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How Motherhood Made Me an Insomniac

Photo via healthtap.com

Photo via healthtap.com

A few months ago, my husband looked at me in the morning when we woke up and asked what was wrong. I said I was exhausted, which was actually an understatement. “Why can’t you sleep?”  He asked. “Do you have a sleep disorder or something?” Well, the answer is yes. I do. It’s called motherhood.

When I was pregnant, every mother I spoke to was telling me to sleep while I had the chance. Honestly, I wanted to punch them in the face. Alright, ladies, let me just ignore the nine pound human being kicking me in the ribs, the fact that I need at least six pillows to get remotely comfortable, and the problem that I need to pee every eight minutes. Sleep while I can? Are you for real?

Now, I get it. I know why they say that. Motherhood is actually far more sleep-depriving than pregnancy. I expected to lose sleep in the beginning. I knew the baby would be up every two hours to eat. What I didn’t know is that almost sixteen months into parenting, I still sleep so little that I could probably be diagnosed with motherhood-induced insomnia. I literally have not slept straight through the night in two years.

While we have had a few stretches of time when the baby was sleeping consistently from about 8pm-6am, something always comes along that totally screws any progress we’ve made. You know what I mean – a bad head cold or an out of town trip that ruins the routine. And teething is the absolute worst culprit of them all. I don’t blame my son. If I had five sharp teeth cutting through my gums and and waking me up constantly, I’d scream at night, too.

Several weeks ago, I stayed at my mom’s house for a few days while my husband was out of town. My fifteen month old barely slept that entire weekend. One night, he got up twice to drink bottles of milk before getting up for the day at 5:30am. In the morning, my mom asked me, “Why’s he getting up for bottles at night? He’s too old for that. That’s just a bad habit.” First of all, I HATE comments about my parenting choices from anyone, especially my mother. My theory is, unless you are offering me a solution and you are willing to come over and train me in how to fix the problem, then don’t point out my parenting problems.

While I was pissed at my mom at the time, she’s right. And let me tell you, the only thing worse than annoying comments from your mother is when she’s actually saying something that makes good sense. In my defense, here’s what happened. Over the past several months, when my son woke up at night crying, I gave him a bottle and rocked him back to sleep. That’s what I’ve always done since he was a newborn. I guess I didn’t consider that it was eventually going to become a bad habit. Plus, at 3:00am, I’m pretty much running on auto-pilot. I’m practically sleep walking at that hour, so I had no idea what the hell I was doing. But the result of this night time routine is that I’ve created a monster. A midnight milk craving, bottle slugging, toddler monster.

The problem with motherhood for me is that there are a multitude of reasons why I have insomnia beyond my milk addicted toddler. Between making mental to-do lists while laying in bed and getting up to pee because I drank too much wine, I literally never sleep. Then, I fall into the trap of clock watching, counting the minutes until my alarm goes off, followed by getting pissed at the neighbor’s dog for barking outside my bedroom at ridiculous hours of the night. Of course, if I’m awake, then I might as well check my e-mails and post a bitter Tweet about how tired and crabby I’m going to be in the morning.

We decided to wean the baby off bottles during the day and midnight feedings in an attempt to help him learn to sleep through the night. By the way, it’s not helping my insomnia situation. I feel like we are having a battle of the wills at 2:00am every night. Unfortunately, I created a strong-minded, persistent child who is determined to spend every night torturing me until I give in to his crazy addiction. I swear, if there was bottle rehab for babies, I’d send him.

But my mom’s comments are constantly swirling in my head and I know I can’t give in and let him drink all night. That’s the thing about mothers. Even when they live out of town, they are constantly nagging you. I know once we get through it, we’ll all be sleeping a little bit better. Now if I could only find a way to stop spending my nights making my grocery list in my head and counting how many minutes I have left until my dreaded alarm goes off. I should probably stop Tweeting in the middle of the night, too, but my social media obsession is an entirely separate blog post in itself.

In the meantime, I’ll give you all pregnant ladies some advice. I know – you’re going to want to punch me in the face for saying this, but get some sleep while you can. Seriously.

 

 

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ABCMouse Review and Giveaway!

ABCMouse Review and Giveaway

As a certified early childhood education teacher and former Center Director of a local children’s center, I feel passionate that a strong educational foundation is key in preparing children to enter formal schooling. Now, as a work at home mother to a toddler, I am more interested than ever in resources that are available for parents to use at home to help encourage a love for learning at an early age.

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About ABCMouse

ABCMouse is an awesome online resource for parents and children that provides a full online curriculum developed by a team of teachers and experts in the field. The website offers six different levels geared towards children from ages 2-5+ and includes over 450 different lessons. The curriculum is divided into lessons areas including Reading, Math, World Around Us, Art and Colors, and Music.

ABCMouse is a subscription-based website that allows parents to create a primary account with a password protected homepage. User accounts can be set up for each child based on their age and ability level. From there, the possibilities are endless!



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Find ABCMouse on Facebook and Twitter!

Why I LOVE ABCMouse.com

As a certified teacher, I value education and hope to instill a love for learning in my son. During our time at home together, I want to prepare him educationally before he begins a preschool program in the near future. ABCMouse is the perfect resource for any parent or teacher that is looking to find a safe, engaging, and exciting method for children to use technology for educational development.

These days, technology is such an important part of our everyday lives. Before my son even said his first word, he was already holding my iPhone and pretending to babble away. That being said, when my son is using my computer or the iPad, I want it to be for educational purposes. ABCMouse is wonderful because it provides both a fun and educational way for children to use the computer.

If you’re anything like me, safety is one of your main concerns when your child is using the internet. With so many websites sharing a multitude of advertisements and links to other pages, it can be difficult to be sure your child isn’t clicking on things that might not be safe or appropriate. Because ABCMouse.com is subscription based, it’s advertisement and link free! YAY! For me, that piece of mind is definitely worth the cost of the subscription (which is $7.95/month or $79.00/year).

Lastly, as a busy working mother, my time is extremely limited. Finding an opportunity to sit down, surf the internet, or download applications on the iPad that are safe and educational can be difficult. In my experience, I have found that many of the “free” apps that I download on the iPad only offer very limited features and require you to purchase in order to try the full version. In addition, children lose interest quickly in games online and often end up clicking onto other sites or advertisements. Luckily, ABCMouse offers over 450 lessons and a multitude of features, all on a safe and secure website. ABCMouse will save me from having to search the net to find games and sites that will both interest my son and that he can use safely.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the features that I LOVE:

  • Six different academic levels and over 450 lessons available
  • A password protected, and advertisement-free website
  • The design of the website is appealing, exciting, and easy-to-navigate
  • A Parent Homepage with a lesson builder that allows parents the option to choose activities that they know their children will enjoy
  • Progress Tracking that allows parents to see which activities their children have completed and the progress they have made
  • Provides a one stop site for your child’s early childhood education needs
  • An excellent method to incorporate technology into your young child’s life in a safe and exciting way

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You can find ABCMouse on Facebook and Twitter! Be sure to check out their website at ABCMouse.com for more information.

Win It: Enter the GIVEAWAY below to win a FREE ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to ABCMouse.com!!!! That’s a $79.00 value!

Buy It: Visit ABCMouse.com to purchase a subscription! For a limited time, you are receive your first month absolutely free! Check it out!

 

 

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The Makeup Mustang

If you see this Makeup Mustang, make a run for it.  Photo via http://mondaynightslive.blogspot.com/

If you see this Makeup Mustang, make a run for it.
Photo via http://mondaynightslive.blogspot.com/

Several years ago, my friends and I got together every Wednesday for dinner. Girls’ night was the perfect mid-week break from work and our fiancés/boyfriends at the time – an opportunity to catch up and gossip over cocktails and appetizers. As time as passed, we’ve become caught up in mortgages, marriages, and most recently, motherhood. These days, I’m literally lucky if I get the opportunity to shave my legs on a weekly basis, much less find time to have dinner with my friends that often anymore. While it doesn’t happen every week, we still make an effort to get together every month or so.

In the fall, one of my girlfriends called everyone up and invited us over for dinner. It was going to be a little different, she warned us. Somehow, she had gotten roped into hosting a makeup party and needed us to come over and humor this sales rep. While I definitely would have preferred our standard, snacks and wine routine, it was still an opportunity to get out of the house sans children, so of course I said I would come.

