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On Motherhood Parenting

4 Realities Sick Moms are Guilty Of

There are two primary things that kids give zero fucks about:

  1. Hangovers
  2. Parental Illness

I haven’t been slamming margaritas lately (unfortunately – damn you, breastfeeding), but I am a regular victim of the common cold. It’s that time of year, and although I do my best to continue functioning, I’m not firing on all cylinders. Illness of some kind shifts the entire dynamic of my household, and I’m guilty of things that on a normal day would never fly.

Unlimited screen time.

Yep. If my little darlings want to stare at a screen while I stuff tampons up my nose like an MMA fighter to stop the flow of snot, you bet that’s exactly what I’m going to allow. You want to watch Moana again? Have at it. I’ll sing every song with you if my butt gets to remain on this couch while I nurse a sinus headache.

Free-for-all meals.

It’s snack time! Normally I would insist on an apple with peanut butter or some other healthy fare, but today, the child wants a sucker. Of course. Have three. But snag that apple off the counter and eat it like a big kid, too, ok? Let’s all pretend that we’re trying here. Cereal and goldfish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just kidding, I’ll still prepare a meal of some sort, but it’s not Rachel Ray worthy. But is my cooking ever? So, it’s not really a loss.

Concern for cleanliness vanishes.

I don’t care that blocks are in every corner of the house. I’m not as concerned as I normally would be about dirty underwear on the floor as long as the child is wearing clean ones. Laundry? Wouldn’t bet on it. The house will look like a hurricane struck, with banana peels and sucker wrappers on the counter, and I’m not sorry. This includes children. If it was bath time today, it’s shower time tomorrow.

Pajamas all day.

If I’m sick, we’re all in pajamas. It doesn’t even matter if we have to hit the grocery store out of desperation, in case we’re out of cold meds and milk. We’re about to take this pajama party on the road, and in that case, I might have enough dignity/energy to at least put sweatpants on. Depends on how sick I am, and if I’m sick enough to publicly rock the leopard print pajama bottoms, you better think twice before mentioning it.

Moms don’t get sick days, so we have to roll with it as best we can. Hopefully the utter despair only lasts a couple days, and you can go ham cleaning the house and getting everything back in order. Besides, it’s refreshing to toss the rules out for a day or two, right? Right.

 

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On Motherhood Self-Improvement

Why My New Year’s Resolution Doesn’t Take My Kids Into Consideration

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I don’t put a lot of emphasis on the “new year, new me” mentality. I’m sure I’ll be the same delightful hot mess this year that I was last year. I’ve also made absolutely no promises on the motherhood front. I’m a damn good mom and I make no apologies for my parenting choices, successes, and mistakes. It’s all part of the ride and I wake up every morning vowing to be the best mom I can be for my kids. I don’t need a resolution to keep me on track.

Do you know what I don’t do? Consider myself. Almost daily I think that I’ll read one more story or do an extra craft or play more games. I think about the laundry and whether I should download some pre-k educational games on the kindle.

Never do I wake up promising myself that I’ll get to shower alone today and not with an infant or toddler. I never wake up swearing that I’ll set aside five quiet minutest to myself to just freaking breathe. I don’t give myself any slack for relaxing, even if it’s just scrolling on Facebook or catching up with a friend through text. I’m crucifying myself for not giving every second of my time to my children and never second-guessing that none of my time is my own.

So this year, I’m making a promise to myself. Call it a New Year’s resolution if you’d like, but I just need something that will stick. I need a reminder to wake up in the morning promising to be kinder to myself. I need to acknowledge that I’m not perfect, and the kids will survive even if they refuse to eat anything but goldfish for days and might have watched Disney movies on repeat for a few hours. I will forgive myself for losing my patience, but more importantly, I will congratulate myself for the hard job I do every day.

There are three humans (one being my husband) that rely on me every day, and I’m so busy looking at my failures I hardly notice my accomplishments. The two children are not just alive, they’re thriving, and thanks to me my husband has clean underwear to put on every day. I may not be able to find my keys, but I know how to locate every missing toy. I can soothe a screaming infant and sobbing toddler. I am the fixer of all emergencies, real or imagined. I am the ying to my husband’s yang. I practice patience when I have none and I lay awake while everyone else sleeps. I am doing a kick-ass job, and this year, I’m going to start patting myself on the back for it.

This year, I will put my needs on my never-ending to-do list. I will check off bath time for both kids and include a ten-minute shower for myself, by myself. I will schedule a coffee date with a friend while I’m scheduling doctor appointments, and I’ll remember to brush my hair when I’m brushing my daughter’s. My kids have what they need. The resolution is my own that is necessary, to care for myself like I care for everyone else.

 

Categories
Let's Talk Stress Management

Sometimes Moms Need to be Selfish

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I’m the worst at self-care. I have always been the person that gives to others, and I try to be thankful that I’m not as much of a “people-pleaser” anymore. Not that I don’t like being a nice person, because I don’t aim to be an asshole. It just gets complicated, because I love other’s happiness more than my own. But honestly, it’s exhausting. Moms are told that you can’t pour out of a glass that’s empty, but I’ve gotten really good at extending those last few drops before refilling.

My daughter comes first.

Because, duh. I had a child. I was well-aware that I would be sacrificing, although do you really know what that looks like until you’re a parent? It’s a rough transition! But I wouldn’t change a single thing. Despite long days and long nights and a toddler that bites when she’s mad at me, I freaking love this child. I love being a mom.

My husband comes second.

We could enter the argument of whether spouse or children should come first blah blah blah. This is not where we are at right now. I love and cherish my husband, and honestly, he’s told me that he would feed me to alligators to save our daughter. I think we are on the same page. Anyhoo.

The only thing I love more than seeing my daughter happy is seeing my husband happy. I am always his cheerleader for anything he wants to pursue, and I am right there next to him. I mean, I begged the man to move to America from England with promises that my pregnant self would support us and make it work. I promised that I would work hard so that he could build a life here, too. Mission accomplished, my friends. A woman knows how to get stuff done.

I come third… Last?

Through no one’s fault but my own, I come last. My husband begs me to go somewhere, anywhere. To take time with friends. To do some self-care something. He’s volunteered to quit everything he’s doing so I can have a chance to be involved with something but I can’t even think of anything I would do. So I nod my head and say of course, I will think about it. But I don’t make plans. And other times I decline any self-care, insisting I’m fine. I don’t need a break from the toddler that’s been wrapped around my leg for three straight weeks. And the craziest part is that I believe myself.

My inner voice is a liar.

I was never great at prioritizing my own needs, but a lengthy abusive relationship squashed any possibility of me actually giving a crap about taking care of myself. Taking care of myself consisted of survival then, so based on today’s standards of a loving family, I’m doing awesome! Who needs self-care when someone loves you and treats you like an equal partner? Shouldn’t that be enough?

It’s not.

You are the only one that can truly take care of yourself. The love of others around you is so important, but only you can address your passions and your desires. No one can love you enough to live your life for you. So, I’m trying really hard. I’m trying to live beyond my daughter and husband. I’m trying to enjoy their passions and still feel free to enjoy mine. And somehow not feel guilty in all that. I have to remind myself that I’m not taking away from anyone else by taking care of myself.

It’s ok for moms to be selfish. It’s necessary for moms to be selfish sometimes. You were a person before you were a mom. You were a person before you met your significant other. Continue to be someone. And I’ll be there trying so hard every day, right with you.

Categories
Breastfeeding Creating Balance On Motherhood Toddlers

It’s Ok to Have a Breaking Point

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I have loved breastfeeding my daughter. Breastfeeding her as an infant was a breeze, and it’s come in handy in her current toddler stage. Breastfeeding has also resulted in a co-sleeping relationship that I never anticipated, so I have a few things going on that I didn’t realize would still be happening at this point. I never thought long and hard about a solid date for weaning, or for encouraging Hallie to sleep in her own bed. I won’t even bother calling it sleep training because it goes sort of like this:

*  sleeping Hallie, being laid down gently in her bed.

* Hallie wakes up. Cries. I rock Hallie gently or breastfeed if she asks, and place her gently down again.

* Hallie wakes up. Cries.

* “Oh, so you don’t want to sleep in your bed? Ok, I tried.”

The end.

Anyhoo.

So, I had never really moved beyond what we have been doing, because it has worked for 20 some months. This was letting Hallie nurse whenever she wanted (because weaning has failed us once already) and letting Hallie sleep wherever she wanted. Until a couple days ago, where something in me snapped. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation from a particularly rough night. Maybe it was the milk blister that reappeared with a vengeance, clogged ducts and all. Doesn’t matter, because I immediately knew that something needed to change.

I’m still relaxed about the whole thing, but now when I used to want to “see how things go”, Hallie has a deadline of her 2nd birthday to be weaned, at least during the day. I would also love to see Hallie sleeping in her bed until at least 3am (let’s not get greedy here), and that I would like to start yesterday. Steps forward must be made, or else I’m going to lose my damn mind.

I was and am feeling a bit touched out. Hallie is by my side almost 24/7, and as much as I’ve loved breastfeeding and co-sleeping, I’m losing the relationship that I have with myself. It’s time to make some changes, and even the smallest ones have large significance.

For example, Hallie has already dropped down to breastfeeding 2-3 times per day, when just last week she was breastfeeding on demand. This could mean every hour if she was particularly bored. Hallie was also waking up 6-8 times in the night to breastfeed, and now that I’m coaxing her into her own bed, she only wakes up every 2 hours. I know that still sounds insane to some parents, but to me, it’s beautiful. It’s just enough to reassure me that there is light at the end of this tunnel.

I don’t need Hallie to be weaned tomorrow, or to be sleeping in her own bed. Hallie will likely be nursing to sleep past her 2nd birthday, and I don’t think she will ever be a child that sleeps through the night. That is all completely ok. At the same time, I’m allowed to change my mind about how I parent. I’m allowed to change my mind about whatever decisions I’ve made. I’m allowed to be selfish, even for just a moment. Hallie doesn’t nurse because she physiologically needs it. She breastfeeds because she’s either hurt, tired, or bored. I can still comfort her when she’s hurt, rock her when she’s tired, and play with her when she’s bored. All without my boobs! Until the other day, I didn’t know that either.

I cried when Louis put her down for nap and she didn’t ask to breastfeed, and it took a lot of mental strength to not barge in and offer my trusty boobs. I had to really remember the nights when she’s doing some fantastic nurse-nastics, stretching my nipples and pinching me because she thinks it’s funny. I had to remember nursing every hour through the night and getting bit in the process, because she was just restless and not actually hungry. I had to remember that I am a person beyond the milky boobs, and that I deserved something more, even from my child.

For Hallie and me, it’s time for some changes. I will cry some more tears, but I’m excited for the independence that we are both learning to appreciate. We’re in this together, and it’s the beginning of something new in our relationship. I can’t wait, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief for my nipples sore from breastfeeding and my back stiff from co-sleeping. I hit my breaking point, and that’s ok. I’m still a good mom, and change isn’t always a bad thing.