RSS Feed

Category Archives: motherhood

Advice to (New) Mom-ttorneys

congrats

Recently a friend-of-a-friend asked me for some advice since she had just both passed the bar to become an attorney as well as found out she was pregnant.

I wanted to say “congratulations” to the baby and “oh, I’m sorry to hear” to the bar passage – but instead, I came up with this list, which I hope will find its way to her somehow. I usually don’t do advice in my blog, because the only topics I’m really qualified to opine upon are either irrelevant (“don’t try to wax your boyfriend’s face”) or scientifically unsound (“you’ll get severe stomach cramps if you sleep in a crop top”). But because this woman is about to have a baby and become a work from home attorney – she wants to start up her own family law practice – I feel like I need to warn her pass on some words of encouragement.

Top 10 Advice for New Work-at-Home-Moms:

10. Flexible work arrangement = baby first, work second, and mom third. This is bad.

I’ve talked to a lot of WAHMs, moms with a flexible work schedule, moms who telecommute, and moms who own their own businesses, and they all agree – you end up working 24/7 when you work from home. Work begins to bleed and consume all of your waking moments that aren’t occupied by your offspring. Document review and phone calls are scheduled around nap times. Briefs are written late into the night, and police reports are read in bed, in the dark, so as not to awaken the ticking time bomb that is your child.

But you’ll burn out that way. What they say in parenting books about “setting boundaries” or “creating routines” needs to be applied to your work. Try something like “no work emails after 10pm” or, at least, “no squinting at client emails/texts at 2am in the dark while nursing.”

9. Expect your views on your career to change.

Assistant Branch Manager looks pretty good too.

It’s only a title.

I never expected to give up my practice, but I’ve pretty much all but done just that – and I’m much happier now than I have ever been.

Also – I never thought I would consider going back to work as a government attorney, but the temptation of great coworkers, a steady paycheck, and top benefits are extremely alluring once you have a family. Stability and good companionship are underrated when you’re a mom.

8. Also underrated when you’re a mom? Sanity.

bad day

Your attorney/mom friends will be much more sympathetic than this.

Solo practice can be very lonely, and at the same time, so can motherhood. Although I often think “ain’t nobody got time for dat,” I find myself infinitely recharged after spending time with my friends, especially attorney friends who can relate to my complaints about judges or clients or baby DAs.

Also, I used to think mom groups were dumb. I don’t know why I thought that; I just did. I now love spending time with a select group of mom friends because, again, they know exactly what I’m going through. As a new mom/new attorney, you’ll need that support from people who’ve been there, done that.

7. Be selfish.

Which brings me to being “selfish” enough to take some time for yourself. Otherwise you’ll seriously go batsh*t crazy. Right now I’m blogging this from the parking lot in front of a Skate Depot because after a day where I took Tiny Boss to gymnastics and the children’s museum and was rewarded with only a 20-minute-nap all day, I could not spend one extra second with him anymore. As soon as his dad came home, I was out the door.

I did this even though I know my son prefers I stay home with him and not his dad. It’s a developmental age thing, I’m told.

I did this even though I know that if Tiny Boss wakes up, which he is wont to do, he’ll cry incessantly for me until, well, he stops and accepts the fact that Dad is the one who’s going to give him milk and lull him back to sleep to the sounds of the Imperial March hummed in baritone.

And do I feel a little guilty for not giving my son “the best,” or at least, what he wants? Yeah, I do feel a little bad. But mind over matter, I know he is fine, and so here I am, blogging to you fine folks in my car, using stolen wifi.

6. Write down all your ultimatums – and thrown them away.

hundredpercentYes, this includes things like breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby food-making, sleep training, and anything else that has to do with parenthood.

The number one lesson I’ve learned from being a mother – never say never. Your own flexibility and open-mindedness will surprise you. Have I thought about trying the cry-it-out method with my second, still unborn child? Yes, even though a year ago I was convinced Ferberizing a kid would turn her into a psychopath, or worse, Donald Trump. Will I do it to my second, still unborn child? Probably not. But still – never say never.

5. You can’t have it all.

Nope, you can’t have it all – there will be some things that you’ll give up, even if you think now that you’ll never do it. For me, it was working out regularly – as well as regular hair highlights and manicures. Nothing like pushing a human being out of your crotch in front of a room of strangers to rid you of most of your vanity!

4. Set realistic goals and expectations.

tumblr_inline_mpa7m7vTV51qz4rgp#5 and #4 kind of go together. In all honesty, the learning curve is steep for both lawyering and parenting. You’ll have self-doubts about your abilities at both. But you’ll be fine when it comes to the mom thing, at least.

3. Get help where you can. 

In the beginning, let others take care of you. I once read that lawyers have a hard time taking physical cues from their bodies because we become extraordinarily talented at making counterarguments – especially with ourselves – and also focusing on analyzing and interpreting facts rather than listening to how we feel. For new attorney moms, my advice is to make sure to say yes to the people who want to help – whether it’s to bring you food, or wash your dishes, or to watch the kid for a couple of hours so you can take a nap. Which brings me to . . .

2. Don’t be a control freak.

perfectionist

You don’t have the luxury of being a perfectionist in your work anymore when you’re a WAHM. I can’t stress this enough.

1. Ignore everything I just said. 

For one thing, everything I’ve just written about is much easier said than done. Also, everyone will give you advice, but you’ll mostly pave your own way by finding out what works for you.

awesome

Yes, mom-ttorney, you are awesome.

And lastly, and most importantly, you will be fine at being a mom, and somehow the lawyer part will work itself out. And trust me – at the end of each day, when you look at your baby for one more time before you go to bed and wake up in two hours to make sure she’s still alive/to feed her, you’ll know without a doubt that yes, it was all worth it.

Advertisements

Fears With Having a Second Child

first child second child

I was talking with my OB the other day (who is so far my favorite doctor I’ve ever had, but ask me again after she delivers my kid) about how different carrying the second child is from carrying the first. I told her I felt a little guilty because this time around, I don’t even know what week of pregnancy I’m on unless I go online to find a due date calculator. She laughed and said that was normal.

“I was talking to a friend who said he noticed that his parents had tons of pictures of his older sister and barely any of him,” I further confided. “I’m really terrified that I’ll neglect the second one and she’ll grow up with some sort of complex.”

My doctor laughed. “My husband was the second child in the family and was adamant we be extra careful. We try to take pictures of number two, but the first one always manages to sneak into the picture.” I wondered if I should tell my friend that.

* * *

I grew up as an only child, so I had no idea what it was like to have a brother/sister that you loved/hated. I could only look at my friends and draw my own conclusions, such as:

For families with only two kids: if the girl is born first and then the boy is born second, they’ll both turn out really awesome. But if the boy is born first and the girl is second, then the boy will be a total weirdo but the girl will be awesome. (This one is based in part on my ex-boyfriend, who was totally lame but had an awesome younger sister, as well as my close girlfriends who had totally weird older brothers. Too bad I’m about to prove this theory wrong with my first born son and soon-to-be-born daughter!)

get along

There are also the things my friends have told me: The more kids the mom has, the dumber they get. All the smart genes get passed to the first couple of kids. (My friend who said this is the youngest of three).

And per my mom: No matter how many kids there are, the third kid is always the smartest kid. (What if there’s only two kids, mom?”)

Another friend shared this bit of wisdom, which I thought was interesting: The first child is a gift for your husband. The second child is a gift for your first child. The third child is a gift for yourself. (She summed this up by saying, “I have three kids and it’s the perfect number. One is cooking breakfast right now, the other is doing the dishes, and the youngest is folding clothes!” But two might be the perfect number for us – although I’ve learned through parenting to never say never.)

I'm almost as afraid as this kid. Almost.

I’m almost as afraid as this kid. Almost.

Then there are the many fears that have suddenly come up as I’m getting closer to my due date. Some of these anxieties are legit; others are simply because I’m batsh*t crazy. I’ll let you be the judge; here they are:

Fear #47: “what if I love one child more than another?” 

not_the_favorite

Fear #212: “what if the second one wants to sleep in bed with us too?”

expectationvsreality

But with TWO kids. One for mom, one for dad?

Fear #6: “what if they REALLY don’t get along?”

Fear #2,098: “what if she’s even harder to raise than Tiny Boss?”

Fear #874: “what if she ends up hating me?”

And the list goes on and on. I guess in the end, like all things parenting, you just do the best that you can and hope that they don’t turn out to be psychopaths. Or Miley Cyrus.

MCfunny

I’m not into slut shaming. I really am not. But I also don’t want my kid’s photos to permanently be in the spank bank of a bazillion dudes. Not that this particular picture necessarily would make it there.

How Asian Dora Got Her Groove Back (Well, Not Yet)

girl

“If you look at your son’s nipples and there’s no line through them you’re going to have a baby boy.” Wrong. I’ve double checked Tiny Boss’ nipples – still no lines, but I’m going to go with the ultrasound tech on this one.

“If your husband is getting fatter during your pregnancy, you’re going to have a girl.” No comment. But I don’t think he’s getting fatter. I mean, less skinny.

Out of all the pregnancy superstitions that I’ve heard regarding having a baby girl, here’s the only one that seems true: a baby girl steals her mother’s beauty.

Because lately I’ve been feeling utterly … blah. All those ridiculously cheerful pregnancy websites are totally wrong. BabyCenter has this hilarious article – from which I quote, “Believe it or not, your guy may be loving your new physique. Men tend to see the sensuality in blossoming breasts and soft curves. Plus, the sight of your pregnant form is a constant reminder of his virility.”

