Linky Link Round Up

I’ve been writing less here and more on other sites that, you know, pay me. Here’s a round up of some of my recent stuff:

I updated my piece on being an alcoholic mother for Buzzfeed, adding in more of what it’s like now to be a sober mom.

I’m super excited to be writing a weekly column for Ramshackle Glam about motherhood, anxiety, and those pesky things I sometimes have called “feelings.” I wrote about being the wrong kind of mother a few weeks ago and was pretty floored by the response; apparently I’m not the only one who feels like she has no idea what she’s doing. I also imagined what it’d look like if my 1.5 year old pitched her game concepts to the CEO of Hasbro, and what happened when we took her to the amusement park and lost Monk Monk.

Here are some tips on cool Amazon features you might like if you’re pregnant.

My first and only ever (I’m sure) magazine centerfold for Kiplinger’s is about the gender pay gap (of course).

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19 Things I Said I’d Never Do Which I Did Within 3 Months of Becoming a Mom

  1. Think that 5 am is a reasonable time of day to get up

  2. Consider a sweatsuit to be a practical, flattering outfit

  3. Own 3 strollers, because they all serve very different purposes, ok?

  4. Have someone else’s poop touch my body and not run screaming into a bathtub full of Lysol

  5. Consider four hours of sleep in a row to be “a real improvement”

  6. Sing Daniel Tiger songs in the shower, and occasionally hum them in public

  7. Have an Instagram feed of entirely pictures of a bald wrinkly blob with eyes

  8. Let a human being drag their hands around on the floor gathering dog hair tumbleweeds and then stick them in my mouth

  9. Memorize a mental checklist of 47 things I need every single time I leave the house

  10. Bite a black bean in half and feed it to someone

  11. Have porn star boobs

  12. Join a bunch of Facebook groups and participate in thoughtful discussions about what kind of rash that is

  13. Get peed on

  14. Post photos to the internet of someone covered in disgusting foods and sauces

  15. Eat dinner in restaurants at 4:30pm

  16. Invent a song about a washcloth

  17. Go to Starbucks with barf in my hair

  18. Tweet a cute garbage can company

  19. Think that one hour alone with a book and a breadbasket is afterlife-level paradise

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Why You Should Love Your Saggy Postpartum Skin

Nine months ago, I looked like this:

large and not in charge

large and not in charge

No, that’s not last years Halloween costume, where I stuck a beach ball under an assless hospital gown and pretending to be incubating quintuplets. That’s what I looked like when I was admitted to the hospital for induction, 41 and a half weeks pregnant, right before fifty hours of labor.

I gained about 60 pounds during my pregnancy, much to the horror of the medical professionals around me. A sonogram technician once told me based on my appearance alone that she was sure I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t). In my third trimester, my midwives advised me to stop eating carbs (which I responded to with hearty laughter and then ate a pizza). I was a giant pregnant lady and I gave birth to a giant baby.

Mostly, the weight has slowly come off, and without rigorous effort on my part. I find formal exercise remarkably unfun, and am also not going to not eat three donuts last Saturday when someone brings donuts to your house. I do eat a pretty healthy vegetarian diet, and I do take walks with Lucy because it puts her to sleep. I’m grateful to be back in a place where I can fit into my old clothes and not have to buy a bunch of new ones.

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The thing about losing weight postpartum is that it’s not like things just go back to where they were before. After a couple months of breastfeeding, my triple F boobs that could have served as flotation devices in a turbulent river completely deflated, morphing into a pair of 3 day old flapjacks. My butt got bigger (which actually, I’m fine with).

is that a boob fold?

is that a boob fold?

My stomach, never my crowning physical glory, droops sadly around the sides of my pants like a ziplock bag full of vanilla pudding. A fold of skin dangles above my bellybutton, presumably protecting it from linty intruders.

hey there

hey there

Despite not being a contender for this years’ Victoria Secret catalogue, I’ve come to appreciate my postpartum body, and feel more comfortable in my skin than I did even pre-pregnancy. This weird, lumpy body grew a tiny, autonomous person, someone who laughs, eats pieces of leaves off the floor, and squats when she farts. That’s a hell of a miracle.

Here’s why you should embrace your new, postpartum skin, too:

1. Winter is coming. And if you believe the not-at-all sensationalist media, it’s going to be a cold one. Save money on outerwear by wearing your layers underneath your skin!

2. Unconventional Storage. Use the folds to your advantage, by tucking away treats and toys for later. You never know when your baby will scream inexplicably and need to be bribed with food (it’s when you’re driving, working, or sleeping).

for example, these teething biscuits, which are not organic

for example, these teething biscuits, which are not organic

3. Your baby needs something to hold on to during airplane turbulence. Or breastfeeding, screaming jags, or when you become your baby’s personal climbing gym. Who knew the term “love handles” was literally a thing?

4. The 90’s are in. Just in case you still consider yourself to be above sweatsuits (I’m not), try on this fantastic current trend. Adopting a 90’s trend will grant you plenty of coverage for your midsection, and has the added bonus of making you look like an insane person who should not be approached. I once wore a side ponytail to Trader Joe’s and noticed a 67% decline in other customers asking my daughter “how old he was.”

via Popsugar

via Popsugar

5. You can’t be more The Best than you already are. Seriously. You made someone. And now you feed it, dress it, love it, and change it’s horrific diapers. There is nothing beyond “The Best,” which is what you already are.

Flying on a Plane with an Infant: It’s Not That Fun

Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no way not to panic about flying on a plane with a baby for the first time, unless you are a Buddhist monk or so filthy rich that you have eight nannies tending to her tiny highness while you sit in first class and get bombed on morning bourbons. I spent the weeks before my five flights with Lucy (FIVE) in an increasing state of sheer terror.

I knew, logically, that everything would be fine. The worst that could happen was she’d annoy passengers by bleating like a tyrannical, satanic goat for three straight hours, and then I’d never see those people again. Telling myself that offered little comfort; logic was eclipsed by emotionally-provoked certainty that nothing would ever be okay again ever.

But of course, everything was totally fine. Here are my tips:

1. Don’t spend a lot of money on new toys. Do download a bunch of videos.

does not care

does not care

Every advice post I read before I left said to buy Lu a bunch of new toys for the plane, which would magically entertain her for dozens of in-flight hours. I would estimate that each new toy I bought entertained her for an extra 14 seconds. Skip the expense and save your money for gallons of life-sustaining airport coffee.

More helpful than new toys: we maxed out the memory on an old iPad with free Baby Einstein videos downloaded from YouTube. Be sure to give the double stink eye to anyone who gives you a disapproving glance because you’re letting a tiny angel wither into zombie dust due to five hours of screen time. Screen time saves lives (yours).

2. Once you are seated on the plane, make sure that all of your personal (for you) items are readily accessible. Your baby may pass out at any time, and once she does, you will not be able to move.

whatever you do, do not wake this thing

whatever you do, do not wake this thing

I brought two books with me on this trip, which was unbelievably ambitious. When a 20 pound chicken nugget is sleeping on your lap, do not attempt to move your arms for a page turn! Think of yourself as a T-rex: you have two disproportionate hand-claws you can sort of use to poke or drop things, and that’s it.

A better bet: download a bunch of music or podcasts to your phone and have headphones out and ready.

3. Bring extra clothes. For both of you.

was it something i ate?

was it something i ate?

Since you asked, I will divulge to you that Lucy has had some issues in the past with constipation. At one point, we tried everything to help her: water, prune juice, special formula, massage, and so on. As it turns out, the secret to getting her to empty her bowels with the force of a royal army is: put her on a plane.

The least awful way to change a baby in a teeny tiny airplane bathroom is by sitting down on the toilet (lid on) and changing them on your lap. However, I would not recommend this during jolting turbulence (that was fun) or when your baby has shit herself up to her ears (even more fun). Use the changing table. Also, bring a change of clothes for both of you to the bathroom, just to be on the safe side. I had to carry my mostly nude baby down the entire length of the plane and dress her in dirty pajamas at my seat.

4. The best airplane game is “contract an exotic disease game”.

i taste hints of biscoff cookie and polio

i taste hints of biscoff cookie and polio

When all else failed, Lucy’s number one favorite method of in-flight entertainment was pulling all of the ancient safety manuals, barf bags, and Sky Magazines out of the seat pouch in front of her and alternately throwing them on the floor or licking them. I tried SO HARD not to let her put all of these disgusting things in her mouth, until I gave up and let her put all of these disgusting things in her mouth. What is wrong with babies?

5. If you’re alone, ask the stewardesses for help.

You will need someone to hold the baby while you fold up the stroller at gate check or pee for the 40th time (see above gallon of airport coffee). I found the stewardesses to be mostly willing to hold a cute baby while mom frantically does a thing and tries not to lose her shit. No need to be more of a hero than you already are; take advantage of all available uniformed strangers.

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see that arm next to lu? that belongs to a 22 year old male who no longer wants to have children of his own.

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I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it’s going to be great, but it’s definitely way less bad than you think it will be. The worrying is the worst part.

And who knows, maybe you gave birth to one of those unicorns that just sleeps the entire flight. If so, please let me know when your baby is available to give my baby lessons.

How To Be The Ultimate Perfect Best New Mom Who Has It All Together

There’s a lot of advice out there for new moms, and most of it either sounds exhausting and unattainable or totally contradicts the other advice you read 10 minutes ago that you thought sounded good. So what should you do? Let your baby “cry it out,” or pick them up and squeeze them lovingly every time they cry? Will your baby turn into a hardened criminal because you left them alone in their crib like the abandoned child on that episode of SVU, or will they end up an entitled asshole because you comforted them every time they were sad?

Obviously I want to provide the best of everything for my new baby and family. Here’s what I’ve learned about the most important advice.

1. Cook yourself and your partner a healthy (local, vegan, paleo, low-carb, seasonal, Gwenyth Paltrow approved) dinner every night, for rejuvenation purposes.

a healthy meal

For example, this meal of iceberg lettuce and waffle cheese fries hit all of the important macronutrient groups: protein (cheese), carb (potato, a vegetable!), and fat (blue cheese dressing). A few decorative cubes of ShopRite on-the-vine tomato provide micronutrients like vitamin C and lycopene (a very up-and-coming phytochemical). The fat content in the salad dressing allows the vitamin K in the tomato to be better absorbed (K is a fat-soluble vitamin).

Consult your favorite healthy cookbooks for ideas if you’re not sure what to make 7 days a week.

nuts

2. Make your own organic baby food purees.

baby food

It’s best to ask local farmers if you can pay extra to forage their fields for the freshest vegetables and fruits, but shopping at farmers markets is okay, too. Once you bring these earth candies home, carefully wash in filtered water, peel, and bake or boil separately. Combine in sophisticated combinations with global spices to ensure your baby develops an impressive palate. Try a purée of Saigon cinnamon and white beans with mango and cilantro chutney and a baked apple slaw for your favorite 6 month old.

3. Ensure a clean environment at all times.

eating a dirty magazine

Don’t let your baby eat dirty magazines you found on the street that were “still good.” Try not to let your baby eat fistfuls of dog hair several times per day. Hand-wash their organic BPA-free plastic toys with gentle, organic soaps whenever they fall on your freshly mopped environmentally conscious bamboo floors.

4. Try to avoid putting your baby next to weird, potentially deadly, rabid, or ferocious animals.

danger duck

You don’t know where those ducks have been.

5. Don’t let your baby fall asleep wearing dangerous/ potentially suffocating fashion accessories.

deadly fashion

Remove all hazardous materials before rocking your baby gently to sleep in your arms. Loose fabrics are the Genghis Khans of sleeping babies; any accessory can be the murderous leader of a deadly army of knits.

6. Do not leave your screaming baby on a couch covered in dog/cat hair just because you think they look funny and you really want to take a picture.

good times

Your baby should be happy at all times, and it’s not hilarious when they’re upset. Soothe your baby during times of distress, and don’t stop to take a picture of them looking like a freakish, purple, angry chicken nugget to text to your husband with the caption “LOL.”

Every moment is an opportunity to create lasting damage to your new baby’s delicate and impressionable psyche. Please remember that every decision you make based on instinct is probably wrong, as far as I can tell from looking at page 1 of various Google searches. 

Bonus: techniques for deliberate starvation/ unattainable beauty goals