her to play with. She now is less interested in grabbing the spoon and understands that spoons are ok to go in the mouth.

4. Do not give solids on carpeted surfaces. I learned this one the hard way. In the beginning, I thought it would be a good idea to just put Nya in her Bumbo seat in our carpeted living room for each meal. By the end of each meal, needless to say, there would be stains, crumbs, spit up in the surrounding area. If you do feed your baby on carpeted surfaces, use a tarp or towel beneath where the baby is sitting.

5. Babies like peas. Peas were the first (and I think only) food that Nya liked on the first try. If you are not having much success with the standard sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, or applesauce, give peas a try.

6. Be prepared for stinkier, thicker poop. I miss the days of Nya’s exclusively breastfed poop. In one of my fondest memories in the beginning of her life were changing her very mustard colored, vanilla cake mix smelling poop. (sigh) I can’t say that her poop rivals that released by my uncle after thanksgiving dinner, but it is definitely more smelly than before. The consistency of her poop has also changed from runny yogurt to thick toothpaste/peanut butter.

7. Your baby will always seem more interested in what you are eating than what they have in their colorful bowls. Even if it is the same thing (albeit pureed beyond recognition from its original form).

8. Water proof plastic bibs are the way to go! I used to used the cloth bibs that you can buy in bulk from Babies R’ Us. That is until I realized, as a result of a “necessary” trip to Target, that some genius had invented an alternative. The plastic bibs are easier to clean and seem to “catch” more food.

9. When using solids to complement nursing, it is easiest to create a flexible schedule for yourself. Before creating a schedule, I could never figure out when to offer solids. I always worried that I was feeding her too much or not enough. I used this schedule by mother-2-mother as my guide and revised it to my liking.

10. Make your own rules! Go with what works for your baby. Don’t worry as much about how things should be.

As Nya matures, I continue to learn more and more solids. She is now eating veggie and fruit-based purees, oatmeal, and cereal but I plan to incorporate more textures and protein.

What lessons have you learned about giving solids? What foods did your children enjoy? 

I should be happy; My daughter’s ready to wean from breastfeeding

I never thought I’d be sitting here at seven in the morning writing a post about my surprisingly intense feelings about weaning my daughter from breastfeeding, but I am.

I never thought I would (or could) feel these feelings or that I would be so sad that in becoming pregnant again my milk supply has nearly diminished, but I do.

Of course, I thought I would be celebrating this time, this time of, what was supposed to be, my renewed “breast and body independence.”

I thought I’d be celebrating that my daughter is ready to step fully into the next chapter of her childhood.

Eating a bowl of cereal

But, I’m not.

I thought this day would be the answer to all of my motherhood problems, or the sleeplessness, the saggy breasts, the constant feeling of being needed.

But, now that I sit here, awoken from a night’s sleep uninterrupted by my daughter’s need for my milk and after a day, a full day, of no nursing, I feel sentimental about the whole thing.

Perhaps she tired, I thought to myself when drinking this morning’s cup of tea, of my little milk and of crying because of that little milk. Or perhaps, and more likely, she was ready to end things.

And, I thought I’d be ready to end things, too. After all, breastfeeding as a pregnant mom was (is) painful (very painful). I only kept own, biting my upper lip and pinching my thumbs to get through the “latch” because I wanted to believe that she wasn’t ready.

I know now that in truth, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to move on because I was afraid of what moving on would really mean. I was afraid of losing the one tool in my motherhood arsenal that helped my daughter through illnesses, boo-boos, sleeplessness, and tears.

I was afraid of my daughter growing up so quickly and wanted, in continuing breastfeeding, to slow something down, to keep something still.

In spite of my fears, I know that where we are today was inevitable. And, that’s motherhood. The moment you think you can’t take something anymore, you realize that you can and when your child has moved on from that thing you then find yourself trying to “pick up” the pieces to reclaim what once was, but never will be again.

Oh, motherhood, you do mystify me.

Moms: Any words of advice for this sentimental mom? I know that I should be happy about this day, that I couldn’t breastfeed (nor did I want to) my daughter into elementary school, but I just feel very sad about it all. How do you get over feelings of sadness that come with the ending of phases in your child’s development?

Breastfeeding for Weight loss?: What really works

You want to know what I “love”? I “love” it when celebrity moms show up on red carpet events two to three weeks postpartum looking skinny and toned and when asked about how they lost the weight, they pull the “just breastfeeding card.”Really? Let me get this straight, you dropped 50 pounds, managed to get super defined legs and abs in three weeks just by breastfeeding?In pulling the “just breastfeeding card,” these celebrities also make it a big point to say they didn’t do it through their assumed usual ways of, oh, I don’t know eating nothing but fennel soup, detoxing,  and exercising for hours on end.

And, while the breastfeeding advocate in me salivates at their promotion of breastfeeding to mainstream audiences, the formerly breastfeeding mom in me knows that their promotion of breastfeeding as a diet is, at best, well, misleading.

Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and can lead to weight loss, but, and as the millions of mothers out there who breastfed their children until preschool and are still carrying around their baby weight will very quickly tell you, it doesn’t always work that way. Breastfeeding is not a magic pill (sorry, if I just broke your heart).

I lost all 40+ pounds of my baby weight from my first pregnancy within six months, not three weeks. Breastfeeding was a big part of my weight loss, but it wasn’t the only part. The other parts, or how I used breastfeeding to increase my weight loss postpartum are included below by way of some tips.

Breastfeed your baby on-demand. Breastfeeding can burn between 600- 700 calories a day. In order to best take advantage of it’s natural calorie burning properties, and to keep your baby happy and gaining weight (which are very important) you should always, always feed your baby on cue, or own demand. Scheduled feedings not only limit your natural calorie burning potential but they negatively impact your milk supply, and, thus, your baby’s happiness. hehehehe.

Breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months of your child’s life. When you begin to supplement your baby’s feedings with other things (formula, cereal, etc.), your weight loss potential decreases, mainly because you aren’t burning as many calories as before. Exclusive breastfeeding has other great benefits to your baby, too, like a decreased risk of infections, food allergies, etc.

Eat lots of proteins and complex carbohydrates. Breastfeeding hunger is an ugly, ugly monster with two heads and bad breath. It’s a monster that will roar all day long unless tamed with good foods like lean meats, legumes, leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  While pizza buffets and Doritos are OK sometime, you’ll find that in eating these things, you’ll be hungrier sooner and have only more love handles to show for it. Really.

Eat when you are hungry. When you are breastfeeding, it is not the time to skip meals or diet. Doing so only increases the toxicity levels in your milk and will cause your body to hold on to the fat that it thinks it needs in order to make breastfeeding possible. The key is to eat when you are hungry, not bored or tired or stressed (emotions which happen often in motherhood), but when you are genuinely hungry.

Eat more at the front end of your day, rather than the back end. A reader and dear friend, Lucy of the blog Lucille in the Sky, suggested this to me in a comment on this blog. And, boy am I thankful that she did. By eating more for breakfast and lunch and making wise snacking choices during the day, I was less hungry by night when my body naturally began burning less calories.

Do moderate exercise (cardio and strength training). I know what you’re thinking, “What the— But, I don’t have the time!” But, oh, you do. You just have to decide to make the time. I thought I didn’t have time either, until I figured out how to exercise with my baby. I would walk in the morning, or if the weather was bad, I would turn on Exercise TV, strap my daughter in a Moby Wrap, and do an at-home walking workout that I would highly recommend by Leslie Samsone. Walking alone helped me in the first four months to lose 90% of my baby weight. The final 10% or 10 pounds, well, they were stubborn. To get rid of them, I had to add a strength training regimen into the mix. I was (and still am) too cheap to buy a gym membership, so again I did a workout (every other day) on Exercise TV called 10 pound slim down by Chris Freytag. It’s a 30-day program that works.

Drink lots and lots of water. Hydrating yourself while breastfeeding is important, not just for weight loss but for a lot more. When I was breastfeeding, I aimed to drink at least 8 glasses of water.

Get lots of sleep (when you can). As hard as it was, I eventually had to give into the idea of sleeping while my baby slept. It was really the only way. Co-sleeping with my baby also saved me from having to deal with all the night wakings.

Don’t stress. Most people eat more when stressed because stress produces “protective” hormones in your body (Cortisol and Adrenaline) that cause you to feel, over time, very hungry.  As a mom (breastfeeding or not), you should make it a priority to de-stress in the best way you know how (of course, other than eating).

Don’t focus on the scale. The scale is not always your friend when you are breastfeeding. It may, even with all these changes, show the same number over and over and over again, even though you know by looking in the mirror that you’ve lost weight. It is for this reason that rather than focusing on numbers, focus on how your clothes are fitting. The numbers will fix themselves, usually, when you wean your baby.

Enjoy breastfeeding. This is the most important tip! I’ve seen the forums of moms pumping x amount of milk a day (beyond what their baby needs) in order to accelerate their weight loss. And, while I respect that approach, in my opinion, there’s more to be gained by taking the more traditional approach of feeding-your-baby-when-he’s-hungry. Rather than focusing on how to use breastfeeding to lose weight, it helps to focus on feeding and nourishing your baby and taking care of yourself. By doing these things, you will lose the weight in time. Really. Just be patient and enjoy breastfeeding your baby.

Moms: Did you lose weight through breastfeeding? Please do share your experiences with other readers. Any tips that you can add? What do you think of celebrity moms’ promotion of breastfeeding for weight loss?

The toddler update-y post

I realized in reading over some older posts that I haven’t done any toddler update-y types of posts in the past months for my sweet little cherub. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What kind of blogger (who identities at times with the online collective of mommy bloggers) are you?” I know.

Rather than writing much about her, I’ve been writing about myself, mainly because it seems more right (more safe?) for me to talk about myself and my perceptions of motherhood and parenting for better and worse and not specifically my sweet, innocent child, who may one day come to resent me for it (but I digress).

Besides all this, my daughter has been so sweet, or rather life has been so sweet these past months with her, so much easier, it seems, than before. And, sweet children who are seen through rose colored lenses by their dear mothers do not make for entertaining mommy blogging, or so I once thought.

She’s been sweet, mostly. And, I say mostly to not give the false impression that we have not, in all of her sixteen months of old age had to deal with tantrums, picky eating, mama face slapping, biting, attempts to throw herself out of her crib, head butts, and, you know,  (ahem) all of the other nonsense that comes along with toddlerhood, because we have.

Trust me.

We have.

It’s just that so often those moments are overshadowed but other, more sweet moments:

Communicating with the world. 

This month, Nya has been communicating more and more. Along with signing more (which has come easier in her older age), she has developed her own language, a language that I call toddler-ese. She speaks when “reading” a book in the privacy of her room while I do laundry in the room over or when attempting to tell me or daddy that she wants something. Ba-gee, ba-gee, ba-gee. For more cow’s milk, she signs for milk and says “na-na,” which I only recently realized is the same word that she uses when pointing to my mama’s “num-nums.”

Running away. 

Nya went, very quickly, from walking to running…away from me. She puts her hands in the air when she runs and takes heavy, flat-footed steps as if in full, unapologetic command of her new world. She still will rarely choose to hold my hand in public, except of course when she approaches uneven pavements. Then, she, knowing that I’m close by will discretely put her hand out for me to hold, and as soon as she’s made it over the adverse pavement, she’ll let go. Just like that.

Sleep is a good thing. 

Sleep. It’s long been a challenge for she and, mostly, I since the beginning, but things are improving. Thankfully. She’s still independent sleeping and will often sleep through the night. But sometimes, she’ll awaken for water or because her tummy hurts, and when the latter happens after 5 am, we’ll co-sleep.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, and I still enjoy it, if only on occasion. For independent sleeping, she sleeps in her crib but that may need to change soon as she can now lift one leg over the ledge. Yes. It’s almost time.

