preview: the family divide

For centuries all around the world, marriage has been about bringing together family. However, it seems in our culture these days, you most likely see a family divide. Chris and I had a master plan when we got married. We would just split the holidays—easy.

Then I got pregnant. Who gets to be in the delivery room? Who gets to babysit? Who gets to spend baby’s first Christmas with us? A sweet little baby brought out the fangs, nails, tears and sweat, with a side order of pressure and guilt. Chris and I are now parents to a beautiful daughter and two loving families. We have to make sure they share, play nice and we have to keep things even.  

For the rest of this column, check in tomorrow! And see www.nrtoday.com

Here are some anonymous responses to what some family member did pertaining to a parents child that will make you laugh, gasp or say, "hey, that happened to me too!" 

  • My sister-in-law (who has 3 sons - no daughters) sent my 11-year-old daughter a training bra for her birthday (without consulting me) because all the 6th graders in Texas (where she lives) were wearing them. My daughter didn't wear it for 2 more years - she didn't need one! This annoyed me no end because I only have one daughter and she deprived me of that mother-daughter moment of buying the first bra. 
  • While babysitting, my neighbor taught my 15-month-old Sanskrit. D'oh!
  • Tried to parent them and then tell me how I should raise my child
  • They act like their mother
  • I won't name the family member but she takes my baby out of my hands every time she sees him without so much as talking to me or asking to hold him. Ahhhh it drives me crazy. Even I ask to hold him with other people are holding him.
  • Referring to older cousins and what they can do
  • Giving you their opinion. They think your children are theirs
  • My mother-in-law tells me all the time, "Well my kids just never did that" It makes me want to scream!
  • In the past my MIL would tell me what the kids were doing wrong
  • None of the family is available to help out, or doesn't offer to help out enough
  • My mother in law doesn't know my daughter at all, but when I tell her something my daughter does or did she will tell me how that is just like her and how she gets it from her. HA! Oh and the in laws just want a grandson which we hear about ALL the time
  • My mom constantly takes credit for things I have taught my kids. It used to drive me nuts, but now I just let her have it
  • FIL states his crazy opinion and beliefs in front of my son and it's usually stuff that shouldn't be said around kids. And no one ever agrees with him! I could go on and on about this subject!
  • my mother in law gave our son his first haircut without asking! My husband and I were both so mad . She does things like that all the time, its like she forgets that we are the parents and doesn't bother talking to us first about things


where is the libido?

After he witnessed us farting and burping during pregnancy, saw our bodies completely change, and watched all the “ew’s” and “ahh’s” of labor – he is now ready for some “like old times” romance.

However, after pushing a baby out, gaining tons of weight, and taking care of a baby around the clock, our libido is about as hot as that mucus plug.  And yes, having a baby will make for a lot of new ground to cover with your partner, which means disagreements.

Men, listen here. It is easier than you think if you want to rekindle that passion. It is called, “Help.” There is nothing hotter than a man coming in the door and taking the baby, cleaning the house or cooking dinner. Yes, you doing the dishes turns us on!

It is not like we don’t want that newlywed excitement back, but we also want our bodies, confidence and time back. So, shower us with compliments and support, and we will shower you with love. And while we are talking about showering, try not to ask why we haven’t done that in a few days.

Mommas, we have work to do too. Your man is not totally out-of-line by requesting some attention. Your mate needs to be reassured you still love him and need him, just as he loves and needs you. Yes, baby makes three, but there is still a need for just you two.  

In addition to feeling pains physically, it is no news to anyone that a new mom has emotional pains as well and will most likely go through post-partum. Moms, don’t be ashamed of having post-partum. Men, never accuse your woman of having post-partum—it is worse than asking her if she is PMS-ing. 

Do what you need to do to boost that confidence. For me, exercise and getting a routine down did it. Not only will exercise shed those post baby pounds, but it is also known to raise libido—not to mention provide a little “me” time.

Mostly, talk to your partner. Tell each other your feelings and wants. Take time listening and try not to be combative going back in forth with, “Well if you did this, I would do that,” or “If you didn’t do that, I wouldn’t do this.”

Date night is also essential. My husband and I have a date at least every other week with just the two of us. Sometimes you don’t even have to go out and get a babysitter. After putting our baby to sleep, we will stay up listening to music, watching a movie or playing Scrabble- sometimes until almost eleven! Phew.

So the libido isn’t lost, just as the rest of the “old” you isn’t lost after you give birth. You will lose the weight, get rid of the stretch marks and once again, have good sex. At least that is what I keep telling myself.  


join me


mom = serious multitasker

Being a mom requires some major multi-tasking. We're not talking about talking on the phone while also cooking dinner, we're talking using body parts for certain tasks you never thought could be possible. I am constantly amazing myself by the things I can do, while doing three other things. And then of course my husband is always just sitting there watching me. "It's OK- I am a MOM- I can do it all!" Here are some talents I have picked up and if you are planning on having a baby, start practicing:

1. Picking up everything and anything with my toes. This includes her toys, clothes, spilled food items and binkies.

2. Driving while feeding her. Last week was the first time that I drove alone to Portland from Roseburg- 3 hours- with her in the back. I accomplished reaching over my back seat to her and feeding her with my right hand, and steering with my left. Starbucks coffees have been replaced by bottles in my cup holder.

3. Driving while pumping. This requires skill! You have to cover up, pump, and somehow not spill any milk because that will stink up your car. I obviously do a lot of multitasking when driving, so watch out for the white Honda.

Peeler & Mo
4. Running with two dogs and a baby. I take the whole family! I hold Peeler's leash with my left hand, hook Mosely's leash up to the stroller with one of those awesome Mommy Hook's and push the stroller with my right hand. It just gets bad if one of the dogs goes after something-- then everyone is going with him.

5. Deep cleaning and working out while putting the baby to sleep. Sometimes she just wants to be held, and it seems like it is always when I am trying to clean. The front pack provides baby comfort, free hands and a good work out since you are packing around an extra 13 pounds. It is like cleaning pregnant again.

6. Using my left hand. I am constantly in situations that require holding her with my right arm, and having to cook, clean or sign with my left hand. Start practicing. I think I am just about ambidextrous now.

7. Feeding myself, while feeding her. She always wants to eat when we are eating. The Bumbo seat (see Mommy Must-Haves page) and some baby biscuits make this easy.

8. Dealing with a husband and a baby while trying to keep your sanity. Whenever my husband and I get into a little tiff, the baby always starts crying- or vise versa. That always then progresses to the food burning, phone ringing and the dogs barking.

9. Changing a poopy diaper on the freeway. At least I pull over for this one.

10. Being a mom and wife. Just being this means multitasking. You are taking care of a husband and baby, and sometimes- yourself. I raise my glass, most likely filled with wine, to all of you mothers and wives out there.

What multitasking talents do you have?


holidays are for hunting

Chris & I at Kiger Canyon with the rat dog, Mo.

Chris' idea of a 4-star resort: a wall tent.
I first arrived in Roseburg for a weekend stay with three suitcases, high heels and my “rat” dog. It was just as I imagined: gorgeous fields, sweeping vineyards, towering oak trees, and crisp rivers. I then pulled up to my four-star double-wide, equip with cows, guns and a selection of hanging antlers.

Within a few hours I found out that stilettos are not the proper choice for muddy grass, that perfume does attract bugs, and that I might need a new cell phone plan because it seems everywhere I go, I get one bar.

Oh, what people do when they are in love. Yes, I met the man of my dreams—plaid, suspenders and all—and journeyed down to the country. It seems I am living the real Green Acres.

After marrying my logger husband, I made the official move to Roseburg. My husband was constantly asked, “How’s the city girl doing?” His co-workers and buddies thrived for a good laugh on my quest to find the retail stores, discovering it is normal to carry a rifle in your pick-up truck, and how I learned that the fall is not for fashion week—but hunting season.

I’d only been in Roseburg for five months, and that celebrated “H” word started sputtering off everyone’s lips. No, not “holiday”, but “hunting”. Hunting is comparative to Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale— you wait all year for it, you compare with friends and strangers what you found, and you are very particular about who you go with. That being said, I couldn’t believe my husband wanted me to go hunting at Steens Mountain with him to kick off the “holiday” season. I sure had a lot to prove, therefore I had to go.

The festivities began with s’mores, hot chocolate and snow. However, it was fifteen degrees and I was in a tent. I’ve gone camping a lot before, but this was different. We were in almost complete solitude, and I even made my husband park us on an actual campground. I figured I should be near people in case some animal attacked.

The first two nights were cozy with a crackling fire, fresh snow, and warm comfort food.  During the day I walked around camp with my UGG boots, fur covered parka, and rat dog. I didn’t even fit in hunting.  I suppose next year I’ll research my husband’s Cabela’s catalogue for some girly camo attire.

After the jug of Carlo Rossi ran out and I finished my book, I went from dreading the thought of my husband killing something to begging he would kill something.  Eventually, he said I had “passed the test” and we could go home.

Ahh, home, and I did it. I completed the long, cold week of hunting.I just couldn’t wait to get back to town, but did feel bad my husband didn’t kill anything.

He then chuckled and said not to worry, “We’ll go Elk hunting here in a few weeks.”
“What?” “There is Elk hunting, too?” Sigh.

It seems I still have a lot to learn about how the holidays are spent down here. 


the skinny on pregnancy

6 months
When we got pregnant, although it wasn’t exactly planned, we were extremely excited. Like many women do, I had everything planned as to how much weight I would allow myself to gain, how I wouldn’t eat fast food and how I would keep exercising. I’m sure you fellow mommies are joining me in a laugh.

Morning sickness consumed all day and every day of my first trimester. This drove me or my husband on recurring runs to McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and fries. I started to realize that pregnancy, for me, was not like it was in the movies. I didn’t feel like I was glowing because I had acne. I didn’t just have a belly bump – I had hip, thigh and boob bumps too. 

Lastly, my mind was constantly in an argument with my stomach on whether I should give in to that double-fudge, triple layer cake or not. Here, I thought pregnancy would finally take the social stress away. No more dieting, trying to fit into those skinny jeans or comparing myself to other women. Wrong. I watched what I ate knowing that I would still gain weight, I still tried to at least fit into my fat jeans, and I now compared myself to other pregnant women.

Somehow, I also surrounded myself with people who raised an eyebrow at my pregnancy complaints. “Oh, I loved being pregnant!” they would remark. The other party was normally someone who looked great with an extra thirty pounds, ate whatever she wanted without feeling guilty and someone who didn’t gain arm flaps or National Geographic nipples. That person also returned to their size four jeans a week after giving birth. These expectant enthusiasts made me bitter. My mother continued to tell me how she ate Wendy’s Frosty’s every day and she only gained twenty-five pounds.

For nine months, I was a pregnant grump. Starting at six months I received comments such as, “Wow, looks like you are going to pop,” or “Are you sure you are not carrying twins?” My husband quickly learned to stop speaking after he made the mistake of asking me why at six months pregnant I was bigger than the eight month pregnant ladies in the parenting class.

In the end, I won the battle with pregnancy. I had a piece-of-cake labor. However, I was left with thirty-five pounds to lose, stretch-marks to get rid of and a new found love for Spanx. But, I was also given the greatest gift from God: our little baby girl. It is all worth it, and to answer the question almost every new mom receives almost immediately after your baby comes out—yes, I will do it again, but certainly not anytime soon.


dear new mom

It is OK that you feel completely exhausted because you just spent nine months worrying and caring for your unborn, and now that she's born, it is triple the worry and care.
It is OK to still eat like a pregnant woman because you're awake 24 hours a day, rocking a baby and milking like a cow. That is a lot of burned calories.

It is OK that you haven't done or even thought about laundry, dishes, making the bed, cooking or cleaning. This is why you have a mother and takeout.

It is OK that you are feeling very emotional and tend to break down when your husband comes home and hand him the baby. It is a lot of work, and those hormones … phew!

It is also OK that you really want to give your husband an earful when he replies, “I don't understand why you are so tired; she just sleeps.” This is of course because the baby always decides to sleep during daddy hours.

It is also even more OK that you secretly like when she doesn't sleep well during your husband's nighttime shift on the weekend so that he finally understands WHY YOU ARE TIRED.

It is OK if you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, give binkies, have baby sleep in your room or give baby a bottle. Everyone will give an opinion, but remember, it is your child and your decision.

It is OK to still wear your maternity clothes after giving birth. You deserve to be comfortable, and frankly no one looks at you now that you have a baby to show off.

It is OK that you read all the books and learned what to do and what not to do, and you're now going by your own rules.

It is OK that you don't like certain people holding her, baby-sitting her or even touching her. Mommyhood gives you fabulous instincts, so follow them.

Finally, it is OK that you think your baby is the cutest, smartest and most well behaved baby of all. She is.

dear new dad

It is OK that you also gained weight. You were on an emotional roller coaster too, and we know it is hard to resist getting something for yourself when you are making a food run for your pregnant lady.

It is not OK that you think you get a brand-new gun because you are having a girl.

Do not ever ask these questions: “When are you going to start working out?” “Why are you so tired?” “Are you going through postpartum?” “Can we have sex?” or “Why didn't [blank] get done?”

You can say these things: “You can't even tell you just had a baby,” “Let me take the baby, and you go rest,” “You are tougher than I am — you just gave birth,” “I love you,” and “You are a wonderful mom.”

It is definitely OK to come home and offer to cook dinner, clean or take the baby for awhile.

It is not OK to ask when her stretch marks are going to go away.

Instead of saying, “It's OK, you just had a baby,” simply tell her, “You're not fat.”

It is not OK to imply that your work day was harder than her day just because she stays home. You may be tired, but she is exhausted.

Give the new mom time off. Tell her to go to a movie with friends or take her out to dinner without the baby. This will keep her sane.

Do not freak out when baby starts to cry and try to just hand her back to mom. You have an equal part in parenting — do not forget that.

Be patient. Everything takes longer with baby in tow.

Be understanding. Your fishing and hunting trips will be less frequent. Yard work, garage cleaning and any other plans you have for after work may have to be put on hold. Please do not say that you need time to work out, be alone or just be with the guys. That will spark a big battle.

Love your baby and your lady. Shower her with kisses, flowers, and mostly, support.

Blog Design by Alt Coast.