Monthly Archives: September 2011

Being Here

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This moment is only here now. And each moment and each day, I don’t live up to my hopes for being a mother. But I also love and treasure the moments (most moments – some are not quite so much fun!).

Like earlier today, out doing errands, carrying and loving my daughter but still carting her all around, in and out of stores and businesses, keeping her distracted and occupied so I could get my work done. Yes, these are things that need doing (car insurance renewed; goat’s milk to feed her, goat’s cheese to feed me, return an expensive item). Yet how am I choosing to use my day off? And when I get home – do I truly focus in on her and play with her? Especially when the house is a mess?

Just now my daughter woke up crying and disoriented. I picked her up, held her, nursed her. When she finished one side she signed “more” in a jerky fashion, rubbing her eyes. Poor sleepy girl! I put her on the other side, covered her with a sheet, and held her as she nursed. Then she finished, stretched, and curled up into my chest to sleep. A sleeping beauty, nestled into my chest, body moving with her breath, eyes dark and peaceful, little lips softly open. Nothing could be more perfect.

So I treasure each moment. And even when they pass and I can’t get them back, I can take comfort in knowing that more moments are coming, times when I can try once again to get it right.

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Breastfeeding Blues

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I’m going through another bout of frustration and worry about breastfeeding. This one must have been brought on by our switch out of donated breastmilk to formula – we’re making one from goat’s milk. And there’s a lot going on around that: regular store trips to get the milk, wondering if we’re making it right, the daily chore of making it (which I really can’t complain about because my sweet husband does it), watching her for reactions to it, the extra work of night feedings using non-breastmilk (you can’t leave it out between feedings, so someone – again, willing husband in this case – has to get up and warm a bottle at each wake-up).

Basically, all of the extra stuff involved brings home to me yet again how much better this would be if my breasts made enough milk. Easier to nurse her to sleep. Much much easier to feed her at night. Less time and fewer chores each day, more time to be with baby or just relax.

As well, pumping at work is not going so great. I’m pumping twice a day, lately getting out one ounce each time. That’s half an ounce from each breast, if you were counting. And I’m noticing that my breasts aren’t feeling full anymore the way they were a few weeks ago. I don’t know if it’s the diet or just the accumulation of less baby-on-breast time, but now I’m worried my supply is dropping and I won’t get it back.

And there are things I can try. And I will. But I’ve been down that road before and found that with my body, nothing seemed to help.

Husband pointed out that I said before that when I was more relaxed and accepting of the situation, my milk seemed to flow better. I so did not want to hear that. I don’t even really know if it’s true.

I do know that I’m in a milk funk. Sick sick of this. And I thought for sure by 1 year I’d be out of the woods in terms of stress over milk. Apparently, no. I can now see that this will go on indefinitely. And it’s going to take something major to change my always-present distress over my body, my girl and milk.

Typical Evening

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Tonight was fairly typical of how work nights go. Fine but long. It’s 11:30.  How did this happen?

Pick up baby from work. Try to nurse. Pack up and leave.

Most pleasantly, she fell asleep on the way home after a few complaints. Sweet sweet baby. I try to enjoy the drive time each day, though I find it hard to see a purpose to it. When she’s sleeping at least it is peaceful for both of us.

Back home was another typical challenge – got sleeping baby inside, but she woke, and nursing/feeding was a bit unhappy. After that she cheered up and was amazing and adorable! She also wanted to be held. So I popped her in the Ergo and carried her around for the next hour as I made dinner. We talked a bit, and I fed her a bit, but mainly she just hung out with her mom. It was wonderful. Relaxing, bonding, comfortable, so full of love.

Time did fly. By 7:30 we were having some food and waiting for dad to get home. And then she got the poop face and we dashed to the toilet. Success! Incidentally, in her new stage of maturity she wants to do things for herself, including sitting on the toilet and standing on counters. Whenever I hold her now, she pushes my hands away and tried to do it on her own. Yay for her! However, I sneak my hands back in for all situations where falling is a risk.

Daddy’s return was bathtime, nurse time, then, instead of bed, playtime! I gave up and let her crawl off the bed and around the house. We had some lovely moments watching her play with her blocks, taking them out of the bag, chewing them, putting some back in …

Eventually it was time for another try and this time she fell asleep, pretty easily actually. And husband and I tackled laundry and dishes and food prep for tomorrow. We now have an apple crumble & curried potatoes in the fridge ready to bake, and lentils soaking for dinner tomorrow.

And now it’s late. It’s been a good day. I want to be with my daughter more. I know she has a great time wtih her grandma. I enjoy my work. I want to stay home. Back and forth and time for bed.

The problem with me-time

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Once you’re a mom, people will give you a lot of advice about making sure you still make time for yourself. Take care of yourself. Don’t lose yourself. Pamper yourself. Take care of your needs.

True.

But still, though I know that on a basic level this is true (if I’m exhausted, grumpy, sick and dejected it is hard to give back to my family), on most other levels it reminds me too much of the individualism of Western culture and the lack of integration of children into our society. First, that you need to absolutely prioritize your needs. That this means time away from your children. That it needs to be something totally separate from your children.

Something about this, to me, doesn’t honour the mother-child connection. It doesn’t acknowledge how motherhood changes you. It doesn’t create a world where care for your needs can be integrated into care for your child. And sometimes, this model just doesn’t work.

Let’s take tonight. The second Tuesday of yoga. With the support of my husband and mom I agreed to go to yoga again after work. And I did have a wonderful few minutes before class started, reading my spy novel (Dead Spy Running – so fun! One of the main characters had a Baha’i mom). Class was okay – a bit too much of the “you’re going to love this move!” yoga-is-suffering mentality but kind of rejuvenating at the end of the hour. Went to my parents’ where husband was watching baby. It’s now after 6. Baby wants to play. I want to nurse. We all want to eat and visit. It’s after 7 by the time we leave. And the car ride home is long. Crying baby. Me singing most of the journey, losing my voice. One long stop. Stressful.

Then home. Change crying baby into PJs & diaper. Nurse, cry. Bottle, cry. Walk, cry. Cry, cry. Finally sleep. Sweet sleeping baby. Wiped out mom.

I’m not sure it was worth the moderate relaxation of that one-hour yoga class to go through a stressful almost 2 hours of transporting baby and getting her to bed.

Other nights, we’re all home together. We take her for a walk. Bathe her. I get exercise; I get happy baby time; she gets relaxed mom time.

I acknowledge that this is a highly specific example. I also know there are ways we could arrange our schedule, transportation, etc. to make evenings like this work better. And sometimes I do need time to myself to take care of personal work or to rejuvenate. But I do want to question the culture’s emphasis on mom time and reflect on the costs of increased time away from baby.

And I also know this sounds so anti-mom. Moms already do SOOO much. Is it fair to suggest that they do even more and get even less time to themselves? No. And I want time to myself too, and I want to pursue things I”m passionate about, and for my daughter to see her mom as a complete, fulfilled person. Yet I’m still uneasy with putting me-time over baby. It might be my own issues. It might be the young age of my daughter. I guess time will tell.

Long Nights

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Time with baby can sometimes spread well into the evening, and beyond. That’s what it’s felt like lately: long. Last night baby must have woken up 5+ times. Poor husband had to get up at least 4 times to warm a bottle (if I try and do it, the crying escalates in the interval so it’s his part of the routine). I couldn’t believe we were able to get out of bed and function in our days.

Tonight, just got baby to sleep at 10:15, settled in bed around 10:20. Yikes. I’ve had supper (thanks husband!) and a shower. And okay, we did go out on an errand tonight, walking downtown to consider jacket options again (I opted to exchange my recent purchase for a more professional, less youthful item which I also like more). It was the store that baby loves, with all the wide open floors, clothing racks to climb on and colourful colours. But though tired, she didn’t fall asleep on the way home. And though she was virtually asleep while nursing, still no go. And when we hung out in the dark room for another 30 minutes, nope. Finally succumbed in the Ergo. Whew. Almost didn’t make this blog entry I was so wiped.

Here’s hoping for a bit more sleep tonight. But if I don’t get it, I hope I”ll roll with it like last night. That’s living peace.

Funny and Not

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Today was a day. Not stellar. Husband wasn’t feeling well (headache). The day felt long and blah.

However, I did get to go on a 3-hour outing with baby. Actually not so bad! It was car-free day downtown so we walked and saw some people and left husband home to clean the house etc. Some sitting, some walking, some talking. We participated in a bus contest to see how fast I could get the stroller safely onto the bus. 11.3 seconds. And a chance to win a family waterpark pass. I also ran into a woman who recognized baby from the Interfaith gathering a couple of weeks ago. It turns out she runs for the local green party, so I’ve seen her picture around over the years. A nice encounter.

We stopped by an arena where nephew was having his birthday party. Hockey for him and his friends! We got there early so we could visit, then left when they started cranking the dance music (funny? maybe). Baby fell asleep about a minute after we left – high time for a nap. Home, I got her into bed, truly a great feat as any mother knows. Then had a salad and read (Fun! not Nee!). She perfectly timed her wake-up just as I was starting my next chore. And then after nursing refused the bottle and fell asleep on me again for another 45 minutes. Sweetness!

So, the funny. The day felt really long. Husband, as mentioned, not feeling the greatest. When baby wouldn’t fall asleep tonight he took her for a walk and returned with a sleeping baby and tasty snacks for Wife. Unfortunately, all 3 of the snacks he brought are foods I’m not currently eating. So sweet! Oh well.

And the not so funny. I realized the other night that I’m in the count-down to my 40th birthday. If I don’t start thinking about it and preparing for it now, it will be here and it will suck and I will sink into depression. When I remembered/realized this the other night as I was falling asleep,, I told husband that we needed to start planning. Yesterday he brought it up, proof he was paying attention and remembered. So, 40th birthday. 8 or so months to go. Where do I want to be and what do I want to do? I really don’t mind the number. But I’m not thrilled about certain aspects of my life and my reaction to them. Saw a banner in a store today: Happy people are not those in particular circumstances but those with particular attitudes (something to that effect). Attributed to Buddhism. Um, yeah. But also: what attitudes will create what situation that I want?

Anyhow – need to finish up, put together bottles and snuggle baby into bed. My little love! Today was actually wonderful, in spite of my complaining, for the amount of quality time I had with my girl. End of story.

68

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I think this is my 68th post. Over 2 months of blogging once/day. Yay!

I’m feeling a little burnt out!

Sometimes I have things to say. Sometimes I don’t. And rarely do I have a big chunk of time to reflectively write.

Sometimes, that’s my fault. Like tonight. Baby in bed by 8. Not much to do. It’s now 10:30 and I’m just starting to blog. Where does the time go?!

Usually, that’s just life. Like last night. Baby didn’t go to bed until after 10. And then there was kitchen clean-up to do. Not optimal for relaxed writing.

I would like to step back a bit from this process and think about where I’m at with peace. I may do that tomorrow.

For today, I’m just going to summarize some highlights.

*Adorable baby eating and playing with a pair in the store. Messinator, that’s my girl!

*Test-driving some bicycles at the bike shop – I don’t have one, and want/need one!

*Actually making the two fall purchases that I wanted to this weekend: fall work shoes, and a fall/spring jacket.

*Sweetie adorable baby, all the time! Including peeing in the parking lot at the bike shop – go girlie!

*Yummy yummy stir-fry for dinner (ready at 7:30): onions, potatoes, chard, kale & mushrooms. Lots of grapeseed oil and some salt. Perfect!

*A shower & clean sheets on the bed.

*Adorable sleeping baby who’s already managed to kick the sheets off twice.

*A phone call from a friend who had some insight into milk production, eczema and related issues. Great information, interesting to think about. I need to get myself some glutathione (I hear my mom cheering somewhere …).

Okay – going to make up some bottles for the night and go lie down with cutest adorablest sweetest baby.