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I’ve come across mothers both in real life and across the Internet who, when talking about their children, simply melt into this giant puddle of starry-eyed goo. Their children are just so precious, just so amazing, just so awe-inspiring. They talk about their offspring much like a teenager does of a new crush. Those little angels can do no wrong.

It comes as no surprise to me, that these are the same women proclaiming they were meant to be a mom.

I was not “meant to be” a mom.

Now, let me clarify.

I love my children so forcefully that sometimes I think my heart my actually explode out of my body. There are times where I get lost staring into their big brown eyes, am dazzled by their intelligence, sweetness and laughter. The fact that I created them is not a small thing lost on me. In those moments, with all the pieces stacked neatly into place, it all comes easily and I know that I am fulfilling a really important role. In those moments, I’m sure I’m that woman gushing about my little sweetums. I mean, I adore those rascals.

There are also times when the day is endless. The kids are whiny and at each others throats. The toddler poops in the tub (while they’re both in it), the preschooler is drawing on my dining room table, and the house is a disaster. As they push each other down again and start screeching, I sometimes wonder, how is this my life?

I have to work at being a mom every single day. Some of it comes naturally. The love, for sure. But not all of it. Every day challenges me to do better, to BE better. I had wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and even at the worst of times, I would never go back. But there was no divine intervention, no choosing of me to be a mother. It’s a job I chose and one I’m damn good at (most days), but still, not “meant to be”.

Maybe those Meant to Be moms really do have perfect lives with children who fall right into that picture. I think they’re just showing the world their best cards, but who knows. What I do know is that this morning, as I literally scooped poop out of my tub with my (glove covered!) hands, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself that this was NOT what the mom brochure promised.

I don’t think there’s any shame with having to work at being a parent. I think the regular self-evaluation makes me a better one, actually. If you’re like me, you love being a mom. You LOVE your kids. You might have even uttered “meant to be” once or twice. I might have. Probably while my first born was itty bitty and sleeping on my chest. Maybe not when he was spitting up in my underwear.

Definitely not while the other one was pooping in the tub.

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Well, hello! It has recently come to my attention that this little post of mine has been pinned over 30,000 times. With a picture of my face hours postpartum, none-the-less! HA! I figured that since so many people are benefiting from it, it only made sense I pop in and say hello. Since writing this post, I’ve had a second baby boy and am pregnant with my third little guy, due in June 2014. If you’re curious whether or not I would change anything in this post having been through it again, my answer would be no. I stand by it all, and am thrilled at the outpouring of comments it has received. You should definitely take the time to read through them all.

Thank you for visiting These Little Moments. Be sure to hop over to the homepage to read about my adventures in motherhood (I’m pretty brutally honest…), find some yummy recipes and share in my little community. Good luck with your pregnancy, and happy packing!

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Asked on Formspring: Hi Molly! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now (pre-wedding!) I’m 30 weeks with my first baby now and remember you having done a post on what to pack in your hospital bag but I can’t seem to find it! Can you repost it?

Congrats on the almost-arrival of your little one! The original post was a list of things I had already packed and I asked for advice from those who had gone through it before me. So I’ll do you one better than reposting it, I’ll give you an updated one now that I’ve done it too. There are great compilations out there already, but here’s my two cents.

Paperwork:

– Birth plan, if you’ve written one. I didn’t, but I discussed it with the nurse when I arrived.

– If you haven’t filled out admission papers prior to arriving at your choice of hospital (Ours sent us the information to fill out and send in during the pregnancy), you or someone with you will most likely have to fill that out when you arrive. Have proper identification and health insurance information on hand.

– A pen. They always come in handy.

For you:

– Toiletries. Bring the whole shabang — shampoo, conditioner, soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, razor, face wash, make up, hair product, brush, hair dryer (if your hospital doesn’t already have one in the bathroom.) The first shower after a vaginal birth (I can’t speak to a c-section…anyone?) is awkward and uncomfortable. You are sore and exhausted and will most likely be instructed to shower sitting down. Don’t worry, you’ll want to! For me, the first shower was just a get clean situation, but my second shower felt wonderful and I wanted to look as happy as I was feeling. It felt great to “dress up” for guests and the thousands of photos that were being taken. (Also might want to bring toiletries for your partner. We lived close enough that Michael went home to shower, but you might not have that option.)

