From Bejiggly to Bellefit (GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!)

During pregnancy, you spend 9 months (or an eternity if you are April the giraffe) watching your body expand in ways you didn’t think possible.

With both of my pregnancies I pretty much peed on a stick and as soon as the tests were positive, I had offensively huge boobs, my waist was gone, and the “birthing hips” emerged.

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Approximately 7 months

I’m also petite, ringing in at a whopping 5 foot 1, so there’s only so much real estate on my body. I tend to show later – like after 18/20 weeks, but once that happens I basically can’t breathe because my stomach is up to my throat.

With my first pregnancy, eight plus years ago, I gained a total of 25 pounds and hung on to the last 8-10 pounds for about a year. I blame it on living in Boston at the time and needing insulation from the cold. I knew nothing of post-partum girdles and corsets back then. Nothing.

My most recent pregnancy was MUCH different. First of all, I was 39 and I honestly feared how my “advanced maternal age” would affect weight gain and weight loss. Plus, at 32 weeks I got thrown for a loop when I was put on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy because of some spotting. Up until that point, I clocked an hour on the treadmill (just walking) every. damn. day…trying to maintain an active lifestyle.

Still, with life as a mom, running a very energetic 8-yr-old from school, to dance, to playdates, etc., coupled with a two hospital visits, a first trimester of dry heaving and puking, and a dash of someone looking down on me saying, “she’s been through the ringer…let’s throw her a bone”, I only managed to gain a total of 18 pounds and still birthed a healthy, 8-pound, baby girl.

9 months

I had the balls to allow a film crew in my house to film something for our alma mater (Go Gators) at nine months preggo, even though it’s a known thing that the camera adds 10 pounds.

All of that being said, I turned 40 just two weeks after delivering, and that was looming in the back of my head. EVERYTHING is harder when you’re older, including losing baby weight. Thankfully, you lose a significant amount on the table, which provides a nice running start. But then this thing happens to your body. In minutes you go from having a hard round belly filled with a baby, to an empty one that is so bejiggly (don’t fake the funk, mamas), that you don’t even know what to do with it. And it happens no matter how much weight you’ve gained. It can be a confidence killer.

This is where I discovered the magic of Bellefit. And it is magic, IF you use it as directed.

I received a bundle, which contained a dual-closure girdle and a corset. The website is great and walks you through exactly what size to order, but I did speak with a real person because I was cocky and thought I for sure would need a small. Pffft. Spoiler alert – I was wrong.

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With this bundle, you get two sizes so that you basically ease into wearing it and tighten it as you go along. So I started with a large girdle and worked my down to the medium corset. I had no idea how long it would take to see results, nor when I should tighten things up, so I just went with what felt right. I began wearing it the day I was discharged from the hospital (two days postpartum), from the moment I woke up to the second I went to bed. I did not sleep in it (although some people do). There’s also an accompanying free app that helps track progress. (Sidenote: My phone used to be filled with nothing but an iTunes account brimming with 90s hip-hop and multiple photo filter apps to give the appearance of Botox. Now it’s filled with apps to track baby weight loss, the last time I fed my child, and live baby monitor feeds.)

Then….when I had a photographer in my home to do a newborn shoot/family photos seven days after delivery, something happened that rocked my world. I took my favorite AG skinny jeans out of my closet and had a stare down with them. In my head, this voice was saying, “Back away from the skinny jeans…you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.” But I flicked that voice off and started one leg at a time…fast like pulling off a band aid. And…They. Effing. Fit. No shimmying, no lying on the bed, nada. They slid right on like I hadn’t skipped a beat and I wanted to cry.

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That’s when I started to do measurements. I’ve never been one to weigh myself or attach a number to anything physically, because it messes with my sanity. I much prefer to judge how I’m doing based on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. So busting out the measuring tape and scale was out of character for me, but I felt like I needed cold, hard, quantifiable evidence that this was really happening. It went something like this…

11 days pp

one month pp

2 months pp

Here are some other deets and a timeline for my experience.

2/8/17: (two days postpartum) I started wearing the dual-closure girdle on the looser hooks. You will have to lie down to get it closed at first, and it is tight. But not debilitating tight. It actually feels really good and supportive keeping you all sucked in. It feels good from a posture perspective too.

My experience was definitely faster than I anticipated. On day 4, I no longer had to lie down to get it closed. That was so motivating, I did the jig in front of my mirror.

2/18/17: Graduated to tighter hooks on dual-closure girdle without lying down!

3/6/17: (one month postpartum) This is when I measured my hips. At 39 weeks pregnant, my hips were 41 inches. At one month postpartum, wearing Bellefit, I was at 38 inches and graduated to the medium corset on the looser hooks. And hips don’t lie…ask Shakira.

3/25/17: Graduated to tighter hooks on corset and continue to wear it presently and track my progress.

Guys, even my newborn can’t believe it!

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A few more things to know.

This is NOT one of those Kardashian-esque waist trainers. It’s a legit post-partum support system made of medical grade materials.

I wear Bellefit like its my religion. It’s the first thing I put on when I wake up, after I pee holding one child with the other one yelling at me to pour her milk. I am better at sticking to my Bellefit regimen than I am at remembering if I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant before I head to the carpool line (#newmomprobs).

Speaking of peeing…In the interest of full disclosure, I am telling you now to allot time to get the hooks undone before you have to pee. Even if you are the queen of kegels, sometimes you are ready to pee before you realize it. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, mamas.

*****GIVEAWAY TIME!!!*****

Bellefit is, without question, one of my favorite things on the planet and their customer service is just as good as their products. They’re supportive and knowledgable and, such an awesome company. So awesome, as a matter of fact, that they are allowing me to give away a Bellefit bundle (1 Bellefit Corset & 1 Bellefit Dual-Closure Girdle, retail price $254!) to one lucky reader!

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To enter, head over to my Instagram (@whineandcheezits) and follow the directions on the post there. It will be the one with the picture from this post of me wearing my skinny jeans and shocked look, because I live for that picture and that moment.

You can also receive $20 off your Bellefit order, using the promo code RACHEL20. So really, everyone is a winner!! Use this link to order >> https://www.bellefit.com/a/6/

The Bellefit Bundle giveaway is open through Friday, April 14th and the winner will be announced on Instagram shortly after.

Good luck!!

Bellefit Postpartum Girdles and Corsets

How Moms Are Like Superheroes – New for HuffPo

one hand

Did you  know that as a mom, you totally hone superhero-like skills that you probably never knew you even had?!

It’s true.

Read all about it in my latest article for the Huffington Post.

CLICK HERE TO READ >> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58caaf07e4b0e0d348b340ea

 

Yo! Momma: When is sex after pregnancy OK? You ask. We answer.

If you haven’t heard about my work husbands yet (yes I have two), you are really missing the boat. I’m in a polygamist work marriage with two daddy bloggers that just get me…and I them. We have some really exciting stuff in the works but in the meantime, to keep you entertained, we’re dropping a new regular feature called, “Yo Momma”.

Yo Momma Logo

The guys will pose questions and then answer them to the best of their daddy knowledge, and then momma (that’s me) is going to swoop in and do her thing.

Please check out the first installment below and also check out their blog, DaddyMindTricks. They are the Rob to my Base and I promise you’ll love it!!

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We know a lot here at DaddyMindTricks, from health to gaming to drinking, we’ve pretty much got the whole How to the an Awesome Dad thing on lock. But even well­ schooled totally­ cultured and distinguished gentlemen cannot pretend to have all of the answers to all of the questions that this crazy world has to offer.

That’s why we’ve brought in some help from our favorite wine­ guzzling, curse ­word ­spewing, Biggie/Tupac­ listening Mommy Blogger to help sort out some of the most fucked up shit that our readers write in to ask. If you are afraid to chat to your own wife, girlfriend, partner, paramour about it, have no fear because Rachel from Whine & Cheez(Its) is here to drop some knowledge bombs on your ass.

When Rachel and DaddyMindTricks first formed a team like Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on a dope Wu­Tang joint, we pulled no punches on this whole truthiness about parenting in the 21st Century. Read all about that here: Great Expectations (in Fatherhood).

