Tag Archives: motherhood

How Your Friend with the Colicky Baby Really Feels (And How You Can Support Her)

colicky baby

Hi, my name is Rachel and I had a colicky baby.

I’ve thought several times of writing a post with tips how to survive, tips for soothing a colicky baby, etc. But there are many good resources already, I’m sure. However, I didn’t have time to research them during our colicky baby “adventure”. I had my hands full – literally – with a crying baby nearly every waking minute of the day. Even the non-waking moments.

colicky baby

So I thought today, I would write about how having a colicky baby made me feel. If you know a mom with a colicky baby, read my tips in the bullet points. Maybe they will help you understand and support your friend a little better. 🙂

Looking back, that time for me is a blur. I don’t remember much except feeling miserable and alone. Now, I look at photos of my baby girl and I see how adorable she was. In that moment, my heart swells, and I remember the love and adoration I felt when I snapped that photo of her sweet face. But then I also see that tear, still fresh on her cheek, and I remember what a brief respite from the crying that moment was. That mostly I felt in that moment sweet relief, and an anxious fear that any moment she would resume crying. I felt a desperation to capture as many non-crying moments as I could, but there were so few!

Colic is supposed to last about 3 months, but in reality, I feel like ours lasted much longer. I didn’t relax or feel like I could take a deep, easy breath until she was one year old.

I didn’t have any family in the area to help me, so I never got a break. I was alone all day with a two year old and a crying baby.

If I went out into public, baby would taunt me by being on her best behavior. I felt ridiculous, like if I told people what our days were really like, they would never believe me. Probably the reason baby was so good in public is because I typically carried her in a ring sling or wrap. She loved to be held. While you were standing. And moving. But try doing that all day long on only four hours of sleep and see how you feel!

  • If your friend tells you she’s having a rough day, that her baby cries all the time, that she can’t take it anymore, pay attention. Don’t brush her off as being overly dramatic.

I don’t know how many times I tried to tell people I was struggling, and no one ever seemed to really understand the depths of my misery.

I received help just once. A friend saw a post of mine on Facebook and came over to show me some tips that worked for her colicky little guy. I was never so grateful when my baby slept for the next four hours – the longest stretch ever!! Except then the baby was up all night. I was damned if she slept, damned if she didn’t. Nothing I did mattered, nothing helped, nothing would make it better. I was at my wit’s end.

  • If your friend vents on Facebook once in a blue moon, don’t EVER tell her how blessed she is to have a baby in the first place. That it isn’t as easy for some people to get pregnant. That some people can’t have babies at all.  Chances are, she knows this full well, and feels like crap for not being capable enough, patient enough, or good enough to handle her own life and child.

When I had a colicky baby, I felt trapped. I wasn’t accomplishing anything, just barely surviving. My house was a mess, prepping healthy meals and snacks to get myself back to a normal pre-baby weight was nearly impossible, and I wasn’t able to do anything I enjoyed.

  • If your friend smiles and tells you she’s doing ok, don’t believe her. Never give her the benefit of the doubt. Offer to take hold baby. Get the woman a cup of coffee. Of course she can do it with one hand, but she would like to feel a surge of freedom now and then. 🙂

By evening, when hubby got home, I was exhausted. But my day wasn’t over because colic gets worse in the evening. And forget sleeping soundly…my baby was fussy even in her sleep. I could hear her rustling, crying out, whimpering during the night. And then she would wake to eat more often than necessary, sometimes only 45 minutes after her last meal. She didn’t like to take a bottle, even if I actually found the time to pump her milk.

Being on call 24/7, with never a restful night’s sleep takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, and physically!

My daughter also liked to comfort nurse – I was her pacifier! More often than not, me and my boob were the only path to happiness and harmony. This is incredibly draining (no pun intended, ha!), and puts such a great weight on one’s shoulders.

What would have helped me back then was a listening, non-judgmental ear.

I also could have used a friend who let me dash out to the grocery alone while baby napped. Someone who would hold and walk with the baby while I took a shower. I was desperate for peace and quiet, with time to do something I loved – cooking or baking. I daydreamed about cooking giant meals and decadent desserts for anyone who would come and hold my baby for awhile.

  • Moms of colicky babies don’t need your judgment. They need your help to keep their sanity.

I loved my baby, but I couldn’t take her constant crying and need for attention. People would tell me, “They grow up so fast; enjoy the cuddles while you can!”. But how do you enjoy non-stop kisses and snuggles while your house falls down around your ears? When you never get to talk to your husband because you can’t hear each other over the noise? When you look in the mirror and all you see is a fat, tired, slob?

When people made those “enjoy this time!” remarks, it only made me feel guilty and even more downtrodden than I already was.

At age 2.5, my daughter is still a more difficult, dramatic child than my first born ever was. But she is also the sweetest, cuddliest little cupcake you ever did see. She is funny and spunky and full of life. And I can totally see how she was a colicky baby. She was a needy, high maintenance baby just as she is a needy, high maintenance toddler.

I wish I could have seen then what I see now, and comprehended her personality a little better. Because it all makes sense, now!

But what matters is that one way or another, we somehow made it through the colic. We all survived. And hopefully now, both you and I can help someone with a colicky baby someday. 🙂

Being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

My observations on what being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

Being a mother means….

You forget what personal space is.

You eat cookies in the closet because you don’t want to share.

Sometimes the most unattainable dream is simply having 5 minutes of pure, blessed silence.

And if you ever get those 5 minutes of silence, you’ll rue them when you see what havoc the kids have wreaked in your absence .

You just might discover that you know every word to the most popular Disney songs….and you love belting them out!

The days of listening to grownup music are fading fast…because you either don’t want to explain the adult lyrics, or the demands for Disney songs (see above) are too overpowering.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Literally. Read your talkative four year old a book and you’ll find you can barely get past the first illustration…”What’s that? What’s he doing? Why is she wearing that? Where are they going? Is that a boy or a girl? Why are they carrying a backpack?”….

Dinner is quite possibly the most stressful time of your day – from making it, to eating it, and to cleaning up the mess afterwards.

You forget what your living room floor looks like.

You wear the same clothes until they get snot or poop on them to cut down on laundry.

Shopping becomes an Olympic Sport, involving intensive training (be quiet, don’t touch, stay with me, etc.), hard work, sweat, tears, and moving as rapidly as you can to get down the aisle and out of the darn store.

Before kids, you were young and carefree. Now you’re old and curmudgeonly, and your favorite word is, “No.”

Being a mother also means….

You don’t sleep in any more, even on weekends, but oh those early morning snuggles!

So many kisses and hugs. So. Many.

As frustrating as the plethora of toys in your house are….you can’t resist buying new ones you’re certain your kids will love and cherish forever (or at least a day or two).

Any time you need an excuse to stay home, you’ve got it, baby! Same goes for anytime you need an excuse to get OUT.

You’ll take personally the compliments directed at your little one…What an adorable little girl? Why thank you, I’m her personal stylist!

You’ll gain the utmost joy and pride in another person’s accomplishments…rolling over, taking steps, and peeing in the potty never seemed so miraculous and brilliant until now.

You’ll become a pro at terrorizing young children that are mean to your kids. Don’t worry about it; they have it coming to them.

Both rational and irrational fears will abound. No matter how rational you were before you had kids.

You may begin to wonder if you have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Or need anger management classes.

Your constant companions are surefire conversation starters. Great for making new friends!

For the next few years, you will live with the cutest little comedians you ever did see. Daily shows, free admission, just sweat and tears to get in!

You will hear the words, “I ‘lub’ you so much” and know that it is the truest, sweetest, purest form of love ever bestowed upon any human.

dark-pink-heart

My Week Of Healthy Breakfasts

I’ve realized if I’m going to survive motherhood, I am going to have to give it my best shot. Most of us do that already, but there’s always room for improvement! There are many things on my “Better Mommy To-Do list”, but the one I’m going to talk about today is healthier breakfasts…

The many health benefits of eating breakfast are no secret- I’m sure nothing I could say on the topic would be news to you! For myself, I’ve seen firsthand how irritable I get when I don’t eat a filling, nutritious breakfast and how evvvvveryone around me suffers as a result. When I eat breakfast, I spend less time on social media and more time cleaning. Or interacting with my kids. Or planning meals. I have way more energy! It puts me in a better mood for (most of) the day. My husband has said that it’s a good thing humans don’t eat their young…because our kids would have been goners. That’s probably because I was hangry! (see definition-it’s a real word)

hangry

So, I know by now you all are aching to know what I typically eat for a healthy breakfast. (haha!) Well, here is everything I ate for the past past week, recipes linked!

My Week of Healthy Breakfasts

First up is my absolute favorite healthy breakfast, and believe it or not, it is made with chickpeas. I beg you not to turn up your nose at the oddity of that- give this Vegan Cookie Dough Bowl a try! I tried it only out of desperation and a plethora of chickpeas, but I love it, and my kids love it! Chickpeas are like a blank canvas! Dinner, breakfast, appetizer…the possibilities are endless. In this recipe, I pulverize peanuts first to make the peanut flour, and I leave out the chocolate chips. Honey or maple syrup works for the agave if you’re not vegan. I double or triple the batch and have enough for several days of breakfast. Between the nuts and the chickpeas, a small bowl of this will keep me full until noon, every time!

Next up is Pumpkin Spelt Muffins. Now, if you don’t collect ancient grains like I do, don’t worry- whole wheat can be substituted. These were quick and easy to whip up. Plus, my girls loved them, so it fed the whole family! My only complaint is that they were eaten up too quickly!

Another slightly strange one, but also a favorite- Overnight Buckwheat Parfait from Oh She Glows. It’s totally worth buying a bag of buckwheat, due to its versatility. Easy to grind up in a coffee grinder and use as flour in baked goods, or use whole for a slightly nutty crunch in recipes like this one! Buckwheat is gluten free and high protein. What I love about this recipe, is that you prep half of it the night before and even that only takes about two minutes. In the morning, rinse off your buckwheat and throw everything together, topping it with your favorite fruit(s). I leave out the banana in this, because they’re gross. I sweeten it with a bit of maple syrup. I like a warm breakfast sometimes, so I like to nuke this for 30 seconds or so- especially good when strawberries are in season! Mmm…warm strawberries….

On the weekends, hubby often makes me a bagel, egg, and cheese. No recipe needed! I consider this healthy because well…it’s an EGG, and we only use half a bagel, usually whole wheat. Plus calcium…we all need calcium! I love that my hubby does this for me!! ♥

Last up, Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes. I bought coconut flour to experiment with and still have some to use up. Not a huge fan, mostly because it soaks up the moisture in everything and you need to use a TON of eggs for any recipe. If you follow a grain-free diet though, this isn’t a terrible option. Coconut flour is high in protein and fiber, so it helps you stay full! This recipe makes 12…it barely fed me and two toddlers, but I have a one year old who can eat like a man. Ha!

A whole week down of healthy breakfasts, and I’m starting over tonight with my overnight buckwheat parfait already soaking in the fridge. Yum! For more breakfast ideas (some healthy, some not), follow my Breakfast board on Pinterest! Take care of yourself, and your family will thank you! Actually, they probably won’t…most likely they’ll continue to be ungrateful wretches. But you never know. If you are nicer, maybe they will be, too.  🙂

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What’s your favorite breakfast that keeps you going?

Little Girls, Little Girls

hannigan11I am not sure what went wrong, but I have a feeling it started with toast. Yesterday was not a good day. On Thursdays, we have to get up and at ’em bright and early in order to make it to my daughter’s dance class. I was too busy barking orders and preparing a good breakfast for my girls to make myself anything more than a pitiful slice of toast. I had to take my coffee with me in a thermos to run a million errands while my daughter danced, I found out we need to spend more money on new tights and buy tickets for her first ballet recital in addition to the money we’re already paying for her class and her recital costume. Plus pictures are extra, of course. Ugh.

By the end of an exceptionally long day alone with the kids, I felt like Miss Hannigan from the musical, “Annie”. I was even singing her song “Little Girls” in my head…

“Little girls,
Little girls.
Night and day
I eat, sleep, and breathe them.”

After hubby came home from work, I went upstairs to change the bedsheets (okay, honestly, I went to our room just to be alone) and all I saw was an overwhelming mess that screamed “mother of little girls”. Whether it was the laundry piled high (both clean and dirty), the random toys that made it into our room, or the forgotten books strewn here and there, or the millions of plastic ball pit balls, I just couldn’t take it anymore! As I cleaned, I thought,

“I’d have cracked
Years ago
If it weren’t for my
Sense of humor”

But oddly enough, I wasn’t finding anything humorous about this messy situation. So maybe I’d already cracked.

Mess=Stress.

My family eventually found me upstairs and hubby helped me clean some things up. I put away the laundry and I returned all the girls’ toys to their rooms (Except those darn, ubiquitous ball pit balls. Those are going straight to the yard sale pile.). I love my kids, but I don’t want their mess to follow me to every room of the house. Something has to be off limits, right?

Sometimes, I miss myself, who I used to be before I had kids. I don’t have time to think, I can’t formulate a coherent thought most of the time because there’s endless chatter/responsibilities/background noise from cartoons, something, All. The. Time. I need peace and quiet periodically, even if it’s just a few minutes in a room with no toys and no laundry to fret over. I’ve given my kids everything I have (I even share my chocolate now!), but they can’t have my room.

Do you have a clean, quiet place to decompress?