Do You Like Being A Mom?

DSC_0030The month after my baby pressed the ejection button from my wound, everyone wanted to know, “Do you like being a mom?” I guess people felt the need to ask because either they knew I was originally terrified of having a kid or because it’s the go-to question for new moms. Since no one had ever before inquired about how I felt about any of my other jobs, I didn’t know how to respond. Did my friends and family really want to know or was it like when you’re asked how you’re doing? Even on a bad day you can never share that you just got fired from your dream job, got kicked out of your apartment and that your boyfriend changed his FB status to single and tagged you in his new profile pic of him making out with your best friend. As much as these questions tempt you to sob like a baby, social etiquette deems it rude and discourteous to the poor blameless questioner. So for the first couple of months I expressed my feelings about being a mom carefully and respectfully by shaking my head with a restrained panicked smile while saying, “It’s crazy!” Though my friends and family never called Child Protective Services, it was clear that my vague answer killed more than one inner party and landed us all in silent Awkwardland.

Although no one explicitly tells a new mom how she’s supposed to be, there is a certain understanding conveyed through magazines, the way people smile and congratulate you for having a child and the lack of Complaint Boxes gifted at baby showers. Unlike most jobs that consider collective bitching as a healthy way to bond with coworkers, the unpaid and most times lonely mom has to say how great her job is with a smile not seen since her naïve maternity photos. She must not only like getting drooled, peed and pooped on, she must say about being a mom, as I heard one woman squeal out during a Mommy & Me Yoga Class, “I LOVE IT! IT’S BETTER THAN WORKING!”

But I disagree. It can’t be better than working because it is working for long periods of time with no happy hours available when you get off. I just can’t fake my love for the position like so many glowing moms because I’m not crazy. The job itself sucks, no doubt about it: minimal sleep, breast infections, diminishing mental aptitude, loss of hearing and the vanishing ability to stay up past 9pm or move around the house at a regular noise-making speed. How can anyone like being a mom? How can anyone like being a parent? Unless you were in a bad relationship to begin with, wasn’t life better before having a baby? In some ways yes and in some ways you can’t compare.

I really wanted to be grumpier about parenting, or at least be hardened by it and not give into the gush, but being a new human’s caretaker, for being as hard as it is, is surprisingly really fun! Like carnivals! There is nothing greater than seeing your kid trying to walk around, getting spun about, greeting you with too much cuteness standing in his crib and laughing the whole day between a few cranky spells before nap time. Plus, introducing him to the world is like living out one of those movies where a time traveller from the past ends up in our time and you get to host and watch as he gets scared, delighted and confused by everything around him. Sure I may be missing out on going out with my husband whenever we want to see a movie or go to a club with friends, but now we do things we never did before because we have to educate our little guy on what the world has to offer. I even have a slight tan for once from being outdoors so much!

This is why “Do you like being a mom?” should be banned from the general parenting conversation. The job itself is much too complicated for such a simple question. No I don’t like being a mom, but I love being my son’s mother and more importantly, I love him and would never go back to not having him. Sure the job could be easier and I could handle a few nannies here and there, but strangely it’s the tough parts of the ride that help me bond with him and make my love for him grow. It’s like why Christie Brinkley married that one guy after a helicopter crash. What I’m saying is, who cares if you like the job or not–as long as you try to do it well and love who you’re working with and for, that’s all that matters.

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You’re Like A Suburban Midlife Crisis In America–No Middle Class

peacock mid life crisisHooray! Last week I entered my midlife crisis! No Saturn Return, no Pre-Midlife Crisis, no Late Onset Puberty; I’m talking the exciting big mirror in the aging face “Oh $hit What Am I Doing With My Life” Crisis. I’m at the point where adults finally become mature and live out those inspiring second chance stories that give people hope and aging rock bands one last chance to tour. And since so many people before me have been through it, I know I only have to survive some existential hell for a couple of years until I come to the conclusion that what I really need is to get rid of my old life and start a flashy new one! Problem is that with the middle class going extinct, middle class protégés like myself are finding that we are no longer able to afford the kind of satisfactory crisis that we are accustomed to. While some fear that with the demise of the middle class, motivated stoners and Teva wearing revolutionaries will finally rally to overthrow our current capitalist system, I fear that it will cause my midlife makeover to suck.

