As I sat down to write this, I realized that I had a few options with regards to direction. I could go the serious route. I could go the humorous route. Or, because this blog is all about balance, I could blend the two together… because in reality that’s what motherhood is… you need the humor to balance out those more serious moments (like wanting to throw your phone in the toilet when the alarm goes off at 3:30am.).
It really is hard to believe that I’ve been a mom, that TJ has been a dad, and that we have been in charge of another life for 5 weeks. For the entire week leading up to Harper’s arrival I questioned myself. Would I be a good mom? If I could handle the decrease in sleep (you’re talking about a person who routinely slept 8-9 hours a night). If I would know what to do when she cries and if I would even have any motherly instincts. I simply wanted her to arrive so that I could try to figure out this new role of being a mom. While I am certainly still a newbie, I do feel as though I’ve learned a lot, and grown, in these past 5 weeks.
Here are a few things I never thought would happen:
1. That 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be something I would praise God for (trust me, it was the first thing I did when I realized it was already 3:30am and she was still sleeping. Soundly.).
2. That “gold” would no longer refer to a coveted piece of jewelry…. now I prefer the “liquid gold” of pumped breast milk (I already have 20 ounces frozen….). It allows me the opportunity for a glass of wine, an extended mani/pedi, coffee with a girlfriend, or a date day/night with TJ.
3. That I would ever be okay with picking another person’s nose. For some reason that nasal thing simply doesn’t fit in her nose… so momma helps a little… and I thought it was oddly cute (???).
4. That I could actually eat faster than I did before I became a mom (if you know me, you must now think I eat in about 10 seconds… which wouldn’t be too far from the truth)… and that I have become ambidextrous.
General Thoughts/Feelings: I’m not really sure where to begin here, because I feel as though becoming a new mom is simply a flood of different emotions and experiences. While I felt tremendous love for Harper the moment I held her in my arms, we still didn’t know each other. The first couple of weeks were a “getting to know you phase…” and this doesn’t happen overnight (despite my wishing it would!). The first two weeks post-partum were difficult (if I’m being totally honest). I had days where I felt like a complete failure (aka I simply couldn’t get her to stop crying, etc) and days where I felt like I was #winning. I had evenings where I would cry to TJ that I simply “didn’t know what I was doing,” and he would reassure me that I was doing a great job. Routine was hard to establish, and breastfeeding felt so demanding. Yet, it was at the beginning of the third week that I began to feel as though a routine was settling over the house. I felt like I was beginning to understand Harper’s cries…. that when she cried in her bassinet, I was able to soothe her (and that felt good…. like a #momwin). It was as if the three of us were falling in sync. As today marks week 5, her little coos and occasional intentional smile (although the gassy ones are just as cute) melt my heart. Her little dimples and wide eyes exude her little personality. Theses small things remind me that the sleepless nights and fussy days are 100% worth it (… and something we will likely miss in years to come as she grows up and asserts her independence).
Sleeping/Feeding: So… we had our first 5 hour stretch of sleep the other night…. and when I realized it had been 5 hours, I was absolutely shocked (and I am sure my body was too!). I have been following the concepts from Baby Wise and The Baby Whisperer, as I find they fit best into our parenting and lifestyle. For us, it helps to schedule our day and allows us to schedule around the times she will need to feed. Of course, there are times when she has gone through growth spurts and the schedule simply went out the window… I’m learning that these concepts are not set in stone… they are guidelines and meant to be individualized to each little baby depending on where they are developmentally.
Life: I try to be very intentional… take showers, get dressed, call friends, and carve out a little “me” time each day (even if it is only for 30 minutes). Sometimes I feel guilty for taking this time, but I’ve learned that being a mother is the hardest job you will ever have and that taking care of yourself helps you to be more present. I owe so many thanks to my own mom, who happily helps me daily. Grocery store runs, encouraging text messages, cooking us meals, and encouraging me to get a manicure/pedicure, or to run an errand, while she watches Harper for an hour or two. I can honestly say that when I return, I am refreshed and more present. We’ve also had so many fun times together as a mother and daughter. I went out and got coffee with Harper by myself, have gone walking down at the beach, and even ventured to the mall a few times. We’ve had a few little family outings to some favorite breakfast and lunch spots. I was nervous the first few times… uncertain of how she would respond. Yet, I am learning that you just have to roll with it all. If she doesn’t want to be in the stroller, the ergo carrier or baby wrap are backup plans… and if those fail, sometimes you just have to step outside, walk around, and rub her little back.
As far as marriage goes, TJ and I were able to enjoy a happy hour at one of our favorite spots and plan on heading up to Santa Ynez/Los Olivos next weekend, Harper in tow. We’ve already started planning how this will look conceptually, are nervous, but are going to dive in head first. We enjoy connecting in the evening when Harper goes down for an “early evening nap” (she is seriously a nap queen) over a bowl of popcorn (and on Fridays a glass of wine).
Favorite Products: While its only been 5 weeks, I have definitely found products that I don’t know what I would do without! This breastfeeding pillow comes with me everywhere and when I don’t have it, feeding is much more difficult. I love, love this bath…. it lets us know how warm the water is and is the perfect size for her. These nail clippers are so easy to use and I never have to worry that I am going to hurt her little fingers. Whoever invented the breast pump is my new bff too… it allows me to indulge in a glass of wine or champagne, but make sure she is getting the nutrients she needs. I also love this wipe warmer for those late night diaper changes, and I love LOVE my diaper bag. It is so functional and large enough to fit diapers, wipes, swaddles, a change of clothing… and my sunglasses, laptop, and cosmetic case! I’m also swooning over everything in this etsy shop.
As for the post-pregnancy body, I have found that keeping my bellaband on hand is helpful. I’m also loving these throw-on-and-go tees, along with stylish kicks (loving these, these, and these). I’m looking forward to returning to my workouts, and enjoying some family hikes and runs! Most importently, I’m looking forward to this journey!