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Church and Preschoolers

A year ago, I was nine months pregnant (exactly) and attended Christmas Eve church service with a 17-month-old. I refused to go, but Daddy J insisted. It was annoying then. Everyone kept asking me if I was ok. NO! I have pelvic girdle syndrome, I’m hot, I’m huge, I’m sick of people asking me questions, and my toddler is being an asshole. Ugh.

Fast forward to A1’s Sunday School play.

The play was cute. A1 was an angel, and she did a good job. Then, we had to sit through the service.

A2 is almost one. She is a pain when it comes to sitting still. She is the poster child for the “go go go” baby. She squirms. She cries. She makes noise. She acts up if there isn’t a boob in her mouth. I can never pay attention to the service. It’s annoying and embarrassing.

I really despise going to church now. It isn’t fun. Coffee hour is the only good part. I can finally have an adult conversation—WITH ADULTS!! We stay for a short time, and then we have to leave. I feel like a contestant from Survivor who has just left the island, sunburnt and wasted from days of starvation. I lived!

It was much the same as Daddy J’s alumni concert. I don’t think I can take them to any location that isn’t Walmart, the grocery store, relatives’ houses, or anywhere that has distractions for kids.

My AIL was stupid enough to ask if we brought toys. Yes, we bring fucking toys. I’m pretty sure her behavior won’t change.

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Attack of the Other Mom

Some of my readers who know me IRL probably wonder what inspired my two-part, autobiographical posts.

Here is an indication of how my latest interaction with this young mom went:

I always love Rage Against the Machine when I’m angry. Here’s what happened:

I played with M and A1 after scarfing down my dinner. I prepared her plate. She sat in the chair, and I told her about all the food. She got up from the chair. I picked her up and decided to sit her on my lap. There was no high chair upstairs and they certainly didn’t have a booster seat like mine at my PILs’ house. I put some macaroni salad on the fork, and tried to give it to her. She protested. I told her to take a couple of bites. She started to kick, scream, and have a giant tantrum on me. The bitch My SIL comes over (after my husband apparently informed his family at A1 already ate something before we left, while I was getting ready for this bullshit family event) and the following conversation occurs:

“He said he already fed her a bunch of stuff, so…” She randomly said.
“We’ll, she has to eat something.” I figured a bite or two would suffice.
“Well, you don’t have to force feed her.”
“I’m not force feeding her.”
Then she laid this on me in a snide tone:
“You are force feeding her.”

Oh, no you didn’t.

“I think I know what I’m doing, sweetheart,” I said in a direct tone, looking her straight in the eye. “I have two kids, not one.”

This isn’t the first time she’s spoken like this to me. Then, of course, because no one heard her say that, everyone kept telling me, “She’ll eat when she’s hungry.” I then had to proceed to tell everyone that I didn’t want to discuss it. This includes my 91-year-old GMIL. Do NOT go there with me.

I love hearing a little girl who continually drops off her daughter to avoid taking care of her accuse ME of abusing mine.

I let this woman be in my bridal party. I let her come to my bachelorette party. I made her A1’s godmother. This wasn’t because I wanted to, it was because I was forced to. Because I’d have to hear about it for the rest of my life if I didn’t.

How can she just sit there and criticize me about that after she complained that A1 looked skinny when she was an infant? How do we deal with these characters in our lives?

This is why mothers need to support each other. No one should be bait at a shark fest. Whatever problems we’ve had with each other should have checked at the door. Whatever problems she has with what I post online, do with my kids, or anything else should NOT be called into question by texting my husband about it. She is a crazy gossip who gives decent people absolutely no credit. She bullies and embarrasses people to make herself look good.

This is something I will definitely take into consideration. We moms need strategies when dealing with Other Mom. It is harder when it is family.

Stay tuned for more advice about this. I will be speaking with my therapist soon. Given the history I mentioned in the “I Support A Woman’s Right to Choose” series, this will be a challenge.

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My Thoughts On: MTV’s Teen Mom Series

I watched Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 (as well as 16 and Pregnant) before I had this blog. Why, you ask? I wanted to gain insight into something I had never experienced. I knew a few teen mothers in high school, but was of the mindset (at the time) that they had made a mistake. The mistake, of course, was having unprotected sex. I wondered if their parents were babysitting their kids while they went to school. I thought it was weird.

I was newly married when the first season of Teen Mom aired. My favorite moms from that season are Maci and Catelynn. I think they are the most responsible, however, I think my age is starting to show, because when I saw MTV’s recent special, Being Maci, I was slightly annoyed. I guess ‘Being Maci’ is drinking and partying, I thought. Then, I realized something. What the hell what I doing nine years ago, when I was 21? Some of the same things, while I, like her, was attending college.

Should it really surprise me that she is playing beer pong and going to clubs? I guess not. I wish they would have shown more scenes of her going to school and discussing her plans for the future. She is studying the same things I did. You can do plenty with a Communication degree, and the media track is purportedly her choice. Amber Portwood is violent and Farrah Abraham is a whore. The end.

Teen Mom 2 is quite the train wreck. Jenelle is on drugs, moving in with boys she’s known for five minutes, and constantly fighting with her mom, Barbara, who is just as toxic. I don’t really hold out much hope for her. Chelsea would succeed if she quit going back to Adam and stayed in cosmetology school. It’s a good thing that her dad, Randy, is there to save her. Kailyn is interesting. Her relationship with her mother is screwy. They hardly communicate, and yet she thinks she is entitled to seeing Isaac. Susie goes all DWIL on Kailyn’s ass, telling her she has the right to see her grandson. Okaaaaaaaay. Leah seems to be settling in with Jeremy, the twins, and her newest addition, Addalynn. Let’s hope she stays put.

On to Teen Mom 3. I like Katie so far. She’s going to school and working. She openly EBFs, and according to my research, breastfed until Molli was 16 months old! Great job, mama. Joey, her (according to my online research), ex-fiancĂ©, seemed ok. He seems like a typical, apathetic teenage boy. Alex seems to be a decent girl, but she definitely needs to control her outbursts. Matt’s drug problem is a giant red flag, and according to the previews for this season, he overdoses. She needs to file for sole custody, STAT. Mackenzie is very sweet, and is a good mom to Gannon (I love the name!). She and Josh just got married, so I hope they can last. I can’t imagine these kids dealing with some of things us “older” (since they were born when I was 14!) couples do. Briana has the most supportive mom and sister, and the second worst baby daddy on the snow. She should also file for sole custody and focus on graduating from high school.

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I Support A Woman’s Right to Choose. Do You? Part II

After a week or two recovering from surgery, I went to the doctor for my follow up appointment. He gave me some exercises to increase my range of motion. This didn’t do much. By the end of August, I was in physical therapy. I went three hours a day, doing exercises that ranged from light duty to the extremely difficult. One of the PTs would try to force my arm down on a massage table, hoping make it straighter. I can still imagine the pain. She asked me, “Is this better or worse than labor?” (She is dating and has no children.) “Worse. When you’re in labor, you actually get breaks,” I replied.

When A1 was 10 weeks old, I made the decision to return to work. As a new parent, I thought that this would be the easiest thing to do, since this was the norm for me. It was a circus. I was jiggling a new baby, a new office to which I was assigned, and all the complications of a stiff, broken arm. I managed the best I could.

Nurses, BabyCenter contributors, and other researchers talk about the baby blues. Before then, it was nothing more than a comic strip to me. I felt emotional at the beginning. I’d cry, I’d be frustrated, but I still loved spending time with the baby. Unfortunately, there were a few key things I missed in the fine line between the baby blues and PPD.

It was September. Daddy J had a meeting to attend at 6:30. I was terrified to be left alone with A1. What if I had her and something happened, like not being able to handle her all by myself? I also kept having visions of her falling and fears of tripping over things. I still fear trip hazards sometimes. I cried and begged him to stay.

I was pumping at work, and because there was no place for me to pump in the building, I had to pump in the car. The bathroom was offered as an option, but that really isn’t a favorable one for a variety of reasons.

Child care was handled by my in-laws. This worked out well. The quality of care was good, but there was one thing that had gone awry: A1’s sleeping schedule. My little baby who slept through the night at four weeks was now up at three in the morning when I had to be up at 7.

I worked 50 miles from home, so I had a 100 mile drive total. On Wednesdays. My AIL, who is very kind, watched A1. She lived in the opposite direction from the interstate, so I had to drive all the way to her house, then drive 20-30 more miles to get on I-80. I tried to get to the office on time. I had a flexible schedule, but felt like I couldn’t juggle all the balls. I didn’t understand how other mothers did it, and how it must be so easy for them. It wasn’t fair. I cried in my car many, many times.

One day, I got a call from my OB’s office. It was the head nurse. I figured this had something to do with my postpartum appointment or my annual Pap smear. She informed me that my husband had called. He was concerned about me, and it sounded from his description of all my mood swings, anger, sadness, and PTSD that I might have postpartum depression.

I told her I was stressed out from new parenthood and dealing with my job. I reassured her and attempted to reassure myself that everything would be ok. I was on the highway when I spoke to her, so I headed home. I called Daddy J and was less than thrilled. I was embarrassed, so I yelled at him. He said there was no shame in asking for help. Sadly, I’ve had so many experiences in my life where I was shamed for doing that. It is never easy, and I always felt that asking for help was like waving a white flag. I can’t do it. I give up. Here, you do it. Not true.

The next day, I was pretty weepy and upset. When I got to work after an hour in the car, I sat there and cried. I just wanted to go home. I was tired. I wanted to just lay in bed. BabyCenter has an assessment for PPD. I took the test. I answered “yes” to everything. The results said it was highly likely I had PPD. I called the nurse again and talked to her. She gave me the pep talk I needed. She said there was hope, and I would get through it. She prescribed me an anti-depressant to help with the chemical and hormonal imbalances I had. I told my boss and one of my supervisors. I took a leave of absence from work. It was hard, but it was necessary.

Some of my family members were very supportive. My aunt and uncle are always positive, and expressed their concern/empathy. Daddy J was very supportive. My best friend, J, and her husband, L, were there for me. There were a few people who simply didn’t understand the manifestations of mental illness or PPD itself. “Are you like those women on TV?” One family member asked.

Some of my ILs weren’t very empathetic. One of them had PPD when both of her children were born, yet she chose to join the small group of people who ganged up on me. This included the younger woman who BFed for a short time.

This woman texted Daddy J and was typing in Stream of Consciousness stance. She insisted that my PPD was caused by breastfeeding and that I should stop. She told him that my medication (Zoloft is a class C med, so it is safe for BFing) isn’t good for the baby, and we should get her some formula. She also thought that I would “End up wrecking the car and killing u both”. (Yes, she uses text speak, and yes, that is a direct quote).

Meanwhile, at four months, A1 was starting to refuse the breast. She would nurse for a few minutes, and the detach after screaming and fussing at the breast. She lost several ounces of weight. We went to the pediatrician, and she determined it was reflux. She recommended Similac Alimentum, which costs $9.14 a quart. We were also told to thicken her milk with oatmeal. I initially mixed EBM with formula, but when A1 was 8 months, I started EFFing her, because it was easier for me.

She started to fill out a little around seven months. She is still thin, but I’ve come to terms with it. She is in good health, and weighs about 24 lbs. I give her Pediasure once a day to ensure she gets proper nutrition and gains weight. She was in the 5th percentile for the longest time, but now is in the 19th. She’s 34″, so she is definitely growing.

This person started to and still does compete with me over her daughter’s stats. She wears a 3T. She wants 4T-5T clothes. Her daughter was 5 pounds at birth, so she’s tried to fatten her up.

A1 was eight months old when I became pregnant with A2. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do all of this with two kids. As you can see, I figured that out.

Fast forward to now. A1 is two, and eats all table food. A2 is eight months old, and is still nursing. She gets solids, too, but she still loves her booby milks.

I attended a baby shower with my ILS the other day. This woman cornered me after nursing A2. “So, how much longer are you going to breastfeed?” “Until she’s ready,” I said. She rolled her eyes and sighed like a snotty seventh grade girl. I added that if she decided she wanted to stop next week, and that was her choice, it was fine with me. “Well, she isn’t going to tell you,” came the condescending reply, as if to say I was stupid and uninformed. “Those teeth are going to hurt when they come in all the way. If it were me, I’d go [for] eight months and be done.”

Wow, I didn’t know she was the go-to for breastfeeding advice. You know, since she gave it a whole five minutes—I mean, three days. She also has been busting my invisible balls about using a “walker” (she calls the Exersaucer a walker, too). She mentioned it when I saw her at a church function last month, and she said, in that mean tone, “So J, did you get out that walker yet?” “No, it’s still in the basement.”

That, on top of all the other stupid things she does and says, really irritated me. So, instead of getting anxious and angry, I empowered myself by posting this:

P

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EBF eight months today! We just tried the upright position, which was a success! #proudbfingmama #nurslings

Those are my actual hashtags. She thought I posted “Happy F’ing Mama.” I’m glad her literacy skills are on par with first graders

This post apparently offended her. This is her conversation with Daddy J, verbatim:

J put something up about Brest feeding on her Facebook, gross:/

–Gross? How is me feeding my daughter “gross”? I’m sorry you have such a backward interpretation of something that is very acceptable.

Yes I know but she doesn’t have to post it and write happy F-ing momma! Like that is appropriate…. What the hell is that about? That isn’t something u say or post to people u really don’t know. U know if I posted I took a really good shit today, it looked big and brown and left streak marks in the toilet u think people want to know that and read that? No it’s gross yet people have been shitting since the beginning of time..

—This was in response to my husband saying that it wasn’t gross and I was proud of my accomplishment. He also added that women have BF’d since the beginning of time, hence the lovely defecation comparison. I’d rather hear about a women nursing and cuddling her baby than that incongruent description of hers any day of the week. What she said is gross.

Sorry I was just disturbed by her post and I wanted to tell u
Lots of ppl Brest feed but u don’t see them writing about it. It’s not aomething ppl talk about.
—People don’t talk about breastfeeding? Where the hell has she been? What about the La Leche League? I Eat At Mom’s? Eats on Feets (BM donation)? The Leaky Boob? The list goes on and on. No one writes about it, eh? Well, I just did, so get over it.

That’s disgusting. People need to grow up a bit. Sorry, just cu other do does it make it right? Sorry I am just telling u that what she wrote, happy fing momma isn’t appropriate and no one wants to hear about breast feeding. That is great she can do it, we don’t need it posted
—Yes, I am so immature for being a proud mother who chose to be a SAHM, sacrificing my career to be with my kids while this woman still pawns her daughter off on her own family, because she is too busy working from 7:30 am-7:30 pm by choice. Skip the damn coaching, come home, and see your daughter. Oh, and quit dropping her off on weekends. You said you miss her? Humph! Then come home and spend that valuable tim. Disgusting? I’ll tell you what’s disgusting—YOU ARE! Regardless of how we feed our kids, we should be building other moms up and silently agreeing to disagree, not putting others down or picking fights in an effort to bolster one’s insecurity. I am not doing anything wrong by nursing my daughter, and I’m sorry you didn’t have the experience I’m having. Perhaps if you would use the perseverance that got you to the finish line in one of your high school races, you might succeed next time. After all, I made this commitment to EBF. I took time to drink water, rest, and eat healthy. I put my kids on a schedule to ensure we are all healthy and happy. You didn’t, and you don’t, but that is fine.

I support every woman’s right to choose whether she breastfeeds for formula feeds. Do you?

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Calling All Parents/Followers! Survey!

Hey, guys!! I love this blog, and the success it’s had so far helping all of you and my family/friends who have seen it! I want to ask you what I can do to improve or enhance it. I know some of the things I’ve shared are enjoyable for all of us, but I want this to be a great source for all of you! I welcome and appreciate your feedback. Thanks again! Cheers!

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Fear of the Potty

A1 is now afraid to be placed on the potty. Daddy J says I should just let her play and not hover over her so much. That’s just how I am. Sometimes I wonder if my ILs think I’m this crazy helicopter mom. M pretty much wanders around her house, so I was hoping my approach was the happy medium. I’m not sure I should be crushed about this.

Now it’s back to training pants and waiting until she is comfortable. This is what’s difficult about having two small children: you’ve gotten through the infant stage and not completely through the toddler one, so the margin for error is higher.

I know all the moms on BabyCenter’s Nuts and Bolts of Potty Training say that you shouldn’t use Pull-Ups, but I wanted to save my sanity and my floor.

It’s time to feed the A’s their breakfast. Adios!

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The Burden of Lists

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was four. That was 26 years ago. A have a very close family member (name and title withheld) who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Another very close family member enables this person’s crap. Not cool. Not cool at all.

When I first had A1, I was told to put her on a schedule, and I did. As with most new moms (and some veteran moms!), my own schedule went out the window. I have completely lost sight of certain things now that A2 is here. Sweet Brown’s famous one-liner is now my motto: “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!” This is because Mama J feels like she ain’t got time fo’ anythang,

Back to the origin of the post—lists. I’ll make this succinct.

When I lived with my parents, my mother, a former SAHM, was Grand Master Listmaker. This is fine, if you’re a neurotypical (NT) or don’t have anxiety, which makes everything overwhelming. I also have documented (while I was still in school and a part of the special education system) math disability. Multi-step problems, like algebra or those dumb ass story problems about Jimmy being nine years older than Bob, who is 6 years older than Tommy, then how old is Dick? problems make my brain shut down.

This is partially true with the myriad of thoughts in my head. When I put them on a list, I feel relegated to the stupid thing. It is bad if I don’t finish them. I have failed. &c. This certain family member made me feel like a failure for being unorganized (no, it’s not my mom). “Organization is the key”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong” are the mantras this person fed me. This is incredibly damaging to children. This is why I have fits of rage when I have anxiety attacks sometimes.

So, yes. I hate lists, and I think writing them sucks. Why am I discussing this topic? Because it’s practically necessary that I make lists of other things I must do, aside from child care, to fulfill my duties.

In addition to dealing with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and social anxiety (<——not as much as in the past), I have postpartum depression. PPD is a hellhole. I've had certain people who've kicked me when I've down, and one of them (who is only related to me by marriage) tell Daddy J, "You'd better hope your wife doesn't get PPD." (She also was diagnosed, by the way. Isn't she special?)

It gets easier with time. It is hard to have people who may know me on here who will now know this. I always hope, in many circumstances, that I am not judged in real life. ND problems—they are awesome.

I am going to write a dreaded, yet scary list that I will try to follow. Everything is fine, everything is fine, everything is fine….

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I Think She Hates Food…and Language

A1 is the pickiest damn eater on the planet. Seriously. I realize all toddlers are picky, but even when I try to avoid it, I end up in all-out warfare with her at the table.

She basically hates everything except blueberries, bananas, all junk food, Chocolate Chex, apples, string cheese, yogurt and milk. She hates any vegetable except carrots. If I had a white flag to wave, I would.

Couple that with the battle of trying to figure out what she wants and being pressured by your own mother/past conversations your SIL initiates with your friends, and it’s a lovely recipe for stress. It’s hard to take care of my kids with all that head noise. I really wish everyone would shut up, and that I’d stop caring about what SIL, MIL, and company said.

*sigh*