Entries Tagged as 'baby'
Sometimes when I post a particularly sweet photo, video, or blog post about our son, I get a comment back: “You make it look easy.”
Undoubtedly, this comment comes from a good place. It’s someone telling me that I’m doing ok at this whole mothering thing (hopefully, I am), that life seems pretty good (it is) and that the baby and I are clearly happy (we are).
But, oh my gosh. The last thing I would want to do ever is make it look easy.
Social media and blogging are such wonderful additions to our culture; they let people connect across huge distances and cultural divides. They make cooped-up new moms feel like they’re part of a community, they help us share knowledge and advice, and they enrich our lives in so many ways.
But they also make us competitive with each other. They make us compare our real-life experience with a snapshot of someone else’s — a beautiful, happy snapshot, but one that lacks context and background. Trust me: For every cute date-night outfit, there’s also a day when I don’t have time to even brush my hair. For every sweet baby smile, there’s a night when he wakes up every two hours in tears. Those moments are part of reality for any new mom, whether we choose to share them or not.
I don’t mean to say that there’s anything wrong with posting those beautiful moments — there isn’t, and I treasure all the sweet little smiles I’ve captured on camera in these last few months.
But phrases like “making it look easy” make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if it’s not easy. If it’s not easy, that it’s your fault. That it could be “easy” if you would just do things differently.
But here’s the thing: life isn’t rewarding or rich because it’s easy. Life is incredible because of those tiny little moments, every day, when we appreciate something joyful or meaningful in our daily experiences. Sure, there are great, easy days. And there are also so many great moments in the not-easy days.
If you’re expecting it to be easy — just because someone else might make it look easy — you’re always going to be unsatisfied.
And I wanted to write this, because I worry sometimes that I contribute to it. I worry that when I write about topics like breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss, or even how I’ve chosen to pursue my career, that others will feel badly because they’re struggling with those same issues. To write about these topics suggests, in some small way, that you have figured them out. But these are day-to-day struggles, and I don’t think anyone has fully figured them out.
All our lives are different. And it’s important to remember that. Each mom out there — each person out there, parent or not — has their own ups and downs that are unique to their family. And I know that some of my toughest moments — the 2 a.m. wake-ups and the mornings that I frantically proofread a brief while our son naps in the next room — are the memories that I’ll look back on, years later, when he’s all grown up, and smile.
So who really wants ‘easy’ anyways?
Tags: baby · life
January 16th, 2015 · 7 Comments
Have I got a story for you guys today.
(Skipping to the end, I’ll tell you: we’re fine, everything is fine. As you can see in that picture above, Bear is totally ok, but… here goes.)
So, last Friday, when I picked Bear up from the school he goes to in the afternoons, he felt a little warm. A few hours later, his temperature had gone up to about 100 degrees, which is definitely a fever, but a pretty low-grade one. It came down with Tylenol, and persisted for about a day and a half, and then he kicked it.
Almost immediately afterwards, he started getting cold symptoms, which, I thought: ok, not the end of the world. He’s almost nine months old and is around other kids almost daily, so, needless to say, we’ve had our fair share of colds. I called the doctor and they said to watch him for a few days to make sure he didn’t get worse, but overall, no big deal.
So, on Wednesday afternoon, I drop him off as usual and proceed to work for a few hours. Only, when I pick him up, his teacher tells me that he’s fast asleep at 6pm (weird), he hasn’t eaten anything all afternoon (very weird), and when I hold him, I realize that his breathing is super fast, like he’s struggling for air (absolutely horrifying).
I take him home and immediately call his pediatrician’s office and talk to their after-hours line. They get a nurse on the phone, and I tell her what’s been going on. Fortunately, by this point, I’d nursed him and he’d eaten something, but his breathing is still shallow and fast.
I’m holding Bear in my arms as I tell her this story, so his head is close to the phone. And she goes, “oh, I can hear him — it sounds like he’s panting. How soon can you get here?”
And you guys, my stomach flipped. “Five minutes,” I told her (a lie; we live more like fifteen minutes away from their office, but I was basically planning to drive 200 miles an hour at that point).
“Ok. Head over. I’ll meet you in the waiting room and check his vitals.”
That’s, obviously, when I started to cry.
Chad was still at work, so I got Bear into the carseat as quickly as I could and drove us to the office (200 miles an hour seemed like a good idea, but I decided it was probably better to avoid dying in a car accident on our way to the doctor’s office, so I went the speed limit… ish.) Minutes after we get there, the nurse comes out and hooks Bear up to an oxygen monitor to check his breathing, and I was so close to hyperventilating that I debated asking her to check mine when she was done.
But, thankfully, a minute later she announced that his oxygen levels were fine. His fever was back, but only around a hundred degrees. A while later, once Chad had arrived, we saw a doctor, who told us that he’d developed an ear infection — in babies, this is a pretty common complication from a normal cold, and they can come on suddenly, sometimes in a matter of hours. My sweet little baby who had been on the road to recovery at lunchtime now needed antibiotics, but was otherwise ok. (The breathing was just due to congestion, it turned out — his lungs were fine, too.)
Me, on the other hand. All I could think about was that he’d taken a turn for the worse and I hadn’t been there.
The worst part? I’d gotten to a stopping point in the brief I was working on forty-five minutes before I’d picked him up, but since he was safely at school, I’d taken a shower.
While my baby was refusing to eat and so congested that he was panting, I’d taken a shower.
And, obviously, I hadn’t known. But I still felt so guilty — I was still so shaken up by the whole experience and somehow felt like it was all my fault.
But once we got home, and Bear was safely in bed, I told Chad about how I was feeling. And my husband is excellent at kicking some sense into me when I go down a mom-guilt spiral, because he looked at me and responded immediately:
And, you know what? He was absolutely right. I had no idea, and yet I was sitting there, beating myself up. Ultimately, I’d done everything that I could have done — and this experience, while very scary, had turned out fine. Our son had an ear infection, got treated for it, and was now on the road to recovery.
Bear’s illness itself wasn’t a big deal, but my reaction to it, in some ways, was. This situation was almost totally out of my control, and yet my urge, as a mom, was to feel like I somehow failed him. To beat myself up totally unnecessarily, when I had done everything I could for him. To feel like I’d failed simply because this had happened.
I’ve written before about “mom guilt” and how impossible it is to try to be a “perfect” parent, but this week was an extra reminder. I hope this never happens again, and that Bear has a healthy end to his first year. But if it does, I’m going to remember that sometimes these things are out of my control — that even though I’d like to protect him from everything, trying to do that is setting myself up for inevitable failure.
As always, I’m going to do my best.
And I’m going to remind myself that that’s enough.
Besides, you can’t get through a baby’s first year without at least one Urgent Care visit, right?
What a year this one has been!
I’m charging head-on into 2015, but before I do, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on all the wonderful moments from this past year. So, if you’re new to this blog or you missed a few posts here and there, I’ve pulled together some of my favorites from the last 12 months.
This marked the birth of our son, which turned my life upside down in the happiest, most wonderful (and yet totally overwhelming) way possible. I think my favorite post of the year was on my decision to give up the idea of being a “perfect” parent and to focus on enjoying time with our son. This is something I still struggle with nearly every day, but realizing it has made our lives so much happier and better. If you’re going to read one post I wrote in 2014, head over there.
In other news…
I briefly turned into Godzilla at the sound of our baby crying… and wound up breaking our freezer.
The best advice I received as a new parent: Just Wait A Week.
Our baby broke a $500 jar of Vaseline. Oops.
I shared Baby Bear’s birth story, the most incredible night of my life. And I surprised myself by dreading those newborn weeks so much, and then finding out that I actually liked them.
We had an epic meltdown in the grocery store.
I wrote letters to our son at one, two, three, four and five months… and then somehow completely forgot to keep going. Baby Brain, people. It’s a real thing. I’m hoping to revive these in 2015! (And, if you want to get all technical about it, I technically wrote two letters to him at one month old… with no recollection of the first when I wrote the second. I blame the two combined hours of sleep I was getting per night at that point.)
I wrote about our decision to vaccinate, and why it shouldn’t be a decision at all. Please inform yourselves about the facts on this incredibly important issue, for the safety of your child and others.
I wrote about our struggles with breastfeeding and the solution that worked for us, as well as two posts on nursing mom style tips (here and here). I wrote about the products you actually need as a new mom (hint: it’s not a wardrobe of pint-size newborn clothes)!
I wrote about why parental leave isn’t just a women’s issue — engaged dads make for happier families, and paternity leave is important too.
And finally, I wrote about life as a working mom, and the challenges I’m juggling with balancing my career and our family.
