Lust for Life

Enjoy your life now, because once that baby comes, it’s all over!

Do you know how many times I had to hear that statement throughout my 9 long months of pregnancy? Of course you do, because if you’re pregnant or have ever been busy growing a human being in your body, some miserable wench likely made this comment to you, too.

Maybe, just maybe, if I got pregnant 10 years ago, in the heyday of my “nothing matters except what to wear to the club” phase, then sure, my life might have been in for some major renovations and adjustments.

But my body started growing this child when the ache in my heart for a baby of my own rose to insurmountable capacity. When I envisioned my husband and I, over and over, cradling a yummy newborn, picking out nursery furniture, taking our first family trip to Disney World and reading bedtime stories.

When it hit me that I had the power to be someone’s mommy, someone’s superhero- someone’s everything.

So what was going to be over for me once I gave birth to my daughter? My late nights downtown? My weekend hangovers? My constant need to shop, exercise and shop some more to fill a void? Ok, I’m pretty sure I could handle that, I thought to myself.

My friendships weren’t going to end, hell, half my friends were pregnant with me anyway. And if someone didn’t want a part of my new baby world, fuck ’em, I figured. And I was right, my friends and I have grown even closer through motherhood and through the love they have for my daughter.

Old Friend + Baby = Good Times at the W pool party
Old Friend + Baby = Good Times at the W pool party

My lust for life wasn’t going to end – I was just going to have a new little person with me to experience life with, I thought. And I was right, nothing is more gratifying than being able to tote my Bella with me through all parts of my daily life. Of course it involves more work than just worrying about myself – but I love it… I LOVE IT.

Traveling? Sure, it would be slightly more difficult, but what’s better than showing your child the world? We haven’t gotten very far yet, but we’re busy getting ready for our first trip this weekend and I am overjoyed thinking about the sweet family photos we’ll be able to add to her baby album.

Wild nights out downtown? Haha, about a month after Bella was born, Eliot and I tried this. We couldn’t get home fast enough after we finished dinner, hence, we never even made it to a bar. And I was right, this new “night out” was fine for us- we couldn’t wait to get home and get comfortable, and stare at our precious little lady on the monitor.

Beach days? Why would these have to end? We live in south Florida, and our child had the CUTEST collection of swimwear before she even came into the world m. And I was right- sure we’ve had a few solo trips to the sand, but the cutest ones have been with our baby, who can’t get enough of the fresh air, people watching and crystal blue waters.

So, you see, my pregnant friends, life absolutely does not end when baby arrives. It can’t. You’re instantly motivated to live better, love harder, laugh more.

The fun isn’t over, the music hasn’t died and the people you know don’t just suddenly vanish into thin air.

The opposite happens really.

With the birth of your child, you yourself are born again, with a new outlook, a new attitude, a new lust for life. You have millions of new memories to be made, moments to enjoy and years upon years of life to live. You can’t wait to start living life with this new extension of you by your side.

Here is my warning to expecting families: feel free to enjoy your lives now, but once baby comes, expect it to get that much better.

It’s life- amplified.

You Don’t Look Like You Had a Kid

I don’t know what people mean when they say this. Recently, I was at a baby shower with some pretty fabulous women, most of them moms. I was wearing a dress from the pre-pregnancy days and feeling pretty hot (in every sense of the word, I was sucking in my gut as hard as possible).
Making small talk with the elegant, accomplished woman standing beside me, she exclaimed, loud enough for the entire room to hear, “You have an INFANT at home?! But you don’t look like you had a kid!” Sigh.
About as quickly as I thought, “HELL yes, I look good,” I thought about how having this “kid” was the greatest thing my body had ever done, with a whofuckincareswhatilooklike inner monologue. I thought about the 9 long months of pregnancy it endured, I thought about the way the heart inside this body bursts with joy each time I hear my daughter laugh.

I also thought about my love handles, my cellulite, and the gray hair I’ve acquired since conceiving this “kid” – but I have yet to feel badly about any of these details, and if no one else has a problem with them, I wasn’t about to.

I thought about my toned and tight abs of yesteryear but swallowed that thought quickly, with a large gulp of my mimosa.

Yes, when I stand naked in the mirror, I am reminded, VERY reminded, about the fact that I birthed a beautiful, healthy baby girl.
When I zip up my size 27, ultra-skinny pre-pregnancy jeans, I am shocked each and every time, that I birthed a beautiful, healthy baby girl AND my jeans fit.
When I get dressed up for an event and hear repeatedly, “you don’t look like you had a kid,” AND my jeans fit AND I birthed a beautiful, healthy baby girl – well shit, put me on the cover of Maxim.
But all of the shallow amazingness aside, strangely enough, to the people who know me intimately and closely enough to judge, I DO look like I had a kid.
I look like I had a kid from the neck up, and from the inside out and for many other reasons beyond that.
I look like I had a kid from the way I carry myself. With the confident, strong and assured sense of self I’ve acquired since becoming a mommy.
I look like I had kid from the permanent smile that parts my lips and lights up my face almost constantly.
I look like I had a kid by the way I handle lifes stressors, and how I’m able to calmly talk myself down from the ledge when before, I would have thrown myself over.
I look like I had a kid by the natural way I handle this kid of mine, easing into motherhood wonderfully (if I do say so myself).
I look like I had a kid each time my eyes tear up, whenever I hear, from anyone “you’re such an amazing mom”.
I look like I had a kid by the way I amaze my own mother, and the look of pride she now has each time I’m around her.
So, to all that I say, you elegant mimosa-sipping ladies of the world, I’d like for you to really get to know me and tell me I DO look like I had a kid…

Because I do, I know I do, and I know it’s the best part about me.

It’s the Little Things 

  
Maybe less than a year ago it wasn’t about the little things. At least looking back, it seemed like I needed so much more. Flowers for no reason, dinner at my favorite overpriced restaurant just because… An expensive babymoon (pregnant mamas, trust me, take a staycation).  

When they say motherhood changes you, it’s not just because you’ve fallen so in love with your little creation that sometimes you think your heart will burst. It’s more than that. 
Life suddenly makes sense. 

You appreciate the sunset in your own backyard. The freedom that comes with a solo trip to Whole Foods.  

The hug your husband gives you for no reason. Your mom’s phone call just to check in (omg Mom, what would I do without your help?!). 

The friend who drops by with nothing more but a smile. 

Life becomes all about so much more, the bigger picture. But really, It’s the little things.
A few more minutes of sleep, a “don’t worry, I’ll get up.” It’s the little things.
A “let me give you a break, you look tired.” It’s the little things.
A “you look beautiful,” when your eyes are as puffy as your muffin top. It’s the little things.
A “I washed the bottles while you were out.” It’s the little things.
A “you’re amazing,” when you feel like collapsing. It’s the little things.
A hug just because you look like you can use one. It’s the little things. 
A “I picked up some chocolate while I was out.” It’s the little things. 
A look of, “you’re my baby mama, you have my heart forever.” It’s the little things.
Ladies, if your partner in this thing called parenthood does any one of these things- then you can join me on the lucky list. 
And to the partners of these ladies, of these beautiful, fearless, strong women who gave you a child… If your woman has realized the greater importance of the little things, for goodness sakes, cherish her. 
And if you are a strong single mama, much like mine was, doing this all on your own, I salute you, oh lord, how I salute you. And if I could give you a night off, a back rub, and some extra sleep, believe me I would… 
But do yourselves a favor, share this with the one person closest to you. It’s ok to say, I need a minute to myself. 

Because in the bigger picture, it’s all about the little things.

Your Shelter From the Storm

What is a Doula?

In technical terms? The word “Doula”, in Greek, means “a woman who serves another woman”.

Put more simply, “a female caregiver”.

But a Doula’s job is not simple.

If it were, anybody could do it.

A Doula’s job is complicated, in the most beautiful and unique way possible – much like a woman.

Here is how I believe the word “Doula” should really be defined:

A Doula is your soul sister – mentally, physically, and spiritually connected to you during your most intimate and powerful journey.

A Doula is your road map, your tour guide, your compass, even when the path seems impossible to navigate.

A Doula is your warrior, your guaranteed soldier – even when you fear you may surrender.

A Doula is your representation in the court of childbirth – helping you win your fight.

A Doula is your voice of reason, your focus and your logic (when all three seem to have left the building).

A Doula has you constantly in her mind, from the minute you meet, until your baby is in your arms and even after you are back home and settled into your new life as a mother.

A Doula is your shelter from the storm, your umbrella, your warm pair of socks, your hot cup of tea.

A Doula is your biggest fan, in awe of each move you make, your own personal cheering section.

A Doula is your solace, with two hands ready to ease any pain and turn it into bliss.

A Doula believes in the incredible powers of the woman, and of mother nature. A Doula thrives in the magic that happens when these two forces combine.

A Doula is your bodyguard, working constantly to block out negative thoughts (and negative people) from your beautiful birth experience.

A Doula will always be on call for YOU, will not change shifts at 7am, and will not have left the room in your greatest time of need.

A Doula will always, ALWAYS, have your best interests at heart, working tirelessly to follow through with your dream experience.

A Doula will always believe in the power and strength that you carry with you as you give new life, and will remind you of that until that last groan and roar.

A Doula does not only work to serve you, she is honored to be your labor companion, your chosen source of compassion, love, and support during childbirth.

A Doula, is the best choice you can make.

Neither of these women are me, but both are my heroes. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU D.Z.
Neither of these women are me, but both are my heroes. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU D.Z.

Goodbye Pretty Girl, Hello Happy Face

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Goodbye, pretty girl… Hello, happy face

My little girl is very pretty, this is true. I promise I’m not biased, it’s an actual fact. She has a smile like sunshine and big bright eyes to match, her profile like an angelic precious moments figurine. Everywhere we go, we are greeted with the standard “oh my goodness, she’s gorgeous!” or “Wow! She’s perfect!”. Sigh.

Perfect.
No. No. No.
No perfect.
That word does not exist in our home.

Recently, I have become very mindful of my words and how I speak to my daughter. For months, every time I would glance at Bella, without thinking I’d exclaim “Hi, pretty girl!”.

Having grown up with severe body dysmorphia and a very poor self image, I could not imagine infecting my daughter with this desperate need to feel “perfect”.

Or pretty. Or gorgeous. Or skinny.

I can’t do it. I won’t do it.

Even before the Internet, I was image obsessed, tearing pages out of fashion magazines, idolizing JLo and her hip-to-ass ratio, Gisele and those legs, anyone who set the standard for what “beauty” was supposed to look like.

As stated in my ten-pound blog post, after thirty-one painstaking years, I’ve come to terms with my beauty (or lack thereof, who cares). I’ve learned to pride myself on my ability to make others happy, my strength as a mommy, my devotion to friends and family, my success as a teacher. These days it means much more to hear, “I love your writing” instead of “I love your hair”.

So I’ve recycled the “Hi, Pretty girl!” and replaced it with “Hi, happy face!”.

HAPPY girls are the prettiest. The prettiest faces become distorted by bad attitudes, poor values and questionable morals.

Your beauty, sweet Bella, does not come from what you look like. It comes from your ability to make others light up with joy.

Your current doll face may flare up with acne in 12-13 years, but don’t worry.

Your beauty, sweet Bella, comes from the happiness you exude.

Those adorable chunky legs could very well stay chunky. It’s ok though.

Your beauty, sweet Bella, comes from your strength and determination in all things that you do.

That big, bright smile, it may be made shy by braces one day… But please, please keep smiling.

Your beauty, sweet Bella, is in the sincerity behind the braces.

Your success in life will come, if you remember to work hard and stay focused.

If you remember that you are more than a pretty face. That your face does not matter.

If you remain confident in your abilities as a human being, a woman, a supported daughter of two loving parents, sweet Bella, you’ve got the golden ticket.

Goodbye pretty girl, hello happy face…

Sorry, Not Sorry!

It's not bitch-face, I'm focused.
It’s not bitch-face, I’m focused.

10 Things I Will No Longer Apologize For…

…Now that I’m a mom.

I used to seek approval. I used to be hyper-concerned about the opinions, needs, and feelings of others. So much so, that I would let it trump my own needs, time and time again.
Example:

Me: I’m dying for sushi.
Friend: I hate sushi, let’s have pizza.
Me: Sorry! Ok! Whatever you want!

Then I had a baby.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- unless it lives under my roof and/or shares my bloodline, it’s likely not going affect my daily choices…

I am now happiest when my daughter is well-fed, well-rested and well-entertained. When my husband had a good day at work and comes home to find his house at peace. When my doggy greets me with a tail wag and a kiss. When I successfully get dinner on the table, and it’s edible.

