Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama... November 02 2012
It was bound to happen. I finally get to feature my best friend April on MB. We have been friends for many years and have been through SO MUCH together. I love her. I called her soon after I had my son upset that she lead me to believe that being a new mom was bliss. She simply stated if I told you the truth you would have never tried to have children. She’s right and I am of course happy to have my boy.
Mother of a 9 (almost 10) Olivia and 6 year old Ben, she is originally from Florida but lives in California where she has created shows such as Jane By Design and is currently working on a project for HBO.
Name: April Blair
Hometown: Los Angeles
How long have you’ve been living in California? 12 years
When Did you first Become a Mother? January 2003. It seems like just yesterday that they were born, but they’re already way smarter and funnier than I am.
Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? The sum of my mothering experience pre-Olivia was what I had learned taking care of my black lab, whom I believed was just like a child. If anyone had warned me that having a dog was nothing like having a kid, I would have throttled them. In fact, pre-birth, the thing I was most concerned about was if my lab would adjust to having a baby around. I was clueless. I had no idea how unprepared I was for what life would be like once Olivia arrived. Life (as I knew it) was over. I could not sleep in. I couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours at a time. I could not even get out of the house without an hour of bottle, diaper and stroller packing. It was shocking. And upsetting. And boring. And amazing. And I’d never felt that much love. And, yes, the dog became just a dog.
How would you describe the first year? I hated my body. I hated my babysitter. I hated when I was working. I hated when I wasn’t working. Hated it. But then I loved it, too. Looking at her little face and knowing she was mine was the most rewarding thing I’d ever experienced. Honestly, it was a roller coaster of emotions. I think post-baby blues are the devils work, but if you had told me at the time that my ups and downs were largely due to hormones… I would’ve promptly burst in to tears.
Did you have a support system near by? Most of my support came from my husband, my best friend and my baby sitter… whom, as I mentioned, I loathed because I was jealous that my baby actually liked her. Which made total sense to me at the time. The day that Olivia cried when the sitter left, I was absolutely sure that she needed to be fired. Seriously, she really needed to go.
You have two young children, was it a bit easier when you had #2? Having my son was easier because life (as I once knew it) was already over, so it wasn’t such a shock to my system. I knew what to expect, which kills a huge chunk of stress. I had also learned to relax and enjoy when my kids liked someone else enough to let them take care of them. The sitter I had when Ben was born only left recently once the kids were both in school all day. That they loved her so much only made me love her more and instead of jealousy I felt relief and gratitude. One thing that was more difficult was anticipating/worrying how my having another baby would affect Olivia. Would she like him, would she feel left out, would I have enough love for both of them, was I ruining her life having another child, etc… In my mind, none of that came true at all. But according to Olivia, who is currently reading over my shoulder, the last prediction ”totally came true because Ben is the most annoying brother EVER.” So there you have it.
You used to live in NYC but are now raising your children in California, do you miss New York? I miss New York daily and am constantly plotting my glorious return, but I’m not sure I could handle raising small kids in NYC. I’m really impressed with city moms whenever I’m visiting… the strollers, the sidewalks, the subways… you guys are supeheroes. I think I’d cry if I couldn’t just load my kids in the station wagon for school each morning. L.A. has made me weak : )
Tips for new moms? You have to learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy the imperfections in your parenting. When my 5 year old son quit Audubon camp because it was “bullshit” (yes, I thought Family Guy was a kids cartoon. yes, I’ve learned my lesson) or, worst of all, when I had to tell my kids that their dad and I were getting a divorce a few months ago… There will be times you’ll be sure you’ve failed, but you have to keep laughing and enjoying the moment and remember the old cliche’ (because it’s true)…you WILL turn around one day and that baby will be a distant, sweet, fuzzy memory that has turned in to a really mouthy kid hogging the television and telling you to mind your own business.
I think the best tip anyone ever gave me… and this is when I was struggling nightly to get my daughter to sleep in her own bed (which she did not do until she was nearly 7)… was to not stress about sleep training. If they want to creep in your bed at night, let them creep in your bed at night, because one day soon you won’t even be able to get them to sit down on the end of the bed and talk to you for five minutes. Don’t fight it. Cherish it. It will all be over before you know it.