The Days Are Long…

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As I’ve previously stated, and the one thing that all moms across the board can agree on, is that motherhood is hard. I’d go out on a limb to say that it’s the hardest work you’ll ever do. Yes, it is also the most rewarding. But there are some days when those rewards feel few and far between, right?

Last week, my husband was out of town all week, so it was just me and the boys. All day, every day. It was exhausting and stressful. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends and family that came by to let me get a shower, bring me food, and generally just make sure I was staying sane.

This week, my best friend is in the same situation. Her husband is out of town all week, so she’s solely responsible for their two kiddos. Although these weeks seem like the longest weeks of our lives, in the grand scheme of things, they go by quickly, and for the most part, we all come out unscathed.

While A was gone, I spent most of the week counting down the days and hours until he returned. But I find myself doing that even during normal weeks. I’ll look at the clock and think “oh my gosh. It’s only 1 in the afternoon.” Or J will be having a meltdown while I’m trying to make dinner and I think “Lord help me, there’s still 2 and a half hours until bedtime.” When G wakes me up at 3 AM to eat, I think “ugh, how much longer until you can sleep through the night?”

I need to stop doing that. I saw a quote online the other day that said “The days are long, but the years are short.” I’m not sure who said it, but they were right. Although sometimes the days seem never-ending, in the long run, time flies by. I cannot believe that my first son will be 2 years old in just over 6 months. And my second son is 2 months old today, already! I feel like it was just a few months ago that we were bringing J home from the hospital. Now he’s gone from a baby to a little boy, and his little brother is growing just as quickly.

When J was a newborn, I remember trying to get him to go to sleep one night. I was still full of postpartum hormones, and I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. I stood next to his pack & play, bouncing him up and down, and I thought “I’m going to have to bounce him all night for him to stay asleep. I’m not going to get any sleep tonight. I’m never going to get to sleep again.” And I just burst into tears.

Yes, it was a very dramatic thing to think, but in that moment, I was dead serious. You think some crazy things in your new baby, exhausted, hormone-riddled state of mind. But the point is, we got through it. I also remember talking to Becky one day, and I was so frustrated because J could not keep his binky in his mouth to save his life, and every time it fell out, he would wake up. So I was constantly up and down at night and during naps to put it back in. Desperate, I asked “When will he finally be old enough to pick up his binky and put it back in his mouth by himself?” She kind of laughed and said “Um….not for many months.”

And then one day, I stopped, and I realized: he could put his binky in his mouth by himself now. Yeah, it did take awhile. I mean, they don’t really have the dexterity and coordination needed for that task for awhile. But it happened. I wasn’t putting his binky in his mouth forever, like I thought I would be. Every season passes, and it passes faster than you expect it to.

Someday, sooner than I think, G will be sitting up, and crawling, and not so dependent on me all day every day. And J will be able to feed himself with a spoon without making as big of a mess as he does now (hopefully), and dress himself, and communicate more with his words. And then they’ll be in school someday. And then someday they’ll be teenagers. And I don’t really like thinking past that.

Because as long as the difficult days seem to be, they’re really passing by in the blink of an eye. And as hard as it is to have babies and toddlers, I feel sad when I think of the day that they don’t want to snuggle with me to read a book or take a nap. Or when they don’t need me to kiss their boo-boos. Or when they think that they’re too cool to hang out with their old, un-cool mom. Or when they get married and a new woman enters their life. So I’ll stop checking the clock every 20 minutes, and wishing that time would speed up so that I don’t feel so stressed and sleep deprived anymore (although I don’t believe that’ll ever fully go away, anyway). I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself that this moment will pass, quicker than I’d like, and I’ll cherish the time I’ve been given with these precious boys.

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What Moms REALLY Need

Everywhere you look online (especially if you frequent Pinterest), you’ll find lists of things that women “need” for motherhood. What you need to pack for the hospital, what you need for the first few weeks at home with a newborn, what you need to entertain your toddler while breastfeeding your newborn, what baby clothes you’ll need, what apps you’ll need, and on and on. But I’ve come to realize that there are a few basic items that every mom of littles legitimately needs, whether it’s your first kid or your fifth. These items actually are a necessity, especially if you are a stay at home mom in danger of losing her mind on a daily basis.

1. First and foremost, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, you may want to start. But really, any source of caffeine will do. Sometimes if I don’t have time to make coffee in the morning, I just drink some Coke. (I know, a super great way to start the day.)

2. On that note, you will need a good, tall coffee cup with a lid. Preferably insulated. Because you will not be drinking that coffee while it’s hot, let’s just be honest. Even if it’s not insulated, having a lid will help it stay hot longer. It also gives you the ability to drink coffee without feeling paranoid that you’re going to spill it on your two month old baby who refuses to be put down.

3. A Netflix subscription. Or Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or something. This is for when you’ve taken up residence on the couch for various reasons such as: feeding a newborn, a sick child, a baby napping on your chest that you’re scared to put down for fear of waking them up, etc. Last winter, J and I both got sick and basically didn’t leave the couch for about three days. I managed to watch the whole first two seasons of Scandal. Don’t judge me.

4. A basket or caddy to keep remotes close by. Do not, I repeat, do not get stuck on the couch in the aforementioned situations without the remote nearby. Otherwise, you’re stuck watching Doc McStuffins long after your kid has fallen asleep, and why torture yourself like that?  You can also keep things like your phone and some snacks in the caddy. (Hey, sometimes you get stuck on that couch for a LONG time.)

5. A Kindle, or some other e-reader/tablet device. If you begin to feel like your brain is turning to mush, what with all the Netflix-ing, you may want to try to read something. However, if you’ve ever tried to read a book with a tiny human crawling all over you, you realize this is easier said than done. I’ve found that it’s much easier to read on my Kindle than an actual physical book. This kills me, because I would rather read a physical book. But, the Kindle is great for trying to read with kids around. Plus you can check your email, play games, listen to music, etc. Helpful if your phone dies or you forgot to grab it before you sat down to feed the baby or something.

6. Easy to grab snacks. Because half the time, you will forget to eat, and the other half, you won’t have time to eat. One day last week, I realized I hadn’t eaten yet that day and it was already 3 PM. Hangry (hungry/angry) Mommy is not good for anyone. Grab a granola bar or something.

7. A really good diaper bag. Because it’s basically going to be attached to you for the next couple of years. I personally recommend something with a lot of pockets, and more room than you think you’ll actually need.  The important thing is to get one that you like and won’t mind carrying around everywhere you go. Make sure it’s stylish and functional. It’s a hard search sometimes, but it can be done.

8. An abundance of hair ties and yoga pants. Where do all the hair ties go? Let me know if you ever figure this out. I can have one in my hair and one on my wrist, and by the end of the day, they’re both gone. Moms should buy stock in hair elastics. And yoga pants. That’s basically all I wear now. I know it’s time to do laundry when I run out of clean yoga pants.

9. A strong stomach. Because the amount of spit up, puke, poop, and chewed food you will have to clean up is astounding.

10. A sense of humor. Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. And to be perfectly honest with you, I have many, many moments as a mother where I feel like crying. Sometimes a good cry is what you need, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But just remember to look at the other side of things as well. Being a mom is hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding work. Try to find the humor in your day, and if things aren’t going as planned, laugh it off and try again. Tomorrow is a new day. Plus, your kids don’t care if you think you’re screwing everything up. All they know is that they love their mommy, and their mommy loves them. In their eyes, you can do no wrong, so cut yourself some slack and enjoy the time you have with your littles.

Uninspired.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was to blog and write more. Clearly, that has not happened yet. I’ve just felt so uninspired lately for some reason. I had all these grand ideas of what I would do with my free time once I graduated (if you didn’t know–I did graduate! I have my Bachelor’s degree now, and tons of extra time! It’s amazing.). But….if I’m being honest, I spend most of that time hanging out with J on the couch, reading and watching Netflix.

I’m basically a stay at home mom now, besides working 3 evenings a week at the restaurant. I love it–I had no idea how much I missed him while I was in school until I got the chance to actually be with him all day every day. However, it’s not easy. Especially with him still being so young, I’m constantly having to entertain him, or feed him, or change him, or clean up messes, or something. As my sister in law told me after babysitting him for a couple hours, it’s a full time job. So there’s not much time left for things like writing. I’m still trying to get my house organized from the holidays. I’ve come to realize that with a baby, I can get things done, but basically only halfway. So I have a lot of projects that are half done. It doesn’t make me feel very productive.

But I’ve come to realize that I need to keep writing. I mean, my degree is in English, and I’d like to get a writing/editing job at some point, so I need to stay current. I can’t keep improving if I’m just binge watching Scandal all day. And sometimes I get bored with only a 5 month old to talk to. Writing helps me feel like an adult again, with a life outside of teethers, bouncy seats, sleepers, and burp rags.

But here’s the thing: sometimes writing is scary. Especially writing online. You’re putting yourself out there, your thoughts and feelings, for anyone and everyone to read and form an opinion about. It’s a very vulnerable state to be in, and honestly, one of the reasons why I haven’t pursued anything that would help my writing career yet is because it’s a scary thing to do. What if I’m not as good as I think I am? What if people don’t like my writing, or aren’t interested in what I have to say? But I know I have to do it. I’ve been researching some things, and I found a Twitter account that tweets quotes by writers about writing, and it has started to break through my state of apathy towards writing. I also started this book that’s supposed to help inspire and overcome writer’s block by making lists of random things: specific moments in life, your likes and dislikes, fears, ambitions, etc. It’s interesting.

So here’s to a new year, and hopefully some new inspiration and lots of writing!

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“Real” Mommyhood.

So, I’ve been a mom for 2 months now. (Well, longer if you count the time that I was pregnant. Which should totally be counted.) But I feel like yesterday I underwent a rite of passage that made me feel like I had become a “real” mommy. Like everything before then was just Mommyhood-lite. What was that all-important event?

J got his first round of shots.

Oh, my gosh. The drama that ensued. I mean, for a 2 month old, J is pretty dramatic (I have no idea where he gets that from). He screamed bloody murder as soon as the first needle touched his leg and did not stop crying until well after the nurse left the room. I felt so terrible. I held him in my lap as she gave them to him, hoping that would help calm him down, but, not so much.

I couldn’t watch the nurse actually give him the shots. I have this thing where I can’t watch needles go into skin. I’m not really scared of needles, per se….just seeing them go in totally freaks me out. I couldn’t even watch when I got my own tattoo. So I was cringing when she pulled out the needle and prepared to put it in my poor baby’s leg. I think I may have actually closed my eyes as it was going in. I’m sure we made quite a sight–him, red faced and screaming, with his mouth turned down in that pitiful pout he gets, and me, wincing and closing my eyes like I’m getting the shot myself.

But the crazy thing was, I could almost feel it. No, I wasn’t getting any shots. But I swear I could almost feel the pain. And as much as I hate shots (and pain), I wanted to take it for him. I would’ve gladly gotten his shots for him, if it would’ve helped at all. It was such a strange feeling. I’ve never felt that way before. Sure, there are people that you say you would give your life for, or take their pain for. I have people like that–my family members, my husband, my best friend. But I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve felt such an instinctual protective feeling like that. I never knew you could almost physically feel another person’s pain.

Then of course, we had a little crankiness in the evening afterwards. His pediatrician said he’d probably take a long nap when we got home. Well, he didn’t. (My kid. Always doing things his own way. I don’t know where he gets that from either.) So that evening, it was a combination of him being uncomfortable and overly tired. I gave him some baby pain reliever, and that helped, but he would not fall into a deep sleep. Then after a few hours, the medicine wore off and he was beside himself again. So I basically sat there the whole evening and into the night holding and comforting him.

My mommy instincts kicked in last night. I was nervous about when to give him medicine, because I didn’t want to give it to him if he didn’t need it. But all of a sudden, I knew I needed to give it to him. When he was obviously needing sleep, I knew I should sing to him, and it helped. He fell asleep.  I hadn’t really experienced the whole mommy instinct thing until last night. It was pretty cool, actually.

We eventually fell asleep on the couch together around 2 AM, watching some lame baby show on Netflix. And when we woke up this morning, he gave me a big smile, and I knew my happy boy was finally back. It was a long night, but all that mattered was that my baby boy felt better. I felt almost proud of myself for surviving my first night of comforting him through a rough time. And even prouder for being successful at it.

I know he won’t ever remember what happened. But I will. And it really made me realize what mothers go through. We should really appreciate our moms more. I never fully realized the love and emotion they have for their children until now. I saw this quote online once, before I had J, even before I got pregnant:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” –Elizabeth Stone

I really didn’t know what that meant before. In all honesty, I thought it was kind of a lame quote. But I know now. And I can’t really explain it, because it’s one of those things like finding  your future husband or wife–you can’t explain it, you just know. But just believe me when I say it’s true. Image

Insomniac.

It’s amazing what pregnancy does to you. I mean, I’ve always been a night owl, but I love sleeping. (I have such exciting hobbies.) But, I cannot sleep at night to save my life anymore. If I’m not getting up at least 5 times a night to use the bathroom, I’m having weird dreams, or tossing and turning, or sweating my butt off. Tonight I just gave up. I laid there for awhile, thinking of everything I have to get done in the next few weeks, trying to plan my future sister in law’s bridal shower gift, and thinking about how freaking hot this apartment is, and I just thought “screw this, I’m getting on the computer.” So I’ve been sitting here reading other people’s blog posts and trying not to bust out laughing and wake up my husband. The baby is apparently an insomniac too, because he’s rolling around in there and generally just causing Mommy extreme discomfort. I really wish I had some sort of X-Ray machine to see what he does in there. He’s crazy. This afternoon he was super active, and my belly was moving around all over the place–which is super weird by the way. It’s like something from an alien movie. Hopefully he will be cuter than an alien. 😉

I can’t believe that he will be here sooner rather than later. I’m 33 weeks now, so only 7 until “full term” and technically I could go in 4 if he decides to surprise us early. I’d totally be ok with early, as long as it’s not THAT early. Buuut, considering school starts September 3, I’d love for him to be here a little sooner than expected. I’d like at least a couple weeks to spend time with him before our lives turn into total chaos.

