Aug 102013
 

A few days ago, it was my birthday. And I got the most amazing gift ever. It didn’t cost a cent, it made me feel amazing, and it came from a total stranger who had no idea that it was even my birthday.

Perhaps it is childish, but I really love my birthday.  It’s my favorite day of the year.  It’s not really about the gifts, although I do love gifts. It’s not even really about the cake, although I really love cake. It’s not even about having an excuse to drink all day, although (usually) I really, really love my wine. I guess it is just about having a day that is all about me (and everyone else who is born on August 7th). Friends, old and new, reach out with kind words. Strangers, when they hear it is your birthday (and you know I tell EVERYONE it is my birthday), give you a genuine smile and wishes for a happy year. Most of all, I take the opportunity to indulge myself a bit. I let myself eat burgers and fries for lunch, have as big of a slice of cake as I like (or two), drink a bit more than I should, or even buy myself a little gift, spending more than I normally would.

Although usually I love making the day all about me, this year I was actually excited about spending the day with my daughter, Lyla. Perhaps I am finally growing up a bit. For the first time, at two years old, she finally understands that this is a special day. She helped my husband prepare a nice breakfast for me, even picking flowers to give me from the garden, and burst into my room singing “Happy birthday to you! Tanti Auguri to you!” (the bilingual remix of happy birthday.) We then decided to spend the day at the Santa Monica pier. We had gone there for her second birthday, and had one of the best days together that we had ever had. We rode rides, took silly pictures in a photo booth, ate burgers while looking out at the ocean, rode the famous carousel, and spoiled ourselves with giant, ice cream sundaes. Sounded like the perfect way to spend a birthday to me… perhaps I am NOT growing up too much, after all.

It was a perfect day. I was relaxed and happy, and my daughter was too. No worrying about eating enough vegetables, or too much sugar. No getting frustrated when my daughter had an accident, and peed right on the arcade floor… although we did make a quick exit. No temper tantrums – from either of us. It was a day for the history books. Then it got better.

After eating our cheeseburgers and fries, while cleaning up the rather large mess (because my daughter is 2, even on her best days) a man, who I noticed sitting alone next to us, approached the table. He said, “Excuse me. I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job. Your daughter is lucky to have you.” I could barely stutter, “Thank you so much” before he had turned and was on his way. I was in complete shock. First, that someone had noticed me and my daughter at all – and not simply to give us a dirty look because my daughter was standing on the chair screaming “You hear that?! That’s a fart!” at the top of her lungs (true story.) Second, that a total stranger had gone out of his way to pay me a compliment with nothing to gain for himself  – a compliment that I have really, really needed to hear for some time now. I really needed to hear someone tell me that I am doing ok, because most of the time I feel like I am failing miserably.

I don’t think I’m a bad parent necessarily, but usually when I analyze my day, it is much easier to focus on all the things I did wrong, rather than the things I did right. I tend to focus on the times I lost my temper, the times I raised my voice, the times I gave up fighting and let my daughter watch tv because I needed some goddamn peace and quiet. I wonder if my daughter slept enough, if she ate enough of the right things or too much of the wrong ones. I question my choices when it comes to discipline, praise, and pretty much everything in between. And when I analyze all of this, my answer is usually that I can do better. That everyone else is doing it better.

Even on those rare, really good days, when my daughter is well-behaved, I am relaxed, and everything goes smoothly, it is through no feat of mine. It is because my daughter is in a good mood, or she got enough sleep, or just pure, simple, good luck. The credit is never mine.

So when this total stranger came up to me and told me that I was ok, and even better than ok, that I was a GOOD parent – it was something I truly needed to hear. Not because I needed an ego boost. Not because a compliment is always nice. Not even because it was my birthday. I needed to hear it, because then I started wondering if perhaps it might be true. Might I be doing ok? Might I even be doing some of this parenting thing… gasp… well? It made me think of how happy my daughter is. How smart and funny and kind she is. How creative and loving. And I started to think that maybe it’s not an accident. That maybe I do, in fact, have something to do with that. And I still think that. Even over the past few days, when I lost my temper or said something I shouldn’t, I kept thinking that even if I wasn’t perfect, perhaps I am doing ok anyway.

