Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Practice in Patience... And the Sweatpants Kid.

Last night I got 6 hours sleep... With only one 2 hour stretch and then waking every hour until 6am. At this point, this pattern is not typical (thankfully) but when it happens I can barely remember how to go to the bathroom.  What was I doing?  Oh yeah...

For many months now, I have struggled to balance the many facets in my life.  Life, however, is next to impossible without sleep.  The list of things that make up "life" are ever changing and impossibly endless.

Life: (In no particular order)

Sleep - HA!
Eat - Must remember to eat!! Must remember to eat!! (Cold raspberry pop tarts count as a meal, right?)
Clean - Again, HA!!
Laundry - If I can remember to put it in the drier and not have to run it a 3rd time... We can live out the clean baskets this week so I don't have to fold it.
Work - Much easier to do with Sleep but you can't have everything, and I can really only work when she is sleeping.
Work - Choose to work instead of sleeping because I still have to pay bills.
Pay Bills - Didn't I just pay that?
Grocery Shopping -Now this is a fun adventure!! Let's see if Fuss Pants McGee let's me get the few things needed to put together a halfway decent meal. (Frozen Pizza, again?)
Keep my Shit together/don't freak out - At least on the outside, on the inside I'm screaming my head off.  This is where the practice in patience really begins...
Take care of the Dog - Oh Shit!! I have a dog!! Yep, she's still alive... Okay good.  My poor first baby... (She's been amazing through all of this)

Shower - I'll have time for this tomorrow, right? (Muttering to self... "I'll just put on some deodorant...)
Make dinner - Uhhhhhhhhhh.....(This is a struggle because the room where the baby sleeps is also open to the kitchen so it can't be done while she's sleeping either)
Get dressed - Seriously, can't I just go in this?  Who said sweatpants are not acceptable out of the house attire?  Who decided this?  Come on!

Of course, through all of this there is taking care of the baby.  Naps, diapers, feeding, playtime, baths,  bedtime, etc.

The things listed above are not all of the things that need to get done in any given day/week, but you get the idea.  These are things all of us need to do.  These are things I used to be able to do all of in one day! (Crazy, right?)  I often have to write these things down just to remember to do them, which feels insane to me!

I'm trying not to judge myself if I don't succeed in getting to any of the tasks listed.  Really, the baby is all that absolutely requires my attention.  Over time, my husband and I have come up with systems for some of the tasks.  At night, he does the laundry because he remembers to put stuff in the drier.  He also cares for the dog for the most part, and I hope she'll forgive my neglect some day.

 Nursing/Feeding time has become a time to meditate. The phone is no longer out and I don't read from my kindle anymore.  My sanity is best kept, if I breath through the struggle.  I'm forced to stop for a little while to feed her, so I find that is the best time to review and practice the patience I will need to survive.  This too, is difficult because I often find myself listing all the things I need to get done and then I start getting agitated.  "It's a practice", "it's a practice", "it's a practice" has become my new mantra.  I must remember that I don't have to be perfect now, I don't have to get everything done today.  Watching her learn to use her hands, I see her get frustrated (I'm so tired sometimes I forget how to use mine, so i can relate). I tell her over and over that it's a practice and she will get it in time; this is something I must remember to tell myself as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Crock-pot and the Legend of Dinner

For the first 3 months of Addy's life I continued in my attempt to juggle, but let's be honest it looked more like a flail and most of the things up in the air landed on the ground in a splat.  I began to grasp at straws desperate to complete a task or just do something right.  Then like an answer from the universe to my silent screams, I inadvertently glanced at the bottom shelf in my kitchen; and there it was, like a glowing beacon of success, the crock-pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  It's possible I heard angels sing at the moment I realized, I could do something!! I could do something NORMAL, something I knew how to do that might just have an amazing end result.  But how?  How could I get everything prepared?  She hardly gave me more than 5 minutes at a time unless she was sleeping and I needed all her sleep time for work.  It became clear very quickly, that all I would need at any given time was about 5 minutes to prepare things.  I could do it in 5 minute increments and many things could also be done while I had her in the the sling or baby carrier.

Grate Cheese - Done
Change a diaper
Slice a few vegetables - Done
Mat and Tummy time
Boil chicken - Done
Kiss and Chew on her feet maybe some cuddles and giggles
Open Cans - Done

I also realized that at some point my husband would come home, and I might even have 20 minutes all at once to prepare.  Dinner could be prepared the night before and put in the crock-pot the next morning all while holding my child.  I COULD DO THIS WITH ONE HAND!! Oh, crock-pot, you magical, wonderful, unicorn of dinner.