In a feature that has been long overdue, we’ve joined forces yet again. In what could be a colossal mistake, we’ve decided to open up the vault into the minds of our most passionate fans in the potential beginning of the end … or at least the beginning a regular feature that promises to be Dear Abby with much more inappropriateness and straight up real talk.

You ask. We attempt to answer. And then Rachel provides the feminine point of view that we all truly need in our lives. Welcome to … Yo! Momma.

After a few weeks of the post­ pregnancy moratorium on our sex lives, we finally have the green­light to get it on again, but my wife isn’t back on birth control yet. What kind of condoms do you recommend for “her pleasure?”

– Daniel, Missouri

Pete: Dude. Are you really even ready to go back to the scene of the crime? Hopefully you weren’t dumb enough to peek at the business end of the delivery, because we’ve warned you before about how much of a straight up murder scene it is down there. But hey, I get it, too. Men definitely have that primal urge to get back on the saddle sooner rather than later. So, if you are ready to revisit the extracurriculars in the bed and enjoy some of that sex after pregnancy fun, open up the line of communication, chat with the baby mama about her fears and concerns and take it slow. As for the condoms, let’s just go ahead and bust your bubble that no one needs the extra-large Magnum XL variety, so just stop with that pipe dream, Ron Jeremy. Instead, make sure you find one that has some extra bells and whistles for her … and even more importantly, lube. The hormones involved with pushing watermelons out of spaces the size of grapes takes a toll on that region and some additional assistance in the lubrication may be preferred. At the end of the day, though, kudos to you for thinking that you actually have the time and energy to get it on again in between the newborn diaper changes and feedings.

Rachel: First of all, slow your roll. Your wife just created a human and then either squeezed it out of an insanely small space or was gutted like a fish to take it out by force, protected only by a barely opaque surgical “curtain” all while wearing an ugly shower cap, no makeup and having a million hands up in her business. And then you brought the screaming bundle of joy home and she became a human cow or master bottle barista, to feed a kid who never seems to get full. She hardly has time to shower, she put hemorrhoid cream on her toothbrush instead of Crest and didn’t even notice the taste because she’s so sleep deprived and she basically can’t tell if it’s night or day. She now judges time by how many bottles are left in the fridge and how many diapers the baby has been through. So yeah, condoms and your sexual needs are the last thing on her mind. Her body is still kind of reeling from the trauma of carrying and birthing a child and that shit takes time to snap back (screw you if you were back in a bikini 5 minutes later btdubs). I mean she just evicted a baby from her womb and she’s entitled to keep that door shut no matter what timeline the doctor gives. So be compassionate, and tell her what a badass she is and how you are in awe of her as a mother and offer to let her sleep in … because that’s the shit that will eventually get you laid.

My wife is still carrying a little holiday weight, and it’s almost summertime. How do softly and gently nudge her to workout a little more often?

– Craig, Vancouver

Pete: Yeah, so first thing’s first is to stand up right now. Stand up straight and tall and proud. And then go ahead and tilt your neck down and look towards the floor. If you’ve got a gut protruding out from the midsection area that is blocking the ability to see your junk or even your toes … shut the fuck up and hit the weights yourself, homie (you know, that whole stones and glass houses thing). Now, if you’ve got that body like The Rock and you need to get the wife looking more like J­Lo, then try putting some of the onus on yourself, as well. Nothing works better than working as a team. Suggest some ways for both of you to get active. Find some ways to encourage more healthy meal prep as a couple – make it a cute little date night. If you can work together on this, you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine and to eventually reach your goal.

Rachel: Can I get an amen for the FIRST part of Pete’s answer? If you want to keep your manhood in tact, back off. She knows she’s carrying extra weight … trust me. And while I am all for honest communication, this is a slippery slope. If she brings it up, that’s one thing … and your first response should be, “you are perfect” followed by …”what can I do to support you?” If she suggests date night at the gym, or hiring a personal trainer to get her ass in gear, or wants to take a spin class while you’re on dad duty a couple nights a week, do it. I’m wired differently, so if my husband suggested we meal prep “for fun” I’d be irrationally mad and tell him, you know what else you can do “for fun”? Sleep on the couch. I know it may seem unfair because we want you to read our minds, but the reality is, we want you to want to have sex with us no matter how big our love handles are. So make her feel sexy and desired and loved … unconditionally and she’ll get there.

