Archive for January, 2015

a little more

  Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up 

Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

               Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple – t swift

There’s probably some unwritten rule that if you start a blog post with Taylor Swift lyrics people won’t take you seriously, but Taylor rules so whatever.

A close friend of mine was talking to me about something related to parenting recently and then said, “you’ll have to be honest with me, when the time comes.”

The weight of that statement hit me for a good minute.

There are a lot of cliche statements thrown about when people are expecting a new life to enter their home and it’s the easier route to take, honestly… to say something pleasant and well-intentioned can almost make you feel good and like you’ve done your friend a service by not letting them in on the raw and the real. I’ve never been able to function like that, though, and so I’d like to offer up a gentle, honest, reflective look at those first months. For anyone whose “time [has] come” and needs “[me] to be honest with [them].”

There is something about parenting, and specifically motherhood, that makes the heavy parts of raising children enigmatic unless you actually are or have been in that season of life. I think for that reason alone, we fill our conversations with these blanket statments about the moments of motherhood but, while well-intentioned, some people need a little more to grasp onto in those trying times, and so this is my offering of ‘a little more‘ to: you; love: me

Like the first time you hear that hope inducing but frustrating phrase “They’ll sleep through the night eventually!”

but what i’d really want to say is they’ll sleep through the night eventually but it’s hard, i hope you find rest in any avenue you can. i wish i could come hold your baby while you sleep – you’re tired, i get it. i really do. i know your best friends baby sleeps through the night, i know your grandmas cousin told you that you’re checking on that baby too much, i know your neighbor said you need to cater to every cry, every time. i know with all these conflicting pieces of advice you feel frustrated and like a failure and might be ready to punch a wall. i know you may have even googled ‘can you give a baby Benadryl  fyi: you can’t, sorry :/ but it’s okay that the thought crossed your mind. don’t feel awful. i hope your baby starts sleeping well soon, i also know your baby might not sleep, and so that is why i am having a hard time navigating this conversation because my first born actually didn’t sleep through the night until after a year old. and i know, your baby is 2 months, and you can’t fathom 10 more months of this. and i could tell you attachment parenting is good, and your baby will benefit from you snuggling them the moment they begin crying and i could tell you attachment parenting is stupid because that baby can cry for a little bit and will be just fine. but either of those things comes with the notion that what you’re currently doing is ‘less than’ but you aren’t less, you aren’t alone, and you feel like you might not survive one more night of constant waking but you can get through it, and you will. and you’ll do it with grace, and tears, and you’ll be somewhere in-between going mad and falling in love all at the same time. and i’ll silently rejoice that day you tell me that your little one actually *did* sleep through the night, and i’ll pray that one of those days that she starts sleeping through the night that you can too 😉

Or when you’re struggling to nurse your baby and someone says “Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you!”

what a hot topic, it’s really easier if i don’t get involved but maybe you want me to give you my thoughts and you don’t know how to ask, so what i want you to know breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you but let me tell you… breastfeeding was so hard for me initially. it literally felt like my baby had broken glass in her mouth as she assaulted me for food every 1.5 hours for the indefinite future. and i cried. and i wanted to quit. and some people didn’t support me when i needed it – and some people did. and some told me ‘why don’t you just quit’ and when i didn’t quit someone said ‘isn’t she too old for that’ and ‘give yourself a break and give that baby some formula’ but i pushed through because it was important to me and then suddenly, the difficult hours of glass-mouth-painful-nursing transformed to unexpected-bliss-bonding with the sweetest creature i had the privilege of carrying and now getting to know, as we grew and bonded, we worked it out and then i happily nursed my baby for 18 months of her precious life, and i want you to know if you need someone to coach you through the hard days – that’s me. i’m here. but can i also take a moment and say breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you but… breastfeeding was so hard for some of my best friends initially, and they chose to bottle feed, and people didn’t support them when they needed it. people would say ‘don’t you want to give your baby what’s best?’ or ‘formula is so expensive’ but giving their baby their best didn’t look the same as my best and doesn’t look the same as your best – and they pushed through and they happily bottle fed their baby and that baby thrived and grew and was happy and healthy. and so if you need me to coach you through the sometimes guilt that comes with that decision, that’s me, i’m here.

Or when you for the first time walk into a room somewhat put together after having your baby and someone says “You look great!”

the truth is you look greati know you haven’t washed your hair in 3 days. maybe 4. and that’s okay. i know your body feels squishy and like it’s gone to war. i know you look in the mirror and sometimes don’t recognize the person looking back at you. i know you feel insecure when you get together with your friends because they are in the latest fashion styles and you’re in your yoga pants. again. i know you feel the stress of fueling your body for breastfeeding or finding three minutes of the day to take even a small walk up and down the driveway. but you are beautiful, and not because you have your look pulled together, but because you’re laying down your vanities and comforts for the well being of your baby and there is nothing that brings out beauty in people like serving the most helpless of creatures…

Or when you’re at your first lunch with a friend and your baby is crying and through his cries you swear you hear your friend say “You’re doing a great job!”

it can sound condescending almost, at least through the ears of post-pregnancy-hormones, or like theres a little judgment “oh look at you, your baby is screaming, this is awkward, how about i just tell you you’re doing a great job because what else is helpful?” can I be honest you actually are doing a great job, I see that you feel unsure as you soothingly try to bounce that baby who is crying for the first time in a very public setting, and i know you’re embarrassed – and i know there’s nothing you can do – but you don’t have to be embarrassed, that hyper awareness you have of your baby means you’re in tune with their needs and i’ve been in your shoes, i won’t say ‘wow that baby must be hungry’ or ‘somebody isn’t happy!’ or ‘awe it must be nap time’ because none of those things are helpful, and while one or 3 of them may be true, they are actually all annoying. so you just keep bouncing that baby and i’ll just keep carrying on conversation with you, i’m not ignoring your baby, i’m not ignoring your stressful moment, i’m aware you know what is best for that baby and i will let you do your thing in hopes of helping you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re doing a great job.

There are countless other cliche phrases I could break down but I’ll stop there for now. New moms house such a sweet place in my heart, I’m thinking about you in these tough months, you’ve got this. You’re doing a great job. ❤


Read Full Post »