OMG! I have become one of those “moms”

OMG! I have become one of those “moms”

Years ago, when I was still in my “ugh, kids, HORRIBLE!, don’t-want-‘em” phase, I used to groan and grimace when I saw mom’s at the grocery store pushing their noisy, demanding, whiny kids in the shopping carts with the built in little car with a steering wheel and a horn attached to the front of the cart.
I used to think, “Holy cow! I can’t believe we have to have these for kids. Why can’t they just sit quietly (and be seen but not heard) in the shopping cart? Better yet, why can’t the mom just leave the kid at home with its dad so she can shop in peace?”
Well, GUESS WHAT?????????
I’M ONE OF THOSE MOM’s NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOLY COW!!!!!!!!
I had to go grocery shopping with my daughter because I forced my husband to vacuum and clean our stenchy mini-van (that had an inch of sand in it from summer vacation on cape-cod, as well as dog-vomit from our consistently car-sick collie, Loki.)
So, I had to take Amalia with me.
Ugh, this was going to be a royal pain in the rear-end.
As we started walking into the store, she noticed the shopping carts with the little red car attached to the front. She said, “Mommy, let’s use that one!”
I looked around myself to see if I knew anybody.
Could I disguise myself?
Oh, no! I was about to be mortified.
“Okay, honey” I said.
She got right in, started turning the steering wheel and beeping the horn and yelling “WHEEEE! Mommy, go faster!”
Does anybody realize that those carts are brutal to steer? They’re so big and don’t exactly turn-on-a-dime. No power steering. I couldn’t even rush through the aisles, as I usually do, without fear of running over someone.
“Faster, mommy, Faster! TOOT TOOT! BEEP BEEP!”
Okay, she was happy and satisfied.
It was the fastest grocery store escapade I’ve ever had.
Of course, when I got home and unpacked the groceries, I had forgotten the milk, eggs and yogurt as well as her favorite sandwich bread made by Pepperidge Farm that’s in the shape of a goldfish!
My husband wasn’t even close to being finished cleaning the stinky mini-van.
So, Amalia and I got back into the car, headed back to the grocery store for shopping escapade #2.
From now on, I swear I’ll use Pea-Pod home delivery!

Christine A. LaSala, MD

Director, Division of Urogynecology at Hartford Hospital
85 Seymour Street, Suite 525
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 545-4338
Fax: (860) 545-1973

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TRANSITIONS:

A lot of major changes have happened over the past month or so. I’m pretty sure I’ve made the right decisions. I hope I have made the right decisions. Have I made the right decisions?

After I had my baby, I tried to make some changes at work that would allow me to get out of the office before 6:30 pm so that I could pick my daughter up at daycare before it closed.

I was so glad to have the daycare that I did, because it was opened 12 hours, and that meant I could almost work ‘my usual schedule’. It was a good schedule for me. My daughter wasn’t always there 12 hours per day; her average day was about 10 ½ hours. Many days she was the last little kid left, and despite that long, long day for her, she’d still greet me with a vivacious: “MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!” and a big hug.

My sweet little girl is now 3 ½ years old. For the past 5 months or so, the most frequent comment that has come out of my mouth with regards to my daughter has been: “Everyone talks about the terrible-two’s, but nobody ever told me about the horrible-frustrating-exasperating-wish I could go back to my former life before I had her- threes! “

That was not really a nice thing to say. But I meant it. I missed my former life.

I would wake up at 4:50 am and get myself ready. Then Iâd awaken her at 5:40 am with the intention of getting her dressed quickly, get into the car and drop her off at 6:30 am, so that I could get to my 6:45 am meetings. Needless to say, and without surprise, she gave me a hard, hard time. It was a battle, and by the time I got to work (later than I had intended), I was stressed-out, makeup-smeared, runs in my pantyhose from her kicking and struggling. I blamed her. So, I started waking her up at 5:25 am to allow for extra battle-struggle time to avoid being late for work. My work partners would wake up early, too, but theyâd get to go to the gym, or go for a swim, or for a run before theyâd get to the office. They are very physically fit. Iâm not. I used to be. But no longer. I was becoming a little jealous. They didn’t have to do what I did every morning.

My family, friends and co-workers suggested that I ask my husband to help. âThat would mean he would have to get up an hour earlier than he needs toâ I replied. Their answers were unanimously, âso what?â So, my husband did take over the childcare drop-off and pick-up for 1-2 days per week. It did help.

It wasnât until about 2 months ago that I realized it wasnât really my daughter who was the horrible one. It was me. Just because a 10 ½ – 12 hour day at daycare was good for me, and my work-life, didnât mean it was good for her! On the contrary: it was NOT good for her. It was NOT fair to her. How could I blame her for being horrible? What did I expect? When this realization occurred, I withered. I sunk. This just wasnât right. I probably had known for longer than 5 months that something wasnât right about our situation, but I had figured, âhey, thatâs what us working-parents face. Itâs par for the course.â I had never thought about any other options, really, because the truth is: I never had TIME TO THINK about other options. My daughter wasn’t the horrible one. She’s a little girl with a work-a-holic mom.

Finally, in one of my dazed/confused/exhausted states, I decided to make a change. And I did make a change:

We have hired a babysitter to come to our house at about 7:15 in the morning to get my daughter ready for the day. No more waking her up before the crack of dawn. Now, she wakes up on her own. The babysitter gets her dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed at my daughterâs pace. No rush. No: âCOME ON WE HAVE TO GO—- I CANâT BE LATE FOR WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!â

I will have already left for work. Weâve switched daycare centers to one closer to my home, so it will be much less car-travel time for my daughter. The babysitter drops her off there at 8:30 am. My husband now is responsible for picking her up: and the rule is âNo Later than 5:30 pmâ. This daycare closes at 6 pm. I will hope to get there to pick her up once, maybe twice per week.

Despite my valiant efforts to cut back at work, even just a little bit, it has been impossible. The life of a physician is life-giving, and many times self-less. I know this and Iâve lived this and Iâve always accepted this as a privilege to be a physician and care for women. But at the same time, I have been unable to put my foot down and say, âNoâ when my work life takes over my own life. I don’t say, “No.”

I cried and cried when it was time to leave her former childcare center. The teachers there had become part of our âfamilyâ, too. I knew all of my daughterâs little friends. They knew me. I loved that place. More importantly, my daughter was very happy there. What was I thinking to make this change?

We are now day number 4 at her new daycare center. I donât know the teachers. I donât know the kids. When I ask my daughter at the end of the day what their names are, she is silent. She seems a little sad. Yesterday she cried. I asked the teacher why? She said she âhas to get used to things, and she will.â

The babysitter told me today that my daughter seemed happier this am when she dropped her off. My husband told me she was very cheerful when he picked her up. Believe it or not, I really, really miss her in the morning on the way to work. Itâs quiet in my car. I still sing, âthe wheels on the bus go round and roundâ and then remember that sheâs not in the back seat. Iâm alone. I miss her.

Did I do the right thing?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook: fun or stressful?

Last night, I posted some photos of Jack to my Facebook page. As a working mom, I love how social media makes it super easy to share updates with my friends and family.

But I also know that social media brings lots of worries to parents, especially those with teenagers. According to a new survey of parents of teens, more than half of them are worried about cyberbullying.

I may have a few years ahead of me before Jack has Internet privileges, but it’s never too early to think about setting limits and resolving conflicts. Child psychologist Dr. Laura Saunders recently did an interview about cyberbullying, which I found really helpful. The last minute in particular has some good advice:

Are your kids on Facebook? When do you think they’re ready for social media? We want to hear from you!

Posted in In the News, Parenting Styles, Pre-Teens, Safety, School, Teens | Leave a comment

Do you want fruit with that?

As a working mom, I know dinner can easily slip to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list, especially on those long days. I’m mildly ashamed to admit, sometimes we get dinner in a paper bag handed off from a drive-thru window.

With all the attention on preventing obesity, we find ourselves guilt-ridden when we don’t have time to make something from scratch, or when we opt for the occasional fast food meal.

So a group of restaurants has gotten together and introduced something called “Kids LiveWell” — all in an effort to minimize our guilt and be sure our kids are eating healthy when we do eat out. The program means you’ll now have the choice of a children’s meal of 600 calories or less.

Here are the details on the program, including a list of participating restaurants: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/13/us-restaurants-children-idUSTRE76C5MQ20110713

What do you think? Would this program influence where you go to get some grub?

Posted in In the News, Mealtime | Leave a comment

Oh BOY – Mommyhood baby news!

 
He’s here!

Thomas Asher Muro has arrived, weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces!

In addition to Mom – Mommyhood’s own Rebecca Stewart -  the adorable little one joins proud Dad, Jamie, and big brother, Charlie.

Check out his first picture with Mom and Dad, and his TV debut below!

Posted in Becoming a Mom, Change, Hartford Hospital, Infants | Leave a comment

Thanks for putting up with us!

Here’s a great article from syndicated columnist Ruth Marcus about motherhood and the teenage years. Specifically, she recalls the days when her mother drove her nuts… only to realize she has become that same mom all these decades later.

Read on!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Becoming and Being a Mom: Remembering My First Mother’s Day

I never wanted kids. Blech! They’re messy, smelly, needy, whiny, cause you heartbreak and then grow up and leave you alone. Why would anyone want that?
My own mother used to bore me with her ‘wisdom’:

‘Christine, when I was pregnant it was the most amazing thing in the world. I woul feel badly for daddy because he couldn’t experience this life within…’

‘Christine, it’s different when they’re your own…’

‘Christine, yes, you’re a doctor, but being a mother is far more rewarding…’

‘Enough with the dogs, Christine (after we brought our 2nd collie dog into our lives)! Enough with the dogs!’

I had silenced my mother: “Ma, I’m not having kids, so I don’t want to hear it.”

And then the asteroid came out of the sky and hit me on my head. I had changed my mind.

Yes, I had accomplished many things in my life and was always very grateful for that. But I guess I needed something different. Maybe I needed to be saved from the workaholic life I was leading. Maybe I just needed to live differently.

When I told my mother I was pregnant, she was actuallysilent. I had silenced her for solong that she was speechless.

I loved every moment of my pregnancy, which luckily, went fairly smoothly for a 42 year old working-full-time-plus woman.
And, my mother was right: when I was pregnant it was the most amazing thing in the world! A growing life within me—holy cow!

I am an obstetrician-gynecologist. How many babies have I brought into the world? But that never fazed me. This was totally different.

I remember vividly the day my daughter was born. I replay it in my head over and over and over again, like I’m sure all moms do.

She was a girl! She is a she! She is a girl!

I was convinced I was having a boy (so much for my obstetrical ultrasound detection skills!) So powerful. Soemotional. So peaceful. So surreal.

She looked nothing like me, but exactly like my husband.
But she was mine! My little girl.
Amalia is now 3 years old. She is really messy, definitely smelly, ‘mommy-mommy’ needy, often whiny and has already caused me heartbreak.

But I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything else.
Hearing her say, “Mommy, I love you” is indeed more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done– even curing a woman of her urinary incontinence (although that’s a fabulous thing to be able to do!)

My two dogs are now ranked #2 and #3.

They seem more annoying now, but I love them just the same.

My mother is no longer silent. Now she says, “see, I told you so!”

Thanks, mom. You were right.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mother Love

My first Mother’s Day took place when my baby boy was just four weeks old. I realized that day, that becoming a mother changes everything about being a daughter.

Once I experienced a mother’s love for my own child, it created a new and incredible bond with my own Mom. We had always been close. Growing up, I could tell her anything. She was there for me no matter what. But once I became a mom, I loved her on a whole new level. Up to that point, I didn’t know I could love her more.

This will be my second Mother’s Day without my Mom. She was taken way too early and I miss her.

I am lucky to have three sons who all are very affectionate and I get hugs from each of them every single day. (I had to go without for awhile when my oldest was away at college this year, but he’s back now and I’m catching up!)

When I put my arms around my sons, I feel my mother’s arms around me. Being a mother and being a daughter are tightly intertwined. Just like a good hug.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Memories

Yesterday, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. While thinking about my response, I couldn’t help but think back to last year, my first-ever Mother’s Day…

I’ve always understood Mother’s Day to be special. Growing up, Mother’s Day – like all observances in my Portuguese family – was about the two f’s: family and food. We’d always present my mom and grandmother with orchid corsages, and would go out for brunch. I remember Mother’s Day being one of the few occasions where we actually went out to eat; it was a true treat for our whole family. So on that special day, my brother, sister and I would try extra hard to get along, all in honor of Mom.

While I was pregnant, I would often think ahead to my first-ever Mother’s Day. Sometimes I had visions of continuing my family’s tradition. Other times I imagined my husband waking up early, taking care of our baby so I could sleep in, and later surprising me with breakfast in bed. Whatever would happen, I always thought it would be picture-perfect and memorable in every way.

But sometimes the best memories aren’t exactly how you plan them.

Just a few weeks before Mother’s Day last year, my husband hurt his back. Complications from the injury meant a week-long hospitalization, and discharge instructions included lifting nothing over ten pounds, not driving for more than 20 minutes and not walking our dogs.

So, for a few months, my poor husband was very limited in what he could do. He felt horrible in every way possible. He was in excruciating pain. He wanted to work, be an active father, and play golf, but was sidelined, trying to avoid the surgery he ultimately needed.

While Dad was out of commission, we had to cancel our vacation plans that we all so desperately needed. All baby care fell on Mom. All dog care fell on Mom. All heavy lifting (literally) fell on Mom.

Looking back on it now, last spring seemed like a big blur. It was a stressful time. I remember coming home on rainy days, putting Jack in the Baby Bjorn, wedging the umbrella handle under the Bjorn strap, walking the two dogs and sobbing. The “you’ve got your hands full” comments from passers-by only made the tears flow faster.

Frankly, life was so hectic, there was no time for Mother’s Day fantasies. Life was happening so quickly, I never even mailed my own mother a card (sorry, Mom!).

But that didn’t stop my two main men from plotting a very special and memorable day. My poor husband quietly hobbled around while Jack and I were still asleep, putting out fresh flowers and gifts, and waking me with a delicious breakfast in bed he worked so hard to make. To wake up with that special surprise was a moment I’ll never forget. It wasn’t what I envisioned; it was so much better. To have that home-made breakfast made with so much sacrifice and love, and a little giggling crawler to chase after all day was more than picture-perfect.  

As I think about life one year ago, I’m thankful we pulled through that difficult time. I’m thankful my husband is once again healthy. I’m thankful our son has become a lively, energetic, free-spirited, running toddler who is so full of life and keeps me active.

As I write this post from North Carolina, taking the vacation we postponed last year, I think about what my husband asked me, and how I’d like to spend Sunday. I can’t think of a better way to spend it, than to just be with my two favorite men in the world. A little family and food to warm the heart.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom out there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Mother’s Day Moment

I thought I understood what Mother’s Day was all about four years ago when I was pregnant with my son.

At the time, I was four weeks away from that pivotal moment when I would morph from “just” me into the role of mom.

I knew it would be life changing, but I couldn’t have predicted just how life changing it would be.
And I never could have imagined I was capable of such love.

But something else happened on that day I delivered and was wheeled into a room on Bliss 6 at Hartford Hospital.

It was when I looked at that beautiful little baby boy that I fully understood just how much my own mother loved me. It hit me when I stared into that miraculous little face and felt overwhelmed with emotion. That’s when I understood what Mother’s Day was all about.

Until then, Mother’s Day had always been about the last-minute rush for a card or gift. Phone calls between siblings as we panicked at our predictable tardiness.

“What are we getting Mom!?” we inevitably asked each other.

We chose pedicures, gift certificates and flowers.

All these years later, I finally realize that saying thank you meant more than any of those things put together. Thank you for all the sleepless nights you stayed by our side as we were fighting fevers, strep throat or chicken pox. Thank you for helping each one of us memorize all the state capitols. Thank you for being there, for carting us to swim lessons, to T-ball practice, to play rehearsals, flute lessons, Hebrew school and everything in between. Thank you for being Mom.

Moms make it all happen and they do it without ever letting you know how tough it is.

It’s Mom who promises me that I will love this second little stranger growing inside me just as much as I love my son.
And in a few weeks, when I meet him for the first time… I can’t wait to prove her right.

Hartford Hospital salutes all moms this Mother’s Day.

Do you remember your first Mother’s Day? We want to hear all about it! Share your story with us and be sure to nominate your mom for the Mommyhood SuperMom contest with the River 105.9!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment