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Tag Archives: parenthood

Hanging Out at the Station

6 May

Bunny turned 8 months old on Monday.

And all around me, people who have given birth around the same time as me, or perhaps a little before or after, are either discussing, working on, or already pregnant with baby number 2.

When it was starting to be clear that my pregnancy with Bunny was going to have a happy ending, Shmerson and I had a discussion. He was worried that I would want to jump directly to baby number 2 after Bunny was born. He was afraid that no time would pass and I would feel the pressure – and pressure him – to start trying again.

I was pretty sure that within months I would want to go again. As much as he didn’t trust me, I didn’t trust myself either. And logically we both knew that if nothing else, my body needed time to recover.

So we made a deal: No discussing baby number 2 until Bunny was 18 months old. That felt like a really long time for me. I thought for sure that even with that promise, I would never actually be willing to wait that long. I assumed that by the time Bunny would be about 6 months old I’d be hiding the condoms and peeing on sticks.

Now that everyone around me is back on the Baby Crazy Train, I thought for sure I would want to hop on board with both feet. I was waiting to have that itch to go again.

Monday night was Israel’s Independence Day. It’s holidays like these that make me look back and reflect, and also look ahead.  We went to my parents’ place to get a good view of the fireworks. Bunny was asleep in the guest bedroom, and Shmerson and I hugged on the balcony and watched.

This time last year, we hadn’t quite reached viability yet. I was going absolutely stir crazy and I was TERRIFIED. Looking at those fireworks, I couldn’t quite believe how far we’d come.

There are days I still feel like she’s not real. That I just look at her in awe. That I feel like my head is about to explode because holy crap – this amazing creature is mine to keep.

So on Monday night as we watched the fireworks, I looked ahead to next year and did the math: a year from now Bunny would be 20 months old. That’s two months past the 18 month “green light”. Will I be pregnant again?

Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Will I even WANT to be pregnant again?

The truth is that the answer is “maybe not”.

When we first got on the Baby Crazy Train I wanted three kids. There are days I still think that I want 3. But then I do the math. I’m almost 34. 35 is considered advanced maternal age and we already needed some medical intervention to conceive Bunny. So if we want 3, we can’t really take our time about it.

And getting pregnant for me is just the beginning of an ongoing nightmare. How many tries will we need to make another baby stick?

And say that baby sticks – that means another cerclage. Most likely bed rest at least for part of the pregnancy (even if it’s voluntary and just for my sanity). 9 months of anxiety again.

And this time we have Bunny to think about.

When I put that all together – I’m not quite sure I want 3 any more. I’m not quite sure how much more I can handle.

My body and my soul have been through the ringer. I NEVER want to go back there again. I will never again spend 3.5 years straight either pregnant or trying to get pregnant in pursuit of a baby.

I can’t do that ever again.

Yes – I want to bring Bunny a little brother or sister. Yes, perhaps 2 more would be nice.

But will we even be able to make it happen?

And even if we can…

I want to enjoy my baby girl. We have to move and get some more stability and cut down our commute. I want to continue to get my body back. I want to continue to get to know myself. I want to get back to enjoying my husband and my marriage. I’m working very hard on getting a life right now and I’d like to keep it for a while.

All of those things are important. All of those things would be pushed aside in pursuit of number 2.

So on Monday night, as I contemplated where we’d be a year from now, I literally felt dread at the thought of being pregnant.

Dread. This is how much I’m NOT ready to think about number 2.

And I don’t think I’ve ever surprised myself more.

Even with everyone around me working on it. Even with my dwindling fertility and the ever-ticking biological clock.

Maybe when we hit 18 months I’ll be ready. Heck – maybe I’ll even be hungry for it by then.

But for the first time in a long time  – I’ve taken myself out of the race. I don’t  feel the pressure. I don’t feel like I want to play catch-up with anybody.

I have chosen not to hop on this Baby Crazy Train.

