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when moms take baby steps

When Moms Take Baby Steps


Last weekend I went to my first baby shower in many moons…. ever since I said “goodnight moon” to breeding some 15 years ago.

The mom-to-be is in her ninth month; as I watched her drape tiny onesies, precious caps, baby gangstah hoodies, miniature t-shirts and wee shorts over her built-in clothes rack belly, I couldn’t help but let out a few involuntary gasps.

Not because the of wardrobe — although who knew that giraffes were the gender-neutral IT creature of the infant set nowadays? — but because of all the amazing things my mommy-to-be friend has to look forward to:

  • That feeling you get when you hold that previous tiny bundle in your hands for the first time and are hit by a zillion pound realization that NOTHING will ever be the same.
  • The first feeding, when “doing what comes natural” and breastfeeding is actually not all that natural, it turns out. Nor is almost anything maternal that you thought you knew. Much like Jon Snow, your little Wildling is proof positive that you know nothing.
  • Being annoyed in the hospital by the nurses waking you once or twice during the night to feed your newborn… only to realize once you get home that was the last good night’s sleep you had… ever again. Or at least it’ll feel that way.
  • Getting into a routine with the baby, which not only takes time but is also at the expense of all other routines — work, “alone time” with your partner, hanging out with your friends, your personal hygiene regime, your workouts, getting back into your non-maternity wear and well, everything.
  • Projectile poop. It’s a rite of passage, y’all.
  • The feeling that the only book you’ll finish reading ever again is the aforementioned Good Night, Moon. Even Dr. Seuss feels like heavy lifting in the early days. And forget that stack of magazines, newspapers and your own books, too. Your “mommy brain” is a combo platter of sleep deprivation, abject terror from looking up everything in the What to Expect… books and hormones. For all those aspiring dictators out there, if you could bottle the essence of mommy brain, you would NEVER be challenged because nobody would ever be able to read, think or effectively function other than burping, changing diapers, rocking and pacing around in circles with the ultimate goal of getting to nap time.

The list could easily go on, but the point is this: the initiation into motherhood has NOTHING to do with taking baby steps. It is all about a magnificent yet terrifying leap from the Mountain of Self into a deep, endless Sea of We. (Sea of Wee?)

For the first few years, things are a total blur. For example, one time in a total sleep deprived haze at a kiddie concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, I can remember begging my mother-in-law to promise me that things would get easier. read more

Are you a conductor on the Guilt Trip Express
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Are You a Conductor on the Guilt Trip Express?


I love a good viral video like the next gal, but last week, I instantaneously regretted clicking the “play” button on “Remember me… Mom wants son to call from college” uploaded by Ann Pinto McCarney (currently near 750,000 views).

“Hi, Liam. Remember me? I’m your mommy. I gave birth to you,” McCarney starts. ”Well, actually, I didn’t quite give birth. I had to have a C-section to get you out. A big scar and it hurt like hell, but that’s OK. Do you remember that it was me that gave you life?”

OY. I hear the woman — I pushed two watermelons out of a veritable garden house myself — but after five seconds of viewing I already felt guilty for not calling her.

And I’m not even Liam.

Gotta give McCarney props for her production choices. The camera is angled up at her, catching the side of a refrigerator and a cabinet — big clues she shot the video in the kitchen, which is the ultimate nurturing Mama’s home base. There’s a harsh reality quality in the clip, thanks to bright daylight (a late-night loving college student’s nemesis) and McCarney’s near constant mocking facial expressions. read more

resist the racket

How to Resist The Latest Parenting Racket


They say that there’s a sucker born every minute, so what does that say about the people that brought that thar sucker into the world?

That’s right — it takes one (or more accurately, two) to make one.

And today’s parents that are so fully devoted to providing our precious offspring with “the perfect life” and getting a do-over for perceived deficiencies in our own upbringings are perhaps the biggest chumps ever created.

Don’t believe me? Let’s review for a minute your childhood vs. your child’s/children’s:

YOU: When you were born, your parents took you home in an outfit provided by the hospital. Later, the blanket you were swaddled in became the perfect rag to clean off your spit-up and sponge down your changing table.

YOUR KID(S): Your child(ren) came home in a photo-shoot-ready coordinated outfit from the Gap or better. Baby’s first blanket was as much a fashion statement as it was a lovey.

YOU: You rode home from the hospital in your mom’s arms. As you grew, you bumped around in the back of the family sedan, or if you were fancy, a station wagon — no seatbelts required. Extra points if mom or dad or both chain-smoked with the windows up and the heat on during the winter. Outside of the car, you were moved from place to place in a simple stroller that you graduated from the second you could walk. read more

Best o’ the Bitch, Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Date Night Disaster


It’s official: I’ve lost all confidence in date nights.

Before I give you the latest blow to the ever-popular, eagerly anticipated weekly(ish) ritual, let’s backtrack a minute and explore the evolution of the date night.

BC (forget before kids, I’m going all the way back to before commitment), there was no such thing as date night. There were nights, and some of those evenings had dates, and as I recall, those things ran the gamut from awkward and painful to hot and amazing.

The one thing that dates have going over date night is the element of surprise. Moments of mystery. And the best of them have an unanticipated happy ending (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).

Once you’re in a long-term relationship, date nights take on new meaning. Sure they’re a little forced, and of course the fact that you already know your date intimately saps some of the electric energy, but without the ritual, the chances of an awesome, albeit anticipated, happy ending decrease accordingly (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, etc.). read more


Would You Hire Yourself?


