Work and Stay at Home: The struggle between Mothers

I’ve always wanted to stay home when my husband and I decided to have a kid. I never even considered what I would do if I had to put him in daycare. He’s almost two now and I’ve been with him, every day, since day one. I’ve noticed the jealousy, judgement, and better than attitudes from moms that lie on both sides of the fence. The working moms are sending their little independent kids off into the world to get them ready socially and usually don’t have their toddler clinging to their leg on weekends or week nights (I’m sure some do though.) The stay at home mom thinks of herself as nurturing, patient, and can’t tell you another job that’s harder or has as many hours worked.

As that latter mother, I get the stay at home thing completely. I try not to judge the working moms but when they joyfully tell you they got a babysitter for their Sunday so they can have the “day off” I can’t help but scoff a little. I’m not completely out of work. I do work Wednesday and Friday nights at a dining establishment. My car ride to and from work and work itself is my free time. That’s it. Two days a week and usually most hours are worked when my child is asleep anyway: I just wanted to shake my friend and scream that she has no clue what free time means. Imagine having a one year old hanging on your leg while you’re doing pretty much everything, talking to said child about pee and poo poo 14 hours a day, cleaning up toys so many times I contemplate often the point of even doing it, finding mommy and me classes so we don’t go completely out of our minds, and husbands expecting the house clean and dinner ready at precisely 6 o’clock because what else do we do all day. Really honestly I could slap my husband when he downplays what it takes to keep a one year old alive. He’s gotten better as time has passed since he’s had Miles (our son) by himself a lot more but every now and then the “what did you even do all day” comes out of his mouth and I just glare.

I’ve been trying to look at the full time working mother’s side of things lately. I mean how do they keep their house clean, do laundry, make dinner, grocery shop, and doctor appointments all after 5pm? I know they don’t have a kid ripping their house apart all day but it’s still a lot of work in a short window of time. I daydream sometimes that I am the working mom that drops her kid off at the daycare and gets into her nice quiet car and shuts her mom high alert switch off for an eight hour stretch. I’m probably way off here but when I go into my part time job I leave all that stuff from home at the door. I mean unless of course there’s an emergency. There’s always going to be positives and negatives to both sides. There’s probably a lot of emotional stuff going on with full time working moms that I can’t even fathom. I think there will always be judgement as well. There’s probably moms out there sitting at their desk daydreaming about snuggling their baby during the day. I think it’s so sad that mothers are forced to long for that. Between the cost of living and the shitty maternity leave we have over here in the great U S of A, I don’t really see how there is any other alternative. I don’t really know where this is all going. I just want to tell you that it’s the hardest thing no matter if you work 50 hours a week or homeschool your kid. We are all raising little humans and it takes a village. My family is huge in helping me when I need some me time. Take that time for yourself. I know it makes me a better mother. I need to miss my kid sometimes. It makes that time with him so meaningful. Don’t judge each other, parents. I am guilty of this but I’m trying to be better. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. Don’t piss your friends off because when your kids are grown up and off living their lives you’re going to need those friends more than ever.

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Oh my child

Oh my child as you lay on my chest with your head nestled into the crook of my neck and your feet tucked up on my legs gently tapping your toes, I can’t help but wonder who you will become. My cheek is pressed against your forehead and I can smell your lavender baby shampoo. It’s dark here in your nursery but I can see your little eyes looking up at me in complete comfort. Those eyes haven’t see the bad in the world yet. I fear the day they do and you are grown. You’ve started talking and you walked so young. I want you to do these things and I get such joy just watching you learn but it’s always a reminder that you’re getting older. From the time you grew in my belly to right now it’s been 21 months. The fastest time I’ve ever gone through like sand through a sieve. I clap at the new words you speak and cheer you on when you climb down the stairs by yourself but way deep down inside my being, my heart is aching. Aching for the fact that one day you will be big and have your own life to live. It’s crazy to think that because right now and forever YOU are my life. You are a mamas boy through and through. You won’t even let your dad hold you sometimes because you just want your mama. I pretend to be annoyed when you hang on my leg while I’m preparing dinner but I like being the only person that can comfort you always. It’s selfish, I know, but you are mine right now. I think of how you will look and act as the years go on. I can only guess sending you to school for the first time is going to be traumatizing. For me more than you. You are very social thus far. I hope you have good friends and more importantly, I hope you ARE a good friend. I know you’re going to get into trouble, it’s in your DNA. I pray that it’s not too much trouble and that you always remember tomorrow is a new day. These are things I’m going to have to brand into your mind and heart. You have my hair, my complexion, and my toes. You have your dads everything else. I hope you have his honesty, loyalty, and kind heart too. I want you to grow up in a world of tolerance, kindness, and understanding. If someone is being picked on I hope you stand up for them. I want you to be educated, it doesn’t have to be through college, but I want you to have the desire to keep learning. Right now I have both arms wrapped around you. I wish I could just keep you just like this forever. I know I did something right to have the honor of being your mama. Raising you to be a good man and kind person is going to be the best thing I do in my whole life. So I will continue to take a million pictures and videos, clap and make a big scene anytime you say a new word, and when you’re in your crib crying and can’t seem to fall asleep, I will always always always come in and let you lay on me with my cheek on your forehead and rock you to sleep. I love you so. ❤️

Mom muscles and Christmas drivers.

There’s a special type of asshole driver that comes out the day after Thanksgiving. It starts with Black Friday madness. People that would run you over with their feet would definitely run you over with their car. In my opinion, Black Friday sets the tone for the impatient, self gratifying, selfish attitude a lot of people have around Christmas. Thanksgiving is just a memory and getting a Christmas tree, presents, food for parties, holiday plays, and many other places takes precedence over the safety of others. Two times in 24 hours I was almost involved in careless car accidents. The first time I was turning left onto a road by my house and a white truck was turning left out of the road I was turning onto.  He had a stop sign and I did not. As I was turning he started to pull out and almost t-boned my car. Normally, yes I would be pissed off and mutter some profanities under my breath but this time my 18 month old son was in the car. I can’t speak for other mothers but there is a whole new level of angry when someone is careless and almost hits me while my kid is in the car and it could have been prevented. Laying on my horn is my go to then screaming “WHAT THE FUCK” very loudly out my open window also happened involuntarily. I was at the grocery store today. I did my shopping and came out with my grocerys and child in the cart. I pulled up to the pedestrian crosswalk where drivers have stop signs on either side. There was also a random woman walking closely behind me at the same quick pace as I was as not to hold up the flow of traffic. We all got halfway across the walkway and a car with tinted windows slowed down at the stop sign then gunned it. The first thing that would have got hit is the shopping cart with my kid in it. The lady behind me scoffed and in a normal level of speech said “asshole.” At almost the exact same time my middle finger went flying into the air and a “WHAT THE FUCK ASSHOLE??” came flying out of my mouth. Seriously. WTF. I think for the most part I’m a pretty reasonable person and I probably would have reacted the same way as the lady behind me had. I am telling you there is a beast that lives inside every mother and if her kids life is threatened in any way the beast will be unleashed and God help your mortal soul. I am honestly afraid that if I am ever in an actual car accident caused by another human I might end up going over the edge. My number one job here on earth is to protect my son. That’s my first priority. I’m always on the defense whether I’m driving or walking through a busy parking lot but Christmas time I am on high alert for inconsiderate shitty drivers that are only concerned with their plans and schedules. If we made this holiday less about the things and more about the real reason it evens exists (baby Jesus) maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting a bitch. 

The sea and the son.

She drowns into the deep deep blue pool of lies in which she resides

No one can know the things upon things upon things she’s done

She’s given up

She dives further into the blue until it turns black, she doesn’t look back.

The bottom is just an idea and the end can’t be heard or seen or felt.

The end is the loss of thoughts which is of aching sadness to her. 

She doesn’t want to stop thinking, she turns around and swiftly begins her decent to the foaming, clapping surface. 

All the lying and guilt and anger peels back from her body as she glides upward

She rips the mask off right as she leaves the blackness.

The light is in sight

With her feet paddling quickly and her hands cupping desire and pushing it down behind her she sees the beams glaring through the light blue

It’s getting warmer and she can almost taste the air

One final push and her head hits the place she once knew, one final push and he’s here.

She gasps in the air filling her lungs and its imperfection but it’s true, he gasps for his first breath and he is perfection. 

Crying, screaming, wonderful boy.

He saved her. 

When Archer became Miles: A Birth Story

I wanted to write out my birth story so the little things that get lost in my memory are documented. Also so others may be entertained and receive some insight into how a induced birth can go. Here we go! My due date was Friday May 13, 2016. This day came and went as I suspected. I just had a feeling my whole pregnancy that this little guy would be late like his Mom and Dad. I went in for my 40 week checkup and the nurse was hopeful the next time she saw me I would be lugging an infant car seat around. Wrong bitch. Wrong. Week 40 went by and at 41.5 weeks I went in for my weekly check up. It was a Wednesday. I was scheduled to be induced and instructed to go to the hospital the following evening to get the party started. I can tell you the next 24 hours were the longest and shortest of my life. I was not in discomfort at the end of my pregnancy. Not even for being almost two weeks overdue so I was really just struggling with getting induced and forcing my baby out when he was obviously fine just hanging out in the womb. I remember an hour before we were to head to the hospital I was just laying in my hammock thinking what if I just don’t show up? I really wanted to feel contractions to start naturally and the dramatic water break and calling my husband to tell him it’s go time. As we drove to the hospital, bags and pillows in tow, I could see my husband (Aaron) turning paler and paler. He was getting so nervous I was afraid when we stopped to get gas he was going to make a run for it. But he didn’t thankfully. We got to the hospital around 7pm and got signed in and did all the paperwork.  This is around the time when Aaron announced his name would be Miles. My whole pregnancy I wanted him to be named Archer. Baby Archie turned into baby Miles on what we figured out days later would have been the 90th birthday of Miles Davis the jazz musician. Just a fun fact. Around 10pm they gave me my first and only dose of a drug called cervidil. A little later they gave me something to help me sleep and that is what I did… for about two hours… then it started. It wasn’t a complete shock to my system. It started slowly. I remember thinking that the bed was really uncomfortable and my back would just hurt a little. Thinking back on it now I know that was the beginning of my contractions. It didn’t take long for the pain to get more annoying and closer together. Around 5am I just got to the point where I had to start breathing to get through the pain. Contractions were on top of each other and there were zero breaks to rest. The pain wasn’t so high as it was constant. I sat with my legs crossed and breathed in through my nose and out of my mouth. A nurse came in and directed me to a shower. Seriously the best thing ever. I now understand why people so water births. I did not want to get out of the shower but eventually I did and the contractions weren’t slowing down.  When my doctor came into my room around 9am I told her I was ready for an epidural. I was done. I didn’t have the support of coping mechanisms to get through the pain and I just wanted some rest. She checked me and I was only 3cm but that was enough for an epidural. I could have kissed the anesthesiologist when he walked through the door and I’m pretty sure I told him I loved him in front of my husband. After he administered the epidural I finally got some rest. Everything seemed to be moving along nicely and around 2pm they checked me and I was 6cm. But then the babies heart rate started dropping. It would drop but then go back to normal. They moved me around and I even got on my hands and knees (which I’m pretty proud of since I couldn’t feel my legs). He would be ok then his heart rate would start dropping again but it always went back up. They put me on my side and gave me what they call the peanut ball which is a blow up pillow shaped like a peanut that they put between your knees to hopefully help open you up. My doctor came in and was watching the babies heart monitor as it went up and down. She asked me if I had any questions about c-sections and I promptly told her “No because I’m not getting one.” About one minute after that exchange of words I felt the baby go down the birth canal and I told my doctor I feel like I have to push. She checked me and I was at 9.5 cm and ready to go! I had a little “told you so” moment in my head as they transformed the room into a delivery room. She got the vacuum out which is a plunger looking thing which the put on the babies head to assist in getting him to come out. We did some practice pushes and about 5 minutes later he was here! She put him on my chest right away and he pooped on me. I made Aaron take a picture of him because I couldn’t see his face and I wanted to “make sure he’s not ugly” which of course he was not. The doctor told me later that when he came out he was squeezing his umbilical cord which explains the heart rate drops. Aaron held him after me then my sister and niece and two of my best friends came in and my sister was the first person to hold him that weren’t his parents. Ever since that moment it’s been all about him. My husband named him Miles. He’s the best thing that I have been a part of in my entire life. He’s added this whole new demension to our lives and I can’t imagine a world where he doesn’t exist. ♥️

