Category Archives: Am I seriously a mom?

Adventures in Babysitting, Part I

I was due with my first baby in mid-June, just about the time I graduated from MBA school and about 10 weeks before I started my PhD program, a time frame which turned out to be perfectly suited for maternity leave.  I planned to find childcare during that time and I figured it would be like finding a doctor – you go on a website somewhere that lists all the doctors within a certain radius, you check their qualifications and then you pick one based on who has the best decorated waiting room and hope like hell they are in-network.

We lived just a mile outside of downtown Chicago, just down the street from Oprah, and I was pretty sure there had to be like 66 million daycares and each of them were pining for the chance to take care of my infant.  So then one day when I’m about 7 months along, I was in a deli minding my own business, eating my farm raised, low mercury salmon and asparagus sandwich and reading a Harvard Business Review case for class and two ladies on their lunch break sat down next to me.  They were talking about office gossip, which was way more interesting than my reading, so I was listening in. And they probably noticed I was pregnant and listening to them so suddenly they began talking about how annoying another woman was at work because all she did was freak out everyday about how there were no slots for infants in any daycare centers anywhere in Chicago and she was only 3 months pregnant and what a dumb ass for not realizing this before she got preggers. Hmmm.  I looked down at my belly and winced as two things happened concurrently: my fetus/son gave me a swift kick to my kidney, and I had an epiphany. I’m fucked.

The search for a daycare commenced immediately.  I went to Google to find the website that listed all of the daycare centers/ family daycares / nannys / nanny-shares within a 1 mile radius of my house.  We only had one car and I would have it most of the time at school.  BD would have to be able to walk from work, to daycare, to home with the baby.  I thought maybe 1 mile might be too large a radius, but we could start there and then figure out how to narrow down our choices.

I opened up Google. Now to find the website…..this nice, informational website….I’m sure it’s here somewhere….Hmm…wait, where is the website?….Nope, not it….Not this…..(My kid kicks my bladder at the same moment as if to say “you’re doing a helluva job so far, Mom) um, no. nonononononononono. NO…..

There. is. no. magical-daycare-finding website.

I am alone in the vast urban and Internet wilderness. Google has forsaken me. I had to sift through a tangle of daycare websites and dead ends and phone numbers. The whole finding-childcare-for-your-perfect-beautiful-newborn-that-you-can-afford-without-selling-your-kidney-and-is-located-somewhere-in-the-state-of-Illinois journey was kind of like the Trail of Tears for new parents.  At least finding the big daycare center chains was easy. They were nowhere near my condo, but I called anyway.  They had nine month waiting lists for infants.  Okay…I’m not great at math, but I think that means that on the day of conception you sure as hell better reserve your spot at Kindercare. Now I finally realized why God sent an angel to tell me of my children’s conceptions – so they could get a spot in daycare on time.  It would have been nice if he had mentioned that as well.

Well, this is bad news. I need infant care starting five and half months from now, and apparently this is really late notice for the whole childcare world.  I mean, I haven’t even met this kid I’m going to have. I know nothing about being a parent or about babies or about my specific baby or what I’m going to feel like in five months and I have to find a perfect childcare situation now, or I can’t go back to school. I’m not going to get my PhD. I’ll have to be a stay at home mother. One thing I knew for sure was that being at stay at home mother was out of the question, because I already loved my unborn child. I would not subject him to the psycho mother he would come to know if he were in my care 24-7.  So I re-doubled my efforts and kept coming up short.

I grew up in a home daycare. And I loved it. It was like having a second family, and we didn’t have any family nearby, so it was awesome. I guess I wanted something similar for my son, so I was partial to the idea of having my baby go to a home daycare nearby. But searching for home daycares on Google is futile and I was really starting to lose hope that the baby I was about to have wouldn’t be some kind of juvenile delinquent due to my poor parenting (non)decisions made while he was still in the womb.  So I went to the Starbucks in the building next door. It was an odd choice because I don’t drink coffee, but I felt like I needed something warm in my belly for the next few hours I planned to spend curled up in bed crying and worrying about what a bad mother I already was. And Starbucks kind of seemed like a church to so many yuppies, I thought maybe they sprinkled you with calming fairy dust when you went in and I might find some peace there.

No visible fairy dust, but as I waited patiently for my Caramel Apple Cider, I wandered over to the little bulletin board they have by where you pick up your drinks.  There was a lime green flyer right in the middle of it. My stomach did a flip and my knees kind of buckled and my brain said, “You are fucking kidding me, GOD!” (Yes, I have ongoing conversations with God in my head like “Oh God! You’re so unpredictable sometimes!”  or “God, why did encourage me to have the third glass of wine? I feel like ass this morning. You should have stopped me!”).

There on the board was a flyer for a new home daycare starting up in the condo building next to mine. I know, right?  Seriously.  I grabbed the flyer and ran home. I forgot my Caramel Apple Cider.  I was panting when I called BD.

Love: “I found a daycare for our baby!”

BD: “Cool.”

Love: “It’s in the building next door! And they do yoga! And its all organic food! Oh my GOD!”

