Motherhood, Motivation, Madness.

If you are a writer type you understand the sudden urge to just let it out… even if you don’t know what “it” is. It has been a while since I’ve written anything more than notes, research papers, or to-do lists. My creativity has been non-existent. I can’t even find the motivation to journal. It has been an entire month since I used my beautiful Desire Map planner that JoAnna sent me, and even longer since I used it to its fullest potential. I plan to get back on track this week, but who knows if that will happen. I feel like somewhere in the madness of motherhood, school, work, attempting to prepare somewhat healthy meals, and maintaining a home that still somehow looks like the aftermath of a hurricane, I have lost myself. Like, I do not know who I am anymore. Why am I even in school? Why, exactly, have I decided that my kid can’t have dinosaur chicken nuggets for every meal? Where did this unibrow come from? And when was the last time I wore a real bra?

Seriously, this shit is hard. And I feel so alone in it. I know I have people who love me. I know that I am supported. I know I’m a good mom. But still, it’s hard to only ever see my loved ones with the same frozen expression on a screen. Of course, I have Ant to love and cuddle. But, I can’t vent to him. I can’t cry with him. That’s too much weight for a toddler.

And somewhere in this mess I’m supposed to take care of my own physical and emotional well-being. Yet, I cannot find the time or energy. And I’m so fucking sick of the you can do it!‘s, and the it’s not impossible!‘s, and the you just have to make time for you!‘s. Though well intended, those are not helpful. And honesty I’m calling bullshit on all you moms who somehow go to work, make healthy dinners, work out, socialize, keep a clean house, and have any patience left over for your children.  I’ve come to peace with the fact that I will not be able to take my fitness seriously until I am done with school. I was doing it for a while- the working out five or more times a week. For an entire month I actually got up at 4 am , did my 21 Day Fix workout, went to a boot camp class at 5:30, then was at work by 8. That was when I only worked about 25 hours a week. Now that I’m up to anywhere from 32-40 hours per week (not including the random date-night babysitting I do), it is not possible. Some how, though, I need to find a way to manage my depression. I know that I really do need to exercise, but I honestly do not have time to work out as much as I should. But I guess it’s better to work out a couple of times a week than not at all.

It’s really just a vicious cycle, depression. I can’t seem to ever get my life in order. At this point I would kill for a manic episode. Really. It has been so long. I have been depressed for months with no end in sight. Every day. At least now that I have been in therapy and learned about my illness I can manage and channel my manic episodes.

The beauty in all of this is that I really am happy and healthy. And it’s not that I have accepted that I will always be depressed. And yes, you CAN be depressed and happy at the same time. It comes in waves, for sure. Most of the day I don’t have time to be depressed. My job requires me to constantly be moving, redirecting, dancing, singing. And how can you not when you have three sweet little ones to entertain all day? Yah, it’s hard. It’s incredibly stressful at times. But its happy work. I do love being a nanny. But sometimes when they’ve all finally fallen asleep and I am alone with my reality it hits me, and I am reminded that there is so much more inner work to be done.

One of the things I have been working on lately is staying present. Anyone with anxiety knows how hard this is. It’s hard for anyone, really. When I’m at work I’m thinking about all the school work I need to do. When I’m doing school work, I’m beating myself up for not taking Ant to the park when I said I would. When I’m making dinner I’m thinking about the after-dinner mess I will need to clean up. This makes it really hard to enjoy my life. At Ariel’s wedding a couple of weekends ago I had to keep telling myself not to worry about all the things I was putting off and to just have fun. And I did! It was the first time in a while that I was able to just let go. I wish I could do that daily. I will always be an obsessive organizer and planner. That’s just me and its honestly what keeps me sane. But, what is the point of panning and organizing if you can’t enjoy the things you’ve planned and organized, right.

Anyway. I’m not exactly sure where I was going with this and it’s time for bed. Maybe tomorrow I will figure out how to not be a hot mess.

 

Baby Update| 9 Months, Teething Necklaces & Baby-led Weaning

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Hot damn! Where has the time gone? I cannot believe that my sweet little baby is already 9 months old. His first birthday is only 3 months away! Like, WHAT?!

