Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Tag: SAHM (page 2 of 3)

Not my first time at the rodeo- how that second pregnancy is different than the first

When I became pregnant with my first daughter I was a consumer of information.  I googled, I read books, I asked every woman that I laid eyes on, that had birthed a child, all of my many questions.

I felt buoyed by the satisfaction of having knowledge.  Every ache or pain got googled or a call to the OB to make sure it was within the range of normal.  I checked and cross checked every item that I ate.  I even made the special no egg cookie dough when my craving got to be so bad that I thought I would die without it (it was garbage, by the way… spend the money, buy the good stuff). Continue reading

The not-so-secret ways that having a baby will change you forever

When people find out that you’re having a baby, they want nothing more than to share all of their pearls of wisdom with you.  From your mother, to the lady standing next to you in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

A photo from our maternity shoot with our first. Taken by the talented Maria Kalitina.

Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad, and some of it will be downright dangerous (no, weirdo at the gas station, I am not putting a little whiskey into my baby’s bottle to help her sleep… although I am not opposed to putting  a little whiskey into me for, well, I don’t need a reason). Continue reading

When love takes you down the path that you never wanted to travel

We were standing in line at the Starbucks inside of our local Target.  I had just returned with two cup holders to attach to our shopping cart (for real, whoever came up with that idea, brilliant).

I attached them to our cart while loudly debating which drink I was going to order.  I read the calorie and caffeine count of each of them to my husband, something I only care about during pregnancy, and finally made a decision.  The man with the patience of a saint listened to all of it without comment before finally speaking up. Continue reading

I appreciate my husband, even if I never tell him so

A few weeks ago my husband had to go into work on a Saturday.  There had been a sudden influx of business and some technical issues. He eagerly accepted, as he does most opportunities for overtime, and let me know that he wouldn’t be home that Saturday.

At first I was a little put out.  As a stay at home mom the weekend means one thing, and one thing only, help. 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

Motherhood isn’t a job, but here’s my resume anyway

I have an unpopular opinion that I’m going to share here with you guys today.  And I sincerely hope that the village people of the internet don’t gather with their pitch forks, torches, and try and storm my Barbie Castle in the night.

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“Trash Can Jenga”

Guys, motherhood isn’t a job.  It’s just not.  I can’t tell you how many posts/memes/articles I have read that begin with, “Being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever had.”

It’s not a job, and I’ll tell you exactly why it isn’t a job. Continue reading

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. 

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

It Gets Worse, I know

I am writing this on four hours of sleep, next to my vanity and jewelry box that have both been covered in lip stick, typing on my lap top that is also covered in lip stick, while the gentle kicks of a toddler connect with my legs.  Said toddler also had four hours of sleep, spent the day running full speed through the house shrieking “no” at the top of her lungs, with only a paltry thirty minute nap six hours ago.

wp-1474547641284.jpgShe looks no worse for the wear.

I look like I’ve aged about ten years since last night.

I am done, I am spent, I have nothing left to give, and I have to do it all over again tomorrow.

Apparently, this is two*.

And apparently, this is not as bad as it gets.  As everyone so generously and lovingly and obnoxiously keeps telling me, it only gets worse at three.  To that I say… well, duh… because as of three weeks ago I thought I had an idea what I would be in for at two, but now I know that I was wrong.  Now I know better…

I know it gets worse because three weeks ago when I was getting my daughter ready for bed I noticed that her sheets were wet.  I pulled the sheets off to replace them and discovered that the mattress pad was wet as well.  As I balled up the sheets to throw them into the hamper I saw the huge orange stain on the rear side of the sheets, on the portion that is covered by the wall.  While investigating that I discovered a pile of soggy pizza flavored goldfish crackers laying in the cracks of the bed.  They were in a spot that granted me just enough access to ascertain that they were, in fact, soggy, but that did not afford me the opportunity to actually clean them up.  Which was for the best because as I was leaning over to try and wriggle my fingers between the bed slats my foot crushed down on something crunchy.  Apparently there were Cheez-It crackers under the crib.  I spent the next thirty minutes cleaning up an apparent stock pile of toddler snacks while my daughter ran up and down the hallway yelling her name over and over again.  You know, while she was supposed to be winding down for sleep.  Sleep did not come for quite some time after that (for either of us) because this night also marked the beginning of her apparent ascension into some sort of demon that does not require sleep to function the two year sleep regression.

I know it gets worse because up until last week my daughter had no clue that she could open the drawers to my vanity on her own.  She had no clue that she could use this ability to have unfettered access to my make-up collection which would allow her to wield lip stick and eye liner as only a tiny artist would, which is to say, to cover every available surface.  Neither of us knew it until she came running into the kitchen where my husband and I were getting lunch ready to show us her red stained fingers.  Now we know, now we all know.

I know it gets worse because I have spent the last three nights in a row begging, pleading, and admittedly, crying a little bit, trying to get my daughter to sleep.  I rocked her for three hours straight one night only to have her eyes pop right open as soon as I placed her in her crib.  Once I gave up and brought her into our bed so that I could finally try and get some sleep, she rewarded me for my submission by waking up every hour.  EVERY. HOUR.  I feel like an inmate at Guantanamo right now, and she’s successfully breaking down my will power with some sort of sleep deprivation, mind control, power assertion thing.  And she’s winning, by god, she’s winning.

And she knows it.

Yesterday over lunch she quietly called out to me.  I looked over at her in her high tray as she picked up the last strawberry that was sitting there.  While looking me square in the eye she wrapped her tiny little fist around the strawberry, crushing it.  The red juices and pulp squeezed out from between her chubby fingers.  It was as though she was holding the still beating heart of her enemy and enjoying the satisfaction of squeezing the final bits of life from it.  After she was done, she shook her hand to rid herself of the remains (which naturally landed all over me), and softly said, “All done.”

I get it, I feel finished too, kid.** 

I am simultaneously frustrated, cowed, and impressed.  If this is any indicator of things to come, she has a bright future as a merciless dictator ahead of her.  Either that, or a future serial killer.  Either way, I think she’ll be quite successful, and really, isn’t that what we all wish for our children?

wp-1474547670118.jpgIn the meantime, I am just going to continue to struggle through each day and keep repeating to myself the mantra which every parent I know has given me, It only gets worse.

Well, everyone except my mother-in-law, who so foolishly kindly offered for me to bring her over there for a few hours.

We’re on our way, grandmo!  WE. ARE. ON. OUR. WAY.

*My super advanced goblin child isn’t yet two years old, she is still just over two months away.  She’s just really ahead of her time with her power trip/assertion of will/desire to crush my spirt.  Like I said, she’s super advanced. 

**This is all written in good humor.  I love my little goblin and cherish every sticky hug, slobbery kiss, and softly whispered, “I you” (I love you).  Also, for the love of god, I know it gets worse and I am appreciating NOW as much as humanly possible.  Please, no more reminders of what I have to look forward to.  Please. 

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