Pregnancy Sex Myths Debunked

Ok, so I’ll admit to being a bit naive about having sex while pregnant. I even consulted a friend of mine who is six years younger than me, but also already has a child, as to just how safe sex is during pregnancy. And then after I spoke with her, I decided to talk with my OB about it while my husband was in the room. Don’t worry he’s used to being embarrassed by me and now no longer blushes or flinches with the words that come out of my mouth.

Today I received an email from TheBump.com with the topic: 5 Pregnancy Sex Myths and much like a moth to a flame, I was drawn into the article. It took only a few moments to read the article before I quickly realized that, yep, these are some of the same questions that I’ve asked myself, my girlfriends, and my doctor. So, to spare any of you mothers to be the need to ask any of these questions yourself, I figured I would go ahead and address these right here and now. Of course, I’m probably the only person who has genuinely thought one of these myths could be true.

1. Deep penetration can harm the fetus: FALSE. Your baby is protected in an amniotic sac that is kept in place by a mucus plug (ewww, I know), so regardless as to how uh-hum large your husband/partner may be, he can not penetrate the protective cocoon you baby is encased in.
2. Contractions from an orgasm can cause a miscarriage: FALSE. Not to worry. Orgasms are A-Ok! Orgasms are indeed contractions, but they are contractions of the uterine muscles. So, nothing to really worry about there.
3. Sex can induce labor: FALSE. And to think I have to use the acronym WTF?!?! After all, the first time I heard that was when Rachel was pregnant with Ross’ child on Friends and she wanted to have sex to get the baby out. Yes, I know, relying on a television show for education was a poor choice on my side, but it did provide for good entertainment. You can;however, have a contraction after sex as there is a hormone present in semen which can cause these contractions.
4. Post-sex bleeding is a sign of damage: FALSE. During sex, the cervix can get very soft and pliable which can in turn lead to the occasional spotting. Don’t be concerned unless it becomes a more substantial amount.
5. The baby will know: FALSE. Ok, so I must admit that this thought has crossed my mind especially now when I read that my child can hear me. Do I really want to traumatize him with the fact that his parents are having sex while he’s still in the womb? It just seems a little taboo to me, plus going back to myth #1, my husband and I worried about our son possibly getting a little semen in his eye. Crazy, I know, but we do have ridiculous imaginations, that’s why I’m a writer. While my son can hear me and can feel me moving, he doesn’t know what I’m saying or what I’m doing. His brain has been developing, but not to the point where he will be able to store mommy and daddy knocking the boots in his long term memory. WHEW!

So, just a few myths that I’m hoping at least one or two of you have thought about and considered, but that can now be debunked.

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Frugal Mommy

I have been toying around with the idea of being a stay-at-home mom. Of course, that means that my husband and I are now re-evaluating our finances in order to determine if this is possible. We are exploring increasing life insurance on my husband as well as his disability insurance since he will be the primary breadwinner (nothing will change there, he’s always been the primary breadwinner). We’re also taking a look at my various 401k’s that I have in place, mostly from my previous employer and my current employer, as well as my employee stock purchase options that I have taken advantage of during my career.

We’ve managed to downsize the price of one of cars, as noted in a previous blog when I traded in my beloved Mercedes for a Chevy. We’ve also managed to pay off the majority if not all of our credit card debt, items which can easily be described as the spawns of Satan, but also closed out and destroyed those cards as well.

Instead of spending money on lawn care and maintenance, something we’ve had before in the past, we’ve decided to do a lot of things ourselves, which has meant no purchasing of new shrubbery or flowers for our gardens and conserving on mulch by only purchasing for the front yard as the back yard is fenced in and not many people see this.

We’ve also managed to plant our own garden of vegetables this year which we’re hoping will save us in some grocery expenses while also promoting good health. So, as you can see, we’ve started taking the necessary cuts where need be in order to try to maintain some semblance of a life while only operating on one income. As a matter of fact, once I am on maternity leave, of which I get up to 13 weeks full pay, we are going to experiment at that point with placing all of my income into savings and just living off of my husband’s. A lot of people are questioning if this is possible and I’m pretty convinced that we can make this happen. It will be a lifestyle adjustment, but there’s going to be a change in lifestyle once Davey arrives anyways.

