Happy (rainy) Friday! Today starts my weekend! I worked super hard this week, and so I’m currently rewarding myself with blogging from the bed with coffee while my babe sleeps.
My grandmother keeps telling me that Gemma is possibly the most photographed baby she’s ever known. I (unashamedly) admit that we did have three photoshoots with her within her first ten days of life. However, each of them was 100% different and totally worth it. I’m currently scheduled to pick-up 1000-something printed photos today, but, hey, that includes doubles, fam, so get excited for that! We don’t have another professional shoot scheduled until 6 months… but, putting these together makes me wonder if that’s soon enough?!
Even though these photos are now “old”, because our little nug has already changed so much—that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve their own spotlight just because I was slow on getting to blogging them. Have I mentioned that working and baby-ing is hard stuff? Yea, well, I’ll get there!
First, I want to give all the props to Lauren Tomasella Photography, for her kindness and patience during our shoot(s). She taught us Gemma’s now favorite thing—the eyebrow rub. And, while these photos are so peaceful and calm, I would have to say the bulk of our time together was anything but! I love these photos and highly recommend Lauren, the baby whisperer, to everyone!
Our first two months have been a rollercoaster! We have some days that feel like this is “too easy”, followed by some days where I think “there’s no way we can do another day like today.” Last week, I finally got the chance to sit down with my best friend, Ali, and seriously talk out some of the struggles of motherhood. It was such a relief to hear most of the things are a struggle for everyone. Maybe it’s a bit too universal, and that’s why no one talks about how hard it is, but I’m going to give you my top six lessons learned during our second month.
Even the easy babies are hard.
Yea, that’s right, I said it… our angel baby can shriek like no other. And, even more so, she will be 100% happy and smiling, and then the next second be screaming bloody murder for no apparent reason. She doesn’t have colic, but yet, her evenings are a struggle most days. Even when she naps well, there’s always some sort of fussy battle between the hours of four and nine. When she goes to sleep after a fussy spell in the day or the evenings, I am so relieved. After about 30 minutes of her sleeping, I do find myself missing her… then she will wake up cranky one minute later, and I’m like “what was I thinking?!” Just this week I bailed on working out, and going to Target just because I was scared of her having a massive meltdown in the car to get where we needed to go.
carseats are the worst part of parenting.
I thought it was just me, but no, confirmed this morning a fellow new mom also said, “I hate it… my husband won’t even do it!” You put them in on top of the straps and then have to awkwardly bend their arms and raise their butt to get all of the shenanigans in place. The worst of the worst is when you have your baby soundly asleep and then have to unswaddle them, and try not to wake them while putting them in the carseat. I have successfully done this one time. I am currently, in my mind, developing a new fancy infant insert that somehow zips up like a swaddle in order to keep their tiny spastic arms from waking them up and causing a complete meltdown. P.S. Carseats in the Alabama heat—a whole other animal that we are yet to fully conquer. Is she hot in the car? Cold in the stores? Roasting on a walk? How. Are. We. Supposed. To. Know!?
Breastfeeding is confusing. (and pumping sucks)
We are still currently exclusively breastfeeding. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, because last week during each session I was reading a very in-depth article about “how much more does it really benefit the baby than formula?” I also have a twinge of guilt since some moms aren’t able to do this, I am thus far, and googling these things during feedings. The truth is, it’s hard, and especially in recent days where Gemma spends 20 minutes of our 35 minute feeding screaming at least once during the day. I’ve done a lot of research (seriously, I’ve never read so much in my life!) and once I think I’ve got it figured out, nope. I’ve got two new theories to try out today. So far, so good.
Also, if you like pumping, please email some ways to hate it less because it’s something I can’t find any joy in. This causes a small stress cycle for this new mom. It goes something like this: People love to be excited for the fact that you’re exclusively breastfeeding. People love and want to feed babies to help you and bond with the baby. If I don’t feed my baby, I have to pump. I hate pumping. I am then bitter that I just didn’t feed my baby instead of hooking up to a pump. Sometimes we are out and about, and yes, it is easier to just feed her a bottle (because the new screaming feed fest in public terrifies me), but otherwise I would rather just feed her myself to avoid the bitter cycle. I consider breastfeeding a major sacrifice that a lot of mom’s don’t either feel, or don’t talk about. And yes, it makes me feel a guilty to say it out loud.
