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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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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…

sleeping-mommy-and-baby

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

mom and son

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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I’m Tired And My Socks Are Too Loose

My Baby Shower this last Saturday made me pregnant. Of course before, I was pregnant, but now I’m like pregnant pregnant. Like need a chair and gallons of water pregnant. I’m tired, my ankles are swollen, my stomach gets in the way of sitting down and I can barely reach the stick shift or brake release on my truck. I can’t even stop complaining! It’s making me crazy, but even with  threatening to punch myself, I still can’t keep my mouth from whining.

Before the Baby Shower I was feeling pretty good. A little sleepy but able to function 100%. I even prepared myself for my BS by staying up until 2am the night before so I could do it again for the party. Well it worked. I was able to stay up until 1:30am for my BS and got home with a backache and two stumps for legs. It didn’t register at the time, but I had spent the entire evening standing up. Why? Because I didn’t feel pregnant. Even when I got home and saw the state of my legs, I figured I’d just put on some sexy compression socks  and sleep off those Jabba the Hut bulges riding over my bloated feet. But no. The morning after was like that first hangover that takes more than a day to shake off. For the first time in my pregnancy it took two days for the swelling in my legs to subside and for me to recover from the pregnant woman’s equivalent of an all-nighter. It was time to admit it to myself: I’m pregnant.

Okay, so now what? Nothing. Sorry, but I just can’t write a thoughtful blog this week. Now that I’m pregnant I stopped working. Today’s my first day off and I just want to watch some bad romantic comedies, read A DANCE WITH DRAGONS because I can, and do some pre-natal yoga. I may even watch another episode of REVENGE on Netflix. Yes, I may be smart, but when I’m tired I enjoy the easy and dumb. And now that I am finally feeling pregnant, I just don’t care how lame I am. Go ahead, Me. Punch me and get it over with. I’m just too pregnant to care.

*Will be back next week rested and ready to mock. 

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Shut-up I’m Pregnant!

I’ve been learning over the course of the last few months that once you get knocked up the general female neuroses are expected to get knocked out of our lives momentarily. I’m a woman as many of you know, so that means I’m always worried about my weight and I love talking about my feelings–two nearly destructive obsessions that have taken me years to develop with the help of family, friends, dating and the beauty industry. But since entering this bizarre pregnant world of THE BUMP and never-ending doctor appointments, I have found two things to be true:

1. Pregnant women must restrain themselves from announcing their pregnancy until after the first trimester.

2. Pregnant women are supposed to love their big gut.

WAIT TO TELL

So I found out I was preggers about 2 months ago and my husband and I thought we should tell our family right away. Then I remembered some weird thing I had heard–don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until after the first trimester to make sure the baby’s in there. So at the most womanly time in a woman’s life, going through something only a woman can go through, I’m being advised to completely abstain from my womanhood and not tell everyone everything going on with me? Sorry, I am not that kind of woman. In fact I don’t know many women who are.

Is there anything more unnatural for a woman than to not express the good or the bad in her life? In general we women like to talk–A LOT. If we stopped doing so half of the male stand-up comics wouldn’t have an act. So it throws me for a loop to know that women are made to feel scared and superstitious over wanting to announce their pregnancy as soon as they find out. We don’t wait to announce when we’ve been accepted to a college of our dreams even though something tragic could happen that could prevent us from going. When we get engaged we’re expected to run around and show off the ring seconds after it gets put on our finger, even though there’s still time for things to go sour during the engagement. So why is it that with something even more life-altering, out of your control, and just plan crazy are we told to keep mum?

Well you could have  a miscarriage.

Oh happy day, sunshine. Yes, and if you did wouldn’t you want people to know about it so you can have some shoulders to cry on? For those who are terrified of saying anything in case something bad happens, I understand. Fear is a powerful motivator. But why do we allow it to grip us when it comes to having a baby? Aren’t negative thoughts also bad for your kid? Besides, in all honesty something bad can happen with the baby at any point in the pregnancy, so why do we have to focus on the one period of it when you still don’t look pregnant and people are going to want to know why you’re suddenly on a health kick of not drinking coffee, not drinking booze and staying in on Saturday nights. “I’m just taking a break,” only works as an excuse for so long.

I think we’re getting into the habit of not announcing the big news more for the sake of others than for ourselves. As if we need to add anymore anxiety to our lives by making sure our pregnancy is a good-time gig with only good news for others. But how does that make sense? The people around you are not the ones going through this momentous time, you the woman are. And so what if a miscarriage happens? That’s a part of life that people should be aware of and be comfortable in accepting. It’s like growing a plant from seed. Some of them don’t make it, some of them do. You never know, but you don’t not show off your seedling just because it might not take. I say us ladies take back this major event in our lives, stop being scared and tell the world the minute we find out… if we feel like it. Of course there are other things to keep us from telling the world: work, not ready to be besties with other mommies and not wanting the pregnancy to be the central point of conversation with friends so early on. I’m still not ready for any of it, but I figure besides our family and some close friends (who we enjoyed telling after the official test at the doctor’s office week 6), it’s about time everybody knew why I won’t toast with a proper cocktail, why I can’t step into that jacuzzi and why I so desperately want to go to a dance club while I can still dance.

Next up…THE GUT. 

To be continued.

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Thanksgiving with Friends or Family

My friend Dionne hard at work in the kitchen

Can everyone’s younger sibling that still goes on about the tragedy of celebrating Thanksgiving please leave the room? We’re talking Thanksgiving–the All-American feast of food where we reap the rewards of our abundant produce and edible imports from around the world, so that at no given time throughout the year our people are never without avocados or strawberries. Food–it’s our national obsession. To become a citizen it’s required you overindulge in it and watch hours of TV shows watching people eating it, preparing and eating it, and eating it and commenting on eating it. Food is what brought our nation’s people together before killing each other and ripping one group of people from their homes. We don’t even care if food is good on this foodie day, until you’re halfway through a bland mash of green beans and potatoes.

If you’re staying home for the holidays and celebrating with a bunch of “orphans,” your taste buds will most likely be graced with a meal prepared by the best cook, who is most inspired and who resides in the coziest setting. If it’s family, the host is usually the worst cook but she/he is dependable and does it every year and we call it tradition. Of course in this day and age there is also the TDay Potluck or TDay Wild Card/Bi-Polar–as some dishes may turn out heavenly while other recipes cull from a guest’s family’s tradition.

I myself give thanks this year for not having to spend it with family.  If I did, my husband and I would travel to Houston, where my mom takes over cooking duties and as a guest, I can only sit back and give thanks. As someone who loves to cook, it always makes me a little crazy to hand over a holiday with such exciting produce options to my mom who prefers to make everything from a can or box. Not that I blame her too much–the woman has always hated cooking but loves that she has to do it or else…EVERYONE WOULD STARVE TO DEATH!  Obviously this has always been of critical concern:

What I especially find interesting about the family TDay meal is that it somehow always reeks a little of the same dishes mom used to make almost every day of the week. Difference of course being the turkey, cranberry sauce from a can (my mom must have the can-formed rings around the jelly), and the yams from a can covered in marshmallows (as wrong as that is I admit it’s yummy). The rest was same ol’ same ol’.  I’m Cuban so what we had was most likely different from what you had, but trust me when you have the following at least 3 times a week in some kind of random rotation, even if it tastes good, it is not exotic or exciting: picadillo–a kind of Cuban chili my mom would make use of on TDay to stuff the turkey, boiled yuca, mashed potatoes from a box, salad of greens and tomatoes, black beans and rice, tostones (smashed fried plantains–not the sweet kind) or platanos fritos (fried plantains–the sweet kind), a so-called baguette from the grocery store bakery, and for dessert, flan. Now the flan was a thrice yearly thing my sibling and I actually got excited about because as opposed to what you might think from that picture above, my mom never had anything sweet around the house except for maybe frosted corn flakes which we coveted.

My Mom's holiday flan one year. She couldn't find a platter big enough.

No this year, I have chosen to spend it with friends, where the food is always different and tastes festive. Where conversation do not mirror super committee political debates that lead to nowhere and wine always flows. I give thanks this year to staying put and keeping my eye on the food prize. I am American and I will be stuffed!

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