For now, I’ll hang out at the station and play a game of peek-a-boo with Bunny.

And I’m just fine with that.

You may now pick your jaw up off the floor.

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Fighting a Losing Battle

25 Feb

So I don’t know about you guys, but I sometimes get really paranoid about the interwebz.

I make a living literally manipulating people to engage online (don’t worry – I never use my conversion voodoo on you guys) –  so you can say that I’m part of the problem.

But still – I’ve become a bit like one of those crazy old men wearing a tinfoil hat when it comes to what I do with pictures of Bunny. But on the other hand, I never actually stick to my own rules. So really – I’m like a crazy old man wearing a tinfoil hat who takes off that hat when he goes out in public. Or something.

Ok that metaphor totally got away from me. Back to the matter at hand.

So  – it all started with this:

This is Success Kid. He’s a meme. (Say it with me: “Hi Success Kid!”)

25 years from now, when he’s interviewing for the job of a lifetime, someone will run fancy facial recognition software on his picture and realize that this man was once a viral internet sensation. And even if Success Kid (I guess he’d really be “Success Man” at that point) gets that job, he’ll still be the “meme guy” at the office.

This is “Disaster Girl”.

She became a meme because someone happened to take a picture of her when she was making an evil “I may have done this” face with a house on fire in the background and they posted it online because they thought it was funny since it kind of looked like she set that fire.

She did not at any point set that fire.

Yet one day – when she’s up for the job of CEO of a company that manufactures fire trucks, she’ll be totally screwed.

Or if she falls in love with someone who’s got a fire phobia, that would be a huge issue in their relationship.

Or if she gets falsely accused of arson – they can totally use this picture against her.

You get my point.

Even before Bunny was born Shmerson and I were having in-depth discussions about how many pictures of her we should post online, if at all. I have thousands of pageviews a month on this blog, and he’s a mini “twitter celeb” over here – so he has a bunch of followers. We’re not huge online by any stretch – but we both have our own little bubble of followers – more than the average person. And most of them are people we have never met face to face.

Then again – those thousands of people also know our story. They follow us and know what we’ve been through. They supported us through the crap-tastic shitfest that was 2010-2013. They deserve to see the good parts too.

Then there’s facebook. Again – we have an issue there. First off – not all of our friends want to see pictures of the baby all day every day. I know how much that used to annoy the hell out of me, and how many closeted IFers and RPLers are on my friends list? And second -we’re literally creating fodder for her to be humiliated as a teenager. Think about it – would you want all of your baby pictures online for the whole world to see?

I’m not even going into their privacy policies. Those just make my brain hurt.

Then again – she’s our baby, we went through hell to bring her to this world, and we want to shout it from the rooftops.

So Shmerson and I sat down and came up with a set of arbitrary rules in a pathetic attempt to protect Bunny, but yet fulfill our duty as proud parents and show her off.

Here they are, and I assure you they are dumb and most likely useless:

Facebook: 

When Bunny was two weeks old, we had only posted 4 pictures of her total. Then both Shmerson and I published a status asking anyone who wants to see pics of Bunny on a regular basis to click the “like” button and they would be added to a privacy setting. Any and all pics we post of Bunny are only visible to those people who “opted in”.

We’ve also asked immediate family and friends to please ask us for permission before posting any pictures of her, and to keep it to a minimum.

We’ve posted 2-3 pictures of her without privacy settings, but most were ones where her face was too small in the frame to be distinguishable.

This blog: 

I only post pictures rarely, and I use a watermark that just obscures her face in a way that it can’t be cropped out. At least I hope it can’t. I’m sure if someone really wants to they could lose the watermark, but it’s a lot of work for anyone looking to steal a random baby identity. So I take comfort in the laziness of identity thieves.  Denial is a wonderful thing.

Twitter:

If Shmerson posts a picture (happens very rarely), he then deletes it no more than an hour after posting.

General Rules:

Never post a picture of Bunny ANYWHERE without both parents’ consent

If it has the potential to be a meme – it never EVER sees the light of the internet in any way. That means no funny faces, no obscene gestures, no weird perspectives.

For example, here are some pictures that have been banned from the internet (and sometimes emailed to very close friends or family warning them that if they publish or share them they will face the fiery wrath of a thousand suns):

Bunny on her stomach, pinky to her mouth, making a very clear “Dr Evil” face.

Bunny looking like she is holding a joint up to her mouth

Bunny giving a “thumbs up”

Bunny looking “thuggishly” grumpy

Bunny giving the finger (there are actually several of those).

The list goes on and on.

We’ve also stopped posting anything where she is not fully clothed.

I’ve been listening a lot to the “Cracked” podcast on my commute to work. It’s really informative and funny. A few episodes ago they had a discussion about internet privacy, and mentioned this one mother who took things just a BIT too far in my opinion. They made a very interesting claim though:

That people that are now in their early twenties, teens, and younger don’t know a world where there is true privacy. “Generation X” still saw a bit of the cold war. Still studied the book “1984” in school. We take these things seriously.

For “Millennials” these things are trivial – a part of life. Of course every minutia of their lives is recorded online. It’s just the way it is. They don’t see it as a problem or a threat. They take it as just another normal part of life.

Maybe Success Kid and Fire Girl will actually not have any problems getting hired, or finding a good relationship, or getting their depressive disorders acknowledged despite outside perceptions of their over-confidence. Whatever.  Maybe 20 years from now being a meme will be a huge selling point on the job market, and everyone will want to buy you drinks and anti-depressants.

We can’t know. So at least for now, Shmerson and I are making a very feeble attempt at finding some balance. It’s a losing battle, we know. But hey – at least we’re trying.

And on that note – I give you a glance at Bunny, because we’re overdue.

Please don’t make her a meme.

bunny

What’s Left Behind

4 Feb

So – I’ll save you the usual apologies for being gone so long. Until we move and/or get Bunny into daycare, sporadic will just have to do. 🙂

This post has been running through my head for a while, though I admit it’s still a jumble. I’m hoping that writing it out will help clarify some things.

What is left when the wreckage of the last 3.5 years is cleared?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. The last 5(!) months since Bunny was born have been a whirlwind. New job, big decisions, and of course the huge life change that is just having her here. I admit there are still days that I “remember” I’m a mom and freak the fuck out. She is still in a lot of ways an abstract to me. But she’s slowly but surely becoming a little person with her own wants needs and desires, so the abstract is gaining focus.

Last month, Shmerson and I re-watched the first two seasons of “Sherlock” (don’t be so impressed, it’s only six episodes), in preparation for the new season. While watching it, I realized that I remembered NOTHING. Not one single thing about this show, which I knew that I loved and I always categorized as brilliant. When I mentioned this to Shmerson, I noted: “We must have watched it while I was drugged up.”

I don’t think I hid this here, but I don’t think I discussed it much either: After losing Nadav I spent the better part of six months HEAVILY medicated. My pregnancy with Bunny I spent on very strong anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, which meant I was mostly emotionally detached from everything that entire time (and it wasn’t just the meds, it was also a defense mechanism). I credit that medication with saving my sanity and my life. But it does mean that there’s a good year or so of my life that passed in a complete haze.  I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in December of 2010 – over 3 years ago – which generally numbed my feelings. I am now only taking Xan.ax to deal with my anxiety disorder, and I’m on a very small dose. For the first time in 3 years – I’m no longer in a haze or emotionally detached due to medication.

It gets more complicated: My first miscarriage happened just two months after our wedding. From that point on, I was a woman on a mission. I abandoned literally EVERYTHING in pursuit of a baby. In June of 2010, had you asked – I would have said that my greatest ambition was to direct feature films. I had already gotten a development grant and I was getting closer and closer to that goal. If you would have told me then that I’d abandon it all to accommodate a string of high-risk pregnancies, and then become a content manager at a start-up and actually ENJOY it I would have thought that the notion was absurd.

My first loss turned everything upside down for me, and the world has only really begun to straighten up now. There were moments during the last 3.5 years that I *thought* I had things figured out. I “made decisions” regarding my future. I “pushed on”. In hindsight – those moments were a total crock.

I spent 6 months thinking I wanted to be a teacher. I spent a year and a half teaching.

I do NOT want to be a teacher.

I went back to school to get BA level psych credits so that I could do a Master’s in Art Therapy.

I do NOT want to be an art therapist.

I also don’t think I want to be a filmmaker, though that option hasn’t completely been taken off the table. 10 years of pursuing it and 2 degrees keep it perpetually on the table.

I love my job – but I’m also not sure I want to be doing that for the rest of my life.

But this is not just about career choices.

Out of the last 3.5 years, I spent 84 weeks of them pregnant. That’s almost 20 months. Practically two years.

I spent the remainder either attempting to get pregnant or grieving a lost pregnancy, or both at the same time.

(For the sake of this argument, I’m not counting of course the 5 months I have now spent raising Bunny).

That time basically demolished me completely. Giving birth to Bunny only cleared the wreckage, and of course, I can’t rely on her to rebuild. This is about me.

I need to figure out who I am now. That’s kind of a huge deal.

The last 3.5 years have called almost all of my assumptions about myself into question. Parts of my personality that I was CONVINCED were inherent to it are now absolutely gone.

A small example: I was absolutely 100% convinced that I will always be a person who struggles to diet. Gestational diabetes changed that. I have been consistently shedding pounds since giving birth and I’m now 5 pounds less than I was before getting pregnant with Bunny. I have a good 20 to go before I reach my ideal weight, but I’m getting there, and it’s not even CLOSE to being a struggle. Patience and willpower? Ha! Small potatoes compared to the hell of a high-risk pregnancy.

Any free headspace I have these days is dedicated to two things:

1) Figuring out who I am

2) Making an effort to fix the things I don’t like about myself.

There are very few things I know about myself now. This is what I’ve managed to figure out so far:

I know I both love and am terrified by being a mother.

I know I love my husband.*

I know that I have a strong survival instinct, and I am incredibly stubborn.

I know I’m good at my job.

I know I’m a good writer (prose mostly, ok at scripts, suck at  poetry).

I know I don’t trust doctors.

I know that generally, people tend to like me when they  meet me.

I know that I have absolutely NO fashion sense, nor do I have an interest in developing one.

I know I have some serious self-esteem issues

I know that purple is my favorite color, Faith No More is my favorite band, my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, and the odd one out – “The Music of Chance” by Paul Auster. I’m a 90’s pop culture junkie and I love (modern) Dr. Who and (not-so-modern) Monty Python movies.

I know I’m a good cook, though I’m no longer sure what my favorite food is. It used to be lobster. I think it may now be french fries. Or maybe fresh-baked white bread with butter.

I know I’m a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, and a good sister. Though in my weakest moments I question all of that.

If you’re counting, that’s basically 12 things. Everything else is up in the air.

Wait – I know one more thing: That whatever I figure out about who I am, I want Bunny to be proud of that person. I know I need to lead by example.

The wreckage has cleared – it’s time to rebuild.

* Last night Shmerson and I had a bit of a mini-fight. It ended with me explaining all of this to him. He told me: “I don’t know what you’re going to be either, but I can’t wait to find out, because I know it’ll be amazing.” I love him so fucking much.

Truly Equal?

7 Jan

Oh my, dear lovies. I know I don’t come here nearly as often as I should. Going back to work has been a total clusterfuck. For reals.

Luckily, the holiday means that things are just now starting to gear up again, so miraculously, it is Monday at 11pm my time, Shmerson is asleep (long night with a fussy Bunny), Bunny is (thank FSM!) asleep. Dishes are done. Bottles are sterilized, and I for once have an empty inbox.

