Cost of Childcare

Is the cost of childcare directly related to how many children are born each year? I find it to be a very believable correlation.

I currently pay childcare for my daughter as my husband and I both work full time jobs. She loves her “school”, and I believe we have genuinely found a facility that loves her just as much. I will not consider moving her again after having left two previous providers, but that’s a different story for a different day. (Disclaimer: it was more about my satisfaction than my daughter’s as to why we left the other facilitators. She was happy, but I wanted more for her.)

View of a baby's forehead and nose with light blue eyes and light eyebrows

Moving on to my point. With the amount of money I pay on childcare, I could have a small house or townhouse in Florida! It is legitimately a mini-mortgage! I would never trade my daughter or any potential children I may have for said Florida home, but that is a real comparison.

If the cost of childcare wasn’t so high, I think I may have already had another child by now. I can’t believe I just said that out loud! It has taken me some time to get to this point, but I am finding it an inevitability as my daughter grows up and my baby fever spikes ever so slightly when I hold my newborn nephew. I know my daughter will be the most amazing older sibling, too, as she tries to be such a big help with her baby cousin.

It will be a few more years before baby number two is on its way, though. It could happen before then if we win the lottery, but for now, we’ll just anticipate the working our way to higher salaries the old fashioned way, grinding for every penny we earn.

Momma Bear

There are a few things in this world that I can handle. You want to call me names; I don’t care. I know who I am, so have fun making yourself look like the fool. You want to bash my writing, or my car, or my house and job, I hope it makes you feel better once you get it all out because it doesn’t affect my day to day. I can handle anything you want dish if it pertains specifically to me. You can run your mouth all day about me, and I won’t care.

If you dare to cross the line of talking about my daughter or how I am raising her, the choices I am making on her behalf, then, my friend, you have another thing coming.

I cannot handle someone attempting to tell me how I should raise my child. I will not let you take another breath following your first sentence to even continue the thought you might have had on how I am choosing to bring her up. What I say for my daughter, goes. Period. Your opinions do not matter. Know your place because it isn’t here.

On the other side of that token, I welcome advice because I’ve never raised a child before. I will gladly listen to genuine recommendations, and may even seek them from time to time. I have asked many mothers before for their knowledge on certain aspects of motherhood, and I have received the best guidance.saulius-sutkus-403556

But when your advice turns into chastising and demeaning me as a mother, we most definitely will have a problem. Do not argue with me when it comes to the rules I have set for her. Do not undermine what I have said. Do not bring up my daughter’s name or my parenting skills in any conversation with negative words.

If you do, the only thing you will walk away with as the result of this discussion is a clear idea of what a mother bear looks like, and I will be damn proud of it.

When hugging a child..

I saw a meme the other day that had words of advice from a retired Disney Princess. It was Snow White hugging a little girl, and in white lettering it said:

When you are hugging a child, always be the last to let go. You never know how long they need it.cool-quote-hugging-child-Disney-worker

This pulled at my emotions, and as I have self-proclaimed numerous times, I really am not an emotional person. I do get emotional like anyone else, but my family jokes that there is a gene named after my grandmother that makes us all cry at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, I think it must have skipped me.

I don’t typically cry (unless it is a Nicholas Sparks book or movie) at random events, stories, or songs, but for whatever reason, this one got me. Call it my Bonnie-gene, or hormones, or whatever you want; this one meme hit me hard! Ever since my daughter came into my life, anything having to do with children targets the softest string in my heart and plays me like the most soothing harp until I’m a blubbering mess.

As I sat there, rocking my daughter to sleep and scrolling through my phone, tears filled my eyes as her little hands squeezed around my neck, holding me as close as her little arms could. I made a vow then to always be the last to let go.

Whenever she needs me, I will always be there, and whenever she holds on to me, I won’t let go first. I want her to be strong and independent, but to I also want her to know that she can always count on me to be there from through any moment in her life that she just needs to hold on a little tighter to me. And I absolutely need her to know that for as long as she’s holding on to me, I won’t let go.

As I laid her down in her bed after her arms relaxed on my shoulders, I kissed her little forehead and brushed her fine, wild hair from her face, knowing she is the exact reason why that meme meant so much to me.

I’m not crying. You’re crying!

You are important, too.

So, I thought I was back a few weeks ago, but obviously, I still had some work to do on me before I was ready to come back fully. I’m still working on me, but I think I have found A New Normal. Y’all know how much I love that phrase.

I am counting down on my final few semesters of SNHU before I graduate in October. I’ve really tried concentrating all of my free time towards these final few months as my classes have taken on a new level of dedication and commitment. My last few classes are all high level, prove what you have learned courses. I am enjoying them, but man, they are taking all of my attention outside of my job and family that I can muster.

