This is one of those serious times. I tell you this in advance because you don’t always expect serious from me but you’re about to get it, so I feel like you deserve a warning. Maybe because I’m pregnant and a little *ahem* moody or maybe just because. Anyway my friend Erin and I had a brief but very meaningful discussion about birth yesterday evening which prompted the writing of this blog post almost entirely in my head in about 5 minutes. Sometimes things flow like that and when they do, they should be written.

 

First… Facts: I am a RN (though not currently practicing). I worked labor and delivery as  doula, then an intern and finally a RN for almost 5 years before I left for Hospice (that’s a whole OTHER blog post). I am also a homebirther but I have not always been.

I get asked two things fairly often 1. Why, if I love birth so much did I leave L&D? and 2. Why would I have a homebirth, because I’m a nurse and I should know better?

The two simple answers are these 1. I got tired of doing things TO people instead of for them and 2. (this one is in two parts) A. I like my house and B. I didn’t think I could get the birth I wanted in a hospital.

 

Period.

 

Now I am going to put on my flame retardant suit. Be right back.

While I’m gone look at newborn Ella…

Isn’t she CUTE? Yeah. I know. I made her. ALL TEN AND A HALF POUNDS OF HER.

Anyway.

I am about to say something that has been said by bloggers before me, and will be said again after me and something for which many of you may not, shall we say, like me. I am qualified to make this statement for one reason alone, because I have given birth, both naturally and not naturally, both in a hospital and in my home, both with the help of a doctor and without. Because I am a mother and woman, who has given birth. Four times.

We are doing it wrong.

Yes, I said it. You heard me right.

We are all a mess in this country and we are making things WORSE.

I worked L&D for roughly 5 years in a hospital that did about 4,000 deliveries a year and in that time I saw some beautiful births. Some were medicated, some induced, some even C-section (GASP). A HANDFUL of truly lovely births. But the rest, well the rest were what I like to call, McDonalds mentality deliveries. You can use your imagination there and picture getting your extra large 44 ounce diet coke in the drive thru while you’re in labor, but I’ll explain to you what I mean.  It looked something like this… Mom comes in 39 (or 38 or 41) weeks pregnant. She is TIRED. She is HUGE. She wants this baby OUT. She JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE (been there ladies? Yeah. We’ve all been there.) Her well meaning, lawsuit conscious physician has agreed to induce her because well the baby is probably getting too big anyway or her placenta probably isn’t functioning that well. So he does. She gets the cytotec or the cervidil or the pitocin and about 5 minutes later she’s had all she can take. She stuck in bed, strapped to a monitor and she is DONE. She hits the call button. I want an EPIDURAL NOW. I call the anesthesiologist. Two minutes later her husband walks out, “She can’t take it. Did you call? CAN YOU CALL NOW PLEASE I THINK SHE IS GOING TO KILL ME. Please fortheloveofgod (tone of begging).” The anesthesiologist administers the epidural and  she kisses him square on the mouth and goes to sleep. She says, “wake me up when it’s time to push.” And I watch the monitor. I watch for fetal heart rate decelerations and the tell tale deep V that says baby’s head is getting compressed and it’s probably time to push. I check her. Sure enough, 10 cm. She can’t feel her legs and she doesn’t want to. So we push, numb. Sometimes for hours and hours until we finally see some hair. Sometimes for not too long before she gets a section. Sometimes the baby pops right out into my hands before the doc arrives (more often than you’d think actually). So the baby is out. It doesn’t matter how it got that way or at what price as long as it’s “healthy” and mom and baby are doing “fine”. Her miserable pregnancy is over. The awful horrible terrible labor experience is over. Her baby is in her arms and she almost slept through it. But thank god. It’s OVER.

 

People don’t like when I liken the American birth experience to eating at McDonalds. But the fact is folks, we are, in large part, a fast food nation. And this mentality is trickling into our births. As fast as you can say two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun our births are becoming a managed experience, not just an experienced experience. People can control everything around them from the temperature of their house to what brand of jeans they buy. And why should birth be different? We want it fast, painless, timely. We want under our control. We want it how WE WANT IT. Have it your way. And all that.

Here’s the problem, and where things get a little sticky, it’s not MEANT to be controlled. In fact, I daresay, most of the time it functions best when left alone. Yep. I said it.

ALONE.

