Keeping it Real

Friday night freakout.

January 7, 2017


I want to keep her!

I want to hear her tiny voice singing songs in a language only known to her.

I want to sit her in my lap and smell her hair, damp and sweet from the bath.

I want to meet her impatient arms, always needing.

I want to put her in my pocket where the horns beeping and the whistles blowing cannot be heard.

 A secret I can carry.

This is love.

Love that knows my wants cannot be.

I cannot keep her.

She cannot stay.

Tomorrow, she will already be gone.  Different, somehow.

This is love and I want to keep her.  This is love and she cannot stay.

A Statement On Sharenting from the Inventor of Sharenting

November 17, 2016


Posting these because I took A MILLION pictures of Maisie wearing my hat like it’s no big deal.  I mean, C’MON.

Sharenting (or oversharenting) is a term used to describe the overuse of social media by parents to share content based on their children. 

So the other day I was minding my own business, scrolling through Yahoo News when I saw an article titled “What is “Sharenting” and Should We Be Doing It?”  I clicked through and started reading and soon enough I felt my face turning red as I imagined one of my random Facebook friends (or my rotten siblings) seeing the same article and thinking “UGH…I hope she sees this.”  Even worse, I started worrying – am I putting Maisie at risk by posting pictures of her on the internet?

I thought long and hard about why it is that I feel inclined to post sometimes daily images of my toddler on Instagram/Facebook?  Why it is that I need to constantly take a million pictures or write a blog about our life?

I came up with some reasoning which I think is pretty basic.  I will order from from most —> least normal:

1 – Pride.  I love my daughter more than I can explain or comprehend.  I know my childless friends can’t understand this but just about everything she does makes me proud.  If that is wrong then I don’t want to be right.

2 – Far Away Relatives.  Maisie has a pretty legit extended family – but unfortunately none of them are close to us geographically.  Texting pictures and videos can feel tedious as opposed to broad sharing on social media.

3 –  Posterity.  The last 18 months have gone by so quickly that I can barely wrap my mind around it.  I have so few images of myself as a baby or toddler.  I think I have ONE picture of my Mother and I from my childhood.  I need to preserve memories for Maisie and for Joe and I.  Once upon a time I was a photographer before I was a Mother.  But why do I do it publicly?…

4 – Isolation and Loneliness.  Did you know that I sometimes go to work for 4 days, take care of Maisie alone for 3 days and then go back to work for another 4 days?  Did you know that our closest relatives live an hour away from us?  Did you know we go 6 months or more at a time without seeing our friends?  Did you know that we can’t afford to pay an occasional weekend babysitter in addition to Maisie’s daycare tuition?  I won’t go on and on but sometimes our life can feel really hard and lonely but I always know, even on the worst days, that we are extremely blessed.  So yes I’ll freely admit, posting a picture of Maisie on a Saturday or Sunday during what I call my “pretend single Mom” time makes me feel less lonely and more connected to the outside world.  Sorry random Facebook friends, but I’m not sorry.

5 – What if?  What if something happens to me?  What if I get hit by a bus?  How will Maisie ever know how much she meant to me?  How will she know me at all?  I pray that if something horrible happened she would find this blog one day or be able to scroll through the thousands of pictures and videos that I took.  Is that weird?  I guess.  I mean, it’s probably weird.  Whatever!  Hope for the best, plan for the worst right?

The article did remind me of something I’ve always tried and will definitely continue to be extremely conscious of – her safety.  I never name names of addresses, exact locations etc. – her daycare, our home etc.  Since about 6 months, I’ve never posted a picture of her without a shirt on.  I mean, is there a chance some lunatic could swipe her picture from the MILLIONS of pictures being shared by other parents and do something weird with it?  I guess there’s a chance anything could happen, maybe I’m being naive but I’m not worried.

So the safety stuff was cool but as for the rest I only have one thing to say…BYE FELICIA.  Sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping for a “the first step is admitting you have a problem” type of post.

