How do I keep pants on my two-year-old? (and other questions…)

 

I’ve been a mom for almost five years now, and I still haven’t figured it all out. I doubt I ever will, but I wanted to share my own questions. I can’t be the only mom wondering about these issues…

 

  1. WHY THE HELL DOES MY TWO YEAR OLD RUN AROUND NAKED ALL DAY LONG? (That escalated quickly, but I’ve cleaned up pee off of my hardwood floors more often than I’d like to admit.)
  2. Why do my kids faces change when they’re about to have a tantrum? It’s like seeing that horrible scene in “Insidious”, when the devil is right behind that guy in the chair and you’re like, “OH NO! I NEVER SAW THIS COMING!”. Fiona does this thing where she bites her lip and gets all pouty and big eyed. I hate it. I know I’m going to fall for it, and she does too.
  3. Why do my kids throw every single roll of toilet paper in the house into the toilets? This isn’t the scenario where you clog the toilet, because you’re full of poop. This is throwing the entire roll into the toilet like it’s the final four during the NCAA championship and you have to make that shot. I tried to dry one of them out once. As you can imagine, it didn’t work. I’ve been reduced to using paper towels at times.
  4. Why do my children stare at me while I’m asleep? There is nothing more horrifying then rolling over in your bed, opening your eyes for a split second, and seeing another pair of eyes staring at you. My kids jump from bed to bed every night, so I should be used to this. IMG_0008* Hello, it’s me*
  5. Why do I bother cooking meals for these kids? They eat air. They survive on nothing. Unless it’s something sweet. I have to hide cookies and candy in our house, because the kids go nuts over it. A few months ago, Fiona walked into the living room with a cookie in her hand. I asked her if Maeve had given it to her from the pantry, because I had locked them up, but Maeve is a ninja, so you never know. Fiona replied with, “No, she found it in the garbage. Still tastes good.” What I took away from that convo was that I can cook fancy meals for dinner, but my kids will probably find something better in the garbage.
  6. What the hell is so hard about being in the car? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE. You can sit in your little car seat and watch a movie. Read a book. Color some shit. I don’t know. Just don’t be an asshole. Maeve cried for seven hours straight on one of our car rides to visit with family. SEVEN HOURS. Not cool Maeve, not cool.
  7. Why do my kids rub their boogers on me all the time? Every single time I wear Lucie in the Ergo, she digs her nose into my chest and gets rid of all of her snot on my boobs. It’s the grossest thing to happen to me aside from that one time I was pregnant and shit my pants. (I’m not quite ready to divulge that story yet.)
  8. Why do my children think it’s ok to scream all day long? They scream when they’re happy/excited/sad/scared/upset/angry/amused/joyful. It’s cute at first. Then it’s not cute at all. A few days ago I said, “IF YOU DON’T STOP SCREAMING MY BRAIN WILL EXPLODE.” They didn’t even bat a lash. They were probably thinking, “Oh, really? I’d love to see that.”
  9. Why are car seats so IMPOSSIBLE?! Who decided to share the instructions in some foreign language only 2%?of the people understand.. There are so many rules. I can’t keep up. I obviously want to keep my kid alive, but there’s so much stress to have the right car seat, with the right straps, with the right little cup holder for your toddler. I’d like to just buckle them in, hand them a book (haha, just kidding, I’ll hand them an iPad), and a snack and call it a day. Instead, I look back in my rear view mirror 1,000 times as I drive to the grocery store.
  10. This is incredibly common, but I still need to ask it. Why can’t I just use the restroom alone? Do my kids get some sort of joy watching me pee? Sometimes I have to run. No. That’s not accurate. Sometimes I SPRINT to the bathroom, getting there just in time to lock the door. By the time I’m sitting on the toilet, there are several tiny humans banging on the door asking for string cheese and Sesame Street. I’ve given away all my modesty and dignity. I’m going to do it to them one day. I look forward to that day, let

Frequent Flyers.

I like to think that I am a very confident, well prepared parent, when it comes to traveling with my children.

12247069_10101365326232567_9200985302409892997_n*waiting to board*

HA. HA. HA.

That’s not even slightly true. Traveling with three children is a disaster. Traveling with even one child can be a disaster. But, it’s always worth the long drive or the delayed flight. My husband and I have no family in Michigan. We moved here after living together in Chicago for almost a decade, where most of his family is. Most of my family is on the East Coast ( shout out to the constitution state)!, and we make a pretty good effort every year to visit both of these glorious destinations. We did our first family road trip when Fiona was only three months old. It went pretty well. That was the last time any kind of family travel has gone well for us. But, with all that said, I feel it’s my moral duty as a mother to share my *tips & tricks* for traveling with tiny, loud, little creatures.