Normally, when you attend these candle or Tupperware parties, it’s a group of about 25 women, mostly friends and family of the host and most of which you don’t know that well. The parties I’ve been to have been pretty uneventful for the most part. However, this would be different considering the only guests consisted of my six closest friends. We probably aren’t the best group of girls for this kind of thing. None of us are really high-maintenance, expensive makeup wearing women. We’re a normal, slightly immature, wine-drinking, joke-cracking kind of bunch. I almost felt bad for The Makeup Lady. Surely she had no idea what she was getting herself into and surely none of us were actually going to buy any of the crap she was selling.

When I arrived to my friend’s house that night, I pulled into her driveway, parking directly behind a gorgeous, black Mustang, which was sporting The Makeup Lady’s company logo near the bumper. Holy shit. A Makeup Mustang?? Maybe we were the ones who didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into after all.

The Makeup Lady was gorgeous. She was probably ten years older than me, but looked a hell of a lot more trendy and hip than I will ever hope to be. She was dressed to the nines – a leopard print blouse (the classy kind of leopard print, not the trashy kind), a black pencil skirt, and four inch pumps. Her hair was blond, short and cute and of course, her makeup was impeccable. She was intimidating to say the least. She showed up in the Makeup Mustang, for god’s sake.

That night was a blur. All I know is that I drank a lot of wine and spent a lot of money. Damn, that lady was good. Seriously, I’ve never purchased makeup anywhere except for the grocery store or Target and this chic convinced me that I needed every fucking product on the planet. Not only that, I agreed to hosting my own party (who the hell would I invite? All six of my friends were there!). PLUS, I apparently set up a coffee date with this woman so that I, too, could sell makeup and strive towards driving a kick ass sports car. It was totally that Mustang that sucked me in. And all the wine, needless to say.

I woke up the next morning ashamed, regretful, and hung over. I had fallen for it. Spent a bunch of money, booked a party, and basically signed up to become a sales rep myself. She was good. She deserved to be driving that Mustang.

The Makeup Lady called me at least ten times in the weeks that followed. I had absolutely zero intention of going through with the party that I had booked or selling makeup for a career, for that matter. But every time she called me, we’d chat for a half an hour like old girlfriends and she’d convince me once again why I just HAD to work for her. In my defense, I’d talk to the mailman for half an hour every day if I could just for the sake of the adult interaction. Eventually, I realized that the only way to break it off with her was to ignore her calls, block her e-mails, and delete the Facebook friend request she had sent me. Twice.

So here’s my advice, ladies. If you’re going to attend one of these parties – candles, nail decals, cookware – don’t drink. I swear, these sales reps are successful solely due to the fact that when women get together for any kind of party, they drink a lot of wine. Most women love to spend money on a normal basis. Wine-drunk women will not only become your bestie within a matter of minutes, but they will practically hand over their credit card information without even knowing what they’re paying for. While I have absolutely no recollection of it, I’m pretty sure I purchased a $45 makeup brush….. Really???? That makeup brush was probably worth more than the entire contents of my makeup bag at the time.

Most important, if you’re attending a makeup party and you see The Makeup Lady’s Mustang outside, go home. You’ll thank me when your friends call you up bitching about how they spent hundreds of dollars and all signed up to be sales reps.

You’re welcome.

 

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10 Questions NOT to Ask When Touring a Child Care Center

As a former Director of a child care center, I thought that choosing child care when I decided to return to work would be a breeze. I’ve spent five years learning every inch of the business so I initially felt confident in choosing a program for my son when the time came. I vowed to myself that I would only take one year off from my career and that twelve month mark is approaching more quickly than I expected. As I prepare to return to work, I’m left with one small question. What comes first, the career or the child care?

After sending out a few of my freshly written, very impressive resumes (if I do say so myself), it occurred to me that some of these people might actually consider me for a position. If that happens, I want to be prepared to get Greyson enrolled in a day care program so that I don’t have to turn down my inevitable dream job that I just KNOW is out there waiting for me.

The easiest and most natural solution to my day care concern would obviously be to enroll Greyson in the center in which I used to work. However, I don’t know the new Director and I don’t want to take the easy way out. Plus, it might be fun to spend some time on the other side of the spectrum here. I worked two long ass years touring prospective parents and putting up with some really outrageous questions and requests. I want my turn to do the same.

I’ve scheduled an appointment to visit a potential day care this afternoon. Fortunately, after giving hundreds of tours to parents looking for child care, I don’t need a printed list of “Questions to Ask When Choosing a Daycare.” However…. I have come up with a fun little list of the most ridiculous things I was asked to throw out there at my tour this afternoon….

1.)    My child is on an organic, soy, dairy free, naturally produced, vegan diet. Can your center provide food to accommodate his diet?

2.)    My son will need to be held during all his naps because that’s what he’s used to. Will there be an extra teacher available to do that for him?

3.)    I only use cloth diapers and I need my baby’s diaper to be changed every half hour. The dirty diapers will need to be bagged and stored in the classroom for me to take home to wash. Can you do that? The smell won’t bother you guys, right?

4.)    My child is allergic to almost everything. He will need to avoid any classrooms/outdoor areas/foods that might expose him to peanut butter, milk, sunscreen, bees, sun, medications, fruit, dust, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, seafood, diaper cream, and scented wipes. Can you accommodate that?

5.)    My husband and I work very long hours so we will most likely be picking up our child after the hour that you close on a regular basis. Will there be a teacher available to stay with our child on the days that we are late?

6.)    I’m a work at home mother so I don’t want to enroll for any particular schedule. I want to drop my son off a few days a week for a couple of hours here and there when I have a lot of work to do. Is that ok with you?

7.)   My company is really inflexible with personal time, so even if my son is extremely ill and running a fever, he will need to attend day care. Do you have an issue with that?

8.)    My son is only 15 months, but he is extremely smart. He’s practically reading. I think when we enroll him at 18 months old, he’ll be too advanced for the toddler room. He should probably skip the toddler room and just enter the three year old preschool class. Want to hear him recite his ABC’s?

9.)    We are leaving our current day care because our son was bitten twice by another child and came home with a bruise on his shin. Can you guarantee that he will never get bitten, hit, or pushed by a child at your center? Or receive any other bumps or bruises for that matter?

10.) My son only wears expensive, designer clothing so I’d prefer him not to get dirty at all. No paint, dirt, glue, food stains, etc. You get my point. Do you think that’s possible?

 

If you asked any of these questions when you toured a day care center, the answer is that you need a nanny. If the Director of the day care we are visiting this afternoon can answer these without missing a beat, we’ll be signing up on the spot. Wish her luck!

 

 

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Why Job Searching Makes Me Miserable

So wait, all I have to do is stay at home and I can make up to $1000 a day with no experience or requirements??? And money will just shoot out of my computer?! I FINALLY FOUND MY DREAM JOB! photo via www.smallbizio.com

So wait, all I have to do is stay at home and I can make up to $1000 a day with no experience or requirements??? And money will just shoot out of my computer?! I FINALLY FOUND MY DREAM JOB!
photo via www.smallbizio.com

I got an email the other day from a job board website letting me know that a company was interested in my resume. They had a position available for a legal secretary. Hmm. Not only do I not remember asking for this job search website to clog my inbox with irrelevant emails every day, but I am almost certain that having four teaching certifications doesn’t really make me the perfect fit for a legal secretary position.

The other night, I sat on the couch for the first time all day, iPad on lap and glass of wine in hand. Usually, this would be the highlight of my day – finally getting a few quiet moments to myself while my husband put the baby to bed to check emails or to work on my blog. But last night was different. Since I am hoping to return to the work force at some point in the near future, I am starting to browse the Internet for job opportunities. I am learning fairly quickly that good job opportunities are hard to come by and as a work at home mother, the opportunity to actually spend time looking for such opportunities is even more limited. As it turns out, trying to find a job is actually a full time job in and of itself.

While I put a lot of time and effort into making the decision to leave my job as the director of a child care center, I didn’t put a ton of time into considering how I was planning on reentering the working world. As a mother of a toddler and a nanny to two other children, I barely have time to put on mascara in the morning, much less to even think about job searching. So far, my efforts have consisted of shooting off a few resumes via job searching websites during the 15 minutes in which the kids’ nap times overlap.

I have also learned that reading postings on job boards is like speed dating. You start out hopeful, but each site is more depressing than the last, and after 20 minutes you are like, “What the fuck am I doing here??” This is not the way to find anything promising or respectable. I sat there last night, becoming more and more depressed about my chances of finding my dream job or ANY decent job for that matter.

I know what you’re thinking – with all those teaching certifications, why am I not looking for a teaching job?? The odds of winning the New York State Lottery are 1 in 175,711,536. Unfortunately, the odds of landing a full-time, permanent teaching job in New York State are actually slightly worse. On top of that, the process of getting your foot in the door includes lots of short-term positions, per diem subbing, and getting laid off for at least your first two or three years in the field. I’d be fine and good with subbing on a per diem basis if I was able to call my fucking fairy god mother at 5:30am and tell her I need her to watch my son since I got called to work. Plus, potentially getting laid off every year isn’t really conducive to supporting a family.

And so, I’ve resided to the sad process of reading job postings on the internet. I read one listing last night about a position that literally sounded so incredibly boring that I might have dozed off before I even reached the qualifications and requirements.

I knew I had really hit rock bottom when I clicked one of those ads on Craigslist that stated something like, “DREAM JOB! Work from home! Create your own hours! Make up to $1000 a day! No experience necessary!” The only things that I can possibly fathom would bring in $1000 a day from home requiring no experience would include advertising indecent photos of myself on the internet or selling prescription drugs on the corner in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, these are not exactly what I’d consider my dream job. As a professional with a Master’s degree and four teaching certifications, the fact that I am looking for jobs on Craiglist is something that I’m not even proud to admit in the first place.

Sigh.

On second thought, maybe I’d better reconsider that legal secretary position.

 

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My Bad Clothing Karma

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So I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am destined to live my life in sweatpants and an over sized t-shirt, typically belonging to my husband. Let me just tell you that this is not because I don’t want to dress nicely or that I don’t care about my appearance. It’s not because I can’t afford to buy myself something cute now and again or because I have absolutely no time to spend shopping. (However, the lack of free time is an obstacle for me as a working mother, but still, it’s not the entire reason why I will never again be able to own high-quality attire).

I have a knack for ruining clothing. While currently, it’s mostly because I am a mother/nanny, this phenomenon started long before my baby chasing days. Before my husband and I were married, we shared a really nice apartment with a friend of ours in a building in the city. It was mostly made up of young professionals, which at the time, we were (sort of) striving to be. However, we probably stretched ourselves a bit on what we could afford for rent, so our budget was tight. We were forced to choose the important things to spend our cash on and cut back on things we could do without. I’m pretty sure no one would have noticed if we’d been out of paper towels for two weeks, but our booze stock never ran low. When we grocery shopped, we stuck to the necessities. Unfortunately, one particular week, laundry soap didn’t make the cut. Several days later, due to a dire need for clean clothes, my boyfriend (now husband) grabbed my dirty pile and ran down to the laundry room in the bottom floor of our building. Because the rest of the neighbors were respectable adults, not only did they actually own laundry soap, but they left it on a shelf in the laundry room – of course, trusting that their fellow respectable neighbors would use their own soap. Well, just this one time, we thought… my boyfriend grabbed a jug of soap and “borrowed”  a small cup for my load. What a good boyfriend – not only doing my laundry but stealing a cup of soap for me. We returned later that night to switch my laundry (probably hoping to “borrow” a dryer sheet from my generous neighbors) to find that every item in the washer was covered in white streaks. What the hell? BLEACH. The soap my husband had “borrowed” from my neighbor had bleach in it. DAMN those professional people! Not only did they own laundry soap, they obviously separated their whites to bleach them now and again. Well, turns out that karma is definitely a major bitch. I had ruined a whole load of clothing, which at the time, was a big deal since my poorly paying job wasn’t going to support me buying a new wardrobe.

I swear, the clothing gods have been punishing me ever since. Despite my every effort, my wardrobe continued to decline slowly over the years. I’ve always had a job working with children – mostly in a childcare setting, so you can imagine what kind of damage ten toddlers can do to your clothes on a daily basis.

Considering the fact that I am now a professional and a responsible adult (somewhat) and I know longer need to “borrow” laundry soap, you’d think I’d be able to put together a decent outfit now and again. Unfortunately for my clothing, motherhood happened. I’m pretty sure that I spent the first eight weeks in my bathrobe, totally avoiding my clothes all together. I mean, what’s the point of wearing a shirt when you are forced to remove it half way every 1.5 hours to attach a screaming infant to your breasts. And on the topic, don’t bother packing clothing to wear at the hospital after delivery unless you plan on ruining everything you bring. If you didn’t already know it, labor and delivery can be a messy state of afrairs… You won’t hate the bed sheet looking moo moo they provide as much as you think you will, considering they will bring you a fresh one every time you need it.

But I digress, even when you do return to normal life after having a baby, nothing you previously owned will fit your permanently altered post baby shape. Even though I have lost the weight, I swear, things are distributed differently than before. Don’t get me wrong, throughout the past year, I’ve made an effort to purchase some nice things. Unfortunately, if you plan on wearing something new and expensive more than once, you better buy two because that shit will get ruined the second you put it on. Baby snot, spit up, spaghetti sauce… the possibilities are endless. If it’s a really special day, you’ll get hit with all three.

On nights where my husband and I are trying to go out to a place in which I will need to wear decent clothing, I literally stay in my bra and underwear until the moment my sitter rings the doorbell. I get dressed and run out of the door before my son can manage to say goodbye, avoiding the chance that he might wipe his snotty nose on the sleeve of the only cute dress I own as we part ways.

This weekend, I purchased a pair of (expensive) mint green capris from Ann Taylor Loft. I loved them – they were amazing. They fit me perfectly, I looked damn good in them if I do say so myself… I wore them for literally four hours before they were covered in mud stains. So, this is me, throwing in the towel. I’ve accepted it – I will never have a closet full of trendy, stain-free clothes. Whether that’s due to my clothing karma or to the simple fact that I am a mother is still up for debate. But just to be safe, I’m thinking about heading back to that old apartment and leaving an extra large bottle of laundry soap for some poor college grad to use when they can’t make ends meet. And I’ll even make sure that it’s bleach-free, too.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing, supportive, crazy, boozy moms out there!! I love you all – thanks for reading and supporting my blog!

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Day Drinking and Diaper Changing!

Cleaning and Cocktailing

Disinfecting while drinking - one of my favorite Saturday afternoon activities.

Disinfecting while drinking – one of my favorite Saturday afternoon activities.

As a work at home mother and part-time nanny, not only am I almost never alone, I’m almost never at home alone. If I do manage to score some time to myself, I’m usually sneaking out to have dinner with the girls or to run a few quick errands. On the weekends, if my husband is going out with the baby, we are typically heading somewhere together. As a result, it’s pretty rare that I am actually at the house by myself.

Being home alone is something that I can almost guarantee all childless people take for granted. You can listen to loud music, you can take a shit without a baby pulling on your pant legs, you can lie on the couch and watch something on TV that has main characters that aren’t puppets (or cartoons). These are all things that I totally miss about being home alone. So today, in honor of Mother’s Day, my husband took the baby out to run a few errands. Hopefully, he was running some errands involving buying me a shit ton of booz and bubble bath to spoil myself with tomorrow while he takes on all of my motherly duties.

As my husband and my son pulled out of the driveway, I smiled at the thought of a small amount of time home alone. I could do absolutely ANYTHING I wanted for the next two hours. I could take a nap, I could go for a run, I could read a book. I probably should have caught up on some e-mails and worked on a few job applications. But alone time is limited and mama’s got to prioritize. I created a quick brainstorm of the things that are absolutely impossible for me to do when the baby is biting at my heels. It looked something like this.

I changed into my cleaning clothes – you have these, too, right?? The tank top and shorts that are already rocking bleach stains so you don’t mind ruining any further? I turned on my iPod full blast, collected my sponge and my cleaning supplies and I cleaned the SHIT out of my bathroom.  I used every product that I could possibly find in my cleaning cabinet. There were paper towels flying and Scrubbing Bubbles spraying. I took a few minutes in between my sanitizing to sip on a stiff cocktail. It was like a housewife’s dream. Alcohol and Clorox. Two of my favorite things.

In a previous life, I might have preferred to surf the internet or read a book in the sun with my free time at home. You know you’re a mom when you use your home alone time to passionately disinfect your shower and your toilet – and you actually enjoy it.

My bathroom literally looked better than the day we moved in. After I was done cleaning it, I took the longest shower of my life. Alone. Without a baby banging on the glass doors. It was glorious. Not only did I get to clean my shower, I actually got to take a hot shower, too. And I had a few kickin’ cocktails while doing it. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s a pretty successful day. Happy fucking Mother’s Day to me.

 

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The Momification Process

I sat down for the first time the other day around 11:30am after having spent an hour battling the baby down for his nap. I had already been awake for six hours at the time, but sadly, I was still wearing pajamas – dirty pajamas, none the less. My pants were soaked with bubbles that the baby had spilled when we were playing outside at the ass-crack of dawn and the sleeves of my shirt were covered in snot since the baby had a cold and we somehow managed to use all eight boxes of tissues I had purchased earlier in the week. 

I sipped my cold coffee that I had poured two hours earlier and thought about my plans for the day. Depending on how long he slept, we would hit the mall to get the baby a new pair of overly-priced shoes since he’s already outgrown the pair we just bought two months ago. I swear, you’d think I was buying fucking Italian leather loafers for the price these things cost. In his 15 months of life, I’ve definitely already spent more on shoes for this kid than I have spent on myself in the last five years. Anyways, I was planning on heading to the shoe store before meeting up with my girlfriend for an afternoon play date at the park. On the way home, I reminded myself, I needed to stop at the store for soy milk. Oh – and more tissues, I thought, as I pulled off my snot soaked shirt and turned on the shower. I undressed, looking forward to a few minutes alone, as I noticed three Cheerios fall out of my bra when I unhooked it. I looked in the mirror at my half-naked self. My previously long hair had recently been cut into a mom-bob to avoid my son pulling on it. My eyebrows hadn’t been waxed in weeks. The bags under my eyes were so big and dark that they could easily have been mistaken for black holes, right there on my face. I reconsidered the plans I had made and realized that I had become a slave to my son’s sleeping schedule and play date plans. In this moment, it hit me that as much as I had resisted to losing myself to motherhood, I had been momified. 

Women begin the modification process the moment that we learn we are expecting. Immediately, we are forced to change our eating habits, we give up alcohol, and we limit our beloved coffee intake. We quickly learn that we are physically unable to stay awake past 8:00pm due to the little life sucking the energy from within us and that puking is a fairly regular pregnancy pastime. And for me, pregnancy was only the beginning. After the baby was born, I became a full-on mom. I traded in my People for Parenting Magazine. I gave p my sporty, stick-shift sedan for a spacious, top safety rated SUV (a beige SUV, I might add). On top of that, the backseat has now collected probably an entire box worth of Cheerios and due to the overwhelming spoiled milk smell, I’m going to assume that there are at least two dirty sippy cups underneath the seats. While I swore this would never happen, the high-wasted Target brand denim capris that I am rocking at this very moment are dangerously close to being categorized as mom jeans. You think that you will be different. You think that you’ll be able to balance parenthood with your previous life. Then, without even realizing it’s happening, you too will give in to momification. 

Let me back track a little bit here. When I worked as the director of a childcare center, I met a lot of moms. I spoke to them on a regular basis, considering that I was responsible for the well-being of their children for the better part of the work week. I not only knew their names, but I knew their husbands’ names, I knew where they worked, and of course, I knew their children inside and out. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I received in which the mom on the line would greet me with, “Hello, Cait. This is Sophia’s Mother.” Don’t you have a name? I spoke to these women every day when they would drop off and pick up their children, so they had to know I knew their names. Right? Could it be that when a woman becomes a mother, she becomes so involved in raising her child that she actually identifies herself soley as “Sophia’s Mother?” As a childless person at the time, I vowed to myself that when I became a mother, if I ever introduced myself as “So-And-So’s Mom,” I’d slip into some skinny jeans, make a stiff martini, and remind myself that I am an actual woman with a real name and an identity outside of being a mother.

Now, 15 months into it, I am beginning to understand that it’s extremely easy to lose your identity when your whole world revolves around your children. They are the most amazing and important thing that has ever happened in your life, so naturally, you become preoccupied with their every waking want and need. That being said, I think it’s important to maintain some sort of sense of self – after all, I was an independent, educated, successful woman for 27 years before I became a mother. Every once in a while, I have to remember to turn off the Toddler Tunes station and listen to Top Hits on Pandora. I have to tell myself to put on a pair of sexy sling backs rather than one of my many pairs of “mom flats.” And most importantly, if I ever introduce myself to you as “Greyson’s Mom,” help me change out of my mom jeans, hand me a martini, and remind me that I had a life of my own before I had a life as a mom. 

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Moms Need Sick Days, Too

sick-day

As a full time mother, I am constantly complaining about my lack of alone time. When I quit my job as the Director of a childcare center, I gave up working 50+ hours a week outside the home to take on 24/7 motherly duties. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any personal days or vacation time built in when you accept the position of mother. It’s a round-the-clock gig. Peeing alone, showering alone, driving in the car alone – doing absolutely anything alone becomes a novelty. I’m usually content with the fact that son my has become my baby sidekick, but after several weeks without any time to myself, I begin a slow progression towards insanity. When I reach that point, I will do almost anything just to get a few hours to myself.

Remember that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?” Yup – I hate cheesy sayings and clichés, but this one totally sums up the last four days. Saturday was an amazing day. The weather was gorgeous and we spent tons of time with Grey playing in the backyard. I’m slowly getting back into running and I logged 5K Saturday afternoon, which I was totally stoked about. Saturday night, we spent the evening celebrating at our friends’ engagement party at an awesome restaurant overlooking the river. It was a good day, but exhausting none-the-less.  I was looking forward to Sunday and was planning on asking my husband for some time to myself since he’d be traveling for work Monday-Thursday this week. Unfortunately, when I woke up Sunday morning, I was in for a lot more time alone than just an hour or two.

Have you ever heard of Torticollis? If you are a mother, you’ve probably heard the term since it’s common for infants to have Toricollis due to their position in the womb or a difficult birth. It’s random and totally ridiculous, but somehow, I came down with this during the night. I knew right away when I woke up, since I’ve had it twice before (which is also so bizarre). When I was trying to describe to my husband the first time he witnessed this many years ago, I believe he said something like, “So you have to stay in bed for a few days because you have a stiff neck??” Let me tell you, Torticollis is seriously like a stiff neck on steroids. The very first time I had it in high school, I thought I was dying. It’s so severe that when it happens, I literally cannot lift myself out of bed to use the bathroom. It’s that bad. At 5:30am on Sunday, I laid there as motionless as possible, trying not to cause any more pain than necessary, and had a minor freak out over the fact that my husband was going to be leaving for a work trip the next day. How the hell was I going to take care of a baby when I couldn’t even turn my head more than one centimeter in either direction???

After the initial shock, I called my doctor at the ass crack of dawn begging for drugs. There was absolutely no way I was physically able to get in the car to be seen at the doctor’s office, so I was hoping that if I woke up her up early enough, she might just sense the severity of the situation and order me something over the phone. She prescribed a muscle relaxer and some pain meds, cautioning me not to drive while taking such heavy drugs. Are you for real, lady?? I can’t even swallow without crying – you think I’m going to try to get in a car and drive??? Clearly, you’ve never had Torticollis.

I spent the majority of Sunday and Monday banned to my bedroom. I couldn’t let the baby see me otherwise he’d want me to pick him up and hold him, which was definitely out of the question for a few days. On Tuesday, I ventured downstairs and spent the day on the couch. I even sat outside for a little bit. Thank god, my husband was able to cancel his work trip and spent a few days working from home to take care of me and the baby. I have to say, I got a kick out of watching him try to manage full time daddy duty – both during the day and at night. Hopefully he’s got a greater appreciation for the insane workload involved in trying to care for kids all day.

As for me, I got my wish. Not only did I get just a few hours alone, I spent three days in solitary confinement in my bedroom. If I wasn’t so strung out on muscle relaxers, I would have totally used this time to catch up on some reading or to write a few blogs. Unfortunately, I was barely even able to position myself comfortably enough to watch TV.

Being at home full time can be exhausting and preparing for my husband to leave for his next trip was overwhelming. Maybe the Torticollis was a way for my body to tell me to slow down, forcing me into an extremely painful mommy vacation. All in all, two good things came out of this: my husband now understands why I need a break when he gets home from a trip and I got to spend three days doing absolutely nothing… Although the next time I get the chance to do absolutely nothing, I’m hoping it doesn’t involve sipping coffee through a straw, hugging my heating pad, and popping pain meds every six hours.

 

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