Pretty sure the sight of my “pregnant form” to my husband is less a constant reminder of his virility and more of the inevitable upcoming sleep deprivation.

As for me, I don’t feel sexier because of my new bustline or my hormones. My hormones generally make me feel angry, turned on, or like eating chocolate covered gummy bears, sometimes all at the same time.

BUT LEAVE THE GUMMY BEARS!

But leave the gummy bears.

The growing bustline might have made me feel sexy, except for the fact that my nipples seem to be in some sort of growth competition with my boobs and everything below my boobs is growing at a similar rate, if not faster.

The full head of hair? I cut my hair early on in pregnancy. At first I loved the ease and not going to bed with a head full of wet hair (ain’t nobody got time for a blow dryer), but now the added fullness is making me feel like Dora the Explorer.

Image

Just imagine an Asian Dora and that’s pretty much me.

And forget the alleged glow – my skin actually gets worse during pregnancy – I get bumps on the back of my arms, and super dry skin everywhere else. I also kind of look like Neapolitan ice cream, with my sunburned shoulders, pale midsection (I am not wearing a bikini pregnant) and tan legs from dragging Tiny Boss to water parks and beaches on my days off. Mmm, ice cream . . .

icecream

And my maternity clothes. Sigh. Can someone please tell Motherhood to stop making so many flower prints? I see them all over my maternity underwear and tops. They’re not sexy, unless you’re really into the Anne of Green Gables look. And yes, I know there are lots of nice maternity clothes, and even some sexy f*nighties, but I really don’t feel like spending five billion dollars on clothes I’ll wear for less than a year.

So what’s the plan to get my groove back? Well, tattoos and piercings are out of the question (they’re off limits during pregnancy due to the risk of disease) and I already colored my hair, something I avoided for almost two years due to my first pregnancy and breastfeeding. I think I’ll go thrifting tomorrow. Maybe I’ll find some awesome, ginormous, non-flowery, vintage print t-shirts that I can wear for the next three months. But don’t worry, I won’t be buying any secondhand f*nighties!

10 Signs You Need a Break From Your Kids

sleepy

This lack of sleep thing is catching up to me, and since I’m unable to think coherent thoughts that are longer than the span of one sentence (see? did that even make sense?), I’ve decided to do a list. So here are 10 Signs You Might Need A Break From Your Kid(s):

10) You accidentally ask for a venti “wawa” at Starbucks, because that’s what your kid calls “water.”

9) You call your spouse up solely to yell at him for something he did or didn’t do.

8) You gave up on your diet because the food you order has to be compatible for picky eaters. Ordering a sald at a restaurant for yourself feels luxurious.

7) You either miss having sex, or wish your partner would hurry up so you can fall asleep. There’s no happy medium.

6) A spa day would be awesome, but at this point you’ll settle for a haircut.

5) Driving by yourself and listening to your own music in the car as loud as you want feels like a vacation.

allbymyself

These are tears of joy, mind you.

4) You know the words to more Yo Gabba Gabba songs than on the current top charts.

3) You’ve seen more photos of “Attachment Parenting Ryan Gosling” than just of Ryan Gosling.

2) When you finally get a break from your kid(s), your first impulse is to start cleaning the house, rather than take time to pamper yourself.

stfu

1) Someone wakes your kid up from his nap and the first thing that (almost) escapes your mouth is, “I will cut you!” Yeah, I’m looking at you, neighbor with a Harley. Oh, and gardeners, UPS/FedEx, those guys with the leaf blowers, people who talk too loudly on their cell phones in public. I WILL cut you.

Yeah . . . I think I need a break.

Not that many of my friends have kids (yet). Or maybe they do, but in the past I’ve always managed to somehow be inextricably busy and unable to attend many of those first birthday parties. That is, until I had my own kid, and realized how important the baby’s first birthday parties is for some (most?) people (mother in laws?).

bitchesbetrippin

But Tiny Boss’s first birthday party is another story for another blog post. Today I went to my friend’s son’s first birthday party. I couldn’t understand why she was so stressed out about the whole thing until I went to the party – and saw what it entailed.

There was a DJ, a face painter, a balloon guy, and tables and tables of food. There was a gigantic banner with a large, blown up photo of the birthday boy. It reminded me of those huge portraits of Communist dictators like Mao Zedong or Kim Jong Il. The number of guests must have been upwards of 150.

The party was based on the movie Cars, and both parents were dressed as mechanics or race track attendants or something like that. The kiddie guests had their own special goody bags that were nice enough that I would have wanted one for myself. Someone told me that all Filipino first birthdays were like this and I thought to myself, poor Tiny Boss – he really got the short end of the stick with me then!

