It was a warmish day back when we lived in the house in Norco, when my father took me fishing. I was four and a half years old and my sister was two. I had blonde, curly-ish hair with bangs that went straight across. My dad was an Ironworker and a welder, and he worked hard and often when work was good. We had matching shirts back then that had peanuts on them. I remember wearing them together one time when he took me to one of his job sites, and I looked up into the sky at one of his buddies who was sitting atop a steel skeleton of a small building, the sun shining brightly around him and right into my eyes. My dad had a belly and a mustache, and I believed that he was the strongest man in the world.
That day we stopped at the gas station, and my dad gave me a ten dollar bill to take inside to the register. “Tell the man to put ten on two”, he said. We walked inside and I told the man with trepidation, “Put ten on two”. He smiled at me and told me I could pick out a popsicle. I picked the red one and then asked my dad if I could have one of the tiny Reese’s cups up on the counter. He said no, but the man at the register said I could take one, and he smiled and winked at me. I thought that it must be because he liked my t-shirt with Ariel from The Little Mermaid on it.
At the lake we backed dad’s red and white truck into the water, and he pushed the boat off of the trailer until it floated cheerily on the green surface. When we were out on the water, I dropped my Barbie and my tiny oar into the water repeatedly, admiring my dad for being so brave and skilled at fishing them out.
On the way home we listened to the Beach Boys and I thought very hard about how sad it would be if someone ate up all of my corn. Dad oscillated between singing vague utterances quietly and belting out snippets of lyrics which he had memorized. We sat in the hot truck in our driveway when we got home, and finished the song before heading inside for dinner.
Before Charlie graced all of us with his wonderful presence I thought to myself, “this blog is not a mom blog. I’m not going to only write about being a mom.” To be honest, though, I don’t even care anymore. Welcome to my mom blog, everyone. I enjoy reading parenting blogs, and I feel like now I have something to contribute to the parenting blogosphere. We are all just grasping at straws trying to figure it all out anyway, and if by writing down whatever I have to say, someone else gets one helpful bit of information or a laugh on a bad day, then I have done my duty.
There’s a lot of discord among the many parenting styles these days. Just read through the comments on one poor momma’s post in any parenthood forum, and see the absolute chaos that ensues. Don’t bother asking anyone else about vaccinations, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, or sleep training unless you want to feel like a terrible mother in general. Seriously, do some research outside of the forums and Facebook groups, and pick whatever makes sense for you and your child.
In this space, my intent is never to provide unsolicited and unquestionable advice – I just want to share the ways I’ve somewhat successfully muddled through five months of my son’s life.
So without further ado, here are my tips for general momming/dadding:
Leave your spare key fob next to the bed so that when you awaken in the middle of the night wondering if you locked the car, you can hit the lock button and hear the satisfying honk of your vehicle. This only works if you live in such cramped quarters that your car is parked right outside your window.
Buy gum in bulk from Costco. I have lost count of how many times I’ve discovered it’s 4pm suddenly, and I still haven’t brushed my teeth.
Load up that Starbucks card. I am blessed to live in a world where I can literally walk about 200 feet and be at heaven’s door. This is whether I’m at home or at work.
Moms, if you are breastfeeding, LEARN TO SIDE NURSE. At first I was all “I will never fall asleep with the baby in bed with me” and to be honest, when he was super teeny, and I was super out-of-it exhausted, I still wouldn’t; but it’s wonderful to go back to sleep at 4am when he wakes up and wants a boob. Plus, those mornings when he wakes up next to me and smiles like, “Oh MOMMY! I sure love looking at your face/grabbing your eyes/lips/nose/nipple while you sleep!”
Subscribe to Amazon Prime. Again, I was hesitant at first. Who wants to pay $100 in membership fees? But I no longer run out of diapers or toilet paper, so everyone is poop-free and happy.
Try eyelash extensions. I actually just took mine off because I don’t have time to get them filled every month, but WOW I looked fabulous when I first went back to work after maternity leave. They gave me some time to get a morning routine down while looking like a put some effort into my appearance.
Make lunches/breakfasts for the work week ahead of time. Whether it’s the weekend before or the night before….don’t try doing that nonsense in the am when your baby is teething and waking up all night long, and you can’t see straight because you’re exhausted and can’t turn the kitchen light on because you just got your precious baby back to sleep, and you don’t want to risk waking them up. Just…plan ahead with the meals. Dinner, however, is kind of a free for all. We are still working on not getting tacos every night.
Know that we’re ALL still figuring it out. You’re not the only one who feels like you’re struggling, there’s a whole world of tired, confused-ass parents out there, and we’re all ready to talk about it when you’re ready to admit you’re not perfect out loud.
Have some tips for me? Let me know how you survive!
I used to consider myself a creative person. I spent my weekends in high school stretching out my hamstrings on the living room floor while watching movies in French and Italian (with. out. subtitles.) and reading any book by a female author before 1800 that I could get my hands on. I actively sought out things that exercised my right brain.
And now? I go to work. I work very hard and think a lot, but it’s about law and insurance and reading contracts and understanding what the heck my clients do. I come home. Don’t get me wrong, my job exercises that type A part of me that wants things to be organized and fast-paced and stimulating in the left-brainy way, and I really enjoy what I do. It’s weird for people NOT in my industry to hear me say things like “I really love insurance!” but I do. It’s a great industry to be in with a lot of good people, and I work for an amazing company who values their employees and takes pretty good care of them.
BUT. I can’t help always feeling like I’m letting that creative part of my brain wither away over the years. That’s what hobbies are for, I hear you saying. But I’m lazy and about to have a lot less time for myself because I am growing a little human who is going to flip my world upside down and take up every spare moment I have outside of work. I wish I could work in two departments at once – oh please boss? Won’t you let me write colorful words for you on Mondays and Tuesdays in Media/Marketing, and then handle my 400 emails Wednesday through Friday? Actually, while we’re at it, how about you just give me Fridays off so I have time to just be my diva self and go to farmer’s markets with my kid?
Ok guys, rant over. I must go supervise the ceiling progress.
Writing the first blog post is like trying to start an essay. You want to say exactly the right thing to start off, but you wrack your brain for hours, and never quite find the appropriate words.
Why is that blank canvas so daunting?
Anyway, here I go, getting that ball rolling again. I deleted my last blog in the hopes of starting afresh, because it started to feel like I was writing for others. I was trying to emulate the style of some of my personal favorite bloggers, and eventually it all became too much for me to keep up with. It felt like I didn’t know whose perspective I was writing from at times, and life is too short to try and consider what everyone else will or will not like. Sometimes you gotta step on some toes in the pursuit of just being yourself, I guess.
Anyway, I am feeling motivated now and have a good feeling about this space. I want to get more involved with the blogging community now that I feel like I really have something that represents me as a writer and an observationalist.
No matter how many things I write in earnest attempts to sound more likeable, more relatable, more intelligent, or just more cool, it all comes back to me and who I naturally am. I really am still a weirdo.