Jun 102014
 

This morning I again found myself in the same place I find myself every morning:  engaged in battle with my three-year-old daughter about what she is going to wear.  No matter how difficult it is for me, I try to let her pick out her own clothes. And believe me, it IS difficult for me.”Are you SURE you want to wear a pink velour skirt with a red velour dress and purple pants?Yeah,  that looks amaaaaazing.” Clearly, my three-year-old doesn’t grasp sarcasm yet, but with me as her mother I am sure that it won’t be long.

It is difficult to let her make her own mistakes…um… I mean, choices, but I want her to be able to express who she is – even if who she is is colorblind. I guess that is probably the one of the hardest things about raising children, right? Letting them make their own mistakes, and learn from them. Letting them be who they are, even if it’s not who you want them to be.

But, while I try to let her make her own decisions, at least regarding her clothes, I do draw the line at things that are inappropriate for one reason or another:  Snow boots when it is 100 degrees outside, her fancy party dress that will likely turn into a cleaning rag after one day at school. Todays’ battle du jour was about a maxi-dress that she loves (and yes, I know it’s ridiculous that my three-year-old has a maxi-dress), but I don’t think is appropriate for running around and playing at school. Here’s a sampling of this morning’s conversation regarding said dress:

Lyla: “I want to wear THIS dress”

Me: “No honey, you know that’s not a good dress for school. How about one of these twelve dresses instead?”

L: “Nope. This is the one.”

M: “But honey, that dress is long. I’m worried that you won’t be able to run around and play at school.”

L: “Why can’t I run around and play?”

M: “Because I am scared that you will trip over the dress and fall.”

L (smiling brighter than the sun): “Oh mama, that’s ok. If I fall, I will just pick myself back up!”

 

And that, my friends, is solid proof of my theory that our children have so much more to teach us than we will ever teach them.

And also why my daughter is wearing her maxi-dress at school today.

Jul 092013
 

I’ve been off bed rest for a couple of weeks now, and the one thing that has struck me is that:

1) Bed rest sucks. It’s not restful, it’s stressful.

2) It really makes you appreciate the little things that you usually take for granted, or even complain about.

Ok, so that was two things. Forgive me, apparently my brain is still “resting.”

One of the hardest things about bed rest was not being able to do the little, every day things that I usually do, like taking my daughter to school, going grocery shopping, making dinner, and simply cleaning up the house. Yes, I missed doing those little, annoying “chores” that I usually complain about. I guess, really, I missed being busy and feeling efficient about getting those things done. Once you took away my ability to do almost everything but lie in bed and watch TV, I discovered how many “little” things I accomplish every day. Most importantly, I discovered the simple pride I feel in making sure our household runs smoothly. Coming from someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy, nor is very good at, cooking, cleaning and other domestic duties, I never would have guessed the pride I feel in accomplishing these simple tasks. Hell, I have sign in my kitchen that proclaims, “The Queen Does Not Cook” if that tells you much about my domesticity.

Of course, the thing I missed most was spending quality time with my daughter. Most of the days that I was on bed rest, I shipped her off to daycare.  And, home alone by myself, the house felt eerily calm and quiet. I truly missed her noise, her commotion, her unstoppable energy. I missed carrying her around on my hip, chasing her in the grass, and playing with her on the playground.  I missed her mess. I even missed her temper tantrums. (I think I must have been hallucinating out of boredom). Yes, I missed all the things that usually wear on me after a few hours in her presence. I missed the things that usually cause me to daydream about spending a day in bed, watching TV. Instead, I laid in bed, daydreaming about her mischievous smile.

And then, after a short time in the scheme of things, I was off bed rest. I had to take it easy, of course, but I no longer was confined to a horizontal position.

The first day off bed rest, I looked at all of these daily “chores” in a whole new light.  Even though I had to take things slowly (and still do) I was thrilled to just get out of bed, make coffee and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. I was happy to walk around the house and tidy up, take a nice long shower without rushing to get back to bed, and to finally go grocery shopping.

In the mornings, my husband and I usually take turns on waking up with my daughter and feeding her breakfast, while the other gets to sleep in a bit a later.  Normally, I look forward to my mornings “off” and that extra bit of sleep in the AM.  But the first day off of bed rest, I sprang up (gently) at the first sound she made, and the smile on her face when I came into her room to pick her up was pure magic. We read a couple of books and then chatted over frozen waffles. It was heaven. There’s no way that an extra hour of sleep could compete with that. When I picked her up out of bed and carried her into the kitchen, for the first time in a few weeks, she smiled and hugged me tightly and said, “Mommy can carry me?  Mommy not sick?!” Tears ran down my face as I squeezed her, maybe a little too hard, and said, “No honey. Mommy is not sick.”

But, much like the appreciation one has for one’s health after being sick for a few days, slowly my appreciation for the simple tasks of life has already started to slip away. I already find myself wishing for five more minutes of sleep, fretting over what to cook for dinner, and groaning about the dirty laundry that needs to be washed and the floors that need to be swept. My daily tasks are starting to become chores again.

My hope is that I can hold on to a little piece of the love for everyday life that I felt when I first came off of bed rest.  I hope I can always feel a rush of pleasure at waking up with my daughter in the morning, walking her home from school while chatting about her day, or lifting her up to put her the on monkey bars. I hope that I can remember to feel pride in keeping my household running seamlessly – ok, well maybe not “seamlessly”, but at least keeping it sputtering along. I hope that I can continue to remind myself that the little things really are the big things in life. And most of all, I hope that I can remember this every day, not simply when it has been taken away from me.

 

No cleaning allowed. Every woman's dream, right??

No cleaning allowed. Every woman’s dream, right??

 

No entry for big-haired cleaning ladies

Apr 102013
 

I never cared too much about cars.  My parents certainly are not car people.  They buy a new car only once the old car has literally begged to be put out of its misery at 200k+ miles. My first car was an old Honda Civic hatchback that my mom drove in the early 80’s. It was cream-colored with upholstery that was shredded and stained from years of driving around toddlers.  I covered the seats with furry seat-covers, plastered clever bumper stickers to the back and drove it to high school with pride. I loved it because it was my car. Mine.

I drove that car into the ground, as 16-year-olds are prone to do, and I was lucky enough that my parents provided me with the second of the used family cars to take to college:  a gold Chevy station wagon. It had been in several accidents, so it wore a black car bra (remember those?!) to conceal the damage and it broke down occasionally (ok, all the time), but it was big enough to fit all of my friends, plus a keg or two of beer in the back.

From the station wagon, I upgraded to a gently used Geo Prizm, which I was thrilled to have, mostly because it was red.  Then a few years later, I moved from Colorado to California to seek my fortune in a white 1993 Oldsmobile that I bought the day that I left town because it had a few key characteristics besides its stunning good looks: it was over 10 years old but only had 20,000 miles and cost just $4,000.  This was probably because  it was previously owned by a little old lady, who drove it only to the beauty parlor to get her hair “done” once a week, until the day that she mixed up the gas pedal with the brake and rolled through a farmer’s market going 60 mph, where luckily no one was hurt but her licence was wisely taken away and the car sat in her garage until one of her asshole children needed money and sold it.  This is all hypothetical by the way, but hopefully you get the picture that the car was not really my dream car.  I doubt it was even the hypothetical old lady’s dream car.

But as much as can laugh about my string of “hoopties”, as my friends called all of them, none of these cars ever bothered me much – except when they were broken down. However, after a few years of cringing ever-so-slightly when I had to valet the Oldsmobile next to the Ferraris and Maseratis that populate the LA freeways the same way that Civics and Subarus populate the Denver ones, I finally decided to upgrade my car.  I had a steady job then.  A job that actually looked like a promising career.  I celebrated this by buying the first car that I had ever picked out myself:  a used BMW 3 Series sedan.  It was 5  years old but looked brand new, and black on black.  I had searched for months, done endless research and test-driven tons of cars before I finally settled on this beauty. I was proud to drive it, not because it was a shiny BMW, but because it was mine. It was my choice, based on nothing but desire (and the price being under $20,000).

I proudly drove that car for five years.  Even after the birth of my daughter, I refused to give it up.  I didn’t care that her stroller took up the entire trunk, so that when I went grocery shopping I had to pack the bags around my daughter in the backseat. I didn’t care that my back was sore from constantly ducking so far down to get her into her car seat, or that my once-clean black leather seats were now covered with a fine Cheerio dust.  I didn’t care because, on those rare occasions that I was driving in my car alone, I could still crank up my tunes, roll down the windows and zip between cars with my hair whipping out the window. Ok, who I am kidding?  I could sit in LA bumper-to-bumper traffic with the windows rolled up so no crackheads could harass me, and feel pretty damn cool while I did it. I could feel, just for a moment, like I was a young, single girl without a care in the world.

But recently we started thinking about Baby #2, and it became increasingly apparent that my cute little car would have to be replaced. Replaced with what?  A Mommy-Mobile, of course.  What else?

For someone who doesn’t care much about cars, this was much harder than I thought it would be. After endless research into safety-tests, cost comparisons, online reviews from other Mommy-Mobile drivers, and test drives we settled on the Mazda CX-9. It is actually a really great car. It seats 7. It has a third row that easily folds down to create ample trunk space for strollers and groceries and stray homeless people. It sits up high, so getting my daughter in and out is so much easier now. It links up to my phone through bluetooth, so I can easily play “Wheels On The Bus” through Pandora when my daughter gets cranky. It is shiny and new – actually the first new car that I have ever had. It is everything any mom could dream of. And all of these reasons explain why it drives my husband batshit crazy that I don’t really like it.

I know, I know.  Boohoo. Poor me with my shiny, beautiful, new car.  Cue the tiny violins. The thing is that it doesn’t really matter what the car it.  It’s not really about the car at all, it is what it represents to me.  My husband doesn’t get it.  He drives the family car on the weekends, and then hops into his sporty convertible to head to work with the top down every day. He gets to pretend for a minute that he could drop everything and cruise across the border into Mexico with his friends at a moment’s notice.  He gets to blast his music and drive fast and pretend that he is young and wild and free… even if it is only for 15 minutes on his way to work.

For me there is no pretending.  Even if my daughter is not in the car, she is still there.  She is in the giant car seat in my rear view mirror, the crushed Cheerios on the floor, the stroller in the back, the toys scattered on the passenger seat, and the Goldfish crackers stashed in my console. Even when I drive by myself, I jam out to Dora the Explorer radio because I usually can’t figure out how to change the station on my fancy bluetooth radio. There is just no mistaking a Mommy-Mobile when you see one, and there is no pretending that you are anything other than a Mommy when you drive one.  It doesn’t matter how nice the car is.  It doesn’t matter that I picked out the colors and trim. It is not my car. It is a car borrowed from my parents. It is a car we rented on vacation.  It is a car that I mixed up at the grocery store and took from some other mommy, who now has my cute little car. It is not mine.  I didn’t pick it out. Life did.

Ok, so now my tale of woe is done.  For those of you who want to punch me in the boob for complaining about such a thing as a nice new car when there are real problems in the world like war, hunger, and personalized license plates – go ahead, I totally deserve it. The truth is that I actually do kind of like my car.  I don’t want to like it, but I do. But as much as I like it, it will never be mine. I guess that’s because it is a grown-up car and I still have a bit of growing up to do.

Even a kid knows better than to ride in a Mommy-Mobile!

Even a kid knows better than to ride in a Mommy-Mobile!

photo credit: K. Praslowicz – kpraslowicz.com via photopin cc

 

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

Sep 162012
 

Full Disclosure: After being quarantined inside the house for 4 days due to my daughter having highly contagious HFMD and ridiculous temperatures, I started to go slightly crazy.  Please bear with me during this low period, and I apologize in advance.

My daughter is not quite a year-and-a-half so she is not really into TV, besides the fact that I don’t like the idea of her watching TV too much.  However, I am a true believer that sometimes parents do what they have to do to survive the day, and to survive 4 days cooped up in the house with a rambunctious 16-month-old, I turned to TV.  One of my friends said that she sometimes lets her daughter watch “Dora the Explorer” because it is educational, so in a moment of pure desperation, I decided to give it a try.  Lyla seemed to like it… for about 5 minutes.  But anything that can get her to sit down for 5 minutes is a success in my book.  But long after Lyla had already moved on to 3 other activities, I continued to watch the intriguing Dora.  Here’s my conclusion:  Educational?  Yes, I guess.  I like that there is a multilingual heroine on American TV.  Especially since I hope that my daughter will be multilingual (my husband speaks Italian to her.)

Ok, so Dora is pretty cool in my book, but this entire opening now leads me to the random thought that has plagued me since I started watching and I just can’t get over…

Just how old is Dora and why do her parents let her roam around the countryside, “exploring” with just a boots-wearing monkey to chaperone?  She hitchhikes… and although she does wear her seat-belt, in California I think kids need a booster seat until they are nine.  She attends dubious fiestas at the Big Red Chicken’s house (never trust anybody whose name begins with BIG). And she gets around town with the help of a singing map.  At least get the kid a GPS or a Smart Phone.  Sheesh!

Ok… so now you have a little insight into the places my brain goes when I haven’t had proper adult interaction in nearly a week.  It’s a dark place, and I apologize.

Dora and her pal, Boots, teaching kids to hitchhike, one episode at a time!

Sep 042012
 

The other day I was at Target (it’s an addiction, people) and I heard someone say quite loudly, “GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW!”  Curious, I looked in the general direction of the obnoxious voice and saw an angry-looking woman screaming at… a two-year-old.  Yes, a two-year-old.  As in a sweet, innocent, curious and slightly naughty because they all are, two-year-old.  The next day, my husband and I were with our daughter at a the park.  As we were playing in the sand, two more kids came to join us:  a little boy around two and his sister, who was about five.  As we are playing, the older girl began to scold her brother and my daughter.  “I told you to SHARE!” she said, ripping a toy from her brother’s hands.  I know that she is just a little girl, but after 15 minutes of this, I was slightly appalled and totally annoyed, so we moved away to play in a different area.  My husband, wise as ever, remarked, “I feel sorry for that girl.  That must be the way her parents talk to her.  It’s probably the only way she knows how to talk.”  Of course, he was right.  Kids don’t come out of the womb talking. (Thank goodness, I wouldn’t want to hear all of the things I was doing wrong in those first few weeks!)  Language is a learned skill.  When you speak to your children, you are not only teaching them words, but habits as well as values. It is not just what you say, but how you say it, and what it means.

Maybe it is because I am a writer, but I have always been in awe of the power of words. The most influential figures in history such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Obama, and even Hitler, although clearly less positively,  have changed the world through their words.  For better or worse, it was their words and the manner in which they spoke them that inspired the masses – not their physical strength, money or weapons.  Words can truly do what no gun or bomb can, although they can be just as destructive.

If you think about it, most of the pivotal moments, both good and bad, in one’s life stem from words. “I love you.” “Congratulations!” “You’re fired.” “Mama. (my personal fave!)”   “Your offer was accepted.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I do.” “It’s a girl.” “Cancer.”  “You passed.” “Honey, would you like another glass of wine? (These particular words led to the conception of our daughter.)”  Yes, words are important.  They shape the course of one’s life.  But they also shape the course of one’s self.  No matter how strong you are, it’s difficult not to let another person’s words shape your perception of yourself.  And unfortunately it is often so much easier to believe the bad words rather than the good.  Why is that?  No matter how high your self-esteem has been built from a lifetime of encouragement and compliments, sometimes it takes only a single negative comment to knock it all down.  No matter how many people tell you that you are smart, kind, funny, beautiful, thin, or a great mother, all it takes is one person’s criticism to plant the seeds of self-doubt. And often our harshest and most outspoken critic is ourself. It’s hard for any amount of compliments to overcome our own negative thoughts.  Strange as it seems, a thousand “I love you”s can hardly stand up to a single “I hate myself.”

If we understand the power of words, then we must understand the responsibility that each of us holds… not only to other people, but also to ourselves and most importantly, to our children.  I am just now truly beginning to comprehend the weight of this responsibility.  My daughter started talking a few months ago, and now it seems as though she is picking up a new word every day, as well as repeating everything we say.  It’s cute when she repeats “I love you.” – or at least something that sounds like it – but terrifying when she says, “Yeah” in exactly the same annoying-teenage-girl manner in which I sometimes catch myself saying it.  And I already told you about my Friday night “Oh Sh!t”s slip up with my friend’s two-year-old.  If that poor kid becomes anything less than a successful doctor, lawyer or scientist, I am definitely going to blame his downward spiral on myself.

If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say it at all… especially if it is about me.

All joking aside though, a slip-up is bound to happen here and there.  We are only human, and some situations require the use of the colorful language that slides so easily off the tongue.  Shit happens, so to speak, so we can’t beat ourselves up about it. What is more important is the way we speak every day, not only when our kids are listening, but also when they are not.  I have learned that, like both the government and Perez Hilton, kids have eyes and ears everywhere.  They are always listening and learning from you, so be careful what you teach them.  Think about it… how can you teach your children to respect everyone, if they constantly hear you bashing that bitchy co-coworker or annoying neighbor to your girlfriends?  How can they learn equality when they hear you talking down to others?  How can your daughter feel beautiful if she hears you constantly bemoaning your own looks?  How can your kids learn to fight fair if they hear you and your husband fighting dirty?  The basic rule:  If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say it at all.  I know this phrase is just as annoying now as it was when your third grade teacher said it (along with “Keep your hands to yourself” and “Stop eating paste, Courtney.” ) but it’s true. It’s a tough one for me though.  I am naturally blunt, sarcastic, judgemental, easily annoyed and I love a good bit of gossip.  None of these things usually result in anything nice to say, so that often leaves me unusually mute. But I am a work in progress and I am working on these things for my daughter’s sake.  I hope you will too.

With every word we speak we are teaching our children, not only how to talk, but how to live.  So make sure you are doing your best to teach them the right way to do both.  Your kids will thank you someday… hopefully with perfect spelling and grammar.

May 112012
 

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”

– Elaine Heffner

So true. Notice she said ” the art of living” not the “art of wearing expensive clothes or riding in a fancy stroller”. I’m just saying…

May 082012
 

The main reason that I started this blog was to say all the things that you are not supposed to say about parenthood. Like, “Hey, being a mom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.  It can be shitty sometimes (literally) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing.” Or “Sometimes I fantasize about just one night ALL. BY. MYSELF.” Or “I love my daughter but sometimes she makes me so crazy I want to scream.”  I believe that the things that no one ever says about parenthood are the things that people most need to hear.  Not to scare people or dissuade them from having kids, but to let people know that if they feel this way they are not crazy or horrible people… or even worse, horrible parents.

Motherhood can be very isolating.  A new mother spends most of her time inside the confines of her house caring for her new baby, and that is just the beginning. As a new mom, you often feel isolated from your friends who don’t have kids because their lives are now so different from your own. For example, they actually get to sleep for longer than 45 minutes in a row, shower regularly, and put a cohesive thought together.  During those first few months it’s hard to find something in common with someone who doesn’t smell like baby spit-up.  It’s understandable.  But sometimes you even feel isolated from your friends who do have kids. They seem to do it so effortlessly that you are sure that they will think ill of you if you reveal your own fears and frustrations.  You also can feel isolated from your partner because he doesn’t understand what you are going through. How could he?  He’s not gestating what feels like the spawn of Pele.  His body hasn’t undergone an extreme, and mostly unpleasant, transformation (except for the sympathy weight he may or may not have gained due to a pregnant wife who may or may not have forced him to eat at places like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  Sorry honey.)  He doesn’t wake up every two hours to let a small human suckle his nipple until it bleeds – and if he does, think about finding a new partner.  To a mother, especially a new one, it can seem like no one in the world could possibly understand the way you are feeling… and it can make you feel very alone.

The worst part is that often the people who should be supporting you, the ones who DO understand what you are going through – the moms – are the ones who can make you feel the worst.  We hear a lot about the bullying of kids. We see movies about mean girls. But what about Mean Moms?

You know the type (especially if you live in LA).  They prance around the parks, the coffee shops, and the Mommy and Me classes with their perfect hair, perfect make-up, clothes that are somehow free of spit-up and shoes that actually match (not just the outfit, but each other… a near impossible feat on 2 hours of sleep.)  They talk about their kids as though they are perfect and about motherhood as though it is easiest thing in the world. They look at you with judgement in their eyes if you so much as hint that you are tired, frustrated, scared or otherwise human.

Mean Moms don’t necessarily SAY anything mean.  Often it’s more about what they don’t say.  Like the fact that her baby woke up 12 times last night, and damn, is she tired.  (Instead, she enjoys every extra minute she gets to spend with her daughter, even if it’s at 3 AM. ) Or the fact that she is worried that her 15-month-old hasn’t said his first word yet.  (Talking is so 2011.  She is working on signing. All the celebrities are doing it.)  Or that she is having trouble losing that last 10 lbs of baby weight. (It’s actually 10 lbs. of pure muscle from her personal training sessions!)  Or that she wishes her perfect husband took more interest in their new baby. (He’s working really hard to pay for that expensive stroller.)

I could go on and on, but instead I am just going to say this – Ladies, stop it with the Mean Mom act.  Leave it for the teeny-boppers, who don’t yet know any better.  Stop trying to pretend that you have everything figured out, that life is perfect, and that you are perfect.  Reach out to other women, or men, who seem like they need help.  And if you need help, ask for it.  Many people don’t realize that you could possibly feel alone while spending 24 hours a day with a new baby, but the truth is that you can feel more alone than you ever have before.  Tell a friend and let her help you, even if all you need is an ear. (But if this friend offers to help with dirty diapers or laundry… marry this friend and don’t look back.) But the most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You are not the only one feeling hopeless or clueless or nameless.  You are not the only one who sometimes can’t remember why they thought this whole parenting thing was a good idea.  I promise that you are not the only one.  And I promise it will get better.  And if you spot a Mean Mom, let me know, and I promise to kick her ass.  At least, in my mind.  I am a total badass in my mind.

May 052012
 

If you didn’t before, check out my first featured article in Natural Child Magazine, and get your sexy back… or at least brush your teeth once in a while!

“I’m sexy and I know it!”

Ok, so maybe this is the song currently stuck in my head (curse you LMFAO and your catchy lyrics,) NOT the phrase that I am most likely to think while looking into the mirror.  As a working mom of a ten-month-old baby, whose wardrobe usually consists of a variety of faded black yoga pants and whose highlights have grown so far out that they are now back in (ombre is so hot right now,) I desperately need to find my sexy.  The only problem:  I don’t know where I lost it.

I used to be hot once, if I do say so myself.  Back in those days, I used to spend hours primping with my girlfriends. Then we would strut around the bar, preening like peacocks, daring any man to talk to us. Now-a-days I usually slink around with zero make-up and my hair in a dirty bun, praying that no one notices me, or worse… recognizes me. While I am married with a baby, and definitely not trying to snag a man, I miss that confident, sexy creature I used to be – or at least think I was. My problem is not that no one finds me sexy… my problem is that I don’t find myself sexy.

So what is the answer?  How do you get your sexy back when you have no idea where to start looking? What I am not going to do is give you a list of “full-proof” tips guaranteed to make you feel sexier or make your sex life better.  Every person is different and everyone’s likes, tastes and limits are different too (and discovering what yours are is a joy that I would never take from you!)  But what I will do is give you one piece of advice… start making love to yourself.  No, I’m not talking about this in the literal way, although that might be a big step for many women,  what I am talking about is making time to do the things you love and that make you feel good about yourself.

Make regular appointments at the hairdresser, waxer or both. Hit the gym. Take the extra five minutes to put on some mascara and lip-gloss.  Take a bath, take a class (brains are sexy too!) or take 15 minutes to meditate.  Go buy some sexy new lingerie that fits the body you have right now, not the body you hope to have after six months of starving yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel like the smart, sexy, beautiful woman that you are. I promise that she’s in there somewhere!

And most importantly, stop hiding out and slinking around. Hold your head up high and strut around the grocery store,  office and your bedroom.  You ARE sexy, and if you know it, chances are the world does too.

May 042012
 

“I believe in making the world safe for our children. But not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex.”

Jack Handy

Wow.  Mr. Handy was a philosopher and a philanthropist.  Is there anything the man can’t do?!