Here is a collection of my candid thoughts on parenthood up to this point. Warning: long post.
It’s a transformative experience…?
For me it is not a transformative experience. To be honest, I did not come in expecting to come out a changed, more improved person. I feel the same except with a baby. I do question when people tell me how wonderful having kids are as their kid cries non-stop no matter what the parent does to console. Nobody ever elaborates why it is a wonderful experience — I almost believe they are lying to themselves. Also nobody ever elaborates why and how they became a better person after having a kid. How were you like before? How does one define a better person? Did you become more charitable? Did you become more well-versed with the world around you? How do you define a better person?
Unsolicited advice and the snobs
Ugh…I think listening to people’s unsolicited advice is the hardest part of parenting. It’s more of the mental hits and blows I have to take. I am happy to say, I came fighting back. I have a blog post in the works and I’ve got a pretty snarky take on the advice I received.
Devoted to getting my baby on a schedule
Why am I spending most of my maternity leave practicing schedule runs as though I am returning to work? Well…I know I am going back to work. I knew this since before she was born. I’ve been experimenting with a 4:30 am or 5 am wake-up time during the week. I still want to exercise in the morning. If I return to work, being up from 4:30 AM to 7 AM is the only time of day I can do selfcare with a feeding in between and feeding the dogs. Not only do I have prepare for my day, I have have to prepare her stuff for the day too. I am incredibly thankful I have on-site daycare at my job so she and I can both go to the same place.
I feel because I got myself into a schedule mentality early on, the transition to returnito work made it easier.
I am grateful for having a background with working with older adults
I’ve worked with older adults for many years ranging from independent to those late in dementia. I use to be a program manager where I would support a variety older adult programs in the activities and recreation department. The activities I’ve done with dementia residents have come in handy when interacting with my baby such as singing, music therapy, sensory, and chatting. Yes, socializing and chatting is an activity.
There is all this pressure to buy this and buy that. There are people pushing their old (barely functioning, questionable quality) baby stuff. I absolutely hate being a reservoir for people’s baby junk from fancy baby bouncers, walkers, ball pits, etc. I am proud of our wide open living area. Babies do not really need a lot of stuff. For toys we only bought one stuffed animal, one rattle, and an empty baby gym to add our own stuff.
Because we don’t have a lot of stuff, it allows us to interact with her more. It allows me to be more creative. I had this lone sock without a partner, so with a permanent marker, I drew a face and it’s now a sock puppet. My husband calls the sock puppet Jacques Le Sock. I got these mini Christmas lights for our mini Christmas tree. Now they are repurposed for some sensory activities. We also spend our days walking around the neighborhood — the world is our playground.
Ironically since having a baby, I have a strong desire to declutter.
Looking forward to returning to work
I am currently on maternity leave and to be honest, I cannot wait to return to work. I am lucky my work has on-site daycare serving people in all kinds of occupations from janitors, nurses, clerks, doctors, and executives — it’s equitable. I am lucky I can visit her during my lunch breaks and she’s able to socialize during the day and oddly I get some sort of respite. Since working at my current job, I wonder why on-site daycare or at least a partnership with a daycare not the norm. I understand not everyone wants to return to their jobs after maternity leave even if such a perk is offered. Not to get on a soap box, but maybe we do need a basic universal income to support a parent who wants to care for their child (or other dependents) full-time.
And the best for last…it’s wonderful to watch her smile and grow
I wanted to end this long post on a high note. Here are some milestones for the past two months:
- Smiling and recognizing me and my husband
- Making gutteral sounds and coos
- Seeing high contrast images. Her favorite is the globe.
- Holding up her head for tummy time. Her record is 86 seconds.
- Enjoying her daily walks with me and the dogs.
- Hearing me read to her almost daily.
- Enjoys bath time. Can tell and respond to the differences between hot and cold.
- Recognizes the difference between day and night
- Sleeps for most of the night