My daughter also started a new pre-school and is going through such a growth spurt of knowledge and height, and did I mention attitude? She keeps us on our toes!

Plus now we are getting our roof replaced after a bad hail storm, our deck resurfaced, and just trying to keep up with the mountain of laundry that seems to appear weekly; it’s safe to say we are just busy! haley-phelps-119782

All in all, life has just kept going, and I’m doing all I can to keep up with it. It’s just the little moments when everything seems to be going on around me that I am trying to remember that I need to take care of me, too.

Maybe that’s the message of this post: Remembering you are important, too.

Engineer Your Life

I’m feeling a little drained and dry recently. I just can’t get motivated for anything. Work has been hectic. I’m making my final push toward an October graduation. And the past two weeks, my daughter has had a cold. She’s doing a lot better now, and will finally be going to school for the first time in a week. Overall, life is happening, and I’m trying to keep up, but I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead. It’s more like I’m treading water or stuck on my hamster wheel.7kkqg0eb_ti-ankush-minda

I know I have absolutely nothing to worry about. My daughter, husband, friends and family brighten my days, and I am generally in a decent mood based on my coffee intake. I just feel like I’m holding on to the caboose of my life rather than engineering the front car.

I’ve said multiple times that I’m a glutton for punishment. I can’t help it. I like being busy, but this is one of those times I think I need to pull back, evaluate my commitments, and find my direct path rather than this haphazard road.

My advice to you, my friends: Be the engineer in your own life. Steer the train as directly as you can toward your goals and leave the rest behind.

Easier said than done, I’m finding, but as with anything, it’ll just take time, and a few more I think I can’s. Choo choo!

Insomnia..

bedI’m feeling a bit like The Walking Dead again lately, and I guess it is appropriate with the season change and all, but man, insomnia is kicking my butt. I try each night to at least get six hours of solid sleep because eight would just be striving too high, but with a toddler fighting colds and teething her last round of baby teeth for a while (I hope), even six at times is unattainable, especially in a solid form. Broken sleep patterns and lying in my bed staring at the ceiling, begging the sandman to drown me in his sleeping sand, are the new norm since I have become a parent, but I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I stumbled haphazardly onto this wonderful vat of knowledge.

New parents don’t get jack for sleep! Well, duh, but did you realize how little you were actually getting in this little one’s first year of life? New parents experience a sleep loss of 20.3 hours per week, making up 1,055.6 hours lost in the first year of a child’s life – equivalent to 44 days. New Parents Lose 44 Days of Sleep in Baby’s First Year

44 DAYS!!

Bet you won’t find that in any of those wonderful pregnancy and baby books! I’m telling you, if they would make these facts known to not only adults, but teens practicing unsafe sex, the birthrate would drop tremendously! There is so much that people don’t tell you about pregnancy, birth, and raising a child. I swear, it’s like some sick joke of those who experience it before you that they don’t tell you everything just because they want to see you suffer through it, too. Misery loves company!

The lack of sleep is kicking in, and I’m finding myself ranting, but 44 days!!

Then I remember those beautiful blue eyes, perfect button nose, and the goofiest smile I have ever seen, and losing 44 days of sleep, 44 days of my eyes closed and not being with my beautiful little girl, is completely worth it. I’ll take 44 days of memories with her over 44 days of unconsciousness any day.baby

Well, maybe just give me four of those days back? Make it an even 40? Darn you, insomnia.

Becoming A Mother – For My Daughter

When life was easy, I came and went as I pleased.party
When life was easy, I never worried about a thing.
I could get up and go at the drop of a hat.
I could stay out all night and sleep in till noon.
I never cared what anyone thought.
My main goal was to make me happy.
I partied too much, drank too much, made mistakes that I’m not proud of, but never had to worry about someone to answer to.

When life was easy, responsibility was simple.
When life was easy, I took care of me.
I could go a little crazy or forget about everything, but it really wouldn’t matter to anyone but me.
I could get a tattoo or piercing on any old whim.
I could go to a hockey game without notice.
I could eat fast food every day of the week, and none of it mattered to anyone but me.

When life was easy, most days were the same.
When life was easy, nothing really changed.
Work during the week; partying and sleeping late on the weekends.
I could always count on the same people to do the same thing day in and out.
I could always count on the same old routine.
And it all fit so perfectly in the monotony of when life was easy.

Now, life is different in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
Now, life is altered into something I never foresaw.
Now, life is hard.

Now that you’re here, life is hard.
Now that you’re here, I have to be accountable for my whereabouts.
I have to do certain things at certain times.
I have to be up early then in bed early.
I have to care what someone else thinks.
My main goal now is to make you happy because now it all matters to someone that isn’t me.

