5 Things I Can’t Believe I Did As A New Mom

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Every few months I go on a cleaning rampage, and almost every time, I come across my first baby’s poop log. From December 12, 2006 to April 3, 2007, or 113 days, I chronicled the exact time and length of my newborn son’s feedings, the order in which I breastfed him (right/left or left/right), whether his diaper was wet, poopy, or both, the activities I did with him (tummy time, etc.), the activities I did for me (a walk, etc.), and how long he slept.

That’s a lot of very specific, intimate, and ridiculous information. I may never get around to finishing (or starting) my kids’ baby books, and the last time I made a family photo album was in 2010, but someday I’ll show my first born his “doodie diary” and he’ll beam with pride (or run out the back door never to be seen

Eight years into this wild ride of motherhood, when each day is busier, messier, and more exhausting and chaotic than the next, I simply can’t imagine a time when I had the energy or desire to meticulously maintain a record of pee and poop and other futile facts, which got me thinking about a few other things I can’t believe I did as a new mom.

I can’t believe I kept a poop log. This bears repeating. I really can’t fathom that I did this. I mean, I sort of can. I am the most anxious person I’ve ever met (besides my mother), but I now can’t even remember to make a list before I go to the grocery store.

I can’t believe I did night feedings. By the time my second son was born, I pretty much sucked at night feedings. My husband would wake up at odd hours and find me fast asleep with a baby on my boob all over the damn house. Now on an good night, I sleep from about 10pm to 6am (give or take a bout of 2am insomnia), and the thought of getting up to do anything productive in between, like, for instance, sustaining a human life, is just plain asinine.

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I can’t believe I used to wake up before dawn every. single. day. Sleep is finally a valuable commodity in my house. My little roosters actually look forward to Saturday and Sunday mornings when they don’t get dragged out of bed at 6:30am for school. To think that there was once a time when finger painting at 4:30am was the norm is unthinkable.

I can’t believe I made baby food. For the record, I think making baby food is awesome. (So is buying baby food, by the way. As long as you feed your baby, we’re cool.) It’s just that I don’t know how I did it. These days, when there’s hockey practice, a soft pretzel from the snack bar at the ice rink counts as dinner.

Occasionally, the only way I can get my Kindergartner out of the car at morning carpool is to promise him an “all snack” dinner that, per his demands, must include a cupcake. Last night, I’m not sure either of my kids ate dinner at all, which is why it’s difficult to imagine that I once took the time to peel, steam, puree, portion, and freeze organic apples, pears, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes in small containers with matching lids.

I can’t believe I had a toilet in my car. There are things about motherhood that people just don’t tell you, like how potty training is a never-ending, painstaking process that lasts anywhere from five days to five years during which your child will fear pooping anywhere except in the toilet at home or in the fold-up portable potty in the back of your Volkswagen Passat station wagon parked in the preschool parking lot.

Related post: 14 Truths Every New Mom Should Know

Why Do Moms Always Talk About Coffee And Wine?

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Okay, what is up with all the talk about moms needing coffee and wine? Seriously! It’s everywhere. I see something pop up on my Facebook newsfeed almost everyday with this type of content. Why the hell do moms need those beverages so badly?

I’ll see a post that says, “No talking before my coffee” and it gets a thousand likes or picture of a swimming pool that says “fill my wine glass up to here,” and it gets another thousand likes? (Okay I made that last one up). But what’s up with that shit? Why aren’t we over that already? Well sit down now…’cause I’m about to tell you.

Here’s why we need the coffee:

• We may have children who wake up several times a night and our “day” actually begins at bedtime, so by the time the morning comes around, we need a little “pick-me-up.”

• We may have 20 things or more that we have to get done by 8:00 a.m.

• Because cocaine is illegal.

• We are addicted to caffeine and don’t want a withdrawal headache. Fo’ real (you don’t want that).

• Without it, we can be real bitches and quite frankly, we don’t want anyone to get hurt.

• We need our eyes to open fully, not half-way, because that could just be dangerous.

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• We may not even have time to eat breakfast for crying out loud, because we are too busy taking care of our kids. We have to put at least SOMETHING into our bodies.

• We can personalize and adjust it to our mood, diet, etc…

• We are thirsty.

• Because we drank a little bit of wine last night and we need the coffee to help shake that off…which leads to the second part…

Here’s why we need the wine:

• We may not have even sat down yet for the entire day and just need to relax and unwind. I mean shit, we may be moms, but we ARE human.

• It’s 9:00 p.m. and we have to celebrate the fact that our kids are asleep, even if they only stay asleep until midnight.

• We may be so worried about something, whether it be our children, cabin fever (for the stay-at home moms), careers (for the working moms), bills, the dog, the cat, the husband…I mean what DON’T we worry about? Our minds need a break.

• It tastes really effing delicious.

• Just because.

• Sometimes, it helps us engage in sexual relations with the husband…if you know what I’m sayin’.

• Because it helps us stay sane, and out of the looney bin.

• Because tequila, whiskey, and rum are just a little too strong (sometimes).

• We are really really thirsty.

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• We feel glamorous drinking out of a wine glass, even if we are in sweatpants with no make-up and our hair is a mess. There is something about the stem on that glass…well there’s just something about it.

So really, there are a lot of reasons why we are not over the coffee and wine chatter already. But here is the big one. You ready? Okay…here it goes:

We share everything with our children. Some of us share our beds, we’ve shared our wombs, we share our televisions to watch stupid cartoons, we even share the bathroom, because we all know we can’t get a minute alone.

But here’s the awesome thing about wine and coffee…we don’t have to share it, because the kids can’t have it!

So, CHEERS! Here’s to coffee, to wine, and to us.

Related post: “Me Time” Is Bullshit Once You’re a Mother

The Question That Finally Got My Ass To The Gym

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I was getting dressed the other day, when my 7-year-old suddenly had a look of horror on her face, staring at the back of my legs. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I screeched, “What! What is it?”

“There are bumps all over your legs,” she said. “Are you okay? Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“Oh that,” I laughed. “That’s called cellulite.”

And then I added, “Don’t worry; it’s hereditary.”

She didn’t get the joke.

I knew this was one of those body image teaching moments. But I was too busy checking myself out in the harsh bathroom lighting and wondering if I really did need to call an ambulance.

“What is it and why do you have it?”

“It’s good for you. It’s stored up energy in case you ever need it.”

“It’s energy?” She looked skeptical.

“Well, it’s, um, air bubbles under the skin.”

“Air bubbles?”

“You know what, I don’t really know what it is. Let’s not worry about it.”

But she was worrying about it, and now she had me worrying about it. I suddenly felt the urgency to fix something I never cared about fixing before.

“Can you make it go away?”

“I guess, if I went to the gym.”

“Why don’t you go to the gym?”

“Because.”

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“We have a gym in our building, and you have gym clothes. You can go when I’m at school.”

“BA-BAM,” as she would say — I just got my cellulite-ridden ass handed to me on a treadmill.

I think about the lame reasons why I don’t go to gym.

My NutriBullet is in storage, exercising flares up my rosacea, I need to lose ten pounds to fit into my trendy stirrup leggings and backless workout tops, I don’t have a BPA-free monogrammed water bottle, I didn’t shave my legs, I need to buy sneakers with bunion support, I don’t have an iTunes playlist, I need to walk the dog, I need to go to Target, and there’s the laundry, there’s always so much laundry.

I consider confessing that I’m not sure the gym would fix my cellulite. But then I remember her saying, “I have the biggest legs in my class, even bigger than the boys.”

This is scary, dangerous, and heartbreaking territory.

She is thinking about other people’s legs. I never thought about other people’s legs. She is thinking about her own legs. I rarely thought about my own — hence, the emergency situation growing on the back of them.

I tell her it’s okay. That I’m okay and she’s okay and everybody is perfect the way they are. Nobody is dying from cellulite.

And I put out gym clothes for the morning.

Related post: 13 Ways Working Out is Different After Having Kids

10 Motherhood Moments I Wasn’t Ready For

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As parents, we spend most of the time while we’re pregnant, waiting to adopt, or waiting for our surrogate to pop, preparing ourselves for everything we can possibly prepare ourselves for. We read books, blogs, ask doctors and family members, all to get the best start for our little ones. Even after all of that preparation, once your new little one gets placed in your arms you feel like a fish out water. The first year is a year of firsts and often feels like a roller coaster of emotions that go from “How did I get myself into this?” to “Yeah man, I got this!” Unfortunately parents, these firsts are just the tip of the things you could never possibly prepare yourself for iceberg. Here are 10 moments that I wasn’t prepared for:

1. The first time my 4 (almost 5) year old called me “mom”.  Not mommy, not mama, but mom.  It’s way too adult and was a way too real reminder that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

2. Her first kiss. Yes, I know four is WAY too young to have had a first kiss, and yet there it was.  It meant nothing to her, it meant nothing to the little punk who kissed her on the playground but it happened.  One day that first kiss will be but a distant memory and my little girl will be a young woman having her first real kiss, her first real date, her first real dance, her first time.  I am not ready for any of this, but the avalanche has already been started.

3. The first time she put her dishes in the sink without being asked.  I know that this is exactly what we all work towards, our children becoming independent, but can’t she stay dependent on me for just a little bit longer?  I’m okay with cleaning up her dishes forever if I can just freeze her in this moment.

4. Her first drop off birthday party.  Man, that was a tough one.  I had two hours to myself and had zero clue what I should do with them.

5. The first time she had an opinion on her clothes.  My little girl is definitely developing her own style and opinions, and I’m so proud of her for that, but I’ll miss dressing her up in matchy matchy clothes that reflect my style, not hers.

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6. Her first day of real school.  She cried, I cried, but at the end of the day she was happy and excited and talking about all of these kids I knew nothing about.  The fears about school all came flooding to me.  What if she gets bullied?  What if she doesn’t have enough to eat?  What if she doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up for herself?  I trust that my husband and I have done a good job raising her, but I wasn’t ready to send her out into the real world yet.  She had been in daycare for a couple of years previously, but school feels so real and so final.

7. The first time she went to her grandparents and didn’t cry.  She was okay without me.  That one broke my heart, but made me so proud at the same time.  I want her to want to be with her grandparents and have a good time, but there will always be a part of me who hopes that she misses me too much to enjoy herself.

8. The first time she yelled at me for waking her up.  I saw a glimpse of her teenaged years in that moment, and let me tell you, they will not be fun.

9. The first time she copped a ‘tude and rolled her eyes at me.  She’s always been such a polite, respectful little girl, but then out of nowhere I was met with snark, eye rolls and straight up rudeness.  Thankfully she’s still at the age where these moments are few and far between, and honestly a little adorable, but it will only be a matter of time until this will be our daily reality.  I am not ready for it.

10. The first time she stole my makeup.  While this mostly came out of a moment of poor parental supervision, the first time I walked into the bathroom and saw her with my makeup, using it, and trying to make herself “pretty” (i.e. look like a Monster High Doll), I almost lost it.  I am NOT ready to have to share my expensive, meticulously collected makeup with my daughters.  I thought I had a good 10 years until this was going to happen.

Today she’s four, but in two days she’s turning five and from then on it will only be these little moments that I am completely unprepared for. Thankfully, there are still many moments where I look at her and see my baby…but the reality is she’s growing up and I will never be prepared for that.

Related post: No, I Can’t Enjoy Every Moment

Bonding Over Twin Loss

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I recently became friends with a mother on my daughter’s cheerleading squad. There was an instant affinity between us, though we had little enough in common.

She’s the mother of five; I have two. She works full time; I stay at home. She has an au pair (a real one, from a foreign country and everything); I don’t even know a neighborhood kid that I could call to babysit.

But we bonded anyway, over the shrill yells, mistimed choreography, and the joy of watching our daughters be a part of a team.

And one day, we bonded over something else.

Something unlikely.

We were watching the girls share hot cocoa at their very last football game, and the head coach’s identical twin daughters ran past. My heart squeezed a little, like it does at every game and practice. It was just a twinge, a pinch, if you will. I took a deep breath, fighting the melancholy. Then I mentioned it in passing, slipping it into a conversation like you’d mention how the weather’s turning cooler or how excited you are about Christmas.

“Maggie has a twin.”

Her head pivoted so fast I thought she’d fall over.

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If anything bad has ever happened to you in your life, and you mention it to someone who doesn’t know you, then you recognize this moment. The awkward silence that lasts just a split second while you debate if you’re going to talk about it (again), and if she’s going to pity you (again), and if you can handle it.

“Really?” she asked. And then, “So does Bethany.”

I asked. I had to ask. “Where is she?”

“She only lived a few hours. They were premature.”

Her experience was not mine, but I nod anyway. And I answer her unspoken question. “I lost Maggie’s sister at 20 weeks. There was a car accident… Anyway, I miscarried her.”

She raises her eyebrows, and my eyes tear up. She understands. My circumstance was not hers, but she gets it.

We shared a few details: she got to hold her daughter when she passed, I had to carry my dead child and her sister through to a full-term delivery. She opted to cremate her child, I opted for an autopsy.

“That’s hard,” she says.

“It’s all hard. Neither way is easy.”

She agrees.

We look at the coach’s girls. I discreetly wipe a single renegade teardrop from my cheek, determined not to cry in public 8 years after the fact.

Then my friend, my new friend, the one with whom I have so little—and so much—in common, sums up my feelings in one fell swoop.

“I am so jealous.”

She makes my heart feel better. Because she doesn’t pity me. She gets it.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

Related post: The Unexpected Hatred