Nov 012012
 

Now this is my kind of chart!

Ok, so here’s the post that I was trying to write when my fingers told me that I really wanted to write about something else…

It’s no secret that your life changes drastically when you have a child. Getting pregnant is an investment. You invest 10 months of your time, 100% of your hopes, dreams and fears, plus your body, your personal comfort, and sometimes even your health, knowing (and hoping that everyone who has kids wasn’t lying to you in some F-ed up prank) that everything you put into it will pay off once you are holding that sweet little baby in your arms.  And then, of course, you spend the rest of your life investing in this child and hopefully reaping the benefits before the stock market crash that is called the teenage years hits… but I digress.

Like any long-term investment, along the way there are many gains and losses. I always knew that when I had a baby I would be gaining…well… a baby. (I didn’t graduate Cum Laude for nuthin!)  I also knew that I would lose a few things.  Mostly inconsequential things such as sleep, sanity, working brain cells and hopefully at least 60% of the baby weight.  However, over the past year-and-a-half there have been a few losses and gains that I didn’t count on.

Losses:

My Hair – I had heard a lot of horrifying tales about different physical things that happen to you when you have a baby, but no one ever told me about the hair thing.  Besides my boobs, my hair was pretty much the only thing that actually looked better when I was pregnant. My ass may have looked like cottage cheese in a mesh sack, but my hair looked like a “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” Pantene model.  That’s why it was even harder to take when, about six months after having my daughter, it started to fall out.  In clumps. And then, to add insult to injury, all these tiny little baby hairs started growing back around my hairline.  Now, when I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like a nerdy girl at my Bat mitzvah… you know the frizzy-haired girl with the food in her colored braces. That one. Sigh.

My Time – No surprise here. I knew that this baby thing would be a time-suck, I just didn’t realize that even when she is at daycare or napping, 100% of my time would be devoted to her.  Between all the laundry, shopping, worrying, cooking, cleaning, obsessively calling the doctor, worrying, researching the best strollers, car seats, educational toys and preschools to waste, I mean spend, my money on, I now have no time to do all those things for myself.

Sleep – Again, no surprise that I would get less sleep after having baby.  However, what I didn’t realize is that when you become a parent, you lose the right to have a good night of sleep ever again.  Even though my daughter now sleeps through the night, I do not.  Why?  Because at the slightest sigh, cough, turn, creak or fart I bolt upright, jamming the monitor to my face to make sure she is still in one piece.  I can only imagine what this will be like when she is teenager out with friends. Or a boy!!! Do they make a video teenage monitor?

My mind – dlfkjath[naf’dpijht[pajf’nadl;fjhdonladj.  ;atlebtpiebgldnvbdlnd;kla!!  That’s how I feel at least 68% of the time.

Vanity –  I guess this is not really a surprise either, but I always (disillusionedly) thought that I would be one of the cool moms with great bedhead hair and casual yet stylish clothes.  You know, like Jessica Alba.  Now I realize that if I was not Jessica Alba before I had a baby, then motherhood certainly won’t turn me into her.  Instead I have greasy bedhead hair and casual yet decidedly unstylish clothes.  Sue me, I’m tired.  Not to mention, ah;bvdo;vnoiwubgvfwnpvopwirjfkm!

My keys, wallet and the ability to match shoes –  At any given time, I have only one of the three.

My Boobs –  I never had big boobs but at least they were perky.  Now they are smaller than ever and somehow still saggy.  Well, at least I got a cool blog title out of it.

My identity – Pre-baby I used to be a lot of things:  Hotshot producer (at least in my mind), smartass, fun-loving friend, spontaneous wife, wino (ok, I am still a wino), foodie, party-goer, book-reader, dream-chaser.  Now, I am pretty much one thing, and one thing only:  Lyla’s mommy.  Seriously.  When I meet other moms at the playground, they ask what my daughter’s name is, but never mine.  When I talk with friends, family, and my hubby most of our conversations revolve around Lyla. Most of the time I don’t mind this.  She is my favorite topic of conversation.  She is my greatest accomplishment.  But sometimes I miss… well, me.

