Empty the Pews

I don’t want to talk about this. But for too long, the silence has been deafening. The elephant is not only in the room, but friends, it has shat the bed. I’ve always been a clean-as-you-go kind of person, but … Continue reading

The Year Of Broken Plates

She is everywhere.

Your Instagrams, your Pinterests, your blogs, your billboards, your Wal-Marts, your coffee shops, your gyms, your parks, your schools, your TVs, your dreams.

The Mother.

Her hair is done, her house and clothes are clean, her body is healthy, her coffee is hot, her kids are happy, and like, she’s busy but she is HANDLING IT.

This time last year, I was suffering from a common condition known as “summer pregnancy.” I knew this part was hard, but then the baby would be here, and I would become THE MOTHER and everything would be great.

And then, suddenly, I remembered that I’m terrible at juggling.

Good china plates are lying in shards around me; my brain is dizzy and my feet are bleeding. The baby is screaming, the dishes are crusted with 3-day-old food and flies, the house carries a faint but distinct odor of wet towels and shit, the floor is sticky, and TBH I’m probably gonna throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner…again.

I have one baby. ONE.

The Mother did not come to me; the Mother betrayed me. The Mother didn’t tell me that she had to give up everything else she loved, like music or writing or friends, in order to be considered a good mom.

By her standards, I have failed spectacularly.

“It takes 9 months to put on the weight, so give yourself at least 9 months to lose it and then #HustleYourButt!” but instead I gained it all back and heyyyy it brought some friends!

I was given TWO Baby Bullets, and I rejoiced because I wanted to make fresh food for my baby every day.

I have used exactly ONE of them ONE time. And I remember to brush those 2 preciously sharp little chiclets in his maw about once a week, so he’s definitely going to need dentures by the time he’s 5.

Does it sound bad if I say that my 11-month old son already has favorite showS? #YesThatWasAnEmphasizedPlural #ILoveYouMoana #AndDinoTrux #BasicallyJustAllOfNetflix

If I get all the laundry done, it’s a good day.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away, I’m pretty awesome.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away AND take a shower, I deserve sexual favors and Chinese take-out, full stop.

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This little helper gently rolled into the sink head first about 2 seconds after this picture was taken. #MotherOfTheYear

I’m honestly a little sad. The first year is already almost up, and the only thing I feel confident in showing for it is that Harrison, Steven and I are still alive.

Maybe in Year 2, I’ll figure out how to keep the house clean as well as get in shape, and return to music/writing/friendships on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll just drink my coffee while it’s still hot.

But one thing (lol, probably a FEW things) I do pledge: to be okay with being JUST okay, and to be okay with NOT being okay.

To delegate those chores. To not do IT ALL. To get together with a friend, like, once a week, even if the dishes aren’t done. To kiss my hard-working husband at the start and end of every day. To unfollow the perfect Instagram moms.

And lastly, to donate the good china plates and settle for some good ole indestructable Corelle and Tupperware. I’m a mom now, after all.

 

We Don’t Need Superheroes

I did not grow up with comic books or graphic novels – any pop culture, really. Those frivolities are of little notice when you’re sure the world is going to end by the time you’re 13. So, in the last … Continue reading

…maybe it’s PPD

Earlier today, I posted my very first Facebook Live video. For some reason, I decided to make it light and fluffy by asking people to tell me their stories of Post Partum Depression – or PPD.

The response I got was…immense. 

Sometimes I feel like God’s sole purpose of putting me on earth is to ask the hard, awkward questions – because out of 7 billion people planet wide, I cannot be the only person who thinks/feels/wonders about certain things? And maybe if I just sack up and take one for the team, then maybe others will feel like it’s okay for them to talk about it too? 

The thing is, I’m not sure if I have PPD. I wouldn’t blame or shame myself if I did. If you’ve followed me at all in the last couple of years, you’ll know that pregnancy and birth and motherhood has kind of done a number on me. 

But maybe it’s just the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in. So if I just list off all the pinballs that are bouncing around in my brain, maybe I’ll win the game instead of dropping like it’s hot. 

Winter.

It’s the middle of February and I have never done well in winter to start. I need sunshine and blue skies and lake days and smelling like campfire smoke to really thrive as a person. 

So why would I question my well-being when I’m basically trapped indoors with a helpless creature who would probably burst into flames if exposed to the sun longer than 5 minutes?

I’m talking about the baby, not my husband. *ba dump chh*

Sleep

I’ve never been a sleep-till-noon sort of person but I truly fire on all cylinders when I’ve had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. And being a mom is not like your teen years where you babysat for 6 hours, then spent your money at the 7-11 and video store (oh I am soooo dating myself right now) so you could stay up til 3am with your girlfriends, and then be *so tired* the next day but it was fine because you could settle the sleep score the next night. 

No.

This is sleeping two hours, being awake for an hour, sleeping maybe another 2 hours etc FOR MONTHS. There’s a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a torture device, friends. IT SHITS ON YOUR BRAIN. 

Stuff I’ve known my whole life is now living in that deep chasm from Inside Out, full of colored memory marbles that are slowly becoming dust. 

And all the new stuff I know, the stuff I do every day, starts to run like cookies in the oven that were put too close together. The thing I did 5 minutes ago was actually 5 days ago.

Last night, I forgot to medicate my son. He went a whole 16 hours without the medicine that literally helps his heart not beat too fast. Because I’ve done it approximately 360 times, right, so why would last night be any different? But there it was this morning, an already-full syringe that should have been coursing through Harrison’s blood stream for the last 8 hours. 

And also? *straps on a megaphone*

SLEEP TRAINING SUCKS BALLS (BALLS) (BALLS) (BALLS) 

My words echoed because I was standing on the edge of my Inside Out chasm. 

On that note…

Dreams

 In those precious hours where sleep does come, your thoughts might occasionally dance on your shit-for-brains and proceed to make a Jackson Pollack on the walls of your subconscious. 

I have had dreams where my baby is dead. SIDS, drowning, heart failure, I could go on. 

I have had dreams where the hospital doctors decided he wasn’t thriving with us, so they took him away to live with better parents. 

I have had dreams where he never gets here because I’m having another miscarriage. 

I’ve had dreams where he never talks or laughs or plays because he is destined to be a baby FOREVER and I think it’s our fault for calling ourselves The Buttons. 

I f*cking hate dreaming. 

The World Sitch

As an adult that was raised in a lot of end-of-days theologies I’ve had to toss out to maintain my sanity, I’m feeling pretty damn triggered lately. 

So much shit that I was taught to keep an eye out for is actually happening now. I don’t care what your worldview or political affiliations are, you have to admit that every morning brings a new shitshow to read about or watch on the news. 

So? You say. Just ignore all of that. It’s so negative and you can’t trust what you read/hear anyway. 

That’s part of the problem. I feel like I have two choices: feel shitty about bringing a child into the shitty world all the time, or be ignorant, uninformed, and ultimately unable to make the world a better place in my corner of it. I don’t want to block my senses, singing LALALA, IF I CAN’T SEE YOU, YOU CAN’T SEE ME. 

I want to care, and to me that means not letting my privilege make me selective in what I care about.
Being what kids these days call WOKE feels impossible when a mama just wants to sleep. 

The Future

Que sera sera, and all that. I have no control over any of it. I just know that it’s going to be different than what I thought. 

Right now, my husband is mostly unemployed and soul-searching. Maybe he’ll morph into a stay-at-home dad. Forever, my son has Noonan’s syndrome. Maybe he’ll grow up accepted for who he is, where he’s at, and maybe he won’t. A few years from now, we’d like to take our family to Disneyland, or maybe it’ll all be underwater. 

So? Am I suffering from PPD? I still don’t know. As someone brilliant once said, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes.” 

Or sleep deprivation, or World War 3. You know, those old nuggets. I guess time and sunshine will tell. 

5 New Mom Truths I Didn’t Know Until I Knew Them

I’ve been a mom for 4 whole months now so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.

1. You learn to function without sleep.

All I had to do was stop visualizing my life as “day” and “night”, and start visualizing it as nap #3 of 6 in a 24-hour period. So go ahead and have that coffee at 9pm, because nothing matters anymore.

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2. Breastfeeding can be REALLY difficult. 

And just like pregnancy, I did not love it. I  wanted to, and I thought that would be enough to make it a reality.

 

Nope. I could not Desire Map my way into this delicate, hormonal endeavour called breastfeeding. But after doing it for 3 months, I can say YOU GO MAMA to anyone who manages to do it for longer, while eating, while lying down, while in public, while being covered up, while being stared at, while being given advice. YOU ARE MADE OF STRONGER METTLE THAN I.

3. Successfully putting your baby to bed is like a scene from The Hurt Locker. Or any movies involving bombs, really.

Their bellies are full, their bums are clean, the room is dimly lit, the white noise is whirring, the lullabies have been sung, and Baby is so sleepy it’s adorable. You debate just holding and snuggling them for the duration of their nap, but then you remember you have shit to do. And so, you must GTFO before this happens:

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If you succeed, this is how you will feel.

 

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4. Any amount of personal hygiene will feel like a spa day.

If you’re wondering about the state of our hygiene as new parents, a mouse lived in our tub long enough to chew the shower curtain and drop 40 poops in it before we noticed. But once we decided not to burn said tub to the ground, man, those showers felt great.

5. Your love for your child will be infinite.

All the songs on the radio will be about them, you will sacrifice everything you once loved to take care of them. Every smile and achievement they make will convince you that surely it’s never been done before, and they are the first ones, and they are THE BEST at it.

But you’ll be amazed at how much MORE you love them when they sleep more than one hour at a time. It may occasionally happen at the expense of your husband’s feelings (“If you fart like that one more time, you cannot sleep here! At least muffle it with a pillow for the LOVE OF GOD!”) but it will be worth it.

Actually, everything is worth it.

Talk again in another 4 months…maybe…

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow: A Birth Story

It is absolutely surreal to me that, at this time 5 weeks+3 days ago, I had just given birth.  First of all, thank you for receiving my last blog post so graciously. I was a little unhinged, so y’all have … Continue reading

Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

7 weeks to go: the ups and possible Down’s of our Baby Button

Every once in awhile, there comes a time when you straight up have to cancel your life. Your cares, your responsibilities, the expectations placed upon you are bulldozed by reality, and you must deal with THIS THING for your own … Continue reading

13 Inappropriate Status Updates I’ve Wanted To Make Since I Got Pregnant

Oh, good. Another blog post about pregnancy. This should be informative, fun, cutesy, non-judgy and—*retches into nearest garbage can*.

Oh, sorry, that wasn’t about the topic – that’s just my life now. Any conversation I have from now until September is 90% likely to be interrupted by me retching into the nearest garbage can.

Cause I got knooooockedddd upppp hawrrrrd. 

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Two hours into my shift and I'm ready to go home. I am the weakest link.

It was really difficult for an oversharer like me to achieve but Steve and I decided to keep this news fairly on the down low this time around until it was impossible for a photo of me to be shared without cropping half of me out. We wanted to make sure that everything was okay first, as if we are going to have control over a concept like *that* ever again.

And now, unfortunately for y’all, I have a serious backlog in my brain (and phone) of everything I’ve wanted to say since the day I found out I was pregnant again.

1. “This pregnancy test better not be f*cking with me.”

2. “Oh shit, this is actually happening. I should probably find a doctor or a midwife. And tell my husband. In that order? Will he be less panicky if I say I already have a care provider ready to go, or will he want to do that together? Yes.”

3. “Wow, I’ve made it 6 whole weeks, and I feel great! But that’s bad. I should probably be sick, right? I wasn’t sick last time, and that was a bad sign. Oh no.”

4. *one week later* “Ohhhh Goddddd, when will the vomiting end?” #SecretlySuperRelieved

5. “I just vomited from the hours of 3am to 6am and now I have to go to work for 8 hours. I’m no mathematician…but this kinda sucks.”

6. “I am the worst human being in the world. Like, here’s Donald Trump and waaaaayyyy down here is me. For I have just desecrated Her Majesty Queen Adele. She was on the radio, and lo, I could not stop barfing from beginning to end. Off with my head.” #HelloFromTheGarbageCan

7. “Did you know you can get a sinus infection, just from all the extra fluids being produced in your body during pregnancy? I SURE DIDN’T! Seriously, Adele, if you’re not gonna cut off my head, I’m just gonna do it myself.”

8. “Sweet, I finally lost that 15 pounds I’ve been chasing for 3 years, and the curves are landing in all the right places! Hello, boobs, nice to meet you at last!” *smacks husband’s hands away for the 27th time cause these new bubbies HURT, BITCH*

9. “Steve just told me that he feels like our bodies are singing Sarah McLachlan songs to each other, it’s been so long. And then to prove his point, he burst out, I WILL REMEMBER YOUUUUUU WILL YOU REMEMBER MEEEE DON’T LET YOUR WIFE PASS YOU BY *reaches towards new boobs* WEEP NOT FOR THE MAMMARIES

I should probably do something sexy before he leaves me.”

10. “I am in the bathroom at work. I have just barfed, peed myself a little, switched gears for diarrhea and had a nosebleed in the last 5 minutes.

Baby Button, I love you, but seriously CALM YOUR SHIT.” #AlwaysKeepAChangeOfClothesInTheCar #ThanksHusbandForBringingMeClothesAndAlsoForNotLeavingMe

11. “Omg our maternity photo shoot is in 3 days, and everything is terrible! At least on my wedding day, someone could use the power of foundation and witchcraft to make me beautiful, but NOW I’m on my OWN! I need a haircut! There are burst blood vessels in my face! I have nothing to wearrrrr…”

12. “Did I actually forget how amazing our photographer is? For. Shame.”

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13. “Hold up. Did I just…? Yep, there is *something* moving inside me, and for once, it’s not gas! Or maybe it is? Wait, now I’m being punched in the ribs by the tiniest little fist in the world, yes I am, hello baby! Steve, come quick! Everything we’ve gone through in the last 5 months is about to be worth it!”

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To be continued…