“Complete your birth plan.”
Throughout my first pregnancy, I continued to avoid this item on my pre-baby to-do list. I had a million other things to worry about and it was the last thing I felt like dealing with it. But I eventually bit the bullet and looked into this birth plan thing.
A quick look at an online template had me instantly overwhelmed. Take, for example, the question about whether (among other options) I’d like labor augmentation: first attempted by natural methods such as nipple stimulation, performed by membrane stripping, or performed with prostglandin gel.
I didn’t even know what the hell prostglandin gel was, much less Read more
The moment the ultrasound tech announced that you were a girl, I burst into tears. She confirmed what my maternal instincts were already telling me. I had already been mentally designing the nursery, and trying to figure out how many of your brother’s baby clothes we could get away with dressing you in (I mean, who cares if we put you in blue PJ’s?) I am overflowing with joy. At the same time, there are worries that creep in when I look into the future. When my thoughts turn to your teenage years, I can’t help but remember my own struggles at that age and worry about how you will navigate your way through.
I hope that you will manage, against the odds, to see how beautiful you are. Of course I don’t want you to base your self-worth on your physical appearance. But neither do I want you to walk through life feeling perpetually self-conscious about how you look. This will be an uphill battle; you will be confronted non-stop with airbrushed images of women that will create impossible standards to compare yourself against. I hope you will be able to see that these women are illusions, and that real women have freckles, scars, and blemishes, thighs that touch and body parts that jiggle. Our skin will always seem pasty next to the artificially bronzed women Read more
My son started daycare about 4 months ago. Every time I mention this fact, I feel compelled to immediately clarify that he’s only there part-time, for 3 half-days a week. Can someone please tell me why this makes me so defensive? I think subconsciously I’m convinced that the stay-at-home-moms of the world will see enrollment in daycare as a major mom-fail – abandoning my little guy and turning him over to the care of strangers.
But as much as some people might look down on the decision to put children in daycare, there is just as much derision thrown at SAHMs. In casual conversations with someone you’ve just met, one of the very first questions is “What do you do?” When the answer is “I’m a homemaker,” the response tends to be “Oh!”, stated in an awkward high-pitch as if to overcompensate with forced enthusiasm for the initial reaction of “oh, so you don’t really have a job.” Even many well-intentioned people Read more
A couple of months ago, the Washington Post published an article with the not-at-all-click-baiting-title “It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” This is only one of many pieces I’ve read recently indicating, basically, that parenting makes you miserable.
But here’s the thing about the study on which the article was based. Aside from the fact that it was conducted in Germany (no comment), the measurement of happiness was based on participants’ numerical rating of their overall happiness/satisfaction on a scale of 0-10, from the period of time prior to having a baby through at least 2 years after having one. Can a single question about happiness really tell the story of what it means to become a parent? When you just got peed on during a diaper change, are you going to rate your happiness at that moment as a 10? Probably not. When your toddler starts Read more
A Facebook friend recently posted about an incident that happened after dropping her daughter off at school. On her way home she found a one-year-old playing in a busy street without an adult in sight. She called 911 and took the child to her home for safety, and eventually the mother was located and came to pick him up. As she said in her post, unfortunate incidents can certainly happen to anyone, but what concerned her most was that when the mom came to pick up her child, she wasn’t remotely upset, apologetic or appreciative. If anything, she acted mildly annoyed.
The incident was upsetting to be sure, and I can’t help but worry about that little guy who appears to have a mom who is pretty neglectful, or at least alarmingly clueless. But as a parent myself who tends to worry constantly about how every single parenting decision I make will affect my son, it’s weirdly comforting Read more
As the days have been getting warmer, there’s been a resurgence of Facebook posts warning parents and pet owners not to leave their kids and dogs alone in hot cars. I saw similar posts last summer, and flatly ignored them. I had no intentions of leaving my baby alone in a car, hot or otherwise, so I assumed the warnings had nothing to do with me. And then I read the Washington Post article “Fatal Distraction,” which recounted in heart-wrenching detail the stories of several parents whose young children died after being accidentally left in the back seat of the car.
When I started reading the article, I thought the whole thing was total BS. HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET THAT THEIR BABY IS IN THE BACK SEAT??!! I wasn’t buying it, not for one second. What kind of horribly negligent parent Read more
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?
In the span of less than a year, I became a parent, left my job, and moved from a big city to a small town of about 3,500. I traded in my life of happy hours, high-end restaurants and theater performances for diapers, baby food and story time at the library. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world, but it’s been a pretty dramatic lifestyle change. From my new vantage point I can see with new clarity all the things I took for granted in my “old” life.
I now work from home part-time, and most people think they’d do the same in a heartbeat if they had the chance. But working from home has made me acutely aware of all the things that are awesome about working in an office – the morning chats with coworkers, the potlucks and holiday parties, the lunchtime gossip sessions. Having coworkers Read more
I’ve written before about how my old opinions about parenting went right out the window as soon as I actually had a kid. No screentime before age 2, all home-made baby food, never losing my temper… yeah, I didn’t stick to any of those. But here’s another opinion from that list that I hope I can actually follow through on: not lying to my son.
I’m not making an argument for 100% candor. There are concepts that are too mature for my almost-2-year-old son, and complexities that I put in simpler terms that he can understand. What I’m talking about is the little white lies of convenience – the things that come out of our mouths without much thought at all Read more
As long as he’s outside, my son is a pretty easy kid to entertain. It’s amazing to me how long he can stay occupied just digging in the dirt, throwing rocks in a stream, or simply walking around wielding a stick. So if the weather’s decent, you’ll probably find us wandering around the neighborhood. On one such day I was trailing after my son while he tromped, stick in hand, down the sidewalk. We walked by a neighbor’s house, where visiting relatives’ young children were playing in the front yard. We paused so my son could “say hello” (or his version of it) to the kids, and as we walked away an isolated phrase floated to my ears: “Stick Boy.” I didn’t catch the context, but the little boy’s tone was unmistakable. He was making fun of my son.
The words were like a punch to the gut. I will readily admit Read more
The day your first child is born, there are about a million ways in which life as you know it will never be the same. Here are a few truths about motherhood that I never really thought about before I became a mom.
1) We hear our babies crying all. the. time. Neighbor’s dog barking? Distant ambulance siren? Goose honking while it flies by? Somehow they all – at least momentarily – sound like our baby’s cry.
2) We learn just how much it’s possible to accomplish with only one arm. Who knew I could make Nutella cupcakes with buttercream frosting while holding my infant son the entire time?
3) Things come out of our mouths that we never would have expected. “Sweetie, don’t chew of Papa’s flip flop.” “No honey, that’s not Mama, that’s Michelle Obama.”
4) Our kisses take on the magical power to make pain disappear.
5) Even if we absolutely swore we’d never do baby-talk, Read more