I Don’t Wanna

I am having a hard time doing things lately. My job is stressful and I used to love this job, but now it is stressful and I feel like I am failing.

Being a mom is hard. So much harder than I thought it would be.

If I quit my job, there’s no reason to keep my baby in daycare anymore. That would mean I have a new full time job of being a stay at home mom.

I love my daughter but she’s a handful right now. We aren’t even into tantrum phase but she has so much energy and get into everything and does throw fits if you take things away from her (like choking hazards). So my days would be following her around the house making sure she doesn’t hurt herself.

Inevitably she’d still hurt herself. OR I’d make her cry by taking away things – or moving her away from the dog’s water bowl again and again, all day long.

I wouldn’t accomplish anything else around the house.

I’d still feel like a failure.

How do all you mom’s out there do it? Work? Stay home? How do you not feel like you are failing? I’m really struggling at the moment.

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These are NOT New Years Resolutions

These are NOT New Year’s Resolutionsbitmoji1105603469

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. 

NY-Resolution

 

So these are NOT New Year’s resolutions…

BUT

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 exercises on 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.
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Had to turn down this delicious looking treat 
  • 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. exercise
  • 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.

public transit

 

Anyone else out there make goals for the year? How are you doing on them?

Adventures in Sick Land

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.

 

esme 9
She’s starting to pull books off the upper shelf. Round two of baby proofing is in order.
esme 10
She loves looking out the front door with our doggy. Two peas in a pod.

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…

The Return To Work

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. maternity leave

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!

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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.

When we say we care about children, but no meaningful gun laws have been passed, and at least 1000 more children have died by gun violence, since the Sandy Hook shooting. We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but 1 in 3 women are physically abused by an intimate partner.  We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but actively work against their best interests and block their ability to get the healthcare they need. 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. women

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?

SO…Motherhood is no joke y’all

Wow… sorry I have been MIA for the last 8 months. I don’t know how I thought I could be a full time mom with a full time job and keep up with a blog. I apologize to anyone who was reading my blog and worried about me at any point in the last eight months. I am doing great – mostly. There’s a lot to catch you up on and I will backtrack and post some more detailed entries of what has happened and what I learned over the last 8 months. Here’s some highlights:

Esme newborn

4/26/2017: My sweet baby girl came on her due date! I know that never happens, but it did for me. Relatively few complications but man it was still rough. Details to come.

May-June: Many trials and errors with a colicky baby with a sensitive stomach. Not a lot of sleep. Luckily I have the sweetest husband ever who helped with night shifts so I didn’t go crazy.

July: Back too work much, much too fast and trying to figure out the whole pumping at work thing.

September: Changing daycare – I love the one she is at now. Plus learning to roll over

October: Supplementing with formula – my milk supply couldn’t keep up with pumping at work 😦

November: Solid foods, crawling and hand, foot and mouth disease

December: Merry Christmas to me, I need foot surgery and my baby can crawl and pull herself up to standing! Plus meeting Grandpa for the first time.

Now: Recovering from foot surgery, still not sleeping through the night. Baby has Roseola and husband has pink eye!!!

This shit is crazy

 

But I love it

 

Now excuse me while I try to get caught up on some of your posts out there to see what else I’ve missed these last 8 months…

A Day Without A Woman. 34 Weeks

Last week I participated in Day Without A Woman on International Women’s Day by attending a rally at my state capitol, wearing red, and not making any purchases that day.

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I did not strike. I was lucky enough to be able to work from home, hoping that my physical absence may be felt, but my work would still get done. There are two reason I chose not to strike. One, being that I am pregnant, I will need the time off for maternity leave. My company offers FMLA leave, which allows me to be out for up to 480 work hours without risk of losing my job (roughly three months). But any pay I am to receive during that time comes from my accumulated sick and vacation time, so using it now means I don’t get to use it later. Some may say this is exactly why I should strike – to show that this policy is inadequate to meet the needs of new moms and dads. That we should have better paid leave policies for maternity/paternity. These are things that I agree with and would fight for. But my second reason for not striking is a bit more compelling…

I work with all women. My team is all women, and though we work for a larger organization that has these maternity leave policies, the work I am doing right now affects the long term careers of these other women. They were relying on me to meet a deadline with my piece of the project so they could continue with theirs. Our failure on this project would not affect the overall organization we work for very much, but it would affect the careers of these other women. It simply did not make sense to me to hold these other women back in any way. 

Striking was a good choice for many. In a different circumstance I would have participated in the strike. Not because I think that I suffer injustices at work for being a woman (like I said, working with all women eliminates a lot of the discrimination other women suffer). I feel I am adequately and fairly compensated and am encouraged in my career growth. However, it is not for me that I participated in the rally.

It is for all the other women who could not rally

  • women who do suffer injustices at work
  • women who are paid less than a man for the same work
  • women who cannot take personal leave without the risk of being fired or reprimanded
  • women who are sick of a mostly male government deciding what she can and cannot do with her body
  • women who are accused of “bringing it on themselves” when they have been assaulted or abused
  • women who are told they aren’t pretty enough, skinny enough, curvy enough, tall enough, short enough, funny enough, smart enough, nice enough or good enough to meet our impossible standards of women
  • women who are sick of being ignored

I rallied because I wish for a better future for my daughter. As women we have all felt at least some of the things I listed above. There are certainly more things that could be added to this list, these are just the ones that come immediately to mind. I know I cannot shelter my daughter from all of these cultural injustices and she will some day experience some of these. My hope is that it gets better as times wears on. I did feel an energy at the rally that was really encouraging. We need to keep the energy alive and not let it wane.

The saddest part of the Day Without A Woman protests were the attacks from other women. The last thing we need is to tear each other down for standing up for what we believe. Even if it isn’t something that you care about or believe in, we should be proud that we are even allowed to have our own opinions that can be expressed publicly! It’s the women who came before us that have allowed us this expression. How you use it is your choice, but isn’t that a beautiful thing too!

In pregnancy news I am 34 weeks today! Only 6 short weeks to go. I cannot believe we are getting this close!

Did any of you participate in any of the Day Without A Woman activities? How did it go?

Anyone with daughters have advice on raising them to be confident and secure? 

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

 

 

29 Weeks 1 Day and Erratic Sleeping

I am 29 weeks and 1 day today and it’s a weird space to be in. I feel close, yet so far, from my due date.

It’s still a month and a half before I even have a baby shower. That’s a decent amount of time. But it’s really approaching quicker than I realized. I can’t believe it’s already been 29 weeks! Crazy.

And my sleeping has decided to become very inconsistent. It seems like I am only sleeping well every-other night. I cannot figure out why. I was SOOO tired last night. I had had a pretty busy day….

When I got to work I discovered my tire was leaking air! I am lucky I made it to work without going flat! A couple of coworkers tried to help me get the lug nuts off but we couldn’t and I don’t have AAA. So we called maintenance and I was really lucky they were willing to help. Sent a big dude who got them off no problem. Had I been on the side of the road I would have had to hope that someone would take pity and stop in the middle of their morning commute!

Later on I had physical therapy for my rib/back pain. Being pregnant is all kinds of fun! The physical therapy is only very slowly starting to help with this pain. But at least it’s something.

That was at the end of the day, so I went straight from there to take my car to the auto shop before they closed for the day. They’re only a few blocks from my house, so I left my car there and walked home. They’re a small shop so they don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand and had to order the tires for me, to be delivered sometime this afternoon.  My boss is super nice and flexible so working from home today was not a problem while I wait on my car. [I am writing this on my lunch break for those concerned about my work ethic 😉 ]

THEN Beau and I met with a doula last night. She came over to talk about her process and strategies and see if we were a good match. She was really nice and a lot cheaper than the first doula we met with, but she’s also newer to this work. We are meeting with a third option this weekend so I think I will save all the doula details for another blog.

Anyway – you’d think with all that activity I’d fall right to sleep! Wrong. I was exhausted after the doula left and definitely felt ready to hit the hay. But for some reason (pregnancy) I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what I did. Then my mind started working and I couldn’t shut it off. I probably drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours and decided to try my luck on the couch. That was worse. Nothing was comfortable! So I went back up to my bed. I finally did doze off, though I am not sure what time.

When Beau woke me at my usual time this morning I felt terrible. I sent a quick email off to my boss about working from home since I didn’t know my car situation and then fell back asleep an extra hour. Luckily boss was totally cool with working from home because I would have been LATE had I had to get myself dressed and onto public transit to trek to work. Instead I worked in my jammies at my kitchen table until I could take a quick break to shower and get dressed and write this post!

The problem is this keeps happening. Every other night I can’t sleep and then I am exhausted and am able to fall asleep the next day but then the cycle starts all over again!

Anyone out there with pregnancy sleep problems have any advice? I am not sure I can do this for 11-ish more weeks!