You Say Mammogram, I say Manhandling!

5 Mar

For the last three years, I have proactively asked my OB/GYN to write me a prescription for a mammogram.  Each time, I was told “I was too young and had no family history of breast cancer”, so it was not necessary.  I was not being an alarmist, I just knew of so many women diagnosed with breast cancer over the past several years, some at shockingly young ages, and I wanted to be vigilant about my own health.

Then, a little more than 2 weeks ago (the day after my 35th birthday to be exact), my family history changed.  The very next day, I made a phone call to my doctor and he wrote me that prescription immediately, no questions asked.

So today, I had my first mammogram and what an experience it was! I heard all of the stories – the pushing, squishing, poking, prodding, lifting, smushing and so on and so forth.  My friends who have had mammograms “warned” me that it was unpleasant to say the least.  But no matter, how much I was prepared, it didn’t hit home until I was in the room and the tech was treating my boobs like playdoh!  It’s almost like when people tell you about pregnancy and childbirth – they warn you about contractions, labor, epidurals, lack of sleep, peeing 50 times in 10 mins, but until you are in the trenches, you have NO idea.

When I first laid eyes on the mammogram machine, I could not visually understand how this was going to work.  It just didn’t look conducive to what was about to happen rather more like a medieval torture device. And NOT the kind Christian Grey might fancy!

When it comes to any medical procedure, I also seem to get paired with the techs who are chatty cathys and say borderline inappropriate things.  My tech today was no exception.  For example, guess who doesn’t want to hear about your daughter’s cousin’s friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 when I am currently a bit anxious and WHILE you are inserting my breast onto a cold metal slab where it will be momentarily crushed?

The tech spent a few minutes covering any moles on or around my chest with band aids so they would not appear/cause concern on the images.  Then came the piece de resistance! Tiny little band aids strategically placed over the nipple that had tiny silver balls smack in the center.  I looked like I had nipple piercings but was too uncomfortable to even laugh about it at that moment.  Now however, the image in my mind is effing hysterical!

Then came this conversation…

“You said you have a child?”

“Yes”

“And you breastfed?”

“Yes”

“Oh….(pause)…do you have implants”

“Um, no”

“Oh! You’re breasts are so perky” (said while holding two pointer fingers up in the air, in a tone about 3 octaves higher than her normal voice and smiling)

I’m not gonna lie…when I left, I felt damn good about that comment as ANY mother who had been through pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding would, but at the moment? Just didn’t hit me quite the same way.

So I am already a few shades of red and sweating (which adds a little more anxiety since you’re not allowed to wear deodorant for these things), and we haven’t even started the actual mammo!. OY!

My tech tells me that since I breastfed, this should be a “piece of cake”.  Um, I don’t know what kind of cake she eats but I beg to differ.  I think maybe she meant piece of bread? Because that would make sense for the amount of aggressive kneading that was going on.  I felt like she should have bought me dinner first! Then as if the kneading is not enough, another metal slab starts to slowly lower…coming down to meet the metal slab holding my boob.  You know that moment in a movie when a door or something else is closing and you are biting your lip waiting to see if the main character is going to make it out in time without losing limbs or life? Well, sorry to ruin the ending, but my boob did NOT make it out.  This whole process went on multiple times for each one of my girls.  It was special.

I went back to the waiting area and was beyond thrilled when another tech came out and told me my results were perfectly normal and they’d see me next year.  Phew! It made it all worth it, times 100.

I was talking to a girlfriend today about the experience and she said “As women, we have no dignity when it comes to so many medical procedures.” And she’s so right.

Regular OB/GYN visits including pap smears, pelvic and breast exams? Not so dignified.

Childbirth including a revolving door of docs, nurses and med students “checking your progress” and watching your labor with a birdseye view? Not so dignified.

Mammograms including all of the aforementioned examples? Nope, not so dignified.

Common thread and bottom line? THEY ARE ALL IMPORTANT to maintaining our health.

I realize this is a more personal post than I usually write, but I think it’s important and we shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to share our stories and build camaraderie around not so pleasant experiences.  After all, we gals are pretty damn good at the whole camaraderie thing.  We need to be vigilant and take control of our health.  We are incredibly fortunate to have the technology and testing that exists today.  There is so much more information available to us today, and nobody can be a better advocate for your health than you.