Yes, I have lost a lot of things since having a baby.  I could actually go on and on with this list, but I will spare you more of the Tale of Two (saggy) Titties.  Instead, let’s focus on the gains.  First and foremost, I gained a daughter.  Nothing on the list of Losses can even compare to how much I have gained from her.  However, there are a few more gains that have surprised me.

Gains:

Friends – Personally I have never been a fan of mommy groups.  I just don’t like the idea of forcing myself to be friends with someone just because we have kids who are the same age.  We may have that in common, but you wear a scrunchie and so we shall never be friends.  However, since having my daughter, two wonderful things have happened:  First, I have grown even closer to the friends I already have.  I may not talk to them as much, but something about the bonding that happens when you complain about your kids has drawn us closer than ever.  I have even grown closer to those friends who don’t have kids. When I see how much they love my daughter it makes me love them even more.  The second thing that has is happened is that, despite my mommy prejudices, I have managed to make a few new amazing mommy friends.  We came together because we have kids around the same age, but we have stayed together because we generally like one another’s company.  I have even “met” some amazing mommies (and daddies) through this blog that I now consider friends. Sometimes there is nothing you need more than for another mommy to tell you that you are not totally failing.  I am even beginning to rethink the whole mommy group thing.  Do they have mommy wine clubs?!

A new career – Pre-baby I had a great job as a producer.  I made good money, I worked a lot of hours, and most of the time I really liked the work.  However, I always dreamed about going back to writing.  Writing is my love.  It is the only thing in my life that I do because I have to do it.  I am not myself if I go very long without putting pen to paper (my preferred form) or fingers to the keyboard.  But I was scared.  Freelancing is tough.  I knew it and my boss reaffirmed it when I tried to quit the first time.  (Long story short:  I chickened out and worked there for another year.)  But once I found out I was having a baby, the money seemed a lot less important than the time I would miss with my daughter by working those long hours.  I finally had the courage to quit my job and start freelancing.  I make less money but have never been happier.  Except when my computer breaks and I can’t call IT to fix it.  Then, I curse my freelance status and stress-eat.

A really weird belly button –  I never cared much about my belly button. I never liked it, I never hated it…  until I had a baby and was left with this weird one.  Now, I have an irrational disgust for mine.  It is stretched out and kind of saggy.  And I have stretch marks inside of it. And that misguided belly button ring that I got on spring break when I was 17 has come back to haunt me, ten-fold. You were right, mom!

A new outlook – Since becoming a mom my priorities have definitely changed.  My daughter is the center of my universe, as she should be.  But besides my priorities, my whole outlook has changed.  Little annoying things don’t matter as much, and little amazing things matter so much more.  I may have less of an identity, but I have become more of a person.

The ability to say wise things like, “You just don’t know what it is to be a mom until you are one.” –  I always got annoyed when people would say this before I was a mom.  Now I am a mom.  And now I can say that being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world.  Earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, pants-peeingly amazing. So amazing that no amount of losses could ever tip the scale.  So amazing that I just can’t tell you how amazing it is until you are a parent and you find out for yourself.  Yes, I can now say this kind of thing and then smile with self-satisfaction, just like those other annoying moms.  And damn, it feels good!
photo credit: Clint Chilcott via photopin cc

Oct 262012
 

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the crib… I mean bed. It was just one of those days where nothing seems to go right.  Here’s how it started:

Wake up to a beautiful day.  For some reason this annoys me (not sure if it is the waking up or the beautiful day that did it.)  Walk to coffee shop for the perfect combo of sugar and caffeine that will put things right.  After waiting in line for 10 min, discover that the coffee shop doesn’t have lids for my to go coffees – which wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have to walk a half mile with a coffee in each hand. Oh yeah, and if I was even half as graceful as a drunk three-year-old. Begin to feel face flush with annoyance, but wave it off.  Go to another coffee shop that has lids but not the sugary latte I wanted.  Pout a bit.  Discover Facebook has stopped working on my phone.  Pout more.  Erase Facebook and attempt to redownload.  Discover that before I can download Facebook again, I need to update my phone’s software.  Take deep breath.  Learn that before I can update my phone, I need to update my iTunes. Engage yoga/labor breathing.  Find out that before I can update my iTunes I need to deauthorize my other computers and reauthorize my laptop.  Aggressively chug cup of coffee. Burn throat but pretend not to notice. Discover that I can’t reauthorize my laptop because my disc is out of space.
Take deep breath.  Doesn’t work.  Inhale cinnamon toast. Choke on cinnamon. Repeat. Twice.  Attempt to make space on laptop by removing pictures and movies onto a hard drive.  Spend one hour doing this.  Finally realize that in doing this, my pictures are now a mess on the hard drive without any kind of order, labeling or anything that would enable me to find any picture ever.  Pick up laptop.  Smash it on desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Just kidding.  But think hard about picking up laptop and smashing it on my desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Instead text husband an angry tantrum text about how I wish technology would die and huff around the house, cleaning up by throwing things (gently) into their places. Man, I really showed those teddy bears!

The rest of the day continued on like this, with everything going a little wrong and with me totally overreacting and throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler.

When it was time to go pick up my actual toddler, I was delighted to discover that she was also in a foul mood.  She didn’t want to come inside, but she didn’t want stay outside either.  She didn’t want to sit in her high chair, but when I set her back down she was pissed too.  She didn’t know what she wanted and nothing could make her happy.  She was impossible. And I know exactly how she felt.  Even though dealing with a cranky baby was the last thing I wanted to do when I was busy being a cranky baby myself, it made me smile how alike we are sometimes.

Here’s the thing though. She is a baby.  I am not. Usually.  She’s one and a half.  I am thirty… well, ya know, old enough to know better.  I am not a slave to my emotions.  I have the power to turn my mood around.  I just chose not too.  I chose to let myself sulk and wallow in my bad mood and spend the day in a long-term temper tantrum.  But then my husband came home with cupcakes and slightly frightened eyes and a patient smile.  He spoke gently and coddled me, just like he does with our daughter when she is being outrageous.  And you know what… it felt pretty good.  I have to be an adult most of the time, but I guess every now and then I just need to be a baby.  So, realizing this, I took my bottle (of wine) like a good little girl and went to bed.

And today I am an adult again.  Damn.

Sep 272012
 

As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 22, there seemed to be only one thing that anyone could talk about.  “So, do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “When are you going to settle down and get a boyfriend?”  “Your dad thinks you’re a lesbian.”

By the time I turned 25, I was so annoyed with all the questions that I finally did get a boyfriend.  Then, after about a year or so, the annoying questions started again.  “Have you thought about marriage?”  “Are you guys going to get married?” “When are you going to get married?”  “You are a sinner, living in sin, you unholy slut!!” (ok, that one’s not actually real, but I felt like people were thinking it so it totally counts.)

So, after 4 years, my boyfriend and I were annoyed enough that we did, in fact, get married.  But then – surprise, surprise – after 5 whole seconds of being married, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about a family?” “When are you going to get knocked up?” “Have you started trying?” “You aren’t young anymore, I wouldn’t wait too long.” At 30 years old, me and my dried up old ovaries were doing just fine, thank you.

But finally, to shut up everyone (including my ticking biological clock and my shriveled raisin ovaries) we had a baby.  Phew… safe from annoying questions, right?  Wrong.  After finally slogging through the first amazing, exhausting, awesome, terrible first year, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about the second one?” “Ready for baby #2?!”  “You do want to have more than one, right?” “Put down the wine, coffee and sushi because it’s time to get knocked up again.”