(Post-second shower. Well worth it.)

– Clothing for you. When you arrive you will change into a standard hospital gown. I’ve heard of some women bringing their own fancy birthing gown, but I personally think it’s a waste of time and money. Here’s the thing about birth; there’s a lot of fluids. A LOT of fluids. So my recommendation for clothing is:

– Dark colors. (See: fluids). I wore a thigh-length black sleep shirt that unbuttoned in the front right after my first shower. It was comfortable, allowed for easy access to the bits that needed lots of ice and attention that day (it’s a true fact), and was easy to open for breastfeeding.

– Stretchy, comfortable pants. I wore (black) yoga pants and a (black) nursing tank on day two. Remember, you will still look at least 6-months pregnant, so you want things that stretch and give.

– A lightweight robe, zip-up sweatshirt or cardigan. Hospital temperatures can vary and you will be losing a lot of fluids. Again, with the fluids!

– Slippers (ones that you don’t care too much about) and flip flops, for walking around/taking showers. Socks.

– Nursing tanks. You most likely won’t want to bother with a bra during those early days, so a nursing tank provides coverage and support without being binding.

For baby:

– Going home outfit. A general rule of thumb is that baby will need one more layer than you do. Owen was born during a very hot June and came home in a onesie, long-sleeve jammies and a hat. I also used a lightweight blanket over him in the air conditioned car. Make sure you bring at least one outfit in the NEWBORN size. I know, they look so small you can’t imagine anything fitting in it, but trust me. Unless you have a really, really big baby, yours will most likely fit in the newborn size. For like, a minute. Bring a 0-3 as a backup.

– Car seat.

– Honestly, that’s really all you NEED for baby. The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, lotions, creams, receiving blankets, hats and t-shirts. I brought all that stuff from home, and didn’t use it at all. If you feel like dressing up your little one before on the days before you leave, by all means bring extra clothes. Owen wore the hospital-issued hats and tee’s and stayed wrapped up in blankets for most of our stay.

Electronics:

– Cameras, camcorder (if you’re so inclined), lap top (you will have down time, believe it or not) and cell phones, as well as any needed chargers, batteries and memory cards.

Extras:

– Boppy or My Brest Friend pillow. Great for early nursing and visitors who want support while holding baby.

– A pillow and pillowcase for you. Hospital pillows are flat as pancakes. Bring something that makes you comfortable.

– iPod, photos or anything you think you want to use during birth. I brought my iPod, but it never made it out of the bag.

– SNACKS. I cannot stress this one enough. Yeah, yeah, for everyone else, but bring snacks for YOU. I was famished after birth and it felt like just moments before I was asking to eat something. My first food post-baby was a Kashi granola bar and holy cow, was it delicious. Hospital food, well…it’s about on par with airplane food. Bring take out menus or at least the number to a good pizza place if your hospital doesn’t already provide them.

Also, since we’re taking hospital setting here — you most likely will not be able to eat once things get rolling. My hospital had popsicles on hand that were fabulous, but if yours doesn’t, see if you can bring your own.

Note: You will notice I didn’t mention anything about bringing underwear. That’s because you will be introduced the infamous mesh undies and lo, they are divine. Mine were boy short-style and they stretch to massive lengths, which is good, because you will be wearing sanitary napkins the size of down comforters. Again, fluids.

That being said, when you leave the hospital, take everything you can get your hands on. Seriously. Receiving blankets, diapers, baby toiletries, EXTRA MESH UNDIES, the perry bottle (I hate to tell you, but you won’t be using toilet paper for a while), numbing spray, extra pads, etc. The hospitals actually encourage it and will mostly likely give you more of whatever if you just ask. I asked for more mesh undies. Seriously.

Now, I’m sure I forgot something because jeesh, that’s a lot of stuff. So feel free to comment and tell me and all moms-to-be what you couldn’t have lived without during your birth stay.

