Love and Velcro

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I recently came upon this wonderful piece by Coffee + Crumbs (Lots of great stuff there! Check it out!) and it immediately brought me back to the early, extraordinarily difficult days with my son. Reminders of that time crop up now and then because, really, the kind of trauma we both endured — and that’s exactly what it was — isn’t easily forgotten, but this particular piece reminded me of how (literally) attached we once were and how far we have come. And with that realization came the kind of validation I had deeply craved during those long lonely days.

From the moment the Pitocin was administered, my little guy made his feelings known. I carried him quite low toward the end of my pregnancy, but once his eviction notice was sent, I swear on everything holy that kid squeezed himself as far up into my ribs as he could. He did not want a scintilla of space between us and spent the entire first year of his life screaming that desire into the cosmos… and my aching ears.

He was my velcro baby — as attached to his mama as a kid could be. And while it may be tempting to imagine such a scenario as blissful days spent snuggling soft baby skin and breathing in that intoxicating baby smell, the reality is nearly the exact opposite. My life was full of blood-curdling screams every.single.moment I set him down to shower, cook, or even sleep. Picking him up usually knocked the noise level down a notch or two but he still cried incessantly. At one low point while my husband was deployed, it literally took me three days to pay a bill over the phone. My screaming velcro baby was stuck to me like glue, messing up the voice prompts and turning a seemingly simple task into a Herculean feat.

Life was hard, desperately hard.

Unfortunately, it was made even worse by a barrage of comments insinuating that I was somehow spoiling him, that responding to his needs was enabling manipulative behavior and that I had brought this difficulty on myself.

But I had lived through the baby years before — quite successfully, in fact. I knew I hadn’t directly caused his clinginess but I was still troubled by the fact that I couldn’t solve it. All the baby books said it required solving, after all. And most everyone in my orbit, his pediatrician included, insisted that the situation required a tough love approach.

It was a rough situation, indeed. After all, he wasn’t the average clingy baby. My boy suffered colic, severe reflux, feeding difficulties, and weight-gain problems. He was in the care of a gastroenterologist by 6 months and in feeding therapy by the time he turned 1. My life seemed little more than a revolving door between various medical offices with varying interpretations for his many maladies. As a mother, the inability to pinpoint his seemingly never-ending pain was gut-wrenching.

So I held him. What else could I do?

I held him when my arms ached and my back winced in pain. I held him as we both cried ourselves to sleep, unable to get the other to understand what we needed. I held him even as every inch of my body screamed for space, for a moment to breathe. But no matter what anyone else said, I held him. He needed it. I could feel it.

All the while, I questioned myself. I wondered why I couldn’t “fix” him and constantly evaluated what I could be doing differently. I stared in confusion at my clingy, irritable child, wondering why he was so high-maintenance when every cell of my body knew he was a calm soul at his core. What kind of mother can’t understand her own baby? Why was there such a disconnect between who I felt he was and the behavior I was seeing?

By his first birthday, my confidence was shattered. Nothing seemed to be getting better.

And then, one ordinary day, it did.

Life marched on — tenuous at first, and then increasingly sure-footed, like the pitter patter of my little boy’s feet as he ventured off to explore the world outside my weary arms.

And you know what? He has never looked back.

Sure, he is still my snuggle bug. After all, I wasn’t wrong about that soft soul of his. Turns out, he is very much like his mama — introspective, sensitive, and affectionate. And despite all the hysteria that holding a baby might cause an unhealthy dependence, at close to 3 years old, my cool little dude is as independent as it gets.

Though I’ll never know for sure, I like to think it’s because I held him through his pain, that I respected his needs even when I felt I had totally lost my way as a mother. We share the bond of the broken, two people who refused to give up even in the darkest of nights.

Eventually, morning came. And it delivered a (finally) happy and healthy little boy.

So while Coffee + Crumb’s essay brought me back to those difficult days, I know we are safely on the other side. Back then, he fought sleep while wailing the hours away in my arms. Tonight? Well, he’s still fighting sleep — but only because he can’t decide which dinosaur he likes more: Tyrannosaurus Rex or Ankylosaurus.

