15 Things Moms Say… And What We Really Mean

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1. “Don’t make me come over there.” I really don’t want to get up or stop what I am doing to come over there.

2. “Because I said so.” And I can’t think of another reason.

3. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I am hoping that you won’t come up with anything to say at all for at least 30 seconds.

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4. “Stop that this instant!” If you stop now, before I have to get up and come over there, we can forget this ever happened.

5. “Don’t make me turn this car around!” I am totally bluffing, if we turn around now we will be going home without any groceries, diapers or wine. We need to keep this car in route to it’s destination, so please just fall for my bluff and I’ll give you a cookie at the grocery store.

6. “Don’t forget to say please and thank you.” I’m not really sure what I’m going to do if you don’t say these things, so please just say them. You will look polite, I’ll look like a good Mom and we will all win.

7. “Eat your veggies and you’ll grow up to be big and strong!” I really don’t want to have to admit to your pediatrician that I can’t get you to eat healthy foods, but I also don’t want to have to lie, so please eat just a couple bites. I’m begging you. I’ll give you a cookie.

8. “You are just fine.” You are okay, right? Go run around and play, jump off the couch or refuse to eat your veggies, so I know that you are acting normal.

9. “Do you want a little cheese with that whine?” I wonder if I could teach you to go pour me a glass of wine?

10. “I am the parent and you are the kid.” I am aware that this is super condescending and that you already know who’s who around here, but I’m actually just giving myself a pep talk out loud, I’m not really even talking to you.

11. “Let’s try to not eat off the floor.” I don’t really care if you eat off of the floor, just don’t tell anyone that I let you.

12. “I would never have gotten away with that when I was your age.” I don’t actually remember ever being your age, but it sounds legit anyway.

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13. “I am going to count to three and then you better be in your bed.” I literally have no energy left, it’s the end of the day and I just want us all to go to bed. I’m going to count to three very slowly and hope it works, because after that, I’ve got nothing.

14. “Goodnight, stay in bed.” Please, please, please stay in bed. I’m so tired tonight that I may actually pretend to think you’re in bed if you get up to play with toys, but please just close your eyes and go to sleep. Please?

15. “I love you.” I love you more than you can know. And I really hope I’m doing okay at this Mom thing.

Related post: 10 Things I Said My Children Would Never Do

No Longer Silent

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Twenty-nine years ago, in a country halfway around the world, I was raped. Until now, only a handful of people knew. I was very young, very scared, and never reported it. I wanted to just go back home and leave the experience behind me. If only it were that easy- it took a whole lot of therapy to get to a point of no longer being consumed by that night. And yet despite that all that work to rise above the trauma, I stayed silent.

I stayed quiet not out of fear of my attacker; I was lucky enough to be returning home shortly thereafter and didn’t have to live in fear of running into him again. I chose to remain silent because I knew I would be perceived as a victim, and the thought of being looked at that way for the rest of my life repulsed me more than the act itself.

I saw how that played out in my high school, and later in college. Whispers, rumors, girls who stared at the floor as they shuffled from class to class. I didn’t want to be pitied, to walk with shame on my face, to always be seen as A Girl Who Was Raped. Why should I have to endure a lifetime of being stigmatized? If I just went on like nothing happened, life would be good.

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Amid the rising allegations against Bill Cosby, and the constant questioning of why some of the accusers had not come forward for decades, I began to see how my own silence has contributed to rape culture. Not only did it allow my attacker to get away with his crime (and potentially attack other women), it left other survivors to stand alone. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: people stay silent because there is a culture of shame, yet the more we stay silent, the easier it becomes for people to get away with rape. Can we change this? Maybe we can, if we erase the stigma and stop defining and viewing women and men by their rape. Maybe then we will see reporting rates increase, and an end to rape culture.

Which is why, twenty-nine years later, I am giving back my silence.

I am not my rape. It is one of a million memories I carry with me, and does not define who I am. Please don’t give that night more power than it deserves. To those who know me, don’t let this change how you view me.

I am a mother.

A wife.

A lawyer.

A friend.

A daughter.

A sister.

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An aunt.

An occasional blogger.

A curator of black cardigans.

An unrepentant F-bomb dropper.

An enthusiastic cook of meals my children refuse to eat.

A budding surfer

A sleep-training ninja.

A serial houseplant killer.

An underachieving Pinterest addict.

I am all of these things, but I am no longer silent.

Related post: Hello, Rapist In My Facebook Newsfeed

Motherhood Is Painful

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Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can see her. She’s standing there in her pointy shoes and neatly pressed outfit, looking pain-free and focused. Her thoughts are clear, her form is fit—she’s got free time. She is the me I used to be.

Perhaps, I’ll see her again one day… but I doubt it. Why? Because I’m a mother now.

Don’t get me wrong. My existence has changed in immeasurably wonderful ways since I’ve had my children. Everyday, my babies recharge my spirit with their unconditional love and curiosity.

Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say my body took a hit bringing them into this world.

Sleepless nights, yes, that I was prepared for.

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The complete loss of myself as a pain-free individual? That, I was not.

The simple fact is that I was not prepared for how brutally motherhood would pit me against my own body.

These days, I wake up feeling like an 80 year old—without fail, something always hurts.

It wasn’t always this way.

My journey into motherhood started smoothly enough. My pregnancy was plagued by fatigue (not a shocker since I was carrying twins). But then some unexpected plot twists began to arise.

To start, some seemingly benign itching on my palms led to a diagnosis of cholestasis (a nightmarishly rare gall bladder disease which causes your entire body to sting and swell) and then there was pre-eclampsia.

All of this while my waterlogged legs and feet began to ache and puff and my appetite evaporated (try keeping a normal stomach size against the pressure of two growing babies).

So, when I went into labor I was relieved. Believing the worst was surely behind me, I braved up.

Unfortunately, I would be the lucky winner of a ‘natural’ delivery that was anything but, thanks to a mysterious hemorrhage (which required me to receive 12 pints of blood and an 8 day ICU stay)

Other parting prizes:

A baseball-sized abdominal blood clot.

A month-long bout of incontinence so intense I’d create waterfalls upon standing.

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Terrifying heart palpations that would plague me at in opportune times.

And my personal favorite: A sloppily done episiotomy cut so deeply into my muscle that I had to shuffle around and sit on pillows for six months.

Eventually, I healed from this hellish list and began taking care of my babies.

I put pain behind me — but eventually she caught up.

It only took two months for me to tear the lowest disc in my spine. A sad feat, considering I’d had a healthy back my entire pre-baby life. The burning searing pain that resulted would keep me from the little rest I could wrangle in those early months with my twins — and it lingered for seven months. Thankfully, I was so tired that I could sleep comfortably on ice packs.

Two months later and my right hip went out — a strained muscle that took a few weeks to heal.

Pain took a pass on me for a while but came back the next summer when my babies began teething.

That’s when the spinning began.

Most people don’t classify dizziness as pain. But when you constantly feel like you are on a high-speed carousel from hell — well, things become painful. You get headaches for one, you feel nauseous, you can’t watch TV or scan Facebook. My vertigo lasted five excruciating weeks. My doctor couldn’t make it stop. I suffered strongly.

Yet, the lambasting my body has taken has supercharged its strength in some unexpected ways. I see it in the eyes of amazed strangers when I swiftly scoop up and carry two tantruming toddlers out of a store alone or when I quickly collapse a double stroller with simply one hand and a foot. I get looks mingling sympathy and often sheer surprise. Shocked at my physical capabilities, perhaps–or more likely at how I cope with the chaos that now always seems to surround me.

I find this funny. Before I became a mother some may have classified me as a weakling — I avoided heavy loads like the plague yet in an ironic twist they are now a part of my daily life.

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The truth is, no matter how creaky my carriage now feels, I wouldn’t trade my new body. I am now the owner of a formidable new frame, a body that brought two babies into this world at the same time and is still kicking. A body that’s doing the best it can do for me at this time — so I cut myself some slack. Its been a lot stronger than I ever thought possible — a fact I’m proud of — and if pain has to be a side affect for a while, so be it.

So, listen hard when I tell you what no one ever told me: Should you choose to do it, motherhood will be the singular, biggest physical challenge you’ll ever experience in your life.

But you know what they say, right?

No pain, no gain.

I just recently realized ‘they’ were likely mothers.

Related post: The Universal Truth of Motherhood

10 Things That Are Impossible Late in Pregnancy

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I am two weeks away from my scheduled c-section and four weeks away from my technical due date, and I can’t even see myself remaining pregnant through tomorrow, let alone half a month.

I’m so uncomfortable and in pain and over this pregnancy that I’m about to reach up in there and pull out my own mucous plug, I shit you not. The worst part? The fact that I can’t do any of the below simple things at this point:

1. Put on socks and shoes. I’ve tried sitting on the bed. I’ve tried lying on the floor. I’ve tried propping myself up against a wall and bending my legs to the side. Nothing works except having my husband put them on for me like I’m a two year old. A FUCKING TWO YEAR OLD.

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2. Shave my legs and hoo ha. I’ve managed to shave from about mid calf down and around the past couple times, but I don’t foresee this sort of success in my next attempt. And forget about my fertility flower. At this point I figure the c-section is bound to be such a bloodbath that my Sasquatch legs and unkempt lady garden will be a total non-issue for the medical team unfortunate enough to perform in that little nightmare.

3. Get through a conversation without having a contraction. Braxton Hicks my ass. These are the real deal; they just happen to be irregular, which means as I’m not technically term yet, I’m shit out of luck. It’s happening so frequently now, I’m sure nobody’s even shocked to hear me interrupt pleasantries by doubling over and muttering “Shit. Shit, here it comes. Oh, no, fuck, fuck, FUCK THIS HURTS, GODDAMNIT!” anymore.

4. Roll over in bed. This is such a problem that I need either a forklift or tenure in Cirque du Soleil just to switch from my left to right sides.

5. Get undressed. The other day I was certain I set the Guinness World Record for slowest undresser on the planet. I swear to God it was time to get up and dressed for work again before I was able to even get in my jammies from the night before.

6. Walk through the grocery store or retail outlet without somebody saying, “Any day now, huh?” Actually, no, not any day now, unfortunately, but I will pay you to go out and find me some Pitocin with which I might spike my own sparkling water to get this thing moving along here. I WILL PAY YOU HANDSOMELY.

7. Get in and out of the bath tub. It’s like somebody asked Shamu to move herself from one pool to another without assistance, only she has the good fortune of being able to jump out of water to an impressive height. I can barely lift a leg to walk without tripping. If anybody finds me having cracked my head open on the porcelain and half floating, half clutching the loofahs in a feeble attempt to save myself, my husband is not a suspect. REPEAT: My husband did not murder me. (You’re welcome, honey.)

8. Get out of a chair. Every time somebody (let’s be honest and say multiple somebodies) tries to help me up, I hear in my head the beeping noise a garbage or dump truck makes when it slides into reverse. ALERT: WIDE LOAD COMING THROUGH, PEOPLE.

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9. Follow the clean catch instructions for leaving a urine sample. You want me to do what with those wipes and then position myself how in order to provide you with some pee in a cup? Let’s just skip that part and assume the worst. Will that get this baby out of me any faster?

10. Exist. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to endure another second of excruciating joint pain or one more stab to my cervix from little Freddy Krueger in there without perishing on the spot. Seriously. I’m fucking dying over here.

Related post: 6 Occasions It Sucks To Be Pregnant And Sober For