I see you.

To the mom who just had a baby and doesn’t feel that instant bond. I see you (I was you).

To the momma sitting on her couch at 2am with tears streaming down her cheeks because this is NOT how you envisioned it to be. I see you.

To the mom wanting to let go so she can have some time to herself but not sure if she should. I see you.

To the momma feeling so very alone in her journey. I see you.

To the momma wanting to run away and never come back. I see you.

To the mom feeling completely overwhelmed and exhausted but laying wide away at night because she can’t sleep. I see you.

To the mom who loves her kids so damn much it HURTS, but still needs something more. I see you.

To you – knowing that all you wanted in this world was to have children. Now you have them and there is STILL something missing. I see you.

To the single mom, sure she is screwing EVERYTHING up but trying her hardest anyway. I see you.

To the divorced mom – not sure if she made the right choice but had to do it anyway. I see you.

To you, never feeling good enough no matter what you do. I see you.

To the SAHM who feels like maybe she should have gone back to work but feels too guilty. I see you.

To the working mom who feels like she made the wrong choice and should be home with her kids. I see you.

To the Dad who is trying to be both parents to your child, I see you too.

You. However you fit into this journey, I see you.

 

Time to Practice what I Preach

Hey Guys,

It’s been awhile. Since W was born, I haven’t had much time to sit and my computer and write. As you can imagine, having 2 babies 15 months apart is a bit of a gong show.

So, I’ve been vlogging on IG Stories and that was enough for me for awhile.

Until last night.

A little bit of backstory…I’m a bit of a martyr. I hate to admit that, but I think that has contributed to some of what I’m dealing with. People offer me help, but I usually turn it down because I feel like I should be able to do everything on my own. And I probably get some satisfaction from being able to do things on my own (even if I don’t do things very well). For example, J has offered numerous times to get up with W when he’s up, but instead of taking him up on the offer I say “No, it’s fine, you sleep” and then feel resentful because I’m the one up with the baby. Nonsense, right?

Secondly, I do actually have a lot of help. My in-laws live with us during the winter and often take at least one of the boys up to the trailer in the summer. I have O in daycare 3 days a week and W in one day. So the fact I need even more help on top of that, makes me feel like shit, so I don’t ask for more, even though I need it. I guess knowing there are parents out there who do it alone or have kids with high needs and still cope…well, I should be able to handle it, right?

Thirdly, I tend to take on more than I should. I over commit. I make plans that I know I won’t be able to keep but I feel like I can’t say no. Then, when I ultimately have to bail, I feel even more like shit. I’ve currently taken on a couple projects that I feel like I SHOULD be able to handle. I’m trying to loose weight and be more active because I know that will help make me feel better. I’m trying to see and visit friends because I know THAT will help make me feel better (but I over commit). My friends are also going through a lot of shit right now and I want to be able to help them too but I don’t have very much emotional energy right now so that makes me feel even more useless. We’re also trying to find a house. While there is no rush to do so, it’s still an added layer of stress.

I’m also hella sleep deprived. Aside from the occasional night off, I haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a time since W was born. I have anxiety, and sleep deprevation sends my anxiety into overdrive.

So the above had been eating at me for awhile, but I make light of it, I share on IG, I do small things that make me feel a bit better and I tell myself I’m ok.

Then last night. Last night, it all came to a head. J and I got in a little argument about literally nothing, and I snapped. I had a proper mental breakdown. I was literally sobbing so hard I couldn’t talk. I kept saying over and over “I can’t do this any more” Then O and W both woke up crying (because O has a wicked Ear Infection and W is teething) and I felt like the actual worst mother in the world. Like an epic failure because my babies needed me and I literally couldn’t get up off the couch to go to them.

I sobbed in J’s arms (after he got the boys settled) and then in the shower and then in bed. I sobbed because I had nothing left to give. I was empty.

I think the toughest part for me too was knowing, it didn’t have to get to this point. I’m constantly telling my friends to reach out when they feel like they’re flailing. Yet, I can’t do the same myself because somehow that means I’m a failure. Like for some reason, I’m unique and I shouldn’t need help.

The other thing though was, I didn’t really realize how bad it was. Yes, there have been signs. Yes, I knew I was struggling a bit, but don’t all SAHM’s struggle? Don’t we all struggle? And for f*ck sake, why can’t I do this on my own?

So there you have it, friends. I’m not doing great. In fact, I’m really struggling. It scares me so much to put this out there because I know I’m going to be faced with criticism and comments like “Enjoy this time now, they’re only little once! You’re going to look back on this days and miss it!” and “You think this is bad, wait until they are older! Little kids, little problems” or “Buck up, you’ll get through this” or “Everything is going to be fine”

I know all of the above. I really do. It’s because of comments like the above that I’m in the position I am now. Because I know I shouldn’t be taking life as hard as I am right now. I know it could be so much worse. I know I have so much help. I f*cking know, ok?

The thing with mental illness and anxiety is, it doesn’t f*cking care how you SHOULD feel. It doesn’t care that you shouldn’t worry about every. little. detail. about everything ever. It doesn’t care that you are so #blessed to have two healthy, beautiful kids, a loving husband, a good job and a roof over your head.

Anyway, if you’ve made it to this point, it’s probably because you’re struggling too. So I hear you, I see you, I feel you.

I’ll be posting here about all that I’m doing to work on myself and how things are improving so that if you are feeling this way too, it can hopefully help you in some way.

Thanks for reading ❤

 

A letter to my first time mom self…

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Dear Lisa,

I wish there was a way I could go back in time and actually give you this letter. Your entry into motherhood was a bit abrupt with your little man making his appearance a month early. Obviously you were excited but your anxiety didn’t really deal well with this change in the plan.

In any case, here are a few things I want to tell you about your life the moment you became a mom. I’m writing this in hopes that this will speak to someone else going through the same thing.

First – you’re a great mom. The fact that you worry day in and day out about it makes you a good mom. Are you perfect? Heck no. There is no such thing. You are a human and therefore flawed. However your heart is in the right place and because of that, you are doing great.

Nothing goes according to plan. I know you are a bit of a control freak and when things don’t go as planned, this sends you into a panicky spiral. I’ll save you some time and energy now…nothing EVER goes according to plan. It’s ok to have a plan but know you will likely have to change it. This is especially true if you’re trying to be somewhere on time. Your baby WILL have a massive blow-out. It’s a fact. Accept and embrace the gong show that is now your life.

This too shall pass. No matter how sh*tty (literally, sometimes) a moment or phase is, give it time and it will pass. The sleepless nights, the constant sickness, the never ending diapers and snot wiping…it will all pass. You just have to hunker down, put on a pot of coffee and get through it. There are happier times on the other side.

Your marriage will take a hit. Listen, you make a tiny little human, bring it into the world and then are sent home with the instructions “KEEP THIS ALIVE” Remember how you can’t even keep a plant alive for more than a month? Now you have a tiny baby completely dependent on you and your husband and neither one of you know what the f*ck you’re doing. Not a single clue. You’re both drained, you’re both confused and bewildered. Sleep becomes a form of currency. You both feel like you’re doing more than the other. You sometimes don’t like each other. Refer to the above…try and have a semi-regular date night and this too shall pass. You will come to like each other again.

You will lose yourself but you will find yourself again. This will be a hard one for you to come to terms, and then ultimately deal with. After you have O, you will completely immerse yourself in being a mother. You won’t eat, you won’t sleep, you don’t even give yourself time to go to the bathroom for fear of your little dude crying or needing you.

Here is the thing I wish you learned a lot sooner – you are doing no favours to your children when you aren’t taking care of yourself. You will feel resentful and burnt out. You will feel so detached from what really matters. As the famous saying goes – if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.

Your happiness is JUST as important as your little one’s. Take time to do things that matter to you. Whether it’s shopping (BUY SOME CLOTHES THAT YOU FEEL GOOD IN EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SIZE), reading, exercising, showering (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU’RE ALLOWED TO SHOWER). Yes, you’re a mother, but you’re also a person with needs. There is nothing selfish or wrong about needing to take care of yourself.

Every day is a new adventure. Some days you can’t believe how full your heart is, while others you may want to run away. It’s healthy to feel the full range of emotions (even if you don’t want to). Above all else, remember…YOU’RE DOING AN AMAZING JOB.

 

Mom Confessions – Part 2

Photo 2018-02-16, 1 44 01 PMThis is my second in a series of posts I’m calling “Mom Confessions” I think as moms, we keep a lot of things inside. Things we’re too afraid to say out loud because of the judgement we’re sure to receive as soon as we say them. Things like, “I co-sleep” or “sometimes I want to run away” or “sometimes I dream about life before kids”

I know this because I have had the above conversations with many a friend. We’re (mostly) all thinking it, but just too damn afraid to say it. Even though we LOVE this mom gig and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Having these feelings don’t make us bad moms either. It makes us human. I want to share these because even if they help one mom feel less guilty, it will be worth it.

My second confessions – It took me a really long time before I loved being a mom.

This was a hard one for me. Growing up, there weren’t many things I was sure of. For example, my sister has known she wanted to be a vet pretty much since she knew what being a vet was. There was never any doubt in her mind that’s what she wanted to do.

Me, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I waffled from teacher, Broadway performer back to teaching then, criminal psychologist and then eventually landed in Marketing. However, the one thing I was sure of was I wanted to be a Mom. I have such clear memories of playing with my dolls, pretending to be a Mom. It was my destiny.

When I found out I was pregnant with O, I couldn’t wait. Literally waiting for him to be born was torture because I couldn’t wait to begin my journey as a mother. This was what I was born to do. Everything was going to be perfect.

And then…he was born and something just didn’t feel right. When he arrived, of course I loved him, but I didn’t feel that immediate connection that you hear so many mothers talk about. I didn’t cry with joy when he was born. If anything, I was in shock.

As time went on and breastfeeding didn’t work (something I’ve talked about 1 million times now) I think there was a small part of me that resented him. Even though it was obviously not his fault, I felt like my journey had just begun and already it was nothing like I had imagined.

As time went on, I was still missing that “feeling” Other Moms would say to me “Don’t you just LOVE being a Mom” and I would fake a smile and go “Oh yea, it’s so great” when all I wanted to do was run away.

I think part of it was that I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I was so caught up in what I thought I “should” be doing and that I wasn’t doing those things. Instead of focusing on what I was doing right, I focused on everything I thought I was doing wrong.

I constantly looked at other kids O’s age and wondered why he wasn’t like them. Other babies went easily to other people where O was completely attached to me and would freak out when I left the room. I was FOR SURE doing something wrong.

It also didn’t matter what people told me. My amazing friends and family told me that I was doing a great job, that I was a natural. Externally I smiled and said “Thank you!” but internally, I felt like a phony. Every day felt like a little bit of a struggle and there was a part of me that felt trapped.

When I went back to work, I found some relief. If being a Mom wasn’t the end game for me, at least I could return to the workplace and contribute there. I could still have conversations with adults and use my brain for things other than motherhood. I still felt the guilt of being excited to go back to work – something I discussed in a past post. What mother wants to leave her children with a (then) stranger and work all day?

Then, W was born. I don’t know what it was, but something clicked into place. Maybe because I no longer had the emotional energy to worry about what I was doing right and wrong. Maybe because my sweet new baby had to be taken to the NICU immediately after he was born and I realized I had much bigger fish to fry. Maybe because I FINALLY realized, nothing is forever and the hard moments pass and everything works itself out.

I was finally able to step back and appreciate the beautiful family I have.

Of course I still get frustrated and overwhelmed and exhausted. Of course I still feel like I’m screwing everything up and that I’m doing nothing right…but those feelings are fleeting and just come with the territory. I take a deep breath and remind myself that everything is going to be ok.

So, to the Momma reading this, sitting on your couch, wondering if this motherhood gig is for you…hang in there. It gets better. So much better. You’ve got this. And until you feel better…know that you’re not alone.

Mom Confessions – Part 1

image1This is my first in a series of posts I’m going to call “Mom Confessions” I think as moms, we keep a lot of things inside. Things we’re too afraid to say out loud because of the judgement we’re sure to receive as soon as we say them. Things like, “I co-sleep” or “sometimes I want to run away” or “sometimes I dream about life before kids”

I know this because I have had the above conversations with many a friend. We’re (mostly) all thinking it, but just too damn afraid to say it. Even though we LOVE this mom gig and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Having these feelings don’t make us bad moms either. It makes us human. I want to share these because even if they help one mom feel less guilty, it will be worth it.

Here goes with my first confession:

I don’t like breastfeeding.

I feel guilty about this on many levels. The first one being, I tried SO hard to BF O and it never took. I put myself through the emotional ringer and beat myself up long after I made the choice to stop trying. It was a constant source of anxiety for me and I dreaded anytime anyone asked me if I was BFing.

So here I am with W. He took to BF like a fish to water. We had a couple of small hiccups at the beginning, but all in all it was a pretty easy process. My milk was coming in so fast, the nurses couldn’t believe how much I had pumped for him.

That leads to guilty feeling number two. Some babies are able to breastfeed but for whatever reason, the Momma has a hard time producing milk. With O and now with W, that was never an issue for me. Which, believe me, I know how lucky I am.

