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Meet Mary Susan

"Welcome to Mommy Magic! An interactive community of real moms, founded by a real mom, to give support and tips to make the chaos of motherhood easier and more fun! I am Mary Susan, an author, a columnist, a life coach for moms and a I have Mommy Magic TV segment too! Most importantly, I have three beautiful (and very busy) daughters! I am a real mom managing the daily insanity of motherhood just like you!"

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Baby Name Remorse

"Who am I? Who am I?" I just kept saying that line from The Breakfast Club and picturing Anthony Michael Hall trying to stick a pen up his nose.

Then I started saying, "Who are you? Who are you?"

Seriously, had my epidural spiraled out of control and reached all the way up to my brain? My sweet baby girl was hours old and her name…I could NOT call her by her name. My husband gleefully paced the hospital room calling everyone and telling them that "Smith" had been born. Every time he said her name I literally cringed. Smith was my maiden name and a shout out to my late father who I wanted to pay tribute to. The name was different and I loved it for a boy, however we had a beautiful baby girl and she did not look like a Smith to me at all. This is our third girl. I prefer to keep the sex of the baby a secret until birth to give me that extra something special to push through the delivery. Throughout this pregnancy, I was convinced we were having a boy - a girl was a total surprise. I had no idea what to do.

This uncertainly I struggled with felt like a huge secret and I couldn’t tell anyone, fearing that my friends and family would think I was crazy. Was I just experiencing roller coaster hormones? I couldn’t think of anyone, but the actress Meg Ryan, who had changed her baby’s name. Her daughter was named Charlotte and then months later she changed her name to Daisy. Meg Ryan was slammed in the press and was the buzz of conversation with every play group for a month. Seriously, who changes their baby’s name? Didn’t they have like 9 months to figure it out? I obviously wasn’t scared that People magazine was going to have harsh words for me, but I was worried that I might be making a giant mistake one way or another and I was a little nervous about what the fall out would be.

At a time like this, I thought it would be best to reach out to close friends and have them set me straight. These are the friends that will tell me when my new haircut is horrible or that my butt did in fact not look good in my new jeans. I knew they would tell me the truth. As I dialed away and posed my dilemma, I was shocked at how many of my friends had “issues” with their baby’s names when they were born. It is much more common than I would have ever imagined! In a recent poll by Baby Center of 1,219 women approximately 10% considered changing their baby’s names. Call after call, even my very closest friends divulged their secrets of changing or wanting to change their babies names.

My friend Holly went a year calling her daughter "Paige" and she even filled in her entire baby book with the details about "Paige". Holly always knew the name wasn’t right, but just kept thinking her daughter would grow into it - that one day it would feel right. Finally she just snapped one day and called her daughter Caroline and it fit her perfectly. It was worth the months of paper work and more than a few jokes from friends and family. Now, Caroline loves to read through her baby book and hear all about her alter ego Paige.

Another friend, Tracy, named her second son Peter after her father, who she adores. Her little guy could totally pull off a strong name like Peter. However, she did feel a little odd at certain times even hours after she named little Peter. For example when the nurse came in her hospital room and said, “It’s time to breast feed Peter” or “How is Peter’s circumcision healing?” This was a little creepy getting used to a baby named Peter and not her father. Could she change his name and take back the honor of naming her son after her father? The answer was no, so she had to find a name she could live with. For months Tracy would just call him “The Baby”. She had nightmares that at high school graduation they were going to call him Baby and then inevitably at some point in her dream, someone shouts out “No one puts Baby in a corner!” Let’s just say this pushed her over the edge and now they just call him Petey, which is far better than Baby for sure!

With what I've learned, here are some of the tips for double checking to be sure your baby's name was the right one. This seemed funny at first, but they actually really helped. One friend told me to say the baby's name out loud over and over, but to pretend it was the day of their college graduation. So, when no one was around I would speak in my strong professional voice an announce “Smith Jacquelyn McLeod”. I even tried the serious voice the guy does when he announces the President entering the room. I must say, I was quite impressed with how well I did with that one! Possible second career. My friend Ashley gave me the final test to see if her name was the “right” one. She told me to picture the name on a wedding invitation. I thought she was crazy, but it did help.

There was a huge pink stork in my front lawn emblazoned with my daughters name on it; the wrong name. The monogrammed bibs and onesies were already piling up and yet I still could not even utter her name. Her name felt so wrong. When I was alone with her, I would tickle her little arms and legs and try out names hoping that she would give me a sign if she liked the name. I actually knew the name I wanted and it fit her perfectly, I knew it in my heart. I just needed to sit the family down and tell them. I swear the baby even giggled and possibly even gave me a high five when I called her by the new name - she was totally on board with the idea. It was time to stop sneaking around and tell my husband. So I sat down and held up our cute little girl at eye level to him and told him that her name was not Smith. Her name is Bergan. To this, do you know what he said…"Do I have to get a new stork?”

It's Flu Season

The FLU is here whether we like it or not. I capitalize it because when it hits your house it comes bold and strong and life as you know it comes to a screeching halt! Last Sunday was a great Autumn day. My oldest went to her BFF's birthday party and as she walked out to our car after it, she was hunched over and I said out loud to my husband, "Does she look pale to you?" When we asked her how she felt she mumbled, "Fine." I am kinda glad I don't have a crystal ball to know what is going to happen next...if we as mom's did...would we ever have the nerve to get out of bed to actually face it?

So off to the pumpkin patch we went (a big family tradition for us). By the end of the hay ride my 9 year old was laying in the hay staring up at the sky......Hmmmm, a bad sign. My mom radar went off. My husband thought she was tired from the birthday party. When she turned down Kettle Korn on the way out, I knew....we are on the FLU time bomb...when will it hit? How long do I have until it is actually here?

All my mother's instincts said BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!!!! And so I did, by the time we got home she was running a 104 degree fever, had the chills and headache. My baby had the FLU and so it one quick instant I begin to devise a strategy on how to quarantine her in order to keep my other two kids (not to mention me) from getting sick (my husband is still getting the pumpkins out of the car.) So here we are 4 days into it. The FLU hit us and a bunch of other kiddos too. So much in fact, that they closed my daughter's school early for Fall Break due to illness. In my opinion, a smart move.

My daughter is feeling better. My other 2 kids seem okay so far (knock on wood). I showered for the first time in 3 days only because local news station called and asked if I could be interviewed about the FLU. I decided to do the interview...a good excuse to get out of the house and get showered and cleaned up. Sad, but true and as a mom, you know what I mean!

$50 Target Gift Card Giveaway

TargetGiftCardOkay, ALL mom's need a break from the craziness of school starting. I mean, is it exhausting or what? I never knew 4th grade Math could give me bad dreams. Not to mention, the packing of lunches every morning at 6:15AM and being the official drill sergeant for bedtime. Can you relate?

In celebration of all mom's and going back-to-school, I am raffling off $50 Target gift card! All you have to do is join the Mommy Magic site by clicking on the "Join this Site" Button. One mom will be chosen from the group and win the Target gift card. Second runner up gets a Starbucks gift card.

As a mom, you can't beat a trip to Target and a little caffeine from Starbucks!!! I hope you join the club and sign up today and celebrate finding the balance of motherhood with other mom's like you!!!! It is in fact, important for us to keep our own sanity in the midst of the chaos of motherhood. So with that, this is in celebration of you and all the great moms you know too. Spread the word and have your friends check out the site. After all, we are all in this together! CHEERS to us moms!!!!

Back to School

So summer is over. School is session. Why am I still exhausted? Every morning when I get up at 6:15 AM I have the hope of leaping out of bed and feeling great. Everyone morning I am surprised that I am still tired. How can it be possible that I wake up stiff and with a headache and went I went to bed only 7 short hours before I fell into bed with the same symptoms?

As I shake out my kids vitamins every morning and place it next to their breakfast, I usually find myself wondering if it is too early to take two Advil with a diet coke. I turn 38 years old in two months and the last time I remember really feeling rested would have to be nearly 11 years ago before my first pregnancy.

I started to feel badly about this and decided to confess it to a veteran mom one summer afternoon. Mind you, my kids are 10, 6 and 3 years old. This mother had survived raising two children who are now grown adults. What I always noticed when I saw her is that she was always laughing and smiling. Matter of fact, she laughed so much I loved seeing her because she made me laugh. Obviously, a chemical release I needed desperately in my exhausted state. So I asked her one day...."Were you always tired when your kids were young?" She laughed (no surprise) leaned over and grabbed my knee and said, "Honey, I go to bed at the end of each day more rested now than I did when I woke up with little kids." I think the heavens parted and the angels sang at that very moment the Hallelujah chorus (in my one head, of course) . In fact, I was NOT going crazy (yet) and what I was feeling was indeed normal (thank goodness). So with that and the transition from summer to a new school year, I will go to bed each night with the hope that in the future I will get up and feel great. Until then, I vow to laugh a lot through motherhood, after I take my two Advil, of course.

Miley Cyrus Cuts out the Middle Men

Little did I know when I became a mother that in the job criteria would be stressing (not really, but kinda) over getting tickets for my kids to see a pop star half my age. So here I am 37 years old thinking, plotting and planning with other mom's on how to secure tickets to see Miley Cyrus in concert.

Last time she went on tour, ticket brokers made it hard for many tween fans (let's face it...hard on their parents) to get tickets. So here we are two years later...I am pushing 40, Miley now has her license and my two older daughters are hook line and sinker Miley's #1 fans (along with millions of other tweens). One other difference...Miley (and her "people") cut out the middle man for ticket purchasing to give more kids (and parents) the chance to get tickets. I have to admit...she has me as a fan now too!

Check out the article in The Indianapolis Star on Miley Cyrus cutting out the middle man for concert tickets.

To view the IndyStar article.