Calling all Moms! How hard is it? Give me a reality check.

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
5460 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Well, this could get long, so scroll on down if you’re not interested in a novel haha!


Ok, so I was on the fence about having kids at all when DH & I got engaged.  We discussed all of our options (if we would try for our own, how far we would go or not go if we couldn’t get pregnant, how we feel about adopting instead of having our own, etc).  We decided to TTC and BAM got pregnant right away.  I was not ready for how shocked I would be even though it was completely intentional and planned!  

Pregnancy was ok, I didn’t get morning sickness or anything.  Towards the end I was swollen, heavy, cumbersome, miserable, and oh yeah EIGHT FRIGGIN DAYS PAST DUE. 

L&D was MUUUUUCH better than the horrors I had in my head.  I had an intervention-free hospital birth with a midwife, two doulas, and a wonderfully supportive friend as well as DH.  I would not have been able to do it if I didn’t have the love and support around me.  It was by FAR the hardest, most physically challenging event of my life.  It was very hard work, but very beautiful work too.  

So, BabyDane was born on 4/13/13, was 8lbs4oz, and it’s a girl!  It was euphoric.

In the hospital we worked on latching and feeding (and a little sleeping when I could).  She had a good latch but would fall asleep at the breast all the time.  I spent HOURS and HOURS trying to stimulate her into staying awake long enough to complete a single feeding.  This continued when we got home.  DH went back to work like 3 days later, so my first day home from the hospital I was on my own!  Luckily, with such an uncomplicated delivery my recovery was really, really easy.

Those first 2-3 weeks are the absolute hardest.  I had no idea what I was doing, she wasn’t eating very well, I wasn’t sleeping because she was always hungry, they can’t sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time.  I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and granola bars because I could eat them quickly and with only one hand.  It would have been AMAZING to have someone at the house to bring me a glass of water every now and then.

I started pumping because she wasn’t gaining weight like she should be.  I’ve been an exclusive pumper for a few months now.  I dislike how much time it takes to build and maintain a supply (add to that the setting up of the next day’s bottles, cleaning today’s bottles, the actual pumping, cleaning my pump parts, etc).  I do like that DH can get up with her in the wee hours of the morning or if she wakes in the middle of the night.  I work full time, so I would have to be pumping anyway.  I like that we can go out on a date and not stress about getting home before she starves to death or my boobies explode -full boobs hurt, by the way.  I like knowing exactly how much she’s getting, and her weight gain really picked up speed.  She’s 4mo now, and is over 13lbs.  

So we are at 4mo now.  She smiles at us, giggles and laughs, and is much more interactive.  This is fun now.  I like that she is a part of her environment now.  It still not easy, but it’s so much better than it was at first.  We’ve been blessed with a great sleeper.  She has been sleeping through the night for a while, and every random night here and there she’ll get up around 3 or 4 to eat.  She will go back to sleep though, and stays asleep until after 7 or even 8 sometimes.  

Our typical (no waking up overnight) day starts around 6am.  I get up and go pump for 30-45 minutes while DH goes to the gym.  She wakes up between 6 and 7.  If she’s up before I pump, I take her with me and lay her on my leg and sit on the floor to pump.  I like being able to pump before she gets up though.  Anyway, by 7am she’s up and eating.  She typically stays awake and plays for about an hour after eating, then she starts to get sleepy.  We put her down (crib, pack-n-play, swing, or bouncy seat) to take a nap.  She will either nap for 30 minutes or a few hours.  She gets up, is awake and playful for a while, then she starts to get hungry, we feed her, she plays a while, she starts to get sleepy, she sleeps a while… rinse & repeat.

Our bedtime routine starts around 8pm.  She gets a bath (we only use soap every other day so we don’t dry out her skin, but we keep to the routine as best as we can).  Then with her sound machine on, in her darkened (but not dark) and otherwise quiet room, we sit in the rocking chair for her last bottle.  I read to her, we rock for a bit, we sing a song, she goes in her crib.  She sometimes fights sleep, but we soothe her without picking her up (turn on the mobile, rub her belly, hold her hand, sing another song, shush and pat, etc).  Typically, she will watch her mobile and drift to sleep on her own very peacefully.

