So I've decided I think I'm a pretty good mom.
This was brought into question recently, when I was informed (by someone whose opinion I generally trust, even though he isn't exactly an expert in this particular area) that I pay too much attention to Willow, that I overstimulate and exhaust her, that I am a helicopter parent, and that she will turn out terribly unless I let her spend most of her time staring at the ceiling while I do something else.
But there are some things I have failed at. This child will not take a bottle. Because of the terrors of nipple confusion, I refused to even try her on a bottle for the first month, and then the second month slid by without our trying because, well, it was just one more thing to worry about rather than something that would be helpful. But my niece Francie's bottle-drinking inspired me, as did the thought of Dave taking a night shift here and there (oh, bliss...) and we gave it a try. I pumped--not the easiest task in the world, mind you, because although I seem to have plenty of milk, the pump wasn't getting much, and then I was completely screwed up for Willow's next feeding, so she didn't get as much as she would have liked. And then she refused the bottle. Dave gave it the hard sell, but to no avail. Willow's feelings about the bottle were such that the neighbors must have thought we were introducing her to some medieval torture device.
And so we ended up throwing out the hard-won breastmilk. A few weeks later, same thing. And I know we should try again, because she's not going to magically take a bottle without us trying it, and really, we didn't try very hard, now did we? But I hate pumping, I really hate throwing out the milk I've pumped, and despite Dave's gentle suggestion, I don't want to try formula, because breastmilk! It's the bomb! Everybody says so! And look, I have some right here, and it's free, and I like breastfeeding. I like it less in the middle of the night, sure, but what if she learns to take the bottle/formula and then she only wants that? I did that to my mother. I'm not taking that risk.
So mark that off as Not Done.
There's also Managing to Have a Life while Having a Baby. I have not been terribly successful at that. We now have our evenings back; Willow goes to bed at 8pm, if she makes it that late (if she misses her late afternoon nap, she's down by 7, because she just can't make it any longer). But RockNoodle and Toaster and Dave and I can now watch a movie in the evenings, or play a game, or read books, all four of us together. And Dave and I can watch Treme (or rather, Dave can watch Treme and I can fall asleep and have to watch it later) and have a nice late dinner where Dave doesn't have to cut my food up for me because I can't hold a knife and a baby at the same time.
But you'll note that the blog posts are less than frequent. The breakfast dishes are often still unwashed at the end of the day. Dave and I went to a friend's art opening last night, and paid for it dearly when we got home at--gasp!--8:15, and Willow was beside herself.
Willow still won't nap unless she is being held, which severely limits my ability to do anything during the day. I can get her to sleep with a walk in the stroller, usually, but I have to be walking all that time, because she usually wakes up again as soon as we get home. So apart from a little gentle exercise, not really getting anything done there, either. I could try doing some stuff while she's awake, but she's only good for about ten minutes entertaining herself before she'd like me to be back to focusing on her, please.
Obviously, this is less than good, and there needs to be some balance between the lying on the floor all day and the being held all day, and I keep meaning to work on it with her, but the problem is I just don't want to. Would I really rather be doing the dishes than playing with my baby? Um, not so much. I'd be willing to do them if she were asleep/happily occupied with something or other, but not if she's sad and lonely. That's just not worth it to me.
These things will need to be fixed--she will need to take a bottle at some point, and she will need to learn to nap on her own, and she will need to manage to enjoy some alone time. The time will come when these things are necessary, but that time isn't now. I'm happy enough with the status quo. I'm tired, but it works for me, and it certainly works for Willow. We'll go through that struggle when we have to, but in the meantime, I get to hold her and play with her and love her and feel virtuous about it all at the same time.