After the ordeal of getting through security, I am full of dread. I quickly realize that the extra outfits I had put aside for the carry-on bags are still sitting in the living room. I have no change of clothes for my baby, and we're only minutes into our vacation.
The whirlwind of motherhood can be overwhelming and difficult to process. My lack of desire to shed the pounds or eliminate the cellulite is not a disguise for laziness; instead, I have learned to welcome rest — both mentally and physically. It has been life-changing to shift my perspective, making the conscious choice to enjoy my femininity (whatever that may look or feel like). Why do our bodies need to be what they used to be? Can we not be satisfied with how they are now? All of us women deserve bragging rights — our bodies are amazing.
Whenever I'm in a funk, I head for the forest. Forest bathing, or what the Japanese call shinrin yoku is the practice of simply being among the trees. Benefits include increased immunity, lowered stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and increased energy and vitality. But, most importantly, it changes the scenery, which sometimes is the best self-care of all. When my babies were little, just going outside changed the mood so quickly, with new smells and sights and stimulation. I could ward off a tantrum even on the streets of Cambridge.
When they’re babies, it’s just plain old sleep deprivation. Nothing fancy, just a basic form of torture outlawed by the Geneva Convention yet somehow totally cool when perpetrated by a tiny human that looks marginally like you. Then as they get older, their torturing skills mature. It becomes less about brute force denial of sleep and more about finding psychological mechanisms for draining the joy out of the act of sleep.
We are so hard on ourselves, as women, and we hold ourselves to standards none of us can achieve. When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and thought you were beautiful or had belief in your abilities? In the world of social media, we tend to have a skewed perspective. Everyone’s life seems perfect, and everyone looks beautiful under the veil of an Instagram filter. If we are judging ourselves harshly, our daughters will do the same. We need to be kinder to ourselves, so they know how to be kind to themselves too.
Everyone gets so excited when family members or friends have a new baby, and we immediately want to see them. I have done the same. Each friend who has had a baby, the first question I used to ask is, "When can I come meet him/her? What can I bring you? I'll watch the baby while you sleep!" But, things have changed. My son got meningitis at 4 weeks old.
I know our son won't remember our travels from these early days of his life. I do hope that maybe these experiences in some way help him internalize that the world is so much more than our street here in Boston. Even if it doesn't do that for him quite yet, it is good for me to remember that there is life outside nap schedules and 'Daniel Tiger.'
"Looking at my son today, you'd never think he'd been a preemie. When he gets hangry and downs a bottle like he's been in the Sahara desert dying of thirst for three days, it's hard to believe he was on a feeding tube for the first few weeks of his life. As he achieves all the standard milestones like a pro and is on an average growth track, I know we are lucky that he is healthy — and I am thankful for that."
Step 1. Stop in diaper aisle. Mutter to self about flushing money down the toilet with each diaper purchase. Realize that diapers don't actually come in any larger size before they begin to be labeled for adult incontinence. Side eye toddler.
Growing up the 'burbs, school selection was easy. You live on this street, you go to this school. Eventually, every kid in town ends up at the same high school. Typical suburbs. Well, I don't live in the suburbs anymore. This is Boston. School selection is a real thing. And it starts at the pre-kindergarten level. My firstborn is 4, and I am already stressed over which school he will attend.
I see you over there stifling a yawn during toddler story hour. I see you guzzling another cup of coffee during playgroup. I see you struggling to muster the energy to chase that little girl of yours (who might just rival the Energizer Bunny) around the gym. I see you — and I get it.
I've been working on getting my 2-year-old to be more independent and take ownership over certain tasks at home. I strongly believe toddlers are capable of doing so much (even at this young age), and teaching them these skills early will help their transition into school and set the foundation for being a responsible teenager/adult.
Recently, I was asked to speak on a panel about going back to work after having a baby. Having done this twice, I am definitely no expert, but I can speak about what worked for me. Here are nine things I've learned (or wish I'd known) based on a predictable weekday schedule.
Thank goodness for the internet, which has a ton of information about gender selection! (Note that this is just for fun, and not based on credible science.) The general theory of natural gender selection is that male sperm are faster than female sperm but also more fragile. So you've got to give them their best chance at getting to the egg. There are a few ways to do this:
I’ve reached the point in motherhood, now five years in, where the oft-repeated adage, "The days are long, but the years are short" is really starting to show itself in full color to me, each and every day. When I began this journey, I did not have the faintest clue about how the carousel of time would carry my children and me around and around, up and down, from different emotions and milestones, every second of every single day.