Posts Tagged ‘ motherhood ’

Time To Say Goodbye

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I feel like I’ve lived a million lives in my one life, though motherhood is hands down my most fulfilling chapter. It’s the chapter that won’t end–it will just expand into more page turns. It’s the chapter that thank god will see me to the end and still leave me wishing for more. Kids are unquenchable and insatiable and while it’s the toughest job, the cliché is true: It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.

I am still amazed that until I turned 39 I didn’t want kids. Hell, even during my pregnancy I spent many a therapy session worried I would love my cat more than my kid. Luckily Mother Nature made that impossible.

But after almost four years of writing here, I am feeling the need for a change.  Now Fia is 4 1/2 and Emmett is 2 1/2 and in terms of the early years, I feel like I am over the biggest hurdles: the dilemmas to circumcise, to take antidepressants, to have or not have a night nurse or a nanny, to sleep train (though I do now admit I love to sleep with Fia, especially when Phil is out of town), to do preschool, to  travel, to work.

As a writer, you want to stop before your well runs dry. My guest blogger, Joe Deprospero stepped in last year when I was nearly on empty. He wrote posts at least once a week that basically helped keep my blog afloat. He’s been a lot of fun to work with and I’m thankful for his energy and passion as a dad in the “mommy” space.  You can continue to find his work under the Parents Perspective banner.

For me, I think it’s time to focus on different writing: I want to finally tackle the memoir of my own childhood. I want to process my own mother’s demons that took her from the most extraordinary mom to the most tragic. I want to explore how I feel about her in relation to my own incredible journey of motherhood. It’s something that at times feels impossible to reconcile. Maybe I can’t. But I need to honor the memories I have and give it the time it deserves to write the book and see where I end up.

What’s been incredible since I began my journey into this unchartered “Mom” territory is that I’ve been able to chronicle so much of it here on my blog. I’ve been able to give a voice to my demons, my dilemmas, and the many revelations that have hit me in the stomach and knocked me to my knees. I’ve also been able to forgive myself for some of my more stupid decisions, simply because you have let me know I’m not alone in my mom-mush brain (I think the worst lapse in judgment was when I bought the $400 of meat from a door-to-door salesman. You all helped me through that since Phil was barely speaking to me).

I have also had to stomach the storm some of my more controversial posts have created. At times my opinions have changed due to what you, my readers, have pointed out. Other times it’s made me angrier for feeling judged and misunderstood. But there’s no denying it helped me realize that when you enter the realm of “mommy blogger” your skin better be thick.

I’ve also realized how amazing this new world is–we all have a voice and have the right to express it. Whether or not I agree with the opinions, it’s clear we are all passionate about our children and the way we are raising them. And that passion comes from a place of deep love and caring.

So thank you readers for pushing me to think beyond my comfort zone, for inspiring me to keep writing, for laughing with me at some of my more ridiculous posts and for being passionate parents who are inevitably raising passionate kids.

You can email me through my website at www.jillcordes.com or on my Facebook page. Follow me on twitter @fearlessmama.

 

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“Ramshackle Glam”: A Great Book, a Great Guide, a Great Gift–All in One

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I met Jordan Reid on a TV shoot about moms, called MomTales. This is how we bonded:

Me: You know, when I’m not with my kids, I miss them terribly and I just want to be with them. Then as soon as I’m with them, I want them back in preschool.

Jordan [nodding]: There are only so many hours in the day you can spend playing Triceratops Versus T-Rex. At some point, you really just need a good trashy magazine and a margarita.

From there, we never stopped talking, except when the director told us to pay attention to the shoot.

This is a woman who runs a million miles and hours with a smile on her face, high heels (though she disputes that in her new book), and a wit about her that makes you instantly relax and laugh.

She has a 2-year-old boy, 2 dogs, a husband, and a full-time career as a style blogger on her site, Ramshackle Glam. Which means she also does TV appearances, goes to conferences, meets with advertisers, and somehow manages to post numerous times a day. With pictures. I’m lucky to get 2 posts out a week. Now she just came out with a book, also titled Ramshackle Glam. Where she gets the time to juggle all this is beyond me. Oh, and did I mention she’s pregnant with her second child?

People like her both inspire me and give me a much-needed dose of mom energy. But what I really like about Jordan (and her book) is that she keeps it real. She’s so relatable; she’s the kind of mom friend you picture having a glass of wine with and talking about how you may have accidentally-on-purpose thrown a remote at your husband last night because he forgot to tape The Bachelorette. Or how all your hair — no, but seriously: all of it — fell out six months after you gave birth. (Except for the hair on your legs; that’s holding on just fine, and you know that for a fact because you cannot for the life of you remember to shave it.) [This is a true excerpt from her book, fyi.]

I tore through it in just 3 nights. Then passed it on to a friend who is expecting her first child. It’s a super fun, entertaining read that also gets to the core of why motherhood can be so damn hard, heartbreaking, heartwrenching, and heartwarming at the same time.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Know anyone expecting? Or a new mom? This is the gift to get them.

Here is my interview with Jordan about her book:

What inspired you to write a book?

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember — since I was about four years old — but after I had my son in 2011 I realized that I had a lot to say about motherhood, and especially about the judgment that can so often color a new parent’s experience. Before I had my son, I would not have called myself a “maternal person” at all (and honestly, I still don’t know that I would; I mean, I adore my son, but I’m not one of those people who’s just awesome and natural and amazing around kids), and I was very, very nervous going into motherhood.

I was frightened that having a baby would take away some fundamental part of me, that I wouldn’t be able to recognize myself anymore once I was a Mom. But what I discovered is that having a baby changes a lot, but it doesn’t change everything. You can still do all those things — from wearing the clothing that makes you feel good to connecting with your partner to having a house that feels like a home instead of a Baby Zoo — all that you used to do “before”…but you just might have to be a little more creative, that’s all.

How would you sum up your book? Is it for expecting parents, new parents, old parents?

The advice in the book is tailored towards new moms, but really, the fashion, beauty, home decor, and entertaining tips are only a small part of the book. What Ramshackle Glam really is, is a memoir of motherhood, and I think that the stories about marital struggles, guilt over your parenting choices, and the challenges of making friends as a mom are things that every parent — young and old — can relate to.

What has been the hardest part of motherhood for you?  

For me, the hardest part of motherhood has been figuring out how to live in the moment, and to not worry too much about “how fast it goes.” I can’t tell you how much that stressed me out, hearing from everyone on the street, “Oh, it goes so quickly, they’ll be grown and gone before you know it!” But over time I’ve discovered that while of course you miss every stage when it passes…the stage that you’re in right this very moment is almost always the most fun and exciting of all.

What about pregnancy? Have the challenges changed from your first to second pregnancy? 

With pregnancy, I’d say the hardest thing for me the first time around was just wrapping my mind around what day-to-day life would look like a few months down the road…because I had no idea. I couldn’t fathom how I’d get my stroller up the stairs to my walk-up apartment, let alone how I’d actually, you know, raise a human being. And that’s part of why I wanted to write Ramshackle Glam, to let people who may feel similarly get a peek into what’s-to-come, and to know that yes, it’ll be hard…but it’ll also be okay. The best ever, actually.

With this pregnancy, the hardest thing has been the fact that there’s really no “chilling out and enjoying the experience.” There’s no downtime to rub oils on my skin or meditate on the life we’re bringing into the world or play classical music to my stomach or whatever it is that we did when we were expecting our son — I can’t even remember; it feels like a lifetime ago. So honestly, when this baby arrives it’s going to be a bit of a shock. Fortunately, we’re also a little more prepared this time around, so hopefully that will balance it out.

You are a woman who is all about how to funk up your style, your “glam”…how do you feel in this regard about having a daughter? 

You know, I actually wrote about this the other day because I had a few friends say to me something along the lines of, “you must be so excited to be having a girl!” And what they meant was that I must be excited about the girly stuff that comes with having a daughter…dresses and such. And of course I am excited about those things — I’ve certainly spent my share of time in Baby Gap over the past couple of months buying little cheetah-print outfits — but the truth is that while I certainly am looking forward to all the things that come along with having a daughter…what I’m most excited about doesn’t have anything to do with her gender at all.

She may be into dresses or she may be into board shorts or she may be into things I can’t even imagine, and all of that is just part of what makes having a child so exciting. I know that who I’m raising is not a “little girl,” but a person, and our experience as parent and child will be as individual as she is. The style stuff is fun, of course, but when it comes down to it the most important thing I can do — the only thing I can do, really — is to support my daughter and be there for her whoever she may be and wherever she may go.

How the hell do you have time to do your life? You seem like superwoman. Tell me your secret. 

Ha! Thank you. Does “constant, massive anxiety that propels you into action” count as a secret? That, and the fact that I keep obsessively detailed lists of every single thing in my life in my iPhone — that helps.

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(My) Milestone Monday: Do Baby Barf and Vacation Mix?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

If you don’t hear from me for a few days please call the looney bins in Palm Springs. I may be in one. My mother used to show up at the psych ward with her typewriter so she could get work done. No sh-t.

My potential disappearance is because we are going on “vacation.” It includes a stop at Disneyland. In reading that sentence, I can’t believe this was my idea.

We are heading to Palm Springs for two nights via land of Mickey. The desert is 105-degrees right now. Fia gets burnt even in the shade. She also gets carsick. Massively, as seen on our horrendous trip out to LA this fall. And Emmett barfs and farts. Constantly. This is going to be a helluva roadtrip.

Anywho, I convinced Phil to take off 2 whole days of work (Gasp! I’m not bitter…) to go to the desert. We hadn’t taken a family vacation since last May in Costa Rica. That’s when I got pregnant with Emmett. Oops. This will be a far different trip. I’m not reading 50 Shades of Grey, therefore this trip won’t involve sex. Just diapers and barf.

Right now, as I sit here in the cozy cafe typing, I feel like a smug veteran mother. I can handle this, right? The hotel asked if we wanted a suite on the 5th floor. Oh, no-no-no I said. I’m a MOM. I know better. I know that lugging a stroller with a raft, water wings, Emmett’s diaper bag, 40 bottles of sunscreen, snacks, and my Kindle (dare to dream) through a hallway, to an elevator, to the pool will take up the entire day. I’m smarter than that. I know the only way to go is a poolside room. In fact, I booked two. They adjoin. This way Fia and Phil can sleep peacefully while Em and I tackle the night.

Yes, this “vacation” is sounding more appealing by the sentence.

I had to research about 15 hotels in the Palm Springs area. The ones my mom friends recommended were full. Then there were my non-mom friends. I got a list of about 5 hotels that had things on their sites like, “no pool toys allowed.” One said, “While we welcome guest of all ages, we are a boutique hotel with an intimate setting and backdrop that is not always ideal for children of all ages. We warmly welcome dogs.”

Well folks, that definitely takes Feral Fia out of the equation. My girl who loves dirty feet and messy hair is pure Mutt. I think this hotel wants the Pomeranians. I finally found a place that has, are you ready? A Splashtopia! Whatever the f–k that means. All I know is when I saw “availability” and “splashtopia” in the same sentence I felt like god was on my side.

I have a list of everything we need to bring. Included on it are our two noise machines (one for each room) and wine. Oh no, please teetotaler moms. Don’t begrudge me on this one. It’s vacation for god’s sake. Which now means survival.

The best advice I have gotten thus far is from a friend who said, “Go with low expectations. You probably won’t find it relaxing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.”

Yes, in motherhood, “fun” takes on a whole new meaning. I know my babies won’t let me down.

 

Picture of family vacation via shutterstock

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Big Weekend Ahead–The Spirit Awards

Friday, February 24th, 2012

First Best Screenplay

On Saturday Phil and I will be at the Spirit Awards. It’s the independent film version of the Oscars. He was nominated for Best First Screenplay for writing Cedar Rapids. Here are the others he is up against. I suspect 50/50 will win (hard to compete with cancer), but I’m just proud of him for getting the nomination.

What is a bummer is we haven’t even been able to get excited about it. Between his other work projects that have been incredibly stressful and the new baby, plus juggling Fia and getting used to a family of four, I feel like we are just ships passing in the night. I feel like I literally run from one thing to another with no time to breathe. I’m hoping that this weekend will at least give us the chance to revel and reflect on our good fortune. It’s a shame when you have these amazing things happen to you, yet you’re too busy/stressed to celebrate.  I need to do the same thing with Emmett. Bask in him gracing our family. I do at times, but so much of my attention is split between him and Fia and life in general (cooking, grocery shopping, paying bills) that I know I’m missing some moments.

I didn’t have time to go buy a new dress. I’m wearing shoes from Target. And I’m going to be really sexy lugging my breast pump with me.  But hey, at least we’re getting out for the day. It’s on the beach in Santa Monica in a big tent. Drinks start at 11:30, then brunch, then the awards. I’ll post pictures!

 

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My Embarrassing Pregnancy Problem

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Pregnancy Woes

If there were an Ugly Vagina Contest, I would win, hands down. Granted, I wrote last week about how I don’t think the lady parts are very pretty to begin with. But in this pregnancy, I think I’ve taken the ugly vag to a new level. This is something mortifying to talk about. And taboo. I’m diving in anyway because I feel we women are sometimes embarrassed to discuss stuff like this. And yes, I am one of those women. It makes me feel prude-ish. Why? Not sure.

But maybe some of you have also experienced my “condition” and have a solution? Or maybe you have a different embarrassing issue? Don’t let me go out on this limb and be met with silence. It sucks when you feel alone in your “female” issues.

I think my condition is called Vulva Varicose Veins. As the belly grows, pressure is put on your blood vessels down there. Those vessels actually puff up. It’s gruesome.

I’d love to know if Angelina Jolie had this while carrying twins. And if so, was Brad freaked out? Somehow I think celebrities are immune to these horrid issues; that it only happens to us common folk. I would love to be wrong, but we’ll probably never know. (Maybe at her next red carpet I’ll go stalk her and shout, “Hey Angelina: did you have Vaginal Varicose Veins when you were pregnant?” To which she’ll reply, “Why yes I did. And Brad found it very sexy.”)

I did buy a maternity support belt to lift my stomach up and take some of the pressure off. I don’t think it’s doing much though. My OB says it won’t make the condition go away, but it will help it from getting worse. Oh good, so my vag won’t go from grapefruit to watermelon size. Whew.   You can buy a fembrace, but then it’s like you’re walking around wearing a diaper. Or these things that Mork might have worn, had he been a pregnant woman. Oh, and to share even more—for me, this condition is only on the right side. So I’m lopsided in my deformity.

On my legs, it’s the left side that’s cursed. I’m getting spider veins. What, is Mother Nature trying to even out the horrors? Wow, thanks. Really appreciate it.

This never happened with Fia. I am now wearing compression thigh high stockings that cost $55 at a medical supply store. And the support belt that has three straps to it. It takes at least 11 minutes to get dressed with my undergarments alone.

Luckily neither of these “conditions” hurt. Though it’s not exactly comfortable either. It feels like I have weights pulling down on my private parts, especially if I stand up after sitting for a while. With 2 months left to go, I still have time to find myself in pain. Bleh. Ugh. Yuck. Argh.

My OB out here is a good-looking guy. I had to get the courage to ask him to take a look. I wanted to get a wax, but I was scared I’d hemorrhage. He laughed. “You won’t hemorrhage. And remember, this office is in Beverly Hills, so wax away.” Then he said he’d seen worse. But I got the feeling I was up there. Like maybe I’d get 3rd place in an ugly vag contest. Thing is, I have yet to get the wax. I’m actually too embarrassed. I need a good aesthetician who has quite literally “seen it all.”

My friends tell me how little I complain in this pregnancy. That’s because if I complained, it would go like this, “Well this morning, my vagina went from the size of an orange to a grapefruit. And has the texture of a cauliflower. And how are you?” No one wants to hear about this. Unless you have been in my shoes before. Or have an equally embarrassing tale to tell. Then I need to hear from you. Come on sisters! Dish with me.

 Image: Pregnant Woman via Shutterstock

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