Category “Neither Here Nor There”

Like Ripping a Bandaid Off

I did it.  I cut the cord.

Five hours ago, I left Lil Mil with her grandparents and boarded a plane to New York City for five babyless days.  Like pulling off a bandaid, leaving my 6 month old (who I’ve never been away from for more than 5 hours since she was born) for 5 days was a scary proposition.  When it came time to do it, I hesitated.  I dreamed up scenarios in which I wouldn’t have to do it at all.  But, in the end, I ripped that sucker right off.  And it hurt.

For about 5 seconds.

And then the reality set in:  I HAVE FIVE DAYS TO MYSELF.  And, just like that, the pain was gone.

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Do you remember the first time you left your baby for more than a day?  Was it hard or easy or a little bit of both?  Am I going to see you at BlogHer on Friday?

Here We Are

We’ve seen castles and countryside, but this image, from our first night in Edinburgh, is the one I’ll treasure the most.  Dad reading Harry Potter to Niece H and Lil Mil in a room the size of a postage stamp.

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What vacation memories stand out in your mind?

An Ode to all the Single Ladies

I am sitting at LAX, a sleeping child strapped to my chest, typing a blog post with one hand (the other is bloody from the umbrella stroller I have not yet learned to operate and am now terrified of closing).

This is not where I’m supposed to be right now.

I’m supposed to be on a plane, on my way to D.C. for a relaxing evening with Sister and Niece H. before our big international departure tomorrow afternoon.  But thanks to an INSANELY CROWDED airport, hour long lines, and a computer system that won’t let you check bags in FOUR MINUTES after the 45 minute cut-off, I am here instead.  Waiting for a flight that won’t take off for four hours, wondering HOW ON EARTH single parents do it.

Juggling a baby, a stroller, and two carry-ons (yes, I know, that was my first mistake, but I needed one for baby and one for book), is hard enough when you have four hands.  It’s exponentially more difficult with only two.

So, in this moment, as I am doing my very best to embrace this unexpected and wholly unwelcome detour, I want to give a shout out to all the single ladies (and men) out there who do this on a regular basis (including you, Sis).  I don’t know how you do it.  And by “it,” I mean pee.  No, seriously.  I’m asking.

Who Was That Woman?

I’m not sure who the woman was.

She looked a little like me.  Except that I would never wear sweatpants to the grocery store.  Okay, I would.  But only if they were clean.  This woman didn’t have such a rule.  This woman was wearing the same sweatpants she’d slept in, an a T-shirt her baby had barfed on.  More than once, it seemed.

The woman’s baby, on the other hand, looked adorable.  Clean.  No trace of snot or spit-up or barf or poop.  Giggling in a mint green onesie with the word laugh scribbled across the front.  White pants.

Despite her slovenly appearance, the woman with the cute baby was smiling.  Mostly at her baby, but at the world, too.

As she was swiping her credit card in the checkout line, the girl bagging this woman’s groceries peered down at the baby in the woman’s cart and smiled.  The baby smiled back. 

“What a happy baby!” The girl bagging groceries said.  “And what cute white pants!

The woman smiled at her baby.  “We’ve already had one explosive poop today,” she told the girl, ”so we’re hoping the white pants are safe.” 

“Oh,” said the girl bagging groceries, with a polite, I-have-no-idea-how-to-respond-to-that nod. 

And then the woman with the baby realized something:  she had just, with a single sentence, turned a fashion compliment into a conversation about poop.

Who was that woman?  I’ll never know, because in that moment, on a Saturday afternoon at Albertsons, she disappeared.

The woman who walked out of that grocery store two minutes later was just as disheveled, her sweatpants just as dirty, and her baby just as cute.  But unlike the woman she’d been seconds before, this woman will not talk about poop with strangers.

I have to draw the line somewhere.

Happy Mommy

Yesterday, in a theater crowded with more babies than mommies (yay fertility drugs!), Lil’ Mil and I saw Sex and the City 2.  There’s a scene towards the end of the movie when Miranda and Charlotte have a mommy-to-mommy moment at the bar in their ridiculously lavish Abu-Dhabi hotel room.  If you’ve seen the movie, you no doubt remember this scene.

Up until this point in the movie, the theater was humming with lots of baby noises but very few mommy noises.  Quite the contrast to my viewing experience for the first installment, which was a loud, raucous affair.  Granted, I saw that one on a Friday night with a group of girlfriends, along with a theater full of other groups of girlfriends.  The mid-day mommy crowd was a decidedly less rowdy bunch.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the first movie was actually good.

Anyway – the Miranda/Charlotte scene.  It’s a cocktail-induced, talking-really-talking conversation in which Miranda reaches out to Charlotte, mom-to-mom.  It takes a little prodding, but Charlotte eventually opens up, and the exchange that follows is everything you’d expect from SATC.  Funny.  Honest.  Real.  Taking turns, they say all the things they’re thinking and feeling but aren’t supposed to say.  How motherhood isn’t enough.  How sometimes it’s too much.  How conflicted they feel about feeling conflicted.

There was chuckling in the audience.  Followed by more of it.  With every line, every revelation, the energy grew.

The moms woke up.

And then Charlotte, abandoning her Happy Mommy smile at last, says, in her trademark Charlotte-y squeal:

“Being a mother is hard!”

“So hard,” Miranda agrees.

“And I have help!” Charlotte says.  ”The women without help, how do they do it?!”

Miranda just shakes her head.  ”I have no fucking idea,” she says, and then raises her glass.  ”To them.”

“To them!” Charlotte echos.

And they drink.

And the moms around me, they cheered.

Being a mother is hard.  So hard.  Whether you have help or don’t.  Whether you’re a SAHM, a WAHM, or a GTWM.  Whether you have five kids or one.

And yet, so many times, we play the Charlotte.  We smile and pretend that everything’s fine.  We pretend that things are perfect.

We pretend that we are perfect.

But.

Our kids aren’t perfect.  We aren’t perfect.

Which is why every Charlotte needs a Miranda.  Why we, every chance we get, should be Mirandas to each other.

My kid isn’t perfect.

I’m not perfect.

There are moments when I want to put Lil Mil in a closet and lock the door.  Or, at the very least, put myself in a closet and lock the door.

Motherhood isn’t enough. Sometimes it is too much.

I feel conflicted about feeling conflicted.  So conflicted, in fact, that I’m hesitant to post this.  Hesitant to abandon my Happy Mommy smile.

Which is crazy, because I’ve never been a Charlotte.  But motherhood has made me one, I think because I so desperately want to be good at this.  Better than good.  I want to rock at this.  I don’t want to stumble and falter as often as I do.  And so I plaster on the Happy Mommy smile, hoping that if I wear it long enough, I will somehow morph into the woman I expect myself to be.

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Do you hide behind a Happy Mommy smile?  Are there things you don’t say because you don’t want to ruin your Perfect Mommy image?  Are you a Charlotte or a Miranda?  Has motherhood made you more concerned with perfection (or the image of it) than you were before?  What’d you think of SATC2?