Highway Unicorn

 

I did something crazy this past weekend. Something that would put fear even in the most seasoned of mamas…

 

I drove six and a half hours to Chicago with my three kids, four and under.

 

Crazy? Maybe.

 

Worth it? YES.

 

Now, why would an intelligent woman like myself go through such an extreme form of self torture? Do I enjoy having shoes, french fries and sippy cups of juice thrown at my head repeatedly while trying to navigate a mini van? Do I enjoy being screamed at for changing the radio to the wrong Taylor Swift song? Do I enjoy having to scream at my GPS, “I CAN’T PROCEED TO THE FUCKING ROUTE! WE NEED A REST STOP BEFORE WE ALL PEE OUR PANTS.”? The answer is, no. No, I do not.

I had a very special reason for hauling us all through Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. After spending the past few years taking care of these kids left and right, never having alone time, or self-care time…this bad ass mama got tickets to Lady Gaga at Wrigley field. All I had to do was drop the kiddos off at my in-laws in the ‘burbs and head to the city.

IMG_1976* My second family, who brought me to the show*

If you’re thinking, “Seriously? Lady Gaga? Couldn’t you have gotten a massage or something relaxing closer to home?”… No. No, I couldn’t. This was something that I had been looking forward to for months, a belated thirtieth birthday present from an amazing family that I’ve known for over a decade. (Second row, Wrigley Field.)

IMG_2317*SECOND ROW*

 

So, I’d like to bring us all back to the year of 2008. It was the year that leggings and off the shoulder shirts made their comeback from the 80s. It was the year where we all cried over Carrie and Mr. Big finally getting their happily ever after. It was the year that we elected Barack Obama as our president. It was the year that Lady Gaga released her first single, “Just Dance”.

 

During that year, I was twenty-two and living my best life in the greatest city in the world.

 

(CHICAGO. DUH.)

 

I was a senior in college on the five year plan. I had been majoring in musical theater and surviving off ramen paired with really excellent wine from my local 7/11. I have always been the type of gal that really appreciates an artist who puts out music with a great beat, witty lyrics and top notch vocals. Gaga met that criteria. I spent many early mornings waiting for the red line to head downtown to my 9 am improv class, listening to her songs, feeling like a rock star in my own right.

 

I had a really awesome time seeing her at Lollapalooza circa 2010 (puke art video, and all!), and also had a very drunken, sloppy night seeing her in Detroit during her Art Pop tour. Both of these concerts happened a few years back. This all happened before I had three kids, (I only had one!), and before I spent my days and nights giving my three toddlers every ounce of energy my body could possibly give.

*here we are, both living at our best circa 2010*

 

 

I’m telling you all of these details, because it would have been easy to have decided that the drive was too hard. I could have stayed home. I could have found something closer to home.

 

But, this was something that I had been looking forward to for months. This was going to be a night spent with some of my favorite people. I said goodbye to my kids (who rarely spend any time away from me), I put on some leather pants (and damn, I looked hot), drove to the city and had the time of my life (I deserved it, baby!). There was no way that I could miss history as Lady Gaga became the FIRST FEMALE HEADLINER at Wrigley Field. I spent almost a decade of my life living within walking distance of that historic field, and I wanted to be part of history that night with Lady Gaga.

 

For me, that was my self-care. Letting my kids do something else, cared for by someone else (thank you Papa King & Grandma!), so that I could be somewhere else by myself. This isn’t something that I’ll get to do regularly, and that’s ok. I danced my face off, stayed up until five am and felt like I had the world at my fingertips again. The next morning I went back to the ‘burbs, and went back to my life as a mom of three.

 

But, the memories from the night before will keep me feeling like *me* for a long time. We get so wrapped up in taking care of others, we forget to take care of ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. It’s as simple as that.

