Sometimes (and by that I mean all the time) in parenting, I feel like it is trial and error. I never realize I am doing things wrong until I do something right. I never realize I made terrible decisions till something goes horribly wrong. Here are 5 of my AHHHHA! moments in parenting.
1. The Beginning
Let’s start with day one…giving birth. Then there is breastfeeding. I just thought “Hey, ok, let’s feed this baby that I just gave life to…” Well, we had a rough little start with our first one that required me to pump for the first week of her life while she was on a feeding tube. When it came around to feeding her, I tried so hard to but the nurses had already given her the bottle and she found that was much easier. So then I tried shields and nothing. For weeks we worked so hard to get her to latch and I went to countless lactation specialists and nothing was working. I decided to accept that we would have to move to the next step and that was pumping. I pumped every three hours…I was plugged into the wall every three hours. Christmas parties I sat in closets and pumped. Then what magical thing did mother nature give me?? MASTITIS!! I was able to get on antibiotics but after the third time of having it, I thought that there has to be something more. It just wouldn’t go away. I finally found a lactation girl that discovered I had a clogged milk duct. No big deal right?? I did everything to that clogged duct I could think of. If any google result or any website suggested some magical remedy, I did it at least three times. I finally went to my doctor after four weeks of this “clogged duct” and my doctor said that it was much, much more and that I needed to do an ultrasound. Later that night of the ultrasound, I got a call telling me to go to the hospital immediately. An abscess had formed in my breast and it needed to be surgically removed right away. I got into surgery that night and where it was in such a sensitive spot, the doctor decided to not stitch it and let it heal from the inside out. This involved nurses coming to my house two times a day and changing my packing out with milk coming out everywhere and also out of my new incision. Why am I telling you this story you ask?? Because I have a point. For some reason this whole time I was going through this experience I never once thought to stop breastfeeding. I had so many people telling me to not give up…telling me this is the only way…telling me to push through it…All these women. It wasn’t until my surgeon came and talked to me and I asked him how I was going to pump with this huge cut. He looked at me and said “I don’t know how you could pump, you probably shouldn’t do that anymore.” FINALLY!! Someone told me to give up and I felt a huge relief off my shoulder. I seriously remember coming home and putting that powdered formula in the water and crying because it was so simple. That’s it, all I have to do is put one scoop of formula to 2 ounces of water and then shake it? When I sat and fed my baby the bottle I could just sit and stare at her and enjoy the moment?? No more crying because she is crying because I can’t feed her or she is starving but she has to wait for me to finish pumping?? This was my AHA! moment when I realized that yes, my baby will be just fine on formula and it’s completely fine if breastfeeding doesn’t work for me. Yes, if you can do it then go ahead and milk those babies, I will be that creepy girl watching you feed your child because I am so jealous. I just want you to know that you are doing a great job at being a mom no matter how or what you give you babies. Even if the cashier at Walmart says to you “Oh you decided not to give your baby the best start in life… that’s too bad” as she scans your formula. How badly I wanted to shake her because she had no idea what I went through. Some things are so simple for some people and then HORRIBLE for others. Just remember I have no idea if you were a formula baby or not, it’s okay. You also have my permission, that if you hate breastfeeding and you are miserable with pain, body aches, fever chills, anything to do with it, here is my permission to give up and that it’s ok. Thank you for doing the best and being the best mom you can be.
This is a really hard one for me because everyone has so many different opinions on this subject. Now that I’m on baby number two, I have found that I was extremely strict on my first one. I don’t know why, but with my second it’s not a big deal and it doesn’t matter as much. Especially when they are so young. I also have had times where I have been so angry and frustrated that watching my kids faces when they have gotten in trouble have been engravened in my mind. Sometimes I go to sleep at night and close my eyes and picture my child’s sad face and I feel so horrible. Everyone will turn out alright no matter how they are disciplined. Just love your children so hard and teach them respect. I do still strongly believe in discipline and try to teach my kids to be kind and have good manners. I also am very strict when we are in public and they could be putting themselves in danger. I just hate that to get my AHA! moment with this one, I had to see my sad little girls faces first and I want to do better. Being a mom is so hard and such an emotional rollercoaster.
3. Potty training
Wow. I actually think giving birth was more fun and rewarding than potty training. I was so determined to potty train my first one early because I had two in diapers and I did not want to keep buying them. I started potty training my little girl in the month of May and she is so stubborn and absolutely flat out REFUSED to poop in the toilet. She didn’t take her first poop in the toilet till AUGUST. That meant I was cleaning poopy panties for 3 months. We were so frustrated and we would sit on the toilet for an hour straight watching movies, singing songs, and having an occasional sob fest because we wanted her to poop in the toilet so bad. I have never been so happy to see that little girl poop before and bought her a bike that night. Now fast forward to baby number two. I just flat out planned on keeping her in diapers till she was in first grade. Lately, she begs me to go potty in the toilet. Then one morning she comes running in her room and says “Mommy I wake up and I pooped in toilet!!” I thought what??? I ran to her room and found that she had taken off her diaper and pooped in her crib and the crib was her pretend toilet. This was my AHA! moment that maybe I should potty train her because she wants to so bad and it’s one of those things that if your child isn’t ready, you need to wait till they decide.
4. Parenting is fun!
It is so difficult sometimes to just relax and have fun because I stress out so much. Whenever we try and do fun things, it’s not fun to me. For example, I love the rodeo and we go every single year. Now that I am a mom, it’s so hard to have fun because we sit and eat our meal in a tiny spot on the bleacher, and it’s usually me holding all the girls’ hamburgers, ribbon fries and a coke. It makes it so I can’t eat my meal because there is nowhere to set things down. I also get so paranoid with the girls staying right next to me because there are so many crazies everywhere. I just need to remember to calm the freak down. I just try so hard to do fun things as a family and we force to get that picture-perfect photo and in reality, the kids are screaming half the time because they wanted the yellow spoon (instead of the blue one) to eat ice cream. Or they end up in their room because they were hitting their other sibling. It’s ok if it ends up like that because that is life. I just feel like there is so much pressure when we do fun things and my AHA! moment is watching how fun it is to see them laugh so hard. Or watching your husband do the craziest dance moves and make shadow puppets at night with the kids. Or when you can hear their little feet sneak out of bed and run across the floor to get a drink. It’s fun, right? Sometimes the fun part in parenting is watching them have fun.
5. Take a break
Sometimes it’s ok if your child doesn’t need to put jammies on for bed because she is still wearing them from this morning. Yes, I know that we are all guilty of this and if not, then you need to do it at least one time. I will admit that I was guilty of this today actually. It’s also okay if they didn’t take a bath tonight or you forgot to brush their teeth. I’m not saying to do this every day, but it is perfectly fine if you do it once in a while. It even feels good sometimes to take a break and let them watch tv for longer than usual. I had this AHA! moment when I had my second baby and realized that it feels really good to take breaks once in a while. As long as you fed your kids those three meals, snacks, and throw in a diaper change every few hours, then you are doing great. Here is my permission to go ahead and do that. You’re welcome.
I hope that all of these moments that I have learned the hard way, help you in your life. I also want you to remember you are way prettier than you think you are!!