I watched Ricki Lake poop out a baby tonight…

…didn’t see that one coming, did you guys? To be fair, neither did I.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me first tell you all about how I got into the position to see Ricki Lake poop out the baby to begin with.

Today began like any other Saturday. Of course my husband was off work, so we milled around – bullshitting each other and pretending to enjoy each other’s company; until that got old, and I decided to get in the shower. I was also pretty suspicious because he kept complimenting me. It was like three times in under an hour, which is highly dubious; in fact, I’m still wondering what he did.

After my shower, my husband’s shower, and all the arguing about everyone needing to stop playing Barbies for five minutes and put their fucking toothbrushes into their fucking mouths, we were ready for the day. Which we weren’t entirely sure what to do with, still.

So we headed over to my father’s house to do the housecleaning for his open house tomorrow. I’m not talking about a fancy party kind of open house, where he serves those little cucumber sandwiches to high class kind of friends. I’m talking about the kind of open house you have for the sale of a home. You know: where tons of strangers traipse through your home, fuck everything up, break shit, leave doors open, and then try to low ball you with offers more insulting than “I’ll give you three crayons and this carton of milk.”

Anyway, so we did the housecleaning, then we were at a total loss of what to do with the day. So we went home – stopping at the grocery store (of course) to pick up stuff for me to make dinner with. Once home, we did what we always do when we don’t know what to do: watched movies.

We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club. That was phenomenal. Then we watched The Hunger Games – finally, after all this time postponing for me to read the book, only for me to never get around to reading the book because I don’t like reading that Young Adult shit anyway.

Then The Hunger Games came to a finish and it was still early. Too early to go to bed; too late to go anywhere or do anything. So we scrolled through our Netflix Que for something relatively quick. Which is when we happened upon it: Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Birth.

Let me start by saying that I did enjoy the film. I thought it was very informative, and while a little too graphic and outdated for my tastes, it was – by and large – something that, at the very least, made me think. I like to think, so that’s good.

But I took issue with two things in particular.

Towards the end…

…the conclusion was made by an OB/Gyn, as well as the filmmakers and Ricki Lake, that if a woman does not experience the raw pain, intense emotion, natural induction of hormones, and vaginal-vaginal-out-the-vagina birth that she does not experience the bonding of motherhood, nor the love of being a mom.

To be clear: women who had to induce? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood. Women who had caesarians? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood.

If you are angry, you are with me.

And you should then be asking yourself: are you fucking kidding me? What kind of a horse’s ass opinion is that? The belief that a woman unable to birth naturally, or who chooses medical intervention (for whatever her reasons may be) DOES NOT EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF MOTHERHOOD AND BONDING WITH HER BABY is the most horrendous, destructive, narrow-minded, and ignorant view of motherhood and, well, reality I may have ever heard.

Truly. Truly this infuriated me, which was unfortunate because (at least to me) it greatly discredited a lot of the other things said and discussed in the film. If they are that wrong about something so great as this, couldn’t they be wrong about a lot of the other things?

Documentaries always do this to me. They always fucking let me down like this.

…and documentaries always let me down in another way, which had to do with Ricki Lake’s vagina…

They show me more of something in particular than I really want to see. In this case, that thing in particular was Ricki Lake’s vagina.

Now I know what you are all thinking. If I watch a documentary about childbirth, I should expect to see at least something of women squeezing babies out of their v-holes. I get that, OK? It didn’t make me scream any less, or be any more horrified by all the nuances of childbirth I would like to keep in the deepest, darkest caverns of my brain – never to surface for fear of fainting. I just can’t take some of it, the majority of the time. (I can’t be the only mother that feels this way, right?)

Sorry if that bothers you. Maybe I too cannot experience the love and bonding of motherhood.

But what I really wasn’t expecting was to see Ricki Lake poop out her second baby in a bathtub with a bottle of Suave sitting on the shelf behind her. Nope, I really was not expecting that. Not one bit.

I feel so cold now. So very, very cold.

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The premise of the movie was essentially that home birth is better. I tend to disagree with this, mostly because of the fact that I’m a big, ol’ scaredy cat. I suppose if everything were in the woman’s favor, home birth is a perfectly safe and healthy option – with, of course, the help of an experienced midwife. Though at the very end of the film, the filmmaker went into labor (not Ricki Lake, thank God I’d had enough of that bullshit) and she had to rush to the hospital after all because her baby was breech. Long story short: the baby would have died had she naturally delivered at home. This raises some serious concerns that women face when deciding their birth plan, which I really don’t feel the film did even the slightest bit to address.

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I don’t know what all of your thoughts are on the topic, but I’ll just say when you’ve seen Ricki Lake squat a baby out of her vagina, with her bare boobs flopping all over the place, you just really start to see things a lot more skewed. Really, I don’t even know what to believe about anything after that.

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Today, I Wave My Surrender Flag

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We all have these days. Days that are so insurmountably horrible that it’s all we can do to curl up in our pajamas, head buried under the covers – hoping and praying that tomorrow will be even the slightest bit better.

If only one thing goes right tomorrow, I may survive.

It’s really rough being a parent sometimes. Most times. Everyone thinks that after the baby stages, things get easier – the sleeping normalizes; the feeding is regular and doesn’t always result in projective spit up all over your nice, new cashmere sweater. Suddenly being a parent is as simple as walking down the street to get the mail. Right?

Please say that’s right.

Unless there are a series of land mines and snipers between you and your mail box, I would argue that there is nothing more wrong to assume. Parenting post-baby years is still a war zone. Some days, I would argue it gets even more difficult as time goes on. Or, perhaps, things stay equally as difficult, the challenges just change. Infant sleeping patterns are replaced with school dramas; projectile spitting up is suddenly found in the form of a child that cannot – no matter what you do, and how old they grow – stop wetting the bed at night.

As parents, it is our job to navigate these challenges, carefully. To pay attention to them and to do everything within our limited humanity to develop superpowers and avoid difficulties for our children, at all cost. Lest temporary problems become lifelong debilitations.

For years, now, I have known – in the deepest, darkest depths of my soul – just how challenging motherhood can be at times. Of course it is all worth it. Of course there is – nine times out of ten – more good than bad, as the drum of days continues to beat on. But I have known. I have felt it: the simultaneous beating of the struggles and the pain and the hardships.

But either as a result of internal feelings of inadequacy, or external pressures from society and others mothers who just seem to do it so well, we bury the feelings of the battle cry that motherhood is, in fact, a war zone in which only the most astute and resilient survive.

To say the last few months in our home have been difficult is an understatement. Each day has brought a new set of challenges, a new series of emotional hardships that I find myself more and more incapable of understanding. It started with a move – of my ten year old’s biological father, halfway across the country, and out of our daily lives. Without going into all of the complexities involved in her relationship with him, I will say that we rejoiced; but only after she rejoiced. Which she did, even more than I ever could have imagined she would. Life was going to be normal, finally. She wouldn’t have to sit at his house every other weekend anymore, miserable and crying and fed donuts and Twinkies; returned sick and depressed. She could do sports like other kids, and love my husband as the father she always wanted him to be. And never have to worry again that after a weekend of “visiting,” her biological father would suddenly decide to not return her to Mommy and Daddy.

Within a week of his exit, though, suddenly we were reminded (by him) that life would not really be normal. With his move came a new set of obligations, most notably: a ten day trip at springtime or Christmas time (depending on the year), and a whopping five weeks in the summer. My daughter’s separation anxiety from me grew to heights it had never been before; suddenly she was depressed and had days where she was all-but-functional.

From there, life began to fall apart.

Most days suddenly had the potential to include some form of stomachache, crying, pouting, distraction, hyperventilating, fighting, and insomnia – if even the thought of her upcoming trips cropped up in her precocious, ten year old mind. And up until now, I have been fairly successful in squashing these down before they got out of control. On some days, before they even had a chance to occur. Life really was going to be normal, even if it cost me everything. And every, waking minute of my time was spent trying to be a superhero with my own human limitations – a superhero whose one and only strength is to prevent all the bad from entering her heart.

Now that we are within four weeks of the first trip, though, the war zone is more toxic; the tension can be cut with a knife; and on today I was slapped with the unfortunate fact that I am not a superhero, I am only a mom. And a flawed one, at that. No matter what I do, some days it really is not enough.

