Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Time to go back to work and I really don't want to go...

Oh dear God.  This is my last week of maternity leave.  I would love to be cliche and say it's gone by so fast, and where has the time gone, it seems like just yesterday that I was at work but it would be a complete lie.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  A faded memory, of something I used to do or maybe just had a dream of and am remembering it with that weird deja vu feeling.  I wish I could be one of those women that look forward to getting back to work.  Who look forward to talking to other adults throughout the day.  Who look forward to wearing nice clothes, that don't have a lick of spandex in them (okay, well... maybe a little).  Who look forward to having time to yourself to focus on your career, the one you went to school for all those years.  The one you sweated, and cursed, and battled your way through seven long years of university for and then went to war as you prepared for job interview after job interview, celebrating the day you found your full-time with benefits life long career dream job.  The one you swore you'd miss, and loved, and knew you'd want to come back to.  Except I have none of that motivation, or anything positive to bring to the table to stop my self from simultaneously throwing up and bursting out in a full out ugly cry each time I think of how this is my last and final week off with my little boy.  

So incase you couldn't figure it out yet, I have ZERO interest in going back to work.  Nilch.  Zippo.  Nada.  Niente.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it would be nice to actually make money again, and feel like I financially contribute to our household.  And the idea of using the knowledge that I acquired from attending seven years of university sounds great in theory, yet at the moment I am quite comfortable with the mathematical portion of my brain atrophying beyond recognition.  Currently, I barely can mentally calculate a 20% tip for our meal when we go to a restaurant, but then again -- when the hell do we eat out anymore, so who cares, right?

I have become that woman that I scoffed at, and pitied.  Because why on earth would anyone would anyone give up all of their education and stay home with some little kid teaching them to color with crayons and singing idiotic kid songs about three people being in bed, and a little one telling the others to roll over?  Days spent changing diapers and hanging out with other Moms and their little rug rats.  Groceries, and cleaning, making dinner, going for a walk around the block with an impromptu stop at the swings to giggle as your snotty faced little munckin smiles the smile of all smiles with the wind blowing in his hair.  Playing hide and go seek in the house, running around the kitchen table, kicking balls, and pretending to fly like superman.  Having weekly playdates with my best friend and her son who is merely days older than my boy, and watching them grow together and become best friends too.  Feeding eat other waffles and blueberries, splashing in the water, rolling down a hill just because.  Spending all day with a little person who only speaks in one syllable sounds, who requires you to do everything for them, and all you get is a sloppy kiss, or a spontaneous full out genuine hug in return.  Yah, uh, who the hell would want to do that? Who on earth would find that more fulfilling than a career, where you use your actual brain power.  Um...    well...     me.

I never thought I'd ever want to stay at home, ever.  I went to school, I was an academic and very driven.  I'm was a go getter, perfectionist, achiever.  I didn't know any other way to be.  I worked my ass off for my career, and I loved it.  I was good at it, and I enjoyed it.  I couldn't imagine not wanting to come back.  I was lucky and ended up having fifteen months off with my son.  Fifteen months.  Now, how on earth could I not be ready to go back to work after that long hanging out with a baby.  Well... here I am, days away from d-day and the unthinkable has happened.  I am a full fledged, authentic Mom without the slightest inclination of wanting my old life back.

It's not really fair how this whole 'Mom' thing works.  Pregnancy is exciting (with the exception of the extreme fatigue from having to grow a placenta and the food aversion that turned me into a red-meat eating carnivore that avoided anything in the form of a vegatable for an entire nine months) and it was fun to get all round and cute.  Even in the last month when your resemblance to a mantee is unnerving -- it's still a wonderful time where people dote on you, and you're encouraged to sit and have another milkshake while watching another rerun of Modern Family.  You fear labour and of course the delivery, but you don't really put much thought into the horrible transition of becoming a Mom.

Thats right, I said horrible.  And I do mean it in every sense of the word.  I don't care who you are and whether you give your babe the boob or the bottle, those first 4 months (...ok... maybe even 6..) are some dark times.  You're over weight, sleep deprived, and completely clueless while you leak from every possible orface in your body.  Showering is a luxury that is not enjoyed daily, and pajamas are worn for days on end.  Thrusted into this murky world where you know nothing about anything, except for the fact the the old life you used to live is long gone and what you have left of your sanity is being slowly eroded away with each bounce you take on a yoga ball at 4:23am watching your PVR'd episodes of America's Got Talent, while holding this precious ball of colic who refuses to sleep and just shit up the back of his sleeper, again.   

You long for adult contact, and you'll talk to just about anyone so that you feel connected to the world again.  Cashiers, your doctor, random people who walk by you and accidentally make eye contact with you at the mall... you name it, you talk just a little too long with everyone, in fear of this being the last adult you'll get to talk to for the next six hours before your husband gets home.  You find yourself wishing for five, just five minutes to be by yourself to have a hot (that's right, the actual temperature it is supposed to be consumed at...) coffee with your old friends while gossiping about The Bachelorette or that idiot who wore white socks and black shoes to work, again.  Five minutes, just to pee without the sound of a screaming child.  Five minutes to shower, and possibly shave the amazon jungle that has grown under your arms and sadly other places.  Five whole minutes, just to sit quietly alone without anyone touching you, grabbing you, sucking on you.  Five whole minutes, just to have some sweet uninteruppted sleep.

Then somehow, without really realizing it, slowly out of nowhere you make some headway.  The naps are a bit longer, the feedings are further and further apart and the night time feedings start to dwindle.  It takes less and less time to get your diaper bag together and out the door, it used to seem impossible to leave your house before 11am but before you know it, it's 8:00 am and you've got a kid in one arm and a diaper and sippy cup in the other and a banana in your mouth (yah, thats right... no wipes because lets get real... if he shits, we're coming home). 

Before you know it, you are getting more sleep.  Before you know it, you're actually having a good time.

I don't remember it happening, but one day it just seemed easy.  One day, it was just completely enjoyable.  What used to seem mundane, was just another day filled with fun with me and my boy.  What used to be a chore, turned into beautiful moments with my little side kick.  What used to be sad and isolating has become my life, my purpose, and I effing love the hell out of it.  

Being at home with my little boy is the greatest thing I have ever experienced.  It's something you can't even explain, because when you do -- it just sounds boring, like you're on the outside of and inside joke.  Because truthfully, really, you are. My son and I have such an incredible bond, that has made becoming a Mother is the single most life changing event that has ever happened to me.  As clique as it sounds my little boy is the light of my life, my laughter, and my absolute favorite person ever (... I did make him, after all).  He's taught me to slow down, have more patience, and to just enjoy all the little moments in life.  Before him, life was so rushed.  I always had somewhere to go and some place to be...and in hindsight I have no idea what the hurry was.

So the injustice of it all is after struggling to give up my old life to embrace my new role as a Mother, I turn it around and finally have this whole Mommy thing figured out and I'm aboslutely loving my life -- I have to go back to work. But here's the kicker, I have to take on the exact same responsbility as I did before with my job, and somehow have to balance it with my new responsibility to be an awesome Mom.

Another horrible transition.  The thought of leaving my child with another woman, so I can go to work just makes me ill.  Don't get me wrong, my daycare provider is absolutely wonderful.  She is exactly what I wanted for my son, I just love her.  I am just completely jealous that she gets to spend all day with my son, enjoying all the laughter and funny jokes, the sweet songs and the spontaneous cuddles.  I'm paying her to do something that I really want to do, that I really love to do... all so I can go to work and make some money and go back to my career.  Ugh, talk about backwards priorities.  

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot.  I worked so hard to get to where I am in my career today, that it would be foolish and irresponsible to give it up.  Yet, I have a completely different perspective on life now as a mother.  Things that used to matter, don't.  And I'm not sure how to change that, or even if I want to.  

And, I'm so tired of people looking at me like I just flashed them my nipple when I answer their questions about going back to work with complete honesty that I'm not excited and I really don't want to go.  Now don't get me wrong, just because I don't want to go doesn't mean I won't do a good job and throw myself into my work, because I respect my career and the responsibility I have with it.  It's just that if I had to choose which one was more important, my son would win hands down.  And, I understand that some women want to go back and look forward to it, and I don't judge them in the least for it. I just wish people would stop judging me like I've lost my mind because I haven't, I'm not any less intelligent, I just really love staying home with my son.
Honestly, I'm hoping that I find some enjoyment in the career that I once loved, but I fear that my perspective is forever changed.  I worry it will become a daily grind, a chore that I must complete, that the quicker I get finished the quicker I get to be with my real love in life, my family.

Staying home for me is not an option and it isn't about the money, it's about the lessons I choose to teach my son.  I want to instill in him my love for education.  I want to be a positive female role model who is intellectual and is successful in her vocation.  I want him to value a strong work ethic and to have a drive for success because both his parents chose a career that they are passionate about.  I want him to be inspired that both his father and I made a difference in peoples lives with our careers and for that to fuel his desire to find his own path so that he can feel fullfilled in this lifetime.

I know that keeping him home will only hinder him, because he is such a social child and will thrive around other children to be able to grow and develop much better than him being stuck at home with me.  And that's not to say that if you stay home with your child that you're not doing what's best for them at all...I am not a mother judger in the least... This is just what I need to keep telling myself so I don't melt into a puddle of tears as I imagine driving away from his daycare, without him, picturing him banging on the window in full hysteria wondering why his Mama just abandoned him.  

Sadly, I know that I no longer have a baby, I have a toddler.  A little boy who runs with reckless abandon, who picks up worms and eats them, that loves to make a mess anytime he can, who thinks trucks with big wheels are the coolest thing ever, who dances anytime he see's his buddy Thomas the train, who sings the sweetest songs about his Mama, who laughs the hardest when his Daddy is being silly, and who is growing up quicker than I want to admit.

Change is all around me.  Each day he's changing and now it's time for a new phase in my life.  One where my little boy goes off to daycare and spreads his little wings and where I go back to a career that I used to love and learn to find myself all over again.  It won't be easy, I feel like I will miss so much of my sons life -- but I suppose that will make the time we spend together all the more sweeter.  

If I could go back in time, I wish I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now.  I would stress less, and know that everything is just a phase and that nothing lasts forever.  Babies change as quick as the weather, it just seems like an enternity when you're up for the sixth time during the night for twelve days straight.  

I would have a messier house, with bigger piles of laundry to do.  

I would gladly enjoy eggs and toast every night for dinner, instead of stressing about making a hearty home cooked Martha Stewart meal like I used to be able to do when not breastfeeding my child around the clock.  

I would take the help when it was offered.  

