Motherhood is: Wishing for bedtime, but missing them as they sleep

It’s full of contradictions. In the best way possible.

Motherhood is: Wishing for bedtime, but missing them as they sleep
?:: Laura Keenan 

Motherhood is full of contradictions.

You sacrifice your own sleep to help them get some of their own. You then think about sleep all day long, counting down to when you can get back to bed, but inevitably you stay up well past a reasonable hour for no compelling reason.

You feel like your brain cells have been totally and utterly depleted, but that’s because you’re actually running 182,983 background processes, considering the needs of several other people, all at the same time.

A moment of peace is hard to find, because you feel like you are always, always being spoken to, touched or clambered onto, clutched or nestled into, a warm little head on your lap, legs with sun-kissed, playground-grazed knees splayed out across you, or all of the above simultaneously. And yet, sometimes the loneliness of motherhood causes your breath to catch in your throat and you wonder how you can possibly feel this way when you are constantly surrounded, when you are never, really alone.

You grow tired of being so needed, but with every new independence you can’t help but feel like you want to hold on a little bit tighter to the way in which they no longer need you.

You hold them close, because you know that if you’re doing your job right, they will freely let go one day.

Every stage sends you into a little burst of panic at its newness. You feel like you know nothing, and yet sometimes it is only *your* instinct that can tell what your child needs.

You go through the motions of putting them to bed and swear you legitimately cannot take another second, but while their eyelids flutter and they finally surrender to the irresistible pull of sleep, a pang in your heart forces you to admit that you already miss them.

Almost in the same breath, you can lose your cool, snap and yell, but your arms are still the ones they seek out for comfort, even if you’re the reason they’re upset.

Your heart will lift with pride at something remarkable that happened today. But not without one part of you running through a guilt checklist in the background, ticking off what you probably could have done better.

You are teaching them about the world, the importance of pleases and thank-yous, how to do long division, and where babies come from. You teach them about kindness, and courage, and what it means to be a good friend. But—despite all that teaching, all that knowledge and guidance you allegedly have—you have never had a magnifying glass held so closely against your own character, and wonder if you are, in fact, the one doing most of the learning around here.

You give, and you give, and you give.

You are convinced the well is dry. You vow, with a huff and hands thrown up in the air, that you are done.

You are *done*.

And then they will ask—and you give just a little bit more.

Yet, when you take some time out to do something for yourself, you question, even fleetingly, whether you’re being selfish.

You think back to when life seemed easier, when you slept more, when you read more, when your goals took the front and only seat, when your personal space was not common property and your time was just that: *your* time. You look back wistfully at photo albums of holidays and long unworn clothes in your wardrobe and your achievements, successes and the things that brought you joy and fulfillment.

Yet you wouldn’t trade any of it back, not even for a second.

Originally posted on The Tuna Chronicles.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

Keep reading Show less

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less