Every Moment

I stand above this little girl, so peaceful and innocent, with skin that glows in a way that says nothing’s ever touched it. I watch her breathe in and out, hear the noises she makes in her sleep, and I think of a time when she was nothing but a dream. She was never supposed to exist, at least not without lots of medication, months of tracking schedules, years and years of waiting. Yet here she is, in the flesh, so full of love and happiness. She’s my little miracle, life’s greatest gift.

I’ll never forget the day that little plus sign turned blue, the disbelief in my veins, the look of shock on my face. I’ll never forget the first time I heard her heart beat, fast like a hummingbird, strong like a hoofbeat. I’ll never forget the night I first felt her kick, so subtle I almost missed it, but so monumental. I was so in tune with every little change. I embraced every moment, loved every single day. Even now, as I watch her dream in her sleep, I still miss when we were one, her growing in my belly.

But not a thing in this world, matches the love and peace I feel, when I watch my baby sleep like the world is standing still. I catalogue every second, snapshots in my head. I’ll memorize every moment, from her birth until my death. I don’t want to forget a thing, any step on this journey. Because the best thing I’ve been, is this little girl’s mommy.

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

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Ask Me Anything Monday

This is a little fun exercise I used to do last year that fell into obscurity between working and being pregnant. Soooo, I’m giving it a shot again. If you’re interested, ask away 🙂 

Submit any questions, queries, or random wonderings you may have! 🙂 As always, it can be a personal question about me or my life or it can be completely random. And I promise to answer it as completely and honestly as I can! There are no rules or limitations. Let’s go! 
Much love,

Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Fuck The Rules

Since having my daughter I have discovered that there are more rules about how to raise your children than I ever thought possible. How to and to not feed them, when and what to feed them, how to “train” them to sleep, how to burp them, when to start the “cry it out” method (that’s if you’re not one of the “momsters” who think this is akin to child abuse). Everything in the world has been regulated, researched, and written within an inch of its life. It’s fucking ridiculous! So… my idea… is to fuck the rules..

Here is a non-comprehensive list of everything I do wrong as a mom; because, fuck the rules.  I mentioned “momsters” above; these are the women who are convinced they know everything about parenting, and have no problem telling you everything you’re doing wrong. They’re the people who deprive their children of syrup on their pancakes because “it’s messy”, the ones who get mad at kids for moving too much or making too much noise or you know, being kids. They are the all-seeing, all-knowing, helicopters moms of the blogosphere and world. They lie in wait, anticipating showering you with shame because you dared to be different or..*dun, dun, dun* an actual parent. Well momsters, this post is for you: take a Valium and a deep breath. I’m about to shit all over your world…

1. NEVER PROP THE BOTTLE

Lady, I can prop a bottle like a motherfuckin’ boss. Wanna know why? Because mama needs two hands and Bebe eats every 3 hours like she’s starving to death. I can hear the momsters now: “But you’ll drown your baby! She’ll die you monster!” Honey, let me tell you, if you’re child isn’t capable of turning her head to the side or spitting out a nipple with the same defiance she spits out her binkie, then that is Darwinism at work. I’m sure somewhere out there there’s some heartbreaking story about a mom who drowned her baby with a bottle but let’s be honest, it would be one of very few (and she probably “propped” with duct tape). I make sure to prop Bebe’s bottle with something soft, like a blanket, so if she turns her head even the slightest bit or tries to spit it out, it comes right out. The worst thing that happens is her shirt gets wet; and guess what? You can wash those. And I get to actually drink cup of coffee while it’s hot (shocker right?!).

2. NEVER GIVE BABY A BLANKET

Seriously? What is this, Auschwitz? I understand that your child can suffocate in a pile of blankets but it is possible to keep your child warm without that happening. Currently, Bebe sleeps in a rock and play because it’s still relatively flat but it’s angled enough to help her with her reflux and I’ve found a way to let her sleep with a blanket where it doesn’t end up piled on top of her perfect little face (sorry, mini mom gush). Before I put her in the rock and play I lay a small blanket down in the basket with a little bit hanging off the bottom edge. Then I place her in and fold the bit of blanket at the bottom up over her little body. It comes up to her nipples, keeps her warm, and doesn’t suffocate her. And guess what? Warm babies sleep longer bitches! Everybody wins!

