Sometimes I think that some parents have kids just for the pictures.
As some of you know, I have been a part of a wonderful magazine, Natural Child World, for a while. NCW is a parenting magazine unlike anything else that is currently out there. It has a great eco message, a real voice that doesn’t take itself too seriously or talk to parents like they are the 5-year-olds, fashion and design articles worthy of a coffee table, and some pretty great features… including one I am particularly fond of. I am proud to announce that my blog, The Good, The Bad, and The Saggy is going to be a regular feature in Natural Child World Magazine! It will be, as my blog is, a realistic and somewhat comedic (hey, I try) look at motherhood. Although there will most likely be a few less F bombs than some of my blog posts. You can find the magazine at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and other stores, as well as online at: http://naturalchildworld.com/
As always, thanks for your support. Without further adieu (Now that my blog is in a magazine I am totally going to start using fancy words like adieu) here is my first The Good, The Bad, and The Saggy feature in the May/June issue of Natural Child World magazine:
Getting Your Sexy Back
“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.
Some people say that motherhood is the toughest job in the world, but that is just absurd. There are definitely harder jobs out there. Like Sherpas. Imagine having to schlep around an ungodly amount of someone else’s belongings! Or how about assistants for crazy, unreasonable bosses… the kind of bosses who seem almost incapable of doing anything on their own, who often have total meltdowns for no apparent reason, and who, on their best days, throw random things at your head. That job is definitely tough! Or what about the poor people who have to drain port-o-potties or clean toilets for a living… the people who literally have to clean up someone else’s shit every single day.
Wait a second…
Well, motherhood may in fact be the toughest job in the world… but it definitely has the best bonus structure.
Shel Silverstein has been my absolute favorite since I was just a wee nerd, sneakily reading books with a flashlight after my bedtime. This poem always makes me tear up. If it doesn’t make you almost cry… you are dead inside. You should just give up and try out for the Real World.
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean,” said the little old man.”
After two weeks of having family here… all together…in our house…in every single bed and pretty much any surface that would support a body… and after two months of planning my daughter’s first birthday party which culminated in 75 people partying in our already overstuffed house, the dust is finally beginning to settle and I am finally beginning to breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and my in-laws, and I really do enjoy having them here. I love seeing how much they love my daughter and seeing how much my daughter loves them. Truly, nothing gives me more joy than to be with my family… except when I take NyQuil and have those very vivid and quite graphic dreams about Ryan Gosling.
That being said, with a house full of people it was a bit hard to relax. It’s tough to find the alone time I so desperately need when there is always someone everywhere you go. Plus, I spent the past two weeks on my very best behavior… shopping, cooking, entertaining, smiling, laughing and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning… I swear that dirty dishes have been breeding in my sink. But even more exhausting than the constant cleaning is the constant role-playing. There is nothing more tiring to me than pretending to be someone I am not. Even if it is just a slightly better version of myself.
Even though I know that my family loves and respects me, for some reason I feel the need to prove how good of a wife, friend, host, entertainer, and most importantly mother I am. And man, am I tired. I spent nearly two weeks treading lightly for fear of offending someone. I scurried around in a whirlwind of activity for fear of someone discovering the truth… that I am not as clean, organized, friendly, together (ha) or constantly happy as I pretend to be. I scuttled around following orders to get my daughter more clothes, less clothes, different clothes, and to retrieve more water to stave off dehydration or more food to stave off starvation. I alternated between letting her cry it out so I don’t seen weak, and picking her up at first wail so I don’t seem cold. I bit my tongue at unsolicited advice, and nodded my head at tips that I don’t intend to follow. But really, who am I trying to fool? Surely no one who knows me thinks that I am anything close to perfect, so why try to keep up an appearance that mostly exists in my own mind?
