Posts Tagged ‘family’

My best

“Mama, can you help me get down?”

But before I could stand up, she fell. Smacked her head right on the sidewalk, after she’s climbed onto the retaining wall in front of our house. It’s probably only a foot and a half high, and the tumble from it sounded worse than it was, of course. But she’s 3, and this was a doozy of an owie, as far as owies go. So the tears came fast and hard.

As I scooped her up to rush her inside, she started wailing, “Mama, you didn’t help me!”

That’s when my tears started falling fast and hard, too.

Not because I thought it was my fault. Even in three short years, I’ve learned I can’t protect her from every fall and failure, nor do I think I should.

I started crying because she’d just articulated my biggest struggle since becoming a mom of two: that while my heart expanded to love two children unconditionally, it almost always feels impossible to be the mom they both need.

And, for the toddler who is less dependent on me than the newborn, it falls disproportionately on her.

I know all I can do is be the best mom I can be in any given moment. But in that given moment, my best felt woefully inadequate.

It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last time. I just hope they know that even when my best is merely good enough, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of better.

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This photo is from last fall, taken at a football game of our college alma mater.

At first glance, looking at it as my husband handed my phone back to me, I liked it. I thought it was a cute picture of us making a fun memory with our first kiddo, shortly after we learned we’ll be having our second.

I started pulling up my Instagram to share it on social media. But then I looked at it again. All I could see now were the dark circles under my eyes and the crinkles that have started emerging around them when I smile.

Suddenly, I didn’t like the picture so much. I thought if I shared it, those imperfections would be the only thing other people would see as well.

So I didn’t post it. Instead, I feverishly researched eye creams later that night.

And that’s some real bullshit.

It’s bullshit that instead of seeing those wrinkles and dark circles as signs of growing wisdom and experience, I only saw signs of my diminishing value as a woman.

It’s bullshit that instead of admiring them as marks of devotion earned while my heart overflows for a sweet, tiny human who sometimes just needs her mama to lie down with her on a dark, scary night, I bemoaned them as marks of stress and exhaustion.

It’s bullshit that instead of appreciating them as the wear and tear exchanged for the gift of loving a child in such a way that I can’t remember now what I did during my carefree, wrinkle-free previous life — because the one I have now feels infinitely more rich — I only lamented my deepening crow’s feet.

And it’s bullshit that instead of seeing the beauty in it all, I could only see the flaws.

Well, I’m done bullshitting myself. I’m done falling for the lie that age will inevitably diminish the beauty worth sharing in my life.

So I’m sharing it now, imperfections and all. Because despite the inevitable wrinkles, life is always beautiful.

I will choose love

My heart felt so heavy today. I cried. A lot. But, when it comes down to it, my white, middle-class, privileged family will likely not bear the burden of this election’s outcome, not like others will. My heart aches for them, and I currently fear for what our country’s future may hold.

But I will not let fear win. I will choose love. I will choose love, even for those who supported him, because I want to believe they made the choice they did because they were also hurting in some way, and sought to feel validated and heard. 

I will choose love because that is the only way I can raise this feisty little girl to treat others with kindness, compassion and respect, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views, intelligence, socioeconomic status, education level, physical ability, or the millions of other qualities that make America so robustly diverse. 

I will choose love by treating others that way myself. I will choose love because I have succumbed to the fear in the past, and it was a pretty shitty way to exist. I will choose love because the world I want my daughter to grow up in chooses love, even in the face of fear. I will choose love.

Dear people who were parents before I was a parent: I’m sorry

 

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Confession time: Before Lily was born, I was a bit judgey toward people with kids who seemed to not always have their shit together 100 percent of the time. Not out loud, necessarily, but I’m sure they could see the judgey look on my judgey little face.

