Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006

Dear Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006:

I vividly remember you. What I remember more is my ignorant and naive expression I made at you. We never met or said hi. I can’t remember what you were wearing or if you were eating alone or with someone. I remember two things. You were gorgeous, you were nursing and I gave you a strong look of disgust for not covering your newborn child while eating in the middle of a busy restaurant.

My husband and I were only 18 and 19 at the time. We decided to visit NYC because I had a friend living not far from the city in New Jersey. We had minimal bills and serving jobs so we had the money at the time to be extravagant. When our paths crossed, we wanted to go out to a fancy restaurant and indulge in highly rated and overpriced cuisine. I couldn’t tell you the name of the place and the experience turned out to be horrible. Our server was a complete bitch and after paying the bill she said something about how she could have just kept our CC and used it without our knowing. I now consider that our instant karma.

I am sorry. Deeply truly sorry.

I am a mother now. All these years later. My son just turned one and he is still breastfeeding. Sometimes for nutrition and sometimes for comfort.

You see, I am a very modest person. I have been involved with theatre for my entire life so try figuring that contradiction out. It probably has to do with the disdain I have towards my own body more days than not.

Since becoming a mother my disgust for your choice has turned to envy and admiration.

At the time I just saw a beautiful woman flaunting her perfectly shaped breasts in my husbands face. I did. I am not proud of it but the truth is the truth.

What I should have seen was a woman who was in the middle of a crowded restaurant, breasts swollen (maybe in pain), worried about getting stares for a crying baby, desperate to feed her rapidly growing child the best food she could provide while feeling exposed, uncomfortable and confused.

After one year of breastfeeding my child in public I wish I had the confidence and bravery to not cover my child eating. My child hates being covered and while feeding him it is a constant battle between keeping him latched and my desperate attempts to not flash any strangers regardless of their gender.

So, here is to you Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006.

I understand now and I am sorry.

Sincerely,

Your Strongest Supporter

The Bare Essentials

 

So you have a needy little human coming and you are completely lost in what to get and the baby registry has your eyes crossing.

You are a minimalist but the quickly approaching due date makes you think you will soon be hiding in a bomb shelter with no way to contact the outside world… then this is for you.

Are you breastfeeding?
– Then you don’t need pumps, bottles, blah blah blah. You don’t.
– Are you going to use some form of daycare? Then call your insurance and get a free one. I love my Medela In Style Advanced pump, but I never pump two breasts at a time and honestly I am also in love with my manual Medela one, too! Pros and Cons for each. I also didn’t even pump for the first 3-4 weeks because my son was always with me and I was (wrongfully) afraid I would take from his supply. My pump didn’t come with bottle nipples which was fine because I planned on using the Kiinde system. I love it, check it out!

Are you not breastfeeding?
– Formula.

Diapers and Wipes – obvious, but I’ll add it to the list anyways.
– There are good and bad diapers out there… you just have to see which ones fit you. I love my cloth diapers even when traveling.

Carseat – another obvious… and also the law.

Clothes – something warm for the cold months, sleeping robes with a sewn in mitten option are great for bed. Contrary to popular belief, you can have too many clothes. Maybe it is just my opinion, but more clothes just equals more “to fold” laundry for later. The more clean clothes I still have left to use the less likely I am to fold the ones right out of the dryer.

Burp cloths – get a lot of these for a newborn… or just do laundry more often – and these can be rags/hand towels/wash cloths you already have so you don’t have to spend $$$ on burp cloths at stores.

And that is it.

The hospital had diapers and wipes we took home, they also gave us two pacifiers which we waited to use until our son was 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, they have hats, they have blankets… just ask what they have to see what you can save money on later.

What you don’t have to have, but you might want to splurge:

  • baby wash cloths and towels… you already have those and adult ones work just as well, they just aren’t as cute.
  • baby tub – makes it SO much easier, but you could hold them against you, too… they can’t even take baths until their umbilical cord falls off.
  • crib – if – is right for your family then you really don’t need a crib, at first we used our MamaRoo but now we use a pack and play for naps.
  • diaper changing station – yes they make things more convenient, but you can (and will) change a baby anywhere.
  • bibs – until they are eating “solids” they don’t need them, but they help with saving baby clothes from spit up!!
  • Swaddle blankets – helps baby sleep and unless they get spit up on them they can be reused more than once so you don’t need a whole lot of them

I ended up getting way more than we needed, but it helped me feel prepared and ready for whatever might come my way and that was worth it in my book.

Are you a minimalist? How did you prep for your baby?

I Don’t Want to Be a Mom Today

Every day I wake up gung-ho about having a positive day.

That’s great and all, but it never guarantees a stress-free day. By “stress-free” I mean a manageable day that doesn’t result in me wanting to just go to bed and try again tomorrow.

We are very fortunate that my husband’s job allows me to be a stay-at-home mom. I am very grateful for that; however, being a stay-at-home mom is so much harder than my job. I try to pick up at least 8 hours a week at my job just so I can get a break.

Work is like a vacation. I actually get to have stimulating adult conversations there with people who are old enough to talk back!

It is very easy for me to get discouraged on “rough” days.

Before getting pregnant, I had an idea of what those rough days would be like. Crying, screaming, little to no sleep, messy house, no time with my husband, etc… I wasn’t wrong, but I wasn’t right either. Let me explain.

What I thought would describe rough days actually details what I consider to be the better days.

I love being a mom, but I also love being me. I like being able to shower, exercise, read books, etc… It isn’t that I don’t get to do those things, it’s that I don’t get to do them on my terms anymore, and when I do get to do them I am on a countdown. 

Life when you have a baby turns into a constant countdown. 

Today was one of those rough days. Little Sir was so fussy that I just didn’t know what I could do. Of course I went through the “I’m Desperate List.”

  1. Boob?
  2. Teething?
  3. Bored?
  4. Tired?
  5. Now boob?
  6. Look at the cool toy!
  7. Outside? (He loves outside)
  8. Now tired?
  9. You sure you don’t want boob?

You get the drill. So none of these worked. So I gave up or some might say gave in. 

I hate the negative connotation that is attached to “give up.” Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing. In this situation me giving up any optimistic hope of taking a shower, getting work done or exercising was freeing. It stopped me from stressing out. When I put those aside in my TBA mind folder, I was able to calm down and take a nap with Little Sir. I was tired anyways and at least I would be doing something I consider as a mom to be productive.

Yes, napping as a mom is absolutely productive. So suck it haters.

If nothing else makes Little Sir stop being fussy, it is time to try bedtime boob. How is this different than normal boob? Since we co-sleep, I lay down a burp cloth and let him eat while I lay down as well. Only twice in his 5 months of life has this not worked. It’s a last-ditch effort for my sanity.

At first I read, a great way to get my mind off of what I am perceiving as my own pathetic life and delve into someone else’s screwed up path. 

(Currently I am on Chapter 5 of Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner)

I don’t like to read “smart” books. The less I have to think the better. I don’t want to have to look up words and I don’t want to be taught something. Just a fun/thrilling storyline that gives me what I call a “brain break.”

Not wanting to be a mom for a day isn’t the same as me regretting my decision. I don’t regret one second. Ever. Like I said earlier, I love being a mom, but that doesn’t mean I have to always be my happy-go-lucky-chipper self. Being a mom is hard. It is often a struggle that you have to overcome. Your baby is actually a tiny human and that future voter is just as fickle as you are. They just can’t communicate their needs or wants as well as you can and that is incredibly frustrating and stressful. 

So when I have a really rough day, my solution is to give up. And when I gave up today I got to read, nap and when I woke up with a clearer mind I ended up getting to shower.

Is your child fed? Does your child have a clean diaper? Despite the current crying episode, are they overall a happy kid who smiles often?

If all of these are a yes, then take a deep breath and remember tomorrow is another day. Maybe tomorrow you can get shit done, but for today forget about it.

What do you do when the day just isn’t going your way? How do you handle it?

Avoiding Post Pregnancy Cabin Fever

 

Post pregnancy cabin fever can be a real bitch.

I was at home 24/7, wearing pads due to after baby bleeding, slightly loopy from the drugs for the body pain, constipated and the only conversation you have is with a little human that cries for food every hour.

Any time I was around adults I would apologize because it seemed I lost all my social skills. I would talk and talk and talk and make awful jokes and laugh and keep talking… not too much different than before baby I suppose.

The newborn stage for me, as a first time mom, was very tough. It was a mental drain more than anything. It wasn’t until about 3 months (when my son started truly interacting with me) that I started enjoying it and gaining my confidence in being a mother.

My husband and I went on our first post birth date at the 6 week mark. I rambled and made no sense and my husband just gave me the weirdest look. It was also influenced by me just being happy to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Not to mention I made up for that 9 months of sobriety.

So, if I wanted to get out of the house so bad, why didn’t I?

Fear. Fear of a crying baby in the backseat, fear of having to feed him in public (I’m very modest), fear of having to use several bottles because I didn’t feed him right before I left, fear of scheduling anything because I knew I would be late, fear of leaving the house without him being in a brand new diaper, fear of having an outfit on him covered in spit up, etc…

So much unknown and I wasn’t ready to face it.

If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be to GET OVER IT!

At first it took me 3 hours to get out the door and that was after eating my breakfast. I would wait until my son ate and then I would change his diaper and then he would sleep so I would get myself ready and then he would wake up and cry again so I would feed him again and change his diaper again and then he would spit up so I would change his outfit and then I would put him down to sleep while I pumped and then … well you get the idea.

Now I can wake up and get out of the house within an hour. I might not be able to pump before leaving and that is ok. I might leave the house with him in a diaper he has been in for an hour and that is ok. He might be covered in spit up and that is ok. I was just too hard on myself and that is ok, too!

Getting out of the house takes a lot of planning, but the more you do it, the better you will get at it! So practice! And start early!

As a new mother schedule someone you trust to watch your child for dates with your partner or best friends. Take that brake! I have no problem handing off my child and neither should you.

#noguilt

Be aware of this possible problem. Keep in mind that you need to be you before you are a mother. I call it the “oxygen mask” principle. You have to put your mask on before putting it on the person beside you. In order to be the best mom you have to be the best you. You have to choose to be selfish. You have to choose to put yourself first. A happier you will make a happier baby.

So get out of the house. Whether that means just a walk down the street, running errands, joining a friend for a lady lunch, etc…

Did you get cabin fever? What did you do to prevent it? Comment below.