This leads to my next thing, I also don’t like that I don’t know how much he’s getting. This was a bigger issue for me at the beginning when I was still learning how to BF and it felt like he was feeding all the time. I was so worried he wasn’t getting enough. I later learned about cluster feeding, but it was still so stressful for me.

Something I get asked a lot, do I feel closer to W than I did with O because of the breastfeeding. Honestly? Not at all. In fact (are you ready to judge?), sometimes I resent W for needing me so much more than O did. Some days I’m just touched out and don’t want my nipples being sucked on. Plus, the feeding is really all on me. J could (and does) feed him milk I’ve pumped but I still have to pump to make sure my supply stays up, so it’s easier for me to just do it.

Finally, and this one is probably a bit controversial, I find it hard that my body is still not my own. I’ve basically been sacrificing my body to my two babies for the last two years now. Between being pregnant, pumping for O, getting pregnant again and now breastfeeding, it’s been a long haul. I have to be so aware of what I put into my body now for fear that it will give W gas. And listen, I get it. That’s all part of being a mom, right? That comes with the territory. It was our choice to have kids this close together.

And don’t get me wrong, there are some really good things about it. I don’t have to pack bottles whenever we go out. I don’t have to wash a billion bottles a day. I have food on demand. He’s hungry, I just have to pop out the boob. Not to mention the fact he’s receiving all the benefits of breastmilk.

So there it is. Something I wanted so badly is something I don’t really like. I know I’m fortunate to be able to so this. I know it’s so good for him and that it’s only for a short time (in the grand scheme of things). However, I know I’m not alone in this feeling and I feel it’s OK to admit there are certain parts of motherhood we don’t love.

I’m hopeful that as time goes on, I may grow to love it or at least like it. I know we’re still only 2.5 months in and it’s still an intense time.

What are your thoughts?

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NEW YEAR, Same Me

designOhhhhhhh the New Year. The time of year we use as the push to get ourselves back on track, start eating healthy, exercising, become more organized, take up yoga, start to meditate, read more, drink less, save money, get out of debt…basically become a new person.

We all start with the very best of intentions.

We stand in front of the mirror, looking at our slightly plumper, post-holiday bodies and shout emphatically “This is my year! This year my resolutions are going to stick. NEW YEAR NEW ME”

And for a couple of weeks (or even a month if you’re really dedicated) it sticks. You start to feel great, pleased with your results, and figure, it’s ok to let your guard down a little bit. Why not, you’ve earned it.

And then life kicks in. Work becomes busy, activities start back up, you aren’t sleeping as much, so you’re tired. It becomes easier to order dinner, feed the kids, put them to bed and crash on the couch before 9pm.

Que the guilt.

“I was doing so well. I suck.” and we fall right back into our old habits.

Here’s the thing. We’re setting ourselves up for failure. We set a list of things we want to do and we’re going to do it, god dammit because NEW YEAR NEW ME.  Who doesn’t want to improve? That’s an important part of life, constant self improvement.

As I see it, the trouble is two pronged. First, the trouble comes when we try and do it all at once. We try to do this complete life overhaul overnight because “NEW YEAR NEW ME” as if we can’t do this any other time of the year. It HAS to be done at the beginning of the year because conceivably, a new year is a fresh start. Right?

Secondly, we don’t take the time to acknowledge why we want to make these changes? I mean, who doesn’t want to eat better, look “better”, have more money, etc. Conceptually, these are all really good things. Important things.

And don’t get me wrong. It’s important to set goals. It’s a good thing to be constantly striving for self-improvement. It’s a good thing to want to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.

So, without further ado, here is my completely uneducated opinion about how to really set goals to change. This may not work for you, but this is what works for me and I want to share it with you.

New Year, Same You!

Stop thinking the “NEW YEAR NEW ME” crap. You are fabulous. There is nothing wrong with you. The fact that you even want to make changes for the better means you are self-aware. Think of it as small tweaks to become a happier, healthier version of you.

Make a list.

Get a new notebook dedicated to your changes (or start a new note on your phone). Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish. Write them ALLLLLLLL down. This may feel overwhelming because there are likely a lot of things you want to do. It’s ok though, it gets them out of your head and in a place where you can see them.

Then, pick 2-3 to start with. If you try and do everything all at once, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s like, going to a buffet and taking one of everything. You THINK you can eat it all, but by the time you get to the 7 or 8th item, you just feel like barfing.

JUSTIFYYY!

Next, go through each item on your list and ask yourself WHY you want to make these changes. If you want to eat healthier, ask yourself why you want to eat healthier?

For me, I want to eat healthier because I want to model good eating habits for my kids. I also want to feel better and be able to keep up with them. It’s also for my mental health. If I’m eating crap all the time, I feel like crap all the time. I’m more moody and more sluggish. Eating better helps me to feel better.

When you can give a reason for why you want to make each change, it gives you more reason to want to make that change.

Make a plan.

It’s all well and good to say you want to make these changes and improvements to your life, but it’s another thing entirely to implement them. I can say I want to eat healthier, but at 8pm when I’m sitting in front of the TV after a long day and need some comfort, am I going to go to the kitchen, wash and cut up some veggies? AH HELL NO. I’m going to reach for that delicious bag of chips. I know it, you know it, let’s not pretend.

So I come up with a plan. How am I going to start eating more healthfully?  I make sure I have one fruit or vegetable at every meal. I also created a meal plan so that I know what I’m eating every day and stick to it. I also plan in some “junk” meals, like Pizza Friday because that gives me something to look forward to.

Prepare for setbacks.

Life happens. If your goal is to loose weight, it’s not going to be smooth sailing. You’re going to have events and special occasions where you are going to indulge (as you should). There may be times you don’t loose weight or you gain a pound or two. Because life happens.

So plan for it. Instead of telling yourself you’re never going to eat junk food again and you’re only going to drink water, be realistic. Plan how you’re going to react to the tub of ice cream you ate after a long week. Better yet, build treats into your week (again, like Pizza Friday). Or, if you know you’re going to an event where you want to eat unabashedly, go for a long walk or workout beforehand.

NAILED IT!

Finally, figure out how you’re going to measure your success. Say you want to add more activity into your life. What exactly does “more” mean to you? Once a week? Once a day? Once you’ve set the parameters, you can check in every week to see how you did. Which leads me to my last point:

Check in.

I think a lot of the time for me, I set all these amazing goals for the year, write them down, create a plan and implement. Then, I hit a wall, or something comes up (aka life) and I forget. So this year, I’m trying something new – I’ve set a reminder in my phone (and my fancy new planner) to check in with my goals and see where I am.

You can also use this time to add in other items from your list. If you feel like you’ve gotten into a good rhythm with your healthy eating, add in your goal of exercising more regularly and repeat the process above for that goal.

Easy, right?

Let’s be clear. It’s all good and well to make these plans and set your goals and make your lists, but it’s hard to make a serious life change. Creating new habits takes a long time, especially when your old ones are so ingrained.

There is also no “one size fits all” method to making major changes. What works for one person, might not work for you. The key is finding what works so just keep trying until you figure out what is right for you.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Take things one step, one day at a time.

What would you add to my steps? What has worked for you?

Design

Nobody Told Me…

FullSizeRenderThere are so many things people tell you about what it’s like to become a parent. There are so many cliches:

“Enjoy your sleep now, because when the baby comes, you won’t sleep again! Haha!” or “Life is going to change forever! Haha!”

But there are so many things that nobody tells you. Things that are probably best to remain a secret until after you have kids.

However, as you know, I like to be honest and talk about how things really are.  I’m going to share the things I had no idea about until we had O. The things that really put your patience and resolve to the test. The moments you don’t usually see on Facebook and Instagram.

The sleep deprivation is no joke. There are some mornings you wake up (if you actually got any sleep at all) and you literally cannot think straight. You’re not even sure what your name is. The sleep deprivation is debilitating. There are moments where everything feels like a catastrophe. You wonder if you’re ever going to survive. Coffee/tea becomes your very best friend.

Sometimes, you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person staring back at you. There are bags under your eyes, stretch marks on your stomach, greasy hair, stains on your clothes. And you don’t even care.

Some things don’t come naturally. I remember about a month after O was born, someone said to me “Don’t you just LOVE being a Mom?” and I wanted to cry because no, I did NOT love being a mom. I loved my son, but I frequently fantisized about life before kids. As time went on, I started to like being a mom, then enjoy being a mom and now, I love being a Mom (most days, anyway). There are just some things that you THINK should come naturally but don’t…and that’s ok.

Your relationship/marriage WILL be impacted. You will fight. You will resent your partner. There are some days you wonder if you’ll make it as a couple.  You’ll argue about who does more and whose “work” is harder. At some point, you may even wonder what you two have in common. You can’t even remember what it means to be a couple. However, you will also look at your partner with your child and your heart will explode. You will feel a whole other level of love for them while you watch them care for the tiny human you made together.

Google is your best friend and worst enemy. One search pulls up pulls up both the information you’re looking for and the information you’re dreading.

