A Mama’s Guide to Cold & Flu Season

rawpixel-1113214-unsplashWhether you’re a thieves or a bleach household, nothing breaks a mama heart quite like a sick baby. And nothing makes you feel more helpless than those all nighters with a coughing, stuffy, bodily fluid excreting little that you cannot trade places with …until a few days later when you inevitably get it too. I am by no means an expert and nothing in this post should replace the advice of your pediatrician, but I can promise all the information is scientifically sourced. I get a few a lot of texts from mamas when their kids are sick due to my background as a pediatric nurse. I would say the panicked curious texts occur in the greatest numbers after pediatricians offices close, on the weekends or over holidays. You know, when kids get sick! So here is my quick guide to cold and flu season highlighting the most common subjects of those text messages.

My child has a fever. What should I do?

A fever is not a sickness in and of itself, but rather a symptom. It can be a scary one, especially when you see your child not feeling well. A fever is a temperature of 100.4 or greater. As great of mom super powers as you have (and I am totally guilty of this) you cannot guess a fever with your hand on your kiddo’s forehead. You actually have to take it. Generally speaking, managing the symptoms of the underlying illness are all you have to do for a fever. Keep your child comfortable, stay calm, and make sure he or she remains well hydrated (fevers make children dehydrate more quickly). Young infants (less than 12 weeks) should be seen by pediatricians immediately for fevers as should any child with changes in behavior or consciousness. Read more at Fever Without Fear.

What is the difference between Tylenol and Motrin?

Piggybacking off our last topic, the most common reason I have given either of these medicines as a mama is either teething associated pain or fever. To understand which one to chose its good to know how they differ.

Tylenol/Acetaminophen is one of the oldest pain medicines we have for kids. It’s also one of the safest! I love safety swoon. Tylenol is best used for pain and for its antipyretic properties which is a fancy way of saying fever reducer. The main caution with Tylenol is liver toxicity (ie don’t use for a wine hangover if you’re post thirty- if you’re younger than this you’ll understand someday) so pay close attention to either the box dose or your pediatrician’s recommendations for dosage. Cliff notes: Give for pain or fever. Give the right amount every 4-6 hours.

Motrin/Ibuprofen is part of a drug class called NSAIDs which are anti-inflammatory medications or medications that reduce swelling/inflammation. I really like Motrin for teething associated discomfort for this reason because of the gum swelling that occurs. Motrin also is a great fever reducer. Motrin cannot be given to children under six months of age. Cliff notes: Give for pain or fever in children over six months every 6-8 hours.

When you need to use both medications, say for a stubborn fever or to maximize pain control you may alternate. This is probably the number one question I get: These are two different medications, you will have the best coverage if the doses are spaced out, but there is no set time frame for how close or how far apart they have to be when you alternate Motrin and Tylenol. You’re thinking too hard, mama.

Do we need antibiotics?

Maybe, but probably not. I say this with a major caveat. No one can answer that question via text message. A question like that requires an exam. We, as loving mamas of our littles, want to fix them when they are sick. We want to kiss the booboo and make it all better. The thing that sucks, and that’s the right word for it sucks is that most illnesses this time of year are viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. The Flu (influenza), RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus/Bronchiolitis), Croup and so many others cannot be fixed with antibiotics. If you take an antibiotic with a virus and get better, that’s coincidence. Only your pediatrician can tell you if you need antibiotics. They are well educated and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for prescribing those medications. And please, please don’t go in there demanding them. They have risks so if they aren’t what your child needs, then you don’t want them.

Here are a few other points I would like to add in for good measure:

-Don’t send your child to school/a birthday party/etc sick. Generally schools have a handbook that dictates criteria for returning healthy. In most cases its 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.

-If your child gets sick after a play date and you let the other mama know, that’s kind of you. If someone let’s you know, respond with grace. These things happen. Unless its a pattern, make like Taytay and Shake It Off.

-For real, you don’t need a ZPack every time you sneeze (or albuterol, but that’s a whole other rant.)

-Get a flu shot (and all your shots) and you know you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. If you do not know this, I would love to give you some peer reviewed resources on why this is so.

-The NoseFrida is your friend. Know her. Love her. Use her to treat all the snotty baby illnesses.

