Can I Dislike Being Pregnant Please?

I was watching the latest episode of Private Practice (I think this is my second post that has been inspired by Private Practice; love that show!) where Charlotte experiences a triplet pregnancy with an amazing amount of brutal honesty. First off – Charlotte never wanted to be a Mom. The fact that she has a surprise triplet pregnancy is a huge slap in the face for her, but through her negativity and sarcasm, you can tell she loves these babies no less than the next Mom to be. As you watch her talk shit in her Lamaze class, complain incessantly and practically refuse a baby shower because she doesn’t want to be “that” woman, you can’t help but love her. It’s hysterical and totally politically incorrect.

What I’ve pulled from her character is the fact that women are afraid to be imperfect. A baby is a gift but, at least for me, being pregnant was horrible. I’d do it all over again in a heart beat for my three gorgeous children, but Lord knows, if there were another way… I’d take it!!! I had pretty “easy” pregnancies both times, even carrying twins. Easy is in quotes because carrying a child (or more) inside of you is far from easy. There’s the heart burn, the cravings, the uncontrollable emotions, morning sickness, not to mention that organs have been pushed and squished in all directions. It is so cruel to give a woman an exhausting task and then make her too uncomfortable to sleep. You’ve got everyone giving you random and usually unwanted advice and strangers asking you inappropriate questions about your sex life. In my case with the twins: “were they natural?” Yep, you want details?? Geez. People telling you that you look big or small or like you are ready to pop. You have a dream of the baby inside of you and it keeps you going, but sometimes you don’t want to be the woman in the cute maternity picture with a bow around your belly. You want to be Charlotte. You want to complain and be able to be miserable without someone looking at you like you are the devil’s spawn and trying to console you because it’s worth it at the end. That should be allowed. Creating and growing a baby is a beautiful thing, but the physics about it are all wrong. Eve really screwed us on this one.

There are a few points I’d like to conclude with:

1. If you are pregnant and aren’t pinning cute baby outfits on Pinterest because you’d rather sulk and eat cookies… Then don’t feel bad. You will be as good a Mother in real life as your Pinterest loving buddy. When you become a Mom, you will not have the time to be DIY Pinterest Goddess anyway.

2. If you interact with a pregnant woman, the best thing to say is the following (and nothing more): “You are just glowing. Can I get you anything?”

3. Remember to delight in the miracle that you are blessed to be a part of. Some women love being pregnant and would do it over and over again. I don’t think it’s because they enjoy being tortured. It’s because they feel so moved by the responsibility they’ve been given to grow this life. Let us revel in that from time to time between morning sickness and baby registries. Personally, I like them better on the outside than the inside.

Thank you Charlotte for saying everything I wanted to say when I was pregnant. Hopefully we all can feel a little bit better about not sporting our “World’s Best Mom to Be” shirts for the entire 9 months of our pregnancies. ūüôā

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The Unplanned, Unmarried Pregnancy.

I’m taking it back to 2009. I was 24 and “doing it all.” I had a great job, with great benefits. I was cheerleading for a local sports team and partying with the best of them. John and I had just started dating in January. Despite my past relationship mistakes and faux pas, I was hell bent on not screwing this one up. We were both relatively cautious not to fall too hard, too fast, but you can’t tempt fate. It was easy and fun. In four short months we fit in lots of nights out, nights in, a few trips and without noticing, fell in love. Around the beginning of May, there were “signs” if you know what I mean. Despite my denial, I peed on a stick. Plus sign. WHAT? I peed on two more. Two more plus signs. I didn’t cry, I didn’t really do anything. John and I looked at each other and he hugged me. In that moment, I knew everything would be OK. If I could have spent the next few months in that bubble together, I would have. Instead, we had to face the harsh reality of a judging world.

How do you explain, that just barely 4 months into a relationship, you were going to start a family and are happy about it? We knew it would work somehow, but to our families, to our friends, coworkers, acquaintances… we had no idea how everyone would react. From all of the different people in our lives, we experienced probably every emotional reaction known to man. Fear, happiness, anger, disappointment, etc‚Ķ Some thought we did it on purpose (we definitely didn’t). Some thought we were careless (maybe!) and others were genuinely happy for us (I thank those people). After the final person was told of the news, I had gained a few gray hairs and experienced more stress than I had in my entire life up to that point.

A baby is a blessing and looking at Olivia now, all of that drama was worth it. But why drama? For what? John and I were old enough with enough resources to raise a child.. I realized that there is a huge problem in our society. An unplanned pregnancy out of wedlock is a scandal for no reason. With almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce, the institution of marriage is failing. Children are being raised in ‚Äúbroken‚ÄĚ homes left and right. Now, when someone is getting a divorce, it isn’t the dishonor that it should be. To hear someone is getting a divorce is sad, but never unexpected. However, if you are bringing a beautiful new life into the world in an nontraditional way, you have judgment from every which way. It‚Äôs really ridiculous. I once had a conversation with a older man who had been through 3 divorces. When we departed, he closed with, ‚ÄúI hope you get married soon so you can join the rest of society.‚ÄĚ I was so shocked that I had no come back. Even now, I don‚Äôt have anything productive to say. Honestly, I‚Äôd rather be unmarried for the rest of my life than experience three divorces. The landscape of love has been changing for a while now. The quintessential family is now the minority. We should shift our thinking to accommodate for that. Sure, some people are really irresponsible and shouldn’t be having children. But, some married and seemingly responsible people should also not be having children. John & I chose not to marry just because of a baby and I‚Äôm glad for it. (Believe me, there were times I thought I wanted to just be married to get people off of my back.) Though, we both had faith that our relationship would withstand the trials of becoming a family, we could never had guessed how hard it would be. We’ve had three babies, bought a house and completely changed our lives. Now, we are in a place where we can plan unpressured and be extremely sure of our relationship. We can do it for us and not for society, which should be the point.

My hope for everyone reading is this: Next time you hear news that someone in your life has been ‚Äúknocked up,‚ÄĚ think about my words. It‚Äôs not our place to make people feel scared or judged. So what if someone is getting married because they are pregnant? Kudos to them for taking that step. So what if someone is pregnant and is planning to raise the child on their own? Major kudos to them for their bravery. So what if you feel that someone is not ready? Who are you to judge what someone is capable of? We should offer support and allow them to be open and honest so that they are focused on a healthy pregnancy and preparing their life for a baby. Rather than thinking about how you feel or how society feels, think about how that person feels. If you hear it from someone else and are angry that you didn’t get a first person message, let it go. Imagine how many other things are going through the parents‚Äô minds besides getting the information to the right people in the right order. When they do tell you, read them and react accordingly while being sensitive to their emotions. Honestly, they are going through enough without you adding to it. How a pregnancy begins does not determine what kind of parent it is creating.

For anyone that has gone through or is going through a similar experience as I did, feel how you want to feel. If you aren’t embarrassed, don‚Äôt feel like you need to be. Just because the rest of the world sees your new baby as a mistake doesn’t mean he or she is. People will react to you based on how you present yourself. If you are confident and excited no matter the situation (especially with acquaintances or disparaging people) there is only so far they can go with their opinions of you. Focus on yourself and your new family and let in the people closest to you. You will need their support! Lastly, be honest with other women and couples. If we could all share our stories of happiness and success that all started from an ‚Äúunwanted‚ÄĚ pregnancy, it would make the future seem much less bleak for others in comparable situations.

John & I will have been together for 4 years this coming January. Here we are year by year as our family has grown:

Everything you see in these pictures is a mistake!! We are pretty damn proud of our mistakes. ūüôā

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How do I teach my children about God?

Many people are going to find issue with what I¬†am about to talk about.¬†¬†Throughout the world, religious beliefs spark debate and disagreements cause violence.¬† I’m¬†don’t want to prove that I’m right or that anyone else is wrong.¬† I really don’t want to¬†talk about religious conflict around the globe.¬† What I want is to tackle the question that exists in my own home:¬†How and what do I teach my children about God?¬† If you find yourself getting defensive, just stop reading.¬† I’m not here to argue.

I was raised Catholic.¬† I went to Catholic school for 7 years.¬† Granted, they weren’t conservative garb wearing, ultra strict Catholic schools, but I was still exposed to¬†the religion¬†on some level day after day.¬† I was Baptized, received my First Communion, did Reconciliation and was even Confirmed in the Catholic religion.¬†¬†I have a great respect for the¬†institution and I feel that they are misrepresented in the media.¬† Many only¬†see their strict views on lifestyle choices¬†while others¬†scoff at the priest sex scandals.¬† We forget how many people that Catholicism has helped through charity and counseling.¬† A church¬†is a place with their doors open¬†for those that are lost.¬† All of that being said, besides the family tradition, I¬†don’t feel that organized religion plays a huge role in my life and I didn’t realize it until I had children.

I baptized my daughter, but all that I remember from the moment are 5 different cameras flashing.¬† I don’t think I was even able to see her face.¬† We haven’t been to church since.¬† It didn’t have much meaning¬†for me in that moment, and I know she will not even remember.¬†¬†I¬†came to the conclusion that¬†the traditional method of bringing important values into my children’s lives was not going to work for us.¬† John is not Catholic and though he believes in¬†some sort of¬†higher power, I’m not going to ask him to teach our children¬†something that I’m not even sure I believe in 100%.¬† By default, I will thank God for what I have.¬† When I stop to think about it, I don’t even know what I’m really saying.¬† It’s the big mystery of religion that none of us will ever figure out until we get to the end.¬† End of our lives, end of the world… who knows?¬† But, in context to my question, what does it matter?

I don’t believe that there is a¬†man in the clouds calling the shots.¬† I don’t think we need¬†to memorize a¬†list of commandments to keep us in line out of fear.¬† It’s just like spanking a child.¬† Sure, they¬†won’t act that way again.¬† However, they are¬†responding out of fear, not out of knowing¬†the difference between right and wrong.¬† Jesus may or may not have been real, but as I mentioned above,¬†does it matter?¬† The point is not the how, but the underlying message.¬† Embrace all that are different and¬†treat others as you would want to be treated.¬† This doesn’t have anything to do with God or Jesus.¬†¬†This higher power¬†is within and around all of us.¬† It’s in those moments where we donate our time or our excess.¬† It’s when we stop and stare in wonderment at something so beautiful that we wonder if it is real.¬† It’s when we feel so beaten down, but we find the strength to stand up and keep going.¬† It’s when we give and don’t expect to receive anything in return.¬† Really, though they have different ways of getting there,¬†all of these messages are at the bottom line of every organized religion.

I know all of this to be true in my life.¬† I learned it because I was raised Catholic.¬† Now to my question: How do I teach my children about all of this out of the context of organized religion?¬† After thinking about this for a while, I know it’s not going to be through making them sit through Mass every Sunday.¬† I must take a queue from the stories about Jesus and lead by example.¬† If I show compassion, forgiveness and love to those around me, whether deserving or not, my children will learn to do the same.¬† When they are old enough, I will take them to shelters to help with the poor so that they appreciate what they have.¬† I will¬†not hold grudges so that they will not.¬† I will¬†show them¬†the beauty in people and things even if hidden at first.¬† I will provide them with the skills and confidence to know that when things seem really bad,¬†they can crawl deep inside of¬†their souls¬†to reignite that spark that will help¬†them keep going.¬† I will make sure they know that whenever they fall,¬†I will always be there in¬†person or spirit, no matter how old they are.¬† If they ask, I will teach them to pray to whatever they want to believe in; and teach them to pray for others or for guidance, not for things.

What¬†religion and churches provide people, is somewhere to belong where peace exists.¬† It’s really a great thing, but I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone.¬† Peace exists everywhere if you look hard enough.¬† My goal is to teach my children how to find it and how to respect others for¬†finding it in their own ways.¬†¬†Maybe they will¬† discover it¬†through music or dance;¬†maybe¬†through surrounding themselves with a great group of people, or through the beauty of our Mother Earth.¬† I, myself,¬†felt¬†“God”¬†in all of those things.¬† Even if they end up¬†in Church on their own¬†looking for it, I will know that I have¬†succeeded as long as they are happy.¬† I don’t want to¬†raise God fearing adults.¬† I want them to act¬†in ways¬†which bring them tranquility that they wish to spread to others and eventually for them to¬†be examples for their own children to follow.

