Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Day 7 (The Lows)

So yesterday I rambled a lot about the amazing highs I’ve been feeling this week. And let’s be clear – I’m still feeling them. But maybe its time to talk about the downsides and the lows I’m feeling too. Especially because today the emotional pendulum has begun to swing the other way. I have definitely not reached the misery levels I’ve hit in the last several months, but you know. Feelin’ it.

So first off, I think I talked about this yesterday (I talk about a lot of things on this blog and in my real life that I will likely repeat. Repetition is the repetition is the repetition is the best way to learn things. For me, anyways… Ok but yeah. The one thing I notice I’m missing – and now on a more hormonal level, I think – sleeping with my babies. I feel like it’s hard to get snuggle time now. Snuggles make them sleepy, and we’re still in the phase of trying to teach them when to sleep and when to be awake. We get our snuggles in here and there, especially when we’re really struggling to keep them awake and holding them to keep them calm. Then they get their soothers and tend to just flop down on us for snuggles. It’s heartshattering that we can’t just take them to bed for a nap. Before we started sleep training, I was missing Dave even though I saw him every day. Now that that is balanced I find I’m missing the kids in the same way. Go figure!

I am super, super cranky these last two days. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve kind of noticed it’s because I can’t seem to get the hang of the sleep training myself. The kids are doing great but it’s like I’ve decided we’re ready to schedule things and we’re not. I keep guessing on their naps and I’m screwing it up every time. The other day we went for a walk for their catnap and I thought I had everything ready and set up to go, but we got there at like 4:15 or something and didn’t leave until an hour or so later. They ended up in bed at 7:30 instead of 6:30 because I just didn’t have my shit together. As I type that, I’m wondering if the sleep consultant is going to remind me not to speak so negatively. Sorry Jessica. But… I’m cranky. So nyeehhh.

Anyways, I just feel like I’m getting too caught up in the math. Dave was getting frustrated with me this morning because I’m overcomplicating this like I do everything. “Ok, they went down at 8:30 which means they’ll probably be up around 10 or 10:30, which means they’ll go down at noon or 12:30 and wake up again at…” I’m already frustrating myself. Being the imperfect perfectionist I am, I’m always looking to schedule things. I like working off of lists and at least a loose idea of how my day is going to go. One of the things I was so overjoyed about is that I can plan my day now, and get things done. But I’m finding a clash between trying to do that and work the kids’ schedules. One or the other is getting sacrificed and it’s starting to make me anxious. I’m feeling out of control again. I need to feel like I have some kind of control over my life or I start to go crazy. Funny how it took me like 30 years to realize what a control freak I am. At least I kind of knew it before I had kids!

The anxiety is also back. It’s probably another by-product of feeling out of control. I’m irritable and silly things are happening in my head. I remember when the kids were in the hospital and my anxiety started getting out of control, I’d picture horrible shit like people dropping them or their monitor becoming unscrewed from the wall and falling on them, or the milk having been out too long and making them sick… Just unreasonable things to be concerned about. That kind of stuff is happening again, and not quite at the frequency it was happening then. I’m trying to think of an example but I can’t. Just nervous about unreasonable shit.

I’m irritable as hell too. Oh fuck. Am I pregnant…? Let’s put that horrible concern away for a minute… Fuck… Period is in two weeks. Cross your fingers for me.

Anyways… I’m irritable as hell. Dave broke my Anchor 2-cup measuring cup yesterday and I snapped on him. And he says it’s not a big deal, and I’m sure it isn’t. But 1) I’m not really the type of person to get mad about an accident, 2) I’m not the type of person to be mean when I’m mad and 3) I’m clumsy as fuck and that totally could have been me. Dave and I have broken like 5 glasses between us in the last like 3 months and it’s disappointing to lose our favourite glasses, or my new measuring cup, or whatever. But it is not an issue. We can get another Tofino Brewing glass. We can DEFINITELY get another measuring cup.

So that was a fairly bad example because I have a reason to be legitimately irritated, but it’s even in little things. Dave tried to kiss me while I was doing something yesterday and I just got so annoyed with him. I stopped myself and kissed him back, because I realized I was just being a bitch, and I don’t think he really noticed I got shitty about it in my head. (He never really does, he’s such a chill person that other people’s moods don’t really affect him. I’m forever jealous of that trait and hope he passes that on to our kids.) I also got frustrated making too much dinner and I couldn’t mix the sauce, the veggies and the chicken properly so I made him do it. Then I wouldn’t even eat right away. I went for a walk.

All of this to say – the mood swing has swung. I still wouldn’t give up the progress we’ve made for any of this, and there’s a really good chance this is just hormones. My period came back a few weeks ago and I’ve noticed some wonky shit going on in my body, maybe all this is just a byproduct of getting back into Shark Week. I’ve also decided it’s time to slowly ween off pumping now that the kids are going to be getting into real food soon. I’m sure that has to have SOME affect on my hormones and likely my mood.

But I repeat – I would still not give up the progress we’ve made with the kids, and as a family over the last week. Sleep training has been amazing. I will find a way to get over my shit and go back to being crazy in a good way.

Posted in All, Useless Opinions

How to help a new mom/pregnant lady (mostly for non-parents)

This might seem kind of obvious, but I had a lot of really useless (but well-meaning) helpers when the kids came home so I thought I’d write a bit about it. This isn’t meant to be angry or bitter…. Just informative.

I’ve always been super defiant and obnoxiously independent, even when I was pregnant. We moved into our current place when I was 7 months pregnant (and huge) and my mother-in-law basically had to guard me to make sure I wasn’t doing any moving or serious unpacking. It drove me crazy but I understood, and underneath my defiance I was grateful for the help. The last thing I needed was to go into labour early (joke was on me anyways, I went into early labour 19 days later…)

Once I had the kids my ego dropped a bit. I knew I needed help. Watching the state of my house deteriorate was frustrating but I could do fucking nothing about it. I was drowning in newborns! I was at the hospital during pretty much all waking hours for the first 6 weeks of my kids lives, then after that the real work began. We had a cleaning lady for a bit but then COVID hit and she had to bail. But even before that I’d have a few of my friends come over to “help.” It was super frustrating. Not only was my perfectionism clashing with my not giving a fuck, but I was also so overwhelmed with becoming a parent – to twins no less. I had zero brainpower. Plus I was going through some sort of nesting phase where I just didn’t want to see anyone except my husband and my babies. I think this is important to mention because before kids I was incredibly social and loved to be around my friends. I still do, but it’s different now. I get way too exhausted to catch up or visit.

Anyways, these few friends would come by – well-meaning as they were – and ask me what I needed them to do. All I could muster is “I don’t know. Just come chill and hold a baby.” What I should have said was “yes, please do the dishes. Cut the veggies in the fridge. Watch these kids while I sleep/shower/leave the house for half an hour to see what the outside world looks like.” Because that’s what I really needed. I was just too brain-shot and sleep deprived to realize it. My mind went blank when they asked. And then I got somewhat resentful because they put me in a position to ask for it. I’m awful at delegating. I am way better at just doing things myself. There was at least one time where I just got people to hold or watch the babies while I got up and cleaned (which wasn’t the worst thing ever because at least I felt like I was accomplishing something. I didn’t find the first couple months of being a parent to be that rewarding. More on that later.)

Moral of the story – if you have a pregnant friend or a new mom in your life and you want to help, here’s a few ideas to get you going.

  • Bring snacks or prepared meals -The first 1 to 3 months of being a parent is a fucking blur. It’s hard to make time to eat, let alone put a meal together. Plus it’s nice to have finger foods or snacks when you’re living one-handed and it’s too easy to eat shit food all the time.
    • Make a lasagna or a shepherd’s pie or something for the freezer. Write reheat/cooking instructions on it so no brain power is involved.
    • Bring leftovers from the meal you made the night before.
    • Bake mini-muffins. See above comment about living one-handed. Morning glory muffins are a good way to get some veggies and vitamins. And it tastes like cake.
    • Bring washed and cut veggies/fruits. Good for the brain AND the butt.
    • Bring trail mix or something
    • Fuck it, bring chips and cookies and candy. Comfort food, yo!
  • If you want to help clean – just clean
    • Don’t ask what needs to be done. You can see what’s up, just pick a task and go to it.
    • If you feel the need to ask, maybe go about it like “hey I’m gonna do the dishes, is there something else that’s been bugging you that I can do first?” I bet you dishes is going to be the number one frustration. Or garbage. Or laundry….
  • Don’t be there just to chat
    • This one is tricky, but I’ll put it on cuz it’s how I felt. Your friend probably loves you but is super overwhelmed. If they want conversation, they’ll probably talk to you. Otherwise maybe just kinda hang out. Or don’t.
  • Help with kids (if you can/she wants you to)
    • Some moms are attached enough to their kids that they won’t want anyone really helping at that point. Some kids are so attached to their moms they’ll lose their shit if anyone else holds them. But in the event that kiddo takes a shine to you, let mom go get some sleep. Or maybe she wants to go for a drive or walk or something. Offer to hang while she goes to just be her for a minute, not mom.
  • Offer to pick up groceries or something for her
  • If you can’t do any of these things, don’t bug her.
    • Feel free to send a “hey, thinking of you” message or something but don’t expect a reply right away. The few friends I’ve had that have had babies since I had mine I specify that I am not expecting a reply at all, let alone in a timely manner. Shit is exhausting and overwhelming to say the least. I still have trouble talking to people. I just want to nest.
  • DON’T buy bouquets of flowers.
    • They’re too busy to change the water and they’ll likely just sit there dead and moldy for a few weeks until they start to stink.
  • DON’T stay too long. Hour or so is plenty unless you’re cleaning or whatever.
  • DON’T show up unannounced

This list obviously comes from my experience, and everyone is gonna be different and have a different take on it. But hopefully this offers a decent guideline for non-parents to help their new parent friends. I feel like if I had no kids I’d have zero idea about most of this. I remember when my close friend from high school had a baby almost seven years ago. I didn’t hear from her until a month or two later, and I was kind of offended she didn’t tell me right away. I actually think about that a lot lately, and laugh hysterically at myself in my head. If I only fucking knew…. If you don’t – I can only tell you that it’s an inexplicable experience. No one can prepare you for the changes in your life. It’s like a train wreck of hormones, emotions and more responsibility and work than you could imagine. It’s pretty rough for that first month or two, and stays rough for a while after. So cut your pals some slack!

Have you had a similar experience? Agree or disagree with things on this list? Comment and lemme know! I’d love to hear it.