Baby’s First Christmas and a Mommy Meltdown

I have been waiting for this Christmas for a long time… at least since I used to pretend that Luke Skywalker was my husband, I was a waterbed salesman (yes waterbed salesman), and we had half a dozen little Cabbage Patch Kid babies.

Fast forward a few (or many) years later and things didn’t work out with Luke Skywalker. Instead, I married a twitchy dude who would probably kill himself if he ever picked up a light saber and although I had big aspirations to be a waterbed salesman, I grew up to be a graphic designer, a writer, a bookkeeper, a teacher, and now working in politics (the dysfunctional US government kind).

Although it seems my most of my childhood dreams never became a reality, the bestest one did.

I became a mom.

Shortly after discovering I was pregnant and due in January 2011, I began thinking about how different this Christmas would be. Even though I stopped asking Santa for Barbie dolls a long time ago, I never truly outgrew that feeling that wakes me bright and early every Christmas morning. Now, I look forward to sharing that with my son.

Developmentally, I understand that my 1 year old my son is not likely to remember this Christmas, but I have been a crazy-lady about trying to make it special. Bless my husband for dragging me back to reality each time I slip away. Until now, I have been a mellow-mommy; I don’t over react to baby things I don’t understand, I don’t try to compete with other moms, and I try my best not to overwhelm adult conversations with stories about my son.

But baby’s first Christmas seems like a big freakin’ deal! They even make special bibs and ornaments for the occasion! Target even has an entire end cap of keepsake merchandise! (I should totally caps-lock this entire paragraph for dramatic effect).

On Saturday I had a for-better-or-for-worse moment with my husband about Christmas. He called me out on being a Christmas-zombie obsessed with the commercialism of the season and totally out of touch with the spiritualism of the season.

Point well taken.

After re-evaluating my Christmas expectations, I made a wish list for my son that contains a few things that can’t be gift wrapped and placed under the tree.

  • Open new pajamas on Christmas Eve:  This has been a family tradition for years.
  •  Write Santa a letter: Children aren’t children for long, but I hope for many years to come this is a part of our family holiday traditions.
  • Donate old toys: My son is still growing into his toys, but in the future this is an excellent way to clean house and make another family’s Christmas special.
  • Elf on the Shelf: My husband and I adopted an Elf long before our family started to grow. This is a fun tradition when properly and reasonably maintained (I’m looking at you, over-achieving Elf on the Shelf moms).
  • Remember the ‘reason for the season’: Although I was slightly out of touch this year and obsessed with spoiling my son, it is truly important for our family to recognize and celebrate the birth of Christ through music, decor, and participation in church services.
  • Christmas Sweaters: This year we begin a new and humorous tradition with our family including colorfully knitted creations!

This is a simple wish list with reasonable expectations. To summarize, it’s all about family.

Merry Christmas!

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Bestest Mommy Blogs… and Mine Too!

There are thousands of mommy blogs out there. My mommy blog makes thousands plus one.

Babble.com has a list of the Top 100 Mom Blogs. I encourage you to have a look at some of the best blogs moms have to offer! Mommyhuh actually made the list at number thousands plus one.

After being slapped in the face with mommy blogging inspiration, I reviewed my own blog. Below are some modest highlights from Mommyhuh’s first two weeks that I wanted to share (because I am so very proud):

There will be more to share in the future and I look forward to brutally-honestly-blogging about motherhood.

<sappy> A special thank you to those who have made me feel welcome, those who have supported me, and those who inspire me. </sappy>

New Look for Mommy…

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I don’t know when exactly it happened, but suddenly my sister and I started chatting about things like washing machines, I have had conversations with a former co-worker (fellow mom) about the mis-matched size of my breasts, and  I started cutting my own hair because I just don’t have time for the salon…

Yes, I gave myself bangs to freshen up my look. Now about those dark roots…

Before:

 

 

 

 

 

After:
Bangs!

Bad Things Good Daddys Do… Sneaky Snap Shots

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I have been early to bed for as long as I can remember. An 11 month old son makes that a difficult habit to maintain. During a bedtime movie for mom, it seems we both dozed off. Instead of putting the baby to bed properly, my husband snuck a picture with my iPhone which I just discovered. Baby is sleeping peacefully and mommy is sleeping with her mouth open.

Beauty Rest

12 Days of Christmas Family Fun

Not much about Christmas has changed since I was a child. I feel shy around Santa Claus, I watch the same ol’ Christmas movies when I decorate the house (I heart Rankin/Bass), and I am an early-early riser on Christmas morning. My husband has been open minded about my Christmas traditions and together we started a few new ones (Elf on the Shelf, family cookie bake off). With our son about to celebrate his first Christmas, traditions both new and old, are important to us.

A fun family activity suggested by numerous moms and mommy blogs, is counting down to Christmas with a special family activity each night. To keep things age appropriate for our young son, I chose to highlight activities that accommodate him as well as entertain my husband and I.

* Make a family ornament: Find an ornament appropriate object, add a little ribbon or a hook, and hang on the tree!

* Check out Christmas lights: Pajamas or not, just put on your coat, hope in the car, and go for a slow drive to admire the Christmas lights and decorations near your home.

* Watch a family friendly Christmas movie: Animated or live action, Christmas movies have a great message to share.

* Take a Christmas photo: Posed or candid, take a shot to capture the holiday spirit.

* Make Christmas decorations: As simple as a little construction paper and glitter, or as complicated as a wood-working project, let the whole family contribute with their efforts and creativity.

* Make Christmas treats: Ah! Candies, cookies, or other tasty holiday snacks.

* Make a gingerbread house: Store bought kits make this an excellent and delicious activity for the whole family.

* Write a letter for Santa: Help your kids with a wish list or perhaps draft a thank you note to leave with the cookies, milk, and carrots on Christmas Eve.

* Read holiday stories together: The Nutcracker, Polar Express, Twas the Night Before Christmas, or even write your own!

* Listen to Christmas music: In the car or at home, enjoy an evening of Christmas tunes.

* Collect unwanted toys and books to donate: Christmas is the season for giving. Gather up any outgrown or unwanted toys and donate them to a family in need, church, or other organization who will find new families for your child’s used toys.

* Make snowflakes: Coffee filters and scissors are all it takes to snip out a few one-of-a-kind snowflakes. Make your home a winter-wonderland.

The Sisterhood of Mommy Groups

Over the weekend I celebrated half a dozen holidays with my mommy group before our schedules become jammed with parties, frantic shopping, and other festive activities. Despite my bad attitude on Saturday (sleeping in was disappointing), I put on my best holiday sweater and told my husband I would be back soon enough.

In what I consider my “old age,” I enjoy being close to only a few proven individuals, most of which I am conveniently related to by blood or marriage. I haven’t seen my phone-chatting, center-of-attention, weekend-will-be-awful-if-I-don’t-go-out self in 7 or 8 years.

But after a few months of feeling lonely and misunderstood with motherhood, I decided to reach out to other moms in the area. I joined a few mommy-groups and liked the idea of what they offered, but was left disappointed and unsatisfied.  As a mother who works full-time, 10 am play dates are not possible. I was gently (and not-so-gently) removed from a few groups and once again on my own. Thankfully, as my son got older and our routines started working, I felt like I had earned my badge of motherhood and a group wasn’t really necessary.

But with his development came the next issue; friends. As an only child in an old, rural community, my son had little to no exposure to other kids. Although I no longer felt lonely for myself, I started feeling lonely for him.

Perfect timing when a new group started in our area for working moms. Reluctant and nervous as I was, I attended the first meeting and breathed a sigh of mommy-relief. It was wonderful to see my son playing and baby-babbling with other kids. But as much as I enjoyed seeing my son have a good time, I realized I was too.

A few fun-filled play dates and meet-ups later, we gathered on Saturday for a mom’s only lunch; no children, highchairs, or puffed cereal at this meeting. Just moms and child-driven conversation. 3 hours later, it seemed we all got text messages at the same time from significant others and babysitters wondering how much longer the lunch would be. Reluctantly, we all said our goodbyes and shared well wishes for the holidays.

Although we have never discussed it, I’m sure this special group of mommies feels the same way I do. We are all comforted to know there are others just like us; astonished at how much a diaper can leak (where does it all come from?) or stressed and irritable like our teething children. We are always proud to share helpful tips with one another and seek ideas from the group when it seems like nothing else is working. And who besides a mom to better listen to, and appreciate, our endless stories of motherhood?

At last, after many years of being content with my wonderful circle of friends, I have started drawing a new circle of moms like me.

It makes me smile to think that my son is drawing his first circle too.

If you are looking for a mommy group (or some other common interest group) in your area, check out meetup.com

Whats, Whys, and Hows of Mommyhuh

To share the whats, whys, and hows of motherhood, I created this blog and thought I would start by answering a few questions. This interview was conducted by my own mother, Lauren, who has guided me throughout my life and now through this incredible journey called “motherhood.”

1. Tell me a little about yourself… I was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania. After graduating college with a degree in art, I moved to Washington, D.C. where I worked as a teacher for 5 years before starting my career in politics. I married in 2008 and enjoy spending time exploring the outdoors whenever weather permits.  I talk a lot, write a lot, and must admit that although my cooking skills are limited, I can really peel potatoes.

2. Tell me a little about your son… What mother doesn’t want to talk about their child? I always find it annoying when mommies advertise how “smart” their baby is (after all, healthy and happy is more important) but my son is always trying to figure things out. He is so much like his father in looks and personality, but I think he has my heart.

3. What do you do when you are not blogging? When I’m not working at my full time job, I am a full time mother and wife. Occasionally I sleep.

4. What is the strategy with your blog in general? What are your blogging goals? September 11, 2010 was the day I learned I was going to be a mom. September 12, 2011 was the day I learned about bowel movements during delivery, vaginal tears, and putting cabbage leaves on cracked nipples. Because I felt so unaware and unprepared, I felt unqualified to be a mom. But after consulting with other moms, I discovered they too had learned it all from other moms before them. They continue to serve as my support network when I find myself scratching my head over the color of baby poop or the next developmental milestone ahead for my son.

“Mommyhuh” is an expression of my learning process. I hope to educate and empower new and experienced moms as we harness the super-power of motherhood! Now, if only men would listen…

5. Where do you get your ideas for material and content for your blog? Sharing motherhood as it happens; the good, the bad, and the humorous. If other mothers can learn from my successes (yay! homemade baby food) and failures (boys should always be covered when changing their diaper) or at least laugh at them, I’ll be happy. I have lots of mommies and other sources and hope to share them with others.

6. If I was interested in blogging (oh my) what would be a few things you would suggest? Technical aspects aside, approach blogging as though you are sharing a conversation with friends. It’s an opportunity for you to express your thoughts and feelings. Most importantly BE YOURSELF.

In closing, please let me thank my mother for her contribution to this post and offer a special welcome to any moms (and non-moms) reading. I look forward to sharing motherhood with you in the future.