VBAC vs. Repeated C-Sec

So, we’re coming up on 36 weeks now and we have a decision to make.  Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or have a scheduled repeated c-section.  I have never been one of those women who were hell bent on having a baby come out of my hoo-haw.  I figure, whatever is safest for me and baby, that’s what I want to do.  And I always just sort of assumed that a VBAC carries more risk, just from knowing how careful doctors and hospitals are about it and talking to friends and family.  It always seemed like the stars had to align in order for a doctor to be OK with doing a VBAC.  While at this point in the game a VBAC is slightly riskier, repeat c-sections for multiple pregnancies carries even higher risk, and I want more babies!  Well, at least one more.  Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now.  And the reason we have to decide what we want to do, or try to do, right now is because of the cerclage.  If we want to have a scheduled c-section, they keep the cerclage in place and just remove it when they do the c-sec.  Makes sense, extra support to keep the baby in until go-time.  If we want to do the VBAC, they remove the cerclage now, and wait and see what happens.  If we opt to have the cerclage removed, there is still a chance that my body just doesn’t want to have a vaginal birth, although I have this weird fear that the second they remove the stitch, this baby is going to fall out.

Anyway, doing my best Rory Gilmore, I’ve decided to create a pro/con list:

VBAC PROS:

  • Better option if we’re planning on having more kids.  The doc actually said we should consider this if we’re planning on having “several” more kids.  J just shook his head no when the word “several” came up.  Haha. (see C-SECTION CONS below)
  • Easier recovery, or so I hear.  And with an easier recovery  comes the better chance that I may be able to play volleyball right away and not have to miss any games! (My favorite adult rec league sport me and some friends play.  I usually captain when I can, but registrations are now and I feel I’m a little too pre-occupied to take care of it.  I had to miss it the year I was pregnant with Baby Groot.  It was a very sad time.  Season starts mid-end of March)

VBAC CONS:

  • Small risk of uterine rupture.  I guess there’s a chance that the scar from the previous cesarean can rip open.  I have this very horror movie-esque type scenario in my head of what it would be like, blood everywhere kind of thing.  I believe this is the reason why doctors are sometimes hesitant to do it, but I should add that some c-section incisions are more favorable than others to do a VBAC.  I happen to have the favorable one, which is assuring.
  • I may not even be able to push the baby out anyway.  According to the ultrasound, this baby is currently the same size Baby Groot was when he was born (and we’re only at 36 weeks!)  Baby Drogon is measuring “average” but turns out I’m not “average” size (I’m a bit smaller if you don’t know me) so, can a below average size person push an average size baby out of her??  Who knows.
  • Cerclage stays in.  The only reason this is a con is because I have this fear that I will go into labor and  baby will try its darnedest to come out and in turn, everything will be all ripped and torn because that stitch ain’t going anywhere.  I’m not sure what the chances of this actually happening are, but it’s still scary.
  • From what I’ve seen on other mommy blogs, this one is probably actually a deterrent for many parents, but with a vaginal delivery, you’re not in the hospital as long.  J and I loved being in the hospital.  We loved all the help and sending the baby to the nursery when we needed some sleep.  We’ve got that baby for the rest of it’s life, the nurses can watch him for a few hours.
  • Less coverage from Short Term Disability.
  • There’s still a chance things wouldn’t work out and we would just have another cesarean anyway, which in itself is not a bad thing, but something could go wrong causing a rushed emergency c-section (blood pressure issues, cord wrapped around baby, etc.)  Since our first c-section was pretty chill (not planned, but no rush either), I do not know what this would be like and I don’t I really want to find out.

C-SECTION PROS:

  •  If planned, there will be no rush making it less likely that something bad would happen.
  • Cerclage stays in, helping keep baby stay in place (I know this was a CON for my other list, but it makes sense.)
  • Longer hospital stay (yay!)
  • More coverage from Short Term Disability

C-SECTION CONS:

  • It is a major invasive surgery where they cut you open and rip out a human straight from your loins.
  • Longer recovery time (and likely would have to miss the first couple volleyball games)
  • Like I mentioned earlier, with each c-section you have, the higher the risks are.  Since this would only be our second, it’s not really an issue right now, but I guess with each c-section you have, the scar tissue builds up and there’s a chance that the placenta can attach to said scar tissue.  Doc mentioned a patient who apparently had to have a hysterectomy when the baby came out because this happened.  Yikes!

 

So, there you have it.  Decisions decisions.  I’ll keep y’all updated on what we do.  Or maybe this baby will decide to come before we’ve even decided what we want to do.  We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Please comment if you’ve been in the same situation and had to decide what to do!

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Turns out the second is a little different than the first…

So, we’re in the home stretch with Baby Drogon and this is my second blog post.  Woops!  It’s not that I love you any less my little fetus, it’s that I have your older toddler brother to take care of while incubating you.  In case you’re wondering what we’re having, please enjoy this short video.  It’s a…

So yeah, things are slightly different after the first.  I was never super crazy about my pregnancy diet (generally stayed away from raw meats and binge drinking) and didn’t really flip out over every little thing my body was doing at the time the first time around.  But I guess I’m even more laid back this time.  “Were those contractions the other night?  Or did I just have to poop??”  “One slice of cold pepperoni isn’t going to kill the baby, right?”  “They’re allowed to do it in Europe!”  (This last one has basically been my motto this pregnancy.)  I obviously blogged more before and took baby bump pictures almost every week.  This, as I have already stated, is my second blog post and I’ve taken 1 baby bump picture this entire time.  Regardless of all that, we are super excited to be welcoming Baby Drogon into our little family.

Quick update on our unique family.  My husband finally, actually lives with us!  Crazy, I know!  We bought the cutest freaking house last March and shortly after moving in, J found a job here in Richmond, and there you have it.  A nuclear family was born.  And as weird as it is to live with your husband and baby daddy, it has been very helpful.  I LOVE our new house, but it’s only 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, so we will outgrow it eventually if we have more children (I’ve wanted 5 at one time!) and I refuse to live in a house with teenagers and only 1 full bathroom.  Hopefully once it’s time to leave though, we’ll at least be able to stay in our neighborhood.

So, back to the pregnancy.  With Baby Groot, I had a feeling he was pretty content in mommy’s belly, and turns out I was right.  Not even the pitocin could get that guy out of there.  I feel like Baby Drogon is all sorts of ready to meet the world and he may kick his way out if he has to.  This baby does not leave me alone!  It’s also been a whole lot harder to get around.  Everything feels so achy.  I’ve got some weird joint issues.  I wake up in the middle of the night for no reason.  Also, turns out I got the betus again.  Huge bummer.  Found out I had it before Christmas.  Talk about bad timing.  My brother-in-law’s uncle brought the most amazing chocolate chip cookies to Christmas dinner.  They were huge and perfect.  I allowed myself half a cookie.  And a half piece of pie.  And a little bit a cake.  And maybe the rest of the cookie later that night.  And my sugars that night were still under what my limit is supposed to be!  Take that betes!  Even with all that, I’ve also pretty much gained no weight in the last 4 weeks (I lost 2 lbs over Christmas and gained it back I think) so that’s kind of cool.  I told my co-workers that are currently in a weight loss challenge that the joyless way to lose weight was to cut out carbs and sweets.  Seems to work.

I took the test to see if I had GD (gestational diabetes) right before the weekend of our company holiday party and a friend’s birthday celebration.  I had this grand plan about how I was going to basically eat no carbs or sugars the whole week before the test, then indulge all weekend because I knew I wouldn’t get the results back till the following week.  I told J my plan and he responds with “the point isn’t to try to pass the test, it’s to regulate it if you have it.”  Ugh, boys.  What do they know.

So now, I have to take insulin again.  And this time instead of using the handy-dandy insulin pen (it’s this pen looking thing that is already full of insulin, and you just turn a dial to dispense how much you need, and you just replace the little needle tip after each use), I am using a vial and syringes because for some reason, insurance wouldn’t cover the pen this go round.  And for someone with needle anxiety, it’s really a whole production which makes the process that much more agonizing.  I had J give me my first injection again.  It took about 30-40min, mainly of me saying stuff like “OK, I’m ready…WAIT!  NO I’M NOT!” or “OK…Wait!  I didn’t mean ‘OK’ as in ‘Im ready,’ I meant ‘OK, I’m getting ready'” or “why is your hand getting close to me?  I didn’t say I was ready.”  I eventually figured out how to do it myself because turns out it’s even worse when I try to get someone else to do it on my command.

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As far as the cerclage goes, seems like that has been all fine.  I should be getting it taken out soon.  I have this weird fear that the baby is just going to fall out as soon as the doc removes it though.  Hope that doesn’t happen.  I thought we were done with the high risk guys after the cerclage was put in, but turns out I had something called marginal cord insertion, so they wanted to keep seeing me to monitor it.  Basically, the cord is attached to the side of the placenta instead of the middle, like normal.  Sounds like not a big deal, but I guess one of the complications that could happen is the baby might not be getting all the nutrients it could be getting, or something.  But so far, so good.  Just another weirdo thing to add to our Adventures in Pregnancy.

Now, because of the GD, I have to see the high risk guys as well as my OB every week and have an ultrasound and stress monitoring with the high risk guys.  Which really isn’t all that bad because the stress monitoring is pretty much 20 minutes of relaxing “me time.”  One of the high risk doctors also told me that because of the GD, we may deliver at 39 weeks instead of 40.

So, I feel like we’re still a little unprepared for this new baby.  The house is kind of a mess still, none of the baby’s stuff has been put away and organized, but he does have a place to sleep and some diapers, so at least we have that going for us.  My parents are supposed to come down to help once baby is born, but they’ll be out of the country right up till the due date and who knows when this baby will actually come, and what the heck are we going to do with Baby Groot while we’re in the hospital??  Well, he is pretty independent and the dog is pretty responsible, so maybe they can just take care of each other for the time being…

Ready for round number 2…

Hey everyone!  I know I’ve been gone for quite awhile, and I’m sure everyone has missed my updates on Baby Groot.  Well, I’m here to say that Groot is doing GREAT!  He’s toddling now, loves to dance, talk (in his own language of course), eat, and sleep…and he’s going to be a big brother!  That’s right, J and I are expecting Baby #2 (whom we are affectionately calling “Drogon”) in February.  Honestly, I was hoping for a Drogon due date in January to ensure that I would be able to play volleyball this spring, but what can you do.

Before I get into any specifics on how round #2 is going, let me fill you in a little more on Baby Groot’s adventures.  Here are some pics:

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Here is Baby Groot when he was learning how to army crawl.  He could only really go backwards at the time.  I left him in the living room while I went to the kitchen for a second, and when I got back, he was crying because he had almost completely scooted under the couch.  I did my parental duty and took a picture before I rescued him, of course.

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This is us at Awesome-Con back in May with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)!  Baby Groot is the TARDIS.  Very proud nerd-mom moment.

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Family vacation to Cape Cod, here we are on Nantucket in front of a windmill.

Needless to say, I love that kid more than I could have ever imagined loving another human being!  (Even if he runs away from me when I pick him up from daycare or tries to hold onto daddy a little longer when daddy is trying to give him to me 😦 )The older he gets, the more personality he gets, and the cooler he gets.  But the older he gets, the more I want to smack him a little sometimes.  I mean, really?  If you didn’t want the sippy cup or the food, you could simply leave it on the tray and not eat instead of throw it everywhere.  Or, instead of screaming as loud as you can at the restaurant to show your excitement for food, maybe clap and smile or something.  (I actually love when he screams in excitement, but it can get a little embarrassing depending on where we are out in public.)

He’s in a throwing phase right now, which me and J are trying to figure out a way to hone in this skill to something cool, like maybe “Baby that can throw a spiral 50 yards.” (Stay tuned for a viral video.)

He currently loves Gilmore Girls and Law and Order: SVU.  Well, he loves the beginning credits.  Anytime either of those beginning credits and song comes on the TV, he’ll stop whatever it is he’s doing and just stare until it’s over.  It’s kind of amazing really because neither of us taught him to love those songs or anything.

He seems to be doing well in daycare still (he started a new one in June) and we’re just in awe of how much the little guy is growing.

