Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: June 2012   

Friday, June 22, 2012

The "Mean Girls" Sequel: Just Join a "Mommy" Group

Confession time: I am a mommy group drop-out.

Well technically, I didn't even drop out of all of them...
I was forcibly evicted from a few, bullied out of others, and awkwarded out of a couple more. There was even a group that I managed to get kicked out of before even attending a meeting! The "administrator" informed me that I was being removed due to nonattendance. (I had only signed up the week prior!)

 While laughable, this is still a bit of a low point in my life. Who gets kicked out of a VOLUNTARY social group for moms? No good-byes. No parting gift. No passing "go" or collecting $200. (Monopoly reference. Keep up!)

I guess I just don't make the cut. I've admitted that I'm no Martha Stewart. I try really hard to emulate that kind of woman. Seriously! I religiously stalk pinterest for ideas to steal. I craft. I bake. I money launder. I joke, I kid. See! That's my point. I'm no Martha. Maybe her amateurish, domestically-challenged eighth cousin or something. I don't fit the mommy mold.

I am the poster child for introversion. Always have been. When I'm in a big group, I tend to completely dissolve into the background. This in turn, leads people to believe that I am an elitist snob, who is too good to socialize. The alternative to my wallflower schtick involves me making a total ass out of myself by pretending to be outgoing and engaging. I suck at small talk. I make lame, sarcastic jokes that other moms don't "get". This doesn't end well either.


Perhaps more importantly than the aforementioned defects, I secretly twilight as a drama magnet. I never knew this about myself prior to joining a Mommy group. I thought I was a relatively open-minded, don't rock the boat kind of gal. I guess not! I have managed to piss off so many moms at this point that the mommy mafia may have put a bounty on my head.

Moms have been offended by my parenting practices, my vernacular, my personality, and of course, this blog.

And apparently, mommy group moms don't get offended like the rest of us. They. are. MEAN. Out for blood. Take no prisoners. Fueled by an ugly undercurrent of competition and desperate attempts to obtain and maintain "status," these bitches will BURN you.

Most of the real down and dirty thrashing happens online, via social networking sites like Facebook. Seemingly docile, amicable mommies grow balls of steel behind a computer screen. 
One crazed mom will tear you to bits until a sort of gang mentality happens.

Forget trying to defend yourself. There will be 20 replies about how ignorant you are, with links to supporting articles, before you ever press send. Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, the reality is that some of the women in these "supportive" groups habitually band together, single out others, and make them feel like dog poo.
I saw it happen to countless others, and I've had it happen to me.

It's the Mean Girls Sequel. The one 10 years later, when the girls are all grown up, have kids, and still can't squelch the urge to be predatory, hateful, little twat waffles.

I am both a 20-something and a softie. I don't have the stamina or the resilience to deal with that toxic mess now.  I left those antics in high-school.

For now, I suppose I will remain a mommy group drop out. I will desperately cling to the handful of amazing ladies that I did meet, and always be on the look-out for more women who can laugh at dumb jokes and choke down burnt souffle.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mommy Memoirs: What I Want to Remember About Breastfeeding My Son

Weaning is a topic that seems to be coming up more and more these days. Apparently, everyone and their dog thinks they have a right to comment on my boobs. Seriously...there are some very judgemental poodles out there. (Insert laugh here.)

My son will be 11 months old this week, which means continued breastfeeding solidifies my status as a freak of nature in American society. I'm sure I catch more flack than the average bear, because of my giganto baby who looks like a pre-schooler. Regardless, I think this negativity and judgement is horse crap.

There is no magic date circled on my calendar. We will wean, when our family sees fit.

All this talk of weaning has got me thinking though. I know the day will come eventually. Probably sooner than later. I'm confident that, despite the ups and downs, the process will be much harder on me than on my adaptable, little son. So, I wanted to jot some things down about our breastfeeding relationship, to ensure that it doesn't all get lost in the abyss that is my post-pregnancy brain.

I'd be lying if I said this has been a walk in the park for us. (Remember this post?)
There have been a million times that I have wanted to throw in the proverbial towel. Nipple Shields, Clogged ducts, Botched Breast Biopsies, Repeated bouts of mastitis, Too much milk, Too little milk, Engorgement, Walking around with cabbage leaves sticking out of my bra, you name it! However, I think all the difficulties made the success we eventually achieved that much sweeter.

A little more Candor: A lot of times nursing has been, dare I say it, downright boring. This was especially the case in the beginning; when he latched on like a remora and didn't let go for 6 months. In those days, when marathon nursing sessions were typical, there were less "magical" moments and more dvr watching and Facebook status updating.

But like a lot of things, when nursing is good, it's really, really good.

I want to remember:

  • The initial frenzy of sucking...like a crazed, underfed piranha. And how it gradually dies down to give way to slow, steady breaths as he succumbs to sleep.
  • The almost comical positions he is able to contort himself into while still remaining latched on.
  • Catching a glimpse of his eyes, when he briefly peeps them open, to check that I'm still there.
  • Hearing his sweet, contented murmurs. He always sounds like he is trying to whisper sweet nothings to his dearest boobs. His first, and perhaps most adorable love affair.
  • Feeling his chubby little hand knead away like a kitten, or simply resting open palmed on my chest.
  • Tucking a feathery soft, blond, baby tendril back behind his tiny ear.
  • Feeling the weight of his heavy little head in the crook of my arm.
  • The tiny half smiles he shoots me, when his bloated little tummy is finally full.
  • Lastly, the shared (I think) feeling we have during some nursing sessions....that all is right with the world. Right with ourselves. Right with each other. Right with God and creation. Absolute oneness. Safety. Relaxation. Warmth. Tranquility. Happiness.                                 
                                              I think this is what they call unconditional love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6 Tidbits for the "Tot-less"

So I was one of you not so long ago...young, and wild, and free. Not a care in the world. Ahhh, the life of the childless. Anywho, I know that I was also VERY naive when it came to kids. My background in developmental psychology and various babysitting gigs made me think I had everything figured out. So I would look down from my ivory tower and shake my head, and cluck with disapproval when I saw parents feeding their kids junk, or propping them in front of the television.

Clearly, I was wrong.

As penance for being a judgemental cow, I offer these 6 tidbits for you tot-less wonders out there.

1. Ringing the doorbell during nap time is a crime punishable by death.

Seeing as nap time is an elusive, ever-evolving, dastardly beast, you should just assume that its always nap time.

Hold your chuckles and chortles. This is not a joke.

If you wake up that baby I will beat you with a wiffle bat.

2. Meeting up for dinner probably means something totally different to us, so clarification is a necessity.

These days going out to eat means we FINISH eating dinner about the time the old folks are showing up for early bird specials.

Eating dinner after 8 o'clock requires special mission impossible like forethought and planning...and maybe some Benadryl if we are supposed to bring the baby. (I joke, I kid)

3. For a new mom, the most terrifying string of words in the English language is "pool party."

Do not under any circumstances invite/sentence me to one of these cruel soirees. Furthermore, avoid telling me I "look fine", considering I had a baby. This does not increase your chances of me attending. In fact, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

Especially, when I think about the pre-baby, rock hard, stretch mark free, jersey shoreish abs that you're sporting. (side note for any expecting moms-choose your maternity suit wisely because you may just be in it indefinitely!)

4. You are expected to come to every single Dora the Explorer and Bob the Builder birthday party.

I realize these parties suck. I  probably wouldn't even come, if my kid wouldn't know any better. Here's the deal, you don't have to stay long, or even sing the "backpack" song. But make an appearance and be thankful I didn't host this happy-go-lucky little gathering at Chuck E. Cheese's. Otherwise known as parental hell on earth. Literally torturous to spend more than 5 minutes there. I think the Geneva Convention should look into this. But I digress.

If you don't come, than I won't go down the road when you pop out a munchkin or two. And then, who will be there to commiserate with you?

5. If my child is having a public meltdown..DO NOT give me a look of disgust.

Also, DO NOT tell me he must be hungry, or tired, or whatever. What are you, the baby whisperer?! If you're so knowledgeable, why don't you take him? I could use a break. Seriously. I'll be in the wine section picking out mommy's next time-out buddy.

Here's a clue...sometimes, for no apparent reason, kids are just a$$holes. Big ones. Some more so than others. This doesn't make me a bad parent or mean that my child is underfed or under-loved. He's just being an a$$hole.

Give it some thought my friend. Do you really think I WANT him to act like this? Do you think I have some personal vendetta against peace and quiet? If I could get my kid to stop thrashing about and screaming bloody murder, I would.

Therefore, in the future, I direct you to mind your business. Maybe, if you're feeling particularly generous, throw me a look of pity and point me in the direction of the wine section.

6. This might just be the most important. If you do not have any children, do not comment on how I am raising my own.

I don't care if you walk through the door and my son is chewing on a power cord, while simultaneously juggling the family hamster and watching an hour of telemundo soap operas. To me, this is a sign of genius. An 11 month old multitasking. Clearly destined for greatness!

Whatever he's doing, hes doing it for a reason. I'm on it, I swear. No one is more invested in how this little tike turns out than me.

I don't care what you saw on Dr Oz, or heard from Great-Grandma Martha, or read in your General Psych. textbook. Until you have children, you cannot possibly understand moments like these or the million and a half possibly life-altering decisions that have to be made all the time. Know that most moms are giving it their best..all the time. They are well-researched and well-informed. However, it's hard to be at your "A" game 24-7. If you happen upon one of these less than ideal parenting moments, keep your "constructive" criticism to yourself. Otherwise, it's only a matter of time before you have to eat your own words. I know I have...and they don't taste that great the second time around. ;)