Monday, March 1, 2010


In honor or MOM MADNESS MONTH, I asked my good friend, Kirsten Hall, to share some of her thoughts on motherhood here on AFOMFT.  Kirsten is a children's book author (check out her website here!) and mom to two adorable boys.  We've known each other since high school and never would have thought back in the early 1990's when we were grooving to Bell Biv Devoe, drinking wine coolers and wearing way too much flannel that we'd be discussing some of the things we do today.  Nipple pigmentation?  Baby penile erections?  Hell to the no!  Our 17 year old selves were happily oblivious to what motherhood would one day have in store for us.  Kirsten's take on what we now deal with on a daily basis keeps me both entertained and grateful for the knowledge that someone else actually feels and wonders the same things I do.  Without further ado, part 1 of Kirsten's MOMMY MUSINGS: 20 THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE BECOMING A MOTHER.

Morning sickness sounded so wimpy. But holy crap, it can be rough. My "morning sickness" lasted for 2,160 straight hours. Outside of baked ziti and peanut butter, my only salvation was seabands. Seabands, which look a lot like Jane Fonda workout bracelets, are a most unfashionable accoutrement. They might even sell you out to the public while you're still quietly pretending that you're not growing a freaking parasite in your stomach. But they work. Ask my forever hicky-marked wrists. 

I've always hated belly buttons. I can't even clean my own. (I make my husband do it about once a year after I've had ingested a few glasses of liquid courage in the form of Sauvignon Blanc.) And so when my relatively inoffensive innie transformed into an outrageous outie in the matter of two mere months, I freaked. I felt like the little rebel was so big it might even hail a taxi without my meaning to. Luckily, after my son was born it crawled back into its dark and filthy hole where it has allowed me to continue on again in blissful ignorance, pretending it doesn't exist. Yeah, I'm mature enough to be a mother.

Bigger boobs, sore boobs, this was all to be expected. But the way my nipples became black, softball-sized circles was nothing I had ever in my worst nightmares anticipated. Then I read that what was happening to my nipples (the artists formerly known as cute and pink) was "normal." Another case of Mother Nature at her best, making sure our blind little babies have the same opportunity to find their mother's boobies as snipers hunting ill-fated presidents. Perhaps on women with bigger breasts, the ratio is less alarming. On my 34-B-on-a-good-day chest, my nipples felt so ginormous I was certain fussy newborns as far away as Tokyo were licking their lips at the distant sight of my milky gold mines.

I was destined to be a milky, breastfeeding goddess. I looked down on women who bottle fed. They were lazy! They were selfish! They were unintelligent! And then I discovered my pancake chest (misleadingly massive nipples and all) was actually home to two, miserable "low producers." I hired a lactation consultant. One of her suggestions was that I lay in bed all day with my baby and let him feed as often as he needed to in order for us to work out our kinks—a feasible proposition had she also offered to split her hefty paychecks with me. Eventually I dragged my self-pitying butt over to Babies R Us where I bought a case of Enfamil. And then I began the lengthy process of digesting such a healthy portion of humble pie. And now? Three years later? I'd never have believed it, but I'm totally okay with it.

How could one woman have two such different deliveries? With my first son, I hired a wacky doula to help me through my natural ("nonmedicalized," as she liked to call it) birth. But when my waters broke and my labor didn't start "naturally," I was forced to fire her inflammatory ass and fight my way through it all very differently than I had planned. A 24-hour labor, 3 hours of pushing, eventually a vacuum (I'd never heard of it either!), and he was born. My second son? 4 hours, total. I'd have been willing to get the epidural, but I didn't even need it. I walked. I watched the news. That big boy took ten minutes to push out. And unlike my first, whom I was paralyzed with fear might have extra limbs, this one could've looked like Freddie Krueger for all I cared.

Why did no one tell me to point the penis down inside the diaper? Why was the entire side of my son's crib lined with drying onesies for the first several months of his life? What I really want to know is: what good are those 500-page instructional "What to Know" tomes, anyway? Why do I need to know more about cleft palates than my son's ever-producing genitalia? 

Ditto for honey. How does infant botulism fly so very far below the radar? For example, have you, new mommy, ever heard of it? Probably not. I certainly hadn't! But no matter who you ask, from your very doctorly pediatrician to your local herbal tea shop hippy, anyone in the know agrees that honey poses significant danger to your child one year and under. And by danger I mean the lethal kind. I've shared this fact with many new mothers and not a single one had a clue. So weird?

How do I help myself as a mother? It's simple: I outsource some of my mommyness. I pretend I have a work meeting, but instead meet a girlfriend for a boozy lunch. I apologize to the nanny for being late after something important came up—like an Eat, Pray, Love premiereI ask the grandparents for help (ha!) when I need to help myself to a pedicure. At the end of the day, I've discovered, the better I treat myself, the better I treat my kids. It might not be entirely logical, but the math is definitely there to prove it. 

You don't know me, so I will state (and possibly even understate!) the obvious to my friends and family: I'm a control freak. But I'm learning with every passing day that I have little to really say about what is happening around me. My first son was barely out of my womb before I decided he would be a famous soccer player. (He'd play for Chelsea, obviously, since not only would he be sporty but he'd be hot, too.) But I've given up fuming when he throws the ball at the ceiling instead of kicks it. He shows zero propensity for soccer and I've learned not to care. So what if his face lights up at the word "make-up?" Who cares if he cares less about sports than stripping down to his underwear and wearing his blue blanket around the house as a dress? He's still adorable. And maybe he'll make it on Broadway, instead. That could be kind of cool, too!

Sometimes my insecurities play themselves out on my kids. Put simply and obnoxiously, I want my offspring to be the best. The cutest, the smartest, the nicest, the everythingest! (Ew! I can't stand it but it's true.) So when I see that his preschool class has drawn seashells my heart starts to beat a little faster. Is his the one with the pretty, precise circles? The one with the awesome curvy lines? Not that one either? Where is it? Oh. The one with the lazy scrawl in its center. I'm not sure what to make of it. While it could scream "I don't give a crap!" it might also be a giant red "Get me an OT!" flag. Either way, I lift my chin higher. Who cares about dumb shell portraits, anyway? My son can read. He's gifted. (Do we all do this?) I straighten my shoulders and smirk a little. Shells. P-shaw.

Like what you read?  Find Kirsten's children's book on her website Books by Kirsten and become a fan of hers on Facebook by clicking HERE.  Kirsten will be back next Monday with part two of her MOMMY MUSINGS.  In the meantime, we want to hear from you!  What are your thoughts, stories and feelings on motherhood?  Just grab our MOM MADNESS MONTH button from the sidebar, add it to your blog post and post your link here.  Sharing your MOMMY MUSINGS will enter you to win a Mommy Gift Pack featuring a Dobre Goods bag filled with Simply She note cards, a Lee Angel bracelet and other great goodies.  This giveaway is valued at more than $100!  So what are you waiting for?  Start musing!
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1 comment:

  1. Danielle, the blog looks amazing! Love the new design! Going to switch out my old button of yours to the new one! Congrats on all of your hard work!!


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