My Poor Baby’s Been Sick

My birthday was 2 weeks ago. It was a big one. 30. I thought about blogging on being 30, but the truth is there really isn’t anything exciting about it. I didn’t have any long awaited epiphanies about entering a new decade. I don’t feel old, and I don’t feel like I should miss my 20’s or anything like that. So I decided instead that  I’d blog about the joint party I threw for myself and my niece Olivia. Her birthday is just 2 days before mine, and she turned 10 this year.  I also wanted to blog about last week,  my first Mother’s Day, and how I felt being a new mom.  But something came up that stopped me from doing anything productive. Jack got sick. It will be the first of many times, I know, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared.

It started on a Saturday night with a slight fever that got higher and higher. I called the Dr in the middle of the night, and she assured us that he’d be worse at night but some Tylenol would bring down the fever. I had already taken Tuesday and Wednesday off work, so Matt was going to take the baby to the Dr on Monday. I felt so guilty going in to work. My baby was fussy and sad, and I was leaving him. After arguing with myself I finally went in, only to turn right around and go back home. I made it back in time for his appointment, and I don’t think I put him down for the rest of the day. Even though the little guy was coughing, feverish,  and swollen, he still gave me his sweet smile every now and then.

Poor Sick Baby

As much as I hate him being sick, he was still adorable. He would yell and grunt at himself whenever he would cough too much frustrated that he couldn’t stop.

Jack’s fever broke Tuesday and he had no symptoms Wednesday, but by Thursday night he was feverish again. On Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, he broke out in a rash all over his body, and we found out that he had roseola, a very common virus in babies. My Mister Man is back to his healthy self. I hope he stays that way for a while!

What to Say, and What NOT to Say to the New Mom at Work

I finished my 4th week back to work, and I’m pretty proud of myself for not losing it on a regular basis. Surprisingly, my first day back was not bad at all. People were welcoming me back, taking time to catch up with me, and eager to see the tons and tons of pictures I had. Day #2 was a bit harder, but really the first week was so filled with getting settled back into work and catching up with people that I really didn’t have time to get upset about missing Jack. Leaving him in the morning was hard, but I distracted myself on the car ride up with the radio.

Meeting Dziadek

It was the 2nd week back that was really tough. There was more downtime, and I didn’t have any more welcome back visitors. More than once I hid in the bathroom and cried. Two different people caught me in the act of crying, one mom and one woman who never had children. There was a noticeable difference in reaction. Mrs. Mom just gave me a kind smile and assured me it’d get better. Mrs. Not-Mom tried to be comforting, but she got very anxious, awkward, and ran away as soon as she could. Both women were very sweet, and I’m lucky they were the ones who “caught” me.  I haven’t cried at work since that 2nd week, so I must be doing better.

Everyone was so welcoming and sweet to me. I know everyone had good intentions, but the whole experience taught me what to say, and what not to say to a mom returning to work.

Selfies with Mama

Say: How are you feeling?
Don’t Say: You must be glad to get back to life with adults.

Going back to work is very emotional, and I really appreciated people who were concerned about me. While I don’t think asking about time spent with adults is meant to be hurtful, being at work was really the last place I wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but it’s nothing to being a mom. Don’t assume that the new mom prefers adult company over her baby’s. I’m sure I’d eventually miss going to work, but for me the 12 weeks was not early enough time to miss it.

I also think this is kind of degrading to SAHMs. I have wanted to be a SAHM since forever. That surprises a lot of people because I took the time to earn a Master’s degree and start a career, but I don’t believe in the whole working mom vs stay at home mom mentalities. Babies are exhausting work, and my mind didn’t “turn to mush” from being home with baby. It’s just a different set of skills.

Happy Birthday Mama!

Say: I understand how you feel.
Don’t say: You should feel lucky; I only had half that much time off.

I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about missing my son. I stayed home with Jack for 11 weeks. I only received disability pay for 8 weeks (I didn’t get paid family leave), and I didn’t even get any of the disability money until week 10. It wasn’t an easy situation, and I can understand why people have to go back to work sooner. But the fact is, we in the US have THE WORST maternity leave policies IN THE WORLD, especially for a developed country. I’m glad I was able to take the 11 weeks I had, but it was nowhere near enough time. Don’t make a mom feel guilty or ungrateful when in reality you both have been treated unfairly. I could go on and on about this topic, but instead, just look at this infographic to see what I mean. It is a topic that absolutely disgusts me and an issue I had no idea about until I became pregnant.

Say: Let me see pictures!
Don’t Say: Did you want a boy/girl?

I can’t imagine wanting anyone other than Jack! Although, I feel like if I did wish he were a girl, I would feel incredibly guilty about it. Post-partum depression is a real and serious condition some women go through. It was one of my biggest fears while I was pregnant, and I’m lucky that I’m not suffering, but you never know what the next woman is suffering. Don’t make anyone feel bad about how they feel. Ask to see pictures instead. All mommies love to show off their babies!

My Family

Say: How are the pets doing?
Don’t Say: I hate babies.

Basically, don’t ever say that kind of stuff at work. Ok, so no one actually said they hate babies to me…at least not after I had my baby. It’s your prerogative to not have or like kids, but either way you shouldn’t push your ideals on someone else, or make yourself seem superior to people who don’t share your feelings. Prior to Jack, Lilu and Buschkii were my babies. I even have a picture of them on my desk. That didn’t mean I didn’t want a human baby. Some people assumed that because I loved my pets so much I was not a baby person, but that obviously wasn’t the case. Don’t think that I forgot about who went on about thinking babies are gross.  It took us a long time to have our Jack, and not without struggles.  You never know if the person you’re saying this to can’t have kids, is having trouble having kids, or just isn’t ready for them yet. But it was nice when people asked about my pets. Cats, dogs, and babies? It’s like cuteness overload!! Ask away!!

Jack & Lilu

Again, I don’t say any of this out of anger, nor do I think anyone had any ill intent, and I took nothing personally or was offended. The whole experience just made me become more conscious of what I say to people. It also made me think about how a hormonal and emotional returning mom could get upset while she was already missing her baby.

The idea of having to leave him every day still sucks. The feeling is almost physical, like a bungee cord attached to my throat that gets stretched and pulled and gags me as I leave him.  But the cord seems to be stretching, and coming home has never been so great. When I finally see him it’s like relief. I’ve always wanted to stay home because when I was a kid, I had terrible separation anxiety. I still do actually. There’s no doubt in my mind that the pulling in my throat and the instant relief when I leave and return to Jack is part of my anxiety. So I’m trying to be positive and look at the bright side again. My personal anxiety is one thing, but if I go back to work now, when Jack won’t really have any memory of it, I can prevent any lasting anxiety when he gets older and has to go to school. I don’t know how true that is, but it helps me deal with leaving him.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Now he’s starting to smile and laugh when I come to pick him up. The other day he was having a bottle when I walked in, and he immediately stopped eating, turned his face away from his bottle and to me, and gave me a huge smile and giggle. It was so awesome. I haven’t done much else then soaking up time with him. All I want to do when I get home and on the weekends is hug and play with Jack. I think the feeling is mutual. I know I’m spoiling him, but he doesn’t like to let me put him down when I’m home. I have to get cracking at some projects because his christening is coming up, and I have lots of cute DIY ideas for decorations and favors!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Jack has also celebrated a lot lately: meeting his great-grandpa (Dziadek), his 3 month birthday, his first St. Patrick’s Day, his Daddy’s birthday, and his Mama’s birthday. He’s also figuring out how great Lilu is and how nice her soft ears are for touching.

On another adorable note, Buschk ran out after Lilu yesterday, and they immediately started playing peek-a-boo. What’d I say about cuteness overload!?


Going Back to Work Monday Makes being a Mommy is Harder than I Thought

Soon I’ll be posting about the decor in Jack’s nursery, but it’s still a work in progress. Plus, I’ve been spending as much time as I can just being with my Mr. Man. I have to go back to work on Monday. I am dreading it. I should be happy to be returning to adult conversation and a fun job , but every time I think of leaving my little guy I start crying. Yesterday I was comparing these sad tears to my happy tears the night we brought him home.

I sat in his room with my pets at my feet, my husband at my side, and my baby in my arms. While I was sitting there, “Danny’s Song” popped into my head (I’d been watching a lot of Raising Hope), and even though I’ve heard that cheesy song a billion times before, I couldn’t stop crying. I felt so blessed.

The day we brought Jack home: Lilu meets Jack

The day we brought Jack home: Lilu meets Jack

There’s nothing I could possibly say about that moment that has never been said before. There are so many common sayings about mom and baby that we’ve heard a million times, like it’s an unbreakable bond, or my baby knows the sound of my heart from the inside. I’ve heard these so often it almost takes away from the beauty of being a mother. That’s because none of the cliché sayings can do justice for the pure happiness of having this new little gift in your life. It is indescribable. Giacomo really is the most amazing thing that ever happened to me.

Tummy Time!

Tummy Time!

If I ever wondered what my heart and soul would look like if they were embodied into something physical, I couldn’t have possibly imagined until I saw my child. He is my whole of everything. I’m still amazed that he is even here.   I spend the day taking care of him and soothing him. He is a crier who wants nothing to do with a pacifier, so I spend a lot of the day rocking him, walking him around, and nursing him.

And now I have to go back to work. Jack’s crying has gotten a lot better, but I wish I had more time at home to help soothe him more. I know he’ll be in good hands, he’ll be staying with family, but I’m still anxious about him. I’m worried that he’ll feel like I’ve abandoned him or like I got tired of his crying and just passed him off to someone else. I remember being a little kid and just wanting my mom. I didn’t know my mom was probably wanting me just as much, probably more. I know he’s just a baby and doesn’t have these complex thoughts, but how do I know how do I know he’s not feeling that way? I just hope that being with family who love him helps.

I get really embarrassed when people see me cry. Even during my happy crying I talked about earlier I hid my face.  I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day on Monday without embarrassing myself and crying. The idea is so stressful that I actually started to break out in hives. I’ve only gotten stress hives 4 times in my life: our best friend’s sudden passing, when my house burned down, When I took on my wedding, Master’s thesis, and buying a home all in the same 2 months, and when I broke my patella. I guess going back to work is the 5th major stress of my life that causes an ugly, weird hive rash.  Sounds awesome, right?

I asked my Facebook mommy friends how they handled going back to work and it was unanimous. There’s no way to avoid feeling sad and I should let myself cry. I also realized that this is just practice for the future. One of my friends, my former professor, told me that parenthood basically boils down to learning how to let your child go over and over again. So maybe this is a good thing. One day Jack will go off to kindergarten. He’ll travel for a sports team. He’ll head to high school and spend all his time with his friends and girlfriend. He’ll leave for college. He’ll move out forever. I’ll never want to leave him; I’ll always want to be there for him and make his life easier.  I’ll always have to. These small goodbyes will happen all throughout his life, and I’ll have to start getting used to the emotions of being a parent and the reality that I will be crying a bit more.

If you are a stay at home mom, know that I am incredibly jealous of you. I would love to stay at home and take care of Jack as my full-time job, but I have those stupid things called bills that need to be paid. I am trying to be positive by thinking things like now I can have a nice savings for Jack’s college, or now he will get a chance to look forward to seeing me and he’s so young he won’t remember the separation. It’s still so tough.

Do you know what else is making letting go a bit easier? Stepbrothers. It just came on. I don’t want Giacomo to turn out like Dale or Brennan. As much as I love laughing at the shenanigans, I will smack the sh*t out of Jack if he’s destroying my house, freezing my purse, and crashing my boat at 40 years old.

My babes

My babes

2 Months with Mr. Man: I’ve finally organized my Bump Pics!

Last week we celebrated Giacomo’s two month birthday, and on Valentine’s weekend he was 9 weeks old.  He’s so stinkin’ cute if I do say so myself.  His crying is getting better. Just look at one month compared to two months! He likes to be held upright so he can see what’s going on around him, so I think once he is able to sit up and hold his head up more he will be even better.

He's already grown so much!

He’s already grown so much!

I’ve only just met the little guy, but I feel like I’ve known him forever. It’s hard to think of life before him, even after only 9 weeks. Part of me can’t wait for him to play and talk and move around more, and the other part wants him to stay little and cuddly. Every coo and giggle he gives makes me so happy, and I’m trying to take in every one because I have to go back to work in 2 weeks. I should be happy about it because I got a promotion while I was out. I’ll be going back to adult conversation, creative work, and a reason to dress in something other than jeans and sweats.  I’m slowly becoming more optimistic, but that isn’t an easy task. I still haven’t been able to think about going back to work without shedding a tear or two, or a million. So I have to stop talking about it before my keyboard breaks from getting wet…

Mommy's favorite valentine! (Sorry Matt)

Mommy’s favorite valentine! (Sorry Matt)

I finally put together my baby bump pictures. I started taking the pictures around when I started telling people I was pregnant, and the later in my pregnancy the more consistent I was about taking the pictures. I really haven’t looked at them at all. I think I started to “pop” at 20 weeks. I got so huge so quickly; I gained 50 pounds while I was pregnant! I really wasn’t a binge eater or anything like that. They say you’re only supposed to gain like 20 pounds. If you can manage that, good for you! I was certainly not trying to gain so much but it happened anyway. I think I gained so much because I craved peanut butter and dairy like crazy, and that’s probably because my body was craving protein and I don’t like meat. Luckily for me I’m only 12 pounds away from my pre-baby weight after 9 weeks. I haven’t been able to exercise because of my c-section (although I don’t think I’d have had time to anyway). I think breastfeeding has helped a lot in combination with having to walk around and rock Giacomo to make him stop crying. Whoa! I just realized the benefit of a crying baby! 😉



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