Sharing Some Smiles

Sharing Some Smiles

Tunnel – $15 at IKEA

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What Not to Say to a SAHM

Before Lucy was born I was a teacher. I think that much of my identity was wrapped up in what and who I was teaching. Since having Lucy and deciding to stay home I’ve gone through a bit of an identity crisis (which I’ve heard is completely normal…at least I tell myself it is). I no longer had the typical 9-5 (or 7-6) job. I no longer dictated my own schedule. I couldn’t hang out with my friends the way I used to. I was lonely, tired, angry, bored, hormonal, borderline crazy. There were many times I wondered if I made the right decision to stay home…or even have a baby.

Over the last year, I have discovered a few questions/phrases/etc. that I HATE to hear.

1. What are you up to now? Oh you know…not much. Just raising a human.

2. You have plenty of time to ____________________. Yes. I have plenty of time to feed, change, feed, clothe, and entertain a 1 year old with an attention span of 20 seconds. Not to mention changing, feeding, clothing and entertaining a 29 year old husband with an attention span of just over 20 seconds 😉 On top of all of the “homemaking” crap I am expected to do (sweeping, mopping, meal planning, exercising, taking care of the dog, cooking, dishes, vacuuming, crafting, making baby food…I’m sure I’m missing something because I’m not so good at this part).

3. So what did you do all day? No comment.

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4. Oh, you’re not wearing yoga pants today. Oh…you’re being an ass-hat today.*

5. When do you think you will go back to work? When I friggin’ feel like it…ass-hat.*

I’m sure there are more…but my “mommy brain” can’t think of them. You know, since I haven’t been stimulating my brain for the last year. *

*Apologies for the snarkiness #sorrynotsorry

How to Talk to Little Girls

I have the best husband. He has a pretty good blog. Not as good as mine, but still pretty good 🙂 This one made me tear up a bit.

I am always finding these letters that parents “write” to their kids to teach them how to live their lives, and how to see themselves. One of my favorites is Tina Fey’s letter in her book Bossy Pants. I would love to see what my husband’s letter would say to Lucy.

Eric in ATL

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My daughter is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. I understand that I have a certain fatherly bias, but it’s true. Wherever we go, strangers approach and comment on how cute Lucy is, what pretty eyes she has, and how big her cheeks are. Women pinch her cheeks in public and tell us how lucky we are to have such a beautiful baby. This terrifies me, not because they are strangers, but because of how it will share the way Lucy thinks about herself.
Every woman I know struggles with self-image. Every one. 
 
Self-image dictates so many aspects of the lives of the women closest to me. Health, exercise, intimacy, self-esteem, self-confidence, clothing, work, entertainment. How women spend money, allocate time, build relationships, and value themselves ties directly to their perception beauty. (Not to mention its impact on men. A topic for another day.) Lucy is only about a…

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Feeding Frustrations

Today for lunch I made Lucy some chicken sausage, sweet potatoes, and cheese toast. I had leftover chicken and spaghetti squash. She decided she only wanted MY food. All other food ended up on the floor.

So I heated up some more chicken for her. She wouldn’t eat it unless it came out of my bowl. Eventually that didn’t even work! I’m just assuming she isn’t hungry, and her bottle at nap time will be enough nutrition for her.

Ugh.

Lucy’s Top 5 Toys

#5: Books

Lucy just loves to read! She loves all books, but her favorite is Goodnight Gorilla. I have to hide it in her room because if she sees it, she points to it and has to have it. What can I say? She is a little genius!
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#4: Grocery Bags

Lucy loves to help me put the groceries away!

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#3: Balloons

She really didn’t know what to do with it…but isn’t she cute?

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#2: Beer Growlers

They roll, they make a pretty sweet noise on the tile floor, and only a little left over beer spills out!

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AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

#1: Backyard Inflatable Pool

Obviously, Lucy loves it!

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**Disclaimer: I do not actually let my child play with plastic bags or drink beer. The pictures are meant to be funny, and were taken while I was learning what to baby-proof now that Lucy is crawling. Please do not leave hateful comments.**

**This is a No Judgement Mommy Blog!**

Shattered Phones, Zoloft, and the Grinch

So I’ve been MIA for a while…sorry. We have had a bunch of family in town, and honestly I was struggling with what to share. I knew I wanted to get a little open and honest and wasn’t sure how to go about it. So I’m just going to rip the band-aid off. Here we go!

I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband Eric travels for work. In fact, he was gone almost every week of our first year of marriage. When it was just two of us, it was hard, but since I’ve always been a little introverted, it was manageable.

As Eric and I started talking about having kids, he was worried about the traveling and missing out. Honestly, the thought of him not being around hadn’t even crossed my mind. I knew he would be a great dad. As a result, he requested a local project  to guarantee he would be home, at least right after Lucy was born. Well…that lasted about 1 month.

On top of postpartum hormones, single parenting was, and is, pretty awful. I really don’t know how people do it. At first, it wasn’t so bad. But it seemed like with every trip, things got a little worse. Right around 3 months, Lucy decided to stop napping. In order to get her to sleep, I would literally have to rock her for hours. As soon as I would lay her down she would start screaming. The sound would ring in my ears and was actually PAINFUL. I got to the point where I would cry almost every night (followed by drinking a beer).

Don't be fooled...she was screaming like a banshee before and after this picture.

Don’t be fooled…she was screaming like a banshee before and after this picture.