Childcare is a big deal.  It’s expensive.  Like, cost-prohibitive to use a daycare facility.  MIL comes to our house on Tues & Thurs to watch her, and on MWF we take her to an in-home sitter.  They stick to her routine pretty well.  She’s not on a time schedule exactly, but she follows an easily predictable pattern of wakefullness, eating, and sleeping.  

Ummm… what else can I tell you… Oh yea, another really, really difficult thing, for me anyway, is my post-baby body.  In March of ’12 I did a marathon.  Yes, a full, 26.2 mile grueling test of endurance and sheer will.  I am very healthy.  I’m very fit.  I have a (fairly) clean diet.  I gained 50lbs with the pregnancy EVEN THOUGH I went to spin class, zumba, swimming, walking, and continued to eat (sort of) healthy.

I get it, I have a HUMAN growing in there.  I’m GOING to gain weight.  I’m SUPPOSED to gain weight.  No prob.  I’m cool with it.  I felt… feminine, beautiful, strong. 

After the baby, I knew my belly wouldn’t be magically flat again right away.  I knew I would look 6 mo pregnant for a while.  I’m 4mo pp and still about 20 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.  I went from being able to run a sub 25 minute 5k race to barely being able to crank out 2 miles at a 12 minute pace.  Things aren’t the same.  I’m bigger, I’m less lean.  I still have some saggy belly skin, and though the stretch marks have faded to a lighter color, they’re still there.  DH still thinks I am pretty and sexy, but it’s going to be hard work for me to see that in myself again.  I eat well, I work out, but if I don’t consume enough calories and carbs, my milk supply drops.  So, for now, I have to pick between providing breast milk to my baby OR working on the pre-baby body, but not both.  And that’s ok, because it’s my choice to make and I’m making the right choice for her and for me.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that I’m going to embrace these extra pounds and “fat pants” I had to go buy because my ass won’t fit into anything from before the baby other than my sweat pants.

It’s hard for me, as an athlete, to come to terms with my new body.  I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either.  I can say though, that even though my body is not something I recognize, it has been amazing to me, and it helped me grow, carry, and birth my wonderful daughter.  To me, that’s beautiful even if it’s a little saggy and heavy.  I have a lot of work to do, but every pound and little stretch mark reminds me of how unbelieveably lucky I am to even BE a mom.  Holy shit, I’m a MOM.  O.O

So, to answer your question, yes it’s hard… the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I have the love and support of a wonderful husband and my friends and family and it’s still hard.  We go out to dinner, I still see my girlfriends, but not as often and there have certainly been no nights out on the town!  In the end though, it’s so completely worth it.  She smiles at me every morning, very first thing, and even though I feel like I only just got INTO bed, my eyes are red and tired, my hair is a hot mess, that smile just gets me.  Gets me every single time.  Every night I kiss her bald little head, tell her I love her, and just take in the moment.  She is warm, smells so sweet, and her peaceful sleepy breathing makes all the madness of the day melt away.  Hard work it is, being a mom.  Hard but so worth it.

Post # 4
6633 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I won’t be as long winded as the PP. Being a parent/mom is the hardest job you will ever have. You spend nights up worrying about them. You cry with them, you laugh with them/at them (yes you will laugh at them to), to being happy/angry/sad. 

My little boy will be 2 in a month.  Time flys, a lot of sleepless nights, lot of worrying about him.  He was 7 weeks early and spent first 4 weeks of life in NCIU. 

He is my everything though. He makes me laugh and he makes me cry.  I love him like no tomorrow.

But most definately the hardest job have ever had. 

Post # 5
1416 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Motherhood is what you make of it! Yes there are those mothers that are always exhausted but not all of them. You have to have a lot of time for your baby but you also need to learn to make time for yourself. Life plans are no longer about me me me but about us as a family. You learn to adjust you lose some friends and you most definitely gain new ones. Honestly though it is the most rewarding experience if my life and I don’t regret being a parent one bit. There is never a perfect time to have children you just have to learn to compromise. 

Post # 6
24 posts
  • Wedding: July 2014

It’s the hardest thing you will ever do and the most rewarding. Your life isn’t yours anymore and will revolve around childcare/school/paper work/ Dr’s appointments. You will not get to go out on a whim, you will have to check with friends to make sure outings are family friendly, you will lose sleep. But I wouldn’t take it back for anything!!

