Motherhood has been the most incredible transformation of my life. In so many different ways it has changed me for the better. For one, it has completely changed my relationship with my body.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you may have heard me discuss the fact that I had a very unhealthy relationship with my body. For most of my high school years I struggled with disordered eating. I would restrict my calories to about 500 a day, and workout for an hour a day after school in my bedroom to burn off as much of that as I could.
When I went to college, I did the exact opposite. I numbed myself with alcohol and ate my feelings. I went from calorie restriction to binge eating and drinking.
No matter what I would look in the mirror and dislike what I had to see. It didn’t matter when people told me how great I looked, or my boyfriend (now husband) would tell me how beautiful he thought I was.
It wasn’t until I was 23, and my husband encouraged me to work on my relationship with my body, and get healthy that I began to heal my relationship. I learned how to fuel my body instead of deprive it, and how to exercise my body healthily instead of punish it. Healing my body helped me to heal my my mental health too.
My deepest healing came however when I became pregnant with my first child. I remember worrying that my unhealthy habits or thoughts would creep back up as I watched my body change drastically and quickly. Instead I found myself in awe of my beautiful new body and the life it was creating inside of it.
That feeling only continued after birthing my daughter. This past pregnancy, the love I have for this body grew even more. I watched it once again blossom into a beautiful home for another lovely little girl.
I saw it’s power as it labored and birthed her quickly and powerfully. I sit in awe of it now as I watch it shrink slowly back down. I cannot believe how after 9 months of housing a little human and birthing that tiny person, it is capable of caring for 2 children day in and day out as it continues to heal.
The other day, my two year old daughter saw me getting dressed after taking a shower. She has started to become super curious about the human body since she saw my tummy shrink since her sister was born.
My last pregnancy I didn’t have a single stretch mark, while this time I gained quite a few. She innocently touched them and asked me “mom…. what are these?!”
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little upset when I first saw them appear on my belly a few weeks before my baby was born. I mourned the fact that I would never wear a bikini or crop top again, and complained about them to my girlfriends and husband. That being said, I have made it a mission only to talk about my body in a loving, positive way in front of my daughter. I know that the way I look at, and talk about my body is how she will in the future.
Without even thinking I responded to her “these are my Super Mama stripes! I earned them by growing two incredible little ladies in my belly!”
She got the biggest smile when I said that and asked “Wow! Can I have those too?!”
This made my heart so happy. I explained to her that yes, someday she can earn them too. She looked so proud that her body could do the same thing mine had just done, it made my day.
I couldn’t tell you where that explanation came from, it just flew out of my mouth. I can tell you that it not only made my toddler proud of my body, but it has actually made me more proud as well. Now every time I look into the mirror, I no longer see ugly stretch marks. Instead, I see my Super Mama stripes, reminding me how amazing and powerful my body truly is.
Motherhood has taught me many many things. I am so grateful that becoming a mama has taught me to truly love my body, and appreciate it for all its beauty.
So moms, next time you look in the mirror and don’t recognize that body staring back at you, know that this body in front of you has transformed from human into a super human. The body you miss has now created and birthed life, it shouldn’t look the same.
Think of Spider-Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel and all the other superhero’s who have come before you. We are just like them. So be proud of your new body, and of your Super Mama stripes!
If you have been following my blog since the beginning, you’ll know that two years ago this past February I had my first child. If you read that birth story, you will know that I had planned for an unmedicated hospital birth, and how the second I was admitted to the hospital they threw those plans right out the window.
I still had a great birth experience, and a very healthy baby, despite my best laid plans being squashed. However, I still held on to the dream of that beautiful oxytocin high I had read about after an unmedicated birth.
Well, flash forward to this summer. On July 3, 2020, after a few days of feeling a little out of sorts, I took an early pregnancy test. Two days before my missed period, a faint line appeared on a pregnancy test, and I jumped for joy.
