Posts Tagged ‘ being a mom ’

Solo Parenting Sucks–At Least When Hubby’s Away

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Refusing To Eat

It’s amazing the yin and yang of motherhood. This Sunday, while Phil was on day 9 of his epic LA journey (that I thought would never end), my two closest mom friends took me to brunch. Sans babies. It was heaven. We actually went to a nice place, complete with linen tablecloths. I didn’t find myself grabbing for the ketchup before Fia flung it across the room; the water and ice remained on the table; we didn’t pull out crayons as an act of desperation. And the conversation. Oh my god, the conversation. We actually spoke in complete sentences. I realized I still really do know the English language.

After that, I treated myself to a prenatal massage. I had no qualms about leaving Fia with the sitter for the majority of the day. I needed the break. Between Phil’s absence, the impending move to LA and subletting our Brooklyn apartment, the pregnancy and my freelance work, I could easily justify the R & R.

In short, Sunday was glorious.

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

That’s what awoke me at 5:15 Monday morning. WTF? Fia sleeps until 6:30. Except Monday she decided to throw me a fast one. The rest of the day consisted of dodging curve balls (I know nothing about baseball, so pardon if my puns are messed up).

By that evening, I was so spent I just camped out on the couch with Sesame Street. I couldn’t deal.

I put her in her high chair with food and waited for the clock to hit 6:30—that’s when we begin the bedtime routine. She sat there, not touching anything.

I asked her (from the couch) to please eat. Instead, she took a gob of peanut butter and wiped it in her hair. Then did this devilish “heh heh heh” laugh. I kid you not, it kinda freaked me out. Maybe she is possessed? Do I need a priest? Maybe I was so tired my imagination was running wild.  I took her out and gave her a bath.

She loves the bath. This night, she hated it. Screamed the whole time. And did that devil laugh. Good god. She threw water everywhere. I got done as quickly as I could, changed into comfy sweats myself, then gave her the bottle. She drank all of it, and I had a glimpse of optimism that I would soon be off the clock, in my comfy clothes, relaxing. I pulled her to my shoulders to hug her goodnight as I always do.

“BLEHHHHHHHAACCHHHKKK!!!!!!!!!”

Are you f–king kidding me? I look at her and myself. We were covered in barf. What amazes me is how calm I am outwardly. I think I just go into my own possessed trance mode. Inside though, I wanted to cry. And scream. And maybe break something. Instead, I put us both in the shower, with our clothes on, peeling them off and washing off the barf. Neither of us enjoyed the experience. I got us both into our pajamas, said good night and she went down.

I sat on the couch thinking about what a difference a day makes. Sometimes it’s too my benefit. Other times like this, when the massage/brunch/relaxation go out the window at the speed of lightning, it’s to my detriment. It just amazes me how fast moods and scenarios can change with a toddler.  I guess that’s life and it’s nothing I don’t already know. It’s just more magnified now, since it’s not all about me. In the end the ebbs and flows even out, right? They must. I hope so.

Suffice it to say, Phil came home on a red-eye later this week. I don’t know who was happier to see him: me or Fi. It makes me realize that gaps he fills in. We trade off mornings getting up with her. And he takes over at 6 pm and gets her fed and ready for bed. I’ll be relieved in a few short weeks when we’re all in LA together and this solo parenting thing becomes a rarity. I don’t know how the single moms out there do it, or the military moms, or anyone who parents alone. But I know one thing: I bow deeply to them.

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First Date

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We decided to meet at the corner, half way between our apartments. My husband was working from home so we needed to go elsewhere. Before I left I did one final check. Teeth cleaned. Hair combed. Mascara on.

We’d seen each other in social circles a few times, but we never chatted much. Just some smiles and eye contact. But now, the stakes seemed high. Maybe because it’s my first date of this kind. I know we have a few things in common: we live close by and we’re going through a similarly tough time. If this date turns out to be “the one” I can picture long walks in the park, museum excursions, maybe even yoga classes.  I want—no, need—this person to like me.

I arrive a few minutes early. Punctuality is important.  On our dates, timing and schedules will mean everything.

“Hey, how are you?” I ask as we quickly embrace.

“I’m okay. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.”

I already know where this is going and I’m relieved. Not because I wish sleep deprivation on anyone, but because it tells me we’re in the same boat.

“Yeah, me neither,” I reply. And we begin to commiserate. The baby barf, the diaper changes, and most important–the need to get out; to feel less isolated.

(more…)

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Losing My Mom–Near the End

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Author’s Note: I wrote this post a couple months before my mom died. I wanted to share it now.

I called my mom to check in. She was out of breath. Told me she had been lying on the deck enjoying the sun. I can picture her– relaxed, closed lips, slightly smiling as the sun beats down on her weathered face and medically worn body.  I think about how I’ll miss her. It’s much easier to hate an addict. It’s a lot harder to love one. Especially because these last 9 months have been a gift.

When she first went septic, I thought, “F–k me. So typical of her.”

If only she had gone to the ER when her doctor told her, she wouldn’t have had her entire colon removed.

This led to every complication imaginable.

But my mother has never really done things right. Except maybe this time she has.

If she had gone in right away they would have fixed the problem before it became a disaster. She probably would have gone home a few weeks later. Which means by now, she would have gone through at least another 12K of her dwindling life savings to buy crack (a habit I just recently found out about, and one she decided to pick up at 62 years old). She could very well be in the gutter, dead. I’d dismiss her death as a relief. And think about what a waste it all was. Now I’ve had her back —at least in some capacity—as the mom I knew and loved once long ago. And it’s much harder.

I know the end is coming. They found out they simply can’t do anything more for her.  They don’t have enough length in her small intestine to operate; to fix the damn fistula. And with it spewing out bile like Old Faithful, it’s impossible for her body to absorb any nutrients.

The PA told me on the phone that she and two highly skilled doctors stood around staring at it, feeling so helpless. They equated it to the Gulf Oil spill, when brilliant minds around the world simply couldn’t come up with a way to cap it.

When my mom heard the bad news, she said, “I’m so sad I won’t see Fi grow up.” Maybe as a mom myself, that is the hardest thing to grasp. Death is final. And my own mortality seems so tenuous at times. It gives me perspective: life is a privilege. A gift. Not a given.

During these past months with her in the hospital, I have often thought about all that could have been, but also the small window that was. When she’s gone, I’ll remember that in the beginning she was as good a mom as they came. The best. Unconditionally loving, full of personality, adventurous, independent. All things she instilled deeply in me.

I’ll try and skip over the middle years. The nearly 3 decades of a life sadly lived.

And then I’ll focus on the recent–the times that she cared about Fi and me. No matter how much pain she was in, every phone call her first question was, “What’s Fia doing right now?” I’d have to yell over Fi’s verbosity and paint the picture for her. Tell her the new tricks she learned. My mom would laugh deep and strong.

When I came down with the flu this winter, she worried. In every phone call she’d ask how I was feeling. She said she’d always worried about me. Perhaps she didn’t worry in the middle of a drunken stupor, but somewhere deep down, I know she always had me close by. A mom always holds her daughter close to her heart. And I guess that’s what I have to take with me.

I am glad she has her sun. She always loved it. And I hope she basks in it as long as she can….

Mom at The Zoo no border

She passed away June 7, 2011. Fly away Mom. You are free.

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The Sitter Chronicles–Your Comments

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I’m pretty blown away by all the comments we’ve received (and I say that collectively, because many of us are commenting on each others comments as well). These three posts over the course of one week have caused quite a stir. We’ve had the good, bad and ugly.

I bow to so many of you for commenting in such eloquent, meaningful ways. Everything from sharing your story as a SAHM because your child has autism, seizures and cancer (there were a few of you and my heart goes out to how brave and strong you are. Those are not easy cards to be dealt. For me, unimaginable)– to those who feel privileged to be at home or at an office working. Or at home working. It sounds like for most of us, the arrangements we have fit our lifestyle. And that judgment isn’t necessary. Yet we do it anyway.

Why is it so hard not to judge? I have to catch myself all the time. Even the way I judge other members of my family or my neighbors–even my friends. I don’t know why it is human nature to feel superior. But for many of us, it is. Perhaps it’s insecurity or justification, but sometimes it just comes down to thinking your way is right and others are wrong. Why can’t it be that your way is right and other people’s ways are also right? It’s a work in progress for me.

I think the other theme I picked up on, particularly from the SAHMs is the lack of recognition they receive. And again, why is it that we feel such a need? Is it because the working people of the world get a tangible reward, i.e.: a pay raise, a compliment or a trophy? I know we moms get our kisses and hugs, which in many ways mean so much more, but it IS hard to not be recognized by your peers, your husband, your family when the job your doing is exhausting, and at times, thankless.

