It's been a while, kids.
Regular blog updates are tricky with a newborn. I have about a dozen stories that I have partially typed and photographed for you. But Arrow demands a lot of attention. Just last night, she woke up every two hours to feed. It took me about an hour and a half to rock her back to sleep. This went on... all night... and all day today. That baby did not want to sleep. Her requests are simple, of course. Feed her every two hours on the dot. Change her diaper. Change it again after she implodes it again an hour later. Hold her until she wants to lay flat on her back. Pick her up two minutes later. Wrap her in a blanket. Wrap her again. And again.
I've been lucky when I could fold a basket of laundry!
Notice I said fold, and not put away. There are still four baskets sitting on my bedroom floor that require this next step of the process.
When we first brought Arrow home, I felt I was in a constant "Survivor Mode". I did the minimum for myself because the rest of my energy and being was devoted to this little human. I drained out pretty darn fast. I felt the baby blues, and was worried that they wouldn't go away. Nursing time was the hardest, because it was painful and happened every couple hours. Eventually I realized that I didn't have to make myself miserable while caring for the baby. I started arming myself with these tools to go from "Survivor" to "Master Champion"
These candies were always the last to be eaten in the candy bag from Halloween because I always think I don't like them. Then I eat one out of chocolate desperation, and suddenly I'm twenty tootsie rolls fuller than I was ten minutes ago. My mom brought me a bag, and then I remembered -again- that I actually really like them. Instead of eating the entire bag, I only ate a couple candies per feeding session as a reward.
Update: We found out Arrow gets sick when I eat chocolate, so this is currently off the list. :(
The Fablehaven Series
Whenever I start to read, I don't like to stop. I'd much rather devour the entire book in an afternoon. Have you seen Julian Smith's video of "Reading a Book"? He's got it on point.
I found that if I was reading a book while I was nursing, then my mood improved a billion times over. I just started reading Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, and it's taken a lot of self control to not read the whole thing. It has helped me look forward to feeding time because I get to finally find out what happens next in Kendra and Seth's adventures.
Drops of Awesome
This book is AMAZING! Seriously worth all the capital letters. The description of the book is as follows: "The you're-more-awesome-than-you-think Journal." Kathryn Thompson wrote this book based off THIS blog post. She says that we focus too much on what we should be, and not what we already are. If you finally drop off those books at the library, you might be tempted to feel overly guilty about not returning them earlier, or that you're not a regular library attender. So what? Right now, in this moment, you are being a responsible adult who's at the library! And that's a drop of awesome to go right in your day's bucket!
Some of my drops lately have been "put on clothes" or "brushed my teeth before 3 PM" (that's been written more often than I care to admit...) One drop even was "thanked Arrow for being cooperative during a diaper change."
Here's a snippet from her post that should convince you to pop over there and check it out.
"[Taking her son to the bus stop]... Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him. My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.Awesome, right?
Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow." - Kathryn Thompson
The Happiest Baby on the Block
This book has also been a life saver. He claims you can calm any fussy newborn by following the 5 S's (swaddle, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, and sucking). This is to supposedly recreate the womb effect for a baby. There have been a couple times that neither Taylor or I could do anything more to calm Arrow down, but for the majority of the time, it's worked like a charm.
To heal the wounds of nature's mothering techniques.
Also need to remember to put on before I shower.
Feelin' fancy fresh
Getting dressed, and going outside seem like the last thing you want to worry about. But doesn't it feel so good when you do? My philosophy is that dressing up the outside helps the inside feel good too. Some days (basically church days) I even put on heels. And then promptly take them off because man those things are hard to wear after wearing flats for months straight.
Most days though it's just me in a tee, jeans, and converse.
Either is fine. As long as I take care of my physical needs and wants, I feel better on the inside, and feel more able to handle little baby girl.
I don't know if other moms feel guilty about taking care of themselves, but you shouldn't. If it helps, when you put yourself first from time to time, then you bring yourself back to that 100%, which helps you give more. You have every right to enjoy your life as you help your baby enjoys hers too.
You don't need to live a life of "surviving". That's not really living. You can be the Master Champion.
I would love to hear any other de-stressing techniques you ladies and gents use. (Especially some more book recommendations, because I did burn through Fablehaven a little too quickly) What you have to say could really make a difference in the life of another reader, so please share! :)