Shame Shame, I Know Your Name

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou guys, I WAS MOMMY SHAMED TODAY!

I know I shouldn’t be excited about it – I definitely wasn’t excited in the moment. But afterwards I felt like I had joined some elite club of women. The women in society that people feel it’s perfectly acceptable to criticize, shame, or put down in public.

So actually…all women. Welcome to the motherfu*&^#@ club.

So here’s the scene: It’s about 11:45am and I have Will in the stroller heading home from the gym. I get on the bus, all normal, always being careful not to run over any toes or bump people. Typical stuff. Then a few stops down, another mom gets on with her adorable baby girl in her stroller. We can’t both fit in the front area, so at the next stop we do some musical chairs and I move farther back on the bus. At this point, I notice a women getting extremely agitated – now mind you she was sitting behind us so we hadn’t inconvenienced her in any way, she didn’t have to move, and just for the record she was sitting in an elevated area taking up two seats.

So, this lady then starts to loudly announce to the bus how “unbelievably selfish” it is that we would bring our strollers on the bus. That we were blocking the exit (you guys, busses have 3 exits. 3), and it was just sooooo unbelievable that we would be so selfish.

Selfish. Selfish. Unbelievably selfish.

Yeah. I know.

So, trying to keep it classy, I turned to her and said ma’am we’ll get out of the way whenever you need to get off. Which she ignored. Fine. So we re-adjusted a bit, and a few stops down I heard her talking again about how unbelievably selfish I was, so I turned and gave her the look. You know the one. The, sternly look at her face, eyes slowly travel down a little, then back up. I wish I wasn’t proud of it (I totally am. I’m not a saint, people) and of course that set her off again, saying she saw my “dirty look” and I was such an unbelievably selfish person, blah blah. And then, she got off the bus. That was it.

But I have to admit it left me reeling. I had that sort of, fight or flight, nerves tingling feeling for a good while afterwards. Someone I had never met before was so convinced that I was a terribly selfish person, that she felt compelled to announce it to the entire world (well, entire bus anyway).

And that made me think about mothers. More specifically, how incredibly UNselfish mothers actually are.

Mothers start sacrificing before they even meet their babies. Giving up small comforts like wine and sushi and turkey sandwiches just to make life a little safer for their growing babes.

Moms sacrifice bodies they’ve worked hard for, take on stretch marks and weight gain and leaking orifices. They let go of the dignity that is not peeing a little when you first start running again. Or sneeze. Or laugh too hard.

Mothers sacrifice careers, perky boobs, and the ability to leave the house without carrying a minimum of 3 bags and having a loop of “diapers, wipes, snacks, hand sanitizer, pacifier, water cup…did I say snacks?” play in their mind before they walk out the door.

I think maybe the most incredible thing of all is that mothers give these things up without any resentment. There’s no scorekeeping. No keeping a list of what you’re owed. We take our sacrifices, and our guilt from considering the sacrifices we should add to our list, and we bury the whole thing in love. In a love we’ve never experienced before. A love that makes you forget what having freshly washed hair every day feels like. A love that makes you forget what not being puked on smells like. A love that makes changing a million diapers and getting food in your hair and potty training and endless episodes of Sesame Street somehow…worth it.

It’s worth it.

And so, to call a mother selfish is almost comical. You don’t argue with the person saying the sky is green, because you can see that it’s blue. Most people around you can see that too. It just…is.

So I guess what I’m saying is…don’t let people crush your spirit. They don’t know you. You’re awesome. And to the lady on the bus – I hope your day gets better. Because I can’t imagine how miserable you must feel to criticize two young moms just for existing.

And also, karma’s a bitch.

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Stuck in the Middle with You

This past week it was constantly raining – the kind of rain that lasts for days and nights and days again and it just never seems to stop. Will and I were both going stir crazy and just when I thought it would NEVER stop raining, it did. And the sun came out. And we finally got to head out to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park to see the ducks and smell the fresh air.

He was pretty stoked about it, as you can see. The whole process of waiting and going crazy, and then the relief that came with the end made me think about what it means to be in the middle of a season that feels endless. I sometimes get this feeling that wherever I’m at, it’s always been that way and always will be. Something simple like rain – it’s always been raining and it always will be! There’s no end! Which is silly, but it can feel that way. Sometimes it’s something harder to go through. Like not getting any sleep when your baby is teething. They’ve always been waking up every couple hours, and they always will be! Send coffee reinforcements. Or feeling out of shape, like you’ve just always been there and can’t see an end in sight; an end where you fit back in the jeans now hanging in the back of your closet. Maybe it’s something even darker like depression, or the loss of something or someone important. Where does the frustration and pain end? When will the rain stop?

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Maybe your season isn’t painful at all – maybe the fear that the season will end is what gives you anxiety. I get that too. I think we cling to different seasons of our lives for a number of reasons, and those reasons sometimes make a lot of sense. Maybe we see the time we’re in as the best version of ourselves, and we’re afraid of what the end might mean. Maybe we’re in the middle of something so great that the thought of it ending is just, really sad. The funny thing about seasons though is sometimes you don’t always notice the end. For better or worse, you don’t realize you weren’t in the middle the whole time at all, you were near the end, and then the end came and now you’re on to something new.

I’m not sure there’s a huge point to all this rambling, but I think I realized a few things about myself as I sat on that green bench trying to convince Will that jumping off the back of the bench wouldn’t end well. I realized I’m not very patient, but I’m working on it. I realized that saying goodbye to certain seasons of your life doesn’t mean you’re getting old, it just means you’re living. And I realized that some seasons, although they’re hard, aren’t actually in the middle. They might be closer to the end than you think.

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Pregnancy Body Snatchers

Guys, I have to be honest. I hate the phrase “get your body back”. Specifically I hate this phrase when used to describe what postpartum women’s apparent goal is supposed to be. And I’ve even said it before! More than words, it’s been a way of thinking. Getting “back” to a certain weight. Getting “back” to a certain feeling. And it’s usually motivational, right? Like, rah rah, lets all get our bodies back! And I’m not coming at this from the viewpoint of someone who is super thin and only has to lose that last 5lbs. Haha no…this girl gained a full 40lbs being pregnant (technically 39 but who’s counting? Oh yeah, I am). So clearly there’s work that needs to be done.

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But the term “get back” implies that you lost something. Or that something was stolen from you. Either way, it implies we’re somehow lacking something. But when I look at my little boy, I don’t think I’ve lost anything. I may have gained weight but I gained so much more than that. And I think I’m just tired of a society that makes us feel like in having a baby we’ve somehow lost something important. This is how I feel about that.

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So in solidarity, let’s give up shitty terms that make us feel bad about ourselves. Be happy, be healthy, be well. Rock that belly, or stretch marks, or whatever else you might try and hide about your bod. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get in shape, and I think that’s an awesome goal I’m working on myself; but lets not lose sight of the fact that our bodies did something amazing and will never actually be the same. And that’s pretty cool.
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The first rule of Mommy Club…

…is you never talk about Mommy Club. More specifically, you never talk about HOW your own personal mommy club is running, unless you’re prepared to fight to the death. Don’t believe me? Here, I’ll prove it.

Vaccinations. Anti-vaxxers. Breastfeeding. Public breast feeding. Formula. Co-sleeping. Bed sharing. Sleep training. C-sections. All natural births. Epidurals. Screen time.

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Feeling anything yet? Any passions rising or fire in your belly? Feeling like there are some “right” and “wrong” options on that list?

I know. I do too. I have BIG opinions about things. But when did we as women become so obsessed with being right that we stopped caring about each other as people? Why do we demonize each other for the sake of proving how much we know?

It makes me really sad. It used to make me angry, but I think I went through a few of the stags of grief after reading one too many comment sections and just hit sad.

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I don’t know if there’s a way to fix our attitudes toward each other. I don’t want to give a big “rah rah, we can be the change” speech because we all know that already. But this is my pledge: I won’t add to the problem. I promise to value people over their choices, even if I don’t always agree. On mom stuff, but also in life. Aren’t people what matter?

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Where do we go from here?

Well here we are again. It seems every few months my blogging lags, and then I end up writing a “mea culpa!” post, and then I keep up with it for a while and then it sort of cycles around again. This time I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and what its purpose is as my little corner of the internet. I love that it’s been different things to me at different times, a few years ago life was easy breezy, and I think my content reflected that. Crafts, beach days, brunches – easy!

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But to be honest, that’s not really my life anymore. Married, living in the city with a baby, it’s quite different in the best way. And really, that’s what I feel like writing about these days. Lately my heart has been hurting with everything going on in the world – the world where I’m working hard to be a wife and mom and raise my son.

And guys – being a mom is hard! Also the internet is mean and “mommy wars” are real. Especially in the form of “helpful advice” in mommy group forums and nobodies you forgot you were friends with who feel like commenting on your stuff.

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Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is I want to create a place where we can breathe together. Where we can talk about fun things like how cute chubby babies are, and how when they smile at you your heart melts. But also a place where we can talk about tougher things like mom’s mental health when you’re not getting any good sleep, and how after a baby you sort of have to find yourself again and learn to be comfortable in your own (stretch-marked) skin. And also how the 6-weeks after having a baby you can have sex again rule is a mother%*#&!*& lie. I mean come on…can I get an amen??

So that’s what I’m planning to write about these days. We’ll see where it all goes, but I’m excited. As someone who loves writing, I’ve done precious little of it the past few months but I think that’s about to change.

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