Monday, March 26, 2007

Lack of focus

Is it me alone, or have you, too, lost all ability to focus. I cannot pay attention to anything for any period of time. I am contantly distracted and I wish so much I could get it back together. Does it get better?

Because I can tell you that the having a kid part has gotten AWESOME all of a sudden. We are hitting our stride. He is just such a little goof. Everything is funny to him, I love it.

Now, if I could just focus long enough to remember what this post was supposed to be about!

Friday, March 23, 2007

An open letter

Dear Other Moms,

While I appreciate many women have dreamt of being mothers their whole life, some of us didn't have that experience. And although it is not your intent - it better not be - your blind enthusiasm for the entire experience makes the rest of us feel bad. Your child is screaching like mine does. How is this music to your ears? Poopy diapers are not all the funny. Spit up is gross. Are you pretending? If you are, remind me to never play poker with you! It feels terrible feeling inadequate comparing ourselves to you. Please know this is not to be bashing in any sense. If you do have any tips or tricks I could try, I am all ears, PLEASE share.

But, if you are putting on a front, please don't do it for us, save it for your family or better yet, the people who have not had kids yet ;-) We need to be solidly together, honest and transparent. Knowing that there are hard parts from other women keeps the rest of us from coming unglued.

Much love,

Briefcase Mama

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The girls and my little man

My journey was a round-about through the countryside and back again. When I discovered I was pregnant, I was certain I would not be able to nor want to breastfeed. The thought of being a food source freaked me out. A lot! I really could not imaging a baby suckling at my breast. In fact, I can barely type the word suckling without shivering. (Not my favorite word.)

Then, I learned how great it is for both mom and baby. I heard it is a beautiful and natural thing. I understood it would help the baby's immune system, brain growth. I also understood it would be a great way to take off the extra baby weight.

And, then, I tried it. We tried hard. Really hard. And failed. A lot. My son would not latch effectively. My nurses in the hospital were cruel and had a hard time understanding my resistance to formula. I really wanted to breastfeed my son. We did not flourish. It was my first taste of failure as a mother. I was only three days in!

We tried and tried. We started to get the hang of it, but not consistently. I used a shield and he did well with that. I even managed to feed him on demand at the doctor's office. I was so proud! The doctor them told me how inconvenient shields would be. So, I made the first of MANY mistakes and listened to the doctor despite proof to the contrary. I stopped using the shield. And guess what, we failed. I tried the shield again, but by this time, my little boy could not figure out the breast. I was devestated. He cried and wailed each time to tried to put him on my breast. He was failing to gain adequate weight after 10 days. We called a lactation consultant. She indicated that he had a lazy tongue and I would have to increase my supply and go back to shields. I would need to try to feed him and then pump for 15 minutes. He would be fed breastmilk and supplemented with formula. I promised to try this through the weekend and if he was unable to latch effectively, we would go to formula.

We went to formula. I cannot tell you how many tears I cried over this failure in my mind. However, within weeks, my son was thriving and I was recoving from my loss. My husband, always the trooper, was right there by my side. He encouraged me to do what I felt was best for all of us. He stated over and over that a happy mom is better for a baby than her breast. I suppose he is right, but, it was hard to swallow.

The sad thing is, I still feel judged when I pull out a bottle of formula to feed my son. Other moms are still breastfeeding and I feel like they think I am lazy or don't love my son. And then, I met a mom who said, what I wouldn't give to pull out a bottle and just feed him. I guess the grass is always greener.

Postcript to this post: I recently drove past a billboard that said "Babies are born to be breastfed" and it was sponsored by the government. This made me feel so bad about not being able to accomplish breastfeeding. I wish people would be more sensitive to mothers. We really do try to do the best we can.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Proud mom of an average child

Went to the doctor recently and my boy is average. Awesomely so, in my opinion! And I got to thinking, why do so many parents think their child is special and above average. It just isn't possible. Someone has to be average and someone has to be below average. Everytime I talk to a parent these days, it is all about how ahead they are of milestones, how they are in the 95 percentile of everything. They say it as if they got an A in weight or head size!

What is wrong with a kid hitting milestones on time? What is wrong with the 50th percentile? Maybe I am being sensitive because my son is regular!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

We are thinking about taking a trip and leaving our son with a trusted family member. Sounds sane, logical and completely safe. But I swear I cannot reconcile it. I am so worried about how he will do with someone else while I am out and about with hubby. And it got me thinking, I feel guilty about everything all the time. Anyone else feel like this?

I mean, I feel terrible when I have to rock him to sleep that I am setting up bad sleeping patterns, but I would feel bad if I let him cry himself to sleep. I feel bad for giving him a paci instead of letting him calm himself. I feel bad about everything all the time. How can this be? I swear I am doing some things right, or maybe not. I just cannot escape the feeling that I am not doing the right things for the long haul. Then, I try to remember my baby-hood. Of course, I can't and he won't either. But I can't remember that or believe it.

I wish there was something that anyone could do more to make me and moms like me feel confident about our abilities. I know I could use that, preferably in cocktail form ;-) Or maybe I am alone in this one. Of all the things I have talked about with other moms, this is not one that has come up yet.

It makes me wonder, when will I feel successful at mothering like I do at work?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fascinating study

I found this article recently and think it is fascinating.

We need to be careful about even being nice these days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ah, dates

So, we finally broke down and got ourselves a temporary nanny to come twice a month to give me and my honey regular dates. Oh, how I missed dating! And despite being married for about 100 years, we still dated before the boy. We dated a lot. Once or twice a week.

Since the boy, not much, maybe once a month. Well, that certainly takes a toll on even the most solid relationships. So, nanny it is. It was a great day when we got the application and filled it out.

So, the nanny came and we went out for dinner. What happened...we talked about the baby! The irony was too much. We did have a nice time. And it is so amazing to have time to talk to each other like married people. It is also amazing to leave the responsibility for a few hours to realize how much you love and miss that little creature. According to the nanny, he wailed for about an hour, but she was able to get him back to sleep. We were thrilled she wanted to come back for more the next time.

I cannot believe how important the simple act of dating is on a new mom. You remember you are a woman, you have a great man, you can eat without bouncing your knee, you can speak in your normal pitch WITHOUT whispering...all wonderful things.

More dates to come...

Monday, March 12, 2007

The exploding heart factor

Recently someone was asking me about being a mom. And I said it is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I cannot explain to anyone without children the exploding heart factor. I know you all know what I am talking about. That moment, at least once a day, that your child looks at you and really connects with your eyes. And you see into their soul. You see this pure love. You see that the world is a kind and gentle place because of you. You see wonder. You see joy. You see innocense. You see everything in this little creature's eyes. And it hits you like a ton of bricks. That love, joy, innosence, purity, all of it. And then, BOOM, your heart explodes.

I can count on this feeling each night as I rock my boy to sleep. He just looks at me like, I love you and I don't care or know why. Thank you for loving me too, mommy. Thanks for protecting me and thanks for making sure I am safe and comfortable. I love you and trust that you will make everyday just wonderful. Then BOOM!

My day is complete once I get the exploding heart feeling. I rest easier. I leave his room with a smile on my face. I go hug my husband and thank him for taking such good care of our son all day.

As much of an adjustment motherhood has been, the exploding heart factor makes me forget A LOT!

Counting down to the BOOM! 10 hours and counting...

Friday, March 9, 2007


Who are you people that believe sleeping through the night means this:

Little Tommy has been sleeping through the night since he was two months old. He only gets up twice to eat.

I don't know about you all, but honestly...THAT IS NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!

When we first had the boy, everyone would tell us, oh, they can sleep through the night at 3 months. We were thrilled to hear this. Our man is an average sleeper, some nights good, some nights bad, some nights worse - hahahaha. So, we hung on waiting for the magic day. It never came. Our pediatrician informed us, well, the can do it, but, they will need to eat in the middle of the night. They can sleep better at 6 months. That came and gone with no consistent sleeping through, then, finally, three nights in a row slept from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. without waking or needing to eat. MIRACLE...WE MADE IT! Um, no, the next three nights were up every 2 hours.

My personal theory about all of these myths is that "they" lie to you to keep you from jumping off the roof. You become convinced that you are so close to the magic that you can hang on just a few more weeks, until alas, MORE LIES!

So, the lesson here is:

1. Ask for definitions - ex: what is YOUR definition of sleeping through the night?
2. Nothing about babies is consistent. Whenever you receive a break it just means you needed a break.
3. Don't believe everything you hear from other parents. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Well, how did I get here...

