Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Month: November 2016

Ten surefire gifts for any mom on your list this Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving week has finally arrived.  I don’t know how that happened, it was summer about a week ago, but suddenly the leaves are all falling from the trees and I am staring down the barrel of making dinner for 20 on Thursday.

Between mouthfuls of what will hopefully be the most delicious bird anyone in my family has ever eaten, we will inevitably discuss Christmas and what is at the top of everyone’s wish list this year.

wp-1479752905380.jpgUsually, I wait until the last minute to figure out what I really want and hastily throw a list together that includes scented candles and socks (although, between you and me, scented candles are my jam).

This year, I am planning ahead, and starting my list early.  Today, even.  And as I make it, I realize this list may be handy, not just for me, but for any of the moms that may be on your list.

Allow me to present to you a surefire list of Christmas gifts for any mom on your list.

  1. A full night of sleep. One that is done in a large bed, with plenty of pillows, and covers to be distributed however we wish. Oh, and we’d like to be completely and utterly alone. I’d settle for six hours, but the real gift would be 20.
  1. Clothes. Personally, I am on day four of the same pair of pants. I have three that fit me right now, but apparently the other two are currently in the vast wasteland that I like to call the laundry pile. Maybe the mom in your life needs new work clothes, or maybe it’s yoga pants, but I’m sure that she needs an additional something.  And most importantly, something that fits.  For me, this year it will be nursing tops.  I can survive with the same three pairs of pants, but not the same two sweaters when the newborn comes.  Dear Santa, please bring me a shirt that lets me get to my boobs as quickly as humanly possible, with at least two back-ups.
  1. Laundry service for a month. We are only a family of three right now but I do about six loads a week.  Sure, the machines do most of the hard labor in this situation, but for every six hours of work they do, it means twelve hours of folding, hanging, and putting stuff neatly away in drawers for mom.
  1. A family photographer. The White House has a staff photographer that follows the Obamas around 24/7, so I would imagine that Michelle Obama is never missing from any Christmas morning pictures of the family opening presents.  Now, I know that I’m not America’s First Lady, but I am the first lady of this family.  And like most mothers, I’d like some shots of all of us together over the holidays.  A camera with a self-timer, a selfie stick, whatever it takes to be a part of those Christmas morning pictures, Santa!
  1. Snacks that are both delicious and healthy. No, I’m not talking about chocolate that makes you skinny (and if we’re doing big gifts this year can we please do away with the word “skinny”). I am talking about healthy snacks that are already made. As moms we are often running around making sure that everyone else has what they want and need. We often end up famished and grab the closest and easiest thing to eat.  This thing is rarely a bowl of freshly sliced fruit or cleaned and peeled veggies.  An unending bowl of guacamole that is always freshly made and never turns brown?  That would be the stocking stuffer to beat this year.
  1. Someone to do the dirty work. I am not talking about the temper tantrums or scrubbing toilets (but please see number seven) I mean poop and snot bubbles. Personally, I would like a week off from thrashing diaper changes that leave me, inexplicably, with poop under my fingernails. But maybe the dirty work for the mom in your life is spit up or changing a teenage boy’s sheets.  I’m sure we all have that one dirty job that we need a break from.
  1. A cleaning service for approximately one month. This one is pretty self-explanatory.  I’d like my month to be from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, or as I like to call, it “5 weeks of 5,000 messes”, but maybe that’s just me.
  1. A gift certificate for a Mom for Hire (and if that’s not a thing, it needs to be). This can be reserved for any time you are sick or hurt or are in some way unable to mom. It will be good for a surrogate mother for your children, and also one to take care of you, because sometimes a mom needs someone to mother them, too.
  1. A massage. There, this one wasn’t so hard, and it would easily fit into Santa’s sack. Mine can be given to me by my husband, but only if he suddenly possesses the hands of someone that cracks walnuts for a living. A gentle loving touch isn’t going to help these muscles.  I need someone to get mad at the knots in my shoulders.
  1. A way to freeze time. Or more accurately, a way to hold onto these moments. I know sometimes we mothers complain (and some of us way more than others *raises hand guiltily*), but we know how short our time with our kids really is.  Worse of all, the number of holidays that we get to spend with our kids under our roof is even further  I wish I could bottle this time, these feelings, these moments, and hold onto them forever.  Yes, even the high-on-freshly-baked-sugar-cookies-running-from-room-to-room-screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, moments.  I want to hold onto it all, because some day they will be gone.

Happy Holidays!

When the Honeymoon Ends

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful day in which he treated me to breakfast in bed.  We sipped champagne and ate our leftover wedding cake before taking off for a leisurely day where we walked, just the two of us, in and out of shops and took in an amazing lunch at a quiet farm to table restaurant in this boutique filled town near where we live.  Before we fell into bed together later that night he surprised me with a delicate gold necklace with a beautifully engraved locket that expressed his undying love for me in a way that I would have never thought possible.  And then, a giant golden unicorn flew out my butt, and its ornate wings flapped and blew away the fabric of my super intense fantasy life. 

The reality is that I woke up tired with a sick toddler.  A sick toddler that had me awake most of the night before, while my husband slept down stairs on the couch in what I can only assume was an effort to escape my heinous pregnancy induced gas.  We relaxed by making a two hour round trip to North Jersey to pick up our recreated wedding cake that I forgot to order until about 24 hours prior (pregnancy brain, pregnancy brain all the things).  Then we came home and ate lunch quickly before he had to run back out to the grocery store to pick up more tissues and supplies for to make our daughter fresh chicken noodle soup tomorrow.

Even now, as I type this in bed next to our daughter, my husband is back downstairs napping.  The card that I bought him to celebrate is sitting, unsigned and unsealed, on the island in the kitchen where he found it this morning just in time to remind him that he never even thought to get me a card.

