Staying In vs Going Out

Staying In vs Going Out

Your child is a beacon of holiness hand-delivered to you by a choir of little, chubby, creeplily winged babies. As they hand over your own little cherub, those flying miniature Michelins sing songs filled with such beauty, such melody, your heart instantly fills with what can only be described as ethereal love.

That’s why I can never ever go out without my baby.

Each time I put on that sexy red number I can finally fit into after having my baby four months ago, I recreate my own Reverend Dimmsdale situation. I just want to hide into the woods and shout, “Pearl is mine! She’s my baby!” So, I avoid it. I stay home and watch her. 

No babysitter is ready to handle this four-month old. She’s her own fountain of spit-up and poop. How would I take it if she got a diaper rash because of some inexperienced babysitter? No one knows how the only way to get her to sleep is to sing Billy Joel’s “Lullabye” in the perfect key of G major. No one understands that you have to hold her hand while she rests on your chest or else she grabs you, worried that you’ll run away. No babysitter could possibly do the cutie-booty dance with the perfect hip-thrusts to get her to wiggle her toots out. Nope, I’m staying in.

Who cares if she claims to have 30 years of experience and I’ve checked all of her references. She claims to be CPR certified, but how can you really tell? She says she raised five children, all of whom grew into semi-stable adults. Yes, you know this to be a fact, and yes you know her personally. Fine. She’s my mom. I just don’t want to leave my baby.

Apparently, I’m stifling my child and ignoring my husband by refusing to go out. The voices begin again:

“You need to keep up the romance in your relationship.” “A happy mom is a happy baby. Live a little!” “You have to give your baby some time with someone else.”

Then, the Reverend Dimssdale begins again. How could I ignore my relationship? Isn’t the love between my husband and I just as important to our family? He’s such an amazing husband and father. The least I could do is go out on a date with him. After all, we know she’s in great hands. 

Fine, you’ve convinced me. I put on the red dress and the heels. Too soon for the heels. Flats it is. We go out to an amazing Brazilian steakhouse. My husband wears the button-up I love. We are ready to have a romantic night, just the two of us.

“What do you mean you left your four-month old at home while you hussy it up with some guy?” “What kind of selfish mother are you?” 

I’ve turned my home into a restaurant called Hester’s. Now, we can suffocate our child with love and simultanously enjoy a nice filet mignon. 

Too Prepared Diaper Bag vs Not Prepared Enough Diaper Bag

Too Prepared Diaper Bag vs Not Prepared Enough Diaper Bag

Really, there is no in-between, is there? You have either prepared way too much or way too little.

I know what you’re thinking: this is not one of those baby issues I’m overly concerned about. Nor should you be. Let’s just take a look at what happens when you do either, because remember, you really can’t do anything right.

When I first had my perfect angel-face, I would carry the heftiest diaper bag you’ve ever seen. I looked about ready to hike the entire 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail for six months. I packed four extra outfits, fifteen diapers, two burp cloths, three pacifiers, an entire pack of wipes, 10 two-ounce bottles of formula, and two bottles–only to be away for three hours. I was ready for anything. 

My ultimate goal is to be super mom. I thought, “But what if [insert crazy, apocalyptic adventures which can only be seen in movies] happens? I’m going to be prepared! If she spits up all over her outfit and a burp cloth, I’ve got extras. Plus, I can feed her what she spits up! What if, after that, she poops on her extra outfit, thus needing another diaper and a ton of wipes, and of course, another outfit. WHAT IF– we are in the desert with no access to water, and she drops TWO pacifiers in the sand and a rattlesnake swallows them, poops all over herself because of the heat, and spits up INSIDE of her bottle? Yes, all within the three hours we’re gone. I don’t know why we’re in the desert and I’m sure she would have other problems to worry about, but in case it does happen, I am prepared. 

As time went on, I realized I would never take my daughter to the desert. Also, I was told I was carrying too much. “You really need only one extra outfit, maybe four diapers, the one pacifier and burp cloth are fine, a small package of wipes, and one bottle.” Okay, I’ll bite. She’s over three months old, I can lighten up a little bit.

Not. Let me explain what happens when you lighten up a little bit.

I was on the way to a doctor’s appointment. My doctor is an amazing man who lets me bring the babe. So, I pack light, after all, it’s only a one-hour doctor’s appointment. I packed 3 two-ounce bottles of formula, one extra outfit (no onesie, because what’s going to happen?) one bottle, three diapers, one pacifier, and one package of wipes (it’s just easier that way). I fed her before we left and headed out to my doctor. I was feeling good.

We got to the doctor about 45 minutes later. Traffic, I tell you. No big deal. She slept the entire way, and there should be no reason she’s hungry. 

Here’s the thing: at this point, little doll baby was going through a bit of a growth spurt. About half an hour into my appointment, she starts screaming as if I hadn’t fed her in fifteen years. I tried everything. My doctor tried everything. She would not calm down. She kept rooting, trying to suck on her hands, all the tell-tale signs of hunger. Alright, I thought. I’ll feed you one of the two-ounce bottles. 

I forgot the insert in one of the bottles. The formula went through the holes of the bottle all over my doctor’s couch and the baby’s outfit. She’s still screaming. I’m simultaneously searching frantically through the bag for another bottle and bottle of formula while cleaning the doctor’s couch and baby. 

I FOUND ANOTHER BOTTLE (used bottle, disgusting). I leave my soaking-wet child with the doctor, run into the bathroom, and clean out the bottle’s insert. I run back, stick the insert in the other bottle, and put the formula inside of it. My hands are shaking as I desperately try to feed my child. I grab the baby from the doctor, apologizing profusely for my horrible parenting. My hands are shaking. The baby is screaming. 

I spill half of the formula all over the baby. What. The. Fuck.

I reach into the bag to get the last bottle of formula. At this point, she’ll have about three ounces. Okay, I thought. That’s doable until we get home. I start feeding her while I look through the bag for an outfit. No onesie to replace her already soaked one, but an overly-large Play and Sleep outfit. Awesome, I thought. She’ll look like a homeless ragamuffin. Fine, at least she’ll be dry.

So, we calm down. I feed her. She’s fine. The doctor’s fine. We laughed awkwardly at my incredible misfortune. We continued to sit and chat a bit. Then, it was time to burp her. No big deal.

I forgot the burp cloth. Let me repeat: NO BURP CLOTH. The child is burping burping burping on my shoulder. Then she gives me this look. The look that’s resembles a wiley coyote when he’s about to eat you. The look a politician gives you when they promise something they know will never come true. The look that says, “Oh yeah. I’ve got something brewing.”

Then there it was. The most heinous amount of spit-up I’d ever encountered. Think of Vesuvius and my face and shoulder were Pompeii. That’s insensitive, but in that moment, that’s how I felt. And how was my angel-face? Smiling. She was smiling, that creepy little goblin.

My doctor? Laughing uncontrollably. Mama? Literally just sitting there staring at my little Puck, except instead of love she was spewing, it was….you know.

We got everything cleaned, thank goodness. She fell asleep, because, you know, she has no heart.

In the future? I will pack like I’m hiking. Because parenting is an uphill battle.

Breastfeeding vs Formula

Breastfeeding vs Formula

“So, you’re going to breastfeed, right?” 
Ah, the inevitable question all pregnant women receive when they share their good news . It’s not like you have enough to worry about, being pregnant and all. No, choosing the right OB, the numerous doctor’s appointments, pre-natal vitamins, maternity clothes, maternity leave, procuring baby items, naming the baby, etc., are not priorities, but knowing whether or not you will or are able to breastfeed prior to having the baby is a must.

As you know, breasts are used for only two things: attracting a sperm donor and then feeding your offspring once your donor is obtained. Now that you’ve succubied your way into a man, feeding is the only purpose your love ornaments have left. So, you have to breastfeed.

Honestly, there’s one million wonderful reasons to breastfeed. It increases immunities, it helps babies bond with their mother, and there are numerous other vitamins and anti-bacterial agents in breastmilk. All-in-all, it’s nature’s way of being awesome for your baby.

So, I planned to breastfeed. I told everyone, yes! Of course! Breastfeeding all the way! And I did. I was Super Mom! I even went out in public because hey, I’m a normal person who needs to get out once in a while. I took my baby because I’m a good mom who won’t leave my child at home. Then, I fed her.

But breastfeeding in public is not okay. Society seemingly understands how important it is to feed your child and agrees that breastmilk is bestmilk, but when I fed my baby, I had to keep her hidden. You see, love ornaments are to be kept hidden away. I should feed my baby only when it’s convenient for everyone else. My role when I’m out in public is to be considerate of society and force my baby into hunger until such time it agrees I may show my bosom.

But then, it didn’t matter what I wanted. It didn’t matter what my role as a mother should or shouldn’t be. I stopped producing milk. Completely. My baby wouldn’t latch and my production disappeared faster than the comet that destroyed the dinosaurs.

 I did the only thing I could do while on maternity leave. I stayed in bed all day and pumped my life away. Breastfeed, pump, breastfeed, pump, repeat, repeat, until my breasts turned into elongated, inflamed cones. Breasts: you have two jobs. It was my duty as a mother to force them into completing the latter.

I failed. I had to switch to formula.

“So, do you even try to breastfeed?”

The urge to lift my shirt and show my battle scars was insurmountable. Clearly, I didn’t try hard enough. There had to be a way to avoid the poison that is formula. Friends and acquaintances gave lactation advice. More often, women who barely knew me berated me for “giving up so easily.” That’s the motivation I needed to keep going—the constant harassment so that I might feed my baby properly. Didn’t I know the benefits of breastfeeding? Didn’t I understand that my baby would never love me like she should because I was depleting her skin-to-skin time? I needed to get over the pain in my breasts because my baby could not and would not consume the malignancy that is formula. I’d basically given my child the equivalent of six shots of tequila.

I would take out my formula to-go bottles in public. The nerve I had. Other mothers glared. Didn’t I know that women have been fighting for years for breastfeeding in public to be considered normal? I had single-handedly pushed women back dozens of years with my refusal to produce breastmilk. I had clearly attempted to throw biology out the window and “chose to take the easy way out.”

 But women, it’s okay as I’ve solved the problem for the guilt we feel for breastfeeding in public or formula feeding. I’ve hooked up a beer-helmet to my breasts filled with formula. I wear a sheet over my entire body. All you can see is my baby’s head clearly sucking… something. I have single-handedly moved the female movement forward 100 years.

Co-sleeping vs Crib

Co-sleeping vs Crib

I have created a melancholy, isolated environment for my child, a setting which seems eerily similar to the moors in Wuthering Heights. My precious, innocent angel has been denied compassion and empathy, and most importantly, love. How have I stolen her childhood, you ask? By having her sleep in a crib.

My husband and I decided to do the unthinkable at her young age of one week. We selfishly tried to get some amount of sleep and to teach our daughter some independence. We thought it best that she sleep in her crib, but, I now realize this decision is on par with those patrons of the ninth circle of Hell. Did I not see how detrimental I was being to my daughter’s health? It didn’t matter that I had an intense fear of rolling atop her or smothering her with a blanket whilst I slept. No. At the ripe age of 11 weeks, I have already built a sociopath because I clearly do not love. I am a monster.

I have now decided to co-sleep.

I have created a suffocating, co-dependent environment that seems eerily similar to that of Big Brother from 1984. I have created a child who will never tie her shoes on her own because I have decided it best for my family to co-sleep. My child will inevitably become a whiny, spoiled brat because I felt more comfortable with my child sleeping next to me. My fears of leaving my child in her own bed and my attempt to diminish the inconvenience of getting up to feed her are absurd. Didn’t I realize that sleeping with my child automatically means she will never fend for herself? I’ve basically become the mother who calls their child’s professor at Stanford because I know that C was at the very least a B-. Who are we kidding. My child will never leave for college. She will live in my attic because she’s too attached to me. My last name is now Bates. Shame on me for loving too much. I’m a monster.

Clearly, there’s only one option. My child will sleep with our cats. That way, she will be comforted by the love of our pets and I have my bed to myself.