Sometimes in Marriage, You Need to Take One for the Team

Sometimes in Marriage, You Need to Take One for the Team

It’s not that I don’t love my husband, because I do. And it’s not like I don’t find him attractive, because I mean … that beard and that bod? I dig it. But the thought of having sex six weeks postpartum? Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling it. NOTE: This is the part where you may want to stop reading if you know me (parents and in-laws, I’m looking at you). I never really realized how much hormones could effect a person until I experienced pregnancy and postpartum. My moods (and shall we say sexual prowess?) definitely changed during each time. With my first pregnancy, I was into it. But postpartum? Not so much. With the second, I wasn’t into it during pregnancy but postpartum I was a fan. The third time around though I was just not into it AT ALL. Let’s just say that a good chunk of my pregnancy was a test of patience for my husband — bless him. Having experienced these pregnancy hormone shifts before, though, neither of us were overly concerned. We assumed that things would fall back into a good groove once our baby arrived and everything leveled out. Finally, after nine 10 long months, our baby girl made her debut into this world and we were thrilled. Now things would settle back into place hormonally and sex would surely be good again — and most definitely far less awkward and uncomfortable. So we waited. But as my six-week postpartum check-up approached, I still wasn’t feeling overly enthusiastic about the prospect of a roll in the hay. My husband — ever the gentleman — didn’t push the subject (but he did make a...
What I’ve Learned So Far (10 Week Edition)

What I’ve Learned So Far (10 Week Edition)

There are a ton of blog posts out there that gently (and not so gently) offer advice to moms of newborns. We like this one from Liz because she hacks through the nonsense and offers some straightforward down to earth advice for the masses. (And seriously, baby smiles FTW!) 1. I need to have a shower everyday. After having my daughter, Ryley, a daily shower has become an absolute priority in a way it never was before. The first few weeks it felt essential because I felt so physically spent and disgusting thanks to my own bodily fluids post-labor as well as the baby’s. A shower was the only thing that made me feel like a somewhat functional human not covered in spit-up and poop. And now whenever I shower in the morning during the baby’s first nap, I feel like I start my day with a victory. Even if she goes off the rails and refuses to nap again in the crib, at least I managed to fit in one thing entirely for me. I think a new mom needs to do at least one “selfish” thing every day, whether it’s a shower or a glass of wine. And if you really want to multi-task bring the glass (or bottle) of wine into the shower with you. 2. My baby doesn’t like the car. I feel like this is one of those truisms of parenting you always hear, that a car ride will instantly lull a baby, and she will become a sleeping angel the second the wheels start rolling. This may be true for some babies, even...
Older Moms Understand The Myth of Perfection

Older Moms Understand The Myth of Perfection

I’m at the McDonald’s outdoor playscape — a place I would never have taken my first child. The junk food! The germs! The consumerism! The GMOs! But after 10 years of parenting and almost 40 years of living, I have developed the perspective that being too idealistic about what I will or won’t expose my kids to is just nonsense. It leads to nothing but stress and unrealistic expectations. I don’t love everything about moving into the “older mom” camp, but letting go of the idea of perfection is definitely a perk of being an older mom that I have fully embraced. So here I am at McDonald’s, letting my 3-year-old drink chocolate milk that’s probably full of hormones and antibiotics that will destroy his ability to have children. But hey, he’s occupied. And they have Wi-Fi here, so I’m one happy camper (smart move on the free Wi-Fi, Mickey D’s). He’s taken to playing with a set of twins who look to be just a little bit younger than him. They “take turns” sliding down the slide, which means that they keep kicking each other in the butt as they scramble to get in their turns, one after the other. It’s cute and endearing, and I’m just happy my kid is out of my hair for a bit. The twins’ mom strikes up some conversation. She asks how old my son is, whether he’s in school, yadda, yadda, yadda. But then she cuts to the chase. “Is he potty trained yet?” Isn’t it funny how you can inquire about the bathroom habits of little humans within 30 seconds...
5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy: A Father’s Perspective

5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy: A Father’s Perspective

Even though I’m a father of three, each pregnancy has been its own learning experience. I was the youngest in my family, so my wife was the first pregnant woman I’d ever lived with. I felt remarkably unprepared for the whole ordeal, particularly considering that pregnancy is something that’s been around since the dawn of human kind. It feels like I should have known more. Here are a few things I didn’t know about pregnancy. My hope is that it will help enlighten those first-time fathers out there. 1. Pregnant women cry a lot. When Mel was pregnant with our first child, I asked her to water the Christmas tree and she cried. “Don’t you realize how tired I am?” she said. Then she called me a jerk. I’d seen a million movies where a pregnant woman lost control of their emotions, and it was hilarious. But when faced with the real thing, it isn’t that funny. I was 24, and my knee-jerk reaction was to get pissed. But first-time dads, here’s some advice: If faced with this situation, just apologize and water the damn the tree. In fact, apologizing really should be your default. During that first pregnancy, Mel cried because the bank was closed, because the car was low on gas, and because I ate the last string cheese. I hate to say this, but a pregnant woman crying is normal. Pregnancy changes a woman in a lot of ways, and one of them is a new inability to govern her emotions. It took me until our second child to realize that my job as the father...
If Mom Ain’t Happy, Nobody’s Happy

If Mom Ain’t Happy, Nobody’s Happy

The past few months have been challenging. My own frustration, bitterness, and pessimism seems to match our nation’s collective angst. Perhaps the Summer of 2016 could best be called the “Summer of WTF” or the “Summer of Tragedy” or the “Summer of When-Will-This-crapshow-End?” We all seem to be feeling a bit beaten down, frustrated and scared. I hate to admit it, but as grateful as I am for all the joys in my life, I haven’t been very good about feeling grateful or showing gratitude for those joys. I haven’t been a very good wife, mother, or friend. I haven’t been my best self. There have been days when I’m not even sure I’ve been an okay-ish version of myself because I was a downright pain in the ass to be around. And quite frankly, I’ve annoyed myself with my own moodiness and sulking. Some of the reasons for this funk or despair (or whatever you’d call it) are somewhat obvious. The news headlines make me want to scream or weep on a daily basis. Adjusting to our summer schedule was difficult, and certain work projects that I busted my butt on didn’t produce the results I would have liked. An extra 5 pounds (oh, who am I kidding, it’s definitely closer to 10) have permanently attached themselves to my belly, butt, and thighs. And as much as I would like to say that I’ve made peace with this, the truth is, I have not. I want the scale to magically adjust itself without giving up my daily Kit-Kat bars and French fries. As much as I would like to...
7 Moms You’ll See In A Group Text

7 Moms You’ll See In A Group Text

If you have kids in the modern age of parenting, chances are, you’ve participated in at least one group text. Whether it’s coordinating a playdate, a ladies’ night out, or organizing a complicated carpool routine, moms texting takes on a whole new level of hell when you have multiple people expressing opinions. And, often, the group text can make you feel like a prisoner in your own phone. I’ve been in a group text with six of my neighbors for over a year and there are times when I come back to my phone only to find 92 new texts. It can take almost 20 minutes to catch up on all of the conversation twists. Group texts are exhausting. And, what’s worse, now most messaging systems will indicate you’ve left the conversation, thereby alerting the other texters that you, in fact, don’t have time for their craziness. Group texts on your phone are what “Reply All” is to email: a special kind of hell designed to make us crazy. Technology is great, mostly, but the group text is enough to drive a busy mom crazy. If you’ve hung around group texts long enough, you will start to see certain patterns, certain nuances of the participants. Never is that more true than in a group text run by moms arranging carpool. Believe me, I know. Because one point or another, I’ve played all these roles. Let’s examine them, shall we? 1. The Initiator Mom She’s the mom we all love because she’s the one who dutifully remembers that on Wednesdays at 4 p.m., the kids all have to be at soccer practice....
Teachers Share The Most Ridiculous Things Parents Have Ever Said to Them

Teachers Share The Most Ridiculous Things Parents Have Ever Said to Them

Teachers share threats, insane requests, and absurd accusations from parents As summer winds down teachers are preparing their classrooms while parents are practicing their happy dance. A Reddit user challenged teachers to share the most ridiculous thing they’ve heard a parent say and more than 4,000 comments came in. Between crafting engaging lesson plans, endless grading, and breaking up fights teachers have a special kind of endurance. Too bad these parents failed to realize that and instead shared these absurd criticisms and requests. On Tests “This girl didn’t study and skipped most of the questions on a test. Mom came in to argue about her daughter’s failing grade and said she should only be graded on the questions she did answer, so therefore should have scored a 100 since the few she chose to answer were correct.” “I had a parent tell me his kid was acting dumb for my benefit and that he is really smart at home.” “My [teacher] mom frequently is forced to let kids retake tests because they didn’t do well on them. Not because the kids have any sort of problem, but because the parents complain that their genius somehow got a failing grade on a test.” On Homework “It’s not your job to teach my son lessons.” “Intellectual property is a real gray area,” one parent said in regard to blatant plagiarism. “‘Caitlyn doesn’t feel like writing. She’ll just say the answers to the work out-loud from now on.’” “My child has anxiety and as such, will not be completing your final project. You will give her an A for the course regardless...
I Don’t Know What Happened to My Brain After Having Kids

