Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Tag: mom (page 2 of 2)

Parenting is not about the wins, it’s about living to fight another day

I’m sitting on the toilet, pretending to eat a fake carrot as my toddler stands less than an inch from my bent knees begging me to keep going.

“Eat more, mommy.”  She says, and pushes the carrot back to my face.  Again I make the “om nom nom” noise and pretend to nibble on the tip.  “It’s ice-cream!”  She yells, reminding me that I can’t even eat a fake carrot correctly, because now it’s been transformed into a fake ice-cream cone.  Get it together, mommy, her face says.  Parenting is kind of your job.   Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day and Pregnancy; the two have more in common than you think

Every year since we first began dating, my husband and I have thrown a St. Patrick’s Day party.  The tradition began as “kegs and eggs”, which was basically just an excuse for some serious day drinking.  Over the years, as all of our friends began having children, it evolved into something a little more family friendly.

By the time we had our first child our annual green and orange clad shit show had morphed into something different.  It had become part wild party and part daycare, complete with an arts and crafts table.

We served champagne and juice boxes, we catered to everyone. Continue reading

Reasons why a toddler is the very worst pregnancy wingman

Being pregnant is a wonderful, amazing, miracle of an experience.  You get to create this life inside of you, and then feel it grow and develop.  Eventually you baby grows to become a tiny person that you will grow to love more than you ever thought was humanly possible.  Plus, there is nothing quite as wonderful as new baby snuggles.

She yelled “It’s moving!” when she felt something, but the joke was on her because it was just gas.

Pregnancy may be a wonderful, amazing, miracle, but it’s also the most goddamn exhausting experience of your life. Continue reading

Ten surefire gifts for any mom on your list this Christmas

Well, it’s Christmas week*.  I don’t know how that happened (time has lost all meaning since I became a parent), but it did.

wp-1479752905380.jpgIf you’re anything like me you are still adding last minute gifts to your Amazon shopping cart and praying frantically to the UPS gods that they make it here on time.  And if you’re not anything like me, and all your gifts are purchased, wrapped, and waiting patiently for Christmas Eve so that they can be placed underneath your Christmas tree, well… feel free to keep that information to yourself. Continue reading

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.

1455313_0915

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. 

Moms Can’t Pee Alone and Other News

A week ago today I got to do one of the rarest things that I ever get to do.  I went to the bathroom alone, with the door closed, and nobody frantically called for me from outside the door.  My daughter was still asleep and my husband had already left for work.  Pee, peace, and quiet.

Side note: I know moms always complain about not getting to go to the bathroom alone and I get it, I really do, but in the grand scheme of things I’d much rather do other things by myself, like eat or shower.  It would be nice to have a meal where I wasn’t constantly giving bites to my daughter so she could decide she wants some of it only to end up throwing food that I could have otherwise been eating onto the floor.  And the last time my daughter joined me in the shower she dumped a pitcher of cold water down my back while I was shaving my legs, because she is the worst. 

Anyway, back to the toilet.  So there I sat, basking in the silence of the morning, and watching in wonder as the second pink line appeared on the pregnancy test.

That’s right, I’m pregnant, again.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Family costumes are my absolute favorite.

And this was written a little over two months ago in the heat of summer with the air conditioner whirring constantly in the background.  If all has gone according to plan, it is Halloween (or Halloween-ish) and blessedly chilly.  Or at least not 90 degrees.

This is going to be a short post.  Really I just wanted to do the whole “humble brag pregnancy announcement” thing and have an excuse to show off because… well because there are only so many more times that I will get to say, “I’m pregnant”.

This whole experience has been worlds different than the last time.  Firstly, because being pregnant while also running after a toddler is a horse of a different color, but secondly, a lot of things are old hat.  And speaking of old hats, did you know that once you hit 35 you get a shiny diagnosis of “Advanced Maternal Age”?  Yeah, that’s a thing I will be talking about in great detail next week.

Happy Halloween everyone.  I hope your children don’t notice when you pillage all their good candy.  And I hope the walk around the neighborhood trick or treating puts them into a long and blissful sleep.

 

Happy Halloween!

