Monthly Archives: January 2009

A correction…

I sent a copy of my blog to my Muslim friend, and she offered a better description of why mothers and fathers go by “Mother of” and “Father of”. In the interest of fairness and accuracy, I asked for her permission to reprint her comments here.

I just read your blog. It was interesting 🙂 There were a couple things that I wasn’t really clear about on babycenter, though. Like, my name and DH’s name don’t actually change on our driver’s licenses, passports or anything else. I guess you can think of it as more of a nickname type of thing. But, it’s not something informal, it’s actually considered to be very respectful to refer to someone as ‘mother of …’ or ‘father of …’. And it’s not this way in Islamic culture, it’s actually Arab culture that does this. Sorry if I mislead you before. In Islam there are sooooo many different cultures (Arab, Indian, Pakistani, American, African, Malaysian, Indonesian, Bosnian, etc. etc.) so as Muslims we all share certain things because of religion, but we also all have our own cultural things based on ethnicity etc. So you’re right in your blog, I’m a convert to Islam and as far as my identity goes I’m Muslim first, then American and mommy, wife daughter etc. But since my husband is Syrian, and since I lived in Syria myself for a year and studied Arabic to understand the Qur’an better (before marriage) I feel a certain closeness to Syrian culture as well. I follow a lot of things in Syrian culture. And to be honest, most Americans take one look at me and assume I’m not ‘from here’ because I wear a headscarf, they assume I’m arab or whatever. And it’s happened a number of times where people were like “woooow your english is really good” and I’m thinking “yeeeeah, I was born here just like you” LOL.

Thanks for the info! It’s great to learn about other cultures.


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Identity crisis?

As a new mother, one of the most difficult struggles I have encountered is trying to maintain my original identity while taking on my brand new role as a full-time caregiver to another human being.  It’s such a hard transition, giving up selfish habits, freedoms and concerns that suddenly seem insignificant. It’s hard to hear your phone ring and know you have to ignore it because the baby is crying/eating/sleeping, etc., or cancel plans at the last minute because of an overnight ear infection or just sheer exhaustion. In the beginning, it is super easy to be resentful of this new life when you’re chained to the house and the rest of your friends, or heck, even your husband, can come and go as they please.

But what if I had to give up my name, too? Apparently in other cultures, once you become a mother, you are known to all as Mother.

One of my mom friends on is a convert to Islam. On the web site, we typically refer to each other by our screen name, but since some of us have been communicating since we got pregnant, alot of us are on a first-name basis. I’ve recently been commiserating with a small group of moms about our baby’s sleep issues, and as time has gone by, there are three of us that write daily. I know what these ladies do for a living, what the children’s names are, where they live (generally speaking) and how much they sleep, most importantly. I refer to one of the moms by her name, but the other had never offered hers up. I understand the desire for privacy on the internet, especially when discussing such identifying details, so I had never thought twice about the lady only going by her screen name. I won’t reveal her name out of respect, but her handle is made of her son’s name preceded by the letters Um. I assumed the name meant “mother of —“, but never gave it much more thought than that.

However, today, as I was writing to her, I was thinking about how strange it was that I know so much about this person yet don’t know her name, so I mentioned it. She explained to me that her screen name essentially is her name now, because in Islamic culture, when you have a child, your name becomes “Mother of —“, and that is what everyone calls you. The father’s name changes, too, so it’s not just the women, but I found myself really mulling this over today. Would I have done that for my son?

I’m already Mommy to him, but would I want the whole world to refer to me as that, too? I mean, I am a mom, 100%. Practically everything I do all day long pertains to mothering my child in some way, shape or form. But that’s not all I am in the world. I’m a daughter to my own mother. I’m a wife to my husband. I’m a friend to a lot of people. I’m a woman, a Tennessean, an American, a liberal. My role as a mother doesn’t really pertain to all those facets, so would I be willing to change how everyone refers to me, and therefore sees me, just because I had a child? Or is changing your name redundant, an afterthought? Once you have a child, are you forever seen by everyone as “Mother of —“?

Once Declan starts school, I’ll be “Declan’s mom” to the teachers, other parents and his friends. They won’t think of me as Christi, at least not at first. But not everyone I meet or encounter will be in relation to him. I may work again, god willing, and I have friends that I knew way before I had a baby. Am I Mommy to them, too?

And is there really anything wrong with that? I have no greater joy on earth than being Declan’s mom. Why not wear it on my sleeve? I’m a mommy! I created a human life, brought it into this world, (attempted to) nourish it and am responsible for its survival! I should be screaming that from the rooftops, right? Maybe Mommy should be a title of respect, like King or President. Lord knows I worked harder to have Declan than Queen Elizabeth did to sit on the throne. She only had to be born. I had to puke, gain weight, ache, push, tear, bleed and sweat to earn my title.

Queen Mom. That’s what I’ll call myself and everyone else with a child. God knows we earned it.


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I am a goddess in training…

OK, so this week is going substantially better than last week. Actually, I’m pretty damn impressed with myself.

First of all, the hardest thing I’ve done is work on Declan’s sleep habits. Things are improving, much to my surprise. In my defense, I didn’t set out to completely spoil my child rotten, it kinda happened by accident. Really! See, it all started when I quit breast feeding when Declan was all of 11 days old. Long story, and the bottom line is my boobs don’t work. Anyway, we switched to formula and immediately my precious little newborn started projectile vomiting like only a child possessed by the devil himself can do. Ask Amy Yarbrough, she got hosed down one day. Not fun. He was diagnosed with reflux, super common, and our main issue was keeping him upright and still after every bottle so he could actually keep his food down. I’m talking no car seat, no diaper changes, no lying down, no playing, nothing. For over 6 months, it was like this. That turned into us holding him when he went to sleep at night and after his middle of the night bottles, when he still took them. Which led to my little angel getting in the nearly unbreakable (it seems) habit of being held in order to sleep longer than, say, 45 minutes without screaming bloody murder for someone to “COME. GET. ME. OUT. OF. THIS.CRIB.  NOW.”

He wasn’t too bad at night until he turned 6 months. In a short time period, he had 3 ear infections followed by nasty antibiotics, a constant cold, learned the ability to crawl and stand and cut a tooth. Which led to me sleeping in the bed with him because I was delirious and he was CRANKY. So we had to break that habit fast once we knew he was feeling better, which he is now that he’s on stronger reflux meds and allergy meds.

So this week, I cracked the whip. The whip may be made of butterfly wings and cotton candy, but I cracked it!! I won’t get into the details, but since Monday, he has only been taken out of his crib during the night once or twice, he is napping solely in his crib (almost unheard of) and while he still consistently wakes up at 2, 4 and 6 a.m., it’s brief. I know that’s hell for some of you, but sleeping in my own bed for 4 nights in a row is a vacation.

So I deserve a medal for that.

While I’m tooting my own horn, I’ve also cooked 2 nights so far this week (not much to some, double what I normally do) and my kitchen has opened to rave reviews. We’ve had tons of good leftovers for lunches and an extra night’s dinner, so that’s a plus. I’ve also bathed every day (yay!), although makeup and hair drying has been optional. It’s like 8 degrees, out, I’m not going any where. My clothes have reasonable matched and I have gotten out of pajamas before noon daily.

All in all, it’s been an encouraging week. I’m getting in the swing of this SAHM stuff and may end up enjoying it a lot more than I anticipated.


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Starting off on the right foot

OK, this week is going to go better, I just know it. I’m ready. I’m rested.

Bring it.

Anyway, I feel much better facing week 2 of my new job. I busted my ass this morning looking through cookbooks and magazines to make out a great meal plan for the week, and then a damn detailed grocery list. No splurges! No junk! I even ate before I went — that is planning ahead. I did the laundry. Almost all of it, which I hope Paul is grateful for, since that is typically his Sunday chore. AND the clothes are put away. That NEVER happens. Paul did cook dinner tonight, but he asked, for the record.

But my plan to become a coupon fanatic ended up on the cutting room floor. I just don’t get it. I signed up for, which according to Oprah and the Today Show is how you can get like $500 worth of groceries for like $25. It was a waste of my time. The weekly circular wasn’t much help either, so I relied on the tried-and-true method of buying generic when I could and using my member discount card when I could, and after all the effort, I saved $6. Not exactly a down payment on a house, but I guess better than nothing.

