Monday, June 25, 2012

Tell Me the Truth Already

I've definitely been hitting some low points lately with the sleeping. I just do not function well with no sleep (as opposed to my daughter, who can go all day without a nap like a champ!). After talking to a couple moms I am socially close to, I started getting a little bit frustrated. Why does every stage of parenting have to be described as sunshine and puppies 24/7/365?? This is NOT what I have been experiencing whatsoever. Yes, I always knew it would be hard, but I did not have a clue HOW. HARD. And I'm pretty irritated that no one bothered to let me in on the truth before I had a baby.

Don't get me wrong - I love Bugga more than life. But seriously. Why is this so hard? And why does no one talk about it? I just wanted to know I wasn't alone feeling this way, but no one seemed to want to cop to it in casual conversation.

Then I posted a question to my friends on Facebook just to see the response.

"Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?"

What I got in return was 29 posts and several private direct messages within the next couple hours. And what do we have here - EVERYONE had been there. And felt equally duped. And some even went on to have more kids!

The information I was finally receiving was invaluable. I am going to anonymously post my friends' comments on this blog now to share with others that are in this same wobbly boat with me in hopes that the "safety in numbers" theory helps you get through one more night of the crying and the not sleeping. But more importantly, I need a way to easily access these words of experience so I can have them handy every time I need a lift, because I know I will again. And again.

Read the first response here. And start talking about this with your friends who are parents.

Edited on March 6th, 2013:
My daughter is now 15 months old - she was about 7-8 months when I first published these words of support from all my fantastic friends. I was at my breaking point with my daughter's sleep training efforts at that time. And now I am one of those moms who made it through the first year, and I am prepared to give any insight I can.

Here is what I find myself telling friends with newborns: You are not the only one who feels this way. We all went through these emotions, even if some of us aren't brave enough to tell you. Your first year of parenting can be a lonely, isolating time, especially if you quit your job and stay home (oh, and move to a small town in Alaska where we know nobody) like I did. The good news is, you, and your baby will survive these hard times, and they will be almost forgotten once you move past them.

Human beings are ugly creatures when they are lacking sleep. Keep talking to your husband, your friends - anyone (I might recommend avoiding the generation before yours - memories seem to be falsely clouded more often than not of how "easy" it was for them). Get out of the house every day, even if it is just for a stroller walk around the block. If you are concerned about your thoughts, please talk to your doctor. Do it at your 6-week post-labor checkup or your 6-month checkup, but do not be ashamed. If you need medication, know your doctor would not prescribe it to you if he/she did not feel it was warranted to help you through this. And you will not need it forever.

You can do this. No, it is nothing like you expected. But the point of it all is EVERYTHING you expected.

Parenting Support #1

Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?

Nope. Otherwise the species would die out. On the bad days, pare down your expectation to just survival. Some days it is all about survival. If you are both still alive at the end of the day you did good.

Read more support.

What is this about?

Parenting Support #2

Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?

No!!!!!! No one can tell you otherwise you'll never do it. And you would never believe it's that hard ;). It's all about getting to the easy days because then you forget that it's that hard.

Read more support.

What is this about?

Schedule Challenges Continue

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted...but I have two good reasons, I promise. For one, we have been in the process of moving, so for obvious reasons, I have not spent a lot of time with my laptop. The other reason is that prior to the move, our household had been having some significant challenges with Bugga's sleep schedule and her ability to put herself to sleep.

I've definitely allowed myself to fall victim to the anxiety that comes with the lack of sleep of a new parent. I blame myself for my husband and I essentially sitting in the dark and whispering once the baby has gone to bed in fear of waking her up. Yes, our (old) house had frustratingly creaky floors and air duct issues that required our room to be at 65 in order for hers to approach 74, but I think my personal fear of a crying infant at night has really escalated.

Now that we have been in the new house for a little over a week, we are still hesitant to formally sleep train. The new nursery is carpeted and cozy and a great place for Bugga to play, so the thought of putting her down awake in her crib to sleep makes me worry that she will instantly sprout negative associations with that room entirely. So I am still continuing to cheat by nursing her to sleep at night, and for naps. The pro to this is at least this house is a lot quieter so I have even had a few opportunities since we've moved in to set her down on the boppy pillow on the floor, turn the baby monitor camera on her, and leave the room to actually be...wait for it...PRODUCTIVE. It's a nice feeling. But I still spend half that time watching the monitor. Sigh.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recipe: Easy Vegetable Udon

I might start posting recipes from time to time, as I am happy to share something yummy, and this is a good place for me to keep things I want to find later. The following recipe was whipped out of nowhere the other night...we are moving soon so I am trying to cook what is in the kitchen (as best I can) so we have less to deal with for the move. So the udon (yes, I have oodles of udon in my pantry) came up, since we can't get enough of it since our trip to China a few years back...

Easy Vegetable Udon

1 T vegetable oil
2 T sesame oil
1 Cup frozen pepper & onion medley (or any peppers and/or onions you have on hand)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 T sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 Cup fresh spinach (or frozen)
1 can chicken broth + 1 can of water
2 generous portions of udon based on your preferences

Heat the oils in a wok or saucepan. Add peppers & onions and garlic, cooking until soft. Add sugar and soy sauce. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add spinach, broth, and water. Simmer until spinach wilts, or about 5 minutes. Add noodles and cook until heated and tender (careful about overcooking). Serve immediately.