Ok, so here’s the thing.  I DO want to have another baby if we can.  I have a brother who is 2 and a half years younger than me, and he is amazing.  He is my best friend, and even though we spent a LOT of time fighting when we were younger, he has always been my best friend.  All of my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him.  He was my constant playmate, plaything, teammate, opponent, doll, and confidant.  Yes, there were times that it was me against him, but most of the time it was me and him against the world.  Or at least our parents.  I can’t imagine not having him in my life.  And so I can’t imagine my daughter not having a sibling in her life.

But… I am scared.  I know that I was scared before having my first baby, and that all worked out ok.   And I know that there are fears that I had then that I probably won’t have again, like:  What if I am not a good mother?  What if I don’t like being a mom?   What if she doesn’t love me?  What if I drop her? What if her swaddle blanket comes unwrapped and chokes her to death?  What if I never sleep again?  What if she has red hair?! (ps. that fear was actually realized and her red hair is absolutely beautiful!)

But there are some fears that I don’t think will ever go away:  What if I never lose all the baby weight?  What if I get postpartum depression?  How are we going to afford this?  What if my baby gets SIDS?  What if my baby dies?!

And then there are a brand new set of fears that come with adding a new baby into the mix. First off, there’s the whole pregnancy thing.  Been there.  Done that.  Didn’t like it.  Call me an asshole, but the thought of voluntarily being nauseous,  uncomfortable, fat, tired, swollen, acne-prone, and emotionally unstable just doesn’t appeal to me.  And don’t get me started on the whole no-alcohol, no-caffene thing.  As I mom, those two things (plus a bit ton of chocolate) are sometimes the only things that get me through the day.

And then, after surviving the joys of pregnancy, I actually have the new baby to contend with.  Or course, I worry about how tired I am going to be. The never-ending carousel of newborn baby exhaustion is tough enough, but how can I possibly manage doing that while waking up at 6 am every morning to take care of an energetic toddler.  An energetic toddler who doesn’t understand that mommy was up all night with the new baby and doesn’t have a single brain cell left in her head to remember all the words to “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”. (Why oh why do they make these children’s songs so hard!?)

Ok, I know that being tired or being afraid of not losing the baby weight is no reason not to have a baby.  If it was, no one would ever have a baby.  EVER.  I can get over being tired.  I can get over stretch marks and saggy boobs and cellulite.  What I am most afraid of has more to do with the inconcrete questions about bringing a second child into my household.  I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. Will she understand? Will she feel resentful or even angry?  Will she feel that we don’t love her as much? How will we have enough time for both of them?

I know that many, many people – including my own parents –  have faced these questions and fears, and many, many people have two-plus happy healthy children in their happy healthy families. I know that having more than one child is normal, if not the norm. BUT I haven’t yet revealed my biggest fear.  It is not only my biggest fear but my deepest, darkest secret.  A secret that I haven’t confessed to anyone yet… not even to myself really.  The true reason that I am afraid to have another baby.  Deep breath, here goes…

I love my daughter, Lyla, so much.  So much that it physically hurts.  I love her in a way that I cannot possibly describe (although if you have children you likely know.)  I love her, not simply because she is my daughter, but because she is Lyla.  I love her in a way that I cannot imagine loving anyone else.  Not even another baby.  I feel pretty positive that there is no way I could ever love anyone as much as I love her.  You see, I was never really a kid person.  But then I had Lyla, and she is so wonderful that she can turn even an angry, drunk, homeless man into a kid person (true story.) I worry that if she wasn’t so sweet, funny, charming and relatively easy, that I wouldn’t love her as much.  And I am terrified that if the second baby is a crier or doesn’t sleep or doesn’t eat or is sick or even if he or she just isn’t Lyla, that I won’t love him or her as much.  And it makes me feel like a horrible person.  And it makes me feel really scared.

I suspect that it is the same as the way that no one can tell you how truly amazing it is to have a child until you have one of your own.  I assume that no one can tell me how I much I will unconditionally love another child, until I find out for myself.  Odds are good that I will love a second baby as much as the first.  But it seems a pretty big gamble, and I have never been a gambling woman.  Hell, I only play the penny slots in Vegas… and there’s a lot more than 100 pennies at stake here.

To spawn or not to spawn… that is the question.

That is question that keeps me awake at night sometimes.

But I guess, it might be time to roll the dice.

 

 

photo credit: Nick Harris1 via photopin cc

Jun 212012
 

A sick husband, a hivey (and thus unsleeping baby), a last-minute job, a non-functioning internet connection, a wild goose chase to fix said non-functioning internet connection, not to mention shopping, laundering, researching, packing, stressing and grooming for a two-week trip with my husband and daughter.  After the week I have had… I need a vacation.  The good news: I have an amazing vacation planned to Italy and Norway.  The bad news: first I have to get there.  On a 15 hour flight, not counting layovers.  With a highly energetic 14-month-old.  Whoever said that it’s “all about the journey” is full of poop. When it comes to traveling with kids, it’s absolutely all about the destination.

Actually I know who said, “It’s all about the journey.”  My husband, last night.  I laughed so hard that I almost shot wine out of my nose.  Of course, he hasn’t spent the last week packing, planning, shopping, researching and stressing about our trip the way that I have. He just throws his stuff in a bag the night before we leave.  It’s not his fault.  I am the one who stresses about such things.  And I would never dream of letting him help shop or pack for our daughter.  This is a degree of control that I cannot relinquish.  It might be stressful, but there is something slightly calming about knowing without any shadow of a doubt that you have 3 changes of clothes, 20 diapers, 30 lbs. of snacks, and 50 lbs. of toys for a single flight.

The prep is done.  Now all that stands in my way is the journey itself.  But I know that if things get hairy, I can just think about the destination… pasta in my belly, wine in my bloodstream, and a smile on my lips as I watch my daughter play with her cousins.  And if that doesn’t work there’s always Xanax.

 

ps.  I will be enjoying my “vacation” for two weeks, and that means a vacation from blogging… you guys are exhausting.  But I am sure to return with loads of stories to regale you with soon.  Ciao!

Jun 152012
 

It was exactly 9:07 last Tuesday night when my husband uttered the phrase, “Now that Lyla sleeps so well, I kind of miss those middle-of-the-night wake-up calls.  Sometimes I wish she would wake up, so I could ‘rescue’ her.”  Two nights later, our little angel granted his wish by waking up at 9:30 and refusing to go back to bed until 2 am.  Because my husband had so longed for those sweet sleepless nights, I obliged him.  I let him spend the night singing, feeding, rocking, walking, cursing, praying and shushing, while I spent it sleeping – ahem – like a baby.  You’re welcome honey.  Sometimes my selflessness amazes even me.

However, I wasn’t laughing when it was my turn on Sunday night.  She woke up  at 10 and I couldn’t get her back down until 1.  I then spent the next hour or two tossing and turning, and snapping my head up to look at the monitor any time she made the slightest peep.  I finally drifted off to sleep (it was actually more like plunging into exhausted oblivion) around 2:30 AM, where I dreamt my standard anxiety dream of waiting tables and realizing that I forgot to place a bunch of tables’ orders, over and over again until 5.  It was then that I heard the siren call of my daughter.  I tried to resist the call and let her fall back asleep on her own, but alas I could not.  Instead I scooped her up and rescued her from whatever invisible assailant was tormenting her.

I sat down with her in the rocking chair to rub her back and caress her head.  After a few minutes, she curled up on my chest, tucking her arms under her, and began to snore lightly.  And despite the stiffness in my neck from trying not to move and the pool of sweat forming under my shirt from her hot little body, I didn’t miss sleep a bit.  I now had a few hours to sit and study her perfect little features, inhale her sweet baby smell (it still hasn’t gone away,  thank god) and think.

