Monday, March 26, 2012

Baby Two is on the Way!

Does Chase's shirt make me
look pregnant?
With the announcement of Baby Two being due, I can guess the two main responses:

(1)  Uh, come again?
Yep.  I strongly touted "No Kids. Ever." early in marriage.  Then begrudgingly changed my tune to One and Done when pregnant with the birth of Chase.  So I understand the head scratching.  The new (and final) mantra is Two and We're Through.

(2) Who cares.
Beyond grandparents, not many get excited when hearing another baby is on the way.  You aren't excited to learn -- let alone remember -- another name.

So while you may not care (and probably stopped reading long ago), it is surprising how much thought goes into deciding to have a second.  On one hand, there is the advantage of knowing what to expect.  On the other hand, there is the disadvantage of knowing what to expect. 

So we are preparing for our new roles as "referee" (Chase! Stop poking the Baby.  CHASE. No hitting...) as it was determined the pros outweighed the cons of financial burden, overwhelming exhaustion, and constant worrying.  And don't try consoling us with the "second-baby-isn't-much-more-expensive" argument.  Our new home search says baby 2 is definitely upping overall expenses.

Below are some FAQ for your reference:
  • Due Date? September 20 (they will be about 2 years apart)
  • Gender?  In a few months we will know whether Mom is outnumbered and in need of a "ladies den" -- a nice room with bottomless martinis and a TV incapable of broadcasting sports or playing video games.
  • Preference?  Now I kinda want another boy to secure my ladies den.... 
  • Name?  One is heavily favored, but not to be shared until it's inked on the birth certificate.  If pressed, we will probably say the baby will be named after you.  However, I can guarantee this is not true.
  • How are you feeling? Exhausted.  Creating a human is much harder when there is another one running around.  I never feel caught up on sleep.  Like before, Kevin feels great except for the extra burden of picking up my slack. 
  • Need help? Any advice on the transition is MUCH appreciated!  Would prefer these kids like each other.  Or if you are low on advice, we will happily accept cash instead.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let's Be Honest...

Let's be honest, parenting is hard.

Stay at Home. Career. Unless you are a deadbeat, parenting is tough.

Moms and dads who gush about every moment with their kids being "a blessing and joy" are experiencing a heavy case of selective memory.  This (popular) parenting outlook neglects to mention how gut-wretchingly hard it can be. 

To be clear: I love my child fiercely and unconditionally.  But the intense love of my child does not equate to skipping through each day filled with only giggles and hugs.  

There are moments or days I am completely defeated.  Many times I don't meet the mark of Perfect Parent.  Some Mother of the Year examples are below:
  1. My son has eaten cheese puffs for dinner. Pickles were the "vegetable."
  2. The Five Second Rule is typically extended an extra 10-15. Starting when I see it.
  3. Some days I am happier to see 7:00 pm (bedtime) than 7:00 am (awake time).
  4. Sometimes I go to the bathroom, even when I don't need to. There is a door. With a lock.
  5. The 15-20 minutes Chase happily spends reorganizing the refrigerator is worth the increase of our electricity bills and inability to find produce.
  6. It is easier to wear shoes in the house than spend 95% of my time cleaning the floor.
  7. If a nap is refused, I may lift the "no TV" ban to catch up on a show and fit in a break.
  8. I have claimed Chase pooped on the ride to daycare, knowing full well it happened before we left the house. (Oh no! I think Chase just pooped!)
In the beginning, my goal was to manage the perfect balance of time with child, husband, and friends.  My outfits would be wonderfully accessorized and my body tight.  Our home would be so spotless, people would question whether a child actually lived there. 

Needless to say, this craziness only led to feelings of exhaustion, insecurity, and failure.  Parenting is hard enough with out the extra pressures.  I won't bore you with all my toils (why are toys impossible to wrangle out of packaging?!), but two areas where I struggle most are the guilt of constant decision making and unsolicited input from others.  

Decisions commenced immediately after our child entered the world: bottle or breast?  Ferber or Weissbluth?  And with the never-ending decisions, there comes an overwhelming array of choices.  So I fervently study the options and make a decision.  

Then seconds later I waiver: Will he be unloved at Daycare? Spoiled with a Nanny? Should I ignore the tantrum? Comfort him throughout?  

The self-doubt never seems to end. 

Luckily, if I don't beat myself up enough over my own decisions, some seem to wait in the wings to help out.  Between the competition on developmental milestones and constant scrutiny of other parents, we rarely give each other a break.  For example, the most enraging "advice" I have received was: You can't be both a good parent and a good employee. 

That moment of anger forced me to evaluate why I became so upset and how to best maintain sanity moving forward. 

My main lesson learned is raising a child isn't black and white.  It's mostly gray.  We all choose different methods and timing which work for our family.  This realization helps me learn from others without comparing or judging.  

Another key takeaway for me is: a refreshed and relaxed Mom is a better Mom.  After spending time away, I am patient, enthusiastic, and just in general better to be around.  So I no longer feel guilty for taking time away from my son (and/or husband) in order to recharge. 

So while parenting is hard, I love my (whole) family and continue to treasure the blessings and joys we experience together along the way. 
Irrational Unhappy Moments: With Santa, At the Botanic Gardens, With Mom, and Valentines Day