While my child was a baby I started to look for some answers as to why it all seemed so hard. I felt like I didn’t have the same experiences other new moms were having. Thanks to the internet and another mom feeling my pain, she introduced me to “high needs groups”. High needs groups are groups of women that have children with more than average needs. They don’t really fit in a textbook and it’s not necessarily medical or diagnosable, even though things like that can come with it. There’s actually other names too. A super easy baby is a “log” or a moderately easy baby is a “light high needs”. Then you have your extremes. One being a ” unicorn” opposite end being a “dragon”. I know people are thinking, “this is just crazy. It’s all about how you handle the children.” Well it’s not. There’s nature and there’s nurture. Some children just naturally have certain ways. Now, the “not high needs” children, I’m sure will grow up to be great adults and this is not to dismiss their qualities or say one is better than the other. This is to help moms see the light at the end of the tunnel when their baby dragons are spewing the smoke.
Dragons are not a curse they are a challenge. First thing that rubs me the wrong way is the peanut gallery. They come in and decided that they know best, share their unwanted opinions on how baby should act this way and we shouldn’t do it that way. My child needs more of me. Yes, some days its really hard. Yes, I don’t get things done most of the time. Yes, I have to sleep with my daughter or she won’t sleep. Yes, I get limited or no alone time. This too shall pass. One day it won’t be like this. One day she will not need me and given her fiery little independents that day will come soon enough. This is not “how to train your dragon”. Dragons are not trained they are guided. I should say that should be a number one rule with these children. Force, threats, and any other of “it’s my way or no way” tactics is not the tools you use here. They will push right back. You have to listen, communicate, and find an understanding. Which is so hard with a little human that doesn’t speak (or at least not well), has no control over their emotions, and wants change at the drop of a hat. It takes time and patience. Every day will feel like a never-ending fight. There will be growing pains. You will probably lose your shit, a lot and cry. But here’s where it gets good. As these little monster grow. They will become majestic, powerful, respectable, unstoppable forces. Guide your dragons right and they will be a force to reckon. They know what they want from a very young age and they’ll do what they have to, to get it. Knowing what you want is half the battle of finding happiness. The next, having the strength and confidence to go after it. Which they also have, as long as this quality is nurtured vs trying to battle it out of them. Don’t break their spirit. Spirit, gusto, and grit are keys. Keys not everyone is born with. Keys people can spend a lifetime trying to acquire. Your little spitfire was born possessing some, if not all of these already. Let go of the need to control. Observe, stop and try to understand what they’re doing. You won’t always be able to do this. Life’s doesn’t always give us this luxury. You will have to physically swoop up this screaming ball of fury while it fights you tooth and nail because you don’t have a choice, but this shouldn’t be the answer every time. Don’t fall for the social norm of what society paints our children to look like. Listen to your motherly instincts and listen to your child. You will learn skills and discover strengths in yourself, you never knew you had. That’s the power of a dragon. When you come to understand one another and become a team you’ll both gain strength and help each other with your weaknesses. Being a parent of a dragon will show you, we all are both students and teachers, no matter how young or old. They are a wonderful horrifying forces of nature. That reminds me magic is real and lives in my child. I can’t wait to see what mountains she will move next.
So much time and money wasted. Forgotten dreams drowned in potent drinks of different liquors. I’m sure there were life lessons learned but doesn’t change the desire to turn back time and undue destruction caused. I’m an ex-acholic. I say ex because I no longer struggle with it. I don’t miss it or have a desire. I don’t envy the people that still drink. I do pity some stuck in the loop I know personally. Most of all I apologize. To the good friendships lost because of cruel things spoken and done. The property destruction, embarrassment, false sense of security it wouldn’t happen again. Destroying their own friendships to try and defend me in my drunken stupor. The ones closest to me hurt the most. Trying to protect me from others that just “didn’t understand how she is when she’s drunk” while being attack by me as well. Trying to brush off the vindictive things said because “she didn’t mean them. She was drunk” while deep down question what it really meant. This wasn’t friendships but abuse. Abuse and feeling helpless unable to save me from myself. Significant others suffer some of the worst. They became a target. When drinking all my unhappiness, rage, and hatred was homed in on them. I blamed them. I say “them” because it was a hand full of people brave enough to get into a relationship with me. Most sticking around way longer then they should of. Some fighting their own demons. I can only assume they hoped our two negatives would make a positive only to be spit out the other side. Running for the hills. I don’t blame them. Each having their own pros and cons to a journey of self-destruction that did eventually turn into self-realization. I started drinking way too young. I used it as a security blanket. It started as a way for a normally shy girl to come out of her comfort zone. Quickly turning into a crutch on the only way to socializing. Then a way to cope with loss and abandonment and last to feel numb and escape. I also owe myself an apologie. I’m sorry that I made myself forget my dreams. I was a functioning drinker and accomplished life’s stepping stones somehow. Graduated high school got a college degree, but who knows what could have been possible if I would have been completely invested. Not hung over or waiting for the next night out. Getting enough sleep. I’m sorry for the physical damage done. I actually broke bones, but also the internal wear. The lack of self care. The times of vomiting all night and not caring for my teeth. Skipping meals because I only had enough money for booze. The relationships I could have had. The possible friends that passed me by because who would want to be a part of that mess. It was a smart move on their part, but what kind of doors did I lock because I couldn’t see past the bottle. In a town where everyone knows everyone, you build a reputation that follows you. I have lost potential opportunities simply because someone had heard of me. I did make it out the other side. How, is tricky. It took time. It wasn’t magical. A lot of bad decisions catching up. Seeing the pain it caused loved ones. Realizing I was alive, but far from living. I had to pull off the layers that were built up. It took a long time to get that bad, it was going to take a while to come back. I now have a beautiful daughter and I know myself pretty well. I’ve come to the light at the end of a dark tunnel, but I wish I could have just gone around. I have a handle full of great friends and a spouse that has been to hell and back with me. I’m not ungrateful. Just some days I still wonder what if I hadn’t chosen that path. What wonderful things did I miss while I had my drunk blinders on. So, I have made my bed and I have lied in it, but I will not stay there. This is my apology for this chapter of my life, but I will not feel guilty for moving on.
The challenges of motherhood, everyone goes through them. Even the animal kingdom isn’t safe. Here’s a list of mama animals that I’m sure we can all relate to. The struggles are real in Momlife. (Caution: nature is harsh. This is the animal world not suggesting humans should do or they do these behaviors)
Crunchy Mama: Koala Bears
Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. Which can be poisonous to many animals. They actually build up a resistance, but they aren’t born with this talerance. Mom feeds baby her feces to help build up their gut bacteria to handle their diet. If you’ve ever met a crunchy mom there’s is nothing more important than healthy gut. If this isn’t hardcore Crunchy, I don’t know what is.
Helicopter mama: octopus
After laying her eggs a female octopus won’t leave, for anything! She’ll snack on her own leg to not leave her nest. If you’d rather chew on your own foot than let your babies out of your sight. Octopus is your girl.
Perfectionist Mama: orangutan
Orangutans are one of the best mamas. They have one of the longest relationships with their young outside of humans. Nursing up into the 4 years and beyond. Building nest in the trees and babywearing with ease. If you make being a mom look easy, your an orangutan mom.
Career mom: Rabbit
This mama has her babies and she’s off. Only returning to feed once or twice a day. She really does this for their safety. If your a mom who has to provide from afar, this quick-footed mama might be you.
Free-range Mom: Black Eagle
This mama is so hands off that her own babies might kill each other. It’s not unusual for eagles and other birds to wrestle their siblings out of the nest to avoid food competition. I’m well aware no human moms would be ok with this, but if you’re the mom that stands off until someone is crying. You might be a free-range an eagle mom.
Exhausted mother: Sea otters
According to Science News by the time baby otters are 6 months old, mama sea otters will need 96% more energy to keep the baby fed. Plus, the pup will even steal her food! If a sea otter mom didn’t increase her foraging, “she would lose 63 pounds in body mass by the time her pup was weaned at 180 days.” This is one tired mama. I know I can relate.
Hot mess mom: Panda
I chose pandas as hot messes because they have a hard time having babies, to begin with, but did you know if they have twins they usually abandon one. They can’t usually juggle/feed two. Also, who can forget the panda mom that forgot about her cub? (video below) If you’re cute cuddly, but don’t know if you’re coming or going you might be a panda
Everyone can agree when you become a mother everything changes. Your whole world is turned upside down. Whether, it’s the moment that little stripe shows on the test or when they place their little body on your chest. It’s a wake-up call “nothing will ever be about you again” but that’s ok. That’s who we are. We’re mothers. The bond between mother and child is such a strong primal force. Some of us might step right into the role like it was made for us. Others might fall and stumble. Mothers just want to care for and be with their babies.
Now, in this time many of us mothers are trying to do it all. We are the breadwinners, maids, nannies, accountants, the list goes on and on. We’re forced to beg and plead with family and friends to care for the most important thing to us in this world so we can provide. Or we resort to trusting complete strangers with some rates and grades made by some distant organization.
I’m in so many mom groups with women trying so hard to juggle work and baby. Where the fathers are, who knows. Off playing call of duty, hanging out with their buddies, or they’ve just disappeared altogether. I’m not sure what happened to the “man” of America. Sure, there’s some left, but from what I see most women are in this boat.
This is the horrible truth. What do we do? I can get jobs. I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve turned down more then I can count because they don’t fit the schedule. I unfortunately or fortunately, try to conform to family’s schedules to avoid a stranger caring for my heart. That’s what it is. My heart is no longer in my body. Its come into this world in a precious little package and it’s so much harder to protect out here in the real world. I’ve read the daycare horror stories. The nanny cams catching the child abuse. It’s more then a mother should bare, but we have to put a roof over our heads. So, we juggle and push and balance everything we can on our backs. We give up meals, sleep, and bits of our sanity. Trying so hard to protect and provide for our little worlds. Just to watch the years fly by and wonder where they went.
This is for the forgotten heroes. The woman that literally have the weight of the future on their backs treated like yesterday’s trash. Not only do we have these personal struggles, but professionally its a joke. You get 6 weeks off. You aren’t granted paid leave unless its vacation time you saved up. Six weeks! It’s laughable. Once back at work you either pump or kiss your breastfeeding relationship goodbye. You also have to fight for your right to pump. For your time to pump and a place to pump. Forget all the laws about what jobs are required to do. Its what a job realistically does.
From the bottom of my heart mamas, I understand. I cry at night too. I beg and pray to God for something better. I hope, I push, I try. It’s such a lonely scary road. We hug our babies tight at night. We breathe in their soft baby smell and hope for a different tomorrow. So many of us never get to see. We blink and our whole world is grown up and gone. Left wondering where they went as we struggled and push through each day. It’s hard to look up when your nose is pushed so hard to the grindstone. We are caught in a web of broken dreams and false promises of the America dream. Trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got because God forbid, we will die trying to give our babies a different future.
The debating on breastfeeding vs formula feeding is never-ending. We can all agree that fed is best. They both have their pros and cons, but the stigma of breastfeeding in our modern society is disgraceful. For such a natural act of a living creature getting nourishment, people sure do have a lot of opinions. In hopes to normalize breastfeeding, here are some of the great bonuses of breastfeeding.
This is the most obvious, but it provides the best nutrition possible for children. Did you know there are complex carbohydrate sugars in breastmilk that is not digested by babies? Scientist discovered it’s actually there to feed the babies good bacteria in their gut. Healthy guts are essential for overall health.
Even if you’re sick continue breastfeeding. Your body will transfer your antibodies to the baby. Already giving the baby ahead start to fighting the bug going around. It’s also said to be able to tell from baby’s saliva what baby needs and adjust the milk to provide. This is why on the breast is better than pumping, if you can.
If baby falls and bumps their head, nothing can soothe them like a nurse session. Meanwhile, you can do a check over.
Is baby scared of the doctor? I’ve done it. Let baby nurse while the doctor takes a quick peek. My opinion, if this makes Doc uncomfortable, time to get a new doctor.
Nothing puts a baby to sleep faster than cuddling up with mama for a snack. Your children will learn to fall asleep without you soon enough. Enjoy these days while they last.
Like scared and hurt, it calms a crabby baby and can make them sleepy. Your scent and heartbeat provided the perfect world. Life is good at this moment.
Have you ever had a baby do nursing yoga? You end up with a butt in your face as they attempt the downward dog. Or when they get a stray spray to the face. The look of confusion is priceless.