Steps In Mommyhood

Adventures of a First Time Mom

(I) I Love You More

I

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter I!

When I was younger, I remember telling my mom that I love her. Her very quick and easy response was (and still is), “I love you more.” I’d argue lovingly with her Josh and my handsfor a while that it wasn’t possible, there was no way she could love me more than I  love her.

Up until a little over seven months ago I never really understood why she always says that. I never understood how she can possibly feel that way.

Up until a little over seven months ago I had never uttered “I love you more” and truly got it.

Now I get it.

I love him more. With every bit of my being, I love him more than he will ever be able to fathom until he has a little one of his own many years from now. My son is my world, and my heart keeps growing. Every time I wake up, I love him more. I look forward to the days when he can start telling me that he loves me. To hear his tiny voice with his love-filled eyes expressing his love.to the moon and back

And I know what my response will be. “I love you more.”

I get it now, Mom.

 

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(H) Book Review: Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

harry dirty dog

Harry the Dirty Dog
By:
 Gene Zion

Publication Date: 1956
Genre: Children’s Literature

Summary:
Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, digging and sliding in everything from garden soil to pavement tar. By the time he returns home, Harry is so dirty he looks like a black dog with white spots. His family doesn’t even recognize him!

*~*

 

The first time I read this book to BabyJ, he giggled and couldn’t get enough. Every time I turned the page, he would excitedly jolt his arms as he awaited the next portion of the story. I really love that this story has beautiful illustrations, fun dialogue, and an easy-to-follow story for children. There is enough action through the story to keep kids engaged, fun jokes to make them laugh, and a lovable character. I read this book frequently, as I love the way the story easily rolls off the tongue when I read. It’s a nice reprieve after I finish reading a tongue twister like Dr. Seuss.

This book would make a great gift for a baby shower, birthday, or something else. 

*~*

The Final Countdown – 5 Stars!

Links
Amazon – Paperback 
AmazonHardcover
Amazon – Kindle

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter H! H

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(G) Google With Caution

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Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter G!

We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. Anything we could want to know is available to us. All of our questions are answered with the pressing of a few buttons. I use the internet for school, chatting with friends, researching products I want to buy… and SO much more.

But really, the accuracy of the information we are getting is not up to snuff. I know people who believe everything they read off the internet, even if the information is obviously false. 

Some of the biggest victims of the ‘Google It’ Era are mothers… I can’t even count how many times Brian has me step away from my computer or phone when I was worried about some symptom I was experiencing while I was pregnant or when I was in my first six weeks postpartum. 

Luckily, I haven’t gotten into this habit with BabyJ. I trust my gut more than the internet. One thing I’ve been culprit of using the internet and the mommy groups on Facebook for are advice on how to handle certain things, such as milk supply drops, upset baby at night, being overtired, etc. Those are the things that aren’t as detrimental. When it comes to medications, treating health conditions, diagnosing health conditions, or something that could really hurt someone… consult a physician. Most children’s health offices have a nurse on call at all times. Use them! I know I have!

Ignorance is bliss, as they say. Who are they? Well, I guess I could go look it up on Google…

Admit it. You’ve googled it. What have been some crazy topics you’ve looked up on Google? Have you come up with anything that is obviously not accurate? Tell me things!

 

(F) Family

F

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter F! 

Family is a very important part of everything I do. Barely a day went by during college when I didn’t talk to my parents. I also great up in a house with my uncle and grandmother living with us. Being surrounded by such a strong family unit helped deepen my appreciation for my kin.I was fortunate enough to find someone to spend my life with who has the same appreciation for family that I do.

As we’ve grown up, we’ve built our own little family. It started as the two of us for the first year after we got married, then we decided our house was too big for us and needed some filling. That was when we adopted out little furballs–two sibling kittens, Dobby Sirius and Winky Ginevra. For such tiny creatures, they filled such a big void in our lives. As time went on, our world continued to feel empty. Cue BabyJ.

