Me, myself, and her

Here we are, nine months after her and only now I’ve decided to start a blog. It’s amazing how far things can get away from you when you have a baby. I feel like I am just starting to reconvene a bit of my former self to my new self. Well, almost. I’m sure if you’ve had children you can relate. For a while, you’re in this baby bubble, where everything is baby baby baby, and then once that passes, you kind of wake up a bit, still fuzzy, and realize you aren’t sure how to blend the edges of who you were with this new identity as a mother.

For me, this was a bit tough at first. It’s not that I had any regrets, but I just didn’t know what happened to the youthful, fun, exciting, impulsive and exuberant person I was. What I was left with after 9 months of being a host to this perfect little creation and several months of zombie-walking was definitely not what I started with. Even now, at 9 months postpartum, I rarely venture out of the house after 6pm and feel a bit lost if I have to drive anywhere at nighttime! It’s a different world from the 6am wake ups I am used to now. (Well, as used to as anybody ever gets..) I still have moments where I think back to the person I was before Everest and have some nostalgia.

That being said, I am damn proud that I can belt out Raffi songs word for word, and I’ve memorized THREE whole books by Julia Donaldson (our favourite story writer, you HAVE to read the Gruffalo!). Although with my mind being filled to the brim with songs and stories, I fear I’m not the best company for people who don’t have a young child at home. There’s not much room for anything else in that head of mine these days.

What was your introduction to motherhood like? How did it change you? How are things for you now?

I know for myself, I feel like I’ve definitely become a better person. I’m like a better, nicer (unless I have some notion you might be harmful to my daughter, then watch out..) mushier person. Every story of every single child or baby that I come across feels like it has a live wire connected straight to my heart (and my tears..) and I cry over complete strangers! Another thing? I don’t like buying ANYTHING for myself. It’s all for her, everything.

Also, although I never believed it could be true, my dogs have definitely taken a back seat. I never thought this day would come, but if she’s napping and they bark, I lose my mind. Lose. My. Mind. That being said, I still take ALL THREE DOGS for a hike almost every single day, rain or shine. So in that department I have not fallen behind.

Lastly, although I’m a self-professed introvert, I’m even more so now than ever. I make an effort to get out and do things with friends periodically, but if I had to be honest, my favourite person to spend time with is Everest. Her company is all I want and need. I miss her even when she’s napping and I’m getting some much-needed time to myself.

What about you? Do you crave the company of others or are you a mommy recluse and happy for the time to be just the two of you?

xoxo Everest’s Mom

Delayed Post Partum Depression

I haven’t written in a while.. a combination of reasons.  I’ve been busy, but also I’ve been very down.  Not WAY down, but definitely not myself.  The tough part is that, if you go by my Facebook, for all intents and purposes I appear extremely happy.  But of course, we always put our best foot forward on the social media platforms.

After E.R. was born, I struggled with a lot of anxiety.  I blamed a large part of it on the trauma of her delivery, and paired it with some blame on hormones and normal new-mom worries.  

It was so bad, I would panic about earthquakes and other real-life boogeymen so-to-speak, and I’d have trouble breathing. I took out the sliding mirror doors to her closet because I was convinced if an earthquake happened, she’d die from a shard of glass.  I didn’t want to drive anywhere unnecessarily, for fear some careless driver was going to take my baby’s life.

I still have a lot of fears and anxieties, but I’ve managed to cope with them and get on with day to day living without the complete panic I had before.  The issue I’ve been trying to push under the rug is more my concern that I’ve developed post partum depression.  I was pretty good for a while, but my energy was lacklustre and I felt overwhelmed by normal, routine things.  It got better for a little while, but these last few weeks I’ve been hit the hardest by these feelings again.

I get easily overwhelmed, I don’t enjoy working out or cooking or hiking, and everything makes me annoyed, and I have no energy.  I feel horrible for having short patience for my husband, my dogs and my daughter.  It’s really hard to admit that I haven’t overcome this the way I thought I would have, and seeking help goes against every grain in my body.  I’ve been hoping that simply time would resolve this, but it seems to only be getting worse.  The guilt I feel for not being the best version of myself for my daughter is painful.  I want these days of her short-lived babyhood to be joyful, and I don’t want to have to drag my feet to do things. 

