May 132014
 

There was this art project that I used to love to do as a kid: we would take an egg and make a tiny little hole in each end with a pin. Then we would blow through one end, and all the raw egg inside would come shooting out. Once you got all those pesky insides out, you would have a perfect eggshell to decorate. It would be fragile, of course. But unlike a regular egg that would eventually fester and rot, the eggshell could last forever if treated carefully. The idea is so simple: remove the parts that can go bad, and the shell will endure. It is preservation at its finest.  But, I never really appreciated the idea of preservation. When I was a kid, I just liked blowing out all the disgusting raw egg into my friends’ faces… and by “when I was a kid” I mean yesterday.

When my baby boy was three months old, I mentioned to my pediatrician that he had a slightly odd birthmark on his back.  It was something my husband and I had noticed about him from the day he was born.  It was tiny and hidden right above his butt crack, a place no one would but a parent would ever examine closely enough to notice. I didn’t mention it to my doctor until my son was three months old because it seemed innocent enough: a cute little birthmark. The human body is an amazing thing though, and sometimes these innocent little markings are warnings of something much more nefarious.

My doctor told me it was probably nothing, but we should get it checked out to make sure. She told me that I shouldn’t lose any sleep over it.  But of course, I lost sleep over it. A lot of sleep. Luckily I had a toddler and a three-month-old baby, so I wasn’t sleeping much anyway.

After an ultra-sound, an MRI and a few meetings with a neurosurgeon, we discovered that my son had something called a tethered spinal cord, and would need surgery to correct it. A tethered cord is a birth defect, where the spinal cord is literally tethered down by something (in this case a fatty growth called a lypoma) so that it cannot hang freely as it normally would, and instead stretches and pulls, damaging the big bundle of nerves that make up the spinal cord. That big bundle of nerves is tied to many different things: legs, feet, bladder, bowels, and brain to name a few. If not corrected, it can cause any assortment of developmental and physical difficulties. In addition, that innocent-looking birthmark was actually a tract that ran directly from the spinal cord to the outside of his back. So that cute little marking actually put him at risk for meningitis and other infections. Scary right? You don’t know the half of it. At least, I hope you never do.

Before Jan 13th, I didn’t know the half of it either. But on that day, the day of my baby’s three-month doctor appointment, and the months that followed, I learned what scary really meant. And it wasn’t just sleep I lost over those months, it was everything. Sadness, guilt, anger, and THE FEAR plagued me every minute of every day. My perfect baby was not perfect. My sweet little boy would have to undergo surgery and so much more. And there were so many unanswered questions, so much we wouldn’t know until it was possibly too late. How could I sleep? How could I think of everything else?!

There was a brief moment of each day that I forgot THE FEAR: each morning when I woke up and scooped my delicious bundle out of his bassinet and looked into his smiling face, I got at least two minutes of unadulterated joy. Two whole minutes of staring at his perfect face. Of breathing in his sweet smell. Two luscious minutes of reveling in the perfection of him before – BAM!!! – my memory, and with it THE FEAR, would return with such force that it took my breath away. Every. Single. Day.

So, I couldn’t sleep at night. I would spend hours crying during the day. I couldn’t play with my wonderful daughter, or even enjoy the sweet miracle that was my baby son. All I had was my sadness, my guilt, my anger and THE FEAR. I was drowning in them all. So I did what I had to do to endure. I made myself stop crying. I made myself stop thinking and stop feeling. I removed everything inside me that was festering and rotting, and I became a shell – fragile yet enduring. It was self-preservation at its finest.

The problem with hollowing yourself out like that, is that you cannot choose what stays and what goes. You cannot remove the sadness without removing the joy. You cannot remove THE FEAR while leaving the hope. So I became an empty. I went about my daily life, of course. I did what needed to be done.  I took my daughter to school and to dance class. I took my son to his doctor’s appointments. I made dinner, I fed my children. I sometimes fed myself. I even went out with friends. I laughed at their jokes. I drank too much wine. From the outside, everything looked normal. But on the inside, I was empty.

Slowly but surely, though, little cracks began to show. Maybe not big enough for everyone to see, especially because I was master at painting myself up to look the same as I was before. I began to hide out to protect myself. I shut out most of my friends, because I didn’t want to take a chance of having to talk about what I was feeling. I picked fights with my husband about anything other than what I was really upset about. I stopped writing. I quit doing anything that would force me to be honest about myself, because I felt like if I was honest, then my cracks would spread and I would break into a million pieces. I thought that if I really started crying that I would never stop. And mommies can’t do that.

But I endured. My son had his surgery almost two months ago, and he is doing great. Kids are amazing in their resilience. His scar, that takes up almost half of his back, is quickly fading. But somehow, my scars are still angry and raw. I thought that once the surgery was done and life went back to normal, the FEAR would go away and that I would go back to normal too. But I guess once you empty yourself out like that, it’s hard to fill yourself back up. I guess once THE FEAR finds you, it’s really hard to ever chase it away.