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I know everyone tells you that it goes by way too fast, but it feels like just yesterday I was beaming with excitement over him rolling over for the first time. Babyhood definitely does not last long enough! I’m trying to soak up as much of it as I can before it’s too late. One day, he won’t want me to hold him for hours day. Part of me (my back!) can’t wait for that day.. but most of me wants him to stay this little forever! However, I do look forward to watching him grow and learn. He is such a smart, sweet, happy, and active baby- I can’t wait to see the kind of person he becomes.

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It wasn’t until recently that I started imagining him as a social being, as a child, as a young adult, etc. I guess I was just focusing on right now- meeting milestones, getting through the very difficult first months. When Ant was in the hospital, everyone told me, “one day he will be five years old, and you won’t even think about this any more.” I think I’m finally starting to get to the point where I don’t think about it frequently. But, it is hard. I still feel some jealousy when I see photos of moms holding their new born babies. We didn’t get the “golden hour” that most moms and babies get. I didn’t even hold Ant until he was days old.

Another difficulty that arises when you have a baby who has had lung problems is that you HAVE to be the smoking police all the damn time. And it sucks. People don’t think about it, because he’s not their baby. And I understand. I just don’t want to make people feel bad when I tell them they can’t hold him when they smell like smoke, or asking them to put up their hair, so he doesn’t chew on something that has been in smoke. But, I have to some times. Fortunately, we have some kick-ass family members (smokers and non-smokers alike) who are willing to do anything for Ant… even if it means they have to wash their hands a billion times a day when he is around.

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Speaking of kick-ass family, our little family will be moving to Maine to be closer to Ant’s Alisi and Nana! We can’t wait! I’m so excited that they will be part of his daily life, and that they will be able to watch him grow IN PERSON.

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Looking back at my 6 month update, I can see how much Ant has grown in just three months!

Those three teeth that I thought he was cutting three months ago turned out to be just one tooth, right next to the one he had already cut. The other two (his top front teeth) didn’t come for another two and a half months. Three weeks later, he cut his third set of teeth. Those are coming in right now. I had been meaning to get him a teething necklace, but was reluctant about the chemicals that some of the common styles are treated with. I recently learned that ones made of unfinished wood beads that are covered in baby-safe fabric are the best option. Although it is possible to find raw Baltic amber teething necklaces, there is really no certification to say that they are not treated with potentially harmful finishes.

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Photo Credit: Getting Sew Crafty

It seems like many people do not like the idea of teething necklaces, because they think it’s something the baby wears, and they assume that it’s dangerous. In all honesty, that is what I thought at first too. I imagined a tiny baby with a necklace of tiny beads around it’s tiny neck and how terrible of an idea that was! Some people do give their babies teething necklaces to wear, but those babies are supervised- and usually toddlers, not infants. However, I think the idea behind most teething necklaces (which is clear when you shop for the style of necklace I found, and see photos of them) is that Momma wears the necklace. When Momma wears the baby, baby can suck and chew on the necklace. And when they are nursing, baby can play with the necklace… instead of scratching and pinching Momma’s boobies! I ordered my jade nursing necklace with wooden teething ring from Getting Sew Crafty. The shop owner, Danielle, was very friendly and helpful when I was trying to figure out if the necklace would arrive before we left for Maine!

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As for solid foods… Anthony Sr. and I have decided to do mostly baby-led weaning. It’s just easier that way. We love our Cuisinart Baby food processor, and purees were definitely great for introducing Ant to solids for the first couple months. But, it was too difficult for us to feed him while we tried to eat. And there was no way I would have been able to feed him purees while I was working as a sitter for another baby. I’m really glad we decided to go with baby-led weaning. Ant is able to feed himself while we eat (yay, hot meals!), and he gets to eat what we eat- for the most part- so, hopefully, he will have a taste for spices when he gets older. One of the biggest misconceptions about baby-led weaning is that your baby will choke on food that is not pureed. This leads parents to think gagging is a sign of choking (it’s not… not breathing is a sign of choking), and they quickly dismiss BLW. But really, the gag reflex is a normal and necessary part of development. Misconceptions also lead parents to cut baby’s food into tiny “bite-sized” pieces, which are easier to choke on. Obviously, as baby gets older and is better at eating, you don’t have to worry as much about them choking on tiny pieces (like cereal!). But to start, you should cut fruits and veggies into long, rectangular pieces. You can read more about BLW here. And definitely take a look at the photo gallery if you need a good laugh! Our food processor will not be used as frequently to make purees… it has now graduated to salsa and smoothie making!

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I’m also proud to say that we have been nursing for 9 months strong! Many people have expressed their surprise to me about the fact that I am still breastfeeding Ant. I guess maybe people don’t know that the AAP recommends that babies be nursed or formula-fed until at least 12 months? Many people also think- thanks to the sexualization of breasts in our society- that breast fed babies should begin to drink breast milk from sippy cups around 6 months. A pediatrician suggested that I pump, and give Ant my milk in a cup, otherwise he would be “on the breast till college”. And let me tell you- aint nobody got time for that! I plan to let Ant self-wean. And I hope that in the future breastfeeding will be normalized. When it is, maybe moms like me won’t have to face such criticism.

As far as cloth diapering goes- now that I won’t be working as a nanny any more, I will have time to review our cloth diapers. Since I will have more time on my hands, you can also look for a future post about my experience with no-pooing and Deva Curl!

Baby Update| 6 Months, Solids & Baby Wearing

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Before having a baby, I was the most socially awkward creature on the entire planet. Or, at least, that is how I felt. If I was with my boyfriend or a friend, I might be more likely to talk to a stranger. However, if I was alone I would have a very hard time not stuttering when a stranger asked me a question or complimented me. And I certainly would NEVER approach a stranger. All of that went out the window once I started going places with Ant. Now, I can’t go grocery shopping without some one stopping to tell me how beautiful he is! Having a baby has done wonders for my social anxiety! So, what I’m saying is, if you’re socially awkward, you should totally have a baby.  Continue reading

Baby Update | 5 Months, Growth Spurts & Teething

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Wow! Happy five months to my beautiful baby boy! I cannot believe he is already five months old. Time has flown by, but at the same time, I feel like I have known him my entire life. Like we were two souls just waiting to be united. At JoAnna’s birthday party a few weeks ago, I was telling her how I feel like I have been waiting for him my entire life. Since about age ten, I have had baby fever. I remember thinking how I wanted to have babies as soon as I became an “adult”. Of course, by the time I turned 18, babies were not on my agenda. But, I always felt like there was something missing in my life. My son completes me. My cup is overflowing and I could not be more grateful to have such a joyful little baby in my life. Continue reading

Yummy Super Coffee Recipe!

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Today baby Ant and I had a bit of a late start (due to him waking up every 1-2 hours last night), so I decided to kick start my day with a tasty treat! My super coffee came out so amazing that I had to share it 🙂 Continue reading

My Awkward Mommy Moments

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Here are some of my #awkwardmommymoments for you to gawk and laugh at (and maybe nod in agreement). Hey, its not the catchiest hashtag, but I’m sure some of you can relate! Please tell me you can relate… Continue reading

A Thrifty Bitch New Year’s Resolution

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Across the nation people are buying new gym memberships and tossing out their Christmas candy. We all know what this means, as we roll over the day after December 31st, hung over, covered in confetti, and parched –  It’s resolution time. Happy New Year!

We Thrifty Bitches would love to share our New Year’s resolutions with you all in hopes that you’ll share yours, too!  Continue reading

There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Rather, there is a baby at the end of the tunnel! Thank goodness because I need some kind of reward for these past 9 months. I mean, I didn’t hate being pregnant the entire time. Some of it was cool- getting boobs for the first time; seeing him move around as the ultrasound tech showed us all his organs, spine, brain and face; feeling him kick for the first time. But, man, was I miserable from 6 months on. And what a newb I was! If I knew what I’d be going through in these last couple weeks maybe I wouldn’t have complained so much. Continue reading