Working Mama

I was in the shower the other night, winding down from my day with the baby. This is my one time each day to relax; to meditate and reflect. And yet I found myself having a panic attack.

I am currently on maternity leave from work. I got my 6 weeks of disability at 50% of my salary after Adelaide was born. Since then, I’ve been on unpaid leave because my employer, like most across the nation, does not offer any form of paid maternity leave to bond with your new child. Knowing this, my husband and I saved up money during my pregnancy so that I could take a full 6 months to be with my baby and nurse her exclusively. But only for 6 months. (In a perfect world, I would wait until she was 1)

So, while in the shower the other night, I thought about going back to work on August 3. About leaving my baby girl with strangers at her daycare. About the feelings of abandonment she will feel not having mommy with her all day. And the bonds she will forge with her new caregivers as a result. Even as I sit here typing this, Adelaide feeding on my breast, I feel the tightening in my throat. The pit in my stomach. The tension in my chest. The start of what will become a panic attack if I allow it to progress to that.

You see, I am overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of returning to work. I love my job. I have one of the best jobs in the world. I work with amazing people. And my bosses are my mentors. I both look forward to and dread my first day back. I am shaking at the thought; both the excitement and the guilt.

I still don’t know how I am going to make it through that day. I know I will. Other mom’s have done it. And when their babies were much younger. I just never thought I would have to deal with the guilt and dread of being a working mama.

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A Breastfeeding Post

In light of the controversy surrounding Elisha Beach Wilson’s photo of herself breastfeeding her child while on the toilet, I thought it was time for a breastfeeding post.

Elisha posted a very real photo last week.  Any mother who has breastfed a one or two year old has probably been in the same awkward place Elisha was; taking a shit while you’re baby is screaming because she’s hungry.  So, what do you do?  Whip out the boob, of course!  To a breastfeeding mother, it’s a no brainer.  To the rest of the world, it’s “controversial.”  Really people?

I breastfed my two older children until they were both around two years old.  They weened themselves.  I plan to do the same with Adelaide.  She’ll let me know when she’s ready to stop.  Because this isn’t common practice in the U.S., I get a LOT of flack for it.  I could care less.  I do find it interesting though that California has the highest rate of breastfeeding mothers, yet when I breastfeed my child in public, I get numerous dirty looks and scowls from people of all walks.  Most of my mommy friends have opted to either not breatfeed at all, or gave up after 2 or 4 weeks.  Which BLOWS MY MIND! It is THE best gift you will ever be able to give her. So why wouldn’t you?

Some moms tell me they just don’t feel comfortable; that it’s weird. It’s only weird because Americans have sexualized the breast so much that we’ve forgotten what it’s true intention is (hint: it’s not being fondled during four play). Even I have fallen prey to this. I found myself at lunch the other day with a cranky kid who refused to eat while the blanket was on. But I had never breastfed in public without a cover. I couldn’t possibly let top boob and side boob out for the world to see! But Adelaide was not havin it, so…I took a deep breath…and let the blanket fall. It was actually pretty liberating. To know I don’t have to be tied to the damn covers whenever I’m out with the baby.

It’s time we really, truly freed the boobies. Let them serve their true purpose. And eff anyone who stands in their way!

Two thumbs up

Concert Tickets

Do you remember the good ol days?  Where you had to wait in line at a Ticketmaster sales kiosk to get tickets to a show?  I miss those days.  Now, if you have shitty Internet, you’ll never go to a small club show ever again.

Today I tried to buy tickets to the Thrice show at the Glass House on May 13.  I was online at 10:59am, hitting refresh so that my browser would be ready at 11am when the pre-sale started.  The page reloaded at exactly 11am.  Apparently, I was 4 seconds too slow.  Because the tickets were no longer available.  Sucks.

If you were lucky enough, as a fan of the band, to get tickets to the Thrice show today, congratulations.  I’ll be trying my luck again whenever the public on-sale date is.  If they have one. (Edit – the on-sale was 2 hours later at 1pm.  Looks like I’m not going to this concert afterall).

This is not the first time this has happened in recent months.  Last year, I missed out on seeing Brand New at the Troubadour because of the same thing.  I was there.  On the website.  Ready with credit card in hand.  But still, no tickets.  Unless of course I wanted to pay the 100s of dollars they were going for on StubHub.  For some reason, the scalpers always seem to get the tickets.  Makes you wonder….

Man, I miss waiting in line.

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The Hoff is Back!

David Hasselhoff, aka The Hoff, is back. And holy hell, it’s amazing.

The Hoff comes in the form of a music video by way of the Kickstarter backed film, Kung Fury.  Haven’t heard of it?  Let me give you the background:

According to The Huffington Post, Kung Fury is a “Swedish martial arts comedy film written and directed by, and starring David Sandberg. It is an homage to 1980s martial arts and police action films.”  It appears to have been shot entirely on green screen and fearures giants, flying ninjas and dinosaurs.  Oh, and King Fu Hitler.  Yes, you read that right.  Only he’s not Hitler.  He’s “Kung Führer.”  No joke.  You can’t make this shit up.

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So where does The Hoff come in?  Well!  Mr. Hasselhoff sings the movies theme song, “True Survivor.”  Watch the official music video here.  It is pure gold!!!  Or pure cheese….

The video features The Hoff, complete with 80s mullet and bad visual effects.  As Hoff sings, what could have actually been a decent hit in 1983, visuals of the film go in and out.  It’s either the best, or worst, music video I have ever seen.

I don’t know if or when the film comes out, but I see this being one of those terrible cult classics.  Only time will tell.

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Meeting Other Moms

Meeting new people, generally speaking, has never been a hard task for me.  I’m what my mother likes to call a “social butterfly.”  And yet, for some unknown reason, I find it incredibly difficult to make friends with moms. Especially in LA.  Meeting new moms?  How do you do it?

I grew up in the 909, where folks are friendlier and women don’t wait till their 40 to have kids.  So when I had Layla and Brody, it was easy to make friends with other moms my age. Not so much in my current situation. At 32, I’m still considered a young mom in these parts!  Add in the anti-social, don’t make eye contact, attitude of Los Angeles, and it becomes very hard to meet new people (Thank God I wasn’t in the LA dating scene ever).

So I have decided to give Meetup.com a try.  I have my first meetup with fellow moms tomorrow at this great spot in Canoga Park.  Here’s hoping I make some new mom friends (I won’t show a bias on age)!  I’ll keep you posted.

Coupon Apps

Everyone likes saving money.  And we all have phones on us 24/7.  So why not download some money saving apps that will give you some extra cash in the bank!

I use four five coupon apps; Ralphs, Cartwheel, ibotta, The Coupn App and Shopkick.

Ralphs – Most grocery stores have their won apps with digital coupons.  I love the Ralphs app because coupons are loaded automatically to my Ralphs Rewards card.  They’re in dollars off, which I prefer to percentages.  I just log in and check which coupons are available before each shopping trip, and then don’t have to think about it again.  It also lets you know what your current gas rewards points are, has an area to create shopping lists, and keeps track of your prescriptions.  Super easy to use.  And so, far I haven’t run into any glitches.

Cartwheel – Like the grocery stores, Target has their own discount app.  Unlike the Ralphs app, Cartwheel discounts in percentages.  My biggest problem with the app is that not every product listed is in every Target store.  I’ve spent entirely too much time walking around the store looking for a product that my local Target doesn’t carry.  You also have to be careful of the fine print on this app.  I’ve bought the wrong size of a product more than once as the correct sizing was in the fine print of the coupon.  The great thing about the Cartwheel app is that it lets you scan barcodes in the store to search for discounts.  That’s my favorite!  It does have slow loading issues if you don’t have great service (does any Target have good service?).  Have the cashier scan the in-app barcode to add your discount to the final total.

ibotta – My new favorite app!  This is a rebate app.  After making a purchase from a specific store, simply scan the barcode of the item you purchased, take a picture of the receipt, and send it off.  Once you’ve reached $10 in rebates, you can redeem for cash through Paypal or giftcards from online retailers like Amazon.  Unlock rebates by reading facts, watching videos or learning new recipes.  There’s also this great teamwork aspect and cool badges you can receive to get even more money added to your profile.  The only drawback is that it takes up a lot of running memory (my phone even gave me a warning when downloading).  I still love it though.
You can join my team by clicking HERE.