So, now a little about Baby Drogon.  He/she is about 18 weeks along.  So far so good.  I had a prophylactic cerclage (you remember, the structural cervical support I needed done with Baby Groot…funny name though, right??) put in a couple weeks ago.  Nothing was wrong this time, it was a JIC thing.  Actually, when we first talked to the specialist this time, I had decided to wait and see and not just get the thing put in.  I mean, why do something that involves a GIANT needle in your spine if you don’t NEED to??  But then we talked to the OB and she was all “weeellllllll, I’m not telling you what to do, buuuuuut, there’s a chance if you do the ‘wait and see’ approach, if something does happen, it might be too late to do the rescue cerclage” as in, the baby might already be trying to drop out and you can’t just push that sucker back in.  So, I decided to suck it up and just do it.

It’s weird, I knew exactly what to expect this time, which I’m not sure if that made it better or worse.  I cried like a baby again both times they tried to put the IV in my arm (my blood vessels were basically like “no.” the first time), and of course again when they did the spinal block.  God bless the sweet nurses that were trying to calm me down, but when they kept asking me about my dog and talked about their’s while the anesthesiologist was cleaning my back and getting ready to stab me, all I could think was “please stop talking and let me suffer in silence.”

I asked if I could take headphones in this time and they said I could, or they could play music over speakers in  the OR.  So, I asked them to play the Ben Folds Pandora station.  I’m glad they did that because I think it calmed me a little.  Also, it was pretty freaking awesome when it played Still from supersunnyspeedgraphic and at the end of the song, we got over a minute of Ben just singing “’cause bitches can’t hang with the streets.”

So, everything went well and since my cervix was OK this time and not about to disappear, they said I’m allowed to lift things and run and whatever other fun things active people like to do.  Awesome because I don’t have to worry about carrying Baby Groot or bags of dog food, but now I can’t use it as an excuse to make J do everything 🙂

Our next appointment is next week for our 20 week scan, the “big deal” scan from what I understand.  We’ll make sure he’s got all his limbs and organs and things.  And I think we’re going to find out the gender this time, which is exciting.  I LOVED not knowing Baby Groot’s gender, but for preparedness this time, I think we’re going to find out.

Stay tuned…

2 Full time working parents, a commuter marriage, and a sick kid

I know it’s been a long while since I last posted.  Baby Groot is growing like a weed…or tree root (ha ha, see what I did there??)  At his 4 month check up, he was measuring in the 2nd percentile weight.  He had only gained like a pound since his 2 month check up.  Woops.  Doc said “maybe feed him more.”  So I did.  And he gained weight!  It’s hard when you’re breastfeeding, you just have no idea how much little guy is actually getting, and you hope it’s enough.  So, I supplemented with formula, and now we’re healthy as can be.

I stopped breastfeeding around the new year.  I just stopped producing like I was earlier, and it was just getting a little ridiculous to breastfeed, then offer a bottle, every single time, and also pump at work (which wasn’t horrible, thankfully we have an empty office to use, but it’s just so awkward).  I sort of felt like I had something to prove to myself, like, I can breastfeed as long as anyone else, so it was a little hard to quit.  Honestly, it was more of a competition thing (and free food) in my mind than the added nutrition.  And the convenience of not having to make a bottle in the middle of the night.  Yes, breast is best, whatever.  But my baby weighs a normal weight now, so there’s that.

So there’s my quick update on the little guy.  Cutest thing you’ve ever seen too.  Although, I often wonder if I’m just being biased and people are just being nice when they say he’s cute.

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Anyway…on to my first woes as a working parent.  First off, let me preface this by saying I enjoy being a working parent.  Baby, Bastion, and I have our little routine down during the week when daddy isn’t here.  I like that he gets all the care and activity and socializing at daycare while I still get to enjoy my career.  And then in the evenings, it’s all cuddles while still doing all the stuff I have to do, like clean, make and eat dinner, laundry, and preparing everything for the next day.  It’s just a really great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

OK, back to the dilemma.  Daycare called me yesterday saying that Baby had a temperature and that I needed to come get him.  Actually, they told me he had a temperature and I asked if I had to come get him.  I always feel like I sound like a horrible mother when I ask that, like I don’t care or something, but seriously, will he be OK for a few hours??  I assumed he had a temperature because he’s teething, but he felt super warm when I picked him up, so I decided to take him to the doctor to be on the safe side.  Poor guy had a temp of 102.7 and ear infections in both ears.  No flu though, thank goodness.  So now, Baby can’t go back to daycare until he’s been fever free for 24 hours.  Sooo, what does a working mom with a husband that lives 2 hours away do???

Thankfully, the husband agreed to come and watch the poor thing today while I went into work.  But who knows what’s going to happen after this.  Baby still has a fever, so he’s not going back to daycare anytime soon.  We both still have to work, but luckily we both work for pretty understanding companies.  Turns out it’s hard to work full time, have a baby, no family close by, and your husband lives 2 hours away.  Actually, it hasn’t been terrible and we’ve made it work.  This is just the first time a wrench was thrown into our system!

Update:  At home on a Thursday afternoon and this is what my living room currently looks like…

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How I’ve changed since becoming a mom….

Only 4 months into this whole mom business and I can already see a significant difference between me now and me this time last year.  There are things I knew would change, like, I knew I wouldn’t be able to meet up with friends at the bar at the drop of a hat or it would be awhile before I got more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep or no more spending money all willy nilly.  These are more changes that have taken me by surprise.

  • The biggest and most amazing change has got to be my production level and cleanliness.  This time last year I was still stepping over junk mail I hadn’t thrown away yet and finally loading the dish washer because I was running out of counter space to make dinner for the night.  But only after watching 3 episodes of Doctor Who, or some other hour long TV show on Netflix.  And that’s basically how life has been since I graduated college.  These days, the second I get home, I rinse any dishes I may have had from lunch and promptly put it in the dishwasher, then fill the sink with water so I can throw bottles in pump parts in to soak.  Then, I hang out with Jack a little (this is where my TV time comes in) eat dinner that I had made the Sunday before, wash, dry, and fill bottles, put Jack to bed, play on my phone a little, then I go to bed.  Junk mail is already in the trash and minimal messes are made.  It also helps that my house is on the market right now, so I make sure my messes are small enough that I can clean up real quick in case we have a showing.
  • I realize now that I hate moms.  I’ve mentioned this a few times in previous posts.  But seriously, Moms. Are. The. Worst.  So many Judgy McJudgersons.  “My way is best because…”  “You’re parenting wrong if…”  “If you don’t do ___, you’re kid is going to end up stupid/needy/entitled/dead.”  I mean, c’mon.
  • I realize I actually do care about politics.  This may not have much to do with having a baby, it may just be me getting older, but there are hot button topics people like to argue about these days and I actually have a side I agree or disagree with!  This is very new to me.  I used to not care much about issues or feel like most didn’t really affect me.  But for whatever reason I care now.  And unfortunately with caring comes realizing that I hate people in general and that humanity may be doomed.  And that makes me sad.
  • Writing this post I just realized I’m becoming bitter.  This must change.
  • Instead of going to get my bangs cut because they’re in my face, I’m OK with just pinning them back.  Small change, but still.
  • When packing to go to J’s for the weekend, I simply throw in a pair of jeans, a couple shirts (long and short sleeved), and my Tom’s.  Every weekend.  Sometimes I don’t use all the shirts or underwear I pack, so the next week I just replace the shirts and underwear that I did wear.  This is very different from the me picking out every outfit for every occasion that might occur (are we going to go out?  lounge around at home?  meet his friends?) and shoes to match.
  • I realize having your own, for real, bona fide baby that you get to take home and name and be responsible for is way different from loving and wanting to cuddle with your friend’s or brother’s or sister’s baby.  And it’s not a difference of overwhelming love for my own child over theirs.  It’s the difference in spending time with a baby 24/7 vs spending the evening or even a couple days with a baby.  I thought you could never ever get enough baby cuddles.  Turns out you can get enough baby cuddles.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the little guy more than I could ever explain, and I appreciate the cuddles more now that I’m back at work, but mom and baby spend A LOT of time together in those first two months, especially with dad away half the week.  So, I guess the change here is that I look at babies a little differently now.
  • (I thought of one more)  I really enjoy Starbucks now, or any specialty coffee really.  Actually, my favorite coffee is Hazelnut coffee with vanilla creamer from Wawa.  I always drank coffee before, but unless I was really tired, I never really went out of my way to get some.  And I never drank coffee everyday at work.  Now, it’s a cup every morning at work, and whenever we’re out, or I’m traveling back home from J’s, I make a point to get me a Starbucks treat.  It’s tasty.

I’m sure there’s others, but these are the ones that come to mind.  And I’m not saying any of this is good or bad.  Just different.  I’m growing up!

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A major moment for this nerd mom!

So, last week was Halloween.  Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I had been dreaming about this moment.  Baby’s first Halloween is obviously not for baby.  Can baby eat candy?  No.  Will baby remember any of this??  No.  Does baby even enjoy being toted around in a head-to-toe felt costume???  Most likely not his favorite thing.  But you know what?  I make sure this baby stays alive every second we’re together.  I wake up in the middle of the night to feed him (let’s see J get up in the middle of the night to make me a sandwich after I’d been crying for several minutes.)  I change diapers and I cuddle when he wants (OK, the cuddling part is for me too.)  I do all these things and I think I should get a little something in return.  And that little something comes in the form of a Halloween costume for this nerd mom.

Even before I became pregnant, I dreamed of the perfect family costume.  It would likely be something nerdy of course, but it had to be perfect.  I was jealous of great creative baby costumes I had already seen, like this fantastic Aliens costume:

The big blockbuster hit last year was Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it.  Like, right now.  Probably my favorite comic book movie yet.  It was fun, funny, and, ummm, Chris Pratt.  There is a character, Groot, that is basically a walking, talking tree (although all he can say is “I am Groot” which with the correct inflections, can really say a lot!).  At a point in the movie, there is a baby Groot in a flower pot.  Oh!  Surely if you’ve been reading my blog, you know all about Baby Groot because that was my unborn son’s nickname!  Anyway, baby was Baby Groot, mom was Rocket Racoon, and dad was Star-Lord.  And I like to think the costume came out pretty damn good (not quite as impressive as the Aliens costume though.)

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Credit to the actual Baby Groot costume goes to my mom, and the flower pot goes to J.

So we wouldn’t look weird carrying a baby door to door that can’t even eat candy yet, we tagged along with some friends that have kids that are appropriate trick-or-treating age.  We got a lot of compliments, but we also got a lot of “Awwww, he’s so cute!  What is he??”  Ugh.  C’mon people.  One girl asked what we were and I asked if she had seen Guardians to which she proudly responded “twice!”  So, I mentioned that baby was Baby Groot and she goes “Oh!  are you Zoe Saldana’s character?”  Ummm, I’ve got furry ears, whiskers, and I’m not green.  No, I’m not Zoe Saldana’s character.  Also, in the movie, the bond is really between Rocket and Groot, so the costume worked out well.

Now, if only there was a comic con coming up that we wanted to go to, we’d fit right in!

Let dads parent, but stop praising him for doing it!

I posted the following blog post on Facebook not too long ago:

Why Are We Always Thanking Dads Just For Being Parents

In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, it was commentary on the fact that dad’s are viewed as superheroes for doing things like feeding their own kid or changing their diapers, where no one really bats an eye when they see mom doing it.  It was met by a few likes from some mommy friends, but one father found the author to be “salty” and thought that she should “get over herself.”  I imagine this is because she mentions in the first few paragraphs how she continuously thanks her husband for doing things like feeding and changing the baby, but he has few thanks to give back.  When I read this, I don’t see this as a complaint, but as an observation.  She even says that the reason he doesn’t thank her is “partly because on some deep level, he believes that I am simply fulfilling my role as a mother.”

Let me preface this essay by saying that I am writing this through the eyes of a married working mom.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom.  I know maternity leave was hard on me because I hated being home all the time doing nothing but parenting things.  I couldn’t be a SAHM simply for that reason.  And there are a whole bunch of other issues to address when talking about separated and single parents that I have no place addressing since I haven’t experienced it.  So, if you are one, I’d love to hear your input.

There was a time in this country when the norm for most families was that dad was the bread winner and mom stayed home to tend to the house and care for the kids.  Today, most families are a two income family, and I believe that a lot of the times, those incomes are similar (i.e. one parent isn’t making much more than the other parent.)  Even though our society has, for the most part, accepted this family dynamic as the norm, our expectations for mom and for dad haven’t seemed to change all that much.  It still seems that the expectation is the babies and kids are mom’s job, not dad’s.

