Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Red Lines – And Not the Good Kinds that Indicate a Sale

“Red bars, red bars!” I half-grumbled, half-screamed into the not so still of the night.

“Whose turn is it?” said Mike in his voice that meant he was pretending to be alert and helpful but not really planning on fully waking and tackling the screaming conundrum that had become the baby in the room next door.

“Argh…it’s mine,” I said, exhausted and frazzled from the week’s events, but still oddly excited that I had the opportunity to visit my wee one in the middle of the night. Taking one last glance at the red bars and using my forefinger to tap the web cam, I realized that yes, this one would require a trip down the short hall to snuggle the little man into blissful slumber once again.

It’s funny the small things that play such a large significance in your day to day (or night to night) after having a child. For example – the red bars. Once an indicator that yes, I could purchase the Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, these red lines have now become an indication that the thing I care most about in life is in some sort of distress. Either that, or he’s snoring, really, really loud, which is the case about 30 percent of the time. Even better is when a particularly audible flatulent noise triggers the red bars, or a midnight conversation occurs that only Lawson’s stuffed animals can interpret.

So here we are, living by the monitor’s red lines and working our hardest to keep up with the little guy that has stolen our hearts. Now, if you’ll excuse me, the lines are registering at yellow which means red is right around the corner…

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top 10 Ways a Child is Like Having a Puppy

1. Everything goes directly in the mouth, similar to a vacuum but the aftermath is much more devastating. Enough said.
2. He wakes at the crack of dawn with the most fabulously positive attitude one can muster. Too bad adults tend to lose this trait.
3. He requires me to “handle his business” – just from a diaper, not out in the yard with a scooper.
4. His eyes show all of his emotions – curiosity, joy, mischief, sleepiness, etc.
5. His hair sheds. Yep. Not in crazy, dust bunny style fashion of Ellie’s, but there are several sheet changes that happen weekly due to his newfound male pattern baldness.
6. He is the cuddliest. Morning, noon and night. Emitting a little fire of heat and the kind of unconditional love we wait our whole lives for.
7. He requires frequent grooming. Baths. Nail trims. Hair brushing. Wiping the eyes. Checking the tush. And on and on…
8. He seeks entertainment. Though he does well with some down times and naps, a squeal or cry indicates you better be dancing, singing, grabbing a toy or loving on him immediately. Shockingly similar to Ellie following us all over the house, whining and placing her head on our knees. And if you don’t provide it quickly enough and boredom sets in – watch out!
9. It’s important to have all hands on deck. When it’s eerily quiet or you step out of sight for a split second, there will be a price to pay for what is occurring in the next room.
10. Most importantly – they are family. They steal your heart when you didn’t even know it was yours to give away. You wonder how you’ll ever keep up with them, physically, emotionally and unconditionally. And you know…you will never, ever, love anything more than that precious-faced, live-altering, simply amazing being. God love ya both…

One important difference for you new parents out there…unlike a dog, it’s not cool to leave the kiddo in the car…even with the windows cracked. FYI ☺

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Doesn't Every Day as a New Parent Include a "Car Moment?"

From how long you nurse to where your child sleeps to whether you work, and on…and on…and on….

So much judgment being a new parent. Ah, the pressure.

Here’s how to ease the pain: watch Modern Family. This scene plays so closely to my heart it’s not even funny. The only thing that holds a candle to this may be the book “Milk Memos” (see post below) or the Modern Family episode from last week where they were working together to Ferberize Lily, their baby. Priceless.

Cheers to all you hard working new parents out there. I’ll be gentle on ya (see below post). And just remember, the rest of us are going through almost each day with a “car moment.”

A New Leaf

“I don’t know what to write,” I whined to Mike as he so kindly gathered the dishes from the family room and attempted to wipe off the crusty glaze that had consumed what was once a lovely dish from Pottery Barn.

“I don’t know – do weight loss or happiness or something,” he said half-heartedly, his body beginning to turn rigid as he knew he had just walked himself into the timeless tradition we females all have with our partners. You know what’s coming next…

“So – you think I’m FAT?!”

You know how the rest of that goes…

So this year, with a whole new set of pressures upon me and a limited wish list that consists of enjoying life and really, really enjoying my new baby, I decided to take my dear friend Karen’s approach to improving in 2010. Instead of compiling a list of resolutions in a darling new notepad purchased just for that purpose, I grabbed my trusty old journal, uniquely simple and lined and set out to change six habits in the next few years and focus on one word for the 365 days. Here’s what I came up with:

The assignment: Choose one word to focus on in 2010 and apply to all things possible. My choice:
Be gentle on me. Be gentle on you. To strangers. To colleagues. With my words. With my heart. On my body. On my soul. Be gentle with changes. Gentle. Applicable to so many things. And doesn’t everyone deserve a little grace and gentleness???

The assignment: Choose six habits you can begin making efforts toward in 2010. My choice:

Small but true, here’s my focus:
1. Blog two times per week
2. Journal daily
3. Work out three times per week
4. Hug/kiss my hubby twice per day
5. Declutter 15 min per day, removing 1 object out of the home daily
6. Read daily to Lawson

Sure, I could’ve dreamed bigger, but remember…I’m being gentle on myself this year. Here’s to turning over a new leaf! I’ll keep you posted on the progress. After all, with a goal to blog weekly, I will need some fresh content!

Dear Jillian Michaels...

You are kicking my behind. And my biceps. And my non-existent abs. And muscles I can’t even name. Yes – you. And I have a sneaking suspicion you feel really good about this. Though you are not nearly as evil as you appear on the hit show “Biggest Loser,” I fear we will not be BFFs anytime soon. Though for now, I could put you in my “frenemies” bucket if you’d like…

I received the recommendation of “30 Day Shred” from my dear friend Natalie, who is always good for passing along stellar things. In this case, I fear she may be wrong. Or – is she really, really right? After all, she looks like a million bucks.

Guess I better restart the DVD vs. typing away on my iPhone in an effort to catch my breath. Now, will you please pull me up off the ground???

Friday, January 1, 2010

“The Milk Memos” – A Tale That’s Changing My Life

“Oh dear – I’m a mess,” I said to myself in the lightest of whispers so as not to wake my beautiful son tucked into my chest, cherishing the tree frog position before he outgrew it. Warm tears cascaded down my swollen cheeks as I took in every word of Smith and Serrette’s “The Milk Memos,” a smart, savvy, heart-wrenching read focused on balancing motherhood and work. Coined as tell-tale of how real moms learned to mix business with babies, I read page after page of how three women at IBM journaled their way through the heartbreak of leaving their babies, the challenges of nursing and a whole slew of hilarious and heartwarming tales that only a Mom can identify with. Simply put – I just can’t put it down. Though as the book states and as many Moms know, gone are the days when a cold, snow-filled afternoon can be filled with your own agenda of reading. And that’s ok! Here are some of my favorite quotes so far up to page 81:

“For those of us who work outside the home, either by choice or necessity, the day comes when we must kiss our babies good-bye. How do we do it? We walk away armed with our breast pumps, blinking away the tears, and we try to be brave. We tell ourselves our babies will be well taken care of. We tell ourselves the work we do is worthwhile, and that we are providing for our families. At one level, we are relieved to have a break from the all-consuming demands of full-time motherhood. We find pleasure in relationships, the mental stimulation, and the challenges we face at work. At a deeper level, we feel guilty. We know that no one can truly substitute for mommy. No one can ever know or love our children as we do. And underlying the guilt, we feel the longing. It’s like the longing of new romantic love, only a thousand times stronger. So intense that we can’t think about it too long, for fear that our hearts will break and our resolve crumble.”

“Beware: guilt comes with the territory of being a working mom.”

Some of their journal entries to each other:“ …
I never expected it to be this hard.”

“You’ll soon realize that for the next 10 months, you’ll be lugging the equivalent of a car battery to and from work each day…”

“I am woman, hear me Moo!”

“Right now I’m holding both suction cups with my right hand while writing with my left. Another technique is to sit close to the table with the bottles wedged between the table and my chests so that I have both hands free. Another method is to balance one bottle on your leg so you can write with that hand. Proof in point women (especially moms) are superior multi-taskers!”

“The pumps are conveniently disguised as a briefcase for us working gals. Of course, it’s twice as thick and heavy as a briefcase – and I would prefer a more ‘hip’ design (pink polka dots?). But the other day, someone stopped me in t he hall and asked me where I found such a nice leather bag! I thought about opening it to show her what was really inside, but then decided to let her think I was just incredibly fashionable instead.”

“Caleb’s talent is smiling at me. I could spend forever smiling back at him. Isn’t it amazing to watch them learn each little thing? I hate missing even a minute of it.”……”I know what you mean about missing the smiles. Mondays are the worst. Right now my stomach feels like a washing machine on spin cycle. Or a dryer, with tennis shoes in it.”

“I’m feeling totally overwhelmed at work.” It’s sort of like trying to join a sprinting race 10 seconds after the starting gun has sounded. I feel like I’m in last place and there’s no way to catch up because the other runners are all tones and fit, and I’ve been out of the race for 3 months.”

“For years, I’ve been waking up each day and going to work at IBM. Why does it now feel so impossible? What has happened to the Cate who was confident, focused, driven and ambitious? For some reason, I thought I would be able to return to work and still be the star employee while I’m here and the world’s best mom at home. But instead, the mom in me is ever-present and the future executive in me seems to have flown the coop.”

“Someone once put it to me like this – men can advance their careers along a steady upward path. Women’s lives tend to be more seasonal, and this is your season to be a mom. …..Why should we feel guilty about loving motherhood? Immerse yourself in being mom. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. And if that means you’re labeled a mommy for this period in your life, accept the title as if someone just told you you’d been named CEO. You can still be a hard-working, amazing employee who is effective at her job. It’s just a different ratio now.”

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book to get back to...