Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mom Insecurities, Part one million...

Confession:  I rarely go out of the house with just me and Harper.  

I see pictures that awesome moms post when they are out doing their grocery shopping (with coupons! and a budget!) with three kids in tow.  I see moms who have 4 kids to get in and out of carseats each time they go anywhere.  I have friends who are extremely competent and capable moms, and I know they truly "run" their household, doing what they need to do, hauling kids with them without a thought.  That all seems terrifying to me.  Ever since Harper was born, I haven't done much alone (with her), besides the (almost) weekly walks with friends.  Luckily, Tony's usually up for us all going to run errands or just take a casual stroll through Target once he gets home from work.  And sometimes if I need to do a quick errand, I will go out once she's in bed for the night. 

At first it was the fear of a full-out newborn meltdown.  Then that phase passed, and it was work alone just to be at home and make sure she ate/slept when she needed to and some laundry got done.  Then that passed and she was fine to sleep if it was nap time and we were out.  Then she started finding her voice and I was once again afraid of a loud baby annoying others.  Then she got to the point where she does not nap if we are out - there's just way too much to look at.  And what do you do? - push a stroller and hold a basket, or put the carrier in the basket (what if it doesn't fit with the other stuff you are putting it it?), and now she fits in the basket seats but she slumps because she's pretty little still.... You get the idea.  

I'm the type of person who plans out errands based on location and avoiding left turns across traffic.  I plan where to park and how to carry the things I need to carry.  I overthink and micromanage. I'm a crazy person, basically.  So usually, the thought of just going somewhere seems more trouble than it's worth.  I'll just wait until Tony gets home and the details will work out better (I push the stroller, he pushes the basket, boom).  I'm not a hermit by any means, or anxiety-riddled, I just am lazycrazy, I guess. 

Honestly I think it's more so my mom insecurity - I don't want to seem like I don't know what I'm doing when there are others there to see.  It's so silly, but if I'm struggling to get her in a cart and she's slumping over and crying and I didn't remember to bring a toy...I just imagine a veteran mom laughing at me in her head.  Crazy, right?  Like that would ever happen.  I have one kid for crying out loud!  And no one cares what I'm doing or what I look like doing it.

And Harper is a little clock - she eats and sleeps so very predictably these days.  We got her on a pretty specific schedule from day one, which has been awesome for all of us, but sometimes it feels a bit restrictive.  I want her to take her 2 hour naps in her crib, not fall asleep randomly in the car and be a mess the rest of the day because she's off schedule.  You can predict down to about a 5 minute span when she will start melting down if eating/sleeping doesn't occur as planned.  Since she eats food food now, that's even more awake time that's taken up and not workable out and about (well, it is, but it's so very messy! and she screeches between bites).  We've gotten a million times more flexible about her schedule as she's gotten older (because she's so used to it, one day off doesn't destroy it all anymore), but it's still hard to throw that all to the wind.

Yet she's recently (finally!) dropped down to just 2, two hour naps a day (thanks to some unplanned (on her part) prodding from Janna), with a big awake time from 3 til bedtime at 7:30.  To make that stretch a little better, I've been trying to keep her up longer than two hours around lunch time.  So really I have even more time now to go out.  

All of this rambling simply to say that I need to get over it.  Today I did.

We went to Ross for a few things.  She fit in the basket fine.  And she hollered, but it was ok - there were literally 5 other small babies in there.  No one cared.  I dragged her into the post office, and instead of the usual trolls who reside there, there was a really nice lady who talked to us right away.  Turns out her daughter was born two days before Harper. 

Especially as the days turn nicer and she gets older and easier, I have to stop being afraid or insecure and get the heck out of this house.  I'm sure once Kid 2 comes around, I won't care at all and will be out constantly, so I may as well get used to it now.  Errands, no-reason Target visits (just window shopping, of course), playdates with friends who also have kids at home, playground trips, you name it.  It needs to happen.

Anyone else crazy like this?  Or any good suggestions on how to get over it?


  1. It is SO much easier to just stay home. Especially now, with a toddler with a set of pipes on him who is prone to tantrums. But right now, you've got the cute smiley baby thing going for you. No one will think she's annoying or that you don't know what you're doing.They will just think she's adorable. It's when they start looking like little kids that you're open to judgement. THe only way to get over it is to just do it. Again and again. Pretty soon you'll wonder why you ever had an issue to begin with.

  2. this is one of those things that~ like shannon said~ you just need to do. again and again. little by little. give yourself the opportunity to work through uncomfortable moments/worries about others staring/crying/meltdowns/etc... build up the confidence... a sense of comfort... and i promise, you will begin to feel apt and at ease... and during moments that are challenging, you may not feel "at ease", but you will begin to be more comfortable handling them, and getting through them. and when you do, you will see how many positive moments await... little everyday moments walking through the aisle, sitting at coffee shops, ... moments that you'll remember forever :). xoxo

  3. The honesty in this post is beautiful. I don't have a baby yet (due in October!) so I can't relate to everything you feel, but I am familiar with the insecurities that come when I perceive others to be watching and judging, and it stinks. It sounds like you're dealing with it, though, one post-office-dragging at a time. :) Hang in there!

  4. I remember feeling terrified to go anywhere with Colton. I talked to my mom about it and her advice was, "just make yourself do it." I did, and then I did it again, and again, and now I do it all the time and it truly is no big deal, even with tantrums. I know I'll feel the same way about going somewhere with two kids, and I'll have to do the same thing again. Start small - go somewhere close to home that you can leave quickly if need be. Once you do that several times, you'll build confidence and will feel more prepared about doing multiple errands or things that seem bigger/harder.

    One thing I LOVE doing that may help you is going to the grocery store on senior citizen day (a day where seniors get a 5% discount at our local grocery store). I cannot remember a time I've gotten a nasty look from anyone for something C has done in the store, and he's had complete meltdowns and even run into poor little old ladies with a shopping cart. They are so incredibly tolerant of him, partly I guess because you don't have many friends with babies at that age, and partly because I think they are far enough removed from parenting that age to remember it fondly. They may walk slow, but they are super supportive of me and tolerant of my child. If there is a time like this in your area, I highly recommend trying shopping that day; I've found before lunch time to be a good, quieter time to go.

    One thing to remember as you venture out on your own is that Harper isn't going to do anything someone else's child hasn't already done.

    Also, try places that are more kid-friendly and/or will offer you help. Try your local library. Ours has a great kids area that is away from the adult sections, so kids can make noise. They also offer story times for different age groups, which are very kid-friendly. I've found Chick-fil-a a great place to go when I'm on my own with C all day, through dinner and bedtime. He likes the food, I like that they bring my food to me or help me carry it, offer place-mats for kids, and always have people walking around to see if you need a refill or anything.

    I once went to Bible Study, dropped C off in childcare, only to be paged later because I had forgotten to bring him a bottle. I remembered his formula, just not the bottle to put it in. You will forget things, but it won't be the end of the world. I have learned to keep a small stash of extra diapers and wipes in the car, along with a few toys. Planning and packing the night before also helps me, because things can feel rushed if we're trying to leave early to maximize time out before naps. That way I can grab the diaper bag and feel confident I have enough diapers, wipes, easy snacks, change of clothes, toys, or anything else I think I'll need. Also, don't be afraid to be over-prepared! I was for MONTHS, until I figured out what I was constantly needing and not needing and pared down.

    The bottom line is you are doing exactly what you need to do to get over your (totally legitimate!) anxiety about going out alone with Harper. Keep doing what you're doing, and do what you need to do so that you feel comfortable going out just the two of you.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but since I'm about to be in the same position again, I found thinking about this again very helpful to me too!

  5. "LazyCrazy" YES!YES!YES!!!!
    I'm right there with ya. And I, too, have only just recently started sucking it up and going out with K on my own on a regular basis. It threw me for such a loop... not feeling up to taking K shopping everywhere... I AM A SHOPPER!

    I used to be the best bargain hunter around. I could hunt down the best deals, I had endless amounts of energy for clearance aisles. I could spend ENTIRE Saturdays wandering thrift stores and yard sales. I had a bit of a mental breakdown when I hit my first decent sale with K and suddenly couldn't focus. I physically could not mind her while effectively scanning/comparing prices/etc. It was partially because I was so sleep deprived, but it was mostly because I couldn't stop worrying about whether she was going to start crying in the middle of Target... and how would I react? Would I fumble? Would people judge me?

    It is getting better... I am getting my bargain-hunting groove back... it's just slow. They say babies change everything... I never thought they meant SHOPPING! ;)

    So... THANK YOU for being LazyCrazy with me! I love you!!!!

  6. Can I tell you a secret? The moms you see out with their kids like it's no big deal? It's a big deal. You are not alone in your insecurity. Also? If you want to conquer that insecurity for you, go for it. But I guarantee you Harper doesn't need to go to Target with you to be loved. She's probably much more content snuggling with you, going on walks, and eventually walking to a park. You are an awesome mama, Claire, and your love for your sweet girl is evident in every post you write. Don't get down on yourself.

  7. Haha the moms with the older kids aren't judging you, they are looking at you jealous cause their kids have meltdowns too but their kids can talk and say things like "I just don't like you!!!". I know I am no pro, but when I had Lyla, Mom forced me out of the house at 2 weeks to go to the mall with her and it was the best thing I did. We still have those moments where she loses her mind out in public but you just get a little embarrassed and then walk out the door and that is that. I wonder if there is a place around town that has baby music classes or something like that? I bet she would love that and it would only be about an hour or so. She could screech till her heart is content and she would fit right in.

    You just have to remember that every parent has been there and most have sympathy for you when things go wrong. What I do is when things go south in public I just fake it till I make it. I make it look like this happens all the time and I know just how to handle it.

    I love you both and I know things will work out in the end and you will look back on these days and realized you were being anxious for nothing! Keep your head up! Hey - Harper is still alive so you must be doing all this right! :)

  8. I'm totally right there with you on this one. In fact, I'm probably worse- we don't usually take B out for any errands, because it's just easier (and faster) to send one person out on the weekend (or after he's in bed) to take care of it. I take him to day care 5 times a week but that's about the extent of our adventures out, aside from walks or occasional play dates/ get togethers. It always feels like a huge production too every time we need to take him somewhere- I usually prep his diaper bag the night before so I'm not forgetting something. And here's the real kicker- the farthest we've ever driven with him is probably 30min away, and he was only a couple of weeks old at that point. I have to drive him somewhere that's an hour away next week and I am TERRIFIED. Because I don't know how he's going to handle being in the car/car seat that long. It'll all work out, and I know I just need to do things like that more often so I'm not scared every time it happens, but it is hard. Thanks for the post- I can completely relate :) You are doing an awesome job with Ms. Harper!!

  9. I was the opposite-- I had Hunter at Target when he was 4 weeks. As the COO of Falconhead, I need to get shit done, haha.

    But in all honesty, if you are going anywhere between the hours of 10a- 3p, odds are it's other moms, and they have been there. They won't judge. For the most part, other moms are not as nasty as we think they are. Swears.


  10. I'm with you. I'm terrified that other Moms will realize that I have no clue what I'm doing. With Olivia, I was out a lot more. With two, I've done it a few times, but it feels so overwhelming. I haven't been to Mom's group because I'm the first with 2 babies and they will see Olivia melt down and I can't stop it right away when I'm with Amelia. I know that I need to get over all of this. As soon as Amelia has her first shots, we are going to Mom's Group, even if I know Olivia will have a meltdown, even if everyone sees I don't have it all together, all the time. Just want you to know that you are not alone. You are a great Mama, Claire!

  11. I don't have babies, so I pretty much have no business commenting on this post. ;) But I just wanted to say...we all carry insecurities like this over one thing or another. Super awesome of you to put it out there. Since moving to Kuwait, I often stay in for days on end simply because I get tired of going out solo while Gabe is at work and being stared at simply for being super pale in a country of not-so-pale people. Sometimes it's JUST not worth the effort, and I dislike feeling like a freakshow. ;)

    Again...no kids, so my advice is probably not worth much...but you just have to do what works for you. If that means staying in for two weeks, go wild. ;)And if you do go out and Harper has a little meltdown, oh well! I never, ever judge or cringe when I see a mama with a baby having a difficult moment. My mind always goes to, "Whoa, go Mom out by herself!"

  12. I'm just finally catching up on blog reading and feel so strongly to tell you how wonderful of a mom you are and that we all have insecurities - albeit different ones. I often feel like someone is going to realize that I totally don't know what I'm doing. Like, pretty much every day. And I'm always scared I've forgotten something and will ruin Henry for life.

    But I have to give you major props for going out of your comfort zone and doing something you normally wouldn't have. That takes guts. And mommas have guts. :)

    As for napping, I know what you mean about the schedule. On weekends, I have so many things I need to do and I would love to take Henry with me but GAH, he pretty much naps every two hours. So, I have a very small window to run any errands (along with caring and feeding for him). I will love when/if he goes down to one long nap a day.

    And I don't even want to talk about when he stops napping completely. SAY IT ISN'T SO.



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