I get it. Especially in Utah, there’s this list of “goals” that people are aiming for; marriage, children, house, blah, blah, etc. Not that this is a bad thing, but especially in Utah culture, we sometimes forget that there’s more to life than getting hitched and having babies.
Anytime I go to an event involving people from high school, they look at me differently. I’m no longer just a peer. It’s like having your boss walk into the room, or your church leader, or someone of “higher ranking”. People ask me about how I’m doing; meaning…how am I handling two kids, school, and life? The answer to this is always the same; mildly drowning, but I’m fine. I feel like I’m hijacking the conversation if I go further. It sounds like someone trying to one-up everyone else. And I hate “mom-jacking”..aka “Oh, you don’t know tired till you’ve had kids!!!!!” or “Boy, you think your life is meaningful now…wait till you have kids!!!!”
Do I say stuff like this to my husband when we’re b*tching about entitled people? Sure. Do I say them to my friends or other people whom I care about? No. I’m not that much of a dick.
Look, tell me about you. I’m serious. I ask you how things are doing, and you say “Just school,” or “Just living the single life”. I know that it might seem like much to you, but I think that it’s awesome. You’re building yourself. You’re educating yourself. You’re figuring out the world. Don’t minimize your accomplishments just because my two womb-squirrels are hanging off of me.
Let me be clear: I do not think you inferior to myselfin any way just because you don’t have womb-squirrels.
Chances are that you’re farther ahead in school than me. You’re on a pathway to a career. And even if you’re not doing either of those, it doesn’t matter! You have choices right now. You can take chances. You can do whatever you can handle!
Can I just tell you what a relief it is to talk to people who don’t have kids?? When I first had Haven, I pretty much only talked to other parents. It was like the equivalent of working at a bank and only ever reading anything about loans, banking, or mortgages. It gets really boring hearing people talk about their babies who are just like other babies. My babies are just like other babies. Sure, they have their own stories or whatever…but babies are pretty much all the same. Besides, we can talk about babies one day when you have babies should you choose to do so. I love hearing about your childless life!!! Really. I do. Even if it’s stuff that is seemingly boring to you. Tell me about your church service mission. I wanna hear about your trips and travels. Tell me about your major and why you picked it. Tell me about your job, boyfriend, girlfriend…both?! Tell me about your friggin life!!
And the sympathy. Ohhhhh the sympathy….
“Well, school is kinda tough because of the dumb kids,” says me.
“Oh wow. I’m struggling with school, but I can’t imagine doing it with two kids!”
Yes. But I’m also just doing school with two kids. I get enough in student grants and loans to not have to work a “real job”. Yes, that also means that I’ll be drowning in debt upon graduation. You have to work. You have to go to a job and deal with a boss. You have to fit that around homework, dating, family life, activities, work, and balancing a boyfriend/girlfriend…..both? Yes, you can take bathroom breaks uninterrupted by children, but I can do my job in my underwear. I’ve worked full-time and gone to school full-time, taking my GPA as a result. You’re doing both. Or maybe just one because you got a scholarship as a result of taking school seriously. You’re living with your parents because you want to save money. You’re crashing on a friend’s couch because living is expensive. You’re taking unpaid internships for experience in that job you’ll love later.
You’re taking chances.
You’re doing great.
I want to hear about it.
Don’t minimize your accomplishments in front of me. It’s not a contest, and I’m not winning. I got married and had babies right out of high school. One day, you’ll have that too, should you decide to do so. The difference is that you’ll be older, more experienced with life, probably have more money, have your education behind you, and not be drowning in student loans.
Tell me about your adventure. I’m tired of hearing myself share mine.
We’re moving on Monday. I’m supposed to be doing homework while Damon drops the kids off at my parent’s.
But I can’t stop crying.
Damon and I have spent the last three days nearly working nonstop, going to bed later than usual. We arrived home from working on our new house to Ty screaming…after Damon accidentally made a loud noise, startling him in my sister’s arms.
I took Ty upstairs and found that he had an awful diaper rash, hence the screaming. After smearing Desitin all over his red rear, I snuggled with him in bed. I thought that he was falling asleep, but soon found him smashing his chubby open mouth over my nose and mouth, giggling as I tried pushing him off. I had Damon come and get him so that I could do homework.
My living room floor is a disaster; covered in smashed crackers, popcorn, and Barbies. My bathroom is a mess with Barbies and baby clothes scattered on the floor. Every room in my house is baby-fied.
But I’m sobbing now. Because my baby is almost 14 months old. My first baby will be three in August. What the hell? Where did the time go?
Most days, I’m grateful for what I have. But today, I’m sobbing because I never want this circus to end. I never want to wake up without my feathery-haired blonde baby next to me. I never want his fat giggle to fade. I never want him to get skinny and grow tall. I want him to stay this way forever. I want my baby forever.
Even though his diapers are terrible smelling. Even though he doesn’t ever listen and throws fits every day. Even though he stands up in his high chair, covered in half-eaten oranges and oatmeal. Even when he’s screaming and doesn’t want to go to sleep. Even though he feels like a sack of potatoes when I carry him around. Even though he plays in the nasty toilet.
I never want this to end, because I just want my baby. I want those slobbery kisses every morning and night. I want someone to cuddle me and smell milky. I want him to stay this way forever, marching around the house with his gut puffed out. I want those chubby feet and thighs. I want it all forever and ever.
They spend the first few years of their life making you fall in love with them hardcore, then they get big and leave. Mother Nature, you cruel beeotch you! This phase is so hard, especially when there’s two of them, and they need stuff 24/7. But I never want it to end. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
I know that I’ll meet a new little baby in December, but that doesn’t put a damper on this heartache that is watching your baby grow. Ty will never be this little again. I’ll blink, and he’ll be talking. I’ll blink, and he’ll be playing sports. I’ll blink, and he’ll have kids of his own.
Can I just hold my eyes open forever and never blink? Can I never sleep? Can I watch you sleep forever, Ty? I wake up at 3 AM and stare at you. I stare at you for longer than you’ll understand. I open the bathroom door in the morning to see you standing there, hair tousled and fuzzy. I pick you up; you’re heavy and warm. One day, I’ll set you down and never get to pick you up again.
There are two things that I want people to know about my life:
I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.
I. Love. It.
My third kid is due in December. Haven turns 3 in August. Ty just turned 1. And all three were planned.
“Why would you do that to yourself?!?!!” you wring your hands up in disbelief.
When I told my grandma, who had three kids in three years, her response was “What are you doing?”
Look, I graduated from high school four years ago. Damon and I got married July 26, 2013. It seems that waiting for “the right time” was never a strength for me. We were all “We’re gonna be responsible and wait!”
Then Haven came along.
“Well…haha. We’ll at least wait two years!”
Then Ty arrived when she was 19 months old.
“Oh my hell. Are we ever going to have kids again?”
And #3 is due in December. Why? Because I married a man who makes me want to defy that snarky sophomore girl who had dreams of becoming a CEO at 24. When I see Damon looking all sharp in his church clothes, I seriously just want to stay home, bake turnovers, and have 20 kids. Feminists everywhere are ripping their bras off in anger at my giving in to “the patriarchy”. I do want to work after I get my degree. I love working…
I still have two years till I get my bachelor’s degree. Two more years of living on student loans. Two more years of juggling school with babies.
There’s a huge difference between telling people that you’re expecting your first kid versus expecting your third kid. Everyone is ELATED when you announce the first. Sympathy and offers everywhere. Excitement. And allllllllllllll the advice. ALLLLLL. THE. ADVICE. After all, what do you know?
When you announce your third, which is more of a passing comment like “Oh, we’ve decided to try running this summer,” you’re met with silence. People simply don’t know what to say to you. Or they say the most encouraging thing that they can think of;
“Wow. You guys are getting it out of the way quick, huh?”
“That’s actually a smart idea. You’ll still be young when your kids move out.” (Thank you!)
Damon and I both come from big families. So our families kinda get it. Although, they’d probably, and did, recommend waiting on having more…OH WELL!
