Humor

A Patriotic-ish Person’s Guide to Celebrating America

At the risk of attracting a whole lot of hate, I’m going to put something out there: It feels wrong to be celebrating America right now.

I’ve never been someone who goes full-on Betsy Ross during the month of July, but usually the sight of red, white and blue on every corner doesn’t give me a wicked case of the stress shits.

But lately, oh boy. Thinking about celebrating America just feels wrong.

If the definition of patriotism is “having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country,” under normal circumstances, I could get behind that. I’d express all kinds of devotion to a country that supported the people who lived there, regardless of their race, color, gender, creed, and economic class. I’d vigorously support somewhere that didn’t turn a blind eye to the environment, or to people who needed medical treatment, or refuge (to say the least).

But right now? I’ve got about as much desire to show devotion and support for the current administration (notice I didn’t say country) as I do toward taking a bath in a tub of maggots.

Now this is where it gets complicated, as even though the current administration is the face of our nation, it is NOT representative of our whole country.

I like to think of it as an ugly bruise on an apple, or an ill-fitting lid on a can of tuna. You wouldn’t throw away the whole apple, just because it has a bruised spot, or an entire can of tuna just because the lid pops. That ain’t right! (J/K, throw that can o’ danger out STAT #botulism #youmightdie).

Prior to Trumpy and his Band of Misfits, America accomplished some pretty rad things, and seemed to be on track for continuing its progression into awesomeness. Things like healthcare, and equality and the environment were looked at with the same importance as making rich people richer, or at least it seemed that way to my admittedly privileged, white, middle-class self. I mean, my birth control was free! Go America, right?!

And then Trump came and shat in the soup, and now I don’t want to celebrate, or even admit I am American, though my pale skin and inability to speak another language might give that away.

But here’s the thing; America is so much more than this bullshit administration.

And even more, Trump and his bullshit administration have given me something to celebrate about this country, and it’s pretty amazing.

America was founded by a bunch of people who were like “Dude, you’re cramping my style so I’m going to GTFO and do my own thing.” And those same kinds of people still live here. They start things like Alt National Parks, and Alt NASA. They march for women, and for equality, and for LGBTQ rights, and for science. They donate to foundations that help people who need it most. They pay for school lunches when the system is so broken, kids might not get to eat. They believe Black Lives Matter, and that we need to #SayHerName.

Yes, America is filled with badasses who love and care and work and fight tirelessly to ensure the American dream still exists for anyone interested in pursuing it. They just don’t happen to be at the head of the ship.

So yeah, the thought of celebrating America might feel weird, but only if you judge America by its cover. When the flags are flying, and the hotdogs are burning, I’m going to raise a cold one to the Americans who represent a country I’m proud to call home, because of them. Though if any of ‘em wake my sleeping baby, I’ll cut a bitch.

Yes, Your Kid Is a Jerk (But So Is Mine)

This might sound crazy, but save for a time or two, I don’t think I’ve been directly judged by another mom. Or at least not vocally.

I’m sure there have been plenty of times when someone saw me doing something and thought in their heads I was a lunatic, but I honestly can’t think of a time when a fellow parent has approached me in a public setting (not online, that’s a different story) singled me out, and said something that made me question if I was a good parent.

For the most part, fellow parents are actually really supportive. Even the ones who at first glance look like they would judge me and my dirty mom hair, if the ice is broken, we typically end up having a lot in common. I’m not saying judgmental parents aren’t out there, but for me, they aren’t the source of my parenting insecurities and mom guilt.

Nope. That’d be my kids.

For however willing kids are to offer up a slobbery kiss and sticky-handed hug, they are even more ready to inform me of their deep displeasure at whatever atrocity I’ve just committed (PANTS? Who even wears pants, mom, you loser!). And fellow parents, regardless of their look, are often more than willing to open up and agree: Kids can really be jerks.

As it turns out, kids are self-centered, demanding, impatient, unreasonable, and loud little shits. They are terrible listeners, and bold boundary testers. They have no filter and generally can’t read social cues. If an adult ever acted that way, they would be labeled as a world-class asshole, and avoided at all costs. But kids are usually just called cute.

Kids don’t appreciate how much work you put into making sure they are fed, clothed, safe, and happy. They don’t realize the cost providing these things comes at. They don’t care how tired you are, or lonely you feel. On a near-daily basis, they find ways to make you question if you’re doing this right, because surely if you were, they wouldn’t be acting this way. Right?!

Yes, they love you, but it’s a very one-sided love at this stage.

Rather than finding competition and judgement from other parents, more often than not I’ve found solidarity in knowing I’m not alone in my feelings. Everyone’s kid can be a little jerk. Everyone worries they are doing it wrong. Everyone loves their kid, but also wonders if somehow they will screw this up so badly, they will raise someone who doesn’t give a waive of thanks when they are merging into traffic.
(Okay, that might just be me.)

I know mom-shaming and mom-judging is real, but I think the real culprit behind mom guilt is often our own kids who, through the process of growing up and learning how not to be little jerk, treat us pretty terribly.

To be clear, I’m not blaming them, but rather thinking instead of taking out our frustration on fellow moms who are going through the same thing, maybe we can open up, admit our kids are sometimes unbearable jerks, and help support each other while we wait for them to be old enough to vocalize their sincere thanks. Which, if I’m being honest, might take 30 years.

So cheers, fellow parents. This is hard. Kids are jerks. That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It just means you’re paying attention.

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10 Thoughts of A Mom Trapped Under A Sleeping Baby

Oh, you sweet little snoodle, you woke up! That wasn’t a long enough nap, I’ll hold you and you can go back to sleep.

Look at your sweet little sleeping face. Your puffy little lips, your dark eyelashes. OOOH I could just SMUSH you! I could smush you with kisses. One tiny little kiss on your tiny little lips won’t… GEESH! It was a tiny kiss, it’s not like I bit you. Easy now, easy, just go back to sleep.IMG_4427

Holy crap, you have a lot of earwax. Like, a ton of it. How have I never noticed this before? How embarrassing! I’m just going to gently wipe it… NEVER MIND! Okay, okay, shush shush, I won’t touch you again. Just go back to sleep.

Oh little poodle pie, such sweet little breaths. In and out, in and out. I can almost smell your baby breath. But I can’t. And now I want to. Maybe if I just lift you a tiny bit… OKAY, okay, okay, I won’t move. Just go back to sleep.

My tiny baby, your hard little head nestled into my elbow. Your head is sweaty. My elbow is sweaty. That can’t be comfortable for you. You are probably going to get sweat in your eye. Let me just adjust my arm… ALRIIIIIIIIIIGHT, I won’t. Just quit squirming and go back to sleep.

Oh my love of loves, look at your little fat feet. Tiny toes, with even tinier nails… tiny nails that are jagged and horrible. You look like a baby Ogre. A cute baby Ogre, but still, I should cut those. I wonder if they are sharp? I’m just going to feel… HEY NOW! I’m just looking! I barely even touched them. Close your eyes, just go to sleep.

Sweet baby, your little body is so round. It’s so round and so heavy for 13 pounds. Like, maybe you’re actually 33 pounds, because I’m starting to lose feeling in my arm. Scratch that, my arm is numb, and is limply hanging from the left side of my body. I can’t feel my hand, and I’m starting to panic. Let me just scoot…. SIMMER DOWN NOW, I’m just scooting. A girl has needs, like oxygenated blood flow to her non-dominate, but equally as important, limb! Now try to relax, and go to sleep.

simmer

Little turkey, with your downy baby hair, like a head covered in tiny black feathers. You look like a bird. Like a turkey. Like a baby turkey, except bigger, like a turkey that is socially acceptable to eat. Oh man, I’m hungry. I want Thanksgiving to be here again. I could eat a whole turkey. Maybe I could just slide you into your bed, and make a turkey sandwich to hold me over. I’m just going to slowly… OH FOR THE LOVE, okay, I get it. I can’t move. I won’t move. You just go back to sleep.
Oh you wee little monster, you are so warm. It’s funny that we are the same species, because you feel at least 10 degrees hotter than me. Especially on my stomach, which, now that I’m thinking about it, feels weirdly hot. And wet. Because you peed on me. You peed in your sleep, and now we are both covered in urine. Fantastic. Let me just tuck this rag between… GIVE ME A BREAK, WILL YA?! You peed on me! Okay, alright, okay, shush shush, it’s okay, you just close your eyes.

My snuggly little muffin maker. Sitting here with you makes me so tired. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and catch a few zzz’s myself. Yes, I’m so drowsy. This feels good. It’s so dark, and quiet, yes, sleep. I will… And now you’re awake. Naturally


image credits: Simmer meme, sleeping baby belongs to HMDHM, nightmare 

How To Survive Your First Month Of Parenthood

Congratulations! Baby is here, and you’re back home. If you’re anything like me, upon arriving home and sitting your bruised and battered behind down oh-so-delicately on your couch, you gaze upon your snoozing infant with pride, and then promptly wig the fandango out because ohmygodwhatdowedonow?!

Having now survived the first month of parenthood, twice (**enthusiastically pats self on back**), I’ve gleaned a few tips I’d like to share to help you get through this raucous rodeo with as much zen as possible.

Wear comfy clothes: Your body has taken a lickin’. Do it a favor and don’t squeeze it, cram it, squish it or otherwise mess with it by attempting to stuff it into pre-pregnancy clothes. Get a bra that fits. Wear pants that feel like love. One surefire way to add unnecessary stress to your day is by making yourself physically uncomfortable in an attempt to be cute. Screw cute. Do comfy.

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Eat: This one is easier said than done, as more often than not any time you go to feed yourself, someone else requests food. Loudly. And as they say, the screaming, frothing at the mouth, purple-faced wheel gets the grease (or the milkshake). But nine times out of ten, if I find myself getting all ragey, it’s because I’m ravenously hungry. So eat. And drink water while you’re at it, too.

Invest in a baby carrier of some sort: Babies like to be held, but even eight pounds gets heavy after hour 1,734. A Moby or Ergo (or whatever you fancy) that turns you into a human marsupial can be a real lifesaver. Or at least a hand and arm free-er-up-er.

Wash yo’ face: I had no idea how hard it would be to find time to shower with two kids, but at the very least, washing my face with hot water makes me feel better. Also, I may or may not use baby wipes on my armpits occasionally. And by occasionally I mean daily.

Make it easy: Give yourself some leeway as you learn the ropes. Now is the time to try out that grocery delivery service, or order something off Amazon you’d normally get at the store. Take any extra pressure off yourself until you find your feet.

Say no: Don’t want to do something? Say no. Don’t want someone to come over and meet the baby for whatever reason you have (and it doesn’t have to be a good one)? Say no. Or have your partner do it for you. You’re the master of this ship. You call the shots.

Say yes: Is someone offering to bring you food? Always say yes. Take up your pal who wants to bring your older kid to the park, or walk your dog, or water your garden. Say yes to things that will reduce your stress by even one iota.

Indulge: There is nothing easy about this time, and finding parts that are enjoyable can be hard. If there is something that brings a smile to your face, do it. Ice cream after dinner (or whenever, for that matter), binging on a shameless reality tv show while you nurse, a couple sleeve of girl scout cookies -whatever floats your boat- do it. Indulge a little because you need all the help you can get.

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This, times about 32 other cookies…

Sleep: Get sleep. Get it however you can. Go to bed at 7pm. Take a nap at 7am. However you can squeeze some sleep into your life, do it. Sleep may not beget sleep, but it does add back a few precious drops of patience to that oft-used well.

Get outside: Feeling punchy? Get outside. Put kiddo in a pack, and walk around the block. Hear the birds. Feel the wind on your face. Almost get run over by a 90-something year-old man who ran a red light, and then realize how much you appreciate your life, even if it sucks a little right now.

Put on some tunes: One of the hardest parts about new parenthood (or just having a new baby in the house) is how isolating it can be. It takes a while to find your groove, so days will go by where socialization doesn’t happen. Turning on the radio, or jamming out to a favorite album can help remind you there is life outside your door, and even if it feels like it, you’re not alone.

Call your doctor if you feel weird: This one is super freaking important. Bringing home a baby is hard. The trifecta of sleep deprivation, hormones, and pain can make it difficult to find your feet. Add to that being solely responsible for someone else’s needs, who, as luck would have it, is incapable of voicing what they want, and you have a recipe for one hell of a headache (at best). While a certain amount of irritability, anxiousness, moodiness and exhaustion are normal, sometimes what you are going through is more serious. A quick call to your doctor or midwife can help you determine how best to proceed, and can give you resources to make your transition into parenthood easier.

boobs leaking


Image credits: Cookie monster, The first 40 years, memes belong to HMDHM

 

The Ten Stages of Accepting Your Post-Baby Body

Having a baby is hard. Getting rid of the evidence (the baby weight, not the baby) is even harder. Two months into it, and I’ve officially arrived at the 10th stage. Hit me up if you want to raid the clearance racks at Old Navy for some seasonal muumuus.

Stage 1: I’m Hot Shit

You’ve just had the baby, and depending on how long your labor was, gone from bloated whale to (relatively) svelte mermaid over the course of a few hours. You’re only a few days into your postpartum journey, but you are digging your new NOT pregnant body, and riding the hormonal high (or swimming through sleep deprivation induced delusions) of how skinny you are…comparatively.

hot shit

This is my ‘I’m hot shit’ face.

Stage 2: I’m A Walking Talking Milk Machine Who Will Be In Skinny Jeans In No Time

Weight is pouring off of you. You’re a couple of weeks in, and you feel like every day you lose five pounds. You’re eating more than you’ve ever eaten, but you need it because you’re feeding a baby every 2 hours around the clock.

Stage 3: Sayonara, Maternity Jeans, Hello Pre-Pregnancy…Wait, What The Fuck?

Weight loss is slower, but you’re pretty sure your pre-pregnancy pants will fit. Until you try them on, that is. Then it becomes painfully obvious (literally painful, if you try to button anything) you still have quite a ways to go before your can rock your pre-preggo pantalones once again. But no matter, you just had the baby a few weeks ago. You laugh at yourself for being so silly as you slide back into your maternity jeans, relishing the comfort of the nylon expandable waist, while you finish the box of girl scout cookies.

Stage 4: Your 6 Week Post-natal Check-Up, AKA The First Time You Get Weighed And Fall Into A Deep Depression

You’re feeling good. You can’t wait to get to the doctor’s office and jump on that scale just so your nurse can say, “Damn, girl! You look amazing! I can’t believe you are back to your pre-pregnancy weight, minus five pounds.” But instead you’re blindsided with the news that you have only lost eight pounds, seven of which are accounted for by the baby. This explains why your clothes don’t fit, but is confusing because isn’t the weight supposed to be melting off? When does that start? Should you be wearing more clothes so you are hotter so the weight melts off? What do people actually mean when they say the weight will melt right off? Like, off your body? Not just melt down your torso into your thighs, right?

Stage 5: Damn You Baby Weight, I Will Squeeze You Into Submission

The weight isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, so you decide you will break its will to stay by hurting it. You pack up your maternity clothes, scornfully glaring at their elastic waists, and squeeze your body into your pre-pregnancy clothes. It doesn’t feel good, and if you’re being honest, it doesn’t look that good, but fuck it. Muffin top (or mountain top if you’re like me) be damned, you’re doing this thing.

muffin top

At least my muffin top makes me smell like a bakery.

Stage 6: OH MY GOD I CAN’T WEAR CLOTHES ANYMORE

This can happen anywhere from 3 minutes after stage 5 concludes, to anytime you are under pressure, hot, annoyed, moving, breathing or otherwise being alive. Clothes will be removed with haste, but the impressions stamped into your soft flesh from the seams, buttons and zippers will remain as a reminder that your clothes don’t fit. You will lounge around in your skivvies, pondering your options, and dreading doing anything that will require you to get re-dressed.

Stage 7: Two words: Yoga. Pants.

Bless whoever invented yoga pants, for no matter how much you thought you’d never be yoga pants mom, here you are. And you know what? It feels so good.

Stage 8: Sayonara, Yoga Pants, Hello Pre-Pregnancy…Wait, WHAT THE FUCK?!

It’s been months. You had a salad for dinner last night. You’ve been working out, sort of. But more than all of these things, you’ve been sustaining a growing human with food your own body is producing FOR MONTHS, and your goddamn clothes still don’t fit. You hate your clothes, and seriously contemplate burning them in the alley next to the old mattress that someone spray painted a giant green weiner on.

Stage 9: Deep Muffin-Top Induced Depression

You are tired of wearing yoga pants. Your jeans make you feel like your legs are being eaten by anacondas. Your husband may or may not find you standing in front of your closet, tears in your eyes, as you do your own sad version of the Truffle Shuffle while trying to remove the super saucy tank top that is suffocating your mid-section. All seems lost. You face plant hard into rock bottom.

truffle shuffle

GET…THIS…OFF…OF…ME!

Stage 10: Time To Buy New Clothes

You wake up one day realizing this weight took 10 months to get on, and will maybe even take 10 months (or more) to come off. Angels sing as you come to terms with your new size, and subsequently cancel your appointment with the banker to take out a second mortgage to pay for lipo. You don your yoga pants, just once more, and proudly go pick up a few things in a size you’d never thought you’d wear. But damn, you look good. And more importantly, you, and your muffin top, are comfortable and happy.

Reasons I Haven’t Brushed My Teeth Today

I was going to brush my teeth, but then the baby started crying. Then toddler wanted pancakes. Then I made pancakes. Then she decided she didn’t want pancakes. Then she decided she wanted yogurt. Easy enough.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

I was going to brush my teeth, but the toddler climbed out of her highchair and spilled yogurt on the carpet. Then I cleaned it up. Then the baby started crying for his second breakfast. Then I fed him. Then I fed myself. Moving on.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

I was going to brush my teeth, but then I noticed the time – T-minus 20 minutes to story time! Then I got the toddler dressed. Then I buckled the screaming baby into his car seat. Then I threw on dirty jeans and ran out the door. Hurry hurry!

I will brush my teeth when I get back, I said.

I was going to brush my teeth after we got home, but then it was lunchtime for everyone. Then fed the toddler. Then I fed the baby. Then I fed myself. Then I changed all the diapers. Then I put the kids down for a nap. Phew.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

But then I remembered the two lonely cupcakes begging to join their cupcake brethren in my belly, so I ate a cupcake. Then, fearing the remaining cupcake would be sad about being alone, I ate the other one. Then the baby woke up. Then the toddler woke up. Damn.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

But then the toddler wanted to go to the park, and knowing I would need energy to push her stroller up the hill while carrying the baby in the pack I decided I needed some protein to balance out all that sugar. Then I ate a hardboiled egg. Then asked the toddler to put on her shoes 98,000 times. Oooohhhhh for God’s saaaaaaaaaake.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

But then I decided brushing my teeth while there were still bits of egg in them was gross, and I couldn’t find my water glass to rinse out my mouth. Then the toddler was hollering to go to the park. Then the baby was hollering because he is a baby. Then I left the house to walk to the park with two hollering children and stinky egg breath. Here we go.

I will brush my teeth when I get back, I said.

But then I had to cook dinner. Then I had to eat dinner. Then I had to bathe the toddler. Then I had to bathe the baby. Then I had to get the toddler down. Then I had to get the baby down. Holy shit it’s late.

Now I will brush my teeth, I said.

And I did. But there is no way in hell I’m going to floss.

 

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Image credits: Cover image, floss.

Dear Brain: Thanks, But You’re Not The Boss Of Us

Dear Brain,

Ovaries here! You will be happy to know we received your cease and desist notice. We must say, it felt good to be acknowledged by you, even if at times you came off a little snippy about our contributions, as well as notably edgy with your comparisons. Flesh raisins? Has it ever occurred to you, with your oblong shape and abundance of crevices and folds, that you look like a large gray testicle? Moving on.

After much thought we felt it only fair for us to share our side of the story, before we retreat into the abyss of the lower abdomen, and silently watch as our supply of genetic gold is quite literally flushed down the toilet.

First of all, let us ask you a question. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Being ovaries, we are biased to believe it was the egg, which leads us to think perhaps you have taken on the role of master of this ship without merit. Now, this isn’t to say you aren’t important or without talents. We applaud you and your fine ability to quote every line from Ace Ventura, Twister and Jurassic Park, though we are unsure if all the time you spent -or spend- watching these movies couldn’t have been spent on better subjects. Like math, or say, following a basic recipe.

But onto more serious matters.

Your strong feelings about not reproducing further are both hasty and ill-timed. It comes as no surprise you and the body felt that way while nearly 10 months pregnant. Being pregnant sucks! But banning babies while pregnant seems a bit like a conflict of interest, no?

Look, we are going to be honest with you: The Nose is a liar. Sure, sure, it claimed it wouldn’t participate in any baby sniffing, but we know we aren’t alone in noticing how at every opportunity The Nose is breathing in the sweet sweet smell of baby breath. The Ears report that each time this happens, something charming, yet inherently stupid, flies out of The Mouth about how the baby smells like cupcakes, sunshine, and love. We both know once Baby 2.0 no longer smells like a combination of deserts, weather, and emotions, The Nose will lead The Body on a wild goose chase to find other babies to sniff, turning The Body into some kind of out of control baby-huffing human Bloodhound. We feel it is pertinent to point out this might actually get the body arrested, which would affect all of us.

The Nose isn’t the only problem. The Hands and Arms have both made it clear that nothing makes them happier than holding both of the offspring, though enjoyment is particularly high with the newborn. Cradling little Baby 2.0, feeling the warmth of his tiny squishy body, while The Fingers trace the cowlick on his tiny perfect head – this is hard, nay, impossible to beat. The Eyes, as if you haven’t noticed, can barely look away from his big brown peepers, and have been quoted daily stating “Eye can’t even HANDLE how tiny he is!” And The Heart? Exploding. With. Love. It’s equal parts admirable and scary, as there are only so many heart palpitations someone should have before contacting a cardiologist.

But you’re not alone in your quest for a Baby-Free future. The Bellybutton is absolutely devastated about her new look. We’ve tried to raise her spirits by telling her she doesn’t really look like the butthole of the neighborhood feral cat, but then again, we’ve never been good at lying. Similarly, The Uterus is on your side, and wants absolutely nothing to do with housing another child ever again. But she’s always had a flare for the dramatic, so we don’t feel her vote should be counted until we can be certain she’s not making a decision based off emotions.

We know receiving this letter will upset you, but before you direct The Mouth to start stress-eating dry cereal while you wait on hold to find out if insurance will cover an oophorectomy, hear this: We don’t want another baby either. At least not right now, and maybe never. But if you could stop being such a dick about enforcing your will, at least while we all come to terms with this *probably* being our last baby, that would great.

In the words of your good pal, Ace Ventura, we will sign off this letter with a mighty Alllllrighty then! We hope we are on the same page.

Best,

The Ovaries

ovary 2

Now who’s ovary acting?


This post has been written in response to a post I wrote a few months ago, from my brain to my ovaries, requiring them to go into retirement. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already! You can find it here.