Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mommy in translation: A PSA

Sometimes it seems that my husband, lovebug that he is, doesn't understand me. I thought I would write a quick translation guide to help him out. Please feel free to share with any other husbands you know.

When I say,

"Oh no, it's okay. I can do it myself."

I mean,

"Get your rear end out of that chair and get in here or I'm going to pout and grouch at you all evening."

When I say,

"Can you hold the baby while I run to the bathroom?"

I mean,

"And let out all the curses I have been waiting all day to say."

When I say,

"No, keep talking about work. I'm listening."

It means,

"I AM listening, but you better recognize because you are so going to owe me later and best be listening when I tell you a story about a twitter/blogger friend you've never heard of."

When I say,

"Oh you're going to Wendy's? Just a salad and a chili. And maybe a baked potato."

I mean,

"And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD A FROSTY. How could you go to Wendy's and not get me a Frosty? And make it seem like it was your idea, so I can act like I'm all healthy."

When I say,

"Can you do this for me?"

I mean,

"Can you do this for me?" (Ahem. That one isn't hard. I promise.)

When I say,

"I'm fine."

It means,

"I haven't slept in a week, my head is about to explode, and I'm 30 seconds from crying and I totally blame YOU because you just asked me that question. Now put the baby to bed for me, get me some cookies, and rub my feet, okay?"

Got it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things I like about me

I’ve been trying to write this for days. It’s so hard for me, for so many reasons. There are days when I really don’t like myself so much, but even then I do know I have strengths. More importantly, I was taught (and not just by my parents, really, but by the world) to always be humble and demure and sweet and selfless. So to brag on myself? Unthinkable.

There’s more to it though. What if I woman up and write the list, and I’m WRONG? What if people read it and say, “uh, if you say so”? What if I make a total fool of myself because people don’t see me the way I see me?

Or what if they read it and don’t like me?

But I promised I’d do it, and here we are down to the wire, so here goes. I really had to resist deflecting each of these with a self deprecating joke.

I am kind. I try to treat all people with gentleness and respect.

I am compassionate. I genuinely care about the problems of others and do the best that I can to help them.

I am smart. I make jokes about being a nerd all the time, but I find it very hard to genuinely own and be proud of my own intelligence. I was a National Merit Scholar. I had a 3.9 GPA in college. I can solve puzzles, pick out themes in movies, do math in my head. I am smart and a woman. I am a smart woman. (This one was awfully hard for me to say, folks.)

I am not fussy about the way that I look. Truth? I don't care about things like clothes, makeup, and hair AT ALL. Sometimes I think that I should, that I need to be more of a girl, but really I'm glad that I don't.

I love. I love like it’s nobody’s business. Not just my husband and daughter (although I love them like Whoa), but so many people who have come into my life: family, friends, former students, random strangers..wait, what?

I am a good teacher. It seems strange to say because I’m not teaching now, but I know I still am a teacher in my heart. I can explain (almost) anything to anyone, but more importantly, I can really hear students and know what they need.

I can write. This is probably the hardest one of all of them for me. I don’t want to say it out loud, but I know that I’m a good writer. This is so much a part of my identity, and has helped me so much in my life. And now I’m even prouder of my writing because it sometimes has meaning for other people and so can help them too.

And truthfully? As much as I really do want to be liked, as much as I want people to approve of me and tell me I'm doing okay, right now I know, without anyone else telling me, that I can sit down and do something like this. And maybe that's Enough.

I also make a mean macaroni and cheese and some darn good pancakes, if you're asking.

Monday, Monday

It's 8 AM on a Monday. I am tired. Coffee isn't helping. The baby has fallen asleep for nap #1 (on my chest of course), which makes sense since she's been up since 5:30 and was up every 2-3 hours before that. I am sitting on my couch with my laptop and half a scone, and I am about 30 seconds away from a meltdown.

So what do I do? I make a joke.

I IM a friend and say "So, DH seems to think this SAHM gig includes house cleaning."

And she LOLs. And I start to cry.