Things really got real a few months ago. Lucy started screaming around 10pm and kept going until 2am. No fever, not hungry, clean diaper. Just screaming. Eventually, so was I. I was screaming, bawling, praying, cussing…you name it. Then I lost my mind. I threw my phone against the wall and shattered it. Luckily I was able to call Eric on my iPad and he calmed me down. I was too scared to go back into Lucy’s room after that. I was so…angry. At her for screaming. At myself for not knowing how to make her stop. At Eric for not being there. Then the shame set in. I felt like such a failure. People take care of screaming babies all the time. Why couldn’t I handle it? I self-diagnosed myself with postpartum depression, and decided that I needed some help.

After seeing a women’s psychologist, I was not technically diagnosed with postpartum depression…just my own deeply seeded issues coming to the surface. Perfect timing, right? Now I’m seeing a therapist and taking Zoloft. I can’t tell you how much better I have been feeling. Eric has been home more, Lucy has been sleeping like a champ, and I feel more in control of myself. I still have my moments, but I’m learning how to control my emotions.

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Me and Lucy at the therapist 🙂

As I’ve gone through all this, and continue going through it all, I found other moms who have gone through similar things and I have learned a few nuggets of truth.

  1. Being a mom is excruciatingly lonely and isolating.  I have to be intentional about getting out of the house and having adult interactions.
  2. A screaming baby is NOT a sign of failure.
  3. Other moms are willing to help a sister out. They get it.
  4. Our children learn how to control their emotions from us. So I need to take care of myself to be the best mom to Lucy.
  5. It OK to let Lucy cry, so that I can breathe.

I know this is not the end of this part of my journey. Eric has started traveling again. Lucy is going to grow and her needs will change. It will not get easier…just different. But I love that girl with all my heart. When I think of her, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes, and I’m not sure it will fit inside my chest any more. I need to take care of me so that I can take care of her.

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I’ve learned a few things over the past few weeks:

1. Pierced-belly-button-scar-from-college post pregnancy = gross

2. Pierced-belly-button-scar-from-college post pregnancy AND squeezed in to pre-pregnancy jeans = REALLY gross

3. Lucy’s tummy doesn’t like eggs.

4. I can only wear my grey skinny pants for so long. As a result, I unbuttoned them while at the Braves game last night. (no one noticed, so that makes it OK)

 

Stay At Home Mom Tips

Over the last 8 months, I’ve realized that I can’t do it all. I can’t keep my house spotless, make baby food, nurse Lucy, make dinner for me and Eric, give Marty all the attention he needs, do the laundry, put the laundry away, go to the grocery store, be a good friend/daughter/wife, etc. So I’ve found some short cuts 🙂

1. Straighten up the living room, then light a laundry scented candle. The house will smell like you’ve cleaned ALL DAY.

2. Designate (at least) one room that will always have the door closed. That room is our office. Also since our bedrooms are upstairs, we don’t invite people to go upstairs.

3. Put your hubby to work. If you have a husband like mine, he wants to help you. Just ask.

4. Let your friends help. They can cuddle with the dog. They can bring you dinner. They can watch your baby. Just ask.

5. As women, we were created to multitask. We are convinced that we are supposed to do all of those thing listed above in order to be a good mom/wife/woman. The only problem with that is, if your attention is everywhere, its really no where. Choose one task and focus on it. Give your peanut all of your attention. When its time to clean, take advantage of nap times and do it right. When its date night, talk to your husband. Otherwise we are only half-assing our lives.

6. The Roomba was one of the greatest inventions ever. Press a button and dog hair be gone!

7. Get a large laundry basket. It will hold more laundry (clean or dirty) while you wait to wash it or put it away.

8. Start introducing flavors that you eat to your baby. The sooner she can eat what you eat, the fewer meals you have to fix. For example, Lucy LOVES guacamole!

9. Tailor your meals to things your baby can eat too (meats, veggies, fruits, grains). You will be healthier and there will be less work to do.

10. Turn your back to the mess. Its not a big deal in grand scheme of things. Instead go for a walk with your family. Sit and relax. Listen to your little one laugh. Those are the important things.

Have you discovered any other short cuts? Please share!

Date Night!

I apologize for the lack in posts. WordPress was posting blank posts for some reason. Hopefully the issue has been resolved!

Last night Eric and I got a babysitter and went to a new (to us) restaurant here in Atlanta.

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Gato Arigato in Candler Park is only open for dinner on Monday & Tuesday nights. The rest of the week it is a breakfast and lunch place, and it serves brunch on the weekends. We have been hearing great things from both friends and media about this place, so we decided we needed to make a point and get there and try the food.

 

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It was SO good! We cheated a bit on our diet (dumplings, rice cakes, ramen) but I do not regret it. Something I’ve learned over the past few years, and even more so over the last 8 months, is sometimes you need to give yourself a break. You need a date night. You need some carbs. Otherwise, you won’t survive.

One thing I think Eric and I have done well since Lucy has been born, is make sure we get out of the house. Luckily we have some great family that is willing to travel to see us/babysit pretty often, some great friends that host game nights in our living room while we go out, and we have found a few great sitters. Parenting is definitely a team sport, and every once in a while you need to regroup, without the little one! Even if it is just a cup of coffee or watching your weekly shows together (Breaking Bad, The Americans, HIMYM, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead…we watch a lot of TV), we need a break! Here are some of our recent dates:

  • Dinners at local restaurants
  • Cocktails/coffee after baby is asleep
  • Movies while friends babysit/play games while Lucy sleeps
  • Concerts (We are doing this Friday – Eric wants to see his fave band of all time, Five Iron Frenzy)
  • Festivals, beer and otherwise
  • Stay at home – make a special dinner, turn the TV off and pretend you are in a fancy restaurant. Dates don’t need to be fancy or expensive.

If you have any other creative date night ideas, please share them in the comments. I’m sure there are a bunch of mommies out there, including me, that would love for a few ideas!