I have no idea who this man is, and I guarantee that he has no idea how much that simple act of kindness meant to me. He has no idea that it keeps me going when things get tough. Or maybe he does know, and that is why he said it. If so, he is even kinder than I ever imagined.

DSC_0059

 

 

Jun 282013
 

Hello Stranger. It’s been a while since we talked. My last post I got all personal with you, possibly even worrying you, and then I never called. I never wrote. I never even texted. For that, I am sorry. But believe me when I say that it’s not you, it’s me.

You see, my fears and frustrations were all I could think about for a while. I needed a release. I needed to talk about these fears and frustrations, and you were just the right person to listen. You were sympathetic, kind, concerned and non-judgy. But in the time following, those fears and frustrations became all I could think about.  And they occupied so much space in my brain and in my life that, after a while, I just didn’t want to give them any more space. To be honest, I was just so damn tired of talking about them. But because they occupied so much space in my brain, I didn’t have anything else to talk about. So, I stopped talking.

But now, things are good. I am off bed rest and slowly returning to normal life.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me to show their support and concern and to share their own stories. I appreciate it more than you know. Even if I got tired of talking about it.

Stay tuned next week for more of my talking…

May 232013
 

In case you hadn’t noticed by my last slightly bitter post, I have been feeling just a wee bit self-conscious about my body lately.  I think that some people assume that as soon as you become pregnant, it is a free-for-all food fest and all body worries go out the window.  They assume that every pregnant woman eats ice cream all day, without worrying about the effect that it has on her body, both in the present and in the future. Oh, how I wish that were true. While pregnancy does change your eating habits, and let’s face it, some of us do spend the day eating ice cream, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the same body guilt, and even shame, that we felt pre-pregnancy. You eat more and crave more of certain kinds of foods while you are pregnant, not just because you are entitled to “gain all the weight you want”, but because your body is not-so-subtly demanding a double-meat, double-cheeseburger with a side of M&Ms in a way that most people are unaccustomed to. A pregnant woman’s hunger is similar to a twenty-two year old man’s sex drive:  it will not be ignored, despite all logic and good sense.

So your body is telling you one thing (ie. eat that tub of Crisco. Now!) and your mind is telling you another (ie. Control yourself and eat a salad instead, fatty!).  Sometimes you listen to your mind and sometimes you listen to your body, but even when you listen to your body, it’s tough to totally shut out the negativity of the mind.

But, as the weeks go by and my baby bump grows, so does my self-confidence.  I am finally starting to find my pregnancy groove.  The irrational hungry monster inside my head is slowly settling to a dull roar, and I am becoming able to control it. I finally have enough energy to exercise on a more consistant basis. My belly is beginning to look more like a baby bump rather than a jelly roll, so I am finally starting to pull out the tighter shirts that highlight my belly, instead of shamefully hiding it under baggy clothes like an unwed Mormon. My hips and thighs might be wider than usual, but a nice, round belly makes everything else look skinnier. My ass might be twice its usual size, but hey, so are my boobs.  Finally, I am starting to accept, if not totally appreciate, my lovely (pregnant) lady lumps.

That’s not say that I have shed my all body hang-ups just yet.  I have my good days and my bad days, just like I did pre-pregnancy. Buying a couple of new, flattering maternity outfits has helped. And on a good day, with just the right lighting and a bit of make-up and some high heels, I feel almost like myself again. Like myself with just a little something extra. So yes, maybe I am chubbier, bumpier, lumpier and cellulitier (yes, I just made that word up) than I was, but there are two of in here now… and that means two of us to answer to if you even think of asking me how much weight I have gained so far.

