19 things I gave up when I became a mom

There’s an article floating around my Facebook newsfeed entitled “27 Things You Must Say Goodbye to When You Turn 27.” I read it mostly for the LULZ, because, at 27, I was pretty certain most of the things on it I had said goodbye to long ago. I wasn’t wrong. I had a mostly “Eh” response to it (unlike other people, who were much more, errr, emphatic about it). It did, however, make me think about all the things I said goodbye to when I became a mom.

1. A clean house. Gone are the days where my living room is not coated in a layer of toys, board books, and all the pillows and throw blankets from the furniture. These days I’m happy if the mess is contained to one room and not spread through the whole house.

2. Being on top of my laundry. I was never very good at keeping up with my laundry before, but eventually it all got done/folded/put away. I am pretty sure, since A was born, I have not had ALL the laundry done at one time ever. In fact, and I’m a little ashamed to admit this, we have dubbed our guest room as the “laundry room” as all of the clean, out of the dryer laundry gets dumped there and stays there until it gets folded. I was sorting it the other day and was pulling 12 month clothes out of the piles. A hasn’t worn 12 months since December.

3. Or my dishes. Of all the chores, the one I must do compulsively is the dishes. I cannot stand dirty dishes in the sink. I was slightly more lax on this when we didn’t have a dishwasher. Since acquiring one, I am less forgiving. However, it seems there is always a dish to be done, or a dishwasher to be unloaded, even if I literally just washed all the dishes five minutes ago.

4. Spending more than 10 minutes getting ready for anything. I used to have a very long, involved, and detailed routine in the mornings for class (grad school, not undergrad) and work, which could be doubled if I was going out somewhere fun. My basic routine now is shower, debate whether I truly need to wear make up/dry my hair before deciding nah, I don’t, and throw on whatever is clean and not too wrinkled.

5. Leaving the house not covered in some sort of unidentified stain. You would think this pertains mostly to mothers of newborns, but it carries on to toddlerhood. Even with my child self-feeding, I’ll still take a grubby yogurt hand to the chest and not notice it till it’s too late. At least I hope it’s yogurt.

6. Using the bathroom alone. I had always hoped this one was something other people exaggerated about, but alas, it is not. I now have a peanut gallery, every. single. time.

7. Taking showers so long all the hot water is gone. I used to love taking long, hot showers. I considered it a good shower if my skin was slightly singed from how hot it was and all my digits were pruney because I had been in it for so long. I don’t even know what I did during these long showers. Draft grocery lists, ruminate on how so and so at work had slighted me, contemplate the universe? Who knows. Now I’m just lucky if I get to take a shower daily.

8. Buying clothes anyplace other than Target. I mean, it’s just convenient. I’m already there for everything else I need in life, I may as well buy my clothes there too. Plus, who can resist Target’s clearance section? Not me.

9. Watching whatever I want on TV. My Netflix queue, once filled with high quality movies and television like Clueless, Steel Magnolias, and How I Met Your Mother, is now filled with Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, and all of the Tinker Bell movies.

10. Eating whatever I want. And not because I am worried about being super healthy or not gaining weight, but rather because now there is a small creature who thinks everything is for sharing, and wants whatever it is I am having, no matter how many times I tell her “It’s yucky! You won’t like it. Yucky yuck yuck.” She’s just not buying it.

11. Sleeping past 8am. Even when given the opportunity to sleep in, my body just can’t physiologically do it anymore, thanks to countless early wake up calls. Plus, those hours before A wakes up are some of the only hours I have to myself. All of this depresses me, considering I used to sleep in past noon on the reg.

12. Having a clean car. My father and husband would argue I have never kept a clean car, and to some extent they are correct. It is not my number one priority in life. But adding a kid into the mix just made my already cluttered car 100x worse. My backseat is currently covered in daycare report cards and coloring sheets, even though she hasn’t been in daycare for two weeks.

13. Getting anywhere on time. I used to be so freaking punctual. I spent most of my high school days perpetually late, so I worked really hard to correct this in college and grad school. For several years I was even perpetually early. That’s over. Now I’m lucky if we are leaving the house at the time we were supposed to be somewhere.

14. Or staying anywhere until the event is over. I used to close any and all parties down. I was known to be at the bar till last call. Now I’m like “Oh sorry, but the baby’s bedtime was 10 minutes ago, gotta run!” at 7:40pm.

15. Day drinking. Unless it is a special occasion, or I have someone else to take care of A, this just doesn’t happen anymore. I actually did get to participate in some day drinking at my best friend Bailey’s wedding last month, and it was awesome, but John had to wrangle our toddler the whole time. You can’t have it all, can you.

16. Not making/getting dinner because “I just don’t feel like it,” and just eating Cheetos and chocolate chips straight out of the bag (with cheap wine as a chaser). I am now responsible for providing healthy, balanced meals for A. And because she gets hungry, like all the time, I have to either cook or pick up dinner daily even when “I just don’t feel like it.”

17. Having the “latest” anything. The MacBook Pro I am writing this on was purchased in 2009. Just yesterday, I bought a new charger for it since the original one died. That $84 was the first money I spent on this laptop since I bought it. And I am going to happily use it until the keys fall off. My iPhone is an iPhone 4, purchased in (brace yourself) 2010. Yes, I bought my iPhone four years ago. Here’s some context for you: I have only been married three years. But my kid? She has all the newest toys.

18. Leisurely drinking a pot of coffee while doing crossword puzzles on the weekends. This was something I used to do every weekend, without fail, since grad school. I’m not sure I know what leisure means anymore.

19. Actually, weekends in general. And Fridays for that matter. Friday-Sunday lost all meaning with A’s birth.

Of course, I gained a lot more than I lost when I had A. I learned what it means to love someone else unconditionally. I learned what it means to give yourself completely to another person’s well-being, and to be happy to do so. I gained a world full of smiles, snuggles, hugs, kisses, and giggles. And truthfully, I don’t really mind the mess. I save a lot of money on make up by not wearing it daily. A spoon left in the sink isn’t going to kill me.

I do kind of wish I was better about the laundry though.

In response to the original article, here at the age of 27, I still enjoy everything bagels with full fat cream cheese, because c’mon, I don’t have weekends anymore. Throw a girl a bone.

5 things I’ll do differently the next time

We’re closing in on A’s first birthday, and I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing over her first year. Specifically, I have been thinking about things I would have done differently had I known better. Not doing any of these things didn’t harm A in any way, but they definitely would have made my life a little easier. Here are five things I would have done differently and plan on doing differently the next time around:

1. Start pumping early and often

I didn’t even have a breast pump when we took A home from the hospital. I often wonder if I had started pumping earlier/with more frequency if I would have had better luck with it. Next time, I’m going to start pumping A LOT earlier and try to pump after she nurses every time (emphasis on try here, I was so exhausted with A I’m not sure I would have even looked at the pump if I had had it) to establish a better pumping routine.

2. Nap/sleep in crib earlier

I think the biggest mistake I made with A was letting her get used to falling asleep being held. It took foooooreeever to get her to sleep on her own, in her own bed. I didn’t mind bed sharing, per se, but it wasn’t what we really wanted to do. I would have much preferred her sleeping in her own space from the get go. Next time, I’d like to start putting baby down to sleep in her/his crib once or twice a day to avoid the sleep situation we had with A.

3. Take a longer maternity leave

I took about two months leave with A, and I really wish I had taken a full three months off of work to be with her. A was still in the throws of colic and NOT SLEEPING AT ALL when I went back to work, which made for a very unproductive employee and miserable mommy. Going back to work was enormously difficult for me, and if I’m still working outside of the home the next go round, regardless of how much paid leave I get, I will take at least 12 weeks for maternity leave. (Who knows, maybe I’ll be blogging fulltime by then or working for one of those progressive companies who offer six month long maternity leaves.)

4. Take more videos/Be in more pictures

I took a lot of photos of A, but not a lot of videos. I have a few of her at different stages of infancy, but I wish I taken more. I also took a lot of pictures of her alone or of her and other people, but I wish I had stepped out from behind the camera more often and let other people take the pictures for us and of me and her together.

5. Do more research

When it came to different baby products, I did some research, but not a whole lot. I just kind of blindly registered for items without a lot of regard to their actual use. Suffice it to say, there are several products I will definitely be selling in favor of replacing with other items the next go round. Stay tuned for part two of this post, all about items I will be doing differently with our next baby.

Adventures in parenting

So, A woke up from her afternoon nap on Saturday and felt warm. Like, ridiculously warm. My first thought was “Maybe she’s just warm from being in bed” but then I remembered she doesn’t sleep under a blanket or anything and she was just in a onesie. Her whole body was more than warm, she was radiating heat. I had never taken her temperature before, never had to, but I figured it was finally time to break in the thermometer.

Every child rearing book I’ve ever read says the MOST ACCURATE way to take an infant’s temperature is to do so rectally, and the thought of this always intimidated me some a lot. But I bucked it up because I figured it was probably going to be worse for her than for me, which I wasn’t totally wrong about. If my child hates being held down to have her diaper changed, she especially hates being held down for me to..well..you know.

So I took her temperature, and she did indeed have a fever. 102.4 degrees. And OF COURSE these things happen on the weekends, when the doctor isn’t in the office. It wasn’t exactly high enough to be panicking about, and she wasn’t acting ill, so I did what any parent of the Internet age would do: I asked Dr. Google.

Dr. Google recommended Advil or Tylenol followed by a lukewarm bath, then monitoring. A wasn’t particularly happy with me about the bath part (I’m pretty sure I have the only baby in the world who loathes baths), but it did seem to work, and she felt cooler after. When I put her to bed that evening she had a temperature of 101.5, so at least it was going down.

Sunday morning she woke up and felt fine. I figured maybe she was teething or something. Sunday afternoon though, she started to feel warm again. She was also starting to act weird. She didn’t really want to take a bottle and didn’t have much interest in food, which is completely atypical behavior. I took her temperature (she was really starting to hate me at this point, I think), and it was up to 102.9. Still not emergency room standards, but higher than I was comfortable doing nothing about. I considered taking her to an urgent care facility, but eventually decided against it. She went to bed early that night and woke up a ton. I think I was in and out of her room five times before just taking her to bed with me around four am.

Need an easy way to tell if your kid is running a fever? Lay them on top of you and if you are PHYSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE from the amount of heat that is coming off their body, they are probably running a fever. When I moved A from my arm, I could literally feel the burning hot spot from where her head was.

Around six I woke up and called in to work and took her temperature (still hanging in the 102-103 range). From there I played the waiting game with a very fussy and clingy baby until Dr. Baby’s office opened. I was really worried she had an ear infection, which would be just my luck since we are flying on Thursday. But her ears were clear, her lungs were clear, and her sinuses were clear.

Then Dr. Baby said sometimes in baby girls this age, when the fever gets that high and there are no other visible symptoms, it could be a bladder infection, and the only way to know for certain is to get a urine sample, and the only way to do that is to…

…wait for it…

CATHETERIZE her.

She continued to explain that she really did feel it was necessary since a baby can’t tell you “Hey, it hurts when I do the thing that makes my diaper wet,” and it’s important to treat it if it is. So they put the catheter in her, which went about as well as you would expect it to, and get the urine sample, and lo and behold, it was not a bladder infection.

Dr. Baby said it could just be a virus, and sometimes babies will just run a fever for a few days then break out in a rash. Her professional recommendation was to “watch and wait,” which for me, as a parent, is incredibly frustrating since I want to be able to DO something for her, more so than just give her Advil every few hours. It’s also frustrating because I spent almost two hours, a co-pay and a sick day to be told to do the thing I was already doing.

I know it was necessary to take her; you shouldn’t really ignore a 103 degree fever. At any rate, she seems to be doing better today, although she is still running a fever off and on. They’re low grade, though, and she took all her bottles and ate like a champ today. Here’s to hoping it is just some random little bug, and she’ll be totally healthy for our trip to Indy on Thursday.

A day in the life of Hot Shot Mama

Being a working mom, I don’t get asked “What do you do all day?” much, if ever. People assume–correctly–that I am working, and therefore the question is unnecessary. However, the question I do get asked is “How do you do it everyday?” The answer is keeping to a schedule and prioritizing.

I have my days down to a science now, which is necessary since I’m basically a single mom at the moment. Since I don’t currently have an extra pair of hands on deck, I need to schedule everything perfectly to make sure things go smoothly. Of course there are hiccups, and sometimes things go off veering off course, but we mostly run like a well oiled machine. Here’s what a typical day looks like in my life:

5:00AM– Alarm goes off. Hit snooze button.

5:20AM– Actually get out of bed, brush teeth, etc.

5:25AM– Make coffee and breakfast, try to enjoy leisurely but end up scarfing it down anyway

5:35AM– Make A’s bottles for the day. I usually mix up 20-24 ounces of formula in a container which is enough for four bottles, one to start the morning and three for daycare.

5:45AM– Get half dressed (change tops) and do hair/make up.

6:00AM– Wake up A, get some morning cuddles and kisses, and change her diaper.

6:05AM– Give A her morning bottle. Try to beat level 88 on Candy Crush. Inevitably use all lives and give up.

6:30AM– Finish getting ready for work, get A dressed and changed again if needed.

6:40AM– Get my lunch and snacks for work together while A plays on the floor.

6:50AM– Out the door!

7:00AM– Drop A off at daycare.

7:15AM– Arrive at work. I’m usually the first person there, so I head straight to the break room and make a pot of coffee. I stare at it until it’s done brewing. I enjoy my second and last cup of caffeine for the day while perusing my email and figuring out if I’m going to have a pleasant day or headache inducing day.

7:30AM– Actually start working.

10:30AM– Enjoy my, by this time, much anticipated morning snack of a banana slathered with peanut butter or greek yogurt.

12:00PM– Lunch time! I usually bring veggies and hummus or veggie pasta salad or chicken and hummus in a pita. Think about calling daycare to check on A but decide she is doing fine and don’t.

1:00PM– Back to work. Text John to tell him how I’m ready for it to be five.

3:00PM– Afternoon snack, some kind of fruit or veggie I can easily pop in my mouth.

4:00PM– Seriously, how is not five yet?

4:30PM– Stare at the clock. I’m pretty sure it’s slowed down or completely stopped working.

4:45PM– Slowly start packing up my things.

5:00PM– Yay! It’s time to go get my baby!

5:15PM– Curse Baton Rouge’s horrible rush hour traffic.

5:25PM– The best part of my day! Pick up A from daycare and get the worlds biggest smile and cuddle from my sweet girl.

5:40PM– Get home, change A, put away leftover food, etc.

6:00PM– Dinner time for A. Her dinner varies depending on what I have in the fridge, but it’s usually heavy on the veggies and fruits.

6:30PM– Get cleaned up and in jimjams. Most nights she just gets a washcloth wipe down since she has eczema issues.

6:45PM– Time for A’s evening bottle. I pop the slowest flow nipple I can find on there to make her super drowsy. Works like a charm almost everytime.

7:15PM– Cuddles, prayers, songs, and good night kisses. A is out like a light as soon as I put her in her crib.

7:20PM– Mama’s dinner time. I throw something together and have bites in between folding laundry or doing dishes.

7:45PM– Actually sit down and try to unwind some by mindlessly watching something on Netflix while trying to beat freaking Level 88 again.

8:30PM– Putter around and get any chores that need to get done done, like putting away laundry or starting a new load of clothes and washing A’s bottles. Also if I am editing and posting a blog post that evening, this is when I do it usually.

9:00PM– Start to feel tired. Go take a hot shower.

9:30PM– Play more Candy Crush or read a book on my iPad until I’m tired enough to sleep.

10:00PM– Bedtime

If this day seems long, it’s because it is. Most days by the time I’m in bed I can hardly keep my eyes open, so there isn’t much reading or candy crushing going on. Right now, everyday feels like a marathon. Soon, we’ll be able to get back to a less exhausting schedule. I just have to keep running until we can get there.

How low can you go

It’s funny how sometimes all it takes is one little thing for you to totally lose it.

Last week was a really bad week. I was sick for most of it, my manager went out of town leaving me to run the office for half of it, on top of which work was just insanely crazy, and I knew this week wasn’t going to be much different. I got yelled at a lot by clients. As a result, I was pretty run down this past weekend.

I put A to bed last night, like always, and she went down relatively easily, like always. About 20 minutes after going down, I heard her start screaming. Terrified she had managed to hurt herself, I rushed into her room to find her sitting up in her crib, something she had previously been unable to do. I picked her up, and she immediately quieted down and went into playtime mode. She had napped heavily late that afternoon, so I figured she just wasn’t ready for bed yet. I let her play for a little while, then tried to put her back to bed.

It didn’t take long to figure out it was not going to happen. She screamed every time I put her down and immediately sat up. I was getting flustered. I couldn’t just leave her to cry like I usually did, because I was afraid she would catapult herself out of the crib. I needed to lower the mattress.

How difficult could it be?

Apparently, pretty freaking difficult. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I needed to do. Under normal circumstances, it probably wouldn’t have been Such. A. Big. Thing. But exhausted, still feeling sick, and with a crying baby, I just lost it.

I mean, completely lost it. Like sobbing hysterically on the floor of my child’s room. A was crying, I was crying. We were both big fat messes. I gave up and decided A would just have to sleep with me. This meant I had to listen to her cry while I quickly took a shower and got ready for bed myself. By the time I had her settled down and falling asleep, my head was pounding from all the sobbing. Hers and mine.

It was the first time since John left that I let myself break down. It was the first time I really allowed myself to wallow in self pity about how hard it’s been since he moved. I know there are plenty of single moms out there who do what I am doing every day all day with no foreseeable end in sight, but I am tired of it. I’m ready to have my family together again. I’m ready to have my husband back again.

I’m ready for some freaking help with lowering the crib mattress, among other things.

For what it’s worth, I did figure it out this evening. After a little help from my good friend Google, I lowered the mattress by myself. And while it was empowering, knowing I can do this all by myself, I’d still rather do it with John.

Night and day

I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but at some point in A’s short life, a switch flipped, and she became the world’s happiest baby. It was almost literally an overnight change. The past few weeks we have been enjoying what seems to be a brand new baby. One that naps well, sleeps through the night, and sleep in her own bed.

Seriously, she naps twice a day, an almost three hour nap in the morning, then one to two hour nap in the afternoon. She goes down without a fuss. Then she even sleeps 12 hours at night! Gone are the days of her waking up at random times in the night wanting company. Gone are the days of her crying for hours on end. Gone are the days of wondering what I ever did to deserve this.

A lot of people ask me what made her change, thinking it must have been the transition to formula feeding or starting solids, but I assure them neither one of those things contributed. She just…grew up enough, I guess. I know sleep is psychological, not physiological, so it makes sense. She was simply mature enough, finally, to sleep all night, so she finally did.

It’s just a big fat bonus she does so in her own crib.

Of course none of this means I’m sleeping through the night. I wake up several times wondering if she’s okay, and if I can go check on her without waking her up. And if I’m being entirely honest, I kinda miss having her in bed with me. She is a very sweet cuddler.

So, since we’ve been enjoying such an amazing baby lately, I guess we were due for a bad day. Or weekend, as it’s turning out.

A has been, for lack of a better word, a mess this weekend: Fussing non-stop, crying way more than usual, and not wanting to go to sleep, for naps or bedtime. I took me three tries to get her down last night. And I was woken up via her screaming bloody murder over the monitor. Guess who slept with Mommy and Daddy last night? Yep. I was almost a little excited about snuggling, but she is now flipping and rolling A LOT at night, and her flailing limbs made sleep hard to come by.

For me, anyway, A slept great.

In her defense, she is not feeling well this weekend. At all. We’ve been speculating for a while she may be cutting a tooth, but it looks like this may finally be it. Her nose is stuffy and runny (at the same time!), she has been running a low grade fever, everything is in her mouth and she is REALLY chewing, and yesterday I tried to check her bottom gum with my finger and she whipped her head away and screamed.

At least that’s what I’m banking on. Otherwise, we’re going to have to to the doctor again and I am sick and tired of that waiting room.

Hopefully this cranky alien baby who has invaded the body of my sweet little angel vacates premises soon. I miss my happy girl.

**Who has really good teething remedies? We’ve tried freezing wash clothes, traditional teethers, teething tablets, and of course infant Tylenol. I’m willing to try anything to help make this girl feel better.**

The Sleep Situation (part deux)

We have been working on getting A to sleep in her crib for the past few weeks. Most nights it’s hit or miss. She goes down around 7:00pm with little to no problem. Some nights she’ll cry, but usually she passes out with no intervention needed from us (every now and then we’ll have to pop in her room to settle her down, but it’s rare).

The problem arises anywhere between midnight and four AM. And by problem I mean actual problem and not my child, though that wakes up too. A inevitably wakes up at some point in that time frame and starts screaming.

I’ve tried letting her cry, I’ve tried going in there to settle her down. She’s not hungry and looking for a bottle. The only thing she’s looking for is company. The moment I take her into bed with us it’s all snuggles.

I don’t really mind this at four AM since we’re waking up pretty soon anyway, but when it happens at midnight I know I’m in for a long night.

So what I’m trying to say here is it hasn’t been easy. It was getting better, though. Last week, pre daylight savings, she slept two whole nights in her crib. Friday night she slept almost 14 hours in there. It was unbelievable.

Then the time changed and blew everything to hell.

Saturday night (morning? I don’t know) she woke up around 4:30am (which was like 3:30am) refusing to go back to sleep. Eventually we gave her a bottle, and after sitting up and talking to herself for half an hour, she fell back asleep around 5:30am.

Every night since has been a replay of the same.

It’s miserable. And while we weren’t getting full nights of rest, we got a taste of it. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I feel like I was hit by the train.

How long does it typically take babies to adjust to time changes? It can’t take that long, right? Please tell me it can’t.

ETA: I wrote this post Monday/Tuesday of this week with the intent to post it a lot sooner than this, but, you know, life happened. Since then, A has been doing a little better with sleeping. She has been taking a cat nap around 6:30pm each night after getting home (weird), so her bedtime is now closer to 8:00pm. Is that normal? I don’t know. I’m not sure I care, because she slept all night in her crib again last night, so whatever works at this point, I’m game.