I’m Tired: A Mommy Monologue

I’m laying in the bath, candle lit, writing this with tears in my eyes. Nothing “big” or “bad” happened today. It was a normal day of waking up early, diaper changes, bottle feedings, two baths, exploration of new foods, messy high chairs, laundry, toys scattered everywhere, new discoveries, chasing a hyper boy around, teething, falling down, laundry, cooking, cleaning… the list goes on and on.

That’s what a usual day looks like here at the Richards’ house but today I am just…. tired. I feel at my end and my limit. I feel like I have said nothing else today but “No no John,” “Don’t do that, John” “Come here baby” “Please don’t hit” “Don’t throw your food” “Don’tdrink the bath water”. So many NOs and not a lot of YAYs. As I got him ready for bed I just was so ready for him to be asleep so I can enjoy a minute of quiet.

And then overwhelming guilt hits me like a punch in the gut because I realized all day I haven’t got to enjoy John because I feel like I have had to discipline and parent. Instead of giggles and cuddles, today was a bunch of pitching fits and yelling. It doesn’t help that I was reminiscing all of his newborn pictures and videos last night either; making me miss those days of hectic quiet, coos, and soft cuddles.

Parenting is not easy. It is a never ending battle of wanting to slow time down and soak in every moment to please let this day hurry so I can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Time has moved so quickly lately. John is almost 10 months old and my heart is breaking. There really isn’t a point to my post except just to share what I’m feeling, which is raw feelings of sadness, exhaustion, immense love and joy, all at the same time.

But I think that’s what motherhood is; high elation and low valleys. Tears and laughs, smiles and frowns, yelling and praising. I know there will be more days like today; where I feel more like the principle from Matilda (bun included) than the teacher who comes in and saves the day with sunshine and giggles.

But that’s okay, because I wanted this and I love this. And its also okay to be exhausted and tired and frustrated in the midst of all that you wanted. Sometimes we feel so pressured to not seem “ungrateful” that we go along steaming up inside until we boil over.

You’re allowed to feel emotions, you’re allowed to miss the times when it was just you and you could do whatever you wanted, you’re allowed to crave solitude and maybe even a vacation where it’s just you, a beach, and a bible. When we strive to fit this perfect “mom” picture, the instagram mom, who always seems to have it together and enjoy every second of motherhood, then we find ourselves trying to fit a triangle into an oval; it’s impossible (yes, even my analogies now involve baby toys).

So, I just wanted to share with you mamas (and daddys) out there that, I am so tired. And I feel like poo for yelling today a lot. And I’m crying in the bath tub, simultaneously enjoying my quiet and fighting the urge to go wake the baby up for cuddles and kisses.

And I want to encourage you in this season, that you’re not alone. And God sees what you do for your family every day. And God sees your grateful heart thats just a little weary at the moment. And God wants to take away the shame that’s trying to tell you you’re not good enough for your family. And God wants to wrap you in His arms and tell you everything is alright and a new day starts tomorrow. And God wants to let you know He can carry you through the tough days as much as He’s present in the beautiful days. I want to encourage you to take a breath, start again, and truly try and savor these moments.

Parenting is hard. Motherhood is hard. Humaning is hard. But life is beautiful, messy, and amazing. So if you are like me, in the tub exhausted, tired, crying, and guilty. Stop it. Breath in. Pray for strength. And smile at this crazy, silly, beautiful life God has picked for us to live. Love you guys. Happy homemaking!

Cry it Out: My Sleep Training Experience

Parenting is not about what is convenient for us, but what is best for our children.

Okay, so the last time I checked in I had attempted sleep training and failed hard. After a night of no sleep, again, and failed naptimes during the day, again, I decided it was time to try again!

I read something about sleep training that changed my perception. Babies are not born knowing how to sleep correctly (sounds weird when thinking about the fact that they are born sleeping almost 20 hours a day at first). But seriously, they do not know how to sleep CORRECTLY. They need to learn sleep cycles, falling asleep, staying asleep, all of the above.

And as with everything else in your child’s life, it is your job to teach them and parent them on how to sleep. So sleep training is not cruelty or putting a distance between you and your baby, it is simply the next step in parenting: teaching your sweet angel how to sleep.

Sleep is a wonderful thing! It is when our bodies store memories, reenergize, and heal! So it is extremely important that your baby learns how to sleep well for their best benefit (and lets be real, it can help you get a bit more sleep too).

