May 052012
 

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

“I’m sexy and I know it!”

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

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

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

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

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

May 022012
 

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.

 

Apr 232012
 

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…

Apr 042012
 

“O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my sense in forgetfulness?”

-William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

I am pretty sure that this the elegant way of saying, “C’mon Sleep!  What the fuck!?”

Mar 222012
 

I was at Target the other day (yes, Target.  Again.) and Shawna, the cashier, was commenting on how happy Lyla is (yes, my daughter and I are both on a first name basis with all the cashiers at Target.)  As Shawna was saying that I must be doing something right to have such a sweet baby… something I take no actual credit for, except for maybe my genes, but her sweet gene most likely came from her dad anyway… the random woman behind me said, “Yeah, she’s happy now.  Just don’t mess her up like my mom did with me.  I’m actually on my way to therapy right now.”  Ummmm… ok. First of all, I think this is a bit TMI for the Target checkout line at 9 AM. It’s right on par with the woman last week who tried to help me pick out a tampon… which would have been ok except for her confession, “I bleed like a stuck pig, and I was flying through those tampons like Valium.” I just slowly and quietly backed away without making any sudden moves that would startle her.  Way too much info and waaaaay too much crazy for a Tuesday morning.  But then again, I have a blog confessing my innermost thoughts and greatest fears to anyone who’s bored enough to read them, so who am I to judge?

Regardless, Ms. Therapy’s overshare definitely got me thinking… and when I say thinking, I mean over-thinking, and when I say over-thinking, I mean freaking-the-F-out… about my responsibility as a mother.  It’s not that I had never thought about what a huge responsibility motherhood is before.  It’s just that a prime example of bad mothering was standing right in front of me (with a cart full of lightbulbs, orange juice, an obscene amount of cat litter, and a King Size snickers in case you were wondering.)  I wanted desperately to ask Ms. Therapy what her mother’s crime had been?  Where had she gone wrong?  Did she send her to the wrong preschool?  Did she let her “cry it out” too often, or let her watch tv too much?   Did she push her too hard or not enough?  Did she judge her too harshly or not pay her enough attention?  Or were her crimes more nefarious… the kinds of things that even a brash person such as myself can’t bear to type.  I desperately wanted to ask Ms. Therapy what was causing her to buy 82 lbs of cat litter on a Tues morning on her way to therapy, but there are some things that even I can’t ask.

It sounds so easy.  Just don’t mess them up.  In theory, it should be.  But it seems that the road is paved with so many landmines.  Every decision, every word, every reaction is an opportunity to teach… or to ruin.

Right now my daughter is perfect.  She has no prejudices.  She doesn’t know what it means to be hateful, or spiteful, or mean.  She thinks everyone is equal, and therefore bestows her sweet smiles on anyone who will pay attention.  She is unselfconscious about the way she looks.  She doesn’t suck in her little bottle belly or wear high heels to thin out her cankles.  She doesn’t care if she looks stupid when she dances, or falls, or fails, or even when she is pooping in public. (In fact, she looks you right in the eye and smiles proudly like she just cured cancer.)

In this imperfect world, how can an imperfect mother preserve her children’s perfection?  How do I raise my daughter to be smart and tough, while teaching her to be kind and honest? How do I give my daughter experience, while protecting her innocence?  How do I show her how to be a strong woman, while teaching her that she doesn’t have to tear anyone else down to do it?     How can my daughter become an adult, while keeping all of the wonderful qualities that make her a child?  Except maybe the pooping in public. I think that is one childlike quality that we can leave in childhood.

So, what is the answer?  The truth is that I have no idea.  Hopefully you aren’t reading my blog for answers to anything.  If you are… perhaps I could interest you in a sarcastic remark instead? I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know if it is possible to be a perfect parent or to raise a perfect child.  But the closest thing to an answer that I have, and the only thing that helps me sleep some nights, is a saying that I have often heard from a parent who I  know did a pretty wonderful job… my dad. (Hey, I’m not perfect but I don’t have 80 cats either.)  My dad always says that if every decision you make is done out of love, then it’s the right one.  That always helps me feel better. I may be a little judgemental,  a bit over-anxious, and not even close to perfect, but if there is one thing that know I can do right, it’s loving my daughter so much it hurts.  And then worry that maybe I’m loving her too much….

Mar 202012
 

What do you think about the increasing number of stay-at-home dads?  

Open-minded dads.  Powerful, working women.   I think it kicks ass!  I personally know more than a few stay-at-home dads who are amazing, and so are their wives!!  Whatever works for your family.  

Check out my article below and check out Natural Child magazine online:  http://naturalchildworld.com  or at a Barnes & Noble or Whole Foods near you!

 

As the early morning sunlight streams through the windows, Daddy grabs his coffee and buttered toast and kisses his wife goodbye.  Then he scoops up his daughter and together they wave as Mommy heads off to work.  It’s not the usual “Leave It To Beaver” style morning ritual, but for many American families, it’s reality.

Over the last decade, the number of stay at home dads has nearly doubled in the US.  In this tough economic climate, with both men and women out of work, many families must rely on the parent who earns more, or simply the parent who has a job. In growing numbers, it is the women with greater earning potential, so it follows that more and more men are choosing to stay home. And with 58% of college degrees currently going to women, this doesn’t seem like a trend that is going away any time soon.

But it’s not always necessity that is driving more men to stay home.  Along with changing more dirty diapers, men are also changing their attitudes. Tides are shifting, and so are the stereotypes and stigmas that have long been attached to male caregivers.  Once a novelty, this phenomenon is popping up everywhere in popular culture.  Commercials for cleaning products and children’s toys, once geared toward only moms, now more readily feature and push their wares on men.  Many popular TV shows, such as “Modern Family” and “Up All Night”, showcase dads who stay at home to raise their kids.

But daddy daycares are not just opportunities for punch lines on TV and in the movies. Male caregivers may not be the norm just yet, but the number is definitely on the rise. According to the United States Census Bureau, one-third of dads with working wives regularly care for their kids younger than 15 years old. With more men at home, it is becoming increasingly important for them to connect socially, and not all men feel comfortable in the typical Mommy-and-Me settings. As a result, numerous daddy groups are popping up around the US.  These groups can be a haven for dads to get some much-needed Man-time… even if that time is punctuated by the occasional poopie diaper.

While the growing trend may be one small step for man, it is one huge leap for daddies… and mommies everywhere.

Mar 162012
 

The Adventure:  Bachelorette Party

The Destination:  Sin City

The Mission (Impossible):  Find an outfit that makes me look like I don’t have a baby at home… or at least an outfit that doesn’t embarrass my friends who don’t have babies at home.

I am sure that a lot of moms can attest to the fact that when it comes to shopping for yourself… well, it doesn’t really happen. There’s the teeny tiny aisles that make maneuvering a stroller a nightmare; the unflattering lights that somehow spotlight every lump, bump and stretch mark (we can’t possibly look that bad right!?); and the annoying salesgirls who are way too skinny and way too encouraging when you try on that too-tight, lime green dress that makes you look like a melting popsicle. Not to mention the fact that keeping a child in the dressing room is akin to keeping Lindsay Lohan out of jail… not going to happen.  Also, for this particular occasion,  I don’t want to spend a fortune on “Vegas clothes” that I will most likely only dig out for the next bachelorette party… or possibly the next baby shower if it’s a “Pimp and Ho” theme.

My go to for these situations used to be the ever-popular Forever 21.  But despite the grandiose promises that its clever name implies… I am apparently not forever 21.  The fact that I couldn’t get a size “large” dress over my calf reinforced the fact that I am too old for this store, although I should have been tipped off by the heart-print polyester hoodies in the front window.

My solution:  Online shopping.  In this case: ASOS

If you have never heard of ASOS, you are missing out.  It is an online store, quite popular in the UK, with THOUSANDS of different looks.  They do have some expensive clothing, but there are a lot of options, especially from their own ASOS line, that rival “No Longer 21″‘s prices (well close to it, but we are older now so we can aim a little higher.)  You order the clothes, they ship them to you, you try them on in the comfort of your own mirror that has been strategically tilted to make you look tall and skinny (What?  You haven’t done this? Do it now.)  Then if you don’t like them or they don’t fit you, you can send them back for free.  Soooo easy!  Plus, they have a GREAT maternity line.  I actually started shopping here when I was pregnant and still under the illusion that I could somehow look stylish with a watermelon under my tunic (aka prior to last two months.)

Check them out! www.asos.com

And no, they are not paying me to say this. (Although, I would be more than happy to take bribes in the form of store credit.)  I just know how tough it is to find cute, quality clothes at a reasonable price online.  And I’ve been surprised to discover that not too many people know about this great option.  ENJOY! 

Mar 152012
 

My daughter has been at daycare for a few weeks now and things are going pretty well.  I am slowly spending less time sniffing her dirty diapers like a creep (Wait… I didn’t tell you I did that?  Nevermind, forget I said anything.) Anyway, I am spending less time walking around the house and not sniffing her dirty… anythings, and more time doing actual work.  It’s amazing how much work one can get done when one is not chasing/playing/singing/feeding/cursing those damn talking toys/changing/reading/swinging/preventing dangerous and/or disgusting objects from entering baby’s mouth all day.

One day while Lyla was at daycare, I managed to clean and sterilize the entire house (unfortunately a cold has been passed around our family like chlamydia in a frat house… one downside to daycare), make a two week’s supply of baby food, write an article, post a witty and compelling blog (ha), go grocery shopping, work out and shower… only to realize that it was only 12:30.  That being said, somehow I feel that the more time I have “off”, the less time I have overall.  I still feel overwhelmed, stressed and quite haggard.  How is that possible?

I guess that a mother is never really “off duty”.  Sure, I have been quite busy with freelance work and that can be stressful and time-consuming at best, but the honest truth is that because I have those two days off with Lyla at daycare, I now feel compelled to do more than ever. Wasn’t the idea to do less? To de-stress, de-compress and possibly rest?  Ha! For some reason I feel the need justify the necessity of daycare by proving how much more I can get done.  Who I am trying to prove myself to?  My husband?  Certainly not.  He thinks I’m crazy for trying to do everything that I do already. Or maybe he just thinks I’m crazy.  He’s right?  Am I trying to prove myself to my daughter?  Nah… I don’t think she’s old enough to judge me.  And even if she is, she can’t talk yet so she can’t criticize me.  Although I am sure she will make it for it in her teenage years.  I guess I am trying to prove myself to my harshest critic… myself. And man, she’s a critical bitch.

But, regardless of the amount of time I waste by unfairly judging myself and criticizing my parenting choices, even I can’t deny that my daughter is loving daycare.  She loves being around other kids. She loves her teachers, and I love the idea that hopefully she is learning more, or at least learning differently, than she is learning at home.  Sometimes she fusses a little when I have to leave her, but just as often she fusses when I come to pick her up.  She is having so much fun that she doesn’t want to go home.  Oddly, I feel equally upset at either scenario.

Will I ever get to the point of feeling confident in my choices as parent?  Of ceasing to worry about how what I do today will affect my daughter tomorrow? Of feeling satisfied with how much I have achieved or how far I have come?  Or will I at least get to the point of learning to cut myself a break? Somehow I think that the day that I can do all of these things is the day I stop being parent.  But, giving myself a break from my own critical eye is a good place to try to start.

Now I gotta run.  I have some work, some laundry, and some self-flagellation to squeeze in before lunch.

Mar 022012
 

All day I have had this strange feeling.  A heavy weight on my chest that makes it hard to breathe. And no, I didn’t go out and get breast implants. Yet.  It’s that nagging, anxious feeling that I am forgetting something.  Something really important.   I make sure the windows are closed.  I consult my calendar to confirm I am not missing a meeting.  I double-check that the curling iron is off (even though the last time I curled my hair was circa… um… pre-baby.) Nothing seems amiss. So what it is it?  What am I forgetting???

Then I realize.  My daughter.

No, I didn’t leave her at the supermarket, the mall, the adult book store, or anything.  I didn’t accidentally leave her somewhere.  I purposely did.  Today I took her to daycare for the first time.

I don’t have this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach because I don’t trust the daycare.  They are great.  God knows I did my research.  It’s hard to explain, but somehow I feel naked without her… no, that’s not quite it.  I have been naked in public once (college dare) and this doesn’t feel quite like that.  It’s more like I am a missing a limb.  Many people who have lost a limb report the phantom feeling that it is still there.  When they try to move their “fingers”, they swear that they can FEEL them move, even though they know that they no longer are there.  That is exactly how I feel today. I keep the music low so as not to wake her up. I decline the invitation to meet a friend for coffee because I can’t possibly leave the house without her.  I walk around the empty house, and it feels like it’s haunted.   Lyla is not here but she is EVERYWHERE.  Her smell fills her room.  Her toys lay jumbled on my bedroom floor, waiting for her to return and somehow make more of a mess out of them.  Her bottles stand at attention by the sink.

Now, I know that this is getting awfully “Sunday Movie of the Week”-style melodramatic.   Please forgive me for my self-indulgent sobfest for something that is not actually sad.  I know that my daughter has not died.  She’s just at daycare.  But in a way, it still feels like the death of something.  I guess I am just not sure what.

I feel the need to explain myself… to explain WHY she is in daycare.  It’s that motherhood guilt again.  I feel that I have to justify why a good mother would willingly let her most precious possession out of her sight, even for just a moment.  Especially because I don’t really have to.  I am lucky enough to have a husband who can support me without my having to work, but who is supportive enough to know that I need to work.  I am also lucky enough to have a flexible job that gives me the freedom to work part-time and mostly from home.  I know that in these respects, I am luckier than most.  Many women simply don’t have the choice.  But I do have a choice, and my choice is try to find the delicate, and maybe impossible, balance somewhere in the middle.

At first it was fine. She napped a lot and wasn’t very mobile, so she could happily play by herself while I tapped away at my keyboard next to her.  Then she started crawling.  And standing.  And opening doors, and cabinets, and toilet seats, and the gate to hell if I wasn’t there to stop her.  So working while she was awake was no longer an option; instead I worked while she slept.  But now, she sleeps a lot less.  So I’ve spent the past few months rushing to my computer the second I lay her down, forgetting to take the time to do basic things like eat, sleep and pee, and regretting that the time I should be enjoying my daughter was marred by my stress – wondering when the hell I was going to get my work done. So, after a few months of trying to do it all and feeling like I was failing at EVERYTHING, I decided that enough was enough.  My husband and I agreed to send Lyla to daycare two days a week.  And now I am spending those days wishing that she was home with me, but knowing that soon I will come to appreciate the time I have to myself.

I have so much more to say on this subject, mostly about the guilt I feel.  What’s a mother without her guilt, right?  But I am going to save it for another day, another blog.  Mostly because I have spent so much of the day wandering around the house and sniffing her dirty clothes like a creep, that I am now late to pick her up.  I have spent the whole day missing her, and now I will finally go pick her up and, after an hour or two, most likely be wishing that I had a bit more alone time to get some work done.

Ah motherhood… I spend half the time feeling like I can’t win, and the other half feeling like I already have.