Things Not To Say To A Mom

Things Not To Say To A Mom

I was having a long, wonderful conversation with my friend, writer of Raw Uncensored Mom  , (someone you should totally follow, by the way) about the ridiculously crazy things people think it’s okay to say to a mom. Let’s discuss:

1. When’s number two (or three, or whatever number you’re on) going to be here?

Stop. Asking. This. Question. I’m just starting to get my body back after a long time of struggling to stay fit. When my husband and I decide to have another baby, you’ll be the first to know. Actually, you won’t because it doesn’t concern you. The growth of my family is up to us. Please please leave me alone.

2. Are you (still) breastfeeding?

Perhaps this one is my fault. Perhaps the fact that I have an extraordinarily nice chest opens the invitation for others to ask about what I’m doing with them. Even so, let’s back off of this one. Once again, whether or not I breastfeed ever is really the mother’s concern. Fed is best. My daughter, the little chunky thing, is obviously fed. Does it matter if it’s formula, breastmilk, or pizza? I mean, yes, stop me if I’m just feeding her pizza, but please stop being so intrusive.

3. Why aren’t you doing (insert any unsolicited advice)

As a new mom, I welcome advice…to a point. If you’re a stranger or if I haven’t asked for your opinion, please don’t give me unsolicited advice. It’s just that—unsolicited. Look, if my daughter is in physical danger because I’ve forgotten to buckle her car seat, step in. But if you don’t think I should be feeding her non-organic cucumbers from the grocery store and you want to recommend local, organic produce which costs three times as much, I’m really not that interested. Props to you mom for going the extra mile, but please leave me alone.

4. You just seem so tired all the time.

Yup. I am. If I look and seem tired, I probably am because I’m a mom. Why do you feel the need to point that I look or seem tired? I know that I look and seem tired. How comfortable do you feel when I stare at you, eyes wide while I slowly nod and say, “Yes, yes I am.” Does it make you feel dumb? I hope it makes you feel dumb.

Why do you think I look tired? Maybe because my child woke up in the middle of the night having had an accident in the bed so we had to bathe her. Maybe because I don’t sleep because I constantly think I hear a crying baby. Maybe because I work all day and come home to a wonderful child who needs and deserves attention. Yes. I’m tired. Stop bringing attention to it.

Insert my husband: Obviously.

5. You look really good for having recently had a baby.

I took this from Raw Uncensored Mom, but I really wanted to touch on this one. Why can’t you just say I look nice? Why do you have to say “for having recently had a baby?” That’s like saying, “You throw really well for a girl.” No, ass, I throw really well all the time. Just like I’m pretty. All. Of. The. Time. You really don’t need to have a follow up, compliments are really nice for moms. We crave it. Maybe I’m projecting so I’ll switch to “I”. I love attention and compliments without the addition. Just tell me I’m pretty and I’ll love you forever.

These are just a few of the ones that have popped into my head after my lovely discussion with Melissa. What are some things you hate being told as a mom?

Also, Raw Uncensored Mom and I have some VERY exciting news: we will be starting a podcast called Raw Uncensored Horrible Moms! As soon as we have our episodes up and running, I’ll link y’all to a page. We can’t wait for you to hear our lovely voices!

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Sharing the Holidays

Sharing the Holidays

Ah, the holidays. The holidays are a wonderful reminder of the importance of family and what we should all be thankful for. It can also be a time of high stress, strategic maneuvering, and meticulous planning, especially if you have to share them.

I live in a state 1200 miles away from where I grew up.. My husband’s family lives in the same state as mine, except for his grandfather, one of the greatest human beings on the planet, lives near us. Typically we travel to my home state for the holidays so we can see both sets of families, but this year, his folks chose to travel here to save us the trouble and to visit Grandpa.

It’s hard when plans change, especially when that means you can’t see one side of the family–especially when it’s YOUR side of the family you’re not seeing. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my in-laws, but it’s exceptionally difficult not seeing my family over the holidays. I’m more than willing to admit that I was a huge brat when my husband told me plans this year had changed. I so look forward to seeing my gigantic, loud, and loving family around this time. Regardless of how close I am to my in-laws, they still don’t hold the traditions and nostalgia my own family does. Perhaps my isolating our families is unique to my own selfish perceptions of family, but my splitting my time for the sacred tradition of Christmas is difficult.

So, what do we do? Honestly, parents, we find a way to build and enjoy new traditions. Nostalgia and traditions are beautiful things, but we must look at our family as something that has grown, not as other people who hinder the amount of time we can see ours.

We compromise without resentment. We go in knowing that we may be sacrificing time with our loved ones, but we’re gaining times with other loved ones. Perhaps switch between which holidays you visit which side of the family or ask family members to come visit you. It’s easier said than done and every individual’s situation is different, but regardless of the situation, compromise without resentment is key.

I am so happy that my daughter got to see her grandparents and aunt while staying at home. Even though I desperately missed my sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents, it was so nice not having to travel and just focus on spending time with family. I know this is not a luxury many of my readers have, so I have some potentially unwanted advice: choose one holiday to stay home. As someone who is exceptionally close to about 50 members of her family, this comment sounds sacrilege, but I can’t explain how nice it was not to have to travel or be certain places at certain times. If you can, choose one holiday to celebrate just together.

I hope everyone had a magical and fulfilling holiday. I hope you had the chance to spend time with your loved ones and had minimal drama. I say minimal because a little drama usually ends up with a fun story.

A Letter To My Friends Without Kids

A Letter To My Friends Without Kids

To My Wonderful Friends Without Kids:

Know that I love you just as much as I did before I had the babe.

I know it can be irritating when I suddenly have to drop the call during a serious conversation because she’s suddenly begun climbing the stairs chasing the cat’s tail…again.  I know it must be frustrating when there’s a crying terror in the background of every Skype call or that the only times you have me to yourself are during in-and-out conversations on my car phone.

In fact, I’m having trouble finishing writing this blog because she’s taken a liking to my computer. Stop. Pressing. The. Keys. lkjiuet kdf

I know a majority of my conversations with you involve her and the excitement I feel that she’s successfully eaten carrots without my having to force her. I know it doesn’t make sense that I’m super excited she didn’t break out when she tried peanut butter or I think it’s amazing that when I say, “get your shoe,” she picks it up and brings it to me. Yes, I think it’s incredible that my one year old has the same intelligence as a dog, and sometimes I want to brag about the little pup.

I know it puts you in a tough position when you want to go out or throw events. Sometimes, I will ask if it’s okay to bring her because I just can’t get a babysitter for everything.  Also know that I will only ask to bring her to the bars and night clubs that are baby friendly, so you know, like none of them.

Know that I want to see you and have 1:1 time and sometimes I just can’t. And I know that puts you in a tough position because I also want you to know that I don’t want to stop being invited.

I know that’s unfair. It’s unfair to expect you to continuously invite me out even though 90% of the time I just can’t. Whether it’s because I can’t get a babysitter or because I genuinely don’t want to because I’m so exhausted, know that it’s not you. I love you. At one time I will be able to, and I’m so afraid you’ll stop inviting me.

Contrary to what it may seem like, I don’t want my daughter to be my only friend. I think she’s a super cool kid, but she doesn’t always get my Parks and Recreation or The Office references. I can’t talk about steamy Outlander got or who will die next on Game of Thrones. No, I don’t think our friendship is just based off of tv shows, but it’s these little things I enjoy– like every time you invite me to go somewhere.

Know that I care about what happens to you. Know that I care about that guy you’re seeing and the other one who didn’t call you back. I care about your new job and that you’re considering graduate school. I want to hear about your shitty roommate and the car you’re thinking about buying.

I know it’s selfish, but know that my life isn’t too busy for you, it’s just busy. I know it’s unfair to ask you to keep trying even though you won’t see me a majority of the time. I miss you, but I need you to work with me a little bit. I’m not ignoring you. I’m not obsessed with my daughter, even though I can’t believe she turned out to be so awesome. I’m just exhausted.

Please know that just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I think you should or that your life is less than mine. Just because we’re in the middle of different paths doesn’t mean one is better. It means mine is mine and yours is yours. It doesn’t mean your life is over because you don’t have one and it doesn’t mean mine is because I do. I love my life and I love yours, even if I just don’t have the energy to show it as much as you deserve.

Know that I love you. Yes, my stories of the babe chasing cats may get old to you or her growing a tooth or waking up at 2:00 a.m. can get annoying, but hearing you say, “Man, that sucks” means the world to me.