Now, before you start drafting your hate response, let me again  say I have seen beautiful epidural births (and induced births and even c-sections). Births where mom was present and involved and asking questions and being informed. Not merely a passive participant in something happening TO her but rather an active participant in something she is doing. She does not lie silently waiting for it to be over. She does not ask to be left alone or tell the nurse to “just get the baby out.” Instead she stays in tune with her body and baby. She feels what she can. And she processes it. That all being said, if you’re asking my opinion, which I realize you are NOT,  I’ll also say I don’t recommend an epidural. At all. And it’s not because my births weren’t  painful, because of course they were. It’s because I’ve had one. And I’ve done it the other way and I promise you, you’re  better off without it. Scouts honor. Better off. Moving on.

 

The McDonalds mentality is spilling folks. And it’s scary. It’s spilling into every.single.facet of our lives. Fast food. Fast birth. Easy out. Path of least resistance. Quickest result. And this is a DANGEROUS prospect for our nation and our world. When we start approaching life this way, from birth to death and every thing in between,  we are shortchanging ourselves. The body, whether you believe it to be an instrument of grand design or a product of millions of years of evolution, is SMART. It does things for a reason. Why did it take my 10 and a half pound baby hours and hours to be born, when it was my fourth birth and should have been the fastest? Well because MY BODY was finding a way to get that huge baby down and out. Whether we want to believe it or not our bodies have a plan. And if we don’t screw with it, usually the plan is pretty smart. When we start ordering it to be quicker, easier, painless, we are asking it to REVOLT. We are, for all intents and purposes, telling it to show us just who is boss after all.

It wins. Because it is boss. You cannot fast food drive thru your way out of  birth. It’s a bad idea. And I don’t think we’ve even realized the depths of just how bad it is. I don’t know how long it will take us to fully grasp all the ways we may be screwing things up by not letting nature takes it’s course. A baby KNOWS when it should be born. The BABY. Not your OB. Not you. Not your mother in law or your great auntie or some lady at the grocery store. YOUR BABY. And pain? Well hey here’s something, maybe pain exists for a REASON TOO. WHaaaaaat? Yeah I said it. I could get all physiological on you and start talking about dopamine and endorphins but suffice it to say, PAIN HAS A PURPOSE. No lie.

The other thing about the McDonalds mentality is where does it stop? We want our births easy? We want raising kids to be easy? We want our jobs to be easy? Housework to be easy? What should be hard? Should ANYTHING be hard?

Here’s something…  things aren’t always MEANT to be easy. They just aren’t. The best things in life are worth fighting for and usually take some WORK. Sometimes a LOT of work. Birth is no exception. It’s hard for a reason.

It’s hard because the hard work of growing and nurturing the unborn and the work of bringing that being earthside is meant to be preparation. Because motherhood is, ohmigawd I can’t believe it, HARD. Like really really hard. And being a good mother? You can’t get that in a drive thru. You just can’t. And you shouldn’t try.

birth , homebirth , labor , serious stuff , Uncategorized

as we know it?

Maybe you’ve seen the billboards. The rapture is apparently tomorrow. I mean the Rapture is tomorrow but it seems we’ve got until October until the actual end of the world. This would SEEM like good news for those of us who aren’t exactly *ahem* shall we say prepared for the apocalypse, allowing us 5 more months,  but the bad news is the good people get to zoom right to heaven, do not pass go do not collect $200. See ya wouldn’t wanna be ya.

 

Well this simply cannot be. I was worried for a minute because Oprah’s show ended which might as well designate the beginning of the end of world. But I’ve decided this can’t be possible. And yes, I’ve complied a list of reasons:

 

1. I have nothing to wear. Or can you wear jeans for Jesus?

 

2. I don’t have enough strong booze in the house and I’m assuming the stores will probably sell out pretty quick. Also I think we’re almost out of ice cream.

 

3. Grey’s Anatomy is still on the air. That show has to end before Jesus comes back.

 

4. I’ve never been to Hawaii.

 

5. I’ve never been to Paris.

 

6. I’ve never made a really good loaf of sourdough bread.

 

7. I don’t have any cookies baked for Jesus when he gets here. Do you think he likes chocolate chips?

 

8. My husband and I still haven’t had a proper honeymoon. Or does our bedroom count?

 

9. Is the electricity going to go out? Because I’ve only got 3 candles and they’re all scented. So if I am forced to use them simultaneously my house is going to smell like appleblossomgreenteajasmine. That sounds bad.

 

10. Who’s going to feed the cat? Oh wait…. I’ve got until October. Phew.

 

Anyway I’m going to go ahead and stick with the Mayan calendar. It gives me 580 more days to get that booze. And some suitable khakis.

bahahahaha , religion , serious stuff

…and why I haven’t written a real blog post in a month.

Well here comes one… At last.

I know, right? Cra-zay.

 

Facebook. Twitter. Blog. Pinterest. Instagram.

 

I have never been more connected to a network of people I barely know in my ENTIRE LIFE. I have carried on intimate, personal conversations with people I’ve never even laid eyes on. I’ve poured over the blogs of fellow “mom-bloggers” until my eyes crossed. I’ve read, with some envy I add, the beautiful blogs of women I’ll never know. I’ve watched women create clothing patterns, knit blankets, crochet doilies, score thrift store finds, create funky, adorable outfits and generally look a lot more put together than I feel like I ever will. I’ve watched women lose weight and felt some mix of jealousy, self-pity and self-loathing until I couldn’t watch anymore. I’ve watched women struggle, like me, with me. I’ve felt joy. Inspiration. Envy. Solidarity. Anger. Strange mixes of all those emotions.

I’m human after all.

 

And this is why social networking isn’t always the best venue for people like me.

 

See I’m a 100% kind of woman. Not a 42% or a 77% woman, a 100% woman. I give everything I do, everything I have.

EV-ER-EEE-THANG.

So you can see how if I give my husband a 100% (and truly he deserves 110%) and the kids 100% (they probably deserve 120%, if they don’t demand it anyway) and the house 100% and my crafting ventures 100% and social networking (we’ll just lump all of those outlets together) 100%… well, that’s 500%.

I’m not a 500% woman.

And here’s the funniest part… I don’t even really LIKE to be that plugged in. I prefer a simple life. I like soil. I like to grow things. To be outdoors. I love to bake. To create. To tap in to the creative parts of myself. I love to watch my kids grow. To see them achieve. To meet their needs.

 

Also, I love my phone and I’m seldom parted from it but honestly, it’s more compulsion than it is actual interest.

(that’s where the whole 100% thing comes in.)

If someone text messages me, I have to text back. I HAVE TO OR I’LL DIE.

If someone comments on my blog I feel compelled to respond. I HAVE TO OR ELSE NO ONE WILL LIKE ME.

I wish I could say that if I miss an @ on twitter it’s no big deal but it’s a BIG DEAL. I feel like I’ve let someone down.

(I’m just being honest here people. I know the truth is people don’t care.)

We don’t have to go into why I’m this way (but there are pretty reasonable explanations). If I see Person A doing X, Y, Z thing then it automatically follows I SHOULD be able to do X, Y, Z ANNNND V and W too.

Case in point: I am a RN which of course means I went to nursing school and nursing school is hard. Dude. That shit is no joke. It’s busy and it’s full of information.  When you’re in nursing school you go to class and clinicals and THEN when that’s over at the end of each day you research pathophysiology and you write long complicated care plans for your patients and you research EVERY. SINGLE. MEDICATION they take. Even tylenol. Every day. For two (or more) years. It’s trying and exhausting and just that alone is enough to tax any normal person to the point of “WHAT THE HELL DID I DO? EFF THIS I QUIT.”

But not me.

I went to nursing school and I kept a house tidy with three small children whose school activities I tried to never ever miss (I had to miss the first day of school because of my Psych class and I cried the whole day).  And when I say tidy I don’t mean there was a path from the door to the kitchen. I mean CLEAN. Like clean clean.  And I held a busy job at church. Plus I held weekly study groups and posted practice test questions online. THREE family members ended up in the hospital. One of them was my son who had surgery TWICE.  Oh and I worked two twelve hour night shifts a week. Oh AND i was class president. Ooooooh AND valedictorian.

Yeah.

It might seem like I did all of that to make myself look better, smarter, more capable than the people around me who were just barely surviving. Like I was a show off or trying to make people feel inferior (and it may seem like I’m trying to do that now but I promise I am NOT).

No. I did it because I HAD TO.

I HAD TO.

Just like in high school when I had to take 5 AP classes and work full time. Until I literally passed out in my Chemistry class (someone scooped me up and took me to the office thankfully).

 

Remember that movie where Jack Nicholson can’t step on a crack and has to lock and unlock his door like 8 times?

