Real Mama: Denise B.

Image by George Bazik of Royal Photo Studio

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am 31 years old. I married my high school sweetheart and we have a sweet, almost-2-year-old baby girl named Ava and two dogs named Lola and Guido. I grew up in an Italian family where family values are top priority. I would go to bat for my family at any time regardless of the situation. I have one sister and I am the baby of the family. I am a costume designer, love ALL things Hollywood, great theater and seeing the magic of the holidays through my child’s eyes.

Where is home?

I was born on Long Island in New York but moved to California when I was 18-months-old and have lived here ever since. I now reside in the city of Thousand Oaks just north of Los Angeles.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a loving wife and a working mama?

That is a tough one. I tend do a lot of the stuff I need to get done after she is asleep. That is for two reasons: 1) I don’t get to spend a lot of time with her during the day, and 2) When she is awake she always wants to help or play with me, so I don’t get much done. I make sure our weekends are jammed packed with the things we like to do.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my mother. She practically raised my sister and I alone while working a full-time job. She beat uterine cancer and worked the whole time she was getting treatment. She hardly ever complained and she worked her tail off. She would give anyone her last penny if they needed it.

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama?

Roll with it.
Kids will develop at their own pace.
Sleep when they sleep (which I never did because I took that time to do the things I couldn’t do while she was awake).

I think if I could give advice to any new mother it would be this: It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Image by Cari Hollis Photography

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

I have dreamed about being a mother since I was, like, five. I always wanted 100 babies. I had this vision of my hubby and I sitting at the table on a Sunday morning eating a full breakfast laughing with our babies. It may not happen quite like that but for the most part I feel like my vision is correct. I was simply born to be a mother.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

With 100 babies…. NOT! I see myself in a house with a giant backyard for our four kids to run around in with our doggies.

If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

People always ask me this question and I always have two answers:

1) my grandfather. He died when I was 18 months old and I have no memories of him. He is the reason for my creativity and my love of the theater. He was a singer and his coach was Frank Sinatra’s coach.

2) Edith Head… the biggest and greatest costume designer of all time. She is my inspiration.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

The power to take away the hurt and pain of my loved ones at any time for any reason.

Was your birth experience all that you hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Image by Cari Hollis Photography

My birth experience was more than I dreamed of. I always thought I would get an epidural and deliver vaginally and be done. I did deliver vaginally, however, I did not get my epidural and I am perfectly OK with it (now that I’ve delivered, of course). I was able to deliver my child drug-free within about 45 minutes and I was up walking around carrying her an hour later, and I was pain free. The only thing I would change would be to not let them lay me down flat while pushing. Other than that, it was an amazing experience. Check out Ava’s birth story.

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

In the beginning I was a nervous Nelly… is she breathing? Is the blanket covering her face? Is she getting enough to eat? Enough wet diapers? etc. Now I am nonchalant and it takes a lot to get me worked up or worried. I swore I wouldn’t be the nervous Nelly and that I would know what to do and what things were, etc. But all of that changes when you have a child of your own.

Is there anything else you wish to share with the Mama Say What?! audience?

Just remember that all kids are different. Don’t get in the habit of comparing your child to someone else’s of the same age. Each child develops at their own pace. Always remember that you are doing the best you can for your situation. Give yourself a pat on the back, don’t be too hard on yourself and know it all works out in the end.

Image by Cari Hollis Photography

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