Thursday, February 27, 2014

In The Season Of Raising Little Ones, Would He Still Have Asked Me To?

Some times I have to stop and think if my husband had any idea what he was really getting himself into when he asked me to marry him. 

Scratch that. Many times, I have to stop and ask myself if my husband really knew what he was getting himself into when he asked me to marry him. And I have to think that the answer is, most often, that he had no idea and for that I should be grateful because goodness knows, as much as I'd like to think he still would have asked, some days I'm just not sure of it.

Having babies and raising them has changed me, immensely and I don't just mean in the "my heart is so much bigger now and I fully comprehend the meaning of life" way. I mean in the "I'm pretty much kind of a shell of my former self, almost unrecognizable some days" kind of way.  

I understand that pregnancy and the raising of little ones while they are still little is a season of life, one that I know I am blessed and lucky to experience. After all, that's what every blog, book and peer on social media tells me every where I turn. Trust me, I am grateful. I am utterly grateful to the point of worry that one day all of this wonderful-ness will be taken from me and my world, my whole world, will be shattered into smithereens.  

But when I look down at my lap, shielded by my enormous belly, one that bears stains of diaper cream, washable marker and whatever the boys ate for lunch that day, I cringe. I can't help but ask myself, "Where is the woman my husband fell in love with eleven years ago?" 

I know deep down she is beneath this mess, hiding in there somewhere. That carefree college co-ed with the bright smile, dewy skin and envious waistline.

The one who graduated at the top of her class and went on to pursue one of the most rewarding professions in the world, nursing. The one who held the hands of the dying, breathed life into their bodies, witnessed miracles and made a difference. The one who was so Type-A, her organization was sickening, her lists even had lists.  

Today that woman is exhausted. Her hair is piled a top her head, not a stitch of make up to be seen on her face, the only color highlighting her tired eyes is the purplish hue in the bags that hang beneath them. She's wearing her husband's flannel pajama pants not only because they're the only thing that fits and is comfortable but because they are also one of the few items of clean laundry to be found in the house.

She no longer spends her days saving lives but rather raising them. Pouring nearly every bit of her own being into these tiny little souls that will one day, with any hope, grow up to be kind, compassionate and contributing members of society. A task whose end result is difficult to measure in story books read, peanut butter sandwiches made and  heinies diapered. 

She greets her husband most evenings not at the door but with an audible sigh, sometimes refusing to even leave her place at the table or the couch because she's just too tired to move, making him come to her for a welcome kiss home. 

The only lists she makes now are grocery lists. Occasionally she writes a list of tropical destinations she dreams of jetting off too but they, too, are quickly replaced by reality: food items the pantry lacks, things around the house that need fixing, upcoming obstetrician visits and well child exam appointments. 

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I hardly recognize the face staring back at me. 

What happened to that woman?

On a good day, you can see a glimmer of that fire that was once in her eyes. Much like she does, it just looks a bit... different. She lives her days, or tries to, with the same passion and dedication that she once did, however it's instilled in other things now.  Certainly not herself or her patients, for she has long since donned her proverbial nurse's cap, not in a professional setting anyways. Nor is it instilled really in her appearance, that by 32 weeks pregnant, her effort and attire might say nothing more than, "I've given up."  

But it can be seen in the way she mothers her little boys, the way she loves her family. In the way that she  sacrifices for them, the way that she puts their needs well before her own. That no matter how difficult it is to stretch out on the floor and play trains, she does it. That although it's taxing, she carries them on her hip when they ask, lays with them before bed each night, shifting the weight of her enormous swollen belly to allow them to curl their tiny bodies into hers. 

That she wakes with them in the middle of the night, night after night, and sits with them, willing her tired eyes to stay open as she strokes their hair, whispering sweet and pleasant things, shaking them of the nightmares that startled them awake. 

And with whatever passion is left at the end of the day, she gives it over to her husband. It may not always be in the form of the attention he so desperately desires, but it's there in a kiss after the boys are in bed. A hot meal on the table. A whispered "thank you" for everything he does for her and the boys, something she doesn't say nearly enough.

She would like to think, that after knowing all of this, that the man she fell in love with years ago, when she was better rested, more patient, better organized, thinner, more relaxed, some days prettier and more motivated than others... that he still would have gotten down on one knee and asked her that question.

Full well knowing that the woman she was that day may be lost in translation years later. That although she would be the same girl but in a different season of life, she would perhaps need a little help, a little encouragement in rediscovering herself and dusting off those parts of herself that disappear in the mess that is raising little ones. 

Deep down she knows that woman is still very much a part of her and much like the different seasons in life, she knows, one day, she won't have to look nearly has hard to find her. 

She knows, deep down, that yes, had he known the woman she would become down the road, that absolutely, without a doubt, he still would have asked her to marry him.     

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My One Fear Before Number Three.

Over the weekend, I sat down to a small celebratory brunch with my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law in honor of baby number three. It was a sweet gathering and a great opportunity for me to sit back and reflect on the time I have left before this baby arrives. 

As I sat down to brunch with these women, three women who are in such different seasons of life, it was great to check in and catch up with them, something we don't do nearly enough, if not ever. It was nice to just stop and sit for a while. As a mom, many of us can relate to the constant "go go go" nature of motherhood, so I can't say enough about how much fun it was to just press "pause" on all that other stuff and be fully present without having to mother.

Have I mentioned that brunch buffets may as well be heaven on earth for an indecisive pregnant woman like myself? I don't know what it is about meals but whenever meal time rolls around, I have the hardest time deciding on what I want to eat.   

The solution? Buffets. Within minutes I had filled my plate with a crab omelet, thick slices of French toast, breakfast potatoes, a spoonful of scrambled eggs for good measure and despite my strict "no food shall ever touch rule," I somehow made space for a healthy spoonful of apple crisp and a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting. It was divine.

We began chatting, as women will do, and very quickly my mother-in-law asked me, what, if any, was my one fear about having my third baby. It didn't take me long to think about- as it's been something that's been on my mind for a while now. 

When I was pregnant with Maclane, I wrote very candidly about my sole fear in the weeks before his birth. That we were robbing Carter of his time as an only child. I wondered had we spoiled him enough? Told him we loved him enough? Done enough with him as an only child?Of course the answer was always "yes" and his transition to Big Brother couldn't have been more seamless. I look back on that post now and giggle. 

That's my hope with this post. That writing this out will merely serve as one of those many times I was simply overly anxious about something I knew would be fine and good and right in the end. 

This fear, though, is a little bit different. When I was pregnant with Maclane, I never once worried about how Carter would take to his little brother. From the moment his tiny personality began to take shape, he was a kind, sensitive and sweet boy. At three and a half he is still very much each of those things with the largest, kindest heart. 

Maclane is sweet, too. There's no doubt about that. Sensitive? Well, not particularly and he can be kind on a good day. In fact, the words "rough and tumble" and "bruiser" most often come to the forefront of my mind when asked about Maclane's personality. 

That said, as much as Carter is a "mama's boy" through and through, Maclane takes that title to a whole other level and when I hear stories about siblings wanting their parents to immediately return their newest addition, I can't help but feel as though this will be Maclane. 

He will be the one who pinches the baby on the sly and runs away. Who tries to hide him beneath blankets and pretend as if he's really not there. Part of me wants to blame our extended nursing relationship for this attachment and well, that's a whole post for another day. Let's just say that Maclane does not share well. 

My mother-in-law was a bit surprised at this admission. She assumed I would be worrying about how I'd handle three little ones under the age of 5, but what she doesn't understand is that I thrive on chaos. It's in the midst of the Crazy that I have the best handle on what is going on around me. If I had to guess, this is why I've been blessed with three little boys. Somebody knew I could handle it, even on the days when I'm locked in the bathroom shoveling Double-Stuf Oreos into my face like they're going out of style. 

Instead, I'm worried about how our youngest will take to the new baby. How he will handle the shift in attention. If I'm being honest, I worry a little bit about how I'll handle the shift in attention. 

I've already thought of countless ways to make him feel special and included as we creep closer to baby number three's arrival, after all, it's those same ways I used on Carter when Maclane was born. 

Maybe it's just been too long and I've forgotten how those first few weeks went. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing. After all, when I look back at these pictures, they help ease the worry in my heart. 

Maybe we'll all be okay after all. 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Ultimate Giveaway To Beat The Winter Blues!

Who's tired of Winter? Did you raise your hand immediately? Maybe shout "ME! ME! Me" at the top of your lungs? Well, then do I have a tiny treat for you! 

I've teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers, to help you chase away those winter blues. We've each selected some special prizes that we think will brighten up your day and help you get through the last few weeks of winter. One lucky winner will receive all of our "favorites". I am so honored to work with such a wonderful group of ladies. I've loved reading all of their blogs & getting to know them better and I'm  delighted to introduce you to them (if you don't already know them!)

AP of I Love You More Than Carrots 
For those of you who are new-ish around here, I am a a registered nurse turned stay at home mom to two beautiful boys and a third due early spring. When I'm not growing a human, I prefer my wine from a (large) coffee mug and have a special place in her heart for Cakebread Chardonnay. My greatest accomplishment? Surviving four years and two boys without a trip to the ER. Although I know that parenting badge is right around the corner. After finding earthworms in the fridge on more than one occasion and catching vomit with my bare hands, I can honestly say that nothing surprises me anymore.

As a mom to two handsome and devilish (or is it devilishly handsome?) boys under the age of four with a third due this Spring, there isn't a whole lot of time each day to devote to myself. Throw in a Polar Vortex or two and top them off with perpetual cabin fever and it's easy to fall victim to a bad case of winter blues. Two "treats" that have become an integral part of my day to day is the Naked3 Palette (it goes great with yoga pants and over-sized cardigans) as well as a Grande Non-Fat Caramel Flan Latte from Starbucks with extra whip. One makes me feel just a little more dressed up and ready to take on the day and the other, well, it supplies just the right amount of caffeine necessary to transform from a superhero to a train conductor to a top chef and do it all again an hour later. Here's to hoping these two things will help do the same for you, especially if you too, find yourself stuck in a bit of a winter rut. Want to read more about my caffeine-fueled many mis-adventures in mothering? Follow me on the social media links above!

Rebecca is the voice behind the blog, A Beautiful Ruckus. She's always loved writing (heck, she majored in it!), but didn't realize what an important part of her life it would become. Rebecca and her husband, Sean, welcomed boy/girl/boy/girl quadruplets three years ago, and Rebecca has been non-stop writing since! How else is she supposed to remember all of the milestones and antics that her quaddlers come up with? She loves inviting people to peak into their lives by reading stories on her blog. She also has other fun stuff like kids' activities, recipes, and giveaways...but the majority of the blog is about raising quads and figuring out how to mother four at the same time. When she isn't changing poopy diapers, she loves reading, eating desserts, and watching mystery and comedy shows on Netflix. And naps. Naps are also a huge highlight of her day!

She says: "Winter is admittedly not my favorite season. I'm a New Mexican transplant living in the cold and icy Midwest. When the snow starts falling, I burrow in and contentedly watch the snowflakes from inside my warm house. While I don't love the cold, I do love the beauty of an all-white landscape and the serenity that comes with it. Unfortunately, with the cold comes chapped lips and hands, and the frustration of trying to keep skin moisturized. I'm hoping that my prize makes your day a little softer and brighter! I'm giving away a Burt's Bees Tips N Toes Hands and Feet Kit to help with your dry skin. And because wearing personalized jewelry always makes my day brighter, I'm also giving away a handmade stamped necklace with your choice of initial from my favorite jeweler, VictorianaGlen!"

Lisa is the Creator & Editorial Director of Mom a la Mode, a blog that celebrates food, fashion, family life, pop culture and travel in the NYC Metro Area (and beyond!) If she's not dishing on the latest red carpet fashions or creating her own recipes for family-favorites for her husband and toddler son, she's chronicling her on-the-road adventures or reviewing the latest toy or arena show in the NY Metro area.  "I created this blog from my passions for food, fun, family and good living," says Lisa.  "It's been such a rewarding and enriching experience to have a daily dialogue with my followers and readers -- I'm constantly learning something new from them (and I often post about that on my blog!).  That is what I love the most about being active in social media -- the sharing and connections.  And above all -- the inspiration."

She says "I'm going to be honest with you: Winter is my LEAST favorite of the seasons.  So that's why it's super important for me to keep myself and my family as busy and creatively-charged as possible to fight off those Winter Blues.  In the Mom a la Mode household, we do that in the KITCHEN! The colder and snowier it gets, the more I cook and bake.  Soups, rice bakes, snow cakes, interesting twists on egg rolls -- the more it snows, the more innovative my concoctions get.  In the spirit of creating in the kitchen to beat the Winter Blues, I'm gifting a Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Double Desserts Play Set to keep the little ones busy "baking" inside when the weather gets rough outside.  Then for mom, a Weelicious cookbook, Stonyfield Yogurt and Funny Face Cranberries for some "feel-good food" to make for real.  Enjoy!"

Kate of Style Smaller 
Twitter : Facebook : Instagram : Pinterest 
Kate from Style Smaller lives in San Francisco with her husband and two little girls- Sophie &  Maggie- whose mini style inspired the creation of the blog. Style Smaller is lifestyle blog; it's all about the places they go, the things they do, the looks they love, the people they meet, and the thoughts they think.

She says "We don't have a harsh winter, but we get some chilly foggy and windy days, and we love bundling up and going for walks to have hot chocolate at local coffee shops.
We love getting stylish in winter cozies on our walks, so I'm giving away our favorite scarf: the Tapestry scarf by Peppercorn Kids. My kids take turns wearing this scarf, and takes any little outfit up a notch. We're throwing in a couple fun gold bead bracelets in too, because accessories make an outfit!"

The Chirping Moms are best friends that met at a neighborhood park in New Jersey. Courtney, a mom of two girls, and Julie, a mom of two boys and a baby girl, decided to jump into the world of blogging about 1 1/2 year ago on a rainy spring afternoon. Recently, Julie moved to the DC area but they have continued to enjoy writing the blog together despite the distance between them. Together, on the blog, they share their adventures in motherhood along with activities for kids, crafts, recipes and ideas for family travel.
They say "Winter has hit our towns hard this year. Preschool has been cancelled often and many days have meant staying in the house for hours. We have come up with some fun ways to keep the kids busy inside, but long for days at the park. One of our favorite things about being stuck inside all day: staying in our warm pjs and enjoying warm coffee or tea. We've decided to give away a pair of our favorite pjs from PJ Salvage with a matching coffee mug. As long and crazy as "snow days" can seem, with you're  a crew of little kids, it's fun to make some cozy memories snuggling together or adventurous memories out in the snow. These winter months seem long, but the years fly by. That's why we're also giving away a vintage growth chart ruler. These rulers from Carone Creations are handmade by a loving mom. They are a beautiful way to track your growing family. Remember, spring is right around the corner!"
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Baby Sprinkle Gift Ideas For Baby, Mom and Family.

You've just been invited to a "baby sprinkle." Now what? Do you even know what a "baby sprinkle" is? 

This kind of event was absolutely foreign to me up until the birth of my second son when my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law threw a very small, very casual get together at a local spa to celebrate both baby and me just weeks before he was born. It was such a wonderful celebration, filled with love, laughter, pedicures and massages, just what I needed as I counted down the final weeks to Newborn-dom. 

The celebration of the births of additional siblings, also known as "sprinkles" is a new trend that is swiftly gaining popularity among those who share the belief that every baby should be celebrated no matter if it's the mother's second, third or even fifth baby. Think of it as a "watered down" baby shower of sorts, hence the term "sprinkle." 

Some of these events may take the form of a "casual brunch" or backyard barbecue where guests are encouraged to arrive with diapers in tow. These events are far less formal than the initial baby shower and are often much smaller with a guest list that serves perhaps ten to twelve rather than twenty to thirty. Regardless of the shape the event takes, the primary focus is to gather as friends and family to celebrate Mom (and Dad!) and the impending new arrival.

These sorts of soirees are not without controversy, however. There are many people out there who share the belief that baby sprinkles are taboo and they don't appreciate the pressure placed on them of having to purchase perhaps another gift for the expecting parents. I want to reiterate that these celebrations shouldn't (and do not typically) revolve around gifts the way that a baby shower would. 

However if you're like me, you would hate to show up empty handed and love any excuse to shop for a baby.

I recently received an invitation to the baby sprinkle of a good friend of mine from the neighborhood. She is due with her second baby, a little girl, at the end of March and this party is basically the coming together of her closest girlfriends to shower her with love, laughter and, let's face it, plenty of diapers, as she prepares her heart and her home to once again bring home baby. 

Had I not been a mother myself, I probably would have struggled a bit with what to gift her with. After all, by the time the second (or third, or fourth) baby rolls around, most parents already have the most practical baby items in their arsenal, provided there isn't an enormous time lapse in between pregnancies. 

That said, no  matter what number baby this is, a mother could always use diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets and burp cloths. It's those kinds of practical gifts that will always be a welcome present.

But one of the best parts about a "sprinkle," I think, is that you don't necessarily need to focus on the practical but rather, you can shift your focus to the more unique, more personal and more fun gifts ideas for both mom and baby. If mom happens to know the gender of the baby and has openly shared it, that's kind of like a bonus, allowing you to then gift her with extra adorable gender-specific items. 

Here are just a few gift ideas should you ever find yourself the recipient of an invitation to a baby sprinkle: 

1. aden + anais swaddle blankets - it wasn't until after the birth of my second that I started using these incredible swaddle blankets. In fact, I now recommend this blanket as the number one (and only) swaddling blanket that all new moms should register for. Not only are they very generous in size but they are made from muslin, a very breathable and lightweight fabric, making it very safe and comfortable to use on baby. What's more is that these blankets soften with each wash making them even more loveable down the road. When I'm not using these blankets as swaddles, they double as great car seat drapes, nursing covers, photography props and tummy time blankets! You can never have enough, I promise! 
2. diapers  - this gift goes without saying. A mother can always use diapers (and wipes!) no matter what number baby she's having. These diapers belong to a bundle that can be found over at The Honest Co. and they're just one of those ridiculously cute gifts that goes above and beyond the norm. How could you not love a little bum diapers with anchors? I would suggest buying size 1 or even size 2, as many babies don't wear or grow out of newborn and size 1 diapers fairly quickly. 

3. knit dolls - as soon as I laid eyes on these new Zubels knit dolls found over at Peekawhoo, I knew I had to order one for baby number 3 and two more for his older brothers. With so many different personalities to choose from, there is one for every little baby and they are some of the softest and sweetest little dolls around. These make a great gift not only for baby but also for older siblings!

4. layette clothing - like these Zutano gowns. If you happen to know the baby's gender, gender-specific clothes are always a sweet gift idea and can range from a newborn sleeping gown to one-piece rompers and two-piece kimono wrap sets. It's no secret how many outfit changes newborns often go through and even if baby has a closet full of perfectly sweet hand-me-downs, it's always nice to have something fresh and new to dress them in.  

5. burp cloths - like these from aden + anais. This is another one of those "practical" gifts that never gets old. Burp cloths are one of those items that gets washed very frequently and as a mom, you can't ever seem to have enough of them. These Burpy Bib cloths are made from the same lightweight, breathable muslin fabric and are not only soft against baby's gentle skin but highly durable and absorbent with their four-layer construction and unique design. Let's just say that work well at providing maximum coverage when you need it most!

6. baby moccasins - like this pair from Freshly Picked. This is one of those gifts that is completely and totally fun and frivolous and downright stinking adorable. You may recognize this brand from a recent episode of Shark Tank. I've loved watching Susan's business grow and I cannot wait to splurge a little on our very first pair for baby number three. There isn't much of anything cuter than a baby in moccasins.

The gift ideas for mom aren't nearly as cute nor as fun but let me tell you, she will love them so much she may even kiss you on the mouth. 

1. home cleaning service - know a girlfriend or two that would want to "go in" on a gift for mom? The gift of a one-time cleaning service would make her day. It's no secret that keeping up with housekeeping while raising children is tough. That's not to be said it can't be done but who wouldn't love an extra hand (or six) around the house? 

2. your time - if you have some extra, offer to swing by and watch the kids while mom takes a nap or runs an important errand. while you're there, maybe throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. Many times, mom doesn't feel comfortable asking for help when it comes to these things which makes it even sweeter and more appreciated if it's done without her asking. 

3. a gift card for a manicure or pedicure - it's no secret that it's going to be a long time before Mom has any time to paint her nails. Give her a gift card to a local nail salon but don't feel responsible for her falling asleep mid-pampering.

4. a gift card for new clothes - if there is anything that changes after having a baby, it's a mother's body. We've all been there, us mothers, in that awkward place post baby where nothing fits and we want to slump to the floor of our closets and cry. Do you know where mom loves to shop? Pick her up a gift card for a new top or two. She will appreciate it more than you know.  

Rather than shower the new baby with gifts, why not provide the family as a unit with something they can appreciate together? Here are few gift ideas for the family who is expecting another baby: 

1. meals - when you're in the throes of Newborn-dom, a hot meal is always appreciated, especially when it's one that doesn't require preparation other than heating up the oven. If you're not much of a cook, try looking up a local meal delivery service or contact the family's local church to see if they have a meal chain set up for after delivery. 

2. a credit for family pictures - you know what they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and although mom may not be up for family pictures right away, a credit with a local family photographer would be an excellent gift to give! 

3. zoo passes or tickets to nearby museum - this is a great idea, not only for the family unit as a whole, but especially for older siblings who may be in need of a little extra one-on-one attention during this time of transition. 

Heading to a baby sprinkle in the near future? I hope this list of Baby Sprinkle gift ideas has given you plenty of inspiration! 

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Mortifying Mom Moment, Top 3 For Sure.

There isn't much about Motherhood that surprises me any more. Having birthed two babies in two years and currently raising both a toddler and a pre-schooler all the while expecting our third, I can honestly say that it takes a lot to surprise or embarrass me and even more to ruffle my feathers. 

That being said, I'd like to share the story of, perhaps, one of my top 3 most mortifying Mom Moments yet and I really have no one but myself to blame. 

As a mom, you construct certain "life-hacks" to allow you time to get things done in a day. One of my most important life-hacks is keeping my boys busy while allowing myself fifteen minutes to take a shower each day. When they were babies, it was easy. Drag the bouncy seat and all accouterments into the bathroom and maybe hand the baby a red Solo cup. This would not only buy me enough time to shower but also blow dry my hair some days. What is it about those damn cups? As they grew older, however, it became a bit trickier and a bit more difficult to keep their attention. 

I had to get creative.

Currently, I've taken to setting my 20 month up in the Pack and Play with a few books and his LeapPad while my 3.5 year old gets the special treat of laying in our bed with a movie on either my phone or the iPad. Since they both don't get much screen time during the day, (unless it's the middle of February and you're going on your eighty-seventh snow day with no end of winter in sight and you've all memorized the theme song to WallyKazam in not one but two languages. But I digress...) they really look forward to this time and it guarantees me an entire shampoo and conditioning regimen that doesn't leave me sliding open the door every thirty-six seconds to make sure someone hasn't scaled the dresser or snuck off to the kitchen to play with knives.

It's late Tuesday evening and I'm in the shower while the toddler is nearby in the Pack and Play and the pre-schooler is atop my bed with a movie in hand. For whatever reason, 5pm was the first time all day that I could grab a quick shower before my husband walked through the door.

Everyone was self-entertaining. It was almost too good to be true. 

Five minutes in and I could hear my son talking to someone on the phone. My heart literally skipped a beat until I heard him say, "okay, Daddy," with my husband's voice, on speakerphone, echoing on the other end. 

Whew. Crisis averted. But was it?

I strain a little bit harder to hear their conversation over the water. It's nearing 6pm so I can only imagine that my husband phoned to tell us he's on his way home from work. 

I close my eyes and lean back into the water, rinsing the shampoo from my hair. 

And that's when it happened. It was all so fast. 

Before I could even open my eyes, I felt the all-too-familiar cold rush of air that comes with sliding open the shower door.

"Mom, MOM! Daddy wants to talk to you!"

Before my mind could even register what was occurring, my son had his tiny arm thrust into the shower, phone in hand. As I squinted through the soapy water, I swore I could see my husband's face taking up the large screen...

Which could only mean one thing. 

MY HUSBAND WAS FACETIMING US and he was now blessed with a full frontal view of his eight months pregnant wife in all her naked shower glory. 

And we're not talking from the most flattering angle here, folks. 

Now, I can almost guess what  you're thinking. It's most likely one of two things: 

1. Well, AP, that's what you get for leaving your 3.5 year old unattended with your cell phone all for the sake of looking mildly presentable when your husband gets home from work


2. Come on, it's not like it's nothing he hasn't seen before. 

And you're right. On both accounts. It was risky, giving my son the phone for fifteen minutes like I had so many times before but in my defense, he was always content sitting quietly while streaming a movie. For what it's worth, that's perhaps the second time in all of eternity that my husband has ever Facetime'd us so I never anticipated that kind of interruption taking place. 

As for the full frontal in the shower? Let's be real here- that was more National Geographic than anything else. There was no flattering angle involved, no perfectly draped piece of clothing and/or sultry eyes taking place. 

Just a soaking wet, very large, pregnant AP.


Within seconds the three of us were laughing hysterically as I quickly turned and grabbed a towel, turning the water off as I did. I spent the rest of the evening thanking the technological gods that my son hadn't Facetime'd one of the other usual suspects whose Facetime numbers were logged into my phone, my parents and my brother-in-law, and that my husband, who was in his office at the time, was alone. 

It could have been so. much. worse. 

I'd like to file this one under: Reason #47 "Why You Shouldn't Leave Your Pre-Schooler Alone With Your Cell Phone." 

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Debunking the Myths of Motherhood.

As mothers, we've heard them all. Whether during a pregnancy or the early child-rearing years, friends, family and strangers both near and far are quick to share these existential gems with you, or as I like to call them, the "myths of motherhood." 

Here I sit, ten weeks out from welcoming our third son and while I try so hard to ignore my ever-growing to do list, I can't help but reminisce and think back on some of the crazy things people have said to me during these times in my life. 

"Having a baby should be one of the happiest moments of your life!"

Welcoming a new baby into your family is a blessed, life-changing event, and the love that a mother feels for her baby can be all-consuming, transformative even but for many mothers, both new and seasoned, giving birth to a new baby and furthermore, those first few weeks of newborn-dom isn't always fairy dust and unicorns. Having a baby doesn't necessarily change you, per say. You're still "you" but now "you" suddenly have a baby to look after.  

Whatever insecurities haunted you before becoming pregnant/having a child, remain and may even be amplified. You and your spouse won't magically begin seeing eye to eye on everything and marital conflicts still occur.  Often times those first few weeks following the birth of your new baby are so fog-filled, with sleepless nights, sore nipples and thoughts of "oh my god what have we done," that it may be difficult to feel anything other than overwhelmed. That's okay. It's normal, in fact. Happiness will come but don't let people make you feel like a horrible mother if you aren't singing the praises of motherhood just moments after birth. Like with any milestone in life, an adjustment period or rather grace period, is necessary.

"Breastfeeding is the most natural thing you can do for your baby."

Speaking of sore nipples, breastfeeding my babies was the hardest "easiest" thing I've ever had to do. Parenting book after parenting book after hospital pamphlet had me believing that my milk would flow, baby would latch and all the while angels would be singing. Let's just say that was about the furthest thing to happen after the birth of my first. There was toe-curling and tears, over-supply turned lack of supply issues, poor latching and if any music was playing, it was definitely more of a heavy metal undertone than a Hallelujah. 

For many of us, breastfeeding does not come naturally. It is a learned experience that requires just that, learning. As well as patience and ultimately sacrifice of both your body and your time as a mother. Having been told and therefore assuming that it would "come naturally," I wasn't prepared for that type of dedication after my first baby. Knowing what I know now about breastfeeding prepared me for the birth of my second baby and all of the hard work that it would ultimately take for us to achieve a successful nursing relationship. Not only was I knowledgeable but I was prepared and I made sure to surround myself with the support of other women who had been there and served as my veritable "boobie cheerleaders," if you will. 

Breastfeeding is not easy. It does not come naturally. And it hurts like a motherf*cker. But? It gets better. After nineteen months of nursing my second baby, I can promise you, it gets better. Hang in there. 

"Sleep when the baby sleeps."

This is one of those pieces of mom-advice that always sounds so great in theory but when applied to real life, it isn't exactly the easiest execute. Yes, those first few weeks (maybe even months) of having a new baby in the house are exhausting. You will not sleep as much nor as well as you once did and you will feel it with every inch of your body every minute of the day. There will be days when, yes, you can absolutely sleep when the baby sleeps and for everyone's sake, you should

There will also be, however, many more days when the laundry needs to be washed, the kitchen cleaned and heck, maybe your other children would like to play with something that doesn't require batteries. Life doesn't magically pause once baby arrives. Dishes still pile up, clothes are dirtied and although the saying, "babies don't keep" rings true, your husband will appreciate a hot meal and a clean pair of underwear every now and then. Do not be afraid to accept help and for those of us who feel awkward asking others to do our laundry, pin a list to the refrigerator of "tasks" that need tasking. When friends and family come to visit, hopefully they'll catch on. 

"A good mother never yells."

This is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Mothering is H-A-R-D and we, as mothers, are only human. With the bearing of each child, we aren't given additional patience, super powers or an extra dose of grace to handle the chaos that comes with raising babies who undoubtedly turn into toddlers no matter how much we try and stave off years 3 and 4, as charming as they are.

"A good mother yells and she may even stomp her feet and scream into pillows but then she takes a deep breath, returns from her hiding place in the pantry and says she is sorry all the while hugging and kissing her child," is what that should really say. 

There's only so many times a mother can count to three before she loses her cool. Along the same vein, it's okay to love your children but not like them every second of every day. It's okay to desire a break from them regardless of whether you're home with them all day or just between the hours of 7pm and 7am. 

Being a mother is exhausting. It is taxing. It is filled with unreasonable demands such as "Mommy, could you please build me a purple unicorn that sings, dances and brushes my teeth from these here two q-tips?" or "Mommy, can I please wear Daddy's shoes, this pair of Superman underwear and your scarf to the grocery store while it's blizzard-ing outside?" that if not immediately met, send the tiny demanding dictator into an epileptic fit of epic proportions.

Being a mother is hard work in an often thankless position but it is a work that also brings so much joy and so much love along with it that with just the joy and the love alone, it redeems itself. 

So moms, the next time someone waxes poetic on all of the happiness, and sleep and soft-talking you should be experiencing as a mother, do not let these myths of motherhood fool you. Real moms and good moms and even us good enough moms, we all know the secret to motherhood is SURVIVAL, no matter how we come about it at the end of each day. And if you find yourself in one of those "less than motherly moments," send me an email. I can guarantee I will make you feel much better about yourself as a mother in no less than four lines of size 10 Times New Roman.

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