I would let someone watch him for 15 minutes or leave him in his crib so that I could shower, even if he cried the whole time.  

I wouldn't give a shit about how slowly the weight was coming off, because soon enough when he's running -- those last gushy pounds will disappear, and lets be honest, you'll never ever be really happy with your body anyways.  You're a woman, that's just a fact.  

I would buy a tankini and not wait to go swimming because I was self conscious.  Newsflash, everyone (well, mostly everyone) hates their body after child birth and honestly they're too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to be judging you at all.  

I would put that baby in my carrier and go for a walk at 11pm at night if I needed to get some fresh air instead of letting myself get stir crazy.  

I would put on a hat, forget about the makeup, and go to the mall if I needed to get out of the house.  

I wouldn't care if he cried in public and I wouldn't give two thoughts about popping a boob if I needed to.  

I would go to those "Mom Groups" sooner instead of judging them as being lame, so that I can meet the women that will become my good friends, help save my sanity, and provide me with a wonderful safe place where I will learn how to be a Mom without being judged.

I would stop for a minute, and stop rushing, and memorize that sweet sleeping face of his.  

I would let him stay asleep on me, while a small little stream of milk leaked out of his sleepy open mouth, and watch the entire sixth season of Sex and the City from start to finish because there was a marathon on instead of worrying about trying to put him down without waking him up so I can vacuum.  Never again will he cuddle me like a squishy little newborn.. (but then again, never again will I have to wake up every 90 minutes to feed him and cry from my painfully burning nipples).

I would trust myself.  Love myself.  Embrace my new self.  

I would try to realize that these are the moments I'll always look back at with love and nostalgia.  

These are the moments that forever changed me, made me more patient and less vain.  

These are the moments that made me a better person.  

These are the moments that I fell in love with my sweet boy.

These are the moments that made me into a Mom.

These are the moments that I will fiercely miss.    

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

5 Things Non-Parents Need to Stop Saying to Parents...

Having recently read "5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents" on Huffington Post, I was inspired and the need to share my opinion, nay, rebuttal  for the article was overwhelming.  Let's first set the record straight, I acknowledge and understand that not every one wants to have a child of their own, nor do they require the act of creating a human to feel fulfilled and happy in their life.  I have a few very dear, close friends, who will likely not take the plunge and have their uterus be occupied by a wee growing person -- and they are very happy and wonderful people.  This is not directed at them... However, there are many, I-just-don't-have-kids-yet-but-think-I've-got-this-whole-parenting-thing-figured-out-and-I-am-judging-what-you-are-doing kind of people that could stand to listen to a little advice about what not to say to parents... especially new ones.  And before you get too bent out of shape, I could have stood to read this before having a child of my own...

1.  "I totally understand getting up in the middle of the night, because I have a dog..."

Yah, no you don't.  And while I appreciate that you are trying to have a common ground with me because I look destroyed from the ass up, nipples pointing offensively at you while they leak through my Always maxi-pads stuck to the inside of my shirt, creating wet circles the size dinner plates on my spit-up stained t-shirt that I have been wearing for three consecutive days, common ground we have not.

Many a dog owner does truely believe that they understand the responsiblity of taking care of a wee baby (I was certainly guilty of it).  After all, they are both needy little creatures that need to be fed and picked up after, whether it be morning, noon, or the middle of the night.  It's totally the same.. Right?  BUZZ! Wrong, you do not pass go, you do not collected $200 (oh, wait... you do... It's called Maternity Leave Benefits).  The truth of the matter is having the responsiblity of a child is something you can't possibly imagine until you are stuck right there in the middle of it, in it to win it, no way out of it -- this kid is yours.. end of story.  There will be no discussion of putting a child down because they require an expensive surgery, there will be no talk of delaying necessary treatment for a sick babe because it is too costly, and there certainly will be no I'm-sure-they-can-hold-off-for-another-hour-for-dinner-while-I-stay-out-and-do-something-fun.

Most parents realize that the only thing we talk about is our kids, and that can make us difficult to relate to.  We've been abducted from the land of the living, thrusted into an asocial world where our only companion either has nothing to say or is angrily screaming at us, for hours in the middle of the night while you are all comfy in your bed.  It's a huge adjustment becoming a parent.  Many of us are sad, angry, tired, or just plain lonely.  So when the only interesting thing we can tell you about is that our kid, after only sleeping 73 minute stretches at a time for the last 23 days straight, shit himself something so fierce that we had to throw out the change table and call for Molly Maid to come and clean the walls, just nod sympathetically and don't compare it to having to let Sparky out in the middle of the night.

Our maternity leave is only a year, and within that time we will learn how to be normal, functioning, appropriately social, aware of current events and the world around us adults by the time it's up.  But in the mean time, cut us some slack -- be there for us.  We could use a friend.

2.  "I'm so tired/busy/stressed/have-no-time ..."