Kids are hard. I’m not doing this a third time because I think that it’s easy or fun. I’m typing with Ty nursing away, sprawled over my stomach. He was screaming for a good half hour straight before I finally threw him on the boob. Damon and I haven’t been able to function today because it’s finals week and our kids have been waking up at freakin’ weird times because of it. Seriously. Finals week is hell week. Last semester, Haven had vomiting and diarrhea for the entire week. Last night, Damon didn’t go to bed till 6. Ty woke up at 3 in the morning when I squirmed out of bed to go to the bathroom.
Oh yeah. I have no idea where baby #3 is going to go. I haven’t kicked either of my kids out of our bed yet. We’ll figure it out when we get there.
Most people who I know who have a kid in college have just one. Maybe a handful have two, but they’re either graduating in a semester or already graduated. I’m the only person who I know who is doing this.
Maybe call this a stupid philosophy for living, but the more good things that I can cram into my life, the less time I have for stupid crap. There’s no point in waiting to do more good things when you can do them right now.
And babies really only need 2 things:
A boob to suck on.
Newborns are the easy stage. They sleep, make noises like baby goats, and eat. Aaaaand poop like 8 times a day. But still! It smells like popcorn, not the dumpster behind Cafe Rio. I’ve hardly bought any clothes for either of my kids because we get hand-me-downs and our moms can’t help themselves when they see a cute outfit at Target. ❤
Like I said, I know that this isn’t going to be easy. It’s already reeeeeally friggin hard. But having had two babies without pain medication and sitting by Ty’s side in the NICU for a week, plus everything else that I’ve been through in the last four years…hard things just don’t scare me anymore.
I’m excited to meet my new little person. You have two kids and think that you got the two opposites. But none of my six siblings are anything alike. Out of the 12 from Damon’s side and mine combined, we’re ALL incredibly different. I’m excited to see that new little face. I’m excited to see what makes them different.
Damon and I are tired all of the time. We’re not just jumping for joy throughout all of our challenges. We’re struggling to deal with two people who need us. We’re struggling to make them not need us all of the time. We’re both very human.
But I still wake up every morning thinking “Oh, thank God! It’s all still here!”
The principles of nature still apply. There will come a calm. For a few minutes, I can sit through the eye of the storm. Ty has fallen asleep on the boob. Haven is downstairs chatting with Damon while he cooks chicken for dinner. Things are okay right now.
Gratitude is the easiest things to give God. It also happens to be the ointment for every hardship that I’ve encountered. And even in you don’t believe in God, it seriously does wonders for your day when you can wake up and say,
Maybe I didn’t have the balls to do it. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Maybe I felt that it was “too religious” or whatever. But I have to tell it.
Ty turned one on April 12, 2016. I wrote two blog posts about his birth and his first week home. But I didn’t include his time in the NICU. Perhaps I was too tired to write about it, having just spent a week waiting to leave.
A little over a year ago, I was mad at God. Pregnancy made me miserable. I said pissed-off prayers that contained more profanity than I’ll admit. And I just had one question for Him.
“When. Is. This. Baby. Coming?’
If I had a date, I could bear it. If I knew when he’d show up, I could handle it. But not a clue. Just contractions every day. Just misery every day.
The only answer that I received was, “Pack a bag.”
And all was quiet from above.
Pack a bag? Pack a bag?! That was IT!? What kind of bag? Was I going to have a preemie? Packing a hospital bag is waaaay different than packing a birthing center bag. Birthing center bags are only for a few hours. And hospital bags? Well, crap, I didn’t even know what I’d need. I’d never had a baby in the hospital.
Damon and I went to the grocery store. We bought things just in case he was a preemie. We found the remarkably small selection of boy clothes. We bought diapers. Suits. Toiletries. The works. Everything that I thought we might need in the event that Ty was born early.
But he wasn’t.
And I grew more and more angry. What the heck was the point of that “Pack a bag” answer?! To scare me?
Damon and I brought both bags with us the day that he was born. Ty was born when he was supposed to be born. He was term. He turned the right way. I only pushed for 9 minutes. He did everything that was supposed to do.
Except the little guy had fluid in his lungs. His oxygenation wasn’t high enough. I found myself walking out of the birthing center (remarkably easily) and driving to the hospital with the midwife, oxygen tank in the backseat, hooked up to Ty.
I remember what douches the ER staff decided to be to my dear midwife. One particular doctor insulted her credentials to her face. My midwife is an advanced practice nurse; the kind that can write prescriptions like a doctor. I remember being wheeled down the hallway to the NICU.
I remember my baby being hooked up to a plethora of machines, trying to pull off his CPAP mask (blows air up your nose, the little guy was strong). I remember the staff showing us the family support room, aka…room with a shower and a bed. I remember walking into the room, holding both bags.
Then it hit me.
Ty was born in the birthing center, but had to be transferred to the hospital. All of our stuff was packed that we needed for that week. But God had no way of letting me know that earlier. He had no way of saying to me, “Hey. So, he’s going to be born where you’re planning, but due to unforeseen circumstances, he’s going to spend a week at the hospital.” We often think that we’re these all-knowing, super rational people. We’re not. He had no way of telling me.
So, all that He said was, “Pack a bag.”
That week that I spent in the NICU was the most humbling week of my existence. It was almost as if God had me sit in that chair to think about how much I had been questioning Him. It was my time to be grateful.
There were babies there who might have never left; babies born at 24 weeks. Good news for them came in the form of “Your baby doesn’t have any brain bleeds that will kill them today”. There was a mom with a cath bag hobbling down the hallway on her husband’s arm. There were moms with swollen C-section marks, due to work in a few days. Dads wearing their business suits pacing the hallways, having returned to work weeks ago. Moms who didn’t get to hold their babies. For months.
I didn’t get to hold Ty for almost a whole day after he was born. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. My midwife came and checked my uterus and brought me a heating pad, because post-birth contractions are no joke. She was wonderful.
Haven wasn’t allowed in the NICU. She wasn’t even allowed in the family support room (which I threw a fit about to one of the nurses). Although, one of the nurses was awesome and told me “Go be a mom”. So, I brought Haven into the room with me and gave her some chocolate. We watched the Octonauts and took a nap.
I saw my little girl for maybe two hours a day.
I barely slept for four days. I cried every day. I rushed into the NICU, bawling, telling Damon “I have to go home. I have to go home!” It was the first time that I had stepped outside in four days, aside from fifteen minutes after he was admitted. I sobbed the entire way to the car, praying as I drove the twenty-five minutes home.
“Father. Thank you. Thank you. Even though things are really reeeeeeeally shitty right now.”
I went home and cuddled my sleeping Haven, leaving before she woke to go back to my sick baby. I hauled the huge breast-pump generator with me to and from the hospital for three days. I ate chicken-pot pies and berries that my dear mother brought for me. I ate lunches that my family brought when they visited. I kept to a strict schedule, pumping every two hours. My boobs swelled up. My milk was starting to flood in.
I was the lucky one. My son would be done after a week. My tear from birthing didn’t hurt…like at all. My milk came in just like it was supposed to. I ended up producing wayyyyyyy more than enough. Enough to give 20 lbs of milk to a friend who couldn’t nurse a few months later. That probably wouldn’t have happened had we not been in the NICU. The pump that the insurance gave me was weak. It barely pulled any milk out. I established the crap outta my supply. And I filled my bottles in 5 minutes, from start to finish. Our families took care of Haven, despite having busy schedules themselves.
And Ty got stronger every day. I had to hog-tie him into his receiving blanket to keep him from ripping off the wires and IV.
I got pissed off at the regulations that the NICU had. Ty would latch amazingly, but only suck for five to ten minutes. Apparently, they’re supposed to nurse every 2 hours for 15 minutes. Or something. I told them that he was sleepy, comfy with his mom, and happy. He didn’t need to be on a clock. Haven had been sleepy too. I had to put ice packs on her back to get her to nurse. My nurse was an awesome down-to-business mother of 6. She told the head nurse that I pumped faster than any mom she had ever seen. So, they would wake Ty up every four hours if he didn’t nurse. And he took a bottle easily.