With this realization, these are the recipes I tried and made with great success.  They were not only pretty simple to do but turned out amazingly delicious.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup was a huge hit with my husband and was great with leftovers for his lunches the next few days.  Below you will find my edits to make this with the "Infant in the House" time constraints.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Lost in Mr. Roger's Motherhood

Welcome to the Motherhood, where everyday there are drive-by spit-ups, diaper blowouts, mysterious and seemingly perpetual wet spots on all pieces of clothing, and someone screaming in your face like a drill sergeant at all hours of the day.  Where you forget to eat and now you don't have time, or you remembered to make yourself food but still don't have time to eat it and now it's cold. But, it's not all bad, and although you smell like sour cream because you haven't had time to shower in 4 days, this baby is so cute you want to chew on it.  The smiles make you want to melt and you keep trying to find ways to get the baby to smile over and over.

Would you be mine,
could you be mine,
won't you be my Nanny...

Throughout my life, I was never sure I wanted to get married or have any children.  Spoiler Alert!! I am both married and a new mom.  In November 2013 I discovered I was pregnant and began to wrap my head around being someones mom but by March 2014 we lost that pregnancy.  It was after that loss that I realized that yes, I did want children.  We didn't start trying again until the fall of 2014 and by the middle of November I was pregnant again.  This time however we said nothing to anyone, we barely acknowledged the pregnancy ourselves; fear would not let me attach to the idea.  Months passed and with each test and appointment we were reassured that everything was going great!!  So there it was, I was going to be a mom, now it was time to figure out what that meant for me.

My worst fear in becoming a mom was to lose myself or my marriage not to mention fucking up another human being.  I didn't want to identify only as someones mom, I wanted to keep myself too.  It started on the morning of July 22nd, 2015.  I woke up at 4:30am with a strange feeling, wondering if I was in labor, by 8am I was pretty sure that I was in labor.  We got to the hospital at 9:15am and Adaliah was born at 10:49am.  It was a whirlwind labor, terrifying and painful.  By the end of it all, I was overwhelmed, exhausted and embarrassed.  Screaming throughout the delivery process, I apologized between each contraction, needing reassurance that it was okay, that I wasn't weak.  I have always thought of myself as someone who was strong, someone who could withstand all types of pain, but I had SCREAMED because that shit hurt!!  Moments after she was born I had a rush of embarrassment and maybe a little P.T.S.D; why did women have more than one kid, how did anyone withstand that more than once?

Within moments, I was beginning my trip into the Motherhood.  It started out fine at first.  She was placed on my belly and within moments she wiggled her way up and began nursing.  After all we had heard, we knew we were lucky, this worked out without any problems.  She nursed very well from the very beginning.  Okay, so I had one major thing down, I could feed my kid.  The first few days at the hospital were about making sure she and I were healthy.  My body hurt like hell, but I felt good, everything was new and strange and there were people taking care of me.  The first few days at home were great, she slept for 3 hours several times and we were excited to be new parents.  Then she started to cluster feed.  With no point of reference, I had no idea what was going on.  She needed to eat every 20 minutes for 12 hours straight.  This was the beginning of my self doubt, anxiety, shame spiral.  Frantically, I searched the internet via my phone looking for answers.  Was I doing something wrong, was this feeding thing not really working?  An answer was quickly found, she was building her milk supply.  But, it was too late, I had woken up a monster of self loathing, self doubt and worthlessness in myself.  Not to mention, we weren't at the hospital anymore, there was no nurses and doctors to worry about and take care of me. Even though my husband was feeding and fussing over me, I started to feel alone.

For the next few months, that monster would periodically take over.  I would feel the urge to pull my hair out, jump out a window, hurt myself in someway.  It wasn't some joke that I used to cover up how crazy I was feeling, it was a real feeling.  When I'm not armed with information, when I don't know what is going on I immediately jump to self blame and doubt.  Holy shit, being a mom was hard and I was not equipped to handle it.  There was a job in front of me that I could not quit, and there were moments where I really wanted to.  My worst fear was coming to fruition, I was losing myself.  Where had I gone?  Where was the confidant woman who could handle anything life had thrown at her so far?

A new panic formed, not only was I bad at being a mom (something that so many others seem so good at that they even have more than one) but I had officially lost me.  For weeks, and then months I struggled through trying to work (which I am lucky to do from home) and navigate the mean streets of the motherhood.  This little amazing creature was a Rubix cube.  I would think I had solved one side only to find the rest of the cube a jumbled mess.  I have no idea what I'm doing...

Yesterday, I had a an amazing thought.  When you move to new neighborhood, it's often best to get yourself really lost in order to really learn all the roads, paths and shortcuts.  To find that little hidden restaurant or coffee shop you would never had found if you hadn't gotten lost.  The panic started to fade as I realized, I will eventually find my way home.  I will eventually find myself again and I will be different, stronger and no worse for the wear.  There is this amazing and beautiful creature, who now smiles at me most of the day instead of yelling and together with my husband we will navigate the sometimes treacherous streets of the Parenthood.