5 Tips on Learning To Deal With Realities of Your Expectations

The way you handle expectations vs realities,  drastically changes once you have kids.

Before becoming a parent, when it came to events or projects,  I built up my expectation very high.  I wanted “this” to happen a certain way. With a particular outcome. Scenarios were very elaborate with every possibility, and I planned things as much as possible down to the last detail,  to achieve the outcome I wanted.

Granted,  the reality wasn’t always as expected. But usually pretty close.  I could at least deal with the fact that I tried, as hard as I could,  and if I didn’t get the expected results,  then oh well. Always next time & know I have a better understanding of what to expect.
Then I had a baby.

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Sleepless Nights & Baby Snuggles

Some babies are able to sleep all through the night. Some even 12+ hours.  Not mine.
He is exclusively breast fed, and at the time of this blog post,  going through a growth spurt.  His routine is a simple one:from the time he is laid down for sleep,  I have anywhere between 1-4 hours max before I am awakened by a wet,  hungry baby.
Even after we started solid food,  his appetite had only grown and he requires Mommy’s Milk to get him back to sleep.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes. (I think he mostly needs the snuggles)
So often times,  this mama is getting up at least twice,  if not four times (the absolute worst) between the hours of midnight to six am.  We use cloth diapers, and even the most fool proof “overnight heavy wetter” brands, aren’t able to trick my son.  He can be dry as a bone to the skin… but he knows he peed. “Nuh-uh, change me.”
 
The first few weeks of life,  this is to be expected if a newborn. And considering how often they eat, and need to eat,  very natural.  But after four months,  five months,  six months, everyone else’s baby was sleeping all the way through the night.  Not mine.  We were still up watching Adult Swim cartoons while mama struggled through the next day on four hours of sleep.
My pediatricians only had one thing to say: you can train him. Really?  Not only is my son a night owl,  but since birth is notorious for not being a big fan of naps. We are lucky to get two, one hour naps a day. He’s never seemed sleep deprived – He just didn’t nap much and wakes to eat and change.
“At six months old you can train him to sleep for 16hours.”
Lady,  if you only knew….
I never got any helpful advice on how to accomplish this-all her suggestions on using light/darkness during active/rest times were interpreted as a game,  baths were already regularly scheduled and had no effect,  and the “cry it out” method just created a very mad baby who learned that if he were to just become quiet, I’d peek in to see the furrowed brow of a 8month old who busted me for hiding around the corner.
I eventually decided my Dr wouldn’t last a weekend with my son.
Once I began speaking with other parents, I realized that there are a lot of kids who just don’t sleep through the night. Their normal is to get up at least once. Sometimes for years. They just need a little nursing time,  some snuggles,  reassurance, and then they *do* go back to sleep. Maybe sometimes it takes 10 minutes. Sometimes longer. Sometimes not.
Our babies are only babies for so long. We only get X amount of snuggles and special nursing time together, as mother and child, for so long.
I’m a fortunate SAHM, so I get to spend 24/7 with my baby. I also need my sleep,  but for nine months,  I’ve adjusted everything about my body’s needs to my baby.
Until I can figure out a way he still gets what he needs and I finally get what I need,  I’ll continue to get up every few hours,  drink massive amounts of coffee during the day,  and join him in hour long naps that don’t last nearly as long as I’d like.  If it helps my baby sleep as WELL as he possibly can, I’ll do it.
If you are also like me and find yourself up all hours of the night-you aren’t alone.  When I find a solution,  I’ll be shouting from the rooftops.
If you find it before me,  send it over. With Starbucks.

A child is not a competition

Since when did everyone have to have a better child than the next person? Why have our children become a competition?

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Sacrifice

“You have to be willing to give up everything you love when you have children…”

Making sacrifices is a big part of being a parent. It just kind of goes with the territory – you find yourself without the time to do a lot of the things you enjoy;  like going out, bar hopping, the movies, coffee dates, sleep…

But isn’t it rewarding?”

Oh, very much so. BUT this isn’t going to be one of those posts. There’s enough of those kinds of blogs on the internet,  and that’s one of the things that seems to be engraved into the psyche of new parents as soon as the test reads ‘positive’.

Children require a lot of sacrifice.
Looks like you won’t have time for that*anymore…. (*insert any hobby here you would like)

Just because you have children,  the person you were before doesn’t have to die,  and you don’t have to give up EVERYTHING you enjoy doing.  Hobbies and Social Events just may be placed on a back burner-you may find that weekly Girl’s Night Out turns into Once A Month Catch Up (When I Have A Sitter), and binge watching the new season of “Orange Is The New Black”, isn’t possible to accomplish in one night because as soon as baby is asleep,  you are also asleep (you are gonna give up a lot to be able to sleep, tbh).

But its important to find the time to do things for yourself.  You’ll be a well-balanced,  better parent if you do. Everyone needs a break. Post-partum depression is very real and sets in at different intervals for different people. For some moms (and dads,  let’s not exclude you either! ) the first few weeks can be an absolute nightmare. For others, it may not be until you reach the six month mark that you find yourself locked in the bathroom trying to find a few moments sanity somewhere under the sink because it’s 4am and the baby is teething and you simply. Cant. Anymore.

Support is key. And finding the time to just “turn off” and enjoy the little things,  like a trip to the grocery store alone, or meeting with girlfriends for one evening out,  is a great tool to take the edge off things.  Unfortunately,  the fact of sacrifice is so forcefully shoved down new parents throats,  that most forget that it’s ok to escape for a few hours and be yourself for a little while.

I’m not condoning never spending time with your kids. I think everyone knows of those few parents who are always gone and leaving their babies with someone else, be it family or babysitters. I myself was even guilty at one point of passing judgement on an acquaintance who left a newborn with grandma to party two weeks after delivery.

Well I would neverthat time is so important for Bondingand they are only brand new for so long! “

But again-this may have been exactly what that mother needed.  Maybe myself and the husband shouldn’t have waited six months to have our first post-baby date night (which was only three hours long and consisted of constantly checking our phones for missed calls and wondering if baby was ok. Needless to say it ended early). Who is to say which Behavior is better than another.

Having children is time consuming,  expensive,  and forever worth it. But as important as it is to give up certain lifestyle choices,  it’s just as important to keep doing the things you love as much as you can, to keep you happy and give yourself clarity.

Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up being a person-it just means your schedule and routine changes. The importance of things change order. But it doesn’t mean you have to give it up.

….. unless it’s drugs. Then by all means,
Give up that.