Without the same time and resources the middle class once enjoyed, the peacocky crisis we’ve come to know and mock will soon be a thing of the past. Of course there will still be two others available. There is the Rich Man’s Crisis carried out by those in the upper stratospheres of rich. This crisis as opposed to others, does not question career paths taken since the wealthy have always had the money to do whatever they’ve always wanted to do. These enviable midlifers are only subjected to the fear of losing their youth and the promise of impending death. So with a few new spouses (each one younger than the other), Botox shots and some hot sweaty yoga their midlife crisis is complete…ly Zzzzzzzzz.

Then there is the Poor Man’s Crisis, also known as The Struggling Artist’s Crisis. These are the ones who in their 20′s and 30′s did everything people in the other classes of crises try to emulate at 40 or 50. These creative types always dated much younger people but for like-minded conversation not for youth-sucking purposes. They chose day jobs that required little commitment so that they could concentrate on an artistic career that nearing 40 they discover never happened. Tired of living with roommates for 20 years and wishing for a few creature comforts they once scorned (Brookstone foot massagers), these once rebellious folks suddenly question their lifelong misgivings of society’s norms and immediately want to shed all semblance of their nonconformity. Ready to prove that they can succeed in a conventional way, they suddenly work hard to find someone their own age to marry, find a “real” job and settle down by buying a home or a fuel-efficient car in place of the incredibly cool beater or Volvo station wagon they swore they would keep until they died. Even less exciting than the rich, the poor man’s midlife crisis makes me go through another midlife crisis just reading about it.

It is because of the rich and the poor man’s midlife crises that we need to safeguard the middle class. Theirs is the iconic American midlife crisis. They followed the rules for so long they’re ready to break them! With 80’s style self-reflection and real jet-ski consumerist pizzazz, here in the middle you are promised toupees, red hot convertible sports cars, motorboats, cheesy young dates, divorces and the chance to sell that suburban home to buy yourself a downtown loft and finally live like all those cool artist types you stood in line with at the coffee shop and hated on your way to your 9-6-or-more job. You can go out to nightclubs, get college-style wasted on Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds because that’s what you last heard was hip from a temp a few years ago, leave your job in corporate America and make a new small business venture in something cooler like a distillery that makes bacon flavored whiskey with kitschy bacon flavored fruit roll-ups or by making specialty facial hair clips for wine tasters in Napa Valley, then get photographed in Sunset Magazine and show it off to your new family you just made with that temp you met a few years ago in your long-gone corporate job! That my friends, is a real crisis! Something I was ready to join in until I realized I couldn’t.

mid life crisisLike a chubby girl who lost weight but still sees herself as chubby, I like so many others raised middle class, learned that I had been mistakingly considering myself middle class when financially I am nowhere near it. So when my crisis turned up as a 16-year-old me to evaluate what I had made of her life and was unimpressed, I couldn’t escape or hurriedly make things better in a colorful, over-the-top, expensive way. I was sorry to let Young Me know that Now Me can’t just pack up and move my family to Paris or New York and live the life she wanted because I can’t afford to. Instead, the two of us have had to settle for lying in bed to piece together what makes sense from my past, discover what traits hold me back, support the ones that move me forward, take a close look at what’s important, what I want to spend my time working on and how to go about doing it. I discovered that I am part of a new class that is gaining traction in America, and our Lost Class Midlife Crisis is completely…ho hum practical.

*16-year-old me is completely over me and has moved on to her next victim.

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Baby Made Me Do It

Hi everybody! I haven’t written in over 6 months. You know why? ‘Cause I had a baby. Yep, the excuse that superwomen like CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer would never dare use, but smart women like myself do. Why not make use of it? I suffered through hours of what felt like two gigantic hands digging into my flesh and pulling my bones apart, a week with my downstairs blown-out and endured a new mom sentence of six weeks without sex. I earned this excuse card and shame on me if I don’t use it!

I HAVE A BABY covers everything from forgetting birthdays, to not contributing anything to potlucks, to flagrantly violating traffic laws. And unlike your usual rotating list of cop-outs that don’t involve saving for college–work, sick, sick cat–I HAVE A BABY can be used over and over again with your friends and you will never seem like a dick. And don’t worry about coming up with an explanation either–no one wants to know because singles and single couples are afraid of babies. They believe as I once did, that newborns are a plague which, once contracted, wipes friends out from existence and prevents them from doing what those without spawn assume is prized above all else: hanging out with them. Now that I’m on the other side, however, I’ve discovered that the whole thing is a sham. Sure babies deprive parents of their sleep and give them multiple new problems to solve every day, but the thing new parents don’t share with the public is that newborns give them massive amounts of baby love hormones which make them perfectly capable of going out and seeing people. Thing is… they just don’t want to. Babies don’t turn parents into the walking dead, they turn them into selfish, socially undependable lying a**holes.

For instance:

  • You think your friends couldn’t make it to your party because little Aiden was taking an extraordinarily long nap? Wrong! They’ve always hated your parties and are glad they finally don’t have to go.
  • You invited your friends to see your band play on Saturday night but they couldn’t go because babysitters cost too much and they need to save for a house? Nuh-uh. Look on Facebook the next day to see what they’re doing. That’s right…checking in at a pricey mimosa brunch and spending money on friends they think are really worth the babysitter.
  • You tried calling your mom-friend so you could cry about your boyfriend AGAIN but your friend said she couldn’t talk because darling baby Mackenzie was crying to be fed? BS! That little bitch Mackenzie cries all the time. EVEN WHEN SHE’S HAPPY!

Of course when I first joined the club I was dumb enough to prove everyone wrong about what it meant to be a new mom. I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t do it all even when I didn’t want to do it all. I posted photos like this one:

Work Out Baby

You know what that got me? Friends inviting me to work out with them when all I wanted to do was sleep in and eat pizza… at the same time. But after several mornings of Burpees, ab exercises on furniture sliders and jumping lunges, I smartened up. Who cares if taking on the public’s perception of being a parent makes me look like a shut-in slob. When else will I be able to not do all the things I’ve never wanted to do? I took inventory, held a meeting with my internal marketing department, saw what others in my field were doing…

sleeping-mommy-and-baby

Oh no she didn’t! Pretending to be exhausted with perfectly side swept bangs and make-up! Good for her.

mom and son

Where’s momma heading to after this photo?

…and immediately posted my own version of this common mommy and me pose:

Do you think this image would tempt anyone to bother us with any invitations or obligations? Of course not. That’s because when you see photos like this splayed across Facebook and Instagram, you might comment, “Oh how sweet. Momma and child sleeping, Exhausted from so much love,” but subconsciously the photo makes you think, “F’ing stoner roommates.” Success! Instantly this new look brands me as undesirable and totally useless. A new parent through and through! As a result, guess what this pic has been getting me? Days and nights of doing nothing but sleeping and eating pizza. At the same time.

Pizza and Sleep

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Gone Fishing

charlie-brown-christmas-peanuts

I just had a baby. As traumatic and awesome as it was and is, the last thing I can do is think beyond ME WANT PIZZA, ME WANT WATER. So I will spare you any uninspired posts and instead invite you to look through the archives of the Platform for the next couple of weeks while I recoup and stare at my baby.

Happy holidays and see you in the New Year! Well, if we survive the end of the world, that is.

Dear Diary

dear-diary2

Dear Pregnancy Diary,

I’m one day away from being two weeks past my due date and getting induced! I know I should be upset yelling out, “Are you F’ING KIDDING ME?!” but I’m not Dear Diary, because after waiting this long, I no longer believe I’m pregnant. Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t remember anything I learned in my birthing class, I am no longer excited about what’s about to come because I don’t know what I’m waiting for anymore, and I don’t even believe I’m a woman. You would think that enduring 10 ½ months of the most female-specific experience would convince me otherwise, but no one in this episode of Twilight Zone can fool me anymore. My name’s Harry, and I’m just your friendly neighborhood trucker with a bloated belly.

Trucker

How could I have gotten it so wrong Diary? Spending half of my year’s blog writing about pregnancy when I really shouldn’t have been writing at all. You know how many projects I left untouched in the garage as a result? I’m actually a little embarrassed. What kind of a man am I to forget who he is? I should never have complained about swollen ankles, fearing giving birth, or even trying to balance getting my career moving and having a family. Boring! Wow, I must have sounded like a real woman.

Ouch, my back. Hold on… No I’m not having a contraction. Backaches are what real men go through from all the hard work they do during the day. I just can’t wait to get this blog back on track. No more being scared of anything and getting all personal. I mean obviously I’ll need a few weeks to regroup–you don’t think you’re a woman for as long as I did and not need a few beers to recover. Oh wait Diary… sorry my stomach is tightening. Must have been the extra spicy sauce on those chicken wings I picked up at Big Wangs. Anyway, I’ll finish what I can for the rest of the year, but believe you me, by January this blog is going back to making comments about politics and the way we live here in the United States of America. Obviously I won’t be able to talk about women ’cause I wouldn’t know about that. But I will talk and not listen ‘cause that’s what a man does. Yep. Real manly like. Holy hell, Dear Diary! I think I’m gonna have a baby!

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