Author: Emily Gonzalez

A Mommy Milestone

Something really important happened on the day my daughter turned 97 days old.  I was nearing the end of her bedtime routine as my husband looked on from our bed.  Baby smelled fresh (only a faint sour milk stench), was in clean, soft PJs, had a full belly, and was passed out, heavy and warm in my arms.  I buried my nose in her hair and then looked up, smiling, at my husband.  His eyes brightened, and he whispered at me.  “I think you’re a great mom.  I mean it.” He said it!  And that means it’s true. Some background: my husband and I have an awesome relationship.  We are very much alike and yet very much different; our upbringings are night and day, but we share the same core values and priorities.  We are also both messy, which is really helpful.  Importantly, we are each other’s second marriage.  While we are both less likely to sweat the small stuff this time around, we do have some hard-and-fast rules stemming from our past relationships.  For example, no name-calling and no saying “F*** you.”  Another one is that, if I ask my husband what he thinks of my latest cooking experiment or whether my pants are flattering, I expect him to tell the truth.  And I know that he follows this because sometimes I don’t like his answer, even delivered...

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Practicing What I Preach

I am a school psychologist, but depending on the day, I can sometimes act as more of a professional cheerleader or shoulder to cry on.  What I technically do in counseling teenagers is to help them talk through their thoughts and feelings so that they can reach their own conclusions and formulate their own plans of action.  It’s that whole “give them a fish” versus “teach them to fish” idea.  This can be pretty challenging when I am faced with an acutely angry or distraught high school student.  Over the years, I have noticed that I end up annoying them with saying some of the same things over and over – little quotes, encouragements, and words of wisdom.  Now that I have faced the *ahem* challenge of being a new mom, I have been thinking a lot about the fact that some of these could actually be really useful to me.  In other words, I really need to start practicing what I preach.  Here are a few of my favorite examples: Do some positive self-talk.  In general, this basically refers to creating a positive internal dialogue (e.g., “You can do it!”).  One exercise I do with students is having them tell themselves a story about something they’re nervous about as though it has already happened.  The story should be positive but also realistic.  For me, this needs to go something...

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Dressing My Postpartum Body (or Homage to Maternity Leggings)

I have lived in fear of my post-baby body for as long as I have been aware that such a thing exists.  Even though I know tons of ladies who have made it through multiple babies looking amazing, I always had the idea that pregnancy and childbirth would destroy me irreparably.  If I got a compliment about my figure or briefly felt good about myself in a bathing suit, I would mentally remind myself: enjoy it now.  Just wait until after pregnancy.  Fast forward to 12 weeks postpartum, and, like most of my innumerable worries, it turns out that I wasted way too much of my youth thinking about this.  Granted, I still have a few pounds and inches to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy self, but I truly do not hate my body!  I actually feel kind of proud, like I have put it to good use, and if it isn’t perfect (and it wasn’t perfect to begin with anyway), there is a good reason for it. That said, I am now in this weird and frustrating limbo stage with clothing.  Even though I am ok with my body and am feeling ready to rejoin the land of the living by wearing normal clothes again, very little of my old wardrobe fits.  It is pretty disappointing to have been through all this – working my way up...

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The Best Ever In-Law Invasion

When I found out my in-laws, including my husband’s two cousins, sister, 15-year-old nephew, and Spanish-only parents, were set to descend on my house for twelve days over the holidays, I experienced a rollercoaster of (postpartum) emotions.  It was something like, “I can’t wait for everyone to meet the baby!  We don’t have enough beds for everyone!  Yesss – Cuban food!  They’ll probably think I’m a terrible mother!  We’ll have so much fun!”  I thought of writing a post about their visit even before they arrived and titling it something like, “Surviving the In-Laws.”  But this is really more of a tribute to them.  Not only was it a wonderful visit, but they also helped immensely in caring for my baby girl and boosting my confidence as a mom.  To be clear, it wasn’t all rosy.  There was a retainer on the sink in the downstairs bathroom, on two occasions I found footprints in baby powder from the bathroom to my bedroom (???), and I had to remove myself from all the noise at some point almost every day.  But overall, I can easily say that our visit was much better than your average in-law invasion.  Here are some highlights: They cooked AND CLEANED.  Our house was like a fabulous Cuban restaurant for the duration of their visit.  Ropa vieja, bacalao, split pea soup, Spanish omelet, rice, beans, yucca...

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My New Mom Story

People ask a lot of irritating questions while you’re pregnant.  “How are you feeling?” is pretty bad, but the one that really rattled me was, “Are you ready?”  Yes, our house was stuffed full of baby gear, we had completed our childbirth classes, and I had read every “10 Things Nobody Tells You About Parenthood” article I could get my hands on.  When I was little, the Girl Scouts had advised me to “Be Prepared,” but while I was cognizant of the fact that my life was about to change drastically, I also knew that there was no way for me to really be ready for how difficult it would be. Labor was my true introduction to the wild and unpredictable world of parenting.  For months, I was told that I should expect to go late, have a long labor, and to definitely take The Drugs.  But then, 15 days ahead of schedule, I endured an intense, chaotic, and unintentionally unmedicated 2.5 hour labor.  I literally went from relaxing and watching TV at home at 3:30 to holding my newborn at 6:00!  As I lay awake in my hospital bed on that first nearly sleepless night, it was clear to me that I had been officially inducted into the Mom club.  Motto: “You Cannot Prepare!” Thanks to the internet and my 23948237 closest friends and family, I was aware that my...

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