Tag Archives: natural baby

Adjusting to Motherhood: My Biggest Challenge

I’ve always been a classic Type A personality–a chronic overachiever, and frankly, a bit of a control freak. That’s not to say I did everything perfectly, but I always strove to, and I based my own personal self-worth on my achievements and ability to do everything, all at once.

To me, unless I got an A+ while standing on my head, it just wasn’t good enough.

All through school and into college, if there was a chance to take on more responsibility, I jumped.  If I could fit in a few extra credits in, I would (especially online courses, which gave me the flexibility to pack my schedule with even more things, which fed my need to stay busy.) I loved being active and involved (expect for a brief rebellious phase in high school…) and by the time I became an adult, I was a pro at cramming more into a day than anyone I knew. It became my very definition. I was the girl who did a lot. A champion multitasker, and I rarely missed a beat.

I’ll save you all the details, but I’m sure you get the jist of it. If I wrote a paper, it had to be honors-worthy. If I baked cookies, I wanted them to be magazine-worthy. Nobody expected it of me, expect for me, and I was my own worst critic.

Becoming a mommy rocked my world in many ways, but perhaps the hardest adjustment has been realizing that I just can’t do it all, all the time, and I sure can’t do it all perfectly.  And no one cares. (which makes me realize that no one but me ever really did…)

My goals upon finding out I was bound for mommyhood? Here goes: Exercise and eat right and keep weight gain below 25 pounds, have an entirely natural labor, breastfeed exclusively, choose organic, non-toxic baby items whenever possible, grow much of our own food, feed my family organic food from scratch, make all of our own homemade, organic baby food, phase out plastic, use cloth diapers, begin freelancing on maternity leave, keep a clean, organized, non-toxic home, spend adequate time with my husband, and look good while doing it all. A half marathon was in the more distant future plans, too…

Can you see where I’m going with this?

OF COURSE I didn’t do it all. I accomplished a good bit of it, but there are things every day that I don’t get done. The sad part is that those things are the ones I think about when I lay my head down at night. I don’t congratulate myself on a job well done. Instead, I criticize myself for those jobs not finished, and even those not finished to my own crazy standards. Some days, absolutely nothing gets done. (In a fight, New Baby will kick To-Do List’s butt every. single. time.)

My son is now 10 ½ months old, and I’m just starting to realize that I’m not failing at this whole mommy game. Accomplishment and achievement mean different things to me than they once did, and though it’s taking a lot of getting used to, I’m adjusting. I try not to compare myself to other mommies, because we all have different priorities, and we all accomplish what we can each day. I know that my choice to do things my way, the natural way (like cooking dinner from scratch or washing diapers) might slow me down in the Mom Olympics, if there were such a thing, but there isn’t. Really, there isn’t.

I live a more thoughtful, examined life now, and I’m very conscious of the example I’m setting. I want it to be positive, so telling myself that I’m not good enough because I can’t keep up just isn’t OK anymore.  I need to teach my son that your worth is about who you are and what you do, not how much you do. He really is the only person I have to answer to, and he’s one happy little boy, so I must be doing something right. Making sure his needs are met is my new top priority, and although making time for exploring the plants in the garden and reading bedtime stories isn’t immediately productive in the same way a full schedule of tasks, goals and challenges can be, the challenges this new life brings are pretty darned fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade it for all the applause or A+’s in the world.

So, while the house may be in a bit of disarray, I have several stalled writing projects, and I may or may not have a piece of food in my hair, I do have the occasional small moment of victory. I managed to change a 3am diaper the other night without disturbing my nursing boy one bit. He didn’t even unlatch.

Now that’s multitasking.

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This post contains a link for which the author has been compensated.

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An Unexpected Keepsake

Little Man has always been a curious little one, but by the time he hit 6 months or so, he was so easily distracted that nursing was becoming difficult. I knew he wanted to nurse, and needed to nurse, but one casual comment, ring of the phone, or glimpse of a toy would cause him to unlatch and forget all about the task at hand. When he did focus on filling his belly, he’d inevitably end up fixating on my nose and/or hair, pulling and tugging until I had to pry his little fingers off, disturbing the nursing session once again.

I had heard somewhere about nursing jewelry. Not teething jewelry, and not the kind that has beads or numbers to help you keep track of which side to nurse on next, but plain, bold jewelry that baby could twiddle while nursing, keeping his focus on food and off noses.

I did a bunch of searching and asking around online, and it took a while until I found just the right thing, but I finally did – at Organic Mama’s Etsy Shop. She carried exactly what I was looking for! But, since we are still working on building a diaper stash and money is tight, I put it on the back burner and figured I would order one when I had a little extra cash.

Enter Green Baby Bargains!

When I saw Organic Mama’s nursing necklaces at 50% off, I jumped, and I’m SO glad I did.

I opted for the pretty green aventurine on an organic cotton cord…

I expected this necklace to occupy my baby’s wandering fingers and capture his attention, but I had no idea how deeply I would fall in love with it!

First, it’s cute. I’m a minimalist when it comes to jewelry (I have no engagement ring and my wedding band is plain tungsten carbide, if that tells you anything) and I like things that are more handmade than hoity-toity. You won’t find me in a “mall” jewelry store  (ever) so this was perfect for me to wear every day! It’s a lovely earth tone, so it matches with most of my wardrobe.

Second, it works. It’s SO simple, but so effective! My son watched me take it out of the mailing envelope and put it on, and it’s been HIS necklace since then. He often twiddles it even when he’s not nursing, his little forehead against my cheek as he passes the smooth stone between his fingers. (Yes, it’s made of stone, so no biting!) When he is nursing, he seeks it out immediately and it holds his attention like a charm. ;)

Its being cute and effective would have been more than enough to sell me, but I never expected the added bonus of this necklace turning into a priceless keepsake, a representation the very close bond my baby and I share. Yes, I’ve only had it a week, but I’ve gone to work several times in that week, and being away at the office is something I’m struggling with lately. Being able to look down at this necklace–the one he touches while we nurse, the one he holds in his hand while he fills his belly and looks up into my eyes–is priceless during a long day in an office when my baby feels so far away. When I touch it, I feel just a little bit closer to home.

My son and I have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship, but I know someday that relationship will turn into something else, something mothers and grown sons share.  Nursing, the best decision I’ve ever made and the most fulfilling experience of my life, will be over, and I hate to think how I’ll feel when I have to give it up. But I know that even when my boy is a 30-year-old man and our days of cuddling to nurse are long over, I’ll be able to look back at that precious stone in my jewelry box and envision my sweet little boy’s hand, only slightly bigger than the stone itself, clutching it as he fell asleep in my arms each night.

It will serve as a lovely reminder that no matter where he is, my boy will never be far from my heart, and that the effects of my choosing to nurse him will last a lifetime. Sure, it’s just a stone on a string, but this necklace could very well end up being one of the most treasured keepsakes I’ll ever own, and for that, I thank Organic Mama from the bottom of my heart. 

I encourage everyone to check out Organic Mama’s Etsy Shop to see the many beautiful and unique products offered, including a wide selection of nursing jewelry.

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