“Bad Moms”, you say?

There’s a movie coming out soon called Bad Moms. The trailer for it is pretty wonderful (if you haven’t yet seen it: https://youtu.be/P0FNjPsANGk) and the concept of the flick is essentially a group of overworked, overtired and generally DONE WITH EVERYTHING moms that finally give themselves a break from their demanding lives and it’s endlessly selfless responsibilities. Upon doing so, they are then confronted and called out by their local group of perfect, sanctimommies for not living up to their standards. From what I assume, as I do not know how the ending goes, lessons and truths are eventually learned by all.

This hot mess mom movement (which is legitimately a thing and has been for years, though called different names) is fascinating to me. In truth, I see a lot of myself in its workings, but at just six months in, many may just equate that to me being a first time mom and the confusion of trying to figure everything out in the only way I know how. However, in a year or so’s time, when I ideally will have a bit more of a grasp on what I’m doing, I still see myself identifying with the moms in that movie who felt like they needed to *temporarily* give zero fucks. Not because I can see the future, but because I believe in what it represents.

While still pretty new to this game of motherhood, already I feel the pressures from just about EVERYWHERE to do better and be better. Without abandon, the growing standard of what a mom should be, could be and needs to be is sky rocketing to the height of impossible ideals. Ideals which so often fail to take into account context, culture and environment, mind you, but are batshit rampant nonetheless. These ideals are SUPER pervasive and, intricately laced within them, are attempts to subjugate what our children should be, could be and needs to be into the expectations of overachieving, over-succeeding, perfect spawns of creation (but more on that point at a later time).

Inadvertently, I’ve gotten these pressures from some of the closest people in my life. Suffocatingly real and somehow always there, they are with the best intentions or not. They have come from well meaning people, and people who have simply had an opinion or were probably just trying to help, but it is a game I’ve already realized I do not wish to play. I do not feel I need to justify my parenting to anyone but my son or my husband, and nor will I ever again. I will not give anyone that power, for in doing so lies a dangerously, slippery slope. One thing prompts another, another and another, and before long I’m madly juggling to hold on not to what I deem important, but what society and its sticky fingers believe should be the standard of how I do motherhood. Yeah, I’ll pass.

At the heart of all this hot mess/bad mom reality, I don’t see laziness. I don’t see neglect. I don’t see a mom who shouldn’t have had kids. Some may say this is too optimistic and too kind of me, but I see a woman who isn’t willing to forget her needs on the journey that is motherhood. This is not me saying that all the ‘perfect’ mommas out there have forever put themselves last, rather, for any mom who has chosen at a time to put herself first? You have committed no crime.

There is no me if I don’t have the time *for* me. If that means during naps the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned or the laundry doesn’t get done for awhile, so be it. If that means we don’t leave the house for a few days ’cause the dumbness of people hurts my brain, so be it. If that means I have to put O down for nap earlier than normal for a few times ’cause I just can’t deal right now, so be it. None of these things are choices made without thought. Behind them lies purpose and intentionality. Behind them lies a recognition that I need time to focus on me right now so that I can be the mom I want to be, and sometimes I might need that for days at a time. Shit might not get done as a result. And you know what? THAT’S OKAY. I’ll still love and care for my child so much that it hurts (as I do right now and always), just not within the confines of how society or anyone else thinks I should. To hell with that.

A raw beauty is in a hot mess mom, and that beauty doesn’t make you or me a “bad” mom. It doesn’t mean we aren’t cut out for this. It makes us real, it makes us honest, and it makes us alive. So, carry on, brave soldier. I’ve got your back.

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Observations of first time motherhood, (part 12^234234).

  1. The closer the bond you form with your baby, the more watching ANYTHING showing a child lost, hurt or killed makes you loose your shit. NOPE, NETFLIX, NOT GOING THERE ANYMORE.
  2. 6AM is now sleeping in, and it is a marvelously blissful thankyoubabyjesus BEAUTIFUL thing when it happens.
  3. Days when you are able to accomplish eating all three meals, making the bed, brushing your teeth and putting clothes on ALL parts of your body are days that you’re pretty sure you are a rock-star. Bonus: If you get a shower in, you’re probably ready to go on tour to cement your status as rock elite.
  4. You look at moms/dads juggling with more than one baby/child and you are pretty sure they are god damn wizards. HOW?! WHEN?! AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, WHY?!
  5. Every time you run errands, you now question if it’s worth it to drive to more than one place. Do you really want to pack your child in the car TWICE for what you need? Do you really need that other thing? Is it worth the potential crank? Or the potential super freakin’ short nap they’ll take on the way to the other place while later on rejecting the much better nap they could have had? THESE ARE THE ETERNAL QUESTIONS. Being “out” is now a game of how many things you can magically get accomplished in one, close to home, walkable shopping center that doesn’t really have everything you need but you’re DETERMINED to make it work anyhow and all within the time frame of your child’s happy wake period, if you’re lucky. (You’re usually not.) (I *WILL* get better at this.)
  6. Worrying that you’ve actually created a drug like dependence on Enya in your child is now a thing.
  7. You are 100% positive you have the cutest baby in ALL of the land to EVER exist. Sure, those other babies are pretty adorable, but YOUR’S is the cutest there ever was (said every parent in man-kind).
  8. The things you and your SO celebrate will be forever changed. “Guess who went poo today!” “Whoa, did you hear that burp? That was a burp!” “He slept an ten extra minutes for that nap!” And somehow, no matter how mundane to the average outsider, these moments to celebrate feel just as epic to you as anything ever worth celebrating before.
  9. Pretending to look/talk/play with your child in their stroller is an amazing way to avoid having to interact with people in public that you don’t want to. Weird guy gonna walk by you on the street? HI BABY, I LOVE YOU BABY, PAY ATTENTION TO ME BABY.
  10. After a brutally long day of mothering, you will sometimes find yourself, after having FINALLY gotten your child to freakin’ sleep and while getting some YOU time, now staring lovingly at pictures of them on your phone. You are absolutely addicted to this thing your body made and no matter how tired or over it you get (you are human), you can never seem to get enough. A crazy, profound love has been born into your world that is infinite in its ability to fill your soul to the brim while leaving you wanting, needing and forever reaching out for more.

Obviously, these are all from the context of my own life, and, like all things, they do no blanket apply to every first time mom or mom in general… but, with hope, some of you were able to relate!

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Thirty minutes.

Like many other babies his age, O is in the midst of a period where he only sleeps 30 minutes for every nap he takes. He started this off and on a good month or so ago, and now has solely taken naps like this for the past two and a half weeks. Additionally, in between his every thirty minute nap, he has the tolerance for being up around two hours before cranky town hits. Naturally, our daily schedule has adjusted to accommodate this, though not by choice. If I didn’t have to constantly feel as if I was living life by the clock and always chasing the next nap, I wouldn’t. The needs of my child say otherwise, however, no matter how much of a schedule whore it may make me seem.

For me and I imagine millions of other moms, nap time is a time of reprieve. A time when, after giving every piece of you to your LO, you can give something back to yourself.

But in those thirty minutes do you…

Read (a choice I have made more so lately)?

Peruse other hobbies (a choice I have not made enough lately)?

Clean (a choice I made far too frequently last week as it had been neglected and we were expecting company)?

Play SimCity on my phone (a choice I wish I would make less of)?

Sleep (a choice that is a joke within a thirty minute time frame)?

Eat (a choice that should always take precedence, but often doesn’t)?

Write a post on Soundly Sarah (a choice I have neglected lately, oops!)?

Just be thankful you have that time?

Do you choose one of those?

Some of those?

All of those as you frantically try to jumble it into 1800 seconds and end up not satisfied at all as a result?

Evidenced by the fact that I’ve only been able to just now write this while on bed rest from a hurt foot, I don’t know how to answer those questions. Is this how it’ll always be?

In terms of better prioritizing, scheduling and letting go of the reins at times for things to happen as they will, I could have the answers I seek. But I did not expect this aspect of motherhood. I did not expect for my needs to be sequestered into 30 minutes time chunks. I (obliviously) imagined dreamy, two hour naps of bliss and relaxation. Eventually, those may come, but nap time in general will happen less if they do.

This obliviousness, or delusion, rather, it went so far as to tell multiple people before giving birth that I was worried I would get bored or stir crazy while on mat leave. I didn’t realize it would be nothing like that. I didn’t realize the second I’d have some time, it would be gone. Nap after nap, I find myself just getting started on ‘me’ when it’s nearly ended. So often, I hear O on the baby monitor at a point when things have just gotten ‘good’. Is that horrible of me to admit? Or merely human?

I write this for it leaves me in a spot of motherhood that I still find myself flailing, unsure and a bit ruffled. No matter the changes I could make, I am stuck at these questions. How do I redefine and pair down what I truly need while I am immersed in all that is motherhood? How do I make space for my desires and interests in a way that now accommodates times as a resource precious as gold? How do I refuse to loose myself among the demands that this new life entails? And, in this so often mother eats mother world, makes you feel like an selfish jerk for wanting it that way?


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How can we ever really know?

O was born with a couple of things that make him different than the typical baby boy. Some of these things will require surgery in a years time and one is something that cannot be seen by the human eye.

This unseen part about him is chromosomal. To be more specific, he has a large deletion in his 3rd chromosome. This deletion may be the reason for some of the other, differing, things about him — or it may not be. It’s hard to say. All that is known right now is the unknown, as his deletion is considered rare to the geneticists at BC Children’s and it hasn’t been seen enough to know what it could imply health wise, now or later, if anything at all.

In an attempt to understand how this came to be, be it from D and I or how our DNA combined, blood work was done on us. As of a few days ago, I now know that I too have this large deletion in my 3rd chromosome and that I passed it on to O in the womb.

I’m writing this here, in this space, because I need to better understand what this means to me. I need to voice it, to put it in text, to make sense of it. Selfishly, I need to be told it will be okay (even if the irrational side of me disagrees), again and again, on top of how many times I’ve already been told as much. I’m in the midst of scheduling a follow up with the geneticists to be told the same. Everyone is hinging on the fact that I seem to be okay, same with my other family members who may or may not have it, and so O should be okay too.

But how can we ever really know that? Am I okay? What about later on? Have I missed something my entire life? Was there something I should have questioned but never did? Is my son going to suffer because I didn’t? These are huge, unknowable, worrisome questions — I know. But how does one continue on as normal when they find out that something is missing in the base of their DNA? In the base of what makes them human? And that they’ve passed it on to their son, with repercussions entirely unknown?

Nothing I can do can change this, I get that, and I know that I need to be positive. I have to be. Not just for me, but for O and D. But how?

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Precious, brutal, beautiful and exhausting reality.

Before I ever became a parent and, at times, before I had an inkling that I might like to be a mom, I worked (and still technically do while on mat leave) in the field of early childhood education. To it I brought a bachelors of ECE and, prior to giving birth, racked up about four and half years of experience in the field — both with ITs (infant/toddlers) and TFs (three to fives). During the entirety of my pregnancy I was employed knee deep in the trenches of toddlerhood, and I believed that I’d be bringing to motherhood a cornucopia of knowledge and experience. Others in my life continually reinforced this thought of mine. With all of this on my resume, how could I not?!




Too bad I had absolutely NO FREAKIN’ IDEA what to do with said knowledge and experience. Upon O’s birth, I was blindsided. My education, something my sweet husband anxiously worried would set me far ahead of him parenting wise, it felt like it meant nothing. My employment, and the fact that I had previously been working all day long with ITs, it was laughable and hardly the real thing — I got to send them home at the end of the day! My passions that I brought to the field of ECE, and the beliefs I garnered throughout it of children and childhood, it fell to shambles in the midst of a postpartum depression that could no longer even tell who I was when I looked in the mirror.

This should hopefully be news to no one, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can prepare you for being a first time mom. Anybody or anything that tries to tell you differently is lying. All that I brought to it (which I felt was a lot!) and the preconceived notions I had of it being otherwise, they were broken. Broken as in picked up, shattered to the ground, stomped all over, set on fire and then blown into the abyss. It was a delusional, humbling and hot mess of confusion for a good while there.

Now that I’ve survived the first four months of O’s life and know what it is to sleep again, I am thankfully beginning to see where my education, employment and passions can start being applied (more on that later). I am able to finally dig into those reservoirs and have them be useful, when before it felt as if they would drown me. I am excited for what awaits in that regard (also more on that later!). Most importantly and with relief, I have now added to that repertoire what I didn’t realize I lacked before. The grounded experience of REALITY.

Precious, brutal, beautiful and exhausting reality.

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