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Post-Postpartum


The Same, But Rearranged

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Post Postpartum | A Practical Wedding

The Same, But Rearranged

Last week, ten months postpartum, I got back to my pre-baby weight. And suddenly, I was having a hard time.

I put on almost half my body weight in pregnancy. Each prenatal doctors appointment would have a moment of tension. The stress didn’t come when I got on the scale, because what the hell? I was pregnant; I was supposed to be gaining weight. It was the moment when they’d tally my weight gain. “Hum.” They’d say. “You’re not on target for a thirty pound weight gain.” Which was a nice way of putting it, since I’d put on thirty pounds by twenty weeks, so no shit. It was all healthy (I had a ten pound baby that would hit twenty pounds in six months, so my body knew what it was doing), but the medical establishment doesn’t allow for a ton of flexibility around pregnant bodies. Which is, now that I think of it, something of a harbinger of things to come.

But all of that weight gain made the postpartum process easier for me. My body didn’t look anything like it normally did, and I considered myself on a journey back. And the thing about taking a journey is that you just go step by step, imagining what the destination will look like. When I’d complain about my stomach, David would offer to do crunches with me, if I wanted. And while I never took him up on it, the idea was that if I didn’t like my situation, I could just do something to change it, or that it would slowly change over time.

And then I hit my normal weight. And in the moment I grabbed the golden ring that everyone (plus US Weekly) really wants you to grab, I realized that what I didn’t have was my pre-baby body back, and I never will. My boobs are not the same. My stomach is not the same. And while I’m the same weight, everything is oddly rearranged: smaller feet, broader hips, and all that hair that fell out is now growing in like a pixie cut underneath my long hair. But all of this is really just physical manifestation of the bigger picture: I’m the same as I ever was, but not. I’m me, but rearranged.

No Toys On The Floor/Motherhood Contains The Secret Of Life

David and I will celebrate our ninth (non-wedding) anniversary as a couple in a month. When we got together we were shiny young twenty-somethings with the world on a string. Sure, we were broke (in my case very broke) and confused about what on earth we were going to do with our lives. But we were bright and had nothing but hope. The charm of getting together at twenty-three and twenty-four is that on some level, that remains at the core of your relationship. Things move and shift, but together, you’re still the two kids that stayed out till three in the morning flirting with the world and talking theatre and politics.

This week, as I’ve started to return to myself, I’ve had to realize that things have rearranged. I don’t have twenty-four-year-old boobs anymore. I also don’t have my favorite bar down the block. Instead I have toys spread out on my living room floor, a family and staff to provide for, and a husband who has to meet a billable hours requirement of seven and a half hours a day for his job. I also have a fantastic kid, the money to buy a really nice bra, a career I love, an excellent liquor collection, and nine happy years under my belt. And I’m a little confused about all of it, because quite honestly, the description I just typed sounds nothing like me (other than the bit about the booze).

Women seem to fall into two camps about prospective motherhood: “I won’t change, I’ll just be me with a baby” and “Everything will change. Everything.” I fell into the former camp, but the heart of the problem is that neither statement has a chance of being accurate. You’re always going to just be you, but if having a kid doesn’t change you a little, you’re really taking your eye off the ball.

The changes that come with motherhood mean that I may never fit into my pre-baby jeans again (the bone structure of my hips is too wide). But it also means I don’t have a core group of people I fit in with anymore. I can’t meet the expectations of the friends who want me to not have toys on the floor and always get a babysitter when we go out to eat. And there is no way I’m going to join other friends at baby playgroups at 9am on a Saturday to sing “The Wheels on The Bus.” (Why can’t I just sing Queen to the baby over a scotch at home?)

There are days that I feel like I’ve rearranged into a person that fits in nowhere: the mom who really wants to hang out with her kid, who works full time as a creative, and who feels more comfortable in skinny jeans than in business casual or mommy-and-me clothes. The advice for new mothers is always to “find your pod,” but the reality is that my pod is a messy mix of friends with no kids and no patience for nap time, friends who parent totally differently than me, friends who get it but are not going to have kids for years, and friends who parent exactly like me and live way too far away. As for doing a lot of work to find the exactly right pod of mothers for me, right here, right now? Well. I am a terrible misfit at mothers groups, I like the friends I have, and I would rather use my limited spare time having a drink with my husband or going to the damn gym to have time to myself. If that mythical pod of parents is out there, they’re doing Queen sing-alongs without me. (Call me, maybe?)

It’s Okay To Be A Hater?

It seems like the cool way to be a mom these days it to proudly admit that motherhood is a messy pain in the ass, and make sure everyone knows that having a clean house, a kid you enjoy, and a career you love is a myth. Which makes it tough if you, you know, enjoy your kid and your career and your relatively tidy house. I mean, motherhood is a pain in the ass, don’t get me wrong, but life is a pain in the ass too. Nobody particularly enjoys being thrown-up on, but nobody really digs cleaning the toilet either. Luckily, both situations are improved by changing your clothes directly thereafter.

Someone in my social network recently shared “To My Post-Partum Self: Things I Wished I’d Known.” I bit, because hey, I remember postpartum like it was yesterday (it was). It was one of those articles that was clearly supposed to speak to me, the no-bullshit modern mother. And then I got to this part, “Be a hater. And those moms who appear to have it all together? The size six supermoms who appear perky and well-rested? The ones who haul big designer diaper bags brimming with healthy snacks and water and sunscreen and extra outfits and hand sanitizer? It is okay to wish them small misfortunes, like fecal incontinence or eye herpes.”

Well fuck me.

Even if we ignore the angst that hit when my jeans fit, and the fact that my designer diaper bag is the best gift I’ve ever been given—even ignoring that, I’m apparently still not in the club. My bag is currently packed with organic baby puree (simply because it turns out that we are disappointedly too lazy to make our own), extra outfits, and two hand sanitizers. I’m lazy but organized, and apparently doing it wrong.

It turns out, in motherhood, someone is always ready to point out that you’re doing it wrong. You’re working too much, or have given up your career and ambition. You’re a disorganized mess, or you’re a perky asshole. You’re finding motherhood too hard, or too easy. You’ve changed too much, or you haven’t changed enough. And meanwhile, you’re circling and circling around your twenty-four-year-old self, trying to figure out how you’ve grown and rearranged, and how to balance in this slightly new body.

Eyes On The Prize

My early months of motherhood were spent trying to keep up appearances. The toys were picked up religiously, so you wouldn’t think a baby lived here. I dutifully hired a sitter, even when I really didn’t want to. I worked hard to say the right things around the other new mothers, even when I didn’t have a clue what the right things were.

And then I realized it didn’t have to be so hard. Or maybe I just ended up with less energy for bullshitting. My job is simply this, in no particular order: keep myself happy, do what’s right for my kid, take care of my partner, and do the best job I can do at work. And if I’m hitting those marks, I need to try to do the best I can for my community. Everyday I get the balancing act a little wrong, in this new body. But I try to smoosh and cuddle that kid as I go, and to not be embarrassed about my damn diaper bag.

And hey, we bought a greatest hits of Sesame Street record this weekend, which seems like progress. While it’s no “Wheels on the Bus,” Ernie sings some pretty complex music, just like me.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Marie

    I loved reading this. I feel so intimidated – and sometimes shocked – by the “cool mothers are haters” thing going on these days. My husband and I look around at couples we know with kids and wonder how (or if) anyone ever truly feels like they’re ready for kids. I keep hearing so much about how being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but I would love to hear more about the good, too.

    • ruchi

      Yeah, it’s weird. I feel like as a society, we’ve moved to this weird place where everyone talks about how awful being a parent is and how hard it is and how you’ll never sleep again, never have time to yourself, never go out on dates with your husband again, etc etc etc but OF COURSE YOU STILL HAVE TO DO IT because on the flip side you’ll never know love until you have a child.

      My truth is that having a child is one of the most awesome decisions I have ever made. She is such a little ball of fun… she lights up when I sing to her or read her books, she shows fierce determination when she’s trying to learn a new skill, and she gives the most awesome wet slobbery baby kisses. Of course my life is changed because of her. Of course there are hard parts. But … for me, and I can only speak for my own experience, it’s not been the hardest job in the world. Not even close.

      And at my core, I am still he same person. And now that she’s not a newborn, there are a lot of ways that my life is the same as it was before she was born. I get plenty of sleep. Thanks to family living nearby, my husband I have regular nights out. And since my daughter’s bedtime is 7:30, I have time each evening for myself and my husband. Last night I read 100 pages of a book. Not so different than pre-baby.

      So yeah, I think Meg is right that the two camps don’t really capture where I fit either. But um, I totally do music class with my daughter, and it’s f**king AWESOME. Music used to be a huge part of my life, but in my grown up life, I never made much time for it…. every year I’d say I was going to join a community choir, and then not get around to it. Going to this music class (which to be fair has interesting and complex music) is like getting to join choir again. I pretend it’s for my daughter, and she does really enjoy it, but I think I might enjoy it more. ;)

      • meg

        Ruchi, you should call me!

        To Ruchi’s point, the cultural conversation about parenthood is really destructive and scary. And I would say overall, it’s not true (or it doesn’t have to be). Having a small child isn’t (usually) easy, but I’ve found (and most people I know have found) that the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks. Most days, at least ;) Mostly though, it’s not a JOB. It’s a relationship. And relationships are hard work some times, in a worth it way.

        The hard parts just vary. Like Ruchi we have nights out, that are starting to become more regular after some really difficult seperation anxiety. I thought we’d have nights out all the time, but then he went through a period that he’d sob the whole time we were gone, which? Not worth it for me. Unlike we lean on a combo of friends and paid babysitters. Like Ruchi we have lots of time to read and watch TV at night. Unlike Ruchi we don’t get plenty of sleep. For the first nine months I was up every two hours, without fail. After some serious sleep training we now wake up on average at… 5:30. He’s not a crack sleeper, what can I say? But you know what? IT’S FINE. It sucks, but it too will pass, and it’s fine.

        So. Mostly? The way we talk about it as a culture is destructive, and mostly untrue, I think (personally).

        • BR

          I really needed to read this and Rushi’s comment right now. After 30 years of having NO interest in having kids, I’m now starting to feel the pull. And now that I’m married and just turned 32, I’m also starting to feel the pressure from society.

          But the narrative of “my life is so hard now that I have a baby and nothing is ever easy or ever the same” is really weighing on me. While I know the levels of difficulty and the specific things that are difficult differ for everyone, how do you know that you’re ready for all that? A lot of our friends are pregnant or just had a baby and seeing how their lives are changing scares the crap out of me. More now that I’m actually thinking about it as an actual possibility for myself.

          Perhaps you really do just have to experience it to get it, because, seriously, all I ever hear is, “this part is hard and this part is hard and this part is hard, but then she tells me she loves me and gives me a kiss and it’s all worth it.” I mean…really??

          • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

            Parenting feels very much like an extreme sport to me. By any objective measure it’s hard and painful and exhausting, but damn is it a rush. I mean, why the hell do people run marathons or climb mountains? It makes no sense on the detail level, but when you’ve done it you get to look back and say, Hot damn, I ACCOMPLISHED something. I did something big. The kisses and “I yuv yoo”s are nice day to day rewards, but the main reason is really the long term “holy guacamole I raised a person” sense of accomplishment.

          • meg

            “this part is hard and this part is hard and this part is hard, but then she tells me she loves me and gives me a kiss and it’s all worth it.”

            (That’s pretty true, though. Though other parts are fun. But those are the worth it parts.) But also, isn’t that your life now? This part is hard and this part is hard and this part his hard, but then I go home and my partner says they love me/ I get a drink with my friends/ etc/ and it’s all worth it? It’s like that, but dialed UP.

          • http://fourfeeteightpaws.blogspot.com/ Rowan

            I’ve heard it compared to hiking a mountain or other big goal. It is not like hiking a mountain/finishing a graduate program/insert long term goal of your choice is fun and daisies every single moment. Sometimes it downright sucks and you hate your life and your choices. But overall you are working towards something you believe in, that you can be proud of, and you find joy in that. At least, that is how I am talking my husband into it (that and learning a new kind of love) so I hope that is true.

          • ruchi

            So I think part of the issue has been discussed on this site a lot… For some reason it’s become not cool to talk about “the good.” Like, when my daughter was a wee baby with day/night confusion and I was exhausted and losing my damn mind, I felt comfortable telling people that she wasn’t sleeping and I was crazy tired and people were incredibly compassionate and I felt like I was part of this not-so-secret mommy clique. But now that she sleeps from 7:30-7:30, waking up only once to eat, I almost never say anything because… I dunno? I don’t want people who don’t have good sleepers to feel bad? It’s really weird because I mostly think we’re just lucky (sure we have good routines and we did some smart things that taught her to sleep on her own, but mostly we just lucked out. Also I guess attitude helps — some people would still be miserable waking up every night at 3:30 to feed their baby, I’ve dealt with chronic insomnia for years, so waking up once every night is no big deal.)

            As for “this part is hard, and this part is hard…” There are hard parts, but honestly, I think there’s more boring stuff than hard stuff, but that might just be the age we’re at. Changing diapers and doing the twentieth load of baby laundry isn’t hard… just boring. But I think that’s kinda like all of life.

          • meg

            What Marina said. I think that’s the best possible way to describe it, and that makes it make much more sense than the “it sucks, but how could you not do it” line of nonsense.

            Also because it lets you know how fulfilling it is (and hard) but with a solid “no thanks” option. I mean, I don’t run marathons. Good for you, but no thanks. I do run small businesses and raise small children, so to each her own :)

          • http://www.katesshortandsweets.com Kate

            oh, BR, so much this.

            I’m in this spot where, I’m 30, and after being pretty ambivalent about having kids most of my life, now, I sometimes do. (I know it’s hormone/cycle related, but it’s still there). But my brain is all like, “ugh, but there are no fun parts to being a parent. It looks like it all sucks.” What I see/hear from coworkers/the media/etc sort of glorifies the bad parts and makes them the star of the show. And then they do the nod to mommyhood, and say that a baby kiss makes it all better. Which, from my non-parental perspective? Lame.

            I don’t have any friends with babies/kids, so maybe that makes a difference. Maybe seeing normal, non-media moms will make it seem better?

            Rushi & Meg, maybe you want to have a baby open house to show us all it’s not so bad?

        • Marisa-Andrea

          What I’ve gleaned about motherhood from the cultural conversation so far is it’s the hardest job in the world and you’ll never have a life again, neither of which I have found to be true. Are there hard and challenging parts? Sure. The hardest thing I’ve EVER done? I don’t think so. I’ve done some other things that were far more difficult. And I have a life. I find it interesting that other friends of ours (both parents and non-parents) are AMAZED at the amount of free alone time I have to go to the mall, get my eyebrows and nails done and read trashy romances. So I get a lot of shit about in a very judgy way from people and then other people are convinced I’m sort of super woman because I have time to do my hair, which I am NOT by any means. And that comes with all sorts of other judgement.

          • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

            Yeah, I usually don’t admit how much I work out, b/c I don’t like the judgey reactions.

        • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

          I’m pretty annoyed by the cultural narrative that my kid *has* to be sleeping through the night by X age.
          Well, 1) “sleeping through the night” is defined at 6 hours, so if you put your kid to bed at 8, you’re still waking up at 4 am, ugh; and 2) mine’s not even doing that, but we’re managing okay, mostly because she typically wakes up once or twice and goes back to sleep in 5 minutes. Sometimes she doesn’t, and it super sucks, but this too shall pass.

          • One More Sara

            Sorry, math police. If 6 hours is sleeping through the night, and you put your baby down at 8pm, baby is going to then wake up at 2am, not 4.

          • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

            Ha, even better! :P

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            It’s probably all that sleep deprivation. :)

        • http://www.alainabos.com Alaina Bos

          All the negative talk about parenthood and kids has really gotten me down over the last year, primarily because I can hear my biological clock ticking (this is another post in itself). I feel really stuck…Part of me wants to have kids and a big part of me feels like I don’t want them and I’m scared to have them because I lost my brother (14 years ago) which totally sucked in addition to the fact that I watched my parents suffer a lot. For me, I really have wrestled with the fact that to have kids you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and the “cultural conversation” really sucks at times because it allows me to cop out and think having children would be terrible anyways.

          So thank you thank you for writing about both sides of the coin and giving me hope that while having kids is a big responsibility and your life does change, it still can be pretty great!!

      • Erin E

        You know, I’m feeling like the cultural conversation about parenthood and the cultural conversation about weddings have sprouted a branch in the same direction: the discussion about how awful it is/can be. I say this after observing Ruchi’s first comment and thinking about Rachel’s post the other day on how, contrary to the current “trend” of hating wedding planning, she’s enjoying it. It really does seem like there are a lot of pieces out there these days exploring the negative side of weddings and motherhood, but I feel like these are still necessary and important responses to the loooong-standing cultural narrative that directed women to love every aspect of those things. Negative pieces about marriage and motherhood may come off as mean or clique-y, but I also see them as feminist. I’m SOOOO glad I live in a time when women can blog about their negative experiences with these life changes… and if I disagree or feel like a piece is descending into meanness, it’s time to move on. But I’m still glad those voices are there.

        • meg

          Totally agree. Though I think it still needs to sometimes be more thought out and articulated than it ends up. Because while I think we all get where “hate the seemingly perfect ones” comes from, it ends up creating a whole different problem.

          Interesting stuff. Good stuff, complicated.

    • Margaret Thatcher

      That’s one of the things I dread most about having kids. People are generally nice to me now, but I have seen mothers be BITCHES to one another.

      It’s part of the reason I tell my fiance that while I wouldn’t mind being a “woman with kids,” I will never, ever be a “mommy.”

  • Caitlyn

    I love this post!

    And you should check out They Might Be Giants – they have some really fantastic kids songs (and the accompanying videos are so great – kids love them, but there are a lot of subtext only grown-ups will appreciate).

    • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

      Yes! I’m not a mom and I love TMBG.

    • meg

      Ha. I hate them so much (apologies all around), and not just as kids music ;) It’s ok. I sing to him *all the time*, no kids songs needed.

      • MARBELLA

        I don’t get why kids must listen to ‘kid songs’. I used to really dislike travelling very far with my little sister in the car (19 years younger) because my step mum would always play ‘her music’ and it was always the most inane mind-numbing stuff.

        When I was a kid, we listened to whatever music our parents listened to. Sure, we complained that some of it was a bit lame to us at the time, but now I love that I grew up listening to Queen, Meatloaf, Enya, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits etc. The only ‘kid music’ I ever remember listening to was Alphabet Zoo by Ralph McTell, which I’m pretty sure my parents loved too (I still totally love this and would listen to it and I have no kids). I think we also had some Mr Men books on tape.

        People, it is your duty to introduce your children to quality music!

        • MARBELLA

          Oh, and for ‘appropriate’ kids music that I didn’t have to really worry about the lyrics (since she’s not my kid) when I would take my little sis places when she was younger, I would play The Beach Boys and Beatles.

      • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com Anna

        HA! Daniel hates They Might be Giants with a fiery passion, and is fearful that his sister is going to get us their kids cds.
        We sing to O all of the time, and it’s almost never appropriate. For the first several months of his life the only song that would get O to sleep was “Sam Stone,” by John Prine. It is about a Vietnam War vet who comes home addicted to morphine and then dies of an overdose. So. Not. Appropriate.

      • Newtie

        Can I just say, I had NO IDEA how much singing would be involved in motherhood. When people without kids ask me about parenting advice, I just say, learn the songs, learn all the songs. Doesn’t matter if it’s country or classic rock or songs you learned at summer camp or Raffi – you will end up singing. A lot. And if you only know two songs you will get sick of them. So if you want to be a parent, start learning more songs. Now.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      Barenaked Ladies also has at least one kid’s album. I sometimes sing the song about how 7 8 (ate) 9 to myself, because it’s catchy. And BNL are a delight in general.

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      All Beatles songs ever. Except Revolution #9, but that doesn’t count anyway, let’s just forget that one please, kthxbai.

      • Brenda

        Octopus’s Garden is the best kids song ever. Also as a child I loved Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Doesn’t matter that it’s about murder, kids like a good story song.

  • js

    I’ve been a Mom for a little while now (my kiddo is 11) and I am still asking myself the same questions. Am I doing it right? What is the “right” way? Will it all work out? Where is the balance? My child has some unique challenges that make me constantly question if the decisions I’m making are screwing her up for the rest of her life. There is simply no one I can talk to in my limited friends and family circle that can totally sympathize with my circumstances and that’s ok. But, if I’m honest, sometimes I just want some freaking reassurance. Something that sounds like, “It’s ok, this is normal, you’ll get through this.” Instead, it’s always Us vs. Other Parent’s, when all we want is to be on the same team.

    My husband and I are in a weird situation, too, in that the parent’s of our kid’s school friends are significantly older than we are. This makes for weird dynamics in social situations. It makes me feel more like a high school student when I show up in skinny jeans to PTO meetings. It makes for awkward conversations at birthday parties or sporting events. It’s lonely, a lot of the time.

    Now, we are trying to have a baby at the same time we’re parenting a teenager. There are a lot of reasons for this choice, both health-wise and financial, and it isn’t made lightly. But, once again, we’ll be skirting the edges of what is normal and trying to fit in. All I know for sure is, it’s what’s right for us and our family has a lot of love.

    • meg

      Totally. WEIRDLY, we’re often really young in the bay area (which is absurd, my friends were teen moms), plus, I have a very young job, for lack of a better term. It’s awkward, it’s weird, it makes you feel like everyone is on a team and you can’t get on it.

      Which is stupid, by the way. I’m sure half the other parents feel the same way, but none of us have cracked the code yet.

      • Danielle

        I live in the Bay Area as well and have a 14 month old. We are the first of all our friends to have children by what I am assuming is probably quite a while, which is totally cool. We still love seeing our friends without kids… although many of our relationships have completely changed, some of which really surprised me. Getting a text on a Thursday asking us to come out that night for a show that starts at 10pm just doesn’t really work for us anymore. But many of our friends have been awesome as well, making an effort to keep in touch and understanding when we have to schedule brunch or lunch or whatever around Isla’s morning nap. (BTW, I have decided that brunch is “trendy” it is the best thing to do with a little one, it is food, booze and friends at a baby friendly time). Part of it I have realized as well is obviously me making an effort (even when I am sleep deprived) to check in and occasionally find some baby-free time for them as well.

        Shortly after my daughter was born I was going a little stir-crazy on maternity leave and just felt the need to meet other moms who I thought I may have stuff in common with because we all chose to live raise children in an urban area so I joined a mom’s group. It was actually pretty fun, but I definitely know what you mean about not being sure about fitting in. I have noticed living in the Bay Area I am often viewed as a “teen mom”. Which is ridiculous as I am a married person in my late 20’s with a career. On more than one occasion mom’s from the group would whisper to me, “how old are you?” Walking into my first mom’s group initially made me feel like I was in junior high school again and trying to figure out where to sit in the cafeteria. But you know what, I may be younger, but when you are a first time mother of a 6 week old baby it seems to me to be a pretty even playing field.

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    I really enjoyed this post, especially:

    1) The sentiment that those 2 camps (I’ll be me with baby vs Everything changes) are too extreme and there simply IS gray area; and

    2) (Call me, maybe?)

  • SteffanyF

    It’s so unfortunate that parents are ridiculed for their choices no matter what those choices are! I think this is a part of the feminist debate that we never have. It’s not just career vs. motherhood; it’s public school vs. unschooling, breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, etc. Dude, I don’t even have kids and I have opinions on that stuff, I just keep my damn mouth shut because it’s not important. Anyway, you’re awesome. Thank you.

    • meg

      I had (have) opinions on that stuff, but what parenthood has taught me (as I’ve previously discussed) is that I don’t know shit. By which I mean, it’s easy to have an opinion (and I have my share), but in reality things are (or should be) shaped by the particular kid and the particular parent, and what ends up working, not by our dogmatic opinions. And motherhood is currently RULED by dogmatic opinions, and it divides everyone, and hurts everyone, if you ask me.

      IE, feeding. I thought I’d breast feed, but not too long. Reality: had to supplement early on due to health issues, got shit about it. Then we turned into the worlds best feeding team. Now, I’ll probably continue longer than I EVER planned on, because it’s clearly what’s right for us as a duo, and I’m already starting to get occasional shit over it. I also politically support mom’s being able to nurse in public, and almost never do, because the baby and I don’t like it, at all. Next kid, maybe a totally different story.

      All of the decisions are like that, if we’re making them pragmatically in the moment. There is very little black and white, while the overarching motherhood conversation is almost all black and white.

      • One More Sara

        “in reality, things are shaped by the particular kid and the particular parent” SO MUCH THIS! My sister and I parent our children REALLY differently, and sometimes I find myself thinking “oh I would never do what she’s doing (and my way would be better)” and I have to consciously stop that train of thought before it hurts someone. DUH we don’t make the same choices. Because we have two totally different children with totally different needs, AND THAT’S OKAY. As long as you are feeding your kid a relatively healthy diet and not abusing them, chances are, they’ll be fine.

      • SteffanyF

        I think that is the point I was trying (badly) to make. When my best friend had her first kid she said that it was so hard to find other like-minded parents to connect with, because even when she thought she had found her “niche” something would happen and she would end up being ridiculed for her parenting style. I think that sucks. Telling someone they are being a bad parent sucks. I think we need to trust people more, trust that they know what is right for their kids, and trust that whatever decision they have made is a decision they’ve made because it’s the best one for them. I didn’t mean that we needed to have some big weird unnecessary conversation about weather or not we should all breastfeed or whatever.
        I have lots of friends with kids, they all parent differently, and sometimes the same parent acts differently to their different kids. This is a thing I would never have known existed until my friends started having kids.
        Also, if it’s hard to find people who don’t want to drink whisky and sing Queen to their kids in Oakland, I’m officially depressed, because I don’t know many other places these kinds of whisky-drinking kid-having badasses could be found. Boo-hiss!

        • Danielle

          I am an Oakland living mom who (if I was not currently pregnant with #2) would definitely be drinking whiskey and singing Queen to my little bug. The Queen singing still happens pregnant, although I have to say we have gotten into a bad habit of singing Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA while getting her dressed in the morning, “So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song, the butterflies fly away, I’m noddin’ my head like Yeah! Movin’ my hips like Yeah!”

          I may actually live to regret that one, but it’s just so darn catchy.

      • KB

        Dilemmas like feeding make me hope that I’m the first of my friend circle to have kids because I’ll automatically have street cred with every decision…but then I realize that single friends w/o kids can be some of the judgiest people ever. I wonder if any parents with older kids got to a defined “eff it” point where they just started hearing all the outside voices as white noise…

        • meg

          Yeah. I mean, I have a 10 month old, and more of it is white noise already. I think the complicated part is when it effects your relationships in a real way, less than the judgement bit that you start to tune out (even if it makes you sad). Like, your bachelor friends that don’t quite know how to relate now. That sort of thing, that sucks.

          • LikelyLaura

            So, from the opposite side, I’m the friend who doesn’t know how to relate right now. My best friend (truly more of a sister) had a kid 4 months ago. And while I’m super happy she’s happy and can understand why she wants to be around the kid all the time (he is ADORABLE), I don’t get to see her much already (she lives in another city 5 hours away,) and frankly I miss our child-free dynamic. I want to have kids eventually, so I know we’ll be on the same page one day. But it does kind of suck right now. But I just think that these feelings have to be pretty normal…

          • rys

            I’ve gone through ups and downs with how to relate to (what feels like) all my friends with kids. In the best cases, we’ve both adapted and figured out ways to spend time together with and without kids, to talk and discuss lives on different paths.

            I do think there is a space between judgment and anything goes, however, and being a good friend can often mean reflecting back to someone (often over time) as a mode of checking in. Does my friend who is an avid cyclist, who got me into biking, really mean it when she says she can’t bike until her kid is in college because it’s dangerous? Well, I think it’s a real feeling, but it’s also hyperbolic and exaggerated, and in a good friendship, there’s a place for acknowledging that feeling but also pushing against it. In the same way my friends push me about life decisions, dating, work situations, and whatnot. It’s a struggle to find this place with parenting friends, but I think it’s important to be a full friend, not a (per the DOMA oral arguments) skim-milk one.

    • Kelly

      This is part of the reason I love seeing these posts even though I am not a parent yet. It reminds me as a person that I need to be very careful not to be judge-y even when I have opinions, because every parent and every kid is an individual.

    • http://fourfeeteightpaws.blogspot.com/ Rowan

      I have learned (sometimes the hard way) to ask myself: “Do I have all the information?” and “Is it my business?” Usually the answer to both is no, so I keep my damn mouth shut too. It works for lots of things. Just because I am curious, it doesn’t give me permission to ask. If I’m just looking to satisfy my own curiosity/validate my own choices it is not enough of a justification to impose.

      • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

        If everyone asked themselves those two questions and proceeded accordingly in all situations involving other people, the world would be such a better place. I’m going to start teaching them to my teenage students.

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    Not a mom here, so I really can only speculate, BUT: the whole idea about finding your pod sounds nice on the surface, but doesn’t it also act as a way to faction off into groups in which nobody disagrees and you can all roll eyes together at all the other clearly-inferior pods? Granted, that’s pretty much *all* groups when you get down to it, since we’re human beings, but…yeah. Ok advice, since finding Your People can be a very good thing, but being with Sort of Your People is ok too. And Were Your People, But Less So Now, But They Still Are In A Way. What’s the old camp saying? Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.

    • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

      (This reads more like a critique of your not finding Your Pod than it’s meant. I mean it more in a “pods can contribute to meanness anyway, so not being in one may be better sometimes” angle. :) )

  • One More Sara

    I had a traditional style diaper bag with baby #1. My sister got a super cute Coach diaper bag for her first and I was so jealous. My first purchase for baby #2 is SO going to be an awesome diaper bag. yolo.

    • js

      I already bought my Coach diaper bag because I live super-close to an outlet mall. Because I can, it feels good and my husband won’t mind carrying it either. All superficial reasons and I’m good with that. Also, I want Meg’s whole outfit in the photo.

    • meg

      I think my advice to new moms is just going to be: go all in on the diaper bag, whatever that means to you. I mean, SERIOUSLY. So much of the stuff you’re going to buy is not very fun. You might as well feel super stylish when you’re dragging around a bag full of diapers and wipes, am I right? Everyone says it’s a waste, go practical. This is where step in to encourage you to go all bad ass and impractical.

      And thanks JS :) Looking cute is basically my crutch for all difficult things, first and foremost pregnancy. Then diaper bags. We all have our coping strategies, right?

      • http://www.meanestlook.com Sara

        I agree! I even got one for my husband to love (a messenger bag with the Slayer logo on it).

      • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

        I have a bad back and have been avoiding big bags for a while. We use a backpack as a diaper bag, but a 2yo needs way less stuff so I’m already thinking about what kind of bigger backpack I can find for #2… bigger, and like, nice/stylish.

      • KB

        A designer diaper bag to me IS practical if it’s something that I will use frequently and is durable, which most luxury items are (or at least you hope, for the amount of money you’re spending on them…).

      • Abby J.

        Can I just love this? I went all in on my diaper bag and I LOVE it. It’s got all sorts of clever things built inside, but on the outside just looks like a large-ish, nice and stylish purse. It makes me feel good to pick it up and know I’ve got everything I need for my (5 week old) baby, plus I am carrying a stylish purse, not a Mom-bag. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.

        • J

          “It’s got all sorts of clever things built inside, but on the outside just looks like a large-ish, nice and stylish purse.” This is exactly what I’m looking for (with the additional requirement of being able to zip it closed). I’d LOVE any specific recommendations anyone has to offer! Hoping to buy in the next month or so… Thanks so much!!

  • Amanda

    I could have written this. I have djed for years, been a bit of a social butterfly around creative types, but I tried to keep it up for a few years with my son. Now I realize he needs a lot more of my attention than I was able to give him when I was sleeping in after a gig till 4 am. I moved from the city to the suburbs when he started kindergarten, and my social circle (unless you count Facebook) evaporated. I was significantly younger than the other moms, or at least felt that way, and my old friends were busy entertaining their own prolonged adolescence. I spent a lot of time with my son as my only company, which was good, but bittersweet. I met my fiance during that time, and I feel so lucky to have him in my life. I do still mourn some friendships that didn’t survive past the bar scene. I wish I had more friends to share in my son’s life, or even celebrate my upcoming marriage, but I guess a lot of our generation values “the party” over family these days.

  • lady brett

    “Why can’t I just sing Queen to the baby over a scotch at home?”

    fuck yes.

    • Sarah NCtoPA

      I hope my baby likes classic rock and a good single malt (spey side, oak wood, that is). Can I sing “Fat bottomed girls” to a child and not encourage body esteem issues and/or the objectification of women?

      • moonitfractal

        Apparently my nephew’s favorite song is ‘Bicycle Race.’ A commenter on that facebook post admitted that her child’s favorite song is “knees, knees, hands,” more commonly known as “We Will Rock You.” There is hope for the next generation!

    • Catherine

      Hehe, with my baby, it will be Nirvana. I am only 23, and when I was like 17 I bought the lullaby version of a nirvana Cd for my future offspring. I’m ready!!!

      • Alison O

        I’d also recommend Rockabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of Kanye West.

        • meg

          Baby Kanye West story!!!!

          I played Kanye’s “Hey Mama” last night, and the baby lost his mind, flapping his arms with glee. “THERE IS A WHOLE SONG ABOUT MY FAVORITE SUBJECT?” he said. “I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW!”

      • meg

        Oh, he gets a lot of Nirvana blasted in his face. He thinks it’s very comforting and goes right to sleep. I am… not 23… so it is the soundtrack of my teens.

      • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

        I (through the library) have 15 hours of those lullaby rock albums. Because it’s great white noise for sleeping on vacations, all three of us in a room, and Green Day’s Basket Case never makes me not smile.

    • SarahT

      It’s never too early to start singing Queen! My kids are now late teens/early twenties but know the words to all the songs I grew up with better than I do. Thank you Guitar Hero!

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      My kid (19 months) keeps asking us to put on the indie band compilations cds we picked up in Iceland last week, and then she full body rocks out to bands that no one’s ever heard of.

      There is nothing about that sentence that isn’t absurd. I love my life.

      • Alison O
        • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

          Right?? I know it’s pretentious as fuck, but it makes her happy and me laugh, so there we go.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        That cracks me up. Awesome!

  • Becca

    Oh wow, this plays on all my fears of being a mother. I can see myself being a mother someday, but I just can’t see myself being like all the other mothers I know, and I’m petrified by the “you’re doing it wrong” attitude that seems to surround motherhood. I know that I probably won’t have a “pod” to support me, nor even family close by to help out. My fiance doesn’t understand why the idea of having children, though we both know it will happen someday, manages to fill me with such uneasiness. And I can’t understand how he is so nonchalant about it!

    • C

      I feel this way plus some because I live in a major city that thrives on comparing resumes and nit-picking. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when I have a baby. I think it’s those fears that keep me from being “ready” to be a parent.

    • meg

      Ah, it wasn’t supposed to play into your fears. Moral of the story: it’s fine anyway.

      I want to talk about how our cultural conversation is not helpful. I’d like to fix things so I could live in a more comfortably multi generational world, but motherhood is a good gig.

      • Becca

        I forgot to mention that although it reminded me of the things I fear, the post also comforted me! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with these concerns, and that a new mother can still be pretty happy with it all (I always imagine a worse-case scenario when left to my own devices).

  • Kris

    I’m a major people person – always have been. I need very little time alone, and get kinda depressed when I am not actively doing something (chores don’t count!). I want kids but my biggest fear is that it will be isolating. Some of my friends are having babies now, but we won’t be able to get together all the time. I don’t need to be out at a bar drinking or dancing or something – but to have company is nice, and my husband definitely needs his time to himself (which works out because my friendships are very important to me!). I think that the uncertainty is kinda consuming me…

    • moonitfractal

      That’s funny because MY biggest fear is that I won’t get to be alone *enough* because the little person will always be around and I’ll never get any time to myself, and that will exhaust me and make me crazy. Probably like everything else the reality is somewhere in between.

    • meg

      Mmmm. That is not a fear that relates much to my reality, if that helps. My kid is a people person TIMES ONE THOUSAND, and he does not like to be isolated. In fact, he wasn’t feeling well this weekend, so we took him to the huge music festival in Golden Gate Park so he could relax. I pushed him around in the crowds of zillions with music blasting, and he relaxed and fell right asleep.

      If you stay at home with your kid, I think that can be more isolating (though the moms I know that stay home seem never to be AT home, probably because it’s isolating).

      I wish our friends came over more, but we still seem them plenty.

      Also, moonitfractal: I get a lot of alone time too, because when I work, I work alone. But if you work, you’ll have time, even if it’s just communing. Plus, you just need to prioritize what you need. If you need alone time, hire a babysitter or juggle time with your partner, and make it work. A lot of parenting is just figuring out what you need, and then figuring out how to get it. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of your kid as well as you otherwise would. Happy parents make happy kids.

      • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

        The happy parents make happy kids thing is something I believe so, so strongly.

        I am less worried about making sure my own personal needs are met while being a mother (I’m actually pretty sure that I’ll make those things happen). I am more worried about tending to my relationship with my partner while we are parents. It is really, really important to me to keep that relationship strong. I know that it may change and look and feel different after a baby has joined our family, and I’m open to that. But prioritizing my relationship with my husband is something I spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about. I worry it will be harder to do than prioritizing my own personal needs.

        Does anyone have any thoughts on juggling this?

        • meg

          It’s sort of a constant struggle, but we work on it, and we adjust and re-adjust when we need to. At first, we were just really tired and in this bubble of brand new person together, and it was magic. Now that we’re juggling life demands too, we just have to figure out what’s not working, and try to fix it.

          But it’s all a phase, right? This too shall pass, and so so quickly.

        • One More Sara

          My biggest tip is just keep communication open. If you or your partner have needs that aren’t being met, encourage each other to talk about it so you can work together to find something that works (whether that’s readjusting your actions or expectations will depend of course) but I really think that really being heard is pretty damn important. Even if nothing changes right away (sometimes you are just TIRED), if your partner knows that you are aware of the problem and at least trying to help with it, they’ll probably be more forgiving.

    • MDBethann

      You might surprise yourself in that your feelings on people person being isolated might change over time.

      I am EXTREMELY extroverted. I used to be able to only go about a day without interacting in person with other people before I’d start to get stir crazy (snowstorms were bad news when I lived alone). I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do the stay home thing because I’d go crazy. But even though I don’t have children yet, I learned something very interesting about myself during the 16 day government shutdown this month – I don’t mind being at home as much as I used to. I don’t know if it’s because we have entertaining cats or because I enjoy the company of my husband, but I didn’t mind not working (from a social and intellectual standpoint; from an employment uncertainty stand point it sucked). Once we either get pregnant or decide to adopt, there may be some interesting conversations about me being home more and working less, conversations I never saw myself having.

      That doesn’t mean everyone becomes more of a homebody as they get older, but it is possible, so don’t freak yourself out too much about it.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    We like Prince and Janelle Monae over here :-)

  • Aly Windsor

    My 4 year old has a strict Bon Jovi and Beyonce only music code in our house. Occasionally he’ll agree to Dolly Parton, the Gossip, and Poison but it really depends. That being said, you’re so right about someone always wanting to point out that you’re doing it wrong. I’ve gotten to the point, 5 years into this, that the haters don’t bother me for the most part. What bothers me is my tiny internal impulses to hate on other parents. I rarely vocalize them but they make me feel shitty anyway. Workin’ on it.

    • meg

      Yup.

    • http://www.meanestlook.com Sara

      I just said the same thing about being a hater myself. Boopussy. It makes me want to be better though, so that’s something, right?

  • Catherine

    Wow, Meg, first of all – adorable picture!

    And this was so lovely to read this morning. I actually cried (period perhaps??)! It was so comforting to read in a way. Your writing always makes me feel like I do fit in “in the club” and that I DO have a place – even if you often write about not having a place. Not to hop on the cheesy train, but you are kind of a role model. I’m always like “well, Meg in San Francisco does!” and then I have to remind my partner who that is again. This post also made me want to have babies. Ok. I’m done :)

  • Hintzy

    I loved reading this, and I find nothing wrong with erring toward more complex music :) but I was raised by musicians so there’s that…

    In the past I’ve had those introspective moments (ok they’re longer than moments for me) where I contemplated that at 20, 16 year old me would have probably hated who I had become – but I was happy, and different, but the same, and happy. And then I realized at 24 that both 20 *and* 16 year old me might have been a bit peeved… but again I was happy. The same but rearranged sounds like a good way to think about it.

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately! In a lot of ways, I’m in a very different place than I thought I would be, even 2 years ago. And at this moment, I’m struggling a bit. Not because I feel the need to wind up where I *thought* I would be, but because it is confusing. For so long I had x as the end goal, and right now I’m resisting the urge to replace x with y. It’s about the journey, not the destination and all that.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        Me too. I am just trying to go day by day.

    • Katie Mae

      This sentence stood out for me in the post: “And meanwhile, you’re circling and circling around your twenty-four-year-old self, trying to figure out how you’ve grown and rearranged, and how to balance in this slightly new body.” I have not had any children, but at 26 I often stand in wonder at how I got from there to here. It’s weird that I’m the same person but not.

  • http://www.twitter.cam/fergus30 Heather

    I’m starting to think more and more that I should stop caring what other people think. It looks like that no matter what I do – get married, have kids, choose a career – someone is going to think I did it wrong.

    Now, what’s the secret formula for not caring what other people think? I need it desperately

    • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

      I think the secret formula is to be very, very tired.

    • lady brett

      i think the secret is to carefully define these “other people” and give yourself full permission to care what they think – and then permission to not care what everyone else thinks.

      it goes like this: “oh, dear, i can’t ______, people will talk!”
      “people” like that lady at the grocery store? – fuck it, go ahead.
      “people” like my child, wife, the police? – maybe i should reconsider.

      it’s actually a lot easier to write people off when you specifically outline how their opinion affects you (because usually it is “very little or not at all”).

      (i say this, but the other secret is it just doesn’t work sometimes.)

      also what marina said, of course.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I am kinda at that place of not caring what people think. (And I have always been a big people pleaser.) For me it was just that life suddenly took me to a point where things couldn’t get much worse, so everything was thrown into a new reality and new perspective and I reached a point of not caring what other people think. But I don’t wish this path on anyone. But if some fearlessness comes out of it….then I’ll be thankful.

      I think Marina and Lady Brett’s suggestions sound like good starts. :)

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I hear you on how no matter what you are doing as a mom you are doing it wrong.

    I figure if we’re both alive at the end of the day, mostly dry, the spit-up has been mostly contained, and she’s still smiling, I did it right.

    The fact that I did it differently from everyone else isn’t any of their business.

    • meg

      Or wet. I was soaking wet from projectile vomit this morning, but he seemed rather pleased that he’d woken everyone up to play.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        Me too!

        Everyone talks about how great new babies smell. It smells like sour milk if you ask me.

        • Diana

          Mine too! Spit up machines, especially my daughter! I don’t bother getting dressed before nursing them before work, because I end up wearing a lot of it. I read about the newborn smell, and I’m like they smell good? Mine smelled like spoiled milk.

          • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

            My kid as a newborn smelled like dulce de leche.

            Let me clarify.

            She smelled like that because that’s what her breast fed diapers smelled like. Like modified milk products.

            Yeah. My kid kind of smelled like poop. And I liked it.

            Parenting is weird.

        • meg

          But then they start smelling like sweat and not spoiled milk and it’s a little sad.

          • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

            Yeah, my kid has a little BO sometimes.

  • http://www.meanestlook.com Sara

    I feel like the best thing I’ve learned in all things in my life, is to just do you. Right? There is always someone pissed about something you did or did not do at your wedding. And there will always be parenting haters. You can’t make everyone happy.

    And I’ll admit it. I’m human. Sometimes I judge other parent’s in their choice. And I hate that about myself. But there it is. And I am working on it.

    I try to be genuine to myself and my family. That’s it. My house is crazy clean because I really like to clean.
    And we sing a whole lot of “Wheels on the Bus.” Yet, Duncan spent his first two years falling asleep to the beautiful dissonance of Thelonius Monk. Now we’ve moved on to School House Rock because he has so many questions about numbers. (3, son. 3 is a Magic Number. That is all you need to know.) I intend to push so Nick Drake next.

    And we have lots of dance parties to these:

    http://youtu.be/rvNCmb9a6Qc

    http://youtu.be/SWvBAQf7v8g

    We are so weird to other families, but who the hell cares. If my kiddo is happy and I’m happy and my husband is happy, and the dog is happy, then we win!

    *packs snakeskin diaper bag with organic treats, learning activities, Sigg bottle of water*

    • meg

      They have some pretty fabulous outfits in that first video. God bless Sesame Street.

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    I plan to approach motherhood the way I’m approaching my birth plan, which is basically this:

    I have opinions and ideas about the way I’d like things to go in an ideal world. The world is not ideal. I have options available to me, and if my ideal scenario isn’t working then I am damn well going to take advantage of those options. Any outcome where we are both healthy and sane (the latter, mostly, in my case) is a successful outcome, regardless of how we get there.

    It’s easy to say that now, of course. I doubt I’ll be this zen about it (either birthing or parenting) in reality. But I’m trying to get myself into that frame of mind. It’s good to be informed and to have an idea about the way I’d like to do things. But if that way is impossible (medically or personally) or if say, our feeding or sleeping plans make me and/or the baby miserable? I’m not going to go down with a sinking ship just because my ideal isn’t a reality. I hope I’ll be flexible enough to make the best choices for myself and my family. Even if those choices look very very different from how I expected them to look.

    Here’s hoping, anyway.

    • meg

      That’s not impossible. I think you probably feel pressure to say it’s possibly impossible, because you’re afraid of getting yelled at. But that’s basically how we operate, and I think we’re far from alone on that.

      Keeping your kid sane though, equally important.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      ” I’m not going to go down with a sinking ship just because my ideal isn’t a reality.”

      Hmm, I am going to think about this idea, thanks!

  • http://hollygardner.com Holly Gardner

    You just made me cry. I have been so upset about not being able to lose the baby-weight from #2 (I’ve lost 2 lbs in almost 4 months) despite trying really hard. But it will happen in time. I wish I lived closer because I would totally sing Queen with you. I’ve tried to fit in with the mommy groups and it just doesn’t work. I’m just too different… Life is different. And messy. And honestly pretty stinky. But I love the crap out of it.

    • http://hollygardner.com Holly Gardner

      You just made me cry. I have been so upset about not being able to lose the baby-weight from #2 (I’ve lost 2 lbs in almost 4 months) despite trying really hard. But it will happen in time. I wish I lived closer because I would totally sing Queen with you. I’ve tried to fit in with the mommy groups and it just doesn’t work. I’m just too different… Life is different. And messy. And honestly pretty stinky (smell wise- my kid loves to puke). But I love the crap out of it.

    • meg

      Oh, please lady. Like the weight comes off that quickly. I mean, I lost a lot in four pounds, but that’s because I had 55 pounds to loose. SO. There we go.

      I know mommy groups, I know. David tells me I should try to find one that meets in a bar.

      • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

        And even if it does, so what? I’m not that thin, and so only put on 12 pounds, and had an 8 pound baby, and lost the rest of the weight in a week. Still took my body months to fit (kinda) in my pregnancy jeans, and I never did fit back in to any of my work pants or shirts, because my hips and boobs are literately just bigger now. Weight is not a moral issue. It’s just… part of growing older and having a kid and stuff. It’s not a failure if your body changes. No matter what the world tells you.

      • http://Www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com Alloallo

        My mom (mum) group usually meets at the pub. Highly recommended.

  • Diana

    My husband and I agreed, before our twins were born, that the goal was to keep them alive. Preferably *clean* and alive, but the goal was life for at least the first couple months. And we’re succeeding! They’re nearly 5 months old and darn healthy and happy. I escaped a lot of the judgmental “you’re doing it wrong!” stuff by having twins–ain’t nobody gonna judge me and my two babies–but it is isolating because everything is hard. Everything. We got past a lot of the isolation by having people over, either just to meet the babies or to bring us a meal, but it was definitely hard.

    The most frustrating thing for me is that a lot of mom’s groups are really focused on moms who stay at home or have flexible schedules. I would like to meet more moms (I think?) but I just don’t have the time. And, at this point, I’d actually rather use my kids to help some of my friends, who want kids in the future, get more comfortable around babies. I had never held or been around a newborn until suddenly I had two, and I have a lot of friends who are the same way. My husband and I are practically trailblazers among our local friends, for all that we’re both in our 30’s! But, that’s the Bay Area for you.

  • A

    You know, as I roll through my first trimester of my first pregnancy, I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood, changes, etc. It doesn’t seem like there is anyway to really prepare, but fuck it’s scary. Much like marriage, my husband and I are really the first ones out of our (already small) social circle starting down this path. Some of our friends openly acknowledge their luke warm feelings (at best!) for children. I’m finding that I’m having anxiety over just sharing the news to family and our friends, fearing the judgement and the inevitable change in how people will react or perceive me as a pregnant woman, even in our close knit circles. Then to even think about my workplace, predominately women with traditional views on the “right way” to be pregnant/ a mother with some fierce left leaning “hippie” opinions, and I just want to avoid acknowledging this until I can’t any longer. We’re both excited about it, with a healthy dose of WTF is coming, but the cultural narrative around pregnancy and motherhood currently makes it difficult for me to come to terms with this pregnancy and all the complicated feelings surrounding it.

    Aside from that, I’m just shy of 10 weeks, but if I thought the WIC was bad about buying all the things, I had no idea about stuff for babies. If anyone has any good no-nonsense sites, blogs, ANYTHING that might help me out and also figure out what exactly babies do need, I would really, really appreciate it.

    • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

      Amazon Prime is your friend when it comes to baby stuff. :) Only worry about the bare minimum before the baby comes (car seat, something for the baby to poop in, something to keep the baby warm) and order everything else as needed. Most baby stuff is crucial to some babies and totally unnecessary for others, and you won’t really know which bit is which til the baby’s there. Focus on getting the stuff that you like and think is cute or fun, don’t worry about whether the baby will need it or not.

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      I like alphamom.com for the hilarious pregnancy calendar, and they do have a lot of registry guides as well (they really include a LOT of stuff there, though).

      I am a hair shy of 27 weeks and also dealing with some pretty heinous partum depression. Creating a baby registry was a fresh kind of hell for me. I hated it. I only did it because people INSISTED. The baby shower is this weekend, and honestly, I am so not into the idea, plus I know that my registry sucks and has huge holes in it, so people are going to be frustrated by that.

      My plan? Get what we absolutely need. In my mind we NEED: a car seat, a place for the baby to sleep, some form of diapers (not sure if cloth or disposable yet), some stuff for the baby to wear, a breast pump and a bottle or two, for now. That should get us through the first weeks, really. And as we go along we can buy whatever we think would make life easier. I’m sure we’ll wind up with more than that, because baby shower, and family and friends who want to buy things. But really, the baby doesn’t NEED much of anything except the very basics. I think the rest of it is intended to make life easier for the parents (which, amen!).

      Because Buying All The Things! (and the research required to do so) stresses me the fuck out right now, I’m focusing on the bare minimum and will supplement once the little girl arrives and I can figure out what would actually be useful. And I’ll probably get an Amazon Prime account to facilitate all those last minute purchases.

      • Diana

        We signed up for Prime to save on shipping fees for the cribs. Practically paid for itself!

      • meg

        You know, I really thought that the baby thing was the same as the wedding thing, and you just don’t need stuff.

        And then, um, I figured out that was really not true (for us at least). Like, yes, you do not need wedding favors. But, uh, you do need bottles. So I donno. I always hear this “you just don’t need stuff” message, and it’s awesome that people are pulling it off, but I don’t for the life of me totally get how (possibly because I am a parent who wants things to be easy so I can work, not a philosophical parent). Because, in fact, we needed a lot of crap. Bottles, diapers, clothes, formula, crib, breast pump, swaddles, baby bath, bouncy chair (SAVED OUR LIFE), bouncy ball (Saved our life times two), car seat, stroller, etc. But, since we were the first to have kids, I didn’t feel outside pressure to buy stuff, I felt pressure not to buy stuff. And, yeah, I had to buy stuff.

        In our household, we always say, “Thank the lord for the baby industrial complex or whatever.” Because every time we have a problem, someone has invented a solution that we can buy/ find used for cheap on Craig’s list (always our solution). My breast friend? Solved feeding issues early on. Sleep Sheep? Got him to sleep. Bumbo? Solved seating issues later. God, I loved all that crap. And then we stuck it in the basement and passed it on, or saved it for later. Could we have done without it? Yeah, totally. Did it make our lives a zillion times easier in weeks where we needed easy more then anything? YES. So, yeah, I’m grateful.

        But yes. Registries are stressful.

        And yes, yay AlphaMom. I know the founder, and she’s great, and very very like minded, trying to run a very similar type of site.

        • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

          Oh, I am totally all for getting whatever it is that we need, including stuff that is not technically a need and more of a This Is Nice To Have Because It Makes My Life Easier. I am all for stuff!

          I just don’t know what stuff that will be until the baby gets here. And trying to guess at that before she actually arrives was causing me serious stress and unhappiness. So I made a list of shit we needed before they would allow us to leave the hospital and go home, and figured if we have that at the very least, we can then add on whatever will improve our quality of life as we get to know our kid and her needs.

          • ruchi

            Yeah, I hear you, and it is true that you don’t really know what you NEED until you have your baby because babies are different. The tension is that when you have a baby and you NEED a baby swing because dear lord that is the only way your five week old will sleep, you end up making a lot of 3:30 am Amazon Prime purchases. Which is fine … it’s just not as cheap as if you had the time to shop Craigslist.

            We were lucky in that we got a TON of hand me downs and when I was pregnant, I basically accepted anything anyone was offering us, regardless of whether I thought we’d use it. Sometimes I was surprised and the thing saved my life (the hand me down swing). Sometimes I was surprised that I never used something I was sure I’d use all the time (the moby wrap… couldn’t ever figure it out.)

            If you’re planning to buy mostly new, then I think your way of handling this is totally fine and great, but if you are counting on getting stuff used, it could be helpful to buy some more things than what you think you truly need. Because I *hate* buying stuff, so I totally totally feel you, but my experience has been similar to Meg’s. If a bouncy chair is going to put your newborn to sleep, it’s not so much a “nice to have” as a sanity saver….

      • Abby J.

        Register for Amazon gift cards! And suggest it to any of your shower attendees who will listen!! Seriously, it will save your butt, because you don’t have to stress now about purchases and decisions, but you’ll have cash to cover any last minute purchases you make from home. Amazon is great for those first few weeks, when you may discover you need stuff, but leaving the house with a brand-new baby and a recovering momma body is just Way.Too.Much.

        • Abby J.

          And yes, I know that from experience now. :-) My 5 week old’s napping in her Moby as I type.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      Our baby will be 4 months next week and I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about what we found most helpful in the first three months. Basically – a place to sleep (whatever that looks like for you), a car seat, a baby carrier (I love our baby k’tan), diapers, simple outfits, and Aden + Anais blankets (they are big, soft, and thin – perfect for just about anything).

      Also, stock up on food you can eat with one hand.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        But don’t buy a whole lot of clothes. We have bought one package of socks, one outfit, and two pjs. Yet our child is never naked and won’t be till she’s over a year old because everyone loves to buy clothes for babies.

      • meg

        Unless you have a huge strong baby. Aden + Anais, so pretty. Never touched them for anything other than a feeding coverup. We used two hospital strong flannel swaddles, one on top of the other to keep him wrapped up. Oh, babies.

        • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

          Probably has a lot to do with where you live as well. Anything thicker than a thin cotton here in Southern Arizona would be too thick for a summer baby.

        • amc

          Funny how different babies can be! We loved our A&A blankets because they were the biggest and the thin fabric made them easy to tuck into itself and easy to clean. I found the flannel blankets to be too rigid.

          We are still using the A&A blankets for naptime at preschool.

        • Abby J.

          Heh, our 5 week old has such crazy arms that even those velcro-wrap swaddles or doubled hospital blankets won’t keep her arms in more than 10 minutes.

          • Glen

            My daughter too! One nurse in the hospital actually scolded me because she worked her arms out. Then my mother scolded me for not swaddling her in a MiracleBlanket, nevermind that my daughter screamed bloody murder when we tried. She slept so much better unswaddled.

        • Jess

          SwaddleMe blankets for unbreakable bedtime swaddling, friends.

          http://www.summerinfant.com/nursery/swaddling/resources

        • FM

          Yes, take blankets from the hospital. As many as you can (they were the only blankets that really held a swaddle for us, and also we used them for other stuff, like throwing on the changing pad when we knew it was about to get covered in poop). And lots of those disposable underwear and pads and chux pads. Lots. And a few baby hats. And anything else they will let you take with you.

          On clothes, if you have a tiny baby you may need to buy a few things to get you through the weeks before all the gift clothes fit. But you can figure that out once the baby comes out and then just get a pack or two of onesies in the right size.

      • A

        You all rock. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reassuring me that there are different approaches and hey, we’ll figure it out. We happily have an Amazon Prime membership already, and while I am DREADING creating any type of registry the gift cards and thinking of things we absolutely will need, like car seat, place for the little one to sleep and then other stuff that we MIGHT need, like the Sleep Sheep (cuteness!) actually makes a lot of sense and calms me down. Alphamom looks great too, I’m down with women who approach all this with a great sense of humor so thanks for pointing me in that direction.

        Buying very little clothes and stocking up on easy to eat food also makes so much sense. Especially the food part.

        APW and the community is just the best. <3

    • Darcy

      I loved Lucie’s List as a guide. She breaks things down by category and gives the different options available. Also, LISTS!

  • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

    Well shit. This exactly: “I can’t meet the expectations of the friends who want me to not have toys on the floor and always get a babysitter when we go out to eat. And there is no way I’m going to join other friends at baby playgroups at 9am on a Saturday to sing “The Wheels on The Bus.” ”

    I went to a wedding last weekend with lots of old friends, none of whom have kids. And it was hard. It was really, really hard. I missed most of the toasts trying to keep my toddler quiet. I pushed her bedtime way late trying to stay for most of the dancing. And when my friends went to hang out at a bar afterwards, I stayed in the hotel room with a sleeping kid.

    It’s not like I’d necessarily change anything if I could. I’m pretty darn happy I have a kid to stay with, and honestly I was pretty tired and wouldn’t have really enjoyed myself at the bar anyway. It was just… hard to see all these friends I’d had for many years go and hang out with each other and suddenly realize I was just in a completely different place than they were.

    It is what it is. I also have less and less energy for bullshit. :) I’ll hang out with childless friends when I can and not feel like a shitty person when I choose not to. And probably someday I’ll have other mom friends.

  • Chalk

    I have friends who have become very hostile toward families who have made other lifestyle choices than they have made after having kids. The defensive posture must make these people feel so isolated, and I have no idea what’s in it for them to be so judgmental. I appreciate that this post underscores that you just have to get on with your business the best way you can and give people space to do the same.

    • p.

      I have to say that this goes both ways. I have friends with kids who like to tell me how I can’t understand their life because I don’t have kids. And that’s isolating, too.

  • Ellie

    Yes — thank you for writing about how motherhood is a feminist issue. For me, as a mom and a feminist, one of my touchstones is trying to be on the side of other women, even if we are different. Judgment, blame and insecurity don’t help us all move forward. Of course your experience of mothering isn’t going to be the same as mine, and we aren’t all going to make the same choices. That’s OK. I also agree with Meg that while our choices can carry political significance, not every choice I make is necessarily a “feminist” choice, even as I call myself one. I’m not a “choice” feminist either; my (evolving, continuing to become more educated) views of “what’s good for women, making us a group better able to flourish, have agency and respect” allow me to make evaluations of what I think is more or less “feminist.” But there is a wide space between what I see as generally good for womankind, and the personal, idiosyncratic choices an individual woman makes because that day, that is what is best for her and her family. There’s room. And in this cultural conversation about motherhood, there should be room for us to talk about how we can best practice and value mothering, without issuing edicts to every individual mother to conform.

    • meg

      “But there is a wide space between what I see as generally good for womankind, and the personal, idiosyncratic choices an individual woman makes because that day, that is what is best for her and her family. There’s room. And in this cultural conversation about motherhood, there should be room for us to talk about how we can best practice and value mothering, without issuing edicts to every individual mother to conform.”

      BINGO

  • http://www.facebook.com/SproutEarlyLearningHouse Stephanie

    Meg,
    Thank you for this. Second puberty, aka post-partum, is no joke. Hormone rage, check. Self-conscious body issues, check, new fat pockets in good and bad areas, check. Bigger boobs, check (and, hey, I’ll take it). I, too, am the only one with a kid in my circle (most of my friends are unmarried, let alone husband, house, baby). While they’re in the party-every-weekend phase, I’m in the bed-by-9:00-this-is-awesome part of my late twenties. And you know what, I’m 110% okay with that. I WANT to be awake early on a Saturday so I can finish laundry before baby wakes up and hit the town-wide yard sale, and watching Walking Dead with my husband on separate couches on a Friday night is the ultimate for us.
    My best piece of new mommy advice – find your balance. Not Super-mom Parenting Blog 4000’s balance, yours. Mine was not leaving her overnight until 16 months old. Some new moms do it once a month. My balance also included having to basically buy an entire new summer wardrobe to adorn my plump… err, radiant… post-baby body. Some moms are perfectly comfortable and happy in sweats 24/7. I’ve had a handful of bar nights with my gals, which resulted in extreme dancing (counts as going to the gym) and Instgrams of “Our sweet Miss Stephanie came out last night, here she is with her Shirley Temple, yay!” My bar presence is a novelty, as is my baby when we hang. Which means she’s loved and adored that much more.
    As for baby music and TV, we listen to what we listen to and my baby seems to like it fine. She loves the sultry soothing jams from The Neighborhood, and dances like a fool to Vampire Weekend (all radio edits, of course). And, cue horrible parenting, up until about 14 months, she watched Downton Abby, and Modern Family…and Breaking Bad…because she doesn’t know what the hell is going on, and she doesn’t actually watch it. She runs around and plays. Once she started glaring at the screen for longer than 1 second, we reserved grown up shows for grown up time. She watches Sesame Street, because it’s truly THE GREATEST children’s television program out there, and if there’s nothing brightly colored and/or fuzzy is on the screen she doesn’t care. (She demands “Elmo, peeeeease”, but it’s not always a “yes”, I will tell her “we’re watching Mommy’s show now”, or, “we just watched Elmo, let’s play.”).
    All in all, second puberty rocks a lot harder than the first one. And you get this magical tiny human out of it!
    Thanks for sharing this, I feel comforted in my non-Moms-club-yet-still-seeking-a-like-minded-niche-of-moms journey.

  • Laura

    I’ve recently been pondering the idea of “adulthood” and “growing up” quite a bit. I’m 28, which, even to me, seems pretty well the age of an adult. And I’m getting married, which seems like a pretty adult type of decision. But on the inside? I still am just the same me, albeit with a bit more experience under my belt and an ever-growing amount of responsibility (bills? career advancement? someday soonish, parenting??). I don’t feel particularly qualified for this adult-like life. So I’ve been wondering, when does one ever really start to feel like an adult? Is it when you have kids? Meg, do you feel like an adult? Was there a discrete change? Because this post… to be the same but different, to be getting things slightly wrong but getting them done anyhow, that all seems pretty relevant to my insofar kidless life, too. So when, if ever, am I supposed to feel like a grown up?

    Hashtag minicrisis.

    • meg

      Sort of. We certainly don’t feel like a baby family anymore, but like a solid regular family so don’t even bother telling me what to do, parents ;)

      So, I kind of feel like an adult. But I also feel like myself, and I work hard to keep it that way.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      My ex’s grandmother (the person/thing I miss most from that relationship and time period of my life) is the awesome woman. From England, a war bride, immigrated to Canada, raised 2 kids, all sorts of fascinating life experiences. Just a wonderful person. She was 88 when I last knew her, and she said that in her head, she really only felt like she was 36. That her body had got old around her, and that she barely felt like a grownup even then. My 60 year old mother still says that she barely feels like a grown up most of the time, and she’s a widow and a grandma and runs her own business and has all this life experience. But in her heart of hearts, she’s still not grown up yet.

      So, uh, never, basically.

      • Brenda

        My husband’s grandmother said, on her 100th birthday, “I feel the same as I did at 16. And then I stand up.”

        The body might get old, but the heart’s pretty much the same.

    • Beth

      I’m married, no children. It wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I realized that I was looking into the mirror and, instead of wondering where the adult was, I was thinking, “there she is.”

      Similarly weird (and frightening?) was when I realized I had gone from in no way being able to imagine myself with a child attached to my hip to…thinking it wouldn’t be so weird afterall. Ah! Does that mean I’m ready?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

      I don’t feel it yet. I’m 31.

      I spoke to my dad about it a while back and he said his inner self is 24 and that’s the default age he thinks of as himself as. When he sees a picture of himself he wonders who that old man is. He said it’s pretty surreal to realize that both his children are now older than that.

      He hung out with me and my friends at a board game group and afterwards he said he felt like he was hanging out with peers.

      Yet he’s also one of the most grownup people I know!

  • kathleenicanrah

    Meg- this is maybe a longer conversation, but I’d love your thoughts/advice/your take (and anyone else who might have thoughts). I’m in the middle of a rough, hard pregnancy, and I spend much time every day scared of being able to deal with what the newborn stage- the really, REALLY hard part according to, well, everyone. I’m tapped out physically (thanks 8 months of barfing!) and emotionally (thanks antenatal depression!) and have no reserves left….and I’m going into what I’m told is going to be the hardest few months of my life. To say I’m terrified would be putting it mildly. I’m so relieved to see this post, to see that YOU did it, you surfaced after a hard pregnancy. It gives me hope.

    • meg

      Oh, bullshit ;) That’s what I have to say about the newborn phase being “the REALLY hard part.” I was 40 weeks pregnant and some guy got on the elevator with me at whole foods with his baby, and turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re still in the easy part.” The elevator iced over, and his wife says, “Spoken by someone who never had to do it.”

      Different people differ, but I’d take 10 newborn phases over one pregnancy, and probably 4 births. Pregnancy is about the worst thing I ever experienced. The newborn phase was tiring as shit, but one of the best. I can’t imagine not getting to do another newborn phase, in fact.

      If you’ve survived partum depression and physical shit, you can survive just about anything now. Tune that shit OUT.

      • kathleenicanrah

        I seriously, seriously hope you’re right. The chorus of “it’s worth it!” can sometimes be a little deafening (and also sort of demeaning/minimizing of how shit things are right now). I cannot imagine ever willingly going through another pregnancy- I 100% think if someone paid me a million dollars to be pregnant again I’d say no. Thinking that the newborn stage could be good (dare I say, worth it) is music to my ears.

        • meg

          Go back and read my early posts on motherhood. I talked about how the “it’s worth it” thing isn’t really right. I felt the same way by the end of pregnancy, and yet… biology man.

    • Katie

      Adding a little more encouragement for you – I would most definitely take 10 newborn phases over one pregnancy too. I’ve blacked out a lot of my pregnancy memories… I was sick for 6 months and had prenatal depression. Depression made everything look darker and exacerbated feelings that I wouldn’t be able to cope once the baby arrived. I felt like the minute I was no longer pregnant I didn’t just cope, I thrived. Like Meg said infant stuff is tough, but it is amazing. The night after I had my daughter felt like Christmas morning when I was four, times a million. Meeting her felt like a door in my heart was thrown wide open to this amazing place I never knew existed. I’m only six months in. I got the baby blues and sometimes a sleepless night will make me fear that I’m slipping back towards depression. But you find support, you take care of yourself, and you keep going :) like you have been. It will all be alright.

      • meg

        This was totally my experience. I remember grinning and clutching the then-unnamed baby as I was being wheeled out of surgery, for gods sake. And I think saying to David “Not pregnant, not pregnant!”

        One of the many reasons my emergency C-section ended up being just fine. I didn’t give a shit, I just wanted to not be pregnant. And yes to the new rooms in my heart.

        Now, obviously, it’s different hormonally for everyone. But. Somehow the worst pregnancy ever set me up for everything else to feel so gooooood.

    • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

      What was easier for me about the newborn phase was that I could DO something. Yeah, baby needed to eat every 2 hours round the clock, but I could get up and feed her and that would FIX THE PROBLEM. There wasn’t a damn thing I could fix or change about pregnancy, and for me that was almost more stressful than the physical stuff.

      Also you can get away from a newborn for a few hours when you need a break. I can’t count the times I wished I could take just a two hour break from being pregnant.

      • kathleenicanrah

        yes to the two hour break. and it’s why I actually miss drinking- I want a two hour wine-fueled fugue state, just to have a tiny tiny break. you guys are making me feel more sane about feeling so insane. thanks.

  • Elaine

    As someone just hitting her 20th week of pregnancy (yay, halfway mark!), I just want to say how much I appreciate this piece, and the open conversations on APW in general about motherhood. I’m already feeling the “not quite fitting into any group of friends” thing. All of my friends are either: a) Stay-at-home moms (or moms who work very part-time jobs), or b) Nowhere near having kids. I am very dedicated to my career, and frankly, am a bit irked by the number of people who’ve asked me if I’m coming back after the baby is born – because you know men don’t get that question. Even my best friend in the world, a SAHM, keeps insinuating that I’ll want to quit. I’m approaching this journey with an open mind but also much trepidation, and hearing about the experiences of those of you going through these struggles right now gives me hope. Keep the brilliant posts coming!

    • FM

      It’s possible you will feel that way, but I think it’s at least as likely that you will miss working (and even if you feel nervous, sad, etc. about heading back to work before you do it, that you will be so glad to be there). I didn’t feel like myself again until I was back at work.

  • Caroline

    I really hope your best of Sesame Street has “I lost my cookie at the disco” because it is F*ing hilarious.

  • Erin M.

    I’m not a mom and this post was incredibly timely. My husband and I have been having the “when do we want to rip the band aid off and go for it” conversation and it has unexpectedly sent me on a roller coaster like non other. He wants children so badly and would be such a great partner to do this with- that goes without saying. I vacillate between wanting to know the thrill of holding a pregnancy test in your hand with the little “+” on it (and all the change that follows) and feeling like it’s the nail on the coffin for my career, my body, my social life, our sex life, and my sanity from that moment forward. I also have this nagging fear that the moment I become a mom is also the moment I become obsolete and irrelevant and somehow 20 years older than I actually am with the frumpy clothes to match. I know that doesn’t have to be true, but it is currently my illogical nightmare. More so, I’m really disappointed by the growing trend of hating on anything that moves, which seems to have trickled into many facets of my life, but most especially into the areas of marriage and parenthood. I can’t speak to parenthood, but I can speak to marriage and I can’t count how many times I’ve caught myself feeling embarrassed for loving my marriage for all that it is. I love being married, dammit, even when it’s hard and painful and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, so get off me.

    I don’t know if it will ever be as clear as I want it to be or if I will one day have an “ah ha!” moment that will push me over into the realm of gold fish crackers, spit ups, snotty noses, organic baby food (that I made myself with vegetables from my own garden-duh), and snuggle time. But, I really appreciate what you have to share (and everyone’s comments to add) and thank you for being honest. It’s nice to know I don’t have to have it all figured out.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    Thank you for writing this and everything you’ve shared about pregnancy and motherhood. We need every bit of honest writing we can get on the subject. I’m in my first week off birth control and am hopeful and terrified and miserable. (I’ve been on the pill for avoiding spending every fourth week with a migraine for even longer than it had anything to do with birth control.) Reading honest experiences and talking to my sister, who has three kids and tells it like it is, are really helping me maintain some sanity.

  • Jess

    hair growing in like a pixie cut! it’s SO. bizarre.

  • april

    I don’t have kids, am not planning on having any kids and I *LOVED* reading this today.

    Now I’m gonna call my mom and tell her I love her! ;)

    • KEA1

      Amen. It reinforced for me how important it is to be the compassionate friend to all of my friends who are now also *wonderful* moms (and dads!) to *incredible* children…and who are all so beautifully different in their personalities, parenting styles, kids’ personalities/needs. My friends deserve to have me be a good friend to them no matter what, but especially if there’s even the slightest chance that they’ve had to deal with all of the external noise and BS.

  • Leah

    I love this post. I struggled to find my place and regain my sense of self after having my son 2.5 yrs ago. I tried some mom groups and all it did was make me feel like I was failing in exposing my newborn son to enough sensory experiences and that I was going to put him at a permanent disadvantage for not having him go to yoga/a masseuse/music class/etc. Our non parent friends were less understanding of us leaving dinners earlier than we used to or having to cancel at the last minute because a babysitter fell through. I found my way, thoug,h and learned to avoid reading articles aimed at making parents feel bad and getting away with it by claiming to be “humorous” in order to keep my sanity. I was lucky to stumble into a great group of friends who all have kids within a few days of my son and are supportive, understanding, and accepting. We can smuggle wine into the park, get the kids together to go crazy over pizza, or just be able to say we are having a rough day and need some help.

    The other thing that has been great for me is that I joined a co-op with my son and being around a bunch of psuedo hippies has been great for the live and let live attitude I prefer to cultivate. It is hard being a parent, rewarding and challenging and stressful and full of second guessing myself, but being in an environment that embraces it all and is focused on community has been good for me. I tend to beat myself up when I feel like I have not been my best at something and being around a bunch of people, and in a school, where the entire attitude is basically there is no wrong and only the opportunity to learn has been liberating.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

    I love when you do posts like this. Babies are very much on my mind these days. I’ve got terrible baby fever.

    And I know you won’t be launching a family or baby focused blog, but it’s a blessing to get long and thoughtful posts like this with the same calmness as the wedding posts here.

    We’re currently trying to get pregnant despite a difficult financial situation. Patience has never been my forte, but I’ve been putting together a baby hope chest to help me deal with the anxiety of trying.

  • http://www.amid Lisa

    “It turns out, in motherhood, someone is always ready to point out that you’re doing it wrong. ”

    That’s it. And new technologies just allow more people to tell more mothers about their failings. Society is so invested AND so ignorant about what makes good parenting, and as a result the advice is so agenda-driven. Almost always.

    BTW, I saw what you did there with the diaper bag:):.

    • meg

      <3

    • Hillary

      I totally agree with all this. Although I am years away from having a child, I have reached the age where I am appreciating my parents’ style of raising. Nothing they did was perfect, and in fact, they probably did a few of the wrong things, but they did everything out of love. Because they loved me and wanted the best for me, I became a good person. You don’t have to be perfect, just loving.

  • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com Anna

    Ugh. I hate that I am so late on this, especially because I remember emailing you and sharing a fist-bump when we were both pregnant.
    O is six months now, and I feel like we are just hitting a groove. But I feel similarly about not having a “pod.” My besties are mostly single or far from child-having. I have a few mom friends that I’m trying to turn into my pod, but we are newer friends and for some reason they just aren’t…quite there yet. I have gone out with single friends several times and it’s been fun but also odd, because, you know: can’t drink too much unless I want to dump a bunch of milk, have to leave early because my boobs are sore and also I am exhausted, etc.

    And also I live in Portland, where being dogmatic about motherhood is apparently a requirement. Thankfully I’ve been able to rise above it for the most part, but it is tough place to be as a fairly non dogmatic momma. (We do some cloth, mostly disposable. Our kid drinks out of plastic bottles when he isn’t nursing because glass seemed dumb to give a child and also expensive, etc).

    One thing I am proud of: I have a sister-in-law who parents differently in some important ways (mostly around sleeping). We sleep-train, she has an almost two year old who still wakes up at night to nurse, etc. I was really worried that there would be this sea of judgement going back and forth and I’d be constantly worried that I wasn’t measuring up. But you know what? She’s been amazing and supportive and totally non-judgmental to us over and over again. She’s my best resource in town, and I’m so glad to have her. So there is definitely hope out there.

    Wish SF and Portland weren’t so far – I’d absolutely drink Scotch and sing Queen (or Lauryn Hill, or Kanye, or my previously-commented John Prine song) to our babies with you. And I know you wouldn’t judge me when my kid’s first word is fuck.

    • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

      I’ve found a surprisingly non-dogmatic group of families at the Woodlawn Swap n Play in Portland. I can’t speak for the other swap n plays but I know there are about five of them in town, although I think they’re all on the east side. I’ve enjoyed going to an event and seeing one kid eating homemade kale chips and another eating gummy bears and no one batting an eye. :) I haven’t really made good friends there yet because most of their activities are during the week and I work, but… I have hope.

      • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com Anna

        I don’t even really know what a Swap N Play IS, that is how bad I am at making momma friends. But I’ll look into it, thanks! And you are right – I was being a little hyperbolic – but there are definitely some more chill Mamas in this town as well, I just need to find them (and stay off the Facebook Mom’s group that someone invited me to that devolves into vaccine and sleep fights every two minutes).

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  • Granola

    So sad I can’t skip work and read all these now over coffee and yogurt. But yet again I’m glad to see APW pushing the conversation in an awesome way. Meg, thanks for being so courageous to share.

    My husband and I were kicking around the idea of trying to have kids this fall, and then I got a new high-powered (read: stressful and insane) job and that put any baby ideas on hold. But it’s nice to read all this stuff now and know it’ll be there when I need it. It definitely pulls my anxiety level down. I think you’re short-changing yourself a little Meg – you’ve definitely cultivated a pod. A virtual one, so that cuts down on whiskey drinking and shared baby cuddling, but I think it’s a cool pod nonetheless.

  • Elle

    xoxoxoxoxo, Meg.

  • http://www.mereader.wordpress.com Mary Jo

    Sorry I’m so late on this. You’ll see why below.

    Meg, I’m desperate. Please tell me, how do you get to a place where you can say “IT’S FINE” about waking up every two hours?

    My four-month old won’t sleep for longer than two hours, three if I’m super lucky. I feel so run-down all the time, I have no energy, I have trouble fending off depression, I feel like I’ve lost my spark. I’m already going to bed when the baby does, at 8 or 9, even though it costs me time to read, write, exercise, call friends, and spend time with my husband.

    AND, I go back to work in a week. So I’ll have to drive through rush hour twice a day without falling asleep behind the wheel, be *on* for five hours in front of a classroom of surly teenagers, and pump every minute class is not in session, while being THIS exhausted AND missing my baby.

    What can make this “FINE”? Please, I need to know. Meg, you’re the only one who could possibly help me change my perspective on this so that it’s not only survivable, but FINE.

  • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

    I won’t speak for Meg, but… it’s not fine. It’s really, really fucking hard. It’s maybe fine for the first few weeks or even months but four months of waking up every two hours is, genuinely, honestly, not fine. I found that I needed at least one 4 hour stretch of sleep every night to function, and like you, I had a baby who woke up every 2 hours. Sleep deprivation can literally make you go insane, that is a researched fact.

    One option might be to take nighttime shifts with your husband. What worked for us was that my husband took the 9pm-2am shift, I took the 2am-morning shift. This is harder if you’re breastfeeding, but if you can swing pumping enough for bottles before you go to bed or don’t mind supplementing with formula, it’s pretty unlikely that 4 hours without nursing will damage your supply at 4 months. (Your mileage may vary. Talk with a lactation consultant if you’re concerned.)

    Another option might be some form of sleep training. There’s a wide range of options, from simply changing your daytime schedule and bedtime routine to see if that helps, all the way to extinction crying until baby learns how to fall asleep without help. And many, MANY options in between. I’m pretty confident that you could find something that feels comfortable to you that will stretch out wakings longer than 2 hours, although maybe not get you 12.

    Please feel free to email me if you’re interested in hearing the many (MANY) things I tried (with varying success), or just want someone to vent to and commiserate. marina dot f dot moses at gmail dot com. I will not judge or tell you what you absolutely should or shouldn’t do, I promise, I don’t judge anybody’s baby sleep issues anymore.

  • http://raisingthedough.wordpress.com Marina

    Ack, this was meant to be a response to Mary Jo! Sorry.