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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Things I've Learned About Myself Since Becoming a Mom

(Words and gifs by Kate)

Meg and I both say that we never imagined having kids until we met the person we wanted to have a kid with.  I mean, we all say we want to grow up meet someone and have a family, but, much like the greasy piece of pizza I just ate before a 4 hour meeting in a hot room, I don't always think things through.  We all know how the first six weeks of motherhood slapped us in the face like a scorned lover on Jerry Springer.  But there are many things that have happened since then that have taught me things about myself.

Here's a couple of things I've learned in the 6 months since we had the Bean. (NOTE: She is the light of my life, but 90% of parents reading this will probably give the unity fist on these):

1. I really like doing absolutely nothing. 
Seriously.  I could dick around on the internet like a pro. Power watching Food Network on the brightest of spring days used to be my jam. Post-Bean, the closest I get to doing absolutely nothing is going to the bathroom at work.

2. I have no idea what is going on.
I now get what my mom meant when she said she has a huge gaping hole in her memory of any
popular song/tv show/movie from the 80s.  She had 2 kids, worked full time and took care of her parents.  I'm not quite as bad because smart phones exist, but frankly, I get most of my news from Buzzfeed... so look forward to riveting conversations with me.

3. Unmedicated, I am a horrible sleeper.
Before I had the baby I would pop benedryl like tic-tacs to sleep, but when you're a parent of an infant you are "on" all the time whether you like it or not.  Meg and I split the night as to who is on duty, but that doesn't mean we don't hear phantom baby cries that turn out to be the screech owl who has decided to camp out next to our bedroom window.  Then I lay in bed wide awake listening with the intensity of trying to hear the grass grow.  Why?  She's asleep.  I can see it on the monitor.  Then I think, "When did we wash the crib sheets last?  Did I prep enough bottles for daycare?  We should get a bottle of wine for the cat sitter.  Was that her crying?  No, that
What a baby's cry feels like when
it wakes you from a deep sleep.
was the cat singing the song of his people.  I wonder what happened to Cat Stevens."

The exact moment, while feeding her,
that I regretted teaching her to blow
4.  Everything in my life is based on the Bean.

When we eat, when we sleep.  Dinner with the friends?  Sure! Oh wait, they want to eat at 8.  Do I have a clean shirt to wear?  No, we experimented with mixed veggie puree last night.

"Oh we're just going for a 20 minute walk"

Also, leaving the house and doing something has never been more complicated.  After we pack up Ella's compound of necessities, filling the backseat of an SUV after perfectly timing a feeding and a nap, we are ready.  For a 2 hour outing down the street.

But after you accept the fact you will watch "Game of Thrones" when she goes to college.  You will always be about a week to a month behind on any pop culture.  And as you sit in the bathroom stall at work negotiating your "standards" of hygiene contemplating leaning against the toilet paper rolls to take a power nap you'll think of this image from 4am.  And you'll get your ass up and check out Pinterest for "must haves for camping with a 6 month old". <Really happening this weekend- that post to come soon

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Confessions of a Guilty Mom (or two)

(written by Meg)

I think all you moms out there are familiar with mom guilt. It's that twinge a woman* feels when she overhears another mom at the playground saying something like "well, of course we're only feeding our daughter homemade, organic, local, fair trade, non-GMO, hormone-free baby food." You nod
If you dump Gerber Sweet Potatoes from the jar into a bowl
does that make them local?
your head enthusiastically while frantically covering up the label on your just-plain-old-Gerbers baby
food. You consider buying some organic jars to have with you when you're out in public. Ugh, my kid is going to grow an extra arm because her pears aren't organic! Welcome to mom guilt.

Perhaps I put most of this burden on myself, but I don't think I'm alone. It's not that I doubt my abilities as a mom, per say. But I can't help feeling a little bit bad that I don't seem to have enough time to make homemade baby food after working 40 hours a week and taking care of an infant during the rest of my waking hours. Never mind taking care of our diabetic cat, doing laundry, making dinner...oh, and occasionally taking care of myself! So confession #1: Ella sometimes eats non-organic baby food***. I'm trying to come to terms with this reality and it's harder than I thought it would be. It's harder than it should be. To even things out, sometimes I spend hours (yes, hours)** scrolling through reviews of activity cubes, debating whether or not they are more useful and enriching than, say, a push walker. Or maybe a learning table. But learning tables all have battery operated lights and sounds. Oh, you mean you didn't know lights and sounds will ruin your baby's brain? "We try not to overwhelm little Timmy with too much stimulus." Insert enthusiastic head nod and frantic covering up of the light-up toys in our house. Confession #2: Sometimes when I just need 2 minutes to run to the basement and load the washer, Ella sits in front of the scrolling screensaver on our TV. Please don't call the mommy police.

Confession #3: I don't want to be a stay at home mom. Oof, it feels good to get that off my chest. Do I love my kiddo? Yes. Do I want to spend time with her? Yes. Do I look forward to picking her up at daycare? Yes. Do I want to be home with her all day, every day? No. Is this something I should feel guilty about? Gosh, I don't know, but I sure do feel it, especially when other moms talk about crying in their cubicles because they wish they were home with their babies. I respect that, but I suspect I might actually do more crying if I was home every day! I was serious about not calling the mommy police, ok??

Sometimes I have to take a step back (walk away from the toy reviews, Meg) and remember that Kate and I are definitely, without a doubt, for sure more capable and concerned than the majority of parents in this country, just by virtue of our status as educated and relatively privileged people who purposefully brought a child into this world. Our daughter will never go hungry. She'll never go without healthcare. She'll always know she's loved. She'll see museums and theater and parks and baseball games. She will survive the plain old pears and occasional light up toys. I mean...she will, right?

I also have to remind myself that when I was a kid, all babies were put to sleep on their stomachs with blankets, which is absolutely something to call the mommy police about these days. Most people let their babies "cry it out," something a lot of parents consider cruel now. My dad likes to tell the story about how I was "crying it out" louder than usual one night and they found my head lodged between the crib mattress and the rails. Oops. Don't forget the time I fell head over heels down a flight of stairs while strapped into a walker. And did they even have organic food in the 80s? Anyway, I'm sure we all have stories like this, and we survived! We did more than survive, actually. We thrived.

So, why the guilt, moms? Are we, the moms, doing this to each other and ourselves? I've found that other moms are very quick to judge when it comes to parenting techniques and ideas, especially in online mommy forums. (Note to self: Leave online mommy forums.) I'm guilty of jumping to a quick judgement of other moms myself sometimes."Oooh..they're using a bumbo...I guess they didn't see that article about lumbar flexion..." Could we all try to be a little more accepting of others and ourselves, and assume we're all doing the best we can?

Oh, and if a mommy asks, Ella never spends more than 20 minutes a day in her Jumparoo. Never. Because that could cause hip dysplasia and we wouldn't want that. Not to mention the dreaded lights and sounds. Insert frantic head nodding and Jumparoo hiding here.

Jumparoo, babysitter,
Enjoying the Jumparoo for 19 minutes.


*Disclaimer: It's possible that men experience "Dad guilt," but I'm not a dad, so I can't say.

**Hours at work (hope my boss isn't reading this...), so not hours I could be using to make baby food. 

***Shout out to Alison, Mom Extraordinaire, who shares Theo's homemade goodies with Ella!