Friday, August 17, 2012

Remembering the "why"

It's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog, so hopefully I have a few followers still reading.  To update you on what's happened in my life, a few months back, my family welcomed a darling baby boy into our lives!  And, it's this addition that has brought me back to the blog with new material to write.

Before I go into the details of my six months of a combo of complete and modified bed rest or that my husband and doctor both nearly missed the birth of my darling baby boy, I want to start my blog with what's happened since the birth of my son.

My "Buddy" - as my darling Sweet Pea likes to call him (she's now over 2 years old!) - has had a few complications since entering our family.  Because of these complications, my desire to fully nurse my son has had some setbacks.  At one month, my son had poor weight gain and, after several more weight checks, we found he was actually losing weight.  Our doctor was thorough in checking for problems and, eventually (after a lot of prayer and crying on my end), we decided to stop fully nursing and switch to pumping and bottle feeding (both to verify his intake volume and to supplement with a human milk fortifier).  And, for three months, I had to feed my son every three hours, around the clock.  There was no trying to get him to sleep through the night.

For those of you who have read my blog for any length of time, you may have come to learn that I'm a little OCD when it comes to my children.  I analyze everything.  In fact, recently, I realized I've been doing this with my son.  I have been so dedicated to trying to get him to gain weight by making sure I am pumping enough to keep my milk supply up and, when it starts to go down, I take my supplements (we'll talk about Milk Rich in another blog).  Basically, I count my ounces of milk more meticulously than I count my own money.  My goal, my deepest desire at this stage, for my son and me, is to get him to gain enough weight so that we can go back to fully nursing and he will thrive. 

The problem with all of this is that I seem to have lost sight of why I had a child.  It wasn't so that I could become a dairy cow - constantly hooked up to a pump.  It wasn't even so that I could have the opportunity to nurse (although I see that as a side benefit).  No, the reason I had a child was to enjoy his presence and be able to teach and nurture him.  Somewhere along the way, my mind got too wrapped around the details to enjoy the big picture: I have a son!  I have a family! 

I don't know if anyone reading this has gone through anything similar.  Maybe it wasn't with nursing, but with something else.  Maybe it wasn't even with kids, but another area of your life that you've forgotten to realize what you actually have right in front of you.  But, I hope that you are able to pause, look at that thing you've got, and enjoy it.  I am right now as I type this post way too late at night, when I should be sleeping because my Buddy is, next to my son's crib watching him sleep.

Monday, March 12, 2012

To my firstborn child on your 2nd birthday

Dear Sweet Pea,

Today is an important day.  You are two!  You are changing from an infant to a toddler right before my eyes, and it is an amazing process.  You are learning so many things, and you make me so happy to teach you.

I am not a perfect mother.  I have already made mistakes.  I already have things I wish I'd done differently.  I have been tired when you want to play.  I have yelled when I should be patient.  I have not always understood you when you were trying so hard to tell me something.  I have been busy when you wanted time with me.  But, I want you to know that you are the joy in my life and one of the reasons why I want to improve myself.

You are not a perfect child.  You do things that I tell you not to do.  You throw temper tantrums.  You make messes.  You say "no" when you should say "yes."  You want dessert when you haven't eaten your dinner.  But, you were and still are the perfect gift from God. 

You and I will both continue to not be perfect.  We will disagree.  We will argue.  We will do things that the other one will not like.  But, my love for you will never change. 

I will love you without restrictions.  I will love you when you are nearby or far away.  I will love you when you're good and when you're bad.  I will love you even if I disagree with you.  I will love you through your good times and bad.  My love for you will always be there.

As you continue to grow, I look forward to the time we will spend together, your laughs, your hugs, your kisses.  I look forward to continuing to teach you new things but, even more, I look forward to you teaching me how to be a better person and a better mom.

You are a smart, beautiful, special, good person.  You will always be my firstborn child.  No matter what happens in our lives, I want you to always remember that you were and will always be a perfect gift from God.  Your life will take you in many directions and, someday, it will take you away from me.  But, my love for you will always be present in wherever you go and whatever you do.

I love you.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Redefining Myself Through Volunteering

I may not have mentioned this already, but last year my husband and I made the decision that I should leave my job.  Working nearly full time - even telecommuting from home - and raising a child with a husband also working full time was causing a lot of stress on my life and my marriage, but it also wasn't allowing us to raise our child the way that we had hoped.  The transition from paid worker to unpaid servant was difficult.  And, it's still something that I cope with each day.  However, I've found ways to redefine myself not just as a mom, but as a professional with some serious clout!  I became a volunteer.

Volunteers aren't typically thought of as being professional nor building career reputations.  This image is definitely wrong...when you've got the right organization training you.  Several years ago, I made the decision to join the Junior League.  While I originally did this to make friends, this decision has grown into a commitment and a personal development opportunity.  I've been able to test out different opportunities for future resume building and career growth.  I've planned events, developed fundraisers, managed committees, and developed my skills at social networking.  Plus, I've been able to network with women who are still working in the corporate world who may one day provide me an opportunity to return to work if and when it fits into the lifestyle I want for my family.

Volunteering doesn't have to be seen as doing the jobs that no one else wants to do.  It doesn't have to be seen as only involving menial tasks.  The nonprofit sector provides opportunities to develop your corporate skills while making an impact on lives around you...all in the timeframe  that you, as a mom, are able to give.  I have seldomly heard of a volunteer being fired...which means you can test out different areas of work without fear! One of the best parts; however, is that many nonprofits allow you to volunteer - at least in part - with your child present.  So, not only are you developing your potential, but your teaching your child how to help others.  It's a win-win situation!

If you're looking for areas to volunteer, why not check out the Junior League...they're not the same as they were 50 years ago, but a group of amazing, empowered women who are making a true impact in the communities around them.  You can find out more at or follow me on Twitter @KatieShuck.