For about six weeks I have been contemplating Husband’s Father’s Day gift. I found many cool ideas scouring Pinterest and my favorite blogs, but the kids’ young ages and a rather paltry budget ruled out most of them. In the end I grabbed my babies and our beloved dog for an outdoor photo shoot. Simple letters spelling “DAD” let their personalities shine.
In what felt like a rare moment of easy harmony, we laughed and played as we took these pictures. The result was a wonderful gift for Daddy and a precious memory for me.
My husband’s cousin has four young children (I think all under the age of 7) and is one of the best mom role models I have. She is laid back but far from being a pushover. Whenever I have a question or concern about my babies I can depend on her to give me solid advice, usually laced with a good dose of “relax, this is normal.”
This past January at a Superbowl party she did something that I still think about four months later. Like a lot of other people at the party, she asked to hold Haiden for a bit. But when I gave her my standard disclaimer about how fussy he can be, she replied “I don’t mind if you don’t mind.”
That’s it. Simple acceptance and understanding that sometimes babies cry for no reason. I didn’t have to hover over them looking for signs that she’d had enough of his crying. I didn’t have to feel guilty that someone else was dealing with my handful of a baby. It was the first time since I’d given birth two months earlier that I was “off-duty” for a few hours and able to relax. What a precious gift to receive as the parent of a newborn.
I’m going to remember her the next time I’m around a new parent. Everyone wants to hold the happy baby or the sleeping baby. However what that parent really needs is someone to take their crying baby and say “I don’t mind if you don’t mind.”
This coming Thursday I will embark on an eleven day vacation with my 5 month old son Haiden and my 2 year old daughter Amelia. Not one to overlook an opportunity to try something new, I have decided to incorporate into this vacation my first public writing project. What I post on this page may not be more than a few words each day, but I promise I will post something.
- 1,572 miles round-trip
- 4 days of driving
- 1 mom, 1 car, 1 time zone change
- 2 kids, 2 car seats, 2 pack and plays
- 9 grandparents, sisters, aunts and uncles that will meet the kiddos for the first time
- Less than 2 days until departure!
Living in a constant state of sleep deprivation is an inescapable part of being a new parent. As the mother of two I’ve definitely had my share of long, sleepless nights. Yesterday however I discovered that being up all night is far easier when it is expected.
Barely four months old Haiden still wakes up at night, but he is usually happy to eat and go right back to bed. So I was completely unprepared when he woke at 1:00 am and (with the exception of an hour catnap) did not go back to sleep until 6:30. Initially the feeding was very routine. Haiden drank half a bottle and gave us a good burp right away. When it looked like he was getting drowsy, Husband went up to bed and I planned to follow shortly. But Haiden never went back to sleep. Nothing I did kept him happy for very long and he certainly wasn’t sleepy.
At one point I found myself staring out into the night, realizing I wasn’t going back to bed. It’s hard to describe just how sad and lonely I felt in that moment. It seemed every person was asleep except for Haiden and I. There were no lights on in the other houses; no sounds.
I thought about the pile of bottles to be prepped for daycare, the laundry to be folded, the projects waiting for me at work, and the weekend house cleaning that hadn’t been finished. I thought about how many more hours I had until the night was over. As I rocked Haiden in my arms I wondered how I was going to muster the energy to get it all done. I felt the overwhelming weight of motherhood pressing down on me in a way that I seldom do and I wanted to cry.
I don’t know how many laps I did, but eventually on one of those laps I looked out the window and saw the light on in my neighbor’s house. I quickly looked at the clock. 5:23am. I walked over to the window and peered out into the dark. Paying better attention now, I could hear birds chirping in the distance. The night was coming to an end and I had made it. Soon Husband would be carrying Amelia down the stairs for breakfast and my day would officially start. What needed to get done would get done, and no one would know that for a moment I considered failure.
I think it’s amazing that as parents we can be pushed to what we think is our limit, and then pushed beyond that. We doubt our own abilities and question our decisions. But when it counts, when our kids depend on us, we shove those doubts aside and get the job done.