Day 13: Wellness Challenge

I was speaking with a friend of mine who follows my blog and reads all my post (if only I had about a thousand more friends, I would be rolling in followers). In the midst of our conversation, she casually asked; “So, what did you work out today?” I told her that because of my busy schedule that day, I hadn’t worked out. I had done my stretches and then went on with my day of running around with a 6-month-old in tow. She let out a long sigh and frowned. “That sucks. Looks like it’s back to day one of your fitness challenge.”

My brows furrowed. What was she talking about? What fitness challenge? It was then that she brought up my blog post almost two weeks ago where I basically announced I was going to ‘Carpe Diem’ my life.

That blog was not about the start of a fitness challenge, but more of a wellbeing challenge.

I did not merely want to be fit. I wasn’t signing a contract with myself that stated I would work out around the clock, become extremely fit and all that goes along with it. I want to be healthy, yes, but that is more than just fitness. When I told her it was a Wellbeing Challenge, not a fitness one, she looked at me completely baffled.

What does it mean?

It means that I have stopped putting off things I can control until tomorrow.

There was a lot I was shrugging off, telling myself I would get done tomorrow. Errands, goals, even just basic hygiene. Gross, right? Well… when you are a parent, especially to one of a child under the age of three, some things, especially when they are things for yourself, get put on the back burner. Sometimes they get forgotten altogether. This was one of the biggest and most important things I wanted to change. It is absolutely okay for me to do things for myself, putting myself first in small instances before being a mom or being a wife.

I am brushing my teeth, I am showering daily, I am stretching in the mornings and getting in a workout if my schedule allows it, I am making meals for myself and actually sitting down to eat them while they are still warm. These are things I can easily control, things that work towards my overall health both mentally and physically, and they have been things I have been neglecting since becoming a mom.

Keeping a Journal.

This was something I did a lot when I was younger. I had fallen in love with my cursive writing when I was about ten and thought to myself that I was going to write down absolutely everything I could, all the time. Poems, skits, short stories, every detail of my life written down and kept.

I haven’t kept a journal in almost ten years, but I remember how refreshing it was. To write all your feelings down on a page, to list your goals and your wildest dreams, bringing them to life in some small way, even if just at that moment, they were only words on a page.

There is a lot we keep to ourselves. As we become adults, we grow and adapt. One of the things we learn is that we can’t just say whatever we want all the time. There are repercussions attached to our words, consequences that may not be worth the weight that is temporarily lifted from your shoulders.

One of the things I wanted to start with my Wellbeing Challenge, was journaling again. It is so great to just pour your heart out onto a page. No judgements, no fear. I have to say, anyone that is feeling overwhelmed or unhappy, start journaling. Sometimes when you just let your words flow, you write down things you may not even know you were thinking in the first place.

More meals, just for me.

This may almost seem silly, but when my husband goes to work there are days I forget to do more than snack. I am playing with my daughter, we are going for walks, I am constantly on for her that somehow I forget that I need to eat too. And actually, eat.

I was getting into the bad habit of ‘Man, I am hungry. Maybe I will just snack on these crackers.’ and not actually making a full meal for myself. Aside from the obvious hunger, this was really bad for my energy levels and that affected everything throughout the day. My mood, my procrastination, my whole schedule was determined by my lack of energy would all have been helped by better meals.

Water.

Water, water, and more water.

It honestly helps with so much. Have a slight headache, drink more water. Feeling overly tired, drink more water. Not hungry, drink some water.

I got into the bad habit of having a coffee as soon as I woke up (decaf :(), that coffee would often be cold before I could finish off the half pot I had brewed so I would just reheat and drink that through the day. Which means there were literally days when I would go without a glass of water. It sounds crazy, but it’s how a lot of us are living. We drink coffee, teas, juices, and all the while we are forgetting that we should still be having water on top of all this other stuff.

I start my mornings off with two tall glasses of water before my stretches, and a third when I am through.

Blog out negative people, and their negative energy.

A lot of people live their lives with a social circle that may have a few bad eggs in it. They’ve lived in their circle for so long, that they shrug off the anxiety and judgement that goes along with being a part of it because they tell themselves that is just the way it is. They don’t want to make changes, they don’t want to be honest with themselves and say that maybe this person isn’t the kind of person I want in my life.

If it isn’t your personal social circle of friends, it could be family, or it could be people that have come into your life riding on the back of your partner. When you welcome a new person into your life and dive into a new relationship, sometimes you are so wrapped up in that person and how they are changing your life that you don’t stop and ask yourself if the people that walked through the door with him are adding anything positive to your life, or whether or not they may be harming you.

A lot of the mommies in my group talk about how their In-Laws add so much stress to their lives, how they belittle their abilities as parents, and spouses and how so much anxiety is built up with each visit and conversation. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine. I was lucky enough to marry into a great family, but I know that isn’t everyone’s story.

I am going to say something completely crazy here; you are not obligated to have a relationship with your in-laws if they don’t treat you well. WHOA! Insert explosion sounds here.

Mind blown!

Your mental health and wellbeing are more important than keeping face with people who could care less about your opinion or worth. It’s up to your partner to step in and be the barrier you need from them if they treat you poorly. They should put their foot down, and lay down the law. However, that isn’t always something everyone is capable of, and if they aren’t setting strict rules for how their family treats you, then you have every right to back away and tell him that you refuse to interact with people who treat you that way.

I may not have had to do this with my In-Laws but I have done it with other people. Even those who may not necessarily be abusive, but there are other types of taxing relationships that aren’t good for you. Like people who depend on you too much but don’t offer any type or comfort to you when you are distressed, or people who cheer on procrastination and act more like speed bumps or road bumps in your life.

You can dictate who gets to be in your life, and you should.

Asking for more help.

Being a new mom and parent is hard, and for some reason, it seems like a lot of people are afraid to admit that it is hard. They don’t want to talk about the struggle, they just want to highlight the good times and hide behind the fact that it’s a blessing. Well, things can be more than one thing.

Being a mom can be hard as hell, and it can also be a blessing. You can be a dishevelled mess on the brink of a mental breakdown and still acknowledge that your baby is glorious and everything you ever wanted.

Asking for help is healthy, and everyone should do it more in every aspect of their life.

Whether it is parenting, whether it is at work, or just improving yourself.

Ask for help if you need it.

Another important thing is accepting help when you may not have asked for it. There are so many proud people out there afraid to have someone help prop them up when they are falling? Why?

We all need help, and we shouldn’t be shamed out of asking for it.

Getting more sleep. 

This has to be the hardest thing thus far.

I co-sleep with my daughter. We share a Queen sized bed which a lot of people would think is plenty of room. However, those people must not have ever slept with an infant before because let me tell you, it is not.

More often than not, I wake up with hands tangled in my hair, feet smooshed against my face, the daunting stare of a little girl who is pooping and wants eye contact while she does it. I sleep on the edge of the bed while she is sprawled out, babbling in her sleep, inching somehow closer and closer to me.

Since my daughter has betrayed me and said ‘Da-Da’ first, she calls out for him in the mornings. He comes and gets her and they spend the morning together while I get an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep.

It’s glorious.

Outside of that, I have learned to nap. I will set her in her swing or playpen, or even her crib to play at times during the day when I am extremely exhausted and could benefit for half an hour of shut-eye.

Sleep is so important and a lot of parents learn to function without it, but over time it weighs on you and can affect your mood, your energy level, your thought process, and even your emotions. Sure, we can all function on coffee with a high level of illogical rage, but should we?

Having tough conversations.

So many people hold in a lot of their thoughts. They think more about other people’s feelings than they do their own, which most of the time is okay.
Sometimes we do it way too often. We are afraid to have the difficult conversations because we know it will be awkward and we will feel naked and bare.

Have those conversations.

It’s so important to unload, to not have this fictitious relationship with people because you never say what you are thinking and never tell them when you disagree.

It’s liberating to be your true self with someone, within reason. Don’t be spiteful and mean, just be honest.

I am sure there are other little things on my list of self-care that I am forgetting, but I have drafted this blog entry a half a dozen times, constantly being interrupted by my tiny dictator, so there is a lot that is getting forgotten, I am sure.

Challenge yourself to care more about your wellbeing, and do things that are specific to you. Not everyone neglects themselves in the same way.

