It’s not my job.

About three weeks ago on a Saturday I found myself in our bedroom to change my pants before running errands. I got into the bedroom and heard the quiet and looked around to find myself alone. No baby, no husband, not even a cat. I felt the sting in my eyes and the tears starting falling down my cheeks. It was a little after noon and I was already exhausted. Eva woke up at 6:30 that morning. I grabbed her from her crib and fed her while dozing in bed for another half an hour. From 7 to 9-ish I was downstairs with Eva playing with her, changing her, and just being here for her. Tim came downstairs and came into the living room to occupy Eva. I went into the kitchen and made breakfast. After breakfast I did some dishes. Swept the floor and half of Eva’s breakfast.

Going up the stairs I was thinking of everything that I needed to do. Figure out what was going to go on Eva’s sensory board. The bathroom needed to be cleaned. The kitchen floor needed to be mopped. Our laundry was so high I’m pretty sure I saw Frodo climbing it on his search for Mordor. With every step I thought of another chore, another thing to add to the list, another weight to put on my mind. I got upstairs feeling like I had just spent an hour on a stair climber machine…thing. I got into our bedroom and I think the weights on my mind collapsed and so did I. I didn’t physically collapse onto a fainting couch or anything, but if those were made for overwhelmed mothers, I totally get it now.

I wiped tears away as fast as I could. I changed and took in a few deep breathes. I checked in the mirror for that, “Does it look like me face was leaking weakness water?” look. I then pushed everything to the back of my mind and went downstairs asking, “Okay, are we ready to go?” I acted as though my vision quest was really just me going upstairs to put on “Adulting pants” AKA somewhat clean pants. I need to portray to Tim and Eva that nothing was amiss and I was totally fine and with it. I had all my ducks in a row, let’s do this. Off to errands we went. It was a lovely and productive afternoon that also resulted in Eva’s first big kid dinner to herself. An overwhelming day of emotions all together. I still had my ducks in a row attitude on full blast and needed to prove that I was good.

A couple weeks went by and then it happened again. I had this surge that I was drowning. AhhhhI was sitting in the living room watching Eva play. She was self playing like a champ. I had coffee and a content daughter why did I feel this way? I totally broke down. Not silent tears this time. Eva toddled herself over to me and gave me a hug like any good service being does when their keeper is in distress. I felt horrendous that morning because I didn’t want to be a mom. I was overwhelmed, over tired, and over all of it. Worrying about how much Eva was eating at meals. When was the last time Eva had a bath? How bad has the bathroom gotten since I last cleaned it? The kitchen still needs a good mop. Is Eva learning enough? I need to go grocery shopping. I was making to do lists every day that had no hopes of getting accomplished. Everything I thought about was either, Eva, the house work, errands, cooking, or schedules. In that moment, I was over being a mom and wife. To say the mom guilt became a Kraken on my soul would be accurate. It devoured me for about ten minutes. Ten long god awful minutes. I frantically texted a bestie searching for reassurance that I wasn’t alone. Of course being one of my best besties she assured me I wasn’t and all moms have these moments.

She told me that I should start looking for myself again outside being Eva’s mom or Tim’s wife. I needed to be Amy again, sassy pants and all. I thought all day about how I would talk to Tim about it. Then it dawned on me. It’s not my job to make everyone else’s life easier. It’s not my job to make Tim being a father easier. It’s not my job to make sure Eva has every single toy she may desire that day within a finger’s reach. It’s not my job to make sure my schedule fits in with friends’ schedules. It’s not my job to make sure people’s relationship with Eva was ideal for them. It’s just not my job to mold and shape who I am to make sure everyone else has an easier time. Tim was amazing. He agreed that I have done this since he’s known me. He also agreed to take on some of the load with me and he totally has. I can sit and finish dinner while he starts dishes. I tell him what needs to be done around the house and I don’t feel like I’m imposing on him to do things anymore.

I realized that it’s my job to raise a well rounded gremlin. It’s my job to make sure Tim feels the ridiculous amount of love I have for him. It’s my job to let my friends know I still have time for them even though none of us have time for anything anymore. It’s my job to also remember myself. I can’t keep putting myself on the back burner because that’s when things get burned. I can’t burn out because I have a job to do. Asking for help or realizing how far I can bend without breaking isn’t a bad thing, in the end it’s a really good thing. Being a mom is fracking hard, but it’s also a pretty amazing job to have.

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Why I’m not okay

It’s been less than a week since Donald Trump was elected president by the electoral college (he didn’t win the popular vote, so I refuse to say America voted him in). I’ve seen all the posts, read all the comments, seen internet friendships implode before my very eyes. I’ve been pretty vocal about not voting Donald Trump into office, but I haven’t said much after he was elected. There’s a very simple reason for that. I am still very sad. I am still very confused. I am still very scared. I am still worried about the ramifications a Trump presidency will have on my daughter or any other babies that come along. Overall, I’m not okay and damnit, I have every right to be.

I have every right to not be okay not because I’m a woman and fall into one of his persecuted categories. It’s because I am a human and a citizen of this country. I have never so badly wanted to pack our bags and get the hell out of dodge after an election. I truly asked Tim how feasible it was to move to Canada. I didn’t want to think of my future here anymore. On Wednesday morning I held Eva in bed while looking at my phone in utter disbelief. I went to bed without looking at anything because I’ve been saying for months, “He’s going to win. Everyone said he wouldn’t get on the ballot and he did.” I was hoping with every neuron in my being that I was wrong. Unfortunately I do have the annoying trait of being right 95% of the time. Please don’t laugh, it awful and true. I didn’t want to be. I know I wouldn’t be okay.

I am sad for our country. For a long time now so much of our country feels forgotten about and disregarded. Their pleas of help for jobs are going unheard. Hopes of a livable minimum wage have been thrown out the window. A hope for a life without an EBT card  and support from a government have waned. It becomes more expensive to live in America but our wages don’t reflect those changes. Outsourcing of jobs makes it nearly impossible to logically keep factories in America. We are so broken as a whole that we’ve turned against each other. If this was a musical “You’re Fault” from Into the Woods would be playing right now. We were all desperate to blame someone, anyone, that the blame has ended with our neighbors and friends.

Sadly a Trump presidency has brought out the worse in all of us. Those of us who preach love and understanding have now spewed vile words against Trump and Pence because we feel they don’t follow the same principles of love and understanding. Those of us who were keeping quiet on racist thoughts and ideals based on a Great America that never existed have a voice to yell out through. The biggest worry I have with this presidency is that, say Trump and Pence bring up the number of jobs. Say they help with the economy, hell let’s go so far into the benefit of doubt and say even foreign affairs improve. At what cost? The cost of most of the population of our country being terrified to leave their house because they may or may not be accosted and beaten that day? The cost of rights of the LGBTQI community has tirelessly fought for? The cost of women throwing their arms in the air and saying, “Oh sure, government. Let’s take this a step further and have you tell me how I should conduct my own sex life. Seems appropriate.” The cost of children asking why they have to act one way when even the president of the United States can act however he wants? How can we yell that pro athletes aren’t stepping up enough as role models for the youth of America, but Trump gets a pass because hey at least he tells the truth.

Now, I have friends and family who voted for Trump. They say they are sick of government sticking their noses in their business. They say they don’t want their rights infringed upon. They say they want someone who understands what it is to work for what you have in life. All I can say is, that won’t happen with Trump. At least the Trump he has shown us. As much as you want your 2nd amendment rights, that how much I want the right to do with MY BODY as I see fit, not my husband. ME. As much as you are sick of government sticking their noses into your business that’s how much a homosexual couple wants all of America to stay out of their relationship and family dynamic. And choosing someone who grew up in the upper 1% of society is not your advocate for working hard for every penny. I understand the thinking of you are passionate about your views, I’m passionate for views that don’t leave out people for being who they are. Someone who lives their life in a peaceful and loving way. Honest to god, I have never understood why you should hate someone for no reason other than they are walking down the street and look too black or too gay or you know, have boobies.

This week has been difficult for many of us. A lot of us have mourned the opportunity to see history be made and see the first female president. A lot of us have run to the mountain top to scream to the sky. A lot of us have turned to social media to get our message across, whatever it may be. Our country is hurt right now no matter which side you’re on. There has been a line drawn in the sand and we’re yelling at each other over that line. All I can hope for is that when we cross that line it’s to shake hands and figure things out. I hope beyond hope that Trump leads that handshake because that’s what a president does. I hope beyond hope that he leads his supporters towards a path of peaceful and loving relationship with his non supporters. I hope beyond hope that we can repair our country. These are all hopes I have because no matter how many times I go over it in my head, right now, I’m not okay.

Here’s what I know

This is kind of a different post. It’s not so much about being a housewife and mom with the events happening in our country over the last couple of weeks. Then again, it is because I am raising a daughter and I don’t want her to grow up in the world that I grew up in and into. Now, don’t get me wrong. The world we live in now isn’t horrendous. For me it’s great. I am a white middle class female stay at home mom. I chose to have that title (well, the white and female part was pre determined) and because of my husband’s job I can be a stay at home mom. I digress though. The last week has lasted a lifetime in terms of politics and media cycles. Donald Trump’s leaked tape about women has thrown open the doors to talk about sexual behavior in our country. It made me wonder, what’s been my experience?

Overall, I have been very fortunate. Let me explain what I mean by fortunate. I grew up in a house where I was told that girls could do anything boys could do. I had a mother that knew how to use tools and a father that would vacuum. I have never been molested or raped. My first job that I had for seven years (on and off) didn’t discriminate against me because I was a woman. I was a team lead in my department. I was given projects that were important to what we were doing and was surrounded by executives that were women. In terms of being a woman in this world, I grew up and and have been very fortunate in my experiences. The sad flip side to that statement is that I was fortunate because I wasn’t abused somehow. I was fortunate because I was treated as an equal in my company. I was fortunate because I didn’t grow up thinking women belonged in the home and that’s all they were good for. I was fortunate to have things that should be god given, not things where luck is a factor.

I have had my fair share though. There are two instances that I remembered when I started thinking about writing this post. In high school I had to do community service like most high schools. My father works heavily with United Way through his work. They were putting on a charity golfing tournament. One of my jobs was to watch a certain hole. If someone got a hole in one they won a car. There was an older man playing through who said, “Let’s make this more interesting and put some team bets on this. Shirts vs skins!” the other men chuckled and then the man who spoke looked at me and said, “You can be skins *wink, gross old man laugh*” I was 14. I was 14 and an older man thought not only was it okay to imply he wanted to see me with my top off, he laughed about it. Needless to say, I asked my dad for another job that day.

The other instance happened when I was 20. I was driving home from college. I was at a stop light that had two lanes. At the red light I stretched and looked over to the 4×4 next to me. Another older man held up a sign that said, “Show me your boobs”. Really think about that. Not only was this guy willing to pull up to random women and show them this disgusting sign, he made the sign in the first place. He sat down somewhere, took a piece of paper, a marker and wrote “Show me your boobs” and then thought “I should put this in my car to show random women. How will they resist?” and while it was super tempting to do so I somehow did resist his lovely offer and did show him something. My middle finger which was met with his middle finger and him actually showing anger towards me.

Those are the two incidents that will always stay with me. I am a curvy girl and have been since I was 12 (thanks, puberty on steroids). In college I was grabbed and I was told my nickname for a group of guys was, “The RA with big boobs”. In clubs I was invited to bathrooms to take a ride on a disco stick. Good lord, I feel so respected in our society why would I agree that what Trump said was completely disgusting? If you’ve seen my Facebook you know I am not on the Trump train to the White House. But this isn’t about politics. This is about women living in a country where we feel truly lucky if we aren’t raped in college. Are these the standards we want to continue for our daughters? How can I look at my newborn daughter in the eyes and honestly hope, “I hope you never have to call me one day with awful news”. By allowing what Trump said to go without consequence is us giving our consent to these behaviors for future generations.