Bedtimes have also been easier in the past week. Sticking to a more consistent routine, I know, has helped with this, but sticking with a more consistent routine is tough sometimes. But, we’re doing our best in spite.  She has more consistently been going to sleep at 8 PM and waking at 8 AM.

Food is good for you. 
Nya is eating better this month. Thankfully. She’s been eating more veggies and proteins, and drinking more and more cow’s milk which has been great both for me and for her traditionally slower weight gain. Of course, however, she still has her moments where the only thing she wants to eat is oatmeal, but we get through it.

16 months is filled with easy and tough times.

When it’s an easy time or a tough time that in hindsight proves to be anything but, I just sit back and enjoy it, thinking I hope to remember this one day from now.  Sometimes, when easy times prove picture worthy and a camera is nearby, I will take a picture, but sometimes when the moment is too good, I may not.

I’ve been mostly taking pictures of those moments of her childhood but not writing about them as much, which must change. Writing, after all, is my way to record these things, so record I must, lest I forget something not captured in the impressions on our faces in the pictures taken.

I’ll try to keep up with these update-y posts monthly, I think.

We’ll see.

Moms who blog: How do you keep things balanced in talking about your kids on your blog? How do you try to respect their rights to an offline existence? Anyone have (and maintain) a journal, baby book or something else for that purpose? Am I the only one who feels conflicted about this?

It’s OK to Look it Up in My Gut Instead of a Book

Melody, today’s guest post author is a new mom to a very cute four month old and very dear friend (met through a google search that led her to this blog).  She’s not yet a blogger, but she is a fabulous mom, wife, educator, and writer. Here, she shares the secret, that she learned early on, of how to be a better mom: trusting your gut. Enjoy!

***

That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, “I did look it up, and that’s not true.” That’s ‘cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works.    -Stephen Colbert, White House Correspondents’ Dinner, 2006

Of course, Stephen Colbert’s logic doesn’t work with facts, but it’s become an incredibly useful mantra for me as a new parent. My daughter just turned 4 months old. I prepared for her arrival by reading lots of books about pregnancy, birth, infant care, and even stuff about the toddler years, just for good measure. What I should have spent more time figuring out was how to look stuff up in my gut.

So I read all these books looking for what’s “normal” about sleep, feeding, illnesses, development—you name it. Because I was nervous and eager to learn how to be a good mom, I read everything about what to expect with an infant. Turns out that I read too much about what’s “normal” and so everything my daughter did ended up seeming weird.

She never seemed to fall within any average.

She was never “on time” with her development or her sleep or her milestones.

Looking back, of course, I realize I had a perfect baby with an easy disposition that I should have enjoyed more. But at the time, in my haze of fear, anxiety, sleep deprivation, irrational spousal aggravation, and newly shredded self-esteem, I was convinced that my daughter was off the mark, and that it was, of course, my fault. Deep down, I think I knew she was OK, but I let my head convince me otherwise.

Head v. Gut

When I got pregnant, everyone told me I would feel so in tune with my body, that I would be awash in maternal instincts, that all I had to do was listen to my body and it would know what to do. It sounded so easy that I was confused and beyond frustrated when I couldn’t. Then I realized that women are taught their entire lives not to listen to their bodies, or their inner voice. The lessons are everywhere. Don’t eat, even though you’re hungry. Keep working, even though you’re exhausted. Don’t speak up, even though you’re angry. Don’t tell the truth, because it your feelings aren’t as important as someone else’s. It’s a wonder that by the time we’re adults, we’re left with any gut feelings at all.

But, I’m a woman who’s learning to trust her gut.

Our doctor told us that babies don’t start teething until 6 months. At 4 months, however, B started drooling incessantly, biting everything, fussing, and waking 4 times a night. “I know it’s too early for this, but let’s just see,” I said as I grabbed a teething ring in Target. She chomped away happily, and offering it during a fuss calmed her down. She was teething, and I knew it!

Other than teething, another gut testing challenge of ours is sleep. She naps for maybe 30 minutes at a time and seems tired all the time. To help matters, we’re trying a routine, and it seems to be working. I don’t know precisely why, but it is…working.

Back when I was 7 months pregnant, I met a woman who, in talking about her motherhood challenges, said this: “When I finally decided that I would just look at my kid to figure out what she needed, I discovered that I did know what to do after all.” 

I didn’t realize then how much her words would stick, and how right she was. Over the past few months, I’ve looked at B more, listened to her more. And, as a result, my instincts are getting better.

Of course, they still get challenged all the time by experts and other parents, but mostly by my own insecurities. Nothing like motherhood fills me with such intense contradictions of thought and feeling. Nothing else in the world makes me feel so powerful and so helpless at the same time. I have much to learn about my daughter’s coming months and years. I’ll certainly be checking with books and experts to guide us through. I’ll remember to check with myself too.

*** 
What lessons have you learned (perhaps the hard way) by trusting your gut when it comes to your children, parenting, or motherhood? 

“In order for you to grow, I must let go”

 My daughter is now at an age where she can enjoy indoor and outdoor playgrounds. She enjoys playing with other children, looking at other children, and showing me (I think) that she can do things on her own.

And, I’m at an age in my motherhood where I’ve, finally, come to really be okay with this stage.

At one time, I feared becoming a helicopter parent. I feared the unknown that existed outside of my parental control over her childhood, her life.

I feared the world. 

But now, now I’ve come to accept that bumps and bruises, tears, unknowns, dirty dresses, and, sometimes, rude children all come with the territory of childhood.

I’ve come to accept my own limitations in parenting and the limitations of the perfect bubble that I so wanted to create for my precious girl within this world. 

I still carry around a hand sanitizer pump in the front of my purse pocket, face and hand wipes in her diaper bag, and hover closely (at least more closely than some of the other parents) to her as she makes her way through crowds of children, sometimes, twice her size at playgrounds, but I’ve learned to mostly let go.

I’ve learned to step back, to be more of an observer to her world, to her social relationships, to her new-found self than an overbearing participant.

I let go because this is what my daughter wants. She needs my hand to hold at some times, but not all the time. She can do some things on her own.  Often, when doing those things on her own and with other children, she’ll look back to me as if to say, “See, mommy. It’s okay. I can do this.” She looks back at me as if she needs to know, to see in my eyes, that I trust that she will be okay.

And, I do. “I trust that you’ll be okay without me,” I say each time.

I let go because this is what she, seems, to need. She’s not a teenager, yet, but a toddler testing the boundaries of her very young world. She’s not, I must remind myself, the baby that I once could cradle within the confines of my lap to soothe.

It (or letting go is) is what I needed, too.

Do you know what it’s like to be so overly concerned with your child’s well being that it’s paralyzing? 
When I use the word “paralyzing,” I mean in the sense that you are mentally unwilling to do most things, things that you’ve heard in the news or experienced yourself, because of the possibility of hurt, pain, despair, and germs.

No? Well, it’s exhausting.

I can’t protect my daughter from everything, the scenes from the indoor and outdoor playground that we frequent are teaching me that very important lesson in parenting.

I can’t catch her every time that she falls, or stand in the way of the three-year old who decides to push her because she’s a “baby.” But, I can always be there to put neon colored Band-Aids on her scraped knees, to be her mom, and I am always there, always watching, amazed most often by her ability to be her own little person. 

I can’t (and don’t want to) live in fear. 

Parenting, it seems is a test, the greatest test in trusting that the universe will not swallow our most precious possessions alive, isn’t it? It’s test in trusting that there’s something greater that’s protecting our children, that everything will be okay.

***

What tests in “letting go” are you facing with your children? How do you get through those tests?

My IT Guy (I’m moving)

I have finally mustered the guts and found the time to make the move over to WordPress and I’m going it, alone. Like the mismatched cabinet safety locks that are poorly installed in my Kitchen and the uneven picture hanging above my bed, this blog has officially become my DIY “project” (but this time, I’m doing things right. Ha!)

I know, this is big, and possibly insane, but that’s (I’d like to believe) beyond the point! I’m doing this big thing because I want to learn, because I want the sweet sense of satisfaction of knowing that I did it, that, and, well, I’m horribly cheap. And while I am doing most of the heavy lifting, I do have some help, namely from a trusty book recommended by Kate of the Mommy Monologues and my husband, my IT Guy.Image result for blogging

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that my husband works in the IT industry, but he does. And for any woman out there (or man) who has a significant other working in that industry, you know that it’s tough. Long and often unreasonable hours, untenable work schedules, attached to the skull Blackberries, and lots and lots of urgent matters are what make up that industry, I think.

Having kids and being married to someone in the IT industry (particularly those in programming or networking or other 24/7 fields) is a challenge, but there are also benefits if you call yourself a blogger, namely that you always have someone who can provide you with real-time, free help-desk support on your blog or any other possibly stupid and ridiculously simple (like opening files off a FTP site. Yep. That was one of my questions at 1 AM last night when my mirrored site crashed) technical matter that may be troubling you.

The help you receive from an IT spouse (and you can probably imagine this to be true if you’ve ever had to work with an IT person) is, well, unique, too. These people, these IT people of which my husband belongs, take their craft very, very serious, so you have to tread delicately, oh, non-IT one, in dealing with them. All explanations are FULL explanations on any given topic, all questions are approached with a degree of skepticism, and all problems can and WILL be solved.

It’s truly an interesting thing being the wife of an IT guy, my IT guy.

I could go on longer about, but I’ll save that for another time.

It’s Father’s Day so my husband has planned a nice afternoon of us sitting on the couch watching movies. I know. So fun.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there.

Any one else out there conquering any DIY projects at this time? What are you working on? Oh, and is there any one with a spouse or significant other in IT? Can you relate? We need a support group, right?

How do you really prepare for another baby?

With the baby moving more, finding out that we’re having a girl, and more random strangers outright assuming that the growing bulge in my midsection is a baby, this pregnancy has become more and more real.

And this has been scary, at times.

At times, and in the course of the day when I’m just attending to my everyday responsibilities as a mom, wife, and human being, I’ll get any of the above reminders and that will send in the chain of “I’m-really-really-not-ready” thoughts, thoughts like:

She (Nya) isn’t potty trained. I haven’t even read anything on potty training? Should I have by this point? What about a big girl bed? Do we need one? Is she ready” What about strollers? Will we sell our old ones? What about the nighttime routine? What if my husband works late and I’m stuck pulling double duty? Two girls. What if they (the two girls) develop a sibling rivalry? How will I find the time to write? What if I can’t write anymore? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Like distracting background music in an elevator filled with people carrying on their own conversations, these thoughts go on and on, or until something more pressing comes up like Nya putting the leftovers from her lunch in the air vent, using her boogers to “paint” the walls,” or something along those lines.

These thoughts are the reason for the urgency in my voice when talking to my husband about where we should be in terms of preparing for this baby.

“Do you get that in a few months, we’re having another baby?!?” I would say amidst, often, an unrelated conversation on something else, something like a cable bill or whether I put gas in the SUV.

To this, I get a pause, shocked facial expression then an, “Uhhh. Yeah. What’s there to worry about?”

“What’s there to worry about?!?” WE’RE HAVING ANOTHER BABY!” I’d say to him and the rest of universe who, it seemed, wasn’t panicking along with me.

These thoughts, these frustrating conversations with my husband, have increased in the past few weeks, but, at the moment, I feel at ease. 

Yes, at the moment, as in the moment that I am writing this, I feel at ease with the thought that in a few months (I’ll be 24 weeks on this Thursday) a new baby will be joining our family and that we will, as we have in the past 16 months, make things work.

In these next months, I like to believe that we’ll have a stroller, have figured out what to do about Nya’s sleeping arrangements and potty training, but we may not, and that’s okay.

At this point, or in this moment, that which is keeping me sane is focusing most on my day-to-day reality and doing what I can for the future when I can. 

This past weekend, we began looking at baby names and narrowing down the list of possible double strollers. These are just small steps, but we’re getting there, slowly, but surely.

What things did you do (or are you doing, if you’re now pregnant) to prepare for baby #2? How was your preparation for #2 different from #1?

When dad works and mom does, well, everything else

As I remember it, I grew up in a typical home. My dad went to work and when he returned from work he ate dinner, watched SciFi movies on the TV in our living room, then went to sleep in preparation for another day of work.

And, while he did that, my mom stayed home and…did, well, everything else. She made dinner, hauled us around on field trips, washed the dishes, handled most of the day-to-day disciplining of my siblings and I, scrubbed the toilets, attended parent/teacher conferences, and all the other things that come up running a household and raising children.Image result for When dad works and mom does, well, everything else

Of course, as a child, when I imagined my life as a married woman, I’d imagined it’d be very different.  “When I marry,” as I often told myself and any audience that would listen, “I’m going to marry a man who provides for his family and attends on a regular basis to all household and parenting responsibilities, meaning he would wash, dry, and fold the laundry, do the dishes, cook dinner, attend to the children at night, and wasn’t unreasonable in his requests for “intimate time” (that last part got added on later).

And, when my husband and I first married, he did do his half (minus the childrearing because we didn’t have children). When we returned home from our jobs, sometimes I made dinner, other days, he did. Sometimes, I washed our clothes on every Thursday, other days he did. Everything was shared. And, it worked.

But then a baby entered the picture, and everything, well, everything changed.

With a baby, and while I began to take the everyday parenting of our child very seriously, my husband began to take his job very, very seriously.

I think he developed more wrinkles in the first weeks from being stressed at not being able to provide enough as a dad. He scoured bills with a furrowed brow, and began talking about how our life’s savings weren’t measuring up.

He did all this while I (and whether I was working or not) stressed about everything else, or the color our daughter’s poop, dinner, not having a clean house.

And this isn’t to say that he didn’t also “help” around the house or with our daughter when he could, because he did, willfully.

But, all that he offered was just that, or help, help that was sometimes there and sometimes not when I needed it most.

And that was perhaps the toughest pill that I had to swallow as a new parent: that in a two-parent household the responsibilities of raising a child and caring for a home are not always equally shared or thought about by husbands and wives. Usually, it the wives, whether they work or not who do the most and the husbands attempt to do what they can around that.

16 months into motherhood, and things haven’t changed much, my husband is still working hard at his job outside of the home and I’m still working hard at my job inside the home, but our understandings of each other’s roles and respect for those roles have changed, much.

With time and maturity, we’ve had come to accept, finally, that as parents, we spend our days doing very different, yet equally challenging things. Our realities are different and parenting styles (given the disparity in the amount of time that each of us can spend with our daughter on a daily basis) are different.

As a result, we need different things for ourselves and from each other at the end of the day. We’ve learned to respect each others’ needs and acknowledge each others’ rights as parents and individuals.

We’re not perfect, nor do I want to strive for perfection in this arena. But, it’s working and getting better and better with time.

How do you and your spouse/so delegate parenting and household responsibilities? How do you keep things fair?

SOC Sunday: Why do you share on Sundays?

I don’t really have a plan for this post, but I know I want it to be different than the others.

I’ve realized that my stream of consciousness posts often take me into the depths of some hurt, insecurity, revelation, something deep that I, perhaps on Monday through Saturday wouldn’t have bothered writing about.

And that, or that realization, is blog worthy.Image result for Why do you share on Sundays?

I could spend all five minutes trying to figure out why I psychologically feel the need to reveal something on Sundays, but I won’t bore you (or me).

Well, maybe I’ll bore you a bit.

You see, sometimes these posts get personal and revealing.

And this results (psychologist in me speaking) from, I don’t know, but I think it has something to do with my desire to share something worthy every Sunday with a group of other women who are also sharing, usually, personal things.

We share together. It’s like a Sunday therapy session at times, not that I’ve ever been to therapy. Well, wait, there was that free session my mom forced me into at twelve where the psychologist attempted to probe the depths of my soul in 10 minutes. “How are you really feeling?” He asked over and over and over again.

Hmm, but that’s another story, for another time (or post). Where was I again? Oh, yeah, sharing is caring.

Yes, that’s what I do most every Sunday, but this Sunday, I’m taking …the same approach.

My time’s up. Darn it!

Maybe next Sunday? Same place, same time?

***

What type of things do you typically feel most compelled to write about in SOC Sunday? And, why? If you’re not here from SOC Sunday, that’s OK. How was your weekend?
This was my Stream of Consciousness post. Want to join in? Here are the rules.

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Link up on here.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

http://www.mommyhoodnextright.com/2011/06/when-dad-works-and-mom-does-well.html

When dad works and mom does, well, everything else

As I remember it, I grew up in a typical home. My dad went to work and when he returned from work he ate dinner, watched SciFi movies on the TV in our living room, then went to sleep in preparation for another day of work.

And, while he did that, my mom stayed home and…did, well, everything else. She made dinner, hauled us around on field trips, washed the dishes, handled most of the day-to-day disciplining of my siblings and I, scrubbed the toilets, attended parent/teacher conferences, and all the other things that come up running a household and raising children.

Of course, as a child, when I imagined my life as a married woman, I’d imagined it’d be very different.  “When I marry,” as I often told myself and any audience that would listen, “I’m going to marry a man who provides for his family and attends on a regular basis to all household and parenting responsibilities, meaning he would wash, dry, and fold the laundry, do the dishes, cook dinner, attend to the children at night, and wasn’t unreasonable in his requests for “intimate time” (that last part got added on later).

And, when my husband and I first married, he did do his half (minus the childrearing because we didn’t have children). When we returned home from our jobs, sometimes I made dinner, other days, he did. Sometimes, I washed our clothes on every Thursday, other days he did. Everything was shared. And, it worked.

But then a baby entered the picture, and everything, well, everything changed.

With a baby, and while I began to take the everyday parenting of our child very seriously, my husband began to take his job very, very seriously.

I think he developed more wrinkles in the first weeks from being stressed at not being able to provide enough as a dad. He scoured bills with a furrowed brow, and began talking about how our life’s savings weren’t measuring up.

He did all this while I (and whether I was working or not) stressed about everything else, or the color our daughter’s poop, dinner, not having a clean house.

And this isn’t to say that he didn’t also “help” around the house or with our daughter when he could, because he did, willfully.

But, all that he offered was just that, or help, help that was sometimes there and sometimes not when I needed it most.

And that was perhaps the toughest pill that I had to swallow as a new parent: that in a two-parent household the responsibilities of raising a child and caring for a home are not always equally shared or thought about by husbands and wives. Usually, it the wives, whether they work or not who do the most and the husbands attempt to do what they can around that.

16 months into motherhood, and things haven’t changed much, my husband is still working hard at his job outside of the home and I’m still working hard at my job inside the home, but our understandings of each other’s roles and respect for those roles have changed, much.

With time and maturity, we’ve had come to accept, finally, that as parents, we spend our days doing very different, yet equally challenging things. Our realities are different and parenting styles (given the disparity in the amount of time that each of us can spend with our daughter on a daily basis) are different.

As a result, we need different things for ourselves and from each other at the end of the day. We’ve learned to respect each others’ needs and acknowledge each others’ rights as parents and individuals.

We’re not perfect, nor do I want to strive for perfection in this arena. But, it’s working and getting better and better with time.

How do you and your spouse/so delegate parenting and household responsibilities? How do you keep things fair?

Gone swimming

It’s been one of those days.

I had planned, last night, to finish with making the move over to WordPress, but instead I wrote a blog post that took two hours.

Preceded by a late night, we woke up later than planned, at 10 AM.

It was lovely.

I had a breakfast of waffles planned, but we were out of syrup.

I had planned to publish my post from last night this morning, but rather than hitting the publish button,  we went swimming.

It’s been one of those days.

Tomorrow, of course, will be different. I’ll be guest posting over at Early Mama.

***
How is your day going, as planned or not?