One day I will sleep again…hopefully

And finally it’s Friday! The first full week of the year complete. It also felt like the longest week ever. Nico completed his first full week of day care, and I have probably consumed the most coffee that I have ever drank since finals week in college. Over the past 5 days my body has become tolerant to coffee, I no longer think it is effective. I will return to drinking my triple shot of espresso at least once a day. I really need a Nespresso machine. But hey, at least now I am remembering to drink my coffee right?

My sleepy baby. I think he missed me all day, or he just hates me

Tonight my husband, Nico, and I sat on the couch looking at each other. We were all exhausted. Nico is lucky he can sleep wherever he wants, whenever he wants, he just doesn’t take advantage of those endless sleep opportunities. He will regret that one day, just like I am regretting my missed opportunities to sleep when I was a baby today.

This week was defiantly an adjustment for the whole family. We will get it together soon. The hubs and I just have to get used to waking up a little bit earlier, getting a little person ready, and grabbing ALL of his stuff before we leave the house. Why do little people have so much stuff?

Life is different. Our morning routine is different, dinner time is different, vacation planning will be different, and heck, our sex life is even different. There is a whole new person who has changed our lives from here on out. Even though it is a happy, enjoyable, priceless change, it is still a change.

This is us before we became eternally sleepy

As new parents, we learn to appreciate the small pleasures in life. I have learned to appreciate moments of quiet, breathing, and meditation. Everyday Nico appears to be a little bit older, he is always doing something different, he is learning so much. Sometimes I just want to hit the pause button on time, and replay those moments again and again. Time is racing. I am appreciating each moment.

In Maryland it’s cold. I’ll be honest, I really don’t like living in Maryland that much and I figure one day we will eventually move to a new state. Maybe one that is warm. I think back on my January days in Hawaii, those moments when I spent Christmas and New Year’s day on the beach. I wish I could be there today. Those were moments of calm, of peace.

I miss the beach

Since once again my whole life is different, I have to remember to always find time to take in and enjoy those moments of peace. I have to find places that will bring me that sense of calm. Daily meditation is what will continue to make me a great wife and an amazing mamma. The coffee will keep me hyped, and possibly push me through the day, but keeping my mind at peace is the what is will keep my family together. In the midst of change, I will continue to find my own peace.

Life Lessons As Taught By My 3 Month Old Son

Now that I have put the tiny screaming baby to bed, I finally have a chance to write. Yes he screams. He is a baby. He is just so cute, but he never wants to go to bed. I wonder if there is a genetic trait for wanting to stay up all night? If so, I defiantly passed it on to my kiddo.

My little guy is now 3 months old. It is so amazing to watch babies develop and learn everything about the world. When babies see objects for the first time, or look at colors and shapes, they are so fascinated by it. They soak up everything in every moment, and smallest things provide great pleasure. I love babies.

Even though Nico has only been on this Earth for 3 months, I feel that he has taught me so much. As a new mom, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that I would be tired, that’s what everyone said so I believed them. But, I knew nothing else. I expected that baby would constantly be learning from me, and I would be present with him so I could teach him everything he needs to know all the time. He is constantly learning, and I am present, however I was not prepared for the lessons that he would be teaching me.

In the past 3 months I have watched this guy grow from a tiny newborn to an infant with an amazing personality. He loves to smile and just have fun. He has learned to hold his head up, engage in a significant amount of baby talk, and teach his parents, well how to be parents. It is truly a blessing. The lessons that he has taught me so far has made me a better mom and, that is something that can never be taken away.

Here are a few of the lessons taught directly by Nico:

Be Patient

So yes there are times when Nico is very impatient, like when he is hungry or has poop in his diaper. He is a baby. Crying is what babies do. But there are also times when he will sit in an extremely calm manner and wait for me to complete whatever task I am doing so he can eat or play. He will just sit in his swing and watch me cook, or get myself together before it is his time. When I’m ready for him he will give off a big smile that just warms my heart.

I also have learned that you can never rush a baby. Babies are just never in a rush. So I have to be patient with him while he is eating, or taking a bath. I can’t force him to eat faster, and my kid likes to relax at bath time. He is in no rush, so I can’t live my life in a rush. I have to slow down.

Slow down and just enjoy the moments

I feel like the past 3 months flew by. My little guy has grown so much. From even before he was born I was often told to just enjoy him. I understand what that means now. Moments of silence where we just sit together, or when he lays on my chest are priceless. I know they wont last forever so I have learned to take it in. I have learned to slow down and not think about the next task, or hurry up and rush us to the next place. He enjoys his mommy time. I enjoy Nico time. For a child a mother’s love can never be replaced. My husband always reminds me that for a son, his mother is his entire world. He is content with just silence and mommy. I was once a person who hated silence, and could not stay in one place for a very long time. Now, I can sit in silence, enjoy the moments, and enjoy the time with my baby while he is still a baby.

Smile, everyday is a new adventure

Little guy has a shirt that says “everyday is a new adventure”, I know he can’t read it but, he definitely lives his life that way. The best part of my day is waking him up in the morning, watching him open his eyes and give mamma a big smile. It reminds me that every new day is a blessing. Stay grateful. I may think to myself that I am tired, not in the mood to go to work, or wake up angry. Watching Nico up, smiling, and ready to get going reminds me that with each new day, comes a new adventure. So lets throw that negativity away, and be happy that I have a chance to make everyday a great day.

Speak your mind, all the time

One thing I love about working with kids is that they have no filter. When I am in therapy sessions with my younger patients, they give me the unapologetic truth about what is going on in their lives. As parents interfere and attempt to build a filter in children, that unapologetic sense of confidence starts to diminish. Yes, parents have to mold and shape a child’s behavior, but I always love to hear the unfiltered truth. Babies have an unfiltered truth. When Nico does not like something such as the way you are holding him, or the way you are feeding him, he will let you know right away. He has never liked me wearing a breast feeding cover over him while he is eating, he was quick to let me know “I hate this, take it off”. He knows his area of comfort. He knows what he likes, and he needs other humans to know that too. He has no filter. His mind says scream this now, he screams it, and gets the outcome that will make him happy. He is confident. He knows what he needs, he is not afraid to say it, and say it loud. I love that.

I am excited to continue to watch my little guy grow up and became a man. He is smart, funny, and even though I can never understand what he is saying, he has a lot to say. He has a light in him that can never be replaced, and my major task as a mom is to always make sure that light is shining bright. Wish me luck, but I know I got this!

Working Mom Day 1…This Is Life

So it finally happened. After 3 short months of maternity leave, today I returned to work. I have to be honest it was not so bad. Of course I was allll the way sleepy, it seemed like the kiddo did not want to sleep at all last night, and he woke up about four times. I’m guessing he was sensing my anxiety and knew that today was going to be a different type of day.

I woke up early, nursed Nico since he was up and got ready for work. The hubby was able to make sure baby boy was dressed, made sure his bags, bottles, and pack and play were set to go for daycare. This made it easy for me as I got dressed, made us breakfast, packed our lunches, and pumped my boobs. Wow that was a lot to do before 7:30 am, but we did it. The hubby drove baby boy to day care and dropped him off since my first patient was at 8 am. I think that worked out well because I was able to calm my own anxiety, and did not have to be stuck with thoughts of regrets and wanting to quit my job. I got to work, was locked out of my computer, apparently when I was out they decided to upgrade widows. Therefore, to my surprise all my previously saved documents were gone. Great, that sucks. I saw my patients, completed my 4 hour day, made a stop by my crossfit gym for the lunch time workout, and then picked up the kiddo. Not a bad day.

The daycare he goes to does not have cameras, I really wanted a daycare with cameras. Yet, I didn’t want to pay a monthly mortgage payment for daycare, so yeah no cameras. However, they do have an app that they send updates on. I’ll take it. At least they send pictures during the day. Nico appeared to have a good day, although I am concerned that he did not eat enough. He was an eating machine when we got home. I will continue to monitor that. I’ll say for day 1, so far, so good. I get some relief and return to being an actual adult with adult conversation for a few hours each day, and baby boy makes new friends. I just hope he still likes it when he realizes that he will have to go 5 days a week.

Now, since I promised you my rant on maternity leave in the U.S. I have to take this time to go off. I ABSOLUTELY HATE the fact that the United States does not have paid maternity leave. The patriots scream that this is the greatest country in the world, yet many families cannot afford to have a baby in order to keep the population growing. If you do have a baby, parents have to return to work almost immediately just so they can afford to keep living a suitable life after the baby arrives. Thus, leaving little time for parent-child bonding, attachment, learning skills, and development of healthy attachments.

I felt lucky that I was able to use leave time, and got one disability check. Wait, was I disabled? NO, I just had a baby. Having a baby is not a disability. It is the joy of bringing a life into the world. Since I had to save up leave time, that meant throughout the 9 month process of growing a human I had to be careful not to take a day off. Thank God I wasn’t sick during my pregnancy. I could have used a few days off to take care of my own mental health though. I’m a therapist, who couldn’t even take a mental health day, isn’t that ironic, don’t you think.

For a country that claims to care about family values, I’m not sure where those family values start. How can you shape and mold your child’s future when at six weeks we ship newborns off to day care. Then have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay for day care, preschool, and save for college. Now I won’t turn this into a political rant, but I do wish that the party of family values, actually thought about family values after the birth of a baby.

Honestly I could have used 4-6 months of paid leave and I hope more jobs move in that direction. With paid family leave we can reduce rates of postpartum depression and anxiety, decrease family stress, enhance parent-child attachment, and increase rates of healthy pregnancies for women. I could only hope that by the time I give birth again there is a change in maternity leave policies for all jobs. It is time for America to actually be a great country, and that starts by catching up to other great countries in the way that they care for women, women’s health, and overall family development. Rant complete.

Isn’t he a cutie?

I have a confession: I am a black woman, and I work out

 

I’m a black woman and I work out.

Actually I work out a lot, and I am damn proud of it. So yes, black women do work out. I almost killed myself in the midst of my kick ass cross fit workout  this morning, so again, yes black women do work out.

Recently, there was a large stir surrounding a NY Times opinion piece insinuating that black women want to be fat. Black Women and Fat, was written by Alice Randall, a writer who has embraced her own weight loss journey. Randall states “many black women are fat because we want to be.” With that point I would have to disagree. I know many black women who are overweight, but  they do not WANT to be that way. Not to make excuses, but to lose weight and keep the weight off requires a true lifestyle change, many black women are not yet ready for that lifestyle change.

As the article proceeds, I can completely understand what Randall is saying. Though the title may have turned off a few readers, she actually makes good points. As a black woman I embrace my curves and thick figure, black men love that. Black men love that my hips are thick and that my butt is big. It is what makes me sexually attractive as a black woman. I accept that. I have never had a man tell me that I need to lose weight, or I should eat less. In fact since I work out 5 days a week, and 6 days on a really good week,  I am often asked why I work out so much, or I get the “you’re trying to lose weight?”, in a sideways crazy sounding voice.

Obesity truly has been a generational problem in many African-American families. The problem stems from years of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. My grandmother used to make fried pork chops, butter grits with cheese, and biscuits  when we would visit her at her home in Georgia. When we would go to the south I would drink the sweetest iced tea, and lemonade I have ever tasted in my life. Full of flavor and loaded with sugar, it was delicious.  Subsequently my mom would cook the same way. Food wasn’t good if it wasn’t friend, or soaked in butter. I remember my mother used to put a slab of pork fat into collard greens to add flavor, and yummy it was.

But it also kills you.

My grandmother died from heart disease, both my parents have type  2 diabetes, my father has high blood pressure. I don’t want to die before I have ever had the chance to live.

So yes, I work out a lot.

Eventually my mother did start to change the way that she cooks, no more fried everything (awww I miss those days). No more full sticks of butter used on food, for now on it is baked or steamed, which I have grown to enjoy. With healthy eating, I also feel a hundred times more healthy.

Not only do I work out, I eat healthy. The combination increases overall health and happiness.

No matter how much I work out, I will never be a size 2 or model thin. Actually I don’t ever want to be. Curves are what make me a woman. I have had a personal struggle with weight all my life. Yeah I was the “fat kid” in school. It sucked. When I was in college I lost a lot of weight, nearly 40 pounds, everyone thought I was sick, how ironic. Well I actually did start to look sick, so I gained some weight back. Since then I have felt great.

I truly enjoy working out. It is a lifestyle requirement for me. To kick start my day, I start with a work out. It gets me going. To fight my periods of depression, I turn to working out. I am a true believer that a great consistent workout it better than any anti-depressant.  I get bored easily, so my workouts always change. I recently added cross fit to my regiment. While doing cross fit, I have periods of feeling like I either want to die or vomit. I am still alive, and no, no vomit yet. I get out of breath, winded, my muscles are screaming, but it is great! In a few short weeks I have started to feel stronger, I am eager to go back, ready to do it again. Despite the unbearable soreness, and my screaming quads I always go back for more.

My goal: to go longer, stronger, harder, faster.  I also do spin classes, yoga, running, and when I need a quick filler workout I’ll even hit the gym and run on a treadmill. However when you live in Hawaii, running on a treadmill at the gym can get very old, very quick.

The key to sticking with a workout out routine is to do whatever works for you. Find something you like and grab on tight. It may not be the same as what everyone else likes, or what everyone else is doing. Once you find it, continue with it. Watch yourself improve, the improvement will keep you going.

I suck at cross fit. I have absolutely no upper body strength and can not do 1 pull up. My personal goal is just to do one pull up. Just because it is hard at first doesn’t mean that I won’t get better at it. Each day I return, is one more day of improvement.

Have a vision of what you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to get stronger, maybe you just want to fit into old clothes that you have in your closet. See your vision in real life. Become that vision. Make it a realistic vision. If you dream of looking like a model…well that may not happen. Work with your mind and body on what you want to become. If you see that mental picture, believe it, stick to it, your body will follow.

At 30 I am now in the best physical shape of my life. Who would have thought. I never thought that I would be signing up to run races, and continuously look forward to running the next race. By the way, I still hate running, but I love competing against my own personal best time. Each time I race, I want to beat my time from the previous race. That keeps me motivated. I am excited I have realized what I could really do. I am doing activities that would have been an easy, “no, never, get the hell out of here” a few years ago. So far this year I have ran an 8 mile race, and two 6 mile races, with more to come. Slowly working my way to that half marathon.

I love being able to walk, to move my limbs, to run fast, to hike, to struggle while trying to do pull ups. I am working now to prevent years of having to be on medication for diabetes, or heart disease. I am working now to do my part in staying alive.

So yes, I am a black woman and I work out! And I love it. 🙂

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences