Filling Up Your Baby’s Day

A lot of people who know I am the mommy of a 4 month old baby think I have all the time in the world during the day to accomplish things for myself. It’s so easy for people who aren’t parents or who haven’t been through it to look at the statistics for what is normal for a 4 month old baby and think “Wow, they are only away for around four or five hours a day, you must have so much time!”

The most important thing to remember is that those are just numbers, ever baby is different. While there are some babies that achieve all their milestones on schedule, stick to the “norm” with weight gain and sleep schedules. My daughter doesn’t sleep as much as I would like during the day.

She tends to be awake now between 3-4 hours in the morning, she takes a nap in the late afternoon/ early evening and will be up from around 5:00pm until 10:30pm where she will take a catnap and be up until 1:00am. What does this mean? It means her sleep schedule is all over the map and those naps take place at times that make it difficult for me to do things I need to get done.

It also means that for a bulk of the day, she is awake and not sleeping.

Having a 4 month old isn’t just naps and feedings. It’s a lot of interaction. Every minute she is awake, her senses crave constant attention. She wants to be in different positions constantly. Lying on her back, on her tummy, sitting while slouching, sitting upright, standing… each position lasting a maximum of 10 minutes before she gets bored and wants another.

When we are not switching up positions we are switching up toys and activities. Although her favourite stuffed chameleon Pascal is constantly nearby, she often wants new textures, new colours, new sounds. It’s a street fair of constant activities, despite the small amount of sleep you got the night before.

Right now, my daughter is obsessed with her new Bright Stars Minnie Mouse themed jumperoo. We got ours from Winners for $79.99 CAD.

She really moves that her bouncing or the spinning of one of the toys activates the music and lights on the Minnie Mouse ears.

It’s also an awesome place to put her so I can take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a coffee or eat something. I am definitely adding it to the list of products that have helped me parent so far.

Our days are filled with story books, activity mats, diaper changes, breastfeeding, walks, jumperoo time. Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of down time. Her naps are usually on my chest, which limits any time for me to do things in that nap window.

When she is awake we are constantly moving, constantly engaging and trying to get her moving independently, stimulating her mind to grow alongside with her body.

Having a 4 month old is not just letting your baby lie around a sleep. It’s time consuming!

There are so many little things to keep your baby moving, and if you’re like me and going into the winter with a small baby, you are probably going to want to load as up the winter weather will restrict how much time you get to spend outside!

My Little Socialite

If you take the baby out of the house, you may take the fuss out of the baby.

For anyone who has been following my blog, Instagram, or Twitter, you will know that my daughter has been going through a bit of a fussy spell. She has been clingy, a magnet for all my attention not allowing me a single moment to myself without showing me just how well her pipes work. I am convinced this is why the Mother Nature came up with her sneaky plan to make babies so adorable, so we let them get away with robbing the life from us, and sometimes we even smile about it.

Here in Toronto, the weather hasn’t been so great. It’s cold, the air is frigid and that means that most public spaces are just breeding grounds for most viruses that are going around now. That means that I have been keeping my daughter in. We have just gotten over a spell of sickness in our house, and the misery going around our little family was unbearable at times. If I can prevent her from getting sick again, you can bet your butt, I will.

This past Monday, my best friend came over for a visit. She sat with my daughter while I rejoiced in having adult company. She and my daughter chatted away, almost all signs of her fussiness disappearing as she babbled along, no doubt recounting all of the nonsense I do to try and keep her happy.

Early Friday morning, I got a text message from my 8 year old nephew asking if he could come over and spend the night.

Having the memory of a goldfish lately, I don’t remember if I ever delved into the sleeping arrangements at our house. We have a two bedroom apartment. Before getting pregnant we had a spare room for my husbands family to come and stay in when they decided to come to town for visits. Now it is my daughters room.

My husband and I both agreed that we would keep the queen bed in there because our plan is to move our daughter from the crib, right to the queen bed with rails and skip out the toddler and twin sized beds. We had just bought the frame and mattress in there and if we do have visitors it would allow us to move in there with her and we would give up our room.

Since my husband returned to work, that spare room has been where I sleep with my baby girl since we are co-sleeping, which has worked amazingly for us because she sleeps through the night, coming over to my side of the bed when she wants to eat and then going right back to sleep. It’s made nights amazing.

