How The Hardest Moments Can Truly Be Easy

As some of you may have already read on the blog’s Facebook page, I recently had two grand mal seizures. Not that seizures are ever easy, but it was especially difficult since I was only months away from my 10 year mark of being seizure-free. At the behest of both medical professionals and my family and friends, I’ve been advised to take it easy. That means that while I’ll be taking some time to focus on healing, some of my lovely writer friends have offered to do some guest posts!

What better way to kick off these awesome guest posts than with this piece by Joe of Developing Dad? These past weeks have made me let go of the little things, push myself when things seem hard, and cherish the sweet moments that come easily. Make sure to check out more info about this fab author at the end! In the mean time, enjoy this lovely parenting reminder:


 

A co-worker, my office mate during our first pregnancy was 5 or so years further down the road from us with two kids, preschool and kindergarten. She was largely bemused by me and my behavior as an expectant dad. I would be now too. Expectant parents, the good responsible ones at least, are a bit silly. We were no different. I don’t recall what brought about the comment she made to me, but it’s stuck with me all these years. She said, ‘having kids is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But it’s easy.’
Well, this is the definition of a conundrum and sounds like absolute hog swallop! But it turned out she was right.

scott-pilgrim-its-hard

Before the kids I had an absolute need to find consistency. To make that which was juxtaposed become resolved. To that brain there was a crisis, or there would have been had I accepted the statement, to make one of these opposing realities fail. After all how could it be hard and easy? A thing can’t be black and white. It just can’t!

Well, turns out it can. Because caring for my kids, providing for them, raising them, being there every minute is incredibly and sometimes seemingly unbearably challenging. It’s all the things you hear about but can’t fully conceive of prior to them arriving. And an absolute TON more.

Physically it depletes and even destroys some parts that may be revived to some extent but will never be fully what they were before. Emotionally they take you to your furthest limit and live on that edge, leaning on it and pushing it to the point where you have to break in order to rebuild your walls further out than you ever thought you’d be. Then they move there, to your new outer limit, lower their shoulders and push. Push until they break through and you are once again forced to build retaining walls further out. You can’t even remember where your silly emotional limits were before they arrived to push you, but surely you now think of your former emotional stamina as that of some sort of lower animal. Hard to imagine you ever thought a thing difficult before this.

Benedictfeels

Financially. Others focus on this and ameliorate it through hard work, smart work, good fortune, determination and single minded focus. I, being one who is unwilling and likely unable to eliminate this issue, pities these people. Mostly I pity them out of envy and defensiveness. That is as far as I’m willing to explore the dynamic so I’ll leave it there. But be it known, your money which you’ve always considered in short supply and wholly yours is now in shorter supply, much more necessary and barely yours for even the few moments in which you possess it. I’m not complaining and I remain aware of how insanely lucky I am to have what I have. But it’s still a grinding thing trying to make it all work.

i can do it

Beyond this you now carry a burden that is beyond your comprehension until the moment that baby meets you. I daresay that moment came months earlier for my wife than it did for me. Still, once it appears it will be with you for as far out as you can look. Another human being, one completely incompetent and needing of you every single day, all day, is here. You love him and hold him and treasure it all, but it does weigh on you. I once knew a man who honestly believed he didn’t carry this stuff with him. Yet if you asked his wife and kids they’d tell you, he carried it nobly, and for ten years while the kids were young he moaned like a cow mooing in his sleep. Loud. Wake you up on other floors loud. Showed up with the kids and disappeared when most of them could shower, bathe and feed themselves. It hits us all.

The hard is evident and there’s an annoyingly long line of people who can’t wait to tell you this as you head toward welcoming your little baby to the world. It’s doubly annoying because the negative commenters, parents I now recognize as being in the midst of their own process of becoming who are merely projecting all of the above onto you because they need the support you can’t yet give them, far outweigh the positive. Like my office mate, Mary, who also said, it’s pretty easy. And it is.

About the author:

Developing Dad is the brainchild of author Joe Medler where he muses on parenthood, marriage, children life. From the lighthearted to the profoundly insightful, his writing covers the spectrum of what it is to be a parent.

You can also check his writing out on MamaLode, The Original Bunker PunksSammiches and Psych Meds, and Say it With a Bang.

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How Does A Family History Of Cancer Impact Us?

Hey everybody! I’ve been thinking lately about how our family’s health history influences our own lives. Do you let it impact your decisions? Do you feel your lifestyle choices are judged by people who know about your family’s health history?

If you wouldn’t mind, I would super duper appreciate it if you could take this survey and let me know how your family’s health history has affected you. Thank you!!

Just click here to get started!

And remember, I always appreciate the great community here and couldn’t have done it without your support!

you're the best

Where Did My Baby Go?

It’s like I blinked and my tiny, squishy baby turned into a tall, independent man. You might think my son is 18 but he’s really only 18 months. But he might as well be a full-grown man because that’s how it feels to me. He doesn’t want to hold my hand or cuddle as much as he used to and his features are becoming more defined and less cherubic. I know that all of this growth and development stuff is totally normal in biological terms, but that doesn’t make it any easier on my heart. I still want to be there when he needs me – even if he thinks he doesn’t.

Toddler = Hulk

Toddler = Hulk

Obviously I know that it’s healthy for my son to be testing boundaries and asserting his will. Just like I know it’s probably creepy that sometimes I watch him sleep because he’s just so stinking cute it hurts. But maybe that’s what being a mom is. Logic doesn’t make sense and our senses don’t seem logical. I love that he’s getting more independent – the whole “able to hold his own neck up” thing is cool – but is it so wrong that I want him to stay a baby, too?

let me love you

Why doesn’t Hallmark have a card for this?

My little man is almost done with swim class and is getting ready to start day care in just a few, short weeks. While I swell with pride when he learns something new and I have fun shopping for pint-sized backpacks and lunch boxes, part of me is scared, too. Daycare will be the first time he’s been away from me with people I don’t know. That’s not to say I don’t trust this place to take care of him, but there’s still a great, big unknown. What if he hurts himself while there? They don’t know our special boo-boo song! Will he survive without it?

But they don't know the song!!!

But they don’t know the boo-boo song!!!

But at the end of the day, I know that this parenting gig is about him not me. I don’t want to be the hovering mom who deprives her son of learning how to be resilient on his own. I want to be the mom that lets him explore and make mistakes but isn’t ever too far away for a hug. So for now, I’ll stop worrying about life passing too quickly and focus on the here and now.

But I may watch him sleep for just one more second…

 

 

How to Survive a Four Hour Drive with a Toddler

Prior to becoming a mother, I told myself I wouldn’t be caught dead driving long distances with a child. I figured I could put off accepting any kind of out-of-town social event until the kid was say, oh I don’t know – how old are they when they stop misbehaving? Oh right. Never. My genius pre-motherhood plan lasted less than two years. Last week my husband, eighteen month old son, and I set off on a cross-state drive for a wedding and I’ve lived to tell about it!

If you want to survive a long, family car ride without needing to call someone for bail money (presumably for assaulting whoever woke your sleeping child), then read on:

1. Expect the Unexpected

Before our trip could even get off to a proper start, I somehow managed to dislodge the right side of my front bumper. I’m talented like that. I’m like ninety percent sure it wasn’t my fault, but let’s not squabble over details. There we were: in the predawn hours, dragging rubber and plastic down the highway, praying to the travel gods the baby would stay asleep while anxiously looking for a safe place to pull off .

This looks safe, right, Honey?

“This looks safe, right, Honey?”

Despite neatly packing snacks, quietly transferring my sleeping son from the crib to the car, and carefully hanging fancy clothes without wrinkling them, I was not prepared for this. So what do you do when the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan? Aside from performing a ritual goat sacrifice, I strongly suggest you embrace the chaos. The more you try to fight against the craziness, the less calm you (and everyone around you) will be. Just try to roll with it – even if you’re screaming internally.

Just breathe in and out.

Just breathe in and out.

2. Breaks. SO. MANY. BREAKS.

Keeping in theme with the previous rule, you’ll need to adopt the mantra “F*** The Schedule!” When the mini vehicular catastrophe was finally remedied (thank you, zip ties!), we were a solid two hours behind schedule. I thought to myself, “That’s okay. We factored in a bonus hour for breaks, so we’re really only one hour behind. I can make that up with clever driving and no breaks. It’ll be fine!” Oh how innocent I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

A funny thing happens when you try to drive long stretches without a break. Perhaps “funny” isn’t the right word. Pee. Yup that’s the word: PEE. Pee happens when you don’t take breaks and you have a toddler with the bladder the size of a thimble. Unfortunately my seizures left me with the inability to smell (True story! Ask me about it some time) which meant I was blissfully unaware of the urine soaked car seat and horrifyingly wet toddler until it was too late. Do yourself (and your upholstery) a favor, and take as many breaks as necessary. Those with functioning olfactory receptors will thank you.

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

 3. Baby = “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

Okay, this one may sound like I’m a horrible person – and maybe I am, who cares? – but one of the perks to having a baby is that it is the best excuse you’ll ever have! I’m not recommending you lie and say your baby is sick to get out of a party because, ya know, karma. But if you have a legit situation which has created some negative outcome, don’t be afraid to blame your exit strategy on the baby. Just don’t get drunk with power.

drunk with power highlander

It’s deceptively easy to use the excuse too much.

The final key to being able to survive a long drive with your toddler is to not worry about what others may think. Merely showing up in one piece should be accomplishment enough, in my opinion. Yeah, we were late and probably smelled of baby pee, but we MADE IT! The ride back? Now that’s an entirely different story…

Time Out For Mommy!

So far this summer has been off to a roller-coaster of a start! We have grieved the loss of a loved one, celebrated the union of two wonderful people, and were surprised by the early arrival of my best friend’s daughter (to whom I have the honor of being godmother). With all the ups and downs, I’ve decided to take a brief break from the interwebs and invite some of the best and funniest writers I know to help me out in the mean time!

help

The lovely Bianca Jamotte was kind enough to share one of her hilarious pieces from MomCo with you today! Make sure to check out her bio below and let us know what you thought of this real momma’s confession!

Real Mommy Confessions: Finding the Comedy in the Chaos

I have spent much of my life learning to tame my temper. I take after my hotheaded French father, lots of opinions and volume. I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and wished to be as calm and serene as my mom always seemed to be. By the time my husband and I started talking about having babies, I was ready! I had become the woman I wanted to be. I had learned how to express myself without yelling, how to be opinionated without being abrasive. I was going to be a wonderful, loving, gentle, mild-tempered Momma. And I was. For 15 months. Then we had my son and my daughter became a toddler.

What has saved me from losing my mind completely is finally getting honest. I am not calm or serene. My life isn’t always pretty. I tried to make it look that way for a long time, only sharing filtered pictures of smiling my babies on Facebook. Posting status updates about how #blessed I am, but the truth is my car is a mess and everything and everyone is always sticky. Some days I just want to crawl in a ball and cry (and sometimes I do,) but most of the time I try to laugh. I post pictures of my children throwing temper tantrums, and status updates of the hilariously creepy things my daughter says. I make it a point to find the humor in the chaos, and only lose my temper when I truly can’t find anything funny in the situation. I laugh, one of my friends drinks wine, another does cross fit and the mom who submitted this confession, believes in timeouts.

About the Guest Author:

Bianca Jamotte is a Mom, Actress, Award-winning Filmmaker as well as Brooklyn Business Owner and Creator of the independent Original Series, Real Mommy Confessions. Business owners, Bianca and her Husband (who also proudly serves as a FDNY), own and operate the delectable specialty Mac and Cheese Restaurant, Brooklyn MAC, as well as the award-winning Coffee Shop, Cup, which was given the title of ‘Best Espresso’ in Greenpoint. Her most exciting credential for which she is most proud, however, is her job as Mom, which brings on a daily host of challenges and accomplishments, often simultaneously. These include successfully keeping her 2-year old from nosediving off the sofa as well as negotiating with her willful 3.5-year old.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her site, Real Mommy Confessions.

To Break Or Not To Break

Over the past few months, I’ve had incredible writing opportunities come up and I’m still so blown away by the support you all have shown me and this page. As a mother to a feisty toddler, struggling when chronic illness and an emotionally exhausting job are added to the mix, it should come as no surprise that I felt overextended.

STAT

STAT!

Thankfully I found this amazingly inspiring post by a fellow writer. She puts into words all the thoughts and emotions I was feeling but couldn’t quite express. Hop on over and check out the insightful perspective she offers on the perks of taking a break!

Rejuvenate! Take a Blog Break

Why I Went Without Wi-Fi This Weekend

If you’re anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with all things internet. On one hand, I need it for legitimate things like work emails and Googling “how many blueberries are too many for a toddler to eat.” On the other hand, I can’t keep up with my social “responsibilities” – making sure to like, comment on, and share every cute baby pic and event invite.

In short? Being plugged-in leaves me feeling burnt-out.

Sometimes it gets to be too much

As the aforementioned GIF states, I decided to quit! Just for a weekend, though. After all, the world needs to know exactly what my meals look like.

Since I had to get up early Saturday morning for a bridal shower three hours away, I decided on Friday night that I was going to keep my internet-ing to a minimum over the weekend. Guys, I’m serious. I really kept it to a minimum!

I didn’t even play Candy Crush.

Aside from snapping an Instagram pic while stuck in traffic, I wasn’t particularly connected on Saturday. It was actually pretty liberating! Instead of making sure I captured moments on camera, I lived them. I left the picture-taking to the experts. One perk of living in 2015? You can bet that someone will be taking and tagging pictures at whatever event you’re attending – so you’re free to unplug.

Thankfully you can also *untag* yourself, too

Thankfully you can also *untag* yourself, too

Maybe I’m an oddball here, but sometimes I feel a weird sense of obligation to scroll through my news feed. It’s one half FOMO (“fear of missing out,” in case you didn’t know) and one half politeness. I mean, I know the where the salad fork goes, how to address a letter to an employer, and when to wear white – but what’s the etiquette for socializing online?

I'm assuming this isn't it?

I’m assuming this isn’t it?

I’m often nervous that my inconsistent work schedule prevents me from maintaining valuable relationships in “real life.” In a way, the internet helps me feel like I can stay in touch with just the click of a button. On the flip side, I worry that if I don’t interact enough online, my social life will reap the consequences.

Thankfully my weekend mini-sabbatical didn’t seem to have the negative impact I had feared.

sooo alooone

sooo alooone

In the end, I don’t know how often I’m going to try and disconnect, but the idea isn’t as anxiety-inducing as it once was. I’ve come away feeling like I was more present and involved in real life social situations and less concerned about missed opportunities on social network sites.

So why not take a little weekend web vacation? But, ya know, like, comment on, and share this blog post first…

kthxbai :)

kthxbai 🙂