Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Back to Basically Alright March 25, 2013

Nohra is over 11lbs at four weeks old! That's a gain of 4lbs+ since birth :)

Nohra is over 11lbs at four weeks old! That’s a gain of 4lbs+ since birth 🙂

Today is my first day of feeling good again.

I was able to use various natural remedies (warm, moist heat and massaging, increasing my Vitamin C and taking Echinacea, increasing my fluid intake and resting) to beat mastitis without antibiotics. Yay! It also helped that Nohra is going through a growth spurt and was begging to nurse almost constantly these past few days.

I was in so much pain at times, but several things helped me to push through. One was knowing that I couldn’t afford to get any worse as there wasn’t anyone to care for my daughters. Another was that if I had to take antibiotics and transfer them to Nohra by nursing her I’d feel incredibly guilty. Another was that no one was here to comfort me regardless of how much I complained so it was better to stay tough (very similar to birthing). I’m happy to have won this battle. Thank you all so much for your kindness and advice!

Terra and Amara modeling their new sunglasses and outfits courtesy of my sister :)

Terra and Amara modeling their new sunglasses and outfits courtesy of my sister 🙂

Today was spent cleaning, trying to get back on track from several days of letting the girls go off their schedule and wreck the condo. It was bad. It still isn’t perfect, but today alone I got everyone bathed, the gerbil cage cleaned, the cloth diapers and the dishes washed, the bathroom cleaned, a load of laundry folded and put away, and a draft of my Master’s Project Prospectus completed.

The plan was to stop and celebrate every small victory along the way. Every cleaned body, room, dish, diaper and whatnot. But I was too busy scurrying to clean as quickly as I could each time I was able to put Nohra down to stop and enjoy each accomplishment. I can certainly say that being a single mother of three young children has made me much more efficient. I have no time to do anything slowly anymore.

There’s still a lot of cleaning to be done. My summer semester proposals need to be finished this week, there are bills to pay and appointments to make it to and Terra’s fourth birthday on Saturday. I cannot wrap my head around it all. When I dreamed of my adult life I never saw it being like this. I thought that I’d have babies, yes, but everything else was inconceivable. I do enjoy having children, I’m just eager to reach the period of our lives when I can share so much more with them.

There’s still so much I want out of life, but days like today I am certain that we’re going to be alright.


What a Slap in the Face March 22, 2013

I was finally starting to feel little bit better.

I got caught up on my homework, caught up on the laundry, spring cleaned the girls room, stocked up on groceries, and made it to everyone’s therapy session this week. I was looking forward to spending the weekend drafting proposals for my last two courses of graduate school. But there’s always something to keep things from being perfect.

Today, I have mastitis. It feels horrible. Have you ever been in so much pain that you wanted to tear off a body part? Well, if what they say about the Amazon warriors is true I would get rid of the pain and throw a wicked javelin for doing so.

It feels like there is an anvil hanging off my breast. My body aches, I have a migraine, I keep getting chills. My stomach hurts so badly I do not want to eat, my stomach hurts because I haven’t eaten. I cannot win for losing. Am I complaining? Maybe I am. I don’t remember mastitis  ever being a this bad.

I’ve gotten mastitis four times now in my 48 month nursing career. I’ve taken antibiotics before, but I would really like to avoid taking antibiotics while Nohra is so young, and even if I wanted to fill a prescription, my primary care doctor is out on sick leave, for cancer. I called her office today, since it’s Friday, just in case the pain intensifies over the weekend (if that’s even possible), but they will not give me a prescription without coming in. The office is over an hour away, it’s closed on the weekends, and we have trouble making it to places 20 minutes away unscathed. I would just switch primary care providers, but my doctor referred me to my cardiologists, and finding a new provider could back up my appointments with my cardiologist. Sigh.

I’m putting hot compresses on it, massaging it although it feels like masochism. I’m still nursing from it, and trying to save as much energy as I can. I really don’t want this to get me down. I was feeling so good about being caught up and being able to get ahead this weekend. Two steps forward, three steps back. But I’m still committed this journey, and I’ll get where I want to be eventually.

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Nobody Said This Was Going To Be Easy March 15, 2013

I am incredibly overwhelmed.

I put off my coursework to care for my kids.

I do my housework since I’m not doing coursework.

I put off my housework to do my coursework.

While doing my coursework my kids wreck the house.

The baby will not let me put her down.

I am constantly nursing, changing diapers, leaking milk, burping, soothing, being spit up on, peed on, pooped on.