I Don’t Know What Happened to My Brain After Having Kids

I’d like to tell you that I am stronger, smarter, and more savvy after bringing four humans into the world. I’d like to tell you that having kids has done nothing but motivate me to be better, inspire me to reach for the stars, and finally teach me the secrets of being a woman who “has it all.” I’d like to tell you that becoming a mother has simply strengthened my organizational skills, propelling me to become a master scheduler and Queen of the Calendar. But honestly? That would be a lie. Because the truth is, somewhere between peeing on a stick and throwing up in those first few months of having my first kid, I lost my mind. It wasn’t a subtle change, really, when I look back on it. It was dramatic and swift, like a car stopping for a squirrel, tires locking and rubber burning. If I had to trace it back to one moment, I would say that it all started a few months into my first pregnancy, when my husband and I were shopping for some supplies for a tropical getaway. I was simply trying to pick up a bottle of sunscreen, but for some reason, bottles were flying left and right. No matter how hard I tried, I kept dropping every bottle of sunscreen I picked up. It was so ridiculous that my husband just stood there laughing at me, until I finally gave up and moved on to the sunglasses section — where I proceeded to knock over the entire display. I look back at that moment, the confusion I felt wondering what on...
Hey, Moms: Don’t Be Afraid to Date Yourself

Hey, Moms: Don’t Be Afraid to Date Yourself

It wasn’t until my kids were a bit older that I realized I needed to start dating myself again. And I’m not talking about waiting until they were (finally) asleep to delve into that delicious book sitting on my nightstand for months. No, I’m talking about actually doing something where my mind and spirit could get totally lost — something that I’d long forgotten about since having kids. For me, I couldn’t experience this unless I left the house, and sometimes, that meant leaving the house alone. Because let’s face it, sneaking in precious moments of “me time” for yourself is always great, but it just isn’t the same as long as you’re home. You’re looking at that pile of dirty dishes that’s still in the sink; you’re thinking you should really clean that coat closet, or be planning meals for the week. Make no mistake: It’s a challenge to care for our families and put ourselves first every once in a while, especially if you are a mom who works. It’s all too easy to forget that we count, too. But I can tell you this: As soon as I started taking time away for myself, it gave me the clarity I needed. The added bonus? I also became a happier version of myself. Here were some ground rules I set for myself that I think every mom should, too. 1. Even if you only get out once every few months, DO. IT. Everyone needs a little escape from their lives, and parents are no exception. I used to feel like this was a sign of weakness when in fact, it makes you stronger. 2. Let the guilt go. I know it...
Embarrassing Moments Are A Parenting Inevitability

Embarrassing Moments Are A Parenting Inevitability

When my middle daughter was 1, she had a spectacular diaper blowout at church. It was all up the back of her very new, very cute, church dress. I took her to the restroom, and once I was elbow-deep into cleaning her, I realized I was short on wipes. I ended up using wet toilet paper, which I assure you was quite a challenge to acquire while the kid was half dressed and filthy. It was working though, for the most part, until the power went out. And let me just say that the men’s room with no windows was about as dark as deep space, and my half-naked baby who was still equal parts poopy and wet was as slippery as a butter-coated seal. By the time the lights came back on, we were both a mess, and I ended up taking a walk of parenting shame through the church and out into the van. I was completely embarrassed. But that was far from the only time that I’ve been embarrassed as a parent. Sadly, there’s more. I was at the grocery store once, with a toddler in the cart reaching for anything and everything and two young kids in tow, both begging for candy in the checkout line. I had a full cart of food, and a line of people behind me as I began unloading the cart onto the checkout counter. Once everything was rung up and ready to roll, I realized I’d forgotten my debit card. Suddenly my face was red, my groceries were slowly melting, and it felt like everyone behind me let out a...