Stay At Home Mom Check In

SO, life as a stay at home mom is… not a walk in the park! I surely didn’t expect it to be kicking back and reading novels all day (though, wouldn’t that be a blast?!), but at the risk of sounding like a whining lucky girl, it’s hard. I feel like each day is crammed to the gills with I-don’t-know-what and at the end of the day, I’m way more tired than I ever was when I worked (though I won’t say more tired than when I was a working mom this summer). I’m perpetually doing things: errands, shuttling crap from one room to the next, both literal and figurative, speedy workouts during naps, etc.

In the ultimate twist of expectation, the most relaxing part of my week is actually when I go to school two nights a week. It’s the only time I get to do ONE thing at a time! I didn’t even notice until I was sitting in class trying to project what I had to do for the next hour and I was like – OMG, I just have to sit here and listen. It’s heaven. Multi-tasking is a beast, and I think I’m getting better at it than I ever wanted to be. I don’t even notice until Scott’s home over the weekend and I ask him to take Margo, a dirty laundry item and my drink upstairs for me and he looks at me funny. Why would I do all that at once? TO SAVE TRIPS! Come on, you have two arms!

Okay, enough dramatic interpretation of my life. It’s lovely and rewarding, as stressful as it sometimes feels. Though it might feel, looking back on the day that I got like 2 things accomplished and “What was I doing all day??”, I realize I was enjoying my daughter. And though I’m tired, it’s the best kind of tired I can imagine!

And, of course we’ve been taking more pics of Margo than anyone’s business, so here’s one:

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My visit with the Nutritionist

So, like most people, my husband’s employer provides a free nutritionist for employees ant their dependents. What? That’s a crazy-cool and uncommon bene? Oh, my bad. Anyway, being that I’m about to start some intense running & strength training AND that I intend to continue breastfeeding through Margo’s first year, I got to thinking maybe I should just check in and make sure I am eating the right amounts of the right things. And also, is there a way to not feel like I just want to lay on the couch all day after running more than 6 miles? To help me process all of this, I thought I’d put together a Cliff’s Notes in case anyone out there might have similar needs.

I might have forgotten to mention: I’m doing a half marathon on 11/14 on the OBX! Cause I decided being able to walk on my birthday (11/15) isn’t that important to me.

So, the answer to basically all of my nutritional needs is PROTEIN. I’m SUCH a slacker in this department. Scott will tell you, I don’t crave meat at all and he hast to really beg & plead for me to add it to meals. Sorry, honey. Rest assured, those days are over. You’re reading the blog of a person who now needs 70 to 90 g of protein a day. That’s a lot, right? It feels like a lot to me, the last time I had meat was in the Groff’s sweet bologna sandwich a few days ago (thanks Fuddys). She gave me a good list of suggestions for protein enhanced snacks (like with peanut butter or greek yogurt or an egg.)

While running, different strategies will be necessary to keep the energy up and avoid any adverse impacts on my BF supply and energy level. It’s all about water, carbs & electrolytes at that point. Meaning, if I’m running for more than 1/2 hour, I need to have 45-60 g of carbohydrates (in the form of Gu or those chewy thingers – Shot Bloks or Sport Beans – or part Gatorade.) She also said I should take 5-6 gulps of water every 15 minutes when running. So, I’m not sure how I’m going to pack that much water once we get up to the higher distances, but we’ll see. I might need a Fuel Belt. Or several.

Fun fact: I was all hyper crazy about HFCS in Gatorade for a while. She said that the issue w/ High Fructose Corn Syrup is that it’s two different types of sugar (fructose & glucose) which is actually beneficial to the recuperating athlete for some reason. IDK, I’ll take it. I love Haterade (that’s what I call it, cause I like to make up words.)

Another lesson was on refueling after a big run (anything over 60 min). She said there’s a 30-minute window in which you can refuel and your body will rebound throughout the day without feeling crappy (my words). So, it’s pretty important to strap on the feedbag quickly after running a long distance & get protein (again…) in your system. Fruit smoothies w/ whey protein powder was one suggestion… I feel like such a meathead.

So, hopefully I can take these lessons to heart and eat healthy so I feel good in my new endurance workouts 🙂

7 Months!

Dear Margo,

Where to start… it seems like you have changed so much in the past week or so.