Yeah. That.

OK It’s not THAT bad but it’s close.

When people say to me “OH I wish I had your energy” or “I wish i could do all you do” or “WOW. You do SO MUCH, I wish I was like that” I think…”NO. No you definitely do NOT want THIS.” You do NOT want to have so much ‘energy’ that you can’t sleep because there is a pile of laundry haunting you. You do NOT want to do all I do if it means that you can’t sit next to your husband at night without thinking about the toilet that needs to be scrubbed. I promise you, you DO NOT want that.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to every person EVER who has had to deal with me when I’m in overachieveritis mode. Mostly my husband. I’m sorry. And my kids. Yeah. Sorry.

Anyway, I’m 36 years old and I’ve had about 20 years to figure out why I’m this way (part nature, part nurtue) and while I KNOW my weaknesses that doesn’t mean I actually DO anything with that information a lot of the time. Because honestly I can’t. Mostly I just worry about spending quality time with my husband and cleaning the house and writing the blog (and twitter and facebook) and my FOUR kids and when the last time I baked cookies was and when I’m going to finish that afghan and who needs what and where do I need to help this or that person and when am I going to reorganize the closet and oh crap I need to clean out Ella’s dresser and oh shit I haven’t worked out in three days. And. And. And. Oh and while I’m doing all of this I’m watching person A and thinking, “CRAP V and W aren’t going to be enough. I wonder if I can add it T and U too?” And I’m paralyzed by all that I feel I have to do and cannot. Paralyzed.  Sometimes to the point I can’t do anything at all. If I can’t give it 100% then I will rearrange my sleep, my sanity, myself to do it all the way.

 

So when I disappear, when I don’t blog, when I’m off twitter, when I’m just sitting on the floor with my baby DOING NOTHING but being with her or talking to my other 3 kids, know this… I am seeking balance and the only way I know how to balance is to back away completely.

I am seeking balance but don’t always know how to find it.

 

 

OVERACHIEVERITIS , self discovery , serious stuff

Weight.

 

I’ve been avoiding it. For like a hundred and twenty-seven reasons. I don’t want to talk about how much I weigh (a lot), because it’s too much (it’s a lot). Also I don’t want to talk about needing to lose weight because I need to, but I don’t really *want* to. And when I say I don’t want to, I don’t even mean I don’t want to be thinner or feel better. Because who doesn’t want that? And I don’t mean I don’t want to do the work. Because I’ve totally done it (I lost 60 pounds and went from getting winded after running 30 seconds to running 10 miles) and I know I can do it. I just haven’t really wanted to because I’m not really disgusted by my body like I used to be.

 

I blame the Man.

 

Damn him for loving me how I am. Damn damn Man.

(He’s awesome.)

 

You may have read the one where I talk about how I used to be like so super skinny. Or the one that caused all the fuss.

 

But anyway everyone has their breaking point and I have reached mine. I am at *THAT* place. The place where I don’t just see myself in photos and think, “oh yeah you’re a little chubby but that’s totally ok. Have a cookie.” I have reached the place where I see myself and think, “How can I immediately destroy this photo? And possibly the camera just to be safe.”

These are the things I know to be true:

1. There are women who lose weight while breastfeeding (Dear Women Who Lose Weight By Breastfeeding Alone, I am jealous. I won’t say I HATE you because hate is a strong strong word. But yeah. You’re lucky. That is all.) I am not one of those women. I have never been one of them even back when I was young (and could eat a cheesecake and not gain a pound) and had one baby I was not one of them. Add four babies and 16 years. It makes a difference. Oy. So breastfeeding is not enough for me. Damn. Maybe if I had triplets?

2. I am not meant to be that thin. I can say this because I’ve been THAT thin (125 pounds which is incredibly small for me) and it was almost impossible to maintain. It’s important to not apply an ideal to yourself that isn’t YOUR ideal. I cannot run 5 miles a day AND go to the gym AND ride my bike. I mean I COULD but I’d never see my children and my husband and I’d be thin but obsessed probably and it’s all about balance. I am round. I am busty. I am soft. I used to picture my 16 year old self and think, “Well that’s the ideal.” No. It’s not the ideal. I was not a grown up woman at 16. I had not given birth. I was not a mother.  I was not 36. Striving to fit into the jeans I wore in high school would just be stupid. Also, they were acid washed which was a bad bad fashion trend anyway.

3. I eat. I am not going to try to claim I starve myself and still am overweight. I’m not going to try to say “Oh i don’t eat THAT much. I must have a thyroid problem.” Because I definitely do NOT have a thyroid problem. Unless the thyroid is where your cupcake drive is. Cause then yeah, I have hypercupcakethyroidism. Like furreal.

4. I don’t have any desire to be a single digit size. Honestly. Size 10 is just fine. When I’ve lost weight in the past I immediately became so addicted to the result of the loss that I kept setting my goal lower and lower. Until eventually I was smaller than I had been since I was 15. And honestly I looked like a really muscular bobble head. It was not cute. Like at all. My husband may feel free to weigh in on this one. (He is the authority on the matter because he has seen me THAT thin. And now. I’m like a totally different person. Or two people.)

5. I like muscles. I do. But I don’t have any desire to be rock hard or bounce a quarter off my abs. I am honestly and truly in a place where I enjoy being soft and round. I actually like being a little squishy. I like that my kids memories of their mom will be that she was soft. Also my husband likes soft. And I like that. That being said I also like shapely calves and arms so squishy in the right places, muscle-y in the right places.

6. And while we’re on the topic of soft and round…I’ll just confess. I am honestly terrified to see what I’d look like if I weigh less than 150 or 155 pounds. While those numbers do not appear in the range of what is apparently ok for my height, I know (because I’ve been there) that at a certain point parts of my body start to deflate. Namely my soft underbelly and Mt. McBoobs. This point was probably around 150 pounds before I was pregnant for the fifth time. I can recall being quite upset that I was thin for all intents and purposes but my belly looked just frightening. Moms, holla. You know what I’m talking about. Anyway. I am not going to get a tummy tuck ever. SO… all this is just my longwinded way of saying I’d probably rather just have a round belly than a deflated one. This also goes for the Grand Tetons. Amen.

So what’s important:

1. Fitness is important. It’s not important that I be able to run 10 miles. But it is important that I can walk and run and chase kids around. And generally not feel like I’m going to have a cardiac arrest walking up the stairs.

2. Food is important. And healthy, fresh food even more so. Cupcakes are important too. Balance.

3. While we are on the subject of balance. Balance is important. I really am a believer in the “all things in moderation” motto. Yes that means exercise. And food. And a good Cab. And time with family. Not in that order.

 

All that being said I have set REALISTIC goals. These are things we all can and should be doing and aren’t extraordinary.  This doesn’t mean I’m trying to lose 10, 20 or 40 pounds, though ultimately I would like to lose some weight. I will weigh myself but only as a recording tool. I’ve been weighing myself almost daily (or at least weekly) since Ella was born and so far I’ve done absolutely nil with that information. So I’m not going to start to becoming scale obsessed now.

Here’s what I am capable of doing at this point. I say capable because I’m not trying to set myself up to fail. I know I can’t (nor do I want to) spend hours at the gym. I like food and my husband and I like to cook and eat together. I also like to bake. And frankly I’d rather eat cake occasionally and be a little bigger than never eat it and be a size 6. That’s my trade off. I give myself permission to love cake. So anyway… here:

1. Water. Drink it. This is so simple and yet for me so easily overlooked. I don’t love water. I know I should but I don’t. So this, while simple, really is a goal for me.

2. Fruits and veggies. Eat them. I do ok on this front but need to do better. There are plenty of fresh and dried things around to eat. So that.

3. Exercise. Do it. Right now I’m doing the 30 Day Shred again. It’s not realistic for me to say I can work out 30 minutes EVERY day, because some days I just can’t do it. But I can say 5 days a week. 30 minutes isn’t that long and I don’t have to leave the house. Also I’d aim to walk with Ella (the Man and the other kids too when they are here) at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

4. Sleep. Get it. You know, when I can. This is probably the number one problem most women (and men) have right now. I am SO CAPABLE of functioning of 6, 5, 4 or even less hours of sleep. That DOESN’T MEAN I SHOULD. There are so many studies that show the vast difference between 6 hours and 7.5 or greater. Honestly when I nap I feel lazy. I lay there and tally all the things I could or should do but the fact is it isn’t lazy. It’s really necessary. I lived for many years being proud of myself for functioning on 3 and 4 hours of sleep. I went through nursing school that way and I worked nights that way. There were 4 day stretches where my total sleep would equal 8 hours. In four days. That is not something to be proud of, it’s stupid. Also besides making you stupid, lack o sleep sows your metabolism making your body think it needs to protect you from some awful thing, you know, like NEVER sleeping.  So sleep.

