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You Don’t Always Have to Like Being a Mother

I love being a mother.  It is easily the greatest job I’ve ever had, or ever will have, and I love my daughter more than I ever thought it possible to love another human.  I count my blessing every single day that I have a beautiful, healthy family, and that I get to be a mama to an amazing little girl.

That being said, just because I love being a mother and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean I always like it.  Hopefully I’m not alone on this one.  Hopefully I don’t sound like a mean wretch of  woman when I say the following things.

I don’t always like being a mother when my daughter wakes up for the fourth time in the middle of the night for no other reason other than the fact that she no longer wants to be on her stomach and can’t figure out how to get onto her back.

I don’t always like being a mother when the diaper explosion happens in the Gap for the second time and you have to change the baby in a public restroom and she gets shit on her leg.

I don’t always like being a mother when the baby is screaming in the backseat of the car because she WANTS TO EAT RIGHT NOW and you have to maneuver your body so that you are now half topless and nursing your child in a moving vehicle on the highway hoping that nobody sees you.  And then you hit about 15 bumps and you break your back and your child laughs.

I don’t always like being a mother when the baby is crying for absolutely no reason.  And you have tried everything there is to try and she just screams and your heart breaks but you also would like to just shut the door and have a cocktail and sleep for 12 years.

To all the women out there who have ever felt this way, and I hope there are some of you and it isn’t just me, it’s absolutely okay and normal to love being a mother, but to not always like it.  It has to be this way, because humans aren’t built to love something all of the time and not get annoyed at it every once in a while.  You can love the shit out of your baby but still want to take a break to watch Bravo TV in bed with a bowl of nachos and not get up for an entire day.  This doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it just means that you’re someone I would like to be friends with because you’re a normal human being and not a mombot.  Sometimes it’s hard for us moms to say we need a break or we just want to take a step back and NOT be a mother for a minute.  Remember, we were still people before we had kids.  We were people who had lives and dreams and interests that didn’t include Little Einsteins or Mickey Mouse clubhouse, and it’s okay to remember that and embrace it!  We love our kids with every fiber of our being, but we don’t always have to like every single aspect of motherhood.  I really don’t know anyone who actually enjoys cleaning shit off a baby’s leg in the middle of Jersey Gardens mall.

Growing Up

Last night, when Charlotte was wailing the cry of the damned sideways in her crib because she wasn’t ready to go to sleep, I picked her up and rocked her like I always do.  She didn’t want to be fed or changed or anything big, she just wanted to be held until she fell asleep.  Every baby book says not to do this, which is why I stopped reading the baby books.  My almost 17 pound baby girl curled into my chest, held onto my shirt and looked up at me until she fell asleep.  I rocked her past the point of deep sleep, because I realized that one day, sooner than I’d like, she won’t fit in my arms like this anymore.  She won’t need to be rocked to sleep and I will wish upon a thousand stars that I could have this time back.  I kissed her cheeks and stroked her hair and told her how much I love her and how she has made me a better me.  I put her in her crib and went to bed myself,  She slept for 7 hours and woke up at 3 AM, hungry as a hippo.  I didn’t mind getting out of bed this time.  I had already slept for 6 hours and I wanted to see her.  I don’t miss the 5 wake-ups a night but I’m not quite ready to let go of one of our nightly feedings.  I picked her up and let her nurse and I felt her and myself relax and I stayed that way with her for half an hour.  I have learned that 3 AM can be the loneliest hour with a baby, but it can also be the most special time.  It’s lonely when you’ve been awake 3 times already, but when it’s your first wake up and your baby calls out and you know that all she wants is you, it’s beautiful.  Everything is dark and quiet, there are no distractions.  No phones, no TV, no cars, not even a light.  These are the times that I will look back on and miss with all of my heart.  She is only six months, but she is growing so fast.  I want her to grow and thrive, and I look forward to all of the milestones ahead.  But I hold onto these moments tightly.  I want to remember it all.  I want to remember what her body feels like curled into mine and the look on her face when she falls asleep on me.  I want to remember how I feel in these moments, so that when the day comes that she no longer fits in my arms, I’ll have these times that fit into my heart.

