Baby, Life Changes, Love, Mom, Motherhood, NYC, SAHM

The Start of the SAHM Life

I have been meaning to write this for almost 8-months now, but every day I say I’m going to do it, the day ends and merely the thought of writing is all that has happened. Such is the life of a newly inducted SAHM (that’s Stay At Home Mom for those of you who don’t know).

I didn’t always think I would be a SAHM right off the bat. I mean, I wanted to be one eventually, after I had all the kids I would have, but right away – meh. Then my Little Roo was born. Really it was even before that moment that I knew I would be beyond 100% satisfied with my life if I stayed home. And did I know it would be hard? Yeah. I had no doubt that when people told me it was one of the hardest jobs they have ever done that they were telling the truth. But to actually experience that personally took that belief to a whole other level.

 

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I’ll be honest – I already don’t remember what my job entailed those first couple months. I was a complete zombie who apparently kept a very happy demeanor (according to my husband, who didn’t tell me that until after, just in case a comment like that made me explode, haha). Once my husband went back to work I was sure I would be able to keep up with my old schedule. I mean, the baby just sleeps 90% of the time, right? Well, all I could ever answer when he would come home asking what I did for the day was. . . “I don’t know”. As along as it wasn’t too negative temperature-wise outside I knew we went for a walk, but the rest of it – well my memory decided to go the way of Dory.

Fortunately for my sanity (that was probably on the brink with the lack of sleep, even if I wasn’t aware of it), we were blessed with a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks. That was at least one really hard part out of the way, but that by no means made the list of hard things smaller. I tried making a schedule, writing down exactly what I wanted to accomplish (I’m a total list person). I pinned everything on fun things I could do with my Roo, and yet I still felt like I was being inadequate as a mother. My job was to stay home, enriching her life but also make the home clean and comfortable for us all – why was this so overwhelming!?

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Almost 8-months have gone by now, and while there are still days I feel completely overwhelmed, desiring to do nothing more than to crawl into my bed and sleep everything away, I wouldn’t trade any of these last months for anything. Being a SAHM is the dream job I didn’t fully realize I wanted but it’s a job I can’t imagine not having and not giving my absolute everything.

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Birth, Judgement, Life Changes, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC, Pregnancy

Judge Ye Not. . . A Birth Story

It is unique to human beings. No other animal is so harsh to one another. So callous and cruel. Humans are constantly trying to one up one another, pointing out how they are better or superior in some way or another. This is shown through clothing worn or money earned. Where one lives, what one drives and even how one eats.

Since becoming pregnant (and now becoming a mother) I had become even more conscious of the human species viscousness through their judging of one another. And while I had made an effort before to not be so quick to judge another person, I was adamant to be better after judgement I have heard and received over the last nine months.

Pregnancy judgment begins the day you choose to announce to the world (or even close family and friends) that you are expecting. The happiest moment in your life (well, at least until that Little Roo is born), immediately becomes a harbor for constant worry and constant scrutiny from others.

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The moment I started telling people that we were expecting I was bombarded with questions. While ‘congratulations’ was the first thing to come out of people’s mouths, it was quickly followed by; “do you have a birth plan?” or “are you planning on having a natural birth?” and even just the advice of, “you know you should breast feed for at least the first year”. People, my baby is the size of a pea and is indistinguishable between that of a tadpole – CALM DOWN PLEASE!

Fast forward to week 25 or so and I was that lady the people were afraid to ask if I was pregnant. Really, I just looked like I had gained a few pounds. I really had the prefect example of a spare tire. When people did choose to ask and I told them how far along I was I immediately got looks of concern. “Are you sure what you are doing here {at the gym} is ok for you?”, “Are you sure that’s how far along you are?” (no, actually, it’s not a perfect science, you get an ESTIMATED due date, not an actual – doctors are good, but not that good). I even had people have the audacity to tell me they didn’t think my pregnancy, or at least the baby, was healthy with how small I was. Here is what they didn’t know:

At week 13 I went in for routine test looking for downs syndrome and chromosomal abnormalities. While almost everything came back looking great, one blood test made my doctor a little concerned. I even had to have the discussion with her about what our decision would be if the additional blood tests showed the same result (scariest discussion I have had to date). Everything, thankfully, came back fine – but there was a, shall we call it, a side-effect to this red flag. Come week 28 I would be going in frequently for additional ultra sounds and non-stress tests. I was a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy. I found myself immediately being judgmental and had to catch myself. ‘I can’t be high risk, I’m too young. That’s only for those people who choose to have babies later in life’ – massive error. I don’t know what leads people to have a baby later. Maybe they have been trying for 10 years to get pregnant. Maybe they had such a wonderful job that they couldn’t imagine leaving it just yet. Whatever the reason, they were choosing to bring life into this world and that’s all that matters.

