Published Work

The Hair In The Shower Drain

 

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I was rushing to take a shower this afternoon while my six-month-old was napping and before my four-year-old got home from preschool when I noticed it – a big ole’ clump of hair in the shower drain. It was a ball of long, dark brown hair so it was only mine to claim as I’m the only female in my house and none of my boys sport man buns. After my shower, I pulled it out and looked at it in horror at just how much was in the drain. A lot of hair.
I knew I’d been losing hair for some time, but I was shocked at just how much was actually in the drain. I had started noticing the hair loss about two weeks postpartum with my new baby boy. I was shedding all over the house. Way more than normal. My husband had found pieces of it on his work clothes, the baby had pieces of it in his hands (not just from grabbing it from my head), and my vacuum canister was filled with it.
I’ve always been a “shedder” as my husband calls me, but after Mr. C was born it hit a new level. I got online and did a little research and talked to some fellow moms, and it turns out it’s quite normal to lose a ton of hair after baby. I hadn’t experienced this with my first pregnancy. Some of the other moms told me, “You don’t lose any hair when you are pregnant, so after you have the baby you lose all of that hair plus your everyday hair loss.” I don’t know about all of that as I’m not a medical person, but it sounded about right. So, I continued with my prenatal and added a biotin vitamin in an effort to help with my thinning hair.
Then, the day before I found the hair in the drain, I went to the dentist and had two cavities filled. TWO. Now, let me back up. I’m that person that brushes her teeth 3-4 times a day. Before babies, I had maybe two cavities in my entire life. However, after I went through my first pregnancy with Mr. L, I came out the other end with six tiny cavities that needed to be filled. SIX. My dentist said pregnancy can make teeth weak and more susceptible to damage. So, when I was pregnant with Mr. C, I vowed I wouldn’t get any more cavities. I was vigilant about brushing (even more so), I flossed (even more so), and added a cavity rinse to my regimen. Needless to say when the doc told me I had two small cavities at my first postpartum dental exam, I was annoyed.
Now I had the hair loss, the cavities and every day before I get dressed I’m reminded of the road map that now exists on my lower stomach in the form of stretch marks. Of course we can’t forget the 5 inch scar across my upper pelvic region from which they were both cut and pulled. They definitely both left their mark on my midsection.
They’ve done a number on my body (and mind).
My body isn’t what it used to be, my hair isn’t as luscious as it once was, and my teeth aren’t quite as healthy as they formerly were.
But, as I pulled that clump of my own hair out of the shower drain, I realized something. My hair will eventually grow back. Maybe not to the fullness it was before I had my babies, but it will grow again. My teeth will probably get worked on again before I enter the dentures phase of life anyways, no matter how much I brush and floss. As for my stomach, well it bears the scars of motherhood. Each mark tells the story of the boy that pushed on my stomach from the inside out, month after month, as he grew and grew into the baby I’d find my reason for living for – two times over. That five inch scar provided a safe portal for my eldest to pass through into the world, since his breech position would have made it dangerous the other way. It also provided a sound passage for his little brother to go through four years later.
I may have days where I feel like I give so much of myself to my children. Whether it be my hair, my body, and heck even my sanity. There are still days I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the woman standing in front of it and there are certainly times I miss the body I had when I was 19-years-old.
Those days are few and far between now. They are put in the back of my mind as I watch my four-year-old, who is the miniature male version of me, write his name at the kitchen table. Or when I watch my six-month-old as he plays in his exersaucer and his big blue eyes follow me as I carry a load of laundry upstairs and he cries because I’m the center of his entire world and when I’m out of sight he thinks I’m gone forever.
They are worth it.
Every cavity I have to get filled (even if not all of them are their fault), every stretch mark I will continue to apply with scar cream probably until the day I die, and every piece of hair I find in the shower drain.
They are so, so worth it.

