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Archive for the ‘Mommy Issues’ Category

Mommy, Esq lives in the Boston area (where the winters try their best to get her to move South) with six month old Ned and Penny, and her husband of six years. She is a corporate lawyer by trade, but would love to attempt being a wedding photographer. She says “I love taking photographs and doing storybook photographing – which is why blogging is perfect for me!”

Spending time with my sister and her daughter last week brought back some memories of our newborn days. I can’t say it brought back many memories because frankly I don’t remember a lot – and that is probably for the best. Having a newborn (or two or more) is hard on your marriage. Usually when I cried – which was not that often thankfully – it was about my husband. Husband and I have found a good groove now that I am back at work and things feel more equal. But those early days were all about what I had to do and how I wasn’t feeling supported or appreciated or understood. Here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way…

 1. Roadmap. There is no roadmap for new moms – no matter how hard you know breastfeeding will be, how many classes on childcare you take or even if you have hired a baby nurse (as we did) it is The Mommy who is in charge. The Mommy is expected to know everything – how to change a diaper and sooth a cranky baby. How much and when to feed The Baby. When The Baby needs to sleep. If The Mommy is stubborn (ahem) the road the newly created family travels will be that much harder.

2. Mindreading. Husbands can’t read minds. But The Mommy is expected to know everything so why can’t The Husband be expected to read The Mommy’s mind? Can’t The Husband understand the nuances of when The Mommy is about to break-down because dammit The Mommy didn’t want him just to swaddle The Baby she wanted him to hold The Baby and make The Baby STOP CRYING. Or just sit next to The Mommy and talk about how wonderful the kids are while The Mommy breastfeed even if The Husband hates the HGTV/SoapNet show she is watching. Communication is really hard when you are sleep deprived, when you are burning more calories breastfeeding than a marathon runner and when your mind is consumed by details of poop and last feeding times.

3. Changing Roles. The Mommy was (just) a Lawyer, Wife or some such person 10 minutess before the baby(ies) popped out. Now The Mommy is supposed to be 100% about her kid(s). See #1 – where is the instruction manual? How come The Husband can complain about being sleep deprived when he is only getting up once a night (or not at all)? Suddenly The Mommy is supposed to cook dinner when it used to be all take out; do the laundry when it was a 50-50 job in the past? The Mommy does NOT = Housewife. The Husband shouldn’t be worrying about paying bills or opening mail or anything not 100% baby-related when he is home with The Mommy – that can wait until The Baby is asleep.

4. Worst Time of Day. The Mommy will be calling Husband every 10 mins after 4 pm asking when he is going to come home. Because the time from 4 pm to bedtime is a Soul Sucking couple of hours. And if you are pumping and breastfeeding (or trying to) it is even worse because you are so exhausted from the life being sucked out of you. If someone else tells The Mommy she should be sleeping when the babies do she will probably kill them.

5. Learning to Accept Help. Husband and I were rockstars in the hospital. The nurses told me that they never worried about us – I seemed so together and strong despite a C-Section. The kids roomed in and we did it all with a cheery waive to the nurses – “all under control, thanks!” My sister was smarter – she sent Cameron to the nursery because after all, Cameron wouldn’t be rooming in when they brought her home. Damn, good call. Stacey though can’t let go of the cleaning/picking up of the house. Husband had already trained me in that department. Sort of like #2 it took a while before I was willing to accept help – even from the baby nurse we were paying! Stupid stubbornness. The Mommy needs to be in control and make all the right choices. I found it easier to limit the interactions with the wider world to once or twice a week so I could appear completely in control during those times and let myself be crazy the rest of the time.

6. Nothing Stays the Same. The Husband always complains to The Mommy: “Why do you keep changing things?” See #1 – The Mommy has no idea what she is doing. The baby changes every day. The Mommy will try out a multitude of routines before she “picks” one that will last for about 2 days. This was so hard on Husband. I think he loves that the kids have been on the same routine for more than 2 months now. Hmmm…that must mean it is time to shake things up. This walk down memory lane hasn’t dampened my desire to have another child but it does remind me how friggin’ hard the first kid(s) are on a marriage. I would like to think I would handle things better the next time around but frankly I don’t think I will remember enough so we’ll be back at #1 reinventing the wheel. The Husband will probably helpfully ask at multiple intervals: “Is this what we did for The First Baby(ies)?”