I make it a point to try not to judge parents.  I know just how hard it is to be a parent and to make all the decisions that the title requires.  I know that most parents are simply doing the best they can for their children and for themselves, and that every parent makes educated decisions based on what they think is right.  My husband and I made the decision not to bring our daughter into our bed with us.  That decision was based on some stories that friends have told us, some books that we have read, and mostly for the purely selfish reason that if my daughter was in my bed I would be too terrified to ever sleep.  If she is even in the room with me, I am constantly jolted awake by nightmares that I have fallen asleep with her in my arms and have rolled over and crushed her.  So, putting her in my bed is not really an option for me… not if I ever want to sleep again.

People feel quite strongly about the topic of sleeping with your children.  There are some, especially the Attachment Parenting proponents, who feel that co-sleeping creates security for the child.  Mostly though, I feel that co-sleeping is often villainized.  Many doctors warn that it increases the chances of SIDS, which is hard to argue with. That is probably the root of my intense fears.  However, my daughter is past the age where SIDS is a major concern, and still I never put her in my bed. It was the parenting decision that we made, and for us I think it is the right one.  But sitting in the chair with my daughter sleeping so close to me, I totally understood why some parents choose to have their kids sleep with them… or let themselves fall into that pattern.  I was struck by how close I felt to her – almost as though I was pregnant again, only now I could study her every feature in a way that she would never allow me to do while she is awake.  I was reminded of how short our time is with our children.  How quickly all of these moments will pass and then will soon be over.  If every moment is so precious, then sleeping with your child somehow feels like a way to steal a few extra moments.

Now, this is not a story about how I suddenly changed my mind and invited my daughter and all my future children into my bed with me.  I still stand behind the decision that my husband and I made.  I like my sleep.  I like my privacy. And I like my daughter to have her independence from us. All that I am saying is that I get it.  I understand the beauty of those stolen moments with your child while she is sleeping.  And while my daughter is going to stay in her own room, I just might join her every now and then.

 

Jun 082012
 

It has now been a little over a week since my eye surgery, and though everything went perfectly, I am still plagued by headaches, eyeaches, and a vague general tiredness.  I also have to be very careful with my “new” eyes, so it has really limited what I can do.  I have been unable to work, exercise, write, or blog.  I have rarely checked my email, stocked browsed on Facebook, or kicked the usual ass on Words with Friends.  I have also not been allowed to wear make-up, wash my face or really even shower.  Also, because I haven’t been feeling so hot, I have had to turn down various social engagements.  For the past week I have really been able to do little more than take care of my daughter.  And you know what… it’s been fucking awesome.

All of the things that I listed above are things that I actually really enjoy doing.  But having an excuse to NOT do them for an entire week has been such a relief.  I feel more relaxed than I have felt in a really long time. It’s amazing how much time I have when I am not constantly racing off to exercise, work, shower, blog or catch up with friends on Facebook.  I have spent a lot of quality time with my daughter without having to check my phone or email.  I have gotten a lot of errands done that I have been putting off for a while now.  I have logged more than a few hours on my couch watching silly TV.  Yesterday I even… wait for it… sat down and ate lunch.  An entire lunch.  While sitting down.  Can you imagine?! It’s been a while.

This forced “vacation” has been great.  I am totally relaxed, completely at ease, and absolutely bored.  Now, I can’t wait to get to back to the rat race. I need the stress.  I crave the chaos! (Please remind me of this when I am bemoaning the stress and chaos of the future.  Actually, don’t remind me unless you like a good slap in the face. I have a tendency to lash out when I am stressed.)

I have discovered that I like my life as busy, messy and full as possible.   So watch out world… I am rested, determined, inspired, and I can see the shit out of you.

May 312012
 

I know you will be sad to hear it, but this week you will not be receiving your highly anticipated dose of wise witticism in blog form… at least not from me.  Today I am having a minor eye surgery – almost like Cataract surgery (because I am 92 years old) where they implant a lens into my eye –  and I need to rest my eyes for a few days.  In fact, I am really not supposed to be on the computer right now, but lucky for you I have one last insight to impart.