I am constantly serving meals, washing dishes, pre-washing cloth diapers, grooming my children, educating my children, feeling guilty that I cannot find the time for educating myself, running errands, running myself into the ground.

I want to cry like my baby. Her cry is so committed, wholeheartedly unabashed.

I want someone to hold me, to rock me, to love me, to shhhhhhhh in my ear while I cry.

I want so badly for things to be alright.



Me and my TV March 11, 2013

CurbTeeI was never one for watching television when I was younger. By the time I was allowed to dictate my own viewing experience I was so involved with sports and extra-curricular activities that I never found the point in starting a series; I couldn’t commit to the demand of watching the next episode every week so I typically just rented movies.

In my adult life I haven’t had the money to keep cable consistently, but I’ve watched Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office on DVD. I also got hooked on Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and The First 48 while working overnights in hospitals; those shows were always on, always entertaining, and watching them in order isn’t required. SDDynastyame goes for Storage Wars and Antiques Roadshow, plus I could always go for anything on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic.

Since Nohra’s birth I’m excited to say that I am watching a series. I didn’t see season one and I just chanced upon episodes from season two a few weeks ago. I had no clue what I was watching, or what purpose it served, but it made me laugh so I kept watching. The show is Duck Dynasty. It makes me happy happy happy.

I’ve also fallen head over heels for the History 2 Channel. I’ve been learning so much and I’m retaining more information from the shows than I used to be able. I figure it’s because I’m single now. h2-logo-190x71I’ve heard that when you end a marriage you also end a reliance on the other person’s memory. He was my walking talking history book, my encyclopedia, and I couldn’t ever seem to keep the facts straight when he’d teach me. Now that we’re no longer together I find it much easier to recall historical data and lately I’ve been craving more knowledge. I want to soak up everything I can learn about everything.

But if I’m just itching for entertainment while I nurse my baby I turn back to A&E.


I Just Forgot March 8, 2013

My little rebel - 2wks old

My little rebel – 2wks old

I forgot about the growth spurt that occurs between the first and third weeks after birth. The typically complacent baby now constantly fussy, red as a grape tomato, and clawing at my breast with small, jagged, never-before-clipped fingernails, suckling night and day to make my breasts produce enough milk to meet her daily intake needs.

I forgot how, insignificant as it seems, those tiny nails produce tiny scratches that lead to very sensitive nipples.

I forgot just how much poop can come out of a bottom the fits in my hand. While pregnant I figured, why set up the changing table? I can just change her diapers on my bed! I’ve been reminded of why changing tables are wonderful. I’d never needed to wash my linen on a daily basis before now.

I forgot that  I should have made time in my daily schedule to pump my breast milk. Even with an expensive electronic pump I’m spending up to one hour each day filling BPA Free 5oz bags. My freezer cannot hold much more.

I forgot the intensity of the nursing thirst. I feel like I can never get enough water. And the hunger, even at night I want to keep eating. I didn’t eat this much my entire pregnancy. And the cravings! Veggies are back on the menu, but for some reason corn, chocolate, and ice cream didn’t leave.

N2I forgot about the fatigue. I don’t know how I survived the majority of my pregnancy on three hours of sleep each night. Even though I go to bed shortly after putting my older girls to sleep, and even though I’m only waking to nurse and pee and change the baby’s diapies, even though we co-sleep, I still wake up low on energy. Like I haven’t slept a wink. What is wrong with me? By 1pm I’m always yawning.

I forgot how quickly the laundry accumulates when you’re cloth diapering. I’m happy to have made 35 gallons of laundry detergent before Baby’s arrival, but I’m still bewildered by the fact that I’m actually doing one load of diapers each day to keep the right sized fitteds, contours, pockets, and covers in rotation.

I forgot about the leaky breasts soaking an entire shirt in minutes. I forgot how time consuming burping a baby can be. I forgot how spit-up only comes out when you’re not protecting your clothing. I forgot how an onset of the hiccups can ruin everything.

But I also forgot how sweet those smiles can be, when they’ve fallen asleep after nursing, and they’re dreaming, but you’re hoping that they’re smiling because they’re dreaming of you.


And I forgot how perfectly unscented their skin is, and how soft their hair, and how chubby their chins, and how round their bellies, and how sparkly their eyes, and how humbling their affection. I forgot how complete it feels to care for a baby. I forgot that my heart would expand and melt simultaneously.

And I never knew how incredibly cute two big sisters would be; eager to help with their baby sister, constantly wanting to hold her, kiss her, never wanting to miss anything.

I suppose there’s a reason I’ve forgotten many aspects of parenting an infant, but there are certain memories that I’ll work to keep with me from now on.


We love to play at the Y.M.C.A. September 10, 2012

Filed under: Positive Parenting — B_Momof3 @ 7:17 pm
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Saved today, by the Open Gymnastics hours at our local Y.M.C.A.

Saved from a midday mommy meltdown, saved from my daughters’ cases of the I’m-not-sleepy-but-have-no-energy-to-behave-appropriately blues, saved from an afternoon of unfruitful, mind wandering, website clicking.

No, I have not yet begun my lengthy homework assignment that is due tomorrow morning. No, I did not fulfill those other pressing commitments either…too many to list. But do I have happy children? YES. Did I spend the afternoon making punitive threats? NO. Will my daughters go to sleep by nine so that I might have the time to study alone? I certainly hope so.

Open Gymnastics hours are going to be my semester sanctity. The indoor opportunity to run, jump, hang, dive, climb, roll, and challenge their strength and creativity is the perfect thing to break the monotony of a day without school.

The rules say that I have to stay close to them as they play, but instead of just being their spotter I joined in on the fun too.  I hung from the rope tethered to the ceiling and swung back and forth like a monkey. I jumped across the trampoline track on one foot, then the other, then backwards. I used the semi-circle-shaped mats to make a tickle house (all of the children were pleasantly terrified of me within minutes), and I tested my balance walking across the beams.

I got to stop thinking about my writing assignments and use the energy from all of my stress on the equipment. It made me miss being an athlete. It made me wish I had the time to be practicing, training, competing for something. I suppose I am gearing up for childbirth and nursing, Round 3, and that will take a lot of strength. I am happy to have found something cheap, safe, and close to home that we can all benefit from and enjoy as a family. Now if only I can get the girls to sleep and find the time to study.


Me Time July 11, 2012

The moment Terra wakes up she is screaming with clenched eyes and puffy cheeks. She’s suffering from separation anxiety. I’ll go in the bedroom and say, “You’re awake!” She’ll sob, “YES!” And I’ll say, “You’re upset.” And she’ll say, “YES!!! YOU LEFT ME!” Whether I’ve been gone for two minutes or two hours it is always the same. She can only be soothed by being held in my arms, while being permitted to hold my right breast (she nursed until she was 30 months old, and we stopped too abruptly, now I am paying the price).

Amara wakes up ready to eat, full of energy, but it’s 50/50 whether she’ll burst into tears when I remind her that “Big girls wear underwear when they’re not in their rooms sleeping.” One minute to one hour later, depending on her mood, she comes out of her bedroom dressed for the day, reminds me that she’s so hungry she cannot wait, and plops herself down at the table in anticipation.

Between keeping the girls happy, healthy, and educated, keeping the house in a decent state of organization (everyday something remains untidy –or becomes so as I’m sweating through the fourth load of laundry, my third round of sweeping the living room floor since lunchtime, or the seemingly endless meal preparation), and keeping myself from passing out from the fatigue of…single parenting? the pregnancy? the anemia? the changes? the divorce? the court cases? the entirety? I rarely get a moment for any peace. But I have found solace in the most unusual of places.

For the past few weeks, I have made it clear to my daughters that “When Mama is washing the dishes she likes to listen to her book.” And shockingly enough they respect my wishes! Now, during those moments which used to be tedious and nauseating, I am taken to a different time, a different place, and allowed to focus on somebody else’s worries, which makes me surprisingly relaxed. I make sure to do the dishes when my daughters should be content, but sometimes they still come in the kitchen while I’m cleaning. I’ll let them finish their questions, tap my finger to my headphones, and remind them, “What does Mama like to do while she’s washing the dishes?” And I’ll hear the excited reply, “Listen to her book!” I’ll make sure, “Do you really need me?” And usually they’ll respond with chubby-cheeked smiles and a sprint back into another room.

Before The Millennium Trilogy, Little Children, The Kite Runner, This is Where I leave You, Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake (and, I admit, the Hunger Games Trilogy, though I only thought highly of the first book) the dishes were by far my most loathed chore! But now, in between the breakfast battles and the outdoor play, the lunchtime lunacy and the learning lessons, the dinner preparations and the bedtime business, I find peace. I laugh at myself when I feel the disappointment of looking into a clean, empty sink. No more “Me Time” today. On to make a four-course dinner that will leave me in the kitchen for a few more chapters tomorrow!