Can you hear me now? Phones and babies don’t really mix

Trying to accomplish things on the phone with a baby is pretty stressful. You may start the call with a happy baby, but then in the thick of it she may start wailing, and then what do you do? You try and comfort with one hand to no avail, all the while trying to hear the person on the other end. You wonder what they must be thinking of your mothering skills as you try and conduct whatever business that needs to be taken care of while a baby screams in the background. You don’t want to call back only to start the cycle of being on hold, answering questions, and then baby probably screaming  anyway, starting again. I really love the internet, I think it can be a great help to moms. I have my little netbook, and can even type one handed while feeding her (which has to be what I do half the time!) I can do things online in a minute that would be monumental on the phone. Viva la internet! Of course, you just got to watch not spending too much time on it 😉

I find that in general I stay pretty relaxed when Leia cries, at least when it is just Leia and me, but when I am in public or even when David is home I feel more harried and like I need to “fix” it! I don’t know if this is because subconsciously I feel like people will think I am a bad mom, or because I just don’t want people to be bothered by a baby crying, or a bit of both, but I think it is always best to remain calm as a mom and so I am trying to do that in all circumstances! My worst fear as a Mom may be being a crazy high strung lady who always seems frustrated and worried, especially as Leia gets older (and definitely as we add more kids to the fam- whole new level of challenge there!!) it is really important for me to keep things in perspective and stay on top of my own emotions. As Leia grows David and I will have to discipline and that is something that shouldn’t be done out of anger (I can’t imagine being angry at Leia right now, but I am sure that will change one day….) , so I am working now on taking breaths and just staying relaxed even when she is fussy and I am tired. Nobody is perfect and I know my kids will see me in weak moments and I will have to ask their forgiveness, but I have never needed to be a mature adult more than I need to be now, so i have got to submit the worries and the crazies (and yes even my hormones!) to the Lord!

Also, unrelated, it is amazing how you instantly become less squeamish when you become a Mom, but i could do with a little less spit up on me to be honest 🙂 It doesn’t gross me out, but I get tired of either changing, or suddenly remembering when out in public “oh yeah there is puke on my shirt, awesome.” It’s a whole new world!

 

 

 

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Mommytime

Mommytime brings two things to my mind. (Well three things because it also makes me think of  “Hammertime”) Mommy time can be those rare and sought after moments when I do what I want to do on my time. Pure mommytime like this is quite rare. Sometimes there are psudeo mommy moments when Leia is happy in her swing or lying on the bed and I can eat or just do something using two hands, but there is a tension because you never know when it will end, and you are always on the clock because feeding her is always right around the corner! Then there is real mommytime, in general this is when Leia goes to bed or goes down for a real solid nap. Yeah, there is still a timer but there isn’t a constant checking on her and never knowing when she will cry. At about 8 pm she goes to sleep and unless something is really off I know she won’t wake up and I will go in around 10-11 and give her her “dream feed” (this is me feeding her when she is basically asleep, I hear it doesn’t work for everyone but it seems to work for us and on normal nights after the dream feed she sleeps from the time I feed her till 4:30 or so AM! 🙂 )This is bubble bath time or movie watching, or even reading! (I find reading challenging as a mom to a newborn, it is really awkward during breastfeeding because she still likes to pull off and change sides a lot) I also try and do some kind of devotionals during a nap or bed time, bad thing about mommyhood, devotional time is tough because it is impossible to not be on call all the time, but good thing I feel like my prayer life has actually improved since having her, late night feedings are great times to pray, it seems the only thing to do then. Of course, this is also prime time to spend time with David as well. So even though I get up at 4:30 I find I stay up a little later these days.

The other thing that comes to mind is this whole new rhythm to life. I think I have mentioned before that time is redefined when you become the primary caregiver to a newborn. It is no longer measured by working hours or tasks and deadlines, it just kind of flows.  Overall, I like it. There are times when it gets monotonous, but in general I really appreciate this time of new priorities and seeing life pass by in a new way. I really am trying to learn to not be defined by to do lists, because nine times out of ten I don’t get things done at the speed I would like and most of the things I do are never really done! For instance, laundry- it is a good thing this is not my least favorite chore because there is a never ending stream of laundry! I feel good when baskets are not overflowing, but there is never a real sense of completion in that department. The awesome and challenging thing is that everything takes second place to baby Leia. When she is active and alert how can I ignore her smiles and coos?! So even though sometimes I feel “lazy” I know that part of my job as mom or main job as a mom is to enjoy her and engage her and interact with her every chance I get! I really kind of look forward to everyday with her, I can’t really say that about my other jobs 🙂

Of course there are the moments when she is screaming and I feel powerless to help her, or the days when I feel kind of stir crazy and tired of our normal outings, and the moments when I really wish she could sit in the car while I just run in somewhere! I remember before being a Mom, if I was thirsty I could just pull over anywhere and grab the beverage of my choice, not I have to really want something to go through getting her out of the car.Then there is the choice at every outing, is this a baby carrier type thing, or a grab the carseat and carry it in thing, or a carseat/stroller outing, or should I just carry her? Life is in a lot of ways way more complicated, but it is definitely better!!

babycation

Thursday David, Leia and I went out to lunch. Somehow the conversation got around to how long it had been since I had spent a night away from the house (the hospital does not count!) and by the time lunch was over we resolved to go somewhere!