Even though it is a minor surgery, I am terrified.  Way more terrified than I probably should be, and way more terrified than I would have been a few years ago.  Why?  Because if something happens to me… it happens to my daughter too.  And that worries me more than anything. If something went wrong with the surgery (however small the chances) she could grow up without a mom, or with a blind mom, or worst of all… with a hideously ugly mom with a terrible wandering eye.  But we can’t live our lives guided by fear.  And we definitely can’t stop living our lives because we are afraid.  Especially when it comes to our children, because I have a feeling that never goes away.

With that… here’s your quote of the day.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

May 292012
 

My daughter is just starting to talk, so like every annoying mom, I say each new word slowly and then repeat it a few times while waving the object in question in her face.  Then she looks directly at me and usually says some random baby talk mumbo-jumbo, which I am pretty sure means, “Mom, I am a baby…not an idiot.  Stop waving stupid shit in my face and I promise to say the word when I am ready. Oh and by the way, I hate the Farmer in the Dell just as much as you do.”

May 242012
 

Last week I gave you my list of things to BUY  to prepare for your baby:  Mommy Must Haves. This week’s topic is even more important… things you should DO to prepare for your baby. These are the things that no one ever tells you to do.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me to do. These are the things that I am now telling you to do. These are the things that… well, just read ’em.

– Buy an alarm clock. Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find. Now set it to wake you up every hour. When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough washcloth for ten minutes on each side. Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep. Spend a couple of days/nights doing that. Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!

– Buy a 12 lb. bag of frozen peas (can substitute a 12 lb. water balloon, 12 lb. dead fish or any limp, heavy, hard to carry object). Carry it around with you for an entire day while cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, napping, checking Facebook and talking on the phone. The next day, do it all while singing and/or humming the entire time.

– Get out your blender. Add the contents of your refrigerator. Start blender on highest setting without the lid, making sure that the mess inside reaches the countertops, cabinets, windows, floors and ceiling. Now dump whatever remains in the blender on the floor. Debate cleaning but instead leave for your husband to clean up.  Wait two weeks.  Still not clean?  Huh?

– Set your oven timer (you know the really loud, annoying one that always scares the shit out of you) for 26 minutes. Then start watching a movie, totally forgetting that the oven timer is on until it goes off and scares the shit out of you. Stop the movie, hop up and pick up your 12 lb. bag of peas. Now do laps around the house for 30 minutes. Gently put the peas down and restart the movie.  Lower the volume so as not to wake the peas. Reset alarm for 26 minutes. Repeat process until you eventually give up hope of ever watching a full movie again.

– Now repeat the above while cooking, showering, talking on the phone and having sex.

– Put on your favorite shirt. Add 1/2 cup whole milk to each shoulder. Go to work. Pray/pretend that no one notices the stains or the smell.

– Take your junk drawer (Oh, stop it. You know you have one.) and bring it into your living room. Now turn it upside down and empty its contents onto the floor. Retrieve one jumbo size box of Cheerios from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the floor as well. Now take off your shoes and pick up our 12 lb bag of peas. Turn out the lights and walk around in the dark for two hours while humming every children’s song you swore you’d never sing. If you step on something and cry out in pain or stumble even slightly (either could wake your almost sleeping peas) start over from the beginning. Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

– Think back to your college days during finals week, when you pulled three all-nighters in a row (1 actually studying, 2 partying.) Remember how tired you were? Now, multiply that by 10,000 because now you actually have shit to do, and let’s face it, you’re not young anymore.

– Think about how much you love your parents. Now multiply that by how much you love your siblings and extended family members… subtract Drunk Uncle Steve. Now, add the laughter you have shared with your best friends over the years plus the sum of the pride you have felt at your own achievements, times 100. Subtract your heartbreaks. Now, multiply by the love you feel for your husband, wife, boyfriend, and/or partner. And add the cuteness of a basket of baby kitties… squared. Got it? That is 1/1000000 of what you will feel during the first year of your baby’s life.

Good luck.