Category Archives: baby love

three pieces of parenting advice for kate middleton.

Hello Kate!

As you snuggle that new, yummy little bundle of royal joy (now, we have learned, you have named George) I realize that, even for someone who probably has her own staff of child rearers within an arm’s length, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. That’s okay. Contrary to your life circumstances, this is completely normal.

In all your abundant down time, please take a moment to read my three biggest pieces of advice for surviving your first year of motherhood. After all, I AM a mother of a one year old now, so I basically know everything.

will_kate

1. try to breastfeed.

Not only is it best for that little future king, and the snuggles are so great, and it’s cheaper than formula (LOLOLOLOL LIKE YOU EVEN NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THAT) but it also will help you speedily drop the three pounds of baby weight you gained. And don’t worry if it takes you and George a while to get used to it. It took my son and me three weeks to really get it down to a science. Also, don’t worry if you can’t breastfeed or decide you don’t want to. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother. So long as you are feeding your son SOMETHING, you’re good. But regardless of what you do, people (tabloids?) are going to have an opinion. Which brings me to my next piece of advice…

2. comparison is the thief of joy.

You may have royal girlfriends who are giving birth around the same time as you and so you naturally compare George to their kids’ growth and demeanor. Or maybe you know people who had children a little bit before you so they ask you questions about George’s behavior/development/whatever. Or maybe you’re curious about something so you Google it. JUST DON’T. It will steal every ounce of baby-inspired joy you have in your body. The second you ask someone something about their kid, or Google something about “normal milestones”, you’ll be freaking out because George isn’t sleeping all the way through the night yet or talking soon enough or walking fast enough or using the “pincer grasp” or spelling out complete sentences in sign language on his first birthday. It’s poison. Go with your gut instincts. No one knows that kid better than you do.

3. the first year is not indicative of your child’s entire life.

The first three months of your kid’s life may damn near kill you. That’s normal. The first year of his life may be the most challenging 365 days you face as a woman. But hear this — it gets better. Every day it gets better. One day, you’ll wake up in an overtired panic around 4am only to find that your baby actually hasn’t woken up yet, and you’ll rush to his royal cribside to find him soundly sleeping for the first time, and you’ll cry tears of joy and think to yourself that you never thought you’d get there but you did. And one day, you’ll get to the end of your day and realize that, for the first time, there wasn’t a single meltdown (from George or you) and you’ll think to yourself foolishly, “I could have another…”

So when (not IF, but WHEN) things get rough, know this — you’re made to do this. And even on days you don’t think you’re doing it, you are. Because just by being George’s mama, you’re doing it.

Oh you’re also a princess but whatever.

Last thing — is the hair/makeup team you had come to the hospital cheap? Just curious. I’d like to hire them for my next baby delivery.

Cheers, Kate and George! (Oh and William too, I GUESS.)

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Filed under baby love, commentaries, motherhood

open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

daxbday1

That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

daxsleep

daxsleep2

Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

daxsmile

And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

daxpickle

At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

daxpeek

You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

daxflower

You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

daxsleep3

I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

daxsnuggle

Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

daxlaugh

Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

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Filed under baby love, motherhood, personal

so, you want to breastfeed but you work outside the home full time…

[DISCLAIMER #1:] This post talks a lot about my boobs. That’s how you breastfeed, by the way. With your boobs. If you’re not interested in boobs, or breastfeeding, let me direct you elsewhere on the Internet.

[DISCLAIMER #2:] Before I start this post, let me just say that I am not taking part in the “Mommy Wars”. So don’t think I’m posting this because I think if you don’t breastfeed your kid you’re the worst. This is just a choice my husband and I made for my son based on our own personal convictions. As long as you choose to feed your kid somehow, I don’t care how you do it. With your boobs, formula, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, whatever. Just so we’re clear, here. Feed your kid however you want, okay? This is America and #YOLO.

[DISCLAIMER #3:] Sorry about the #YOLO.

Okay. Now that THAT’S out of the way…

Before Dax was born, Dan and I decided that we were going to try to exclusively breastfeed him, my body permitting. When I was on maternity leave, we found that, yes, my body was into the idea as well. (Mind you, it did take us about three weeks to get latching down without blood, sweat, or tears, but we did it.) So when Dax was eight weeks old and I went back to work full time, our breastfeeding rhythm changed a bit which made things a little more challenging. But it wasn’t impossible.

Dax is nine months old now and Friday is my last day working full time outside of the home. We did it! We’ve exclusively breastfed and have never once had to supplement with formula! (It’s going to take everything I have to not go completely Office Space on my breast pump, you guys.)

nursing

 

(The above photo is me nursing in the middle of a crowded Starbucks sitting across from three old men. Dax needed to eat and it was too hot to sit in my car and it’s gross to nurse in a bathroom.)

If you’d like to EBF your babes and also work full time outside the home, here is how I did it. Hopefully this will help!

TIPS ON BREASTFEEDING WHEN YOU WORK FULL TIME:

1. Start pumping early. I didn’t do this and regretted it later. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. What your baby demands, your body supplies. In the beginning, when your baby is a newborn, your body is still figuring out what your baby’s demand is, so you typically have way more milk. After a few weeks of nursing exclusively (which gives your nipples time to toughen up and stop hurting) pump a little each day to both increase your supply and build a stash in your freezer. [HINT: Remember the rule of FOURS. Breast milk lasts four HOURS at room temperature, four DAYS in the fridge, and four MONTHS in your freezer.]

2. Know that what you pump does NOT indicate how much milk you’re actually producing. Your body was created to feed a person, not a machine. So don’t think you have zero milk in your body if you only can get out a few ounces at a time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pumped for fifteen minutes and not gotten a single drop and then turned around and nursed Dax, only to see him gulping and slurping so much that milk was dribbling out of his mouth.

3. Weigh/Feed/Weigh. Both at my breastfeeding support group and at a health food store in town, there is a baby scale that can help determine how much milk Dax takes from me when he eats. You weigh your baby, then nurse him, then weigh him again to find out how many ounces he eats. This helps me determine how much milk to leave him while I’m gone and how much milk I need to pump at work. I typically do this once every week or two to make sure we’re still giving him the right amount. (Currently at nine months old, on days when he is with me, he nurses about every 3-4 hours and gets between 3 and 3.5 ounces each time. So I know that while I’m at work for 8 hours, he should get 7ish ounces — split between two bottles — and that I should pump no less than that to make sure he has enough for the next day.) 

4. Figure out the logistics of pumping at work before your first day back. When you have your wits about you, email or call your employer and ask where you’ll be able to pump during the day. Federal law states that your employer HAS to have a private room in which you can pump so if they say “The BATHROOM,” say “Try again.” Also, ask how often you’ll be allowed to pump. I don’t know the federal regulations on this, so I can’t say for sure what they are exactly. But once you’ve figured that out…

5. Pump as frequently as you’re allowed/able to. I’m very thankful that my employer has been so accommodating for me. Right now, I pump three to four times a day for about 20 minutes at a time to get that 7 ounces I need. That said, I work in a cube farm. If I still worked in broadcast news, I’m not entirely sure I’d be free to pump as much as I do now. I realize that other professions are more demanding so don’t stress. Do it as often as you can and, at the end of the day, give yourself a pat on the back for being able to do it at all.

6. You may have to trick your body. This is the, uh, TMI section. At this point in my breastfeeding/working full time journey, my body has figured out that the pump I have — which is top of the line, by the way — is NOT my baby. So it takes a bit of coercion to get my breasts to let down for the pump. So I’ve got to trick them. This includes watching videos of my baby on my phone while I pump, nipple stimulation (SORRY), and breast massages (SORRY AGAIN).

7. Look into insurance coverage for your pump. In the event that you don’t get a breast pump at your shower, have no fear; under the new health care law you should be able to get a brand new breast pump completely covered by your health insurance provider.

8. Exclusively nurse when you’re at home. Try to nurse right before you leave for work and first thing when you get home. Not only will this help your body keep producing well, it also makes the 8 hours in between less painful. Both of you have that after-work nursing bonding time to look forward to.

9. Surround yourself with other breastfeeding moms — whether they’re already your friends or if they’re in a support group. Breastfeeding is an emotional thing, especially in the beginning when both you and your baby are trying to figure it out. It can also be painful at first. Don’t be ashamed if you need help. As a matter of fact, even if you feel like you don’t need help, seek it anyway. It’s nice to have a support system. Don’t feel bad if you have 23947234 questions. Ask and ask frequently. Most breastfeeding moms will understand and won’t look down on you for not being an expert right away (or ever).

10. YOUR SUPPLY IS FINE. RELAX. There are times when your supply naturally drops (like when you’re about to get your period, for example) and things you ingest that can cause your supply to dip (antihistamines, for example) but RELAX. Stress also can affect your supply, so BREATHE. I’ve lost countless hours of sleep over my milk supply but, as you can tell, my kid is a basket full of rolls and I promise you, this is not because of pureed carrots. If you do suspect your supply is dropping (it probably isn’t) you can try any of these: lactation cookies, Mother’s Milk tea, rolled oats, fenugreek, other supplements… but I will say that I’ve tried them all and have had NO success with any of them. Either my body is smarter than the supplements or they’re really a bunch of bunk.

Phew. I could go on, but this post is already really long so I’m gonna wrap it up here. Hopefully this helps! Do you have any other breastfeeding tips? Comment and let me know!

Happy nursing!

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Filed under baby love, life, motherhood, on the job

loss and gain.

It’s been hard to blog because my heart is on a roller coaster this week. One that I don’t think comes with safety harnesses. I’m alive in the euphoric highs of road trips with my little family and the prospect of new opportunities but, at the same time, a little bit too close to the plunging lows of death, destruction, and hatred.

This is one of those weeks I question my choice to bring a little boy into this world. 

I think he can sense it, too. The past few days he’s been exceptionally clingy to me. Last night, for the first time in a long time, his cries from his crib could only be quelled by me holding him close. It was one of those nights he sprang out of slumber with shrieks of fear or sadness or pain or something, and would basically fall back into lifeless dreams only once he was lifted into my arms and against my chest.

The first time I got him out, I just held him and looked at him. I could only hear the sweet sounds of his sleepy breaths and the fast drumbeats of my heart against my ribs, and I thought to myself, How am I going to protect him from the pain of loss — like that of the Boston marathon explosion, or that of losing the closeness of a family-like community because of relocating for a job, or that of being rejected by another person or organization — if I can’t hold him this close all the time?

Many of my dear friends are also experiencing their own losses — rejections from PhD programs, breakups, miscarriages, divorces, deaths of loved ones — and the pain is a heavy burden for all of us to bear sometimes. And I’m definitely feeling that this week, the reality of pain and loss, as well as the overwhelming desire to protect my little boy from ever experiencing it.

One thing that a lot of people have been doing in order to find comfort in the sadness this week is echoing a quote by Mister Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

I’ve been trying to focus on this in a more abstract view. Finding the good in the evil. The joy in the sadness. The healing in the pain. And when I look into my little boy’s sweet eyes, I just have to cling to this. Because later, when he comes to me in pain, wishing something wasn’t a certain way, I have tell him something that I need to learn to believe myself. That is, only in hurting can we really learn to heal. Only in darkness do we feel the need to search for the light.

Only when we lose something do we have room in our lives to gain something. And, right now, when everything hurts and doesn’t make sense, that’s all I really know for sure.

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Filed under baby love, faith, life, motherhood, transformation

update from the dark.

Oh hey, there. I know. It’s been quiet around here. Here’s why.

One week ago, I read this disturbing article about how the Internet — social media in particular — is making us crazy. It really freaked me out. It gave me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.

So I decided to go on an indefinite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) fast. Not just a “fast”, either. Like I legitimately deleted the apps from my iPhone and EVERYTHING. (Crazy, right? My smart phone is pretty dumb at this point. Unless you give some cred to the Uno app which, by the way, is super duper and I’m so glad I spent 99 cents on it!)

