Tag Archives: Parenting

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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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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Gift Registry Hell And Babymoon Existentialism

View on our babymoon – Point Lobos State Reserve in Big Sur, CA

This week my husband and I are on our babymoon. Some people say babymoons are the last hurrah before your baby arrives outside your belly, but since it’s impossible to hurrah with a child inside your stomach who doesn’t like to drink, I see it more as a vacation from putting together a baby registry.

If you’ve never done one or started one, a baby registry is the one gate of hell every woman must pass through to earn her child. No one warned me, so let me warn you: if you are pregnant, no matter at what stage in the game, start your registry NOW! You would think it would be easy to pick out cute things, but no, it’s not easy because it’s not just about the cute stuff—you have to think about how many diapers and for what stage, what kind of diapering you’ll want to do (disposables or cloth), what size bottles and how many, do you want to risk an all-in-one convertible car seat or change them three times. I held off for as long as I could to dive into this mess so I could try and enjoy the different stages of my pregnancy before making our new way of life a reality we were still not required to live. Thing is, once you start picking out things, you learn it’s impossible.

It took me two months to figure out and compile mine. I spent hours every day trying to make sense of this world I had never thought about before. What kind of person am I and what kind of parent will I be? Will I want to travel the world with my baby? Do I want my child to be babied or strictly raised with little extras provided? What kind of career do I need to set myself into motion for and how will that affect what I need for the baby? I spoke to four different women, perused over three different registries, read recommendations written by five different mothers, devoured the Oprah hailed book BABY BARGAINS, and, if you’re like me and have poor girl neurosis that makes you think everyone else is just as hard up on cash as you are, spent twice as much time as other mothers-to-be making sure I had a range of reasonably priced items so, as if I have the power to do so, don’t let the world throw itself into greater debt.

And then just as I finished, it was time for our vacation and what turned out to be the drug-like experience of a babymoon.

To get high without getting high takes a lot of noodle dancing or somehow throwing yourself off-kilter by exposing yourself to a dizzying number of unknowns. Not that this was planned—the best trips rarely are—but we ended up throwing ourselves into this otherworldly spiral by spending our first morning of vacation in LA by getting our things together for the trip in an unusually relaxed state, followed by a drive down to Joshua Tree where we stayed somewhere we had never been to to attend a wedding outdoors somewhere in the desert with a jaw-dropping star-filled sky, a moving heartfelt ceremony, beautiful friends and more dancing than my back could handle. Eight hours later and no time to get acquainted with our surroundings, we drove north eight hours up to Monterey and went from dry brown landscapes with stickly shrubs to green-filled roadways atop mountains covered in healthy redwoods and cypress trees. That sequence of events in only 24 hours could not have been more disorienting.

After the long drive we passed out for a bit in our hotel room and when I awoke, I had no idea where we were or who I was. I tried focusing and reminding myself of our travel plans but could not resolve the feeling of being misplaced to save my life. Without anything to ground me, nothing seemed real. It was as if I was in the middle of a real-life version of THE MATRIX and at any second I could wake up with my brain attached to some world-imagining machine. My only recourse was to ride what was a feeling of weightlessness and near non-existence.

Hoping some movement and change of scenery would help, I accompanied my husband to a nearby British Pub and kept staring at him like some psychopath in desperate need of clinging onto some semblance of sanity. And then I remembered… I’m pregnant. To think about being pregnant with no relation to who you are or where you are is, as hippies like to say, a trip. I was sure the cognizance of my pregnancy would bring me back to earth, but it didn’t. I was surprised to find that something so settled in my body could still be a part of my feeling so out of my body. Pregnancy it turns out is not the grounding experience so many people make it out to be; it too can float right along with you wherever you go. All of those decisions on who you are and what you hope to be with your new family are made from habits accumulated over time. It’s those habits that get you stuck and make you feel a false sense of being grounded, not babies, because babies are not a habit they’re just babies.

As a result, I was able to experience pregnancy in relation to me and my husband solely for what it was—time for a human to develop inside of me and time for us to grow with it. It was kind of cool to realize that no matter what our circumstances and way of life, there will always be one constant—the three of us exist. No matter the rocker, the carrier, no matter if I go back to school, if I’m rich or poor, we have this baby and the meaning behind it? Nothing. It just is. It is just growing. A little Zen I guess and not all that snuggly fun, but there was something so freeing about it all. We’re in this together and being a part of it means just being with it and each other. Suddenly the registry, who we are and all my worries about our future went out the window and our babymoon, as a time for one last relaxing hurrah, was free to start in earnest.

P.S. – Start your registry NOW!

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BABY SHOWERS ~ Where Women Become Babies

Friends and family have been waiting for years to see me act like an adult, so why as I’m about to have a baby and embark on the most grown up thing I’ll ever do, am I suddenly expected to celebrate like a little girl? Because it’s baby shower time ladies and gentlemen–the rite of passage that follows drunken bachelorette parties and sober marriages.

If you think women have come a long way, try suggesting to your friends options for baby showers other than the norm. I don’t like baby showers and nobody I know likes baby showers, except for the women who put them on and get a sick thrill from seeing their pregnant friends suffer. So my plan for my baby party was one last round of adult time set for a Saturday night with drinks, dancing, friends of both sexes, no games and no gift opening hour. But it turns out my instincts were wrong. A few months before my due date I learned that to have a baby a woman must become one.

According to American tradition, pregnant women are supposed to turn eight, play games, eat cupcakes topped with plastic toys and open gifts before the sun goes down as a way to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. To fully immerse yourself back into childhood, your baby shower must involve your closest girlfriends and zero boys. This is because women are innately built to act like children as opposed to men. In contrast to my own experiences in an all girls high school and living with seven other women for three years, it turns out that when women gather in a group they instinctually desire bright pastel party decor and game-packed itineraries to get to know one another. And at baby showers they can’t help but talk the way kids think adults talk by bringing up generic topics of conversation that cover all things baby. This focus in discussion may seem narrow and boring to the unfeminine eye, but with recent training I’ve discovered it has loads of possibilities. When talking about babies, you can talk about other people’s babies, what you’re hoping your baby will be like and the things that are cute about babies like their wittle hands and wittle feet. The topic of pregnancy is a crowd pleaser too; everyone wants to know if you had morning sickness and if you can feel the baby kicking. I just educated myself on breastfeeding, so now I can talk breast pumps, hands free bras for pumping and ask other moms how to do it. Then of course cute baby clothes…please I’m a woman, that’s all I’m supposed to be talking about anyway right? Clothes and fashion–now just a miniature version. Being a kid is great!

For years I had felt guilty for not being more mature, but this looming baby shower showed me that my real problem was that I just wasn’t being immature enough. Going out to clubs, drinking, playing video games now and then and not being more serious about everything around me is just basic teenager to early twenties kind of never-growin’-up stuff. That’s for babies! What our culture really wants is for women to go for the gold and stunt ourselves all the way back to elementary school days to act like sweet naive little pumpkins who prefer punch and cupcakes to whiskey and cupcakes whether they like it or not. And who better to propagate this belief than women themselves? Women make sure other women don’t make the mistake of throwing a party they really want. Girlfriends are always the first to gasp when you suggest you may host your own shower, or fake distress at the thought of no games. Baby showers are the time for women to stop thinking of themselves and  forget what brought them to a pregnant state in the first place–raunchy adult sex. From here on out, puritanical views of womanhood and life are key to what will lead to successful parenting, and it’s thanks to our fellow ladies that we can continue this tradition of making women who have already suffered months of body changes and nausea, suffer a little more for the sake of tradition. Face it, if baby showers weren’t worth doing in the first place, then why is it that men never made it a tradition of their own.

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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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