6 Months A Mommy

It’s crazy to sit back and think that all of these changes to my life have happened in a mere 6 months. 6 months is nothing, it can fly past in the blink of an eye. It is hard to fathom that I transformed, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly (a very messy, usually un-shower and under-rested butterfly, but a butterfly none the less) in 6 months.

For anyone who has been a part of my blogging journey from the very beginning, you all know that pregnancy was rough for me. I would turn my nose up at any woman who talks about being pregnant as a joy, and I would throw fists and anyone who dare mention the pregnancy glow. There was no glow, there was no joy. There was survival. I was trying to survive while my body grew and stretched, while the things I used to take joy in slipped away from me because I was either unable to do them due to lack of energy or just unable to do them with my growing belly in the way. Nausea was a ghost that constantly haunted me, taunting me with a heightened sense of smells.

Not that I want to get into the whole pregnancy thing in this blog post, although I could write a book on my experience that is sure to contradict a lot of the other books out there.

Maybe one day.

This blog entry is to celebrate my beautiful 6-month-old daughter.

Gosh, 6 months.

In that time there have been sleepless nights, sore muscles, days I forgot to eat, days I forgot myself. There has been laughter, tears, frustration, anxiety. Coaching and cheering, negotiating, tossing and turning. There have been hundreds of cute outfits. There have been doctors appointments, vaccinations, ears being pierced, more tears, more tears and more tears. Milestones I thought she would meet but didn’t, and milestones I thought she wasn’t even close to reaching but have been met.

Being a parent is this crazy thing. It’s like being tossed in a tornado and you are reaching out for anything and everything trying to steady yourself. When you’re finally back on the ground you are exhausted, you are worn and you don’t even remember how you got there most of the time. But you are face to face with this adorable little person, who looks up at you with eyes that hold your whole universe in them. That one look, that one little grin or giggle, makes everything else in your hectic world worthwhile.

Being a parent is an adventure, and sometimes instead of trying to control it, you just have to surrender to it. Let yourself be taken, float along with the stream.

As I type this out, my daughter is screaming Da-Da from the other room while she watches Paw Patrol (yes, I let my 6-month-old watch TV when I feel like I want a few minutes to myself). The clothes I am wearing are the same ones I have been wearing all week aside from my underwear, my hair is a grease trap, my face still hasn’t been washed since last night and as I run my tongue along my teeth, I let out a small sigh of relief once I realized I remembered to brush them this morning.

It’s been 6 months of this, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

(I would tweak it a bit to include more showers, more overall grace and style and being able to pee by myself… but I try not to hope for the unattainable :P) 

 

 

Day 3: New Me

Last entry, I talked about the toxic lifestyle of pushing things off until tomorrow. This is something I have been extremely guilty of lately. After months and months of living like this, Sunday was the day I looked at myself and said; “No more!”

After a bit of research, it seems like it takes 66 days for something to become a habit. That means I will need to overcome my recently weak willpower for 66 consecutive days if I am hoping to make this new lifestyle I have in mind a reality.

I am going to be honest with you, this seems like a really tall order. With a fussy baby in tow, sometimes it seems like I will not get the 30 minutes I will need a day to do my stretches and my small workout. Especially lately, when co-sleeping with my 5-month-old is threatening to be the death of me. I wake up with less energy than I had going to bed and the idea of dedicating 30, undisturbed minutes of my day to working out instead of logging off and just vegging, seems like a major task.

I am stronger than my procrastination… at least that is what I am telling myself.

A lot of women, especially after becoming a mother, forget about their strength. They fall into survival mode, forgetting to take a moment to think “Holy crap! I made an entire human being in a mere 9 months. When all of that was done with, I summoned the strength needed to push that baby out. Exhausted, worn, and feeling a little bit like I have been in a car accident. I had a meagre 24 hours to heal with help before being handed this tiny amazing thing I had just created, and being sent home to weather the rest of the storm of parenting on my own. Nervous, and still healing myself, I am suddenly in charge of this little being. I have to be their everything, 24 hours a day. That is amazing. I am amazing.’

Really, to all the parent out there, I am there with you. I appreciate your sacrifice, I see your worth, your beauty, your strength. It really is amazing.

We are amazing.

Pregnancy is hard. Childbirth is hard. Parenting is hard.

Admitting that to other people seems to be one of the most difficult things any of us have to do. Something so many of us refuses to do.

Why?

Nothing worthwhile comes easy. It only makes sense that one of the most important things you will ever do be a struggle. Boy, is it a struggle. Some days I feel like I don’t have the strength in me to roll out of bed. Exhausted and worn, emotionally broken, I find a way. For my daughter.

So, this is day 3 of 66.

I cheated a little bit yesterday and only did stretches because I wasn’t prepared for how sore my body would be after just a small workout. Sure, it has been months, but I was feeling like I had been caught in a wave, unable to get out of it and back to the surface. My body was aching, I was so weak, it was definitely not something I thought would be as difficult as it was. Yet, I would still count it as a win because before Sunday I would have used my soreness and fatigue as an excuse to do nothing that day.

66 days.

I can do this!

Don’t Sink Into the Quicksand of ‘Tomorrow’.

I can tell you the moment it all began. It was the 17th of August, my last official day of working before the year I would have off for maternity leave. I told myself I was going to stay active. Working as I did as a nanny to twin toddlers, meant that I was always on the go, even when I didn’t want to be.

It was great, being on the move so much as my beautiful daughter was growing in my belly. It meant that I was healthy, I was fit, I was the best possible vessel to carry the budding baby girl in my belly. As tired as my job made me most days, I was happy that this was the job I had, this was the active lifestyle that made most of the weight targeted to just my belly, that kept me bending down to tie my shoes (most days), that just made me feel a little more ready than I would have sitting at a desk all day.

The first official day I had off, I slept in obnoxiously late. I ate more than I should have and if I am being completely honest, I am not sure I even moved from the couch that day. I had unknowingly planted the seed of laziness in myself.

My goal was to have at least one long walk a day. I would get Toblerone all ready, put on a little backpack with water for him and myself in there and I would go for a long walk, that would last at least an hour a day so that I could stay in the best shape I could until my baby arrived.

Well, summer was not kind.

Here in Toronto, there was heatwave after heatwave. I would get ready in the morning to walk my dog, and once I stepped into that wall of heat, my mind would change completely.

Screw that. Was usually my thought as I hobbled back inside, shed every piece of clothing I could without being completely naked and resumed my post on the couch. I binge-watched more Netflix than I care to admit, snacked constantly and kept telling myself ‘I will do it tomorrow.’

The problem with that mentality is it is quicksand. Every day, the reminder that something could always be accomplished tomorrow prevented me from accomplishing anything today. If I could go back to August, I would push myself and prevent that seed from ever being planted.

Why? Well, because back then when I was still plump with child, all I had was time. I had time to go for long walks, I had time to enjoy the sunshine, I had time to get things done. I could have written more, I could have read more, I could have edited a lot of my written work that is now sitting around in hardcopy collecting dust. I could have reminded myself that, although there is a lot I can accomplish tomorrow, there is more still I can accomplish today.

Start something today, and finish it tomorrow, only if you run out of time.

Now, time is something I just don’t have.

Sleepless nights drag into sluggish days. A baby takes up a lot more time than you would have thought and those hours you thought you would have when your baby is rested, aren’t long enough if you even get them.

It’s hard on you mentally, especially as a mother. You forget that outside of a mother, you are also a person. You put off self-care. You put off showers, and hair cuts, and brushing your teeth, you put off workouts, and lunches, and socializing. Everything gets put off as you are sinking in the quicksand of ‘Well, maybe tomorrow.’

Time changes when you are a parent, your mind becomes mush, and if you are a mother, your body is this new thing you aren’t used to anymore. I was this thin little person before. After giving birth, I lost the bulk of my weight. I really shouldn’t complain, I know there are those who are having a lot more trouble than I am losing weight or feeling like themselves again, but each of our journeys is our own, and we are allowed to feel sad, to feel helpless. We are allowed to experience whatever we do because our struggles are not comparable, and the sooner we realize that the sooner we can be happy with ourselves and with our fellow mommies and daddies.

The biggest thing I am having trouble coping with is the fact that suddenly, after 28 years, I can feel my stomach moving when I walk. It’s such a small thing, but it’s something I am so aware of. It’s new and a little unnerving.

So one of my biggest goals since becoming a mommy was to get more into fitness. To workout and stretch and feel good. This has been the biggest thing I have been putting off for tomorrow. I have been putting it off for tomorrow for 5 months now.

It’s hard. I co-sleep, so most mornings I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed. My husband works most days and usually, he works until late. Which means the plan to get to the gym as often as I wanted is another thing I have been putting off. Mostly because when he is off, that is time I would rather spend together as a family than at the gym. Most days I feel like I am sleepwalking through the day, more exhausted than alert, a plaything for my daughter, until he gets home. He spends a mere hour with her before her bedtime and then the cycle continues.

Did I mention being a parent is hard?

This morning I woke up completely worn. I zombie-walked out to the living room, put my daughter in her jumper while I went back down the hall to brush my teeth. There was nothing I wanted more than some decaf and to just sit by myself for thirty or so minutes until she became bored and it was time to kick my day into gear.

Brushing my teeth, I looked at myself. My hair hasn’t been washed, my skin is oily, and I look like this blurred vision of who I was before. I decided right then than there that tomorrow wouldn’t be the day. Today would.

Today would be the day where I stopped sinking in that quicksand and started living a little bit more for myself.

Today.

Teeth brushed, face washed, I opened my workout app on my iPad and pushed everything out of the way. I put on The Greatest Showman (yes, she is still obsessed with this movie) knowing it would give me the 30 minutes I needed to get started.

Today.

I completed my workout, downed two large glasses of water and then sat down to write this blog. Writing has always been my passion, and it is something I have almost given up on lately. There isn’t enough time in the day, or so that was what I was telling myself. I thought I would never get the consistent time I needed to write something worth reading. I would never get to re-read the novel I am editing and hoping to have published sooner rather than later.

If you want something badly enough, there is enough time. You just have to use those little moments whenever you get them. Sure, it’s not the way you thought you could do it, but you can push through and accomplish those goals so long as you claw your way out of the quicksand of ‘tomorrow’ because once you start to sink, it can be so hard to find your way back.

This is just day one for me. I still have sand all over me and can still feel that seed of laziness fighting to bloom inside me.

I just hope that I can keep this up until it becomes a routine, and then until it becomes a lifestyle.

Here’s to that hope.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

One of the hardest things to do when you are a new parent is to find a balance. Suddenly, you can’t just run out for a coffee, you can’t go to a movie, you can’t slip out to grab a bite. The spontaneous life you had been living before is a thing of the past because when you have a baby, your life suddenly becomes all about planning.

Doing anything without a plan, is impossible. You have to factor in if you can survive with a baby where you are going.

”Will the place I’ll be going be too loud? Will there be somewhere I can park my stroller, or should I skip the stroller all together as wear a carrier? Are the bathrooms there ones that will have a changing table? How long will I be out? How much will my baby need while we are out?”

Exclusively breastfeeding also means I have to think about whether there is a private place to feed. I am not overly shy, but I also don’t want to be gawked at while feeding my daughter, so knowing there may be a place a little more secluded where I can take my time is always best.

Making plans isn’t easy, and it becomes even more of a task when your friends don’t consider you and your baby as a package deal.

They invite you places or to events thinking your baby is something you can just hand off for the night so you can enjoy yourself. I really wish people who weren’t parents would stop for a moment and think about how much of an ordeal it is to actually come out to something where our babies aren’t considered.

I am a considerate person. I am not going to bring my baby to your wedding, or a dinner party, or anything where I know I may disrupt or pull attention away from the main event. If we are being perfectly honest, it isn’t worth the hassle of finding a fancy nursing dress so I can attend comfortably with my baby anyhow. However, don’t expect me to come to lunch or something without my baby. I am a mom, a new mom at that, and parenting is difficult. Even if I could find someone to watch my baby for the few hours, chances are, I may not want to leave my baby home.

Leaving your baby with someone when they are so young and parenting is so new is probably something you are not completely comfortable with yet. Even putting my daughter to bed and watching her on the monitor gives me anxiety at times; and I can see and hear her.

It’s understandable. When we are young and we don’t have families of our own, we are selfish. I know I was, and I am not faulting anyone for it. It’s hard to wrap our minds around anyone not having the same freedoms we do.

That being said, I’ve realized as a new mom that some of the friendships I had before are no longer ones that work for me now that I am a mom. It’s sad, but it’s true. I can’t drop everything and meet friends wherever they want. I can’t go everywhere some of my friends want to go when I have a baby in tow, and when they don’t consider that or at least try to meet me half way, it makes me realize that our friendship may not be what I want it to be. And that’s okay.

As people we grow, and sometimes the people in out lives don’t grow with us, or grow in completely different directions. I love my friends, but I realize that in my group, I was the first to have a serious relationship, I was the first to get married, and now I am the first to have a baby. A lot of my friends aren’t even close to considering building the kind of life I am already knee deep in, and that is absolutely okay. I am not trying to be the architect of their lives, I know they all have plans and dreams that they will work towards at their own pace.

I also know, that I can’t go on weekend getaways right now, that going axe throwing or go-carting is not really something I can do either, and I realize that I am just one person in a group. It may not be fair for me to always ask them to accommodate me so that I can bring my daughter, but whether I ask them to change their plans or whether I decline going altogether, there really is no way of winning.

Either way, the dynamics of our group are changing, shifting, and it becomes more clear to me each and every day that I may not fit the way I once used to.

To anyone that has a friend who recently had a baby and you are worried about losing your friendship; my advice to you is simple. Make an effort to go to them.

You don’t have to go out for lunch or make a date. Just ask them when is a good time to go over, sit with them, spend time with them and show them that you are willing to step into their world for a few hours every now and again to maintain your friendship. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate something like this, much more than being invited out.

As sad as it is to say, becoming a new parent will open your eyes to what is important in your life, and the people that you are important to. Some of the friendships you thought would last forever, may be ones that disappear completely.

Playing Catch Up

When I got pregnant, I had this glorious idea. I told myself that I would have 12 months off, which would mean, of course, I would have all this free time. What better way to spend my free time, than to use it to catch up on creative writing projects, and to start a parenting blog for parents just like me; blissfully unaware of the challenges coming up, but adult enough to know we would have to go fake our way through it all.

What a silly dreamer I was. How foolish to believe that being a stay at home mom would mean I would have free time.

What were meant to be weekly entries, occasionally multiple entries a week have turned into bi-weekly, or sporadic monthly entries at best. Sometimes a few weeks will pass before I pull myself out if the chaos enough to vaguely remember I am supposed to be blogging. Somewhere between the spit-up, constant feedings and changing, and what I’ve started to call flash naps (mine, not hers), there is probably a moment or two where I could string enough sentences together to come up with a blog post.

Unfortunately, what tends to happen is I use that moment to blink and suddenly, hours have passed, my shirt is wet, and I have the subtle taste of cookies in my mouth but no recollection of eating any.

Parenting is very similar to being in a car wreck some days. You start your trip with a plan, good intentions, and the best mood. You’re singing along to a song on the radio you don’t love, but it’s catchy so you don’t change it. Then suddenly you hit a bad patch in the road, the car is doing donuts, and you are spiralling towards a ditch.

You wake up maybe moments, hours, or days later. Your hair is a mess, your clothes are stained and torn, the song you were okay with is still playing on loop and is now completely intolerable, and you crawl out of the wreckage wondering what the hell happened and how you got here.

That, in a nutshell, is parenting.

Sure, there are days when the journey goes almost as planned. There are a few roadblocks and re-routing but you still get there mostly in one piece but don’t count on having too many of those days in the beginning.

There are a lot more blowouts than you plan for, a lot of those cute little onesies when covered completely in slimy baby poop, go right from your baby to the trashcan, never to see the washer or dryer. Bath time becomes less of a fun, playful bonding time the third time around in a single day, and turns into a quick dunk and scrub in the sink.

It’s messy, it’s wonderful, it’s overwhelming…

And it’s also why I haven’t posted as much as I would have liked.

Thanks to any of my followers who keep following me despite my lack of consistency. Thank you for your support. I do see you and appreciate every like, comment, and follow.

As a new parent, I am trying my best and hopefully, I will somehow find my stride. Until then, I’m still pretending I know what I am doing as I walk away from the wreckage.

Five Months A Mommy

Five months.

158 days, 2 hours, and 21 minutes.

How time is ticking away.

I can still vividly remember the numbness in my legs, the way my toes felt as fat as sausages and had the tingle of pins and needles, only dull, and more lifeless. I can see the nurse standing below me, the blur of the doctor I barely saw during my delivery standing below me stitching me up as he spoke to the nurse. All of that just background noise as I looked down at the wee little baby they had just handed to me, the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life.

She was so quiet, not at all like how they show you in the movies. There was no high pitched wail, no screaming that tugged at your heart. She barely had a moment to look around at the new world I had brought her into before she was placed on my chest, nestled close, and seeking my breast.

She was so content, so beautifully perfect.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday, in other ways, it feels like years have passed. She was this little bundle that loved to cuddle, loved to sleep and you would just spend all your time looking at her. Now she is this little personality. She has things she likes, things she loves, and things you better not even try.

Thinking about how fast she is growing almost makes me teary eyed. It won’t be long now until I am back to work, until she is off to school. You really do blink and find yourself wondering where all the time is going.

She is rolling over, has yet to sit up on her own while I am watching her, but if I sit her unattended, she will surely sit straight up if it will help her get to what she wants. She is pure energy in the morning that fades into dramatic misery come early evening.

For any new parents, frustrated and weary, just remember before you know it they will be grown and you will be wishing you had a few more moments with your little one in your arms. You’ll wish you had hugged them a little tighter, held them a little closer, loved them a little harder, all while you had the chance.

Whenever fatigue has you weary, and your patience has all been spent, just imagine your baby living in an apartment all their own in their 20s. They’ve got their own lives now, lives you are barely a part of. And their calls are less and less frequent as they become their own people, carving out their own place in the world.

A few moments of these thoughts is enough to round all up that patience you thought was spent, smooth out some of the wrinkles of fatigue and may even help you enjoy the tough times a little bit.

I know I do.

Co-Existing With Your Baby

Before becoming a mother, I was the kind of person who enjoyed doing things alone. Whether it was going out to eat, going to see a movie, or for a long walk through the woods or along a beach, I wasn’t the kind of person to wait for other people’s schedules to line up with mine. There are a lot of people out there unable to do things alone, that definitely wasn’t me.

Since becoming a mother, there isn’t much I get to do alone.

My daughter and I co-sleep, co-bathe, I eat with her on my lap, there are even days where I wear my fussy girl around our apartment and go to the bathroom with her attached to my chest.

I’ve learned that being a parent means we don’t get time to ourselves, if we’re lucky, we can steal mere moments.

We co-exist with these very clingy, adorable babies. They’re like adorable love and attention seeking leeches, attached to us every moment of the day in one way or the other. When they aren’t attached to us physically, mentally we can’t shake them.

All the time I spend away from my daughter, my mind is completely filled with her.

“Is she okay?” “How is she coping alone with my husband?” “I hope he doesn’t fall sleep with her on his chest, he moves too much.” “Is she happy?” “Has she been crying the whole time I’ve been gone?”

I’m told this is normal for your first. I suppose by your second kid, you just don’t have the energy left to constantly be wrapped around them.

How has co-existing with my beautiful bundle of fussiness been?

Exhausting. I am forgetting what actual sleep is. My body is worn. Every inch of me aches in one way or another. My hormones are on a roller coaster and I find myself praying to whatever deity will listen that she will nap, then when she is sleeping mere inches from me, I can’t help but miss her.

Being a parent is weird, and new, and there is no map to show you the right way to do it.

That being said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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The Greatest Showman

It was 2:00am and My daughter was letting out these little screams, and kicking the crap out of me (the struggle of co-sleeping) and I was at my wits end. I had recently bought The Greatest Showman from the iTunes Store and figured if I was already up, I might as well put it in. My daughter loves music, so I was hoping it would soothe her and I could roll away from her and stretch out all the kinks she was causing.

I have to say, I am a fan of musicals. I have been since I was a little girl dancing around to The Sound of Music. When you think about it, most Disney movies are musicals, so any movies with music in them when I was a kid, was my thing.

