Mom Guilt

I’ve wanted to write a post about mom guilt for a while now, but I’m met with hesitation every time I sit down and try to write something meaningful on the subject. The thing is, I have an overwhelming amount of mom guilt, but a dry well of solutions on how to overcome it.

I guess I have had mom guilt since the day I learned I was pregnant with Maddy. I felt guilty for becoming a mother at a young age. I didn’t have the career or wealth of adult wisdom I felt one should have in order to be a good parent. I felt mom guilt for being a full-time student when she was a baby/toddler/actual kid because my attention was divided. I felt mom guilt when I worked full-time and was unable to attend all the school events. And now I feel mom guilt for having another baby and my attention being divided even more. And those are just the big players.

And then there are the small ones. Mom guilt over not buying that toy in Target she wanted and threw a fit over but I yelled at her for being a brat. Despite teaching her a valuable life lesson that you can’t always get what you want, I got mom guilt because I lost my shit and yelled. Guilt over getting McDonalds twice in one week because I didn’t feel like cooking. Guilt over living in a small apartment in a city I love but she doesn’t have more space. Guilt over not having a newer car because we just simply can’t afford that kind of car payment right now. Guilt over not having a cleaner house and passing on that messy gene that I can’t seem to shake no matter how hard I try and become an organized person. Guilt over not playing a zillionth game of Candy Land because that game sucks and I am bored of it. Guilt over not scheduling more play dates because I have an irrational fear that other moms don’t like me because I am younger than they are and not as “mom-ish”. Guilt over sending her to after-school three days a week so I can get shit done and she can play with other kids and do fun activities. Guilt over yelling at her more than I want to, on any given day. Guilt over her being too wild and silly because other kids are more even-tempered and I get embarrassed, when I truly love that part of her personality but I feel like others don’t (and this is when I need to take my own fucking advice and say WHO THE FUCK CARES LET HER BE WHO SHE IS AND STOP TRYING TO CHANGE WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT HER). Guilt over not exclusively breastfeeding Jack for as long as I did with Maddy and thinking that makes me less of a mother. The list is endless, if you couldn’t tell.

And the worst part is, is that I give myself no breaks. I refuse to accept this is a normal piece of motherhood and that all moms act like I do and feel similar to how I feel. I only think “good moms” are the ones at the playground who aren’t yelling at their kid in public. But I have no fucking idea what they are like behind closed doors, and theres a really good chance they are just like me.

I’m a spiritual person and I will pray for patience on a daily basis. But those prayers aren’t always answered/I don’t always choose to take a breath and execute the way I want to. I read articles on “mindful parenting”, but I get bored a paragraph into the essay because I feel its unrealistic. I’m a total Catch-22; I want so badly to be a patient, loving, and kind mother but I don’t actually want to fight the good fight and do the work to get there.

I have no solutions to the mom guilt. All I’ve learned is that I have good days and bad days, and I try and duplicate what I’ve done on the good days so I can have more of them. What I’ve learned is that my kid is the happiest when I do things she likes: going to the park, playing with friends, watching a movie with me (instead of me putting a movie on and then messing around on my phone), when I actually sit on the floor and play with her. Really simple stuff, nothing too extraordinary. It’s those days, the simplest days, when she is happiest and therefore I am happiest to be a mom. The days when I have my own agenda are the worst ones, and the ones I often end up yelling the most. Those are the days when I go to bed feeling sick to my stomach with mom guilt and just hoping tomorrow will be better.

So I really wrote this post to share my own experience, rather than share and then advise others. I have no advice. I am actively seeking advice from other moms who feel like I do but have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Motherhood is so fucking hard and I don’t really think it gets easier as time goes on, I think we just learn from our mistakes and try and not make as many of them. At least thats what I’m hoping.

Happy Birthday Maddy!

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What would a mom blog be without a birthday post for her kids? Maddy turned seven today and I still can’t believe it. I can’t get over the fact that I’ve somehow kept a person alive for seven whole years, but it happened!

I know all parents say this about their kid, but Maddy is one-of-a-kind. She has a heart of gold and loves with every little piece of her being. She’s always happy and I am envious of her constant joy and zest for life. Maybe it’s just a kid thing, but that girl can make the best out of any situation and I love her for it. She has her moments, like any seven (!) year old girl, but I’ll take the ‘tude any day over a kid who is always compliant. She is very strong-willed and doesn’t take any shit, and I love it (but you might want to ask me about that on a day that isn’t her birthday and I will probably have a very different answer). She’s fearless, determined, loyal, naturally athletic (which I am so jealous of), and funny as hell. She’s a great kid and I am so proud to be her mother.

Maddy made me a mother and I will always have a special place in my heart for her. Since Jack was born, it’s been tough to find the same amount of quality time to spend together, so I wanted to make this birthday extra special. We went to Canobie Lake Park today and went on all the rides together. It was so much fun to just play and hang out with her, since my attention has been a bit more divided lately. (And shout-out to Greg who held Jack the entire day in the Baby Bjorn and allowed for this special day to really work out).

So I wish a very happy seventh birthday to my favorite girl, the happiest girl I know, my Maddy. I love you so very much and one day when you can read this blog you might stumble across this mushy birthday post and probably get embarrassed but I DGAF. I’m a sappy mom and I’m never gonna change. Happy Birthday Peanut!

 

Baby Shit I Actually Like

Sometimes I feel like I became a parent in the wrong era. I envy mothers who gave birth in the 1950’s, when there were no carseats, an abundance of chemicals, and birthday parties were made up of store-bought cakes and party hats. I would have thrived as a mom during that time period, and probably anytime before the 90’s when people started actually paying attention to their kids. (I have zero facts to back up these claims with regard to the time period, and the knowledge I have about parenting in the fifties comes straight from Mad Men).

When I was pregnant with Maddy, I participated in the whole baby shower/registry ordeal. We went to the store, had a salesperson walk us through and tell us which items were necessary, and then just went batshit with the little scanner gun. Overall, it was a great experience. However, as any second/third/fourth/zillionth-time mom will tell you, the majority of those items are total bullshit. I registered for several items that I never ended up using, and learned the hard way. When I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I chose to purchase only a few new items, and the rest were handed down to us from very generous family and friends.

A few friends of mine who are pregnant have contacted me since I started this blog to ask me a few things about motherhood/babyville. I figured there might be others out there who don’t find my parenting style totally horrific and might appreciate a post about what baby products I have found to be helpful and realistic, versus what the salesperson at Babies ‘R’ Us might tell you. So here we go.

(You can click on each image if you’d like to check it out further, or purchase).

 

The Boppy
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As far as baby products go, the Boppy is LIT. I love this thing so much that I actually hung onto the one I got when Maddy was a baby and just bought a new cover for Jack. I brought The Boppy to the hospital and I use it every day for breastfeeding, and now that Jack is a little older I use it for tummy time. It also makes a great couch pillow when you’re too lazy to reach for the real one that has somewhere ended up elsewhere.

A Nursing Cover

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I might be a mom who doesn’t give a fuck, but I’m personally not into other people starting at my tits. I’m envious of women who DGAF about breastfeeding in public and wish I could have their confidence. But for me, the nursing cover kills two birds with one stone: I can breastfeed in public comfortably, and my kid can eat. It’s a win-win.

The Taco

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So the technical name of this product is the “Rock n’ Play”, but it resembles a taco so that’s what we call it around here. My sister-in-law gave me hers, and I feel like it came from heaven rather than the manufactures at Fisher-Price. Jack will sleep in that thing for hours, and while I don’t use it overnight because its not a totally flat surface, it’s perfect for naps and/or needing a place to stick your baby while you do other shit. (I’ve looked it up and some people do use it for overnight sleeping, so to each their own. No judgment).

Swaddles

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We are big swaddlers in this house. I actually don’t know how to swaddle with a regular hospital blanket, but I have to thank the tuxedo-shirt-wearing baby Jesus (name that movie) for whoever invented the velcro/snappy swaddles. Both of our kids began sleeping through the night at two months old, all thanks to swaddles. The minute I start to wrap Jack up at night he knows its bedtime, and he’s never too sad about it. One of the L&D nurses taught us a swaddling trick that I’ll be posting later this week, so stay tuned for what is probably the best newborn tip you’ll ever read.

Muslin Blankets

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I am OBSESSED with these blankets. They are out of breathable fabric and can be used for literally anything and everything. They can be used for swaddling, a sun cover, a burp cloth, or an actual blanket to keep the baby warm. They also come in cute patterns which I always appreciate,  but if you ask Greg it could have a picture of steaming shit on it and he wouldn’t care.

The BOB Stroller

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I am literally in love with our stroller. We had a jogger for Maddy, but the company wasn’t great and one of the back wheels fell off. (We had it on our front porch to throw out after the wheel fell off, and someone came and stole it so jokes on them). So with Jack, we wanted to get a durable stroller that was also a jogger because I like to pretend I’m athletic. This item, along with our infant carseat, are the two things we bought brand new. I can’t say enough good things about this item- the shocks are incredible so he can sleep through anything, the swivel front wheel is a must, its super easy to fold, it’s good looking, it has a nice personality, it tells great jokes…

Happy Baby Organic Formula

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If you are like me and have a very fat baby on your hands, and you want to do things other than feed that baby all day long, you might consider combination feeding (breastfeeding plus formula). I’ll admit that this was really hard for me at first because I was very committed to exclusively breastfeeding, but I am also very committed to having a life and not sitting in a chair all day feeding my kid. The only reason I am sharing this is because I had to dig pretty hard to find a formula that did not have added sugar (corn-syrup solids) and I wanted to let other parents know about it incase that is of interest to them. I wanted to make sure Jack wasn’t going to get hooked on the sweet stuff and stop preferring my liquid gold. Also worth mentioning is that this is available at Whole Foods, Target, and Amazon.

The Baby Bjorn

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If anyone knows how to do anything right in this world, it’s the people over at Baby Bjorn. I still think of Zack Galifinakis in The Hangover every time I wear it, and it’s a positive association in my opinion. We found ours at a second-hand shop and lately it’s been a lifesaver on days when we are out for longer than Mr. Jack would prefer. We have a mesh one so its breathable, but what I really love about the Baby Bjorn is that it’s easy to get on when you’re alone. Also most second-hand baby stores sell these because they  only fit a baby after a certain about of time, so you can find them for much cheaper than your average retailer. (Just give the thing a good whiff and make sure some kid didn’t leave a shit in there).

A Beach Tent

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We never bought one of these with Maddy because by the time we were taking her to the beach she was almost one. However, I don’t think there is an age-limit on the tent because everyone needs a little shade at the beach. We bought this for our Maine trip earlier this summer, and it was perfect. I was able to feed Jack comfortably, and he could hang inside and cool down a bit. I ordered ours off Amazon and I highly recommend this brand because the setup/take down is so easy that we had Jack do it most of the time.

BabyGanics Sunscreen

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I feel like some people are going to think I’ve totally turned a corner since this is the second organic item I’ve listed, but don’t worry it’s only temporary. Babies have way more sensitive skin than adults, and there is shit in my trashy SPF 8 tanning sunscreen that can be really harmful to a baby’s skin. We asked our pediatrician who recommended finding a sunscreen that is Paraban and PABA-free, so this is the only I found that met both those requirements. Also it’s a spray bottle which makes it wicked easy for applying.

A Good Bathrobe

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So this recommendation is more for the moms, but if you’re a dad who likes a good bathrobe then have at it. I bought this for the hospital so I would have something to wear that’s easy for breastfeeding/doesn’t make me look like a baked potato like those hospital gowns do. I got one that was Jersey because it was light enough to sleep in while in the hospital without getting too hot. I still wear it regularly around the house and I also just love bathrobes in general.

The NINJA Coffee Maker

ninja coffee makerI saved the best (and the most important) for last. If you know me you know that I am a die-hard Dunks fan and no one can talk shit about my boyfriend (Dunks being my boyfriend. Sorry G). HOWEVER, I was going to Dunks at least once a day, if not four, and this bad habit needed to come to an end. We bought the Ninja in the hopes that I might stop hitting the drive thru so hard, and to my complete amazement, it worked. Since buying this thing almost 4 months ago, I have bought coffee maybe ten times total, and the coffee never tastes as good as when I make it at home. Also I should mention that I really only drink iced coffee (even in the winter) and the Ninja has a special button to make for “over iced brew”. Even if you don’t have children and just like coffee you should buy this. I could literally write a blog completely devoted to the Ninja and our daily adventures. It’s well worth the money and it just makes the coffee taste so fucking good.

 

So that is my list of baby shit that I actually like. I always love to hear about what baby gear other parents like, so if I left something out that you swear by please let me know!

Strugglin’ on a Saturday

Today was one of those days where nothing really went right, but nothing really went wrong either. We jumped around from eating breakfast out, to a sand castle carnival, to the beach (aka the Res aka kindof gross water but also where I’m having Maddy’s birthday party because its cheap and easy). Greg and I got into the dumbest argument at breakfast and then I was in a bad mood for a few hours. Am I the only one who can make the most stupid argument over nothing into an entire event? (AKA a woman). Well I am a professional at this sport and I scored another win today.

Greg worked super late last night so I took the kids to this sand castle competition going on at Revere Beach to let him get some sleep/kill time/not get into any more dumb fights. Jack could NOT hang. When Maddy was a baby I could’ve literally taken her to a heavy metal concert and she wouldn’t have flinched. Jack, on the other hand, prefers his days to be spent in an air conditioned house, and naps in a swaddle. So spending the afternoon walking around in the heat and humidity wasn’t his idea of a good time. He wanted to be held, then put down, then fed, then held again- all while I am pushing a stroller/making sure Maddy wasn’t kidnapped and then Greg would’ve had to become Liam Neeson which is honestly probably a fantasy of his.

The carnival itself was cool, and the sand sculptures were pretty impressive. What bugged me is that my bad mood from the dumb fight got in the way of being a patient, loving parent. I yelled a bunch and just basically was telling Maddy what to do the entire time, instead of letting her enjoy the day. I was stressed out by Jack’s baby requests and just being alone at this kind of thing. I didn’t think it through- I went during a time when he should’ve been napping. I went alone. I went when I was in a bad mood. What the fuck was I thinking? I wanted to do something fun with Maddy and instead I made it into some kind of event you’d attend at a military school.

We got home, and Greg and I got over our shit and took the kids to the Res together before he had to work. Maddy got to swim with the both of us which she loved. We switched off holding Jack in the water where he sat and looked around because he is a three month old baby and can’t do much. I came home, showered and fed the kids, and then we walked around the neighborhood finding Pokemon because I got manipulated into downloading that fucking game. Jack passed out super early, so Maddy and I watched a movie together. At least we ended the day on a decent note.

What kills me the most is that Maddy had a GREAT day, and I only know this because she allegedly told Greg that on the way home from the Res. She said she had a great time at the carnival. What the fuck! I was not the fun mom I wanted to be and somehow she still had a good time. Is she lying? Or is she just used to this version of me that she doesn’t even notice it anymore? Am I overthinking it? (Yes). Should I just be grateful that my kid is a kid and had a good time at a carnival and my mom guilt is getting the best of me? (Yes to that too).

So like I said, today was neither amazing, nor awful. It just was one of those days in parenthood where I had some struggles but came out alive. So I’ll consider this a win too.

And here are some pictures from the day. It was overcast all day so I did the best I could (seems to be a theme).

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I hope you all had a great Saturday!

July 4th in Maine

I know it’s like two weeks late, but I finally sat down tonight to edit/upload some photos from our week in Maine for July 4th. I wish I could blame this delayed post on my two kids and how super busy I am but honestly I’ve just been lazy. (Also my current Netflix binge of Parks and Rec has been taking up the majority of my time after I put the kids to bed).

