Archive for the 'Balancing Act' Category

Love is What I Got.

stop-hating-your-bodyToday’s the day! I’m back to my pre-baby weight (again) and done “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” to quote Albert Einstein. 

Why is this time different? For starters, I’ve taken a radical* approach:

I’m self-motivating with love. By being kind to myself. By not beating myself up. For the first time EVER. 

I was motivated by negative feelings during my life on a diet. Being motivated by ill feelings I had for myself and my predicament lead to decades of yo-yo dieting. Hating your body as a motivation is very short-term. What’s more, when you’re fueled by negativity, you are more likely to self sabotage and beat yourself up when you have a “bad” day. You never feel worthy. It’s no wonder the weight always returns. The workouts wane. The cycle continues.

Then I gave love a try.

And I got real. I convinced myself I was worth loving at any weight, any health, any age. I realized getting real and finding love was the ONLY way I was going to endure yet another attempt at getting healthy. Big picture? Love is the only thing that will make my goals worth maintaining into the future. Because if you reach a goal by constantly being vengeful and hateful toward yourself, what are you left with? What is going to motivate you to maintain your goals? More berating? Exactly. So love it is.

And I embraced the fact that I’m a proud owner of a body that:

-Will never look like something out of a newsstand magazine without major surgery (or Photoshop!). And made total peace with that. Studies have repeatedly shown that plastic surgery does not make people happier overall, anyway, so F that noise. And besides, as one of our generation’s greatest wordsmith once said, “silicone parts are made for toys.” 

-Has borne two beautiful, healthy children, with a body to prove it, and I’m grateful. And damn, I have some incredible kids.

-That just is what it is because, genes. And the aging process. And gravity. That’s not some stark reality, that’s a gift – living is. Not to mention, my body’s inherent characteristics are not flaws. Besides, they have nothing to do with my actual character. I choose to love this body and use this love to motivate me to improve it in realistic, healthy ways. I am GOING TO BE HERE FOR A LONG TIME, YO!

So that’s it. Love. When I’m tempted to dig into myself, I just remember that nothing I can personally do will ever, ever, ever change my DNA and that what I’m dealing with is a 36-year-old, living body that’s been through a lot and will get through a lot more to come – and that’s amazing. There is no shame in that. Hell, that’s worth celebrating. I carry around the proof of life – a good life full of love, even at my darkest times – and that motivates me every day now.

That said, this whole loving-your-body thing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. All that self-love in the world is in vain if there are haters taking us down – think about that. It’s no accident that I’m powered by love. I surround myself with positive people and things by design. If you are constantly bombarded by things that trigger negative feelings about your body – be it from a partner, family member or friend, even (especially?) the media –  you will be up for an additional challenge to achieving your goals. Plus, that’s kind of crappy – jerks trolling your life, bringing you down, you know? So in addition to loving yourself first, if you have haters in your life, poof, be gone!  I mean, come on. F those haters.

Till the next goal!

*Loving oneself should not be radical, but because we’re socialized to hate our bodies and pick on others’ bodies, particularly women, I’m calling for a radical change in the body-talk, body-relationship narrative. Won’t you join me?

 

And now, some relevant motivational quotes from the web! 

Love-Your-Body loveyourbody quotes-body-01-bloom-600x411 love-your-body-17 LovingYourBody1 PLPT Love Note 122112 Love-your-body-quote Quotation-Harry-Papas-life-good-love-self-diet-understanding-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-218569 b6cd86f3aff37e94285420acc3d8e382 stop-hating-your-body

Working Through My Baby & Mama Drama

I’m always pretty guarded about telling my children’s birth stories. Unless you ask. Then I will talk your ear off. First, everyone who has children has a birth story. Everyone thinks their story is pretty spectacular and dramatic. The truth is, birth is pretty miraculous. Saying you had a baby is saying it all.

I’m guarded because of guilt, I guess (what else is new?). We have two healthy, happy, thriving children and they were conceived with no trouble. Some people have a hell of a time conceiving. Some never are able to have babies. Some people have multiple miscarriages. Some people have a baby, but can’t bring baby home right away. Some people have a baby, but the baby doesn’t make it home. It goes on and on. So when I think about the little dramas I encountered in the maternity ward, they appear to be just that: Little. Not worth sitting here talking about. When I think of that, the little dramas fade. Then I feel particularly jerky and guilty for wanting to talk about our birth stories.

BUT, all of us parents can agree that it’s VERY therapeutic to talk about our birth stories. And I am all about talking, writing and working through our traumas to move forward. And I really feel like I’m at a place, seven months postpartum, that’s I’m ready to talk about Delilah’s birth story, get it out of my system and continue moving forward.

Our drama began when I was doing kangaroo care with Delilah just minutes after I was in recovery after my c-section. She was making some funny breathing sounds – what I thought were cute newborn baby noises. But it alarmed the nurse and she took Delilah away. She was having trouble breathing. Then she stopped breathing and they had to put her on oxygen in the NICU. Honestly, I was not worried. We were in the best possible place for infant care. I trusted what was happening in the NICU. The doctors were very forthcoming with detailed information about what was going on. And as much as I wanted to have our baby room in with us as we did with Ollie, I was kind of looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Is that selfish? Probably. I was on pain meds, recovering from a c-section. I was exhausted and doped up and I just wasn’t too worried. She was healthy for the first nine months, she’d be fine.

When the breathing problem went away, suddenly Delilah wasn’t keeping down her fluids so they gave her an IV to keep her hydrated. In her goddamned forehead. They told us, “It looks barbaric, but it’s the best vein.” Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. They put a little bow near the IV site. OK, just fix her!

I gimped over to the NICU as often as possible to nurse. I pumped like a madwoman filing little vials with colostrum so the nurses could give that to her in between.

Her condition improved and we were able to go home in the standard four days for c-section births. But her interventions didn’t end there. She spit up a lot. I’ve never been a big milk producer, so I felt so defeated when I’d nurse for a half hour and she’d spit up half of the milk. She spit up the formula I was supplementing with. And she wasn’t particularly happy. Then I began finding blood in her stools. After some labs, her pediatrician deducted she had a milk allergy that was straining her and giving her pain. We had to put her on this special formula that is approximately $261 a can. But the blood went away and the colic subsided and she became much happier overall. And so did we.

mommy

Clockwise from top left: Kangaroo time – I had no idea her cute baby sounds were alerting us that she was having trouble breathing. In the NICU. All better and finally able to room in with us. Very proud big brother Ollie meeting Delilah for the first time.

So whatever. You do what you need to do. She’s absolutely doing fine now. I’m a little leery about the transition from this magic formula to regular formula as far as when that’s going to happen and how she’s going to react, and then how the transition to cow’s milk is going to go. I hope the allergy doesn’t stay with her forever. But if it does, we’ll figure it out.

So sitting here with a very happy, healthy, giggly, pink-cheeked redheaded spitfire of a girl, it’s really hard to lament without sounding like an ingrate. But I think the trauma of all of that has weighed on me and I’m now starting to want to get it out so I can move on.

And that’s not all. We had another blow at the hospital.

A NICU nurse pulled a vial of my colostrum from the fridge and gave it to another woman’s baby. The other mom saw my name on the vial’s label and flipped. I don’t blame her. The fuck?