 

This is for ME. Do I want my husband to think I’m beautiful and sexy? Yes. Do I want my kids to see their mother as fit and healthy? Yes.  But this needs to be for me. It’s very easy, especially when you have small children to get caught up in what they need, what your house needs or your husband needs or your friends need. I’m guilty of feeling guilty for being selfish but a little selfish goes a long way in being to able to do all those other things.

So there you go. That’s where I am. Not a funny today but a serious. Because it’s all about balance.

 

So what things are you doing for you?

 

fitness , self-love , serious stuff , weight loss , wordy whiny wednesday

Warning: This post contains a curse word. It’s asshole. Apologies. Also I may or may not say shit, I haven’t decided yet. Oh and damn. Well there’s a lot of curse words in here. It’s that kind of post.

That’s right, I said it, the “g” word. Guilt.

You know you’ve felt it.

You felt it that time you bribed your kids with McDonalds because you just wanted them to let you get the shopping done and you would have given your left dang arm to get out of there alive. So you did it. Health be damned. And then, damn, I fed my kids McDonalds. Crap. They are DEFINITELY going to get heart disease. And it’s my fault.

You felt it when you gave your 3 year old  a sucker for pooping on the potty. But dangit if you didn’t want to change one more poopy diaper. You would have found that kid a pony if he’d have crapped on the toilet. And then, damn, I’m probably destroying his teeth. Great.

You felt it when you yelled at your kids for leaving their shoes in front of the door for the fortieth time today. But if you tripped on those shoes one more stinkin time someone was going to get something so much worse than a yelling. They weren’t even gonna need shoes anymore. And then, damn, I’m not supposed to yell. Perfect.

You felt it when you said your 13 year old was acting like an asshole. Even though he was totally acting like an asshole. You shouldn’t have told him he was. Even if he TOTALLY WAS.  Damn, that was harsh. Awesome. (This actually happened here like two days ago)

You felt it when you caught your 6 month old watching {WHATDIDYOUSAY} TV. And you let her. Because her watching Blues Clues meant you had five minutes to fold a quarter of a load of laundry. And HELLO you have four kids and you do 87 loads of laundry a week (ok it’s only like 18 but STILL). But now, damn, she’s probably brain damaged. Her IQ just dropped 10 points because you weren’t interacting with her. She’s NEVER going to get into Berkeley now and it’s your fault.

You felt it when you {ohmigawdgasp} got an epidural after you SWORE you’d do it all naturally. But holymotherofgod contractions HURT. Why didn’t someone tell you how bad they HURT? THEYHURTSOBAD. You weren’t prepared. But then, damn, what is everyone going to think? I’m a wuss. Outstanding.

Or when you got a c-section because you’d been in labor for 172 hours and The Doctor came in like the knight in shining armour that he was and said “I think we should….” and he didn’t even have to finish his sentence because if he had said “…jump off the Golden Gate Bridge”, you totally would have opted right out of labor to do it. You were that tired. But then, damn, you didn’t do it ‘natural’.  Fantastic.

You felt it when you were in the shower and the baby started crying but dangit if it wasn’t the first time in a hundred thousand days you were actually going to shower AND shave your legs and you had to because your husband was starting to mistake your leg for his in the middle of the night. SO you finished. You HAD to. But then, damn, are your legs more important than your child. You’re a selfish jerk. Shit.

You’ve felt it.

I’ve felt it.

And I want us to stop it.

I want us to. Stop. Feeling. Guilty.

OK You should feel guilty about some things. You should. You should feel guilty if you eat out every single day. You should definitely feel guilty if you haven’t hugged your kids in any amount of time you can remember. You should feel guilty if your kids think your pajamas are regular clothes and that you live on the couch (and you should get some help). You should feel guilty if your kids think ketchup is a vegetable (actually, that one is debatable). But you should definitely pick your guilt battles with yourself…

You shouldn’t feel guilty for eating a piece of cake.

Unless you eat cake for every meal. Then yeah, we’ve got a problem.

But when it comes to parenting… stop beating yourself up.

Example: I would NEVEREVEREVEREVER in a millionzilliontrilliongazillion years let my baby cry it out. (Also known as CIO in the Attachment Parenting community.) Never. Ever.

Ever.

Wellllll. Never ever until my 14 month old child hadn’t slept in 14 months. And therefore I’d hadn’t slept in 14 months. And 14 months is a loooog time. And I was working full time. And nursing all night. And I. Was. Exhausted. And when I say exhausted I mean tired to the point of hallucination. Tired to the point that I would literally rather have DIED than have gone one more night without sleep.  Then I might, just maybe stand by her bed and let that child cry. To sleep. Because I was out of options. And I truly and honestly didn’t know what else to do.

And I’d probably feel guilty about it. Perhaps I’d spend the rest of the child’s life feeling guilty about it.

Or I could just say to myself, “Self, you did the best you could. Forgive yourself and move on.”

Example #2: Perhaps you planned to breastfeed. Because you know that breastfeeding is hands down the best and most healthy choice for your beautiful baby. So let’s say the baby is born and he doesn’t latch right and your nipples are bleeding and you’re afraid he’s starving because all he’s drinking is the blood from your bloody nipple and you have no help, no where to turn, no one to ask. And you’re pretty sure your nipple is going to actually fall right off. And so, in desperation, you give your baby a bottle. Of FORMULA. {GASP} And that means your milk doesn’t come in. And the cycle continues. And the next thing you know it, you’re bottlefeeding.

Crap.

And you feel guilty. Because you should have tried harder. You should have pumped longer. Shoulda Shoulda Shoulda.

Or you can say to yourself, “Self, you did the best you could. Forgive yourself and move on.”

Here’s another example that I recently dealt with: I practice attachment parenting. I practiced attachment parenting before attachment parenting had a name and a book. It was what I thought was logical. Feed your baby with your boobs. Whenever they are hungry. Keep them close to you. Wear them. Love them. Guide them gently. Mother lovingly. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Logical. Right?

But then I found out it was a ‘thing’. Oh Attachment Parenting you mean. Oh yes. yes. MMMhmmmm. That’s me. I’m an Attached Parent. I do ALL of those things. I’m so super ATTACHED. I am The Attached Parent.

Wait.

{begin PG-13 section}

I want to have sex with my husband. Soooo I’m going to put the baby in her bed to start the night. Because I want to have sex. In my bed. Uh oh. Hang on. Let me go to the API website and check. Crap. That’s not bedsharing. WAIT. Does that mean I’m not an ATTACHED PARENT? Uh oh. I’m not sure. Let me think about this. Maybe we better put the baby in our bed and I’ll nurse her to sleep and then I’ll slip out quietly and put on lingerie and then we better just have sex on the sofa. Yeah. Ok. That’s fine. Cause the baby is in our bed. So I’m still an Attached Parent.

Phew. That was a close call. I almost lost my title.

WHAT?

My baby is sleeping safely, snugly and happily in her CRIB and then she wakes up and comes to my bed.

Oh and guess what… I have sex. With my husband. Like at night and everything. It’s cra-zay.

{end PG13 section}

I’m not saying I advocate CIO or bottle feeding (because I don’t). And I do bedshare. Because I’m a mammal and I think babies are meant to be close to their parents. When they need you. I think you should comfort your baby. If you can. And you should breastfeed. Unless something happens and you absolutely cannot. What I am saying is, if you did your BEST, the BEST you could, you should move on.

Move on.

We moms LOVE guilt. It’s our FAVorite. We feel like we have to EARN the right to be proud of ourselves. Like if I can’t blog and be an outstanding patient parent and be a super awesome sexy wife and sew a dress and be at two band performances and teach the baby sign language and do elimination communication and co-sleep and help with algebra and have an etsy store and exercise 3 days and cook healthy homemade food and bake a cake ALL. THIS. WEEK. Then I’ve failed. As a mother. As a human. And I’ve failed all the other mothers before me. And all of mankind. For eternity.

When did we decide success meant we had to be all do all have all know all?

Now. I think some guilt can be GOOD. When applied properly it is a good motivator and makes us strive to be better. I mean if you think it’s ok to feed your kid cake for breakfast every day then yeah, feel a little guilty and maybe pop some wheat bread in the toaster. But the problem with this overwhelming guilt is that is PARALYZES us. It may not seem like it but it does. It makes us feel like we are failing and thus it makes us afraid to further fail. And it stops us in our tracks.

So have some guilt. Just a little bit. But have cake too.

life’s too short ya’ll

j-diddle

mothering , self-love , serious stuff