Full Time Working Mom Confessions | Volume II

October 24, 2016


Somewhere in a parallel universe I am doing this.

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

I have been alive for 32 years and there is one thing I know to be an absolute truth: having to leave my sick child and go to work is the purest form of torture I’ve ever experienced.

Maisie has a double ear infection and spiked a high (104!) fever over the weekend.  I ran her to the pediatrician and got some antibiotics to pair with the Tylenol we’ve been giving her around the clock.  Thankfully, her fever broke yesterday and she seemed to finally be feeling better this morning…so…we sent her to daycare today.

I feel like a monster even typing that sentence out.  But with limited sick time and the winter germ season approaching Joe and I need to be really careful about when we use our time off.  Because the truth of the matter is we could get a call next Tuesday morning that she has a stomach bug and we need to pick her up immediately.  Or she could wake up in a month from now on a Monday and have another fever.

So at 6:30 a.m. this morning, I had to choose between my natural instincts as a Mother and my standing and job security at my place of employment.  Sidebar – I would have loved to be one of those question asker people at the presidential debates.  Because, you better believe, my “question” would’ve turned into an 18 minute tirade about the lower middle class struggle.  We’re down here man!  We work and pay our taxes and everything.  HALP!!!!

That’s really all I have to say about this issue.  That no matter how balanced things can sometimes feel, when Maisie gets sick it instantly falls apart.  That on my way to work this morning I cried as hard as I did on my first day back from maternity leave.  That I wish she were older and could understand why I can’t be with her.

Maisie, I’m so sorry. 

Full Time Working Mom Confessions | Volume I

September 22, 2016


You guys, Maisie is almost 17 months old and I still haven’t gotten over the shock of how impossible it can feel to juggle being a full time working Mama.  Most days I’m just striving for mediocrity on all fronts.

The other working Moms I see (on Facebook, of course) seem to have it all together.  I doubt anyone thinks the same of me but justtttttt in case I decided to start spilling a few secrets about our daily life.  I’m always SO fascinated to hear how other families make it all work so here goes.

First up is dinner.  Confession: 75-80% of my daughter’s dinners are reheated leftovers that she eats alone.

On the days Maisie is in daycare we get home around 6:00 p.m.  By that time, she is very hungry and extremely tired.  There just isn’t time for gourmet cooking.  Also, fun fact about me – I don’t really cook!  Doomed from the start.

2/3 days I will heat up something from the last time Joe cooked and the third day I will make her something super fast – like brekkie for dinner or pasta.  I might not be able to cook but I can (usually) handle scrambling an egg and buttering a piece of toast.

I sit with her while she eats and pick at her leftovers and then Joe and I eat together when he gets home around 8 p.m. Whenever we can, we try to eat dinner together as a family, but realistically that is only happening 1-2 nights on a good week.

The entire dinner situation feels sooooo far from ideal, but it’s the absolute best we can do right now.  However, I feel really blessed because Maisie has a great appetite and (so far) isn’t picky at all.  I usually have no problem making sure she eats a protein, veggies and a carb for dinner – even if it is reheated from 3 nights ago 🙂


July 26, 2016


I haven’t had a full week off from work since August of 2014.  What’s that now?  NO, my maternity leave doesn’t count.  Don’t you dare try to make it count.

Anyway, it is now (almost) August of 2016.  Two lonnnnng and grueling years later here I am…mere days away from an entire week off.

Our very first week off as a family, in fact.  Joe is on vacation as well and Maisie’s daycare is closed for the week.

And guess where we’re going!?


A few months ago I started dorking out and dreaming up a small trip the three of us could take on our first official family vacation.  I was eyeing destinations like Sesame Place, Mystic Connecticut or even a few days in Boston.  I googled and googled for toddler-friendly vacation ideas….and then I just kind of ran out of steam.  It was like I was exhausted before even choosing somewhere to go.  The thought of how quickly the expense of a 3 day excursion would add up, driving for hours with a toddler who hates being in a carseat, the amount of shit we (I) would need to pack and having to share a hotel room with someone who goes to bed at 7 p.m….I just….gave up.

Once I accepted defeat I actually got really excited about the idea of NOT going somewhere.  I even made a spreadsheet (I literally can’t help it…I’m addicted to making spreadsheets) filled with local destinations –  brunch spots, an aquarium, museums, sprinkler parks and beaches – that we are going to check out.  I’m also pumped to catch up on some long overdue admin stuff…I’m going to get my oil changed and go to the dentist, Joe wants to do some yard work and re-grout our shower etc.

Most of all, I can’t wait to soak up some precious time together as a family…we get so little of it.

Someday I will be writing a blog post about our expensive and (probably) stressful trip to Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge, Disney or the monuments in Washington D.C….but today, on this day, I’m looking so forward to our low-key Dugan Family Staycation.

All’s Good in the Hood

June 22, 2016


Look at this big girl!  The love of my life.

Oh, why hello there!  Have you noticed that the sun is shining and the beach is beckoning!?  SUMMER!!!

Embarrassing as it may be, I feel compelled to admit that I have been in the absolute worst mental funk of my life for the past 2-3 months.  It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad Spring.  I’ve been completely trapped inside my own mind and spent every waking moment stressing out, panicking and worrying about 12 different things at once.  My stress and worry then swiftly turned into feelings of anger and then finally just bottomless despair.  And I couldn’t snap out of it!  I convinced myself that the problems in my life were unique to me and everyone else’s life was infinitely better than mine.  Basically, I was feeling pretty gosh darn sorry for myself.  An old school middle-child pity party if there ever was one.

Anyway, I had a heart to heart with my brother and he somehow made me realize that it was my reaction to the problems that was irregular, not the problems themselves.  Genius!  (literally, he’s a genius).

Like, what full time working Mother doesn’t feel stretched too thin?  What young couple raising a family on Long Island isn’t at least a little bit stressed about their finances (don’t answer that!) or when/how they will be able to have more children?  These are all first world ‘Merica problems I suppose.

Either way, the fog is lifted and SUMMER is here!  It’s here and crazy Maisie already has a few skinned knees to show for it 🙂

And speaking of Maisie, here’s a recap of off-the-charts adorable things she’s done recently:

1 – Giving big hugs and kisses – Joe and I FaceTime when he gets out of work so he can say goodnight to Maisie.  Last night, completely unprovoked, she kissed his face on the screen of my phone.  I literally died.

2 – Dancing – When Maisie visits Nana and Papa she will walk right up to Papa’s speakers and start busting a move.

3 – Pretending –  She has a toy minivan (?) and when she pushes it along the floor she makes a “vrooooooooom” sound.

4 – Ballin – Maisie LOVES throwing a ball around.  Anytime, anywhere.  I’m already grooming her for third base – hot corner!

Sigh.  I love her so.

Flying with a 13 Month Old

June 6, 2016


Last week I had to go to Las Vegas for work and Joe & Maisie tagged along to visit his Mom and Grandparents. When we booked the tickets back in November I naively looked at my 6 month old and thought – “It will be easy to fly with her in June. She’ll be over a year old at that point.”




I spent the week or two leading up to this voyage absolutely freaking out and reading dozens of blog posts and articles about flying with a young toddler on your lap.  If you have just frantically googled “Flying with a 13 Month old” and found yourself here – spoilers ahead!


Here is a list of things we did right:

1Packed a TON of snacks. Turns out there are plenty of food items you are permitted to easily bring through airport security. Including (but not limited to) bananas, cheerios, cheese sticks, wrapped sandwiches, powdered milk, freezer packs etc. We just picked up a few bottles of water in the terminal and we had enough food to feed 10 Maisies. I am usually pretty rigid about her nutrition and food intake but the mantra for the flight was “whatever Maisie wants, Maisie gets.”

2Packed a bunch of toys that Maisie has never seen before. I ordered some cheapie (and travel friendly) toy assortments on Amazon and we slowly rolled each new toy out during her awake periods on the flight.

3 – We didn’t let her nap before getting on the plane. On the way out west Maisie fell asleep on me during takeoff and slept for 1.5 hours. On the way home she fell asleep while we were on the tarmac (more on this below) and slept for the first 3 hours. We also encouraged her run around crazy and burn off as much energy as possible in a quiet corner of the terminal before boarding.

4 – We stuck together.  Joe and I were giving each other a pep talk as we approached the airport and the main concept was – no matter what happens on that plane, we need to stick together act as a team.

5 – We got a used carseat for the trip. I’m so glad we did because guess what happened on the way back when we went to pick up our checked luggage?? NO CARSEAT. If we had been relying on that carseat coming out of the carousel in order to get home, I would probably still be in a detention cell at JFK right now. We made a quick game time decision to just ditch it and get the hell out of there. Also, we checked the stroller right at the door of the plane – which was awesome.

6 – We stayed organized. My carry on item was our diaper bag which had all dipes, wipes and a lunch box/bag thing with food and snacks for Maisie. Joe’s contained toys and an iPad with Maisie-friendly stuff loaded on it.

7 – We were literally the last ones on the plane. They make an announcement at the gate saying something like “anyone traveling with small children please board now.” We completely ignored that. In fact, on the way home they actually made an announcement in the terminal saying “Last call for Dugan, party of 2.” That’s how long we waited to get on the plane.

Here is a list of things we did wrong:

1 – We flew across the country with a 13 month old.  If there is one lesson I learned from our trip, it is that you can prepare all you want but flying with a toddler that young, for that long, is just not going to be an enjoyable experience. It will be stressful.  You will be counting the seconds until you can get the eff off the plane.  However, I am glad we did it.  I’m so glad Maisie got to spend time with Joe’s family.  I feel like we earned some kind of parenting gold star for surviving.  But ya’ll.  It. was. tough.


Worst Moment – When we boarded the plane on our way home, Maisie was exhausted but still content. We had her sippy cup with milk ready to go. We were all set for her to fall asleep while the plane was taking off. And then the pilot made an announcement to the effect of “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an issue with the air conditioning, it’s going to be about a 15-20 minute delay while they make repairs.” Funny, because what I heard was “Catherine Dugan you were a serial killer in a previous life and this is your punishment.” The plane was fully loaded with people and suddenly the engine shut off and it was silent. And delirious Maisie went ballistic.  We got “the look” in unison from about 37 irritated people and I imagined them all updating their social media with FML posts about being trapped on a plane with a screaming brat.  I jumped out of the seat and brought her to the back of the plane and fought against her thrashing limbs and piercing screams for what felt like forever. Finally, after 30 sweaty minutes of rocking and swaying she fell asleep on my shoulder, just as the pilot was pulling away from the gate.

Best Moment – It’s been probably over six months since Maisie napped on top of me. It was just like the old days. She is 15 lbs heavier but just as sweet.

An Update

May 24, 2016


toddler1 toddler2

What I would like to say about our lives at the moment is holy crapola we are all of a sudden living smack dab in the middle of Toddlerville.  Maisie is very active.  She is VERY opinionated.  And she is very, very cute.  And boy does she know it.

She is so attached me lately.  Like, I’m not allowed to be more than 7 feet away from her at any moment.  Can’t believe I was ever worried about her not knowing that I am her Mama.  Her favorite word to say is “Dada.”  Joe is Dada.  I am Dada (Maisie has two Daddies!), pretty much anything in her sight line is “Dada.”  She loves our ceiling fans, she loves pointing at things she wants and “expressing herself” if she can’t have them.  She loves trying to pull the card out of the cable box.  She loves bolting towards the stairs.  She is sneaky.  She is smart.  She is testing her boundaries.

She is so, so loved.

Some Admin – It’s been a pretty long time since I posted.  The adult issues in our life have been particularly stressful and adulty and I just haven’t had the energy or mental space to write here.

