Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Am So Jealous Of You... By Susie Klein

Blogging is the new worldwide pastime it seems. Who knew that so many had so much to say? The ‘Mommy Blog’ is clearly one of the most popular genres of blogging.  According to recent statistics there are 3.9 million women with children who write blogs in the United States today*. Add to that number the creative and chatty moms in other parts of the world and it is a staggering picture of women connecting.

Some may say that the high proliferation of mommy blogs is all about competition and simply a place to brag on one’s own offspring. I know that is true in many instances, but I believe it is much more than that. It is about connection. No matter how many books an expectant mom reads or how many articles she scans online about what to expect when she brings that baby home, there will be questions. Big questions and small questions become so intermingled that the tiniest doubt can multiply in size and overwhelm a new mother. She needs an answer and she needs it now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desperate for Downtime by Anonymous

We have come to the end of our wits. We are teetering on the brink of insanity. We have lost bags upon bags of marbles. We are invariably irritable, frustrated, cantankerous. We have reached a level of desperation that we never thought we would still know nearly a year after the birth of our daughter.
I hear about these babies that sleep through the night after just a few short weeks. I hear about these kids who sleep for 12 hours straight. I hear about the babies that can just be laid down in a crib and easily, tearlessly fall asleep on their own. I don't really considered parenting to be "unfair" -- until it comes to this. How come those parents get to sleep? Sleep deprivation really is an instrument of torchure. I googled it. Its kind of disturbing...
I have tried everything. She has a consistent bedtime routine. Getting her to go to sleep is not so much of the problem. Getting her to stay asleep is an unobtainable aspiration. She will wake up anywhere between one and three in the morning and she will stay awake for hours. The apartment is dark. There are no distractions. We don't talk to her or let her play. We have tried leaving her in her crib and letting her cry at increasing five-minute intervals (Ferber method). We have tried just standing next to her crib and rubbing her back until she goes to sleep (except she won't go to sleep. She will stand there and cry and it is heartbreaking). She uses a pacifier. We keep a fan in her room for white noise. We have tried softly talking, singing, and humming to her. We make sure her needs are met. She gets a new diaper, a bottle, and a blanket. I have spent hours on the internet and reading books. Every suggestion they have offered has been tried and nothing will work. She isn't sleeping too much during the day. She usually only sleeps about an hour or two during the day, even if she only got five hours of sleep at night. She isn't just sitting around all day, not expending any energy, either. She is constantly on the move, exploring everything she can reach, crawling and walking all over the place. She eats a good bit during the day. I just don't understand how she isn't completely exhausted at night or why she won't just stay asleep.
I have been told that when I was a baby, they could just lay me down and I would go to sleep on my own. I find this hard to believe, because for as long as I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep. Even if I am exhausted (which is pretty much always), I still toss and turn for hours before I can fall asleep. Then the baby will wake up after I've just fallen asleep. So I can barely even rest when she rests. I can't take the medication because I won't hear her, or I won't be able to get up.
Has anyone ever heard of the child's book for exhausted parents? Go the f*** to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach? If you are sensitive to swear words (or have no sense of humor) then I wouldn't suggest it. But if you aren't quite so tightly wound, check this out:

I find myself thinking about this book quite often.
I guess I just needed to vent. Maybe I'm hoping someone has some advice or a method I haven't yet tried. Or maybe I am hoping somoene else can sympathize.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Know For Sure by Sophie Patten

I have three daughters. My oldest Evelyn Rose is 5, my middle daughter Annabelle Heather is 2 ½ and my youngest Penelope Violet is 6 months old.  I am 28 and have been married for six years and my husband and I run a publishing company owned by my father.

Since having my youngest baby girl in February of this year I have felt overwhelmed with postpartum depression.  I feel like there is a lot of stigma on this subject because people seem to go to the worse case scenario, which for me would be that I want to harm my baby or older kids.  Lucky for me this isn’t the case.  I just feel very low and have been very hard on myself since she was born.  I have been unable to pull myself from the depths of sorrow that depression has taken me.  Some days I have felt completely hopeless. I have felt unworthy to be the mother to my wonderful children or the wife to my incredible husband.

On those dark days, I compare myself to other women around me. To the moms and wives who in my hazy-headed opinion are managing to keep on top of their lives in more effective ways than me.  I feel like everyone’s house is cleaner than mine, no one else seems to struggle with cleaning and tidying the way I do.  Everyone else is thinner and happier than me.  Everyone else is more at peace than me, more satisfied.

Having these kinds of feelings is very alien to me because I am actually a very confident person and don’t usually compare my happiness to other peoples.  I might have fallen prey to comparing the state of my house to others before, but not really myself.

I have been to my friend’s houses when they have been messy but I don’t see it the way I see my own mess.  I see it as a stain on my record, a sign that I haven’t evolved past teenage immaturity.  But the truth is there are five people living in my home and I am the main person who tidies and cleans so of course I am always behind.  I finish cleaning the kitchen and the toys are a mess – I finish organizing the toys and the coats, shoes and sweaters are everywhere.  Being mom is never ending chores and even if you manage to get to the end, everything will be a mess again within days/hours/minutes.
It’s a series of thankless tasks and to-do lists so long that after a while it’s just insulting.  After all cleaning the outer windows is definitely a good thing to do… but er if you have two hours and your list also includes laundry, making dinner and giving the kids a bath, chances are cleaning the windows isn’t the daily priority. I’m sorry but if I have a jam-packed day chances are giving the kids a bath isn’t high on the list either. 

And that makes me a terrible mom right?  In my head it does.  I think, aah they don’t have developed sweat glands yet so they don’t REALLY smell bad and I’ll just brush out Annie’s hair so you can’t notice the ranch/yogurt that she put in there yesterday.

I know that there are terrible people in the world and we hear about them on the news every day. They are represented on television shows like CSI and Law & Order and a thousand other shows and movies. The villains. The terrorists. The kidnappers, abusers and molesters.  But I have come to believe something which has become very important to me lately, as I have felt the delicate nature of my mind feel ever-more flimsy in the tapestry of my life; I have come to believe that people, by their nature, are good. 
There are bad people; evil people, no doubt.  But there are literally billions of people in the world. The current worldwide estimated population is 6,852,472,823.  Think about everyone you know… sure you might know a couple of real assholes, people who genuinely don’t seem to give a shit and just hurt people.  But chances are you know a hell of a lot more people who are decent, kind, loving and good. 

We are all connected by some special and fundamental truths. We want to be loved and give love, we want to be heard and seen for who we are and we want to create something that is lasting. This creation could be anything, art, music, writing, poetry, arcetecture, and of course it can also be having children.

For many people their children are their only legacy.