As fall prepares to bust through the lazy, hazy days of summer and kick our collective butts into high gear, I am, for a change, being proactive about what the next ten months will look like.

I’ve always been a working mom. (Hell, aren’t we all? Nowadays, even if we don’t leave the house or technically are dads, we’re working moms), but lately the job has become more demanding, and the children are officially “latchkey kids.”

Side note about latchkey kids: If the guilt of not being home the minute your children return from school doesn’t slay you, then hearing them described as pathetic orphans or extras from the musical Oliver! will put a dagger in your heart. Even if they are teenagers.

While I’m more than happy to serve my family gruel, I draw the line at latchkey-ness. And so, the hunt for a couple hours of consistent afternoon care is on.

An SOS on Facebook got a few funny responses and a couple of real options that were close, but no cigar yet. read more

Parenting, Pop Culture

What Orange is the New Black Teaches Us About Parenting


NOTE: No spoilers here! If you’re reading this, then you’re my bitch… in a good way, not necessarily in a prison way… and BBFs never ruin good binges! I myself am consuming slowly to savor the show; so I’m still not done with Orange is the New Black, Season 2. Jealous? 

If you’re like me, the ladies of Litchfield State Prison have you locked up and unable to do much else besides watch them in the new season of Orange is the New Black.

Even if you don’t watch the show, you know the premise: Piper Chapman, a bisexual Yuppie with a male fiancé that wears annoying sweaters, goes to jail for being a drug mule for her ex-girlfriend ten years prior. It’s a fish out of water story set in the cesspool of the US prison system.

Although the series is specifically about harsh realities — the injustices of incarceration, the viciousness of the cycle of poverty, racial tension, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and more — it also lends itself to some universal life lessons, too. read more


How to Deal With Other People’s Kids


Here’s the thing about other people’s kids: they’re not your own.

I know that seems obvious, but it’s a really important fact to keep in mind as you encounter them throughout your own parenting journey.

Take for example, the infant years. After giving birth to my son, “we” joined a mommy’s group. I bared my breasts and every single insane post-partum emotion with women that I’d just met. Whether or not we’d get along was beside the point; this was a baptism by fire into the world of other people… and their children.

Luckily we all got along pretty well, and it turned out that breeding at the same time was enough to keep us together at least for that first brutal year. We spent endless hours hashing over all that ails us First World peeps: how to get the kid to sleep through the night, break a pacifier habit, wean, and move on to solid food.

For the most part, I quickly learned that what worked for others seldom applied to mine. I took comfort, however, in discovering this basic fact of life: Everyone struggles. And nobody sleeps. This remains true probably until the end of time. read more


The Bitch’in Moms Manifesto


This year for Mother’s Day, I wanted to give my peeps something truly Bitch’in… so I’ll leave delivering the sweet cards, bath products, scented candles, flowers, chocolates, and soothing herbal tea assortments to your family.

Instead, I bring you THE BITCH’IN MOMS’ MANIFESTO:

1. We Love. It begins and ends right there. A mother’s love is unconditional, but we don’t forget that applies to ourselves too. (In other words, we make time to do things like take showers or join the roller derby.) That’s a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE.

2. We Embrace Impermanence. Ages and phases, as they say — this applies to our kids and us. Life is flux; resistance is futile. So do we do our best to hang on to the shit that really matters, like our values, and let the rest of it roll. Seriously, we bitch’in moms know how to LET IT GO.

3. We Know Perfect is a State of (An Unstable) Mind. Imperfection is where the creativity, excitement, and joy are found. This doesn’t mean we don’t strive for perfection; we just recognize that it’s not about the destination, it’s all ABOUT THE JOURNEY. read more


Spring Break Won’t Break Me, But Summer’s a Killer


Once upon a time, Spring Break meant freedom. Released from school, work, and general obligations, it was an annual rite of winter passage where the only thing mandatory was R&R on a beach somewhere and a tequila shot or two (or six) with a warm beer chaser.

Cut to today, where the word break takes on new meaning; as in your spirit.

It’s bad enough being a working stiff and watching friends and colleagues flee while the grindstone still has you by the nose. But add a kid or two or more, throw in the fact that this year spring school vacation weeks are wildly out of sync — having started the week before Passover and ending up to a week after Easter — and by the end of it all, you’ll need not just a vacation, but potentially institutionalization.

While I have several friends who love it when school is out, as schedules are much looser and the early morning shuffle slows to a crawl, I am so not that mom. From the time my children were infants, I craved routine and dependable destinations for sweet predictability. Even when I was fully freelance and theoretically had total flexibility, the thought of an unstructured week struck fear and a fair amount of loathing in my heart. read more

Best o’ the Bitch, Parenting

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Teen Daughter


Dear Lord,

Firstly, should we set the record straight here, once and for all? In all your creative capacity, the bringing forth of the world’s greatest and most awe-inspiring highs and equally hideous lows, should You not be addressed as Dear Lady?

Did you not conceive the human race, and I’m thinking particularly teenage girls, in Thine own image?

I think Thy knowest of what I speak, for the female teens are the ones who elevate mere mortals to incredible heights, starting with The Beatles through Justin Bieber (btw, nice going on the recent self-smiting you’ve induced on that sick pup!), onward to “1-D” and beyond.

May my daughter crush equally on girl pop stars too, as even I shed a few tears at the end of Katy Perry’s Part of Me movie. Please dear Lady, allow her the creative vision, drive, generosity, and spirit of Ms. Perry, but never, EVER let her date John Mayer. Apparently he’s back on the market, so now would be the time to grant my child extra protection. read more