How I Ended Up Driving Home in My Bra

FullSizeRenderIt all started innocently enough. I was strolling through The Home Depot with my 17 month old son, Derek and my 4 year old, Amber. We had just adopted Derek and I was still trying to adjust to being his new Mommy.

Derek had pooped so much that it was defying gravity, coming out the top of his diaper as he sat in the cart. As we approached our mini van, I told Amber to wait outside the van until I had changed Derek’s diaper so she didn’t smell it and gag.

Amber was going through a phase that if she smelled even her own poop in the toilet she would throw up all over herself!

I laid Derek down on the floor mat and began wiping the thick sludge off his little bum. It was at that moment that Amber popped up her head (she was hiding in the back seat instead of waiting outside as instructed.) She got one whiff of the dirty diaper and started gagging. I yelled at her to “get out of the van!!” She tried but began throwing up all over herself in the process.

Knowing I would be mad, Amber came around to my side of the van crying and covered in puke to tell me how sorry she was. Her crying got worse as she discovered it was in her hair and then she started to pee! I looked away from helping Derek to see her standing with legs spread apart as the urine ran down her legs and made a large puddle in the parking lot.

I went to Amber to console her, get her to stop crying and to help her strip off her pants that were wet when Derek, who I left in a new diaper still laying on the floor mat, rolled out of the van and fell into Amber’s puddle of pee.

My poor baby! Picking him up, I looked at both of my gross looking children and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I didn’t have anything with me to clean up Amber or to cover the car seat where she would sit and I didn’t dare go back into Home Depot at this point, so I took off my shirt and wiped her as clean as I could with it.

I drove home in my bra and after giving both kiddos a good bath and getting them down for nap time, I went and scrubbed the back seat of my mini van for the next hour. NOT the day I had planned.

I hope to this day the surveillance camera in their parking lot did not record all of that!

The Pile of Shame

20151021_231444Last year, when we moved from a one-story to a two-story house, I was worried about the stairs. Cause I’m lazy. That and I have pooper-knees. So I decided to get a cute basket to keep on the landing to throw things from downstairs that need to be put away upstairs. Smart, right? Well it would be for someone who fully intends on emptying it every couple days.

Mine tends to get filled with lots of shoes, pajamas and clothes. This happens because remember, I’m lazy? Apparently I’m raising lazy kids too because it’s just easier for me to get their clothes from upstairs and come downstairs to get everyone dressed. I also keep hairbrushes, hairspray, elastics and bows downstairs in my kitchen junk drawer for the same reason.  Yes, I do my daughters’ hair at the breakfast bar. Don’t judge.

So because this basket fills up fast and doesn’t get emptied as often as it should, it’s now become known as “The Basket of Shame.”  Don’t know where your flip flops are? Check the basket of shame! Haven’t seen your iPod in a week? Basket of shame!

Last week the basket of shame morphed into something truly disgraceful.  It was a busy week and the basket went un-emptied and un-emptied until it became the unprecedented PILE OF SHAME! As always, I share in hopes that someone can relate and will be relieved in knowing it’s not just you! Please tell me it’s not just me!

Mourning the End of the “Baby Stage”

12010775_10206353885059406_5966553687864573812_oFor more than seven years my life has been full of babies or toddlers and everything that comes with them: diapers, bottles, temper tantrums, more diapers, more temper tantrums, more diapers… you get the picture.

That’s all changing. (At least the diaper part. I’m sure the temper tantrums will stick around). My baby is about to turn 4. It’s a day the hubs and I have been waiting for. No more babies or toddlers means a new kind of freedom for our family! I should be ecstatic! I’ve basically been waiting for this day since my boys were born. Want to know I secret? I’m a little sad. I’m realizing that every new step, every new milestone they make, means they’re taking one more step farther away from me. They are becoming more independent. Each day they need me a little bit less. Even though there is a part of me that is thrilled by that, it breaks my heart a little.

When my 7 year old, Ben, was born, I was fully entrenched in a television news career. I’d met my goal of anchoring in a major market. I’d spent more than a decade focusing on building a career, and my goal was to keep working and fit this new baby into my life. Well, that didn’t happen.

I did keep working, but I changed professions, because after baby #2, I needed a job that would allow me to be a mom first. Over the past almost seven years my life has morphed into something I didn’t expect. I became a mother. Every decision I make about my life always comes back to that: I am a mom.

I am also a friend, a wife, a sister, and a citizen. I’m also outgoing, opinionated, and I think, kind of funny, but at the end of the day I am forever a mother. I didn’t expect this role to define me the way it has, but it has, and I’m still learning to embrace it.

Now that these two little people don’t need me as much, I have to admit, it’s tilting my axis a bit. They’ve become my true north, my compass, if you will, and things are changing, and I’m sad. My life has become consumed in so many ways by them, by their needs, their wants, and let’s be honest: my main goal has been to keep them alive and healthy. So far so good.

I am in a bit of mourning right now. I look at Ben and I can barely remember him as a baby. It’s only been 7 years, but I have a hard time remembering that first year of motherhood and all the insecurity and anxiety and fear I had in this new role. Now I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I’ve managed to get two kids through babyhood and toddlerhood fairly unscathed (talk to their therapists in 20 years, and they might tell you differently). So I feel good about where I’m at as a mother.

I’m getting ready to go down a new path, an uncharted path of motherhood. I’m entering into the school age phase of motherhood, and I’m scared. I don’t know this world. I don’t know how to mother in this arena.

I’m missing my babies, even the diapers. I don’t know if I’m ready for this next phase of life. I think I know why: the last seven years have gone so quickly I can’t believe they’re ending. I know I’m going to blink, and the next seven years will have gone by, and these two babies of mine will be on the cusp of leaving my home and spreading their wings and flying away. I’m not ready for THAT phase! So for now, I’ll figure out this new phase of motherhood and hopefully I won’t be too much of a hot mess… but the odds aren’t good.

 

Weird Vintage Pics That Make Me Feel Like An Awesome Mom

TurkeyLet’s face it, most days I feel like I’m just keeping my nose above water. My kids have too much screen time and not enough veggies. I have too few showers and too much sugar. But some of these old pictures I found on the internet make me say, “At least I’m not THAT bad!”

Here are a few things I have never done:

Let my kids smoke: So many vintage pics of kids smoking! What the Marlboro Kid? Naturally the one with the chicken is my favorite.

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Had a “Mother-Daughter Weekly Weigh-In.”

“See honey? Not eating that cupcake really paid off!”

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Thrown away the “ugly one.”

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Posed my kids with the creepy Easter Bunny.

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They. Are. Terrified. Is that the Easter Wolf?
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You’re surrounded. Resistance is futile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put my kids up for sale….not that I haven’t thought about it.

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Covered more than my big hips and belly for a picture:

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Made my daughter look “sexy.”

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Done my daughter’s hair while wearing matching bra and panties.

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“Someday you’ll be as developed and womanly as me… Oh wait.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let my child drink Soda:

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Despicable!
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Deporable!
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What? How did my son’s picture get on here!?

 

 

 

 

I Went 34 Days Without a Smart Phone. Could You?

20151014_134407-001I was one of the last hold-outs when it came to getting a smart phone. It was the winter of 2014 and I was getting along just fine with my “talk and text” phone. Sure, I could see the benefits of mobile coupons and instant Facebooking but I could also see several of my friends zoned out, unable to carry on a conversation with me because they were constantly glancing at their phone. “Not me!” I thought. I won’t be controlled by that tiny computer! Six months later I noticed even my 13-year-old babysitters all had smart phones and I caved. Just like that.

Fast forward a year and I hang my head in shame as I admit, “My name is Brooke and I’m a smart phone addict.” And I’m not alone. 81% of people with smart phones keep them nearby almost constantly and check them several times an hour. Sound familiar?

So after a year of smart phone addiction I decided to go cold-turkey 30 days without a smart phone. I literally had my husband lock my smart phone away and I switched my service back to my old dinosaur phone. Here are some things I learned:

– I can, indeed go to the bathroom without my phone. You laugh, but admit it. You know you might be a few minutes in there and have to find your phone before you go to do your business.

-I can also fall asleep and watch TV without my smart phone. I’ll admit, the first few nights it felt really odd getting under the covers and turning off the lights without my nightly smart phone check. Most nights, that quick check turned into at least 30 minutes of precious sleep time wasted. And what’s up with checking the phone while watching TV? When’s the last time you JUST watched TV without another screen in your hand?

– I feel happier during the day when I check Facebook less often. I went from knowing what my neighbor ate for lunch to not even knowing when my husband’s 2nd cousin (who I’ve never met) had a baby. And I was fine with this lack of knowledge! It was nice not knowing all the adventures my friends were taking their kids on while I was at home doing laundry.

-My kids are capable of riding in the car without a screen. It was always a fight who got to play on my phone while we drove across town. After a week of whining about missing MY phone, my kids finally got used to looking out the window and playing 20 Questions.

But, my friends, it wasn’t all rosy. I missed that thing like crazy at first! Withdrawals maybe? I wasn’t balled up in the fetal position on my couch but my hand still continued to reach for a smart phone that wasn’t there and I continued to check my screen even though there was nothing there beyond an occasional text message.

Also, being part of a group text message was excruciating! How was I supposed to have riveting group text discussions about the Bromance on the Bachelorette without my group text option!? I didn’t know who was responding to what and figuring it all out was like putting a big, frustrating puzzle together.

The worst part is that I went from being constantly available to never knowing where my phone was. Since I was no longer attached to my smart phone, I didn’t really care where my dumb phone was all the time. I’d go an entire afternoon with my phone in my car without even realizing it.

I re-activated my smart phone yesterday after 34 days (because I lost my Flintstones Phone on a road trip) and I’m determined not to pick up where I left off. If you want to break a smart phone addiction without de-activating for 30 days here’s my advice.

#1 Delete Facebook off your phone. (Or Instagram or Pinterest…whatever your crack may be.) When you want to check in, sit down at a computer and give yourself a time limit. Also, get a Wi-Fi capable camera so you can instantly upload pictures to Facebook and Instagram without your phone.

#2 Make screen time more purposeful. If you’re like me, you’d go to check a text standing at your kitchen cabinet and find yourself still browsing 20 minutes later. All moms need little breaks during the day and a smart phone can be great for that, but plan when you will sit down with it and for how long. And stick to it.

#3 Go to bed and watch TV without your smart phone. And should I even have to mention dinnertime with the family? Be present where you are and spend time with those around you. Heck, even use the actual “phone” feature on your phone and call your college roommate.

 

Teaching Moment FAIL

epic_failMy biggest teaching moment failure as a mother happened one morning at Target. I took my four-year-old daughter, Amber, with me to check out a sale. I found so many good deals that I shopped longer than I should have and found myself rushing to check out and load all my finds into the back of our mini van. I had to meet Sarah off the Kindergarten bus by noon and I couldn’t be late again!

As I went to Lift Amber out of the front seat in the shopping cart I discovered she had hidden a small stuffed animal under her coat that she was begging for earlier and I had told her “NO.”

I couldn’t believe it!  We had stolen goods!!

I knew the right thing to do was to return it.  I should make my daughter go to customer service and tell them what she had done so she could learn a valuable lesson. There just wasn’t time if I was going to make it to the bus stop.  So, I hastily explained to my crying daughter why she couldn’t keep the stuffed animal and I drove up as close to the automatic double doors as I could get in my mini van. I rolled down the window and chucked the stuffed animal toy as hard as I could.

Much to my joy, it bounced twice and rolled on in through the open doors.
YES! It had made it back into the store and that was just going to have to be good enough for today. I peeled away as fast as I could, hoping no one saw me, and happily made it to the bus stop on time.

Let’s Just Face It: We All Suck

no-more-supermomIs this too bold? We all suck as moms! Do you know how I know this? Because I feel like I am hanging onto life by only my pinky fingernail most of the time.

I look around and see all these women who dress beautifully, have gorgeous hair and perfect makeup, toting around their three toddlers all dressed in Gymboree and Baby Gap. And then there are the impecable mature ladies whose children are all grown up and they are still making five course dinners for their husbands every night and their baseboards are perfectly dusted.

A few years ago, one of those moms who I had always viewed as “having it all together” looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you do it! You just seem to have it all together!” What in the what???? I live my life so I know first hand that the last thing I have is “it all together!”

I am 97% convinced that 93.4% of what we do as mothers is to help alleviate our mom guilt! We somehow think if we can do one thing really awesome that other moms will see, it makes up for every other sucky thing we do to mess up our children’s lives.

I have three school age children and I teach 3rd grade. I have spent years trying to trick my children into not realizing I work. If they believe that, I have some ocean front property in Wyoming to sell them. I overdo everything trying to keep up the appearance that I am supermom. And if you believe that I’m a supermom, I have even more ocean front property just for you.

Case in point… Last year, my daughter had a role in her high school musical.  Apparently, there is some kind of tradition at her school that parents provide meals for students in the musical during the two weeks before the show so they can stay longer to rehearse. One of the moms, who must have a lot of time on her hands, organized all the meals and called all the other moms to ask them to bring food. Because my daughter was a freshman, I was new to this tradition. I was asked to bring cookies for their dinner one night.