Post # 7
9412 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@DaneLady:  That was really beautiful and touching to read. I saw the baby pictures you posted and not only is your daughter beautiful, but you looked stunning too. How you could manage that after giving birth, I will never know. I’m sure you look even better now!

I have a silly question though. Do you produce less milk supply when you pump? I didn’t know that and I thought it was the same thing :- I was planning all along to pump. I did help my sister a lot with her babies but I obviously didn’t get the full experience.

Post # 8
1652 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@O.My.Heart:  Hi there! I have a 4.5 month old. The first 2 months were torturously hard. I manage now, but your life changes and you sacrifice a lot of freedom for a long time in my opinion. x


Post # 9
5460 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@MrsPanda99:  Lol, I am surprised anyone took the time to read that whole thing… it got away from me & I saw how long it was- sorry!  About the pumping thing, well the lactation consultant and the breastfeeding class I took indicated that it’s harder to maintain a good supply by pumping only, but I’ve found the opposite to be true.  If you pump 8 times a day for the first 12 weeks, you are contiually telling your body you need to produce more and more milk.  If you pump long enough (20-30 min) your breasts will empty better.  Once your supply is established, you can drop pumps here and there, go longer between pumps, stop pumping in the middle of the night, etc.  There’s a brilliant blog about it, if you’re interested I can look for it and post a link.  I’m down to 4 pumps per day, and I’m maintaining my supply ok- also I have more freedom now!

Thanks also for the kind words 🙂  My self-confidence took a bit of a wobble and it helps to be complimented <3

Post # 10
5968 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2017

@O.My.Heart:  My response will be a little different, my son is 8 and I have more of a general bit of advice to give, not just for when they are babies, but over all …

I think the key is to know that none of us know what we are doing and it’s a learning experience. Every child is different and you learn as you go. I think it’s challenging in that parenting isn’t something you can study for or prepare for, you have to wing it for the most part and tailor it to your own child and their personality. you can learn how to change a diaper, you can learn how to make a bottle etc. but what you can’t learn is that you have about 2 seconds to get your new baby boy’s penis covered before he pees on you when you are changing diapers, or that the bottles you spent so much money on and took weeks to choose are your child’s least favorite thing in the world and now you have to go buy a whole new set so he will actually drink from them. So while you can prepare yourself in a sense, You can’t study some things, but you can decide what kind of parent you are going to be, decide and stick to it in a general sense.

for example, I always knew i would always be very straight forward and honest with my child  and that as a baby I really wanted to be very structured and organized. I don’t sugar coat many things and I don’t censor myself as much as other parents. My son isn’t shocked by much and has a clear idea of who I am and what my role in his life is. I also, knew what was important to me when it came to my son’s childhood. Structure, fun, discipline, faith, and a healthy respect for authority figures (he will deal with them forever) etc.. I never attempted to be the “good cop” or his friend but I have always made it clear how much I adore and love him, it’s a fine line ya know? So you get what im saying? there was no way for me to fully know what I was going to be dealing with as a parent, but I did have control over myself and how I knew I would approach things. It’s also important to be on the same page as your partner. being a united front is so important and working as  team to learn as you go is really important too. 

All the things im sure you are afraid of will happen naturally. Dont be hard on yourself if you mess up. Learn to laugh at yourself and your fails and figure out a better way for next time.

My worst parenting moment was when I left my son in his car seat on the front lawn. I was a new mom and was frazzled and had loaded the car and in the midst of that had set my son down on the lawn to put some bags in the car. Luckily my grandma was on the porch and yelled out “waiiiittttt!!!” and pointed to my son. I was in a pile on the lawn crying about how no one should have trusted me to be a mom lol. it was bad.

My best moments are when I see what a kind hearted child I have. He opens doors, says yes mamsir when adults speak to him, he helps others, he sticks up for kids that other kids pick on, he works hard and gives his all to everythinghe does, he isn’t afraid to be affectionate and he has a very strong faith. Seeing that the things that I have worked to develop in him are actually there is something that makes me happy every single day.

Post # 11
3199 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@DaneLady:  +1000 points for you, friend. god bless you. we won’t start TTC for a few years, but i read your entire post just because you took the time to write it. and it was a lot of  good info.

Post # 12
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@DaneLady:  Maybe it’s prego hormones, but I totally teared up reading this.  So sweet and real.  I also then had to go stalk you for baby pics – OMG your daughter is adorable!!!

Post # 13
1472 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@DaneLady:  That was beautiful and accurate…but all I can focus on is how jealous I am that your 4 month-old sleeps through the night!! My almost-9-month-old still wakes 2-4 times a night. It’s killer… (and he doesn’t take a bottle due to high lipase in my breastmilk, so no daddy help with those feedings…)

OP, I will echo the others. It is HARD. And I had TONS of experience (I nannied twins from when they were 2 months old to when they were about 4). But they were bottle-fed (and even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t have been my problem, haha), and I also went home and got excellent sleep at night 😉 There is nothing like having your own baby. I was so tired and overwhelmed in the early days. Especially because I nursed on average 14 hours in a 24-hour period (for serious, my guy ate all.the.time). But he’s 8 months now, and even though he doesn’t sleep through the night, he is awesome. I love playing with him and watching him learn and he gives me the best smiles and he is starting to really snuggle and it’s just the very best feeling in the world. There are daily struggles (for some reason, he has decided to stop eating solids unless he can feed himself, which is both messy and not as efficient as his purees, which has caused a back-slide in our sleeping). But there are way more awesome moments, and I love it. 

Little man has been sick a couple of times (he got RSV at 3 months and some other virus last month). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I was terrified and a mess and I felt like a failure, like I should have protected him. I pretty much stayed up all night and just help him for 3 or 4 days. 

Our typical day: Little man wakes at 6:30. I nurse him, usually by bringing him to bed, and he cuddles/plays with me and daddy until 7, when we all get up. He “eats” breakfast in his high chair, and then we play until about 8:30 or 9, when he naps (after a nursing session). This kid would sleep all his sleep during the day if I let him, so I wake him up around 10 or so. We try to get out of the house during this time, because otherwise Mama goes crazy. Occasionally we meet friends for lunch, or just run errands, or I go into work (mostly I work from home when he naps, but I do go in on occasion). I nurse and then he naps again around 1:30 or 2, and sleeps until I wake him around 3:30. We “eat” again, play, do house chores, try to get dinner ready (he tends to bang on pots and pans while I cook, or he watches the washer and dryer, which is by far the best game at our house). Dad gets home between 5 and 6:30, depending on his gym schedule, and he plays while I finish up dinner. We all eat together, and then we go outside for 15-20 minutes, then start bedtime routine. On a good night, he goes down with little fuss at 7:30. We were doing really great before a vacation, and he was only waking up once. We are back to waking up 3-4 times a night though 🙁 Hopefully I can get it back together soon…)

We also get out and do a lot. We do swim lessons, have 2 mommy groups we attend, have playdates (which are totally about Mom at this stage), ocassionally go to story time at the library, etc.) I love taking him out to watch his reaction to life. 

Social life has changed quite a bit. DH and I still get out for date nights on occasion (my parents are in town). We still meet up with friends, though usually with baby in tow (my friends love to see my little guy and get disappointed when I don’t bring him). Every Tuesday, I go out with the women from one of my mom groups (without baby), which is great. I still see most of my friends I did before baby, but have made a lot of new mom friends. I make an effort when I see non-Mommy friends to focus on them as much as possible, because mommy-talk can be all-consuming. I’m happy with where our social life is. 

Post # 14
5460 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@stardustintheeyes:  I love that you can be the authoritarian and still let your son know you love and adore him.  Parents are not meant to be friends, we are meant to be PARENTS.  Kudos, and hopefully we can strike the same balance with our daughter 🙂  And how sweet that he opens doors, so so cute!

@TwoStatesBride: & @MrsWBS: & @Jess1483:  a thousand times- THANK YOU!  I felt like a tool shed typing that much.  I’m glad it was at least somewhat helpful 🙂

Post # 15
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@DaneLady:  If you can find it please post that link to that pumping blog.

And by the way I am mad at you for writing such a beautiful post.  I am blubbering in my office. Thank God my door closes and my music is loud enough to drown my sobs.

Post # 16
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@MrsWBS:  I’m not even preggers and I totally teared up at this… lol

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