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40 weeks

bumparama I am 40 weeks pregnant. So basically 10 months. This is what I look like. And what do I feel like? It’s hard to walk, breathe, sleep, sit, do anything but  wonder when it’s all gonna go down. I make myself do small walks a few times a day. Walk the dog. Run an errand. It’s tough getting around but the alternative — sitting around — is way worse.

I am still working, thankfully from home, because just the thought of navigating Penn Station and the subway like this brings me to tears. During my last commute home last week, a dude rushing to his train actually shoved me… which led to another guy shoving him, and me getting really scared I’d be caught in a melee.

Enough of that. I can do most things from home anyway. And even if it’s just doing some emails, conference calls, and writing up some documents, work provides me with something to focus on other than waiting. That said, I am gradually phasing myself out of projects and weaning myself off the office. Once the baby comes I am sure it will be easier to withdraw … I won’t have a choice!

Very soon I will have no more peace and quiet, even less sleep so I know I should try & rest as much as I can. Sleeping whilst 10 months pregnant is a challenge. You sleep on one side (assisted by a maternity pillow, of course) until you get deadleg/dead butt… then you switch sides. Eventually you must sit up to regain some bloodflow to your butt. So you either have to sleep sitting up or find something else to do from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. With an elaborate configuration of pillows … including a neck rest … I have now mastered the art of sleeping sitting up. #proud

Although I am kvetching, I am very excited and know I’m lucky to have had such an easy pregnancy overall. Everything is going to be great and our little girl will be here before I know it. In the meantime, I’ll be huffing and puffing and counting the hours!

 

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ain’t nobody got time for that

I am 9 months pregnant. Which means I’ll very likely be a new Mom this time next month. My world is about to be rocked and I know it. So I’m gradually detaching from nonessential obligations and distractions. Not making social plans, not doing anything I don’t want or need to do. Like suffering bullshit from anyone… intentional or otherwise.

I’m savoring what last shreds of peace and quiet I can grab. Getting a facial, mani pedi on a Saturday. Sitting quietly with my husband after we put the Littles to bed. Sleeping. Reading a book.

As I get older, I’m learning to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the moments I’m living, while I’m living them. And to stop letting other people suck me into their drama, manipulations and machinations. I suspect I’ll be even more focused after the baby comes.

Kinda like I remember my Mom was when we were little. She wasn’t taking crap from anyone. She was focused on taking care of us, my Dad and herself. Anything else that didn’t enhance her/our lives… she sent it packing. Cause when you’re responsible for the lives of others, ain’t nobody got time for that.

notime

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for my Sweet H and her soon to arrive baby sister

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zenthings

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Falling in love with my kids

As a pregnant lady, I am often told about how, once the insane exhausting first few weeks and months of my newborn’s life give way to a bit of a routine … once the feeding, sleeping, diapering, crying sleeplessness normalizes and the smiles and cooing begin…I will naturally fall in love with my baby. It will happen, many have told me, right around the time that my maternity leave is up and I have to go back to work.

What no one ever talks about, however, is what it’s like to fall in love with one’s own children. Few people share this experience. Usually, you give birth to a child, you nurture her, watch her grow. Loving happens as a play by play. You are experiencing your child’s life together from the start. Love is an intrinsic part of that. Evolutionary.

In the case of me, however, an #Instamom who came into my kids’ lives after I fell in love with their Dad, I experience the wonder somewhat differently (I think). I call them “my kids,” because we are raising them as such, although I am not their mother. Their mother was a beautiful, smart, vibrant, devoted Mom who tragically passed away when they were small.

Given who these kids are – the product of two incredible individuals with great heart and spirit – and knowing they deserve to have a Mom-figure around to help guide them through life, I have adopted them into my heart and my being as if they are my own. And so, naturally, they have become my own. And it’s remarkable.

When I look at our Littles, I am overtaken with a sweeping wave of love. It’s all around me like an ocean … I stand in it and can’t see the end of it. And waves keep coming … endlessly, no matter what I do. There is no reflection of self … they do not look like me and I can’t take ANY credit for their personalities, demeanors or spirits. Perhaps that makes me delight in them even more.

The littlest things like a morning kiss. Resting a head on my chest. Grabbing for my hand as we walk in a parking lot. Wanting to know every single thing about my life as a kid. Wanting to be near me all the time. How unabashedly open to and accepting of me they are, and have been from the start.

It lights up my heart … I can actually feel a bright beaming light there that connects up to my head. And if I try to THINK about it instead of just FEELING it, I tear up. Because it’s much too much. I can’t imagine my life without them. All I do is think about their futures and what life will be like for them. Everything has changed. I couldn’t have anticipated any of it, and couldn’t have dreamed of a more fulfilling love.

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Circle of Life

In August it will be five years that Dad’s been gone. Since then, I met the love of my life, became an #instamom, moved to the suburbs and got pregnant (our little girl also due in August). Lots has changed. 

10374029_10152483938386397_6805022038635133914_nI miss him all the time, especially in family moments like on my wedding day. (I kept this picture of us in my little bridal purse, though just to have him close). Or when I look at our Littles with my Mom and think about how crazy he’d be about them, and about G. 

The last few years of his life were rough… A roller coaster ride of terminal cancer, clinical depression and raging, horrific alcoholism. We ALL suffered, but he did the most. The big man he had built himself up to be for 60+ years was crumbling before all of our eyes. By the end though, he had surrendered the fury. He seemed at peace having all of us around him, loving him, caring for him.

Summertime reminds me of that. I spent upwards of a month living at my parents’ house towards the end. It was healing, yet hard. All the waiting. Waiting for the known finality … and the unknown as to exactly when it would arrive and how it would feel. 

I know I was lucky I got to have that time with him, the long goodbye. And I know I was lucky to have him for as long as I did… some people lose their parents much younger, and don’t get the opportunity to really know them. 

Now it’s a different kind of summer of waiting. Waiting for new life. An entrance rather than an exit. A beginning rather than an end. I’m excited of course for both the known and unknown. We still have two full months til my due date so I am still patient about everything. Plus we have so much to do to get ready so I am not in a rush. The house, the room, figuring out how we’ll manage life AB, (After Baby) given how insane it already is BB (Before Baby). 

There is a major transition underway. It’s physical, spiritual, practical, personal, environmental. All those things. There is a lot of feeling to it, but like with Dad it’s hard to put your finger on it and really describe it while you’re living it. Everything turns out ok, though. This I know. Things take the shape they are meant to take. There is no stopping it.

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self affirmation

Last year around this time I was still a single gal with

1 BR apt in the East Village
1 dog
1 cat
1 executive position at a TV network
1 30-minute daily commute

Today I am a married #Instamom with

1 husband
2 kids
1 baby on way (ETA: 8/19/14)
2 cats
1 dog
1 house in the suburbs
1 executive position at a TV network
1 3-hour daily commute

Holy shit!

Stuart_SmalleyWhile there was virtually no transition period — it all happened with the flick of a switch — I have been managing it pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Certain things have been put on hold temporarily: exercise, keeping up with friends/fam on a regular basis, most forms of relaxation. But I’ll get back to them eventually. All in due time.

Until them I’ll keep patting myself on the back for how I’m doing right now. Because I’m good enough,I’m smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me.

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registries

amazon

babies r us

pinterest

because people keep asking. the amazon stuff is the smaller day to day stuff. the babies r us has furniture and the like. gift cards are HUGE because they let us get what we really need. the pinterest board give you a sense of our style. i am not one for frilly girly pinky stuff nor will our little girl be. (H said it perfectly last night … “i hope she is a little bit tom boyish and a little bit girly but not too much of either — like we are.” (referring to us two which I loved!))

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Preg-Spectives

maternityleavePregnancy is so weird. There is no privacy to it. Your “condition” is on display for all to see and speculate about. Some comments are unwittingly presumptuous and stress-inducing. Especially when they come from people you barely know and involve personal matters  that you may be struggling with or unsure of like:

  • Weight gain
  • Birth plan
  • Maternity leave
  • Childcare
  • Sex and name of the baby
  • Home set up/accommodations

Sure, it’s easy enough to brush off these questions politely. But it’s still tiring to deal with them over and over day after day, week after week. As if lugging around all this extra body mass wasn’t exhausting enough, let’s throw on some added emotional baggage!

Overall, though, people are generally sweet, supportive and positive. I appreciate that. Especially those who tell me how great I look every day (because I don’t always FEEL like I look great). Also getting special treatment (seats on the train, etc.) and gifts is pretty awesome.

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letter to my 20’s self

Relax. All those things you worry about, namely the ridiculous pressure you feel to find the love of your life and life’s purpose before turning 30? It’s bullshit. Even extending that deadline to 35… Still bullshit.

Forget about timelines and deadlines as hard as that may be, given that you’ve been raised since birth to strive to the next grade, the next goal, the next chapter.

Fulfillment is elusive, no matter what age you are. And you certainly don’t find it by looking. The more you try, force, plan, push, the more you extend your misery. Because that which you resist — in this case “being alone” and “being unsure” — persists.

Life is hard and there are no romantic, professional or geographical shortcuts that will help you answer the fundamental question of human existence: who am I and why am I here? You will only answer that by living. Even then, the answer is never complete.

One thing’s for sure: you need to find peace in YOURSELF before you can be healthy and happy in relation to others. So go to therapy and take ownership of your issues. As exhausting, challenging, expensive as it is, therapy pays off over the long term. Self-awareness is the best gift you can give yourself, and the sooner in adulthood you can do that, the better.

Nurture friendships with fun, emotionally honest, self-aware people who show up when you need them and who share in your joy rather than compare themselves to, compete with and judge you. Steer clear of those with a martyr complex, a victim mentality or those whose depression is clinical and untreated. You can’t help these people… They can’t be friends to themselves so how can they be friends to you?

Forget every single one of those silly guys you obsess over. The weenie boys who flake out, break up with you over text. The ones who don’t call when they say they are going to. The unavailable, distant, inconsistent ambivalent types. Right now it’s hard to know if they simply lack maturity or if it’s a shortcoming of character. Maybe they’ll grow up and straighten out one day, but maybe they really are just jerks. When it’s absent in youth, character generally doesn’t develop over time. So move on.

This is very important: fret not about the seemingly five million friends around you getting engaged and married while you can barely scrounge up a decent date. 1/3 will be divorced before 40. 1/3 will stay married, but miserably so. The final 1/3 will actually be happy in their relationships, but it will not make them immune to the other challenges and setbacks that life inevitably sends us all from time to time. Finding a partner is not a panacea for life. It doesn’t solve all your problems and it doesn’t magically transform you into a superior being.

On the issue of having a family … these days there are so many ways to become a parent. So ignore the hype that it’s “now or never.” You’re not limited by the social conventions past generations adhered to, or even the same biological constraints. You are far better off waiting for the right mate even if it means forfeiting your biological ability to give birth. Because you can get fertility help. Or adopt. Because having kids is hard and without the right support in place it can really suck. Plus being tethered to the wrong person for life is a huge burden for you and your child. Don’t force it.

Have faith that things will go the way they are supposed to. A nuclear family is not the only way to give to and be sustained by a community of others. So don’t rule out the possibility that you are meant to create family and contribute to the world in a more unique way. Be open to all possibilities. Embrace who and where you are and you’ll find your tribe.

On the issue of career stuff. As early as possible, give up on trying to please/impress your parents and immediate circle with your job. Only you have to walk in your shoes every day, sit at that desk, walk that beat, do that thing. So choose a path that makes YOU happy. Don’t be afraid to chase down seemingly silly/ impractical dreams. You have the freedom to do that now and it definitely doesn’t get easier as you get older.

At the same time, develop patience … stay with it long enough to reap the benefits of your hard work. So many people give up before they break through. Once you realize you can achieve the things you envisioned by repeatedly working on it, showing up and focusing on your goal, it becomes easier to endure the short-term inconveniences and indignities of the workplace. Supporting yourself and having true financial independence will give you a life-long source of pride and confidence.

But also understand that no JOB or career path will complete you as a human being and give you sustaining spiritual purpose. Your vocation is not who you are. It defines how you spend the vast majority of your time, it provides income, but it’s not who you are. So be careful not to mix that up and think you are more or less “important” in the world because of what you do.

Above all, relax and don’t worry so much. You’ve been enculturated to believe that you’re not a REAL adult until you’re married with kids, but that’s a giant load of crap. Plenty of people who are married with kids are unevolved losers. Anyone can do it after all. Learning to be at peace with yourself is a far greater achievement and more worthy pursuit.

 

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