We ended up driving up the coast, stopping at Carmel, Palo Alto (to see Stanford, David spent a summer there and wanted to show me how ridiculously amazing their campus is, why anyone would pick Harvard over Stanford is beyond me!), Sonoma, and San Francisco. With the exception of Carmel everything was new for me, and of course everything was new for Leia!

Of course being spontaneous is a little harder with a baby, but it is just one baby as opposed to two or three little ones so I figure we should take advantage of this time. I quickly made the decision to go with disposables for the weekend because of the hassle of packing cloth, but I missed our cloth diapys! I used to think it sounded odd, the devotion to cloth I heard in women’s voices, but I am kind of getting obsessed myself with cloth diapers for a host of reasons I won’t go into here. Anyway, I scrambled to pack up everything Leia would need and get us ready too. I failed to pack enough warm clothes for David and myself, but oh well we still had fun!

Road trips are great for a newborn, at least if your baby loves the car like ours does. She really did wonderfully, hardly crying, and praise the Lord she slept like a dream every night we were away. I just wrapped her in her woombie and laid her on pillows in the floor by our bed and she really pretty much slept through the night each night 🙂 We had a great time, and though Leia isn’t at an age where she really can enjoy travel, it was wonderful to have her along, great to see Daddy getting to spend more time with her than normal, and enjoying the sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully doing new things with a baby. I try to look at life with my new baby as a big adventure, I think that helps keep learning how to navigate the world with an infant in tow from being just crazy stressful and makes it more of an exciting challenge.  So far I can’t think of things I have regretted doing with her.

My only problem is fighting feeling guilty if I think I may be doing the wrong thing. I worry about her even when she seems happy and content. I worry I had her in her carseat too much, even though she really seems to like it. I worry about keeping her out late, even when she just falls asleep wherever she is, I feel like I should guard her little routine. The spontaneous vacation helped me chill out a bit I think and just enjoy the ride with her. She really did great! I recommend road trips and unplanned adventures with a new baby. David and I have always planned to keep travelling even as our family expands, this weekend was a good start. Also, it was a great time for us to connect as a family, really thankful my husband decided we should just get up and go!

Living on baby time

The question I seem to get asked the most right now (other than “How old is your baby?”) is how am I adjusting to staying at home with a baby full time? I never really know what to say I think because my life is suddenly so radically different than anything it has ever been before. The question stumps me a bit. I would say I am adjusting really well. I love raising Leia and I love love love that I get to be with her everyday and that caring for her is my main gig. Sometimes it seems like a dream that everyday I get to have her with me. Of course it isn’t that simple, it is also the hardest most challenging thing I have ever done (well this and giving birth to her, that was REALLY hard). There is no other job or life experience I have had that can possibly compare.

Time itself is redefined for me. I no longer view time the way my task oriented American self is so used to viewing it, caring for a newborn means in some ways living on their schedule. I guide her into naptimes and feedings the best I can of course, but life is a constant pattern, not of tasks or deadlines, but feedings, walks, naps, and laundry. Everything just flows differently. Weekends no longer mean that much to me, days kind of bleed together with the exception of a few regular activities like church, park day, etc.  It’s weird of course, but in some ways kind of freeing, I am forced to kind of slow down and let certain things go or make them wait.

I am pretty good about getting out of the house, and I am lucky to have a church with so many supportive friends, and especially so many other moms to hang out with and learn from. At least a couple days a week I am doing something with other moms and I think that is really important for new stay at home moms to do.  I make walking a priority, Leia kind of forces my hand there, fussy time means walk or drive, and I am glad. It is good for both of us in our bodies and souls 🙂 I have even been getting pretty good at including our dog Arnold in walks and we even made it to the dog park just the three of us recently! I felt pretty brave. All these things help keep me sane and healthy for sure.

I can’t believe being a homemaker was ever degraded the way it has been in our society for the past several decades. I know it is full of thankless, mundane tasks, and yes I walk around with spit up all over me half the time and yes I am sure I am not using all those degrees I collected, but I have never been so challenged or had such purpose. This is not for the faint of heart or the feeble minded!  I also just feel so amazed at this connection I have with this little person, sometimes I cry just looking at her I love her so much.  It makes me really glad to be a woman. There is something so special about being a Mom.  In short, I love my new life with all its challenges and ups and downs. I needed this actually.