New Mom, Who Dis?

Between being a new mom and the pressures of work, I haven’t felt like myself lately. I can’t remember the last time I put on make-up. Please don’t look at my nails or toes. Don’t ask me the last time I went to a concert, movie, or an outing without Jayden. Don’t even talk about the gym. Planet Fitness has just been taking my $20 every month, but haven’t seen me since I was pregnant.

The trip that my husband and I took in January was supposed to give me a new perspective. Remember, “Let’s practice self-care all 2019”? Well yeah, I haven’t been doing that.

I’ve always been one to put other’s needs ahead of my own, but it’s become especially bad these last weeks. I wake up with thoughts of “What do I need to do for my son, my husband, and my job today?”, but never, “What do I need to do for myself?”

I know being a mom is no excuse. I know for a fact that moms can stay in fashion and in shape, look polished and manicured, all while taking care of their family.

Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet. I’m a hot mess.

7 months may seem like enough time to get myself together but believe me, time flies and those months have been a blur of nursing, pumping, cleaning, washing, changing, feeding, entertaining, teaching, working, rinse, repeat.

It’s not that I hate doing these things. Being a wife and mother is everything I prayed for and I know responsibilities come with it. It’s just that I have to make myself a priority. I need to be taken care of too and I have to make the time to do it.

Now that I’ve recognized that it’s too much of a problem, I am determined to take a piece of my day and dedicate it to doing something for me.

So to all the other mommies who feel like me, let’s try to practice daily self-care. Give yourself 30 minutes to exercise, go get a mani/pedi, go see a movie by yourself, hell, just take the long way home if you have to. We need it. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of the people we love.

Now let’s see if I can go practice what I preach.

Self Care.

For the past 5 months, I have been Jayden’s mom. And for a little more than that, I’ve been Dewayne’s wife. Even before these titles, I have been know to put everyone’s needs and wants ahead of mine and forget that Sherron was here first.

When Jayden was born, I had so much mommy guilt. Mommy guilt to me is doing anything other than tending to your child. When I was on maternity leave and stayed home with Jayden, I had a hard time. If I went to the bathroom, I felt guilty. If I went to the kitchen to fix a meal, I felt guilty. Anytime I put him down and he cried, I felt guilty, because babies don’t just cry for no reason right?

Eventually, I adjusted, got a routine down, and figured Jayden out. But slowly I was forgetting who Sherron was. I started to just morph into nothing but a mom. A caretaker. The provider of milk.

No doubt, I’m tired, but if one more person tells me, “I looked tired”, I’m going to scream.

Sherron used to travel. Try different resturants. Go to the gym. Go to concerts. Now it is (for me and my husband) go to work, come home, take care of Jayden, bathe, eat, sleep, and repeat.

Luckily, my wonderful husband felt the staleness too in our routine and surprised me with a trip to Costa Rica!

Boy when I tell you I was excited! Finally, something to break the routine and a chance to just be Sherron again. But when it was time to go, here came the mommy guilt again. The night before we left, my mom literally had to pry Jayden out my arms and kick me out of the house. At the airport, I was breaking down because I felt so frazzled. Looking for nursing stations made it worse. Pumping and dumping milk that I should be giving my child made me feel sick. But I got on that plane and we made it here.

Guilt tried to creep in, but relief and relaxation pushed it out. I realized there’s nothing to feel guilty about. Even though it’s not mommy or daddy, Jayden is in good hands. And it’s only a few days, he’ll be fine.

We (moms, dads, wives, hubands, hell everyone) has to find time for self care. Whether it’s a trip, a night out, 30 minutes for exercise, or just an hour with some wine and a book, we need to find the time to take care of ourselves. Don’t look at it as neglecting others, but as making sure you are healthy (and sane) to continue to support those around you.

Now that I’m having some time away from Jayden, it has provided me with a new perspective. I can’t be the best that I can for him, if I don’t take the time to pour into me first.

So let’s practice self care all 2019.

Tell Me.

Last night when my husband and I were settling into bed, he looked over at me and said, “Thank you”. I’m literally deep under the covers, in my pjs, doing nothing, so I’m like, “For what”? He said for being a working woman, a mother, a wife…those are a lot of jobs”.

For him to know that even though the responsibilities I have are becoming natural to me, it’s still not easy. I hold these titles because I want them, not for praise, but damn if it didn’t feel good to hear a simple, “Thank you”. It made me feel good to be seen.

We have loved ones right now who wear multiple hats and they do it without compliants. We are so accustomed to them doing their “job”, that we forget that a “thank you” goes a long way.

“I see you”.

“I appreciate you”.

“I’m thankful for you”.

“I love you”.

These are things we can never say too often. If you can’t remember the last time you said it to your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, take the time to do so. Don’t just think good thoughts and words of affirmation, tell them. Now.

Pardon my Postpartum.

Motherhood. It’s the most beautiful, scary, exciting, and frustrating experience of my entire life.

First, let me say that despite the blog title, I do not have postpartum depression. But I will say that I can see why it is a common occurance in mothers.

Being a parent is HARD.

Even with a partner, it’s hard. Now I am grateful for my baby boy. I am happy to be a mother. It’s exactly what I prayed for and my vision has come to pass. However, I must admit, while I knew I wanted to be a mother, that’s all I knew. I didn’t really think about all the breastfeeding, and diapers, and crying, and late nights. I’m literally writing this after spending a day “cluster feeding” (something I had to look up because I totally thought something was wrong with my son). Most days Jayden stays attached to me and feeds for hours without being satisfied. Then when I supplement with a bottle of formula, he’s perfectly content. It makes me question my milk supply daily and my ability to breastfeed my son. Isn’t that what I was created for? To naturally nourish my child? I remember having a breakdown one night because after feeding for an hour, I couldn’t take it anymore. I took Jayden downstairs to make a bottle. I should have put him down, but it was late and I didn’t want him to wake up my husband. As I was trying to open a bottle of formula, I knocked over the breastmilk I was going to mix it with. That little 2ozs takes 45 minutes of pumping and it was all over the floor. I literally cried over spilled milk.

Most nights I sleep with Jayden on my chest because he won’t sleep any other way. As soon as I lay him down in his bassinet, he wakes up crying. Recently, I got pee’d on at 4 in the morning because the diaper wasn’t put on just right.

Among these occurrences, I’m trying to pump in between feedings, find the time to eat myself, and at least bathe. His dad is great, as soon as he comes home from work he takes over to give me a break. Unfortunately, dad doesn’t have breasts so most of the time Jayden is looking around for me and is unhappy until he’s latched.

When I initially thought about motherhood, this is not what I focused on. I immediately thought of a family, my husband and myself raising a baby, watching him grow up and become great. Which he will, but I admit I didn’t think of everything in between.

I am guilty of “wanting the wedding and forgetting about the marriage”. Literally thinking about having a kid and not thinking about all the responsibility that comes with it. We are often so focused on a goal that we forget all the steps that it takes to reach it.

That doesn’t mean I am not going to continue to work hard at it. I have no choice. My husband and I brought a little human in the world that needs us. So I will continue to get peed on. I’ll pump when I can and breastfeed when he wants. I’ll lose sleep. I’ll sacrifice anything and everything for him because he’s my dream come true.

What Do You Do When You Can’t Do It All?

It’s been almost two weeks since Jayden was born. And he’s still in the hospital. The day I got discharged was one of the hardest days of my life. Walking down to NICU I broke down and cried because I knew I would be going home without my baby. That pain was worse then the physical pain I was already in.

Before I went home, one of the nurses sat me down and shared some words of wisdom. “Take care of yourself” she said. “I know no one can stop you from coming up here everyday to see your baby, but do not come and sit for hours and hours. Go home and get some rest and heal. There is a reason why the airlines say to put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else”.

I heard her, but I didn’t really. I was told the same thing by my family and girlfriends, but I just couldn’t grasp it. It’s weird but I looked at a c-section as surgery for everyone else, but not for me. It wasn’t supposed to slow me down. As amazing as my husband is and he is perfectly capable of handling everything on his own, I don’t want him to. We are supposed to take care of each other. And we are supposed to take care of our son. Together.

However, I’m currently at home. I’m supposed to be getting some rest and healing, but I’m struggling. Struggling with unnecessary guilt because my baby is not here. And I feel helpless. Everyday I visit him and I feel more guilt because I have to leave him. Over and over again.

So what do you do when you can’t do it all? Or even anything about your circumstances?

In this short time of being a mom, I’ve learned so many lessons. First, I’m not in control. The nature of my son’s birth taught me that. Second, I can’t do it all. No one can. We all need help. We all need rest and time to recharge.

The reality is, Jayden is where he needs to be in order to get better. He’s in great hands and surrounded by people who want him to be healthy enough to get home. I realize that when he’s strong enough, he’ll be discharged and back with his family. Until then, all I can do is continue to visit him daily and prepare for his arrival. As well as take the advice I was given and make sure I am able to give him 100%.

So no, I can’t do it all, but I will do what I can.

8/7/18.

August 7th was a pretty typical Tuesday. First official week back at work with teachers and students. I had a couple of meetings, a bunch of paperwork, and lots of emails to answer, but nothing too stressful. I was anxious to get to my OBGYN appointment that afternoon so I could hear the progress on my pregnancy and the baby.

For the most part, I’ve considered myself lucky. My first pregnancy had turned out to be smooth. No morning sickness, minimal weight gain, and I was able to work all summer with no complications. It wasn’t until the last month that I was starting to get some severe back pain and I was up and down with my blood pressure readings. Still, I figured, it just comes with the territory.

Little did I know, I was a walking time bomb.

When I arrived for my appointment, the nurse took my blood pressure. Usually, we have a little chit chat, but when she got my reading, she was deathly silently. “It’s high?” I asked. She shook her head yes and said, “I’m going to take it again”. She gave it a few minutes and did it again. 185/98. Now, I’m not a doctor and I’ve never been concerned with blood pressure, so I didn’t know how severe it was, but I knew it was not good.

I was immediately sent to lay down and the nurses took my blood pressure two more times. Finally, the doctor let me know that I would have go to the emergency room. My husband was out of town for training, but luckily my mother lived 15 minutes away.

She picked me up and we headed to the hospital. I checked in and the staff began working on getting my blood pressure down. I had an IV here, a pill there, a blood pressure reading every 10 minutes. Still in my mind I was going to go home as soon as they could get it down. The worst case scenario is that I would have to be on bed rest and I could live it with that.

I guess God was laughing at my plans that day.

Doctor comes in and long story short, says the baby has to come out. It’s too dangerous for me and him to let the pregnancy progress any further. On top of that, I would need to have a C-section and be put to sleep, because enducing labor could be fatal. So much for having a normal delivery with my husband by my side telling me to “push”. So much for the short recovery time so I can spend most of my days bonding with my baby.

Instead, I was rushed to a birthing room with no time to think. And in 45 minutes my life would change.

When I woke up, I was a mom. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to embrace baby Palmer because he was rushed to NICU. 3 lbs, 11ozs. We both were still fighting for our lives and couldn’t see each other until the next day. It was the longest day of my life. But when I finally saw him, nothing else mattered.

I think we all have this perfect picture painted for ourselves involving at least one scenario. Whether its planning a dream wedding, landing the perfect job, or outlining plans for a family, we all have a vision. I didn’t know exactly how this pregnancy would go, but believe me, I didn’t come close to thinking it would unfold the way it did. However, the outcome is the same.

Jayden Ronald Palmer is here. 8/7/18. 10:36 pm. And his arrival was anything but boring.

Mom and Dad.

So finally I’m going to be a mommy. After all these years of teaching and taking care of everyone else’s children, I’m finally going to have one of my own. A little boy!

I can’t wait to see the traits he gets from me and his dad. When I think about my own parents, I believe I got the best parts of them.

My mom is a lover of all people. She has strong faith and belief that never waivers. She is one that you can call on at any time of the night and she will throw on her clothes and rush to your aid if she’s needed. And even when she’s not needed.

My dad is a hardworker. He grew up in a household where ‘B’s were unacceptable and boy did it pay off. He’s well educated and successsful. He’s a provider and has secured the future of not only himself, but his family that he loves so deeply.

I am so blessed to have and know them both. All of those traits are instilled in me. That makes me wonder what traits will my own child get from me and his father?

Mom (me) not only has traits that she’s gotten from her parents, but she’s an optimist. She believes everything happens for a reason, good or bad. She is a believer in love and knows that it can conquer all things.

Dad is more practical. There is black and there is white. There are problems and solutions. He’s organized and neat. Despises confusion and conflict. He will do anything for you, within reason of course. He looks before he leaps which keeps the people he loves from jumping off cliffs impulsively (me in particular).

We both balance each other. My hope is that all the things we learned from our grandparents and parents and the experiences that made who we are will be embraced by this child that we created together.

How scary and exciting it is to be a parent.

I am thankful for all those who came before me. Especially my own parents. Now I will know first hand the sacrifices and dedication it takes to raise the little life that you brought into the world.

Love you mom and dad.

Requirements, Preferences, or Roadblocks? (A.K.A. Happy Father’s Day)

Years ago I asked this question.

