Monthly Archives: June 2016

Read this. Or not. I don’t really care.

As I sit here with my laptop, a million years pregnant, looking like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka (only rounder and more obnoxious), I can’t help but wonder “what the hell am I doing?”

Not meaning the pregnancy, of course. It’s much too late for that regret. She’s big enough to qualify for social security at this point.

No, I mean this is likely my last post for awhile. One, because I could give birth any day now (although considering my previous birthing record, by “any day now” I mean “two weeks past forever”). And after I do I’m going to take a small break from writing so I can concentrate on the important things, like cuddling with my new baby and finding new places in my house where I can hide so I can sob over my destroyed nipples in private.

Two, my brain has been slowly dissolving in a vat of bubbling hormones for months now, making anything more complicated than dipping deep-fried Cheetos stuffed with mac n’ cheese into tartar sauce damn near impossible.

So, I want to at least try to pull myself together and make this last one a good one. You know, funny but sweet. Perhaps even a bit profound.

And you’d think finding a topic would be easy considering I’m now too big to do anything other than recline on the couch and moan, leaving me plenty of time to worry unnecessarily about things I have absolutely no control over.

The thing is, though, at this stage, I don’t care about anything other than getting this THING out of me.

Sorry. That’s not very maternal. I mean, getting this adorable THING out of me.

Right friggin’ now.

For example, I was going to write about my catch-22 fears of trying to give birth after having a C-section while also simultaneously being afraid of having a second C-section. But then I realized I just…(sigh)…I just don’t care. She can come out any way she wants. She can burrow out my uterus “Shawshank Redemption” style and make her grand entrance via my mouth if she wants. Just as long as she is outside my body and I can finally roll over in bed without the help of a crowbar, a crane and a decent-sized construction crew.

After scraping that idea, I managed to croak out a few sentences about my concerns regarding my first-born. Will I have enough time for him after she’s born? Will he still love me as much as he does now when I’m constantly distracted by his newborn sister? Am I properly mourning the end of the “just me and him” era?

But…again…I don’t really care. I’m tired and hot and can’t get off the couch without assistance. Any issues that stem from this period in my toddler son’s life can be dealt with later (likely via his memoir in which I am referred to as his “momster”).

Being pregnant in the summer, I also tossed around a paragraph or two about my FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” Scrolling through social media, I am inundated with images of friends and family and that bartender I met eight years ago doing fun summery things at lakes and in rivers and on the ocean. They’re going to ballgames and amusement parks and beer gardens. They are having the time of their Instagram-filtered lives and here I sit on the couch with nothing but a bucket of chicken and six fans pointed directly at my face.

But, if I’m being honest, leaving the house is pretty much the last thing I want to do. My house has everything a pregnant lady could possibly want or need (specifically, Netflix, a bed and a good-looking husband who leaves me the hell alone unless it is to fetch me more cheese to eat in bed). I’ll enjoy those stupid fireflies and bonfires and blah, blah, other unforgettable summer memories, blah, next year.

Because again, I don’t care. About anything. Except surviving these last few weeks.

OK, that’s not entirely true. I do slightly care about not murdering anyone until this baby comes out. But that’s only because I will not fair well in prison and not necessarily because I care about stupid crap like the sanctity of life and morals right now.

So, I apologize for wasting your time, dear readers. I hope you can forgive me and I promise to come back with fresh material and a whole new cheery outlook on life (or whatever).

But if you can’t, it’s cool.

I just…(sigh)…don’t care.

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The narrow view of fatherhood

One of the first things you learn as a new mom, besides how to dodge jets of baby urine like Neo in “The Matrix,” is how much society hates you. Oof, and man, do they hate you. And me. And anyone whose uterus used to have an occupant.

It doesn’t matter if we work or stay at home, breast or bottle feed, wear yoga pants or fancy tailored lady trousers with actual working buttons. Moms are just the worst. Because keeping tiny psychopaths with a death wish alive and molding them into decent people who don’t think smearing poop on the dog is a ripping good time is apparently easy and therefore deserves no respect. Or really deserves anything other than your anger and utter contempt.

