Tonight I looked at her hands.

Every day seems like a race against the clock.

You wake up too early and once your feet hit the floor, it seems like you’re running.

I’m not a morning person, so when we do leave the house, I usually look like Charlize Theron….in Monster.

While other moms take the time to do their hair, makeup and attempt to look presentable, (even just to run errands and go to doctors appointments), I am usually loading the dishwasher and washing bottles because I was too tired to do it after dinner the night before and let’s face it, last night was a shit show of baths, crying, juggling diapers and then we all flopped into our respective beds or cribs one by one.

I’m not great at time management, so even if I have a couple hours to prepare for our exit, I seem to run around the house searching for keys, phone and stuffing our oversized diaper bag with unnecessary portions of formula and snacks until the very last second. And we’re still late.

So it’s of no surprise that by the end of the day I’m using borrowed time to return emails, reply to clients and set up appointments.

More often than not, these last minute responses are done in the dark using one hand to type and the other to balance a bottle and baby in the other.

I try to play catch up during the quiet moments.

But tonight, I just rocked her.

I purposefully left my phone behind so that when the moment came that I remembered to finally answer that text, I couldn’t.

I just fed my baby girl.

I admired her.

Her little chubby hand was holding one side of the bottle while I held the other.

She has little dimples where her knuckles will one day be, and then I started to wonder at what point my sons little finger dimples turned into knuckles.

I watched her drink her Bubba with her eyes closed. She was so peaceful and comfortable.

I could tell she felt safe and warm in my arms as her little head rested in between my elbow and chest.

Her little belly stuck out just a bit and her knees bent, curling into me.

I stroked her silky soft hair with its little cowlick in front (just like her brother and daddy have) and wondered if it would turn more blonde like mine as a baby or dark like my husband’s was (before he started shaving it all off).

If I weren’t such an anxious person, I swear I could’ve slept right there in that rocking chair with her all night long (or until she woke up again at 12:00 or 3:00, depending on her mood).

Those 20 minutes were priceless and they don’t last forever. My toddler requests his daddy at nighttime now, which leaves me free to not load the dishwasher and also feels a little like getting punched in the gut.

I cherish any time to rock my babies, especially when all else is quiet and I can put the recurring list of worries in my mind on hold for a moment.

I’ll have to remember to forget my phone in the living room again tomorrow.

We haven’t actually spoken in 4 months, but can I vent for a minute?

I’ve made it no secret that living far away from my family and friends I grew up with is not easy.

Being married and having children can be, shall we say “Trying”? at times, and for some reason, most of us are afraid to share these difficult moments, days, weeks, MONTHS with each other.

Living in the south, I have found this especially true. There’s a certain level of politeness and there’s a façade of happiness wherever you go and whomever you may speak to.

Sure, anyone who’s married and/or has children will chuckle and say something along the lines of “motherhood isn’t easy!” Or “being married has its challenges!”

But what I’m looking for is more along the lines of “I think I might murder my cocky-ass husband in his sleep tonight unless someone gives me a Xanax.” Or “Is it normal for a 6 month old to scream like her crib is on fire when there’s NOTHING wrong? Someone help me!”

Why are we afraid to say what’s really going on?

I was sitting down in the break room at my old job shortly after I got married and just said quite plainly “I hate him. I really just HATE him” and everyone just kind of looked at me with either judgement or pity, I couldn’t quite make out there expressions. All I knew was, I was alone.

“No?” I asked. “No one else? We all love our husbands?” Ok. Noted. No further outbursts from me.

All I wanted was someone else to look at me and say “Girl, me too”. That’s it.

Which is why I rely on about 3 or 4 friends I have back home who have known me and been through growing pains with me who I can call or text out of nowhere and just VENT. No judgement.

I can say things like “Remind me why we got married?” And I’ll get something back like “I’ve been wondering the same F-ing thing all week”. Or “You’re asking ME? I just told him to jump out of a moving car.” Simple. Honest. Real.

Some days, I have no patience and no more fucks left to give. Moments where if I didn’t have children, I’d walk out the front door and do whatever the hell I wanted for a week until I missed my life and drove back.

But I do have babies and responsibilities and I can’t just walk out and find a Blues Traveler concert tour to follow.

Thank God for the girls I can text with any amount of momentary meltdowns and thank God they all share the same thoughts and feelings I have.

If you feel like venting right this second, feel free to comment below and say whatever the hell you want! The more, the merrier.

If you’re too embarrassed to share, that’s fine too, just know you’re not alone. You’re doing a great job and the genuinely happy moments, days, months are there too. We all have them! The good, the bad, the trying.

Even the most polite people with good hair and well-blended makeup have thoughts of running away (and some actually WILL when they’re 47 and can’t stand the façade that they’re feet don’t hurt in those BCBG heels).

Don’t be that girl. Wear your Toms. Text your girls. Have a glass of Prosecco.

But I’M the one who rocked you for 8 1/2 months!!

Okay, so we carry our babies in our bodies for 9 months or so. We decide where they go and what they do because they’re with us. Then we give birth to them (some of us for 26 hours, but who’s counting) and get to hold them, feed them, change their diapers and take care of them.

I was my son’s everything for the 1st 8 1/2 months of his life.

Maybe it was the postpartum anxiety or maybe he was just a fussy baby. Whatever the case, I held my baby constantly. People would joke all the time “Do you ever put him down?” No. The answer was “no”.

Because I held Chase so much and let him nap on me the majority of the time, he would scream when I put him in his crib to nap (even when I put him down completely asleep, he would instantly wake up and cry: even faking gagging on one special occasion), so I inevitably rocked him for the duration of his naps (even twice a day for sometimes 2 hours at a time) leaving virtually no time for myself, whatsoever.

I’m sure this is all my fault, but it was all well worth it because I hung the moon, in Chase’s eyes. I lit up a room. I was his sunshine on a cloudy day.

Until one day.

One day, when I was pregnant with our daughter and waddling around, after my husband had instilled in me that I needed to back off and allow him more time with our son so they could bond the way I had gotten to with him, Chase saw a lightbulb go off. His daddy was way cooler than his mommy.

His daddy was the one throwing him footballs and tackling him to the ground, setting up hockey nets and “body-checking” him while he wailed with laughter. Teaching him how to swing a bat and throw a cornhole bag. Watching Tom Brady on our flat screen wearing their matching Patriots jerseys and going out to use their leaf blowers together.

His daddy gets to actually WATCH a movie snuggled up to Chase while I might get a few minutes here and there in between laundry changes, diapers changes, bottle-washing and food prep.

When I try to snuggle up to Chase while he’s watching something, he gives me a second and then nudges me off!! Excuse me, kid?! I pushed you out of my body after carrying you inside of me for the better part of a year! I didn’t let your feet touch the ground until I finally put you down, like, yesterday! What the shit? I take you to the children’s museum and the playground, we go wild strawberry picking and collect shells from the beach (some of which I kept for you in a little box, by the way)!

I knew this day was coming. I knew I wouldn’t be the only person who lit up Chase’s life forever, but I thought it would last a little longer than 2 years! He’s still a baby!! Isn’t he supposed to love only ME for a little while longer??

Aren’t I supposed to be the one who makes him laugh all the time and gives the best hugs? Shouldn’t I be the one he comes running to for everything??

Sure, I’m still the one he prefers at bed-time and naps, and I’m still the one he comes to for cookie-making, when he’s hurt or sick or when he wants to do something like get up on his stool and use the sprayer to wash away glitter in the sink (something I do to keep him occupied while I get dinner ready) but I’m not the only ruler of this castle anymore. All of a sudden there’s a king by my side! With an even bigger throne!

Alas, I walked around with a smug look on my face and a false sense of security for too long. This little blue-eyed angel wouldn’t have me up on a pedestal forever.

Damn leaf blower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t poop on your floor so don’t wear your shoes in my house.

Being an anxious person, I get to be all kinds of crazy, annoying and insistent.

I’m not laid back, I’m not a go-with-the-flow type of person.

I overpack. I leave the house with a backpack full of diapers, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, snacks for children, babies and adults. Water bottles. First Aid kits and changes of clothes for everyone. (You never know when spit up and blow outs will make a visit).

I have a list of things I need to sleep including sound machines, a glass of water in arms reach, a fan (that has to be near my face), my “L” shaped pillow in between my legs, a big comforter and my bunny to snuggle.

I’m also very aware of germs and dirt. If you’re going to hold my children, I appreciate you washing your hands because I have no clue what (or who) you’ve been touching between your house and mine.

You won’t be surprised now when I tell you we (I say “we” because I’ve broken my husband down) have a No-Shoe rule in the house.

I understand how I am. I have been a pain in the ass all of my life. I seek no pitty, no need to argue with me, I know who I am. I can certainly be difficult and I know I like things the way I like them.

That being said, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IS ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SHOES?!???

If not, let me shed a little light:

66 Million Organisms!!! Live bacteria, live viruses, FECES, E. Coli, and do I need to go on?

Think about where you’ve been in your shoes. Been to Target lately? Been to a public bathroom? A restaurant? Possibly someone’s lawn?

Chemicals dangerous to children, especially under the age of 2 from people’s lawn treatments, human (and other) feces from bathrooms and even just the isles of grocery stores where thousands of other people have tracked their feet, live viruses like the flu, and so on.

When people walk in our home, I ask them to remove their shoes before walking past the front hall because not only do I not want to clean my floors all the live-long day but the mere THOUGHT of everything people are tracking on their shoes makes me cringe.

Now take a look around your home. Do you have children? Likely they play on the floor, sit on the floor, learn to crawl on the floor. Do you want them crawling around on a floor with millions of bacteria and viruses, and well, POOP?!?

Is your body cringing yet?

Good, I did my job:)

Here’s a couple quick links to learn more:

https://clark.com/health-health-care/this-is-why-you-shouldnt-wear-shoes-in-your-house/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.today.com/today/amp/tdna129820

I know I cussed you out last year, but are you accepting preschool applicants?

Anyone who knows me as a parent knows I’m a little crazy. I blame it on a combination of postpartum anxiety, my very Italian family and a short list of childhood disappointments.

After my son was born, my postpartum anxiety subsided, and I began venturing out of the confinements of our home, I found myself feeling a need to get back to the gym. Most of my other mom friends had made that leap much sooner than I had and I felt ready.

The problem wasn’t just leaving my baby for an hour or two (something I had extreme trouble with) it was leaving him in the gym daycare with people he (and I) didn’t know.

Sure, they had windows for me to peak through, the staff all had background checks and a good reputation, and it was a good opportunity for both he and I to be around other people. Apparently other human beings existed, it wasn’t just the two of us, although it seemed that way for a really long time.

I tried dropping him off, I really did. A few times. But he screamed and cried and was so confused. I just knew he thought I was gone forever. Even when the woman holding him tried to shield me from his view and another woman shooed me towards the actually workout area to let me know all was going to be ok, I just couldn’t.

I went back twice after less than 10 minutes and went home. Trying to focus on the stair master or elliptical was impossible when my heart was racing and swear I could hear him cry. I couldn’t get his little face out of my mind and really, who needed to get rid of the mom-gut anyway?

So I waited another couple months and decided to try another branch, the same branch my friend was bringing her twin girls to (who were a few months younger than Chase).

I gave the very friendly (and patient) staff a long list of instructions including not to let him cry and to please come get me or call me if he did. They agreed and were really excited to see me finally walk out.

I left, reluctantly, and tried not to cringe when one of the staff took his teether from me, holding the part he chewed on with her fingers.

I got on the stair master, put my Pandora station on DMX radio (“X Gon Give it to Ya” really gets me going) and made sure I was facing the entrance in case one of them came to get me.

They never did.

After 30 minutes, I decided enough was enough and I had to go see my baby.

As I walked out of the cardio room and down the hall towards the daycare I heard a baby screaming and just knew it was my son. It’s one of those things only a mom can tell from far away. A man would never pick up on that, not any man I know, anyway.

I picked up the pace and ran into the room and sure enough, there was my son, being held by one of the male staff members at the front desk, away from all the other children. He was crying so hard and had been for so long that he couldn’t catch his breath and had that quick, panicky, puffy breathing thing going on. You know the one.

When I grabbed him and held him, I started tearing up, too.

“Dammit. I knew I shouldn’t have done this. Mother _ _ _ _ #$%. Son of…”

Well, you get it. I was pissed.

I looked around and a few staff members were standing close by and I asked why the hell no one had come to get me? Why had no one called? I was stepping away like an idiot thinking my baby was happy and I came back to this. I was infuriated, actually. They had reassured me they would never let him cry more than a few minutes to get adjusted and would absolutely come get me if he didn’t.

Chase had to be removed from the actual play area because he was causing the other children to worry! Maybe I’m overreacting but my blood was boiling, I was so upset, I yelled at everyone, told them how unacceptable this was and stormed out.

They explained that they were LITERALLY about to come get me and he hadn’t been crying like that for very long. I wasn’t buying it.

I demanded to speak to the manager. Not the manager of the daycare, the manager of the whole building.

This woman was going to remember me.

I made such a fuss, was crying, grasping my son and made sure everyone around me heard about it.

I made such a scene that other parents walking in with strollers stopped to listen. I think they thought something catastrophic had happened in the baby room.

I cancelled my membership right then and there and if all of that wasn’t enough, came home and wrote a pretty lengthy email to the CEO. She wrote me back almost immediately and was really understanding and apologetic. Girl was good. You don’t climb the ladder without calming a few bitches down.

Jump to a year and a half later. I’ve had my second baby and my first is getting ready to start thinking about preschool possibilities and I still haven’t worked out more than the 15 squats I did in December and that one Yoga video on YouTube

They have forgotten about the crazy lady (although I’m still pissed) and I hear they have a wonderful facility!

I’m going to take a tour of the preschool next week. I just have a pretty important decision to make before then.

Red Sox hat or the cute blue and white one with the anchor? I think the one with the anchor hides my face a little better.

I licked garlic mayonnaise off of my microwave (and other embarrassing admissions)

I’d like to say it’s not as bad as it sounds…but it is. I licked garlic mayonnaise off of my microwave.

My dad gives the best gifts. He’s usually at least 6 months late, but they’re always worth it. The latest birthday present was 5 weeks of meals from HelloFresh (if you’re unfamiliar, they send pre-packaged, pre-measured ingredients with a recipe for each and you make the meals yourself).

It was that time of night: I was attempting to make dinner (jalapeño cheddar burgers that my toddler would not touch and my 6 month old might not let me sit to eat). I had read only pieces of the recipe (I have never been good at following direction) and I skipped steps and somehow added others, yet everything came out delicious (or was I just starving?)

With a cranky baby on my hip that wouldn’t let me put her down and my toddler running around the kitchen island asking me to play “shake your bum song” (aka Time Of Our Lives by Pitbul, featuring Neo) for the 16th consecutive time, I grabbed a sweet potato wedge and dunked it into the homemade garlic mayo. I stuffed it in my mouth and went back for more only this time trying to start the microwave to 5 minutes to sterilize the baby bottles. As I hit “start” with my pinky, a glob of garlic mayo smeared across the “cancel” button. I instinctively put the remaining wedge in my mouth and without hesitation, LICKED THE MAYO OFF OF THE MICROWAVE!

My toddler stopped running and even the baby shook her head at me. It needed it!! The potato was SO much better with the sauce and I didn’t want to waste it! Sigh.

I get my son to come downstairs with me to switch the laundry with a promise of skittles. I keep a jar downstairs in my spa (my home business) for clients. I always give him 2 and tell him that that’s all there is, but it’s enough to keep him happy. I usually hide the rest behind a picture or somewhere nearby.

I went to do laundry by myself recently and found one of the “hidden” opened bags under some clothes on the counter. Were they clean clothes? Questionable. Was there lint on the skittles? Yes. Did I eat them? Yes. Do I remember when I hid them there? No.

More often than not there is a piece of cereal (or some other stale snack) on the living room rug or playroom mat. Sometimes they get vacuumed, sometimes they are hand-picked up and thrown away and sometimes….they get eaten…by me. The trash is too far and my mouth is too convenient. My husband witnessed one of these events, looked at me and said “you’ve really just given up, huh?” Yes. Yes I have.

I left an opened bag of my favorite Trader Joe’s tail mix in my coat pocket and forgot about it months ago. The mix inevitably spilled out and my pocket was filled with loose cashews, almonds and craisins. I knew it was there but instead of throwing it away, I thought: “yay, a healthy future snack!” And it was. A month later, healthy, future snack. I wonder what I looked like picking nuts out of my pocket and throwing them in my mouth as I walked through Target toting 2 small children?

I have to hand it to the moms I see with actual clothes on (i.e. not yoga pants and a hoodie) and makeup! Are my babies just that demanding or do you put them in front of the tv so you can apply foundation and concealer? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Lord knows I do it too but it’s just so I don’t go a 2nd day without a shower).

Have you seen the remake of the Stepford Wives? The one with Nicole Kidman? I’m Bette Midler’s character

I might never be put together again. Once a decade when we actually get a date night, I’ll remind my husband that he isn’t married to a Neanderthal and I can be sexy (the sexiest version of myself I can be at this point) but I don’t foresee myself dusting off these hot nursing bras anytime soon! (I stopped breastfeeding 2 months ago).

I think I have been dethroned, and could someone peel these tattoos off?

I thought I wanted to be the only female in my household. I thought I wanted only boys so I could keep my title as the princess of the house.

Every year on my birthday for as long as I can remember I have been wearing a tiara or crown. It was obnoxious, but I owned it. I took pride in the fact that everyone would notice me and have to acknowledge that it was my birthday.

During my bachelorette party, I took the opportunity to rock the crown as well. Any celebration would do, really.

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Yes. This is me, and yes, apparently I make this face.

However, on August 24th, 2018, I was dethroned. My very own princess, Noelle Joanne.

I thought I wanted another boy. I could keep being loved and adored by all the boys in my house and I’d be the only girl. I didn’t think I wanted to raise a girl. I was afraid of all the things I would do wrong as a parent. Why didn’t this worry me with my son? I just knew he’d always be Mommy’s boy and it was my husband’s responsibility to do all the “manly” teachings, but this was a GIRL. It would be MY responsibility to teach her about being a female, a girl, a teenager and a woman! How the heck do I do that?!?

I had my ears pinned back when I was 12 years old. They stuck out and I came home crying one day because a boy in my class called me “Dumbo”. My mom asked me if my ears really bothered me and took me to a plastic surgeon. We decided to go ahead and get them pinned back, a simple procedure, but a painful one.

My mother thought she was doing the right thing and helping me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

I wish I never had that surgery.

Noelle’s ears stick out a bit just like mine and I wish we still had that in common.

All of a sudden I don’t want to highlight my hair anymore!

I want to peel these freakin’ tattoos off!

I wish I never had a breast augmentation when I was 25 or got a belly button ring (who decided that was cute?!) because now I have this tiny hole that will never completely close!

When Noelle was born, I instantly knew she was perfect, just the way she was, and the older she gets, day by day, she proves that to me.

She is absolutely perfect.

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I want to match her in every way! I want to be the picture of perfection in her mind, not because I am perfect, but because God made me just right and he did the same for her.

How scary it is being the mother of a daughter!!

I don’t want to be a cautionary tale. I don’t want to be the version of what “not to do”.

If I wish my mom did one thing differently, it would be to insist that I was perfect just the way I was.

She told me not to get a tattoo, but I did, I got several.

What I hope to do differently is EXPLAIN why Noelle should or shouldn’t do something. The generation of “because I sad so” is so old fashioned and really inconsiderate.

I’m not saying tattoos are bad (please don’t let me offend you) or that getting a piercing is marring your body, but I want my daughter to know that her body is sacred and perfect. I want her to have the utmost respect for herself (and her body) and know that she has no flaws. She is exactly as she should be.

I know my children will one day tell someone who will listen that their mother did X, Y and Z wrong. They’ll inevitably have their own complaints and opinions about how we raised them. I just hope and pray they do it without any tattoos! 😉

So, not only have I been blessed (and humbled) to become the mother of a daughter, but I get to have NOELLE as my daughter!

I certainly don’t have all the answers to raising a little girl, but I hope she’s patient with me as I try to figure it out. I think she will be, she seems pretty nice.

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