I was laughing with some friends the other day as we compared baby notes. We were in hysterics over how we run towards vomit instead of away from it like we used to. It got me to thinking about all the ways you know you’re a mom. So here, presented in good humor, are 25 clear signs you’re a mother…
You’ve been washing the same load of laundry for three days because you forgot to dry it.
It’s not only normal that you pick up another human to smell their butt, it’s a necessity.
You only shower when you know you’ll be leaving your house, or when you’re expecting company.
All of your fantasies involve sleeping uninterrupted.
Going to the grocery store by yourself feels like a vacation.
You have the ability to hear a sneeze through a closed door, down the hall, in the middle of the night, while your hubby snores next to you.
You wish there was drive through EVERYTHING.
When you don’t even flinch after realizing that you’ve gone the whole day with a mystery stain on your shirt that suspiciously looks like poop or puke, or both!
You get excited about picking someone else’s nose and/or sucking their snot.
Whenever you take a shower, you can swear you can hear your child crying, but when you turn off the water, there’s only silence.
Your kids are dressed beautifully and ready to go, and you’re still in pyjamas.
You make the baby an organic meal, and you’re surviving on coffee and cookies.
You realize you’re swaying, without holding your baby!
You will literally strangle whoever rang the doorbell while your child was napping.
You find yourself talking about poop in public, again…
Your idea of working out is lugging the baby carrier, diaper bag and portable activity center in and out of the car.
You cry at every diaper commercial.
You have entire Pinterest boards devoted to crafts and DIYs and you never actually get around to doing them.
You take it personally when a stranger doesn’t wave back to your baby.
Coffee is now one of your love languages.
You find yourself humming “Old McDonald Had A Farm”, or “Twinkle, Twinkle”.
You know all the words from your kids’ talking toys (“Have you met my friend the red fish?” or, “thanks for calling!”)
You deleted apps on your phone so that you can take more pictures of your kid.
Being in the car alone is exciting.
When CEO’s can learn a thing or two about how much you can multi-task.
REAL TALK: Add your own! What are some of the ways that you know you’re a mom? Share below!
I have never been a jealous person. Most of my life, I’ve marched to the beat of my own drum. I’ve never lacked for anything and anything I’ve wanted, I’ve gone out and gotten it for myself. I’ve made my own path and never felt the need to compare myself to others. I’m a leader, not a follower. But all that changed once I had a baby…
Throughout my pregnancy, I was obsessed with being “normal.” I had heard such awful stories about getting pregnant, staying pregnant and delivering. Nobody talks about the mundane facts of pregnancy, they only discuss the worst case scenario. I was terrified something was going to be wrong with me. I worried that I would get diabetes, or hypertension, or have to have a C-section and feel everything, or I would miscarry. All I wanted at every appointment was for the doctor to tell me everything was normal. I wanted the baby to develop normally. I wanted the pregnancy to be normal and I wanted the delivery to be normal.
But once baby was here, normal was not a word I wanted to hear. To me, Charlotte is the most exquisite creature in the entire universe. She is one-of-a-kind. The most special, perfect, beautiful baby that there ever was and will ever will be. And everything she does is magical and meaningful. Clearly, I am drunk on mom love here…Anyways, in my eyes she is perfect, and I want everyone to know that. When the doctor checked her over at our first pediatrician appointment, I beamed from ear-to-ear when he said that Charlotte was special – so alert, so sweet, so patient. When she got her first tooth at 3 months, other moms were amazed (I’ve heard early teething is a sign of genius, am I right?) And when I tell other moms how she sleeps through the night, every night, I see their envy.
As a mom, it’s impossible not to compare yourself to others when every book, blog, magazine and podcast is telling you which milestones matter and how to get your child there faster. Competition is fierce and leaves us feeling jealous. I’ve never been more insecure in my life. Am I feeding her properly? Is the car seat installed right? Am I a bad parent if my child doesn’t walk at 8 months? Did I fail as a mother if she can’t yet clap or blow kisses? The constant questioning swirls around in my head most of my waking hours.
Like any millenial mom, I turn to social media to test the waters. But I find myself becoming even more anxious! Some of my friend’s babies are already pulling up and standing and others have mastered crawling (Charlotte prefers army crawl and rolling to get where she wants to go). Instantly my mind goes to two places: 1) Is it normal that my kid isn’t doing those things? And, 2) What did I do wrong as a mother that my kid isn’t doing those things too! Our child is clearly the most special to us, but if they don’t do it first, or best, are they really that special? And if we, as mothers, can’t get them to that point, did we fail?