I am trying. I am trying to be brave enough to let go of THE FEAR. I am trying to be brave enough to allow myself to be filled with emotions, both good and bad. The strange thing is that I cry now more than I ever did. But I smile more too. I am repairing my cracks, little by little. I think the first step is to let my cracks show, and to realize that admitting that you are broken doesn’t mean that you can’t be put back together.

egg

 

photo credit: katerha via photopin cc

Jan 232014
 

Let’s face it, there is some sort of weird, high-schoolish hierarchy at play between many moms.  I get so tired of the judgement and competition between mommies, and I have witnessed more than a few “Mean Mom” moments myself. But, I gotta tell ya, when push comes to shove comes to nervous breakdown… Moms rock!

I’m going through a tough time right now. Really tough. I won’t bore, or possibly interest you, with the details, but let’s just say this has been the hardest month of my life.  On top of that, I have a crazy/awesome almost-three-year-old who doesn’t nap most days, and a sweet three-month-old who doesn’t sleep most nights. I’m tired. Really f-ing tired.

The other day I took my daughter to one of those coffee shop-slash-play areas. You know the kind where the kids can play while you drink overpriced coffee and where the other Lululemon-wearing, organic-feeding, their-stroller-costs-more-than-your-car type moms barely look at you… unless your kid is pulling their kid’s hair. Yeah. That place. Anyway, I took the kids there in hopes of wearing them both out enough so that they would take naps and I could finally get some work done. Ha.

Five minutes in, while nursing my son and before a single drop of $6 organic latte could cross my lips, all terrible-two hell broke loose. My daughter had an uber-meltdown.  Conveniently, these meltdowns always happen while I am right in the middle of nursing, so I have chase my daughter around with my boobs out and my Hooter Hider flying behind me like a cape. I look like a coked-up superhero.

Like said super-hero, I managed to drag my daughter away from the crime scene, kicking and screaming “Owie!!” at the top of her lungs (because my evil genius has discovered that when she acts like I am hurting her, people look.) In the middle of attempting to carry my screaming daughter – who has now moved into Meltdown Stage II, where she turns all of her bones into jelly, so I can’t possibly get a grip on her – and hastily explaining to a room full of strangers that I am not ACTUALLY hurting my child, my baby starts to wail. I can’t pick him up because I can’t calm my daughter down enough to risk letting go of her. So now I have two screaming kids, only two hands, zero hours of sleep, and no mental capacity to deal with any of it. So I start to cry. Bawl, actually. I was a snot-nosed, red-faced mess. Just like my toddler. It was probably the single most humiliating moment of my life.

And while this was going on, do you want to know what those other “perfect” moms, did?!

One helped me pack up and carry my bags, while I hauled my screaming toddler to the car. Another rocked and shushed my son until he stopped crying. Yet another buckled him into his car seat and carried him out to my car for me. None of them laughed at me, or judged me, or made me feel worse than I already did. All of them hugged me and told me they knew how I felt. How they had been there before. Yes, even perfect moms have dealt with toddler meltdowns and crying babies.  Apparently, even perfect moms can sometimes feel like terrible moms. Who knew?

And so, Moms, this is why you rock.

Because no matter who you are, or how much your stroller costs, you have been there before. And when push comes to shove, you are there for each other. And there for me too.

Now… if only my ego would allow me to go back to that coffee shop and thank them. I’m just not quite there yet.

Moms Rock

Moms Rock

 

photo credit: JohnCrider via photopin cc

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

 

 

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

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!!

Nov 142012
 

Babies are the new black.  Seriously, babies are so hot right now.  Everywhere you look (as long as, like me, the only place you get your information is from trashy magazines) celebrities are showing off their cute little baby bumps, parading their children around in tiny clothes that cost ten times what my adult-sized clothes cost, and flaunting their ridiculous baby names (I’m looking at you Uma Thurman!)  But the most annoying thing that celebrity mommies are flaunting these days:  their skinny, toned, stretch-mark free post-baby bodies…just weeks after delivering.  What’s even more annoying is that when questioned about this crime against nature, most of them say that the “weight just came off” or all they did was “breastfeed.”  Seriously?!  If breastfeeding got me abs like Miranda Kerr or an ass like Gisele, I would breastfeed my daughter through college.

Did breastfeeding do this? I think not.

Alas, for us mere mortals, this is not the reality.  No, my baby weight didn’t exactly fall off as easily as a celebutante’s undies.  And while breastfeeding allegedly burns 500 extra calories per day, when I was breastfeeding I was ravenously hungry and still eating for two:  One for me, and one for an entire football team.  I must admit that looking at celebrities like Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Heidi Klum and Kristen Cavallari (I use the word celebrity loosely) who looked beyond amazing right after having their babies made me feel bad about myself.  I would huff and puff my way through 45 torturous minutes on the elliptical, followed by round after round of lunges and sit-ups, and then look at myself in the mirror hoping to see some instant, radical change.  Hoping that I would like what I saw again.  Then I would dejectedly look down at my saddle bags and pinch my still flabby tummy and wonder what I was doing wrong.  Why was it taking it me so long to get my body back?  Why don’t I look like those celebrities?

Then one day it came to me:  What I was doing wrong was simply not being a celebrity. I wasn’t devoting my life to my figure. I wasn’t working out 4 hours a day, 7 days a week with a $500/hr celebrity trainer. I didn’t have a personal chef or nutritionist or even a meal delivery service. I never looked like a supermodel in the first place.  And all of this is ok because looking good isn’t my job. I don’t have a movie to get in shape for or a modeling gig to slim down for.  I don’t have paparazzi chasing me and magazines pointing out my every flaw. The world isn’t watching my every move, hoping that I will fail. Hoping that I, too, will have cellulite and stretch marks. And thank god for that.  If they were, than I would sure as hell be shelling out for the personal trainer and delivery meals.

I was looking at it all the wrong way. Instead of feeling jealous of how quickly these celebrities were able to whip their bodies back in shape, I should be feeling sorry for them for having to whip their bodies back into shape so quickly.  Now, I know that it is hard to pity a rich, beautiful, famous movie star, but don’t forget that they are moms too. Imagine how stressful it would be if you had 6 weeks to lose the baby weight before your next movie.  Imagine if, on top of having a new baby, you also had to spend hours and hours working out each day because that is your job. Imagine if paparazzi stalked your every move, trying to get an unflattering photo.  Imagine if, a few months after having a baby, people called you the real F word. The worst thing a celebrity, or most women for that matter, can be called: Fat. And not just behind your back, or even to your face, but proclaimed on TV shows and splashed across magazine covers.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy… or even that bitchy, high-and-mighty mom at the baby music class. Well, maybe her.

Us non-celebrities have the luxury of taking the weight off slowly, or maybe not at all.  We have the luxury of exercising when we can, and resting when we can’t.  Of wearing yoga pants and baggy T-shirts day in and day out.  Of eating an entire box of cereal when you can’t sleep after waking up to feed your baby at 3 am (hypothetically.)  We have these luxuries because we live in the real world.  And in the real world, no one would dream of telling you that 6 months is too long to take off the baby weight.  In the real world, no one calls a new mom the F word. And if they do, then F them.

So ladies, give yourself a break if you don’t lose the baby weight, immediately or ever. In the real world these things take time. Stop comparing yourself to models and movie stars or anyone else for that matter.  Every woman has different goals, needs and obstacles. Aim to live healthfully and to feel good about yourself. And please stop using the F word! Don’t use the word “fat” when talking about someone else, and most definitely don’t use it when talking about yourself.  But feel free to use the word Fuck all you want. It’s fucking fun.

Annoying or inspiring?

Here’s an idea: When you see a movie star’s kick-ass post-baby body, let it inspire you instead of shame you. Think of it this way – apparently it really is possible to look completely amazing after having a baby! If I had a trainer/nutritionist/dietician/stopped eating/sold my soul to the devil perhaps I could look that amazing too. But in the meantime, stop letting their amazing bodies make you feel bad about your own. Have I gotten there yet?  Not totally. But I am working hard to stop comparing myself to anyone else, especially movie stars and supermodels.  However, I refuse to stop making fun of their odd baby name choices.  Hey, I’m no saint, and Alicia Silverstone is asking for it by naming an innocent child Bear Blu.

And for the record, I worked my ass off (literally) and I did lose the baby weight. I don’t look like Gisele or Jessica Alba, or even Jessica Simpson for that matter, but I do look like a pretty damn good version of myself. Now, most days I feel happy with the way I look, and on the days that I don’t, there’s always Spanx. Just ask any celebrity.

Jul 122012
 

So the 11th thing that I did on my summer vacation was read all three 50 Shades of Grey books. (Thank god for e-readers, so no one knew what I was reading and why I was blushing.)

I really think that 50 Shades of Grey should be marketed as Viagra for women…specifically married women and even more specifically married mommies?

I mean seriously.  What could be hotter than explicitly hot sex, and love (sigh) with a hot but emotionally unavailable billionaire (and is there any word hotter in the English language than billionaire?  Maybe the phrase ” lonely billionaire on his deathbed.”)  Women go nuts over guys they can’t have, and the idea that you could be the one who wins him over and changes him… swoon.  This is similar to the male phenomenon known as “the stripper really likes me” syndrome.

All in all… sexy reading but not that well written, and by the second book I was already bored with the riding crops and floggers. I never thought I would use that phrase for many reasons, but it’s true.  There was so much of it in the first book that I was seriously desensitized to it by then.  How many different ways could a girl be trussed up, blindfolded, and spanked in a blow-by-blow (he-he. sorry.) account?  I do have to give major street cred to E. L. James and all the married mommies who have made this book a faster selling paperback than Harry Potter (Quidditch aint got nuthin’ on BDSM).  Way to take your libido into your own…um…hands ladies.  And husbands around the world… you all owe Mrs. James some flowers or at least a hearty high-five.