Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mom's Group V.1

(Forever making silly sounds and faces.)

Okay, so here it goes. As I mentioned, my purpose on PH&C is shifting. I want to provide meaningful posts and build more of a community, amongst all the cute photos of my kid and stories about us. As much as I love browsing other blogs with style posts and crafts so gorgeous they make you curse yourself, I feel like it's time to get real. I'm talking to you, with your perfectly stylized photos and very clean child in an all white outfit. (Why do they even sell white clothes for toddlers? I'll never understand.) I'm not saying we need to air our dirty laundry. But, truthfully, we need each other. We need to know more about each other than our favorite pair of tights or what we ate for lunch. I say this because truthfully, parenting is difficult. (Shocker, I know.) And when I've already witnessed a toddler meltdown, cleaned up pee off the floor, and it's only 9 am, I need to know that you understand. Are you with me? 

So, I'm asking my favorite ladies to speak up. Share our challenges. We can all virtually hold each other's hands and eat ice cream out of the carton together. (Also wine, there must always be wine.)

I'm asking every one participating to feel free to be as open or discreet as they like. As this is an exercise in authenticity, I am encouraging all to share as much as they feel comfortable putting out there. Some of these questions are pretty loaded and broad so answer as you wish. I think that if other mom's can join us in our challenges and successes, we feel like we are in this whole crazy parenting thing together.

Without further ado, here are my own answers and the very first installment of Mom's Group. 

My name is Karolina. My son is Phoenix and he is about 14 months old. We (along with my husband) live in Brooklyn, NYC.

1. How has being a mother inspired you?

I used to hear other parents saying how much having children inspired them to be better people and always found that so obnoxious. I felt like it was so strange to let that be the catalyst for wanting to be "good." But I find it to be so true. While I haven't had an actual moment when I thought, "Gee, I really want to be a better person for P." I found myself evolving. And what does "good" mean, really? I guess for me, I feel more inspired to live my personal definition of a good person, daughter, friend, wife, and mother. I am inspired to show him the beauty of the everyday and how incredible his life is. But I digress. 

I feel inspired to be a complete person, in spite of such a huge part of me being mom all day, every day. I want my child to know me as not only his mama, but as a woman who had a wholly fulfilling life, in addition to the fulfillment of motherhood. 

2. What is the greatest challenge of having a child?

Okay, this question is huge. I could say that the greatest challenges for me have been:

- the change in social life. I never thought being surrounded by 8 million people would be so lonely. While I have a group of mom friends that i see quite a bit and a few in particular that have become good friends, I still feel like I know all the baristas at my local coffee shops all too well. Most days, I am desperate for adult interaction. I know what you're thinking, why don't I go out with my friends? Why don't Scott and I go out to dinner? Up until recently, it was really difficult to leave Phoenix. He is so attached to me that it takes Scott forever to calm him down at night. My mom has babysat before and I've gone out a few times but we never felt comfortable leaving him for a sitter for the majority of his first year. These days his nights are much better and he is not nursing as much, which makes a huge difference.

-identity. I didn't think that this would bother me as much as it does now. Before P was born, I had a career as a personal chef, that I loved. I made my own money and got to be creative every day. It was very fulfilling. I knew that I wanted to give that up to become a mom. And for the majority of the last year it hadn't bothered me. Now that a lot of my mom friends have returned to work and have picked up right where they left off I am feeling confused. When I was pregnant, I didn't think I would miss working at all. And in those early months I couldn't even imagine how that would work. But now I feel really annoyed when I see old friends (usually child less) whom ask me what else I am doing besides being with P full time. Huh? I don't want to get all passive aggressive about this, and while I do have other projects going on, that question is infuriating. 

3. Is motherhood how you imagined it would be when you were pregnant?

Yes and no. I knew it would be a heart breaking kind of love. I knew I would fall in love with P over and over again day after day. I knew that in one day I would be capable of being over the moon with happiness and frustrated with feeling alone. That's the person I am. But I didn't know how physical it would all be. I wasn't prepared for such an energetic-all-the-time little creature. I didn't know I would be jealous of my husband for going to a work event. But, for the most part, it is even better than I imagined it would be. My days are so full of love, laughter, and learning. I have learned a lot about the person I am and the woman I want to be. It's true that our children really do force us to slow down and appreciate little things. I appreciate that.

4. How has your marriage been affected since becoming a parent?

Well, in many ways we have become closer than ever. We have argued more this past year than in all the years we have been together. I don't think there's any way around that. But with the arguing and talking comes learning and growing. (So cheesy, I know.) But it's true. When we married, I felt like we really became a team. But now that we have this little person in our lives we are truly a family. And that puts a lot of pressure on us, I think. Scott works all day to support us, while I work all day being with P. By the end of the day we are wiped out. I know that is nothing new for most every family but you don't really understand the exhaustion until you are in that place. While it's nice to have even a bit of alone time together in the evenings, it's useless if it's only spent watching tv on the computer. We try to be more intentional with how we spend our one-on-one time these days. It's much better that way. I could go on and on about marriage and parenting. I guess that's why there are whole books about it...

5. How tidy is your home? (Come on! We all want to know!)

Depends on the day, or hour, really. We try to put our toys and books away after we are done playing with them but it doesn't always happen. I try to clean during nap times but sometimes I just need to sit down and work/eat/decompress so sometimes I need an extra day. Once in a while my mom comes for the day, which means I get to do exciting things like wipe down the base boards. Thrilling. While housework isn't what really drives me, it does give me a strange sense of control in this crazy season in my life. I was never a really messy person but these days I feel like if the house is in mostly decent shape and the dishes are put away, I've accomplished something. I'm constantly trying to get rid of "stuff" that we don't need or use as well. 

*BONUS* One line of your best advice for anyone expecting/new parents:

Treat your kid like an individual. Every baby/child is unique and what your book says or what your friend's kid did may not apply to your child. If you try something that is "supposed" to work and it doesn't, maybe there's a reason. Really get to know your child's needs and you'll see that maybe the reason they are/ are not doing _____ is because they are not ready or a host of other reasons. Think about that when you are getting frustrated in the middle of the night with a screaming baby. Try something else or just listen to your heart. You'll know what feels right.

So there you have it. Phew. That feels good. Fell free to post your thoughts and answer along in the comments. If you would like to be apart of this project, please email me. I've got some incredible mom's coming up with thoughtful answers.


  1. love this! Can't wait to see others responses!

  2. Excellent idea! I'd love to be a part! Emailing now.

  3. i LOVE this. its all so true and its so good to read something that sounds so familiar. this is my life, entirely. sounds like you're a wonderful mother. it truly is the most important job we'll ever have. xo