When Mom is Sick

I’m sick. The germ kind. This is what happens when the weather is pleasant and my schedule is flexible. As you can imagine, this happens frequently during holidays, vacation, special occasions, and other times that have the potential for enjoyment. For this cough and cold I have, I blame my sister.

Motivation frequently evades me. Even on my best days, I am easily distracted and unable to… oh, look… Pinterest! If you clicked on Pinterest, you are just as easily distracted as I am. When I am not feeling well, it is even more difficult to find the motivation to complete my daily tasks such as getting out of bed, leaving the house, and showing up at work. Further, I am struggling to compensate for the hour of sleep I just lost to Daylight Savings Time.

The world must go on, but I’m a non-believer. I believe it should stop until I am physically able to continue. Unfortunately, spouses and children do not recognize when mom is not feeling well. Their needs increase as does their own irritability. It is frustrating to the families of sick moms that their needs and requests are not top priority because mom: 1. Does not feel well and cannot fulfill their request 2. Is putting her health and wellness before mundane issues 3. Is not capable are caring about family nonsense. Families are always important, of course. However, so are moms.

It has been a year since I was sick. Last time I was sick, I enjoyed 3 weeks of a sinus infection and was unable to treat aggressively due to nursing. By enjoyed I mean I was miserable. Currently, I am only on day 3 of an unidentifiable cold and cough. I suspect this is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. We all know how households fail to function properly when mom is sick. Imagine a world of moms with cough and colds. Zombie apocalypse.

My husband is concerned for me… or at least he is afraid I am turning into a zombie with a runny nose and an incoherent attitude. Whilst I coughed for an hour and a half last night at 3 am-ish, he asked me if I was ok. What he means is “You are keeping me awake. You should go somewhere and do something about that cough.” He’s probably right, but a medication induced sleep makes it impossible to find the energy to climb out of bed. I’d rather just lay in bed and cough (and complain about it the following day).

Zombie or not, I managed to brush my hair and show up at work. I certainly hope zombie isn’t contagious. Although I am suffering a sensitivity to sunlight and happiness, I’m holding on to humanity as best I can.

What happens to your household when mom is sick? Share your stories in the comments!

Looking Good: Pregnant and Pospartum Bellies

Why, oh why, is it such a big deal when a pregnant woman poses nude?

Although I don’t have time for reading magazines (unless I need a distraction in a waiting room), I check out the cover to know all that I need to know about which celebrities are getting a divorce, which celebrities I have never heard of, and which celebrities made a million dollars selling their baby’s first photo. Although I am a prude about being sexy, magazine covers are not shy about selling what sells; sex. If it’s not a celebrity baby’s first photo on the cover, you can bet it is a sexy celebrity showing some skin. Combine the two and you get a pregnant celebrity posing nude.

I was 11 years old when Demi Moore posed on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991. Let me do the math for you, I’m gonna be 32 this year. I didn’t understand ‘pregnancy’ back then and thought it was gross. I hoped that when I had children, there would be another way to do it that wouldn’t involve a big round belly. Big round bellies were for Santa Clause.

During the first 7 months of my pregnancy, I looked bloated like I usually do. I was relieved when my belly got bigger and I no longer had to endure stares from people trying to determine if I was pregnant or not. If you’ve got an Etsy shop, perhaps you could make a t-shirt that takes the guess work out of it; This isn’t a belly full of Doritos, I have a person growing inside of me.

I gained 35 pounds during pregnancy and it was all belly. Big belly. BIG belly. It was like an uneven shelf and I used it as such. When I was sitting behind by desk, I had to slide my chair back further as pregnancy progressed. I realized something wonderful was happening.

I DON’T HAVE TO SUCK MY STOMACH IN!

Whenever I posed for pictures, I could turn to the side and let my belly stick out. Whenever I wore a form fitting fabrics, I didn’t need to wear a jacket to cover my belly. Whenever I wore pants my belly could just hang over the top. Oh, glory! There was no more pretending to be a smaller size I wasn’t. I was pregnant and proud!

My boobs went from big to biggerer and I have no idea what my legs looked like down there. Also big I think. I eventually lost track of my belly button too. Gone! Things were just big. This was my body and I was growing a baby! YAY!

Dramatic re-enactment of what my cover might have looked like. Does my face look model-moody or just moody?

Alas, magazines did not offer me compensation for posing nude during my pregnancy. If they had, I would have enthusiastically accepted. I have never in my life been so proud of my body. So confident in my shape. The ‘pregnancy glow’ must be caused by confidence and comfort in the curvy shape that results from growing people.

It is a shame that only hours after giving birth, I was wondering why my stomach didn’t look much smaller than it was when there was still a baby in there. It made me sad that when I left the hospital my shirt was tighter and my maternity pants were still very necessary.