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Hey Mom! What’s lurking in your purse?

I‚Äôm going to preface this with a confession ‚Äď even before I had kids, my purse was a mess.¬† I always have liked big tote type purses where stuff somehow just gets lost and accumulates at the bottom.¬† However, before kids, the ‚Äústuff‚ÄĚ would be things like lipstick, some change, receipts, etc..¬† Now with kids, my Michael Kor‚Äôs quilted leather tote is at their mercy.¬† I think Mr. Kor‚Äôs would have a panic attack if he read this.

Today, this is what I found in my purse: a baggie containing the piece to Olivia’s turtle bracelet that needs to be fixed, a mini slinky, a pink sparkly hair tie, a medicine measuring cup, an envelope containing the remains of Olivia’s first hair cut and a Dory sticker.

This doesn’t seem too bad, nothing gross or stinky.  However, to put this in perspective, I cleaned my purse out two days ago. Depressing.

On any given day, I have to be careful to not expose the contents of my purse in public.¬† Who knows what might be lurking.¬† All I know is when I am in a hurry, I throw stuff in my purse with the intention of throwing it away when I get home and often, it never happens.¬† Here is a list of what I have found in my purse.¬† I apologize for my honesty‚Ķ Don‚Äôt judge me. ūüôā

  1. A crumpled (clean) diaper.
  2. An annoying musical toy that goes off when you bounce your purse in just the right way.
  3. Dirty pacifiers.
  4. Stale yogi bites strewn about.
  5. Empty (if I’m lucky) baby food squeezies.
  6. A half eaten toddler breakfast bar, squished into the inner fabric.
  7. Yesterday’s sippy cup.
  8. Dried out boogie wipes that were once used to wipe…. you know… boogies.
  9. Half eaten lollipop, haphazardly wrapped in a tissue… half in the tissue, half stuck to the purse.

I give myself a heck of a lot of credit that dirty diaper is not on this list.  Right now, you are either an ultra clean person & disgusted with me or you are laughing because you have experienced my purse disasters.

Regardless, I ask you this: Have you checked the bottom of your purse lately?

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I’m a Cheating Mom: My Mommy Shortcuts

Before anyone freaks out and calls my fianc√© – no I am not cheating on him.¬† I am a “cheating” Mom because I take shortcuts to make being a Mom easier.¬† Sometimes they aren’t the best for the kids, but with three young ones… you have to take the easy way out and not feel too guilty about it.

1. I heat up frozen foods. I so wish I was one of those Mom’s that did meal planning at the beginning of every week.¬† I do some weeks.. other weeks, I get home from work¬†to three hungry kids with no plan.¬† Frozen veggies, frozen meatballs, chicken nuggets… I could go on.¬† I use them to whip up a quick meal.¬† I do my best to pick the most naturally created foods and pair them with wheat pasta or fresh fruit, but in the end, frozen is never as good as fresh or from scratch.¬† It is what it is.

2. I use hand sanitizer.¬†¬†This may not seem bad, but I feel guilty about it.¬†¬†I’m teaching my Toddler to use hand sanitizer vs. actually stopping to wash her hands with soap and water.¬† The problem is, I’ve got two twin boys bulldozing through the house; the time without supervision has to be minimal.¬† Olivia still needs my help to go potty and so this is the shortcut I take to get back out in the battlefield faster.

3. I turn on the television. Everyone does it, no one likes to admit it.¬† I try to limit, but in the evenings when everyone is starting to lose it… I use the TV as a distraction¬†to¬†take a mental break¬†before getting everyone to bed.¬† Yea, I said it!¬† I use the TV has a babysitter sometimes, so sue me!

