The First Thing I’ll Say About Becoming A Parent

There are so many things they don’t tell you about parenting.IMG_5586

Probably because no one ever decided who “they” was, and the ones who should probably be saying those things you need to hear are too exhausted to remember if they fed the dogs today or bathed within the last 48 hours.

Then there are the experts. Either professionally titled or self-proclaimed, they say far, far too much. Not just in more graphic detail or with greater fervor than you ever wanted, but in terms of sheer volume of information.

They take the idea of internal locust of control to the nth degree. They count their macros and micromanage and insist that you can schedule and flowchart your way to the perfect child.

What To Expect When The First Year is 783 pages, not including the index in the back. And that’s assuming you ever graduated from pregnancy to child-rearing books.

What I desperately wanted at the time of having my now eight-month old child was more like a pamphlet. A tri-fold brochure you’d find on a rack in a hotel lobby. “How To Keep Your Baby Alive For 12 Months, The Highlights.”

I’m a big-picture person. I appreciate a good overview.

In preparation for this blog post, I tried to think if I could be a good and virtuous “they” and offer anything helpful to those that are a couple of steps behind me on the mom marathon.

The truth is, I got nothing. I have very few tricks, tips, Lord knows I haven’t found any shortcuts, but I can say this –

Don’t let yourself feel guilty. It will make you crazy(er than you already are).

Don’t do it. Don’t let yourself get mired in feeling you could or should have done something different or better.

For returning to work too early, for staying home from work too long. For not returning to work at all, even though you swore you would.

IMG_5580For not breastfeeding, for not breastfeeding long enough. For breastfeeding beyond common social standards.

For wondering if that sushi you ate while pregnant is the reason your baby is the last one at daycare to start crawling.

For wishing they still took healthy babies to the nursery so you could get some SLEEP while you’re still in the hospital. For crying when they take the baby away, just for a minute, to get a hearing test.

For letting them cry it out. For snuggling them at night and letting them fall asleep in your arms.

For not reading enough, and instead Googling things from your phone while holding a crying baby.

IMG_5581For telling your family to give you space. For telling your husband he’s just going to have to put up with your family all up in everyone’s space because you need them more than you thought you would.

For taking time to yourself when you need to escape. For temporarily abandoning hobbies that meant so much to you before baby.

For feeling like you’ve completely lost it.

(For scribbling your ideas for a blog post on the back of a note from your daycare while you sprinkle rice puffs in front of your baby to distract him.)

For all the thousands of things that make up your new life as a parent. Because your life is going to get reallllllll messy and you don’t have to have it all instantly figured out.

Just stick in there. You’ll find your way.

And eventually, you’ll find a day to squeeze in a good shower.

 

DIY or Do I Buy?

For as long as I can remember, I have had this uncanny ability to preempt purchasing trends. This has been both good and bad.  I find myself frustrated when what I want doesn’t seem to exist in any stores, but because I can’t, I end up creating it for a lot cheaper than when it gets popular.

Two examples:

  1. Mid-Century Modern furniture – Okay, so I can’t truly claim this trend, because I am pretty sure it never really went out of style. BUT it’s become so hot, they are selling it at West Elm for $900 at a time.

West Elm today:

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And the dresser I bought three years ago for $80:

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(And here is further evidence of my obsession with MCM furniture, as early as 2012.)

2. This 2013 doomed-from-the-start lamp project. There is often a very large disparity in my vision for a project and the realization of it. And sometimes I assume quite wrongly that if I just have the necessary raw materials, surely I’m halfway there. Wrong.

For a grand total of $7 at Goodwill I bought this lamp that eventually ended up in the trash after being spray painted. The embroidery thread I’m still holding on to, in the vain hope my skills improve. (Pet Wookie not included):

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And these beautiful, $187 lamps currently on Etsy:

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This is probably why I have never spent more than $200 on a single piece of furniture and still managed to decorate a three bedroom house rather nicely. It’s also part of why my husband thinks I’m nuts spending hours on the internet looking for milk glass and hoarding old wine corks.

The good news is YOU can do this same thing, only in reverse, and save yourself some money. Found something you love online? I guarantee you can find something similar on a Facebook Trading Post, Craigslist, or Goodwill for a fraction of the price.

I have to admit, just looking at these pictures inspires me to try again with the lamp…

Ceteris Paribus.

I abandoned my Twitter account about the time I abandoned this blog. After almost two years, and just about every life change imaginable, I found that the simple act of updating my profile pretty much sums up everything you’ve missed:

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Yep.

Quit blogging, quit selling on Etsy, got pregnant with my first child, became a first-time homeowner, said goodbye to my twenties, had a baby and became a MOM, quit my job and started a new one. Oh, and the baby stole my vision somewhere around month five, so now after 30 years of perfect vision I wear glasses.

But aside from all that – all things being equal (ceteris paribus) – I’m pretty much exactly the same person I was two years ago.

(Hah. Are we ever the same person we were two years ago?)

I spent quite a bit of time on this blogging discussing what it might be like to simply live life for a while without picking apart my every action, typing it up, then overanalyzing it some more.

Fighting that part of my nature has been good for me – action is good. But then the more you act on life’s opportunities, the less time you have to reflect on them, until eventually you realize two years has passed on your favorite pastime.

So I’m giving it a go again after a record hiatus.

Hello, world. How’ya been?