Friday, 5 June 2015

Confessions of a New Stay-at-Home Mom

Rosie and I on Pentecost Sunday.

Up until about a month ago, I had always flirted with the idea of going back to work. I liked having the option to one day decide to go back to my previous life where I got dressed up every day, went to earn my own money and have adult conversations. Although the position I had was not in my field, I truly enjoyed my job as an administrative assistant and I worked for a great company. My employers were really good to me and I felt appreciated for my work.

Then Rosie was born and I found myself working for this tiny dictator who never seemed content with  what I was doing, was constantly yelling at me ( crying), would use sleep deprivation as a torture technique and NEVER seemed to appreciate what I was doing, albeit notice my existence. It was an immensely tough transition. I went from talking on the phone to dozens of customers and many coworkers, to being by myself all day, every day. I think I could have coped with the loneliness but on top of it, I had to spend my entire day dying to myself in order to take care of this tiny human being who needed me all the time for everything. By the time my husband would get home from work, I would be starved for conversation but I also needed to be alone. So I’d hand the baby off to my husband for some "me" time (which usually included some kind of household chore…fun) and by the time I was ready to talk, Dane would have fallen asleep on the couch. Had it not been for my mom coming to see me and being there to aunswer my phone calls, I think I might have lost my mind.

The first 3 months of parenthood were so tough and while covered in baby vomit with a newborn attached to my boob, I would find myself imagining I was getting ready to go to work and talking to coworkers over a cup of coffee. I even daydreamed about organizing the office files exactly the way I wanted them. I quickly learned that although I had previously dreamed of staying at home with my baby, it was not exactly what I had imagined it to be. How so you may ask? Well in my stay at home fantasy I always had time to get ready. In fact I was wearing a 50’s housewife styled dress with a matching hair-do and heels. My house was spotless and my baby napped on demand. I was involved in many social endeavors including volunteer groups, mom and baby workout classes, mom and baby drop in’s and the likes. I was very organized and would cheerfully do groceries with a baby who never fussed so I could prepare delicious homemade suppers for my husband that would be ready the moment he set foot in the door. Speaking of my husband, he would be well taken care of and our relationship would just magically grow in love and commitment to each other. I could go on but I think you get where I’m going with this.

Instead I was left with old over-sized ripped t-shirts and sweatpants. A 3 day old unwashed ponytail with hopefully a shower in the last 48 hours but sometimes, sadly, it could go longer. My house was a DISASTER with piles of dirty laundry stacked everywhere. My baby never slept and if she did, it was on me after endless hours of nursing. I barely had time to eat never mind volunteer my time and going to play groups was made impossible by my A) lack of a vehicle and B) the effort of bringing a newborn into public was just too much work.  My suppers were mostly  out of a box and would not be cooked until Dane came home from work and could hold the baby which meant we were eating very late at night. By which time we would be too tired to talk and also I was just like “Eh get away from me and don’t touch me”.

It was in those first months that the idea of going back to work really appealed to me. But time went on and by some miracle I started to “get it”. My stay at home fantasy started to kind of come together (minus the heels) and the idea of going back to work became less and less appealing. Dane and I both grew up with our mom’s at home. It was something that meant a lot to the both of us and we had agreed that if the opportunity came we would take it. As time went on and my maternity leave began coming to end, we knew it was time to make a decision. Actually there was really no decision other than the fact that we knew money was going to be tight. We are by no means well off financially. I mean we’re not destitute but it’s not like I’m buying steak every week. We have one vehicle which we bought used, we rent our house, I meal plan and price match to cut on groceries. We rarely eat out. We shop at second hand stores, we don’t have cable. We make sacrifices.  But even with all the planning and the fact that I knew it was coming, the day I told my employer I was not coming back was very difficult. I felt like I was closing up a chapter of my life. 

For a few weeks after the decision I also thought of maybe going back to work but doing something else. Like a part time waitressing job, or a work from home position or maybe even my own business. I was hesitant to really say : I am going to stay home with my daughter, that is  my life now. Then one day, for no reason whatsoever, but possibly because we had been praying for guidance, I saw my life as it should be. I knew I needed to stay home, not just for Rosie but for my husband and myself. This is where God needs me to be right now. It may mean that sometimes Dane works during the weekends and it may mean that we don’t go on fancy trips never mind take vacations but this is the cross God is asking us to bear right now. Sure I get lonely sometimes and my life does get quite repetitive. But it’s amidst the loneliness and the repetition that I encounter God – in those every day moments. He reveals Himself to me in a sweet smile from my daughter or her cute little laugh, through a funny moment shared with my husband and from kisses sneaked in while the baby is playing. This is how God has chosen to lead me to sainthood. It’s not glamorous or exciting but at the end of the day after I close my eyes, I rest in the the knowledge that I have accomplished His plan for my life and isn’t that what we all are trying to achieve? 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year, New Me...New Blog Post Finally

Ok, so I admit it. I got wrapped up in mom world and haven't bothered to update this blog in a LONG time. I would think about it every once in a while but turning on the computer and trying to have a thought that didn't revolve around how to make my own baby food or when I should do the next diaper change seemed so daunting. But now that we have started a new year, I thought why not? Now I'm not going to promise a blog post a day, I can't even promise a blog post a week, but I am going to try to get on here more regularly. 

Before I get back  to my regular posts, here's what you missed in the last few months. Rosalie got baptized on September 28th and is now a member (rather reluctantly considering she cried the entire ceremony) of God's family. She looked cute in her dress but we had to schedule her "photo shoot" a few days later since it was unseasonably hot that day and she was itchy. For those of you wondering why she is dressed in pink during the actual baptism, we were encouraged by the deacon who baptized her to wait until after the sacrament to dress her in white. At first Dane and I were like forget about it -that's dumb, but then we started thinking about the significance of baptism and what a great teaching tool this would be later when we show her pictures. So we ended up choosing two different outfits for her baptism day.
Jesus was standing right behind us
Rosie is freaking out at this point... notice the look of pain  on Dane's face.
Same dress, different day, better mood.
In October, we took a trip to Sault Ste Marie to visit Dane's family. Rosalie charmed (and subsequently was spoiled by) her great grandparents and great aunts. She also endured the 10 hour car ride like a champ with only one major meltdown on the way there and a 2 hour long meltdown on the way back. To be fair to her, we discovered that she was sitting on her pacifier for those 2 hours...ooops - you live and learn. 

Rosie riding a mini horse at her great grandparents.

For Halloween Rosalie was disguised as both an owl and a duck, and we celebrated All Saints Day by dressing her up like Mother Teresa. Pictures are below, but I'm warning you it's cuteness overload. 

In November, I went to go see a naturopath because I hadn't felt normal since before I got pregnant and the doctor's only answer for me was birth control. I also decided to start getting healthy and losing the weight I gained during my pregnancy. I felt an urgency to do so since I don't know when I'll get pregnant again and I want to make sure I'm healthy enough to take care of Rosie and a new baby. The naturopath advised me to take a homeopathic remedy, a magnesium supplement and to continue exercising and eating right. Since making those changes I've felt great and lost 22 lbs. I'm 3 lbs away from my pre- pregnancy weight, my energy levels have shot up and I'm hoping to lose another 23 lbs before getting pregnant again. I just keep praying that God holds off on another blessing until then, but even if he doesn't I think that continuing eating right and exercising throughout the next pregnancy will make my life a lot easier. 

At the beginning of December our cat Boots started peeing blood so we had to take her into the veterinary. She was prescribed antibiotics which seemed to work, but then a week and a half later she started throwing up everywhere (and I mean everywhere - there are still stains on my carpets attesting to that). She couldn't hold down food or water for longer than 15 minutes. We brought her to an emergency veterinary who gave her anti nausea medication and told us she was having a bad reaction to her antibiotics. Fast forward 12 hours and the cat is getting worse and worse. She was just dry heaving and throwing up bile to the point where I'm thinking this is it for her. I called Dane and we decided to take her into the the veterinary again because even though we don't have any more money to spend on her, we have a responsibility to make sure she doesn't suffer. I thought for sure that I was not going to walk out of there with her. Dane couldn't come with me because he was working, so picture this sad lady with a baby strapped to her in a carrier, dressed in full winter gear with a cat carrier in one hand and a diaper bag in the other - yeah I looked crazy.  After some testing, we found out that Boots had an intestinal infection which was treatable for under $350. After spending a total of $800 of money we didn't have, a week of 2 different antibiotics and multiple battle wounds ( my hands are still all scratched up from trying to shove medication in her mouth) I'm happy to report that Boots is back to her normal, ungrateful, grumpy self. It was a tough experience, but I'm happy that I left the situation in God's hands. I felt guilty for praying for a cat since there are PEOPLE out there who are suffering, so I just prayed that Boots would stop suffering, regardless of how that suffering would stop. It was difficult for me to give up control of a situation, but I instantly felt peace and I know that it's a lesson for me. 

Rosalie's first Christmas was great despite the strain Boots' illness put on our budget. Dane's brother and his wife came from Winnipeg to spend the holidays. They are expecting a baby in May so Rosie got to meet her uncle and aunt for the first time and indirectly met her cousin. We spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Dane's family. Next year we will switch days and spend the eve with Dane's family and the day with my family. This actually works out since I've spoken about it with my sisters and we will try to spend odd year Christmases with my parents and even year Christmases with Dane's family. Dane's brother is doing the odd year Christmases with his wife's family so we will be with them when they are here and with my sisters when they are here. Mind you my sisters will have to move out of my parents house for us to be able to actually miss them and want to spend time with them. (I'm just kidding... well a little bit) 
I think this is the second family picture of us ever taken. 

Super cute Christmas pajamas.

Full effect of Christmas outfit

We celebrated the full 12 days of Christmas this year by leaving our decorations up and continuing my binge -watching of corny made for television Christmas movies. On Epiphany I made a Galette des Rois for the first time and hid an almond in it. I know traditionally it's a dried bean, but that's a chocking hazard so I opted for an almond instead. Dane found it and was king for the day (he found it around 9 pm so his reign was very short lived). 

New Years Eve and Day was great. After a week of grandparents and parents, and uncles and aunts and sisters and brother, we spent time just Rosalie, Dane and I. On New Year's Eve we went to mass, we watched a movie and ate yummy, unhealthy snacks and then on New Years Day I made one appetizer every hour and we just grazed and watched Netflix in our pajamas ALL DAY LONG. It was amazing! I am hoping that this will be a tradition that we can continue until the kids all have they're respective New Years Eve parties to go to (once they are of legal drinking age of course) and spend the next day too hungover to eat appetizers (good - more for Dane and I). My resolution for this year was to have no resolution since I never keep them and always feel guilty that I did not keep them. So far, it's going very well. 

Yes, she made it to midnight, we were in bed shortly after.
Finally, in more Rosalie news, she got her 6 month vaccine booster today ( this is one that is approved by the Church  - I checked when I got home and researched it)  and barely cried. It's crazy to think that she's already 6 months. She's eating solids now (banana, avocado, pears and zucchini so far), she's rolling over, she's sitting up with just a little bit of assistance and she's babbling more every day. She loves attention and is a little social butterfly. When strangers take the time to come talk to her, you can guarantee she will smile at them and put on her little show. ( Sometimes, she even tries to get people to notice her by shrieking loudly and waving her arms. It's hilarious now, not sure what it will be like later on.) At night, when I'm lying with her and watching her sleep (yes she's still in my bed and I LOVE IT) I still can't believe that Dane and I played a part in creating this little person. 

Now that you're all caught up,  I need to relieve Dane of his Rosie duties, but I'll try to post again soon. 

By the way, if you want to hear me talk about a Christmas baking fail check out the new episode of The Catholics Next Door at the link below. 

TCND #068 Obligation or Opportunity?

My voicemail is about 6 minutes in but I suggest listening for a little while longer to hear a hilarious story about dog poop and a toothbrush.