Remember the time we thought we’d go to Mexico?

previously posted on Waking Up Williams.  If LCW isn’t on your blogroll, or in your reader, she should be.  Go.  Find out  But come back.   

Many of my phone calls and texts with a close friend begin with “does it make me a bad mom if…”  Case in point:  Last summer, I was seven months pregnant when Craig told me that two of our friends were engaged and planning a destination wedding.  “When will it be?” I asked. He shrugged, “not sure, probably next summer.”  I looked at my belly and thought… hm..  next summer.  Next summer there will be a baby here.  Next summer I will be a mother.  But I will still be the chick that likes to travel.  With her husband.  To tropical sunny locations. I was intrigued. A few weeks later we got the email telling us that the date was set for Memorial Day weekend and the destination was Riviera Maya.  Ooo la la.  We went to the Riviera Maya on our honeymoon and (minus the day we lost to food poisoning and a trip to a hospital in a foreign country) we had a great time. 

So, I text my friend and said, “does it make me a bad mom if before the child is born, I book a trip to Mexico that we’ll take when he or she is 8 months old?”  She said no and we decided I could still be a good mom from the sandy beaches of Mexico.  Craig and I talked about it for a few days.  Would we be able to leave?  Was it a responsible way to spend money now that our family was about to expand by one?  Who would keep the baby?  Would I miss my baby too much to be in a foreign country?

Nah, I decided.  It would be good for us to go.  I’ll be ok leaving the baby.  It’s only five days.  Financially, eh, it won’t be easy, but we’ll find a way.  And I kept thinking, “I still want to be me.  I mean I’ll still be the same person, just with an extra human hanging around.”

Fast forward to right before I delivered.  I called the travel agent and booked the trip.  I wanted to make sure that we were all set before the baby was born.  Folks, this was a priority.  We were going.  It was decided. 

… see where this is going?..

After the New Year, we got an email from the travel agent that our insurance money was due.  (After being sick in a foreign country, I will ALWAYS buy trip insurance.)  I double checked with Craig.  “You still want to go, right?”  “Yeah,” he said, “unless you don’t.”  I glanced in the backseat of the car at the sleeping baby and said, “Um, yeah. I still want to go, I think.”  So I sent in the insurance check. 

Then, early March arrives and final payment is due.  For us this means almost the entire payment is due because all I did was pay the $100 to save our seat on the plane and the $127 for trip insurance.  Final payment.  Once we pay this, we’re going.  So, Craig comes home and I say.  “Um, hon, we need to pay for Mexico.”  He looks at our daughter who is babbling and trying to roll over and says, “Yeah, I’d be OK not going.” 

Um, WHAT?  We talked about this.  We talked about it being important that we still take hot, sexy vacations and have date nights and happy hours.  We talked about still wanting to be the individuals and the couple we were before we had a kid.  Oh, but wait.  We talked about those things BEFORE we had a baby.  A baby who reaches for me when I come home from work.  A baby who looks for her daddy when she hears the garage door open.  A baby who has all sorts of milestones to achieve.  And what if, what if, we miss one when we’re in Mexico? 

So, I looked at him, looked at our little girl and smiled, “OK, I will call tomorrow and cancel.” 

Do we feel bad not going?  Yes.  We probably let our friends down.  Do we still need to take “Krista & Craig” time? Absolutely.  But are we the same people that we were six months ago, before we had a baby?  Nope, not even a little.  For now, our tropical vacations will be replaced with overnight trips while our daughter has a sleepover at her grandparents or family trips to aquariums and zoos.  Our happy hours will (sometimes, not always) be replaced by walks around the neighborhood.  Date nights are still important and we need to make a better effort at having a little bit of time alone.  But, five days?  In Mexico? When she is eight months old?  No. 

And if I had thought of that $227 ago, I could have had some new shoes.

Snow is gone, the sun is out & all is well with the world

Winters in my neck of the woods are Brutal.  Yes, that’s Brutal with a capital B. It’s cold, I mean frigid.  And it snows.  A lot.  I live on the tippy top of a mountain in a really small town and the winters around here make me all itchy because there are weeks that I can’t get out of this town due to treacherous travel conditions. 

So, every year in February and early March I start to get a really bad case of cabin fever.  Most years I can contain it with a quick shopping trip or lunch with a friend on a day that it stops snowing long enough for the plows to clear the roads and the ice to melt.  This year was different. This year, the weather was especially bad and usually on weekends. And, I had a baby.  So, leaving the house and the town was even more difficult leading to a “woe is me, I can’t do anything” attitude that would have given my 15-year old self a run for her money. 

And then, about 3 weeks ago, something wonderful happened.  It stopped snowing.  The sun came out.  The snow melted.  And I got out of the house.  I met a good friend for drinks (twice!) in the last month.  She has a little boy two months older than C so over a couple glasses of wine and fried calamari or bruschetta appetizers we compare notes about being new mothers, what our husbands are up to and how our professional lives are handling the impact of motherhood.  We laugh and we vent.  We look at pictures of the other’s baby and ooh and ahh over their smiles, their eyes and their chubby cheeks. 

On these nights, I get to put on cute clothes and touch up my make up.  I get to come home past my bedtime.  I get to spend a few hours just being… me. 

In addition to my wine with friends nights, I also had a date night with my husband and wonderful walks with my husband and my daughter.  We may not be out of the woods yet.  We’ve had snow fall well into April, but these few weeks of spring weather have made all the difference in the world. 

I’m writing this post as part of Theta Mom’s Time Out Thursdays.  Visit her site to grab the button, write about your own hour or more spent on your own this month and link up!  If you’re visiting from Theta Mom, “Hi!”  I will be making my rounds late Thursday evening and throughout the weekend.

Nap wars are going to kill me

I’d like to be writing a beautiful post right now about the joys and struggles of motherhood. How I look at C’s face and fall more in love every time I look at her.  Or even one about how I struggle with weekends because I want to turn off work, but my to-do list is still looming and I just know that if I put in a few hours over the weekend, my week will be much better.  Or, talk about how we went for a walk this weekend with C in her Baby Bjorn strapped tightly to Craig’s chest and the vision of my husband with my giggling baby girl was the best thing ever. 

But I can’t write about those things because I am dead.  The nap wars have killed me. 

I fall into the category of parents who think that kids do better on a schedule.  I also tend to think that it’s OK for them to cry a little and I believe the books that say it’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own.  Or maybe, I’m just scared to death that they’re right and I will be breaking bad sleeping habits when she is old enough to talk and walk and thus it will be a hell of a lot harder, so really I’m just lazy and taking the easy way out. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I was working my way into the Mom of the Year competition by sort of getting C to sleep on her own and take naps that lasted longer than 30 minutes.  Then it turned out that she was sick.  Can you say observation fail?  So, instead of sleeping because I was such a rockstar sleep trainer, she was sleeping because she had a virus.  Still, I fought on.  Made a few changes to her daily environment including loading my mother in law up with sleep sacks and lullabies.  The weather broke so now they go on walks and she sleeps in the stroller.  And I thought it was getting better. 

Until this weekend.  When she took two 30 minute naps Saturday morning and then I missed the window for her afternoon nap.  By the time she realized she was sleepy she was also pissed and didn’t want to sleep.  So while I rocked and walked her, she screamed.  She didn’t want to be held.  Didn’t want to lay down.  Finally after 30 minutes of screaming, I gave up.  Another 45 minutes later, my mom got her to sleep.  Sunday, she fell asleep in my arms for her 9:00 nap and again after our walk around noon.  When she got fussy, Craig took her on a walk and she fell asleep. 

So at the end of another weekend, I feel like a failure.  Like maybe someone else knows my kid better than me.  Has a better “way” with her than I do.  Spends more waking hours with her and knows more about her schedule and patterns than me, who has to ask for a recap.  (Just a way to add a little more working mom guilt to my blog.) Leaving me to wonder what I can do to help my kid sleep better, longer, consistently. 

And, I’m stumped.  Because I’m worried that the stroller is becoming her crutch for sleep.  I know that we don’t want to be pushing the stroller around the house because that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep.  But I’m out of ideas, and at this point, I just want the child to sleep.  I’m trying not to get all worked up and react to a bad day.  Generally, she’s a pretty happy baby.  What I’m really looking for is someone, anyone, to say that she’ll be OK.  That, maybe, as she gets older, she’ll start sleeping longer.  That there’s nothing I can do differently. 

Anyone?  Anyone?

Proud to be a Mommy

When I was pregnant I heard the phrase “this is going to change your life” approximately 768,876 times.  At the end I was pretty sure my head would explode if one more person gave me the “knowing look” complete with the head tilt and said “oh, you have no idea how much your life is going to change.”  I did know.  I knew that I would be kissing happy hours, impromptu shopping trips and last-minute weekend get-aways goodbye.  I knew that in the place of my independence, I would assume the responsibility of making sure a child was fed, diapered, dressed, and oh, happy and healthy. 

