Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pondering Parenthood

I am not sure I am going to like most “new parents.”

So as you know I am pregnant. I am about to hit the 6 month mark tomorrow. Over the last few months I have been reading the…wait…what?

Sorry…somebody just brought me cake. Must eat cake.

Ok, as I was saying, over the last few months I have been a member of my local parents “parenting message board.” I live in a VERY baby friendly part of Brooklyn. You can’t open your door and throw a stick without hitting a pregnant woman or a Maclaren Stroller. (What? You don’t know about the hippest, must have baby stroller?! How will we ever be able to have a discussion again?)

Anyway, I thought it would be smart to join their message board. I had this fear that once I have this baby, all my friends will desert me after a few obligated visits, my husband will continue his life and social activities as usual, and I will become a mole person, who can only talk baby talk to the telemarketers when they call. Heavens to bid, CSI might even grow old! So I should join a parents group so I can find a “mommy and me” play group, right? They will be the only people I will be able to relate to after this child is born, right? I mean come on, for 35 years I have been able to carry on relatively interesting conversations, it goes without saying that once my baby is born I will only want to talk about breast milk, diapers, and how tired I am, right?

Who knows? What I do know is that I hate the phrase “Mommy and Me.” It makes me think of cheap wine and handi-wipes and women who hate their husbands.

What I also know is that I have found the message board to be filled with 90% of crazy. Sure there are discussions about neighborhood pediatricians and fun outings for babies, but those are outweighed by what I see as one of the warning signs that I am going to hate “new parents.”

From a way too lengthy discussion about enforcing children to wear helmets while sledding in the park (blink)….yes the park…not a ski resort, not an Olympic slalom course, not even on the icy streets that I sledded on that could get me up to 25 miles per hour with only parked cars to stop me…I am talking a foot of snow in the park…to the “let’s talk more about whether vaccinations cause autism” to my latest favorite thread regarding dogs pooping and peeing on trees that live in the 3 feet by 3 feet of dirt, every 20 feet or so, lining the streets. “My child helps me tend my tree that is outside of my apartment and what am I supposed to do if there is dog pee on it?"

I really wanted to throw in my two cents by saying “Lady, if you have been living in NYC and don’t already assume that EVERYTHING has dog and human pee and poop on it, you have been living in a fantasy world. My rule day one in this city was to assume that every part of a subway car had been touched by someone’s dick at some point. Yep, even the over head hand bars.”

I refrained as I am still new to the board.

Bottom line is that I started to realize that a majority of “new parents” are convinced that everything is going to make your baby dead or retarded.

Outside of the message boards, I have also been looking at baby items online and have made the mistake of reading the product reviews. WARNING SIGN, everything is awful and is going to hurt your baby. Hmmm, lets see, baby bedding! Oh what a cute quilt and pillow set. I’ll just take a look at the reviews to see if people have found this made well and…”


“What about a teddy bear?”


“A sheet? Can I have a sheet to wrap my baby up…in…”


“Well what am I supposed to use?”


“A sack?”


So lets see, all bedding will kill the baby, pacifiers may or may not warp your baby’s teeth forever, you are an ass for not using cloth diapers and you’re are a jerk if you don’t use disposable diapers. Oh, and how the discussion of weaning yourself off of going to your child every time she cries wound up on the Babies-R-Us product review page, is beyond me. I will say, in regards to that, what my Mama said…"We don’t even let our pets cry.”

Oh…and sort of like the phrase “Mommy and Me,” I find that when parents sign their names to reviews or to the message board postings “blank, mom to blank and blank” I want to shove my fingers in my eyes. Here are some examples.

Anna, mom to a 4-year-old and a 5-month-old (also a nursing champ) Somebody call Oprah

Melissa, mommy to 10 week old Ruby Sue I don’t like you.

Rachel (no longer contributing diapers to the landfill!) I hope your children are able to like you when they are older.

Kate, mom to Alice, who poops. Who gives a “poop.”

Sarah (mom of E who points to me and says "hurt?") Ok, this one makes me laugh and I am sure its not supposed to be dark.

As usual, it could be me. I haven’t had this baby yet. I still have memories of riding in my Mama’s lap in the car and learning that things were hot by touching them. There was one time, when I was 11 or so that my friend Laurie Crunk and I took turns taking a “ride” in the dryer. We are still here. I don’t see everything as a deadly threat, but maybe once I have this amazing and perfect child I will change and lose my sense of humor.

Oh, quick note, you know who doesn’t have much of a sense of humor… “new parents.” Jeesh, you make one joke about making a t-shirt that says “My Other Bump Is An Abortion” and your out of the stroller circle.

Who are these people? How do they sleep at night? With padded bumpers around their beds and on the floor, with hairless and clawless cats? I just don’t think these are the people for me.

As I get closer to my due date I feel pretty confident that I don’t have to change my circle of friends and that I will be able to have conversations about a variety of topics and maybe even continue pursuing my creative endeavors…all without signing my name “Biz, mother of Katy Belle (who likes to sleep in a drawer and eat dirt.)

I am not saying I am not a realist. I know there is little sleep in my future for a while and that by stating the above I don’t lose the knowledge that my life is going to change and that I will no longer be the only person that matters. But I have faith in my family, my friends, my husband, and myself that I won’t be abandoned or find myself descending down the rabbit hole of parental paranoia.

And if I am wrong, I will become a pageant mom.


At 3:00 PM, Anonymous AKA Poo said...

Let me start by saying you should use BOTH cloth and disposable. The cloth are great as burp rags and then later as dusting cloths. lol
Pacifiers don't cause crooked teeth. Me and 2 of my sisters all used one and I was the only one that needed braces. (I was also the only one that used one till I was about 4 hmmmmm)
I have 2 girls (Stephanie is 15 and Samantha is 10). Much to everyones shock, they are still alive. The baby bed they both used was bought 18 years ago and they didn't fall thru the bars and choke or anything and god forbid Social Services find out that the cats slept with the babies.
You'll do fine. You have an awesome sense of humor and you HAVE to have one to survive motherhood. Drugs help alot too.

Libbi, mother of 2 that may soon become the strange smell in the basement if they don't kill me in my sleep first.


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