Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I wasn't a new mom snob. (I swear)

Most of my friends fall into two categories: friends with no kids or friends with kids who are older.

When it was our time to become parents, our experience was so unique compared to everyone else’s that we knew. People were intrigued to hear about it, but I didn’t have a lot of those, “Ugh, TELL me about it. When WE were 700 miles away from our unborn child, I was all blah blah blah’” moments.

Prior to our son’s birth I read TONS of blogs and comments and even flirted with the community boards on a few websites. But that’s as far as I went. I never announced myself or shared. I was more of a message board stalker (totally acceptable behavior in my book, btw).

After we got home with Max, I focused on being a mom. I was so overjoyed to have this time with him. I wanted to do and learn everything all by myself.
So I didn’t reach out to fellow Moms. 

Look how easy this is:
I don’t know why, I just didn’t.

Maybe part of it was that Mr. KK and I thought of ourselves as two relatively smart individuals, and that we could figure this "whole parenting thing" out on our own.

Check us out! Don't we look like we know what we're doing???
Another reason might have been that I was one of the oldest one of my friends to have a baby, and maybe I was too proud to ask them any questions. I felt that they all did it, I should be able to do it, too. I was older! I was wiser! Well, I was definitely older.

But what about new moms who weren’t friends of mine? Certainly I could chat with strangers about the woes of motherhood. My pediatrician’s office posts signs about a New Mom group that meets every Wednesday night where moms gather and chat about the good, the bad and the ugly. They bond! I could have put on my Big Girl pants, tucked Max in his car seat, and commiserated. I could have been part of a local mom community!

But, still, I didn’t.

Instead, I kept mostly to myself. Of course friends and family came by to visit often; I wasn’t a totally recluse. But I kept quiet about new motherhood. I didn’t cry on friends’ shoulders. I didn’t bother them with a zillion questions. And I didn’t vent on message boards.


Because everything was going along swimmingly! I felt horribly guilty sharing that with Moms whose lives weren’t quite as rosy.

Plus, I didn’t want them to hate me.

Also, Max is like some bizzaro Fake Baby who is super easy to take care of.

Did I mention that I didn't want them to hate me?

First off, I was healthy and felt great! I didn’t suffer through the trauma known as childbirth (or any of the after effects that can rival any horror movie). I wasn’t recovering from skin tearing (um, you have stitches where??). My boobs weren’t sore. I was zipping up the same jeans every day that I wore 9 months earlier (I KNOW. I’m sorry!).

And because I wasn’t recuperating, I was able to multi-task like the Type A that I am. While Max napped, I would prep gourmet meals for us to eat each night. I’d put out happy hour for when Mr. KK got home from work with snacks and cocktails (no breastfeeding = adult beverages for Mama). I wasn’t trying to show other Moms up, I was just trying to keep busy with stuff other than folding laundry and watching talk shows.

Which leads me to sleep. I was never tired. Why? Because Max was a sleeping superstar. Since the day we got home he’s always slept in 4-5 hour stretches (thank you, Similac). In the first two months I think we slept until 8:30 every morning. I read so many blogs and comments and articles about new moms walking around like zombies because their babies would get up every 2 hours (some said every 45 minutes!) so they weren’t sleeping at all. I think sharing the fact that I was getting a solid 10 hours of sleep in each night might earn me a punch in the face.

Our little sleeping hero:

Speaking of awesome feats of sleep, from a little over 3 months, Max started sleeping 11-12 hour stretches each night…and I mean 11 hours STRAIGHT with no wake-ups*. When we shared our tremendous sleeping-through-the-night news with our pediatrician she politely warned us, “I wouldn’t go telling other moms about this. They might not like you very much.”

And then there’s feeding time. Max is a champion eater. He’s been on the same formula they started him on in the hospital. He doesn’t spit up. He’s had zero reactions. We are yet to see vomit. Fake Baby strikes again!

And that, my friends, is why I kept to myself. Not because I was being a hermit, or a snob, but because I was afraid other new moms would cause some serious bodily harm to me when they heard I was well-rested, cooking gourmet meals each night and that Max never cried.

And it’s also why Max will be an only child. Because you know if we had a second, Fake Baby would go out the window, and new ‘this-is-what-it’s-really-like-baby’ would test my limits and sanity like nobody’s business!

*We’ve only had 2 bad nights with Max, and one of them was New Year’s Eve, and I’m still convinced he didn’t want to sleep and miss all the fun.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Mushy Mom Gene

I believe there’s this thing called the Mushy Mom Gene. 

It's the genetic make up where from an early age you can’t wait to be a mother. You start babysitting at nine years old and don’t stop until you graduate college (and even then you might make yourself available to that one family who’s in a bind because their kids are just so.freakin’.cute).

In your twenties, the Mushy Mom Gene means you smile and wave at babies in the grocery store, squeal when a friend tells you she’s preggers (then you rub your own empty womb, try not to be jealous and silently tell yourself, ‘some day!’). Or you see a family in a restaurant with one of those little booster seats attached to the table and – even though the kid is throwing french fries at his father – you think it’s the most adorable thing in the world.

In your thirties the Mushy Mom Gene goes into overdrive if you don’t yet have a baby. You see a toddler in the grocery store whose mother is a total hot mess and you start to think of what it would be like if you took the kid home to live with you. Or the minute you walk into a friend’s house you make a beeline for their baby, stick your nose to its head and inhale deeply.

The Mushy Mom Gene can make you do crazy things.

I was not born with the Mushy Mom Gene.

I was an only child, so I spent quite a bit of time letting my imagination run wild, holding conversations with myself and creating a second life in my basement. I had more Cabbage Patch Dolls than I care to admit (only child = more presents), and they would play a part in my world of make believe. 

I would play school, where I was the teacher and the Cabbies were my students. Or I would play orphanage, and I was the cool house mother (a nicer version of Mrs. Hannigan) that took care of the kids until they were adopted. And in some instances, I was their cool aunt who would take them to the movies or ice cream and then drop them back off at home at the end of the day.

In not one of these scenarios was I their mother. I blame this on the absence of the Mushy Mom Gene.

Just because I wasn’t born with the Mushy Mom Gene, didn’t mean I didn’t want to be a mother. Not gushing over babies can make people think that you don't want children.

It's quite the opposite for me. I LOVE being a mother. I LOVE our son. In fact, I wish we would win the lottery so I could spend all day every day at home with him being his MOTHER.

And now that I’m a mother, I see the Mushy Mom Gene creeping its way into my being. I smile at babies in the grocery store! I want to see pictures of your baby and kids on Facebook! I love sharing stories about baby habits or poop debacles!

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I automatically love every stranger baby and toddler I encounter.

If your baby has green snot running down its face and is trying to reach her germy hands on me or my cart? I probably don’t love that baby.

If I’m eating at a nice restaurant and it’s 9pm and you have your toddler there WAY past his bedtime and he’s having a meltdown? I probably don’t love that kid, either.*

The Mushy Mom Gene is a powerful thing. It makes you cry at Pampers commercials. Get teary-eyed at pictures of newborns. Wave back at kids who wave at you first. 

Damn you, Mushy Mom Gene!

If I had my Cabbage Patch Dolls right now I’d give them all a big old hug…from their mother.

*NOTE: I think kids can and should go to restaurants! We take Max out with us all the time! Just do it at appropriate times in appropriate places and be respectful of others.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to survive your first week back at work (with the fewest tears as possible)

I went back to work this past week.

I know.

Throughout my entire time home, I never thought about going back. Mainly because I knew I would obsess over it, and I didn't want it to ruin my time with Max.

And – I will admit – going back wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Here's some advice that helped me make it through my first week back:

1. Call in an Act of God. For me, it was a blizzard. Timed correctly, Mother Nature can really be on your side. Blizzard 2015 resulted in 1.5 days working at home, which meant extra snuggle time with my little nugget. The distraction you select is up to you: hurricane, flood, swarm of locusts.

2. Let people take you to a welcome-back lunch. Order a cocktail. Or three.

3 Bask in the glory of answering: “How’s the baby?” Gush about anything – and everything – you can about your little bundle of joy until they lose interest (about one minute). Once they move on, quietly wait until the next person welcomes you back and asks the same question, and immediately launch into how smart/cute/amazing your baby is. (Refrain from over-sharing, such as poop color and green eye mucus.)

4. Daily showers! You get to take a shower every day! And wear a bra! In fact, your office probably encourages it.

5. Relish all of the free time you have. That’s right, free time. Yes, you’re at work, but when was the last time you found yourself with a few empty moments where someone wasn’t waiting for you to do, well, everything for them? Pay a bill. Update your Facebook status. Put your head down on your desk and take a nap.

6. Go to the bathroom. Remember all those days you thought your bladder was going to burst because you just couldn’t get to the bathroom, like, ever? Guess what? You now can PEE WHEN YOU HAVE TO, instead of waiting for your mother to visit, or when the baby is napping.

7. Your diaper duty has been cut by 75%. The chances of you having to change that explosive diaper after four days of not pooping are pretty slim. That one time when you had to cut off his onesie? Yeah, someone else is dealing with that.

8. Stalk your baby app. Your childcare provider willingly agreed to update the app each day. Become OCD over every diaper change and feeding. Text questions. Make them regret ever agreeing to use it.

9. Two words: Saturday and Sunday.

10. Post-work snuggles. Remind yourself of that little face that’s going to light up when you walk in the door, and that no one can ever replace you. You’re the Mommy, after all.