Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ch ch ch changes.. and a little mush.

So much has changed since I last wrote. So much in fact that it has taken me weeks of staring at my blank 'new post' screen to even put the ideas into something resembling a complete thought.

I have yet to have written this publicly but as many people know, in September my husband lost his job. This threw our entire lives into upheaval. Between panic, tears and scrambling to figure things out, I haven't stopped very long to actually put into perspective what happened here..

Doing what every mother instinctively does, I tried to nurture those around me, and make everyone feel OK with the situation. I made one of the hardest decisions I had to, which was to go back to work during the daytime. I didn't have to. I mean, for lack of any other money making option, I guess I did.. but I could have  been bitchy and complain-y (more so, I guess) and said that I wasn't changing anything, that he lost his job and that he needed to fix it. But that's not what partners do.

Marriage is give and take,
and in this situation I HAD to give,
and with each day that passes, it seems like a lot.

And while I tear up a lot lately getting used to the idea of my husband being home with her, getting to take her to her library programs, put her hair in pigtails and chose what kind of waffle she will eat in the morning, let me enlighten you about my husband a little bit.

My husband had been working at a miserable job to keep up afloat. He swallowed his pride every morning he used to have to go to work to be belittled and eat shit all day by his former employers because he knew he had to make money to take care of his family. It was killing him, his spirit and his kindness and sense of self worth and it was not paying nearly enough to deal with a third of the garbage he had to put up with.

He's 1 and ( a little less than) a half months away from graduation for his Master's Degree (in addition to which he also got a Project Management Certificate) which has taken him a LONNNNNG 4 years of stress, sitting in a cold basement, missing family gatherings/holiday celebrations, early mornings, late nights, pre-and postnatal craziness (well me, but him by default) and did I say stress (?).. He's so close they've probably almost printed his name in his diploma, and I couldn't be more proud.

He spends each moment of every day worrying. He worries about money. He worries about how he will take care of his family. He worries about me and Isabel, and wants to be sure we are safe and happy. He worries he will disappoint me. He worries about  Isabel and hopes she will grow up to be a good person, and  hopes we are doing the best we can. He worries about bills, and late charges and finance rates.. and I wish he wouldn't worry so much.

He's the most loving, dependable and caring man I could have ever asked for. Isabel is lucky to have him as her daddy, and I am truly blessed to have him walk by my side in this crazy life we live together. He's always got my back, and although I can seem adverse to a lot of his 'hair-brained' ideas, I know for a fact that he only does all of the things he does for Isabel and I. We come before him. Or happiness, our safety, our security.. it comes before his and I want him to know that I realize that.

Thank you, Mr. Bermudez for all of your hard work and love.

I love you always.

Monday, August 6, 2012

When good girls go bad..


That's pretty much what I hear from the minute I wake up, until her tiny little eyelids fall closed at night. Apparently my daughters has not only learned the meaning of the word, she uses it often when I really want to hear anything but.. 

"Izzy, let's go change your diaper" "no!"
"Isabel do you want to eat?"' "nooooo"
"Isabel, don't touch that please!" "No, no, nooooooooooooooo!"

Okay okay, I guess calling her 'bad' isn't the nicest, most pc-mommy thing to do, but COME ON people!

I prayed every night for about a month prior to her 2nd birthday that she would not be a terrible two.. that the little 'moment' we had at about 18 months was the worst of it, and that the days after her 2nd birthday would be a bliss-filled cakewalk, while I scoffed at all the tantruming kids on the floors of supermarkets  reducing  their now teary-eyed and hoarse (from screaming) moms to mom-zombies whowould plead, beg and near lose their minds for just a glimpse of the child they *thought* they knew.

