Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Perfect Mom

When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time reading books about babies.  This was my first time parenting and I wanted to do it right.  I also spent a lot of time fantasizing about being the perfect mom.  I even took advice from the book and things that other parents did that I liked or didn't like and made some "rules".

1.  No co-sleeping.  Paxton was going to sleep in his own room in his crib starting the night he came home.

2.  No pacifiers.  I had read that pacifiers before 3 months caused nipple confusion and all kinds of problems when it was time to wean the baby off of them.  So we were going to avoid that altogether.

3.  No formula. 

4.  No dinners spent holding him.  He could sit in his car seat while we ate.

5.  No risky decisions without consulting with the pediatrician first.

6.  I would look decent and have dinner at least started and the house mostly clean when Jared got home.  I would also do the grocery shopping alone.

I was living in a dream land...not sure what I was thinking exactly...apparently I thought maybe I was a super hero...

Here's what really happened:

1.  Co-sleeping:  we started out really well.  We brought Paxton home and the first night, we swaddled him and put him to sleep in his crib.

He did pretty well at first but after some amount of time...I can't remember now...he stopped liking it.  Plus it's hard!  I thought that since his room was right across the hall from ours, it would be no big deal to get him in the middle of the night...and it really wasn't...mostly it was the thought of taking him back to bed after I fed him.  Co-sleeping happened.  He slept great, we slept pretty well and we were all happy...for about two nights.  Then Jared mentioned that Paxton was a noisy sleeper...and I realized that I was waking up several times a night to make sure he was ok.  We decided to move him back to the crib, but knew we would have to take small steps.  We didn't have a bassinet, so we put a pillow and some blankets in a laundry basket and he slept next to our bed...that's embarrassing but true.  I had read that as long as we had him back in his crib by four months, he wouldn't be "spoiled"...I was really in no hurry to move him back.  Well, one night Jared decided it was time.  He put him to bed in his crib.  I was nervous.  I just knew he would wake up crying in about an hour and the laundry basket would be back.  I was wrong.  Paxton slept for six straight hours that night.  From then on it was official.  Paxton slept in his bed and he slept great.  It wasn't a hard transition at all...but I might have never taken that first step on my own.

2.  Pacifiers:  Paxton loves to suck...we had gotten several pacifiers from our baby shower and I had kept them...I probably knew deep down that this was a pretty silly thing to even try.  One night, my mom was over and Paxton was fussing.  She asked if he was hungry, I said he wasn't....there was a pacifier in close proximity, she plopped it in, he was silent.  Well, we were hooked.  He loved them, and we loved that all it took to make him stop fussing at ANY time was a pacifier.  To be honest, sometimes when he woke up in the middle of the night in his laundry basket, we would plop the pacifier in his mouth and buy 30 more minutes of sleep...  In the past few months, Pax has found his thumb (and his toes) and sucks that instead of pacifiers.  Jared sucked his thumb until he was about eight...so that came with a whole new set of weaning worries...but we'll deal with those when we need to.  For now, he's happy and so are we.

3.  Formula:  Paxton was 9 pounds when he was born.  Apparently babies that are born that big have trouble metabolizing sugar.  While we were in the hospital, nurses would come every few hours and take blood from his heel (TERRIBLE) to check his sugar.  When Paxton was a day old, I was in the bathroom getting ready while the nurses checked his sugar.  It was really low.  I was still in the bathroom when they decided to supplement with formula.  I came out of the bathroom to find Paxton eating 15mL of Similac from a bottle.  From then on, we had to supplement each feeding with 15 mL of formula.  Well, Paxton learned that the formula was coming and it was much easier to eat than breast milk.  Pretty soon he got too frustrated when nursing and would only take a bottle.  I continued to pump until he was eight weeks old.  I had heard that babies get the most important benefits in the first eight weeks...and boy was it stressful trying to pump along with everything else...so when that eight week mark hit, I quit...with more than a little guilt...but I have a happy and full baby who is growing just like he should.   

4.  Dinners spent holding him:  Paxton is in a phase right now where he doesn't like his car seat very much.  Even with toys, sometimes he is fussy sitting in it.  So about 20% of the time, we take turns eating and holding Paxton...it's less embarrassing than him shrieking in public.  When we eat at home, he has plenty to do and he entertains himself while we eat...so at least we have that.  Plus, as he gets a little bigger, he can start sitting in high chairs which I think will work out much better.

5.  Involving the pediatrician in everything:  The first few weeks (okay...months) Paxton was home, I called the pediatrician a lot.  I had a favorite nurse...Kim.  Since then, I have started trusting myself to make decisions.  Without calling the pediatrician, I bought Paxton a pool floatie and took him swimming.  I decided to skip the lake.  I figured out how much rice cereal to feed him.  I let Paxton decide how many naps he wants a day and how long they are.  I bought him a stationary walker.  I let him play with Scarlett.  I let him sleep on his tummy (that one I wouldn't have asked the pediatrician anyway...cuz I know what he would say...).  Granted most of these involve some time on Google and some serious talks with my amazing husband...but it does feel good to take the role as the decision maker...I still called him when I wanted to switch Paxton to a different formula because I wanted to make sure they were similar and that the new one had all of the ingredients he needed, and I will still call if ANYTHING involving Paxton's health is an issue.   

6.  Super Wife:  Most days I don't put on make up, I wear shorts and a t-shirt pretty much every day.  My hair is never down.  The house is usually a mess.  Dinner is never started (ok maybe twice).  A lot of evenings Jared comes home and the dinner dishes from the night before are still in the sink...and I stopped going to the store by myself.  I told Jared it was because Paxton is loud at the store and I get stressed...and that's definitely true.  Going to the store with a baby is waaaay harder than going alone...from parking near the carts, to getting the car seat latched on correctly, seeing what's in front of you over the cart, keeping him entertained when you can't really pay attention to him, the whole paying process (NIGHTMARE!) and then loading the groceries and the baby back in the car in an order that makes sense...and then what do you do with the cart?  You can't leave it out, but you also can't leave the baby in the car while you take it back...so I usually do some sort of awkward scenario involving dragging the car seat to the basket rack while trying to push the cart (P.S. why do those cart guys always just stand and watch me struggle? Help a sister out!!).  So, yeah...having Jared there helps a lot.  But mostly I missed having someone to talk to and make decisions with. 

So there it is.  All my broken plans for being the perfect mom.  But I love every minute of it.  I wouldn't trade my messy house or my thumb dependency anxieties for anything.  I love my little family and I love that we've had some struggles to get where we are. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a sweet post! You are SUPER, and Pax is very blessed to call you his mommy. Not that you need it, but I saw this 30 Day Mom Challenge and thought it was pretty cool. Check it out: