Author: Jessica Hendrickson

A Letter To My Friend: What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom

My Dear Friend,  In a few short months, you’ll meet that little person growing inside you and your life as you know it will be gone.  There will forever be two yous: Before and After.  You’re no stranger to change – you picked up and moved to Spain to teach English, you relocated to Chicago with only a couple of bucks and your clothes. You’re a brave, strong woman.  But this change is….different. Although nothing can really prepare you for it, here are a few things that I wish I knew before becoming a mom:   It is harder than you can imagine. When I was pregnant with my first son I thought: I’m in my thirties (i.e. not a kid), have a career (i.e. no major financial issues), a good marriage (i.e. no relationship drama), a house (i.e. enough room for a family), I got this. I’m ready. Ha-ha. Little did I know. It doesn’t matter how secure you are and how much support you have.  And despite what people tell you, you will NOT love every second.  It is harder than you can imagine.       You may not have an instant connection with him. You’ve heard about that “magical moment” when you first hold your baby in your arms, but it doesn’t always happen that way. With my first son, I didn’t experience an instant bond – he...

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Reasons Our Kids Cry

About a year ago, my son (2 years old at the time) had a full blown tantrum because he had applesauce on his fingers. I thought this was so absurd that I had to take a picture of it, and to this day, it still makes me chuckle. Apparently I was not alone in finding this type of situation comical. There are multiple websites (and even a book) featuring devastated-looking children freaking out for ridiculous reasons.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not find it funny when my children are sad; I do not stick a camera in their face when they get hurt. HOWEVER, when my 3 year old throws a fit because I told him that no, he cannot put chocolate chips in my salad, I can’t help but find it amusing. And I think we’ve all had that moment in the grocery store when our child is screaming for Sponge Bob fruit snacks and we feel like yelling “Hey!  Fellow shoppers!  My kid is not really a spoiled brat, I swear!” Listen Mommas, it’s tough to manage the “tantrum-throwing” phase, so why not try and find some humor in it? In preparing this post, I’ve realized one thing in particular: ALL little kids are crazy, not just mine (which I found oddly comforting). So next time your kid freaks out when you tell her she cannot wear snow boots in...

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World Problems Solved By My Three Year Old

Race Relations  As a working mom of two young kids, admittedly I don’t have much time to keep up with world events. My daily news intake consists mostly of the local weather forecast and traffic updates. So when I saw the headline flash across my TV that the Governor of Missouri had declared a state of emergency, I was curious. What happened in Missouri? Some kind of weather disaster? Nope. A teenager was killed by a police officer. No – let me rephrase that – a black teenager was killed by a white police officer. Wait – what the heck does skin color have to do with that story? Apparently a lot. Enough to cause violent riots throughout the state.   Hey World, let me tell you a story about how my three year old feels about skin color. My husband’s best friend came to visit and stay with us for a week. My son Jack, can be very shy around people he doesn’t know (and people he does know for that matter – he was terrified of my father for about 6 months of his life) so I was a little apprehensive about how he would react to a stranger staying with us (not to mention a stranger who happens to be a 6 foot 3 black man named Big John).  Well, John walked in our house, scooped...

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Why I am Relieved World Breastfeeding Week is Over

I swear I started writing this during World Breastfeeding Week, but for a variety of reasons didn’t finish. I debated whether to even post this, being that we’ve likely reached our limit on boobie stories. But then I thought, everyone has a different experience with feeding their newborn, and as much as you may have read or heard, you don’t know my story. Maybe you can relate, maybe not. Regardless, I am one of the millions (billions?) of women that have an experience with, and an opinion on breast feeding. So alas, my (late) post on World Breastfeeding Week.  First of all, when I found out it was World Breast Feeding Week, I cringed. And that reaction surprised me. Wasn’t I confident in my decision to stop breast feeding after 8 weeks? Apparently I wasn’t. Of all the articles, blog posts, TV bits on the subject, the overall message I received was “Breast is best; however breast feeding is not always feasible, and in that case, whatever works best for mother and baby is best.” This is a wonderful, supportive message. And yet. And yet I still feel guilty.  I breast fed both of my sons until they were about 8 weeks old and then stopped. I didn’t have any valid medical reason that would fall into the “not feasible” (and therefore forgivable) category. My reasons were basically selfish. I...

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The Birth of my Second Child: How My Life Became Complete & I Stopped Wishing For a Daughter

I always pictured myself with a daughter. I didn’t just hope for a daughter one day, I flat out assumed I would have one. We would play dress up and do our hair and nails and go shopping together. She would ask my advice on fashion and boys and life and I would teach her everything from how to walk in heels to how to become a strong independent woman.   When I got pregnant the first time, of course I thought it was a girl, my mini-me, my future BFF. Well, that magical 20 week appointment came and...

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