Posts Tagged ‘ new mom ’

“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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Moving to LA–the Sad Part

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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September 11th: The 10-Year Anniversary

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.

First Moments

First Moments

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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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What it Means to be a MOM

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.

fi sleeps2

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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