As a mom, you make sacrifices you could never imagine. Not only do you carry a baby for 9 months, you are responsible from bringing them into the world either through your vagina or through a hole in your stomach (neither of which are easy). Then you are responsible for making sure this human stays alive. If you are able, you are solely responsible for nourishing this baby with milk produced by your body. You put the needs of your child/ren before all else. You sacrifice your sleep, your sanity, your emotions, your time, your patience.

You may loose who you are. One of my biggest challenges after I had O was getting back to who I was aside from being a Mom. Especially when you’re on Mat Leave, your whole world revolves around your child. Your whole persona becomes “Mom” instead of “Mom” just being one of many facets of your personality.

You live in a state of worry. Worry that you’re screwing everything up. Worry that there is something wrong with your child. Worry that they’re not eating enough or eating too much. Worry that the cough your kid has is more than just a cold (see “Google is your best friend/worst enemy”).

You realize how much you take for granted pre-kids. Sleeping in. Long, leisurely showers. Quiet, lazy Sundays. Reading a book, uninterrupted. All a thing of the past…at least until the kids grow up.

To that note, you will want time to speed up and slow down all at the same time. The early days are a blur of exhaustion, meltdowns, panic, unrelenting love, and marathon breastfeeding sessions (or bottle feeding). You look forward to the next stage but also look back and feel nostalgia. The days feel so very long, but the time passes so quickly.

Some days, you feel like there is no possible way you can carry on. And then you dig a bit deeper and keep going. There are days you wonder why you did this and then here are days you can’t imagine doing anything else.

Ultimately, being a parent and having kids is pretty freaking awesome. You get to watching these tiny humans go from helpless meatloafs to grown adults. You get to watch them learn, explore, change, develop. You see their personalities come out. It is truly a gift and something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world…but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Anything you would add?

Fed is Best

baby-bottle-images-free-for-commercial-useBack before Wyatt was born I posted on my FB page asking for feedback on what Moms felt most guilty/judged for in their first little while as a Mom. I was expecting the usual suspects – co-sleeping, use of soothers, going back to work, etc. But (not completely surprising) the resounding response was “not being able to breastfeed”

I know that pain all too well. When I had O, we tried and tried and tried to breastfeed. I tried nipple shields, lactation consultants, side hold, football hold, laying down, standing up…every thing you can think of, we tried. All I could think of every time it didn’t work was how much of a failure I was because I couldn’t do something that was completely “natural” This feeling of guilt (along with other things) very quickly spiraled into the early stages of Postpartum Depression. Everything felt like a catastrophe, I stopped eating, I was always crying and felt no bond with O.

People would say to me “Isn’t being a Mom the best thing” and as I smiled and nodded, all I could think of was how I wanted to run away.

Eventually, after gentle encouragement from Jon, I decided to pump and bottle feed because then he was still getting the “best” form of nourishment. So for 5 long months, I would pump breast milk every 3 hours for 20 minutes and feed it to O. All because I felt like I was failing a little LESS. I still didn’t feel super connected to O but at least he was getting breast milk, right?

Eventually, I stopped feeling guilty and we switched over to formula feeding (which I really wish I had just done from the beginning). The pressure and stress that I had been feeling started to subside and I actually started to enjoy being a mom. I finally started to feel bonded to O…5 months after he was born.

The point here is this – I was so focused on feeding O with breast milk I missed out on so much with his first few months. I panicked when he wouldn’t settle after a feeding because I had to pump to keep up my supply. I panicked when I wasn’t producing enough milk. I had a whole system set up so I could pump and feed him at the same time so I could actually get some sleep at night.

And for what? So when people asked if I was breastfeeding I could say “No, but I pump and feed him that way” and feel somewhat less guilty. I can tell you, there is a very different reaction between telling someone you breastfeed vs telling them you formula feed. When I would tell people that we weren’t breastfeeding but we were giving him bottled breast milk, you could almost feel their relief.

And listen, I get it. Breast milk is amazing stuff. Breastfeeding, if possible, is great. So far with W I’ve been fortunate enough that it’s working for us. However, at first, I had so much anxiety about it not working, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t go down that path again. Even though I believe with ALL my heart, fed is best.

Let’s look at it this way – you have a woman who just gave birth. Her hormones are all over the place, her vagina (or incision, if it was a c-section) is screaming in pain. She’s bleeding. She’s tired. Her nipples are bleeding and chapped because she can’t get her baby to latch. She’s sitting on her couch sobbing and her baby is wailing because he’s hungry. She feels like a failure because all she hears is nurses, doctors, family, friends telling her “BREAST IS BEST” She looks at her baby with frustration and anger because why isn’t it working? What’s wrong with her and what’s wrong with the baby that they can’t make this work?

So, tell me again…how is this the best option?

Breast milk is amazing and I am NOT discounting that. It is the “optimal” food for your baby in their first year of life. It has antibodies that can help the babies immune system.

And to that point, I also get that formula isn’t “natural.” However, you know what else isn’t natural? A mom not bonding with their baby because they can’t breastfeed. Or, in more extreme cases, a child loosing their mother into the depths of postpartum depression or even worse, to suicide (something that happened to a mother in BC.) all because they couldn’t breastfeed. They felt THAT much pressure to breastfeed. I know, because I was there.

Here’s the thing. They really push breastfeeding at the hospital because they want women to feel supported in their breastfeeding journey. And a lot of the time, breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to the baby and it DOES take some trial and error. So, if the mother wants that support, it’s great that it’s there.

I guess what I also don’t understand, is why it matters so much to other people how you feed your baby. Why are people so concerned about whether or not you breastfeed or formula feed? What does it matter to them?

If a women chooses not to breastfeed, that is HER choice. Not her partner’s choice, not her parents choice, not her aunt’s choice, not the random stranger at the mall…it is her choice. And if it means she will be a happier, healthier mom because of it, THAT is what is important.

So, to the Momma out there, sitting on your couch crying…it’s going to be ok. If breastfeeding is very important to you but it’s not working, find a support group like La Leche League or get a referral to a lactation consultant. If you’re at the point that you just don’t want to breastfeed, that’s ok too. You’re still an amazing mom.

Now, if you’re feeling like you’re not just experiencing the “baby blues” (learn the difference here) and that it’s something more serious, find a postpartum support group.  Or, find a Mom’s group on Facebook and your community or talk to your doctor about medication.

Whatever you are doing, whatever is working for you and your family, DO THAT. As long as you are feeding your baby…you’re doing an amazing job.

We’re all in this together.

Design

 

Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

[RE-POST FROM MY PREVIOUS BLOG – RUNNING TO BAKE]

So I recently saw this Meme on a friends facebook page:

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So I’m going to skip ANY preamble and get right to the good stuff: THE RECIPE!

Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake Truffles | Spit Up & Sippy Cups

Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

Ingredients:
1 regular sized pack of Candy Cane Oreos OR Regular Ones
20-30 mini candy canes (see note below for exact quantity)
1 brick of cream cheese (8oz)
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 cups milk chocolate chips
Method:
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a food processor, combine the Oreo cookies and 15 candy canes (NOTE: If you don’t have the Candy Cane Oreos, combine regular Oreos with about 20-25 mini candy canes) I have a tiny food processor so I had to do mine in a couple batches.
In a large bowl, combine the crushed candy canes/Oreos with the cream cheese and peppermint extract. You could be fancy and use a mixer, but I just got in there with my hands. I find it combines more evenly when I do it that way.
When everything is combined (it will look like dirt) roll the mixture into 1/2″ balls and place them on your baking sheet. You can really make them as large or small as you want, but I like this size. There is enough oomph to them, but they aren’t too big. When you’re done rolling (should make about 36) put the baking sheet into the freezer for about 15-20 mins.
Before you take out the balls (is it sad that I giggled when I wrote that?) take the rest of your candy canes (you only need 5-6) fold them up in wax paper and smash them with a hammer. Next, put about 1.5 cups of the chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 1 &1/2 min in the microwave, taking out at 30 second intervals to stir. Do this until chocolate is completely melted. Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil.One by one, dip the truffle balls into the chocolate and make sure they are totally coated. Using a fork, scoop out the truffle from underneath. This allows the chocolate to drip through the fork. Place the truffle on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the crushed candy cane. Continue until the chocolate in the bowl starts to cool. Add the remaining chocolate and repeat the melting & dipping process.

When you’re done, place the truffles in the freezer. If you have any left over chocolate, mix in the rest of your crushed candy cane (or crush more), mix and pour onto a lined baking sheet and put in the freezer. VOILA – Candy Cane Bark.

You’re welcome!

Design

An Honest Gift Guide for Moms

Image from Stockland

In case you didn’t know…Santa is coming, eggnog is flowing freely, peppermint everything is is everywhere. I CAN’T STAND THE EXCITEMENT!

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you aren’t sure what to get the lovely Mom in your life.

Here’s the thing, being a mom is a lot of work. It’s fulfilling and amazing and probably one of the best things ever, but it’s also really freaking hard.

Sidebar – being a Dad is also just as important and stressful and we are SO grateful for all that you do…but for this post, I’m focusing on Mom. I guess though a lot of the below COULD be applied to Dads…so you can just replace “Mom” with “Dad” if that’s what you’re looking for.

ANYWAY…This also means, sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make us happy. Below is a round-up of gifts I believe moms REALLY want. Of course we love handmade cards and macaroni necklaces, but we also want to be shown that we’re appreciated and want to be taken care of. Here are a few things that will really take your gift-giving game to the next level.

Massage/Mani-Pedi/Fancy Hair Cut/Spa Day – I mean…who doesn’t LOVE a massage? Plus, speaking from experience, when you’re a NEW mom who is spending most of their day breastfeeding/pumping/bottle feeding a newborn, your back gets SORE. Not to mention your boobs are about double their size.

If she’s NOT a new Momma, she still deserves some lovin’ and pampering. Getting nails did, hair did, massage and a facial? YASSSSSSSSSS.

NOTE – a gift card to “Great Clips” doesn’t count. I’m talking a fancy spa where she can wear a robe all day, drink tea/coffee/wine and read. Or check her social media. Or sleep. Whatever.

An afternoon/day away from the kids – Listen, we love our babies. We love them so much it hurts. But we also love some time to be on our own and reconnect with who we are BESIDES just “MOM” When your whole world revolves around your tiny humans, it’s SO easy to forget who you are and that you need just as much care and attention as your kids do.

Your Time – Something I’ve learned since becoming a parent is the importance of “couple time” I don’t mean zoning out on the couch watching Netflix, either. I mean, having a shower, putting on some clean, nice clothes and going out to dinner at a decent restaurant just the two of you WITHOUT KIDS. Maybe go see a movie or a play. You’ll probably spend a lot of time talking about the kids, but the point is, you’re out just the two of you.

The thing is, at the end of the day, your bond as a couple is JUST as important as your bond with the kids. It may feel (strangely) uncomfortable to say but there are times your relationship with your partner needs to come before the kids. If parents aren’t happy, that energy ripples down to the kids.

Photo shoot of some kind with her in the photos – Recently, a friend of mine (Photography by Kat) started a new portion of her photography business completely dedicated to taking “real life” photos of families during their day to day life. These photos ALL included Mom. Often, Mom’s are often the ones taking the photos and are rarely in them (and blurry selfies with the kids don’t count). Here are a couple we did with her (also my blog images). They are some of my favourite pictures, not only because I’m in them, but because it captures that particular time in our lives with O.

Pass for an activity she likes (Yoga, Zumba, Cooking Class etc): I think you might be sensing a theme here…self care is SO IMPORTANT for Mommas (and everyone, but we’re focused on Mom here). If mom is taking care of herself and feels good, that will project into everything around her. If she’s been talking about trying a particular class or says she wants to do more Pilates, this is a great gift.

Wine/Coffee/Beer/Tea/Chocolate – Everyone has their “thing” that helps them unwind after a long day. For me, I like to start the day with coffee. It just puts me in a good mood and just warms my soul. Depending on the day, I like to end it with a glass of wine (when not pregnant) or a herbal tea or some really good chocolate. Whatever her vice, get some for her, the best quality you can find/afford. If she has a favourite, get that.

Something unique to her – This one might be specific to me. However, since becoming a mom and subsequently becoming pregnant again shortly after, I lost my sense of uniqueness. Once upon a time, I had a very unique style that I loved. I had my Spongebob lunch box, my “funkin gonuts” t-shirt, paperclips in my ears and bracelets up to my elbow. Now, do I want to dress like that now? No. However, I do miss having that feeling of “this is just me”

CaptureSo, I was perusing the Penny Paper Co website a couple months back and saw she had a Llama Enamel Pin. I have forever been obsessed with Llamas…why? Who knows. I just think they are hilarious. So I ordered the pin because it made me smile. I wear it every damn day because every time I see it, it makes me happy. It reminds me that underneath the maternity clothing and the stains, I’m still ME.

Anyway, that’s my long winded way of saying – if you know of something silly that she doesn’t necessarily need but is just for her, get it. For me it was a llama pin. For others, it might be a sexy piece of lingerie or a favourite record from her childhood.

What do you think? Am I spot on or totally off? Is there something you would add?

Disclaimer – this is not a sponsored post. All of these items I genuinely love and think would make an amazing gift.