This was and is in fact, not the case. So, instead of just assuming that a) there is no God who would've  listened to my pleading for a well behaved child, or b) She/he was far too busy listening to the other moms with bigger and far more pressing issues, She/he decided to arm me with  books about deep breathing exercises, a night job and (lots of) wine to get through the part of my little girls life where she needs me so deeply, yet wants so intensely to express her independence that it often creates a storm between us.. Something similar to what creates a tornado; hot and cold air, running amok in the atmosphere. A strong vortex that sucks up all the energy, good and bad leaving a mess of destruction in it's wake..

Ok, so that was a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

Who knew two-year old's were such complex little creatures? I never knew that such a strong desire for a particular outcome thwarted by an inability to complete or fulfill said desire could cause such an boiling over of emotions, (often times resulting in a display of floor exercises that could rival an Olympic athlete)? And while I feel that these moments last forever, in reality they are one just a quick moment out of my whole day, after which she is back to her sweet and loving self again.

Who knew that at the end of the day, it wouldn't matter. Each tantrum no matter how big or small isn't something we can't get through, regardless of how insane, destructive, embarrassing or over-dramatic. At the end of the day, we all put our heads down and sleep (hopefully!) and dream the day away. We cleanse our hearts and minds, and wake up again hoping that the brightness of the sun and the promise of a new day will wash away the insanity of the day before. Or at the very  least, gain the energy to deal with the craziness of yet another day with a two year old.

I am quickly learning that no one ever died from being told no (or at least, I don't think so), and me inciting a tantrum is not a question of my ability as a mother, but how I deal with it and all of the challenges of being mommy brings is. I don't expect to deal with all of them (or even 50% of them) perfectly, but I can try.

 And in the meantime, I have to start getting used to this, because I keep hearing that three is worse.. (gasp!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And now...a moment of clarity.

I have spent the past (a little over) two years worrying, probably giving myself unnecessary wrinkles, dark circles and ulcers over being the mommy I always wanted. The mommy who knew exactly what you wanted for your birthday, the kind of cake to bake and the one that always called you at the exact time you were born every year, even if that moment was in the middle of the night.

The mom who kissed away your boo-boos and tears, one who was  there waving goodbye when you got on the bus in the morning, and smiling excitedly when you got off the bus after school. But unfortunately, as Isabel got Andre and I  by chance, circumstance and a dash of science and biology, I couldn't chose my mom.

Just because my mother wasn't the exact mom I would have wanted, still want or chose, doesn't mean that I would change anything. If I didn't have my mother, I would have never become the person I am today. I would have never learned that being a mother is so much more than a title, and that much like adopted children, it doesn't matter who gives birth to you, you don't need to be tied to someone by blood to have them be family. You don't need to come from the belly of the person who will love you most... And while I hope that Isabel never has to feel the disappointment I have felt from my own mother, I was very fortunate to  know the love of a mother, (while not mine by birth) who loves me unconditionally.

I also learned that the little things do matter some of the time, when the little things are cuddling on the couch or making cookies on rainy days. Walking hand in hand picking flowers when it's sunny, or playing in the sprinkler outside on hot days. Or holding each other close in bed, cuddling as if life depends on it. Giggling in the bath, blowing bubbles, and kissing each other goodnight.

So much of my time is spent worrying.... How will I get it all done? How can I clean the house, make the perfect meal, do the laundry, teach her her ABC's and make sure she doesn't watch too much TV, and still get through a nights work? How does everyone else, some with multiple children, make it all look so easy? They all secretly have maids and nannies, don't they? Magic spells from 'the book of mommy magic', that is apparently harder to get a copy of the than the 50 shades trilogy?

And often, the time I don't spend worrying, I spend feeling guilty.. Guility for wanting time to myself. Wanting to be just me, not mommy-me, not wife-me, or work-me, just me.  Danielle me. To go shopping without worrying about what needs to be done at home and who might be missing me in my absence. Agonizing over wanting to leave my kid totally safely with another mom in a local gym nursery, that I will be 5 feet from so I can workout and feel better about myself which will hopefully improve my overall mood, any maybe make me a better mom. Guilt over sitting on the computer or eating a whine-free lunch during nap time instead of using that time more 'wisely' to get dinner made, or the cleaning done.

So, my moment of clarity came to me while I was driving home last night from work. Why all the stress? Why all the guilt? I am doing the best I know how, and the outcome has been pretty amazing.

I am not the perfect mom. I am the only mom I know how to be. I will learn from the mistakes of those before me, and take (with caution) the advice of those around me.

I will not spend all of my time agonizing over what I feed my child, how we spend our days, and whether everyone else is happy with the way my child is being raised.

I will no longer concern myself with being the 'perfect' mom. I will everyday grow, and learn with my daughter, and I will try to concentrate being a better mom. Not a better mom than my own. Not better than my sisters or my friends. But I will always work on being the best mom I can be.

Friday, May 4, 2012


othermomaphobia: def-- The fear of meeting, talking to, seeking out or otherwise interacting with other moms.

On various occasion I have sat in my car on my way to a 'meetup' with other moms in the midst of a panic attack over meeting new mothers.. Running through all the possible scenarios in my head..

Will I be the frumpy mom? Will I be the weirdo mom? Will I be the too much of a leftist mom? Will they hate my because my daughter who I think is amazing, just recently started to 'adore' the word 'MINE!' and I haven't quite figured out how to deal with it yet? Will she ask to nurse in front of these women, leaving me stammering about my relentless and up-until recently failed attempts to wean her? Will I be scrutinized and begin to relive my no-so-happy elementary playground days of being a outcast, and having other girls chase me and throw sand in my hair?

As all of these thoughts are running through my head  and my heart is beating double-time, I convince myself that I am going to this meet up/library program/play date for my daughter. It's not about me, it's about her.. She needs friends. She needs playmates to learn from and play with. Just get out of the car. I decide if I need a quick close-friend pep talk, or am I OK today, and I can get passed the fear and walk into the building.  And it's not like I haven't been there before, I have met up with and still am very close to a few women from another mommy group (see prior post on Peace, Love and Mommyhood). Why should this be any different?

So the next step is going in and not making people think I am 'bitchy' mom by not immediately introducing myself to everyone in there, but often times I find it completely intimidating walking into a room of other moms who already know each other, and the names and birth dates of each others family members, and whether or not their kids like the crusts cut off their soy nut and organic blueberry jelly sandwiches.

No wonder I feel the way I do, these women are awful! All judgy and glaring eyes,  driving their BMW hatchbacks and wearing their J.crew sweaters and drinking their Starbucks lattes, while carrying their neatly groomed children's lunches in the cutest of reusable lunch totes, while chit-chatting with the other perfectly dressed moms and texting their CEO hubby's from their new I-phones..

Wait.. Whose being judgy? I haven't even walked in and I have pegged all of these moms as horrible, blood thirsty, mom-pires ready to suck any ounce of confidence and pride I take in my abilities as a good mom right out of my body.  Again, I tell myself to stop being awful and will myself into the building.

Needless to say, I have never been bitten by another mom. I can actually say, I have never been bitten by anyone at a play date before. And as time goes on, I realize that much like many phobias, spiders, heights, the sight of blood and needles, othermomaphobia is pretty real, but also completely able to be overcome. I have even met some amazing, non-judgmental, non-J.crew clad women who understand that kids are kids, and they don't hold it against me that my daughter might lash out at a child she feels is going to take something from her, or that the terrible twos are worse than normal that day. The fact is, I am pretty sure most moms feel the same anxiousness when walking into a scenario that might be unusual, strange or otherwise intimidating... And I get it. We aren't all going to get along. We aren't all going to parent the same way,  we all don't breastfeed, co sleep, or even like our kids (ha ha, just kidding) but we all have one thing in common, we are moms looking to do the best for our children.

I'll just remember to leave my soy latte in the car. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The non-competitive edge

Ok, so here goes, and I *hope* I don't offend too many people by making the following statement. It's the statement that no moms are supposed to ever say, even though I know we all think it.

