Slacker Parent Milestones

I’ve got a message for parents of babies, toddlers and even preschoolers: It gets better. My kids are 3 and a half and 6 and we have turned an amazing corner. They can do so many things for themselves allowing me to reach my full slacker parent potential. I can now relax in the backyard, converse uninterrupted with friends and houseguests and even take a little snooze without anyone needing much help or attention. So for those new parents out there who are wondering when they will be able to relax a little, here’s a list of the parenting...

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Another “Yes Day” full of fun

Awhile back, inspired by both blogger Elise and this book, I decided to try a spontaneous “Yes Day” here and there with my boys. I was nervous at first to see what their requests would be, but overall, they’ve been really reasonable and pretty darn adorable. Past Yes Days have included cupcakes for breakfast, a trip to the trampoline park, and inexplicably, a visit to Ikea! A Yes Day was something we hadn’t done yet this summer, so I saved it for my last day of summer vacation before I headed back to school. My Yes Day rules are as follows: *Both kids either have to agree on what we do OR agree to split up the day (so they each get to pick some activities) *The boys don’t find out it’s Yes Day until they wake up– no premeditated crazy plans! *Everyone needs to remain kind and respectful all day to keep Yes Day going So, this past week at breakfast, I announced that it was Yes Day. I was prepared for craziness– requests for candy, ice cream sundaes, trips to the toy store– but the boys were really calm and methodical about their plans. After much hashing out, they arrived at the following itinerary: Beach trip for some crabbing and fishing, packed lunch on the boardwalk, browsing the fish at the pet store, ice cream, and playtime...

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A Journal from Depression

When I was a teenager, my father was diagnosed with depression and eventually bipolar disorder. Depression was a new concept for me, I didn’t know much about it, how to talk about it, or how to help my dad. As I entered adulthood, I had some personal moments with what I could then identify as depression or anxiety, mostly when big change was coming. Therapy always helped and I wouldn’t say I was ever clinically depressed in those years, though it was confusing because I worried I had inherited depression from my dad. It wasn’t until a few months after my first child was born that I felt the depths and horror that is true depression. My husband and I had tried for years to have a baby, and when it finally happened we were overjoyed. I was very aware of my risk for postpartum depression with my genetic predisposition and the fact that I had experienced mild bouts before. But when I survived the beginnings of motherhood and remained happy, I thought I was in the clear. As the months wore on however, I started to sink. Everything became hard and overwhelming, day-to-day life became a struggle. The defining moment for me was leaving the house in tears one day and telling my husband that something had to change, I couldn’t be a mother to this baby anymore,...

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Lyme Disease, Perfectionism, and a New Normal

I almost cried on the elevator ride up to my office. I am so tired. Like, so, incredibly, deeply tired. All the time. About 6 weeks ago I started to feel really sick. I went to the doctor pretty much right away and I actually said to her “I don’t feel right, something is very wrong.” I’m not a hypochondriac so it felt significant that I needed my doctor to know just how badly I was feeling. Her first instinct was Lyme disease but we started off doing a whole set of blood work to see what we could...

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So Over the Relics of “Back-to-School” Past

It’s that time of year again…summer’s coming to a close and the start of a new school year is right around the corner. It’s exciting and with two young children, it’s fun talking about who they will see and what to expect as they prepare to embark on Pre-K4 and 2nd Grade. But, as a working parent, it’s also incredibly frustrating to manage the chaotic schedule of the first week of school and the accompanying shopping for school supplies. Both of which are “back to school” relics, now unnecessary and completely out of touch with reality. I don’t know...

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Why I always feel sad during National Breastfeeding Month

Two years ago this month, I was a first-time mom of a nine-month-old.  Some of my guilt about failing at breastfeeding was just starting to fade when suddenly my social media accounts exploded with posts for National Breastfeeding Month.  I read and “liked” them each in support for this cause that I so believe in, but I’m sorry to admit that each time I did so with a slight eye roll and more than a twinge of jealousy.  I so badly wanted to be celebrating nine months of breastfeeding, and on the other hand I needed it to be ok that I wasn’t.  But you don’t get that kind of support when you give up on breastfeeding.  There is no National “hey, I tried” Month.  Two years ago I felt like a failure, and even worse, I felt completely alienated and alone. There is nothing all that special or unusual about our story.  Despite my utter certainty pre-kids that I would breastfeed, things did not turn out as I had expected.  What really does once you have a baby?  But of all the things that could go completely down the toilet during those early weeks of motherhood, breastfeeding is a big one.  It was so unexpectedly painful, complicated, and emotionally charged.  Weak and selfish, I was no match for the challenge – at least, that’s what I told myself....

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“Being a Mother” Versus “The Practice of Mothering”

  As I descended the staircase of my office building yesterday, a thought popped into my head about the work I do.  I’m usually inclined to say “I’m a lawyer” when someone asks me what I do for a living, where I work, what I do for work, etc.  I let that three-word descriptor marinate in my gut for a minute, and it did not feel good.  It felt slimy, like a genteel expression of “I’m a sleazy profiteer who peddles fantasies of justice! So what do you do?” The irony of feeling this way about “being a lawyer” is that I actually love the work I do, in terms of the subject matter and the people I serve.  I help parents get special education programming and services for their children.  That should make me feel great—and thankfully, it usually does, or else I wouldn’t have lasted long in this profession.  But my preference would be to do this for free, just because it’s a good thing to do for parents and children in need.  If I had a passive income source or became independently wealthy, I would just volunteer my time as a special education lawyer.  There are lots of problems inherent in working as a lawyer, and those are the aspects of the work that make me feel more like a well trained pitbull than a human...

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Guilty: I’m Lying When I Say I’m Okay

Back track to a few weeks ago on a Saturday night… Mom’s first night out solo–Wahooooo! Am I right?  Who can relate? I was kind of excited to run out the door. This was my first time going out for longer than two hours in the past three and a half months. I was going to a bridal shower an hour away. My husband was away for work.  And I was leaving my baby with my mom for the first time. I spent two days mentally preparing.   My mom and my son practiced the night before while I...

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The “Go-To” Family

When we first started our journey with Gavin and his diagnosis we didn’t know anything.  Well aside from the basics of him being a baby and how to care for him in terms of feeding, bathing, diaper changes, etc. But beyond that –when it came time for specialist and therapist appointments and specific questions we needed to ask – not a clue.  I was aware of what CP was but how it would impact Gavin or our family – nothing. Insurance…? I’m lucky I know the basics of plan coverage but how to get devices or services approved – seriously? I would have had a better chance of guessing the nuclear guidance codes than figuring that mess out. Literally, we knew nothing other than basic care for Gavin – (aka care you would give to an able bodied child). We have asked waaaay more than our “20 questions” at any given appointment. But along the way something happened. Something that up until recently I never thought would actually happen. We have learned enough and been through enough that we have become the “go – to” family. We are no longer the “newbies” looking to everyone else for help/guidance (although there is still plenty of that going on, trust me). We still ask questions – but we’re closing in on 10 an appointment vs. the 30 – 40 we used...

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Back To School Resolutions

As I sit here sipping coffee and watch the morning arrive, I feel the breeze. The weather is slightly cooler and while it feels nice given the hot and humid week we’ve had, it also comes with a little sadness. A sure sign that summer is leaving and in exactly two weeks school will begin. I am already starting to tense up, feelings of anxiety, worry and stress creeping in… I love summer and don’t want it to end. Although my work schedule is the same year round, along with my husband’s, the summer gives us all a chance...

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