It’s not that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are inherently bad, perse. That’s not what I’m saying and I don’t think that’s what the article is saying. But it did raise a lot of harrowing truths about our society’s obsession with and actual addiction to these sites and the Internet as a whole.

I’ve been on this “cleanse” for about a week and already I see how I was basically tethered to social media. So many times in the first 24 hours of this fast I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone, unlocking the screen… only to come to and realize that — oh yeah — I have nothing to look at. I “tried” to tweet FOUR TIMES while I was at the farmers market with my son. Four. Times.

Yikes. What in the name of all things holy would I need to tweet at 9am on a Saturday outing with my baby? That the carrots look extra orange today? The yellow squash is just a tad squishy for my taste? That the Maya Wrap is still ruling our world at 8 months? That there is a Girl Scout cookie booth set up for the first time? (Okay, that one almost deserved a tweet. Also I did buy Thin Mints and Trefoils, obviously.)

It’s been quite the sobering experience. But also liberating. I feel like I’m finally back in touch with reality.

That said, this week has been one full of things that are actually kind of social media worthy. So, without further ado:

HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS I’VE BEEN DYING TO TWINSTABOOK (Twitter-Instagram-Facebook) ALL WEEK:

1. my son’s milestones.

Well, this week was fit for the baby book, y’all.

  • FIRST WORD. Yep, this is a biggie. Dax said his first word just hours after I went on my social sabbatical. Of course. His first word was “dada” and everything is dada right now. Dada is dada, of course. But I am also dada. Also the pacifier. Also food. Also you. Yes, you reading this. You are dada, no paternity test required.
  • We are fitting him for his first suit! He’s the ring bearer in my cousin’s wedding next week. You guys. Wait until you see. You will pass out from the cuteness.
  • FOURTH TOOTH. There are four little chompers in that mouth now. In case you are wondering, we are still breastfeeding like champs and he doesn’t bite. * phew *
  • EIGHT MONTHS OLD. Ack. Time. Where are you going?!

8 months

2. i got straight bangs. 

Y’all. I haven’t had bangs like this since I was SEVEN. That is literally TWENTY YEARS AGO. Yikes. Anyway, my normal stylist is on maternity leave for another month but I had some serious roots showing and am in a wedding next week. So I saw my other friend and let her run wild on my head, which meant straight bangs and ombre color. Here is the before/after photo.

before_after

3. we’ve got some prospects.

We’ve been doing a lot of interviewing in central (and even south?) Florida, so I think we might not actually be homeless at the end of April. Hooray!

4. i’m learning photography.

I’m taking an online photography certification course which is, eh, okay I guess. Not because I want to be a professional photographer by any means but because I have a kick-butt DSLR that I’ve been treating like a point-and-shoot and I’m just over it. The whole point of me shelling out the cash for a DSLR was so I could take good pictures of my baby and not fork over money to legit photographers. Sorry for the honesty, y’all but we broke folks GOTTA BRING THE HUSTLE.

So. What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this photography class?

It’s freaking hard, okay. So much more difficult than just having a nice camera. Pat a photographer on the back next time you see one. Respect.

Alright, so, now you’re caught up! Back to your regularly scheduled Internet addiction.

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Filed under baby love, commentaries, life, motherhood

what’s in a name? dax arthur.

Naming a person is a big deal. I get varied responses when I tell people my kid’s name.

What’s that again? 

How do you spell it?

Is it short for something? 

Dax Arthur.

Just how it sounds: D-A-X.

Nope. Just Dax.

But I always get the same follow up question.

Dax! That’s unusual! Where’d you come up with that name? 

I have been meaning to blog about it, but I, uh, like, forgot? So here you go. Here’s how we came up with my kid’s unusual (I guess?) name.

DISCLAIMER: In my head, this blog post is LONG and ENLIGHTENING and really packs a WOW PUNCH but really it’s not that exciting.