Damon and I took Haven to the hospital cafeteria to have our first meal together since before Ty was born. We ate a pasta prepared by my family, that they’re always asking me how to make even though it’s just rotini, black olives, green onions, one lemon, sea salt, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.
I went home from the NICU with my baby boy drinking wonderfully from his bottle, being cared for by this Lithuanian nurse who was much too peppy for working night-shift. I loved her false-eyelashes and excited disposition. The NICU nurses there were seriously top-notch. He was on room-air when I left that night, meaning “breathing fine on his own”. He had barely cried the entire time he was in the NICU.
I called the NICU every three hours to make sure that he was still breathing on his own. Damon told me to chill out, that he would be fine. I had spent the last 7 days watching those stupid machines. I called.
I returned to the hospital for rounds that morning. The nurse practitioner (head honcho nurse) said that they would maybe talk about him going home in a few days. The mother-of-6 nurse had told me that the overseeing doctor was one of the most lenient when it came to NICU rules. So, I naturally spoke up.
“He’s on room-air. He chugged down a bottle in less than three minutes. He doesn’t need to be here.”
The doctor turned to his team and said to start getting him ready for discharge. Not believing it, I asked what time. The doctor checked his imaginary watch. He said as soon as things were filled out.
“THANK GOD!” I yelled. Everyone laughed.
Ty had two more tests. He had to pass his hearing test and his car-seat test. He passed his hearing test. They put him in his car-seat for forty-five minutes, with the oxygenation measure on his finger. He passed. Easily.
The day-shift nurse and I fought with his dumb car-seat for like an hour before I finally Googled how to move the shoulder-straps down. She helped me carry the car-seat out of the NICU, where Damon and Haven waited for us. We walked out of the hospital as a family and put Ty’s seat into the car.
That was the week when I learned to trust God. He freakin’ knew what He was doing when he told me to “Pack a bag”. I always remember that when I’m questioning why the ef things are not going my way. He gave me a perfect little boy and boobs busting with milk to feed him with. It was my Hell Week, but He was with me every step of the way.
That little boy turned one a few days ago. Happy Birthday, Ty. You’re more than I could have asked for.
It’s been a little less than two weeks since I got home from Miami.
After my last blog post, my mom told me to get on an airplane the next day. I had never been away from my squeaklings for more than twelve hours. This would be huge. But, if I waited, I would talk myself out of it. My mom messaged me at around 5:30 PM. At 1:30 AM, I was gripping the armrest in my airplane seat.
I bawled the entire way to the airport. Haven asked if I was sad. Where she gets her feelings from, I don’t know…But I had to give myself a pep talk..pep yell…during the drive. Damon insisted that I go on the trip. He would be going to his parent’s house for a few days while I was gone. The trip would likely last around four days. I wasn’t going to see my kids for a few days. How would I do this?
I kissed them goodbye. The airport wasn’t busy, as most travelers weren’t boarding flights at 1:30 in the friggin morning.
Oh. My. Goodness. I slept till noon every day. I basked in eighty-degree sunshine. I am now a FIRM believer that sunshine and warm weather are the cures for all mental issues on Earth. Not once did I feel like crying. Not once did I feel depressed. Or anxious. At all. Maybe it was a change in scenery. Maybe it was the weather. Whatever it was; it helped.
Prior to this trip, I went against my own advice and dug into the internet, searching for justification. What kind of mom ditches her babies for four days to go lounge on a beach 2,000 miles away?
This one did.
Being a parent is comparable to a mental health disorder. I had been on call every single day, nearly ever hour, for the last 2 1/2 years. My body had been fully invested in the creation of arms, lungs, brains, hearts, squishy baby booties, and eyeballs for 18 months of the last 3 years. I HAD GIVEN THIS MY FRICKIN’ ALL!!! You don’t get to take days off when small people demand things 24/7. In any other profession, this kind of work ethic is called being a “workaholic”. But when raising children, it’s called “Well derrrrr. That’s what you signed up for!” Bullshit. You haven’t taken a day off in 2 1/2 years at all??? Your boss would have security drag you outta the damn office. Being a mother is not a special calling. It’s a job. But unlike every other job, you’re treated like you ought to be hella grateful for the suffering. “NOT EVERYBODY HAS LEGS!! YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL THAT YOU CAN CLIMB INTO SEWERS!”- no one EVER. Did I just compare parenting to sewage work? We both handle crap…Imma call it good at that.
Martyrdom only looks good on saints. Your tiny tots are not going to remember nursing. They will not remember the time that you dropped them while putting their pants on over your shoulder like the idiot that you are (I was kneeling on carpet…..Poor Haven). Your kids will be fine. Your kids will be fine. YOUR KIDS WILL BE FINE!! My kids were with their father. Yours could spend time with family. Your kids will be fine. I’m serious. Stop saying how guilty you feel. Stop saying that you “could never leave your kids”. Reread bullet number 1. You are not sacrificing your mental health for your children. You’re doing it because it’s been hammered into your brain by a bunch of losers that unless you are fully submerged in motherhood at all times that you are a bad person. Or that’s how you interpret it. Your mental health is more important than clinging to the notion that only mothers can be there for their children. Take this notion, find a toilet, and flush that down. Am I saying to abandon them forever? No. You’re going on vacation. Like normal human beings ought to.
Babies grow up to be assholes. I don’t care how much Baby Einstein she/he watches. Your precious toddler will cut someone off in traffic. Your adorable little lump of three months will get married in Vegas on Mother’s Day. Your baby is going to do a keg stand one day surrounded by a cheering crowd of horny college students all carrying garden variety STDs. Hell, your baby might be manning the cash register at McDonald’s. Kids grow up to do their own friggin thing. DO NOT THROW ALL OF YOUR EGGS INTO ONE BASKET! Do not make your children the ONE THING that you ever accomplish and stake all esteem to! Why? Because kids don’t give a shit about your sacrifices. Kids don’t care how things affect their moms. Kids who do are the exception…or parents themselves usually. Don’t be that resentful woman who takes all of her children’s failures personally because they’re all that she’s ever put energy into. Don’t. Seriously. Don’t do that to yourself.
Fine…Babies need functioning mothers. I was snapping every time that Haven asked me for anything. Hearing Ty cry did’t pull on my maternal heart-strings; it made me want to slash my wrists and go to the psych ward for a week. No joke. I literally considered this. Every. Day. prior to my trip. I was not the kind of mom that my small ones deserved. They deserved a mom who could get out of bed in the morning. They deserved a mom who could drive herself around. They deserved a mom who would read to them. Etc. ETC. I ditched them for four days because I love them. Now, I’m not losing my mind quite as often. I’m not freaking out constantly. Things are better.
You need to remember what you feel like. Waking up and going to bed because I felt like it? Yeah….that hadn’t happened in years. Eating in peace? Going for a walk? Not having to plan my entire day around two people who don’t care at all about how their nonsensical logistics work?? I’d completely forgotten how that felt. Honestly, for the first day in Miami I had no clue what to do with myself. I took a nap without a fat baby busting the door open to nurse. I ate chocolate without a tantrumy toddler begging for pieces. Nobody was asking me to put on their Elsa dress. I got dressed in quiet. I slept till noon. My mom and I jogged to the grocery store in the Florida sunshine. We lounged on the beach among the bronze French Canadian retirees. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean. My grandpa took us out to restaurants and a movie. We shopped without people clinging to our legs. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Crazy. And therapeutic. One day, the babies won’t be around. One day, every day will be like that again. One day, it’ll be just me and Damon.
My marriage is better. I didn’t miss my babies while I was gone. Maybe a bit here and there on the plane. But not really. I missed Damon a lot though. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. While I’m not fully healed yet, I’m much better than before my trip. Not being around a messy house did wonders for my attraction to him. Awwwww yeahhhh. He still has to support the crap out of me emotionally, but at least I can drive now.
You’ll be more bold to take care of yourself. I didn’t wait months before getting help for my anxiety. I made a doctor’s appointment the day that I realized what was happening. I should have done that after Ty was born with my postpartum depression, but I didn’t. Now that I’m home from my trip, thinking about myself isn’t as hard. I’m no longer mentally caged by this notion that “Well, but they need me…” Damon takes care of me, as he always does. Having a supportive spouse makes a huge difference in pretty much everything. I’m more likely to ask him for what I need. I act more quickly now. I feel waayyyy less guilt than I did before. Things are getting better.
I’ve already booked my next trip. Going to Vegas in a month. 😀
I don’t know what my readers think of me, but let me tell you where I’ve been.
About two weeks ago, I started having to drag myself to class. With it being the middle of the semester, I assumed that it was just that mid-semester lulll in motivation. Perhaps I was just getting lazy. My classes felt even more exhausting than usual.
Normally, running cheers me up. I hopped on the treadmill, hoping to kick some joy into my veins. Running only made me angrier. I nearly burst into tears upon returning to the locker room.
At first, I thought that I might be pregnant (I’m not). I had two panic attacks in one day. Damon held me while I freaked out, hyperventilating, feeling my body temperature fluctuate. This had never happened to me before, well, with the exception of one bad episode of Lie to Me three years ago. Perhaps, this was just hormones.
I realized that it wasn’t that I was too lazy to go to class, I was afraid of going. The usual routine of getting dressed and driving ten minutes scared the crap out of me. There was a brick wall in my brain with a huge red STOP sign painted over it. Dead End. Do Not Enter. Being alone with my children brought that same feeling of dread. Ty’s screaming little face would cause me to curl into a ball and sob.
We went to the doctor while Damon’s sister watched the kids; berating Damon stupidly the entire way there. I liked the doc. He was a nice guy who had a sore throat that day. I felt like the room was on fire, both mentally and physically. I kept messing with my hair and fanning myself with a People magazine. The magazines seemed to be staring at me. My hands were shaking. There was no chance in hell I was going to work that day. He wrote me a note for class and work. Thankfully, this past week has been Spring Break, so at least attending class hasn’t been on my list of “things that I suck at right now”.
Being medicated seems to help chill me out a little bit. The doc upped my dose of “Let’s get out of bed today” medicine a little bit. I don’t feel like the room is on fire, but it doesn’t make me any happier. It just puts me at a flatline. At work, I’m normally a semi-annoying little buzz of erratic energy. Not yesterday. I did my job, dead-faced when I didn’t have to smile for residents. I didn’t chat with my coworkers. Working did help distract me, but I could feel a chunk missing from my puzzle.
The upside is that the compulsion to steer myself away from the crushing loneliness motivated me to write two short stories in less than a day. They’re only first drafts, but they were pretty good. I’ve been noticing more in the green grass outside and the pink flower buds on the trees. I’ve been writing more; the one upside of this crapped up situation that is my brain.
I haven’t driven by myself in two weeks. I haven’t been to class since last Tuesday. I cling to Damon’s arm the entire time we’re out grocery shopping. I can’t watch my favorite detective show anymore because it scares me. I don’t sleep well anymore. My poor kids have to deal with my moody outbursts. Damon has to hold me and deal with me while I freak out over nothing. My house has gone to pot, which makes me scream…literally.
I don’t know where I’ve gone and don’t know what’s happening to me. Maybe this is a sign that I need to chill out. Maybe it’s a sign that I need a break. A break from what, though? I can’t take a break from my kids. I can’t take a break from school. I can’t take a break from life. That’d be great, but life doesn’t work that way.
You walk into your first job interview, shake the interviewer’s hand, and sit down across from them. Expecting a slew of questions regarding weaknesses and strengths and times that you showed leadership, you lean back and breathe.
“Well, let’s go ahead and get started. First things first; were you breastfed or formula-fed?”
An awkward silence.
“Uhhhh…I think maybe breastfed? I don’t know?”
The interviewer squints at you, jotting down a few notes.
“All right then. What weight percentile were you at six months?”
The interviewer clears his throat, lest you misheard him.
“Weight. Percentile. What percentile were you at six months?”
“I honestly have no idea.”
“What about walking? How old were you when you took your first steps?”
“No idea. I’m confused. I thought that this was an interview for a customer service position?”
“It is. Now, did your mother feed you organic baby food or not?”
What weight percentile are my kids? No clue. Haven is scrawny. Ty looks like he drinks whiskey after weight-training for three hours. Height percentile? Can we talk about something else…please? If I wanted to hear this crap more, I’d get cozy with the pediatrician.
Haven got fruits and veggies thrown in the blender. Ty eats whatever we’re eating or whatever he finds on the floor. I’ve adopted this motto:
“You won’t remember any of this, so how can I make my life easier?”
My mom read to me every day for hours. She made sure that the house was spotless at all times. We got nicely structured amounts of “media time”.
And I don’t remember like…any of it. I can barely remember anything prior to the second grade. Well, I remember her being stressed all of the time. I have six younger siblings, and my mom should have been the CEO of a huge corporation. She had to invest her outrageous amounts of energy into something.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t put effort into your kids? Obviously not. But they’re not going to remember any of this. You are not going to ruin your child’s chances of becoming an astronaut by giving them macaroni and cheese. Your child’s weight and height percentile will literally never ever come up again. The stroller that you purchase will not developmentally hinder or empower them. Look for how it will help you. If you’re happier, your kids will be too.
I think Haven started walking at 11 months…or something. Ty started walking at 9 or 9 1/2 months. Honestly, I don’t friggin remember. All that I remember is that he stood up for the first time in church. The other moms were asking “Awwww! Aren’t you so proud?!” I gave a nervous smile, followed by a whispered: “Ohhhh shiiiii*”
You wanna know my secret for getting my son to walk SOOOO early?
Absolutely nothing. There is nothing that you can do to make your kids “hit their milestones” earlier. It’s like pressuring your children to hit puberty faster. Or to grow taller. It happens when it happens. Unless they’re on the extreme EXTREME ends of either end, it doesn’t make one flickin frickin bit of difference.
Repeat after me: You cannot teach your children to walk any more than you can teach their balls to drop.
Imma get that embossed on a wooden board and gift it at baby showers.
I make my decisions based on how easy they make my life. I’m going to be the one who remembers this time. Not them.
Both of my kids sleep with me because I’m too lazy to get up with them, cuddling them is nice, and hearing people cry makes me want to commit suicide.
Both of my kids were breastfed because it was easier for me. I supplemented with Haven sometimes when I went to class because it made Damon’s life easier while I went to class.
I don’t use a carrier or stroller because I don’t have three kids yet, and they’re a giant pain in the butthole to carry and store.
I’m a lazy person. And I don’t care what other people do with their kids. If using a pacifier makes your life easier, do it. If using a stroller helps make your walks more enjoyable, do it. Whatever makes your life easier. Your kids will not be outraged that they didn’t have organic goat’s milk. Your kids don’t give a crap that they were in daycare. Your kids will not be comparing their “breastfed exclusively” time periods on the playground. Your kid will grow up to be like every other kid. Statistically speaking, that’s just how it has to work. It is very unlikely that your kid will be extremely anything. Ever.
And that’s fine.
Quit comparing your baby to other babies. Some moms will tell me, “Wow! That’s so cool that your baby can walk so young!” “Yeah…well, you’ll be a lot less impressed in a minute when he starts beating your kid with a water bottle…” Ty was surrounded by crawling baby girls and took it upon himself to bludgeon them with toys.
They’re babies. They are not aware that their mother’s esteem relies entirely on how they compare to other babies! It is not a friggin competition!! The participants are not aware that they are competing. They are slack-jawed and drooling. They are eating carrot sticks out of trash cans. The participants don’t care!! You’re telling me that your value as a human relies on someone who finds it appropriate to shi* themselves in public?!
Come on now.
“Milestones” should be renamed “stuff that will happen”. Every baby follows the same pattern at their own pace. You are not increasing your child’s chances of attending Stanford by trying to force them to walk earlier. You’re not helping them at all by forcing them to do stuff as a baby. I promise that your kid will crawl. They will walk. Eventually, they will talk. Seriously. They’ve got a lifetime to disappoint you. Don’t set your expectations so low that they start disappointing you at 6 months.
Nobody needs that in their life.
Kids grow up to be adults. And employers don’t care if they were cloth-diapered or not.