I have hit a point in my new role of stay-at-home mom where I realize my life is completely different. Prior to having the twins I was a professional. I worked very, very hard to get where I was. I worked hard at getting my college degree, a Bachelor’s in history. I didn’t necessarily pick a job in that arena, I decided instead I wanted to be a paralegal. I was bound and determined to not go back to school to get a paralegal certificate but to work my way up. I worked for a few years to get to my dream position. Within a year into my dream position I got pregnant. I had every intention to go back to work after giving birth. Then life happened. There are several reasons why I did not return to work. One of the biggest, do you know how much child care is? Ridiculously expensive. I cannot fathom netting $6,000.00 a year, after paying for child care. Basically I would have been working to pay for child care. Working to only pay for someone else to basically raise my children. That sounds absurd. Although I was conflicted, I have worked from the time I was 16, and worked pretty much full-time putting myself through college. It wasn’t easy but that’s all I’ve known. Besides a couple of years on an off I returned home, I’ve lived on my own since I was 18. I’ve provided for myself. So, I also struggled with the realization that for the first time in many, many years I would be reliant on someone else for my well-being. If I need a tampon, its someone else’s money paying for a tampon. But that other person is my husband and when we made vows to each other that encompassed this passage in our lives. I pretty much have to relinquish my own self-preservation that I’ve held onto my whole life into trusting him. And I do, I do trust him, just explaining how hard it is to come to the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. In the couple of years leading up to this point in my life, driving the hour to work, I knew that there had to be more to life than just this. Going to work and praying for Friday, that cannot be all that this life is about. I just didn’t know that my prayers would be answered in the form of two precious baby boys. So, now my new normal is getting to wake up and put sweatpants on and take care of these two tiny dictators. My new normal is giving myself to my family. My new normal is not making a paycheck every week but instead giving myself to my family.
The new normal of being a new mom also carries over to my marriage. Prior to getting married Kyle and I spent our time and money doing activities that we enjoyed. We would spend weekends going to the movies, the zoo, hiking, baseball games, hockey games and shows. We had finally got to go on a honeymoon, a cruise to Mexico, in October (2 months before getting pregnant). I had not been out of the country before and I loved every single second of that vacation. I wanted more. I was pricing out vacations for a trip to Ireland. My new normal does not consist of any of those things. We have been out three times in six months. We cannot just wake up on a Saturday and go wherever we want. I am not complaining that isn’t our reality right now, however, that is still our reality and an adjustment. I know there will be a time we will get to do all the fun things that encompass being a parent and feeling like a member of society again. We will get to take them to the park, go to the zoo, museums and amusement parks. But for now they are still babies that are damn hard to get out of the house.
Right now my new normal is living on a four-hour interval. I wake up, shower, pump and then get the boys up. We feed them their bottles, Kyle leave for work and I am on my mom duty shift. After bottles they have some play time while I eat breakfast, then they are put in the high chair for solids, and a good chuck of tummy time. After that they are put down for a nap and is pretty much the same activities after they wake up and repeat until bed time when they get baths, bottle and bed. In between this four hour loop I squeeze in SEVEN pumping sessions. It is like this day in and day out, which is fine I thrive on schedules but just reiterating my point that this is my new normal.
My new normal has not included much time for friends yet. It’s hard because not many of my friends have kids, so they don’t understand. They don’t understand that I am a slave to two tiny babies. I have to be at their every beck and call and by that I mean their wailing ear-piercing scream. They don’t understand that it’s kind of hard to leave your house when you have to pump every three hours. Skipping a pump isn’t an option. Yesterday I went around four hours without pumping and my breasts ached so bad. And it’s not just the fact that my breasts ache, it’s that I cannot let my milk supply decrease. Exclusively pumping is no joke and I am not gambling with the chance that my milk will take a hit so I can go out. That may be a mistake but that is my burden right now. I have had family and friends both say, well just bringing the babies. Bringing the babies is not easy for a million different reasons. Leaving the house is an ordeal and a half. Trying packing things for two babies, loading them up and handling them in public. I’m outnumbered for Christ’s sake. So, right now my new normal has not included much time for friends.
Even within the last six months my new normal has taken many adjustments, and it will continue to adjust and I will adapt. But it is not easy finding my place as a stay-at-home or adjusting to my new normal, which is so drastically different from what was normal pre-babies. I am constantly a work in progress and constantly trying to figure this whole thing out.