Archive for the ‘New Mom’ Category

Mommy brain. It’s officially here.

In my house, on a daily basis, I ask the question: “Where is my phone?” To which my husband replies, “Have you seen my glasses?”

It’s a family joke. Lately, with moving across several states, setting up a house, getting ready for the holidays, traveling to Ohio, and generally settling in, apparently my brain has too many things to keep track of. Not to mention the usual day-to-day tasks like caring for a very active 16-month-old, working and trying to find time to write a new blog.

This forgetful mom though, has gone beyond constantly misplacing my cell phone. I’m forgetting orange juice at the grocery store, my new phone number, why I walked from the basement up to the master bedroom. The list goes on.

The cell phone, however, still is a problem. My mom and I were getting ready to drive to my sister’s house on New Year’s Day, and I had just finished a phone call with Ned, who was driving back to Virginia, and I promised to keep my often-wayward phone in my pocket, so I’d get his call when he arrived home that night.

After a few minutes at my sister’s, it began to snow. We take Max outside, who is just squealing and running in the snow, and I immediately get my purse so I can take a picture with my phone and send it to Ned. And … my phone is not in my purse. I put it there right after I hung up with my husband, and yet ….

So I use my mother’s phone to call said husband and leave him a message to call me on her phone; which results in a later comical call where I spend a few moment’s explaining to Ned that he is indeed speaking to his wife, not his mother-in-law.

It gets to be bedtime, so we pack up. I put my mom’s phone back into my purse, to find that my phone has wiggled its way between the lining and the side of the bag. AHA! I’m not forgetful after all! Apparently though, I’m losing my eyesight.

I climb into the passenger seat of the car and say, “Wait, the camera! My purse!” My brother in law, also named Max, is heading out the front door with said purse, which does not in fact, contain a camera.

It takes me a few minutes after Max is snuggled into bed when my brain clicks and I say, “It’s in the diaper bag!” Phew. Good day. Lost phone disaster inadvertently averted, and lost camera disaster inadvertently corrected.

And then I realize … I haven’t lost my forgetfulness after all.


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You knew this was coming. This topic applies to any mom, no matter how far into the fourth trimester you may be: Living with an 11-month-old baby or only three weeks into it, the no-sex is part of your life.

I scoff now, at those mythical stories we all heard, of the women who did the ultimate no-no, had sex prior to that six-week mark, not waiting until that follow up appointment when the doctor yells “All clear!” from behind the paper sheet. Those naughty girls ended up pregnant mere moments after giving birth.

Yeah, right. We all know after pushing out a baby, or having to go through surgery to welcome our child into the world, there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks we’re messing around with anything down there. Not for six weeks. Or eight weeks. Or whatever timeline our bodies take to heal.

My own story surprised me. We waited until the lame six-week mark, plus time for birth control pills to kick in, plus more time for me to be ready. And I still wasn’t ready. In the first few months after giving birth, the idea of sex didn’t even pass through my mind. And rightfully so, anyone else would say, my hours were filled with being Mom, and not being awake. But I’d see a sex scene in a movie or on television and just be repulsed by it, as if my body had trained my mind to tell me: Girl, you do not have time for that. That is a frivolous use of our resources. We are not entertaining any ideas of doing that!

But as much as I wanted to blame the dry spell on Max, I couldn’t. Eventually, we got past that first three-month phase. Past the waking up several times a night. Past the falling asleep on the couch in the morning while the baby played in his awesome underwater Baby Einstein gym. And the routine was still … crickets.

It had nothing to do with Ned. Or me really, there was no not being attracted to my partner. Just a big span of nothingness. Desire gone *poof*.

So like most modern moms, I turned to the Internet. Which had a handful of articles about how to get yourself in the mood, how to schedule time with your partner, and how important, deeply, deeply important, it was to get yourself back on that sexy horse.

But in reality, I think, the response most of us may have is, “Yeah but, I still don’t wanna.” In reality, I think that we don’t talk about this, not to each other, to our partners, nothing. Sex is a thing we’ve just stopped caring about, because all of our caring has gone to another little human being. And we’re mostly okay with it. In the words of Rock (Jake Ryan’s chin-up buddy) in Sixteen Candles, “There’s nothin’ there man … It’s not ugly. It’s just … void.”

It’s just void.

The lesson of the no-sex talk is that the void doesn’t last forever, and like most things I’ve discovered in this post-birth world, it is futile to beat myself up over the changes. My marriage won’t fail if I don’t enlist the Top Five Tips for Scheduling Sex. I will keep getting up going about the day, even with 20 extra pounds, which eventually has become 15 pounds. My world will not fall apart if I don’t make it to yoga every day. And my family certainly will benefit most when I just cut myself some much needed slack.

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Normally this would be called: “The Stay-at-Home Mom versus the Working Mom.” We all know this one; it starts on the message boards during pregnancy. The women planning a life as a SAHM form a group on one side of the room, while the WMs roll their eyes at them from the other side.

I am a bizarre hybrid of the two: The Stay-at-Home-Working Mom. It isn’t that far of a jump really, I actually have gotten to know tons of moms like this. We long ago shod our high heels and casual work outfits for weekdays spent in our home offices, typing, taking conference calls, and checking email while juggling laundry and dusting the furniture.

And then we got pregnant.

This jump from being a self-employed, work-from-homer turned into a question of what I was to become once the baby got here, maybe not a SAHM at all, but something else entirely. I remember so many people would say things to me like, “It’s so nice that you work from home, how convenient.” Or, “That’s great that you’ll still be able to work after the baby comes.” And I looked at these people like they had six heads. Are you crazy?

And yet.

Back in January, I began to take on projects again. And although I’m technically working part-time, add part-time job (which does require brain power/functionality/decent sleep) with full-time job of Mom and I’m peering over to the other side of the room, a little envy for the WMs with their smartphones and their carpools and their ability to spend their work hours focusing on work, not jumping from diaper changes to taking a call to temper tantrums and trying to finish some billing to changing your shirt from spit up and then back to the keyboard.

I am thinking about this lately because it is bit of a conundrum. I believe that the overall consensus (or opinion of the world) on SAHMs is that they are lucky ducks. You are so blessed you don’t have to work. Getting to stay home and rock the baby, play with the baby, takes naps with the baby tsk! There should be no complaining!

Yet I watch friends on all sides, SAHMs, WMs, part-time WMs, and SAHMs with side-projects, all trying to figure how to balance life, and figure out what our value is now, post-baby. Some moms don’t feel recognized enough by their spouse or former coworkers or family members because they are not the hunters that go out and chase down the money. Some moms carry around a giant chunk of guilt during the day, wondering if it’s worth it to give away half their paycheck to a daycare.

It makes me think about our foremothers; the ones that fought to get out of their kitchens, forgo their aprons and transform our reality to that of “working families.” It makes me wonder about what my days would be like if I didn’t work at all. It makes me worry about how my workdays will change when it’s time for a second baby.

The truth is right now, I feel that extra satisfaction and pride even, that my son needs me and clients need me and my own writing career needs me enough to try and juggle it all. (It also totally could be just part of my Gemini personality.) But in the meantime I’m carrying around a new awareness about respecting all moms, and their family’s choices.

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