The Current Six: What I’m…

Reading – I just finished listening to the audiobook of Emily Giffin’s latest “The One and Only.” She’s one of my favorite authors, but honestly I just wasn’t feeling this one. It didn’t keep me hooked or feel like as in depth of a story as most of her other ones. We read “Maternal Desire – On Children, Love and the Inner Life” for our new mommy book club this month. I confess, I didn’t finish the book. It’s an awesome concept – maternal desire is not as valued in this society as it should be. Care in general isn’t, whereas acquisition is. But, she wrote it in such an academic way, it made it really hard to get through. Admirable book, but at this time in my life Ain’t nobody got time for that! Especially since I have a huge list of childbirth educator books I need to get through. I also finished the “Sweet Poison Quit Plan” on the heels of “A Year of No Sugar” Both were very eye opening to the damaging effects of sugar, and I’ve definitely cut down my intake since reading them. I also have to say I read Peggy Vincent’s “Baby Catcher” in June and it was wonderful. I think every woman and especially every pregnant woman needs to read it. So good. Our book for next month’s mommy book club is “Momfriends” by Arielle Papa and I just started it and already can relate! I am also reading “Mindful Parenting” and just started the audiobook of Rob Lowe’s second memoir, “Love Life.” The amount of books in my Goodreads “To Read” list is topping 130 these days, so often I am overwhelmed by all the choices! I usually tend to have one fiction, one non-fiction and one audiobook all going at the same time. Ah! I love books.

Watching – “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Call the Midwife” Clare and I’s little morning routine has included watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. We started with season 1 and only have a few episodes left until we’re done with all 10 seasons. Looking forward to season 11 in September. Everyone has been telling me that I need to watch Call the Midwife for a long time. Chris and I finally have started it once Clare goes to sleep at night. We just started season 2. It’s great, albeit a bit sad in pretty much every episode.

Eating – These lactation cookies, a whole lot of the Mediterranean Feta Salsa from Whole Foods, and a lot of baked sweet potatoes with blue cheese. No, I am not pregnant again. When I find something I like, I tend to just stick with it. I.E. I pretty much have oatmeal with almond butter, cinnamon and bananas for breakfast everyday.

Listening To – The One Bad Mother podcast archive and current episodes. So funny. So relatable. Highly recommend.

Looking Forward To – FALL! I am so sick of the heat and summer. I was cleaning out my closet for our upcoming clothing swap and it made me sad to look at my whole shelf of boots just waiting to be worn. Scarves, boots, leggings, fall TV, Apple Hill, Monterey Jazz, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, I cannot WAIT.

Thankful For – Mommy friends. In this season of life, getting through the hard days would not be possible without these wonderful people. I read some buzzfeed article recently about the different type of mom friends you should have and I totally think I have all my bases covered! I’m so happy to have made so many new ones in the last 6 months, and so happy to journey into parenthood with some really great long-time friends. Because when you’ve been spent hours trying to get your crying baby to sleep, or you’ve just been thrown up on for the 10th time today, you need someone you can call, text, rant to, and someone who can say “I get it, I’ve been there, you’re doing a good job.” ❤

What about you? Reading, watching, eating anything great lately?

Motherhood Mondays: Our Baby Item Favs 3-6 Months

So in case you missed it, here was our 10 favorite baby items from newborn to 3 months. This blog post is about our 10 favorite baby items from 3-6 months. I’ll give you a hint…teething!

Hyland’s Teething Tablets – These homeopathic tablets do seem to have helped with the fussiness and teething pain thus far. I just ordered the Camilla teething drops as well, since the reviews said that they also can be soothing to tummies, which is another one of her problems.

