Because THIS Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

Until this year, all those “I’m thankful for my family” Facebook posts clung to my Facebook feed like white noise. I understood the concept, clearly, as I’ve always been thankful for my family- but I never truly understood the meaning, until this year.
It’s not just because I’m a mother. It’s not just because I have a daughter so-freakin’-delicious and sweet that I melt 400x a day.

I am thankful for my family because I am in a place in my life that I NEVER thought I’d get to. In a million years, I never imagined I’d be all wifed-up, so happily, in south Florida, in a house that we bought ourselves, with a beautiful child to call our own.
Never.
Because the odds of someone with my upbringing- my past, my childhood, my pain and my struggle – were just not in my favor. The odds screamed “not able to love”.

But screw it. I got lucky. Or I made it happen- or a little of both.

So I truly, truly get it now.
I get what all those people will mean today when they say “I am thankful for my family.”
It’s because I pull into my driveway each afternoon full of the same butterflies and excitement I felt the day I got married, and the day I met my Bella.
It’s because when my husband arrives soon after, our home is complete, and the love is overwhelming. And the time passes too quickly.
It’s because when my daughter smiles and claps at our arrival, our hearts burst, and we look at each other with the same grateful look and we just know – we are so damn lucky.
It’s because when we’ve had stressful days at work, the warmth of our home instantly melts away the stress of the day – like cold butter on a warm baked potato, soaking into each other and making everything right again.
It’s because when I need ANYTHING – a hug, a piece of advice, a laugh or a package of paper towels at Costco, my mom is right there – literally, to be the best damn mother and Nonna there is.
It’s because when I see the happiness in my mother’s face, I know it’s from where we BOTH are in our lives now. Where we both struggled to get to, and how lucky we are to be here.
It’s because of my incredible stepdad, Bella’s AMAZING Papa, and the love he continues to give.

For my little brother – who is really my big brother and my rock.
It’s because I was blessed with a child while my grandparents, the most special people in the world, are still around to enjoy her. It’s because my grandma LIVES to see my child, hear her laugh, and give her kisses.
I am so thankful for this family, for every minute on this earth that I get with them.
I am thankful for the look on Bella’s face when I appear in her room each morning.
I am thankful for the way she squeals in delight from Daddy’s kisses. I am thankful for the way he gives them to her.
I am also thankful for Daddy’s kisses. His hugs, his direction and know-it-all advice. Because he DOES know it all, at least when it comes to me, and I can’t get through a day without him.
I am thankful for the fact that he fills the coffee machine each night with water before he comes to bed, because I always forget.
I am thankful for coffee.
I am thankful for the conversations I overhear him having with his own parents and grandparents, because that loyalty and respect that he shows to his family makes him the amazing man that he is.
I am thankful for the mess he leaves in the kitchen because I know he enjoyed whatever I cooked, or whatever treats I brought home.
I am thankful for our bed, Netflix, and popcorners, because it’s how we spend 99% of our free time together.
I am thankful for my daughters ability to light up a room. Her spunk, adventurous nature and her love for people.
I am thankful for the way my daughter chews her food, on one side, with her two teeth, because I am watching her do it now and it’s pretty flipping cute.
I am also thankful for our dog baby, Blue, and the joy he brings to ALL of us- especially our baby. She has no clue that he is different from her, and he treats her like his own child, and they spend their time together as if they were always meant to.
I am thankful that Blue helps me clean the floor under Bella’s high chair.
I am thankful, so thankful, for the friends that have become my family. For the way we understand each other, look out for one another and love as if the relation came from blood.
I am thankful for today. For yesterday and tomorrow, and for the fact that in this very moment, I have everything I’ve ever, ever needed.
Dreams do come true- I am thankful for never giving up.
Happy Thanksgiving.

The Sleepless Mama Thought Process 

Nothing messes up a delicious deep sleep like a screaming baby. Nothing.
When my little angel, who normally sleeps like a rock for 11 hours straight, woke up at 2:30am two mornings ago and proceeded to want to hang out until around 4:30am, all sorts of weird things started happening in my head.
Here are the top 5 things I am convinced that all moms think of when their babies are up during ungodly hours of the night..
1. Who else is dealing with this right now? Is there a support group of sleepless wretched women I can reach out to?
I realized how lucky I was to not deal with this on a daily, or nightly, basis. I probably wouldn’t survive, so I have a newfound respect for all you moms who do deal with it. Like – serious respect… Like, I think you could run the world and solve all of its problems type of respect.
2. Wow I never realized how good I was at math until 3am today.
From the moment I was awoken until the two hours later when I finally tiptoed out of her room like a ninja in some Matrix movie- my math skills were ON POINT. With each passing second I analyzed the time, how much sleep I could get if she would just let me put her down rightfuckingnow, and how to minimize any energy exertion for the following day. The answer to my math equation?
E=MCtiredmama
3. Speaking of Ninja’s, I could have been one.
You don’t realize the weight of your own body or the creakiness of your floorboards until you are trying to escape a sleeping baby’s room. I am laughing now, thinking of what it must have looked like as I tried to make my smooth getaway. I squatted as low as possible, while still managing to sumo-walk out of her room on my tippy toes all while holding my breath.
And now my glutes, quads and hamstrings are on fire.
4. I want to buy a police siren to blast in my husbands ear. Where do they sell these?
When the screams of your child jolt you out of bed at 2:30am and you look over at your husband and realize he couldn’t look more peaceful, terrible things go through your mind. At least they do for me. Do I hit him? Do I push him gently off the bed? Do I shove the monitor into his ear canal? Or should I just scream into a microphone next to his side of the bed at the top of my lungs.
(Love you, babe)
5. I wouldn’t trade this moment for the world.
When the moment stills and her body weight sinks into mine and her little baby breaths feel warm against my collarbone and send chills up my spine I am convinced…
There is not a mama in the world who would trade these moments for any amount of sleep in the world.