Miracles do happen.

A lot of posts have been brewing for quite some time now. But I think it’s time I pull this one out.

Let’s talk a little about marriage and equality, shall we?

Not marriage equality – though I’m all about that! The other stuff. The man-woman-in-a-post-feminist-world stuff.

So let’s start with this: Anybody who reads this blog knows I have a very happy marriage. You also know that Shmerson and I have been through the ringer more or less since the moment we got married.

I admit – having gone through all the shit we’d gone through – I thought we were made of steel.

Nothing like a baby to make you think twice.

Don’t worry guys – spoiler alert: We ARE made of steel. But it took a while to circle around back to it.

Let’s break it down like this:

This month marks six years since Shmerson and I got together.

Up until Bunny was born we had exactly 4 big fights.

Yep. Four.

Since Bunny’s birth we’ve had… I think it’s been 7 but I may be off by one or two in either direction. For us, relatively speaking, that may as well be a million.

Man – a baby changes things.

The thing is each of those fights has been exactly the same: I feel overwhelmed. Shmerson doesn’t help. I get pissed off. Shmerson gets pissed off because he feels like he is helping, and what the hell am I so angry about? I explain that I don’t only need practical, physical help. I need him to be more active and present. He kind of gets it. Then it happens again and we realize that he only kind of got it, and I’m being unfair and unclear. And on and on it goes.

It was starting to feel like a never ending cycle. I’m going to unpack that cycle for you guys, in the hopes that it helps someone out there. I’m going to go into some mundane detail, but bear with me. This has a point.

The fact is, that I spend more time at home and with Bunny. I work at home 3 days a week. Shmerson doesn’t. That makes me the “primary caregiver” for all intents and purposes.

That also makes my life very very VERY hard. I work a full time job. My day starts at 7am, and most nights ends at 2am, with interrupted sleep because even though she generally sleeps through the night now, Bunny still has her moments.

The thing is, it’s nonstop. 5 hours of sleep (on a good night) after NO TIME to do anything. Ever. When I’m not taking care of Bunny, I’m working. Or running errands. Or taking care of dinner. Or working. Or working.

Yeah – I work a lot. But I kind of have to. It’s a full time job. I have NO TIME during the week. NONE.

This is a sucky situation. Nothing can be done about it at the moment because Shmerson has a 4 hour commute every day, and Bunny is still too young (and it’s way too winter) to go to day care. I know I will have an easier time once she goes half days to day care, so I’m powering through till March. But I am spent in every sense of the word.

When Shmerson comes home in the evening we split things very evenly. He gets home, spends a bit of time with Bunny and then we both give her her bath. That’s quality family time. Then he dresses her and puts her down for the night while I get dinner ready. We have dinner, and put something on the TV for an hour while Shmerson does dishes, sterilizes bottles, and takes out the dog. I usually spend this time answering emails and working. Four nights a week I take night duty – which basically means giving Bunny her dream feed and waking up to her in the middle of the night as needed, and Shmerson gets the other three nights. Weekends we try to give each other time to unwind. I usually do the shopping because it gives me some time to decompress, while Shmerson takes care of laundry and other household chores, pays bills and watches Bunny. I almost always have to catch up on some missed work. On Saturdays, he lets me sleep late, and I let him get in some afternoon naps.

So really – we’re as even as we can get right now in terms of housework and taking care of Bunny. I have to do more just because I’m home more. But Shmerson really tries to make up as much as he can on the weekends. We’re planning on moving closer to where we both work to make it easier on both of us – but that’s still far away (we need to find time to house hunt. Not going to happen until Bunny is in day care).

So in the middle of the week I’m spent. But it’s as even as it can get for the time being when it comes to the workload.

But for months, I felt like everything was on my shoulders. Everything.

Shmerson and I truly do strive for an equal partnership. But when it came to raising Bunny, there were two factors impeding this:

1) I’m a very pro-active person who likes making quick decisions, and Shmerson is generally non-confrontational and doesn’t like to argue.

