New Mama Musings

Friday, April 22, 2005


The other night I referred to the clothes the moms at the park were wearing as being "kid-friendly" and immediately got chastised by my husband, who forbade me from ever using that phrase again.

This may sound like a draconian move on his part, but both of us have words or phrases that hurt our ears. For instance, I have informed my husband that I will never, under any circumstances, be known as "Mumma." (It's Mommy or Mom, if you please.) Neither will our child's bodily functions be known as "wee-wee" (my ban) or "tinkle" (his ban, though I agree wholeheartedly).

And then he suddenly said, "You'd better not turn into someone who uses words like 'kid-friendly.' You'd better still be you after the baby comes."

And I wondered, How much and in what way will this baby change who I am? I certainly have no intention of becoming one of those moms, the ones who forget that they are a separate entity with feelings and interests and desires independent of being a mother.

You hear about women who shift their focus to their kids and neglect their partners, and while I'm sure I will be overwhelmed by this whole mothering gig in the beginning, I hope I never lose sight of the fact that my husband is my best friend. He makes me laugh, he makes me think, he makes me push myself even when I don't feel like it.

As a stepmom I've read lots of online discussions about how the focus of the divorced dad should be on his kids first and his new wife second. The reasoning is that the kids have been hurt by their parents splitting up, and as children they can't understand the situation the way the stepmom, an adult, is able to.

I never bought this argument, though. First of all, things happen. No kid goes through childhood unscathed, and if they do, they're in for a rough adulthood. As long as the adults involved in the divorce and resulting changes act like adults, I don't see that it's helping anyone to tiptoe around the kids.

As far as the new wife being able to intellectualize the situation -- what about her feelings? Does making her feel second, or third, or fourth create any kind of footing for the new family to stand on?

Luckily, my husband never made me feel that way. Yes, there are times that the kids have to come first. There are date nights he fields phone calls from the boys and "kid-free" weekends we attend football games sitting next to his ex-wife instead of going out to brunch. But he's never forgotten that I am his partner, that we're in this together, that his kids need to treat me with respect and kindness just as much as I do them.

And so I owe it to my husband not to lose sight of myself, not to lose sight of him, not to lose sight of us, even after the baby comes. Actually, I owe it to myself.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Note to Baby:

Last night your dad and I went to see the Psychedelic Furs. By the time you read this you may be thinking, "My parents are such dorks," but the Furs were a really important band to both of us, long before we ever met.

I could feel you moving around when Richard Butler got on stage, so either we're giving you a head start on appreciating punk/alternative music (at the age of 24 weeks post-conception), or already in utero you're thinking, "Man, my parents listen to total crap!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Aren't Belly Buttons Supposed to be Cute?

So...out of all the truly unpleasant, alarming or unsightly things that happens to a woman's body when she's pregnant -- not to mention what goes on during labor and childbirth -- the one thing my husband seems truly repulsed by is my belly button.

Yeah. I said belly button.

This is a man who is hoping to be able to catch the baby as he comes out, folks. A man who has already witnessed the birth of three of his children, has mopped up projectile vomit, changed countless diapers, and cleaned out ears oozing with infection.

Yet he's disturbed by the sight of my belly button becoming shallower and shallower.

I'm not quite sure what my husband will do if it pops out entirely. It's a good thing we live in a no-fault divorce state, because otherwise he'd be forced to list "outie" as the reason for leaving me. And wouldn't that look silly.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

True Confessions

This kid's not even on the outside yet, and I'm already struggling with some feelings of guilt. Okay, confession time:

I had a few bad colds over the winter and took Tylenol and used nasal spray, thinking the ability to sleep and breathe were somehow important to my well-being.

I had my hair colored a month or so back. (This one is not really my fault, though. I went in for a haircut, got talked into highlights -- Safe because the dye doesn't touch the scalp! -- and suddenly felt the tingling of dye all over my head as the beautician said, "Let's get these roots -- they're really dark!" And yes, I paid good money for this.)

I occasionally have caffeinated beverages, possibly including but not limited to Dr. Pepper and cafe mochas.

I've been using a benzoyl peroxide cleanser at night. Most doctors believe this to be safe, but I really don't trust most doctors. Call me vain, however, because my need for a clear complexion outweighs the slight possibility that maybe this could possibly affect the baby in some negligible way.

My vegetable consumption has decreased dramatically since the first trimester. But all the important stuff is done forming after that, right?

I'm not exercising, unless you count following a two-year-old around the block while she picks up every pinecone and twig in her path. It's an exercise in patience, anyway.

But I do feel good about some of things I'm doing. For instance:

I drink at least five glasses of water a day. I know, I know, it's not quite eight to ten, but I still think it's pretty good.

I consume a lot of fiber. I haven't had any, ahem, issues at all so far.

I eat an almost purely vegan diet. I'm sure there are people out there who would debate me when I say this is the superior way to eat, but hey, it's my blog. I really believe that meat and dairy are completely wrong and evil and all kinds of other stuff.

The majority of the produce I eat is organic. I'll have to find a onesie that says "Pesticide-Free Baby" for when junior finally arrives. (Okay, I promise never to call him "junior" again.)

Soda and other junk food is an occasional treat, not a regular part of my diet.

I get plenty of sleep and rest. (Though I've never really had a problem making that a priority.) This will change, I'm sure.

I've been seeing a chiropractor to keep my body in alignment, which in turn will give the baby more space to move and (hopefully) position himself properly when it's time to give birth. (You're just sliding straight on out of there, right, little guy?)

I use all-natural cleaning and beauty products (except for the aforementioned benzoyl peroxide and ambush hair coloring). Again, people may scoff, but I really believe that most of the products on the market are not safe for long-term use.

So what have we learned today? New Mama is not perfect, but she does strive to do the right thing most of the time. And isn't that what parenting is really all about?

Isn't it?