What’s New with Me, You Ask?

904157_10151815269489125_1869451256_o-1It’s been a few of those months … those really crazy busy ones when life gets in the way of blogging and creativity is at a stand-still.

So much has happened, but so little has been written about. Work has picked up and I’m now operating at an insane pace -  I’ve traveled to San Francisco, Miami, Nashville and Florence, Italy … and was just last month. We went from a crib to a big girl bed, sisters are bonding, new teeth are emerging and so are new attitudes. Friends have happily gotten married and pregnant, others have not, some friends have had their babies already and one friend has tragically passed away … and I’ve gained at least ten pounds, I know it.

My desire to write was lost.

But I’m a proponent of doing the things that make you happy, even when it’s hard to shut off the world around you and just focus on something simple and good and only for you. For me, that thing is writing … and talking and venting and catching-up with the ones I love. Those things are important.

So I’m asking all my mommy friends out there – what’s been going on with YOU these last few months? Tell me about it by leaving your comments below.

And I’ll start telling you more too.

Who You Calling a Sissy?!

babyIt started innocently enough. A nice birthday dinner with loved ones that turned ugly quickly and unexpectedly. My husband, myself, and our children were out to dinner with some people (names have been removed to protect the guilty). These individuals inquired about our recent trip to North Carolina, to which my husband responded that our 2 year old son was afraid of the ocean. Cue the sissy brigade! These adults proceeded to say to my cute little son in his highchair “Oh you sissy!” “Hang out with us, we’ll toughen you up!” “You don’t want to be a sissy, do you?”

I glanced at my husband with a look that could only have been interpreted as: “If they call my kid a sissy one more time, this mamma bear will defend her cub at any cost!“ He quickly redirected the conversation with a reference to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback controversy and no one spoke of the incident again.

Sissy…..sissy…..sissy…. I could not get the word out of my head. I decided to look up the definition in Wikipedia: Sissy: pejorative term for a boy or man who violates or does not meet the standard male gender role. Generally, sissy implies a lack of courage, strength, coordinationtestosterone, male libido, and stoicism, which have traditionally been important to the male role. Let me be clear, these individuals love my son and would do nothing to intentionally hurt him, but I could not help but think of the message we are sending our sons and daughters:

Displaying an emotion such as fear is a sign of weakness.

“Man-up” and deny your feelings and fears.

Girls are fearful but not tough boys. They’re fearless.

Look, I don’t think it is any secret that the prevailing wisdom is that men are more comfortable with the emotions of anger and aggressiveness, rather than passive emotions of fear and sadness. If we continue to perpetuate this in our young boys, we will continue to reinforce the notion that soft emotions equate to weakness.  This, I fear, has far reaching implications for women and men.

To further stress the importance, recent research has found that toddler boys need MORE help dealing with anger and frustration, and shaming/punishment of these feelings is detrimental. As the lead author of a recent study measuring parental responses to displays of emotion in toddler boys states,“When parents punish their toddlers for becoming angry or scared, children learn to hide their emotions instead of showing them. These children may become increasingly anxious when they have these feelings because they know they’ll face negative consequences. In our culture, boys are discouraged from expressing their emotions. If you add parental punishment to these cultural expectations, the outcome for boys who often experience negative emotions may be especially detrimental.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308124916.htm

I’ve had enough of this societal norm that breeds anger and frustration in our sons and the notion that emotions appropriately displayed by our daughters are indicative of weakness. There is strength in appropriate expression of emotion. When my little boy responds to a situation with fear or anxiety, I will respond with empathy, love, support and encouragement. My hope is that he will grow up into a man that has the courage to confront and face any emotion. I want to change the narrative to:

Displaying/communicating emotions is a sign of strength.

Denying your feelings and fears will only serve to have them resurface at another time.

There is courage in admitting that you are fearful.

My hope is that someday, my son’s future wife will want to meet the mother and father who raised this beautiful young man so in touch with his emotions!

50 Shades of Sex after Baby

3171980493It’s been over a year since I read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and I can still appreciate what it has done for life between the sheets for my husband and me. I don’t think E.L. James truly knew what she was doing for women everywhere, especially us mommies, when she wrote these novels. There are disputes about her quality of writing and the redundancy of sex scenes, but for me this fantasy couple opened the doors to new experiences in the bedroom even when life gets complicated with kids.
Sex will always be a hot topic for men and women, but sex after baby/kids seems to be a life lesson. In order to succeed there must be this constant balance of timing, sleep, desire/interest, communication, and tending to those little distractions we call children. When both parties don’t make the effort to make sure these issues align, then sex takes its place on the back burner.
Here is the progression of Shades of Sex after Baby….
Please don’t touch me shade
Although we love the idea that our husbands still want us after our baby is born, the idea of boob grabbing, ass slapping, or handling our sex is so far off our radar we can’t ever imagine getting back in the groove.
The first time shade
I am talking about the first time you get back in the game after you pushed that 6 lb 12 oz or greater baby out of your womb. This anxiety filled session is clouded with pain, raging hormones, and a suffocating desire to be with your new little love.
The baby is crying shade
This is usually a deal breaker for the mommies but what amazes me is the fact that the men can keep it going. I guess I can understand a little, because it is not “daddy” the bambino is screaming it’s “mommy!!!”
I’m tired shade
Tired cannot begin to describe how new moms feel. We are exhausted, drained, worn out; and we would rather catch up on sleep than do the deed.
I can’t turn off my mind shade
Bills to pay, grocery lists to make, babysitters to find, meals to plan, people to please. Is my baby growing and developing like he/she should? Did I yell too much? How could I do that differently next time? To put it plainly, sometimes we just can’t shut-off our minds.
First date night shade
You reconnect. You talk a little about breaking news, a little about work, and a lot about the kids. You didn’t have to do the normal routine to put the kids to bed. You are dressed and you smell good. You even had time to shave. You can finally go back to the pre-kid “play date” even if it is only for a night.
We got this shade
Your kids are on a schedule, the house is in order or at least now you don’t mind if the sink is full of dishes … and if hubby finished something from his “honey do” list you throw him a bone. You make the time and the effort because you got this family thing down.
You just read a good book shade
You read this really great series and you decide to bring some of the ideas to the bedroom to spruce things up. Hubby has no complaints and it all works out.
The first adults only vacation shade
This is no holds bar. You are finally alone for days with the man you married, the man you love and adore. You can do it like rabbits with no worries and NO interruptions. It is a mind blowing euphoric experience, one only to be had without children present.
Having kids is an absolute pleasure but let’s face it, it can put a wrench in your sex life. For some the process takes longer than others. And even for those couples who get back in the game early, there are bound to be dry spells every once in a while. Communicating, having date nights, and checking in with one another helps bring things a little closer to your pre-baby relationship. But if this still doesn’t seem to work, then read a good book! I have a recommendation for you.

Dear Daddy

get-attachment.aspxDeath. It doesn’t discriminate. Sometimes it comes with warning and sometimes it is a surprise. There are never the right words to heal the broken heart and it is certainly hard to understand this concept of “foreverness,” especially for a child. 

I experienced death at young age when I lost my father and recently my babysitter’s mother passed away. It sucks, plain and simple. But that’s life, right? And it is how we deal with these life changing situations which can make or break you. Whether it is in the moment when you are riding the emotional roller coaster or years later when you are faced with providing an explanation to a small child, it is never easy.

My babysitter’s loss and a conversation I had with my four-year-old son prompted me to write this letter to my dad. 

Dear Daddy,

In a few days it will be 14 years since you left us. Your death was such a hard time in my life and although l have moved on there are moments when I miss you so bad it hurts. I used to keep a journal and write to you often. I wrote about high school graduation, crazy college days, when the love of my life proposed, and about my wedding day. I am a mom now so my letters to you are few. I spend most of my time writing to my kids so that I won’t forget all the precious things they say and do.

Recently, the topic of death, heaven, and the fact that Marco and Anastasia will never get to meet you has surfaced. I knew this day would come and I thought I would be prepared. It turns out that death is not an easy topic for a four year old, go figure!

I talk about you often. I tell them how funny you were, that you gave the best hugs, all the crazy games you made up and songs you sang. I tell Marco he shares your name and that his loving but crazy emotional personality is a lot like you. And just like any inquisitive four year old he asks a lot of difficult questions.

The other day we were watching Good Morning America. They were featuring segments about how a television series will continue when one of the main characters has passed away in real life. Probably a little too mature for a four year old to be watching but honestly I didn’t think he was paying attention. Well he was and proceeded to ask me, “Mom, what does it mean to stop breathing?” I explained as best I could (it helped the night before we were talking about all of our organs and what they do for our bodies) and he seemed to get it. Wow, that was hard, I thought to myself. But he wasn’t done with the questions. Then he asked me, “Mom, do you sometimes miss your dad because he is in heaven?” This was the harder question.

I answered honestly and said yes. Of course he asked, “Why?” This is where things got tricky. I told him I miss talking to you, and hugging you. I miss the fact that you never got to meet my two beautiful children. We exchanged a few more thoughts and then moved on. He seemed to take it all in but was that too much to tell a four year old? Then I went in the kitchen to compose myself.

When I came back to the living room Marco looked really sad so I asked him if he was ok. He started to cry.  I realized then, this will never be easy to talk about.

He told me that he did not want you to be in heaven, he wanted you to come to our house to play with him. I comforted him and told him I wish you could too. What else could I say? He noticed I had been crying. I explained that it was ok to cry when you miss someone or when you are sad.

Parenting is not easy and there is no “how-to-guide” when tackling the hard topics. I love the innocence and purity my children possess. My hope is to keep it this way for a long time even when dealing with these issues.

Daddy, I miss you every day. I know you are looking over us but I wish you were here to experience these wonderful children who call me mommy. They are such a joy and a blessing.

Love, Stacy

Miley Can You Hear Me?

1377526665_robin-thicke-miley-cyrus-lg-02Hey Miley,

We hear you. You’re not a little girl anymore. Hannah Montana has left the building. Got it.

But who and what are you, Miley? A club-drugged pleather-wearing stripper, with an unhealthy oversized teddy bear obsession? I’m worried about you, girl.

When you took that stage at the VMAs, you looked like someone trying desperately to impress your new group of friends, but sadly, I don’t think you had a friend in the room.

What were you doing with that oversized finger? (Or what WEREN’T you doing?) And I’d rather not even address the tongue.  It’s officially the most overexposed body part since Janet Jackson’s boob …

You successfully made Robin Thicke look like a pedophile. Congrats … and damn you.

Listen, you’re not the first, and I’m sure you won’t be the last, to “pull a Britney” (“pulling a Britney” = trying to prove to the world you’re “not a girl, not yet a woman”). This whole act is not shocking. Ya know what would be shocking? Making a smooth transition from child star to pop-icon in a seamless, sleazeless way, without a brief stint as a porn star in between.

I’m not your mother (thank God), but I find myself wanting to lend you some motherly advice.

  • Let’s you and me put an end to “Twerking.” I think we’d all live happier lives if we never saw that god-forsaken trend again.
  • Somebody (preferably your father) needs to take you out to ice cream and remind you what’s cool about being a kid, and why it feels good to grow-up slowly.
  • Lay off the drugs.
  • Remember, if they don’t like you for you, then you don’t need em.
  • Get unengaged … for good. You’re 20, the only thing you should be engaged in is prepping to legally purchase alcohol. (But I’m guessing that seems like a total snore to you.)
  • Seriously, lay off the drugs. As Lindsay Lohan can tell you, there’s no DJ in rehab.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’m going to turn my attention to permanently imposing a parental control on the Disney Channel. I’m sure it will be no time at all until the child stars of today will be flushing their dignity down the toilet tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Somebody Else’s Mom

Mommy Breaths

In addition to preparing for baby girl #2, I have also been trying to mentally prepare my first born for things to expect … You know, crying morning, noon and night. Stinky diapers, gentile hugs and kisses … And my favorite, nursing.

How do you explain to a 3-year-old that has never seen a new mom breastfeed her baby what that’s all about? Do I Google it? YouTube videos? Maybe the library has a book. Or, better yet, grab one of her dolls, sit her down and explain the concept to her like she is a full grown adult.

I began by explaining why my breasts have been rapidly growing (which has not gone unnoticed by her). Over the last 8 months, she has obsessively tried to peek at every chance she got.

Next, we get to the part about my breasts filling with milk.

“Milk?”

“Yes, milk.”

“Well, I drink milk.”

“Yes, but this is Mommy milk. You drink Cow’s milk.”

“Mommy milk??? What’s that?”

Hmmm, some would consider it gold. Moving on….

I then lift my shirt and explain how the baby will latch on to my nipples to drink the milk.

She seemed okay with that.

Phew, that was easy.

Wait …

She turned around and exclaimed, “I have those too! So I can help feed the baby, too. Here, I’ll show you …” and began to put her baby doll to her chest.

Ugh.

After a few minutes of explaining to her that only Mommies can breastfeed their own babies, and her arguing that she was a Mommy too, we decided a lesson about pretend dolls and real babies was next on the list of things to tackle.

A few days later while getting dressed, I hear a little snickering and a voice saying, “Haha. Those are out.”

What’s out? Oh right, Those. So I figured another attempt at breast, nipples and nursing education was due. I asked her to tell me the correct name for Those.

“Breaths.”

“Breasts.”

“Breasts?”

“Yes, and we don’t point and laugh at them. Do remember what they are for? To feed the baby.”

“YES! Are there bottles in there?”

This story is be continued when baby arrives … but in the mean time, here is a picture my daughter drew of Mommy and her Breaths.

breaths

A College Send-off Letter to My Babies

college1college2

Dear Girls,

It’s Back to School season and children everywhere are packing their lunches, sharpening their pencils (do kids do that anymore?) and hopping on the big yellow buses headed to Smartypants Town. Others are traveling out-of-state or down the road with their bedding and baggage in tow, saying goodbye to their parents as they begin their new life at college.

Neither one of those scenarios sound fun to me. They’ll certainly be fun for you, but in my mind, they’re already the day I cried so much I threw up.

See the thing is, even though there are moments when I daydream of sleeping in or reading a book alone, I truly enjoy the chaos of having you both in my world. You make it a worthwhile one.

That being said, I realize going off to college is a rite of passage that is not only important, but essential for individual growth. (However, if you don’t want to go, I’ll tell you now that you can stay home with mommy as long as you pick up after yourselves and throw me a couple of bucks for rent until I die.)

But preference = go to college.

Since I can already tell that the two of you are a couple of strong-willed, spirited kiddies, there are some words of wisdom I’d like to share with you in hopes that you’ll learn from your dear old mom. I figure these tips are better to drop on you now, while I’m still young enough to have a semi-vivid recollection of what my own college days were like … and you’re still young enough not to care.

So here goes:

  • Do a few bad things but always know when to make good decisions. Fine, you’re going to consume alcohol before your 21 and perhaps you’ll get yourself a fake ID. But don’t put your drink down and come back to it, and never go home with someone you don’t know.
  • Care about your grades but don’t become obsessed.
  • Make some good friends and invest in them. Don’t waste your time on the others.
  • Always know where your shoes are. Seriously, that’s important.
  • Pledge a sorority … or don’t. But do something that makes you feel connected to your school and makes those four years uniquely your own.
  • Know how to master the following in a pinch: keg stand, beer bong and flip cup. Once in a while, put those boys to shame.
  • Love your roommates. And hate your roommates too. Both experiences are necessary.
  • Wear your party clothes to your early morning classes the next day. It’s a look every girl must rock at least once. Or twice(ish).
  • Piss off the neighbors, but don’t disrespect them. They’ll get over it as long as their property isn’t damaged. (Don’t damage their property.)
  • Go on spring break but don’t participate in wet T-shirt contests. Or if you do, don’t let anyone take pictures. That shit will haunt you come job time.
  • Be responsible with money. Credit cards don’t mean you hit the jackpot and contrary to popular belief, you will have to pay them back some day … or when you want a good credit score.
  • If you have a choice between food or beer, pick food (most of the time).
  • Kiss cute boys but always leave them wanting more. Ninety nine percent of them don’t deserve you anyway.
  • Be smart. Be strong. Be brave enough to make your own decisions, because they are the right ones for you.
  • Sing Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen or Journey at the top of your lungs, and dance on a (sturdy, well-built) table.
  • Learn about your vocation. Learn about yourself. Learn about life. That’s what you’re there for, and if you do it right, it will be worth all the student loan money in the world. (Be advised: You will need student loans.)

I love you.

Your Momma