I’ve always been a go-go kind of person, always out with my dogs, or at the gym, or trying a new recipe.  These days, I can barely find the energy to throw in a frozen pizza and make a salad.  This is not who I want to be.  I feel angry with myself for not seeking help sooner, but I’ve just hoped to overcome this on my own.  I have fears about the long term effects of any medication transferred through breastmilk, but then I guess there are also the long-term effects of depression to be concerned about too, and the desire to be happy for my daughter.

I’ve always prided myself on being a strong individual who doesn’t need help, so this definitely takes a hit on me in terms of how I define myself.  I have read that creating expectations creates disappointment, and I feel I need to stop having expectations for myself.  I expected to be back to my prebaby fitness level and body within a year, I expected to be able to continue doing everything all the time and not burn out, I expected better of myself in so many ways.  I see some friends and they manage multiple kids, a baby, a husband, and a fulltime job and I can barely even bring myself to get out of bed in the morning.  

I feel like I’m not doing a good enough job in my new role these days.  Hopefully it changes and I can go back to how I’d like to be.  

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Maybe I’m crazy 

So, my mother might think I’m crazy for contemplating this, but I was thinking about writing a book. I’ve always wanted to do something like that, and I feel so far from the days of when I used to write for fun.

I’ve always loved writing, and have been published in the past for creative and prose.  It’s not like I have a deadline or anything, so I could just write stuff down here and there, brainstorm, and then work it all together one time when I have time.

I actually already have a rough idea, and some character names, and a little bit of character development. I think it would fall into a sort of young adult fiction like Margaret Atwood.  Interesting enough to be praised by adults, but with a heavy young adult following.

Not that I am comparing myself to Margaret Atwood by any means, but if I had somebody who’s writing has truly stuck out in my mind, it would be hers.  She’s had some very compelling post apocalyptic novels. That is a subject which my imagination runs wild with.

Some might look at it as pessimism, but I think realism is more the right description. Pessimism would be finding negativity in unprobable or unlikely situations, but realism just looks at probable and likely outcomes.  Like the world going up in flames due to our current rate of destruction.. 

I digress.  Another author I admire is J.K. Rowling.   She began as a dirt poor single mother, and now has this world renowned series that’s even been put into a movie and has become this complete enterprise. I don’t have any expectations like that, or any aspirations of such, but I do find it very admirable and wonderful that someone of that cloth could move up in the world, so to speak.  A Cinderella story, but without the glass slipper or prince charming.

Anyone else ever want to do something ambitious with a high possibility of failure, but pushed ahead anyways? How did it go?

Wonder Weeks or Wonder Hell?

So, after having quite a difficult last few weeks with Everest, I did some more investigating into where she’s at with the Wonder Weeks leaps (for those of you who don’t know, the Wonder Weeks comes in both book and app format, and is based on an infant study carried out over 35 years.. It is pretty accurate!). I feel like I might be understating what “quite difficult” means. Saturday, for example, she had a 20 minute nap. ALL DAY. FROM 5AM until 7PM. *facepalm* *claws eyes out*.

According to the Wonder Weeks, she is Mental Leap 7, which can also be hell. It all started a couple weeks ago when she was up every hour crying, which some people call a sleep regression. To put a positive spin on the “regression”, we can look at it as PROGRESSION, because our babies our PROGRESSING so much that they can’t sleep =) This has happened in the past, and also correlated with a Leap.

Apparently Mental Leap 7 is the biggest Leap to date. It isn’t a wonder WEEK as the title of the app and book imply though, its a wonder MONTH. I love watching her develop and see all these new things week to week (there’s so many right now!), but holy. shit. It is a wonder week of hell. She’s especially fussy when it comes to sleeping. They should seriously give out handbooks in the hospital when you deliver, and highlight this particularly difficult time. They want to walk, but they can’t, so they sit there and cry until you help them walk. They want to crawl, and be independent, but they can’t. Foods that you thought were good by your baby’s standards are no longer, and toys that once occupied them are history.

