My husband is my wingman

Of all the changes that happen when you have a baby (and there are A LOT, like the never-ending stream of mysterious wet spots that regularly appear on you, your baby and your home that you quickly learn to stop questioning in order to preserve your sanity), perhaps one of the biggest is the way it changes your relationship to your partner.

Some of these are good changes. Watching someone you used to do tequila shots with now napping with a newborn on their naked chest brings about such a flood of love hormones that you almost can’t stand it. Which helps when 30 seconds later the baby pukes all over said naked chest and you are always inevitably out of baby wipes and clean burp cloths.

Some of these changes are bad. Trying to have a conversation about money while both of you are going on only two hours of sleep and attempting to talk over a screaming, teething 8-month-old brings a whole new level to the word “patience” and the phrase “not murdering everyone with a hatchet.”

And some are completely unexpected. Take, for instance, the fact that I’ve discovered my husband is an excellent wingman.

Ever since we had our son, he has been chatting up other moms at the park and on the playground and in every child-friendly bar we have circled on a map of the tri-county area. He just swoops in, pure confidence and swagger, asking them all about their kids and what is up with those breast-feeding Nazis shaming poor mothers, the nerve of them, and then just as quickly swoops out while giving me a gentle yet firm push forward so I can continue the conversation and hopefully not ruin all his hard work with my awkward jokes about murdering my whole family with a hatchet.

And I often do ruin all his hard work. Because I am just the worst at first impressions. The worst. I’m awkward and I laugh too loud and I wear scary dark lipstick that makes me look like I’m ready for a vampire rave at any given moment.

Luckily, I am amazing at third impressions. You accidentally run into me a third time, I’m bound to charm you once you realize that all that black eye-liner is just a part of my quirkiness and not because I want to sacrifice your newborn to my coven.

Unluckily, however, I rarely get that chance. And if I do ever get that rare third chance meeting, I always forget to ask for the digits and seal the deal because I was never a horny 19-year-old frat brother. I firmly believe that men and women are equals, but men most definitely have a jumpstart on the whole awkward information exchange follow-through.

But none of this stops my husband. He never gives up, no matter how hopelessly I bungle these situations. Because he knows that deep down, underneath my spectacular ability to either insult the home state of whomever I happen to be talking to (how the hell was I supposed to know she grew up in Utah?) or make fun of moms who name their daughters Chanel to the woman who, as it turns out, named her son Chanel, I need mom friends.

Raising young children is a lonely business. Whether you stay home, or work, or some combination of the two, it’s hard to maintain a social life. And it’s damn near impossible to start one when you didn’t have any friends who were already parents by the time you got knocked up.

Because even if I finally do tentatively befriend another parent that puts up with me and our kids get along and don’t try to kill each other with sticks or whatever else is handy, there’s always differing nap schedules and quick trips to the store that end up taking three hours and someone always has an ear infection because children collect ear infections like old people collect sugar packets.

But just like emergency purse crackers and singing toys that have an off button, having mom friends is vital to your mental health once you spurt out offspring. You need other people in your life as interested as you are in poop frequency and consistency and who can reassure you they too don’t bat an eye when their child dumps all the cheddar goldfish crackers on the dirty playground and proceeds to sit down and eat them all.

Which is why I’m happy to report that all that groundwork he laid is finally paying off. I officially have two numbers and an email address in my phone now. And even after meeting up once or twice, I have yet to alienate and/or terrify any of these women. At least not to the point where they have run off verbally screaming.

But no matter what happens, when a gal has that kind of wingman by her side looking out for her, really, what more could she ask for?


The Generation Gap Slap

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Adulting: When stuff turns into a whole, like, thing

I should have known better. As soon as I walked in, I had a bad feeling. This was going to turn into a THING. It always does.

“Hi. I just need to get new eyeglasses. I have my old prescription right here.”

“OK, when was your last eye exam?”

“Honestly, I just need new glasses. No need for an exam.”

“Ma’am, I need to know the date of your last eye exam.”

“Um…sigh…five years ago, I think.”

You would have thought I told them I pluck out the eyeballs of orphans every week and used those in lieu of contacts.


Even better yet, I’m lying. It was seven years ago.

“But…I mean…how have you been getting eye contacts?”


You would have thought I told them I also kick baby goats in the groin after stealing little orphan children’s eyeballs.


“Oh…oh, that’s so bad. You shouldn’t do that. I can’t believe 1-800-CONTACTS lets you do that.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that getting contacts using an ancient prescription via the Internet is literally one of the easiest things in the world to do. The only thing easier, of course, being ordering a hooker online who also brings you a bagful of heroin and curly fries.

So instead I just shrugged.

And this is why I hate adulting. I’m just so bad at it. See, in my mind, if I need new glasses I should just be able to walk into this strip mall eye place with my ancient prescription, pick out some Zooey Deschanel wannabe frames and haul my adorkable ass home in time for lunch. And as long as I can still kinda, sorta see with my current prescription, also keep ordering contacts from the Internet until the day I die.

But instead, I get busted by THE MAN and I’m now stuck filling out a mountain of paperwork, answering questions about insurance with a blank, vapid stare and getting the third degree about leaving the space marked PHYSCIAN’S NAME blank.

“You don’t have a regular doctor?”

“No. I have an OB-GYN. Does she count?”

“What do you do when you get sick?”

“Mix Nyquil with wine and shop online for secondhand books.”

And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, I was then informed I was legally obligated (yes, legally obligated in my state) to get professionally fitted for contacts by their office within 90 days of this initial exam. Which seems like a special sort of anal bureaucratic overreach.

“But I just want new glasses.”

“Would you like to schedule that today?”

“Um…how much does that cost?”


“With my insurance?”


“On top of the exam cost and the cost of the frames and the special lightweight lenses with the special blah-blah something coating you are insisting I get and the eye allergy medication I now apparently need to buy because I sneezed once in the waiting room and NOT including the cost of new contacts?”


“Yeah. I’ll wait.”

“OK, but remember, you only have 90 days and if you try ordering from 1-800-CONTACTS again, they’ll have to verify your prescription through us now, which we can’t do until you get fitted.”

“Son of a …”

See? What did I say? It totally turned into a THING. All those years in school wasted on advanced math classes when I should have been studying up on how to handle stuff that turns into a whole THING without rolling my eyes.

Of course, don’t get me wrong. Although I make a horrible adult, I’m excellent at mothering. My son has a pediatrician who I thoroughly researched and vetted before my kid was even born and he already has a dentist lined up. Not to mention, my dog has always had a fantastic, thoroughly researched vet no matter what state we lived in and I recently successfully nagged my husband, who has the same wicked mature attitude toward personal health as I do, to find a doctor and get a checkup (which he finally did only a record-breaking six months later).

But make no mistake. This isn’t some sort of martyred mom complex, where I make sure everyone else is OK and taken care of before I think about my health (although that would make a better excuse). It’s just these seemingly simple things always get so complicated, you know? I just want new glasses, but suddenly half my day is gone and my wallet is empty. I just want a teeth cleaning, suddenly I’m scheduling surgery to rip out my wisdom teeth. I just want a regular checkup, suddenly I’m being lectured that mixing Nyquil and wine is not medically advisable and here, call this specialist about that mole that is probably nothing but will most definitely kill you if you don’t see him.

Ugh. What is it with these medical professionals and “health”?

And, let me stop you right there. Because I know what you’re going to say. That now that I’m a mom, it’s my duty to make sure I’m healthy and will live forever so I can smother my grandbabies with love and sausage and slip them $20 when no one is looking even when they’re in their 30’s like my grandma did. I’m well aware of that, which is why I now exercise on a regular basis and eat fruits and vegetables on purpose and not just when they’re garnish for my cocktail.

So, I’m slowly trying to get my medical act together.

