Is A Chronic Illnesses Really A Secret Superpower?

Have you ever had a “light bulb moment” about an issue that completely changed your perspective? I’ve been struggling with the challenges my chronic illnesses present for years, but motherhood was a curveball I didn’t expect. But was I really as unprepared as I thought?

Light bulb moment!

What if…?

 

Today I had the privilege of sharing my story of chronic illness, motherhood, and attempting to achieve superhero status. Head on over to Mom Babble to check out the post and let me know what your “light bulb moment” was!

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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.

Today Would Be Her Due Date

My dear friend, Jasmine, of Emilee Plays | See June Play has graciously chosen to share her premature birth story. Below she writes about her experience on what would have been her youngest daughter’s due date.
She tells beautiful stories through photo essays and today’s story is no different.  

***

Today is my due date.

Today would have been the day I met my daughter, June. Instead, I met her two months ago. Never could I have imagined that I would give birth to a preemie, but I did. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t feel a little bitter about it, or that I don’t wish things could have been different.

I could have done without the NICU stay, the worrying, and the uncertainty. When I start getting completely caught up in my thoughts about this day, I remember: June is two months old, officially a newborn, and set to get her vaccinations on Thursday.

I can breathe a little easier and I can live a lot more with my daughter.

***

shared moment

A shared moment

first look

First look

newborn

A whole new world

Emilee + June

June 1 month

One month

Two months

Two months

On her due date

On her due date

 

What’s Your Mom Style? Part II

In last week’s post you met the “Helicopter Mom” – and her associates, Tiger Mom, Lawnmower Parent, and Peacock Mom – which might’ve felt like looking in a mirror or perhaps reminded you of someone you know.  Now for a swing in the other direction, we’ll be looking at the…

Crunchy Mama

Like the name says, these mamas are as crunchy as the granola they love to munch on 😉  Sometimes mainstream media gets a kick out of making “hippie” puns for a quick laugh, but to Crunchy Mamas, their parenting style is no joke!

 

Profile:

Crunchy Mamas can range from the casual, cloth diaper kind to the all-natural, green extreme.  But in general, most of these mamas shun mainstream parenting traditions, reject hospital births and circumcisions, and opt out of processed food and synthetic materials.  They prefer discipline-free parenting, use essential oils and homeopathic remedies, choose home births, and highly esteem breastfeeding and vegetarian/vegan/paleo diets.

Well when you put it that way...

Well when you put it that way…

Pros:

There’s a lot to be said for giving your children a technology free and fruit ‘n’ veggie filled childhood.  Crunchy mamas strongly value health and wellness in their household.  If being “crunchy” means teaching your children to eat well and respect the environment, then that’s not so bad (even if that means poppin’ a placenta pill or two!)

Look at the healthy puppy!

Look at the healthy puppy!

Cons:

Some criticize Crunchy Mamas for being too far off the grid when it comes to the extremes of this parenting style.  Breastfeeding your child well beyond their toddler years, rejecting public school and traditional education settings, and perpetuating a general mistrust of modern medicine could potentially lead to issues for both mother and child down the line.

Dependency is a possibility

Dependency is a possibility

Subtypes:

Attachment Parenting Mama: 

Where the Crunchy Mama focuses on physical well-being, the AP mother emphasizes emotional healthiness.  Even before the baby is born, the AP Mama is already preparing herself by eliminating any negative energy prior to birth.  Baby’s cries are viewed as non-verbal communication to which the mother should always respond sensitively.  Skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping are all trademarks of Attachment Parenting.

A perk of baby-wearing: Adorable costumes

A perk of baby-wearing: Adorable costumes

Ahimsa Parenting:

The Crunchy Momma focus on physical well being and the AP moms emphasize the emotional side of things, but the Ahimsa Mama strongly values spiritual wellness.  This yogi mommy is all about bringing up socially conscious children in a mindful environment.  Ahimsa, popular in Eastern belief systems like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, is a Sanskrit term meaning “non-violence.”  Just like Ghandi, this peaceful parent wants nothing more than harmony and respect amongst all living creatures.

If a kitten and puppy can get along, so can we

If a kitten and puppy can get along, so can we

 

 

So there’s the second installment in our series on the different parenting styles of moms.  What did you think?  Is this “Green” style up your alley or is it too “hippie-dippie” for your liking?  Share your thoughts below and make sure to check back next Monday and see if the new post is more your cup of tea!

Is “Me Time” Necessary or Narcissistic?

Every mom, newbie or old pro, knows her baby is the number one priority.  At least that’s what society tells us.  Everything from film to television to social media tells women that once they become mothers, they are to wear their unkempt hair and blood-shot eyes as a badge of motherhood pride.  We’re supposed to be tired, selfless, angels who never complain about performing the same endless tasks without ceasing.

But guess what?  That’s not reality.  The reality is that yes, we get to a point where we don’t care if there’s a little spit up on our shirt, but we also know that we need a break every now and then, too.  I’m not suggesting you put in earplugs and take a bubble bath while your baby cries in the other room.  I’m suggesting we all stop pretending to be robots that are capable of indefinitely living on no sleep and able to do everything without help or support.  After all, even robots break down.

So here are some of the reasons I think we should start a new trend of unapologetically taking care of ourselves so that we can continue being the awesome mothers we already are.  And just for fun, all the gifs are of Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec because why not?

It Helps You Compartmentalize

Sometimes, when you’re knee-deep in dirty onesies and your hands are full or drooly toys, you can get overwhelmed and your to do list can seem insurmountable.

leslie thoughts

Enjoying a nice cup of tea for a moment allows you to take a step back and look at the problem with a fresh pair of eyes.  A little breather can make any to do list less Mt. Everest-y and more pitcher’s mound-ish.

It Lets You See Your Child Differently

When you are with your baby 24/7, life can become a routine.  Feed the baby, change the baby, play with the baby, calm the baby, repeat.  Did I mention life has no pause button?

leslie oh ann

Even a little time apart can put your baby in a new light.  All of a sudden it’s not a routine you have to keep up with; you get to watch this funny little human grow up right in front of your eyes.

It Clears Your Head

This one is a no-brainer, no pun intended.  When you’re running around worrying about doing the laundry, taking care of the baby, and running errands, you can easily become frazzled.

leslie music

Even meditating for fifteen minutes can give you time to clear your head of any fears or worry and be able to face the day recharged.

It Extinguishes Anger

We all get angry, don’t lie.  Whether your baby soiled his clothes for the umpteenth time or your partner forgot to clean the bottles, even the littlest things can cause you to see red when running on little sleep and a fried brain.

leslie angry

Stepping away from the situation can put things into perspective and calm you down.  You may even laugh about whatever it was that initially got you grumpy in the first place!

It Can Make Your Partner Appreciate You More

You know that saying, “A pictures is worth a thousand words,” right?  Well thirty minutes with a fussy baby is worth a million words.  You can tell your partner a hundred different ways about what all goes into your day and that the baby isn’t always a perfect little angel.  But…

All moms are like ninjas crossed with Jedis

All moms are like ninjas crossed with Jedis

Some one-on-one time will show your partner just how hard you work while taking care of the baby, and I bet you will be more appreciated.

So go on ladies, it’s time to do away with the guilt and the fear of judgement.  After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of your baby.

A Day in the Life 2.0

Once before, for funsies, I did a little glimpse into what happens in a given day of a high-risk pregnant woman.  Since everyone seemed to get a kick out of it, here’s a day in the life of a new mom with a chronic illness in 10 gifs!

1. Wake Up via Crying Baby

NOTE: This is what I want to say, but do not

NOTE: I would never say this, I just think it… very loudly

2. Calm Down Baby

It could all go horribly wrong at any moment

Much like trying to pet a wild animal, attempting to cuddle away the cries usually ends in scratches and more crying

3. Prepare Bottle

hot fuzz

Trying to function early in the morning whilst holding a baby in one arm is akin to trying to walk in a straight line after one too many lagers

4. Burp Baby –> Take Cover –> Change Baby

hammer

This one is pretty self explanatory

5. Attempt to Have Educational Play Time

Oh, Max, this is just the beginning of how uncool you'll think I am

Oh, Max, this is just the beginning of how uncool you’ll think I am

6. Try to Sneak Out to Pee/Eat/etc. While Baby Plays

If only I was this stealth

If only I was this stealth

7. Don’t Let Baby Kill Himself

So much energy, so little coordination

So much energy, so little coordination

Repeat Steps 2 – 7 ’til Bedtime

The days begin to blend together

The days begin to blend together

8. Do Any/Everything to Get Baby to Sleep

Praying is a viable option, right?

Praying is a viable option, right?

9. Wonder if Baby is Really Asleep

Babies are sneaky little tricksters, like mini-Lokis

Babies are sneaky little tricksters, like mini-Lokis

10. Rejoice! Baby is Asleep!

Be happy (even if it only lasts for a few hours), you've earned it!

Be happy (even if it only lasts for a few hours), because you’ve earned it!