#momsohard

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a mom. It wasn’t something I jumped into because I thought I should. There were many long discussions and lots of thought put into this step in my life.

Meeting my husband, Dan, solidified my dream of becoming a mom. He was the only person I really could see being the dad in my picture. He’s amazing and makes me a better person. I can be the mom I want to be because of him. He made my decision to be a mom an easy one.

Even with the most amazing partner and lots of mental preparation, I still wasn’t prepared. I had the perfect partner. I had ALL the baby things. I still was not prepared for my new identity.

No one really prepares you to lose the identity you knew before you became a mom. Thirty-five years of life led up to the moment I went from Suzie to Mom. I had put a lot into that identity and the life I had before kids. I thought that pre-baby identity would just expand to include my new mom life.

In many ways it did, but my new mom identity was more than I had anticipated. It wasn’t until I had E, that I fully realized how much had changed.

With Viv, I had pretty bad postpartum anxiety. I didn’t realize it until well after she turned 1. I was really good at putting on a happy face and pushing through it. My new mom persona didn’t have time to deal with it. I had wanted this and I was going to like it. High functioning anxiety was my jam. My head was constantly screaming at me, but I’d have a happy face plastered on.

My anxiety sneaks through as anger when I don’t address it. Poor Dan received the brunt of it when it did come out. I was angry at him for sleeping at night while I was up feeding our baby. I was angry that he could be a dad and still be the Dan everyone knew before kids. I was angry that my body didn’t just bounce back. I was angry at other moms for making anything look easy. I was angry when I’d get a suggestion on how to raise my baby.

The reality was that I was mourning the loss of who I had been. That life was gone. In its place was the one I had always wanted, but had envisioned the old me in its place. New me wasn’t meshing with old me’s plan.

I wanted to be Mom and still be that fun pre-baby identity. I was going to do it all. Mom Suzie was going to have the career, the same social life, and be an amazing mother. Props to anyone that can do this: I can’t. I was mourning the loss of my planned life, and not fully looking at the one I have.

I’m a social person. Pretty sure on every type of personality test I fall into that extrovert category somewhere. I’ve found motherhood to be extremely isolating at times. On top of that, it’s exhausting. Even if I did have time to go out my body is constantly screaming at me to sleep. If one category in pre-baby life got hit the worst, it has to have been my social life. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my husband and kids. I cherish those quiet moments all four of us are snuggled on the couch together. At the same time, my soul is screaming to be out socializing.

Having E made this pretty clear. The transition from my old life to my mom life was a shock to the system. I fully prepared my self for a second round of postpartum anxiety. Five months in and it hasn’t impacted me the way it did with Viv. This time around Mom is already part of my identity. I wasn’t losing anything, but just expanding on my new identity.

Pre-baby Suzie is still here. It took me awhile to figure that out. The adjustment period was hard. I had everything I wanted, but felt lost. I had to stop looking back to realize the life I have now isn’t missing anything, it just looks different than the one I had planned. I don’t have to mourn the loss of the me I knew.

This is me now. Pre-baby Suzie is still in there somewhere. Not every plan works out, and that’s okay. The planner in me has trouble with that concept. For now happiness means embracing this Suzie: the mom, the career lady, and super occasional socialite (wine in the courtyard with your neighbors and their toddlers totally counts). Adjusting my expectations means I can have it all.

Manic Monday

Eff you Monday.

I had every intention of taking today as a vacation day. You know the work kind of vacation. I have kids. That makes everything else a trip I need to go to work to recover from.

So about that…

Yeah, that vacation day didn’t happen. I had planned to not book appointments, but it’s sales and mama just had a baby. Six months of leave and bed rest has made it feel like all my customer opportunities seem urgent. After all my running today, those betches better buy something. Lots of somethings. This mama gave up a vacation, er trip day for them.

It’s now officially past 7PM, and I just had my first cup of coffee. One of THOSE days. The kind where you start to fall asleep on the couch while nursing your babe only to snap your eyes open at the realization that you have too much to do for a nap. And that you really really can’t survive without coffee. Plus, kids actually need to eat. Who knew!?!

Cranky,teething babies and sassy toddlers just add to the enjoyment of throwing dinner together at the last second, too. Tater tots for the win! It’s a vegetable so it counts as healthy, and I’m saving the planet by feeding my kids plant based dinner, yo.

Tomorrow we leave for our family Thanksgiving. Vacation. Well a 5 day trip with kids that will include 6 hours in the car one way. It totally counts as vacation though, because tomorrow morning I’m handing the kids off to the nanny, and then taking a nap. One entire hour of uninterrupted sleep and warm coffee will be bliss.

So, again, eff you Monday. Here’s to actual vacation tomorrow, all two hours of it.

When you can’t cut the cheese. 

I could live off of wine and cheese. Charcuterie trays, creamy and crumbly cheese, topped of by a flight of bold, chewy red wine is what my dreams are made of.  As a mom though, I will settle for a cheese stick and a can of rose. It’s totes the same. 

8 years ago, I gave up gluten. We had a great 30 year run, but apparently we needed to break up. My stomach and alopecialess head were grateful. My soul however was crushed, and I cried for all the beer I could no longer have. With those tasty hops now off limits, I found a new love for my magical “mommy juice”.  

Growing E for nine months meant giving up my mommy juice. Charcuterie trays were also not on my approved pregnancy menu, either. I suppose one could nuke their tray, but the amount of barf that was already happening sans nuked charcuterie was enough for this mama. So instead, I demolished the weight of a small city in mozzarella cheese sticks. 

We welcomed E a little over 4 months ago.  I was so excited to have an outside baby, that I made my brother-in-law bring a bottle of rosè to the hospital. Sushi and rosè have never tasted so damn good.  

So yeah, E-man is a champion eater.  He loves his milk, and every two hours he demands to be fed.  Like,loves his milkies. 

Oh the irony. 

You know what he doesn’t love?  Dairy. 

Yep. 

Please, shed a tear for me now.  Little man apparently cannot stomach(see what I did there) when his mama eats dairy.  

When this little dude entered the world, I gave up dairy to try and prevent reflux in him.  Big sis had it, and it sucked. This time around I researched some more to see if we could prevent it. Dairy seemed to be a common trigger. So I said goodbye to my beloved cheese. My wine would just need to be consumed without it. It’s a sacrifice I know, but one I was willing to take. 

Yeah, it didn’t work. My kid still puked everywhere and cried if he wasn’t being held. Sleeping was a joke. At his 2 month check up, his doc put him on Zantac. That stuff is magical. For real, he was like a new baby. Well, one that still puked everywhere, but at least he’s happy doing it. Doc also said I could resume eating all the cheesy goodness. Woohoo! So I stuffed my face with some cheese. 

E was still all smiles. Mama was happy, too. Milk and cereal had never tasted so good.

That’s when the smell came. The clear the room type of smell. 

Yeah, dairy and E still don’t get along. Who knew that a 8 week old could clear a room.  Pungent would probably be too nice of a description. 

So let’s all shed a tear for my palette, and rejoice for the fact that my kid’s butt no longer smells like something crawled in his diaper and died. 

And let me know if one ever finds the unicorn of pizza: a vegan, gluten-free pizza that doesn’t taste or smell like cardboard and broken dreams. 

Cheese, I will see you again next year, my friend. 

If you’re reading this, send wine.

Potty training is hell. Potty training a tiny diva terrorist is it own special kind of evil.

About a month ago, I was boasting about my potty trained princess. Miss thing had fully moved to her big girl princess underwear (damn you Disney). She thought she was so cool to be wearing them. And, I mean, you can’t get princesses wet with pee so this meant numerous bathroom trips to keep those fabulous cartoons dry. 

The universe clearly thought that was too easy. Because no one’s got time for laundry (and my single lady days of sending it out are long gone) and littles don’t always wake up when it’s time to pee, we’ve been using pull ups at nap and bedtime. 

Yeah, you already see where this is going don’t you? 

Miss V has taken to holding her pee for an insanely long time. We can carry her kicking and screaming to the bathroom, strip her butt naked, and place her on the toilet. Behold, the bladder of steel. That thing still doesn’t get emptied. 

Our nanny needed a sick day on Tuesday, so I stayed home with the kids. After a full morning with a trip to the park and lunch, it was time for home and bed. 

I successfully tuck her into bed, and descend the stairs with my almost sleeping little man. Winning!

I haven’t hit the bottom step before I hear the cries.  

“Mommy, mommy!”

Panic sets in as I realize I forgot the pull up. Why is this a big deal, you say? Oh well, Miss V likes those princesses better, and holds her pee just to share it with them. Sofia can hold an impressive amount of pee.  She can be so full she might fall off on her own, but Miss V cannot let her princess go. 

Witness the Sofialess and now pee soaked toddler. She and her big girl princesses are wet. The world is ending. 

You can bet Mommy hasn’t forgotten the pull up the rest of this week. 

Hey Disney, if you’re reading this, your princesses need to pee, too. Plaster a big,old white throne on that screen where said princess can pop a squat. I’m thoroughly impressed with Sofia’s magical bladder, but can we lob a little parental potty training assist this way? I mean, if Sofia does it, it has to be cool, right?

Even better, package some wine with those pull ups. 

Me too.

The past few days have seen an insurgence of these two words on social media. Two little words were typed on Sunday night.  Their impact has been immense. Every social media outlet I utilize has been flooded with the same two words. These aren’t just actresses and socialites posting: these are my friends posting those two tiny words.

Me too.

This is me typing them. This is me hoping that my daughter will never have to type them. This is me teaching my son to never be the reason someone types those two words.

I’d like to say that I only have one story behind those two words. Sadly, I don’t. In my 38 years, there are too many instances to count. The most ridiculous seem to be the ones that stick out. 

Twelve years ago I worked in pharmaceutical sales. I remember wanting to break into the industry so badly. All those fancy dinners, and seemingly beautiful sales people couldn’t have a downside, right? Well, it did. And I’m not talking about the days schlepping lunches and being a glorified UPS driver. That, my friend, is a whole other story. 

I landed my dream pharma job in the spring of 2004. The first year was like that amazing little honeymoon period. It was all sunshine and rainbows. I was newly single and couldn’t volunteer to take our docs out enough. In January of 2005, our company realigned and I picked up some new physicians to call on.

One was notoriously hard to get in to see.  His office manager controlled who came in to see him, and who was banished to the land of no samples/no signatures. Luckily for me, she had taken a liking to one of my counterparts. I started joining my counterpart when she brought in lunch.  Eventually, the office manager let me schedule lunch without my counterpart. 

I don’t remember if the comments started the first lunch or later. I guess it really doesn’t matter.  This guy was extremely well liked by his patients, and his staff, but he had balls. The comments weren’t saved for just me. 

I received a call one day from the office manager asking me to come in. Stupidly, I thought they needed samples (I mean that was my job). I get there and am summoned into the break room and the manager closes the door behind her. She asks me what my Thanksgiving plans were. Why do you need to shut the door to ask me this?  Weird. I tell her I’m heading home to my parent’s house.

She then asks me if the doctor can come home with me.  

Um, what?

Did I mentioned this guy was married?

See what I mean? Serious balls. 

I decline stating that he’s married and it would be a line I wasn’t willing to cross due to our working relationship. 

Yeah, it wasn’t ever going to be crossed working relationship or not. 

A little more than a month later, I’m having lunch and another team member of mine has joined me.  Innocently, during the lunch she asks doc what he wants for Christmas.  He looks right at me, points, and then says “Her. Wrapped in a black teddy and nothing else.”

Oh, and did I forget to mention his 5 staff members were also sitting with us? 

Not one person called him out on his ridiculousness. He had his office manager assist in the harassment, and wasn’t afraid to say anything in front of his staff.  Clearly, the guy was used to getting what he wants and saying anything and everything.

When I brought this up to my team and management, they told me to take one for the team. His words are harmless. The team needed his numbers so they could qualify for a trip. 

So, as a good team player, I did.  My entire team went on that trip, but me.  I missed going by $200 in sales.  Taking one for the team got me continually harassed and no trip. 

Gross, right?  I’d like to say it’s never happened since, but that would be a lie.  There’s been the sales manager that multiple times tried to get me to come into his room at a sales meeting, and then called me a frigid bitch for saying no.  Or the doctor who repeatedly asks my preference for lube as I’m demoing a scope.

My boobs didn’t hand me my career.  I worked hard to get where I am, and I shouldn’t be punished for having them.  I should never have to take one for the team. Words aren’t always harmless.  

For now, I can teach my daughter to say something.  Don’t let anyone get away with harassing you.  I want her to grow up and never have to say me too.

Threenager

Parenting is a tricky beast.  It has this nifty little trick where it makes you think you’ve got it all figured out. And then surprise! Your sweet little children hit a new mastery level in manipulation.  Last week you were skilled at getting them to follow directions, and suddenly this week your bribing them with lint covered chocolate from the bottom of the diaper bag to eat their dinner. 

Mac+cheese with a side of fruit snacks four nights in a row is totally winning, right?

Parenting is hard, yo. It’s survival of the fittest out here.

Sadly, I’m not the one to come to for sage parenting advice (reference the lint covered chocolate above).  However, my SIL, Urban Ohana is good at that stuff.  She’s got some helpful hints here for surviving the newborn stage.  Me, well I’ve already blacked that stage out.  I mean, don’t all fresh from their mama babes only smell delicious and just want to cuddle? Eh, E is not quite four months, but he doesn’t eat green beans off the floor or talk back.  That totally makes him my current favorite.


This girl. Ooof. We have entered a whole new world. This image is of a full blown threenager. The mastery of manipulation on display is one to behold. The Terrible Twos have nothing on this(note this is being written by the mother of an almost three year old that will probably be laughing at herself in a year). 

Threenagers truly get the art of the deal.  I’m spectacularly impressed by the numerous glasses of water and bathroom trips one tiny human needs at bedtime.  There must also be an unspoken rule that poop cannot happen until 30 minutes after “goodnight”.  These are some seriously crafty humans. 

I once asked my mother if my three siblings and I were like this as children. Her response, “I don’t know.”

Guess blacking out runs in the family. 

Well, until I am no longer out-manipulated, at least there is Rosè. 

Multitasking Mania

In my twenties, I used to think I was really busy.  Like super busy.  Sundays were for sleeping in, and brunching after noon. It was a hard life.

In my thirties, I met my now husband.  Fitting in two sides of friends is like a sport.  It was exhausting, but for the greater good we both managed it. 

Then we had kids. 

Are you laughing at us yet?  I am.  I mean,  I need to go to work to get a break these days. 

So, I am the queen of multitasking.  If you were second guessing my title, let me just point out that I am typing this from my phone while baby boy snoozes in my arms. 

Apparently, in someone’s arms is the only place this dude will sleep.  Then I have to creep ever so slowly to his bassinet and set him down.  Then I pray to all the gods that his eyes stay shut. 

Any way, to survive parenthood with at least some of my sanity I multitask a lot.  Did you know that you can drive and pump at the same time?  Even better, you can nurse your baby and hold your toddler firmly on that gross public toilet seat at the same time.  Eating while nursing the baby is child’s play these days. 

Seriously, I would not be able to survive without a few essential pieces in my mama aresenal. 

Like this one:
Baby-wearing is a must when you have two littles.  This is the only way I eat when I have them both.  Plus, I can nurse while wearing baby boy.  When in super mom mode, I can nurse and wipe big sister’s butt simultaneously.

The Ergo is my friend.  This one here is the Ergo 360.  It’s my go-to these days.  I also wore a sling quite a bit in the beginning, but E is insanely strong and stands up in it.  So we’ve been rocking our Ergo ever since.  Bonus, V likes to baby wear, too.  She’s so on trend.  Her go to carrier is this Ergo Baby Doll Carrier.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a love-hate relationship with my pump.  I love that it helps me catch all my liquid gold, but I hate being attached to it like a cow.  My job is in outside sales, and means I don’t get a lactation room to pump in.  When I work from home I have a cute little corner set up.  The car…well that’s a whole other story.   In it, I rotate between using my Freemie Collection Cups and a combo hands free pumping/nursing bra.   This one by Rosie Pope is my go to lately.  It’s cute and doesn’t scream, “I’m for holding the milk-makers only.”

Dresses are my go to for work and when I can’t wear yoga pant’s weekends.  Finding a cute dress that is nursing friendly AND CUTE, is insanely hard.  I stumbled upon Harper and Bay recently, and my nursing mama dreams came true.  They have the cutest dresses with zippers built in so you can be cute and nurse without a boob fully exposed, and they don’t look like potato sacks with stretched out necklines. 

See, what I mean:

Now picture this dress, my lacy black bra, and my freemies singing Free Bird down the highway.  True story.  A multitasking dream, right!?! 

So, yeah, I like to think I’m a master multitasker.  We mamas are really good at it.  See, I even wrote a tiny little novel right here on it.  I’ll save the rest of my musings until later.  I’m now off to a 1st birthday party where I can eat, nurse, and drop food on my baby’s head all at the same time. 

Pinch me.


📷: A Little Photo Studio
Sometimes, I could swear that I’m living in a dream.  I look at my kids and can’t believe they really are mine.  For real.  They both spent months growing in my belly, and I worked crazy hard to push those big-headed babes into this world.  

So many days though, it still doesn’t feel real.  The giggles, hugs, and I love yous seem to make everything else in the world stop.  There are fleeting moments where I have all the feels.  I know they are mine, but at the same time feel like there is no way these children can be mine.  

It’s in those moments that I feel the need to pinch myself.  To make sure I’m not dreaming.  

These two mesmerizing souls are mine. The universe picked me to be their mama. I’m humbled by my daughter’s spirit and tenacity.  At the same time, in awe of the strength and calm that, at only 3 months old, my son already emits. 

I’m not sure what I did to deserve these two beautiful humans. And I’ll keep pinching myself every day, just to make sure this isn’t a dream. 

Why Buy the Cow…

Let’s talk about breastfeeding or pumping…or breastfeeding and pumping.

I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding.  I know.  I can hear the sanctomommies gasping already.  I love my kids.  I love the milk drunk expressions on there face after a good pull at the teet.  It means built in cuddles with my spawn.

I despise feeling like I’m tethered to my milk.  I’m 38 years old and have spent the majority of my adult life living it the way I want.  No one could really dictate a plan to me.  Breastfeeding and pumping means I’m on someone else’s schedule at all times.  Even when I’m not with my spawn, I’m still on their schedule.

The sanctomommies are still clutching their pearls in horror right about now.

I’ve spent 77.5 weeks growing babies and 69 weeks nourishing my babies so far.  Holy hell, it’s a lot of work.  I long for my body to be my own.  I dread the sound of my pump. I know I could give them formula, and be done with it.

Instead, I will plug along and continue to nurse my son. Those tiny moments where he’s milk drunk or places his tiny hand upon my chest will make me swoon, and ultimately remind me why I chose breastfeeding to feed my children.

In the end, all those weeks of letting my children dictate my schedule will just be a blip in the timeline of their life.   I’ve heard the saying “The days are long, but the years are fast.” from multiple people recently.  Nine words could not ring truer.

Plus, I really plan to go Office Space on my pump when we finish this journey.  When milk drunk faces can’t get me through, the thought of beating my pump to oblivion certainly will.

Miss Sassy Pants

Raising kids is hard, yo. Small electronics come with manuals.  New jobs come with manuals.  Kids, surprisingly, don’t.

Wait, what?

I’ve successfully adulted for awhile now.  I earned a driver’s license, graduated college, happily enjoyed my career, and married the man of my dreams (clichè, I know and I don’t care).  I was ready.  Kids were always part of my story, and now I was finally at that chapter in my life.

I was ready, did I mention this already?

Riiiight.

I’m the oldest of four. Many a countless hour was spent babysitting, and I even did a stint as a daycare provider.  I could handle a baby.  No problem.

Baby girl came along almost three years ago.  The first few days in the hospital weren’t so bad.  Then they give you your baby to place in their car seat and drive home.

That’s when you realize…oh shit, I’m responsible for another human being.  Yeah, there are books, blogs, and the advice from generations before you.  They all fail to mention that their advice isn’t an exact manual for your spawn.  So we fly by the seat of our pants, and congratulate ourselves as each night closes that our kids survived another day.  I mean, that really is the only true test that your winning at parenting.

Our baby girl spawn is amazing.  She’s smart, funny, and fiercely independent.  That independence makes this mama so proud.  It also makes me want to drink rosè, and solidified my need for a steady stream of caffeine at all times.

Some days I’m in complete awe of her. I wish I had her passion and fearlessness.  The girl only has one speed, and that is full speed ahead.  For everything.

And some days when you’ve only just returned from maternity leave and your nanny needs a sick day, you let her little strong willed heart win. Some battles aren’t worth fighting.


V-1 Mommy-0

But that outfit, tho.  Miss V is resourceful.  That right there is her swim coverup and her dress (aka mama’s tank top). Pure fashion gold.  I’m sure it’s even Tim Gunn approved.

So while I want to pull my hair out many times a day, I’m equally enamored with her.  She makes my heart full. I can’t wait to see who she becomes one day.  And sometimes I think we’ve really nailed this parenting thing with her. I mean really nailed it.

We fooled ourselves so much that we added spawn number 2.  He didn’t come with a manual either.