I feel like it was just yesterday.
Well, it was. Yesterday plus 365 days. So I guess it’s yesteryear. Well, yesteryear plus a day. You’re already annoyed.
This is probably one of my most favorite photos of all time. I can still remember the exact emotions that were flooding my nucleus innards. Of course the obvious, unbelievable happiness. Sheer elation. Utter joy. And then, omg they’re so tiny what if I step on them! And then, am I ready for this? And then, of course I’m not. And then, of course I am! And then, finally.
Today I want to share with you what it’s really been like for me this past year. I get a TON of emails asking me questions about things that I normally wouldn’t offer up here, just because the topics lean toward the weighty side, and, um, you know me. So! Let’s do it today. I’ll tell all! And I swear, if it gets too serious, let me know, and I’ll throw in a quick “toot,” “boob,” or “poop.” We coo?
Those First Few Weeks: Hoooooooly crap. They were hard, dudes. Really, really hard. I’m going to be Missé Cliché for a second, but you barely sleep, you barely shower, you hurt, you’re confused, you’re tired, you’re not caught up on Parenthood and are in a serious cranktankerous mood.
For me specifically, I remember feeling numb. I was one week in, sorting my way through each day, a little aimlessly to be honest, trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. I felt like I was a giant boombalatty pendulum, swinging back and forth, hour to hour, giddy. Wait no, a little blue. Wait, a lot blue. Hold on, now I feel nothing. Why don’t I feel anything? I wouldn’t call it postpartum depression. Just . . . numb. Coasting. Zoned out.
I didn’t take anything for it. I’m sort of hippy in the way that I medicate with healthy foods. (and wine, I mean riiiiiight.) This is not to sell short the magic of pain meds for the C-section. Holla.back.thoseweregood.
Anyway, the numbness lasted about two weeks, and then right about one month, the new mother hen giddiness began to settle in. And I was back to my annoying, super zealous self. Only with babies! This is a lethal combo, as I’m sure you can imagine.
I also remember quickly discovering that posting daily photos of the babies on Instagram was a positive outlet for me. My little escape in a way. It’s too bad they never played along in the fun.
Breastfeeding: Okay, there’s a lot of debate on this one. But, this is what I think.
It doesn’t matter. At all. Breastfeeding is wonderful! If you can do it. Could I? No. I tried. I tried really hard for four grueling hours. I’m just kidding! Weeks, and it was absolute hell. I was pumping around the clock, (also trying to feed them around the clock), barely able to know my boob from my face. I wanted to DIE.
One: Of course I had high hopes of this magical bonding with the babies, but that just didn’t happen for me. Will was never interested in it, and Natalie would be at first, then she’d get bored. I took offense. It hurt me, ya know!
Two: I wasn’t making enough. How do you know how much milk you’re producing if you don’t have glass boobs?! (dudes be like, how do I x out? HOW DO I X OUT?)
I remember feeling like I would be giving up if I switched to straight formula. Like I didn’t care enough for them. But then my incredibly wise sister-in-law said five magical words to me that I’ll never forget. “Bev, block out the voices.” Four words if you don’t count my name. Actually, it might have been, “You’ve got to block out the voices,” which would be seven words. Eight if you count my name. Anyway. It clicked. And I switched to formula that very day. And I never looked back.
To me, a happy mama makes happy babies. No matter how you choose to feed or nurture them. If you do what’s right for YOUR body, your baby will pick up on that, benefit and even thrive. I read a quote a long time ago during my struggle that really stuck. It went something like, “Some women breastfeed well into toddlerhood. Some women don’t breastfeed at all. Both are right.” Can we get some what whats, already?
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Speaking of sticky, remember how sticky colostrum was? That stuff was weird! Okay I’m done.
Nothing Will Ever Be Clean Again. Including Your Kid: I’m completely aware that this is going to sound like a total whine fest, because it is. But this has seriously been a tough adjustment for me. Before babies, my house be cleaaaan. Everything in its place. Swept, dusted, fresh flowers, and pretty darn lovely. Then I had babies. WAAAAH.
And you know, it’s not really so much the baby having dog hair on their lips (seriously), or plant dirt in their hair (for real), or fresh barf webbed between their fingers (I can’t). It’s more, just, the daily clutter. And we don’t even have that much ish! The good news is, I’m learning to let it go. I’m learning how to embrace the dirty highchairs, the little milk spills here and there, crushed Cheerios on the floors, and random wooden toys strewn down the hallway. It says life. Family. Chaos. Fun.
But like, listen, nothing will ever be clean again until they leave for college.
Until they leave.for.college.
Can you imagine what a tragically sad day that will be?
The Juggling Act: This is by far what I’m asked about the most. How do I do it with two babies? (still trying to figure that out) How am I not insane? (oh, I am) How do I manage to take care of them, run a blog, stay on top of freelance work, and keep a house in semi-running order. (No clue, man.)
But! I can say this, as a full believer in the phrase, “early to bed and early to rise…” I can confess that I’m usually up before the 6am coo coo, churn churn churning it up during the day like a machine, and snuggled in bed by 8:30pm. Yeah, like eight thirty in the evening. BEFORE PARENTHOOD COMES ON. #twins
Beyond the big picture, juggling two babies with the same needs at the same time can be tricky. Even trickier when they have different needs at the same time. Or same needs at different times. Or different needs at different times. Wait I’m confused.
I have no tricks. No magic voodoo spells that I cast on them (unless you count my whistling rendition of Smooth Operator.) No wizard wands. The irony of it all is, I’m actually a pretty chill mom. As a person? A complete spazzo. Hyperactive hippo. Loo loo town crown. But when it comes to Will and Natalie, I surprisingly even out a bit and take it as it comes. They’re really great, chill babies, though.
Wait! I lied. I do have one trick. One huge, huge trick. (and no, it isn’t wine, thank you very much.)
Our Sanity-Saving Trick: Read Baby Wise. Fooooor real, if you’re about to have a gremlin, read it. It’s all about putting your baby(ies) on a schedule from the get-go, setting their metabolic memory and sleep patterns. I know (and respect!) that some people aren’t really into letting a book dictate how they raise their child. I totally, totally get that. It’s not for everyone. But I’m such a schedule-oriented freak, that this route just made sense for our little clan. Especially with two. No way were we going to have them all wonky-doo on different schedules. That gives me gas just thinking about it. So we started them on a schedule the day we got home from the hospital, and within a week they’d fallen into the routine almost flawlessly.
Will you punch me in the face if I tell you they were sleeping through the night at week 12? Uh huh.
Oh wait I have another trick! O. . . okay it’s wine.
Ugh: Motherhood. It’s just so darn wonderful. It’s messy, it’s stinky, it smells like fresh laundry, it’s soft, it’s hard, it’s snuggly, it’s teary, it’s glorious, it’s gross, it’s heart swelling, it’s heartbreaking, it’s incredible, it’s . . . it’s worth everything. Every last milk spill, every last rogue Cheerio, every last toy on the floor.
Because with all of that you get the sweetest, happiest giggles. You watch tiny delicate lips whisper “mama” right into your eyes. You look into their delicious little faces and you see such adorable, cheerful innocence looking back at you. You touch their little arm rolls, their itty bitty toes, their soft hair, and the other soft mullet, and you just love them. You love them so completely and so deeply it almost kills you. Because they’re yours. You’re their mom. Their mama. Their mommy. Their mother.
Whoaaa, that got pretty serious there. Toot! Boob! Poop!