Monday, February 27, 2012

Put the baby down, and no one gets hurt.

When you have your first baby there are a lot of myths that you believe that are absolutely outrageously untrue. Things like...
You are a bad, neglectful parent if you let your child cry.
Wait-- you didn't believe that? Just me? Crap. Well, I believed I was a bad neglectful parent when my child cried. If Sam was crying... I obviously needed to be holding him and comforting him. Crying means there's something wrong and I should fix it. And my intense belief that I could and should comfort my child at all times made for both a very miserable mama, and miserable child for several weeks. I was doing nothing but holding him all day long. I would set him down and he would start crying again, and I would dash to the bathroom and feel guilty the entire 23 seconds I spent in there peeing and washing as fast as humanly possible before I went back in to grab him so he would stop crying. His cries played upon my insecurity as a new mom and loudly announced my inadequacies to anyone within earshot.
It got to the point where I couldn't even lay him in his crib to sleep at night.
Needless to say-- I wasn't showering. I wasn't eating. I definitely wasn't sleeping. How could I while hold a baby?
Then I got sick. And I was on the phone with a friend crying over how exhausted and miserable and guilty I felt. And she gave me the most amazing advice I have received since having a baby. She said: You won't be able to take care of anyone if you aren't taking care of yourself. Put the baby down.
So... I did.
And he cried. And it was brutal. I cried too.
I put him in his crib and I got in the shower-- and he wailed.
I set him in his chair and I ate yogurt-- and he screamed.
I laid him down in his crib to sleep-- and he fussed and cried. I resisted the temptation to pick him up, but rubbed his tummy and sang to him softly and he finally... FINALLY settled down.
The next day I took  deep breath and tried not to feel guilty and did it again.
By the third or fourth day, he started settling down faster. And these days? He's totally chill.
Every morning when he wakes up, I feed him, then put him back in his crib and he stays there cooing at his mobile and fists and entertaining himself for about an hour while I shower and dress and usually do a little laundry. Then I go in and get him and we go downstairs where he sits in his chair and we listen to music while I eat, then I feed him. We do all manner of activities throughout the day, some of the time, I hold him and snuggle him, some times I sit him in his chair next to me while I work, and sometimes I put him in his crib and leave him to nap alone. At night time I feed him, swaddle him, and lay him down, and he goes right to sleep. I don't go back in 6 times to pick him back up and try to rock him while he screams.
My son is well cared for. He is loved and snuggled and played with and given tons of time and attention and kisses. I am pretty sure he knows how much he is loved, that he doesn't feel neglected or abandoned as I used to fear he might. He is healthy physically and emotionally, and is smart and growing and developing appropriately. And I am happier and healthier emotionally and physically, and not battling unnecessary guilt.  So as it turns out-- putting the baby down didn't actually hurt anyone. And it didn't make me a bad mom. In fact-- I dare say it may have made me a better mom. I seem to enjoy my time with my son a whole lot more since I started putting him down so I could take care of both of us.
It was really the simplest solution. Oh, we have so much to learn!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Freedom from things that don't matter

There are things in life that aren't bad things but are just things that can start to consume time and bog you down. They aren't important things, but for whatever reason they start to take time and attention from important things. And it's silly.
In my life, those things today were facebook and blogs. I like facebook. I like keeping up with friends, looking at friends pictures, easy access to the goings on in people's lives. But I would spent a lot of time reading stuff on face book that I didn't care about from people I hadn't talked to in years, and probably would never again have a face-to-face conversation with. And I thought-- this is silly. My time is more valuable than this.
I had 223 'friends' on my list. Wow. You'd think with so many friends I would have a busy and fulfilling social life! Yeah... not so much.
Before you shut down here, I am not on a 'facebook is bad' or even 'give up facebook for lent' kind of rant here. I mean, if you are into that kind of thing, go for it. But as previously stated-- I like facebook for a lot of reasons. But that 223 was starting to irritate me. I started deleting people... at first I almost felt guilty. But lord knows why! I didn't owe those people anything, and it is not as if they were investing in my life. The further I went the easier it got. I started asking myself-- have I had a conversation with this person in the past 6 months? Do I want to or intend to have a conversation with them in the next six months? Does this person post content that is interesting or relevant to my life?
Unfriend, unfriend, unfriend.
And without really being incredibly brutal in my cuts the list was quickly narrowed to 145. So I have 145 'friends' on facebook. Which is still a tad out of hand, but I have less than half the content coming through my 'feed' now. Less time wasted wading through stuff I don't care about to get to the few nuggets of info from people I do care about.
And it felt freeing.
So I turned to my blog list. Like facebook-- I like blogging. I read many blogs on lots of different content from lots of different authors. Some personal friends, some acquaintances, some just interesting content I found while surfing the web or looking for specific things. But listen, I had 86 blogs in my blog feed. 86! I looked at that 86 and saw time I could be spending running, rather than reading the running blog. Making dinner, rather than reading recipes my husband would never eat. Spending time with Sam, instead of feeling guilty for not being the 'super-mom' like that lady on that blog there...
Is this content interesting? Helpful? Relevant? Worth the time I am giving it?
Delete, delete, delete.
And... I cut the number of blogs I follow in half. I like blogs. I like a lot of the authors of blogs I read. But now I spend less time sifting through things I don't care as much about to get to the things, topics, authors, content I do care about. And that felt freeing too.
Freed up my time and freed up my brain to think about things I care about...
And what do you know one of those things is starting to fuss to let me know naptime (and therefore mommy's blog time) is over. Looking forward to a free afternoon with the boy. We're gonna go for a walk... do some laundry... bake banana bread...
It's gonna be great.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Playing catch up...

Hmmm... I've been gone a while. Lets catch you up to speed...

I got really exceptionally fat.

We had a baby. His name is Sam. He's incredible.
(You can read about his birth here.)

Then it was Christmas and there was a lot of family and celebrating.

After recovering from the holidays, we took a road trip to St.Louis and IA to meet family and friends.

Our baby boy is already 6 weeks old!
And starting to charm us with his heart-melting smiles.
(Read about Sam at one month here)

People keep asking us if we are sleeping...
...the answer is not much. But we are hoping that gets better.

Are you wondering how the original boys are dealing?
They still get lots of love and special treats.
Charlie especially seems to be fond of the baby, and steals a spot on the couch near whoever is holding him whenever he can.
Winston is especially fond of diapers. But enough about that...

We are just taking life one day at a time.
 Our precious baby boy is learning and growing and keeping us on our toes. 
Being a new parent is no joke, but we are figuring it out and easing our way into it.