Monday, May 11, 2015

Life lately

Life lately can be summed up in one word... busy.

This month has been flying by as Cole is now talking (babbling), moving constantly, sleeping even less if that's possible, teething, and Jon is working more.  We are blessed and thankful for Jon's new job, which allows me to stay at home right now with Cole.  I'm proud everyday of how hard my husband works and how that's paying off in big ways.

The month started out with a tiny bit of a health concern with Cole... nothing too major, but he's been having a little trouble putting on weight.  Most babies I see at his age are chunky monkey (and adorable), but he's like a little muscle man.  He doesn't look skinny to me, but there isn't really a fat roll on him.  His shoulders and arms look like he's got little defined muscles.  The doctor was a little concerned that he was dropping in the growth curve rather than increasing... For example, my nephew Caleb has always been at the 50th% for weight and height.  This means that at Caleb's age, he is bigger than 50% of the other babies his age and smaller than 50% of the babies his age.  Cole started out at around 6% for weight and 10% for height, and then he went up to 10% in weight and 25% in height, and this month he was 4% in weight and 4% in height.  He eats great for the most part and literally will not take any more than I'm feeding him.  The doctor thinks he's just super, super active and burns off alot of calories, more than he's taking in at times.  He actually told us Cole is "the most active 4th month old he's seen."  All we can do is try to sneak in a little more in each of his bottles and extra breastfeeding sessions and not fill him up with things like rice cereal or fruits and veggies.

We have let him taste a few baby foods though, and the faces he makes are hilarious.  He's tried mango (didn't like), apple (LOVED), banana (liked), and green beans (not so sure).

Being a SAHM is tough. Tougher than I ever thought.  I've had periods in my career as a nurse where I was working 70 hour weeks, on call and getting called in at night for transports (I was labor & delivery but also a flight nurse) and then having to work a 12 hour shift the next day, and somehow I managed to do that and still run 7 days a week.  Now I've got a 24 hour job taking care of a (not so easy) baby and it feels way more difficult than anything I've done as a nurse.  Because Jon's job has long hours and high pressure, it's my job to take care of things on the home front and the baby.  He hasn't slept well since he's been born, so most nights I get maybe 3-4 hours of sleep and they aren't consecutive.  Then he's up all day.  The kid doesn't nap.  We pushed through colic, and witching hours, and now we're dealing with teething.  Which for me means holding and carrying around a fussy baby all day long. I've started just wearing him in the Bjorn so I can get things done around the house because he needs to be near me all the time. He's also been co-sleeping since he started teething.  I just don't have the energy to go into his room every hour and get him out of his crib and feed him and then put him back, go back to bed, only to be woken up in another hour.  It's easier on both of us to just keep him next to me and nurse him on demand overnight.  People may have their opinions on co-sleeping, and I certainly did as a nurse, before I became a mom of a (not so easy) baby. Now, whatever, if it gets me 5 extra minutes of sleep, I'll take it.

The hardest part about being a SAHM is the self-inflicted pressure of keeping the house and baby and myself perfect. I battle with feeling like since I'm not "working" right now, I have to have the house constantly perfect, dinner on the table, the baby happy and not crying ever, and be at my wedding weight (which come on, is really unrealistic right now).  The other difficult part is never, ever getting a break. Working moms are away from their kids for 8-14 hours a day and get that time to be with other adults and actually "miss" their kids. When you're home with kids, you completely are surrendered to being a mom, and not a woman. It's very difficult to not lose yourself. There's nothing to "dress up" for. Why put on makeup?  It's difficult to stay motivated to remain a woman and wife, and not just a mom. And not getting the break, you don't "miss" your kids... instead, you get exhausted. You aren't coming home from work missing them and excited to spend a few hours with them before bed.  You're ready to pull your hair out by then. You want to run out the door and go find yourself for a few days. Or at least that's how I feel at times.  Just keepin' it real.  Please don't take this the wrong way... there are incredible benefits to being at home. I get to see and experience everything. I get to teach him everything. I don't feel the guilt of leaving him that working mothers do.  I don't have to go through a sleepless night with the baby and then get up and get ready and go be a working professional all day. At least I can try to rest when he's calm during the day and wear yoga pants.  All I'm trying to say, I guess, is that it's difficult to be a SAHM or a working mom. Being a mom is just hard.  The most beautiful, brutal, difficult, rewarding job in the world.  (as an aside... I'm wearing him in the Bjorn as I'm writing this-- he's finally taking a little nap ON me.)

I think part of the reason I'm struggling a little also is the fact that my body is no longer 100%.  Although I was blessed not to lose my leg completely, I did lose most of my quad muscle and a large part of my abdomen because of nec fasc. It's still painful at times and difficult to get up and down stairs and I'll just never have the strength or energy I did before I got sick.  The scars on my abdomen that were stretched during pregnancy are still painful at times.  I am intentional every day when I get up and take care of Cole, clean the house, make dinner, be a wife, be a runner.  I force myself to keep going and moving.  Running isn't easy anymore. It's freaking hard.  I love it, but it is work, and it doesn't come as easy as it did before I got sick. I have limitations that I didn't have before and that doesn't make things easy AT ALL.  But damnit, I was given a gift when God gave me Cole and I will not let Him down.  I prayed so hard that the doctors would be wrong and I'd be able to have children someday and He exceeded my expectations and blessed me beyond measure.  And so, I keep going, keep moving, keep pushing.  Hope that gives a little encouragement to any other mama learning about the struggles of motherhood, whether you stay at home or work outside the home.