Just don’t rush me. I’ll get fitted for my contacts and find a regular doctor and even schedule a teeth cleaning right after I renew my recently invalid driver’s license. And fix the mysterious clangy noise on the car. And call the handy man about that tiny large-ish leak in the middle of the ceiling. And buy underwear with actual working elastic. And…

Mommy and the Purple Crayon

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This is why we don’t stick our hand in the toaster

The pitter-patter of little feet. This is what is promised to you when you become a parent. The sound that will fill your house, night and day.

And it truly is one of the greatest sounds in the world.

Unfortunately, this sound is accompanied by a whole orchestra of other sounds that are much less talked about, let alone celebrated. And in our house right now, that pitter-patter is followed by much bigger pitter-patter and an exhausted voice repeating over and over:




And perhaps the most frequently heard phrase in our home:

Why? Just…why?


Because what no one tells you when you’re pregnant is that babies grow up to be toddlers. And being the parent of a toddler means being the perpetual bad guy. My whole life has been reduced to telling a tiny version of myself to knock it the hell off.

And it’s exhausting. Not to mention spirit-crushing for both of us. I want to let him explore and discover the world on his own terms. The only problem is “his terms” always means eating dog poop and climbing up to the top of highly unstable objects and running toward oncoming traffic. All activities that would likely result in his untimely death.

And I think we can all agree that his death would reflect fairly poorly on my skills as a mother.

And so, it’s the constant refrain:




Why can’t you destroy Daddy’s books for once?

There for a while I did try to turn a positive spin on these moments like all those new age-y parenting books I never read say you should.

“It FRUSTRATES me when you smear poop onto your head, sweetie.”

“I understand that throwing oatmeal against the wall is fun but then Mommy has to use a freaking chisel to get it off said wall and I’d much rather use that time to do something productive, like watch 11 consecutive episodes of ‘American Horror Story’ on Netflix.”

“Drinking the milk out of a sippy cup that’s been missing for three days just isn’t healthy, pumpkin. Plus, that ER doctor was super judgmental of my parenting skills the last time you did this, remember? Please don’t make me face him again.”

But here’s the thing: Children don’t give a crap. About your feelings. About your time. About your sanity. You can’t reason with them. They just want to throw oatmeal and make feces art and eat rancid chunks of milk simply because they can. Because they are tiny, tiny little savages.

And, I mean, who can blame them? Hell, I’d probably throw my oatmeal against the wall too if it was societally acceptable and wouldn’t get me thrown in the looney bin. It makes a fantastic “thwap” sound.

But one of us has to be the adult. And since I’m the one who doesn’t feel an overwhelming desire to stick my whole hand in the toaster, that duty falls to me.




Put your penis away, please.

On the plus side, as much as it sucks to be the perpetual bad guy, at least you aren’t just any bad guy. Oh no. You are no low-level petty thug. You are the kingpin. The Mafia boss. The corrupt police chief.

You are Khaleesi, with huge, fire-breathing dragons on your shoulders.

Your power is absolute.

As an example, let me just point out that yesterday the northeast corner of our dining room was just your average, every day corner. But today, with a mere finger point from my all-powerful finger, I turned it into a toddler torture chamber. Or at least that’s what I’m assuming passers-by thought when they heard the pained howls and cries of mercy my kid belted out when I told him to go stand in said corner as punishment for hiding the TV remote in his dirty diaper.

Sometimes, it’s good to be (the evil) king.

The Church of Latte(r)-Spiced Pumpkins

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My dad is in the cheese business

There I was. Just minding my own business. Looking like a hungover Cruella de Vil with my gallon-sized black coffee and my big dark sunglasses and my resting bitch face. Sitting at an outdoor table quietly attempting to write a beautiful and heartfelt rant on why I thought Blake Lively was the devil.

When suddenly, the three of them plopped down at the next table. A blur of bobbing, shiny ponytails and leggings.

And with a shudder of horror, I realized Yoga in the Park had just let out and my personal space was being invaded by the Millennial Yoga Girls.


Never one much for movement if not strictly necessary, I decided to hold my ground and keep typing away, wracking my brain to come up with synonyms for the phrase “just the worst” to describe ‘ol Blakey Poo. But professional scribe though I am (with the tiny, tiny paycheck to prove it), I couldn’t help but be distracted by their conversation.

“Like, I’m not impressed, you know?”

“Yeah, like, she would say ‘get on all fours’ and then tell us to sit up and I was, like, wait, what?”

“Yeah, she was obviously a new instructor. Like, watching YouTube yoga videos doesn’t make you a professional, Jessslyn.”

“Oh my god, that’s so funny.”

I was getting ready to get up and leave before my brain committed suicide when I overheard the one with the shiniest, most bobbing-est ponytail say “My dad is in the cheese business.”

A unique enough sentence in its own right, sure. But it was the fact that she trailed off after saying it. And just left it at that. Like her dad being in the cheese business was self-explanatory.

Granted, I missed the beginning of the conversation. But what conversation topic can be reasonably concluded by the statement “my dad is in the cheese business”? It was like that old Lewis Black joke about “if it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” Her sentence just kept rattling around in my brain.

So, I reluctantly decided to stay and eavesdrop. For, you know, professional reasons. Who knew? There might be a comedic goldmine here to exploit. At the very least, I figured, I could live tweet their conversation since they pretty much spoke in audible tweets anyway and maybe get a few retweets by people who are even older and even more bitter than I am that the world around them is changing without their consent.

“Yeah, I just spent, like, half my paycheck buying a bunch of [unpronounceable hipster food].”

“Oh, did you get it at Whole Foods?”

“Yeah. I mean, you know me. I like to buy local whenever possible but, like, Whole Foods is Whole Foods…you know?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Oh my god, you guys are so funny.”

My fingers were practically smoking across the keyboard. I knew it was wrong. You shouldn’t make fun of the young folk just because you’re old now and grew up in a different generation. But I just couldn’t help myself.

“It’s like I told him, ‘Joshua, you can’t, like, wash those jeans. When they get dirty, you put them in the freezer to kill the bacteria.’ Everyone knows that.”

“Ew. He washes his jeans? What year is this? 2009?”

“Oh my god, that’s so funny.”

During a lull in the conversation, when they were all taking the mandatory post-yoga, pre-coconut water refresher selfie, I Googled “annoying Millennials” to help pad whatever snarky blog/column/essay these notes would turn into when I read something that stopped me in my tracks. According to the Pew Research Center, the Millennials are considered anyone born after 1980.

Which meant…


It couldn’t be…

But it was…

I was one of them.

But, but, but…

I’ve spent my whole life associating myself with Generation X. To this day I still love to rock purple lipstick and would slap my own mother if it meant I could get my hands on a bottle of old-school Chanel Vamp nail polish. I worship Nirvana and David Foster Wallace. Winona Ryder in “Reality Bites” is my spirit animal. Hell, I still consider the word “slacker” a compliment.

And now those bastards at the Pew Research Center have made me one of the oldest millennials instead of one of the youngest Gen-Xers. And no one wants to be the oldest of their generation. Because now instead of having the excuse “I was born in a different time, kid,” I’m just the pathetic, out-of-touch grandma that gets Grindr and Tinder confused.


My whole sense of self has been shaken. If I’m not a Gen-Xer, then just what the hell am I? Besides the woman now frantically texting all her younger friends “What is Snapchat? And how is it different from Instagram?”

But worst of all is the realization that I’ve been cut off from my own people all these years while I was busy shopping for second-hand flannel shirts. I know nothing about us, other than the snarky columns I’ve read from legitimately bitter Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.

Guess I’ll just have to face it. I am a woman with one foot in each generation. Rendering me essentially generationless.

Still, having never been one to back down from adversity, I plan to embrace my new Millennial status with gusto.

Now, does anyone know where I can buy coconut water and if it pairs well with copious amounts of vodka?