I want to keep my house impeccably clean. I want to make gourmet meals and decorate beautiful cakes. I want to have romantic date nights and deep, intellectual discussions with my husband. I want to spend every awake minute of my daughter's life talking to and playing with and singing to her. I want to be able to run a 5K and do yoga every morning and every night. I want to have my hair and face done and wear fashionable, crisp, flattering clothes every day. I want to write volumes of beautiful prose.

But I don't, I don't, I don't.

In fact, what DO I do all day?

If I could say I wasn't cleaning because I was playing with the baby, that would be fine. If I wasn't reading and writing because I was taking such good care of the house, I'd still be proud. If I wasn't practicing self care because I was spending all my time at the farmers market and in the kitchen, I'd probably still be happy.

But I'm not.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life's Lessons: I'm just like my infant

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Time for more life lessons. As usual, they are as much of a surprise to me as to anyone!

  1. Teething gel is amazing.

  2. Like, scary amazing. Like, Baby Girl falls asleep on her own the first time I put her down amazing.

  3. Which means my poor baby has been waking me up all night because she was in pain. Which makes me feel like crap for whining about it.

  4. People? I talk about sleep too much.

  5. I think about sleep too much.

  6. I remember a time in my life when I actually SLEPT too much. Remember it fondly.

  7. There are other things going on in my life, I swear.

  8. Really.

  9. There's also food.

  10. Burritos and sandwiches and scones and cookies and waaay too much cheese and crackers.

  11. I lost another pound this week.

  12. Breastfeeding is awesome. Awesome I tell you.

  13. I think Baby Girl and I have a lot in common. We both eat and sleep all the time.

  14. Except she plays too.

  15. I need to play more.

  16. Who wants to play with me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Mommies

At my mom's club meeting last week, there were two moms with 6 week old babies. Their boys were even born on the same day.

I mean, really, they were just asking to be a metaphor. Seriously.

The first came in and looked around awkwardly. She was nervous, both about meeting all these new people and about going out with her tiny baby. She kept checking him in the stroller, apologized for his crying every time he whimpered (which honestly I couldn't even hear), and picked at the food on her plate. She confessed that he had his days and nights confused still, and that she has only slept 2 hours the night before. She confided to me that she wanted to go back to work but had checked daycares and couldn't bring herself to leave him anywhere. She looked shaken, scared, confused, and tired.

The other mom was completely comfortable in her own skin. She introduced herself to everyone, shared her (hilarious) birth story immediately, played with other people's children. Her little 8 pound boy was draped casually over her arm, not making a sound, but she was still able to eat, take notes, and gesticulate wildly. She told us that he slept 11 hours a night and fell asleep completly on his own, soothing himself by rubbing his face on a burpcloth. She had an answer for everything, seemed so competent and confident that I, the mother of a 9 month old, was cowed in comparison.

That b****.

Kidding. Mostly.

It's clearly no secret which mom I feel for. At 6 weeks, I was a wreck. I was up ALL night (as opposed to MOST of the night, like I am again now). I had no idea how to be a mom. I didn't take Baby Girl anywhere by myself. I look back on myself then with a certain kind of fondness, wanting to tell her she was doing just fine.

Which was what I told this mom. And I invited her over for coffee. And a hug. Although she doesn't know that part yet.

But. But. Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe super-cool-together mom needs a hug too. Did I look scared and shaky at 6 weeks? I mean, I know I was never cool and sociable and confident. But I think I seemed okay. I seemed to know what I was doing. I certainly wasn't confessing my failings.

And even if she really does have it together? I mean, that doesn't mean we can't be friends, right? (...Right....?) If I don't want people to judge me for being a mess, is it fair of me to judge other moms for not being a mess? Can't I just be happy for her that she is having such an easy time of it? Glad that he sleeps so well, that she knows what she wants, that she's so good at making friends?

In truth? I look back on those early sleepless days and there are moments of joy that I didn't expect to look back on fondly. I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night and playing with the baby on the living room floor so we didn't wake my husband. I remember taking lovely naps in the middle of the day. I remember how much I genuinely enjoyed the 3 hours of sleep I got after my husband left for work - even when they were the only hours of sleep I got all day. And I remember how in awe I was of this precious little baby, how amazing it was for her to be in my life. And really? I wouldn't change a thing.

So, what do I have to be jealous of? I can forgive supermom her successes. You know, just this one time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rocking the Baby

In a rare public appearance, here is Baby Girl. Don't eat her please!

In the hospital:

On Halloween, at 6 weeks:

Helping me with the laundry last month:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life Lessons: The completely unorganized edition

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  1. I am completely scatter brained.

  2. Take my blog reading system, for example.

  3. It isn't one.

  4. I will sit down at my computer and say, "Oh, who should I be reading today? Robin? Miranda? Diana?" and type in their URL.

  5. But sometimes I'll forget someone.

  6. And I'm afraid I come across as a mean, selfish blogger instead of clueless, like I am.

  7. If I do that? Yell at me please. I want to be reading you, really.

  8. Also? My house? A disaster.

  9. I don't remember the last time I mopped the floors.

  10. Which doesn't mean it was a long time ago. Just that I don't remember.

  11. I checked a book out from the library last month because I thought it would be something I'd like.

  12. It was. Which was why I'd read it before.

  13. I could really use a new book, though, if anyone has any suggestions.

  14. Something with a happy ending would be good. And preferably a happy beginning and middle too.

  15. But what was I talking about?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm sorry, did you say mother or martyr?

On days like this? I'm glad I'm anonymous. Because in this story, I don't come out so well.

This weekend, my husband and I had a screaming match heart to heart about which of us wasn't holding up our end of the bargain in this whole parent/partner thing we're doing. It quickly reverted to a battle of "who has it worse?" (A proud proud moment for me.) Which inevitably ended here:

"Yeah, well I can't even brush my teeth or go to the bathroom without the baby all over me."

"Well why the heck not? You have a playpen, a crib, a swing, and a high chair. Put her down and go to the bathroom."


"Well, that's not the point. Maybe I'd do more housecleaning, if you'd come home and hold her instead of always handing her back to me when she cries."

"Well, maybe I would if you hadn't spent the past 9 months telling me I was doing it wrong."

Double Blink.

I don't do that. Do I? Oh gosh, do I?

I love my kid. I love to snuggle with her, I love to play with her on the floor. I love taking her for walks, going to playgroups. I love babywearing.

But geez, people, I'm not a machine.

Sometimes I need to sleep. And sometimes I need to eat. And sometimes (I know, I know), I need to go to the bathroom.

And you know what? Sometimes I'd like to read a book, and focus on it for more than 2 minutes at a stretch, or take a bubble bath, or exercise or sew or bake. And sometimes I'd like to do those things without a baby on my hip or climbing up my leg.

And maybe that's okay.

Maybe it's okay to put her down for a few minutes now and then so I can switch the laundry over. Maybe it's okay to let someone else take her outside if she starts fussing in a restaurant. Maybe it's okay if I'm not 100% available to her 100% of the time.

I don't think she's spoiled. I don't think I've done any harm by giving her all of myself. But maybe I've done me a little bit of harm. I feel exhausted. I feel touched out. I feel like I'm losing me. And I'm tired of whining about it. I'm tired of acting like I have no control over the situation. I'm tired of blaming other people for not helping me when I haven't given them any opportunity to do so.

I'm tired of being a martyr, folks. I'm tired of doing this to myself.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life Lessons: From my sleepy brain

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So, partly because I adore Rach from Life with Baby Donut and partly because it seems like fun, I decided to try out the Life Lessons link up this week. Welcome to my brain.

1. I like chocolate. A lot.

2. Especially when the baby isn't sleeping.

3. You know what else is good for that? Twitter.

4. Also coffee.

5. For the first six months of Baby Girl's life, I thought caffeine was off limits during breastfeeding.

6. Those months are a little fuzzy.

7. Do you know what else is off limits? Wine. I haven't had any since before I got pregnant.

8. I lied. I had half a glass on my thirtieth birthday because my mother in law bought it for me.

9. People? I turned thirty this year. And celebrated with half a glass of wine with my mother in law.

10. That's sad.

11. I mean,it's not my-baby-hasn't-slept-in-a-week sad.

12. Just makes me feel kinda pathetic.

13. Do you know what's good for that?

14. Chocolate.