Girl, don’t go crazy. Go outside.

When I was in the height of my postpartum anxiety, I felt claustrophobic. I often felt like the walls were closing in on me and my very little home was getting smaller by the hour.

I was home alone with my new baby most of the time and afraid to do almost anything.

I didn’t even want to tell my husband just how scared of everything I felt in fear he might make some drastic change like quit his job to watch over me or take me to be evaluated where I would reach my inevitable fate in a padded room somewhere.

I wish someone had just told me to go outside.

Everything indoors is lifeless. The furniture, the decor, the pots and pans, the bedding. Nothing has life, it is spiritless.

Stepping outside, no matter where you are, can instantly change your energy.

Look up at the clouds. They’re moving, they’re alive.

Look at the trees. The flowers. A leaf. Watch them as the breeze makes them move.

Close your eyes and listen. There is life all around you, even if it’s just the sound of cars going by in the distance.

When I’m consumed with my own thoughts and fears and caught up in my mind, something as simple as stepping outside reminds me that there is so much going on outside of just me.

There are people all around me, there is life all around me. What is happening in my head is not as big and overwhelming when I breathe in fresh air, unlike the recycled air of our homes.

If someone had told me to just go outside, I might not have been hiding in my bathroom while my baby napped, sobbing to myself in complete fear and confusion.

So I finally did.

I buckled the baby in his car seat and just drove away.

I was so afraid of even just driving with him, for so many reasons, but I knew I needed to get out.

At first I just drove around aimlessly and then headed in the direction of a neighborhood I love. Up and down streets finding new little neighborhoods and beautiful homes.

I saw people out walking their dogs and people with strollers, people driving by me or pulling into markets. People were going about their days. The world seemed ok and it made me feel ok.

Instead of being a paranoid, anxious, inconsolable new mom, I was just another mom with a new baby driving in her car.

I went through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and got an iced coffee and just continued going from one area to another. (If anyone is looking for a new home, I can tell you where all the nicest, hidden neighborhoods are and which to avoid.)

The baby slept in his car seat and I listened to Jack Johnson (quietly) and started to breathe normally.

All of a sudden I felt happy!

My irrational thoughts and fears began to subside and new feelings of hope began brewing.

Suddenly I was picturing my life as a new mom with this beautiful new baby boy with actual pride and excitement! Getting to drive around with my iced coffee and baby who wasn’t old enough to ask where we were going suddenly made me happy!

I eventually made my way back home and opened a bunch of windows. Even though it was chilly outside, the fresh air made me feel so much better. So I decided to open them every day, no matter how cold it was, even just to get some fresh air in the house.

Even now, with a toddler and a 9 1/2 month old baby, I get overwhelmed. I lose my patience. I have anxieties. So I always know when I need to just go outside.

The other evening, my son was having a full blown tantrum over the contents of his dinner. He’s in a phase where he’ll eat 3 things: Pizza, French Fries or Pasta. If it’s anything else, he refuses it. Most days I give up and give in, but this day I had had enough and decided it was time to start eating some healthy foods again.

After about 45 minutes of sitting at the table with him (while feeding the baby in her high chair) and trying everything in my power, including patience, bribery and punishment, and being met with tears, whimpers and screams, I decided we all needed a break.

I said “that’s it! We’re going outside!”

I put the baby in her stroller and let my toddler walk next to me (because he refuses to sit in the double stroller and I didn’t need a second meltdown) and just walked through our neighborhood and returned a book to our friend’s mailbox.

We took the long way home and just talked as we walked.

Sometimes you need a change of scenery.

Sometimes you need some fresh air.

Sometimes we all (toddlers and babies included) just need a friggin break.

Girl, don’t go crazy. Go outside.

I make this look difficult

I was told by an old man in a yellow Polo not to have a 3rd child.

Are you someone who has children and doesn’t walk around looking like she just came in last place in a mud run towing a grocery cart full of unnecessities?

I make this look difficult.

I am forever in awe (and confusion) of those who can manage children, maintain knowledge of the whereabouts of their wallet, carry one bag and possession of their coupons.

This morning I left the house with my children, one with his juice and snack and the other forced to hold her own bottle on a trip to Target because, let’s face it, it’s the one stop shop all mothers rely on.

I made it a mile and a half and had to turn around to get the Similac coupons I left on the table. They’re $5 off!

When we finally arrived, my baby had fallen asleep so I needed to keep her in her baby carrier and stroller and also get a grocery cart (I refuse to say “buggie”) because I needed too many things.

When this happens, I push the stroller with the sleeping baby and trail the cart behind me.

My toddler refuses to sit in the cart, so he walks beside me. You can imagine what a hot mess we look like and the scene we create as we try to navigate the narrow labyrinth of the toddler, baby, and shoe sections.

When we’re finally done and headed to check out, I have a bag of items to return so we make our way to customer service.

I can see the cashiers whispering “Not it” to each other in the distance.

My son decides now is a good time to break away from me and take off towards the door, only laughing when I catch him and bring him back.

There’s a line forming behind me.

I put the new “backpack leash” on him that just came in the mail from Amazon.

He screams and tries to pull the “leash” off while I try to bribe and calm him down with phrases like “but it looks so cool!” “Lightening McQueen is in the backpack!” And “you look like a big boy going to school!”

People are judging.

I make this look difficult.

I have a return, a cart full of groceries, my own recyclable bags and 2 separate transactions.

I realize too late that I have again left my coupons behind (in the car) but instead of saying “just forget it” I decide to leave everything in a heap on the counter, take my baby (whose now awake and using her new found voice to make screaming noises just because she can) and my toddler, with his leash, (whose starting to cry because he thinks we’re leaving his Annie’s Bunny cookies behind) and go to the car to get the coupons.

When we get back, the line has decreased, as they needed to call for backup, and we finish the longest checkout in history. I stuff all the recycled bags full of our goodies, gigantic tower of paper towels and hand my son his cookies.

There’s a woman behind me carrying a newborn on her chest wrapped up so you can just see his little head. We have the same diaper bag backpack (from Target) and she looks at me and says very friendly:

“I like your diaper bag!”

Me: “Thanks, same here! Is he your first baby?”

Friendly: “Yes!”

Me: “This is what happens when you have two!”

Old man in the yellow Polo: “Don’t have a 3rd”

Me: (putting my head down) “I won’t”

Friendly lady with the newborn had on normal clothes, her hair in place and just enough makeup to probably cover the dark circles that come with having a new baby.

That was never me.

Even in college I carried a backpack AND a purse on my shoulder because I could never minimize or prioritize! Who knew how many different shades of pink lipgloss I might need throughout the day?

I couldn’t tell you where a tube of lipgloss is now but I still don’t go anywhere with just one bag of necessities.

I am a hot mess of snacks, diapers, missing coupons and changes of clothes.

The more children in have, the crazier this train gets.

I always picture an apocalypse happening and having to grab JUST one bag, both of my children, and running.

What if I forgot to replenish one of their sizes of diapers or there’s melted chocolate from a Chewy granola bar all over the first aid kit? What if there’s no container of portioned formula or room-temperature water bottle? That’s actually likely!

I usually walk out of Target (or any market, really) with one lingering sentence that I silently mouth to myself:

“I’m an asshole”

Are you getting sick so I don’t go out again?

I may be losing it (debatable), but I swear every time I get to have a girls night, at least one of my 2 children gets sick!

As you may have already discovered from previous posts, I don’t get out much.

We don’t have family close by to watch our babies if we go out and we don’t have much help in the evenings so my husband and I never get date nights (we’ve had 3 in 3 years, literally) which means it’s either one of us or the other who gets to go out (it’s always him).

On the very rare occasion that I get to have a girls night, my babies get sick!

It’s like an intentionally postponed illness to rear it’s ugly head only when Mommy is on her 2nd glass of a mediocre red blend.

Why is this happening??

I get home with the slightest glimpse of a happy buzz, only to be wakened in the night by a fever bearing baby.

They can sense my freedom and they’re not having it.

It’s like stepping outside into a whole new world where shoppers congregate at Target after dinner and drinks to try on the latest romper and buy it only because this is the only time they’re confidence is boosted.

You make new friends with other moms in the dressing room and tell each other “that looks great!” (And you mean it! But it does not!)

The next day you remember your conversation and that hideous floral jumper and you want to find that woman and tell her to return the jumper but we should be friends!

My children don’t like this, they can sense that I’m gone, (even though they’re asleep) and decide to manifest a virus just to spite me.

Then you feel guilty for leaving in the first place and also realize you’re never going to get to go out ever again and you resent your husband who gets to play corn hole on Thursday nights because even though you hate corn hole, you can appreciate an early evening of freedom and a little buzz.

Your future trips to Target will be accompanied by your babies and there will be no half-drunken fashion shows with strangers or random bubble bath purchases. Baby wipes and gold fish are all you’re going to get.

At least they have a wine isle.

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.

img_4990

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.

img_5135

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.

img_5037