A Kinder Gentler Mom


I belong to several Mommy groups on Facebook. Several for older Moms…and several more for just Moms in General.  I love these groups for many reasons.  Not just for questions posed and ingenious answers that follow, but for the sense of community these groups give me. As I mentioned on my Home page, I moved my life from Florida to Massachusetts right after the birth of little O.  I have no friends here yet.   I have no support close by except my Mother-in-law, god bless her!..and some awesome family that are a phone call away.  But no daily friends to chat with and compare baby notes with. I know, I know…I can seek out play groups and “Mommy and me” type events…and I’m sure that will come, but right now, trudging through the New England snow to sing “The Wheels On The Bus,” isn’t practical or appealing.  So until the ground thaws, it’s a nice outlet to have some cyber friends going through some of the same stuff.


But last week on one of the group’s pages, who’s name shall remain nameless, because I actually can’t remember which group it was, nor does it matter….a mom posted a photo of her son who looked about 10 – 12 months old.  He was sitting in a pack and play.  She asked the question if it could hurt her son’s eyesight if he watched a cartoon through the mesh side of the pack and play.  Now before you jump to respond, let me tell you, the number of women who jumped all over this mother because she was letting her child watch television was astounding.  Now I don’t know how old she is or what her background is.  Regardless, she didn’t need to be slapped upside the head by other Mom’s when she was seeking answers.  The question she posed, was not, should my child be watching TV.  Yet, more than half of the “support group” moms chose to enlighten her, unsolicited, and some not very nicely, I might add.   Without even knowing her circumstances.  Did she have a toddler as well? Did she (fill in the blank)…..the circumstances could be anything..but one thing is for sure, they are HER circumstances.

Now I am an educated woman.  I am old enough to “know better” on many subjects.  I have been educated about “no TV for children under 2 years of age.”  But here is the big confession, cause this is about being real.    Have I put on PBS for 15-30 minutes here and there throughout a given day?  Have I introduced my little O to Thomas the Train (whom he adores!)? Have I sought out what Baby TV has to offer on Hulu? (Concertino is pretty wonderful)…so, YES.  There, I have said it.  But don’t  scream at me or chastise me.  Don’t shake your finger and raise your eyebrow.   I’m not going to defend my choice.  Because that’s the whole point of this post.  You don’t know what my circumstances are, as I don’t know what yours are.  You wouldn’t get a gasp out of me if you told me you thought Sesame Street was really good these days.  Nope.  Because YOU are raising your child…  Your unique baby who is unlike any other baby in the whole world.  And YOUR circumstances are your own.  Now, if you sat your child in front of the tube playing loops of Dexter or The Walking Dead, I’d probably think you were on crack, but I wouldn’t tell you so.  I would probably tell you about this sweet show on PBS, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, that teaches practical skills for growing and developing.  But again, it’s a fine line we tread.

I had a woman after my last blog “How To Have It All…Just Not All At Once,” who commented unfavorably regarding what I said about having a child in daycare.  I had said that if I had to put my son in daycare everyday, it would be someone else essentially raising my son.  Now, there is NO judgement in that statement. Perhaps it was a bit of a blanket statement and for that, I apologize.  I understand that women have to do whatever they can to make things work.  But it is over 8 hours a day of someone else caring for your child.  Yes, you instill your values and are raising your child, but there is an outside influence that is clocking in a lot of hours.  It’s not judgement, it’s just fact.  The point is, this mother responded with such defense.  And I get it.  Because as mothers we feel like we have to defend every move we make…from formula feeding, to TV time, to you name it.  Most of us question  every choice we make throughout the day.  We do a number on ourselves constantly….do we really need another mother’s judgement? The stay at home mom is constantly defending her choice to stay at home….the working mom is defending her choice/or necessity to remain in the work force.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we may feel guilty or insecure about.

I’m sure you all have seen the Similac commercial “The Sisterhood of Motherhood.”   It blew up my Facebook the day it started being shared.  You can click on the title here to take a gander.  The reason it is funny…is because there is truth in it. ( truth in comedy, right?)  I mean, there was going to be a rumble at that playground! Mothers against mothers….against mothers.  It took a baby being in danger to bond them all.  Why should it take a tragedy to bring people together? I mean, really Ladies? Aren’t we better than that?  Why is it we are so quick to pounce on each other?  Why can’t we be each other’s champions and cheerleaders? Where is empathy among Mothers? Come to think of it, where is empathy among all people?  Why are we so quick to find each other’s faults?

This endeavor of mothering takes courage, stamina, and at times, a god-like amount of patience.  To rephrase an old adage…never judge a mother till you’ve walked a mile in her shoes, be they Gucci pumps or sensible flats.  The truth is, we need each other.  I need help, encouragement, and friendship everyday.  And wine.  Lots of wine. But seriously, a reassuring nod from the sisterhood of motherhood goes a long way.  When I’m navigating my stroller in the slushy parking lot of my local Target, and I see another mom doing the same….I try to give her a reassuring smile.  Sometimes a kind comment.  The point is, even the smallest kindness can get you through a day. Especially a tough day.  We all have them. So the next time we rush to judge, or comment on a Facebook post…Take pause.  Think.  Could this be you?  If not now, maybe someday soon?  If there are two things  I’ve learned in my “advanced maternal age” is to never say never and kindness goes a long way.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember…behind every great kid, is a mom who is sure she is messing it up! :)) xo



How to Have It All…Just Not All at Once


As women we are no strangers to the idea of “having it all.”  As far back as I can remember, the notion was embedded into my head.  You are taught from a very young age that if you aren’t looking to “have it all,” then you aren’t reaching high enough.  Especially for us Type As.  It is the female goal.  Having it ALL. Great career, loving spouse, and of course, a baby or two ( or in some cases three or more…God Bless Ya!).  Our society bills this as the ideal.  As the way to happiness.  Career Mommy who is fulfilled as a mother and a professional.  Well …I say it’s all bananas.

The truth, at least the way I see it, is that you most certainly can have it all…just not all at the same time.  You can totally be a stay-at-home mom and focus on raising your children, but then your career suffers.  Or you can choose to focus on your career and have your child cared for by someone other than you.  Either way, something has to give.  Now of course, there are women who HAVE to work and are forced to have their children in daycare…but that isn’t an argument for “having it all.” Ask them if they are truly happy with the situation.  ?? That’s called “making it work” as sooo many women do these days.  But it’s not “having it all.”

“Having it ALL”  includes being happy.  As Mark Manson writes in his article The Hidden Cost of Happiness,  “everything has a cost, even if that cost is not immediately apparent. To achieve anything you must give up something else.”  In our happiness obsessed culture, we seem to strive for the opposite. But as he says, “Ironically, it’s the unwillingness to sacrifice anything, to give up anything, that makes us more miserable.”  I agree.  (I highly suggest reading his piece. Or all his stuff.  He is kind of a self help guru for people who can’t stand self help.  www.markmanson.net

So I have to personalize the theory.  If I try to keep my career going, then I have to give up not just time with my son, but I would have to give up possibly, seeing his first steps, hearing his first words, among other milestones.  For me to work, means time away.  Sure I could bring him with me, but someone else would have to care for him during rehearsals and performance times….and then my husband loses out.  He would miss stuff as well.  How could I do that to him?  So the loving husband is penalized for my need to feel relevant in my career.  If I left O with my husband, he would be in daycare every week day.  Again, someone else essentially raising my son.   And I would miss everything.  The mere thought of not seeing him everyday for even a small period of time is unthinkable right now.  Maybe that will change?  I don’t know.  Either way, would keeping my career afloat bring me true happiness? Or just fleeting happiness?  What is really required for true happiness?

Well, I’m glad you asked that.  Mr. Manson says that first off “you must accept imperfection and flaws.” Now this is tough because we then have to accept that we have to live with things we don’t like.  I don’t like 4am feedings.  I don’t like getting spit up on.  And I don’t like the inconsolable crying.  But…I accept it as where we are right now in this journey of raising our child.  Hell, Ladies, there are about a hundred other things I don’t like about this job, but there are a hundred and four that I now can’t live without.

Most importantly, Mr. Manson talks about finding a deeper purpose to your actions.  This has to do with growth and contribution.  Now THIS speaks to me as a mother.  What could be more motivating than raising a child to become a decent, kind, thinking human being??   That is a true contribution to society.   Hell, you could be raising the child who grows up to change life, as the world knows it, for the better!  And as far as growth, well, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…there’s your growth!  But truly, I somehow understand through all my foibles with this task, that my love for O makes me a better person.  It’s not about me.  Mothering is a selfless act.  And when you do for another, with no thought of gain for yourself, it makes you happy.  It’s just the way it works.


A pic from the last show I did before O.

So the question is…could I find that profound happiness whilst belting out a tune or tapping my troubles away??  Happy, yes.  But profound happiness?…the stuff of angels?  No, I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not so easy.  Not so black and white.  There are days when I long for the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.  Days where I wish I could audition, book a show..and PLAY!! But….then the reality for this Mommy sets in.   I know there are friends of mine and readers, perhaps, who are thinking that I am giving up.  They are right.  I guess, I feel I must to get something else, i.e. the “motherhood experience.”   You see,  I have enjoyed a rather full amazing life so far.  One so completely different from the one I struggle through today.  But there is part of me that knows there is a higher purpose to this time and task,  and it honestly gets me through days when I don’t really want to go to “work.”  (Like it’s an option! lol)  So for now…my career suffers.  Maybe it will never recover…maybe I will recreate myself as an older more grounded actress…?? ( I’m thinking Meryl Streep meets Kristen Wiig) ? Who knows… Who cares? Right now, it doesn’t matter.  Right now, I need to BE HERE..in this moment.  In this very special role, that was chosen just for me.  And the HAPPINESS,  while mingled with tears and tough days, is rich and abundant, and unlike any I’ve know before.

Until next time, keep on keeping on….and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is quite certain she’s messing it all up! 🙂 xo



Choose Your Husband Well

In honor of Father’s Day and my amazing husband and baby Daddy, I decided to repost this love letter of sorts to my beloved.  He is truly awesome.  I honestly didn’t know just how wonderful he would be at this parenting thing.  He surprises and delights me on a daily basis.  From washing bottles to the love and gentle care he gives to both Little O and I every single day….he is Father of the Year in our eyes.  Thank you, my love, for choosing to share this wonderful life with us.  Xo


It seems like it is just common sense.  Choose your husband well.  ?? Really, aren’t we ALL trying to do that when we choose a mate?  But the criteria for a good husband is different than the criteria for a good father…or is it?  Now, I have dated a fair share of men in past. And since I am “older” I have dated a good deal more than perhaps your normal 20 or 30 something year old has.  Now, as I know my mother and mother-in-law read this blog, I will try to leave out the tawdry details.  But let’s say, for good measure, that I have been around.  I was never your one night stand girl at all.  I had lasting relationships with several men.  The WRONG men.  I guess they served their purpose for that time in my life, but still WRONG.  And when I say that, they could have certainly been RIGHT for someone.  Just not me.   I met my now husband over 10 years ago.  Now you all know that he is a good deal younger than me.  (11 years).  So now imagine, 10+ years ago…..he was a boy.  Was he marriage material?  NO! Of course not.  But did he have the makings of a man who would be not only an amazing husband, but a more amazing father?  You bet he did.  I am just lucky enough that he stuck it out and waited for me to come to my senses.

So what is this criteria I think so important for the ideal mate?  Note, I don’t say perfect, because there is no such thing.  In fact, faults are part of the charm.  So don’t knock them.  And realize that YOU, yes YOU, have faults too.  It’s part of owning who you are in a real adult relationship.  I truly believe the number one thing to look for in a mate is a kind heart.  I knew my now husband possessed this rare feature on about day three of meeting him.  And it is still at the core of his being.  It is inherently who he is.  Kind.  Sometimes, it is to his chagrin. But he is truly Kind.

The second thing would be Honesty.  How many of us can really truly say we are with someone we can absolutely trust with our life?  I have NEVER been with another man that I could say that about.  In fact, with several, I knew it to be quite the opposite.  I mean, I am sure they would have tried to save me from a burning building (you know, to keep up appearances), but they would most likely have shagged two women on the way up and a set of twins on the way down.  The thing is,  I knew this about these men.  Somewhere, somehow, I knew.  They were self absorbed, unavailable, unwilling to truly commit to something other than themselves and unaware of what they truly wanted from life.  In flux, you could say. Caught in a kind of Peter Pan vortex.

My husband knew exactly what he wanted when I met him.  Regardless of the fact that he was too young to make those things happen, he was firm and committed to having the life that he imagined.  He wanted to be married.  (To me, lucky for me).  And he wanted a family.  Now again, lucky for me, his want for me in his life, trumped the want for a family…because who knew at the time of our commitment, if I would be able to give him children ??  He sure didn’t.  But in all his youth, he understood that WHO you choose as your partner, should you choose to have a partner,  makes all the difference to the life you will live.  Add a baby to the mix and your choice of partner becomes an even  more profound thing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  People who raise a child on their own are truly amazing.  I seriously don’t know HOW they do it.  Sharing this journey with my husband is half the fun of it.  Someone who understands my fierce unconditional LOVE for this little creature, because HE feels it too.  It’s another level of connection we now share.  The idea of it is quite awesome!  WE created this child! This amazing, beautiful, fantastic child!!  And no one thinks that about him like WE do.  To us, he is perfect (even though there is no such thing).  He is EVERYTHING.  He is the best parts of both of us (and even our not so great parts, but hey who’s looking?).  He is our celebration of our love for each other!  I mean, how do you share all of that with someone who is unavailable?  Someone who is afraid of truly being loved?  I don’t know.   Maybe it’s possible?? I know plenty of women, married to men who are just not “there.” Guys who aren’t at peace being the husband and father.  Guys who are always chasing a skirt to somehow elude their mortality….??? As I re read this, I can see the cynicism. But, I am old enough not to bullshit you.

To truly enjoy this journey of being a parent, you MUST have a partner who is with you 110%.  Someone who is just as jazzed about it as you.  Who is just as tired and fried, but who picks you up after a long day of “fussy baby” antics.   The guy who at 4am, says “I’ve got it babe.”  They guy who takes the baby out on Saturday mornings to give you some “Me” time.  The guy who still looks at you like you are the most beautiful women he’s ever seen….even with spit up on your shirt and no makeup on your face.  He’s got your back…and there is no doubt that he will always have it.  I’ve never enjoyed that level of “no doubt.”  It’s pretty wonderful.  I highly recommend it.  But then, that’s what this whole post is about.  Choose your partner well, friends.  Choose him well.

Until next time, keep up the good fight.  And remember, behind every great kid, is a mom who is sure she is messing it up.  Thanks for reading! xo

Don’t Hate Me

So after two weeks of sob story blogs, I decided it was time to lighten it up.  Now, don’t hate me, but I completely escaped stretch marks.  And don’t hate me even more, but I pretty much lost my baby weight within the first few weeks.  I actually weighed less at my 6 month postpartum dr. appointment, than I did when I first found out I was pregnant. (I think the scale was light).   I swear though, I lost muscle and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat.  But nevertheless….I’ll take it for now. The first few months were tough on me…at least let me be a skinny bitch. 🙂 I have a few things I swore by throughout the pregnancy and some things that made clean eating really yummy.

So I gained 32 pounds during my pregnancy. I didn’t really gain anything until month 5 came around and then I started noticing a difference quickly.  I didn’t diet. I ate well.  I ate with a purpose.  And that purpose was Oliver.  No junky junk.  Now that isn’t to say I didn’t have ice cream or treats…OH HELL YEAH.  But when I had ice cream, it was all natural.  No chemicals.  No preservatives, additives, etc. I was clean eating.  I pretty much have been a clean eater my whole adult life, so there was no struggle to eat well for little O.  NO soda or as I like to call it, The Devil’s Nectar… I drank water like it was my job.  I had a week or so when my Blood Pressure was oddly low and we linked it to being dehydrated.  Also when I was dehydrated, I would get more of the Toni Braxtons (a.k.a Braxton Hicks Contractions)  I didn’t need another sad love song racking my brain like crazy (see what I did there?? Lol.) ..So hydrating was key!!

This was a normal mid day snack for me..

This was a normal mid day snack for me..

I also found an amazing recipe on Pinterest (of course) for banana peanut butter energy balls.  OMG!  If you have not tried these, YOU MUST!! It’s literally 2 ripe bananas mashed.  Add a cup of raw oats, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and either 1/2 cup of  raisins or, my favorite, 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.  Mix it all together.  Stick the bowl in the fridge for an hour.  Roll teaspoons of the mix into balls and put on a foiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Viola! I would keep them in my fridge and eat at least two-three late at night with some almond milk.  They saved my ass.  Literally.  I pinned the recipe on my Pinterest board “Mommy Help,” but I am sure you could easily find it.  LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!

When I would fall off the wagon it was for a Sonic Vanilla Shake.  I started by getting a mini….but that was just a tease.  I stuck with the small and I would be very satisfied.  Now they are by no means “good” for you, but at least they are made with real ice cream and real milk.  So THAT was my guilty pleasure and I savored them each and every time.  I am very grateful there is no Sonic near us where we live now.  I don’t need that kind of temptation in my life.  lol.

Oh Sweet Joy in a Cup. The Small Sonic Vanilla Shake!

Another thing I did pretty much everyday of my pregnancy, was walk.  I kept up my usual 3 miles a day until I found out that I had placenta previa.  I was a bit freaked, so I completely stopped for about a week or so, and then resumed with caution for the next month while I waited to get the placenta’s position checked.  After the previa had corrected itself and after double and triple checking with my doctors, I resumed my regular walks…but took them a little easier, to be honest.  Once I hit the last few weeks of pregnancy, I was waddling.  But my husband and I would still go for a stroll after dinner pretty much every night.  Told you he was a good guy. 🙂

I mentioned avoiding stretch marks.  Now I do believe that some of that has to do with genetics.  I don’t know if my mom got  stretch marks from pregnancy (She can’t remember).  But after four (yes, FOUR) children, I have to say, I don’t recall her having them.  But…I wasn’t taking any chances.  I used two things.  One, I used in the mornings after I showered.  It is Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Oil /Kukui Nut.  It was recommended to me by my sister-in-law who said she swore by it.  I LOVE it!!!

I swear by this!!!

I now swear by this!!!

And, every evening, my darling husband used to put Burt’s Bees Belly Butter on my stomach.  It became our “before bed ritual.”  For that alone, I love this product.  And again, I didn’t get stretch marks, so I am sure it helped! It is a Burt’s Bees Product.  Their Baby Bee Line is wonderful for babies, as well.


Mama Butter for your Belly!

Another thing I used every single day, was coconut oil.  In my cooking and on my skin.  Particularly my legs, which I mentioned got extremely dry.  The doctors just told me to suffer through and lather with Eucerin.  But nothing but coconut oil helped.  I still use it everyday.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, after I had O, I was swollen beyond recognition.  It was really bad the first week and got progressively better as the water left my body.  Much of what I gained was baby and what accompanies the baby in the womb.  Within a couple weeks my body had lost 25 pounds.  Because I put the weight on slowly, it came off faster.  Now you can stop your hating right now, because you know there is a fly in the ointment.  Even though, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight….my body has changed.  And not in the way one strives for.  My scar from my c-section is quite low, but the little pooch that sits right above said scar remains.  Maybe if I tried harder, it would go away?   My body has somehow shifted.  I fit into my old jeans, but they just don’t feel quite the same.  I’m softer now.  In every way.  You see, I also just don’t care quite as much as I used to about the appearance my body.  That isn’t to say I don’t want to be healthy, of course I do.  And I enjoy clothes too much to not fit into the crazy closet I acquired before baby O.  But I don’t need to strut around in a string bikini anymore.  In fact, the notion is not just laughable, but completely impractical.  I enjoyed many more years of that than I probably should have pre-baby.  I just don’t want to be one of those moms with her baby at the beach, falling out of her bathing suit while she picks up her little one. There is a lot of bending, stretching and heaving a heavy child involved in my day.  I don’t need to be wearing a string bikini whilst doing so.  But, hey, that’s just me.

Point being, my priorities are just different now.  Does that mean I am just going to “let myself go?”  No.  I enjoy making an effort and I hope my husband appreciates it, as well.  But it isn’t a top priority right now.  Nor, dare I say, will it ever be again.  Let’s do the math.  By the time Oliver is at the age where I can actually relax at the beach, I’ll be in my mid 50’s or older.  The bikini boat will have sailed by then, don’t you think? …Don’t you hope?

This is my new bikini replacement.  Cute, eh? Made by bond-eye Australia.

This is my new bikini replacement. Cute, eh? Made by bond-eye Australia.

Going into the pregnancy at the age of 43, there were so many things that could have gone wrong that I would have no control over.  How I took care of myself was actually something that I could take an active part in.  My doctor told me that a huge part of why my pregnancy went well was because of the good shape I was in before I got pregnant.  It is no guarantee, obviously, but it helps.  My advice, unwarranted as it is, is to keep active during pregnancy.  WALK!  The greatest exercise there is! And feed your body the way you would feed your child.  Would you give your infant a Big Mac and fries?  I hope not.  So why give it to him in the womb?  Anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it.  Until next time, keep fighting the good fight!  And remember, behind every great kid, is a mother who is pretty sure she is messing it up.  🙂  xo