So this post is fairly pointless. But I mean, it’s 3:36 AM so you can’t expect much. I’m just running out of things to do online, and I’m still not tired enough to fall asleep. Also I think I have heartburn so I don’t really want to lay down. I might just put on Netflix and fall asleep on the couch. Thankfully I don’t have much to do tomorrow, besides spend all day on the phone with my insurance (sooo excited for that. Not really). I’ll take a nap when they inevitably put me on hold. However, the good news is: once I take care of the insurance, and get in touch with a pediatrician, the really annoying stuff that has to be done before J gets here will pretty much be done. After that, it’s just little things that need taken care of, and the “nesting” type stuff. I did a little of that today. I sorted out all his clothes that are size newborn, so he can wear them right away before he grows out of them, and hung them up in the closet. They are so cute, the tiny little outfits on their tiny little hangers. 🙂 I cannot wait to dress him in them. And snuggle him. I’m really looking forward to some quality snuggle time with my baby boy. I think about that and I still can’t believe I’m going to be a mom. I had a moment of panic the other night–another pregnancy insomnia night. Luckily my BFF was awake too and texted me through it, lol. I just still feel like a teenager sometimes. How in the world am I going to take care of a baby? I have no idea what I’m doing. Yes, I have 3 years of daycare experience, and countless hours of babysitting, but raising your own kid is a whole different story. I can’t even decide on a carseat for him. Okay, I have to stop or else I’ll freak myself out again.

I guess I should try to get some sleep. Although now I’m hungry, so I might have to eat first. All I do is eat, sleep and go to the bathroom now, I’m pretty sure. I’m like a baby myself, haha.

Parents.

ETA: For some reason, this never posted. I wrote it in April, but it’s just now getting posted in June. 🙂 

So, it has been a looong time since I’ve posted anything. However, things have been a little crazy around here, and I’m sure most of you can understand why–A and I are becoming parents! We found out about our new little addition a few weeks before Christmas, so since then it’s just been a whirlwind of baby stuff, family stuff, school stuff, work stuff…we’ve been busy!

It’s crazy for me to think about becoming a mom. I am super excited, but it’s definitely a whole new world for me. From now on, A and I will never NOT be parents. No matter what happens, we will always be a mom and dad. We have been through a lot of things in the short time that we’ve been married (almost 4 years now!)–deaths in the family, moving, financial issues, school stress, etc. But this is a completely different road for us. It’s a very sobering thought. Parenting is such a huge responsibility and there are times when it will hit me all of a sudden, like “omg, I have to raise this tiny human!” I do have my moments where I wonder how in the world I’m going to do this. But it’s also such an honor. God picked us to love and raise and care for this little boy that’s coming into the world.  So I know that if God wants us to do this, He will help us through it.

It’s amazing how much I already love my little boy and I haven’t even “met” him yet. During our ultrasound, I had tears in my eyes from seeing his 10 little perfect fingers and 10 tiny cute toes. He already has such a great personality. He “waved” at us during the ultrasound and kept doing the cutest things, like covering his face with his hands. I swear he already knows his name too. When we talk about him, I can feel him jumping and kicking around. I think he’s already excited to come out! He seems like such a fun little boy already and I can’t wait to snuggle him and read to him and play with him. I can’t wait for the day he brings me dandelions he picked for me in the yard, or to see him playing catch with his daddy, or to hang his beautiful Crayola scribbles up on the fridge.

Sometimes it scares me a little to think of raising a child in this day and age. Things seem so dangerous and scary. There’s shootings and bombings and murders. And even on a “smaller” scale, there’s bullying and self-esteem issues and kids being bombarded with sexual images when they’re way too young. How in the world can I protect baby J from all of this stuff? I have to realize that I can’t. I can only trust God that He has His hand over all of us, and that He will lead us and keep us safe. And I have to be honest–I was slightly relieved to find out we were having a boy, just for the sole purpose of not having to worry about my little girl dressing too sexy or thinking she needs to diet when she’s only 8. Obviously, boys come with their own issues, but I’m not sure that I can handle all of the emotional issues that come with girls right now, lol.

So, it’s been a little crazy trying to finish school this semester and work and get ready for baby. Really, I feel like I’m not prepared at all for him. But hopefully once school gets out I’ll have more time to focus on getting things ready for his arrival. One thing that has been awesome is just seeing how blessed this kid is already! People just keep giving me things for him, haha. He has so many clothes and he’s not even born yet. We don’t even have a place to put them. But I love how God’s already showing me that He’s taking care of things. So thank you all who have already given me gifts or advice or support! We appreciate it all so much. 🙂