You’re still a very social child. Yesterday we were at a triathlon I took part in (on a relay) and you were trying to say “hi” to everyone we passed or that you saw in the distance (which was kind of a lot of people…) It’s so cute, it’s as if you see someone and you think “Why aren’t they looking at me?” and say in your breathy and excited baby-voice “Hiii”. It’s not a fully enunciated word, but it seems like you kind of understand the meaning & when to say it! The screaming & babbling haven’t subsided at all, and you often “talk” more when you’re gnawing on a toy. Another change we noticed this month is it seems you really “became a girl” (to quote your Daddy). Meaning, you discovered whining and figured out how to use it to get your way. You realized if you scrunch up your face & whine/fake cry we’ll pick you up. There’s been a lot of whining… because your life is really hard.

But there’s also been a lot of laughing. A LOT! It’s truly the most heartwarming and surprising thing you do these days. We have to work for it, but the most random things elicit this beautiful noise. This evening, I was hiding behind the fridge and playfully running at you and you were in stitches. And so was I!

You’re also a determined kid, and this month even more so. When I’m holding you, you notice everything I’m holding and must. have. it. And if I move it further away, you puff air out of your pursed lips and reach further. It’s really hard to describe this little quirk, but it’s oh so cute. Like you’re taking a step back and doing a deep yoga breath and psyching yourself up for one last push where you’re going to get that thing you want.

Perhaps the biggest milestone this month was you pulled up for the first time. It knocked our socks off, but you looove standing up. You’ve been spending a lot of time propped up at your Leap Frog table this month, getting excited about the annoying songs you can make play by pressing buttons and moving knobs. You seem to have also discovered this month that you can roll over, and then roll over again, and again and again until you’re in a different place! You look up at us in between and smile like “check me out!” and just keep going. It’s pretty funny for us to watch, and remember a few short months ago when we waited and cheered you on to roll just once for the camera or to show a family member. Now, it’s no sweat at all. NOW, we’re on crawl watch.
You’re a strong kid and a big kid by all accounts, and everyone keeps threatening us that you’re going to be an early walker. Which is good and bad… but we’re trying to enjoy where you are right now. You’re just so much fun to be around.

This month we’ve done a lot. You took your first trip to the beach with me, and you handled the different environment like a true champion. You LOVED the beach (at low tide) and I’m so excited to go back sometime soon! Another change occured today – I’m not your stay at home mommy! I ended my summer job Friday, and starting today, I’m home all day, every day. Let the fun begin!

Every month as I wrap up your letter I try to think what you might be doing next month at this time, and you just continue to surprise me. So I might stop trying to predict your next big thing and just see what you come up with on your own! We love you, cutie pie!
Momma

*Gulp* She pulled up.

So yesterday, out of the blue I pulled out the little Leap Frog table I’d picked up at a consignment sale a few months ago. I sat her down in front of it, pressed some buttons to make the lights & songs go and almost instantly she grabbed it, pulled on it and BAM she was standing. I almost cried. She’s still too short to really pull up on the couch or anything, but I’m continually blown away when she does these things.

I don’t have video of her pulling up from sitting, but I did get this video today of her standing at the Leap table.

Glorious Sleep

We were blessed with a very good sleeper very early on. I think Margo officially slept through the night at 8 weeks or so? (The question mark represents the fog of the first months… it was around then. IDK.) She slept in long stretches then, and maybe around 3 months she started to wake in the middle of the night and fuss. We’d stumble across the hall and stick the pacifier in her mouth and everyone was back to sleep in 5 min… no big deal.

It kind of became a bigger deal as of late, though. 2 weeks ago we had a few nights in a week where we went into her room and she was totally awake and not pacified by the paci trick. A few times I even resorted to nursing her, which I hated doing since we haven’t fed her at night since 8? weeks, not a habit you want to start at 6 months.

So, we made the choice to Ferberize her. Best. Decision. Ever. What’s Ferberizing, you ask? It’s a complex system of timed parental soothing to encourage self-soothing for the child, yet pretty simple to operate in the middle of the night. On the first night, we’d only go to her after 5 min. When we go to her, no nursing, no picking her up & rocking. Then, we’d wait until 10 min, then 15 and then 20, repeated until she fell asleep. Subsequent nights have longer intervals. I think it’s mistakenly labled often as “Cry It Out”, but it’s really much more complex than that, and not nearly as heartless as CIO sounds.

Well, the first night was some sort of weird miracle, because everyone just slept through the night. Scott and I were too afraid to even talk about it because it seemed way too freaky that it coincided with our first sleep training night. A few nights later we did do some timing & middle of the night visits, and they worked! Once the time passed a little and we overcame our fear that discussing it and uttering the words “sleeping through the night” might jinx it, we came to the conclusion that Dr. Ferber trained US more than her. I think we were just in the habit of hearing her fuss and thinking “I’ll just do it really quick, then she’ll be asleep, no biggie.” Well, it was becoming more of a biggie (more often & longer waking periods) and more disruptive to OUR sleeping. But seriously, I’m flat out amazed at how well and how quickly (like, instantaneously) it worked for us.