Teething Tablets

Sophie Teether – Ah, the ubiquitous $20 giraffe teether that looks like a glorified dog toy. Everyone seems to have Sophie. I was skeptical, but Clare really does seem to love her. She chews on her head and legs like nobody’s business. We almost lost Sophie the other day in the Michael’s parking lot. I was happy that when I back tracked she was found, albeit a little worn for wear and possibly run over. But a little scrub and she was back to new!

sophie

Innobaby Strawberry Teether – This little guy came in one of our citrus lane boxes (see below) – and it’s perfect for baby-sized hands to hold and she loves the different textures on her gums.

Strawberry Teether

Breast Milk Pops! – We use these trays to freeze cubes of breast milk and have been putting them in these  mesh food holders for a breast milk ice pop. This keeps her busy for a while AND helps her teeth pain.

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Ring Sling – Now that I’ve learned to use my ring sling – it’s a godsend. I have this Sakura Bloom. I plan to chop one of my larger wraps to make another ring sling also. Once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly easy to get on and off, you can put baby on your front or on your hip so that they can see out, and you can nurse in it! Which is really helpful, especially when I take her to teach with me.

Sakura

Kick & Play Piano Gym – This guy is so versitle! We actually took the mat part off because it kept getting puked on, but now we just move the hanging part from place to place. She loves playing with the toys and now she can even sit up and hit the piano when it’s adjusted into that position. It’s great!

 

 

 

 

piano

Bert also loves it…

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Tadpoles Floor Playmat – My friend Monica got a playmat for her daughter, because they also have all hardwood floors, so I decided it would probably be a good idea to get one for Clare too. It’s a good pad if she falls back or rolls over too hard. I also like that it’s a neutral color. But much of the time, it’s covered in blankets because Bertie cat likes to take chunks out of it. Eventually maybe we’ll get a more durable one.  But the price was definitely right!

floor mat

Nose Frida – Baby’s first cold. It sucked. Literally. I had an awful week-long cold and of course Clare caught it. Nose Frida sounds super gross, I mean you are sucking your baby’s snot out?? But it WORKS. It really is a must have.

nose frida

Cherry Swim Outfit – I love this outfit! She just wears the diaper part for swim class, because it’s an indoor 95 degree heated pool, but then I can put the tankini part on when we go to other pools. I really think I will buy a new one in a bigger size. Because currently her little chubby butt falls out because she is getting so big!

cherries

Citrus Lane Subscription – I love Citrus Lane! I think we are on our 4th or 5th month. Every month you get a box of age appropriate toys and goodies delivered to your doorstep. Clare has loved pretty much everything we’ve gotten from them, but I just couldn’t list them all here! Sometimes there are products like baby lotion, and there is usually 3-4 toys. Continuing her subscription will definitely be on her Christmas list this year.   Check out this link to get 50% off your first box!

Citrus Lane

 Did I miss anything mamas? Particularly in the teething department. Let me know!
And just because she’s adorable…one of Clare’s 6 month pictures. 🙂
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You’re Doing a Good Job.

mom

 

One thing I’ve been running into a lot as a new mom is this constant feeling of being judged and I think I can confidently say many of my other new mom friends feel similarly. One of my friends sent me this blog post recently and it SO resonated. For some silly reason we as moms (and dads too I’m sure) often feel like we have to justify a certain choice that we’ve made when it comes to parenting. Do you do attachment parenting when it comes to nighttime sleep? Do you do CIO? Or some combination? Do you breastfeed, do you bottle feed? Exclusively pump, supplement formula? Do you plan to breastfeed over a year (or two!) Do you nurse in public with a cover or without? Do you cloth diaper or use disposables? Are you doing purees or baby led weaning? Do you bedshare, do you cosleep same room, or do you crib sleep? Do you baby wear? Do you stay-at-home, work-at-home, work part time or work full time. The list goes on and on. It’s enough to make your head spin without even being a new mom. But I loved that blog post because it’s what I’ve been trying to articulate myself. My choices are not a criticicism of your choices and your choices are not a criticism of mine. All that we can do as parents is do research and make the best decision for OUR families. No friend or even doctor can tell you what you SHOULD be doing.