Happy packing!

1. There is now a “designer” Snuggie. It comes in leopard print. I knew this even before I saw the commercial, because a woman got into the same elevator as me in Kansas City and she had one. And was excited about it. The Snuggie. Really.

2. My sister-in-law and I went into a jewelry store last weekend and starting oohing and ahhing over a very.big.ring. It was gorgeous, but we weren’t being serious about it. We just wanted to try it on. And try it on we did. All 7 carats, $301,000 of it. Yes, that was three hundred and one THOUSAND dollars. I wore a house on my finger. I wish I had taken a picture to show you.

3. Speaking of houses, I was checking out real estate listings in Kanas City for the hell of it, and found a 5 bedroom, 5 bath, granite kitchen, finished basement home for $245k. Our house is smaller than that, has no granite and does not have a finished basement. And let me just tell you, it did not cost $245k. Not even close. Perhaps we’re living in the wrong part of the country?

4. Pill-free update: so far, so good. The only real change I noticed were menstrual headaches. I never had those before and they are not fun, but I suppose nothing some Advil can’t fix.

5. I’m the tannest I’ve ever naturally been in my entire life. Apparently, when you have time to spend consecutive days on the beach and the boat, this is what happens. Of course now, it’s getting chilly again. Bye, bye, color.

6. I’m experiencing a major blog blockage right now, hence the Randomness. I’m really frustrated by it, actually. Is it time to hang up my blogging hat? Have you as bloggers experienced this? How did you get through it? Did you push through, or pull the plug?

Blog? I have one of these? Oh, yeah. I totally copped out with the birthday posts (although, not really, I suppose. I DID want to wish them a happy birthday), but it’s just been too nice out to blog. It’s been sunny! And warm! And sitting in front of the computer just seems wrong.

I don’t have much of a coherent post, so I’ll give you some tidbits.

– We bought a boat. Our maiden voyage was on Michael’s birthday and lo, it was glorious. Or at least, the first leg of the trip was. By the time we returned the wind had picked up and that last hour was cold. Really cold. But still, boat! On the water! With my boys!

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You can tell the wind was starting to pick up based on the direction Kodiak’s hair is blowing.

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Life vests for safety, people.

– I’m applying for a job that requires a typing certificate. In order to receive this certificate, I have to take a typing test at a government center 45 minutes away. I had an appointment to take that test at 9 a.m., however when I got there, they informed me the program wasn’t accessible because tech support changed the password and could I come back tomorrow?

Think they could have called me to tell me that?

– When I get a job, the thing I will miss the most is time home with Michael. He works different hours each week so often we are home together during the day. We’ve always been super close, but unemployment has given us the opportunity to be even closer during our first year of marriage. It’s been really nice, despite having one less paycheck.

The thing is, we’ve become pretty co-dependant. Not in a hold my hand while I go to the bathroom type of co-dependant, but more like a where are you going can I come with you type of co-dependant. Don’t get me wrong, we can survive alone, but we don’t like to. I’ll definitely miss him when I go back to work.

– Baby? Still want one. Like, yesterday. Trying? Not yet. But soon? Maybe?

– Idol — I was Adam all the way. Don’t get me wrong, Kris is good, but too John Mayer for my taste. Adam is just really unique and maybe it’s better he didn’t win so he can move forward without being under the Idol thumb. I’ll definitely be buying his CD.

– Um, it’s sunny. And warm. I have to get off the computer immediately.

– Sun! Sun, sun, sun, sunny sun. I am going outside as soon as I’m done writing this.

– The 30 Day Shred is getting easier. I’m about a week in and already notice a difference in my arms and stamina. I hear Level 2 has a lot of planks, though. I’m not too thrilled about that.

– I had birthday cake last night. I love birthday cake.

– SUN.

– Yesterday, I bought the CUTEST little outfit for my friend’s son. It made my ovaries dance in a million circles.

– My sister is staying till Tuesday.