So now that my perception changed, I tried sleep training this week. There are many different ways to sleep train: cry it out method, Ferber method (going in at different time intervals to soothe baby back to sleep), the chair method, etc. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to sleep train your baby. As with all parental things, you know your child the best so you know what will work best for them.

My son is a hyper little boy who loves to be with his mama at all times. So as soon as I attempted the chair method, he went from deep sleep to hyped up at the fact that mom was sitting next to his crib (which must mean play time)! So knowing my son, I knew what was the best method of sleep training: cry it out.

Now you may think that I am a horrible mother for this and trust me I told myself that too. But after some serious thinking I realized this was the only way he would ever learn to sleep on his own. From birth I went from breastfeeding him to sleep to rocking him to sleep. He had never known how to fall asleep without me present and would never learn unless I was out of the picture for a time.

So the first night, I fed him his bottle, rocked him to drowsiness, and laid him in his crib with his lovey pooh. I told him I loved him, kissed him goodnight, and walked out of the room. Immediately, he cried. And then he cried for 50 minutes straight. And then I cried for 50 minutes straight too. It was the hardest night of my life and many times I almost quit. But my husband encouraged me with the statement that helped me through the rest of the sleep training: “Parenting is not about what is convenient for us, but what is best for our children.”

So he finally fell asleep. And that night it took him only 30 minutes to fall back asleep. And the next day he napped in 10 minutes. That next night he fell asleep in 16 minutes. And so on and so forth. It is now day four of sleep training and he fell asleep in about 15 minutes for his nap. A little crying, some cooing, and some rest.

Now I started sleep training at a hard time. Teething. His top two teeth have popped through this week. You may think that makes me double horrible, but honestly besides Tylenol there is not much I can do for teething. And he will need to learn that sleep is good for times of not feeling well. So when he is older he can sleep when he has a cold, or a nightmare, or is sad. The point is when he wakes up, mama and daddy are still there. But he is able to do something without us.

And essentially, that is the whole point of raising children. Teaching them that they can do stuff without us; raising them to be independent and strong. So, my way of sleep training has worked with him. He still loves me, he is not traumatized, and he is sleeping so much better.

So if you are attempting sleep training, this is not to tell you to do cry it out method. It’s sharing my story and encouraging you in the midst of a hard step in parenting. Research the different methods and try what works best for your baby! And make sure you are ready to start before doing it. The first time I tried I wasn’t quite ready to commit. The second time I was, and it has been successful.

Parenting is such a journey and full of ups and downs. But our goal is to raise strong children who are capable of doing things without us, but always reminding them that mama and daddy are there if they need us. Through many tears, much mommy guilt, and consistency, John is sleep trained and I am realizing that I did what was best for him, even if it was hard for me.

So, be encouraged! Do what needs to be done, because essentially making a home is full of tasks that we don’t want to do but needs to be done. So, good luck and Happy homemaking!

#Momfail: Sleep Training is Hard

So yeah. I just need to talk and vent about my frustrations lately. Baby John is about 8 and a half months old. He is what I call a “random sleeper”. He sleeps through the night for a little bit just to get my hopes up, and then he wakes up 3 times in one night, just to throw me off his scent.

Lately I have been doing the thing all of us mom’s are vulnerable to… comparison. I saw a friend post about her 3 month old baby “sleeping through the night” and I just got frustrated. I was tempted with the usual thoughts: “Am I doing something wrong?” “She’s a better mom than I am.” “What if something is wrong with John?” And you get it. All of the usual thoughts.

So I went to researching all of the sleep training methods. Ferber method, cry-it-out method, and the chair method. I rock John to sleep for his naps and bedtime and I enjoy it very much. But I don’t enjoy it in the middle of the night so much. So last night I decided to start sleep training. I chose the chair method which is essentially sitting next to the crib as baby learns to fall asleep on his own and then gradually moving the chair further and further away each night.

So I fed him, got him drowsy, and laid him in his crib, thinking he would go to sleep and everything would be awesome. However, he instead goes from almost asleep to full out crack addict kicking his legs, squeeling, crawling to his mobile, standing up and “talking”. So, as the directions stated, I laid him back down and said, “It’s time for bed. Shhhh.” And sat back down. He then continues to act like I gave him an entire can of coke prior to bed. I tried and tried again and completely failed. Didn’t even get close.

