Finding schmoopie

positanoUsually, my blog posts focus on a parenting topic de jour, highlighting the funny things my kids said or the challenge I’m currently facing. However, after my previous post about becoming a mom for the third time I realized that there’s a big part of being a parent in my family that I haven’t focused on in a blog yet – my husband. Hence, this one is for him.

In one of my first sociology classes in college, we read a book called The Second Shift. The book focused on the role of the working mom who spends a full day in a professional setting and then comes home to work her second shift – taking care of domestic duties, caring for the children, etc. The author argued that working dads may have some additional responsibilities upon returning home from work but they aren’t “on” all the time the same way a mom is.

Clearly the author of that book hasn’t met Jason.

family shot2When Jason and I fell in love, I often imagined what our life would look like down the road. I’d ask myself questions like: What kind of home would we build together? What would be the roses and thorns of our relationship? How would we raise our kids? …And so on. I’d catch myself daydreaming about our future together, 110% sure of that future without knowing how the specifics would all shake out.

When it comes to many things, Jason and I have very different taste. Whether evident while moving in together for the first time, planning our wedding, or redesigning our kitchen, anyone close to us can attest to our very different aesthetic preferences. Where I like modern, he likes traditional. Where I like vibrant, he likes conservative. These seemingly trivial differences have caused many discussions (read: fights) that have taught us how to communicate about issues bigger than light fixtures. During these “discussions,” it’s harder to see that as a silver lining. But now I realize that learning to communicate and see things from each other’s point of view has become especially handy when it comes to parenting and taking care of our home.

2015.3.10 Newborn KATZ-29From the beginning we have had an equal partnership in sharing the responsibilities of house and home… We balance each other’s habits (I create organizational systems and he attempts to maintain them; I bring in the mail every day and he sorts it and pays the bills) and we have a similar tolerance for clutter and mess (relatively high, unfortunately). But over the last few months, as I grew from pregnant to “really uncomfortably very pregnant” and then transitioned to “holy crap I just pushed a baby out of me,” our equal partnership went out the window. Jason took on an entire “second (and third) shift” of cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of the kids, taking care of me and doing pretty much anything that needed doing in our house, while my second shift (and sometimes first shift, too) consisted mostly of eating ice cream on the couch.

Love is a funny thing. I fell in love with Jason during a relatively carefree time in our lives – we went on dates, traveled, and built a foundation for our relationship. And that love runs strong and deep. But this love, the love that comes from seeing your partner take care of you and the life you’ve created together, is its own breed. And I count my lucky stars every day to have it, and to have Jason. I love you.

And, just for fun… here’s schmoopie.

Finding safety in numbers

A funny thing happens when you have kids – you are suddenly and simultaneously filled with love, awe and amazement (not to mention the slight fear that this tiny being is relying utterly and entirely on you for everything), while also catapulted into a new kind of loneliness and isolation that exists among midnight feedings, sleepless nights and the depths of mother(or father)hood. This juxtaposition is jarring and unexpected no matter how much planning and preparation new parents go through. I went through this with both my of my babies, and both times was shocked at these conflicting feelings and experiences.

with elizabeth

Courtesy of a three year old future photographer

Before having kids, I’d heard that motherhood was the next transition point in friendship – where some friends would inevitably disappear and others would emerge. The actualization of this transition was stark. As predicted, some friendships dimmed as our priorities shifted farther apart (and some showed their true strength), and I made some incredible new friends through daycare drop-offs, play dates, the occasional parents’ night out and random evenings of sneaking out after the kids go to bed to meet a girlfriend for a scoop of ice cream (yes, the drink of our twenties has been replaced with the ice cream scoop of our thirties… and we’re okay with that).

A few nights ago I had an opportunity to get a rare mother’s night out with a friend whose daughter is exactly one week younger than my second child. We reminisced about our pregnancies and the agony of waiting those final few (uncomfortable, sleepless, anticipation-riden) weeks before our daughters were born. However, the real shared experiences came in the weeks and months after the births of our bundles of joy. They came in the 3am text conversations we had while desperately rocking our kids to sleep, and in the midday maternity leave FaceTime chats that ultimately evolved into each of us staring at the other’s ceilings while trying to breastfeed/pump/get the baby to take the bottle. It was in those moments that I understood some of the deepest and most raw moments of friendship.

This wasn’t the first time that I experienced this kind of safety in numbers. When my first daughter was born, I joined a local mother’s group, thinking it would give me a chance to get to know other women in my new neighborhood and get out of the house with my young baby for a while. Never could I have imagined how life altering joining the group would be. Every Friday, six to ten of us would meet in someone’s living room and spread blankets on the floor for the babies to “play” while we swapped stories about poop, sleep cycles, sore nipples, and extreme exhaustion (ah, motherhood!). These women became my lifeline to a new normal, and without those Friday mornings, midnight texts and crazy stories, I’m not sure I would have made it sanely (mostly) through those early months of motherhood.

Although we see each other less now (and get a bit more sleep…on a good day), those are the ties that bind. We celebrate that fact every few months with a mother’s night out and a bottle of wine. There is a shared bond that we have — that all mothers have — that is an unspoken but real link between us. That’s not to say that I don’t cherish (and need!) my friendships with those without children (I DO!), or those that are not women (I DO!), but more to say that the safety and security that comes in numbers (and text messages) at 3am is not to be taken lightly.

How have you found your own safety in numbers?