in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

bittersweet moments

brothers. ain't it great?
i will write this blog or some variation probably a thousand times in the next few years -- or 18 years, or 50 years, or maybe however many years i live to watch my children grow.

this afternoon, my husband put john down for his nap while i was in the other room. i came back to the living room and he was already in bed, presumably asleep. and this is awesome, right? he's learning to do that without his mommy having to be there, he's not fussing when daddy is the only parent there to help, and he's listening and doing what he is told. he's going down for a nap peacefully and without stalling and arguing, and he's doing it without me there. that is a parenting win for us for sure.

but ... but. it made me cry. john didn't even come to say goodnight to me. he didn't want to hug me before his rest, or tell me sweet dreams and he loves me. he didn't need me.

i cried. i told my husband how bittersweet this was for me, because my first baby demonstrated in a small but significant (for a three year old) way that he didn't need me.

and then i checked myself. one of the core pieces of how my husband and i aim to parent is that we want to raise our boys to be strong, independent, and to live beautiful lives. i've often said that the day our children move out and begin their own families, the day they are functional adults doing amazing things in the world -- that will be the day we know we've been successful as parents. (and just to be clear, amazing doesn't have to be big. they will find their own amazing and live it, and we will proudly support and cheer for them.)

so a nap without saying goodnight to mommy is just one step toward that goal. (and a small step at that, since it's quite likely tomorrow he will utterly refuse to sleep until mommy reads to him, hugs him, snuggles him, tucks him in, etc.) and it's a triumph, too, and a necessary one. with a new baby, my time is divided. it is wonderful and awesome (and natural) that john would lean on daddy more. and it's good for daddy, too, and it's overall great. 

intellectually, analytically, i know that this is good news. i'm proud of our little family for adapting and growing.

but i still cried.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

we make this so much harder than it is

thank god for a daddy who helps so much with the
airplane and the infant. couldn't do it without you, babe.
the very title of my blog (not this entry but the blog itself) says so much: johnsmomworks. i have always been a working mom. this (temporary*) stay-at-home mom phase of my life has been a new adventure for me -- and for john, of course. with the addition of charlie to the picture, we're flying by the seat of our pants and figuring things out as we go.

i split my time between chasing an airplane around the house to assist with in-air refueling (john) and sitting oh-so-still on the couch using my own body to refuel the airplane's little brother.

this combination of activities has me simultaneously more excited about mommying than ever ... and more uncertain about mommying than ever. am i doing john a disservice by not having more structured learning time? is he bored and in need of more activity? is charlie getting enough milk to grow big and strong? am i eating/drinking the right things to provide top quality milk?

i thought that i would have fewer doubts with nursling number two, not more. after all, i've done this before -- and though certainly every child is different, there are some mechanics, some basics that remain the same no matter what.

part of the problem, i think, is my own tendency to overwhelm myself with too much information. and with smartphones and wifi connections, we have access to too much information 24/7/365. baby squeaking during his 3am feeding? google it as you try to stay awake. worry about the shallowness of his latch. realize that maybe that's why you've had a little more soreness this time around. google reasons for shallow latch. worry about whether baby has a lip tie. try to get a look at the inside of baby's lip. piss baby off -- he just wants to eat milk. remind yourself that baby is gaining weight like crazy so he's getting plenty of milk so even if he has a lip tie it's no big deal. take a deep breath. google "why do my shoulders ache when i breastfeed?" realize your posture is terrible. try to adjust posture. accidentally disrupt the baby ... which pisses baby off. settle baby down. google "breastfeeding positions for back pain."

but then, there are little nuggets that you find that make all that oversaturation worthwhile ... like laid-back nursing. it's what it sounds like: mama lays back, unclothed baby on her chest, and baby's instincts kick in to propel him for the source of the milk he wants. better, deeper, easier latch using gravity, nice skin-to-skin time for mom and babe, awesome snuggling. it's another option for problem nursers, and sort of nice for adequate nursers as well.

but larger than the mechanics of this specific technique, i was struck by the philosophy behind it: since mom and baby both are biologically programmed for this whole process -- (am i talking about breastfeeding or parenting? i don't even know!) -- sometimes just laying back and letting instinct take over is a really powerful option.

sometimes, we make this so much harder than it really is.

sometimes, we overthink and over analyze and create reasons to worry.

sometimes, we invent problems where none exist.

sometimes, we beat ourselves up for things we aren't even doing wrong.

sometimes, we need to stop with the damn googling and snuggle our babies (and our three-year-olds) and remember that we can DO this. not perfectly, not without mis-steps, but we will raise our wee ones to adulthood and they will do great things on this planet and we will know that we didn't ruin them. maybe we even helped them realize the awesomeness that is potential in them from birth.

and of course, by we, i mean i. i need to do those things. i need to take a deep breath, lay back, let charlie find the milk, let john run amok and vent his energy, hug them both and know we're fine.

* the sahm part of my life is drawing to a close before too long -- i've already begun looking for marketing jobs here in the dallas area. it's a strange feeling, both the fact that i haven't been working and the fact that i soon will be. i'm trying to just absorb it all and not worry. i'm trying to ... lay back.


Friday, November 1, 2013

hallowe'en and the e'ens before

'how much noise can i make with this here bell?'
'i may look cute and innocent. but you'll
pry my pumpkin from my cold dead hands.'
my heart in two bodies.
i'm taking advantage of a double nap here - two boys snoozing in an otherwise quiet house equals some unfamiliar quiet time for this mommy. i probably ought to nap myself, right? but these pics ... these pics inspire me and i just had to write.

(and a quick credit to our neighbor and friend - who i will only identify as m.l. because she hasn't agreed to let me write about her or her beautiful daughter b. - for taking these beautiful pics of my boys!)

we had a great trick-or-treat night last night with m.l.'s family. b., who was dressed as cinderella, is only about six months older than john, so they enjoy playing together and had fun getting candy last night. we stopped by the firestation to visit our favorite firemen uncles and got some awesome pics of my little fireman with cinderella on the engine.

once the kids had more candy than they will ever need, we went back to m.l.'s house and had dinner while we handed out more candy to the older trick or treaters still out in the neighborhood. it was a really nice evening that felt remarkably normal considering how much transition has been going on for our family in the past six months or so.

i couldn't help thinking back to last halloween, when we had a similar sort of night with our dear friends the russells in a neighborhood in baton rouge. how different our lives were back then! john, a year younger, didn't really understand the nuances of trick-or-treating, though he certainly didn't object to getting candy. i'd just had a miscarriage earlier that month. i still worked at the mall. 

a short list of the things that have happened in our lives since then ...
  • pregnant again! yay!
  • blood type conflicts. not so much yay.
  • i got laid off from my job. not yay at all.
  • baby is an ok blood type - yay!
  • found a new job - yay!
  • john turned three!
  • my husband found a new job in dallas. yay? yay! scared. but yay.
  • my husband moved to dallas.
  • i packed up the house while 6-7 months pregnant. (with lots of help. YAY!)
  • i unpacked the house while 8 months pregnant.
  • we started finding new friends and connecting with old friends here in the dfw area
  • i delivered a baby in an ambulance - family of four. yay!
  • baby might be sick.
  • baby is not sick!
  • big brother, little brother, mommy, daddy, and doggy keep on keeping on
that's a lot for a year. and it has been a wild ride, and sometimes very difficult. but sitting here in my temporarily quiet house, looking at one beautiful sleeping boy and thinking of the other sleeping in his room, starting to look for a job for myself, having just sold our house in phoenix (YAY!), waiting for my husband to come home so we can spend a nice weekend together as a family ... i gotta just say, damn am i blessed.