Give yourself a break: Cat: Nat tackle Mom Guilt

If you guys don’t know who Cat & Nat are, you’re missing out. In their latest #momtruths video, they tackle mom guilt, and it’s awesome.I was away two nights this week – taking a program on Teaching and Training Adults, as part of my professional/personal development, and I actually felt bad for being excited for alone time!

Since EJ still does not sleep through the night, let alone sleep through the night in his own bed, I was super pumped to stay in a hotel and sleep solo. Then, for a second, I felt guilty about it. Until, I didn’t even sleep through the night on my own and hubby told me the kiddo went to bed WITHOUT A FUSS, and slept through the night in his own bed (on one of the two nights)! What in the actual F…!?! 

I got home last night and, of course, had to make the most of my time with EJ. We played with monster trucks, we did yoga together, we played with blocks, and had a water fight at bath time. We kicked of the usual bedtime routine, with cuddles and stories, brushing teeth and then there was a major kerfuffle when I tried to tuck him in. Of course.

Hubby confidently took over, despite tears and protests, and I felt terrible because I had been away and I should be the one to put him to bed. However, bedtime would have been drawn out for two hours otherwise and we all would have been miserable.

And so, I gave myself a break from the mom guilt. You should too.

The news: talking to your kids about it

Heartbreaking. There’s no other way to describe current affairs.

Maybe it has always been this way and I wasn’t paying attention. It’s cyclical – the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it all.

How? Why?

And then, all I can think about is protecting my little one.

My parents watched the news every night when I was younger. I asked a lot of questions, and they were empathetic and careful, but honest. I remember feeling the same way then, as I do now. Helpless, bewildered, heartbroken.

I’m, luckily, not at the stage yet where EJ understands what’s going on or is asking questions, and I hope to protect him from it as long as possible, but at some point, I will have to talk to him about all the hatred, hurt, and pain in the world. I will hold his hand and answer his questions when he too feels helpless, bewildered and sad. But, I am still hopeful that change can happen and maybe by the time he’s old enough, humanity will come around.

If you’re wondering whether to, or how to, talk to your kids about the violence, disasters, and tragedies we hear about daily, this article in The Globe and Mail might help.

Thinking of all those who are lost, all those who have lost, and all those who are hanging on tonight. Sending peaceful and loving thoughts out into the universe and hope you are too – maybe there is power in numbers and the collective conscience…

Maybe we can actually be the change.

xo

Coco

Mom guilt takes over

Mom guilt takes over

Tonight ended in tears. EJ’s and mine. After I rushed out of his room in a huff when hubs came to relieve me from another bedtime struggle and the first night of trying the “camping out” method.

Tonight I sat in his rocking chair, while he incessantly screamed, “Mama bed now, mama bed now,” referring to the cot set up beside his crib. The cot is mainly used by me when he wakes in the night and I just can’t do the up and down anymore. Those nights when you’re bone-tired and you’ll  do anything for sleep. All it takes is me being there or touching his hand through the crib for a good night’s sleep.

But it’s gone on too long. I’m sick (quite literally with a cold) and run down and really, truly missing my evenings me time.

Work blends into motherhood which blends into work. Despite having just returned from a week off.

I have only been to Crossfit twice in the past six weeks, because I can’t guarantee either of us will sleep, making it hard to go to the morning class. And since I’m not home until 6:30 and he’s not falling asleep until 8, 9, or 10, I am just too beat to make it to a 7:00 p.m. class. I know, excuses, excuses, but I’m in the trenches here (parenting line, stolen from my coworker). I can’t seem to find five minutes to text my friends, let alone call them, or see them, and other than finishing up dishes and breakfast, lunch and daycare prep once he’s asleep, I barely have time to brush my teeth before I pass out.

And I feel awful about all of it. I feel guilty for rocking him instead of working with him as soon as the sleep regression started, for not spending more time with him to curb the separation anxiety. I feel guilty for having to work and ship him off to grandparents and daycare, I feel guilty for needing Crossfit or a manicure or dinner with friends once in a while to get a break. I feel guilty for venting.

So, I cried as soon as hubs came out (after only five minutes). He let me sob into his shoulder and tell him I can’t do it and that I feel lost and broken. With a tight squeeze, he told me we would get through it. And he’s right, we will.

And, then I felt guilt for letting the mom guilt weigh me down, because I’m lucky. I am so effing lucky. I have a job (and bosses who allow me to have a flexible schedule), a home, and a loving, healthy family.

I know so many moms who can relate to this roller coaster. And I know that this story is nothing compared to what some moms or parents are going through and yet, we all have our own journey and we’re all doing our damnedest to do right by these little people that are the centre of our worlds.

So whether you’re doing it solo, with a strong supportive partner, or with family holding you up, keep going mama.

Don’t forget, you’re superwoman.

Xoxox

Coco

The velcro baby’s sleep struggles continue

bedtime-aint-nobody-got-time-for-thatIt’s been a month since I first shared the post about EJ’s sleep regression. Life’s been busy – it’s summer, we’re jamming our weekends and vacation days full of fun. I wish I could say sleeping in has been part of that, but alas, our sleep struggles continue. Along with that, it seems the “terrible twos” have come out in full force.

EJ continues to fight sleep at bedtime, despite following the usual routine. With multiple nighttime wakings every other day, hubby or I have taken to sleeping on a cot in his room just so we can quickly calm him back into repose and get some shuteye ourselves.

At bedtime last night, similar to a few weeks ago, A carted our screaming, tantrum-throwing boy to his room so I could escape to the gym. EJ wailed “Mama eer (here)” for a few minutes before hubby started to counter his wails with, “Dada here!” in funny voices. Soon enough, EJ was saying, “Dada eer” and calmed down enough to lay in his bed and go to sleep on his own. He slept from 8:15 to 6:15 last night and didn’t wake once.

I feel like a new woman today. One night, though, does not mean we’re in the clear.

Tomorrow night, EJ, my mom and I are hopping on a red-eye out to New Brunswick and then heading to Prince Edward Island for the week. So, yet again, I’m going to throw his whole schedule off and he’s going to get used to being with me 24/7. We’ll see how he sleeps while we’re away, but returning to reality after this vacation isn’t going to help his separation anxiety at all.

Hopefully we’ll get through the airports and flights with a limited number of tantrums. Anyone have advice for holding onto (or wrestling) a 30-pound toddler on your lap while in flight?

Sleep or no sleep, tantrums or not, I’m looking forward to adventuring and a little time away with my boy.

xo

Coco

 

 

 

This Mama’s Birth Story

LONG POST ALERT.
EJ’s birth was an experience. Otherworldly, challenging, beautiful, and painful.

For the short version, this Q&A might summarize it for you. For the long version, read on.

Birth1. Did you have an epidural? No
2. Was Dad in the room? Yes
3. Were you induced? No
4. Did you find out the sex? Yes
5. Due Date? October 13
6. Did you deliver early or late? Late
7. Did you have morning sickness? Yes, constantly
8. What did you crave? All the sweets and all the berries
9. How many pounds did you gain? 27lbs.
10. What was the sex of the baby? Boy
11. Did you have complications? Minor
12. Where did you give birth? Southlake Hospital
13. How many hours were you in labour? 14 hours
14. How much did your baby weigh? 7lb 10oz
15. What did you name the baby? E.J.
16. How old is your baby today? 18 months 🙂

My husband, A, was my rock. Figuratively speaking, of course. He definitely wasn’t a lump on a log the night our boy was born! More to that in a bit, let’s go back to that night, during a fluke snowstorm in October.

I was five days overdue. Had been to the midwives’ that week twice for a stretch and sweep (OMG, ouch!), was done with being uncomfortably pregnant, and beyond ready to meet my babe. My water broke at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday and I thought, “I just peed my pants!” My mom and I were sitting at my dining room table and I got up to go to the washroom, desperately having to pee. While walking down the hall, I felt a little trickle and I actually thought I peed my pants. I went to the washroom, changed, then walking back to the dining room, it happened again and I realized, “HOLY SHIT, THIS IS IT!!! I THINK MY WATER BROKE.” Apparently this is rare – according to What to Expect, it only happens to about 10 per cent of women!

I called A, called the midwives, and then I waited. No contractions, nothing. Still, late that evening when we met the midwives at the hospital – nothing. They gave me some homeopathic remedies and sent me home to wait. I spent the night bouncing on an exercise ball, pacing my halls, and tossing and turning trying to sleep, wondering why the hell I wasn’t in labour yet!

At 7:00 the next morning I texted one of my midwives and she told me to try castor oil. Holy shit. WHY!? I choked it down in some OJ and then waited for hubs to wake up. Back to the hospital we went for another check with the midwives and an OB. Everything was fine, but because I was delivering in hospital, their policy stated that that a woman has to be induced within 24 hours of her water breaking, if spontaneous labour has not started. That was the last thing I wanted. Despite having no really birthing plan, I had really hoped to try and go for natural, unless there were complications.

We went back to the doctor’s at  9:30, they did another stretch and sweep. “Hello, dignity, where are you?” At this point, my dignity was long gone. Doc gave me the clear to disappear until 3:00 p.m. If I wasn’t having contractions by then, induction would be calling my name.

So, hubs and I did was any normal, close-to-labouring couple would do – we went to the mall so he could get his eyes checked and we could walk around. Well, I walked and then the castor oil kicked in. Don’t ask me to explain because I would never be able to look you in the eye. But still, no contractions. We went home around 11 and I took a short nap to rest up for what was ahead.

It was close to 12:30 and then I felt it. A little twinge of progressing, intermittent discomfort. The butterflies went nuts. I waited. I timed. When they were four minutes apart, I paged my midwives. But, they were both asleep, having attended two births the night before (so amazing!). Their back up called me and by 2:30 p.m. on the Saturday, I was laying in a hospital bed waiting.

I honestly don’t remember much of the first few hours, I paced the room a bit, watched a Blue Jays’ World Series game on the iPad for a bit, and then the pain started getting worse. I needed to move, so we walked the halls of the hospital. My mom, my husband and I, and for every contraction, I found a wall or a ledge to lean forward against and rock, breathe and power through it.

As the pain increased, I asked my mom to wait in the waiting area with my in-laws. I needed to be in the zone with A. And it was a beautiful dance. We rocked, standing in between contractions and as the waves came over me, I lowered my head to his chest, pushed my hips back and gripped his arms to steal all of his strength. I’m sure there were tears and gutteral tones, but he did not once falter.

Our midwives rubbed my back, offered suggestions for different positions. As things intensified, I laboured in the shower, then the birthing tub, I chewed on ice, I squatted on a birthing stool, I crawled on the bed. When things got too intense, I  asked for an epidural, but I wasn’t far enough along, and then I was at 8 cm and I figured, what the hell, keep going! I needing laughing gas though, oh man did I ever.

The pushing phase is a blur of pain, dreaminess, and strength that I didn’t know I had. I pushed for four and a half hours in total. A, who is a bit squeamish and swore he wouldn’t look, was holding my leg and right in there, checking on the baby’s head and cheering me on.

The first time the OB came to check, he had to turn EJ – he was sunny side up. So, we thought we were almost there – I was exhausted, but I knew I could do it. After another two hours, I was spent, I was giving up and they called the doc in to help deliver with some intervention. A small incision, a light vaccuum combined with a massive push, and baby EJ was born at 6:45 a.m. on the Sunday morning! It turns out, his umbilical cord was really long and wrapped around his shoulders holding him back. I remember trying to see him on the table, but was in so much pain and had to deliver the placenta (which I have no recollection of doing). They whisked him away to weigh him, etc. And the doc and midwife set to my stitches. HOLY EFFFFFFFF! After that much pushing and pain, that might have been one of the worst parts.

Don’t let this deter you though, if you’re thinking of having kids. My story is unique. And I definitely wouldn’t change it for the world.

Come on mamas! Let’s hear your stories!

Postpartum body love

While I wont be taking a selfie in my undies to show my post-baby body, I think this is important to share for other postpartum moms who are struggling with their self image.

As a new mom, struggling to find herself in the mirror, I vowed to love my post-baby body regardless of what it looked like. I have corrected people close to me when we’ve discussed my future weight loss to explain that I want strength and health, not to get back to my “pre-baby body.”

I don’t believe my body will never be the same as it was pre-baby, but I will work to ensure that it is strong, so I can carry my growing boy, and healthy, so I can be a good role model for him.

I am more than okay with my hips, thighs, chest or waist being bigger than it was, because every stretch mark, every extra curve is a reminder of the miraculous changes and journey my body went through in order to bring my son into this world.

 

If you’re struggling with postpartum weight loss or finding love for your body, body positive artist Rachele Cateyes has a message for you. Remember this:

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas!

definition-of-a-mother

It’s the one day (or maybe one of a few days) per year that us mamas hope to get spoiled and have some time to ourselves – maybe a pee or a coffee in peace? Can I get an Amen!?

Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but I would like to take a moment and say thank you to all of the incredible mothers out there, doing the best that they can do to raise tiny humans! You’re all doing such an incredible job. Whether you’ve given up your body, your boobs, your time, your mind, or all of the above, remember that you’re raising the future and you’re kicking ass!

Here’s a little excerpt from something I wrote last year that’s been in the vault. And it still rings true. I’m so grateful to be someone’s mama:

I am so grateful to be celebrating my first Mother’s Day. Becoming a mom has changed me for the better. It has made me stronger, more passionate compassionate, protective, gentle, and patient… all thanks to my incredibly curious, observant, determined, feisty, serious little man.

EJ is lucky to have two incredible grandmothers and so many other loving, strong women in his life to look up to!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms out there. There is no job more challenging, exhausting, exhilarating or rewarding. I am lucky to have the most incredible role model and amazing woman as my mom. I only hope I can be half the mother to Emerson as you have been to me. Thank you for your endless love, ongoing support, and all of your help, especially as I’ve ventured into the world of motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day beauties!

xo