moms

The "M" Word

It was a Tuesday afternoon. I was counting down the days and finally, I was in the chair in the ultrasound room getting ready to see our second baby for the first time. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was playing softly over the speakers, I was cold and definitely uncomfortable with my feet up in the stirrups— why does this have to feel so awkward, I thought. I watched as the ultrasound technician began to show us our baby. She looked and prodded and after what felt like forever, eventually said, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” My face became hot and I squinted my eyes while looking at the screen— willing it to show a heartbeat and begging God that this was an oversight. I couldn’t look at my husband, this would be our second loss in a row and although I know that I did nothing to cause it personally, I felt responsible for the pain we both were feeling in the moment.

30 minutes before I was sitting in that room I was dancing down the hallway to my appointment, I was texting my mom and friends that I was at the office and I was talking to my husband about the type of fruit our baby compared to that week. In an instant, this little soul that was a part of me and a part of our family was gone.

When it comes to women and their bodies people don’t like to talk about these private things that women experience— periods, abortions, miscarriages, the list goes on. Miscarriages are hard to talk about because it’s about the little people who we hoped and prayed for, who we loved with our whole hearts that we never even got to meet. From the moment that we got the positive test it was like we were in preparation mode to bring this new little life into our family— already discussing double strollers, where to buy the nursery furniture and what names we liked. I had trained myself to get used to my one cup of coffee a day and I had already gotten used to passing on the glass of wine at dinner for an iced tea. We discussed how great of a big brother our son would be and all of these ideas on how to announce we were having another child.

The thing that is the most disconcerting about miscarriage is that leading up to it there is nothing but plans for the future and in an instant those plans are just gone and all of a sudden you aren’t really pregnant anymore. You are expected to continue to go about your life like things are normal, go to work and the grocery store, make small talk with strangers about the weather, shower, sleep, and rinse and repeat. People have no idea what you’re going through, they have no idea that you want to just scream or cry, or both.  If you’re like me, you’ve made a well-informed decision with your doctor and set up an appointment to say goodbye. Everyone you come into contact with that has read your file gives you the look of empathy and sorrow— these are not easy procedures for them either. You say a prayer, take the anesthesia and after that you try your damnedest to begin to heal in all ways possible.

I share this story not to receive empathy or sorrow— I share this for two very important reasons: First, I’m not the first woman to have a miscarriage, I definitely won’t be the last and I want to put it out in the universe that even though this is an incredibly isolating experience, if you are going through this you are not alone. If there is one thing that I have learned through this it’s that I am surrounded by so many strong women who have this secret held close to their hearts— that they lost a baby, too. And strangely I found comfort in knowing that I was not alone in my experience. Second, I want to honor this baby that was almost ours. We were so close to announcing to the world that we were having another baby and even though we never made it to that point, I still want people to know that he/she existed.

I’d like to think that my first-born child is my sweet ray of sunshine, my baby that I never got to meet is now a twinkling star in the heavens, and one day, we will get our rainbow.

The Problem With Being Sorry

Toddlers go to the beat of their own drum, they genuinely only care about what is in their best interest and they leave a lot of crumbs behind. Let’s be real here, they have a lot to say “I’m sorry” for, but sometimes I really don’t want my child to be sorry.

Recently we were stuck on a plane due to bad weather. This led to us being up in the air an extra 40 minutes and sitting on the ground for an extra hour due to lightning. In that moment, any parent can empathize what it’s like to fly with a toddler, but a toddler that has been stuck on the same plane for four hours—Lord help us. Somehow my child remained calm, sat on our laps and watched Finding Nemo like it was any old Monday. Then I shuffled and I knocked the iPad on the ground, to which my toddler looked up to me with big eyes and said “I sorry.”

“I’m sorry” is probably one of the most annoying phrases that I have in my everyday vocabulary. My boss tells me about an annoying conversation she had with someone and I say, “I’m sorry!” My husband drops something and I say, “I’m sorry!” Someone in the grocery store bumps into me and I say, “I’m sorry!” That phrase, commonplace and familiar sneaks its way into my every day conversations and has become so routine and involuntary it’s as prevalent in my every day life as saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes.

Toddler’s are sponges. That’s why we spell out cuss words, try not to watch Game of Thrones when our kid is awake and it’s why eating chocolate behind closed doors is a very real thing as a parent. My son plays with my make up brushes, he drags my purse around the house and he pretends to mow the lawn alongside my husband. My child wants to clean when I clean, read when I read and God forbid I’m on my phone, he wants to play on that, too. It should be no surprise that he’s picked up on the monotonous phrase, “I’m sorry” too.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times that I want him to apologize. When he throws a toy at the dog, when he slaps me on the head in the deli line at the grocery store, when he throws a banana on the ground (only after asking for a banana in the first place)— all times that I would LOVE an apology even though let’s be honest, toddlers are never really sorry. It’s those other “Sorrys” the ones that aren’t really merited because it’s not your fault. Maybe this goes far beyond our kids. Maybe this is a little bit of a wake up call for all of us—apologize when you did something wrong and have a little faith that sometimes it’s okay to not be sorry, too.