We began this pregnancy with the same OBGYN practice I had had my last child with. I expressed to my husband my concerns with the practice. They’re c-section rate is one of the highest on Long Island, some of the doctors’ bedside manor was pretty subpar, and it’s hospital roulette to see who you get when you are admitted to deliver.
Last pregnancy I had been so obsessed with pregnancy and birth that I researched non stop! I had educated myself as much as possible. I learned about all the birthing options, their pros and cons. I watched countless birth videos, and birth stories to prepare myself, and read books from cover to cover.
At one point, early on in my first pregnancy, I had asked my husband what he thought about switching to a midwife and having a home birth. From all my research, including books written by obstetricians, I had learned that home birth is essentially just as safe as a hospital for a low risk pregnancy.
It was our first child, and my husband, who like most of us, had always heard that hospital was the safest place for a baby to be born. He quickly let me know how uncomfortable he was with the idea of our baby being born at home, God forbid anything should happen. I obliged and dropped the subject.
This time around I was much more comfortable expressing my desire to go the alternative route…. especially after one of the doctor’s from the practice started pushing a c-section at only 20 weeks. At my 20 week scan she looked at my sonogram and informed me my baby was transverse and that she was worried about her position. Did I mention I was only 20 weeks?!
To any pregnant mamas, this isn’t concerning that early on in pregnancy. Baby’s typically don’t turn or get into position for birthing until 32 weeks or after. Some don’t even turn until right around their due date. Research shows that only about 4% of babies remain breech at the time of birth.
She started alluding to me that we should discuss a possible c-section. That was my breaking point. I knew there was virtually no reason I would need to discuss, or even entertain the idea of a c-section at 20 weeks. After all, I had no signs of hyper tension, no protein in my urine and from the anatomy scan and all other tests, baby was growing quite well and healthily.
I had already had a bad taste with most of the doctors in my practice, after I brought up many times my desire for natural unmedicated birth. They had all basically rolled their eyes or scoffed at me. One even said “a lot of moms want that but we have to be realistic”.
At this point I had already been researching midwife groups, preparing information, and planning to bombard my husband with the fact that I will no longer see my OB group. He was hesitant at first, but after finding an amazing group of midwives (shoutout to Gaia Midwives), and a lovely consultation with them, he agreed.
At the meeting, they explained to him how they have the option to deliver at Stony Brook Hospital if that would make us more comfortable, or at home. He liked the hospital plan, while I secretly planned to sway him to stay home.
Home just sounded so relaxing to me. Dimmed lights, a warm tub to birth in, my favorite songs playing, being able to eat and drink whatever I wanted, and labor and birth in any position I chose, just sounded like a dream come true. It took a lot of convincing, a home birth zoom call where home birth mamas told us their experiences, oh and rising numbers of Covid-19, my husband was finally coming around. Finally, after watching the film The Business of Being Born (highly recommend), he agreed to trying a home birth.
My group of midwives Michele, Colleen, and Ashley were super supportive about either decision. Each of them assured us that if at any point in my pregnancy or labor things looked remotely unfavorable, that we would be having the baby at the hospital. That made him feel much better.
Well, once I had his blessing, my husband and I began planning for our home birth. We got a pool, snacks, packed our hospital bags just in case. I made my labor playlist, ordered some essential oils to set the mood and we made plans with our parents for dog and child care.
My due date rolled around on March 17th, and no baby in sight. I was slightly frustrated as my first daughter came the day past her due date, and this little girl showed no signs of coming. That night we blew up our birth pool, just in case. Turns out that was a good move, because my labor went quite fast as you’ll find out in a bit.
Three days later, no baby in sight I found myself very cranky and uncomfortable. The day was absolutely gorgeous out, so I demanded a long hike through one of our local trails. When we finished that I demanded a spicy lunch.
We went to bed later that night and my husband asked if I thought that night was the night. I told him “Nope! I’m gonna be pregnant forever!” I said the same thing the night my water broke with my first.
I had been having some minor contractions but nothing regular, or intense, and that had been going on for weeks. I went to bed around 9pm, pretty confident I would be pregnant for at least another week.
At 10:45pm that night I woke up from a contraction. I lay in bed a few minutes to see if another would come. Sure enough 5 minutes later I had yet another painful contraction. I waited again. The next one was so painful I couldn’t lay in bed any longer. I got up, called my parents, and sent my husband to drop our dog at their house.
My next call was the midwives. Thankfully, within a few minutes Michele picked up and assured me she would be on her way and at my house within the hour. That was music to my ears because I could feel that things were happening fast. I called my doula next, she helped me breath through my next contraction and told me that I should fill my pool immediately because it sounded like that baby was coming quick.
My husband was gone all of 15 minutes, and by the time he was back in the door my contractions had gone from every 5 minutes to every 2 minutes and gotten very intense. He began filling the tub, and applying counter pressure on my back through my contractions.
I remember looking at him right before the midwife walked in the door, knowing I was in transition and feeling my baby girl descending. I said to him “this is the point in my last labor that I wanted the epidural! I honestly don’t want one at all right now!”
Now, if you have read my first birth story, you’ll have read that I had been put on pitocin, artificial oxytocin, to speed up my labor. If you have even been on pit, you will have experience the crazy contractions they produce. I like to refer to them as contractions on crack.
My natural contractions were nothing like them. They were intense, don’t get me wrong, but my hypnobirthing breathing techniques helped me through each one with ease. I was also laboring in any position that felt good to me, unlike the last time where they wouldn’t let me leave my bed or a chair. If you’ve ever labored sitting or laying down… it feels like down right torture. This time I was on my knees, with my arms and head draped over a birthing ball, and it was so much easier in that position to breathe through it.
Around midnight my angel midwife and the doula walked through our front door. My husband told her that I wanted to get in the tub. What I hadn’t told my husband was the increasing pressure I had been feeling on my cervix and perineum, because why make the man nervous until the midwife arrived?
Within about ten minutes or so of Michele arriving, I exclaimed “I feel like I have to poop!” If you’re a mama, you will know that means baby is almost here and it’s time to push. She gently asked if I wanted to have the baby on my living room floor or in the tub.
I jumped up in between contractions and hopped in the warm water. It was like instant relief. The pressure eased up, and the contractions became so much more bearable.
I’m fairly certain in between contractions I looked at Michele and said “oh my God, this is awesome! Why doesn’t everyone do this?!” It is literally the home birth epidural, which is exactly what she called it.
Within what I would say was 10 to 15 minutes in the pool, I felt something absolutely amazing. My body began pushing all on its own. I had an epidural with my first so never got to experience the Natural Expulsive Reflex I had read about in all my natural birthing research. That’s right mamas… your body will push your baby out all on it’s own if it’s given the chance! It is awesome! My midwife encouraged me to lean into it, and do whatever my body felt like doing.
A few pushes later, at 12;57 am on March 21st, my baby girl was born. Michele caught her and gently passed her to me under water, and seconds later she was on my chest letting out her first cry. I felt the wave of oxytocin wash over me just like I had read about and suddenly I was in new mama bliss. That afterbirth high is so real and so amazing.
Within 30 minutes I birthed the placenta, I cut the cord myself (which was pretty damn cool too), and we were whisked off to my bed to recover and check our vitals. My husband got to do the honors of weighing our daughter, Michele took her measurements, and check mama for any tearing. I checked out well! No tears except for two small abrasions that required no stitches. Baby girl weighed in at 8 pounds 4 oz. and a whopping 22.5 inches long! All had gone smoothly and beautifully, and in only 2 hours and 12 min total.
It was possibly the greatest experience of my life thus far. I felt the most strong and powerful I had ever felt. I hope every women gets a chance to feel that way at some point in life.
