Sunday, June 26, 2016

Getting Help As A New Mom

Warning: ranty post ahead!

As a new mom, I have had so many wonderful loved ones offer invaluable help. Many have been awesome enough to go out of their way to pick up my favorite meals and desserts. They have come over and entertained Lucas for me so that I can take a break, eat something, and take care of some household chores. I even had a friend offer to help out with some of those chores. While I couldn't possibly take her up on her offer to be my maid, I fully recognize just how lucky I am to be surrounded by amazing people! They often know exactly how to help - and when they don't, they just ask.

However there are tricky offers I don't know how to politely refuse. For example, when I'm at church, people offer to take my baby into the chapel and hold him through the service. But I don't actually want my baby to sit away from me for a whole hour! Especially since people then start passing him around and I have no control over where he is and who's touching him. I've seen well-meaning grandmas wipe his mouth with used napkins and offer him chocolate. I've seen a sniffly cougher touch him with unwashed hands. Ugh. Furthermore, Lucas can only sit still for 90 seconds before he starts fussing - if you try to force him to sit quietly in your lap for any longer, he's going to get upset and be harder to calm down. Quite simply, this kind of help is not helpful at all.

I also have a family member who's constantly asking why I won't go out so that she can "help" me babysit. The honest truth is that she has no idea how to take care of an infant and I would never let her be alone with mine. I've tactfully turned her down by telling her that I need to feed Lucas every 3 hours so it's challenging to be away from him for too long - which is true. She's countered by asking why I don't just pump and leave her milk. First of all, if I choose to pump instead of feed, I still have to pump every 3 hours if I want to keep my supply up so that saves me no time at all. In fact, it wastes much more time because now I have to take the time to pump, someone has to take the time to feed Lucas, and then I have a pile of pump parts and bottles to wash at the end. Second of all, after all the hard work I put into pumping, I'm not looking to use the precious ounces I pump out haphazardly. Why would I go through all this unnecessary trouble? Again, this kind of help is not helpful at all.

Maybe I would feel differently if I intended to be a stay at home mom. But as a working mom, I actually have very limited time with my baby. Is it wrong that I feel so possessive of Lucas? Whenever people ask to "help", I keep feeling like they're just trying to take away my precious time with him. I am very aware of how quickly time passes and I want to savor every bit of it that I can - even when it's not all giggles and sunshine. I'm sure all too soon, Lucas will be all grown and I'll wish that I spent more time with him as a baby. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thoughts on Going Back to Work

I still have no profound revelations to share on the topic but the sadness hit me hard today on my last official day of leave. As Jeff and I were having lunch, I started tearing up thinking about how this time has flown by. Part of me feels like a failure because my kid is a terrible sleeper and has no regular schedule. I feel like I could have done better, like I should have made more progress by now. Instead I'm barely surviving and I feel like my only accomplishment has been keeping him alive.

I'm also sad to leave my baby because if he needs me, I won't be there for him. And if it turns out he doesn't need me, then that might just make me feel even sadder. 😔 

I know it's not all doom and gloom all the time but today just feels a little cloudier than usual so I'm going to snuggle my baby tighter today and try not to think about how much I'll miss him starting next week.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Last Week of Maternity Leave

I'm sad to realize that I've entered my last week of maternity leave. While I crave the freedom of being able to leave the house and have regular adult interaction, I'm certainly going to miss spending so much time with my baby. It's a good thing that he will be in Jeff's capable hands so I don't have to worry about him for the next two and a half months. I'm sure I'll be a wreck once we start daycare though!

I feel like this is when I should be making some profound statement regarding working women having it all - something along the lines of "as much as I love my child, I also love the fulfillment I get from my career". But honestly, I'm scared that I may not feel that way. I worry that the pull to stay home with my child in his formative years will be too strong to keep me in the working world, despite my expensive education telling me that I need to keep working for many more years to justify the hefty tuition bills. On the other hand, I also worry that my career ambitions will keep me from my child longer than I would like. I might miss bedtimes and spend more time with my breast pump than with Lucas.

But I can't tell the future - I don't know what will happen and I don't know how I will feel. So I have no profound proclamations for how I intend to reconcile all these thoughts in my head right now. Instead, I'm going to focus on savoring my last week at home with my beautiful chubby little boy.