Encouragement for Moms

I generally write letters to my son in this blog, but today’s for the moms.  I’ve been surprised lately with the amount of content in mom blogs that address the feelings of inadequacy in new moms.  Yes, I subscribe to several other mom blogs.  I love reading other mom blogs because it allows me to identify and commiserate (most often) with other new moms and learn from more experienced moms.  I’m intrigued by scenarios in which other moms find themselves, and the critical thinking used in those situations.  The majority of my friends are in different places in their lives, and we can’t talk “mom and baby”.  Plus, I work from home and my son isn’t old enough to join the ‘Mommy And Me’ play groups yet, so I don’t get a lot of bonding time with other moms.

The items listed below are little things with which I’ve made peace.   Nobody has all the answers, and I’d be leery of of anyone who claimed they did.

  1. In no way will I judge another mother for how she makes it through her day.  Everyone copes in different ways; everyone is different and so is every baby.  Nobody lives your life except you.  Becoming a parent is exciting, wonderful, magical, and awesome; it’s also scary, stressful, intimidating, and overwhelming.  I don’t think it matters how many children you have; every day is different and presents new challenges.  Cry if you need to cry, take a minute for yourself, and relax.  Stretch your shoulders and shake out your arms.  You will get through this.
  2. I will be more patient, and I won’t offer my opinion unless asked.  What’s right for me might not be right for the next mom.  There’s no ‘miracle cure’, ‘instruction manual’. or ‘perfect parent’.  It’s a lot of trial and error (and error, and error, and error).  If my son’s been fed, been changed, and had a nap… then why won’t he stop crying?!  Take a deep breath in, exhale, and try something new.  You’re allowed to make mistakes; you’re only human.  I know that it’s really hard to remember that when you have a screaming baby, though.  The screaming will stop, the air will clear and so will your head, and you’ll take mental notes for next time.
  3. Day school (day care) was the best thing we did for our son.  My husband and I both have careers that we love, and neither one of us could do our job and look after our son every day.  Both would suffer.  It was difficult sending him to school at such a young age, but it was best for everyone.  I had a hard time realizing that I probably wouldn’t be the first person to watch him crawl, walk, or hear his first word.  It’s still hard.  But, he’s very well cared for, he’s developing faster than if he were at home, and he’s socialized.  Our son wears himself out playing at school, and he sleeps all through the night.  Yes, he’s already had RSV, but he got through it just fine, and he’s stronger now.
  4. My body will never be the same.  I could write a whole book on this topics… It took almost 10 months to grow our baby boy, and my body can’t fully recover from that weight fluctuation.  I’m older than the average new mom, I gained 45 pounds with this pregnancy, and our son was a giant.  But I’m healthy, I make good decisions for myself, and my husband and son love me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure my son loves that I’m a little soft, and my husband loves that I have more curves.  You’re allowed to have a different shape after growing a human.  I’m sure I’ll have those amazing arms and great legs again… after about a year or so of chasing a baby around 🙂
  5. Anyone who can’t understand why my house is a mess is either not a parent or hires someone to keep the house clean for them.  The only way we keep our house clean is to tag-team it.  My husband and I split the house chores: I do the laundry and clean the bedrooms and bathrooms, and he does everything else.  I have to get my housework done during the day (like on my lunch break) or before the boys come home.  Once the boys get home, I watch after our son and my husband cleans the kitchen, does the dishes, and makes dinner.  As long as we have clean underwear and clothes for school, I don’t worry about too much else.  And if we’re too tired to clean the kitchen one night, the dishes can wait.  Your self-worth isn’t reliant on how clean you keep your house.
  6. We’ve found sanity in the form of a schedule.  This is paired with the allowance of deviating from that schedule when we feel it necessary.  Schedules are awesome because you can expect and plan for the next event.  It’s noon: my son falls asleep.  It’s 2pm: my son should wake up and want to eat.  But if our little guy refuses to adhere to the schedule, we have a contingency plan.  If that doesn’t work, we play it by ear.  Everything takes more time now; It’s not the end of the world.
  7. Sometimes, no amount of preparation can prepare you for what’s about to happen next.  When our son was recovering from RSV, we took him over to Grandma’s house for a visit.  It was about time for him to eat, so we let grammy do it.  Vomit everywhere.  We got everyone changed and the vomit cleaned off the couch.  Then we tried again, and vomit everywhere again.  Well, we used our set of emergency clothes, so we had to take our baby home naked (in a diaper) and hungry.  See Day 71.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time something like this happens.  You can’t take situations like this too seriously; you’ll just stay mad, and that’s no good for anyone.

All of this to say one thing: All the hiccups in your days are not these giant failures you imagine; all the days you make it through are victories.  And after a little while of ‘making it through’ the days, you’ll start enjoying the days.  The things that used to cause such strife in your days won’t phase you.  The formerly traumatic experiences will now make you laugh.  You’ll develop a new ‘normal’, and it will be great.  And those are HUGE victories!

Day 92

IMG_1262Who is the happiest little boy because he slept through the night?!  You are!

Yes, you slept all the way through the night, kiddo.  We fed you around 7pm and you were asleep by 7:30.  We woke up around 4:30, but it wasn’t that bad.  I think it’s crazy how 5am doesn’t sound so early anymore…

You wore your Chelsea clothes today even though our team didn’t play.  This is outfit #1; outfit #2 came after you #2’d all over outfit #1.  Let’s just say it was a blowout of epic proportions.  Your other Chelsea outfit was the blue kit and grey shorts; totally cute!

Today is Valentine’s Day, and you and dad got to spend some quality time together while I went to the spa for a couple hours.  Later we went to the PGA SuperStore and got me fitted for clubs.  I love our little family life 🙂

Three Months

IMG_1248I’ve learned I no longer get to blog on the weekends… boo!

This is you at three months old.  Friday, the 13th… ooooh 🙂 You’re really tall, really heavy (in a good way), and you’re really social.  Everyone at school loves you!  You have mastered the following:

  • smiling, laughing
  • talking, cooing, babble
  • blowing bubbles, raspberries
  • big sighs, inquisitive noises
  • swimming motion on tummy time, pushing up
  • swiping grasp, pinching, hand holding
  • rolling over both ways

Your focus has gotten a lot better and you’re starting to recognize people from further away.  I know your hearing is perfectly fine because you can recognize your dad and my voices even when you don’t see us.  You already have your favorite toys at school and home.  You’re so strong and your hands, feet, and head move at lightning speeds, often times catching us off-guard.  You’ve clocked me in the jaw a few times more than I care to admit.  Changing your diaper and feeding you has become more of a chore as you like to squirm and wiggle so much.  It’s like you can’t sit still for one second, as evidenced in the picture I took.  Oh, and EVERYTHING is going in your mouth now.

Day 90

IMG_1222Another night of waking up… ugh.  Can we please stop this, kiddo?  Mom needs a solid night sleep 🙂

I think you’ve officially hit the stage where everything goes into your mouth.  Mainly, it’s your left fist that finds your mouth.  I can only think that you’re telling me that you’re hungry, so that’s about the time we feed you.

You coo and talk to so much.  Your smile is getting bigger.  You’re happy all the time, except when I use the bulb on your nose; darn allergies.  You’re positively a stud, kiddo.

Day 89

IMG_1208This waking up in the middle of the night thing is for the birds, kiddo!  You woke me up at 2am again.  On a positive note, that is almost 8 hours of sleep for you.  I just can’t bring myself to go to bed in line with you at 6pm.

You look more and more like your dad every day.  You have my coloring but your dad’s features.  And you’re fascinated by the camera.

Day 88

IMG_1164Again, you woke up in the middle of the night.  We have to stop letting you go to sleep at 6pm.  It’s so hard to try and keep you awake, though… you’re a growing boy and you need all the sleep!

You sure do love your spaceship (jumper).  You’re really learning how to grab onto things, and you’re reaching and grasping.  Apparently, you’ve been ‘playing hard’ at school, too.  I’m sure that doesn’t help with your recent exhaustion.

Day 86

You didn’t exactly have an easy night; I got up with you three times before Dad finally got up with you around 4:30.  Sundays are made for relaxing, so relax already!  It was unseasonably warm today, so we got you all dressed in a short sleeved onesie and shorts.  Grandma Chapman came over like she normally does on Sundays (except for last week because she got a nasty cough), and dad and I went to Top Golf, grocery shopping, and to the PGA store to get me some golf shoes.  We watched a recorded TV show, then we hit the road with you.  We went to Lowe’s to guy a new hot water heater, then we went to Target, and finally JJ’s basketball game (which ended up not happening).  You were really tired and slept through Target and the basketball game.  Let’s try to have a good night tonight!

Day 85

IMG_1129Our busiest day to date.  We were running non-stop since we woke up.  First, we had the Chelsea match against Aston Villa, which we won.  Then, Grandma Recer came over to take dad shopping for his birthday.  Dad got some stuff and so did you!  Dad got a couple outfits from the PGA SuperStore and you got a Baby Einstein Jumper from Buy Buy Baby.  Keep flashing those smiles at Grandma and you’ll get anything you want; both grandmas, for that matter.  After we assembled the jumper, we went to the driving range for a little bit.  Around 6pm, dad left to go get his hair cut, and you passed out!

Day 84

IMG_1128Ah, Friday is finally here.  You’re 12 weeks old today, and you’ll be 3 months old next friday.  You’re just the happiest baby.

You came home from school in your emergency clothes again today… apparently around 10am, you decided that all of your bottle needed to be worn.  So sad, because you were absolutely adorable in the clothes I dressed you in today.  We had a great night at home, except you’re starting to fight going to sleep.