Sorry, I can’t. It’s Nap Time

“I can meet you between 1130am-1230pm, 3pm-430pm, or after 8pm” – me from months 4 until present day of my daughter’s life

I’m well aware that I have friends who think I’m too accommodating of my daughter’s schedule. And I’m not just talking about non-kid friends who I have previously remarked might not, understandably, fully appreciate how life changes post baby. Even some mom friends have made gentle, well-meaning comments on my sometimes-inflexible nature when it comes to my daughter’s routine (and I agree! I’m a serious clock-watcher #sleepscheduleforlife).

But sometimes I do break routine. Sometimes I still do things for myself (note, things done for oneself cannot include showering, eating or the basic necessities of life). This means that my daughter is accommodating my needs instead of the other way around (it sounds shocking–even selfish–I know). It’s so rare that I can count the number of times on my fingers that this has happened since she was born eight months ago.

One of those times was last Friday when I brought her to a baseball game. I love baseball. Before I had my daughter, I would attend half a dozen games per year. My team is finally in the play-offs and my partner and I made the decision that this is something for which we could equip ourselves and manage. (With the dismal management of sports in this city, who knows if we will ever have the opportunity again.) The result? It was amazing. My daughter loved looking around, was a star among fellow fans, and was even fine missing her second nap (if you know my daughter then you understand the magnitude of that last part).  This was a similar (excellent) experience to when we brought her rugby-sevens during the Pan Am Games.

There have been recent comments from a number in my social media circle that a ballpark isn’t the place to bring an infant. Well, sure. Most places aren’t ideal for babies, but we make choices everyday to manage those less-than-ideal situations (or we stay in our houses with our bubble-wrapped furniture singing the same Rainbow songs over and over, losing a little bit of sanity each time. But hey, our babies are safe!). To be frank, there was probably a greater risk driving to the actual stadium than during the game itself.

As parents, we happily give up a lot for our children. But let’s hope we can still have a few small indulgences. After all, life can’t all be play-groups, poop, and parks*.



*I still love these, too!


Mom and Non-Mom Friends

***This is an extension of a recent Facebook post in which I expressed gratitude for my fellow mom friends. In this post, I extend this gratitude to include the importance of non-mom friends in my life.

I wrote a Facebook post about how grateful I am for my mom friends. To be clear, I am also very grateful for my non-mom friends. They remind me that, beyond being a mother, I am also a woman who has dreams, ambitions, and interests independent of my child. It’s important for me to remember that there is a world that exists outside my daughter and that I am still my own person. Sorta.

The reality is that my daughter is the most important aspect of my life. By far. There is not one other aspect that even comes close (sorry husband!). Her needs are put way above my own, especially at this age where she is dependent on me for literally everything (although she is starting to play independently (yay!), but only if I’m watching her (boo!). She will actually look up every few minutes to make sure I’m looking at her and not doing something productive like folding laundry or writing this blog post… because how dare I?).

I find it sometimes hard to explain this to non-mom friends. They don’t always get it (I thought I got it before I had a kid, but nope, I didn’t*). And I’m not talking about not getting it in a Louis CK “Why” or a Michael McIntyre “People Without Kids Don’t Know,” way. Although, let’s be honest, those videos are hilarious. My non-mom friends don’t think raising kids is a piece of cake, that their future offspring will never misbehave in public, or that their babies will be sleeping through the night in their own bed by day two. At least I hope not. In truth, I find they demonstrate a great deal of empathy and understanding.

But I’m talking about the little things that you don’t even think about before having kids. Here is an example:

Nap schedules: my life is actually ruled by my daughter’s nap schedule and I make no apologies for it. She has three naps per day at specific times and I need to be home for them. “Can’t she just sleep in the stroller?” Not well. “Can’t she nap a little later?” No. If I miss the nap window, it’s closed. “What about skipping a nap?” Sure. I can do that, but then I will pay for it at bedtime and all through the night. I like the five hours of sleep I currently get. Miss a nap and that number drops to two or three hours. It’s not worth it to mess with the nap schedule. #napscheduleforlife

To be fair, some people have easy babies. They sleep anywhere. They switch between bottle and boob with ease. How I envy those mothers! (Not really. My daughter is awesome.) But I have a lot of mom friends and I would say that these babies are the anomalies—not the norm—and those moms who do have them know how lucky they are and refrain from bragging to us sleep-deprived moms.

I am happy to have mom friends with whom to lament nap schedules. Who really understand the challenges of breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding). Who get what it’s like to go six months with a maximum stretch of five hours of sleep per night. Who don’t bat an eye when my daughter is having a meltdown in public or otherwise. Who talk about poop, vomit, spit up, and various other bodily functions with both the alacrity and worry of only a mom (and maybe a gastroenterologist). Who get what it’s like to have your identity and life forever altered by a tiny ebullient human (who yes steals your sleep, but also your heart).

But as I write this, I realize that it’s so important for me to have non-mom friends too. I don’t always want to talk about poop (believe it or not). And sometimes I want to do something for me (ladies, my manicure lasted four days). And there will be a time when my daughter is not totally dependent on me and I can re-focus on my own dreams and ambitions, however altered they have become**.

This blog post meandered a bit. The point (I swear I had one) is that while I am lucky to have friends in a similar situation who understand what being a mom is all about, I am equally lucky to have friends who remind me of the independent woman I was and still (hopefully) am. Here is to all of the amazing women in my life, mom and non-moms alike!



*As a side note, one of my bridesmaids had four-month old twins during my wedding. I always knew she was amazing, but when I think back to all the activities in the lead-up—and on the day—I’m pretty blown away by her ability to manage it all at the time. I can’t really recall the details, but I can only hope I was understanding if she required flexibility during that time. My best friend is getting married this weekend and she has been both patient and accommodating of my/my daughter’s needs and schedule.

**I find my dreams have mostly shifted to dreams I have for my daughter… you know, after I become the CEO of a major corporation ;)


Dr. Google

My sister is currently finishing her second year of medical school (a fact that makes me both proud and inexplicably envious–having no real desire to be a doctor). Every May, as part of their fundraising activities, each years’ students perform collectively in a variety show called Tachycardia. The show is designed not only to raise money, but to also provide comedic relief from the gruelling school year. It consists of amateur actors and singers performing musical parodies–taking jabs at the other years and at the profession writ large. This year my sister’s class performed a skit involving a medical student trying to offer advice to a resistant patient. The patient was convinced that her Google diagnosis was superior to that of our poor medical student who struggled to compete with the Internet’s endless information.

Don’t worry. Our hero prevailed and Dr. Google was defeated. Alas, we are reminded that information and knowledge are different. However it’s hard to resist using Google to self-diagnose. Just a few keystrokes and the world of Web MD, the Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia and a myriad of chat rooms are all readily available to provide reassurance that you’re dying.

It started for me during my pregnancy. Anytime I would experience a new symptom, I would Google it. Inevitably I would find answers ranging from “regular pregnancy-related issue” to “fetus in distress.” I thought I was having a miscarriage every day from weeks 6 to 24. I would march into my monthly doctor’s appointment with a comprehensive list of questions and possible ailments. My OB would sigh, visibly annoyed. The message was always the same: “stop Googling. You will drive yourself crazy” (and drive myself crazy I did).

I would hear this same message echoed five months later from my daughter’s doctor, “no she doesn’t have thrush. No she doesn’t have Grunting Baby Syndrome. No she doesn’t have Gastrisis. Stop Googling.” But I can’t. I spend hours down the rabbit hole perusing forums of information from people presumably smarter and definitely more experienced than me, especially as a new mom.

A friend of mine, also pregnant at the time, recently admitted to Googling. Her partner joked that he would start adding a fake symptom just to hear my friend’s reaction (come to think of it, I DO have an itch under my left earlobe).

Well I’m sorry medical community, but with information this tantalizingly close, I will never stop Googling. The allure is too strong. But don’t worry, I promise to check out a range of sources before making any broad statements or sweeping generalizations (to modernize another doctor: with brains in my head, and Google to use, I can steer myself in any direction I choose). And even though it may be frustrating to our future health practitioners, I’m sure they can relate. After all, the term Medical Students’ Disease derives from medical students who perceive themselves to be experiencing symptoms from the disease they are studying. Can they blame us if we do the same thing using Google?