I hate this. I hate this so much. I hate that our children have to stage a walkout to get the nation’s attention that they do not feel safe at school.
In America. Children do not feel safe going to school. Let that sink in.
We are full of talk. Pointing fingers of blame. And then we do absolutely nothing.
I don’t know what the solution is. Speculation is thrown around everywhere about what will reduce the number of violent gun deaths. But when it comes down to putting those theories into action and policy? We suck. We fail. We plug our ears and shake our heads until something else gradually gets our attention and we forget that we have this HUGE, debilitating issue until it happens yet again.
I could go through the list of common targets that people love to blame when these things happen (admittedly, I was about to do just that) but that would make this post unnecessarily long, because the truth is none of that matters if we don’t do anything and innocent people continue to die.
I will address one thing that I keep seeing pop up here and there. Being “nicer” to your fellow classmates. This is victim blaming. This is telling students that they weren’t nice enough to their classmate and so it’s their fault he shot up the school. I don’t think our society has a problem with niceness. Yes, bullying is a problem. But kids have been bullied by their classmates since the beginning of time. Bullying is not uniquely an American problem, and yet mass school shootings is uniquely and American problem. Also this “solution” doesn’t address all of the mass shootings that happen outside of schools. Because there are plenty of those as well.
In fact – thinking through all of the other common targets of blame, none of them are uniquely American. Violent video games, movies, music, high divorce rates, reduction in religious belief, mental health issues, and even a rampant gun culture. None of these things by themselves are uniquely American.
One thing that isn’t talked about as much, but does seem to be different among high income countries is access to social programs that support people below the poverty line. Here’s a graphic from this BBC article.
I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this though, because what we really need is well funded, thorough research into the issue.
Why do our citizens pick up high powered weapons and turn them on their peers?
This makes me nervous to send my little girl to school when she’s older. I hope we can come together and actually work to do something about this issue. It makes my heart hurt.
I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think we all overdo it around the holidays and use the New Year as an excuse to detox a bit from the overindulgence. But far too often we give ourselves lofty unsustainable goals that we fail to attain and get discouraged and fall back into our old habits defeated and forlorn.
So these are NOT New Year’s resolutions…
I had a crazy 2017. Becoming a mother for the first time in April. Trying to figure out my new life/role as a full-time mom with a full-time job.
Experiencing the ups and downs of new motherhood, and lots and lots of body changes. Losing (most of) the baby weight. Boobs filling and deflating with breastfeeding. Trying to figure out what I can eat that doesn’t upset baby’s tummy.
Then I had foot surgery right before Christmas. I have been mostly sedentary for the last 6 weeks. Just this week I started physical therapy.
A couple weeks after my foot surgery we had back to back illnesses in my house which you can read all about in my last blog post. Somewhere in the middle of all that stress and sickness, my milk supply dried up and I stopped breastfeeding altogether.
So needless to say I have had a lot of changes to my life, my body and my schedule in the last year.
Now that I have stopped breastfeeding and am no longer trying to keep a milk supply up.
Now that I am in the active healing phase of my foot surgery, starting some light exerciseson my foot.
Now that I am (mostly) over my head cold that has knocked us all around the last few weeks.
I feel ready to try and reinstate some of my old habits that kept me healthy, both mentally and physically, prior to baby.
I don’t expect to return to my old life. I don’t want to. I love being a mom. I will never have the freedom over my schedule that I used to (at least not until the little ones are out of the house). But it is time to find my new normal, which needs to include some healthy habits. As much for my mental health as my physical health.
So here’s my starting point:
Break my sugar addiction. This is a big one. I have a BAD sweet tooth. It had gotten to the point where I was eating gross store-brand cookies that WEREN’T EVEN GOOD. But they were sugar and I needed a fix. SO for the month of February I have committed to cut the sweets. Of course there’s been sweets in the break room every day since! 28 days to break a habit they say. Perfect. We’re at day 7, so far so good.
Establish a gym routine. So I haven’t started on this one yet. I need to sit down with Beau and we need to make a plan because we both value gym time and need to figure out a way to take turns. My plan is to talk to him about this in the next couple days and start this weekend.
Reduce my carbon footprint. So this isn’t as much for my own health as it is for the health of the world. But I believe that we should all have at least one goal that gives back in some way to our community and/or world. So I am committing to take the bus more, and eat less meat. My plan is to give meat up entirely for Lent. I am not Catholic, but I like partaking in Lent anyway. And thereafter choosing meatless options for lunches and anytime I go out to eat.
Anyone else out there make goals for the year? How are you doing on them?
What goes around comes around. In the daycare world, this apparently mean illnesses. We haven’t been well in my house for the last month. It’s starting to get ridiculous.
Here’s a recap of our sickness calendar:
Dec. 29: Baby Doll gets Roseola. Fussy and cranky for about a week.
Jan. 4: Beau gets pinkeye. He hopes it will clear on it’s own and doesn’t go to the doctor until Jan 11.
Jan 11: That night Beau gets sick. Turns out it’s the Flu (probably got it from going into the doctor for pinkeye!).
Jan 29: Dolly has a cold. Croup-y cough, nose running like a faucet. Then the fever starts and she is making a noise when she breathes. Diagnosis: Ear infection.
Somehow I have managed to avoid all of these illnesses until today. Ugh. Woke up with a sore throat and a cough. But I am out of sick days at work, so I doped myself up on Dayquil and dragged myself in. Mom’s don’t get sick days.
Fortunately my little one has been a trouper and as sick as she is, is still playful and fun.
Here’s some photos from the last couple of days.
Beau and I have had our mind on sleep training since mid-December, but there’s no way I am attempting to sleep train a sick baby. So, with being sick, she’s waking up a lot and needing extra cuddles.
We’re going a bit crazy.
Beau and I are trading off night of sleeping, and so far it’s survivable, but it’s by no means ideal.
I hope everyone else out there is doing better this month than we are! Here’s to a better February…
Picking a daycare for an infant is no easy task. If you live in a big city, it can also be quite competitive. A friend of mine, we’ll call her Julia, had a baby one year prior to me and advised that I look immediately and get on wait lists as soon as I know I am pregnant. So I took her advice and got on a list pretty early on, before I had told most people that I was pregnant. At the time the daycare said their wait list was around 9 months out, which would be perfect timing with my maternity leave.
Julia was using a woman who lived near us and had an in-home daycare and she LOVED this woman, whom we will call Claire. Claire was also half the cost of the daycare whose wait list I was on. Julia insisted that I must use Claire and offered to tell her about me and “get me in” with her.
This sounded great to me. Paying half and much and having a word of mouth recommendation sounded perfect.
Every so often Julia would tell me that she was telling Claire about my pregnancy. How far along I am, how I am excited to use her to watch my little one. Everything sounded great.
And then things got weird.
Around January (I was due in April) I asked Julia for Claire’s phone number so I could start coordinating with her myself.
Julia got weird about it and said she’d “ask” Claire if it was okay if she gave her number to me. Which had me a little worried, after all, why would Claire be mad at Julia giving me her number if she’s expecting to care for my child?
When I followed-up about the number, Julia said she forgot to ask if she could give me her number, but that Claire isn’t sure yet if she’d have a spot for me and so I didn’t need to “waste my time” calling her about it yet?!
So this whole time she was assuring me that I’d have a spot with Claire and suddenly she’s not so sure… I was PISSED and confused and I panicked.
So I reached out to another friend, we’ll call her Wendy, who also had a baby about a year before me (her daughter and Julia’s son were about the same age). These two were not friends but were mutual acquaintances. I asked Wendy if she had found a daycare for her daughter (at first Wendy’s mother was watching her, but I knew she was looking for another option). Wendy knew that Julia was going to get me in with Claire and so asked what happened there. So I told her that Julia was suddenly being weird about it and wouldn’t give me Claire’s number.
I suppose I shouldn’t have said anything to Wendy. This was my mistake.
Wendy reached out to Julia and called her out for not giving me Claire’s number. BIG DRAMA. SO then Julia confronts me about talking shit behind her back. She gives me Claire’s number but says she’s going to “stay out of it now” and stop talking to Claire to try to get me in with her.
So I guess it’s my fault now.
So I call Claire. And she is elusive as to whether she will have a spot available. Apparently she had some older kids who should be starting kindergarten at the end of August, but she hadn’t confirmed with their parents that they will stop using her daycare services. I needed daycare starting mid-July anyway.
And now I was only on ONE list because I trusted my friend and counted on getting in with Claire. Another mistake.
I never brought it up again. I actually don’t know where the breakdown was with Julia. If she had second thoughts about me getting in with Claire After all, her son was the youngest there, and my baby would probably need more attention in the beginning, which might take away from her baby.
Maybe she wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to use Claire and so she didn’t really push it with her, not wanting Claire to save a spot for me and then have me back out, she didn’t want to risk souring her relationship with her son’s provider.
But this is really just me making excuses for her.
Luckily the one daycare list I got on came through and we were fine.
Needless to say, I have learned my lesson with Julia. We were pretty new friends when I first got pregnant, and now that I know her better I see a side of her that I have to keep an eye on. She is very competitive. Detrimentally so. She is unfortunately not a trust-worth friend.
In some ways I feel sorry for her. She is so insecure and constantly compares herself to others. I figured out a long time ago to not compare myself to others. Some days I still struggle with it, but mostly I am happy with who I am. Constantly comparing yourself to others is exhausting. Everyone you meet will be better than you at something, and worse than you at other things.
Why do we women do this to ourselves? Have any of you had a similar experience with a friend, or another mom? How did you handle it?
I was on the bus last week with a neighbor of mine, heading to work. He said he recently met someone who works for Microsoft and found out they offer their employees 6 months of PAID maternity leave! That sounds AMAZING.
I took the typical maternity leave route of applying for FMLA, and draining my accumulated paid leave time in order to still get a paycheck while out for the (maximum) 12 weeks of leave. Twelve weeks is just shy of three months and not nearly enough time, if you ask me.
Technically my body had (mostly) healed from giving birth and I was capable of working again. I even felt somewhat ready to face the world and be more social and get out of the house. But jumping back into an 8 hour work day? More importantly, leaving my teeny tiny 12 week old baby for 8 hours in daycare? It was ROUGH.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, she was colicky in the beginning and had a hard time laying down to sleep. 12 week old babies are just so helpless, and with 7 other babies in the room and only two adults between them, I knew my precious little baby wouldn’t get a whole lot of attention.
Why is it that other developed nations have figured out how to let new mothers (and fathers) stay home with their new babies for a full year before returning to work?
Furthermore, many of these nations have affordable, or even free, daycare options!
For a nation that claims to value babies and families, we really don’t act like it.
As in all things, actions speak louder than words.
When we say we care about children, but struggle to continue to fund CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) we are showing where our priorities really are.
When we say we care about children, but block LGBT parents from adopting children who are otherwise stuck in foster homes we are showing where our priorities are.
When we say we care about children and pregnant women, but we pull out of the Paris Agreement and de-fund the EPA we are allowing excess toxins into our air and water, babies and pregnant women being the most vulnerable to toxins, we are showing where our priorities really are.
These are just a few examples of how we fall short of caring for our women and children in this country. So it is really no surprise that we don’t care about a child and mother in the first year of the child’s life.
Our actions speak louder than words.
I have also been disappointed to hear older women complain that we have it so much better than they did. We do. I am so grateful for the fact that my employer couldn’t fire me for getting pregnant and taking leave. But aside from being guaranteed a job to come back to, we really don’t get much more help. Some of these women seem to feel some resentment toward the women of today for getting it (slightly) easier than they did. But I think we can do better. We can hope that it gets even better for the next generation after us, and not feel resentful when our nation shows progress.
Seriously though, if you Google image “women today meme” you will see a slew of sexist, violent, hateful memes that make me want to vomit. Clearly we’ve come a long way.
But I digress…
I will say that there are many, many ways that I was lucky during this time. I acknowledge that even having access to daycare and the ability to go back to work is not something every woman has the luxury of, even today. My work was also flexible with me, so I was able to do a bit of work from home during the first couple of months, so I didn’t have to leave Dolly at daycare for 8 hours straight. Also, daycare was in close proximity to my work and I was also able to visit her on my lunch break to breastfeed her.
Even with all of these luxuries, it was still HARD. I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to return to work and I am very glad now that I did. I think it’s better for both of us. I also know it would have been hard no matter how old she was. But there is a huge difference between 12 weeks and 6 months. If European countries can give a full year, why can’t we be HALF as accommodating?
We can do better. We must do better.
Mothers out there, what was your experience like? How soon did you go back (if at all) and how did you cope?
It’s been a rough month for my little family, so I am a bit behind on any lifestyle changes I have been hoping to implement this year. But I have a pretty darn good excuse…
I had foot surgery on December 18th
Two years ago I tore I ligament in my foot playing soccer. At first they said it would heal on it’s own and had me wear a boot for 8 weeks. Then I started physical therapy, but it wasn’t healed. Then they told me to stay off of it again and give it longer to heal, so I did. But it didn’t heal. Then I got pregnant and ignored it for a long time. I could still walk and run on it without pain, but later in the evening I would get pain and swelling. I also could not go up on my toes at all, the torn ligament was the lateral collateral ligament in the side of my foot by my big toe.
So I was able to live with it, but not able to be as active as I’d like (planks were a no, as was yoga, calf raises, push ups…turns out you flex your toes back for a lot of things).
The surgery was the week before Christmas. I was completely non-weight bearing for the first week and then was able to hobble around putting light pressure on my heel, being sure to avoid pressure on the front of my foot.
Did I mention Baby Doll is crawling???
And pulling herself up to standing?!?!
So that has been mighty tricky. Baby Doll started crawling a couple of weeks before the surgery. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to get this over with before she gets even more mobile.
After I scheduled my surgery, my dad was cleared to fly. He is in poor health and was having foot issues related to diabetes. So he, too, had to have foot surgery last year and wasn’t allowed to fly until recently. So he also hadn’t met baby yet and was anxious to come visit. So he came over Christmas and helped out (kind of). He was good at cooking me meals and somewhat watching baby. But he wasn’t great at watching baby because he cannot get up and down off the floor with her. He was also not great at cleaning up after himself in the kitchen – BUT I cannot complain because I didn’t have to cook myself anything (or pay for any of the groceries) while he was in town.
THEN, On Christmas Evening, the shut-off valve under our kitchen sink broke! On Christmas. The shutoff valve! So water was leaking everywhere and we couldn’t shut it off to that one sink, so we had to shut off all the water to the entire house! On Christmas!
So no plumbers were available. No hardware stores were open. And none of us could shower, or flush a toilet, until we got it fixed…
Luckily my dad is also pretty handy with plumbing. The next morning he and Beau took a trip to Ace Hardware and had it fixed in no time.
But beware! If you have one of those faucets that detaches with a hose and lets you spray water around the sink, the loop that hangs down under the sink can snag on the shut-off valves. Yank too hard to pull the faucet out and over time it will wear it down and eventually snap off. On Christmas.
But that’s not the end of it… Boy oh boy…
By the end of the week, Dolly had come down with Roseola. At first we just thought she was teething because she was feverish and fussy but otherwise seemed fine. But by Friday she was breaking out in a rash and so Saturday it was a trip to the pediatrician to see what was going on. Luckily it is self limiting and you just have to let it run its course, medicating with tylenol, ibuprofen or other fever reducers that are safe for babies.
So through that she started sleeping terribly again. Like up every two to three hours screaming and not wanting to be put back in her crib. It was exhausting.
So of course the next week Beau gets pink eye, because we’re whipped and sleep deprived and immunity is low… He finally goes to a doctor last Thursday because it still wasn’t totally cleared but the doc said it was pretty much through so not to worry.
Then that night he starts feeling worse and having G.I. issues. By the next day it’s chills, body aches and fever… Yup. He got the FLU! I know. This is getting to be ridiculous. So he goes to the urgent care clinic and gets on Tamiflu but doctor says he is still contagious for three days. So I had a nice long weekend (MLK Jr. Day) with Beau quarantined to the upstairs and me on full-time baby duty.
Good thing he was no longer contagious by Monday night. Because I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep and just general exhaustion.
Let’s not forget that I am still limited with my foot. And it’s my driving foot so I can’t drive. And I can’t carry a baby down our porch steps even if I could drive. So I didn’t leave my house from Friday after work until Tuesday morning. Rough.
Get your flu shots. Even if they are only 30% effective.
I got mine. Dolly got hers. Both of us avoided flu. Beau did not get his shot this year and we all suffered because of it.
So you can see why I haven’t attempted to take on anything else in my life right now.
Sorry this turned into such a long post! How was your holiday? Hopefully better than mine…
So Baby Dolly turned out to be a little bit tricky.
(Beau trying to soothe Dolly bouncing on a fitness ball with her)
She wasn’t sleeping well and definitely did not like being put down on her back to go to sleep. She slept well on my chest held upright in my arms. Which was amazing, but also I needed to sleep sometime.
But aside from those normal grunting noises she was definitely having trouble being put down. So after discussing her symptoms with the pediatrician we were sent home with a diagnosis of acid reflux and a prescription for Ranitidine.
Her improvement was night and day! SO so glad we started the Ranitidine. She almost immediately had a easier time being put down to sleep without arching her back and crying. I even noticed a reduction in the amount of grunting noises she made in her sleep. It was a miracle drug.
BUT – she was still a bit of a fussy-butt every evening. Most nights she’d have a crying spell that was only quelled by bouncing on a pilates fitness ball while singing to her for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour.
Beau and I would take turns trying to coax her to sleep but regardless of what we did she had a crying spell most nights. Beau refuses to admit, even now, that she had colic. I, however, admit it fully (I also believe this is why we’re still having a bit of trouble sleeping at 8 months ).
Sure, I’ve heard of others who had WAY WORSE cases of colic. I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse than it was. Still, it was NO FUN and definitely made “Healthy Sleep Habits” hard to form.
I think the only way I survived this phase was with Beau’s help. We made the decision to introduce a bottle when she was around 2 weeks old. She took to it like a champ and still took my breast. No nipple confusion!
This did mean that I had to find some time each day to pump enough for one bottle to be given each night. But this was a small price to pay for 4 straight hours of sleep!
She was still waking every two hours to eat so I’d feed her and then head to bed super early (like 7pm, no kidding). Then Beau would take the first shift and give her the bottle around 9. Then he’d hang out with her until she woke again around 11 and then he’d come get me and I’d take the rest of the night. Those four hours were essential to my sanity, and Beau still got enough sleep to function at work the next day.
We are lucky enough to have a spare room so one of us could sleep with Dolly in our bedroom (she slept in a bassinet of course) and the other would sleep in the spare room upstairs so as not to be woken by the cries. I realize this is a luxury not everyone has.
In all though, she did eventually grow out of both things. So if you are dealing with either of these issues. I feel for you. Hang in there, it does get better!