The songs from The Greatest Showman are amazing, and I love them. My daughter loves it too.

A lot.

Like… a lot!

Let’s just say, from the time we have originally watched it, we have probably watched it 20 more times, that is not including the times we put the songs on YouTube for her during the day when she is extremely fussy.

The movie itself is good. I love the music, the storyline, although not entirely accurate to the actual character of P.T. Burnam portrayed by Hugh Jackman, I would much rather watch a musical with this more fictitious version of him than the man who bought a slave, worked her 10-12 hours a day and then when she died, charged people 50 cents to see her autopsy.

My daughter, at only 4 months has become completely enthralled with this musical. It is at the point where if you walk into my house at any given time of the day, you are bound to hear the music from the movie being played in one way or the other.

It’s both a blessing and a curse as my daughter has been overly miserable lately due to teething and this movie seems to keep her so preoccupied, she completely forgets about her discomfort so long as she can hear the songs being played. However, after my 12th or so viewing, the movie has somewhat lost its appeal.

After complaining to my mother, she reminded me of hours of watching a The Sound of Music, dancing through the halls singing the songs and making outfits from my bedding. Sure, I can vaguely recall doing this, but I was maybe 6 or 7. 4 months seems young to get into the musical game. I have tried explaining this to my daughter, but she wails until I abandon negotiations and put on The Greatest Showman.

It’s to the point now where if my daughter wakes in the middle of the night, my immediate response is to mumble-sing This Is Me while rubbing her stomach until she goes back to sleep.

It makes me smile, hysterically and a little bit like a madwoman, to think about all the things we as parents endure just to make our children happy.

Who Am I? My Brain Doesn’t Remember.

The last week and a half have been rough!

My daughter has been taking these tiny little catnaps during the day that last a maximum of 20 minutes and she will only stay asleep if she is on my lap or chest or arm. Not to mention she is absolutely miserable when she is awake.

This teething process is slow moving and torturous for the both of us. Smiles are few and far between, laughter is very tough and go, her cute giggles all too soon transforming into painful wails. Our tummy time is a negotiation zone, activities are constantly cut short and I am counting down the minutes until my mother-in-law comes to stay with us at the end of the month.

It really does take a village.

It may not seem like it does, and a lot of the things I do with my beautiful daughter, I do solo because of my husband’s busy work schedule, but I can feel myself slowly wearing away. The lack of sleep and constantly being on calls means that I am on auto-pilot most of the time.

And mama is ready to get off of autopilot. Mama is ready to sleep, like really sleep, mama is ready to go pee without screaming down the hall “Mama’s coming!”, or to get back to writing.

Guys, I can’t tell you how much I miss writing. For those of you who didn’t know this, before I had this parenting blog, I had a creative one, with all these short stories and poetry, and thoughts. Not to mention, I have several novels partially done that I would love to do anything with.

I feel like since I got pregnant, there are parts of my brain that just don’t work anymore. A big part of my brain that is completely shut down is the creative side. The one that made me have these vivid dreams that I had to write down when I woke up. The part of my brain that would turn any waking moment into a story, where I couldn’t find peace because there were always ideas bouncing around inside my head.

What I would give to get that part of my brain up and running again.

Hopefully when I am better rested, and my mother-in-law is here giving me a hand with all the day to day, I can blow the dust off and get back to functioning a little more like myself.

With all the changes going on to my daughter right now, I find it difficult to get her to want to do anything. Sitting up was high on the agenda of things I was hoping she would accomplish, but right now, all she wants to do it lie down, play with her feet, and babble to herself. Whenever I sit her up, propped up, hoping she will want to get moving, she slumps over and continues sucking on her hands, absolutely no effort being put in.

It is cute, and hilarious, and I think I am just going to sit back a little bit and let her do things at her own pace.

Right now, I know she is in pain, I know she is uncomfortable, and the last thing I want to do is stress her out. I was hoping that her sitting up on her own will make her a little more independent and she will be happier on her own, with her toys and her music. She constantly wants to be moved around, shifted, propped up.

I am just going to have to be okay with being at her every beck and call… as all parents are. For a little while longer. One day I will be looking back and wishing she still needed me this much.