If it can stain your clothes, it can stain your baby.
This is purely speculative. Honestly. No, really.
Okay not really. Here are a few examples: Mixed berry cobbler
Crystal Light. Though ice cream doesn't really stain, it will be
noticed by your spouse when his hand kind of sticks to your kid a
little bit. Then you'll see that 'No Judging' rule you thought was so
firmly established between the two of you fly right out the window.
Related: Baby skin also seems awfully eager to tell the world when you
let their fingernails get just a little to long.
Nothing is black and white. Everything is up for discussion.
Like any new mom, I came into this whole thing with a certain set of expectations. Luckily for me, my labor and delivery expectations were set so low (as in, I cried through an entire birthing class) that I was actually pleasantly surprised. But then there were the ideals of how I'd like to feed my baby, where and when he should sleep, what kind of mom I should be, what kind of wife my guy deserves and the list goes on and on. and on and on and on.
But after every baby book is read and the pediatrician has called it a night, I think we've got to give ourselves some slack. Maybe even give ourselves permission to try something, GASP, realize it was a terrible idea, tomorrow is a new day, and try something different then.
Maybe this whole parenting thing isn’t a tight-rope walk after all. Perhaps it's a little more like a dance, something I'm not very good at doing. We've got to trust ourselves, lean on our partners, and together we'll navigate and move with the changing beat. And when it starts resembling Pink Floyd's 'Echoes', just know it still has to end sometime. This too shall pass.
Keep baby alive.
Truthfully, this was the only job my pediatrician gave me and one of the bucketful of reasons we like him so much. During our very first Monday appointment, after baby had lost significantly more weight than the amount he was supposed to, our pediatrician told us if we shut the door today and didn't come back until Friday Hawlander would still be alive. Not happy but alive. He was by no means daring me to be irresponsible or neglectful. But I got his anti-alarmist message.
I was reassured that with all this attention, all this imperfection, with all this love, we are going to make it. And we're going to make it even when he's sick, even when it sucks, even when I want to quit, even when we're scared, even in the second-guessing, even when I can't count the ounces he's getting, even when I absolutely can't keep my eyes open another second. We're trying so unbelievably hard, and that is why we're going to make it.
And thanks for the freedom, Dr. Stephens. Picking and choosing. Making mistakes and making them better. Crying and laughing (sometimes at the same time). Phew. what a relief that we are allowed to do that.
Breast-feeding is hard.
I celebrate for you if it is the most precious part of your day. But, momma, I get you if it's not.
Every day it gets better. Except for the days that it doesn't. But then
it does again. And one day you wake up two months down the road and,
despite all odds, all your body parts are still intact and your baby has
rolls. I broke some "rules" to get here, but everybody is thriving. Whatever.
A good mom is a balanced mom.
But really, is there such a thing as balance? Probably not, and if there is I sure haven't found it. Not just in parenting, but in anything I've ever done. However, I'm already learning that 'Me' time isn't just about me. That extra couple of minutes in the shower, that walk, that date, that talk, that time, that prayer. All that keeps me from losing me and my mind. Walking back through the door so refreshed and so eager to cuddle the thunder out of that baby, now, THAT is good for you.
That smile, y'all.
It's the best. From the first gassy, unintentional smiles to the full-fledged 'I'm so glad you're my person' smiles. They are the best.
Sometimes attachment is slow.
This is hard to admit. Mostly because I worry about what you think it says about the capacity of my heart. When I tell you I wanted this baby more than words can say, I'm not saying it deeply enough. So when I tell you that I feel like it almost took a solid month to feel like he was mine and not a stranger, well, it surprised me. I always heard about the overwhelming, instantaneous connection a mother has with her child, but no one ever really talked about when that is absent. Maybe it was the hormones, the exhaustion, the reservations of a heart that had felt loss, or maybe a lot of all of it.
But when it comes, it washes over you like a tsunami.
I say through ugly sobs, "How do you not just cry every time you look at him?"
"Well, sometimes I get this funny feeling in my throat," Garett responds.
Same emotions, totally different execution.
This love. It's just so WHEW. and consuming. and I know I'll never come to the end of it. And through this love I've come face to face with myself and toe to toe with the world in which I live. It literally changes everything. And this love brings me to my knees, because, geez, it is humbling. It draws me closer to the heart of my Savior, and there, I'm brought to my knees again, because I know I can't do this parenting, this love, this life separate from Him.
Because it's totally there. The gassy smile after a four hour fit of crying. The first real smile. The kiss on the forehead despite 4 days of not washing your hair. The first time baby gets 8 hours of sleep. Better yet, the second time baby gets a solid 8. The sister sweeping your dust bunnied floors. The uncontrollable laughter between a husband and a wife in bed at 2 AM for no other reason than you're exhausted and totally in this thing together. The wise words from your mom. Even the well-meaning but totally misguided stranger in the produce aisle. The microwaveable casseroles. Joy is funny like that. When you look for it, you'll find it in the thick of things.
This is my favorite thing I've ever done / Shameless plug for responsible reproducing.
At any given moment, being mom is somewhere between the role I was born to play and the most unnatural thing I've ever done. But it's no cliche when I say that I can't remember life before baby. Nor do I want to. I love this.