Vallette Family

Vallette Family

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stay at Home Moms vs Working Moms

When Elaina was born, I remember wondering what I did with my life for the 23 years before.  Not in the "Oh my, my life is so beautifully complete now; those previous years were a waste" type of a way.  But, in the "Oh my gosh, this crap is HARD.  Why haven't I been enjoying the easy years before?!?" type of way.  I used to joke with Marvin that I wish I had been more irresponsible with my life before having children.  "Gah, why didn't I do drugs or something?"  I mean, of course, I was kidding, but I realized that this was a new phase of my life, and the time for shenanigans was mostly over.

When you're pregnant, people give you the MOST ANNOYING advice ever.  I guess they feel like you're about to join their club and they want to give you a heads up about what's coming next.  If you get through your entire pregnancy without hearing "Sleep now while you still can!" then you must be living under a rock.  I used to hate hearing that.  It sounds so..... negative.  It's almost like they're excited that you don't even know what you're about to get yourself into.  And, plus, you'll hear it a million times.  It gets old.  But, it's SO TRUE.  

For Elaina's first few weeks she ate every two hours.  That means from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of another.  So, let's break it down:  let's say it's 1:00 and it's time for her to eat.  Ok, so I change her diaper and position her and myself in a chair for her to eat.  She eats from each side for about 7 minutes and then burps.  Then I get her to fall asleep.  By this time it is 1:25.  I try to take a nap because I'm exhausted.  I fall asleep at around 1:35 and am promptly awaken by a hungry baby at 3:00.  So, I slept for a solid hour and a half.  Now, this is assuming that I used the in-between time to sleep.  You can't (unfortunately) just lay in bed all day and sleep and nurse your kid.  You have a house to take care of.  You have yourself and your husband to feed.  You have to dress yourself and your baby and change (A LOT of) diapers.  You have doctor's appointments.  You have visitors that want to see the new baby.

The first time your child sleeps for a 4 hour or 5 hour stretch (it feels like forever) you want to cry you are so excited that you got uninterrupted sleep.

I remember a few times Marvin was getting ready to go to work and I was sitting up in bed feeding Elaina with tears streaming down my eyes.  I was crying because I was just. so. tired.  I was so jealous that he didn't have to wake up three million times in the middle of the night (I was breastfeeding, so he couldn't truly help) and he "got" to go to work.  It's irrational and crazy, but it's how I felt.  

I posted a Facebook status about how silly I was to think I was "exhausted" before having a baby.  People were offended.  How dare I say you can't be exhausted unless you have a baby?  They went to school and had a job.  They had crazy hours.  They barely slept.  I was amazed at how much controversy came from me venting about having a hard time in my mothering transition.  I spoke to other mothers to try to get some support about the fact that I was TIRED and this was HARD.  They said things like "at least you don't have to go to work".  They didn't even notice they were being dismissive.  They didn't even realize they were inadvertently saying "you think YOU have it tough? try being a mom AND having a job, now THAT'S tough".  I didn't understand.  It wasn't a pissing contest.  Both "jobs" have pros and cons.  Staying home (in my opinion) isn't the easier choice.  Working away from home (in my opinion) isn't the easier choice.  They are just..... different.  

The stay at home moms aren't laying around in their pjs watching TV and getting pedicures in their spare time. They aren't twiddling their thumbs.  They aren't going on fab shopping sprees and meeting friends for drinks.  The working moms aren't at work without a care in the world.  They aren't having fabulous convos with their co workers and not having to worry about their children.  They aren't coming home from work refreshed and full of outside stimulation.  Both jobs are hard.  They are hard in different ways.

The grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side.  Maybe you've tried out both jobs and you find one is easier FOR YOU.  Maybe you can't imagine doing one or the other.  You make decisions for your family.  You choose which job you think is right for your family.  That doesn't mean you have to belittle the other side.  It doesn't mean the other side has it easier. 

My friends tell me the transition from one child to two children is EASIER than the becoming-a-first-time-mom transition.  They say it's because you are already past the "my life will never be the same" shock.  You already live your life thinking about someone else first.  You already can't shower or pee alone.  You already aren't living carefree.  Life is already different.  You are already in charge of keeping another human being alive and healthy.  It just get a teeny bit more complicated with a second child in the mix.  I hope they're right because the first time it was HARD.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Dreading" a Baby?

In motherhood there are things that you don't really feel like you can say out loud.  There are feelings and thoughts and doubts you have that you feel guilty for even thinking and you know that if you say it out loud you will be judged.  Heck, you even judge yourself for even thinking said thought.   

