Quarter-Plus-Four

9.30.2015


I feel like possibly I'm having a quarter-plus-four-life crisis (what do you call a life crisis at 29?). The first few weeks with a new baby (I would say especially with your first baby), you don't have time or the mental capacity to ponder what the h-e-double hockey sticks happened to your life. Midnight and 2 a.m. feedings are the things of torture chambers, and you're basically a zombie, except instead of being ravenous for people you're just shoveling lactation cookies into your mouth at odd hours.

People kept telling me it would get better, and it did. It does get better because you learn what your baby's cries mean (for the most part), and your baby starts figuring out night and day (again, for the most part), and you eventually might only have to get up once in the middle of the night instead of three times (praise!).

Of course, don't ever underestimate the ability of your baby to poop through a diaper seconds after changing her. Not that I know from experience or anything.

So okay. You get through the first few weeks and you're like hey, maybe I've got this. It's not as scary as I thought.

THEN. Things calm down in the baby department, and things start to heal themselves in the lady parts department, and you start to feel more like yourself. That's when you come out of the fog of survival mode and start living in the land of this-is-my-life-now mode, and you start realizing that life as you knew it really isn't going back to how it was ever again. That's where the life crisis comes in.

I don't know who I am right now, and it's very disconcerting.

For example:
I was never one of those girls who dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom (I'll use SAHM for short because typing hyphens is too much work for me right now). There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a SAHM, but that was just never something I thought about. To be honest, I always thought I would hate it because I like being busy and seeing people, and the thought of staying at home with kids all day makes me feel stir-crazy.

But then I was on maternity leave for six weeks and was a SAHM, and it was awesome. This confused me. (Plug for an upcoming post about my thoughts on being a working mom! I will also answer a few "ask anything" questions I got about this topic.)

It's also strange to look in the mirror and not feel like you look like yourself. There's extra skin where there hasn't been ever in my life, and even though I fit into most of my pre-pregnancy pants, I usually can't wear them all day before it starts to get uncomfortable and I unbutton them.

I've been running lately (blog post about that coming up at some point. Hashtag so many post ideas, so little time). Even though the running part went better than I expected, I can tell my abs are shot. Like, gone. My craving for sweets is, however, still alive and well. So nice of that to stick around.

I could go on, but the point is that when people ask me how I'm doing, I have no idea how to respond. In an effort to not go off on a tangent for the next hour, I give a token smile and a, "It's pretty good. We're getting the hang of things." And they're like, "You seem to be handling it well!"

I suppose I am handling it in some respects. My baby is still alive and my house hasn't burned down, so there's that. And the fact that I can squeeze into my favorite skinny jeans is nothing short of amazing. (Seriously, it's amazing. I love those jeans.)

But mentally? I don't know. I'm not someone who likes change, and as I mentioned before, this whole year has been constantly changing. To be honest, it's exhausting.

So if you want to know how I'm doing, prepare yourself for a long answer. We can cut past all the "fine" and "good" and get to the real stuff. The hard and the beautiful and the ugly and the wonderful stuff. I think we can all agree that's the best stuff anyway.

Now if you'll excuse me, my quarter-plus-four-life crisis is waiting. 
Please pass the lactation cookies.
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p.s. If I ever get around to it, I have posts I want to write about: being a working mom, postpartum running/workouts, how to budget for travel, a currently vlog (maybe with R!), and marriage. If you ever have a question or post topic suggestion, enter it here!

26 comments:

  1. Big hugs. I can't imagine, but I know that it'll be okay and that you'll get through it and that it's okay to feel all the things. You will figure out who you are as a mom and a person again. Just breathe (pray!), give it time, keep talking it out. If I knew what lactation cookies were, I'd send one to you.

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  2. thanks for being so honest! Being unsure of yourself and identity is to disconcerting and difficult. Sending you love :)

    Now it is my turn to be honest - I had to look up location cookies because I had never heard of them before! Also, real talk: "and things start to heal themselves in the lady parts department" ... this is my main fear of motherhood. is that ridiculous?

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  3. When I had my first child I think I put a lot of expectations on myself as to who I was supposed to be as a mother. It probably robbed me of a lot of joy in those early years of parenting. I never saw myself as a SAHM either, and I still don't know how I've managed to stay sane doing it as long as I have, but it was what was best for me and I won't regret doing it. Just give yourself time, you don't have to have it all figured out right away. And anyway, just when you think you know what you're doing, everything changes. (But it certainly sounds like you've got a good handle on it...baby being alive and house still standing and all! :)

    It seems like lactation cookies are all the rage, and I still don't really know what they are! But I guess it's too late for me now. :)

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  4. I don't normally watch vlogs, but if you do one with R, I am definitely on board!!! What on earth is a lactation cookie? Big life events are always weird, because people ask you polite questions, but they want short, cutesy answers, not an in-depth analysis of how your whole world has flipped upside down! Fortunately you blog and blog readers love details. Can't wait to hear about your experience as a working mom and what it's like to get back into running!

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  5. Seriously- get out of my brain! Oh my goodness, I never thought I would want to be a SAHM, but I spend my days wishing I could stay home with Charlie. I just constantly have to remind myself that it might just be a case of "grass is greener," because if I was home with him every day, 1. I would be straight-up exhausted, and 2. I would be aching to do something that felt more...productive.

    I think part of becoming a Mom that no one tells you about is exactly what you touched on- you have to be able to accept change. And that is sooo hard to do. I know as soon as I grow comfortable in this role, Baby #2 will come along and throw my life into chaos all over again. *Sigh*

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  6. Please know that everything you are feeling is completely normal. You just don't know it's normal because no one ever talks about it. And I think that's so sad. It does such a disservice to new moms. I felt much the way you are feeling for the first year. It would come in spurts and in different degrees, but I was never quite sure of who I was. I PROMISE though it does get better. Your body does come back. It really does. And you really do find your new normal and your groove. It just takes some time. I've been right where you are. That change into motherhood was hard. But, again, I promise you will find your old self and it will be a better version because now it involves being a mom. You're doing great. Keep it up.

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  7. Ok, so, I'm not a mom. Duh. And I'm not currently at a place where I'm planning to become one. (BECAUSE I STILL CAN'T EVEN GET ENGAGED.)

    But ya know. one of the things that has scared me the most is hitting that moment of realizing, "This is my life now." Not that it would be a bad thing, but... just so different and permanent. And while I know this is not even CLOSE to being the same thing, I had a similar feeling just the other day. As you know, Michael and I got a dog. It's my first pet in close to 10 years, and the first one that is actually MINE and not one my parents were also responsible for. Anyway, my fall break is coming up soon, and I was thinking of ways to convince Michael we should take a mini trip somewhere. Then I thought, "Wait. We have a dog now. So we either have to figure out a way to TAKE her or pay someone to board her, and that gets expensive. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!"

    Obviously, a dog and baby are two very different things. (This goes back to the conversation we had about the ability to relate when one doesn't have a child.) But it was an odd moment when I realized I couldn't just pick up and do whatever I wanted at any point. So I can't even imagine how it would feel with a BABY.

    Also, my abs are shot, and I DIDN'T have a baby. So.. high five?

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  8. This is something I'm constantly thinking about right now--we put so much planning and thought into the BEFORE the baby gets here, but what about life after? Thanks for sharing your feelings on the whole subject!

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  9. When people used to ask me how things were going after my daughter was born, my most common response was "well, she's still breathing and CPS hasn't shown up yet so we must be doing ok". Because seriously, having a baby/toddler in your house that you have to care for is hard. There were many, many moments when I mourned my previous life and the fact that life will never be the same. Because she's constantly changing, and so our lives have to adjust accordingly. Like this year she started preschool, so now we have show-and-tell, and color days, and mommy-sponsored snack days. Somuchtoremember. No one told me that my self-centered life would now be centered around this little person who has taken over my home.

    But then when she snuggles with me, or tells me all about the different kinds of apples she learned about in school, or tells me she loves me...yea, that's all worth it.

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  10. Hugs, friend! You are doing so great. I love your honesty. :) Excited for all the posts that you have planned that you'll eventually be able to write!!

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  11. I so appreciate the honesty with all the emotions that come with having a newborn... xoxo

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  12. Sending a big hug your way! I love your vlogs and would LOVE to see one with baby R. xxx

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  13. I think it's great that you're sharing your honest thoughts instead of just saying this is the most wonderful time of your life. I bet a lot of women feel like you and it's brave of you to share. I can't imagine how your life must be thrown for a loop after a baby comes! I hope you all find your groove soon!

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  14. YEP. You nailed it. Except for the being back at work thing (you're a superhero) and the fitting into the old jeans thing (AMAZING!) I can totally relate. I have to say, for us everything got better after eight weeks and once we hit three months it was the best thing ever. Seriously, Parker could stay this age forever and I wouldn't even mind. Hang in there! Someday soon R we'll even start sleeping through the night and you won't even know what to do with yourself!

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  15. Yep. 100%. All of it. I don't recognize myself as a person or my body anymore, and that is so hard. I have to echo what Anna said...something clicked for us at 2-3 months and ever since, things have been awesome. Some days are terrible, but for the most part, it really is the best thing ever. I had the opposite problem, I've always wanted to be a SAHM, and then once I had the baby, all I wanted to do was go back to work and be a normal adult. I'm over that now, but yeah. It's so hard knowing things will never be the same.

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  16. Yep, I hear ya! I actually love change and adventure, but having a baby? Holy cow! EVERYTHING is new!

    Fortunately for my own sanity, in the past 2 months I have noticed that the things that I'm really passionate about (running, reading, writing, hopefully blogging soon, etc.) are slowly starting to creep back into my life and it is helping me feel a lot more like myself. It's so fun to introduce my daughter to all of the things that I am interested in and to figure out how to incorporate my interests with her newness and eagerness to explore (we jogged to a park with baby swings this morning!) but everything takes place at snail pace and the slowness and chaos of it all can get frustrating at times.

    It's weird/fun/exciting/scary to share my life so thoroughly with someone else and it has really made me reassess my priorities and interests...so yeah, I get the whole life crisis thing. But at the same time, everything is so AWESOME!

    On a lighter note...I LOVE the picture of R, and we have the same blanket and pacifier at our house!

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  17. This is much unrelated to this post but I’m really hoping by the name of your blog (Okie) you’re from Oklahoma…I also live in Oklahoma and can never find any bloggers from this state!!

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  18. I was just telling Mike a few days ago that I had been bragging about "hitting my stride" with two kids, blah blah, and now I'm overwhelmed again and don't know what I'm doing and I'm accomplishing absolutely nothing. Toddler: watches too much TV. Baby: isn't read to enough. House: a WRECK. Marriage: coasting, maybe? Birthing hips and baby bump: still have them.
    I could go on but it's not productive. So. Fist bump. We will get through this. Everything is a phase. Everything is a phase everything is a phase.

    Now maybe I'll go listen to "Oceans" and have a good cry.

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  19. I think big life changes just throw your emotions into a state of "what is happening / who am I?" for a while.

    It's hard.

    I felt that way when I got married. I'm embarrassed about that because I wanted to be married and I loved (and still do love) Dave but my emotions went wacko. It's hard to adjust to a new you and it takes time.

    but you know what? I think it is ok. It's human to feel that way and I don't think it is bad. I think how we deal with those emotions and how we let the Lord help us through them is what counts.

    You'll adjust over time and I know you are doing better than what you are giving yourself credit for.

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  20. My baby is 9 months old and I just now feel like I'm coming out of that "fog" from having a new baby. It is starting to feel more normal, but it really does take awhile! I'm sure my little guy turning one will give me a whole new fog and set of crises though. :)

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  21. On thing I've learned being a mom is that you get used to things, but there is always change. Sleeping schedules, eating schedule, menus, potty training, preschool and so on. The kids grow and that means change. But the best part about that is that you get used to the idea of change and you learn better to go with the flow. Sometimes it means you feel like you need some serious deep thought and soul searching. Finding out the things you like and don't like. But it comes.

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  22. So sorry to hear how your feeling! I'll pass the lactation cookies over and listen anytime. The feelings have been the same over in my neck of the woods! It's so hard to adjust to change and new things sometimes. But, it will get better! You will find your new normal! :)

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  23. love your honesty girl. i hope the mental part of it catches up with all the other things you have the gotten the hang of.

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  24. As always, I appreciate your honesty. I don't have experience with this personally, but it makes sense that it would feel a little bit like a "who on earth am I, right now" after having a first baby. You're doing great. You really are!

    I am officially looking forward to every one of your coming blog posts!

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  25. Girl, I didn't just have a baby and often feel the same way! The words "I just hate change" just came out of my mouth not five minutes ago. Why is life so darn confusing??

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