Knowledge is power.
After we finish out our “fourth trimester” I plan on doing an extensive post about the things that helped us survive the first three months, which rumor has it, are the hardest of days. There are two things I will say have helped me immensely cope with the first two months. The first is having people around me that have also just had babies. I am lucky that I have friends that are also going through the same thing all around me! I am constantly asking them “is your baby doing these things?” “How do you deal with XYZ?” Even if you don’t really “know” a person, I say reaching out even through social media is helpful! Having that little vote of confidence that there is light on the other side is really helpful.
The second thing is The Wonder Weeks app. I’m sure this information could be found on Google, but having it easily accessible has been really helpful. We are currently 4 days from coming out of our second “leap”. It alerts you to times when your baby could be fussy for what seems like no reason, when there is actually a reason… they are developing their little noggins! So far, I can totally see these leaps in Gemma, including the most recent 18 hours of sleeping, after a day of eating much more. But at the end of the leap, you’re rewarded with a few new baby skills which have also been really fun.
Parents quickly forget.
Yea, I’m talking about Men-in-Black-flashy-stick forget. I am not saying that I won’t eventually be one of them, but when grown men are coming up to us telling us “how much they miss that stage”, it takes everything in me to not whack them upside the head with my diaper bag. Do you miss the driving down University Drive while your child screams at every red light? How about all the inaccessible boogers? Right now, I just don’t get it. I know I read somewhere (but now can’t remember where, go figure!) about a certain hormone that is released in mothers that makes them forget about the pain of childbirth, which is why any one ever has multiple children, but that doesn’t explain the dad’s forgetfulness. I’m going to chalk it up to insomnia? My only point in this is just just to remind myself, and you, that the early days are hard and maybe the last thing a sleep-deprived, sweaty mom with a fussy babe wants to hear is about how much you miss those newborn days, and “how I bet you can’t just wait to have another…” Insert major eye roll.
Moms are awesome.
Yes, this is me actually tooting my own horn. You stay at home? You’re awesome. You work at an office? You’re awesome. You work from home? Awesome.
There were days when I was feeling like my butt was molding into the couch while rotting my brain on OITNB that I thought multiple times… “I just want to do something productive—there’s no way I could not go back to work.” Then, when 8 weeks quickly rolled around and it would be time for most moms to go back to work, I thought “Surely I would need to be medicated if I had to drop Gemma off at daycare today.” Then, even this week as my family is coming to help take care of Gemma so I can begin to find my work groove, it’s still hard. To hear her crying, and show self-control to not rush in to help… hard.
And are you a single mom or military mom?…you’re even more awesome. Any one (dad’s too!) who can do it alone is a real superhero. Each time Rudy travels and I get a small dose of single parenting I thank God that for me, it’s temporary. And, I have family and friends that would come at the drop of a hat to help. If you’re going it alone, you. are. awesome.
We all survive the mom guilt for whatever reason we have it that day. A friend texted me just this week just to tell me that I was rocking parenting, and you know what, it mattered, and it did help me make through one of our rough days this week. Pass it on!
the whole truth
Yes, I love all of the cuddles, sleepy smiles, and tiny clothes, but I am looking forward to coming out on the other side of what I’ve heard are the “100 days of darkness” for parents and their babes. Of course the pictures of my sweet, sleepy Gemma make me super nostalgic, but I wouldn’t go back to that day! I believe each day will bring my new favorite season with my girl. It doesn’t hurt that each day she turns more into my mini-me. 😉
The truth is that it’s hard to say these things out loud because I know what it’s like to be longing for a baby, and then now she’s here, and it’s hard.. and you feel even more guilty for saying how hard it is because you know someone, somewhere is wishing for just one sleepless night.
Even with of these hard days, of course, I wouldn’t trade it for anything… and I think that is this strange thing called parenting. You don’t know why, but you care so deeply for this human who can literally do nothing for themselves. They scream at you, yet you love them. You put them down to sleep, but immediately miss them and want to pick them back up.
Now that it’s taken me three partial baby naps, one feed, and currently cuddling while typing (yes, a new skill for me!) to finish this blog, it’s time for cuddles on Fridays to continue with my full attention. And, a sweet baby photo that’s sure to make you yawn too on this rainy Friday. Happy weekend, friends!