Something strange happens when you share intimate details about your life on the internet.  The line dividing subject matter into an “off limits” category can get blurry.  But it’s still a line.

I started this blog over a year ago hoping to neatly document and preserve memories for my family.  I imagined my future self talking a digital stroll down memory lane someday.  I imagined her feeling so thankful to have such an easy way to access snippets of our life as a young family.

But then Maisie was born and things got really weird.  I couldn’t EFFING believe how hard being a Mom was and I had a lot to say on the matter.

Maybe I got side tracked.  Maybe I started writing posts with other new Moms in mind, rather than my own family.

Either way – I’m trying to refocus and move forward.

P.S.  Hey future Cat – Remember these days?  It was the best of times it was the worst of times, amIrighttttt?  What was that?  You’re a size 4 now!!???  We will win the lottery!!!???  Woooooooo!!!!!!  Yes, I’m trying to soak in our toddler girl before she gets much bigger.  It’s not easy but I’M TRYING!!!

P.P.S.  There has never been a more bizarre person alive than the author of this blog.

Suns out, guns out

April 19, 2016


There they are.  In all their atrophied glory.    

Why hello there.  Would you like to know a ridiculous, embarrassing and completely insane fact about me? Of course you would!

As noted by the header of this blog, I live in New York.  And summers in New York can be occasionally brutal.  High temperatures, lots of humidity and sticky disgusting heat.  Not a problem for someone who can just apply some lotion to their pale skin, dust off the old tank top & shorts collection and call it a day.  However, it has been a big and very sweaty problem for me because….drumroll….

I haven’t worn a short sleeved shirt in approximately 5 years.

Just take a moment to digest that little nugget of information.  Outdoor concerts.  Backyard barbecues.  Scorching sun.  LONG SLEEVES.

I won’t bore you with the sob-story explanation, I’ll just give you the Cliff’s notes… I used to be a Division I athlete and now I am not.  Where there once were muscles and tone, now there is not.  I just feel better about myself with my arms covered.

I know it makes no sense.  Logically I know that no one is looking at me and assuming I have very thin arms hiding under my cardigan.  It’s just a weird security blanket that I haven’t been able to let go of.  I think every body-conscious woman probably has something like this that they do.  No?  I’m just crazy?  ALRIGHTY THEN.  Forging ahead.

The thermometer reached like 70something yesterday and I was chasing after Maisie in the hot and stuffy upstairs of our house wearing a zip up hoodie.  I started sweating my b’s off when – in a completely unexpected moment of clarity – I’m like “WHYYYY am I doing this!?  THIS IS INSANE!  I can’t expect to be going for stroller walks and trips to the playground with her in the warm weather wearing friggin’ long sleeves.  Eff this noise!” I ripped off the sweatshirt, threw it on the ground for dramatic effect and haven’t looked back.

This summer, I’m looking forward to giving exactly zero shits, embracing the body that I have and enjoying the outdoors with my girl.  The park, the beach, Mommy and Me swimming lessons*.  All of it.


*Supplemental fun fact, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in like 8 years.  Watch out!

Pics Post | About Today

April 10, 2016

You don’t have to read too far back on this blog of mine to know that I do a good deal of belly aching about our busy life and misaligned work schedules etc etc.  In an effort to balance out the negative with some positive here are a few pictures of today.

Today was our first “chill at home” day together in months.

Literally, months.

And it was everything.

And yet it was nothing.  The little nothings that becoming huge somethings when we have long stretches where days like this don’t exist.  Joe got his hair cut.  I returned some things at Target.  All three of us did a big grocery shop in the afternoon.  In the in-betweens we blasted music, played, made meals and just enjoyed being together.

Sigh.  My heart is so full tonight.

0F5A57890F5A5801 0F5A5802 0F5A5803 0F5A5827 0F5A5828 0F5A5831 0F5A5892

All rights reserved © Long Island Cat. · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie