Tag Archives: children

To Spawn or Not to Spawn

As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 22, there seemed to be only one thing that anyone could talk about.  “So, do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “When are you going to settle down and get a boyfriend?”  “Your dad thinks you’re a lesbian.”

By the time I turned 25, I was so annoyed with all the questions that I finally did get a boyfriend.  Then, after about a year or so, the annoying questions started again.  “Have you thought about marriage?”  “Are you guys going to get married?” “When are you going to get married?”  “You are a sinner, living in sin, you unholy slut!!” (ok, that one’s not actually real, but I felt like people were thinking it so it totally counts.)

So, after 4 years, my boyfriend and I were annoyed enough that we did, in fact, get married.  But then – surprise, surprise – after 5 whole seconds of being married, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about a family?” “When are you going to get knocked up?” “Have you started trying?” “You aren’t young anymore, I wouldn’t wait too long.” At 30 years old, me and my dried up old ovaries were doing just fine, thank you.

But finally, to shut up everyone (including my ticking biological clock and my shriveled raisin ovaries) we had a baby.  Phew… safe from annoying questions, right?  Wrong.  After finally slogging through the first amazing, exhausting, awesome, terrible first year, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about the second one?” “Ready for baby #2?!”  “You do want to have more than one, right?” “Put down the wine, coffee and sushi because it’s time to get knocked up again.”

Ok, so here’s the thing.  I DO want to have another baby if we can.  I have a brother who is 2 and a half years younger than me, and he is amazing.  He is my best friend, and even though we spent a LOT of time fighting when we were younger, he has always been my best friend.  All of my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him.  He was my constant playmate, plaything, teammate, opponent, doll, and confidant.  Yes, there were times that it was me against him, but most of the time it was me and him against the world.  Or at least our parents.  I can’t imagine not having him in my life.  And so I can’t imagine my daughter not having a sibling in her life.

But… I am scared.  I know that I was scared before having my first baby, and that all worked out ok.   And I know that there are fears that I had then that I probably won’t have again, like:  What if I am not a good mother?  What if I don’t like being a mom?   What if she doesn’t love me?  What if I drop her? What if her swaddle blanket comes unwrapped and chokes her to death?  What if I never sleep again?  What if she has red hair?! (ps. that fear was actually realized and her red hair is absolutely beautiful!)

But there are some fears that I don’t think will ever go away:  What if I never lose all the baby weight?  What if I get postpartum depression?  How are we going to afford this?  What if my baby gets SIDS?  What if my baby dies?!

And then there are a brand new set of fears that come with adding a new baby into the mix. First off, there’s the whole pregnancy thing.  Been there.  Done that.  Didn’t like it.  Call me an asshole, but the thought of voluntarily being nauseous,  uncomfortable, fat, tired, swollen, acne-prone, and emotionally unstable just doesn’t appeal to me.  And don’t get me started on the whole no-alcohol, no-caffene thing.  As I mom, those two things (plus a bit ton of chocolate) are sometimes the only things that get me through the day.

And then, after surviving the joys of pregnancy, I actually have the new baby to contend with.  Or course, I worry about how tired I am going to be. The never-ending carousel of newborn baby exhaustion is tough enough, but how can I possibly manage doing that while waking up at 6 am every morning to take care of an energetic toddler.  An energetic toddler who doesn’t understand that mommy was up all night with the new baby and doesn’t have a single brain cell left in her head to remember all the words to “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”. (Why oh why do they make these children’s songs so hard!?)

Ok, I know that being tired or being afraid of not losing the baby weight is no reason not to have a baby.  If it was, no one would ever have a baby.  EVER.  I can get over being tired.  I can get over stretch marks and saggy boobs and cellulite.  What I am most afraid of has more to do with the inconcrete questions about bringing a second child into my household.  I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. Will she understand? Will she feel resentful or even angry?  Will she feel that we don’t love her as much? How will we have enough time for both of them?

I know that many, many people – including my own parents –  have faced these questions and fears, and many, many people have two-plus happy healthy children in their happy healthy families. I know that having more than one child is normal, if not the norm. BUT I haven’t yet revealed my biggest fear.  It is not only my biggest fear but my deepest, darkest secret.  A secret that I haven’t confessed to anyone yet… not even to myself really.  The true reason that I am afraid to have another baby.  Deep breath, here goes…

I love my daughter, Lyla, so much.  So much that it physically hurts.  I love her in a way that I cannot possibly describe (although if you have children you likely know.)  I love her, not simply because she is my daughter, but because she is Lyla.  I love her in a way that I cannot imagine loving anyone else.  Not even another baby.  I feel pretty positive that there is no way I could ever love anyone as much as I love her.  You see, I was never really a kid person.  But then I had Lyla, and she is so wonderful that she can turn even an angry, drunk, homeless man into a kid person (true story.) I worry that if she wasn’t so sweet, funny, charming and relatively easy, that I wouldn’t love her as much.  And I am terrified that if the second baby is a crier or doesn’t sleep or doesn’t eat or is sick or even if he or she just isn’t Lyla, that I won’t love him or her as much.  And it makes me feel like a horrible person.  And it makes me feel really scared.

I suspect that it is the same as the way that no one can tell you how truly amazing it is to have a child until you have one of your own.  I assume that no one can tell me how I much I will unconditionally love another child, until I find out for myself.  Odds are good that I will love a second baby as much as the first.  But it seems a pretty big gamble, and I have never been a gambling woman.  Hell, I only play the penny slots in Vegas… and there’s a lot more than 100 pennies at stake here.

To spawn or not to spawn… that is the question.

That is question that keeps me awake at night sometimes.

But I guess, it might be time to roll the dice.

 

 

photo credit: Nick Harris1 via photopin cc

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Random Thought: On Dora

Full Disclosure: After being quarantined inside the house for 4 days due to my daughter having highly contagious HFMD and ridiculous temperatures, I started to go slightly crazy.  Please bear with me during this low period, and I apologize in advance.

My daughter is not quite a year-and-a-half so she is not really into TV, besides the fact that I don’t like the idea of her watching TV too much.  However, I am a true believer that sometimes parents do what they have to do to survive the day, and to survive 4 days cooped up in the house with a rambunctious 16-month-old, I turned to TV.  One of my friends said that she sometimes lets her daughter watch “Dora the Explorer” because it is educational, so in a moment of pure desperation, I decided to give it a try.  Lyla seemed to like it… for about 5 minutes.  But anything that can get her to sit down for 5 minutes is a success in my book.  But long after Lyla had already moved on to 3 other activities, I continued to watch the intriguing Dora.  Here’s my conclusion:  Educational?  Yes, I guess.  I like that there is a multilingual heroine on American TV.  Especially since I hope that my daughter will be multilingual (my husband speaks Italian to her.)

Ok, so Dora is pretty cool in my book, but this entire opening now leads me to the random thought that has plagued me since I started watching and I just can’t get over…

Just how old is Dora and why do her parents let her roam around the countryside, “exploring” with just a boots-wearing monkey to chaperone?  She hitchhikes… and although she does wear her seat-belt, in California I think kids need a booster seat until they are nine.  She attends dubious fiestas at the Big Red Chicken’s house (never trust anybody whose name begins with BIG). And she gets around town with the help of a singing map.  At least get the kid a GPS or a Smart Phone.  Sheesh!

Ok… so now you have a little insight into the places my brain goes when I haven’t had proper adult interaction in nearly a week.  It’s a dark place, and I apologize.

Dora and her pal, Boots, teaching kids to hitchhike, one episode at a time!

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Talk Aint Cheap (but it sure can sound that way…)

The other day I was at Target (it’s an addiction, people) and I heard someone say quite loudly, “GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW!”  Curious, I looked in the general direction of the obnoxious voice and saw an angry-looking woman screaming at… a two-year-old.  Yes, a two-year-old.  As in a sweet, innocent, curious and slightly naughty because they all are, two-year-old.  The next day, my husband and I were with our daughter at a the park.  As we were playing in the sand, two more kids came to join us:  a little boy around two and his sister, who was about five.  As we are playing, the older girl began to scold her brother and my daughter.  “I told you to SHARE!” she said, ripping a toy from her brother’s hands.  I know that she is just a little girl, but after 15 minutes of this, I was slightly appalled and totally annoyed, so we moved away to play in a different area.  My husband, wise as ever, remarked, “I feel sorry for that girl.  That must be the way her parents talk to her.  It’s probably the only way she knows how to talk.”  Of course, he was right.  Kids don’t come out of the womb talking. (Thank goodness, I wouldn’t want to hear all of the things I was doing wrong in those first few weeks!)  Language is a learned skill.  When you speak to your children, you are not only teaching them words, but habits as well as values. It is not just what you say, but how you say it, and what it means.

Maybe it is because I am a writer, but I have always been in awe of the power of words. The most influential figures in history such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Obama, and even Hitler, although clearly less positively,  have changed the world through their words.  For better or worse, it was their words and the manner in which they spoke them that inspired the masses – not their physical strength, money or weapons.  Words can truly do what no gun or bomb can, although they can be just as destructive.

If you think about it, most of the pivotal moments, both good and bad, in one’s life stem from words. “I love you.” “Congratulations!” “You’re fired.” “Mama. (my personal fave!)”   “Your offer was accepted.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I do.” “It’s a girl.” “Cancer.”  “You passed.” “Honey, would you like another glass of wine? (These particular words led to the conception of our daughter.)”  Yes, words are important.  They shape the course of one’s life.  But they also shape the course of one’s self.  No matter how strong you are, it’s difficult not to let another person’s words shape your perception of yourself.  And unfortunately it is often so much easier to believe the bad words rather than the good.  Why is that?  No matter how high your self-esteem has been built from a lifetime of encouragement and compliments, sometimes it takes only a single negative comment to knock it all down.  No matter how many people tell you that you are smart, kind, funny, beautiful, thin, or a great mother, all it takes is one person’s criticism to plant the seeds of self-doubt. And often our harshest and most outspoken critic is ourself. It’s hard for any amount of compliments to overcome our own negative thoughts.  Strange as it seems, a thousand “I love you”s can hardly stand up to a single “I hate myself.”

If we understand the power of words, then we must understand the responsibility that each of us holds… not only to other people, but also to ourselves and most importantly, to our children.  I am just now truly beginning to comprehend the weight of this responsibility.  My daughter started talking a few months ago, and now it seems as though she is picking up a new word every day, as well as repeating everything we say.  It’s cute when she repeats “I love you.” – or at least something that sounds like it – but terrifying when she says, “Yeah” in exactly the same annoying-teenage-girl manner in which I sometimes catch myself saying it.  And I already told you about my Friday night “Oh Sh!t”s slip up with my friend’s two-year-old.  If that poor kid becomes anything less than a successful doctor, lawyer or scientist, I am definitely going to blame his downward spiral on myself.

If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say it at all… especially if it is about me.

All joking aside though, a slip-up is bound to happen here and there.  We are only human, and some situations require the use of the colorful language that slides so easily off the tongue.  Shit happens, so to speak, so we can’t beat ourselves up about it. What is more important is the way we speak every day, not only when our kids are listening, but also when they are not.  I have learned that, like both the government and Perez Hilton, kids have eyes and ears everywhere.  They are always listening and learning from you, so be careful what you teach them.  Think about it… how can you teach your children to respect everyone, if they constantly hear you bashing that bitchy co-coworker or annoying neighbor to your girlfriends?  How can they learn equality when they hear you talking down to others?  How can your daughter feel beautiful if she hears you constantly bemoaning your own looks?  How can your kids learn to fight fair if they hear you and your husband fighting dirty?  The basic rule:  If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say it at all.  I know this phrase is just as annoying now as it was when your third grade teacher said it (along with “Keep your hands to yourself” and “Stop eating paste, Courtney.” ) but it’s true. It’s a tough one for me though.  I am naturally blunt, sarcastic, judgemental, easily annoyed and I love a good bit of gossip.  None of these things usually result in anything nice to say, so that often leaves me unusually mute. But I am a work in progress and I am working on these things for my daughter’s sake.  I hope you will too.

With every word we speak we are teaching our children, not only how to talk, but how to live.  So make sure you are doing your best to teach them the right way to do both.  Your kids will thank you someday… hopefully with perfect spelling and grammar.

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Quote of the Day: On the Art of Mothering

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”

– Elaine Heffner

So true. Notice she said ” the art of living” not the “art of wearing expensive clothes or riding in a fancy stroller”. I’m just saying…

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Mean Moms

The main reason that I started this blog was to say all the things that you are not supposed to say about parenthood. Like, “Hey, being a mom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.  It can be shitty sometimes (literally) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing.” Or “Sometimes I fantasize about just one night ALL. BY. MYSELF.” Or “I love my daughter but sometimes she makes me so crazy I want to scream.”  I believe that the things that no one ever says about parenthood are the things that people most need to hear.  Not to scare people or dissuade them from having kids, but to let people know that if they feel this way they are not crazy or horrible people… or even worse, horrible parents.

Motherhood can be very isolating.  A new mother spends most of her time inside the confines of her house caring for her new baby, and that is just the beginning. As a new mom, you often feel isolated from your friends who don’t have kids because their lives are now so different from your own. For example, they actually get to sleep for longer than 45 minutes in a row, shower regularly, and put a cohesive thought together.  During those first few months it’s hard to find something in common with someone who doesn’t smell like baby spit-up.  It’s understandable.  But sometimes you even feel isolated from your friends who do have kids. They seem to do it so effortlessly that you are sure that they will think ill of you if you reveal your own fears and frustrations.  You also can feel isolated from your partner because he doesn’t understand what you are going through. How could he?  He’s not gestating what feels like the spawn of Pele.  His body hasn’t undergone an extreme, and mostly unpleasant, transformation (except for the sympathy weight he may or may not have gained due to a pregnant wife who may or may not have forced him to eat at places like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  Sorry honey.)  He doesn’t wake up every two hours to let a small human suckle his nipple until it bleeds – and if he does, think about finding a new partner.  To a mother, especially a new one, it can seem like no one in the world could possibly understand the way you are feeling… and it can make you feel very alone.

The worst part is that often the people who should be supporting you, the ones who DO understand what you are going through – the moms – are the ones who can make you feel the worst.  We hear a lot about the bullying of kids. We see movies about mean girls. But what about Mean Moms?

You know the type (especially if you live in LA).  They prance around the parks, the coffee shops, and the Mommy and Me classes with their perfect hair, perfect make-up, clothes that are somehow free of spit-up and shoes that actually match (not just the outfit, but each other… a near impossible feat on 2 hours of sleep.)  They talk about their kids as though they are perfect and about motherhood as though it is easiest thing in the world. They look at you with judgement in their eyes if you so much as hint that you are tired, frustrated, scared or otherwise human.

Mean Moms don’t necessarily SAY anything mean.  Often it’s more about what they don’t say.  Like the fact that her baby woke up 12 times last night, and damn, is she tired.  (Instead, she enjoys every extra minute she gets to spend with her daughter, even if it’s at 3 AM. ) Or the fact that she is worried that her 15-month-old hasn’t said his first word yet.  (Talking is so 2011.  She is working on signing. All the celebrities are doing it.)  Or that she is having trouble losing that last 10 lbs of baby weight. (It’s actually 10 lbs. of pure muscle from her personal training sessions!)  Or that she wishes her perfect husband took more interest in their new baby. (He’s working really hard to pay for that expensive stroller.)

I could go on and on, but instead I am just going to say this – Ladies, stop it with the Mean Mom act.  Leave it for the teeny-boppers, who don’t yet know any better.  Stop trying to pretend that you have everything figured out, that life is perfect, and that you are perfect.  Reach out to other women, or men, who seem like they need help.  And if you need help, ask for it.  Many people don’t realize that you could possibly feel alone while spending 24 hours a day with a new baby, but the truth is that you can feel more alone than you ever have before.  Tell a friend and let her help you, even if all you need is an ear. (But if this friend offers to help with dirty diapers or laundry… marry this friend and don’t look back.) But the most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You are not the only one feeling hopeless or clueless or nameless.  You are not the only one who sometimes can’t remember why they thought this whole parenting thing was a good idea.  I promise that you are not the only one.  And I promise it will get better.  And if you spot a Mean Mom, let me know, and I promise to kick her ass.  At least, in my mind.  I am a total badass in my mind.

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Bringing Sexy Back…Sorta

If you didn’t before, check out my first featured article in Natural Child Magazine, and get your sexy back… or at least brush your teeth once in a while!

“I’m sexy and I know it!”

Ok, so maybe this is the song currently stuck in my head (curse you LMFAO and your catchy lyrics,) NOT the phrase that I am most likely to think while looking into the mirror.  As a working mom of a ten-month-old baby, whose wardrobe usually consists of a variety of faded black yoga pants and whose highlights have grown so far out that they are now back in (ombre is so hot right now,) I desperately need to find my sexy.  The only problem:  I don’t know where I lost it.

I used to be hot once, if I do say so myself.  Back in those days, I used to spend hours primping with my girlfriends. Then we would strut around the bar, preening like peacocks, daring any man to talk to us. Now-a-days I usually slink around with zero make-up and my hair in a dirty bun, praying that no one notices me, or worse… recognizes me. While I am married with a baby, and definitely not trying to snag a man, I miss that confident, sexy creature I used to be – or at least think I was. My problem is not that no one finds me sexy… my problem is that I don’t find myself sexy.

So what is the answer?  How do you get your sexy back when you have no idea where to start looking? What I am not going to do is give you a list of “full-proof” tips guaranteed to make you feel sexier or make your sex life better.  Every person is different and everyone’s likes, tastes and limits are different too (and discovering what yours are is a joy that I would never take from you!)  But what I will do is give you one piece of advice… start making love to yourself.  No, I’m not talking about this in the literal way, although that might be a big step for many women,  what I am talking about is making time to do the things you love and that make you feel good about yourself.

Make regular appointments at the hairdresser, waxer or both. Hit the gym. Take the extra five minutes to put on some mascara and lip-gloss.  Take a bath, take a class (brains are sexy too!) or take 15 minutes to meditate.  Go buy some sexy new lingerie that fits the body you have right now, not the body you hope to have after six months of starving yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel like the smart, sexy, beautiful woman that you are. I promise that she’s in there somewhere!

And most importantly, stop hiding out and slinking around. Hold your head up high and strut around the grocery store,  office and your bedroom.  You ARE sexy, and if you know it, chances are the world does too.

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Quote of the Day: On Future Generations

“I believe in making the world safe for our children. But not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex.”

Jack Handy

Wow.  Mr. Handy was a philosopher and a philanthropist.  Is there anything the man can’t do?!

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Random Thought: On Pictures

Sometimes I think that some parents have kids just for the pictures.

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Natural Child World: They Really Like Me!

As some of you know, I have been a part of a wonderful magazine, Natural Child World, for a while.  NCW is a parenting magazine unlike anything else that is currently out there.  It has a great eco message, a real voice that doesn’t take itself too seriously or talk to parents like they are the 5-year-olds,  fashion and design articles worthy of a coffee table, and some pretty great features… including one I am particularly fond of.  I am proud to announce that my blog, The Good, The Bad, and The Saggy is going to be a regular feature in Natural Child World Magazine! It will be, as my blog is, a realistic and somewhat comedic (hey, I try) look at motherhood.  Although there will most likely be a few less F bombs than some of my blog posts.  You can find the magazine at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and other stores, as well as online at:  http://naturalchildworld.com/

As always, thanks for your support.  Without further adieu (Now that my blog is in a magazine I am totally going to start using fancy words like adieu)  here is my first The Good, The Bad, and The Saggy feature in the May/June issue of Natural Child World magazine:

Getting Your Sexy Back

“I’m sexy and I know it!”

Ok, so maybe this is the song currently stuck in my head (curse you LMFAO and your catchy lyrics,) NOT the phrase that I am most likely to think while looking into the mirror.  As a working mom of a ten-month-old baby, whose wardrobe usually consists of a variety of faded black yoga pants and whose highlights have grown so far out that they are now back in (ombre is so hot right now,) I desperately need to find my sexy.  The only problem:  I don’t know where I lost it.

I used to be hot once, if I do say so myself.  Back in those days, I used to spend hours primping with my girlfriends. Then we would strut around the bar, preening like peacocks, daring any man to talk to us. Now-a-days I usually slink around with zero make-up and my hair in a dirty bun, praying that no one notices me, or worse… recognizes me. While I am married with a baby, and definitely not trying to snag a man, I miss that confident, sexy creature I used to be – or at least think I was. My problem is not that no one finds me sexy… my problem is that I don’t find myself sexy.

So what is the answer?  How do you get your sexy back when you have no idea where to start looking? What I am not going to do is give you a list of “full-proof” tips guaranteed to make you feel sexier or make your sex life better.  Every person is different and everyone’s likes, tastes and limits are different too (and discovering what yours are is a joy that I would never take from you!)  But what I will do is give you one piece of advice… start making love to yourself.  No, I’m not talking about this in the literal way, although that might be a big step for many women,  what I am talking about is making time to do the things you love and that make you feel good about yourself.

Make regular appointments at the hairdresser, waxer or both. Hit the gym. Take the extra five minutes to put on some mascara and lip-gloss.  Take a bath, take a class (brains are sexy too!) or take 15 minutes to meditate.  Go buy some sexy new lingerie that fits the body you have right now, not the body you hope to have after six months of starving yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel like the smart, sexy, beautiful woman that you are. I promise that she’s in there somewhere!

And most importantly, stop hiding out and slinking around. Hold your head up high and strut around the grocery store,  office and your bedroom.  You ARE sexy, and if you know it, chances are the world does too.

 

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Random Thought: Is Motherhood Really the Toughest Job in the World?

Some people say that motherhood is the toughest job in the world, but that is just absurd.  There are definitely harder jobs out there.    Like Sherpas.  Imagine having to schlep around an ungodly amount of someone else’s belongings!  Or how about assistants for crazy, unreasonable bosses… the kind of bosses who seem almost incapable of doing anything on their own, who often have total meltdowns for no apparent reason, and who, on their best days, throw random things at your head.  That job is definitely tough!  Or what about the poor people who have to drain port-o-potties or clean toilets for a living… the people who literally have to clean up someone else’s shit every single day.

Wait a second…

Well, motherhood may in fact be the toughest job in the world… but it definitely has the best bonus structure.

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