It will never be enough.

Under the covers, my head buried – I am hoping and praying that tomorrow will be a little easier. That it will have a little less crying; less hyperventilating. That my newfound understanding that I am not a superhero, and that I cannot prevent all of the bad feelings from rushing through the floodgates of my ten year old daughter who wants nothing more than to be a normal kid.

Today, I wave my surrender flag after the guerrilla warfare of motherhood has beaten me down in ways I never – not in a million years – thought being a mother would do. Hopefully tomorrow just one thing goes right. And maybe it will be that my surrender and retreat gives us all the strength to make that happen.

So I haven’t technically worn a bra since October…

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Ah, where to begin…

We went to Disneyland in October. I really hate Disneyland, and what I hate the most is that I have to wear regular clothing for a really long time. Like 9 in the morning until late at night.

That is just intolerable.

During the week (and on weekends and holidays), I typically stay in regular clothes no longer than a few hours. Eight, tops. And by “regular” I mean – like – jeans, sweaters, bras, shoes.

So back to Disneyland, we went in October. I was dressed all day and wearing a bra. It was really hot out that day – like 85 I think – and I was sweating for a while in the sun standing in line, and somehow that gave me a rash of some sort from the combination of the silky material of my bra and the sweat. All over my left side and back I had a gross heat rash for about a week. It was miserable and I absolutely could not wear a bra because it just made it worse.

As that week drew to a close, I realized something very striking: there is really, and truly, very little reason for me to even wear bras most of the time. I mean I do have sort-of big boobs (though when I say that to my bustier friends, they all laugh heartily at my 36Cs, which they often refer to as a drop in the booby bucket). In any event, they are big to me.

But I also wear those bra-ish tank tops most days, and I certainly don’t give a fuck about saggage and people seeing my nipples poking out through my shirt when I’m cold, and shit. Oh no – someone might sort-of witness a naturally occurring phenomenon that somehow became totally taboo and referred to as ‘cutting glass’ (because you can totally cut a piece of glass with a soft bit of pink flesh).

So I haven’t worn a regular bra since then.

That isn’t entirely true, though, on two counts: one is that thing I just said about the bra-ish tank tops (the ones with the bra-like insert in them); the other is that sometimes I’ll wear those nylon casual bras that have no padding or hooks or wires or anything – you just pull them over your head. Kind of like a sports bra only much looser.

I save those for fancy times, like when we go out.

The other day I came to realize this and as a result went immediately to my nearest Gap Outlet and bought more of those little nylon pull over the head things made of wonderful, which was the moment I realized that I may never wear a regular bra again. It’s just that I’m so much more comfortable now, and also just don’t care. I’m sure I eventually will, but damn do I feel free right now.

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And on the note of being freer, I’ve also noticed lately that I’ve shied away from wearing regular clothes, and wear yoga pants and stretch pants out to even do errands and (most recently) hang out at the in-law’s house. This is a big step for me, personally. I live in California – the land of judging and anorexia – so to be so lax in my physical appearance means that I’ve finally crossed over that bridge of insecurity into the land of truly not caring about what people think of me. In spite of how Judgy McJudgerson seemingly everyone in my immediate surroundings can be.

This is huge for me. Huge in a good way.

So I’m wearing my yogas and my lounge pants so much now that they are wearing out quicker, which gave me a reason to buy more than just those non-bra nylon bras this weekend. As I walked up to the checkout to pay for my nylon things, and my new stockpile of lounge clothes, the sales clerk started gushing about how comfortable the lounge clothes there are, and how she wanted so badly to wear them all the time. I smiled and nodded and muttered a …”you are so right… I wish I could wear them all the time too!! Because I totally don’t now. Not in the least bit…………..”

Right then.

As I walked out of there, and headed home, I wondered to myself if this is just another sign that I’m depressed; or that I’m unhealthy and not taking care of myself. I wondered if this is just a phase – where I’m just too busy to look cute.

But then I realized that none of this could be any further from the truth.

I take care of myself, quite well actually. I am active, I shower and put on makeup every, single day.