I scream, you scream, we all scream instead of dream…

Cry it out method. If you’ve had a baby in the past 5 years, maybe a little more, maybe not, it’s now a controversial thing to let your baby cry themselves to sleep when you’re sleep training. I just listened to an episode of a podcast called “The Longest, Shortest Time” which is one I’ve grown fond over these last few months. In this particular episode the mother being interviewed did not use this method. The cry it out method was not in her realm of parenting. I get it though. Well NOW I get it. I’ll will openly admit that when I was pregnant I always said my baby will NEVER sleep with me and I will let him cry himself to sleep (within reason of course). Fast forward a few months and countless sleep deprived nights and much to my dismay I had a seven month old sleeping in the crook of my arm between my husband and I. All I can say is you do what works. You do what you have to do to survive those first months. You do whatever to get five straight hours of sleep. When I actually stepped back and looked at the situation from afar I realized it was time to make the transition to the crib. I’d like to add right here that no matter how many hours I’ve put in as a nanny nothing could have prepared me for some of the decisions I’ve had to make as a parent. The children I watched after had parents that decided when they went to bed. What time they took their naps. How long they were given a pacifier. Following rules that are already in place is sometimes easier than creating them. So back to the crib transition. The first time I put Miles in his crib I read him a book, sang him a song, gave him a paci and turned on his music, shut the light out, closed the door then listened to him scream so hard he threw up. The guilt came flooding in and googling “ways to get your baby to sleep in a crib” filled up an embarrassing amount of time the next few days. I finally came to a middle ground between letting him cry it out and having him sleep in my bed til he is 30. I think we can all agree that kids need a routine. That’s where I started. Every other night he got a bath but every night was put on pajamas, brush teeth, read book, sing song, turn on fan and music, in his crib with a  paci and lights out. I would close the door and immediately the screaming and crying would start. I would set my alarm for 5 minute intervals, then walk in his room (keeping the lights off) and give him a hug in his crib (not picking him up) and tell him that it was ok and I’m just in the other room. I know he couldn’t understand my words but I needed to make my presence known. He had to know I wasn’t going to put him in a crib and leave him there forever. This process went on for about 7-10 days. Each day the crying became less extreme, the throwing up happened but was random, and the every five minutes, in which I would go into his room to remind him I’m still here, became 10 minutes then 20 minutes and finally it clicked. He slept. For 12 hours straight. The persistence and strict regimen paid off. It was the biggest battle I had conquered as a parent and I was basking in the fruits of my labor. I was sleeping. Beautiful, peaceful, no baby foot in your face, wonderful sleep. I’m not saying this will work for every child obviously but I really think you can find a middle ground between it all. There’s no right way to do this. Its trial and error. You have to put in the time to get the results. We got to that place I never thought we’d be. Mamas (and dads) out there, if you’re having trouble please just try one routine for a week. The better sleep you have the better parent you can be to your spawn. They deserve the best of you and you deserve those Z’s because damn, being a parent is some gangsta shit.