9 Ways My Sorority Prepared Me for Motherhood

"From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it."

As I get older and (I’d like to think) wiser, I can’t help but look back on the road that led me to where I am today. I only graduated with my undergraduate degree four years ago, but being married and a mom makes it feel like it has been three times as long. Instead of drinking wine out of a bag I go for a moderately priced bottle, and my evenings are spent picking up toddler toys and cuddling on the couch with my husband instead of doing whiskey shots and dancing to bad top 40’s music.

I always was designated the “mom” of my friend groups, not in that I always carried the Advil, was the first to show up with ice cream during a break-up, or because I really knew how to rock some high waisted jeans, but because I just always felt that it was a part of who I was. When I was pregnant I took classes, I read books, and I consulted with online mom groups way more than I’d like to admit. Here I am now, the parent of a 14 month old in the trenches of toddlerhood, wondering how I made it through my first year and how I learned to parent. Then I had an unbelievable revelation: my sorority prepared me for motherhood.

You’re probably imagining every awful stereotype that has been perpetuated by the film industry and the news, but that’s what those are, stereotypes. I gained so many valuable life-lessons from being a part of my sorority, and so many of those can be applied to motherhood.

1. I can withstand impressive volumes and decibels of noise

There is no noise level like the noise level of a room of 150 girls before a chapter meeting. Nothing except the noise of a toddler running rampant on a bunch of Fisher Price toys. Not only am I embedded with the ability to handle decibels of that caliber, I can also command a room of loud college girls or toddlers within seconds.

2. I am all about singing songs

I still love the songs we sang in my chapter; I sing them to my child pretty often. Especially a lullaby which (in my most wishful of thinking) would put my child to sleep. Either way, those recruitment songs with their catchy beats and hand motions and clapping trained me perfectly for what I endure on a daily basis. If You’re Happy and You Know It? Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star? Literally any Disney hit from the past 30 years? Get on my level, y’all.

3. I can pull an all nighter and still fully function the following day

All nighters in college and all nighters as a parent are two different worlds. One thing that they do have in common is that every time I’ve done it, I’ve been surprised that I survived. I would like to thank my days as a sorority girl for my ability to withstand functioning on two hours of sleep with a boxed wine hangover all while volunteering at 8 a.m. I now stay away from the boxed wine and drink the good stuff, but this is just as applicable when you're parenting with a hangover. I would also like to thank my days as a sleep deprived sorority girl for teaching me how to utilize dry shampoo and make myself look like a human being. Seriously, I'd be nothing without you. 

Advice for new moms: Invest in dry shampoo before you even make it into the third trimester of pregnancy, you’ll thank me later.

4. I recognize the importance of tradition

Something that I’ve always loved about my organization is that is was built on such foundational traditions. When I was initiated, my organization had been around for 113 years. That’s 113 years of holding up values and sisterhood, 113 years of unconditional love and service to the community. Starting traditions that hold true within my own family is something that is so important to me because when I’m old and senile looking back at the start of our family, I’ll know again just how important those traditions are and how much they help you to grow.

5. Crafting is a necessary skill in life

I’ve always been on the crafty side of things. I’m not an artist by any stretch, but I am pretty damn creative and I can get crafty when I need to. My child is only a toddler, so the crafting only goes so far at the moment with Halloween costumes and homemade decorations for his first birthday party. If my obsessive crafting for twins (twin littles, that is) taught me anything it's that I need to always use a stencil when it comes to lettering, and that crafting is good for the soul. Stay tuned for some future science projects, because they’ll be f*cking epic.

6. Catty Girls are a fact of life

Sigh. Catty girls are everywhere, from sorority rivalries to the playground. Women can be plain mean. Luckily from years of tight-lipped smiles, backhanded compliments, and knowing when and when not to bite back, I’ve carried with me the skills necessary to take on the mean girls, even if those girls are also members of the PTA.

7. There is strength in numbers

Not all women are catty and competitive when it comes to recruitment and not all women are catty and competitive when it comes to motherhood (although I legit do not care that your little angel was walking at 6 months and sleeping through the night since birth). Half the battle of getting through motherhood comes from support from my friends. Friends who are also my sisters, friends who have kids, and even friends who don’t. It’s a hell of a lot easier to get through the B.S. and celebrate the big wins when you have your tribe by your side.

8. Squad Gear

mamabear.jpg

From the moment I accepted my bid I imagined myself with my letters. I then immediately plastered them on everything: my car, my purse, my outfits, hell I even had a belly button ring with Greek letters on it (not my proudest moment). Little to my surprise, I did the same thing when I found out I was pregnant. I traded in my lavalier in for a necklace with my child's initial on it, and I swear within minutes of seeing those pink lines I was ready to order every “mama bear” product they had on Etsy. Zero shame up in this game.

9. Sorority Wardrobe and Mom Wardrobe Go Hand in Hand

Speaking of mom shirts, let’s talk about how my sorority prepared me for the greatest thing of all: looking cute AND comfy. Am I aware that walking around in a huge t-shirt and running shorts (that I never run in) makes me look like I rolled out of bed? Yes. Do I care? No. I dressed like that in college on campus and it was socially acceptable. Now that I’m a mom I can do the same exact thing and it’s still acceptable. Beautiful. Half the time I think the barista at Starbucks is impressed when she sees that I put on mascara or that I'm wearing a shirt that matches.

My sorority gave me so many amazing memories, incredible friends, and to my amazement, the skill set I needed to take on the craziest sisterhood of all: motherhood. 

Raise Your Hand if You're a Millennial Mom

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomers as the nations largest living generation (75.4 million people, y’all). Millennials are considered to be those who were born somewhere between the early 80’s and the mid 90’s. At 26 I am what is considered to be a “young” millennial, which is fine, I’m cool with that but there are A LOT of negative stigmas attached to being a millennial. They are supposed to be obsessed with technology and media, and they are allegedly lazy, entitled, and selfish.

Now, obviously this is a problematic and narrow outlook that many use in viewing an entire generation, but there are some positive attributes attached. Millennials are also regarded as being confident, accepting, happy, free-spirited, and optimistic- those are some labels I can get on board with.

As a part of the millennial generation and being someone who birthed another human being 8 months ago, I now identify with a very specific group of women: Millennial Moms. Millennial Moms are between the ages of 21 and 35. We have friends who are sleep deprived from their children being awake at 3:00am, while other friends of ours are sleep deprived from sipping on martinis until 3:00am.

I am far from from the days of bar hopping in a crop top and flirting with bartenders named Josh, Chad, and Brian and I’ve accepted my new status as a mom who drinks a glass (or 3…don’t judge, you do it too) of wine while binge watching Friends on Netflix after her child goes to sleep. BabyCenter even has an entire report dedicated to moms of the millennial era. This got me thinking about my rank as a Millennial Mom and how my generation has changed the mama-bear game. You might also be a Millennial Mom if:

1.  Your child has their own hashtag

The millennial generation is defined by their technological prowess. Enter: Social Media. I am 100% guilty of this. I came up with my son’s hashtag when I was 7 months pregnant and I was proud of it…okay I’m still really proud of it. The baby hashtag is slowly becoming the new wedding hashtag (which I also had).

2.  You agree that parenting is a team effort

Perhaps it’s because women of this generation want to work AND have babies, not just latter, but parenting roles are damn equal in my household. * Moreover, we embrace the concept that it takes a village.

*While on this subject let me remind the masses, fathers do not babysit their children, they parent.

3.  Your child has their “firsts” documented on social media

From the day my son was born he became a social media phenomenon. Millennial Moms document those precious first words on Facebook statuses, post videos of the first crawl, and Instagram (with a perfect filter) those first bites of food. One thing that ALL moms have in common however is that it takes about 25 tries until you end up with a picture you actually like. 

4.  You believe motherhood is all about choice

I was the first of my close group of friends to get married. I was the first to have a baby. Maybe this goes for the whole female millennial population but they are calling the shots on when they have babies, how they have babies, who they have babies with, and/or whether they want babies at all. My fellow millennial friends and myself embrace the power a woman has to make these choices for herself. 

5.  Your mom tribe is virtual

I learned from my mom and reading a ton of books, of course. But some of the best tips and tricks I received was from mom groups I joined on Facebook (Such as using your breast pump shield as a funnel to pour breast milk from a bag to a bottle…you're welcome in advance for that parenting hack). 

6.  You use your phone for online shopping

When my son was a newborn and hour long 4:00am nursing sessions were a consistent thing in my life I spent way too much time (and money) on Amazon and Etsy (yes, I absolutely needed that Game of Thrones onesie). Also, I have two words for you: Coupon Codes.

7.  You have created a board (or five) on Pinterest related to your kid(s)

I have my own personal qualms with Pinterest (because 80% of what I pin is unrealistic) and Pinterest Moms are a whole other story, but I, like many in my generation, am guilty of creating a multitude of boards centered around motherhood and parenting my son. From food to clothes, and post partum weight loss tips, and activities to parenting hacks you betcha those Millennial Momma’s have pinned it. Now, if only I could find time to complete my “7 Steps to Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Back.”

Millennial Moms aren’t better or worse than previous generations, but we certainly are doing things differently than the moms that came before us. Now, would you do me a favor and help me choose a filter for the 50th picture I’ve taken of my baby today?