Category Archives: The Game of Life

Do You Like Being A Mom?

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The month after my baby ejected himself from my womb, everyone wanted to know, “Do you like being a mom?” They asked either because they knew I was originally terrified of having a kid or it’s the go-to question for new moms. Since no one before had ever inquired as to what I felt towards any of my other jobs, I didn’t know how to respond.

Did friends really want to know or was I meant to say something uncomplicated and perky like, “Yeah.” So for the first couple of months I chose to the restrained answer of, “It’s crazy!” Though my friends and family never called Child Protective Services, it was clear that my vague answer killed the mood.

No one explicitly tells a new mom how she’s supposed to feel about being a mom but the lack of complaint boxes gifted at baby showers gives you a hint. Unlike most jobs that consider collective bitching as a healthy way to bond with coworkers, the unpaid and most times lonely mom has to say how great her job is with a smile not seen since her naïve maternity photos. She must not only like getting drooled, peed and pooped on, she must squeal about it like one woman I met during Mommy & Me Yoga, “I LOVE BEING A MOM! IT’S BETTER THAN WORKING!”

But I disagree. It can’t be BETTER THAN working because it IS working for long periods of time with no happy hour to look forward to. I can’t fake my love for the position like so many glowing moms because I’m not crazy. The job itself sucks, no doubt about it: minimal sleep, breast infections, diminishing mental aptitude, loss of hearing and the vanishing ability to stay up past 9pm or move around the house at a regular noise-making speed. How can anyone like being a mom? Or a dad? Unless you were in a bad relationship to begin with, wasn’t life better before having a baby? Let me answer that: yes it was.

But this is where I feel I must be crazy because deep down as much as I think not having a baby was better, I can’t say it was because you can’t compare.

There is nothing greater than seeing your kid trying to walk around, getting spun about, greeting you with too much cuteness standing in his crib and laughing the whole day between a few cranky spells before nap time. Plus, introducing him to the world is like living out one of those movies where a time traveller from the past ends up in our time and you get to watch him as he gets scared, delighted and confused by everything around him. Sure I miss going out with my husband whenever we wanted to see a movie or a band, but now we do things we never did before because we have to educate our little guy on what the world has to offer.

So then, do I like being a mom? No I don’t like being a mom, but I love being my son’s mother and more importantly, I love him and would never go back to not having him. Sure the job could be easier and I could handle a few nannies (like ten of them), but strangely it’s the tough parts of the ride that help me bond with him and make my love for him grow. It’s like why Christie Brinkley married that one guy after a helicopter crash. What I’m saying is, who cares if you like the job or not–as long as you try to do it well and love the person you’re working for, that’s all that matters.

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You’re Like A Suburban Midlife Crisis In America–No Middle Class

peacock mid life crisisHooray! Last week I entered my midlife crisis! No Saturn Return, no Pre-Midlife Crisis, no Late Onset Puberty; I’m talking the exciting big mirror in the aging face “Oh $hit What Am I Doing With My Life” Crisis. I’m at the point where adults finally become mature and live out those inspiring second chance stories that give people hope and aging rock bands one last chance to tour. And since so many people before me have been through it, I know I only have to survive some existential hell for a couple of years until I come to the conclusion that what I really need is to get rid of my old life and start a flashy new one! Problem is that with the middle class going extinct, middle class protégés like myself are finding that we are no longer able to afford the kind of satisfactory crisis that we are accustomed to. While some fear that with the demise of the middle class, motivated stoners and Teva wearing revolutionaries will finally rally to overthrow our current capitalist system, I fear that it will cause my midlife makeover to suck.

Without the same time and resources the middle class once enjoyed, the peacocky crisis we’ve come to know and mock will soon be a thing of the past. Of course there will still be two others available. There is the Rich Man’s Crisis carried out by those in the upper stratospheres of rich. This crisis as opposed to others, does not question career paths taken since the wealthy have always had the money to do whatever they’ve always wanted to do. These enviable midlifers are only subjected to the fear of losing their youth and the promise of impending death. So with a few new spouses (each one younger than the other), Botox shots and some hot sweaty yoga their midlife crisis is complete…ly Zzzzzzzzz.

Then there is the Poor Man’s Crisis, also known as The Struggling Artist’s Crisis. These are the ones who in their 20’s and 30’s did everything people in the other classes of crises try to emulate at 40 or 50. These creative types always dated much younger people but for like-minded conversation not for youth-sucking purposes. They chose day jobs that required little commitment so that they could concentrate on an artistic career that nearing 40 they discover never happened. Tired of living with roommates for 20 years and wishing for a few creature comforts they once scorned (Brookstone foot massagers), these once rebellious folks suddenly question their lifelong misgivings of society’s norms and immediately want to shed all semblance of their nonconformity. Ready to prove that they can succeed in a conventional way, they suddenly work hard to find someone their own age to marry, find a “real” job and settle down by buying a home or a fuel-efficient car in place of the incredibly cool beater or Volvo station wagon they swore they would keep until they died. Even less exciting than the rich, the poor man’s midlife crisis makes me go through another midlife crisis just reading about it.