This is the first image that pops up when you do a Google image search for "extravagant first birthday parties." Our Asian Evan didn't have quite such a posh event. Ok, not even close. Source: http://www.hellobee.com/2011/12/29/evans-first-birthday-bash/

This is the first image that pops up when you do a Google image search for “extravagant first birthday parties.” Our Asian Evan didn’t have quite such a posh event. Ok, not even close. Source: http://www.hellobee.com/2011/12/29/evans-first-birthday-bash/

Everyone today was having fun and stuffing their faces, myself included. The kids were all occupied one way or another, and I came to this realization: baby’s first birthdays are like weddings.

  1. No matter how small and intimate, or large and lavish, it’s completely up to the bride/groom/mother/father. It’s their day. Don’t judge. Just enjoy.
  2. There will always be a bridezilla/momzilla/mom-in-law-zilla.
  3. The day will pass in a blur and you’ll rely on good photographers to help you put together the pieces afterwards.
  4. The cake is a big deal to the guests.
  5. An open bar, or at the very least, alcohol made available, is highly suggested.
  6. Party favors and take-homes are a must.
  7. Sometimes the best way to get through the entire event is to drink. A lot. See #5.
  8. The gifts you get don’t make up for the expense of the event.
  9. There’s always that guy/that kid who throws up.
  10. What the celebrant really needs is a nap.

And the guests. The guests need a nap too.

Things Change After Having Kid(s)

This came up in Google images when I searched for "husband after having kids." Check out the blog I found it at - I found it pretty funny: http://evidencebasedtitsandteeth.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/wife-after-baby-a-husbands-guide/

This came up in Google images when I searched for “husband after having kids.” Check out the blog I found it at – I found it pretty funny – and on point. Source: http://evidencebasedtitsandteeth.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/wife-after-baby-a-husbands-guide/

When I got pregnant with my first, I knew my relationship with my husband would change.

It will get (even?) better, I thought. We’ll grow closer.

That was true, but I wasn’t prepared for all the other ways our relationship would change:

photo (5)

Maybe it’s time to donwload this on my Kindle

1) Sex, or the lack thereof

A friend recently told me she knew her boyfriend was going to break up with her because they went from “having sex four times a week to twice a week.” I wanted to spit out my coffee at this. You could replace “week” with “month” and she’d still be getting more than me.

I blame cosleeping in part. Also fatigue, mombod, and a lack of time for waxing.

Not in our house. You gotta strike while the iron's hot. Otherwise, the opportunity may not come again for another few decades.

Not in our house. You gotta strike while the iron’s hot. Otherwise, the opportunity may not come again for another few decades.

On the bright side, we are much more cooperative now. We’ve reached a mutual, unspoken agreement that neither person turns the other down when the rare request is made. If you’re in a desert and you come across water, whether it’s a lush oasis or a sad, tired puddle on its way to evaporating, you don’t think twice. You drink the goddamn water.

2) That feeling you get when you realize your husband is a dad

This is a good feeling. When my husband actually puts down the iPad and really engages with Tiny Boss, and the two of them are happily playing with cars or wrestling on the floor, I think of what a good dad he’s being. There’s just that special feeling that passes over you when you see your child looking at your husband with pure adoration and joy. At times like that, I know we’re doing something right.

3) It’s easier to appreciate the little things

Like eating a meal together without a third wheel. Pre-baby, if we went on a dinner date, it was a special occasion. We would get dressed up and pick a restaurant we loved or wanted to try. Neither of us thought twice about driving to LA to get the best ramen in Little Tokyo or waiting 30 minutes in line for the newest trendy food truck. The places, the company, the food all made it a special occasion.

Now? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

On Sunday, we had a breakfast “date.” It consisted of the two of us dropping our cars off for detail and wash, and then walking next door to Chik-fil-A. And you know what? It was awesome. We talked to each other, and it was for conversational purposes, not for assistance wiping down a stray hand that had found its way into ketchup or to go grab more napkins. My husband noticed this too. “It’s nice eating without someone screaming at you,” he observed. Whether the screaming person he was referencing was me or my son, I’ll leave that unanswered.

10 things I will no longer do now that I’m a mother

1) drop by a fellow parent’s house, unannounced
2) dread baby showers and first birthdays
3) silently curse the fact there’s a screaming infant on my plane ride. Instead, I will say a silent prayer for the parent, because they’re going to need it.
4) vow I will never own a minivan
5) judge a soccer mom
6) underestimate the therapeutic effect of going somewhere alone. anywhere.
7) bug a new mother, for any reason.
8) take for granted showering, brushing my teeth or hair, or eating
9) wonder why shopping cart covers exist
10) think stay-at-home parents have it easy

(Been there, done that)