Old News: Past Blog Posts

Monday, February 24, 2014

Five Reasons Motherhood Doesn't Suck

It has been recently suggested that my blog has done more in terms of population control than any of the best 'spay and neuter your pets' campaigns out there.  

Maybe if my day job doesn't pan out, I could do some freelance work for the Chinese government?  

Whoops.  This was certainly not my intention.

Because I don't have the time, energy, or - frankly - the stomach to go back and re-read past entries with my newly acquired critical eye (there I go again...complaining to the point that you just went sterile) I will just take it on face value that my critics are correct in their assessment: I have sufficiently ruined motherhood for us all.  

It's almost as compelling a reason to to take a blogger's hiatus as the recent release of House of Cards, Season Two. 

Almost.

And so, I will take a moment away from my bitching and moaning (and binge watching of Netflix original series) to highlight some of my favorite parts of motherhood.  You know, in a last ditch effort to salvage any last shred of integrity.  

Here goes:

TOP FIVE REASONS MOTHERHOOD DOESN'T SUCK 

5.  It's an immediate Get Out of Jail Free card.  People's expectations for things like punctuality and hygiene and waistlines plummet when you have small children.  Suddenly, the fact that you made it to work at all or had time to blow dry our hair and apply mascara or the fact you can button a pair of size 12 pants becomes a heroic feat.  And you're like, okay with that.

4.  Along similar lines, you don't have to put on a big show of going out and impressing people anymore.  Remember college when you spent over an hour primping and selecting the perfect outfit so that you could navigate a boozed-up cloud of high-heeled insecurities and judgement and flirt with borderline alcoholics until 4am?  And people think waking up at 11pm and 2am to feed a hungry baby is exhausting?  Please.

I think I spotted an ex-boyfriend pictured here among the boozed-up insecurities. 

3.  Watching your babies grow is both fascinating and inspiring business.  It is nothing short of a miracle that what started as a single tiny clump of dividing cells rapidly becomes a giggling, talking, curious little person who somehow robbed you blind of your heart when you weren't looking.  They surprise you every single day with some new skill or bit of knowledge.  The whole thing happens f*cking fast too, so don't you DARE blink.  

2.  You learn things about yourself you didn't know before.  Like, maybe you have a tendency to complain a lot and frighten people into buying condoms.  Or maybe (keep it positive woman!!) you have more patience than you thought.  You have the strength to balance a baby on one hip and a toddler on the other.  You have the power to make tears disappear with a single kiss and a giant squeeze.  You have the ability to create a nonsense song from nowhere and coax uncontrollable squeals of delight in response.  You are a superhero, a court jester, and the queen of all you survey.  It's both thrilling and terrifying.  

1.  Your capacity to love will grow exponentially and the world will look a little different from what it did before.  I remember leaving the hospital after delivering my first baby and thinking suddenly how beautiful things seemed to have become.  Spring had blossomed practically overnight, and the sun made the flowered trees glow in such a way that it felt almost like magic. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to introduce my little man to this fascinating place I had somehow taken for granted until that very moment.  Too many late nights had been wasted in smokey bars and uncomfortable shoes.  Time to start LIVING.



There.  For any of you non-moms who are still reading this blog (for whatever godforsaken reason), hopefully this post breathed new life into your ovaries.  

And for the rest of you: Might I recommend House of Cards?  That show is the shit.  


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love at Second Sight...or Third?

Confession time: I never was a 'love at first sight' kinda gal.  Not when it came to my husband (Lord knows, the poor guy had to work for it) and (brace yourself) not when it came to my babies.  

Ok Moms, before you start angrily judging me and possibly hurling diaper bags and umbrella strollers in my direction, at least just hear me out.
 
At this moment, I love my children more than anything.  And I promise, I'm not just saying that to avoid being assaulted by a flying tube of Desitin.  My boys are the absolute most important things to me in the world. For them, I would take a bullet, or lift a car, or throw myself in front of a speeding train, or any number of those superhuman, self-sacrificial feats preformed by mothers through the ages.  And I would do it without giving it a second thought.  

But, when I was lying exposed and exhausted in the delivery room with my insides leeking onto the floor, I did not feel that overwhelming affection and immediate indescribable bond that I had read about and seen on countless episodes of TLC's Baby Story.  

In my defense, both my boys arrived  9 weeks early, well ahead of schedule.  This is not a trait they inherited from their procrastinating, chronically tardy mother.  Therefore, in both cases, my babies were promptly whisked from my womb and into an adjacent recovery room filled with doctors and nurses specializing in neonatology.  I was then allowed only a brief peek at the impossibly tiny little creatures before they were tucked away in incubators and wheeled down the hall to the neonatal ICU where they would spend the first several weeks of their lives. 

With my first son, I remember my first thought as we stared at each other for the first time -- in baffled disbelief -- was how closely he resembled his father. My second thought was, did I really just think that?  Then my mind wandered off to something I had read or heard once about babies initially resembling their fathers as some kind of primitive paternity test ... This thought led to snippets of evolutionary gender differences from a social psych class; and from there, who knows.  Point being, I was *not* basking the in my newly achieved motherhood status and glowing with admiration.

I do remember feeling baffled, overwhelmed, and abruptly emotional. Mostly, after both deliveries, I just laid there and cried.   I did feel accomplished for having delivered my babies naturally and without the small comforts offered by an epidural or other drugs (because I fancy myself a badass). I suppose this is less impressive with 3 and 4 pound babies, but consider that my oldest was breech. Now maybe you're impressed?? But no. I do not remember feeling overcome by undying love for this new life I had just expelled from my nether regions. 

Even the days following the deliveries when my boys were deemed stable enough to be held, I still felt more bewildered than infatuated.  Collecting the delicate little bodies and their various leads and sensors into my comparatively enormous monster arms amid the beeps and buzzes of monitors, initially felt more like a bizarre 10th grade lab experiment than the start of an indescribable love connection. 

When I first held my oldest son, the nurse smiled at me and said, 'kisses are encouraged.'  I pressed my lips to the top of his head, out of a sense of obligation more than anything else, and was alarmed to realize that it felt a little like kissing a stranger.  

Don't get me wrong.  I was quite *fond* of my babies.  I was a dutiful NICU mom: my boobs were  practically fused to my hospital grade breast pump, I visited 3 times a day to help with meals and diaper changes, I even parked myself next to my oldest's bedside for a 24 hour stretch when he wasn't taking bottles well and we were desperate to bring him home -- during that period I even turned into one of those moms and had some choice words with one of the neonatologists.  

I can't tell you the exact moment when I felt my heart melt and realized that my happiness would now forever be tied to their happiness.  What I can tell you is that while I may not been jolted by cupid's arrow, my affections were indeed -- are indeed -- very real and growing by the minute. That awkward first kiss on the top of the head has morphed into a thousand kisses and cuddles and more hugs and nuzzles than any toddler or baby could ever tolerate without eventually ending up in therapy.  I see my boys and my heart swells and thumps in my chest to the point that sometimes I wonder if maybe I shouldn't see a cardiologist.  

I am amazed and enamored with even their tiniest accomplishments.  Get this: my oldest boy reached up on his tiptoes and dropped his plate in the sink yesterday after dinner ended and I was almost beside myself with pride and affection.  Only a crazy person -- or a mother -- would become so giddy over this small achievement.  

I'll probably stroke out when he graduates college.  

So if we're comparing the onset of the love I feel for my boys to natural phenomenons, mine was less like a bolt of laughing and more like a tidal wave.  It started with a ripple and is growing in size, headed to shore and ready to cause some serious devastation on some unsuspecting fishing villages (in that analogy, I think the fishing villages are my children...so we might need to alert FEMA that my kids will need some MREs and drinking water by the time I'm through with them)



I may not be a 'love at first sight' sorta gal; but I do believe that I have plenty of love and affection for my babies to actually pull off this whole mom-thing.  

Because if we didn't love them so deeply, whether it's immediate or gradual, then what's the point?  

Happy Valentine's Day, people.  Go enjoy some over-priced roses, binge out on unnecessary chocolate, wait three hours for a table at a mediocre restaurant, bitch about the absurdity of the holiday...and for God-sakes, give your kids a monster-sized hug.