Parenting

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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(Don’t) Give Me All The Drugs: Part 2.0

For those of you who have been following me for a while (hi, mom), you may know that I wrote about the birth of my first kid. If you didn’t read that post, let me sum it up for you: I went into labor and 41 hours, a bunch of drugs, and a few pushes later, our daughter arrived.

In 41 hours, someone could fly from LA to Nairobi, a whopping 9,653 miles. It’s a stupidly long time to be miserable.

But it wasn’t all bad, because drugs. Never having been a doer of drugs, my experiences with them were next to zero, so little did I know what magical effects they can have until 30 hours into my ordeal, when I got my first dose of morphine, and then an epidural. I ate the most delicious pudding I’ve ever had, took a nap, and woke up and had a baby. It was nothing short of amazing.

This positive drug experience gave me a sense of confidence about the birth of Baby 2.0, because I knew what the drugs were like, and I wasn’t afraid to use them.

Fast-forward to a Saturday morning in February.

The night before I had felt a little funny, but woke up on Saturday still pregnant. It was mid-way through my pre-natal yoga class -somewhere between Warrior pose and the push-ups- that I started to notice I was having regular contractions. I finished my class, drove home, and called the grandparents to let them know they needed to come pick up our daughter.

In the hour between establishing I was in labor, to when they arrived to pick her up, my contractions went from once every 15 minutes, to once every 6 minutes. Things were going fast, and as soon as they got to the house, we raced out the door to the hospital.

Driving through the hilly city, when we finally got close enough to see the valley where our hospital was located, we were greeted by an arching rainbow that appeared to end on the roof of our destination. It seemed like an omen that things would be okay, and for the most part, they were.

I labored for a while without anything, but then out of nowhere was blindsided by an anxiety attack. I went from breathing through my contractions, to screaming for someone to cut my sports bra off because suddenly I couldn’t breathe. My mind raced, my body shook, and I felt the room closing in on me. I felt completely out of control, and totally lost my confidence. Tears streamed down my face as I begged for something to make it all stop.

After receiving a dose of Fentanyl, I was able to labor a little longer until another round of anxiety hit, and we decided to proceed with the epidural. With my first epidural, I received it, and pretty much immediately fell asleep. With my second, I laid in bed and panicked.

Anxiety absolutely overcame me, and I found myself unable to do anything but worry. The epidural had taken to one side more than the other, making me feel off-balance. More bothersome, I continued to feel as though I couldn’t breathe, but found wearing the oxygen mask to be unbearable because of an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia.

For hours I laid in bed, trying to gather my thoughts as my mind raced. With each visit from the midwife, I became more and more depressed because the baby had turned, and my labor had stalled. I felt incredibly hopeless and helpless, and stupid for being so naive about the downsides to the drugs that had served me so well my first time around.

Things took a turn for the better when my nurse, after listening to me complain about not being able to breathe for hours, finally discovered that my epidural was creeping up, and at that point, was just below (or at) my diaphragm. After it was turned down, things progressed quickly, and the little man made his first appearance shortly after.

I’m sharing this story for two reasons.

First, to reiterate an important point: Every birth is different. From the duration, to the way your body reacts to the drugs, and everything in between, labors can vary wildly. I knew this, in theory, but didn’t grasp the idea fully until laying in bed feeling betrayed by my friend, Drugs. I’m not trying to scare people away from doing them. Given the opportunity, I would probably opt for them again. But this time, I would be mentally prepared to know that my experience with them could be very different.

Second, anxiety during and immediately following labor is pretty common. Since bringing Baby 2.0 home, it’s reared its ugly head a handful of times but thankfully as time goes on (and sleep improves), I’m finding the intensity of the attacks to be lesser and lesser. I mention this only because prior to my own experience, I didn’t know how common something like this is, and as always, just want other people out there to know they aren’t alone, and urge them to tell their doctor if they feel something isn’t right.

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World, meet Baby 2.0

 

To The Superheroes Who Keep Standing When I Would Fall Down- Latest BLUNTMoms Piece

Our conversation starts normally, with particulars exchanged in moments squeezed between acknowledging, encouraging, and parenting our kids as they ping-pong around the room. Ages of children are offered, current employment statuses discussed, and of course comments about the weather are made because this is what adults talk about (right?).

And then a bomb is dropped: Her kid is sick. Like, really sick.

An instant weight falls upon my shoulders as I hear her talk openly about almost losing a child. A tightness in my heart, squeezing, squeezing, as she discusses an unknown future. I stumble with my words, an apology, a well wish, a heavy silence while my brain spins with horrible Hallmark-worthy phrases to offer up.

And all the while, she remains standing. Shoulders back, head up, strong as hell, she talks about what might come, and she is still standing.

This is an excerpt from my latest post up on BLUNTMoms. It’s both a tribute to the incredible strength found in the everyday woman, and a reminder that we all have the ability to access it when needed. Swing by and check it out if you find yourself in need of a pep talk.

Access the rest of the article here.

Days Like This

Oh sweet baby Jesus. I forgot how hard this is.

Anyone who has had a baby will be quick to tell you how hard it is in the beginning, but much like the pains of labor fade (and they do, trust me, you DO NOT remember how shitty that part is), you don’t actually remember how hard it is until you’re in the thick of it.

But I’m here now, and I’m going to tell you, it is hard.

Your body hurts in ways you didn’t even know it could. Your brain is absolute mush. You are more tired than you’ve ever been. And on top of it, you are basically trying to solve a human Rubik’s cube with a very loud alarm that tells you over and over you are doing it wrong.

Even if you’ve already done this before, it’s all new again. Everything is different. Things that worked for your other babies doesn’t work. Or you’ve just forgotten (damn you Moby for making me relearn how to do fabric origami with a 15 foot piece of cloth on no sleep!). Or maybe some things are even easier. But regardless, everything is different.

Well everything except one thing: This is hard.

But here’s the thing. Some days the hard will be too much, or at least it will feel like too much. Some days the tears will outnumber the smiles. Some days all you will do is sit in dirty pajamas and nurse, shush and rock your way from sunrise to sunset, while your messy house, greasy hair, and smelly breath taunt you.

Other days, though, you will get up and get out and feel alive again.

Now there’s no balance to these days, and it may feel like the scales are heavily tipped in the wrong direction. But eventually it will even out, and even further down the line, the scales will tip the other way.

So from one mama in the trenches to any one else out there, sitting in dirty pajamas dreaming of a shower, a cinnamon roll, and about 97 hours of consecutive sleep, I am here to remind you that we will get through this part, too.

And in the mean time, I will be available for Twitter chat or Facebook messenger tonight, and every night for the foreseeable future from the hours of 10:30pm to 1am, when I hand our newest Rubik’s cube over to his daddy with strict instructions to not wake me unless the house is on fire.

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Dear Ovaries: Thanks, But Your Work Here Is Done

Dear Ovaries,

Brain here, with an important message I’d like to share with you on behalf of the rest of the body.

First, let me say thanks. You really knocked it out of the park with your contributions in regards to the furtherment of the human species. The body and I will never forget your role in how little Baby 1.0 and Baby 2.0 came to be, and will always be indebted to you for jumpstarting this whole process by suddenly declaring, “I Need A Baby!” The message was loud and clear, and you were right. We did need a baby.

Thanks in part to you, we have remedied the problem with a speed and efficiency that would certainly guarantee our success if we lived in the 1800’s, and needed to quickly birth fifteen children to run our rutabaga farm.  (more…)

To My Lovely Daughter: I’ll Be Back

To My Lovely Daughter,

Let me start by saying how sorry I am, for I’ve been a terrible playmate lately. I hid your recorder and your stupid popcorn vacuum you love so much. I threw away your finger paints because the smell makes me want to vomit. I don’t play chase, and we haven’t been to the park in weeks. Worse yet, I will admit to ignoring probably half of your (nearly constant) requests for my attention, in hopes that if I give you a little time, you will figure out whatever you are working on by yourself. (more…)