-Text a friend anytime. No one can do motherhood alone.

I would say those are the big three: fever, medications, and antibiotics. I hope this has been a helpful roundup of information. Most importantly you are the mama. You know your baby like no one else. If something doesn’t feel right, you know in your gut. I don’t know a pediatrician I respect that would ever be upset with a peace of mind phone call.

Special thanks to my medical friends who assisted with this post!

Find more helpful health information for your kids at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx

 

True Mama Confession: I Kind of Hate Halloween

rawpixel-1048261-unsplashTrue confession: I love fall, but I kind of hate Halloween. Sure the precious babes all decked out in their darling costumes make my heart smile, but beyond that…ehhh. I hate scary movies and anything occult. Maybe it all goes back to not being invite to the cool kids drinking party in middle school, but choosing instead to hold on (a little too long) to trick or treating. I will tell you, even though my oldest is but a toddler the thought of middle schoolers consuming alcohol is way scarier than any horror film I can fathom. Are you like me? Are you a Halloween hater or are ghosts and ghouls your jam? If the skeletal season isn’t for you, here are some tips I have found that have made my least favorite cold weather holiday more fun.

Make it about the kids.

This one is easy. From my first “mom” Halloween pregnant with my oldest, we made Halloween about handing out candy to little darlings and it was all the more fun. We dressed as a quarterback and a pregnant cheerleader, I thought I looked huge, quiet laugh for the sixteen week pregnant belly of a first time mom. Also of note, my lack of understand of how this costume could be offensive showcased how motherhood is a long lesson in sensitivity training. Long gone are the days of dressing up as a sexy fill-in-the-blank at a party filled with Jell-O shots. I am not sure I really enjoyed it when it was age appropriate. I’d much rather wear black yoga pants and a black t-shirt and cat ears or a witch hat. My son, Ben, told me this year he wanted to be an astronaut. Which shocked me, mostly because of the number of syllables in that word and the fact that I had no idea he knew what an astronaut was. See future posts entitled, “Why I Love Mother’s Day Out.” And “What Screen Time Teaches My Children While I Mindlessly Facebook.” Avery is going to be an alien because after 45 min on Pinterest it was available via Amazon Prime.

Candy.

I saw a meme the other day that according to the US government we are really doing our kids a disservice if we don’t take 40% of their candy as “taxes”. I support this. Who am I to keep my kids from learning a valuable lesson? Can I help if primarily Reese’s and Twix are the taxed candy? Nope. I’ll claim it’s random. (spoiler: it’s not.)

Use it as a Holiday Season Bench Mark.

After Halloween it’s completely acceptable to start watching Love Actually on the daily and eating pot pie weekly. I am already looking up recipes for Thanksgiving and have even bought a few Christmas presents. Don’t worry though, the epic (EPIC I tell you) procrastinator that I am will still leave most of the prep until the very last minute. I do love to use my pie dish regularly. Since my body hasn’t worn jeans, at least jeans without lycra in them, consistently in about four years I owe it to my yoga pants to test the seams with some holiday baking. Maybe I’ll get crazy and try a little yoga in them as well. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Anything can happen.

I’m off to Target to replenish the bag of Halloween candy that clearly had a hole in it for our pending trick or treaters. I will be answering the door cauldron in hand with a smile on my face and two costumed little darlings. Until bedtime, that is,  when the porch lights go off and the candy wine pairing experiment begins. Ring the doorbell after that at your own risk.

What do you think of Halloween? Love it or Leave it?

 

The Identity Crisis of Motherhood

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I really thought I knew what I was getting myself into with this whole parenting thing. Spoiler alert: I did not. The hardest thing for me, aside from the sleep deprivation and soul crushing mom guilt about literally everything, is the identity crisis of motherhood. Who am I now? Who am I when I am not mommy?

It’s not that all of my aspirations and personality traits vanished when the stick turned pink, they just got put into perspective. I know there are plenty of moms out there who are complete badasses. They literally do it all: careers, parenting, hobbies, volunteering, organic baking. I just have to accept that is not me. I am more the amazon prime loving, store bought cookie mom rolling in wearing yoga pants that have been to a yoga class.

I have tried many things to figure out what type of mom I am. That’s just how a closet type A mind works. I need to put myself in a box. A set of rules for the order of all the things. I still haven’t quite found my niche. The thing that fulfills all of me.

The exercise mom

I will never be a yogi or cross fit guru. I have to let go of the idea of ever being #fitmomgoals. I will say, proudly, that on my journey into this type of mom, I found that exercise can actually be great for ridding oneself of extra anxiety some of us were just lucky enough to be born possessing. And, it makes me feel like a little less of a poser for wearing athleisure wear exclusively. But, it’s not my box.

The direct sales mom

This idea is very intriguing to me. The thought of harnessing the SAHM work force, is a brilliant move by companies. I look around me and see my sister about to graduate from business school, and I have a random thought of, could I do that? I’m sure I could, but what would I have to give up, ask my family to give up to make something like that happen. And do I even want to, or am I just jealous of her passion? I am enjoying my foray into direct sales as It’s pushed me to try new things and reach out to people I don’t know well. I don’t think I have the personality that’s required to turn it into more than a hobby. Not my box either.

The crafty mom

Hahahahahaha. I hate senseless messes. I hot glued my finger together trying to make hair bows. I have completed one sensory bin and I spent eight times as long cleaning it up as my toddler did playing with it. DEFINITELY, not my box.

The blogger mom

This has been the best fit for me so far. I can spill my true feelings as a kind of therapeutic exercise without giving up any family time. When someone resonates with something I write the joy in that is inexplicable. I have always enjoyed writing, my challenge comes from the technology side. I can barely check my email without help. This could definitely be a part of my box.

It’s quite the transition.

Going from a career in nursing that I was so passionate about and good at, or so I like to think in my romanticized rear view memory, to a stay at home mom. There’s no rubric for my evaluation. No set of standing orders that tell me what to do in a given situation. That being said, I will not pretend to be unaware of my privilege here. I am extremely fortunate to be able to stay home with my kids, while my husband provides for us financially. I try not to take that for granted, though I am not always fantastic about the expression of that gratitude. Sorry, babe! Motherhood is an amazing journey and while I am incredibly passionate about my sweet little spawn, I often feel like I am not good at motherhood. Raising children is like doing a one million piece jigsaw puzzle over the course of decades. I put A LOT of pieces in the wrong place, maybe even lose a few. The final picture will be beautiful, even if I can’t see it yet. I want to show my children that being a mother is one of the best gifts life can give you, but it will never erase my other gifts. Therefore, I will continue to search for things to fill my box.

Dearest Darlingest Mommy to Be: A No BS Letter on Bringing Your Bundle into the World

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Dearest Darlingest Mommy to Be,

As Ben Franklin famously said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Childbirth is proof that God wants to keep us from becoming self-sufficient snarky bitches. I found that a lot of people sugar coated the transition from pregnant to motherhood. I vow to do no such thing.

 

Labor:

It hurts a whole hell of a lot. I don’t care what your pain threshold is. It’s painful. But no matter how you give birth you are a badass. This brings me to the first of many mom life lessons, if you push for 6 minutes or practically sneeze out an 8 pounder with no tearing/meds/while looking like a rock star, keep your mouth shut. No one wants to hear how you rocked the hardest physical experience of most female’s lives. I have no doubt that you will do an amazing job however it goes down. Keep an open mind. If you trust the care providers that are helping you deliver than everything will go great. The best birth plan is a healthy baby.

 

  • You usually cannot eat, so I brought a pack of lifesavers to have something to suck on when I got hungry. I didn’t tell my nurse but the reason you can’t is for anesthesia in case of an emergency c-section so just be prepared to spit out the watermelon flavored candy or risk getting caught.

 

  • It’s really messy. I brought cute nightgowns and ended up wearing the hospital gowns the whole time. Blood and sooooo much amniotic fluid (like for real there’s a lot up there).

 

  • You will be sore. Not just lady parts. Arms, abs, pretty much everything. It feels like you just lost American Ninja Warrior. It’s called “labor” not “vacation”.

 

  • The hospital bathroom will look like a scene from CSI. You will bleed A LOT. It’s normal up to a point. Granny panties for a while. Wear those vagscicle pads. Get some super large night time pads for home as well. I slept on a towel for a week with each kid to protect my sheets, but I may have been a bit of an overachiever in the blood loss department. Le sigh.

 

Postpartum:

Your boobs will be out so just don’t fight it. Between lactation consultants, nurses, and all sorts trying to help your baby figure out her first meal. Its ok for it to hurt, but not so much that you want to cry all the time. If it hurts like that see an LC immediately. It’s not worth losing your breastfeeding relationship by delaying that if it’s something you really want to do.

 

  • Get yourself some Dermoplast. It’s numbing spray that will numb up your postpartum whoha when you have to pee after birth. Because that shit stings. https://www.amazon.com/Dermoplast-Pain-Relieving-Spray-2-75-oz/dp/B0006GWSTO/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1525141917&sr=8-3&keywords=dermoplast

 

  • Speaking of shit. Take your stool softeners. Everybody poops. Everyone but you if you don’t take them. Also stay hydrated this will help the whole process.

 

  • Night 2. Babies realize that they are no longer ethereal mermaids on day two and that the world is cold, lonely and all around sucks compared to life 20,000 leagues under the sea. It’s completely normal for baby to want only mama and a boob in her mouth at all times during night two. This is particularly hard because you are so exhausted from birth, but thankfully there’s still so much adrenaline.

 

  • New babies have their days and nights mixed up initially. This takes some getting used to. Everyone will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. This also means do laundry when the baby does laundry. It’s kind of crap, but try to catch as many winks as you can. It’s so hard with all the emotions, feeds, and adrenaline.

 

  • Day 4/5 Milk comes in (cue your new porn star boobs). But you won’t want anyone, including your baby to touch them. A lot of increased tenderness even a slight fever is normal. Try to avoid over pumping as milk is supply and demand and it will just make the problem worse. hot Hot HOT shower with bikini top on + some Motrin or pain meds if you are taking them postpartum (which I recommend) should help.

 

  • Take it easy. It’s very easy to feel weird surges of energy but try to rest as much as possible.

 

  • Temp changes are normal. Going from freezing to sweating is hormones working themselves out..

 

  • Mood swings like you’ve never had before. Chances are whatever you are feeling, its 100% normal. You can want to protect your baby so fiercely as to never let her experience so much as a paper cut and simultaneously hope someone else will adopt her so you can just get some mother effing sleep. Hormones can make you feel very, very dark and anxious. I suggest talking only to people who have had a baby in the last five years about this because the older moms forget and those who haven’t experienced it just don’t get it.

 

  • Breastfeeding is hard work. You need a ton of water and a ton of calories to make milk. The pain gets better at about week two. Put those Lasinoh soothies in the fridge for extra soothing comfort. Kellymom.com is a great resource. She’s a little crunchy for my taste on parenting in general (ie is pro bed sharing) but has good feeding advice. Particularly for the middle of the night when you don’t necessarily want to call anyone.

 

  • On that note. Please don’t bed share. If you do, don’t tell me about it or I won’t sleep. Most SIDS deaths are actually bed sharing accidents. I really wanted to a few nights because I was just that tired. If you need ideas on how to stay awake for night time feedings, let me know.
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  • You will love your husband so much more. Watching him care for your baby is the sweetest thing in the whole world

 

  • You will hate your husband and his ineffectual stupid nipples.

 

  • Baby poop is freaky. There are sites devoted to the many normal shades of poop.

 

  • You will still look six months pregnant after delivery. This pissed me off to no end when I did the math. Its life. You may live in nursing tanks and sweats for the next few weeks, unless you’re Kate Middleton. And if you are don’t brag, no one likes a superior princess.

 

  • Babies don’t sleep, which is super annoying but also protective. Needing milk every few hours means someone who loves them is giving them the once over every so often and hopefully noticing if anything is wrong. If you have a freak baby that does sleep, again it’s probably not your superior parenting but luck so don’t brag. The kids who sleep early on will probably be on MTV’s Teen Mom later. Parenting is all a karma laden trade off.

 

  • Everything you are feeling is normal. Unless it’s not normal and that’s ok too. Just make sure you talk about it.

 

  • Shower and get out of the house. This can change your whole mindset.

 

  • You are doing an amazing job. Not only did the universe destine this baby for you, but it also destined you to be the one to love and protect this baby. Literally a match made in heaven.

 

  • Call your friends. We love you.

 

I could have gone on and on, but you’ll do great!

 

XOXO,

Me

The Gratitude Attitude: Shifting Perspectives of Stay-At-Home Mommin’

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I love being a stay at home mom. That does not mean I love everything about it. Especially recently, as I await the birth of my second child, I have been struggling with who I am outside of the definition of mom. I am a wife too. But what else? Where are the qualities that are uniquely me? These kind of questions are so important to ask, but the guilt and feelings of selfishness that come along with them are not easy. In a conversation with my sweet husband a while back, he asked if I would rather go back to work. A simple question that should have made me feel like the possibilities for our current arrangement could shift if that would make us happier as a family. Namely, my sweet hubby, was asking what can we do to make you happier? I should have been over joyed and called some sort of awards sales place to get his name etched on a Husband of the Year trophy. Instead, I got upset and offended. Am I doing a terrible job staying home? Is that why he wants me to go back to work? I could have an Olympic medal in reading into statements incorrectly. After some calming down and clarification. Ahhh clarification, the WD40 of relationships. I complained that while I loved being home for each of the milestones of our son, sometimes I felt like I wasn’t using my brain and didn’t feel as fulfilled as I thought I would being a stay at home mom. My husband in all of his brilliance asked, “Did you really expect to be fulfilled by dishes?? They call staying home a job because its work.”

Guys, I am calling the trophy dealer. He may just be a genius. I keep coming back to this statement of brilliance when I am having a particularly rough day. It’s work. But good news is, there is joy in work! A sense of accomplishment. Getting sloppy kisses from my son is a gift. That is not work and I don’t intend to take the flexibility of our situation for granted. It is truly a huge blessing that we can make my staying home work for our family. My challenge is the gratitude attitude. I don’t have to enjoy each toilet ring to enjoy being a stay at home mom. My goal this Thanksgiving season is to find an attitude shift in my top 5 least favorite household and mothering tasks. So here it goes:

  • Waking up Early: I was a night shift nurse for almost a decade. I loveeee to sleep in. That genetic predisposition was not inherited by my offspring. 6:30am is a late check out at Hotel Redmon. Attitude shift: My son is always so happy to see me. I am very lucky to generally get to be the first person to hug him each morning. Bring on the end of Day Light Savings!
  • Toddler Tantrums: This is a new phase for us. I think a lot of my frustration here comes from the fact that sometimes I also want to lay on the floor of Target and scream. I, however, have language skills. I am thankful that I can communicate my feelings (usually) in order to have my needs met.
  • Laundry: Laundry is super gratifying once it’s all folded and put away. I have one (ONE) disciplined chore that I do on the same day every week like my grandmother (mother of eight!). I change my sheets on Tuesdays. I love Tuesdays. I feel accomplished even if all I do around the house is make the bed, I know I will sleep better.
  • Changing Dirty Diapers: A regular child is a happy child. No one likes to be backed up. I will attempt to laugh to myself and think of the book “Everybody Poops”.
  • Toddler Meals Spilled Purposefully onto a Freshly Cleaned Floor: This one is really hard for me. Thank goodness we have a dog without a discerning palate. The issue is several fold for me. I cooked the food and now you destroyed it, made a mess and are likely still hungry. Especially as the months get colder, I will remind myself to be thankful that I have a home to clean up and enough food to make another PBJ. He is only little for just a little while.

So I am not fulfilled by dishes? Oh well. I am still a good mother. As long as I try to shift my attitude to gratitude I bet I find more fulfillment than I thought possible in this work.