In our attempt for me to be a stay-at-home mom, my husband and I decided to explore the various costs of raising a child. Fortunately, BabyCenter, a website where I get a lot of my content has a Cost of Raising a Child Calculator. http://www.babycenter.com/cost-of-raising-child-calculator

From this, we have ascertained that just for Davey alone it will cost us somewhere in the range of $200,000 to raise him from birth to the age of 18. I have to admit I find this a little shocking and I’m also questioning some of the areas, such as housing that may increase, after all we have a house with a set mortgage and interest rate. I’m really unsure how having a child is going to cause those costs to rise except for perhaps in furniture, but we have a fully furnished house. The cost alone for raising him the first year is estimated to be around $11,000 so we’re are trying to find ways to build that into our budget by cutting out other areas that we don’t need.

I’ve never been the type of individual to own name brand clothing or items of any sort. I’m a huge fan of store brands and NEVER paying full price for something regardless as to how much I may love or need the item. There is always room for negotiation, I suppose that’s the sales side of my personality coming out. I’ve dreamt about owning a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s or Jimmy Choos, wearing Christian Dior or Vera Wang, and I’ve even been known to walk into a Coach outlet and drool over the beautiful bags, but I’ve never bought any of these and that’s obviously not going to change once Davey arrives.

So in my effort to find a way to save money, I have completed some research that a few of you might find helpful in being a frugal mommy. First of which is to breastfeed my child. Not only does a mother’s milk have nutrients you can’t get elsewhere, but it’s also free, which can save thousands of dollars in the first year on food and formula. Second is to make my own baby food. Fortunately for me, we have a vegetable garden in our backyard and my parents will be planting a much bigger one next year, around the age of 6 months for Davey. So, I can download recipes online (we’re already paying for internet, so no additional costs there) or go to the library and handwrite out recipes and use an old notebook to store them in. Plus many store bought foods have fillers and preservatives with zero to no nutritional value. Here is a chart to help you see the cost savings here:

Baby Food Costs

Another way to save money as a whole is through couponing, which has become a new phenomenon that has taken flight with classes on how to coupon best and television shows that will walk you through how to get the smartest deals. I have a few friends who live and die by couponing and their savings are astronomical.

The next area of concern especially where my saving money with my baby is concerned is with clothing. Children are constantly growing expecially during the first couple of years, and according to my baby calculator, my husband and I can estimate spending approximiatelly $700 a year on clothing for Davey. I’m hoping to cut that in half, by going to garage sales, consignment shops and even relying on hand me downs from some of my closest friends. I was a child that wore hand me downs and some of the my favorite pieces came from clothing that my mother got from friends of hers. Their trash was my treasure and still is.

I have to admit the task of trying to become frugal has been daunting, but it’s also been an adventure. There are numerous other avenues to explore, but I’m hoping that just by working on the few I’ve listed above, some of the others will begin to fall into place. My other concern is of course extra-curricular activities as Davey gets older and how to cheapily incorporate those in. Don’t worry, I’m doing my research there as well and have a few ideas that I plan to blog about later.

The Changes Are More Than Physical

Pregnancy brings about a whole new wave of changes, most of which are to our physical forms, and even then it’s usually through weight gain, nausea, and exhaustion. What I’m finding is that pregnancy is also bringing about changes even with my interests. I’ve managed to cover a lot of the changes that I’ve experienced in previous blogs, but something that I’ve noticed a lot more lately are my reading desires.

I love to read. It is one of my favorite past times. I have always loved to read fiction, as it’s usually my escape from reality. And of course, I love educating myself. I’m probably one of the few people who actually enjoyed going to school and if I could make a career out of going to school, trust me I would. Most of the non-fiction items I would read included The National Review, Vanity Fair, and various current affairs and political history books. However, since the onset of my pregnancy and even perhaps in the months before, I have found myself becoming more and more drawn to books about becoming a mother. Instead of downloading the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel or even a Janet Evanovich, I’m now downloading books about parenting for the first time, being a mother at mid 30, and the first years of your baby’s life. I still keep a subscription to Vanity Fair, but I’ve replaced The National Review with American Baby and Parenting magazines. When I walk into a Barnes and Noble, I immediately head for the children’s section, the educating/homeschooling section, or the section about parenting. I find myself voraciously pouring over these plethoras of knowledge, continuously drinking in anything new I can learn and even possibly blog about. I can’t seem to get enough of them.

