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Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Whew! The last (nearly) three years just flew by, eh? A lot has changed and a lot of changes are to come. As I am sure I have lost some regular readers – and it’s entirely possible that I have lost all of my readers since who reads blogs anymore? – I should probably keep my summary of my time away as brief as possible.

At the end of 2015, I looked forward to 2016 full of optimism, thinking it would be an easier, better year. As I am sure my absence spoke volumes, I will summarise and say it was one of the hardest years of my life. I moved back to my native California, got a full time teaching gig at a school close to my home, and was looking forward to a great year. I was living with my loving parents, had a lovely summer, went camping with The Husband and Son, and prepared for my first full year of teaching in my own classroom. Then reality struck. The Husband went back to Australia, I started the school year only to find the job was not as advertised. It was a high stress job at a struggling public school and my students were some of the most difficult and disruptive students in the whole place.

Then, shortly after the start of the school year, my mother was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and The Husband returned to California to help me while my folks were in the hospital for her treatment. He returned to Australia at the end of October with plans to move over in 2017. Then the election happened, and the less I say about that the better. I will say that I had yet another reason to cry myself to sleep in November. The holidays were a blur and when The Husband was set to return, he was denied entry and detained due to some complete bullshit atthe border and was sent back to Australia.

Initially we tried to push forward with our plan for him to immigrate, but the red tape would take at least six months and we decided it would be simpler for all of us to return to Australia. Fortunately, my mother’s cancer treatment was successful, and around the time she finished her last round of chemo, I got a job offer in Australia for a full-time teaching job at an amazing school.

The rest of 2017 was fairly positive. I had been tried by fire and found out how strong I was. I knew much better who I was, and I was working in a job that I loved. By the end of 2017, Husband and I started talking about having Baby #2 (finally). Now, at the end of 2018 (a fairly busy but mostly uneventful year), I am 30 weeks along in pregnancy numero dos, and facing several long months of maternity leave. How will I fill this time? Well, before the bub arrives, I should have some free time I can fill with writing and I have a few motherhood topics I’d like to explore, ruminations on relationships and reflections on the changes in my own mental health I’ve experienced. Watch this space!

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Ultrasound picture of Baby #2.

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I wanted to write a full post about this. 

About the supposed Mommy Wars.

About how completely I do not buy into this adversarial narrative that is constantly shoved down my throat.

About how most attachment parents I know are not competitive or sanctimonious at all and how we’re all parents and should focus on sharing and supporting each other.

About how shifting the focus onto mommy vs. mommy is simply a distraction from the fact that motherhood is still a liability in western culture because patriarchy.

But then I read this. (Trigger warning: discussion of mental illness, bipolar disorder and suicide.)

And I realised that my personal discomfort with the ‘class warfare’ and bourgeois mother goddesses, is nothing compared the the mothers who struggle every day to be a good parent.

Please, read the post. It’s heartbreaking, inspiring and beautiful. 

I need to go cry now.

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Half a year since my last post, and there’s a lot to write about.

I’ve recently returned from a wonderful but challenging trip with the entire poly-clan, but I’ll save that story for another post, when I have more time to process and write properly about the events that transpired and the issues that were raised.

While on that trip, we met up with several poly friends, including some I’d never met in person but had become rather chatty with on various social networks. These new friends were all members of their own same clan, and they’re unique amongst my poly friends because they are totally and completely out to all their family and friends. They’re also quite political and are very much poly-activists.

On the night of my husband’s birthday, I wandered off with one member (on whom I have a humungous girl/admiration/lusty crush) and her, um, one of her male escorts (I’m still a bit shaky on the who’s with who of their clan) in search of a burrito.*  I don’t recall all the details of the conversation due to a minor amount of alcohol in my system, but somehow the subject veered to parenting, motherhood and feminism. She is one of my feminist friends** so I guess it wasn’t surprising. She is, if I recall correctly, child-free by choice (should that be capitalised?) and either she was asking about my choice to become a mother, or I volunteered the information.

The conversation is one I’ve had before, but this recent iteration was at an interesting time for me. I’m 2 years into being a Poly Momma. I’ve got a great, loving relationship with my husband, a steady boyfriend who I absolutely adore and with whom I have a thriving relationship, and most recently, I’m about to go back to Uni to finish my degree so I can finally start in a Diploma of Education program next year.  On that particular trip, Husband and I left the Little Man at his grandma’s house for pretty much the entire trip, meaning I had a lot of time to be myself and relax without having to be Momma. I was able to reflect on my parenthood without actively being a parent at the time, so I was much more in touch with all the other aspects of me than usual. (more…)

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I took my son for his 18 month growth and development check-up and the nurse seemed to think he was doing rather well. She did, however, recommend sending him to a speech pathologist, as he is still not really talking.  I also am going to book him in for a hearing test.

My little guy has become a somewhat fussy eater. I am going to experiment today with adding vegetable purees (actually just organic baby food from a jar) to things. I made up some veggie ravioli and used ‘sweet baby vegetables’ as a sauce and made some ‘peas and zucchini’ into a tartare sauce for him to have with fish fingers*. I don’t even know if he eats fish fingers* but it’s worth a try.

I may have to start going the ‘Deceptively Delicious’ route and disguise the vegetables so he gets a more balanced diet. Then again, the nurse said ‘Just keep offering him healthy food.  Don’t give up and start feeding him chips and biscuits because it’s “the only thing he’ll eat”.  He’ll eat when he’s hungry enough.’

Then again, when he’s hungry he’s cranky and if I offer him things when he’s cranky, he is pickier. Then it spirals out of control. There must be other tactics.

