My High Maintenance Home Front: January/February Edition

Last month I decided to start periodically posting general life updates and chronicling my high maintenance home front in pictures, tweets, and blurbs.

Over the past six weeks, I have been consumed with my lawyer day-job. Last week, I finished multiple briefs on some serious cases. It was a big relief to complete the work, but it immediately started piling up again. I just received notice that two more huge filings are now due.

On the home front, my husband and I are currently installing hardwood floors on our third floor each night after the baby goes to sleep. We don’t have a single room on the first two floors completely finished yet, so why not start work on the third floor renovations? This could be why my life is in a constant state of chaos.

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Dreaming of the Law…Not Really

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Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My best dream ever was…

To become a lawyer. You must think I’m crazy.  Let me explain.

I decided in sixth grade that my life goal was to be a lawyer.  I happened to be a nerdy child, fascinated with United States history, the Bill of Rights, and the development of my nation’s rights and laws. I thought the founding of the nation was really awesome and since the Founders were lawyers, I decided that I wanted to be one, too. It seemed like lawyers had been instrumental in bringing about change so I decided to become one of these people who wielded such a noble power.  I wanted to be a girl who changed the world! I had big ideals for a twelve year old kid.

As I grew older, I worked hard and I kept my focus on my dream of becoming a lawyer. I walked away from other opportunities that came along.  In high school, although I was a Chemistry whiz, I opted not to pursue a career in the sciences because I had a one track mind and that track led straight to a career in the legal profession.  In college, I walked away from an opportunity to pursue a career in academia because I just had to be a lawyer.

I created this idea in my mind that the law was a stately profession where lawyers fought for justice and the betterment of our society.  I was a naive, idealistic, silly girl. Within the first few weeks at law school, I realized that my dream was not reality. It seemed like most people were there in pursuit of money and power. Sadly, once I reached my dream, it didn’t make me happy. I learned a tough lesson from this life experience. Sometimes when you achieve what you always dreamed of, the reality is not what you imagined or expected.  Achieving this dream ended up being the biggest disappointment of my life.

This seems kind of depressing, but this story has a happy ending.

Fortunately, after several years, I found a position in the legal field where I could help others and fight for “justice.” This is as close as I’m going to get to those childhood ideals I had, so this is a good thing.

And then the greatest thing of all happened.

Although I wasn’t planning on it, I became a parent. Parenting provides meaning, challenges, and happiness to my life that I never could get from any type of career or profession. Being a parent is my highest achievement.  It dwarfs anything my career as a lawyer has to offer. Now I can try to make the world a better place by raising empathetic, humble, hardworking, productive, and loving children that will go out into the world and do their best to make it a better place.

So my best dream ever was to become a lawyer; however, my best reality ever was becoming a mama.  Even though my life didn’t necessarily end up the way I expected, I got lucky and my reality became better than my dreams.

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**This is a link-up post for “Finish the Sentence Friday” and the sentence is “My best dream ever was…” This link-up is hosted by Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine, Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Mommy, for Real, and Finding Ninee. #FTSF

Finish the Sentence Friday

Mama, You Really Don’t Need All That Stuff: What a Newborn Really Needs

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Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I thought that I required so many things for my daughter before she was born.  I was so excited for the baby to arrive that I got sucked in by all of the super cute baby items out there and all of the neat gadgets and gizmos.  I wanted to be prepared for every scenario that could possibly happen.

Even though I thought that I was ready for anything, things failed to work out as I had planned pretty much immediately.  My daughter arrived three weeks early and she weighed six pounds, yet I had refused to buy her any newborn clothing because I read that newborns wouldn’t get much, if any, use out of them.  So here I was with this teeny peanut and no clothes to put on her, except the hospital provided bodysuit. I thought I was so prepared, but, in reality, I hadn’t even bought adequate clothing for my daughter.  I certainly couldn’t dress her in my new baby monitor, Boppy pillow, or Bumbo seat.

The point here is that I “needed” almost none of the things that I accumulated for the baby (although a lot of the stuff sure was nice to have and made my life a heck of a lot easier).  I convinced myself that I had to have all of this stuff in order to make it through that first month.  I was wrong. I totally overbought and wasted money that could have gone to a better use (like my daughter’s college fund).

In reality, there are only a few things that a newborn really needs:

1.  Lots of love and interaction from her parents:  It has been found that early skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her newborn is healthy for future programming and behavior.  Babies thrive on attention from their parents and they learn through interactions with their parents.  So talk to your newborn, read to your newborn, make eye contact with your newborn, or make faces and smile at your newborn. You are helping their development by doing what comes naturally, so play away!

2.  Diapers/Wipes/Diaper Cream: There are a lot of options out there.  Cloth diapers have come a long way and they are pretty awesome.  You can purchase adorable cloth diapers that are just like disposables and they even have Velcro closures.   Disposable diapers are super convenient and very absorbent.  There are also numerous wipes options: Disposable wipes or paper towels/washcloths in wipes solution.  I combined a little bit of everything.

3.  Baby Bodysuits/Sleep and Play Rompers: This is all my daughter wore for the first four weeks of her life.  I preferred the zip-up sleep and play rompers because they made the continuous nighttime diaper changes easier.  My daughter was born in the summer so she didn’t need to be bundled up.  For cold weather, add a coat, socks, and a couple sweaters to your baby’s wardrobe of body suits and footed sleep and plays.  I had no need for shirts that I had to pull over my daughter’s head and maneuver her delicate little arms through or pants that I constantly had to struggle pulling off and on during diaper changes.  Some people swear by gowns, but I found them to be more cumbersome than the zip-up rompers and they were drafty for baby.

4.  Car Seat:  Obviously necessary.  I loved my bucket.  I highly recommend the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Seat.  It is safe, convenient, and stylish.

5.  A Sling/Baby Carrier:  A sling/carrier was essential for me to get anything accomplished around the house.  I put the baby on and off I went, arms free!  There are numerous sling/carrier types.  I ended up trying three different ones before I found one that my daughter tolerated.  There are online sites that let you rent a sling/carrier to try it out first.  You could also buy a used one to save some money or borrow one from another parent to give it a try before committing.

6.  First Aid/Hygiene Items:  Baby soap, nail clippers, a nail file, a nasal aspirator, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, cotton squares, a first aid kit, and a thermometer.  That’s the extent of it.

7.  A Place for Baby to Sleep:  Babies sleep a lot, like twelve to sixteen hours a day.  Babies don’t really care where they sleep.  Mama just needs to make it safe place.  I used a Graco Pack N’ Play with Bassinet, which was portable and versatile.

8.  Something for Baby to Eat:  If you plan on breast feeding, you probably want to invest in a small tube of Lansinoh cream because that first few weeks is painful.  Nobody warned me about the cracking, blistering, and bleeding.  If you formula feed, you will need to buy bottles and nipples. You really don’t need fancy bottle racks, brushes, or sterilizers. A rag, some hot, soapy water, and a towel clean bottles just fine.

This is all that a new parent requires.  These things meet all of baby’s basic needs and allow for mama to complete some tasks during the day. I wish I had realized this before blowing a portion of my daughter’s college fund on all of the other unnecessary newborn stuff!

High Maintenance Home Front

It is amazing how many wants and demands I get from every single being in my home (this includes the pets). These demands are combined with demands from my clients, demands from the courts, demands from my office, and demands I put on myself because I’m somewhat neurotic.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose it. The way I try to deal with all of this is to laugh, cry, or get mad. Obviously, laughing is the most pleasant of the three so I am going to start chronicling my high maintenance life in a humorous way through pictures and blurbs. Maybe you will enjoy laughing at my life too.

So, I will kick things off with my daughter, G.G.

Christmas fun:

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I have not pooped in 3 days so I’m taking this opportunity at great-grandma’s Christmas celebration to do so in front of the entire family.

Snow day fun:

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I win. I will not sit in my highchair or wear a bib. Serve me breakfast while I watch cartoons. Oh, and get me my winter hat while you’re at it. Don’t worry, I will think of more demands during the commercial break.

Late for work fun:

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Even though it’s only 5 degrees outside and my face is burning from the cold, I DON’T WANT TO WEAR MY HAT OR GLOVES!!! WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME? WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?

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Now that I took them off, I WANT YOU TO PUT THEM BACK ON NOW!

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Fine. I did it myself. Now turn on the radio before I start crying again and get me to school pronto.

That’s my girl.