Blog Posts by Erin Zammett Ruddy

  • Why I'm Glad I Can't Breastfeed

    .I'm due with my third baby in less than three weeks and, as some of you know, I have cancer. My chronic leukemia has been in a deep remission for a decade but I still take a pill every day to ensure it doesn't come back. During my three pregnancies I've had to stop that treatment, which is a little risky, and so going back on my meds as soon as possible is a priority. Especially this time with so much more at stake. That means nursing my baby isn't an option and (please don't punish me for admitting this) I couldn't be happier about that. Let me explain…

    With my first, my oncologist let me stay off treatment postpartum so I could breastfeed. I thought I had prepared myself—I took a class, I hired a lactation consultant, I read all the books—but it was still hard. Really hard. And painful. And exhausting. I got severe mastitis (a common breast infection that causes high fevers and excruciating pain) three different times. I was pumping around the clock, because my nipples were so mangled

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  • 12 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Taking Care of a Newborn

    But man are they cute...I'm three weeks away from giving birth to my third kid. While I've obviously done this before, it's been almost four years since I've had a newborn baby. And, well, you forget what that's like (or you block it out…whatever works). I know it will all come back to me, but I also want to prepare myself for what lies ahead. Right now, I go back and forth between thinking it's going to be a piece of cake (babies come out sleeping through the night, right?) and thinking it's going to be a total effing nightmare. I recall the time with my first two babies being not bad at all. But I think maybe I'm delusional (see blocking it out, above).

    As a refresher course of sorts, I reached out to my many mom friends who've recently given birth—some for the first time, some for the second or third. I asked them what they were most surprised by (pleasantly or not-so pleasantly) in those first weeks home and what they wished they would have known before. While everyone's experience—and baby—is different, I

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  • The Moment That Always Makes Me Feel Like I Suck at Parenting

    They look so sweet, right? Don't be fooled...I think my kids are generally well-behaved. We have our issues but for the most part, they are good, sweet, funny little humans. And I feel like I am (mostly) in control and (more often than not) doing an above-average job at the whole parenting thing. There is one big exception to this and when it happens, it makes me feel like I should just stamp "failure" across my head. The moment in question: When it's time to leave somewhere fun and I say, "Okay guys, let's go!" Lately, instead of hopping to, my children—six and almost four—tend to spiral out of control and turn into the devil's spawn. They whine, they run away from me, they may even say unsavory things. Since this usually happens in front of other people (friends, my parents, strangers at the park), the situation becomes extra frustrating and completely embarrassing.

    We had one of these ungraceful exits at the playground a few days ago, which naturally took place in front of a guy I went to high school with who I hadn't seen

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  • A mom compliment that really isn't?

    There is something I noticed that moms say to other moms all the time: "I don't know how you do it!" Seems harmless, right? Even celebratory. A pat on the parenting back. Well, I'm dubious. Sometimes I think it's said because mom A is truly impressed with the way mom B rolls (juggling a high-powered career while raising three smart, well-adjusted kids and still finding time to volunteer OR being a stay-at-home mom to four and still finding time to shower and get dressed). But, just as often, I suspect it's a euphemism for "I would NEVER do that/put up with that/I feel bad for you/I think you're kinda crazy…."

    While one can, sincerely or otherwise, comment to another mom about what she does ("you're still breastfeeding? I don't know how you do it!" "You cosleep with your three kids? I don't know how you do it!" "Your husband golfs every single weekend? I don't know how you do it!"), the phrase becomes particularly prickly when exchanged between working moms and stay-at-home moms…


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  • Why Everyone Should Take a Babymoon

    Love not having to suck it in! First, let me say I hate the term "babymoon" almost as much as the words "push present" and "playdate." But they're a part of the new parenting lexicon, and as much as the name babymoon creeps me out, the concept is pretty damn great. For anyone in the dark: it's a pre-birth getaway for a mother-and-father-to-be, to reconnect and relax before becoming parents. Well, my husband and I have been parents for over six years—I'm due with our third in a month—but we still took a little babymoon over the weekend and it was fabulous.

    Before having Alex, our first, we flew to the One and Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas for four nights. That was legit. But it was also before we had a mortgage and two car payments and, oh yeah, two other kids. Something on that scale was not in the cards (or the budget) this time. Before having Nora, we did not go away. It was right after the holidays and we had all those things listed above to worry about. And honestly, it wasn't even on our radar. But this

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  • Is it OK to Make Your Kids Be What YOU Want Them to Be for Halloween?