BD: “You don’t even do yoga or know anything about organic food.”

Love: “What? Um. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that my prayers have been answered. I must call her immediately. She is The One.”

BD: “Go for it.”

I got off the phone with my heart beating fast and I immediately dialed Miss Amalia’s Place.  No answer, but the long-winded, rambling, breathless message I left went a little like this:

Hello! My name is Love and I have a baby. No, I mean I’m pregnant with a baby that I will have in a few months and I need a daycare in August and I just love home daycares and I saw your flyer at Starbucks and I took it but I will definitely bring it back but I was wondering whether you had a spot for a newborn and I’m sure he is going to be a really good kid because I didn’t cry a lot when I was a kid, but I guess we won’t know till he gets here  — heh, heh — but anyway I really think we should talk and I just love that I’m in the building next door so we’re neighbors and what great timing that I found your flyer and I will bring it back because I forgot to pick up my caramel apple cider anyway, so I’ll put it back but I really think we should talk and my baby should go to your daycare and please call me back.

I hung up and thought, “Seriously? What was that? You idiot. You sound crazy. Maybe you should call back again and explain that you aren’t crazy. Or would that be crazier? ” I hung my head.  But then I brightened knowing that stalking people who need to be in my life is one of my most valuable talents and Miss Amalia’s Place just moved up to the top spot on that list.

I waited five minutes with my hand clutching the phone receiver. No call back. Ten minutes. No call. Maybe I should call again? Just to say I’m not crazy? Fifteen minutes — the phone rings. It’s her!! The woman sent by God to take care of my unborn child, as soon as he gets born.

Love: “Hello?!”

M.A.: “Hi. This is Miss Amalia. You called about needing daycare in August for an infant?” (slight Korean accent)

Love: “Yes! Yes! Where do I sign up?”

M.A: “Ha ha. You are funny. It’s not that easy.  I will  interview you to see whether you’re the family I want to take.”

Love: “You’re going to interview us?”

M.A: “Yes. There is no other way. Can you and your husband come interview with me in a couple of days at 6pm @ Starbucks? You’ll both need to be present.  I have a long waiting list, but I will choose who gets the spot based on my interviews.”

Love: “Oh. I didn’t know this is how it worked. Here I thought I should interview you.”

M.A: “You should. Part of my decision will be based on the questions you ask me.”

Love: “Um. My son isn’t even born yet, and we’re new parents, so I’m not really sure what we’ll have to say.”

M.A: “I find my relationship with the parents is as important as with the child. This is the way I do things. If you’re uncomfortable with the process —”

Love: “No! No! Heh, heh. No! We’ll definitely be there. With good questions.”

M.A: “Great. Don’t be late.”

Love: “Right.”

Okay, so the world had changed from the time I went to daycare. Up to that point, I had spent my whole life competing to get in the best schools, in the best programs, hired by the best companies for the most exclusive jobs and I always won the things I set out to get. Because I loved those games and I was really good at them. No matter that I usually ended up not really wanting all the things I’d won, but who doesn’t like winning games? I wasn’t going to let a home daycare lady be the first to reject me or my unborn child. I wasn’t losing this game. She was our only hope and clearly God led me to Starbucks and this whole thing was meant to be.

We were going to be the family she chose. Period. Now I just had to figure out how to morph us into the “right” family for our interview.  I quickly opened my browser and searched for “yoga” and “organic food”.

Part II

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When the apocalypse gets here, I’m screwed

About three years ago Oprah did a show where she had some guy on that had some title that made him sound really smart and important and government connected who said that one of these days, probably very soon, we’d have a pandemic like the bubonic plague and when we did, the whole world would pretty much shut down and there would be no running water or gas or electricity or anything else. No businesses would be open, and the ATMs wouldn’t work but money would be pretty worthless anyway, transportation wouldn’t be available and you would be pretty much on your own to defend your house and family from death by hunger, disease, looters, riots or gangs.

Great. I struggle daily just to cook up some frozen chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese every night to feed my family and now I’m finding out I have to plan for my family to eat and survive for at least two weeks with lawlessness, no running water, heat, or Tivo? He predicted no mail either, so it isn’t even like I’ll have my US Weekly or O Magazine to fall back on for emergency emotional support.

This was a lot to take in, so I paused Tivo and then begrudgingly put down my chocolate covered pretzels and Fruit2O and drove myself to Costco. I had never been there before but it seemed like a good place to go for buying life’s essentials in bulk.  My plan was to buy us enough stuff to live on so I wouldn’t have to be one of the inevitable grocery store looters.  Although I’d like the record to reflect that if I did have to loot a grocery store, I would concentrate in Aisle 12 and make sure I cleaned them out of Twizzlers and Take 5 bars, which would be enough sustenance to get me through just about anything.

So I get to Costco all fired up about the end of the world and how I needed to get important stuff for survival and — is that a plasma HD TV? Holy shit that is huge and it looks like I’m right there! Ping Pong tables? OMG – I love ping pong! Check out that leather recliner!! I felt compelled to sit in it and rock for a few minutes. Just to lower my heart rate. I mean, Costco held treasures I had only dreamed about. Who knew you could get new tires or new glasses, or even granite countertops there?  I went in there expecting to see a grocery store and I found a delightful land of electronics and books and random shit that all seemed cheap enough to be within reach. How could you say no to Costco?

But wait. Dammit! I’m here on a mission to save my family from certain death when the worst happens. We need water. And a first aid kit! And….and….Fuck? What do you need in an emergency? I get there and realize that I have no idea what I’m supposed to be buying to keep us alive. I mean, none. But I have found some great flannel sheets, really cheap diapers and ten pounds of frozen crab rangoon.  Need. to. focus. Must…shop….for Armageddon.

It is important to say now that I’m almost physically incapable of a coherent thought in most large retail stores.  Which is why I try to avoid them like Brazilian bikini waxes. Too much visual or audio stimuli makes my brain overheat and short circuit very quickly.  I no longer leave my house after November 1 because I’m sure all that Christmas music and shit all over the place  is a monster that wants to feast on my brain. So I shop on the Internet for everything*, including groceries. (*except Banana Republic, because Leonardo knows my soul and just puts me in the dressing room and brings me stuff, so I my mind doesn’t go into overdrive and somehow bend time).

But I digress.  So it took me two hours in Costco to complete my pre-apocalypse shopping spree to secure my family’s safety and survival, should all hell break loose and society become like it was depicted in “The Road” , where people were eating each other and such (which, by the way, if you read this book and you don’t think it was a masterpiece, I pity you). Given my handicap of shopping at large retail outlets, I did the best one could reasonably expect. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t leave with a migraine. It wasn’t Christmas season. It was kind of spectacular.

It was all so much to take in at the time and I was so giddy with pride in the fact that I had found out firsthand what the inside of Costco looked like and I was a full-fledged member and I got all the stuff we needed to survive and it was all less expensive than the grocery store. I called BD from the car and told him to prepare himself, because I had a lot of stuff and we’d have to store it and we were going to live well when the pandemic struck.  So I pull in the garage and pop the trunk because I couldn’t wait to show off all that I had accomplished.  I anticipated BD’s reaction to be one of awe mixed with gratitude, mixed with deep passion for me because of the bold initiative and genius I had shown.  He surveyed the contents of the trunk, and looked up at me in utter confusion.

BD: “Seriously?”

Love: “Um. Yeah. See the water?!”

BD: “I see an air hockey table.”

Love: “Oh. Well, that isn’t part of the stuff for the apocalypse. That was just on sale.”

BD: “?”

Love: “Maybe you didn’t see the first aid kit?”

BD: “Yeah, I think all of the wine bottles must be covering it.”

Together, we went through the items I felt we would need to survive as a family of three (at the time) and the dog.

  • Two palettes of bottled water
  • A large assortment of gummy fruit snacks
  • A big bear full of animal cookies
  • 7 bags of penne noodles
  • A 10-pack of Hanes crew socks, size 9-12
  • 3 large cans of spaghetti sauce
  • An air hockey table
  • A box of Huggies
  • A family first aid kit
  • 3 pounds of fresh strawberries
  • Eli’s cheesecake sampler, party size
  • A gallon of shampoo
  • Four bottles of wine
  • An 8 pack of Progresso chicken noodle soup
  • Some super-cute Carters footsie pajamas for my toddler

Yeah, I guess I was a little underwhelmed too. At the store it seemed like I had everything necessary plus a few fun extras.  I looked at my husband, worried.

Love: “We’re fucked, aren’t we?”

BD: “Uh huh.”

My husband is a problem solver. Me, not so much. But my husband doesn’t like to problem solve in advance of a problem. So I’m sure he would spring into action with ingenious plans to fight off disease and hunger and angry mobs and looters once they were all at our doorstep, but until then, I think his focus is on mowing the lawn every week. But I asked him for his help anyway, hoping that he would see this as the serious situation it is, and start our family survival plan.

Love: “Do you think we need a gun? We might need it to protect ourselves.”

BD: “Maybe.”

Love: “What about cash? Should we have a stash in the house somewhere, in case the ATMs don’t work?!”

BD: “Probably.”

Love: (brightening) “With guns and cash in our house, we’d totally be like the Sopranos.”

BD: “Not really.”

Love: (worried again) “But neither of us knows how to shoot a gun. And I don’t want a gun because they’re scary and our kids will probably wind up shooting us when they’re teenagers.  And I don’t know where a good place to hide cash is. I’ve seen shows on Discovery where the ex-cons find all your money in like 5 seconds. It would take me forever to think of where to hide the money. Where would we hide it?!”

BD: “I don’t know.”

Love: “Well, we need a plan!”

BD: “Huh?”

Love: “For the love of GOD, what are we going to dooooooo?!!”

BD: “?”

Love: “To SURVIVE? You know what would be easier? To just forget I ever saw that show.”

BD: “Maybe.”

Love: “Okay. I have a headache. Why don’t we just work on it slowly. Like maybe we should buy a safe first, so we have somewhere to put the money and the guns.”

BD: “We’re not getting guns.”

Love: “Good plan. What about money?”

BD: “How much money were you thinking?”

Love: “Like $200? Or $2,000? I guess it depends on how much do you think it would cost to pay people not to kill us?”

BD: “More than $200. Maybe like $5,000.”

Love: “That’s a lot of money to hide. And it wouldn’t be earning interest. It just doesn’t seem fiscally responsible. I don’t know…”

BD: “Um…the football game is about to start, so….”

Love: “Yeah, okay. Right. Why don’t we discuss this later?”

BD: “Yeah, definitely.”

And, three years later, we have weathered an economic meltdown and a global pandemic and once our power went out for 45 minutes and we still don’t have guns or cash in our house and we’re still alive and US Weekly is still being delivered.  But every three months I have a panic attack about how we just have some 3-year old penne noodles and Progresso soup in the cellar to keep us alive. And BD started drinking our water supply because he said its past the expiration date and he isn’t letting it go to waste.  So we don’t even have that.

I guess I just want everybody to know when the world meltdown occurs, we’re fucked.  When they find and/or eat our dead bodies, we didn’t die because I totally didn’t see it was coming or because I didn’t think about planning for it, because I did!  I donate 3 hours of time each month to panicking thinking about planning for it and that should count for something.  What is really most important is just that everyone knows that I was right about it coming and that you don’t use this information to break in my house first because you know I don’t have a gun, or food or money, or this month’s “O”. And we won’t taste good. I promise.

Have you ever needed someone so bad? Love’s mom crush, Part I

I can sum up about 90% of my thoughts using Def Leppard lyrics. The other 10% of my thoughts are vulgar words and if my boys in Def Leppard would have just had the foresight to add “fuck face” to any of their songs, it truly would have enhanced their universal appeal. A tragedy, really.

I have had many different kinds of crushes throughout the ages.  Here is a quick summary:

  • My first crush was on Brian Murphy in first grade. I named my Cabbage Patch Kid after him, because I thought he was the perfect baby daddy. And he was. We made out in the coat room a lot and he provided many cookies from his lunch box.
  • When I was seven I had a crush on Showbiz Pizza (now Chuck E Cheese). My parents avoided that place like the plague, so I kissed the asses of all the kids who were likely to throw Showbiz parties and I would just sit in the ball pit and pretend it was my bed, ignoring the other children, but doing just enough with the birthday kid to get invited back the next year. Glorious!!
  • When I was about ten I had a crush on the George Michael part of Wham! that was only exacerbated when my beloved George came out with the “Faith” album. I heart you so much George – I would have totally looked out for the cops if you wanted to jerk off in a public bathroom near me. You only had to ask.
  • Junior high/high school I had a crush on Donnie Wahlberg (more on that here) from NKOTB, and I wasn’t even doing drugs at that time. I was just really lame and underdeveloped emotionally, physically and socially.  I’m not sure if any of that has changed.
  • Next came my crush on McDonalds Value Meal #2. It persists to this day. I wish I knew how to quit you, Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
  • Then I fell in adult love with Oprah, although I thought this new season might be the beginning of the end for us because it was so lame….until Mackenzie Phillips came on today to talk about having sex with her dad. Whaaaaaaat?! Oprah, we’re totally back together.  We’re rock solid.

So I’m familiar with having crushes on a wide variety people, places and things.  However, I wasn’t prepared emotionally or socially when my first ever, only ever, mom crush happened. Yeah. I met a real, live woman that made me want to start a commune and blend our families together for all time.  Which, for me, is about as likely as Whitney Houston or Mackenzie Phillips actually staying sober for another three months.

I have trouble forming relationships with other women. Because I don’t like them, for the most part. I’m a guy’s girl. Always have been. And that did not change with the onset of motherhood.  I avoid play dates and moms groups like the plague.  Because they necessarily involve other mothers. The “good” mothers. Not the slackers like me.  Okay, so I’ve never been in one of them, but I just imagine this gaggle of women in mom jeans and sparkly Christmas sweaters with shit hanging off them with socks that match and have jingle bells on them throwing around organic homemade baby food recipes and sign languaging things to their pre-verbal infants who are all named Madison and Jackson (Personally, I think more kids should be named Washington and Lincoln).  Honestly, I’d rather participate in a sex toy party with my mother in law than be in any way involved in a moms group. Yeah. And that’s saying a lot.

So you might imagine my shock and awe when I met another woman I wanted to schedule a standing playdate from 9am to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday with her and her family.  Husbands too.  When you have a mom crush, you spend your days looking dreamily out the window fantasizing about family trips to Disney World together, impromptu BBQs where everyone is dressed in J.Crew and laughing happily with dazzling white teeth, unicorns and rainbows and happy, cherubic leprechauns (not the scary kind) dancing around pots of gold and eating Lucky Charms, as we plan arranged marriages between our children.  It’s like finding true love, only family style.

I met her online.  Yeah, how 2002 of me, right? So I was researching a new daycare place for my son and I posted an inquiry on a parents group forum to see if anybody had kids there and had anything to say about it.  Kirsten replied.  Ah, Kirsten. The woman who would turn my world on its very axis. She responds and says she is starting her son there soon and suggested we talk on the phone. Now you should know that I avoid the phone wherever and whenever possible. Phones = work = boredom = soul suckage = depression.  So I will do just about anything to avoid talking on the phone when it isn’t required for my job. I tried to make excuses about my phone being broken and reception being bad, but finally I agreed to the call because this was about my kid’s health and safety, so it was worth making an exception, ONCE. But I was fully prepared to be talking to a psycho or a SuperMom and I vowed that if I heard even the slightest little tinkle out of a jingle bell on her socks in the background I was hanging up immediately.

So with much trepidation, I dialed her number.  And we talked for a few minutes and she was…super cool. Inexplicably, I felt an immediate connection.  Kind of like the first time I ate a Take 5 bar – the most important invention in the last 50 years.  Yes, just like that delicious, magnificent candy treat, Kirsten was perfect for me. She wasn’t one of THEM (the “good” mothers). I mean, she seemed like a good mother, but not the kind that has to remind you all the time that you aren’t as good as she is, because she has already figured out how to get her 6 month old into the gifted program at the $20,000/year preschool.  We talked for a full 15 minutes about this whole daycare thing and not once did I feel inferior, or bored, or confused.

I think she was listening for a tinkle of a jingle bell from me too.  I could tell that she was relieved I wasn’t a psycho and babbling about all the Mommy and Me classes I don’t take my son to. I was working toward my PhD at the time and she actually worked at the same university in a different department. We were both worried about grant money and our research and our careers and our kids.  So we talked for an hour and then the conversation ended and as we were hanging up, I wanted to giggle and whisper, “No, schmoopie! You hang up first!” because I knew I had just met my soul mate mom. Surely since she was the only stranger mother I ever found tolerable, her family and my family were destined to be together forever.  Because she was a mom like me. We could totally sit around sipping on a really good Cab and make fun of people together and talk about all the egotistical assholes at our respective work places and our deep thoughts on celebrities and new movies and all the ups and downs of our careers and trying to be good moms in our own unique ways.  She even watched Oprah. (I made sure to sprinkle in the “Oprah test” before I got too excited about our intertwined destinies. She TiVo’d it too.) I know! RIGHT?!

So we get off the phone and then things got really awkward in my head.  I couldn’t let her get away!! She was the only woman in the universe who knew my soul.  I mean, 60 minutes is enough time to figure that out right? It was imperative that we meet again.  But I don’t do that stuff. I had never asked a mom out for a mom date or a play date or anything like that. I was a play date virgin!  All the friends I have now I met when we were all young and fun and single and though many of us are mothers, I don’t think about them that way. I don’t know how to talk to strangers who are also moms that I want to be friends with. All. new. territory.

But I couldn’t let her slip away. Our impending friendship was all I could think about or concentrate on the whole week. I told everybody I knew (men) that I was in love with my future best friend.  There were a lot of raised eyebrows and derisive little chortles. “You want to have a play date with someone you just met on the internet? HEE-larious!” They would chuckle a little more and shake their head and laugh, “You at a play date! God I’d love to see that!”

See, I’m not a normal mom. But I digress.

My thought process went as follows: Obviously, the only way to ensure that I see her again was to ensure my son went to that daycare! Then I could see her everyday and eventually our sons would be BFF and she and I would be BFF (we were already well on our way, right?!) and then our husbands would adore each other’s company and they would be BFF. I mean, everything would be right with the world.  But…this is unfamiliar territory for me. I mean, does she like me as much as I like her? Did I sound as smart and cool to her as she did to me? Is she also currently daydreaming about being my BFF? Oh my God! Is she going to think I’m a closet lesbian? How do you ask a mom crush out on date?  Should I ask her out for coffee? I don’t want to creep her out and I don’t want to sound desperate.  We stayed on topic in our brief conversation. We didn’t have a whole schmoopie conversation about how we were destined to be together. We were just thinking it. Or was I the only one thinking of it? She probably had a million mom friends. Who has time for another? What would I wear on our first date, and where should it be, assuming I get the balls to ask her out on one?  What if we met in person and we didn’t like each other as much? What if she was wearing a Christmas sweater?  Would we have enough to talk about? The questions were endless.

But I’m a born salesperson. She was going to be my BFF and dammit, I was willing to do whatever it took to woo her into being my best mom friend of all time. It would just be a lot easier if she felt the same way. So I had to woo her. And she would be mine. Oh, yes! She would be mine.  Am I creeping you out now? I’m creeping myself out.

Okay, so this is getting really long and I have ADD and you probably have a job to get back to.  But in Part II, I will regale you with the full pursuit of my mom crush.  It was exactly like pursuing a boy crush, except 1000 times more awkward and difficult. Stay tuned…

If you were to tell me that I’m a mother of two, I wouldn’t believe you

I wouldn’t. And yet, the facts show that I am indeed a mother of two. I even have a muffin top that I swear at every day to remind me of this fact, and yet…

Moms are supposed to be responsible, mature and organized.  I am none of these.

Moms are supposed to know how to cook, make scrapbook thingies and keep their kids’ faces clean. Umm…no on all three counts at my house.

Moms don’t let their kids watch too much TV, listen to inappropriate music or play outside by themselves. My kids have seen every episode of Scooby-Doo ever created, can sing every word to both Kanye’s and The Killers latest albums and I’ve had my 2 year old returned to me no less than three times by a mother who does supervise her children.  (I should note that I wouldn’t have let the two year old out by himself on purpose, but he escapes a lot while I’m checking Facebook or watching Oprah. It’s a conundrum.)

Moms with careers are always talking about feeling guilty that their kids are at daycare. I rejoice because I know I am doing them a favor by working. Their daycare is 100% more safe, fun and educational than their time at home with me.

Moms aren’t supposed to bring their kids to McDonalds more than 4 times a year. They are supposed to feed them homemade, organic foods and shop for earth conscious toys.  The bulk of my children’s toys came out of Happy Meals, which I purchase an average of twice a week for them. I am madly in love with the McDonalds #2 meal and whatever addictive drug they put in the Diet Coke, so I feel a compulsion to go there whenever I’m feeling elated or anxious or happy or sad or lazy. Which covers most days. So the fact we only go twice a week kind of makes me a martyr for my children’s health.

Moms know which way they are supposed to go in the school parking lot and whether their kids are legally required to get vision tests before kindergarten and they dress their kids cutely and/or appropriately for school.  Can I just tell you – my five year old picks out his own clothes, which I buy in bulk from eBay because stores confuse me, so nothing generally matches and there are always a few things in there that I wouldn’t have paid for any day of the week, like the oversized dork dark purple T-shirt with this sci-fi D&D dragon on it in neon colors. Its something Napoleon Dynamite would have salivated over, and would get my son justifiably jacked by a posse of 8 year olds for wearing if he were eight, but at five he adores it and insists on wearing it with red and black wind pants. Which don’t match. At all.

I try not to photograph my children when they look like this to save them a little money in future therapy sessions and so I can look back when I’m old and make up stories about what a good mother I was, but I’m sure the other mothers at school are thinking “WTH is the matter with that kid’s mother?” (not WTF, because I’m convinced I’m the only mother whose thought bubbles must always include an F-bomb).  I know I would be thinking that about me if I were them.  But as you know, I’m a lover, not a fighter.  So as long as he has clothes on of any kind and we’re out the door on time to give me the extra 20 minutes I require to navigate the school’s fucking traffic pattern and catch my train, I’m not going to complain.

Moms are also supposed to edit their thoughts around their children. If a four year old asks, “Mom, what is a terrorist?” because he is listening a little too closely to NPR, a good mom says “Oh, honey. Don’t worry about that. Lets go to the farmers market and get some delicious organic beets!”  I go into a 20 minute lecture about who terrorists are, which depending on your religion and politics, could be just about anybody and cite examples from September 11, which of course, he wasn’t even alive for.  I’m sure my 5 year old knows more about war, prisons, and the criminal justice system than any kid his age. If he asks an intelligent question, I give him a totally age inappropriate, (hopefully) intelligent answer, like we’re in a masters political science program together. The other day while he and the neighbor kids were playing cops and robbers, I hear my son protest as he’s being brought to the jail in the backyard:  “COPS don’t decide if robbers go to jail! The JUDGE decides that! And probably the robber’s lawyer will say hes not guilty so it could take forever to figure out if he is going to jail!  I can get out on bail you know!” That almost got him beaten up, but it made my day. Someone in my house listens to me.

I’m just nothing like a person who fits my description of an appropriate mom.  I’m not like my mom and I get the feeling I’m very little like the other moms I regularly crash into every morning in the school parking lot.  Even blogging moms – they have mouths as dirty as mine – but I get lost in all the talk over prescription drug abuse. I have no idea what Xanax or Vicodin or Percocet are — but I hear about them all the time.  From what I gather, they must be sweet. But I’m a weird mom, so I don’t even have an prescription drug addiction worth noting.

So I come up short a lot. And I find myself gasping sometimes when I tell myself, “Love, these kids have only one mother. And that is you. That’s pretty wack.” To which I answer, “I know, RIGHT?” to which I then reply, “Poor kids”.  And then I say a prayer for them and start writing a new blog to try and forget the sorrow I feel for them that they didn’t get one of the totally normal moms.

On the other hand, the kids do have a few things going for them because of the mom they have:

1) If there is ever a b-boy competition in kindergarten, all of the hours my son spends watching ABDC on TiVo and having me rate his performance (pa-fo-mince) with spot-on impressions of Mario Lopez, Lil’ Mama, Shane Sparks and J.C. Chasez, will pay off and he will totally win. (“YO! That was so DOPE! Can I get a slow mo on dat?!”)

2) When the plague comes around again, my kids will survive — and thrive– because there isn’t a germ they haven’t picked up in daycare, or school,  or from a 4 day old discarded half-eaten cheeseburger that they finished off after finding it on the ground in the park.  Seriously, bubonic plague — bring it on.

3) I posted an excruciatingly long video on YouTube for my family blog of my toddler son “playing” the guitar and singing his own made up songs which inexplicably has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and which advertisers now want to pay us for.  So I know how to pimp out my kids so that they can go to college.

4) Each of my sons will be happily married. I find it hard to believe that they could marry anybody who, when compared to their mom,  will not blow them away with her mad skills in any culinary, cleaning, or child care domain. I think I’ve set the bar low enough that if she knows how to make any meal from ingredients that do not come directly from a box, they’ll commit the rest of their lives to worship her.  And the best marriages are those wherein the men are easily satisfied and worship their wives.

5) They’ll never doubt how much they are loved.  One thing I do excel at is telling them how much I adore them, how incredibly special they are and showering them with hugs and kisses.  I do that well. Because I can’t help it. And because they’re awesome  — even if they are single-handedly responsible for this goddamn muffin top.

My two year old just felt me up

Yeah…..Yeah. Repeatedly, and with a giddiness mine eyes have not seen since Oprah visited TomKat’s Telluride prison mansion.  And I’ll admit to you that this isn’t the first time he has done this.  This child loves to try and put cars, Legos, pieces of ham sandwich and anything else he can get his sticky hands on down my shirt, preferably in my bra. This isn’t that tough a task because there is generally a gaping — well…gap — between my boob and my bra, a perfect nook for my 2 year old to store his foodstuffs in.

When he isn’t grabbing my neckline and plunging toys into my bra, he is trying to grope my boobs while delightfully singing “BOO-BIES! BOO-BIES!” just like the drunk obnoxious frat boy I pray everyday he will not become.  On one hand I’m glad someone celebrates my little peanuts, but on the other, much larger hand, (though my hands aren’t as lopsided as my chest) I’m not sure it should be my baby boy.  If you gave him the choice between playing with cars, or markers, or even electrical sockets (his other white meat), he would still prefer fondling his mother. He uses my boobs like his personal little stress balls. Hmm. Maybe not such a good metaphor.

BD is no help. He thinks I brought this on myself by laughing at the boy the first time this happened and telling him they were called boobies in the first place. I should have called them something else like “chicken” so that when he was feeling me up and singing about it, people would just think he likes chicken and has no idea what the hell he is doing with his hands – like maybe he has a palsy or something and they’d feel compassion for us. But oh no! Shoppers rush by hurriedly as he tries to grope me from his seat in the Target cart singing about boobies.  And the more I tell him to stop or move his hands away, the louder and more insistent he becomes. “MOMMY! I want BOO-BIES! I want IT!”

I know they are only bracing themselves for the logical next step – they fear that at any moment I might yank up my shirt, pull out my right boob and feed this child. The horror they feel at that moment is palpable – or maybe I’m confusing my own horror with theirs. I just want to reassure them that he is simply trying to feel me up for the sport of it, not for the food and NO – they are not about to get flashed and made to watch this child with teeth slurp milk from my boobs in the freezer section – but I’m not sure that telling them he gropes me just for the fun of it is that reassuring either.

Am I raising a total perv? Is it normal for young boys to feel their moms up on a regular basis? I would think kids who use boobs as a viable food source have a good reason to pay special attention to them, but my son just likes boobs for the way they feel and probably because he knows it embarrasses the hell out of me and probably because boys just like boobs at every age.  My oldest went through this stage pretty quickly – I don’t remember us having physical altercations in Target because he wanted to rip my shirt off and squeeze my boobs.  But this youngest one – I’m going to have to buy a Taser for our trips to Target to teach him an early lesson about sexual assault being a very bad decision. “No means no! Dig it, dude?!  And while we’re on this subject, I’d advise you to ignore any impulse you may ever have in your life to grow a mustache.”

This too shall pass, right? RIGHT?! Please GOD, deliver me – here he comes again…

I did not breastfeed my babies because I don’t really love them

…and also I wanted them to have lower IQs than all of the carefully breastfed, loved kids.

I think that you are reading the blog of the only upper middle class, well educated, white woman who did not even try to breastfeed. Wow. That didn’t take long – I can already feel the judgment, and the blind rage that I am so despicable to my children!  I know you think I’m unfit.  Maybe I am.  Did I tell you that I let my 2 year old drink a juice box once in awhile? Yeah. Didn’t even water it down. And while I’m airing all my dirty laundry, the yogurt I feed them isn’t organic, nor is it sugar free. Its the Yoplait kind. That adults buy. And they watch TV. Everyday. And sometimes I lose my shit and yell at them. Okay and sometimes I pretend its their bedtime an hour earlier than it actually is.   So I’m not going to be on the cover of any parenting magazines soon. But Oprah didn’t breastfeed either, so I’m still holding out hope for a shot at “O”.  I’m just lucky that the La Leche League hasn’t made it a federal crime not to breastfeed.

I know a lot of women that wanted desperately to breastfeed their children and then for whatever reason it didn’t work out much to their horror and chagrin.  You know exactly who these women are because they will immediately tell you all of the medical reasons it was impossible and apologize incessantly for their failures as a person and a mother, but they just want to make sure you don’t think they are one of those terrible mothers that would actually feed their babies formula on purpose. Like me.  I fed my babies formula because I just didn’t love them that much and I was hoping that if they were born with any native intelligence, this would make it disappear instantaneously.  And because I don’t love them. Have I said that yet?

Let the record reflect that I respect women who love their children/breastfeed them. There is a lot of fuzzy science research and good, documented reasons to go that route.  Except if that “baby” is four fucking years old. That is disgusting and yes, I will sign the petition making that a federal crime. Twice the penalty if they pull it out in public and lift up their shirt so their four year old can feed as he fondles his transformer.

But I’m not really that judge-y. Really. Not like you. Who hates me because my kids that you don’t know and will never know didn’t suck on my little sad boobs.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about breastfeeding. I made a little pros and cons list.  It went as follows:

Pros of breastfeeding:

  • Big boobs (finally!)
  • Elite playgroups will invite me to join, despite the fact I work full time. Maybe. Wait – that may be a con.
  • My children will be 8 or 34 times smarter, 90 times healthier and 637 times more loved than they will be if they take infant formula from a bottle.

Cons of breastfeeding:

  • Another hungry human (that will eventually get teeth) will want to suck on my boob all. the. fucking. time. this includes 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am. All hours that I am very unpleasant to be with, if awake.
  • My babies might get hungry in public.
  • I might have to whip it out and have that smug look on my face as everybody notices my boob hanging out at the mall and I’ll feel all righteous that they are so ignorant not to rejoice in nature and give me a special breastfeeding bench to show off what a good mother I am.
  • BD gets off scott free. Isn’t 40 weeks of being hormonal and fat and peeing all the time and having indigestion and people commenting “are you sure you’re not having TWINS” and giving up alcohol and sushi enough sacrifice for one person? Oh yes, and then there is the pleasantness of delivery. Shouldn’t a father be given an opportunity to do penance for all the crap I had to endure ease the burden and bond early with his new baby?
  • I will be bitter and angry at all times.
  • If I want to go anywhere by myself,  I’ll have to carry around a big backpack and hook up myself up to a loud machine with big suction cups, that looks like a medieval torture device to pump out milk that I’ll fret about keeping chilly. And then clean the whole damn thing when I get home.
  • And hate my life.
  • And my husband.
  • And secretly think that this “mom thing” is a pain in the ass.

So my favorite kind of women are the ones that figure out what is best for themselves and their kids.  They don’t worry about what me and my kids are doing, because it doesn’t make one fucking bit of difference to their lives whether I breastfed my kids or not.  And I know this might be hard to believe, but I do love my kids.  Honestly. Really. And myself too except when battling an excruciatingly large stress zit.

So regular breastfeeding moms, I love you. Judgy breastfeeding moms, I love you, albeit a lot less than the others. Don’t worry Oprah – I didn’t forget about you. I love you too.  Formula feeding moms that would have preferred to breastfeed, stop apologizing. You’re cool. Formula feeding as a first choice moms — I’ll see you in hell. But its best if we all stop judging and become friends although we all know that will never happen – because lets face it – we are all total experts at raising children and we know a bad mom when we see one.

So I won’t judge you even though I really want to. Oh wait, there is a caveat. I will mercilessly judge any person pulling the whole whipping-out-a-boob-in-a-public-place-to-feed-large-children-old-enough-to-have-mastered-the-monkey-bars. Yes. I have witnessed this. Yes. When I got over the shock and awe of it I threw up in my mouth a little. Yes. I have been scarred for life. Yes. I guess I’m judgy. Yes. These people are fucking nuts. But I will practice compassion for these women because I am forever grateful to them for not inviting me to their playgroup.

Infants are 64 times more likely to be maimed or killed in cars displaying a “Baby on Board” sign

The study concluded that other drivers are more likely to want to create a head on collision scenario with cars that have such a sign displayed. The study was done by me today as I was driving through the school parking lot. Really, people?

I’m sorry, but big fucking deal you have a baby in the car. Lots of people do. They also have hot coffee, autistic teenagers, glow in the dark rosaries and pet iguanas and you don’t see them running around with signs.  Baby on Board signs are the worst invention for cars since Truck Nutz for three reasons: 1) They incite road rage,  2) Oprah does not endorse them and 3) they kill babies.

Now, if pedophiles and serial killers would just put signs on their cars that say “Child Molester”, “Serial Killer”, “Sex Offender” or “Someone fucking hammered on board” signs, that would be helpful.  And because I’m a patriot, I won’t even charge for that big MBA idea.

A helpful sign

A helpful sign

Normally I don’t dispense free advice, but parents, I strongly urge you to  keep  your babies alive by not being fucking obnoxious. Lay down the signs and get yourself some Xanax.  Seriously. Please.