Real Life Mom | Gwyenth Paltrow Has A Tough Life

I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow has it rough. And for a minute, I was wondering how I was going to survive the day. Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.29.22 AM

Recently, Ms. Paltrow sat down with E! News and discussed taking a break from her demanding job so she could go back to being a mommy. I definitely pat her on the back for getting her priorities in line. However, I never realized that all of the stress I experience as a full-time working mom is NOTHING compared to the stress she experiences from being on set 2 weeks out of the year. Gosh, I bet those 12 consecutive 14-hour days are hell!

See, I thought I had it hard. Waking up to screaming babies at 2 am. Taking an hour to put them back to bed just to turn around and wake up two hours later to start my day at 5. Then dropping my kids off at daycare when the doors open at 7am so I can make it downtown to sit at my easy office job for a mere 9 hours – head back to pick my three cranky, lovelies up – make dinner for my family of five – clean bottles and dishes and pump parts – make bottles for the next day – somewhat “clean” the damage from the tornado that hit the inside of my house – bathe all 3 children – feed babies – read stories – fight with three year old about going to bed – put babies to bed – then…. look at the clock, it’s 9pm. Time to do it all over again. I have it soooo easy compared to Ms. Paltrow.

Maybe her marriage failed because her life is so demanding. I’m sure Ms. Paltrow doesn’t have any help with the cooking and cleaning and butt-wiping and temper tantrums. I’m sure she never gets any alone time to recover from being needed 110% of the time. It must be terrible to have to miss school-events and the carpool pick-up. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

I have a boss who thinks its totally cool to miss half a day on Valentines Day so that I can make it to the preschool Valentine’s Day party – NOT. And I probably would think less of him if he was cool with it. He would also probably laugh in my face if I told him I needed to cut out 3 hours early every day to make the carpool pick-up line at school. Most businesses operate in 6-hour day, right?

I bet it is hard to have so much flexibility with your job that you can cram all of your year’s work into two weeks so that you can free up the remaining 50 weeks of the year to dedicate to your children. I bet thats why it is so hard to appreciate those gruling 14-hour work days.

Ms. Paltrow, you should definitely quit your career and pick up an office job. You are right – it is so much easier working a 9-5er (more like 7:30-5:30er). Thank you for bringing it to my attention of how ungrateful I am.

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Mamas Know Best. It only took me 30 years to understand that.

32056_815193803195_1880974_n“You’ll understand when you have your own kids.” Man, I must have heard those words spit from my mother’s mouth a billion times when I was growing up. I say “spit”, because I she was in a constant state of being pissed at me because I was ALWAYS in trouble – for my mouth. I never got into normal teen-trouble growing up because I was constantly grounded for the way I fought and talked back to my mother. How she manages to love me today is beyond me because I was terrible!

So, the day before her 57th birthday, I am reflecting on how appreciative I am of the Mother I have been so blessed with. She is a quiet woman who has an inner strength capable of moving mountains. Although, she does not believe this. She is gorgeous – the kind of gorgeous that will never fade. She is not materialistic because she never had the liberty of learning what it would be like to be materialistic. She raised three kids with only a mere year31998_805085829655_6648410_n spread in age between them each. She worked hard for a very long time so that we were able to have the very best opportunity at education. She is only just now learning how to take time for herself and indulge in small luxuries – like reading a book in peace and quiet.

She spent countless months away from her life, her husband, and her family to be with me and my brother’s family for the birth and the few months after with each of my children and my brother’s children. Stepping in to help when we needed her the most.

Did I mention how terrible I was growing up?

For me, she is the best example of a woman.

Life With Twins | My Secret To Survival

My commute to work in the morning is about 20 minutes. It is just enough time for my mind to wander while I listen to whatever Pandora station I’m in the mood for that morning. This morning, while listening to some awesome soul music by NEEDTOBREATHE, my mind wandered to my husband. We had a tough night last night. Our second blessing, Rosie, had 103 fever yesterday afternoon. I’m crediting this fever spike to the two red, swollen buds on her top gums. Poor kid. She’s congested too – so she can’t breathe and her mouth is throbbing in pain.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

Anyway, back to my husband… so, I am constantly asked “How do you do it? How do you manage work, home and twin babies?”. No matter how many times I am prompted by this question, I still feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach. The initial thoughts that cross my mind are, “What do they mean? How do I answer that?”. I’ll be honest, what my house has experienced since October 1, 2012 (conception) has been a difficult. I am a short woman with a short waist that carried over 12 pounds of baby. These babies then brought an entirely different dynamic to our house (like most new babies do) which caused us to switch gears and learn how to manage a house of five instead of a house of 3 – overnight.

Of all of the crazy twin questions I get asked, “How do you do it?” is my least favorite. Mainly because it implies that I am some sort of heroine in my crazy life story. Why don’t they ask “How do we do it?”.

I’m a pretty analytic person, so of course I’ve spent some time (probably too much time) pondering the psychology behind this question. I’ve come to realize that I’m an extraordinarily lucky woman. See, I don’t do anything by myself. There are times I feel I put too much on my plate responsibility wise (I am still a woman – and women like me do these things to ourselves. Its in our nature).

I am never alone in anything I do.

1390778_10101810035631155_1014133044_nI have a partnership with this man who was crazy enough to spend the rest of his life with me. Responsibilities are shared. Personal weaknesses are made up by the other person’s strengths. I do not do more than he does and he does not do more than I do. He is not above changing more diapers than me or washing pump parts in the middle of the night. He does not complain. He is tired. He is just as tired and worn out as I am. And he did not carry two babies at the same time to term.

I’ve never thought of my husband as being extraordinary. Mainly because he has made me believe that all men in the world are like he is.

Did I mention that he does not complain?

So my answer to the dreaded question that hits the pit of my stomach when asked “How do you do it?” – Well, we don’t think about it because we don’t have any time to think about how much it may suck to wake up in the middle of the night – twice – every night for 9 months.

We wake up everyday and power through. At the end of the day we collapse into our sheets after putting our oldest to bed and give thanks to the Big Man upstairs for trusting us with so many blessings. We look at each other and know that these tough times will pass and the fruits of our labor (legitimate labor) will be so abundant in our future.

I love my partner. I trust him with my life. I trust that he will always be by my side fighting the trials that life throws our way.

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Now, I am going to bring up something controversial. No matter your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg and her “Lean In” movement – her opinions on relationships/marriages are so parallel with mine. I think personalities like mine have a hard time letting go of responsibilities and control. This can lead to problems in a marriage with so much going on in the background and behind closed doors of homes. In order to “make it” or “survive”, there must be a shared burden of responsibilities.

My spouse is TERRIBLE at most domestic responsibilities. But, that does not mean he is not capable of getting them done!

A good parent doesn’t allow their young children to say they can’t do something without trying first. Why would you have the same expectations for your adult spouse?

I am still learning to give up some of the burden of house and allow him and trust him that he will get it done. He may not do it the way I think it should be done and it may take him twice as long to do it – wait, scratch that, it WILL take him twice as long to do things as I would take – but at the end of the day, he does it. And I don’t have to do it.

A day only gives us 24 hours. The amount of work required to run our house requires more than one person is capable of giving. If you try to do it all, you will fail. Give the spouse in your life a chance to learn and take some of the burden off of you. They may surprise you!

So, if you ever happen to run into a multi-tasking mother or father and you are curious of how they do it – be sure to ask them “How do y’all manage?”. Because behind every Wonder-Parent, there is a Wonder-Supporter. No one manages it all alone.

Happy Thursday – now, go hug a parent!

How to: road tripping with babies!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to title this post, I thought to myself: Self, you should label it “Road trips with babies – DON’T DO IT!”. Ha – but that would be unreasonable. Because, as I found out and I’m sure others before me discovered as well, you sometimes just don’t have a choice.

My Sweet Emma

My Sweet Emma

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Rosie!

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Laid-Back Lorelei

The beauty of being raised by parents who encourage you to take charge of your life and make the most of your oppotunities is that you end up experiencing some of the coolest places, people and things that you wouldn’t ordinarily if you lived life day-to-day. With all things, the are downsides to beautiful things in your life. My family is scattered across the United States. My brother moved to Indiana from D.C. a couple of years ago for grad school and I have yet to go visit him and his family. Thankfully – life forced me to head up there this past weekend. He was baptizing the newest addition to his family, baby Patrick. I’m pretty sure I would not earn any points with St. Peter if I didn’t even attempt at attending such an important event in a little Catholic’s life!

So, last Friday, my husband and I hurried through a half-day at work and then took 2 hours (we had planned for 30 minutes) to load up the 8 Vera Bradley bags, two Graco pack-n’plays, 1 sparkly backpack loaded with God-only-knows toys, 2 iPads, 3 sets of ear phones, three car seats, bags of pump parts and bottles and cleaning supplies, boxes of snacks and sippy cups, red bull and other forms of caffeine, no gas medicine or teething medicine for the babies, and two stressed and fighting parents. We left behind the 3 huge boxes of clothes that I was pumped about dumping on my brother for his 2nd daughter to use as well as baby Patrick’s Baptismal gift.

MOM fail #1: Plan breaks into your ETA.

We had planned ahead at least, dividing the trip up into two parts instead of powering through in order to make it to South Bend by 1am that morning. So glad we had some sanity remaining to break the trip up. We made it to my sister-in-laws house by 9 that night – we were supposed to arrive around 7. When you are planning a trip with children, simply add 2 hours to the duration so to plan for 30 minute bathroom stops as well as a minimum of 45 minute break for meals. A break for meals is a must – babies, toddlers and preschoolers can not keep focus for 3 minutes, what made me think that they would not need to break out of their car seats after 5 hours of driving?? Mom fail #1.

At the rest stops or gas station bathrooms – expect the changing table to be unusable (if there even is one). And once we passed through to the Eastern time zone it was much too cold to change in the van with the door open. We improvised and survived, but please equip your diaper changing set-up to completely cover the changing station in these facilities. Plus, bring along enough anti-bac to make it through a wild outbreak of the next bird-flu.

