The truth of isolated parenting

Here in just a little over a month, my sweet baby girl will be one year old! It absolutely blows my mind that I had to learn everything virtually on my own. Sure, I would go to family members for advice, turn to the internet for answers or harass the hell out of my doctor. However, I am proud that this journey has been almost completely me and my baby. I got to make the parenting calls with out direct influence of others.  Even with a few bits of disagreement, I was the one that decided to do Baby Led Weaning, bed share, and Cloth Diaper. It was MY knowledge and MY findings that determined how I would raise MY little peanut.

 

Let me tell you what, my little Evelyn Marie is a total momma’s girl. I spend every woken moment with her. I deal with the tantrums, meal times, bath times, nursing and so so soooo much more. Don’t get me wrong, my husband pulls weight at home and has an amazing relationship with our daughter. However, there is a sense of fulfillment knowing that he will never have the bond that we share.

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I do not think that is a negative thing to say. Of course momma and baby should have a tight relationship! Being a stay at home mom and breastfeeding has given me the upper hand on developing a relationship with her.

We are currently stationed in Guam, aka 6000 miles away from home! We recently visited family back in the states for Thanksgiving for an entire month! I loved how supportive *most* people were on my decisions. I only cried like three times, so I guess that’s not too bad. I suppose everybody can’t agree on my parenting style – but that’s okay. It was refreshing for people to tell ME that they were proud of ME for a change.

I loved explaining and sharing my excitement about everything that I have accomplished with Evelyn. I loved that people were able to appreciate how I was molding her – and how my husband was supportive on my decisions.

However, there was one comment that has hit me hard and has stuck with me ever since we left the states.

I was told that even though I may be her favorite person right now, here in a year, she will ONLY love her daddy.

I will always be puzzled on whether or not that comment was supposed to be a joke or not. I wonder if that was supposed to be ill-indented or just a slip of words. How can you tell a mother that her baby wont always love her? But, whatever.

Why I enjoy raising my baby away from family

The best part is not feeling any direct pressure about anything! Of course, I would want somebody to step in if I was intentionally harming my child. Believe it or not, I am not harming my child in any way, shape or form. *insert dramatic eye roll x100*

I don’t have to worry about the hassle of taking time out of my busy schedule to see everybody. In the past 10.5 months, I have been to the states twice. The first time, Evelyn was only 2 months old and it was just the two of us! As already mentioned, we just went to the states again – fortunately, I had my husband with me that time around. It’s by no means easy, but we made it work! I only cried for like 2 hours out of frustration. No big deal, right?

Check out tips on Flying with baby.

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While we were visiting family, I had the absolute most ridiculous stuff become conversation topics. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except for the fact that their messages were being expressed with such an extreme level of rudeness. I personally find something flawed when words cut so deep, I hide in the guest room with my baby to cry myself to sleep. But, I guess that’s just me.

Honestly, I am terrified of living these experiences frequently when we move back home.

Here in just 5 and a half months, we will be living in the same state as our family. Don’t get me wrong, I intend on visiting, but I will get the say! It wont be a 2-3 week time crunch and an overwhelming flood of family time. I’m sure things will be substantially different after fully rekindling relationships with my family and taking the time to get to know my husband’s side.

Trust me, it is weird going from being by yourself to allllll the family over night. Of course my door is always open to others – and that’s how your household should be too.

I am excited for family gatherings, over night trips and have our guest room be utilized. I am excited to no longer have an 18 hour time difference and be able to talk to my family at a normal hour! I am, however, fortunate that I got to skip on the obligatory period of feeling like I have to visit people to show my baby off.

Why I wish I had family present for my daughter’s first year

Let’s be real – motherhood is freaking tough. You endure the most traumatizing thing in your life, go home in pain, and take care of this little crying raisin of a human.

The things I would do for a good night of sleep (at the time) is absolutely ridiculous.

The things I would do to have a free babysitter once a month is absolutely ridiculous.

THE THINGS I WOULD DO TO GET MY SANITY BACK IS ABSOLUTELY REDICULOUS!!!

With that being said, you learn how to adjust. Would it have been easier with my family? Yes, I strongly believe so. Would my parenting be a little different? I would have to say yes to that as well.

It is by no means easy having everybody view your perfect little miracle from only their phone. It is rough knowing that everybody will probably just be strangers to Evelyn when we move to the states. That is absolutely devastating and I cannot wait for that to change.

I am excited for the family trips and vacations that are awaiting in the future. You better believe I am so excited for over night trips to start being a thing too!

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I have been with my husband for 3 years now. In that time, I have only met his side of the family 3 times. Not only am I excited to have them know my daughter – I am excited for them to get to know me and vise versa. Let me tell you what, it’s weird sharing a last name with so many people and not have them remember my first name. It’s weird wanting to build relationships and grow close with “strangers,” but not being able to due to the distance.

I hope that in a years time, I can find a way to unite both sides of the family and build a strong community. I hope that one day, my dad and father-in-law can go hunting. I hope that one day, my mom and mother-in-law can share silly stories of when my husband and I were babies.

How to make the best out of isolated parenting

Communication

My momma taught me that communication is key – and this is something that I try to live  with in my adulthood. It is absolutely vital to keep the conversation going. Whether messages get responded to once daily or once every other month, the communication is still there.

It makes me happy when people reach out to me to ask how Evelyn is doing. I know that families tend to drift apart when they are so scattered. However, that isn’t reason for relationships to completely diminish.

Even just growing up, I didn’t really know my Grandpa. He lived only 15 minutes away from me my entire life. However, I only spoke to him once every few years. When I visited home a few months ago, he didn’t even realize that it had been 3 years since the last time I saw him. I share this because it is important to know who to keep in contact with and who to just forget about. Even though communication is key, make sure to reserve it for those willing to reciprocate.

Find a strong community

Building friendships has been one of the best things for my mental health since becoming a mom. When you can not have family present, it is important to find a new family. I have enjoyed the in-depth conversations, occasional hosted dinners and baby-sitting swaps.

Read more on Mental health when you’re a new mom

Something that I have benefitted from is being part of online mom communities. There can be a lot of drama if you find yourself in a controversial topic, but most mommas are more than willing to help with guidance. I actually befriended a few of these people from Facebook. I know you old folk might think it’s weird. However, being connected to the world from the security of your cell phone is priceless. There is typically no judgment – but when there is, you can simply block them. Sorry, not sorry!

Know your resources

As previously mentioned, I did a lot of homework on how to parent. Yes; I have family and doctors to turn to. However, it is important to know where to turn to when you need instant answers.

There is a lot of valuable information on websites like Baby Center, Kelly Mom and AAP.

Don’t forget who you are

This has been one of my most difficult obstacles. I used to be in the Navy. I wouldn’t consider myself popular, but I was always social and constantly had people coming to me in search of help. Ever since I separated, I have had the hardest time creating a new identity for myself. It was beyond crappy feeling like just a wife and mom. It’s great for those of you that are content with that, but that’s honestly not enough for me. I absolutely love my husband and being his wife and I absolutely love my daughter and being her mommy. However, there is more to me than just that. It’s pretty discouraging when people don’t even see you for that, but I guess that’s another topic for another day.

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Find hobbies

This is kind of an extension on not forgetting who you are. This is so incredibly important and deserves its own category!

I have found a lot of happiness in photography and sharing my ideas with you wonderful people. There is something beyond amazing about disappearing in your own world for a while.

Is there something that you used to do in high school that you don’t do anymore? I strongly encourage you to get back in to it! Creating hobbies brings you happiness. Happy mommy = happy baby. Happy wife = happy hubby.

Make the most out of it

I know a lot of separation from your family happens due to job relocations or needing a fresh start. This is by no means my ideal situation. However, we are so close to moving back home that all I can think about is the light at the end of the tunnel.

In the mean time, enjoy your time. Save up money to visit home or open your home to your family.

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Just because you’re doing isolated parenting doesn’t necessarily mean you’re completely on your own. Make sure to appreciate your husbands, especially if they are the means of you staying home with your little one. Don’t forget about your families, they raised you and I’m sure they’ll be excited to watch you raise your baby – even if it’s just from the sideline.

For those of you that yearn for further help, don’t hesitate to reach out. My inbox is always open!

-Kylee

 

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