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First Year Reflections

Matt and I had plans to join some friends at the bar this afternoon to watch football, but unfortunately, our sitter fell through at the last minute. I stayed home with Grey so that Matt could go and for that, I was gifted 45 minutes after dinner to take a relaxing bath tonight. As I filled the tub with Johnson and Johnson baby bubble bath, I climbed in, joining the rubber duckies and floating boats that were still in the tub from Grey’s bath last night. With tomorrow being the final day of the year, I started to think about the last twelve months. I wanted to brainstorm a few mommy resolutions for 2013, but one thing I have learned this year is that trying to make plans for parenting is not practical. While it’s good to have some idea of what kind of parent you want to be, you really have to make decisions as things come up. So for that, I thought it was more useful to reflect on what I learned and share that with others who might be getting ready to enter club parenthood for the first time next year. Here goes –

It takes time to adjust. When you leave the hospital, you can’t expect that you are going to go home and live happily ever after with the new addition to your family. Caring for a baby is crazy, so give yourself some time to get settled.

It doesn’t get easier, but you will get better. I mentioned this in an earlier post. While each stage a baby goes through has been challenging so far, as a parent, you get better at handling it. Practice makes perfect, right? I’m sure by the fourth or fifth kid we will all have this parenting thing figured out. (Maybe).

Your relationship with your friends will change. It really used to annoy me when people with kids told me I didn’t get it because I wasn’t a parent, but the truth is, you won’t get it until you are a parent. When your friends harass you for not seeing you more often and you try to explain why it’s a challenge to go out, let it slide. Then, when they have a newborn, you can bust out a big ol’ “I told you so.” And in the meantime, find some friends that have children who will understand why you must schedule
get-togethers between naptimes and that you have to be home by 7pm for bedtime.

Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Parents are not perfect. You can’t expect that you will be. The first time Matt changed Grey’s diaper in the hospital, he put it on backwards. As gross as the result may be, a little leaky diaper never killed anyone.

Be honest. The entire purpose of writing this blog was to create a place for me to be honest about the craziness of motherhood. When people ask you how the baby is doing, or if the baby is sleeping through the night, or how you are adjusting back at work, you will probably have the same reaction as most and give the typical answer – “It’s great! We are great! The baby is perfect!” However, don’t be afraid to switch it up now and again and surprise them. Tell them that the baby does a lot of screaming, shitting, and spitting up. Tell them that work is ridiculous – you are napping underneath your desk due to exhaustion. Tell them that the baby is up every 1.5 hours to breastfeed which your husband can’t help you with and you are pretty sure you will never sleep through the night again. Who knows? Maybe if you are honest more often, people will stop pestering you with small talk questions. Either way, find someone that doesn’t mind listening to you complain now and again and keep them close by. Or just start a blog.  

Thank god I have a tolerant dog.

#bestfriends #ridingthefamilydog #motherhood

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/30/thank-god-i-have-a-tolerant-dog-bestfriends/

Mommy and daddy both got iPad accessories for Christmas. Daddy got the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and Mommy got the Fisher Price Apptivity iPad case. That, in a nut shell, is the difference between a working dad and a wok-at-home mom.

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/27/mommy-and-daddy-both-got-ipad-accessories-for/

This is what the house looks like while trying to wrap gifts with a ten month old and a lab hanging around. #motherhood #parenting #wrappingproblems

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/24/this-is-what-the-house-looks-like-while-trying-to/

Tattoos and Parenting

As if pregnancy and childbirth did not alter my body permanently enough, I decided months ago that I wanted to get a tattoo to honor Greyson and my transition into motherhood. Getting a tattoo is a lengthy process. It takes a long time to brainstorm a concept, do research, and sketch a few ideas. Then, you have to find the right artist. You meet with them for a consultation to talk about what you want so that your artist can start drawing up some ideas as well. It may take months before you can actually get in for your appointment, so there is a lot of time to anticipate what you are about to do, reconsider your design, even back out if you want to. Getting a tattoo is a little bit scary… It might hurt a little bit, but in the end, you know it’s worth the pain. More importantly, it’s terrifying because you want to be sure that you are making the right decision before you do it. It’s not like getting a bad haircut that you cry over, but can eventually fix and forget about. While you can get touch ups and sometimes cover ups, ultimately, some sort of ink is there for life.

While I thought about all of these things on the way to the tattoo shop, I began to realize that parenting is very much the same. Hopefully, you put a lot of thought into the decision to become a parent. You did your research, read the books, thought about what life might be like with a child. You chose a partner – when you decided to be together, you talked about having kids, how many you might want someday. You discussed what kind of parent you want to be and don’t want to be, for that matter. At some point, you finally had that consultation – you made the decision to start trying. During the pregnancy, you were terrified – were you really ready? Were you responsible enough? Were you financially prepared? You were scared that parenting might be painful at times, but that it’d be worth it in the end. Like waiting for your tattoo appointment, you have nine months to anticipate the baby. The only difference here is that there is no backing out. However, like getting a tattoo, deciding to parent is not like getting a bad haircut. Once you make the decision, that child is your responsibility for the rest of your life.

Even as I typed that, I had a small melt down. That is an intimidating thought. Someone told me once that even as your children become independent adults with their own families, you will always worry about them. I’m sure when I am 54, Greyson will be 27 – the same age that I am at this moment – and I am sure that I will still be just as overprotective/worried about him as I am now. And at 54, I will still be staring at this tattoo on my wrist, put there to honor and celebrate the happiness (and permanence) of motherhood.

 *On a side note, I know that not every person puts as much thought and consideration into getting a tattoo. Some people walk into a shop and pick one out of book and go for it. Other people get drunk and wake up with something ridiculous. Similarly, I know that not everyone puts as much consideration into having children. Sometimes you decide on a whim to do it and you go for it. Other people get drunk and wake up pregnant. In any situation, the moral of the story is the same – No matter how much time and thought you put into the decision to do it, tattoos and parenting are a lifelong commitment.

Breakfast with “Santa”

Last December, at eight months pregnant, I couldn’t help but think about how amazing Christmas would be in 2012, when we had a child to enjoy the holiday with. I thought about how fun it would be to enjoy all of the things that I remember loving about Christmas as a child – making cookies, watching Christmas specials, picking out a Christmas tree. I was really looking forward to creating some of our own family traditions.

 As the holiday approached this December, I especially looked forward to bringing Grey to meet Santa for the first time. However, I just couldn’t get myself to bring him to the mall, for several reasons. First of all, do you have any idea how much it costs to get a photo with fake-looking Santa at the mall? It’s ridiculous. Plus, there is no way a ten month old will wait patiently in a mile long line to sit on the lap of a very scary looking fat man yelling “HO HO HO!” I did a little research and decided that taking Grey to a breakfast with Santa would be perfect. We could sit and have a nice meal, see Santa from afar, and maybe get a quick pic when Grey was comfortable. I used a website that recommended fun holiday activities for children and reserved seats for us to attend a breakfast at a local café this morning. Grey was looking ready for the event – very appropriately wearing his Christmas outfit and a Santa hat.

We pulled into the café and I probably should have known right away. It was difficult to find, almost behind a warehouse type building. As we walked in, I realized the café serves only organic products and specializes in making and selling organic soaps, as well as gourmet organic gluten free vegan treats. I didn’t realize Santa was on a health kick. You’d think he’d be a little on the skinnier side this year with such drastic changes to his diet.

I am going to try to do my very best to help you visualize what we were about to experience here. We walk past a small coffee bar and we were escorted to a warehouse/art studio/organic soap making factory. As you walk into the room, you are greeted by a bubble machine set out on a table next to what looks like a small studio used for soap making. I didn’t realize bubbles were considered Christmas décor, but Grey seemed impressed by this. Picture five long folding tables covered in paper table cloths. One large table is set up to serve “breakfast.” And by breakfast I mean sliced bananas, a few whole apples, and rolls that were cut in half and covered in jelly, all set out on paper plates. How classy. By this point, I realize that we are a bit over dressed for the occasion. One of “Santa’s Helpers” was cooking pancakes at the end of this table. He is wearing an elf hat, a tie dye t-shirt, and looking like he had one too many organic beers last night. Mind you, he’s not wearing gloves, he’s half asleep, and the pancakes are an odd color…. Some sort of organic recipe, he tells me. I look over and Santa is sitting under a white canopy tent on a sketchy looking couch with his arm around a very risqué, possibly gothic elf. At this point, we are at a crossroads. Are we rude enough to turn around and walk out (which I saw the family behind us do…) or do we pretend that this is normal and sit down. We quickly decide that we have to make the best of it, say hello to Granola Santa, and get the hell out of here. Fortunately, this experience was providing my husband and me with a vast amount of material, so we are entertaining each other with jokes and hoping that things do not get any weirder. We spent our obligatory 40 minutes and then politely excused ourselves, blaming our exit on Grey needing a nap.

As funny as the breakfast was, the mother in me felt a little sad that Grey had to experience Santa this way. I mean, regular Santa is scary enough, so Santa in a warehouse groping an elf wearing black eye liner and combat boots is too much. My husband pointed out two good things here – 1.) This was definitely going to make for some great blogging. 2.) Thank God Greyson is young enough that he will not remember this. I am glad I am married to someone who can point out the positive. Plus, I think we have created our very first Christmas family tradition: Santa can always expect organic, vegan, gluten free cookies at our house on Christmas Eve.

And on the upside, we already have our plans for next weekend set: Visiting Santa at the mall.

When I put Grey down for a nap, I always make sure to lay him in his crib as soon a he is asleep, so that he doesn’t depend on being held during naps. Today, I snuggled him a little longer and thought about how thankful I am to be holding my peacefully sleeping baby. I can’t comprehend what the parents in CT must be feeling at this moment. My sincere condolences for those innocent children lost.

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/14/when-i-put-grey-down-for-a-nap-i-always-make-sure/

You know it’s laundry day when the baby is wearing tapered sweat pants. #parenthood #laundryday

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/07/you-know-its-laundry-day-when-the-baby-is-wearing/

Does it get easier?

I was out running a few errands with Grey yesterday. We pulled into a store and I hopped out of my car, heading to the backseat to get Grey. There was a woman by the car next to me, close to my age, struggling to lift a carseat carrying a newborn into her backseat. I waited until she was finished so that I could get Grey out of the car. When she noticed that I was waiting, she apologized for taking so long, then smiled as she realized I was getting my own infant out of the car. There is something about meeting other mothers, it’s like you have something in common that makes you feel like old girlfriends, like you dont have to explain why you look like you haven’t slept or showered in several days. I told her, of course, not to apologize. This girl, she looked frazzled, she was wearing pajamas; you could tell she felt like she was struggling. I almost said to her, “Don’t worry! It’s get easier,” but then I realized that I don’t want to lie to this poor girl. In my experience so far, it doesn’t exactly get easier, just different.

A newborn is very portable, you can carry them around in their carseat that so conveniently clicks into the travel stroller. Or just strap them to you in the Bjorn. A newborn also sleeps a lot (if you’re lucky…..) so shopping trips and outings can usually be done without waking them. On the other hand, newborns don’t care that you are in the middle of Bed Bath and Beyond and do not understand that showcasing your breasts for a quick snack to the employee helping you choose new curtains isn’t ideal. A baby like Grey at ten months old is much easier to feed on the go, however he now thinks that whether or not he sits in the cart is a choice. Sometimes he gives me this look like I am a horrible person for not letting him crawl up and down the aisles of Wegmans next to me. Clearly, making your child sit strapped into a cart for 20 minutes is borderline abusive in their eyes.

Seeing this woman also made me remember my first outing with Grey. My husband and I took him out for lunch. He was nine days old. He was bundled up in his snowsuit, sleeping peacefully strapped in his carseat. Unfortunately, he needed a diaper change. I was ready to attempt my first public restroom change. I didn’t anticipate that getting a newborn out of their carseat, snowsuit, and clothes while under pressure in a public restroom would be tough. My husband called me three times from outside the bathroom to check on me. I literally think it took me something ridiculous like twenty minutes to change his damn diaper. My soup was cold, I was sweating – it was a disaster. Here’s some advice, screw the snowsuit and buy a Bundleme. Much easier.

I’ve come a long way since that day, but even when kids get older, there are still tons of challenges to manage when you are out. Check back with me when Grey is like two an a half… I’m sure I’ll be able to name a few.

Anyways, I guess what I should have told the girl I met is that it doesn’t exactly get easier, but as a mother, you get better at it. You learn to multi-task, you learn to carry 100 things at a time, you learn not to care if your kid is screaming at the checkout. You learn to change a diaper in the backseat, to mix a bottle while stopped at a red light, and to always leave an extra diaper and change of clothes in the car (I wish someone would have told me that sooner, because some day, you will forget the diaper bag). After ten crazy months in this position as a work at home mom, it definitely hasn’t gotten easier, but I must admit that I am getting a hell of a lot better at it.

#parenting #motherhood #itgetseasier #sahm

Sent from my iPhone

At nine months old, Grey has learned to eat the food he likes and give the rest to the dog.
#smartkid #motherhood

http://thehonestmommy.com/2012/12/04/at-nine-months-old-grey-has-learned-to-eat-the/