Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama... January 11 2013

Name: Melissa Matthews Brown

Hometown: I grew up in Roselle Park, NJ but now live in Fanwood, NJ

How long have you’ve been living in New Jersey? I have always lived in NJ except for the four/five years I spent living it up on the UES in a rent controlled studio (which I shared with my friend Steph and then with my husband!)

Occupation: Beauty Editor (although you wouldn’t think that thanks to the mommy bags under my eyes :)

 When did you first Become a Mother? January 21, 2011 was the happiest and scariest day of my life

 Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? I come from a large family, I’m talking my mom is one of nineteen kids large, family. I have a ton of nieces and nephews. I became an aunt when I was 8!

Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? NOT AT ALL!!! My mom actually said to me after a few weeks into being a mom to Connor (my first), why are you so surprised by everything? I guess when it is not your child you really can’t comprehend the depth of love, time, sleepless nights and devotion needed to raise a child. 

 How would you describe the first year? A blur! Actually, the first year was thrilling too. It was a year of firsts: crawling, walking, laughing…so many moments. I cherish every one!!! 

You just had a second, Matty, congrats! How is having two babies under two? Before Matty was born I was scared to death of having another baby. Splitting my time seemed like it was going to be impossible. Then, he arrived, my angel baby! He is sweet and enjoys sitting back and checking things out. He loves to watch Connor, he instantly makes Matty smile. Are things busy? Yes! Am I tired? Yes! Would I have it any other way? Not at all. I try to stay as organized as I can but two under two is a challenge. The thing that is  the hardest, Matty and Connor share germs. Connor was never sick in his first year. My poor Matty has been sick ever since he turned 3 months old!

 You just moved closer to your family, has this help with a support system being near by? Living closer to my Mom and friends has been a life saver. I wouldn’t survive without their help. I’m lucky to have such wonderful support.

You also JUST went back to work, how is it going? Going back to work is like a daily adventure. Every day is a marathon. From the minute my feet hit the floor until I get to pull them back under the covers at night I’m in constant motion. It helps that I work with other moms so on days I’m brain dead, they get it!

Tips for new moms? Laugh often! This whole mommy business is tough and if you don’t try to take a minute and find some humor in it all you will go insane! What is really funny, most of my conversations revolve around poop and sleep, “how many times did he poop?” “how long did he nap?”

Poop, throw up and pee-pee are the words most used by me these days!


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

Occupation:  Screenwriter

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.  


Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama... October 12 2012

Today Kimberly from Red Rose and Lavender shares her journey on MB. Each of these posts have been amazing to read and inspiring to us as mothers and we are grateful for these moms opening up to us, thank you Kimberly!

Name: Kimberly Sevilla

Hometown: Charles Town, WV

How long have you been living in Brooklyn? 20 years, this year

Occupation: Floral Designer owner of a Garden Center

When did you first become a mother? Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? I First became a mother in 2008. It was pretty scary for me, I had put off being a mom because of my career. At the time I was an account manager and I handled visuals and installations for clients like Calvin Klein, Barneys and the NFL, most of my co- workers were men with wives who stayed at home or single women who were never going to have kids. I was afraid that when I had children that I wouldn’t be able to work as hard and I had a very demanding job. When my daughter was about 6 months old I realized that I didn’t want to keep up with my demanding job and all the hard work wasn’t worth it, so I figured out something that I could do, and have flexible time to be a mom.  That was opening a flower shop and garden center.

Before becoming a mother what did you know about motherhood? I knew what kind of mother I wanted to be, I wanted the best for my daughter and I wanted to stay away from chemicals and have a natural experience as much as possible. After a year of using cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and only glass bottles, trying elimination communication, micro-examining everything to make sure it was organic, co-sleeping, the works.  I learned how to pick my
battles with baby #2.

Did you have a support system nearby? No, but I found one, an older lady who lives across the street and treats my kids like her grandchildren. She is the best.

Tips for new moms? Get out and meet other moms, talk, your not alone. Develop a thick skin and be thankful that all the strangers that offer ”advice” care about you and your baby, just tell yourself this, really just mean well, it will make you feel better. Ignore moms who say that it just’s get harder, they forget how overwhelming it is when you are a new mom.

We really love your store Rose Red and Lavender. Is there anything you can share with us that you’re currently working on? If parents visit the store, what can they expect? Thanks!! We love kids at the store and try to make it fun for them. This past spring we had an observation honey bee hive on display, I will put it back again this spring. Now we have lots of pumpkins and pumpkin carving kits, old school plastic ornaments and were doing a pumpkin carving demonstration on October 21st http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4353637848#We always try to make it fun.