The Flying Crap Shoot

O getting ready for takeoff!

O getting ready for takeoff!

This last week my husband and I did the dreaded…the unthinkable…the “Holy shit! What made us think this was a good idea?” thing…..we took our 9 month old on an airplane. Off to Florida for a reprieve from the cruel New England winter. Let me first say, the whole experience could have been MUCH worse. We could have been the parents who sat three rows behind us, whose child vomited everywhere. Several times. God bless them! Wet Ones don’t put a dent in that stink. Yikes! And considering we were enjoying the beach on the first day of spring while the North East experienced yet another snow day…I’d say it was worth it.

But this endeavor is in no way a challenge for the weak or wimpy. There is no more leisurely magazine reading or a cheeky Bloody Mary in my friendly skies. It’s a freakin P90X workout, even under the best of circumstances. Now that my little O has discovered standing and walking, he only wants to be up. Not easy on an airplane. I have a 25lb 9 month old who is long and solid. That’s some serious weight training on a three hour flight. Luckily my husband and I took turns holding him.

And talk about prepping your gear! I mean you have to have everything you could possibly need for every scenario. (Example: vomit boy three rows back). You’ve got your anti bac wipes to sanitize everything within the perimeter of your little one’s reach. Then you have your regular baby wipes, diapers, bum cream, etc. Now, if you think to, you might want an emergency ziplock with wipes, a diaper, and some sort of disposable pad….cause ever try to carry a diaper bag into an airplane lavatory? Then add you and your baby to that tiny space….yeah, it’s laughable. And then you realize there is no changing table in said tiny lavatory. Most airlines haven’t upgraded their johns to accommodate diaper changes. Really? Get with the times folks! Yet the attendants look at you with horror if you attempt to change your child in your seat. Sorry, my madness makes me lose focus.

Add to your list a change of clothes for baby (Example: vomit boy three rows back) and a change of shirt for Mom and/or Dad (again.. Example: vomit boys parents), toys to keep your little one occupied, pacifiers (with an S, because they will drop them or throw them continually) pacifier wipes, bottles for feeding on take off and landing so your little ones ears don’t get affected by the pressure, room temperature bottled water ( if you’re formula feeding) which you have to search for once you go through security, because everyone sells it cold, burp cloths, baby blanket in case it’s freezing onboard,  which it usually is and last but not least your friendly boppy pillow, so your little one can lay on your lap in comfort when they feel like it, which was never in little O’s case. I’m exhausted and I’m only reliving it.

Little O was as good as a 9 month old could be in a confined space for three hours. Heck, he was better behaved than a gaggle of middle aged women who were acting like they were getting a jump start on spring break in Daytona Beach. But it’s tough. You gotta really want to go somewhere to take this on once your child discovers mobility. Now the kicker is that my return trip will be sans the hubbie. Yup, I will be flying back home with O all on my own. Returning a rental car, to boot. I am sure I am certifiable for choosing to put myself in this situation. But when I flew with O at less than 3 months old, it was easy. I didn’t know that it would be, but it was. He ate, he slept, he ate again, we landed. When we booked these flights I didn’t take into account he would be so much bigger and more mobile. Silly Mommy! So I will yet again, roll the dice. Cause that’s what it is…a crap shoot. Will I be the Mom handling her baby’s explosive diaper? Or cleaning up vomit with Wet Ones? Or will I win the kitty and deplane the aircraft unscathed, though undeniably exhausted. Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll let you know. Until next time, pray for me friends, as I will for you if you ever need to travel or just really want to get away with the little one in tow.

Mother In Law MUSTS


So often I read about women who detest their mothers in law.  I don’t even know where to begin with my objection to this.  Now I guess I lucked out in the mother in law department.  My husband’s mother is amazing.  A true angel.  A wonderful grandmother and a really great lady.  I truly enjoy her company.  So I guess it makes my choice to like/love her easy.  Yes, I say choice.  Because we can choose how we decide to feel about a person.  But if I didn’t happen to adore my mother in law? Then what?

