Resolutions 2013 Revisited

Time for the yearly check-in to see how I am doing with those pesky New Year’s Resolutions.  Remember, I set the bar low this year – and good thing I did.

1. No face or neck tattoos. Not even temporary ones.

SUCCESS!

2. Avoid Diet Coke, monkfish liver and Pitbull concerts.

SUCCESS! Though I admit, I’d probably have a lot of fun at a Pitbull concert.

3. Learn to play an instrument (maracas, kazoo and tambourine count).

FAILURE.  Though we did buy a piano.  Which doesn’t make too much sense, since none of us know how to play.

4. Shower most days.

SUCCESS!  Except some Sundays, but that doesn’t really count.

5. Read one book, and see one movie in a theater.

SUCCESS!  I read the very long 11/23/63 as well as some others, and I saw Silver Linings Playbook in the theater.

6. Figure out how to listen to my podcasts in my car.

FAILURE.  But I’m giving myself a pass, since my house was broken into and my iPod (among other things) was stolen. The good news?  The police found the perps and all of my stuff.  The bad news?  They still have it in evidence.

Crime scene, dusted for fingerprints.

Crime scene, dusted for fingerprints.

7. Avoid reality shows about the Amish, and/or large tumors.

SUCCESS!  I’ve actually avoided most TV (except for Sesame Street and the ever-annoying Caillou), and most reality shows.  I have seen the entire first season of Orange is the New Black (love!) and I’m working on House of Cards now.  I call that a TV win.

8. Sleep. At least some.

SUCCESS! Kind of! We are in that magical place where both kids nap at the same time.  So that means Sunday naps for me. My kids are still up a bit, but that is slowly improving, and I’m up a bit (more on that later), but I’m still going to chalk this one up as a win.

9. Remember every family member’s name, every day.

SUCCESS!  We even lost and then added kitty family members. And I still remembered everyone’s name.

10. Organize the hall closet by April.

SUCCESS!  Done!  Twice this year!  Why this teeny closet get crammed with weird junk I don’t know.

Things to work on for the remainder of 2013 include: more time with friends, better breakfasts, and less clutter.

What are you working on?

 

What Not to Expect When You’re Expecting…

A friend of mine just recently wrote a thoughtful and honest overview of what life after birth was for her.  (In the interest, at least for the time being, in keeping this blog anonymous I won’t link to it).  But trust me, I was there.  She had a rough few weeks.

And I chuckled when I read about her sitting alone at night with her breast pump and swearing it was talking to her.  I had the same experience, except my pump actually repeated the name of my boss over and over, like this, “Chad Sock! Chad Sock! Chad Sock!”  (No, that’s not his real name either.)  It freaked me out.  And made me wonder about my subconscious desires.

Overall, I think I handled the transition to mommydom pretty well.  I like to be informed – I read the books, I asked friends for good 1st time mom advice, I put together a nursery (though, I wasn’t a maniac about this), I took the childbirth class and prenatal yoga (which is a story for another day) and I did all the mommy prep I thought I could. I knew that I could do it – both the birth part, and the mom part, though I didn’t know what either one would be like.

But what was the best preparation?  Not setting myself up for failure.

I didn’t have too many expectations.  I tried not to put pressure on myself.  And I recognized that I would only have a modicum of control over most of my life for the next few months (okay, years, who am I kidding!).  I focused on being flexible.  I didn’t harbor any fantasies of sweet-smelling, quiet babies, napping while I baked.  I tried not to harbor any fantasies at all.  I promised myself that it was okay to learn as you go, to be frustrated, to be sad, to be tired, to BE.  I knew I’d love my new arrival without expectations, and just for being  himself/herself, so I tried to give myself the same care and courtesy.  All I knew was that childbirth would be hard, and the days and months after childbirth would be harder. And I was right.

It was hard.  It was really really hard.  My brother-in-law had it right when he said, “Everyone says it will be hard, but no one tells you exactly what ‘hard’ means.”  It is hard in an entirely new way.  Your life is completely changed. I remember thinking, “Three days ago, I could do what I want.  Today, I cannot do what I want, I cannot pee when I want, I cannot sleep when I want, I cannot go when/where I want, I cannot eat when I want.”  It isn’t all bad, but goodness, it IS a shock to the system in every way.

I wish I could find the blog entry I read recently that defined parenthood like this:

EVERYTHING IS DIFFICULT AND AWESOME.

And that is exactly right.  That is exactly what I have found parenthood to be.

So.  My advice to new moms?  Enough with the expectations.  Cut yourself some slack.  Take it day-by-day.  Ask for help (I was bad about this and I vow to change this time around).  Know your limits.  Don’t try to be a hero.  Acknowledge contradictory feelings (you can love a little baby with all your heart, and still feel a little resentful about how much your life has changed and how sore and tired you are – that doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you human).  Don’t stress if you don’t fall in love with your newborn right away – you’ll feel awed, responsible, etc. but how often do people fall in love at first sight?  This person is completely new to you!  Don’t worry about doing it all right – there’s no such thing as perfection, and if there was, it’d be boring and impossible to maintain.

Welcome to the greatest adventure of all!

Footnote: As discussed in this blog entry, Mommyhood is really hard.  But for those mommies with PPD it can also be terrifying, excruciating, and life-changing in a really bad way.  If you think you or your loved one may be suffering from PPD, do know that you’re not alone and take steps to reach out, get help, and heal!  ❤