This is Harder Than I Thought: How Motherhood Turned Me into Hunter S. Thompson

I am Hunter S. Thompson - Mommy Makeover Network Mommy BlogPerusing my Netflix options the other night, I came across a cult classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I’ve always loved this movie, and all of Hunter S. Thompson’s works for that matter. In fact, it was stories like his that peaked my interest in the “glamorous” journalist’s lifestyle in the first place.

As a budding college journalist, I imagined my life at this point would involve exotic assignments, wild nights, and adventure. Now a new mom struggling with the reality of working from home and caring for an infant, I started getting a little bit sad that this life would probably never happen for me. I worried about making it all work, afraid that I would never be able to turn in assignments now that I’m hindered by so many distractions. Was my career over before it began?

The movie began to wind down as thoughts like these swirled around my head, leaving me a little disheartened about the future. Suddenly, the camera panned backwards. The screen showed Johnny Depp, lounging in his flooded hotel room surrounded by the aftermath of drug-induced ravings. Then, as if by some miracle, he got up, sat down in front of his typewriter, and began to write. It didn’t matter that he was ankle deep in the flooded mess of a ransacked hotel room. He was not distracted by his thigh-high waders and rubber dinosaur tail. He ignored the human excrement and crusted like mustard on the wall. He simply lit his perpetual cigarette and began to compose those enduring words that would be read by millions.

“I can do this,” I thought.

Then a greater realization dawned on me, I AM Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing. There was no need for psychoactive drugs and seedy Vegas hotels; living with an infant was like a mainstream induction into the drug culture itself. I realized that my life is really not so different after all, and I was, in fact, living in some parallel reality. Let Johnny and Benicio show you what I mean (warning: videos NSFW):

1. My house on most mornings looks pretty similar to Thompson’s hotel room.

2. The experience of interacting at obligatory children’s parties isn’t completely unlike this.

3. It seems like puke and car rides always go hand and hand.

4. And finally, anyone who has attempted to wash a screaming two-month-old has no fear of a raving Benicio Del Toro in a bathtub.

 

 

This is the fourth in a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series and browse the archives for previous posts.


Top Five Pins of The Week

Mommy Makeover Network Pinterest LogoHere are our Top Five Pins of the Week!

1) These toddler-approved Halloween crafts are just fantastic and just in time.

2) More Halloween stuff just in time: we found some fantastic homemade superhero costumes!

3) “Scary movies” to watch with your kids! Ghostbusters—still pretty great.

4) Still haven’t carved that pumpkin? Got some safety tips for ya!

5) These Fall projects for kids will blow you away!

For more great craft ideas, recipes, and exercise tips, be sure to follow us on Pinterest!


Fave Beauty Products to Help Moms ‘Make It Work’

If you have ever seen an episode of Bravo’s “Project Runway,” (oh, like you haven’t), you know the famous saying of fashion guru, Tim Gunn — Make it work!

Becoming a new mom is a lot like being one of those designers; suddenly out of your element, a different set of challenges each week, and only a limited amount of time to make an outcome worthy of Heidi Klum. Ok, maybe it’s just so you don’t feel embarrassed at the pharmacy or to keep from feeling judged by the lady in the pick-up window at McDonalds, but a level of hygiene, and yes, beauty, can be maintained by even the most harried mom. With these few simple products, you too can “make it work!”

Pretty sure this is how the great one feels about dry shampoo

1. Dry Shampoo

Before I had even left the hospital, my aunt surprised me a package full of newborn clothes and a bottle of dry shampoo. “You are going to need this,” she said, wisely. Without a doubt, dry shampoo is a new mom’s best friend. Especially if you have particularly oily hair like me, skipping a day of washing is simply not an option. However, brush through a little dry shampoo, and you are ready to face a day of shopping, doctor’s appointments, or even that little visit from your mother-in-law, just to “check up on things.”

Favorite brands:

A) Despite the bottle looking like a bit of an Ed Hardy nightmare, Got2b Rockin’ It 4Ever Stylestay Dry Shampoo is a great product.

B) Rock On by Beyond the Zone (note: I have only been able to find this product at Sally’s Beauty Supply)

 

2. BB Cream

Mommy Makeover

In my opinion, BB creams are some of the best skincare products out there for moms on the go. They block the sun, moisturize your skin, and most of all, hide blemishes and provide a luminous finish. What’s not to love? Although admittedly not as effective as a full face of makeup, applying

a few dabs of cream takes about 2 minutes, and leaves my skin looking fresh and rejuvenated.

Favorite brands:

A.) Dream Fresh BB by Maybelline

B.) Clear Complexion BB by Aveeno

3. Mascara

If there’s only time to choose one makeup product, I choose a few swipes of mascara every time. Especially for women who have more closely set eyes like me, lack of sleep and stress can cause our eyes to look even smaller and more squinted than they actually are. Thankfully, applying a lengthening mascara quickly counteracts this effect, widening your eyes and allowing them to shine more brightly.
Mommy makeover

Favorite brands:

A) High Impact Mascara by Clinque

B) Lashblash Length Mascara by Covergirl


Top Five Pins of the Week

Mommy Makeover Network Pinterest LogoHere are our Top Five Pins of the Week!

1) Daddy looking for some fun time with the kids? Check out these great father/baby outings!

2) With Halloween right around the corner, we just love this fun Franken-door.

3) This bottle drying rack is just so cool!

4) All mom’s can get behind techniques to empower kids to entertain themselves.

5) Packing a school lunch everyday can get…. well, it sucks, but here are some helpful tips.

For more great craft ideas, recipes, and exercise tips, be sure to follow us on Pinterest!


This is Harder Than I Thought: Going Back to Work aka Can a Mommy Get a Break?

Going back to work is one of the most challenging decisions a mom can make, both financially and emotionally.

Pre-baby break from work vs. Post-baby break from work

During the first few weeks alone with my newborn, I longed for the days when I went to work every morning, showered and dressed, and sat at a calm desk surrounded by fellow adults. “Hello, Dave,” I could wave to a friend on the street, smiling over a cup of hot coffee I’d purchased on my break. “Break,” I’d murmur to myself dreamily, huddled in the bathroom at home, the place of sanctuary mothers around the globe cling to for a few moments of peace and quiet. There are no breaks as a new mom; lunch is an afterthought as you use the precious moments your baby sleeps to accomplish some housework or get some sleep of your own.

Thankfully, after a few weeks, things started to get better. The baby started to sleep for longer periods and cry less, leaving more time to relax and get through the day. As the prospect of going back to work began to loom nearer, the reality of becoming a working mom hit me hard. How did I feel about putting my child in daycare? Could I really trust a stranger to care for my child? Could I afford to hire a full-time nanny? Would I be able to handle balancing work and still have the energy to spend with my baby at night?

Every woman’s answers to these questions are different. For me, the allure of the workplace is sweet. What a treat it would be to simply plug into a set of headphones and work interrupted for (gasp) several hours straight. I smile at the thought of having access to a pot of coffee I didn’t make myself and enjoying a full mug while it’s hot, instead of finding several half-sipped cups scattered around the house, forgotten as some other matter was attended to. However, the decision isn’t that simple. I used to think going back to work was a no-brainer. Stay-at-home mom? Pssh, not for me. But with circumstance, thoughts certainly change.

As my last weeks of full-time motherhood draw to a close, I’m still not sure what the right choice for me will be. But when I do finally resume my place in the workforce, like the millions of women before me, I’m sure I will manage to wear both hats with the style and confidence that goes along with the respected title of “working mom.”

This is the third of a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series and part two, “This is Harder Than I Thought: Lactation or the Art of Milking One’s Self in Public.” 


100 Googly Eyes – Crafts for the 100th Day of School

100 day of school crafts for kids - Mommy Makeover NetworkIn elementary grades, many schools celebrate the 100th day of school. It’s a great way for the children to conceptualize “100,” which is sometimes a little overwhelming for very young minds—100 might as well be 4 billion for a lot of younger kiddos.

Every year my kids carry home the papers from their teachers explaining the 100th day celebrations, and invariably, I have to help my son and daughter make some craft that includes 100 of something.

At least once we have made sets of 10 Cheerios separated by a single Fruit Loop all strung on a piece of twine or yarn to where as a necklace. Often this gets eaten before the end of the school day, and I ignore the thoughts of what/where those Cheerios touched before they were eaten. Yuck.

We have made posters with 100 stickers arranged creatively and paint stamps (with washable paint!) My problem with posters is we have to roll them up and tie them to make it to school on the school bus. I always think it’s going to be stomped and crushed and rolled around on the bus floor before it even gets to the classroom. But with time, I have realized that the poster might get a little dented and maybe a little dirty, but it will get there! It does not have to be perfect. What’s important is that the children enjoy the fun of creating whatever craft you decide on, and they have the fun and pride of carrying it on the bus and showing all of their bus friends what zany craft they put together. (There is always a little competition involved in the best or wackiest craft.)

Last year, we invested a little more money into our craft because I knew I could get at least 2 years out of it. My daughter helped put this together with glue and googly eyes. But I also had my younger son work on it too. He helped count the googly eyes in sets of ten. Now, after my daughter goes into the older grades where they absolutely do not celebrate the 100th day of school (cue daughter’s eyeroll), my son can use the monster hat too. He might decide that this is too baby for him this year, but maybe not. He’s on the edge of reason between openly enjoying life, and becoming a jaded 7-year-old who is entirely too cool for googly-eye-monster-hats.


This is Harder Than I Thought: Lactation or the Art of Milking One’s Self in Public

 

That Awkward Boobs Moment - Mommy Makeover NetworkLadies, love them or hate them, we all have boobs. For most of your life, these constant companions are merely aesthetic. We strap them down for workouts, we push them up for dates, but mostly we treat them like any other normal body part. Until the baby comes. While pregnancy boobs are delightful—your C cups swell to DDs as your husband looks on in awe and respect—post-baby breasts are the worst. When your milk comes in, I was informed, your breasts will need to be “expressed” every two hours or so to prevent them from becoming “engorged.”

Engorgement is incredibly painful. Your breasts become hard and stiff due to blocked ducts, and shooting pains begin to radiate across your chest. This is the reason milk cows line up to be milked every morning. Every moo is really a cry for help. I know this now. The only way to relieve the pain is to somehow get the trapped milk out and relieve the pressure.

You can do this one of three ways: by nursing, with a pump, or by hand. My first experience with engorgement happened on a city bus. My husband had forgotten to pick me up from an appointment before work, so I was forced to take public transport to get my car. Waiting at the stop in the hot sun, I started to feel an uncomfortable tingling in my chest. Once on the bus, the milk continued to “let down,” and pressure began to build, becoming increasingly painful. Shamelessly, I started to grope myself, ignoring the stares of my fellow passengers in an attempt to massage away the pain.

It didn’t help.

As the pain began to shoot deeper into my chest, my eyes started to water. The injustice of it all crashed down around me. I was a nice girl! I didn’t deserve to be the crazy lady squeezing her own boobs and crying on a public bus! After an eternity elapsed over the next five blocks, I reached my stop, and ran frantically into the bathroom of the restaurant where my husband works. I took a moment to look at my face in the mirror, to contemplate the need for what had to be done. What I saw was that it definitely had to be done. I took off my shirt. I removed my bra. I began to milk myself in the sink of a public restroom. And I was unashamed.

 

This is the second of a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series. And keep your eyes peeled for Part 3.


Top 5 Pins of the Week

Here are our Top Five Pins of the Week!

1) When you want some help around the house from your kids (so, pretty much always), here are some tips to get those rascals cleaning!

2) On a similar note, here’s a great organization idea for the kids’ bathroom.

3) Have you found any of these pregnancy surprises? Check out the ten things no one tells you about pregnancy.

4) With its cool breezes, pumpkin spice, and Halloween fun, we just love Autumn, and we love these fall decorating ideas too!

5) Speaking of pumpkins, once you and the kids are done carving jack-o-lanterns, use this recipe to roast up some tasty pumpkin seeds.

For more great craft ideas, recipes, and exercise tips, be sure to follow us on Pinterest!


Baby Registry Top 5 Must Haves

There are so many items that you can purchase for your new baby, it is easy to feel like you are drowning in the sea of onesies. But when it’s time to narrow down the choices, here is a list of the top five items I have found most useful in my experience.

1) DIAPERS!

Medically speaking, a healthy baby creates at least 3 dirty diapers a day. And by at least, I mean the amount of waste your infant is about to create will astound, amaze, and appall you. My baby, who came home at a mere 5 lbs., went through an entire pack of diapers in her first week. At 50 diapers in a pack, that is a lot of changing. That’s a lot of poop. No matter how small the budget, friends and family can save the day simply by purchasing a few packs of diapers or wipes.

2) Swaddlers

Many babies are nearly impossible to get to sleep without being swaddled. While a light blanket is the traditional tool for swaddling, this skill can be tricky for many new moms to master, and a particularly active baby can quickly undo even a seasoned veteran’s swaddle. For these situations, swaddling cloths or zip up pods can be a lifesaver. These cloths feature a handy pocket for the baby’s legs, and Velcro or snaps for a secure fit. Even more idiot-proof options (and my personal favorites), are the pods. Simply put your baby inside, and zip to the chin.

3) Glider

Though I was skeptical at first, my baby glider has become my most valued possession. Not surprisingly, doing chores or working from home can be nearly impossible when holding a baby, and it is frustrating and time consuming to have to constantly walk to your baby’s bed to soothe them throughout the day. The glider provides the perfect gap between the two—soft and secure, and yet mobile enough to stay close to you at all times. It also seems like a magical sleeping ride to my little one, who even in the fussiest moods will relax with the gentle rocking motion and soft, cradled bed.

4) Boppy Pillow

Simply put, the Boppy pillow is invaluable to any nursing mother. Even for bottle fed babies, seating them on the Boppy puts the baby in the perfect position for feeding and burping. It even comes with washable covers in a variety of materials and designs, and there’s an optional vibration unit for soothing comfort.

5) Baby Monitor

A baby monitor is a must have for any household. When you inevitably leave your baby’s room, having a monitor will assure you that they are safe, and alert you when your baby is awake or in distress. While monitors range in sophistication and price, a basic audio monitor is fine to cover most needs. However, I decided to splurge on a slightly more expensive camera monitor, and am glad I did. For a small increase in price, you can have the assurance of a clear picture, and night vision monitoring of your little one via a wireless camera. You can even stream the feed on your smartphone via a free app, if that is more convenient to your needs.


Motherhood: This Is Harder Than I Thought

This is basically a before and after photo.

I have always been a dog person.

Like dog people, there are also “cat people,” “baby people,” etc. I was never a baby person; babies cried all the time, they were ticking puke bombs, and the fresh ones kind of looked like dehydrated rats. Ok, I wasn’t quite that cynical, but I was just fine looking at your adorable bundle from a safe distance.

And then I got pregnant.

Bringing home my new baby was like the first day of high school, defending a dissertation, and starting a new job, all rolled into one. “Can I handle it?” “Have I done the research?” “Will the baby even like me?”

During my pregnancy, I never had time to take birthing or child care classes, and honestly, I really had no particular desire to do so. Up until B-Day, I worked six days a week at two jobs. Believe me, by the time my cherished day off rolled around, the last thing I wanted to do was sit on a birthing ball and watch three hours of ancient Lamaze videos. (Also, ew. The 70s were not kind.)

Pictured: Women Not Working Two Jobs

So when my water broke just before a shift one night, I calmly excused myself to the manager, saying, “I am so sorry, but I think I’m about to go into labor. I should probably leave for the hospital now.” And off I was on my journey to motherhood.

Therefore, all of my knowledge and observations are from on-the-job experience.

What I’ve learned is this: Being a mom is hard. Being a mom is gross. Being a mom can produce some of the most rewarding and emotional moments you will ever experience in a lifetime. But most of all, being a mom takes a sense of humor. This series is a look into my life as a new mommy, and a collection of the things I’ve learned on my ongoing odyssey of parenthood.

 

This is the first of a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out part two, “This is Harder Than I Thought: Lactation or the Art of Milking One’s Self in Public.” 

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