Tag: Motherhood

My Open Letter to New Moms

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! You just had a baby. There are probably a lot of things on your mind right now like how you’re going to get your body back in shape, whether or not your maternity leave is really going to be long enough and how getting only 2 hours of sleep at a time could possibly be your new normal. Although your pregnancy may or may not have been rough & the delivery was undoubtedly painful, it was all worth it – your new little bundle of joy is here & it’s time to be the mother you’ve always wanted to be. You are a parent now & it is your duty to make your child your #1 priority.

But I need you to know that just because you have a kid doesn’t mean the world around you has stopped. People still have lives, business still needs to be handled and the earth will continue to revolve. I understand that you may be out of sorts for a while, your hormones are probably raging and you now have responsibilities that didn’t exist before. All of this is understandable but it’s no excuse for being a bad friend.

Recently I talked to a friend who just had a baby. This is her second child; her oldest is about 2 years old. I’m happy for her, because this is what she always wanted, but this is a friend that I’ve talked about before – as a new mother, she’s gotten quite boring. We were on the phone for about three minutes before I heard her 2 yr. old’s voice in the background. He was whining & begging for attention. Periodically she would respond back to him and then apologized to me for the interruptions. Our conversation only lasted about 15 minutes but we were disrupted about 17 times by her 2 year old. I was truly annoyed. We had not talked in over 2 months but I couldn’t even get 15 minutes of her undivided attention. Did she not realize how rude that was? Sure, her child wanted her attention but if she wasn’t able to talk freely without a 2 yr old tugging at her then why call me at that time? Why choose that moment to reach out to me knowing that you are already occupied? See, the thing I don’t get is why not call me after you put your kids to bed or when you get some alone time? What makes you think I want to share my private life with you if your kid is just going to interrupt every 2 minutes? When you allow your kid to constantly interrupt our conversation, you are in essence shutting me out. It makes me think that you’re not interested in my life because we can’t even talk for short periods of time before everything is about you or your kid. Besides, we really want to talk to you, not the counter you put the phone on when you place us hold while you wrangle your child. If you want to really talk to me (like we used to do) then pick a time when our conversation is the centerpiece, not your kid.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that your child comes first; I have no problem with that. But I don’t believe that becoming a mother should be the end of the world – or the end of your world. I just wish that new mothers understood this. You are going to need your friends to vent, to babysit for you or when you feel the need to just hang out. When all you do is talk about your baby, your “Mommy & me” sessions, teething, bottle cleaners or anything else baby-related it bores the heck of me. It’s not that I don’t want to hear how happy you are with your newfound ‘mommy’ title, it’s just that you seem to forget – I can’t relate.

Since I don’t have any children of my own, I don’t know the perils of being a new mom. Sometimes I wonder if I would feel any different if I had kids, you know, if I was a new mom myself. But I honestly don’t think that would make any difference. I can’t imagine missing out on the incredible friendships that I have built over the years, just because I have a baby on my hip. The world is so much larger than me & my newborn.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that over time friends are bound to grow apart, particularly with a life-changing event like having a baby. But that’s all the more reason to work harder to maintain the friendship on your end.

Now if you really are interested in keeping your friends (that are not new moms like you), there are a few things you can do. Here are some solutions to make sure that your non-mom friends don’t feel like you’ve completely forgotten about them:

  • Texting – Sending a quick text message seems to be the best way to keep in touch especially when you’re really tired. You can text while you’re breastfeeding, waiting on the laundry or even rocking your baby to sleep. Even though I’d prefer a phone call, it doesn’t take that much effort to touch base with me via text.
  • Conference call – It’s always great to talk to your girlfriends! When you’re stuck in the house all day with a new baby it can be a little overwhelming. But thanks to modern technology, we can connect over ConferenceCall.com, Facetime or even Skype. Setting up a time to talk to each other or see each other will allow us to reconnect. The best part is it won’t even cost you anything!
  • Girls get away – Let’s arrange a trip to hang out live & in-person at least 1/year. No baby talk, just grownup friends hanging out & having a good time. This way we can catch up without the distraction of your new baby. Yes, this will require some planning on your part but it’ll be worth the effort to rekindle our friendship.

I know this is a long letter especially since you have a baby that’s probably begging for your attention as you read this, but I really wanted you to know how I felt. Even though your life may have changed for the better, I really don’t want our friendship to change for the worse.

Signed, your friend forever (I hope),

Chocolate Vent

 

New Mom

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Don’t Try This At Home: Getting Pregnant Later In Life

By now everyone has heard the news that recently-married Halle Berry is pregnant at the age of 46 (her first pregnancy was at 42). While I certainly wouldn’t follow in her footsteps, I do question why anyone would want to have a baby at that age. Even with modern technology we all know the challenges that women face having children later in life, such as birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. Not to mention, the disturbance in one’s career and the sheer physical toll. But even with all of those things aside, why would you want to spend your “middle years” changing diapers & chasing after a toddler?

Other things to consider having children later in life are: fetal distress, cesarean birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery. And that’s just for the mother! The baby is at risk for low birth weight, genetic disorders like Down syndrome, asphyxia, brain bleeds and stillbirth. How terrible is that?! Those are problems that occur during the pregnancy & in the delivery room. Consider what age you’ll be when your child becomes a teenager. How will your parenting abilities be as you age? Can you keep up with your children or their friend’s parents? Will you have the energy? Will you have the patience? Will you be able to keep up with the rigor of raising multiple children as you age?

According to nationalgeographic.com the average life expectancy is 81 for women and 76 for men, so why spend the second half of your life raising young children? I would think that bearing children would be best to do while you’re younger. Instead of preparing for retirement, you now have to focus on raising an adolescent. While you may be more financial stable, the more out of touch you are with the younger generation that you are now raising. Not to mention all of your friends are just about done raising their children so you won’t have the support system that you probably hoped for.

Let’s look at some other famous people who had children later in life:

  • Uma Thurman – 42 years old
  • Celine Dion – 42 years old (with twins)
  • Tina Fey – 40 years old
  • Mariah Carey – 41 years old (and she’s reportedly pregnant again)
  • Nicole Kidman – 40 years old
  • Kelly Preston – 48 years old
  • Salma Hayek – 41 years old (her husband is a billionaire)
  • Molly Ringwald – 41 years old (with twins)
  • Mira Sorvino – one baby at 41 years old, and another at 44 years old
  • Charlie Chaplin – was reportedly 73 years old
  • Steve Martin – had his first child at 67 years old (and his wife was 41)
  • Hugh Grant – fathered a child at 51 years old
  • Warren Beatty – fathered a child at 55 years old
  • Tony Randall  – over 70 years old and died shortly thereafter at 84 years old
  • Luciano Pavarotti – fathered a child at 67 years old and died shortly thereafter at 71

It is a little different when you are rich – you can pay for younger help. You can also afford the best doctors to make sure that your health & the baby’s health is in excellent condition. Plus, Halle Berry looks like she’ll be young forever! But for the average woman these resources aren’t as readily available.

I am so glad that my parents aren’t “older”. This means that they’ll be around a lot longer J

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Would I Be A Good Mother?: Maybe You Don’t Know What Kind of Parent You’d Be Until You Are One

On the heels of Mother Day, I started wondering whether or not I would make a good mother. I mean, I’m not sold on having children in the first place but in the event that the Lord sees otherwise I don’t even know how the whole motherhood thing would work for me.

I have so many hangups on what motherhood is supposed to be like that I don’t even know if the actual role would match up with the job description I have in my head. From what I can tell raising a child properly takes a lot of ingredients that I don’t have:

  • Patience – This is probably the largest trait that I’m missing. I have patience for children (after all, they’re just kids and they don’t know any better) but I don’t have patience for adults with kids. How am I supposed to deal with all of the parents of my children’s friends? What if I don’t get along with the other parents in the PTA or on the playground? I can’t deal with people who aren’t good mothers.
  • Housekeeping skills – I’m just going to come out & say it: I don’t like to clean. I do it out of necessity but don’t really enjoy it. I feel like there are so many other things I’d rather do with my life than to clean up after a kid and their friends (after a large birthday party or sleepover)
  • Time management – I usually have a pretty crowded schedule. Where on earth would i find time to include a child’s activities? I know, I know, I would HAVE to adjust my schedule and sacrifice some of my activities because we all know that children should come first. It seems so much easier said than done though. Seriously, after a long day at work, going to the gym, running errands and cooking dinner I just don’t see how I would have time to be a good mom to my kids by doing things such as checking their homework, reading to them, after-school activities and the like. Because we all know husbands aren’t good for much around the house (lol)!

Would having these things make me a good mother? No of course not, but I do think that you need more than just “love” to be a good parent. So how is someone supposed to know if they would be a good parent? There’s no checklist or survey to fill out. There’s no application required or background check that will determine whether or not you’ll be a good parent. Do people think that just because they consider themselves a good aunt or a good uncle that they would make a good parent even though having nieces & nephews is nothing like having your own children?  How is a man supposed to know if the woman he wants to marry will make a good mother? How does any woman know that she’ll be a good mother to all of her children and not just her favorite? The conundrum is that you don’t know what it takes to be a mother until you are one. But the problem I have with parenting is that once I decide to become a mother, I can’t take it back.

So all in all, I guess I’ll never really know what kind of mother I’ll be until I become one (Jesus, help me!).

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Balancing Motherhood & Your Career – Is Working Part Time The Best Move To Make In This Economy?

A woman I know recently decided to go from working full time to part time so that she could stay home & spend more time with her family. Not wanting to completely be a stay-at-home mom, she decided that the only way to sustain her career would be to keep one foot in the working world and one foot at home. I’m sure her husband is glad to have her around the house more & her children will benefit from increased attention, but where does that leave her career?

Currently, the unemployment rate is hovering right around 8%. Depending on what part of the country you live in that percentage may be significantly higher. After working long & hard to build a solid career and then starting a family, you are now willing to possibly through that away? It’s one thing to start working part-time after not working at all, because of a company mandate, or if you have special circumstances (disability, spouse is deployed to another country, etc.). But to purposely cut back your working hours and your household income right when you might need it the most? Some of the women who do this are the same women who complain about not moving up in their careers. Of course, returning to full time employment is always an option but they should be glad to even have a job, given that so many people (with families) are still looking for work.

Family should always come first, but is it worth sacrificing your career as a woman? Especially in such an unstable economy? People are being laid off left & right and pink slips are becoming more popular than pay slips, so why risk providing less for your family, or at the very least why risk not being able to provide at all?

It’s so ironic to me that decades & decades after women fighting to work outside the home and earn equal pay (although we’re still not quite there), we now have women who are fighting to stay at home and NOT work at all. I can’t say that I agree with this woman’s decision. I think that she should continue to work full time and raise her family at the same time.

I’m not saying it will be easy but if she doesn’t really want her job someone else will.

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