I remember smugly thinking to myself “I’m soooooo glad I am sooooooo god-damn perfect and have sooooo many good habits now, like making home-cooked, certified-organic-and-GMO-free-artisanal meals and exercising 800 times a week and getting 20 hours of sleep a night, which I will obviously keep doing even after I have kids, who will also be perfect and never melt down in the middle of the grocery store because I wouldn’t let them climb the paper towel display! I AM JUST SOOOOO AMAZING AND WILL NEVER NOT HAVE MY SHIT TOGETHER!!!”

Well, ladies and gentlemen,  you heard it here first: I do not, in fact, have my shit together. I recently introduced myself (Allison) as “Lily” and my daughter (Lily) as “Allison.” Last week, I took my toddler to the park with her shoes on the wrong feet, and she noticed before I did. Yesterday, I ate an entire can of olives for lunch. Because I was hungry and tired and, well, they were there.

Here’s the thing. When you become a parent, every last cell in your brain is in some way devoted to making sure you keep your adorable offspring fed and diapered and otherwise alive. Couple that with severe sleep deprivation (which may ease up after the first few months but never really goes away), and what little is left of your “mom brain” is put toward only the most essential tasks, like guzzling coffee in the morning. And, if you’re lucky, not forgetting to brush your teeth afterward.

Other seemingly reasonable tasks — such as responding to a text the same week your friend sent it, remembering to fold laundry within seven days of putting it in the dryer, not getting yogurt on your pants, not remembering you got yogurt on your pants and wearing them again the next day, blogging more than once or twice a year, not wearing your shirt inside out, or knowing the name of that one actor, you know, the one who was in that one movie with that lady from that one show? He has hair and eyes and a mouth, probably? — are relegated to the back burner.

Having been a parent for a year and half now, I understand this. But before, I was Ms. Judgey McJudgerson and basically thought moms and dads just used parenting as a lame excuse for not having their shit together. And for that, I apologize. I now know that we’re all just doing the best we can, and we should give each other — and ourselves — a break.

And, if I could go back in time, rest assured that I would slap that smug, self-righteous look right off my smug, self-righteous face.

Important questions I’ve pondered while reading classic children’s books to my infant daughter

“The Cat in the Hat”

Is the Cat and the Hat holding Thing 1 and Thing 2 against their will? Are they getting enough clean food and water while he peddles them across the country in a crate with no air holes? Is PETA aware of the situation? Wait, are Things 1 and 2 even animals? Do they dye their hair blue or is it naturally that color? If I wore footy pajamas like theirs to work, would I get fired?

b

Things 1 and 2

b

“Guess How Much I Love You”

Why does Big Nutbrown Hare have to constantly one-up Little Nutbrown Hare? Can’t he just let him win at the Guess How Much I Love You game, even once? When Little Nutbrown Hare says he loves him to the flippin’ moon, can’t he just be like “Whoa, the moon? That’s so far — no way I can top that! I’d never say anything like ‘well hey, I’m pretty impressed you love me all the way to the moon, but guess what — I love you to the moon … and back! Suck it, Little Nutbrown Hare!’ No, I’d never say anything super douchey like that”?
 b
 To moon and back
b
 b
Does Big Nutbrown Hare also never let Little Nutbrown Hare win when they play Candy Land? Does he show off with fancy hook shots and dunks when playing a friendly game of HORSE with the neighborhood kiddos? Is he overcompensating for something? Does he also drive an obnoxiously large truck?
b

“Where the Wild Things Are”

Why does this one Wild Thing have human feet? Is he the mutant result of some sort of unethical science experiment gone horribly wrong? What in the actual fuck, Maurice Sendak? Why would you do this to me my sweet baby girl? How many years of therapy am I is my child going to need to stop having nightmares about the human-footed Wild Thing??
 b
Where-the-wild-things-are
b

“Goodnight, Moon”

Is the mush gluten-free?
b
Goodnight Moon

Need a cure for insomnia? You should Have a Baby™!

Do you have trouble falling asleep night after night?