The Talking Heads summed up my day. Today is Gymboree day. For those of you who do not know about Gymboree, it is a wonderful experience for babies and children to have some social time and for parents to interact with their children and other parents. But beyond that, it is a time for you to leave your old self at the door and sit in a circle singing (with 9 other adults) The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round while sitting on a parachute with bubbles in the air. Seriously.

The whole time, you don't realize what you are doing and then, you kind of float above yourself and see what you are doing and wonder, well, how did I get here? Each and every Gymboree, I just laugh outloud because I am literally doing the things I would make fun of 10 years ago. I love that motherhood has mellowed me and pointed out the giant hypocrite I was. It is unbelievable fun to sing silly songs with your kid and dance in circles (without alcohol!). Either way, next time you are doing something completely rediculous, think about your old self seeing your new self and making fun of you. I can't stop laughing even now.

And then, I go back to work and try to solve really complex marketing and advertising problems without crazy songs in my head. It is no wonder I cannot focus in any aspect of my life. C'est la vie!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Top ten things all working moms need

  1. Supportive mates
  2. Supportive employer
  3. Passion (for life, work and family) - you will need this to survive the first several months!
  4. Help - friends and family to pitch in and give you and your mate a date
  5. 10-15 minutes a day to breathe and reflect
  6. Humor
  7. A good dry cleaner - spit-up is a real suit killer
  8. Flexibility
  9. Sex
  10. One daily complement

Did I miss anything?!?!

The greatest thing of all time!

So many of the moms I have met are so anxious for their babies to start crawling, walking, talking, etc. Me, I am all about the ability to sit unsupported. Even when my son was a little, tiny, thing, I was so excited for the day he could sit unsupported and play. Of course, I want to play with him. We bang pots and pans, pet the dog, bang more stuff together, play a drum, you name it. We can play and he can sit.

I, myself am not looking forward to the other stuff because it means mobility and it means more worry. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to the crawling and walking and talking, I am just not in any hurry for it. I like this sweet little stage. The world is so exciting and wonderous to him. His upright position gives him a new perspective on things. AND we can go eat at a restaraunt and he can be in a HIGH CHAIR. It is amazing the joy a piece of wood can give. OK, reading that back, it sounds incredibly naughty - hehe! But seriously, high chairs and babies who can sit in them completely rock!

I do, however, look forward to the day he can drive me to work!

Who gave me this baby (the first 3 months)

I had no exposure to babies my whole life. I was the youngest child. I had no friends with babies. I baby sat when I was older, but never for an actual baby! This was made apparent to me when I took my newborn home. I had no idea (I know, I am an idiot) that babies cried, A LOT. My son was not colick-y, I was. He cried less than normal yet, it was heartbreaking to watch his struggle to get comfort. I felt clueless, helpless, stupid, powerless and sad. It was the hardest three months of my life.

I sincerely wish someone would have told me how very hard those first months are. It was exasperated by the fact that everyone was coming out of the woodwork to say, "oh, yeah, well that part is terrible." I was like, WHAT?! Are you kidding me? I felt so betrayed. All these people talking about how great life is with a baby and how fun they are. And now, I learn they didn't like their experience either at this time. It was validating, but so frustrating, I felt like Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer, "That would have been valuable information to me YESTERDAY!"

So, if you are expecting a baby, expect the first three months to be long and challenging. If it isn't you are really lucky. If it is, take heart, we all went through it. If you don't know if you want babies, re-read this post. It is true and it is hard.

Be well friends!

Hello World

I am probably like a million other women who are trying like hell to make it all work. Home, work, family, love. We want it all. We want fabulous jobs and adorable babies. And we were told from the time we were able to unstand, we can do anything and have it all. I cannot decide if the problem is that I believed that or that I was foolhearty enough to try.

My work is fulfilling, my son is amazing, and somehow, I just don't know what I am doing. This blog is meant to be about all the things people should tell women about having it all.

I want to de-mystify the work/life balance thing. I want to help people realize they are not alone. I want to bring all working moms together so we can share in the challenges we experience every day.

And that endeavor starts now, today, with this post. So, welcome. I hope you visit often, I will try to post daily and I truly welcome comments.