What was the hardest thing in your relationship with your partner when you brought home your bundle(s) of joy?
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Read other HDYDI posts on marriage and multiples:

The State of the Union

Absence

The Man in Your Bed

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My twins are a week away from their second birthday, and the “terrible twos” have hit. Hard. My daughter has always been, how shall we say?…..opinionated. dsc_0233Strong-willed. Assertive. She’s a sweet, engaging little girl, but she’s intense. We’ve been seeing tantrums from her for months and months now. My little boy has been much more mellow and go with the flow. In the last month or so, that has changed. Now, I have two two year olds who tantrum. And have strong desires about what they want. And don’t want. And it changes by the minute. Danny’s new thing is to say no when offered a food—-then about 10 seconds later, change his response to, “Yeah, yeah, yeah”. It happens about 80% of the time. babies-23-months-097They’re fighting over Danny’s pink sippy cup (I know, not the most masculine color). They’re fighting over getting dressed in the morning…..and getting undressed at night.

We’re not quite sure how to handle this new phase. Here’s one thing we’ve done—-a sticker chart for getting dressed in the morning. If you get dressed without screaming or crying, you get to pick out a sticker for your chart. It’s been shockingly effective. The rest of you with one, two, three or more toddlers out there…..what do you do to get through the day? Besides my favorite, which is to throw them in bed at 7pm and pour a big glass of wine. Nice, but not really a great long-term coping strategy.

Sticker charts

Sticker charts

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My kids are now almost two—and part of me has no idea how that happened. It seems like just a month or two ago, we were starting solid foods. And working on sleeping through the night. And outgrowing the bucket carseats.  However, since they’re not infants anymore, they do lots of fun toddler activities. One activity they go to is an Early Intervention playgroup. They have a blast there—there’s a gross motor room (think slides and swings), free play in the classroom, circle time, snack time and art. Oh, don’t even get me started on the time they did fingerpaints. Oh. My. Lord. My kids were about 18-19 months. Imagine. There was fingerpaint in hair, mouth and decorating a cute little shirt which used to sport the name of the college both Daddy and I attended—without green paint.

So,  perhaps you’re thinking—this doesn’t have a lot to do with food? Then, let me get to the point. During each group, there is a snack time. Snack time takes place at the table (without sippy cups–eep!) and the kids are offered two types of snacks. The teachers show the kids both snacks and ask, “Do you want applesauce, cracker or both”. My kids? They always want “both”. Of course they do, as they love eating out. When we started group, they also enjoyed eating most foods at home too. However, since then, they have developed into typical toddlers. A bit finicky. A bit tantrum-y. Very indecisive. So challenging.

In the last month, mealtimes have become a headache. They are requesting certain foods, then refusing to eat them. Foods they used to love get a (screamed), “No!!! No!!! No!!!” along with a violent head shake, in case Mommy is a bit slow and didn’t realize that they didn’t want that food choice. I get frustrated. They get frustrated. It’s not pretty. And I really am not an idiot. I don’t prepare six types of food for them. I don’t let them have cookies for dinner. But, it’s still frustrating. And when they’re hungry and grouchy, I get pretty grouchy myself, fairly quickly.

So, one day this week I decided to take the EI approach. I offered two choices (pasta & pear). The kiddos? They wanted, “Both”. And got really excited about it. Hmm. Since then, this has been what happens at every meal. They have eaten foods I haven’t seen them eat for months—turkey meatloaf (somehow feeling a bit wrong since we were JUST watching the wild turkeys out the window), pasta with tomato sauce, kidney beans, black beans, red pepper, cornbread….it’s all excited when they get to pick both. They’re eating much healthier and more balanced meals. And there’s almost no yelling. Maybe those Early Intervention teachers know what they’re doing. Hmm….perhaps I am a bit slow after all, since it’s taken me months to think to try this approach at home.

Anyway, I thought I’d offer up this technique in case others with toddlers were experiencing the same joy around mealtimes that I was. Oh, and a bonus? My two slow-to-speak kids? They can now say “both” very clearly.

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(In no way does this post intend to belittle anyone’s experience on bed rest.)

I was on some form of modified or strict bed rest for 14 weeks when I was pregnant with my boys. Fourteen weeks. It was hard, boring, scary, and long. But you know what? I have a secret!

I really miss being the ultimate couch potato.

There are two things I miss so much I could cry. I miss watching hour after hour of television with NO GUILT. With the help of my TiVo boyfriend, I got to watch anything I ever wanted to watch – movies, dramas, reality shows, comedies, baby shows. And the TiVo remote was mine, ALL MINE. No constant whining for Dora when I want to watch Rock of Love (which obviously I do not really watch in front of my boys!). No handing the remote to my husband.