Dan and I started fantasizing about baby names way before we got pregnant because I guess that’s just what you do, right? When it came down to the boy name, Dan had one request. Because his family doesn’t really have a family “name” to pass on (unless you count the four-syllable-German-splosion that is his last name), and his name is Dan and his dad’s name is Don, he wanted his son’s name to start with the letter D.

I was fine with that because I’m really indecisive and that cut down our choices significantly. #truthbomb

Dan joked about the name Demitrius Alexander because, alongside the Durrenberger surname, that kid would have the longest name ever and would never be able to fill out a Scantron. But I vehemently resisted. We went though countless baby books and could never agree on a D name for a boy. Things were looking bleak. It was looking like a Daniel Junior was in our future and I am SO not into that.

In case you didn’t know, Dan is a youth pastor. And I, for several years, volunteered in youth ministry alongside him. One day, a spunky new kid showed up to our group. When it was time for introductions, everything changed.

“I’m Dax,” he said proudly.

Dan and I shot each other a look immediately. I like to think the heavens opened up and a light shone on this little 12-year-old boy, while choirs of angels sang and God himself said, “Yea, Durrenbergers, it will come to pass that this boy will be the namesake for your future son.”

Each subsequent interaction we had with Big Dax (as we have now started to affectionately call him) was more confirmation that this kid was one with whom we’d want our baby boy to share a name. He’s an intelligent, personable, fun kid with a kind heart. However, Big Dax was actually named after a Star Trek character. Since neither Dan nor myself are trekkies, we had to dig a little bit deeper to figure out if this name was, indeed, for us.

Though there is some debate, some translations say that Dax means “leader”. This is so accurate for our little boy. Not only is he our firstborn making him, by default, the leader, but he is so particular. He likes things they way he likes him. Very brave, that one.

As for his middle name? Arthur is a family name on my side; I chose it because the cousin closest to me in age (and in relationship), Brian, also has this middle name. Brian is someone in my life for whom I hold the utmost respect. Brian is strong, smart, funny, and my best family friend. As for the meaning? It means “bear”.

I’m really proud of my kid’s name. After getting to know him in my belly and seven months outside my belly, it absolutely fits. There isn’t another name out there that would suit him better and I hope he feels the same pride I do growing up as Dax Arthur, the Leader Bear. 

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trying to make it while trying to look like we’ve made it.

dax_7months

So. This happened last week.

Well. Uh. To be honest, the pictures were actually taken last night. But little Dax Arthur turned 7 months old on the 19th.

I know. I’m slacking a little bit. BUT WHATEVER, I WORK FULL TIME AND I’M A MOM OKAY? I’M SUPER BUSY, COME AT ME.

* shifty eyes *

My mom and I were talking the other day about how all of my friends, both from my childhood and my adulthood, keep popping out babies lately. Three of them came into the world in the past ten days. (Hi Joshua! Hi Parker! Hi Eleanor! You all are very cute! It’s nice to meet you! Sorry about all the rain!) A handful of friends are also pregnant right now, due to join the mommy club in the next few months. It’s quite exciting, but also sobering.

This revelation comes about a year away from my ten-year high school reunion. This is a bit scary. When did we all get here? When did we all become parents? Just yesterday we were (read: I was) waking up at 5:30 in the morning, even though school started two hours later, to flat iron our (my) unruly hair and apply copious amounts of makeup in order to look like we were (I was) the sole human(s) that weren’t affected by the awkwardness of adolescence. Just yesterday we were (I was) worried about whether or not our (my) skirts were short/long enough to make us (me) look older than we were (I was) but not too old. Just yesterday we were (I was) throwing shaving cream at each other in the senior class parking lot, pausing from all the fun to catch our (my) reflections in the side-view mirrors of random vehicles to ensure we (I) still looked “pretty”.  But today, we are (I am) leaving the house covered in pureed sweet potatoes and spit-up, furiously wiping ourselves (myself) down in the car on the way to work, scrambling to find babysitters so we can take our (my) husband(s) on a dang date.

How did we (I) get here?

Blah. I don’t know. But what I do know is that, based on the conversations I keep having and on the Facebook statuses I keep reading, one thing remains the same.

We’re all still trying to make it. But we’re all trying to make it look like we’ve already made it.

Last week, the Durrenbergers were in a funk. After letting Dan and I get used to long stretches of uninterrupted sleep at night, Dax was up several times wanting to nurse which, despite how cute he is, irritated us. Our exhaustion led to crankiness all over and it was like every word that shot out of Dan’s mouth was poison to my soul and every glance I gave him lit up all his insecurities.

All unintentional, of course. (Side note: Dax is officially cutting a tooth. I get it now.)

It was just a week. One, measly week in the almost five years of our relationship. But even still, it was enough to make me question everything.

Am I a good wife? 

Am I a good mother?

If I were either of those things, life wouldn’t be so hard right now.

All of a sudden I am reliving the days where I woke up at ZERO DARK THIRTY to literally burn my kinky hair into stick-straight submission before high school (shout out to all the flat irons that were manufactured before keeping your hair un-damaged was a legitimate concern). Just like back in my awkward teenage days, I just want to have it all together. But, more so than that, I just want to look like I have it all together.

I remember when I was still on maternity leave, a girl at church remarked about how put-together I looked. She was astonished that a new mom like myself could just effortlessly waltz into church on a Sunday, my newborn baby snugly sound asleep against my chest in my Maya Wrap, with the curls on my head falling into perfect place with just the right amount of makeup on to communicate, “Yeah, I made it here. And still look good. But whatever, I guess motherhood is just so easy. I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. We’re all sleeping great. And I just don’t have to try.”

The secret? I TRIED REALLY FREAKING HARD, OKAY? BECAUSE I AM INSANE SOMETIMES. I wasn’t back at work yet so if my kid fell asleep (notice I said IF) the first thing I’d do was curl my hair and put on makeup. Yes, even before I showered or took a nap of my own. Because  I wanted so badly to look like I’d made it already, despite the fact that my baby was only a few weeks old and only enjoyed two things — screaming and nursing. Not sleeping. Or like, smiling.

Just like on those days when I’d stroll into my first period class like, “What? This? Yeah, my hair is so gorgeously straight, just by nature. Nah, I don’t do anything really. I mean I have a flat iron but, whatever.”

That was almost ten years ago. Am I really no different?

I’d like to believe there are other people out there. Women who are planning their weddings and trying to effortlessly please everyone on the guest list. Dads who work two jobs to provide for their families and by the time they get home they have a strung-out wife and a crying baby to answer to. Girls who show up to their high school every day praying that the outfit they chose that morning doesn’t bring about the bullying accusations of thinner girls.

I’d like to believe there are more people than just me in this boat.

In the event that I’m right in assuming that so many of us are actually walking shells, imposters even, of our true selves, I’d like to challenge us all to just let ourselves be. 

Just. Be.

What does that look like for me to just be? At the moment, it means hitting the snooze button a few extra times in the morning instead of waking up at the first (way too early) alarm to style my unruly hair. It means not cringing at the thought of someone randomly coming over to my always-messy house before I get the chance to deep-clean it. It means not stressing over the fact that my baby ate non-organic bananas one time. It means taking Dax’s 7-month pictures when he’s actually 7 months and one week old. It means giving myself a freaking break.

Because despite what I think, I haven’t made it yet. And I might never make it. But I’d rather spend my days just living than trying to look like I’m living a certain way.

Ya feel me, homies?

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Filed under baby love, life, motherhood, psychology, transformation

things i love thursday! (february 21, 2013)

I’m sorry for the lack of a TILT post last week. My life is like a Noxema commercial, y’all. I was too busy blogging about how to avoid buggin’ on Valentine’s Day.

CLEARLY I AM STILL ON A CLUELESS KICK AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

Anyway. Here’s a love letter I sent myself. Sort of.

dax_happy_collage

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Um. Is that picture not the cutest? I know, right? Don’t you wish you could hug him through the screen?
  • My best friend got engaged and asked me to be her matron of honor! So fun!
  • Imagine Dragons. I’ve been so into them lately. I am so mad at everyone who failed to inform me of them before now.
  • Catching up with good friends over lunch, even if the service was a bit slow. More time for chit-chat, I guess.
  • My breastfeeding support groups. Feeding a person with your body can be hard, y’all.
  • Mentorships over email.
  • Mexican food.
  • Dos Equis + lime. Holy delicious.
  • Beer in general, as always.
  • “Nipple” cookies.
  • Hating on the face-eating Krazy Kat Lady. (She has recently evolved to become even more evil.)
  • Candy. Lots and lots of candy.
  • My sweet Valentine’s Day date with my hubs.
  • Friends who agree to babysit last minute.
  • Being in a Harlem Shake video. Oh Lawd.
  • Champagne and Spider-Man valentines!
  • THIS. EVERY YEAR.
  • Nighttime snuggles with my little boy.
  • Bridal showers.
  • Getting a new breast pump from the government. Shout out, Obamacare! Who’s your boo?
  • Watching episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu+.
  • See also: America’s Next Top Model. WHY DID NONE OF YOU CRAZIES TELL ME THAT AN FSU GIRL IS ON THIS CYCLE? I’ve only seen the first episode but I’m already betting homegirl doesn’t last long. #liptattoo
  • Getting to hang out with my mom this weekend.
  • Apples to Apples and In a Pickle. I LOVE WORD GAMES! Squeeeee!
  • Catching up with my favorite students.
  • New babies! Hi Joshua!
  • Putting off the chores in lieu of vegging on the couch with my man.
  • Making musical revelations over text message.
  • Five Guys.
  • Sushi.
  • A year after we got robbed, we finally bought me a MacBook! YAY! It’s used and five years old but, apart from a dead battery and CD drive it works and it’s new to me! It is shipping out this week. Holla!
  • My friends.
  • My family, both biological and not.
  • You.

What do you love this week?

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Filed under baby love, commentaries, gushes, life, reasons my husband rocks

failure: lies vs. truth.

Most of you know that my son is pastor’s kid (or a PK to those in the circle, WHADDUP CHURCH FOLK? HOLLA AT A GIIIIRL.). Whenever we’re at church, my kid is rarely in my arms. There is usually a line of eager baby-holders behind my kid so long it rivals those at communion tables. And I am usually pretty quick to hand him over because hello he’s adorable and I happen to find peace in the fact that he doesn’t cry when people in my community who didn’t have anything to do with him coming to exist love on him.

But this weekend, someone remarked on this phenomenon in such a way that lit up all the bulbs on my insecurity light board.

“Every time I see Dax, he’s with another woman. He’s going to grow up not knowing who his mother is.”

As offensive as that was, I assumed the person was joking because oh my word who actually says crap like that? Plus, I must say, this person is very dear to me and I know that my son and I are very dear to this person. So I chuckled to myself and made some incomprehensible comeback like, “Haha, yeah, he’s cute, people hold him, chunks, the face, he smells good, hahahahahaha snort.”

But it didn’t end there. The rest of the night, the person took it upon themselves to come to me and report whenever Dax was handed off.

“See? He’s with X person now. And now, he’s with Y person!”

Mmmmmkay. I thought. I get you. He’s a hot little potato right now. Okay. He’s the village bike or whatever.

The straw that broke the insecure mommy’s back, though, came later. My friend was holding Dax while I was standing there talking to her. When this person saw this, they jaunted over and bowed down to look my six-month-old baby in the eye and say, “See, Dax? Your mom is RIGHT THERE and still won’t hold you.”

It was about that time that I pryed Dax out of my sweet friend’s arms and bid the place adieu.

“Okay, y’all. That’s enough. That’s quite enough for me thanks. See you next week if I haven’t been turned in to DCF yet for neglect! lolololol”

Again, I must reiterate, I really adore this person and they adore my family. They are very nice. And probably not menacing in the least. But sometimes, people say things that are unintentionally hurtful.

Since then, I’ve been a walking wreck, questioning every move I make as a mom. And, because it’s just the way I am wired, it’s making me question my abilities everywhere else, too.

Am I sucking as a wife? A writer? A human being in general? Probably. No one has said such things but I bet it’s only a matter of time before someone barges into my house, looks my husband in the eye and says, “See, Dan? Your wife is RIGHT THERE and she’s not, like, cooking you dinner right this second or having some crazy monkey sex with you or WHATEVER I DON’T EVEN KNOW SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES, SO YOU BETTER REGULATE SONNNN.”

Ugh.

The past few nights I’ve been lamenting these fears to my poor husband (husband (n): the dude who is contractually obligated to lie next to me each night and listen to me complain about nonsense) and, while he’s been sweetly encouraging in the touchy-feely sense — “Lindsay, you are such a great wife because EXAMPLE and you’re such a great mom because EXAMPLE and blah blah blah” — he’s also been super helpful in the logistical sense.

“What you need to do,” he suggested last night as I lie awash in a sea of my own tears LOL HYPERBOLE IS THE BEST, “is write down all the things you think you’re failing at right now. Then, take a good, hard look at each of them and figure out why you think you’re failing. What about those thoughts are true? What about them are lies? Once you know what’s true and what’s a lie, you’ll feel better and know how to tackle them.”

Well. I guess that’s why I married him. That and the crazy monkey sex.

I’ve found that 99% of the crap I’m worried about is based on lies. Whether it’s a lie someone told me at church — this person may be right about seeing Dax with lots of women during the day but there’s only one woman he clings to in the middle of the night and early in the morning when he really wants to be comforted and feel safe — or a lie I’ve told myself a thousand times — you suck at everything because you’re not like someone else — it’s just a matter of bringing myself back to center to focus on the truth.

I’m a good mom because:

  • my kid is alive and, like, not sick. Or alone. Or afraid of other people. 
  • I change his diaper when he poops in it. That’s gotta get me some points.
  • basically that’s it.

I’m a good wife because:

  • I try to love my husband the way that makes sense to him.
  • when I don’t quite hit the mark, I try again the next day.
  • basically that’s it.

Everything else? Everything else is a lie. And lies are stupid.

While we’re on the topic of lies being stupid — blondes don’t have more fun, okay? They just have more blonde. I would know.

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Filed under baby love, gushes, life, motherhood, reasons my husband rocks, transformation

things i love thursday! (february 7, 2013)

My life is great. My friends are awesome. My family is baller. Ergo, my week ruled.

hufflepopple

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Hours-long text conversations that are comprised entirely of Clueless quotes.
  • Also, text message conversations solely written in ERMAHGERD speak.
  • ERMAHGERD TERXT MERSERGERS.
  • Spontaneous lunch dates.
  • Morning cuddles.
  • Watching my baby boy laugh.
  • Spending the day emailing girlfriends back and forth all about Harry Potter.
  • New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Parenthood marathons.
  • Bath time!
  • Not having to do the chores for a whole month! (Sorry babe!)
  • #Hufflepopple
  • Celebrating birthdays.
  • Chili. Lots and lots of chili.
  • Eating a grilled cheese sandwich. Nevermind the absolute HELL we had to go through with Dax after that but. Seriously. Grilled cheese. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? #longlost
  • Chocolate.
  • Dax’s pediatrician.
  • Geeking out over new music.
  • Finding out that Dax is ticklish!
  • Popsicles!
  • Coffee.
  • No but seriously. Coffee.
  • Coffee in my reusable Starbucks cup. Discount, YA HEARD?
  • Trying figure out Vine. (Follow me? I only have two followers because I’m a n00b.)
  • Mangoes.
  • THIS <— Being a writer, as told by The Oatmeal.
  • I PUT ON PANTS YESTERDAY.

What do YOU love this week? Be grateful — it’s easy, I promise. Life can suck sometimes but at the same time, it is so forgiving with each new sunrise.

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Filed under baby love, faith, gushes, life, motherhood