*resting bitch face #preach*

Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean road tripping with your three unruly children. It doesn’t have to mean you go balls to the wall at a concert. It can be as simple as telling your partner that you need to leave the house for a few hours to have a facial/dinner/glass of wine/moment of silence at the library. It’s easy to say that we need to do these things, but it becomes harder in the moment. You make plans to meet a friend for dinner, and then your two-year-old has a tummy ache. How can you leave your kid when he/she isn’t feeling well? You’re a terrible mother for even considering this!

 

No. You aren’t. You’re a fucking rock star, and you’re going to go have dinner with your friend, even if you’re only gone for an hour.

IMG_1984*LEATHER PANTS, PEOPLE. LEATHER PANTS.*

It took me almost five years of being a mother to realize that self-care was mandatory. I don’t need to be a martyr for these kids. What does that teach them? It teaches them that Mommy doesn’t get to wash her face or brush her teeth until four pm everyday, but damnit, they will have that all-organic, grass fed, well balanced, home cooked meal every night.

 

That’s unrealistic.

 

Take care of yourself. However you can. Whenever you can.

 

If it means rocking your socks off like it’s 2008 on a Saturday night, then do it! If it means leaving your kids at home with their dad, getting in your car, sitting in an empty parking lot, and reading a book in silence for half an hour? DO IT.

 

Just do it.

 

I came back home feeling like a million bucks. I was sleep deprived, hungry, and my car actually broke down on the way home, but you know what?

 

WORTH IT.

 

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Becoming Lucie’s Mom

 

IMG_3006*Oh hey, I’m here to rock your world.”

 

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about my third daughter, Lucie, for the past week or so. I’ve thought about how to start it and how I would try to make it witty and easy to read. I wanted to write something lighthearted about her infectious laugh, her beautiful blue eyes, or the way she jumps up and down when her big sisters walk in the room. But, there  was something pulling at me to share the full story of how I became Lucie’s mother. It was different this time. It wasn’t like it was when we had our first baby or our second. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through or ever be myself ever again. What I’ve realized six months later, is that we are constantly changing and evolving as people and as parents. I won’t ever be who I was before I saw two lines on that dollar store pregnancy test. I’m ok with that.

 

 

I am a warrior.

IMG_0508*The Goose.*

 

When you become a mother everyone warns you. Watch the signs. Ask for help. You’re not alone. It’s ok if the baby blues become something else. Talk to your doctor. There’s no shame in taking medication. We’re here for you. We love you. Let us help.

 

How can you ask for help when all you feel is shame?

 

I remember after I gave birth to Fiona, I was hyper aware of postpartum depression. I struggled with depression for most of my life and had to seek treatment for anorexia and bulimia when I was younger. Three months after Fiona arrived, my best friend and my sister came in town to visit us. We were all hanging out and having a great weekend. I went upstairs to use the bathroom and all of a sudden I found myself on the floor. I was sobbing. I couldn’t breathe. Looking back, I realize it had been building up for awhile. At that very moment though, I was shocked. Sobbing on the floor, I called my doctors  office and said I needed to get in ASAP. I did. They put me on zoloft. I went on my merry way. I felt fine. Not great, but fine. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to be a great mom. Great moms don’t have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is shameful. How can you be depressed when you’ve just brought a life into this world? HOW CAN YOU BE SO SELFISH? … Those thoughts raced through my head over and over and over.

 

I told myself that it was normal not to feel great. I hadn’t slept through the night in months. I was breastfeeding around the clock. I was thirty pounds over my normal weight. My body ached at night as I tried to co-sleep without smothering my precious baby girl. I thought this was how motherhood was. I had to just get a grip and learn to live this way.

 

We decided to have another kid. I hate being pregnant, but I do love the mystery of having a life growing inside of you. It was a challenging time. My husband had been laid off. We lived in a state with zero family, a mortage, two cars, and an immersurable amount of stress. Somehow, we all made it through. My second daughter was born, and I felt like a rock star. I had succesfully had my unmedicated VBAC. I was a fucking birth goddess. There was no way that I was going to feel depressed. I had just achieved something amazing. Postpartum depression? Yeah right. Fuck off, I was a ROCK STAR.

 

Ha. Ha. Ha.

 

The first night home with Maeve, I was sitting in my room trying to nurse her. Everyone else in my house was asleep and I was halfway through season three of Lost (WHICH WAS STRESSFUL ENOUGH!).. That kind of environment was enough to put anyone on edge, but something didn’t feel right. It came out of nowhere. It hit me like a bus. My skin started to feel like it had bugs crawling on it and under it. My heart was racing. I started to sweat. I couldn’t breathe. I woke my husband up, handed him the baby and said we had to leave. We had to leave right then. We had to go outside. I couldn’t stay in the house. I couldn’t stay in my room. I was dying. This is what dying felt like. Tears just poured out of my eyes. I coudn’t control myself. I begged my husband to take me to the ER. I was dying from a heartattack right in front of my newborn baby.

 

Yeah. That was my warm welcome into the world of postpartum anxiety.

 

Once again, I called up my doctors office, had a few chats with my midwife and went back on zoloft. I was told that I was way more at risk to have postpartum anxiety, because I had already suffered from postpartum depression. Awesome. SWELL. COOL.

 

Fuck.

 

If I’m being honest with myself right now, I should have asked for more help. I knew I wasn’t ok. But, once again I said to myself, “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER THIS IS WHAT BEING A MOTHER FEELS LIKE YOU WEAK WOMAN.”

 

Months went by, the fog started to lift. I started giving my kid formula and breastmilk, because I needed a break once in awhile. I started to sleep more. I started to have my body back for myself. I was working out and raising my two rambunctious girls.

 

Let’s move forward to June 3, 2016.

 

The morning started off like so many other mornings. I packed up my kids, went to our music class, hit up the grocery store, started driving home. My birth doula was pregnant at the time, and I said to her, “You know, I’ve only had one period, but it’s kind of late…that’s weird.” She laughed and said, “ Oh my God! What if we’re pregnant together?”

 

I almost hit the car in front of me.

 

There was no way. No way. Nope. Not at all. Fuck that. I’m not doing that again. No. NO. ABSOUTELY NOT.

 

Twenty minutes later, I ran into the bathroom while my kids and husband watched Mickie Mouse Clubhouse in the living room. I didn’t even have time to see how long I would need to wait for a positive test, because the thing lit up like a goddamned Christmas tree.

IMG_4505*These must be false.*

Pregnant.

 

I came out. Told my husband. He laughed. Then he looked at my face. He stopped laughing. He asked me what he could do. I told him to take the kids to a movie and pour me a glass of wine. (It was 10 am.)

 

I sat on the bottom step of my stairs for about two hours crying. I was getting better. I was getting so much better. This wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t meant to do this again so soon. I had a three year old and a nine month old.

 

I pulled myself together, called my family and slowly started to accept it.

IMG_4793*news flash!*

 

“ It better be a fucking boy.”

 

That’s what I repeated to myself for the full nine months.

 

Somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant, I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t breathe. That same panic and anxiety that hit me after my second kid was happening again. Only, this time I was pregnant. And it was two am. I managed to talk myself off the ledge. I worked at a yoga studio. I knew all about meditation and breathing. I meditated and breathed my way out of that shit as hard as I could. I finally went back to sleep. Two hours later it happened again.

 

It happened again and again. It happened every single night, four to six times a night. It happened so much that I started to loose sense of my own reality. I scrambled to keep up with my children. I scramnbled to keep up with my marriage. I scrambled to make it to my doctor appointments.

 

When I did make it to my doctor appointments, I begged them to help me. I told them that I couldn’t do this. I was struggling. I needed help. They all kind of shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, we can put you back on Zoloft, because that’s pretty safe for pregnancy.” I said, “Sure. Now. Please.”

 

So I did. I tried. I tried six different dosages.

 

It didn’t help. The panic got worse.

 

My poor family. My parents, my husband, my kids, my friends… they had to listen to me and see me in such a horrible state. I clawed at my skin. I tried to make it stop. It wouldn’t stop.

I went in for my thirty-two week check up and saw a midwife I had never seen before. Her name was Laura, and I’m pretty sure she saved my life.

 

She said, “There’s no reason for you to have to keep living like this. You need to see a specialist.”

 

She sent me to a psychiatrist and therapist at a place close to me that specializes in postpartum/perinatal depression, anxiety, OCD and psychosis.

 

I went to my first appointment and met an amazing dr who looked at me and said,  I’m so glad you’re here. You are going to feel better. You are going to feel SO MUCH BETTER.”

 

I didn’t believe her. I felt the baby inside of me kick and kick. She must have been agreeing with the doctor. I walked out of that office in a haze, with a prescription for another antidepressant that also tackled anxiety. She had reassured me that my mental health was the most important thing at stake right now. Without a healthy mom, you cannot have a healthy baby.

 

It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly the panic became easier. It slowed down. I could breathe.

 

And thank God it did, because on a sunny day in the middle of February this year, I gave birth to Lucille. Lucie. Luce. (Lucifer if she’s being bad.)

IMG_1204*Lucille*

She’s beautiful. She’s loud like her sisters. She’s long and lean. She has blue eyes like her daddy and a smile like her mommy. She’s a handful like the other two, but she has a calming presence about her. She was in the thick of it with me. She is the only person in the world who heard my heart racing  and heard my silent screams as I tried to silence the panic.

 

Since her birth, I’ve been taking care of myself and facing the truth of what it means to be a mother who struggles with this stuff. She wasn’t planned, but none of motherhood is.

 

My aunt said she’s like a feather.

 

She’s light and so joyful.

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Without the struggle of my pregnancy with her and her very powerful (and fast) birth, I would still be sitting here with shame. I would be sitting here pushing these feelings down. I had no choice but to speak up and get help while pregnant with her. She pushed me into rediscovering myself as a person and as a mother.

 

Basically, she’s DA BOMB. She laughs a lot. She gives great little smooshy hugs. She just got two teeth, and she hardly made a peep about it. She lights up the room and adores her sisters. A year ago, I didn’t think this was where I would be. But, here I am.

Here we are.

Still going strong.

 

I’m a warrior mom.

IMG_3889

Kentucky Fried Tofu

I decided a little road trip was in order.

 

Somewhere exotic.

Somewhere refreshing.

Somewhere peaceful.

 

So, naturally we decided upon Kentucky. I  packed up, grabbed Fiona, and we were off. We forged through many states ( Ok. Whatever, it was more like three states). We searched for shelter from the angry elements outside (It was seventy-five degrees and full of sunshine.).We nearly starved (We had McDonalds alright?).

 

Finally, after the journey was over, we sprinted out of the car and onto the porch of my amazing best friend, Dina.

IMG_1066

First of all, KENTUCKY IS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. After living in subdivision suburbia for four years, we were in heaven.

 

I brought Fiona along because, Dina is one of Fiona’s FAVORITE people. I also needed someone to keep me awake while driving. If you’ve ever driven with my daughter for any amount of time, you will realize the kid cannot shut up. Constant chatter. 

 

We love Dina, her husband Chris and her various animals. They have three dogs, a cat that’s a real big jerk, and a turtle named  Kurtle.

We set out to see the sights. I didn’t realize that we would also be seeing great heights.

IMG_0959* It doesn’t look so big here, right?”

 

As my child sprinted up to the Silo, I trembled  in fear, whispering, ” Don’t look down, don’t look down.”

IMG_0960*How about now?*

 

We made it to the top. and the view was worth it all. We saw hills upon hills of beautiful greenery. We also learned that, apparently, my child is not afraid of heights.

IMG_0981* GET DOWN!*

We hit up some parks, saw some cows, picked up some wild carrots in the yard. and ate one of my absolute favorite vegan meals. I’m a meat loving, BBQ kinda gal. Dina and Chris are vegan. I would almost consider going vegan, if I could make this for myself every single day.