Having my nephew come over for the night would mean we would have to give up our bed, and the past week, my daughters sleep schedule has been off. She has decided that 4am in the morning is the perfect time to wake up and have hour long conversations with an exhausted mommy.

I knew it would mean I wouldn’t get as much sleep if he came over, but pre-pregnancy my nephew spent at least two weekends a month at my house. We did everything together and I missed it. My pregnancy and my new baby had definitely impacted our relationship.

Sacrificing the sleep was the best thing I could have done. I bonded with my nephew, as did my husband who has always been close with him, and my daughter was over the moon. She loved having him there. Suddenly she had absolutely no use for me unless she was hungry or needed a change.

This week has been a social week for us.

We brought her to my husbands work for an event on Thursday night. I was worried about having her out during one of her napping windows but she was great. We had my nephew over Friday night, Saturday we spent the morning at home with my nephew and headed over to my moms late afternoon. We stayed there until late in the evening.

And she was radiantly happy.

I think as new parents it’s important to put our babies in different environments to see what they enjoy and to give them a chance to thrive, even at this age. She loves being out, she loves seeing people.

Moving into winter and the colder weather is kind of cramping our social style, but it has definitely opened my eyes to making more of an effort to spend our days indoor… but not at home.

Fussy, Fussy, Fussy

For any parents, there is a new F word that we cringe at.

Fussy.

My daughter has been going through a bit of a terrible phase. She seems to be fussy more often than not, and as any parent knows, a fussy baby can eat up your whole day. I spend my days pacing the apartment, rocking in the rocker, dancing like a monkey on the pier for change, all to keep her satisfied.

Before any other parents pop in and ask me if she has colic or gas or reflux or any of those other very important questions. No. She doesn’t.

Her fussiness is not nonstop crying, or being impossible to soothe. It is more like a diva throwing a tantrum, storming to her trailer and refusing to come out to film her scenes at the very end of a very hectic work day. She is calm and happy so long as I am interacting with her. In my arms, she is a happy baby, but I can’t live my whole life with her in my arms.

I feel like the whole becoming a parent journey is glamorized. No one was admitting how awful pregnancy was, no one was talking about how it felt more like a virus you couldn’t kick than the glow often advertised. No one mentioned the excruciating pain of pre-labour that broke you in a way that’s indescribable. They say they often can’t remember the pain of labour, because once they saw their baby, nothing else mattered.

I saw my baby and felt a love that made me feel so full, but once that epidural wore off, the pain and discomfort was there. Bathroom runs were terrifying and despite all the photos I saw of sleeping moms in the hospital, I couldn’t get a single wink of sleep no matter the weight of my exhaustion.

No one mentions how for the first month your baby is here, you are shell shocked. You are doing routine sitz baths, covered in breast milk, wearing pads you could use as a raft to escape a deserted island, exhausted, and if you’re breastfeeding, you are living off the couch.

Another thing not a lot of parents are admitting, is that not all babies are easy. Most of them are difficult in their own way… and being a new parent at times, can seem downright awful. Then, something happens that shines this bright light on your heart and reminds you why you wanted this… and then that moment is gone and you’re drowning again.

My daughter is sweet, she is adorable, and I love her more than I can put into words. However, she is a fussy baby. She likes around the clock attention, otherwise she is screaming.

And it’s okay to admit that.

Babies are different. Some are quiet, some are content, some are inconsolable, others are just fussy.

Fussy, fussy, fussy.

As parents, we should talk about this. We should be open to discussing that our babies are sometimes frustrating and despite our best efforts, fussy. It seems most parents will only admit to a fussy baby based on circumstance.

“He’s fussy because he’s sick.”

“She’s fussy because she’s tired.”

“He’s fussy because he’s hungry.”

Let me be the first to say my daughter is just plain fussy. Tummy full, in good health, well rested fussy.

And that’s okay.

Can’t You Just Hold My Baby While I Nap For Five Minutes?

My daughter is going through an extremely clingy phase.

So far, if I had wanted an hour or so to myself, I could put her in her swing or sit her down in her chair for a bit so I could do fun things like get in the shower, eat, tidy up a bit, wash my face, brush my teeth… you know, all the fun things you take for granted before a little mini-you comes into your life.

It all started in Christmas Day when I was really sick. She spent most of the day with daddy and then that night I noticed she was as close to me as she could get, which wasn’t easy, considering I was still under the weather. Since then, she acts as though a single moment apart will be the death of her.

I am wearing her around the house when I go to the bathroom, when I make food, when I eat, even when we are sitting around, she wants to be on top of me.

What this means is moments to myself have been rare, and mama is worn out.

Last night, she decided she didn’t want to sleep. I have to say, I am pretty lucky. Since my husband returned to work and has been working really hectic hours, I have moved into my daughter’s room and we have been co-sleeping. The queen bed in there gives me loads of room to feed her to sleep and roll away. It’s great. Sure, I miss my husband sometimes, but the sleep I get in there compared to when we were all in the same room is worth it.

When my daughter can’t sleep, she gets really chatty.

Above the bed are four vibrant Tiki masks carved from palm tree bark that we brought home with us when we went to Cuba. They are beautiful! My worry was that they may scare her when we first started sleeping in there, but it has been the opposite. She looks up at them and will talk to them for hours. Little coos, exercising her vowel sounds, laughing, grunting, every sound imaginable.

In one way it’s great, because it keeps her pretty occupied. On the other hand, I am such a light sleeper, always have been, and since having my daughter it’s even worse, if that’s even possible. So as exhausted as I am, I just lay there with my eyes closed, listening to her chat, chat, chat.

With her clinginess, her lack of sleep, and her nighttime monologues, this morning I am feeling worn out. Like… extremely worn out.

I was snapping 6am photos of her because when she gets overly fussy, she finds taking photos funny… kids, right?

Anyhow, this blog entry is more for all the moms out there who feel like it’s an endless cycle of spent energy and not getting any back. I am in the same boat as you, I feel your pain and your misery.

Don’t feel alone. There are thousands of new moms, veteran moms, single moms, new and old dads all feeling exactly like you are right now. Being tired doesn’t mean you are not a good parent. Being tired doesn’t mean you aren’t doing everything right,

It just means you’re a parent. Welcome to exhausting, this is your life now!

Surviving A Sick Baby

My daughter has been sick. She has been congested, has had thick mucus, and a runny nose, and it’s been affecting her sleep, her mood, and my sanity.

At 3 months, she is still so small. And congested babies are scary. They breathe almost solely through their mouths at that age, so having a stuffed nose is more than just a little frustrating for them. It impacts their sleep and their eating, two things that are so important at that age.

Last night, I barely slept a wink. I had my daughter nestled up beside me in bed. My arm under her head to prop her up while she slept and so I could monitor her breathing through the night. She didn’t have a fever, but she was sweating a lot, tossing and turning, and her little moan while she slept broke my heart.

Despite wiping at her face while she slept, her chin, cheeks, and under her nose were caked in dried saliva and mucus when we got up this morning.

Having a sick baby can be so hard to get through, especially if you are a first time mom.

The first thing I would recommend doing is adding a humidifier into the bedroom at night. Since sleeping is going to be difficult for your baby, the humidifier can help take some of the dryness out of the air, and can assist in loosening some of that built up muscles and phlegm while your baby sleeps.

A soothing baby balm can add some comfort before bedtime. Paediatricians have recommended against using a vapo-rub like Vick’s on baby’s because a study was done that showed the cooling effects of the menthol could cause a baby’s already thin airways to narrow, making it harder for your baby to breathe. That being said, there are other unmedicated balms that can be used in replacement. They are mor for comfort. Massaging any lotion on your baby’s chest and feet before bed can help relax them and soothe them to sleep, but the added scents of lavender, eucalyptus, aloe, and other ingredients add to the calming effects.

There is a baby version of Vick’s that is non medicated, and other brands if you wander down the baby aisle of the pharmacy or drugstore.

If you are breastfeeding, try and do it more often. Your antibodies will help baby fight off whatever sickness they are battling, the more they get, the better it is for them and hopefully, the faster they will recover.

Vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding you should be giving your baby his or her vitamin D drops daily. If your baby is formula fed, talk to your doctor about introducing these when baby is sick to help them along.

Warm baths. A warm bath can help loosen some of the build up in their nose and their chest. It’s important to keep the bathroom warm, and where ever your baby may be until he or she gets dressed. Also, try and keep their chest below the water. A cold chest may add to their congestion. I usually keep her bath cloth on her chest during her bath, making sure to re-wet it with warmer water every couple of minutes. These days, I climb into the tub with her that way I can fill the tub more, keep her more submerged, and use my own body heat to warm her in those moments she is not submerged in the water.

Keeping their nose clear. Whether you use the thing I have, which is that ball that you stick in their nose and squeeze to get rid of their build up, or something more sophisticated like the Nose Frida, it’s important to clean out their nose often. Imagine how many times you blow your nose when you have a cold, now imagine you aren’t able to blow it. That’s how your baby feels. Help them out, it will definitely help with their comfort level.

The other thing I do is keep my loved one bundled up. When you are sick you like to be in your PJs with a nice throw on your legs, maybe drinking a hot cup of tea. All of this things point to you wanting to be kept warm. Baby is no different. Put on a nice thick onesie, make sure their feet are covered in socks or slippers, and get them cozy with a nice blanket when they are lying down or even cuddled with you.

Don’t worry, this will pass.

If you are really worried, Baby gets a fever of over 38 degrees, gets over lethargic, or struggles to breathe without relief, bring your baby into the doctors or a hospital. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Remember to follow us on Instagram to get daily photos of my super cute daughter!

@pretending2parent

Being Sick With A Baby

It was the night before Christmas, I was sitting on the living room floor doing some last minute wrapping when a wave of dizziness hit me. Furrowing my brow, I shook my head, drank a glass of water and shook it off. Then the saliva in my mouth thinned, my jawline started to quake and I got to my feet, running full speed to the bathroom just in time to sink my face into the porcelain.

After emptying the contents of my stomach into the toilet, I got up with a few thoughts in my head. My first thought was more of a worry. I wondered if the IUD was doing it’s job, if something had possibly gone wrong and if I were pregnant, only a short three months after giving birth to my daughter.

The memory of her delivery was still fresh in my mind, my body still wasn’t completely back to normal, and I was no way ready to partake in this journey again.

My second thought was that maybe the chicken I had put in my Chicken Alfredo pasta was past it’s prime and this was my body’s way of letting me know.

My third thought was about breastfeeding. I had been told by my doctor that I could pretty much breastfeed through almost any illness. However, certain medications can affect your breastmilk supply. So a lot of the time you will have to just soldier on through certain sicknesses, if you plan on breastfeeding while sick. I am not one to take medication for a cold, but stomach related things I usually try and take something.

Diarrhea and vomiting are two things I try and put a stop to as quickly as I can, and these were two very aggressive symptoms I was experiencing.

Although digestive aids such as Tums are safe during both pregnancy and nursing, medicines like Pepto Bismol aren’t recommended for nursing moms. This meant that I was going to try and power through with lots of water, some ginger ale, a bucket and high hopes.

My symptoms started at 8:45ish in the evening. I was running to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes. After vomiting for the 6th time, I started to get the chills. Cladding my thickest robe and fuzziest socks, I slowly made my way to bed. Between waking to get to the bathroom, chills, and hot flashes, I got maybe about an hour of sleep that night. Luckily, my daughter slept right through the night.

My hope was that I would wake up, stomach and bowels empty and feel more like myself.

The soft coos of my daughter roused me at around 9am. I summoned the small amount of strength I had to get over to her, but my arms were shaking. I didn’t trust myself to even attempt to pick her up. I woke my husband, told him he was on Daddy Duty, ran to the bathroom before climbing back in bed.

This was not the Christmas I had been expecting.

I spent most of the day sleeping, running to the bathroom, and breastfeeding. I had a FaceTime call with my family, my husband had gone over to bring their gifts and bring home some food.

Being as sick as I was, I definitely have some tips for you mommies with a young baby going through it.

This is one of the times when breastfeeding really came in handy. It was so much easier to just lay her in bed beside me, sleep while she ate and have my husband take her when she was done. Although, if your baby is formula fed, it would eliminate baby’s contact with you all together, allowing you to get some rest… so either feeding method provides benefits.

Breastfeeding your baby through your sickness would be giving your baby the antibodies it needs to fight off the sickness you are currently battling, and lessens the chances of them catching it in the first place.

Feed your baby until they are full so they are more likely to nap.

Drink lots of liquids. Ginger Ale can help soothe an upset stomach, water is best, and Gatorade and Powerade are good if you can’t keep anything down.

Throw out a lifeline. This is the most important thing you can do if you have a sickness you need to sleep off.

If your partner is not available to help you for the day, reach out to someone else who can. Having someone around to keep baby busy and entertained between feedings and naps will help you get all the rest you need.

Outside of those things, I would suggest making sure any medications you take don’t have an impact on your milk supply in any way if you are feeding, try and limit face to face contact with your baby (my daughter loves kisses and chewing on my face, so this was something I had to keep her from doing).

Hang in there, we may be superheroes, but we are not super human and we get sick sometimes. It will pass!

The Hustle And Bustle Of The Holidays

My daughter recently turned 3 months, and it seems she is becoming more and more fussy over time. In the last few weeks, she has shown a strong distaste for her car seat. Whenever I start walking towards it, she freaks out and starts to cry. There are some days when I think to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, she is actually not making a peep. Perhaps this time will be different.’

Then sure enough, she opens those pipes up and lets me hear it. Usually the first ten minutes in the car are an excruciating test of my patience and willpower. In a way, hearing her wail like that breaks my heart, but another part of me has my eye twitching because I need to go out and get things done, especially now.

For all those people thinking ‘We’ll, why don’t you get another car seat? Maybe it is just the seat she doesn’t like.’ Thank you for the suggestion, but I have taken her to Babies R Us and out her in every seat they have to offer and it makes absolutely no difference. She wants to be sitting completely upright, and she is still too young to transition to that style of seat. *insert dramatic crying face here*

Now, with Christmas a mere day away and the two of us struggling to come up with an agreement for her to mellow out just a tad so I can get more done, I have put a lot of what I had to get done down to the very last minute.

Having a 3 month old around the holidays can either put you in Christmas overdrive and turn you into Will Ferrel in Elf,

Or it can turn you into the Grinch like me.

This year with all the growth spurts, the constant mood changes and just good ole fashioned fussiness, I haven’t had any of the Christmas spirit rubbing off on me.

For any parents that are also going through this phase with their babies and wondering how in the heck they are going to be able to get out and get things done without having a screaming, unconsolable baby in tow I will say that having a forward facing carrier where my daughter can see out has been a life saver.

I have ditched the stroller (which is actually great because I can use a cart in store) and strapped my fussy Rain Cloud who is usually my Sunshine to my chest and she is loving every moment of it. My husband and I always say she is a nosed girl (curious) and boy, were we right.

Once she is able to see everything that is going on, it has completely quieted her down and mellowed her out. Getting her back in the car in a headache and a half, but I guess I can’t have everything.

Yesterday I went out and finished up what little shopping I had left to do. It was a great feeling to have it done but it was miserable out and my daughter wasn’t adding any sunshine to my day with her soggy attitude.

I was talking to a friend about her son who is two months older than my daughter. I said to her “Why didn’t you ever tell me there were patches that were this rough? Was your son just constantly an angel, or what?”

Letting out a long sigh, she confessed “God no! My son was a nightmare. There were days that I would put him in his car seat and he would just cry and cry. Eventually, I would break down, take him out and sit on the couch and cry myself. It was so frustrating.” When I asked her why she never told me, she said it was because she felt guilty.

This seems to be a common theme for parents, especially mothers. We feel guilty about telling the truth and admitting how hard this all can be. We sugar coat everything to other women, other parents, and at the end of the day that is not helpful, all it does is make struggling parents who are going through the thick of it, feel worthless and like crap.

Why?

Why must we throw a cloak of deception over parenting?

It’s hard, it’s rough! There will be days when you don’t shower, there will be whole afternoons that pass where you don’t eat, nights where you don’t sleep. You will sometimes feel like a prisoner inside your own home, all you movements monitored by this demanding infant.

Being a parent isn’t always as wonderful as people sell it as, and that’s okay to admit. That doesn’t make us bad people and it sure as heck doesn’t make us bad parents.

So give yourself a gift this year, and allow yourself to be honest and human, and guilt-free!

You deserve it!

Christmas At 3 Months Old

Saying I am The Grinch would be putting it lightly. I am not, and have never been a Christmas person.

December is a stressful months for me. I have three siblings celebrating birthdays, which can be pricey, not to mention I come from a big family which in the past has required a lot of gift buying. Three years ago I put my foot down an implemented a Secret Santa within my family. We got to buy one great gift, and everyone buys for the kids. It definitely eliminated some of the stress and hurrying around.

However, I still have never been one to get into the Christmas spirit.

This year, as an exhausted new mom, it has been especially hard to summon even the smallest amount of Christmas Spirit.

My husband and I decided it wasn’t worth the added stress or hassle to exchange gifts this year, thank goodness. Knowing that has definitely taken a load off my shoulders. Instead we decided we would do a couples spa day, and have my sister watch our daughter. It will be great to relax and unwind together, and feel like a couple once again.

A common question I have been getting lately is what we got for our daughter for Christmas. To be frank, we haven’t gotten her anything.

Why?

Because we buy things she needs constantly, and stockpiling things she needs for a single day when she won’t even realize anything special is happening just didn’t make sense to us. We have bought her a lot of interactive things lately as she is growing and slowly becoming independent. Chairs where she sits upright, toys that sing and light up, activity mats, and these days none of that comes cheap.

We’ve been giving them to her as we feel we need them. On days tummy time isn’t going well but she still needs exercise the new activity mat was brought out, and a plush car for her to sit in. Life as a new parent is hard, and all these things make things seems just a little bit easier.

With that in mind, waiting to open and use them until Christmas didn’t make sense.

Yesterday I opened up this PlayGo car that sings, flashes and is perfect for her to sit in for an hour or so on the floor exercising her neck and core strength. She has been overly fussy lately, drooling a bunch, which may hint the early stages of teething are upon us. Putting her in this yesterday gave me half an hour to myself where I could sit nearby and sip some decaf coffee and just breathe.

I pushed her around on the floor in it for a bit, and parked her under the tree where she could marvel at the lights and give me a little more time to run to the bathroom. I mean, technically if it stays under the tree, it is still a gift, right?

There are so many new parents I see that pile things for the baby, perfectly wrapped, under the tree and to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of if. At 3 months, my daughter won’t remember this Christmas. We have our photos with Santa for the photo album, and she has everything she needs. I am sure there will be gifts for her from my siblings at my mother’s house when we got over for Christmas dinner, not to mention my mother in law always sends a care package around Christmas. She has more than she needs, and now wrapping and running from store to store shopping for her makes things easier on us.

Next year, when she is older and can actually enjoy herself, we will put in a lot more effort for the holidays. This year, we are planning on just relaxing a bit while we can.

If you are a new parent who did go a little overboard this Christmas with your new arrival, that is great! Good for you! I am not telling you to do anything differently. I am just letting you know what has worked for our family this year, and letting other parents know, that if you didn’t there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Do what works for you and your family.

Comparison Is The Main Ingredient to Your Unhappiness

When I was younger, someone very important to me said something I don’t think I will ever forget. They said to me; “The man who always looks to his neighbours plate, will always be hungry.” Honestly, no truer words have been spoken and I think it’s so important for all of us to keep these words at the forefront of your mind. 

Those words, as wise as they are, weren’t words I really paid much attention to until the other day. 

As a new mom, I am looking to a lot of parenting forums, apps, and articles for information. My life is changing, I am a mother suddenly responsible of keeping this adorable little girl alive, and although 11 weeks have past and I am getting the hang of things, I still don’t know what is best for my daughter and how to get her on the right track developmentally. So for a lot of the answers I need, I look to others for guidance. 

This is really a double edged sword. Someone will tell you that at 2 months, your baby should be loving tummy time. They should be reaching for things and copying little noises you make. That will make you as a new parent sit back and think, Is my baby doing all that? If the answer is no, it is going to make you wonder about your child’s development. Are you not doing enough? Should you have done more earlier? Why is that baby already supporting itself on it’s front arms at 3 months? Will my daughter be doing that in just 2 more weeks?

As I sat there on the floor beside the mat my daughter was lying on and watched her angrily yelp and squeal (she absolutely hates tummy time), I wondered why she seemed to hate it when all the other parents told me that every baby loves tummy time. What’s going on with my Sunshine that she acts as though its some kind of torture?

I found myself comparing my situation, my parenting, and my daughter to other parents and babies. Let me tell you, this is a slippery slope. 

What started off as a routine exercise for my daughter that usually ended up in her giving me the stink face for several minutes afterwards, turned into me wondering whether or not she was where she was supposed to be. 

If I was baking a cake of unhappiness, I had already put in the most important ingredient: comparison. 

Any time in your life when you compare yourself to anyone else, you are asking for trouble. Yet, it something so many of us struggle with. I am a confident person in certain ways. I won’t change who I am as a person for anyone, I don’t care about people’s opinions about me, and I will always stand beside someone who I care about. That being said, I am not always the most confident when it comes to my looks and I feel like those waves of low self-esteem seem to hit me when I compare myself to someone else. 

Today, it’s impossible not to. Everywhere you turn there are images of beautiful, fit women who everyone tells you are perfection. It’s hard not to look at them and ask yourself what is different about you, what elements of yourself are keeping you from being seen like people see them? 

As a new parent, you are so vulnerable. Being a new parent, in my opinion, is isolating and in a way lonely. Even when you have an amazing support team, it’s hard not to be lonely. Sometimes it feel like you are losing the person you were and you experience that loss all on your own, no one else can share in that with you. As strong as you are for your new baby, you are vulnerable to the world and I feel like this is when you will most compare yourself with other people. 

You compare your delivery, you compare your bodies with other women who have just become mommies. You compare you weight loss, your stretch marks, your sleep, your feeding routines. It’s like there are just columns and columns of other women and every day you see if you can add a check next to something they too are doing. It’s tiring, it’s difficult, and at the end of the day, it’s just throwing more and more ingredients into that cake of your unhappiness. 

So, what can we do?

It’s not easy to just undo years of subconsciously comparing ourselves and our accomplishments to the people around us. It’s like our lives are a competition or a game, and everyone is working to get the high score. We can’t just turn it off, can we?

No. We are creatures of habit and once those habits have etched themselves into our character, they are hard as hell to get rid of. Trust me, I’ve tried. 

I do think that being aware of it is so important though. These past few days I have been aware of it more than ever. That first night I compared my daughter to other children her age, I was miserable. I reduced my daughter to this nameless faceless thing that was nothing more than her age and accomplishments. I have to admit I went to bed feeling extremely shitty. 

My daughter is the greatest gift I have ever received in my whole life. She is wonderful, silly, stinky at times, and I wouldn’t change her for anything or anyone else. So why the hell does it matter to me what other babies her age are doing?

You know what? It doesn’t! It honestly and truly doesn’t now that I realize that I was comparing her to other babies, I could care less if she is copying noises I make, or whether or not she loves the dreaded tummy time all other mothers swear their babies loved. 

We do not have cookie-cutter babies. They are not all the same. Some are late-bloomers. Some are creative things that want to imagine what they are doing instead of practicing to do it. Others are athletic, others are terrors, others are calm and content. There are no two babies that are exactly alike. Every baby is different, so why even bother comparing them?

My life right now is complex. I am happy as a new mother, but that doesn’t mean I am not struggling. Most days the only people I physically talk to are my 11 week old daughter, my 8 year old dog, and my husband for about 2 or 3 hours before bed. This often leaves me feeling like I am on this new Mommy Island that not a lot of people can get to, and that I can’t leave. 

It’s lonely and time does this weird thing of passing both slowly and all too quickly. I never get to really sleep, and most days I am just a cow for my daughter to constantly feed off of. 

Mentally, every day is a rollercoaster ride that I can’t get off of and I have a feeling I won’t get the chance to get off any time soon. 

But, we all have to celebrate small victories. 

I have stopped comparing my daughter to other babies and that has eliminate a lot of the stress and worry that had weaved itself into my every day life. She will love things and hate things at her own pace. She is her own little person that is growing and learning every single day, and I am so excited to see what and who she will grow into. 

The oven is off, the mixing bowl is in the sink, and I have thrown the main ingredient to my unhappiness in the trash. No more comparisons for me. 

I can breathe a little better knowing that… 

Everyone else out there that has been subconsciously baking a cake of their unhappiness that they will undoubtedly end up eating through thick tears while they struggle to breathe through heavy sobs in the dark, I hope you’ll join me in throwing it all away. We are all struggling through different things, there is no point in comparing lives, bodies, or anything else. 

Just live your best life, the best you can. 

Happiness will come.