Truth #23 – We wish you could have seen them yesterday

I promise, she did it yesterday.  She did it like 20 times.  He was so good, sat at the table for hours.  He took like six steps without holding on.  She was dancing her heart out, clapping and waving bye-bye.  He didn’t cry at all!  She scored, he placed first, she made it!”

Sometimes it seems like the only one they will perform for is you Mommy!  All you wanna do is share your joy with somebody but your kid won’t get it together!  It’s not that you want to shove it in people’s faces but it’s so nice to share in a simple moment of their precious development.  Or even just their good behavior.  Ain’t nothin’ better than when your two-year old sits for a 3 coarse meal and nothing worse than when they flip out in front of guests.

I picked my daughter up from preschool the other day and one of the boys had a total breakdown at the sight of his mom.  She had a newborn in a bucket seat and the daily winter grind of hats, gloves, coats, and transport had proven to be bigger than her that day.  She was so embarrassed that she lost it on him – everything short of leaving him there.  It wasn’t a good time for me to step in but I know that boy and he’s wonderful.  He was just having a bad hour is all.  As a matter of fact he’s actually my daughter’s favorite friend.  I wish I could have told her that because she must have been thinking… “Lady, he’s not always like this.”

I have an animated little girl with an enormous personality.  She is known for her dramatic facial expressions and intense memory.  There is nothing more fantastic than when she performs!   Gia… sing, dance, read, talk on the phone…  Like most toddlers however, she gets moody!  If she isn’t feelin’ it, ain’t gonna happen.  Worse case is our persistence plays on their sensitivity and formulates a breakdown.  When this happens, we wanna crawl into a ditch as if it’s some magnifying reflection on us as their mom.  ‘I swear to you people, just yesterday she was dancing and singing, counting to 50, riding her bike, reading a book…’

I understand the sensitivity because I’ve witnessed the onlookers .  I’ve heard moms talking about kids as though they’re problem children!  It’s crap!  They haven’t even met them twice but because that one day, the child was a tad off, well that’s it, they must be a bad kid… it’s bull shit.

Moms, let’s make a point to be more tolerating, or realistic rather.  Before you label a tiny human a ‘brat’, give it at least a second visit because their mom is wishing you could have just seen them yesterday!

Photos from here and here and here and here

Truth #22 – We only show you the best pictures

Every mom in this tech-happy age has the ability to snap and delete.  Snap, delete, snap, edit, maybe, hmmm, we’ll see about that one…  Tell the truth!  You definitely do it!  We only send the pictures where they look their best!  Whatever that means…

To be fair, they are squirmy and uncooperative.  How many eyes-closed, open-mouthed pictures do we delete?!  For my Christmas cards this year, I shoved them in front of the tree and behind me played Barney on my laptop.  Lola cried most of the shoot and Gia kept telling me to get out of her way.  “Mommy, this is my favorite song!”  Last year having just Gia, I put my dad on lighting duty, my husband behind the camera and me, wobbly and pregnant, dancing around with props.   We took about 600 pictures and I decided only after a week of dissecting my one year old and her invisible imperfections, which one would make the cut.  How incredibly sad, yet still true.

How dare they be uncomfortable with all the bow-ties and crinoline!  How dare they be impatient when we’re dangling around all those yummy treats!  How dare they not understand how important it is for us to show everyone how adorable they are!  Nuff said maybe.  Bottom line is that you’re all gonna be seeing the best damn shot of the lot, and these days there’s a whole lot!

Whatever did they do back in the day without digital?  We must be getting uglier because I happen to think those old pictures are fabulous.  Here’s to hoping I made my point…  We’re all a bit silly aren’t we?

Happy Holidays to all you crazy moms and your adorable babies…  And to all the daddies who thought the very first picture was awesome enough.

Photos from here and here

Truth #21 – We need help

We may never ask so please insist.  Come over and take over.

To the new mommies… just hold on a minute.  Although you can’t possibly imagine wanting to leave your new bundle, you may eventually need to run.  It will get worse though before it gets better.  When you start to sleep again and when your baby begins to genuinely look for you and pine for you, you will insist that leaving is 100% off the table.  It’s even worse if you’re breastfeeding because you are so irreplaceable and you just KNOW that all you gotta do is insert boob and all will be well no matter the challenge.  Just hang on because once you decide to stop breastfeeding and may perhaps desire a beverage, once you don’t remember existing without your new appendage, once you decide it’s time to practice for another if that is your wish, and finally when number two arrives…  you will eventually want to sprint the hell out of babyland!  There you have it folks, we will need you to oblige.

