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Slacker Mom

There has been a whole bunch of yelling on the Internet this week, ever since Time magazine posted a very provocative cover asking “Are You Mom Enough?”

To that, I say: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, Time magazine.

Am I “mom enough?” FUCK YEAH I AM MOM ENOUGH.

I’m not a researcher when it comes to Life Things. I trust myself, is what it boils down to. I have instincts and intuition and whatever else you want to call it, but I generally trust myself to make the right decision when it comes to Life Things. Well, I do NOW. 20 years ago, not so much.

But that’s kind of it – I made all the wrong decisions when I was younger. ALL of them. I frequently went against my own instincts and my own hunches and listened to the wrong people about what was best for me. To put it mildly, that did not work well.

So, over the years I learned to trust myself. I’m pretty smart, despite all appearances. I still make mistakes, but I do okay most of the time.

When it came time to think about maybe having a baby, I didn’t do jack shit as far as research goes. I didn’t have time, actually. We went from “maaaybe this isn’t a bad idea” to “oh, look: two lines means positive” in two weeks. I mean that absolutely literally. We had JUST started talking about maybe thinking about perhaps considering pulling the goalie. FIRST TRY! It’s the only time in my whole life I’ve been an over-achiever.

While I was pregnant, I used exactly ONE book as my advice-giver. Freddie had purchased a copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and I got SO ANNOYED by the tone in which it is written that I threw it across the room. That book is a piece of shit. Ask me about it sometime – I have a good 5-minute stand-up routine about how awful it is.

Instead, I used The Pregnancy Book, by Dr. Sears. This is, surprisingly, my kind of book. It was clear, no-nonsense advice and information about what was happening inside my body. It reminded me to stop drinking (I did), eat better (if you count buffalo chicken and Ben & Jerry’s Vermonty Python as health food, that is) and take my vitamins (I… failed at that).

Since I was so happy with The Pregnancy Book, I got a copy of The Baby Book and spent a few afternoons reading through it in hopes that SOME of the information would sink in before the monster arrived. It’s being touted as the “Attachment Parenting Bible” and whatnot, which… it is, and it isn’t.

Granted, some of it seemed a little extreme, such as the fairly obnoxious hanmmering home of the point that breastfeeding is the bestest bestest bestest thing ever and don’t even CONSIDER formula unless your boobs literally fall off of your body. It’s been awhile and I have long since passed that book along so the details are a bit fuzzy, but… there is a whole section about how Mrs Dr Sears managed to breast-feed their adopted daughter.

That’s… that’s hardcore, y’all.

I agree that breastfeeding is the absolute best thing you can do for a baby. That’s what boobs are FOR, after all. It’s what my body is designed to do. And holy shit, breastfeeding is the best thing EVER for a Slacker Mom such as myself. No mixing of bottles, heating up bottles, washing and sterilizing bottles! Just whip out Right and stick the kid on it! SLACKER MOM FTW.

The other Big Thing that Dr Sears loves is the co-sleeping. I knew from Day 1 that THAT wasn’t happening. On the surface, you’d think the Slacker Mom would looooove the co-sleeping. That, for me, was not the case. You have to make sure the kid is positioned correctly, either with a co-sleeping dingus that attaches to or rolls right up against your bed, or maybe have a bassinet in your room or… whatever. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing that so I didn’t pay attention. At first, it was because Freddie still had to get up and go to work every day and he is grumpy as fuck if he doesn’t get enough sleep. Having a baby in the room would disrupt ALL of us, not just me. So it was easier all around to put her in her crib in her own room and hook up the baby monitor.

I won’t lie – that arrangement sucked balls, especially the first 6-8 weeks. IT SUCKED MY BALLS because I was recovering from a c-section and found myself having to get up 35 times a night to stick a boob into the gaping maw of the Screamy Thing.

Things improved when I made Freddie buy me a TV for the baby’s room. Conan O’Brien became my late-night boyfriend and I watched my Monty Python collection during the day. It’s not surprising to me that when Jillian first started talking, she had a bit of a British accent.

The third Attachment Parenting Tent Pole is “babywearing.” Now… this is kind of not my thing at all. We had a Baby Bjorn and some other wacky sling thing, and the kid hated both of them to the point that she would punch HERSELF in the face in order to get out of it.

Granted, that kid hated a lot of things. But the babywearing never really worked for me. The c-section fucked up my core strength (and six years down the road, I am FINALLY making progress in that area) and standing for long periods of time with a very active tiny Tae-Bo enthusiast was not on. She didn’t mind being carried around, but the minute we tried to wrap her up in something, she would turn into a cat. Have you ever tried to put a cat in a box? Yeah, that.

Out of the Three Major Biggies in AP, I managed to half-assedly do exactly one of them. And even then, I didn’t quite make it to the 1-year “recommended” mark for breastfeeding, much less the extended breastfeeding that Dr Sears really likes to go on about. I made it to 8.5 months, and then she bit me with her wee chompers and that was pretty much THAT. Do I feel “guilty” because I didn’t reach this arbitrary one-year benchmark? No, not at all. I was ready to have my body back. I wanted to be a ME again, instead of a WE. I was ready to be a person again, not just a food source. Ending our nursing relationship was a conscious choice I made, and I felt fine about it then, and I feel fine about it now.

Unfortunately, because I wasn’t working and had no reason to pump or build up a stash of breastmilk (too much effort for a Slacker Mom), once Jillian stopped nursing, my milk production ended and we did switch her to formula for the rest of that first year. What a pain in my ass THAT was. There is so much out there about correctly cleaning and sanitizing and boiling the water first and all that shit when it comes to formula or YOUR BABY WILL DIE. Um. We live in a fairly advanced society – the warnings are a little over-the-top, are they not? I washed baby bottles in the dishwasher (or by hand, if it was too much work to empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher first. What? IT HAPPENS), used lukewarm tap water, and mixed up formula that way. I don’t think I ever heated up a bottle, which probably accounts for Jillian’s preference for lukewarm food.

NEWSFLASH: Jillian lived!

My friend Avi posted about how Attachment Parenting is the “lazy mom’s” best friend. I agree with her on most points, except for the cloth diapering thing. Disposable diapers, friends. That is the Slacker Mom’s best friend. Cloth diapers are cute and good for the environment (unless they’re not because of the water used and extra laundry blahblahblah – as with co-sleeping, I knew right away that I wasn’t doing cloth diapers), but the laundry. THE LAUNDRY.

Cloth diaper people claim that it’s not that much more laundry. Maybe it isn’t, but I do not enjoy the laundry. Right now I am looking at three hampers and a basket, all overflowing with clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away. They’ve been sitting there since Thursday and will likely still be there on Monday. Keep in mind that I am a stay-at-home mom with only one child. There is no reason why I can’t get the laundry folded except for the fact that I DO NOT LIKE TO DO IT. I knew this about myself when I was pregnant, so I knew cloth diapers were not for me.

So, back to that Time magazine cover. Pardon my French, but that cover photo is FUCKING RETARDED. Yes, we’re not supposed to use the R-word but it really does fit here. It’s retarded in that it is SLOWING PROGRESS. It’s a step back. It is unnecessarily inflammatory and exists solely to sell a shitty magazine that hasn’t been relevant in years. Whoever came up with the idea for it is a fucking genius, though. When was the last time you looked at or gave a shit about Time magazine?

It’s a slap in the face, honestly. It’s a slap in the face and a big “fuck you” to every mom who is just doing her very best. Moms get shit on from all sides, and this photo does not help. My first reaction to seeing it was dismay. DISMAY. I may have even groaned because ugh, SO UNNECESSARY. I hate it. I hate everything about it. Mostly, I hate it because it exploits something that is basically NORMAL. Extended breastfeeding wasn’t for me, but it’s not weird or gross or abnormal or something to giggle at or whatever the hell reaction people are having to that photo (Jason Good puts the discomfort into very smart words). It makes the job of moms who are DOING THEIR BEST just that much harder. It’s a step back. It’s retarded.

Attachment Parenting isn’t for everyone. In fact, I have huge issues with this need to label one’s parenting style. I mean, what the fuck is that about? It’s a kid. Pay attention to it. Common sense will tell you what you need to know about keeping it alive. Done and done. I’d write a book about it but it really does boil down to “pay attention to your kid and trust your instincts.”

Do women do this? Not as much as one might think. There are scads of books and websites out there chock-full of information about what is “right.” Not necessarily what is “best” but what is RIGHT. BZZZT. Wrong answer. There’s not a lot of “right” and “wrong” when it comes to babies. I mean, there are obvious things, like don’t stick it in the washing machine and feed it occasionally (the common sense stuff), but the breast vs bottle debate (for example)? IS BULLSHIT. Do what is best for your baby. YOUR BABY. Not my baby, not the baby down the street, but YOUR BABY. Done and done, no discussion needed.

See what I did there? No discussion needed. I could end the “mommy wars” with this revolutionary knowledge.

We should have more Slacker Moms. More Lazy Moms. More moms who don’t give a fuck what other people think about their parenting and just get on with it. More moms who pay attention to their kids and become adept at reading the kid’s cues and signals to divine what the baby needs (ooh, ATTACHMENT PARENTING STRIVES FOR THIS VERY GOAL OH MY GOD THE UNIVERSE IS A CIRCLE). We should have more moms who can RELAX and chill the fuck out and hand the baby over to Daddy or whatever you choose to call your co-parent, if you have one.

Now that The Jillian is about to turn six, my parenting challenges have mutated. I’m still as much of a Slacker Mom as ever, and I’m sure I will continue to be. The social requirements of a school-aged kid are my biggest obstacle to really slacking as much as I’d like to. I come in contact with all sorts of different moms with different parenting styles than my own, and while I roll my eyes at some of them (I have a 10-minute stand-up routing about the ones who are fanatical about the hand sanitizer gel, for instance), most of them are doing pretty okay. I always ask “do you hang out on any ‘parenting websites’ or do you read any particular parenting books?” And the answer is generally “I don’t have time for that.”

Exactly. I’m busy enough hanging out with my kid to read about the 400 different ways I’m likely fucking up her life for her. We don’t over-think it. We don’t do much research here. We are Slackers.

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HATE

Hate the technology.

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testing

AH HA!! Take that, stupid brain!

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Oh! Uhhh, hi there.

A list!

1. Thanksgiving was good. It was nice to see the family and the friends, and I didn’t overeat at dinner due to having been slightly food-poisoned the night before. Whoops. But all’s well that ends well.

2. Christmas Ale has been procured.

3. I have a cold! It was a full-blown Man Cold earlier this week but seems to have settled down into a straight-up chest cold. I hope it dies sooner rather than later.

4. I made an appointment with the doctor to get my knee checked out and get on the road to FIXING IT. Yay! Also: SCARY!

5. I cut my hairdo. I’m not sure if I mentioned that. But bad hair + hangover = “cut this shit off me.”

6. Blah blah blah.

All normal!

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Backwards

I am backwards. Always have been, but it’s never been so apparent as when I’m sick or hurting.

Most people, when they’re sick, wake up feeling like warmed-over death and gradually improve as the day goes on.

Most people, after a heavy workout, wake up stiff and sore and loosen up a bit as the day goes on.

Not I, sugarpie. I wake up feeling GREAT! And AWESOME! And that continues until about lunchtime, when my body just goes “OH HELLLL NOOOOOOO” and then things start falling apart on me.

For instance: I’ve been battling a cough for a few days now and it sucks. I wake up feeling more or less okay, and that gets me up until about lunchtime. Then I start coughing a little bit, which turns into a lot bit, which turns into a Man Cold.

[If you’ve never experienced a Man Cold, count yourself lucky. I’d rather give birth again, honestly.]

I’ve even managed to get to the gym before the body gives out. So backwards.

I want this cough to go away already.

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Funny Looking Angels

The Tom Smith and Andy Burrows collaboration will be out so very soon!

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This is just a placeholder post for the gigantic Scotland adventure post that is to come. I just selected a bunch of photos that I want to include and it came out to 124 images (out of the nearly 500 we took), so it’s going to take awhile to get it together. Here’s a teaser photo.

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle

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…and I feel fine

REM announced that they are breaking up, for real this time.

It’s not happy news, since REM is one of my favorite bands of all time and definitely one of the best bands to see live. But better for them to hang it up now than shuffle ’round the world over and over again playing Greatest Hits shows because nobody gives even the tiniest shit about their new stuff. Plenty of bands do that, and it is sad.

Over on the Facebook, people were posting links to their favorite REM songs and that got me thinking. I have a terrible time deciding on a favorite anything, because tastes change, and there are songs that I like because they remind me of certain thingspeopleplaces and there are songs that I like because they are That Good.

So I made a list. I could have done what others have done and made a Spotify playlist, but that sounds exhausting.

My Favorite REM Songs:

1. Nightswimming
2. Walk Unafraid
3. Fall On Me
4. So Fast So Numb
5. Belong
6. Radio Free Europe
7. Pop Song 89
8. Gardening At Night
9. Leaving New York
10. The Great Beyond
11. World Leader Pretend
12. Cuyahoga
13. Radio Song
14. The Lifting
15. Bittersweet Me
16. All The Way To Reno
17. Leave
18. These Days
19. Begin The Begin
20. Talk About The Passion
21. Try Not To Breathe
22. Fireplace
23. At My Most Beautiful
24. Sitting Still
25. Hairshirt
26. Ages Of You
27. Green Grow The Rushes

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Calendar

In spite of everything, I find myself slipping to That Mom mode more and more.

The last five years have been a relatively free-and-easy life, believe it or not. The kid was/is a lot of work, sure, but she was portable and unscheduled, so we pretty much did whatever the hell we wanted, all the time. Even last year with Pre-K, our time was still pretty free. I would drop the kid off at school, hit the gym, pick her up, and then we’d have the whole afternoon.

Now… not so much. The powers that be decided that Jillian needed to be in afternoon kindergarten, which basically ruins my day. RUINED, I TELL YOU. Okay, fine. Not ruined, but whoa there is more structure in our days than there has been, and it’s taking some getting used to. Most mornings, I still go to the gym, but now I have the kid in tow so my time there is limited. Errands now need to be done in the morning (with kid in tow, which… ick) or in the roughly 2.5 free hours I have between school dropoff and pickup. The day feels like it gets away from me more often than not.

It occurred to me the other day that this is more like a “real” job than ever. The things I hated about having a “real” job were having to be somewhere at a certain time and adhere to someone else’s schedule (aside from the annoying dress codes, annoying co-workers, sitting in a cubicle with cube walls blocking a window, crap food OR vending machines, unchallenging work, idiotic/shithead bosses… etc). That has never been my favorite thing, and to have five amazing years of not having had to deal with that… yeah. It’s a change, all right.

When I worked at Borders (RIP), during calendar season, we’d get these giant calendars in with titles like “Busy Mom’s Giant Calendar” and they were always a source of hilarity for us because who could imagine needing a giant (ugly) calendar like that?

…oh.

I suddenly find that I need to be far more organized than I ever have in my life. I need to know where we need to be and what we need to be wearing and what time and where and how much and do I send a check and is it our week for snack and and and and and and……..

I need to know what days Jillian has PE so I can send her to school in appropriate footwear. And then what day is Art class and do I need to send a smock or some other coverall situation? Snack is every day but then there’s Girl Scouts and what time and where and is it our week for snack and where is Jill’s Daisy vest and her notebook and OH MY GOD. And then there’s this much $$ due here and $$ there and $$ + $$ if you’re doing the additional XYZ and then a parents’ meeting and can you chip in $$ to this and $$ to that and what the fuck.

Then on Sundays we have Hebrew school, which brings with it a whole ‘nother set of requirements and scheduling and $$ and we need to go to services and the holidays are coming up and whoa.

Thus: Calendar.

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Homeowner Questions

I love owning a house. I really do. I have the freedom to paint walls whatever color I like (although it’s probably easier to get a landlord’s OK than it is to get Freddie to OK a color, haha), I have a yard and best of all, I do not share walls with anyone else. I don’t have to listen to the people living above or below or either side. It’s nice.

However, it causes me to ask questions that I might not otherwise ever ask.

1. Basement, why you gotta flood when it’s NOT EVEN RAINING? It’s barely even humid out there, what’s with the flooding?

2. Just what are those weird red mushrooms growing in the front garden?

3. Does anyone have a bug book? I’d like to know what this thing is.

4. The “filter” light on the dehumidifier is on, but does anyone know where the filter is actually located? I’ve opened every hatch on this damn thing and I can’t find anything that looks filter-ish.

…and those are just from today (except for the fact that it is currently raining and there are puddles on the basement floor. But it floods for no reason so…).

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