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MOMMYHOOD

AMDG, Life with My Crab, MOMMYHOOD, TH Wedding

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC

In the 10 years since we met and now the 7 years since we married, it’s been something every year. Every single year. It’s like we are on the crazy train on a fast track. I will illustrate here:

Dating
Cohabitating
Engaged
Married
First-time parents
Relocation, first-time home owners
Miscarriage
Birth of second child, loss of a parent
Relocation, cohabitating with family
First-time home renovation, return to work
COVID-19 global pandemic

A superstitious person is anxious about year seven of marriage–so I am hoping “the Virus Crisis” is our thing for this year. It may be the thing for next year too. It also makes me anxious.

Between this big moment (ten years together and seven years married) and less “busy-ness” leaving (way too much) space for inner dialogue, I’ve been ruminating over my thoughts and taking stock of our life in the midst of COVID-19.

Where have we been?

  • See illustration above.
  • I am reminded of our wedding and the baptism of our kids when I work, and it always feels like a million moons ago. Do we look like those same people? Are we washed-up has beens?
  • Yes, we left Texas to be closer to family and my support system. Right about now that seems like a moot point–whether we live here or there, we aren’t with them.
  • Then T suggests that if we had stayed in Texas, we would have a pool and a renovated (huge) kitchen to enjoy in quarantine…

Where are we now?

  • We certainly did not envision spending so much time in our 1,200 sq ft home living, working, and playing. Between, school, work, activities and freedom to move about, our home would be more like a crash pad. Does that mean we made a bad decision?
  • The current instability is unsettling, especially for those of us used to the comfort of planning and predictability (a privilege). I’m becoming more self-aware of my control impulses and anxiety management. Interfacing with couples who were planning weddings and parents arranging baptisms puts me on the other side of the fence, being asked questions to which there are no definitive answers (but demanding answers anyway–which I get).

Where are we going?

My church friend (who was previously the Wedding Madam) reminded me today that a favorite priest loves to say, “we plan and God laughs”. So is planning for our future futile? It does seem like a missed lesson from this “press pause” to try to exert control over what cannot be controlled. But YEAH RIGHT! then my anxious mind would have nothing to think about. Examples:

  • We must provide stability for our kids
  • I do not know if we can settle down, make any long-terms decisions about school, home, job or our life anytime soon, or be those people who stay in the same place for 20, 30, 40, 50 years
  • I am always changing my mind, but…
MOMMYHOOD

Sage words

"Motherhood is long, but babyhood is short." —KellyMom, breastfeeding advice website

So true, but so trite right about now–my eyelids need toothpicks.

I'm more on speed with the voice from Lucie's List, a survival guide for new moms in which she shares, "all the sh*! that nobody told me". Her postpartum weekly newsletters are titled not by weeks of age but number of weeks of sleep loss. Today is week FOUR of sleep loss. "If you're not exhausted, keep it to yourself so you don't anger the others."

To date: our Little Miss sleeps all day–through her brother, the blender, and the construction site next door. She snores like a trucker and is a late night snacker. And don't you dare try to put her down–she's a cuddle addict and will let you know she is NOT happy. Standard baby stuff, but this is our Little Miss.

Me? I am feeling paralyzed–the kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't stuff.

  • Damned if I need more than caffeine to resurrect myself for the day. I'm not talking about prescription meds or narcotics–I'm talking about the very real drug of sugar. My name is M and I'm addicted to sugar.
  • Damned if I want to get this baby on some kind of regular schedule but I've recently read that parent-led schedules ruin breastfeeding and those moms end up as breastfeeding FAILURES.
  • Damned if I stay home and breastfeed willy nilly all day long in an effort to have a more settled baby at night (for the record, there is no guarantee). I feel like a prisoner in my own home because I have to keep the blinds closed in the middle of the day (depresso) so the construction workers next door don't see me breastfeeding my child in the living room. I don't want them to see me, AT ALL. It was BAD ENOUGH seeing our neighbor walking around in their house (blinds open, lights on) in his birthday suit. Never. Again.
  • Damned if I pump. The nutty lactation consultant at the hospital (they are all nutty, am I right?) said pumping will not help to establish the milk supply. But I read advice to pump at least twice in the morning to create an oversupply in anticipation of the four week growth spurt. Whether I should or should not is NOT clear but I guess it doesn't matter because the opportunities are few and far between, and I'm unlikely to hook myself up to the vacuum when she is not on a schedule and I can't predict when she will need to feed next. This is the stuff that makes me mental. And I have my doubts about whether hiring a lactation consultant is worthwhile, especially because the one at the hospital was such a peach.
  • Damned if I want to go for a walk. There is a heat advisory today.
  • Damned if I get out of the house for a trip to HEB. Yesterday morning when Little Miss and I went for a quick trip, I was carrying her in our new Sakura Bloom ring sling (to keep away the unwanted advances). As I was looking for chicken breasts, because that is the word of the day yesterday, today, tomorrow and beyond, this Yenta told me I should have a cap on her head because it's cold in front of the case. Thanks. Being too cold in August in Texas is not even remotely on my radar. Just. Can't. Win.
  • Damned if we socialize, especially when it might involve small children, before she has had her first vaccinations. But sometimes Facebook just isn't that interesting.
  • And damned if we have not done a damn thing on the list of aspirational projects we were going to achieve during this (undisclosed employer)-sponsored staycation they call paternity leave. Turns out, having a newborn is no vacation at all.

And here's the rub–I am dealing with all of this A MILLION TIMES BETTER than I did the first time around. It's still early days but I have to remind myself that this is a walk in the park in comparison. But talk to me when T goes back to work.

On the bright side, I checked with the doctor and it's totally okay for me to have a bath before the postpartum check. So the last two nights I've had a nice, long, hot soak (pretty sure I fell asleep in the tub last night) and a cup of mint tea before bed. [UPDATE: mint is BAD for your milk supply] That's when Daddy and Little Miss get their hugs, kisses, squeezes and cuddles, and I'm grateful for the space.

My unicorn answer to all of this is probably not a lactation consultant or a night nurse but like a doula for mommas on the verge. I need someone (not some website like Kelly's or Lucie's), preferably an older, wiser, well-traveled momma, to help me figure it all out AND ace the test. A silver bullet to cut through the bullshit and rock this newborn stage. I am not even a first-time mom and I still feel like what I am doing (or not doing) is questionable at best.

But here in reality, I just need a good book that I can read in my sleep, a binge-worthy television show that does not have gun violence because you can only watch so much Food Network, and a big glass of wine. Okay, you can't always get everything you want. I'll settle for a nap.

MOMMYHOOD

And unto us, a little miss is born

Her first week as a part of our krewe–she has been to the pediatrician and Central Market, and best of all, we are all still standing (with a little bit of a lot of help from mamere and Aunt M).

 

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