Coping with Anger and Anxiety

As much as most of us would like to banish anger, anxiety and other undesired emotions from our experience forever, these feelings are part of being human. And motherhood is one of those knock-you-over-the-head-with-a-2×4 experiences that tends to bring us face to face with our issues. For example, many parents have deep-seated fears about something terrible happening to their children. This fear can manifest as anxiety or even as anger. When my toddler ran out into the parking lot recently, I instantly felt flooded with rage, but beneath the anger was fear and anxiety. As parents we are forced to make decisions every day that impact the lives of our children when we simply do not have enough information to know if we are making the right choices. (As a new mom, I coped with this by obsessive Googling). There are no guarantees. *** This article was published as a guest post on mother.ly. Click here to read the full post…

My (Aspirational) Maternity Leave Routine With a Toddler and a Newborn

Grace Girl was born three and a half weeks ago, and while adjusting to having 2 littles at home is not easy, I am having an easier time of it than I did the first time around. Part of what makes it manageable is getting into a routine that works for us and ensures we are taking care of basic needs every day (eating, sleeping), as well as mental health needs (morale-boosting activities, ie. getting out of the house). A few notes: This general routine is what we aim for, but every day is different. Some days really do go about like this. Other days, we are all still in our pajamas at noon and I am crying right along with a grumpy toddler and overtired newborn, while we sit on the couch watching “Finding Dory,” (that movie was so cute, by the way. Should I blame the fact that the ending made me cry on postpartum hormones?). Other stuff: I feed Grace Girl whenever she is hungry, and I don’t let her go more than 3 hours between feeds during the day. She tends to eat every 2.5-3 hours most of the…

The Tenderness that Tears Me Apart

“Becoming a parent brings you this sadness you never would have known otherwise,” said a dear friend to me on the phone, as I pushed my toddler in her stroller through the sharp wind and shushed my newborn baby, who was zipped up inside my coat in her carrier. And I felt that delicious sense of recognition, of discovering someone else feels the way I feel. And while I don’t wish sadness upon my friends, it is incredible to have a peek into someone else’s tangled thoughts and feelings and find they look a little bit like mine. Before I became a parent, people told me that motherhood would open me up to more joy than I thought possible. But no one mentioned it would also hurt—that the hard times would hurt and the joy itself would hurt, in an aching, stretching sort of way. Kind of like the growing pains of childhood, or the opening pains of early labor, when it’s more of a dull ache. Like when I crawl into my toddler’s bed to wake her up in the morning, and she wraps her arms around…

Baby is Here!

Introducing the newest addition to our family…. Grace Girl! Here she is being a precious newborn.       Here she is peeing on her daddy during a photoshoot. I will write up her birth story to share at another time… maybe when I have a bit more distance from it. For now, though, suffice it to say it was a humbling experience reminding me that, as they say, “it rains on everyone.” *** I am immensely grateful to have a beautiful, healthy baby girl! I felt so much joy when they first laid her on my stomach. Stay tuned for a future post on what I’m doing to help Warrior Girl with the transition to big sisterhood. It is certainly a huge change for her.     &nbsp…

The Art of Apologizing

I’ve messed up a lot in my life and I’ve hurt a lot of people. Many of those people I’m no longer in contact with, and will probably never apologize to. And now, although I can’t think of the last time I intentionally tried to hurt someone else, I still do it far more frequently than I wish I did. Bottom line, human relationships are messy. Even if you try to never offend or upset anyone ever and coat all your words in sugar-honey-molasses-toffee and say whatever you think the other person wants you to say…you will upset someone sometime. And also that sugary business sounds exhausting and requires a lot of mind-reading. Which is a skill I do not possess at the time of this writing. Combine all the accidental-offense giving with all the times I just plain make stupid mistakes, like paperwork errors, forgetting to respond to an email, or forgetting to pick something up at the store, and what you have is a moderate-sized stew of human error. Fortunately, I can cope with that. Here’s how: I know how…

Things My Parents Did Right

While there was certainly a time I could never imagine thanking my parents for anything, that time is fortunately long gone. Certainly becoming a mother has had something to do with that, as has the very gradual development of my frontal cortex. And now I can appreciate many of the brilliant and selfless things they did for me.

However, in an age when children playing kick the can until the streetlights turn on is a nostalgic vision from the past, I can truly appreciate that aspects of my childhood were charmed…

How to Be Yourself (Even When You Don’t Know Who You Are)

It’s one of the most cliche cliches out there: Just be yourself. I remember being told this once and thinking, “What does that even mean?” and “Yeah, but who exactly is this self that I am supposed to be?” Whether you are in the stage of identity-development of trying to decide on a persona to play or of slowly shedding the many personas/identities/egos you’ve accumulated, not knowing who you are is pretty normal. Furthermore, most of us (myself absolutely included) are so used to playing predefined roles in the majority of interactions that authenticity is hard to even wrap our heads around. Like what would that even look like? If you hate someone, do you have to tell them? Does it mean you shout, “please, leave the sick bastard!” in the middle of a movie theater in response to the heroine’s obviously terrible choice of a romantic partner? Because that’s how you feel? Well, responding authentically “as ourselves” is something that is fluid and cannot be easily defined. Obviously. But obviously, by the fact that I am writing this post, I…

Under Construction and Life Lately

So I am not doing one of my typical, longer article-style posts this week. Here’s why: my site is a bit of a mess. Have you noticed? So rather than pontificating to you all about something-or-other this week, I am going to choose a new WordPress theme and attempt to get it up and running on my site. What this means is my site will hopefully be more attractive and easy-to navigate in the near future. On that note, any tech-savvy individuals or fellow bloggers have recommendations for WordPress blog themes? In the meantime, here are some updates on life lately at Home in Wonderland: I will hit 35 weeks on Wednesday, but who’s counting? At (almost) 35 weeks, (like how I round up the weeks?) the old first-trimester fatigue is back in full-force. I have a significant list of things I am hoping to get done before the little one makes her appearance. I was fortunate to have help organizing the girls’ room from my mom and sister this week. And J did a maternity photo shoot. Here’s a peek: We had a delightful Thanksgiving…

Multiple Perspectives on Warrior Girl’s Birth – Which is the Better Story?

Warrior Girl is 2 years and 3 months old now, and as I prepare for her sister’s upcoming birth, (did I mention we’re having a GIRL?!?) memories of Warrior Girl’s birth are fresh on my mind. It was one of the most incredible days of my life, because it was the day I met my daughter and the day I became a mother.  But in addition to that, part of what was incredible was the actual process of giving birth. Reader beware: the story below contains talk of cervix, dilation, etc. Oh, and one F-bomb. Because birth is messy, people. Turn back now if you don’t want the details. *** My water broke at 11:30 pm on August 4th. It was the full-on gush that happens frequently in movies and much less frequently in real life. I was suddenly confronted with many of my fears about giving birth and remember vividly thinking What have I gotten myself into? I laid in bed that night analyzing every cramp and twinge, waiting for labor to start. Was that a contraction? What the hell does a contraction even feel like? I got a…

Decaffeinated Beverage Choices for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Moms

Image credit Alper Cugun found here. Caffeine is pretty much my favorite indulgence. And while it’s awesome for many stages of life, it is less awesome during pregnancy and breastfeeding, mainly because it is easy to overdo it and overdoing it=potential issues for baby. There have been many times in the past that I tried to reduce my caffeine intake, but my efforts were always short lived or superficial. For example, I would cut out coffee but then end up drinking 32 ounces of iced black tea every day instead. One time I tried to cut caffeine out cold turkey… that didn’t last long as I soon got a wicked splitting headache that pretty much rendered me no longer functional. Before getting pregnant with Warrior Girl, I drank 20 ounces of coffee every morning and usually had black or green tea every afternoon. Sometimes I would have “second coffee” as well instead of afternoon tea. While many women do continue to drink coffee throughout pregnancy, I felt that my intake was way too much and I really wanted to cut down or quit before getting pregnant. I was fortunate in that I…