4. I bribe. I have said in the past: Good parenting is well timed bribery.¬† I’m probably really wrong (hehe).¬† M&M’s are a big one for Olivia.¬† I use bribery quite often to get her to do what I need her to do.¬† As I mentioned before, time is of the essence when supervising 3 young kids.¬† If I can pop a few M&M’s in her mouth to get her to put away her toys or allow me to dress her without struggle, I’m going to do it.¬† This could turn out very poorly for me in the long run, but very good for those guys that put that melt in your mouth not in your hand stuff on the shelves.

5.¬†I do not replace batteries. When a really annoying toy goes silent because the batteries have died, you are crazy if you think I’m going to turn it back on.¬† If it happens to be a “favorite,” then I’ll consider.¬† Otherwise, I’d prefer to keep my sanity and hand my kid a nice book or puzzle.¬† I really appreciate the toys with volume control!!!!

6. I skip pages in long books.¬† Especially now that Olivia is demanding to read by herself, I shorten the night time routine by skipping pages.¬† I have to be careful to skip the same pages every night, because my oh so observant 2 year old will catch me…

7. I hand over my iPhone: When absolutely necessary to avoid a meltdown, I will give Olivia my iPhone in public.¬† She usually heads to YouTube for some Mickey Mouse.¬† I don’t do it a lot, but I know some parents shake their heads when they see a kid staring at a device in public when they should be experiencing life.¬† I just smile and keep walking. =)

As long as my kid’s are happy, healthy and well-adjusted… I’ll keep cheating where I need to.

What are your “easy way outs” in Mommy-hood?

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I am Paranoid and I Like It.

I watched way too many episodes of Private Practice this evening. I saw a child lose his mother, a daughter stabbed by her sister and a baby in utero with no brain… Among other things. Then, before brushing my teeth, I went to go check on my kids as they slept. (I swear Alex has a sixth sense when I enter the room… The kid always stirs and I have to run out before he catches me staring at him.) Anyway, looking at every peaceful face made me so thankful. It also reminded me of how fragile life was.

A few posts ago, I talked about how being a Mom has made me a better person. I forgot something very important in that list… I have realized that I am not invincible. I can’t just go through life thinking that bad things won’t happen to my family and I. Life can change in an instant.

Before kids, I felt like I could get out of most anything. I drove a little too reckless sometimes; partied a little too hard other times. If I realized I forgot to lock the door while already in bed, I would leave it unlocked. I often didn’t think about others while acting and broke relationships. Luckily, my children have made me aware of how much there is to lose and now, I get up and lock the door. You just never know.

What I’m not saying is that I’m perfect… I still do and say stupid things. I lose my patience and well, I stay up late and watch too many episodes of dramatic TV shows. I am saying that I am now paranoid. But, in a good way. In a way that makes me want to jump for joy that I have it so awesome and want to do everything in my power to keep this life we are living the same.

This is so cliche, but I am becoming my Mother. If I could kick my 17 year old ass and tell her a few things I would. One would be to respect her Mom because all of the “annoying” worry and concern was just out of the love induced paranoia that I feel now. (Thanks Mom for caring so much and I’m sorry for being trouble sometimes.)

So, thank you God for giving me these beautiful children, my own roof over my head, a loving (and funny! and smart!) fiancé. You have turned me into a paranoid Mom, which I also thank you for. You put the fear in me and I needed it!!

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How My Geek Skills Help Me Parent

Beware: Nerd Alert.

I majored in Computer Engineering and work as a Software Engineer in Test. Making my living writing code and “breaking” software has shaped my thinking, both at work and at home. As a parent, dealing with my little ones is sort of like debugging a really nasty piece of code.

This is key especially when they are infants and can’t tell you what they want. What is causing the “crash?” Pushing this button here, running this macro and round tripping the file? Or maybe the other way around? When you figure out how the crash repros… You fix the issue or create a workaround!

For example:
while(dirtyDiaper)
babyCry = true;

Is an endless loop of crying… fix with one line calling your MommyAction function and you are good to go:

while(dirtyDiaper)
babyCry = true;
MommyAction(diaperchange);

Another example:
if(toddlerEating != true)
MommyAction(addketchup)

It’s about learning your child’s code base and adding lines of code to your MommyActions in order to prevent tantrums, meltdowns and encourage positive behavior. I’m a geek and I’m proud. ūüôā

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