#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.

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.

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. 

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.