My Life is Hectic and I’ve Never Been Happier

I’m not only a new mom, but I’m also a single mom. My daughter is just an infant and her biological father and I ended our short relationship before I knew I was pregnant. I was okay with the relationship being over. I didn’t necessarily want him back, and I was never going to entertain the idea of rekindling the fire just because I was pregnant.

If you’re thinking about throwing me a pity party, don’t. Honestly, it feels right to be raising this child without her father. I remember daydreaming years ago about having a child one day, and somehow in my mind I was always doing it alone. I don’t have to co-parent, and it feels amazing to me. Is it hard? Damn right it is! I’m absolutely exhausted, and I do need help with my daughter (which is why I live with my mom for the time being), but I make all of the decisions. I didn’t have to agree on her name (thank goodness, because I thought of her name years ago and I’ll be damned if I was going to waiver!).

I recently made the decision to just bed-share. For now, it’s just easier, especially since I’m breastfeeding. If her father was around, I wouldn’t be so comfortable with that sleeping situation  (then again, I would probably end up kicking him out of bed).

They say to wait until 6 months for cereal. My daughter’s increasing appetite told me that I needed to start giving her cereal earlier than that. I started her at 3 months old and she’s already a pro. My mother suggested it at 2 months and I waited. It was my decision to start her on it.

There are a ton of little decisions parents have to make, and normally there are two of them talking it out and either agreeing or compromising and while this works for most, I just didn’t seem to see it working for me. Don’t get me wrong: I did not become a single mother on purpose. In fact, I was coming to terms with not having any kids at all when I found out that I was pregnant.

My life is not ideal. I burned through everything I saved when I moved and fought to find a suitable job, then had to take 2 months off after having my baby. It’s all gone. I’m behind on my bills. I’m on WIC and foodstamps. I live with my mother.

Some people would use this as an excuse to whine and sit on their ass. I found that job and it’s now a full-time position that could have career potential if I apply myself. I have a beautiful and happy baby. I created life and I get to watch her discover, learn, and grow. It’s an honor to do it.

I know my situation isn’t “ideal”. I know it takes two for a reason. I can’t deny, however, that doing it this way feels right. Even though I am absolutely overwhelmed, I can devote all of my attention and affection to my child instead of splitting it between her and a significant other. I’m grateful for being in a situation that allows me that kind of control.

I am definitely in a good spot, despite being in a not-so-good one at the same time. (Wrap your head around that one!)

I have a good job, I have friends, and I have a wonderful child that I thought I’d never have. Make no mistake that I am happy despite life’s shortcomings. My little goofball is worth everything.

Find the good in all of the bad, my darlings.

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I’m Not Going to Follow All the Rules

I’m using my phone to type this up with my daughter asleep on my chest while she fights a fever.

We’ve been without Internet for a couple of weeks now (we’ll get it back soon, reality just bites a big one), so I’ve not even tried to keep up with my blog.

I’m here to talk about the rules set out for child rearing, and other parents’ concerns. Right now, my daughter is 3 months old. Keep that in mind.

First of all, I’ve started bed-sharing. It’s just easier. My daughter gets so picky about her bassinet and her crib isn’t even set up yet. Was I worried about rolling over on her and crushing or smothering her? Of course! But I’ve become a much lighter sleeper since I became a mother. Also, she has a blanket draped over her while she sleeps. If she doesn’t want it, she kicks it off toward her feet. They say to take all the pillows and blankets off the bed if you do bed-share, but I can promise you I’ll have the shittiest of sleeps if I do that. No point in sacrificing my sleep if it means I won’t be able to function well. I should mention that I’m a single parent. It’s just me in that bed with my baby. The pillows are on my side only, I have my own blanket, and she’s down far enough that she doesn’t reach my pillow. I do take precautions, guys, just not the same ones the AAP sets out. I don’t want to be the paranoid, overbearing new mom.

Second, I’m already giving her cereal. Yes, I’m sitting her in a little chair and putting very thin cereal in a spoon and feeding my 3 month old daughter. Her appetite has become more than I can keep up with. She picked up on what to do very quickly, which is a good indication to me that it was time. It’s only in the evening, and it isn’t much. She also breastfeeds or finishes the formula I used for the cereal (sometimes both!). Her stool is normal, just lighter in color.

My daughter holds her head up very well and is gaining more control of her arms and hands. She is developing as she should be and I’m taking feeding cues from her.

They say that doing this contributes to food allergies? My mother fed me cereal at 2 months and I have zero food allergies. My system is just fine. Each person is different, but I need to take my cues from her. She may not know she’s doing it, but that’s because I need to be observant of her.

Third, I will be piercing her ears within this first year. Hear me out: She. Will. Not. Remember.

“You should wait until she can make the decision herself!”

If she doesn’t want to wear earrings when she’s older, then she doesn’t and the holes close up. Simple as that.

“But you’re opening her earlobes up to infections”

Well, yeah, if I don’t clean her freaking ears while they’re healing. I do have a role to play in this. I am her mother and I have to keep her clean.

 

Don’t want to bed-share? Fine. Don’t.

Don’t want to feed your baby cereal before 6 months? Okeydoke, it’s your child.

Don’t want to pierce your daughter’s ears as a baby? Okay. I can dig it. My mom pierced mine when I was expecting months old because people thought I was a boy all the time. I don’t remember it happening and my ears are fine.

Take your cues from your child, take necessary precautions, and just do what feels right. There is no one right way to raise a child!

Stop the mom-shaming.

Open Letter to Nicole Arbour

Nicole, I like your videos. You take real life situations, say what you’re really thinking, and add humor. Usually, I agree with you. If I don’t agree with something you say, I can normally either let it go or see your side (while still disagreeing, but I do attempt to understand).

Unfortunately, I can’t let this one slide. It took me a couple of tries to finish watching your video about ADHD and ADD, because it legitimately upset me.

I agree 100% that kids these days are grossly overdiagnosed with these learning disabilities, and I agree that big pharma is bleeding us all dry. Medicine is a messy and fucked up world, but it’s necessary. That being said, saying that ADHD is fake is insulting. There are people in this world that really do have this. Chemical imbalances and misfires in the brain are real and sometimes are serious enough to need treatment. Just because it’s in the brain, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

You’re somewhat correct about Adderall being the equivalent to speed. What you weren’t correct about it that it’s new. That’s how it always was. To somebody that doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, it is speed. That’s why it’s so commonly misused among high schoolers and college students. To somebody that legitimately has ADD, it calms us. It helps us focus.

When I was in elementary school, I was evaluated and diagnosed with ADD. I had to take Ritalin twice daily, and my grades were perfect. When I was 10, we made the decision to let me be off the meds and observe how well I do without them. My grades suffered, but I fought it for the next 6 years when I decided enough was enough and asked to be evaluated again. I was once again diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Adderall. When I remembered to take it, I did well. Hell, I aced the ACT after studying and crying for the entire week before the test. I haven’t taken it since and I can honestly say that if I had a small dose beyond college then I would probably have published a novel by now.

You said you were given a drug and you hallucinated. It makes sense if you were diagnosed with something you don’t have. I’m sorry that happened to you, honestly and truly.

I can anticipate the question of how many meds I take. I’ll be open and honest: when I remember, I take a prenatal vitamin. I take an antidepressant for postpartum depression. I have an allergy pill that I currently hesitate to take because some women have a drop in milk supply if they take any. That’s it. That’s all I take. It took having a baby to ask for an antidepressant that I should have asked for in my early 20s. I have dealt with my anxiety for my entire adult life without meds, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have it. I’ve just been able to go through life without the help of medicine thus far. I’m taking antidepressants now because if I don’t, then I cry at the drop of a hat and my infant daughter needs a mother that is on her game (especially true since I’m a single mother).

Once again, I do agree that people are overdiagnosed and overmedicated. It is a colossal problem in America. But I implore you not to discount ADD and ADHD, or any other conditions that involve the brain.

I do like you, Nicole. We don’t have to agree on everything. But this is one that I can’t let go.

Real Life is a Bitch

I haven’t touched my laptop since the weekend before I went back to work. Long days and a high maintenance infant have kept me away.

How many of you have had a not-so-ideal babysitting situation? How did you handle it? It’s my third week back at work and my daughter has already caught her first cold, been exposed to head lice, and today I had to call out from work because the sitter is too sick to care for her. That spot at daycare can’t open fast enough!!

I like my job. I like where I work, and I like the people I work with. I like having career potential. I never thought I’d like working with numbers but working in a financial institution is pretty nice.

So what happens when I call out too much? When is the last straw? I don’t want to find out!

I’m not going to lie: I’m going to soak up all the cuddles I’m bound to get today. Any extra time I can get with my daughter is a true blessing. Also, I just ate ice cream for breakfast. No regrets. The weather here has been awful for the past week, and I have declared that rainy days are pajama days (unless you have to be out in public, obviously), so of course I have also changed back into pajamas!

Since I’m stuck at home today, I’m hoping to find a silver lining. I have been craving meatloaf, but it takes too long to cook to start it after work. As long as my high maintenance bundle of joy will let me get it put together later today, I think it sounds like a nice dinner! Comfort foods are perfect for cold, rainy weather (in May).

Real life is a mess, but you always have to remember to find something good. Find something to make you smile. Appreciate the little blessings. Allow me to share a few:

  1. I unexpectedly get to spend a day with my daughter.
  2. I’m noticing my stretch marks getting lighter now that I’m moving around more (and drinking more water!).
  3. I get to actually drink my two cups of coffee!!
  4. I can poop in my own bathroom when the urge comes (been having some issues in that department lately).
  5. If I finish this quickly, I can get some cleaning done that I have desperately been wanting to do.
  6. Did I mention I get extra cuddles today?
  7. Ice cream for breakfast!!
  8. Pajamas!! Comfy clothes!!

I could think of two more to get an even 10, but I think you get the idea. Even in a situation that isn’t ideal, there are still little things to find to smile about. When shit hits the fan, even the smallest thing can be the best thing about that day, and that’s okay.

Got any favorite rainy day recipes or movies? Got any advice? Let’s hear it!

I Can Feel My Heart Breaking

Today is my last day of maternity leave. Tomorrow my daughter is 8 weeks old, and I’ll be returning to work–full time instead of part time. I’m waiting for a spot to open at a daycare center, and until then she’s going to be with an at-home caregiver. I’ve met her, and she’s kind and has done all the right things (references, background checks, a degree, etc.), but I’m still slightly uneasy about it. My heart is heavy just thinking about leaving my precious little girl with somebody I haven’t known for longer than a week. I hate this.

This weekend I’m spending reflecting on these past 8 weeks, and how much she has changed. She’s gone from eat-sleep-poop-repeat to adding playtime to the eat-sleep-poop-repeat routine. She’s finding her voice, cooing and smiling and reacting. She’s trying to laugh, and she’s so close. She has almost full control of her head, she’s trying to find her thumb. I now know exactly when she’s pooping. She stops everything she’s doing and stares off into the distance, and then you hear the straining grunts that can only be used for pooping. And oh, can you feel that diaper filling up. I find it hilarious right now.

She’s becoming her own person already. She has changed an incredible amount in just two short months of life. It is absolutely amazing to watch, and my heart breaks because I won’t get much time with her to continue simply watching her change.

My daughter is amazing. She’s strong, sweet, and goofy. I want to stay home with her, but I can’t.

I’m a single mother and I have to take care of my sweet daughter. And my heart hurts because it means I have to spend 40 hours a week away from her.

I thought making the decision to raise her would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but now I think to leave her with a babysitter while I go to work will be. I can only hope that she will one day understand what I’ve had to do to take care of her, to make sure she always has clean clothes and diapers and food in her belly. She is the light of my life and I will do anything to make sure she has a happy and fulfilling life.

Cookie Woes

Oh, Nestle Tollhouse…you have failed me today.

I was at the store with a list while my mom stayed at home with my baby, and I was determined to stick to this list and get through the store as quickly as possible. Of course, being in a small town such as this one, you’re going to run into somebody that you know, and you’re going to have to talk to them for a few minutes. I showed him pictures and talked to him about what it’s like to have a baby and about work. During our conversation, I spotted the familiar yellow package of refrigerated cookies. We almost never buy these because we just make our own and they taste fantastic, but I saw the flavor “lemon blueberry” and I was sold. Lemon poppy seed cookies with blueberry filling. Sounds fantastic, right? I thought so, and snatched up the package.

It took me a couple of days to finally get the cookies baked. I followed the directions and preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and put half of the cookies on the cookie sheet. I baked them for 10 minutes, and the bottoms were browner than I care to have my cookies, so for the next batch, I turned the oven down to 325. To my dismay, I got the same results with the second batch of cookies. They weren’t soft (I didn’t bake them for as long as the package said, so they should have been softer than they were), and the bottoms were too brown. It took away from what should have been a happy combination of flavors.

I just sigh thinking about these cookies and what they could have been. You disappointed me, Nestle, and I’m sorry to say it.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m going to eat them anyway. Can’t let these cookies go to waste if they’re mostly edible!

Have you been disappointed by a new thing? Or even a recipe that’s supposed to be “really great!”?

“Cash Me Ousside…”

A phrase uttered with zero enunciation by a preteen girl heard ’round the world. Are we tired of it yet? It seems we aren’t, considering this young girl is supposedly set to make millions this year.

What have we come to? We are giving our hard earned money to a disrespectful brat that can’t take the time to properly enunciate her words or even put them into a logical sentence. I’ll admit that I’m not perfect, and my grammar has certainly taken its toll between being out of school, living in a meth lab-filled area, and having an infant all of a sudden. That doesn’t mean I don’t try. Another burden I bear is getting tongue tied on a regular basis. I make an effort to make my words clear.

I watched that infamous clip a couple of times. I saw her mother sitting across from her, listening to her daughter’s vulgar words and watching her defiant body language. She sat by and did nothing while her very young daughter told an audience of people to fight her. I watched and observed, and I was appalled.

My mother would have slapped me if I behaved this way (and she never slapped or spanked any of us), and I’ll be damned if my own daughter ever believes that this is anywhere near acceptable behavior. I was taught that respect is both earned and given. I don’t know what events led to this girl’s attitude, and I don’t care. There is no reason for the level of disrespect she displays. No excuses. Don’t try to explain her behavior to me. I want her mother to explain herself for the lack of discipline (or follow-through!), and this girl needs reality to slap her in the face hard enough to send her to the middle of next week.

I have worked my ass off just to barely afford what little I have, yet this preteen can monetize her appalling behavior? This is what is wrong with us. There are several hard-working individuals out there that deserve all the best and struggle to pay their bills, while shitty behavior gets rewarded.

What I want for this young person is to take a big swallow of her pride. She is not a good person, and her attitude will get her nowhere in the professional world. She’s on a very dangerous path right now and it could ruin her in several ways. I fear she’ll end up in adult entertainment, or scammed. She could become a high school dropout, or a drug addict. She could challenge the wrong person and not just get a good ass-kicking (I’ve seen the videos–it’s happened) but become seriously injured or killed.

I hope this girl receives a heavy dose of reality soon and cleans up her act. Her mother needs to put her foot down as well and discipline her child. Hell, sign this girl up for speech therapy so that she can properly enunciate because I only understood the “cash me ousside” part of the interview.

To the rest of us: when somebody displays atrocious behavior, we need to stop celebrating it. It’s incredibly disheartening when somebody so young and undisciplined can make a lifetime’s fortune for doing nothing but being vulgar. She doesn’t deserve a handout. Do I deserve one? Probably not, but I’m willing to work for my money. In fact, I have worked for it and will continue to do so. I just wish I didn’t have to struggle as hard as I do. My daughter deserves better.

Take care of how you share memes. Some of them are funny, and others glorify shitty things.

I’m all for spreading love, and definitely kindness. Sometimes stern words need to be said, however, and that is why I’ve typed these words in slight anger. Of course I’m upset about this. You all should be upset. We have just taught a preteen that her actions have no consequence and that she doesn’t need to alter her attitude or behavior, rather than teaching her not to speak to people the way she has.

Please, please, please practice respect and kindness toward others. You may not get it back, but that does not mean you stoop to their level. You are better than that. There is an actor named Zachary Levi who said some powerful words: “It costs nothing to be kind.” Take those words to heart, ladies and gentlemen. Kindness is difficult, and I know not all of my words here were kind. I’m only human, but I do try to be nicer than I feel inside. In truth, I’m beyond angry with this news. I don’t wish this young girl harm, but I fear that she will experience a lot of it should she continue on this path. To those of you wishing her to be harmed: Stop. That isn’t what she needs. She needs an ego-check. Her pride and ego need to be incredibly bruised, not her body.

Should there be any points I didn’t express well, please say something. I welcome constructive criticism. Should you disagree with something, start a friendly debate. Should you feel compelled to say “She needs to die and get off the planet,” kindly leave my blog and take a long, hard look at yourself.

Thank you and good night. Spread love, folks.