Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the present fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, fathers of loss, fathers of divorce or separation, fathers-to-be, and future fathers who are trying to so hard become fathers.

Hello, friends. Today is Father’s Day, and for many, this is a day for celebrating the man, or men, in your lives who have helped to shape you into the person you are today. Unfortunately, for many others, this can be a sad, or upsetting day. To those of you who are struggling on this day, whether it be from a sense of absence, loss, or some other type of pain, I just want you to know that you are not alone.

I want to take a moment to thank three men in my life who all had a hand in making me the person I am today. My relationship with each is wildly different, but they are the fathers I have known in my life.

First and foremost, I want to wish a happy second Father’s Day to the love of my life, my rock, my everything, Kyle. I wish I could put into words how much you mean to Liam and I, and how much we appreciate how hard you work for us. The love you have for our son shines through your every interaction, and I know that he absolutely adores you. We both do. I wish we could celebrate Father’s Day today, but you’ll be at work, working your butt off to make sure that Liam and I have a good life. I am so proud of the man and father that you have become, and I love you very much.

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Secondly, I want to say happy Father’s Day to a man who has been in my life for nearly 20 years. A man who I have always had a rough relationship with, but who was always there for my mom and I. I don’t even have a single picture of you and I, but Happy Father’s Day to my step-father, Larry. You took in a woman and her daughter who were down on their luck, gave them a roof over their heads, and supported them financially until they could get back on their feet. You had a son of your own, but accepted me as your second child, even though we butted heads constantly. You were never easy to get along with, but you have come a long way, and have made my mom so happy. Thank you for all the gifts you paid for, but took no credit for. Thank you for trying, even if it didn’t work out the way you wanted. Thank you for keeping my mom sane and happy. Thank you.

And finally, I want to say happy Father’s Day to my biological father, Mike. I haven’t seen you in many years, and before that, many years more. I never knew you growing up, and I wish you had cared more about me, and your other children, than drugs and stealing. It was hard growing up without a father. I blamed you for a lot my my mom’s unhappiness, as well as my own. I blamed you for every bad boyfriend, every crappy apartment, and every toy I wanted but never received. I know now that you were sick. You are sick. And you are incapable of caring about anything, or anyone, including yourself. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you are taking care of yourself today.

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Happy Father’s Day to the present fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, fathers of loss, fathers of divorce or separation, fathers-to-be, and future fathers who are trying to so hard become fathers. Enjoy your day!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Alone

I’ll never understand just how single parents do it. They are honestly superheroes. I’m not even a single mother, but I feel like I am more often than not. Since day one, I have changed every poopy diaper (yes, every poopy diaper), and most of the wet ones. I have cooked and fed every meal. I have executed every bath, and read every story. Given every dose of medicine. I have put him down for every nap, and every bed time. I have woken up with him night after night, and rocked him back to sleep. I am the one who wakes up with him every morning. Just last night, he woke up at 1:30, and would not go back to sleep, not matter what I did. We spent hours rocking, and got nowhere. My back was on fire from the crappy, old rocking chair, and I was so exhausted that I was fighting the urge to throw up all over his sweet face. I ended up lying down uncomfortably on the couch in the living room around 3:00 in the morning, and he fell asleep on top of me from 5:00-7:30. All I could do was try to cry silently, like I’ve been doing most nights lately, and try not to wake him up. I got no sleep. None.

His separation anxiety is so extreme this time. It has never been this bad. He screams and screams and screams when I try to put him in his crib, if I even lean over it. He wakes up the second I put him in there, even if I’ve been rocking him for an hour, and he was passed out. He open his eyes, stand up, and scream.

This morning, he refused to nap, just like every day for the last week. This sleep regression/cold/ear infection/teething/separation anxiety has hit him like a ton of bricks, and it is wearing me thin. He has been so fussy during the day, and it has been so hard to get anything done, whether at home or in town, because he is just so clingy and upset. I tried to leave him with his father today, so I could try and get a few moments of sleep, but honestly, I don’t trust him with him. I know he would probably never hurt him, but he has a very short fuse, and a very bad temper, and often raises his voice at him, or cusses at him, and it makes me so angry. Sure, I get angry sometimes, and I’ve raised my voice more often than I’d like to admit in just the last week, but he just gets ridiculous. Nevermind the fact that our son is barely over a year old, and doesn’t even understand what is going on, but what reason does HE have to be upset? He doesn’t DO anything. He has never spent a night, getting zero sleep, rocking in a creaky rocking chair for 3 hours. He got 10 hours of sleep last night! So, I do everything. I sacrifice sleep to make sure his diaper is always clean, or that he gets his meals on time, because Kyle always seems to “forget” or “lose track of time” when I leave him alone with him, even for an hour, so I can sleep, even though he is just sitting on his ass playing a game, or watching TV. I hate it.

I made a comment out loud to my son today, a bit passive aggressively, about how I was too exhausted to make lunch, but that I had to, because no one else would, and Kyle stormed off to the bedroom, slamming the door behind him, to play his Gameboy (yep, talking about a grown man here). He gets so upset when I voice my frustration about doing 90% of the work when it comes to our son and our household, yet he throws these tantrums, and shuts himself in the bedroom for hours, leaving me even more alone. Proving my point. I’ve been asking him to get out to the laundromat for the last three days to do some laundry, since we are completely out of clean clothes, and he just keeps forgetting. A few days ago, I asked him if he would help me with the dishes, not DO the dishes, just help me, since I had already done nearly half of them, and our son was clinging to me, whining to be picked up. He just ignored me.

Last night was trash night, one of the only chores he will partake in, if I don’t do it, and he always waits until we are going to bed to do it. I was already under the covers, with the lights off, and with my glasses on the end table, when he came in and asked me to get the kitchen garbage out, and empty Liam’s diaper bin for him, which is something I always seem to end up doing for him. I stood my ground, and told him to just do it. He made sure to make as much noise as possible, sighing and gagging dramatically, cussing at the garbage bin when he dropped it and made noise. Then he came to bed, in a huff, and rolled over angrily. Absolutely unnecessary. And I get bitchy, and I get passive aggressive, and he brings out the worst in me. I don’t mean to, but I just get so upset. He doesn’t fight, we never fight. And that is a problem. He doesn’t talk back, because he doesn’t talk at all. He just shuts off, often storming off to the bedroom. And nothing gets done. I am so tired of it.

I love him, I really do, and I know he loves me and his son, but this is frustrating, and it is destroying me. I am exhausted, my blood pressure is through the roof, and I have been so, so depressed. I am tired of the bullshit excuses, and the immaturity. I want him to grow up, but he just won’t. I want him to listen to me, and understand how hard this has been for me, and what I am going through. The only reason I keep going is because I know that my son needs me, and no one else will take care of him.

But I’ve been having days lately, where the prospect of simply disappearing, leaving everything behind, seems more and more tempting.

I shouldn’t feel like this. I shouldn’t feel this overwhelmed, and this alone, when his father is RIGHT THERE. He doesn’t even work this week. He has been home for days, and will be home for the rest of the week, but… nothing. He won’t help me. It honestly feels like he doesn’t care.

I am at the end of my rope. I just want a break. A nap. Some quiet. I need help, and I have no one. Some days, I feel like it would be better if I actually were alone, then I would only have one toddler to deal with. Only one person’s messes to constantly clean up.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends. Thank you for letting me vent. I’m off to feed my overly exhausted kiddo a snack, and try to get him to take a nap, even though I know it won’t happen.

Jan

Mommy/Daddy Birth Interview Assignment

Hello, friends! Recently, my good friend, Lindsey, asked to interview Kyle and I on our pregnancy/birth/baby experiences as part of a school assignment, and I was more than happy to do it! I thought it would be fun to share with you our answers, so you get a chance to hear a bit from the daddy part of our parenting duo. I had so much fun doing this interview, and it made me miss being pregnant! The baby fever is REAL, guys! Here was our interview:

Mother: Janise
1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We weren’t trying to have a baby, per se, but we weren’t preventing it. We both wanted a baby, and after a while, I had my suspicions that it finally happened. I went to the store and bought two of those 88 cent pregnancy tests, the ones with the silly droppers, and sure enough, they came out positive!

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was excited. Really excited.

3. What was pregnancy like?
A breeze, honestly. They say something like 2/3 of women experience morning sickness, which can last for months, or the entire pregnancy, but I never had any at all. I never had any symptoms at all until the last few weeks when my feet swelled, which was awful!

4. What was the birth process like?
I wish I had been more informed of my options, and what could go wrong during labor and delivery. Despite a healthy pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia during labor, and had to be put on a Magnesium drip to keep my blood pressure down, but then it dropped really low, which made me incredibly sick. I had an epidural as well, and Pitocin to help my labor, so I didn’t feel anything at all. I was exhausted though, and slept a lot. I labored for about 14 hours, and pushed for an hour and a half. The pushing was the worst. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was starting to feel again. It was weird though, because I didn’t feel pain, just a LOT of pressure. My partner had to leave the room, and after pushing on my back for an hour, they had me switch to the supine position (on all fours), which was awful, and a lot harder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control or say in what happened, and when they would tell me to push, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet when I knew it was time to push, they told me not to. It was really stressful, and I felt very alone, despite being in a room full of people.

5. What do you remember the most?
The moment they handed my son to me. I was still on my knees and elbows, and they handed him to me through my legs. I felt completely numb, and overwhelmingly happy, seeing his face for the first time. That made all the pain, the sickness, and the 4-day hospital stay totally worth it!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
Pain. A lot of pain. You hear a lot about the pain of birth, but no one ever talks about what your body goes through afterwards. I bled for six weeks, and because I suffered a 4th degree perineal tear during delivery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. Housework went completely undone, because my partner had to go back to work early, and I was alone all day, every day, with this newborn. It was a little overwhelming.

7. Is it what you expected?
Honestly, some things were easier, and some things were harder. Not to toot my own horn, but I discovered that I was kind of a natural at the whole motherhood thing. I knew exactly what my son wanted based on his crying, and that made things so easy. He was such a good baby, too! Slept great, didn’t have any colic, and ate like a tiny linebacker. The hardest, most disappointing thing for me, personally, was not being able to breastfeed. I had all these hopes that I was going to exclusively breastfeed, but it never happened for us. He just wouldn’t latch, and I found it impossible to pump enough. I still feel guilty about it.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Within weeks, if not earlier. The first few nights were a bit of a shock, and really confusing. I didn’t have any family or friends to help me, or answer questions, so I relied a lot on the internet to get me through it. I read a lot, and it paid off. He was only a few weeks old and I felt like a pro. It relieved a lot of stress and worry.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. Getting him to change a diaper, even 13 months later, is a fight. He used to get frustrated so easily when the baby cried, and he didn’t know why. It is frustrating, feeling like you are doing 99% of the work in raising your child, especially when the other parent is actually there, but he helps out when he is able, which I appreciate.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
Completely. I feel really bad about it, really, because we had a great sex life before, even when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant. But thanks to my traumatic delivery, it has been difficult. My body took a very long time to heal, and it is still uncomfortable for me to have sex now, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
The judgment. Parenting itself came easily to me, but the judgment that I’ve received from family, friends, and even complete strangers, is disheartening. Every little thing that I post online, someone always has to say something. Everything from not being able to breastfeed, to co-sleeping (which we stopped doing when my son turned 6 months old), to letting him use a pacifier. Someone always thinks you’re doing something wrong. It took me a long time to adjust to that, and to realize that my son is happy, healthy, and crazy far ahead in his development, so they can go find someone else to judge!

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Lately, it has been being able to actually PLAY with my son. He is finally walking and running around, and it makes life so much more fun. Before, when he was just a tiny thing, we could only play on one spot, on the floor, which was great… but this is so much better. Seeing him grow and develop, and learn new things, it is so amazing.
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Father: Kyle

1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We kind of knew for a while that it was going to happen. She bought a few pregnancy tests, and I was outside the bathroom door, and then we knew she was pregnant.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was a little scared, but I was happy, too.

3. What was pregnancy like?
Not very different really. She didn’t have any cravings, or mood swings, or anything like that. Her stomach just grew.

4. What was the birth process like?
Scary. I wasn’t able to be in the room, I just couldn’t handle it. I was still there, on the other side of the curtain, but it was still scary. I was expecting her to scream, like they always show on shows and in the movies, but she didn’t scream at all.

5. What do you remember the most?
I remember when Janise threw up on me, because she had to take Magnesium, and it made her really sick. She wasn’t even completely awake when it happened. They didn’t let her eat anything, but then they gave her an apple, because she was so weak, but it didn’t stay down. That, and cutting the umbilical cord, which I did do!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
A lot of crying. I got really sick right after he was born, and we found out it was because of my blood pressure, and probably stress. So I remember a lot of crying, and being sick all the time.

7. Is it what you expected?
No, it was actually a lot easier. I thought it was going to be like death, or the end of everything normal, but it has been really easy. He is really good.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Umm, I think after he turned 5 or 6 months old, and he wasn’t so tiny anymore. It was less scary. I was always afraid to do anything when he was really small.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Not really. It has been really cool to see her as a mom though.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
YES. It did! Drastically.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
I can’t really think of anything. I didn’t have a life or friends previously, so not much has changed about my social life, except now there are three of us here. She’s made it pretty easy for me. I don’t have to change any of the bad diapers.

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Seeing how goofy my son is. He’s just like me. The weird faces he makes, and just how silly and funny he is, it just makes my day. He is a funny kid.
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Thanks for reading, friends! Thanks again to Lindsey for choosing to interview us. I hope you enjoyed our answers!

Was your pregnancy/birth experience similar to ours?

Jan (and Kyle!)