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I posted over in alergies, too, but I need some emotional support over here. I am experiencing chronic horrible hives. I have had them twice before, and they just went away. These are not going away, and they are bad. They are worst at night -- I wake up to BF DD and have to scratch scratch scratch. This morning I have red blotches and welts ALL OVER.<br><br>
I know it is emotionally related. It's stress, it's frustration, anger, even some sadness. Can we talk about the transition to new momhood? I probably don't need to preface my rant by saying I love my dd, have wanted her for YEARS and am SO happy to be a mama. However, I am also angry at the world for how freakin' hard this is. I have almost no time for myself, and when I do take time during her nap or when dh is home, I'm still number one parent. I get out sometimes, though rarely on my own, which helps some. But of course I am always mama, even when I'm out on my own. Winicott or someone calls it Primary Maternal Preoccupation.<br><br>
I am always on high alert - not worried specifically, just aware aware. Listening for her, attending to her, etc. I can't relax. Even at night, though we are sleeping longer now (YAY!), I still wake up at least three times a night to BF, and so I suspect I'm not totally releasing into sleep ever. Having dh take a night feeding hasn't worked - he doesn't wake up. I'd have to wake up to wake him up.<br><br>
I'm mad that everything I do is interupted. Showers, peeing, writing, napping... I know this is just part of mamahood, but I'm trying to be honest here so these hives will lighten up. (The metaphor of hives: I want to "break out.") I used to be a dig in and focus on on something for hours kind of person, and now I've had to change to a flit here and wash a dish, flit here and play with baby, flit here and write a paragraph on my book kind of person. The adjustment is hard.<br><br>
I'm mad that my house is a mess. I'm pissed as hell that even though he is a liberal, compassionate, crunchy papa, dh still seems to think of his paycheck-job as a real job and my job as just staying home. He's starting to get it, but that damned money thing makes his job "more valuable." I'm mad that I don't have enough energy to get in a discussion/fight about it more than I already have.<br><br>
I'm sad that my baby-less friends have sort of disappeared, and that it takes so much energy to make new friends. I'm a part of a local online AP forum, and it feels like I could be making some friends there, but we are all mamas and have so little time to actually get together. And then when I do make plans, it's all scheduled around dd's naps. I hear it gets better when they take fewer naps, but then I will have almost no time to write. Or shower. Or wash the stupid dishes.<br><br>
Okay. I'll stop there for now. But I want a down and dirty discussion of how hard this is and what has worked to make it better. Or hasn't worked, but we're all circling around in the same boat.
 

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Oh God. I so hear you. My son was born in June last year, just turned 8 months and I suffered for months of waiting for the golden "transition". Wait until he's 3 months - wait until he's 5 months - wait until he smiles - wait until he can sit up - wait until he is 6 months - all coming with the promise that he would be more happy, it would be easier, he would be easier. Each time, my heart broken over and over again that the promise land never surfaced. I've finally accepted the fact that he is and always will be a very high-needs, fussy baby. I've tried and tried, slinging, singing, walking, different diets, blah blah blah. It's just the way he is and I have to love him for that. I have spent most of the 8 months feeling so guilty for not enjoying myself as much as my other friends who've recently had babies. No one seems to want to hang with us or commiserate with us. Who would want to? It's hard work.<br><br>
I'll be interested in how some of the others reply, because I've found that many people on this board, while supportive and nurturing, are also having the time of their lives and stop short at admiting disappointment.
 

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good timing, i have been awake for about 28 hours now, so I'm in the mood for down & dirty.<br><br>
this is my second baby, so i was a bit more prepared for all this stuff. but it doesn't change the need to adjust. I love nursing, but when my ds is on one of his comfort nursing marathon moods, I want to clutch my boobies to my chest and FLEE. by the end of the day. I so easily get touched out, and it drives me crazy that it happens. I work from home, and my dh *still* has trouble acknowledging that I not only have the 24/7 mom job, but I have an actual 30+ hour a week paycheck job, too. Last night was a perfect example. ds is coming down with a cold (which my dd has had all week), and I got it at the same time. So ds didn't want to nurse, and would ONLY stop crying if I rocked him in the recliner. DH's solution was to shut the bedroom door. His reasoning this morning was "i can't drive to work on 4 hours sleep". FOUR HOURS?!? I couldn't nap for 10 minutes because if I dozed off and the rocking stopped, the crying began. i have two deadlines to make today (asking myself why i'm posting here, heh) and I have a cranky, sick infant to take care of...ot to mention I have to drive both my kids to take my dd to school, in city traffic, during rtush hour, on NO sleep.<br>
I'm annoyed this morning.<br><br>
Anyway. I go into the office a couple hours a day, twice a week. It helps make me feel a different part of me. Emmy, not mama. I like it. I feel in control at work--I don't feel in control all the time at home. Not out of control, just a different sort of control.<br>
I get in my car once a day and drive somewhere by myself. Not far, usually just to pick my sister up from work, but that allows me to crank up something in the stereo that I would normally NOT listen to with the kids around and sing at the top of my lungs. That also helps.<br>
So far those are the only two tricks I really have up my sleeve. I had a very very hard time adjusting with my dd (1st child), and she was an extremely intense baby, so it didn't help my mental state.<br><br>
But things do get better--you won't really notice it when it happens, but they do.
 

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I'm glad to see this thread. I think part of the problem is the way our culture really makes motherhood harder. I don't think this was ever supposed to be the isolated job that it is. But fewer and fewer people have the extended family to make raising a baby a family affair, and differences over how to raise children seems to be dividing parents from grandparents also, while economics make it less likely that dads will be at home some of the time sharing childcare. There isn't enough governmental support for childrearing, for sure. Where's the public day care, the maternal support paychecks that European mamas get? I've been reading about this issue recently - books such as Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions, Judith Warner's A Perfect Madness, and Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels's The Mommy Myth. Not everything they say is AP-friendly, but it's definitely food for thought. I can say for myself that minding a baby full-time, rewarding as it is, is not enough to satisfy my intellectual interests and ambitions, or even just a need for private time. Sometimes it's good to see that I'm not alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I also like The Mask of Motherhood by Maushart. Another book to add to the above list.
 

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My husband and I went into this whole thing with the "it takes a village to raise a child" mentality too. We even gave that book to a few close friends hoping it would make us true to ourselves and bring the baby out, get a baby sitter, not change too much. But then, I met my baby. My village has totally failed me and as much support and groups I found to help me during my pregnancy - I have struggled to find any sort of that support as a mom. I have to admit, it's my lack of motivation and total exhaustion at finding outside support. The last thing I have room in my brain for is networking to find supportive mothers of high needs baby groups. But again I'm reminded that I have to find NEW support to help, not the already enormous support I thought I had.
 

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It is so hard, danaan, and you are doing a great, valuable, wonderful job (just in case you don't hear that enough).<br><br>
There were so many emotions swirling around for me in the first few months with my son (now almost 9 months):<br><br>
1. Guilt - What was I thinking, doing this? How could I have thought this was a good idea? I am terrible at this and terrible for him - everything I do or don't do will scar him for life. I thought I was going to be the peaceful, calm, fun, fabulous, connected mama and I can't even get him to go to sleep without screaming!<br><br>
2. Fear - I was actually afraid of him and what he would do each day - what if he wouldn't sleep? Would I accidentally hurt him or drop him? Would my milk suddenly dry up? Did he just completely hate me?<br><br>
3. Envy - all my new mom friends were telling me how fast the time would go, and all I could think was, "Yeah, you're full of sh*t". Each new day seemed like an endless parade of nursing, diapers, and angst about sleep, and every hour seemed like a day. My friends were all so good with their babies, had so much fun and made it look so easy - what was I doing wrong?<br><br>
4. Anger & Resentment - no more time for myself, anymore, ever, period, end of story. Always and forever, I am now mama.<br><br>
5. Love - which intensified all the other feelings exponentially.<br><br>
I can't say exactly when it got better, but it did, eventually. It's still hard. We watch too much TV in the house and I feel guilty that it's always on. I still get too frustrated in the middle of the night and allow myself to think "What's wrong with this kid? He's <i>supposed</i> to be sleeping through the night by now, blah blah ridiculous blah". I goof around way too much at work because it's the only time I have to myself, and feel guilty again because I'm the primary breadwinner and I have to keep focused.<br><br>
But he is so happy, so cute, so fun to watch while he's playing and learning about the world. Somehow, all the crazy things I obsessed over in the first months have melted away, and there are new crazy things in their places, but I'm better able to handle it. And the time really is going by fast. I can't believe he's almost spent as much time outside my body as he did in it!<br><br>
I think it's so important, though, to be able to give voice to these feelings, in an honest way, without sugarcoating. Keeping everything bottled up is just crazymaking, as is mothering in isolation. It was not meant to be done that way. We need to be able to support each other and not judge each other for choices we make or feelings we have. Parenting is hard, but as long as there is love and a desire to do right by our kids, we are all going to be OK.
 

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<b>Danaan</b><br><br>
Hey - I just wanted to say <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> to you for being brave and bringing this up. No one talks about the really difficult unpleasant aspects of motherhood. The real ones - not the dirty diapers and spit-up, but the boredom, the loneliness, the resentment, the constant state of Momness. It's like if you voice it you are suddenly a bad mother, so we don't voice it.<br><br>
But let me add my voice to this - I sometimes feel like I just can't do it anymore. I sometimes feel panic. I sometimes feel like AP parenting is too much. But then I think about the alternative.<br><br>
What works? I'm no expert. Dd is only 3 months old, and I am still getting the hang of this. But for me - getting out every single day. Even if it is to go the VERY non-AP mother group in town. Finding ways to fill up time during the day helps a lot, any activity that is time consuming and entertains her is fine by me. Having DH take care of her for a couple hours at night, really letting me do whatever I feel like helps too.<br><br>
Its really really really hard. But its also awesome. And I am also infuriated by how little support there is.<br><br>
I hope this discussion continues - I am eager to read what others have to say about it. And good for you for bringing it up, I hope it helps you.<br><br>
- Sarah
 

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I'd like to keep this thread going. Being in MN where it's cold, we can't always get outside and burn off some steam. We have cabin fever really bad and would like to hear some other responses.
 

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Yes, this is a taboo subject. But I think ambivalence is so central to motherhood. I both passsionately adore my baby AND want to escape. I want to kiss her all over and stare at her for hours AND I want her to go to sleep for hours so I can get a break. I want to go out to a movie BUT both times I did this I cried when we left her (with grandparents) and thought about her throughout the movie, milk letting down hard halfway thru.<br><br>
One thing that Judith Warner said in her book that really clicked with me is how important a happy mother is to a happy child. That an unhappy, frustrated, martyr-feeling mother does communicate that feeling to the child, and unfortunately, to deal with this, instead of doing what we need to do to achieve satisfaction, we desperately try to bury those feelings of frustrations and work all the harder at achieving perfection, thus getting all the more frustrated etc...<br><br>
I'm curious about this feeling of intellectual frustration & boredom (and I think some of that must be behind some of the posts on this board looking for advice on how to play with our DCs...i.e. someone tell me something to do to fill up the time!) Looking at the bulletin board list, it's interesting to see the lengths to which some of us have made an "art" out of motherhood - not only searching endlessly for the best techniques, but sewing their own cloth diapers and toys, which is of course very time-consuming. I don't knock this - but I wonder if it's a way women are trying to get creative fulfillment out of motherhood. To pour our ambition into it, to make it an intellectual challenge.<br><br>
One thing that I was surprised to see on this board is how many of us identify ourselves by our kid's name or our husband's name...an act of self-burying - why?<br><br>
In practical terms, some things I do to cope with frustration/boredom... I try to go out most days. A couple times a week it's good to have a scheduled thing - a mommy group, a parent/baby yoga class. I keep a running list in my head of things to do with DD so if I'm at a loss I can pick one up (i.e. hey, we haven't done a massage in a few days!) There are activities that are fun for us both - i.e. if she's getting a massage, put on a CD I like. I look at board books with her, but have also read her bits of grown-up books...as long as my voice is animated, she can be entertained. Sometimes I like to just plop us both on the bed, wave the sheet above our heads, which she loves, and zone out into baby time. Not think about other stuff I could be doing or why she hasn't taken a good nap in a week, but just roll around with her and make faces. I will say that the difficulties of the first two months have improved. The more responsive she is, the more fun she is. She becomes more of a little companion than an (albeit lovable) object. Also, her dad is taking more of an interest. I've started getting up an hour early, leaving her in bed with him. This seems to have really upped their bonding. He's more and more able to spend extended time with her (as opposed to just carrying her up and down the hall until I get out of my shower). I also think warm weather will help...can't wait till spring.<br><br>
Anyone else have book recommendations? (Anyone else getting reading done one paragraph at a time, in the bathroom?)
 

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I can start feeling like this when DD and I stay home, even for one day. It was so contrary to my homebody nature to make plans every day, but now I MUST make plans every day. When we get out of the house, everything changes. I go from crying because I can't get my teeth brushed to enjoying my babe - literally. We're very fortunate it's not dangerously cold here. I'll get involved with anyone who'll have us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> This means La Leche League, support groups, playgroups, walks in the indoor mall, you name it. If I have to go out without my hair brushed, I just tell myself it's retro grunge. (You might think I'm kidding - nope.) To try to make myself look a little less frazzled, I try to slap on make-up at stoplights. On good days, I have time to wash it off before bed. Other days, oh well. I maintained this even during the three weeks when DD woke me up every 1-1.5 hours to nurse every single night, except for one day when I knew I was too tired to drive. It's the only way I am happy with new motherhood. We may actually have to buy a second car, because we can go insane in one day home, seriously, and my husband sometimes can't ride his scooter to work due to weather conditions. Regarding planning around naps, if I know DD is ready for one and I have somewhere to go, I will put her in the carseat, even if it makes her mad, and just try to get her to the car as quickly as possible, because once I start driving, if she's ready for a nap anyway, she'll conk out. Sometimes this involves wasting a little gas, but hey, I don't have an SUV, so if my baby needs me to drive around the block a few times on my way to playgroup, so be it. Also, I will wake her up if need be to get to La Leche. I live for La Leche. I figure one interrupted nap is worth it for a happier, more loving mom for my daughter. I'm not trying to sound like everything is perfect, just saying I have had those days on the edge, and will do anything to avoid them, and this is what we've found that works for this particular period. Even with all of this work toward making it okay, I still have some intense feelings of frustration toward late afternoon, especially on days when I have to choose between having a clean drinking glass and a fussy baby. (Mine doesn't like to be worn, oh joy.) One thing that helped turn things around with my husband was when he got the flu and stayed home for two days. Now, he totally understands why I have to hand her off and eat some dinner the INSTANT he walks in the door. He used to come in and say, let me pee, let me have a snack, etc. I would sit there and watch him chew, smouldering, lol. Now he knows he pees and eats in his peaceful office, and takes over with Benito (our nickname for our little Italian dictator) when he gets home. Don't know if it would be an option for your husband to take a sick day or a personal day - so different from a weekend day when the whole family goes out together to do something fun. Let it be a humdrum, can't get anything to eat or a shower day. I have no idea if this helps, but you never know when something will strike a chord with someone else, too, so I just had to post. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I hear ya about the "can't stay home all day". I think my son hates our house. Really. He gets so bored. Even when he was first born. The only way he'd fall asleep was in the sling with daddy. I was recovering from labor of course and couldn't wear him and walk all over the neighborhood. My husband walked marathons (god love him) and the child would sleep and sleep. The moment he rounded the corner to our house, no kidding, the child wakes up. He just knows.<br><br>
At 8 months he's a little better at entertaining himself, but we cannot stay home all day. I have to make plans. The whole thing was more complicated by the fact that Emerson hated the car and carseat and was afraid of strangers. Here I was, needing to get out, knowing that it was the best thing for both of us, but having to endure the crying in the car and inevitably where we went, was sometimes too much to bear. Even at my friend's houses who were having easier babies, I felt like, "We shouldn't be here. They can't stand his crying and fussiness. I'm sure they think I am a bad mom." I'd leave with my tail between my legs, crying the whole way home. Where on earth was the support?!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BrklynMama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, this is a taboo subject. But I think ambivalence is so central to motherhood. I both passsionately adore my baby AND want to escape. I want to kiss her all over and stare at her for hours AND I want her to go to sleep for hours so I can get a break. I want to go out to a movie BUT both times I did this I cried when we left her (with grandparents) and thought about her throughout the movie, milk letting down hard halfway thru.<br><br>
One thing that Judith Warner said in her book that really clicked with me is how important a happy mother is to a happy child. That an unhappy, frustrated, martyr-feeling mother does communicate that feeling to the child, and unfortunately, to deal with this, instead of doing what we need to do to achieve satisfaction, we desperately try to bury those feelings of frustrations and work all the harder at achieving perfection, thus getting all the more frustrated etc...<br><br>
I'm curious about this feeling of intellectual frustration & boredom (and I think some of that must be behind some of the posts on this board looking for advice on how to play with our DCs...i.e. someone tell me something to do to fill up the time!) Looking at the bulletin board list, it's interesting to see the lengths to which some of us have made an "art" out of motherhood - not only searching endlessly for the best techniques, but sewing their own cloth diapers and toys, which is of course very time-consuming. I don't knock this - but I wonder if it's a way women are trying to get creative fulfillment out of motherhood. To pour our ambition into it, to make it an intellectual challenge.<br><br>
One thing that I was surprised to see on this board is how many of us identify ourselves by our kid's name or our husband's name...an act of self-burying - why?<br><br>
In practical terms, some things I do to cope with frustration/boredom... I try to go out most days. A couple times a week it's good to have a scheduled thing - a mommy group, a parent/baby yoga class. I keep a running list in my head of things to do with DD so if I'm at a loss I can pick one up (i.e. hey, we haven't done a massage in a few days!) There are activities that are fun for us both - i.e. if she's getting a massage, put on a CD I like. I look at board books with her, but have also read her bits of grown-up books...as long as my voice is animated, she can be entertained. Sometimes I like to just plop us both on the bed, wave the sheet above our heads, which she loves, and zone out into baby time. Not think about other stuff I could be doing or why she hasn't taken a good nap in a week, but just roll around with her and make faces. I will say that the difficulties of the first two months have improved. The more responsive she is, the more fun she is. She becomes more of a little companion than an (albeit lovable) object. Also, her dad is taking more of an interest. I've started getting up an hour early, leaving her in bed with him. This seems to have really upped their bonding. He's more and more able to spend extended time with her (as opposed to just carrying her up and down the hall until I get out of my shower). I also think warm weather will help...can't wait till spring.<br><br>
Anyone else have book recommendations? (Anyone else getting reading done one paragraph at a time, in the bathroom?)</div>
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I have a sleeping babe in arms so I can't post too much but I just wanted to say this entire post resonated deeply with me.<br><br>
My story is a little different in that my firstborn is 14 and my next child is 6.5 mos, I had ds at 19 and dd at 32. Its been a world of difference in so many ways as you can imagine. However in preparing for dd's birth and the first few months, I was struck with how engrossed other Mamas get and how at moments I felt like there was something wrong with me for not wanting to make mothering my career. I am a SAHM who is anxious to work, I love my babies but I also realize that mothering is one of the many hats I wear, granted its a big hat at the moment. In the first 3 mos, I was driving myself crazy feeling bad for evevn thinking about wanting to leave the house alone, now I know its important to have that me time.<br><br>
You are not the only person who reads 1 paragraph at a time in the bathroom. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
This is such an important dialogue to have, moreso because we choose to be attached parents but does that mean that in attaching to our kids that we detach from ourselves? I am grappling with this.<br><br>
Shay
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">One thing that I was surprised to see on this board is how many of us identify ourselves by our kid's name or our husband's name...an act of self-burying - why?</td>
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Yes, I've noticed this, too, and it's definitely not how I would choose to identify myself. As a previous poster said, motherhood is part of my identity, not my entire identity.
 

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I have loved your posts, la mamita, and I'm sure you live up to your name!<br><br>
It's so funny how our parenting styles change with perception - when I come to these boards, I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of AP. I use disposable diapers, which are definitely not hand-sewn. I let my baby play independently quite frequently, in a play yard. I work outside the home - my DH is the primary caregiver. I'm having trouble pumping enough to meet his needs, so he gets a 4 oz bottle of formula on the weekdays (DS, not DH). My DS never liked any kind of sling, so when he wants to be close to me, I hold him. I think he may like a Mai Tei or Baby Trekker (he loved the Bjorn but is too big for it now), but I don't want to spend any more money on babywearing contraptions that he may not like and I don't have the time or energy to return.<br><br>
So, just when I'm beating myself up for all of these things, my dad calls and says, "Hey, I just read an article about this thing called attachment parenting - I only had to read two sentences to see that this is what you guys are doing with Owen."<br><br>
According to my folks, the fact that I breastfeed, do not sleep train, and didn't give solids till 6 months makes me the crunchiest of crunchy-granola-attached parents.<br><br>
We need to go easy on ourselves and each other, and realize that if we are happy and fulfilled, we will project that onto our children.<br><br>
Peeing alone is not a sin. Reading a book that we like or watching a television program, or going out to a movie with people we love - those are not crimes. Frustration is normal. Disposable diapers are convenient (yes, I'm trying to convince myself now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ). We are doing the best we can, and we are doing it with love for our children.
 

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The reading a paragraph in the bathroom kills me because I DON'T PEE BY MYSELF. I always bring him with me. My husband forced me to stop reading parenting books at Christmastime though by buying me all sorts of books that I used to read for Christmas. Every night for a while he made me read a chapter, even if we were tired, we read together in bed. It helped though. I started reading after putting my son down for a nap instead of doing dishes or laundry or something like that. I finished the new Harry Potter and am currently winding my way through an old David Sedaris while slow poking my way through "A Fine Balance".
 
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