Baby bump posts took up the first four months of the year! I had so much fun styling my growing belly! At the time, I felt huge and totally self-conscious, but now I look at those pictures with so much joy. This pink ASOS dress and this LOFT top were my favorites of the whole pregnancy. And this festival-inspired dress at sunset continues to be one of my favorite photos of the year.
I wore head-to-toe leopard print at eight months pregnant. And full-on sequins. Because, hey, why not?
Post-partum dressing was a big challenge, but I did my best! A great tropical-themed outfit here, and our puppy Rambo had a cameo over here. I did a number of fun collaborations, and this dressbarn style was a big favorite, as was this White House Black Market summer style. I waited nine months to wear this Mara Hoffman dress, which is basically the most perfect thing ever.
I styled an outfit for our imaginary life in California, the one we almost lived. And I shared my top five tips for dressing stylishly while pregnant.
And last but not least, I was featured in the July issue of Glamour magazine! Thanks again to my wonderful readers for pointing this out to me — without you guys, I never would have known!
Our crockpot was the workhorse of 2014 — life with a baby inevitably makes the slow cooker into your most valued possession. They’re great for creating healthy, easy, low-stress meals that won’t burn when you leave the kitchen eleven million times while preparing dinner. I loved our Southwestern Chicken Stew and BBQ Chicken for easy weeknight staples.
I also focused more on breakfasts than ever before, and made egg dishes with quinoa and avocado toasts that were delicious and super healthy, and blueberry sour cream pound cake that wasn’t so healthy but was really delicious.
And finally, you guys know me. There were some dessert creations this year, obviously. Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies that were surprisingly awesome, as were my No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars.
And finally, a two-ingredient cocktail that can’t be beat: Kahlua and Chocolate Ice Cream. Yes. I went there. And it was glorious.
(Caramel Sandwich Cookies weren’t the worst thing in the world, either.)
I shared our “ttc” (internet slang for “trying to conceive”) story, and ups and downs of finding out that I needed surgery almost immediately after we started trying to have a baby. For silly superstitious reasons, I didn’t feel comfortable posting this until after our son had safely arrived, but so many families struggle with infertility, I think it’s important that we share these stories openly and honestly. So I did.
My biggest, most epic pregnancy meltdown: The story of the ceiling fan. (Or: Why Pinterest and Pregnancy Hormones Don’t Mix.)
I wrote about my nervousness with all the ways that our life was about to change, the same way I felt about leaving New York when we moved to Texas.
I tried to remember to enjoy being pregnant, and not just focusing on when the baby would finally get here. (It’s tough, at the end, let me tell you.)
I confronted the terrifying reality that new parents have no idea what they’re doing. And that I’d probably do just fine anyways.
I ate an entire chocolate cake by myself.
And on that note, I wrote about pregnancy weight gain. I spent way too much time freaking out at the numbers on the scale at the beginning of my pregnancy, when I gained way over the “recommended” amount… which was, ultimately, exactly what my body and our son needed.
And finally, despite the many, many posts about pregnancy, I wrote about the fact that there are so many wonderful ways to create a family. Sure, pregnancy is one, but what binds a family together isn’t genetics: it’s love.
In October, we left the baby behind for a pretty amazing trip to Mexico. I slept for, like, fourteen hours a day. And it was basically the best week of my life.
I made over our breakfast nook and created the most gorgeous nursery in turquoise and white. My IKEA dresser hack went viral on Pinterest, and well deservedly so. At under $400 for all the supplies, it simply can’t be beat.
Chad and I had our five year anniversary, and I shared our very unprofessional (but totally wonderful) wedding video here.
And in September, we lost our beloved dog Calvin, who I still miss every day.
I shared some meditation tips for beginners – one of the biggest changes in 2014 was that I started meditating on a regular basis, and it has improved my outlook so dramatically. If you haven’t given it a try, I definitely recommend it!
I wrote about our new puppy Rambo, who eats poop. We like him anyway.
I had an incredible baby shower, and was so grateful to celebrate with our wonderful friends and family.
I cancelled my trip to New York for Fashion Week because I was pregnant, and then promptly reconsidered. I ended up going at seven months pregnant and had a total blast — my video diary was posted here.
And I capped off the year by finally telling you guys about my disastrous Christmas dinner in 2013. Oops!
What a year! Just writing this has put a huge smile on my face. It’s been a crazy, wild ride and a joy every single day. Can’t wait to share 2015 with you guys, too.
Tags: baby · food · home · life · style