I highly recommend researching, reading or watching positive birth stories, and birth affirmations to any pregnant ladies out there. In my experience, I truly believe birth is 90% mental and 10% physical work. Every time I slowed my brain down during a contraction and focused on my breathing, and relaxing my body, it was 10x easier to get through.
I would absolutely tell anyone looking for alternative care, to look into midwifery. My experiences were night and day. My midwife team made me feel listened too, empowered and cared for at every single appointment. Gaia Midwives have just been absolute pregnancy fairy Godmother’s to me. They’re a text away when I have any questions or concerns, and take their time to check in and make sure I’m comfortable and doing well.
Instead of one 6 week postpartum appointment, I have already had two within my first week and am scheduled for two more. Their level of care is unparalleled in my opinion. They are highly educated, give you all your choices, and allow you to make your own informed decisions, because it is your body and your pregnancy. That level of respect felt amazing to me.
I just want to say, that no matter how you birth mama, know that it is beautiful, and wonderful. All birth is beautiful, and everyone has the right to choose how and where they feel most comfortable birthing. For me, that was home this time.
Would I choose home birth again? Absolutely. It was the most empowering, beautiful, experience of my life. Is it for everyone? No, and that’s ok! No matter which way you choose to go, make sure it is safe for you and baby, and one that makes you most comfortable. That is top priority.
I had one medicated hospital birth, and one blissful home birth experience, and I am beyond proud of and loved both. In the end, all that matters is having that sweet baby placed into your arms, and the lifetime of love ahead of you both.
Birth is a beautiful miracle. I feel so blessed to have gotten to experience it twice, and in two completely different ways. I hope reading my birth story is helpful to any mama considering home birth, and to any mama with fears around birthing at all.
To any pregnant mamas worrying about birth, just know that you got this mama. Your body was literally made to hold life and birth it. It may not look exactly how mine did, because literally every birth is unique, but it is possible.
Women, you are amazing, and absolutely magical. Never forget that, and if you need a reminder, search “positive birth videos” on YouTube. So, now I’m off to nurse my new little baby, and probably watch the video of her birth for the 100th time this week, to remind my very tired newborn mama self the exact same thing.
It’s not a secret that becoming a mom literally changes everything.
Your schedule is no longer about you, you have to think of a little persons needs before your own, you can’t just leave the house at a moments notice, and last minute plans just can’t happen anymore.
What may surprise you is how much you change inwardly once you become a mama
I remember saying to myself “I’m not gonna be one of those moms that let’s motherhood change them!” I’m pretty sure most, if not all of us, say this at some point. We all picture ourselves continuing on being who we were prior to motherhood, just with this little baby tagging along for the ride.
While I’m pleased to say I never fully lost myself, (although, like all moms I have certainly had my moments), I am definitely not who I was prior to becoming a mom.
I’m not so different that I’m unrecognizable. I’m not so different that if I were to hang out with my friends without kids they wouldn’t know what to do around me. However, deep down I am changed forever.
Yes I’ve changed in the normal ways you expect. I’m not out until 1 am with my friends anymore…. I honestly don’t even know what 1 am looks like anymore. I’m not getting my nails done every two weeks, or getting together every weekend with my girlfriends for a glass of wine. I’m genuinely happy to spend my weekends with my little family watching my toddler explore snd learn.
But there’s one way I’ve changed that I LOVE, and that’s truly surprised me.
I’ve found my voice, or at least I’m finding it!
My whole life I’ve been the girl who did as she was told (with a few rebellious spurts in my younger years). I’ve never really been one to say no when someone asked a favor, even when I really wanted to. I would never rock the boat if I disagreed, because I HATE confrontation.
Once I became a mother, that has slowly started t shift. Ask my husband… Almost instantly after becoming pregnant with my second I have pretty much no fear speaking my mind.
If someone asks me to do something now ,and I really don’t want to, or in my gut I feel like it’s a bad idea, the answer is no. No more people pleasing.
That doesn’t mean it’s anything personal against the person asking for the favor, or inviting me to something. Time just becomes a precious commodity once you have another human to care about. They tend to take up the majority of your time, especially when they’re so young. Adding more events, or favors to your plate can be stressful.
Personally, I know I am a better wife and mother when there’s a sliver of time in my day carved out for myself, and if that means saying no to a night out with friends so be it. I can’t pour from an empty cup, and sometimes the best way for me to fill my cup is an hour of alone time. For this reason, I am super comfortable saying no to plans. After all, once you’re a mama alone time is so hard to come by.
I’ve also experienced the fun of postnatal anxiety. So saying no to things involving my kid when in my gut they just don’t feel right has become second nature now. I know that if I follow my intuition I won’t regret it; but, saying yes when my my head is screaming no always results in anxiety.
I really found my voice recently at the pediatricians office. A doctor I don’t normally see, but have had to with limited staff, tried to pressure me into multiple vaccines at once. I delay and space them out as a matter of preference.
I found myself being lectured… no more like bullied, by the doctor about why I may have a point but she didn’t think it was correct. Now, normally when someone of authority talks to me like that, I cower and just agree so the argument ends. This time, mama bear snapped.
I nicely, but firmly, told her it was my preference, and that while I appreciate her opinion, I’m doing what I personally feel comfortable with. She huffed and puffed but eventually gave in. Ever since, she’s been kind and understanding when I say no to something she suggests.
When it comes to my own personal beliefs, and the beliefs of others, I’ve always wanted to remain respectful. I was raised to treat others as I would want to be treated. I personally don’t want someone shoving what they believe, or their ways of doing thing down my throat. Therefore, I try to do the same.
My personal code of ethics is to keep my beliefs to myself unless you seek me out. If you genuinely want my opinion I’m happy to give it. I’ll talk personal beliefs all day with anyone open to it.
At some point during your pregnancy, (pretty much as soon as you announce it to anyone), it’s almost like a sign is tattooed on your forehead. It reads: “unsolicited advice welcome here!” It’s not really welcome here, but it’s given to us anyway, and it doesn’t stop after the baby comes. It just gets worse.
This advice, and outspoken opinions, come from a well meaning place… usually anyway. A loving family member or friend gives you a piece of information they personally found helpful. They truly want to better your experience with their suggestions.
Sometimes this advice, suggestion, or the belief they are unknowingly pushing on you, just doesn’t align. Sometimes it may seem, or even BE critical of the way you do things, or what you believe. I used to smile and nod, again, trying to remain the peacekeeper.
These days, if it rubs me the wrong way, or feels too pushy, I shut it down. I don’t do this in a rude way. Instead, I politely say “thank you, but this is how I’m doing it”, or point out where my boundary is, and respectfully ask that it is followed.
I cannot tell you how freeing this is.
Motherhood is the most challenging, wild, experience of my life. It’s also been the most beautiful transformation I’ve ever experienced.
Yes, I’ve had my moments where I look in the mirror and don’t know who I’m looking at anymore. Yes, I’ve had days where I need a break and want to rip my hair out. More than anything though, I feel like I am more myself than ever before.
Motherhood has made me stronger in my convictions. It has made me realize that speaking my mind, and standing up for myself, and the family I’ve created is much more important than keeping the peace. It has been more freeing than anything.
When I birthed my little girl, I was born again too. I became a mom. Mothers are warriors. We love hard, and we fight hard for our families.
The greatest gift I’ve received as a mother is my little girl. The second greatest gift I received was my voice. I’m still finding it, and learning to use it, but I will forever be grateful for it.
So from one mama bear to another, don’t ever be afraid to let someone hear you roar. It is a gift, so never be ashamed to use it.
It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the frustrations of our days…. or hey our year if it’s 2020.