My kid is better than your kid.

She's cuter, funnier, prettier, smarter and overall outright more incredible than yours... why? Because she's mine. I don't care if your kid was potty trained at 3 months, walked at 5 months, dances the macarena in fast forward and can say their alphabet in English, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi and Mongolian at 18 months.. My kid is still better...because she's mine.

Again, I know you are never supposed to say these things, but admit it.. even if you don't say it aloud, you know you've thought it.. Come on, it's just you and me... You know that you think your kid is better than every other kid out there, and I am here to tell you that it's cool that you think that, but my kid is still better. :-)

As parents, this is a normal thing. It's ok to think your kid is special.. As a matter of fact, I would worry about the parent whose like 'wow, you're kid is WAAAY cooler and much smarter than mine'...

As parents we are supposed to be amazed at the amount of things our kid can do at every age, and we are supposed to puff out our chests a little with each accomplishment, because with each one of the new amazing things that our kids do, it's a pat on the back for us as parents, telling us that we are in fact raising the coolest kid that ever lived.. It's all about validation, people. And who out there isn't in someway always searching for some validation?

As parents, competition for 'my kid did this first' and 'my kid did this better' is ingrained in who we are.. However, I want to try really hard not to do that. Of course you think your child and everything they do is amazing, because it's true. They are your flesh and blood. They are a deeper part of you and a more important part of your life than you ever thought possible. So it's natural to relish each moment. And with every new step taken  and every new word uttered you will honestly and truly  be unable to believe how amazing your kid is, and you will think it's insane that out of all the kids in the world,  how your child has to be the best that was ever created.

I'm pretty sure that the only people who are 'exempt' from this are grandparents, because they are 'supposed' to think that each of their grandchildren are the best in their own way.. From grandchild #1 and beyond (17  and counting in the case of my family), each one is special, amazing and incredible... But let's be honest, grandma and grandpa... Mine is the cutest, right?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The terrible what's now?

I am pretty sure everything I read said 'twos'.

 What I was expecting was a few days after the perfectly baked and decorated ND Birthday cake leftovers are tossed into the trash and the Thank You cards are ordered, that I would notice the beginnings of a subtle change.. A little defiance, a little harder time with understanding patience, a few more battles here and there over the things we already have a hard time with, getting diapers changed, not running away when I grab her coat, you know, things like that. And me, I would deal with these little changes with as much grace and patience as Mother Theresa herself, all the while gently guiding and helping my little girl to understand her new strong feelings of independence and self awareness..


The terrible Two's (as someone so wrongly referred to them) have reared their ugly head in my  house at exactly at 21 and 1/2 months. Perhaps they are called the terrible twos because this awfulness continues throughout the age of two, in which case if this is JUST THE BEGINNING,  I am going to need new meditation techniques and A LOT of red wine to get through.

My daughter, who I affectionately refer to at desperate times as 'Sybil' woke up one morning as a new kid. My assumption is that the evil little fairy that sprinkles terrible two dust in the middle of the night on once perfectly well-behaved children heard me one too many times tell people how lucky I am that my daughter is so well behaved, and how she (up until recently) had been an absolute dream, and wanted to test that theory by giving her all the sass, gumption and strong-will she could manage to give her overnight. (I will end you, you evil little fairy!).  I just cannot comprehend how a child can be the picture of perfection at one moment, and very definition of  'the terrible two's' the next.

There are many times a day when I find my child stamping her feet, throwing herself on the floor, or outright just telling me 'no', that I find myself being tested not by her tantrums or defiance, but my own ability to see through all her insanity and realize that she is still the same lovable sweet kid, whose growing up before my eyes. I hope that one day all of the strong will and gumption that she has will be used to fight the many injustices of the world like prejudice, hate and ignorance and not just whether or not she can have M&M's before breakfast.