How The Hardest Moments Can Truly Be Easy

As some of you may have already read on the blog’s Facebook page, I recently had two grand mal seizures. Not that seizures are ever easy, but it was especially difficult since I was only months away from my 10 year mark of being seizure-free. At the behest of both medical professionals and my family and friends, I’ve been advised to take it easy. That means that while I’ll be taking some time to focus on healing, some of my lovely writer friends have offered to do some guest posts!

What better way to kick off these awesome guest posts than with this piece by Joe of Developing Dad? These past weeks have made me let go of the little things, push myself when things seem hard, and cherish the sweet moments that come easily. Make sure to check out more info about this fab author at the end! In the mean time, enjoy this lovely parenting reminder:


 

A co-worker, my office mate during our first pregnancy was 5 or so years further down the road from us with two kids, preschool and kindergarten. She was largely bemused by me and my behavior as an expectant dad. I would be now too. Expectant parents, the good responsible ones at least, are a bit silly. We were no different. I don’t recall what brought about the comment she made to me, but it’s stuck with me all these years. She said, ‘having kids is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But it’s easy.’
Well, this is the definition of a conundrum and sounds like absolute hog swallop! But it turned out she was right.

scott-pilgrim-its-hard

Before the kids I had an absolute need to find consistency. To make that which was juxtaposed become resolved. To that brain there was a crisis, or there would have been had I accepted the statement, to make one of these opposing realities fail. After all how could it be hard and easy? A thing can’t be black and white. It just can’t!

Well, turns out it can. Because caring for my kids, providing for them, raising them, being there every minute is incredibly and sometimes seemingly unbearably challenging. It’s all the things you hear about but can’t fully conceive of prior to them arriving. And an absolute TON more.

Physically it depletes and even destroys some parts that may be revived to some extent but will never be fully what they were before. Emotionally they take you to your furthest limit and live on that edge, leaning on it and pushing it to the point where you have to break in order to rebuild your walls further out than you ever thought you’d be. Then they move there, to your new outer limit, lower their shoulders and push. Push until they break through and you are once again forced to build retaining walls further out. You can’t even remember where your silly emotional limits were before they arrived to push you, but surely you now think of your former emotional stamina as that of some sort of lower animal. Hard to imagine you ever thought a thing difficult before this.

Benedictfeels

Financially. Others focus on this and ameliorate it through hard work, smart work, good fortune, determination and single minded focus. I, being one who is unwilling and likely unable to eliminate this issue, pities these people. Mostly I pity them out of envy and defensiveness. That is as far as I’m willing to explore the dynamic so I’ll leave it there. But be it known, your money which you’ve always considered in short supply and wholly yours is now in shorter supply, much more necessary and barely yours for even the few moments in which you possess it. I’m not complaining and I remain aware of how insanely lucky I am to have what I have. But it’s still a grinding thing trying to make it all work.

i can do it

Beyond this you now carry a burden that is beyond your comprehension until the moment that baby meets you. I daresay that moment came months earlier for my wife than it did for me. Still, once it appears it will be with you for as far out as you can look. Another human being, one completely incompetent and needing of you every single day, all day, is here. You love him and hold him and treasure it all, but it does weigh on you. I once knew a man who honestly believed he didn’t carry this stuff with him. Yet if you asked his wife and kids they’d tell you, he carried it nobly, and for ten years while the kids were young he moaned like a cow mooing in his sleep. Loud. Wake you up on other floors loud. Showed up with the kids and disappeared when most of them could shower, bathe and feed themselves. It hits us all.

The hard is evident and there’s an annoyingly long line of people who can’t wait to tell you this as you head toward welcoming your little baby to the world. It’s doubly annoying because the negative commenters, parents I now recognize as being in the midst of their own process of becoming who are merely projecting all of the above onto you because they need the support you can’t yet give them, far outweigh the positive. Like my office mate, Mary, who also said, it’s pretty easy. And it is.

About the author:

Developing Dad is the brainchild of author Joe Medler where he muses on parenthood, marriage, children life. From the lighthearted to the profoundly insightful, his writing covers the spectrum of what it is to be a parent.

You can also check his writing out on MamaLode, The Original Bunker PunksSammiches and Psych Meds, and Say it With a Bang.

Day Care Dilemma

My husband and I recently made the decision to put our Mini Monster (aka our 20-month-old son) into nursery school. With responsibilities in both our jobs growing, the timing seemed right. My partner works a traditional 9-5 type job and, as most of you probably know, my schedule is a bit more… unconventional.

If you know what I mean

If you know what I mean

I have my part-time day job where I work with children facing developmental, behavioral, and/or cognitive delays. And I have my work-from-home job of writing both for my blog and other publications. Then there’s my 24/7 job: being a mom. Even though I love my somewhat hectic life, sometimes it can take its toll.

We all have our moments

We all have our moments

Obviously the deciding factor in enrolling our child into nursery school wasn’t so that mommy could have the opportunity to pee alone. But it was definitely a nice perk. Honestly the main reason we wanted our son to go was for him to be more social. We don’t have too many friends with children his age, so this was a nice way to ease him out of his social freak outs.

*Reenactment

*Reenactment of our son around other children before enrolling in nursery school

Yet the one thing I was consistently warned about still caught me by surprise: sniffles. I don’t care how healthy your kid is, how much sleep they get, or what spirits you pray to, it seems inevitable that your child will eventually catch a bug from someone at daycare/school. Like clockwork, my son got the tell-tale runny nose his first week in and it has yet to fully clear up despite my best efforts. I still try to prevent spreading germs as much as possible, though.

Dean knows what's up

Dean knows what’s up

Since I’m still so new to this whole nursery school scene, what do you guys think? Are the “sniffles” something that just go away on their own? Or do you pull them out at a certain point to let their immune system recover? Let me know what you think, because I’m pretty sure we’re depleting the forests with our recent uptick in Kleenex usage!

Flashback Friday: Confessions of a Chronically Ill New Mom

I can hardly believe it’s been almost two years since I became a mom. Although I still haven’t perfected the art of motherhood, it’s crazy to think back to a time when everything was still so new and unfamiliar. So here’s a Flashback Friday (is that what the kids call it?) fun post about all my secret confessions as a new mom.

Have any of these happened to you?

5. Eau de What??

Some of you may know this about me, but I can’t smell (thanks, seizures!).  This has its pros and cons.  Pro: I can walk by a horrifically awful dumpster and not have any reaction.  Con: I can walk around for the better part of a day with baby puke on the back of my shirt and not realize it.  And if you’re thinking that example sounds oddly detailed, you’re right, because it actually happened.  Unfortunately I can’t always blame my inability to smell.  Sometimes I am fully aware of the pureed sweet potato on the front of my shirt, but I am just too darned busy to change.

Confession: Some days I may smell like a combination of spit up, poop, and old food. I don’t care. It happens.

I'm insecure, so this is what I imagine people are thinking when they're around me

I’m insecure, so this is what I imagine people are thinking when they’re around me

4. Nature’s Napkin

You remember when you were a mom-to-be and you could spend hours on Pintrest looking up cute little DIY projects and clever hacks for life with baby?  Oh, it all seemed so possible and so adorable!  Those were the days.  And then your baby sneezes with reckless abandon directly into your mouth.  Snot happens.  As was mentioned in the above confession, I am often covered in so many fluids, I would make a hotel room on CSI look clean.

Confession: When my son is sick, and he thinks my shirt is a tissue, I oblige because I’ll do anything to make him feel better.

Sneeze away, baby

Sneeze away, baby

3. Back Burner Syndrome

Let’s face it.  When you’re a new mom, you’ve got your hands full.  Slowly but surely, more and more things start to be placed on the back burner.  It starts with not sorting the mail on a daily basis, then leaving clean laundry in the dryer, and finally you’re just lucky if you can remember where you put something.  Some of that I can blame on the “Lupus Fog” or  my memory issues (thanks again, seizures!), and sometimes I’m just prioritizing.  Surprisingly, my house actually stays pretty clean, but I guess I just feel guilty about not being able to “do it all.”

Confession: Laundry and dishes can wait.  My baby’s needs cannot.

Dust it off, boo

Dust it off, boo

2. I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want!

While the Spice Girls may have had more R-rated things in mind, what I really really want is much more G-rated.  I just want to be able to go to the friggin’ bathroom for like more than five seconds.  And I know I am not alone in this, so don’t even try to play like you wouldn’t ugly-cry tears of joy if someone said you could have a luxuriously uninterrupted, hot shower.

Confession: I love every second I get to spend with my baby, but there is only so much my bladder can hold.

How I feel when I finally et to go to the bathroom

How I feel when I finally get to go to the bathroom

1. Silver Lining

Oh you know me, always looking for the silver lining.  This time I really have found one!  I used to get bummed (and borderline offended) when people would assume that because I don’t look my age and have crazy hair that I must be a teen mom.  I even had one older lady behind me in the check-out line make a snide remark to her friend, “It looks like babies having babies.”  To which her friend replied, “I’ll bet you it wasn’t even planned.”  Perhaps their hearing aids weren’t properly adjusted and they thought they were being quiet?  But then I realized, I hadn’t been a teen in almost a decade!  Those crones’ comments were more of a self-esteem boost than getting carded at a restaurant 😉

Confession: When rude people think I’m a “teen mom” they’re actually just telling me I look great for my age!  Thanks, haters!

AND I'M OUT!!!

AND I’M OUT!!!

How Does A Family History Of Cancer Impact Us?

Hey everybody! I’ve been thinking lately about how our family’s health history influences our own lives. Do you let it impact your decisions? Do you feel your lifestyle choices are judged by people who know about your family’s health history?

If you wouldn’t mind, I would super duper appreciate it if you could take this survey and let me know how your family’s health history has affected you. Thank you!!

Just click here to get started!

And remember, I always appreciate the great community here and couldn’t have done it without your support!

you're the best

Where Did My Baby Go?

It’s like I blinked and my tiny, squishy baby turned into a tall, independent man. You might think my son is 18 but he’s really only 18 months. But he might as well be a full-grown man because that’s how it feels to me. He doesn’t want to hold my hand or cuddle as much as he used to and his features are becoming more defined and less cherubic. I know that all of this growth and development stuff is totally normal in biological terms, but that doesn’t make it any easier on my heart. I still want to be there when he needs me – even if he thinks he doesn’t.

Toddler = Hulk

Toddler = Hulk

Obviously I know that it’s healthy for my son to be testing boundaries and asserting his will. Just like I know it’s probably creepy that sometimes I watch him sleep because he’s just so stinking cute it hurts. But maybe that’s what being a mom is. Logic doesn’t make sense and our senses don’t seem logical. I love that he’s getting more independent – the whole “able to hold his own neck up” thing is cool – but is it so wrong that I want him to stay a baby, too?

let me love you

Why doesn’t Hallmark have a card for this?

My little man is almost done with swim class and is getting ready to start day care in just a few, short weeks. While I swell with pride when he learns something new and I have fun shopping for pint-sized backpacks and lunch boxes, part of me is scared, too. Daycare will be the first time he’s been away from me with people I don’t know. That’s not to say I don’t trust this place to take care of him, but there’s still a great, big unknown. What if he hurts himself while there? They don’t know our special boo-boo song! Will he survive without it?

But they don't know the song!!!

But they don’t know the boo-boo song!!!

But at the end of the day, I know that this parenting gig is about him not me. I don’t want to be the hovering mom who deprives her son of learning how to be resilient on his own. I want to be the mom that lets him explore and make mistakes but isn’t ever too far away for a hug. So for now, I’ll stop worrying about life passing too quickly and focus on the here and now.

But I may watch him sleep for just one more second…

 

 

Is A Chronic Illnesses Really A Secret Superpower?

Have you ever had a “light bulb moment” about an issue that completely changed your perspective? I’ve been struggling with the challenges my chronic illnesses present for years, but motherhood was a curveball I didn’t expect. But was I really as unprepared as I thought?

Light bulb moment!

What if…?

 

Today I had the privilege of sharing my story of chronic illness, motherhood, and attempting to achieve superhero status. Head on over to Mom Babble to check out the post and let me know what your “light bulb moment” was!

How to Survive a Four Hour Drive with a Toddler

Prior to becoming a mother, I told myself I wouldn’t be caught dead driving long distances with a child. I figured I could put off accepting any kind of out-of-town social event until the kid was say, oh I don’t know – how old are they when they stop misbehaving? Oh right. Never. My genius pre-motherhood plan lasted less than two years. Last week my husband, eighteen month old son, and I set off on a cross-state drive for a wedding and I’ve lived to tell about it!

If you want to survive a long, family car ride without needing to call someone for bail money (presumably for assaulting whoever woke your sleeping child), then read on:

1. Expect the Unexpected

Before our trip could even get off to a proper start, I somehow managed to dislodge the right side of my front bumper. I’m talented like that. I’m like ninety percent sure it wasn’t my fault, but let’s not squabble over details. There we were: in the predawn hours, dragging rubber and plastic down the highway, praying to the travel gods the baby would stay asleep while anxiously looking for a safe place to pull off .

This looks safe, right, Honey?

“This looks safe, right, Honey?”

Despite neatly packing snacks, quietly transferring my sleeping son from the crib to the car, and carefully hanging fancy clothes without wrinkling them, I was not prepared for this. So what do you do when the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan? Aside from performing a ritual goat sacrifice, I strongly suggest you embrace the chaos. The more you try to fight against the craziness, the less calm you (and everyone around you) will be. Just try to roll with it – even if you’re screaming internally.

Just breathe in and out.

Just breathe in and out.

2. Breaks. SO. MANY. BREAKS.

Keeping in theme with the previous rule, you’ll need to adopt the mantra “F*** The Schedule!” When the mini vehicular catastrophe was finally remedied (thank you, zip ties!), we were a solid two hours behind schedule. I thought to myself, “That’s okay. We factored in a bonus hour for breaks, so we’re really only one hour behind. I can make that up with clever driving and no breaks. It’ll be fine!” Oh how innocent I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

A funny thing happens when you try to drive long stretches without a break. Perhaps “funny” isn’t the right word. Pee. Yup that’s the word: PEE. Pee happens when you don’t take breaks and you have a toddler with the bladder the size of a thimble. Unfortunately my seizures left me with the inability to smell (True story! Ask me about it some time) which meant I was blissfully unaware of the urine soaked car seat and horrifyingly wet toddler until it was too late. Do yourself (and your upholstery) a favor, and take as many breaks as necessary. Those with functioning olfactory receptors will thank you.

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

 3. Baby = “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

Okay, this one may sound like I’m a horrible person – and maybe I am, who cares? – but one of the perks to having a baby is that it is the best excuse you’ll ever have! I’m not recommending you lie and say your baby is sick to get out of a party because, ya know, karma. But if you have a legit situation which has created some negative outcome, don’t be afraid to blame your exit strategy on the baby. Just don’t get drunk with power.

drunk with power highlander

It’s deceptively easy to use the excuse too much.

The final key to being able to survive a long drive with your toddler is to not worry about what others may think. Merely showing up in one piece should be accomplishment enough, in my opinion. Yeah, we were late and probably smelled of baby pee, but we MADE IT! The ride back? Now that’s an entirely different story…