Mom fail #2 – ENTERTAINING YOUR CHILDREN FOR A LONG CAR TRIP.

I remember back to around 2009 BC (BC = before children) when I promised myself that when I had children, we would never invite a DVD player into our car. We would only play games on road trips and color and do other educational activities. Right – well, I was young and dumb… about a lot of things. We have one device completely dedicated to videos and episodes to entertain our oldest for a max of 12 hours (enough time to get us to my hometown, Houston). Do not head out on a trip if this device is not fully charged and your adapter for the car is not readily accessible. Or, prepare yourself for an epic meltdown. If you have not experienced this already – be prepared to not be able to recognize your sweet, angelic three-year-old after they have been watching movies on an iPad for more than a solid two hours. WOW. They should do a psychological study on that. For sure.

Mom fail #3 – Pack junk food.

For this particular trip, I packed protein-packed, healthy snacks like almonds and hummus and pretzels. We lasted an hour. I’m pretty sure we were still in North Birmingham when we stopped for chips and chocolate. Healthy food is a crock when you set out on a family adventure, crammed in a car for an entire day with each other. Just pack the junk food – it won’t kill you to eat crap for a day. It will make you and your spouse happy. And that makes for a happy trip.

Mom fail #4 – Check the weather.

So, Spring has already started teasing us in the South. We had a week or more of 65+ degree weather. I had already packed up most of the turtlenecks and fuzzy sweaters. Why, when I knew I was headed to Indiana, where there is still snow accumulating? I blame “Mom Brain” (yes, that is a thing). So, I improvised. We bundled our kids up in double socks and the fluffy blankets I brought to make the pack-n-plays less like a rock for the twins to sleep on. I almost thought it couldn’t get worse than the 38 degrees we arrived in on Saturday morning. The 14 degrees the next day was much worse. Plus – I had no idea what the wind chill changed to when you were near Lake Michigan. Heads up… its cold. So cold.

So, all in all. I hope you learn from my failures. If you are anything like me, preplanning is no joke while working full-time, taking care of three little ones and preparing your house to go under major renovation in the next couple of weeks. BUT, preplanning and a little organization will definitely take  you so far and make your trip so much more enjoyable.

We throughouly enjoyed seeing a family and spending time with everyone. I wish I had been less stressed. I wish I had not forgotten the gas medicine for the girls. I wish I had not eaten the refried beans at the Mexican restaurant on Saturday. But, no regrets! Just learn from the mistakes and move on.

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My Emma and my brothers girls at the baptism.

We baptized sweet Patrick on Sunday and had an awesome time celebrating such a beautiful moment in his little life. I am beyond proud of my brother and it made the trip worth it to see him so happy with his growing family. I wish little Patrick a God-filled life and I trust 100% that my brother and his wife with see to it that it happens. Lots of love filling my heart this morning. I don’t even mind sipping out of my South Bend souvenir this morning (in privacy, of course – ROLL TIDE).

My South Bend Souvenior

My South Bend Souvenir

I’d love to hear your tips for traveling with wee-ones – please leave a comment below!

Happy Tuesday!

Sick of Being Sick… the woes of managing three kids under the age of 4

I’m really hating the fact that for my first blog I am called to write contains negative content about being a mother. I try – most of the time – to stay optimistic about our current situation. Having twins when your oldest is only 3 is no joke. I understand that I am stating the obvious. People tell us all the time, “I don’t know how you do it!” Yup, BINGO! You win the prize! Because, we don’t know how we do it either. I also was naive enough to believe that because we chose to breastfeed, our kids somehow were enabled with superpowers. Our kids will never be sick – being glued to my breast pump is totally worth it.

OK – breastfeeding IS totally worth it. If not for just the money savings.

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Sick babies are so pitiful!

I digress. Back to my pity-party. I’ve decided – when we become millionaires – we are moving to Hawaii. I never want to see weather that dips below 65 degrees again. It invites sickness, depressing gray colors in the sky, and empty wallets (thank you America – for selling the holidays). We have managed to have one sick human being in our house for the past 4 months! How does that happen? Why don’t people wash their hands everywhere that go?!? Don’t they know that I don’t sleep through the night because of a constant state of sick-child? Geez.

So, new moms, if you are discouraged by my post. Don’t be. It’s just the reality of the situation. What I failed to mention earlier, is that I am OBSESSED with the emotional pay I receive from being a wife and a mother. It’s like a drug. I am addicted to the high that comes from my babies locking eyes with me or hearing my oldest say “I lush you mommy”. I would lay down on railroad tracks if someone said it would give my girls a better life. Which it wouldn’t – but the metaphor popped into my head so I went with it. IMG_1328

AGAIN, breastfeeding is worth it. If you work, or plan on returning to work, pumping breast milk is worth it. That is all I will say about that.

To the people with kids, without kids, oh heck – to all people: WASH YOUR HANDS! Or I will come and personally wake you up on an hourly basis at night.