Why The HELL Did I Want a Baby?!

I know I’m all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to discussing motherhood.  I know you all probably get pretty sick of it (no, I don’t care).  I know I post entirely too many pictures of my little babe  (no, I don’t care about that either.)

Yes, motherhood is amazing (now).

But it hasn’t always been.

For the first six weeks, motherhood, for me, was the exact opposite.

It was terrifying. Treacherous.  Too damn much.

I spent my 6,000 months of pregnancy fantasizing about the baby inside of me. I would have daydreams of my baby and I cuddling and laughing and frolicking endlessly through the park.

Then she showed up.

The wait was over – the months of planning, preparing, and plotzing through Buy Buy Baby like the innocent, unknowing, first-time mother-to-be that I was, had all come crashing to a halt.

The curtains closed on the big show, and now I was all alone backstage… Lights off, my audience and adoring fans gone and onto the next big show, and I found myself wishing I could transport myself back to rehearsals.  Back to when it was safe again, when I was only practicing, and I wasn’t so exposed.

This is exactly what life felt like the morning after we arrived home with our beautifully perfect and healthy 6-lb miracle.

I will never, ever, forget the nagging voice inside of me that kept shouting, “now what!?!??”

“You’re doing it wrong!”

“You suck at this!”

“No, don’t swaddle with that blanket, use THIS blanket!”

“Do I really have to do this again tomorrow?!”

“Why do my nipples feel like that?”

“Why does my baby have a breathing pattern that makes me think she needs a doctor 562 times per night (on average)?”

“WHY THE HELL DID I WANT A BABY?!?!”

It was exactly what all those nurses and lactation consultants and know-it-all’s meant when they teased, “babies aren’t born with a manual!”

No, they sure as hell aren’t.  But here’s the deal, and what I learned the hard way, and what I constantly reflect on now that I’m loving this whole motherhood thing.

The first 6 weeks (or so) of motherhood will be the hardest and darkest days of your life.

I don’t care what anyone tells you.  If they disagree with this statement, they are lying and trying to shield you from the reality of life.

But guess what? It’s supposed to be hard.  We’re supposed to make mistakes and feel like giant fuck-ups and sweat and cry and wish we never got ourselves into this mess…

…Because that’s where growth happens.  Where strength prevails.  And where you quickly find out that the reality is, as clueless and helpless and milk-less as you feel, NO ONE can do a better job than you at parenting your child.

That no matter how much you doubt yourself, your baby needs YOU and you alone and already thinks you’re a superhero.

That you ARE a bad-ass bitch with more bad-assery in one little finger now than you’ve ever had in your entire body prior to giving birth.

That you accomplished and persevered through life’s single GREATEST miracle, which automatically makes you a candidate for Nobel fucking peace prize.

That when the darkness and confusion and self-doubt fade, and you finally find yourself falling so in love with your new job as a mother and receive those first smiles from your little creation –

That you, too, have been born.

Reborn – as the woman you were always meant to be –

A pretty damn-good mother.

(and soon, you’ll find the rainbows and butterflies, too.)IMG_0508

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You May Say I’m a Dreamer…

  
I stopped at 7-11 Saturday morning on my way to Pilates, for a cold bottle of water – the morning after the Paris destruction.
As I paid and made my way out the door, the kind, frail, elderly store clerk said – “be safe out there, our world keeps getting scarier”.
He was right. He IS right. Our world, the world where hundreds of people, thousands even, are slaughtered at one time, for no reason at all – is the world we can’t escape.
As the news broke Friday night, my husband and I laid in bed silently watching cnn, each update and body count giving us chills. As a survivor gave his live account of what exactly occurred inside the Bataclan, the horrifying details of people being shot at random, the hairs of the back of my neck stood up. My husband must have felt the same way, because he held me closer and squeezed my arm – and almost instantly, tears rolled down my cheeks.
I knew what he was thinking in that moment. It’s because it was the same thing I was thinking…
…”holy shit, how did we bring a kid into this cold, angry world?”
If you’ve read any of my previous work, you’ll know I’m a big liberal mush- a huge fan of kindness, and a believer that everyone – EVERYONE in this world should be treated with respect. 
How am I supposed to raise my daughter to always “do the right thing” when everything seems so wrong?
How am I supposed to teach her that being a kind and compassionate human will get her the same treatment in return?
How am I supposed to prepare her to be a strong, independent out there in the world, when the world always seems ready to take you down? 
How, HOW am I supposed to explain why these horrible, traumatic and devastating events occur day after day, in countries all over the world, where only the innocent seem to suffer?
Well. The bad news is, this will be a very difficulty task.
The good news? I was taught to have hope. To be positive in the face of all negativity. To hold on to the good even if seems to be slipping away.
And I will teach her that all the world needs, is more good people.
(And a lot more love).

You Say Chanel, I Say Tar-jay

The Mommy Divide…

It only took a few weeks… I went back to work full-time, had to plop my princess in day care, and faster than you can say “let’s meet at Bal Harbour for lunch,” I found myself on the other side.

The other side of life as I knew it.

The other side of the life I loved.

I spent almost 7 blissful months at home doing what I loved best – mommying.

I spent the moments in between with other mommies, and came home at the end of each day happy, fulfilled and ready to wife my ass off.

I am not that person anymore, as much as it kills me – but everyone else in my life and everyone I hold so true to my heart stayed behind in that world.  The uncomplicated, stress-free world where babies aren’t constantly sick from day care and lunches happen on your own time with the people you enjoy, rather than on a very tight schedule with cold leftovers in a Tupperware.

So what’s a girl to do?  Well, bitch about it, constantly – for one thing.

Just kidding….

…kinda.

I’m human – albeit a sensitive human, but never mind that.  It feels awful to no longer be able to join the group for play dates, tote my baby along to mommy and me classes, lunch with other mommy friends or just take a stroll in the mall.  I feel a giant surge of jealousy coarse through my veins like a $10 Whole Foods smoothie from days past each time I respond to an invitation with, “I can’t, I have to work.”  I sometimes find myself avoiding social media on my really stressful days just to avoid the stinging realness of my reality.

But my reality is now all-consuming.

It’s work hard and maybe if you’re lucky, you can play a little when you’re done.

It’s 2 hours of quality time with my child in place of long, fun-filled days of carefree living.

It’s rushing to Target on borrowed time for necessities instead of browsing Bloomingdale’s with friends.

It’s seeing friends once-in-a-blue-moon and only if my baby won’t infect theirs – which basically means never.

It is … what it is.

But I’ve realized a few things since leaving my happy little world behind.  I know it’s cliche and it’s been said a million times – but it’s so true.  The people who are your true friends, the ones in good times and in bad, will merely see this divide as an extra stop-over on the way to everlasting friendship.

…and they won’t mind when on your only day off from work, you ask them to hang out at Target.FullSizeRender(12)

When You Find the Nanny Half-Naked…

I just walked in my door to find the Nanny wearing nothing but a towel.  Her bra was also on, and I’m going to hope she had some sort of underwear on underneath my favorite Pottery Barn beach towel.  But I walked in, tired and stressed from a long day, to find my child’s nanny half-naked (and my child, fully naked).

… Because Bella had thrown up all over her and ruined her clothes, the Nanny’s clothes, and my couch.

I’m so sorry if you thought this would be a juicier tale of scandal and betrayal, but no, it’s just a story about my nanny and my child’s bodily fluids.

I couldn’t help but laugh.  After a long sleepless night, followed by a very busy work day, I came in the door anxious to see my little babe and head over to my best friends house, only to find out that she’s now been plagued with the stomach bug that is circulating at school (as if her ear infection and chronic cough weren’t enough).

I had spent two weeks desperate to find a nanny to watch her until she was feeling better.  TWO WEEKS.  I thought, well, if I just keep her home until she’s got all this ear infection crap out of her system, she’ll be fine, right?

WRONG.

As Mamas, we plan, we stress, we try our hardest to control each situation and then BAM – it hits you…  Motherhood is a game of EVERYTHING being beyond your control.

As is life, actually, but when it comes to motherhood, you become instantly torn between wanting to control every situation so that your child never feels any pain, discomfort or disappointment, and letting nature just take it’s course and dealing with things as they come.

The latter, my friends, is the magic.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I plunged head-first into motherhood completely terrified of how my anxious, type-A personality would affect my child.

That’s why, when I took my little creation home from the hospital and confronted my postpartum anxiety, HEAD ON, I learned to adopt a more “take things as they come” type of personality.

Sure, it still sucks when she gets sick every other day, has unexplained diarrhea on a car ride to a friends house while wearing a brand new dress, or randomly starts waking up at 4am on weekends ready to play – but, repeat after me mamas, IT IS WHAT IT IS.

This too shall pass, and one day, you’ll miss the 4am cuddles.

My husband and I spent the first 6 weeks of Bella’s life completely terrified of making one wrong move, and then we loosened the hell up and learned to laugh.

Because when you find your Nanny in a towel and your baby in the nude, there’s nothing you CAN do, but laugh.

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