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Category Archives: Mommy

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Laimemoms – You Deserve A Break!

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Hi Laimemoms and Dads! We all know that being a parent is wonderful, yeah yeah yeah, but also exhausting — and there’s no such thing as paid vacation! The fine peeps over at WeeSpring wants to make traveling with little ones a little easier, so they’re giving away all the essentials you’ll need to hit the road with your family, plus a gorgeous (and kid-friendly!) vacation home to stay in.  Because you deserve a break! Enter at wee.co/win. This is an awesome chance to win a dream family getaway, plus all the travel gear you’ll ever need (worth more than $3,500 in total. (Yowzahs!) Do it!

ALSO, please answer in the comments – where would you want to go with the kiddos if you could go anywhere for free? (this has nothing to do with this amazing giveaway, just curious!)

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Postpartum…

In our childbirth class this weekend, our fantastic teacher, Kathy Killebrew, posed the question: what does postpartum mean to you? Of course all of us were thinking of the big D word: Depression. Because I’ve struggled on and off with the ole’ regular kind of depression for 15 years, I am a little scared that I might be dealing with the mommy version within the next few months. The flip side is that I also feel like because I’m very aware of this possibility I am more prepared take steps to treat it head on.

But I was surprised when our teacher said, “I know everyone here is thinking of depression, because that’s what our culture says postpartum is.” She went on to explain that while it’s important to be aware of depression symptoms , what postpartum actually is, is just a period of time – 6 weeks – after your baby is born. This is meant to be a time of hunkering down and feeding and bonding with your wee one. In other cultures, women look forward to postpartum for most of their lives because it is a time when they are waited on hand and foot while they have the space to connect and love on their lil nugget. Sounds good to moi!

I love this new take on postpartum. While  it’s super important to have an open dialogue about potential depression and the challenges that come with a new baby – lack of sleep, feeling overwhelmed, hormones going cray cray – I have found that I’ve been inundated with these warnings, sometimes even bordering on threats it seems, while I have yet to hear anyone give me a truly clear understanding of what this time really like – and I’d like to know all of it! The good, the bad, and the funny!
Then, last week I received an email from my friend – actress and improvisor Katie Schorr, who just had an adorable lil guy named Sly:

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She wrote this email from the front lines of postpartum when he was just 3 1/2 weeks old. I think this sums up all of the aspects of new motherhood so beautifully and makes me feel like I really have a sense of what’s coming. Even though… yes, I know, I know, I won’t REALLY know until I’m in it… This is the closest I’ve gotten and I wanted to share it with y’all:

We are three weeks + a few days in and I feel exhausted, in love, confounded, calm, terrified, and generally hazy. There aren’t any patterns, is what I’m finding with Sly, and looking for them only makes me crazy. He’s totally internal right now, absorbing stuff but mostly dealing with being a tiny human, and I’m realizing I can’t expect anything civilized from him. That said, he is fairly civilized, just gets inconsolable unless I feed him nonstop. The hardest part so far for me has been accepting how tethered to him I am. Breastfeeding came fairly easily to me, but it is really tiring and you do need to eat and drink a ton to keep your energy up while doing it. Eating for two is for real!! Also, he is starting to cluster feed and it feels like, how will I ever do anything ever, all I am is a leaky faucet of breast milk?! He just fed from 5pm – 7:40pm and only stopped because I had to take a breather. I’m not saying this is the universal experience – I have several friends whose kids just didn’t like to feed that much and it was totally normal and they were scared by it, but now, their kids are hearty and healthy. But if your baby is hungry like the wolf, please know that I had/might still be having that experience. 

I feel like the Day 3 baby blues everyone talked about actually hit me in Week 3, which has just ended. It was abated by taking nice hot showers and eating a lot and drinking a lot and getting helpers to come over and relieve me so I could do those things or nap. Nap! 30 minute naps have been saving my life! I wake up feeling lighter, truly. I also feel like it is a delicate balance between having people come to help you and relieve you and also having time as a family of three, which is sacred because it is so cool and freaky and lovely. We overbooked in the beginning and are now pulling back a bit. As I write this, I could say a thousand things and I have only been a parent for the length of a single session of summer camp. 

The Happiest Baby on the Block stuff has so far worked really well, except when it doesn’t (at 4 am).

The physical recovery after labor was really hard the first two weeks for me. Bleeding and soreness and feeling injured made me want to cry once a day. But now, I am feeling SO MUCH better. I felt really hopeless about my ability to recover at the beginning of last week and like I would never be able to have sex again and like I would never stop bleeding. And then, a couple days ago, I just started to feel a whooooooole lot better. Not sure how sex will work, but it doesn’t feel impossible anymore! 

Have I said anything coherent? I have been going out this week with Sly in a woven wrap on me and it is so liberating. I walked a total of 8 blocks and got a pedicure and manicure (one handed nursing is idiotic but I did it and my nails are RED!) and ate French fries at a French cafe. Huge! It makes the nights of little sleep bearable because I am taking some small amount of care of myself and can stare at my nails at 3:30 am.

My last thing – ask for help before you think you need it. People want to help, but most need direct orders. Give them direct orders! Request gelato! Make someone hold the baby and take a hot shower. If someone gives you advice that makes you feel bad, tell them visiting hours are over and you need bonding time with your babe. Easier said than done, but the more direct I am with everyone, including myself, the better my days are. 

New parenthood is a shitstorm of insanity and wonder. I am calm right now and feeling bright and in love with the men in my house. Three hours ago, I went and ate alone in the kitchen and cried while my family was in the other room, watching Sly swing.

~Katie

Isn’t this awesome? I love it. It doesn’t sugarcoat the huge challenges but after reading it I’m not filled with a sense of dread – if anything I’m even more excited to meet this lil lady and go through this special time with her and Andy, Ruby and Ramona, figuring it out as a family. I think Ruby’s really going to be good at diaper changes…

Thanks for reading – and a huge thank you to Katie for expressing what no one else has been able to. Laimemoms/Laimedads ~ please leave your own thoughts/feelings about new parenthood in the comments!

with love,

elizabeth

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Pregnancy Product Review: Chocolate

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Crying a lot? Needing a hug? Feeling aches and pains that won’t quit? Does watching a Golden Girls marathon sort of help but it still feels like something’s… missing?

Let me recommend this thing I’ve always known about but now have a new relationship with: Chocolate. All. The. Chocolate. I’m going to guide you through the best way to let this magical cure-all help you throughout your pregnancy.

First though, you should know what this product really is. I looked up the history of chocolate and discovered that it’s been around for a long time – like thousands of years so that makes me feel like we’re all pretty safe ingesting as much of this stuff as we can with no ill side effects. It also was involved in some mayan/aztec happenings and from what I can tell it comes from beans which are healthy, so feel free to have at it! I could probably be more thorough but that was as much cocoa-education I could muster because I’m nine months pregnant.

Without further ado, here are my suggestions for proper use of this fine product:

DO:
– Try all the kinds of chocolate! See what floats your fancy: Liquid, powder, solid, chocolate comes in many wonderful forms, all of which are valid. My only caveat is that it’s also commonly found mixed in other foods like croissants and muffins. Definitely use those in a pinch but because this chocolate is technically “diluted” with bread and eggs and stuff, I wouldn’t count on that to cure you of what ails you. You’re gonna need to ingest the hard core stuff as soon as you can get your hands on it.

– Focus on quantity, not quality. Now, this might be controversial, because back when I wasn’t an incubator, I was able to buy a few pieces of fine chocolate and “savor” them. Well recently I made the mistake of buying a tiny fancy package of chocolate at a wine shop (buying wine for a friend, I promise!!) and at 7$ a pop, I justified it by thinking I would make it last, enjoy it, and a lot of other stuff that didn’t happen. The truth is, I didn’t even taste it and it was gone before I started my car to head home where there was a whole stash of less expensive but just as purposeful chocolate waiting for me. Lesson learned.

– Have a lot of different kinds on hand so you can fit your mood:

Crying: Hershey’s anything.
Tired: Sees Toffee.
Grumpy: Trader Joe’s straight up milk chocolate bar
Your husband didn’t take out the trash: Godiva truffles
Neutral: Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream
Pleasantly dazed: Trader Joe’s chocolate pudding
Your vagina feels like it’s falling out: Coffee Bean’s hot chocolate

DO NOT:
– Be above eating baker’s chocolate if that’s the only thing you have on hand.

– Snort the chocolate. Learn from my mistakes, snorting chocolate is not as pleasant as you might think. And actually, after my “incident” I did some research and discovered that now that we’re pregnant, ladies, our snorting anything days should be behind us.

– Eat chocolate you found on the street… Unless it’s completely wrapped and looks like it hasn’t been urinated on.

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Don’t do this ^

In conclusion I’m giving two adult and two baby thumbs up for this product. I highly recommend you go get yourself some chocolate today!

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Broken Scale, Broken Spirit?

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My scale broke. Or rather I broke my scale… When I stepped on it. When I stepped on it and it shattered.

Pregnancy, miright?! It’s this weird shape-shifty time that is magical and awful and liberating and scary as fuck. I could write a poorly written book on all my thoughts on pregnancy but let’s just talk about the important part: Weight. (That’s a joke. It’s the least important part. Which I’m just now figuring out.)

Important or not, this is the one aspect of pregnancy that really came to a head for me a few days ago when my glass scale surrendered/cracked into a thousand pieces of my shattered confidence. Just kidding, sorry for being so dramatic… They were actually pieces of my soul. A thousand pieces of my soul lay on my bathroom tile. Or maybe it was tempered glass but it felt like all of my hopes and dreams and my sense of self. Shattered. What happened was, if I haven’t been clear, I stepped on the scale and it crumpled into a blanket of tempered glass pieces. My feet didn’t get cut, thankfully, but the metaphorical slashes to my ego were no joke.

And then, after I took a moment to gather myself and DRY MY TEARS (and google the max weight of my particular scale and be relieved to learn I was still a few hundred pounds off..) I realized, hmmm… maybe I’ve been putting too much weight on my weight?

I’ve weighed myself every. single. morning. of. my. life. First thing, clothes off, after peeing, since I started puberty. My Mother, who was a beautiful, loving, fun and effervescent woman, was put on her first diet at the age of FOUR (that’s right) and spent an extraordinarily large amount of her short life worrying about that scale number. She and I went on a diet together when I was ten years old. I lost ten pounds  in three weeks and felt her pride more than I ever had before. We went shopping and she beamed with joy when the sales lady said I was like a living doll. I learned a new, special way to her heart.

My mom passed away fifteen years ago but weight has continued to take up a ridiculous amount of time and focus in my life – time spent thinking about how much I weigh, wanting to weigh less, restricting, bingeing, “not dieting” but still checking, and I can’t help but wonder what I could have accomplished with the energy I’ve put towards something so meaningless and vapid. In the bad times, when I was using food as comfort/punishment/family, I’d weigh myself five times a day. That number would dictate everything – whether or not I got to go to dinner with friends, what kind of mood I was in, how I was doing in “life”. It makes me sad even just thinking about it.

Here was my big realization as I swept up the crumbled sheet of glass shards:
I DO NOT WANT THIS WASTE OF POTENTIAL FOR MY DAUGHTER.

I’m eight months pregnant and she weighs about four and a half pounds right now. The only reason that matters to me is that she is healthy and growing and thriving. Her brain is developing. She moves a lot. It’s beautiful. She is already so beautiful simply by her existence, and I want her weight to matter to me in the way it does right now for the rest of her life. It’s a symbol of her health and alive-ness. Nothing else. Her worth and miraculousness have nothing to do with the number 4.5.  I want her to put the catastrophic amount energy that I and so many girls waste towards shrinking their bodies towards her passions, towards her mind, and her spirit. Her body will follow the way it should, whatever shape it may take.

And I know she will learn this from me. From watching me. I learned a lot from hearing my Mom complain about being ugly or fat when she was the most beautiful woman in the world. It confused me. Nothing was good enough, and if SHE wasn’t beautiful, then I certainly wasn’t.

Not putting myself down in front of my daughter or comparing sizes or complaining of having a fat day or associating food and weight with self worth won’t come naturally to me but it is SO important to me that I work on this for her. For both of us.

That scale shattering under my feet was such a gift. I will never own a scale again. It feels weird waking up and not knowing the number but it’s a liberating weird. From now on it’s about how I feel, it’s about what my body wants to do – move, nourish, etc.. that makes me feel good in my skin. It’s about giving my daughter a better chance.

So… so long scale. You won’t be missed.

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Folded Laundry, Full Heart, Can’t Lose

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Life lessons, man! I keep re-learning the same one lately.

Gratitude. Living in the moment. All that Oprah shiz is working very hard to get me to cooperate with it even when I don’t wanna.

This is very much in line with my New Years resolutions that I’ve already had quite a struggle with (as you may have heard on Insecurities!) and yesterday I got a good swift kick-in-the-pants wake up call to take those resolutions to heart once again: Time to slooow down and enjoy all the good.

As you may know, yesterday was the launch of my new podcast, Totally Mommy, and this here new website! Even though I’ve been very excited leading up to this launch, I woke up yesterday filled with self doubt and worry and fear of failing. Instead of acknowledging that yesterday was “special” or something to be excited for, I protectively and pre-emptively busied myself with a massive to-do list (lists, uggh!) which included all the boring stuff (150 emails, insurance, bills, etc) that’s been piling up. It wasn’t going to be a day of fun but of grinding it out (and not in the sexy way). Howevah… the universe had other plans.

I present to you: Things that happened yesterday that distracted me from “getting my shit done”:

I woke up to an email from our amazing web designers Andrea Tomingas and Gabe Danon informing me that the website was live. I proceeded to spend an hour exploring, and oohing and ahhing at how pretty everything is, eating into my prime morning productivity time. Scoreboard: me: 0; emails: 149.

Then just as I was settling in for a lovely health insurance paperwork nightmare that’s been put off for weeks, my friend Ellen texted to meet up with her for a coffee/walk. She’s the greatest. The answer was YES, it was a no brainer. It ate up 2 hours of my day (I’m waddling more than walking these days…) and I returned home at lunchtime. Nothing accomplished. Nada. Score: Me: 0; health insurance: 500 million forms.

I checked my phone while making the quick lunch I was going to eat before “getting to it!” This is when I saw that the messages from you guys and other listeners had been rolling in. Wonderful, loving messages of support and excitement about the podcast! This was an awesome distraction. (me: 0, grilled cheese: burned; to do list: holding steady at full.)

The rest of the day brought continued surprise phone calls and visits from friends – all of them from women I haven’t talked to in far too long but have been thinking of A LOT. One friend called to tell me that she is pregnant (yay!) My friend Kathryn generously brought over her movie screeners for us to borrow (she is the greatest!) Then my friend Tami called. She is such a badass that she is giving a keynote speech to her Alma Mater this weekend about her career of badassery. We had such a great conversation that made me feel some much needed security in this new career path I’m taking right now. (PS. Tami is the greatest!)

As soon as we hung up, my friend Pammy called. She’s my dear friend (the greatest!) from NYC who makes me laugh and I can always make her laugh which, let’s be honest, is just as important. Laughter ensued. Emails remained unanswered.

By now it was already dinnertime and I had not touched my inbox, or appointments, or birthing babies reading assignments, or other boring stuffs. The day had “gotten away from me” but I felt like I was walking on air. I mean, how lucky am I? All these incredible women reaching out to me on the same day, a special day for me even if I hadn’t been willing to acknowledge it.

Oh, and BTW, Guess what I was doing all that time on the phone? Without really thinking I began doing laundry while talking – washing, drying, sorting the gorgeous mountain of baby clothes that my friends have bought/handed down/ and given to me. It’s been another thing on my “to-do” list that has just been sitting there: another task. A chore. But it was not a chore yesterday, it was a beautiful way to spend the hours feeling like I was cradled in this new chapter of domesticity while beautiful women reminded me of how lucky I am to have all that I have.

So. there you have it: the baby clothes are organized and put away, and it happened in the blink of an eye with great love, no effort. All the while I got to reconnect with friends. It’s that lesson again – it’s all about perspective. I’m hoping to (once again!) approach more of the things in my life with this sort of ease and enjoyment.

AAANNND if that weren’t enough, just as I was getting ready for bed, THIS happened – an enormous, giant, earth shattering hug from all of you – (You are the greatest!):

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#1?! Holy hell, what a joy. Thank you for putting my fears at ease and listening and supporting. It means the world to me.

Tell me in the comments to keep me going on this feel good train! What sorts of lovely distractions from your to-do list are you grateful for?