Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: May 2012   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Little Red Convertible: How Mama Got Her Groove Back

Don't get too excited. I don't OWN this car or anything. But, for 24 sweet hours, I got to pretend that I did. I already mentioned the "funk" I was in a few weeks ago about turning 25 (Happy Birthday to Me!)
In order to remedy this, my husband rented me a little, red convertible.

I had never driven one. I had never driven one for a million reasons: they're dangerous, it's reckless, I don't need to "showboat", the idea of my impossibly long, boob-length hair beating me about the face and getting into irreparable tangles doesn't appeal to me.

But ya know what? Secretly, I STILL always wanted to grip that leather steering wheel, crank the stereo, and put the pedal to the metal.


My findings are as follows:

  • It WAS totally reckless. We had no reason to even rent the car. We just drove it all over town. To the store, to go out to dinner, to the beach, etc. You name it. I drove it there.
  • It WAS dangerous. My mom insists that we should think of ourselves as the president and vice-president and avoid traveling/doing dangerous things together, because then who would run the country? (a.k.a take care of this baby haha) I did it anyway, and we survived. Cheated death even!
  • I DID showboat. I danced. I sang; albeit off key. I quite literally let my hair down. It was fantastic. The few times I drove this car around, sans husband, I got hit on like crazy! I think I might have even caught a few winks and flirty glances when the old ball and chain was sitting right next to me.
  • I DID get my hair tangled beyond recognition. It makes no difference when you're hauling ass down the interstate, hair blowing in the breeze. I'm positive that I was rocking this look. When you get to a red light, its a whole different ball game. I looked like the cowardly lion..after he got his tail stuck in an electric socket.  It took 3/4 of a bottle of conditioner and a solid half hour to undo what the wind had done in a few short miles. Totally. Worth it.

My husband is my rock. The yin to my yang or what have you. He helps me see and experience parts of my self that I would otherwise stifle. This was one of those times. He brought me out of my funk and helped me feel young and wild and free again. He gave me a memorable birthday that I will never forget, and helped me get my groove back, all for under $100 bucks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections of a 20-something (5!) year old

So, the hour is drawing near. Tomorrow, I will be a quarter of a century old.
I always wondered why old people hate birthdays. I have always been a HUGE fan of them. Seriously, birthdays are no joke in this house. I milk them for all I can..even going so far as to invent the "birthday month" in our house. (This entitles the birthday-ee to unlimited favors, television shows, etc until his/her birthday passes.) For me that equates to 3 whole weeks of awesomeness. With all this celebration to look forward to, I've never understood why people would DOWNPLAY such a stupendous day.

I think I got a glimpse of this "birthday-humbug syndrome" these past 2 weeks. I've been in a bit of a funk. People kept asking me what I wanted to do to celebrate, and for the life of me I just couldn't think of anything.

Here are some of my hangups:
1. I have yet to lose the "baby" weight so rocking some tiny, black frock and going clubbing or something doesn't appeal at all.
2. I've never been a big drinker. I love me some wine, but I save the hard stuff for maybe once or twice a year when I am out on the town. My birthday would typically be one of these times. A time to be reckless, drink martinis like a Sex and the City girl, maybe even do a shot or two. This year, I can't help but think about the day after. The idea of a hangover, on top of my day-to-day sleep deprivation sounds about as fun as an ice-pick to my eye-ball.
3. I wasn't too sure who I would even invite to a birthday bash. Do I invite the friends I've had for ages, who are single and childless? Am I still cool enough to hang with them? Or do I ask my brand new "mommy" friends, who understand if I have a spitty cheerio stuck in my hair, but might be awkwarded out by a birthday invitation? I feel like I am in some kind of friend limbo.

It would be easy to dwell on these; to have a pity party and wallow in my humbug funk.
Motherhood has certainly shaken things up in my life. Made the aging process more interesting.

I am not the person I used to be.

I am a new person...and I'm still getting to know this new me. But you know what? This "new" me is insisting on looking at the bright side. So here goes.

Being 25 means:
1. I know to take Advil, stay hydrated, and eat lots of carbs before/during/after my birthday wine binge. That way I won't be hugging the porcelain god like in years past. Score-for hard-earned knowledge.
2. I'll still wake up with bite marks on my arms, legs, neck, etc. However, unlike other birthdays, these love bites are from a teething 10 month old, rather than an illicit rendezvous. Onlookers won't know the difference and I'll revel in the judgemental glares.
3. I can finally rent a car. I have zero interest in renting a car...but good to know.
4. My brain is almost finished developing. Stick a fork in me, I'm done! On second thought, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. What the hell will my brain be doing for the next 60 or some odd years? I'm crossing this one off..it's kind of depressing lol.
5. I understand my mom better with each passing day. Motherhood is showing me how to be humble, to see a little bit of good in everyone (because after all they are someone's baby), to recognize all the beauty in the world, to determine my real priorities, to forgive quicker, to be selfless, and how to keep breathing...even though my heart no longer resides in my body.
6. I can be legitimately happy with where I am in life and what I have achieved. I finished school and now have a Master's degree in my bag of tricks. I have a fantastic husband, who loves and understands me at every level, and has made the past 7 years of my life truly spectacular. I've been blessed with an amazing, funny, rage-prone little baby who teaches me new things about the world and re-shapes my perspectives every single day. It's surreal to know that I have everything I ever wanted out of life.

At 25, now all I have to do is enjoy it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mom on Mom Violence: TIME to stop the insanity

By now you probably know my views on the subject of extended breastfeeding ("Breast is Best, Unless your kid is over 6 months, then you're a f#$%ing deviant weirdo") but this cover is so much more than that. Conservatives are appalled for obvious reasons, Moms who didn't breastfeed or didn't extended breastfeed are pissed because of the obnoxious caption, and those practicing attachment parenting/extended breastfeeding aren't happy because it depicts them as fucking deviant weirdos. Time managed to piss off pretty much every sector of the population. Which means their sales are likely to skyrocket! Well played, well played.

This cover is Inflammatory. Absolutely Inflammatory. "Are you Mom enough" is probably the most divisive phrase imaginable. And that is exactly what it was supposed to do!  However, what will be left in this covers wake,  is just more mama drama!

There are so many hot-button issues that divide us as moms:
  • Formula vs. Breastfeeding
  • Length of time spent Breastfeeding
  • Co-sleeping vs Crib-training
  • Vaccinating vs. Non-vaccinating
  • The list goes on and on
But, Why? Research has proven that to succeed at parenting, you just have to be "good enough." Not awesome. Not spectacular. Not stupendous. Just "good enough." Most people, fall into that category.

Parenting is hard. Really hard. There is no single go-to manual with all the answers. We are all just kind of stumbling through, trying to figure out what is best for our kids. Why make this process more difficult by judging other people and how they choose to parent? We should be supporting one another, not tearing each other down. I'm so tired of the mom-on-mom violence that goes on because of differing parenting styles.

If that chick and her son want to keep breastfeeding until he has his own kids, that is their business. Who cares?! As long as it is not harmful, people should do what works for their families.

However, to suggest that other moms are "less than" for choosing to do otherwise, is at the very least in poor taste. I've said it before, I'll say it again, MIND YOUR OWN BOOBS.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Low Down on Baby Registries: 10 "Must Haves" that you can live without!

Spring is in the air! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and women are popping out babies left and right. For me, this equates to a mailbox full of baby shower invitations and a disgruntled look at registry after registry.

I get it. I do. I was that same excited pregnant woman going buckwild with the scanner gun at the baby store. But let's be real, you DON'T NEED most of that crap. Babies actually need very little, especially if you plan on breastfeeding. I feel like this is a fact you have to learn on your own...but I've compiled a list of needless baby registry items anyway. They are as follows:

1) Whirpool Baby Tub
If I don't get a luxury, spa-like, Whirlpool tub, then my son doesn't get on either. Honestly though, the price tag on these things is ridiculous! My son has been a water baby since birth. Somehow he has managed to enjoy bath time, just the same, in a regular old plastic baby tub without the bells and whistles.

2) Wipe Warmers
Unless you live in the Arctic, I just don't see how these are necessary. Wipes are cold. Babies adjust. Even my son, who is the ultimate prima donna, is alright with room temperature wipes. Save your dollars for something else. Trust me on this one!

3) "Baby On board" Car Magnet
The last time I checked, these little magnets run upwards of five dollars. Full disclosure, my husband INSISTED on purchasing one. It lasted maybe 3 months before the elements made it illegible. Even if it lasted until MY kid has kids, I would think these things are stupid. Do you think one person took the time to read our magnet, and therefore drive a little safer around our car? Sadly, no. People drive the same way, regardless of your magnet status.

4) Fancy Burp Cloths
They make some really fancy burp cloths these days. They come in an array of colors, can be specially embroidered, even personalized with your little cherub's initials. But what are you left with at the end of the day? These "burp" cloths are for catching vomit..lots of it. (Bear in mind that this is the ideal scenario, in which the curdled milk lands where its supposed to instead of on your shirt, in your hair, or in your mouth) They will be in and out of the wash constantly and will probably become yellowed and faded in a matter or weeks.If you think you will look more chic when your baby blows chunks on an embroidered, organic, burp cloth then more power to you!

5) Cradle Cap Lotion
A lot of babies are born with cradle cap. It's this crusty, scaly, dry skin that sits on their scalps, underneath their hair. Not super attractive. Makes them look a little like old men with liver spots on their big bald, heads. Mine happens to be one of those lucky kids! Every parent wants their baby to look their best, so I set out on a cradle cap curing mission. I was absolutely shocked by all the cradle-cap treatments and lotions out there and the hefty price tag that went with them. The real deal, is that most cases of cradle cap go away completely, with no treatment, in a matter of months. If you are too impatient to wait, you can also use coconut oil and a baby comb. This is a much cheaper and Eco-friendly alternative.

6) Humidifier
I know some of you are going to fight me on this one, but a humidifier is not a necessity in my book.  My son seems to come down with everything! When he does, his tiny pug-like nose gets stuffy and he can't breathe well or nurse efficiently. I have found a steamy bathroom to be just as effective, if not MORE effective, then using a humidifier.

7) Diaper Pail
I've said it before. I will say it again. I am confident that my son is part ogre. He has had some of the most epic poops and diaper explosions in the history of baby kind. However, I have never had an issue with his poop smelling so bad that it justifies the extra expense and effort of a diaper pail. If you are super concerned, you can always reuse a plastic grocery bag and tie off crazy, smelly, swamp-ass-esque diapers individually.

8) "Seat Savers" for under car seats
I don't have a ton to say about these. Save your pennies, and slide a towel underneath the car seat instead.

9) Baby laundry Detergent
This stuff is aptly marketed to us moms, who of course want the best for our tots. The threat of dyes, chemical, and perfumes that could harm our delicate baby's skin, gets us to easily fork over the extra 10-12 bucks for speciality baby detergents. I did. I'm a sucker. The regular brands make specialty formulas for individuals with sensitive skin (dye and perfume free) that works just as well. When your baby matures a bit more, you can even experiment and wash an item or two in regular detergent. Most kids fare just fine with the regular or dye free formulas.

10) Shopping Cart Cover
When you think shopping cart, you think loads of icky germs that you want to protect your baby from. But the truth of the matter is, almost every store carries sanitizing wipes nowadays. Use them instead! These combined with the crazy outside temperatures, at least down South, are likely to be just as effective as the shopping cart cover. (Especially if you are a slacker mom, like myself, who forgets to wash the cover every week or so.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear Mom: 5 Things Motherhood Taught Me That You Couldn't (Not for lack of trying)

My mother told me that I am to never, under any circumstances, blog about her or anything even remotely related to her. So, here I am less than 2 months into my blog, and that's exactly what I think I will do. Kids! Whahahahaha.

I've learned a lot of things since becoming a mom. I could just keep them to myself, and never give her the satisfaction of being right, but I'm much too candid and fond of self-deprecation for that so here goes:

1) It was wrong of me to sing the "watch it wiggle, watch it jiggle" jello song, as a child, every time I smacked you on the butt.
Clearly, the bodily landscape changes a bit after having a kid. If my son were to ever laugh at MY cellulite, stretch marks, or general "jiggle-ability" I would probably punt him like a football. I'd then tell him that the shit jiggles because I have zero muscle tone thanks to his recent extended stay in Casa de Belly. How did that not make you want to beat me with a wiffle bat? You must have the patience of a saint.

2) You were not lying when you said I would never sleep again.
 I think I'm approaching a year of sleep abstinence.It started in the third trimester when I had to wake 800 times in the night to pee, and has carried over since my obstinate son refuses to sleep through the night. I'm rocking this under eye baggage though, right?

3) I shouldn't have/shouldn't continue to make fun of you for worrying so much about me.
I don't think I will ever stop worrying about my baby. Ever.When I first held my son, I was amazed, enthralled, and terrified. The enormous responsibility of my role literally took my breath away. It was so much nicer when I knew he was tucked away, safe in my belly. Having him outside in the world, exposed to the various "elements", is like having my heart outside of my body.  I think I get it now, mom. I know that this feeling won't ever change; even when he is an adult in the eyes of the rest of the world. He will always be my baby, and I will always be yours.

4) Single Motherhood must have sucked ass.
I appreciate you exponentially more now. I am very lucky to have a supportive spouse and lots of family who help out with the baby a ton.  Yet, I still have days when I absolutely want to tear my hair out. Days when the baby is screaming because he is exhausted but refuses to sleep, my stomach is growling because I haven't eaten since the day before, Jehovah's Witnesses are at the door and I realize I had a whole conversation with them while my left boob was peeking out of the nursing bra. How you managed to effectively juggle so many different roles, at such a young age, is beyond me.

5) There IS NO parenting manual that accompanies your sweet bundle of joy.
Well if there is, I didn't get one. Parenting is amazing. I am confident that it is the most awe-inspiring, rewarding, and fulfilling "job" in the world. However, it is also the most difficult. The stakes could not be any higher. I am constantly questioning myself; doubting decisions I made or didn't make. Wondering if I'm damaging him irreparably or if he'll fund some therapist's retirement one day because of all his childhood issues.

All this to say, that if you were anything like me, mom, you might have wondered the same thing. You might have been terrified sometimes. You probably could have used a little encouragement and a pat on the back every once in awhile.

 Rest assured that you did great, ma. You did really great. <3

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Married with Children...Game Over?

Being a "youngish" 20-something mom, the majority of my friends are still single and consequently have no children. This has been quite the adjustment. Irony of ironies, they often remind me of the fact that growing up I was the one who swore I would never get married and never ever have children.

The reasons are endless. Kids are gross. They're messy. They smell funny. They say weird shit and ask crazy questions that I don't know how to respond to (i.e. "Your legs are really hairy today" or "Why does your butt jiggle when you walk?"). Kids have perpetually slimy hands. They frequently sport a snot fountain from one or both nostrils, and expect you to wipe it for them. Seriously? You can reprogram the remote and download 800 apps to my iPhone, but you can't handle that ogre-sized booger? Clearly, I had reason to hesitate before popping kids out like pez candy.

My single friends, on the other hand, had all six of their kids' names picked out and a floor plan for their dream house in the burbs'. I think God must have a sense of humor.

It's not that I'm jealous, or that I regret the decisions I've made up to this point. Make no mistake, I am grateful everyday for the life that I lead. I have an awesome husband (the majority of the time) and a beautiful baby boy who gives me more hope, love, purpose, and outfit changes than I could have ever imagined in my single days.

It just seems like the differences between my single friends and I are so much more amplified since I had my son. There are the obvious differences, which are evidenced when we go shopping at the mall. Recently on such a trip, a friend picked out awesome $90 heels to go party in and I found myself wondering aloud how quickly they'd give her blisters and thinking to myself that if she has just clipped that coupon from Sunday's paper they would only be $60. Who does that?! I'm clearly a far cry from my old, rocking self. And what was on my shopping list, you ask? A nursing bra. One that makes me look like a hot mom..instead of someones asexual great-grandma. To date, I'm not sure these exist. Frankly, I have more faith in the Easter bunny.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has noticed these differences between my former single life and my new married with a baby life. It seems like my husband and I get invited to things less and less these days because people assume we can't make it because of the baby. The real kick in the nuts, is that they are probably right. Even if I COULD make it, I can't even fathom myself going "downtown" and drinking myself into oblivion any more. Can you imagine a hangover on top of a crabby 9 month old? Oy Vey!

When "going out" on a Friday night now equates to getting take out, eating dinner before the old people even show up at the restaurant, or grabbing a $10 bottle of wine from the Quickie Mart, how does one keep up with his/her single counterparts and maintain pre-baby friendships??