IMG_1044* BEHOLD! Vegan enchiladas!*

 

Dinas dogs are super sweet and cuddly, I couldn’t get enough of them. Fiona had her eyes on another pet. Kurtle. The turtle. It was the first turtle she’s ever seen up close and personal. She would hang out by the shelf his crate were on while she played nearby. A few days after returning home from Kentucky, I received this text from Dina.

 

IMG_1443* I can only assume that he felt full of despair after his new best friend left*

 

Dina referred to it as ” Turtlecide”.I wonder if they make prozac for turtles.

Either way, he’s just fine.

 

It was just a fantastic weekend, hanging with fantastic people, surrounded by fantastic scenery.

IMG_1078*Enjoying nature*

 

 

 

IMG_1127*Until next time, my friend!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maevenator.

73C82AB1-B4C7-4279-9075-81BC70A56689*fresh out of the oven*

 

My middle chid. My beautiful baby. My ray of sunshine.

 

My little hell on wheels.

fullsizeoutput_2149” I do what I want ma, I do what I want.”

 

Maeve was born on a beautiful July night in 2015. We didn’t know what we were having, and everyone was hoping for a boy.

Something inside of me just kept bringing me back to the name Maeve. We had looked at a couple boy names, no girl names. I looked like I was giving birth to a basketball. All belly. Totally different from my first time around. Everyone thought for sure that this alien growing inside of me was going to come out with different parts.

 

NOPE. I pushed that 8 lb, 1oz sucker out and knew before they even said what she was. I knew she was Maeve. Right away. Her little smooshy face was perfect. She latched like a champ ( Shit, I mean OF COURSE SHE DID. I”ve been breastfeeding for literally a century at this point.), she was sweet, and she was a fantastic sleeper.

 

Until she learned how to crawl. Things got real right around then.

So, let me introduce you to this little ball of energy. This little maniac. This very loud, and yet very tiny human being who makes every day…interesting.

 

Mave is the best little helper. Her hobbies include drawing with sharpies on her bedroom wall and helping me empty the dishwasher.

IMG_5537“I’m going to lick them all first, then you can put them away.”

 

She has a great appetite.

6523B1D7-D7ED-4670-860D-74651371E61D*particularly, my face.*

 

 

She’s very fashionable.

IMG_0788” You’ve taken enough pictures of me, I know how to pose like an absolute angel. HAHAHAHAHAHA.”

 

She has a keen sense of adventure.

FullSizeRender” WHAT?! I’m practicing my rock climbing skills on my sisters head board. I see no problem here.”

 

We’ve discussed putting her on a leash, but I’ve come to realize that this kid walks her own path and I am happy to follow. Except when she’s running into busy streets. Those are the moments I reconsider the leash. Just for a second.

 

She’s full of joy. She takes care of her big and little sister with her unconditional love and a bit of humor.

 

This is the Maevenator.

 

IMG_6367* Life vests are kind of like leashes, because you can grab the back of them before your toddler decides to jump into a very large body of water.”

 

While I need a gallon of caffeine and a handful of carbs before I can even smile before 11 am, she wakes up every day happy and full of energy. Even at 4 am.

fullsizeoutput_1cf1“Hello world, I am here to make you better!”

 

 

She is a pretty excellent snuggle partner.

IMG_9321” I gotta tell you sis… your breath smells. But, I LOVE YOU!”

 

 

 

She’s going places.

IMG_0496* She went right over my foot ten seconds after I took this.”

 

She really has made everyday so much better. She’s also training her six month old sister to be her identical twin. More on that next time.

First born.

 

When I found out I was pregnant with my first kid, I was twenty-six years old. Literally, still a baby myself. I remember looking in the mirror at my growing belly and thinking, ” There’s no way I can be a mother. I’m still growing up. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM YET.”

 

Too late for all that kind of self-doubting chatter.

 

Fiona arrived pretty promptly about one hour after her due date. The first time I held her, I knew I was meant to do this. To be a mommy. Her mommy.

 

Shortly after this beautiful moment, all hell broke loose.

 

I lived in a circle of boobs, poop, and google.

 

Constantly checking google for things like, “ Is the color of my kids poop normal?”, “ Will my kid ever sleep through the night?”, “ I’m breastfeeding, so why am I NOT LOSING ANY WEIGHT? WTF!”. This went on for months before I told google to f*ck off, I’d figure out this mom shit on my own.

 

Total lie. I found a village of moms who didn’t judge. I found that my mother, step mother, mother in law, grandmother, and many aunts, had so much love and insight to shower me with. (Even when I didn’t want to hear it.)

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*it’s important to wear heels while sleeping.*

 

Some of my proudest parenting accomplishments…

 

  1. When Fiona was reading a book about frogs. She couldn’t say “Froggy”, but she could say, “ F*cky”. I let her roll with that for a few months, mostly because it made me laugh so damn hard.
  2. I encouraged her to throw shade. She throws shade left and right to everyone. She’s a professional shade thrower.IMG_0854*shade.*
  3. She started wearing high heels at 18 months old. I can’t really take credit for that, because I hate high heels.
  4. Her favorite thing for dinner is  ground beef. I’m very confused about this, but hey! She’s getting a good supply of iron.
  5. She enjoys putting her sister on a leash while walking around the house.
  6. She wants to be an engineer when she grows up.

IMG_0858* expert nose picker*

The older she grows the better it gets.

IMG_0850*pure joy*

 

IMG_0853*mamas little helper*

 

We liked having Fiona around so much, we decided to have another. Stay put. You’ll meet her soon.

Bonjour, you hot mama, you.

Ok, first off- I have no idea if you’re a hot mom. I’m guessing you are though. Because… WE ALL ARE. We are hot moms with baby food in our hair, baby poop on our finger, someone’s barf on our favorite flip flops. You are still hot. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Just make sure you wash the poop off your hands before you bite into an apple…(not that I know that from experience…).

IMG_8507
*Cheers!*

If you’re looking for a mom blog that talks about fashion, my fashion is yoga pants and the same shirt I’ve slept in for three days. You my friend, are in the wrong place.

If you’re looking for a mom blog about makeup… I get to put makeup on like once a week. I used to be a makeup artist for Clinique. Now, I’m lucky if I can get a coat of mascara on my eyes on a Thursday morning when we’re already late for preschool.

If you’re looking for a mom blog about eating healthy… shut up. You eat what you can eat while your kids are throwing their food at each other across the table.

If you’re looking for a mom blog about exercise, that’s awesome. I also feel like chasing my three children is enough of a gym membership for me. Can I get an amen?

This is a mom blog about about absolute nonsense. The best kind of nonsense. The nonsense of three little girls.

Three girls who make every single day so much better. Three girls who are lovely and sweet. Three girls that remind me daily how precious and chaotic life is.

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*my baby queens: Fiona, Maeve & Lucille*

Three girls who routinely throw food at each other. Three girls who laugh at each other when they fart. Three girls who enjoy hardcore rap while I cook dinner in the kitchen every night. Three girls who routinely say ridiculous things. (Remember a few years back that whole Target credit card fraud thing happened? My then two year old, over heard a conversation about our bank accounts having fraudulent activity. She then looked at my with the absolute innocence of a tiny toddler and said, ” OH F*CK!”. I applauded her on her excellent ability to use the word F*CK  in the proper context.)

So, if you enjoy stories about kids saying and doing crazy things, you are in the right place my friend. Perhaps, you enjoy stories about a mom who says and does equally ridiculous things. If not, just stick around anyway. Trust me.

Brace yourself. Brace. Yourself.

bcfdf7811781ea1140c36dfae17ef177
*via Pinterest*
* Wake up everyday and say this to yourself as you clean the peas and puke off your floor*