Every time I was asked if the baby or just everything was ok I would just smile and say, ‘yes, everything is great’. And it was. I was lucky. Every test I had taken looked great – my baby was smaller than average, but not dangerously so. We just really were going to have a little Little Roo. But did that reassurance help me when constantly getting asked about our health by others – no. Every time it made me a little nervous.

Now let’s go to the birth. I had a c-section. We chose to tell very few people this. People push the whole natural birth thing so much these days that having a c-section is practically frowned upon by many. Did I want to have a natural birth? I most definitely did. Some crazy part of me wanted to feel that euphoric pain that comes with a natural birth. But do you want to know what I wanted above anything else? A healthy baby. Before my baby’s birth I had more random people give me advice on what the baby’s gender was and how I needed to birth her. I had one man (yes, a man) tell me that I HAD to have a water birth. It was the best for a baby. Hospitals were not a good place and if I wanted to, he could give me the info for the place his wife birthed their child. I had a woman in a nail salon tell me it needed to be ‘au-natural’ as well and that a Doula was necessary; “especially since you are from Utah, you definitely need a Doula” (um, what? What does Utah have to do with anything!?). The c-section was not my first choice, or even one I wanted to even choose from – it was, however, the safest choice. My baby was breach, and even though we attempted a version, our Little Roo wasn’t budging. It was much more content kicking my bladder constantly.

Now some of you reading this may think, “well yeah, it’s safer, but you can still at least try a breach natural birth”. True, this is something you can choose to attempt. To me, the thought of going through the stress of actual labor to have the chance that something goes wrong that they do an emergency c-section anyway wasn’t worth the risk. I would enjoy my birth experience no matter how it happened. My husband and I were having a baby! That’s the ONLY thing that mattered.

It’s funny, now, to hear people’s reactions when I say I had a c-section. I even catch myself defending my reasoning. Why should I have to give an excuse for why I had a c-section? There are people who elect to have them all the time. I think I do so because, in the back of my mind, I am still worried about the judgement people will place on me for that decision. That I wasn’t strong enough to go through labor, that I wasn’t willing to do more, to try more to make a natural birth happen. But I shouldn’t have to defend my choice. I grew a human being for heaven’s sake! I created life. I altered my body so that it could harbor this miraculous being, and regardless of how it was brought into this world, it is still a little miracle. My little miracle.

So next time you are walking down the street and you see something different than what you personally believe in, stop you brain from even starting to judge. But if you can’t quite quit judging cold turkey, at least start with not judging the lady with the belly. Tell her congratulations. She is creating something miraculous and her body will change in whatever ways it sees fit. You, at one point, were that little miracle too – you still are, that’s what makes you, you.

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Adventure, Baby, Life Changes, Mom, NYC

Mommy In the City. . . ?

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The crib sat in a corner adorned with Great Grandma’s handmade quilt. The white wicker rocking chair, the same one that I had in my room as a baby, sat in another corner surrounded by some stuffed animals and a small basket of toys. The walls were a soft pastel and the large bookshelf was stocked with every book my Little Roo would need for years to come. It was my perfect nursery room just as I had always imagined it. . .

And then I moved to New York City

Like so many women, I had this vision of how my life would go up to mommy hood. I would leave my home state after college, live in a big city for a year or two, find my dream man somewhere, move to a nice house in the burbs (probably back in my home state), get married and have children. We would live in a beautiful little neighborhood with BBQs and a park nearby for morning walks/runs. Yeah, a little too idyllic, perhaps, but a girl can dream!