It’s not that I pride myself on giving zero F’s, I still care very much about a lot of things not related to my home… I just refuse to apologize for them anymore. In the past, doing any of these things and not immediately apologizing would have made me lose sleep, I assure you, but as of now…

Please don’t expect an apology for the following:

10. Not answering your text immediately.
Unless you are bleeding or in labor, it can wait. My phone will likely end up covered in spit up, left behind in the car, or thrown on the floor before I realize I need to answer you.

9. My semi-chronic bitch-face.
When out and about with baby in the middle of summer in south Florida, I am only concerned with making it out of the car, into the store, and back out again without a baby meltdown or poop
explosion. It’s not bitch-face, it’s focus. Sheer determination if you will.

8. Ignoring your questions about the arrival of baby #2.
Not even going to go there. If you’re a new mom you’ll understand. I love this one baby I’ve got balanced on my hip right now, she’s great, I’m back in my jeans… Just … NO

7. Justifying my C-Section.
My body, my choice, people. But actually, I didn’t have a choice, it was medically necessary, and it doesn’t concern you.
6. Running late.
On average, it takes us a good 45 minutes to an hour to get out of the house in the morning. Then another ten minutes to get all the gear in the car, then another ten for the vomit fest that happens just when I start the car. Then I have to change my shirt and apply more deodorant because I have most likely sweat through it.
I’ll likely be running late, and again, unless you’re bleeding or in labor, don’t take it personally.

5. Justifying my need to stop breastfeeding
A medical necessity yet again, lay off.

4. Canceling plans.
Babies do not get a briefing or a rundown of the plans each morning upon wake up. I swear I do consult with Bella, but I almost always end up answering my own questions. We make our plans, and then we hope for the best. Babies teethe, they get fussy, they miss naps, the pediatrician ran late, mommy is now exhausted, thus forcing said plans to lose major importance.

3. Not being interested in your unsolicited advice.
When you were my age, pregnant women were not warned about the dangers of cigarette smoking…. So, thanks, but no thanks.

2. Ignoring and deleting conspiracy theorist groupies.
Oh, that fake medial website insists the CDC is covering up the governments scam to spread disease through diapers and teething rings? Please, spare me, and get a life while you’re at it.

1. Not letting you “pet” my baby.
If I don’t know your name, if I didn’t hand my baby off to you, if she isn’t a Dalmatian named Spot, if you are the checkout girl at Publix who follows me around trying to squeeze my daughter’s leg- stay away. Stay far away.

And don’t expect an apology when I tell you to keep it moving.

Nama-stayinyourlane.

The New Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning 9:30am

  
 Saturday mornings used to not exist. Sleep til noon, stumble out of bed, on to the next beach day or boat ride or BBQ.Saturday mornings were for sleeping, passed over like a fruit bowl on a dessert buffet- useless and unnecessary.

Saturday mornings were selfish. Quiet. Empty. Full of nothing.

That was then.

Now, every other morning of the week feels like the beginning of an endless countdown to Saturday morning. To that magical 9:30 time when things start happening. To my husbands yawn and stretch that leads me into his arms. To the first stirs of Bella in her crib, a giggle, that cute sound she makes when she stretches. To the pitter patter of blue’s nails on the wood floor of the living room, waiting patiently for the morning to begin.

“She’s up” he whispers to me with his arm wrapped around my waist. Within seconds I make my way across the house to the little pink sanctuary filled with smells of mustela, desitin, and sweetness. There’s a smile waiting for me there.. A big one.

“Good morning my princess” I say, as I scoop her into my arms and feel her cheek press in to mine, that feeling I long for, day in and day out. 

“Daddy’s waiting for us,” I whisper as we head back across the house. With blue leading the way, we all pile back in bed, together. 

It’s Saturday morning, 9:30am now – the new Saturday morning. The one I’ve waited for all week. The one that is anything but selfish or useless or full of nothing. This one is full of love, warmth, cuddles, kisses, is far from quiet and so close to heaven. The one that passes way too quickly- but with no boat ride or BBQ in sight, 9:30 becomes noon, and we’re likely still here, piled into bed together… 

And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.