I sat back in the rocker frustrated and he went to sleep. This post is not about sleep training (maybe I will learn something and be successful and I will share it later). What it is about is the comparison trap I fell into. Part of me wasn’t even ready yet to stop rocking John to sleep because I love that moment at night when his eyes are drifting and he curls my hair around his finger or touches my face gently with his hand. But because of comparison I tried to force him and myself into something we weren’t ready for.

So we will try again when we are ready. And I will enjoy the season I am in now to the best of my ability. Because one day he will be too big to rock to sleep. His legs will hang down to my knees and he will want to stretch out in his bed alone. One day he will want to sleepover at his cousins and I will be at home missing him. One day his bedroom will be empty as he is away at college or married and moved out.

Sleep will come again. A clean floor will be in the future. But all I have is now with my baby. So I’m going to enjoy rocking him to sleep and cuddling him in the night. I’m going to cherish my messy floor and sticky table. And I’m going to hug a little harder and be still a little longer.

So if you are being tempted to compare yourself with other mamas or daddys, just stop. Breathe. And remember what you have and be thankful. Happy homemaking!

The Never-Ending Cycle of Cycles: What to do when Baby goes through a New Cycle

If you have had a little one for any amount of time, you know what I am talking about. Cycles. They go from cluster feeding all night long, to sleeping a little longer. Right when you get used to that they start teething and sleep regressions. When you finally start sleeping again, separation anxiety starts. When they finally sleep again, teething happens, AGAIN.

It feels like a never ending cycle of well… cycles. Little man is going through two cycles right now… separation anxiety and teething. Right when I had him sleeping through the night and I thought I was getting my sanity back, hour wake ups, tears, and out right screaming begin again. It can really get exhausting!

What we are facing right now is mainly separation anxiety. It feels like I can’t leave the room to even pee sometimes and he’s crying. We attempted Santa pictures last night and well…. just see for yourself.

Sometimes it is precious to know that someone loves you so much and needs you as a comforter… sometimes it is smothering and you just crave a moment of silence, fresh air, a HOT cup of coffee, and uninterrupted bathroom breaks. I’m just being real.

So if you’re going through a new cycle, I am sorry and hang in there! I’ve heard it gets better! But last night, after FOUR times of trying to get John to sleep (me and the hubby took turns in between games of Farkle), I finally amidst the frustration thought about cycles. What was going through little man’s mind? What was he feeling to make him need some hugs? Was it because he was emotionally scarred from seeing Santa???!? (okay this one really did go through my mind).

Finally, I reached down and grabbed a small fuzzy rabbit and let him hug around it as I rocked him to sleep. And he took the ear and began rubbing it against his face as his eyes finally bounced, FINALLY drifting to sleep. I rocked him a little longer, and laid him down. He slept through the night, after about two weeks of waking up multiple times, he finally slept through the night.

Now I’m not going to say that a rabbit will fix every problem. But sometimes as mamas and daddy’s we get so fixated on sleep that we don’t really think about the Why’s behind the cycles. Maybe baby’s teeth are hurting bad, maybe they’re afraid when they wake up and find themselves alone because they’re still learning object permanence, maybe their tummy feels crampy because they tried a new food today that didn’t sit right. Babies are not just little dolls that go to sleep, they are humans with emotions and brains learning lots of new things. Baby John just needed some extra comfort, and to feel as though he was not alone.

Maybe if we remembered a time we felt anxious, we could extend a little grace and hug them a little longer. Maybe if we remembered how bad a tooth ache hurts or how bad it aches to grow wisdom teeth, we can cuddle them a little longer and give them some help with the pain. Maybe we can empathize with our little ones, when they wake because their tummies hurt by remembering that one time after a Mexican restaurant (we’ve all been there).

I say all of this because last night, I had to remind myself some things.

1. Babies are human; and that little human depends on me. So be there for them, and let the frustration go. I signed up for this.

2. It’s scary to grow and learn; there are new things every day that are broadening their minds. So empathize with them, and reassure them that you’re not leaving and you will be there as they explore new things.

3. We truly only have such a short time with them as little ones. Time goes by so fast. So let’s stop thinking about sleep and think about those precious times when baby can still curl up on your chest and you can still fit them in your arms.

So, if you’re going through a new cycle with baby, grab you another cup of coffee, suit up with your mom bun, and love that baby with everything in you. We are their safety nets, so let’s catch them, cradle them, and set them free. I want to start now as he is still little, letting him know it’s okay to ask for extra cuddles when insecure, to come to me and his daddy for comfort when he’s hurting, and that we will both be there for him, even if we lose sleep.

Love y’all and happy homemaking!