That just made me mad. Mad for me for the embarrassment and inconvenience of having to get blood work done to prove I don’t have HIV/AIDS/hep. Mad for the other mom who found out her baby got some random woman’s milk who, for all she knew, had HIV/AIDS/hep/crack addiction/zombie DNA. Mad for everyone who puts trust in hospitals and their healthcare staffs. And mad at the dingbat nurse who fucked up. Even more mad for her manner of sharing the bad news. I was having a private moment nursing my baby and catching up with my sister when she peeked in looking like someone just died and said she had horrible news, proceeding to tell me how she fucked up. Which, yes, is horrible and needed to be communicated to me pretty immediately, but certainly there was a better way. Like in private without the imminent-end-of-the-world facial expression and tone. I realize to her, fucking up could cost her her job, so maybe it was the end of the world to her, but chill. I was in a delicate state as it was – baby in the NICU, I’m recovering from a major surgery, on meds, not in the best mental state. I basically fell apart. Blubbering like a damn fool.

I would have been royally screwed if a) my husband wasn’t the rock that he is and incredible at dealing with people and b) my best friends weren’t waiting for me in my room to cheer me up. They came unexpectedly and I wasn’t sure I could pull it together for them, but I took a deep breath, wiped away my tears and went in and laughed like nobody’s business for a good half hour. Sometimes a surprise visit is the BEST visit. So thank you Cely and Jaime. 🙂

My reward for having my bloodwork done was $30 worth of hospital cafeteria vouchers. Looks like I came out the big winner, amiright? It was also reassuring to know that I don’t have zombie DNA.

So yeah. It was the roller coaster ride that had a lot of free falls, but also lots of fun parts in between like getting home-baked goodies from my sister’s bakery, ridiculously cute girlie stuff from friends and family, so many flowers it smelled like a garden in my room, plus lots of private, happy moments between my husband and me, and my baby and me. And seeing Ollie with his little sister for the first time was priceless.

I guess as I start closing this post, I just want to say no matter how minor, your drama as a parent is yours. It has value. It has meaning. You might not even know its weight till you’re seven months postpartum. It might hit you all at once. Talk about it and don’t feel guilty. For me, when people ask me if and when we’re having No. 3, I feel like unloading all the stuff we’ve been through physically, emotionally, hormonally and financially. I am not aching to add to my brood. And I’m not sorry for feeling that way. I’m VERY happy with my perfectly messy, chaotic, silly and crazy family. I can’t imagine it getting any better than this, right now. I don’t want to “push” it!

Now, tell me about your birth story! (Oh no, I just opened the flood gates, didn’t I?! Bring it!)

Milestones and Musings

The cousins Christmas portrait was a bust. Nothing a meme can't fix!

The cousins Christmas portrait was a bust. Nothing a meme can’t save, though, amiright? Totally showing this to Delilah’s first love interest, BTW. “Hey Delilah, memba when you were a drooly old man? Lol!” Click for the gif.

Fair warning: This is another one of those looong, all-over-the-place posts. It’s not too late to resume facebooking (or whatever you were doing).

And They All Went the F to Sleep … 31 Days Later

I use the term “milestone” loosely when discussing a one-month old, but last night I got decent sleep (which I consider a milestone) because Delilah slept like a champ – up only twice to eat and went down without a bunch of drama and noisemaking. But it took some planning. J stayed up till after midnight with her forcing her to stay awake so she’d be tired once they went upstairs. I don’t remember us having to work this hard to get sleep with Ollie, but I am certain I have baby amnesia because I forgot like 75 percent of what it’s like to have a newborn and am continuously like, “Really, dude?!”

Mostly, though, I’m super-duper smitten with this child. Even when she is up for a three-hour stretch in the middle of the night griping about nothing, I’m like, damn. We’re lucky. Not to mention, I know it could be worse. I don’t even wanna know about colic.

Speaking of sleep, she’s also been napping in her big girl crib in her room. That makes me happy seeing her among her forrest creature friends in the nursery. And a little sad because that means, yup, another milestone.

What else? She also hit the 10-pound mark (and 23 inches), and is hella strong holding up that noggin and flexing those stems. Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!

