Totally Truthful Thursday

// My post was published on Scary Mommy yesterday (!!!), and it made me really excited. I’m starting to put more energy into freelance writing and getting my work on other sites, and I was over the moon when SM accepted a republication of this post. 

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// Cory and I had an event to go to last week, and although it was nothing spectacular, I had been looking forward to getting dressed up and out of the house for days. Even the depressing task of finding something to wear made me excited. I put on make up. Wore my contacts. Shaved my legs. FELT LIKE A LADY. Only to notice halfway through the event that I had poop on my knee. (I just wanted to clarify it was Jack’s poop.)

// Two weeks ago I put out a call on Instagram for a new round questions, with the intention of making a new Random Questions video blog (since it’s been a YEAR since my last one.) Um, making a video with an infant at home is like…

I may just have to take your questions and do a regular blog post, because they were really great!

// If my postpartum body has taught me anything, it’s that the number on the scale is absolutely pointless.

// Note to self: It’s a bad idea to keep a large bag of M&Ms in the pantry, especially when you’re at home all day. I’m a weak woman.

// I send an obnoxious amount of pictures like this to Cory throughout the day.

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// Oh my GOD. Jack had his two month check up on Tuesday, and him getting his shots was basically the most stressful thing I’ve experienced since giving birth. MY HEART HURT.

 // Can we talk about how absolutely time consuming breastfeeding is?! I don’t want to complain because breastfeeding has been extremely easy for me (I consider it my consolation prize for having such a shitty pregnancy) but I do want to complain because I feel like I can’t LIVE MY LIFE.

// I’m still so tired and definitely go to bed before 9pm almost every.single.night.

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PS – The winner of the Swanky J Boutique  giveaway is Missy! Missy, please email your address to lunchboxdiaries[at]email[dot]com. Everyone else, don’t forget, you can use my coupon code  swankylunchboxdiaries10 with each and every purchase!

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Same Words, New Meanings

If you’re new to this blog, you need to know that I’m a new mom. (Two months is still new, right? Please tell me that’s still new.) If you’re not new here, sorry that’s all I’m writing about these days, it’s literally my entire life at the moment.

When I had Jack, I had “big picture” ideas of how my life would change: I’d be exhausted, I’d be hormonal, I’d love my husband in a whole new way, etc. Little did I know, even the definitions of simplest words would change as well…

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BC (Before Children): The tipping point of pure debauchery from this is fun! to I regret everything. 

Now: The most gut wrenching trip to the pediatrician you could ever imagine. I’m still recovering. Jack? Oh, he’s fine.

Sleep

BC: A commodity easily come by and frequently enjoyed.

Now: A true gift from God, a miracle in its own right.

Purse contents 

BC: 17 lip glosses, a wallet (with money), gum, hair spray, chapstick (not to be confused with lip gloss), iPhone

Now: 17 diapers, a wallet (seemingly without money), wipes, spit up rags, back-up outfits for baby in the event of a monumental blowout, a bottle, a pacifier, tissues, hand sanitizer, 1 chapstick, iPhone

Going out to dinner

BC: Sounds like a great idea! Where do you want to go?

Now: Sounds like a great idea! When do you want to go – sometime this month? Can we find a babysitter? Do I fit into any of my real clothes yet? When should I feed Jack? Should I pump right before we leave? How much wine can I order and still be able to breastfeed when we get home? Can we skip bath time tonight? If he’s asleep when we get home, should we wake him up to feed him, or just let him sleep? Did you feed the dog? Should we just stay home?

Bras

BC: Optional.

Now: Always.

Swanky J Boutique Partnership (+ Giveaway!)

Hey, guys! Happy Memorial Day! I’m popping in real quick on this holiday Monday to tell you guys about my new partnership with Swanky J Boutique!

I stumbled upon Swanky J Boutique on Instagram, and was so excited because a) the stuff is super cute, b) it’s actually affordable and c) Jacqui, the owner, is also a Longwood graduate!

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The main reason behind this new partnership is simple: I’m on a mission to lift up and support small businesses run by women. You guys know I’m obsessed with, and am so proud of, my friend Lauren’s business – so you can blame her for my new Girl Boss Campaign ;)

The concept of Swanky J all started with a conversation between Jacqui and her husband while they were lying in bed one night, just shooting some ideas around about Jacqui liking her current job, but not filling totally fulfilled. The idea of combining her passion for fashion with her years of sales experience seemed like a no-brainer, and from there, Swanky J Boutique was born.

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I’m so impressed with Jacqui because she is Swanky J Boutique. She handpicks every single item, receives and fills every single order, runs the social media accounts, and responds to all customer calls and emails herself. It’s Jacqui’s number one priority is that the customer is satisfied, and she takes that very seriously.

And you know what? I think that’s all pretty damn impressive.

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The cool thing about this partnership is that all my readers get a 10% discount every single time they shop at Swanky J Boutique with the coupon code swankylunchboxdiaries10. 

Jacqui was also kind enough to kick off this partnership with a giveaway that handpicked! Maybe it’s because I’m lugging around a diaper bag these days, but I am in love with this pink James Dean Day Dream clutch.

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I’ll give you a few ways to enter to win:

  1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite item from the shop is (I’m in love with this tank)
  2. Leave a comment telling me you’ve followed Swanky J on Instagram 
  3. Leave a comment telling me you’ve followed Swanky J on Facebook (she does FB giveaways every Monday!)

I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, May 28th! 

 

Penny’s Adjustment to the New Baby

One of the most common questions I’ve been getting is: how is Penny adjusting to the baby?! That is tied with, have you bought Jack a saddle for her yet!? (Enter side eye emoji here.)

I never had major concerns about Penny and the baby. If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know my concerns were more about Penny and the baby gear. She’s literally afraid of everything.

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We read articles about how to ‘bring home baby’ and many of them mentioned bringing a baby blanket home from the hospital so Penny could smell the baby’s scent. So many people said Oh, we just brought the blanket home and then there was this instantaneous baby/dog bond. That’s either bull shit, or we pulled the short straw, because Penny wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

Yes, she was scared of the blanket.

When we brought Jack home, she totally freaked out. Not in a bad, aggressive way – but she ran upstairs to her “happy place” on the couch to look out the window. She ignored us, and that was fine. We left her alone for a bit, and eventually made our way into the room and sat as far away from her as possible. One of us held the baby while the other went to pet Penny, then we’d switch. After a while, she slowly made her way over to sniff the new ‘puppy’ we’d brought home, and we gave her positive reinforcement.

After a few days, the interest grew, but she still kept her distance.

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I know there are do’s and don’ts for introducing a dog to a new baby, but I also think every dog is different, so you kinda sorta have to go with your gut and work off your dog’s specific personality. For us, we wanted to spook Penny as little as possible, so we went about our regular routines, except there was a baby present.

Surprisingly, she’s come around, and rather quickly. She’s gentle around Jack, like she knows he’s fragile. I mean, she’s a dog, but she definitely senses it. More than anything, she’s become super interested. She literally sits and watches him, and wanted to sniff him all.the.time.

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Making sure she gets enough exercise is crucial. On the days we don’t walk her, she’s the most annoying animal on the planet, and it’s hard not to lose my patience. Thankfully, Great Danes need minimal exercise and they sleep up to 18 hours a day, so in theory it’s not that hard to meet her daily activity needs. But some days, it really is that hard. 

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But with patience and a little dedication on our end, it’s been working out quite well. I also contribute it to the training we did with 2SpeakDog before I even got pregnant. Investing in dog training was worth every penny (see what I did there?)

And hey, she’s even coming around to the baby gear. What’s next? Realizing the vacuum isn’t a deathly predator out to murder everyone? (Let’s not get crazy…)

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I’ve Got to Stop Eating Like a Pregnant Lady

While I never took the whole “eating for two” thing seriously, I got real familiar with the drive thru, if you know whaddImean. Honestly, I was unsure if I’d end up giving birth to a french fry.

I’ll also be the first to tell you that once the baby is born, it’s real hard to kick the junky eating habits to the curb. I still crave salty fries and a Frosty more often than I’d like to admit and I often wonder if my friends at the drive thru windows ever stop and fondly wonder, what ever happened to that hungry hippo?

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Now that I’m just about two months postpartum, it’s come time to have an honest conversation with myself: I need to stop eating like a pregnant lady. Let’s be clear: I have no qualms (okay, that’s a boldfaced lie – I have some qualms) about my different body shape, nor the number on the scale, but I’m tired of feeling like crap. I think most everyone has been here at some point or another, right? (Right!?)

So, I’ve made the conscious decision to eat better and exercise. Sounds simple, I know, but I can assure you it’s anything but. To be clear: this is not a “get my pre-baby body back” goal. That’s not even on my radar right now – mainly because it seems impossible – but because my body is still 100% dedicated to growing and feeding Jack.

I’m a milk maid, but not in a sexy Halloween way. I’m literally a servant filled with milk.

I can’t cut calories, nor do I have the time (or, frankly, the interest) to exercise excessively. I’m just a kinda flabby girl trying to make better decisions when it comes to my diet and activity level.

So here’s the plan: I’ve been starting and finishing each day with a 30 – 45 minute walk with Jack (Cory and Penny join me for the second walk of the day!) It’s nothing wild or crazy, but it makes a difference in how I feel.

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I’m also not eating dessert every night. Some nights, I don’t even really enjoy the dessert; I’m simply eating out of habit. Like Louis C.K. says, “The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” Yep.

I also don’t yet have the time to dedicate to making healthy, elaborate meals. There have been many a night since Jack was born when Cory gets home from work and we decide the drive thru is just the easiest option, and then we hate ourselves afterwards because generally, drive thru = weight gain.

Enter: the solution to my fast food woes – Wendy’s salads.

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Freshly prepared with quality ingredients, you really can’t go wrong. I’m a superfan of their BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. It is SO GOOD. It’s so flavorful, the chicken is delicious and juicy, it’s actually filling (a major requirement), and I didn’t hate myself after I ate it. I’m not kidding – it tasted like a salad from a sit-down restaurant.

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I was torn between the BBQ Chicken and the Apple Pecan Chicken salad, so I’ll definitely be going back for seconds!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Currently

Do you ever have those moments when your brain moves faster than your body? That’s currently where I am in regards to my life and this blog. I have so many ideas and projects running around in my head, but my life is moving at a much slower pace, and I’m learning to honor that; because try as I might, I cannot type a blog post while holding an infant.

I guess I could put him in his swing for an hour, but I know these still moments of baby snuggles will be gone before I know it, so I’m really trying to soak up every single minute. (Lucky for me, I have a little baby who throughly enjoy napping on his mommy!) But here I am on Monday night and Cory is holding Jack, so I’m pulling out this throwback survey. I think my answers may have changed a bit since I first posted this survey back in 2013 ;) 

Currently

Current Book(s): The most current book I’ve read is Happiest Baby on the Block. Holy cow, if you have a new baby or are expecting, READ THIS BOOK. Or, simply watch the DVD. I did both. I swear to you, it’s like baby magic.

happiest baby

Current Music: On my morning walks with Jack, I’ve been listening to this ‘Pop Punk Powerhouse’ play list on Spotify. It’s like my high school and early college years put to music, with a few newbies thrown in there.

Current Guilty Pleasure: This one has me stumped. Maybe it’s that Cory gets up in the middle of the night to change Jack’s diapers and swaddle him back to sleep. Cory is a swaddle master. 

Current Nail Color: Ha, that’s funny.

Current Drink: Water, water, water during the day, wine at night. I craved red wine throughout my pregnancy, and caught a little flack when I post this picture on Instagram my first night home from the hospital. To those people, I say, you’ve never been pregnant, have you? 

wine

Current Food: Sushi. I would eat spicy tuna rolls every day if it wouldn’t put me in the poor house.

Current Favorite Show: It’s a tie between Revenge and Bloodline. If you have Netflix and haven’t watched Bloodline, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. For those of you who have, isn’t Danny one scary motherfucker? 

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Current Wish List: Sleep, my old boobs, and more sleep.

Current Needs: Sleep and a cleaning lady. Seriously, I need a cleaning lady. If you’re not blood or a close friend, you can’t come to my house at the moment because anyone else would judge how dirty my floors are at the moment.

Current Bane of My Existence: Strangers out in public who offer unsolicited parenting advice.

Current Celebrity Crush: Kyle Chandler, you are one smokin’ older gentleman (and the best looking part of Bloodline.)

Kyle Chandler

Current Indulgence: Cory’s birthday cake. He turned the big 2-9 this past Saturday.

Current Blessing: Oh my gosh, my perfect little family. I wish internet creeps and internet trolls didn’t exist, because it’s so difficult to not share Jack’s fat, precious face with you! I know I’m biased, but he’s so stinkin’ cute, I can’t even handle it.

Current Slang: I’m still not a slang person. Still a heavy user of the four letter words. though.

Current Outfit: Work out clothes, or anything with an elastic waistband. My question: why aren’t all pants and shorts maternity pants and shorts?

Current Excitement: I have two articles scheduled to be published on Scary Mommy, my favorite website ever. I’ve been a Scary Mommy fan since I found out I was pregnant, and I’m so excited that my work will be on the site at the end of this month, and in mid-June!

Current Mood: Thankful, happy, overwhelmed. Oh yeah, and tired. 

Current Link: My Advocare affiliate link. Cory is currently doing a 24 Day Challenge and I’m playing along for the most part, but not really, as I’m breastfeeding and as a result, am a RAVENOUS BEAST. Did you know that you’re actually supposed to eat more when you’re breastfeeding vs. when you’re pregnant (500 extra calories vs. 300 extra calories per day.) I thought that was interesting.

 

Wine and Netflix Pairings

There’s a point in everyone’s life when a shift occurs. You go from loving the night life and going out to bars with your friends until 2am, to enjoying a glass of wine at home in your sweatpants while watching Netflix and falling asleep on the couch at 10pm.

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If you’re judging the latter scenario, I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends. 

While I never really loved going out to bars, I’m certainly in the glass-of-wine-at-home stage of my life. In all honesty, it’s kind of a Bucket List item to become a wine connoisseur. Currently, I’m in the research phase of that journey in which I just drink a lot of wine. I feel like a hot shot because I drink red wine now. A graduation of sorts from my strong ties to sweet, sweet whites.

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I know wine connoisseurs can discuss, at length, what types of wine pair well with certain foods – and I think that’s nothing short of a magic trick that I want in on. But, I’m still on the other side of the smoke screen, so I can basically tell you what types of wine go with my favorite shows and movies on Netflix.

Today, we’ll be discussing Netflix pairings with Ribera y Rueda wines.

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Their red wine, Conde de San Cristobal, is bold and ripe, much like what you’d expect from a wine that’s been made for over 2,000 years right outside of Madrid, Spain. When I first sipped it, I literally said out loud, “Oh! That’s spicy.

I’d absolutely suggest sipping a few glasses of this flavorful red while Netflixing some of my favorite suspenseful, dramatic shows like Scandal (I mean, I basically feel like Olivia Pope when I drink red wine), Revenge, Bloodline, or The Following. 

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Their white wine, Cantarranas, is bright, crisp, and perfect for sipping during the summertime. It’s sweet, but not too sweet and still has a little bit of a Spanish wine kick.

When you’re sipping on Cantarranas, you need to curl up on the couch with a funny, lighthearted ‘flix like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Parks and Recreation, or The New Girl. 

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Okay, so maybe you’re further along on your journey to becoming a wine connoisseur and you’re ready to move beyond Netflix and wine pairings to food and wine pairings. If so, I’d head over to the Ribera y Rueda tumblr and read all about that stuff. Like, how to sniff wine. Yeah, that’s a thing.

Happy wine Wednesday, my friends! (Yeah, that’s a thing, too.)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Lunchbox Diaries. 

My First Mother’s Day

When Cory asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, my answer was simple: to sleep in. The term sleep in has a new meaning, as I rolled out of bed at 6:30am, but Cory took care of Jack when he sprung to life right before 5:00 (God bless bottles and breast pumps!) and I got to sleep for another glorious hour and a half.

After kissing my big fat baby 100 times, Cory treated me to waffles and coffee, and I opened a precious baby boy Pandora charm.

IMG_452972705As we finished up breakfast, Cory said, there’s another Mother’s Day surprise that you haven’t found yet. And I was like, REALLY!? What is it?! I don’t love surprises, unless they’re handled by Cory, because he gets me and my Type A personality (because he’s the same way.)

My first clue was that it wasn’t in the house.

So, I waltzed into the garage totally confident that it was the cup holder add-on for the stroller that I’d been wanting. (I mean, it’s really hard to hold a 5pm cocktail and maneuver a stroller.) Nope. 

After begging for another clue, he told me if I stopped looking for it, I’d find it. I was like, is this some new age-y ‘you’ll find it within you’ bull shit? Because I want a surprise. (Come to find out, he thought if I stopped looking around the house, I’d get bored and start scrolling through my phone to check emails and social media.)

I did stop looking, and checked Facebook, to which I saw a really confusing post.

facebook

And this didn’t tip me off. I said I slept in – I’m still tired, okay?

After about 30 minutes, he told me he had an accomplice (which I figured to be Emily) and it had to do with my love language (words of affirmation.) I thought Oh! Emily must have made me one of her prints. And for some reason I thought she would have emailed me a proof (??) so I checked my email, where I had a few notifications of comments for a blog post I didn’t write. 

mothers day

I clicked over to my blog, and the waterworks started almost immediately. Needless to say, if haven’t done so already, you need to read it Cory’s post. It might sound odd because I write a blog about my life, but I am meticulously selective about what I publish on The Lunchbox Diaries about my personal life, mainly due to the fact that Cory and I are quite private people ~*IRL*~ To have him write something so genuinely heartfelt and post it publicly – well, that was quite the surprise!

I’ve already read it 50 times, and I cry every time.

Cory made it the best first Mother’s Day I could have ever hoped for. I didn’t need or want anything over-the-top or expensive. I just wanted to sleep in, spend the day with my two favorite boys, and eat waffles. It was a day about love and happiness and reflecting on how fortunate we are to have a happy, healthy baby who really is the “reason for the season.”

If you’re a mom, I hope you had a great day! And if you’re not a mom, I hope you spent the day celebrating your mom and/or the motherly figures in your life! 

Happy Mothers Day!!

Hello Lunchbox Diaries.  I can’t think of a better way to make my debut on The Lunchbox Diaries than Colleen’s first Mother’s Day.

Now for a few disclaimers before we get started

1.       Colleen is sleeping, something she doesn’t get much of these days.

2.       This guest post is completely unauthorized (Can you call it a guest post when the blogger isn’t aware it’s happening?)

3.       I am NOT the writer in the family, when Colleen asks me to “proof” her blog posts, I hope she wrote “four” instead of “for” so I can at least find 1 mistake.

4.       I have never used WordPress, so I have NO idea what this will look like when it posts.  Thanks Emily for the help!

5.       I also do not have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or myspace (that’s a joke, I had one of those back in the day)….therefore can somebody help a husband/father out and post this on Colleens social media?  Gracias!

Now on to the purpose of hijacking Colleens blog:

Let’s start out with the obvious – Its Mother’s Day….and I want to brag.  Jack turned 6 weeks old this past week.  Colleen has posted about postpartum, her/our birth story, pregnancy, going out in public with Jack, birth planning (or lack thereof), and Palm Breeze Lady Beer (non-related and not a sponsor of this post), what she hasn’t posted about is the daily grind and hustle.  She hasn’t bragged about keeping a clean house and a healthy baby.  She hasn’t told you about taking care of a dog, a child and a husband.  She hasn’t posted about our kick ass beautiful son or his kick ass beautiful mom.

So since this is my post that is what we are going to talk about.

My wife is by far the most amazing woman I know.  She is honest, funny, smart, hard work and loyal.  She goes to the end of the earth to please people (me especially).  She makes sure to always remember to say thank you (including hand writing thank you notes to all the family and friends that were so generous with gifts for Jack….all during his first week home).  She fights for what is right.  She listens…..my god does she listen.  She listens to me bitch, she listens to the life story of that 85 year old in Costco who couldn’t resist telling her everything.  She gives honest advice when needed and shows support when necessary.

Colleen has been nothing short of amazing over the past six weeks.  I know today is Mother’s Day and many of you reading this are mothers (Happy Mother’s day to you)…and I may be a little biased but my son has the best mother in the world.

Colleen I love you more today than I did when we met, more than when we got married and more than when we had Jack.  I am thankful every day to have you in my life.  I hope today is a wonderful day.  I am so excited to spend the rest of our lives raising a young man.  I can only hope he takes away many of the traits and skills you have.  Thank you for choosing me!!

Love,

Cory

No One Talks About the Darkness: A Postpartum Conversation

He’s sleeping.

I’m sitting here at my computer working on my blog, and he’s sleeping. It’s mid-afternoon on a weekday, and it’s quiet. At the risk of sounding like an elementary school kid boasting about a job-well-done sticker, I did it. I accomplished the silence that is currently filling my home.

If you told me six weeks ago that I’d be here today working on my computer, in the silence of my home, without anyone else’s help, and happy I would have sobbed and slapped you, calling you a liar.

Six weeks ago, I came home from the hospital with a new baby, and my world got dark.

Not what you’d expect, right?

At least that’s not what expected.

I have an amazing mother, the best friends, and the most supportive family. I was thrown showers, given adorable gifts, and received thoughtful cards and well-wishes. Yet when I found myself home from the hospital with a new baby, I wondered why no one had mentioned the darkness. 

struggle post partum

I think it’s the pure exhaustion that got the ball rolling. For the first few weeks, there is no resemblance of a sleep schedule. The nights were long and dark, and eventually I lost any bearings I thought I had. I came to understand first-hand how and why sleep deprivation is used as a torture tactic. The exhaustion wore me down to my inner crazy and all bets of preserving a facade of a fully functioning adult were off.

The worst part, for me, was that one moment when I felt like I had just fallen asleep, only to be jolted awake by a blood curdling scream. I would jump up, determined to figured out how to fix it. Sometimes the baby was hungry. Sometimes the baby needed to be changed. Sometimes I was unable to do a Goddamned thing, and with every scream I felt a chipping away at my very core, wondering what was so wrong with me because I couldn’t comfort my own child.

I began to question everything. The second guessing was relentless. Sometimes it was about important things, and other times I just wanted Cory to tell me what to have for breakfast so I wouldn’t have to make a decision.

In the first few weeks at home, I felt a deep, deep sense of despair. [And at the time, a “few weeks” felt like it had turned into “the rest of my life.” It was beyond difficult.]

For the first few weeks, I cried all the time and I felt so alone. Because no one talks about this dark hole, I assumed no one else experienced it. I figured I was a failure and that I wasn’t cut out for motherhood, because I thought it was too hard. I couldn’t help but think: what is wrong with me?

I cringed every time someone asked me how much I was loving it. Does ‘it’ mean my son, or being a mother of a newborn? Because those are two totally different things. When I was asked how I was doing, I was too ashamed to admit how I felt like I was drowning.

All I wanted was for someone to ask how many times I’d cried that day. I wanted someone to ask me how sad I was. I wanted someone to ask me how confused I was to simultaneously feel such an intense love and such deep despair. I wanted someone to ask how lonely I felt.

Because if someone asked me any of those things, I would have known it wasn’t just me. 

One night in the middle of a 2am feeding when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and exhausted, I remembered a random Facebook post that my friend Shannon posted about having a hard time after her son was born.

For the first time, I wanted to talk about it, this darkness, with someone other than Cory or my mom. So, I messaged Shannon, and to grossly understate it, she saved my sanity.

She told me “the first six weeks are bullshit, but I promise it gets easier.” I cried at the time because I didn’t believe it, but as someone who has made to the six-week check point, I can assure you, she was right. 

From that first message, we started a refreshingly real conversation about how fucking difficult the first few weeks as new parent can be. She gave me the courage to slowly start talking to other people, to shed some light on the darkness.

I was shocked by how many of my friends knew exactly how I was feeling. They could all relate, and they assured me it was normal.

Then how come no one talks about it?! 

I promised myself that once I started feeling better, that I’d start a conversation here on the blog, because it’s important.

Well, friends, I’m feeling better. So much better. The darkness (not to be confused with trying moments or bad days) has lifted, and I’m finally able to take on the difficulties and joys of motherhood with a clear head. Simply put, a shift occurred.

If you’re a brand new, first time parent like me, I want you to know that the nights won’t always be so long and dark, and that your baby will eventually sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. It took us five weeks, but we’re finally getting a solid five-hour stretch at night and it has restored my faith in God.

I want you to know that it’s normal to look down at your new born baby as you feed him or change him or try to soothe him for the umpteenth hour on end and wonder will you ever smile at me? will you love me? because in the beginning, there is zero positive reinforcement.

I want you to know that you won’t always fall asleep and wake up to screams that send your heart into a cold panic.

I want you to know that it’s okay to envy your husband who gets to leave for 10 hours every day and go to work, eat a warm lunch with both hands (at lunchtime!), interact with adults, and wear/fit into real clothes.

I want you to know it’s okay to feel a sense of rage when your baby, who has been crying for what feels like ALL DAY, finally falls asleep 20 minutes before your husband gets home from work. (Double the rage when he walks in, looks at the sleeping baby and says he’s just so peaceful.) 

I want you to know that it’s okay to feel lonely and to crave social interaction, but also fear it at the same time. I wondered how I’d ever muster up the energy for small talk, smiles, and chatting about how the baby is sleeping without wanting to shake the woman in front of me and say TELL ME IT SUCKED FOR YOU, TOO.

I want you to know that the first time you do get out, it’s okay to feel guilty for leaving while also wondering if you’ll run away and never go back.

I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re the best mother for your child. You’re doing it right. You’re going to be okay.

It will get easier.

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Note: I don’t ever ask you guys to share my posts, because I figure you’ll do it if you want to, but if you know a new mom, please consider sharing this with her. It’s a newfound passion of mine to start a conversation and to normalize the difficulty of bringing home a baby, so if this post helps just one woman, it’ll make my day. A new baby is not just tutus and rainbows and cuddles, and it’s OKAY to struggle. That doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you a real one.