Friday, April 15, 2011

Hello Mom… Are you in there?


I can remember like it was yesterday- well it probably happened yesterday too but getting back….. I can remember like it was yesterday and I was a young girl and my mother would say something that sounded so idiotic I was almost embarrassed for her even though we were alone. My mother is an intelligent, well educated and successful woman- she was then, still is.  These comments, some commands- sent chills up my spine and the little blond hairs on my arms stood at attention. 

What’s funny about these little quirky comments or idiosyncrasies my mom said and displayed is that I really couldn’t tell you what they were specifically a few years ago. I was just your average woman in her early thirties raising a cute little girl (who I would never dream of saying idiotic things to or embarrassing the way I had been) and while I recalled my mom was a little odd and embarrassing at times, who knows why that was- it was over 20 years ago. All I was sure of is that I am a “cool” mom- my hair will always look great when I go to her birthday parties, I will always stay slim, drive a “cool” car, I will always make my daughter feel proud to have her friends over and not say silly comments to embarrass her.

That was until my cute little girl decided to hang her pig-tails up and grow a set of horns on top of her halo! I don’t know who flipped the hormone switch in this girl but watch out!  My sweet doodle bug has gone full blown coo coo for CoCo Puffs.  From lies to manipulation, mood swings to tantrums ( all the qualities that I could at one time find in my ex-boyfriends), this girl has got her “Sassy Ass” on! Giddy Up!!!

Low and behold, it’s like a ghost from my past, what the F*$*&^k did I just say and where have I heard that before? Oh yes. It’s happening. I have been possessed by my mother during my fits of rage with my daughter. The words just fly out- it’s amazing. Did I just do that embarrassing eyeball roll while chewing on ice? Did I just imitate Fresh Beat band for my 2 and 3 year olds to make them laugh and get the look of death from my little tween?  It’s like my mom knew when she was saying these dumb comments to me or acting like a goof and I would quietly make fun of her for sounding so “nerdy,” that one day I would find myself saying the same things to my little demon girl.

Now I find myself cringing when I hear myself tell her to please not use the word “butt” – call it a fanny or a tushy. I say the word “sucks” all the time yet I have recently told my daughter only trashy people use that word. Please don’t say the word fart, I will explain there are a variety of other words that are much better- like windy pop. (OMG, she will get her ass kicked if she actually uses that word at school). My mom used to use this expression, “What am I ? The cat’s aunt?” To this day, I think it sounds ridick yet I am now I user of the ridick saying. Did you ever think you would address anyone “young lady?” “Did you brush your teeth? Come here and let me see.” “Honey, you can’t wear those, you look like a little hooker.” I know nice. I tried explaining to my daughter the other day she couldn’t wear daisy dukes in public was because when you bend over, everyone can see your va-jay-jay. I know that permanently scarred her forever. Va-jay-jay? I mean….

Yeah. I know… give me a martini, dentures and a walker now.  Couldn’t stand when my mom would tell my friends about how she was so cool as a kid, blah blah- Now I find myself nudging childhood friends in front of my daughter saying, “Tell my kid I was cool.”  HA!

My mom did teach me a lot of great things through her repetitiveness too- it wasn’t just the annoying babble that wouldn’t take a break and has now returned to haunt me in the form of haunting my daughter. She used to tell me when I was having a hard time with the girls in middle school, “Tracy, you have to be a friend to have a friend.” That stuck. I live by that. Something else my mom said throughout the years that I eventually tuned out (probably after the 350,000th time) was that I would never understand a mother’s love until I myself become a mother. Well, here I am, Mom, a mom. 4 times. I get it. You’re still a little nerdy to me but what really SUCKS, is that I am too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Womb With a View: Top Ten Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Mamma

Recently a great friend of mine who owns the most successful maternity consignment shop in my local area requested I create a list for the My Diaper Diaries blog regarding the Top Ten things people should NOT say to a preggo mommy (PM). This really hit home because if you remember in my post back in December called Meddling Mouths, I had become fed up by my eighth month of people and their unfiltered mouths. Clearly, my bump had an invitation on it that READ: Come make conversation with me because like 2 billion other women right now, I am knocked up.
What is so incredibly dangerous about this escapade is one really does NOT know who they are dealing with when approaching a pregnant mamma (PM).  Hormones are her dominator and hormones are not a force to be reckoned with (men, women and children know this).  Let’s be realistic, some days a PM awakens and feels like praising God, the Universe, her husband or whomever quite frankly, will listen to how grateful she is and how perfect this life is- how although she feels sick in the morning, it’s so amazing to barf over and over and discover ass cheese (aka cellulite). She may be the size of a hot air balloon but feel her utmost sexiest. She may have a face full of acne, hair falling out in clumps and the inability to see her feet (among other body parts) but feel like a sex pot vixen ready to pounce her man.  However, DO NOT BE FOOLED- this same PM may have a set of hormones slam on the brakes the next day and all of the sudden… “Hello Satan.”
It is best to keep in mind, that while you may have felt like a sexy firecracker and enjoyed shinier and thicker hair, perky tits and only 12 lbs. of weight gain (because you were either dying from morning sickness and barfed your pounds away or because you’re a head case and you starve your body and unborn child), that many Pregnant Mammas feel like they have some parasite sucking the energy out of them and they should have a temporary tattoo on the tushy that reads WIDE LOAD.
It is important to let these women take the lead when it comes to discussing their condition. My friend mentioned this blog needed to be written as she had a customer in her maternity consignment store (yes, it’s the best- who was nearly brought to tears by something someone said to her.
Now without further ado and in an effort not to sound like Dave Letterman- I present you the “Top Ten Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Mamma (PM)”
1. First things first:  “When are you due?” or “How far along are you?”  That must be confirmed ONLY by the PM admitting she is pregnant.  NEVER ever ask a woman when she is pregnant if she has not told you, not even if she looks 8 months pregnant! Many things to consider are that she could have just delivered and looks pregnant still. She could be a rape victim or in a situation where sexual abuse was the cause of pregnancy. And if PM is tiny but clearly pregnant, she may not have shared her news with anyone or she may have recently had a miscarriage.
2. “Wow! You’re about to pop, that’s a big baby!” (in other words, you look huge). This was a phrase I became very familiar with as I carried rather  large babies and I was just BIG for my frame size. I mean, do you go up to women shopping the Tampax section and say, “Hey wow, you’re getting the Super Flow box… heavy period huh? Big Vag? Good luck with that. 
3. Best to avoid, “Oh my God, are you sure you don’t have twins in there?” Yes, lady, somehow after 7 months of being pregnant, 3 ultrasounds and countless heart rate reading, my doctor, nurses and I all missed that.” So, once again, another way of making you feel … HUMUNGO.  
4. Sticking with the twins/multiples for a moment, “So did you get pregnant with them naturally or IV?”  This in my opinion is taking “Are you a natural blonde” to another extreme. One doesn’t know what this PM went through to become pregnant, whether she had a long road of IVF or if she was just blessed to have a natural occurring multiple pregnancy. What I do  know is that if she wants YOU to know, SHE will tell you.
5. One of my personal favorites, “Is your husband excited?” Possible answer, “No, he isn’t. He is stressed out and has been taking meds for his blood pressure. Yes, that’s right, you have stepped into a big pile of shit. Do not ask if the husband is excited. That is just dumb. Too many men aren’t excited until they actually meet their little bundle of joy- and with that said, you have set yourself up for a disastrous question.
6. “Are you going to breastfeed?” Ummm, this question is double loaded ladies. If you say yes, you’re in for one of two things: You will be praised and told how great it is for your baby, how herSidenote- breastfeeding is an extremely personal decision and one reserved for the mother and father of the baby. I feel very strongly about pushing my personal opinions about breastfeeding on to others because the commitment is not an easy one and a new mom, with hormones, doesn’t need to be judged first day out of the gate on her decisions regarding her child’s nutrition.
7. Many of my friends who are readers know that my first child, 10 years ago, was one out of wedlock and I was at end of completing my Bachelor Degree at GWU and had been accepted to the Law School for the following fall. I continued on through the remainder of my classes, pregnant. I am sure it was a shock for all the students I had been working so hard with in study groups for a couple years  to accept my new bump and decision to complete the only undergrad degree but forgo the JD/MBA degree I was very excited and prepared to work very hard for. This opened up a breed of questions I was just mortified by as a 23 year old woman. Number 7 is in three parts:
a. “Are you going to keep it?”  Let me point out to you, if pregnant mama (PM) is to say , “No, I am not” for example, I do hope the shoes you are wearing are made of fine leather for a good chewing experience." And should PM inform you that she is going to deliver but she is going to have to put him or her up for adoption, you have just opened a can of worms that are poisonous. There are so many variations of “mess” that can come from that question. Don’t ever ask it please.
b. “Babies are expensive, can you afford it?” First of all, no matter the topic, it is classless to ever count other people’s dollars. One should not assume anything when it comes to a mother’s will to “find a way” to afford a baby.
c. As I mentioned, my first baby was out of wedlock so I was often asked, “Who is the baby’s daddy?”  I mean, really people…. Don’t. Just don’t.  You don’t know if it’s someone who was very close to the PM and they just couldn’t agree to get married or if perhaps she wanted to get pregnant so badly that she went recklessly sleeping around in an effort to become pregnant. And while it is sad to consider, women are raped and sexually abused , they do end up pregnant  and some of these amazing women bring these beautiful babies into the world. Regardless of the circumstances, it just isn't a discussion for the produce section at Whole Foods.
8. Then there is that inevitable woman who has to chat about diet. “You must be dying for a glass of wine (or coffee) by now, honey.” Me: “Actually, no, I have wine with dinner and if I really crave a cup of coffee, I splurge. Docs orders say it’s ok.” Just brace yourself for the look of contempt, disagreement and major disappointment. However, if you’re lucky, she has shut the hell up by now and moved on.
9. “Are you having your baby naturally?” “No, I am having him unnaturally.” What IS unnaturally having your baby? People think it’s ok to get into all of your business so give them an answer like that.  Having a vagninal birth in a hospital, home or center with or with or without drugs or having a c-section are all, in my opinion, natural ways to deliver.
10. Number 10 is not something to avoid saying, it is something to avoid doing. I have said it before back in the Meddling Mouths blog in December. DO NOT TOUCH THE GOODS WITHOUT AN INVITE PLEASE. “I am pregnant, not a petting zoo. Please remove your hands from my stomach.”
What I have found is that most people are not just total idiots with diarrhea of the mouth. Clearly, they found their own pregnancy/pregnancies to be one of the greatest events or most traumatic events in their life thus far. It is human nature to want to talk about it and when a woman sees the mommy with the belly, it makes her feel good to have an opportunity to discuss it with a new mommy. This behavior is more about the woman who wants to chat, not about you, the beautiful and vulnerable pregnant woman. In my opinion, people are good and they come from a place of love but while they often wear their rosy-colored love glasses, they also too, forget to wear there mouth filters. Try not to take it personally and remember, human nature says they are more likely interested in talking about themselves than hearing about you. They see you as an opportunity to talk about their experience.
I would love to hear back from you pregnant and previously pregnant mommies who may have some funny filter less comments tossed at you during your pregnancy and postpartum weeks. Please feel free to comment under this blog and share your funniest or most offensive Preggo Punches!
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