Here, Feel Like a Superhero for a Few Days. Then Imma Take it Away Like *Poof*! You’re Welcome. Signed, Hormones

You might recall in my previous post boasting about having super-human energy (especially for a new mom on zero sleep recovering from a c-section), plus weight loss like wut. Yeah, that is over, folks. I’m tired. Requiring my morning coffee again. Some of that weight that magically disappeared, magically returned. Not much, but enough that I’m on notice. Which also kind of sucks because I’m nursing and not supposed to be calorie counting. Oh, the paradox!

Which brings me to the fact that I was totally warned about all of this (although not by my OBGYN or all the Dr. Google’ing I’ve been doing about EVERYTHING under the natal sun). No, it was another mom who enlightened me.

So before we had Delilah, I reached out to a friend who, like me, has two kids and writes for a living. She’s a freelancer working from home and I wanted to see how she pulled it off because that’s my goal. She emailed me some amazing advice – down to earth and honest with a dose of funny, just what I needed, but I put off reading it because I got distracted by, um, being a new mom. There was one part in particular I regret not reading sooner. She warned me about the adrenaline/hormone boost you get right after birth and how even though it’s tempting, don’t’ give in. SLEEP. SLEEP, damn it! But I didn’t. And here I am. But it’s getting better.

Silver lining: that little boost came in handy when I was putting out a magazine FOUR days earlier than our normal deadline – just weeks after I was home from the hospital. If you call me supermom or wonderwoman or whatever, I promise not to be all modest about it. I summoned some gritty, primitive part of myself to make this happen, but that’s what you do when you want something bad enough. Or multiple things, in my case. And I’ll do it again. And every time I do it, it, too will get better.

I’m Sorry to Every Mom I’ve Judged for LHIP (Looking Haggard in Public)

Moms can be mean. Harsh. Judgey. Sometimes I’ll see a mom that just looks, um, beat. I think, man, just put some lipstain on or something. Comb yo hair. Lose the sweats. Put on some jeans, lady. But you know what? It’s not always that simple. Life goes on despite your desire to look and feel human.

Sometimes you have to go to the pediatrician looking like you just rolled out of bed (because you did. Because you were up half the night). Sometimes you go to family functions in a button-up flannel instead of that cute, new sweater because it’s easier to nurse with a button-up. Not that you’re doing it in front of everyone (because that’s taboo!), but still. It’s about function.

Sometimes you put off getting your hair did because there’s no time, or let’s face it, no money. It’s not that you don’t care. It’s not that you are oblivious that you have 2-inch roots. It’s not that you’ve given up. You haven’t given up, but there are greater needs and there’s a bigger picture and you know someday you will be your bad bitch self again, skinny jeans and all. Or you tell yourself that, anyway, to get through another day of sweats and spitup.

Seriously, though, being a parent is rough and we have to be easier on moms and dads. From now on, when I see a haggard mom (or look in the mirror), I’ll remember we’re doing the toughest job on the planet (no joke. Oprah knows what’s up) and we’re getting important shit done.

Time for My Guys

I know I can’t give Ollie equal time these days, but you better believe when we’re one on one, I make it count. Like last night during his bedtime, J was at band practice and Delilah was snoozing, so it was just the two of us. I loved curling up with him in his bed and, get this, reading WITH him, not to him. When did THIS happen?!

I remind him how proud I am of him. How big he is. How he’s my “sunshine” and my “best guy.” I indulge his goofy 4-year-old questions (they are endless), I applaud his sometimes hapless efforts to be independent,  but I also keep him in check if he’s pushing his luck. Because you can’t slack on the discipline as difficult as it can be to dish out to a preschooler when an infant needs you.

I thought it would be impossible to share love, attention, pride, joy, etc., between kids. I could not fathom it, right up until the day Delilah arrived. The good news is, you relish both kiddos for different reasons, at different times – sometimes together all at once. And there are moments when both are crying bloody murder and you’re just like fuckthisshit! And that passes.

You might be wondering how my relationship is going with the guy who got me into all of this trouble: J. I don’t know what to say other than, correction: Single moms, you have the toughest job on the planet. And to the people who help single moms – you are soooo awesome.

Having a partner keeps me sane at 3 a.m. when the baby is on her third hour of utter neediness and I want to sleep in the car; makes me laugh despite all the chaos and drama even though my face is too tired to smile; relieves me even if it means he has to stay up WAY late on a work night to entertain/wear out the baby; and takes Ollie pretty much everywhere with him and does his bedtime routine almost every night so I can care for the baby. In addition to all of this (and more), this past weekend, he managed to deck out the house – inside and out – with Christmas, pretty much all by himself (with Ollie’s supervision). I never think I care about Christmas decorations, but they instantly make me all fuzzy and gah when I see them. 

As for how J’s taking to fathering a baby girl, let’s just say a) he’s head over heels in love (naturally) and b) Delilah, you’re going to need ninja skillz if you ever want to hang out with boys before you’re 30. Sorry, but also, you’re welcome.

The Past Two Weeks Like Whoa!

 

I have so much I want to cover in my “catch-up” post, but in the interest of not burying the lead, our beautiful baby girl Delilah Jane was born on November 2 (Scorpio – fearless, intuitive, strong-willed. We’re in trouble!).

She’s so sweet with a little round head, rosebud lips, big blue eyes and I’d be a liar if I said even her little old man scowls aren’t endearing.

C-Section No. 2

I knew she was coming – a schedule c-section. But unlike being induced and going through labor like I did with Ollie, the whole experience having Delilah was quick and surreal. I was wheeled into OR and within 30 minutes, Miss Delilah emerged. “We have a head” … “We have a limb” … “IT’S A GIRL!” someone shouted. I say “someone” because there’s a horde of people in the OR from the anesthesiologist to nurses to my OBGYN and the assistant surgeon (what a racket!). I was shielded from them (and my surgery) by a big curtain.

The anesthesiologist kept me distracted from the pressure and tugging going on behind the curtain with small talk about the marathons he’s run and there was some ongoing joke in the OR about a chocolate 5K or something. On the other side of me, my husband J, bless him, let me squeeze the life out of his hand. Man, I was so tired and pilled up by the time we had Ollie, I don’t remember any of that realness. Am I a huge wuss or are c-sections sort of freaky? If you or your partner had one, how did it go?

Nocturnal, Hopefully Not Eternal

This is my first week home with just Delilah. We’re doing really well. She’s a night owl, which means I’m a night owl – I’m trying to figure out how to get her to sleep for longer lengths at night and to sleep in her bassinet on her back. Right now, she loves sleeping on the Boppy and in the swing, but the goal is to get her to sleep in her bed like a big girl (snap, I have her napping on her back right now!). J reminds me that she’s still adjusting. She’s only a week and a half old after all. Did you have this problem in the first few weeks or months?

I Must Have Some Secret Energy Reserve

I worked up till my due date feeling energetic and motivated and bounced back very quickly after surgery. I feel great even though my schedule is so messed up. I don’t even seem to need my morning coffee anymore – I suppose because my morning starts and stops a lot overnight. I don’t even know where the energy is coming from. Necessity, I suppose. One thing about the second child, you are still chasing after your first. The laundry needs to get done. People need to eat. Life goes on. There isn’t a lot of down time (for now, at least).

I’m pretty sure I won’t need three years to kick my baby weight to the curb like last time, either, because so much has dropped so fast already. Don’t worry, I’m totally eating (for two again … I’m nursing). No diets, man, just a lot of up and down stairs, feeding, running around and the occasional nap. I’m even already working from home, which I intend to do as long as possible. So far, so good. I gave myself two weeks off, but I didn’t last a week without checking work email. Truth is, I love being home with my new baby and being able to “do it all.” Anyone else experience these burst of energy and motivation (or weight loss?) as soon as you were settled in back at home with baby? What’s up with that? It’s kind of awesome.

Oh, the Tears

I have to admit something not so awesome, though: Holy hormones. My emotions were very positive during my pregnancy, but I’m pretty sure they’re to blame for my dull sense of smell and taste that started after a bad cold in October. Bummer. From what I’ve read on Dr. Google, my senses should return in these postpartum weeks. Please be true!

Also, whoa, I totally got the baby blues my first week home. Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears of joy for Delilah. Tears of pride for Ollie (talk about an amazing big brother). Tears of fear for myself and my ability to “do it all.” Tears of pain from nursing (it’s not like riding a bike, it turns out). And tears from being largely overwhelmed by this huge new responsibility and life in general. I think lots of moms are embarrassed to admit they have the baby blues because they’re afraid they’ll be judged. I’m over the tears phase, but I thought it was important to mention it for all the moms out there who experienced it or might experience it in the future. It’s totally normal. Anything beyond a few sobbing episodes the week or two after the baby’s born, though, I’d talk to someone about how you feel. Postpartum depression is the extreme, longer-term version of the baby blues and can be treated. Did you have the baby blues? I don’t remember them with Ollie. I thinks sometimes we block out certain moments during life-changers, don’t you?

Nickel and Dimed

Hmm. What else? I’m budgeting. Another positive side effect of baby-having, I guess (they are expensive little buggers). Once I outlined all of our incoming and outgoing expenses, I took a hard look at myself – reviewing some of the things I spend money on that are not necessities and don’t really add to the quality of my life or my family’s life. I think about random online purchases I make. Dining out too much. Impulse buys. Going into Target without a list (lol). Going to the grocery store multiple times a week for miscellaneous stuff vs. regularly with a solid list to get us through a few weeks. We all need indulgences and should be allowed a few fun things here and there, but for now, I’m forcing myself to think before I buy. One good thing about this postpartum time is that I have a whole wardrobe at my disposal! Although, I’m totally due for winter boots. Necessity in the Midwest, so it’s a justified purchase, right? How do you budget? Tips, advice, etc. are super appreciated!

Pink!

We’ve received so much pink clothing and accessories for Delilah. The outfits are hella adorable and our little girl is lucky to have so many people around spoiling her with cute duds.

But she won’t be wearing them just because I’m afraid people will mistake her for a boy out in public. And I won’t be offended when it happens. Because it probably will. She’s a baby. She looks like a baby. Ollie was asked if he was s girl or boy just the other week when he was trick or treating. And not by some jerk kid, it was an old, well-meaning guy. Ollie answered “boy” and moved on. I don’t get hung up on gender roles and I certainly don’t want my children to become obsessed with gender identity. I am a total girlie girl at heart and adore ruffly dresses, tights, mary janes, pigtails, etc., but there is nothing more precious than a confident girl who walk tall in a pair of sneakers all busted from playing in the dirt. What are your thoughts on gender identity and children? Should I just accept the fact that she’s going to want to be a pink princess at some point? How do you raise a balanced, confident girl from the get-go? So many of us adult women are STILL working on it! I know I am.

Last but not least, peep this awesome custom, crafty greeting card my friend Nikki sent us! Check out her blog for more crafty goodness!

 

 

Work-Family-Life Balance and Having it All (Whatever That Means)

So I’m mapping out a maternity plan for work.

Last time around, it wasn’t like this. Because I worked for a large company, I was promised a job after three months. I had a huge team in my department to take up my slack. My boss could hire a temp if things got nuts. That gave me peace of mind. I had benefits, so I could go on short-term disability and still get paid a little bit. Not 100 percent, but at least it was something. America’s maternity leave laws are embarrassing compared to other countries, but something is better than nothing. So yeah, all I had to do was sign a few documents in the HR office and I could rest knowing I could enjoy my new baby for a few months and my livelihood and income would be waiting for me on the other side.