I eat healthy foods too. It’s been this way as long as I can remember, except for one thing: I didn’t have a healthy feeling about myself. I always felt uncomfortable in my clothes, and worried about what people would think of what I was wearing. How I looked.

Now I just don’t give a fuck. Don’t. Don’t give a fuck. I think this is healthier than anything else I could ever do for myself, which is why I love that I’m not wearing real bras or real clothes; plus who is to say what is ‘real’ anyway?

So I haven’t technically worn a bra since October. And I wear lounge clothes or pajamas all day, most days. My husband still loves me and I feel about a million times better about myself now than I have in years.

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3 People You Should Hide Your Early Pregnancy From

So I think I’m about to lose a lot of you as faithful blog followers. I say that because I’ve been thinking about the concept of the pregnancy announcement, and I think my feelings about it will hit way more home than some of you want.

Get over it. This is my blog. My opinions.

It seems like it’s pretty taboo to announce you are pregnant before the second trimester. This year has seen an unprecedented number of pregnancy announcements – from friends, family … people I didn’t even remember existed until suddenly their naked belly photos were splattered all over my Facebook Newsfeed. The underlying commonality of each, though, was that they waited until the second trimester to announce. Complications could come up. Miscarriage is most likely in the first trimester. Blaa blaa blaa. You know the drill – it’s taboo, because what if you lose the baby?!

Yes. What if you lose the baby? God forbid you have a networked support system to be there for you.

In my mind, there are three people in particular that you should hide your pregnancy from:

#1 Your Hot, Latin Pool Boy

Yes, I said it.

We have a joke in our family about my uncle: that he’s really the Mexican gardner’s son. My grandma used to be teased to no end about the fact that he looked completely different than the rest of the family. She’d respond with “OK, but you know the milk man was a possibility too.” You go girl.

We all know that the baby’s father may very well be your Latin pool boy anyway – the paternity test on Maury two years from now will be the decider of that. In the meantime, you can limit the drama and keep the fun going for a little bit longer. At least until you start to show.

#2 That Gossipy Family Member

Everyone has a family member that is overly gossipy. I am fairly certain that I am bordering on being her in my family; but besides that, you should definitely hide your pregnancy from her.

Don’t hide your pregnancy from me, though.

Gossipy ladies are so horrid. Really they should be called: shit-talkers. Back-stabbing shit-talkers whose entire personality revolves around the ability to fling crap like monkeys. They don’t just tell stories they should be keeping to themselves; or share secrets that  were told in confidence. They make shit up. They speculate. They exaggerate. Someone gets fired from their job as a part of a huge set of layoffs, and the gossipy lady turns it into a dramatic scenario where “you know, I heard he was bringing vodka to work in his water bottle.”

Losing a baby is hard, but to have the gossipy lady talking all kinds of shit behind your back is just unnecessary. For this reason we will never be able to tell a single member of my husband’s family about any future pregnancies, until the baby is on its way out. Those people gossip like there’s no tomorrow, and you know what they say – someone who will talk shit to you, will talk shit about you.

#3 Your Starbucks barista and/or bartender

I’m just kidding about the bartender thing. I mean I know the pendulum swings on whether or not it is safe to drink any alcohol while pregnant, and right now a lot more people are having the occasional glass of wine after the approval of their doctor; but I’m still kidding.

Okay I’m not.

Nothing brings out the judgy-mcjudgers more like early pregnancy. “I made this decaf for you since you shouldn’t be drinking caffeine” they say. “You’re pregnant? Oh, I’ll hold off on bringing edamame to your table” they defy. “Can I show you photographs of babies with fetal alcohol syndrome while you drink your half a glass of wine that your doctor said you should go ahead and drink, because I disagree with him and my associates degree in mixology is so much more valid than his many years in medical school?”

The only person who has a right to give food and beverage advice to a new, budding pregnant lady is her doctor. And Web MD. And maybe What To Expect When Expecting, but I’m going to err on the side of just her doctor. Keeping it mum when you are trying to weave your way through your daily pattern of eating and drinking is perfectly fine for your own ease.