(This is mostly because no one really notices the million different wonderful and difficult things that you do as a mom until you accidentally blink one day for the first time in three years and an alligator or a gorilla snatches your kid. In which case, they suddenly have all kinds of opinions about your parenting skills and decide the best way to express those opinions is to send you death threats.)

*Daintily steps down from soapbox*

ANYHOO, as I was saying, tough as it is to be a mother in this day and age, what tends to get lost in this tsunami of collective maternal hatred is the smaller, yet still potent, wave of what I call “daddy disapproval.” Because see, we don’t hate dads. Oh no. The complete opposite. We love them. Absolutely adore them, in fact.

Just as long as they never stray outside the very rigid perimeters our society has laid out for them. Perimeters, I should add, that that same society is constantly changing on a very rapid basis (which is why wearing matching princess dresses with your daughter during a trip to the grocery store will earn you the title of “Father of the Year,” but only buying her pink, girly toys will earn you the title “Male Chauvinist of the Year”).

For example, we expect dads to earn good money to provide for their family. However, he’s not supposed to work overtime or ever put work before his family because he also needs to help take care of the kids. And unload the dishwasher. And show up to all the soccer games (even though soccer is quite literally the worst invention mankind has ever come up with). Granted, working moms are also expected to do all this, but at least society allows them to bitch about it. Whereas if a man dared to complain about the unfairness of it all, he would swiftly be drowned out by a chorus of enraged and exhausted women, and would then be beaten to death by a barrage of overstuffed diaper bags.

And never you mind that men are more involved than ever in the day-to-day operations of childcare. Dudes are not allowed to talk about how hard it is to be a dad. Ever.

On the positive side, dads can still be the strong type if they want. Just not the silent type. Because the evolved male is no longer allowed to be emotionally distant from his children.

However, he also can’t get too emotional with his kids. One of the few freedoms we still allow moms, wretched creatures though they are, is that they can get mad at their children. They can yell at their kids in public and make veiled threats of bodily harm without raising any red flags. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hollered “you do that again I’m gonna beat ya’ ‘til you’re dead!” to my 2-year-old on the playground and not only did no one bother looking up from their phone, they most likely couldn’t even hear me over all the other women screaming things like “knock it off, Kolby, or so help me I will rip your arm off and then smack your face with your own hand.”

Now imagine a dad doing that.

Yeah.

Speaking of red flags, as a woman I can sit in any park or playground regardless of whether I have children with me and no one will think anything nefarious about my presence. And I mean even if I’m sporting a trench coat, sunglasses and a giant telephoto lens on my giant camera. Meanwhile, a dad who dares to try to breathe air that close to other children without a kid velcroed to his own body needs at least two forms of identification, a copy of his paternity test signed by his doctor and a note from his wife giving her permission for him to be there.

And chances are good several concerned citizens will still call the fuzz on him.

I could go on and on. We judge dads if they are horrible at sports. Or if they can’t teach their kids how to fix a flat tire. And then there’s the super fun dilemma we put them in regarding the lack of changing tables in men’s rooms.

It’s a very thin tightrope that we make modern dads walk (I suppose to match the tiny, little boxes we try to stuff moms into). And what it ultimately comes down to is that our refusal to value child rearing ends up hurting everyone. Dads are doing more than ever but rarely get noticed or praised for it. Mostly because when you’re both overworked and exhausted, like pretty much every set of parents I know, it can be hard to acknowledge the other’s contribution.

So, perhaps instead of expecting parents to be perfect in the face impossible odds, we could, oh, I don’t know, make it a bit easier to raise a family in this country. Starting with paid maternity AND paternity leave. And maybe affordable daycare, or even almost affordable (as opposed to our current model of “only affordable if eating is not vital to you”). And perhaps, hey, everyone could chill with the pitchforks and torches and death threats for awhile.

And that is my very awkward and long-winded way of saying Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there. We love you and you deserve better.

We all do.

35 things I’ve learned in 35 years

When you’re nine months pregnant and busy chasing a sugar-addicted toddler around, certain things are bound to fall through the cracks. The family’s collective hygiene, for one (she types as she tries to remember how many days in a row her son has worn those Spiderman pajamas). Basic human decency, for another (she types while cringing as she remembers yelling “so help me, if you poop in that plant, mister!” while talking to her insurance agent on the phone).

And, of course, remembering important dates, such as holidays and doctor’s appointments and Taco Tuesday. Which is how I ended up ugly crying into my lasagna last Tuesday in a pregnancy-hormone-fueled rage.

And which is also how my 35th birthday snuck up on me.

Having been someone who was always just on this side of obnoxious when it came to celebrating her birthday, this is pretty much unheard of. I mean, I’ve been known to celebrate the day of my arrival on Earth for the entire month. And 35? Sure, it’s not a huge milestone but a big enough one that it makes you question whether wearing blue glittery lipstick is still a good idea or not.

(It is. It always will be. I will be 95 and still rocking it. I will be buried wearing that lipstick).

Thirty-five is also an age when you start to, if not actually become wise, perceive yourself as becoming wise. Which is why instead of celebrating my almost-forgotten 35th birthday with a big bang (it’s hard to dance all night when you are roughly the size of a planet and have swollen hobbit feet), I want to share some of the wisdom I’ve picked up along the way in my 30 plus years of living.

And so, here are the 35 things I’ve learned in 35 years:

 

  1. Life is too short for uncomfortable underwear.
  2. Your kids won’t remember your muffin top and cellulite. All they’ll remember is that perfect summer day when Mommy played with them in the ocean.
  3. You should never gamble with your health. Drink the good vodka.
  4. Love means never having to say “does this make me look fat?”
  5. When a woman says no, it’s not the beginning of a negotiation.
  6. Have a small wedding and a big honeymoon.
  7. If the Internet comments section has taught us anything, it’s that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age.
  8. It’s possible to cook without drinking wine. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
  9. Dance like everyone is ignoring you because they’re on their phone watching funny videos of other people dancing on YouTube.
  10. Pregnancy is best experienced looking back from ten years in the future.
  11. Anything can be turned into a pizza topping. It’s our right as Americans.
  12. Apologize when you’re wrong. Stop apologizing for existing and taking up space.
  13. Getting really angry at how slow the line is moving has never, ever made the line move faster in the entire history of line-standing.
  14. Try to live every day with the joy and abandon of a naked toddler who just escaped from his bath.
  15. When it comes to politics, chances are good that the bad guys aren’t the people who have it worse off than you do.
  16. Don’t stress out when your children refuse to eat their vegetables. They will. Eventually. When they have children of their own and are trying to demonstrate how “num-num” vegetables are.
  17. Beer and meat both taste better outside.
  18. There are a lot of horrible problems in the world. A woman wearing leggings as pants is not one of them.
  19. Telling your children no is hard. Dealing with spoiled brats is even harder.
  20. Naps should be mandatory for everyone on rainy afternoons.
  21. The only way to survive parenthood is to develop a good sense of humor and own old furniture.
  22. Never underestimate just how brave you really are. You fight invisible monsters every day.
  23. Never underestimate just how brave your kids are. They fight invisible monsters every day.
  24. It’s nearly impossible to succeed if you’ve never failed, so fail and fail spectacularly. Then cry, get drunk with your best friend and vow to never try again. Then try again.
  25. Spend your birthday doing fun things instead of unwrapping fun things.
  26. Go ahead and have breakfast for dinner, pizza for breakfast and wine for lunch.
  27. You have an opinion. Good for you. It doesn’t mean you necessarily have to share it every chance you get.
  28. Dog fur is the most resilient substance on Earth. No matter how much you use a lint roller, it will still be there on your pants. Even if you’re murdered and dumped in the ocean and found two years later, police will still be able to identify you by the dog hair they find on your pants.
  29. It’s always better to look your age than to look like you’re desperately trying not to look your age.
  30. Some days, I honestly don’t know if love is always stronger than hate. But that’s not going to make me love any less fiercely.
  31. Shelter pets always make better pets.
  32. Oh, just swim and stop worrying about getting your hair wet.
  33. Never trust someone who doesn’t drink coffee.
  34. One of the best jobs in the world is being the Official Boo Boo Kisser to a tiny human with a skinned knee.
  35. Getting older is something to celebrate. Especially when you consider the alternative.