 

  1. Don’t. Just don’t do it. If you can persuade people to travel to you instead, then convince away! Unless they have more kids than you. If they have more kids than you, you pack up that minivan, shut your mouth, and drive. Vroom, vroom.
  2. If you must travel, make sure you take plenty of yoga classes before hand. You need to know that you have mastered the art of meditation. I’m serious. You need that shit. You might need to reach your arms to lengths you never knew possible. What if you’re on a plane and your kid throws her favorite crayon three rows back from you and you’re in coach? YOU REACH THREE ROWS BACK AND PICK THAT SHIT UP. What if you’re in the car and your six month old throws her bottle at her sister, but is still screaming as if she’s been starved for most of her life? YOU CLIMB THROUGH THE CARSEATS, STRETCH THAT LEG OVER THE BABY, REACH OUT BOTH ARMS AND GRAB THAT BOTTLE. See? You need yoga.
  3. Don’t waste your time on packing. You can try to organize, you can make lists and cross each item off, but you will forget at least, AT LEAST, five or six crucial items. Just lower your standards right now, and somehow persuade your family to lower theirs as well. For example,” Oh no! I totally forgot to pack those pink socks that match your Elsa tutu. Is the world going to end now?” Your child will probably scream and cry that, yes, the world is surely going to end now. I’m at the point now where I just throw random shit in the 70,000 suitcases we have to bring everywhere, and just hope for the best. 10402843_10100807529217257_8336257470765009581_n*She thought she could just pack herself*
  4. If you are offered some sort of adult beverage on a plane ride, drink it. I don’t care if it’s 5 am. Just say yes, please, and thank you.
  5. The only exception to #4 is, if you have a child in your lap, don’t drink anything. Don’t eat anything. Don’t even put that stupid tray thing down in front of you, because whatever you put on it, it’s going to get kicked. We were on a flight to Disney World last year when my husband ordered a Bloody Mary. Maeve kicked that shit STRAIGHT up into the air. That was fun.
  6. If you have an iPad or tablet, fill it up with extremely useless apps for your kids. Don’t download some educational thing. They won’t want that. In fact, they may be SO PISSED OFF about this educational app that they might try to throw the iPad at their siblings, or even a poor unsuspecting stranger. (Sorry about that black eye dude! My kid doesn’t want to learn her ABC’s today!)
  7. When traveling by car, make sure you have noise cancelling headphones. Have you ever had three kids scream for twelve hours straight? I have.
  8. If you find yourself driving in complete silence, due to the fact that all of your children are FINALLY all asleep in the car, DO. NOT. STOP. DRIVING. You have to pee? TOO BAD. Your leg has a cramp? NO ONE CARES. If you stop that car, those kids will wake up and resume screaming. Pee in a Snapple bottle if you must, but don’t you dare suggest pulling into a rest stop.IMG_5264*You wake her, you take her.*
  9. Make sure you bring your dog on your road trips. Why? Because, everyone is going to fart in the car. Everyone. Even you, you dainty little princess who never passes gas. You need someone to blame the farts on. Blame it on the pup.14650166_10101712599893367_4454690081221321115_n*Who me? I didn’t fart.*
  10. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the flight. Sometimes, you learn more about yourself and your family during the journey. It’s ok if the drinks get spilled. It’s ok if you find French fries in your kids carseats three years after the actual trip. It’s ok if everyone spends the entire journey screaming at each other. It’ll all be worth it when you reach your destination. It always is.

13010676_10101509307692567_6306754719767367476_n12993500_10101510170378737_7065752049401675142_n*My sisters always know how to make us feel welcome*

Body Bliss.

I just finished packing up for our family vacation to California this year. It’s pretty chaotic trying to pack for three tiny humans and myself, but I thought we had everything we needed. Until, I paused for a second, like I always do, while packing my bathing suit.

I looked at it and I imagined how I would look on the beach in it. Would I look fat? Would my stretch marks show? Did I have a cover-up that I could wear on top of it? I don’t want anyone to see what my body has become. Whenever these thoughts come up, I cry. I cry a lot.

I cry because I have spent most of my life telling myself that my body is perfect the way it is. I cry because I never want my daughters to experience the self-hate that I have been drowning in since I was a kid. I cry because I don’t know how to change the narrative in my mind about the way I look.

Earlier this summer the girls and I spent a week at my in-laws. They have a beautiful, heated pool that my kids love. I didn’t pack a bathing suit for that trip. I had just had a baby. I was fat. I was ugly. I was lazy. I planned on sitting on the deck and watching them enjoy the water with their Grandma and Papa.

After a few days of watching them splash and giggle with glee, I convinced myself that I needed to be part of this. I needed them to have the memory of their mommy with her postpartum body, wearing a bathing suit and enjoying the water with them. I needed that memory for myself, as well.

IMG_2827*making memories*

It has never been easy to practice self-love. When I get dressed up to go out, I have to text my sister. I send her pictures of what I’m wearing from every angle. I need her to tell me how I look, because my own view of myself is so distorted. She is a beautiful and extremely self aware eighteen year old. I can’t trust myself, but I have always been able to trust her.

I am thirty-one years old and I can’t look at myself in the mirror and smile.

IMG_4120*I wanted liposuction when I took this picture*

That’s fucked up. That’s STUPID. I can’t answer this question, but I am constantly asking myself, “Why am I placing my self-value on how I look? That’s all I have to offer this world?”

 

When I was twelve there were a lot of changes happening in my world. I was about to become a sister for the first time. I was going through puberty. I was moving into a new house. Looking back now, I can see those events as really happy times, but in the moment I felt completely out of control. I noticed how other girls my age looked at their bodies.

“OH. MY. GOD. Look at my chin. I have a double chin. I’m so fat!”

“My thighs are so huge.”

“My arms jiggle, they’re so gross.”

“I have cellulite everywhere!”

 

Instead of dealing with the changes in my life, I decided to change my body.

I entered the word of Anorexia with complete abandon. I decided to be strong. Strong girls don’t need to eat. I read that if I ate certain foods, I could actually burn calories while chewing and digesting them. I found every single book I could get my hands on about eating disorders and treated them like my bible.

I turned peoples stories of recovery into my own damnation. It was easy to slip into the abyss of hunger. No one noticed.

At first.

The hate I had for myself grew and grew. I would wake up everyday tired. I would worry about how many calories were in the orange juice my mom gave me with my breakfast. I would do crunches until my stomach hurt.

My best friend’s mom knew something was wrong, and she decided to reach out to my parents. They confronted me. We all cried. I went to the pediatrician and found out my urine had high levels of ketones in it. My body was in starvation mode and was literally eating itself. I was scared. I realized this was serious and I could die. I started seeing a therapist and tried to pretend that I was ok.

Fast forward a few years. I sat in an emergency room with my mom and dad waiting for the doctor to come in and give me a referral to an outpatient treatment place for eating disorders. I had cuts on my arms. I was puking everyday. I drank ipecac syrup. I binged on bread, bacon, ice cream, cereal, and anything I could get my hands on. I wanted to be numb and pretty.

If you had looked at me, you might not have known how sick I was. I wasn’t rail thin. I was skinny, but not too skinny. You never would have known how much my heart raced, how I couldn’t sleep, how I would count every calorie over and over again. I started outpatient at the Institute of Living in Connecticut my second semester of my sophomore year of high school. We told people I had mono. It was unimaginable to tell them I was slowly killing myself with starvation and purging.

I wrote earlier about the shame associated with postpartum depression. This was shameful too. I couldn’t tell people the truth. I would pick at my nails and think over and over again, “Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Fat. Fat. Fat.”.

Treatment was ok. I followed the rules. I met with the nutritionist. I did the art projects. I started to feel myself coming out of the fog.

I also spent every single second looking at my peers who were also in treatment and compared my body to them over and over. After a few weeks, I was discharged and went back to high school. I continued seeing a therapist and nutritionist and I allowed my family to believe I was better.

 

I was not better.

 

This awful cycle happened again and again until I was half way through my first year of college. I spent a few weeks at my mom and stepdad’s house during my winter break. I was binging and puking any chance I got. I was also fed up with doing this shit. FED UP. I wanted to live my life.  I sat them down and told them I needed help again. They told me they were waiting for me to say something. They knew, but they wanted me to seek treatment for myself. So, I did.

This time was different. I was an adult. I had the world at my fingertips and I realized I was throwing my life away.

Eating disorders never go away. Just like an alcoholic, you can be sober, but you still have the disease. You can quiet the disease, but it’s always there like an annoying little parasite.

Every single time I see a mom in a bathing suit, I think to myself, “I wish I was that brave.” A few seconds later I also think to myself, “I wish I was that thin.”

 

I’ll never forget the moment when we found out our first baby was going to be a girl. I was prepared for a boy. I figured if we had a boy, I was less likely to fuck him up. I saw her beautiful little body on the ultrasound screen and felt such terror inside of myself.

I never wanted her to grow up hating herself the way I did.

I never wanted her to look at her adorable belly and call it fat.

I never wanted her to feel anything other than powerful, strong, capable, smart and beautiful.

IMG_2830*This picture was taken about a week after I gave birth to my first, and all I could think about was how fat I thought I looked*

I have to remind myself, almost daily, that this body that I’ve spent most of my life hating? This body has given birth to three human beings. This body has provided nutrition for those three babies. This body was meant for so much more than self-hate and self-doubt.

This body fucking rocks and I desperately want to wake up every day loving and respecting it. I have to be an example for my children. I refuse to watch them grow up denying themselves of so much joy, because they are so consumed with self-hate.

We have a rule in this house. We don’t use the F word.

Ever.

Well, if I’m being totally honest, I will spell it out for my husband on particularly hard days. It’s not easy, but it’s our rule. It’s important.

FAT has no place in this house.

I wanted to share all of this, because I wanted to be able to hold myself accountable. It’s easy to say how I want to change my internal dialogue without making any actual changes. I have to start a new chapter with this body of mine. I have to show my girls that we are all beautiful, regardless of what the scale says.

 

I’m going to wear my fucking bathing suit in California. I’m going to feel the ocean on my body. I’m going to laugh as the waves tickle my daughters legs. I’m going to teach them how to ride a boogie board. I’m going to help them build sand castles and take in the ocean breeze.

I’m going to do all of this in that damn bathing suit and I’m going to feel fucking beautiful for once in my life.

 

*Blissfully enjoying Lake Michigan*

 

It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth any value ever is. I look forward to the moment where I finally realize and acknowledge my own beauty, as a mother and as a person.

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.

 

IMG_1953

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.

IMG_6910

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.