“Can I bring cookies on November 12? Sure! I’d love to!”

“Four dozen? Absolutely! No problem!”

That’s what I said out loud. What I didn’t say, but that was going through my head was, “Dammit! I just volunteered to bring four dozen cookies to rehearsal on the second night of parent/teacher conferences! How do I get myself into these things?”

I’ll tell you how. Because I would rather stay up ’til midnight making homemade cookies and then scheduling my conferences around delivering homemade cookies to the high school than to admit that I am not supermom and I can’t do it all!

So the time came. I had a choice. I could buy a couple packages of Oreos and admit that I am no supermom. Or I could come home from night one of parent/teacher conferences and stay up ’til midnight to make my seriously killer homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’m not above bragging… if I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be a famous chocolate chip cookie baker. Was there really a choice here? Oreos are for wimps! Killer chocolate chip cookies are for my kids!

The next day, I went over to the high school with a full platter of four dozen of the most beautiful, best-tasting chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever seen! My conferences had gone a little longer than I’d planned, so I was about 20 mintues late delivering my cookies. I pictured kids swarming me when they saw the offering I’d so lovingly (and let’s face it…vainly) created. I envisioned teenage eyes rolling in the backs of their heads when they tasted the best chocolate chip cookies they had ever been priveleged to eat.

As I walked into the choir room where dinner was being held, I saw it… a table chock full of cookies, some homemade, most not. Packages upon packages of Oreos all empty! I realized that teenagers can snarf down a meal in 6 minutes and 30 seconds flat, and my being twenty minutes late meant that I got there 13 mintues and 30 seconds after everyone had finished. My heart sank as I realized that probably no one was going to eat my perfect ratio of chocolate chips to dough. I also discovered that if given a choice between the world’s best chocolate chip cookie and an Oreo, a teenager will choose an Oreo 8 times out of 10. I placed my platter on the table, found my daughter and asked her to bring home the empty tray home when rehearsal was over, and went back to finish my conferences.

Three hours later when my daughter came home, she was carrying a tray full of 3 ½ dozen chocolate chip cookies. I may or may not have eaten two dozen cookies all by myself that night. Don’t judge. I’d just been through two days of parent/teacher conferences which is pretty much a teacher’s semi-annual exhaustion, and I’d spent hours the night before making a product that can’t even compete with the Oreo… damnit! Now I want Oreos!!!

THAT Conversation With My Son Took an Unexpected Twist

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I had THAT conversation with my 7-year-old the other day. You know the one… how do babies get out of their mommies?

Our drive home always takes us past the hospital my youngest son was born at, and some days we shout out, “There’s Joey’s hospital!”

That’s exactly what we did the other day, and then everything changed when Ben, my 7-year-old, said, “Mommy can babies be born any place besides a hospital?”

Innocent enough question… so I thought.

Here’s what happened next:

Me:” Yes, babies can pretty much be born anywhere, they don’t have to be born at a hospital.”

Ben:” But then how do they get out of their mommies tummies, since they have to be cut out.”

(Point of clarity: I had two c-sections, so my boys have always seen my scar and they know that’s how they got out of mommy’s tummy. Apparently Ben assumed, innocently enough, ALL babies get out that way.)

Me: “Not all babies have to but cut out of their mommies.”

 Ben: “They don’t?? Then how do they get out of their mommies?”

Oh God. I started sweating at that question. I wasn’t expecting that zinger. So, do I tell the truth or go down the path of least resistance? Yeah… I decided to tell the truth.

Me: “They come out of their mommy’s vaginas.”

 Ben: “They do?!?” This was said with a look of horror on his face. “What do they look like?!?” Again, the kid looked like he was about to faint.

 Me: “The babies or the vaginas?” (I was hoping he’d say babies.)

 Ben: “The babies.” (Oh thank God he said babies!!!)

 Me: “They look like all other babies who come out of their mommies tummies.”

 Ben: “Aren’t they covered in poop?”

 Me: “No. They come out of the vagina, not their mom’s bottom.”

 Ben: “Well, they’re connected, so wouldn’t they have poop on them?”

 Me: “Ben, vaginas and bottoms are not connected.”

 Ben: “Uh, yes, they are. “

 Me: “You have a penis and a bottom, and they’re not connected. Neither are vaginas and bottoms.”

 Ben: “So babies don’t come out of vaginas covered in poop?”

 Me: “No, honey, they don’t.”

Joey (3 years old): “Why we keep talking about ba-ginas?!”

Yeah, good question.