Throwing Your Child’s First Birthday

Throwing Your Child’s First Birthday

We just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday! I cannot believe it. She’s one. What a whirlwind of a year. From horrible experiences at daycare to awesome daycare experiences, difficulties breastfeeding to fights on social media, it’s been a fantastic year with my darling daughter. We just threw her first birthday and it was amazing, tiresome, and perfect.

The thing is, you throw the kid’s first birthday party for the parents. She has no idea what’s going on. She notices random people, some of whom she doesn’t know, are showing up at her house and giving her stuff. Sure, she likes it, but her favorite gifts were the cardboard boxes and wrapping paper the actual gifts came in.

That’s unfair to say. We love our friends so much and everyone was so kind. She made out like a bandit. But really, when you throw your kid’s first birthday, don’t be scared to get what the parents like. Like beer. You can have beer at your kid’s party. She’s one. It not like she’s going to take a few brewskies to the back and break into them with her posse. Other kids might. Watch those kids.

I felt so bad because so many people asked me what my daughter wanted as her gift.

“Well, the last time we talked, she was unsure.”

Once again, what a mean response. But I really had no idea what to say. Our friends and family were so generous with toys (which she loves), clothes, and games. Honestly, giving diapers or formula is also a fantastic gift. That’s the great thing about a first birthday, there’s really no pressure. She has no idea what’s happening. She’s going to love it.

The biggest thing we loved about the party is that we invited folks whom we loved. There was no obligatory invitation. We invited those who lived nearby and who wanted to spend the day with a bunch of kids running around and to see our daughter in a pretty, frilly dress. We were surrounded by love.

I guess the point of this post is to say thank you to everyone who helped with her party. She loved it. And also to those moms out there who want to appeal to everyone for your kid’s party– don’t. Do what you want to do. If you want to have a cake, have a cake. If you want to dress your kid up as a bear and have her run around while you eat pizza, do it. Celebrate your child how you want. Because they have no idea what’s happening.

Emmie Dress

Raising a Daughter in a Slut-Shaming Society

Raising a Daughter in a Slut-Shaming Society

Here’s I’m a Horrible Mom, jumping on the bandwagon and talking about what’s heavy in the news. You know what, though? It needs to be talked about.

When I was in school, I had a friend who disclosed to us that she had had sex with her boyfriend. One time.  This was not super rare– a lot of kids were having sex. Even so, her “friends” took it upon themselves to spread the word, forcing the word “slut” to link to her name. The worst part– it was her female friends who turned on her. Her female friends, the ones she spilled her most private secrets to, had marked her as an easy-target.

When we females begin to slut-shame, it makes it okay for the boys to do so. If girls will call her a slut, what’s to stop a boy from doing it? If girls think she’s “too loose” and discuss it, why should boys respect her? Her girlfriends don’t.

Parents. This is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to raise your child, male or female, to discuss another student’s sexual encounters and to bully them for their decisions. Even if this girl had slept with ten guys, it is her responsibility to be safe and it is not for her friends to spread judgement. Stop.

Parents. Sex is real. It’s real. Acknowledge it. No one wants to think of their child as a sexual being. That means they’re growing up. It means they’re experiencing these urges which can lead to major consequences.

What do you do? You teach them. You tell your children what these consequences are. You tell them what sex is, that it is natural to feel what they feel, but be aware of the responsibility that comes with it. Do not shame your children for feeling something natural.

Look, the thought of my almost one year old daughter ever wanting to have sex scares the shit out of me. If it were up to me, she would wait to have sex with one person whom she loves deeply.  And I’ll tell her as much. Of course I don’t want my daughter to have the responsibility of sex and with multiple partners at a young age. But what I really don’t want is for her to be so ashamed of herself that she won’t talk to me. What I really don’t want is for her to feel like she can’t even talk to me to make sure she’s being safe. What I really don’t want is for her to hate herself for experiencing something and feel ashamed. I will love her and teach her and guide her. But I will never make her feel shame.

What I really really don’t want is for her to go in unprepared.

Parents of boys: Raise them well. Teach them to respect women. Teach them that a woman who is harassed was not asking for it because she feels attractive in a tight skirt. Teach your boys that consent means she wants it 100%. Teach them that calling girls sluts makes them look like jackasses, and really, girls definitely don’t want that. No one wants that. Teach them that it’s not hard to avoid harassing women.

It is not hard to not assault women. It is not hard to not rape women.

Parents. Teach your children to stand up for those who are being bullied and taunted. Teach them that their decisions are their own, just as their peers’ decisions are their own. If a girl is told continuously that she’s a slut, she will shut down and give herself to people not because she really wants it but because she believes that’s what’s expected of her. Do not give in because it is what’s expected. Make your choices because you want to.

I will teach my daughter that sex is about love and fun and sometimes, honestly, it’s not that good. Sex is something beautiful and sometimes weird and awkward, but it is a connection. Have that connection on your terms (and your partner’s, obviously).

I will not judge my daughter for her decisions. I will help her to make the right decisions for herself. And when she falls and makes a choice with consequences, I will be there to help her. I will raise her strong. I will raise her to love herself. I will raise her to love her body and to never be ashamed of it.

I will mess up sometimes. I will say the wrong thing. But I will always make sure that she is loved.

Teach your children love and empathy. Raise better humans.

Competitive Moms vs Moms Who Just Want to Do Their Own Thing

Competitive Moms vs Moms Who Just Want to Do Their Own Thing

The beauty of belonging to a mom’s group or having friends who are moms is that they feel your pain. Oh, you can’t go out for brunch like y’all had planned because your little angel is throwing a tantrum, pooped all over themselves, and needs a bath? No worries, Ma. I got you covered. We’ll brunch next week. You’re worried that your daughter’s demonic noise is an actual demon inside of her? Thanks, Mom friends, I now know she’s just figuring out her voice. No demons as of yet, except the one that makes her personality. Just kidding. My kid rocks.

The trouble with mom friends, however, is that sometimes they try and one-up you. Not like, “Oh! I’m so excited and had to share, but my daughter started walking today!” Nah, I get that. And even if I get jealous that my kid has yet to walk, they’re just sharing their good news so I’m happy for them.

No, I’m talking about the mom friends who aren’t really friends– they’re soul suckers whose children have the be good at everything. The best at everything. They’re the helicopter moms who complain to the teacher when their child gets a 99 instead of a 100 because “is misspelling ‘diamond’ really worth a whole point off?'” I’m projecting.

“Hey, giiirllll.” You know the Competition of One-Uppers (I’m not feeling very clever) is about to begin. You see the smug smile from across the room. The pretentious wave– you know, four fingers fluttering and lips pursed? Little do you know, that wave is the predator luring you into a false sense of security. You know you’re in their web, however, when that prolonged “giiirllllll” ripples slowly out of their mouths, like a hot stew being poured onto your lap. At times, it can be replaced with a “Maaaaama” and a chuckle. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a one-upper.

“Sooooo,” God, everything is prolonged. They love the sound of their voice. “How’s your daughter?”

“Super, Doris.” Notice I don’t ask how her child is. Because. I. Don’t. Care.

“Well, little Princess Bexley of Nottinghamshirepost is FAANNNTASSTTIC. Tell me, has your daughter begun to do her sign language?”

“She’s doing well with it. We’re still working on—

“Ohhhh, that’s just FINE. Little Bex-Bex has learned the ENTIRE ALPHABET in German, French, American, AND British sign-language. Isn’t that IMPRESSIVVEEE for an 11 month old?”

It would be impressive if that weren’t a bold-faced lie. You have a few options here. You can try to one-up her, but then you just get into this ridiculous match of “Who’s Lies Sound More Sincere.” You could just punch her in the face, but that would have more consequences than is necessary. You could pat her on the back and move on. You could just be antagonistic…which is what I do…

“Oh, that’s super-duper for Bex-Bex. My daughter just learned to make demon sounds, so I’m super proud! Tell Bex-Bex to get ready for it, it’ll scare the pants off of her.” Then wave the four-fingers, smirk, and strut away with your little demon.

Look, I try very hard not to judge other moms for their decisions and how they raise their kids. I really do. But please, please, please don’t be this mom. Absolutely share how proud you are of your child. Milestones are huge! Share, share, share! And be honest. If a mom has asked you if your kid has walked and she has, say she has!

There is a code, though. One child’s successes do not set the bar for another child’s failures, especially in the infant stage. Once their in college, let them push each other down the staircase to get roles (Showgirls). Obviously, I’m kidding. Let your child’s own progress determine their successs, but push them to work hard and be the best they can.

If a mom does this to you, you don’t have to be horrible mom like I am. Don’t be antagonistic. Look, Princess Bexley of Nottinghamshirepost is going to have a hard enough time with a name like that. Just smile and nod and walk away.

Then have your child chase her child making demon sounds.

Moms vs Social Media

Moms vs Social Media

Recently, my sister purchased a bear onesie for my daughter. When I say a bear onesie, I mean she becomes a bear. I didn’t know I had the ability to feel such unadulterated elation.

Before I had a child, I always said, “I will never dress her in real clothes. I will put her in ONLY animal costumes.” As a mother, a wife, and a go-getter, I failed myself. I had failed to put my daughter in any animal costume. Obviously,  I’m a horrible mom. Then, my sister, my wonderful, beautiful, hilarious sister, bought her exactly what I’ve been looking for: a bear costume.

My daughter looks so cute, crawling around and growling like a bear. She’s the cutest f-ing thing I’ve ever seen my life. Because I’m a proud millennial, I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook. I would have tweeted it, but honestly, I’m just too verbose. It took me a like 700 words to explain how I pack a diaper bag. So, I posted a picture with the tag: “You guys! There’s a real bear problem in Virginia!” (I was visiting Virginia at the time).

Most of my responses were laughs, comments about how cute she is, and sarcastic, “Oh no! What a terrifying bear!” But then, I received a PM.

You see, here’s the thing. Social media is for friends and close family, sure, but also people whom you’ve met once or twice, and obligations you have to include in your lives in order to avoid awkward encounters. Of course, there are also acquaintances you don’t really talk to, but kind of talk to, but when they do talk to you, it’s always about how your parenting style sucks. Ah, there we are. Social media.

My messenger dinged. I got super excited. Because I’m basically like a teenager with no friends. So, whenever I get a message, I immediately go back to the creepy middle-schooler with a bowl-cut who was getting asked to hang out by the popular girls.

“Hi.” One. Word. This could be dramatic.

“I don’t know if you remember me, but we met at LaLuna Bar one night.” (It’s not called LaLuna bar, I just think that would be a cool name).  “I just wanted to tell you that I think it’s INSANE that you would put your baby daughter in a BEAR COSTUME in THIS HEAT. How DARE YOU subject her to this for the sake of a PICTURE! HAVEN’T YOU HEARD OF HEAT STROKE!”

All of the high expectations I had for a new friend were shattered.

“Oh, hello. Yes, I do remember you. I appreciate your concern, but we kept her in the house (where it’s air conditioned). We took it off after about five minutes. She’s fine. All is well. Except for the honey. She ate all the honey.”

“YOU CAN’T GIVE A BABY HONEY! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT?”

“No, I know…it’s just that she’s dressed as a bear…so, honey? It was a joke.”

“LIKE KEEPING YOUR BABY IN THAT HOT BOX?”

“Yeah. Like that.”

Blocked.

The thing is, I knew she was fine. I would never ever put my child in harm’s way. I hate that I felt the need to defend myself to this person. She was basically a stranger. She doesn’t know me, and what do I care what she thinks of me?

Let’s talk about attacks from strangers. Recently, someone posted my blog about a negative encounter with a babysitter on reddit (thanks, btw!). One mom wrote, “She clearly has a lot of mom guilt. Her entire blog is about how she can’t deal with others. Get over it.” This hit me. I was really angry that this person didn’t understand that the point of my blog is just that, that moms shouldn’t feel this mom guilt. I got angry that this mom didn’t understand me. Then I laughed because this stranger mom and my feelings about her proved why I write this blog– stop the unnecessary judgement. Stop making moms feel guilty for trivialities.

Social media is great because it allows me to post things about my life that my family and friends who don’t get to see me often can see, all in one stop. I love when my father leaves clever witticisms on my Facebook (he’ll probably comment on this blog saying a clever witticism is redundant).

Even though it connects us, I feel like social media has this hold on us where we need to present the best sides of us. I can’t post that I’m having a bad day or people will thing that I’m looking for sympathy. I can’t only post that I’m having a good day because they’ll think I’m rubbing it in their faces or I’m “hiding” something. (Yeah, I’m hiding my hatred for you.) I can’t post cute pictures of my baby without someone saying something horrible about her.

So, here’s my advice, from one “horrible” mom to you: post whatever you feel like. If you think a picture is cute or funny, post it. Seriously, as long as your kid is actually safe, post it. Post when you’re tired. Post when you need sympathy. Post when you had a freaking awesome day and want to brag. You’re entitled to your own social media. You’re entitled to have good and bad days.

Most importantly, you’re entitled to dress your kid up in a freaking bear costume.