My Daughter Has More Money Than I Do

So Charlie girl hit a big milestone on her half birthday by having her first tooth pop on out.  I was so excited, mostly because she was a giant cranky beast the entire day before and now we have a little relief until the rest of them come out.  I told everyone she got a tooth immediately, of course.  Nothing is confirmed true until it is on Facebook.  Such is life in 2015.

I wasn’t aware that getting your first tooth warrants you money, but oh, it does.  Charlotte made $60 off her first tooth.  I know it took a while for that sucker to come out, but doesn’t $60 seem a bit high for a six month old?  My mom and both of my grandmas handed over 20 bucks a pop to the little lady.  I was also told that because I found her first tooth I need to buy her first pair of walking shoes, so she’s getting shoes in the future out of this deal too.  This is in addition to the twenty here and there she gets from my grandma, the entire wardrobe that was purchased for her by my mom and kept at her house so I never have to bring anything over, and all of the random toys she gets, just because.  I remember when I would go over my grandparents house and get money “for lunch.”  I loved all of that lunch money.  Now Charlotte gets it all.  Hey grandma, I still eat lunch!!  I still need that money!  I’m just kidding.  (No I’m not.)  I obviously want Charlotte to get everything before I do because now I am a mother and she should get the lunch money over me.  Even though I AM her lunch.  So I should still get the lunch money if you want to get all technical about it.  Which I don’t, because I am now a selfless human being since I am a mother.  Anyway, She’s got herself a nice little bank account and she doesn’t even do anything yet.  What a lucky little girl she is.  She is so loved.  I go to work every day and I don’t know where all of my money goes.  Probably to the MTA and Con Ed electric bills.  I hate being a grown up.

A New Day Has Come

Somebody did something special last night. I’m not naming any names because if I say who did it then the universe is going to snatch away all my joy and send me back to zombie sleep hell. But SOMEBODY is getting the hang of sleeping. She who shall not be named has had a few good nights in a row, but last night was GREAT. 

Somebody slept from 7:30-7:30 with only two ten minute wake ups to have a little snack.  Her first stretch of sleep was SEVEN HOURS without even a cry or a whimper. To some, waking up two times may not be cause for the parade I am ready to throw, but this was all done in the crib of she who shall not be named and not in mommy’s bed. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Sound the alarms! Get the fireworks ready! Please God let this be a continuing trend!

Somebody also happened to get their first tooth on their 6 month birthday, and get her ears pierced the day after. So we’re growing up here people, and grown ups sleep. Somebody is also getting their 6 month shots today, so I’m really spending the past few days just messing around with her life. 

Somebody’s mother woke up every hour to check the monitor though because we weren’t sure what was happening. We’re not used to a baby who sleeps. BUT WE LIKE IT AND WANT IT TO CONTINUE.  I guess all those sacrifices I made to the sleep gods worked. 
In a completely unrelated topic, Eric and I watched the first half hour of the VMA’s last night and all I have to say is what the actual fuck?  Either I got old and irrelevant or the people they have at these award shows now are just WEIRD. I literally had no idea who anyone was except for Taylor Swift and a few others, Miley Cyrus makes me REALLY uncomfortable and I miss the days of the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.  Charlotte is not going to grow up watching Miley Cyrus wearing silver tape on her boobs when she can watch Britney Spears doing I’m A Slave 4 You instead. 

Life with Charlotte: Six Months In

How has it been half a year that Charlotte Shea came into the world?  It feels like she’s been here forever, but then it also feels like it’s going way too fast and everything in life is moving at lightning speed.  She is really starting to become her own little person now.  Her personality is STRONG and she is just so much fun to be around.  She is such a pleasant, happy baby that really comes everywhere and anywhere with me and we never have a problem.  She has come to work with me, shopping, restaurants, friends homes, family homes, you name it.  We do not have a schedule that we stick to, and although I know people swear by their schedules, Charlotte fitting into OUR lives instead of the other way around is working for us.  When she’s hungry, she eats.  When she’s tired, she naps.  I usually start the “bedtime routine” around the same time every night, and by bedtime routine I mean take a bath, scream and eat naked, get dressed and play and go to sleep, but even that will get disrupted too and she just goes with the flow.  She’s like her dad that way.  Eric is very easy going and goes with the flow and never gets agitated and I see that in Charlotte.  We drive to my parents in Staten Island and sleep there every Thursday and she’ll nap in the car, wake up when we get there to say hi to the family and Uncle Spanky, eat a little more and pass out again.  She is just like, cool beans new scenery WHAT UP NONNA’S HOUSE.  She’s just so chill.  I love that about Eric so I love that about Charlotte.  She has me in her too though.  She is dramatic.  She is loud.  She is opinionated.  All at only 6 months.  She gets so mad and screams right in your face when you do something she doesn’t want you to do.  This is basically me.  The hunger screams are also me.  I can just see her when she’s a toddler screaming at me and Eric.  Eric will sit there and be calm and I’ll probably scream right back.  We’re in trouble!

She is learning new things every single day.  It is fascinating when you watch a baby learn things.  When you think about it they really don’t know a damn thing about anything.  They have no idea what fingers or toes are, and when they discover them and stare at them it’s just phenomenal.  It’s like oh hey here is my hand WHAT THE HELL IS COMING OUT OF MY HAND.  The other day I caught her with her hands in front of her face and she was flexing her fingers and staring at them so hard she was cross eyed.  Then she let out the biggest sigh and it was just so damn cute.  She loves new toys that she can hold and wave around.  Now that she is able to hold onto things really well she is constantly grabbing and waving shit.  This morning at 5:30 AM when I let her come in bed with me (WE WERE IN THE CRIB ALL NIGHT BEFORE THIS, YAY US) she was wide awake and grabbed her wubanub.  For those of you that do not know, a wubanub is a pacifier with a stuffed animal attached to it.  Charlotte’s favorite is from her godmother and it is giraffe.  Well, at 5:30 this morning she pulled the wubanub out of her mouth and started shaking it back and forth with a fury.  She was beating the shit out of me with the wubanub.  The giraffe was moving around so much it looked like a rodeo bull trying to buck off an imaginary rider.  After all of that activity she passed back out right in time for me to go to work.  She’s just so considerate.

She loves people.  She honestly has no stranger anxiety at all.  Every new person she comes into contact with gets a big smile.  I want her to be comfortable with people and I let anyone hold her that wants to because I don’t want her to be one of those weird kids who hate everyone around them except their mother.  I mean, I want Charlotte to prefer me over others OBVIOUSLY, but I don’t want her to cling to me and think everyone else is stranger danger.  It’s better for her to love people now anyway, because when she gets older she’ll realize what a giant pain in the ass most of the human race is and hate them all on her own.  Innocence for now, little one.

We have big things in store for this month.  She’s getting her ears pierced, she’s getting baptized, she’s going to sleep through the night, she’s going to keep trying new vegetables and fruits.  I feel like if I write that she is going to sleep through the night as a fact with all other facts, it will come true.  I love you so much my Charlie girl.  I am sad for the months that are over, but so excited for all that is to come.  Being a mama is the best journey I’ve ever taken and I love every single day.

They See Me Rollin’, They Hatin’…

Charlotte can officially roll over!  We may be a little late to this party, but for the last few days she has been turning from back to tummy all day, every day.  She is even waking up at night to flip her little ass over and sleep on her tummy!  YAY FOR BELLY SLEEPING!  It’s not making her sleep any longer, but whatever.  It’s a new skill!  She is learning shit!

For the past two nights Charlie girl has slept larger portions of the night IN. HER. CRIB.  She is starting to put herself to sleep all on her own when she wakes up too.  NOW let’s not get ourselves too excited.  The child is still waking up every few hours to eat/cry/get stuck on her back because she has yet to master the roll back to her back.  It’s very strange to me that she is having no issues rolling one way but can’t figure out how to return to the starting position.  All in good time, I guess.  But last night she was only in bed with me for 45 minutes until she started kicking me so violently that I had this instinct that hey, maybe she wants to be on her belly, and I put her back into her crib and she flipped her little tushie over and back to sleep she went.  I was so proud I could have cried.  But I didn’t cry because I was so fucking tired from the four other wake ups that I passed out within seconds until my alarm went off for work.  BUT DO YOU SEE THE PROGRESS WE ARE MAKING HERE?!

In addition to rolling over, Charlotte has no eaten string beans, carrots & butternut squash.  She wasn’t too sure about the string beans, LOVED the carrots and really isn’t a fan of the squash.  Last night she ate a whole bowl of it mixed with her oatmeal and cried the entire time.  But she kept opening her mouth to eat it so I kept feeding her, so not too sure what was going on there.  Next up is peas, avocado & sweet potato.  AND THEN ON TO THE FRUITS!  She is going to love fruit because it’s sweet and she will love all the sweet things like her father.  They will be two sugar addicted diabetics.  I escalated that really quickly.

Here is a little video of the rolling wonder I took last night. IS SHE NOT THE CUTEST EVER?! 

Is that carrot or is that shit?

Actual conversation between me and Eric via FaceTime (thank God for video technology!)

Eric: How do you get shit out of the couch?  She shit on the couch and it’s your fault.  I blame you.

Me: How did she shit on the couch and HOW IS IT MY FAULT?

Eric: You told me to just leave her in a diaper  to help with her heat rash SO I DID THAT and I was feeding her on the couch and she shit everywhere and it’s all over me and it got on the couch and I panicked.

Me: *Lots of laughter.* Well exactly how much is on the couch?

Eric: Well I wiped it up with the towel in the bathroom and then I used the baby shampoo because I didn’t know what else to do!

Me: *More laughter.  My boss is hearing this and also laughing.  Just generally lots of laughter happening.*  Go under the sink and get the antibacterial stuff and also go under the kitchen sink and get the Lysol.

Eric then took the opportunity to show me all of the baby’s shit on his clothes and how she was just hanging out in her bouncy seat happy as a clam.

When I got home that day I inspected the couch and Eric really did a fantastic job cleaning up.  I then noticed there was a giant SOMETHING on her mamaroo and really had no idea what it was.  I texted Eric and asked him if it was carrots or shit.  “Definitely carrots.  Actually I don’t know.  I have no idea what it is.  There was shit everywhere.”  PARENTING IS SO FUN YOU GUYS.

To the Ladies with No Babies

You really don’t realize exactly just how much life is going to change after you have a baby until you actually have that baby.  It’s one of the most cliche sayings out there, that nothing will be the same after the little one arrives, but good lord is it true.  And it isn’t like you can even really figure out the things you’re going to miss most before you have the baby, because it’s really an experience that you need to be immersed in to remember what the days of pre-baby yore are really like.  Well baby-less ladies, it’s your lucky day because I’m here to give you a handy list of what to enjoy NOW before you decide to pop out your bundle of joy.

  1. If you’re able, take off all of your clothes right now and go look at your naked body in the mirror.  Look at it and remember it.  Take a mental photograph.  Take an actual photograph if you’d like, but remember that it’s 2015 and the hackers are winning and you don’t want to be all over reddit in your naked glory.  Unless you do want that, which in that case go ahead and upload your nudes you little minx.  Now, after you’re good and naked, remind yourself that your body IS NEVER GOING TO LOOK LIKE THIS EVER AGAIN.  I’m not saying it’s going to change for the worse after baby.  I’m not saying you’re going to gain 500 pounds and never lose the weight.  What I am saying is no matter how quickly you snap back into shape after baby, your body is going to be different.  Forever.  And it SHOULD be.  I mean if you GROW A HUMAN FROM SCRATCH and then have that human removed from you, wouldn’t it make sense that shit would change?  I lost all of my baby weight already (humble brag humble brag) but my body is no where near what it was like before Charlotte came out of it.  The entire shape of my body changed.  There are stretch marks to remind me of the last two weeks of growth on my hips.  There are stretch marks on my boobs.  There are probably stretch marks everywhere and I’m just mentally blocking them out.  So just remember what your body is like now, pre baby making machine.  Embrace it and love it.  And then after you have that baby embrace your body even MORE.  Every mark and every pound that’s left on you is proof of a miracle.  You’ll be even more beautiful even if you think you’re not.
  2. Go out with your boyfriend/husband/friends and get REALLY drunk.  Wake up the next morning and experience the hangover.  Experience that hangover on your couch, watching Netflix and eating bacon, egg & cheese sandwiches with nobody to bother you.  LOVE that hangover, because after you have a baby, not only will you be getting drunk like um, never, but the first month or two of your new life with your baby will be one giant fucking hangover.  And there will be no Netflix and BEC’s, there will only be diaper explosions and crying infants.
  3. Have sex.  Seriously, just go and have normal, good old fashioned sex.  Things change my friend, oh do they change.
  4. Buy nice clothes for yourself.  Wear those clothes everywhere.  Throw a statement necklace onto everything.  After the baby you won’t wear the nice clothes because a) they won’t fit for a while and b) you won’t want bodily fluids on them and the statement necklaces will need to be put away because you’ll realize they will become a full on fucking weapon if you wear them near your baby.
  5. Read books and articles that aren’t found on babycenter.com or the baby sleep site, because once that baby comes every single thing you read will be about the color of your child’s shit or if side sleeping will lead to SIDS.
  6. Go see all of the movies you want to see.  I’ve seen one movie in the theater since Charlotte has been alive even though I’ve wanted to see about 25.  It’s an ordeal to go to the movies now, not to mention that in NYC the ticket prices are like 5 billion dollars each (I’m estimating) so you won’t be seeing much unless your husband finds an illegal movie site online and you have enough energy to watch a movie after the baby goes to bed.  I’M NOT SAYING THIS IS HOW IT GOES IN MY HOUSE.  All hypothetical situations here.
  7. Go eat at fancy restaurants.  I can’t say that I no longer go out to eat, because I’ve been bringing Charlotte to restaurants since she was about a month old.  We go out all the time and it’s nice, but I know which places to take her to and which places to avoid.  We mostly go to diners and family friendly places now, so the fancy steakhouses are no longer in the baby routine.  Go to Peter Luger’s now before you have a child and enjoy a steak for me.  I’ve actually never been to Peter Luger’s and I have pretty much frequented diners most of my life, so I don’t know why I think I am a fancy restaurateur all of a sudden.  BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
  8. Take pictures of your food and your friends.  I used to take pictures of my food all the time.  I was your basic white girl taking photos of her waffles and pumpkin spice lattes and posting them on Instagram.  Now I am that annoying as fuck mother taking 9 million photos of her baby and posting those on Instagram.  My phone is FULL of baby pictures, usually the same one over and over and over again trying to get the perfect smile.  I had to upgrade my iCloud storage because I’m afraid to even delete any.  Once you have a baby your phone will no longer be friend and food zone it’s going to be baby central U.S.A. and you’ll be spending a million dollars in iCloud storage.
  9. Sleep.  OH MY GOD STOP READING THIS AND GO SLEEP.  I don’t care if you just woke up.  I don’t care if you’re not tired.  I don’t care if you have to go to work.  Get the fuck back in bed and close your eyes and sleep.  Sleep long, uninterrupted hours.  Even if you have a baby that sleeps through the night (fuck you.  I’m kidding.  No, I’m not.) you’ll still never sleep like you did before.  Take an ambien and sleep for three days JUST SLEEP AND ENJOY IT AND DON’T EVER TELL ME THAT YOU’RE TIRED.  And then when you have a baby come to me when you’re crying and exhausted and I will hold your hand and tell you that yes, it will get better (no it won’t) and yes, it is totally normal to google “will sleep exhaustion actually kill me” because I’ve totally googled that and yes, you will be fine.

Enjoy your lives now ladies with no babies.  Enjoy every minute of freedom.  From the minute of conception life as you know it will be over forever.  But man oh man does it get AMAZING.  You will forget what life was like before and you will never want it to be the way it was again.  I LOVE my life now more than I ever have and I am so excited for all of the things to come.  Having a baby fucking rocks.

Things My Daughter Hates

  1. All of the nice things.  All of them.  Toys, pretty clothes, hair bows, jumpy cows, exercise jumpers.  Tears shall be shed.
  2. When I don’t let her eat butt ass naked after a bath.  Not sure when she thought this would be appropriate, but our bed time routine is now consistently bath, towel, lay baby on the changing pad on the floor to begin nice and relaxing baby massage, OH WAIT IT’S TIME FOR SCREAMS OF THE DAMNED, FEED ME NOW FEED ME NAKED STOP TRYING TO PUT CLOTHES ON MEEEEEEEEEEEEE.  Real fucking relaxing.
  3. When the milk does not come out of me fast enough.  Now that she is using bottles 5 out of 7 days, sometimes the milk does not flow as quickly out of mama as it does the bottle.  This causes a dramatic melt down of epic proportions.  Kicking, moaning, screaming, squeezing of the boob.  It is ridiculous.
  4. Getting clothes on, period.  It doesn’t matter if it’s before bath time after bath time in between the bath times, no matter what if she needs clothes put on her she screams in your face.  She could be smiling and laughing her ass off at you but the second you try to put her arms through a onesie it’s game over.  I used to get really afraid when I would have to dress her (Eric straight up refused) because she would scream like we broke her arm.  Now we both tell her to shush up and laugh.
  5. Sleeping.  Not going to beat a dead horse on this one, but the child hates sleep.  Fuck naps, fuck night time sleep, she wants to be awake for all of the things.  Most of which are the nice things that she hates.

All kidding aside, I really have one of the happiest babies I have ever met.  She’s so good all (most) of the time, that if these are the things I have to deal with and laugh about, then so be it.  She’s just the best ever and I’m so glad I’m her mama.  I can’t wait to get home from work today and snuggle her up.

Letting Go of the Guilt

I am sure you’re all aware of the sleep issues I’m having with Charlotte. We are in the middle of a revolution, and Charlotte is the new world and I’m pissy old England. Charlotte is clearly winning. 

 For two nights Charlotte wasn’t feeling well and I let her sleep with me. I did this with my dog once 9 years ago. I should have known what was coming after. She obviously wanted to keep sleeping with me, so maybe I fucked up there. But then I tried cry it out on the advice of others and my baby cried so hard and got so upset that she threw up all over herself.  There is no way I can ever do that again. Maybe I’m weak but I don’t see how the two of us crying is going to help any of us sleep, especially when it leads to unnecessary vomiting.  Into my bed she came and we both slept. 

I know 90% of you are rolling your eyes so far back into your head that they may stay there. This tactic has always been on the wrong side of the parenting charts. I totally understand that too. Before we had a baby Eric and I always said NO BABIES IN OUR BED EVER. Then we had a baby and realized how fucking clueless we are.  But now I see that what works for one family may never work for another. Maybe your baby sleeps just fine in their crib for 10 hours. I applaud you, but now I realize that doesn’t necessarily mean you did something great in parenting, your baby may just be a naturally great sleeper. I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself every night to have her sleep alone and in her own room because it’s what society tells me she should be doing. But then I decided to factor in how our life is. Eric works nights and doesn’t come to bed until 2 AM. He then wakes up at 6 to be super dad for 6 hours until the sitter comes and he can take a nap before work. So every night, I’m alone with Charlotte for bed time and Eric needs to sleep as much as he can to be a functioning father. If the only way our almost 6 month old baby will be calm right now is sleeping next to her mama, why is that so bad? And why am I making myself feel like what I’m doing should be kept a secret and something to be ashamed of?  I’m not being a bad parent, I’m doing what I need to do to survive.  She will spend a couple of hours in her crib or pack and play but then when she wails she wants her mama and we just sleep better. When she sleeps with me I barely ever wake up when she eats. She just nuzzles up next to me. For half the night I’m alone in the bed anyway. I’m going to be 28 and I’m still afraid to sleep alone most nights, so I don’t know why it’s such a shock that my baby feels the same way.  This is just what works for us right now and I’m letting go of the guilt.

It’s okay if you don’t agree with my choices or call me crazy or say I’m doing it wrong. There may be something you do as a parent that I don’t agree with either. That’s just a natural part of life and healthy debate. I mean I don’t think one should wear leopard underwear under white pants, but if that’s your choice I’m not going to judge you.  I just ask that you don’t judge me as a mother and outright tell me I’m doing it wrong. I respect your opinions and advice, but don’t tear me down for letting my chubby beautiful muffin snuggle up next to me every night.   Last night I let go of the guilt and let her come in bed with me and it’s the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. We both woke up smiling and that’s something I won’t apologize for.  I don’t expect it to be this way forever. I’m going to let myself catch up on some much needed rest and then see if she’ll sleep on her own again, but removing the pressure from myself has been like taking a weight off my shoulders.  The important thing is that Eric and I are on the same page and we are. We both are on the same page when it comes to getting as much rest as we can!

As always, I thank you guys for reading and always giving me advice and being a raft when I feel like I’m drowning.  This blog has been like free mommy therapy!