Our kids blatantly ignoring us calling their names, the fact that you’ve cleaned the kitchen 10 times today and have to do it once again, or that your husband doesn’t seem to know what the hamper is for. We’ve all been there.
A few days ago I found myself trying to get some reports done for work, and trying not to rip my hair out as my daughter was climbing a table in the other room. I had corrected her about 100 times that morning, and even rerouted her attention multiple times. She’s at this fun age though where she knows she’ll get mommy’s attention away from work if she does what I tell her not to.
I was so very close to snapping, losing my shit, and having one of those mommy moments we’ve all had and later regret. You know the ones where you go psycho and scream, and then later realize you just argued with a 20 month old?
I happened to be listening to a podcast…. which for the life of me I cannot remember who or what it was about…. mom life. The guest on the podcast spoke these words right before I hit my boiling point: “you asked for this.”
I literally think I laughed out loud as she began to explain how every time she gets upset with how her company, or being a parent, or a wife is going she reminds herself of those four words.
“You asked for this.”
Now, you may not be into all the woo woo spiritual things like I am, but I fully believe that this was a message from above.
I NEEDED to hear those words at that exact moment, or I would have gone Mad Max on my poor kid, who really just can’t understand why I’m not giving her my full attention on workdays.
This resonated with me. I sat there shaking my head, and giggling, and realizing I DID ask for this.
I asked to be a mother. I prayed for it over and over. I planned for it, and did everything in my power to make that happen.
I wished and hoped to be able to spend all of my days with her…. not the way that it happened (you know a pandemic), but here I am home full time with my little girl. I got what I asked for.
I wanted to have a free spirited, strong willed, little girl who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. At only 20 months, boy can I tell you, I sure got it.
I wanted this. I asked for this. I prayed, and prayed for the life I have right now.
Yes it’s hard, yes it’s messy, yes it’s frustrating at times, but that is what this life comes with. Deep down I knew that. I knew it would be sleepless nights, arguments, a messy house and endless worry about my child’s well being, but still I wanted this!
We can’t ask for something and then decide we only want the good parts. That isn’t realistic. Life isn’t perfect. If you didn’t know that, maybe this year is showing that to you.
Not even a day later, I was walking with my daughter on the farm. It was a cold day and I grabbed my winter coat that had been tucked away since April. I reached into my pocket and felt a small tiny marble.
I pulled it out of my pocket and started to laugh.
I’m pretty sure I said out loud “okay! I get it!”
It was a small clear glass marble I had gotten at a shop in Salem Massachusetts on our baby moon. The shop had a huge bowl of them with a sign that said “free wishes, take one make your wish, and hold on to it to remind you of it.”
Guess what I wished for folks.
I wished to be able to stay home with my daughter full time, while still being able to help my husband financially. I kept that little marble in my pocket since November 2018, and here I am almost exactly 2 years later and that wish has come true.
Yes, somedays while working from home I want to pull my hair out. It’s hard to wear two hats at once. Yes, it’s annoying to stop my work every few minutes to make sure my daughter isn’t jumping from the bay window to her death. Yes, it’s hard to focus when your kid constantly asks for snacks, or asks for you to play with her. Yes, work takes longer because of all the tiny interruptions.
Yes, it is more difficult than heading to an office, then leaving work there at the end of the day.
Honestly though…. I wouldn’t want to go back.
So now whenever I start to lose my shit, or I feel my frustrations bubbling up at my daughter, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself “you asked for this.”
You asked for difficult, you asked for challenging, you asked for repetition and monotony. It comes with the territory of the most rewarding thing you’ve ever wished for.
Along with all the frustrating parts of your wish you got far more amazing aspects.
You got unconditional love, the best hugs and kisses on the planet. You got the sweetest little “I love you mommys!” You got the best little adventure partner, and beach buddy. You get to experience childhood again.
All that outweighs the hard stuff that came with it.
I asked to be a mother. I asked to be at home with her full time. I asked for all of it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
No one ever imagined that the lockdown situation would have lasted more than 2 weeks, a month tops… but here we are.
While it’s easy to find statistics for death tolls and infection rates plastered on Facebook walls and media outlets, there are some other rising numbers the media doesn’t seem to be covering.
The mental health crisis happening right now in America is a silent pandemic. I haven’t spoken to a single person who isn’t feeling a mental strain right now.
Humans are not meant to be isolated from one another. Virtual connection has literally been proven through science to leave people feeling lonelier. That’s right. You actually feel more alone connected through a screen.
Human brains produce oxytocin when we hug, kiss, smile or even just see someone we love walk into a room. This hormone is very helpful in boosting our immune systems.
Isolation causes depression and anxiety which actually weaken your immune systems. This can’t do much good when we’re worrying about fighting off a virus.
I completely understand why we are being asked to stay home, wear masks and gloves, and social distance. I am very thankful for our health care and other essential workers, and wish to support them by any means I can, and if that means abiding by these rules I will.
Now that being said…. I am f*^$king losing it!
A day before Mother’s Day our state was told that the lift of the NYS “pause” would not be happening next week. Now it is moved until June.
I literally felt my soul die a little when I heard this. Yes I can read, yes I listen… I know that he is opening regions in stages… but I can say with certainty from numbers that my region won’t be one of them.
I am blessed to be able to earn an income from home. My husband is considered essential and is working as well. So we haven’t even had to worry about half the burden so many are dealing with right now.
I have had family members and friends who have contracted the virus, and even been hospitalized for it, but I have suffered no great loss from this.
I am lucky to have my husband and daughter to keep me company while we’re stuck at home. Something I do not take for granted at all. I feel for all those doing this alone.
Still, my mental health has been suffering since the start…. and I am in no way alone.
Every single friend I have spoken to in the last few weeks has talked about the mental toll this is taking on them. We are all feeling it.
The media isn’t sharing the fact that suicide rates, depression, anxiety and domestic abuse is on an exponential rise right now, but if you google it on your own you’ll find it.
We need human connection.
You could argue that I’m getting plenty of human connection at home right now… and I don’t want to complain because I realize I’m blessed.
Let me paint you a picture of what being quarantined at home with a toddler looks like right now.
We wake up every day around 6:30.
If I want any time to do anything for myself I have to get up by 5:30 or it isn’t happening.
She just finished getting her molars in all at once, and now her canines decided they’re gonna come in all at once as well! If you don’t know, this means she’s cranky AF from the second she wakes up til nap time 5 hours later.
About an hour after she wakes up she demands her breakfast. Although she can say quite a few words, I still have to guess what she’ll want to eat for breakfast each day… and if I get it wrong it’s tantrum city. Some days I can get through this first wave of tantrums, and somedays I want to cry too.
After breakfast I usually try to get some work done from home. This means I use my trusty babysitter Sesame Street to watch her for an hour or two so I can sit at the table and attempt to get something done uninterrupted…
5 minutes later… I’m interrupted.
She wants to “help work”. It’s adorable but after a few minutes I wanna cry. She isn’t much help… in fact she just makes it impossible to get anything done. My husband is a real hero on the days he is home, and this interruption can be avoided for the most part… when he’s not home I’m pretty much interrupted every few minutes until nap time.
Work is harder than ever before and ten times as stressful. I miss being able to drop my girl off to a babysitter so I could get my work done, without having to stop and change diapers, make sure someone isn’t going to jump off a couch to her doom, or eat something she shouldn’t. Now I want to cry about an hour into work because it takes me twice as long to do anything.
Finally it’s naptime! Emphasis on FINALLY!
This is the two hour period of time I use to cram in any important things that need to be done. Usually I use this time to get as much work as I can done. If it’s not a workday I clean my house, I try to take a shower that’s longer than 3 minutes, and I may even shave! Cleaning is almost impossible stuck home with a toddler unless they’re napping, so I usually pick my battles and save it for bedtime or days off. You can tell me cleaning can wait because no one is coming over… but a messy home just makes my anxiety skyrocket!
Two hours goes way faster than it used to… she’s up again! I kinda missed her, but I’m also kinda stressed about her being awake again. Bye bye productivity time.
Lunch time means the same battle that happened for breakfast. This time she usually throws most of the food to the dog and demands my food… which is the same as hers, but for some reason tastes better off my plate.
The next few hours are a blur of tantrums, reading the same books ten thousand times, trying to give her some outside time (and myself because otherwise I will cry), and trying to finish my work.
Now it’s the race to get something edible together quickly while my daughter has a meltdown.
She is crying because she wants to be cooking with me but I can’t let her up by the stove that’s hot, or near the knife I’m using to cut the veggies. I try to use the tv again as a distraction but this time she usually doesn’t take the bait. I end up cooking a meal listening to her scream at me and pull on my legs until I pick her up… this makes cooking dinner very stressful and take much longer.
She usually throws half of that on the floor too.
Bedtime… a mad dash to get a bath, some pjs, and a bottle. We read a book, the tantrums melt away and now she snuggles up to me and daddy. At this point of the night I finally feel peace… I feel so loved and forget some of the stress for a while. I rock her and sing her nightly lullaby and lay her down….
Peace and quiet… just what I need.
Now if it’s a work day I get right back to it! I usually work for another hour or so, then I clean the house… and by the time I’m done… bed time for mama.
Guess what… repeat that every damn day.
On days off you can pepper in a little extra outdoor time, and a LOT more chore time.
There are no breaks.
No binge watching tv shows.
No naps for mama.
No trips to the nail salon for an hour.
No unaccompanied trips to target where I can aimlessly browse the store.
No cocktails with my best friends.
No nights out with my mama tribe to share our battle stories, and decompress.
No alone time… real alone time where I can do something just for myself.
This is what it’s like to be quarantined as a mother of a toddler.
Add on the strain or trying to educate your child from home, having multiple children, being a single parent, being unemployed or a single income family now.
Try being a brand new mama who just went through a traumatic experience birthing a baby during a pandemic… many alone, and now you’re navigating this new chaos completely isolated. The mental strain can be unbearable.
Every single mother I know has compared this to feeling like they did the first few months after giving birth. Those baby blues, the isolation. We are all feeling like postpartum is hitting us hard again, without that new bundle of joy.
In a normal situation we need that human connection of a night out with a friend. We need in person conversation with anyone who isn’t a child or your partner. We need that time to vent, to cry on each other shoulders, and to feel supported and less alone… we can’t do that right now and it feels all the more isolating.
So check on your mama friends. They already do so much on any normal day… and right now they are handling double the normal physical, emotional and mental load.
They’re therapists, teachers, and caregivers to their children. Support systems for their family. They always feel the pressure to be everyone’s everything, and even more now. That’s a lot.
When all this is over I hope all the mamas get the chance to have the ultimate moms night out. Leave your cell phones on silent, and tell your husbands to figure it out. We have a lot of decompressing to do.
Dads you guys deserve one of these nights too if I’m being honest… I see you.
In all seriousness, this is a very hard time for everyone mentally. We all need a little extra love right now, and are all craving some human interaction. But mamas, I know how hard this is hitting you.
We are always the ones telling our children and families it is going to be alright, and right now that’s what we need to hear desperately.
You are not alone, and if you need a support group please contact me. I would love to get one together.
We will get through this. We got through pregnancy, birth and postpartum, and it made us stronger… so will this.
I hope we can all experience a hug with our friends, a long leisurely trip to target, or a moms night out soon.. but until then just know you aren’t alone mama.
You are stronger than you know, and you can do hard things. That’s what moms do. We got this.