Lately, I’ve even gone so far as to buy books for my husband, I suppose hoping for some cute romantic scene of us curled up on the couch reading about babies and parenting together. I’ve even managed to change my priorities for my local literacy association’s annual book sale. The book sale itself is over a month away, but I have explained to my husband that I will immediately go towards the schooling/education section and the children’s books, my plan of attack already mapped out. Of course, my husband did remind me that I’m missing one book in my Nicholas Sparks collection, but that is of no concern to me. I’m more interested in my child having as many books as possible and for him to continously expand his brain and his way of thinking.

This summer my beach reads are going to include my two new favorite magazines, plus an additional book or two about cooking organically and even the terrible twos. I might even throw in an additional non-fiction book written by a new mother. And I can’t help but wonder if these interests will change once Davey is born or are my tastes in reading material forever altered? Who knows, perhaps I’ll write my own book about parenting or my adventures in parenting. Again, another change from my normal writing thanks to Davey. Am I upset about these changes? The old me would have said “yes”, but I think I’ve begun to accept that I’m not who I thought I was, and who I’m going to be is more than just a holder of 3 degrees and the writer of a few short stories. Did I ever imagine this as a possbility for my life, the changes that have occurred? Absolutely not, but out of all of the pregnancy changes I’ve experienced, this is the one I welcome with open arms. No more shallow, theatrical, or drama laced novels to escape my reality. I want to be in my reality and experience it all and that includes the new way of thinking with my reading and writing. I have my son to thank for that.

Should I Homeschool?

I am fully aware that this is early. Yes, I know that I still have 3 more months before my son is welcomed into this world, but I can’t help but already consider my options where his education is concerned. There are a lot of mothers out there who home school their children and a lot more who do not for reasons within and reasons out of their control. My original thoughts on homeschooling have changed since I became pregnant.

First off, let me apologize if anything I say comes across as insulting. It is not my intention, but I would be lying if I said these thoughts had not crossed my mind at some point. Originally, well before becoming a mother was on my radar, I thought very little of parents who wanted to home school their children. There were various reasons to put your child in public education, the first of which is that our tax dollars are paying for it. If you’re going to pay for something, then why not reap the benefits? The supposed benefits are something I will discuss later. Secondly, by homeschooling your child you are removing him from the social interaction children need. It’s almost as if he is being sheltered and kept from the real world. I even thought at one point that by homeschooling you would turn your child into a pansy of sorts, a weakling. And finally, the third reason I was dead set against homeschooling was for selfish reasons….I still wanted my career and my life instead of staying at home to teach my child. That reason is shallow and not for the best interests of the child, unless financially it is impossible to go this route.

Now that I’ve become a mother, or well on my way to becoming one, all I can think about is what will be best for my child. What sacrifices will I have to make and am I willing to make those sacrifices? Homeschooling Davey has become a very viable option for me as I’ve spoken to so many parents who have children in our public school system. Some of the stories I hear about the teaching ethics, not to mention the teachers who put themselves ahead of their students, are abhorring. No longer is American History taught as it happened. Instead we have to be worried about whose feelings will be hurt if we discuss the realities including: the slave era, the Native Americans, as well as the Japanese Americans during World War II and even Jewish history. I’m appalled that my child may be taught history from a certain point of view as opposed to being objective, just because of the fact that what was done in the past was wrong. We learn from the past, but not if we don’t tell the truth about it.

My other concern has to do with the fact that Davey may come home and tell me that the world and all of us are a part of evolution and not the creation of God. I’m worried that my child will be pigeon-holed and not because of one certain teacher or school, but because of the standards they are required to follow because society has become more concerned with being fair to everyone. So, I’ve decided to do some research on homeschooling and the benefits to it. I’m not worried about the social interaction that Davey may miss out on, because my son will still have outside interaction through reading groups at the library and personal field trips to the local museums, just to name a few. He will grow up with so many of our friends who have children his age. My research has found there are so many social activities, including clubs and organizations, for children who are homeschooled. Am I concerned that my son could perhaps be ostracized by some of his supposed peers, perhaps our neighbors who continue to put their children through public school? Absolutely! But in the end I have to weigh the benefits to Davey and right now those benefits are far outweighing the negative.

