I Don’t Feel Like Writing Today…

…but I’m doing it anyway. Where is my prize?

Since I started this whole “write every day for a month” thing, I haven’t really had a day where I felt super foot-draggy over writing. So I guess I was due.

In general, I think I could use a rest, and that’s why today is so hard, motivation-wise. I’ve been working a lot and Baboo is teething and not sleeping much … which means I’m not sleeping much either. It’s hard to feel super excited about writing when you’re exhausted.

All this to say: this is 100 percent a placeholder post, to keep up my blogging streak, and I accept all of your scorn. More substantial blogging to commence tomorrow.


It Turns Out That Being Physically Incompetent Is a Big Problem When You Become a Mom

I know, I know. Everyone claims to be uncoordinated. But here’s how bad it is with me: not only was in remedial gym class as a kid, but as an adult, I regularly injure myself by tripping up the stairs.

It doesn’t help that I wear glasses and have flat feet and hip dysplasia (yes, like a Golden Retriever). But the real problem is that I’m just not a person who feels terribly at home in the physical world. If I could make myself into a brain in a jar, I probably would. For one thing, I’m guessing my back pain would disappear.

Yesterday, I went to my weekly moms’ group — a sanity saver that I’d recommend to anyone who’s becoming a parent for the first time. When the subject of baby-wearing came up, I confessed that I’d never been able to figure out my baby carrier. Adam used it, before Baboo was old enough to fit into his carrier, but I tried it twice and quit when I couldn’t figure out the straps.

The good news is that I definitely made the brand-new mom who was having trouble with baby-wearing feel better. The bad news is that then I felt worse.

But here’s another reason why these groups are so valuable: I got home and immediately started working on figuring out how to use my baby carrier. It took a YouTube video, Adam’s help, and about 20 minutes of practice. But we did it.

Pictured: an activity I will never attempt with Baboo.

It’s Possible That Today’s Parents Know Too Much

Let’s talk about Tylenol, and how it’s the only thing that helps Katie when her teeth really hurt, and how we’re supposed to use it “sparingly.”

Tylenol is a serious drug. Used carelessly, it can cause liver damage … and that’s in adults, who weigh more than a Thanksgiving turkey and have presumably given their livers some training over the years. (Note: I understand that this is not how livers work.)

Our pediatricians stressed early on that Tylenol was only for emergencies. The problem is, we’re pretty much in a constant, rolling emergency over here with the teething.

You guys, I had no idea how bad teething could get. Katie is agony. She pulls at her gums and looks at us beseechingly. The worst part is, she doesn’t even know why she feels as bad as she does.

We’ve tried everything else — cold things, frozen things, gum massage, warm baths, going for a walk, looking at something new (birds, fish, new toys, new people). But the only thing that helps is to give her the drugs.

However, we don’t want to overdo it, so we reserve it for extreme pain and when we’re all about to collapse from lack of sleep. This means, realistically, about once every other day.

I tell you, I long for the days of giving babies paregoric and whiskey. I can’t believe we have to struggle through this with frozen washcloths and emergency Tylenol for three years.

colourful capsules
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

My Baby, the MMA Fighter

“This is her idea of a great morning,” Adam said, holding the squirming baby on his lap when I came up from my basement office to say hi. “Smiling at Mommy … while literally stepping on Dad’s dick. Which is what she’s doing right now. I think she’s trying to make sausage wine. It’s possible that she thinks she’s in a log-rolling contest. Anyway, ow.”

One thing they don’t tell you when you have a baby is that they beat you up all the time. Baboo gets super excited whenever I come into the room, and she expresses this by grabbing my face and pulling whatever she has in her hand. Sometimes, it’s my nose. Sometimes, it’s my cheek. Once, I swear she nearly got my eye out. Nearly. But there’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true.

She’s the cutest and most vicious person I know. Of course, none of this is malicious. Also, it would help if I kept her nails trimmed, but that’s harder than it sounds. You put your sweet, innocent baby to bed with normal baby nails, and she wakes up with sloth claws. I’m guessing that this is a sign of good health. I’d tell you how grateful I am about that in person, but it’s hard for me to speak as this morning she reached right out and ripped my lips off my face.

The kicker is obviously a very tall baby. The kickee is that baby’s loving parent. Photo: Snapwire/Pexels.com

So, I’ve Figured Out How to Get Stuff Done With a Baby

And it involves getting very comfortable with light yelling.

When we first had Baboo, Adam and I realized very quickly that we weren’t comfortable letting her cry it out. However, what we didn’t know was that there’s a wide gulf between “crying it out” and “vocalizing in a complainy manner.”