This is not what I imagined our life would look like this time last year.  Actually, this exact time last year I was relaxing with my eyes closed as the finishing touches were being completed on my hair and make-up.  I don’t think I was envisioning our one year anniversary, but you can bet if I was it didn’t include me being covered in dried strings of snot, watching yet another episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and trying to negotiate holding a sick toddler without squishing the baby still a’ brewing inside of me.

And honestly, I wouldn’t change any of it.

I know the cliché is that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but that wasn’t my experience here.  Perhaps it was because we had already been together for so long (six years last September) or maybe it was that we lived together for several years prior so not much actually changed when I changed my name.  More than likely it was just the fact that we had already experienced our hardest year, that first year as parents.  And although that was unbelievably hard, I think it actually made us stronger as a couple.

It also made me realize a lot about our relationship.  I never understood why people called their significant others their better half before, but I think I get it now.  I have discovered that there are some things that my husband is just better at than I am.  Sometimes, he has the better half of our qualities.  Where I am tightly wound, he is easy going.  Where I am quick to anger and hold tight to grudges, my husband has an even temperament and is forgiving.  When I see red, he sees reason.  Sometimes I expect the worse of people and he gives them the chance to be who they are.  He learns his lessons where I keep making the same mistakes over and over… the list could go on and on.

He is my better half, and I am so glad that we found each other all those years ago and have taken this strange path that life has set us upon.  No, none of it has been what I expected (or honestly, even something that I would have thought sounded remotely enjoyable all those years ago).  But now, here I sit, covered in dry boogers, exhausted to the core of my being, and still wonderfully and magically in love.

It’s a different love than I have ever experienced before.  Long gone are the days when we would get drunk and make out on the couch with our hormones all aflutter.  But I can say when I came home last weekend and found my husband and daughter napping together, side by side, laying in identical positions, there was some fluttering.

Watching him be a good dad and a wonderful husband doesn’t keep me in love with him (he keeps me in love with him all by himself), it just reinforces those reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.

So today, while the honeymoon is officially over, I still find myself deeply and unendingly in love with my husband.  And I am pretty confident he feels the same way about me, gas and all.

Happy First Wedding Anniversary.

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Photo by Maria Kalitina

A Letter to AARP on Behalf of my Old Uterus

Dear AARP,

I am writing to you today on behalf of my uterus.  Or maybe I’m writing on behalf of my ovaries, hell, how about you just accept this letter on behalf of the whole kit-n-caboodle. You see, I have been informed by my OB that due to the fact that I will be over 35 when I give birth, I am something called “of Advanced Maternal Age”.

Please, dear people of AARP, allow me to explain.

Apparently my lady bits have aged in dog years because the American Medical Association just called my multigravida elderly.  And the definition of multigravida is even worse than being called “elderly”, it means a woman (or female animal) that has become pregnant for the second time.  Yeah, esteemed board of AARP members, I said WTF, too. 

While I was busy enjoying my 30’s, and deriving great enjoyment from the fruits of the efforts of my twenties, my vagina was withering away. Unbeknownst to me, my entire reproductive system was growing older by the moment.  Basically the plot of the movie Jack was playing out in my underpants zone.  Every second I spent on winery tours or dates with my fiancé (now husband) my vagina was inching closer and closer to needing a daily nap and asking for the menu that features the early bird specials.

Nobody ever told me that on the eve of your 35th birthday your fallopian tubes would give a dramatic shudder, cough up some dust, and ask for an afghan and a large print crossword puzzle.

My OB sat there smiling encouragingly at me as all of this sank in.  She was more than happy to explain everything in great detail, making sure that I understood all the accompanying risks and requirements.

Having a baby at the ripe old age of 35 or older (or older… but by god, if you’re older than 35 how do your ancient eggs manage to get where they need to be while lugging around their oversized purse and walker?!  What is the logistics there?) pushes you into a “special” new category of mom. Special.

“Don’t worry,” she assured me when she saw the look of horror on my face as the words Advanced Maternal Age once more left her lips “it just means you are special. You’ll get some extra attention, but it’s really not that bad.”  There’s that word again, fellow AARP friends, special.

After a while of going back and forth she laughed and told me that now a days people don’t even begin their families until their 30’s and that being of AMA isn’t all that big of a deal.

It felt like a big deal.  It also felt like I needed to rush home and get my Medicare and Social Security paperwork in order.

Before I was permitted to hobble out to my car (head down watching where I was going so that I didn’t fall and break my hip), she issued me more reassurances and a referral for a specialist.  A geneticist, because old eggs have a tendency to produce babies with chromosomal defects (which of course was the exact reassurance that this wasn’t that big of a deal that I needed).

The genetic counselor was also full of words of encouragement and laughed at me during our appointment.  Telling me I was still just a spring chicken (something that, ironically, my grandmother’s doctor used to say to her when she would complain about the aches and pains of her 80’s).

“35 is just an arbitrary line they drew in the sand.” She said while I pointed accusingly at my paperwork where the words “elderly” glared back at me.

Elderly?!  Elderly my ass! Well… I guess more accurately that would be, “Elderly?!  Elderly my vagina!”wp-1478524388622.jpg

So, it is for this reason that I am requesting early admission. I would like to begin taking advantage of all of the discounts and benefits that are available to women (and their junk) of a certain age.

While clearly, I am still a spring chicken in the eyes of the world (and kindly, if somewhat patronizing, genetic councilors), the baby growing in the complete tear down that is my uterus would have you believe otherwise.

Thank you for your consideration,

The Brains Behind This Old Uterus

PS – Are there AARP meetings?  Is that where I get to meet Luke Perry?  I’d like to meet Luke Perry. 

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