Monday, June 17, 2013

For the Small Things

This post is about what I have learned about being a parent, particularly a working mom, and hopefully may be helpful to new moms, wannabe moms or other moms, and provide wonderful memories to moms now.

  1. Undereye cream and concealer This is especially true for working moms who have a meeting that very morning but then again, I cannot speak for SAHM. 
    Magic potion
    Now, if you are like me, you never use this stuff because cosmetics are full of crap and chemicals and who knows what they are secretly doing to your body. But when you haven't slept for three days because your child won't sleep or is sick and you've got a key meeting in the morning, undereye concealer will help you. You will look less Bride of Frankenstein and more like Funky, Fabulous, and Fresh Carrie Bradshaw. 
  2. Lube. Every woman's birth is different. But for those who gave birth vaginally, the first couple times you and your partner try to rekindle your love, you might need a little bit of this to help that magic get started. This advice was given to me at my baby shower and now I want to pass it on as actually useful advice. 
  3. Dry Shampoo and Good Deodorant. Let's face it working moms. There are days when you can't make it into the shower in the morning or, heck, even sometimes at night. Dry shampoo (shampoo you can spray in and comb through) and good deodorant can make that difference between too funky coworker and pulled together working mom. There are days when I can barely make it through work without a pot of coffee and I'm still dragging and a shower is the last thing on my list. 
  4. Unlimited texting Face it. Your parents are gonna want pictures of the baby every day and so are your in-laws. But you are also going to need good friends who can help you through the baby blues, help you transition from party girl to working mom, help you understand why your partner is being a jerkface (I imagine he is telling his buds that I am a jerkface too) and, if they are also moms, provide invaluable advice. And, in my experience, it is hard to get away and see friends and texting can help provide that connection when face to face isn't available. 
  5. Reusable shopping bags. If you don't already have some, get some and keep them in your car. For those last minute shopping trips, storing unexpected gifts, or stashing vomit covered clothes. I also recommend keeping a towel in your car. Not just because we're all Arthur Dent, but because babies and kids vomit, spill things or blow snot everywhere. An extra towel can make the difference or serve as an extra baby blanket in a pinch. 
  6. Know Your Local Storytimes. Once the sweet pea hits 6 months old, you will want to do more fun things with him or her and ideally expose him or her to the world of literature. Children's librarians are trained in the art of taking a story and bringing it to life through a myriad of mediums. Check out when your storytimes are around you. Sometimes book stores even hold story times. If you are lucky like me and live near 4 public library branches, some a walk away, some a short drive away, you can see which librarian you like best and try to schedule for that storytime. This can be complex if you work the Monday-Friday grind as these story times are often during the week and in the mornings. Also, if you can, try to find a local parent blog. Cincy has Family Friendly Cincinnati that publishes lists of family friendly activities, cheap activities and family friendly restaurants. 
  7. Ignore the Mommy Wars BS. This one is particularly difficult for me as I take everything personally but you know what, it is all bullshit. I was told to my face by a lactation consultant that not
    breastfeeding my child will make him dumber, more inclined to infections and obese. At this time, I would like to point out that he is almost 10 months old, only had 2 real infections, and is actually underweight. That lady was a real piece of work and saying those types of things to a woman who just had a baby was completely out of line. And many mothers will say things out of line to you, will make you feel bad for not making your own baby food or teaching your child sign language or letting him watch Yo Gabba Gabba or giving him vaccinations. They are taking their baggage out on you. And remember these arguments are really about privilege. You really think the single mom out there who is the mom and the dad and is working all day and coming home to change diapers and check homework has time to teach her kid Mandarin Chinese? Probably not. After all, money gotta come somewhere and evidence has shown that these mommy wars are coming from families that are in the 75k and above income range which puts them in top 10% of Americans. How do their issues relate to everyone else? (Also, anyone else want to stop and reflect that 90% of Americans live on less than 75k a year and we are debating about breastfeeding vs formula. Perspective.)
  8. It's All Ok. This kind of maxim ignores the obvious things like neglect and abuse which are not ok. But that aside, you are going to make mistakes. You are going to fuck up. You are going to turn your back and your child is gonna flop off the couch and smack his face on the floor. You are not going to shower for two days or may end up eating out or cooking a TV dinner one night. You are gonna place your baby in front of the TV, yes even in front of educational TV, so you can make dinner or take a shower or call your student loan companies. You are going to want to take time to read or paint your nails or get a hair cut and may have to leave your kid with a babysitter. Your kid will make it out alive and you will too. 

What things have you discovered that you didn't know when you started out parenting? Which items have become unexpectedly essential? 

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