Now did you all notice something? I didn’t say that you should be keeping your pregnancy hidden from your closest family and friends, now did I? I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Perhaps they miscarried or had to terminate the pregnancy due to complications. Maybe that was the hardest thing – and how could I ever understand what they went through. I’m such a fucking insensitive asshole that doesn’t know shit.

Or am I?

Little known fact: about two and a half years ago, in spite of the chastity belt lined with razors I keep close to my lady parts every night, Poor Nick successfully shot one in the hole, so to speak. I know, I know – who knew? It was a horrible time for us to have a baby, though; I had just left graduate school and was having a hard time even getting out of bed after doing so. We already had Pookies running around too, so he acted like a jerk about it from the minute I said “oh shit…” All the drama and stress and secrecy and “how are we going to do this” about it was for naught, though, because “God’s plan” took care of everything, and before the sixth week I was again not pregnant. To be clear: of no fault of my own. (Duh, I’m Catholic.)

Flash forward to now, and I am living through the deaths of two people very close to me. A suicide and the natural one of my grandfather. Had I had the love and support of the family and friends around me then as I do now, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long to feel normal again. People say it’s different, but it isn’t. There’s always someone there waiting to say something stupid – in both situations. There will constantly be people pitying you, or avoiding you because they don’t know what to say. But in the middle of all of that are a group of people that are there for you, and support you. Unconditionally.

I see no reason to keep your pregnancy a secret from any of those people – for any amount of time. Because having to tell them about it is a path to being less alone if something goes wrong. Culturally, I think we need to get beyond this taboo – we need to learn to do things together again, rather than always isolating ourselves from each other at the worst times.

And of course to once again embrace the love of our hot and sexy, Latin pool boys. Because pool boys need love too.

That’s just my opinion, though. What’s yours?

“I’m Pregnant!”

Hah! Man … did I fool you suckers.

There would be so many terrible, terrible; horrific things about me saying those words in earnest. For one, that would have necessarily required me to experience an awkward 30 seconds with my husband some time in the last month. Yes, that’s right: Poor Nick and I would have had sex. Ick, we’re married – I prefer bickering until we fall asleep, thank you very much. For two, the poor kid would have come out with some major fetal alcohol issues, because Mama Bear’s been sucking back the ol’ box -o- Franzia pretty hard this month.

So, sorry to announce, but there will be no more Pookies added to the clan. At least not this month. (Unless shit gets immaculate conception, in which case we are all screwed.)

It’s amazing, though, how those two words change over the course of our lives. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a whopping total of four friends – count them, FOUR – inform me that they are withchild. Each is in a much different situation than the next, too. So while I’ve sucked back my Franzia and shoved my tropical flavored marshmallows down my gullet in celebration, I’ve done a lot of thinking about just what the appropriate responses have been over time.

Teens – “I’m Pregnant!”

I think the only response to a teenager winding up pregnant is “oh fuck.” Or “oh shit” – or some variant of either. I had a few friends in high school that ended up having babies by the end of our senior year. It wasn’t pretty for any of them, and they were each amazing young women to deal with it all if you ask me.

Nonetheless, when a teenager winds up pregnant it’s one of two scenarios. Either it was an accident and she is terrified. Or she’s psychotic, in which case the dude should run and hide. I’ll never forget that episode of Jerry Springer with the teenage girls that wanted to get pregnant. During his final thought, he mentioned how “not right in the head” they all were.

20s – “I’m Pregnant!”

This could go one of two ways, and sadly the majority of the people in their 20s that I have known have been in the latter. Either it is someone that got married and had babies early. Or it’s another accidental pregnancy, although not necessarily a bad thing in the end.

Because of the uncertainty of just what “I’m pregnant” coming from a 20-something (especially earlier 20s) means, I have always considered that the most important time to tread lightly. One friend who got pregnant on a one night stand when we were only 22 dealt with it rather well; and she is now one of the greatest mothers I know. Another who had been married for a few years sobbed uncontrollably for three days.

Tread lightly.

30s – “I’m Pregnant!”

Here is where I am now and I’ll tell you: it makes me feel old.

No matter what situation anyone is in, when you are in your 30s, your clock is ticking and finding out that you are pregnant is going to bring nothing but a lot of congratulations. It’s going to bring on baby showers. It’s going to bring on excitement.

And if it isn’t, you are in a position in life where everyone around you knows exactly what will go down. And you are all mature enough to handle it maturely.

When you are in your 30s, there’s no more “oh shit … what are you going to do?” There isn’t any more gossip or shit talk. If a woman has a baby in her 30s and doesn’t have a boyfriend or husband, everyone just assumes she did it through IVF or some other donorship arrangement. If a woman has a baby in her 30s and has a boyfriend or husband, no one ever jumps to Maury or randomized state paternity testing to make sure the baby daddy is accurately identified.

In your 30s, a baby is pretty much the status quo.

40s and 50s – “I’m Pregnant!”

My opinion is that when a woman reaches her 40s or 50s and announces to the world that she is pregnant, that she gets a little more scrutiny such as she would have in her 20s.

This doesn’t mean I think there is anything necessarily wrong with it.

This isn’t to say that I am saying people are bad for doing it.

I just mean that a lot of people in society question people’s decision to have babies so late. Is it safe? Why wait so long? And so on. Although I don’t really know because I haven’t encountered anyone that has had babies that late in the game.

Yet.

60s – “I’m Pregnant!”

You, old bitty, are off your fucking rocker. Or you’re one of those weirdos that gives birth to their grandkids since their daughter or daughter-in-law is drier than the Sahara Desert.

I won’t even go there.

So am I reading too much into this? Perhaps I am. Perhaps I am thinking too much about it in an effort to justify the excitedness with which I approached the pregnancy announcements of all four of my friends this last week. Or maybe I’m trying to just over-think things to silence the noise of my own biological clock ticking slower and slower each passing year.

But ick. That would mean an awkward 30 seconds with Poor Nick. And while it would only be about 30 seconds, there are plenty of other things I could do with that time. Like suck back some more of my box -o- Franzia. Or do some 1-click purchases on Amazon with all that baby money being saved.

Congratulations to all my friends that have successfully inseminated and recently given birth!! You are all the greatest moms this Mama Bear could ever be lucky enough to know!

Why Being a Mom is Awesome

I have come to a number of conclusions recently about being a mom. One is that being a mom is both caused by, and results in, insanity. I’ve mentioned that before. Another is that being a mom is like being in a mental institute. I’ve written a whole blog on that one. There are others too, though. Being a mom is perhaps the most unglamorous job there is. The only thing more unglamorous (at least in my community) is trash picker. But I’m pretty sure the trash picker doesn’t physically get urinated on. It’s much different when it’s warm.

I also think that being a mom is awesome though.

Kid Stuff

Okay, I would much rather start hooking over at the STD clinic than participate in a lot of kid stuff. We’re talking Dino Dan. We’re talking those bouncy house places. We’re talking Chuck E. Cheese. And don’t even get me started on what I would do to avoid watching an episode of Caillou. (Goddamn that kid is a fucking pansy…)

But there is also a lot of kid stuff that makes being a mom awesome. Like art projects. Like legos. I could do art projects and play with legos forever. Like the Barbie Dream House. That was my dream when I was little and now it gets to come true when Santa brings it for Christmas. Or how about Sesame Street? I don’t know about you, but I could watch Sesame Street for hours. Either the nostalgia, the simplistic nature of it, or the cameos, I just love it.

You show me one grown woman with no children, coloring, and playing with legos and the Barbie Dream House, while watching Sesame Street, that is also a well-adjusted, functioning member of society. You can’t.

That’s why being a mom is awesome.

Unconditional Love

Kids have unconditional love for their moms. They love you just because. They think you’re beautiful just because. They want hugs and kisses and snuggle time because you are mom, no matter what mom is or what her job is or how horrible she may look.

It’s not like that when you grow up. When you’re an adult, people don’t always love you unconditionally. Sure, they say they do. You get married and you take the vows and all; and it’s either/or and you promise that her you’ll love her even if she becomes morbidly obese, or that you’ll stand by him even if he gets laid off and can never get another job.

But it isn’t always like that. I’m pretty certain that if I suddenly weighed 400 pounds, lost all my hair, and did nothing, my husband would leave me. And how many times have you heard of a spouse leaving because they couldn’t take the other’s illness/job loss/depression/etc?

That’s why being a mom is awesome.

A Purpose

Anyone that thinks they have some grande purpose in life is so goddamned full of themselves it makes bile come up into the back of my throat. I’m not saying we all aren’t here for a reason. I mean it’s yours to make, and it isn’t more important or special or exalted than anyone else’s.

But let me stop my philosophical waxing and get to the point.

Before becoming a mom, I really didn’t have much of a purpose in life. Yeah, I was working towards goals and establishing a career, but at the end of the day I still went home to very little. Beyond my big purpose (graduate school and working towards a teaching career), I had no little purposes that made each day important and memorable.

Now I have all these little purposes that make each and every day something. My purpose right now is to knit (yes, knit) Halloween costumes for everyone in the family. My purpose after that will be Christmas. The problem with not having these little purposes is one day you wake up and wonder just what you’ve been doing all these years. When you are a mom, you have so many little purposes that you never forget, or take a single day for granted.

That’s why being a mom is awesome.

Carelessness

I don’t mean irresponsible carelessness. I mean you don’t give a shit that much anymore about what people think.

Once you’ve become a mom, you’ll go out with puke on your shirt. Because coffee is just much more important than people seeing that bit of baby vomit. Once you’ve become a mom, it doesn’t matter if you look like a slob as you shovel food down your gullet. Because being able to eat an entire meal without being interrupted and/or someone else eating some of it off your plate is much more important than having pristine manners.

The other day we were at Wetzel’s Pretzels. At the table next to us was a woman eating her $2.99 jalapeno pretzel as though she were out for a five course meal in downtown Manhattan. When I saw this, I giggled and promptly returned to shovel my pretzel down faster than Linsay Lohan made her way back to rehab after her first release. I maintain I had more fun.

That’s why being a mom is awesome.

So you see, being a mom can be pretty nerve-wracking. It can be crazy-making. It can drain your finances. It can put you in the poor house. It can zap your energy and your creativity. It can ruin your hair and your youthful glow. It can cover you in all manner of slime that is both unidentifiable and foul-smelling.

But being a mom is awesome too. Would I trade all that for no awesome? Fuck no.

5 Reasons Housewives Are Losers

So today I was just sitting here at home, worrying about what kind of cupcakes to bake for my book club Tuesday night, when I logged onto Facebook and saw that one of my friends had attended a Housewife Party last night. Have any of you faithful blog followers heard of these? It’s not like a Tupperware party or playing Bridge with the other gals or whatever. It’s a party where a bunch of arrogant yupsters dress up in the most gaudy housewife garb they can, get drunk, and act like Peg Bundy. Of course none of these people are actually housewives. And these are also the same people that say they couldn’t find any meaning in their lives were they to just be married and have kids.

As I sat here in my leopard printed stretchie pants, looking through these photographs, I have to admit that I was somewhat hurt. This isn’t the first time a friend has attended one of these. And now I’m just wondering if these people can really be called “friends” when they are so arrogant and judgmental.

But the way a housewife dresses isn’t just what makes her a loser; an underbelly of society in these people’s eyes. In my experience there are really five main features of a housewife that make her such a waste of space, a drain on the world’s resources – at least in the minds of the anti-housewives.

Reason #1 Housewives Are Losers: We Dress For Comfort

Yes, the first is about the way we dress. 9 days out of 10, we dress for comfort. So that does mean we often dress ala Peg Bundy. Stretch pants. Comfy tops. Sweaters. Just yesterday I bought myself some leopard printed stretch pants and they are probably the most comfortable pair of pants I own. My favorite outfit is just that – stretchie pants with a dress or tunic and a cardigan sweater. Or we go with yoga pants.

Do you know why we dress for comfort though, rather than cuteness (and, by the way, most of the time we look cute in our comfort)? Because we aren’t sitting at a desk all day. We aren’t processing on a computer or sitting in comfortable meeting room chairs. We aren’t spending our lunch hours in fancy restaurants – we don’t even get lunch hours. Wearing uncomfortable heels for 12 hours of vacuuming, folding laundry, and corralling the children would hurt.

Reason #2 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Immersed in Contemporary Culture

I don’t mean that we’re cool and hip and we dress like yupsters, riding our bikes tandem around Coachella while listening to the musical stylings of Pitchfork on our iPods and shit. I mean that we are more aware of what is going on in contemporary culture on the whole because we’re home for it 24/7.

We listen to AM radio and watch talk shows during the day. We read the news and we read books that are new and popular, because we have the time to. We join book clubs. This morning I realized that my own intellectualism has been debased a little bit because I was reading an article on the Google News Aggregate about Snookie giving birth to her devil spawn early this morning. But then I realized that at least I’m reading, which is more than I can say for a lot of people I know with successful careers. Some of them haven’t cracked a book, magazine, or newspaper since college, and don’t plan on it. It’s a personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves, but I see the added awareness of the world and contemporary culture a plus.

If anything, it gives us more to talk about at a party, other than the most annoying dinner party conversation ever: how our jobs are going.

Reason #3 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Meaningless Realists

Perhaps the most glaring thing about housewives is that we are realists. We are in the real world. We don’t have any pie-in-the-sky dreams of saving the world with our two-bit jobs as a secretaries at the local power plant. We don’t have any idealism that we will cure cancer or stop global warming or end world hunger. It isn’t to say that these notions are bad things to have, in fact the world needs people with these notions to work at least a little bit closer to them; it’s just to say that as housewives we keep our lives and those of us around us in a little bit of perspective.

What this means, though, is that people sometimes call our realism “negativity.” “Oh, you can make a change; you can make a difference!” Sure, I can recycle or raise money for a cause or go out and vote for every election, but realistically speaking there is only so much one person can do. If people want to have an idealism; want to stay away from realistic negativity, that is fine. But just because someone has a job and a vague sense of meaning in their lives does not mean they are the next Steve Jobs or Neil Armstrong; and most importantly it does not mean that our jobs as housewives are unimportant and meaningless either.

Reason #4 Housewives Are Losers: We Worry All the Time

As I mentioned before, I was worrying about baking cupcakes for my book club on Tuesday night. The reason why I was worrying was actually just because it’s been so hot out lately that running the oven is not something I particularly feel like doing. But you see, as housewives we over think and worry about everything.

Sometimes my former self – the young woman in graduate school on her way to a Ph.D. in philosophy and successful teaching career – rears her ugly head and says to me “is this all you have to worry about? Jesus, get a life!” But then I start to think about why I worry about things like cupcakes, vacuuming, cleaning the toilets, what to make for dinner, and so on: because they are a part of my job as wife and mother. Not to sound corny or anything, but I place as much importance and value on my job as any other person in the adult world. Now not all housewives worry about everything that I do, but I can say with certainty that the majority of us do. This makes it even more hurtful for someone to say a housewife doesn’t have a care in the world. Because while your care in the world may be an 8 to 5 kind of care, a housewive’s is 24/7.

Reason #5 Housewives Are Losers: We’re Online A Lot

… but are also clueless technologically.

As a housewife – especially one with kids – life can be a little bit isolating. We don’t get to go to a central location with other human beings every day. Sometimes we have play dates or extra-curriculars, but a lot of the time we have is spent alone. So we go online and interact with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

On the flip side, we aren’t necessarily equipped with work-sponsored laptops, Blackberries, and other new technologies. While we understand Facebook and how to do our blogs (those of us that have one, that is), we don’t necessarily understand all the other social media and equipment that is out there now. And you won’t often find housewives checking their email while out to lunch with friends, or standing in a group of people completely oblivious to each other because they are too absorbed by their smartphones.

What I always find to be ridiculous, though, is when people judge a housewife because she spends time online every day; simply because those that do that are the same people that can’t go an entire meal without checking their work email. That can’t have a conversation without interrupting it for a phone call or a text message. How are these things any different from each other?

So you can see, I don’t actually believe that housewives are losers. I am one, why would I? Okay, sometimes I believe I am a loser, but that’s more my former self rearing her ugly head again. I guess the real point is that before judging what another person does, we should all consider that there may be meaning and value in it, and that everyone defines that for themselves. And for God’s sakes, if anyone invites you to a Housewife Party – graciously decline. They’re just rude and arrogant.