Life as a New Mom

A first-time mom adjusting to her new everything


Karma said hello to my husband

Normally, Adam doesn’t do a lot in terms of routine baby care.  I change 90% of diapers, and do all feedings except the 11:00pm one, which he does, and the 11:00pm diaper change, which he does.  Everything else is me, or a combination of me and Adam.

Last night, karma decided it was time Adam did some real baby-caring work.  So when he woke Widget up to feed him at 11, Widget did not go back to sleep.  Instead, Widget cried for 2 hours straight.  When I finally came down at 1am (I’m a heavy HEAVY sleeper without a baby monitor), the lights were out, Adam was wearing his gun earmuffs to block noise, and Widget was swaddled next to him, crying.  Adam had tried everything, and Widget wouldn’t relax.  I offered to take him, and Adam let me.  Normally, he’ll complain that I never let him do anything to comfort Widget, but this time he’d been worn down to a shred of his normal self.

As soon as I pick Widget up, he stops crying.  Before my feet hit the stairs to take him up to bed, he’s asleep.  The stairs are 5 feet away.  Adam’s response?  “Really?  What the hell.  REALLY?”

Oh yes, karma came to visit last night, and I think I might like her more than Santa.


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A family dynamic

Sandy’s questions, over at The Reluctant Entertainer were so good I ended up writing a massive comment and thought I’d write a post as well.
This is the first year my husband and I will have some external motivation to develop our own family dynamic.  With the holidays coming up, this affects our ability to entertain guests or travel to our extended families as guests.  Baby is the entire reason we now have the motivation to strike out on our own and find a new rhythm for our holidays.

Previously, we had a routine that worked for us as a couple, since we had no children and could easily travel with the dog for the 8 hours one-way it took to get home to our families for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  They had, of course, fallen into the rhythm of hosting these holidays, and it was always expected that we would be there at one family’s celebration (or both, in the case of Christmas).  It was complicated because my husband’s parents are divorced, so there were essentially 3 sets to see.  But we never saw the need to rock the boat, and the one year we offered to host Thanksgiving, people said they would come and we were alone after everyone decided it was inconvenient to drive to us.

This year, the question of their convenience doesn’t matter to us as a family as much.  We do want to see them, of course, but at the same time we emphatically do not want to travel with a newborn for that period of time.  It provided a great opportunity to sit down as a couple and discuss what mattered most to each of us and reach a compromise.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel closest to my husband when we resolve issues like this together.  It brings us an additional degree of intimacy, because we’ve proven to each other that we can open up about our feelings, good and bad, and be safe with each other.

So we talked.  About how he wants to involve his family, and I want to establish ourselves as a family first, with our own traditions.  How I was afraid of traveling that long with an infant, and disrupting any forming routines.  How I was concerned about the immune system that wouldn’t be fully established.  How we both deeply want to share our family with our extended families during the holidays, and how our family is now ourselves and Baby.  We talked and talked, and came to the conclusion that we could manage about 2-3 people at a time, not staying with us at the house, for long weekends.  We’ll offer each couple or person a weekend, invite them to stay for 3 or 4 days, and if they can’t come we’ll do our best to make it work with them, but our schedule will be our top priority.  And we’re not inviting anyone for the weekend of Thanksgiving, or for Christmas Eve/Day.  Those are for us, our first opportunity to share the best of our childhoods with Baby, and once we figure out what we want, next year we can discuss with our extended families what we would like to see happen (and compromise again!).


I really do have faith in my husband

Apparently my husband is convinced I think he’s going to kill our child.

Not through neglect or anything, but just normal stuff.  Like the way he feeds our kid, or puts Baby in the car seat, will ultimately result in death.

This is not true.