As much as we are superhuman beings of love, mommy machines who never rest until our offspring have discovered their own version of peace, we need to break away for a little while.  We need time to speak adult to other adults, to run without dragging a child behind or whipping around a bucket seat.  We need to shop in an establishment other than a damn Wal-mart, Toys R’ US, or Loblaws.  It’s complicated at first as we continue to deny our innate need to stray but that’s where you come in!

Let me be clear, stay away from the brand new baby-maker.  It is not the time to be insisting they leave because they are just getting acquainted with their first-born and a severe obsession has emerged.  When they begin to appear comfortable and as though they have a happy handle on their new life, drop by and offer to lend a hand.  Tread lightly though and keep in mind, they may just want to visit with you because they need some healthy interaction.  They may enjoy the opportunity to tell stories and brag a bit.  This can be just as big a help as babysitting

We need help BUT we don’t need help parenting.  We know what’s best for our babies BUT we may not know what’s best for us.  Offer a hand if you think we could use one.  It is no doubt tricky to really know for sure because we’re complicated women but if you do some digging, our true colours will spit up…  against our better judgment of course.

Pictures from here and here and here and here

Truth #20 – We can’t wait until they’re sleeping

It starts right out the gate.  Sleep is the first necessity that a mother will lose and may never get back until her babies are grown and gone.  As much as it’s true that we should sleep when they’re sleeping, it’s the only time we have a sec to ourselves and although we’re tired, we’re craving a good phone call or bitch-fest, adult television show or glass of wine. Besides, if a second baby gets thrown in the mix, you’re shit outta luck anyway.  Contrary to what you may have heard, they do not sleep at the same time, if they sleep at all.

Although I’m not there yet, I can’t imagine it getting any better once they get older.  All that inexperienced driving, questionable friendships, and lies they’ll inevitably tell!  I would imagine that a sound sleep for mommy is had only when she hears snoring in the other room or after having bolted their second floor windows shut from the outside.  In case you can’t tell, God gave me girls.

Naptime or bedtime is the only time we have to catch up.  Our kids own our freedom and although we wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s tough to find the time to do anything.  We may need to prepare dinner, pick up a mountain of toys, pay the bills or buy a damn bra that fits.  It’s impossible to do any of it when they’re asking you to play, demanding your attention or requiring your supervision.  As soon as we know our baby is asleep, we can’t help but exhale and get to steppin’ – not unlike a well oiled machine.

We all know that unwanted advice seems to just throw up all over us and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.  It’s no secret that moms want to weigh in on their personal experiences and force feed you with their stories and convictions.  Running the risk of interfering myself, some of the best motherly advice I ever heard was offered from an experienced mom to a new mom.  It was to try to take the time to put your kids to bed.  Rock them to sleep, sing a song, read or tell a story… Do what you can to enjoy that ticking time.  Although it’s so difficult to gear up for what can sometimes be a very long and stressful process, it’s just one of the things that our kids will stop needing us for.  It’s just one more thing we’re gonna lose after a significantly short number of years.  There’s no doubt that we can’t wait for them to be soundly sleeping so maybe try not to rush the time it takes to get them there.  Plus, we all know that there ain’t nothing better than holding your sleeping angel close.

Photos from here and here

Truth #19 – We want it to be us

It’s not that we want to be the only ones, we just want to be first.

The Baby

When our baby cries, we want to be the one to swoop in using mommy magic that only we can properly execute.  Allow us a moment to perform!  If someone happens to jump in and save the day, make no mistake, it hurts a bit.  Worse is when they reach for someone else while in our arms… hurts like hell.  Don’t get me wrong, if there is no stopping the tiny human and sleep is dwindling, it becomes an open invitation.  Most days though, we would rather it be us.  We appreciate the opportunity when ‘mommy’s touch’ is displayed for all to see.

The Child

When sleepover’s at Grandmas become more fun and more frequent, we want our kids to wanna come home.  It bites if they kick and scream at the idea of pick up time.  We missed them dammit and we want them to have missed us too!  No doubt we pray for them to have good friends who come from good homes and magnificent teachers they can turn to for inspiration, but… isn’t it true that we always want to be their preferred home base?

The Teen

It’s an overemotional and trying time in parenting.  We are a hormonal being and we admit that when it comes to our kids, we are hypersensitive and often irrational! We may admit it if their ears aren’t in the vicinity.  We need them to trust us, come to us, pick us first because they have begun to slip away.  They have by now their own distinct convictions and although we may remember carrying them and squeezing them out, it is for them only a story we keep telling them about.

The adult

If we could only be so lucky to witness full circle.  To continue to be first when our babies have babies.  To watch them experience what we did and to try our best to understand them having been there ourselves.  If we had to share ‘first‘ at times throughout this journey, we are sure to get it back now.  When it’s your turn, ain’t no one you want to see more.  Big or small, you want your mommy.

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Pictures from here and here and here and here



Truth #18 – Number two gets shafted

I’m sure we would love to say that we don’t but we do.  We shaft number two.

The case is made and simple.  The transition between no kids to with baby is so sensational, so drastic.  Life will forever be changed and will never appear similar to prior, not in the least.  The transition into a second child feels somewhat like so…  One was definitely not that hard, sleep dwindled after having just got it back, you are no longer related to the couch and, of course, you could never have imagined you had even more love in that heart of yours.

There are so many reasons why number two gets shafted.  None of which has anything to do with loving them less.

First, you’re not nearly as paranoid.  Watching them sleep with one eye open has turned into ‘now make sure you breathe tonight kid, because you’re on your own.’  Mama needs her sleep.

Second, you’re not nearly as insecure.  You’ve changed thousands of diapers and dealt with fevers, teething, cuts and boo-boos.   You’ve done the reading and you call yourself Dr. Mom.  Don’t get me wrong, you look forward to the appointments for reassurance but you are slightly more dauntless and bold.

Third, you simply don’t have the time.  Number one needs your one on one.  They need to be entertained and challenged as they blossom.  They may need potty training, homework assistance, or a ride to the movies.  Unfortunately number two may sit in a bit of shit for a minute while you’re tending to the needs of the eldest.

 

You hold them less, you feed them less diligently, you change them less often, you take less pictures and the ones you take include the older one!  You are only human mommy and can’t possibly do it all.  They will be independent and strong because your hands may not have been on their shoulders the whole time.  So try to be less wonderful to number one so you have less to compare yourself to!  As long as you care I can promise you this…  They will grow up with more than enough love to make them fabulous and will have never felt even the slightest bit of shaft.

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Photos from here and here and here

Truth #17 – We despise countless suggestions

We know, you care.  We are so grateful for that.  Now let me explain how annoying you are.

Suggestions to pregnant women

Depending on culture or nationality, age or profession, it amazes us that some people suffocate us with ridiculous pregnancy fables.  If they’ve had children of their own, it’s shocking that they actually believed any of this nonsense was true!  Have a craving?  ‘Don’t dare touch your face or your child will have a birthmark precisely there in the shape of that particular food.’  Uh-huh, sure.  ‘You must try everything at the table because the baby might want it’ (even though they can’t see it).  Keep it simple people!  “Limit your caffeine, refrain from getting hammered, sleep while you can, and you look radiant!”. Those things we don’t mind hearing.

Suggestions to new moms

There is no one on Earth more sensitive than a new mom!  She is sleep-deprived, doubting herself and still larger than she wants to be.  She has most likely been reading only the most current developments about everything baby. She may have invested in some sort of birthing or prenatal class where they instructed only useful and documented material!  SO…  In case you aren’t aware, it’s forbidden to just waltz in when her baby is crying (cuz that’s what some do), and throw all kinds of obvious suggestions her way. Everyone wants to be the one to diagnose the problem.  ‘Did you check their temperature, did you change their diaper, they’re hungry, they’re tired, they’re cold’…  It’s craziness.  Stop it!

Suggestions to experienced moms

Unless they’ve asked, say nothing.  Unless they’re in trouble, look the other way. Motherhood is more than a full-time job, it’s an obsession, so naturally nobody knows their baby like mom.  They are seasoned, they are confident, they are real good and they are often being scrutinized by someone somewhere so be careful, it could get ugly.

The lesson

Thanks so much for caring.  If you really have a legitimate solution, shout it out by all means but don’t just state the obvious or the absolutely ridiculous.  We are always tuned in to our kids.  If you’re trying to help, you’re not because it makes us feel that you doubt our ability to react appropriately. Damn right we’re overly sensitive, we are fully admitting it so don’t tick us off by throwing us countless suggestions.

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Photos fromhere and here and here

 

Truth #16 – We’re gonna forget

No matter how hard we try, we’re gonna forget.

I can remember staring into her eyes and saying to myself, ‘look through her dammit’.  Take a picture in your memory and forever store it in the short-term so that you may always manage to get it back.  Look hard, savor, or better yet, freeze time in your memory.  You can try but you’re gonna forget.

The seasoned mom picks up a newborn and can’t seem to remember a full day with her baby.  Even the new mom of the 5 month old meets her friends’ baby and swears up and down that her baby was never that small.  But he was, she just forgets.

