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Monday, September 26th, 2011
Fia with her favorite friends (and my babies too)
I have written a lot about my mom mafia here in Brooklyn–the small group of mom friends I hold close to my heart. I feel like their babies are in some ways my babies too. They are my shoulder, my crutch. In moving to LA, I’ll make new friends, but this chapter will never be repeated. It’s been the time of new motherhood–22 months of navigating the toughest waters of my life while at the same time basking in the magic of it all. You only become a mom once. This next baby, while just as loved, won’t signify the same crossing of this life-changing threshold.
(In fact, I’m hoping it will be easier, since it’s a road I’ve already traveled.)
Thing is, I’ve always known that regardless of geography, this time is fleeting. In a year or so, our tots will be starting preschool, and if I lived here, they’d probably go to different places. My mom mafia would move on, replaced by a new set of parents. Sure, we’d keep in touch and see each other when we could (and we will, via email, text and phone). We’d reminisce about our constant conversations of this time and laugh about the tears and the triumphants—from sleep strikes and nap woes to the first tooth and the first fall. But even with that, it wouldn’t be the constant it is now. Because babies grow, and so must we. It is part of our journey.
So as I prepare to bid farewell to my dear friends, I feel a deep well of gratitude along with a heavy heart. These women helped make me the mom I am today. They have not only saved my sanity many a time, but also have helped me to become more patient, more caring, more kind. In essence, they have made me a better person.
When I board the plane with a one-way ticket, in many ways, Fia and I will be starting over.
It is going to be a chapter closed. But also a chapter well lived.
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Brooklyn, Brooklyn Babies, changes, life changes, Los Angeles, mom friends, mom mafia, motherhood, moving, moving to LA, moving to los angeles, new mom, plane, pregnancy, pregnant, travel, travel with baby | Categories:
A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
I was in the air when the first plane hit. Three minutes later I landed in Newark, oblivious to the world collapsing. Twelve hours later I would make my way to our apartment and fall, sobbing into my husband’s arms. Oblivion replaced by sorrow.
We had just moved to New York City 3 weeks prior. Phil was about to start his Master’s in film at Columbia.
My flight on September 11th was supposed to be at noon. I was traveling home from a Food Network appearance in Cincinnati. For some reason at the last minute I decided to change to the 6 a.m. flight. Unbeknownst to me, karma was on my side.
As our plane descended I distinctly remember looking out the window and seeing the towers. I remember feeling so lucky—so alive–to be living in this great city and starting this new adventure.
At that point in my life, kids were not part of the plan. I had no interest.
In the days following the attacks, I mourned like the rest of the country. Shell-shocked by the hate, inspired by the love.
Years went by and September 11th became part of me, just like it did for most of us. It was always there, serving as a timeline in life. “That was before 9/11.” or “That was after 9/11….”
On December 2, 2009, Fia came into our world. The cocoon we created during our stay in the hospital was nothing short of magical, even surreal. It was a bubble of warmth, safety and love. I felt panicked when it was time to go home. I knew nothing about taking care of a baby.
Phil and I gingerly loaded her into our rented car. I got in the back with her and we began the trek from 168th and Broadway to Brooklyn. It was snowing. Phil drove about 40 mph down the West Side highway. We were paranoid new parents.
When we passed Ground Zero I looked out the window and began to feel a heaviness like I’ve never felt before. It was deep and sad. It carried the responsibility and burden of bringing a life into this world. It said, “This is a dangerous place full of hate. Why did you do this to something you love so much?” It said, “This is an unworthy world. You are selfish.” Had I been standing, this profound pain would have taken me to my knees. I tried to push it away and force happy thoughts. As I looked down at my tiny, sweet baby I thought, She has no idea what her world outside the womb is. But it’s my job to teach her. And love her no matter what.
I believe it was at that moment that the real burden of parenthood began. I carry it with honor, understanding and respect. I’m on my 21st month now and will continue to carry it as long as I’m lucky enough to walk this world. This is life and it is fleeting. It is only by the grace of god, go I.
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9/11, Airplane, airplane travel, birth, born, Fia, motherhood, new mom, parenting, plane, September 11, tragedy, travel | Categories:
A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read
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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baby, babysitters, being a mom, diaper, diaper bag, judgment, judgmental, judgmental moms, lack of recognition, mom, motherhood, recognition | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, The Sitter Chronicles
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 Clear–How 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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babies, baby barf, being a mom, blogging, Brooklyn, mom, motherhood, new mom, parenthood, parenting, park slope, pregnancy | Categories:
A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read
Monday, March 15th, 2010
Author’s Note: I wrote this post for the launch of MyFirstBaby.com in early 2010.But it’s still pertinent 18 months later.
Wow, I have no idea where to begin. Seriously. This tiny, incredible thing called A BABY has rocked my world and made me a complete cliche (yes, her smile melts my heart). I remember when I got married I was excited to add “WIFE” to my title. Now it’s MOM. And ladies, we’re in this one together. Imagine your favorite girlfriends gathering around at your convenience— even if it means the middle of the night–to get you through this amazing journey. We’re talking labor pains, first smiles, daddy’s involvement, keeping your sanity, restoring your figure, and more.
Undoubtedly someone in our growing community will have an opinion, a tip, a word of advice or a (virtual) shoulder to lean on. It’s about trusting our instincts but also reaching out to other moms to share and to bond. Yes, another cliche. They have become my reality these days, just as my shoulder has turned into a willing baby bib.
My daughter Fia Lily was born December 2, 2009. She was 2 weeks overdue and they had to induce. Labor progressed beautifully until she refused to drop. I was fully dilated, but after 24 hours of labor and 2 hours of solid pushing, she didn’t budge, so Fia came into my world via C-section. My first words to her were, “I know you.” After all, we had spent the past 10+ months together. Then I wept. Joy mixed with relief and more raw emotion than I’ve ever felt before. And just like that my world was turned upside down, right side up and every direction in-between.
So what can I say to all of you? I understand on a primal level now what it means to be a MOM. To be responsible for this helpless and helplessly cute little creature; to have your heart melted so much you worry it may turn to butter; to have tears gush so hard, you’re scared you may cause a flash flood in your home.
There are times these feelings nearly take me to my knees. Other times they make me dance on air. How is it we have joined the biggest club in the world, yet at times we feel so alone? I’ll be honest: this hasn’t been an easy journey for me. But when I started to follow my own instincts a little more and reach out to other moms, it started to get easier. I still have many mountains to climb, but with each step I feel a little more confident.
I’m so excited to share this journey with you, my fellow MOMS. It is a title I carry with honor and privilege along with my overstuffed diaper bag. So welcome to the club. Let’s dance.
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being a mom, instincts, journey, labor, mom, mom advice, mom club, mom journey, mom tips, motherhood, new mom, parenthood, wife | Categories:
A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama