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motherhood

Motherhood

To know her

My mom babysat Olive last night and when I came home my house was spotless. The dishwasher was quietly humming, Olive’s toys were stacked neatly in her toybox. My dining room table was clear. My bed was made.

The sweetest things are always, always the smallest things.

When I drop Olive off at school I wait by the playground fence as she lines up with her classmates. She runs back three or four times for another hug, another kiss, another “I love you”. When her class begins to slowly file inside she interrupts her excited chattering every few seconds to look back and wave, “Bye mummy!” she cries, “Bye mummy!”.

I miss writing about motherhood.

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Musings

Left turns

Each morning we sit at the intersection. It takes us ten minutes to turn left.

We sit in the car, craning our necks in opposite directions as what seems like the entire city streams past us at top speed. It seems like we are always late and always rushing. It feels very different from the five-minute commute we took for granted the past ten years.

I used to walk to work along a gravel road that was bounded by a railway on one side and a river on the other. This was a picture I took one winter morning a few years ago.

I wondered about this shift from the small towns we have lived in for most of my adult life, to the hustle and swagger of a large city. We have gained so much, we are so grateful. But I do miss the wilderness at my front door. Somehow this surprises me.

*****

We are house hunting, which is far less exciting than I had always imagined. It involves a lot of waiting and a lot of disappointment, it’s emotionally exhausting trying on home after home trying to find one that fits. I feel like I am having an Real Estate-induced identity crisis.

Who are we? Are we the family that buys the old house, the one that needs the walls washed and floors replaced, and its aging brown bathrooms gutted?

Are we the family that buys the small house? The one with sweet sloping ceilings and no dining room? Are we the family that develops creative storage solutions? Am I the woman who sells all of her twenty-two boxes of books because there isn’t room for the bookcases?

Are we the people living  in the suburbs with yards the size of postage stamps, or the ones commuting half an hour every day?

The real estate market in Edmonton is insane right now. Houses are selling in hours with multiple offers and quite frankly, it’s intimidating. It’s not how I make decisions. I take weeks to make up my mind about something. It’s a side effect of choosing to live with less. I’ve learned to really think about a purchase before pulling the trigger. First I sit with the feeling of wanting to see if it disappears. I examine the thing from every angle and I wait. I wait and think and ponder to make sure I really need it, you see.

You can’t do that here. By the time I have convinced myself that a house could fit us, and vice versa, it’s sold.

Every night I sit and click through new listings (sometimes there’s only one or two in a week) and I try on these potential lives, try to imagine us coming home to those floors, this kitchen, falling asleep in that bedroom after a long day.

*****

I’ve been thinking lately – dwelling might be a more appropriate word- about what I want from life. What I want my days to look like, how Olive’s childhood will unfold. I’ve been thinking about what we need and what we can live without. I’ve been conducting a sort of running inventory of our lives and trying to step back to view it objectively.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.

I don’t think we will ever be the family with money. The reason I say this is that is that we are deliberately building a small life that requires very little to keep it going, rather than living large with the bills to match, moving up up up.

(I don’t think that is a bad way to live – that same ambition has fueled some of the greatest minds – but it’s just not for me. I don’t have the balls for it.)

The more I think about it, the more I realize that a small life is the only one that feels comfortable for me. It’s the only thing that releases that cold sliver of stress from my gut.

I want exactly two things out of life: I want a close family, and I want to be a writer.

That’s it.

I want to be present with my child(ren) every day, I want to have time with Adam. I want to be able to visit our extended family in BC and be better at maintaining relationships with friends who have become family over the course of decades.

Here’s what I can live without to get that: I can live without a second car. I can live without new clothes. I can live without spa treatments and unnecessary gifts on occasions like Mothers/Fathers Day, Valentines Day etc.

I can live without impulse buys and tropical vacations. I can live without a lot I think, if the trade-off is worth it.

It’s hard to not speed up now that we are finding ourselves deep within the hum and hustle of a city, this place where it takes ten minutes to turn left.

It’s hard not to speed up to match those driving beside us. It feels like we are opting out. It feels like people are going to think we are lazy, or underachieving, or that we are judging them for not doing the same.

I’ve always cared too much what other people thought, and here where it’s even harder to shut out that noise, I have to work double to distinguish my wants from other people’s wants. I’ve always struggled with placing too much value on what other people think – or worse, what I perceive they think. I’ve been steered by and hurt by those judgement too many times to count.

I’m still trying to shake it, this “what will they think?”-itis, so I’m in no place to give advice, but I think that it can really help to search out those people in your life who truly want the best for you, and value their opinions over those who may not.

We are really lucky to have some of these people in our corner rooting for us, enthusiastic about our lives and our choices, genuinely hoping they work out as planned. We are incredible lucky to have this support, these family and these friends, and it’s their opinions I need to gauge decisions against, not those who offer support with a generous side of schadenfreude.

They give advice without also doling out judgement. They lend a supportive shoulder without feeling secretly gleeful if we fail  (because they know that everyone does at some point), and are there ready to celebrate when we get back up. We all need those people. They are what will keep you from drowning in a sea of self-doubt and second-guessing.

Well, they’re what is currently keeping me from doing that, I mean.

*****

We don’t sit at the intersection anymore each morning, Adam goes it alone.

At home, I am trying to make a go of it as an author, a writer, a mother. I am finding my footing, and trying not to feel like failing,

I am looking for wilderness, continually surprised that I miss it at all.

Motherhood

Gender Equality Doesn’t Mean Creating a World Full of Men

“I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” -Beyonce

Let’s talk about gender.

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while, but for some reason I really struggle to articulate my thoughts on this topic and I’ve never felt that I had the right words for it. Let’s see how I do now.

When I said “Let’s talk about gender”,  just now, what did you think of? Women, probably. Feminism? Empowering girls? The new “Ban Bossy” campaign?

I am a woman. I am also a feminist and honestly if you are reading this blog I can almost guarantee that you are, too. I don’t even ask about feminism anymore, I assume it. Who isn’t a feminist? Feminism is nothing more than the radical notion that women are people – equal people–  and should be afforded the same opportunities, rights, and responsibilites as men. There’s really nothing controversial there.

But when I said, “Let’s talk about gender”, I didn’t mean feminism. Or women, or the Ban Bossy movement, either. Don’t get me wrong – the movement is fantastic and long overdue. As the mother of a loudmouth little girl who has absolutely no problem telling people what she wants (and telling them loudly) I fully support it. I’d love for Olive to grow up being called bold, decisive, and a natural-born leader rather than that simpering, paternalistic word bossy.

I think we’re doing well, all things considered, at this aspect of gender relations. I feel as though we’ve reached the tipping point and have finally realized that girls can be physical, loud, and strong, and even more importantly, that this side of them needs to be seen, valued, and supported.

But we are missing half the equation. It’s not enough to encourage little girls to feel free to express qualities that have typically been the realm of little boys. Gender equality isn’t about creating a nation of men. It’s not enough to nourish the strong authoritative side of our girls without also acknowledging the opposite. Where’s the “Ban wimp” movement? The “Ban Pussy” movement? Let’s also ban the insults hurled at any boy or man who displays weakness, vulnerabilites, or a desire to nurture. 

It’s about options, and THIS is where I struggle to articulate myself sometimes. When I was pregnant we didn’t find out the sex of the baby, because it didn’t matter to us. More than that, the sex wasn’t the important part, the child was.

The sex of our child wasn’t going to determine how we decorated his or her room, how we felt about his or her arrival, and we hoped (despite the fact that my Sociology background taught me the contrary) that it wouldn’t affect how we raised him or her.

Throughout Olive’s life I have struggled with how to dress her. It’s not that I don’t like pink – I love pink! (Hot) Pink is one of my favourite colours. Coral, blush, fuchsia – these are my jam! – it’s the fact that pink is often the only option. It drives me nuts.

If you ever feel like watching me rant for twenty minutes straight while gesticulating wildly, accompany me on a walk through a children’s clothing store. I would say that almost 100% of the time, clothing choices for little girls involve at least one of the following: the colour pink, bows, flowers, glitter, sparkles or hearts. And again these things are great! Who the hell doesn’t love fucking sparkles? But why is this the ONLY choice? Why does every single item of her clothing – from her rainboots to her diapers – have to scream “I AM A GIRL!”?

The only reason I can think of is that it tells people how to treat her. Whether to complement her looks or her abilities. Whether to comfort her when she falls down, or sternly tell her to stop crying.

Do you see why this is frustrating? Eventually Olive will learn that she can say “No!” and I will lose all control over what she puts on her body. At this point she might decide that she is totally into princesses and tutus and sparkles. And I honestly don’t know how I feel about, because more than the actual content of her choices, I will wonder if they are actually hers. Does she genuinely like pink? Or has she absorbed the pink-princess mentality pushed on little girls, and gradually come to understand that there aren’t many other socially acceptable choices?

She’s really into trucks lately. This isn’t because she has a crazy feminist mom, by the way. It’s because when we go to the library each week I get her books with male main characters and female main characters. Books about puppies and books about airplanes. We just grab a little bit of everything, and if she happens to like something – birds, cats and dogs are her favourites – we get more about that subject next time. In Edmonton she fell in love with a ridiculously simple book about trucks, and she wanted us to read this silly five sentence book over and over and over and over. She was just totally enamoured of it. So we got another truck book after we returned that one, and the next time, too. And on our way to a local playgroup today we walked down the sidewalk of a main road and she lost her shit at every single pickup truck or semi that passed. It was the best day ever!

She also likes her babies, and Naked Ken, and stuffed animals and other typical “girl” toys, but this truck fascination makes me wonder how many other girls would also lose their minds when a truck driver waved at them, and how many little boys would instinctively pick up and cradle a baby doll, if they were ever offered the opportunity.

It’s not enough to create strong girls. It is essential, but it’s not enough.

 The point of gender equality can’t be to create a nation of men. We are losing something incredibly valualble when we do this. Girls can be incredibly strong, and boys can be incredibly caring. And as much as we nurture ambition in girls, we also need to be nurturing softness in little boys, wamth in grown men.

Here’s why. When we  think about talking to our children about sexual assault, what do we picture? A mother speaking to her daughter about how to keep safe? “Carry your keys between your fingers. Don’t walk alone at night. Always have a buddy.”

We need to be talking to our sons, too. “What does consent look like? Can a drunk person agree to sex? Have you watched porn? Do you think it’s realistic? What does it mean to you when your sex partner says no?”

We can not ignore the other half, but we usually do. Men are not the problem and they are not the enemy. They are losing as much as women are when we view each sex as a uniform series of stereotyped characteristics. We are all suffering by sticking ourselves in these rigid little gender boxes and policing each other viciously, and often publicly,  when we dare to step out.

Girls are incredibly lucky to have high-profile personalities like Beyoncé and Sheryl Sandberg to stand up and defend their right to lead, to speak, to make themselves heard. We need men to stand up and do the same for boys. We need men to stand up and show little boys how to be soft, how to take care of someone else – and that it’s good to take care of other people. We need to show boys that kindness, compassion, and emotional intelligence are traits that we value.

Here’s why I finally sat down and tried to wade through my feelings on this in a somewhat coherent (I hope) manner:

Today while we were at the play group – after the out-of-this-world, truck-filled walk – Olive was sitting down and I was trying to show her how to play a little game where you hammered golf tees into a fabric-covered styrofoam block.

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Motor skills, hands-on learning, blah blabbity blah. I was all over it and she was pretty uninterested in the whole thing, and I remarked as much to a nearby woman whose little boy wanted a turn. “Aww” she sympathised, “Yeah, better leave the hammering to the boys, hey?”

What do you say to that? I’ll tell you what I said: nothing. I said nothing and then pondered that statement during our whole walk home (Ooh! More trucks!), and then I put Olive down for a nap and then I sat down to spill these thoughts into a million word blog post.

I was surprised, and I honestly didn’t know how to react.  She genuinely didn’t mean anything by the remark, it wasn’t meant to dissuade my daughter from a lifetime of pursuing hands-on professions, or to reaffirm her status as a helpless woman. It was a line tossed out to make conversation with a stranger and I’m not sure it would have been appropriate to launch into a “SHE CAN DO ANYTHING A BOY CAN DO!” rant. I’m not telling this story to blame or shame, I am sure I have said similar things, tossed similar words out without thinking.

We all have. And THAT’s the problem. It’s so ingrained that we don’t notice, we don’t question.

Boys wear blue. Girls wear pink. Boys play with trucks. Girls play with dolls. Why? Because they like to! But WHY do they like to? Is it possibly because we have gently, perhaps unconsciously, steered them towards those socially acceptable choices since the day they were born? For some it was even before that- their rooms were decorated with princesses or baseballs while they were still busily growing fingernails.

I think confronting gender inequality isn’t really about confronting huge, in-your-face issues. It’s about addressing the subtleties. The things so small we don’t even notice. It’s a huge component of why I don’t let Olive watch TV or movies – especially Disney movies. Why do I want her watching a movie where the cast is 99% male? Ora movie where the main character, a girl, decides to literally give up her voice in order to win a man? Or where, in the first five seconds of a movie aimed at CHILDREN, one plane taunts another that he ‘flies like a girl”?

Fuck that.

It’s a huge world out there. I don’t want Olive to have access to only half of it. I truly don’t care whether she likes pink or blue. I’ll be happy whether she’s a doctor or a nurse – or eschews conventional career paths altogether. The only thing I will fight for, tooth and nail, is her ability to CHOOSE. To have open access to each of those choices. To not be policed – to her face or behind her back – if or when she doesn’t conform to gender norms.

She is eighteen months old and she understands me when I ask her to put a bottle in the recycling bin. She understands me when I say we’re going to call Papa after lunch. She points at herself as an answer when I ask, “Who’s my big girl?”.

Did she understand that woman today? If she didn’t, it’s just a matter of time before she does. It’s a matter of months before she begins to absorb those remarks. Will she stop shouting so loudly? Will she lose interest in trucks? Will she squash parts of herself because she intuits (perhaps correctly) that they aren’t valued in women?

I hope to have a son someday, and if or when I  do, I will fight this same battle for him. He will spend his whole life hearing people say how strong he is and I will try to show him that it’s ok to be soft, too. I will wander around clothing stores being bludgeoned with sports paraphernalia and diggers. I will try to cuddle him as much as I cuddled Olive. I will try not to tell him not to cry. We will go to the library and we will get books about trucks and hockey sticks, puppies and princesses. He will have Olive’s old baby dolls hanging around and if he shows an interest in them, instinctively picks them up and hugs them, we will take out books about babies. We will read about daddies who cuddle and rock, men who hug and talk.

We are losing so much by ignoring little boys.

Gender equality isn’t about creating a world of men, it’s about creating a world of whole people.

We can’t do that by ignoring our other halves.

Motherhood

An ode to benevolent strangers

Gratitude print, by Lisa Congdon on Etsy

Gratitude is really hot right now, and I’m not very good at it.

I mean, if you would like a primer on how to live with one foot in the past re-living every one of your mistakes and missteps and one foot in the future terrified of all the ways life could still go wrong, I am your lady. Seriously, I have a masters in that messed-up business. But being present, and even more than that, being grateful for being where I am – I don’t know how to do that. I struggle with it, and it doesn’t come naturally to me. I force it, I force myself to acknowledge it and it feels wooden and awkward. “Thank you” I say, stiffly, (to whom am I speaking? I have no idea). “Thank you for my health, my husband, my Olive. Thank you for family, and for living in Canada and for the chance to write.”

And then I sit there for a few minutes trying to feel this gratitude and trying to will it to flow through me like water. Trying not to let my inner voice cancel out those verbalized thank-you’s.

Trying to resist adding, like a sullen teenager, “For my health (except for this kidney condition that makes my heart race and my back tighten up like an angry fist, this condition I will live with for the rest of my life with no reprieve and no idea who or what I would have been without it), and for my husband, (except when we face off like hockey players hidden under eighteen layers of pads and face-masks, each unwilling to yield an inch), and my Olive. Thank you for family (except the ones that are too far away to love properly. The ones who I have to ration out like squares of expensive chocolate, denying myself for months and then scarfing down several dozen at once and ending up with a stomach-ache from the richness) and for living in Canada and for the chance to write (except when I sit here stilted and dry, waiting for words that do not come, and except when I send words out into this strange void and hear nothing back. Hello?)”

So, it is always a goal of mine to get better at gratitude. I hope desperately that if I do it enough and force it enough and say enough stiff, self-conscious prayers of thanks (is that what they are? prayers?)  that maybe it will feel more natural someday.

This post is one such attempt.

I remember before I was pregnant, hearing women complain about the invasion of space. Stranger’s hands on their bellies, nosy questions, inappropriate inquiries. Then suddenly I was one of them, I was pregnant, gloriously, gloriously pregnant and funnily enough I didn’t feel any of that. I saw people look at me, then down at my huge belly while a huge grin spread over their faces. I felt like my pregnant belly was some magic happiness wand, and faced with it waddling towards them people became magical better versions of themselves. Doors flew open and seats were offered, people would give me their place in line and ask if I needed anything.

Similarly, when I had Olive I was worried  – terrified, actually – of taking her in public initially. I was worried about her crying, and people glaring or judging or sighing loudly while muttering about that “damn baby”.

But, faced with little O, who is small but manages to command an incredible amount of attention with her magnificent happy bellowing, people have just been so lovely. Surprisingly so.

I have been so awed and, yes, so grateful for the many small kindnesses of benevolent strangers over the past eighteen months.

Here is my attempt to thank a few of them.

 

1. To the elderly woman beside me on the bus when Olive was two months old. We were on the way to see my mom in Victoria, and having held it together for most of the bus-ferry-bus-bus journey, Olive just let ‘er rip for the last fifteen minutes of the bus ride. She screamed and screamed, and I slunk deeper and deeper into my seat, trying to jiggle her and nurse her – trying to somehow silence her by sheer will and determination.

The woman made eye contact and instead of muttering about shutting up that damn baby, she (between Olive’s screams) told me about her son (now middle-aged) who as a baby could only be calmed by being pulled around in a sled. She commiserated and made me feel like the ear-shattering caterwauling was totally normal. She made me feel like a real mother, just dealing with her crying babies like a boss. I loved her and I felt so grateful for her sharing that common ground, that eight-pounds-of-screaming experience that all mothers have lived through, and inevitably grow to miss.

 

2. To the women who reached out to me when I first moved to this small town.  Before we moved here, I joined the local Facebook Moms Swap ‘n Shop group and asked a few questions about yoga classes, baby groups etc.

What I was really saying, of course, was Help! I am moving and I have a baby and I don’t know anyone. I am leaving my friends and my family, I am scared and I need some support, I need some ladyfriends to talk to about poop and breastfeeding without seeming like a crazy person.  

A woman sussed out that not-so-subtle subtext and messaged me, she said she had a daughter around the same age as Olive, and offered to take me for coffee when I moved. We met up and she introduced me to other moms, told me about the public health drop-in and the coffee shop with the kids play area. These women and I went on walks through the forest and alongside the ocean, we went for coffee and to the park and occasionally we ditched the babies and went out to the movies, revelling in the novelty of empty arms and adult conversation (about our babies…but still!).

This was such a small, simple thing to do, to reach out to a stranger and welcome her into your town, but it meant the world to me, and it also meant I got to leave the house occasionally wearing real clothes, and that was just so essential to my sanity.

 

3.  To everyone who has ever played peek-a-boo with Olive, anywhere, ever. Peek-a-boo is the universal language of babies. Everyone speaks it, and for those that chose to engage Olive in conversation over the past eighteen months, thank you.

In grocery store lineups, at the mall, at the swimming pool and on the what feels like millions of ferry rides we’ve taken. Thank you for amusing Olive, for probably staving off a tantrum or two, for alleviating her boredom, for allowing me a few blessed minutes of being “off”. You are the best. Plus, seeing a businessman play peek-a-boo is pretty much the best thing, ever.

 

4. To the woman who passed us in the mall  a few months ago. We were in the mall because it was raining again and we needed to get out of the house and run around. Olive was being challenging, frustrated with having been cooped up for so long, drunk with the heady feeling of FREEDOM!

Our outing was quickly devolving into a series of “No, Olive. Noooo, Don’t touch, sweetie. Just look, don’t touch. DON’T touch. No. Okay let’s go!” at which point I would pick her up as she’d cry and protest and go all limp-noodle in my arms. I’d carry this little bundle of rage twenty feet down the mall, where she’d walk ten steps and something else breakable/hazardous/gross would catch her eye and the cycle would repeat itself.

As all of this was unfolding and she was racing up and down a ramp for the eleventh time, and woman passed me and paused, “Is she yours?” she asked. I stiffened, “Yes” I replied. “Well,’ she said, looking at O screeching and careening towards us, “Aren’t you just the luckiest?”

This was said without the slightest trace of irony (trust me, I scavenged her face for it). I met her eyes and I said, again, “Yes.”. Those few small words just turned that day around. I am the luckiest.

 

5. To the young man with the llama (?) neck pillow on our flight from Edmonton-Vancouver. Olive was enthralled with the thing, and instead of being creeped out, or annoyed, or (worst of all) pretending you didn’t see the two-foot tall creature constantly escaping her harried mother to race back to your seat and point at your pillow while signing “More! more!”, you played with her for on and off for almost half the flight.

Thank you for letting her touch your (apparently irresistable) llama neck pillow with her (probably filthy) toddler hands. Thank you for letting her hug it and kiss it, thank you for making it talk in a funny voice. Thank you for taking the time to make a stranger’s daughter laugh.

 

6. To the man I parked beside in the Rexall parking lot on Tuesday afternoon. We were coming back from a weekend at my mom’s house in Victoria and I’d run out of diapers.I was getting Olive out of the car and she was babbling excitedly because she saw an airplane and some birds, and I was chatting to her like you do -“Oh! An airplane! That’s a big plane. Oh yes, and some birds, too! Look at the birds – are they eating?”  – and I noticed an elderly man sitting in the passenger seat of the car next to us. He smiled at us, the corners of his mouth reaching almost to his ears. He rolled down his window and asked how old she was, and then told me that he still remembered his son  – who was inside picking up a prescription for him – at that age. Toddling around, precocious and chubby. He said that it had gone so fast, too fast.

When we came out he was still there, waiting. As I buckled Olive into her seat he started barking like a dog at her. She loves dogs, she started giggling and he looked so happy, but also so wistful that I honestly almost started to cry. Guys, I will be an old lady in a parking lot looking wistfully at strangers children before I know it.

I got Olive to blow him some kisses and wave, and, as I stepped into the driver’s seat he said to me before he rolled up the window, “You sure are a nice young mother.”

*****

There are more. Oh god, there are so many more I’ll never remember them all. Everyone who ever smiled at me chasing after her and said, “She’s sure keeping you busy!” instead of judging me, or judging her. Everyone who picked up a fork thrown to the floor in a restaurant, and handed it to her. Everyone who remarked about how cute she was, or how sweet – even when she was being anything but.  

Thank you, strangers. Thank you for tolerating my loud, happy, crazy, sometimes crying child. Thank you for not only tolerating her, but seeming to actually delight in her. You make my days easier and my heart full – in the cheesiest way possible – with the basic decency of humanity – we are just a bunch of humans playing peek-a-boo and smiling, thinking of our own children, now grown.

Benevolent strangers, you have the eternal, everlasting gratitude of this nice young mother.

Motherhood, Musings

Things I Don’t Do Anymore

A sampling of things I don’t do nearly as much as I should (or at all, in some cases), and that I sometimes feel vaguely guilty about/aware of/motivated to change, with varying degrees of success:

  • Read. as much as I’d like to, anyway. I used to read at least a book a week. Now? Maybe one a month if I’m lucky. The issue isn’t even time, it’s attention span. I can’t seem to get my mind to focus in diving into, and fully committing to the kind of books I like to read best, the books where it takes fifteen minutes to settle into the author’s writing style, cadence of speech and narrative. Shifting and arranging yourself until it becomes familiar and engrossing. These days I barely make it ten minutes before jumping up to make tea, switch laundry over, check some entirely useless and unremarkable thing on my phone, etc. UGH.
  • Do yoga. In the year before Olive was born I really got into yoga, I found an amazing studio and was going 2-3 times a week. My body felt loose and capable, strong and flexed. I continued practicing in a mom and baby class after she was born, but since moving I have been to only one or two classes and neither style resonated with me and so I am here, crunched and hunched and feeling as brittle as an eighty year old woman. I have promised to get back into it a million times, but funds are few and yoga studios are tough because you really have to mesh with the teacher – or I do anyway – otherwise I am just spending $15 a class to internally berate someone for repeating “breathe innnnn, breathe outtttt” in an incredibly obnoxious way.
  • Deal with my hair. Oh my god seriously. I did not notice that I had amazing hair when I was pregnant, but in retrospect I suspect that  my hair did get a little bit amazing, comparatively speaking.Take a look at this grainy photograph from when I was about eight or nine months pregnant.

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  • I mean, the hair isn’t anything incredible, but compared to the straw heap I am now dealing with this demure little side-parted ponytail looks absolutely breathtaking.The thing is, after you have a baby all of your delightful pregnancy hormones go away. And this means that you suddenly lose all of the hair that you weren’t losing for the past nine months, and what this means is that when your baby is fifteen months old you will be looking in the mirror trying to understand why every strand of your hair – not hyperbole here, literally  every strand- is a different length ranging from 1″ onwards. Hair sticks out of my head in all directions making me look like an angry hedgehog and no matter how much I brush or condition or otherwise attempt to manage it, I look disheveled. So, I mean, what’s the point right? Any other angry hedgehogs out there who have stumbled upon a solution to this issue, please feel free to rescue whats left of my dignity and share it with me in the comments.
  • Connecting with friends. I am the worst at calling people, returning calls, answering calls, and not ignoring calls and/or sending them straight to voicemail. If you have ever tried to call me on the phone I would like to take this opportunity to say two things: 1) I am so, so sorry, and 2) I am probably never phoning you back.It’s not because I don’t love you, or miss you, or wonder what is going on with your life and your house and your husband and your job, it’s just because I feel completely ill-equipped to carry on my end of a conversation and give your words the attention they deserve while simultaneously trying to prevent Olive from eating kibble again. She loves kibble. She is sneaky about getting to the kibble. She becomes enraged when you forcibly extract kibble from her mouth and she tries to bite you and then Gus lurks nearby because he keeps hearing me say “Kibble” and I usually slip in one of his drool puddles and concuss myself.

    So. Email me, maybe?

 

  •  Sleep. I mean, obviously, right? There’s the baby, but it also bears mentioning that I am completely incapable of going to bed at a reasonable hour so really, I have no business blaming Olive for why every SINGLE morning I haul myself out of bed, stare my bedraggled hedgehog-self in the mirror and say, with utmost sincerity, “Okay I am going to go to bed early tonight. For REAL this time.”And guys, I mean it! I really mean it. Then I go to work and come home, eat dinner, give Olive her bath, read her a million books, put her to bed and then find reason after reason to put off bedtime for like eight more hours. Repeat.

So, is this list basically a summary of several things that I used to truly value and indeed, consider essential to my personhood, that have almost entirely disappeared from my life since having Olive?

Um. Yes. And it’s only going to get worse (or so they tell me!) Each successful child will find a few more things to wrench from my life,  like greedy little succubi (succubuses? I’ve never had the pleasure of using the plural before) until I am little more than a husk that they call Mama.

But in exchange I get this:

DSC_0774-001

So – even?

I hear that doing yoga and having good hair are overrated, anyway.