Before I was able to make that distinction, I essentially got nothing done while I was watching Baboo. None work and none cleaning and none cooking and none personal hygiene. I was a smelly, hungry, cranky mess and my house looked like a time capsule from the year six months ago.

I could picture a team of intrepid explorers jimmying the front door and standing in awe of the perfectly preserved tableau before them.

“What do you see?” one pith-helmeted digger would ask the other.

“Wonderful things!” the other would say. “… Actually, wait. It looks like a bunch of toys that no one has put away in a week and a laundry pile that’s grown into the furniture.”

I’m getting better, because I’m getting used to Baboo and learning her code. Sometimes, she wails and that means, “Pick me up right away. It’s a baby emergency!” Other times, she fusses a little and it means, “I would prefer to be cuddled right now, but I can actually wait.”

This morning, I made some chili in the Crock-Pot and she gritched from her chair the whole time.

“This baby is okay,” I told her, stirring the pan. “This baby is just fine.”

She gave me a dirty look, which is how I know she’s starting to understand me, too.

Writing Every Day When You Have a Six-Month-Old Baby

Of all the crazy things I’ve tried to do in my life, blogging every day this month while my six-month-old teethes is right up there.

I can barely form a sentence with my mouthparts, never mind write things down and have them make sense to a person who’s used to getting more than two hours of sleep at a stretch.

On the other hand, I can really use the outlet. I’ve been promising myself that I’ll spend more time with real people and less time online, but I tend to make that promise when the baby accidentally forgets to wake me up every 45 minutes all night long. In reality, talking to internet friends is about as much as I can expect from myself, given that it’s actually dangerous for me to operate heavy machinery at this point. I’m not sure it’s wise for me to drive to a friend’s house to see them in person.

Last night, Baboo woke up every 45 minutes unless she was sleeping on me. Ordinarily, I might try to catch a guilty nap in the chair while holding her, but she was committed to lying with her head hanging waaay out over the armrest, and I just didn’t dare. So I really have no idea if I’m writing actual human words at this point. Apologies if it’s just a keyboard smash and a loop of sobbing (mine).

Pictured: a woman who can definitely sustain a daily blogging practice.

MLMs Are the Worst, But Judging MLMers Feeds the Patriarchy

Becoming a mom means becoming a mark for all sorts of marketing schemes, but perhaps none is more constant than invitations to join multi-level marketing companies.

If you a female lady person in our society, whether or not you have kids, you’ve probably experienced these. When we were young, it was Tupperware and Avon. Now it’s Rodan + Fields or Young Living or LuLaRoe. Every time you turn around, some friend of yours is trying to get you to buy their essential oils or nail wraps or diet shakes.

Often, they’ll also try to get you to sign up to sell them as well, and for good reason — the real money in most of these programs comes from recruiting other sellers, not from hawking the goods yourself.

When you become a mom — or when a bunch of your friends become moms — you’ll notice that the pitches ramp up in intensity and frequency, until it seems like every time you open your email or Facebook, there are a handful of messages urging you to join this online party or sign up for that MLM program.

Other people have covered these programs and their problems in greater depth than I have time to do here, but suffice it to say that most people do not get rich working for MLMs. If you’re thinking about it, and you want more than just some free or subsidized skincare products, think twice. You’re much more likely to wind up with a garage full of unsold stuff and some crushing debt than you are to become a lady boss with a fancy car and hot vacation photos.

All that said … can we stop ragging on the women who participate in these programs? I’m sincerely tired of it. I get it — it’s annoying to be pitched all the time. But here’s the thing about MLMs — they exist for a reason. And that reason is that it’s next to impossible to spend time with your family while earning enough money to support said family.

That doesn’t mean that joining an MLM is a good idea. It is almost always a terrible idea. But it’s completely understandable why women want to believe that it will work out. If you’re reading this in the U.S., you already know that we live in one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. Unlike many other countries, we also skip out on benefits like subsidized childcare, government-funded healthcare and financial support for families.

You’re on your own here. For most families, this means that every adult in the household has to work full-time and pay for childcare out of pocket. Some parents — usually moms — stay home, but that has financial repercussions beyond just giving up a few years’ salary.

I’m writing this in part because I’m as guilty as anyone of rolling my eyes at MLMs, but I’m going to try to stop. It’s not the sellers who deserve our scorn. It’s (many of) the companies who play on their desperation. And it’s a culture that makes it impossibly hard for parents to be with their kids and survive.

woman in white blazer holding tablet computer
Pictured: a woman who is just trying to live.