Solid Foods Can Suck It

Baby bubba is about a week shy of 9 months old and has 3 million teeth now. So, why am I riddled with anxiety every single time a chunk of food any denser than liquid slips past his lips?? HE’S NEVER HAD THAT BEFORE, I scream at hubs as he spoons a tiny bite of baked sweet potato into bubs’ little mouth. I watch, sweating, willing the food particles down the right pipe. Bubba grins and laughs, and I smack Husband on the back of the head (in my mind) for being hilarious because BUB COULD CHOKE IF HE’S LAUGHING AND SWALLOWING.

OK, I am exaggerating, but only a little. WHY DOES HE HAVE TO EAT SOLID FOODS?? Whyyy can’t we stick to a nutrient-rich liquid diet until about 7 years old?

I’m sorry for all the yelling. And, I realize I’m being ridiculous. He’s such a big little boy, he’s growing and hitting these milestones, and plus – humans were totally meant to eat food, so obviously I’ve known it’s all just a matter of time, that this food thing would happen, that he’d be chomping down on pears at some point, that bagel bites were in his future. But what I did not know was that I would go crazy as bubs attempted to gum some corn, or peas, or chunks of carrot (cooked, obvs), or bits of avocado, or segments of banana, or pretty much anything else  that’s easily considered a good “starting solid” for babies the world over. I did not realize I’d be terrified at every meal time, running through my baby CPR and choking knowledge in my head, mentally check-listing my emergency plan should it come to that.

I did not know I would feel insane 3 times a day, everyday.

This sucks. And clearly I’m a first time mom. CLEARLY.

But it’s cool, I bought this mesh thing that brilliantly breaks up anything bubs is gnawing on into teeny tiny particles. It makes me feel slightly better and is only a tiny bit disgusting, mess-wise. (Really only slightly better. Sometimes my mind still plays tricks on me as to how big the teeny particles are and I run over and scoop out bubba’s mouth just in case. I really am terrified of him choking. Gah! Stop with the anxiety, brain!)

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It’s so fun to watch this squirmy, adorable little babe grow and develop. He changes so much, seemingly by the day! But this is one developmental milestone I really wish I could pump the brakes on. Sigh.

 

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Work It, Mama: Work From Home Income Sources

I’m a bonafide stay-at-home mom now, enjoying precious time with my little baby bubba every single day and trying not to think about the huge loss of pay I am experiencing by leaving my corporate job. But it’s worth it to me, and I’m a driven woman who just knows this world has some legitimate sources of income available for those who are willing to find ’em!  I’m still looking for more, but for now, here are 5 tried and true ways to earn some income while staying home with your babe.

1. eBay – I recently scoured my home from top to bottom for unused items. Then I took pretty product photos of all of my unwanted junk and SOLD IT ON EBAY. I had an old necklace that I never wore go for over $300! eBay sales are auction-style so if you’ve got some quality stuff lying around the home you may end up with sold solid extra cash. If you really get into it, you can even comb through local garage sales for deals and then re-sale on eBay! This can end up being a great little side hustle. Just open up a shop on eBay (it’s free), and let the bidding begin.

2. Teach English online – Like children? Think you could teach? At pay rates of $14-$22 an hour, this one has the potential to make some good money. If you have a 4-year degree you can apply to teach English one-on-one to children in China ages 4-12. Not even kidding. Go to VIPKid to check it out!

3. Freelance Writing – If you enjoy writing, there are many freelance writer opportunities available. The one I’ve found that I like best is Text Broker.  You sign yourself up, take a little writing test, and receive a rating as a writer, which determines the price range you can earn per article. Then choose an article topic and get to writing! You really can do this in your spare time. It’s a few bucks at a time, but Text Broker rates each article you write, giving you the opportunity to increase you base earning potential by putting out one stellar piece after another. There’s a lot of earning potential here, if you’re dedicated.

4. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting – OK, technically this isn’t from home because you’d be outside, or at someone else’s home. And also, full disclosure: I haven’t tried this myself, but… A friend of mine legitimately opened up a dog walking/pet sitting business less than 6 months ago, and she is now making more money than she ever made working a regular 9-5. Dog owners always need someone to walk their dog on a busy work day or pet sit overnight when out of town. Make yourself a Facebook page and start by marketing your services to your friends!

5. Babysit!! – This is an age-old extra money maker. Every parent out there needs a sitter from time to time. Keep your prices inexpensive ($10/hour for date night, $40 a day for drop-in daycare of 4 hours or more), and network everywhere you go! At the park? Talk to the other moms. Live in a subdivision? Post signs on light poles. Go to PTA meetings, go to soccer games, go to pick up at the local elementary school and give your card to all the moms! Be friendly, be reliable, and be yourself, and you can make some really good extra income.

Ok mamas, I hope this helps. I’ve been “out of work” for a little about two months now and have brought in about $600 with these resources. Without even trying that hard. Every little bit helps, am I right?? Gotta run, I hear a chubby-cheeked bubba waking up, and mama needs some kisses.

P.S. – If you have any money-making sources for me, I’m all ears. Xo

4th of July

I have a baby now! I have a little family! That means I can begin to pass down fun holiday traditions to my little man, like dressing in ridiculous patterns of red, white, and blue on the Fourth of July!

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But, in the mid morning hours of this year’s Fourth, I began to feel like the rest of the world was on snooze mode or something. I wasn’t positive what was going on, but it felt like no one was as excited about this celebration as I was – not even my sister, who lives close by and typically loves holiday traditions. Maybe it was something I was putting out there, but it seemed like no one really cared that I want to be all fun & holiday-y.

This is an ongoing trend that I’ve noticed since having my baby… My world seems suddenly so much more important, my everyday actions, more impactful – to me. I want experiences to matter, and I want them to matter to other people just as much. But oddly, no one else seems to care.

I was fully prepared for an incredibly fun, joyous, memorable holiday this year! I had the coordinated digs, the accessories, the location. Everything was in place for maximum fun-sposure. But the neighbors we had coordinated with didn’t come outside when planned. Since we’re new to the neighborhood, I felt dumb knocking on doors and sending threatening text messages (in a fun way) telling people to get their butts outside and have fun with me.

My sister didn’t come over when she said she would. Since the neighbors weren’t out yet, and it was about to be bubs’ nap time, I felt dumb calling 8 more times to reprimand sister dearest for being late and to insist that she drop everything she was doing to hightail it over to my place immediately! But I wanted to! Didn’t she know; didn’t they ALL know that this was my baby’s FIRST FOURTH OF JULY!?!?!

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Why did no one care? I cared so much.

That’s when I started to take it personally. I’m not proud but, staring into my little bubs’ eyes, watching him marvel at festive pinwheels whirling in the wind, I realized no one else in the world loved him like his Dada and I did, and that understanding made me really, really sad. I tagged Dad in and excused myself to the bathroom, I sat down to pee, and I straight-up sobbed on the toilet. My shoulders heaved, my chest constricted, my squishy mama tummy shook (probably) – I was on the edge of hysterics.

HOW could this be? How could it be that no one I knew cared about me enough to care about my boy in the way he ought to be cared for?

Oh, it was heartbreaking.

Hubs heard me crying. He softly rapped on the bathroom door, and when I emerged with tear-stained cheeks he hugged me warmly. I told him what was wrong, and he looked at my with empathy. Those are hard things to feel on a happy day, he said.

YES. They are. He got it, like he always gets it. Man, that felt good.

Just then my sister and all of her clan burst through the door, full of merriment and Americana and love. I watched as my sister scooped my precious little boy up into her arms, cooing and zerbering and nuzzling him close. His chubby little hands swiped her glasses before she could think twice. I laughed at the joy of it all; I laughed at the love. Because, yes, though she was a little later than expected, the love was certainly there.

We went outside, where the neighbors had begun to set up. We were greeted with smiles and food and drinks. We played volleyball. We picnicked. We laughed a lot. The more we enjoyed ourselves, the more I realized the traumatic emotions from the early part of my day were self-imposed.  And finally, as I sat watching fireworks amongst friends and loved ones, I realized just how much I had to celebrate.

Not skinny

Having a postpartum body is weird, even 8 months later. And it’s even harder to explain. Towards the end of pregnancy, when my belly was huge, and my breasts were engorged, and I had crazy pressure on my hips, I started to feel like my body wasn’t even mine anymore. I had all these aches and pains, but they weren’t my aches – there was some foreign stressor causing my bones to spread apart, stretching ligaments 3 million miles away from their typical points of attachment, making me uncomfortable as I tried to sit upright, or lay on my back, or stand for longer than 2 minutes. That stressor of course being pregnancy, I knew at least that the end of weird body stuff was near. I knew the baby would come out and everything would go back to normal. Holy hell was I wrong.

(Am I alone here, or does motherhood seem to dole out repeat lesson after lesson stating that every prior concept of normal no longer exists? It’s like every time I hit on a “routine” and make plans around it, everything changes again. I think God wants me to stop being so controlling, but dammit I need some order around here. I digress.)

I’m 8 months postpartum, and I still have weird pregnancy-level body stuff happening. The most distressing is that I’m not skinny.  What the hell?? The baby is out of my bod, but my gut still looks baby bump-esque. I’m doing the breastfeeding thing (though it’s not baby-to-boob, it’s pump phalange-to-boob – but the juices are flowing!), isn’t that some magical weight loss cure?? I am not losing weight breastfeeding. If anything, I’m more blob-like because I am constantly sitting to squeeze nourishment from my nipples. I want to smack the pretty, happy, skinny mommies on Pinterest who tote the beauty of breastfeeding and swear by it’s powerful calorie-burning abilities. STFU, you who have lost all of your baby weight. It’s not because you’re an amazing breastfeeder, it’s your genetics. Yay you. (I mean it, yay you. Just having a pity party with my fupa.)

Not only am I not skinny, but I STILL feel like my body is not my own. I still feel that weird foreign stressor making everything from balance to blackheads more difficult. And I feel like a crazy person because I know there isn’t anything foreign currently in my bod!! Am I even in my body? I don’t know! I’m in a body that I don’t recognize that sometimes feels to me like someone else’s. I might be certifiably crazy, but on occasion, I get the sneaking suspicion that I’m borrowing someone else’s body. I told you this was hard to describe.

Excuse me breasts, the nipples are supposed to point up (or at least both in the same direction). Excuse me bladder, you’re supposed to give me some warning signs before you start leaking hot urine all stingingly down my legs into a sad little puddle on my bath mat, giving me one more thing to do today. Excuse me under eyes, you can go ahead and release that fluid you accumulated in pregnancy ANY TIME NOW. I’ll wait. Excuse me feet, you wear an 8 not a 9.5 – please go back to normal so I don’t have to buy an entirely new wardrobe of shoes. Excuse me stretch mark-lined, flappy-skinned tummy, I love you for growing my boy, but omg please shrink and taut-ify ASAP. Excuse me brain, please stop being so apathetic about my appearance!

WHAT IS HAPPENING?? I was supposed to pop the kid out and then everything was supposed to go back to normal. I can’t even take a selfie without some not-me body part acting out of turn.

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Look at that adorable mom and baby – wait, what’s that blobby thing at the bottom of the picture? Oh that’s her postpartum baby belly, complete with stretchmarks. It somehow escaped from its t-shirt to grin for the camera. Awesome.

I am not skinny, and I have no motivation guys. Suggestions welcome.

 

 

10 Adorable Things My Husband Says I Do, Which He Asked Me to Post After Seeing Last Week’s List and Feeling Bad

I swear I wasn’t trying to guilt trip him by posting the original list. I merely find his annoyance humorous. Is that patronizing? He really is a great guy!
Here’s his new list, nearly verbatim (I’ve switched his “You”s to “I”s, and you’ll see parentheses wherever I’ve added my notes):
  1. I wear his clothes (awwww)
  2. I always forget my phone charger downstairs
  3. I stop mid-sentence and have no idea what I was just talking about, but when prompted, I know exactly what I was about to say and finish my sentence.
  4. I make up weird stories to go along with bubba’s picture books (awwww)
  5. I love playing Sudoku and am really good at it! (WAS really good at it. Now the numbers kind of bleed into one another because my eyes are tired.)
  6. I start getting really giggly after one glass, but then I can hold my liquor for several more glasses.
  7. I am into reading my horoscope, and I always read hubs his, too
  8. I do yoga in tight pants (😂)
  9. I write stories about our family. (awwww)
  10. I snore like a little, tiny lamb (I DO NOT)
K, this is an adorable list of adorable stuff I do! A small part of me wonders if he wrote it because he wants to get lucky (might work). But who cares! I feel so loved!

10 Annoying Things My Husband Says I Do

Here’s a list of behaviors of mine about which my husband has recently complained. He was getting so complainy that I started making this list, and I may have used it as evidence of his bad attitude to begin a healthy discussion (see points 5 & 7).
For the record, I think I am a lovely bedfellow – kind and considerate! But, alas, on occasion I annoy my hubs. (Which I don’t find at all insulting, guys.)
  1.  I never, ever clear the microwave clock after using some-odd seconds to zap my coffee.
  2. I hardly ever close the microwave door.
  3. I  leave my clothes strewn about the bedroom, living room, kitchen, car, and garage, and, yet, I never have a sweater when I need one.
  4. I trail off mid-sentence and start thinking and/or talking about something else, and, apparently, sometimes I just leave the room altogether.
  5. I make him talk about feelings.
  6. I drink all the sodas.
  7. I am always right about feelings.
  8. I cook food, take what I want from the pan, and leave the rest on the stove instead of putting it into Tupperware. (Well yea, because I’m assuming he wants some too.)
  9. I thrust my foot in front of his face to signal that I want a foot massage when in any supine position.
  10. I scarf all of the junk food before he even has a chance.

I mean, isn’t all of this stuff adorable though, in that – hey we’re married and have a sweet chubby bubby, ain’t life quirky! – kinda way? We’re so fun and cute! Right? Also, I’m a soda-and-junk-food ADDICT and he knew this when we married. So… Also, talking about feelings is important! (At least this point he concedes. Oh well. He’s not always adorable either.)

I am Lucky: I Don’t Want To Go Back To Work

I’m crying as I type this because I quit my job today so I can stay home with my 5 month old. I’m crying, but really… yaaaaaayyyyy!!!

The moment my little chubba wubba emerged from the womb I was blessed with some other-worldly, divine knowledge in an instant. First, I knew beyond any doubt that I wanted 3 or 4 more of these tiny, sweet, adorable, fleshy little things in my life. (I’ve since been told this is some sort of hormonal response necessary for species survival, but the desire is, inexplicably, still present, though I remain very, very sleep deprived.) And second, I knew beyond any doubt that the 6 weeks of partially paid disability leave my employer was affording me to recover from delivery was not going to be enough time to recover anything whatsoever: not my mind, not my body, not the strange chemical reactions of pregnancy hormones leaving and postpartum hormones taking up shop in my brain and nervous system that was making me crazy, not anything; because – and, here’s something I don’t have to tell other new mothers, but which warrants reiteration for anyone not experiencing this phenomenon – you do not rest and recover for 6 weeks and then go back to normal after having a baby.

In fact, there is no going back to normal AT ALL. You do not, will not, can not go back to the woman you were before having a baby. Instead, you go from being a smart, confident, independent individual, possibly someone quite driven to succeed in her career, for whom taking time off is an effort, to suddenly being this mom person who leaks and sheds and sweats and who cannot for one moment FATHOM being separated from her newborn. A 6 week old can barely lift his head! And is completely dependent on ME! 6 weeks of disability leave is not enough time to recover. (Don’t even get me started on the fact that they call it disability. Having a baby does not make you disabled. Eye roll.)

Luckily in the states we have the Family Medical Leave Act (or FMLA for short), which allows an individual up to 12 weeks a year off when that individual has an affliction for which time off of work is deemed medically necessary – infant bonding is one such affliction. But in my family, even at 12 weeks old, when my newborn was technically no longer a newborn, I was still suffering through the adjustment period of going from individual to mother. At 12 weeks old, bubs was still waking up 4-6 times a night, and sometimes every hour on the hour, I was still pumping breastmilk every 2-3 hours AROUND THE CLOCK, and no one was really sleeping in our house. At 12 weeks old I began to wonder WHO GOES BACK TO WORK RIGHT NOW?? I am so fortunate that I am in a position to take this unpaid time off while my loving, doting husband works himself ragged for our family, but my heart breaks for all the people who simply MUST work after having a baby. HOW ARE THEY DOING THAT??

I am lucky. I had my baby in October 2015 and took 12 weeks of FMLA, finishing out the year. Then I took another 12 weeks of FMLA to start 2016 because by law you get 12 weeks yearly, and you can use your 12 weeks of FMLA as infant bonding in the first year of baby’s life. Which meant I got 12 weeks in 2015 and 12 more weeks in 2016 for a total of 24 unpaid weeks at home with my baby. Unpaid, because FMLA covers job security only. But bubba’s still not sleeping, and I’m still not at all back to my old self, and I am still not emotionally, mentally, or physically prepared to go back to work. But I have to because my time off is over.

So, what do I do? I scour care.com and Facebook mommy pages to find a nanny to stay at my home with my baby. I cry big, fat, salty tears of fear and remorse in the shower, and I get ready for work. I work two full days, vapidly greeting coworkers who are welcoming me back while I’m preoccupied with looking at my phone, willing text message notifications with picture updates from home. I receive said texts, pictures of my baby with the nanny, and they don’t make me feel any better at all. I cry more salty tears, at work this time, and I feel grateful that my job is mostly done over the phone. Then, I get on the phone and start talking about topics that interest me not at all, and I have an epiphany: this is bullshit and an utter waste of time.

I don’t want to be working! Moreover, I don’t want to be working at a job I don’t care about, for a corporation that doesn’t care about me, or my mental health, or my emotional well-being, or my family. To pontificate for a moment, I have ONE life to achieve as much happiness as possible, I have ONE chance to raise my son, and this stage of life is fast, fleeting, and completely temporary! This job is not worth the sacrifice. And honestly, I rationalize, with the cost of childcare my job really doesn’t bring in a whole lot of extra money.

So, I talk to my husband; then, with butterflies flipping around in my stomach, I talk to my boss. And I quit! And I am elated! And I rush right over and fire the nanny, who tells me she had a feeling that would happen. (Smart girl!)

With a deep breath of gratitude, I gaze over at my little chubba wubba, who is just now acquiring strength enough to sit himself upright on his own, and I marvel at the love, sacrifice, and utter devotion of his two parents, and I cry some more big, salty tears, but tears of happiness this time, and I scoop that little boy up and raspberry his tummy so that he giggles and clutches tufts of my hair. And in that moment I know for sure, without any feeling of doubt or guilt, that this was the right decision for my family. Man, I’m lucky.