6 Weeks of Learning

Today marks Riley’s 6th week – whaaa? And around here (Ammerica) that’s the end of my maternity leave. Boo. I wish we could be more like the UK and have longer leaves…hello, I created a human, can I please take care of it when it needs me most? K, Thanks.

I am extremely thankful.lucky.blessed that I’ll be taking Riley with me to the office. Yea, I have the best boss in the world. I was nauseous when I’d think about having to find a nanny and pump while away at work. I would have adjusted and worked out the logistics, but I’m SO thankful that we’ll be together. I’m making plans/lists of what I’ll need with us at the office but so far we’ve got an extra pack n play and bouncy chair that’ll make up the office nursery.

I saw my Doctor today and I’m all back to normal, yay! I’m so excited to exercise. Still trying to see how I’ll make time for it since I don’t often have the option of leaving Riley home with Merfman. Yea, Teamster hours, boo.

So, I’ve been at this mama job thing for 6 weeks now, and I’ve learned a lot. Everyone always says that you can’t really prepare for becoming a parent until it happens to you. I read the books, and took the classes, but I knew it would just sort of happen. I think the biggest thing was preparing mentally. Knowing that it would be like nothing I’ve ever done before.

Apologies in advance if anything is too TMI. Keeping it real, yo.

No one tells you breastfeeding hurts like a mother. Yea, I said it. I get why so many women stop after a week or two. It HURTS. I’m not talking about the “improper latch technique.” I’m talking about the first 15 seconds of toe curling discomfort before you can exhale. I googled proper latch several times, looked for photos, videos anything I could find to make SURE it was correct. That wasn’t the problem. Now, I was very lucky that Riley was cooperative and I didn’t have any supply problems.

– Showering is equal parts awesome and awful. When breastfeeding it is necessary to take a daily shower. You develop this lovely sour milk smell. I know, awesome right?! They say the baby is comforted by a mother’s smell, well obviously since even I can tell there’s something different going on. Shower for hygiene, check. Then there’s the knots. Oh, the lumpy ladies. Those first few days after “your milk comes in” you can’t wait to stand under the hot water and let it work its magic. Heaven on earth. Now for the awful…Murphy’s law states that the second you get yourself covered in soap and shampoo the baby monitor with crack and baby will be waking up from his morning nap…noooooooo. So you finish as quickly and safely as possible (no slipping and cracking your head open) all the while saying “it’s ok, it’s ok, I’m coming, I’m coming” to an empty bathroom. Then, for my personal favorite…drying off. I like to think we have soft, plush, fluffy towels. No. No. No. They are made with steel wool I tell you. You’ll become an expert at avoiding your most tender (non)lumpy ladies as you perfect the circular pat drying technique.

Sitting down is an acquired skill. Now, I was very fortunate to have an “easy” labor. I didn’t have any complications or major battle wounds. And still, there was damage done. Those super redic hospital pads the nurse has you affix to the uber attractive complimentary undies…totally hideous, and glorious. Extra padding for the win. I’ll share a secret with you…Depends (yes, adult diapers) makes pads that totally feel like diapers, but provide that oh so necessary fluff.

You can live on less sleep. I know, it’s the #1 thing everyone holds over your head as a new member of the parenting club…SLEEP.  Again, I have to throw down the lucky card…I don’t have a super fussy.grumpy. colicky baby. You’ll be asked upon anyone seeing you with a newborn “how’s the baby sleeping?” He’s sleeping like a newborn, no – he’s not sleeping through the night yet. Yes, that’s normal. There’s totally those nights when you sort of sigh as you haul yourself out of bed for another feeding, but it’s not impossible. You’ll count the hours between feedings, and count again as you lay back down wondering what hour you’ll be getting up again…3:30ish…ok, sleep. This might just be me, but I’ve been way more sleep deprived in my life. Hello, college? Toward the end of my Senior year I was surviving on 4  hour nights weeks on end. Yea, that sucked.

– No cooking meals are the best meals. Since I’m solo much of the time I’ve learned to not “cook.” There’s this super fun thing called the “witching hour” when all babies get fussy in the evening. Normally that’s when Dad would be coming home from work, but that’s not the case here since Merfman works until late most nights. The witching always happens when you’re trying to cook dinner. So unless you have a 3rd arm or can cook with your eyes it’s not really gonna happen. When you can cook, make extra to reheat for fast leftovers. Or cook things in the oven or in one pan that don’t require much “babysitting.” The microwave is a new parent’s best friend. And salads never get cold. I eat lots of salads for lunch :) Healthy mama and fussy baby approved.

– Having a second person on deck makes you feel like you can do anything. Merfman went back to work shortly after Riley was born. In the film/TV biz you gotta work to bring home the monies. Would he have rather been home changing diapers, absolutely. But we need to be able to pay for those diapers. So it was me flying solo from week 2 on. Riley and I figured it out, we got creative and made it work. There’s always going to be challenges and I’ll wish Merfman got home sooner but it can’t always happen. When he is home on the weekends I feel like I have all the time in the world. I can fold laundry AND put it away AND start a new load. Look at me!

Smartphone are the BEST. The hardest part about Merfman being back to work, hello  85+ hour work weeks, is that I wish he could always be around to see how much Riley is growing and changing. Enter the iPhone. I try to send photos and videos as often as I remember to take them (not often enough). But I hope it helps to share the little moments. Oh, and there’s something so awesome about just taking a billion photos of your child’s insane facial expressions. Within a span of 45 seconds he can go from delighted to horrified back to joyful.

– You change. I knew becoming a parent would change our house, our routine, our life. But I never really thought about how much I would change. I feel like the same person I was before Riley, but with a totally different tone. Make sense? I’m still me, but with a different flavor. And I’m part of this super cool mama club which I love. It’s unspoken but it’s there. You see it in the eyes of the women at the grocery store, the silent approval that “you’re in.” And you grow this mama heart. It makes you fiercely protective but super tender.

So there it is. 6 weeks of on the job training. I have a lifetime more to learn, but I feel like I’ve got a good start.

4 thoughts on “6 Weeks of Learning”

  1. Oh my dear, you are SPOT ON! You made me laugh about the soft towels feeling like steel wool! Well spoken and I love your honesty. I hope Riley has fun helping out at work. ;o)

  2. Hi Daniella!! Duana told me she cut your hair the other day and when I mentioned I hadn’t heard how you were doing since having your baby (I deactivated Facebook) she passed your blog along to me :) Congrats on your beautiful baby boy!!! It’s so fun reading about your new adventures in parenting :) I’m glad you’re adjusting well and enjoying every moment. Hope to see you sometime when you visit your parents!! Take care :)

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