Breast cancer is very common and I think we all flinch a little when we hear the term, but the good news is that in many cases it’s very curable and there is living, walking, breathing evidence around us everywhere we look.  Mammograms are important and shouldn’t be put off for fear or because your doctor keeps telling you “no”.  So do yourself a favor, if you have never had one, do it! We women are also very good at not taking no for an answer 😉

 

 

 

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Pick and Shoes Your Battles

14 Jan

I love dressing my daughter.  I love buying her clothes, shoes, bows, the whole nine yards.  I wondered how long it would take for her to get into it too.  I have pictured her and I going through store racks picking stuff out and giggling.  This would happen of course before the phase of her life where she can’t stand me and is embarrassed by everything I do – so maybe around the tender age of 10?

So imagine my surprise when my now three-year old ALREADY demands to pick out her own outfit from head to toe and if I don’t oblige, the only way I can explain what happens next is to ask you to imagine the scene from The Exorcist where Linda Blair loses her shit and her head starts spinning.

Just yesterday we were in Target and while walking past the kid’s clothing she says (with fervor might I add) “Look at all the awesome jeans, and shirts and skirts and socks, there are so many to choose from!”  She will spot a pair of shoes across the store and say “look how cute these are mommy, they match my dress perfectly!” I’m in trouble.

And the best part about her and her love for fashion is that she is not afraid to take fashion risks.  I will not lie, I like everything to match and look pretty.  Sue me.  She on the other hand is currently wearing a brown and white tie die dress with pink, yellow, green and blue leggings.  Her hair is unbrushed and slightly hobo-ish and she just kicked off her sparkly silver Tom’s to lay on the floor and draw me a picture.  She is completely content.

I learned within the last few months to pick and choose when it comes to fighting for an outfit choice with her.  Her ensemble today is fine because we are just hanging out in the house for a while so who cares.  When she goes to school, birthday parties and other events where we have to interact with the general public, I try to make sure she does not look like Betsy Johnson or Patricia Fields.

Then, there’s the compromise.  “Please leave on the adorable black skirt and sweater to dinner at grams house.  No you are not wearing your raincoat and nothing else.  No you can’t wear that dress, it’s 2 sizes to small.  Oh, you want to pair it with your bright yellow Minnie Mouse kitten heels? Fine!”  The Minnie Mouse heels win every time.  They are so ugly they are cute and she looks like a little old lady that should have stockings rolled around her ankles when she walks in them. They were part of her Halloween costume, but have become one of her most frequent default shoes.

I would not call my daughter “delicate” but she is definitely a girly girl in many ways.  A shoe fetish, however,  is not something I was prepared for at the age of 3! Her collection rivals that of Imelda Marcos.  The kid has a hankering for ballet flats and sparkle.  Put them together and good luck getting them off her feet.  She’s also a big fan of leopard print and can often be seen in these, which we have owned in multiple sizes already.

I thought I was in trouble when she started school because they have to wear sneakers or at least something sneaker-eqsue.  We were able to find a number of Ava-approved shoes such as these adorable ones from Stride Rite.

And lately, the shoe of choice are her new silver Toms.  The day she got them (thank you Savta), I had to literally pry them off her little feet to get her in the bath only to promise she could put them right back on as soon as she got out.  She actually insisted they be  IN the bathroom so she could keep a close eye on them.

She is definitely a kid who knows what she wants and I’ll admit most of the time, she gets it.

If you read my last post, you know we just went through potty training.  So you can imagine what happens if I give her Dora panties when she MUST have Yo Gabba Gabba. Oy!

My Daughter is Not a Pot Pie

6 Jan

Anything dealing with child rearing comes with a good dose of advice – most of it unsolicited and some very irritating.  Don’t get me wrong – my mommy friends are the most amazing resource there is.  Better than Dr. Spock, better than What to Expect and yes, at many times, better than a pediatrician.  Let’s face it, we are living in the trenches everyday.  Navigating toddler warfare and negotiating with tiny tyrants.  I don’t mind the advice when it’s positioned more as “this is what worked for me” rather than gospel.  You see, some moms feel that their way is the ONLY way.  I am NOT one of those moms.  I’m a big believer in the “do what works for you” method.

Raising children is a journey.  A journey filled with spit up, crying, whining, snot and explosive diapers.  But along that journey you get tons of hugs, open-mouthed kisses (those are my favorite and I don’t care if you think I’m gross), I love yous and my current favorite – “mommy you are my best friend in the whole coconut world in my entire life”. I have no idea what it means but I think it means my daughter loves me…a lot.

When your mommy peers start to reach milestones with their kids, from rolling over, crawling, smiling, walking, etc., you wait with bated breath until it’s your turn.  It’s not really mommy envy, rather, you just can’t wait to experience it for yourself.  And with every milestone comes the obligatory and expected advice.  “When she starts crawling, make sure you have all of your electrical outlets are covered” and “Get the rubber coffee table bumpers instead of the foam – I liked them better”.  That advice is fine and helpful.  But what really pisses me off are the judgemental, yet passive comments that they try to disguise as advice.  “Ohhh, she’s not crawling yet? Have you asked your doctor if you should start any therapy? My perfect little spawn was running half marathons at 11 months old!” Or “She’s a picky eater huh? Have you tried hiding the veggies?”  What a genius idea captain obvious.  I just told you my daughter eats Cheerios and Rice Krispies and french fries.  So when you can figure out how to hide veggies in those items, not only will I sing your praises in the preschool parking lot, but I will also be sure and nominate you for a Nobel Prize.

So one of the Biggest toddler milestones is without a doubt potty training.  To those of you who swear your kid was potty trained at a year old – you can suck it.  Potty training is the worst, but having mothers tell you, or insinuate you are doing something wrong only adds salty goldfish to the wound.

We tried potty training when Ava was about 2 1/2 because I had people pressuring me, telling me she was ready and I thought I was too.  For this round we employed the egg timer method.  We basically ushered her to the toilet every 20-30 minutes and made he sit there until she went.  Sometimes it was 5 mins, sometimes it was 30.  The first day she showed interest and got excited when she went.  But then, everything went downhill.  She was stressed out, we were stressed out, and it just didn’t feel right.  My already hefty laundry load was now even worse with countless pairs of tiny soaked Dora and Princess panties.  I had my poor kid sitting on a towel everywhere like an untrained puppy and I needed a drink.  So after 3 days, I said, screw this.  I’m not forcing her.  When she’s ready, she’s ready.

After about 4 or 5 months and no talk of using the potty or bribes that came along with it, she just started asking to go at random times.  I acted like it was no big deal but what I really wanted to do was a good old-fashioned toe touch with some spirit fingers thrown in for good measure (which i pull off flawlessly in my head but then I realize I am not an 18-yr old cheerleader anymore and am reminded I should probably take my calcium).  We didn’t push, we just left it alone and when she asked, we took her.

Then I heard about the e-book for the Three Day Potty Training method.  I read some of the info and liked what I was seeing.  It was stern but not forceful.  It felt like a lot less pressure and much more doable knowing Ava’s personality.  I knew that I couldn’t employ the same method as last time.  While it worked for a number of people I know, my daughter was not like a perfectly golden pot pie waiting for the ding of the oven timer.  Her body was her body and it was not on a schedule.

We went to Target a couple of weeks before I knew we were starting round 2 and I let her pick out her own big girl underwear.  We talked casually about how soon we were going to lose the pull ups and be a big girl.  And her teachers even sweetened the pot by offering up an ice cream party when she crossed the finish line.  Ice cream is one of the 5 foods my daughter will usually eat, but only Vanilla, no sprinkles, no hot fudge, no flare.

We started the training on a Monday and I could tell immediately it was different this time.  She was not panicked, not stressed, and not being bossed around by an egg timer.  Of course there were a few accidents, but we didn’t make a big deal.  We just grabbed one of the 50 pairs of the cutest panties you’ve ever seen and kept rolling.  She is so proud of herself and it’s evident.

There are a million methods people use all the time, but every kid is different and you can’t expect the same thing to work for you that worked for your best friend.  And that is true with every part of parenting.

So listen to the advice and read the books, but make it your own.  Always throw in your own twist because nobody knows your kids better than you do.  Just sit back and enjoy the bumpy, bodily fluid-filled, but AWESOME ride.  And don’t worry about the know-it- all mommy.  Her kid may be constructing concertos on his little tykes piano at 15 months, but i guarantee he still has some evidence of toddlerhood comfort he’s not quite ready to let go of – a paci, a bottle or maybe he’ll still be breast feeding at the age of 5.

 

Disney Done Right

2 Jan

We went to Disney on New Years Weekend – Are we nuts? Maybe a little…

Everyone has different advice when they do Disney with their kids, but here’s mine.

