Ok, I’ll go ahead and say it – it’s just easier this time. I haven’t been shy expressing the struggles I had as a first time mom to Garrett. Anxiety, guilt, shame, control (or lack there of) – you name it, I felt it. But with Charlotte, it’s as if those heavy clouds that hung over my head the first year of Garrett’s life, were never even in the forecast. I’m not sure if it’s due to my hormones not being as imbalanced – I keep saying that maybe my body rejected the boy hormones, and that’s why it’s easier having a girl. Or maybe it’s just that there really is such a thing as (and I cringe as I say this, cuz I really do hate the label), a “good baby.”
We’ve officially made it past the four week mark with baby Charlotte, and I have to say I’m incredibly proud of Garrett for adjusting to this new way of life so quickly and so well. From the minute he saw Charlotte, he went into big brother mode – asking to hold her, and wanting to get as close to her as possible if anyone else was holding her. Every morning he walks into our room (where I’m more than likely nursing Charlotte back to sleep) and he gets as high-pitched as a banshee saying “Hiiiiii. Whatcha doingggggg?” (I realized that he gets this from me – isn’t it funny how a toddler can remind you just how often you say things out of habit?). There have only been a handful of times where he’s gotten upset over me not being able to do whatever it was he was asking me to do, which ended up making me feel way more guilty than he had intended. Even so, I try not to let my head wander to “that place.” That place where you remember what it was like with just you and him. That place where your mind tricks you into thinking he would have been so much happier as an only child.
Well, I made it to week 37 and it’s as if ’80s one-hit-wonder Europe’s “It’s the final countdown, do-do do do, do-do do do do” is the theme song to my life right now. Not really, but wouldn’t that be cool – or am I just showing my age? Anyway, I thought it might be time to do a little bump update since I have so many sweet friends and family members checking in with me daily, anxiously awaiting any signs of baby girl’s arrival. I also wanted to show off this flirty little non-maternity dress, or “maternity-friendly” as fellow Fashion Mama and owner of Audrey & Olive likes to say of her uber-cute line (you may remember her chic kaftan/kimono I donned at my sprinkle a few weeks back). Plus, mama’s not so much feeling photog moments these days, so these were taken a few weeks back by the hubs – which explains the last two photos where he’s comparing me to Napoleon Dynamite and then I proceed to walk off set, bahaha 🙂
Remember those TV ads from the ‘80s with the close-up of a greasy fried egg sizzling on the skillet, followed by the ominous “This is your brain on drugs?” Well, consider this my updated millennial PSA for all you mamas and mamas-to-be out there. But instead, imagine a close-up shot of your feet with a flip-flop on one and a work flat on the other (which one of my fellow colleagues totally did), followed by the words “This is your brain on baby.”
Sure, we’ve all heard the old adage “everyone can use more friends.” When you’re a new mom though it’s crucial, and I’m talking DEFCON 1 level crucial, to find friends that will not only be there for you – but literally carry you through this motherhood thing. I’m speaking from experience when I say, these eight “Mom Friends” need to be sought out, vetted, and secured before you ever even think of pushing out another human from your who-ha.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these early days of motherhood. Maybe it’s because I’m about to go through it all again with a new baby girl, or maybe it’s just because these pregnancy hormones make me all kinds of sentimental (poor, poor hubs). What I think most about, though, and what I’m officially making as my “Mother’s Day wish,” is how I wish our children could remember the kind of love we have for them in the baby years.
No seriously, anyone who tells you a babymoon is overrated, is lying to you. I’m really just saying this for effect, since I can’t think of any mom in their right mind who doesn’t see the invaluable need for a weekend getaway before your life is taken over by yet another little one. As my husband (a.k.a. my editor) is reading this, I know he’s thinking – she’s trying to play all hard and cries with the best of them any time we spend more than a day away from Garrett. Well touche, my love, because I not only didn’t shed a tear this time, you may recall I was the one saying we need to do this again before number two arrives. Yep, that’s how great a babymoon is. Sure, date nights do the trick – but the catch is that you have to have the resources to do them like every week. Sorry to say that, fixing up a house and juggling new job situations, all while a certain toddler wants your undivided attention – has us prioritizing date nights the way I prioritize working out – man, a nap sounds so much better right now.
Last week I had started a draft for this blog post with a working title of “Happy Place.” Except a lot’s happened between now and then. As I laid awake after a much needed cry fest last night, the only thing I could think of was that it was time for me to “get real.” Too often we feel the pressures of putting on that happy face, even though we know well and good we are holding back tears or anxieties that eventually come to a head when we’re least expecting it. Last night was one of those times. I was preparing to give my son a bath just like any other night, but this night he insisted on having a “boo boo” that was going to hurt if he put his foot in the water. Oh dear. So for a solid five minutes (felt like 30) I tried every bribe in the book, until tears ensued and dad walked in asking buddy what’s wrong. To which I went off on a lightening speed explanation on why I’m so frustrated after trying to negotiate with a toddler for ten minutes, which results in said dad backing out of the bathroom slowly, very slowly.
In honor of The Second Shift’s #WomInspired campaign, I thought I would share my own story of empowerment and the very special professional role model I had that led me to a happier place as a woman, a mother, and a professional. The importance of women lifting each other up and serving as positive role models and mentors to those around us cannot be overstated. I was fortunate enough to work alongside Tracy Seng in my nearly five years at Los Angeles Magazine – someone who inspired my career, and has always supported those around her to follow their own path.
So it’s been a few weeks since we broke the news that we’re expecting a girl, and I thought it would be fun to share what first went through my mind when I found out. I still can’t believe that nowadays they can do a simple blood test as early as 10 weeks to reveal the gender, and a friend of mine told me that they literally just call you up and tell you what it is. Well she wasn’t lying, and when the nurse asked if I was ready to know all I kept thinking was “oh I already know it’s a boy.” Well, not so much. When I heard her say “girl” my first reaction was, “Really??” Then, I had to ask how accurate it was because I knew Grant would want to know, and she reassured me everything is pointing to a girl. So of course I got all teary-eyed as I called my mom to tell her, failing miserably at trying to keep cool swinging my 3 year old at the park. I then got so excited because I’d been devising a plan to surprise Grant with balloons and girly looking desserts when he got home from work. When he walked through the door it was that classic look all those dads on the Youtube videos have when their sneaky wives film their reactions – at first it’s shock, and then just the sweetest look of contentment. I sent a pic to Grant’s family and they all said it looked as if he were blushing 🙂