Foreward: Kristen lives in Duxbury with her husband and their two boys. She and THE WIFE go all the way back to the third grade. She writes the same way that she talks: rapid fire funny, so pay attention and you won't miss anything.
When my friend Den asked me to guest write on his blog, I think it’s safe to say I peed a little … well maybe a lot, but in defense of myself I was 8 weeks postpartum … and you know … stuff was going on … down there. Dennis' blog is my favorite weekly read, second only to Us Weekly but I mean, that’s my bible…and primary news source. His blog as you all know is witty, eloquent, honest and insightful. But by far my favorite part of his writing is his ability to completely capture his wife, one of my best friends "since the third grade" Michelle. Shell, Shelly, Shelly with the Smelly Belly, Cooney-bird … you catch my drift.
To say he "gets" her is a vast understatement and I appreciate that more than he will ever know. She is real, quirky, fun, and dramatic … in a physical sort of way ... think Elaine from Seinfeld. You might want to steer clear if you have something shocking to tell her, she will push you over shouting "Shut up.” Or if you dare to tell her something she finds amusing she shouts, "Stop! NO! I Can't, I Can't.” To know her is to love her and he does and he DOES. And I in turn love that about him. He is the guy you hope your best friend marries. He had me at - well, he had me at that atlas in his back pocket at a 30th birthday party. Yes Jess, the one you got carried out of - Jess is a code name by the way - for Jessica C*nn. Anyway, I digress.
Not long after I first met him we were at a party and he and his best friend would periodically whip an atlas out of their back pockets to quiz each other on world geography. Having been a secret member of the nerd herd for years, I was a smitten kitten. The rest is history, and three kids later … nicely played Den, nicely played. Your wife, your best decision to date, but hey, I might be biased.
So 8 weeks postpartum and I was feeling like I hit the literary lottery. Guest blog … duh, I would be honored, let me get right on that. I mean, this was my second kid, veteran mom, right? Old hat. Except, no.
In the 5 years since I had my last baby, there was a whole new world of verbiage I had to get down. For example, now I had to stock my nursery with the Wubanub (pacifier attached to a stuffed animal), Swaddle me (straight jacket), Woombie (more intense straight jacket), Taggie (what it sounds like), Sophie the giraffe (can we call it what it is, a dog toy?) and the Hooter Hider. Hide the Hooters? I used to flash the hooters, now I gotta hide them? Sadly, yes. They no longer warrant flashing.
What happened to the simplistic parenting of yester year? You've all heard the stories. Your grandmother used a drawer for a bassinet. There was no sleep sack. Blankets were warm, probably hand knit by Nana, and not a suffocation probability. Car seat? Hell no. They put you in a bucket that would slide across the bench-like back seat of the Pontiac. No worries. Now us moms hear of a friend who faced her car seat around before the one year mark and we all “tsk tsk” and shake heads. And, the car seat’s not even approved by Consumer Report. The horror! I know, I know, it’s two years now. Got it.
What have we done as modern day parents? Or more specifically, as modern day moms? Things are complicated. Are we are own worst enemies? Channeling Carrie Bradshaw in a mommy sort of way here, but the question remains, when did things get so complicated?
For example, I'm a scrapbooker. There. I said it. Wow, that was liberating. On a cool scale, it's about a negative 5, but I actually happen to enjoy it. Or I did, until baby number two came along, when I realized that Dylan had 12, yes 12 scrapbooks and now, Grayson would require 12, yes 12 scrapbooks by age 5 to keep it equal. That’s a lot of scrapping pressure. Not to mention the narcissism. Must we capture every first? First smile, first food, first piddle on the potty. I'm pretty sure my mom bronzed a shoe, snipped a lock of hair, stuffed it in my baby book, and called it a day. Simple right?
Now you've got to scrapbook, schedule play dates, feed your kids organically, make sure your kid knows at least a few words of a foreign language (while you pretend he did not in fact learn those words from Dora), and so on and so on. Lord help you if you are not training for a triathlon in the interim. Two words not in our moms’ vocabulary, Book Club. And in these days, it's so easy to spot the moms who are falling apart, busting at the seams. Those are the moms whose diaper bags are now doubling as their pocket book - gasp - from the crowd.
So, why? Why not keep it simple stupid? I mean, I grew up on Little Debbie snack cakes and I'm mostly ok. I said mostly, I know this isn't an anonymous post. Well, I guess it’s because our generation of moms … we know better. We want better. We are educated moms who truly want the best for our children, while still having a life of our own. We want our kids to have the best and we want to know we did our best. At the end of the day, we all want to lay our head down on the pillow, sans Ambien, Xanax, or wine, and hope, hope we are not screwing these kids up too bad.
Sorry about throwing you under the bus Jess. I was just jealous you were light enough to get carried out! That marathon training does wonders…..