A postpartum celebrity posing nude before the personal trainers and chefs get them back into shape would be a nice reality to show on a magazine cover. Pregnant bellies are wonderful, but what happens to our bodies after babies are born is equally as dramatic. But ‘reality’ means something very different when a celebrity is marketing or exploiting themselves. It would be nice to see a celebrity stepping forward to showcase a sagging belly, swollen breasts, and a sleep deprived facial expression. They would have the enthusiastic support of this mommy!

Please vote for Mommy Huh daily… and from your smart phones too!

Top 10 Baby Myths

I was the first of my family and friends to have a baby last year during the baby boom. Cousins were pregnant, co-workers were pregnant, friends were pregnant, even famous people who are significantly older than me were pregnant. I began to suspect babies aren’t really made the way my mother told me. I think sometimes you can get pregnant from drinking water.

Mother & Baby

Facebook status updates were dominated by pregnancy announcements, OB-GYN appointment updates (3cm, holla!), it’s a girl/boy, and eventually something like OMG GET THIS BABY OUT! But there was nothing better than the ‘Our baby arrived yesterday weighing in at so many pounds so many ounces. Mother and baby are doing well.’

In my first post, I described the importance of talking to other moms as I prepared for baby. But as the first to deliver last year, I had other pregnancy newcomers asking me for advice, guidance, and honesty about what really happens.

One mom shared a motherhood secret that I always share with other moms: People will always tell you how to parent, but just parent the way YOU want to!

Is your mind blown?

But along with the good advice, there were a lot of myths.

Top 10 Baby Myths

(In no particular order)

1. Drink raspberry herbal tea to induce labor: Didn’t work for me and my frequent urination became more frequent (and urgent) urination. On a happy note, this was a delicious myth.

2. Breastfeeding is natural and your body will know what to do: Sort of true. I was misled with this one. My body and baby knew what to do but I certainly didn’t. I expected to wake up one morning and be a breastfeeding expert but it just doesn’t happen that way.

3. When you’re pregnant, you’re eating for two: Technically yes, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat double the portions. It’s nothing more than increasing your calorie intake. Have to admit, I still used it as an excuse when I wanted second helpings.

4. Weather and lunar phases cause women to go into labor: Every time someone mentioned a full moon or snowstorm approaching last winter, I had my hospital bag ready. But no amount of gravitational pull or barometric pressure started my labor.

5. Don’t cut the baby’s hair until they are 1 year old: I’m calling my mom out on this one. She mentioned it casually last year and I have been afraid to cut his hair ever since. (Note: Baby is now 1 year old and I have myself to blame for not cutting his hair yet)

6. Pregnant women are clumsier: No, I’m mostly just clumsy all the time.

7. Treat for stretch marks BEFORE you get them: I always intended to prevent stretch marks, but never really did anything about it. But no stretch marks on me! Only thing on my belly is a pretty little scar where I had my c-section.

8. Have sex to induce labor: If you can mange with a large belly and aching back, give it a try. Once baby arrives, your sleep deprivation and hormones could make it difficult.

9. Walk to induce labor: I would call this one mostly true. My strongest contractions were always after or during my daily walks.

10. Heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will born with lots of hair: So not true. I have been treated for severe heartburn since my early 20’s and my baby was born with nothing more than a little fuzz.

I am no medical expert, just a first-time mom sharing what didn’t work for me personally. It is important to remember that no two pregnancies, babies, or moms are alike. Keep that in mind when cross your cousin of the Christmas card list because the herbal tea didn’t work for you.

What myths and superstitions did or didn’t work for you?

Lost in my Bra

This past weekend I did something I HATE doing…

I bought new bras.

I got my boobs in junior high, 5th grade actually. I would be lying if I said my “girls” and I have a love-hate relationship because mostly, I just hate them.

I read horrible stories about things that happen to boobs when you are pregnant, postpartum, nursing, weaning; pretty much having boobs super-sucks when adding a baby to the mix. I had a strong feeling I wasn’t going to enjoy breastfeeding (as it involves feeding with my breasts), but alas, my son nursed like a champ and made things easy on me.

That is, until pumping or nursing continuously, intensely sore & cracked nipples, and losing sight of my feet under my (insert impressive word for large here) breasts. But routines, habit, and practice in the months that followed made breastfeeding more comfortable and one of the most rewarding experiences during my son’s first year.

However, in early December, the breastfeeding came to an end. Without much fuss from myself or my son, it was over.

Breastfeeding; in like a lion, out like a lamb. But out with the lamb went my breasts! My size 34-D ladies. In keeping with comparing aspects of pregnancy progress to fruit, I went from honeydew melons to small grapefruit, maybe even oranges.

For illustrative purposes:

Although I have always hated my breasts, I always appreciated the fact that some women would pay good money to have them. Taking away the size of my breasts was like taking cash out of my pocket. And to literally take cash out of my pocket, my shirts, blouses, and jackets are much too large and need to be replaced or tailored.

I admit, going down a clothing size or two is not a bad problem to have, but this is new and my OCD is frightened of new. Out with the old, in with the new has always been crazy talk to me. It is my hope that with time, I shall have a love hate relationship with my new “girls.” Hopefully, mostly just love this time.

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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.