Here’s what I know. I am a female and I was offended by what Donald Trump said on that bus with Billy Bush. That’s the end of the discussion. No one gets to tell me that I can’t be offended by this. No one gets to tell me that I overreacted when I was 14 and was hit on by a man in his 60’s. No one gets to tell me that the man in the 4×4 was just exercising his first amendment rights. No one gets to tell me what makes me uncomfortable and violated. There are so many posts I could write about this but hopefully I only have to write this one to get the message across to someone out there. People may feel like we are beating a dead horse but this is one worth beating. Mostly because that bastard keeps coming back to life. My daughter will be badass but I don’t want to add zombie horse killer to that list…or do I?

I am a woman…kinda.

I had a baby five months ago and I have never felt like less of a woman before in my life. I feel like I should be walking around our house singing, “I am woman, hear me roar”. Before I had Eva I was a housewife. A run of the mill housewife with a little more swearing and a little less (not a lot less) drinking than your 50’s sitcoms. Our house was clean 90% of the time, my husband got a home made breakfast, lunch, and dinner more days than not. Going out for date night or a family function I was perpetually showered, dressed in clean clothes, had a full face of make up, and in general felt good about myself. Let me be clear, these were and are all my choices. My husband does make the income but he does not decide the use of the income. I can believe in feminism and still be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, cause who wears shoes in the kitchen? Were we raised in barns?

So yes before Eva I felt very womanly like for the most part. During my pregnancy I also did feel fairly womanly. I was a swollen, emotional, internally screaming most of the time woman. When I got pregnant I felt like it was what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a mom, at that moment I was meant to be a mom to be. I was a prepping machine when I was pregnant. Every day was mostly centered around getting ready for our bundle of…change? The nursery was on fleek with a great outer space theme. Our hospital bags were packed and ready to go. All the necessary paper work was filled out and done. Our house was clean. I was able to shower and put on a full face of make-up, no problem. I, overall, felt like the kind of woman I wanted to be.

After having Eva, it all changed. I didn’t think it would. I thought that if anything I would feel my womanlinest….mostest womanly…best woman?…I would feel the pinnacle of my womanhood. I had given birth. I had screamed, grunted, and cried my way into producing life. I continued the circle of life. I was Rafiki presenting Simba to the tribe. The truth was and is I feel more like a shapeless blob in Flubber. While it’s amazing that I grew and pushed a human out of me, it’s also amazing how quickly I also feel like I left my sense of being a woman at the hospital. Something I’m not sure when I will get back.

My body is not mine anymore. Starting with my breasts. In our culture, the symbol of womanhood. They are fun in the bedroom and sustain life. Yet they do not belong to me anymore. They belong to my daughter. She is still feeding on demand. She lets me know when she wants them and my breasts let me know when it’s been too long since Eva has seen them. I have to wear shapeless bras that give no support because I need easy access and can’t have underwire clogging and ducts. For ten months my stomach was rented by Eva. Well, she left it a mess. My hair is falling out in hand fulls, my stomach and hips are a different shape, and I was super swollen for about two weeks after she was born. Overall, I don’t feel like my body is a woman’s body. I feel like it’s an instrument solely for someone else’s survival.

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My schedule and everyday life. There was a saying in my family growing up, “It’s all about Amy”. While this was very unfortunate for my lovely sister, I truly understand the flip side of that now. Everything, everyday, every minute is all about Eva. What’s Eva doing? Is Eva okay? How old is she? A girl or a boy? The only question that is directed to me and who I am is, “How are you adjusting?” meaning, how am I doing with the notion that my whole life has been taken over by a demanding biped with toilet issues. I’m also a stay at home mom so I honestly never get a break. Which I knew that was going to happen, but some days, yeah it freaking hard. I am not Amy Gagnon anymore, I’m Eva’s mom.

Lastly, my own personal care. I don’t want to say that I’ve given up on my appearance and personal care, but I don’t want to lie either. It’s not so much that I willingly thought, “I shouldn’t shower for a week” it just happened. It’s hard to want to take time to put on clothes that have spit up on them and put on only a little make up because your daughter loves to Hannibal Lecter your face and the mom messy bun is a must in this house. The gist of all this? I don’t get ready anymore. When we run errands or have appointments I make sure Eva has a clean diaper and onesie on, her diaper bag is ready to go, and at the last second I look in the pub mirror by our front door. I tuck the feathered hairs behind my ears and we’re good to go. I wouldn’t call myself a woman anymore, I would call myself a mom.

Could I change this perspective of myself? Yes. Could I go to others for help so I can get out of this slump? Yes. At the end of the day I’m not sure I’m ready to. We just started getting into a routine and feeling somewhat normal in my house. I sometimes cook dinner, I sometimes clean things, and I sometimes have discussions with Tim that don’t center around our baby. These things used to have a never in front of them for months. I don’t think I was prepared for this part, doing what could be called the most womanly thing to do and feeling not so womanly. I’ll get there someday, I know this. I just wish that were today.

I Facebook comment myself

It’s been a minute since I last posted on here. It wasn’t intentional by any means. I really enjoy doing my blog posts and look at them as something for myself in a life that is not my own anymore. When you get married you give over part of your life to someone, but at the end of the day you are both adults (hopefully) and can do what you want. I can leave the house without Tim to go to the grocery store, although it would be epic to try to get him into the stroller and push him around. When you have a baby your life is no longer yours. You are someone’s mom. You can go NO WHERE alone, not even the bathroom. You have a little person to answer to minute after minute. You have to put another person’s needs in front of yours or DHHS will be asking why you thought it pertinent to have the third margarita over feeding your crying baby. You are a parent. This is now your life.

With great power comes great responsibility. True that being a parent is a 24-7 job but there’s also a huge amount of power with it. We get to decide what kind of child we have. Our decisions affect her and her every move. From where we put her in school to how harsh we are as parents. We are molding a person literally from day one and that’s ridiculous to think about seeing how I used to take the heads off my Barbies because it was “easier” to style their hair that way. Was it baby Amy, was it? The unfortunate thing about having these responsibilities in today’s world is everything we do can come under scrutiny whether we want it to or not. I am well aware that I could be judge or told off by a parent every time I post a picture of my baby. However, I could also have my picture posted on line without my permission because someone in public thought something I was doing was wrong, as a parent, as an adult, or as a woman. Since becoming a mom I realized more and more how I am Facebook commenting myself.

Facebook commenting myself is a pretty simple idea. I am predicting what someone would say if the thing I was doing was posted on Facebook. What would the trolls say? What would other stay at home parents say? What would my parents say? My friends? My husband? Myself if I saw it on someone else’s profile? The other day I realized something. It is exhausting. I realized it because I was reading the Facebook comments on different parenting articles or blogs. I was reading the replies to the comments being made. I then put together how much I was doing this in my real non-Facebook life. I was parenting and trying to get through the first year of raising a human based on what other people out there thought of me. I have always been a perfectionist but parenting and perfect are worse than oil and water. I mean we’re talking Mel Gibson vs. voicemails scenarios.

Before we had Eva I had some grandiose ideas about what kind of mom I was going to be. I was going to shower everyday. I was going to have a pretty clean house. I was going to cook at least 80% of our meals at home. I was going to keep up with family and friends and never turn down an invitation. Then the baby came. After four months, I shower maybe three to four times a week. I don’t know what clean means anymore. We get at least 80% of our meals outside our home and I touch the stove maybe twice a week. I’ve turned down multiple invites because it was just too much to try to do with a baby. With every one of these disappointments I could hear the FB comments. “When I had a baby it wasn’t that bad.” “SAHM was the easiest job in my life! Why are so many of you complaining? Get it together.” “At least you get to stay home. Try working and then coming home.” I told Tim the other day that I actually feel guilty when someone says I have great natural mothering instincts. I felt guilty because we see all around us that if we don’t struggle and work hard for things then we don’t actually deserve the reward. If mothering comes easily to me doesn’t that mean I don’t earn it? HOW INSANE IS THAT?!!??!! I should be so excited that it’s natural for me. Maybe it means my days as a mom are a microscopic bit easier than if it wasn’t natural for me.

At some point recently I stopped caring so much what these imaginary comments were saying because everyday I see a beautiful smile come across her face. I hear laughter when she plays with Tim. I had a certified doctor tell me she’s in the 98th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for height. We have empirical evidence that we do in fact have a healthful and happy baby in our house. Clearly Tim and I are doing something right. I’m doing something right. I will go insane worrying about what comments will eventually say because it’s my own inner commentary that I have to listen to. Eva was two days old when her pediatrician said, “You’re the mom now. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. You’re the mom.” and it’s true. Every time Eva pops me a smile and grabs my face to bring to hers I know she feels closeness, she feels happiness, she feels safe, and she feels loved. I can’t ask for more than that as a mom.

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Positive things about parenting

It’s been a quick yet long three months in casa de Gagnon. Eva has taken over our entire lives and household. As well as she should. It has been difficult, if you have read my other blog posts or my Facebook posts I’ve been very honest about how difficult being a parent is. The internets is wonderful to feel you have a place to vent those frustrations and have a place where other moms say, “Go have a glass of wine in a closet and cry a little. We got you, boo. We got you.” But with all the venting and word vomit in hopes of regaining some sanity I feel I need to also focus on the positive things about parenting.

I feel like there are days where people could ask me, “Why IS having kids so great? Why do it?” And I honest to gawd would need a minute to think of reasons. I’d be lying if I were to say when I get to drive to grocery store by myself I don’t imagine for a second that I don’t have a kid. It’s just me before baby. Carefree and can do anything. I can go grocery shopping. I could go to the beach. I could go to France! Then I buy my groceries and remember that I have to go home and be a mom again. So what are the positives? What are the reasons to do this?

Here are a few from my mind hole:

1.) Unconditional love: This is coming from both sides. I love Eva unconditionally, no question. I know and understand why I do. Eva unconditionally loves me, while she may not understand why, I know she does. Tim and I were talking about how it was surprising the amount of bottomless love we have for her. I said, “I have no doubt you and I will be 95 in rocking chairs someday, but there is still that small fear that you and I could stop loving each other one day. I will never stop loving her and that’s crazy.” To give yourself over to another being this much is amazing and a true example of how far the human condition can go.

2.) My body doesn’t matter: I have been doing really well with my no negative body talk pledge to Eva. The nice thing is that right now Eva doesn’t care about what my body looks like. She rests her feet on my belly because it comfortable. She snuggles into my neck because she needs the comfort. She doesn’t pinch my rolls or ask where my calf definition is. She doesn’t care, she just wants me.

3.) Seeing her grow: It. Is. So. Cool. You brought home this little blob that did nothing but nurse, poop, and sleep. You gingerly touched her head and carefully picked her up. Now we play, we horse around, we let her physically experiment with her body, and I grab a leg and lift her up to change diapers. The day that she stared at her Oball and you could see the thought process of, “How do I get that in my hands?” and the she reaches out and grabs it,  that is one I will remember for a long time. At three months old she already gets looks of pride on her face when she figures out something new and I’m there cheering her on.

4.) Loving Tim more: Tim and I are a gross couple. I get that. We are very lovey dovey and knew from the beginning that this was it. But having Eva with him has brought another level of love to our relationship. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that she’s part him, part me, we’ve been through baby hell together, or the fact that we can equally love someone else together, but I love him more. Watching Eva sleep on Tim is one of my favorite activities. I don’t think that will ever stop.

5.) Automatic bonds: When I first went to breastfeeding support group I didn’t really know what to expect. I kept envisioning a Mean Girls situation a la high school. I was still going to be the weird kid that didn’t really fit in anywhere, I was the new kid on the block, and I had the least amount of experience. Kellymom can only help you out so much. I couldn’t have been more wrong. These women were so accepting because if anything, we’re all moms. We’ve all been there. Judgments get tossed out the window because we all go through boot camp the same way. You go into survival mode and you survive it. No matter how differently you survived it, you all did it. That’s a common ground to commiserate on not judge on.

6.) Strangers are super nice: I get doors held open for me. I get genuine smiles. Compliment on top of compliment on my baby. I get to see a good side of humanity. I mean I also get strangers telling me their life story about raising their kids, but hey it helps pass the time in line at Dukin Donuts. I was told the other day that Eva was a Gerber baby. If that’s not winning parenting, I don’t know what measure is. Especially right now in our world, it’s wonderful to see a tough looking leather jacket wearing gruff old man melt when my baby smiles at him. It makes your heart feel good.

7.) You feel like you can do anything: There is no bigger test of your human strength than getting a brand new human through the first few weeks of their life. They know nothing. You know nothing. You laugh for no reason. You cry for every reason. But you get through it. After those experiences, you feel like you can tackle anything. I swear to god, put moms in a room with the leaders of ISIS and things will get resolved. I’m sorry dude, I’ve been pooped on, puked on, peed on, spit up on, smacked in the face, hair ripped from my head, a constant scream in my ear, and had 2 hours of sleep and it’s only 10 am. You don’t scare me. Maybe they just need a good juice box and a listening mom ear.

8.) You have new respect for your parents: When you become an adult you get to a point where you think you and your parents are on the same level. You both adult. You’ve both lived a good number of years. You can consider them friends. Then you have a baby and realize they did this 30 years ago and you can’t help but have a new found respect. There was no internet then. There were no public spaces to yell, “This is so hard. Am I alone here?” There was not the support for post partum there is now, and even now isn’t super great. They did it all more isolated and they survived. You survived. We may have chewed on a few more lead filled window sills, but hey, my immunity system is on fleek. Overall, you look at them in a new light and appreciate so much more what they’ve done for you. At least for me I feel this. I get not everyone had great childhoods like I did, I hope to have that for Eva.

9.) You are a mama bear and love it: I have always been protective of family and friends. You don’t mess with them because I will take you down. If you hurt one of them you have offended me and it’s very difficult to come back from that. With Eva, that protection is a whole new level. I am a mama bear to her and I. Love. It. I feel like I’m always ready to go. It’s a primal instinct. I know where all exits are. I see where all strangers are. I have a kid leash ready to buy in my Amazon cart. I am ready to go. I feel sorry for her first love. I had talks with my sister’s boyfriends and my friends’ boyfriends about what would happen if they hurt these people I love. I can only imagine what I will be with her’s. That person won’t fear Tim. Tim will laugh and say, “You have to worry about Mrs. Gagnon. I’m a kitten in comparison.” I. Love. It.

10.) The best is yet to come: Hey, I cherish these moments. I watch her while she sleeps. I already miss the fact that she fit in one arm full instead of two. I know these moments are fleeting and I’m already 80 years old wondering where it all went. But I also know that amazing moments are ahead of me. First word, first crawl, first steps, first day of school, first heart break, first dance, first game, and a million other firsts. I get to relish in these moments with an amazing partner. I get to send pictures to very proud grandparents. I get to gush to my sister. I get to brag to friends. I already miss the moments that have come and gone, but I look forward to the moments yet to be.

There you have it. 10 positive points of parenting. I could list a lot more but this is a blog not a manifesto. That will be for when my babies leave me and I have nothing else to do. What are some positive parenting moments for you? What are some positive life moments? Just take a second and think of something positive! We all need that some days, not just parents.

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I needed to talk to someone

“I’m going to give you the name of a couple therapists who specialize in post partum therapy” this is what my OBGYN said to me at my six week check up. I had to fill out a survey and then spoke to her about how the past six weeks had gone. At the end of talking she recommended that I go to post partum counseling. She felt that I wasn’t full on post partum depression yet but that I needed to at least talk to someone. I agreed with her. My anxious feeling dealing with Eva was getting stronger and stronger. It was pretty bad when we got home with Eva. In the first four or five days I maybe got four or five hours of sleep. I waited to go to the bathroom until I was going to burst because I felt like I was a bad mother for leaving Eva. I would break down crying because I felt like I was just given a prison sentence and not an extraordinary gift.

I had wonderful friends and family offer help almost everyday but I would lie and say that things were going really well and I didn’t need anything. When in actuality I wanted to yell that I was awful at being a mother. There were moments that I would look at this blob who had taken over every part of my life and wonder, “Am I really cut out to be a mom?!” “Can I do this for the rest of my life?!”. It was so hard. I knew that becoming a mom and giving yourself over to a little human was going to be difficult and down right cruel some days, but damn. If it’s not giving cuddles for comfort, it’s nursing. If it’s not swaddling, it’s bouncing for an hour on the yoga ball. If it’s not screaming in my ear because she’s hot, it’s puking all over me so I look like a Jackson Pollock. It was one thing after another every single minute of the day. I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t see straight. At our two week check up my pediatrician suggested that I go to the breast feeding support group that our hospital offered.

