Calling all “stay at home” mothers**

This is a call to all mothers** who have sacrificed their careers, resumes, paychecks, and a tiny bit of their soul. The next time you are asked to list your occupation mark “other” and write in Super Hero*.

Frankly, I’m tired of feeling judged because I have chosen to stay at home and raise my children. When I say judged, it varies from “Oh, poor un-liberated woman” to “Is there any other way to properly raise your children?” We each make the decision that is right for us and our family. Period.

But, I must admit that when donating money to Barak Obama last week, I hesitated when asked about my occupation. Was I a “housewife” or a “homemaker”? Are those really my options? GAG. I’m a full time mom**, right now. And it’s the toughest job I’ve ever had. If you’ve never tried it, you have no idea how all consuming and absolutely exhausting it is. I love “Pop goes the weasel” as much as anyone, but seriously 27 times in a row… And I’ve only been a mom for 5.5 months. So, when filling out Obama’s form I decided to declare myself a “Super Hero”. And it felt pretty darn good.

To all you stay-at-home mothers** out there, let’s start a revolution. We ARE Super Heroes!

It’s a small step for mothers**, one giant leap for mother**-kind.

*I must give credit to my husband who truly started this revolution with our taxes this year. According to the IRS my occupation is Super Hero. Who would dare to audit a super hero?

**I should say PARENTS

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Succumbing to temptation

All mother’s want what is best for their child(ren). It is one of the most basic tenets of motherhood (hopefully). However, sometimes this desire is overshadowed by the need to do what’s best for me (the mother). While this might seem paradoxical, mother’s are also very adept at rationalizing. So, for a baby to be happy and healthy, he NEEDS a happy and healthy mother. This translates into “What’s best for the baby is for mommy to watch 6 hours of Desperate Housewives which requires succumbing to the temptation of buying yet another large brightly colored plastic thingy to entertain you while I do this.”

After reading an article that claimed exer-saucers (aka activity saucers) hindered motor skill development (something about babies not being able to see their own legs), his father and I decided that we would NOT be purchasing one of these large plastic circus-like things.

Oh, how quickly resolve falters…

At a play date two weeks ago, my little guy was introduced to the exer-saucer. He LOVED it. Squeals of delight, cooing, and best of all a mother with two free hands. SOLD. I didn’t care that I was about to spend yet another $100 (yes, it appears that everything baby related costs at least $100) and turn my back on a “scientific study” (after all, can’t you find a study to support any/everything these days?). So literally the next day we went to Buy Buy Baby and purchased the Baby Einstein Discover and Play Activity Center by Graco. It’s even named to make parents feel better about abandoning their children to a plastic babysitter. It makes you think, “He’s discovering new things all on his own. And it has Einstein in the name. We must be creating a little genius by purchasing this toy”. And just that quickly, another acre of our former life was resettled by brightly colored plastic.

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Food, finally (Bolognese sauce)

So for all of you who have been waiting to read something actually about food, your time has arrived. Unfortunately, being a new mom (a.k.a absentminded caregiver), I seem to always forget to take pictures of the food. Honestly, I’m too busy keeping my little guy happy in his bouncy chair, spending a few minutes with my overworked traveling husband, or just zoning out staring at the pot of boiling water (ahhhhhh – it’s like a mini-facial).

Having experimented with this recipe for a while, I’ve tried some good recipes (Food and Wine, Cook’s Illustrated, The Joy of Cooking, Mario Batali, NYTimes, etc), but have yet to find perfection. So, I decided to combine what I liked of them all – and it was GREAT!!!! So here it is… (please take all measurements as rough suggestions – it’s the only way to cook – unless you’re baking)

Bolognese Sauce

1/2 cup celery diced finely

1/2 cup carrot diced finely

1/2 onion diced finely

2 garlic cloves minced

2 quarter inch slices of pancetta diced (bacon could kind of work)

2 cans diced tomatos

1 cup whole milk

1 cup dry white wine (no chardonnay, please)

1/2 lb ground pork*

1/2 lb ground beef*

1/2 lb ground veal*

5 Tablespoons of butter

Saute celery, onion, and carrot in 3 Tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add garlic and saute briefly. Add and brown ground meat and pancetta. Add milk and simmer over low heat until absorbed (about 25 minutes). Add wine and simmer over med/high heat until pan is dry (about 20 minutes). Add tomatoes (partially drained) and simmer with lid on for 2.5 hours. Finish with 2 Tablespoons of butter. Serve over a wide flat pasta with Parmesan.

*1.5 lbs of ground beef can be substituted. I found this blend of pork/beef/veal labeled as “meatloaf” mix.

Enjoy!

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Thank you, Pampers

A lot of parents today swear that Pampers are the best brand of diapers. For those of you in doubt, please read on.

After a long day tending to my recently immunized grumpy little boy, I decided that I needed some amusement. Since my husband was working from home, I decided that he would have to suffice. In a fun game I like to call “Guess what I’m holding under your nose”, I decided to have a little fun with my hubby.

As I put my little guy down to sleep I noticed a poopy diaper sitting out (I know I should have thrown it out immediately – but it was a tough day and the diaper was sitting next to the changing table). I immediately thought, “This is the perfect object to trick my hubby into smelling.” I approached him and tauntingly asked him to close his eyes and guess what he was smelling. In a show of true trust, he obliged. As he began to sniff, it was nearly impossible to not chuckle. With a quizzical brow, he said “Wait, wait. I know this smell.” I thought, “You sure do.” He continued sniffing in delight for close to 30 seconds. He guessed, “Cookie dough. No. Cake. No. Frosting. No. A CUPCAKE!!!!” It was a priceless moment. My husband confused the smell of a poopy diaper for a cupcake. Thanks, Pampers.

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Stuff new mommies like

This post is dedicated to the blog Stuff White People Like.

Today I threw my first “Mommies Who Lunch” gathering. Much like your first dinner party ushering in adulthood, it is a right of passage into mommyhood. I truly felt like a mastermind. I instigated the planning. “Hey D_____, let me get your email address so we can get together outside of the mother’s group.” Emails were exchanged. A date was set. And then the magic began.

Being a full time mom is like going to work with one hand (that loves to cry) tied behind your back. So, yesterday (T minus 24 hrs) I had planned to head to the grocery store to shop for my luncheon. But no, no, no. It was rainy and my little guy was grumpy and honestly, I didn’t feel like going to the store. So, I decided to go first thing this morning. First thing in the morning with a 4 month old means 7:00 AM. Good morning, Stop and Shop. I must admit that it was the most pleasant Stop and Shop experience I have had. It was empty. Everything was freshly stocked (including produce). And there was no line at the deli!

By the time I get home, my little muffin needed to be fed and to take a nap (T minus 4 hrs). While he napped, I preped everything. The red pepper tomato soup (I’d give you the recipe, but it’s from a box that I purchased at Costco – organic and pretty darn good) was in a pot ready to be warmed. Croissants were sliced and loaded with fontina and parmesan, turkey, whole grain mustard, and arugula and ready to be panini-ed (I think I just created a new verb). Plates, bowls, silverware, and napkins – ready. White wine chilling (just in case).

(T minus 30 min) Baby is awake and fed.

(T minus 2 min) “What was that sound? Oh no! What is that smell? Oh no!” Oh, yes. And it was a big one. He prefers to poop every few days, which means when it happens, it happens BIG.

To make a long story, well, short. A new outfit was needed for my precious boy. And everyone arrived while I still had poo on my hands. But the food was delicious and the company was great. It’s fun to have a living room filled with little babies cooing at each other. And by the end, the homemade limoncello (I had to offer something homemade to impress my guests) definitely hit the spot.

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The crying game

Sleep. Sleep. SLEEP. Why is it so challenging and elusive? Anyone who is a parent, knows a parent, ever met a parent, has perhaps seen a parent walking down the street or in the grocery store knows that sleeping is an issue. It’s not something that just comes naturally to parents or our tiny screaming offspring.

I sit here at the computer trying to unravel this age old mystery, as my adorable little boy screams his head off in his room. While my husband and I are not officially “ferber-izing” our child, we have found that the only way to get him to sleep is to let him cry it out. Trust me when I say we’ve tried everything else (rocking for an hour, walking around for 45 minutes while bouncing or swaying, swings, vibrating bouncy chairs – you name it). It just prolongs his fussiness and ends with his crying it out in his crib. Amazingly, he then wakes up as happy as a clam.

So, you might be asking yourself “Why is she complaining?” I’ll tell you why. This method goes against EVERY mothering fiber in my body. Every instinct screams “Go to your baby. Comfort him. NOW!” So, this leads me to the other subject of this blog: food. The moment he starts crying I start craving anything (usually a glass of wine and something salty – but chocolate will also due). The problem with this is much like the freshman 15, the pregnancy 25 (or 50) is much easier to put on than to take off. Because of this crying technique we’ve adopted and breastfeeding, I’ve actually found that I am hungrier now then when I was pregnant.

So, in an attempt to regain some semblance of my former physical self, I am and will do my best at saying “No” to the cries of these sirens that beckon me to the kitchen every time my baby whimpers. Instead I will channel my anxieties into you.

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A chip off the old block

Last week my four month old started showing interest in food and watching me eat. I thought “Woo hoo. He’s already intrigued by food (just like his mommy).” In all my excitement, I rushed out and purchased a highchair (the Chicco Polly – great features and value). It was imperative that I encourage my little gourmet in the making.

The scene.

Candles lit, table set, a lovely bolognese (yummy) with hand cut pappardelle.

Enter Baby in highchar and parents.

The moment the highchair approaches the table, SCREAMS explode from the baby. Devastated, the mother takes the baby back to the spit-up-covered quilt to play with the soggy and over-masticated hippo rattle. Through tears the mother thinks “Oh well, maybe next time.” She returns to the table to some cold pasta and her husband who has finished his dinner and is engrossed in a vampire novel…

I must admit that this is the shocking tale of my little gourmet’s first table experience.

So, in my best mothering fashion, I tried again the next day. This time around I kept it simple.

The scene.

Table strewn with old papers, mail, and what not, a turkey sandwich, chips, and a pickle

Enter Baby in high chair and disheveled mother

The high chair approaches table sans protest. So far so good. The mother immediately grabs a potato chip (Cape Cod Low Fat). Every bite is delectable – salty, crunchy, the slightest hint of oil – heaven. While lost in the raptures of her potato chip, she fails to notice the cooing taking place next to her. By the 3rd chip, she is ripped from her ecstasy by a squeal. Her four month old, too, is in raptures over the potato chip. He LOVES it. The act of taking the chip and placing it in the mouth; the crunch; and yes the moans of sheer joy from his mommy.

So, out of pure benevolence for my child I am required to eat potato chips every day for lunch. As a side note his second favorite food to watch are carrots.

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