Now it’s YOUR turn. Do you have some more questions for our crackpot team of experts?

Drop us a line in the comments section, or hit us up on email at DaddyMindTricks [at]gmail.com and maybe we’ll feature your question in the next edition of Yo! Momma.

Boom goes the dynamite.

boom

An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer

working mom

Dear Marissa Mayer,

First of all, congratulations on your recent announcement that you are carrying twins. How exciting to be growing your family and welcoming two little girls in the near future.

Now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s get down to business. I’m a little pissed at you. Actually, no,  I’m A LOT pissed at you. And I know I’m not the only one. I’m not a big wig CEO. I don’t work for a high-profile public company. I’m not currently pregnant, but I do work full-time and have a small child. And I certainly do not have access to a generous maternity policy when/if I do become pregnant again, like you do.

On paper you have done a lot right. You are a strong woman in a visible power position and show that there is such thing as legit girl power. You were instrumental in getting a good maternity policy in place at Yahoo, so that employees could at least have some silver lining when it was time to go out on leave.

But, I have to be honest. You REALLY effed up with your latest move.

Let me be clear that I understand you have more on your plate than the average full-time working mom. I commend what you do and can’t really pass judgement on how YOU choose to spend the time with your babies when they are born. But what I am NOT ok with, is you making the rest of us working moms look like assholes who can’t get it together to get back to work 5 minutes after we squeeze a baby out of our vaginas.

The message you are sending is kind of passive aggressive. It’s like you’re saying, “No, no Sally in accounting…you take all the time you need. You be with your baby. I’m just gonna pop mine out, put on some lip gloss and head into the office…like a boss. But you?? No, no…you don’t have to.” It’s a lot of pressure.

I don’t want to get on the whole soapbox of women vs. men in the workplace. But you have just set working women back again. By being an overachiever during one of the most exhausting and emotional times of a woman’s life.

I took a full three months off when I had my first baby. I did not have full-time help. Her father was working crazy hours in a residency program. I was on maybe 3 hours of sleep a night, waking up every two to breastfeed, my body was a mess, my nipples were impossibly sore. I was frequently peed, puked and pooped on. I couldn’t get laundry done fast enough sometimes to have clean onesies for her when I needed them. When I couldn’t get her to stop crying, I often cried too. I had to pull her bouncy seat in the bathroom so I could shower. And when it was time to go back to work, I had to dig through clothes to find something without spit up or breast milk on it. I cried that whole first week – partially out of exhaustion and partially out of guilt from leaving my baby girl – my world. I knew in my heart I was setting a good example for her. Showing her that mommies went to work too and could have strong careers and juggle it all. But you know what the truth is?

Juggling is fucking hard.

So when you act all easy breezy and blow off the maternity leave meant for the “rest of us” it does in fact send a message whether you want to believe it or not. It belittles the ideal that women CAN and SHOULD take some time off to bond with their babies. They grow up so fast and these moments are precious and you can’t get them back.

Let’s be real – there were other options here. You could work from home a little, no? As smart and instrumental as you are, I highly doubt Yahoo would go out of business if you took a REAL maternity leave. I think they’d be just fine.

Being a woman in the workforce is no picnic and we NEED people like you to continue to go to bat for us because YOU have more influence than someone like me…and the rest of us normal folk. If people saw someone like you say –  “You know what Yahoo? It’s been real, but I’m gonna take a few months off (yes I will be checking email and available via phone if anyone needs me) because my kids are my priority. Peace out.” – it would send a message than benefits working women everywhere. Especially those of us who would KILL for a maternity policy like yours. and THAT to me is the picture of a powerful female CEO. One who can be vulnerable, realistic and kind of like other working moms.

You may not exactly be one of US, but maybe you should consider what it’s like for the real women in “other” trenches before you make a statement like this.

Respectfully,

Rachel Sobel

Club W

Great Expectations (in Fatherhood): A Collabo With My New Blog Besties

I get a Facebook message one day from my friend Robyn saying she has these two bloggers, Pete Cataldo and Mark Holden, from DaddyMindTricks,  I need to connect with.

