How to cope

August 6, 2009

I just got back from a visit with G’s paternal grandparents and upon leaving treated myself to a regular sized chocolate shake from McDonalds and sucked back every bit of it. I had to restrain myself from buying something greasy, fatty and disgusting by reminding myself that I am broke, very very broke! In times of trouble I turn to food (especially sweets) and stuff my face. Although this is a fairly self destructive coping mechanism I’m just grateful I don’t do drugs or drink. Then I would really be a mess…
I have been on my high horse for the past few months since G was born telling everyone who would listen that I didn’t want Daddy Dearest’s money, that we didn’t need it and I would rather he take a flying leap. I have managed to tuck most of what he’s sent into a savings account for the new car I’m getting in just a couple weeks. I had counted on getting a money order from his parents when I went for a visit today. ****weird side note***daddy dearest doesn’t trust banks and gives me money orders now en lieu of cash, I think it’s so they can be used to prove he gives me money. Unfortunately this money order never materialized. Of course it just figures though that this month is especially lean and I am experiencing some serious financial woes. Usually I’m pretty good at saving and planning ahead for problems that might arise but this month my issue stems from the fact that Stupid Canada student loan helped themselves to 400$ from my bank account last week. 400$ might not sound like a lot, but to this single momma that’s a ton because while I’m on maternity leave my income is less than 1000$ a month (I think even less than 900$ a month but I still haven’t made my fall budget yet).
Apparently because I have been out of school for 6 months now it’s time to start repaying…but hold the phone…I’m starting back to school in September!!!! Anyways the nice lady I spoke to on the phone told me that she won’t be able to refund my July payment 😦 but that I should be able to stop the August payment from coming out if I do a whole lot of paper work. AWESOME with all my spare time!
Lessons learned this week:
1) don’t count on DD to pay child support EVER!!!!!!
2) read the fine print on those silly monthly letters the student loan place sends to your mother’s house via snail mail
3) Find a better way to cope after visits from paternal side of the family or you will be obese by the end of the year

Lactating

August 5, 2009

Before I got pregnant and even throughout my pregnancy I looked at breastfeeding as something that every good mommy does. In my opinion it just wasn’t an option if you want to be a good mommy it’s a have to if you want your baby to be bonded to you, grow strong and healthy, have proper eating habits and be intelligent. Atleast these are all things that new moms are told to encourage them to breastfeed their babies. I did quite a bit of reading before I had G on the topic after filling my head with endless propaganda about breastfeeding and its importance and basically the reading I did gave me the impression that all problems with breastfeeding could be solved by correcting the babies latch and just “nursing through your issues”. I even went so far as to say that my child would never have formula.
The reality however was much different from the reading I did and like the first month postpartum nothing could have prepared me for how difficult it would be to breastfeed G. I had huge holes for nipples that wouldn’t heal and every time G latched on it hurt so much that I had an urge to throw him across the room but instead I literally dug my toenails into the carper and nursed through the searing pain. Next came the bout with mastitis…that was fun! I’m happy to say though that 5 months in breastfeeding is finally easy for me, it doesn’t hurt, I don’t have to use a nipple shield and G has finally started spacing out his feedings to every 1-2 hours (or longer) as opposed to every half hour. No sooner has it gotten easy though then do I have to go back to school in a month. So I’m going to be faced with some pretty tough decisions. Do I continue to breastfeed as much as I can and give Grady the dreaded formula throughout the day? Do I try pumping for him (which I would need to do atleast twice a day) and then nurse at night time? Or do I get over myself and wean him? I thought that this would be an easy decision for me but it’s hard. On one hand I feel like nursing is the one thing that I can do for him that nobody else can do and I also want to continue to be able to have that bond with him. I never thought I’d say this in the newborn phase of things but I actually enjoy nursing now and I don’t look at it as a chore. But I also feel like I would be putting a lot of pressure on myself and probably would be disappointed if it didn’t work out the way I wanted. I think I’m going to try my best to keep it up, and if it doesn’t work out I’m just going to take it as calmly as possible. I never thought that I would feel so darn guilty for having to leave G in daycare sosososo SAD and dreading the day. 😦 How do you all deal with the separation anxiety of leaving your children? Unfortunately as a single mother it’s just going to become a part of my every day reality.

An awkward hello…and goodbye

August 3, 2009

My crush throughout junior high and high school was always the same guy and in addition to being my childhood crush was also one of my best guy friends. Since graduating from high school 5 years ago we have actually kept in very good contact since we both lived in Vancouver while I was going to university. He was basically the definition of my maintenance man and did all the things for me that boyfriends or husbands are supposed to do, he’d help me move, fix my car, make sure I had jumper cables in it, change a tire, hang pictures for me…and occasionally we’d hook up. Not every time we hung out…but often enough. He’s one of those guys where we could sleep in the same bed and just sleep…or we could sleep in the same bed and hook up. We did drift apart slightly while I was pregnant but since having G we’ve spoken several times. This weekend he came back to our hometown and I hadn’t seen him for almost a year but Friday he knocked on the door at my parent’s house and there he was. He hadn’t changed one bit, curly brown hair streaked blonde from the sun, thin but with a perfectly sculpted body made that way from hours of hard physical work, golden tanned skin and deep brown eyes.
And there I was…ten pounds of pregnancy weight lingering on my hips, thighs, face and tummy. Ballooned boobs, no makeup on, my hair a mess and with baby food and spit up all over my shirt. I gave him a big hug and we had a visit, he held the baby and came to see my new house. I was happy to see him, I really was but it was weird and a little bit awkward and I can’t put my finger on exactly why. This was one of the first times I had seen an old flame since having G and I just think about how much my life has changed and how differently I look at my body. I felt self conscious physically but I also felt self conscious of my life…I am so far into mommy mode that sometimes I feel like I don’t have much to talk about besides G. I don’t like going out without him with me because although my life is full and busy I sometimes forget how to have an adult conversation and he has always been more of a listener/advice guy. He just came by to say goodbye before catching the ferry back to Vancouver, he leaves for Africa to do some work there for an extended period of time.
I have definitely missed male friendships since I got pregnant and had G, but at the same time I think it will take time before these friendships feel natural again especially if they were with someone who has seen me naked before.

Reasonable?

August 1, 2009

Some of you may have seen my post on the single mom’s forum at ms single mama.com about a conversation I had with G’s dad tonight but it really left me riled up so I decided to blog about it as well.
So my current custody arrangement with G’s dad is that I have sole custody and he is granted reasonable and generous visitation with G. He lives quite far away (about a ten hour drive) and so he has come to town a total of four times since G was born (he’s almost 6 months old) and seen him maybe 10 times. The last couple times he has come to town he has stayed for over a week but only seen G a handful of times for a couple of hours and we’ll do the visits in my house. I try to be accommodating when he’s in town but at the same time I don’t want to bend over backwards and cancel things in my life. Especially because he rarely gives much notice of when he’s planning to be in town. So tonight he called me after absolutely zero contact for the past month and a half (aside from sending a support payment with his mom when she visited) and told me that he would be coming to town August 20th-22nd. I replied that that’s fine that he’s coming but that we won’t be in town because we’re going camping. I am not positive of the dates of my camping trip but I know it’s somewhere between the 20th-25th. He said find, and asked about the next weekend and I said we would be going camping somewhere else. He was obviously frustrated but am I wrong or being unreasonable? I have only one month before I start school and I want to spend as much time having fun with G and my family and friends as possible because I know I won’t have much time come September. Also I don’t want to cancel the trip because I know that he’ll come to town and see G maybe 2 times for about 2 hours each time if that. It just doesn’t seem worth it…is that terrible? Am I being spiteful? How do I know whether I’m crossing the line from reasonable to spiteful? I would love any feedback you can give me on this issue!

Feeling the heat…

July 29, 2009

Today my little town was the hot spot for all of Canada and let me tell you I was feeling the heat! We spent the day at my Uncle T’s lake house and never have I felt so fortunate to live where I live and to have access to such an awesome lake property. It was forty freaking degrees! Poor G was absolutely sweltering and he didn’t even know how to cope. I am just happy that he loves the water as much as he does and I could take him quick dips in his cute little UV protective swimsuit. I think he might be cutting his second tooth though…he got his first one last week and apparently they come in twos. He didn’t even want to nurse this evening and was just fussing and hot and not sure what he wanted. It made me feel so bad. I’m trying not to complain because I do enjoy the summer and summertime activities but it has been a bit ridiculous the last few days.
On another level of feeling the heat I was feeling like things had been far too quiet on the daddy dearest front but then yesterday Paternal grandmother called and left a message. I’m assuming she wants to see G, she called asking how we were doing and asked me to call her back. I know this is selfish and terrible but I want nothing to do with her, even though it’s only an hour of my time I get so worked up every time we plan a visit and she makes me feel so uncomfortable that it feels much longer. The way she talks to G makes me want to rip my hair out and it also really bothers me when she kisses him and gets her tacky pink made in China lipstick all over him…that stuff is impossible to get off of baby’s skin. Also she can’t ever just come for a visit and enjoy his company, she brings gifts (which I know is her trying to be nice), spends the whole time shoving a camera in his face (daddy dearest does this too and it bugs me, it’s like he’s trying to prove that he has seen his son), which in itself makes me chuckle because he hasn’t even called once in a month and a half to check up on his son and see how he was doing. On one hand I am thrilled because he’s a total bonehead and I don’t want to have to make awkward conversation with him, but on the other it makes me sad. How can you not even care to know how your child is doing? LOSER
BUT and this is going to sound really petty and mean I’m pretty sure that when she comes she’ll hand over a bank draft from daddy dearest which means that I will have another 500$ to put towards my new car and insurance. I may even need to use a portion of to pay rent this month if my mat leave cheque doesn’t come through in the next week. I have taken immense pride in the fact that I have just been able to put daddy dearest’s money that he gives us into savings and I let it be well known that I don’t even want his money. But the other part of me knows that I probably won’t always see that money and so I might as well make hay while the sun shines and put it towards something that G and I desperately need. Also I know that the more cash I can put down on the car now the better I will be while I’m in school come September and making payments on it. Anyways…that’s the end of my vent for tonight, I really did go off on an angry tangent but I think this heat is getting to me and making me a little bit crazy. Until next time keep cool and enjoy your summers…

Motherhood…

July 25, 2009

It’s Friday night, G’s settled into bed and here I am spending an intimate evening alone with my computer. Tonight I actually had a really great night, I went to my sister’s house and she hosted a bunch of our friends over for dinner which was fantastic. I love not having to cook when I get a chance, not too mention the fact that today it was well above 30 degrees so too hot to cook! We all spent the evening talking, eating and laughing and best of all G wasn’t the only baby there. Our friends were there with their 2 week old baby girl. She is so adorable and so precious…it’s incredibly hard to believe that G was that small only 5 months ago. He’s twice her size now and I tonight I just sat back and looked around and wondered where the time went and how we all got here, I never would have been able to imagine this place I’m in now a year ago.
Right now I am adoring motherhood at this phase that G is in now but I feel like I was completely gipped out of enjoying the newborn phase because of all the complications I faced postpartum. Nobody could have possibly prepared me for how hard the first month of motherhood would be but I still feel annoyed that nobody even tried. I was prepared for the lack of sleep, one thing I did know about babies is that they didn’t sleep a whole lot at first in spite of what you read in books. But one thing I was completely unprepared for was the wrecking ball that childbirth would take to my body. My labor for G began with induction number one on a Monday morning and induction number three on Tuesday morning which put me right into hard labor. G was born 24 hours later on Wednesday morning after a vacuum, forceps, an episiotomy and some fourth degree tearing wreaked havoc on my body that I would have never expected and nobody even tried to warn me about.
Nobody told me that little babies often have their days and nights mixed up and so for me the first month (and beyond) for me postpartum involved a period of absolutely no sleep a wicked infection in my incision site, finding out I would need reconstructive vagina surgery, mastitis, and holes for nipples created by the power of my infant son’s sucking. Nobody told me that I would spend the entire first month of my child’s life in a horizontal position on the couch uncomfortable wearing a shirt and unable to sit down…Nobody told me that it would take me awhile to feel like my son was absolutely worth all this pain. I love him now but I didn’t know that I would spend the entire first 6 weeks of his life crying and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into and whether I could really do this on my own. 5 months later I am happy to report that things are moving along splendidly and I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of this motherhood thing (a statement which I know is ridiculous given the ever changing roller coaster ride that motherhood has already proven itself to be). One thing I am extremely proud of is the fact that I am breastfeeding almost 100% of the time a feat which even the lactation consultant and la leche league leader were incredibly impressed with given the damage to my breasts and the fact that G had/has at times an insatiable appetite and it’s not uncommon for him to want to be attached to me every half hour. No one prepared me for the fact that breastfeeding is a LOT of work, I had no idea how much dedication it would take.
I am always amazed though at how much this experience seems to bond me to other women. Other more experienced moms will see me with my baby, look me in the eye and ask me how things are going. In the beginning they would reassure me that things will indeed get better. Now I find myself looking into the eyes of other new moms and telling them that things will indeed get better. Babies and the ability to mother is in my opinion a gift straight from heaven, but it is certainly not for the faint of heart. There is nothing glamourous about a time of life where you’re puked on, pooped on and peed on all in a day’s work but at the same time when I look down into my son’s eyes and see him smiling up and me with a look of pure trust, when he coos and giggles away at me, or pushes himself off my breast after a night time feeding with his lips pursed and a look of utter contentment on his face my heart fills and my throat swells and starts to close and I feel full in my love for him. The payback of these special moments make it all worthwhile. Nobody tells you about that feeling either, atleast not in a way that you can understand it until you yourself are a mom.

How I know I’m feeling more normal…

July 19, 2009

While I was pregnant and for the past 5 months since G was born I have been wearing a lot of these: http://www.ae.com/aerie/browse/product.jsp?catId=cat520011&productId=prod4670083 comfortable cotton boy cut unders. Very respectable and not meant to be seen by anybody except the doctor. For the first time since I was 14 I wasn’t concerned about my VPL (Visible Panty Line). Today, for the first time that I can remember I wore a thong…a red lacy one and it made me feel quite peppy. No one is going to see this thong except me but just knowing it was there and that for the first time in ages there was no VPL made me feel all girly again. I’m a geek I know…

Long overdue update…

July 19, 2009

Wow it’s been so long since I’ve blogged but right now G’s sleeping and I’m finally into my new house and creating some semblance of normal and a home in a house that has tradespeople coming through everyday trying to get the downstairs all finished up. So I can finally blog and not feel too guilty about it.
So far all is well in the new house. I have to say though that I’m looking forward to having the renovation complete so that big brother can move himself and his stuff downstairs and then I can paint G’s room before school starts and life gets too crazy. The positive thing about moving though has been the fact that I really feel like now I am doing this on my own now. I feel so much more independent. I love my sister very much, but I think sometimes she babies me a little bit more than is necessary and as a mom I need to be stronger and start to stand on my own two feet.
I think I’m starting to slowly emerge from the postpartum fog which has been interesting…yesterday I even caught myself checking out a guy’s bum which was a first since I’ve had G. Proof that I’m not dead and some day my sex drive will probably return. This is something I’m anticipating with mixed feelings. I have always had an insanely high sex drive and generally wanted sex way more often than the guys I have been with. I also found myself to be pretty self-destructive in the guys I choose to sleep with, I am a bottom feeder which basically means that I pick the skeeziest men you will ever meet (99% of what led me to this place I’m in now…single motherhood). Therefore I look upon this glimmer that foreshadows the return of my sex drive with mixed feelings. On the one hand it’s kind of nice to start thinking of my body in woman mode as opposed to baby making mode but on the other hand I worry. What if I continue to make these poor choices in men? What if the events of the past year haven’t been enough to scare me straight and help me choose better men?
All you single moms out there, I’d love to hear what you use as a screening process for the men you bring in to your children’s lives, or even the men you just choose to hang out with for fun? How do you know if they are even close to good enough? Recently on a thread on the single mom’s forum ms single momma asked us single moms when the last time we had sex was…I responded that I wasn’t sure when and if I would ever be able to trust a man again. She responded very wisely with the suggestion that first I learn to trust myself…I almost wonder if that might be harder!

The sky is falling…

June 24, 2009

Well not really, but this morning I woke up to a torrential downpour which has two effects. One it makes me less than motivated to get out for my morning walk and two it makes me extremely nervous for my move tomorrow afternoon. We need the rain considering the extremely warm weather we’ve through May and June but I would appreciate it more if the rain waited until Friday to make it’s appearance.
Yesterday G and I went to a mom and baby playdate at a new friend’s house. It was nice to talk to other moms and hang out and we both had a good time. Sometimes at play group or the public health sponsored mom and baby group I feel like such an odd one out. I think people have pre-conceived notions of what single parenting looks like, how someone parents as a single mom versus a married or attached mother especially in my small and kind of redneck town. I have found that I spend so much time and energy trying to contravene this stereotype because I don’t want to be judged by other mothers. For instance I was SO self conscious about the fact that I had gone out on Saturday night when G is only four months old. As though that was too soon, and when some of the other mothers questioned me on it I felt even more guilty and as though I needed to explain myself. I think this is magnified because I’m a single mother. There is no one to ask to babysit without feeling guilty and there is no one to consult with about important decisions that would sometimes be nice to have another person to talk things over with. That being said, when one of the girls asked me if I was single and I said yes, she shook her head and said, “I don’t know how you do it”. I made eye contact with the one other single mother there and automatically felt the need to defend my choice. I said that I don’t know any other way for it to be so although single motherhood is tough, I can’t imagine it any differently. Also I said that sometimes I think it would be easier, I told this room full of attached women to look at how much their relationships had changed and the fact that sometimes having a boyfriend or a husband AND a baby would be like having two babies. Also…I know this is going to sound selfish and awful but I don’t really want to share him. Most of the time I’m glad that Daddy Dearest isn’t around all that often and I hope that his time that he spends in town will peter off. When he’s here he disrupts our whole routine and I know this disruption is only going to become more palpable as G grows and changes.
On a side note…I love the phase G is going through right now, he’s utterly adorable (I’m his mom so of course I think so but other people have told me too). He’s growing so fast and such an active baby that I’m sure it won’t be long before he is a force to be reckoned with. I am treasuring this period of a portable, immobile and happy baby…the other day Daddy Dearest was over and said “geez I can’t wait until he starts crawling and walking, he’ll be a lot more fun”. I had to sit on my hands to keep from smacking him.
Today’s task…go grocery shopping to get stuff to make chili for the move tomorrow and get my stuff more packed and more contained to one area. Geez I hope the move goes smoothly my brother is far less organized than I am so I’m a little bit worried about his packing skills or lack thereof. Next time I blog I will hopefully be all situated into my new house! Wootwoot!!!!!

Mommy’s First Night out…

June 21, 2009

After getting full custody this week and getting three months worth of back pay for my child tax credit and universal child care benefit adding up to almost 1500$ I was definitely feeling the need to celebrate and so last night G spent the night at Nana’s house while I went out for Mommy’s first night away from baby. It was overall a good thing and a positive step for me. I went to a dance for the ball tournament my slo-pitch team is playing in this weekend. I did miss him and I don’t think I had as good a time as I would have normally but I couldn’t help feeling guilty. As though now that I’m a mother I don’t deserve to go out and have fun. I was worried that it was too soon to leave G and people would judge me for leaving my little man with a sitter. Also I realized that when I went out pre-baby and pre-pregnancy probably 90% of my energy is focused on men and thinking about which men are single, which men are checking me out and which men to avoid. Now though, I don’t feel like dating is going to be a good idea for quite some time I have to rethink my going out strategy and get used to just enjoying myself, my adult time and spending time with friends who I don’t get to connect with all that often.
The night was fun though and I did enjoy wearing a dress, doing my hair and makeup and having a few drinks. The fact that I couldn’t feel my nose or mouth after two drinks and I had to escape at several points throughout the evening to hand express my size G boobs, shooting the milk into the toilet definitely added a certain something to the evening. Do any of you have any funny memories of your first night away from baby?
In other news I celebrated getting my Child Tax Credit by rejoining the modern world and buying a cell phone. I have gone without one for the past year and now that G’s here I’m feeling like I need to be reachable in case of an emergency. I did enjoy the feeling of being able to ignore people’s calls though and call them back when it suits me. Thank goodness for caller id and voicemail though, I am SUCH a call screener. I am looking forward to being able to do more text messaging now though as dorky as that may sound…it’s the one aspect of having a cell phone that I’ve really missed. Also this week is going to be SO busy which I’m feeling much more ready for now that some of the stress of dealing with Daddy Dearest and my finances has eased. I am moving on Thursday so I have really got to get my act together with packing and cleaning. It’s hard to know what to pack, what to keep, what to throw away and what to pack now and save for later. It will get done though, I am SO lucky to have so much help and family support though and I am definitely looking forward to being moved into my new house. Right now I’m living with my sister (Auntie T) who is great, but her boyfriend who spends every night at our house is a bit less fantastic. My older brother lives in the basement suite underneath us. The living arrangement was going well but our landlords sold our nice big house on us so we were forced to find other arrangements. In light of these changes my parents decided to invest in a revenue property and by a second home for us to rent and so our new arrangement is that my brother (Uncle J) and I are going to rent this new house off my parents and pay the mortgage and so everyone wins. Although my sister is less impressed with her arrangements…
Anyways G has reached his jolly jumper threshold and is yarking for a change of pace so off we go for a walk. Last but not least though I wanted to wish all you good dads out there (like my own) a happy Father’s day. A special happy father’s Day greeting goes out to all you single moms though!