It is because of the rich and the poor man’s midlife crises that we need to safeguard the middle class. Theirs is the iconic American midlife crisis. They followed the rules for so long they’re ready to break them! With 80’s style self-reflection and real jet-ski consumerist pizzazz, here in the middle you are promised toupees, red hot convertible sports cars, motorboats, cheesy young dates, divorces and the chance to sell that suburban home to buy yourself a downtown loft and finally live like all those cool artist types you stood in line with at the coffee shop and hated on your way to your 9-6-or-more job. You can go out to nightclubs, get college-style wasted on Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds because that’s what you last heard was hip from a temp a few years ago, leave your job in corporate America and make a new small business venture in something cooler like a distillery that makes bacon flavored whiskey with kitschy bacon flavored fruit roll-ups or by making specialty facial hair clips for wine tasters in Napa Valley, then get photographed in Sunset Magazine and show it off to your new family you just made with that temp you met a few years ago in your long-gone corporate job! That my friends, is a real crisis! Something I was ready to join in until I realized I couldn’t.

mid life crisisLike a chubby girl who lost weight but still sees herself as chubby, I like so many others raised middle class, learned that I had been mistakingly considering myself middle class when financially I am nowhere near it. So when my crisis turned up as a 16-year-old me to evaluate what I had made of her life and was unimpressed, I couldn’t escape or hurriedly make things better in a colorful, over-the-top, expensive way. I was sorry to let Young Me know that Now Me can’t just pack up and move my family to Paris or New York and live the life she wanted because I can’t afford to. Instead, the two of us have had to settle for lying in bed to piece together what makes sense from my past, discover what traits hold me back, support the ones that move me forward, take a close look at what’s important, what I want to spend my time working on and how to go about doing it. I discovered that I am part of a new class that is gaining traction in America, and our Lost Class Midlife Crisis is completely…ho hum practical.

*16-year-old me is completely over me and has moved on to her next victim.

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Baby Made Me Do It

Hi everybody! I haven’t written in over 6 months. You know why? ‘Cause I had a baby. Yep, the excuse that superwomen like CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer would never dare use, but smart women like myself do. Why not make use of it? I suffered through hours of what felt like two gigantic hands digging into my flesh and pulling my bones apart, a week with my downstairs blown-out and endured a new mom sentence of six weeks without sex. I earned this excuse card and shame on me if I don’t use it!

The excuse I HAVE A BABY covers everything from forgetting birthdays, to not contributing anything to potlucks, to flagrantly violating traffic laws. And unlike your usual rotating list of cop-outs that don’t involve saving for college–work, sick, sick cat–I HAVE A BABY can be used over and over again with your friends and you will never look like a dick. And don’t worry about coming up with an explanation either–no one wants to know because singles and single couples are afraid of babies. They believe as I once did, that newborns are a plague which, once contracted, wipes friends out from existence and prevents them from doing what those without spawn assume is prized above all else: hanging out with them.

Now that I’m on the other side, however, I’ve discovered that the whole thing is a sham. Sure babies deprive parents of their sleep and give them new problems to solve every day, but the thing new parents don’t share with the public is that newborns give them massive amounts of baby love hormones which make them perfectly capable of going out and seeing people. Thing is… they just don’t want to. Babies don’t turn parents into the walking dead, they turn them into selfish, socially undependable lying a**holes.

For instance:

  • You think your friends couldn’t make it to your party because little Aiden was taking an extraordinarily long nap? Wrong! They’ve always hated your parties and are glad they finally don’t have to go.
  • You invited your friends to see your band play on Saturday night but they couldn’t go because babysitters cost too much and they need to save for a house? Nuh-uh. Look on Facebook the next day to see what they’re doing. That’s right…checking in at a pricey mimosa brunch and spending money on friends they think are worth spending on a babysitter.
  • You tried calling your mom-friend to cry about your boyfriend AGAIN but she said she couldn’t talk because darling baby Mackenzie was crying to be fed? BS! That little bitch Mackenzie cries all the time. EVEN WHEN SHE’S HAPPY!

Of course when I first joined the club I was dumb enough to prove everyone wrong about what it meant to be a new mom. I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t do it all even when I didn’t want to do it all. I posted photos like this one:

Work Out Baby

You know what that got me? Friends inviting me to work out with them when all I wanted to do was sleep in and eat pizza… at the same time. But after several mornings of Burpees, ab exercises on furniture sliders and jumping lunges, I smartened up. Who cares if taking on the public’s perception of being a parent makes me look like a shut-in slob. When else will I be able to not do all the things I’ve never wanted to do? I took inventory, held a meeting with my internal Board of Directors, saw what others in my field were doing…

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Oh no she didn’t! Pretending to be exhausted with perfectly side swept bangs and make-up! Good for her.

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Where’s momma heading to after this photo?

…and immediately posted my own version of this common mommy and me pose:

Do you think this image would tempt anyone to bother us with any invitations or obligations? Of course not. That’s because when you see photos like this splayed across Facebook and Instagram, you might comment, “Oh how sweet. Momma and child sleeping, Exhausted from so much love,” but subconsciously the photo makes you think, “F’ing stoner roommates.” Instantly this new look brands me as undesirable and totally useless. Success! A new parent through and through! As a result, guess what this pic has been getting me? Days and nights of doing nothing but sleeping and eating pizza. At the same time.

Pizza and Sleep

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Dear Diary

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Dear Pregnancy Diary,

I’m one day away from being two weeks past my due date and getting induced! I know I should be upset yelling out, “Are you F’ING KIDDING ME?!” but I’m not Dear Diary, because after waiting this long, I no longer believe I’m pregnant. Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t remember anything I learned in my birthing class, I am no longer excited about what’s about to come because I don’t know what I’m waiting for anymore, and I don’t even believe I’m a woman. You would think that enduring 10 ½ months of the most female-specific experience would convince me otherwise, but no one in this episode of Twilight Zone can fool me anymore. My name’s Harry, and I’m just your friendly neighborhood trucker with a bloated belly.

Trucker

How could I have gotten it so wrong Diary? Spending half of my year’s blog writing about pregnancy when I really shouldn’t have been writing at all. You know how many projects I left untouched in the garage as a result? I’m actually a little embarrassed. What kind of a man am I to forget who he is? I should never have complained about swollen ankles, fearing giving birth, or even trying to balance getting my career moving and having a family. Boring! Wow, I must have sounded like a real woman.

Ouch, my back. Hold on… No I’m not having a contraction. Backaches are what real men go through from all the hard work they do during the day. I just can’t wait to get this blog back on track. No more being scared of anything and getting all personal. I mean obviously I’ll need a few weeks to regroup–you don’t think you’re a woman for as long as I did and not need a few beers to recover. Oh wait Diary… sorry my stomach is tightening. Must have been the extra spicy sauce on those chicken wings I picked up at Big Wangs. Anyway, I’ll finish what I can for the rest of the year, but believe you me, by January this blog is going back to making comments about politics and the way we live here in the United States of America. Obviously I won’t be able to talk about women ’cause I wouldn’t know about that. But I will talk and not listen ‘cause that’s what a man does. Yep. Real manly like. Holy hell, Dear Diary! I think I’m gonna have a baby!

Fear Of Expulsion

childvictimI should be excited right? That’s how mom’s are supposed to feel as the time nears for fetal expulsion. We’re supposed to seem unstoppable walking for hours off-balance in hopes of getting that baby out. We eat spicy foods, drink castor oil, make a restaurant in Studio City, CA very rich by perpetuating the myth of its birth inducing salad. But in the frenzied impatience, does anyone stop to think what we’re impatient for?

For weeks I’ve been on standby expecting my child to blow out from whence it came, but it does not cometh. We’re now post-due-date and the time is maddening; everything’s been taken care of so I have little to do and can’t venture too far because I know I could go into labor at any second and give some poor stranger the awful task of mopping up my mess. So instead I’ve been lying around, brushing up on phone skills with family and friends, watching entire seasons of America’s Next Top Model and reading through Facebook every five minutes. As you would guess these passing time activities have led to boredom, boredom leading to frustration, frustration leading to impatience, impatience leading to killing time by taking long looks at my naked pregnant body’s proportions in a mirror which at last led me to realize: Holy Sh**! HOW THE F*$% IS THIS BASKETBALL SUPPOSED TO GET OUT OF MY COOCH?!

So while everyone is cheering this baby on, I’m feeling stuck and scared–real scared and with no one in my corner. My husband is talking to my belly: coaxing it, threatening it, bribing it. Friends, families, neighbors, the maintenance man at our apartment complex, everyone is cheering for me and my baby like we’re on a rooftop and they want to see us jump.

At this late in the game, I know I should be much tougher and cooler about it. It’s not like I’m a 13-year-old boy being told to imagine having a baby; I’m a mature educated woman who took a 12 week birthing class called Bradley Method. I’ve watched the creepy videos with grainy footage of exhausted mothers pushing babies out oozing in purple sauce, vaginas stretching (funny they never show the after shot…hmmm) and embarrassing private moments of mothers moaning in pain. I know what’s coming up, and you know what? To hell with the beautiful power of maternity and the excitement I’ll feel after the baby comes. For now, me and 13-year-old boys agree–this is some crazy shit and OMG it’s gonna suck.

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