The thing about the sleeping is that with everything going on in their developing little mind, they can’t seem to shut down. She will be tired, and I will lay her down and everything seems to be going according to plan, then bam! The crying starts. A check-in on the monitor shows that she is now sitting up, and very upset about this. It seems she doesn’t WANT to be sitting up, but she can’t help it.

Ah the joys of babyhood. I wonder if girls are worse.. Does the whole inability to compartmentalize start this young? I know when I go to lay down for bed, I am thinking about everything under the kitchen sink and then some. Literally and figuratively. Are babies and children the same? I feel like it very well could be, as I watched a very interesting study on the male and female brains and they showed the “nothing” box in a man’s brain. They quite literally can think about NOTHING. I can only dream. And while only certain areas of a man’s brain lit up fr activity when something was mentioned, a woman’s ENTIRE brain lit up. This makes total and complete sense of everything I’ve ever learned about men in my 30 something years on this planet.

Anyways, mamas, cheers to the wonder weeks (of hell..) and the newfound abilities your baby is mastering. When it is all said and done, we will be a little worse for wear in the patience and sleep department, but it will make for some very memorable moments with our wee babes. (Everest had her first-ever conk out while bouncing in her jumper this past weekend!! Never in a million years would I have ever imagined my sleep-hating child to do that!)

xoxo

Momming is hard

So, being a mom is hard. It’s rewarding, but it’s hard. My daughter has never really been a great sleeper, but I thought she had taken a turn for the better a few weeks ago. I was wrong [face palm]. So, so wrong.  

I don’t know why, but the last week or so, she’s been up every hour. I am so tired, I feel like crying. Except I don’t have the energy to cry ha ha.
A lot of people advocate the whole sleep training thing, and while I am firmly against the whole cry it out method, I am starting to bend towards the sleep training. I always said she would sleep through the night when she was ready. A lot of people advocate the whole sleep training thing, and while I am firmly against the whole cry it out method, I am starting to bend towards the sleep training. But we are almost at the year mark, and this much sleep deprivation is not healthy for me, my relationships, or my relationship with my daughter.

So, here we are. I’m sad, because according to the sleep training specialist, cosleeping does not support sleep training to get your kid to sleep through the night. So tonight, I put Everest to bed in her crib, with the knowledge that when she wakes up later, I won’t to be bringing her back to bed with me.

It may sound ridiculous to some people, but for the few hours of sleep I do get , I sleep better knowing that she’s there with me.  I like to keep my baby girl close to me, maybe I have an over protective mama bear instinct, but it just feels like I can still keep her safe from the world when she’s closest to me. 

Anyways, I am going to give this a go for a week on our own. Let’s be honest, any sleep deprived mama with a bad sleeper has done their research on sleep training methods and knows exactly what they need to do. It’s just you develop these crutches, which is what cosleeping started out as for me. The idea of getting up and going to her crib multiple times in a night did not sit well with me. And to be honest, I also had a lot of postpartum anxiety, which I am still dealing with in some ways even now.  I would agonize over all the bad things that could happen, especially earthquakes. We even bought the Owlet monitor so I could rest assured that she was still breathing.

So, I guess it is sort of the end of a chapter in this journey into motherhood and babyhood. There is another chapter starting, and that is the chapter of the working mama. As I mentioned,I started a cleaning company. This was the first week of doing jobs, which comes only a week after starting the company. I have been busy, and it is crazy how hard it is to manage working and being a mom.  And I’m only working part time, so I can’t even imagine having to go back full-time. That being said, housecleaning is really work intensive.  It is way more physically demanding than my normal job. Although my normal job was mentally demanding. We will keep going at this rate, and see what happens.

The one thing that I hope, is that she appreciates this extra time that we are getting together when she gets older. It might mean that for a little while, she doesn’t get as many new toys and stuff, but Ihope to instill the value of time. The thing about time is that, unlike money and stuff, materialistic stuff, you could never get more or buy more of it. We have a whole life to accumulate stuff, but as we course through this life, we get less time to spend making this life have feeling.  From the second we are born, the clock is ticking. We will never get a second back, or moment, or an hour. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. That’s why we need to spend it doing things that make us remember how we feel. Memories made with people that make us feel joy, and happiness, and love. You can’t quantify any of this, but the things we can quantify are just that, things.

Maybe I am repeating myself, as I think I made mention of how I feel about all this in an earlier post, but it is something that is always on my mind. Maybe it is a product of getting older, or having to watch family get older, and going through the trials and tribulations that getting older brings.  Maybe I am just hyperconscious of my own mortality and of those around me. Either way, this is something I think of as I go through my days. 

Financial confidence

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I’ve decided that network marketing alone is not enough to make me feel financially confident about not returning to my full-time job. Network marketing has a huge potential for revenue, however, I’ve always been the kind of person that does not like to rely on other people to get the job done for me. I feel that essentially, with network marketing, I have to rely on the fact that the people who decide to participate will hold up their end of things, and continue to participate. This is not always the case, and I feel a lot of energy and time has to be put into motivating others to continue participating. I’ve always been an elbow grease kind of girl myself.  When I say elbow grease, I mean actually putting in the work myself. 

I realize that the ultimate dream would be to create passive income, but I think some of the most successful people in the world started by putting in the work themselves. Of course nowadays, a lot of people use the Internet to gain financial freedom. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skill set for things like that like building and creating websites etc.

What I have decided to do, to make myself feel financially confident in my decision to take extra time off my full-time job, is to start a cleaning business.  I did property management for a while, and I did some commercial office cleaning in my early 20s, so I know what I’m getting into more or less. There’s a few start up costs, and I don’t have any grandiose misconceptions that I’m going to hit paydirt doing this, but I know that I can make my own hours, build my own reputation based on my own hard work, and keep my family feeling comfortable financially.

I see a lot of other moms doing similar things to keep things running smoothly while getting to spend extra time with their kids. While I’m not keen on the idea of not spending all my time with E.R., this is a great compromise. It will allowed me to work as much or as little as I need to, and who knows, maybe it will turn into a business with employees, and maybe, just maybe I’ll make something a bit bigger than I had imagined out of this.  At the end of the day, I am willing to do whatever it takes to maximize the time I get with my sweet girl.

How to Be Frugal

One thing about me is, I used to spend spend spend. I think it was more of a wave that happened, and directly reflected my emotional well-being. I’ve learned to control that, and actually have become very focused on living as frugally and debt-free as possible.

I don’t mind spending money on the things that need to be spent on, like healthy eating and what have you, but if I can get something cheaper, you bet I will find out how. I never skimp on things that are important though, and I always do my research. One thing I have found very bothersome in this venture into motherhood is Pampers. Why on this green earth do we need to be putting chemical-smelling lotion into the product that is on our little one’s most sensitive spot 24/7? We do all we can to keep them safe but then put this on their skin? No way, no how. I am a Huggies person all the way. While I do realize it isn’t eco-friendly per-se, there is no green solution really. Even cloth diapering comes with its eco-waste, which would be the time, energy, water and detergent used to make them rewearable again.

From my earlier post, you may have read I am an Amazon-prime mama. The best piece of advice I received was to subscribe to Amazon Prime and use that to get diapers delivered directly to my door, and for CHEAPER than Costco. I get Size 3 Huggies in the 174-count for $29.99 using subscribe and save. It is important that you select subscribe and save to get the discount!

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Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, moments

I keep stressing about what the financial picture will look like once my mat leave is done.  I’m trying to pave the way a bit so that going down to one main breadwinner isn’t such a challenge or a stress.  

I’m motivated, and have the right reasons behind my motivation.

You only get these seconds, minutes, hours, days, and moments with your little one once.  That’s it.  These days will never come again.  You’ll never go back to them like a favourite book or restaurant.  This is the childhood of a life YOU created.  

Nobody ever regretted spending more time with their child.  I realize it’s going to possibly cost thousands of dollars if I don’t line up other streams of income that match my salary, but I don’t care.  I get the rest of my life to work and to what end? If I can spend this time with her.. this precious, precious time that I’ll never get back, this beautiful time that feels like sand falling through my hands faster than I can try to catch it.. why wouldn’t I?

This time is a gift that so many don’t get the opportunity to linger on.  I’m going to MAKE my opportunity happen!