Posts Tagged ‘ Mom-Up ’

Why Vacationing With a Mom is Easier

Monday, October 8th, 2012

I loved my mom-cation. I am not sure if the official definition means vacation without your kids, but I did the opposite. Fia, Emmett, Courtney, Teddy, and I loaded up and went on a short trip to San Diego for two nights last week. I did it because my nanny was off, and I was scared of getting bored and antsy in our 100-degree non-air conditioned house.

I wrote a blog about it and my favorite tweet back was from @MothaKim, who totally understood. She said,  ”I preferred our 15hr road trip to Chicago over 2hrs spent at the mall with them.”

I SO get it.

I realized a few things on this getaway. With another mom there, even though she was taking care of her own, it felt easier than if a spouse had been with us. That’s because moms just seem to “get it” more. The schlepping didn’t bother us. In fact, we double-schlepped. The hotel we stayed at the first night was full so we had to move to another one for the second night. Instead of griping, we embraced it. It allowed us to see two different properties and assess whether we’d go back. (Answer: Paradise Point: yes–for the pool and the accommodations. Beach was full of pine needles. The Catamaran: probably not. Rooms old. But bay front convenience and beach were far nicer).

I think with a spouse, it would have felt like more work. Or you could easily get resentful. Probably both. Why am I doing all the packing? Phil, did you remember the sippy cup? Answer: NO. Cue eye rolling and storming off to “do it right.” You know, the typical martyr behavior that is oh-so-easy to get sucked into.

The other thing I realized was slightly more profound. I don’t think I need full-time help.

We got home on Saturday. Turns out, my nanny had to take off more days this week. I didn’t have an escape plan. So I just decided to Mom-Up. (Cassandra is beaming at my progress.)

I had to return a rental car, get my car out of the shop (20 miles away), get a tire fixed, get Fia to swimming then gymnastics…taking Emmett along for the ride…all before noon on Monday. And guess what? I did it just fine. With both kids. Okay okay, it’s not like I haven’t done stuff like this before. But honestly, with a nanny, I often do the mundane, annoying errands on my own. Yes, it’s easier. Plus, I don’t like to drive my kids on the highway when it’s unnecessary (driving in LA still makes me nervous at times.) But the thing is, at the end of the da,y I felt far more accomplished than I have in a long time. Almost proud of myself. Oh, I also had 2 families over for dinner (yes, Courtney and Teddy were there. Told you we were inseparable).

I wrote a blog recently about how tragedy struck a family member. I had to leave the kids for a funeral. I was worried that the household would fall apart without me. It didn’t. Now, the tables are turned. I was worried about not being capable of doing it on my own. Or at least getting super stressed out. And guess what? I did fine.

Emmett is eight months now. Fia will be 3 in December. I think it’s time to take the reigns on my own more. Mom-Up! Here I come.

Fia is having the time of her life. Rules went out the window. Clearly.

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My New Version of “Mom-Up”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

My nanny has to be off the rest of the week for personal reasons. Of course, when I first found out, I panicked. I know, I know,  I can hear Cassandra in my head: Mom-Up like the rest of the world. Well, I am. Just not in the traditional sense. Two words:

ROAD TRIP!

In my previous travel-obsessed life, I would get antsy if I were home for more than a few weeks. Since moving to LA and having a house–oh, and a second baby–I have barely traveled beyond the perimeter of our neighborhood. To give you an example: Fia was on something like 18 flights the first year of her life. Emmett, so far, has only been on one (for his baptism). He doesn’t even have a passport yet. Gasp.

Cleo’s time off is actually perfect because I feel a bit antsy right now. I mean, with kids, the routine is so, well, routine, that I find myself getting a bit bored; wanting to shake things up. I decided the best way to do this was to flee–with babes in tow. That way I don’t have to watch the clock. Instead, we’ll all have an adventure. And room service. Time will fly whether it’s a disaster or not, simply because it’s a break from the daily grind.

