Tag Archives: Family

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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Free and Milking

Some countries see the parenting style of the United States as one that creates spoiled children and postpartum ladies void of any womanliness. But if you take a closer look at what our baby-making markets provide, you’d see a whole different picture. We live in a consumer driven nation, so we can assume we are what we buy. Well American mothers apparently can do it all because we buy Simple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump Bras.

According to the very existence of this item, we are a nation of practical good-looking milking machines. Thanks to our country’s ingenuity, postpartum possibilities are endless. New mothers can still check their email.

Go to work.

Play with their kids.

Dress up and go out.

Relax whenever they need to.

No other product symbolizes just how strong women are in our great country. We were even a deciding voting block in this year’s elections. Had the GOP paid more attention, they would have known that Simple Wishes Handsfree Breastpump Bra lets women vote now too.

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I Don’t Want To Be A Mini Van

Getting emotional is definitely a side effect of pregnancy. Then again it’s a side effect of being a woman. At least now with a baby in me, my hormonal imbalances make sense. Before when I was PMSing my desire to cry would pop up at unreasonable places like the grocery store in the cereal aisle while looking up at a box of Rice Krispies. But now I get emotional for real problems like a cafe running out of soy the one day I want a soy chai, or I’m running late to a meeting and no gas pumps at the gas station seem to be working when I need gas, or I read up that Saudia Arabia removes women from advertising because it turns out they’re not a country they’re a large hardcore woman-hating gay club. This is why when I get emotional these days, I know I can’t brush it off as merely a chemical imbalance. So the other morning when hanging out with my husband making breakfast and truly appreciating how lucky I am to have the man and the life I have, hormonal induced emotion hit me…I won’t be having this much longer. The reason: soon we’ll be in charge of another person rather than doing whatever we feel like doing together. “Oh sh**,” I thought, “I’ve so enjoyed enjoying my husband for almost twelve years now…I think I’ve sabotaged a good thing!” The water works were instant and non-stop. Only a year ago I couldn’t think of life without trying to have a baby. I never came up with a conclusive reason as to why I needed one, all I knew was that it was something I wanted and was ready to have at this point in my life. Now two and a half months before the due date it hits me…WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?! Why did I do this to myself and my husband?! My marriage suddenly turned into a person with little time to live, and I became the mourner experiencing anticipatory grief while sobbing into my husband’s arms before sobbing into our Texas shaped homemade waffles.

So what is it about this upcoming change in my life that I’m so afraid of? The part where I turn into parent. Not a mother, there is a difference. Mothers and fathers I think can be incredibly sexy and alive, but parents, well… it’s like becoming a walking mini van. Everything becomes sensible and focused on the child. Even the way parents dress says, “I need clothes that are comfortable to deal with my kid not to turn-on my partner.” No wonder mini vans don’t hook up with other mini vans; mini vans have a kid to bus around, chores to take care of, they’re a mini van for crying out loud–they don’t have time for anything but what’s practical and efficient.

It’s clear that with new responsibilities and work it can be hard to keep the flame that made you want a baby with your partner alive, but why is that the case? Is there a good reason why we let children smother that spark? I still don’t know because I haven’t shot out my kid yet and taken to wearing capris, but I wonder if it isn’t just an American stereotype of “Family” we let ourselves fall into without question. Changing who you are to fit the norm of a parent doesn’t make you any better suited to be one, and just because you become more focused on your kid than yourself doesn’t make you a better parent it just leads you to a greater chance of unhappiness and divorce. No wonder Americans have so few babies, we make it look life-sucking, unsexy and HORRIBLE! I don’t want that. I love the life I’ve got and want the baby to reap the joy from what my husband and I have, not kill it. So please America, let’s come up with a cooler way to raise kids and change the standards of what it means and looks like to have them so I can finish my breakfast without crying before November.

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My Mommy Friend Turned Into That Mean Old Woman

 

I’m afraid to find out which one of my friends is going to turn into THAT parent that I’ve been scared of since I was a kid. The over-protective one who is only focused on her child’s well-being and freaks out, automatically blaming other kids during those formative elementary school year fights or experiences. If this is you, let me know now before we get any chummier in this mommy club I keep getting sucked into, because quite honestly I prefer to stay away and not know that side of people. It’s like those friends that are great as friends but you would never want to date them–well I’m sure there are girlfriends who are great on their own but you’d never want to be a mom around them when they’re a mom.

Ugh…moms. Growing up I felt like I had to deal with them all the time. Once after a fight with my friend Jennifer two doors down from me, I left her house so upset I kicked some wild (not garden variety) mushrooms growing in her front yard. Oh yeah, I did it with drama–big tears in my eyes and all the hurt and anger a 6 yr old could muster. Suddenly Jennifer’s mom threw open the door and yelled at me to, “Stop that! Go away,” and, “Get off my property and don’t you ever come back!” A year before that on the street behind my house, my friend Jaime (it was the 70’s everyone had J names) and I decided to play the game I’ll Show You Mine If You’ll Show Me Yours, because naturally at 5 yrs of age we were curious. Scared of what we might see, we stood outside on the side of his house with our eyes focused on where we suspected the others’ privates to be, and started the count down to drop our pants at the same time. One… two… three! Pants dropped and so did our jaws–what the hell?! Just then a woman’s hand thrust itself out of what was once an unopened window and grabbed Jaime, making his little body fly through the window and back inside with his pants still holding below his knees. His mom then popped her head out, eyes wild and face beet red, and started yelling at me for having done something so horrible and shameful. She called me a slut and said she couldn’t believe I did that to her son! Still recovering from the shock of seeing Jaime’s baby pee pee, I ran as fast as I could lifting my pants with Jamie’s mom screaming after me, “Get off my property and don’t you ever come back!” Needless to say I was not allowed on many properties in Nassau Bay, Texas.

I would like to believe that parenting has changed since then, but it looks like now it could be worse. With all of the helicopter parents buzzing around stressed out trying to build their kids into perfect human beings, I see no room for any humor, patience or ability to take anything in stride. And that’s just what parenting seems to call for the most. All I’m saying is I’d prefer that what happened to me not happen to my kid or yours. From the kid’s perspective it’s scary to have someone who is that much bigger than you and presumably adult flip out, and now that I’m almost a mom, it would be incredibly awkward to find out that your friend you used to toss one back with has become that lame mean old woman from your childhood. And if it happens what do you do? Tell your friend, “Hey be cool–you’re sounding like a woman with rollers in a 70’s nightgown.” When friends assume the suburban uptight way even when they live in a city, you know there’s no stopping that change. There’s nothing left to do but say goodbye to a friendship that was once beautiful and put your cootie spray on against the curse of the Mean Mommies.

More than anything I just don’t want to have to go looking too far for women with kids that I connect with. It would be better to be surrounded by those I already know, mainly because I’m lazy, but also because…nothing else, I’m just lazy. So please ladies, be cool. If your kid and other kids are having a bad day just treat it as an opportunity for everyone to learn how to deal with one another, cool-off and not be so dramatic. Please don’t get in my face or another woman’s face about how our kids suck and yours is an angel. We should all know better than that. How about being forgiving and kind if we want our kids to do the same and more importantly if we want to keep our drinking buddies and our sanity.

And what should happen if the Mean Mommy curse gets me?  Then do not hesitate–pull me aside and get me off your property.

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Why Being Pregnant Is Worth It

This past week has been a real testament to the superhuman strength that is Mommy-To-Be Willpower. At almost six months I desperately wanted to give in to everything that’s bad for my baby and I: splurging on an obscene amount of cookies, donuts, poached eggs; getting drunk on fresh fruit cocktails made with fancy ice and hard,  I mean HARD liquor; skipping the gym or that stupid walk that’s oh so good for me; indulging on a whole night of  sleeping on my back and procrastinating on every incomplete chore I had successfully put aside for nearly 5 years. I just wanted to be a little punk, even if only for a week! Then in the midst of my pregnant tantrum, a friend of mine at the gym asked me from out of the blue and in a very serious hushed tone, “So is it worth it?” What is? “Being pregnant?”

After the week I had had, I should have replied by going into everything I couldn’t stand about pregnancy and everything I missed about not being pregnant. But instead I found myself answering with an emphatic, “Yes!” For a moment I thought my brain had been taken over by some secret society to make women procreate, but as I heard myself gushing about all of the wonderfully sweet experiences pregnancy has given me, I couldn’t help but agree with myself. It was then that I realized I’ve only been writing about the negatives of being a baby carrier instead of the positives. So today for a change of pace I bring you everything that makes pregnancy worth it.

1. BOOBS–For those of you who already had them, congratulations, you have been enjoying dangly bits for quite some time. As for my smaller sisters, it’s very cool to finally go through the exciting part of puberty we missed out on. I now know what boobs feel like, and have enjoyed taking them out on short strolls in push-up bras just to experience that bouncing motion on my chest.

2. TOILETS–The bump is a VIP pass to every “Employee Only” toilet in the city.

3. CARGO PANTS–For three years I couldn’t find a pair of relaxed fit non-skinny cargo pants to replace my last pair. Turns out that maternity shops are mini cargo lands.

4. ICE-BREAKER–You think having a dog helps you meet people; try getting pregnant.

5. I WON’T GAIN WEIGHT?! — I learned that I can actually eat more and not gain as much when I’m pregnant than B.P. (Before Pregnancy). There have been weeks where I ate enough sandwiches and pizza to have warranted a gain of 3-5 lbs, but since being pregnant, my body is using so much energy that I burn through most of it and gain no more than a pound. NOTE: This perk only applies if you’re pregnancy has allowed you to keep your old workout schedule.

6. SOMETHING NEW TO CRY ABOUT–I was already a sucker for lovers dying in each others arms and old people eating Campbell’s soup, but now I can add men being sweet to their wives and women giving birth as reasons to get emotional!

7. GREAT HORROR FILMS–Birthing classes bring you the classics! Tons of bloody umbilical cords, alien-like creatures, scary masked doctors and creepy scratchy films depicting women giving birth in military bases from the 50’s.

8. BREAKFAST–My husband now makes me breakfast in the morning.

And last but not least…

9. MORE LOVE THAN YOU KNEW YOU COULD EXPERIENCE.

This last reason is my number one for refraining from eating poached eggs on grits. I have been lucky in that my pregnancy has brought my husband and I even closer than before.  B.P. I had already been loving my man more and more every day since I’ve known him, but as my belly has grown so has the love between my husband and I. Not in the usual way though; it’s not just more love but a new kind of love. Best way to describe it is this: before, the love I felt for my husband was growing like a skyscraper in perpetual construction heading towards the skies, but since my pregnancy, I looked down and found a whole new town of love surrounding it and filling the picture with trees, homes, shops, streets, parks and life that I had never seen before or knew was there. Does that make any sense? I know to some of you it may sound a little hoaky, but another awesome part of being pregnant I forgot to mention, is that it also makes you not give a damn.

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