I think it taught us how much we just need to trust in her. She knew how to soothe, we just weren’t giving her the chance!

And last night this all came back out with a vengence… we made the decision to take away the swaddleme. This, for those of you who aren’t immersed 24/7 in the latest baby must-haves.  We deswaddled her arms a few months ago, so at this point it was essentially a wrap around her midsection & legs. Well, last night we were glued to the video monitor and watched her roll over, back and forth. This seemed to be a good cut off for the swaddle, lest she get stuck in the middle of the night. So,*gulp* we took it away cold turkey. She did have a period of wakefulness & crying. We make a classic parental misstep and picked her up to rock & comfort her… which was 40 minutes wasted. As soon as she’d lay back down it was more crying. So we went back to Ferber. We left the room, vowing to return in 5 min. But we didn’t have to, because in that time, she was back to sleep. Seriously, it was a miracle.

I don’t want to brag… but I feel I’ve put in my time with bad sleep. I think I stopped sleeping well in maybe October because of my back and weird unable to fall back asleep stuff during pregnancy. And then Margo came. But now? OMG. Just call me a college kid, because I am sleeping like the dead. Even taking frequent naps. It’s quite awesome, and I’m just trying to appreciate this wonderful time when I’m RESTED.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

So, I had heard this book mentioned several times and was just beginning to think “Hmm, maybe I should read that,” When… BAM! My book club goes and chooses it so I got to read it! 🙂 Love it when that happens!

This book…was awesome. It’s got a little bit of everything, and I was just totally taken away with it. I just love that feeling when you’re reading a book and it creates this separate world that you can picture, even though it’s so foreign to you. I was transported, and really had a hard time doing other things while I was in the middle of this book! And that experience – not being able to put a book down and feeling totally drawn into the story – that’s why I read, people! It was part thriller, part mystery, part social commentary, part romance… there were just so many threads in this novel, it was always interesting.

So, the premise is Mikael Blomkvist is a shamed journalist who was just convicted of libel and he takes on this “side project” with a rich dude who wants him to solve a cold case, in which his niece disappears without a trace. The characters were really fully developed, to the point where you might not necessarily agree with them or their motivations, but they seemed real. I’m telling you… I stayed up one night reading ALL NIGHT. And, by all night, I mean until 11:30. I haven’t seen 11:30 in at least 6.5 months.

Okay, enough blogging about it, I’m off to buy The Girl Who Played With Fire on my Kindle! (Which I also love, but that’s another entry for another day).

Oh, did I forget to mention?

This summer has just flown by. And I realize as I type this it is not yet in the “over” stage (as much as the weather lately has me wishing it was…) but I have no doubt the month of August will hurry along as well. It’s been a good summer, exhausting but full of joy.

This summer was also the first work/mommy experience I had, an experience on which I plan to reflect in the post. Starting now.

All along, I never knew if I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I figured I’d just know at some point if I felt this was the option for me, and not having “the feeling” led me to believe I wasn’t necessarily in that camp. So, the opportunity arose for me to take a temporary, part-time internship this summer & fall and I thought, “it’s temporary and part-time… why not?” Not many moms are fortunate enough to have a test-run like this. So I did it.

I’m not going to sugar coat it… the work & job were not good. The work was not what I expected it’d be, and without getting into it too much, it just wasn’t educational in the ways I wanted it to be and in the down any sort of career path I want to go.  And this had a definite effect on the working/mommy relationship. Working with a baby is HARD in an ideal scenario in my opinion, and it’s remarkable to me that so many new moms do it, and do it with younger babies than I did it with. I won’t dramatize and say I was MISERABLE and hated life, but this summer, I realized I don’t want to be a working mother.

It was a summer that enabled me to make some decisions and sort through the stuff that is important to me. I’m going to finish my masters, which is only two more classes. I’m going to be at home with my Margo during the days until at least May when I graduate and (maybe, hopefully) longer. I’m going to overlook the apparent contradiction of finishing a higher degree only to hang it on the wall and not use it immediately. I’m okay with it, and if strangers & friends aren’t, I don’t really care. I will use it in some way, shape or form at some point.

We’re extraordinarily lucky to be in a situation that enables me to make this decision, I know. And I’m also extraordinarily excited to do this. So, T-Minus 2.5 weeks – 8 more working days until I’m a SAHM.

(Hey, maybe I’ll get to blog more often! 🙂 )