The responsibility was overwhelming.  I wanted this baby.  With every fiber of my being.  I wanted to be a parent.  A Mommy.  I wanted to know the innocence of a child.  I wanted to be loved unconditionally and be needed.  I wanted those moments where a child put her hand in mine and her faith and trust in me.  But what if I sucked at it?  What if I didn’t bond with her?  What if I missed my former self so much that I resented her for it?  What if my career or my relationship with my husband suffered because there’s only so much Krista to go around?   

Reading the blog of BoredMommy about a reader who didn’t think that “mothers” should call themselves “mommys” makes me think about all the ways a woman should get more credit for  doing this thing called raising a child.  Only four months in, I’m not sure I’m ready to call myself a success.  But I have a happy, healthy and thriving baby girl who squeals with delight when I walk in the door.  For that I am proud. 

I am adjusting to the responsibilities of parenthood and learning to let the weight of the office go when I’m not at work.  My daughter gets my attention when I walk in the door and for that I am proud. 

I have a husband who loves me almost as much as he loves his baby girl.  I get to see him light up when she is in his arms and for that I am proud. 

She will make decisions I won’t agree with, push her boundaries and test the limits.  She will challenge my patience, test my character and maybe break my heart.  Yet I will still be proud. 

When the days come that she gets on the school bus, dances in her first recital, or walks across the stage at graduation or down the aisle at her wedding,  I will be proud. 

We judge each other so much.  We roll our eyes at the decisions other parents make about working vs. staying at home, bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding, crying it out vs. not.  There are enough opportunities for us all to screw it up.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could at least leave the name that we’re called off the battle ground.  Regardless of whether this sweet girl calls me Mommy, Momma, Mother, or Hey you.  I will be proud of her and proud of the person she has turned me into.  The rest is semantics.

When I grow up

I used to spend a lot of time imagining what my life would be like when I finally had a job that I liked and was good at.  Or when I could convince Craig to marry me.  Or when I did what I always thought I was put on this earth to do and had a baby.  In these early twenty-some fantasies I was ambitious and successful, I was a hot wife that made her husband weak in the knees, or I was the soccer mom in a gas guzzling SUV with 2.5 kids in the back seat laughing and getting their sticky hands on the windows.  I was easily breezing through life complete with great friends, happy hours, traveling and shopping.  Of course there would be shopping. 

It never occurred to me that to be really good at one might mean sacrificing at least one of the other two.  At work today we had our annual awards lunch and this year, I got an award for my dedication and commitment to developing our strategic plan and new brand identity.  Part of the nomination talked about how I spent time during maternity leave writing copy, participating in conference calls and working with our agency.  As I got up to accept the award, all I could think was “Well, this won’t be part of Munchkin’s baby book.” 

I like my job, I really do.  I finally feel like I have my shit together between 8 and 5.  I see a future.  I know my resume looks good.  I know that I’m good at what I do.  I worked hard for this and I feel damn proud to have gotten here.  But…. 

You see, there’s a but.  I never wanted to be that mom that checks email on her Blackberry while she feeds the baby.  Or the wife that can’t take a day off without taking the laptop home. I can’t blame the office or the boss.  It’s not a pressure that they’ve applied.  It’s a fear that if I stop working as hard as I have for the last 18 months or so, that I will lose the momentum that I’ve gained.  It’s a fear that behind closed doors or under his or her breath a person will mutter, “well, before she had the baby…” It’s not wanting to ever be bored and unnoticed at work again. 

It’s hard squeezing everything into a 24 hour day.  It’s hard finding a way to be the successful chick at work, the wonderful wife and the patient mother.  The only thing hot about me is the hot mess that I am when I come home, a half an hour later than I wanted to with no plans for dinner.  I drip with envy over those women that have it all figured out and I beg them to send me their secrets.  Please.

From two pink lines to a house full of pink

A year ago today, I crashed onto the bed at 5AM and told my husband that we were having a baby.  I still remember the moment of seeing the second line show up on the $14 pee stick and the overwhelming feeling that everything was about to change.  My knees shook, my heart raced and my eyes filled up with tears. 

I felt (and still feel) like I had waited my whole life for that moment.  A year later it’s hard to imagine what this house would look like without the pink bibs, princess sleepers and “daddy loves me” onsies strewn all over the place.  (I guess I could find out if I chose to, you know, CLEAN, once in a while.)  I can’t picture my life without my little girl in it. Smiling up at me when I lift her out of her crib in the morning, giggling when I kiss her belly and spinning her head around at the sing of her father’s voice. 

I was right.  Those two pink lines were about to change everything.

Saying Goodbye to 2009

While I sit at the computer thinking about the gazilion things I have to do today and waiting for my baby girl to wake up, I find myself thinking about the past year.  Oh, who are we kidding?  Every blogger that I read is doing this so I want to play too. 

In the last year, I:

  1. Got knocked up.
  2. Wrecked into a bus full of innocent school children.
  3. Gained 30 pounds and lost 35 (the joy in losing an extra five pounds is dimmed by the fact that said weight has been randomly redistributed across my body in ways that means getting into a bikini for Mexico is no longer a given.)
  4. Went through a reorg at work which included a new title and a mile-long to-do list. 
  5. Paid off my credit card!
  6. Quit my waitressing gig and dropped my monthly income by a few hundred dollars a month. 
  7. Said goodbye to my grandfather and decided that the “he’s in a better place” line is bullshit.  He loved this place. 
  8. Moved into our house, finished the landscaping, put in a pool, patio & driveway (well, watched Craig do it, see #1, I was creating a life) and learned that a) concrete is effing expensive and b) the bank is way too willing to give us money.
  9. Celebrated our one-year anniversary with Craig. 
  10. Drove 12 hours to Nashville, 7.5 months pregnant to see Kim get married.
  11. Created such a nice place for my unborn child that she decided to hang out for an extra week.
  12. Gave birth and met the most precious baby girl. 
  13. Learned that epidurals are your friends.
  14. Speaking of friends, learned that different friends have different places in my life and that’s OK. 
  15. Watched my husband fall in love with his daughter. 
  16. Watched my parents and his become grandparents. 
  17. Learned that being a mom is the hardest. job. ever.  And am still struggling with how to juggle the working and mom part.  

Overall, this was a good year.  A very good year.  I learned a lot, grew a lot and made a lot of memories with the people who I love.  I wish that Pap were here for all those good parts and to meet Baby Girl but I think we all channel him at different points.  Like the way Grandma says “sweetheart” or the way my mom says to give her “a squeeze”.  Fleeting comments and moments that go as quickly as they came but are a gentle reminder that makes me grin. 

Who took my happy, pleasant, smiling baby

and replaced her with a child that avoids day sleep like her momma avoids low-fat foods? 

Seriously.  I am over the moon grateful that Baby Girl now sleeps through the night pretty regularly but the child still needs to sleep during the day.  Because, you know, she’s a baby.  And she gets cranky when she doesn’t sleep.  (That’s about the only thing she got from me.  Well, that and her existance.)  Maybe I’m just noticing it because I’ve been off of work for almost a whole a week and have seen her sleep/wake habits first hand or maybe this is something new.  But we’ve spent days walking, bouncing, singing and ssshhhing her if I miss getting her down for a nap during that glorious starting to get sleepy, but not yet fussy stage.   Only to have her fall asleep, me lay her down and her wake up 15 minutes later. 

I know I need to get her in the habit of falling asleep on her own, and I swear I am thisfreakingclose to taking a week off of work to do the heaving lifiting of putting my kid on a schedule.  But when it’s the holidays, we’re traveling and life is pretty much chaos, I will settle for just having her take a nap that lasts longer than a DVR’d sit com.   

That, my friends, is irony

and not how I intended to spend the last two days of my maternity leave… 

Sick and banned from my baby. 

As if it’s not bad enough that I’ve been hit with some kind of flu bug (aches, fever, sore throat), I’m missing out on the last two days of cuddles, snuggles and quality time with my kid before I go back to work on Wednesday. 

I do have to say that I’m lucky to have a mother-in-law who bolted across the yard when she heard I was sick and swiftly sent me to my room for a bath and bed while she and Craig took care of Baby Girl.  And I’m equally grateful to my dad for taking the afternoon off of work to sit with her for a while as well.  As miserable as I feel I’d kick myself in the ass if I got my kid sick as well.  But that means that for the last 24+ hours I haven’t been able to touch, hold or kiss my baby girl. 

And, the real kicker is that I’ve been going in for meetings for the last 3 weeks to prepare for a big presentation on Thursday and if I don’t get to feeling better soon, I won’t even BE at that presentation.  Sound like karma to anyone else? 

Dear Munchkin,

We have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow and two things will make Mommy very happy. First of all if you’re heartbeat is all nice and rhythmic again and secondly if you’ve done as I asked and started to plan your departure from my belly.

According to my boss I can’t expect people to do things if I don’t make their goals and objectives very clear, so I wanted to be sure you understood what was expected of you tomorrow. If you have yet to accomplish these goals you still have about 18 hours to work on it. I expect big things of you tomorrow! Okay?

Thanks baby.