November 12th

November 12th fell on a Monday this month - which is the day a week I work from home.  Millie is busy busy busy!  And so much fun!

1. Good morning outside.  This is a daily tradition.  Every morning we go open the curtains together and say "Good morning outside! Good morning trees.  Good morning school.  Good morning cars. Good morning deck."  You get the idea.  We also do the same thing in the evening.

2.  Millie is quite the early riser, usually between 6:15-6:45 she is ready to rock and roll.  Seth usually gets up with her first and then brings her into bed with me at 7:00 when he needs to get ready for work.  Now it's no longer just making my bed. It's cleaning up the toys and making the bed.

3.  Working at home means I have to keep Millie preoccupied while I work.  Operation "lets play with the diaper bag" worked quite well for about 20 minutes.

4.  We took a break to fold some laundry.  Millie helped.  Kind of.

5. Finally dressed after her morning nap. It's just like dressing a doll.  How cute is this outfit!?

6. Today was her 9 month appointment at the doctor.  All is well!  She's still pretty tiny but she happily performed all of her animal noises for the doctor.  That mean nurse gave her a flu shot though and that was tragic.  I actually almost cried I was so sad for her.

7. After her nap I decided to take her swimming with Grandpa Youkstetter.  Here we are in our suits.

8. She loves being part of the Youkstetter Fraternity.  The boys adore her.

9. At home it was time for her bath.  We are lucky that she fits in the kitchen sink.  She has yet to take a bath in our tub.  This is the perfect size for her.

10. And of course she has to stand up no matter where she is.

11. Story time with Daddy.  This girl loves books more than anything! It's the only time we can get her to sit still.

12.  Dinner tonight was a new recipe experiment: roasted pork chop with creamy polenta and crispy green beans.  It was delicious!

Blaming Parenthood

Last night at about 11:30 I was crawling into bed with the question, "When did you become this mean person?"  Seth and I had just finished watching a movie and I was tired.  Keep in mind we usually crawl into bed around 9:30-10:00 each night so this was late for us.  Before coming upstairs Seth said he wanted to take a shower and shave off his beard.  This set me off.  Why?  Why right now?  It might wake up Millie! I just want to go to bed and I won't be able to sleep if he's showering and shaving in the bathroom!  Can't he just do it in the morning?  Argh!!

I was so frustrated with him and he just seemed flabbergasted that something like that would set me off.  Sadly this seems to be a regular occurrence these days.  When did I become this mean person?

I came to the conclusion that it must have been when I became a mother.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all mean to Millie. I think I have raised my voice two times to her.  I'm mean to Seth and it makes me feel terrible. The stress and exhaustion of being a parent has led me to be mean to my spouse. I take out all of my frustration on him.  He's my easy target and it's unfortunate.

So as I tried to nestle myself to sleep I thought back to our early days as a couple.

To remember the times where we were crazy happy together - and not just well - crazy together.

When we were first dating Seth used to have to travel for a week at a time every month or less.  After being in Maine for nearly 9 days I offered to pick him up from the airport.  I remembered him seeing my car, running to me and picking me up and swinging me around (all while kissing me over and over again).  Now I realize that sometimes a whole day goes by when we don't even kiss. In the first years of our relationship we couldn't keep our hands off each other.  Now nights go by where we don't even touch in bed.

I remembered the day he got his grandmother's baby grand piano and how I secretly taped him playing and singing on my phone so I could watch it whenever I wasn't with him.  Now I find myself getting annoyed when he is singing too much, or whistling too much.

I've stared to nit-pick all of his actions. I had assumed that everything he was doing to annoy me was his fault, when in fact it is my fault.  All of the little quirks that I used to find so charming I have found a way to be irritated by them.

So how do I change that? How do I go back to loving him, quirks and all?

Being a mother changes everything.  The other night after a particularly hard day with Millie I complained to Seth, "Millie has taken everything from me.  She's taken my free time, my sleep, my career, my relationship with you and even my body.  She's taken it all."  As a mom I wasn't prepared for the emotional toll of the hard days. I hate feeling this way.  I do believe that this is true, but most days I find this taking to be a beautiful thing. Being a mom is the most unselfish act.  You truly do give all you have for this new little creature in your home.  Yet on this particular day I felt resentful. Resentful for my beautiful baby girl who didn't ask to come here.  We brought her into this world.  We made the choice to have a child and I have the gall to resent her for that!? How messed up is that?

Much of this I am realizing is just a state of mind.  I can choose to be frustrated with Millie when she doesn't nap like she should, or I can just let it go and play with her.  I can choose to be angry with Seth for the messes he makes or just relax and not worry about having a perfectly clean house.

It's easy to blame parenthood for our faults.  When in reality it's just our inability to adjust to all of the changes that being a parent brings.  So I'm going to work on it. I'm going to work on being more kind to my husband.  I'm going to work on loving him because he's wonderful and he deserves to be loved.  I know that if I show more affection to him that he will happily reciprocate it.  I'm going to work on letting things go. I can no longer be the control freak that I have always been. I need to realize that life is going to be messy and that I can actually enjoy the mess if I just let it.

I am so in love with my daughter.  She is the funniest, cutest and most quirky little baby I know.

I can't get enough of her.  Being parents was the best decision we have ever made.

I'm so in love with my husband. He's a wonderful father, husband and provider. He's sensitive and understanding.  And handsome.

I'm lucky.

I just need to remember that - even on the hardest days.