Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby Poop And Other Fun Stuff


Very few things really start the day off right like a big healthy dose of baby poop. It's my nice metaphor for life - Baby Poop. It's messy, it smells, it demands our attention and action, and we clean it half-heartily, begrugingly, and for the most part you wish someone else would just take care of it for you. Few people in life get excited about baby poop and those few people are yes, you guessed it MOTHERS.

In the first few months and years of your child's life, you spend an odd number of hours thinking about oh, here it comes again, BABY POOP. There is the wondering about what is normal or not normal - size, frequency, color, consistancy, etc. Then when my eight month old wasn't pooping and was so constipated he cried there was the fun of giving a supository to a crying baby - or as some of us know it - a butt bomb. As if shoving something up your infant's butt isn't weird enough - you watch for a few seconds/minutes for the explosion.

Oh the explosions I've seen in my life time. My favorite was when my daughter was sick and it was so bad I made my husband get this scissors because sometimes, no clothing is worth the price of washing putricity out of it. Now that my daughter is toilet training I wonder if the poop obsession will ever end. Will she ever tell me when she has to go or will my mom continue to find her pulling off a retched pull-up in secret. So where am I going with this? I'm not sure.

It just occured to me that it's a good metaphor for life. Life is BABY POOP, messy and necessary and suck-tastic. It's also a great metaphor for Motherhood because mom's touch, smell, and clean some of the nastiest things EVER. I have held out my cupped palms to catch my daughter's vomit, had poop on my hands more times then I can count, even got it in my hair once too. We are the caregivers and we take the shit. If we didn't love our kids we probably wouldn't do half of the things we do.

So why doesn't Mike Rowe follow us around when filming Dirty Jobs? It's man-tastic programing at its finest and I bet every man in every dirty job featured on that show wouldn't hesitate for one second when he comes home from a long day cleaning porta-potties, cleaning animal cages, or hauling trash, to hand off his son or daughter to his wife at the first wiff of BABY POOP. If you've got a husband, boyfriend, or even know a man who willingly changes stinky, baby poop, and especially if he can do it without making the vomit sound- buy that man a drink because lord knows it takes more intestinal fortitude for him to do what we do every day.

So if you've got a funny Baby Poop moment, feel free to share it cause god knows as mothers, sometimes we need a good laugh to get through life and oh yes the BABY POOP.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Live Life Don't Eat It

So a couple of events sparked this post. First, a few weeks ago I was getting a "treat" at Dunkin Donuts - a vanilla coffee coolatta. They have a new "kiddie" size which is perfect for me since I really never finish a "small." So the guy in line behind me comes running after me "What is that?" He is utterly shocked at how "small" my beverage is. Now I have the sizes in quotes because truthfully it was at least 8 ounces of liquid, which to me should be regular size not "kiddie" size.

So I think to myself what was I doing the day all the restaurants decided that small was just too small and they were going to make "small" what "medium or large" used to be and make "medium or large" ginormous? I don't remember the sneaky little trick and I certainly don't remember anyone complaining or even stopping to think about it.

So the second thing to spark this post is a show I watched yes, big sigh, on Oprah yesterday all about diabetes. My mom has diabetes so I watched determined to educate myself and find one maybe just one fact that I could share with her that would give her as Oprah says "An AH HA Moment." I shared that "a single serving of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar in it" to my diabetic mother who lives off a diet that falls into the following categories: SODA, SNACKS, WHITE CARBS (bread, pasta, rice, bagels, etc.), and last but not least FATTY MEATS. My mother, as could be predicted, sloughed off the comment with a nod of her head. She wanted to know about as badly as she wants to admit to herself that she does have some control over her body and her health.

So I ask, when did people (not all but some) decide that they'd rather eat away their life instead of live it? I find myself falling into the same pattern of thought as everyone else, but I see my mother's poor health and her unwillingness to accept any responsibility in the matter as my wake up call. I found myself on a late night trip to Wal-Mart for medicine one night promising my daughter a "treat" if she's good because I know it's getting late and she's getting cranky. I immediately thought ok I'll grab her a candy bar at check out and I almost said it outloud before I thought hey when did "treat" become only food and usually junk food at that. So instead I promised her a new story book for bed time. So she didn't get the temporary sugar high and instead got a book which we've been reading every night since.

It's no wonder we have so many health problems in this country. Our entire lives are at least 90 percent virtual. We don't walk the mall -we shop in our PJs in front of the computer, we don't go out with friends- we post factoids about our lives on Facebook or text our friends because God forbid we actually be dragged into a conversation. We don't experience life, we view it and for some, hell for most, we eat it. Every birthday celebration has to include cake right? We "treat" ourselves with chocolate or chips when we're upset, stressed, happy, fill in the blank and we do it. We medicate ourselves with food and then wake up one day to find that our body has had enough and starts letting us know in painful ways.

Everyone does it, not excluding me, I take responsibility. I wish more people would just take a second thought before promising a "treat" to their kids or "treating" themselves with food. Maybe your kids would be just as happy if you took them to the park, played a game with them, read them a story. Maybe before "treating" ourselves with food we could take a yoga class, read a book, take a trip, call a friend, or one of a thousand other possibilities. I'm not writing all this to be judgmental. I just want people to think for a second - What is my life worth?

Life is fragile and fleeting. Believe me I don't think my dad sat down in his twenties one day and said, yeah I'm middle aged, but by dying at 45 from abusing alcohol that's exactly what his twenties were- the middle of a life cut way to short by his choices. You know who pays for those choices, me and everyone else he left behind. So too will be the case with my mom. I don't think I'll ever get my mom to see her life as the valuable thing it is.

In a world of disposable everything I think that quality of life is becoming disposable too. Is one "treat" going to hurt you- of course not. Are you going to have health problems because you enjoy sitting down to a favorite meal with your family - No, but a lifetime spent eating life and not living it equals a poor quality of life down the road. And guess what -it's those we leave behind that pay the price. So my mantra now is Live Life Don't Eat it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

There is no "ME" in MOMMY

If you ask yourself at least once a day, "Am I doing the right thing?," "Am I failing my children?," "Am I a horrible mother?" LISTEN UP - you're perfectly normal. What I find most intriguing about motherhood is that rarely does a woman truly ask herself, "What about me?"

The first thing to go when you become a parent is simply "you." Short of changing your identity by joining wittness protection, you are in short a completely different "you" once you have children. If you're like me, you view your pre-child life kinda like a good old familiar movie you remember watching over and over. You know the lines by heart, but ultimately you are a spectator viewing your own past. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's just different.

I wish I could say that having children makes you completely selfless. That you are devoted 100% of the time to your child(ren)'s utter happiness, but this is real life and not the hallmark channel. There are days, especially when your feeling sick, tired, rundown, unappreciated, overwhelmed where you want to scream, "WHAT ABOUT ME???" You wonder, sometimes outloud, where's my help? Where's my vacation?" Hell most days I'd settle for getting in the car by myself and going anywhere, hearing silence and not being so utterly tired that I can appreciate it for more than the few minutes it takes to drag my ass to bed.

As a very introspective person, motherhood has been like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded. I always prided myself in knowing exactly who I am and what I'm capable of. But I have found myself, even hearing myself as I'm doing it screaming at a toddler, begging a baby not to cry, cursing a husband for working late even though I know it's for the benefit of our family but because I need help and god damn it there is no freaking end to my day. Parenthood doesn't have a pause button, a rewind, there is no do over so this is where the worry comes in "Am I failing my children?" "Am I balancing work and family or will the scale always be tipped?" God the worry doesn't stop. I simpy have to hope that we all escape parenthood and childhood without any permanent scaring. But I have decided at least for myself that there is no Right Way to be a parent. There is simply what you do and what you don't do and as long as you can appreciate that and the fact that you can't always control the outcome and for the most part you're ok with the direction you take, then you ARE a good parent and you ARE a good person.

I may wonder sometimes "Will there ever come a day where I have more than a 20 minute shower to call my ALONE TIME?," but while walking around my empty house after returning from urgent care a few weeks ago, I was a little freaked out by how ALONE I really was. I simply didn't remember what to do without children to take care of. So I cleaned, not my favorite past time by any stretch of the imagination, but I was used to feeling useful, needed, depended upon and completely loved nearly every second of the day and the temporary silence was utterly deafening. So I have traded in "ME" for "MOMMY." It's not to say there is no more me, there is just a new ME, a forever changed version of ME. Sometimes I may look back, but never with regret.