I was about to turn 30 and was beginning to panic. I had been running into men who already had children. In my mind, I imagined and desired to share the experience of parenthood together with my future husband. However, because I was getting older and so was my age group, a childless man was getting harder to find. I posed this question on Facebook to see if I was over my head. And if anyone else was in the same boat. Then I got a response from someone who would change my life forever. My future husband.

This post led to an inbox. An inbox led to a phone call. A phone call led to a first date. And a first date led to forever (with a whole lot of other stuff in between).

I found myself falling in love with the very person I was trying to avoid, a man with a child. But if I had stuck to that preference, I would have missed out on the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Let’s look at why I (and other women) hestitate to date men with children:

Children Come First: Children are and should be a parent’s first priority. After all, they can’t take care of themselves. As selfish as it sounds, I didn’t like that too much. As a single woman at the time, I didn’t want to have to compete with a child for time and attention.

Baby mamas/ex-wives: There will always be a tie there. The children will always require a man to communicate with his ex. Usually that leaves an open door for things to reconcile. After all, they did share something once and have the proof to show it. It’s convienant to just go back into a ready made home. My ex-husband was an example of that. Although he was married to me at the time, he was still communicating with his previous ex-wife inappropriately and trying to keep that door open so he could continue to have a “relationship” with her and me.

In another relationship, my significant other decided to return to his ex-wife for the sake of his child. Needless to say, I haven’t had the best track record with dads.

Exes can be troublesome in that they may use the children as a source of revenge or leverage. Especially when they find out the man is now in another relationship. It not only causes stress on him, but on the relationship as well.

I could go on and on about the negatives of dating men with children (and this is only based on my experiences), but why when my own husband debunked most, if not all of my concerns.

He showed me that I could be equally as important as his daughter. When we were dating, he made sure he included me in outings with her. Interactions with his ex were always about their child, nothing more, nothing less. And most of those conversations took place around me. Bottomline, he knew my past experiences and made sure that I had nothing to worry about. And those experiences had nothing to do with him as a man or a father.

Moral of the story, if I had stuck to my preferences, I would have missed out on a great husband and a beautiful step-daughter. And now we’re having a child of our own. Sometimes we have to get out of our own way and not let our preferences become requirements that block our blessings.

Happy Father’s Day to not only my husband, but to all the dads that are active in their children’s lives. May you not only be honored on this day, but everyday.

No wedding. No reception. No must. No fuss.

Of course when you get engaged, the first thing people ask is, “Have you set a date”? And when I gave my answer, most were surprised.

There is/was no set date. After my fiance and I finished premartial counseling we woke up one random day, filled out the marriage application at the courthouse, and decided to do something just for us.

That answer had gotten us some mixed reviews. Some were disppointed of course. Some totally understood and said “weddings are a waste of money”. Others wanted me to compromise and at least do a reception.

No.

The thing is, I’m not getting married for a wedding. I’m getting married for a marriage.

I had a ceremony and reception for my first marriage and clearly that did not save it. And honestly, I only had it for my family, not for me. Even with those intentions, it turned out to be a disaster which is another story.

I am not against those who desire a wedding. They can be beautiful! They bring families together and they can be fun! But they are not for everybody.

So on 5-12-18, I looked into the eyes of the love of my life and said “I do”. Just me, him, a minister, and a photographer.

And it was perfect.

February 15th.

This is important day to me. I’m sure you’re thinking, the day after Valentine’s Day? Why?

Well, it’s the day that my fiance didn’t give up on me. On us.

I had broken up with him a few months before. I did it for me. After 3 years, I knew that I wanted our relationship to progress further. Marriage. Kids. The whole nine. After being straight forward at the beginning of our relationship and him sharing that he wanted the same things, I felt that there had been more than enough time.

I know what the men are thinking, “Why do women have to have a timeline”? And this was my fiance’s train of thinking as well. However, yeah we need one. It helps us to protect our hearts. It keeps us from wasting our time. And unfortunately, age plays a large part, especially if we want children.

So, I ended it.

I walked away from him. No contact. No nothing. And his pride returned the favor.

And then all of a sudden, a phone call. And there was just one simple question, “why”?

Again I shared that my vision was to be a wife and a mother and my belief that he wasn’t ready to give it to me.

After spilling my guts, he simply said he understood. He knew why. And his plan was to put in work. Cautiously, I let him.

A year later, we’re living together, engaged, and working on our future marriage and family.

And just to think. What if I hadn’t picked up the phone on side chick day?