Dane was very much a wanted (and planned for) baby.  I started having intense baby fever and Marvin Vallette was (as always) along for the ride.  We decided to wait to "try" until the 3 million weddings we were serving in were done.  After the last wedding, we started "trying".  (Allow us a moment to talk about how weird it is when people say "trying", like, everyone knows that means HAVE SEX, but for some reason it's acceptable to ask people if they are "trying".  Like, you can say "are y'all trying" and not feel weird, but you can't be all "are y'all having sex often and around your fertile period" and not feel weird.  There's something wrong there.)  Moving on....

It took us three months to get pregnant.  Looking back on it, that's pretty quick.  But, at the time it was super emotional for me.  It felt like an eternity.  Issues kept coming up and it was stressing me out.  I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I wasn't ovulating. We got pregnant with Elaina so quickly that it made my head spin.  Like, literally 2 weeks off of birth control and BAM!  That's what I was expecting this time, too.  Why wasn't this happening?  

I was so ready to get pregnant that EVERY symptom meant I was pregnant.  I had a headache: I was pregnant.  I smelled something gross: I was pregnant.  I probably took, like, 45 pregnancy tests in that 3 month window.  The second month I was 100% positive that I was pregnant.  I FELT pregnant.  I had absolutely no doubt.  I took tests and they were negative, and I was SO SURE that I told myself "it's just too early to show" and kept waiting for that second line to pop up.  It never did.  I wasn't pregnant.  That pretty much devastated me and I vowed to not ever take another pregnancy test again until I felt the baby kick (or something equally crazy).  When I finally did take a test it was because Marvin basically made me. I was a week late, but I was 100% positive that I wasn't pregnant. I cried and cried and cried when the test finally had two lines.  I was ecstatic! 

I don't know how the people who struggle for years to get pregnant do it.  I can understand why that can be such a strain on a marriage.  I almost went insane and it was only 3 months.

So, anyway, I got pregnant and I was ecstatic.  I couldn't wait.  I knew immediately it was a boy.  I just had a "feeling".  I had the boy name all picked out and I made a registry online (for my own organization) of all the things we would need for Dane.  

Then, I started showing and I felt like a hippo, and I remembered that pregnancy isn't all beauty and rainbows.  I felt fat again.  When I was 8 weeks along my mother-in-law said "you're going to be SO BIG, huh?".  It hurt my feelings because I'm already so touchy about my weight.  She truly thought she was giving me a compliment.  She says she "loves big pregnant bellies".  She has good intentions and a great, big heart so you can't be mad at her, but I'm ultra sensitive about my body image so it just added to my issues. 

So, now I'm feeling fat and ugly.  Then came the part that I was scared to tell most people: I was dreading having another baby.  That word sounds so strong: dread. I feel the judgment through the computer screen. How crazy am I?  I cried and freaked out when I "couldn't" get pregnant the exact second that I wanted to and now that we're expecting a baby I'm "dreading" it?

Let me explain:  all of a sudden, I remembered what having a newborn was like.  I remembered what goes into it.  I remembered how much of ME it was going to take.  Our life right now is so..... NEAT.  We have our schedule and our life runs like a well oiled machine.  Elaina is 2.5 and we are organized and in a groove.  If I need to go to Wal Mart to pick up bananas: we load up and drive to Wal Mart, we walk in, grab bananas, pay and come home.  Elaina is a little person who is highly portable.  She is basically like my little buddy.  She can speak clearly, express herself easily and is easily reasoned with. Newborns....not so much.

This baby is going to take our neat, organized, well-oiled machine and throw a monkey wrench into it. 

Knowing my daughter, we're going to deal with jealousy issues.  She's going to have to adjust to her mommy all of a sudden paying attention to this baby and not devoting 100% solely to her.  I was dreading that change.  I was dreading what this would mean for Elaina.  And then, I got excited again.  

I mean, I am still aware that this baby is going to shake things up.  My house probably won't be clean every day like it is now.  I probably won't get to pick up and run errands like I do now.  I won't get a date night with my husband for a while.  I won't get uninterrupted sleep for a few months (maybe longer?).  But, that's ok and we'll adjust.  We'll get into a two-kid groove (eventually).  It'll be hard at the beginning (just like it was with Elaina), but it won't be hard forever.  We'll develop a new sense of what "normal" is.  

Moms aren't allowed to say things like "I'm not really excited".  They're not allowed to express anything other than rainbows and unicorn love for their offspring.  So, I just wanted to take a little time to be honest about something I was struggling with.  I'm passed it and I'm just purely excited now, but maybe once he's here I'll have some other worry or stress or negative feeling.  

It doesn't mean we don't love our children; it just means we're human. 

 
 
 Me, ummmm, celebrating? This was the last wedding of the year for us!


 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hippo Goes Shopping

I've gained 32 lbs thus far.  Dane weighs about 3 lbs right now.  Seems legit.  

That's how much weight I gained with Elaina the ENTIRE PREGNANCY.  I just can't get over that number.  I still have (technically) 9 weeks left.  I've stopped weighing myself.  I only see my weight climb up thanks to the stupid doctor's office.  Every time they weigh me Marvin comes up with an excuse for why I'm such a fat ass.  It's really sweet.  I can't tell if he really believes it or if he's trying to make me feel better.  He'll be all "yeah, but remember you had a big breakfast?" (at 4 in the afternoon) or "that's not really accurate since it's 10:45 AM and you're supposed to weigh yourself FIRST THING in the morning".

All I complain about is how I feel SO fat.  I talk about it non stop.  I know it drives Marvin crazy.  I feel so ugly and fat and pimply and disgusting.  I can't get over it.  Pregnancy reminds me of how incredibly vain I am.  I complain to my pregnant mommy friends in this secret Facebook group we have and they all compliment me and then I feel like I shouldn't have complained because I look like a douche seeking out compliments.  I know everyone is trying to make me feel better, but it feels weird.  You know how when YOU'RE self conscious about something it doesn't matter how OTHER people feel?  You just feel how you feel.

I've been going around town in sweat pants lately.  It's worked out quite well so far.  No one can see my hippopotamus legs and I don't have to shave.  But, now that the weather has cooled down I thought I might die of heat exhaustion if I didn't get some spring/summer clothes.  

I went to Old Navy to buy some clothes.  Their stuff is plain and cheap and I'm not looking to spend a fortune since I won't be this size forever (please, God!).  You know that table they have with the boring, soft, v-neck shirts?  They have them in a million colors?  Well, I decided to buy some of those and some new jeans.  The jeans that have been helping me along for the last 29 weeks now only reach half way up my butt crack.  I didn't want to buy maternity jeans because they just look.... maternity-ish and the clothes companies are cruel and like to kick a fat woman when she's down and charge an arm and a leg for the "cute" maternity jeans. 

Anyway, so I went and visited the table with those shirts and put like 5 of them (same style & size-- different colors) in my cart.  I grabbed two pairs of jeans and headed to the dressing room.  I take off my clothes and slip on the first t-shirt.  I immediately contemplate suicide.  The shirt looks like a second piece of skin.  It looks like I borrowed it from my 12 year old anorexic sister.  The shirt is a size small.  Duh, Diana.  You are freaking almost 8 months pregnant.  You can't wear smalls anymore.  Get yourself together. 

I pop my head out of the dressing room and ask the attendant if she can get me a shirt in that style (any color) in a medium for me to try on.  "A....medium?" she says.  "Yes, please!".  She comes back with the medium.  I try it on.  It covers about 40% of my belly only. I'm in denial, aparently. Awesome.  I need a large.  Just awesome!!  I stick my head out. "I guess I need a large.  Do you mind?"  She brings me the large.  It fits.  It's comfortable.  It's a teeny tiny bit too big, which means that when I'm 40 weeks it'll be too tight and I'll contemplate suicide again. 

I move on to the jeans.  Remember they aren't maternity jeans!  I pull them on and they fit wonderfully.  I can't button them, but I can zip them and they feel comfortable and they look cute.  Score!  Then, I check the size.  Why, God?  Why did I do that?  They are an 8.  

Calm down.  I know some of you are all "Omg, an 8 isn't even big."  Well, for me an 8 is a size I've never worn before.  I've never even come close.  And, Old Navy is known for their vanity sizing.  Which means that I probably really wear a 10.  That's a two digit number.  F word.

I guess I'm writing this for all the pregnant gals who feel like an elephant, too. The ones who feel fat.  (This is not for you if you feel so "beautiful" and "feminine" pregnant.  PS- WHO ARE YOU?!?)  Just keep in mind that this is a short time.  We'll be normal again one day!  It's for a good cause.  And, if you are having a hard time, email me!!  At least you'll be able to talk with someone who knows EXACTLY how feel.  

 

That's a picture of me (right) 3 months before finding out I was expecting this time.  

 That's a picture of me at 31 weeks. (Taken yesterday.)