    Photo by: Thinkstock‘Tis the season to talk about what everyone wants to be for Halloween. Which in my house means constantly shooting down ideas that involve guns, masks, violence or sheer danger — the only costumes my six-year-old son seems to be interested in wearing. Since October 31 happens to fall a week before my due date, I’m trying to get ahead of the game and have my kids’ outfits squared away sooner rather than later. But I’m not loving what they’ve given me to work with and apparently I’m not alone. 

    A friend recently posted this on her Facebook page:

    "Parental dilemma #427: Let your child be what they want to be for Halloween or force your own AWESOME idea on them ... hmm ... what to do what to do ... "

    She has a three-year-old daughter and a six-month-old son. Her daughter wanted to be a Disney princess (again) but my friend had a far more clever idea that involved both kids dressing in coordinating costumes. A bunch of people commented on her post (many wanted to know her idea … which she

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  • My Dirty Little Sleep Secret

    Photo by ThinkstockI know this probably won't make me very popular, but I'm just going to come right out and say it: Even though I'm a mom to two young kids and it's apparently part of our job description to be tired all the time, I get plenty of sleep. Like eight hours a night. I'm 34 weeks pregnant so these days I'm up a bit to pee or to roll over (it's a whole thing that requires some concentration), but for the most part — I am the kind of person whose head hits the pillow at, say, 11 p.m. and I don't open my eyes again until 7 a.m. I am so grateful for this and credit my stable sleeping patterns for keeping me a somewhat-stable human being. But here's my concern: Has all this good sleep I've been logging over the past few years made me completely unprepared to bring home a newborn?!

    I just saw a statistic that states the average woman aged 30 to 60 sleeps only six hours and 41 minutes a night. I would die. Seriously, I cannot function on anything less than seven and even that's a stretch. Maybe I'm

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  • Every Mother's Worst Nightmare: An Intimate Chat with Cate Edwards About Losing Her Mom to Cancer

    Hanging with Cate (no, we didn't coordinate our outfits!)OK, I know this is not fun to think about, but when you become a parent, you can't help it: What would happen if you weren't there to raise your child? It's natural to wonder and hopefully, you don't obsess about it too much. But when you have cancer and kids, that fear is a little more tangible. 

    As a cancer patient/survivor and someone who took a risk to have children (I had to stop treatment to conceive and carry three pregnancies), I have some experience with this line of thinking. I've worried and wondered and what-iffed. And I've seen far too many parents lose their battles to these terrible diseases, leaving behind their children

    Last week I had the opportunity to meet Cate Edwards, the daughter of John and the late Elizabeth Edwards. Cate was in New York City launching a new program called "Count Us" which brings support and resources to the advanced breast cancer community. As you probably know, Elizabeth Edwards died of breast cancer in 2010. Cate, her eldest daughter, was by

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  • Do You Believe in Birth Plans?

    I hope I look this good--and calm--when I'm in labor!My due date is less than seven weeks away so how this baby is going to get out (and how I'm going to handle that journey) has been creeping into my conscience. Or it should be. Because it's happening....The truth is, I could talk birth stories all day long whether I'm pregnant or not. It's the first thing I want to know when a friend has a baby (after hearing that all is well and what she named said baby). I'm fascinated by the process and how totally amazing/cool/crazy it is to give birth. But as someone who's about to do it, I really don't want to overthink it. Or overplan it. I'm far more interested in overthinking and overplanning how we're going to function after we add a newborn to our already-chaotic house. And fantasizing about the first giant cocktail I will enjoy. That feels like a better use of my limited mental capacity at this point.

    I've seen friends map out their births (both home and hospital) down to the music they want to be listening to when the baby emerges.

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  • Why the Beginning of the School Year Makes Me Feel like Supermom

    At the bus stop...early!Is it just me or does the back-to-school season make you feel like the best version of your mom self? After the lawlessness of summer, the pendulum has swung the other way into normalcy and routine and structure. I love the fresh-start feel September brings and the novelty of doing so much so well. I'm on the top of my game with lunch making, bedtimes, book reading, hair brushing--I've even flossed my kids' teeth a few times! And I'm loving every second of the blissful, anal-retentive organization we have going on in our house because I know it ain't gonna last. Soon enough I'll be stumped by 1st -grade homework (that we're scrambling to finish the day it's due), forgetting permission slips and sending my kids to school with the heel of the bread folded around some old jelly. Remember Jen Hatmaker's post about the end of school year fatigue that circulated last May? I could totally relate. But right now I feel like I'm going for gold in the mom Olympics. Here's what I mean:

    1. We're

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