After having 24 hours to clear my head, some things have become begrudgingly apparent. While advice is sometimes (ok often) annoying, it is given to help… not to hurt. It is not given to question my judgement and certainly not to imply that I don’t know what the hell I am doing. And even if it does imply that I don’t always know what I am doing, the truth is… I don’t. Mostly I am just muddling through, figuring things out through trial and error, and error, and error. And, yes, I spend a lot of time pretending that I know what I am doing. So actually, I could use some advice… even if I don’t want to hear it. Maybe if I stop spending so much energy pretending to be perfect, I could spend a bit more time on really trying to be better.
So, my beloved family and friends (and not so beloved random strangers who feel it’s your duty to share your opinions despite wearing dirty, fuzzy slippers in public. true story.) while I can’t promise that I will always take your advice, I promise that I will try to accept it in the loving spirit it was intended. I promise to try to listen to the wisdom you have to share, but also to question you when I don’t agree with what you have to say, instead of just nodding politely. And at the end of the day, I promise that my husband and I will raise our daughter the best way we know how… because that’s exactly the example that our parents set for us. Most of all, thank you all for loving us and our daughter. Thanks for your advice, even if I don’t always take it. And thanks for your presence in our lives… although maybe we all don’t have to be present at once for a little while. At least until next year…
For my daughter’s birthday she received lots of “toys”, like a changing table for her baby doll complete with safety strap, wipes and diapers; a toy stove and other cooking utensils, boxes that you put things into etc. She also loves to play with the broom, dustbuster, laundry basket etc. Her favorite toys all just happen to be things I dread… cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, laundry… basically any kind of household chores. At what point do toys become chores? Am I missing the fun here? Do these activities become chores simply because we must do them? I stared to think that if I approached chores with a childlike sense of fun and adventure perhaps they could be fun again. So began to dance around as I swept the floor and to fold clothes with whimsical abandon. I literally began to whistle as I worked… then I remembered that I don’t know how to whistle and that my daughter also enjoys eating rocks, ripping up toilet paper, and spinning around until she falls down. Ok, back to the laundry. Sigh…
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Oh man, I love me some Dr Seuss. He just gets it…
Exactly one year ago… and precisely one week late… my life changed forever. Ok, well it actually changed forever exactly 41 weeks + 52 weeks ago…what is that… 93? I’m tired. And why do people with babies insist on counting time in weeks? But then again, exactly 93 weeks ago, I didn’t know that it had changed yet, so does it count? So maybe it was 93 – 4.5 weeks (that’s math I can’t do right now) ago, when I found out I was pregnant that my life changed forever. Hmmmm… Is it the moment of conception, of realization or of admission into the world that changes your life?
Anyway, I digress…
I had a fairly easy labor and delivery… considering that it was labor and delivery (for those of you who have not had the opportunity to squeeze a human being through your body, past your internal organs and out a hole that somehow is just never big enough… I’ll spare you the grisly details. I’ll tell you when you are older, or perhaps when I am drunk.) Then the magic moment came when my daughter sprung forth… actually she sort of oozed forth… from my loins. The nurse immediately placed this sweet, tiny (albeit screaming) baby on my chest and I finally stared into her beautiful blue eyes and felt… really fucking tired. I was expecting to feel fireworks, or a sparkly magical connection, or at least somewhat like a mother. I didn’t. What I felt was definitely joy, but it was tempered with disbelief and pure exhaustion.
I felt as though I were outside of my body, looking down at myself. Looking down at a mom who had an ecstatic husband and the most beautiful baby in the world, but who didn’t know what to do with it all. I felt numb. And because I felt numb, I felt fear. What if I didn’t love my baby as much as I should? What if I wasn’t cut out to be a mom? What if I had postpartum depression? What if this whole thing was a mistake? And because I felt fear, I also felt guilt. I guess that was when I should have known that I was truly a mom.
For those of you who are judging me right now, try to give me a break. God knows I didn’t give myself one. But let’s take an honest look at the situation. When you give birth to a baby, you top off the most tiring and uncomfortable ten months of your life (TEN MONTHS, NOT NINE. 40 weeks. Do the math) with the final month of total discomfort and pure exhaustion (it’s really hard to sleep when you have to pee all the time, every appendage is swollen to 3 times its normal size, and you have a baby doing zumba in your belly all night, every night). The good news is that all of this leads up to the most physically demanding thing you have ever done, which, besides being a marathon of huffing, puffing, pushing and tearing (sorry), almost always involves not sleeping for at least 24 hours. Then, right away you get to start the toughest job you’ll ever have, working for the most demanding boss in the world. I mean, if any other job required working around the clock, sleeping for only single hour stretches, and taking care of every single solitary need for a thankless boss prone to total meltdowns… the unions would be all over that shit. I mean, I was up all night without sleeping, going through a very painful as well as physically and mentally demanding journey, when suddenly this creature who has been in my belly for 10 months is laying on my chest, greedily searching for my boob as I lay there helpless as a rag doll. So yes, I was tired. And no, I didn’t have the immediate and earth-shattering connection I expected.
For those of you still judging me… go ahead. I truly hope that you had or will have an immediate connection with your son or daughter. Some people do. But not everyone. And not me.
What I can say is that as the day wore on, I started to come down from the high induced by extreme exhaustion, physical pain, drugs for that pain, the euphoria of finally seeing my baby, and the intense fear that comes from knowing that you are now 100% responsible for someone’s life… and that someone happens to be the most important person in the world. And as I started to emerge from my fog, I started to submerge into my daughter. The less I thought about the birth itself, the more I started to appreciate the miracle of it. I spent a lot of time examining the tiny little girl who was now semi-attached to my breast. I studied her tiny hands… so much like mine but so very, very small. The detail that went into making those hands in miniature was insane. The tiny white crescent on her fingernails, no bigger than a swipe of a pencil. The wrinkly little fingers, with a fingerprint 100% her own. Her perfect little mouth. Her teeny little nose. Her big eyes, staring up at me as if they could see directly into my soul. And most amazing of all was her personality… even at birth, already more individual than her fingerprint.
From those moments in the hospital, when I should have been resting but couldn’t for the fear and excitement I felt, and from every moment afterward, my love has grown. So my daughter and I might not have had fireworks right away, but as I have come to find out, we had something better. We had a spark, just enough to catch fire. Every single day it burns brighter than the last. And this fiery love and my daughter herself have illuminated my life in ways I never thought possible.
Thank you my darling Lyla for not giving up on me that day. And thank you for filling my life with more joy, more laughter and more poop… than I ever imagined.
This coming week marks a few VERY special occasions:
1) My daughter turns 1 on the 17th. (Holy Shit)
2) America’s Best Dance Crew is back on MTV (Randy Jackson. Mediocre Dancing. Music I am too old for. What’s not to love?)
3) One of my best friends is getting married. Sure, that’s a momentous occasion (yay marriage.) but the real occasion is that my husband and I are going away together. Alone. For the First Time. (simultaneous “Gulp!” and “Yay!”)
While the biggest occasion (besides the return of ABC, obvi) is my daughter’s first birthday, I am still in denial of the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, so I am going to ignore this for at least another week until I am forced to deal with this because 60 people, including both sets of Grandparents, will be at my house to celebrate said occasion. But for now, denial all the way. So, what I am going to talk about today is our impending trip sans baby.
I have been away from my daughter for a girls weekend or two, and my husband has also been away a few times. We have left her with a baby-sitter more than a few times, and she goes to daycare twice a week. After all this, we are just now finally starting to be able to leave Lyla without tearful goodbyes, incessant crying, and guilt-ridden angst. (If only my husband could stop his weeping! Jeez!) But this weekend marks the first time that my husband and I will BOTH be away from Lyla at the same time for longer than a few hours. In fact, we will both be away from her for a whole weekend. Cue the guilt, weeping and angst (of my husband of course).
While I am beyond excited at the thought of an adults-only weekend and some quality couple time with my husband (which I truly think is important) I am having a tough time getting over my fears at the thought of leaving my daughter. My wonderful parents have
been tricked agreed to come to LA to stay with Lyla while we are away, so I know she will be in good hands. Hell, my parents raised me and I still have all my limbs and teeth and most of my dignity and self-respect. My mom, while not of the typical pie-baking, holiday-sweater-wearing, round-cuddly-bosomed variety of grandmother, couldn’t be sweeter with her, and Lyla adores her loud laugh and funny dances. My dad has the patience of a Buddhist monk on Valium – an important trait to have when dealing with a one-year-old, but one that he unfortunately did not pass down to me. No, when it comes to leaving my baby, it is not my parents that I am worried about… it’s my parents’ daughter.
If you have ever met me, have ever read my blog, or have even made it this far into this particular post… you may have started to suspect that I am a worrier. I make no claims to the contrary. In fact, I wear my particular brand of crazy like a badge of honor (Well, at least THIS particular brand of crazy. There are a lot of crazy things that I keep secret… like the fact that I keep a small pair of scissors next to my computer so I can trim individual split ends while writing. What?) So that being said, I am going to go ahead and put my fears about leaving my daughter out there for the world to see. Deep breath…
– I am afraid that my daughter will miss me and my husband, and cry for us the whole time until we come back, thus driving my parents to thoughts of suicide… or worse… to thoughts of never wanting to babysit her again.
– I am afraid that my daughter will not miss me and my husband and not cry for us at all.
– I am afraid that I will miss her and worry so much that I can’t even enjoy the weekend away.
– I am afraid that I will not miss her and not worry, but instead have so much fun that I don’t want to come home.
– I am slightly worried that she will choke on a piece of food; eat something poisonous; get sunburned; eat a coin that has fallen on the floor and choke; slam her fingers in the door; open up the baby-proofed toilet and drown; open up the baby-proofed cabinets and drink dishwasher detergent; pull down a glass of hot coffee onto herself; fall down and poke her eye out on the corner of something sharp; fall down on something sharp and disfigure herself; somehow eat a peanut and have a severe allergic reaction; get hit by a drunk driver that has driven his car through our front window, while she plays innocently in front of it.
– I am also a little bit worried that my parents will drink all my good wine. (Just kidding Mom and Dad, you are welcome to all the wine you want. ) (Except for the really good stuff hidden
in the cabinet… I mean, hidden somewhere you will never find.)
I have spent the past few days and, frankly, the past year worrying about these things, as well as stressing about packing, cleaning, preparing copious notes for my parents etc. Then last night, in the middle of my stress, my daughter once again proved why she is the parent and I am the one-year-old. As I was racing around the house like a bat out of hell with its head cut off (have you ever seen one of those? They’re crazy) my daughter was watching a dvd of nursery rhymes. She looked so cute dancing there by herself, with her fat little diapered butt going up and down and her chubby starfish hands waving, that I had to stop what I was doing and pick her up to dance with her. Then she laid her head on my chest and we swayed together for a bit. Getting tired but not wanting to break the spell (my crazy little toddler rarely sits still for longer that 2.2 seconds, let alone lets me snuggle her for that long) I laid down on the couch with her still on the my chest. We watched the dvd together… well she watched the dvd and I watched her. But the best part was that every few minutes she would look up at me and smile, like she too realized how special this moment was. Like she understood that I was going away for a few days and she wanted to spend this extra bit of time with me too. As I sat there stroking her head, I realized that just as I had to take the time to live in this moment with my daughter, I had to do the same this weekend without her. Life goes by so fast that we have to enjoy every second of it.
So, as I spend the day preparing to leave for the weekend and readying to leave my baby, I am trying not to worry and not to stress. I am going to enjoy the weekend alone with my husband, and let my parents enjoy the weekend alone with Lyla… and possibly alone with my good wine.
Happiness is… Snuggling up to my baby when she wakes up AND Cuddling up to my glass of wine…I mean husband… when she goes to sleep.