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Guilt when working

Let me start by saying that my daughters are the greatest gifts in my life. I cannot imagine my life without them. I also cannot imagine my life without my work helping people with chronic medical illnesses or mental illnesses. And that is where the guilt stems from. I love my time with my girls, I love weekends with them, I love to travel with them. And I feel overwhelmingly guilty when I drop them off early in the morning and pick them up after 5:30 Monday through Friday. I also could not imagine my life without my work. I spent years in graduate school earning my two advanced degrees in areas that I believe help me to make a difference in my little corner of the world. And I think I am pretty good at my job. And many of my patients say the same thing. If I miss work, I feel guilty, like I am letting down people who really need help and support in their lives. It is a catch-22.

I often get invitations to mid day activities and think “I am a terrible mom because I can’t take the girls to this activity or playdate”. And then I gently argue with that voice “but they love daycare and they are learning so much and have a wonderful group of friends here”. This happens every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I continue to ask myself, “why do I feel guilty about having my job?” and “why do I think I am less of a mom because I am not with my kids every second of the day?”.  And you know what??? I don’t have an answer to those questions. But I can say I hear and read many messages that say I “should” be home with my kids. And I “should” take them to activities during the day. Should, should, should. It’s the mommy mantra. Bean is 4 years old and this has been going on long enough. I think I am more exhausted by the shoulding in my head than I am from my life. And I really like my life. So, good riddance to you guilt. Feel free to stop by anytime, just don’t plan to stay too long. You aren’t helpful to the life I am living or to the parenting I do. I have decided to accept that sometimes I feel guilty and inadequate and that’s ok. I don’t need to argue with it, just accept it as part of my life. Take a deep breath, focus on the moment.  And then do my job. All of them.

What I know about baby sleep…or lack there of



Peaceful, isn’t she??? Interestingly, this was the only sleeping picture I could find of Bear. Because she does not reliably sleep! My Bean is a great sleeper (or maybe I just have really rose colored glasses of her in her first year). That’s what the daddio says anyway. But this child is much harder. With Bean, we did a bit of cry it out. Not a lot, like 5 minutes for a week. And she could put herself to sleep. She also had a pacifier. Bear spit them out from day one. And if we tried to put one in her mouth, she would become more upset. And, when I try to let her cry it out for longer than 2 minutes, she vomits everywhere. It’s quite a challenge. So, what does one do when she is desperate to put her child to be in under 75 minutes without having to change the bedding every night??? Great question! Read everything ever written about baby sleep (and there is quite a lot) and hope that something changes.

So, here’s what I know…

First, start immediately when you get home from the hospital. If you start reading the Happiest Baby on the Block or any number of other books out there, they insist you start immediately.  Well, here we are, 10 months in. Might be a bit late for that.

Second, do NOT nurse your child to sleep. Both of my children were exclusively breastfed children for the first 7-8 months of their lives. And it is soothing. And they fall asleep. Again, might be a bit late for that.

Third, the recommendations by the American Pediatric Association is that a child must be put to bed on their back. And definitely should not bed share. Every time I put Bear on her back, she screams like her arm is getting cut off. And when I remove my arm, she screams. Ok, next…

We had a challenge on our hands. And I am a huge proponent of healthy sleep. In my work, I often help my patients improve their sleep behavior because we all feel better when we are rested. This was really hard for me that I have a baby who is not a great sleeper.

Over the last month, I have tried a couple of different strategies. And, lo and behold, I can get her into bed in under 15 minutes with no vomiting! Success! Well, maybe it is because she is growing and just growing changes the game. She is also eating much more in the way of food so that may have an effect as well. BUT, we have changed the game a bit.

She still nurses before bed. Then we have a story. I hold her until she is drowsy and then I put her in bed with my hand on her. She likes to be on her side, so I put her in that position (I did check with the pediatrician, he said it is fine). I sing a short song to her and she goes to sleep. I have also added a white noise machine on a higher volume, which seems to be her cue it is time to sleep. I am sure there are a number of things that have worked.  To those out there who struggle with sleep, either themselves or their children, do not despair. Just be willing to try lots of strategies until you find the right combination. And then enjoy the restful sleep that comes.


Random act of incredible generosity

Gramma Lou came to visit last weekend.  Our usual activity is to go to breakfast on Sunday. So we did! And it was delicious. It is also not uncommon for people in restaurants to comment on Bean and Bear. How well behaved they are, what good eaters they are, and really how cute Bear’s smile is with her few teeth. After we had finished eating, and Bean had finished deconstructing a breakfast burrito (she actually does eat a considerable amount, just in a very interesting sequence), Bean and I went to wash our hands. When we returned to the table, Gramma Lou asked how much I thought our meal had cost. “No idea, we can ask the server for the check”, I replied. “No”, Gramma Lou said, “there is no check”. I was confused. While we had gone to wash up, the server had told my mom that our meal had been taken care of by someone else. I imagine I looked shocked. We gave the server a tip, she reassured me that our meal had been paid for, and we left. As we walked out, I was overwhelmed by this very small act of generosity. I even tear up a bit. Thank you to whoever out in the universe gave us the gift of a free meal. We will pay it forward.

Hand, foot and mouth or some other weird virus

This week has been challenging. First the little Bear came down with a fever. Not a super high fever, just discomfort and high enough that she can’t go to daycare. So mom took vacation several days early. As soon as she started to feel better, the Bean got a sore throat…and a FEVER! Again, not high enough to be concerned, just high enough to make her miserable. I felt a bit under the weather but quickly rebounded. (I use doTerra Essential oils and I swear that helps). Five days later, Bean still has a sore throat, low fever, and yuck but no strep. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks but hopefully we are on the mend. Just in time to start preschool on Monday.

The Challenges of Single Parenting

This week has been particularly difficult. Normally, we are a 2 parent household with shared responsibilities. However, the Daddy has to be away for work. Of course, it always happens that when Daddy is away, one or both kids come down with viral yuck. Poor little Bear. She has had a fever on and off all week. On Monday, I only worked half a day. Luckily, we have an awesome auntie who comes through in a pinch, so Bear spent Tuesday with her. This was very upsetting to Bean, who also wanted to stay with auntie. And she didn’t want to wear HER bathing suit for swimming, she wanted to wear the extra one at school. And she didn’t want to put her shoes on… Cue major tantrum:

Right. So that’s probably a little bit how I looked when I decided to join the tantrum instead of putting on my big girl mommy pants. Oh well, parent fail for the day. All in all, it was a learning experience (like, sometimes it’s better not to join ’em!). And poor little Bear goes back to auntie’s house tomorrow because her fever has returned. Sigh.