Every mom who holds a new baby says the same things.  “What I would give for them to be like this again”, or “they grow up so fast”.  What they’re saying is “For F&*% sakes, I can’t remember”.  A mother of a toddler and twin newborns told me she has no memories of the first 6 months.  That they’re a blur.  Although she’s probably thrilled to have gotten through it in one piece, it remains heartbreaking.

Some of us question whether we held them enough (me), whether we overly encouraged a premature independence (me), or whether we took the time to enjoy rather than stress about cooking and cleaning (so stupid me).  Sit the hell down and just hold your damn baby.  Do nothing.  Congratulations to the moms who did!  Even though we will all forget, we will never forget how it felt. The feeling of your baby falling asleep on your chest, wrapping their whole hand around a single finger, “mama”, the first reach.  You won’t forget how it felt and the moment you realized you’ll never be the same.  At least we have that because no matter what, the truth is we’re gonna forget.

 

Photos from here and here

Truth #15 – We want a maid

If we don’t have one, we would freaking love one.  Don’t let us fool you!  Mommies who have bitten the bullet and sought the extra help, congratulations to you.  You have successfully ignored the nonsensical voice inside your head screaming:  “Don’t do it!”.  Who is that traitor anyway?  Sadly, it’s the poster of us over the past century.  Listen ladies, for those of you who can afford the extra bucks and don’t do it because of obnoxious pride, here’s a tip – no one sees the trophy inside your head that’s hanging over the mantle beside the dust mites you never got to…  just you.

Husbands and partners, support us on this one.  It would make a fantastic Christmas present no?  It would dramatically boost our energy level and encourage productivity.  You might be surprised how well it turns out for you… wink wink, cough cough.

When we actually get to sit down, we look around and notice what we didn’t get to that day.  We then begin setting unrealistic goals as we think of what needs to be done the next day.  Don’t get me wrong, we leave the cleaning last because we fully understand that it does not take priority over the needs of the kids but the lovely rugrats create an endless bite-size mess!  Picking up after them is hard enough but constant polishing is just not realistic.

This truth was suggested to me by another dusty mommy because it’s a topic fiercely popular among us.  One of the most talented, loving, and dedicated mothers I know said to me that it’s her best 30 bucks.  I thought it would get easier as the kids get older but she says it gets worse.  Most of us go back to work full-time… dinners… sports and extras, bathtime, bedtime, on and on….

Listen, if you manage to look the other way and honestly aren’t affected by the the dust, you’re so much better off than the rest of us.  But for those who just simply cannot stomach the sights but can’t find the time?  Make the call and hire a cleaning service, you know you wanna.

Photos from here and here

Truth #14 – You won’t understand until you have your own

Yes to our moms, you were right.  When you didn’t let us go to the concert, when you cried at the graduation, when you embarrassed us at the movies, when you spied on our date, when you waited on the porch for hours the day we got our license … we can say it now, you were right.  We understand only now that it has become our turn.

First order of business is that I mean no disrespect to all you childless super aunts, zios, tias, oncles, zizis and alike.  My kids are tremendously blessed to have an array of additional go-to options.  It has become crystal clear that these ever so selfless individuals are amazing extensions of mommy and daddy who almost equally love and cherish our babies.  For them, there is no greater love for anyone and they remain willing to be the forever present runner-ups whenever the call may come.

I am simply saying that nothing could have prepared us for the spectrum of emotion, the life altering responsibility and the limitless faith that motherhood confirms.  Especially not the annoying and countless warnings and threats.  Carrying the baby for 9 months is no preparation for the emergence of unfamiliar sentiment that overcomes you when you hold your child.  From that point on, so much of what you thought defined you simply melts away.

As an aside, I feel compelled to write this truth because of its sincerity but also as an apology to the girls that haven’t yet had their babies.  Getting together with the ladies these days is already so rare that when we get the chance, we should be mindful of those who may not yet relate.  By no means am I insinuating that we should zip our lips about everything baby, but perhaps we can make an effort to enjoy other subjects.  Just because we may find ‘breastfeeding’ fascinating, it’s most likely less mind-blowing for the pre-moms.

If you’re reading this and you aren’t yet a mom, the point of this truth pertains to you after all.  As women we need so much to talk about something we feel good at, or something we know we’re current on.  A lot of us aren’t “working”, and this is our whole life’s new work.  God willing, if it is your wish too, you will be here soon.  You will love it and you will finally understand what momma meant!  And on this one, daddy probably said it too!

Photos from here and here