Saturday, April 28, 2012

Selfish Agendas

Selfish??  Me??  Yes, totally, 100%  No arguments from me.  Not sure you would get any arguments from most people that know me.  So, when I found out I was pregnant with Number 3 there were certain friends that actually laughed out loud at me.  Never in a million years.  I often joke that God got confused when he sent this one down.  That he located the wrong uterus.  But I know, also 100%, that he had a very important lesson for this Truthful Mommy.  (Well, He had a lot of lessons in mind, but we don’t have that kind of time in one post) My selfish nature was going to have to be shelved.  Benched.  Red-shirted at the very least.  I use all of those not-so-permanent verbs because it is clear that some of my selfish-isms are allowed to get back in the game at times.  But in the end, mommies of three are NOT allowed to be self-serving. 

Look, here it is in a couple of nutshells.  I have agendas.  When I take my kids to play at the park…it is NOT because I like the gentle breeze from the swings or enjoy running around the playset playing pirate.  It is not REALLY even because I like to have adult chatter with the other moms.  Typically, if I don’t already know someone there, I don’t meet new ones.  It is simply and solely because I want them to be completely exhausted when we get finished, and I want to get them back home with only enough time to get them down for their naps.  After all, since I so graciously let them play at the park, they will now be exhausted and nap for hours, and I can do…Stuff, whatever.

Nutshell 2.  I am a member of the local kid’s museum.  Not because I care if they learn about science and money management through creative play.  Nope.  Because it is a cool place for me to take them in the middle of the summer…and a warm place in the middle of the winter… where they can be entertained with something OTHER than myself.  After which, we can return home and nap really really well.

There are other nutshells I could confess to you, just incase you haven’t been able to relate just yet; like the real reason we go to the library is not because we don’t already own more books than we can read and I desperately want them to learn how to use the card catalog.  It is because it is close to our house and I can get my exercise in while walking there.  Or, we don’t go out to eat at Chick Fil A because I am the best mommy ever (which is what they say).  It is because I am much too lazy to cook and clean!! 

Mostly, pretend play is not for me.  Hate it with all of my soul.  I would rather throw a ball around with the boys than pretend to be ANYTHING make-believe.  And we all know why mommy’s really opt for preschool.  Because we are increasingly selfish and NEED OUR TIME to do Stuff.  Plus, if you are like me, my kids would learn N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  to get them ready for kindergarten if it weren’t for those amazing preschool teachers!  I am not pointing fingers at anyone.  This is boomerang finger pointing at its best! 

(Though I do have lots and lots of thoughts about why preschool is good for my kids too, but that is another post entirely)

I am a bad mommy because I would rather do STUFF than play.  I get in these cycles.  Get them up, get them fed, get them to school, get them entertained so that I can get some work done, wear them out with some activity, GET THEM DOWN FOR A NAP, get them up, pay a minimal amount of attention to them, hand them off to daddy, get them fed, get THEM TO BED.   I care for them, I take care of their basic needs and I do that well.  They are well rested, well fed, well dressed, well groomed, and for the most part they smell good.  They get lots of snuggle time and I kiss my kids more than I can tell you.  I love their hugs more than anything in the world.  But I do not enjoy rolling in the floor, wrestling, playing Barbie, or anything that involves me being something that doesn’t have the same voice that I was born with.   So I search myself and see these areas of selfishness as a mommy.  I become increasingly guilt ridden about my agendas.

Then…. I reflect about those days at the park and find myself rather enjoying watching them play and especially the way they have learned to interact with each other.  They are the best siblings ever.  They love each other.  They protect and help each other.  And, best of all, they LIKE each other.   I even find myself a bit sad that Number 1 is old enough to rarely ever “need” me anymore.  She is quite self-sufficient and now plays mommy to the boys very well.  And, at the museum, I find myself rather intrigued with the skills they are attracted to at each station of creative play.  I become interested in their choices and intrigued by their curiosity. 

Mommy’s that stay home have a job.  It is a hard job.  No one can tell us how we are doing but ourselves.  There are no progress reports, no bonuses, no commission checks, no vacation and sick days, no one to report to.  It is solely our responsibility to keep a family, a house and little lives running.  We won’t see the fruits of our labor until many years down the line.  But we do get paid in kisses and random mommy-I-love-you’s and that is the best currency around!!

So go ahead.  Laugh at the very selfish Truthful Mommy who got slammed with one more kid.  I will laugh with you.  But God has taught me more lessons from all of these little people that have invaded my life than I ever imagined.  I am forced to look at myself everyday and make sure I am living in a way that would make them proud.  The reflection is rarely very pretty, but it is always in check.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Breast Feeding Drop Out

When I had Number 1, I had no other reasoning than that breast-feeding was an obligation that was a mommy’s job.  I wanted to love it like so many le leche league warriors make us believe we should.   Believe me, I am so happy for those of you that can do it with ease and a smile.  I did it with difficulty and clinched teeth!!   For those of us that have had 3 kids and have not had an easy time at it yet, it is torture.  Sure, it hurts in the beginning; I can live with that and was ready for that.  But when you just don’t produce enough nourishment for your sweet baby, I believe it just is-what-it-is!!  

The experts want to pump supplements into you and change your diet. Did you know there is actually a tea out there called “Mothers Milk” just for this occasion??  I used it…not so sure they will be calling me for endorsements.  They supply you with nipple guards (in multiple sizes), hospital grade pumps, soothing gels and creams for your dried.cracking.bloody nips.  They give you a plan of nursing then pumping, then nurse some more and then pump some more.  Pretty much you are to be hooked up to some form of booby sucking leech at all times of the day.  The pump and I are NOT friends.  Massage your breasts, change your diet so that you now eat nothing but lettuce. Geez!!!!   What the heck is wrong with some formula??  I am a firm believer in scientists and their research.  I believe God is in control, and He would not allow them insight to find amazing nutritional supplements if it was not ok for us to partake. 

And what is this nonsense about women that walk around making dinner and answering phone calls while nursing?!?!  I remember going on a hike with a special friend of mine and at some point in the adventure her baby had to eat.  She yanked that baby out of the stroller, popped him on her boob, pushed the stroller with one hand and never skipped a beat!!  Me??  I had to sit in a certain spot, with the right amount of pillows built up around me like Fort Knox, hold the baby a special way and never move it.  And just to be sure, I had to hold my mouth right for good measure.  

Anywho, I did my best with Number 1.  It was torture; I dreaded every feeding like a prison sentence.   I got a lot of pressure…he would call it support and encouragement…from my dear husband, which made it even harder and me more embittered.  I remember being in bed one night when she was not latching on properly and just dropping her on to the bed beside me and throwing my hands in the air in such desperate resentment.  I think I was probably waiting for "It's ok honey.  You mean too much to me to watch you go through this.  Just stop."  But that never came.  It was hard, it hurt, it was emotionally draining and I WAS A FAILURE!   I endured for 2.5 months.  It never got better, never got less painful.  The bleeding never stopped.  I was done. 

Before Number 2 came along the hubby and I had a long talk about the kind of “support and encouragement” I needed from him.  I was clear, and he was respectful of my needs.  But the underlying pressure of what I knew he wanted for his children was still there.  With Number 2 the same problems were there, but now I experienced terrible anxiety and depression from it.  I decided it would be best to just pump instead of being a farm cow all day.  When I sat down in the chair and hooked the girls up to that machine, I would immediately sink into a deep dark hole as I sat alone…because there is NO ONE you want watching you during this process… in my room listening to the repetitive sound of the pump.  After 15-20 minutes of this I would end up with enough to feed a baby rat, maybe.  Talk about unmotivating.  These women that have freezers full of breast milk, HA.  I never once had milk in my freezer!  I hooked myself up to my buddy the pump for 2 months.  Done and Done!!   The pump and my girls were not coexisting together well at all and my depression was not making for a very fun 2nd time mommy experience!!   I gave Mrs. Medella to my cousin for F.R.E.E. only if she promised that I would never see it again!  Ever. 

Then number 3 rolled around and yes, I tried again.  I know, give it up.  But I was determined to try one more time.  I am a glutton for punishment, or just REALLY love to shop and know how much formula costs!!  Since I had given my pump away and made them promise to NEVER send it back, it was latch-on-or-bust.  Much to my surprise, Number 3 and I were an amazing little team.  Third time is a charm! Sure the beginning was hard, it hurt a bit, but it worked and after a while it didn't even bother me.  It was a sweet, bonding, lovely experience.  FINALLY, I could see what all the smiling was about.  And then the ball dropped...I got mastitis.  “Continue to nurse through the pain!!”  What is that you say?  Terrible little devil, that mastitis!  I did as my doctor instructed through the pain and the fever, and it worked.  Baby 3 and I came through on the other side still going well together.  But as good as it was, the moo-mie juice supply ran low again and after 6 months I gave it up.  But for me, 6 months was amazing.  I was glad that I still gave it a shot with Number 3 after all I went through with 1 and 2.  I was happy that I finally got that positive experience. 

So, from someone crazy enough to try and try again and lucky enough to have both experiences….Don’t ever feel pressured if it doesn’t feel right, but don’t give up on the next one.  You never know when one of your babies is going to be the one that gives you that Le Leche Lovin Feelin!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blanky Returns, Part 2

If you read the previous post, you know that we experienced a terribly dramatic situation with the disappearance of Number 1’s favorite plush blanky.  The Husband and I vowed that with Number 2 we would definitely not let that happen.  No way, NEVER would we allow our new baby to get attached to a blanky.  Or anything that we had to keep up with, especially those that attracted germs and were dragged around on the floor.  What a silly habit to allow your children to have, right?  Much to our dismay, he is attached to a blue dog lovie named, you guessed it…“Banky”. 

We returned home from vacation after New Years only to find that Banky had not made the 6 hour trip back with us.  I know, I know….”isn’t that the first thing you check for before putting the car in reverse to head out?!?!”  You would think so.  These important articles should be put in the car FIRST, before even checking for the children.  Without the blankys I would prefer not to have to deal with the children.  I texted immediately upon the discovery to have my friend mail it to us asap.  She was gracious enough to do so and Banky returned home to us 3 days later. 

It was actually a pretty proud moment for the Husband and the Truthful Mommy.  Number 2 did really quite well while his comfort was away.   He does not seem to be quite as devastated without his lovie as Number 1 was.  It did take about 5 of his sisters abandoned lovies to take Banky’s place in the meantime, but he was a trooper.   The story’s we created worked well on him as well.  We were able to convince him that Banky was going to be so grateful to him when he got back for letting him go on such a fun adventure.  It helps that he is all boy and all about adventure!!

Moral of the story, don’t get a lovie.  We have clearly not learned this valuable lesson, as Number 3 now stands at the bottom of the stairs begging to go up to get his “banky” out of the crib.  He cannot sleep without it.  Oh well.  When they show up at your baby shower, wrapped up so pretty with your new baby’s name monogrammed so beautifully on it…it is hard to send it away to live with another baby.  Maybe the true moral of the story is never say never.  When you become a parent you will be taking back a lot of I-would-NEVER’s!!