motherhood

Get Your Mommy War On

Hold onto your bonnets, ladies–the Mommy Wars are back.

Your first question might be: What if I don’t wear a bonnet?

Good question. In the case of non-bonnet-wearing, grab the nearest lady item like a box of Massengill or a DVD of Sex and the City II. Now hold tight because the Mommy Wars are back.

What are the Mommy Wars? you ask.

Oh, you sweet, sweet little woman bird or you precious man bird, if you’re a guy and have continued reading past the Massengill reference. Let’s get educated!

Um…okay, I should admit that I know dick about the Mommy Wars. But I am a librarian, which means I can shush with the best of them, and I had a baby cut out of my uterus, which means I can classify myself as a mommy. Still you might want to head to some Mommy blog or to your actual mommy or watch Mama’s Family to learn the rich history.

You’re still here? Fine, let me search the databases, archives and primary documents (this sounds so librarian-y™ but really I’m just looking at Wikipedia), and let’s take the wheels off this bus. They ain’t goin’ round ‘n round no more. And if that driver tells me to “Move on back!” Mommy’s gonna cut a bitch. I hate that goddamn song.

Okay so the Mommy Wars began when a stay-at-home mom and working mom got into a cat fight over which type of Bounty cleans up spills better. It was vicious, and by the end, over 200 rolls of Bounty quicker picker uppers were needed to soak up the bile.

Blogs and books were written, mainly about rich women’s struggles to have it all or to have it all–while giant corporations continue to put shit in our food that will eventually cause our total zombification.

Things seemed to die down until in February, Gwyneth Paltrow told a magazine “I’m rich and successful, and I told someone you have to compromise to be a wife. Now I’m going to jet off to Italy.” Many people said “I didn’t read that, what did she say? Yeah sorry, wasn’t listening even now.”

Okay so the Mommy Wars flared up yesterday when some rich lady threw a verbal grenade at some super rich lady. The rich lady was like “bitch doesn’t work ever” and the super rich lady said “Butler, hold my calls because I’m gonna push the nuclear button and destroy all humanity. Or I’m going to tweet I’m a stay-at-home mom to five boys, that’s hard work. . . oh and my Mittens is doing kind of shitty with women in the polls because of the shitty things his political party does and says so thanks for turning the focus on this issue.”

This caused mass hysteria. The #IWantToEatJustinBiebersHairpiece was knocked from its number one trending perch. Some person hyperventilated on TV. Another Republican said we need to respect a woman’s choice and then laughed hysterically.  Someone made this travel mug:

The country quickly divided into two camps: Those who make millions in politics and media, and those who don’t give a shit. I am in the latter. That’s why this post ends now.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

You know how you discuss your uterus at work?

Yeah, I didn’t think that happened. Unless you work in a gynecology office or in porn or for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Aw snap! Clarence Thomas jokes are soooooo 1991. Better rinse off that Coke can).

But I talked about my uterus at work, or at least I answered questions about it. It seemed odd at the time…mainly because it is completely #$!%^*^!%$ odd.

Here’s what happened:

Another coworker is pregnant with her first child. Since I’m not a hoarder nor planning on having anymore children apart from the one, I am giving her a ton of my old baby items that my 19-month-old no longer uses. She is very grateful cuz that sh*t’s expensive and you use it for about 5 minutes. She is not the problem.

Before a work meeting began, I let her know that I had some bottles, a sterilizer and a feeding chair in my car.

Won’t you need those for your second child?  asks someone else very appropriately since my childbearing decisions clearly affect her and I was including her in the conversation by not addressing her in the slightest. Uh…no, I answer. This is a really good time to have a second child.

At this point, I am really enjoying the direction this conversation is headed…probably in the same way single people enjoy being asked when they will get married, childless married couples when they will have children and the elderly when they will die.

Oh, I’m just having the one, I breezily say and continue my conversation with my pregnant friend.

You can’t let your son be an only child, chimes in another coworker.

Um….I can’t do what now?

He’ll be lonely.

Yes, my daughter and son are best friends, says the other.

Have I suddenly become a character in an after-school special about peer pressure? Hey man, everyone’s having second babies. You don’t wanna be a loser, dawg.

That’s sweet. My brother used to kick me so hard, he’d knocked the wind out of me. I’m good with the one.

It’s really much easier with the second one. You don’t even notice it.

Really? I don’t really notice another human being completely and utterly dependent upon me for his or her survival? Alright then, let’s get with the babymaking.

There are many reasons why I’m only having one child. These are reasons that I’m not completely comfortable discussing with people I work with but barely know at all..especially at the start of a work meeting.

Since these questions will likely continue until I reach a certain age, I need to come up with a better response than “uhhhhhhhh.”

Here are my ideas for possible responses (please let me know your fav in the comments section):

1. I would LOVE to have another baby!!!! With your husband! And you videotaping it!

2. Your question just gave me menopause.

3.  It’s weird. After the first baby, my uterus packed its suitcase and up and left without even leaving a note.

4. The satanic cult said they only needed the one.

5. I suffer from adult baby syndrome. My doctor said I would need to give birth to an adult to take care of me.

6. Oh, so you want to know about my husband and my lovemaking sessions? Great! I’ve been waiting to tell you about them for like, ever. First we light all of our Paula Deen Crisco-scented candles until our living room smells like the midway at a state fair. Then my husband lets the gimp and monkey out of the cellar. While the gimp teaches the monkey to whistle Nelly’s “It’s Getting Hot in Here,” my husband begins to cut pieces of his clothing off and stuff them into his mouth. By this point I’m done eating the peanut butter sandwich I’ve made in the kitchen and become part of the quartet as the monkey begins spinning like a whirling dervish….wait, where are you going?

7. Oh see the psychic told me my next child would ask completely inappropriate personal questions of work acquaintances and I didn’t want to inflict that on anyone.

How Kendra and I Got Our Groove Back

Giving birth is hard, but I found raising the actual child harder. I had certain expectations.

Like this:

The reality was a little different–especially in the beginning. In the first few weeks, many people come by your house to coo at your baby. This usually happens when you’ve just begun nursing. It’s typically your father-in-law or father. These are the fun moments.

You change a lot of diapers. You cannot believe someone so small can produce the waste of an entire elementary school on a single day. You keep track. Since you’re breastfeeding you have no idea if the baby is getting enough to eat. You begin to realize that you have one hour and 20 minutes between each 40-minute-bouts of nursing when you can be something other than a food source. These are the even funner moments.

I think I suffered from postpartum depression the first two months of my son’s life. My therapist at the time said I had adjustment disorder in order for me to submit my visits to my insurance provider. It was a very lonely time. I remember distinctly my mother showing me an picture of my baby on her iPhone and me just wanting to be left alone so I could watch Dancing with the Stars.  In my defense, it was the episode where Kate Gosselin stomped around to the song “Paparazzi.”

It was in these profoundly sad moments that I turned to tabloid magazines for support. And wouldn’t you know, a “celebrity” could articulate exactly what I was experiencing.

Kendra Wilkinson, a former Playboy bunny whose claim to fame was dating the host of Tales from the Crypt, recently had become a mother herself. She now peered at me from the magazine covers, exclusively sharing her new mom confessions with Us Weekly and exclusively sharing her new mom worries with In Touch and exclusively sharing her new mom anxieties with Life & Style. To use the parlance of reality television, I felt a connection.

It was like she had a window into my brain when she discussed her decision to breastfeed. Anyone who says this is a natural, beautiful process has blocked out the first two months when neither participant knows what the hell to do, and where you wish you could do something gentler to yourself, like rub sandpaper on your nipples and coat them with lemon juice.

Kendra, like many mothers, worried about her ability to nurse with Triple D implants. It was like Kendra channeled my own thoughts when she said: “Right up until I went into labor, I was like, I don’t want to breastfeed! Then the baby came, and I was like, Ooh! I want to breastfeed!”  I might have even said those exact words.

In two sentences, Kendra perfectly encapsulated the internal struggle of nursing vs. formula.

And as difficult as the decision to nurse was, it was nothing compared to the sadness Kendra felt. I, too, felt trapped and overburdened. I felt like I had nothing to look forward to, that my life would forever be an endless cycle of diaper-changing, feedings and CNN-watching. Kendra recounted the story of a visit by friends a few weeks after giving birth. Her words were like a lifeline:

“It was bad timing. They were really hot and had really nice bodies.”

Thank you, Kendra, for explaining why I was feeling so hopeless and forlorn.

And the story ends well for both of us….I no longer want to get in the car and drive as far away as possible from my son…and Kendra consumed Abdominal Cuts, a weightloss supplement filled with conjugated linoleic acid, to get her body back in shape. Win-win.

Don’t be a gerbil in a cage

Ann Curry has a crisis. Her house is a mess although it’s unclear which of her houses she’s talking about–probably that unoccupied $2.9 million townhouse that’s been home to some squatters. Her photos aren’t even put in her photo albums!! They’re, like, stuffed in some box. Wait–people still have actual tangible photographs?

But it turns out it’s good that one of Ann’s houses are a mess because it shows she’s not trying to be a “supermom.” Today I learned from Today that some people actually think of themselves as supermoms and that these people are likely to be very depressed according to a supermom study. I personally have become depressed from just watching this Today show segment because I realized I was watching Today.

An assortment of supermom experts are interviewed (I believe it’s a major offered through the University of Phoenix). One says that if you are a mother who doesn’t mind that your husband is a lazy pile of garbage, you will feel less depression over having to do all the housework and childcare after toiling all day in the mines. I don’t see how that’s better than being a supermom, but okay.

Another supermom blogger says she embraces supermomdom. She says this via Skype because she’s trapped in her apartment with two young kids. She’s a happy mom, she says with a tight smile. Keep it together, Supermom…You are a SuperGODDESSmom. . .You can scream into your pillow when the camera’s off. . . okay make your eyes wide, but not too wide when you say “We certainly are not all depressed.”

So how did this supermomphenomenon get started?

Motivational speaker Lisa Earle Mcleod says that women visualize that their lives should look like magazine photo-ops. Hopefully not this one:

The Mona LisaWomen need to chill, says McLeod, author of the blog “How Smart People Can Get Better At Everything.” Women need to focus on purpose and not perfection and when they have a larger purpose, or special purpose if you are Navin R. Johnson, then they have a filter to focus on what’s important, according to McLeod. If you’re just focused on perfection, “you are a gerbil in a cage!” She kind of shouts that last part, but then I remember she is a “motivational” speaker.

So buck up, moms. You just have to find a larger purpose while you are working that job and raising those kids and doing that housework and finding that filter and avoiding that gerbil-in-a-cage thing. And then you can get better at everything.

The Great NYS Fair

An apology to our readers: the following blog entry was inadvertently published whilst still in draft form therefore the post made as much sense as a grown woman covering a tween goat-herder for a news story. Here is the post in all its glorious entirety.

The main reason I agreed to have a baby was to have an excuse to never go anywhere again. But something happens when you have a child. You see nothing strange about keeping a log of your infant’s bowel movements. You use the word “poopy” a lot. You attend functions willingly that you normally wished you had a good excuse, like having a baby at home, to avoid attending. So I’m bringing my son to the NYS Fair.

I hate the fair.

I have only been a few times and the occasions have always been unpleasant.

Once I followed a 13-year-old goat herder around for a riveting news story about spending 14 hours with a 13-year-old goat herder (spoiler: lots of sitting in lawn chairs and looking at goats). I was a correspondent for the local newspaper so I was being paid for the article not my time–14 hours for $25, or $0.56 an hour. After about 20 minutes, you run out of questions to ask (so…why goat-herding?) and it’s mainly sitting around being uncomfortable, a situation made even worse by the powerful aroma of goat shit.

Another time, I paid $2 to see the “world’s littlest woman.” Having just left the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Tent, I thought I would see a Barbie Doll in a fish bowl–the Ripley’s tent was full of fakety fake fakery, but I chose to believe it rather than not, man–so I was horrified to come into the tent, and see an actual person sitting in a toddler-sized armchair, watching a mini-television and eating dinner. She was propped up on a table to be at eye-level. She looked wearily at me and said “hello.” I know I had a horrified look on my face because I just paid $2 to gawk at another human being who happens to be a little short. Instead of saying “I am a horrible, horrible person,” I mumbled “hi” and got the hell out of there.

Now for some completely illogical reason, I’m all pepped to go and expose my son to the urine-and-fecal-soaked barns and midway, the freak shows run by the worst people alive and the crown jewel–the butter sculpture, which I hope is just a giant stick of butter.

I am a horrible, horrible person.