I took Fia to my in-laws this spring (a plane ride away), by myself. My husband was on a deadline.  I went for two reasons: so that they could see her and so we could both be pampered. Yet, I was fishing for compliments from my husband on how above-and-beyond I was going.

“My mom friends told me how cool it is for me to be flying Fia to Wisconsin to see your parents.”

“But you want to go,” he replied, seeming puzzled.

“I know, but still don’t you think what I’m doing is pretty great?”

“Yeah, I love that you’re doing it, but it’s also benefiting you.”

Not exactly the response I was looking for. But in all honesty, I had 24 hour childcare (oh no, here we go again with that bad word. Kidding), time to write, workout, and just hang out and relax. It was great. Why do I feel like I needed to be recognized as a hero? To be told I’m wife and daughter-in-law of the year?

These are all questions we can continue to ask each other and ourselves. Let’s just try and be kind about it. Like I said in one of my comments, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…. Plus, it tastes better too.

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Introducing Me and Fi (pronounced “Fee”)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Mama and Baby on Beach

I was so adamant about not having children, I debated getting my tubes tied at 30. My mother begged me not to. (Obviously I listened.) Still, it is with great irony that I find myself an “official” mommy blogger.

Pre-Fia, I’d cross the street to avoid the little Petri dishes. Diapers? Disgusting. Playgrounds? I’d rather have the plague.

My neighborhood didn’t help matters. I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn–perhaps the biggest breeder neighborhood in New York City. A place where wee little inmates run the asylum. We’re featured in articles and blogs—one equates Park Slope to a battle zone between “the ballers” and “the breeders”.  For those without children, you can’t overstate the annoyances: strollers on every inch of the sidewalk, oblivious parents who bombard quiet coffee shops with their babies, intimate restaurants that quickly become cacophonies of chaos when toddlers are unleashed.

No, my husband and I certainly didn’t move here six years ago to procreate. The reason we moved here is it sits right on beautiful Prospect Park and we’re runners (or were before we had Fi and P90X).

But then, through various events, we changed our minds. We decided to give up birth control and “see” what happened. At 39, I figured my ovaries were toast anyway. Off to Mexico we went where tequila poured free, and boom, Ms Fi was on her way.

Throughout my pregnancy I spent many a therapy session worrying that I’d love my cat Wayne Sanchez more than my daughter. Thank god nature does its job well. Wayne still gets spooned every night, but it’s Fia who rocks my world. And the fact that I love—not loathe—babies is nothing short of a miracle.

So now I’ve been given this platform on Parents to basically write whatever I want about my life with Fi. A golden ticket covered with baby barf.

I hope to bring an honest perspective to my blog that’s not indulgent, irritating or precious. I hope I don’t bore you. And that you’ll come back and visit. Lots.

I find it a privilege to be a parent and an honor to write about it. And thank god. Because if I hated it, or loved my cat more than my daughter, then I’d probably be in the loony bin. And who wants to write from there?

FOR A YEAR, I BLOGGED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SHOW I WAS HOSTING, CALLED MY FIRST BABY. HERE ARE MY PAST BLOGS THAT SPAN MY FIRST YEAR WITH FI.

What it Means to be a MOM–the feelings of early motherhood

The Fog Will ClearHow early motherhood does get easier

Baby’s Not-So-Cute-Milestone: Diaper Rash–a traumatic event, followed by another involving a red bum and a lot of cornstarch

Living in the Moment--how having a baby gives you a chance to indulge. And play. Especially if you’re a Type-A person.

Not A Vacation--did  I really say in the previous post that having a baby allows you to indulge? Play? Feel like you’re on vacation? Was I on drugs?

Have Baby, Will Travel--tricks for traveling with baby/helpful advice and tips

Navigating the Minefield of Milestones–the good and bad of baby milestones

Travel Fiasco–My Scattered Self–a shit show, for lack of a better word, at LaGuardia. I must be losing it.

Picky Eaters–great advice from my pediatrician for picky eaters and avoiding the terrible two’s

Fia Turns One--the emotional journey leading up to your baby’s first birthday

What Travel Does For Me…and Fi–my first babyless vacation. And why I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Return From My Baby-less Vacation–I find out things weren’t so smooth while I was away. But I don’t feel guilty.


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