5 Reasons Why the Family Bed Is Not For My Family

  1. I am a self proclaimed safe sleep psycho. Everyone has their own feelings on where members of the family should sleep. Mine formed long before parenthood. I unfortunately witnessed some devastating consequences of unsafe sleep practices working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. For this reason, I knew I could never add anything to my son’s crib and I could never co-bed. I could barely sleep after he was born for a probably unhealthy fear of SIDS. Maybe it was post-partum anxiety, but the least I could do to assuage that fear was to make his environment as AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) safe sleep compliant as possible. Or as a family member joked, “prison like”.  No fluff, no pillows/bumpers, tight fitting crib sheet, and a sleep sack rather than loose blankets. Maybe I will give him a blanket as a high school graduation present.
  2. I am a bad mom when I don’t sleep. Of course like all new moms I have functioned on not enough sleep but I am not nearly as engaging. Those days often involve a screen and a lot of “independent” play. I don’t sleep well when my husband tosses and turns. Let alone if I were dealing with my toddlers acrobatic sleep. Seriously the kid is all over the place.
  3. I believe in self soothing. I know I will get a lot of eye rolls especially from the attachment parenting cohort, but to me raising a child who is learning to manage their feelings is a measure of resiliency. Of course I will be there if he needs me. Sickness, teething and nightmares are part of being a parent. I would never expect him to handle these things on his own but a random night waking, he’s got that! I am also learning this as I go. Sometimes I am too present sometimes probably not present enough, but we are figuring it out. This is something my husband and I both feel very strongly about and it works for us.
  4. My kid won’t do it. When he was tiny I never allowed it (see number one). Recently we found ourselves with a sleepless toddler in a hotel room (or torture chamber for families as I like to call them). I pulled our boy out of the pack and play and tried to get him to settle on me. He wouldn’t do it. He thought that meant it was time to play. This my friends is how you end up driving around Dallas at 3 am with a singing toddler.
  5. It’s important to us as a couple. From talking to friends co-bedding can really impact relationships if both adults aren’t on board. My husband and I try to have State of the Union conversations every so on to check in on issues. This is one on which we have never disagreed. Not that there aren’t others because #marriage. We believe children function best when the marriage comes first.

I will never claim to be some sort of parenting expert. I have one kid with another on the way and am figuring this out just like everyone else. I truly thought we would keep B in our room until 6 months in his bassinet, but at 8 weeks to his nursery he went. The best piece of parenting advice I ever received was when I was pregnant with my son, “Parent within your personality.” You do yourself and your children a disservice when you try to become someone you are not. For me that means separate sleep spaces.

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/Committees-Councils-Sections/Child-Death-Review/Pages/Safe-Sleep.aspx

 

Nurse to Mom: A Tough Transition

Pediatric Nursing was my biggest passion for the better part of a decade. I spent six of those years tending to the sickest children in the hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit in both Oklahoma City and Richmond, VA. When I hung up my stethoscope for the time being to become a full time stay at home mom, I really believed that my time as a nurse caring for children would be my greatest asset in parenting. Little did I know it would become one of my greatest obstacles.

Becoming a mother changes everything about your life. Sure when you get married your partner’s needs are also on par with yours, but generally speaking he or she is another adult who is capable of self care. Insert a newborn. All needs must be met from an outside source. The same is often true for ICU patients. Regardless of age, often disease process takes away all of the patient’s ability for self care which is where the medical team takes over. So in my head I was convinced I was ready to take on the needs of my own child. How different could it be?

Night and day. Or both rather. There is no such thing as a shift in parenting. No hours or next round of fresh staff to give a formal report and status update to so that you can go home for some R & R. Another stark difference is scheduling. I was incredibly used to the rigid schedules that make an ICU environment thrive. Medications must be given within a certain window or your task turns red in the electronic medical record. Red means late. Red means you some how failed. At work I rarely had a red task. As a new mom, I felt like I lived in the red. He didn’t eat every three hours like the books said he would. He never slept more than two hours at a time. I could not for the life of me get one of the infinite internet-searched schedules to work for us.

He also was not hooked to a million machines measuring each bodily function. I am incredibly thankful to God every day to be the mother of a healthy child. Especially after witnessing so many devastating outcomes over the course of my time in the PICU. Those machines are addictive though. They give your anxiety an analytical lozenge. Is the baby breathing? Why yes! 47 times per minute. Right there in bright, bold text. But how would I know if my own son were to stop breathing at night? It happens. I have seen it. I have done CPR on those babies found down in the morning. I have seen the look of terror/anguish/panic on parents faces. Its so easy to fall asleep on the couch with a newborn and so tempting to just pull them into your bed for a little extra rest. But I couldn’t be “normal” about any of that. Something terrible was going to happen and it would be my fault for not being vigilant. For breaking a rule.

At work there were guidelines and protocols and the ever popular buzz words of evidence based practice. Most questions had an answer. A right or a wrong. You don’t administer Dilantin (a seizure medication) and Morphine together. You turn your patient every two hours, “scrub the hub”, wash your hands, wear an isolation gown, etc. Parenting is largely based on what works for the individual family unit. A you do you approach felt so alien to me. I took to the internet to find parenting protocols. And guess what? I was left even more confused than before. Every person with a laptop has an opinion on parenting. And not like a nice let’s all agree to disagree opinion, but a do it my way or you’ll spend your life savings paying for intensive psychotherapy for your child kind of stance. I felt so overwhelmed with every opposing theory, blog post, and book I read. Thankfully my ER attending husband is a genius and incredibly laid back. He said we will use common sense and do what works. There’s the ER vs the ICU for you.

Slowly I figured out how to wade through all of the “helpful advice” and found my stride as a mother. Well at least for the phases thus far. My child currently sleeps pretty well, eats most things, and is generally a happy kid. All of these things, I am not so naive as to believe, are in a delicate balance than will shift if he gets a tooth, ear infection, on just on a toddler whim. Thankfully I am learning what things are truly important to me to be a stickler about (safe sleep, vaccines, and car seat safety for us) and what things can slide a little (3 servings of vegetables a day….puuuuleaseeee).

Its so funny to me now as a parent to look back at my own childhood and really remember thinking adults had it all figured out. They really do put on a good show for kids. I will forever cherish my ICU nursing days and they may not be gone forever. I just know I cannot parent within that same framework, at least not without all of my hair falling out from the stress of living in the “red”.

 

 

Pregnant with a Toddler

Photo credit: Sunkissed and Free Photography

Pregnant with a Toddler

I didn’t have an easy pregnancy with my son. It was overshadowed by previous struggles to become pregnant and lots of anxiety about how I would handle being a mother for the first time. However there’s a stark difference between how I managed that stress (ie pedicures and sleeping in LATE on days off work) to now. My sweet son is 13 months old and I am rounding out my first trimester with hopefully his healthy sibling. Things are quite a bit different when I don’t get to be as selfish, for lack of a better term, as I was the first go around.

There’s no glow.

I AM TIRED. Like a fall asleep on my yoga mat during abs at Stroller Strides tired. Before I baked my husband various treats and made complex meals on days off. Tonight I served freshly baked frozen pizza. I fully believe that when you use the oven it means it’s homemade. And it was spinach pizza so practically a salad.

My son still needs his mother.

Ahhh such is the pure self-centeredness of toddlerhood. He doesn’t care that I am maxed on Diclegis (my saving grace nausea script) or that his chicken nuggets make me wanna hurl. Fortunately, veteran moms assure me that he won’t remember that I laid on the couch on a particularly bad day of morning sickness, but rather that we cuddled while watching a fire engine (obsession of the moment) on youtube.

I embrace my flaws better.

I am coming to grips in a whole new way with the idea that I am not the mother I imagined I would be. My son loves pouches of premade food. He isn’t eating handmade fruit snacks from the organic garden we planted together. (Because babies are totally into that kind of thing). I don’t have a brand new Pinterest worthy sensory-motor craft each day for after naptime. My first and only foray with homemade play dough resulted in a near vet visit for our dog and a crying toddler. But, I can amazon prime anything with lightning speed. Don’t be jealous. We all have our gifts.

My fears are different.

I have mostly found my stride as the mother of one, but knowing all of it is about to change is overwhelming. The nuts and bolts of parenting a newborn don’t scare me anymore, but the fear of not being able to balance two tiny people sure does. People say it, but does love really multiply rather than divide? How will I have enough mental and physical energy to give both kids what they need? I guess I will just have to face these fears head on. Good thing life is dealt one card at a time.

I find it’s so easy to get bogged down by the daily teething, laundry, errands race of it all. I often forget to slow down and appreciate the beautiful life I get to live. Prayer, journaling and exercise are my centering activities however imperfectly I complete them. The occasional mug cake helps too when wine isn’t an option. For now I will have to float along on grace and let myself off the hook a little.  I have a helpful and loving husband (who is dealing with my random outbursts of tears like a pro) and a beautiful healthy son. At the end of each day I know I loved them both fiercely and did the best I could. I have decided that will be my enough.