Sometimes, I Just Don’t Want to Mom Right Now

At some point, without my permission, my baby turned into a toddler. Now, instead of carrying her around, I’m following her (unless there’s something I really need to do involving two hands, in which case, she absolutely must be held at that moment or it’s power tantrum time).

My one-year-old’s main interests include the following:

  1. Pulling tissues filled with snots out of the bathroom garbage can and trying to eat them (and if you take them away from her: power tantrum).
  2. Trying to get into the dishwasher to play with knives.
  3. Dipping her hands in the toilet.
  4. Throwing 100% of the food you give her at meal times off her high chair tray and onto the back of the dog (think “spaghetti comb” because that’s what I have to do after dinner).
  5. Pretending not to understand what “no” means.
  6. Attempting to fling herself head-first off the couch.
  7. Insisting that you read the same book to her 18 times.

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sharing used toilet paper with mama – so thoughtful

There are moments in our days that are really nice, like when she cracks up about something, or figures out how to put a puzzle piece in the right spot (GENIUS), or makes adorable sounds. But also? Having a toddler is really, really hard, and exhausting, and it caught me by surprise.

Now, in addition to the having to feed, clothe, bathe, care for a baby thing, there’s also a constant battle of wills. She does NOT want you to wipe up her nasty boogers as they slime their way into her mouth. She NEEDS you to let her eat that applesauce pouch right this second or she’s gonna lose her shit. She will look me in the eyes as I say “Lucy, No” and fling spaghetti onto the dog’s head.

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spaghetti

So, I’m tired.

And honestly, if I didn’t have the luxury of part-time daycare (to cover my part-time work schedule), I would be looking for a full-time job. Because honestly, I don’t know if I’m cut out for this all the time. I love every squishy, boogery ounce of Lucy, but doing this for 12 hours a day 5 days a week? Nope. I couldn’t do it.

Admitting this to myself isn’t easy. I still operate under the (incorrect) default assumption that the parts of me that are wrong are just things that need to be fixed, so that one day I can be perfect. It’s like I want to take my 1997 Honda Accord to the mechanic and have him turn it into a Tesla and then not charge me, just because I’m so great. I just want my therapist to boop me with a magic feelings wand and all of a sudden I’m an infallible mom machine.

But instead of doing everything right all the time, I get exasperated a lot. I get impatient. I look at my iPhone.

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here she is feeding printer paper to the dog

I know better than to feel guilty about this. If any of my mom friends admitted to me they felt guilty for this shit, I would tell them they’re nuts. This is totally normal! So what if you look at your phone! So what if you want nothing more than an hour alone after a 12 hour day! That is NOT WEIRD.

And yet.

The internet is a place full of faerie moms, who breastfeed their 11 year olds, and cosleep with their 12 year olds, and whose 1 year olds gleefully slurp kimchee without ruining their clothes. They have faerie babies who never get sick, and all they do all day is run around together holding hands in fields of wildflowers.

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don’t ask me about the last time I vacuumed

By 5pm (or, ya know, noon) I am desperate for reprieve. I am counting down the minutes until my beautiful girl is tucked into that crib, and I can finally sit on the couch with a cup of decaf and watch Top Chef totally alone.

Sometimes I miss it; being alone.

 

Pregnancy Myths, REVEALED! (An Illustrated Guide)

People say a lot of weird things about being pregnant, and it mostly comes from those who are a) not pregnant at that moment, b) are a man, and c) should shut up. People need to stop giving you advice because it’s starting to cut into the 15 hours per day you have allotted to not sleeping and fanatically googling.

Here are some things you might hear around town that are wrong.

  1. You’re glowing!

pregnant

Unless “glowing” now means “fucking exhausted” and “bigger than Donald Trump’s ego” and “more terrified of what’s about to happen than a cat of a cucumber” then no, you are not glowing. Maybe you were glowing, like right after you had sex 9 months ago, or in your second trimester when you finally stopped puking and ate something other than fries for the first time in 2 months. But now? The only thing glowing is your attitude if you run out of Haagen Dazs. (Do NOT run out of Haagen Dazs).

  1. Eating for two is a myth; you’re actually eating for one plus a few extra calories, like in a light yogurt!

eating 2

Okay, this one might technically be true, but shhhh. The only way to describe the unquantifiably enormous amount that you will love your babies to a pregnant lady is in saying, “Imagine a platter of cheeseburgers that goes on for infinite, and then add coffee, various cakes, and sleeping.” You will love your baby a lot. Also, light yogurt is not that delicious. Also, lettuce is a vegetable.

  1. Don’t pet cats!

cat lady pregnant

That is, if you even WANT to pet cats. (If you don’t, feel free to use pregnancy as an excuse to avoid them like the plague). But you can actually pet cats, you just can’t change their litter boxes, which you shouldn’t be doing anyway, because that is why you got married.

BONUS: It is also a myth that any pregnant woman alive who is not insane would wear a button-up shirt and just casually only button two buttons and then let her giant stomach hang over a blanket while she pet a cat. But I’m trying to illustrate a point here, which is that you can touch cats, if you want to and are pregnant.

  1. You have to take at least one picture of your giant stomach with your partner’s hands in a heart framing your cavernous belly button!

hands heart

Myth! Feel free to take this picture, or feel free to ask people to NOT take pictures of you while very pregnant, like when you’re stopping at Dunkin Donuts for the second time in one day and people are giving you sad, sympathetic looks, even when you chuckle nervously at the lady ringing you up and casually mention how much everybody at your office loves donuts. Instead of staging photos, you can also just lie around in bed in a sweatsuit and demand that nobody touch you. Ever again.

  1. Your lopsided bump is indicative of your baby’s gender!

girl or boy

Is your baby sitting a little to the left? Is your belly awkwardly misshapen? Did you do a special little dance during getting-pregnant sex? Did you google that weird “what sex is my baby” birthday chart that a million people swear works and IS REAL? Nope. Sorry! Your physical symptoms point to the condition of “being pregnant.” You’re going to have to wait to find out just like everybody else.

BONUS TIP: This one’s important: if anyone ever says to you, “wow, I can’t believe you’re still pregnant!” or “wow, you are HUGE” give them a black eye.

Now, go eat a pizza in a pair of sweats. Dribble a little tomato sauce down the front for me. If anyone dares enter your nest(flix), start screaming at them in Elvish and crying, alternately, until they fear for their lives.

Home Decor Tips and Tricks for the New Mom

One cannot overstate the importance of having a clean, safe, beautiful environment for one’s baby. The new mother’s home must be filled with light, laughter, and a bunch of those inspirational art prints about how life is good in flip flops and families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a lot of nuts.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned about maintaining a gorgeous home. Remember, if your house is messy, it’s because you’re lazy. You should probably stop taking so much time for yourself.

1. Maintain a hygienic eating area

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This is of the utmost importance. Your baby cannot have certain foods at certain times, so you must control their eating environment to ensure nothing is cross-contaminated. Your baby cannot have peanut butter either before one year or four months or seven months. Your baby should start with purees or chunks of whole, steamed food if you are eating them also. Your baby should not have grains, but pulverized rice is a great first meal for your baby. Your baby will love the first food of mashed banana! But your baby should not eat banana because it may cause constipation. Your baby should not have whole milk before age 1 but should have whole milk at 9 months.

Bonus Tip: Do not let your baby lick the dog hair off their own feet or eat puffs off the floor that might be there from yesterday. Or the day before that.

2. Organize, organize, organize

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Organization is the key to efficiency! Place all baby bath items in a secure, organic, all natural, grass-fed, local, secure area. They should be organized alphabetically, by number of stores you had to search to find that product you saw on Jessica Alba’s Instagram last night at 3am when you decided you were a horrible mother.

3. Maintain a beautiful sanctuary for love-making

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Because you’ll want to keep your partner satisfied immediately after the birth of your child, be sure to cultivate a sexy area in your home. This area should not scream, “Get the FUCK away from my boobs,” or “I AM SLEEPING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.”

Bonus tip: You should probably also wear a thong after, or during, birth. For sex appeal.

4. Fill your home with inspiring, seasonal decor

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Teach your baby to count with tiny autumnal gourds, which you will dispose of before they are rotting and overtaken by horrific mold. Buy and decorate a beautiful Christmas tree, and then don’t leave it up until March.

Bonus tip: In your bountiful free time, try your hand at some DIY! Use Pinterest to find inspiration for unique nursery decor.

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Happy house-cleaning!

How to Make Other New Mom Friends

In 2013, Kyle and I were still living in an Upper East Side studio apartment, a 5th floor walk up over a sushi restaurant named after a brand of family sedan, approximately the size of an upper lip mole. We furnished it with an Ikea love seat, very small bed, and two bar stools. I went to bed early every night, the apartment still reeking of food, and Kyle would sit up on the Barbie couch and very quietly sip a Bud Light and try not to disturb me with his typing.

500 square feet would be a generous estimate

500 square feet would be a generous estimate

As romantic as it was to revel in the many smells that emanated from the miniature bathroom into our shared airspace, we saved up to buy ourselves some more room. We decided on Westchester, which offered a relatively quick ride to Manhattan and plenty of adorable towns where things like $7 pickles and steaming bowls of ramen could be sourced.

Until I got pregnant, we both commuted to the city for work. On weekends, we invited our friends to visit, hosting elaborate dinner parties. We didn’t make local friends because there was really no need; we were both still connected to our city roots.

Then pregnancy, then baby, and I found myself feeling very alone in a strange town, with no one to rely on for things like holding the baby for 10 minutes so I could shower. New motherhood feels incredibly isolating even when you haven’t moved: mothers who work full time all of a sudden have maternity leave to contend with (at least, I certainly hope so). You feel every single minute of the day tick by when you’re not sleeping, and a purple raisin baby is screaming and flailing in your face, and you doubt every instinct you have. My best friend in those early days was Google, who was also a very mighty enemy, frequently sending me into a panic spiral. Also, you probably have poop on your face.

Once I got myself together a little bit (because Lucy started sleeping for more than an hour in a row) and Lu lost her veil of newborn delicacy, we ventured out into the world, desperate for some compatriots.

Here’s what we learned about making new mom friends:

1. Storytime at the library is the epicenter of friendless new mom activity.

It’s like speed dating. As soon as your baby is old enough to swim in the germ pool, go to storytime. The very first time I went, I met two other women, both first time mothers with floppy little nuggets just like Lu. As you sit in storytime, awkwardly smiling while trying to remember the words to the itsy bitsy spider, shooting laserbeams of quiet desperation through your eyeballs at other women, remember that they are also half insane right now. You already have no dignity, because you definitely reek of baby barf, so just go talk to them.

please lick all of these disgusting toys individually. oh! good job.

please lick all of these disgusting toys individually. oh! good job.

The proper method of furthering the relationship without seeming like a potential stalker is to trade email addresses. You can then list a phone number in the email, if you wish. Always sign off with your name plus your baby’s name, because otherwise you will never, ever remember. You will probably confuse all the names anyway, and call many babies by the wrong names, but no one can blame you for this: you probably also are only wearing one shoe and have a booger on your eyebrow.

2. Go to every free introductory class.

Baby classes are hilarious, and also very ridiculous. There are all kinds of weird structured activities available for kids these days, and many offer classes for small babies, too. Many of these are outrageously expensive, but most offer the first class for free. Go to all the free classes, meet moms, revel in the ridiculousness, and then never return.

Yesterday, I needed something to do. It was veterans day and the libraries were closed, so I googled around and found: a baby gym. This gym offers classes once a week to babies under 10 months old for $850 per 6 months.

Apparently 6 months of baby gym time are worth more than my car.

Anyway, we went to the free session, and oh my god. The session started with Coach Claudia talking us through “baby stretches,” where you hold your baby’s legs and gently extend their “quads” and “hamstrings.” We did baby flips which apparently did something to the vestibular something in their inner ears. I’m not sure if the pseudoscience was included or cost extra.

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The highlight was the gym “free time,” where babies could explore their own routines, and by routines I mean crawling around licking stuff.

3. Reconnect with old friends who are new moms.

This one is sort of cheating, but it helps. You know all those people you lost touch with after high school? The ones who also have kids are very fun to reconnect with after you join their parental ranks. A digital support network is a big help on the days you can’t seem to leave the house, or need someone to remind you that you’re not doomed to spend an eternity in a blazing inferno of hellfire because you let the baby watch 15 minutes of Sesame Street so you could look at Instagrams and chug coffee in peace.

Love you, Sarah

Love you, Sarah

4. Maybe don’t wear embossed sweatpants and a leather baseball hat on your first mom meet up.

On the one hand, it’s a good gauge for who will truly understand your soul. On the other hand, it matters very little how much your new mom friends immediately understand your soul, because they will understand why your boob is hanging out of your shirt at a restaurant, or why you haven’t showered in 3 days, and that is more important.

Your new mom friends will not be your old college friends, the ones who know you inside and out, and remember staying up all night with you drinking 99 Bananas liquor and watching repeats of Friends while you eat a very large bag of bagels. While you were in a punk band, they were in a very good small town production of Fiddler on the Roof, or while you are a vegetarian, they might bake whole pig in a pit in their backyard. Maybe you’re an atheist, and they give it up to Jesus.

We can work with this. As different as everyone will be in your brand new ragtag team of sleep-deprived zombie moms, you need each other. These weirdos will become your closest allies, the ones who babysit for you at the very last minute because you desperately need help, who tell you how great you look when your eyeballs are about to fall out of your face, who don’t judge you for feeding your 8 month old nothing but white bread for lunch.

mm!

mm!

Find them. They’re out there, and they need you, too.