I had no idea when Ben asked his innocent question it would turn into an anatomy lesson.

I’m sure some of you might think I took the conversation too far, or that I didn’t need to be so detailed in my descriptions, but I want my kids to have the right age appropriate information, and I want to be the person to educate them.

So, this was NOT the conversation I expected to have with my 7-year-old, and let me tell you I was sweating bullets when we were having it.  I really wanted to tell him that other babies come from storks, but I just knew that wouldn’t fly (no pun intended) with Ben.

Hence, the honest conversation about where babies come from.

The conversation wrapped up like this:

Me: “Ben, are you glad you had to be cut out of mommy?”

Ben: “YES!!!”

I bet.

It’s Monday!

 I would usually dread Monday morning, but I have a confession I’m ecstatic! The kids have been sick on and off for about a week and I can’t wait for them to go back to school so I can have some peace and quiet! (Thank you first week of school for sharing your germs with my children and ruining my glorious 1st week free of children!) However today is the start of a new week and everyone is healthy enough to go back to school! So I will enjoy the quiet while I can and maybe even enjoy doing the loads of laundry that have piled up from sick kids! Oh! Did I mention I’m loosing it! It’s Tuesday ladies…. I just realized I have lost a day. – Nicole Cook, Idaho Falls, ID

Confession: I Didn’t Love My Baby Right Away

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An embarrassingly honest picture.

It was the night I, and the entire city of Boise, had been waiting for. Just for different reasons. Boise State was playing Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in what would become known as one of the greatest college bowl games of all time.

By the 4th quarter I was sure those stomach pains weren’t from the bean dip. I was in labor with my first baby. By the time we got to the hospital I was beyond ready for my epidural. Unfortunately for me, the nurse informed me I had to wait an hour to see if I was progressing before she could admit me.

I wanted to grab her by her lanyard, pull her right up into my face and tell her, “If I’m not in labor, I’m DYING. There’s no way I’m going home tonight!”

Three hours later I was dilated to an eight and only then did I finally get that blessed needle in my back sent straight from the Gods of childbirth. I thought I was home-free! In the final stretch! Almost there! Then, it all came to a screeching halt.

After 17 hours of labor, a failed epidural and a baby that refused to come out straight I started pushing…and pushing…and pushing. I pushed for three hours and the nurse hadn’t even called the doctor yet to say I was getting close.

Until I puked.

That little bundle of joy decided the pressure of me throwing up was all she needed to make her way out- without the doctor’s help.

It was finally over! I didn’t care that I would need a million stitches following the 9lb 2 oz baby. I was ready to hold my precious love! She was placed in my arms, I looked down at her and… nothing. No swell of love, pride and joy. In fact, I distinctly remember my first thought was, “I hope that’s not really what her nose is going to look like.”

From there the next 24 hours were a blur. I said all the right things. “Isn’t she beautiful?” “I love her so much!” “I want to hold her all the time!”

What I was really thinking was “What is wrong with me?” “Why did everyone lie to me about what this feels like?” “I’m going to be a terrible mom!” “I’m so tired- take her away so I can sleep!”

I didn’t hate my baby. I didn’t even dislike my baby. She just didn’t feel like my baby. And no one had prepared me for this lack of feeling.

The love and bonding didn’t hit all at once but somewhere around day four I remember crying on the couch because the love I felt for her was so overwhelming. I instantly wanted to have 12 more babies just to capture this feeling. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do to protect her.

I did love and bond with my baby, just not right away.

In retrospect, I had just been through 20 hours of labor, pushed for three hours and puked out my baby. I had so many stitches I couldn’t sit up straight for 10 days and my nipples were bleeding from all the nursing! I think I was just too exhausted and traumatized by the birth process to feel anything.

While it only took a few days for the strong bond to develop I’ve since learned that not bonding immediately isn’t uncommon. It’s just one of those things we don’t go around announcing to mother’s-to-be.

“Just so you know, I totally didn’t love my baby right away. So don’t be alarmed if you don’t either.”

But it is something we should talk about! One internet poll of new moms reports 69% experienced “love at first sight” with their newborn, while 31% did not.

If I had known I wasn’t a freak of nature I wouldn’t have been in such a panic. Worrying about my feelings probably inhibited my bonding even further. If I had known it was normal, I would have given myself a break and allowed the bonding to happen.

And FYI baby #2 and baby #3 were completely different experiences. After smooth labors I did experience baby “love at first sight.”

 

 

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Another honest picture. There are really no good pictures of me until two days later.
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