We were in Ogunquit which is a really nice little town. Ogunquit used to belong to the gays but us heterosexual assholes had to swoop in and take over because it has such a beautiful beach and also it’s bougie AF. It’s always the gays who discover the good shit and we really ought to spend more time thanking them. Sometimes I feel bad about this land acquisition but my dad owns a house up there, so I’m really not going to stop going. (Also if you’ve been there and have hit up Maine Street can you tell me how it is because I need to go).

July 4th in Ogunquit was LIT. There was a huge dance party thing going on at the beach before the fireworks started. Greg started dancing while I was in line for ice cream and of course Maddy joined. So many people were taking videos of them rocking out and one woman even came over to show us her footage. It was awesome. I’ve been waiting for the videos to go viral and pop up on my Facebook feed but I guess I’m gonna have to become famous the hard way.

I promised Maddy we would bake a cake for the 4th, one of those Pinteresty/Ina Garten flag cakes. I was not about to whip this thing up from scratch so I bought a box of cake mix, a can of frosting, some non-organic berries and called it a day. I allowed Maddy to frost and decorate the cake (though it was really hard for me to not control the sitch) and we brought it to the beach to eat while watching the fireworks. It was one of my better parenting moments of the trip.

Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures from our time up there!

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Jack’s first time at the beach and he was not feelin in. By day 3 he had figured out that he could nap at the beach and skip the whole experience. Win-win for all. 

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My brother teaching Maddy how to use his new drone. He woke up on morning and took her to the beach at sunrise to fly it and take some pictures- it was really sweet. 
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If you are in the area, please check out “The Scoop Deck”, towards Wells. They have a shit ton of flavors and the kiddie size is $2.50 which is SO CHEAP. 

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Maddy started “reading” a picture book to Jack one day on the ride home from the beach. It was so cute I almost died. He pretended to listen which was really nice of him.

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Always down to dance. (You can see the girls in the back swooning over the scene. I get it ladies). 

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Jack would NOT smile for this photo shoot but Maddy’s smile here is gold. She loves her brother so much and it kills me.

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Dating my Daughter (No, I’m not Woody Allen).

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Before Jack was born, Maddy and I did stuff together all the time (obviously). I would call these outings “Mama-Maddy Dates”, and she could kindof care less because thats literally all we did anyway, so the title didn’t matter much to her. But now that Jack is here, I’ve taken her out a few times just the two of us, and so far she has really been into it. She actually appreciates our alone time and the only reason I know this is because she has verbally confirmed it by saying, “Thanks mama for just taking me out today”. But before I can swoon over the cuteness and be all “Awwwww she really does love me”, she follows it up with, “I like having Jack around but sometimes when we go out he cries, and then we have to leave so you can feed him and I can’t look at toys as much”. (The majority of our outings take place in TJ Maxx).

I started reading Harry Potter to Maddy earlier this year. It can be pretty dense at times for a six year old, but I like that it forces her to pause her brain and just practice listening to a story. She actually has to pay attention and I quiz her periodically while I’m reading to see if she is actually listening. It’s pretty 50/50 and I usually have to go back and re-read some part or explain what is going on. A friend told me that they have an illustrated version of the first and second books, so I immediately ordered those and they really helped her have a better idea of what was happening in the story. She knew that there were movies made and so I made a rule that we could only watch the movie after we finished the book. She didn’t like this rule because she is inpatient and she is six.

We finished the first book when I was pregnant, and when we watched the movie together I ordered Chinese food (cause I was lazy and hungry) and we had a little picnic in the living room. It wasn’t exactly easy for me to eat like that since at the time I looked like Peter Griffin, but she was all about it. So after we finished the second book last night, I promised we would watch the second movie today and we would order Chinese food just like last time. I got Jack down to bed early and we had a little Mama-Maddy Date at home. It was just what we needed after we had a shit afternoon together yesterday and I was considering sending her to Timbuktu because thats where all parents threatened to send their kids in Disney movies when they were mad at them.

And on a side note, I gotta tell you- I am so impressed with myself about this tradition because all the involved parties are happy, and its really fun to share my love for HP with my girl (It’s very nerdy and I DGAF). And if you want to pass your Harry Potter obsession down to your kids but aren’t sure if they are too young, I really recommend checking out the illustrated versions I mentioned earlier. Here is the link for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1)” and here is the link for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 2).

(I meant to take pictures of our little home date tonight, but I only remembered after we ate all the food and were knee-deep in Tom Riddle’s diary. So the picture above isn’t great quality but as usual I DGAF).

Becoming a Mom (again)

Mothering doesn’t come natural to me. I’m not trying to be self-depricating, I’m just stating the facts. When I became a mother it was a choice, not a calling. I am no Charolette Yorke and I never will be. I have to work really hard at being a mom, or at least a decent one. I have always been inpatient, stubborn, and prone to temper-tantrums. In short, I am permanently three years old. (And having kids when you’re three is just not ideal).

I yell at my kid far too often than I should. Sometimes she’s being an asshole and I don’t really have a choice. Other times (most of the time) I am being the asshole. Lately I’ve been the asshole reigning champ in our house and I am trying to get into a better practice of taking a pause to ask the heavens to throw my some patience because I sure as fuck can’t make myself patient on my own will.

I was supposed to be finishing up nursing school this summer but plans changed and I’m going to be home. I’ve become a temporary SAHM and I am still getting used to this lifestyle that has been pretty foreign to me the past few years. It’s not easy for me, as I am typically always on-the-go. The past few weeks have been quite a change and I have to admit I don’t totally hate it like I thought I would. (It also helps that I have a very cute baby to hang out with and he can’t talk back yet).

I am learning to become a mom again. A mom who is around, instead of studying all the time. A mom who takes her kid to the park every day after school. A mom who remembers snacks and sunscreen. A mom who talks to other moms on the playground because I haven’t talked to another adult all day. A mom who remembers to bathe their kid every day and makes a decent dinner every night (still mostly taking stuff out of the freezer and putting it into the microwave, but it’s a start). A mom who has completed some minor house projects that I’ve been putting off for years (OK that’s kindof a lie- I bought the paint for the bathroom makeover three weeks ago but have yet to start the process. I do have hope though). I’m a mom who is learning to be more present with her kids. I’m a mom who is starting to really enjoy being around my six year-old instead of being constantly annoyed by all the “kid problems”. I’m becoming the type of mother that I want to be instead of only thinking about it.

Do I have bad days? All the fucking time. Every single day I have at least 400 bad moments that sometimes I wish I could take back. But I’m also learning that I don’t have to hate myself every time I yell at Maddy. For example, when I ask her to do something (or not do something) ten times in a five minute time span, and she continues to do it/not listen to me, then yeah I am going to yell and no, I don’t feel bad about it. There are probably more therapeutic ways to teach her these lessons but I don’t really feel like learning about them. I’m not that progressive.

So here are a few pictures of the last couple weeks, while I’ve been momin’ it up on the daily. And if you think I’ve totally turned a corner in terms of parenting, you should follow me on Instagram because my Instastories definitely tell a different tale. (@momswhoDGAF)

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This was hour nine of swimming in a pool all day and if that face doesn’t scream pure happiness I don’t know what does.
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My friend Maria makes the dopest cakes. This was for her daughter’s birthday and if you’re like me and aren’t great at cake decorating you need to hit her up.
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Cambridge is filled with sprinkler parks and THANK GOD because the weather lately has been hot AF.
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Got caught in a huge downpour and I figured it was a good photo op. Jack was a little inconveinenced by the delay but he made it through.

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Maddy’s favorite person in the whole world (besides her Papa) is her cousin Johnny. But I bet you couldn’t tell that from this picture.

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I love this pic. Jack’s face says “Okay Ma we are good with the pics and Mads is a lil too close”

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Hope you are all having a great weekend and God speed to all the parents out there who now have kids on summer vacation.