Friday, May 29, 2015

How I ruin the best part of my day.

The truth about feeding my baby solid food?

It's really fun. 

I honestly have no idea whether this is a typical experience for moms, but it's a total party around here.

My baby is generally pretty cheerful and smiley, but something about eating baby food gets her downright animated. She stares at a bite of food with the cutest little cross-eyed expression. She makes faces when she tries a new food. She's fascinated by the spoon and she even tries to feed herself with it.

There's really only one thing that can ruin this whole experience...


I guess it's pretty obvious that a mother should always strive to be patient with her offspring, but sometimes the challenge of getting a bite of food into my daughter's mouth during the split-second she parts her lips two centimeters just does not feel productive. Sometimes I look wistfully at my to-do list and think about all the things I could be doing in the forty-five minutes it takes my baby to eat half a teaspoon of peas.

Having a go-go-go nature might be helpful with older kids, but it's no fun with a baby. She treats my attempts to rush her with a blank expression that seems to say, "What? Schedule? Time? What is this madness?"

And let's be honest. She's kind of right. All the stuff I want to "get done" is nothing in comparison to seeing my baby's little carrot-stained grin.

(By the way, before I had a baby, I never thought it was cute for babies to be covered in food. And I still don't think it's all that cute on other kids. But there's something about my own baby being splattered in peas and carrots that is just squeal-worthy. I can't explain it.)

Since I feel like I always need to be doing something (and nourishing my child doesn't count as "something"? Yeah, I don't understand it), I'll often put on a podcast while I'm feeding her. It gives me something to focus my attention on so I don't mind as much if my baby insists on holding the spoon with her little death grip.

If I actually remind myself to relax and breathe and ignore my to-do list for five minutes (or an hour, as the case may be), feeding my baby solid food is actually the best part of my day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why I'm not ashamed to be a young mom.

In the eyes of most Americans, I'm probably way too young to have a baby. I mean, how could I possibly be a good mother? I haven't even had time to sow my wild oats yet! I haven't traveled the world! I haven't built my career! I haven't discovered who I am as a person! I haven't MATURED!


I'm a mom, whether you like it or not. And I'm proud of it.

I'm not saying everyone should have babies in their early 20s. It's up to each individual woman to decide when (or whether) she's going to have children. Each woman is so incredibly different that there is no "one perfect time" to start a family.

I'm not going to apologize for finding an incredible man that I wanted to spend the rest of forever with. I'm not going to apologize for caring more about a family than about a career. I'm not going to apologize for creating the most beautiful little person in the world.

Sorry, but no.

I don't feel like a foolish child who "accidentally" had a baby too young. I created this life for myself on purpose. I have a college degree, an amazing husband, and a beautiful daughter. And I was supposed to give this up for...partying every weekend? Gallivanting around the country like Jack Kerouac? Dating a bunch of losers?

Playing board games with friends is enough party for me. There will be plenty of time for gallivanting (I'm not dead, you know). And I can do without the losers.

I didn't have to give up any of my biggest dreams in order to be a mom. Having a family always was my biggest dream.

That's not to say that there aren't many other worthwhile things in life to do. I still have goals and dreams separate from my family--but being a wife and mother will always come first.

I'm not going to walk around being ashamed of the life I've been given (and that I've joyfully accepted). Not everyone can have what I have, so I'm not going to be ungrateful and act as though I deserve something different. I already have way more than I deserve. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity so early in life.

I'm tired of concealing my age because I know people will make judgments. I know I'm not a perfect mother, but I also know that I'm just as dedicated to my child as any 35-year-old woman would be. And it's not anyone else's job to judge whether I'll be a good mom.

Today I'm going to let go of caring. Today I'll freely tell you that I'm 22 years old and I have a baby. Today I'll tell you I'm proud of my life, and I hope every woman who reads this feels the same way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Get Your Baby Shower Thank-You Notes Out on Time

So you've just gotten all your wonderful baby shower gifts and you can hardly wait to use them when your baby arrives. But you'd better not forget about the thank-you notes! There's nothing like a baby shower gift to say, "You'd better buckle down and spend several hours gathering up thank-you cards, writing your sincere gratitude, searching for stamps, and finding addresses for obscure relatives."

Overwhelmed? Here's a handy guide to help you be a good friend and relation and get your thank-you notes out of the way.

Step 1: Wait until your baby arrives before you get started. You're so busy with decorating the nursery, buying all the stuff you didn't get at your shower, and writing your birth plan, you don't have time for that kind of thing. Plus you're super pregnant and it's way more relaxing to put up your cankles and stuff your face with ice cream. Don't sweat it; you totally have time.

Step 2: Completely forget about the matter of the thank-you notes for the first six weeks of your baby's life. Why write thank-you notes when you could be sleeping?!

Step 3: Finally get out the cards and sit down to write the dang things, then realize that you can't remember who gave you what. Someone made a list, right? Was it your mother-in-law? Oh well, you're too tired to look for it now. Vow to figure it out later.

Step 4: A couple weeks later, find the list. Hooray. Now you can write the cards.

Step 5: A couple weeks after that, write the cards. Realize you don't have anyone's mailing address. Resolve to call your mother-in-law...later.

Step 6: Email your mother-in-law for the addresses (because that's way easier than calling). Wait for her to get back to you.

Step 7: A few days after you get the addresses, actually write them on the envelopes. Realize you don't have stamps. Resolve to buy them as soon as you get the chance.

Step 8: Make several trips to the store and forget to buy the stamps every time.

Step 9: Finally, your husband will get tired of all your little notes all over the house that say "BUY STAMPS!!!" and he will buy them for you while he's at the post office. Show him your whatever way you see fit... *wink wink*

(What? I meant cook him his favorite dinner. What were you thinking about?)

Step 10: Put the stamps on the envelopes. Forget to put them out for the mail carrier.

Step 11: Eventually, your husband will put them out in the mailbox.

Step 12: Dust off your hands and congratulate yourself. You got all your thank-you notes out before your baby was 6 months old! I mean, that's an accomplishment...right? At least you're a mom now and you can blame it on your kid.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I watch the worst show on television.

"Does watching bad TV make me a bad person? I mean, is it something I should be ashamed of?" I asked my husband the other day. 

"Just keep it to yourself and don't tell anyone about it," he said. "You don't need to let anyone else make you feel guilty." 

What a smart answer. Of course, I decided to do the exact opposite of that and write about my bad TV-watching habits on the Internet for everyone to see. 

The worst show on television, by far, is "The Bachelor/The Bachelorette." (I dare you to think of a worse show. You can't. You absolutely can't.) Yet, I admit, I have watched two seasons of "The Bachelorette." (Why is it always "The Bachelorette" instead of "The Bachelor?" I'm not sure. Maybe it's something in my subconscious that's trying to be feminist.)

("The Bachelorette"? Feminist? HAH. HAH. HAH.) 

And I'm kind of tempted to watch the season that just started, too. 

At this point, you may be getting all judgy. Feel free. I'm totally judging myself. I mean, what kind of a self-respecting person actually turns on "The Bachelorette" and watches the entire thing, of her own free will?! 

I'll tell you why I do it. 

(Spoiler alert: It's not a good reason.)

"The Bachelorette" is a spectacular and horrifying train wreck, and I just can't look away. 

Everything about the show is immoral and absurd. All these (insanely attractive) people are obstensibly there to "find love," yet they accept conditions that are the enemy of anything resembling love. (Like their girlfriend making out with ten other guys only five minutes apart.) All the guys get insanely jealous of each other while the Bachelorette herself pretends that everything she's doing is totally normal and not at all objectionable. All their actions go under the umbrella of "trying to find love." 

As if! 

I would guess that 95% of the people who appear on this show are slimy scumbags, while maybe 5% are certifiably insane. 

It probably makes me a bad person that I find this entertaining. But seriously. How can you look away?!

And this season is even worse because of the new plot twist: The bachelors on the show chose their favorite Bachelorette out of two. I don't know how it gets any worse than that. 

I mean really. 

I know. I'm part of the problem. If people like me would just ignore this blight upon our society, then maybe it would go away. 

But I don't. 'Cause I'm just not classy like that. 

Do you watch any TV shows you're ashamed of? 

P.S. If you want to laugh at "The Bachelorette" without actually watching it, you should check out "The Popcast" podcast with Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden and listen to their recent episode previewing this season. It's hilarious. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Eat Well on a Budget

I've been feeding my family on a budget for a few years now, so of course I'm a total expert. Here's a tutorial so you can do exactly what I do. 

Step 1: Make grand plans for your budget. Vow to spend only two dollars a day, or some other impossibly low amount. 

Step 2: Get started with the cash system and take out, in cash, all the money you're going to spend on food for the month. Vow that once the cash is gone, you will spend no more. (Notice how there's a lot of vows? Don't worry; with my system, your word to yourself means nothing!) 

Step 3: Start finding recipes that you JUST HAVE TO MAKE that also just so happen to have ingredients other than rice and beans. Feel okay about it because, after all, you have a huge wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket! 

Step 4: Spend a little more money than you planned to in the first week. Oops. Promise yourself you'll make up for it by spending even less in the coming weeks. 

Step 5: Everyone in your family will get sick, or some similar catastrophe that you didn't plan for will happen, and you'll suddenly start spending a ton of money on pre-made meals (using the credit card) and not caring. 

Step 6: Recover from the incident and make some kind of effort to balance out the budget again now that you have blown it and used the credit card instead of your food cash. Do weird things like treating your husband like a banker and forking over cash to "pay back" what you spent on the credit card. 

Step 7: Forget the cash when you go to the grocery store a couple more times. Finally realize that this stupid cash thing is never going to work and that you've probably gone over the budget already, although you have no way of knowing since you haven't been meticulously adding up receipts like you planned to do. 

Step 8: Halfway through the next month, finally sit down with your mountain of receipts and add up what you spent on food last month. Feel guilty that you didn't stick to your budget. Then feel better once you realize that despite blowing your insane budget, you actually managed to spend a reasonable amount on food and you haven't, in fact, used up your entire savings in one month like you were afraid you would. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Just you wait."

I hate hearing this phrase.

Unfortunately, it's a favorite among the momly community. 

Everything I say about my baby seems to get an answer that starts with "just you wait." 

My baby sleeps through the night. "Just you wait until she's six months old! They always start waking up a lot then!" 

My child loves other people. "Just you wait! Pretty soon she'll get separation anxiety and hate everyone but Mom!" 

I get lots of time to read because my daughter loves to nap and she can entertain herself. "Just you wait until she starts crawling! Then you'll never have a moment's peace!" 

Life with a baby isn't as difficult as everyone made it seem. "Just you wait! Pretty soon your sweet little angel is going to be a back-talking, bad-mouthing, devil's-spawn teenager who hates your guts and wants to murder you in your sleep!" 

Guys. GUYS. I am perfectly aware that my baby is not going to remain exactly the same for the rest of her life. Can't I just be grateful for what I have right now? Do I really have to be living in dread of the future? (Oh, and by the way, most people don't say, "Just you wait for this really awesome thing that's ahead of you!" I wish they'd do that more often.) 

But I have to be honest. Recently, I've started being tempted to make "just you wait" comments, too. 


There's something wickedly satisfying about bursting another, newer mom's shiny little bubble. Ohhh, that pregnant woman is really in for it, the little devil on my shoulder will cackle. Isn't it hilarious how naive she is? She thinks everything is going to be rainbows and butterflies! Hah! YOU know better! 

In reality, said pregnant woman is probably just as realistic as anybody. It's not as though she doesn't realize that she'll have to change a hundred million poopy diapers, or that recovering from childbirth is going to take a while. But the more people talk about it, the more she might start to worry that the poopy diapers and the painful recovery are going to be a total nightmare that will eventually obliterate everything good from her life. So I should really shut up about it. 

I guess I just want to feel like I have some kind of handle on this whole mom thing. Saying "just you wait" makes me feel so much wiser and more experienced. 

But in reality, I'm still new to this gig and I have no idea what I'm doing.

Do people ever tell you to "just you wait"? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Why I don't deserve the Internet.

The invention of the Internet opened the door to a vast array of possibilities. Anyone, from any corner of the world, would have access to all the information they could possibly want. People from all walks of life could now become educated to their hearts' desire.*

*Provided, of course, that they have the money to pay for the Internet and a computer. So in other words, people from all the richy-rich walks of life. 

While my daughter is napping, I could be learning the mating rituals of exotic birds. Or how to make an oven out of aluminum foil. Or the art of bonsai. You know, really crucial stuff.

But instead, I'm looking up all the national food holidays. I'm not one of those regular people who think that national food holidays are pointless and stupid. I'm totally going to celebrate them all. And I'm going to use the Internet to come up with recipes and to commiserate with other people who have nothing better to do than celebrate National Strawberry Sundae Day.

But I did an even more foolish thing on the Internet today that I really don't want to admit.

Okay, fine, I'll admit it. (I mean, I did bring it up.)

I spent hours (yes, really, hours) on Pinterest. Browsing through pins related to Christmas.

That's right, Christmas.

In May. 

*hides face in shame*

I fooled myself that I was learning valuable things that would come in handy later this year. "When I'm planning my fancy Christmas dinner party for twelve, I'll be so grateful that I pinned, so long ago, that article about how to fold napkins into the shape of Christmas trees!"

(Never mind the fact that I have never once in my life held--or, heck, even attended--a fancy dinner party for twelve.)

(But I hold a faint hope that I will one day be that kind of classy. Hey, I'm only in my twenties. It could still happen.)

The Internet (especially Pinterest) reminds me of that part in Alice in Wonderland (or Through the Looking Glass...yes, I know I could look it up online, whatever) when Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way to go. And he's like, "Well, where do you want to end up?" and she's all, "I don't think it matters," and he goes, "Well, then, it doesn't really matter which way you go."

(Didn't I totally just remind you of middle school? Sick!)

Anyway. Pinterest is like that. I get on there and I have no idea what I'm doing with myself. And pretty soon I'm just clicking around, repinning craft tutorials I'll never use and clothes I'll never buy and recipes I'll never make.

Well, I guess it's a handy tool for pretending my life is perfect while my house lies in shambles around me.

You see? I really don't deserve the Internet.

P.S. Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The stuff nightmares are made of.

For some reason, I used to have a very romantic notion of what having a sick baby would be like. I pictured snuggling my little sicky on the couch while she slept all day long, waking up only to eat and whimper softly. I would forget all my other responsibilities so I could focus on my poor little angel (and, of course, Netflix).

Intellectually, I knew that having a sick baby probably wouldn't be like this at all. But hey, a girl can dream.

What I really didn't expect was having to cart my sick baby all over the place. We sat on the couch and snuggled even less when she got sick. Instead, we were taking her to the doctor twice a day and getting blood tests and buying medication. The poor girl hardly even got to sleep. I didn't think it could get any worse.

Of course, it did get worse.

Then I got sick--with the flu. That totally blew my trust in the doctor who insisted that my daughter's persistent vomiting was due to an ear infection. I was so sick I had to pass my child off to my sister-in-law for half the day until my husband could leave work and take her to the doctor again. I didn't think it could get any worse.

But yes. It did get worse.

That night, my husband got the flu, too.

So we all spent our Saturday in bed drinking Powerade and the non-flavored baby equivalent of Powerade (yes, such a thing exists).

Let's review: Baby pukes all day. The next morning, I'm also puking. The next day, her dad is also puking.

And supposedly, these things are not related?!

Whatever. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Needless to say, my first experience with a sick baby was not at all similar to my little sick-baby fantasy.

Maybe it'll happen when she's a toddler...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why I'm not jealous of Kate Middleton.

Hey guys! So have you heard the news about Kate Middleton and her little princess (as in literal princess)?

Check out Kate at the royal unveiling:

Aww. So sweet. So beautiful. So impossibly flawless just hours after giving birth.

As we've been reminded this week by the voices of reason, we lowly commoners can't compare ourselves with Kate Middleton because she has a whole team of people to dress her and do her hair and makeup to make her look as perfect as possible right after giving birth.

I mean, in a perfect world, we'd all have a team of beauty people standing at the ready to doll us up as soon as the unpleasant business of childbirth is over. Amiright?

Except for me.

I'm glad I'm not Kate Middleton.

I mean, think about it. She probably had to get up just an hour or two after giving birth so she could get all dressed up to go outside and smile for the cameras. And I can pretty much guarantee that she didn't feel like doing that, even if she had the easiest birth in the world. She probably just wanted to sleep. Or snuggle her baby. Or drink a gallon of water. Or stuff her face with chocolate.

But she couldn't, because all eyes were on her.

Yeah, we can't all look perfect all the time, but also, I kind of don't want to. Being a lowly commoner means that I get a free pass to look like crap and not care in the hours (and days...and weeks) after giving birth. I only need to care about my baby. And she thinks I'm the most beautiful person in the world.

I don't have any beef with Kate Middleton for getting to look gorgeous all the time. I mean, I'll gobble up the royal gossip as much as anyone.

But that doesn't mean I want to be her.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The best moments in my day.

I realized recently that I need to make a career change.

I should be a stand-up comedian.

I never thought I was all that funny, but my kid has proven me wrong. According to her, I'm hilarious even when I'm not trying. (Like when I'm really not trying. Like when I'm just sitting there eating a sandwich and not even looking at her.)

It's probably one of the very best things about parenting. It makes me feel pretty good about myself that I can make her smile and laugh with the same old jokes.

Eh, I guess my stand-up career can wait. Who needs a crowd full of laughter when I get to see this every day?

Friday, May 1, 2015

What I learned in April.

Today I'm joining Emily Freeman and talking about what I learned this month. Yeah, I learn a few things every once in a while.

1. Rice cereal doubles as the world's best glue. I learned from my father-in-law that rice glue used to be a thing. I've had lots of time to ponder on this as I spend five minutes scrubbing tiny bowls every day.

2. My baby is learning how to dramatize things. She has this angry drama-queen screech she likes to whip out in moments where she is clearly not in any real distress. Fun.

3. Formula is gross. Since my child decided that breastfeeding is not her fave, I've been having trouble pumping enough milk for her, so we've been supplementing with formula. From the smell alone, I do not envy her having to drink it. At least she doesn't seem to mind it too much.

4. But supplementing with formula is not, in fact, the worst thing I could do to my child. When my baby was born, I thought formula was the devil's juice. It's not.

5. I eat way more when I'm watching TV. Like way, way more. My relationship with Netflix needs to be a little less intimate. It's not you, Netflix, it's me.

6. If I don't write something down, I definitely will not remember it. There was a time not too far distant when I could go through an entire school semester without writing down a single assignment. Those days are over. I guess I'm old now.

7. It is possible to be very zen one moment and completely insane the next moment. And it happens every day. With so many things.

How was your April?