Help! Mom Overboard!

Two weeks ago, I would have told you that I was jealous of my friend*.  That her life was perfect and that she had it all together.  That her marriage was happy, her child was perfect, and everything had gone and was continuing to go exactly how she had planned it.  She was the mom that I envied, that I compared myself to when I was in the weeds.

What would she do in this situation?

How would she have handled this better?

She is potty training her kid?  What is wrong with me and my kid that we haven’t even started that yet?

And then we met for coffee.  She laughed at me when I told her my assumptions.

“No, no no no.  I have no clue what I’m doing.  Don’t do what I do.”  We laughed, talked about other things, and went about our lives.  She went back to work and I went back home and started dinner while my daughter sat at my feet begging me for chips.

Chips, you better believe my friend would never give her child chips.

It was somewhere between that third and fourth potato chip that it finally hit me.

I have been comparing my entire life to half of someone else’s story**.

And I’m not the only one.

Facebook, Instagram, and the 24/7 flood of “look at me and how great everything is” makes it almost impossible not to do it.  All we are seeing is the best side of people, their projected image of their life.  Then we take all the parts of our life and compare how we are doing.

img_20161024_102356

Happy day at the pumpkin patch.  No irony here.

We don’t share the pictures of the screaming at the top of their lungs temper tantrums, the sleepless nights, the jealousy we feel when our husbands go out for a night with their friends while we stay at home and watch another two hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  We share the pumpkin patch pictures, the happy faced child in her ballerina outfit, and the home-made-free-range-all-organic-chicken soup pictures.

And we compare our entire lives to those brief glimpses.

Recently a mom I met online shared that she was feeling particularly terrible about how she parents.  She complained that everyone she knows is doing it so much better than she is.  That she has friends with multiple kids that work and go to the gym and have spotless houses and manage to get their kids to soccer on time.  There she is with just the one child, no career outside the home, and can’t seem to manage any of it.

And, why are some people so much better at this than others?        

I immediately thought of my friend.  Even the people that seem like they have it all together, don’t.  At least, they don’t think that they do.

Maybe it’s just that they show the best side to the rest of the world.  Maybe it’s that the things that we fail at seem so much bigger than the things that they succeed at.  Maybe we’re own worst critics.

I decided then, in that minute, that parenthood pushes us all overboard.

For the most part we all start out on the boat, dancing and having fun.  Then come the kids, the boat shifts, and we all go into the drink.  We’re all in bad shape once we hit the water, but some of us are better swimmers, or at least more graceful.  Yeah, in the beginning we’re all drowning and swimming for that life boat.  Some of us do it with grace, some of us flail around for a while, but we are all outside the boat and trying to get back in.  Some of us just get there faster.

So my message to other mom’s is this, don’t judge yourself based off of what other moms are doing.  Maybe it seems like everyone else is doing the breaststroke while you’re helplessly doing a doggy paddle.  Maybe you can’t even see the life raft.  Maybe you’ve decided that you are staying right where you are and the boat will just have to come to you, thank you very much.

Parenting is all about survival mode.  We’re all doing our best.  It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect or Instagram worthy.  Our kids just have to be clean-ish, fed, and loved.  That’s our job.

Well that, and to find a way to be happy with how we’re doing, and if we can’t manage that, figure out what we can do to make ourselves happier.

Parenting is hard- the kids, the responsibilities, the mountains of laundry that seem insurmountable, let’s not go borrowing any more trouble.  We have enough to worry about just trying to get back to the boat.

*I say “friend” and talk about one instance but this is actually a combination of a few of my friends that I admire and look up to who are kind enough to remind me that they don’t really know what they are doing sometimes either.

**Not that anyone has ever accused me of knowing what I’m doing or being the gold standard but I just want to state for the record that I have no goddamn clue what I’m doing either.  Despite any well-lit, heavily filtered, Instagram photos you may stumble across.

Thirty-Five is the New Thirty-Five

On the 19th I will turn 35, making these my last few dying days in my early thirties.  I thought I’d approach this day with sadness at the loss of my blush of youth, regret for the things that I didn’t do with my life (still haven’t written that Great American Novel, have I?), and dread because now I’m staring down the barrel of 40 (40??!?  How did that happen?!).

That didn’t end up being the case.  Instead, I am spending these last few days making demands (after all, 35 is a big birthday and deserves all the fuss that my close friends and family can muster), and enjoying any extra attention that I can get.

Guys, I’m going to be 35 and my life is pretty awesome.  Granted, I’m not running through the house singing while tiny cartoon birds change my toddler’s diaper (good god how I wish), but this life is better than any life I could have imagined in my twenties.

wp-1476710451800.jpg

When you turn 35, you get excited about getting new dish towels as gifts (thanks, mom!)

Plus, at 35 when people ask you what you want for your birthday, you actually get it.  That’s probably because you are no longer asking for things like a trip to Cabo or a new car (not that I ever asked for those things).  My big wish this year was a writing workshop (thanks hubby) and a fancy bottle of salad dressing from a winery in the Finger Lakes that my parents visited last year (thanks parents).  Literally, all of my wildest dreams are coming true.

***Oh, and I keep telling anyone that will listen how awesome an edible arrangement would be.  Seriously people, one with the pineapples cut to look like flowers… maybe some chocolate covered strawberries… I mean, come on, I’m almost 40.***

This is a much different approach than the one I took five years ago.  The Lauren of my 20’s was a completely different beast.  I am a few years older than my husband and on my 30th birthday I declared that I would spend the next few birthdays aging backwards until my husband and I were the same age, and then we could proceed forward together, as equals (because that’s how aging works).  I think I stuck with it for two years.  By then the reality of being in my 30’s had sunk in and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Actually, it was way better than I ever could have imagined.

Gone were many of the insecurities, struggles, and trials of my twenties.  Financially, I was secure.  I had put my time in as a bastion of light in the dark recesses of the mortgage industry.  Most of what had happened in the early 2000’s had started to rebuild and I had found stability in my corner of the market.  And things worked out perfectly for me to be able to leave said mortgage industry and stay home and wipe butts full time.

Gone are the days of wondering how my ass looks in my jeans or what size dress I’m wearing.  My body is what it is.  Sure, I happen to think I look terrific (thanks mainly to awesome genes and a non-sedentary lifestyle).  I am also not far enough removed from my teen years to remember how I felt about my looks back then.  When I look back at old pictures, I realize that I was perfect.  Same goes for every other period of life.  In the moment, there was so much I wished was different, but when I look back I wish that I still looked the way I did then, as opposed to how I look now.  I assume that trend will continue for the rest of my life.  So I’m going to go ahead and embrace how I look now and save myself the regret in five years when I think, “If only I looked as young, well rested, and fit as I did at 35.  Youth is wasted on the young, waaaaah.”

Obviously, I assume that I won’t embrace 40 with the same devil may care attitude that I have for turning 35.

And I love, and am loved, without insecurity.  My husband and I have a solid foundation that I no longer question (except, you know, when we move because that shit is for the birds).  I don’t have to worry if I’ll ever find love, if I’ll die alone, how many cats I can reasonably have before I begin the descent into madness, I know the answers to all of those things now (six, six is the maximum number of cats that I can handle at one time).

And now I’m wondering what the next five years will bring, and what the years beyond will bring.  Will I continue to feel the same way about my life that I do about wine, that it’s better with food it gets better with age?  Will I continue to embrace my flabby backside as much as my crow’s feet?

Who knows?

Who cares?

Another perk of being closer to 40 than to 30, you just don’t give a shit.

So, happy almost birthday to me.  And here’s hoping that I still feel this way in the harsh light of Thursday morning.  When I’m sure to wake up with a few new grays, a cake hangover, and tiny fingers feeling around inside of my ear canal.

35 is the new 35, because screw every other age. 

When You’re a Mom, Nobody Cares That You’re Sick

Once, when I was about fifteen, I got very sick.  I had been feeling poorly for a few days before I finally told my mother that I probably needed to go to the doctor.  It was there that we received the diagnosis of a sinus infection coupled with bronchitis.  I was given a prescription and strict instructions to go home and take it easy.  And take it easy I did.  My mother spent her days making sure that I had plenty of OJ and watermelon (don’t ask me why, but I always want watermelon when I’m sick).  She ran out and bought me the good tissues, the ones that were two-ply and had lotion on them.  The absolute best part was that she made, from scratch, my favorite soup and served it to me in bed and with a side of saltines.

I got worse before I got better, but I did get better.  And I got better in the lap of luxury because she let me stay in her bed since my room was always drafty, and because that’s the kind of stuff mom’s do for their sick kids.

That was about twenty (Jesus Christ, twenty?!) years ago.  Oh, the good old days, when being sick meant a vacation from your life and a mom sized butler.

wp-1476190212005.jpg

Thanks to snapchat filters I don’t even look like I have strep throat and have had very little sleep.  I just look like a really sad panda instead.

Now, I find myself having to sit down and try and catch my breath because I just stood for fifteen minutes (apparently the absolute maximum effort I can expend).  I had to make myself chicken noodle soup because somehow I ended up with strep throat.  Strep throat which, by the way, I’ve had for about a week already and didn’t do anything about except suffer in silence, because I thought that what I was experiencing was jaw pain from grinding my teeth during the two to four hours of sleep that my tyrannical toddler allows me each night.

A toddler who, by the way, just does not give a single solitary shit that I’m sick.  She is too busy pulling my pants down while trying to get me to give her one of the carrots that I’m cutting up for the soup.  Not so that she can eat it, noooooooo, she wants to take a bite out of it and then hide the rest somewhere in the house for me to find later*.

If my mother were here she would be telling me to lay down, take a nap, or at least snuggle up under the covers and rest.

Instead I am with my daughter, and if she so much as sees me look at a couch/chair/anything that could be used to rest, she immediately asks me for something; milk, a cookie, a snuggle (alright, I gladly give into the last one).  But no, there is no rest for the weary… or the mother.

Being sick as a child relieves you of all responsibility.  You don’t go to school, you don’t go to your afterschool activities, you don’t really even have to do homework if you don’t send someone to pick it up for you (like a nerd).  You just lay around and let someone (mom) hand you whatever you need to eat, drink, and make sure the remote and tissues are within your reach.  You know what being sick is like when you’re a mom? It’s like every other day except you feel like you actually might die while you’re making everyone’s lunch.  And don’t get me wrong, you can ask your husband for help, and if he’s not sick he may actually give you some, but chances are that your kid is going to behave like an asshole and demand mom anyway because that’s what kids do.

When you’re sick as a child your mom usually calls and makes your doctor’s appointment, drives you there while you’re all safely snuggled up in the back seat wrapped in your favorite blanket, and she sits in the waiting room alternating putting the back of her hand on your forehead or cheeks and giving you kisses.  In other words, it’s all about you.  When you’re a mom, chances are you had to lock yourself in the bathroom to even make the phone call to the doctor (which hurt because you had to yell a little bit to be heard over the sound of your child frantically pounding on the door and screaming, “Mommy!”).  You have to get both yourself and your toddler dressed and into the car so that you can drive to the doctor’s office, where you spend the entire time comforting your damn kid who is now convinced that you are there for them and that they are about to get a shot.  If your child is anything like mine, you also have to hold them and bounce them throughout your entire exam as they scream at the top of their lungs while you get poked and prodded in all your sore spots.  Then, as a bonus, maybe they will scream the whole time you’re in line at the pharmacy window to pick up your prescription because they want crunchies.

And the number one thing the doctor wants you to do (right after drink lots of extra fluids), is now and always has been, to get lots of rest.  I’m assuming that he was able to hear my laughter above the sound of the screaming child.  Okay, doc, I’ll get right on top of that.  What part of this five minute glimpse into my life indicates that I’m going to be going home and taking it easy?

I guess the moral of this story is don’t grow up.  Stay young and cared for forever.  Also, thank your moms.  Because at some point they most likely had to take you to the doctor’s office when they were sick.  And like the saying goes, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

I love you mom.  Please come take care of me.

*I found the carrot three days later under the crib.

Newer posts

© 2017 Lauren Wellbank

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