Well, let’s see.  # 1.  I would NOT write negatively about her on Facebook.  Come on ladies!  Do you think your very candid public vent is somehow going to help your relationship with your MIL?    You might as well pour gasoline on a burning fire.  Did that sarcastic jab make you feel better after you pushed “post?”  Was the three seconds of satisfaction worth the fall out?  The only thing this very rash and impulsive move will accomplish, is hurting your MIL, and also your husband.

And that leads me to #2.  I would try everything I could to make the MIL relationship a good one for my husband’s sake.  How do you think your strained relationship makes your husband feel?  Why add that stress to your husband’s plate?  Have the foresight to see that it will only add stress to your relationship with your hubbie.  Why do that to yourself?  Unless you like to live a life steeped in drama, keep the MIL relationship civil, at the very least.  I know, I know, someone out there is saying, “But you just don’t understand how she can be?”  It doesn’t matter.  You will never change the actions of someone else….you can only change your reaction. part of the solution…not part of the problem. You will feel better and your husband will love you all the more for it.

# 3 is perhaps the most important in my book.  I would do everything I could to encourage the MIL’s relationship with my child.  The relationship between a child and his grandparents is one of the most important relationships in a person’s life.  A grandparent loves your child AS MUCH as you do.  They want only what is best for your child.  That child is a part of them…as he is a part of you. It is a beautiful bond, if you let it be.  It is another person you can feel good about leaving your child with if you need to.  Honestly, to watch my MIL with my O….is one of my favorite things.  To see their bond forming…to see the love for him she wears so effortlessly on her face and in her heart.  Why deny either one of them this bond?  But especially your child?  The exception would be, if there was abuse.  Obviously, you wouldn’t want to put your child in harms way, ever.

Look, familial relationships are tough at times.  Ifyou consider your family your friends, it seems these days, you are in the minority.  Dysfunction is everywhere.  But don’t fight over a child.  Don’t fight in front of a child.  Teach your child to cherish his family and special relationships. It is a gift you not only give to your child, but to yourself, as well.  One day, I will be the mother in law.  I can only hope my son chooses a partner who has learned to value family.  But I already understand my part in making that relationship work.  It will mean so much to my son.  And that is a gift I would never deny him.  🙂

O and his Grammy..true love.

O and his Grammy..true love.

Until the next time, keep on keepin on! And remember, behind every great kid is a mother who is certain she is messing it all up! 🙂


Praying for Help


The weeks following coming home from the hospital with Little O, were my bleakest ever.  That sounds horrible, but it’s true.  I knew I had the postpartum blues, but a diagnosis doesn’t  make the day to day struggle any easier, except to know that it would eventually pass.  Getting through those days of tears and self doubt was pretty much the most difficult time I have ever encountered.  I remember,  my husband had to fly up north for a job interview and was going to be gone overnight….about a 24 hour trip.  I was going to be alone with the baby.  Just me.  I was terrified.  I couldn’t tell him not to go.  That I couldn’t handle it. The interview was for a job he wanted badly, and I couldn’t say ” don’t go!” like I wanted to.  So I lied.  I feigned a smile.  “Go. I’ll be fine.”

I remember holding little O, rocking in my nursery glider…crying.  I just couldn’t stop.  I remember trying to quietly cry, because I didn’t want to startle the baby..or scare him.  Could I scare an infant by crying? I didn’t know! I felt like I knew nothing.  I remember feeling hopeless.  But somehow I got through the 24 hours. My parents came to stay with us a couple days later. Instead of relief, I felt stressed beyond comprehension.  My world was completely topsy turvy.  Every reaction or feeling I was having was the opposite of what I was supposed to be having.  I kept feeling like I was spinning. Like I was in a bad dream and I was desperate to wake up. I had such shame.  Such feelings of inadequacy.  I didn’t want my parents to see me like this….I think they thought I was very stressed, but I don’t think they truly grasped how bad off I was, Thank God.

My husband was always trying to get me to take some time for myself…or do something to de-stress.  This particular evening was no exception.  He told me to go take a long hot shower and I agreed.  I remember the scalding hot water running down my back…and the hot tears running down my face.  I was silently sobbing.  Heavy silent sobs.  I wanted to hide.  I wanted to stay in that shower for the rest of my life.  I remember looking up and asking God for help.  Would he please help me..because I didn’t know what I was going to do without some serious celestial assistance.

The next day, again at my husband’s plea…I went to get a manicure.  I remember thinking that a manicure was not going to solve anything…but I would go…maybe it would relax me? My usual guy was finishing up with another customer and he told me to come sit down by them. He was congratulating me on the baby…and asking all about it.  The lady he was working on was nice and started asking me questions too.  I remember telling her that I was having a difficult time. How I just didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  She said sweetly, but very matter of fact, “You just have to hold him and love him.”  Like it was THAT easy….huh.  She told me about her grandchild.  I asked her how many children she had. She said,”two.”  A son and a daughter.  “My son lives in Colorado and my daughter was murdered.”  I was stunned! What?!  “Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry!”  She went on like she hadn’t said something so horrific, so terrifying…telling me about something her granddaughter did recently.  She got up and gave me a smile and said, “Remember, you just have to hold  him and love him.” And she was gone.

My nail guy told me she lost her daughter in a highly publicized school shooting, years ago.  She had since relocated to South Florida.  She had done the talk shows and interviews about it afterwards, talking about gun control,  dealing with the loss and how to move on.   And there I was complaining to this woman about how hard it was to have a beautiful new born baby! How awful of me! And then it hit me.  I had asked God for help…and what I got was perspective. I proclaim that I am a spiritual person, but I am not very religious, per say.  But no one can tell me that God didn’t put me in that seat next to that woman.  Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe.  And my talking with that woman was the mental shift I needed to get me over the bluesy hump.  I can honestly say, that my whole mindset changed that afternoon.  I looked at O  differently after that.  I could see the incredible gift we had been given.  I knew I had to cherish it.  Every time I would feel like things were hard, I’d remember that woman…..and my perspective would shift.  9 months later, I wish I could thank her and let her know the huge impact she has had on my life.  How she helped me so profoundly.  How I follow her simple advice each and every day.  “Just hold him and love him.”  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…  You never know from where you will receive help.  It can come from very unlikely places.  In unlikely forms. In the most random person.  In a thoughtful  kind word, a prayer answered,  or a simple piece of advice.  “Just hold him and love him.”


The Mommy Bubble


This past television and movie award season was the first one I didn’t even watch.  I wasn’t the least bit interested in any of it.  Now as an actor, that is odd.  I mean, it is something all actors look forward to.  Receiving our SAG nominated films in the mail for viewing and voting on….the Oscar buzz…and finally the events themselves.  The red carpet, the speeches, the wins and misses.  This year, I could care less. And I don’t even care that I don’t care.  This year it all seemed trivial.  This year it all seemed a life time away.  You see, this year I have my little O.  And everything else is small potatoes.

Its not just the movies that don’t matter to me right now….it’s pretty much everything.  Everything except O, my husband, and my family.  I don’t know what is current in any sense, from the news to music to fashion (unless it’s baby boy wear). I don’t know what the new hot products are (unless we are talking baby gear)  or who the new hot faces are selling them.  It’s like I am in a bubble….a mommy bubble.  It’s a real thing.  I imagine the bubble will burst one day, and life will return to “normal.” But I’m kind of loving it right now.  I love this little creature who has consumed my life…who is my top priority…who is our everything, right now.  Does that change? Will it seem different as he gets older? Does every mother feel this way? Have I completely lost perspective?

I used to to read the paper and watch CNN.  I used to watch The State of the Union address faithfully.  I think I missed this one, eh? Heck, I used to read books.  Lots of books.  It’s all on the back burner for now.  Heck, I don’t really have time to write this blog.  It gets done during nap time or occasionally if I have enough steam left in me after O’s bedtime.  I literally feel like I don’t have time for much of anything but O right now.  His needs are big and it seems that everything I do,  every choice I make, I must take his needs and his schedule into consideration.  I guess that would create a bit of a bubble, eh?

I just wonder if it’s because I am older that I willingly succumb to the bubble? I feel pretty comfortable missing things.  I don’t look over my shoulder and long for the past.  I had a pretty rocking life so far…and like I said before, this is not peaches and cream all the time.  Sometimes it’s poops and screams….but I’m not longing for anything else at this moment.  I certainly don’t feel I have “my own thing” to worry about… least not right now.  Maybe I’m fooling myself.  I might wake up a few years from now and wonder what the hell have I been doing?  Ah, but right now, I’m protected by the Mommy Bubble.

I notice a lot of mothers on Facebook groups and mommy bloggers, commenting and writing about fighting for their “me time” or dreams unrealized and a longing for their “own life” back.  It is a huge  common theme among moms.  Needing the  “me time” I get.  A few hours a week is key to remaining psychologically healthy.  It’s called taking care of yourself, in my book. Doesn’t matter what you do with that time, but preferably it isn’t laundry. Especially laundry that isn’t your own. But as far as having dreams unrealized? Or wishing for days gone by? Not me.  Like I said, maybe it’s because I’m older and have done pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted to do. Gone everywhere I’ve wanted to go. (Except an African safari).  The point is, that I don’t feel I’m missing something if I am in THIS moment.  It lets me enjoy THIS time.

My 20’s and 30’s were spent constantly racing after something….a job, a boy, you name it.  I always felt I had to have my hands in about 20 different pots to ensure I’d wind up with something.  Be it, the job, the boyfriend, etc. When I turned 40, something clicked in me.  The slow motion switch turned on and I realized I could actually enjoy the choices I was making.  I didn’t have to run to the next one, be it job, boyfriend, etc.  So this feeling of enjoying where I am at, had been steeping in me for a few years already.  Now with O, he demands I live in the moment.  Because with him, that’s the way it is.  Babies don’t think about the future or the past….just what’s right in front of them.  How smart they are!!!

If I was in my 20’s or even 30’s having O, I don’t know I would feel as I do now.  In fact, I assure you, I would most likely feel like “my” life got shorted in some way.  Not that I wouldn’t be completely in love with my child and feel completely blessed, as I am sure all mothers do…but I have a hunch I would be thinking about the day I might get “my” life back to do the things “I” wanted to do, but didn’t get the chance to yet.  I have a friend, Bree O’Connor, who is a talented artist/writer, who wrote an essay, Over It, on her site, Born Bree.  She writes about her fantasy of running away from her kids and her husband to explore the life she wanted before she ever had them.  The problem with the plan was that she knew she would never be able to breathe without them.  Her love for them was like oxygen.  My blurb doesn’t do the ferocious, eloquent honesty justice…but you can take a read, if you click the link.  I felt her passion.  I sympathized with her need to scream and run.  I related to her unequivocal love for her children. And I understood that had I had O when she had her children, I would, no doubt,  be feeling just like her.

I understand I took a big gamble waiting to have a baby.   And I am not telling women to wait to have children, necessarily.  Trust me, there are a lot of things that are not so super about having a baby at the tender age of 44….Like my aching back and my growing crow’s feet, among a hundred other things.   But I LOVE my mommy bubble….it’s like a little cocoon…and I’m fully aware that I have drank the Kool-Aid on this one.  Knowing my younger self better than I did when I WAS my younger self, I can tell you this level of contentment would not have been possible.  I was not emotionally mature enough nor was my ego ready to step aside. But now, there is really something to be said for being truly content in any moment, especially one that involves your own little miracle.   At my advanced maternal age of 44,  I say Bring On the Bubble!   Heck, if it came with 8 hours of uninterrupted nightly sleep, I’d never leave.