I’m not sorry…

  
There are a lot of things I’m not sorry for as a mother. I’m not sorry I chose to get an epidural even though I wanted to try unmedicated. I’m not sorry I chose to bed-share even though I’d planned to have him sleep in his co-sleeper and then transition him to the crib. I’m not sorry I hated pumping and refused to pump so the only milk provider in the house was me. I’m not sorry I spent so many afternoons when he was a baby napping alongside him when I could have been doing housework. 

Because the choices I made were those every mother has to make. Some were made out of conviction, some were made out of convenience, and some were made solely with the intent to survive another day. 

But do you know want to know what I’m really, really not sorry about? Like, not even a tiny bit? I’m not sorry that I focus so much on my nuclear family and have chosen to be more selective of the time I spend with extended family and friends. I’m not sorry I don’t disrupt my sons schedule to do dinner parties every weekend or attend every single social event for more than our son can handle because someone feels we’re obligated to attend. I’m not sorry I requested people come to my home if they wanted to see my son for the first few months instead of trying to make it work between naps at their place to spare their feelings. I’m not sorry his schedule became our schedule. I’m not sorry I value making memories with my husband and son more than making memories with others. I’m not sorry our choices as parents are sometimes in stark contrast to what our own family has done in the past or what our friends or peers are doing now. 

I’m not sorry- even if that makes people feel like I’m cold or heartless or restrictive or over the top. I’m not sorry and won’t apologize for my actions. I’m not sorry and won’t be made to feel guilty about it. 

I’m not sorry. My family comes first. My son comes first. Always.

I’m not sorry. Not even a little bit. 

This is How Motherhood Changed Me

If I’m honest, I didn’t prep much to become a mom. Sure, I went to the classes, read a few books, and spoke with other moms, but overall I took this whole “motherhood” thing in stride which, if you know anything about me, you know that is the opposite of the person who I am. I’m the kind of person who makes lists. I read books and articles until I feel I am an expert and then I read some more. I plan until those plans have their own plans nested within them. So taking becoming a mom in stride was not like me at all, and I wasn’t the only one to notice the change. Friends, family, and coworkers all commented on my new “relaxed” demeanor. Then they made fun of me saying “enjoy that calm now… it’s all going to change in a few days/weeks/months”. (Why do women do this by the way?? Why do we tear each other down like this?)

Suffice to say, that change during my pregnancy was just the first of many changes I would begin to experience when I gave birth to my son and became a mom.

10 WAYS I CHANGED WHEN I BECAME A MOTHER:

 

I’m still taking things in stride…

Every time I meet a mom with more than one child they tell me “it’ll get easier with the next one because you’ll ease up”. When I tell them how lax I was with my son they seem shocked (and a little indignant). The truth is I took everything in stride: breastfeeding, doctor’s visits, teething, solids, tummy aches, spit ups… all of it. Of course there were moments of worry but I took those in stride too. I gave myself room to feel confident in my decisions as a mother and allow my “mommy intuition” to guide me. So far, it’s worked out great for all of us.

I’ve been forced to become an “outside person”…

I don’t do grass. I don’t do sitting on the floor. The only walking I like to do is in air-conditioned malls and the only flowers I like are delivered from a florist. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go for a jog and prefer my workouts be outside of the gym but enjoying nature was never my thing. Well it just so happened to be my sons thing. Bird watching, flower picking, rock collecting… that’s his jam!! Because I like to keep my son happy and encourage his interests, I often find myself venturing out to spot the birds with him and help him collect his flowers and rocks. And you know what…

… I kind of like it!

Who knew?? Who knew I wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty and sweaty? Who knew I’d grow to enjoy appreciating nature around me instead of trying my hardest to escape it? My husband and I are actually so enjoying nature now that we can’t wait to get out to LA and go hiking on the weekends. Whodathunk??


My choice in shoes…

Before getting pregnant there wasn’t a sandal high enough for me, a stiletto pointy enough for me, or a platform who didn’t call my name. When I became pregnant those same family/friends/coworkers laughed at my choice to continue to wear my super high heels. What can I say… it was comfortable! I was one of the lucky mama’s whose feet didn’t swell with pregnancy so my shoes during my baby shower (when I was 36 weeks pregnant) were skyscrapers. I assumed after I gave birth after a recovery period I would be back to wearing my lady friends. Well, just like Nina Garcia learned herself, a pair of flats are a mom’s best friend. My Toms, Minnetonka’s, and Havianas have been on rotation for the past year and a half and while I still enjoy a cute heel now and then, it’s so hard to hold his hand while wearing them, and I live for holding his little hand.

My personal grooming…

I’ve gotten 2 pedicures, 1 manicure, and 1 haircut (from a family member) in the 16 months….. I’m just going to move on now…

My choice in purses…

Another big change was my choice in purses. I am a purse LOVER!! I try not to purchase anything too trendy but appreciate a quality piece. After my son was born I tried to wear some of my coveted purses a few times but became so worried that spit up or poop would end up on them that they just got tucked away in my closet and have been in hibernation ever since. I look forward to breaking those out one day in the near future.


My television consumption… and book consumption… and news consumption…

When my son was first born it was business as usual. We were in the middle of a Frasiermarathon and once that was finished we moved on to Sherlock and then Luther. Those first few weeks of nursing and snuggling non stop were accompanied by me sitting in bed or on the couch watching some quality (and sometimes not so quality… ahem… Judge Judy…) television. Then one day, something happened. I looked down and my little guy was watching TV. That was the last day we had the TV set to something we were watching while he was awake. I know some moms don’t care about television consumption in their littles under 2 but I do, and this is how I mom, so that was the end of that. Since then I’ve spent the summer evenings trying to catch up on all the TV I missed over the last year (Empire, Law & Order, Scandal, etc.). My lack of knowledge doesn’t end in television. I haven’t picked up a book that is not meant for a child 2 and under in over a year. Please don’t ask me anything that’s going on in the world… I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t even know Ben and Jen had broken up for over a week!!! I’m slowly trying to reintegrate back into the real world but the struggle is real. Did you knew Gwen and Gavin broke up too? It’s the summer love died!

My time management…

Before I had my son I had very little tolerance for nonsense. Now I have zero. Ask my husband! I run a tight ship around here. Every moment we have is precious and that goes doubly for the moments we’re resting. Time management is a joke of a phrase. You cannot manage your time, you can only use it efficiently and productively because no matter what, the clock is going to keep ticking.

I’ve become a safer person…

I’m embarrassed to admit this but I used to be a bit of a reckless pedestrian. My motto was that I always had the right of way and if the driver didn’t stop they would be paying for it handsomely the rest of their life (of course, my husband says they’ll be paying for it in prison as I’ll be dead…). Once I had my son I realized how people die every day for no reason whatsoever. That means I have to strive hard to ensure I don’t die because I was too stupid to look both ways. New Yorker’s drive crazy, man.


The cheesiest but truest answer of all… I fell in love with a little boy…

People always say you fall in love with your children and I never quite understood it. I guess you really never can until you’ve had one of your own. I was prepared to love my son and I did the moment I knew he was inside of me. That love grew when I felt his first flutter and grew more and more with each kick and poke he gave me while in my womb. When he was born and placed into my arms, I loved him wholeheartedly. I was a giddy mama but, as easygoing of a newborn that he was, I was still tested. I got angry at him, then at myself, then at myself some more. But my love grew fiercer and stronger and I could feel myself blooming as a mother and beginning to understand what all those moms before me had said or written.

It’s hard to describe how overwhelming this love is. How it continues to develop and grow even though I was sure I couldn’t love him more. I know my husband feels the same love. I can see that same look in his eye when he talks to him or plays with him or just looks at him as he’s sitting quietly. I didn’t know I had room to love another person so selflessly and it makes me feel human and grounded.

It makes me feel like a mom.

Party’s Over… Get Back to Work!

  

My husband is a dreamer and I’ve always been a big believer in his dreams. He dreamed of getting into art school (check), graduating early (check), working for a big producer (check), getting into one of the most difficult and prestigious graduate film programs in the world (check), working for a world renowned filmmaker (check), making short films filled with passion and hard work (check), and beginning his career as a writer/director (…).

Notice that last set of parentheses? He’s hit a roadblock. Part of that reason is because my husband doesn’t take risks. He’s a safe guy who tries to “go by the book” in a field where everyone writes their own stories. He’s also been the primary financial provider while I’ve been home caring for our son. Those two things combined have created a scary combination of stuck-itis.

We need to shake things up.

The first thing we’re going to do is take a huge risk. We’re going to move almost 3000 miles from the city that never sleeps to the city of angels. We’re moving to Los Angeles.

In order for my husband to focus on his passion and work towards making his dream a reality, it makes the most sense for our family for me to become the primary financial provider and for my husband to stay home with our son, which will give him some flexibility to write, network, and find the right position, not just the work anywhere to pay bills.

We’re working hard over here to make dreams happen. 

I had been slowly and painstakingly preparing myself for finding a job, all the while telling my husband it might take time and possibly not happen at all due to the distance. No sooner did the words come out of my mouth then I was getting emailed for a role, in Los Angeles, in my field, in a role I’d kick butt in.

I’ve been through 2 interview rounds now and the truth is that as difficult as I know it would be to not see my little guy every morning there’s a small part of me that’s curious and even excited at the possibility of this new role.

Yesterday, I put on my interview dress and then read my son a few books before putting him down for his nap. It was surreal. The old me mixed with the new me. Yet it felt, ok. Good, even.

Of course I can write this because my son is currently teething and becoming a whiny one-nager who throws tantrums and cries because I won’t let him play with the vacuum. I can also write this because I know nothing is set in stone and I could get an email tomorrow saying I “wasn’t a good fit” or other terms companies use to tell you “thanks, but no thanks”.

  
Regardless, things are changing and they’re going so fast it’s hard for me to process or really even believe these may be my last few weeks or months as a SAHM. I know my husband, who is the absolute best and most amazing father, being the person who will be home caring for our little guy is part of what makes this transition a little easier to stomach. 

No matter what we need to be prepared because life as we know it is going to change. 

A Very Merry Wet Birthday


I’ve never been an “anti-birthday” person. As someone with a birthday in July who never got the cupcakes in class or the birthday song in the lunch room, I looked forward to that (usually scorching hot) day in July where I got to celebrate becoming a year older.The biggest problem surrounding my birthday is my desire to do something on that day. It can’t be just anything, it has to be something. Something memorable, something fun, and something very, very me. 6 years ago I worked on my birthday and I told myself it would be the absolute last time I’d ever do that. Since then I’ve spent my birthday at the beach, exploring a new part of the city, and visiting one of my favorite places in my nabe: the Bronx zoo.

I know some people are very anti-zoos for their own personal reasons, but none of those people live in my home. In my home we cross the days off the calendar in anticipation of going to visit the animals that reside not a 10 minute drive from my own home.

 

 
So it was with great sadness that as the day approached and the weather seemed like there was a 50/50 chance of rain that I could neither think of an alternate activity for the day or dash my dreams of being able to recreate photos I took last year with my then barely 4 month old babe.


So we went to the zoo.

At first it seemed like we’d taken the right risk. As if the weather was paying respect to the birthday girl.


Then it rained.

A lot.

At first I was thoroughly disappointed. I initially thought it was because I wouldn’t get to take these gorgeous and dreamy photos of me and my babe casually enjoying a mother/son day while I employed my husband as dad-arazzi.

(You know the ones…)

But the truth is I was just disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to experience the animals and ambiance with my son as we spent a good portion of his awake time under umbrellas, awnings, or in the gift shop.

Disappointment is hard for me to deal with but recognizing that it’s not something my son can yet experience and that spending the day with his mom and dad was everything for him helped me accept the rain and really, truly enjoy my day.


Which was quite a feat because that rain was no joke.

The Dr. is In

  
I don’t remember the first Dr. Seuss book I read but I do remember when my mom told me I was too old to read them. We were heading out to the supermarket to grab a few things, less than a 5 minute drive away. I’d received my weekly package of Dr. Seuss books and asked if I could bring them along for the ride. My mom agreed and I happily sat in the back of the car silently thumbing through the pages. As we were pulling into the parking lot I announced: ” DONE!” signifying I’d read the 3 books that had come in the mail. My mom parked, craned her neck around and surveyed me for a moment.  Then she said, and I’ll never forget this, “I guess you’re too old for those books.”. 

Have more untrue words ever been uttered? Being too old for Dr. Seuss is like being too old to have too much dessert or go down a slide at a playground. 

It’s impossible. 

My favorites were (and still are) Wacky Wednesday, I Am Not Going to Get up Today (what kid didn’t relate to that book?), and Oh, Say Can You Say (a book that can still leave my tongue in knots). 