The real task for this week, however, is daunting. I must teach my child to sleep. This point was driven home last night when, about 20 minutes after I put him down, he woke up just as I was sitting down to eat. My mom volunteered to go put him back down, and after her magic touch, he slept for 7 hours straight. When he did wake up at 3:45, he proceeded to stare at me for 2 hours as I tried to put him back down. Sigh. He owns me. So finally, I gave in and we got in the bed together and slept peacefully until 8. Did I mention this is a repeat of Friday night, when mom put him down so Paul and I could go to a party? Yea, not a peep until 2. And when daddy went to check on him, it turned into a 2-hour ordeal. His first word is going to be “sucker.”

In the scheme of things, co-sleeping’s not horrible. Tons of people co-sleep and I think that’s fine, if it works for you. But I never wanted to co-sleep, especially in a bed that’s not mine, without my pillow, with a sack of potatoes kicking and rolling around all night. I obviously sleep pretty lightly with Declan, so while it’s better than listening to him cry all night, it’s not great. Plus, I want to co-sleep on MY terms, not his. And right now, like I said, he owns me.

So no naps on the couch with mom or in the recliner with dad. It’s all crib, all the time. He is NOT going to be happy at 3 a.m. when he wakes up, and I’m sure he will, but can I handle it? I’m not going to let him cry, but can I sit there for hours, exhausted, knowing I can just crawl a few feet away and snuggle with my precious boy? I have to.

So stand with me, tired moms and dads, as I take back the night. Stand with me as I tell my little chubby cherub of a son, “You’re not the boss of me!” Sleep will be mine!!!


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What I’ve learned so far..

So my first week has come and gone, and I gotta say, I did not accomplish many of my goals. Hell, I barely had coffee on a couple of days, and that’s high on my list of must-dos. I did bathe fairly regularly, but outfits were very hit or miss, as was makeup application and hair styling. I only cooked once, and it was hot dogs and mac and cheese, not exactly a culinary risk. The cleaning lady came this week, so I didn’t do any major chores, although I did load and unload the dishwasher several times. That counts. I also was pretty good at putting toys away so the house wasn’t a fire hazard. Declan is sleeping worse than ever, unless my mom puts him down. Then he could sleep for a week. Obviously, he knows who the sucker is in this house.

But I will say this. I had a BLAST this week. I mean, seriously, I think I had as much fun playing with Declan’s 2-in-1 Learning Kitchen as he did! My back hurts from crawling so much, but more importantly, my stomach hurts from laughing so much.

I am actually very surprised at how much fun I had, despite the fact that Declan is a really fun baby. It’s just that before I was laid off, I really craved my time at my office. It was the only real time that I had that was on my pace. I could go to the bathroom when I wanted, eat when I wanted and play on the computer without a pounding little fist using the keyboard as a drum set. I found myself getting frazzled on my days off sometimes, especially if I took an extra day due to illness, doctor’s appointment, etc. So I was really dreading my first true week alone with Declan. I know that sounds awful to some of you, but I’m just being honest. I love alone time. LOVE IT. And that’s probably been the hardest adjustment for me — my lack of “me” time. And yet, even though Declan only sleeps 45 minutes at a time on his own and even though it was cold and yucky out all week so we hardly went anywhere, we had a BLAST.

Unfortunately, we really can’t have all fun and games this week though. I HAVE to be productive. So unless I come down with another stomach virus tonight (fingers crossed), tomorrow is plan day. Here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • Make a meal plan for at least a week, if not two. Go through cookbooks, magazines, etc. for new ideas.
  • Make a very precise grocery list and follow it, no meandering down aisles picking up random things.
  • Find as many coupons possible for groceries, but don’t buy things JUST BECAUSE I have a coupon.

I also am going to attempt to sleep train Declan this week. I’ve GOT to. I’ve put it off and put it off because of teething, ear infections, etc. But now that he actually sits up and laughs at me when I attempt to put him down, I think the power structure has changed a bit. So I gotta do it. He loves to sleep while being held, which I admit is so nice — who doesn’t want to snuggle with their baby?? — but momma and daddy need a break! So no snuggling for naps or at night, even if I don’t sleep all week. It’s amazing how these bad habits start. I swore I’d NEVER sleep with Declan. EVER. Totally crazy. Well, on night 5 of an ear infection, cold or teething fit, all bets are off. And in that moment, a bad habit is formed. So now I’ve got to undo the mess I’ve created.

I’m exhausted just writing all this, so off to bed I go. I apologize for the lack of side-splitting humor in this post, but it’s not always a laugh factory around here, ok?? I gotta save my comedy for diaper changes!


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First day on the new job

So my first day on the job has come and gone, and it went well. Although I really can’t say I didn’t know what to expect, it’s not like Declan is a day old or anything, and I only worked 2-3 days a week out of the house before now. So I guess I should say my first day in my now full-time job is done.

But of course, I wasn’t prepared at all, at least not in the ways I was hoping to be.

See, I have a whole plan of action for my new life. More like a mission.

My mission includes:

  • learn precise time management so that I can accomplish something other than finishing my coffee and watching Lifetime
  • I want to bathe at least every other day ( if you aren’t a mom, you may think that is gross. If you are a mom, you know that is industrious. Notice I did not mention leg-shaving. One step at a time, folks)
  • dress myself in something matching (matching PJ sets do not count)
  • complete at least 2 chores outside of errands and cooking (put toys away, make bed, clean toilet, etc.)
  • cook dinner most nights
  • retain some sanity

I know I didn’t mention anything about Declan, but that’s because he’s taken care of. I don’t have to prioritize his needs, they are always met, period. With the exception of good sleep. My No. 1 most-desired, yet most-difficult goal is to teach my child to sleep. He hates sleep, and since he is otherwise the happiest baby I’ve ever seen, I’ve always been ok with it. I don’t buy into hardcore sleep training; I think babies are either good sleepers or bad sleepers. I know there are things I can do to make it better for him, and I’m working on that, but I’m really kinda holding out for him to turn 1 and just magically start sleeping. I know, stupid. Since 7:30 tonight, he’s been up more times than I can count. But he also refused to take an afternoon nap despite an hour of trying. He didn’t cry for an hour, he just stared at me or, his latest, laughed at me when I laid him down. Nice. The kid can be barely conscious and when I lay him in his crib, and suddenly I’m the funniest thing since Elmo. Which is surprisingly annoying, but I digress.

Part of my mission is also to save lots and lots of money since I am no longer employed. So my strategy to accomplish that, and also the cooking (since Paul is warily handing that duty over to me), is to meal plan at least weekly, if not monthly, and become a coupon fanatic. I’ve signed up for and plan on spending a good amount of time each Sunday looking through cookbooks, making a very succinct grocery list and then scouring the site for every coupon possible. I then will plan multiple grocery store trips, if necessary, to make sure I save, save, save! Luckily, there are a few grocery stores very near by, so wasting gas shouldn’t be an issue.

So for the past week, I’ve been mentally preparing myself for Sunday, even telling Paul, “OK, be ready to be on baby duty for awhile, I gotta work!!!”

And then Sunday morning, about 1 a.m., I’m hugging the toilet. No, I didn’t have a wild night. I had a stomach bug. Luckily, it only held on for a few hours, but I took some prescription anti-nausea medicine and slept until noon, got up, brushed my teeth, had some water and went back to sleep until 3 p.m. I was back in bed by 10 and slept until Declan needed a paci at 4:30 a.m.

So I did not accomplish any of my missions, but I am the most rested I’ve been since he was conceived, so that has to count for something.

Luckily, a friend of mine from gave me a heads up that Krogers is having a huge sale on Luvs, so my time spent wasting time online today wasn’t for nothing!

So tomorrow is Day 2 on the job, and I’m no more prepared than I was today. But I’ll get around to it one day, when none of us are sick, I haven’t been up all night, I don’t have to make an emergency run for diapers/wipes/formula/aspirin, and I’ve got a few hours to kill.

2016 is just around the corner, right?


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Just a note

My layout for my soon-to-be-famous blog is not yet complete, so please disregard the unrelated array of books across the top of the page. Thanks.

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