 

 

May 172013
 

For some odd reason, some people think that because you are pregnant they can say things to you that they would never say to a non-pregnant person.  Like growing a life inside your belly somehow makes you suddenly immune to comments on your looks, weight, parenting style or dietary choices. I mean, would you ever ask a non-pregnant person how much weight she has gained lately?  Would you ever tsk at her drinking a diet coke or eating a hamburger?  Would you ever stroke her belly??  The answer to these questions should be no. If it is not, you need to see a therapist. So if you wouldn’t say these things to a non-pregnant person, why is it suddenly ok to say them to a pregnant woman?

I have had enough invasions of privacy lately without hearing your thoughts on my body parts, thank you very much. I have peed in more cups, spread my legs more often, and had more conversations about my bodily functions than Lindsay Lohan, and quite frankly, I am tired of sharing myself.  Do I sound bitter and cranky? Because I am. I already feel enough like a human Tupperware container without people treating me like I am no longer human. So thanks, but keep your thoughts on how I look to yourself.  Unless, of course, you want to tell me how amazing my boobs look. Because right now, they are pretty amazing!

Basically, what I am saying is that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all. If you are not sure if it is nice, just don’t say it. If you still need further clarification, read below for my list of things you should never, ever say to a pregnant woman. Ever. Unless, of course, you were wondering what a swollen, pregnant fist tastes like.

1)  It’s only 9 months.

Ok, first off, 40 weeks is more than 9 months. Second, YOU try feeling nauseous, ugly, angry, sad, hungry, uncomfortable, gaseous and swollen for even 9 days and tell me that it doesn’t feel like 9 years!

2)  Wow!  You are only x months pregnant??  You are huge!

Even if it is said with a smile, or followed by a compliment or a comment that I am “all belly”, the only thing I hear is “Holy shit, you are fat!” And it makes me to slap the smile off your skinny, non-pregnant face.  Sorry, there goes the bitterness again.

3)  You can’t eat that/drink that/do that!

Thank you pregnancy police.  I am well aware (waayyy too aware) of what my dietary limitations are.  This is between me and my doctor.  I assure you that I am doing everything I can to create a healthy environment for my growing child, and that may or may not include an occasional caffeine fix, piece of fish or sip of wine. I did all three during my first pregnancy, and also lifted things that weighed more than a piece of paper, highlighted my hair, and painted my nails.  My child is just fine. Why don’t you focus on your own kid, who is eating a can rubber cement right now?

4) Are you sure that you are gaining enough weight?  You need to eat more. You are exercising too much.

This is just as annoying and unhelpful as the fat comments.  Every body is different.  This is true even during pregnancy. If a woman is truly gaining too much weight or not gaining enough, rest assured that her doctor will let her know.  Just like in non-pregnant women, there’s no reason to make anyone feel guilty or uncomfortable about her body.  Ever.

5 )  You must be having a girl.  Carrying a boy makes you glow, but a girl steals your beauty while you are pregnant.

Great. So not only am I fat, but now I am ugly too? Thanks so much. (Yes, someone actually said this to me during my first pregnancy. Seriously?? Seriously.)

6)  I only gained 20 pounds when I had a baby and I lost it right away.

Good for you. Now shut the hell up and let me eat my double cheeseburger in peace.

7)  Are you sure you are not having twins?

Translation: “You are a complete whale.” Ask yourself this – Are you really worried that in this day and age a second baby could have snuck into my uterus, undetected by doctors and modern technology? I’m not buying it. Or are you just trying to think of a “nice” way to ask me why I am so huge?  There is no nice way, so keep your thoughts about my weight to yourself or you will have your heart ripped out (and likely eaten) by a hungry, hormonal pregnant woman.

8)  Can I touch your belly?

No you cannot, creeper.  I wouldn’t want you to touch my stomach while I was not pregnant, let alone when there is only a thin layer of skin between your grubby hands and my perfect baby.  Shudder.  But now you have put me in the awkward position where I either have to say no and feel like a total a-hole or let you touch me. Thanks for that.

** This question, however, is preferable to the people who actually lunge for your belly, unannounced. I would never, ever touch a stranger’s body, so while is it acceptable for strangers to touch you while you are pregnant??

9)  You don’t like being pregnant?! Wow. I loved every second of my pregnancy.