Originally published on Her View From Home

Published Work

I Pawn My Kids Off Whenever I Get The Chance

My first piece on Blunt Moms

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“I never let anyone else watch my kids. I just don’t feel comfortable leaving them with anyone besides me or my husband,” says my irksome mom frenemy.
I just smile, grab my kid, and take him to the swings to get the hell away from her. I can’t handle her today. The other day she was griping about how she never gives her kids juice because one of them got a cavity before he entered kindergarten. Gasp! However, the idea that she never lets anyone besides her husband take care of her kids is drawing the line on any possibility of her and me actually becoming real friends.
I pawn my kids off whenever I get the chance.”

Read the rest…

Published Work

Being A Big Sister Helped Prepare Me To Be A Mom

 

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I’ll never forget the day my little brother was born. I was outside playing with my best friend from up the street in the playhouse my dad and grandpa had built for my older sister and I. We were playing some version of “mommy,” where we had stuck baby dolls up our shirts to pretend we were pregnant. I had been fascinated with my mom’s pregnancy for the entire time she had carried him. So, when my parents came out and knocked on the door of my playhouse and informed me my grandma was coming down to watch my sister and I so mom could go have the baby I was super excited!
Later that night, my parents called the house to inform all of us that I now was an older sister to a little brother. I remember asking my mom three or four times if it was a girl since I had wanted a little sister. She had to tell me as many times, “No, it’s a boy. You have a brother.” The sophistication of 1990’s sonogram technology had indicated to my parents at the previous doctor’s appointments that “it probably is a boy.” Much to the distress of my dad, who after two daughters, really wanted a boy the third and last time around.
I got to meet my new brother the next day. Of course, I thought he was pretty cute. But, to be honest, I didn’t like him at first. I had been the baby for eight years, after all. With as interested in him as I had been while he was in my mom’s belly, it was surprising it took me a few years to show much interest in him. It wasn’t until he was mobile that I really started to notice him.
That’s when things started to develop. My older sister and I used to fight. FIGHT. We’d fight over anything and everything. So, after I had a younger sibling I swore to myself I’d be as nice to them as I could be. Of course, I knew he’d anger me, but I really wanted to take him under my wing and try to be as kind to him as possible.
He’d come up to the couch where I was laying and ask for little pieces of whatever I was eating. He always got his pieces.
I remember trips to the beach where he and I would build sand castles in the Maine sand and I’d ask him if we had enough moats to make it just right. I’d add more if he requested.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard his little footsteps running through the kitchen to the end of the house where my sister and my bedrooms were. I listened as he first went to my sister’s room and uttered in his little three-year-old voice, “I’m scared. Can I sleep in your room tonight?” Sometimes she’d say yes, but when she didn’t, he’d next knock on my door and I’d let him in to sleep on the floor next to my bed with some blankets and a pillow. After enough attempts, he didn’t bother knocking on her door anymore and just came to mine. I never turned him away. Our little sleepovers in my room are among some of my most cherished memories. I’d make him laugh by making little figures with my hands while shining a flashlight onto my bedroom wall. He’d let out the most precious giggles and I just knew I’d hurt anyone that ever dared to hurt him.
Years later, I remember taking him driving around our town to prepare for his road test to get his license. He had scared my mom one too many times. So, I took him and also let him use my brand new car to take the test. I ended up getting sick the day of the test, so mom took him. But, he passed on his first try. I was so proud of him.
My little brother was my sidekick for most of the milestones in my young life. He and I took a selfie together after I came home from my junior prom – all before selfies were even really a thing. He played a major role in a silly horror movie my friends and I made one summer in high school. He was my little buddy, almost always by my side.
I watched my little brother grow up. By the time I had turned 19, I started dating my now husband and my brother was really coming into his own. We still did things together, but our time together became less frequent as he became more interested in his friends and I got more immersed into my budding romance.
Today my brother has grown into the kind of man I am proud of. He graduated both high school and college with honors. He has a full time job. My oldest son looks just like him and my brother just so happens to be his Godfather. He is a good man.
I truly feel like all of those years ago, God decided our family should have another kid in it. Not only that, but a boy this time. The addition of my brother to the family really grounded me and taught me what it was like to genuinely care for another human in a different way than I cared for my parents and sister. In a way an elder cares for a younger person. No, he wasn’t mine to feed, clothe, and keep healthy. But, in a way he was mine. He was mine to nurture, protect, and look after. He taught me how to be a big sister. He was the first person I ever really took care of besides myself.
All of these years later and I know that in a way being a big sister helped to prepare me to become a mom someday. I even said to my husband the other day, “I think that we were probably meant to have two boys.” This surprised my husband because ever since we have known one another he knew how much I’d always wanted a daughter. I responded with, “With how close my brother and I were growing up, and how much I took him under my wing. I really feel like it was preparing me to be a mom of two boys.”
However, you don’t have to have the same sex child and sibling to feel this way. If you are lucky enough to have a little brother or little sister, cherish them. They may drive you crazy from time to time, but let it all be a lesson of things that may be yet to come in your life. Little creatures that will drive you even more crazy and you’ll love even more fiercely – your own kids.

Originally published on Her View From Home

Published Work

To My Best Friend As You Prepare To Become A Mom

 

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After about a month of playing phone tag with each other, we were finally able to catch up last night. I was having a bad day before I talked to you. I was feeling stressed out, lonely, and tired. The baby hadn’t slept the night before and my four-year-old decided to come home from preschool with an agenda to drive me nuts that night. I needed a pick-me-up. It was just one of those days.
You gave that to me. Just hearing your voice, even though you were 500 miles away, was enough to change my entire night.
We don’t always get to catchup as much as we’d both like. We are both busy. You work full-time, and I’m a busy mom to two boys. Ever since you moved away after high school, we’ve only been in the presence of one another a handful of times. But, you are still my best friend. We’ve done a great job of staying relevant in each other’s lives. We’ve made the effort. When others have lost touch with their childhood best friends, we’ve made it through. We may not get to see each other very often, but our love for each other is still the same as it was when we were in grade school. You are my sister. You are a part of me. And now, I’m so excited to see you become a mom for the first time.
Our past few conversations have centered on all things babies. I still remember getting the phone call when I was heavily pregnant with boy #2, that you yourself were going to have your own first baby just six short months after me. I was so excited! I had been waiting for that phone call.
I love how our conversations have become something different — Instead of talking about television shows or me giving you the local gossip from our hometown, now we talk about our kids. Of course, you always used to listen when I’d talk about my babies, but now it is so nice because soon you’ll have one of your own.
As I try to give you some insight on what it’s really like going through labor pains and all of the little things I wish I’d known before having my first baby, I try to keep in mind that you are going through this for the first time. When we were growing up, I always looked up to you. Although, I’m technically four months older, you have always been one of my role models. I’ve always looked to you to see how to handle certain situations. So, it’s very different for me to be in the seat of the one giving advice.
I hope I’m not scaring you with talks of epidurals, things that might happen once you bring him home, or my own tales of parenthood. You know me– I give it to you like I see it. I am not one to sugarcoat. But, I also don’t want to scare you. I know you are nervous. Even though I can’t see you, I know you well enough to sense it in your voice. I was too, before my first was born.
I just want you to know you are going to do just fine. As I mentioned last night, when you hold that baby in your arms for the first time, you are going to experience something new. Like the Grinch, your heart will swell three times its original size, and you will totally understand what all the fuss is about. You’ll be a mom. You already are.
No, the entire thing won’t be perfect. You’ll have days you will wonder if you are doing it right. Or you’ll be so tired you can’t see straight. But, you will get through it. It will be the most wonderful thing you’ll ever do. When you look into that little man’s eyes you’ll be so proud. You will experience a new kind of happiness you’ve never known before.
So, don’t be afraid, my friend. You are not alone. You have a great husband, extended family, and friends who adore you and already love your baby too. I’m not an expert on motherhood, I’ve only been at it myself for four years now. But, just know, I’m always here for you. Even in the middle of the night.
You are so strong! Your baby is so lucky to have you as his mom. You are the kindest person I’ve ever known. You have been an amazing friend to me over the years. I just know you are going to be the best mom.
I can’t wait for this next phase of life for you. You are going to do so great.

Originally published on Her View From Home