So, it may or may not be a coincidence that Julian has always been a devourer of books. At 2 months old, his crinkly book was one of his favorite activities. He’d sit on my lap for an hour just staring at the pages, crinkling them, and hearing me talk about the animals. For months we read board books religiously while I pined for the huge stack of picture books collecting dust in the book shelves. Around 11 months, Julian still didn’t have the patience to sit through a whole book. I know because every other week I tried. 

That is, until we read Are You My Mother?

He sat on the edge of my lap and went through all the emotions: he was excited when the egg cracked, laughed at each of the animal noises (and joins along), jumped at the “snort”, and smiled when the bird was reunited with his Mama. 

Now he requests that I read him Dr. Seuss while he stacks blocks. I’m, of course, more than happy to oblige. 

I’ve now discovered and become particularly fond of The Nose Book and The Tooth Book.  

So when the What Pet Should I Get arrived in the mail he was just as excited as I was to dive right into it. 

  
The book is of a collectible quality with pages at the back from the publisher explaining how the lost story was found, crafter into a book by the Random House team, and some words about the doctor himself. I’ve already decided we must buy another so that we can keep one in mint condition for Julian to read to his children one day. 

For now, this will become a bedtime staple. I can’t wait until Julian can tell me which animal he thinks the children took home. 

  

This is why I write

When I was in middle school we had to write a book report on a Science Fiction book. I had my dad take me to the library that weekend, my favorite place in the whole world, and I took out Logan’s Run along with about 9 other books that had nothing to do with my book report. I spent the next week devouring that stack of books but couldn’t bring myself to read Logan’s run. Thursday night, with my deadline hanging over my head, I made up a story based on the back of the book’s description and decided to take my chances. I was lazy, but I was creative (and a little brave).

That morning, instead of collecting our reports, the teacher said we’d spend the morning reading them aloud. I began to sweat. It was one thing to embellish a book report, but a whole oral presentation? I didn’t know if I had it in me. When it was my turn, after a dozen or so incredible boring book reports, I went up and shakily began my report. I began tentatively at first but I quickly realized my made-up story had everyone on the edge of their seat. At the end of my 3 page report (double spaced, font size 12, Times New Roman), my peers gave me a round of applause, which for 4th graders is a big deal. The teacher was peering at me suspiciously (as she usually did as this is the age I became increasingly slick) but I realized she hadn’t read Logan’s Run herself and wasn’t about the spend her weekend investigating. This was before wikipedia, thank goodness.

So I got an A, which was awesome, and it was one of the first times I realized how fun it is to be creative.

That’s something I want to pass along to my son.

But not the sneakiness… let’s hope that skips a generation.

This is how I became a Stay at Home Mom

I don’t really consider myself a stay-at-home-mom, but after being home for 15 months that’s exactly what I am.

Staying home for this long was never the plan.
The plan was to stay home through the summer, the summer of 2014 to be precise, and then move, down south to be precise, and start a new life as a newly expanded family. Of course, that didn’t happen. We still live in the Bronx in the apartment we’ve lived in for 4 years, which we’ve now completely outgrown, and we are trying to move but now we’re planning on going out west. Sound a little all over the place? That’s because it is and for me and my ocd brain, that’s a tough pill to swallow.
I plan things out to the most minute detail and don’t like when things are left to chance. Weddings, weekends, vacations, and everything in between is planned out to the millisecond. Flying by the seat of my pants is not my style. I like things to be planned, organized, and executed to precision.
But I’m a mom now so the only thing I can count on is nothing ever going as I’ve planned… and that’s okay.
As far as embracing my new role- I absolutely love it. It’s everything I was meant to be. I know I may not be able to stay home with my little guy forever but for right now I’m enjoying every day, hour, minute, and second of his company.

Well, not every second. But 99% of them.

Just call me: Mom

Ever since I was a young girl I’ve wanted to be a Mom. Before I became one I’d spent years imagining every part of motherhood: from being pregnant, to the birth, to caring for a newborn and raising a child. While some things are as I had imagined (very few if I’m honest) motherhood has been a huge curveball for me.

The most important thing I’ve learned, and the only advice I ever give to expectant moms, is that you need to parent your own way- trust your mama instincts, do what works best for your child and family, and disregard all other comments and advice you get that doesn’t work for your child and family.

This is my safe space- to document my life, my opinions, my passions: cooking, DIY-ing, party planning, and my greatest passion of all: being a mom to my little guy and a wife to my big guy.