Of course I have gotten some of those things. I found my dream man (seriously still wondering how he picked me – so so lucky), and we had begun searching for our dream suburban home in the mountains of Park City, Utah. I hadn’t moved to a big city after college, but I had found my husband, so that was totally worth it. Then, just months before our marriage, his company informed us we would be moving to New York City. My weekends of teaching skiing, evening trail runs/mountain bike rides out our back door after a long work day – all of that and more was about to disappear.

Fast forward to ten months of ‘big city’ living, adjusting, shock and change – the biggest of which will come mid October when we welcome our Little Roo (gender TBD upon arrival) and that dream nursery room has now become a 7x7sq.ft. space in the hallway to our bedroom. There are no neighborhood BBQs, no non-crowded little (or big) parks nearby and no baby’s room akin to Father of the Bride II. And let’s be honest here, I’m terrified of being a Big City Mom.

Perhaps I’m overthinking this Big City Mom thing (ok, I know I am). I spent my life in the mountains, and while I enjoyed traveling to big cities, I have never been one of those people who have thought while there, ‘now this is where I could spend my life’. Spend a year and have that ‘big city’ adventure – definitely. But be the place where my family would start – not in my wildest (or even tamest) dreams! I was completely content being a small town girl and eventually a suburban mom. I would find my mommy neighbors, go play in the park, have a great, small school district for me to work in and my kids to go to and fall asleep every night to cool mountain air and the sweet silence only nature can provide.

The lack of mountains and outdoor space (which has also made me very aware of my complete lack in sense of direction) makes me more homesick than anything, but here is what I’m really afraid of:

In ten months my husband and I have yet to make friends (let alone really meet) with anyone in our building. I even recently met a man in our elevator carrying two chocolate shakes. I inquired as to why he had two in which he responded his wife wanted one so he figured he would get himself one. Asking if she was pregnant (his response yes) I said I was too, hoping to strike up a conversation and perhaps even start a new friendship. His response – ‘oh’. End of that conversation, start to an awkwardly long last couple floors. I didn’t want to be that pushy person forcing something that obviously wasn’t there so I just stayed quiet.

The lack of our ability to make acquaintances with anyone in our building within childbearing age isn’t the only thing that makes this mountain girl nervous for this Big City Mom life. While I have been impressed with the amount of parks New York has with seemingly such limited space, the idea of waiting in line to swing and then have an actual swing time limit is completely ridiculous. There is no backyard to have adventures in, no pond to play in or mountain trail to venture through. To find outdoor space requires packing up for the entire day and trekking across New York traffic (which I’m terrified of which means I’ll really going to be a mess with my child). Yes, moms do this here every day and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I even had one say she doesn’t understand how suburban moms do it –

“I mean I can’t imagine having to pack up your car every day just to go somewhere.”

As I listened, all I could think of was the convenience of a suburb with its proximity to open space and the stroll around the neighborhood that does not require you packing up your life (and yes, after living in New York City for a bit, I do admit there are some major convenience factors, I’m not crazy).

Now before you think I am just the biggest Negative Nancy of city life, let me tell you a few of the things I am definitely looking forward to with a baby in the city – at least for the first couple years (the city school fiasco is a whole other topic).

Culture. This is one thing I will openly admit Utah does not have a lot of that New York is overflowing with – and it’s AWESOME! Everywhere you turn there is someone different, someone new, something different, educational and fun to experience. This city has a parade or small festival for everything, and I mean everything.

Museums. An annual pass to the Museum of Natural History (my personal favorite) and the MET are definitely going to happen. Once the weather gets chilly we are going to need an indoor adventure spot. An apartment can only provide so much entertainment, and if there is no snow (I’m from Utah here, so I’m talking Real snow), at least there are amazing, visually enriching, fun and educational places for us to experience.

With so many things New York City has to offer I know I am going to have so much to offer this Little Roo of mine, I still can’t help but be terrified. I just don’t see the little Mountain Girl in me succeeding as a Big City Mom. Perhaps I just need some more time, some more solo adventures before the bundle arrives to get my bearings (at least a little bit, still directionally challenged in this place). I’m a Mountain Mom at heart – but perhaps we’ll just play make believe for a couple years – being a Big City Mom could be one of our best young adventures together.

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