15 Jun

Brett is working late.  It’s his new schedule.  He is now gone four nights a week.  I am trying to take it in stride.  

I leave work and head to pick up the kiddos and I use the ride over to meditate through traffic (okay, so many times I get road rage…but I am trying).  Never the less, i try to calm down by the time I pick them up.  Afterall, we get the whole night together.  (Yay and Nay all wrapped into one!)

Last week I was great.  On these nights I played, made dinner and then tucked the kiddos in with prayers, books, and kisses.  Then, I finished the night with Yoga and quiet time.

I set out to make it a great Monday, a repeat of last week.

That was, until the earthquake happened.  Now I am freaking out and can’t calm down.  It wasn’t even big…

Nevertheless, I played, made dinner and finished with prayers, books, and tuck in.  But, instead of a calming Yoga session, I opted for the post earthquake glass of wine and a cigarette.

It takes the edge off, I tell ya!


Happy Mom = Happy Baby

7 Jun

My girlfriend just called.  She is a new mom.  Her little girl is two weeks old.  She is not calling to glow and share love stories, she is calling to cry because she has mastitis.  

Ugh.  I had mastitis.  Four @#$&ing times.  It was awful.  I had it with my first child; my beautiful daughter who had a high arch.  As luck would have it, I was able to match her high arch; I produced enough milk for  small village and my nipples went flat.  

On my first visit to the Lactation consultant, I was given an industrial breast pump and was told to “pump for comfort.”  Because this was my first round of breast feeding, I had no clue that my body would replenish what I pumped.  But because 12 ounces (no that was not a typo) per breast was far more than what my daughter needed, the excess milk hardened in my breasts.  My breasts were beyond engorged; they sat like immovable boulders on my chest.  Mastitis.  Cold Compresses, hot compresses, and fevers.  This was not how I imagined the glory of breast feeding.

Four times I returned to the hospital to receive antibiotics to fight an infection that seemed to be neverending.  So after 8 weeks I finally stopped breast feeding and pumping.

I adored breastfeeding, when it worked.  But, if I am honest the next happiest day was the day I stopped breastfeeding.  The day I retired my chaffed nipples, switched off the breast pump and started feeding my beautiful daughter liquid gold from a can!  It was not only my happiest day, it was my daughter’s happiest day.  

I went to my pediatircian like I was entering a confessional,” I must tell you that I have stopped breastfeeding.”  I breathed in slow and steady waiting for the reprimand; waiting for the claws of the La Leche League to find their ways through the walls 

“Well, that’s okay, it doesn’t work for everyone.  Great job giving it a shot, though.  The stuff they are making now is just as good as breastmilk, don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

…and that was the end of my mastitis and my breast feeding and the beginning of bonding between my beatutiful baby and I.

So I sat in a chair when my dear friend called listened as she cried, as she felt guilty, and as she worked through every emotion.  Once she had exhausted her thoughts, reminded her that the best gift we can give our children is the gift of a Happy Mom. Happy Moms make Happy Babies, and as luck would have it, Happy Moms aren’t necessarily breast feeding moms.

Label Whore

3 Jun

It is absolutely not intentional.  I promise.  But, as it turns out I am a bit of a label whore.

I was recently given a gift; well actually my son was given a gift, a blue plaid, seersucker, romper.  First of all, I stopped putting my son in rompers when he was 6 months old.  Second, my son has never worn, nor will he ever wear, seeksucker.  Three, I like plaid, just not that bold or intentional of a print.  The gift came with no receipt but I recognized the “house” label of a department store in our area so I set out to make a return.

Because I didn’t have a receipt, I was told I would only be given store credit for the current price of the item, which I applied towards a pair of Converse for the munchkin. As I made the new purchase, I thought to myself, am I a bad mom?  Am I wrong to dress my children in certain labels and styles as opposed to simpler, less expensive “paraphenalia.”

I have decided, No.  

If I can make a trip to Nordstroms Rack and purchase Quicksilver, Billabong, and Hurley clothing, for the same price as department store plaid, seersucker rompers I will.  I know that our world is vicisous.  I wish that we didn’t live in a label conscious world and I wish I were the type of person to stop the pandering, but I am not.  I am the mom who recognizes that whether or not I like it, the world does pay attention to these labels.  I am aware that kids are mean and fiesty.  They will  make fun of those that don’t fit in, like kids that wear seersucker rompers past toddlerhood.  

I would like to think that I am a good mom, because I am choosing my battles.  If something as simple as clothing can help my kids transition into the formidable, school years that much easier, then i will do everything I can to help.  Please don’t get me wrong – I am not degrading those who can’t afford “labels,” so hold tight.  I am simply saying if given the choice between no-name brand, department store boredom or hip, trendy, name brand surf and skate clothes that fit our lifestyle,  I will opt to be the Label Whore every time.

Honesty on a First Date

30 May

It was blazing hot today so I decided to take the kids to the beach.  Well, it’s not really a beach, it’s more like an inlet on a harbor, but it’s fairly peaceful and self-contained and it’s perfect when I don’t feel like charging after my kids into the surf.  Here I can simply pop on the life vests and let the kids float, make sandcastles and enjoy the beach as much as they do.

On this particular morning, I am on the beach with the kids and one other mom.  She is with her two girls.   I am relatively new to the area and I don’t know that many people.  Every park, beach, library encounter is like a date to find a new friend.  Truth be told I just miss my Hometown girls.

“I’m so glad there is someone else here, I thought the beach was closed.”  the young mom made her way over to where we were sitting.  Our kids played well together, which was breath of fresh air.  

I soon found out that this woman was a stay at home mom.  After a successful career as an RN, she decided to take a couple of years to be at home with her daughters.  I told her that I had just returned to work after two years at home (damn economy).  We sat in silence for a moment.

“Are you enjoying yourself?”  I asked.

“Of course I am enjoying it, it’s just that it’s a lot of work.  More than I thought.  At least at work I had breaks.  Some times my husband comes home at the end of the day and I just talk his ear off.  I mean there are many days that he’s the first adult I talk too.”  I laughed out loud.

” Oh I hear you.  It’s rough.  I mean it’s great and it’s wonderful, but I think moms feel guilty whether they work or not.  If we work, we feel guilty because we are missing out on our kids lives.  We struggle knowing that someone else is raising them.  But, when we’re home there is the guilt of being exhausted and not enjoying every moment.  We stress if the day isn’t filled with education, stimulation and fun, because if it’s not then the the TV goes on…again.”   My new friend nodded in agreement and smiled.

“You know what’s awful,” I continued, “I don’t necessarily want to work and I don’t want to be a stay at home mom either.  I guess that sounds pretty bad.”

“Not at all.”  said my new friend. “I would love to be a stay at home mom with a nanny at my side.”

“Totally,” I butted in. ” So I could take a break when needed, so I could leave and get a pedicure, a massage, or go to lunch.”

“Oh, amen sister.” 

She and I continued our confessional for the next hour and swapped numbers at the end of the afternoon.  What a joy to make a new friend who appreciates my honesty.  I certainly hope this first meeting was not our only date.  I could use much more of that refreshing, real, honesty in my life.

Toasting the Trials of Motherhood

28 May

My girlfriends and I watched Sex and the City.  Not later.  Not after. Not when it became cool.  We watched religiously.  Like the cult followings of  Dallas, the original Beverly Hills 90210 and Friends.  We would watch every Sunday with our jammies while sipping Cosmos.  I remember the days before kids when we would have Sex and the City marathons just for the heck of it, because we could.  And in all those times, I was like most young woman, I wanted to be “seen” as the Carrie.  I mentally assigned each girl in our group to role.  Because I was the aspiring writer and I talked about sex, I determined that I was like Carrie with a splash of Samantha.  But, because I was an executive and a stubborn debater, I had a pinch of Miranda as well.

Even now I  sit back and reflect on the foursome and recognize that Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are relatable personas for most women.  Each character  represents a classic, emotionally charged, passionate, sophisticated, fighting aspect of womanhood.

But never once did I  relate to Charlotte.

Until tonight.

Spoiler alert, ladies.  The second Sex and the City movie is even better than the first!

Of course the movie captures extravagant fun, food, and fashion.  But within the escape there were several hidden gems; brief relatable moments, meltdowns of Charlotte, aka the struggling mom.  A mom who loses it and locks herself in a closet to cry, trying to gain composure.  A mom who sits with her girlfriend over cocktails and admits that motherhood is not easy.  A mom who admits that life is not complete simply because she has children.  A mom who struggles to find  joy in screams and crying, who longs for a moment of sanity in an otherwise hectic day of selfless giving.

In the midst of the fashion, writing, marriage and shoes, I toasted dear sweet Charlotte.  Cheers Mama.  For the first time, I know exactly how you feel.

Keep Trying. Keep Trying. Don’t Give Up

24 May

This song is fresh in my mind from an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.  It’s all I can think of as I pour a glass of wine, grab Parenting Magazine, and sit down for some R and R.  I smile at Brett and give him a kiss; he is leaving on a run.

Brett was recently hired as a FireFighter.  I am thrilled, this has been a  long journey.  It also means that he needs to get in even better shape than he’s already in, so he is back to running five miles four nights a week.  I smile and throw up my wine glass in a toast.  Cheers. “I will be right here waiting for you.”

“Love you, babe.”  He leans over and gives me a kiss.  I snuggle into the couch.  If I were good, I would rise to the occasion and grab my yoga mat and do some form of excercise, but instead I sit where I am, open the magazine and savor the full body of the Malbec on my palette.  Another week is starting tomorrow.  I have recently started a new job.  It is terrible.   I have never had a worse job in my life.  But, the reality is, I have to be here right now, at least until Brett starts Fire.  So, I may as well learn to have a good attitude in the midst of the craziness.  It also means that my stress level has risen dramatically.

Brett and I made a vow when we got married that we would only drink on weekends, Friday and Saturday nights.  We saw no reason to make a glass of wine a habit and I sort of clung to that vow with pride.  But this week, that vow, after five years of marriage, went out the window.  I came home every evening, made dinner, played with the kids, chatted with my man, and poured a glass of wine to calm the hell down.

I set down my glass and opened Parenting magazine only to make a startling discovery.  Children between the ages of 2-5 watch an average of 32 hours of TV per week.  Shameless I thought to myself.  That is, until I sat back and considered the fact.  That is over four hours of TV per day!  And not only did I start to think I started to sweat… Because on top of the glasses of wine and the lack of excercise, I realized that there was a very good chance my kiddos fell in to the average TV watching category this week.  Damn it!

And now as I sit on this Sunday evening, I realize I am looking at a new week; I am realizing that I cannot have a glass of wine tomorrow.  I need to get a grip. I grab my calendar and jot down three goals.  This week, instead of wine drink hot tea.  Instead of laziness, do some yoga.  Instead of TV, Hide and go seek, bike rides, book time…anything.  And then, because it’s the only thing I can think of, I jot down my favorite tune, “Keep Trying.  Keep Trying.  Don’t Give up.”

Good Mom Bad Choice

23 May

I often tell my daughter, you are a  good girl, you just made a bad choice.  Mom’s, we are no different.  I truly believe we are all good moms, but many times we make bad choices.  It’s a pity we aren’t more honest about our tendency to eat shit because I think we would feel better about ourselves if we knew we weren’t alone.  Let’s be honest.  In our efforts to be great women, wives, and mothers, we often fall short and ,well, frankly we suck.  And while I appreciate those perfect mama’s who are able to look spectacular, juggle their household duties, execute a career, calmly nurture their children, and round out a day with a Victoria’s Secret Strip tease for their husband’s, I would much rather swap stories with the other moms.  The ones that I can relate to.  The amazing women who realize they are works in progress.  The women who can share their struggles, laugh at their mistakes, and encourage me to look beyond the challenges of today.   So feel better all you mighty, sweet mamas you are not alone in your foibles.  You are in grand company!

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