The Top 5 Things I Loved for My New Baby

I became a first time mom this year with my precious baby boy, who is now 8 months old (wow how time flies). One of the things I remember the most during my preparation time for his arrival, was panicking about what I needed to have for him! So many opinions, so many differences, so many options, and so much money! I didn’t want to spend tons of money on things that I would never use and regret the purchase! So I waited (which was against my nature) until the baby came for a lot of the things I fell in love with!

Because each baby is different, he told me what I needed rather than some stranger on the internet who had a different baby! So, I know I sound like a hypocrite by giving you a list of what I found useful for my baby, but honestly it’s just to help you out if you want other’s opinions on the matter! If you find your baby is similar to what I describe, then you may love it too!

1. Playtex diaper genie

Some people will say that this is a stupid purchase and you may agree. However, I found it so handy and am still using it 8 months later! I will definitely keep mine for future babies, so all-in-all this is a gift that keeps on giving!

I noticed that middle of the night changes led to diapers piling up on the changing table which sat there all night because let’s face it, my goal was to change, feed, and sleep.

What I found was the next morning the room smelt of whatever contents were in those diapers: pee, poo, pee and poo, you get the picture. So I decided to try the diaper genie and it is everything I hoped for and more! I change it maybe once or twice a month and it holds so many diapers at a time while keeping the stink way down! Traditional trash bags don’t do the job, and unless you feel like running diapers to the trash outside all the time, the diaper genie is for you!

Also, you can get it in different colors too! We chose a mint green that matched little mans nursery and it really tied everything together. I love the diaper genie so much!

2. Munchkin Wipe warmer

So this is actually a product that I said I would NEVER buy prior to having an actual baby. Because obviously we know everything about parenting before actually even having children.

However, you will change your tune if your baby is in any way like my baby was when he was smaller. He ABHORED diaper changes, especially at night. When the cold wet wipe touched his sweet little bottom, my sweet little baby turned into a sweet little nightmare.

My sister had had the wipe warmer and so I thought, why not? It’s very affordable, you can use any wipe brand in it, and it may solve a huge problem! We found baby John absolutely loved having warm wipes on his bottom, and no joke nighttime changes became quicker and easier, and he even fell back asleep faster (not making any promises, just our experience).

So, I definitely recommend a wipe warmer for your little baby’s tush. We love it!

3. dr. browns bottles

So one thing you will learn very quickly, especially if you’re breast feeding, is little babies are VERY gassy. It is so easy for their tummies to build gas bubbles and the littlest thing affects them.

We tried so many different types of bottles before finding Dr. Browns. John constantly had gas at first which led to so many nights of tears and tummy pains. We tried Dr. Brown’s after some research and finally had an answer! Once we switched around 4 months we haven’t turned back! We will definitely buy Dr. Brown for future babies and save tons in money from buying all the other kinds too.

4. formula dispenser

So I breast fed for about a month and realized that baby John ate way too much for my body to handle. So formula came in and saved the day! However, nobody wants to carry formula around with them every where they go; they’re usually pretty bulky and trust me you need the extra room in your diaper bag for all the extra clothes that are absolutely necessary (just ask John about his recent Cracker Barrel blow out).

This allows you to prepare four formula servings at a time and all you have to do is spin the top and empty into your bottle. It’s perfect for traveling with baby, or just preparing ahead of time for nighttime feedings or busy days. It really comes in handy when baby is crying and you only have two hands to get everything ready and quickly.

These are so cheap but very underestimated. I love it so much and truly don’t know what I would have done without it!

5. Zip-UP FOOTLESS PAJAMAS

You have probably heard this one already but it is so true. If you are going to by clothes for your baby, buy zip-ups only! When you’re trying to get them back in their outfit during the night, you don’t want to deal with all of those snap buttons. I promise.

I remember reading a post about it before having a baby and I was like, “It’s not a big deal.” And then I realized as I was choosing outfits for John, especially in the early stages, I always went for the zip-ups because they were so much easier.

I say footless because if your baby consistently stays in the 95 percentile for heighth, they will outgrow quickly footy-pajamas. Footless zip-ups allowed some room for growth so I saved money in the long run. Not to mention I had his little feet out in the open for extra kisses. Definitely something worth buying into!

So, that is my list of my Top 5 Things I Loved for MY baby. I hope it may come in handy for any new mamas out there wondering what the heck to purchase without wasting money! Let me know some things that you loved for your baby! Happy homemaking!