– Kodiak appears to have Lyme as we suspected. This isn’t good news, but it is treatable and therefor not something majorly scary. In addition to his antibiotics, we gave him a pain pill last night that seemed to bring him back to his old self.

– It’s not raining. So there’s sun. Did I mention the sun? No? Well, it’s sunny!!!!!

What’s making you smile today?

Happy weekend!

Jumping on the bandwagon…

1. My husband pulling me close in his sleep.

2. Puppy kisses when I come home from PT.

3. Fitting my wedding rings on my right hand.

4. A stack of unread library books.

5. Chamomile tea with soy milk and honey.

6. Possibilities.

What are your small graces today?

So many of you have asked about my wedding rings. Right after the fall my finger started swelling. I didn’t think it was broken, just jammed, but figured I should take my rings off anyway. They wouldn’t budge.

I burst into tears — again — because I was terrified the hospital staff was going to have to cut my beautiful symbols of marriage off my finger. Between the pain and the fear of losing my rings, I was a mess.

Michael, who thinks about things and doesn’t emotionally react right away (unlike his crazy, crazy wife), went into the bathroom, brought out some hand lotion and put some on my finger. After a little wiggling, they came right off. Phew.

The nurse told me we had done the right thing, because by the time we got to the hospital my finger was twice its normal size.

So now, the bling is in a box. I can’t wear them for 2-4 weeks until the swelling goes down and they don’t fit on any other fingers so I can’t even switch it up.

Michael is still wearing his ring, of course, which we joked makes it look like he’s cheating on his wife when he goes out in public with me, the ringless woman.

Things I am over today:

1. A-Rod

2. Chris Brown

3. The mother of the octuplets

4. The new lineup for Dancing with the Stars

5. Winter

6. Unemployment

What are you over?

This five question interview thing has been circling around the Internets, so when my friend Elizabeth asked who was next in line, I figured I might as well jump in. Below are the questions she wrote for me. If you want to be interviewed by me, leave me a comment and let me know!

(Oh and p.s. – thank you all for the pointing me in the direction of more than 145 new blogs. Holy crap, do you people deliver. I am honoring my promise of stopping by each and every one…just give me a few weeks to hit you all!)

What do you want to know about your future?

In the immediate future, I’d really like to know when and where I’ll be working again. I’d also like to know if I have a real shot at becoming a muse for Christian Louboutin in the near future.

What is on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table because this is the one piece of furniture that causes me much angst. I can never find one I really like that doesn’t cost a fortune. I do, however, have an end table near the couch that I use just as often — if not more — than I would a bedside table, and at every given time it holds 2-3 library books, peppermint Chapstick, nail scissors, a photo of me and Michael in the snow ages 19 and 21, a hammered nickle lamp that I love, a bottle of nail polish and a wrapper from a piece of chocolate.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Mary Poppins (the original book is amazing), the entire Oz series, Little House on the Prarie…I could go on and on. I read a LOT.

List five things you need to survive (excluding the obvious…air…etc.) if left alone on a deserted island.

Chocolate. Books. Flip flops (because stilettos would sink in the sand). Sunscreen. Michael.

Name one thing you learned today.

When the thermometer says 10, it’s best not to leave your gloves on the counter.

Bonus:  Why doesn’t MacDonald’s sell hot dogs?

Because the FDA is only just allowing them to sell “hamburgers”.

OK, who’s next?

Why wait for Thanksgiving?

Today I’m thankful for…

– Flannel sheets and a fluffy down comforter.

– My husband’s tousled bed head.

– Cozy sweater dresses and slouchy suede boots.

– Quaker Oat Squares cereal, no milk.

Southern New England Home, Food & Wine and Design New England sitting on my desk just waiting to be read.

– One of my blog crushes following me on Twitter.

– A dinner date with a friend, complete with a chilled bottle of wine.

– Sun, sun, glorious sun and not a cloud in site.

– A hair appointment on Thursday (the blonde won out…at least for a little while longer.)

– Minty chapstick with just the right amount of tingle.

– CDs of our wedding music given to us by the DJ.

– Green tea, piping hot on this chilly day.

What are you thankful for today?