I have spent the bulk of the last six months on a constant job hunt. I love my career, and I love what I do for a living, I have had plenty of interviews but haven’t had just the perfect opportunity come along yet. It’s a tiring, exhausting, and mentally draining process. Between the emotional stress of job hunting, and the financial strain of managing my family on one income instead of two, well let’s just say I’ve had better times in my life!
There is nothing that is worse than being unemployed and job hunting, and listening to people around you complain about how much they hate their jobs! Between Facebook and well-meaning friends who call, it seems a day can’t go by without me listening to someone tell me how lucky I am to not be working because their job is driving them crazy!
I am not lucky to not be working. Frankly, what I am, is broke. I would love to have a job, almost any job at this point. What I do not want is to listen to anyone complain about their co-workers, their bosses, their long work hours, or how they think they’re going to start looking for something else because their job is just so bad they can’t stand it.
Many women experience problems with sleeping in the early stages of motherhood. Sometimes this problem occurs even before the baby comes, but it’s certain that it gets much worse after childbirth. This is a serious issue as in some cases it may cause postpartum depression, anxiety, and serious health problems. Fortunately, there are some specific things that can be done in order to help first-time moms deal with this issue properly.
Some women find it easier to cope with sleep deprivation by sleeping together with the baby. If the baby is still very small there’s an option of purchasing a bassinet that can be attached to a bed. That way, the baby stays in the same room and there’s no need for getting up in the middle of the night. But when the baby becomes a little bigger it’s recommended to share the bed. I tried to fight this, thinking that I will probably hurt my baby unknowingly. But after getting up from my warm and cozy bed for the tenth time during one night, just to give it his soother, I gave up. Besides, it is said that children who sleep with their parents have a much stronger and calmer sleep, which benefits both the parents and the children.
I come from a long line of non-breast feeders. (I’d love it if you’d check out that link and post a response – I’m still curious if my theory is right) I had no intention of breastfeeding Bob. I was completely skeeved out by the idea of a baby sucking on my boobs.
I had two friends who had felt the same way and they’d pumped for their boys. I was open to the idea of pumping for him, and that was my plan. I wasn’t big on letting a bunch of people invade my privacy and my boobs. It all seemed very invasive to me – the LLL, the Lactation Consultants, it was all more drama than I really wanted to get into.
Then Sara framed it for me in a simple way. Dawn, she said, babies are geared to nurse. A friend told me that you put the naked baby on your naked stomach, you let it root around and find your boob and it will nurse. It’s probably worth giving it a shot to see if it works for you, if not, hit the pump. This simple statement totally changed my point of view.
I am sure many years ago you heard the Stouffer’s ad campaign, Let’s Fix Dinner. The premise is that families who eat together at least once a week have healthier, happier children. I grew up in a family where we ate dinner together, at the table, every night.
My mom made all our food, my siblings and I set the table, and my dad walked into the house after a long day in a suit and tie just as dinner was ready. We sat at the table and talked about our days. We would often stay at the table long after we had finished eating; our conversation had been that enjoyable.
That’s not to say that we never had arguments or hurt feelings or tears at the table. We didn’t always like what my mom made us for dinner. We weren’t always all together, especially as each of us kids grew a little older and a little more busy in the evenings after school. But we are a fairly happy and healthy family.
Being a single mom since pregnancy in a small town where I have friends but not my family (I moved from my original city 6 years ago) has given me some wisdom on the topic. In fact, I get asked very often: “How do you manage it on your own?”
When faced with this question, I’m always quite humble and try not to make a big deal out of it. I mean, come one, many people out there have a much harder time than me. I can´t imagine being a single mom and having to work full time, for example. But it´s true that being alone with a kid all the time has its challenges.
So I organized a few guidelines that had helped me along the way:
1.Trust yourself – All women are designed from birth to be mothers. We have all the physical and psychological apparatus for this role. Be confident that you can do this. Mostly what your child needs is you and you to be there. So, don´t worry, you can do it.
2. Be organized – Make sure you have what you will need at hand before you need it. This means that if you have a small baby, you need his changer ready with diapers and clean clothes at all times. When you bathe him, his towel and cosmetics have to be in place. When you are going to cook, you need the food there. Prepare all you need when the baby is sleeping. Make sure everything is in order.
I’ve had a very uneventful weekend, which is just the way I wanted it! Yesterday I got to spend about one and a half hours playing with my 7-month-old niece while her big brother and mama did some gardening. She’s the most delightful creature! I get so much joy from making her laugh and seeing her do all these new things she’s starting to do. She’s a very happy baby and spends most of her time smiling and giggling, and, let me tell you, it’s some of the best stuff for fixing a dull mood!
I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression recently that has been very disruptive to my life, so much so that I took myself off to the doctor to figure out a plan for getting better, which I am now very slowly-but-surely doing. Anyway, my real point is that, during times when I have these struggles, I tend to isolate myself from friends and gravitate more towards family as they are my net, my extra-support system and so on. My niece and nephews give me a lot of joy and that’s what I need most right now; their giggles and fun. It’s a true pleasure to have such magical bundles of light in my life and I feel very lucky.
There’s thousands of dollars worth of entertainment for my little darlings sitting on shelves and strewn across the floors of our house – planes, trains and automobiles, musical instruments, blocks, balls, and bats – you name it, we probably have it.
The loudest, flashiest toys are the most seductive, all dolled up in their primary colors, those sluts. Julia has this piano that, unless it’s turned off, will suddenly start blinking and screaming out of nowhere.
Dave and I are convinced that the manufacturer secretly set it to start randomly playing on its own in order to lure our children to it, who suck the battery juice from it and force us to go buy more goddamn batteries, which, in turn, makes us wonder why the f*** we haven’t invested in battery stock already.
I didn’t have toys like these when I was a kid. I had crayons and paper, a colander and a kitchen sink full of water and my mom’s pantyhose that I put on my head and pretended the legs were actually my long, flowing locks of hair.
There are many valid reasons for this to happen: I´m a newbie at taking care of a kid (I only held a baby for the first time when I was pregnant and I simply was never around any kid before), I´m very soft and easy to bend in any relationship (it pisses me off my ability to be submissive), and the strongest one must be the fact that I´m really doing it all by myself (no family nearby, and changing countries twice in five years didn´t help much in the support system department).
So, I do have some excuses to be a lousy, permissive mom, but I´m not going to settle for them. I decided I have a last chance to enhance my influence on this kid right now. I only have 1,5 years till she´s 6, and that´s basically when our influence as parents cease dramatically.
How to seal the ability to feel like a complete loser as a mother…meet another mom who seems to have it all together.
Some time ago, I noticed a trend. A lot of mothers were feeling like I did. I felt like I couldn’t do enough, plan enough, clean enough, do the right things with my kids, I couldn’t keep myself up, in shape…I couldn’t keep up with the things that seemed to come effortlessly to other mothers.
I question (as I often do) my ability and decision to be a mother and felt bad for my children that they were stuck with me.
Eventually, I came to the realization that most if not all of us feel like that, even if it’s deeply rooted in some denial place that we can’t “go to”. We all feel like we’re in competition with each other; like there’s some secret contest to see which mom can juggle the best regardless of what’s thrown at them; the contest that awards the winner with admiration and awe from other mothers who only long to have the skills necessary to be her.
Two weeks ago I went to the movies with four other mom-friends. We organized it at a children´s birthday party a few days earlier and then were all set to go for it. We left our homes at 3:30 pm to go to the next city where there are movie theaters. The price to pay to live in a paradise location usually includes not having a movie theater within at least 60 miles.
After watching “Tropa de Elite 2”, a very good Brazilian movie about the criminality, police and corruption inherent to the system in Rio de Janeiro, I told my friends a bit embarrassed that the last time I went to the movies was nine months ago. The other mom-friends haven´t been to a proper movie session in years! Yes, they all made their calculations and three of them haven´t been to the movies in 5 years!
If these mothers haven´t been to the movies in years, you can guess they haven´t done way much more of simple entertaining things like that.