The Coupon App – Not my favorite app, but it does have a lot of random coupons pulled from the net (yes, I just said net) that can be useful from time to time.  In the few months I’ve had it, I think I’ve used two.

Shopkick – The app that gets you money for really doing nothing!  You can get kick points on this app for walking into a store, scanning products or making purchases.  Each store is different.  Some offer all three, some a combination, and some just one.  The app does have coupons on occasion and will let you know if a store is running a discount or promotion.  Once you reach a certain number of kick points, you can turn them in for giftcards to retailers.  Easy peasy.  The biggest problem I have with this app is that not all of the walk-ins get tracked correctly.  The app seems to have a problem updating its GPS location.
Join Shopkick now by clicking HERE.

Those are my favorite coupon apps.  I use most of them every time I go shopping.  What are some of your favorite money saving apps?

Postpartum Depression: You’re Not Alone

Your beautiful baby is 2 months old.  They’re sleeping through the night, eating like a champ, and the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.  But you’re still sad, anxious and feel so overwhelmed.  Your hormones have taken hold of your body, and they don’t intend to let go….

You’re not alone!

The National Institute of Health reports that one in eight women suffers from postpartum depression.  So, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I am very fortunate that I only had the baby blues (goes away after about 2 weeks postpartum), and only with my third child.  But I have seen friends suffer through it; breaking my heart for them each time.  Every one of them felt the same way: alone.  But the reality is that postpartum depression is pretty common, so don’t be ashamed to reach out to friends and family (and especially your doctor) if you notice any of the following:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless nearly every day.
  • Losing interest in or not getting pleasure from most daily activities, and feeling this way nearly every day.
  • Sleep too much or not enough. You may also have trouble sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
  • Feel restless and not be able to sit still, or you may sit quietly and feel that moving takes great effort. Others can easily see this behavior.
  • Feel unusually tired or as if you have no energy.
  • Feel unworthy or guilty. You may have low self-esteem and worry that people don’t like you.
  • Find it hard to focus, remember things, or make decisions. You may feel anxious or worried about things.

You should call your doctor immediately if you are thinking about harming yourself or someone else.  There are antidepressants that can be prescribed.  Even for nursing moms!  If you’re a little more crunchy, like me, there are things you can do in anticipation to help prevent the onset (which can happen anytime in the first postpartum year).

After my third child, I opted to encapsulate my placenta and take daily doses…  Sounds much better than saying I ate it.  This helps regulate your body hormonally and thus helps out with those pesky blue thoughts.  Make sure you’re eating well and getting enough sleep.  Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help.  Meditate and exercise everyday.  Get outside.  Go for a walk.  Talk to people.  And laugh!  Laughter can cure just about anything.

Most importantly, never forget, you’re not alone!

Event: Sherman Oaks Tuesday Farmer’s Market

The Hollywood Farmer’s Market is great….Once you find parking, maneuver through the crowd, and finally find what you’re looking for.  Two hours later, you’re certainly ready to leave.  With three kids and a hubby who doesn’t tell you when he wants to stop to look at something (who can relate?), this is only an option once or twice a year.

So what’s a good alternative?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  The Tuesday Sherman Oaks Farmer’s Market at Westfield Fashion Square; a California Certified Farmers’ Markets.

I discovered this gem about a year ago.  Yeah, it’s small, and doesn’t include any bouncers, artists or musicians.  But, it has everything one needs from a true farmer’s market: locally grown produce.  Plus, parking is easy, and you can actually get to a vendor without having to take b!tch down!

The vendors do change a bit week to week, but for the most part, you can expect to find the same folks there every Tuesday selling the freshest produce in the Valley.  I always get a bushel of kale, apples and of course Brothers Hummus!  There’s also amazing breads and pastries, as well as vegan/gluten free cookies and brownies available.  And, if you want to treat yourself, there is both a grass fed meat guy and local seafood stand!  I’ve tried both.  And both were delicious!

If you’re in Sherman Oaks on a Tuesday afternoon, I highly recommend you stop by this market.  It can be found in the Westfield Fashion Square parking area; right near 9021Pho (another fave).  The market opens at 3pm and runs until roughly 8pm.  For more information, visit their Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Sherman Oaks Tuesday Farmers' Market

Rollerblades are Cool Again

My kids got a bunch of cash this past Christmas.  I thought for sure they’d want to spend it on video games or Kindle apps.  But, they surprised everyone when they asked if they could purchase rollerblades, pads and helmets!  I know, right?  My kids actually wanted to play outside.  I…was…shocked…

Last week, I decided to take them to the local skate park.  You know, so they could learn all those cool tricks I used to watch all the hot guys do when I was in high school and rollerblades were cool.

We arrived around 4pm.  The park wasn’t too crowded, but there was a nice amount of high school aged kids already there (no surprise there).  There was one kid Brody’s age, but Layla was pretty much on her own.  She was out in the park for 5 minutes when she went down a small incline and landed on her right elbow.  She was out for the duration of the day.

Brody, on the other hand, took a hard spill within the first five minutes, shook it off, and went about skating.  He watched the older kids as they grinned the rails and jumped in the air while holding the bottom of their skates.  I could tell Brody was mesmerized.

He asked me to come out and take some photos of him attempting to act like the older kids.  I maneuvered my way through smelly teenagers and up on top of a ramp where I could get a good shot.  Brody readied himself at the top and down he went!  Flawless.  As he approached the next ramp, he lost his footing and fell right on his tailbone and back.

Screaming in pain, he said he was done.  The older kids cheered him on as they had all become quite impressed by his skills.  But, he’d gotten up the first time he fell; this was just too much.  He was ready to go home.

The moral of the story?  Rollerblading is a thing again.  Oh, and if you fall, you should probably get back up.

Brody on His Blades

CicLaVia. AKA, “ouch!”

15 miles.  That’s how far I rode on Prudence today.  Prudence is my super cool bike that my amazingly amazing amazeballs husband (yes, you can use that many forms of amaze in one string) got me for Christmas.  Prudence is amazing too.

Prudence came disassembled, but determined to bike CicLAVia – The Valley, I spent hours yesterday assembling her.  My hands and back were none too happy about this decision.  But I was glad to finally have Prudence together in her gloriously cute state!

So, “what is this CicLAVia, and why did you have to rush to get the bike assembled” you ask…..

CicLAVia is a “car-free” Los Angeles event that promotes biking, walking, roller blading, scootering (is that a word).  Basically anything that isn’t a motor vehicle.  Los Angeles isn’t exactly non-motor friendly, and these events create awareness; encouraging the good folk of LA County to get out and get active and healthy.  And maybe petition for a bike lane while you’re at it.  I’m down with that.

I found out about the event from a former co-worker and bike enthusiast back when they did the first one in 2012.  Now, a few years later, and with a bike of my own, I thought I would check it out.  It was really cool to see all the families out with their kids, some of the tripped out bikes, and all of the restaurants benefiting from CicLAvia.  My hot date (and fellow mom) and I decided to stop at Du-par’s in Studio City.  We just had to have one of their infamous, melt in your mouth cinnamon roles.  I mean come one.  After biking 12 miles at that point, we owed it to ourselves.  We got the last one!

For me, CicLAvia was a success.  I look forward to the next one and will definitely be towing my kids along with me.  I don’t however look forward to tomorrow.  As of tonight, I can barely walk, my butt feels bruised, and my bed is calling my name!  For now, to make us all feel better, I’ll leave you with the following: Two of the coolest moms you’ll ever meet!

Micha & Devon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script – It’s the day after, and I would just like to say OUCH!  CicLAvia kicked my a$$.  Literally.  I mean my butt is bruised!  Time to get a cushion for my bike seat….