Oh friends! So much has happened in my tiny world since last I wrote you, only a week ago! But that’s how life goes, eh? We spent our Independence Day in the mountains at the wedding of some dear friends. It was totally lovely, and Ansel did shockingly well staying in the very un-air conditioned condo and powering through a LOT of social interaction. He did not enjoy riding in the car in holiday mountain-bound traffic and made no qualms about letting us know for the entire 4 hour standstill ride. I may or may not have nursed him in a moving car when we were going really slowly. Don’t call anyone, ok? Luckily, the ride home was much quicker and smoother. Ansel does not like traffic. (it’s my beer, ok? I swear we aren’t the parents this post is making us out to be. But can’t you just imagine Ansel drunkenly talking to his Ducky? “Ducky . . .Imma tell you sumthin’ I love you. NO! NO! I looooove you!”) Just before we left, my organization got word that we were awarded the federal funding we applied for in April.
The funding award more than doubles our organizational budget annually, which is, you know, fucking awesome. It will also mean a LOT of work. I was written in as the project director, which means it will be more than a lot of work for me, but also a golden opportunity for me to gain a lot of new skills, manage a huge grant, make national contacts, and do new, exciting work. It also means a raise. A fairly significant one, it’s looking like. Although we are still ironing out the details (like how many additional staff we will hire, if we’ll move, how we’ll keep up with the work we are already doing) the salary in the budget is $7K more than I make now, and even though it went against every grain of socialization in my body, I asked for even more.
So, I’m getting a new job, just not the new job I thought I’d be getting. And I am so incredibly relieved. I get to keep the things I love about my job – the flexible culture, the field, my amazing colleagues – and get some of the other stuff I wanted, like a salary that might let my family finally breathe easy when it comes to money. Or, easier anyway.
That was the good news from the last week. There was bad news too, of course. The flooding from the week prior did some significant damage to La’s car, which we are still figuring out. Our insurance deductible is $1000, so any way you slice it we are going to be out some serious cash. It’s also unclear if the car will be totaled or not – initially we heard that it definitely would not, and then we heard it probably would, and now we have no idea. More on this later.
The other stress is with my mom. The mom issues just keep’a comin’.
So, my mom watches A on Wednesdays when both La and I work, from about 9-9:30am to 3ish when La picks him up, so 6 hours in total. I pump, and provide for the next day, an average of 10 oz (sometimes up to 12, but 10 is pretty standard.) On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, La has no issues with this amount of milk adequately feeding A from 9-6, which is the total time I’m away – 9 hours. Each time my mom has had A, she has expressed intense anxiety about having enough milk and fed him all 10oz before La arrives to pick him up at 3.
The result of this is that La has to calm my moms fears and then is usually dealing with a VERY hungry/fussy/cranky A by the time I get home at 6pm. She can (and has) dipped into the freezer stash, but I always get nervous both because I don’t have a lot in there and I want to encourage him to nurse as well as possible when I get home. It’s already a struggle when I get home because he has gotten used to the flow of a bottle and gets mad at my boobs for not spouting milk like he’d want. I also have a sneaking suspicion that in a few more weeks, her anxiety over having enough milk will turn into requests for more, and my fear with this is that she would feed him whatever amount I sent – 10, 12, 15 ounces. And I can’t keep up with that.
So, I’ve asked her to hold off on the last bottle, tried to explain the complexities of pumping, encouraged her to rock or walk or snuggle or pacify in any other way. I am also suspicious that he is not napping as well as he could be because she tends to hold him instead of putting him in the swing, so my guess is that he is crying/fussing because he is sleepy, but she feeds him because its easier than getting him to sleep. When I’ve talked to her about it, she says that she can ‘tell that he’s hungry.’
The stress of trying to make pumping arithmetic work is rough on any given day, but knowing that he was eating so much more AND still super hungry or eating from the stash was too much. So last Wednesday I decided I was going to say something.
Which I did, last night. And it erupted into a horrible argument. She went into an intense guilt trip (“I am such a horrible grandmother, I’m not fit to watch him”) and which devolved into statements like “well if its so difficult for you to pump enough, maybe he needs a supplement” and “I’m sorry I can’t do it like LA!” I asked her to just wait to give him his last bottle until 3pm – she said, “well I can try but I’m not going to let him just cry in hunger!”
It was a mess. So, I hung up the phone and sent a text to my dad, hoping he’d have my back. No such luck. Instead, he said I was being ridiculous, that ‘it’s just a few ounces of milk! just give her more milk!’ and that it would be horrible for me to “drive a wedge through our family” over something “so silly.” He said we needed to find a compromise, that they’d try it my way, but if it didn’t work I’d have to ‘just send more milk.’ And why couldn’t I just appreciate the favor my mother was doing for us?
Y’all. Y’ALL. Am I being totally irrational to want someone who is watching my kid to feed him like I ask them to? If she’s like this about the breastmilk, what will she do about the requests I make regarding solid foods? Or anything else? I 100% believe that she is trying her best, but I also think she doesn’t have the energy to rock him to sleep the way he needs to be rocked, that she’s uncomfortable with him crying so she feeds him. And it’s not a favor to me to be stressed out. I can pay someone to watch my kid and feed him the way I ask. The money would be worth not having to freak out or feel like I have to sacrifice my parenting to make my mom feel good.
I am begrudgingly taking him over there tomorrow. With 10 oz, in 3 bags, labeled for the times he is to eat them. And if she freaks out, I will reiterate what have said before. He eats 10 oz or less in the 9 hours he’s with La, he can eat 10oz in 6 hours and be fine. I’m not waking up in the middle of the night to pump more, I’m not going to sacrifice what little sanity I have to pacify my mom.
Ugh. That was long.
So. The car. Things are still up in the air, but we are looking into trading the car in when we get it back (it’s a lease, which is up in about 5 months) and getting a CRV (the current car is a civic and the regular little car set fills the entire back seat, let alone the big baby one!) So last night we went and test drove one. And it’s beautiful and roomy and would totally be wonderful. And it would pump our car payment up much higher than I’d like. And our monthly income is going up even more. So. What to do, what to do? The fact is, we will likely need to either get a new lease or take over payments on the civic come December, so we might as well have the car we really want and need, instead of one that isn’t ultimately meeting our needs. But car payments, especially big ones, suck. So. Luckily, we have to wait to find out what’s up with the civic anyway, because man are those cars pretty.
That’s what’s going on, y’all. Life is a solid mix of awesome and really hard. Working full time and momming full time continues to be hard. my baby continues to be magical. I continue to not get enough sleep both because my baby continues to wake up and because I cannot convince myself to go to bed before 11pm no matter how hard I try. I have decided to become a more regular beer-a-night drinker, because it takes the edge off the day. I have NEVER been a beer-a-night drinker. Or really much of a drinker. But I was a smoker and I don’t want to go back to that, so a beer a night seems like a good compromise. Life is good and hard and exhausting and wonderful. And next week my baby will be 4 months old!