Look Mom… I’m published!

loveySo, today my name is in print- in an anthology called Listen to Your Mother, edited my Ann Imig. A story I wrote “All You Need Is Lovey” is in a real live book.  I feel like a proud mom.  Here’s how this came to be…

Three years ago, I saw an audition on Facebook for a show called “Listen To Your Mother.” It’s a nationwide phenomenon started by Ann Imig, spanning 39 cities now, where writers share personal stories about motherhood.  With all the nerves of my pre-acting days, plus leaky postpartum boobs and hormones, I signed up for an audition.  I wrote two pieces for that day.  One was a dark deep expose of my experience with postpartum depression, and one was just for fun- about the day I ran around town like a maniac looking for my son’s lovey.  I nursed my baby, took a shower (!) and ran downtown for the audition.  The feeling of reading my story was cathartic, I was sure that the world wanted to hear about my depth, my journey.  Then, just for fun, I left them a copy of other essay as well.  I said lightly, “I wrote this one, too- cause I couldn’t decide.”

After the audition, I was a wreck.  I went between “Why did I even try to do this?  I LEFT acting for a reason!” and “I bet they hated me!  I’m not good enough,” blah blah blah.   Until a little voice message made me remember what I loved about acting- Being picked!  With baited breath, I called Pam back.    I saw it all ahead of me- the tears, the catharsis, letting loose my triumphant story of healing.  And then Pam said one more little sentence.  “Um- so, would you mind doing the funny one?”

My heart stopped.  Now, for the longest time, I’ve resisted my own dharma.  In Acting School, I wanted to be Lady Macbeth, but got cast as the jester.  I wanted to be the romantic lead, but got thrown in as the funny sidekick.  And here it was again.  A little wind out of my sails, but still thrilled, I said I would be honored to read.  The funny one.

The first rehearsal, I listened to the amazing stories (two others from my show are also published in this anthology). The depth, the heart-wrenching stories- the amazing things these people (and their mothers) had lived through broke me open.  I cried so hard, I was glad there wasn’t an audience yet.   We went through about three boxes of Kleenex in two hours.  I felt deeply honored to be among these writers.

The days leading up to the show, a tummy bug ripped through my house like a twister through Kansas.  There was a lot of laundry, and a lot of people lying around. But I was fine. I was sure I would be untouched because I had a show- and the show must go on!  I washed my hands diligently, and felt fine… until I didn’t.  Twenty-four hours before the big night, I was praying to the porcelain gods for mercy.  I purged every meal I’d even thought about.  And I cried- lying on the bathroom floor, thinking of the absurdity- how much this show meant to me, how much we try to do as mothers, and how we are still at the mercy of life, our children, and tummy bugs.

By morning, I was wobbly, but no longer needing to lie on the bathroom floor.  I looked at my husband and said feebly, “the show must go on…”

In some ways it was a blessing.  It lowered the bar.  Instead of worrying about how good I was going to be, I was now praying not to puke. Just read the story, and don’t puke- that would be success. As I sat and listened to these brave writers, many of which had never been on stage, my spirit lifted.  I knew I would be fine.  I felt the audience go on a ride with each speaker, like an emotional amusement park of life experiences.  And as I stood up to share my piece, I also realized something… this audience needed to laugh.

And I did what I have done my whole life- I made them laugh. But through the laughter, I realized my story, one of a mother’s dedication to her son’s happiness, rang true through the audience.  There was a resonance, and it continued afterwards. All night, people shared with me their stories of Loveys- deeply loved (and sometimes lost) over their lifetime.  I heard the cherished names:  “Moo-moo, Pink, Bed Ted, and Tigey”

When Ann Imig emailed me a year ago and asked if I would consider having “All You Need Is Lovey” in her anthology, I was thrilled. And last week, the advance copy arrived- and I began to read all the stories- and again was touched by the beauty, the heartache, the immense humor.  All I can say is I am so glad to be in there.

Who knew a Lovey could mean so much?

This morning I feel grateful to all mothers- to the heroic acts of love, the losses suffered, the laughter, and the deep inspiring grit.  I’m grateful to Ann Imig- for this movement, for the book, and for the opportunity to share our stories. Without deadlines, many mothers (including me) wouldn’t find time to write, amidst the butt-wiping, lunch-making, and tummy bugs.  These small moments at my computer remind me that I’m not only a mother, but  a writer. When we share our stories, it makes it all a little more doable,  Thank you for giving motherhood a voice.

For a video reading of All You Need is Lovey (post all night tummy flu), go here:

Yo Mama’s Getting Hitched…

LOGOS_JustMarried.jpgMoving into 2015, I’ve got a big announcement to make.  I’m getting married!  Well, my business is getting married.  Let me back up…

I opened the first incarnation of my business back in 2004 in the back garage of Rocki Graham’s house in Venice Beach.   Having taught my classes in other studios for years, I quickly saw the beauty of a dedicated space for mamas-  cheerios, car seats and tears were welcome. Mamas came early to nurse, stumbled in late, stayed after to chat, and everyone thrived. In 2006, I opened my first commercial space in Santa Monica,  on a $2000 loan from my mom- and Yo Mama Yoga was born.  Six years ago when my new husband and I returned to Boulder (my home town), I opened Yo Mama in Boulder- 6 months before my first child was born.

It has been an incredible journey, we’ve served thousands of families, I’ve seen hundreds of babies born, I’ve had two babies of my own.  And after Izzi was born, I felt the call to create a partnership.  After exploring some different options, the amazing ladies of the mama ‘hood Allie, Linda and Amanda reached out to me for a lunch.  We clicked right away, and I remember telling my husband that night “I think I met my business partners today.”  I’m happy to say today that I was right!

The two businesses began ‘dating,’ each of us bringing our strengths to the other, and spending some time in each location.  I began to teach yoga and Inspired birth in Denver, and they began to bring their unique and powerful approach to breastfeeding to Boulder.  The dating escalated, and now we are getting married!

So starting in the new year, Yo Mama Yoga will be nestled happily in the mama ‘hood!  So- the yoga programs will still be Yo Mama, and much of the business (including our location for now) will look the same, but we will be called the mama ‘hood Boulder.  What this means for you all- you will be able to use your classes and memberships at both the mama ‘hood Denver and our location.  And very exciting- later this year we will have a brand new location, with a lot of expanded offerings!  All our teachers and practitioners are coming along for the ride- and you may see some new faces as well.  I will be an owner- but happily have 3 wonderful partners.  I know you will be as inspired by them as I am.

So keep on the look out, and if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.  Welcome to the mama ‘hood!

 

Ask Yo Mama: Does Size really matter?

askyomamaOkay, so before you delete this and think it’s a crazy porn site, let me extrapolate. I got an email from a mama this week and wanted to respond more fully on this site so that all can be served from this nonsense.

Dear Yo mama,

I’m hoping you might have some thoughts/advice as it’s looking like I’m turning out to be a statistic… Yesterday, they did a special ultrasound to figure out how my baby is. She weighed in at 8lb 10oz (at 38 weeks 1 day). I’m dilated ½ centimeter and not hardly effaced although baby has dropped pretty well. I’ve had my membranes swiped twice now and have been aggressive with acupuncture and chiropractic to bring on an earlier labor…. All that said, it has been pretty strongly recommended I go for a c-section based on the size of the baby. Because I’m not very effaced and hardly dilated, they are not even recommending medical induction as it seems it could well lead to unscheduled c-section, considering how not ready my body seems to be, despite baby’s size. (Baby is very healthy with healthy placenta and amniotic fluid levels and it seems she’d be happy to float around for 2-3 weeks more, gaining ½ to 1lb/week, so I’m told….)

As it stands now, I’m scheduled for a c-section next Monday and of course my hope is I go into labor before then… I was just wondering if you have any specific thoughts or ideas and/or if based on your experience you agree with this view.                        Signed, Big Baby

Dear sweet Mama (and Big Baby),

WTF.  Sorry, but this is one of the most crazy-making parts of the birth industry right now.   I will highlight what you yourself wrote:  “Baby is very healthy with healthy placenta and amniotic fluid levels and is seems she’d be happy to float around for 2-3 weeks…”  SO LET HER!  I’m going to take a few moments on my virtual soap box here, but I am so frustrated with this ‘cesarean or induction based on size’ thing that I gotta have some words.

here are a few quick facts:

1.  BIG BABIES ROCK.  They nurse better, sleep better, and basically come out like big bouncy buddhas.  They are fully cooked, lovely munchkins and are a delight to be around (in general).

2.  Big babies navigate the pelvis beautifully!  Sometimes even better than a smaller baby, because of reason #1.  ANY baby of any size can get stuck in the pelvis, and very tiny women can rock a vaginal birth of a big baby with no problem. (my delicious daughter was almost 10 pounds, and I am on the smaller side of mamas)

3.  Ultrasounds have no idea how big your baby is.  Ultrasounds have been known to be multiple pounds off.   So, to say we have to induce or do a cesarean birth based on this ultrasound is nonsense.  It’s like making a map with GPS points in Wyoming while you’re in Colorado.

4.  Babies do better who have labor.  Even if it ends in a cesarean birth.  Apgar scores are higher in babies that had a trial of labor before a cesarean birth.  The contractions are essential for helping baby transition into this new world.

So, Big Baby, Here’s the conclusion.  I don’t know if your doc has a little hawaii vaca planned or is having his/her in-laws to visit, but this recommendation is not in the favor of you or your wonderful (and potentially small) baby.  Take your time.  Say no thank you.  Hold steady.   Your baby will pick a perfect birthday, and on that day, you’ll both see how you can navigate getting baby through your pelvis.  Stay active (see Happy, Healthy Pregnancy) so you can walk and do a lot of stairs in labor.  And potentially, if you and your doctor keep not meeting eye to eye, consider making a switch.  I know it’s super late in the game, but as long as you’re not in labor, it is still possible.  (See Three Steps to A Great Birth).

And if you can, avoid empty calories like refined sugar.  These do tend to make babies a little fluffier.  Eat five colors of veggies a day, eat good proteins (vegetarian or meat).  Think of each day as the potential day that your great birthing adventure will begin.

Sending you all my love and patience, to you and your gloriously big baby.

Yo Mama

Ask Yo Mama: Tdap in Pregnancy

Dear Yo Mama,   
I am feeling very nervous and scared about something I read.  My wife and I both did the tdap vaccination.    I was fine with it until I read on Facebook that somebody was saying you shouldn’t do it while you are pregnant.  This has me worried about autism.  I am trying to surrender but I woke up concerned today.  I don’t want to talk to my wife because I don’t want to freak her out. So that leaves me with no one to talk to.  If you have anything you could say that will take a good chunk of this concern off my back that would be awesome.  I don’t trust the cdc. 
I want to let go of my fear and move forward.
Thanks,
Shot in the Dark
Dear Shot in the Dark,
I’m so glad you reached out!  It takes bravery to give a voice to these fears.  When it comes to vaccines, there is no perfect answer.  There are risks with vaccines, and there are risks with the illnesses they prevent.  Each vaccine decision means weighing the specific risks of that illness (and the liklihood of contracting that illness) with the risks of the vaccine.  And we are always making our ‘best guess’ and can’t know the future.  It sucks.
But vaccines are useful and amazing, and a very good thing that we have them.  At the moment, there hasn’t been any consistent or convincing proof of a link between autism and vaccines.  Most studies have been debunked.  It seems there may be a slightly higher correlation in african american boys, and there is a question out there of whether the CDC covered up that subset in their studies.  I know the internet can be a scary place, and I trust my pediatrician (Dr. Roy Steinbock) the most when it comes to these things.  He’s smart, he’s well researched and he’s obsessed with the safety of kids.  A good pediatrician is a parent’s best ally.
I think the decision you made to have the Tdap during pregnancy is a smart one.  Whooping cough is pretty prevalent in Boulder (because so many don’t vaccinate).  And it can be fatal if a baby is very young, and it’s a pain in the butt at any age (6 weeks of coughing).  It’s the one vaccine I feel pretty strongly about.
As for having it during pregnancy, it’s listed as a slightly higher risk than some other drugs (class C), but again- you probably won’t give your baby the Dtap directly until later in the flu season (when your baby is a little older), so keeping it out of the house (by vaccinating the two of you) seems prudent.
Having a baby is shockingly anxiety producing, even before they are here. And it doesn’t end when they arrive.  As parents, we have to make a ton of decisions on behalf of our kids, and it’s overwhelming.  But you get more and more practice, and start to trust yourself- both your research and your instincts.  What I hear in your email is that you’re going to be an awesome dad 🙂
With love and support,
Yo Mama

All You Need Is Lovey

Orange ShirtA story of a boy, a shirt, and a mom on a mission.

What I’ve found most absurd about motherhood are the things I will do to keep my children happy.

“We can’t find orange shirt.” These five simple words sent me into a panic when I received this text message from my son’s daycare.

I texted back: “I’m on it, bringing back up.” I dashed out of work, as quickly as one can dash eight months pregnant, into the volcanic July heat. Speeding towards my sister’s house halfway to Denver, I looked at the clock. I had 45 minutes. Only 45 minutes until that special time of day, that mothers all over the world both treasure and dread. Naptime. Without orange shirt, there would be no napping.

“Orange Shirt” is my three-year-old son’s lovey. A lovey, (binkie, wubbie, num num) is a transitional object, transitioning the child from their mother’s love to self soothing skills. Our ancient monkey reflexes make us fall asleep easier if we hold onto something (i.e. a mother, Iphone, tree branch, or an orange shirt.)

My nephew’s lovey was known as ‘stinky ducky’ because he sucked on it until it reeked like bleach, mold, and cat pee put together. I’m still stunned that he held it so close to his face without vomiting. After my husband met stinky ducky, he was over loveys. He hadn’t used a lovey, and he determined our children (not even born yet) would not need loveys. I failed to tell him about my own history with loveys–my good dream pillow that I loved from age three–now a shred in a box in my mother’s garage, and my soft down pillow from college, called “softest softest” that is still in our bed today.

There is no stopping those who want a lovey. At four months old, my son attached himself to my orange maternity tank top that said “expecting baby” on it. And it was lovey at first sight. He called it “dootch” when he couldn’t say shirt, and now it was called ” Orange Shirt.”

When he was two, we cut it in half. The “expecting baby” half was “home orange shirt” and the other half was “traveling orange shirt.” When traveling orange shirt had been left at my sister’s the night before, home orange shirt, in a rare moment, left the house, and went to daycare with my son, where they had (carelessly I might add) lost it. We had gone from two orange shirts to none in less than 24 hours. A missed nap would not be good, but if we didn’t have an orange shirt by nightfall, I shuddered to think what would happen.

I arrived at my sisters at thirty minutes before naptime. She said she had left orange shirt in the barbeque grill outside her house, before her early morning plane flight. . I confidently lifted the lid, and saw only black wire racks and old coals. I felt like I was in a reality show, designed to make pregnant women freak out like hyenas on camera.

I checked every window and door that a pregnant woman could safely reach. I looked under every rock, plant, rug, welcome mat, all the likely places for a hide-a-key. Even though I knew they were on a plane, I called my sister and mom. Don’t you know this is an emergency? I screamed to their cheerful outgoing messages.

Luckily, there was still Bob. My stepdad Bob was the one you call when your computer isn’t working, or you’re locked out of your house, or your hemorrhoids have gotten so bad that you can no longer drive (which was me a month after this story). I called Bob’s home and cell, but he had forwarded his two phones to each other, rendering them both useless. I looked again for hidden cameras.

Naptime was approaching faster than a whore on roller skates.

I called my sister’s neighbor, Kathryn. I called her eight times and finally got through. I tried not to cry, but you know when you’ve been trying to call everyone else in the world and they are all abandoning you like your dad did when you were three, and every guy you dated till you met your husband, and you finally reach someone who is alive and has an ear, and you’re eight months pregnant and it’s 108 degrees outside and you’re in a desperate hunt for a half an orange tank top that will probably save your child’s life?

I cried. A lot. To this day this woman probably thinks I’m a total lunatic. Calmly, she talked me through how to find the key to my sister’s house. Inside, in a plastic baggie next to the door, forgotten in a rush and looking like trash waiting to be taken outside, was the slightly less-preferred version of my son’s lovey. I grabbed it and got back in the car.

I drove to my son’s school, and burst through the gate like Mercury. My son had skipped nap entirely, but strangely seemed fine, playing outside in the sandbox, confused to see his mommy’s red tear streaked face. Then his teacher said, “I think we know where the other one is.”

She explained the morning’s adventures, while my mind raced. How could they let him take Orange shirt to a park? Would you take the Mona Lisa to a day at the beach? I suppressed my rage and disbelief through a pursed-lip grimace. I thought of reporting them to social services, but I couldn’t waste the time. Orange shirt was out there… somewhere.

Now I really was on reality TV. I waddled out of the gate, and heaved my sweaty mass of pregnant self into the car.

I pulled up to the nearby park, as a homeless man was walking away with a small red wagon full of stuff. For one crazed moment, I imagined he had definitely stolen my son’s lovey. Why wouldn’t he? It’s very soft.

Trying to remain calm, I rolled down the window and said, “Excuse me?” I wasn’t going to be this close, and fail. “Excuse me, sir. Did you happen to see half of an orange tank top?” I was trying to be cool, but my red eyes, and shaky voice betrayed me. He stared at me blankly for a moment, and then said “yeah, I think it’s in the gazebo.”

Cue chariots of fire theme music. I ran across the park, my big belly bouncing. Looking like an old pair of underwear, abandoned on the cement, was Orange Shirt. I held it to my face, inhaling that sweet stinky-lovey smell–familiar and warm.

I felt for a moment, what my son must feel when he holds Orange Shirt. Like it was all going to be okay. Like this crazy shred of fabric, worn by me with my son in my belly, and loved by him every night, was a soft fabric umbilical cord of love between us, connected once again, never to be broken.

Someday I’m sure he will lose something I cannot retrieve for him, his innocence, his first heartbreak. But that crazy July day, I had caught his fall. I saved his Lovey, that symbol of my love, to take with him out into the world. The world might eventually fail him, but not his mother.

Ask Yo Mama- Where should I give birth?

askyomama Dear Yo Mama,

 As you know, our baby catcher’s practice just closed. We were thinking of another hospital based midwifery practice, but discovered that the hospital has a higher C-section rate than we are comfortable with.

 You come across as an expert in this area, and we would like to ask you what you would do if you were in our place. We’re considering a Freestanding Birth Center, but it’s expensive and may not be covered by our insurance — however, we may look into insurance options if it seems like the right path. Home birth feelss scary to us, but making a decision based on fear isn’t always the best one.

Would you mind providing us with advice? We’re just lost on what to do.

Sincerely,

Belly without a Baby Catcher

 

Dear Belly,

I’m so glad you reached out to me!

It’s a hot topic right now, with so many feeling ‘lost’.  And midwives and doctors are human- sometimes something changes that forces them to not be able to carry out their original commitment to ‘catch’ your baby.  Choosing a care provider (and birth place) is tricky– it’s a little like dating- which is not very fun-  but if you use the same feelings of ‘chemistry’ along with some good research, you can find your way to a choice that fits your family.

I think the first thing to consider is where both you and your partner will feel the most safe.  With choices like whether or not to use an epidural- you, as mama, get 100% of that vote.  With birth place, I would say it’s 60% (mama)/40% partner.  both of you need to feel that it is a safe place for you and baby.  Since you have to push a baby out that day, you get an extra 10% of the vote.

Safety can be found in different ways.  For some, it is knowing that every possible medical intervention is at your fingertips.  For others, it could be knowing that the medical interventions are as far away as possible, or at least used as a last resort.  For many, it can be knowing that they feel at home with the environment- smells, sight, and feel of the place.  Looking at cesarean birth rates is one important factor for sure.  Most hospitals, nationwide are around 33%, which is shocking, but true.  So you want to look at individual practices within each hospital (Nurse midwife practices tend to be more like 10-20%).  Out of hospital birth centers tend to be 6% or even lower (Ina May’s center is 1.5%- but that’s a long drive to Tennessee).  You are in a good birth class, and preparing yourself with good tools, so you should be in a good position to avoid a Cesarean birth (see my post:  3 most important things you can do to Have a Great birth)

It’s also super important to consider the care provider or team you’d be working with.

And I tend to go both for the letters by their name as well as the ‘gut instinct’   I would ask yourself the following two questions after you meet with a care provider:

  1. would I go on a road trip with this person?
  2. would I go into a one-stall bathroom with this person?

Birth is long and winding like a road trip, and as intimate as any bathroom event you’ve had so far.  If you couldn’t imagine taking your pants off in front of someone- they might not be the right fit for your birth.

Freestanding Birth Centers can be a wonderful option.  You have Certified Nurse Midwives, and a beautiful facility, and medical interventions are truly a last resort.  Home birth can also be great, but is not for everyone.  I think some of the pluses are:  not having to drive while in labor, the postpartum care is extraordinary, and you’re in your ‘own space.’  And for any higher-risk pregnancies, or those that feel the ‘safety net’ of medical intervention should be close by for any reason, a Hospital based midwife or OB practice is usually the best way to go.

I would meet with individual care providers and feel into how you could imagine your birth experience with each of them.  Ask all the questions you want, listen to the answers.  And then listen to your inner answer.  Your belly will know.

Thanks again for reaching out!

All the best,

Yo Mama

 

ASK YO MAMA welcomes your letters and questions- please email katie@yomamayoga.com with ASK YO MAMA in the subject line.  We will edit your letters and respond on the blog.  We respond to as many as we can.

The Top Ten Ways Becoming A Mom has Changed My Life

BEFORE:  trouble1

AFTER:  davidschlatterphotography-4464

Here they are, the top ten ways becoming a mom has changed my life:

1.  My boobs are longer.

I’m embarrassed that it’s first on the list, but this one is the most striking. Before my children came along, I had tiny little barely-A-cup gymnast breasts. After my first, the boob fairy granted me a Double D Deluxe set which shocked everyone, including myself. But the boob fairy’s gifts are not forever.  As I now come to the end of nursing my second, we are settling in at a soft and gently elongated B cup. Kind of like water balloons that have been filled and emptied a hundred times.

2.  My love is stronger.

The greatest surprise for me has been the pure sweet love that has come through my heart. Before my kids, if a bear had attacked someone I loved, I would have gone to get help, or maybe used bear spray. Now, if a bear attacked one of my children, I would be sitting over a dead bear with blood on my hands before I actually realized what happened. This love is a whole new level. It’s physical, visceral, and undeniable. And truly unconditional.

3.  There are a lot less pictures of my cats.

catsOkay, this one is a little sad. It’s not just the pictures (which there used to be MANY- cute xmas cards with Sandy and Booda, pictures of Sandy lounging around, pictures of Booda looking neurotic for no reason), it’s the rank. My cats have fallen so far down the totem pole, they’re not even on it anymore. These feral beasts that still call our house their home used to be the vessel of all my displaced maternal love. Now they make me crazy. They are on Prozac (literally) which is helpful. But at least once a week my husband will say “hey, did you know so-and-so is looking for a cat?”

 

4.  My house is messier.

Okay, this one might not actually be true. My house used to be a wreck in a certain, creative, costumes all over the place, dishes in the sink, ‘I’ve-watched-an-entire-season-of-Alias-this-weekend-because-I- can’ kind of way. Now my house is a tornado of toys, legos, sponge bob, stuffies, train tracks, diapers, socks (I think my son goes through 4 pairs of socks a day) and other people’s underwear. I think the main difference is before when my house was a wreck, I’d usually avoid having anyone over until I got it mostly cleaned up. If I did that now, I’d have no friends. I’m amazed at my tolerance for mess while nannies, friends, and family members come over and join blissfully in my chaos.

5.  I have a whole new concept of time.

When I think back on my ‘pre-baby’ life, I can’t believe I ever thought I was busy.  What was I so busy with?  Now, the idea of wasted time (a movie that I don’t like, or a bad massage) is an abomination.   I can write a blog post in 20 minutes or less, shower in two minutes, and eat a full meal in under 5 minutes (probably not the best thing for my digestion, but necessary sometimes). A wise person said, ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ Or just give it to a mom.

6.  I get to play with LEGOS!  (again)

IMG_1737This one might be my favorite. My son calls me a ‘master builder’ as we work for hours on a space station that covers six different moon plates (won by me in an intense Ebay showdown-probably with another mom).  It has seven spaceships, sleeping areas, a rocket launching pad, a mobile space lab, and a hanging planet earth hanging from the curtain rod near the lego table. Sometimes I think… “this is why I became a mom.” To do the things that brought me so much joy as a kid and call it “parenting.”

 

 

 

7.  I love my husband way more.

There is something about seeing a tiny human being with a mix of facial features matching myself and a man I love that is beyond words. When my almost two year old daughter wrinkles her eyebrows in that same earnest way that my husband does. Or when I tossle the curls of my five year old son, and smell his sweet little boy smell of sunshine, sleepiness and peanut butter and think of a picture of my husband at the same age, my heart just opens. Not to mention that he’s seen me inside and out, both physically and emotionally over the last five years. I’m pretty sure no one knows me or loves me like he does.

8.  I have a lot more anger. And I express it.

Even as I love more, I also get a whole lot more pissed. I’ve screamed “HONEEY!!!” across the house in a way that was not the least bit tender or endearing. And towards my beloved children, I’ve heard such phrases leave my mouth as “I’m going to swat your behind!” Or “Do you want me to call your father!” Or when I have the wherewithal “mommy needs a time out.” I’ve hit the wall- more than ever before, and at least once physically. I’ve felt the deep soul rage that can only come from that special blend of sleep deprivation, constant body molestation and total lack of self care for months on end.

9.  I’m less self- centered and more present.

So even though I’m less in love with my cats, I’m more in love with and love taking care of a lot of other people. I delight in cooking a beautiful meal for others (something that used to offend my feminist hide). I feel a sense of calm strength staying up all night with a sick kiddo on my chest. And I love making my son laugh in the bathtub more than making an entire audience laugh at Improv Olympic in Los Angeles.

10.  I love who I am becoming every day.

I think most moms would agree with me when I say I’ve had two different lives. One from the day I was born until May 12, 2009 at 2:02am, and one from that moment on.  When I felt my son’s warm slippery body on my chest, after working for days to get him out, and my heart sang as I looked into his perfect, wet, open eyes, I knew life would never be the same.   Since that day, I’ve let go of perfectionism, and welcomed the philosophy of “good ’nuff.”  I’ve let go of thinking I can do it all myself, and opened up to my place in the grand village of life.  I’ve stopped trying to ‘look like I have it all together’ and learned how to live more fully in my skin.  And I have my children to thank for this.  Even if I would like to get a little more sleep.

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