Perhaps there are a few select women who truly love being pregnant, but I can personally guarantee that no one loves every second of it. There are many incredible things about being pregnant – like the moment that you first feel the baby move inside of you. Or simply the fact that your body is capable of creating another living, breathing human. However, I think that any woman who says that they loved every second of 9 + months of discomfort, mood-swings, cravings, nausea, pain, sleeplessness, bloating, and weight-gain is either forgetting, lying or Mother Teresa.

I am sure that there are many more insane things that people say to pregnant women.  Have you ever said anything you regretted to someone or did someone say something hilariously terrible to you while pregnant?  Please share and we can mock this dumbass together…even if the dumbass is you.

 

May 132013
 

Happy Mothers Day to the best Mommy in the world… Me!  Just kidding.  But wouldn’t that be funny if I said that?  Ok, let’s start again.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best Mom in the world.  Mine!  I know everybody says that, especially on a day like today, and I am sure that in many cases it is true.  I certainly hope that every mom is the best possible mom to their own children. My mom certainly has held up her end of that deal. She has always been the most loving, supportive and fun mother that I could ever ask for. I hope that I have done my part as her daughter to show her the gratitude and respect that she deserves every single day of the year, not just on Mother’s Day. God knows that after raising me she has earned it.

I love you Mom and am eternally grateful for the life you have given me and the person you have made me… every single day.

Love this lady!!

Love this lady!!

May 092013
 

Ok, I have a confession to make.  A few actually.

In case you didn’t read my last post, I am pregnant with baby number 2.  I am excited about it, of course.  It is what we wanted, and I feel blessed that we were able to get pregnant so easily.  I know it is not always easy.  It is a cruel trick of nature that when your body is most ready to have a baby – at, oh, the tender age of 13 – nothing else in your life is ready for this baby, including you. Although you  probably would share a mutual love of Demi Lovato and pizza-flavored Cheetos with your five-year-old, that alone doesn’t qualify you to raise a child.  However, by the time everything else in your life is finally ready, and your finances, mental state, and career are more secure, your ovaries are often shriveled up like Raisinettes, and your body scoffs at your attempts to conceive. Maybe my body is not quite there yet, but I am not getting any younger either, so I feel very happy to have gotten pregnant. But as happy as I am, the truth – and my confession – is that I am not as excited as I think I should be. To be honest (Ok, cover your tiny ears, Fetus) I don’t really think about the baby all that much.

Sure, I think about it all the time in practical terms. I think about all the things that must be done before the new baby comes. I think about the construction we must do, the endless amounts of crap that we must buy, and all the old gear that we need to haul out of hibernation. I make lists and then check them off.  I go to my doctor appointments and look at the ultrasounds and am relieved to discover that everything is ok. I take my vitamins, eat my fruits and veggies, exercise when I can, and avoid alcohol and caffeine and sushi and  lunch meat and soft cheeses and the long list of everything that I love that I cannot have.  I do my job as this baby’s diligent mother.  Or do I?

I do worry about the well-being of the baby, of course. That is a powerful instinct that I cannot deny. I think about all the things that can go wrong. I both fear and look forward to the tests that will reassure me that the baby is ok (I hope.) But when I think about the future with this baby, instead of daydreaming of his or her face, I find myself thinking more about how it is going to affect the baby that I already have. What does all of this mean for her? Is this really the right thing? Is this new addition really going to add to her life, or is going to take something away from her?  Like me.

Gone are the wonder and magic of the first pregnancy. I no longer read the weekly updates and marvel at the fact that the baby growing inside me is now urinating or that he or she is the size of a Meyer lemon or a navel orange (although this does make me hungry.) We haven’t even thought about names or what the new nursery will look like.  The journal I bought to start writing to the new baby, as I did with my first child, lies untouched.  Every time I sit down to write, I realize that I haven’t nothing yet to say. I really wish I did.

