Tag Archives: Parent

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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The End Is Near

I’m at 38 weeks.  So as the big day nears, there is nothing more frightening than finding out about your friends who were due around the same time as you having their babies ahead of schedule. Now there is no one left but me. It’s like everyone’s got picked off like flies and right now I’m the last one standing. To demonstrate what I’ve been feeling for the last month or more, I created this quick and crudely drawn 23 second piece on the subject. Enjoy, and just in case…Happy Thanksgiving!

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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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