a day (sort-of) in the life of a stay-at-home mom

i have been tired lately, so tired. mentally drained. i love my son more than anything in the world (as i’m sure i’ve mentioned many times in my posts here) but being his mama (or just a mama in general) tires you out more than any job you’ll ever have. trust me. there are 168 hours in a week … subtract maybe 7 a day for sleeping (if you’re lucky) and that leaves you with 119 hours of being on the job. yup, the job of being a full-time parent. i’m not saying that those who go back to work after their maternity leave aren’t tired, but they don’t put in 119 plus hours per week with their children. it’s long days and (sometimes) even longer nights. my son relies on me pretty much 24/7, and as much as i’m ok with that arrangement, sometimes mama needs a break. even going to the bathroom with the door closed (i wish) or having the door closed and not having a little voice saying mama! mum! and banging away with a random toy would be a welcome change some days.

here’s my day today …

• woke up my son at 8:45am (if i let him sleep as long as he wants he won’t nap in the afternoon and sure as shit won’t go to bed on time, or willingly, or even at a decent hour)
• gave the little guy a bath
• got myself dressed, did my hair and makeup (somewhat) while hubby got the little guy dressed, bum changed etc
• changed the sheets on his bed as he soaked through everything last night
• fed him breakfast
• ate my own breakfast while getting him more to eat during my eating time
• checked email, Facebook and instagram
• paid a few bills
• washed his face and hands and highchair
• put him down to play for a little while
• kept him away from our dog and my parents’ dog ( a 100lb doberman who’s here for the week while they’re away) even though he was insistent on following them around and trying to whack them or bite them while squealing with excitement the entire time
• washed the dishes and all our new tupperware (oooooooh!)
• hubby took the little guy outside while he bbq’d up some lunch so i could finish tidying the kitchen
• swept the kitchen, dining room and living room floors
• brought my son inside and gave him some milk and a snack (his pre-naptime routine) in the kitchen while he played with toys and came back for more snacks, stopping continuously at the patio door to bang on it and yell at his dad who was outside trying to trim the dogs nails
• took him outside and cut his fingernails and toenails while his dad was outside
• brought him upstairs to change his bum and get him ready for a nap
• said bye to his dad and then rocked him to sleep, after fighting it for about 10 minutes, which he does everyday – laughing, playing with my hair, trying to pinch me, etc. good times.
• went down to the computer to finish up some design work on the winner of the free business card design contest that i held on Facebook after hitting 200 fans (woot woot! check out my page here), check emails, Facebook etc
• little man woke up after 30 mins instead of his usual 2 hour nap
• tried to console him and get him back to sleep … after 45 minutes and some tylenol (pretty sure he’s getting his molars so i thought maybe that was the trouble) he finally stopping whining and crying but didn’t go back to sleep
• brought him downstairs and cuddled with him while i finished up my design work for the contest winner
• back upstairs to give him a snack and drink
• swept the floor again (having 2 big dogs does not make for a nice clean floor – at least it’s only for one week!)
• let the dogs out for a pee
• packed up the kid (plus a drink & snack for him) and headed to the grocery store
• while at the grocery store he decided to play with the cinnamon buns in the cart (pillsbury ones, where you just pop the container and put ’em in the oven) … he always plays with the groceries so i didn’t think anything of it, (because it keeps him entertained, even though he has a drink and snack with him, the groceries are more interesting) until the lid popped off and 3 of the “rolls” flew out onto the floor. and of course there were no employees anywhere to be found.
• back home after an hour out and about
• gave the little guy a spoon and yogurt container to play with while i put the groceries away
• tried to keep him away from hitting and chasing the dogs around (again)
• let the dogs out, this time it was raining so i had to wipe their feet, backs, faces, etc to prevent big wet footprints and hair everywhere (mostly)
• stopped part way through putting groceries away to get the little guy started on dinner because he constantly was wanting to be picked up but it’s hard to put away groceries one-handed with an almost 25lb weight on your hip
• finishing putting away groceries
• ate my dinner that hubby made for me before he left for his afternoon shift (YAY!)
• gave little guy more to eat while i tidied up my dinner mess
• cleaned up his hands, face etc and set him down to play while i washed the dishes and swept again (sick of it yet? i know i am!)
• took my son upstairs to change his poopy bum and get his jammies on
• put on my comfy clothes and got the laundry ready to take down
• let the dogs out again
• watched cartoons with the little guy while he had his bedtime snack and we played
• put away his toys and took him up for his nighttime routine (teeth, playtime, bum change, stories, cuddles)
• after little man was asleep, brought the laundry downstairs
• had a little snack
• started the cloth diaper laundry and sat down at the computer to type this, check email, and do some photo book design work (for Renaissance Studios, check them out here!) etc etc

now i’ll wait for my hubby to get home in approximately half an hour when i’ll be exhausted but still plugging away. i turned on the ball game in the background for some noise (and well, i like watching the Blue Jays, what can i say) but now i hear that the washing machine stopped so back in i go to add the rest of the little guy’s clothes to finish washing up.

then i’ll sleep, wake up, and do it all again – with a few changes of course. gotta keep things interesting.

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cloth diapering? yup.

i went for a coffee date with my friend Melissa a few days ago (Hi Melissa!) (ooooh and if you’d like to check out her awesome blog, do so here) … we met through a mutual friend many years ago but haven’t really ever had a one-on-one conversation in person (not that we wouldn’t), it’s just the way things happened. well, this lovely lady is expecting her first little one in just 8 short weeks (or less!) and after many a facebook message regarding cloth diapering (and a few other fun mom-ish things) we decided we’d get together to make our conversing a little more personal.

we chatted for just under 3 hours (and likely could’ve rambled on more) but i wanted to get home to see my little guy before bedtime (yes, i still want that cuddle time; i know it won’t last forever so i gotta milk it while i can!). i must say, i had a great time visiting! it was nice to just sit and chat with a fellow mom (to-be) about all the things i found helpful, useful and my experiences thus far in this thing called parenthood. i firmly believe that the more you know going into a situation, the better you’ll feel, the more confidence you’ll have, and ultimately, the decisions you make will be based on your peers’ experiences rather than just facts found on the internet or in books.

let’s face it, we all love talking about our little ones! i love being able to offer advice and suggestions on things that i know worked (or didn’t) for our little family. especially when it comes to cloth diapering. a topic of conversation that can become heated  if not approached with an honest and open mind.

after the first few weeks of pregnancy sunk in (back in 2012), i started to think more and more about cloth diapering and how i eagerly wanted to try it. i had negative feedback and comments from friends, family and strangers alike. ewwwww, really? you wanna put poop in your washing machine? you’re actually going to try that? good luck! you’ll have so much laundry. disposables are easier. won’t it be expensive? i’ve heard it doesn’t work. once they start eating solids you’ll change your mind … the list goes on! despite all this wonderful feedback, i pushed forward. i truly believed that cloth diapering was the best decision for our soon-to-be bub, our wallet and the landfills. our little guy is 16 months old and still wears the same cloth diapers we purchased before he was born.

was it worth it? yes!!!in the beginning it cost between $300-$400 to build up our stash: shells, liners, wetbags, diaper pail, etc. but when you think about the cost of disposables and how many diapers you go through in a week’s time (especially when they’re really little and you’re changing them sometimes every hour and a half) it’s truly money-saving. consider this: for conversation’s sake, let’s say your 3 month old goes through 8 diapers a day; multiply that by 7 days a week and you get 56 diapers, and that’s your MINIMUM. that doesn’t take into account poop blowouts (through the diaper, pants, jammies, what-have-you). so let’s up the number to 10 a day; now you’re at 70 per week. the average package of diapers is anywhere between $20-$35 and usually has 30-40 in a pack (unless you buy in bulk, but still) … so you’ll need probably 2 of those a week. that works out to an average $40 minimum per week. multiply that by 4 weeks in a month; in 3 months you’ll spend around $480 in diapers alone. one article i found said that the average family spends $1500/year on diapers. seems to be close to my calculations … now think back to how i said we spent between $300-$400 on our cloth diapers; doesn’t sound so bad now does it? and let’s be honest, the amount of laundry you do with a baby is ridiculous anyway. bodily fluids will find their way onto anything and everything you (and they) wear. we do laundry usually every 3 days, which i honestly think is pretty good! we obviously have times where we need to do a bit more washing (when accidents and explosions happen), but overall, twice a week is ok by me. and since our little guy started eating solids we added Bummi’s disposable, flushable and biodegradable liners to our diaper routine and things are even better! no more scrubbing poop off of the cloth, just throw that little mesh liner into the toilet and by by poop! yay! (LOL) … plus, the cloth diapers that we chose “grow” with our little guy – from 8lbs up to 30lbs – so he should get to potty training while still using them (which hopefully will be sooner than later!)

another benefit to cloth diapering is less rashes and irritation – after speaking with fellow mamas, i soon discovered that our little guy had many less diaper rashes than the average baby/toddler (he still has them but they’re few and far between). so of course, i went on the googles and did some snooping around (yes, on the googles). what i found was in fact true; babes who are in cloth statistically have less irritation. the biggest reason? no harsh chemicals. if that’s not a good enough reason to cloth diaper i don’t know what is! … now, i will be honest, we use disposables every now and then. what?! yes, we do. i honestly do not enjoy bringing poop home in a bag (especially that of my toddler) so if we’re on an outing, at the park, the mall, away for the weekend at a hotel, etc, we use disposables. we chose to go with PC (President’s Choice) GREEN diapers. not only are they eco-friendly, they’re fragrance-free and super absorbent! AND they’re easy on the wallet compared to most eco-diapers we’ve found … we tried a few different brands before settling on the PC ones. every other diaper we tried gave our poor little guy a rash or irritated his skin, or just plain stunk. hello, big diaper companies? maybe try something different? just an idea.

if you’re considering cloth diapering, don’t be afraid. it’s an investment well worth the time (money) and effort … as much as i love using cloth diapers, i really am looking forward to no diapers at all. well, for a few years anyway; until we decide if we’re adding to our little family or not 🙂

sleep, what’s that again?

you know that feeling, when you’re so tired that you just want to break down and sob? yeah, me too. that’s how this week has been for us. i can honestly say that this has been the longest and most trying week i’ve had since becoming a mother. i used to think that the first few weeks were the hardest and most tiring, but now, that seems like a walk in the park. i knew why my son was waking up throughout the night, he needed to nurse. i was okay with that because i knew i could slip back into a sweet slumber once he was finished.

i guess i can say we’ve been spoiled when it comes to being parents, up until now. my son was always a great sleeper (save for the odd night of craziness). he’s been going to be around 8-ish and sleeping 11-13 hours straight since last spring, and i’m not exaggerating. whenever he’d have a growth spurt we’d know it, because he’d wake up in the night and want to nurse. i was always fine with that. this past week has been frustrating, mentally-draining, and just exhausting. it’s been almost a week now that my son’s sleep pattern has been extremely off and i don’t know why. he went to bed last Sunday, and all seemed to be well until he woke up only 2 hours later crying. we tried to console him to no avail. he’d be happy, sad, angry, then laughing; every emotion you can think of, except tired. he was wide awake. we changed his diaper and tried getting him back down around 10:30, no luck. my husband came in to try. nothing, just a very awake and crazy kid. changed him again around 1am. we tried leaving him in his crib with toys and leaving the room, that lasted 5-10 minutes before he stood up sobbing and wailing. we tried sitting in the rocking chair while he was in his crib with toys, same results. we tried just leaving the room, same. i was getting extremely frustrated and cranky (because, hey i was tired too) and i held him away from me and said, listen you need to stop it and go to sleep! mommy is very tired and so are you, this isn’t fair!! i firmly set him down in his crib and he started to sob; that scared and upset cry. i picked him up and held him close and i started crying. a lot. after about 15 minutes i set him in his crib while he played with some toys and i quietly sobbed in the rocking chair beside him. i didn’t want to wake my husband up as he had to be up at 5:30 to go to work. i ended up picking him back up and rocked with him until around 3:30am when he finally fell asleep. i’ve honestly never broke down like that. i was upset because i scared him; because i was so tired; because i couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t sleep. because everything in my heart was telling me that he was fine but it just didn’t seem like it was. sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone, especially an already worn out mother.

he stayed asleep until about 10am the next day, which was fine i suppose, but then was a miserable, cranky baby most of the day because, why? you guess it, not enough sleep. he went down for a 3 hour nap (which was awesome for me) and i thought maybe that would help him. that night we did the usual routine again. and again he fell asleep, just the same as always only this time he woke up about an hour after he initially passed out. the night before repeated itself with him finally falling asleep around 3:15am. i was losing my patience throughout the night. i normally wouldn’t be frustrated with him until probably an hour or more of farting around but i was at the point where after 15 minutes i was irritated, ready to snap. it was starting to wear on me because i couldn’t figure out what was wrong. my husband brought home a beautiful bouquet of flowers to cheer me up (they really are beautiful and still going strong) and told me that i was doing a great job but that i needed to take a break.  he put our son to bed that night and miraculously the wee man slept for the whole night through! with only one wake up for about 15 minutes (i’ll take it). i thought, thank you! yes!! the next evening (Thursday) we had plans to go for dinner and a comedy show with some friends and my sister was coming over to babysit. she said the little guy was great and he only woke up once before we got home. awesome. hubby and i relaxed on the couch until about 11:45 when our son woke up. surprise surprise. up we went. changed his bum and this time we were up with him until between 3-4am. my hubby was amazing. after i tried and tried he came in and told me to go get some sleep and he’d try. i felt so guilty because he had to get up to work but he kept insisting. my hubby sent me a text Friday morning to tell me that he cancelled his overtime for Saturday so that i could get some rest. he told me to go out that night, do whatever i want and not come home until whenever, or stay out all night.  what a guy. i am so thankful to have such an amazing and supportive man in my life. i did go out. i went and had my makeup done (just for fun because a friend of mine is a very talented makeup artist who works at MAC), then went out for dinner with a long-time friend to a tasty little restaurant called Ben Thanh (yummmm) and then did a little grocery shopping before getting home between 9-9:30pm. i went to bed a few hours later and the little guy didn’t wake up once. he slept 14 hours straight! holy crap! i guess he was catching up on some much needed rest.

we looked up some info on sleep regression as a friend of my husband’s suggested maybe that’s what was going on. i hope it doesn’t last 2-6 weeks like a few of the articles we found said it could. i understand that their sleep patterns/habits can get thrown off when they’re learning new things but honestly, i never expected it to be like this.

last night was another one for the record books. he slept for maybe 20 minutes and then was wide awake until 1am when he passed out in my arms. he stayed asleep until just before 6am. i changed and rocked him and he was back out by 7-ish and stayed out until 10am. he’s napping again right now (hubby just got him down).

I should’ve wrote this in the middle of the night when i was awake and frustrated and at my wit’s end. maybe it would help for the next time this happens, because i’m sure this isn’t the last.