Prairie Mothers

IMG_3108.JPGNot to sound repugnant or hateful for my very first blog BUT this has lit the flame in me to start this thing. This blog. So here I go. Instagram. I love it. I post quite a few pics on it.  I always think, “Well, if my phone ever falls in a toilet and the cloud in the sky disintegrates into a million pieces and if Aaron’s harddrive implodes then at least I always have my pictures on IG.” These are real concerns, that all my pictures of my only child will just disappear.  IG is my dumping grounds for photos of the day that I love. I’m getting off track here.  Navigating IG when you’re crazy and pregnant and looking for cute baby clothes can be overwhelming and enjoyable all at once. When I was pregnant with my son I would comb through endless accounts to find the cutest baby bonnets, muslin blankets, and all the baby crib mobiles. Side note: Etsy + Pinterest. A mother-to-be’s dream. Father-to-be’s nightmare. After so many hours (days) of looking at all the things you will find yourself coming across these, what I like to call, “commercial accounts”.  At first you realize how estetically pleasing they are. The white nursery walls and the camel colored everything and deep reds. Tap on it and all the things in the picture are tagged to the different shops. A baby clad in sea foam green wool overalls with a tiny tan bonnet on his head peacefully sleeping on a huge bed in a sea of pristine white sheets. I’d like to call bullshit right here. Bullshit. I think since I’ve been a nanny to quite a few kids over the years (two being my niece and nephew since they were each three months old) I was aware of the propaganda these photos convey.  Zoom out of that picture of that baby and maybe there’s some empty bottles or a full diaper genie, three loads of laundry that have another 24 hours until they get dealt with.  But for the first time moms who have barely held a baby much less had one in their care overnight, this can set them up for some disappointment. Yes we love our kids and want to eat their faces they’re so cute most of the time but then there’s those times when we don’t. In the middle of writing this my one year old just threw two stuffed animals in the toilet. When I took them out and threw them in the trash he then threw his paci in the same toilet right in front of me. (See photo above.) Note to self: write blog only when child is napping. Lesson learned. My point is who are these prairie looking mothers with their perfect white houses, wooden toys, earthen colored garments with no puke stains, rosy cheeks, “messy” hair, middle of the day cake baking, in a little square box? I see them all the time. All. The. Time. And everyone praises them. No one calls them out on their bullshit. If I have to read the words “lovely”, “buttery soft” or a person with word wild, flower, honey, or bird in their IG handle I might scream. Yes not every moment of my life is smeared in  baby poop and snot and old milk and my house is not always a disaster but a lot of the time at least one of those elements is in my line of vision. I stay at home with my kid so I have all the opportunities to walk behind him with a broom, sweeping up after his messes. But I don’t. Maybe I’m judging these mothers. Maybe this is how they help provide for their families. The advertisement industry has grown and is woven into practically everything we look at. I just think I would love if one of these IG money making moms would one day post a pic of their cloth diaper pail soaking their kids gross diapers or the end of a mac and cheese lunch that’s quickly crusted to their reclaimed, hand made, barn lumber, dining table. Maybe that’s not what sells products but is that what these people are reduced to? I’ve never seen two children play together with out one crying at some point because the other stole a toy out of his hands. Let’s be real. I try not to judge people but if someone is not being real with me I feel the need to call them on it. We can’t live up to the standards these mothers are setting in these pictures. Nor should we want to. Life is messy, kids are messy and it’s ok. The joy is greater than the most challenging child. That’s why people have more than one. I’m not sure if I’ll ever share this post or if I’ll let it get lost forever in the deep dark hole. The guilt of writing this is washing over me but then it fades back to my thoughts rooted in the ground. I guess you just have to take everything with a grain of salt. Take it for what it is. An advertisement. I can’t say that if I was being offered money, free trips, and cute baby clothes that I wouldn’t do the same thing because I probably would but I would make sure I’d throw in the occasional cobweb, cracker crumbs, or plastic toy Great Aunt Cathy purchased that was made in China.