The War Inside

I have always been very hard on myself. Always pushing to be perfect and the best.

This is evidenced by the “races” I used to have in 1st grade with another boy on tests and homework to see who could finish faster and get an A.

Also evidenced in the manic way I would amass stickers on my 4th grade behavior chart marking how “good” I was that day, usually feeling absolutely devastated if I did not fill my 5×5 grid of empty boxes, each box somehow symbolizing a square inch of self worth.

Seen also in the student council, class president, club president, sorority officer, alumnae officer positions I take on, run for or volunteer for to somehow stay involved, stay connected, stay on top of things to be in the know, to be with those who know and just to know.

Or shown in how I will speed clean my house the second I hear someone is coming over so they will see a spotless house, complete with a fresh scent of faked cleanliness, and think I keep it that way all the time. Yeah right. Right now, my kitchen has two empty pizza boxes, a can of Pringles and expired chocolate milk in the fridge, a pile of Audrey’s spit up caked on the floor and the couch smells like Sadie pooped INSIDE this couch, not on it, IN IT).

It’s always been there. I just know this about myself. And thank you Jesus that you brought Jason into my life who every day reminds me to JUST RELAX.

But never in my life did I foresee the levels this personality would push me to once having a baby. Every single decision, outfit choice, thought, action, etc. is amplified by my insatiable need to be perfect.

The latest “war” is breastfeeding and formula. I have breastfed Audrey until now (5 months) but have slowly been unable to make enough bottles to send with her the next day, depleting my freezer supply and teetering on the edge of needing to supplement for some time now.

Well, a week or so ago was the tipping point. I didn’t have enough to send the next day (unless I pumped during the night and again the next morning and used my last 3 oz from the freezer), and she hasn’t been sleeping, so I devised a plan to give her a bottle with half breast milk and half formula to introduce it, hope it helped her sleep and to throw this monkey off my back. The evil, demon monkey of mommy guilt telling me I’m ruining the “pureness” of this child by giving her something foreign. How dumb is that? My baby is still perfect after a bottle of formula, she took it like a champ, never knew the difference (still didn’t sleep), but is no worse for the wear and you would think I laced her bottle with arsenic because of the amount of thought I put into this decision.

If I agonize this much over every decision as a mother, Lord help me. What’s healthiest for Audrey right now is sleep. She needs more and I need to do what I can to get her there, which I believe is feeding more during the day. What is also healthiest for this family is sleep and a rejuvenated Mama. I’m learning this all a give and take. If I take from here, something has to give over there. And I’ll tell you, the day after this happened and I didn’t have to fret over getting up before the chickens to pump, I was OVER IT.

But why do we beat ourselves up so much? If it’s not formula, it will be pre-packaged baby food, and then preschool, and then giving them fast food, and then private vs. public school, and then, and then, and then.

What I want MOST in the world is that Audrey is healthy, happy and learns to love Jesus. That’s it. I want time with my husband. I want more babies. And I want my sanity. And I’ve got to learn to LET IT GO. My sage (aka sister) gave me the best verse for this:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever thingsare of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

OR in crazy, sleep deprived Mama terms: GET OFF FACEBOOK AND THE INTERNET AND STOP READING WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING OR DOING AND JUST DO YOU. Do you. Do me. Do Stephanie. Be a Roussell (and an Ortego) and go with your gut. Do what I feel is right, focus on what is good in my life, what I feel is healthy for our family as a whole and move on. The decision I made a few nights ago will not define Audrey’s life, nor mine. It will be a blip on the radar of life, and every decision I will make with heart and faith, but remind myself that not every decision that winds me away from what “I thought should happen” is not failure, it’s life.

Can you tell I needed a pep talk? 🙂 And I’m always happy to talk to myself!

In other news, here is Audrey’s new look of trepidation during “rice cereal” time. I mean, she’s gotta be the cutest baby you ever did see, right??audrey rice cereal