Through everything we’ve gone through, we’ve been surrounded by family. The beautiful thing is family does not have to be blood/marriage. Some of my greatest family members are my best friends, to whom I have no blood relation. We’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by such love and support from those we call family. Not everyone has the same.

I believe it’s important for children to grow up with a strong family support system. This family doesn’t necessarily need to be biological; friends, teachers, physicians… they can all be like family.

(E) Exclusive Pumping, An Update

E

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter E!

Some of you may have already read about my journey with breastfeeding and exclusive pumping, but if you haven’t all of the information is in the hearty long post.

I’ve been pumping now for almost six months. I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by, especially looking back at all of the intense nights waking up every few hours to hook up and milk myself. I felt like one of those cows on those milk farms… hooked up to those uncomfortable looking milk pumps. Eep.

Anywho, I decided recently that I want to do a series of blog posts related to pumping and those who mostly or solely pump for their little ones. It’s a work in progress right now, but look for more information to come.

Brian and I decided recently that we would start weaning BabyJ to be milk- and formula-fed, as I had to drop a few pumps right before my grandmother passed away. I am now down to 3-4 pumps per day, providing him with most of the milk he needs for the day, while supplementing with a couple of bottles with formula when needed. It’s been a process for us, and I’m working to ease my guilt through all of this, but I’m trying to wrap my mind around being ready to have my body back. It sounds awfully selfish when phrased that way, which is part of the reason I haven’t completely stopped yet. 3-4 pumps per day has allowed me to spend more time with BabyJ and be more well-rested. My supply has dropped a little bit, but we had already decided formula was fine now that he’s older. 

More to come soon… For now, this was just a quick update.

What was your journey with your little one? Was your LO breastfed, milk fed through pumping, or formula fed, or perhaps a mixture of some? Tell me your story.* Please note that this is a judgement-free zone, any abusive or judgmental comments will be deleted.

(D) Dad Jokes and Other Fun Things

D
Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter D!

I feel like most of the posts I read A-dad-is-someone-who-holds-you-scolds-youin mommy groups these days are of women complaining about their husbands. While I’m sure some of these complaints are valid, I rarely see one I think, “Oh jeeze, what a terrible husband.” A recent one really frustrated me – a woman complaining that all her boyfriend got her for Valentine’s Day was a flower. Maybe it’s because we have never really been a crazy gift-reliant couple, though he does give some pretty thoughtful gifts. The greatest gift my husband and I gave each other is BabyJ.

dad husbandWith all the negativity I see toward significant others on the pages I’m on… I thought I’d share something positive. There’s still hope out there. If you find yourself with someone who makes you miserable, treats you wrong, or just doesn’t fit–There is someone out there.

I always knew how lucky I was to end up with my best friend. He’s always been an amaziwatching-your-husband-become-a-father-is-really-sexy-and-wonderful-403x403-nk9ovpng companion, partner, best friend, and husband… I had no doubt he’d be a great Daddy, too. Little did I know just how great a Daddy he’d be. Everything just clicked for him–he stepped in when I needed support during pregnancy, he talked me through my fears, and he was my rock during labor and delivery. Then seeing him hold our son… It was like that perfect company front during a marching band performance… Took my breath away. Hell, it still does.

Sure, he’s had the infamous Dad Joke perfected probably scheck balanceince he could talk, but that’s not a problem. Sometimes those jokes are actually pretty funny. Other times I just can’t help but roll my eyes at the cheesy puns. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way, though. BabyJ will pick up on his daddy’s humor, I’m sure. Brian will have the perfect audience in our tiny tot, with me watching them both.

That’s something I look forward to–watching them grow together… Though, time can slow down just a little bit so I can enjoy the now. He’ll get to see his Daddy helping me around the house, with various errands and projects we have going on, and he’ll see that Daddy respects women. (Heck, he respects everyone, honestly.) I really can’t explain how important this is, especially these days.

I love our little family – Mommy, Daddy, baby, and two furry friends. Our unit works for us.

dad jokes dawned on me

 

What is your family like? Is there something your significant other does for you that you love? (I’m partial to the foot rubs, myself!)

 

 

 

(C) Childbirth

C.jpgWarning: Some of this post is a little graphic and may be a trigger to some.

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter C! 

I’m not going to go into the mechanics of it. By now, you should know how it works. If you don’t.. well, I’d say to Google it, but I’m sure you’d come up with some pretty questionable content. Eep! And that’s the last thing you want… to tell an expectant mom (or dad) to just Google it. Ha. I digress…

Regardless of your scientific knowledge, you at least know that the baby comes out. Somehow. Vaginally. C-Section. It WILL come out.ready or not here i come

Some women are in labor for 36 hours, some are in labor for 8, some for barely any time at all. I was an 8 hour laborer. Oh man, BabyJ came quickly. Then again, those 5 hours of pushing were ridiculous. I look back on it and, while some of it has softened around the edges and I’m not as much a mess as I was before, the PTSD still rears its ugly head when I think about labor. I envy those women who have had beautiful birth experiences. For those who haven’t read it yet, HERE is my post about the labor. I didn’t include all of the details at the time, but they cover a decent amount.

Birth Experience Affect MindMy advice to those women who are expecting or hope to start a family at some point:

  • Be your own advocate.
  • Prepare your significant other or helper in the room during birth to be your advocate in case you can’t. If you end up fainting, or having to be put under anesthesia, or something else that prevents you from having a voice in your medical and emotional decisions, having someone you trust in the room with you can make a world of difference. There was a moment during my labor that I remember well – one of the doctors was not listening to my request to tell me prior to conducting a very invasive routine check and went about doing the procedure anyway, eliciting an automatic panic response from me, so Brian spoke up and told the doctor he needed to listen to me and talk me through what was going on instead of just acting. From there, the doctor made an effort to tell me before doing something, which made the experience a little easier.
  • Speak up for yourself. You have a voice. Use it. 
  • Believe in yourself. I’ve included a list of affirmations to the bottom of this post that I wish I had seen prior to giving birth. I came up with some of my own affirmations and goals while I was in labor that helped me get through. Once I hit my last hour of pushing (I was pushing on and off for almost 5 hours.) I decided to use the clock as motivation, counting down each time I pushed, and promising myself BabyJ would be out by a certain time. This helped me make the pain far more manageable and I had a goals to attain, making childbirth a more emotionally attainable action.Impossible until it isdone
  • Trust your instincts. I knew I was going to go into labor early. Most of the people I told thought I was just being silly. Well, we know how that turned out.
  • Don’t settle on a doctor who is just ok. If you aren’t comfortable with something they’re doing, if you don’t think they’re attentive enough, or if you don’t think they’re taking you seriously – consider changing doctors. My OB has a great reputation and had been my doc for quite some time. My plan the entire time had been to have a natural, drug-free labor. Somewhere in the third trimester he told me that he didn’t think I’d “be able to handle the pain” and that I’d end up getting the epidural. This memory is seared into my brain as the moment I should have realized I wasn’t receiving everything I needed in a doctor. Shortly after that appointment, I went into labor five weeks early, in my many-weeks-long puffed out body, with a terrible case of poison ivy, and extremely heavy medical phobia. The doctors that I had, one in particular, did not take my phobia or anxiety seriously and was “not nice and elbow deep” as I heard one other woman describe their own experience. That’s when I started taking control of my experience, but it was too late. The damage had been done. I wish I could say I had a beautiful experience, that I couldn’t wait to do it again.

Now I’m an advocate for everyone woman who plans to have a child. As I’ve had time to process what happened to me, I can see the moments of beauty. BabyJ was born into this world and is so loved. I learned the strength of my body. I learned that the strongest muscle in a human being is the uterus. I learned that I am so much more incredible than I ever gave myself credit for.  I overcame my fears. Sure, I came out with a pretty significant case of PTSD, but I brought a tiny human into this world. 

What was your birth experience like? Share your story in the comment. Your story could help someone else.birth affirmations

(B) Burnout

BIt’s that feeling of heaviness. Dread for the next day or going to work. Resentment. Exhaustion. Lack of desire to do anything. Making more mistakes than normal. You’re like a campfire down to only small embers on big logs.burnout 3 nothing at all

I don’t like to admit it, but I’m burnt out. Being an unintentional stay at home mom has been a wonderful experience, surprisingly. I have loved these extra months at home with BabyJ, but they’re far more draining than I expected. I’ve felt work burnout. I’ve felt hobby burnout. Now I know a whole new level of burnout: mom burnout.

Burnout 1I am a stay-at-home mom, a pumper, an editor, a grad student, and (soon-to-be) back at work full time. Sure, I’m burnt out, at least a little bit. I try to change my scenery when I feel myself going down the burnout path, adding in small bits of exercise here or there, reaching out to family and friends for a pick-me-up, or picking up a book to bring me out of my funk.

The biggest thing I had to learn was… if I’m not at my best, I can’t provide my best. Heck, I can fake it til I make it, but it’s hard to fake being alert and aware. It’s hard to stay awake when my eyelids feel like they’re made of concrete. And it’s hard to be patient with myself when I’m running on empty. I found a great image online with AMAZING ideas to help work through burnout and take some time for you. Whatever reason for burnout, it’s important to take care of yourself.

Tell me your burnout stories! Did you ever make a mistake during a period of exhaustion? Have you had job burnout? Share your stories below and help inspire someone who may be in the same position.

Burnout 2 Take a break

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter B!

 

(A) A to Z Challenge

I’m really excited to welcome you to the A to Z Challenge AApril 2016 over here at Steps In Mommyhood! I’ve attempted this challenge twice already over on my other blog, and due to some circumstances beyond my control, along with poor planning, I just dropped off somewhere in the midst. Not this year! I’ve been all about that planning and preparation. Keep in mind, I have an infant at home now, so delays may happen. Let’s just take this one day at a time, shall we? I reached out to the mommy groups I’m a part of on Facebook and asked what they would like to see posts about; taking those ideas, I came up with pretty great list for the next month.

The A to Z Challenge takes place over the course of the month of April, with a different letter of the alphabet for every day. Friday, 4/1 is A, Saturday, 4/2 is B, Sunday, 4/3 is an off day, Monday, 4/4 is C… You get the picture?

What kinds of posts would you be interested in seeing on my mom blog? Looking forward to chatting with you all and checking out everyone else’s blogs!

A Quick Update

Please pardon my unexpected hiatus. I was spending much of my time with my grandmother, who took a turn a few weeks ago. We sadly lost her last week, but I believe she is in a better place. This has been a period of adjustment for my family, as we have all have had to find a new normal.

As for the rest of my life, here are some additional updates:

Editing

  • I am proofing Mindy Hayes soon-to-be new release and I’m loving it. This is my first go-about with Mindy. I’ve always loved her writing and her personality; now I get to do more than just partake from afar.
  • I’m doing a quick proof of From the Wreckage for Michele.
  • Some other fun things are in the works with these two ladies. Can’t really share much else just yet.

Regular Life

  • I started school back up in January after taking time off for maternity leave and I’m happy to report that with everything going on, I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA. I’m loving this program through Emmanuel College in Boston, MA, and I couldn’t be happier with my progress halfway through my degree. I am onto my second course of the spring semester. Though I got off to a bit of delayed start after losing my grandmother, I’m catching up and really enjoying the subject matter.
  • I’ve been unemployed for three months now. Luckily, the HR market is starting to pick up, so I will hopefully find something soon. I’m keeping myself busy with BabyJ, school, editing, job hunting, and other things.
  • Just celebrated my 4th wedding anniversary. Time goes by so quickly. This year was pretty low-key. With funds being tight due to unemployment, we decided to just be us this year.

More fun to come. The A-to-Z Challenge is coming up in April, so that will be fun! I’m trying to get ahead with that, but first I need to catch up with school and editing.

**This has been cross-posted to my other blog, as well.