Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Anxiety is Normal. Right?

I have always been a bit of a fraidy cat, but since having Liam it has gone to a new (crazy) level. I worry all the time. Mainly about my family and friend's safetly. I think everyone has these fears, but mine have become a bit irrational/intense. I believe that it may be turning into anxiety. Before having Liam, I had nights (usually after watching a crime drama of some sort) where I listened to every little sound and found it hard to fall asleep. In the past 6 months or so, this has turned into a nightly thing and it has begun to interfer with my sleep on a daily basis. Not only is it happening more often, but the worries have started to be so intense that I lay in bed for hours imagining all of the horrible things that could happen.
There are two major fears that have become paralyzing: 1- fear for Liam. Health and well-being. I think about what I would do if- his health were not good, if there were an earthquake, car accident, or someone were to break into or home. This brings me to my second major fear: 2- someone breaking into my home and hurting me, my husband, Liam and/or my pets. This is a major reason why Liam is still sleeping in our room, I feel that I need to be there to protect him if anyone were to come into our home.
I live in a small, relatively safe town, just a couple of blocks for the police station. I have never had anything like that happen to me or anyone that I know, so I have no idea where these fears have come from, I just know that they are getting a bit out of hand. I know that it is completely normal to feel fear and anxiety after having a baby. That our hormones are off for quite a while. But, I wonder how much of these fears are linked to being a new, protective mommy and how much of them are just me. Either way, I know I need to do something about this now that it has started to effect my daily life. If any one has advice, I would love to hear it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving

We have had many firsts this year- first new car, first baby, first niece(s). But now, the first holiday season with Liam is fast approaching. Tomorrow is our first Thanksgiving with with our little guy. This is the first year that I really understand what Thanksgiving is about. It is not about having a day off of work or the food (although these are a plus). It is about knowing what you have and acknowledging the blessings that you have been given. For me, this is even more important. I believe that who I am, and what I have been through, makes me even more thankful.
As we bake and decorate for the season I think about the many things that I am lucky enough to have: I have the job of my dreams, a beautiful home, a wonderful family (that includes a perfect, healthy, little boy), my husband and I are happy and neither one of us have to worried too much about having/keeping our jobs. We know that there are people who do not have these "luxuries" and we know that we should appreciative. Although everything is going in the right direction now, we know that there are so many things that could go wrong and that we may not always be in this situation.
As we head into our first holiday season, I think about all the changes that our son has brought to our lives. The holidays won't be about us anymore, they are all about him and the joy that he brings to us. I can't wait until the time, when Liam understands who Santa is and we can see his face Christmas morning. We can't bring joy, health, and happiness to everyone, but we are lucky enough that we can do this for our son. And we can not wait!
Our holiday goal is not to give him the best/most gifts, it is to teach him to be thankful for our accomplishments and blessings. He will grow up knowing how lucky he is and that he can help others. Every year, Joe and I pick a couple of children from the giving tree at the mall to get gifts for. This will be the first of many years, that Liam will participate in this. We also have begun a new tradition of donating food to the local food bank. I know that it is not much, but we will continue to do as much as we can for those who are in need.
If you are wanting to get into the "real" holiday spirit, I have a book suggestion for you. One of my students gave me a copy of a book that her father wrote about his experiences here in the Portland area, during a holiday season when he was a child. It is a tear-jerker, but it will put you in a wonderful mind-set for the holidays. I plan on reading it to Liam every year- along with The Night Before Christmas : ). The books is called, "The Paper Bag Christmas" by: Kevin Alan Milne. Happy reading and Happy Holidays to all!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Love and Sacrifices

Having a baby complicates life a great deal, we all know that going into it. But how many people expect it to have an impact on their friendships? I didn't, but that was ignorant of me. Every friendship that I have has changed drastically. Friends that were once casual are now becoming more important than I ever thought, friends that were once the most trusted and leaned on are now barley hanging on, and there are still others who have seemed to fall off the face of the earth and are nowhere to be found. It is a difficult trade off- create life and meet the number one love of your life and change every other relationship that you hold dear. Of course, I would never trade my beautiful son for anything, but that doesn't mean that I will be able to make it through all these changes without some mixed feelings and grieving for the friendships that have gone by the way-side.
There is no fault in this situation, only changes and priority shifts. But again, just because I wanted my son doesn't mean that I wanted to loose the others that I care about. In some situations, this may be the best outcome for all and it may have been in the works anyway. But positions are being left unfilled and there are holes were "soul mates" used to be. How do you go from having close friends and no baby, to a baby that you love more than anything and no one for yourself? No one to help you through your hard times and no one to share in the fun times? It is so difficult to find someone who will stay the same, when everything in your life changes.
I hope that I have friendships in my future that will make my life feel complete and will be encouraged by my family as well as their family. I just wish that there was someone there now- but someday. Until then, I guess I will just count my blessings and be thankful for my wonderful family, friends, and most of all my little Liam.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Part Time Parenting Is Not My Thing!

It hit me about July, that going back to work after having Liam was not going to be as easy as I had originally thought. The closer it came to September, the more I knew that being both a full time mommy and a full time teacher was going to be one of the hardest things that I would ever have to do. Before having Liam, I never imagined that I would be able to be a stay at home mom. I love my job and I get so bored without something to keep me busy. However, having a baby changes everything, including your priorities.
Once it became apparent that this feeling was not going to just pass and that I would magically be happy with doing both full-time, Joe and I became focused on doing all that we can so that I could work part-time and be home with Liam more. Lately, that has become not only a priority, but a necessity! Have had a mini-breakdown once a week for the past three weeks. It is so hard to feel like you are doing two things well that both need your attention all the time. I feel like a horrible teacher and a horrible mommy and I hate that. Those are the two things in my life that I am passionate about and it is killing me to think that I am ruining both.
I feel terrible about all the ideas and assumptions that I had about working moms and stay at home moms before! Because having a son has made me into what I thought was just a woman with an excuse to not work. For me, it isn't about not working, it is about being the best mom that I can be. Now, I don't want anyone to think that now I have gone the other way. I know that there are fantastic moms who are able to work as well. I wish I could be one of them. They are so strong! But I am just one of those people who pours all my effort into the things that value and that becomes difficult when there are two.
Hopefully there will be some good news this week. Wednesday I have a meeting with the principal at my school to discuss options for next year. I just hope with all my might that all goes well and that I have some options that include seeing my son more and keeping my job!