The other part I miss? STUFFING MY FACE. I made the most of my 5000-6000 calories each day. I’d love to say I ate organic and low-fat meals. Nope, I stuffed my face. Lunch was mac and cheese covered in bacon. Afternoon snack was a chocolate milkshake. I lost count of how many large roast beef sandwiches I ate from Arby’s. Arby’s! And I ate every bite with not one single moment of guilt.

Would I ever want to live through that experience again? Absolutely not. But I would love to have just one entire day laying on the couch watching all my shows, stuffing my face, and having someone wait on me hand and foot… all GUILT FREE.

Tell me your true mom confession!

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For all those mothers of multiples (with extra help!) out there, or those that didn’t have help, but are interested anyway, this NPR segment aired Monday. It is on multiples and how they are changing our lives—and I’m pretty sure she’s not talking about the specifics of MY life but the bigger EVERYONE’s. I found it disturbing on a number of levels, but perhaps that’s simply because I’m one of “those moms”, as she discusses, who would rather have had two babies at once than tried to do IVF again? My own personal feelings aside, I’m curious as to what others think of this? There are certainly some interesting ethical dilemmas which are highlighted, but I do think she misses out the positives of twins or more.

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=2-23-2009

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As a first-time mom, I got my butt handed to me with twin newborns. It was a hard year. Once we got past the four month mark and we saw some things getting easier, cold and flu season started. My boys were/are in group day care. They were sick all… the… time. RSV, ear infections, vomiting viruses, random fevers, colds, they caught it all. And then there were the worries about developmental delays and Alex’s extreme plagiocephaly. I wrote very openly about our experiences on my blog and was even more honest about the difficulty of twins with my real-life friends.

Now I’m feeling like a butthead. While I’ve always been very honest, I am not a gushy person. I’m not the type to say, “Being a twin mom is the BEST thing to EVER happen to me EVER!!!” But that’s what I think. I believe having twins has been the biggest blessing of my life. Some days, I am stunned at how much love I have in my heart for both my boys. Sometimes they hug each other or laugh together and I can’t believe this is my life. I hear them call each other “brother” and I feel all melty and weepy and I wish everyone could see the instant replay in my head. Because having twins RULEZ.

One of my real life friends is going through fertility problems. Her number one question about every option is – what is the multiple rate?  I feel horribly guilty because I am sure I’m the one that scared her about twins. I’m sure hearing my daily battles with sleep regressions, illnesses, and the general insanity of twins has been a large part of scaring her. And I am a jackoff because I should be talking about the many positives of twins as much, if not more, than the negatives. I need to stop being real and start being gushy.

Here they are, LauraC’s Favorite Things About Being A Twin Mom:

* There is always someone in a good mood. Inevitably if one kid is having a tantrum, the other is being an angel. Mommy’s little angel.

* One pregnancy (albeit ROUGH), two babies. Only one childbirth, one childbirth recovery, and one newborn sleeplessness period, and you get TWO kids out of the deal.

* Baby interaction. Oh goodness, I miss two babies crawling, chasing each other around our kitchen island and laughing. Those are some of my favorite memories in my life. They would chase each other forever, giggling and panting. Best ever.

* I pretty much feel like I can accomplish anything after surviving that newborn period. Bring it, 3 year old tantrums.

* Listening to the boys talk to each other over the monitor after they go to bed has lifted me up so many times when I’ve had a rough day. Their sweet little voices talking about their toys and their day, oh man it makes my heart overflow.

* Not sweating the small stuff. I simply don’t have time to do it. I’ve tried my entire life to accomplish this.

* Jon is a much better father for having played such a large part in caring for the boys as infants. If I were a singleton mom, I would have been a much bigger control freak about my baby.

* Memories of nights, sitting with Jon, each of us holding a baby and talking to each other while we fed them. Imagining what our life would be like when they were boys instead of babies. Having twins brought me and my husband together in a way I can’t explain. We’re in this for the long road, together, every baby-feeding-puking-cleaning-up-poop-crying step of the way.

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Alright gals, I did it. After two years of agonizing over the appearance of my belly, I finally got the gumption to go to the plastic surgeon. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually have anything done. But I took the first step with a consultation. And let me tell you, it was fifty bucks well spent.

First off, if you have the ambition of making a crap-load of money during your time here on earth, become a plastic surgeon. I stepped into this guys’ office, and I felt like I was at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Super deluxe…and I live in Austin, Texas, where you can go to a five star restaurant in jeans and a tank top (and don’t forget your cowboy hat!). When I got a look at his fees; let’s just say he makes somewhere in the range of $1,500 an hour. Not bad!

I was oddly comfortable waiting for Dr. 78735 in the plush terry robe and g-string scrubs, although it would have been nicer if they had offered me a glass of wine and a pedi while I waited. He entered the room and after brief introductions, asked me what I was interested in. Huh – isn’t that what you’re supposed to tell me? I admitted that I was a total neophyte and meekly stated a tummy tuck and a boob job. He asked if I wanted both a breast augmentation and lift. I answered with a blank look. After some discussion over the technicalities of each procedure (more blank looks), it was time to disrobe (eegads!).

The unveiling wasn’t that bad. I was diagnosed with a large umbilical hernia (which my insurance would cover – whoopee!), major diastasis (above and below and all around the tap that my Be Bo has become), stretched-out skin and, of course, stretch marks. He pronounced that I would need a full tummy tuck to correct everything. He’d try and use my existing c-section scar and then cut a smiley face to each hip bone, a general surgeon would come in and fix the hernia, he would pull my ab muscles back into place, and then stretch my skin downwards to get rid of all the unsightliness. All of the skin and stretch marks from my belly button down would be gone (as in cut out forever), and the stretch marks above my BB would be much less visible because they would be, um, really stretched. Lovely.

As for the boobs, he said I wouldn’t need a lift. After 13 months of breastfeeding two babies, imagine that! At least there was some good news to this visit. But he said an augmentation would “restore the look and fullness” to my deflated mom boobs. He said silicone was the only way to go, because it feels the most like breast tissue. I nodded and tried to mask another blank look.

We sat back down and talked more technicalities of the actual surgery. It’d last about 4 hours, I would need at least one overnight in the hospital (he recommended two), and a pain pump was the way to go (kind of like an epidural for the stomach). The kicker was when I heard about the recovery time. The boob job was hardly anything. The tummy tuck? Six weeks. Yes, you heard me. Six weeks of lifting no more than 10 pounds. With twin two year olds, one of whom attaches himself to me as if he wants to be back in utero, good luck on that one!

After the consultation, I had the pleasure of posing in my g-string scrubs for some pictures. With mirrors and umbrella lights in each corner and a pretty, skinny young thing taking the pictures – let’s just say it was a humbling experience. She took about ten photos, and to add insult to injury, made me step on the scale. They program this whole experience just right, because then I was ushered into a room to view before and after pics. All I can say is AMAZING! I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I loved seeing bellies that looked far worse then mine looking gorgeous after a tummy tuck.

A lovely lady in her 50s entered the room with lots of paperwork and walked me through the process and the expenses. Pretty amusing that she went into all of the details of surgery and recovery, as if I had already signed on, before going over the itemized estimate. Nice to know I have the option of spending my second night of recovery not in the hospital, but at the beautiful Barton Creek Resort where I would have nurses waiting on me and lymphatic massage therapists at my disposal. And then I saw the only piece of paper that mattered. All in all, even with insurance covering the hernia portion, a tummy tuck and boob job would cost…

$14,000. Yes, you saw that right.

She pulled out the doctor’s schedule and asked me what time frame I was looking at. I answered her with an unabashed blank look. I managed to ask if there was any “wiggle” room in the estimate (the negotiator that I am). She said if I removed the second night at the hospital and got rid of the pain pump, that could bring it down $750. Oh, and the $50 consultation charge would be deducted from the cost. Wow. Great.

Now that it’s been a few weeks, I’ve decided against the boob job. After some quick research, I learned that boob jobs have at most a ten year life span. So once you get one, you can plan on getting another every ten years until you have no more money left. Not my cup of tea. Plus, the silicone that was recommended has a lot more maintenance. Like MRIs every few years to check for leaks. With saline, if it pops, you know it. All of the above I wish to never experience in my lifetime (nothing against boob jobs, though!). So I plan on calling them back and getting a new estimate for just the tummy tuck. Not because I’m going to get one anytime soon, but just so I know how much I need to save over the next five years. Amidst a downward spiraling economy.

Belly be damned, I do plan on getting you fixed eventually. But for now, it’s you and me, belly. No matter how ugly you are, we’re in it for the long haul.

You can read my other post on post-partum ugliness here. And to be totally jealous of one HDYDI mama who has a killer and unscathed post-partum belly, read here.

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