I know it is still early in the pregnancy.  I don’t know the sex yet, nor have I felt much movement other than the slight flutters that may or may not be gas. I am sure that I will connect with this baby at some point, but right now I am finding it hard to connect with this unknown creature when I already have a flesh and bone child that connects back. I distinctly remember feeling a lot more excited at this stage in my first pregnancy.  Writing in her journal, reading every book on the market, marveling at my body’s changes and taking pictures each week of my growing belly.  Now, it feels a bit “Been-there, Done-that.” And I hate it. I hate to think of my child as a been there, done-that. It is not fair. And I know it.

Ok, tiny fetus, you can uncover your ears now.  I do love you and I am excited to meet you.  I guess, like so many relationships, ours just needs a little bit of time to develop.  Good thing we have till October. And then the rest of my life.

 

Apr 242013
 

Two and a half years ago, while pregnant with my daughter, I started a journal to my unborn child.  I had a lot of questions, fears and emotions (imagine that: an emotional pregnant woman!)  Mostly I just felt like I had a lot to say to this little baby growing inside me, but I felt like a complete a-hole actually walking around talking to her. I have always had a much easier time writing rather than talking, especially when it comes to any subject that registers on an emotional scale of more than .0005. I can barely stutter my way through a difficult face-to-face conversation, but I can bare my soul on paper. That is part of the reason I started this blog in the first place:  I had a lot to say, but was too chicken shit to actually SAY any of it.

So for these reasons, I started a journal to my unborn child.  I have kept up with it since her birth, although not as often as I would like as actually having a child takes up most of my time. However, I hope to continue writing in it and saying all the things that I can never actually say to her until I feel that the time is right to give the journal to her.

A few days ago was my daughter Lyla’s second birthday.  And rather than writing a separate blog post about the immeasurable ways that she has changed my life in the two years since she was born, instead I am going to share with you the entry that I made into my daughter’s journal.

 Dear Lyla,

 A little over two years ago, I was anxiously awaiting your arrival. I was full of questions and fears, and there was so much that I did not know. Now, you are two years old, and I am full of new questions and fears. I am still learning every day, and thank goodness you are a kind and patient teacher. One thing that I have learned in the last two years is how little I knew until the day you came into my life.

 I knew that I would love you, but I didn’t know what this kind of love meant. I had no idea that this depth of love was even possible until you showed me how.

I didn’t know how addicting your smell would be.  

 I knew that you would change my life, but I didn’t know how much you would change me.  You have made me stronger than I ever imagined, more patient than I ever thought possible, and more compassionate than I ever dreamed I could be. You have brought out the best in me, and shown me parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed.  

 I knew that you would make me a better mother, but I didn’t know that you would make me a better daughter, wife, sister and friend. I didn’t know you would make me a better person.

I didn’t know what amazing conversations we would have, even at the age of two.

 I knew you would be my daughter, but I didn’t know you would be my confidant, my partner in crime, my fashion critic, my favorite companion and my best friend.

 I knew that I would have much to teach you, but I didn’t know how much you would teach me.  Every. Single. Day.

I didn’t know such big farts could come out of such a little person. 

I didn’t know that once I became a mom, I could never unbecome one, even if I wanted to just for an hour or two.  I didn’t know that even when you are not there, you are always in my mind and my heart.  

I didn’t know how hard I could laugh.

I didn’t know how much I would worry. Every second. Every minute. Every day.  I also didn’t know how this could possibly be a bittersweet thing. I worry so much because I love you so fiercely. And even though worrying can be exhausting, that kind of love feels good. So I embrace the worrying. I do know that you don’t understand what this means, but I hope that you have your own child someday and then you will know.

Lyla, there is so much that I didn’t know then and that I still don’t know now.  I have made many mistakes over the past two years, and I am sure that I will make so many more before you ever read this.  The one thing I do know is that my love for you somehow grows every day.  I know that you inspire me, amaze me, and make me happier than I ever thought I could be. I know I must be doing ok at this mom thing, because you are the most incredible little person that I have ever met.  Happy birthday my beautiful daughter.  I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mommy

DSC_0378

 

DSC_1276

 

DSC_0179

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

 

Apr 042013
 

Nobody is perfect.  Anyone who has ever read this blog can attest to the fact that I am not even close. However, it seems to be some unspoken mommy code that when in public, one must cling to the appearance of parental perfection. But I am no actress (I can’t even fake an orgasm, just ask my college boyfriend) and all this pretending is just exhausting. So today I am just going to put it all out there and confess a few of my Parenting Sins – heinous crimes so terrible that parents are never supposed to reveal them for fear of being ostracized from playgrounds and Mommy and Me Yoga groups everywhere.

Judgy Judgerson’s out there:  Rejoice.  You are going to have a field day with this one.  But for the rest of you who are a) actual parents b) live in the real world and c) are tired of trying to pretend you are perfect, I hope this comes as a relief to know that you aren’t the only “horrible parent” out there.  If these sins send me to Parenting Purgatory, so be it. I’ll be there eating non-organic, sugar laden-junk food and watching reality TV, if any other parents care to join.

So without further ado, here are 7 of my Deadly Parenting Sins.  Judge away!

1)  I sometimes let Dora the Explorer babysit my daughter while I work, make dinner or just take a little break from the rigors of hostage-style negotiations with a toddler.

2)  You know how kids throw food on the floor and when you are in public you tell them that it’s yucky and then make a big show of throwing it away?  When I am in the privacy of my own home, I sometimes dust it off and give it back. Especially if it is a valuable (as in: last) snack. 5 second rule, right?

3)  I lose my patience all the time. I sometimes have to leave the room so I don’t explode. Sometimes I explode anyway. I am working on it.

4)  I laugh when my daughter repeats curse words or says other inappropriate phrases.  My daughter used to say fuck instead of fork and I would think of any excuse to get her to say fork.  “Lyla, what do you use to eat your pasta?  A what?  What was that?” Hey, it’s funny. Sue me.

5)  Some days I count the minutes until nap time or bed time.  I love spending time with my daughter, but I also like eating, showering and peeing – none of which I can do while she is awake.  Without question, my two favorite times of the day are when she wakes up and when she goes to sleep. 

6)  I can get a bit lazy with meals.  Here’s the deal:  I buy organic everything. I cram fruit and vegetables down her throat.  I make sure that she gets all her food groups every day.  But most days, by the time we get to dinner, I am tired. I also know that I have to cook another dinner for my husband and I. So my daughter eats a variation of the following things most nights:  pasta with tomato sauce and some kind of vegetables, pasta with cheese sauce and some kind of vegetable or baked chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries.  Throw in the occasional quesadilla, sandwich or leftovers from Mommy and Daddy’s dinner and that pretty sums it up. This actually sounds like a delicious menu to me. I think she’s pretty damn lucky!

7) When it comes to clothing, sometimes my daughter’s comfort is slightly less important than the adorableness of a particular outfit.  Hey, looking good isn’t always easy. Let’s just say that I am preparing her for the high heels and Spanx that will more than likely be in her uncomfortable future. And don’t even get me started on bikini waxes.

So there you go, my 7 Deadly Parenting Sins.  Sure, there are more than 7, but these are the just the few that I have already committed today.  See you in purgatory.  I’ll be the one with the baker’s dozen of Sprinkles cupcakes, a bottle of Cabernet and huge damn smile.

Please feel free to share your Parenting Sins with me.  No judgement here.  Just a “cheers!” with my wineglass and a knowing smile.

Cheers to "bad parenting"!!

Cheers to “bad parenting”!!

photo credit: Photogdan.com. Faving? Read the profile please. via photopin cc

 

Feb 252013
 

A couple of months ago my husband and I had a fight.  Not simply a disagreement. Not an argument. Not even a simple, clean fight.  We had a knockdown, drag-out, say-things-you-will-regret-later kind of fight.  It was an experience that rarely happens, and I am going to do my best to make sure that it never happens again.

The details of what we argued about don’t really matter, but here’s the gist:  he said something that pissed me off and I totally over-reacted (as usual), got defensive (per normal), and got angry (yep, again normal. Sigh.) Again, the details of what he said that triggered all of this don’t really matter, but what I came to realize throughout that very long night is that: truly, it’s not him, it’s me.

I got so upset because something he said touched a very deep vein of insecurity in me. Nearly everyone I know has their insecurities, and I am no exception. I am insecure about many things: the size of my thighs, the shape of my breasts, the nasally sound of my voice. Insecurity is not a new thing to me. But lately I have added a new insecurity to the list. This insecurity has shaken me to my very core, because that is what I am insecure about – My very core.  Not my thighs or my breasts or my belly or my laugh. I am insecure about Me. Mostly because I don’t know who Me is anymore.

Since becoming a mom, I have struggled to define myself outside of that title.  I used to be many things – A writer, a producer, a loving wife, a best friend, a dirty-joke-teller, a great secret-keeper, a full-time foodie and wino, a sometime hip-hop dancer. But when my daughter was born, a new me was born too, and now I often feel as though I have been stripped down to a single thing: Lyla’s mommy.   Believe me, Lyla’s mommy is really great thing to be, but sometimes I feel as though it is just not enough.

Perhaps it is my fault. Since having a baby, I quit my full-time job and now freelance part-time. I have given up most of my hobbies. I see much less of my friends. But these are all choices that I made, and I am not sure that I would make them any differently. My most rewarding job is my daughter. She is also my favorite hobby and my best friend. And that is beautiful. But yet, I still feel lost sometimes.

I used to be full of stories and jokes and opinions.  Now, I often find myself struggling for interesting things to talk about at dinner parties.  My clever anecdotes about potty training, and hilarious stories of Mommy and Me shenanigans can only take me so far.

I used to have an exciting job.  Something I worked very hard at and was very proud of.  Now, when people ask me what I do, I  come up with some sort of vague answer about how I kinda stay home with my daughter and sort of work part-time from home.  It’s as though I feel like neither job is good or exciting enough to warrant anyone’s curiosity.  Instead I steer the conversation towards my husband or a friend or someone whose life is more worthy of examination.

I used to love getting dressed up, carefully planning each outfit the day before. Now, I spend my days in yoga pants and hoodies.  I sometimes go for days without putting on make-up or even washing my hair. This is probably because I can often go For days without seeing another adult besides my husband and the cashier at Trader Joe’s.

Time passes. There are wonderful days and boring days and tough days. My daughter grows bigger and sometimes I feel as though I am growing smaller.  I get further and further away from the person I used to be,  but somehow I don’t get much closer to discovering the person I am now.

Although my fight with my husband was awful, something good came out of it.  It forced me to take a hard look at myself and realize that I need to make some changes.  I need a Mommy Make-over, and not the kind that requires a nip and tuck, or even a new hair-cut. I realized that I need to take care of my newborn self the way that I took care of my newborn daughter.  I need to love and nurture myself, and every once in a while, to put my own needs at the top of the list.

I know that it is February, and now is when people are breaking their New Year’s resolutions, not making them, but I think that any positive change can happen any time you decide to make it happen.  So this year my resolution is this: I am going to spend a lot less time thinking about who I used to be or who I should be, and spend a lot more time discovering who I am.  Who I really am. Right at this moment.  Not the “new and improved, healthier, skinnier, friendlier, better wife, better mother” me.  But just me. Right now. What I REALLY enjoy doing.  What REALLY makes me happy.  Then I am going to spend a lot less time thinking about it, and a lot more time actually doing it. And hopefully once day, when I am old and grey and I have time to think about these things, I will discover that I have always known who I am.  And it has nothing to do with any job I held, or clothes that I wore, or hobby I perfected.  Perhaps it is some complicated equation that has to do with the people I love, added to the experiences I have had, multiplied by the laughs I have shared.   But I haven’t quite figured that out yet.  So for now, I’m going to try to think less and live more.  Talk to me when I’m 80.  By then I should have it all figured out.  Maybe.

 

Travel makes me happy!

Travel makes me happy!

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc