I quit a 9 to 5 in SEO to take on a 24/7 role as MOM. My husband and I felt it important for a child to have a parent’s undivided attention for at least his or her first year. And being that the kid would literally be more attached to me due to breastfeeding and more realistically because my husband makes more money than I did, like most women, I won the duties of primary caretaker. The job offered no pay, an erratic schedule, sleep depravation, boredom, very little reward especially in the newborn phase, and a deep love and compassion born from a more selfless existence. Going over the job description detailed to me from other parents, I came to understand that the joys of parenthood are few and far between and you have to be in it for the long run. And I am.
My former job in SEO was a cubed life with metrics to hit every hour. The job attracted competitive gamers of which I am not. But ex-New Yorker, type A personality, and borderline workaholic I am. So it’s no wonder I took to the Baby ESP app that can track everything from hours spent breastfeeding, to diaper changes, and bath time complete with stats and charts. With my former metric loving position and my workaholic self that has had to surrender to days where nothing is “accomplished” other than keeping the kid alive and healthy, I have complied some stats and lists of my own. Be assured, dear reader, that I have not complied these list begrudgingly. I love my new role as MOM and I also look forward to when I can be MOM and take on other responsibilities and interests as well. Here are some daily stats from the first 6 weeks of raising my son. And, to be fair, by husband has been a part of these stats, but as the primary caretaker I hold the record.
Stats per day unless noted:
Longest stretch of sleep = 2.5 hours. Slowly creeping towards 4 as the weeks go by.
Diapers changes = 15
Nursing = 8 on average with 2 feedings from the bottle.
Average nursing session length (with burping and diaper changes) = 40 min
Number of times I am spit up on = 3
Number of times I am peed on = 1/week. I have mastered blocking techniques.
Outfit changes for him = 3
Outfit changes for me = 1 (would be more if I cared)
Speed at which I eat dinner now = 7 minutes
Ability to talk over crying = 2 minutes and increasing the count daily
Pregnancy weight gain = 50 lbs (Yep, 50. And I loved gaining every bit of it. Except for what was a good 10 lbs of bloating – that was uncomfortable.)
Postpartum weight left to lose = 20 lbs
Number of shoes (including boots, heels, flats, and sneakers) leaving my closet = 14
Which brings me to pregnancy.
Things I miss about being pregnant:
1. Feeling him kick.
It was wonderful and creepy at the same time, more wonderful than weird.
2. Rubbing my belly.
I rubbed my Budda belly all day long regardless of any fetal movement. The taught oval shape was pleasing to touch. It was my way of bonding and soothing him and I, especially towards the end when things became more uncomfortable.
3. Indulging in sweets and not worrying about working it off.
I am not a person who can eat whatever I want and not gain anything. But I am a person who thinks life is too short to count calories everyday. I will say, I craved sweets, which was constantly, way more than I ate them. Between candy and cake from work I threw in some fruit and veggies for good measure.
4. The suspension of not knowing the gender and having people guess.
I like a surprise.
5. The attention.
It was very reassuring to be told I looked beautiful and glowing while putting on the pounds. And even though I felt like I mostly looked baggy eyed and swollen and people were just telling me I glowed because that is what you tell pregnant ladies, it was very nice to hear.
Things I will not miss about being pregnant:
1. I am a what???
I am not a fan of the D’s with stretch marks I carry now. I preferred my-fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand B’s. Since I am breastfeeding the jugs are still with me and we are settling into each other, except for the fact that most of my clothes don’t fit me in the bust region now. But who am I kidding, most of my clothes don’t fit beyond the bust region. My body and fashion is a work in progress now.
2. Carpel tunnel.
At 6 months the tingling kicked in and continued until 3 weeks postpartum. The none stop sensation of being shocked by an electrical outlet is an annoyance, but the inability to press, grab, or hold anything is an annoyance layered with frustration and anger. I take carpel tunnel prevention seriously now.
3. Being puffy.
My feet, calves, hands, and face, namely around the eyes were varying degrees of swollen throughout the day. In the last trimester I was relegated to wearing a cheap pair of beach flip-flops. Which leads me to mention – shoes! I missed wearing them. I know I live in Austin, but flip-flops everyday is a bore.
4. Left side only.
Even before I was put on bed rest, it is recommended that pregnant ladies lay on their left side. This is to get the baby weight off the vena cava, the major vein that carries blood from the lower half of your body to your heart. When on bed rest, you are to be on your left side all day long. I came to understand how bedsores develop. Not only did it become uncomfortable and boring, but also I missed cuddling with my man. Sure he could still spoon me, but my favorite position of lying on top of him was lost for months.
5. The attention.
No matter where I went the conversation became the same: “When are you due? Boy or girl? Is it your first? Are you having morning sickness? Do you have names picked out? No, well, what are your top 5?” I could shoot of my responses to these questions with little irritation once I got my stock, neutral response down. But the unsolicited pregnancy and parenting horror stories and advice weighed me down with worry and dread.
Taking advice from the books, I learned to let opinions go in one ear and out the other. My Doctor reiterated, “You will be hearing unsolicited opinions about birthing and parenthood throughout the kid’s life. The quicker you can establish coping mechanisms, the better.” So I did.
I remained pretty neutral to all the opinions except for when it came to my “contents unknown” belly. People were shocked and sometimes angered that we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. People said we were brave to not find out, that they could never do that, and how can we have a baby shower now. I never understood the disagreement with our surprise. Choosing to be a parent is brave, but waiting 9 months to see if we will be raising a boy or a girl – that’s not bravery, that is fun. And more importantly for us, not knowing the sex kept the gender conformity “pink is for girls and blue is for boys” stuff out of our house, at least for a little while.
My mother-in-law, an avid seamstress, said she was dying to put flowers and bows on the clothes she was making for our baby and would I mind if it turned out we had a boy. I told her, “No, I wouldn’t mind. I’m hoping for a gay kid.” She went for teddy bears instead.
And there you have it; my accomplishments and opinions thus far with more to come. I have surrendered to the realities of my new role and in doing so I have really begun to enjoy it.