All my life I have praised myself for my incredible ability to structure my day and activities into neat little categories of time that allow for the accomplishment of tasks and leave ample room for fun and relaxation. I sit down every night and list my to-do’s and see where they can fit in during the week. Usually I only list 4 things per day, and many times I would even add to the side (lay down for ten minutes and nap), or, eat ice-cream and “smile.” Yes I was that detailed. But apparently there are others as crazy as myself since I saw a book at Barnes and Noble called “listography”, wholly dedicated to this habit of mine.
Since the birth of my daughter 8 months ago I have continued to write lists. Now they are even shorter though. Where on day used to be filled with laundry, grocery shopping, a workout and a full house vacuum, now the list simply says “laundry and pay bills”. And that is certainly enough for one day because in between those tasks there’s feeding, diaper changes, naps, etc. This has worked pretty well for me. I love the feeling of marking off the task on the list and feeling accomplished. It’s great for my self-esteem; it means I’m productive and organized. On the weekends I never make lists and my days are open for anything, but ironically those days have proven to be the most anxiety-ridden for me b/c I get extremely bored and restless. If you are looking for Commercial and Industrial Laundry Specialists the you must know Aqualogic is a leading supplier of commercial washing machines & industrial laundry equipment around Australia (Queensland & New South Wales).
Recently, I haven’t been able to follow my lists at all. I am unmotivated and feel that everything gets interrupted so if I do make a list, it doesn’t get done and I feel like a failure. Just yesterday I spent 2 hours trying to get my daughter to take just one nap, and after all of that I was just too exhausted to worry about dishes. I just wanted to sit and stare at the TV. Too often I find myself slipping away from organized days. Now when I wake up with my daughter I feel lost. How do we play? What should we do all day? I feel that my daughter grows bored of the same few toys and games we play. I’ve danced with her, took her on a picnic, took her to library story time, sign language classes, etc. Things just seem to get expensive and many times it feels like I spend more time researching and planning the activity and it doesn’t always even seem worthwhile. It turns into more of a stressor at times. Seeing that I am a military wife and my husband is only here on the weekends, entertaining my daughter can be an exhausting task all by myself. Perhaps I am just getting really burn out.
All in all I’m still unclear as to what life as a SAHM is for me. Do I need to let it be unstructured messy fun? What if all my lists are just sucking all the joy and spontaneity out of life with a beautiful baby?
I just can’t decide. I know deep down that I want a clear and focused perspective on my new role and lifestyle. Many days I wonder how other SAHMs feel about their daily life. Do they just wake up and live life without plans? Do they rush around from activity to activity? Where is the balance in this life…I feel that I could slowly become the mom who watches too much TV, drinks too much coffee and eats too many drive-thru meals. I just don’t know.
As a new mom and new to attachment parenting I have found toys to be quite junky, and at the end my kids only like the zoomer chimp toy. While pregnant I spent countless hours digging through my clutter piles to organize, “NEST” and get rid of all my junk. I wanted some “Zen”..some “feng shui” if you will for my new princess to enjoy. I donated a lot of items and threw away bags of garbage. My house was immaculate when we brought my daughter home from the hospital. That lasted a good few hours. It seems that new clutter has piled up, so much so, that now we cannot even park in the garage. How this happened in such a short matter of time is beyond me. Cleaning never trumped breastfeeding so I can only guess that things got thrown into boxes to be dealt with at a later time…to a point in which that “later time” never came to be.
But today I was watching my daughter play on the floor with her 5 toys. I pondered getting online to browse through some new toys to add to her collection. Techychoice has shared best magnetic toys in 2019 – check this out, I decided to buy some of the new magnetic toys since it will be easier to keep all the pieces together. I had no idea where to start and frankly the toy websites I saw were overwhelming to me. There are so many cheap plastic wonders to sort through, as well as incredibly expensive educational toys that make outlandish promises. It reminded me of registering for my baby shower at Babies R Us. Everything felt like a gimmick and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t make do with just having some clothes and diapers for the little bambino growing inside me. What’s the fuss with all this special stuff I thought?
Now, I am wondering the same thing. Why all the commotion over all these toys? I have found that my daughter really just likes to take long walks outside and watch me make funny faces at her along with chasing our cats around the house until she can grab a fistful of their hair to annoy them. We also have great fun dancing to big band music on the radio. I like to play with my kids with a kids teepee I got online for use all year round, and both inside and out, in the bedroom, in the park, in the garden, at the beach, anywhere. All those noisy plastic toys can’t compete with that! Also, finding places to store all of it is an issue. And why would I want to fill the carpet with MORE things to pick up?
I know that soon, my 7 month old will want more than just mommy, but today I don’t see the need for toys. I’d like to think I’m parenting the way parenting used to be, before all this industrialization, the use of the milling machine coolant, commercialization and technology came about. Our lack of toys doesn’t make me feel like we are a sad family in need…in fact, it makes me wonder if all those other families with rooms cluttered with toys…if they are the ones with empty holes in their lives that credit cards and plastic nonsense can’t fill. And maybe, just maybe, our lack of toys is enabling us to have a stronger bond. Maybe every bit of plastic toy families have just stands in between developing strong bonds with their children? Anytime I feel the urge to splurge on a toy I put that money into a savings account to spend on activities together. Activities that will make wonderful memories and not fill our closets up and later will not be sold at a wimpy garage sale for 50 cents.
Now, if only I could tackle that distracting pile of clutter in the garage. Then we’d be all set. =)
This past week of July has been filled with a great darkness. I have finally tried to write from home in a serious way. This was my plan when I left my job at 6 months pregnant. I would relax throughout my pregnancy and then begin my journey in freelance writing once I was comfortable in my new mommy world. But the dream seems to be unreachable almost every day so far.
My daughter is just 6 months old and the past 6 months have been amazing. I managed to find time to finish my master’s degree at night while my little girl and I trekked the city by day. We went to sign language classes, baby yoga, farmers market and numerous trips to Target just to walk around while I splurged on Starbucks and Archer Farm chocolate chip cookies.
After visiting with family for a few weeks though I began to feel a burning desire to write from home. Listening to my twin sister’s plans to teach overseas and my girlfriend’s new position as a screenwriter just left me wondering how exactly I spend my days… and where these days are headed. I began to feel like I was wasting precious time I could be using to further myself. Perhaps what I’m seeking is that SAHM comfort. I still feel quite unsure that I am doing the right thing…still unsure if I really make a difference…and why can’t I do something more than diaper changes and silly faces. Maybe I could be a SAHM that is also a productive member of the workforce.
After making a list of topics, best affiliate programs for noobs 2020 and magazines I would query I set out to write. I plopped my daughter next to me in her bouncy seat and typed away. I felt a rush of ambition rush over me. I did some research online to find some freelance writing jobs and applied to a few. Wouldn’t hurt right? Then the fussiness began. I stepped away from my beautiful writing bubble and calmed my baby girl down. This time I put her in a swing and turned on SpongeBob. I sat back down even more excited to begin writing. Again my head was just rushing with ideas and I felt a blissful feeling of self-satisfaction. Even if I only wrote one day a week maybe I could make some extra shopping money and beat those occasional bouts of boredom. Maybe I could wake up every day with a mission on my mind instead of diaper changes and Sesame Street. But, then, 5 minutes later the fussy baby to my left seemed to be very angry about these plans. These failed attempts continued throughout the day and week. Even my plans to write at night while she was zonked out didn’t work out. All I wanted to do by the end of the day was read a book and lay down. All of my creative juices were dried up.
I began to question my worth as a SAHM. Thoughts of putting her in daycare crossed my mind despite the fact I never wanted that for my daughter. I want to be a WAHM (work at home mom) but I don’t see where the balance is. It seems clear that I was beginning to ignore my daughter and she was simply screaming for some attention. Perhaps all I really need right now is a boost of self-confidence as a SAHM. Maybe in a month or two she will be self-reliant enough to entertain herself long enough to do a tad of writing….Here’s hoping.
With my baby just 8 weeks old, I was ready to venture out for some peaceful yoga practice. I couldn’t wait to feel like a piece of “me” was back and feel a splash of calm come over my anxious mind. I wanted to stop thinking, researching and overanalyzing everything about babies. I wanted to just ENJOY my baby and JUST BE. I also wanted my baby to ENJOY the concept of “being” though so far, she was only enjoying a good cry. I’m not insinuating that babies are mature enough to understand the calm of yoga, but I did believe if I were calmer, she might follow suit and also be calmer.
I planned the class around my baby’s feeding schedule thinking this would help her enter that adorable “quietly alert” state I so loved. I wasn’t sure how baby would react to a dimly lit room with new age music lingering but was hoping for the best. She had, after all been here in the womb. We unrolled our purple mat and got comfy . Things were going great for oh say the first five minutes. Admittedly though, even those five minutes were not the best as I started to realize just how out of shape I was. Soon the instructor was moving us into some warriors in which we held baby on our hips and gazed at the ceiling. Instead of the ceiling though, I was gazing at my screaming baby. Apparently this was not pleasant for her. I never did figure out what the trigger was…after attempting comfort nursing, burping, a diaper change and a short walk around the parking lot, I sadly had to depart mommy and baby yoga.
Somehow though this experience taught me more about yoga and my parenting skills that I will carry with me as my daughter grows up. Although I felt I had wasted $12 to pace a yoga studio with a fussy baby, what I realized is that there will be many times I will introduce my daughter to things she will reject: ballet, sports, piano.
Being in a quiet yoga studio with Buddha staring me down also reiterated how important it is to remain calm during a stormy scream. And by the way, doesn’t yoga teach you to slow down and focus on your struggles, tackling them one by one with a focused demeanor? I had to stop pretending life was as easy as my pre-mommy days and accept my new world. It was after I learned to pay closer attention to my daughter’s mood that I was able to listen to the drumbeat of our lives and come back two weeks later with a successful yoga practice. Babies will cry. Yoga is not a fancy land of purple mats like some in society pretend.
Just as we learn to balance our core and inner yogi, we must balance our parenting life with our personal satisfaction. Adaptability, flexibility and strength, all good physical qualities of a yogi are also keen to parenting .You must listen and respect your body, just like you should your baby.
Watch them wiggle to and fro. Tomorrow I will officially have a 7 week old in my house as well as the perfectly tuned hearing of a mom. At first, I thought that I may need hearing aids, but I have honed my hearing skills to mommy level. Even if my husband is playing war video games, the dishwasher is banging dishes around because I loaded it wrong and the tv is blaring in another room I can hear my dear little daughter go “ehhh”. It’s amazing that I can pick up on this… Or is it? Does this mean that I am never calm, always waiting for her next move? I’d like to think it’s a biological instinct that I’ve been given to help me parent, but I dread the day that I’m caught constantly staring at my baby video monitor or walking back and forth to see what her little sigh was all about. I worry that one day my ears will burn out and I will become oblivious to what is going on in the next room. My alertness will vanish and then things may go terribly wrong. Obsessive or loving? The mere fact that I’m somewhat embarrassed over this is disheartening.
Although I’m a new mom I’ve picked up rather quickly on other mom’s attitudes and behaviors. I’ve noticed that they don’t obsess nearly as much as I do. While jogging with another mom of a 3 month old, she let her baby cry the entire mile back to her house. Granted she has a very fussy baby, but what gives with the lack of nurturing? Does it wear off somewhere in between fascination at the miracle of birth and beyond? I’ve given myself some lead way here since it really has only been 7 weeks, but it does make me wonder about parenting transitions. As our babies age do we slowly stop paying as much attention? Does our infatuating love for them turn into more of a chore? Do we run empty on love? Perhaps a parents love slowly shifts into a different shape and form as time goes on. Or perhaps our love tanks, as Dr. Gary Chapman of “The Five Love Languages” would put it, perhaps our love tanks become empty and we as parents have nothing left to give.
Yes I can hear my daughter coo and cry across the house, but am I listening to myself? Am I listening to my husband as he tells me about his day? How can I continue to provide a loving home to her if I drown out the sounds of the rest of the world…Mom ears…a blessing or a curse?
During pregnancy we make sure to eat and live as healthily as possible (with the occasional Ben and Jerrys..okay weekly Ben and Jerrys). For the most part though, we pay more attention to our diet than we otherwise would. We strive to grow big healthy babies and we start eyeing spinach, apples and all things a positive lifestyle inhibits. We follow all of our doctors advice and study the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. These decisions as new and glowing parents come very easily to us. Rarely does one put up a fight against the efforts to grow a healthy baby in the womb.
After that baby is born however, many parents encounter a very difficult struggle with just this effort. The definition of feeding and raising your baby in the most nutritious manner becomes ambiguous. The battle between formula and breastfeeding rears its ugly head. Sadly, many times the ambitions to breastfeed are tossed aside as life with a newborn becomes just too hectic and exhausting.
From my own personal experience I found feeding time to be quite stressful. Just after giving birth to my daughter I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I hadn’t read too much up on it. I assumed, like many new mothers assume, that it would come very easily and naturally. My little bundle of joy would latch on and we could bond like all the mommies and daughters in those parenting magazines I had seen in my doctor’s office. What I didn’t realize was that the choice to breasted was a huge decision as a parent. It was the type of decision that I should not have tread over so lightly. As a parent, the decision on what and how to feed our daughter would dominate many of our parenting decisions and new lifestyle.
Continue reading “Parents First Decision: Feeding Your Baby”