The tone and humor of their blog is similar, she said.

They’re like the dad version of you, she said.

I peeped their blog and she was totally right – so I sent a message to one half of the blogging duo, Pete, to get the ball rolling.

We totally hit it off!

bff

We shared our backgrounds, hopes & dreams for our respective blogs and then, the magic started as we discussed a collaboration. Pete is ABOUT to have his first child (ballsy to write a daddy blog, right?!?! I effing love it), Mark has been in the trenches briefly, and I am the veteran parent (how scary is that?). So we decide it would be a fun exercise to do a little he said/she said mashup around parenting expectations vs. the reality. They lack a filter, just like me, so I was beyond excited.

 

This was so ridiculously fun that we can’t wait to do it again (oh it’s gonna happen). These guys are awesome, as is their blog, so make sure you check it out and please show them some love on Facebook!

And Robyn, you totally started this!!

And now, I present…Great Expectations (in Fatherhood)…

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My approach to life can be summed up by the immortal knowledge bomb dropped by Doc. Emmett L. Brown:

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

Side note: someone really needs to put this saying to work and invent my damn hoverboard. It’s been 20-plus years now. Make this happen already.

Anywho, I never needed 1.21 Gigawatts to power my determination for success. But whenever I have used my willpower to charge my goal setting, I’ve been able to dominate: from graduating college to getting that job as a Sports Anchor to moving to New York City to starting my own business. I did it all like a boss. And now, well … I am a boss. Okay, it may be a company of just me. But, whatever.

So, as this new role as a first-time dad bears down on me like a colossal rogue meteor ready to impact the surface of my unsuspecting world, I prepare to conquer this assignment like everything else I’ve dominated so far in life.

I mean, it can’t be that tough, right? If Kanye freakin’ West can father a baby, I can certainly handle this daddy thing.

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Yep. This happened. Kimye apparently has procreation capabilities.

It’s pretty much sunshine and roses with some shitty diapers mixed in between. Or so I think that’s how this is gonna down.

I’m calling in Ben Affleck and his team of renegade miners to blast my meteoric expectations out of the sky. We are pleased to introduce our good friend Rachel Sobel from Whine and Cheez (Its) who is going to set the record straight on how this whole parenting thing really works.

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I’m Batman.

 

I’ll set up some of my expectations and she’ll knock ‘em down (or even build ‘em up) with the reality of it all.

 

No. 1 – I’m never going to sleep again.

Rachel’s Take: NEVER! And when you do it will be with one eye slightly ajar like you are waiting to defend yourself against Tony Montana’s henchman (hoping they actually leave the cannoli because you also don’t have time to sit and have real meals anymore).

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No. 2 – Sleep training works like a breeze and lil’ baby Cataldo will be sleeping through the night in about 8-12 weeks after birth.

Rachel’s Take: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. In the interest of full disclosure, I did do sleep training and it did work. However, babies always have some problem arise that fucks everything up. Teething, gas, and about a million other things rear their head and make you start from square one. Let me put it to you this way – there came a fork in the road for me, more than once where I had to choose between being a sleep training Nazi and sacrifice my own or just let her climb in my bed where she magically passed out every time and mama got a few hours herself. Now she’s 6 and in her bed but wakes me up at least 2-3 times a night to come lay with her. I’m currently looking into building a custom bed that will fit my husband and I, as well as her and her future husband – that’s the road I’m on. FML

 

No. 3 – She’s never leaving the house. Papa Bear ain’t messin’ around with those punk kids trying to date my daughter.

Rachel’s Take: I’m with you 100%. I often consider putting her in a burka when I see the tweens trolling the local mall in jean shorts so short that I can see vagina. I’ve also contemplated locking her in a room like Sloth from the Goonies but I’m pretty sure it counts as false imprisonment.

 

No. 4 – I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.

I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.

I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.

Rachel’s Take: Yes. Good plan. Because it looks like a murder scene. There’s a reason the bathroom in the hospital room is stocked with maxi pads that look like they were made for Andre the Giant (may he rest in peace), ice packs and Preparation H. Look away. You can’t unsee this.

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No. 5 – So there’s no instruction booklet for this stuff, huh?

Rachel’s Take: Nope and I urge you to do a spring cleaning on Facebook because you are going to get so much unsolicited advice from asshole parents who think they know everything and will swear their kids are reading at 8 weeks old, sleeping like perfect angels from the day they got home, prefer kale and broccoli over M&M’s and fart rainbows. In the throes of parenthood you really learn who your real friends are.

 

No. 6 – Good thing I have a full-stocked bar at home, because I’ll never have a social life again. That said, I will be able to keep up with my addiction, um, AFFECTION for wine and bourbon.

Rachel’s Take: This is mostly true. Your social life will basically turn into adult play dates that coincide with kid play dates. When you are ready, you will totally take advantage of getting a sitter and venturing out, but for the love of god, pace yourself. Because it’s all fun and games throwing em’ back at a bar reliving your pre-child days…..but you know what’s NOT fun? When your child is prying your hungover eyes open at 6:30 am to get them a sippy cup with milk.

 

No. 7 – Shit just got real. Like, this diaper situation … is this really gonna be like an all-hands on deck kinda thing?

Rachel’s Take: If you EVER want to have sex again, then yes, it’s most certainly an all hands on deck kinda thing. And do NOT wait for her to ask. Just get your ass up off the couch – no matter how many seconds are left in double OT, and change the baby you helped make. Oh, and also, BTDubs….nothing, and I mean nothing, can fully prepare you for the first diaper blow out. You’ve been warned.

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No. 8 – Will I ever be able to look at the boob the same way again?

Rachel’s Take: Yes. The National Geographic-sized nipples will go back to normal, she’ll let you touch them again because they’ll stop being so sore, and all will be right in the world. And if they don’t snap back, and she wants a boob job, say yes. She grew your child in her body. That’s like super hero shit and you are basically never allowed to say no again.

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No. 9 – Cute daughter means cute outfits, right? My little girl is gonna be on fleek seven days a week. (I’m told “on fleek” is what the kids are saying these days). Or maybe I just need to stick with the onesie uniform.

Rachel’s Take: I mean, I know this is coming from a woman who has a daughter. And she IS super girly, just like me. But you’re damn straight! Not taking advantage of all the ridiculously cute outfits and accessories for little girls is like getting a salad at the world’s top steakhouse.

 

No. 10 – Sex? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Seriously: has this completely left the building? Or does it make an appearance every once in a while, like a Tupac hologram?

Rachel’s Take: It will totally happen just don’t be an asshole about it. Let a sister heal! And be realistic. In the beginning especially, sleep deprivation and the desperation to just have your pre-baby body back, is enough to make you want to be celibate. When your wife is between feedings, diaper blowouts, laundry, and everything else on the list of tending to a newborn, your penis is not always a priority. Accept it gracefully and you will be rewarded.

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Rachel’s (Final) Take: I love that the Daddies from DaddyMindTricks included me in this one. Nothing and nobody can prepare you for what parenthood really is. It’s the most rewarding, exhausting, unpredictable, scary, insanely messy journey of your life. I am equal parts tired and amazed every damn day. My body is not exactly where I’d like it to be, I could stand to dress a little cuter sometimes, wear my hair in a ponytail less and I am basically a human purse for my daughter, schlepping everything from snacks to dolls to sippy cups, and everything in between. I could KILL it on “Let’s Make a Deal.”  If I had a shekel for every time I heard, “Mom can you hold this?” I’d have a shitload of shekels. But I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not a single iota. And when I’m old and can’t walk so well, I’ll make her push me in a blinged-out adult stroller (read: wheelchair) just like I carted her around in her fancy stroller. I’ll make her do my hair 100 times because there are still “too many bumps in my ponytail” and I’ll make her carry ALL my shit. And I know she’ll do it because we love each other fiercely.

 

A huge shout out to Rachel for keeping it 100 on this post and hooking it up with the first of many mash-ups between Whine and Cheez (Its) and DaddyMindTricks. It’s always intriguing and frankly a nice change of pace to get a fresh perspective from a member of the opposite sex – especially one that has been front and center in the trenches of this ongoing battle we call parenting.

 

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