2) I carried Bunny and gave birth to her.

Look – I know how that second one looks. I know that’s a wonderful thing that I should be and I am very grateful for. But when it comes to equality – it’s a huge issue.

Here’s how it breaks down: I carried her, which makes Shmerson have to “work” a little differently than me to connect to her. He connects beautifully. He’s an amazing father. But it’s a different experience, and it makes him feel “less than” me. It also fucks with his confidence when it comes to dealing with her. He’s not “less than” at all. He just feels that way because he didn’t carry her. Does that make sense?

Add to that the fact that – let’s be honest – I make most of our decisions. It’s not that Shmerson doesn’t participate. I just “drive” more. And Shmerson really likes it that way. He’s very much a “go with the flow” kind of guy. It’s a win-win. I get to be a control freak, he gets to enjoy the ride. No harm, no foul

Here’s the problem: Now there’s a third person in this equation. A whole life which WE – not I but WE are responsible for. If I’m doing the driving, and Shmerson isn’t even looking at a map, it’s on my head if we get lost.

And that’s the kicker. That’s a whole lot of weight on my shoulders alone.

Health. Education. Well-Being.

Sleep training. Feeding. Medical decisions. Watching out for developmental milestones. Vaccination schedules. Deciding what we have for dinner. Figuring out what to do with the dog when the neighbors complain. I was doing it ALL.

And it was killing me. The pressure. I felt like it was on me wholly. That Shmerson was along for the ride. Not ever driving. Not ever giving directions.

So the first fight – we realized that he was insecure. At that point I backed off and made sure to leave him alone and let him take care of Bunny as he saw fit, so he understood that I trusted him. He acknowledged my lack of time and was more respectful with taking Bunny off of my hands when he got home from work so I could have a bit more time.

Second fight – we realized that there was just more stuff that I knew. In the no time that I had I was doing research. Reading up on what to do and when. Talking to people. Shmerson didn’t know where to start on that one. So I told him to go read a couple of books to get up to speed. He started reading.

Third fight – we realized that I was making all of the decisions, and not allowing Shmerson his opinion. I started discussing things more with him, and he started coming to the table armed with information so that our discussions were informed and didn’t end with “do your research and you’ll know I’m right”.

Fourth fight – I was still making all of the decisions, though now there was informed discussion. Shmerson was more informed, but he still wasn’t “getting it.”

Fifth fight – I finally managed to put into words what he wasn’t “getting.” The fact that apart from being the primary caregiver, things were all on me. That I not only needed him to make decisions with me and to get informed, I sometimes needed him to be the one to start the conversation. To come to me before I came to him. To be active in the process of raising our daughter. He needed to initiate conversations sometimes. Make decisions without being asked (or sometimes begged) to.

The next morning, when I walked into the kitchen, I found salmon thawing by the sink.

Shmerson had decided what we were having for dinner. Without me having to ask him to decide.

I wanted to cry I was so happy. It was one less thing to worry about that day. And that’s a HUGE deal.

But there were still a couple more fights to come. We wanted to be truly equal parents. That’s effing hard when one of us is the one home more often. The one with more confidence. And let’s be honest -a complete effing control freak.

I needed to learn to let go and he needed to learn to take control. Things that are completely against our natures.

Then last night – I had my trumpets of triumph moment. I finally felt like we made it to the other side.

Bunny has been acting “off” for a couple of weeks. She’s going through a major developmental leap and is becoming way more aware of herself and her surroundings. I also think she’s started teething early because she wants to CHEW ALL THE THINGS all the time. The last week or so, sleep during the day has become a battle. She won’t go down for naps, and by the time bed time rolls around, things are insane. We’ve been using the Baby Whisperer method but no matter what I’ve tried – nap time is a nightmare.

So I’ve been at the end of my rope. Putting her down for a nap, and getting her to sleep in general has been on the verge of traumatic for me for more than a week now. It’s just effing hard. I know we’ll get past it. But it’s hard.

Last night, at 4am, Bunny decided it was time to wake up and play. She’s usually a champion sleeper at night. Last night it was a freaking circus.

It was my night, so for over an hour I tried to get her back to sleep. At 5:20 am I woke Shmerson up and told him that I need to sleep so I’m doing the worst thing ever and bringing Bunny into bed with us because I’m spent.

Then Bunny decided she didn’t like being in bed with us either and started to cry. At this point I was mechanically patting her on the back and literally begging her to sleep. That’s when Shmerson took the reins.

He grabbed Bunny and ordered me to sleep. He took her to her room and spent the next HOUR AND A HALF getting her back to sleep. By the time she was asleep it was time for him to leave for work. But I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep after that, and woke up to a happy Bunny. We both got to sleep late.

And when I walked in the kitchen, there was chicken thawing by the sink.

At that moment, I understood that we made it. We were equal. Finally, Shmerson took the wheel when I was too tired to drive. And I didn’t even have to ask. He just did it.

And I knew I was no longer alone.

Tonight, Shmerson came home to an early dinner and a calm Bunny (it was a miraculous day today. Naps were had). I let him go to bed early and I’m taking the dream feed even though it’s his night. I also took a break from my inbox to walk the dog and sterilize the bottles, so he could get a bit more sleep.

Because he got only 3 hours of sleep last night. And I got to sleep in.

Tonight – it was my turn to drive.

And that’s ok because I know he’ll be back at the wheel when I need him to be.

I know we’ll still have hiccups. This is a huge learning process. But I think we’re finally starting to hit a balance. We’ll never be 100% equal – things will always sway back and forth because it’s life, and that’s how life works. But the weight is now starting to be on two pairs of shoulders instead of one.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

At Least 10%

13 Dec

Updated to add – what I write about below is my opinion about what is right for ME. Each mom is entitled to her own choices. Let’s remember that in the comments section, please.

Ok bear with me here. I have to rant. So much so that even though both Bunny and I are sick, I told Shmerson he’s on his own for a little while because momma’s gotta blog.

I’ll try my best to keep it organized, but I apologize in advance if this is a little all over the place.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped speaking with a person who I considered a very close friend. We stopped speaking because I had the audacity to suggest to her that she stop breastfeeding, or at least give up some responsibility to her husband so she can get some sleep.

She told me that this was encouraging her to “be neglectful”.

Seriously.

Today, a person who I’ve been friends with for 17 (!) years posted an article on FB about women who are proud formula feeders and in the post, she said how selfish they are for doing it. She mentioned this didn’t count for women who tried and failed brea.st feeding. Yet still, I felt like she was attacking me. You know why?

Because there’s a very good chance, that if we manage to make it to baby number 2, I will brea.st feed for no more than a month and then purposefully quit, even if it’s going well.

Yep. That’s right. I will give my baby the very important immunizations he or she will need, and then I will stop and give them formula.

You know what else? Since the day Bunny was born, I have not missed a single shower. There are also three nights a week in which I get a good 8 hour stretch of sleep.

Go ahead. Tell me I’m a bad mom. Tell me I’m neglectful. I fucking dare you. I dare you to challenge me about not loving my child enough because I have the audacity to hand over some responsibility to my husband. To go back to work. To choose to bottle feed, because that way I am not tied to a pump or to the house, and I can take my xan.ax when I need to and go back to work more easily.

And sleep through the night every once in a while.

That does not make me a bad mother. In fact, I think it makes me a fucking amazing mother.

I am painfully aware of the fact that I am the most prominent female figure in my daughter’s life. I am her primary role model. She can choose to be inspired by me, or she can choose to do everything possible to be different from me.

I can’t help but look at the relationship I have with my mother, and make the decision that I will do EVERYTHING different with my child.

My mother stayed at home. My mother gave my brother and I all of herself. Literally. Everything.

So much so that now, at the age of 64, my mother has nothing except us. She lives for us and through us.

So much so that when I am sad or upset, her reaction, before comforting me, is to say “you’re killing me.” That’s right folks – I can’t go to my mother for comfort when I’m hurting without worrying that I’m hurting her in the process.

True story.

And you know what? That is a horrible, horrible thing that is incredibly unfair to me and my brother, and puts way too much pressure on us.

My mother is an incredibly talented interior designer. She let that go to give everything to us. To this day she will skip meals if I so much as hint that I need her for a few hours. She will not sleep. She will skip doctor’s appointments. She will neglect herself to take care of me, my brother, and our children.

I hate it. I hate it so much that most of the time I avoid asking her for help if I know she has other things going on, because I don’t want her to neglect her own needs.

I’m not saying I’m not grateful. I love my mother more than anything. She is an amazing woman. But you know what the happiest times I had with her were?

The two years that she worked outside the home.

I never questioned my mother’s love for me when she worked. It made our quality time much more quality. And I admired her. She was making a good living, and rocking at her job. I learned to cook so I could help her with meals and found that I had a knack for it, which I nurture to this day. She carried herself differently. It was awesome.

Then my dad pressured her to quit and she did (they are very old fashioned that way).

And again – it was all about us. She lost herself.

I do not want that to be my daughter and I. I want my daughter to see a woman who is not afraid to take care of herself. Who rocks at her job. Who has a life independent of hers. I want her to feel free to live her life for herself – not for me – because I have a life of my own. I want her to always feel free to ask me to help her, and to know that I will not forget to also help myself.

I think anyone who has read this blog and who knows how hard I fought to bring my daughter in this world would not think for a moment to question my undying, eternal love for this little person who has entered my life after 3.5 years of hell.

Anyone who knows how I didn’t leave the house for 6 months just to keep her safely inside me. Anyone who knows that I ate the same food every single day for three months to keep my blood sugar levels perfectly balanced so as not to hurt her. Anyone who sees my face fill with pure unbridled joy at the moment I see her after being away for more than a few minutes.

But if you look at the cold hard facts of my parenting style, there are women out there who would actually call me neglectful.

Because I bottle feed.

Because I let my husband wake up for feeds 3 nights out of the week.

Because I take the time to shower.

Because I work outside the home two days a week – and yes – sometimes even stay later than planned because I’m rocking it and being really productive, and that’s important.

Because when Monty Python announced their reunion shows I didn’t think twice and I bought two tickets, knowing full well that it would mean leaving a nine month old baby with her grandparents for a few days while her father and I go to London. Because seriously – it’s Monty Fucking Python. Will I miss her? Of course I will! But she won’t remember those few days, and then when she gets older I will have an uber-cool story to tell her the first time we sit down together and watch “The Holy Grail”.

Totally worth it.

Do I miss my daughter when I’m out? Of course.  Do I sometimes think I could do a “better” job at certain things than her father or her grandparents can when it comes to taking care of her? Yes. I admit I do. But I let them do it anyway, because I realize that sometimes I need a break.

But does that make me a bad mother? Hell to the fucking no. I’m an amazing mother. I know there are times I don’t feel like I am, but when I look at things objectively, I fucking rock. I spent six months in hell to keep her safely inside me. I fought through doctors and bureaucracy for 2 months to get proper treatment for her reflux. When I spend quality time with her, she has my full attention. I never pick up a phone or look at a screen during those times. I stimulate her and educate her and encourage her and love her unconditionally. And tell her that and show her that at every opportunity that I can.

But I also love her enough to live my own life. To understand my limitations. To understand that giving her 100% of myself is doing her a disservice. I need to keep 10% for me, and sometimes even more. Because that’s the kind of woman I want her to be.

And I am her role model.

I am not her slave.

I am her mother. And I love her more than anything in the world.

And as time passes I realize one thing more and more:

Loving her – also means loving myself.

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