Be The ParentWritten by Demetria Zinga
“No! No! It’s MINE!” my two year old screamed as I chased around her around room for remote control. A few minutes later I was negotiating with her for a bottle of ketchup at dinner table. And before bedtime, we watched a series of three Veggie Tales videos over and over again until both of us were exhausted for night. After my daughter fell asleep, I began to mull over in my mind events of day. Was my two year old controlling my life? Ha! She sure was. But WHY? Wasn’t I parent? That’s when I really began to do some soul-searching. I’d seen way too many parents of young children running themselves ragged to appease their children in every way. Giving in to each request was not something I’d planned on, but had just become easy way out. I knew what I’d have to do. I’d have to set rules and limits and follow through with them, and get this…ALL time! Not having had much practice at this, I knew I was going to be in for a treat once I began to implement it. So next morning, my little one stumbled out of bed and demanded a small bag of fruit juice snacks for breakfast. I rolled my eyes. Not snacks for breakfast again! I was going to have to make a wise choice and serve her something nutritious instead…eggs and oatmeal maybe? “No! No! No eggs! CHEWIES!” my daughter screamed. By time I had adamantly refused second time around, she was on floor pouncing and flinging herself all over place. “Just be calm” I told myself. “She’ll figure out soon enough that you aren’t going to budge.” And she did. And she stood up, sat at table, and ate eggs and oatmeal.
The Sleepless ChallengeWritten by Demetria Zinga
For me, it was “welcome to motherhood”. Ready or not, I was in for a wonderful experience. But my first challenge was to overcome first few months of literally no sleep. It was my first baby, and I felt pressure of doing everything “just right”. I wanted to be a perfect mom. But I quickly learned that parenting was going to be a lifelong journey and that I would make plenty of mistakes along way. After stumbling out of bed frequently for middle of night feedings I’d wake up around 6 a.m. to my newborn crying a joyful solo for yet another feeding. After about three weeks of this, and then another month I was completely worn out! Following a cesarean section, I immediately thought I could be Supermom, Grand Interior Decorator, and House Cleaning Company all at once, and of course I thought I could simultaneously juggle responsibilities of a baby that I was so certain would sleep through most of day and night. After a few restless nights, and having noticed that my sweet infant was rarely sleeping at all, be it night or day, I began to really wonder about her. Was this going to be norm? Did infants really stay awake for hours at a time demanding a feeding every hour and half? Was I doing something wrong? I couldn’t help but wonder if this pattern would ever end. I’d read all many parenting articles that tell you when your infant should stop waking up so frequently and begin sleeping peacefully through night. Well, I dare say that my little one kept waking up again and again for nights on end. After a few months I began to think I was only mother out there suffering from severe sleep deprivation! Of course, I knew that I wasn’t REALLY only one, but it sure hits home when it happens to you. My young one is now an active toddler, and things have definitely improved as far as her sleeping habits go, but I learned quite a few things during those seemingly never ending nights of sleeplessness and days of extreme fatigue. If I had to do it all over again, I definitely wouldn’t have tried to be Grand Interior Designer and House Cleaning Company (and following a c-section at that)! Here are some handy tips that I should have used and will keep in mind when I have my next baby:
•Rest, rest, rest! Okay, it sounds trite, and while pregnant you’ve probably heard everyone in world tell you to rest, but once you’ve given birth it’s even more important that you still adhere to resting phase first few days you are home from hospital. I can’t even begin to explain how much rest is needed after a cesarean section…but in either type of delivery, your body needs time to recuperate, so take it easy. What does resting mean? It could mean using paper plates so there are fewer dishes to wash. It could mean having a friend or relative come sit with you a few hours a day and help you around house (which is especially helpful if you have other younger children). And if you have older children, it could mean having them help out with more chores around house. Most of all, it means to just let some things go. The dusting doesn’t have to be done right away…perhaps it can wait a few more days, or weeks even. • People say to sleep while baby is sleeping. Well, that didn’t work for me, mostly because I was attempting to get things done around house that I couldn’t do efficiently when my daughter was awake. So here’s what I say: REST while baby is sleeping. Sit down, take a break. Schedule that time, and give yourself at least 30 minutes to do absolutely nothing.