Mom 2.0

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I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of this "mommy" thing.

Let me explain.

I treated my first pregnancy like I had any other "project" in my life. I researched, had a plan, did the prep work. I had a particular rhythm to my life and, in my mind, my child would fit neatly into the box that I designated in-between my marriage, distance running, roller blading and hard-nosed-careerism.

When Angel popped into my life 8 weeks early, that plan flew right out the window.

But it wasn't so much about having my kids "fit" into my life that was the problem. It was me. Or, rather, the me that I thought I should be once I became a mother. For years, I thought that I was supposed to change once I had kids. True, having kids DOES change youa nd your life, but it was something else. I'd always felt like I was trying to measure up to someone else's idea of a "good mother" and never quite making the grade.

Every time I lamented that having kids was so hard, I was waiting for the "real" parent to tag me so I could get back to my normal life. Every time I made a decision about education, activities, medication, brands of cereal, I felt like there was some parental inspector looking over my shoulder, shaking her head and making notes on a clipboard. It was like I was a half-rate substitute teacher - trying not to f-up the lesson plans so much that the "real" teacher would have to re-do the entire semester once she recovered from the flu.

Then this weekend, it hit me. I AM the real mom. And while I may not have all the answers (or a perfect mani-pedi), I love my children unconditionally, unreasonably and unbelievably. Every decision I make is with their best interest in mind, and when I don't know the answer I am smart enough to ask someone who might. And I'm finally wise enough to realize that no one has all the answers. No one is a better mom than I am because no one knows my children (much less loves them) the way that I do.

I yell too much, sleep too little and perhaps allow a bit too much electronic babysitting in my home. But you know what? My kids are smart, well-rounded and relatively well-behaved. And they know that their mommy loves them.

And so begins the next phase of the parenting journey. What I like to call "Mom 2.0". This is the part when you realize that no one has all the answers, and you can actually laugh at your mistakes.

Because you're going to make a bunch...and believe it or not, your kids will still live to tell the story.

Slow, slow, slow

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It's funny how your perspective can change when you actually take a moment to SEE what's going on around you.

Let me explain.

The past 2 weeks have been a-step-above-the-average-whirlwind at BadAssMama Central, including 4 days of unplanned driving commutes to-and-from work (thanks, Long Island Railroad. You bastards....), 6 late nights at work (including 2 post-10pm-runs) and a cross country trip with the triplets in tow. You might think that The BadAssMama would be the NearlyBaldMama by now.

Believe it or not, I'm kinda zen.

I think it all comes down to taking it slow, and lowering expectations (two things that those of you who know me likely thought you would NEVER hear coming out of my mouth). The driving commute, though annoying, gas guzzling and insanely expensive, was actually a somewhat relaxing change of pace. I was able to listen to whatever I wanted to on the radio. I had a solid 2+ hours ALONE for four days straight (when does THAT happen?). And, with the exception of a few random cases of road rage around me, no one threw a tantrum within my immediate vicinity.

The late nights at work, while exhausting, gave me the ability to not only catch up on the mounds of "to do" and "to read" piling up on my desk, but to actually get ahead of the game and draft a 2012 strategy BEFORE it was requested. The late nights helped me to feel in control of my professional sphere, reminded me that I am good at my job and gave me a true sense of accomplishment. On my commute home (since I was driving or in a car service each night), I took the time to catch up with a few friends by phone and actually looked at the gorgeous Manhattan skyline in my rearview.

One Day at a Time

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It's funny how the things that make us awesome can also make us crazy.

Let me explain.

For the majority of my life, whether in school or in my career, I have attained a certain level of achievement by planning ahead. Thinking 10 steps out. Having a 5 year plan. Contingency planning to minimize the downside. Professionally, and sometimes personally, I have been rewarded for my forward thinking. Strategic planning. Future vision.

And then I became a mom.

It's one thing to plan 10 steps out for yourself, or even for yourself and a spouse. But throw in two kids, a cat, a mortgage, shopping lists,  increasing personal and professional responsibilities and that 5 year plan looks more like a glob of spaghetti thrown up against the wall.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to perfectly plan for every contingency, in every part of your life, every day. Trust me, I've tried (because it's what I USED to be good at). All it's done is driven me into therapy (and likely pushed my husband to the verge of dialing a hit man...).  As we grow up and add tiny people into the mix, it is a foolish dream to think that we can manage every possible scenario through impeccable advanced planning.

So, today I decided to try a new plan.

I will continue to map out those things that I can control (I'm a bit too OCD to throw ALL caution to the wind). But my new mantra is: one day at a time, one thing at a time. This helps me to enjoy the small pleasures and massive joy of watching my tiny lunatics grow and change right in front of my eyes. It also helps me to take a deep breath and slow down when I manically attempt to complete my entire personal and professional to-do list for the week in an 10 hour stretch working from home on Fridays.

One day at a time. One thing at a time.

Try it with me! Tell me how it works for you...

Hopeless

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It is very easy for a mother of young children to lose hope. As a mom smack-dab-in-the-middle of the terrible-2's and what-the-f*ck 4's, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on the subject. Each day is accompanied with new joys, but also a seemingly endless supply of minor inconveniences and major headaches that make you wonder if you will ever see thre light at the end of the tunnel.

Let me use the last 3 weeks at BadAssMama Central as an example.

Over the past few weeks, Victor has decided that his new big-boy bed is "yucky" and takes every opportunity (usually between the hours of 2 and 4am) to remind us of this newfound fact. Often at the top of his lungs.

Over the past 2 years, Angel has developed a wicked case of seasonal allergies. This time of year is always rough, but this year has been a doozy (I guess after the long stretch of winter, all that tree pollen had extra time to hit the gym). There is the sneezing, coughing and constant clear flow of nastiness running out of his nose like a faucet. The combination of itchy eyes and insatiable cough wakes him roughly every 2 hours. Some nights, it's every hour on the hour until 4 am.

For the past week, the boys have taken shifts keeping Angel and I awake ALL NIGHT LONG. Angel will take the Monday/Wednesday/Friday shift - coughing on cue from 1am until sunrise. Victor clocks in on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday with alternate bouts of screaming "I want mommy and daddy's bed", vomiting or breaking a fever (only to be miraculously cured of all symptoms or signs of sleep deprivation by 5:30am, when he declares that he is ready for Team Umizoomi).

They take Sunday off. Even tiny assassins believe in the sacred.

Guest Blogger! D'Angelo Thompson's Beauty and Buzz

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WHAT'S HOT AND NEW  SP 2011
by D'angelo Thompson


As spring arrives, i look for new color brands on the market. Two brands that caught my eye are Color by Cynde Watson whom i met years ago when she was a trainer for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Cynde is now  the CEO of her own brand. Its a full service line with a broad color range. My FAVORITE item is the full cover foundation pencil. Cynde Watson can also be seen as a beauty expert on the TODAY Show, Dr. Oz and Wendy Williams.

The other line is Bilkerdijk by celebrity make up artist Barbara Bilkerdijk. One thing  i LOVE about this line is she's not afraid of color and its not your typical palette-check out the Floral Shimmers which are great as highlighters  on cheeks, bridge of nose  and  or cleavage.

Tip: Explore, explore, explore...



-- 
D'angelo Thompson
Esthesia Productions. Inc., Owner
www.dangelothompson.com
dlicious777@gmail.com
917-470-3559
 BE DYNAMIC in 2011 !!!

What mom REALLY wants

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Another Mother's Day is coming to a close. For The BadAssMama, this is the fourth under my belt. Each with its own special memories and random tantrums. The first, when my colicky first-born slept through the night until 7:30 Mother's Day morning. The second, a shared BBQ with our neighbors. Last year, a double toddler meltdown at a local eating establishment (thank God they served wine). And today, new memories for what sometimes still feels like a new mom.

As I reflect on the course of today, and Mother's Days gone by, I can't help but think about what most moms really want on their special day. The one day each year that we can justifiably expect to be spoiled. Don't get me wrong - macaroni necklaces and breakfasts in bed are nice. But what moms want - what they REALLY want - is something more like:

  • 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • Brunch (meaning that her first morning meal comes later than 7am because she's already been awake for 2 hours), in a restaurant that serves more than chicken fingers and hot dogs. Preferably one that serves wine and various fruity drinks. YES we know that restaurants are crowded on Mother's Day. SO WHAT! Make the damned reservation - it's one day, for pete's sake, and one less meal that we have to plan (and clean up)
  • A long, uninterrupted run/walk/insert-your-preferred-active-leisure-time-activity-here without a single or double jogging stroller and mandatory stops every 6.5 minutes because someone dropped their ba-ba

A Good Mother

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We spend a lot of time thinking about the ways we fail as mothers (and by we, I mean me, with the hope that I'm not the only lunatic obsessing over how much I am royally screwing up my kids on a daily basis with my overwhelmingly inadequate parenting skills...).

In honor of Mother's Day, I asked each of you to tell me what makes you a good mother. Now it's my turn. Here are some of the things that make The BadAssMama a pretty-damned-good-mama as well:

 - I tell my children that I love them on a daily basis. Many times, in fact. The words "I love you" flow freely like Neosporin and Reisling at BadAssMama Central

 - I've passed along my love of reading to my boys. The biggest threat I can make at the end of the day is to declare, "That's it! No books before bedtime" (followed inevitably by a resounding chorus of "NOOOOOOoooooooooooo!!!!!" like in a bad graphic novel...)

- I don't pretend to be perfect. I admit to my kids when I don't know the answer to something, or if I've made a mistake. If I accuse them of something, and later find out they didn't do it or if I yell just a bit too much on any given day, I snuggle up at the end of the night and ask for their forgiveness. Mommy might be able to see and hear everything (as far as THEY know), but she is far from perfect.

When mommy is afraid

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The world has always been a scary place. Bad things happen, to both the good and the not-so-good. Like South Park, bad guys don't typically discriminate amongst their targets.

I was aware of this universal truth before having children, but somehow the bad things seemed a distant possibility. Walking home alone at 2am didn't seem like such a big deal in college. I'll just walk down the middle of the street so no one can grab me (because THAT made sense). Illness and death were possibilities, but never imminent. Terrorism was something that happened in foreign lands - not where we live.

The horror of September 11th occurred during my first year living and working in New York. Somehow, I found that day and the weeks immediately thereafter unsettling and surreal, but never actually felt fear. Even after a descent of 41 flights, countless steps uptown and ultimately back to Brooklyn, it was more like a nightmare than a reality to be feared.

And then there was today.

Notes to a young mother

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There is a young woman who works with me who is expecting her first child in the coming weeks. I couldn't help but notice that the twinkle of anticipation in her eyes seemed to be fading a bit as her belly grew heavier and her sleep became more sporadic. As she had been on my mind for a few weeks, I decided to shoot her a note in the middle of a boring meeting (I know, so bad...). Her response was one that only a mother could understand. Filled with hormone-fueled apprehension and insomnia-filled angst. I immediately blocked off some time later in the afternoon for a mommy-to-mommy tea.

The look in her eyes was so familiar that I almost wanted to cry. The late days of my first pregnancy were so, well, pregnant with emotions that I felt no one could possibly understand and forbidden thoughts that I dared not share with a soul, lest I be judged unworthy of the gift growing inside my ever-expanding belly.

Over the course of more than an hour, we talked and cried and shared the truths that only mothers can share. As I reflect on our conversation, I can't help but wish that someone had been kind enough - no, brave enough - to share with me the things that new mothers never talk about. 

Since The BadAssMama is never afraid to tell it like it is, here is my top 10 list of things no one tells you about pregnancy and early motherhood. Consider it an early Mother's Day gift from me to you...