Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So far, so good

This blogging thing is way harder than I thought it would be.  When I actually have time to start writing something, it becomes irrelevant by the time I get around to finishing it.  Whoever said “The only constant in life is change” was almost certainly a parent.  I feel like I have a totally new baby every two weeks!  Sidenote: I really thought this was going to be a place to keep everyone updated on Liv and what’s going on with her…but to be honest, I spend enough time with her day in and day out.  I think I need to have something for ME…and admitting that isn't easy, believe me!  It’s so hard as a new mom to not feel “selfish” when you want to take a shower longer than 3 minutes or eat your dinner while it’s actually hot.  Or write a blog.  Hopefully someone will still want to read.  Of course this will be all about motherhood/parenting, but mostly my feelings and philosophies and not “OMG SHE ROLLED OVER TODAY!” – which for the record, she does quite a bit now :)

Anyway, we’re just coming out of the four month sleep regression.  I may have jinxed it simply by writing that (fingers crossed), but the little one is finally getting back into a more civilized sleep schedule.  For a couple of weeks the longest stretch she had was two hours.  I was sure I was going to die.  On one memorable night, I sat up in bed after a 2 a.m. marathon nursing session and just cried.  I cried for a long time and wondered why I ever thought I was capable of raising a child.  I wondered if I was ever going to get back to feeling human.  Not great, not even ok, just human.  And what do you know, just when I was ready to adopt her to someone who could adequately care for her, the aliens beamed my happy girl back to Earth and took her evil clone back with them.  I'm slowly regaining my sanity, which I'm sure I’ll lose again in a few weeks time over something completely different, but for now I'm in a good place.

A major part of surviving this crazy mommy roller coaster so far has been learning how to surrender.  I’ve had to learn to surrender to her needs and let go of any preconceived notions I had about parenting and how I was going to do things.  There was a recent time (though it sure FEELS like a hundred years ago) when she would ONLY be quiet (read: not screaming bloody murder) if she was in my arms and in motion.  I heard over and over again from well meaning folks that I *needed* to let her cry so she could learn to be more independent.  I felt like a bad mom every time I “gave in” to her, “spoiled” her, and let her “manipulate” me.  I tried to let her cry on more than one occasion, but it didn’t feel right to me from the get go, and as it turns out it only makes her more pissed off and impossible to deal with when I do that.   So I gave in and bought a Moby wrap and I carried her ass around the house all day every day for weeks and learned to do EVERYTHING one handed.  I don’t remember the particular day when that necessity ended.  It was a gradual improvement (Maybe less and less time in the carrier? My memory of that time is totally shot.  I blame sleep deprivation) until finally she didn’t need that from me anymore.  It was a major “aha!” thing for me.  It would have taken just as much energy from me, if not more, to fight her into sitting quietly in a swing/on the floor/not on me as it did to just ride it out and let her do her thing. 

I’ve applied this way of thinking to her other “habits” (i.e. nursing to sleep) and so far it’s working out really nicely.  It amazes me all the time how she comes into her own with no prodding (maybe a very gentle nudge here and there) from me whatsoever.  Tonight I had an inkling that she could fall asleep in the crib instead of while nursing, and I was right.  She opened her eyes a couple times to make sure I was still there next to her before she would completely pass out, but that was all.  No fuss, no tears.  It was just proof positive that she’s learned to trust me to be there for her.  It felt awesome.

Nobody really tells you when you’re pregnant how freakin’ HARD it is to be a mom.  You want to do it right. You HAVE to do it right…this is someone else’s LIFE you’re responsible for.  You can read every parenting book and listen to every relative, friend, or stranger’s advice and still not find The Answers.  There are none.  Anything that “works” is almost always a coincidence and almost never lasts.  Anything that "worked" for someone else probably won't work for you and your baby.  It’s about trusting your instincts, knowing your child, letting go of control, enjoying the good times, and surviving the bad.  So far, I think I'm doing a pretty ok job of all that :)


  1. This is beautiful and is seriously every thought I've ever had in the last 7 months written perfectly! Thank you! I'm sure that most new Moms feel the same way! Glad you have a blog now!! :)

  2. I'm glad you liked :)

    I think you're right that most new moms feel the same way, but most of us are afraid to vocalize it. People give me strange looks when they ask me how I like being a mommy and I say I love it "most of the time" and don't gush on and on about how great it is. It's hard to do that when I'm running on 2 hours of sleep and Liv is having a crankypants day!