Almost everyone I see asks me how I feel being back to work and I’m finding it hard to answer. I’m so so proud I’m making this work and it seems do-able. And if I’m being honest, Arya being such a chill and easy baby is probably 95% of why this feels so manageable. She still mostly sleeps through the night so I’m getting about 7 hours of sleep a night, she goes to bed around 7-7:30 so I have a few hours at night to myself, she is perfectly content hanging out with most people, and she is able to entertain herself for decent stretches of time. And yes, I am fully aware of how lucky I am and I tell Arya every day how grateful I am for her.
But I have a constant fear of money hanging over me. We are just barely squeaking by. We are completely living check to check and we would be completely screwed if I were to ever lose my job (or our rent controlled apartment). Not only is this terrifying but it also makes me so angry. I’m an attorney and I make almost six figures. And while this pales in comparison to what many of my classmates (who chose much more lucrative legal careers) it shouldn’t be this hard..right? So fuck capitalism and can we please get universal free childcare, healthcare, and education already?
On a very unrelated note, I had the weirdest interaction with Arya’s daycare yesterday. When I dropped her off she was wearing a onesie and baby leg warmers. The outfit looked a lot like this:
One of the teachers was like: “look at you today!” I assumed she thought the outfit was cute. Later, when I picked Arya up the same teacher was like: “today we called her sexy girl!.” Um what? I didn’t ask her to elaborate and just responded “oh haha.” I’m thinking she thought the legwarmers looked like women’s thigh high stockings or something. It was so weird and a bit gross and I know this wouldn’t have happened if she was a boy. Can you please not sexualize my six month old?
Despite the weirdness, I decided not to say anything. I have been super, duper happy with how they are taking care of Arya and she is so happy when I drop her off and pick her up. I have to pick and choose my battles and this just isn’t worth it. But WTF?
Well I guess it’s not a huge secret now that I’m writing about it on the internet ( but who knows how many people actually read this). The reason it’s a secret is that I’ve been told that this is a taboo topic amongst parents, So here it is….
…..Arya has been sleeping through the night for the past month!
Yes, she is only 10 weeks old.
No, haven’t been doing some sort of torturous sleep training- or any type of sleep training.
No, this didn’t result from my amazing parenting skills-she just naturally sleeps for long stretches.
Yes, I have been loosely following the advice from ” the Happiest Baby on the Block” and I swear by this swaddle but generally I think I just got lucky.
I’m thinking maybe the people in my family are just good sleepers. My mom was insistent that both my sister and I slept through the night as infants. I thought she was exaggerating because this couldn’t possibly be true. Also, when I told my sister about it she told me that my nephew also slept through the night as a newborn.
I get why I shouldn’t be rubbing this in the face of all of my other parent-friends. Sleep deprivation sucks and is arguably the hardest part of parenting. But, I still want to shout it from the rooftops. So, I’ve been confiding in my non-parent friends to get it out of my system. But even when I tell them I find myself qualifying it with “well she is doing this for now but who knows what will happen in the future..” I do this because I feel a bit ashamed for talking about it-which is ridiculous.
I think this “shame” comes from a conversation I had with the doctor who did Arya’s two month check-up (he was filling in for our regular pediatrician). I told him about her sleep because I was happy but also because I wanted to gauge how normal this was and the chances that this would continue. After giving me his opinion (you never know) he said twice “don’t brag about it.” I thought maybe he was joking but he didn’t say this with a smile-just very matter of fact. So thanks for raining on our parade Mr. buzzkill pediatrician!
And, here are a few baby pictures because why not?
I was worried about feeling alone and not having enough help but between my family ( my sister and dad were here a week and my mom a month!) and the amazing number of friends coming by-i felt so loved and supported. As you can imagine, the first few weeks was a blur of sleep deprivation and figuring things out. Due to Arya’s tiny size, I was breastfeeding and supplementing with formula every 2-3 hours and pumping 6 times every 24 hours. I was beyond exhausted. Also, it was painful to abide by her doctor’s instructions to wake Arya to eat but she needed the calories. On top of this, I was having a hard time getting the hang of breastfeeding. Arya seemed super frustrated every time and she would just conk out after a minute or two.
Despite all of this hard work, she lost almost a pound by her first checkup. The pediatrician asked me to increase the feedings even more and she immediately brought us to a lactation consultant. They assured me that my milk would come in soon because ( at that point) I was only producing a tiny amount. The nurses encouraged me to increase her formula and gave me reassurances that should would be fine.
Unfortunately, my milk never really came in. After pumping 6 times a day, I was only producing about 1-2 ounces- but Arya needed about 15-20 to continue growing. It was so frustrating and was breaking my heart. I was so excited to breastfeed and accepting that it wasn’t working out was bringing me to tears. A friend of mine offered me pumped milk and to occasionally breastfeed her for me and I became irrationally upset. Not at her ( she was trying to help) but the thought of someone else having the bond of breastfeeding that I was unable to have just killed me. I did happily accept the frozen breast milk and feel really lucky to have an awesome friend willing to share it.
After a month with no increase in my supply, I made the decision to throw in the towel ( or the breast pump). It was tough at first but soon I felt so much better. And my amazing girl is healthy and growing! She gained almost a pound at her next checkup.
While I feel exponentially blessed that my mom came to help us for a month, I was worried it might cause more stress. Shockingly, we got along incredibly well. With no prodding, she took care of all the cleaning and cooking so I could take care of Arya. She also would take her in the morning so I could get a few hours of sleep which helped me feel a little less crazy from sleep deprivation. We had a few small hiccups ( she has very traditional views on what girls should wear and thinks you can ” spoil ” a newborn). But generally, the focus was on the baby and not on my various shortcomings, so we got along great for the most part. Also I think it set her at ease to witness the immense amount of support I have from my community here. I seriously didn’t want her to go home. If you had told me this a year ago, I would never have believed it but the baby really did transform our relationship. We talk nearly every day now.
One of my favorite mom moments happened when I was driving her to the airport. She said ” I have to tell you something..” I immediately thought her cancer had come back or something equally horrible. Then she blurted out ” I secretly baptized Arya while you and dad were at Target!” She then went on to explain that she tried to bring holy water with her but that her church was out. But the nuns told her she could use regular water instead. I guess she did it in the sink. She said it made her feel better because she truly believes unbaptized babies go to hell.
I think she thought I would be mad but I thought it was hilarious. I laughed so hard I was crying. Such a classic mom move.
Here are some pictures from Arya’s first month: