#Momfail Monday: Meet Emily

kyle-nieber-635997-unsplashEmily is a first time mom to eight week old daughter, Celeste. She is on maternity leave for the next four weeks from her job as physical therapist. Her husband John is an extremely devoted husband and new father. John left for a six month deployment yesterday. As much as it was amazing to have John on leave for Celeste’s birth, learning to navigate new motherhood on her own is a challenge. These are her stories.

Monday

9:47 am

My pounding head suggests a hangover, but I haven’t had a drop of alcohol save the quarter glass of champagne I had night one home from the hospital. Must be the eleven, that right eleven times Celeste woke up last night. That’s once most hours and twice some hours. Imprinted into my face is a elephant shaped Wubbanub and my iPhone. The open search history on my dying laptop displays sleep training tips, attachment parenting tips, free range parenting tips, when is it okay to self soothe tips and midnight cookie delivery services. One eye open I nurse Celeste for the 8 millionth time thinking how beautiful this little sleep-hating monster really is. I am going to get something, anything done today. After I nap again. They do say sleep when the baby sleeps.

2:32pm

Ok! I’ve napped the day away along side Celeste. Time for us both to eat. My 4 am microwave burrito isn’t keeping mama full anymore. It’s nacho o’clock. While those bake I’m going to get a little exercise in. All about balance right. Pulling out my dusty yoga mat I scroll through Youtube until I find a Mommy and me yoga video where the instructor doesn’t look too baked or self-righteous. Well, my little yogi had other plans. Happy baby pose inspires a diaper blow out that covers both of us. Namaste. Per my new parenting philosophy “guaranteed to get baby to sleep through the night in two weeks time” I cannot bathe her until 20 minutes shy of bedtime. Paralyzed with the idea of sitting with a stinky baby until then, I decide a bath with the non-lavender (lavender is sleep inducing per @babyessentialoils who I follow on Instagram) soap won’t break our new “routine” too much. That and we are completely off schedule for today which makes it the same as every other day thus far.

6:55 pm

We got behind on our routine again, but this time because Daddy called to FaceTime with his girls. Swoon. Celeste fell asleep in the carrier which means I am doing great according to my attachment parenting book, but failing miserably according to my self soothing book. Why is this all so confusing? As my stomach growls I remember the congealed nachos I never got around to eating earlier. Plop. A giant dollop of sour cream lands on Celeste’s sleeping bald head. Gingerly, I lick that bite right off, beaming with pride that I managed to get every bit in just one lick. I survey the dishes littering the counter, the sofa covered in laundry and decide we should just call it a night. Bachelor in Paradise marathon with my girl for the win! I’ll try that whole schedule thing again tomorrow.

Happy Monday, Emily!

Mama Takes a Sick Day

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Last Monday, I woke up feeling off. The kind of off that can be anything. A combination of a second glass of wine and middle of the night feeds, perhaps. I shrugged it off and added some Advil into my morning routine of #allthecoffee and got the kids ready for our mommy and me stroller workout in the park. 30 seconds into high knees, I felt it. It was more than just a little off feeling, cold sweat/dry mouth/you ladies are about to see my smoothie kind of feeling. I made it home without getting sick (rolling every stop sign), but it was close. I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but I learned some valuable lessons during my SAHM sick day.

My husband is an excellent parent.

Of course I already knew this. I would never have married a man I didn’t see being a great father, but he really stepped up in my time of nauseous need. I woke him up at 9:45 am to take the kids. He got off work the night before at 3 am. Not a single complaint out of his mouth as he made lunches and warmed milk, while I napped away my fever under ten blankets. It made me truly grateful to have such an excellent partner on this parenting journey. I honestly do not know how single parents manage or people with selfish unhelpful spouses.

I do a lot most days.

Even on the days I feel like a survivor over a thriver, there are certain things that I do out of habit. They most often go unnoticed, until they aren’t done. Dishes are clean, laundry is usually done (not put away, I’m not a Marvel character after all), meals are made and cleaned up. A day without Mom’s behind the scenes work did validate all that I do.

Adult fevers suck a lot.

Fevers are no joke, kids. I hit a Tmax (highest temp for my non-medical readers) of 102.1 and I started thinking of everyone I’d previously wronged and wondering what kind of cosmic karma was in play. When my son has a fever he just runs a little slower, I thought I was dying. Further proof that toddlers are incredibly resilient and I’m a little (a lot) bit dramatic.

Daniel Tiger might be a better parent than me.

When my husband did have to go back to work that evening, ol’ DT took over parenting while I shivered on the couch. We learned about sharing, using the potty, and even how crayons are made. The nostalgic part of me reminisced about sick days in my youth watching Mr. Rogers. Screen time for the win.

I got jealous of working moms and then I checked myself.

In a moment I am not proud of, I thought about how if I had a regular job I could “just take my kids to daycare” and not have to parent through my illness. And then reality set in. I *may* be able to use financially crippling childcare on a sick day, but I would likely also be upsetting my boss by calling out sick. I would be disappointing coworkers. I would be giving up all of the freedoms I have being fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my kids. A couple days of feeling sick while parenting is not even a little comparable to the sacrifices working moms make to balance finances and family life. It’s always good to give yourself a reality check. I credit the introspection to my eighth episode of Daniel Tiger.

And there you have it. Being sick sucks. It however did shine a light on some pretty fantastic things I’ve got going on in my life. I’d like to say I won’t lose sight of my blessings again, but I am human. I am so fortunate to be healthy most of the time. There are plenty of parents who never feel well due to chronic illness. I think occasional tough days show us our own strength and gifts. I may also be ordering vitamins in bulk off amazon from here on out.

#Momfail Monday: Meet Cassie

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Cassie is mom to Trey (age 2), rounding out the end of her first trimester with baby number two, and married to perfectionist, Craig.  Cassie works part time in direct sales for a high end candle company and Craig is an attorney. Monday is Trey’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. These are their stories.

Monday

6:00 am

“ZZZzzzzzzzz” the buzzing sound of Craig’s electric razor wakes me up every morning. Yes, I am pregnant and have a toddler, but it’s my husband’s neuroses that rip me from the Sandman every morning. I am twelve weeks pregnant tomorrow, but feel about thirty this second go around. BUT! But, today is Trey’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. I can drop him off and have five blissful hours to straighten the house, get some work done to please my upline, and maybe finally do that prenatal yoga DVD fossilizing in my living room. The world is my oyster…well, if I could eat oysters.

9:15 am

I snap the obligatory first day of school photo where Trey looks like he is simultaneously being tortured and preparing for a career as an serial killer. I quickly upload to Instagram, tagging Craig, while wondering why toddlers have an aversion to normal smiles that rivals my fetus’s aversion to all meat. I walk him in prepared for tears and “Don’t leave me, Mommy” only to be met with the cold shoulder. I have the least clingy toddler of all times.

10:45 am

I am going to go through Starbucks, in the middle of the day!! Reckless! I love it. I did a little work on my phone in the parking lot of the school (after a good hormonal cry) so I am already feeling productive. That and I need a super sugary, chemical laden coffee dessert, since now that *eyeroll* Craig is keto and *eyeroll* just loving it, bulletproof coffee is the only coffee in our home. Le sigh. At least it’s better than his cabbage diet phase. He stunk. And since I’m among friends, his current abs and my current hormones have been *cough cough* good for our relationship.

2:15 pm

I pried my eyes open to my phone chiming incessantly. Who knew it was possible to sleep that hard after a giant coffee. Pregnant girls, that’s who. Apparently, Mallory had to call the police on the boys today in the hardware store parking lot. Poor Mal, always embarrassing herself. Oh crap! I have to be at the school in seven minutes. I have to beat all of the Lulu clad (yet also perfectly made up) moms into the school.

2:22 pm

With a screech of my breaks, I ramble into the school realizing I am wearing my house shoes (the ones that Muffin, our St. Bernard chewed up but I love too much to toss) with my carefully selected “casual chic” mom dress. Oh well, maybe no one will notice. I collect my child and his incessant personalized PB kids crap that Craig insisted I purchase so that we looked “appropriate” for school. His sweet, albeit a little bit matronly, teacher pulls me aside and all the color drains from my face. Of course in lean all of the perfectly manicured, blonde, gossip loving, suburban driving, future PTA running SAHMs. Oh no! He hit. He bit. He shit. He did something even worse than my incredibly vivid imagination can fathom. Surreptitiously, his teacher, after a too long glance at my slippers, hands me a zip lock bag. “This, dear, was wrapped up in Trey’s nap mat.” Contained in that mini sandwich bag was a hot pink lacey thong with the word “SEXY” written in rhinestones across the butt. Cause of death: Embarrassment.

Happy Monday, Cassie.

Mom Rage: All the Feels

gabriel-matula-300398-unsplashI am not proud of this, but it’s a fact. I suffer from #momrage. It’s a real thing. I used to be a relatively normal, albeit often anxious human. Motherhood has made me straight up crazy. My emotions are higher highs and more angry anger that I would ever thought possible in the twenty-nine years I spent with my pre-motherhood self. Every time I feel those toddler like emotions (which are often toddler induced) creeping on I want to simultaneously shatter some pottery and go bury my head in the sand, ostrich style, out of embarrassment. I used to judge mothers (before I had kids) for complaining (venting) about their challenging spawn. Now I offer a blanket apology. You can 100% be both grateful and a little bit rage filled as a mother to young children. Does this sound familiar to you? Here’s some scenarios that recently have given me all the mom rage.

Not listening.

Whether my tiny people or my sweet big person, when a member of my family cannot seem to hear my voice I tend to lose my cool. Everyone on some level wants to be heard. Maybe my need for that is higher than your average mama bear’s, maybe my offspring are really good at the ignoring mom game. This is one thing that really gets my blood boiling.

Public Embarrassment.

I struggle a lot with self-image in a lot of facets of my life, but being (and being perceived as) a good mother is HIGH on that list. Being a mother is my job, my passion and what I believe to be a current calling at this point in my life. Sucking hardcore at it is not something in which I am very interested. Chucking food in a restaurant, screaming blood curdling screams in quiet places (ironically making me wish I could do the same), or using uncalled for physical force on others (also ironically making me wish I could do the same) fills me with such frustration and such guilt. I don’t want to be a ticking time bomb of a mother and all of these behavioral issues are so, so normal. But, is my internal reaction?

Jealousy.

Does it seem to you that everyone else’s children (save a few seriously saintly mothers of heathen children I have witnessed in Walmart) are calmer and better behaved? And when that fails because kids will be kids, the mothers are calm enough to have you suspect sedatives or sharing Julie Andrew’s bloodline? Maybe it’s the social media generation where everyone appears squeaky clean, but jealousy is a major mom rage trigger for me.

Hangry/Tired.

Honestly though, I get the most mom rage filled when my own needs aren’t being met. When I am particularly exhausted, like most people, I am have the shortest fuse with my loved ones. This, as I previously mentioned, is not something I am proud of. However, recognizing my short comings in the first step in helping me grow.

I know parenting is a longggg haul and I am still virtually at the starting line. Just ask my own mother, who fields calls from her thirty-one year old blogging daughter on the daily. I haven’t even experienced teenager girl door slamming, my son bringing home a really terrible girlfriend, or many other far stressful milestones. The learning curve of motherhood is far steeper than anything else I have ever attempted, and I was a competitive Irish dancer. I challenge myself (and you if you’re with me) to look around my little world and witness the true beauty that is the trenches of toddlerhood. I want to be one of those well-meaning and slightly annoying grandma’s telling young mother’s to soak it all in. Anything worth doing is a challenge. And for the time being I will just sing myself Daniel Tiger’s anthem, “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four: one, two, three, four.”

 

Rage is a symptom of post-partum depression and anxiety. If you find that you are experiencing it to the point of interfering with your daily life please check out resources such as Postpartum Support International at postpartum.net or 1 (800) 944-4773.

#Momfail Monday: Meet Mallory

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Week One: Meet Mallory

Mallory is a former human resources manager turned stay at home mom to twin 3 and a half year old boys, Camden and Cooper. Mallory’s husband Hugh is a high powered corporate consultant that travels 34 weeks a year. These are her stories.

Monday

5:36am

I awaken to hot breath firing at me on each side of me. “Mommmmmeeeeeeee. You up!” they squeal in unison. Why? Why can we not make it to six am just one morning? I make a mental note to leave a scathing review on the website of that damn OK to Wake Clock website. Works for most kids my ass. Hugh is gone…again. Ten days this time. I got a lovely snapchat of his dry aged steak and gin martini last night as I was eating cold chicken fingers. Love him. But I also kind of hate him.

9:43am

Third cold cup of coffee as my darling little angels find new ways to survive death by jumping off furniture, sticking toys in outlets, etc. Loads of laundry complete: 0.2 which is to say I pulled some stained clothes out of our laundry basket and threw some Oxyclean on them. Or was it bleach? Shit, I hope it wasn’t bleach because they were for sure colors in that pile. Is tie-dye back in?

11:15am

I decide to venture out to finally check the Home Depot run off my endless list of errands. I generally hate stores with concrete floors, but maybe the sales clerk will be chatty because I really need to converse with someone who doesn’t solely communicate in fart noises/dinosaur roars. I’m standing in the screw aisle, how many possible screws can this world need? Surely not this many. What was it I was supposed to get again? Damn swiss cheese mom brain. Quick scan back at the cart and BLEEP!!!! Where the bleep is Cam?? That little racecar shopping cart hit a new top speed as we swerved around the aisles in search of that little missing mischief maker. He’s fearless and would totally follow anyone with a puppy/candy/mullet ponytail. As I am about to simultaneously call 911/call for a Code Adam alert, the store’s loud speaker comes on, “Would the owner of a small blonde child please come to the lumber department.” Racing faster than I thought possible, while huffing (and making a mental note to really start exercising…those video workouts would really work better if I didn’t let them play while eating Goldfish.) I make it to the lumber section to see an orange apron clad lumbersexual employee pulling my son off the *TOP* step of those stupid stair ladder things. He was literally 30 feet in the air, suspended above pine planks for the whole store to see. A bunch of contractors clapped, as I tried to decide between tears and spankings.

Still shaken and having purchased no screws, I strapped both boys into their car seats. God love 5 point harnesses. I walked around to the driver side when I heard the most dreaded sound in the world. “Click.” The car doors all locked as I peered through the window to see Coop holding my set of keys and laughing hysterically. 90 minutes and four very nice firemen later, I was driving my heathen children home with no hardware and no self-respect. Only nine days until Daddy gets home. I see a long week of Paw Patrol and Pinot Noir in our future. Certainly not any more damn errands. Maybe I won’t leave the house until their high school graduation.

Happy Monday, Mallory.