Now that Emma has me hooked on the One Bad Mother podcast, I love what they said on one episode, when moms are talking to each other we should say “this is what’s working for our family currently.” Not “well this is what you should do.” Because it doesn’t work the same for all moms, families or babies. And being a parent is HARD, no matter how you do it, so shouldn’t we all be supporting each other on that journey? Sharing experiences and helping us all be the best parents we can be.

WE bedshare/cosleep and believe in attachment parenting. We don’t do cry it out. We exclusively breastfeed and plan to do so for as long as Clare wants to. We are about to start baby led weaning. We use disposable diapers. I nurse in public without a cover, because it’s more comfortable for both Clare and I. And I have been indoctrinated into the babywearing cult. 😉 I work part time and am studying to be a childbirth educator. I have strong passions about certain aspects of our parenting choices and I am happy with what we’re doing because it is what works for US and also happy to share any research and experience that I have. BUT – just because these are the choices that work for our family, they in no way mean that I am judging others who parent in different ways or that anyone needs to apologize for their choices. Don’t do something just because you feel like you “should” or because that is what “everyone else does.”  Be proud of your choices and proud of being a mom. Because it’s damn hard work.

And like Teresa and Biz say on One Bad Mother – “You’re doing a GOOD job, mom!”

You are.

Motherhood Mondays: Favorite Links, The Mama Edition

I read a LOT of articles as the weeks go on. Typically on my phone while we are nursing or rocking or doing other baby-related tasks. I used to do posts with a round up of my favorite links on one of my old blogs. And those posts on others’ blogs are always some of my favorite posts because I see articles that I haven’t read and blog posts from bloggers I’ve never heard of. The type of links I used to post are much different than they are now…but thus is the season. Today’s list is all motherhood links. Enjoy!

Bunnies vs. Goldfish – This post about our feeling of being judged by other moms and how our choices as parents aren’t criticisms of others’ choices. (Look for more thoughts on this here soon)

I Am Not a Human Pacifier – This beautiful post about how breastfeeding is so much more than nutrition and how ludicrous it is to compare that to being a human pacifier.

Unwind – Another lovely post about parents finding their way back to each other through the muck. Someone DOES have to pour the first glass of wine.

Motherhood and Anxiety – Suzy and I’s stories are so similar about our journeys of anxiety and pregnancy and becoming mothers. I pretty much immediately emailed her and said let’s be friends. 🙂

There’s Always Something To Make You Feel Like a Bad Mom – Similar to the bunnies versus goldfish post. We are all fighting different battles.

Telling Women They Can’t Talk About Their Awesome (or Upsetting) Birth Experience Needs to Stop – A doula in a local birth group I’m in posted this one and I think it’s so true. It also reminds me of the bunnies/goldfish post. We should be supporting each other and celebrating triumphs and having each other to lean on and listen to when things don’t go to plan.

Sometimes I Cry – Another wonderful post about all of the bursting, wonderful, terrifying and awesome emotions that go along with being a mom.

I wish I could say I’ll plan on making this a weekly post, but if I’m being realistic, it will probably be more like once or twice a month. 🙂 No promises!

Real Talk about Mental Illness – Anxiety

The news of Robin Williams’ death has of course brought to light a lot of talk about mental illness. Two of my childhood friends, Ashley and Kathleen both have blogged about their struggles this week. I’ve talked vaguely about my anxiety over the years on here and on social media. But here is some real talk about it. Because maybe it could help someone else. Because being open about it helps to de-stigmatize mental illness. And for all of the people feeling the same way Robin Williams did a few nights ago.

My biggest struggle is with anxiety. Every once in a while it swings the pendulum to the other side of depression, but for the most part, it’s always been anxiety. But the reality of it just came to light last year before we got pregnant. Because apparently, when you experience a large hormonal shift, your hormones can spiral things like anxiety and depression out of control. (Read: when you are on the birth control pill for 10 years and stop it, if you are already pre-disposed to anxiety it can really make things bad.)   Now that I’ve been in therapy for almost two years and seeing a psychiatrist for the last 16 months, and talked and talked and talked about it, I’ve come to realize that I’ve always had some level of anxiety. Or as she says, my “baseline” is generalized anxiety disorder. But when things spiral into tides of more, I sometimes have panic attacks or more intense anxiety.

On some level I’ve always known that feelings that I had weren’t “normal.” You mean everyone doesn’t think their parents are going to die on a plane every time they get on one? Everyone doesn’t double check that they locked the front door 6 times before getting in the car? Everyone doesn’t have trouble sleeping as a 12-year-old unless their dad stays up in the other room? Doesn’t listen to lullabies until an age where they are wildly inappropriate? No? Well that was me. Looking back on all of this (and more) now, I see that what it was was anxiety, manifesting itself in different ways at different times. I remember vague feelings of panic in college every time I would play my saxophone as a music major. Some bordering on legitimate panic attacks. But it was always just labeled as high strung or ultra-sensitive. I always would overly worry about things. A lot of the time, the stress came out as IBS attacks. I am a terrible traveler, always stressing about every little thing about a trip…sometimes spending 3 days packing to make sure I didn’t forget something. Then still worrying that I forgot something. I care way too much about what other people think and I always worry that people won’t like me. I have irrational fears about things that others probably don’t give a second thought. Chris is probably SO tired of me always asking him if our cats will be okay whenever we go on a trip.

But it was really at an all time high last year. I had just left one job I hated and found myself in another that I hated in different ways. The first week at my new job, I cried everyday to my dad or to Chris in my car on my lunch break. I felt trapped (mainly for financial reasons) and overwhelmed with the panic of still not being sure “what I wanted to do with my life” at 25. Quarter life crisis? In some ways. After a lot of talking, Chris and I decided that there never was going to be a right time to start a family and that it was always something we both wanted. I cheerfully threw away my last pack of birth control, thinking okay, at least I’ll be moving toward something that would make me happy, not knowing what that hormonal shift would do to me. I think in some ways I block those few months out of my mind because I was in such a bad place. I barely was making it through the days. I left for work shaking. I hardly ate. I still cried in my car on my lunch break everyday. I felt like I was going to have a full blown panic attack most days and sometimes texting my mom or g-chatting with some of my best friends felt like they were the only way I got through. One day I did have a panic attack while driving on the freeway. I somehow made it to the next exit and collapsed at a gas station while I waited for one of my best friends to come get me. (Love you Steph) Panic and anxiety are such a scary beast in that when you are in the midst of it you really feel like you are going to die. Some people say it feels like you are having a heart attack. The dread is that great. And you always feel like you are alone in feeling this way. I blamed myself. My perfectionist self felt like I “should” be able to handle this. I beat myself up constantly during those months. I felt like a failure. Most nights we holed up watching West Wing on Netflix. Chris and I joked that watching it helped us get through such a hard time. We loved the show and it gave us something to focus on besides what I was going through. And it was so fitting in one episode where Leo is talking to Josh about his PTSD. He tells a story about a man in a hole.

“A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

“Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on

“Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’”

It made me feel like, okay there are people out there who have been down here before…who know the way out.

We eventually made the decision that I needed to start an antidepressant. This, as well as seeing a psychiatrist, are big on the stigma list. I felt again like I was a failure for “needing” this help. I was also wary of going on another pill after what happened when I stopped the birth control. Even now, I still hesitate to talk that much about it to most people. (Well I guess not now, since I’m blogging it for all the world to see) I am very fortunate to have found a fantastic psychiatrist who worked with my other care providers (midwife, etc) and helped me be knowledgeable about the best, safest route for pregnancy and nursing. Another thing I love about her is how she tries to remind me that having anxiety in some ways is a gift. You worry about things from every angle. You’re always prepared. And she has helped me accept that it will always be my struggle, my battle. And that it is OKAY.

I’m very lucky to have had her, to have switched my maternity care to Davis, to have had Chris, my mom and an amazing doula support me in having exactly the birth that I wanted when Clare was born six months ago. Because I had an empowering birth, I think in some ways it helped some of my anxiety heal a little bit. I also had decided to do placenta encapsulation to help head off postpartum depression.  My mom stayed with us for a month after Clare was born, and I saw my psychiatrist within a few days after she was born.  I’m so thankful that we put all of this in place ahead of time.

And even though my anxiety is much better controlled now than it used to be, it will always be something that I struggle with, always lurking just below the surface. And most of the time I never know when it will spike or be triggered. There have been days where I’m driving to a student’s house choking back panic that eventually subsides once I start teaching. Sometimes I’m trying to sleep at night and my mind won’t stop the constant carousel of worry.   Sometimes I’m in a yoga class trying to relax into shavasana and I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin. Or I’m trying to teach my own zumba class and feel my heart start to panic. But this is who I am.

So for ANYONE out there going through similar struggles, you are absolutely not alone. I know that I thought I was. I was supposed to be the one that had it all together. I remember telling one of my friends that after I had gotten through the initial hard part, and she laughed and said “Don’t you realize now that NO one has it all together?” It’s true. Everyone struggles with something. And so many people struggle with mental illness.  It can sometimes be invisible, and coming from an anxious person – we get really good at hiding it.  Remember that in some ways your anxiety is a gift and while it’s hard when you are in the midst of an episode, remember that it will be okay. YOU are okay.

battle

Motherhood Mondays: It Won’t Be Like This For Long

Welcome to my first “Motherhood Mondays” post. In an effort to post more consistently, I’m going to start doing a post every Monday on something to do with motherhood. Some will be short, some will be long. Who knows what will strike me on a particular week, since motherhood looks so different from week to week. Am I right?

This week I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed at my inability to get ANYthing done. Clare takes about 3 naps a day, and much of that time is used to feed myself or shower/look presentable for the day.   Especially if Chris is working on any given day and I don’t have the extra help. (Props to you, single moms!) So that leaves little time for getting anything done. I end up running around trying to clean things up like a crazy person once she goes down to sleep at night. I don’t even remember the last time I read an actual book, or even on my kindle itself. Any reading I do pretty much takes place on my kindle app on my phone. And I read a LOT of articles while nursing too. (As my friends and husband can attest since I’m always texting/emailing them to them) I also have a very sad stack of unread magazines sitting on my desk. Including 5 months worth of People Stylewatch. Yeah, it’s sad. But then again maybe when you are covered in spit up, breast milk and various other things all day long, a style magazine is not your top priority?…hmm. I have my entire childbirth educator certification to work on, and some other projects I want get started on. I want to be more consistent at blogging. I need to get some more prep done for my piano teaching. But there is just NO time. Taking care of a tiny human is a full, full, FULL time job. And this drives my perfectionist, type A personality insane.   I want to DO more. I want to be productive.

But I’m trying really hard to let go of that. Because in this season of my life, Clare’s needs are the top priority, and focusing on the little things as she grows is what I really need and want most of my energy to go into. Her wonder of watching the trees outside. Her eyes as they follow my puffy cat’s swishing tail. Her smile when she sees me come into the room. The way her little fuzzy hair sticks out in the back after we’ve been laying on the bed. Her eyes changing color. The way she kicks her little chubby legs and scratches the floor when she’s trying so hard to crawl, but just can’t quite do it yet. The little grunty sound she makes when she wants to nurse. These are the things that are important in this season. Sometimes in the frustration and rush of the day to day, I forget that. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs “It won’t be like this for long” by Darius Rucker. Because, truly, it won’t be like this for long.