1) Leave the stroller at home.   Keep in mind we have one child.  If we had more I’m sure I would feel differently about this.  Here’s the thing – If Ava is in the stroller for long enough, she is bound to fall asleep.  Then we become the assholes walking around Disney with a sleeping child.  She walks, we carry her, sometimes there’s whining, but overall it’s the best decision for us because she stays awake.  Plus, we don’t have to park the stroller at every ride then look for it in the sea of strollers every time we emerge.

2) Bring BIG bags of snacks.  Instead of bringing the individual snack sizes (which I like to use for her lunch box), I brought a few different big bags and a bunch of little ziplocs to refill when we left for the day.  It was easy and much better than stopping at every snack cart to pay $5 for a Mickey mouse ice cream bar.

3) Get this bag immediately if not sooner. It’s called the Rachael Ray Performance Chillout Cooler Tote and comes in a few colors.  Ranges in price from $15-$30. The link above is to Amazon where it’s under $25.  I snagged it a couple months ago at Costco for $15.

My child lives on drinkable yogurt but I am always skittish about traveling long distances with dairy.  This bag changed my attitude forever.  I filled a couple of ziploc bags with ice and yogurts and hoped for the best.  After a 3+ hour drive, not a single ice cube was melted.  Even better, on the way back I refilled the same ziplocs with ice from the hotel vending machine and the remaining yogurts – after a few hours at Animal Kigdom FOLLOWED by the 3+ hour drive, everything was still in tact.  It is deceptively big and I even threw in a bunch of bottled water and other snacks for the hubby and I.

4) Protect your child from Potty Germs.  We are in the midst of potty training and the thought of Ava’s tushy touching the public toilets at Disney was not sitting well with me.  Then I found these.

They come in Princess, Dora, Diego, Cars and about a million other styles.  They stick to the seat so no matter how much your child squirms, they stay put.  Genius.  I know some people opt for the little foldable toilet toppers but you could not pay me enough to stick one of those things in my bag.  These are cheap, easy and a no brainer.

Our trip was a success and these little tidbits certainly helped.  Do you guys have tips, tricks and favorite products for when you travel?

I’m not as cool as I thought

15 Nov

I have had a few instances in the past month that have shaken my coolness to its core. A couple I am willing to share…

1) I had a huge bag of clothes I had culled from my closet.  Some  – the obligatory donations, but most of it was REALLY cute stuff I felt bad about sending to the crowded annals of a Goodwill.  I thought I would make the day of my cousin’s pre-teen daughter by passing it on to her.  I was sure I would hear endless thank yous and stories of how her friends were jealous over the awesome new threads she scored from her older, stylish cousin Rachel.  Yeah that didn’t happen…instead my cousin ended up donating it to someone because it “just wasn’t her daughter’s style”.  Translation – This shit is lame and I would not be caught dead wearing it in the halls of my supremely cool school.

It’s ok, I picked my ego up off the floor, dusted it off, and took another bag of goodies to Plato’s Closet – a store where young adults can buy gently used clothing sold to the store by people with awesome taste like me.  I think there were about 25 items in that bag.  You know how many they took from me? ONE! One item.  And why?  Most of the labels “were too mature” for their audience.  Translation – Lady, do yourself a favor and start shopping in Chico’s and Coldwater Creek where you belong.

2) While in the car with my awesome husband for an awesome date night – an old little ditty from our younger years came on the radio.  So as I was nostalgically and accurately reciting the words to the gem by the Notorious BIG, I told my husband I think I would have made a great hype girl.  I mean, I knew all the words, can keep a beat, have pretty good musicality and still have some moves.  He looked at me like I just said I knew how to cure cancer and gently pushed me back to reality by saying something along the lines of “Right, then after your concert you would come home to your white suburban family to finish the laundry and put your 3 yr old to bed.” Fine, dually noted.

So maybe young teeny boppers don’t want my clothes and I can’t hang with rap superstars, but I can still make sure my daughter doesn’t dress like a dud.

Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I gravitate toward dressing my daughter in “cool” vs “babyish”.  I will always choose a skull and cross bones before a cartoon character, a blinged out giant bow before barettes, a pair of skinny jeans before overalls.  I will choose Baby Gap, Old Navy and scouring the racks of stores like Marshalls and Nodstrom Rack for discount designer brands over Gymboree and Children’s Place any day of the week.  You should also know that I think Fall and winter introduce some of the best fashion you will see all year – for adults and kids alike!

Admittedly, it is a little more difficult to take full advantage of true fall fashion now living in a warmer climate, but it doesn’t mean we won’t try our best.

I was just in Old Navy and aside from the always reliable and basic staples like comfy drawstring pants and tees, they had some really cute stuff.  The Shawl neck sweaters are adorable and can spice up regular old leggings or jeans.

They also have little cable knit sweater dresses you can pair with tights and boots.

And your little boy can look like a mini gentleman in a precious argyle vest over a button down.

Another great Fall staple are tunics that you can also throw on with a pair of leggings, jeans or tights.  J Crew’s CrewCuts line has some cute ones this year.

And for your little men, they have great vintage looking button downs.

There are also some great finds on sites like Zulily.com

Some of their recent stuff includes simple but cute adult-inspired pieces like these

And with the holidays around the corner, some mommies are looking to kick it up a notch.  Rather than velvet and plaid, you’d be more likely to find my daughter in this winner from Macy’s.

And when the temperatures dip a little, nothing looks cuter on a little munchkin than a little peacoat.  Macy’s has them in a few colors too.

With Black Friday right around the corner, there will be ample opportunity to outfit your kiddies in some great new stuff.

What are some of your fall and winter favs???

My Toddler is the Boss of Me

10 Oct

If you are one of those parents with a perfect little angel who never throws tantrums, eats all their vegetables, sleeps through the night (in their own bed) and was potty trained at 1 1/2 …you can suck it.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

I do NOT have one of those children and what I’ve learned is that most people don’t.

My daughter is ridiculously adorable, has a kick-ass personality, is smart as a whip and keeps us laughing on a daily basis. However, make no mistake, she runs the show and she is a tyrant.  She tells us what to do and even puts us in time out to remind us who is in charge.  I’m not exactly sure when this happened.  She was a pretty easy baby – always happy, ate whatever we put in front of her, and after some ferberizing, slept through the night.  Then we moved and things went a little awry.  She started solid foods and even though we presented her many options, she became the pickiest eater that ever lived.  She stopped sleeping in her own room, much less through the night.  Then we put our foot down (softly of course) and things got back on track –  with the sleep at least.  Then…we moved again.  And you get the picture.

Thankfully, now she does sleep in her own room in her own bed.  But one or both of us ALWAYS has to lay with her until she falls asleep.  You know what though? Small price to pay.  I’ll take it over having her in our bed flailing like a fish out of water making us wonder if we should wear mouth guards and protective padding to bed.

The eating though? That is a losing battle.  She survives on a diet of drinkable yogurt and a variety of snacks.  The amount of energy she has on a daily basis is mind-boggling and does not make physical sense – it makes me wonder what would happen if I drank nothing but YoBaby and ate Cheez-Its.  Better work outs? Faster cleaning? Speed-folding of laundry?

I’m certain we are doing many of the things you are not supposed to do as a parent.  Like…

– There have been many times where she eats goldfish for dinner and that’s it.

– She fights me on what she is going to wear and I let her win.

– She wants to watch the same DVRed episode of Max & Ruby for the 17th time in a row, and I give in.

– She demands her milk in a Princess sippy cup and will allow no substitutions.

Don’t get me wrong.  Our house is not a world of chaos where she has us scrubbing floors and washing windows.   She is a great kid with a great attitude.  Let’s just say we pick and choose our battles (and yes we lose some of them) but some things are just not worth fighting.  You want to go to Publix in your Butterfly Wings and TuTu – Fine.

I was recently talking to a friend about those moms who never complain about their kids.  And when you do it they look at you like you are a crazed lunatic.  You know who they are.  Well I have news for you – they are either heavily medicated, or lying.  Because there is not a mother on this earth that does not have “those days”.

I know the tender age of 3 (which we are rapidly approaching) is all about testing boundaries.  And we are in the thick of it.  Even though there are days where I feel like I am going to lose it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  She’s the toughest boss I’ve ever had – but by far the cutest 🙂

Now excuse me.  Max and Ruby just ended and I need to restart it before I get yelled at…

Worklife Balance is BULLSHIT

3 Aug

ESPECIALLY when you have a family.  Yup…I said it…because it’s true.

Companies in every industry tout their commitment to worklife balance. In my experience, the companies that talk about it most are the ones that are usually doing the worst job providing it to their employees.

For more than a decade I worked in Public Relations, mostly on the Agency side.  Aside from having to constantly explain to people what I did (no I didn’t “write” the article mom, I convinced the reporter it was a story worth writing…ugh! forget it), worklife balance is the worst.  Considering that the field is dominated by women (mostly of child-bearing age), the industry has no choice but to claim a great worklife balance.  However, here’s how it REALLY works.

  • You work your ASS off doing shit work making shit money until you finally prove that you can run a team
  • You build rapports with your clients, key reporters and industry folk
  • You go to after work networking events and happy hours to build camaraderie with your peers
  •  You travel to trade shows and client meetings
  • And about a million other things that I don’t even have the time to write about.

Then…you get pregnant.  Everyone says how happy they are for you, if you’re lucky you even get a work baby shower and generous gift.  Everyone is doing their Miss America smiling asking the obligatory questions – when are you due? Are you finding out the sex? Do you have names picked out?  While most people are genuinely happy, don’t kid yourself that the following thoughts are running through the minds of upper management.

  • “Shit! How long until she shows and we have to tell the client?
  • Is she going to milk us for maternity leave, pretend she’s coming back, then “all of a sudden” decide to be a SAHM? (Stay at Home Mom for those living under a rock).

Then you go on maternity leave – which by the way is the best and worst thing ever!  You bond with your little one, take about 100 pictures a day of your child drooling, smiling, rolling over, etc, and before you know it, you are in tears because it’s already time to go back to work.  I was so ready, but I cried and lingered outside the door of my apartment listening to see if my daughter was crying.  Would she be ok without me? Would the nanny hold her and love her like I did? Would she hold the bottle the right way? Mix her food the way I explained?  And then I got to work – and realized THIS was actually a break! A break from breastfeeding, from cleaning bottles, from changing diapers, from cleaning up spit up.  Who in their right mind would ever think work was a break??? I’m not gonna say that I didn’t sneak out a little early that first day in anticipation to see how my little girl did her first time away from me, but overall I was happy to be back.

After a few months, my life had drastically changed and so had my perspective.  Yes I was proud of my work accomplishments, but I was growing increasingly frustrated with things that did not bother me as much before I was a mother.  Examples?  If I had to hear one more client talk about their “revolutionary, ground breaking, next generation” product that even Albert Einstein himself could not have developed, I was going to throw my head through the wall.  If I had one more client call me to ream me out for not being included in a Wall Street Journal article they “clearly” should have been in (when in actuality they didn’t stand a chance), I was going to need a straight jacket.

And here’s the other thing.  Once you have a child, you can pretty much guarantee that you will never in your life get another promotion because now you are on the “mommy track”.

Now, before anyone jumps on me, I’m not saying it’s impossible…as a matter of fact, I know women that continued to climb the ladder (maybe two, but they exist).  This is the thing though.  They still had to travel, a lot. And work late hours. And early hours. And to say they were/are lacking worklife balance is the understatement of the century.  I accepted the fact that my title would probably not change again, but you know what? I got to bathe my daughter every night, eat dinner with my husband, maybe even get home early enough to still make it to the park for an early evening sandbox session.  Fair trade.

When we moved to NY, I ditched the PR gig and got the most amazing, family friendly job I have ever had.  It was for a childcare company (go figure) so to them, worklife balance was a non-negotiable necessity.  And it was real! I worked (and actually enjoyed it) and get this…sometimes…in the middle of the day even…I was allowed to sneak away to take my daughter to story time, or squeeze in a couple loads of laundry.  I even got to see the inside of the gym again.  Best. Job. Ever .

Unfortunately, when we moved to Florida, I couldn’t take my job with me.  For the first time ever, I am a SAHM (thanks to my awesome husband :), although I am never home for more than 10 mins at a time.  I am busier now than when I worked full-time.  Life just takes over – laundry, dry cleaning, playdates, grocery shopping – it’s unreal.  I am literally drowning in laundry – and I have one child and a husband.  I asked my best friend, who has three children under 2 yrs old, how she manages the laundry alone.  Get this – her or her husband have to take a day away from the office every week to come home and do the kids’ laundry!!!

I guess my point is that whether you work full-time, part-time, not at all; have one or 10 children – worklife balance is always going to be a work in progress.  There’s no silver bullet and some days are better than others.  I am in the process of trying to replicate the life I had in NY.  The one where I had a rewarding work situation, without sacrificing my time with my family.  I have been talking to a number of people and spinning my creative wheels to come up with something.  We’ll see what happens and all I can do is remain optimistic.  What are your thoughts on worklife balance? Have you ever achieved it?

Oh and by the way, I wrote this while my daughter was in the bath because it’s literally the only point in the day she is not attached to some part of my body.  How’s that for worklife balance??

Fashionably Functional

7 Mar

 

When you think of tot fashion, you usually think of clothing, shoes and fun accessories, right?  But there really is so much more!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the baby/kid market is bustling with the amount of “stuff” you can find to suit every need, style and budget.  And half the items you accidentally find while roaming the aisles of buy buy Baby make you say “That’s amazing! Why didn’t I think of that?”

I remember the first time I walked into a Babies R Us after learning I was pregnant, and being amazed that there was an entire wall dedicated to nipples, AN ENTIRE WALL!! The best part is that today’s mommies are much more into fashion – even when it comes to little things like pacifier cases – than any generation before.  My own mother and mother-in-law were flabbergasted with the variety of items available today.  Many times while shopping with them during my pregnancy, I heard the equivalent to “In my day, I walked 10 miles to school in the snow and rain…”.  It went something like, “When I was pregnant, you bought a car seat, crib and stroller and bathed your baby in the kitchen sink until they didn’t fit!”

So now, not only can you get tiny blinged-out converse and bows with flowers bigger than your newborn, you can also get really really cute mundane items as well.

For example, the other day I came across these Munchkin snack bags.

Not only are they cute, but they are also a “green”alternative to plastic bags to carry snacks! They have a waterproof lining inside and are machine washable.  We use them for everything from goldfish to grapes.  And when we are out and about for longer periods of time, I found this adorable lunch sack that comes in a variety of animal choices.

And fashionable doesn’t have to mean flashy.  For example, Skip Hop make a great wipes case for about $8  called  the Swipe, that can be thrown in your bag or hung from your stroller or diaper bag.  It’s definitely a no frills item and is great for even minimalist mommies.

Going back to my reference to pacifier cases, JJ Cole makes some really cute ones ( like the one below for just under $8) that can also hang from a diaper bag, purse or stroller.

Even nursing covers are using stylish and funky patterns! Bebe Au Lait has some that really make you wish it was more than just a nursing cover.

One of the hottest trends with kids stuff is personalization.  If they make it, you can pretty much embroider it.  Look how cute these are from Etsy.

So not only does the baby market have us mommies (and dads too!) covered, but they’re making us look pretty cute too!

Anyone out there have other must haves they like?

The New Royals

22 Feb

I will admit it – if it sparkles, has ruffles, resembles a tutu or is pretty much any shade of pink, it is in my shopping cart faster than you can say tiara.  When we found out I was having a girl, I saw pink…big time.  And you know what? I personally think that is one of the most fun parts of having a little girl.  Don’t get me wrong, tiny little boy jeans and polos are cute and all, but there is NO denying that the baby market spends way more time catering to little girls.

I was recently part of a small panel of NY mommies for a project my friend is working on.  These women were smart, engaging and savvy.  Our convo spanned topics from making mommy friends to being on the “mommy track” in the workforce, and it was great.  One of the women brought up Peggy Orenstein’s new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter (which I have not read yet but definitely plan on).  And so began the conversation about how much is TOO much in this age of princess paraphernalia.  Personally, I do not think we can blame the downfall of the female population on the fact that girls today wear shirts with “Princess”blazened across the front or want to wear a Cinderella dress to bed.  That would be shortsighted.  It’s up to us as parents to make sure that no matter how many pieces of princess paraphernalia our daughters (or sons) own, they don’t act liked spoiled brats.

Yes, our daughter is the first and only grandchild on  both sides, so I am not going to pretend she does not get the royal treatment, but I am pretty sure she knows that she does not reign over her own kingdom and have servants at her beck and call (well except for mommy and daddy :))

And now at the tender age of two, she is starting to really get into stuff with princesses.  Prime example – she has sippy cups with pictures of Cinderella, Belle and Snow White and she frequently asks us for “Princess Milk”.  Am I rushing her to a shrink or taking away her tutus because I am worried she is too focused on the whole princess thing? No, because I am pretty sure she just means “in the princess cup” and does not think we go food shopping in a land far far away to get her royal milk.

And for the record, this is her piggy bank

So what?

Regardless of how many pink pairs of shoes she owns,

"Princess Shoes" from Gram

we will do our best to make sure we raise a strong, smart and independent woman.

When we went to Disney for the first time, there were all of these little girls walking around in their princess gowns with their hair in (overpriced) chignons and mini tiaras.  And you know what, not only was I not horrified, I thought, I can’t wait until Ava is a little older to see if SHE wants to do it.  It’s fun…that’s all…there is not a deep-seated psychological meaning.  Almost every little girl played some form of dress up growing up.  The difference now is, they don’t have to rummage through mommy’s closet, because there are genius marketing people out there who have created an entire industry out of it.  Good for them!

So where do I draw the line?  What do I consider over-the-top? Three simple words – TODDLERS AND TIARAS.  Yes I will dress our little girl in ruffles and frills and tulle, but these crazy, competitive, disgusting stage mothers who think it’s ok to wax their three-year old’s brows, give them spray tans and wear flippers are certifiable.

Before Flippers

After Flippers

I literally cringe when I see promos for the show and cannot believe these mothers.  They will spend every last dime and re-mortgage their house so their toddler can reign “little miss sunshine”, when the truth is they should be on some shrink’s couch trying to figure out what is lacking so terribly in their lives that they have to parade their two-year old in custom-made formal wear. I am all for healthy competition to help build confidence and tons of other important traits, but excuse me if I don’t think for one second THIS is a display of healthy competition.

Mini Madonna from episode of Toddlers and Tiaras

I guess my point is this, don’t ditch the tutus just yet, it’s ok for your little girl to want to have fun with “girly things”.  The key word is FUN.  And if my daughter wants to wear a Cinderella dress to bed, I think I’ll let her 🙂

Diaper (Bag) Duty

7 Feb

One of the decisions a new mom has to make is selecting a diaper bag.  It may sound mundane, but it really is a big deal.  Afterall, this is the one thing (besides your stroller) that you are probably going to be using/schlepping the most.  Just like almost every category of baby stuff, the amount/variety of diaper bags on the market can be overwhelming!  It’s also one of those few baby items that allow you to reflect your own style.

I didn’t know exactly what kind of diaper bag I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want – no cartoon characters, Disney-esque insignia, or other goo goo gaa gaa crap.  I wanted something hip, stylish and trendy.  I really didn’t see anything I loved in brick and mortar stores, but after scouring the internet, I found it!

I decided on the Convertible Rocker style from Rowdy.  And the best part – it was CHEAP by diaper bag standards! I’m talking $50!

It came with a bottle case and diaper changing pad and I loved it!  I also liked that it seemed more compact than a lot of others out there.  And the fact that it was leather made it super easy to clean (another important feature!).  I used it for a few months and unfortunately found it to be a little too small for my needs and pretty heavy despite its smaller size.  So once again I went on the hunt…

My best friend had just had her twins and told me about what would become my new obsession – Petunia Pickle Bottom.

It was love at first sight and there were so many great designs to choose from.  My one hesitation was the price since this would be my second attempt.  You can expect price tags from $90 to well over $300.  Never being one to settle for full price, I searched high and low.  Believe it or not, eBay had some great deals, even for new bags with tags and all.  Just not the style I wanted.  I was set on a boxy backpack in Frolicking in Fez and finally found it on Nordstrom.com ON SALE for $99  (retails for $169) and could not get it in my online shopping cart fast enough.  These things flew off the shelves like hotcakes! Not minutes after my purchase confirmation popped up in my inbox, my friend received an “out of stock” message when she tried to buy the same one!

Two things I love about this bag.  It converts from a messenger to a backpack style giving you some versatility.  And my favorite feature, it has a padded diaper changing pad attached that just unzips and folds out.  It makes diaper changing super easy while out and about.  Another thing to keep it mind – some of the PPB bags are “glazed” and others are not.  In my opinion, you want something easy to wipe down and clean.  If it’s not glazed, it’s usually a fabric that is not machine washable and I would steer clear of those.   Also, PPB does have an outlet online  where you can register to receive emails about sales and deals.  If you are an expectant mom, or just looking for another bag, you should definitely sign up.

I would also go for the valet clips, so you can easily attach the bag to your stroller when you are on the go.

Some other companies that have great looking bags these days are OiOi and SkipHop.  How cute are these??

OiOi Diaper Bag-Black Floral Jacquard Carry All $130-$140

 

Oi Oi Messenger Diaper Bag in Pansy $79-$90

SkipHop Versa Diaper Bag Black/Gold $70

SkipHop Studio Charcoal Dot $89

One of the greatest developments in the diaper bag market in the Daddy Diaper Bag.  I’m sure my husband is not the only one that shuddered at the idea of carrying “my” diaper bag.  So to help him hold on to that part of his manhood, I got him a Diaper Dude.

They make great understated bags that are great for dads!

What would be your advice to new moms about choosing a diaper bag and what are your faves???