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Friday, April 15, 2016

Mom of the Month - Annie Cicero

I'm so happy to feature our April Mom of the Month, Annie Cicero!

She is a hilarious, realistic and fun-loving mother, who works hard to help her kids enjoy every day. She doesn't take herself too seriously, and acknowledges her strengths and mishaps. I love it!

Congrats, Annie!

Images shared from Annie Cicero

1. Describe your children in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names?

In three words, I would say Billy is joyful, sweet, and intense. He feels everything very intensely, and he acts on every feeling very intensely. Jack is always happy and never sleeping.

Billy, short for William, is named after my husband’s grandfather. His middle name is Michael for my dad and my husband’s brother. Jack is just a name we both liked. His middle names are Henry and Tullius. Henry was just because we liked the sound of it. Tullius is the middle name of the Roman philosopher Cicero. Brian always wanted to name a son after him and regretted not doing it with Billy. He told me I could choose Quintus or Tullius. I told him not to make demands of a pregnant woman and to go find me something covered in chocolate. After a while I came around to it, though and now I love his name. I also think that “Jack H.T. Cicero” is the type of name that someone really important has. Might as well start putting unrealistic pressures and expectations on them now, right?

2. How old are your children? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby?

Billy is 4, Jack is 8 months. With Billy, I had an IUD in when we got pregnant (birth control is only a suggestion to my uterus) so we were rather shocked and scared when we found out. Our announcement was more of a cry for help. We had also had a few miscarriages (both while I was on birth control – seriously. Nothing is 100% kids!) so we didn’t really expect it to actually happen. I carry a weird gene that causes a lot of miscarriages, so it’s just something I always expect when I get a positive pregnancy test, especially when I have an IUD to complicate the situation further. We kept it quiet, but the people I told got the disclaimer of “I’m pregnant but I might not be having a baby. I’ve just come down with a touch of pregnancy.”

Jack was less of a surprise. We told our family at Christmas, then we made a fake movie trailer to tell everyone else. It was a lot of fun to reveal that way!

3. How would you describe your pregnancies? How was delivery, birth and labor for you?

The pregnancies that have ended with a healthy baby have been fine. I get weird cravings, but physically I’m OK. Emotionally, I have been a disaster every time. I am a total basket case! I really do not enjoy pregnancy but I kind of love labor and delivery. I wouldn’t say that when I’m in it, but after the pain is over and all those silly hormones kick in that make you forget what it’s like to have another human exit your body through a very small hole, I have really beautiful and fond memories of delivery. I pulled Jack out myself and it was such an awe inspiring moment. I love that memory.

4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.

Forgetful, scattered, crazy, improving!

5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they're old enough to tell you?

I can’t think too hard about how I want them to see me, because then I focus on how I look to other people and start comparing myself to every mom I think is doing it better than I am. It’s too overwhelming trying to create the image of “Mom”, so I’m just trying to be as present as I can be, and try to stay as focused on my family as possible without losing my sense of self. Hopefully they remember me as someone who felt just so damn happy and lucky to get to be their mom.

6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?

I picked a good dad for them! Brian is an amazing father. The boys love him so much because he honestly loves to just play with them. He’s been going to school full time for 3 years, and before that he was working full time and going to school. Through all of it he has kept all of us his priority. He leaves notes for Billy when he has to get to school before we wake up. When I work at night, he wears Jack in the carrier and bounces him while he studies. He is amazing. He keeps me focused on what’s important, and most days he keeps me sane!

7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?

Trying to forgive myself when I get stressed out, or overwhelmed and I act badly. I think I can be a little patient with tantrums because I really relate to that feeling of being so overcome by emotions that you don’t have the energy to feel all of that and control yourself at the same time. And not letting my family’s successes and failures feel like a reflection of me. When your job is to take care of everyone else, it’s hard to remember that their bad day is not my fault, it’s not my responsibility to fix it, and I’m not failing because I can’t fix it.

8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier?

Amazon and drive-thru. The least amount of times I have to get out of the car, the better.

9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?

Don’t compare yourself to anyone. None of us know what we’re doing. We are all just figuring it out and hoping no one notices.

10. What is a typical day like for you?

Chaotic? Is that an answer? I’m going with that.

11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object?

Go to every Disney park in the world, drive across the country and meet as many strangers as possible, hike through the Grand Canyon, snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef and hike up a volcano.

12. What are your favorite things to do outside with the kids when the weather is nice?

We love going to the beach! Any activity that involves water makes us all pretty happy.

13. Tell us a time where you felt like you failed at parenting... but then realized you truly had not failed, things worked out fine.

Just the entire year of age 3. I was pregnant for most of it, and pretty certain that I was raising a serial killer and we would never relate. Now he is 4, I am less hormonal and I love hanging out with Billy. He’s a pretty cool kid.

14. What makes you a strong mom?

The women in my life. Every time they listen to me and respond with “YES! I totally get that” it makes this whole thing a little less lonely. It’s good to know that if I’m doing it all wrong, at least most everyone else is too. Our kids can all go to group therapy together.

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