I'm sure you think you are, and perception is key -- but when I look back on my life before kids, I had no idea how much free time I truly had.  I'm past the point in my journey of motherhood where I become defensive and explode while telling a non-parent that they have no idea what tired is.  I now politely nod and generally give a dismissive responsive, of "oh, yes... I understand.."  But lets get something clear.  Never, will you ever, have as much free-selfish-I-can-do-whatever-I-want-whenever-I-want time as you do when you don't have children.  Life's cruel joke is that you just won't realize how much time you had until you're still up at 3:23 am bouncing on a yoga ball, shushing a screaming banchee for the 6 consecutive hour, wondering how you can be so tired but this wee-tiny-human is reared up and ready to party.  With meloncoly and sad irony, you will remember actively choosing to stay up this late and it being 'fun'.  You will long for those days that you could just push snooze, or just run out the door to grab a coffee.  Nothing is quick anymore.  Nothing is easy.  Everything takes 42 minutes to do, when it used to take 4.  There is no I'll-just-go-to-the-gym-later, maybe-I'll-just-grab-a-shower-in-a-half-hour, or even I'll-just-pop-in-here-to-grab-some-milk.  Everything takes planning around naptimes, and feeding schedules, and sleep schedules, and shit-filled diapers.  You are at the utter mercy and control of the tiny dictator that you created and will one day call you Mama or Dada.

So yes, I totally understand that you are so busy that you couldn't find ten minutes to call in the last month.  (insert polite looking smile here, drenched in sarcasm).

3.  "I know you have kids but couldn't you just ..."

No, I can't just do anything.  Everything is a bloody production around here, and babysitters are like precious unrenewable gems that you must polish and love and pay sweet attention to.  You must be careful not to over use them, or POOF! they won't be there for when you really need them.  I need some notice if you want me to come out kidless, and I need some understanding when I can't.  Me and my mini are kinda a package deal.  We used to be literally attached by an organ.  He is the Robin, to my Batman... the Sonny, to my Cher...  the Boots, to my Dora... the Binoo, to my Toopy... Aw shit, there I go sounding like a Mom again.  Oh wait.  I am one.  So if he tags along, please don't mind, and if you do.. then maybe I mind you just coming to be around.   Trust me that I can be an adult that can judge if it's socially appropriate to bring my little tornado with me.  I won't be bringing him out for mojitos to a girls night -- nor would I want to.  But as a gentle reminder... if I'm out for one of those coveted baby-free evenings, it's polite to ask me how much son is doing... even if you don't really care and find the whole idea of me being a parent boring.  Just like it's polite for me to ask how your relationship is going with that guy that you only met three weeks ago, even though I know it's not going to last.

4.  "Oh, are you still breastfeeding?"  ... or... "Oh, you're not breastfeeding?"  (insert shocked, slightly judgemental with a side of disgust face here)

For those of you that have never had to decide whether or not to have your nipples completely assaulted in the name of nutrition, let me give you a heads up... it's a bloody sensitive topic.  Whether it's about being able to actually do it, or being able to 'stick it out', or having to use a supplemental nursing system, or just formula feeding, or how many times a day, or why I'm still doing it when my baby is *insert totally appropriate age here*, or asking why I don't just give him a bottle because it's easier, or giving me a dirty look because I'm nursing under a brightly colored afghan and you can see my sons feet sticking out the side causing you to picture my nipple being sucked on, or giving me a dirty look because my baby is crying and you're certain I'm a horrible mother that never feeds her son, or bringing up 'facts' about how breast is best and I'm slowly killing my child each time he drinks a drop of formula because I had very difficult and sensitive issues that caused me not to be able to breastfeed that you never bothered to ask me about before spouting your two-cents about parenting-propaganda, or telling me about how easy it was for your best friend's sister's boyfriend's cousin... Listen very carefully.  This isn't about you.  

It never was.  It never will be.  It's none of your damn business whether my child is fed from the boob or the bottle.  Both work.  Both are healthy.  Both are good parenting.  Until you are faced with the choice, and by that I mean, the war of trying to breastfeed or not -- you should just keep your opinion to yourself.  It may be natural, but there is nothing easy about it.

5.  "You're looking great, a couple months ago you were pretty big..."

Backhanded compliments are awesome.  I want to personally give you a huge go-eff-yourself from all the new mothers out there.  Who knew that after having a baby the chub didn't just disappear with the slurpity plop of the placenta being delivered.  Did you think that Rachel from Friends was really what pregnant people looked like, or new mothers for that matter?  Listen up.  Just because someone had a baby, doesn't mean you have the carte blanche to bring up weight.  Weight is never a topic that you can discuss with a woman, ever.  So keep your idiot thoughts to yourself, chances are I was already feeling uncomfortable in my new mommy-gushy skin before you said anything anyways.  And while we're talking about post-baby weight... I have to give HUGE props to my girl Catherine the Dutchess of Cambridge for owning her doughy-I-just-gave-birth-to-a-baby-but-I-still-look-eight-months-pregnant-belly and rocking it out in a gorgeous baby blue polka-dot dress.  Reason #126 I think she's damn awesome.  Way to give a realistic view of motherhood.  Huge thumbs up.    

So lastly if you have done any of these things, oh well, what's done is done. No hard feelings.  But just know better for next time.  Please understand that becoming a parent is an all consuming journey that many of us wonder if we'll ever make it out alive.  We need friends to stand by us, not to dismiss, belittle, or ignore what possibly is the biggest life changing event of our lives.  We get, that you don't get it.  We just wish you wouldn't pretend that you do.  We have enough to deal with internally without worrying about our friends not being there for us.  

So give us a hug.  Give us a listen.  Give us a coffee.  Give us some time.  Give us a lasagna.  Or at the very least give us some leeway.  We're on a rocky road here, and we're just trying to do our best.  Do me a favor and remember me this Saturday morning when you sleepily wake up to the sound of your alarm and without thinking hit the snooze button and roll over for another 13 minutes of uninterrupted sleep...  I'll have been up already for two hours, changed a shitty diaper, got pee'd on, hopefully with a cup of coffee already in me, tiredly accepting gifts of pieces of fluff and crumbs and who knows what else that last nights vacuum missed but my son has a nearing obsession of a need to give me, while praying that the TV can be a good babysitter for just another twelve minutes as I try to read the latest news on my twitter feed so I'm not totally out of the loop while trying not to saw off my ears with a butter knife for having to listen to the Thomas and Friends theme song for the 8012th time.  Who's living the dream now?

Here's the original article from Huffington Post, incase you missed it.. 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hey Judgy McJudgy Mommy... Cut it out.

Dear Judgy McJudgy Mommy, 

Hi there, how are you all the way up in that ivory tower of yours peering down on us mere mortal mothers who sadly do not know as much as you about parenting.  Even though my child is older than yours, I appreciate all of your wonderful advice on raising him and how you instantly know the answers to anything I am trying to trouble-shoot.  I think it's great that even though your child is 5 weeks old still nuzzling your bosom, you are able to bestow your wisdom about how to best feed a fussy 11 month old, who will eat nothing but toast and red peppers.  It's wonderful that you already know how to do things that you haven't experienced yet with your own baby.  And how awesome is it that you know more than the other Mothers who have more than one child?  All those books and websites you've read about how to be a parent have really paid off.     

Also, thank you for reminding me that you co-sleep and use cloth diapers and only use teething toys made out of bamboo made from sustainable harvesting.  It makes me feel special the way you look at me when I said I put my child in a crib at three weeks old, while I change my sons pampers and hand him my car keys to keep him occupied.  I would love to see how you would react to how my son plays with tupperware, or eats rogue cheerios off the ground -- surely you would have something to tell me about the dangerous levels of ebola lurking in the lid of my tupperware or how the residue from my swiffer wet jet juices, that I clean my hardwood floors with, is the reason my son isn't sleeping at night. 

I admire that you have this 'motherhood' gig all figured out and are able to tell me all the things I do wrong with my child.  I didn't realize that there was only one way to raise a child and that I am an unfit mother because I don't do things the same way as you.  Here I thought there were multiple philosophies on parenting, thank you for pointing out that the way I'm doing things is all wrong.  I'm glad to now know that yours is the only way that works, I can't believe I didn't realize that all babies are exactly the same.  Without you pointing out all my faults, I would have never had known how much I'm screwing up my child and turning him into a monster with no soul because I decided to try sleep training and didn't fed him organic carrots.  Sadly, I only just realized thanks to you, the irrevocable damage I've caused him by letting him cry for five minutes at a time.  You're right, he will now be unable to love anyone, will become illiterate, and need therapy for years to come because I am a terrible mother who needed my child sleep through the night.  What was I thinking?    

But I have to tell you that my favourite part about your personality is that you really shine when you can hide behind the guise of your computer screen.  Your confidence to hand out judgement and advice to anyone at anytime without the use of manners or simple consideration for how it would make another woman feel is really a special character trait of yours.  I wish that I could be as perfect as you.

It makes me sad that for the past 11 months I have been doing it all wrong.  I have made a bunch of friends during my maternity leave with children around the same age as mine and I haven't thought twice about how they choose to raise their babies.  

I thought it was great that one friend co-sleeps with her child still, I miss cuddling with my ever moving little boy.  It must be sweet to wake up to a baby nuzzling your neck.  I didn't give it a second thought that another friend chose to formula feed her baby after three weeks, I thought it was wonderful that she had such a close bond with her daughter which was clear every time I saw them together.  I should have but didn't even think to say anything to a friend that wore her son everywhere she went, and didn't let others hold him because it made the baby upset.  I just thought it was great that she respected her little one as an actual little person who has wants and needs of his own.  And I can't believe I didn't tell my other friend who uses cloth diapers that because I use disposable diapers she should as well.  I just thought it was great that she was more environmentally conscious than me, and loved the way her daughters fluffy butt looked in her nappies.  One of my friends even has an illegal walker, but I totally didn't think to tell her it was wrong of her to have it especially because she was planning on using it by her really steep stairs while letting her baby play with rat poison.  I hope her son doesn't get hurt, she obviously isn't smart enough to judge the safety of a situation herself.  And when another friend of mine went away for the night when her son was seven months old, I thought that it was so great that she was able to reconnect with her husband.  But shit, I forgot to remind her that she should feel guilty for being a horrible mother for needing a bit of a break.   

The list could go on and on of all the things my friends do that I haven't or won't, and dammit I didn't even think to judge them once.  And here I was totally okay with people having different opinions on how to raise their child, because it in no way effects my life or my son.  Silly me, what was I thinking.  I hope one day I'll have it all figured out and be the greatest mother, ahem, second greatest mother in the world (sorry!).  

Maybe I would have as many friends as you if I was more harsh and rigid with my opinions about parenting.  Maybe I would be happier and have more play dates if I looked down on everyone who did things differently than me.  Maybe my son would learn how to be empathetic and patient by watching me get upset and start a name-calling argument the minute anyone disagreed with my opinion.  Maybe my son would be better off if I pushed other mothers down and belittled their choices in front of him.  Maybe my son would become a tolerant, kinder person if I constantly judged the actions of everyone around me because they decided something different works for them.  Maybe my son would be more confident if I was less secure with myself as a mother, and dealt with it by lashing out at others and making my way the only way to do things.   

But then again.  Maybe not.  


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One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Dear-Insecure-Mama: You're not unpretty...


Hey, hows it going?  I know you.  You're the girl who likes to feel pretty, to be put together, and you always have your makeup done properly.  To put it bluntly, you're pretty vain.  You won't leave the house with out at least concealer, mascara, and some blush (...sometimes too much blush, but hey... it looks pretty).  Your hair is always done.

You are that girly girl who overcame her awkward tomboy years of having a brush cut and a rat tail.  You persevered through the 90's with your frizzy perm, mile high bangs, and Club Monaco sweatshirts.  You even survived high school as you competed to be liked by the mean girls in their white eyeliner listening to the Spice Girls on their bright yellow portable CD player, who tormented your self-esteem daily.  You learned to love yourself and became a confident woman, especially towards your body and looks.

I've watched you when you judge 'those women' who don't have it all together.  Who have that screaming child in their grocery cart, a falling apart pony tail, dressed in all black, with dark tired circles under their eyes.  I've read your mind as you thought, how hard is it to throw on a bit of make-up lady and have some pride in your appearance?

You're that woman who will never be the quote, un-quote 'Mom'.  You'll be different.  You'll be able to keep it together.  I mean really, there's no reason why a Mother can't be pretty and fashionable at the same time... right?

Then you went and had a baby.

Vanity didn't leave you but your sense of all things pretty did.  Your maternity leave is almost done and the fifty pounds of baby weight are long gone yet you still feel unpretty.  The hit to your self-esteem after having your son is indescribable.  You kept telling yourself that once the numbers on the scale were back to 'normal' you would regain your confidence.  Sadly, although you're past that magical number... your just as insecure as ever.

You have acne on your chin that rivals most teenagers.   People think you eat too many chocolate bars or that you don't wash your face.  Your skin is ridiculously dry from breastfeeding.  So much of your hair has fallen out that you have actually asked your husband to check if you have a bald spot.  You used to be that girl with the hair from a Salon Selective's commercial.  Now you're that girl with the hair all over the bathroom sink and floor.  It's falling out all over the place and you feel like Demi Moore in G. I. Jane as she stares at her unfamiliar new appearance in the mirror after she shaves her head.  Except you have all your hair, mostly... except for the broken patches along your hair line making you look like the Barbie doll you gave a shitty haircut to as a 4 year old when you tie your hair back.  Which I might add is more out of necessity than a fashion statement because of your sons ninja fast moves and iron clad grip.  He has you in constant fear of having your hair ripped out in clumps like you're in a match with one of the ladies from Glow Wrestling.

On the odd occasion that you you get to go out and wear your hair down and try to curl it like you used to... it flops, has no body, and is limp and pathetic.  Mocking you with every fallen curl, reminding you that the price for your perfectly angelic son who may or may not sleep through the night was your once beautiful hair that could hold a curl for days.

And your belly.  Oh your jelly belly.  I don't think you were ready for this jelly Beyonce.  Seriously, what the hell is up with your jello jiggler and muffin top?  And can I get a what-what for your back fat?  While we're at it, lets give your hips a full out eff you for widening out to birth your child, because I hate to tell you this... but you have no ass either.  I have no idea how to segue into your boobies so I won't.... but lets just say, they be destroyed from almost a year of perpetual sucking.  And let's not forget that the veins all over your chest look like the tear stained face of someone who forgot to wear waterproof mascara while watching The Notebook.  How pretty.  

With all of this, you don't know any other way to feel about yourself.  Most days you feel yucky.  Plain, dishevelled, and yucky.

You are now that woman you hated.  The one that scoffs at people when given a compliment and promptly proceed to tell them they're just being nice.  You no longer walk into a room with confidence.  You feel that unwanted glance to your tummy and telepathically hear, "Oh she definitely has not lost the baby weight yet."  

Negative self-talk is killing you from the inside out.  Like a toxin that seeps into your everyday moments.  You bend over to pick up your son, and feel that extra gushyness at your belly and wonder how the hell do those other moms look so good.  Your baby boot camp is supposed to make you lose some weight and gain some confidence but it's so hard not to compare yourself to all those 'skinny Moms'.  You know, the ones whose child is three weeks old  and somehow they are in way better shape than you've ever been.

Be honest.  You don't recognize the woman you see in the mirror anymore and there isn't enough concealer in the world to undo the sleep deprivation and constant go-go-go of motherhood.  Bluntly, a lot of the time, you feel ugly.  And no matter how many times your husband tells you how beautiful you are, you just don't feel it.

This wasn't something you were prepared for.  It's the giant secret that all seasoned Mama's hold close.  Refusing to tell the newbies what they're actually being initiated into.  A whole new world of self-doubt and at times, self-loathing.  It's like you spent nine months preparing for one day.  Being scared about one day.  Being excited about ONE day.  And then one day turns into a lifetime, where you thought the only think that would change is the 'plus one' to your family.  But instead... you have changed.  Your friendships have changed.  Your thoughts have changed.  Your responsibilities have changed.  Your perspective on life has changed.  Your body has changed.  Everything about you has changed and you're stuck fumbling in the dark trying to figure who the hell you are now.

The metamorphosis of becoming a Mother is more challenging than you can ever prepare for.  It's hard feeling like a stranger in your own body, a body that doesn't feel like your own.  But you are not alone. The dark feelings of self-conciousness that encompassed you after becoming a mother are felt by many.  You are not that woman whose belly sprung back to it's old shape three months postpartum.  Instead, you are that mother who still looked 6 months pregnant when your son turned 4 months old .  You are not that woman who lost the 50 pounds by just breastfeeding.  Instead, you are that mother who watched what she ate and busted her ass with Shawn T, all the while caring and nurturing your son.  It took you nine long months to loose the 'baby-weight', and even then... things will never be the way they were.  But you have a completely skewed vision of yourself now.  That needs to stop.  Trust me, it's going to be ok.

You will start to have these 'moments'.  They will creep up here and there when you least expect it, like a bit of sun peeking through the thick fog that has surrounded you since the birth of your healthy baby boy.  Perhaps it's a quick glance to the mirror, and suddenly you feel saucy in the new 'big girl' thirty-five dollar Clinique lipstick you just bought.  It could be a spontaneous moment of trying on hot pink ridiculously trendy pants that you were certain would make your ass look enormous, but they magically fit and make you wanna give your booty a "hell-yah" when you look at it.  Or maybe it's a skinny, beautiful, tan leather jacket that you thought you'd never fit again so you decide to try it on as a final 'farewell' before you shove it to the back of your closet where all your skinny clothes go to die... and wouldn't you know it, the zipper does up.  Whatever they are, these moments will start to happen more and more, and each time they do a small teeny-tiny part of your old confidence will come back.  

And before you know it, you'll be feeling good again.  

Before you know it, you'll be feeling pretty again.  

Before you know it, you'll be feeling like you again.   

The trick with this journey is realizing you're not alone, and making sure to take back a little bit of yourself with every tiny little victory you achieve.  There is nothing sexy about a woman without confidence, and it's time you started to stand tall and embrace the new amazing, wonderful, beautiful Mama you are.  You made a human, and may have felt like you destroyed your body in the process of doing so... but you've done a good job, your baby is healthy and happy, and you look great.  Now start acting like you believe it.  


To all of you childless women, who think you'll never get to this point of despair on your road to motherhood.  Kudos to you.  But before you judge, allow me to give you some advice...

The next time you're walking down the street and start to judge that dishevelled Mom who is out in her pants that are saggy on her ass, or with her broken down pony tail -- take a step back and give the girl a break.  In fact, give her a high five for getting herself out of the house in something other than black yoga pants.  Give her a knowing look of sympathy.  Hell, buy the woman a coffee or better yet a bottle of wine.  Open the door for her.  Say hello to her.  Be nice to her.  Thank her for taking one for the team and populating the planet with another adorable baby who will one day surely find the cure for Ebola, or muffin tops, or something equally impressive.  Tell her it's all worth it in the end.  Tell her she's doing a great job.  Tell her it will all be ok.  Make her feel good, somehow.  Remind her that she's not invisible.  Remind her that this too will pass.  Remind her that while some people suck, and judge, and love to argue and belittle any chance they get -- some people don't.  Remind her some people still care, whether she knows it or not.  Remind her that some people still like her, whether she likes herself or not.  Because one day you just might become that woman, and trust me, you'll appreciate it.

Remember this?

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

Hey... See that Top Mommy Blog icon at the top left of your screen?  Take two seconds to click it if you like my blog.  Two seconds... that's it, that's all.  Click.  Done.  Criss Cross Applesauce Baby.  

One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What I really want for Mothers Day...

I don't know where the time has flown.  My once eight pound one ounce, all knees and elbows, scrawny, little babe with a dark crop of thick hair has transformed into a twenty-five pound, head strong, ridiculously big for his age, walking around furniture munchkin with blonde flowing locks past his shoulders.  I can remember just like it was yesterday, being twelve hours into labour and the horribleness of dilating from eight to ten centimetres, all the while moaning like a wounded cow.  And in between the worst pain I've ever felt in my life, I said to my nurse in the most pathetic voice you can conjure, "Mothers day should be celebrated quarterly."  She laughed and said it was the funniest thing she's heard a woman in labour say in a long time.  

And here I am, ten months later.  Ready to celebrate my first real Mothers day.  And let me tell you, I've earned it.  I've gone through the sleepless nights.  I've gotten up around the clock and have been able to continue breastfeeding despite many challenges including avoiding near nipplectomy's more than once thanks to brand new teeth and a babe who wants to try them out.  I've finally widdled down the once suitcase of things I thought I had to bring out with me anywhere, to a modest, large Mama purse.  I've survived his first, and second injuries.  I've made it through his first cold and the appearance of all six teeth.  I've taken him to a public swimming pool and managed to keep him from getting plantars warts on his tongue from gulping so much of the disgusting water.  I've fed him chicken, strawberries, and eggs with out him dying from anaphalictic shock.  I've taught him to wave bye-bye and to play peek-a-boo with my, ah hem, his favourite bright green colander.  I've made it past the "I-hate-the-car-and-will-scream-for-every-second-you-make-me-sit-in-here-until-you-drive-in-to-a-ditch" stage.  I've become immune to the tantrum, and could care less if people stare at me while he cries.  I also now have the strongest arms that can easily transform into a makeshift straight jacket when needed to subdue Captain Crazy Arms during a meltdown. I've been pissed, puked, snotted and shit on more times that I can count.  And I've even got him to say Ma-Ma as his first word.  I've earned my Mama stripes alright.  

So I sat down to think, what do I really want for Mothers Day?  What would make me feel special and valued and appreciated like the rockstar Mama I am?  A pedicure would be nice because these feet aren't going to just exfoliate themselves.  They look like I suffer from leprosy and keep catching on the bed sheets.  It's probably time to do something about that.  A nice dinner would be thoughtful.  One that I didn't have to make, or clean up after, or occupy my small child during so I could actually enjoy it.  Pretty flowers always look lovely on my dining room table.  And nothing says, I love you and thank you for taking one for the team and destroying your body to make our perfectly wonderful happy genius son like a robin's egg blue box from Tiffany's.  Or maybe something practical like a book, or a magazine about anything but parenting like the new Paulo Cohelo... with some actual free time to read it.  How about a bath bomb from Lush, with a beautiful Italian Amarone... it doesn't even have to be vintage.  New runners with flashy neon on them to make me want to run more?  A new Lulu jacket, or wonder unders to perk up my mom bum?  All excellent ideas, dammit, now I want to go shopping.

But then I start to think about what I really could use.  You know, the practical stuff.  An extra set of hands during the day to change the poopy diaper to avoid the inevitable poop-on-knuckle conundrum, as my child thrashes his body like he's in a mosh pit and tries to roll off the change table.  Dishes that go into the dishwasher and magically put themselves away when clean.  A fancy vacuum that can actually find all the rogue cheerios hiding around my house.  A laundry fairy who does it all and puts it away, folded perfectly like in a store.  Actually, forget the laundry... what I want is a sock elf whose sole source of happiness is finding all my socks and actually matching them, all seventy-two thousand variations of gawd damned black socks.  Oh, how about a chef that comes to my house and has dinner ready for me every night and cleans up while me and my boys go out for a walk. Oooh, or someone who magically disposes of all the coffee cups I've been accumulating in my car.  Even better, someone to clean out my pantry and organize it, oh yah... now we're talking.  While you're at it, attack those junk drawers, I swear to God the dried up pens, pennies, and expired coupons grow at an exponential rate.  Or how about some sleep.  Some sweet, uninterrupted, I-don't-have-to-get-up-until-I-actually-want-to sleep.  

Here's the thing.  Material things are nice, but you open them up and then its done.  Flowers die.  Clothes get old.  Jewelery gets saved for special occasions.  A spa day comes and goes, and you're stressed again in three days.  And as for the other crap?  Well, I've got too much pride to pay someone to clean my house and quite frankly I'm too cheap to spend my money on something that I can do just fine (except the sock elf, I would pay some hard cash for a sock elf... I mean seriously how many pairs of black socks does a man need!?).  

But what I really want .... is time.  Chores out of the way.  Adult responsibilities forgotten about.  I just want time.  Time to enjoy the short weekends I have with my husband and son.  Time to put away the cell phones.  Time to shut off the television.  Time to reconnect.  Life gets so busy.  So much needs to get done.  The grind of daily life becomes imprisoning, that it's hard to just stop and say, this can wait... and just take the time to be with each other.  

I want time to play silly games together as a family.  Time to go for a long walk.  Time to stop looking at the clock, and just go where ever we please.  Time to stop and watch the birds.  Time to watch clouds go by, and see a plane flying over head.  Time to teach our son what really matters.   Us.  Family.  Each other.

I want time to reconnect with my husband.  To laugh.  To enjoy each others company with out having to bend over a thousand times to pick up a fallen toy, or fill up more cheerios on a high chair table.  I want to be able to enjoy an entire meal without looking at the clock to make sure we're not overstepping into bath time.  I want to have a conversation without being tugged on, and cried at.  I want to not have my attention divided, just for a few hours to feel like a woman again.  More than just a Mom.  I want to enjoy the finer things, like a nice glass of wine and some baked brie while discussing something other than whether or not our son has pooped today.  

I want time to myself.  A day where no one needs anything from me.  A day filled with complete peace and quiet.  A day to just do nothing.  Nothing at all.      

But here's the thing, I won't get a day off.  I never will again.  The long of the short of it, I am my little boy's Mama.  It's a twenty-four-seven kind of gig that I signed up for.  Even when someone else is there to share the work, I am always the first choice.  I am always the one the gets crawled to, or reached for.  I am the first person to see him in the morning, and the last at bedtime.  I am the person who gets the first words, and slobbery open mouth kisses.  I am the one who teaches him patty-cake, and makes sure he eats his vegetables.  I am the one who can end all melt-downs.  I am the one he turns to when his world turns upside down.  I am the reason he has grown into a healthy and strong little boy.  When I walk out of a room, he cries because he just wants me there.  I am his number one.  I can make everything better, just by being me.  It doesn't matter what I look like, or how I feel, or if I got all the chores done, or if we had a seven course meal for dinner or just grilled cheese sandwiches, or if I have ten more pounds to lose...I am the best.  The number one Mom. Just by being me.  Talk about feeling important.   

So maybe Mothers Day is just a day that I sit and enjoy my family.  Enjoy the amazing gift of getting to be my little dude's Mom.  Reconnect with what really matters.  Just be thankful for the three of us and appreciate our time together. 

But then again... a thoughtful card, and a nice bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc never hurt anyone either. 

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

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One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.