Now that you’re here, responsibility is difficult.
Now that you’re here, I have to take care of you.
I have sometimes felt like I’m not doing this right, and now it matters to someone that isn’t me.
I have not gotten a tattoo or piercing in a few years.
I have to make plans in order to go out.
I have to live healthy and buy organic food because now it all matters to someone that isn’t me.

Now that you’re here, every day is different.
Now that you’re here, everything has changed.
My life revolves around you each and every moment.
I have to be there for you because I know you need me.
I have to help you learn this world as much as I can.
And it all fits so perfectly in the constant changes of our lives because now something matters to someone that isn’t me.baby

My life was full of nothing before you were born.
My life was empty as I went through the motions.
Now my life has meaning as I walk alongside you.
Now my life consists of helping you through.
I love you more than anything, my daughter.
And now that life is hard, I do everything for you.
And now that life is worth living, it’s all because of you.

Lost Time Is Never Found Again

I’ve been on a deep kind of post kick recently. I blame it on my daughter. When you become a parent, it seems like that is when you really start to view the world differently. You go from someone who takes responsibility as it comes like Huckleberry Fin to someone who feels as if all responsibility is resting on your shoulders like Atlas attempting to hold up the world. It can be maddening how much you begin to worry about silly things that were never a concern before like food selection or toothbrushes.

22It is only a very tiny, little smile that keeps you from plummeting off the edge of anxiety. A tiny, little giggle that swells your heart to let you know that you are making the right decisions. A tiny, little person who will wrap their arms so tightly around your neck in a heartbreakingly sweet hug. That tiny, little person that you fuss so much over to make sure they have everything they need or want in the world which seems to being spinning incessantly is exactly who keeps you firmly planted and moving in a straight line.

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. – Jim Rohn

I wish I could spend my days with her. I wish I could be there for her every waking moment, but isn’t that everyone’s wish.

For more time.

It’s the one thing in this world that you can never get more of. It’s constantly ticking, constantly moving and counting down the very seconds of our lives. There is never a break in time, so we will never get a moment back even with all the money in the world.file0002029315062

Some people will argue that the real need/want in everyone’s life is time and money, but that just doesn’t seem right. Money is a real, tangible object where time isn’t. Money can be earned, can be spent, and can be earned back again in a constant circular flow, but time is linear in a single direction. You cannot earn more time. You cannot spend it, or make it go any faster. You certainly cannot gain it back.

Time is the one thing in my life that I think I will always wish I had more of. Sure, money would be nice, but more time to spend with my daughter, my husband, or other loved ones is what I will always want.

Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin

Love, Life, and Loss

Almost a year ago, in exactly seventeen more days, my daughter entered this world.

I know there are better introduction sentences in the classic novels of history. – Call me Ishmael. – A screaming comes across the sky. – Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. True written masterpieces of art! But I tell you this, none of those have moved me greater than the one written above. As each day passes, and the number dwindles down, I find myself becoming an even bigger mass of emotions.

Panic. Love. Anxiety. Peace. Despondent. Elated.

This tiny human who grew inside of me then entered this world via me has been part of my life for almost an entire year. From this wrinkly, sleepy little creature who fit so perfectly on my chest to the now taller than my head to waist wiggle worm, she has grown so much. I can hardly believe that all of three-hundred and forty-eight days ago I was desperately waiting to see her face for the first time when now all I see in my mind’s eye is her silly smile and bright eyes.  

I will never know a greater joy then to see my daughter’s face. I will never know a more peaceful moment then when she is asleep in my arms. I will never be able to forget a moment I spend with her for the rest of my life because I try my hardest to live my time with her with everything I am.

I know, I’m sappy today, and it has everything to do with what today is. Today is the day of the funeral for my maternal grandfather four months after my maternal grandmother’s passing. I guess you can say I’m contemplating time and mortality. Both of my grandparents lived long lives into their seventies, and I know they lived well, but how long is long enough?

I’ve heard older people say, “I’ve lived a long and happy life, so I’m ready to move on to the next stage.”, but how do they ever come to that point? Will I ever understand their feeling of a life complete? I couldn’t imagine one day suddenly feeling like I had lived every moment I could live when life continues to happen around me.

Maybe they are just at peace with the way their lives played out and know that whatever greater moment there is after this life, they will still in someway play a part in the current world they live in. Maybe they realize that while their bodies may not be here, the love they shared will never die as long as their loved ones live and share it with others.

I guess I take solace in knowing the love I felt for my grandparents is still within me even though it is stung with the pain of loss. I think I’ll hold onto their memory a little tighter today, and know that it won’t die within me as long as I share it with my loved ones. And I think I know who I will start with.   

What They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy

As soon as I found out I was expecting, I did what most women do; I researched. I scoured website after website, book after book, reading as much as I could to know everything I could about what was happening with my body and the growing one inside of me. From “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” to “Mayo Clinic: Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy” and all things BabyCenter.com (live by this website!) as well as other websites, I’ve read them all!

Almost eight months now of research, and there have been so many “not a big deal” items that have popped up during this pregnancy, I will never use the phrase again. I have learned that any time a complication is listed on any form of self-education I read as only 20% of women will have this condition or only one out of ten women experience this, I will ultimately end up with it.

Placenta Previa: Placenta previa (pluh-SEN-tuh PREH-vee-uh) occurs when a baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the opening in the mother’s cervix — the lower end of the uterus that connects to the top of the vagina. Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding before or during delivery. (BabyCenter.com)

Placenta previa occurs in one out of 200 pregnancies.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/pregnancy/labor-and-delivery/placenta-previa#ixzz3GmVAh7UM
University of Maryland Medical Center

My experience with this condition was early in my pregnancy and, thankfully, resolved itself as my baby grew, and we entered the second trimester. This “simple explanation” was definitely anything but simple to me; it was scary! The number one thing that a woman is not supposed to experience during this time happened, and there was nothing anyone could have done about it other than put me on bed rest and wait for it to stop. One highlight from this involuntary undertaking was the chance to have multiple sonograms to make sure my baby was still with me; I have her heartbeat practically memorized now, and it was amazing to see her grow week by week!

Subchorionic Bleeding: Also called subchorionic hematoma, subchorionic bleeding is the accumulation of blood within the folds of the chorion (the outer fetal membrane, next to the placenta) or within the layers of the placenta itself. These bleeds, or clots, can cause the placenta to separate from the uterine wall if they get too large, if they develop in a bad spot, or if they aren’t eventually reabsorbed.

A good 20 percent of pregnant women will experience some kind of bleeding early in pregnancy, though it’s often hard to tell what’s causing the problem. (What to Expect When You’re Expecting)

This one kind of snowballed with the previa, occurring during the same time frame. A three millimeter pocket had formed within the folds of where my daughter latched on causing some blood vessels to pop, bleed, and form the pocket. The bleed had stopped, but the remnants were present and attributing to the complications associated with the previa. Another “nothing to worry about” and “it’ll resolve itself” later, the pocket reabsorbed after being monitored by multiple more sonograms.   

Gestational Diabetes: This is a type of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy. Between 2 and 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes can make your cells less responsive to insulin. For most moms-to-be, this isn’t a problem: When the body needs additional insulin, the pancreas dutifully secretes more of it. But if your pancreas can’t keep up with the increased insulin demand during pregnancy, your blood glucose levels rise too high, resulting in gestational diabetes. (BabyCenter.com)

This new, lovely, “not a big deal”, “not the worst thing that could happen” condition has been a pain in my posterior (pardon the expression). After failing the first one-hour glucose tolerance test and almost passing out/getting sick from the second three-hour test, I had to meet with an endocrinologist. They put me on a controlled diet that feels eerily similar to the diet I was on when I was losing weight before I got pregnant, but this time, calories are way more flexible; carbs, not so much. The first week was rough; my blood glucose numbers were all over the place and nowhere near the desired range. I am now entering the second week trying to control my blood glucose levels, and just over the past two days, my numbers have finally started to stabilize and be in the range I need. I had to add a bit of exercise to the end of each meal, but just ten minutes of walking and finally getting a hang of how much of what I can have, I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with it.

My only words of advice and my initial reason for posting this blog is to let other women who are expecting know that no matter your condition, big or small, no matter what the doctors or nurses say, or even those around you, it is OK to worry. It is OK to feel frustrated, to be sad, or to just be upset. Whatever you are feeling isn’t wrong to feel. I cannot tell you how many times I cried from frustration and aggravation during all of these “simple explanations”, these “nothing to worry about’s”, and these “not a big deal’s”, and at the time, it was what I needed.

When you are first affronted with something that you have no control over, anyone’s initial reaction is to be upset, so be upset! As you make your way through and learn what you need to, you will eventually find peace and learn how to deal with it, but in the meantime, if it is a big deal to you, then let it be!

This too shall pass.

64 days until I meet my daughter which will make it all worth it!

*Disclaimer: if you feel that you need help getting past something that has occurred in your pregnancy or even in your life, don’t sit on it and let it develop into more worry. Ask for help from your family, friends, and/or doctors. You can be upset, but human nature is to learn to deal with it, so if you find yourself sinking further into your emotions, ask for help!