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My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.

I was asked what I wanted.

All I could tell them was I wanted something I can play with, not a need and not clothing or something to use for my business. I want something just for me.

Now, I am at a total loss- no clue what I want.

My brain is going full speed but unless it’s like a book or something, I no longer can think of hobbies.

It’s kind of sad that at 31, I have no hobbies because I spend all my time working or writing and it’s making me realize how little I really have.

I work 24/7 unless I’m sleeping or running after my kids, I have lost damn near all my social skills and quit talking to my friends. My #1 identity is D####’s mommy” or “M#######’s mommy” and it feels like even with me taking time for myself and strongly believing in not losing yourself, I have lost myself.

Before kids, I was a gym rat. I had gym memberships and was actually taking a boxing class. Music was my life. I played basketball and walked all the time.

I’m still interested and keep promising myself I’ll start walking again but never get an opportunity.

Now that I’m out of the pregnancy and young baby stage, it is 100% time to get back to my center and find what works.

Its kind of funny when an innocent question like “what would you like for your birthday?” triggers such a mental storm, but it’s not a good thing when you’ve been lost for 8 years.

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The number one piece of advice I would give anyone who hasn’t had kids yet

Men and women are pressured, maybe equally, maybe women a little more to have kids. Once college is over and a career is started, a common question seems to become “when are you getting married?” Soon after marriage, the question that seems to come is “when are you having kids?”

It’s a concern a lot of women seem to battle with, for no real reason. Now, we have the ability to choose- whether using birth control, morning after, adoption and even abortion- women have choices about when or if they become moms.

It’s not a choice to make lightly. Many people do not want to be a parent, others give in to pressure and later regret. In reality, becoming a parent is a lifelong responsibility. It extends beyond the time they leave. You will always worry, want to see them as often as possible and want to spend time with grand kids.

The early years involve a lot of late nights, potty training isn’t smooth, you will grow comfortable with every type of bodily fluid (although I still have to ask my husband to clean up if someone pukes most of the time- just the smell alone can make me join in). When I was pregnant, I had to have other people change poop diapers due to my extreme sensitive smell and how prone I was to queasiness. (once again, unless I wanted to puke)

You can deal with colic, temper tantrums over everything, there will be times they don’t want to eat anything and times they only eat one food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and you’ll deal with all types of bad but the good should outweigh the bad. You will feel a strong maternal bond, but not every woman feels it- even after kids. You will feel a strong love and bond and the good times will quickly outweigh the bad.

A lot of people try to justify the why behind why they want kids. To me, it sounds like they’re talking themselves into wanting instead of actually wanting to be a parent “just because.”

This is my opinion alone, I always wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to be a career mommy (career and kids) and I never had a reason. Over the years, I read a lot and all the reasons people gave for having kids sounded more like they were trying to convince people or themselves they wanted something they were unsure of.

After looking at the realities of having kids, the numbers of women living in regret, I never give advice without being asked but if I was asked, I would always tell someone if they have a reason or a list of reasons to hold off on having kids.

What are your thoughts?

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Going Out To Eat Alone

I’m watching The New Adventures of Old Christine. It’s one of my favorite sitcoms. We’re watching the episode after Christine and Schaefer break up and everyone keeps treating her like she’s going to break down.

She had the day without her son, her brother had his girlfriend at their house so she went out to eat alone. Everyone acted like eating alone was the worst thing you could do. Maybe it’s because I’ve been married for 8 years and my oldest child is 7, but I do not mind eating alone. In fact, I find it enjoyable. I do enjoy going out with my family or with friends but there is something about sitting down and enjoying a meal alone. You don’t have anyone to rush you or on the flip, you can leave as fast as you want. You can look at your phone without being called rude and you don’t have to make small talk. Want to listen to music? You can. Want silence? You can have it. Maybe where I have to wait until everyone is in bed to have time to myself, but I am at the point I treasure alone time.

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I finally figured out the secret to a clean house

Lock the husband and kids out. Maybe all of us can go live somewhere else and just sleep on the beds.

I think that’s the only way I’ll keep my house clean for now…

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Rules of my home

No matter how old you are or who you are, nobody is to lick the cat

There will be no throwing of chairs or any other objects at the cat

The cat is to be pet on demand and fed every time someone goes into the kitchen. The cat food is FOR the cat, it is not meant for human consumption.

No licking windows

No licking walls

No licking anything

These are the rules for all whom enter my home, no exceptions- even the tiny people who live here.

I never thought I would have those rules until I had kids… I never even thought I would have to say “dont lick the cat.”

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A few things 30 year old me wishes 22 year old newly pregnant me had known.

I have had a total of three pregnancies- my first ended at 28 weeks with a partial abruption and severe pre-eclampisa. She was only 1lb 11.5ozs and 13 inches long and spent a total of 8 1/2 months in NICU. She’s now a small but healthy 7 year old. My second was relatively uncomplicated but we lost her. She was born at 36 weeks due to me going into a painless labor and I wasn’t allowed by the doctors to go into labor. She died of a condition called Anencephaly (absence of the skull) and lived for 3 hours after birth.

My third was totally complication free and she was born at 37 weeks (once again, due to the complications of my oldest) and was 7lbs11ozs and 21 inches long- they told us she would have been a 9-10lb baby if she was born term.

I had each baby at 23, 25 and 27 years, I’m 30 now so I have spent almost my full adult life being called “mommy.”

I read all the books, blogs and joined all the support forums I could find. What to Expect was my bible through my first pregnancy and through her early years but nothing could prepare me for the almost 9 months of hell I was in for after having my baby.

When I was 22 and newly married, I found out I was pregnant. I was young, naive and even though I knew it was a huge sacrifice, I had a glorified image of pregnancy and motherhood. I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park and that I wouldn’t have near the freedom I had before but I still imagined taking the baby to baby and me classes, taking her out in cute little outfits with friends (since most of mine, at that time were also pregnant or new mommies) and late night cuddles. I thought of play dates and hanging out with friends would simply end up taking place at kid friendly places instead of bars. I had no idea what the dark side of pregnancy involved. I had heard of conditions like Pre-Eclampsia but the thought never crossed my mind that it could happen to me.

I was asked the question “What would 30 year old me go back and tell newly pregnant 22 year old me?” so here are a few pieces of advice I wish I had listened to or received when I was pregnant, especially when I was pregnant with my two older.

  1. Take folic acid- lots of it. I didn’t realize how important it really was. I did make sure my pre-natals had it, but that was it. After dealing with Pre-E and losing another baby to Anencephaly, I joined a support group for people who lost babies to the disorder and that was when I read about folic acid and how vital it is to healthy pregnancies. I also learned about the MTHFR and after asking for a simple blood test, I found out I had a more severe form of the lesser mutation- which means my body only processes about 7% of the folic acid I eat.
  2. Swelling all over to the point where you do not look human IS NOT NORMAL. Don’t call Labor and delivery, go in to the ER to get checked- especially if swelling in the hands and face comes with headache and lightheadedness or any other sign of high blood pressure. Pre-Eclampsia is serious, but can be managed if it’s caught early on.
  3. Lay off the baby books- especially if you have a preemie- seriously, cut it out. If your baby doesn’t develop by the books (either advanced or behind) they will stress you out more than help- it’s nice to know what “normal” development is, but if you start playing comparisons, it will make you lose your mind.
  4. Go ahead and complain about the morning sickness, crampy feelings, bloated feeling, headaches, mood swings, exhaustion and everything else- being pregnant sucks and it’s ok to not enjoy the symptoms- it’s the end result we all want.
  5. Do not freak out after being given the epidural. It doesn’t make all feeling go away- just the pain.
  6. Enjoy the last little bit of freedom- the sleepless nights do not last long (be a few months, they WILL sleep through the night) but that small window of time in between feels like an eternity- and there will be times you will wake up freaked out in the middle of the night because your baby sighed and you thought they were choking- that is normal.

As of right now, those first three pieces of advice are the most important things I wish I had known. I know I could never know, but I feel that if I had known to start taking folic acid before we started trying, our middle daughter would be here with us- about to turn 5.

After my kids were born, there are things I wish I had known.

1. My social life would die. I always had an active social life from college on out- but between location differences between my friends, weeding out the bad influences and age differences between our kids, I have lost touch with most of my old friends. Lack of time tends to get in the way of meeting new people in similar situations (although, working moms with working husbands and busy schedules may not be the types I’d want to meet when it comes to play dates and getting kids together). It’s not bad losing social life- If your old friends were bad influences (into drinking/drugs/etc) but it does rub off on your kids as they get older and have a lower interest in being around other kids.

2. Don’t let your kid sleep in your bed with you. Even just one night. Our 7 year old fell out of her big girl bed two times in one night when she was 3. We allowed her to sleep with us that night. She’s now 7 and we still can’t get her out of our bed (we could, but she actually panics at the thought of sleeping alone). We know she’s spoiled, but fear and anxiety is real and is a real problem when part of a child’s special needs is that they have trouble communicating with others.

3. Having special needs kids changes how you interact with all areas of your life. I’d love to take her to parties and to movies- and sometimes she does great. Other times, we will spend the full night in the bathroom with me trying to calm her down. We do not know how she will react to any given social interaction and sensory overload is a real problem. It has taken me 30 years to know and handle my own issues (loud noises- mainly, loud crowds, she has the same)

I recently read about one business starting a sensory sensitive day and I’m going to have to try taking her. I want to get her around more “normal” developing children, but other special needs kids tend to get on well with her- either way, she’s starting to take interest in socializing so we need to nurture it.

 

I may create a continuation of this post when I think of more. I know there are probably a lot of things that have slipped my mind. What are some things you wish you had known when you were newly pregnant?

 

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Things I have learned over the years after three pregnancies

My daughter is seven years old. Just started second grade and these past seven years have changed me so much.

I never thought I’d be associated with stuff like Pinterest nor Starbucks lol

I never thought I’d be like my mom. She was an absolutely great mom and I’m so glad she adopted me (My biological is also great) but I never could see myself being the “uptight” type- now I am seen as uptight and Matt and I are treated like the parents around people our own age.

I’ve learned about kids, life, marriage and everything else and also have promised myself I’ll not talk about my pregnancy experience with newly expectant first time moms. I am the worst case scenario in 2 of three pregnancies.

Sitting down, I came up with a list of some of the things I have learned over the past (technically 8) years and three pregnancies-

1. Never use a book like “what to expect” as your pregnancy or baby-rearing bible. Not every baby will hit all the same milestones at the same time and nowhere near all babies are by the book.

2. If people are telling you to go to labor and delivery because your body swelling up is not normal, listen. Feet and legs swell, put your feet up and consult your doctor if the swelling gets too bad, however always to straight to the doctor or ER if your hands and face puff out- seriously, it’s a sign of pre-eclampsia and should not be ignored.

3. “It happens to other people, it doesn’t happen to me” is not a good way to look at things. It can push you into denial and lead to symptoms being ignored, that’s how I felt when it came to both pregnancy complications and special needs kids and it didn’t help either situation.

4. Always make time for yourself. Daily. Having just a few minutes to relax daily helps you find your center and ground yourself. I always use the time after the kids go to bed to fully relax.

5. You don’t have to listen to all the advice random people (strangers or friends or blogs) give you but do listen to your doctor. Just because someone did something while pregnant, doesn’t mean it will help or will be safe so it’s always best to go by your doctor’s guidance.

6. Always make time for yourself- you will need it and your kids will need you to have it

7. Your spouse needs to be 100% with you- equal partners. It doesn’t matter if one or both of y’all are employed. They need you on their team and vice versa.

8. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first once in a while- you need to come first at some time.

9. It’s ok to allow the kids to play alone. You don’t have to be up in their face 24/7.

10. Making them get themselves to sleep helps them learn to self soothe- otherwise you may end up with a 7 year old who clings to you in your sleep.

11. There is no such thing as toddler proof- you may think it’s secure, but it’s not. It may be adult proof, but if it exists, a toddler can easily open it.

12. You are NOT raising kids- you’re raising future adults

13. I should not be trying to come up with lists when I’m tired and just worked a long day.

 

There’s so much more, but that will be in a later post.