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Finding Confidence in Motherhood

20 Aug

When we brought Lila home from the hospital my mom stayed with us for two weeks while we developed a routine and adjusted to all the change. When it was time for her to leave I squalled like a baby. I didn’t think I could do it without her and I wanted her there by my side to talk me through every move. I remember thinking I would never have time to fix myself a meal again or get dressed, I was completely overwhelmed. As a few weeks passed I found my footing and grew more confident. I knew what Lila needed and when she needed it. Those moments when you can give your child what they need are so satisfying. But, then in the next moment you are letting them fall off the couch. FAIL. Just as we thought we had her figured out she started to enter a new phase of mobility that was a whole new ballgame. That’s the tricky thing about this whole parenting gig, right when you get comfortable everything changes.

I feel like we are in the middle of huge change with Lila right now. She is developing such a personality and becoming so independent. It is incredible to watch but terrifying all at the same time. She is so active and on the go that at times I think I have to be the most boring person in the world to her. It is in these times when I have to dig down deep and find the confidence I know I have. I have to allow myself to let loose and have a good time and not feel like every second of the day has to be planned out. It is easy to fear that you won’t be enough for your child or give them everything they need. Then, I look down at the end of the day and I see she is thriving, laughing and playing and I know we are doing the best we can. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is my best because there are hard days….days when things aren’t easy or come natural. But, I’ve decided that’s ok, that’s just life and things are never going to be smooth sailing all the time.

I guess I have found with being a mother that I worry a lot more than I ever thought I would. Mainly about things that are completely out of my control. Lila and I were with my mom running errands the other day and she whispered to Lila, “Don’t tell your mama but you never stop worrying about your children.” It hit me then, whether your children are 3 or 30 they are still your children and you will always worry about their well-being. I am trying to focus on this moment in front me and making the best decisions for today.

Some days the confidence comes easy other days it takes a little digging.

My Shadow Is Holding Me Accountable

12 Jul

As I was giving Lila a bath the other night I was splashing the water and and building towers out of blocks with her. As I watched her I noticed she would mimic my every move. If I splashed the water, she splashed the water. I thought to myself that is just adorable. I know, I am her mom and I think everything is adorable….but it was adorable:) I couldn’t believe she was already picking up on the little things we are doing. I have been noticing it more and more. Then I started to think, I really have to watch myself. She’s seeing EVERYTHING we do. The good, the bad and the ugly. Josh and I are her examples. Geez, that’s a lot of responsibility. That means I can’t say sh*t when I get frustrated, can’t pick my nose, must eat all my vegetables, brush my teeth every night, and always say thank you. Good grief.

I don’t just want to preach at Lila and tell her she should act a certain way, I want to be that example for her so she can see me living it daily. I guess now that I know someone is always watching it is a good reminder be on my best behavior.

Let’s re-visit this in 6 months.

Oh Crap!

28 Jun

(This little shiner on Lila’s head is from her tumble off the steps. She is all healed now!)

Some days I look at Lila and think “oh crap!” Even though we have been doing this parenting thing for 15 months now I still have my moments where I can’t believe I have a little human being that I am responsible for. Things have definitely gotten easier and we have found a routine that works for us but there are still challenges that arise everyday. I would consider myself an anxious person so it doesn’t surprise me that I have those little freak out moments. It is incredible to know that this little person fully depends on you to mold and shape them. If that isn’t pressure then I don’t know what is. Sometimes I get carried away with my thoughts. I wonder how Lila will turn out but then I talk to myself and realize we have to take this one day at a time. Some days are going to be so much fun filled with new adventures, on other days, naps will be skipped and breakdowns will occur…you just have to roll with the punches.

It can be very intimidating when looking at the big picture of raising a child. I think I am intimidated on a daily basis. “Am I doing this right? Am I screwing her up? Is she going to hate me? Oh crap.” See, that’s where that oh crap comes in. Each day that passes I find that I learn a little more and also become a little more humbled.

I often wonder how it will be if we decide to add more children to the mix. Some days it seems impossible and other days it seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. If one kid makes me go “oh crap”, then what happens with multiples? I stayed home yesterday with Lila because she wasn’t feeling top notch. We ran to the grocery store to get a few things. While we were there a mother with three young children came in and she was doing her grocery shopping. The kids seemed to be having such a good time together and things seemed to be going pretty smoothly. However, I was over in the corner of the store with Lila staring at them thinking “OH CRAP!” I was really just looking at her with amazement trying to see how she was doing it so seamlessly. I am sure she has her “oh crap” moments everyday too and I think it is a completely normal thing for all parents to experience.

One day at a time people, one day at a time.



Baby’s First Stitches

24 Apr

Last night was eventful.

Scary and eventful.

Lila had waddled into our bedroom and I was right on her heels. We usually play in the living and dining room and close the doors to the other rooms. However I had just cleaned the house over the weekend and the words, “there isn’t really anything for you to get into” rolled off my tongue. Those words hadn’t been uttered for more than 15 seconds before there were blood and tears. I went to tickle her belly as I do daily and she lost her balance and fell sideways. I knew she hit hard but I thought she just hit the floor. Nope. She caught her eyebrow on the corner of our metal bed frame. As soon as I got her into my arms I knew it wasn’t good. There was dark liquid coming from her face and I panicked. My immediate thought was, “it could have been her eye.” It wasn’t her eye but that is the only thought I could process. I was sick to my stomach and Josh and I were trying to stop the bleeding while she was in tears. It was deep and it became clear this was going to involve a trip to the hospital. After about two minutes of rocking her and wiping her face, Lila calmed down and was ready to get in the floor and play. It wasn’t playtime though, so we got in the car and headed for Children’s Hospital.

I bet we got stuck at every red light, got behind every granny and anyone who wasn’t from around here. It felt like it took a lifetime to get there, it probably only took about 10-12 minutes. Once we arrived, Josh dropped us at the door and we went to check in. I was irritated there were people in front of us, I was irritated the lady’s computer was running slowly, and I was irritated they said her name wrong. Obviously I wasn’t handling this very well. I couldn’t even give them Lila’s correct birthday and had to go back and correct the month she was born. Luckily, we hadn’t even sat down when they called us back to triage. The staff and nurses were amazing. They finally put me at ease and I didn’t feel like I was going to explode. I realize the reason I was angry was because I was upset with myself and then I let everything around me affect the situation.

I know these things happen when little ones are toddling around but it doesn’t make it any easier to see your child in pain and think you could have prevented it.

Lila was a champ. She was dancing and smiling for all the nurses. If you couldn’t see the evidence on her face, you never would have know she was hurt. They had her stitched up and had us out in just under an hour. Lila got a popsicle out of the deal which she loved.

By the time we made it home it was about an hour past her bedtime and it was clear she was exhausted. I held her on my lap as she drank her milk and continued holding her til she fell asleep. I didn’t want to put her down.

I am just so grateful her injuries weren’t worse.

The Inconsistencies of Parenthood

18 Apr

My brother, Brian is 4 years older than me so as we were growing up I watched with envy as he got to experience things I wasn’t old enough for. I watched him get a car, hang out with friends, go to concerts, drive out of town and an assortment of other fun activities. I was taking mental notes and making little reminders about how old he was when he was allowed to do all these fun things. I remember when I finally reached high school and thought I knew everything and should be given all the freedoms in the world. I wasn’t allowed to drive out of town, stay out past a certain time or go certain places. The first thing out of my mouth when my parents told me I couldn’t do something was, “But you let Brian do that when he was younger than me, it’s not fair…..blah, blah, wah, wah.” They told me it was different and that the rules that applied to my brother wouldn’t always apply to me. I could not understand and wondered how such an injustice could take place.

Now this seems quite funny. Now that I have a daughter all of my parent’s rules seem to make complete sense.

I now understand how there can be one set of rules for boys and another for girls. There are probably a complete separate sheet of rules that come with each individual kid no matter what the sex. I realize now that you have to parent to your child’s personality, spirit and attitude. Even though, at times I feel like I may have Lila figured out….the next one (if there is a next one) will probably be nothing like her and we will have to learn to parent in a whole new way.

For instance, when my parents and I would argue when I was a teenager it didn’t take much for me to get my feelings hurt and simply resign to my room. The way I fought back was to sulk. My brother, however, was more vocal. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why he got to do more. He didn’t sulk or shy away from confrontation, he would push the issue. I just find it funny how the personalities of siblings can vary so much and how the parents have to learn to deal with each child individually. There really are no rules set in stone, thing aren’t black and white.

I think about Lila’s future everyday. These are the ramblings that go on in my head and I wonder how I will cater to her personality and to the personalities of any siblings she may have.

This parenting business is no joke.

Lessons I Have Learned In The First Year of Motherhood

15 Mar

Before having children I think we all imagine the type of mother we will be. Saying I will do this or I will NEVER do that. Those are pretty bold statements to make before you actually have a child. As soon as you give birth and realize that you are responsible for this little life all the rules you set for yourself usually go out the window. It is definitely a learn as you go adventure and the learning is never over. Here are a few gems I have learned along the way.

It is way harder than I ever expected.

People can tell you til they are blue in the face that it is going to be hard. You can think you know but you never actually know until you are in the middle of it. Having a child is just a significant life change. One day you are only having to worry about yourself and then, BAM, you are responsible for a human being. There is nothing easy about that. Don’t beat yourself up over the fact that it is hard or that you weren’t prepared enough.

I ask for help when I need help.

In those first few months as a mother it was all very overwhelming Β and for a couple of weeks I had a battle with myself about actually admitting it. I was constantly surrounded by friends and family willing to do anything to help but some times I felt like I needed to do it all. You can’t do it all. If people are offering help, take it. I have called my mom more than once in the middle of the night asking for help, and she came every time. You can’t take care of a baby when you have food poisoning, I mean you can but not very well.

Don’t compare Lila to other children.

I had to learn this really quick. In the beginning I would get on the birth forum with many other mothers who had babies Lila’s age. Of course everyone wants to talk about their children’s milestones and accomplishments, which is great. However, you shouldn’t sit and think something is wrong with your baby because they haven’t smiled at you at 6 weeks on the dot. You can make yourself crazy doing this. Every child is different and they will do things in their own time. Let them develop in their own time.

The Dr. isn’t always right.

Just because the Dr. is the Dr. doesn’t mean his diagnose, opinion or suggestion is always the correct one. Sometimes your motherly instinct is better than what the Dr. tells you and you have to learn to trust yourself sometimes.

Me time is important

Whether it is 5 minutes outside, watching your favorite show once they are in bed, catching up on blogs, whatever it is, do it. It is easy to lose yourself in your new life and taking care of the little one. Just remember to cut out a sliver of time for yourself. It will re-engergize you and make you a better mom.

Quit with the guilt.

It is so easy to make yourself feel guilty when you become a mother. I never remember feeling guilt like this in my life. And seriously, some of it is over the pettiest most silly things. I didn’t keep up with the baby book, I took 5 minutes to take a shower, I’m not enjoying every moment and the list can go on forever…if you let it. Let me tell you, this is time wasted. Be the best you can be that day and go from there.

Take it one day at a time.

I have to be honest, when I look into the future and think about the what-ifs for Lila’s future it gives me anxiety. What if she is defiant, what if she doesn’t have friends, what if she has the wrong friends, what if she doesn’t want to go to college? Seriously? Yes, seriously. I have these thoughts all the time and many others. I shared this with my mom one day when I was particularly worried about something Lila may do when she was a toddler. She told me that is why we have today, to prepare us for when that day comes. We don’t’ have to have the answer right now and when the time comes we will probably know what to do from the experiences we have already had. My mom, she is smart as a whip! I repeat this to myself often.

Take lots of video.

I haven’t taken hours upon hours of video but I do have many good ones from the past year. I have loved going back and watching them and remembering the different stages she has been through. I imagine that I will cherish these even more the older she gets.

I am sure that I could think of many more important lessons that I left out but these were the ones that really stood out to me. I know it isn’t the same for everyone but this year has been eye-opening, life-changing, and wonderful. Even though it is difficult at times there is nothing I would trade it for.

What are lessons you have learned through motherhood?

Procrastinating Nelly

16 Dec

Funny Christmas Season Ecard: This year I plan to start putting off my Christmas shopping extra early.

This has my name all over it. I had good intentions, I swear.

Somehow, I only have about 2 names marked off my list and about 50 left to go. Did I mention it is 9 days before Christmas? Blah….I have so much on my to do list. Online shopping may just save me!

Finding Balance

23 Aug

I have recently been reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I must say that she is absolutely hysterical and I highly recommend this book. She was talking about her dad and what a strong figure he was in her life. I guess it could be defined as tough love. This is an excerpt from the book.

Β “I only hope one day I can frighten my daughter this much.(Talking about an incident from childhood.) Right now, she’s not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it’s a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, “You’re going out at 10pm? I don’t think so,” and I just laughed and said, “It’s fine.” I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six. How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The World-wide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes.”

This really got me thinking. I realize I have a little while before Lila has a mind of her own and can tell me “NO!” but that doesn’t make me worry any less. How can we make sure our children know they are loved but be scared at the same time? I don’t want Lila to be scared of us, thinking anything she does will get her in trouble but I also don’t want her to think she can bulldoze over us either. Where is the balance? How do you find that happy medium to make your child listen and obey while still knowing they are loved? I often wonder how my parents did it. I know I was always concerned about getting in trouble and I knew what I could and couldn’t do, but I still loved and respected my parents. But honestly there are children that are so strong-willed and will push the limits just to see what will happen. I never really talked back to my mom and dad but it makes me wonder what the reaction would have been if I did. I have never liked confrontation, even as a child. If my parents made me mad i wouldn’t sit and argue with them, I would just go sit by myself in my room. Unknowingly making it easier on them.

I was talking to my friend Ashley about this the other day and neither one of us could figure out what the secret is to finding that balance. We both have girls and we know that day is gonna come where you just have to lay down the law. I just hope Lila’s sweet nature carries on with her as she grows.