Tim really encouraged me to go. I could get out of the house and I could talk to other moms who had been where I was. I felt like I was in my own Stranger Things episode and I was Barb (if you haven’t seen this show, drop everything and watch it). I felt like I was in this universe no one else was in. As supportive and wonderful as he was, Tim wasn’t even in that universe. Our daughter was literally depending on me for everything. Food, drink, comfort, security, familiarity, etc. It makes sense, we shared the same lodging for 10 months, yes 10 not nine science. It makes sense that she would want me right at the beginning. Her world has gone haywire and she was grasping for a known comfort. For her that was my heart beat, my voice, my smell, my everything. In a unrealized turn of events she then becomes my everything and that in of itself is overwhelming. They say for the first year of their lives babies equate themselves and their mother as the same person. Ipso facto, you as the mom now equate yourself and your baby as the same person. You find yourself staring at your wide awake baby saying, “I am so tired. How are you so awake?” because you truly don’t understand how you can be this exhausted and that little meatloaf is ready to rage on.

Breast feeding support group did and keeps helping. I get to ask a lactation specialist/nurse questions about being a mom and having a baby every week. I get to commiserate with other moms who have spit up in their hair and the memories of what daily showers were. We also get to show off our show babies. You beam with pride when you see that your little one gained 10 ounces that past week. You brag about them grabbing a toy for the first time. You tear up when you see a baby a month younger than yours and you remember when your baby was that tiny. You get to experience the ups and downs of being a mom with other tribe members and thankfully, no one gets voted off this island. As amazing as the group was, I was still feeling so anxious. I was still sacrificing my entire self for Eva. Showers. Eating. Sleeping. Going to the bathroom. Cleaning. The kitties. My marriage. My talking abilities. It was all on the baby sacrificing table and my prayers were that she would never cry. Never be upset. Never show others that I wasn’t good enough as a mom. I needed to talk to someone about it.

I walked into my therapist’s office this past Monday and was crying withing 10 minutes of the session. I was talking and talking and talking. It was so freeing. This person wasn’t there to judge me or tell me I was being a bad mom. She nodded her head in a understanding way. She offered different view points of how I was feeling. She let me know that not everything I did or was going to do was or is perfect because I’m not perfect and neither is my baby. I am very lucky that we have insurance that will cover my therapy appointments because they are so needed. Let’sbehonest, being a mom in this country is  terrible. There isn’t enough paid time off from companies and I don’t think there is enough support after a mom leaves the hospital. I’m so fortunate to have my breast feeding support group, but that’s because Exeter Hospital is amaze balls. Not everyone has that. Mommy groups in person and on-line are wonderful and so helpful but they aren’t objective. We mommies need that objective authoritative person to help us sort through what we just went through physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being a mom is probably the best thing I’ve done in my life. I look at Eva and can’t comprehend how much I love her. But there are also days I feel like I’m also just keeping a sophisticated Tamagochi alive.

We need to let go of the shame of asking for help. We as a society need to let go the idea that being a mom is the most natural role a woman can play. It doesn’t matter if you breast feed, physically gave birth, live in a city or country side, are married or single. Being a mom is so difficult and we all need help with it. Some women need a lot of help and support and some need just a little extra. Either way, we all need it. I don’t think you’ll encounter many women who full on regret becoming a mother because the good does outweigh the bad, eventually. Honestly, I didn’t round that corner until she was about two months old. Try imagining not feeling human or a woman or a wife or a sister or a daughter or a friend or your own self for two months. I write this post not to scare, or vent, or complain. I write this post because we need to talk about this more. Moms need to feel comfortable standing up and saying, “This is so hard. Please listen to me. Please help me.” because hard is a new definition to them. We need to circle the wagons not let them go in separate directions. We need to raise kids in a community again not separate houses. At the end of the day we need to talk to someone.

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