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Mommy Guilt.

I know that as soon as you see the title of this post, you will understand exactly what I am talking about, provided that you are a mother yourself. I still struggle with that label though, because it’s so new and it feels so foreign. Asher is now 7½ weeks old, and I love him more than I can explain. But I’ve come back to work now, and my time with him has been instantly cut almost in half. So this newness that I am adjusting to is once again shifting into some other newness. And it’s hard.IMG_2675

Being back at work, all my colleagues ask “how is baby?” and he’s fine. He’s doing great actually. I am fortunate enough to have my mother to watch him during the day. Occasionally a co-worker will ask me how I am though, and that one is a little more tough to answer. The actual work part of being back is fine. I’m enjoying my students and we’re getting things done. But I can’t tear my mind away from where I feel I really should be – with my son.

Some people told me that it would be hard, and I believed them, but I didn’t realize what kind of hard it would be. It’s not the exhaustion from still very limited and interrupted sleep that gets me. It’s not the physical tiredness I still have not totally recovered from since giving birth. It’s not even the cold I’ve been battling for a couple of weeks now, which I would normally treat with medication I can’t take since I’m breastfeeding. It’s the crushing guilt.

I’m being very honest about this, I know, but I also know I can’t be the only one. I get home and all I should want to do is hold the baby, but sometimes I imagesdon’t want to, because he’s crying. It’s a lot easier to let my mom continue to meet his needs and soothe him so I can get things done. Since I’m back at work, I don’t have as much time to do things like cleaning or laundry, and we just moved so there’s a ton of organizing and even some unpacking left. And when I’m holding Asher I can’t do any of that, because with me he often just wants to nurse the entire time I have him. And I hate to be so selfish, since I want the bonding and special connection that it brings, but breastfeeding is hard. Sometimes I want to quit, but then I think I might have nothing special with him.

I miss him so much during the day. The mornings are hardest, because I leave the house at 6:30 and when he wakes up shortly after I know he’s happy and smiling and having a good time. And I can’t be there. And then, If I want to have any kind of functionality as a human I need to get to bed before 10 to get a few hours sleep before he wakes up to nurse for the first of at least three times in the night. Early bedtime means more time with him I don’t get. But still, when I get home, I feel so pressured to get things done. Not by anyone who lives in my house. Everyone is very supportive. But I can’t just check out from my home responsibilities. My husband is equally stretched if not more so, since he also goes to school on top of work.

So I swing on this pendulum that has an overwhelming desire to hold my son and stare at him for hours so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on him on one end, and wanting to let my mom keep him longer so that I can accomplish necessary tasks and not be exhausted by the demands of a crying baby on the other. Add to that the fact that my hormones have not totally levelled out yet and I cry almost daily, and it makes me wish that women had never joined the workforce.IMG_2633 (1)

I’d like to say that I have some beautiful hopeful feeling to cling to, but I’m still working on that. I know all of the scriptures to lean on and I know that this won’t last forever, but for now, my takeaway is just to try to not be so hard on myself.  I spoke to a very dear old friend who put my life into perspective and reminded me that I’m working hard and going through a lot. That even though I’m not around as much, my son and I will still have a special connection. I’m not just being a big whiney baby. That even though a lot of women have to deal with worse, I am, in fact, okay to struggle with my own circumstances. It’s okay to admit you’re tired and pressed and guilty. It’s okay to feel the things I’m feeling.

I’m looking forward to days that don’t feel so hard, but for now, I’m just taking it one step at a time. And it’s enough. I am enough. download

That is all.

 

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What to do when you aren’t prepared for your blessing.

I’m in an interesting position in life. Well, interesting might be an understatement. You see, my husband’s job ends at the end of May, which we knew, and it wouldn’t be a problem, since my job is stable, right? Wrong. I received a notice back in March that the district won’t be renewing my contract. It’s a seniority issue – the district needs to make some cutbacks and the teachers are the first ones to go. So while it’s entirely possible and maybe even probable that they’ll rehire me, as of now, my job ends at the end of May too. So both my husband and I are in the job market. We are looking to move apartments for a myriad of reasons, and everything is a little… up in the air.

All of these things can be dealt with. Kai and I are strong, and I know that God will take care of us. On top of this, I was feeling that I was personally in for a life transition. The last post I made, about teens and internet safety, practically went viral. I had 350,000 views in just three weeks, and the article was posted on other websites that had just as many views. I felt that maybe I needed to do something. Perhaps I needed to sit down and finally write that book I’ve been thinking about, or maybe I need to go back to school and change career directions or something. All I knew is that I felt like life was on the move.

I was excited. I was going to gain some new purpose. Since I’m still young, I’m still figuring myself out and I thought maybe this life change will be something I could really hang my hat on. Something great and self-fulfilling.

Well, you know how they say God works in mysterious ways? I found out what my big transition is going to be. I found out in the form of (surprise!) 4 positive pregnancy tests. And as I looked around my apartment at my withering succulent plant and my barely life-sustaining beta fish, I became acutely aware of how unprepared I am for motherhood. Of course, I think I’ll be a pretty decent mom – someday. But now? I can’t even rent a car yet! I still want to be selfish. I still want my extra money to go to things like video games and vacations, not diapers and baby formula. for the first couple of weeks I had a very difficult time adjusting to the idea. I went to the doctor and even saw the nugget on an ultrasound. Yup. That’s a baby. But I was in denial.

All I could think of was how my life was never going to be the same, and how not ready for that I was. Oh sure – I changed my diet, I started taking prenatal vitamins, I did all the right things, but it all felt very hollow. I was not in love with this intruder in my stomach giving me heartburn and making me want to sleep for 12 hours every night.

But.

But the Lord was doing something in my heart. When I stopped feeling sorry for myself for even just a minute, He reminded me of another time that I was less than grateful. A a kid when my family stayed in a hotel, I used to get super mad because my dad is a big snorer. He could wake the dead if he slept close enough to a graveyard. One vacation in particular I was griping to  my mom about how I couldn’t sleep and I was amazed that she could put up with all that noise. Her response was at once so simple and so profound that it stuck with me. She told me that when she starts to get frustrated at the jackhammer volume of snoring coming from my father, that she would start thanking God that she even had a husband and that her husband was healthy and loving and involved. She started being grateful and stopped being annoyed.

So that’s what I did with my little one. I’m not saying it was an instant transition, but when I stopped complaining to God about how I wasn’t ready, and started thanking God for the gift of life in my womb, my outlook changed drastically. It’s crazy how a little thankfulness can turn your outlook around. I no longer resent my little passenger but I thank God that he’s given me a healthy body and a healthy child. He trusts me with the greatest responsibility in life – a tiny human. What a gift.

I’m sure I’ll be keeping all of you updated along this crazy adventure. 🙂


That is all.