Congratulations: you are an amazing parent!
It’s entirely possible that if you are reading this, you happen to be pregnant, and at this very moment, your little “Peanut,” “Sprout,” “Bean,” “Spud,” “Bump,” or whatever charming little nickname you have given your little fetus, is doing great, living an enchanting life, snug and cheerful inside your womb. He or she is already dreaming big dreams in that glorious sac of amniotic fluid: after all, there are Pulitzers and Nobel Peace Prizes to win, Olympics to triumph in, diseases to cure, and lives to inspire on the outside. Your fetus—so brimming with potential that he or she can barely even fit in your womb—kicks eagerly each day, pounding the walls with adorable elbows as if to say, “Let me out! Let me conquer the world! Let me do all that you yourself have not yet accomplished!”
Yes, yes, of course, you’re probably exhausted and achey. Who wouldn’t be? You’ve got heartburn burning a hole through your chest like acid and gas that would terrify flammable containers. You’re perpetually short of breath, and you often wonder if that’s pee in the toilet or amniotic fluid. But in spite of it all, your heart seems nearly to burst with love and anticipation as you wait for your little friendus to arrive, joining the world and changing it and you forever as you and your loving spouse are transformed from a loving couple to a loving couple with an adorable, snuggly baby, thanks to the astounding miracle of life.
So congratulations on your stupendous accomplishment! You, my dear, are unbeatable! Unstoppable! Your child will change the world and be gloriously cute while doing so! Though you can’t see over your belly, trust me, the world is at your feet right now. Why, you ask?
Oh, dear naïve reader, it is because with your baby still living on the inside, you have not messed up yet as a parent. You’re untouchable. You are a better parent than all of your friends put together. Because they’ve already made their mistakes, but not you! You’re still the golden one. Enjoy your one more month of freedom (from responsibility, guilt, a perpetual state of paranoia, and a breast pump that was likely modeled after a medieval torture device).
When you return home from the hospital, you will become just like the rest of us, joining legions of parents who came before you and legions of parents who will come after you, all of whom spend much of their long days with their newborns wondering, “What the hell am I doing?”
I know this because I was once like you. I once had that doe-eyed look. I once stroked my belly with blissful reverence. I once read What to Expect When You’re Expecting like it was an owner’s manual that was going to change my life.
Then, in August of 2008, my daughter was born.
No matter how much I read, how much I researched, how much I investigated, how frequently I questioned others, how many parenting classes I attended, there was really no one out there who told me or my husband “the real deal” about parenthood. I began to learn the hard way about competitive parenting, and that competitive parenting—which, in my opinion, should actually be a real sport because it is fascinating, bloodthirsty, and vindictive—demands that all competitors never admit their children are anything less than perfect geniuses who eat nutritious meals, sleep 14 hour nights, and recognize letters by six months old. And you and me, my friend? We’re left in the dust, alone in the mango glow of a nightlight at two AM, the soft snore of a newborn drunk from milk lying in our arms as our sore breasts leak while we wonder in our near-wakeful, often-tearful state, “Why am I the only one who fucked this up?”
I am here to tell you the real deal about parenthood. I am here to tell you about the low-down and dirty. I’m here to tell you what your friends won’t—even the friends you think tell you everything. (Trust me, they won’t, and they don’t.)
Like you, I’ve got a croissant in the oven (the buns are on my ass), and like you, I happen to be an amazing parent [to the child in my womb, that is. The jury is out on our three-year-old daughter, who mentioned only this morning she does not want “hair on her tushy like Mommy,” which is offensive both in that 1) I do not have “hair on my tushy” and 2) it suggests that Mommy is less than perfect].
I’ve made my mistakes. I tried to be the perfect parent with our first daughter for that first year. You know what? It didn’t really work out. And now, three years later? I’ve accepted that you know what? In spite of years of being a teacher, an Ivy League education, an outstanding upbringing, and generally a charmed life, I just might not be all that when it comes to parenting. And that’s okay. I’m flawed and imperfect. I’m great and inspiring on some days (okay, okay maybe I’m being a bit generous with the plural here), but atrocious and ashamed of myself on others. Many others.
But as I prepare to give birth to my second child (due July 20th), you lucky, lucky person, you get to come along for the ride! In the following blog, I will take you through it all…no bullshit. I will tell you the things the others won’t. Why? Because it’s possible I don’t know you. I have nothing to lose. And if I know you? Well, you knew what you were getting into when you started reading this, didn’t you? Welcome to the vortex: the Attack of the Mombies has begun.