Posts tagged ‘Challenges’

October 31, 2011

When Everybody Wins, Everybody Loses (Sleep)

The decline in posting last week was due, in part, to the pending URL switch (which is becoming even more troublesome than it seemed at first glance). The other, more considerable factor was a heavy case of pre-travel anxiety.


Whether the trip is into Manhattan for an afternoon or across the country for a weekend, I always get nervous before we travel away from home. Weeks before our departure, I’m mentally packing, figuring out what we need more of before we leave (and then inevitably bringing too much of something), deciding how it’s all going to fit into bags, which bags we’re going to bring, and so on. To say I stress myself out is an understatement. Still, I wouldn’t have us not go anywhere. The more we travel, the more confident I am. And this last trip certainly presented its share of challenges.  So where did we go?





For some reason I’ve wanted to go to Canada for years. Whenever Canada came up in conversation I’d tell John, “I love Canada,” despite never having been there. This year, John told me at my birthday that we were going to make my dream come true, and so we just returned from a long weekend in Montreal.


I love being in bilingual places. And apparently I have a very convincing “bonjour” because lots of people responded in French and then switched to English for us like it was nothing. The only person who seemed embarrassed by assuming we spoke French was the woman who cooed over Jacob for a good two minutes, rubbing his back and everything, before realizing that John and I were giggling because we had no idea what she was saying. She later told us to be extra careful with Jacob, because he’s so cute he might get kidnapped. Um . . . thanks? We laughed a lot that breakfast . . .


We spent most of our time in the old part of the city. I love that village-y atmosphere, but we did manage to get on the subway and see some of the more distant stretches of the city as well. More on that later.


When we planned the trip, we knew that traveling with a toddler would be challenging. We considered going just the two of us, but quickly realized I’m just not ready to be so far away from our little man for so long. Making that decision was the first instance of lost sleep.


Although Jacob napped surprisingly well while we were away, his nighttime sleep was not what it is at home. We were up every night for about two hours.  When we got back home last night, it seemed as if we are going to have to relearn this whole sleep-through-the-night thing. Here’s hoping tonight goes better! This little development is a bummer, for sure, but either he came with us and I didn’t sleep or he stayed home and I didn’t sleep. And with the former, we ended up with pictures like this:



So I’d consider that a win.

June 1, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

When I was pregnant, a wise co-worker and fellow mom told me that during the first few months after the Peanut was born, I would feel like I was in a tunnel—a place where there was only baby on the brain all the time, when I wasn’t really sure who I was anymore because of the dramatic change in my life (and the sleep-deprivation, of course).  I saw her a few months ago and told her I had emerged from the tunnel, but now I don’t think I really did.  I recognize that parenting is never stagnant, things are always changing, but then I still felt like I was floundering at times.


Now eight months in, I feel like I have a better hold on things, and I think I am finally seeing the light for real.  I’ve nursed and changed diapers in restaurants, at church, on buses, in subway stations and in a subway car itself.  I know how to pack for trips of various lengths and I’m not afraid to take day trips or even travel across the country.  I can play with Jacob and still get things done both around the apartment and for work.  I am excited to start each day and content when I reflect back each evening.


This is not to say that things go perfectly every day—or any day, for that matter.  When I make plans, I know I need to be ready to change them the next instant, depending on naps, nursing, or weather.  I still struggle to keep my priorities straight and tackle the tougher things on my plate instead of surfing the web or vegging out in front of Hulu. I know I can’t do everything at once, but I feel more confident that I can do anything if I try.


I write this today for new moms, expectant moms, and for myself for when, God willing, the next Peanut comes along.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!


When I was pregnant and after I gave birth, I was nearly convinced that all the things that were supposed to happen with new moms would not happen to me.  I had no problem believing these things occurred for almost every other mom on the planet, but I knew I would be the exception.  For example:


  • I would not be able to figure out how to change a baby in public, especially when there wasn’t a changing table in the bathroom.


  • I would not be able to nurse my baby in public, nor would I be able to discreetly nurse without essentially undressing and redressing myself.


  • The above two points proved that I would never be able to go out in the world for more than forty-five minutes at a time, for fear I would not be in the comfort of my home when a feeding, changing, or napping need arose.


  • I would never be able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again, which meant I had a closet full of clothes I couldn’t wear and would need to rebuild a wardrobe from the ground up—for a body I wasn’t comfortable in.


  • I would not be able to decipher my baby’s cries.  (I’ve learned that maternal instinct is not necessarily “instinctive”, per se.  I may not have figured Jacob out right off the bat, but I have come to know him very well, and now I trust my gut when it comes to his needs and wants.  That’s what it should be called:  “maternal gut.”)


  • I would not be able to keep the baby happy, the house clean, us well-fed, and continue the work I love as a writer and editor.


By the grace of God, every single one of these fears has been quashed.  I know I am not perfect, but I know that I am doing the best job I can.  I know that I was given to Jacob and Jacob to me by some greater plan than my own, and I trust that that is the right thing for both of us.  Despite my doubts, despite my fears, I know that I am exactly where—and who—I am supposed to be.  I only hope I can come to that more quickly the next time around!

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