Tell me you haven’t been to Target or the grocery store, have seen a man toting around his little one(s) and thought “Awww, that’s sweet.  What a good dad.”  (I’m guilty of seeing and thinking it this past weekend.)  Now, back in Target or the grocery store, you see a woman toting around the same kid(s).  Did you really think “Awww, that’s sweet.  What a good mom.”?  Chances are, you didn’t.  It’s ingrained in our head that when a dad parents, it’s commendable, but when a mom parents, nobody thinks twice.  Which is what the author of my original post was trying to convey.

Keep in mind, this is not coming from the view of an unappreciated mother.  I know I’m appreciated.  My husband doesn’t need to tell me so (although he does, especially when he can’t be around to help).  My baby doesn’t need to give me a thumbs up.  I do what I do because I have to.  It’s my job.  It’s also my husband’s job when he’s home and I appreciate him for everything he does.  He’s awesome.  In fact, he helped bathe baby last night, changed and dressed baby this morning, took him to daycare, and will pick him up this evening.  He’s not doing me a favor though.  He’s being a dad.  I tell him “thank you” when he does his part, much like I say “thank you” when he lets me eat some of his food when we go out to eat.  It’s not praise because I’m surprised he’s letting me try his food, he knows it’s his job to let me try his food, because I always want to try everything.  (I always offer for him to try my food, but he never takes because he basically only eats meat, cheese, sauce, and bread, which really should be the subject of another post.)  Point is, nobody is going above and beyond here and we’re treating men like they are.  There’s a difference between appreciation and praise.

Even dudes think it’s wrong.  From The Atlantic article “Dad’s Caring For Their Kids: It’s Parenting, Not Babysitting” one man states:

“‘I get undue adulation all of the time for simply being out with my kid,” said Adam Mansbach, author of the bestselling book Go the F**k to Sleep. “Just because my kid isn’t freezing to death, I’m a great father.” During the height of the book’s success, he was treated like an exemplary primary caretaker. In reality, he only experienced the frustratingly long bedtimes he wrote about 25 percent of the time. When he pointed this out, it was generally ignored.”

In a different blog article (“Involved Dads Don’t Deserve Any More Recognition Than Involved Moms“), Lyla Ciero talks about her husband’s observations when being fawned over by other females:

“A few weeks ago, with no prompting, Seth said something to me that meant more than I could have imagined. “It must feel really invalidating to you when people make such a fuss over me doing basic parenting that you do regularly without any positive feedback.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed, “Exactly!”

Of course, we also talked about how offensive the comments people make are to him. The idea that he’s “another mother” suggests he is behaving completely outside of a male role. It suggests that fathers are, by definition, lesser parents, “helper-parents,” or “junior parents,” and that doing what a mother does necessarily rules out being a man. “

(I thought both articles were spot on and suggest reading both in their entirety.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait…)

While some may think praising and thanking dad is a harmless gesture that might “make a guy feel good,” it really just does an overall injustice to men.  Let’s give men more credit!  We’re not giving them any when we act surprised when they’re a good parent.  If we keep praising them for doing the same jobs as mom, we’re only further condoning the view that dads are lesser parents.

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I think I’d feel weird and wonder what my boss thought I did all day if he thanked and praised me every time I did some mundane task like checked a calc or drew something in CADD.  “Wow, Melissa!  I can’t believe you drew and labeled that detail, and it’s done correctly!  Thank you!”  “Ummm, it’s my job.  And I’ve been doing it for years.”

The comment “We should praise the good dads because there aren’t many of them” has been thrown out as an argument.  Firstly, this commentary is really mostly for the already involved dads.  However, my thoughts are that if we raise the expectations of dads as the societal norm, then dads will simply step up.  As a new mom, I’ve discovered that I kind of hate “moms”.  (Please notice the quotes.)  Maybe it’s always been like this, but I guess I never realized parenting is a “thing.”  Through social media and through moms I actually know, I’ve discovered that moms love to judge and mom-shame.

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Yeah, it’s a thing.  And a horrible thing.  Formula vs. breastmilk.  Screen time vs. none.  Organic vs. fast food.  Working moms vs. stay at home moms.  It’s all a battle and everyone has a side.  But the thing is, only moms get judged, not normally the dad.  Dad’s feeding the kid??  Who cares what he’s feeding her, he’s feeding her!!  People don’t tend to judge dads, which is good and bad.  Good because nobody that’s raising a child in the best interest of that family should be judged or shamed.  Bad though because it simply implies that dads don’t normally parent, and when they do, who cares what they do (see Adam Mansbach’s quote above).  And because this notion exists, men will fit themselves into that notion.  And it’s evident when we have phrases like “dad’s ‘babysitting’ the kids” or “he’s a ‘hand-on’ dad.”

However, to change these views, not only should we stop praising dads for simply being parents, moms have to let dads parent.  I think one of the reasons dads are seen as the “lesser parent” are because moms make them so.  A lot of times dad might not do things the way mom wants them done, so she doesn’t let him do it.  I believe this needs to stop too.  Aside from breastfeeding, there isn’t anything mom can do that dad can’t.  TODAY conducted a survey in 2012 (http://www.today.com/parents/dad-survey-fathers-just-want-little-r-e-s-p-826007) and it seems that dads want recognition simply because mom’s expectations can be too high.

Of course, dads may have resentment of their own, especially when their child-care efforts are rebuffed because they don’t do things “right” – i.e., mom’s way. Griffin said mothers should focus on fathers’ good-faith effort – even, or especially, when dads do things differently.

“Show appreciation for your spouse, look for the positives,” Griffin said. “Moms and dads do things differently, and kids need both sides. As long as the kid isn’t actually in danger, give him the space to do it his way.”

And just because it’s done differently, doesn’t make it special.

I think moms sometimes feel entitled because they are mom.  Because they carried a fetus for 9 months and eventually birthed it.  Because of this underlying notion that they alone run the household, working away from home or not.  Because people celebrate mom for being mom.  And it’s funny how our words and thoughts often don’t match.

“While politicians publicly applaud the “most important job in the world” during elections, a working mother tending to restless children while attempting to shop for groceries at the same time is unlikely to garner a second glance.” (“Dad’s Caring For Their Kids: It’s Parenting, Not Babysitting”)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Mom’s need all the support in those first few months after having a baby.  It’s a new responsibility for both parents, but mom also has to deal with having her body ripped apart and hormones and breastfeeding, if she chooses to breastfeed.  Add in possible PPD and of course mom needs support.  But when it comes to parenting, all parents need support I think.  Stay-at-home and work-at home moms AND dads.  Working parents.  Parents and care takers of babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens.  It’s hard work for everyone and I don’t think any one parent should get singled out.  The more diversity in a group effort, the better the outcome, amiright??

I’m also not against mom groups.  The same dad who thought the woman was being “salty” also brought up a website I had never heard of called www.everydaymom.com.  He used it as an example of how moms get more recognition than dad just for being mom.  I looked through it briefly, and while it seems to be geared more towards general parenting things (parenting tips, coupons, recipes, etc.), I’m not opposed to groups or blogs just for mom.  Or groups just for dad for that matter.  In fact, I did a quick search and found some dad support groups and forums, as well as dad meet up groups all over the country (http://www.fathersforum.com/ , http://dads.meetup.com/).  Parenting blogs/sites/groups are good, but so are ones specified for mom or dad.  I enjoy the general sci-fi nerdery of the Facebook page “Being a Geek” but sometimes I just want to see Doctor Who stuff, so I also follow “Doctor Who and the T.A.R.D.I.S.”  Moms and dads are still mom and dad and have different wants and needs and may need help with different things and that’s OK.  If “Everydaymom” offends you, make an Everydaydad website!  Problem solved!

All the good parents do deserve some credit though.  How do you do that without a negative impact?  I think Ms. Ciero said it well:

“How do we give men who are full, involved parents positive validation without making them feel like they’re doing something extra special, instead of normal? Here are some suggestions: “You’re everything a dad should be! You’re doing great! You exemplify what fatherhood is all about!”

And while we’re at it, let’s give those moms out there as much positive validation. How many of us moms would love to have a stranger come up and say “Looks like you’re on duty today,” with the implication that we, too, deserve a break.”