‘Are you enjoying motherhood?’

‘Um…Sure. Of course, it was just Mother’s Day yesterday, so I’m a little biased.’

‘Oh yes. But in general?’

‘Yes. I’m fine. I have a fairly easy baby, so I haven’t got much cause to complain.’

Sigh…

*Translation for USA readers: fish fingers = fish sticks

UPDATE: The ravioli w/ veggie puree was a hit! The fish fingers were also deemed ‘Yumm’ but the tartare sauce was given a ‘Bleah’ and a :P.  I think it was too cold. I’ll try mixing it with his eggs tomorrow morning. He might like it and if not, I’ll eat it.

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I have made it clear to those who know and love me that I don’t truck with Valentine’s Day. I’m also not huge on anniversaries and, like my husband, I feel it’s not fair to oblige your loved ones to give you gifts on pre-determined holidays. We don’t even do Xmas presents for each other (though we do our birthdays).

We are both pretty against the patriarchical notion of monogamy (duh) and the myth of the nuclear family and I generally think of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as two holidays cooked up to fill the dead retail months between Easter and Christmas.

But after doing a bit of research (on Wikipedia) I found that Mother’s Day has a rich history.

  • It probably started with springtime festivals honouring mother and childbirth goddesses.
  • It was started in the modern sense as a part of a pacifist movement after World War I.
  • Anna Jarvis, the woman who established it in the US did so after her own mother’s death, to create a day for mothers to be appreciated within their lifetime. Paradoxically, she never married and was childless herself. She became disillusioned after its commercialisation:
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
In other words, yes, the commercialisation of this holiday is atrocious.
But…
Being a Momma is HARD.
And today, as I am sleep deprived and at the end of my rope, the thought that just around the corner is a day when someone might bring me flowers, or give me a day to sleep in, or buy me one of these, or these, or these, or (OMG!) this, is just enough to keep me going, however foolish that thought may be.
(I’m not greedy, these are all practical. Well, except for the flowers, and maybe the t-shirt)
I know my son will grow to appreciate me, but I’ve got a few years to wait before I can expect any gifts from him. In the meantime, I’m just going to have to settle for cuddles.
UPDATE: Mother’s Day has come and gone, and my wonderful husband made the day special. I got to sleep in (also thanks to my little boy for actually sleeping through the night), he bought me a new pair of slippers and a Swiss army knife, and I got a garden centre gift certificate from his girlfriend. Yay! Also my paramour bought me cheesecake the day before which I saved until last night – score!

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My posts have been few and far between lately, and this has been for a number of reasons. For one, ever since a certain attempt at dating went horribly wrong, I have had quite a few other things occupying my time that deserved my focus: holidays, play performances and getting my son involved in various activities. I’ve also had some pretty serious episodes of self discovery that made me take stock of certain patterns in my life which needed changing. There have been some major changes in my life, from a new paramour (a lovely lad I met on OkCupid) to the husband and me buying our first home.
Anther reason I haven’t posted is that I’ve been getting more involved in online Poly communities. It’s been interesting finding support networks in unexpected places. For instance, the online healthy lifestyle site, SparkPeople, has a small poly community. I started posting there a bit and I’ve met some really lovely people. I also signed up to FetLife, but have been mostly turned off by the overtly sexual photos people post (I’m no prude, but I just feel like I’d rather get to know someone before I see graphic images of their genitalia). I was recruited to join my friend’s secret poly group on Facebook as well, which has been incredibly enlightening and supportive.
I hope all of these things will mean I have more to write about. For now, I am open to suggestions for topics and will write about those about which I have an opinion when I have time.

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No, I’m not quitting this blog. Don’t worry. But I do want to talk about endings.

My secondary relationship reached its end, officially, just over a week ago. After not seeing each other for several weeks, I finally “called time of death” on our romantic relationship. It just wasn’t working out, and after repeated attempts to save it, I finally just gave up. As I felt I was the only one making any real effort to maintain things (whether true or not, it’s how I felt), I had to come to terms that it was no longer making me happy and to face the reality that if he wasn’t going to make the effort, then maybe he just wasn’t that into the relationship. He was asking me to lower my expectations of the relationship so far that I basically had to stop caring. And that wasn’t fun for me. Apathy is a real turn off.

C’est l’amour.

This ending made me sad, but not upset. I loved this man. I loved being in a relationship with him. He’s beautiful, we had great chemistry and he made me feel sexy (something I don’t often feel, as a mum). He was an escape from my day to day routine, but also not afraid of coming over to my house and helping out with the baby. I saw such potential in that relationship, and had such high hopes for the future. Letting go of that was hard. But in the end it was when I withdrew my emotional investment that I even knew how much I had invested.

The aftermath has left me feeling unsexy and unlovable. My libido is all but gone and I’m putting all my energy into being a mum and into trying to lose a few kilos.

I’ve started weaning my son. He’s doing well. I’m down to one breastfeed per day. He drinks milk from a cup like a champ, so I’m not too worried about that anymore. I admire women who keep going with breastfeeding, but my son doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself that much anymore. I think I realised it was time when he seemed too distracted every time I tried to offer him the bewb. He was still crying if I stopped prematurely, but now he’s stopped that. Now, I give him one long, intensive breast feed in the evening. Soon, I’ll stop offering that. The end is imminent. By the time his Birthday comes along, he’ll be done.

I’m a little sad about it, but hopefully it will  make things easier. I’ll be able to wear a real bra again and go back on normal birth control pills. I won’t have to wear easy access tops and I can even contemplate going back to work, putting my son in childcare. And I won’t have little teeth-shaped bruises on my nipples.

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