3. CLEAN THE PACIFIER WITH…

The sheer amount of things sold for cleaning pacifiers is appalling. Pacifier spray, pacifier soap, pacifier wipes. Seriously? For generation upon generation my family has cleaned their pacifiers with two things: water and mouths. Where my germaphobes at? Are you dying yet? I bet you are you little hand sanitizer toting mother fucker, you. I watched my mom do it so many times… the binkie drops, she picks it up, pops it in her mouth, and then pops it in the baby’s. And you know what? Nothing bad has ever happened. Hell, probably builds up the immune system. Now don’t get me wrong; if i drop the nuk in a rest stop bathroom, I’m using soap. But the parents who go full throttle because it hit the counter in the kitchen or the carpet in the nursery need to fucking relax! I promise, your child will be okay. We ate dirt and drank out of garden hoses and we’re fine. Anymore these days the food we eat is giving us cancer and you’re worried about your baby’s binkie touching a floor that you clean more often than your underwear? Get your shit straight. Plus science says that exposure to the microbial environment benefits children in a multitude of ways including, but not limited to: reduced allergies, heightened immunity, and lowered occurences of eczema and asthma. Science wins. Period.

4. “SHHH… THE BABY’S SLEEPING!!”

NO! That’s a hard no. Do you know what happens when you make everyone tiptoe and whisper every time the baby’s sleeping? You end up with a baby who sleeps like shit. Yeah, good joke universe. I’ll be the first one to request everyone be a little quieter (i.e., not silent, but not screaming) when the baby has just fallen asleep and I’m trying to transfer her from my arms to her rock and play without waking her; but the rest of the time? It’s a normal noise level for my little one. I wanted to be able to do the dishes, listen to music, and walk normally when my child was sleeping so I did all those things while she was sleeping from the very beginning. From the day she came home we made the same amount of noise as we always had. As a result, my girl sleeps like a rock. As I typed that my mom rang the doorbell, causing her two golden retrievers to start barking like maniacs within 7 feet of my sleeping child’s head. She didn’t even flinch; and yes, her hearing is perfect. I’ve met children whose parents kept a silent household while they slept; and to this day, nap time and bedtime rule their households. They can’t have visitors, they can’t get chores done, they can’t talk at a normal level; their lives are controlled by an 8-20 pound tyrant with poor sleeping habits. My child is the light of my life but her sleep time is my free time and I’ll be goddamned if silence is a required part of that.

5. NEVER SAY “NO”!!

I actually read an article that said to never tell your child “no” because it’s “too harsh for your little prince/princess”. Are you fucking kidding me?! Now I can understand using more explanatory sentences such as “Please don’t do that or you may hurt yourself”; BUT sometimes a child needs to hear a quick, concrete “NO”. There seems to be this new-age parenting belief that telling your child “no” will make them lose faith and confidence in you and that it makes them feel as if their lives are limited. This is bullshit! I’m sorry but we were told “no” quite often as children and it made us respect our parents; not to mention, it sometimes when executed in a swift and sudden manner, saved our lives. The parent is the authority figure and no means no; not “I’ll give you ____________ if you do what you should be doing anyway”, and not “No until you whine so much that I cave.” No. There’s no reason you can’t explain the reason for the no after the child has stopped the undesirable behavior; but trying to calmly explain why a child should stop something when they’re neck-deep in it rarely works out. Stop the behavior, then explain.

Building your child’s respect in you takes time and it isn’t always easy but this watered down version of parenting that has become the norm today is not making our children better, smarter, or more confident. In fact, research has shown that children now are more cocky but have less actual self-esteem because they’re constantly told how amazing they are when they haven’t actually earned it and they aren’t given enough opportunities to build themselves up. Helicopter parents have stopped their children from trying things (like monkey bars or contact sports) that they could work at and succeed in, thereby creating real confidence in themselves. And momsters everywhere are demanding other parents raise their children how they do, in whatever way the latest fad demands; and more times than not, the only purpose this serves is to create even more entitled, bravado filled, demanding little brats. Sometimes you have to give and take with your child to get them to listen with the least amount of friction, I get that. But if we’re constantly bribing our children do what they should be doing in the first place then all we’re teaching them is that 1. They’re the ones really in control and 2. They deserve rewards for doing what they’re supposed to instead of something that requires an actual effort. And then we wonder why they’re so entitled? Jesus! My generation has traded in good old-fashioned parenting for bartering, bribing, begging, and conceding. So to that, I say FUCK NO. The better way is not always the easiest way; but it is what’s best for our kids and that is our fucking job: to do what’s best for our kids! I choose to parent my child in the way that I see fit, the way that works for us, regardless of what that article on parenting.com says is best. I believe in keeping my child safe, healthy, and loved. I also love her being happy; but it is my job to be her parent, not her friend (at least until she’s adult). And sometimes being a parent means that your child is not always happy. But if you do a good job, at least you won’t raise a raging doucehbag. I leave you with this..

“If you’ve never pissed your child off, you’re probably not doing your job.”

ashley thingy 2

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Being A Mom…

The love of my life, my reason for living, my motivation to be more, be better, be everything… weighs just over 9 pounds and has existed for all of 6 weeks. 

I get the greatest peace from watching her sleep and I use the edges of my fingers to wipe the milk off her cheek. And there has never been happiness like this before. 

She is everything I have ever wanted…and so much more. And I never knew what love was until I met her. I remember imagining it, fantasizing about it, thinking I could understand it. And now? Now I understand that I could’ve never been more wrong before. I could never have dreamt this. Imagination, in all its freedom, isn’t capable of wrapping it’s fingertips around even the essence of how much a mother loves her child. There isn’t a mind in the world that can conjure the way it feels to look in eyes you made for the very first time. There is no poem or song or perfect set of words that could even come close to describing the way it hurts to love someone so fucking much. Nothing could describe the way that one moment changes your entire life. It’s just not really real until they cry. But once you’ve labored and pushed and gutted your insides all to make this little person “really” be alive and they cry the first time? Everything is different. The bottom has just dropped out and everything you once knew is now different. Your beliefs and what matters to you changes. You see everything from this whole new perspective that you never knew existed. The world is full of dangers and all the sudden you sense it…

I could never know that love could be so big and whole and all encompassing that it’s almost suffocating… but in the most incredible way. I never knew love could be so utterly, completely, and wholeheartedly terrifying. The moment I first laid eyes on her I felt more love and sheer terror in the same instant than I ever have in my life. And I wasn’t afraid of breaking her. 9 1/2 months of her kicking inside me taught me just how strong she is. No, I wasn’t afraid of dropping her. I wasn’t afraid of being alone with her (much). I wasn’t afraid of all the things people talk about. I was and am afraid of all the things parents WON’T talk about. All the things that suddenly become too terrifying to say out loud. 

I am terrified of never being enough. Of never being able to give her the whole world I know she deserves. I am terrified of everything the world may someday do to her. Of the things she’ll have to endure. Of the pain she’ll have to feel. Of the feelings that will get hurt and the cries I won’t be able to console. I am terrified of SIDS and rapists and kidnappers and bad drivers and the blanket getting too high on her face and that funny gasp she makes when she’s asleep. I am so utterly afraid of losing her that the thought literally makes me sick to my stomach and not just because of what I would lose; but because of this incredible little person that the world would lose. I don’t think I could survive it; because this love I have for her is so enormous that if I don’t have someone to give it to, I’m pretty sure I would cease to exist. 

I am also afraid of her pain. Because it cuts so deep it feels like it’s gutting me. When she was a week old she had an allergic reaction to her diapers. This reaction left her with two chemical burns on her cute little butt cheeks. And she screamed. And screamed. And screamed some more. And I felt like I was being gutted. Like I had failed as a parent. Like if I was good enough I could make it all go away and the fact that I couldn’t made me insane. Powerlessness has never felt so real. Or hurt so much. All I could do was buy nine kinds of butt paste, use washcloths instead of baby wipes, give her baths and turn my heat up so she could lie naked and air out. I did everything right and logically I knew that. But being a parent taught me that even when I do everything right, I will still always want to give her more. I wanted to snap my fingers and make it go away. I wanted to find the magic butt paste that would heal it in a day. But it took two weeks. And in those two weeks I did everything. I consoled her, cried with her, gave her to her dad so I could take a breather, bounced her, rocked her, and ran home to my mom. Because Gigi is magic and could make the crying stop. Being a parent taught me that my child being in pain hurts me far worse than any pain I’ve endured myself. 

Being a parent taught me that it will never be about me again. And it shouldn’t be. Every choice I make, action I take, and decision I weigh is now premised by “How will this effect her?” I drive slower, eat better, am much calmer, and I’m constantly trying to be the best version of me I can be. And every single day I fall short of what I think she deserves. But I know being good enough for her means questioning whether or not I’m good enough for her and that my very fear of never being enough is exactly what makes me enough. Because I will always work harder for her. I will always push further. I will always do everything I can to be the woman that she can look up to the way I look up to my mom.  

Being a mom taught me that I can love someone with every ounce and inch of my existence and that loving like that feels like the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given. Being a mom made me more forgiving of other moms because now I know just how hard it is and I also know that I probably still don’t have any idea of how hard it can get. Being a mom taught me that I know nothing; but also, that my intuition can tell me anything. I know which cry means hungry and which one means bored. I know when she’s in pain and when she just needs to be swaddled. I know when I’m just too exhausted and stressed out and she can sense it in me and it’s time to go to Gigi and get some help. I know that something as simple as “having a gassy baby” can mean non stop crying for hours of the day that could drive any parent crazy. I know that giving a bath to a 7, 8, 9 pound baby can be terrifying… and slippery.

But above all else, I know that no other little face in the world can make me melt the way hers does. I know that I will never be this tied to another human being in so many ways ever again. I know that I need to cherish everyday, even the bad ones, because they will all fly by far too quickly. Being a mom has taught me that I could never have known just how blessed I would feel when given the incredible gift of molding and loving another human being. There just aren’t enough words… We don’t have the right words to even come close to expressing this. But hey, I tried…

by Ashley King 

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Nursing at 7am

It’s 7am and you’re nursing for the fourth time in the last 6 hours. I am exhausted.. beyond all belief. My stomach is grumbling and angry from lack of food and whatever thing has been wrong with it lately, my back is on fire from hunching over in one hundred wrong different ways, and my head is pounding because mama needs some caffeine. And none of that matters. It’s all dulled at the edges by the feeling of your small, warm breaths on my chest. I can’t hear my stomach grumbling over the sweet little coos in your exhales and the squeaks you make when you’ve fallen asleep and wake up to find that the food is still right in front of your face. Choosing to breastfeed is the most insane thing I’ve ever done and stuck to. I always planned to; but never in a million years could I have imagined how exhausting it would be. It comes easily to some people; but not to you and I little one. No, we had to work for it. When you were born, you were so tired from the jaundice that you struggled to stay awake long enough to nurse and as you got older your slightly recessed chin made it hard for you to latch. So I pumped the milk instead; 8, 9, 10 times a day. I felt like all I did was pump, bottle feed you, and put you to sleep, all to start over again as soon as you were out. 

Still I tried everyday to latch you at least once. I was doing it so that my milk could change based off of what your saliva told my body you needed. And then one day you actually latched and started to eat. I swear it was like the clouds had parted for the sun to finally shine through. You would only nurse for the first few minutes when the milk was really flowing, but it was something. And everyday we worked on it. Some days you nurse until you’re almost full and only need to eat a little from the bottle. Other days you just scream anytime I try to get you to latch and I have to pump some more (which never gets enough out now) and then supplement with the formula that your tummy has never taken to. 

Who knew feeding a child could be such a battle?

Sometimes I swear I’ve read every article in existence that explains different tricks to getting your child to latch, or tells how to up my supply so there’s a heavier flow to keep you interested longer. I’ve read articles about getting the most out of pumping, what supplements you can take, hot compresses, breast compressions, hand expression, watching videos of your baby to induce let down. And that, I’ve read about let down, hindmilk, foremilk, different kinds of nipples, nipple confusion, and sooooo much more. It’s enough to leave anyone rocking back and forth in the corner with a box of Thin Mints and White Collar on Netflix (because Matt Bomer is yummy.)

But, it is all worth it at 7 in the morning when you’ve finally latched and eaten your fill and you look up at me, coo, smile, and pass out milk drunk. 

It is all worth it. And I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. 

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Note: to any moms who need support with breastfeeding or are in search of some of the information I mentioned above, I recommend checking out the following websites..

http://www.lllusa.org (La Leche League. They’re the gods of breastfeeding information and support. You can even call them and speak to lactation consultants who will walk you through anything they can.)

http://kellymom.com (A blog site with “evidence based information on breastfeeding and parenting”. It’s run by a mother of 3.)

http://www.babycenter.com (This is the website for an app I used my entire pregnancy and continue to use now that Baby T is 6 weeks old. It has articles, discussion boards, community support and an all around wealth of information. Just a personal like of mine.)

Good luck! Don’t give up! It will get easier.