For those of you who are interested in homeschooling and the options available, I encourage you to visit these sites:
http://www.scaihs.org/
http://www.homeschool-life.com/va/hopehs/
http://zsem.k12.com/tpages/index2c_dyn_t2.html?st=SC&se=Google&campaign=South_Carolina_Nat_Awareness-Search&adgroup=SC_HSN_Home_Schooling&kw=+south +carolina +home +schooling&tt_geocat=national&tt_campaign=k8_nonbrand_search

It’s No Longer About Me

I’ve blogged about this subject before, but I don’t think the reality of it really hit home with me until this weekend. Less than two weeks ago I had another doctor’s appointment and this one was for my glucose test. At first, I was a bit nervous about the test especially considering all of the horror stories I’ve heard from other mothers. My expectations were set and my resolve was to just chug the drink. I took my seat in the nurse’s station and willingly took the orange drink that was jostling around in the plastic container. It was super cold to the touch, and when I shook it up, I noticed it didn’t look like my visions of a syrupy drink chocked full of so much sugar that my teeth would begin rotting at the start of the first sip. I actually brought my toothbrush with me in anticipation, as I was eager to scrub off as much of the sugar as possible. I broke the seal on the lid, and closing my eyes I started drinking. After a few big gulps, I found that it actually wasn’t so bad, other than the fact it was extremely cold and my teeth are sensitive to cold. What it actually tasted like was an orange popsicle! Imagine my surprise! I even conveyed that to the nurse and with a laugh she explained to me, “there have been improvements.”

After going through the rest of my check up, where I found that I was perfect, the baby was perfect, and the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me, I took to my seat back in the lobby to await the final amount of time before I could have my blood drawn. Piece of cake, I was thinking! So, when the time came for me to go back to have my blood drawn, I was feeling pretty good and confident about my health. After all, I’ve never been obese. I’ve never been in ill-health. I’ve always passed every physical, every test, and up until I became pregnant with Davey, I was a work-out-aholic! Once my blood was drawn, the nurse informed me that if I didn’t hear anything back by the end of the week, then it meant I passed the glucose test. So, as the days ticked on, I never once thought about the test again. I’ve never had to think about things like this in my life, so why start now?

Unfortunately, on Friday at 2:30 in the afternoon, I received a voice mail from my nurse. I had passed the test; however, I barely passed the test. It was explained to me that anything above 139 meant that I was to come back to the doctor and endure a 3 hour-long glucose test. My score: 139. I actually gasped for a moment and almost asked for her to re-check it again, as if this were one of my tests from college and I could BS my way into the grade I wanted. Instead I listened as she told me to watch my carb and sugar intake. What was I hearing? I actually needed to watch what I was eating? I’ve never had to do that before!

Flash forward a week and yesterday I had a bit of a selfish and emotional breakdown, I’m ashamed to say. My husband has decided to change our diet around to accommodate me and Davey, plus it’s not such a bad thing for him to eat better. Yesterday morning, I wanted Belgian waffles for breakfast. My husband obliged but then told me that I couldn’t have any more bread the rest of the day unless it was whole grain. I waved off the comment as I wanted my waffles. Lunchtime rolled around and my husband offered to make me a tuna salad, or a vegetable salad, both of which sound absolutely appalling to me! This of course led to a discussion that brought me to tears as a wave of guilt and stress washed over me. I can no longer think about just myself. I must thing about my son and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, I have to admit the stress of constantly evaluating my daily food intake is a bit overwhelming. Couple that with my pregnancy hormones that have had me on a roller coaster of emotions all week, and my breakdown was to be expected.

I’m ashamed to say that up until this happened, I never really thought about the magnitude of my actions on my unborn child. I’ve thought about smoking and alcohol and it’s rather obvious the detriments to my child’s health where those are concerned, but the food that I eat????? Everyone tells me this is the one time I can get away with eating whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s like a get out of jail free card, or at least that’s how it’s been conveyed to me. I’ve quickly found out this isn’t true and what a shame I can’t indulge, but alas these are the sacrifices you make as a mother.

Patience is a Virtue

It’s an age-old proverb, and if it’s not then it should be. My mother used to give me this line on a regular basis, “Patience is a virtue.” I usually rolled my eyes at her. After all what was the point in patience, right? The problem was that I was always looking towards the future and anticipating the unexpected and as I’ve gotten older that hasn’t changed.

This week I am technically entering into my 25th week of pregnancy; however, my doctor did tell me last week that I was measuring at 25 weeks, so perhaps this week is my 26th week? I’m not complaining. I would much rather have Davey here sooner rather than later, but my impatience with how long it is taking is not a good thing. I’m only 14-15 weeks away from his birth. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t so far away, but when I think about his due date being September and technically summer hasn’t even started yet, then I become impatient. I want him here now. Actually, I wanted him here yesterday or maybe the day before or even the day before that. Basically, what I’m saying is I’m tired of all of this waiting, I want to hold my son in my arms and start experiencing motherhood. I don’t care to experience pregnancy anymore, not that it’s been so atrocious, but just because it seems like Davey’s birth is so far away that I may never see it.

My girlfriend Christie just had her son almost 2 weeks ago. I talked to her today and she spoke about how quickly time flew by. Will I see it that way as well once Davey is here? I can’t imagine I will because everyday is like a countdown to the grand prize. I almost feel like I’m wishing my life away by counting down. Normally, I’m not so eager to have my summers fly by, but this year I just don’t care. I impatiently sit by and think about my son and what he will look like once he’s born. I envision our days together and how I will be as a mother. I think about all of his clothing he already has and the more that is yet to come. I have these romantic and not quite so romantic notions about life as a mother and regardless as to how stressful and bad those times may be, I’m eager to start experiencing them now! I can’t wait to see my husband holding our son, how he’ll be in the delivery room, what my parents will be like when Davey is born. I can’t wait until his aunt comes down to visit and spoil Davey. I can’t wait to put him in his NY Yankees uniforms, as we’re anticipating our beloved Yankees making it to the World Series which will coincide with the time Davey is born. I look forward to my Saturdays of watching Clemson football games with Davey on television. I wonder how our dog will react to Davey. Will she adjust and become protective of him? I wonder if he’ll sleep or if he’ll be like all of these other babies who never allow their parents to have more than three hours of sleep. And then, even in light of all of my eager anticipation, I also worry about being sleep deprived and how that will impact my mentality. Good or bad, I’m just eager to experience motherhood, and the wait is killing me.

There’s so much I wonder about Davey. I wonder who will he look like most? Will he take after his daddy in the intelligence department, which is my hope since my husband is genius. I wonder what traits he will inherit from both of us, and one that seems to be obvious is that he is stubborn. I’m going to let my husband take credit for that trait, but the one I hope he doesn’t inherit from me is the one that triggered this blog……IMPATIENCE. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll be more laid back than his mother and will roll with the punches a lot easier in life. Whatever he may be or however he comes out in this world, I just can’t wait to start my life with him.

Daddy’s New Tradition

As the weeks have progressed, Davey has become more and more active in the womb. It used to be that he would wake me up at night with his constant movings, but now I’ve become accustomed to his rumblings and little jabs. I actually find them to be soothing and rhythmic and at times they can even lull me back to sleep. Over the past week, his movements have become a little bit more distinguished and I’ve actually been able to see him moving within my belly. For those of you like my friend Erin who finds it creepy that I’m excited about seeing my belly move, its not like I am able to see the indentation of what can unmistakably be either his hand or foot. I don’t want to give any of you “non-moms” out there this vision of a scene from the movie Alien. What I can see is actually more like a thump of my belly. And here’s the exciting part……my husband was able to experience this for the first time this past weekend.

Sunday found my husband and I avoiding the grotesque heat of the Deep South by lying on our couch and absorbing the never-ending (we hope) supply of air conditioning. While watching the Yankees game, Davey became active, swimming around fluidly in my belly, with a soft little nudge to the left and a rolling vibration to the right. His movements became more defined and I told my husband that this was it, that now was his chance to hopefully feel his son moving, something I have desperately wanted for quite some time. You see, while I love the movements of my son and feel a bond with him unlike any bond I’ve ever experienced, I also feel guilty that I am the only one within this household experiencing this. I’ve found myself watching my husband as I rub my belly and I can’t help but feel that he’s disappointed and even hurt.

My husband is the type of man who was meant to be a father. He has the paternal instinct that is pretty much vacant in almost every male. He’s had a plan for his life and children have always been in that plan. As for me, it didn’t matter one way or another if I became a mother, of course now it’s a different story. I absolutely adore motherhood and Davey isn’t even here yet! My husband has been a patient and caring man, always giving me my space and waiting for the chance that I may come around and my biological clock would start ticking loud enough to catch my attention. Fortunately for me, he stayed around long enough and sure enough those loud ticking noises got to me and I succumbed to the time. Now, I can’t help but wonder if my husband has some level of hurt or resentment that I’m experiencing all of Davey’s movements when I’m not the one who originally had parenthood on the mind. I don’t think my husband feels this way. Quite the opposite actually, I think that deep down he’s just happy to be a father in a few months. I once asked him if he felt jealous about the fact that Davey is always with me and he reassured me with a kiss and a smile that he was more than happy.

So in my hopes to make sure that my husband feels more involved in the pregnancy, we have started a tradition of my husband reading to Davey every night. I’m sure some people would find this cheesy, but as for me and my husband, it’s romantic and involving. My husband picks a book and we go into Davey’s room. I sit in the floor where the rocking chair is soon to be, and he lies across the twin bed that we left up so that I had a place to sleep when Davey is sick. He opens the book and begins to read making sure to inflict some tone of emotion and adding a level of personification to the characters. On occasion, Davey has found this to be exciting and he begins to move around again. It brings a smile to my face and I’m convinced even a level of joy to my husband. It’s a small gesture at this point, and doesn’t require much of our time, but it’s worth the time and the energy and I can’t help but love my husband and son even more. I just feel privileged to be a part of their interactions and can’t wait for more.

Selfless Mommy or Just an Excuse to Shop?

I once had a friend tell me that when you become a mom, you develop a whole new sense of self, and that sense is a selfless you never knew existed. I found this hard to believe as I didn’t think it was possibly for me to realize sacrifice my own little indulgences for someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I did give up material things from time to time for my husband, but he always reciprocated with something to replace what I had given up. I never gave to him in the hopes to get something in return. I gave to him because I love him and want to spend money on him. On Monday, I experienced something I didn’t think was possible a whole new level of selflessness that I never thought possible.

Memorial Day weekend is usually pretty action packed with parties, boats and lakes, fireworks, barbeques and if you’re living in South Carolina with me, a little event known as Freedom Weekend Aloft which is an action packed festival complete with live music, carnival rides and hot air balloons. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of summer and also the weekend of some of the best deals in shopping to rival those of Black Friday. My Memorial Day weekend found my husband and me making the long trip to Rochester, NY to visit my in-laws as they hosted a baby shower for us. On the way back, we decided to actually stop on Monday at the outlet stores in order to do a little shopping.

Initially, we were just going to go into the Pottery Barn outlet as I was looking for additional little finds for Davey’s room. What we ended up doing wasn’t exactly part of the plan, but like a moth drawn to a flame, I was pulled into the sidewalk sales outside of all of the children’s clothing stores. I found myself bypassing the Coach and Ann Taylor outlet stores and hightailing it over to Osh Kosh B’Gosh and their 70% off clearance racks. I even managed to buy swimming trunks for Davey, but obviously they will be for use next year. It doesn’t hurt to get a head start, does it? After leaving one outlet store, we went to another and bought more clothing. My child now has more clothes than I do and here’s the thing….I loved shopping for him. I was able to fulfill two desires, my need to shop and my need to not feel guilty about it. In less than a half an hour, I did more damage to my husband’s MasterCard then what I could do in an hour at Banana Republic! I love this. I used to spend hours shopping for myself, hemming and hawing about whether I needed this outfit or that accessory. With Davey, I don’t even think that way; I just see it and automatically think….my son needs this!

I don’t think I’m using my son to feed an addiction, but others may disagree. Either way, I’m serving two purposes….keeping my happiness and sanity while also providing for my son. My husband may roll his eyes at this, he rolls his eyes at everything I do these days, but it makes me feel good and these days I need every little bit of reassurance that I’m not a bad person (pregnancy hormones taking advantage of me) and that I’m a totally selfless mom.