But it was not all rosy on the other side. My vision to work from home a few days a week on a long-term basis was not in the cards after I returned. I knew this before my  leave, which is why I spent most of my maternity job hunting. The company was young, the owners were young, the workforce was young. The culture was cutthroat and ambitious. We were all replaceable. The idea of me working from home was worrisome to leadership – uncharted territory. They feared I would be the first of many people to want to work at home. Plus, could I pull it off? They didn’t consider my tenure or value my many above-and-beyond contributions or the fact that I was a new parent now facing a three-hour car, train and bus commute. So they didn’t care if I left. They would replace me and/or divvy up my tasks. Sometimes it takes a huge life change to see once and for all your employer’s true colors. I never want to work for a company that doesn’t trust me or value me or care about my quality of life. I am thankful every day I am far away from my old job even if I did take a huge pay cut to get here. Money shmoney. For real.

This time around, I’m again charting new territory. I work for a very small private company that’s never dealt with a new parent. In fact, I was the last “new parent” to work here when I began three years ago. I don’t have benefits here. No HR department to lean on. I’m the only person who does what I do here. So I’m crafting a plan that I hope won’t burden others. One that will continue to demonstrate my long-term dedication to the company. But most importantly, one that I can live with. I feel lucky every day to work for a boss with the high-quality of character that mine possesses. She trusts me, she values me, she believes in me. She’s seen me pull rabbits out of hats. She knows I take my role here seriously. I believe in the product and I can use the money. Still, I feel like I have a lot to prove given this unique opportunity to create my own work-family balance – my attempt to “have it all.”

In my universe, it’s important to do quality, challenging work that I enjoy for people I respect, bring in a little income for my family and spend quality time with my brood. That, to me, is “having it all.”

As I write this, I can’t help but be reminded of the summer issue of the Atlantic with the mom and the baby in the briefcase on the cover. The story, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” is a brilliant and even encouraging piece despite its title. I highly recommend it. Parts made me angry about our hypocritical society. Parts made me super proud to be a working mom and thankful for those who paved the way so I can do both. Parts made me optimistic for working moms of the future. I cried when she talked about how people on their deathbeds regret working to much/parenting too little. So I think life’s too short not to at least attempt having it all – whatever that might mean to you.

Here’s what I want to know: How do you as a parent attempt to have it all? What does that even mean to you? Tell me about your struggles and accomplishments in finding that work-family balance. Tell me about the values of the people you work for – are they accommodating? Family oriented? Does it matter? Did your outlook on what you wanted in an employer change after something major happened in your life whether it was a move, a new baby, a spouse losing his or her job or having to take care of an aging family member? I’d like to get some more insight on this.

Photo: Phillip Toledano

Hey-ee-ay-ee-aaay, What’s Goin’ On?

Clockwise: Going to see my husband J’s band play at seven-plus months pregnant \m/; the baby at six months; J and Ollie on our nature hike yesterday; Ollie playing in the autumn leaves; total big brother material; the nursery is coming along – forest buddies theme.

I’ve been working on this post for more than a week. It’s been a whirlwind caring for a sick kid, then getting sick myself, being super busy at work, running around making social engagements, feeling like I have a deadline to get all of the things done before the new baby on November 2. I’m sure there’s a frazzled-looking cat meme somewhere that kind of says it all.

A lot of people ask how Ollie’s doing with the TBA baby. Mostly great. Ollie lays on my belly, pets it and talks to the baby. He was certain I’m having a girl for the longest time, but now he’s leaning toward boy. Although right now is also a little confusing and emotional for him, I think. He’s been more dramatic than usual about little things. That’s supposed to be MY JOB, amiright? I’ve been meaning to ask you guys with multiple kids if your child or children were a little “off” before the new baby was born – do you recall? It’s nothing that we can’t handle. We’re no stranger to the phases of a preschooler. BUT, it is heartbreaking when your kid is being all emo and not really mature enough to explain what’s up. It’s a delicate operation trying to get into a little kid’s head.

Speaking of emo, I’m a little emo these days, too (I know, my husband has it bad). Crying at Children’s Tylenol commercials (and THIS amazing, heart-string-pulling post), having wack dreams, kind of freaking out about the 25,398 things I need to do before my due date (mostly work-related). I’m also very ready to have this baby. I’m not in any unmanageable pain, just ready. I’m a bull in a China shop with this big belly. I’m moving slower. Meanwhile, the baby is moving a lot (which yes, I know is a good thing) and I’m just ready to meet him or her and start bonding. I think about holding the baby all of the time. I’m probably acting out a little on Ollie getting all up in his grill kissing and fake noming on his cheeks and junk. Sorry, Ollie. Your mom is weird.

I’m also overdoing it (mentally and maybe a little bit physically), but I can’t sit still. There’s so much to do. I don’t like being cooped up. Even with a severe cold and sinus infection this past week, I didn’t really slow down much. There’s no time for that laying around nonsense! Truth? I’m looking forward to being at home for a while with our baby. Slowing down a little. Nesting. Getting my body back. I got pregnant around the same time I hit a 4o-pound weight-loss goal. I miss my skinn(ier) jeans! I miss zippers. Is that vain?

So yeah. That’s what’s going’ on. What’s new with you?

PS: I hope you don’t think the 3-D ultrasound pic is TMI. I debated whether or not to post it. But the baby is so beautiful and we can’t get over how much he or she looks like big brother Ollie. You can see why I’m so ready to meet this little nugget already!

Parenthood: Often Unglamorous, Always Worthwhile

Kids are messy and smelly. They have the “deceptively innocent eyes” thing down pat. When they’re not busy being those things, they are pretty awesome.

Our first-ever guest blogger, Jamie Hope Bellagamba, is a wife/mom/baker/caretaker/homemaker extraordinaire! She shares why even though the precious moments seem few and fleeting with her gaggle of little girls, parenthood is so worth it

Shortly after my third child was born, I thought it would be fun to write a book for expectant parents that detailed all the things you need to know before you have children. Sort of a “What You Can Expect Your Life To Be Like After You’re Expecting and Junior’s Staring Up At You With Deceptively Innocent Eyes.” The following are a few pointers I was going to include in the book:

  • Ideas for where to store all of your nice stuff (that glass-topped table with a giant crack in it will be of no use to anyone).
  • Your best options for steam cleaners – even if you don’t have carpet. No telling where those bodily fluids are gonna end up!
  • Tips for staying awake while driving (chewing gum always works for me).
  • Quiet activities for the dreaded dinner hour—there ARE options besides Yo Gabba Gabba.
  • Quick, easy dinner ideas (because it’s hard to cook with a baby attached to your boob).

Sensing a theme? Talk about Debbie Downer! If this book was ever published, I would be responsible for single-handedly decreasing the birth rate in this country. What I’d written actually depressed me and had me wondering, aren’t there any positives to being a parent?

I think I can be forgiven for composing this list while taking care of a colicky newborn, a toddler and a preschooler, not to mention running a home-based baking business and seeing to the domestic needs of a husband who travels for work two weeks out of every month. Obviously I was tired and delirious – think I still am, and will be for a while.

The thing is, sometimes being a parent isn’t really much fun. Kids are messy and smelly. They take away your body, your sleep, your free time, your sanity – and yet, even during your worst day, there will be a moment that makes all the challenges worth it: a spontaneous kiss, a random “I love you, Mom,” and those far-between moments when you realize – for once – the kids aren’t fighting, but playing together as if they actually like each other. Life is peaceful.

And suddenly, your 9-month-old grabs your shoulder and pulls up to stand, then lets go, hovering there for a moment with a giant grin on her face.

Being a parent isn’t glamorous, and it certainly isn’t worthy of a medal of honor. But it sure feels good when a little person you created reaches a milestone like that.


Enter your email addy to subscribe.

Join 21 other followers

Bettie Page Kids Clothing

140-Character Musings

Archives