10.5 Months

10.5 months old.

My daughter has been on the outside longer than she ever was on the inside. She’s gone from a squishy little newborn that you could set down anywhere and she wouldn’t move a muscle (why did I not cherish those moments more?) to a completely mobile fearless almost toddler in what feels like overnight.

I used to roll my eyes when my mom would say, “You kids just grow up so fast!” They said it all the time but it’s never felt more true or more real til right now.

I’m finding this stage so far to be one of the hardest ones, if not THE hardest so far. The hard part at the beginning is the adjusting. You just went from only having to care for yourself to caring for someone else entirely and continually putting their needs above anything else. For me, doing that was natural, but it’s exhausting and it’s an adjustment.

After a few months go by, you go from super sleepy newborn, seriously, it felt like all she did was sleep those first couple months, to a more curious baby. While they still aren’t mobile, they’re awake more and yearning for your attention, which who isn’t going to give it to them, they’re so cute and cuddly.

Then they start rolling around, and that’s SO exciting. You see their little wheels turning and they figure out how moving their leg one way and arm the other gets them from their back to their tummy or vice versa.

They then master the roll, they become barrel rollers. This is how they get from one side of the room to the next and it’s SO funny.

Then they learn to sit. Which at first is comical because they fold in half like a pancake and just have no clue how to get out of the described position. You do some silly, but beneficial, exercises with them to help them learn how to sit up. When they finally are able to hold themselves up it’s SO exciting. They look so happy and you can almost see the look of, “That’s how the world looks at this angle!” radiating from their faces.

The next step, unless they skip it, is the booty scooting. They want to move but they aren’t sure how yet so they just wiggle until there’s forward movement. Again, this is a hilarious move!

Transition to crawling…this is where life get’s so wild. They first are little army crawlers and pretty slow so you think, “How cute!” Then they turn into speed demons. Seriously have you seen a confident crawler? They ARE SO FAST. You put them down and they’re in a totally different place almost immediately.

At this point their motor skills are in overdrive. They can pinch and pick up small items. Everything goes into their mouth. They want to try all of your food. They want to eat paper. They stand up in their crib. They start using words like mama and dada. They spot you across a room and if you leave their line of sight after they see you, they meltdown. They’re attached to you.

This is the most difficult stage so far. I arrive home from work and have to strategically put my stuff down because if I have to pee and she sees me, and then I disappear she cries so hard. If I want to eat something and I’m not comfortable giving her what I’m eating, I’m hiding in the kitchen eating. You can’t leave them unattended unless they’re in a full baby proof space, which there is no such thing unless they’re in a box, but they’ll try and eat the box anyway. They stand up everywhere so putting them to bed can be a challenge because if they don’t want to be in there they pull themselves up and stand there until you come back. They realize when you’re dropping them off somewhere and some days that just fine but others they are not happy about it.

This is the most difficult stage. It’s so hard because I realize she’s not little anymore. She doesn’t count on me to feed her anymore, she feeds herself if I hand her a bottle or a piece of food. She no longer wants to be cuddled every second of everyday, she wants to crawl and explore. She doesn’t need to be wrapped up like a burrito to fall asleep anymore. She’s outgrown several of the toys I put her in. She’s flown through her clothes and wears 12, 18 or 24 month items. This age is hard because I’ve gone from being her constant to feeling like sometimes she doesn’t need me at all. That she’s gone from not being bothered or aware I left the room for a second to freaking out if she can’t see me. It’s hard because I’m in limbo of infancy and toddlerhood and I have no clue how to make that transition work.

It’s hard because now I’m worrying about sleep training and what method to use. What allergens to give her to see if she has a reaction. Not being too close of a shadow behind her so she feels confident to stand on her own and get ready to walk. A whole new set of issues is about to arise as she gets a little older and all the possibilities makes my head swirl.

While this stage is hard, it’s also rewarding. She recognized me and her daddy. She knows who her other caregivers are and gets so excited to see them. She laughs so hard and at pretty much anything. She’s shows her delight for bath time and her disdain for being changed. She is spunky and still the biggest lover of people. She is the light of my life and her daddy’s.

While I find myself at moments like I did this morning and my wits end and my patience was shot due to poor sleeping, I know at some point I’ll miss this stage. She’s not always going to be learning this much, loving so hard all while getting 6 teeth at once, and while it’s a lot for all of us to handle at one shot, we’re doing pretty darn well if I do say so myself.

This age is hard, but it’s not forever, just like all the other ages so far have proven to me. Nothing with these littles is forever and it all flies by so fast so on a day where you feel like your patience is GONE, just know you’re not alone and while it feels never ending, this stage and age will be in the rearview mirror.

While this age is hard, I’m sure there will be harder ones and I’ll be wishing I was back here, which is why I am documenting this time. They’re only little for a little while ❤

 

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Round of Applause for ALL The Moms

I’m in awe of moms and all the things that they do. My fellow mamas give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve one.

I had the nice change of pace to work from home the majority of this week, which is something I’ve strongly considered pursuing as a way to still be in the workforce and be at home with my little one more. Let me just share, IT’S FREAKING HARD.

I think there is a stigma that working from home isn’t the same as working in an office, which isn’t something I completely agree with. I think in past time, that could of been a valid argument but with the advances in technology, you can work from virtually anywhere. It’s nice for those of us that need a change of scenery than our cube walls or who work best at really weird times or the day or who may need flexibility one day to the next.

So back to my point, working from home, with a mobile 10 month hold is just in a league all it’s own. I bow down to the women that have figured out the mathematical equation it is to occupy your child, make sure they’re not going to blow the house up or hurt themselves, all while being able to focus on their work and make it through the day with happy kids and a checklist that is complete. You are the best multitasker of the century for being able to do ALL of that, daily.

I admit, on Monday, Kennedy took two glorious naps, first was a 2.5 hour long snooze, which she NEVER does, and her second was an 1.5 doze. I got SO MUCH DONE in those 4 hours.

Now…transition to Wednesday…we were on a nap strike and she just paraded around the living room saying “Mama, Mama, Mama” which is super adorable and I was totally okay with it until about 12 noon when I realized I’d gotten 1 task done out of my 4 I needed to complete. Panic ensued. I worked a lot later in the day that I normally would if I would of gone to the office, I was DRAINED.

Thursday…same story. I was lucky enough to get a really good 2.5 hour nap out of her in the afternoon and I knocked out all my projects but my brain was fried afterward.

This was the taste that I got of being a work from home mom. It was so super difficult. I had no time to clean my kitchen, I tossed 1 load of laundry in the wash and got it to the dryer but it’s still sitting in my house unfolded, that was on Monday that I washed those clothes by the way.

Being a work at home mom doesn’t mean it’s “easier”, truthfully those few days I had at home working and caring for Kennedy were some of the most tiring days I’ve had since I returned to work because I’ve only had to focus on one or the other and not both at the same time.

So, I’ve been able to experience, or course not for long periods of time but still, in general experienced, being: a stay at home mom, a work from home mom, and working mom. Let me tell you, there is none of these 3 lifestyles that is easier than the other. They all have their challenges. I’ve had a hard time accepting my current lifestyle as a working mom but after being a home and working, I can say that some of the things I enjoy are the routines we have (I LOVE routines!), structure to my day, being able to focus on Kennedy only when we’re at home and work only while I’m at work, and being able to do work I actually enjoy and I can feel stimulated by.

I enjoyed working from home because I got plenty of breaks with my little one throughout the day and knew she was close by, all while still doing state brain stimulation that my work provides me.

Staying at home and focusing on Kennedy and my family, I felt connected and very in-tune with all the needs of our home and my little girl. There are serious benefits to each one of these roles and I myself am guilty of thinking “one is better than the next” but after getting the chance this week, I can see how each of these different “types” of moms have their struggles.

I appreciate each and every learning opportunity I’ve had to see how other moms handle their business and all I have to say is, WE KNOW HOW TO GET IT DONE. One way or another, we take care of our families and ourselves. Yes, somedays we will fall short but as a whole, we are nothing short of incredible.

So thank you life for allowing to see things from all angles. I feel like God wanted this for me so I could understand the path I’m currently on. I appreciate more than I could of ever imagined. I also appreciate you ladies, it’s hard sometimes to describe the struggles you experience unless someone can experience them first hand and I bow down to all the moms. It isn’t easy but somehow we make it our own and I think you’re amazing.

Until next time. xoxo

 

Love Your Body

Let me just start by saying, the female body is one incredible machine. I didn’t understand how amazing my body was until I carried a child. There are some days I want to rip this body apart with what I think is wrong with it but I’ve put my foot down. I have no reason to look at myself and be upset with what I see because I know what it has done.

Let me take a few steps back. I was an early bloomer. I wore a size 8 shoe when I was in the 3rd grade. I reached my full height by the time I was 12 and I was taller than half of the boys in my grade. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb because on top of that I was also heavier. A middle schoolers nightmare! I didn’t have boyfriends or boys that were interested in me until high school and even high school was rough. I decided to lose 10 pounds over Christmas break one year so everyone would stop looking at me as the chubby girl and when I came back to school instead of, “Wow you look amazing!” I was greeted with, “Do you have an eating disorder?” Seriously, I couldn’t win. So my body image has always been skewed.

I’ve yo-yoed in the past and even into adulthood, as recently as 2 years ago. Before I got pregnant I was actually trying to lost about 20 pounds, I was the heaviest weight I had ever been and next thing you know, I’m pregnant. I was terrified. I instantly thought OMG, I’m not going to be a cute pregnant girl, I’m going to be a fat pregnant girl. Terrible, terrible! I wish I could go back in time. But I was about to learn a lot about me and my body.

I was anxious to have a bump, but also terrified because that meant I was growing in size. Once I started to show with Kennedy, I was SO excited. For the first time, I was okay with my body growing and gaining weight. I knew there was a reason for it. I was elated!

Once it got closer to my due date, all anybody could ask was, “Do you plan to breastfeed?” (which BTW…can we add this to the list of questions you don’t ask a pregnant woman?) I always responded with, “That’s the plan!” of course I was then greeted with the, “Good! It’s great for the baby, plus it’ll help you drop your baby weight. ” My next thought was great, a way to get rid of the weight I gained, I’ll be golden! Until I wasn’t.

If you’ve been following along on my blog here, you’ll know that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. Throw that out the window and my next thought was, how on earth am I going to lose this weight? I started walking in hopes to drop the weight and I felt like I had to lose the weight fast, that’s just what you’re supposed to do…according to social media and other news outlets. I made the mistake of looking at these models or fitness gals that had babies and how quick they snapped back after having their babies and thought wow, I have no wiggle room, society expects us to go back to our prebaby bodies and fast. Again, I wish I could go back in time.

I was borderline depressed when I wasn’t losing any weight. I’d never been this heavy before. I didn’t feel like myself in my own body. My clothes didn’t fit and pregnancy clothes looked silly and I didn’t want to wear them. I cried. I cried a lot. I said I hated my body and I hated who I was in it.

I had to decide to do something about it though. I knew I had to get healthier physically but I was seriously concerned about my mental views on my body. I avoided mirrors. I didn’t try to get myself together if we went anywhere. I just didn’t care. I honestly don’t think I started to care until Kennedy got a little bit older and she was more aware of who Mom and Dad were and that she could count on us.

Knowing she counted on me is what made my brain transform on accepting and loving my postpartum body. This little girl loves me because she can count on me, she knows my scent, we have our way of cuddling where I know where to hold her just right and she knows where she can nestle her head and she can only do that with me, in my arms, on my chest, on my body. She grabs my face, my nose, my cheeks, anything, and she loves doing that. Knowing that she loves me and every single little bit of me has helped me accept where I’m at with my postpartum body and she doesn’t even know it yet.

I also have to give kudos to my husband, he was the first to remind me all my body has gone through to have Kennedy. He’s proud of me and what my body has done and has told me I should be proud of me too. So now, I am.

Just as everyone loves to remind us women how different every single baby is, we have to remember that every single woman is different. How you bounce back from having a child is going to be different than the women around you. No two bodies are the same. Comparing yourself to those around you will get you nowhere but down in the dumps. I admire the women that bounced back so well and quickly. I know those are the same women that worked out while they were pregnant and I wish that could of been me but my preeclampsia didn’t allow it. Which I will also say, sometimes what you want to have happen while you’re pregnant and what actually happens are two different things…I didn’t think I would have physical limitations while pregnant but did! The physical sacrifices made were so incredibly worth it to have my happy and healthy baby girl.

Whether you’re thinking about having babies, currently pregnant, recently delivered, a year or several postpartum, don’t ever stop loving the body that you have that carried those babies. Every single day remember to love yourself for the amazing things that you physically have done. Those little babies of yours think the world of you and won’t even know what physical insecurities you may have because to them, you are perfect.

 

My Mamas

I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” #true.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to fully explain who my village is or, as I call them, My Mamas. Yes, I have people I can count on in real life, but I’ve had these ladies since the beginning.

Let me roll back a little bit. I was on a wedding website when Anthony and I were engaged because I had no clue what I was doing and I was the first one of my friends to get married. Flash forward to September 2015 when Anthony and I decided we wanted to have a baby. I logged back into this website because they had a section in their forum that was for TTC (Trying to Conceive), Babies, Parenting, etc. I figured, I can check this out since once again I’m doing something that I have no clue how to do or what to expect.

Well one of the boards was a due date month group. Once you tested positive, you’d join the month board that you were due and this was your group. I figured this would be really good for me since I didn’t have anybody in my life at the time I could talk to because 1. I hadn’t told a soul we were trying let alone pregnant 2. None of my closest girlfriends were pregnant or had a baby (there were a couple of girls I knew but I wasn’t ready to share with them at this time).

I joined the September 2016 mama group, I wasn’t sure how many of us there would end up being but our finally tally as of today was 37 women total. A Facebook group was created so we could all talk all lot more efficiently than on a website board back and forth.

I had NO idea how close I would get to these ladies! We’re literally, from all over the world. London, Sweden, Chile, Australia, Canada and the United States. We talk literally all day long. It was the most comforting thing as a first time mom and being pregnant that if I was panicking about something I could open my Facebook app and ask a question to my ladies and see what they recommended or thoughts on what was going on.

There were conversations on what car seats we were all buying, plans to breastfeed or not, thoughts on co-sleeping, suggestions for how to sleep better at night while pregnant, I could go on but we talked about everything, nothing has been off limits. Being pregnant was so exciting because I got to be pregnant with so many ladies at one time. We started weekly themed threads, which I will say postpartum have been amazing. Weekly bump pictures, ultrasound photos, etc.

Once our babies started to arrive it was even more amazing. We shared updates from the hospital rooms. #babywatch was like the best thing ever when you’d wake up to pee in the middle of the night and someone announced “MY WATER BROKE” and it followed with a bunch of responses that ranged from: WOOHOO, OMG, *eye emojis* SO MANY EYE EMOJIS. When Kennedy was born I was like, I need to post a picture to my mamas now! I don’t think anybody understood what I meant.

Flash to postpartum, when our babies were here. When we were up for hours upon hours at a time. Babies didn’t want to sleep at night time, babies feeding around the clock, not sleeping, not sure if you’re breastfeeding your baby properly, worried if you’re doing this right…they were right there. It didn’t matter what time it was, someone was more than likely awake, and they were your comfort when you needed it.

These ladies, my mamas, have filled a hole that I have had because I didn’t have any pregnant girlfriends in real life. I didn’t have any close friends that had just had babies or that I felt like I could pour my life story out to without them thinking I’m insane. They know EVERYTHING about me, and yet here we are…it’s May 2017, our oldest babies are going to be 10 months old this month, sweet Blake & Vanessa and our youngest baby just turned 7 months, Roscoe.

I’ve laughed so hard with these ladies when we shared funny photos and stories about things that happened in our lives. My heart has broken with these ladies and I’ve cried for them even though we’re thousands of miles away. I LOVE these ladies and these babies so much, but I love their friendship and what they’ve helped me become by just being there so much more.

I don’t know what I did, or how I got so lucky to fall into this group. They are the most loving, caring, hilarious, and beautiful ladies I’ve ever known.

I’m feeling far more emotional about this today and now because I got to meet one of them today in person and introduce our little ones to each other and it felt so normal. I wasn’t nervous to meet Stephanie because I knew she already knew who I was. Dylan and Kennedy are all set to go to prom in 17 years too.

I can’t explain how many times I thank God for these women. I don’t know where I would be without them. I feel like I’m better equipped to handle motherhood and on days where I feel like I’ve just sucked, they always build me back up.

My mamas, I love you all SO much, I can’t even explain it. You have made me a better woman and helped prepare me and continue to teach me how to be a better mom. I hope you know how much you are appreciated by me! It only seems right with Mother’s Day coming up that I express my gratitude to you all for being my rock and safe place to vent. Thank you for being the greatest ladies I could of ever imagined to do this mom life with. ❤

“The Working Mom”

I always thought I’d be, “The Working Mom” and I had people ask me ALL the time, “Are you sure?” “You really think you’ll be able to do it?” I always looked at them like they were nuts and thought, duh, that’s what people have to do.

Did I ever think to myself, gosh, staying home would be amazing? Of course I did, but it was merely a thought. My entire pregnancy I figured I would enjoy maternity leave and the one on one time I had with my baby but at its end, I’d be ready to return to the workforce.

Um…I was so incredibly wrong.

As I’ve mentioned Kennedy was 3 weeks early and I was placed on bedrest 2.5 weeks prior to her arrival. I started my actual maternity leave a lot sooner than I anticipated. I remember the second or third night Anthony and I were home with Kennedy and I turned at looked at him and said, “I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to go back to work, I have an aching and longing need to be around her 24/7.” I cried immediately because I just wanted to be around her and only her and my little family unit that had gone from 2 to 3 just days earlier. The next morning we both figured I was hormonal and I was just feeling all the emotions that come with being a new mom, which is pretty standard for all.

I got 10.5 weeks of time with my little girl before it was time for me to return to work. I was a mess. I cried the two weeks leading up to my first day of work and was doing everything imaginable to try and slow time down. I woke up at 2:30 AM that Monday and started crying. Anthony took off for work and I was alone waiting for the princess to wake up. I remember sitting in her room drinking my coffee and watching her sleep in her crib and I sobbed and sobbed. She woke up and in typical Kennedy fashion batted her perfectly curled eyelashes at me and smiled her big gummy smile. I stopped crying at that moment because nothing is cuter than that little face.

I dropped her off at daycare (which by the way, Jen, you’re the best and we are so happy you are the one taking care of our little girl) and I held it together until I started driving down the road. I called Anthony and burst into tears and cried the entire way to my office. My co-workers were kind enough to get me a welcome back gift and it was super sweet and appreciated by getting through the day was SO. HARD. The stroke of 3:30 I was out of there and off to pick up my girl.

It’s been exactly 4 months since I’ve returned back to work and it’s the hardest thing I have to do every weekday morning. As someone that’s always been very focused on my education and having a career, I have multiple times been ready to throw it all away to just focus and be with my child. I am longing for the ability to be with her as much as possible but as much as I want that, I have to keep reminding myself that right now in this season, that isn’t in the cards.

So what do you do in this situation? I spend as much quality time with Kennedy as I can. I get up early and get myself fully ready and leave 45 minutes to get her up and ready for the day and spend time with her before we walk out the door. When I get to work, I work and I get all of it done in the office so when the day is over, I walk out the door and go back to mommy mode. I pick Kennedy up and I get 2-2.5 hours of her being awake before it’s bedtime and I make the most of out if as I possibly can. No phone, playtime in her room, reading, bath time, all of that, I literally treasure every possible second. The weekends, oh they are my absolute favorite, more so than ever before. I take that little girl with me EVERYWHERE. I never knew that becoming a mother would change me as much as it has especially with my focus on work and what my heart’s desire is.

I totally understand now how women are torn and have to make decisions like staying home with babies or go back to work. It’s the hardest choice to make and right now in this season my husband (you rock!) and I are trying to figure out what exactly will it take for us to ensure one of us is home more with our daughter. 2017 is going to be an interesting year for us as we work toward a goal of making that a reality. For now I’m just trying to keep it together although some days I have no clue how the heck I’m going to get through! I do actually know though, it’s that cute little one that I pick up each day around 4:00 PM that keeps me going!

I want to say to all moms, working or stay at home, all moms have struggles they have to face in both of these paths and you’re doing an amazing job no matter what struggles you’re facing. We will all get through these things and it’ll be easier if we can lean on each other! Major kudos to my September Mamas, I’m pretty sure I would of fallen off the deep end multiple times without your kind words and support, you guys are EVERYTHING in this motherhood journey!