Parenting tips are much discussed on the Internet. That’s not going to stop me from weighing in with my own, bishes. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think there is going to be a huge boom in babies in 2021.
You know it’s true. There are only so many series you can binge. Boredom then sets in. And, need another activity to break of the monotony of quarantine. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
I don’t want to give you more toddler tips and issues. Or, info about how to survive being a SAHWM (it’s a real thing.) I want to talk about things I wish I had known. When I was pregnant preparing for the birth of Peej. About what I had wished I knew in those first months after we brought her home from the hospital. So without ado, here are my top 10 parenting tips for first time moms.
Another installment of Parenting Peej: In other words, it’s a Monday.
I feel like death warmed over today. Metaphorically, of course. I got up at 5am (after staying up late binging Harry Potter movies) to have a little quiet time to get some work done. You know, before the demon known as my 2yo arose from her slumber chamber.
I have an assignment that was due today, figured I’d knock it out early.
Parenthood is… something else. I love my kid, but damn she’s hard these days. The tantrums she throws are sermount to the force of Mt. Vesuvius blowing it’s top. You do not want to be in the path of that. But, then she smiles at you, plants a little kiss on your cheek, gently takes your hand and pats it… and, you cannot stay frustrated. She’s so damn deceptively cute.
Her cognitive synapses are in the process of growing at such an exponential rate that it’s fascinating to watch her learn new concepts and ideas. She counts to five, she can say most of the alphabet and recognizes A, B, C, and (oddly) O. Peej knows her primary colors and can point out orange and green, too. We’ve taught her to fist bump, high five, boop, high 10 up top AND down low, and do jazz hands. Her dancing skills are unparalleled. She’s a curious, smart, sweet kid.
With the cognitive synapses thing comes chaos. She’s fucking adorable, but actually, at times, Peej reminds me of the debbil.
I guess this blog post runs the risk of being a “mommy blog” post. But, as I was drifting off to sleep last night, considering the very real possibility that in a few weeks I may be working 80+ hours per week, I wondered how I do it. How am I a stay at home working mom and still have my brain intact? (Some of you may argue that I don’t have my brain intact, I say to that : I love hateraid. Serve it up cold, bish.)
Working full time and parenting full time might seem counter intuitive. In reality if you structure yourself and time well it is totally doable. Today I want to share some top-tips I have discovered over my many years of working from home, and from the last 2 years of being a stay at home working mom.
I am taking break from writing business proposals and SEO blog articles to mentally divert my brain, watch Bravo, and drink a shit ton of Diet Coke to keep me awake. I have literally been working since 7am, while trying to placate a baby who doesn’t have her Momma’s full attention today (a lot of Disney + and iPad, what can I do?)
Don’t get me wrong. I am super super happy work has picked up. If 1 or 2 of these proposals, or the job I am interviewing for on Wednesday, come through – I will be in a really nice financial situation within a couple of months. Which will lift a huge weight off my shoulders. And, will allow me to hire a part time nanny to play with Peej while I have to be working (which worked super well for us in LA, Sahar was a lifesaver, but we haven’t had a Sahar here in Chicago – as the reason for coming to Chicago was so I could be a SAHM. Now I’m a SAHWM -it’s a thing- and I could use some help.)
In an update to yesterday’s blog post: While they’ve opened the Lakefront trail, they have re-closed the far north Chicago beaches and the beaches south of us remain closed, with no plan to reopen them. Plus public pools are expected to stay closed all summer.
They have based this decision on observing the behavior of adults with kids on playgrounds and beaches. (See my rant about entitled parents on yesterday’s post.)
I can’t take her to the Lakefront trail without her making a bee line for the beach. We’re going to be restricted to the boring park and walking around the neighborhood (which she hates.)
I am screwed. This severely limits Peej’s outside options. I need to talk to our landlord and Ex British Husband about buying a kiddie pool/sandbox for her. =(
Or, beg my parents to let us come back to Lakewood.
It’s supposed to be high 80s and low 90s here all next week, with excessive humidity.
It has been raining the last 3 days in Chicago. Peej is cranky, as this means that she’s stuck inside. I don’t blame her, I’m cranky, too. At least yesterday there were breaks in the weather when British Ex Husband could take her out to stomp in puddles at the non-crowded park.
There is a park near the beach where -past noon- people do not social distance appropriately. There are stupid moms with no masks that let their germ ridden crotchfruit play on the closed playground. Then those non-masked moms let their crotchfruit run up to little 2 year olds, (who are being socially distanced appropriately by their masked parents,) to wipe their gross germs all over that little 2 year old.
Okay, so Paul and I are getting divorced. I’m sure there is a contingent of the obsessed with my life #IStandWithYourHusband crowd out there who are doing cartwheels at me saying this publicly. But, it’s true – we’re separated. Living in the same house because we don’t have any other options, but separated none the less.
It has been an extremely long time since I wrote on this fucking mom blog. Is this a mom blog? I mean, I’m a Mom and this is a blog. But, is it a “Mom Blog?”
A lot has gone down since I last wrote about being sick or trying to teach Peej that iPhone cables are not binkies. I mean, I was SERIOUSLY ill for a very long time, all of January and most of February.
Parenting is full of stress and peril. It is a serious miracle that parents of children do not expire from having stress heart attacks on a daily basis. Babies get into EVERYTHING.
How do you explain the concept of electrocution to a toddler? Like parents don’t have a million and twelve things to worry about already – are the eating enough, getting good sleep, are they sick, are they hitting their development markers? Now we have to worry about toddlers sucking on iPhone chargers?
It’s not like you can use the illustration of Ben Franklin, the key, and the kite — their brilliant little baby brains aren’t yet sophisticated to understand analogies. Or, complicated historical facts. My child is literally obsessed with cords. If there is a cord in your room, she will find it and pull on it and try to suck on it. But, she has a particular fondness for the iPhone charger cord. So what do you do? You say “NO!” and take the iPhone charger away.
My phone is constantly under 50%. Don’t judge me. I have a toddler.
As a parent, it feels like you spend half your time saying “NO!” and taking something away. NO, don’t suck on the iPhone charger! NO, don’t bash the dog on the head with your toy! NO, don’t put that dishwasher pod in in your mouth! NO, don’t eat Crayons! NO, NO, NO! I am longing for the day when I can start teaching consequences… that give answers to the WHY of the NO! …Like, you could be electrocuted; the dog is old and you could hurt him; the pod could poison you; Crayons will give you a tummy ache.
I am not there yet. She just looks at me with those big blue eyes and tilts her head back and WAILS when I say no… like I am the meanest Mommie in the world. Of course she goes running to Dada anytime she sees him… Dada is nice and plays iPad games with her and flies her around the house like an airplane. Mama is the one who exhaustedly says NO! and makes her eat food she doesn’t want to eat and go to bed when she really wants to stay up and watch Sesame Street.
I think she might understand consequences a little bit. I mean, she is exceptionally bright. She already knows 30 words (most 18 month olds have between 5 and 20.) And, she can complete mechanical tasks and follow basic directions like putting toys away, using a spoon to feed herself, and brushing her hair/teeth. It’s also possible that she understands NO! means “do not do that.” And, she tests those boundaries. Constantly.
For example, a few months ago, she was in her high chair eating goldfish crackers. She kept dropping them on the floor to feed the dog. I said to her, “Penelope, do not drop goldfish on the floor for Max.” She stopped for a moment and turned, picked up one single goldfish cracker, and held it out over the tray of her high chair, then dropped it on the floor, while staring me in the eyes.
Like I said, she’s exceptionally bright.
99% of the time I think she doesn’t understand the concept of “if you do this, then that will happen.” She’s still shocked when she bashes the dog (I can’t watch them 24/7) and he snarls at her. She’s mortally wounded and offended by those snarls. She was just trying to play with him, why did the snarl happen?
Honest to god, parenting is the hardest job I have ever had. (And, I used to be a professional fire-eater and a telemarketer… not at the same time, but you get my point.) Exhausting, full of fright… but, also full of joy. Peej is lucky we love her more than anything on the face of the planet. That a day full of “NO!” can be mitigated by a snuggle and a kiss and a smiley face saying “Mama.”
Still, I look forward to the day when my daughter understands that no means NO! And, can consistently follow directions. That will be a good day. Until then, hide all the iPhone chargers!
Back to the iPhone chargers. I know that babies explore everything with their mouths. Which terrifies me. Because the things I have pried out of her mouth are scary. Two days ago, a screw must have fallen out of the bottom of our couch, neither British Husband or I noticed this… but, Peej did. Luckily for me, I saw her pick something up and put it in her mouth. And, I dove towards her, fingers outreached to pry whatever was in her mouth out of her mouth, and discovered a sharp, pointy screw.
Terrifying. Especially considering that she swallowed a button battery in September and had to be rushed to the ER for a surgical procedure to remove the button battery from her stomach. That remote control had a child lock on it, that shouldn’t have happened. Why are things which are supposed to be child-proof are actually adult-proof, and children can get into them easily?
I end as I start, parenting is full of stress and terror. It’s a good thing these babies of ours are cute AF. =)
You cannot parent when you have no voice. Either literally or figuratively. Babies are really bad a charades. And, if you don’t have a voice in how your child is being raised, you might be their parent, but you’re not really parenting.
Sorry that sounds a bit judgy. Fuck it, I’m sick, I’m allowed an “I’m a judgy bish” day.
This week I’m dealing with literally having no voice.
I have been sick for more than a week. Runny nose, coughing, headache, blah-blah-blah… I won’t bore you with the details. Sunday night, though, was a real turning point for me, as I struggled to sleep (despite the copious sleeping/anti-anxiety medications my psychiatrist has me on) because my throat hurt like I was being burned from the inside with a torch.
Still, on Monday morning, I figured, meh – just a cold. I’ll drink some water and shove Zicam up my nose and it will clear up in a couple days.
I did tell British Husband as he was leaving for work that if I didn’t feel substantially better the next day that he would have to take Penelope to her Well Child doctor’s appointment for her 18 month jabs. Our pediatrician has a strict “no sick parents” rule when it comes to bringing a kid into the office.
I digress. This happens a lot on this blog, so get used to it.
The day started off well enough, Peej just wanted to cuddle and watch Sesame Street. Then we did some art projects where she colors until she’s bored and then I try to sketch in what picture I see in her scribbles. She managed to eat breakfast without too much coaching or fighting, and then went down for a nice nap.
It was during this nap that my day went pear-shaped.
I am searching for a new job. Or, as I state in my cover letters, “Excitedly re-entering the workforce after taking time away to build my family.” (Yeah, right… we’re poor, our marriage is in trouble, I’ve always been the primary earner, so I don’t get to be a SAHM right now, no matter how badly I want to be one. Besides if British Husband and I finalize the decision to divorce, I don’t want to have to scramble at that emotionally charged moment to try to find a job and build a nest egg… b/c right now I got nothing.)
I had been feeling sluggish all morning, but being the Type A overachiever I am, I was sitting on the couch, (much like I am now,) zapping my resume and witty cover letter out to any and all companies hiring a senior level digital marketing strategist and creative content maker (Are you hiring one of these? If so hit me up in comments!) when I reached to take a swig of coffee (the lifeblood of SAHMs everywhere… or at least me, because I don’t drink wine at 10am out of a coffee cup… again, that’s judgy… but, I digress. WAIT! See there it is again.)
I took a drink of coffee and gagged because I could not swallow it. As the hot liquid dribbled down my chin and onto my clean shirt (a prized possession of any SAHM) I tried to shout out “Oh, shit!”
It came out more like “Murble, gurble!”
I couldn’t swallow and I couldn’t speak because my throat was so swollen.
So what do I do?
I call my Mom in Florida -of course- to ask her if I should go to the doctor.
Despite that my Mom is supposed to be enjoying a vacation, not parenting her 46 year old adult daughter who probably already knows the answer to the question she’s asking, she humors me.
First, she tells me I shouldn’t be talking.
I retort by saying, “I know, but when has that ever shut me up before?”
Having known me my whole life, she concedes the point. That is when she asks me a question that makes my blood run cold:
“Do you have white spots at the back of your throat?”
Let me side step here for a moment and say I can deal with almost any emergency with a solid and steady hand. I am the calm person with a bunch of weird knowledge and certifications that people look to when shit hits the fan, sometimes literally. Here is an assortment of emergency situations in which I have persevered (although, in a couple of instances, I incurred a little PTSD) —
*My 13 month old baby swallowed a button battery and had to be rushed to the ER to have it removed via surgical procedure. I was totally fine, despite aging 10 years in 24 hours.
*I watched as my 11 year old brother smacked the back of his head on a diving board while attempting a backflip. I had to rush to pull his ass out of the water because I thought he was unconscious (he was not) and concussed (he was.) Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy – he then owed me his life, which meant I extorted him for all of his Dead Kennedy and Ramones cassette tapes and demanded he forgive the loan of $1 he gave me earlier (with 50% interest) to buy an ice cream cone.
*My Dad woke me up in the middle of the night to help him determine if he should take my Mom to the emergency room because she got up to let the dog out and get a drink of water -and due to her chronically low blood pressure, (which I also have)- she passed out and crashed head-first (or, head backwards, as the case may be) through the glass oven door leaving her with large lacerations on the back of her scalp… IT WAS FINE, I was only 16 and was my MOMMIE, but cooler heads (mine, not my Dad’s OBVIOUSLY) prevailed! After picking out “shatter proof glass” from her hair and scalp I informed him that, YES she needed to go to the emergency room for stitches. So he took her, and I thought “why did I have to be in this situation, I only ever took one first-aid class because it was required for graduation,” and paced about the living room nervously trying like hell not to wake my two little brothers up and put them into my panic them because Mom was in the ER and the oven door was smashed out…. BUT. I. WAS. FINE. I was so fine that a week later I helped my Mom dry shampoo her hair around her stitches so she could go back to work without her head looking like she dipped it in a vat of oil. I was FINE FINE FINE FINE FINE. That incident TOTALLY didn’t scar me for the next 30 years, did it?
I digress. You see a theme, right? Here’s more:
*I was barfed on by my cousin Lori (who had the sugar flu – flippin’ slushies) in the back of my parent’s mini-van when I was 11. Not at all grossed out. Patted her back and told her to let it all out (all over my brand new white Guess shorts and cool mesh off the shoulder Madonna shirt.)
*I had to perform CPR until the paramedics arrived on a woman who collapsed in front of me walking down the street in San Francisco. Totally calm, focused, attentive. Serious as a heart attack, which is what the lady had, incidentally.
*I once pulled a small child from a car crash which had just killed his father. I sat with him in my car playing “thumb war” until help could arrive, while the others who had pulled over to help tried to find something to cover his father’s body with. I was shaken up badly, I will never forget what I saw. One of the worst moments of my life. But in the moment – calm, collected, acted expediently.