"When my daughter Zoe was born, I went from being in control to realizing I was on a roller-coaster ride for the rest of my life waiting to find out what was around the next corner. I felt pushed down in the hierarchy of importance with my wife and yet was simultaneously required to do so much more. First, I switched jobs to a family-friendly company that understood the needs of a new father. I also discovered a neighborhood park that I went to on weekends with Zoe. It was a way for me to connect with other dads and put things in perspective. And I got closer with my parents. My mom shared her parenting wisdom, and my dad shared his cooking skills by making a meal for us once a week. It was a huge help. It was like I transcended my childhood because my parents and I were all in the same boat now."
-- Kenny Miller, 38, television executive, New York City, father of Zoe, 5 1/2
"I was very stressed and craved bonding time with my girlfriends, which was a new thing because in my pre-mommy life I was never much of a girlie girl and didn't have many women friends. As a mother, I started totally appreciating and loving women. I yearned for time to talk with them about stuff that my husband had no interest in discussing. Because of this, my friends and I started a Mom's Margarita Madness club. We met every Tuesday at 4 p.m. at a nearby restaurant that was mom-, stroller-, and crying baby-friendly and had a drink or two. We made it a point to compliment one another on how well we were surviving. We didn't discuss how much we missed our sex lives, our pre-baby bodies, our careers, or our freedom. When we took one look at our kids, we realized we weren't really missing anything, except maybe sleep."
-- Stacey Wax-Distell, 34, stay-at-home mom, New York City, mother of Dylan and Ryan, 2
"Being a mother, working full time, and finishing up a master's degree had my mind working on overdrive. I knew my schedule would be a lot of work, but I wasn't prepared for the sheer mental exhaustion. It was grueling. So I decided that every night at 9 p.m. was scheduled "me" time. No matter what the current crisis, my husband knew the ball was in his court. I would retire to the tub with a glass of wine and a good book for a hot bubble bath. I'd either reflect on the day or just not think at all. It allowed me to unwind from the craziness, escape from responsibility -- even if only for a half-hour. It made me a happier wife and mother."
-- Kirstin Rochford, 32, medical research ethicist, Houston, mother of Justin, 2