Posts Tagged ‘first time mom’

Too Tired to Worry about Baby #4

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

too tired 3I joke that baby #4 is my tagalong. I call him the “sleep anywhere baby” because I’m not sure he’s ever had a proper nap. He sleeps on my back in the ergo. In the bike trailer. In the stroller. In a shopping cart. On the bathroom floor. Or snuggled up against a wall. Obviously napping when the baby naps doesn’t apply here. Although I’m so tired that most days I probably could also curl up against a wall and doze off for a bit, too.

I have a dear friend I met while pregnant with my fourth baby. She was pregnant with her first at the time. We had the same “estimated due date” which formed an almost instant connection between us. Our little ones were born a week apart and so there has been a lot of shared experiences on our motherhood journey; sometimes with elation (He’s walking!) and sometimes with tears (He’s awake all night long!). We have been meeting monthly for breakfast since about 35 weeks pregnant and now our little ones are almost two years old! I cherish our breakfast dates and look forward to them each month.

On our recent breakfast date she shared with me that she had made an outline stating her educational goals for her son. As I listened to her share, I was fascinated. But also trying to scan my brain in effort to come up with what educational goals I had for my own toddler. I wanted to feel worthy of contributing to our conversation. She sounded so wise, caring, and passionate about her son’s educational journey. I admired her. And wondered if I used to be like her when my oldest was my only? Did I ponder with great deliberation my hopes and dreams for him? too tired 1Surely I did. It just all feels like a blur and I am too tired to even remember what that was like; to have the space in my brain to ponder such thoughts. The reality is most days the goal is just to get through the day…and I don’t even necessarily to do that with intention. And if I did at one point have an outline of educational goals for my oldest son, they have now been replaced with the primary goal of not being late to school. With the secondary goal being to achieve the primary goal with as little yelling as possible. That’s the painful truth of our days.

My conversation with my friend stuck with me and I really started thinking about how differently I mothered my first.

Baby #1: Starting at just a few weeks old I would sit with him in the rocking chair and read aloud to him because that’s what all the research on literature and brain development told me to do.
Baby #4: Have I ever read him a book? Wait there was that one time I gave him a book to hold because he was fussing in his stroller. Mmmm, actually that was just a pamphlet of the metro schedule I was trying to figure out as we were dashing through the station trying not to miss the train. But I’m pretty sure it had some words and number on it. That counts as developing early literacy skills, right?

Baby #1: While bathing him I would sing little songs and play little games with him. Post-bath he would get a relaxing baby massage with organic essential oils because that’s what all the research on bonding, attachment, and language development told me to do.
Baby #4: I don’t even know the last time he had a bath. The only song he’s probably ever heard me sing is Happy Birthday the few times a year we sing it. And I’ve rubbed coconut oil on his butt a few times due to the diaper rash he got because I forgot to change his diaper. That’s kind of like a baby massage, right?

Baby #1: Introduction to foods was a deliberate and well thought-out process full of homemade organic foods presented in a way to encourage self-feeding and promote a balanced palate, because that’s what all the research on health and nutrition told me to do.
Baby #4: His first food was sprinkles that my middle son fed him when he was five months old. But I think they were the ones dyed with beetroot and carrots which is kind of like eating a vegetable, right?

You get my drift here. The capacity I had to pour attention AND intention into mothering has changed. Drastically. And I almost forgot you can do more as a mother than just survive through the day to day hustle of getting everyone where they need to be with whatever it is they need. And honestly I don’t even juggle that simple task very well

too tired 475 percent of the time.

Although talking with my friend about her goals for her son was refreshing and inspiring. Her enthusiasm was delightful and even contagious. It made me remember a part of myself I had long forgotten. And she’s still there; that attentive, loving, caring mother filled with a deep desire to nurture and guide her children. That mom exists
somewhere within me. It’s just that most days she is heavily buried under a mounting to-do list and a never ending pile of laundry.

So while I don’t have the ability to provide my toddler with the same individualized focus I did with baby #1, I remind myself that he’s still exposed to and enjoying an enriching, stimulating babyhood. It just looks slightly different.

Baby #1: Attends baby story time at the library with costumes, music, and dancing.
Baby #4: Attends brother’s school play with costumes, music and dancing.

Baby #1: Plays alongside peers during visits to children’s museum, playgrounds, and splash parks.
Baby #4: Plays alongside older brothers (and their friends) in the woods behind our house.

Baby #1: Receives a lot of attention and affection from me.
Baby #4: Receives a lot of collective attention and affection from his older brothers and myself.

It helps me to see that baby #4 is blessed with a busy family schedule and surrounded by people who love and care for him. In a way it’s simply a parallel journey between baby #1 and baby #4.

BOTH #1 and #4: Have a mom who expresses a wide range of emotions from silly/happy to frustrated/overwhelmed. And at the heart of each day knows she is doing the best she can at any given moment by approaching motherhood which humility and hopefully a little grace along the way.

May you find a glimmer of joy and assurance wherever you are in your own journey as a parent.

Sarah is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer.  She blogs about health, nutrition, and exercise at fitafter.com

Pregnancy Week 17: First Pregnancy vs. Second

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Your first pregnancy, you feel like a princess. Your family and friends lavish you with attention, and you dream of having the sweetest, cutest baby. Now, you’re pregnant with baby number two, but this time it is a lot different. You’re chasing a toddler. You struggle to fix your hair, let alone glow. They say each pregnancy is different, and this week I have been thinking about ways that my second pregnancy has compared to my first so far.

Body and Belly

With my first pregnancy, my bump was basketball shaped, and I had the glow. Many women spend time pampering themselves during their first pregnancy: massages, naps, pedicures. This time around, I can’t seem to get a long shower or get extra sleep. I’ve also noticed more breakouts on my face. The once beautiful glow has been replaced with teenage acne.

I’ve seen so many cute ideas on how to capture weekly belly photos, but after your first pregnancy, you might be lucky to remember to even wear cute enough clothes to get your picture taken. So far, no stretch marks. If I do get some, I plan on trying Mango Mama Bump Butter. A plus to having a second pregnancy is that you usually feel the baby move sooner or show earlier.

Worries, Fears, and What ifs

With a first pregnancy, you tend to worry about everything–Autism, developmental and genetic disorders. You are bombarded. Every little cramp or even a lack of movement can cause a first-time mom to go into a panic. What about all of those things you’re not supposed to do or not supposed to eat while pregnant? The first time around, you follow that list strictly. I remember worrying once because I ate some yummy queso blanco at a Mexican restaurant. My baby came out perfectly healthy. I’ve noticed the second time around that I still am cautious with being healthy for my baby, but I’m not as concerned with worry. My worries this time around are more about where baby will sleep in my tiny house, or if my toddler will still be in diapers at baby’s birth.

Your Focus

During your first pregnancy, you are focused on baby. You get the cute emails weekly. You sing songs to your growing belly, and remember to send all of your family your latest sonogram photo. I’ve noticed that being pregnant while taking care of a toddler changes your focus some. While I am still focused on my growing baby, I sometimes have to remind myself that I am in fact pregnant. I’ve just started having my toddler pat my belly and say, “Hi, baby.” While I am not getting the weekly emails, I am reading a weekly book about baby and mom’s development.

So, mommas, how did your first pregnancy compare with the second, third, fourth, or even fifth? How do we still be mom to our children who need us so much, and still focus on the growing miracle we have been blessed with? This is something I don’t have the answer to, but I am learning every day. You’re a mom once you’re pregnant. I may just have one child to chase right now, but I have enough love to give to both. That’s enough for me this week.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a stay at home mom in Northeast Indiana who loves to read, write, and nap. She loves being pregnant and loves being a mom. It’s definitely the hardest job, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Why would someone*want* to cloth diaper?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

 

When I was pregnant with my first baby I remember mentioning to someone that I was considering using cloth diapers. Her reply was very discouraging. She assured me I would be way too busy caring for my newborn to wash poopy diapers. “Why do you think they invented disposables?” she said in a somewhat mocking manner.  Sadly this conversation was the primary reason I used sposies for the first 6 months of my first baby’s life.  Now why I let someone who had never cloth diapered a baby before influence my decision about what type of diaper to put on my child I do not know. I guess it was first time mom insecurities? After all, I worried what if she was right? What if caring for and nursing a baby is more work than I could ever imagine? Would adding extra laundry just be a huge nuisance? Surely disposable diapers are a viable option because everyone I knew used them. In fact I didn’t know a single person who cloth diapered when I was pregnant with my first!

Although there was a whole subculture of cloth diapering families. Why were they committed to cloth? Surely there must be some benefit to it? Why would someone want to cloth diaper? Basically there are few main reasons. Although in all honesty  for many, many families it boils down to ONE main consideration; cloth diapering saves you money!

While it is difficult to calculate an exact amount you will save by using cloth due to a number of variables, a general estimate can easily be obtained. A savings of  roughly $1500 is commonly sited in literature that compares cloth versus disposables.  Some of the variables that influence the amount saved include how long your child is in diapers and what type of diapers you use. Let’s say for example your child potty trains at age 2.5 and averages 8 diaper changes in a 24 hour period during their 2.5 years in diapers. On average disposables cost about .25 per diaper (name brands and larger sizes will cost you more while generic brands and smaller sizes will cost you less).

2.5 years/912 days of diapering x 8 diapers a day x .25 per diaper = $1824.00 per child

Cloth diapering estimates are a little trickier to obtain since there is a large variance in price depending on what type of cloth diapering system you use and how many diapers in your rotation. A most basic system consisting of pre-folds and covers would cost approximately $300 (check out Econobum Trial Pack).  A more eclectic stash that includes a mix of pocket diapers, all in ones, and or one-size diapers would cost approximately $600.  Given those numbers it sounds like an average savings of $1500 is spot on! Now keep in mind the benefit of cloth diapers is that they can be used over and over again.  This means the amount saved increases as you cloth diaper subsequent babies! And for those families who only have one child, don’t fret because this benefit is available to you as well. There is a market for used cloth diapers. Yes, you can actually SELL your cloth diapers when you are done with them!

Purely from an economical standpoint cloth diapering makes sense and is the primary selling point for many families. The ecological benefits are typically a secondary consideration, especially once the true impact of disposables is examined. Want to know more about the ecological benefits of cloth diapering? Be sure to check back here tomorrow for more information about why cloth diapering really is an Eco-friendly choice! Still think cloth diapering might be too much work? Check back later this week where that myth gets debunked once and for all!

Why do YOU cloth diaper?

-Sarah