When I quit my job to stay at home, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I had worked from home for the past five years as an editor for a love and sex website. And when my daughter was born, I juggled part-time work from home with full-time parenting. Working over nap times and in the evenings, then spending the rest of the day with my children, it seemed very straight forward. Of course, with parenting, nothing ever is as easy as you think it will be.
Lyz is a freelance writer, with an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She also works as a blogger for the Huffington Post and a regular contributor to Mommyish, Mom.me and The Real Moms of Eastern Iowa, a hyper-local mom blog and most importantly BabyZone. Her writing has been published in Real Weddings, Guidepost, The Des Moines Register and YourTango, LearnVest, and Babble.com. She has been syndicated on MSNBC, The Today Show Website, Yahoo! Shine, and MSN Glo. She maintains a blog about pants, chicken nuggets and babies over on LyzLenz.com.
Truth time: I didn’t teach my firstborn to nap, the babysitter did. When it came time to teach the second child to nap, I was at a loss. I spent a lot of time texting the babysitter for input and advice and it took a month, but we finally got the crib nap to work. Here are nine tips that helped my baby transition from napping in my arms and in the car seat to the crib.
When my daughter gave up breastfeeding for the bottle, I was wracked with guilt. Guilt because I knew I could be doing more to make her breastfeed. And guilt because I was relieved that the months of bleeding nipples and searing pain was at an end. I ended up pumping for nine months. Each pumping session took 20-30 minutes. I pumped through conference calls and car rides. I felt like a cow, but it was for the best, I told myself. It was all for my baby.
When my second was born, the idea of pumping again made me sob. I told my husband through tears that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t pump. Not again. One night, delirious with a fever from mastitis and in pain from the cuts on my nipples I asked my husband if he would hate me if we used formula. He hugged me. “Our kids will be fine. Do whatever you need to do.”
It’s easy to be the voice of reason when you don’t have a temperature of 108 and aren’t full of raging postpartum hormones. But my husband wasn’t wrong and now there is science to back it up.
I’m always lured in by magazines in the check-out aisle that declare the latest celebrity mom is “back” and “sexier than ever” after just having a baby. I want to be back. I want to be sexier than ever I think while in the grocery store checkout line buying whiskey, children’s Tylenol and teething tablets at nine at night.
If I could ban one word from the mom lexicon it would be the word “back” as in, “I’m back to my pre-baby body!” Or, “When will I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans?” The word itself contains a lie that things can be the same as before. That once you grow a fully-formed human being and then squeeze all eight pounds of him out of your birth canal, that you can just go “back” to the way things used to be.
When I was a FTM, newly PG. I became addicted to a message board on a very popular site for moms. I called them ”the boards” and would frequently begin conversations with my husband by saying, “Well, the girls on the boards say…” He begged me to quit. But I was addicted. I found it deeply therapeutic to immerse myself in world of women talking and griping about cervical fluid, mucous plugs and who was gaining the least pregnancy weight. It was only after the pregnancy hormones exited my body, and my baby was six months old, did I finally break myself of the habit. The world of online forums is an entire culture of it’s own with it’s own rules, etiquette and language. Here is a brief primer to the most relevant acronyms. If you need more, here is a full list of baby board abbreviations. Good luck.
My friend’s daughter walked up to my child and kicked her in the shins. “Oh, she’s so fierce,” my friend said. “I had to squash her spirit.” Then the little girl, screamed right in my daughter’s ears. “Don’t ‘cream in my earrings,” my daughter said on the verge of tears. The little girl, screamed again. My daughter cried. I stepped into separate them. I held my daughter and said gently to the little girl, “Please don’t kick and scream at your friends, that hurts their feelings.”
My friend quickly spoke up. “She’s an independent fighter, it’s what I love most about her.”
That was our last play date together.
This winter, I signed my two-year-old up for two classes: one I picked and the other I let her choose. I picked an age-appropriate art class, titled “Make a Mess.” The class involves finger painting, making pictures with soap bubbles, food dye and all the messy things I don’t have the courage to do at home. The other class, the one she chose, was ice skating lessons.
I didn’t want to sign her up for ice skating. She is 2-almost-3 and has never fit anyone’s description of a physically daring child. Plus, all the advice I read suggests holding off on skating lessons until 4. But she’s obsessed with figure skating and loves to twirl around the hardwood floors on stockinged feet declaring herself an ice princess. When she discovered her friend, who is a whole year older, was taking lessons she begged: “Oh, but pwease!”
I recently helped my friend bury her 11-month-old son. Just weeks shy of his first birthday, the family had planned a trip to Disneyland in celebration. Instead, the snacks for the road trip were spread over the kitchen counter to be eaten by friends and family as they passed through the house. My friend, who holds her faith dear, told her church at the memorial service that she used to pray that her children would have a long and happy life. But recently she had begun to pray, instead, that they would live full, rich lives. Looking at the pictures of her smiling, sweet little boy, so loved by his two older sisters, my friend said: “I got everything I prayed for and nothing I wanted.”
When Bumbo Seats were recalled in 2012, I refused to take ours in. Our daughter was too big for the seat by then. Also, after reading the reason that the seats were recalled (babies sitting in them on raised surfaces, falling out and hitting their heads), I rationalized that we wouldn’t be using them that way with any future babies. But when our son was born, I told my husband, the safety king, about the recall and he balked. “Get rid of that thing,” he said. “We can get something else.” Reluctantly, I exchanged the Bumbo for the Prince Lionheart bebePOD.