Does your mind start to race as soon as your head hits the pillow, no matter how tired you are?

Are the Ambien-induced hallucinations finally starting to freak you out?

Well, we here at Squirrel Thoughts Industries have finally discovered the secret to falling asleep quickly and easily: Have a Baby™!

Our patented Have a Baby™ technology will leave you so physically and mentally exhausted, your brain will have no choice but to shut down and drift off into sweet, sweet slumber mere minutes after you collapse into bed.

Under no circumstances will you wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed while using Have a Baby™ — you’ll get far less sleep than before, actually. But hey, at least you won’t lie awake all night worrying about it!

TiredParents

Have a Baby™ will allow you to fall asleep anywhere, anytime! [Image source: UberHumor.com]

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Side effects of Have a Baby™ may include:

  • Miniature human dependent on you for survival infiltrating your home
  • Taking a quick nap while nursing miniature human dependent on you for survival
  • Waking up two to 3 billion times per night
  • Taking a quick nap in the shower and/or on the bathmat in front of the shower
  • Pulling a Costanza at work by napping under your desk*
  • Taking a quick nap on your way to the office coffee pot after you wake up from your nap under your desk
  • Rapidly falling into REM sleep, which may cause weird dreams that involve Billy from Family Circus chasing you through your high school
  • Taking a quick nap during the therapy you need after dreaming that Billy from Family Circus was chasing you through your high school
  • Decreased effectiveness once baby starts sleeping through the night** because OH GOD IS SHE STILL BREATHING?!!?!
  • Taking a quick nap while blogginZZZZZZZZZZZZdifjadsre;s e
  • Heart exploding due to overflow of love and affection every time miniature human dependent on you for survival smiles or coos at you
My personal miniature human dependent on me for survival

My personal miniature human dependent on me for survival

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*If my boss is reading this: I haven’t actually done this. I’ve only seriously considered it.
**Not that we know what that’s like.

Some members of this household are not taking the projectile pooping issue seriously

I don’t intend to make this blog entirely about parenting now that No. 1 Munchkin has taken over our lives. And I certainly don’t want its focus to narrow to only her excremental tendencies. But I feel some people in this family are not acknowledging the gravity of the projectile poop situation.
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My husband. It’s my husband.
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Take this example from the other day. I was mid diaper change, and Lily really let one fly. It projected so far, it landed on the Stormtrooper clock in the nursery, about 4 feet away.
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(What, you don’t have a token Star Wars relic in your nursery? Weird.)
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Poo 1
Poo 2
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For a little context, here is another view of the Stormtrooper, in relation to the changing table upon which the assailant sat:
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Nursery

Now that I see it in this photo, I think it’s probably more like 7 or 10 feet. A world record, no doubt.

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Upon receiving such panic-stricken messages, I expected Zach to respond with an appropriate amount of sympathy. But because he was being a cranky pants that day (Note: When you become a parent, you instinctively start referring to all people by what kind of “pants” they’re currently “wearing” — silly pants, cranky pants, fluffy pants, copacetic pants, etc.), his response was something along the lines of:
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“DERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Please don’t send so many texts in a row when I’m at work. I was in a big Lawyer Person Meeting and derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”
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The text probably included a few more “derrrrrrrrrrrrrrs,” but I’ll save him the embarrassment of printing it verbatim.
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See, Zach has not yet experienced the projectile poop. In fact, he’s even had the audacity to utter the phrase “I think it’s a myth,” as if I currently have the time and wherewithal to sit around making up shit about shit.
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So instead of the bare minimum response of some feigned sympathy that I was expecting following this traumatizing event, all I got was a bunch of derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs. This is my life, people.
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Granted, my texts may have been a bit overdramatic. Especially since I sent them after I had already cleaned the poop off Lily and her targets. I mean, come on, guys … did you think I would leave my baby and her surroundings covered in feces while I took photos of it, just so I could blog about it later? What kind of mother do you think I am?
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