I enlisted Courtney and Teddy to come along too. We’re heading to San Diego. We got a hotel right on the bay, so the kids can frolick in the sun and sand for a couple days. Our room goes right out to the shore, and since it’s the bay, there are no waves. I am convinced there won’t be much “work” involved. Because if any of you have taken your babies to the beach for just one day, you know how much labor it takes. Umbrellas, towels, chairs–all for a mere two hours. Then you break it all down to rush home for a nap. Or because your kid is hungry. Or you’re all overheated and cranky. Possibly all of the above. My beach experiences with two kids haven’t exactly been serene.

I know this all probably sounds whacked, because I’m sure lugging all the crap and three kids down to SD for a 2-day getaway will be exhausting too. But at least it will be 2 days worth, rather than 2 hours worth. So there is more payoff in the effort (at least that’s what I’m telling myself.). Plus, to stay home in a non-air conditioned house with a baby who won’t take long or regular naps just doesn’t sound as fun. (I’m sure Phil will appreciate the house to himself.)

So folks, I’m checking out the rest of the week. Wish me luck on my version of Mom-ing Up.

 

Picture at beach via Shutterstock

 

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Milestone Monday: NO FREE PASS FOR MOMS

Monday, September 24th, 2012

There is no free pass in motherhood. A while back I wrote about why the boob rocks and how I would get extra sleep every morning because Phil had to get up with Fia. I would lie in bed with Emmett, he’d nurse and we’d both fall asleep for at least an extra hour. I was so thrilled–almost giddy–about this scenario.

Anytime I needed a break from the chaos or wanted to relax, Emmett and I would just disappear under the guise of nursing. Don’t get me wrong: I did put him on the boob. But it went beyond survival for us/him. It was more like the perfect excuse to escape when the going got rough.

Wow, kid #2 is easier on the mom, I thought with glee.

Well, I should have known better than to brag. Or get too far ahead of myself. Because when it comes to babies, they really love to f-ck with you. Just when you think you’ve got it down….

Emmett is now 8 months old and I’m more exhausted than ever. Granted, it could be because I listened to my friend Cassandra’s advice to “Mom-Up” and sleep train him, thus getting rid of my night village. (Damn you C!) So now, he sort of sleeps through the night. You know, the usual–consistently inconsistent. (That should be the slogan for babies, btw).

The mornings though are when I really get screwed. He is so excited about moving (almost crawling), not to mention he is an incredibly active baby, that now when he wakes up, there is no sleeping. He nurses and is ready to M-O-V-E. This boy waits for no one.

What sucks even more is he and Fia have swapped time zones. Em wakes up at 5 or 5:30 and she sleeps until 7. So I’m up before the sun, done nursing in 20 minutes, and attempting to think about the day ahead while Fia and Phil snooze away.  Phil has very little sympathy. Why should he? He bore the brunt of early mornings for months while I smugly enjoyed what I thought was mother nature’s free mom pass. Ha.

Cassandra, I now hate your term Mom-Up. I want to Mom-Down. Somehow though it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Emmett–be glad you are so damn cute and happy. If you weren’t, your mom would ignore your early morning wake-up call.

I know this is one of many examples of the tables getting turned on moms, so please feel free to share your own sad tale. I may as well brace myself for more.

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Is it Time to “Mom-Up” About Sleep Training?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

At 7 months, I decided it was finally time to say goodbye to my “hired” village, and as my friend and Babble blogger Cassandra Barry likes to say, “Mom-Up.” I had to get rid of my night ladies. Places in Africa needed water wells for god’s sake. I think I could have built/dug 20 so far if I hadn’t employed my gals.

It’s just that with Fia, I was such a wreck from no sleep and no hired help, that I kinda lost my sh-t. We Ferberized her at 4 1/2 months. I became evangelical about the beauty and benefits of sleep training. With Emmett, I’ve done the opposite. I have managed to find all sorts of excuses–some valid, others not–to put it off.

