This is a post that I started writing 3 months ago but never published because…life happens.
If you knew me, and if you have been following me from my late teenage years, you’d probably recollect a memory of me telling you how much of a hopeless romantic I am. I love watching romantic comedies, I love watching dating and reality shows (of people in love), I love going to weddings, I love hearing about the nice things couples in love do for each other, I love hearing the beginning of a brand new relationship, I love learning about how some people get over a bump in their relationship and falling in love all over again, I love hearing how couples meet and how he pops the question – I am what you would call, a love groupie. I am that chick who cries at every wedding (even sans alcohol), and I am that chick that would re-watch The Holiday for the millionth time because, love just gives me the feels.
Alright you all, I am going to get real candid here and talk about my deepest, darkest feelings because I need an outlet. I might regret writing this post but this can get added on to my list of regrets that seems to overflow as the years go by.
I have been and am experiencing a lot of “self-hate” lately. Not like I am suicidal or depressed, I just feel like I am starting to feel mentally exhausted from being ME. Sounds complicated much? Well, yes because it is.
This post is inspired by an article I recently read in British Vogue on Victoria Beckham and the letter she wrote to her 18 year old self (Link here). It made me think about me at 18 and the journey that life has brought me since, 10 years after.
This is my first entry for 2017 and I thought, what better way to start the year by reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead. As I am sitting here on my kitchen island, I look around me and I see so many blessings. First of all, my playful and happy baby boy, Alden, sitting down in his Bumbo seat, sucking and reaching out for his toys while watching Daniel the Tiger on the television.
I can’t believe that this year went by in a whim! So many new and great things went by and I cannot be thankful enough for not just the love & laughter, but also for the tears as they have made me stronger in this pursuit to life. I’m really glad to share my life with a wonderful & loving partner, and now with our beautiful son- It seems like life cannot get any better than this and I hope we continue to flourish to the end of time.
I feel like I’ve been slacking these past few weeks. My house is not nearly as spotless as it usually is and to top it off, my hair is falling in chunks! Welcome to the glamorous postpartum life. I also feel like I am not doing this mom thing as great as other mothers are […]
My weekdays are usually very busy and I find myself often tired from the hustle bustle, but I think I’ve gotten it down to the most optimal schedule as possible. I don’t know how I do it sometimes and it may seem like not a lot but if you knew the old me, I was never a structured person, so this is far-fetched for a type-b personality like me.
I live with a pretty OCD person too, (Sorry R but you are) and on top of all that craziness, I have to make sure I don’t leave my trail around, which I do because… I just do. LOL I have to admit though that even though I wake up early everyday (5 AM wake up calls), I still don’t get to make my bed in the mornings because soon as I am ready to leave the house, Alden is awake and he wants to be nursed or held because he is cranky from being woken up – so I try to not wake him up. This morning he was a champ though. I nursed him as soon as I woke up and he fell right back to sleep which gives me time to get ready in the bathroom in peace. Soon as I went back to our room, his eyes were wide open just looking around in the darkness. My sweet baby. Anyways, I hope to one day get on the make-bed-every-morning wagon but I am not quite there yet.
I try to do as much as I can on Sunday before the week starts. For instance, I try to pack extra clothes, socks & blankets in his diaper bag so I don’t have to do it every night. I still look through the bag to pull his dirty clothes out and to make sure we aren’t out of wipes and my mom is good at telling me what we’re out of, so I can take note of it and replenish for the next few days. I am so, so, so thankful that my mom is helping me out with Alden and she too is very committed to making this work for me. God bless her beautiful soul. On Sundays too, I try to get all our laundry done and stored away, and I iron all our work clothes for the week ahead.
Every day, I get up around 5:15 AM and I leave the house by 6:15 AM to avoid traffic and I meet my mom at a Starbucks halfway from the both of us. Normally we meet around 6:45 AM, sometimes 7 AM, and we do the switcheroo. She takes Alden and heads back to her house and I head to work. While I’m at work, I pump every 3 hours and I stress about getting enough milk for Alden the next day. The past few days I’ve noticed my supply in the right boob decreasing and it’s worrying the heck out of me! So, when I get home these days, I will let Alden nurse from that side more than my left.
After I leave work, I head back up to a gym in the same area I meet my mom for morning pick-ups, and I try to squeeze in at least a 35 – 45 minute workout. By the time I am done working out, my mom is already there waiting to pass Alden back to me. Soon as I get home, I tend to Alden – Whatever he needs me to do. Sometimes I can sense him missing me so much so he likes to be held and nursed, which I don’t mind at all because I miss him when he’s not around!! But as soon as I am done, I put him down and I start cooking or prepping us dinner. Last night, I didn’t eat because I was too tired and just went to bed at 9 PM. While I make dinner, I am also cleaning up my lunch from earlier in the day and packing for tomorrow. I try to clean as much as I can because by the time I am done cooking, Alden is fussing because it’s been about an hour of him sitting there by himself and he wants to be picked up again. I don’t babywear him in the kitchen for safety reasons but at times I do when he is just not having it.
After dinner, we both head upstairs and I turn the water on to start giving Alden a bath. He LOVES bath time, so I try to give him a bath every day. Once he is done, if he is still full, he will be okay in the car seat for about 20 minutes until he wants to be nursed again– So there he goes in it and both we go to my bathroom so I can take a shower. He watches me shower and I watch him while I shower J Normally after showering, I will empty and replenish my gym bag for the next day. If Ryan is at home, I will pass Alden to him so I can finish cleaning up in the kitchen where I wash and sterilize my pump parts and clean the stove or whatever. By this time, it is 10 PM, and I am now rushing back upstairs so we can both call it a day to do it all over again the next day!
Those daily night cuddles with Alden is the BEST feeling in the world. We are both exhausted and we don’t get that much time with each other at all but when we go to sleep, we wake up together and that is enough to make me happy. I feel so bad for not being able to play with him as much during weekdays and sometimes I wonder if he will love me even if I don’t play with him. I hope he does. I know that he is my motivation to getting things right because everything is manageable. In no time, everything will be second nature to us.
BUT – I’m already thinking of when he starts on solids, more meal prepping will be involved.. So God help me!
When do I get time to myself or time to blog? – I blog in the mornings while waiting for my mom in the car on my phone or on my laptop at Starbucks. I make a breakfast casserole on weekends or make eggs and bacon and Tupperware it so I can eat it in the parking lot – Sometimes I just get a croissant from the store because.. it’s convenient. At times, I blog on my lunch but I haven’t done that as much because I work through lunch most days. The time at the gym is nice to have for me and thanks to my mom for allowing me to do that every day and also before I go to bed, after my shower and nursing Alden, I get up to paint my nails and read a book. I try to sleep at 10:30 but 11:30 is the latest for me.
Alden doesn’t sleep through the night yet, so he wakes me up to be nursed at least twice during the night. Thank god for co-sleeping, I can still get my sleep but I want to train him to sleep in his crib/bassinet soon, but I am actually very reluctant about it. I miss him so much in the day that I want to sleep with him next to me. I love my baby more than anything in the world. One day he won’t want to sleep with me again and I will miss kissing the fuzz on his head to sleep every night.
We all know that Labor Day weekend in the US is technically the last weekend in the summer before fall season begins. In Georgia however, it still feels like summer for at least a few more weeks even after Labor Day weekend, so with that, I still get to take advantage of it as much as I can seeing that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time outdoors with being pregnant and then giving birth at the start of the season. My mom actually commented me on how pale I am now compared to the usual tanned version of me; I love staying out and laying out basking in the sun for hours. She loves that I am not tanned because she is against tanning but I love it, contrary to her liking.
Over the last couple of weekends I have been spending some time outdoors. I managed to go to the pool once, and even though I went at a later time during the day (6 or 7 PM) where the sun wasn’t as bright as it usually is, I did get to lay out in it for a little bit. I was happy. Actually, speaking of the pool, I did have another pool day with my friends a few weekends ago too and we stayed out for hours, come to think of it, so that was fun! I’ve started going back to the gym also and even though my tummy is still flabby from being stretched out, I still wear my two-piece nonetheless. Haha. Who cares, right? I hope to transform my body back to it’s previous shape or even better. I am not doing kickboxing anymore just because I can’t find the time to go to the classes in my packed schedule, so the gym it is until things change.
Last weekend, the fam and I went to the park together for our friend’s son’s 1st birthday. Yes, this is the first birthday party Alden attended and he had such a fun time! Just kidding. He slept the entire time..maybe woke up for a full 10 minutes for pictures and then back to sleep. I was very happy I got to spend time with my sister. She’s been so busy and I have too, and in all honesty, I do miss her a lot. Last few nights, I went through our old pictures and videos together and I am glad that we have had the chance to really bond and be there for each other that way. I may not be perfect and she too, but we love each other very much and are extremely protective of one another.
So, I realize there isn’t a structure to this post but I wanted to write to tell you how I love summer and really just as an excuse to share these cute pics! I can’t wait for this weekend. It’s my mom’s birthday and we are celebrating her for sure – And another reason for celebrating too but will let you know in a separate post..
I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I started work again! I am starting to finally get in sync with my new schedule and I can’t help but feel really productive these days. I used to question how the working moms at work manage their times with a full time career and still balance being a dedicated mother and wife at their homes. I actually learned from observation and also from talking to my peers and it all comes down to time management and not procrastinating – which comes to no surprise but it requires practice to say the least. I will talk about how I manage my time in a later post, but today I wanted to review my maternity leave just because it is a memory to me now – Until the second kid comes around. I kid, I kid.
As much as I loved being at home with my baby, I am actually really glad to be at work. I love that I can be a very hands-on partner (it gets down to ironing and making lunches and dinners for the next day) and a very hands-on mom. I feel like I am made to do this. But in all honesty too, the phrase “It takes a village” really means everything to me. R & my mother are the two angels that I have helping me go about my days and I cannot thank them enough.
I spent most of my time on my ML getting to know what it means and takes “to mother” my baby or in other words, what “mothering” really means. I’ve made some milestones in the process of mothering that I think surely deserves a post on its own so here goes my highlights in no particular order:
Pumping & Feeding
I am quite obsessed with breast milk you guys. I am part of many mom groups on Facebook now but one of my favorites is a private group called “Working Moms Who Make BF Work”. I love this group so much not only is it because it is a great resource for all things breastfeeding or non-breastfeeding related topics, but because I find that the mamas on this page are super supportive and super non-judgmental. Through this group, I learned a lot of tricks, I read a lot of happy and sad moments – happy because someone managed to pump 2 ounces of milk instead of the usual 1 ounce, or sad because they just pumped their last milk – Either way, I find myself connecting with these women because all in all, we have one goal in mind, and that is to feed our babies. I learned that keeping up with your milk supply is crucial and each time I get a huge yield one day, I will share it with my virtual friends. Thanks to them, I am still going strong with breastfeeding and I am glad to make the statistics for being the 13 percent of working women who exclusively breastfeeds in the United States per year.
I am pretty sure all new and seasoned parents will attest with me on this one. The one thing we all struggle as parents to newborn babies is the logistical nightmare! It used to be a breeze going to the drugstore to grab a box of Q-tips but now, how I wish there is a drive-through for everything. I get that some parents choose to do their shopping online with a baby, but I actually find joy in going out and picking stuff out myself versus having them delivered to my doorstep. Plus, it gives me a reason to step out of the house. I have gone to the grocery store with a stroller, which is great because you can just push baby around, but it doesn’t help when you have a huge grocery list and your stroller basket becomes too small for all of it, or the other time I went to Home Goods and placed the infant car seat in the shopping cart, only to realize that there isn’t enough space for anything at all other than the car seat itself! I’ve resulted to baby wearing; the best and most convenient way to shop hands down! I still love just bringing my car seat around because Alden sits very well in it. I use his car seat a lot actually – especially when I am eating. Being on ML really helped me learn the ways of traveling with my baby – Be it via stroller, car seat or a baby carrier so now I can safely say that it is still a logistical nightmare, but nothing R & I can’t manage.
Taking Care of Yourself with a Baby
As I mentioned above, being a mom requires ninja time management skills. It is very exhausting to be on your toes all the time but it really pays off. So far, I haven’t yet gotten around to coming up with excuses like, “But I am too tired to even shower” kinda thing because this is not true. You make yourself do the things you want to do. Babies sleep and they sleep a lot. So, I find myself just using that time to do things for myself. It is very important because a lot of moms are plain exhausted all the time and basic things like showering becomes a chore for most of them. I feel that in life, there should be balance and becoming a parent is one of them. Unfortunately, balancing is synonymous with management and with management comes work. When I was on ML, i worked really hard to get into that maintenance mode but I was just enjoying my time not having to do anything other than house chores and blogging (hehe) or watching Chopped marathon on TV. I miss those easy, laid back days at home, but all fun comes to an end. I think that all new mamas should enjoy their babies and sleep as much as you get the time to do it, but also take the time to do things for yourself. Be it that morning coffee on your back porch or a couple of pages into a paragraph of a new novel – Do what is right and what is best for you.
In light of this post, I feel extremely grateful to our family and friends for the kind love & support we received along the way. We have enjoyed every hospital and house visit and we are so happy to know that such love exist around us especially during this special time. Being a mom really is life-changing and so worth it, you guys!