A Letter to My Pre-Mom Self

Dear Meagan,

Right now you are six months pregnant. I’m writing to you from a year in the future because there are some things that I wish my future self would have told me when I was in your shoes (or whatever you’re able to squeeze your feet into these days).

First of all, I want to let you know that your baby is healthy. I know that you’re worried when he doesn’t move around very much and you obsess over everything that could be wrong. Relax. He’s fine.

Please, try to enjoy these last few months of your pregnancy. Now that the morning sickness has eased up and you’re in the home stretch, you’re going to start feeling better and better until he’s born (oh yes, it is a “he” by the way). Enjoy all of the attention that you’re getting and how special everyone is making you feel. It won’t last forever. Right now you think you’ll go crazy if another person asks when you are due or how you’re feeling. In a year you’ll be so desperate for any kind of adult interaction that you’ll be striking up conversations with strangers in the grocery store.

It’s okay to marvel in feeling your little baby squirm around inside your tummy. I know that everyone is telling you that by the time he’s born you’ll be tired of it, but you won’t. And trust me, once he’s here you are going to miss that feeling so much. Being pregnant is amazing, and you’ll regret it if you don’t appreciate it because you’re afraid to stop worrying. So stop feeling guilty when you’re not obsessing, and start having fun!

Labour sucks. I know that you think that women might be exaggerating how much it hurts, but they’re not. It’s the worst pain you’ll ever know. That being said, it will be over before you know it and a few days later you will have almost completely forgotten the pain. It might be a good idea to prepare some techniques for dealing with it, though. I know that you’re self-sufficient and think you can just muddle through, but learning some breathing exercises or relaxation techniques will really help.

Once the baby is here, you will be in for the shock of your life. There is no way that I can prepare you, so I won’t even try. You’ve already been told a million times about the lack of sleep and crying and all of that. So I’ll just give you a few words of advice.

DO NOT worry about what anyone else says or thinks or how they believe you should raise your baby. Honestly, you care way too much about how other people perceive you and it will make for a difficult first few months with your son. There is no way that you will ever make everyone happy, so don’t even try. Just do your best. I know, I know, you’re thinking that they probably know more because they have experience and you don’t. Nope. Not true. You know your baby and they don’t, so just ignore them.

Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan. Right now, you think that women who decide not to breastfeed just aren’t trying hard enough. Well, I hate to tell you, but by six months your son is going to be exclusively formula fed. But you know what? He’s healthy and awesome! This single thing is going to cause you more stress during your son’s first year than anything else. Just don’t sweat it.

I would like to tell you to get your rest while you can, but how many times have you already been told that? Besides, it’s not like you can save up rest for when you’ll really need it. I think that pre-parent free time is something that can only be appreciated after your kids are here. So just do your own thing, take two naps a day, fool around on the computer, and enjoy being solo.

I’m really quite jealous of you because soon you will get to experience becoming a mom for the first time. You’ll hate feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, but by the time your son is one you’ll look back on those first few weeks with such unbelievable nostalgia: moments like when you and C are huddled over the baby in the hospital, both trying to figure out how to put a diaper on your grey, scrawny, alien-looking baby; or having the nurse help you get him into the car seat; or how nervous you’ll be to give him his first bath. Enjoy your inexperience and the newness of everything. In a few months, you’ll have it all down to a science. God, I miss those early days. Enjoy them.

Being a mom will change your life, but in ways that you won’t know until it happens. You’ll have so much more patience and perspective and you will sweat the small stuff WAY less. These are all good things. But I know that you’ve already been told this many, many times before, and right now the last thing you want is yet another person giving you advice or telling you how it’s going to be.

I imagine that as you read this, you’re sitting in your office with your feet up on a chair and the fan on. Give your belly a little rub from me. The little boy who is growing in there is AMAZING. He’s unbelievably cute (even more than you can imagine), and smart, and sweet, and funny, and he’s going to make your life so much more complete than you think possible. I know that you’re probably rolling your eyes at the clichés, but it’s true, so cut me some slack. It’s me! (Or you).

Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing (stop Googling statistics on fetal viability. HE’S FINE). On your lunch break, run waddle across the street to Old Navy and pick up some pyjama pants. That’s going to be your mat leave wardrobe. Nice, right?

Before I go, I’ll leave you with my top three final pieces of advice:

  1. Relax
  2. Relax
  3. Relax

Everything is going to be okay. It will be amazing. You’ll see.

Love,

Meagan

PS-Oh, I almost forgot. Would you mind please getting an imprint or impression of his hands and feet when he’s born? I forgot to do it, and when he’s eight months old and you’re looking at newborn babies, it will be hard to believe he was ever that small.

To Facebook or Not To Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

That has been the question that’s been on my mind for the past couple of months. Should I start a Facebook page for this blog?

Mom blogs and Facebook pages go hand in hand like peanut butter and chocolate. The Facebook community is a natural outlet for moms like me who don’t have a lot of support and who feel isolated and want someone to talk to. There is a huge number of parenting communities online that range from accepting and supportive to rigid and judgemental. I’ve sifted through many of them and settled on a few that I like (for the record, they are Bottle Babies, Fearless Formula Feeder, The Leaky B@@b, and The Skeptical Mother).

I see the good that online communities can do. I also see the other side. I see the nasty comments and the arguments among members. I see the extraordinary amount of work that the moderators do to keep the peace, delete inappropriate posts, and provide relevant and engaging content.

Blogging has always been a very part-time pursuit for me. I write when I have the chance, usually on the weekends when my partner can watch the baby. It’s rare that I have the chance to devote any real time to writing during the week. I definitely don’t have time to monitor a Facebook page all day to make sure that adults aren’t throwing online temper tantrums because someone said something that they don’t agree with. (Sorry if I sound bitter, I’m just a bit disillusioned with the parenting community at the moment).

So I’ve been going back and forth over whether I should start my own page. I’d like a place where I can feel free to post things about parenting without worrying that I’m clogging up my friends’ news feed with baby-related statuses that they have no interest in. I’d like to offer a place where parents can go to ask questions and talk about parenting with open-mindedness and humour. I just don’t want it to turn into a negative experience for me or any of my followers.

After much deliberation, I finally gave in and did it. We’ll see how it goes. It will probably take a while until I amass a decent amount of followers, but it’s fun to have a place to post interesting articles that I come across. If you’d like to “like” my page, you can find it here, or by searching “The 8020 Mom” on Facebook, or by clicking on the Facebook icon on the top of the column to the right. I hope to see you there!

A Letter to My Mom

This letter is in response to the daily prompt from earlier this month:

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Dear Mom,

I just have one question for you. How did you do it?

Now that I’m a mom, the things that I took for granted while I was growing up seem like monumental achievements, and I wonder how you managed.

How did you simultaneously care for twin newborns and a precocious toddler? When did you sleep or eat or shower? What were you thinking as your babies were crying and your eldest was clamouring for your attention? Thank you for always making all of us seem loved and important and like we were a priority, even though you had a thousand other responsibilities.

When did you find the time to teach us all to read before we started kindergarten? How did you manage to help each of us with our homework and science fairs and school projects? Thank you for instilling in each of us a life-long love of learning and for playing an active role in our education all the way from preschool to university.

Where did you find the time and money and energy to involve us in so many extra-curricular activities? You sat through dance recitals and airband concerts, swimming lessons and karate tournaments. You picked us up and dropped us off from Brownies and Beavers meetings. You helped us rehearse poems for Speech, Arts, and Drama and put together costumes for Christmas concerts. And I never once heard you complain, even though there must have been times that you would have rather just crawled into bed instead of driving the thirty minutes into town to get us to another lesson. Thank you for a childhood of memories and experiences that have enriched me as a person.

How did you manage to get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table every night, even when you were working full-time? Eating out was such a rarity, I remember going to McDonald’s with a friend in elementary school and not even knowing what or how to order. Thank you for teaching me the importance of nutrition and sitting down as a family for dinner every night. Thank you for teaching me how to cook, and for making it fun by letting us be responsible for choosing recipes and helping you make them.

How did you keep adult worries from plaguing our childhoods? I never heard you discuss money or any of the other issues that must have consumed a working mom with a husband and three kids. Thank you for preserving my childhood and letting me a kid. Thank you for having the strength to keep those things from us, even though I’m sure there were times that you wanted to say something in front of us. Thank you for making home a safe place.

How could you keep on giving all of these things (and more) in the face of tantrums and complaining and “I hate you”s? How could you keep on going, year after year, knowing that your children wouldn’t truly know the depth of your sacrifice until they had children of their own? Were there days when you wanted to run away and never come back? Thank you for putting up with us when we were ungrateful and mean and for not turning your back on us, even if, at the time, we deserved it.

You’ve set the bar high, and I hope that I can be even half of the mom that you are. I don’t know how you did it, but thank you.

Love,

Meagan

Feelin’ The Blog Love, Liebster Style ♥

I’m always excited when I receive a comment on my blog, but last week I was especially excited because one of my comments was a nomination for the Liebster award! I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t exactly sure what the nomination meant, only that the award is for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. When I Googled it, I found an excellent post that explains the history of the award.

I was nominated by Lindsay Gray over at The Leaking Boob. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you should go do so right now! Her posts are always very relatable and articulate, and I’m so flattered that such a talented blogger nominated me.

So apparently, in order to accept this award, I need to post 11 random facts about myself, answer the 11 questions posed by my nominator, nominate other blogs, and ask them 11 questions. So here you go!

Liebster

11 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I was a competitive Highland dancer when I was in elementary school.
  2. I have a business degree in marketing, although I have no interest in pursuing that as a career.
  3. I have one cat, named Lenny Briscoe.
  4. My first overseas trip was to Italy for two weeks. I went by myself.
  5. I’ve worked at a number of different places including a shoe store, a payday loans company, a veterinarian, a courier, a lingerie store, a college, an investment firm, and two gyms.
  6. My partner and I met each other through an online dating site.
  7. I have a younger brother and sister who are twins.
  8. If I was stranded on a desert island and could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I would choose pudding.
  9. I’ve never had a tooth cavity.
  10. I love horror movies but can’t watch them because they give me nightmares.
  11. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Stevie Nicks. I still think that she is just about the coolest performer ever.

11 Questions by Lindsay

  1. Favorite book: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
  2. Favorite online shopping site: Zulily
  3. Happiest childhood memory: Christmas mornings, especially the one when I got my Cabbage Patch doll!
  4. Biggest goal on your bucket list: Learn another language
  5. One place you’re dying to travel: The UK
  6. Biggest inspiration: Anyone who tells the truth in spite of how unpopular it may be
  7. Favorite season: Fall. It reminds me of back to school and new starts
  8. Biggest pet peeve: People who don’t take accountability for their own actions
  9. One person you would like to meet: Bill Maher
  10. Age when you got your first cell phone: 25
  11. 3 words to describe yourself: Polite, responsible, unsatisfied

11 Questions for My Nominees

  1. Your favourite time waster:
  2. Book(s) you loved as a child:
  3. Trait that you love most about yourself:
  4. Trait that you would most like to change:
  5. Facebook or Twitter:
  6. Bygone era that you’d like to experience:
  7. Another country that you’d like to live in:
  8. Messiest room in your house:
  9. Favourite physical activity:
  10. Your last meal would be:
  11. What makes you unique?:

And the nominees are: (drum roll)

a cup of mascarpone – wonderful recipe blog. Even if you don’t cook, just stop by for the pictures. Yum yum.

thelittledabbler – very informative parenting blog

One Change in a Lifetime – a fellow new mom blogs about parenthood

ChangingDad – a parenting blog written from a dad’s perspective

Moms Living Leaner – inspiration for being a mom and living a healthy life

Bend it Like Becker – this blog is flat out FUNNY. Honest and hilarious, read a couple of posts and you’ll feel simaltaneously entertained and relieved that you’re in good motherhood company

Kids Heart Real Food – for any moms who want to feed their kids whole foods in a processed world

surprisemama – a great mom blog. Very well written and relatable, I always see myself in her posts.

Becoming the Best Me – a great mom blog where she focuses on her baby and on bettering herself

Things I Say – a blog by a new mom that contains a nice mix of mom-related and non-mom-related posts

Postcards From Pramstead  – a really interesting mom blog. Check out her “Motherhood in 100 Objects”.

Thank you again for the nomination, and I hope you all keep reading my ramblings!! ♥