He has reflux. He has gas pains. He’s farting too much. He must be in pain. He’s pooping too much. He must be in pain. He’s not pooping enough. He is constipated. He ate too much. His tummy hurts. He didn’t eat enough. He must be hungry.

This little dude has me weak in the knees with his ridiculously happy temperament that it’s been hard to think about letting him cry.

But the real reason I haven’t done it is I’m not tired! I think in order to go full throttle on sleep training, you have to reach the brink of insanity and misery. Or be falling asleep at red lights. Or have your husband threaten to check you into the psych ward.  Instead, with 8 hours of sleep a night, I have bounced happily through his infant stage, feeling pretty damn good as our bank account dwindles.

Phil and I both started talking about sleep training oh, about 4 months ago. Emmett would sleep happily on one of us while we watched every episode of Storage Wars, The Daily Show, and Breaking Bad. I wasn’t frantically going to bed at 8 pm, hoping to get a 3-hour stretch of zzz’s.

“When are we going to sleep train Emmett?” Phil would ask. “Soon,” I’d say, sipping my wine, not taking my eyes off the TV.  Neither of us were exactly motivated.

At 10 pm, we’d hear the knock on the door and in came our night help.

Frankly, with that set up, I didn’t want to “Mom-Up.” I mean, no one gets an award for lack of sleep, so for me, this was the right decision. To a point. But then it became a bit ridiculous. A little too easy. And I knew it was also in Emmett’s best interest to learn to put himself to sleep. Not to mention we needed our house back. And to some extent, our freedom. I didn’t want to travel anywhere because I knew I’d be the one losing sleep. Having a night nurse does get limiting–in an upper-class-problem kind of way.

So, with this 3-day weekend, we decided it was time.

Night 1:

This one was pretty bad. We put him down at 8:30 pm. He was up at 10:30. I changed his diaper (was only wet). He was up again at 11. I went in and tickled the back of his perfect neck (god I love that boy). He fell asleep until 1:30. Then started to wail. Fia woke up and started wailing too. Phil was running one way, I the other. It would have been comedic if it weren’t the middle of the night. Phil got Fia back down then came into Emmett’s room. I was sitting there rocking him.

“What are you doing?”

“I thought he pooped,” I said, knowing he hadn’t.

“Look, we are either doing this or not. If you can’t handle it, go down and sleep on the couch, and I’ll do it.”

“No, no, you’re right. Okay.”

I put him down (asleep) and walked out. He slept until 3:25. Then we let him cry for an hour. But before everyone freaks out at my cruelty, it wasn’t like he wailed for an hour. He would calm himself down and have 5-10 minute bouts of sleep. Then gear up again. Neither of us went in.

He slept until 7. The worst night was over.

Night 2:

Much better. He woke up at 10:30. I changed his diaper. He slept until 4 a.m. Cried for 7 minutes. I didn’t go in. He put himself back asleep until 6:30.

Night 3:

Down at 8 pm. A small crying fit at 3:30 for 5 minutes. Not a peep until 6.

I think we are there. And I am feeling this tremendous sense of freedom. I’m already planning our next two trips. As happy as Emmett was, I think he’s even happier now. He too is getting the sleep he needs. I also get to say I’ve “Mom-ed Up.” At least in the nights. No way am I getting rid of my daytime help. I still think Cassandra will be proud.

It also goes to show that there isn’t just one “right” way. This is a good lesson for my judgmental self. I was so sure that Ferbering at 3-4 months was the only way to go. Until I read Bringing Up Bebe. Then I thought I should have done everything differently to have my kids sleeping through at 4 weeks via “The Pause.” I was cursing myself (though by Chapter 6, I was annoyed by the book).

But now I have a baby who is sleeping through the night, who can still take naps on me during the day or sleep on us occasionally while we watch TV. I have flexibility to do what I want when I want. And for me, that’s the true definition of “Mom-ing Up.”

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