I recently texted a friend to tell her that I was jealous her baby was pulling up and standing. “Chill,” she said, “There is no ‘normal’…babies do what they want, when they want. I’m sure people are jealous of Charlotte’s eating, or how many teeth she has! I remember thinking I wasn’t feeding baby enough when I saw one of your Insta stories.” I honestly hadn’t looked at it that way, so thanks buddy!
So where does this sense of jealousy and competition come from? What exactly are we competing for? To rush our babies into the next step without enjoying what’s in front of us? The days are long but the years are short, and before we know it, our kids are all grown up and refusing extra kisses and hugs. If Charlotte isn’t yet mobile, that means more opportunity for snuggles and squeezes. I need to remind myself each day that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and to enjoy every moment.
Real talk: Do you often find yourself jealous of other moms? How do you deal with the competition between other parents?
Hi. It’s me. Remember me? Your friendly neighborhood supermom. The one with the curated Instagram, the sponsored posts and all the right hashtags. Well friends, I have news for you…that chick is gone! She burnt out back in November and now she’s been replaced with someone a little less “perfect.”
Back in November, my life was upside down. We had sold our house in 72 hours and had 90 days to find a place to live and no hope in sight. We kept getting outbid on places we loved and the housing inventory in the area we wanted to live was non-existent. My dad is a real estate broker with a million years experience and he had never seen anything like this. Panic set in.
Not only we were homeless, but I was still getting used to my role as a mom. Charlotte was 5 months old, and even though we had started our fledging routine, that shit is TOUGH! The anxiety that I had experienced in my 20s flared up like a giant beast. The smallest task (like packing, or texting someone back) seemed insurmountable. My heart would literally race when I got a text message/email/DM that required an answer. The thought of blogging exhausted me. It felt like an impossible mountain to climb. And every day that I procrastinated, the mountain seemed a little taller and steeper, until it grew into an impossible Everest.
And then I’d get mad at myself and start to pick myself part. “I do this for a living, why is this so hard?” Or, “You aren’t pretty/funny/cool enough.” But, the thought that was the most self-destructive was: “No matter what you do, nobody will follow you. You aren’t that interesting.” Super mean, right? We are our own worst critics!
Here’s the thing that no one tells you about blogging…creating content and coming up with new ideas is hard! Starting up your own site and creating a “pretty” Insta with beautifully curated pics is cute, but actually producing content is a full-time job! The pressure of having “perfect” pictures, constantly coming up with new initiatives and new sponsorships was more than I could bear. At work, I have a giant team and huge budget to create content. Little ol’me with my Iphone and a laptop just isn’t the same thing. If I couldn’t even answer a text back, you can imagine how daunting the thought of dressing up, putting on makeup and organizing a baby-and-me photoshoot was!
So what changed you ask? Well, we found a house which we love, I went on a digital hiatus and we took a month-long vacation in Florida. It was revitalizing. To get out of your negative headspace, sometimes a change of environment is the best. Plus, built-in babysitters (thanks Mom & Dad) allowed me some headspace and free-time to have much needed conversations with myself. With a lot of the life stress out of the way, I found myself fantasizing about the blog again. I wrote down blog ideas and started to want to create and connect. It wasn’t overnight (hell, it’s friggin March as I write this and I got back from vacation Jan 31!) but that desire to reach out to others and share my journey is back.
There will be one noticeable difference from pre-burnout to now. Here’s what I promise:
I promise to not be perfect. I promise to be messy, unfiltered and random. I won’t hold back on posting a pic because it doesn’t fit an Instagram aesthetic. I won’t gloss over the yucky stuff. I will be vulnerable. I will be long-winded if I feel like it. I will be gentle with myself and let my flaws shine through. I will focus on telling my story, not accumulating followers. I will be real, grounded and 100% authentically me. I’ll focus on what I’m doing & not look over my shoulder at others.
And to everyone who has stuck around, thank you. The internet can be an asshole, but you’ve been supportive as hell and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for being my cheerleaders!
Real talk: What’s holding you back? Share below & let’s start a convo!
(P.S. Thank you Jamie for the pep talk. It sparked a conversation with myself that needed to be had)
I’m feeling super nostalgic. It was a year ago that Charlotte came into being and that I was on a career high. I just finished organizing my second New York Fashion Week show and was headed to Chicago for a meet & greet event with supermodel Ashley Graham. I was exhausted but chalked it up to a crazy work schedule and travel. Little did I know I was preggo!
All week, pics have been popping up on my newsfeed and I hardly recognize the girl in them. She looks rested. Her hair is perfectly coiffed. Her makeup is flawless. Her nails are done. For a second, I miss that girl…but then I remember everything I’ve gained.
The first thing that many people told me when I announced my pregnancy is that I was the type of person to get bored on maternity leave. As I’m known as someone who is always on the go, they felt that the change of pace would cramp my style and I would find staying at home claustrophobic. I would reply, “Naw, you know me! I’ll join a group and sign-up for classes and keep busy.” And that’s exactly what I’ve done!
I’m lucky to live in a community where families rule. The suburbs of Montreal always have something going on for families, whether it be a craft fair, farmer’s market or storytime at the library. I didn’t have to to look far to find something to occupy my time. I remember at around the 2 month mark, I had taken Charlotte out for a walk and was feeling a bit down. I walked around the neighborhood feeling lonely, wishing I had somewhere to go, something to do and people to do it with. Being the type-A girl that I am, I immediately went home and began furiously googling mom groups. I came across a new one that had recently launched called “Perfit Moms“. They held weekly walks, meet-ups and classes. So I jumped with both feet and jumped in.
I connected with away with the founder, Elisabeth. She is a go-getter, and super friendly and welcoming. You know those people that you meet and you feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how I felt meeting Elisabeth. She started Perfit Moms as an resource for other moms in our area with the hope of building a community of moms helping moms. Weekly meet-ups can be about anything under the sun – nutrition, sleep, sex post baby, and self-defence. The best part, it’s ALL FREE! I was thrilled when Elisabeth asked me to come onboard to help her out, fulfilling my own prophecy of being in a mom group.
Although being Charlotte’s mom is my favourite job of them all, being in this group makes me feel like I’m making a difference and gives me a focus outside of diapers, feedings and bath-time. And that’s ok! I like to be busy, I like to be social and just because I have a baby doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice all of myself for her. By being true to myself and respecting my own desires, I’m a better mommy for Charlotte.
How did you stay true to yourself once you had a baby? I want to know! Share in the comments below!
Time is moving at warp speed! Seems like just yesterday our little bundle of joy was coming home from the hospital. She was so tiny and fragile and we were equal parts terrified, determined and in awe of her. Fast forward 3 months and Charlotte is entertaining us with adorable performances of smiles, gurgles, squeals and coos. She kicks and grabs and our breastfeeding relationship is better than ever.
It’s amazing how fast they develop and how quickly they pick up new skills. Last week, Charlotte’s hands would flail about at random, but now she holds them together like she’s praying, shoves them in her mouth and grabs things out of our hands! Seemingly out of nowhere, she started to drool and blow spit bubbles (oh great, teething in starting). And she’s started swaying from side to side on her back and pulling her feet up. Any moment she’s going to roll.
As a mother, I’m feeling more confident in my abilities and have cobbled together a schedule that seems to work for us. It required giving up some freedom and sticking to scheduled naps and bedtime, but it’s made the days more predictable for Charlotte and has lessened her mood swings (damn Gemini baby!) In terms of mommytime, I’ve been out a few times without the baby, I’ve joined a few mom groups that have been welcoming and supportive and have even started writing pro-bono for a friend’s publication.
The months past haven’t all been sunshine and roses. The sleep deprivation is unrelenting. Charlotte hasn’t mastered the art of napping yet, refusing to go down more than 40 minutes at a time. This makes for one cranky baby by days end! She’s also developed an addiction to the pacifier and is unable to sleep without it. This means on top of feeding her twice a night, I’m up 10 times popping the thing back in her mouth after she spits it out. Very annoying! I’ve tried to stop giving it to her cold turkey, but she still hasn’t learned to self-sooth, so she’ll cry her eyes out for what feels like hours. And that, of course, makes me cry too. Any tips?
What has saved me the last 3 months has been the support of family. We are so lucky to have my parents and my mother-in-law close-by and not a day goes by where I’m not checking in. From asking them advice like “Does this poop look weird” or being able to vent “She won’t nap and it’s driving me crazy,” they have shared their wisdom and humor and made this crazy parenting adventure a little less scary. Oh, and they also make sure we are fed and that our house isn’t a pigsty. Thanks for that!
Going forward, we’ll need their help more than ever since we’ve officially SOLD OUR HOUSE! Details to come in a subsequent blogpost.
Any advice for a new mom? Care to share your 3 month sleep tips? Comment below!
I’ve always been a naturally social person. One could argue that I’d befriend a plant if I was lonely enough. With a wide, diverse social circle and seemingly unlimited time provided by a generous maternity leave, I was ready to mingle. The first 4 weeks of motherhood were a blur of breastfeeding, diaper changes and naps but now I was ready to start my “new normal.”
However, along with the many physical changes motherhood brings (saggy skin, stretch marks, hair loss), my friendships changed too. New connections bloomed, old ones deepened and grew, and some fell away. Some friends embraced the “new me” with open arms, others welcomed me the mom club, and some just stopped calling.
Instead of mourning friendships lost, I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do…launch into intense research mode. I reached out to old acquaintances that had kids, joined a dozen Facebook groups and Googled the crap out of things like “How to Make Mom Friends,” “Moms Near Me,” and “Meet New Moms”.
That’s when I came across the most amazing (and under-used app) called Peanut. It allows you to connect with like-minded mamas in your area and makes it easy to meet them. It’s basically like Tinder for moms – swipe down to wave at a mom, swipe up to maybe connect later. Ah technology!
I actually ended up connecting with a few different women who I had seen around at pre-natal class, the obgyn, and the mall that I had been shy to approach (I know, right?! Me?! Shy?!) But it’s true…as much as you want to share and connect, striking up convo with strangers is weird. Thank god my experience in a sorority taught me how to approach other women. I always start with a compliment; your baby is adorable, or, I love your diaper bag,
This blog has also been an amazing way to connect with other moms. My heart bursts with joy every time one of you reaches out to connect or to simply say “ditto” to my most recent post. Keep it up! Motherhood can be isolating. So much of your time is wrapped up in your baby and it gets a little lonely. Each time someone reaches out digitally, it’s like a warm hug and instantly brings a smile to my face. Thanks for listening to my complaints…er, I mean stories.
I’m slowly building my mom tribe and would love to connect with you if you have kids (especially if you are in Montreal and on mat leave). Leave a note in the comments!
My breastfeeding story isn’t unusual. Before having a baby, I figured that you put the baby at the breast and the rest was nature taking over. WRONG! Never has something so natural, been so difficult! I struggled…a lot! I thought about giving up nearly every day. I cried, cursed, screamed. I spent hours googling remedies for sore breasts. I joined lactation groups, had my own lactation consultant and became obsessed with finding out how I could make my misery end.
Let’s go back to the beginning. One of the questions I was asked repeatedly while pregnant was whether or not I’d breastfeed. My mom breastfed my brother and I, and since she is my guru on all things baby, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. Plus I factored in all the research; breastfeeding protects baby from illness, allergies, SIDS, as well as boosting your child’s intelligence and reducing mom’s stress levels and risk for postpartum depression. But other than that, I didn’t know what I was in for.
Naturally, being the Type-A person that I am, I signed-up for a breastfeeding workshop where nurses demonstrated how to get a baby to latch (i.e. suck your nipple properly) with a knitted boob. “Sure,” I thought, “seems easy enough!” I followed this up by reading my mom’s “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and felt like I would figure the rest out once baby arrived.
At the hospital, in the post-partum recovery, a sweet nurse helped me breastfeed for the first time. She literally squashed my gigantic 40DD boob into my little one’s mouth. As your body isn’t really your own post-delivery, I went with the flow and was encouraged when she seemed excited that the baby had latched. But, holy shit was it painful! I chalked it up to being a first-timer and continued this painful experience every 2 hours because Charlotte was a hungry little hippo.
The real drama began once the pediatrician told us that Charlotte had a tongue-tie. This means that the piece of skin that attaches her tongue to the floor of her mouth is unusually short. This restricts the range of motion and was the culprit behind the pain. She doctor offered to cut it for us and two minutes later it was done. But the pain in my nipples and breasts continued and was joined by a blood blister, bruises, bleeding and cracks.
When the nurse visited us at home the next day, she was concerned. Not only was the tongue-tie not totally revised, she told us that Charlotte was also lip-tied. Again, the little piece of skin connected the lip to the gums is unusually short and thick and prevents babies from flaring their lips when they breastfeed. Why is this important? A flared lip is what allows the baby to take your nipple deeply into their mouths and suck without causing you pain. To fix this issue, the nurse recommended a laser revision by a pediatric dentist.
Pat and I balked. We didn’t want Charlotte to suffer and it seemed a bit barbaric. I resolved to “tough it out” but after a week, I was in constant pain. Because my nipples were being re-traumatized each time I breastfeed, I developed vasospams. After feeding, they would turn white and burn from the inside. Nothing seemed to help.
I started delaying feedings because I was fearful of the pain that I knew was to come. Charlotte had lost nearly 10% of her birth weight and wasn’t gaining as quickly as desired. I cried and winced each time she latched. The beautiful, tender loving moments between mother and child were non-existent. Instead, my baby was a little devil, intent on destroying me. I knew I couldn’t continue on like this, so I started going to a local breastfeeding clinic. The nurses were incredibly helpful and sympathetic. They showed me how to compensate for the lip and tongue-tie issues. They suggested doing breast compressions while feeding, changing my breastfeeding hold, taking vitamin D, calcium and magnesium for the vasospasms. All of this helped, but still, Charlotte’s latch issues remained.
Finally, after discussing with nearly every parent I knew, we decided to have the dentist do the laser revision. I was scared – what if it burned my baby? I was sad – why am I putting my needs before my child’s? But I was hopeful. If this could change our breastfeeding relationship and I could continue without pain, then I would do it.
The surgery itself was 2 minutes. The most awful part were Charlotte’s screams and the post-surgery exercises I needed to do 6 times a day to guarantee that the skin didn’t grow back. That was traumatizing for both her and I. But thankfully, I noticed a difference in breastfeeding almost immediately. She was able to open her mouth wider and my nipples began to heal. And over time it keeps getting better and better!
Like I said at the beginning of the blog, my story isn’t unusual. But for some reason, nobody talks about the difficulties. The pressure that new moms feel to breastfeed and love it, is tremendous. When issues arise, we’re reluctant to speak out and seek help because we are ashamed. We feel like we’re not good enough, that we don’t love our child enough to be able to provide for them. ALL FALSE! FED IS BEST. Whether breast or bottle, what matters is that you child is being fed and thriving. My story had the outcome I wanted, but had I decided to switch to formula, that would have been fine too.
Did you have trouble breastfeeding? I want to know! Share your stories & thoughts in the comments below.
It’s been a minute…sorry, I’ve been busy tending to my little nugget. Every day is a new challenge, a new lesson to learn and a new reason to fall deeper in love. I spent so much time leading up to Charlotte’s birth worrying about the actual birth process, that I think I neglected to realize the life changing reality of actually having a baby. Read on to see what I’ve learned during the first month of motherhood.
Being a mom is physically demanding! Between the 24/7 breastfeeding and the hours of rocking my little Charlotte in my arms, being a new mom is hard on the body. My back aches, my boobs are swollen to the size of watermelons, my nipples look like old chewing gum and I wonder if I will ever sit comfortably again. My biggest mistake was not taking care of myself from the start. I thought I was doing the right thing to neglect my body in order to take care of my baby. Big mistake, HUGE! At week 5 I’ve finally clued in…back rubs from the hubby, therapeutic baths and face masks…here I come!
No routine is the new routine. As someone who thrives on routine and organization, being flexible in my expectations and schedule is a huge adjustment. I’m so used to having places to go, and people to see, that to go with the flow is like taking a full-loaded freight train to a complete stop. Some days Charlotte wants to sleep all morning and others, she’s wide awake and crying. Learning to just let go and accept the day as it unfolds has been a mind-altering experience.
Pinterest perfection is bullshit. Any mom-to-be will tell you that she has a baby board on Pinterest where she keeps all her inspiration – nursery, newborn photoshoot, baby “hacks.” I meticulously curated my gallery, clinging to picture-perfect ideals of what motherhood should be like. And it’s a lie, a big, giant lie! Motherhood is messy, chaotic, scary and confusing. Hundreds of so-called “experts” will advise you on how to get the perfect baby photos, what your baby sleep-schedule should be and how to get a rocking post-baby body. And it’s all garbage! Listen to you instinct, embrace the mess and let go of expectations – that’s when the little moments you treasure will happen.
You will hate everyone but desperately need them at the same time. Surviving on 3 hours of sleep a night (if that) and listening to the ear-piercing screeches of a newborn has made me highly irritable. My tolerance for people is at an all time low. I want nothing more than to totally disconnect from the world…but at the same time, I can’t bear the thought of being alone. Motherhood is isolating and having people around (whether you can stand them or not) makes the day more enjoyable and less scary. Sometimes you just need to bounce your crazy thoughts off someone: “Is Charlotte’s breathing normal? Should I be worried she never burps? Are belly buttons supposed to look like that?”
And most importantly, what I’ve learnt as a new mom is: motherhood is a secret club, where love and selflessness grants you access. My mom always warned me that when I had children, I would understand her devotion to us. Our joys were her joys and our sadness, her pain. She said that I would spend sleepless nights worrying about everything under the sun. And she promised that things that were once so important, would all seemed trivial compared to the bond between mother and child. I didn’t know love like this until Charlotte’s little finger wrapped arond mine. I didn’t know I could survive without sleep, a hot shower, food and water until I rocked and rocked a sleepy (and very stubborn) baby to sleep for hours. Mom, you were right!
I know there’s more wisdom to learn as I embark on this adventure in parenthood – so please feel free to share your best bits of advice in the comments below!