Mom Guilt is Real

This photo means so much to me.

Mom guilt is real & comes in disguise. Sometimes even unnoticed completely until that one moment you really sit down to uncover what’s been hurting. I haven’t shared everything going on lately and I won’t bother rewinding to try to get it all to align with what you know, but let’s start here.

Bonding has been difficult with Olivia lately. I can tell she’s begging for my attention specifically because the majority she’s had is everyone else’s. She respects that I have to feed Oliver with my breast, but has a difficult time respecting the intimacy. She yells my name until I answer and you best believe I answer at the first call, now. I couldn’t before because honestly I couldn’t even hear it over Oliver’s cries, my own mental fog, my physical exhaustion.

It’s been tough trying to balance how and when to split attention, trying to incorporate both kids into everything we do to encourage unity and bonding between them.

She’s been hitting, scratching and screaming at him a lot to wake him up purposefully. It’s pretty common for the oldest child to digress in someway. Even though I’m clear from the fog, I still can’t always respond to her immediately, there are times where I have to tend to Oliver first. Literally having to choose which one to help first. I can feel her feeling of loss and uncertainty. Yes, she’ll be totally fine. Oliver will be totally find. I know that this period does not define how their relationship will be in the future, but oh my gosh!

I tell myself it would be different if we weren’t living with so many people, so many people with their different styles of dealing with her or responding to her behavior. Responding in reactionary ways that are much different than my own parenting. I can tell that not only this adjustment, but so many changes and  differences during the adjustment are affecting her. Plus, we moved an entire state, even though she may not fully understand that… Her home, her kitchen, her outdoor environment is totally different. It’s not just where she sleeps, but the landscape of the homes we walk by. She doesn’t see the same children, the same trees or the same park we’d visit, just her and I. She doesn’t have her own little space where we’ve incorporated toddler accessible activities. Her whole routine was thrown out of whack. Kids thrive on routine, on certainty.

And fine, it’s not how I pictured this stage to be. I pictured that I’d be more in control, that we’d have our own home and our routines could continue, only now her & I would care for the baby together while dad was at work. Okay, so it didn’t work out that way and we are blessed to be in such an abundant, giving and loving household… So we weren’t able to get our own place right away and we made decisions that would be best for the future that feeling restraining in such a way now.

I’m having to let other’s “parent” her when I can’t. I’m watching her take so many steps backwards on the knowledge she’d gained because the spaces just aren’t prepared or accessible for her. I’m struggling because I’m seeing her independence being stripped from her with every “no”, “don’t do that”, “you can’t”, “this isn’t for you,” “let’s go to time-out.”

So THIS. This photo means so much to me.

First, that I’m her new swim teacher & not only do we get to spend that time together, but it’s another activity together that has to do with trust.

She still trusts me, thank God. My heart literally cried this. If you couldn’t feel the mom guilt in all of this, hear it now. I was able to overcome my slightly irrational fears involving water and drowning to be that teacher for her and in that I gained a new trust for myself as her mother.

Second, she sat down herself willingly & actually peed for the first time in the toilet in almost 3 months. A few weeks ago we went to our storage & she saw this toilet, took her pants on and off repeatedly sat up and down to go. She was reacquainting herself after whatever happened that made her stop her progression. We sat outside so long to not break her Sensitive Period that she kinda got sunburnt. I finally convinced her to bring it inside and she’s still sitting on it, 1 pee down, hopeful for more. It’s been almost 45 minutes and I’m here for it.

Pregnant, again!

This year is weird. It’s beautiful and hard all at the same time. Mentally I’ve never been clearer, but yet I still lack determination in aspects of my life. It seems that lately my actions towards priorities come together much slower than usual. I think it’s all the anxieties that have shown face during a double isolation. The isolation as a mother and another social isolation in the form of ‘social distancing’. Any other mamas reading this and can relate in anyway?

Easy to say that this pregnancy has been such a different experience emotionally than the last. The uncertainty of the care/delivery procedures during a pandemic, less partner-inclusive visits creating a slightly less intimate experience, the lack of sociable and relative mom groups and even our recent change of insurance has us feeling a little disconnected without initial ultrasound printouts. I need to know if any other moms are pregnant during this time, who’s had a hospital birth during covid?

Okay, but it hasn’t been ALL a cloudy experience. Our second child is on the way! We are incredibly stoked for that, something we were trying for and talked about since our first pregnancy. Having children closer in age, similar to my boyfriend’s family, not at all like the 6 to 9 year gap between myself and my brothers. We just wanted them to be close from the beginning and also maybe knock the childbirth out of the way ASAP? Not sure, but either way, we are here for it. The first few months I didn’t love being pregnant again, I think it was a mix of things. The change of insurance, finding a new doctor and getting accustomed to knew routines and less visits than last time. Additionally, I haven’t worked since March so our income is one + minimal from our secondhand shop. BUTTTTT four months in now, I’m rocking my new pregnant-mom bod and living my life to the fullest. Preparing to move states (another while-pregnant move), trying to keep determination and will to keep up with school, taming a toddler and making time for myself and intimacy with my man. It’s a lot for me to juggle honestly, I was really stressed out throughout the summer.

The end of October I told myself I’d let go of what wasn’t serving me. I did just that. I had NOTHING to show for independent study school work for the month of November. While I put myself a month (6 papers, 8 observation hours, and 4 meditation hours) behind, I have never felt so caught up and mentally free now that it is December. I’m more energized, made it through a rocky first trimester, settled and prepared to continue. It’s a vicious time-on/time-off cycle I’m trying to squash, but powerful baby steps are being taken towards a well-balanced lifestyle. I have the balance in my self-care, school, and family routine now. Self-care including the return of all the long lost hobbies I outed while stressed and depressed lol.

Physical differences from the last time? So we didn’t know the gender with our first and don’t know now. I can tell you that this one for sure is physically different. I’m more physically energized then I am mentally. Heartburn started early in the second trimester instead of the third, like with our daughter. While I wasn’t mentally prepared to be pregnant again, I feel beautiful, less bloated and more motivated to get dressed daily in the second trimester especially. I was nauseas for 3 months straight and had some early hemorrhaging that healed itself. This didn’t appear in the first. I’d like to tell you I think I’m having a boy! I was pretty sure with Olivia, so I’m going to take it that I’m pretty sure/right this time around. Let’s see 😉 What do you think?