Maternity Leave...the most exhausting vacation you'll ever take!

I'll never forgot the words that came out of my mouth the week before my son was born.  It went a little something like this:  "Yeah, after the first 2 weeks we'll have our routine down and then I have no idea what to do with the other 6 weeks of maternity leave.  I'll probably just reorganize the shoe closet and junk drawer a million times!"

OMG- was I clueless!  I don't know why I thought taking care of a little baby would be so easy.  Like most things in my life I just assumed that if I planned accordingly and over organized that I could get a system up and running in no time.  What I didn't know is that newborns don't have "schedules" and they certainly don't fit into any "system" that I could dream up.  

When we joke around the office about my "8 week vacation" sitting home in pj's until noon watching soaps all day-it sounds so lovely.  In reality being in your pj's until noon sucks on an everyday basis.  WHY?! Because you feel like a giant loser.  I was embarrassed to go get the mail wondering if the neighbors would think- "Man she had that baby and boy did she let herself go!"  So in true "Carly-fashion" I got ready EVERY... SINGLE... DAY(except 2).  I did my hair, full makeup and put on actual clothes- I figured the only way to be a pulled together mom is to look the part. At least you can fake it on the outside right?! The UPS man seemed pleasantly surprised when I opened the door. LOL

Seriously though, stay at home moms deserve a medal.  It's exhausting and nearly impossible to get anything done, let alone "sleep when they sleep."  What a crock.  Sleep?! PA-LEASE, I forgot what that even is.  I mean the feeding alone is something no one prepares you for.  I thought OK they eat every 3-4 hours.  Reality Check: make that 2-3 hours and the clock starts from when you START feeding them, not when they finish.  Who knew the entire feeding process takes nearly 45 minutes.  That means only 1-2 hours before you do it all again.  I remember sprinting the isle of Meijer like I was in some sort of Olympic game trying to beat the clock getting groceries and get back before the next feeding. Or me saying "OK- I'm going to try to take a shower AND eat while he naps".  No one ever says you lose the baby weight right away because you are literally too busy to eat and you're on an 8 week fast-a-thon.

Though they are the eight craziest and exhausting weeks of your life I remember snuggling my little boy on the night before I went back to work and thinking, "there probably won't ever be a time in his life or mine, where we get to spend 8 uninterrupted weeks together again."  It's so weird to think that but I know it's true.  It's the most exhausting- yet blissful- "vacation" you'll ever take.  Cherish it... I know I did.


"A baby changes everything...."

"A baby changes everything...." that's what I heard for nine long months.  I can tell you I rolled my eyes every time I heard this.   It sounded so clique.  BUT (big but coming) you don't realize what they mean until you are lugging around a 20 pound baby carrier with your little peanut screaming bloody murder around the grocery store.  It's at that moment that you know EXACTLY what everybody meant.

My son, Easton was born exactly three months ago today.  He is the greatest joy in my "new" life.   People say that soon you won't be able to even remember what it was like not to have kids.  Right now I still have very fond memories of what my "old" pre-baby life was like.  I thought it may be worth it to head down memory lane....

I've been married to my husband for three years (pre-baby).  We're a pretty basic couple.   We liked to spend a weekend doing dinner and movie, going out for happy hour, mixing up margaritas on the deck, and simply spending our evenings watching tv and surfing the web to our hearts content.  We'd walk our two dogs LuLu the Shar-Pei and Otis the bulldog around the block, take them up north to the lake or simply cuddle on the couch.

Fast forward to Sept 12, 2011.  Baby Easton arrives..... life will never be the same. Wow- it is an amazing feeling of awe.  This baby is ours!  I couldn't take my eyes off of him and I can't remember a moment (other than our wedding) where I ever felt so much love. 

After the first few days of baby bliss a new feeling starts to creep in.  It's a feeling a lot of parents don't talk about... you miss your "old life".  It's likely because you are sleep deprived, you haven't been able to check your facebook, the guy at the drive-thru knows your husband by name, the house looks like a tornado struck, everyone wants to just "stop-by" for a visit, you have 15 voicemails  (god why can't everyone stop calling me!  Like I have time to chat) and you are simply put OVERWHELMED.  Then you feel super guilty because you are thinking about the TV time you're missing and the cocktails you are craving all while you are supposed to be gushing over your baby 24/7.   I think every new mom (and dad) goes through this and it's ok.  It doesn't mean you don't love your new baby with all of your heart it just means you need time to adjust-which is exactly what we did.  Here's how....

We don't get to watch "our shows" when they air.  We DVR them and watch them when the baby is napping.  We skip the happy hour because we've got daycare pickup.  We don't get to go out to dinner but now cherish the times we get to eat a meal together.  We've traded in date night for baby baths & storytime.  There are still times when I wish we could get a baby break.  Shoot there are a LOT of times I think this... but hey that's what grandparents are for!  And when you're little guy is as cute as ours.... you can't really complain ;-)