The ‘Pre-Baby Body’ Does Not Exist, Let’s Just Be Honest (And A Little Gross)

You know how real I like to be, right?  Well, I’m going there again my friends.  The post-baby body.  If you didn’t get enough from my boobs and period post, I am breaking down my own post-baby body from chest to hoo-ha on Mommyish.


Can we finally put the “pre-baby body” where it belongs? In the land of urban legend along with Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and fat-free potato chips. It doesn’t exist. I fit back into my pre-baby jeans a few weeks after giving birth, but three years later I am still wondering where the hell my own pre-baby body went.

Before pregnancy, my body was pretty much unchanged since puberty.  One year I carried around an extra 30 pounds of beer and pizza weight during my senior year of college, but that is a small blip on the life of this body.  If someone saved out my outdated 90s duds from high school I would surely be able to rock them.  I’d look hideous in my high-waist intentionally-marbled acid-wash jeans (à la the original 90210), but they’d fit.

The past three years my body has seen more change than in my entire life.  It swelled in pregnancy, I gave birth, I nursed.  Then I did it all over again, right away.  I’m not holding my physique to some impossible or industry-set standard. I’m holding it to the one I’m used to.  My “pre-baby body.”  And I am having a hard time coming to grips with what’s left.

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The truth about “no bathroom privacy”: what really happens in the bathroom once you have kids

Everyone warns you that you won’t have any privacy in the bathroom once you have children, but no one talks about what that actually means.  Some of you expectant mothers might envision a door semi-ajar as you leave your angels playing with blocks in the adjoining room.  You think you might even have a visitor just as you are finishing your tinkle and you will wisely take this moment to teach them good washing practices.

You’d be WRONG.

Will it ever be just you and me again?

  • You will nurse while sitting atop the porcelain throne.  We don’t even talk about how the wiping gets done in these situations.  Not even on this blog.   It’s just survival.
  • You will endure not only your own personal surprise but the shock of others when you unexpectedly get your period a little early.  Questions will shoot from their small mouths like shells from an Uzi.  “Why is there blood?!”  “Mommy, are you bleeding?”!  “Are you hurt?”  “OH, UH, GOOOOO!”  (that last one is from my grunting 17-month old daughter, but I am pretty sure it can be interpreted as “Is that shit gonna happen to me too?”)
  • You will have multiple little people pointing as you attempt to apply a maxi-pad.  A step-by-step lesson will be required if it has wings.

“What is that? Why are you putting in there? Can it fly? I want one in my underwear!” -shouts from the peanut gallery

  • You will be inserting your Nuvaring when the door bursts open and Lego-gate ’12 unfolds in front of your eyes.
  • You will read “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb” aloud while dropping a deuce.  Your child will be sitting on your lap.
  • If, like me, you teach your kids to go potty in a plastic crapper, you will experience tandem dumping.  You will resist for a long time, but when your son sits there for what feels like hours (“I’m not done yet I said!”) and insists you keep him company, you begin to see the efficiency.

This could take hours honey. Don’t worry, your bowels will get on his schedule just like your boobs, your appetite and your sleep.

  • You will be reaping the benefits of your morning coffee when everyone in the house decides that is the exact moment they need to brush their teeth.
  • You will be forced to defend yourself to the sudden intruder’s “what’s that smell?” query.  Try not to answer “carnitas” if you take them to Chipotle the next day.  They will remember.  They will repeat.

I let you off the hook with the logo here. Do an image search for “carnitas” right now. I dare you.

What has surprised you about the “no privacy in the bathroom” situation?

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting: More Panic Attacks

Yesterday I strapped my baby girl in the Ergo to get my fix.  Not quite smack, but pretty damn close.  The very last day of the delectable Smores cupcake at Sprinkles.

Graham cracker-lined Belgian dark chocolate cake filled with bittersweet chocolate ganache and topped with toasted marshmallow frosting.  Ooey gooey yummy-ness

Everything was going right.  I had money on my Metrocard and we caught the uptown 6 train in less than a minute (a nearly impossible feat on a Sunday afternoon).  When we arrived, more good fortune.  The Smores were fresh and there was a very short line.  My mouth was watering and Chloe was entertained by the constant movement of the city.

We headed back underground to the downtown 6, which was just arriving.  I couldn’t believe our luck!  No delays at Grand Central – round trip this little excursion would take less than 30 mi…..

My thoughts came to a screeching halt.  And it wasn’t just in my head.  It was the train as well.  The ear piercing sound of metal on metal could mean only one thing.  Someone pulled the emergency brake.

Despite my decades of living in the city and using the subway almost every day, I had never experienced this in real life.  I recognized it only from the movies — Speed, Die Hard (with a Vengeance), Hackers, Pelham 1-2-3.  You can see where my mind was going with this in an instant.  Not good.

So here’s where I want to tell you something you won’t read in any baby book.   Things even your awesome best friend – the one who told you about the weeks of bleeding, the night sweats, the baby blues, the leaking (breast and bladder) – forgot to mention:  your life is forever changed once you have children.  In ways your best friend can’t even begin to describe.

Let’s go back to my subway incident as a prime example.

Before kids: Probably some bored teenagers getting their kicks on a slow Sunday.  At my expense.  Damn kids.

Post-kids:  Don’t panic.  Don’t panic.  You need to think clearly.  Assess whether we are faced with a potential train collision, bomb, or hostage situation.  Then come up with a perfect plan of action to escape in the nick of time.

Before kids:   Hey, great timing!  Sprinkles in hand!  Maybe now I’ll have an opportunity excuse perfectly valid reason to eat all four cupcakes without having to share with anyone.  After all, we could be stuck here for hours.

Post-kids:  What the f#ck was I doing?  I put myself and my 14 month old baby in grave danger (is there any other kind?) for the insanely selfish reason of enjoying overpriced cupcakes??!?!?!?!??   Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

Before kids:  it’s too bad I don’t have any milk to enjoy with these rich cupcakes.

Post-kids: I’m too far into the weaning process to produce enough milk for Chloe to survive.  Damn it!  Why don’t I have more milk?!?

Before kids:  If this train blows up it will be really sad because I never got to have children. 

Post-kids: If this train blows up it will be really sad because I have children.

People openly lament the lost exotic vacations, copious amounts of free time and, of course, the dream of a good nights sleep.  But not enough people remind you of the loss of simplicity that is replaced by hyper-awareness.  Suddenly you are given parent goggles.

Image courtesy of

With these special glasses you cannot see the world as it once was.  Instead you must see the potential harms in everything:  from subway terrorists, to the media, to the strawberries at the local market.   Because maintaining the innocence, the purity, the security of other human beings (two in my case) — that’s your responsibility now.

A heavy but beautiful burden

Three things all moms hate (except me)

I don’t know if I was born with some missing chromosomes or what, but there are a few “mom issues” that I don’t seem to get.

1.  I don’t mind when the little old lady in the Target checkout line tells me to “enjoy every moment.”  I don’t – enjoy every moment, that is – but I understand her sentiment.  The days are long but the years short.  I get it.  It’s true (even if your timing sucks).  And it doesn’t infuriate me.

She's just telling it like it is, right Granny Clampett?

2. If when I tell a story about how hard X is for me, or what a crappy day I’ve had and you respond with a story about the ways your experience is worse – it actually makes me feel better.  It means that you can relate to the way I am feeling and it gives me a little perspective to see the brighter side of my own situation.

This definitely looks rougher than my day

3.  When someone says something as stupid as this, I enjoy the validation that a mom’s job is the hardest job.   Sure there is a twinge of condescension, maybe, when these words come from Obama or Oprah – as if the subtext is a pat on the head and a “good for you, little mommy that could, you keep on trucking through your tough day while I get back to running the free world/company that’s bigger and more efficient than the free world.”

Being a mom is the toughest job – whether you do it for 2 hours a day or 20 hours a day – for one reason.  It’s the only thing in life that requires you to be completely selfless.  All. The.Time.  The more hours you do it, the more your patience, empathy, sanity and strength are tested.  Your own basic needs are secondary.  Any other job doesn’t have co-workers who steal your food right out of your mouth or bust open the bathroom door to chat, right?

Is it the “hardest” job in the world?  I don’t know.  All I can do is share my experience.  I was a stay at home mom for two years and then I went back to work for a year.  I can tell you that being home is FAR harder than even my most demanding day as a lawyer.  It’s not even close as far as personal challenges go.  The stakes are higher at home than anywhere else.

And since being a mom is also a thankless job, I take those nuggets of validation, even with a small side of haughty disdain, and pat myself on the back.

Because raising a boy who takes time to grimace at the flowers is a challenge

So maybe it’s just me…

Parenting upstream

When Gavin was born, my ass was quickly kicked by Motherhood.  Breastfeeding gave me the one, two punch.  Attempt to implement a schedule?  Uppercut.  Colic was the roundhouse kick to the face, just for good measure.  I waved my white flag of surrender a few long weeks in, gave up all the baby books and vowed to learn as I go.

When the second child came around I thought “surely my experience over the past two years has left me with some shred of useful information.”  A practical, if not hard earned “What to Expect.”

“WRONG AGAIN” taunted Motherhood.  Bitch.

Obvious gender differences aside, Gavin and Chloe are different in every way.  Their sleeping habits, their eating habits, their playing preferences, their dispositions, their methods of communicating – complete opposites.

Different kids call for different parenting techniques, right?  Absolutely.  Or maybe not?

Gavin has learned that everything has the potential to cause hurt.  When first learning to walk his forehead was always black and blue, his hands perpetually scraped.  At two, he got stitches in his lip after slipping on his own pants.  The simple act of walking or jumping up and down in the wrong pants = pain.

He's too young to think this now, but I'd be surprised if this poster isn't on his teenage walls

Chloe has no idea of the dangers the world holds.   She gets herself into a dangerous situation no less than eighteen times a day, but I am always there to dive onto the concrete  to cushion her fall or juggle the glassware she topples before she cuts herself.  She has never even heard the word boo-boo.  Blissfully oblivious.

No problem, I'll get that. You just keep on walking.


I silently push Gavin.  I stand far away while he plays.  If he shows interest in something new, I offer tons of support and instruction.  He still refuses to step out of his comfort zone.

I am Chloe’s shadow.   I constantly remind her that slides are not for running up, or for licking, or for diving down face first.  I discourage her from doing most of what she wants to do.  Her comfort zone is everything she’s never tried before.

So by pushing Gavin, letting him fall in an effort to show him life goes on, am I only reinforcing his caution and concern that he is never safe?  If so, I am getting the opposite of my desired result: to foster confidence and autonomy.  Should I hold his hand every step of the way instead?  Wait until he is decidedly ready to move away?

Or by protecting Chloe from the tornado that she is, leaving her with only a warning, am I reinforcing her oblivion and wild child antics?  If so, I am getting the opposite of my desired result: to foster awareness and caution.   Should I let her try things I know she can’t do?  Even if that means injury?

Some traits are present from birth (nature) while some traits are learned from our childhood environments (nurture).  It seems I am trying to nurture what goes against their nature.  It also seems that my efforts are only reinforcing their DNA.

What do you think?  Am I fighting the current, swimming upstream, and getting nowhere?  Or should I stay the course, confident they will get there with time?