I actually have quite a bit of faith in my husband, who I certainly don’t know any better than, but because I asked if he was going to get the car seat installation verified at the fire station, if he was uncomfortable with how he did it or wanted to make sure, this translates into “Honey, I believe that through negligence you will kill our child inadvertently.”  Please note that I also said if he were cool with how he had done it, I was too and trusted him to do it correctly.  I chose to get mine verified because I wasn’t, and thank goodness because I did it wrong.  But I’ll be the first to tell you my spatial reckoning is crap, and I couldn’t tell if the darn seat was level with the ground or if the curve of the seat was throwing me off (the only building level we have is too long to fit where it needed to, so I had to eyeball it).

Net result was my husband saying, “I need you to be ok with the fact I’m not going to kill our kid, ok?”

Why yes, I can see why you would need that.  I’m chalking it up to his nerves and the fact he doesn’t often express them because I’m the one who’s doing the mood swings, thankyouverymuch.

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Temporary Insanity is a TOTALLY valid defense for my behavior!

I’ve dealt with a lot of guilt, off and on, lately  – normally it comes about 16 hours after I react or overreact to some stimulus in a way I know my mama taught me was inappropriate.  There are honestly times when I wonder how old I really am, and why I think I can act decades younger…

I tried talking to my husband Friday about how concerned I was for our upcoming trip, how I didn’t want to be the center of attention, how I wanted to talk with the people we’re visiting about things other than my pregnancy.  I did make it clear I don’t mind a few questions, like “how are you doing”, “how far are you”, or other neutral statements.  The problem is that I do not often get neutral statements.  At work I get told constantly how small I am, where am I putting the baby, am I sure, and while I think they’re well-meaning, the bottom line is that those comments are rude and hurtful.  I also get stories of how horrible things will be, and the last thing I need is horror stories of birth, babies, or turning into Driving Miss Daisy.

Some of the people we’re visiting have a history of wanting to always talk about the bad.  It happened when my mom was dying: always wanting to talk about how unfair it was because she was so nice, how hard it is, how rotten she must feel, and on and on for hours.  So maybe I’m a little sensitive to things that could be considered rude questions.

My husband’s response: suck it up and you’d better be nice because if we don’t want to alienate people then sometimes we have to just deal with things we don’t like.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was hoping for a promise of defense, or running interference of some sort.  I just felt incredibly let down, and it’s affected my mood this whole weekend, as I try not to sulk like a 4-year-old because honestly?  It wasn’t that big of a deal.

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A kick-off!

I’ve been trying to think of a clever way to start these posts, and suddenly it occurred to me: a Father’s Day post!

Yes, technically my husband is not exactly a father yet, but considering he’s only got 4 1/2 months to go, I thought it deserved some recognition.  There’s also the fact he’s put up with me for the past 4 1/2 months, with the crabbiness, fatigue, and nausea, and being a champ like that practically screams for a special day where I’m extra nice to him.

The thing about my husband is that he really doesn’t care about “things”.  For the first few holidays we spent together, back when we were dating, I got him stuff, but one year for Christmas, I took him to a resort to look at Christmas lights because he had mentioned he enjoys them.  That’s when he told me he cares far more about spending time with the people he loves than getting a particular item.  He loves sharing experiences with his family, and so now I make it a point to gift him experiences instead.  That might mean he only gets one gift a year, instead of something on each holiday, or one really awesome experience and some small, daytime ones.  A small, daytime experience was perfect for Father’s Day, as an “I love you” and as a “thank you for putting up with me.”

I took him out to a park near us, rented a boat and we spent almost 2 hours out on the water.  It was a rowboat though, and that worked against my master plan as I hadn’t really wanted him to have to do the manual labor…but he picked it, so I can go with the flow on that.  It was so lovely to just be out there, together, and not talk about anything in particular.  Sometimes I think of the comic that said once you live with someone, you talk more, but communicate less.  That’s not something I want for my family, and it throws into relief how special these moments are.  After boating, I took him out for dinner to a place we’d never tried before, where we got to continue just enjoying the company of the other.

He thought I was being silly for making a big deal out of something he doesn’t think applies to him, but honestly?  I’m glad I did it, because it made me feel good to do something for someone I love so much and not be told “you don’t have to do that.”  A perfect excuse to do something I enjoy.