I’ll take it.

Impossible as it seems in the moment, velcro babies eventually grow up. They detach. They explore their world and inch ever further from the physical closeness of you. And that’s when you, too, will have come through the other side. Just hang on, Mama. Let your little one hold on. Cling together through this bumpy ride because velcro is tough, but so are you.

  • C
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Rules for the Accidental Stay-at-Home Mom

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Some girls grow up dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom. They relished the idea of snuggling their babies all day, baking delicious chocolate chip cookies, and volunteering at school holiday parties.

Not me.

While I will take baby snuggles whenever I can get them, I honestly always imagined myself in the classroom as the teacher instead of the parent volunteer. And baking just isn’t my thing… the two dozen burned Valentine cookies that ended up in my trash can are testament enough of that.

So when I became a stay-at-home mom, it was…well, a learning experience. Everything I had always believed about myself and my career path suddenly shifted. I was terribly insecure about myself as a mom (I mean, who isn’t?), and unsure of how to navigate a life I had never imagined for myself. It took some time and, while I still struggle here and there, these 4 rules have helped me navigate SAHM mom territory:

1.) Stop Explaining Yourself

Five years into my SAHM mom life, I still have a hard time with this. Maybe it’s because I grew up with two working parents. Maybe it’s because I get antsy about falling into an ill-fitting stereotype. Either way, I find myself explaining our family’s choices more than I care to admit.

On one hand, I know it’s nobody’s business. On the other, well, I’m an insatiably curious and ambitious person with a passion for teaching and making a difference in the lives of others and even though I am intensely grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my kids, I am just as intensely dissatisfied with “wasting” years changing diapers, doing laundry, cleaning up puke, and waiting out temper tantrums because, frankly, I’m jealous of my husband’s career successes and his ability to have adult conversations while I’m stuck trying to decipher what gibberish word my youngest is screaming about while dinner is burning and the oldest is busy reminding me about the swimming class that started two hours ago.

Whew… Did I just black out?

Listen, explanations that lend themselves to horribly constructed run-on sentences just aren’t beneficial for anyone. It might feel good in the moment but you know what’s even better? Feeling at peace with your family decisions even when you aren’t totally content with your professional achievements. Frustration is inevitable but give yourself a break. You are your own harshest critic.

2.) Make a Long-Term Plan

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When you stumble into this lifestyle, it’s easy to fall into a wheel of negativity. There is the pain that comes with isolation, the guilt of feeling discontented, and confusion in the struggle to maintain an identity. Dealing with such heavy emotions is no easy task, especially when our cultural messaging makes confronting them almost taboo. After all, what could possibly be better than staying home with your babies? Well, depending on your personality, a lot of things — and that’s perfectly fine.

Whatever the reasons behind your SAHM status, if the situation feels less-than-ideal, do yourself a favor and make a long-term plan. Is returning to work possible once your kids are in school? How many years will that take? Check out ways in which you can further your education in the meantime so that you’re prepared when the time comes. Keep an eye out for work-from-home opportunities. And, most of all, communicate with your partner so that you are both on the same page.

Taking these steps will help you maintain a sense of accomplishment outside childrearing, while also serving as a reminder that this is only temporary.

3.) Allow Yourself to Tune Out

Buh-Bye, mom shamers! Ignore their judgmental stares and snuggle into a good book or—gasp!—laze away on Facebook while your kiddos entertain themselves on the playground. It goes without saying that you’ll keep an eye on them but, let’s be real, kids are pretty adept at playtime. They really really don’t need your help. And because your job literally never ends, it’s important to allow yourself a mental break here and there. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

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I mean, look up at least once in a while…

4.) Don’t Let Your Interests Die

I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? Especially if you have a difficult baby or are in the throes of toddlerhood (somebody save me…). Maybe the only pastimes you can recall include watching Dora the Explorer on repeat and emptying diaper pails but, believe it or not, you existed for many years prior to becoming a mother. Get back to that girl. Self-care is crucial for all moms, and that includes being selfish enough with your time to pursue the hobbies you once loved.

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Get out in nature (check out the Osprey if your kiddo is still tiny!), read a good book during nap time instead of worrying about the dishes, or sign up for a fun dance class. Hell, start a blog so you can indulge in topics outside of Dr. Seuss and Paw Patrol. But find something you enjoy doing and learn how to put yourself first every once in a while. After all, part of being a SAHM is modeling the kind of behavior you want your kids to emulate, right? Take the opportunity to show them that self-care is not selfish. It is a lesson that will have far-reaching impact.

When you’re an accidental stay-at-home mom, digesting the guilt of yearning for a career while trying to enjoy the fleeting precious moments of childhood, life can feel unsettled. The journey isn’t an easy one but it can certainly be made easier. What are your thoughts? Is there anything you would add to this list?

  • C

 

 

 

 

My Miscarriage Story: Part 2

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By Mother’s Day 2011, we had been back in the states for nearly two months. Life was chaotic and unsettled as we lived out of suitcases and carted back and forth between our parents’ homes but, all in all, we were happy. After an extended period at home with family, we were less than one week from journeying to our next duty station and, hopefully, some long overdue repose.

Early that morning, over a lovely family brunch, we excitedly revealed that we were, once again, pregnant. At eight weeks, we were cautiously optimistic and grateful to give the happy news in person. Everybody hugged and congratulated us, even offering bits of big sister advice to our toddler still nibbling away at pancakes in her high chair.

It was a beautiful moment that perhaps I had been craving a bit too much. Because while I genuinely felt confident that all was well with this pregnancy, the warning signs were, once again, right in front of my face. Back at home, no less than five pregnancy tests stashed inside my suitcase told an old story: extremely faint lines that never turned into the bright pink I had been longing for. And as I excitedly revealed to our family that I had been spared the intense morning sickness of my first pregnancy, my mind refused to entertain the notion that a lack of symptoms could be problematic.

Later that afternoon, my sisters and I walked into our favorite clothing store and, after trying on a few pieces, I decided to treat myself to a long, flowing blouse. It was perfection, I rationalized, in that it could be worn tucked in for the time being but would accommodate a growing belly nicely. That purchase gave me confidence. Everything would be okay, I thought. With that shirt in hand, I felt I could begin actively preparing for this pregnancy.

While leaving the store, I somehow backed up into a door handle with a bit of force. It scraped across my lower back and I winced in pain. After a moment though, the pain subsided and I left for home without a second thought.

Upon arriving back at my in-law’s house, I walked into the restroom and was stunned to see streaks of blood lining my underwear. Immediately, I told myself that this was normal pregnancy bleeding. Indeed, I had experienced intermittent bleeding throughout my entire first, healthy pregnancy and what I was looking at was not nearly as heavy as what I had encountered with my miscarriage several months prior. Once again, I told myself that everything would be okay. And, truly, despite the shock of blood, I felt calm and confident.

In fact, it wasn’t until I told my husband that my faith began to waver. The words pouring out of his mouth remained steady and resolute but I could see fear in his eyes. It was decided that we would monitor the situation for a couple hours and then head to the emergency room if the bleeding intensified. Within about thirty minutes, we were buckling into the car. Still, I rationalized, there was very little cramping so maybe, just maybe this pregnancy was still viable.

Upon being admitted, a nurse showed up and provided me with a gown and instructions to change in a bathroom at the end of the hall. What I remember most about that bathroom was the low, wide mirror that seemed to envelope the wall. It screamed at me to focus on what was happening—to look at myself standing under those glaring florescent lights, underwear bulging from a giant pad. The image sickened me, not because that industrial sized pad represented another potential loss but because it reminded me of the comically large hospital underwear you get after giving birth. How unfair, how twisted, to be forced with such an image at that time. Turning to put on my hospital gown, I noticed that the scrape on my lower back had begun to bruise over. And in an instant, my mind began to play tricks on me. You did this. You shook the pregnancy out of you. This is your fault.

Perhaps that sounds crazy. The logical side of me knew that it was. But when your entire world seems to be one cruel joke, logic doesn’t tend to win out.

Eventually, with my husband at my side, a doctor conducted a vaginal ultrasound to determine the cause of the bleeding.

“What was the date of your last period, again?” he asked.

I repeated the date he had already been told.

“Are you sure?” he questioned. “Because what I’m seeing is measuring about 4.5 weeks.”

“That can’t be right,” I mumbled, racking my brain for a rational explanation.

Moments later, the doctor smiled at me sympathetically and explained that someone would be in shortly with paperwork. Then he closed the door behind him and, for a long time, my husband and I simply stared ahead in disbelief. But once the tears started to fall, there was no stopping them. I sobbed upon that hospital bed with the same heaving breaths that had kept me strewn across the bathroom floor only a few short months ago while a lowly toilet flushed away pieces of me.

“Why is this happening again?” I demanded. “I don’t understand!”

All my husband could do was hold me and let our tears mix together upon the cold linoleum floor. And though I couldn’t articulate myself in that moment, a flood of concerns rushed through my head—namely, that the miscarriage on my birthday hadn’t been the fluke but that, really, it was my daughter. What if I wasn’t ever supposed to have kids but that we simply lucked out on the first try? What if I never again felt life kicking inside me? What could be so wrong with me that two consecutive pregnancies had failed? I felt ashamed of my own body, angered by its inability to nurture a pregnancy. I felt, honestly, like a failure.

Eventually, an orderly appeared with discharge papers. I heard the phrases “threatened miscarriage” and “spontaneous abortion” thrown around. Somehow I pieced together enough to understand that my pregnancy had, for unknown reasons, suddenly come to a halt quickly after conception. My body had taken another month to figure out what was happening.

One might think that walking out of that hospital would be the ending of another unfortunate loss. But, the reality is, miscarriages are long, drawn-out processes. For one thing, the use of the phrase, “threatened miscarriage” gave me misplaced hope that there might still be a chance. Over the next few days, I used up the rest of my pregnancy tests, hoping that the still faintly visible lines meant that the doctors had somehow been wrong. Watching with concern, my husband gently explained that I was torturing myself. He was right.

But that wasn’t all—at a follow up visit several days later, a different doctor looked at the image of my ultrasound and declared that it had been a twin pregnancy. Indeed, when I later saw the notes from the emergency room doctor, he had also noticed two sacs. For some reason, that revelation felt like a second crushing blow. I still struggle with the knowledge that it had been a twin pregnancy, along with the illogical guilt that somehow my body couldn’t handle two.

It was another few weeks (smack in the middle of a cross country move, no less) before doctors could officially monitor my HCG levels back to zero. Life never stopped spinning and I felt viscerally angry over that fact. How could everyone go about their business as if the world hadn’t completely upended itself? How was I to grieve this second loss with a busy toddler running around and a new home to move into? How was I ever going to come to grips with having lost two consecutive pregnancies?

The honest truth is that it’s an ongoing process—even now, even after the birth of a healthy baby boy. Most days pass without incident but, every once in a while, those memories flood back to the surface. My birthday is always a trigger, as is Mother’s Day and Christmas (the time frame of the due date with my second loss).

The guilt never really leaves, however illogical it may be. In fact, it only intensified with the birth of my son. In the midst of sleep deprivation and other newborn struggles, I felt intensely shameful for not fully appreciating the miracle of a rainbow baby. Even in toddlerhood, the struggle still manifests. But it has gotten easier to allow myself a measure of grace, to frame those losses within the big picture of my life instead of letting them define it.

These days, there is no trace of that bruise on my back and I can wear that long, flowing blouse without regret. These days, I find strength in my voice and in sharing my story. I hope you will, too. Because your experience was real and it matters. Speak life into your loss. Speak so that healing can be had. You deserve it. We all do.

  • C

**C also writes for POMP USA, a start up company promoting businesses owned by service members, veterans, and their spouses.

Please visit www.pompusa.org for more information**

The Truth About Sleepless Nights

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Last night, my kids woke up five times between the pair of them. Bed linens were stripped and washed, bottles were refilled, carpets were cleaned (don’t ask), snuggles were requested, and complaints of all kinds were given. Apparently, the threat of death by dehydration or loneliness looms large between 2 and 5 a.m. Who knew?

In the end, I managed to cobble together a few broken hours of sleep despite going to bed early. Nobody was sick. Nobody was teething or in any sort of pain. It just was. And it was exhausting.

The truth about nights like these, no matter how often they occur, is that they are a cripplingly lonely part of parenthood. Even if you are lucky enough to have a partner around to help, it can feel like the rest of the world knows nothing of your pain. Outside, street lamps burn brightly while your neighbors’ windows are annoyingly dark. It’s as if you can hear their carefree snores against the backdrop of your kids’ incessant whining, and in those crushing moments of isolation, it’s easy to feel as though you are failing hard at this parenting thing. Why my kids? Why me? With one in preschool and the other well into toddlerhood, the kind of sleepless nights we often associate with the newborn stage should be far behind me, right? Right?

Apparently not.

As a new mom, I heard a lot of encouragement that helped me tough it through extreme sleep deprivation. And believe me, my kids really pushed the limits. There was also constant reassurance that this phase of life is relatively quick and that sleeplessness would soon be a distant memory.

When you’re in the thick of it, you drink in those words like some magical elixir that powers you through the hard times. And there’s no denying the good intentions behind them. But the truth is, they are often just a placebo, and by the time you realize it, you’re nothing short of an expletive-laced, fire-breathing dragon.

And that’s not just a metaphor, either — crazy hair, smeared makeup, and rancid morning breath can, for a time, become your new normal. Take it in stride. You’re still beautiful, and it’s nothing a hot shower and strong coffee can’t fix.

The thing is, the people who throw these empty platitudes your way were either blessed with freakishly easy kids (rare, but hey, it happens), have blocked out the trauma (who can blame ’em?), or simply refuse to acknowledge it (no one is buying the charade). The truth, though? It’s all a crock of shit. What no one tells you is that the “phase” they are really referring to is parenthood, and sorry sister, you’re already in deep. There’s no turning back.

Tonight it may be a fear of the dark, but in the blink of an eye, it’ll be sleepovers, date nights, and even drinking parties. Don’t kid yourself, your college student won’t be turning in with a warm cup of milk at 9 o’clock. The reality is, your kids will keep you up for the rest of your life. It was in the fine print when you signed your life over to another human being. For future reference always read the fine print.

And while you may, on the whole, get significantly more sleep than you did in the beginning, that doesn’t make unannounced middle-of-the-night parties any less painful. The bar of “normalcy” is ever-changing — for all of us. While three straight hours of sleep may have felt like a godsend once upon a time, when your body has adjusted to a new normal, anything less than six can feel like a punch in the gut.

We like to pretend that night wakings and four cups of coffee kind of mornings are either the stuff of infanthood or have an easily traceable cause, like illness — if you’re a good mom, that is. I mean, reading all the best baby books virtually guarantees the bestowment of “good sleeper” status on your kids forever, right? Their arbitrary standards are obviously a piece of cake to meet, but if your kid happens to fall short, it must by your fault for failing to do x, y, or z.

So (shock!) we don’t often talk about older kids having problems going to sleep or staying asleep. We just yell profanities into our pillow and then walk them to school in the morning like nothing happened. The bags under your eyes may betray your secret, but your lips certainly won’t because discussing it seems to be admitting total incompetence. Nobody wants to feel like a failure, let alone admit it out loud. But if you were to google “why won’t my kid sleep at night?” you would find that you are most certainly not alone.

And that’s what you need to hear. That’s what all moms need to hear. You are not alone.

Whether your kids wake up constantly or just once in a blue moon, it’s okay, and for the most part, completely normal. By all means, check out online forums if they provide a sense of camaraderie. Throw out every four-letter word you know once the door is closed and your little one can’t hear. Break out a 2 a.m. glass of pinot grigio if it helps you relax and put things into perspective. Most of all, talk about it with your friends, your babysitter, your grocery bagger — anyone who will listen. But keep talking. And then talk some more. There’s healing to be had in communication (and commiseration).

Just keep moving, Mama. Parenthood is skinned knees, broken hearts, irrational temper tantrums, and yes, sleepless nights. It’s a bumpy ride, and your journey won’t look like anyone else’s. Just do you — because this shit is hard and that’s okay.

 

  • C

(Originally published on Scary Mommy – 14 September 2016)

**C also writes for POMP USA, a start up company promoting businesses owned by service members, veterans, and their spouses.

Please visit www.pompusa.org for more information**

Mom Conversations I Don’t Know How to Have

I love mom talk. Parenthood can be so overwhelming that I truly love being able to confide in and commiserate with a fellow mama. Usually, these conversations develop seamlessly. And why wouldn’t they? With so many shared experiences, it’s only natural. Every once in a while though, a topic pops up that makes me want to roll my eyes so hard my own mother would call me and tell me to knock it off. I swear, I’m a nice person at heart so it can be a struggle to hide it because I really don’t want to make you uncomfortable. But, if you want the truth, here’s what I’m really thinking:

1.) First Steps

Disclaimer: I will almost always take your assertion that your kid started walking at 8 months old with a grain of salt. You’re lucky if it doesn’t earn an outright eye roll. Does it happen? Obviously.  But what does that even mean?

Look, I know there are some kids that magically wake up one day and decide they are going to take their first steps, literally, into toddlerhood. My daughter was one. She was 13 months old and just ran out of the church following her baptism. Had she suddenly been blessed with the gift of mobility or did the overwhelming scent of incense force those little legs into overdrive? I guess we’ll never know.

My son, however, moved in incremental steps – almost painfully slow. He was cruising furniture for a good 4 months before taking controlled steps on his own. And that’s the thing. When is it considered actually walking? My take: don’t jump the gun.

Milestones, especially ones as major as walking, are a process. They take time. If your kid took a step toward a distracting toy once at 7 months, it’s probably safe to say he wasn’t actually walking. But the bigger point is, why is this even a conversation? Unless your kid is walking “late” and you want some reassurance, what’s the point of bragging about the fact that he was walking a few weeks before someone else’s? What do you want from me?? “Congrats! He’s obviously destined to be an Olympian!” (….cue aforementioned eye roll)

2.) First Words

I know it’s super exciting when your babbling baby finally utters something intelligible. “Oh my goodness!” you think, “He’s still so young! I wonder when Einstein started talking. He must be a genius!” Spoiler: Einstein didn’t talk until he was four and your kid probably didn’t say anything.

As babies acquire language, they babble and experiment with sounds and syllables all the time. You wouldn’t be riding the crazy train if it seemed as if he was saying “mama” without connecting it to the fact that you are, in fact, his mother.

I’m not trying to be a party pooper but resist the urge to spread confetti from the rafters the very first time something comes out of your baby’s mouth that could potentially be found in the dictionary. It takes some time and lots of repetition before it’s clear your kid is speaking with intent.

I understand the thrill of seeing what was once a drooling, blubbering blob turn into a sentient little person. And I will never put a damper on that joy in front of you. I promise. Just… you know… remember that your baby’s first words are in no way a reflection of you or indicative of his future Ivy League prospects. Kick back with a glass of wine and maybe reconsider before blasting all over Facebook that your 4 month old said, “potato.” Don’t hate me but… I don’t believe you.

3.) Percentile Charts

Ok, I admit it. Once upon a time, I would give myself a little pat on the back when my daughter would leave a well-baby appointment scoring high on the height and weight charts. Coming from short stock, it was always surprising and maybe fluffed my ego a bit. Seeing your baby grow is such a miracle and you really should be proud of yourself for taking such good care of your bambino. BUT those conversations, unless discussed with family and close friends, are largely unproductive.

Like I said, I, too, once swelled with pride when I could announce my kid was 85% for height and weight – or whatever it was. It was like the CDC was awarding me a silent medal for all the hard mommy work I was doing. It felt awesome. These days? If you offer up that information un-prodded, I will probably smile and nod politely while mentally shooting daggers through my eyes.  I can’t help it. It’s totally reflexive at this point.

You see, my second kiddo has never gotten along well with those charts. Despite working a million times harder to keep him fed and healthy than I ever did with my first, he has always struggled to maintain or add weight. When your baby is labeled as “Failure to Thrive” it feels like you’ve been punched in the gut for a lot of reasons, but in no small part because those charts really do seem like a parental report card. And I failed. Repeatedly. Miserably. In fact, I’m still failing… or maybe in “D” range now.

So if you are a stranger who uses me to feed your own sense of self worth in this way, there probably won’t be any playdates in the near future.

4.) Sleeping through the Night

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What kind of sorcery is this?!

I don’t understand this conversation. It boggles my mind that people have concrete answers for this. I don’t know if they’re all lying or if my kids just hate me but, in my world, there is no such thing as sleeping through the night.

Kid #1: Slept through the night starting at 6 weeks but stopped abruptly at 6 months. The next 6 months were an endless cycle of teeth, milestones, and occasional colds that left me tired and grumpy. And she’s been cyclical ever since. She might sleep well for a long period of time and then suddenly wake up every night for weeks. And don’t even get me started on the night terrors. She’s 4 and it’s still an ongoing process.

Kid #2: Sleep ninja extraordinaire. He evaded sleep with masterful skill forever. I swear to God, this child woke up every hour (if I was lucky) for the first 9 months of his life. Naps were an impossible dream. I hallucinated. He laughed at me. Well, maybe. Not sure if that was a hallucination, too. At around 18 months he finally started sleeping through the night with some consistency. And by that I mean he wakes up at night probably 3-4 times a week. 50% is consistent, right? RIGHT?!

I promise, as your friend, I will resist my urge to laugh in your face when you tell me that your kid has slept through the night reliably since birth…. if you bring me a venti white hot mocha and tell me I’m pretty first.

5.) Parenting Style

This topic always weirds me out. Why would you ask me what my parenting style is? My brain.does not.compute. I mean, logically, I understand what you are saying… there are all kinds of parenting philosophies and some of us may naturally fall into one category more than another but I seriously don’t understand the need to put a label on it. If I had to? Perhaps, “Um… I don’t know. Raising a Genuinely Kind Person Using My Own Common Sense.” That probably needs to be whittled down but you get the idea.

Raising kids is important work and I don’t blame you for taking it so seriously but it’s an art form, not a science project. If you try to have this conversation with me, I’m liable to shift uncomfortably and awkwardly redirect the topic. It’s like you’re actively making a judgment about my potential value as a friend and it instantly creeps me out. I don’t need to be recruited into a particular philosophy to be confident in my parenting, but thanks.

I’m not saying I won’t have these conversations with you. I’m just saying my brain starts malfunctioning and I may develop a twitch in one eye. It’s like the normal rules of social engagement fall away and I’m a full grown feral child. I just don’t know how to discuss this stuff. It might be painfully obvious that your commentary bothers me, even if I wish it wasn’t. I always try to be polite but some people make it so damn difficult. It’s possible that’s just years of sleep deprivation and unwashed hair talking though. I’ll let you know if I ever get to consistently sleep through the night again.

 

  • C

**C also writes for POMP USA, a start up company promoting businesses owned by service members, veterans, and their spouses.

Please visit www.pompusa.org for more information**

 

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