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Mindfulness: The art of really noticing your day go to hell

You might wonder how I got here, with spit up cascading down my back and drinking a beer for dinner in my middle son’s room while rocking a baby to sleep.

Mindfulness, that’s how. It’s all the fault of mindfulness.

“Mindfulness!” I thought, hearing the word thrown about in some progressive parenting circles. “That’s what our family needs, to be more mindful. Deep breaths could quell tantrums! Meditation could help them stop spinning around like they’re auditioning for HGTV’s demolition crews.

And maybe it could have. Maybe mindfulness would’ve been the answer. After all, the sleep relaxation audio book I have blaring at the top of my phone speaker’s capabilities seems to be working. At the very least, it’s drowning out the trying to stay awake noises coming from my oldest child’s room.

Mindfulness is the art of being present in the current moment, intensely noticing and experiencing the world around you,” I read. Sounds simple enough, I thought. And being present in the current moment probably would’ve been a great place to start.

But I didn’t start there. I started with glitter.

If I have one piece of parenting advice, it would be to never allow glitter to cross your home’s threshold. If I had a second, it would be to parent before Pinterest was invented.

On Pinterest, one may unfortunately come across a craft called a “mindfulness jar,” an apparent “timeout alternative” for people whose kids probably never actually go in time out and do things like ask if they can have second helpings of kale for dinner.

The craft itself sounds simple enough – buy fancy looking water bottle, drink the fairy wing infused contents that merit buying a fancy plastic water bottle, fill with the glitter glue it took you three stores to find, add in some of Satan’s seed (I mean glitter), and fill plebeian tap water. Then watch your children gently meditate on the mysteries of water soluble solutions and gravity as they firmly resolve to never call you a poopy face again.

Unfortunately, upon reading the directions yesterday I had not firmly committed myself to mindfulness. And thus missed the part where it did not say to pour the entire contents of the glitter bottle into the overpriced water bottle. Should you do that, the contents of the glitter will not settle. Neither will your children who will have already moved on from this craft.

No problem, you think, impressed at the new found clarity that mindfulness has brought to your life. I will simply spread the contents out amongst a few mason jars. Because hello, mindful people use mason jars. Then I will have a half dozen mindfulness jars, exactly six more than I need seeing as how my kids have already declared them stupid and boring. Maybe I can sell them! I should really spread the good news to others about what mindfulness has brought to our family.

At this point, it should be noted, I am beginning to notice my world intensely.

I am really noticing how glitter has gotten everywhere – all over the sink, the table, the floor, and somehow even the baby’s diaper. I am really noticing how my plan to just water down the jars’ contents did not work, and now the new water will not mix with the old gluey mess. I am really noticing my blood pressure beginning to sky rocket. I am really noticing the baby projectile spitting up on the glitter covered floor. I am really noticing how I could’ve just brought some of these damn things on Etsy for like half the price. I am really noticing the very unmindful amount of tv my children have watched as I tried to get this done.

At this point, my children have become very aware of the present moment, and are especially tuned into the fact that they can say or do anything and my response will be to take deep mindful breaths until I hyperventilate and scream, “Just for the love eat your dinner and let’s get to bed!”

One child takes it upon himself to lay in the living room screaming that he can’t eat dinner because his knee hurts and can’t go to bed because he’s too hungry. When I finally convince him to go to the table, he takes several bites of whatever I grabbed out of the fridge and threw on their plates before deciding to apply a spoonful of applesauce directly to his brother’s pants.

At this point, the baby has begun to fervently whine that I should be meeting some basic need of hers. I also really notice how loud the kids who are playing volleyball outside are. I also wonder if it would be weird if I asked them if to watch the baby for just like ten minutes while I get the other two kid to sleep. I decide against it, and strap her to my back for the time being, hoping that whatever basic need she has isn’t being fed or getting her diaper changed because I just can’t right now. She promptly spits up.

Meanwhile, one child wonders outside completely naked to watch said volleyball game. He also screams that he can’t find his water bottle. “Mindfulness would probably help with remembering where you put stuff,” my brain snarks to itself.

I find the water bottle and fill it. It rolls off the bathroom counter onto the back of another child who is yelling at me from the floor to “WIPE HIS BUM AGAIN BUT BETTER THIS TIME IT’S STILL SQUISHY.”

We finally get into pajamas, and enjoy a few peaceful minutes of book reading before I realize an undisclosed child has spilled the contents of his water bottle all over his pajamas, and I have to change him again.

At this point, I am fully immersed in the present moment, which I can definitively say has gone to hell. I tell the kids if they get into their beds right now, they can have a chocolate muffin for breakfast.

I really notice bribery is an effective parenting technique.

My son screams I need to rock him to sleep. The baby screams that she is a baby and really should get some attention at some point today. I rock them both for about ten seconds before the older one climbs into his bed and passes out.

I decide to fully enjoy the present moment by having beer and ice cream for dinner. Let me know if anyone needs to buy a mindfulness jar. They really work.

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Love me less tomorrow

It has occurred to me that I can’t go on writing dreamy musings about the beauty of motherhood forever. And not just because the paying market for freelance writers is ever dwindling. As it turns out, all those annoying mothers who quipped, “little people, little problems, big people, big problems,” are in fact, right.

My people are growing, and their fears, worries, and challenges are growing too. Parenting has evolved from googling “What is the cheapest baby monitor that still works?” to figuring out how to calm the fears of a child who thinks his schoolmates will laugh at him if his pants aren’t cool. I rock him and promise that they won’t laugh at his pants. At least not this year. Next year is kindergarten and I can make no guarantees.

I have a littlest one in tow now. She reminds me how parenting began, when I was someone’s entire world. It is a startling thing, to be loved so intensely. My husband may have promised to love me all the days of my life, but he doesn’t sob when I walk out of the room.

In the first few months of a child’s life, they cannot even comprehend that their mother is a separate entity from them. Instead she is a constant source of food and warmth, available whenever called upon. Slowly, they start to turn their heads and realize their is an entire world out there apart from their mother’s embrace.

And when that happens, they start to love their mother a little less.

My older two children don’t love me with the same enthusiasm as my baby. Yes, they run to me in tears when their favorite toy breaks, and snuggle onto my lap whenever they can steal a few moments alone. They have informed they plan to live with me their entire lives and only go to college for three days a week.

But in fits of frustration and disappointment, they have also told me they hate me, that I am the worst mother in the world, and so on and so forth.

This isn’t just some sad side effect of growing up. No, it is the sacred duty of mothering – to make your children love you a little less.

I have no desire to push my children away. I would rather hold them tight and safe forever. But that is not where they are meant to be.

Their true loves lie outside of this home. And so each day, ever so gradually, I must guide them away and into a wider world – one where they will learn about daffodils, soccer, aerospace engineering, yo-yos, and international relations. They will enter a world where they might begin to understand why I so emphasized kindness and respect. Because here their future waits.

Now that my role has transitioned from milk provider to teacher, my flaws are no doubt becoming more apparent. I yell too much; I fold under stress. But that is not why they love me less – they do so because I gently nudge them to their greater lives.

In time, they might appreciate me more, or understand me better. But they won’t look up at me with the same big doe eyes of a child who needs nothing more than to snuggle on his mother’s lap. I won’t be the one they run to in moments of triumph or trouble.

It is all by design. So children, love me a little less tomorrow.

And I will love you more.

I, writer. Or am I?

Sometimes I still wonder what I should be whenever I get around to growing up.

It’s hard not to question what I am doing when I kiss my husband and preschoolers good bye. I sip coffee in my perpetually sticky kitchen, bounce my baby on my knee, and debate how I should spend my morning. I should fold laundry, but first that would necessitate washing it. I have a few work assignments I should stop putting off. It would be prudent to get a jumpstart on dinner, but frankly a workout sounds more enjoyable.

Invariably the baby then fusses, and I spend the rest of the morning in my rocking chair, awkwardly twisting my wrists to type on an iPad.

Around my thirtieth birthday, I finally settled on a profession. I should be a writer. It was, after all, what I had dreamed about becoming as a child. A handful of publications had featured my work, and it gave me something to do while my husband watched Game of Thrones and other shows I didn’t have the stomach for. I even eventually began to earn an income.

But still, the words choked in my throat every time I had to answer the “So, what do you do?” question. The vast majority of my time was still spent changing diapers and cooking dinners. To call myself a writer seemed to be a deceptive description of how I spent my time, but to commit another point of fraud as well. I wouldn’t be simply naming a profession, I would be claiming a talent – an act I wasn’t sure I had the right to do.

I asked a few writer friends when they thought someone could call themselves a writer. “Oh, instantly!” they all cheered. “As soon as you put pen to paper, you are a writer!” I appreciated their encouragement, but I knew it was just that. My ten year college reunion was nearing, and I imagined standing among my accomplished peers and trying to tell them I was a writer.

“Oh, I’m just staying at home with the kids!” flows out much more easily.

Recently, I lost one of my writing gigs. The website folded, taking a good chunk of my credibility along with it. I understood. Even the internet could only hold so many “I’m get my pants on just like any other mom, half an hour after getting out of the shower while begging my kids for just five minutes’ peace.”

I know I can’t write about parenting forever. There is a perpetual wealth of articles decrying “Mommy bloggers” for sharing about their children’s lives, and while the points are not without merit, I cannot help but notice it is this female dominated genre that takes the most heat. I have tried my hand at other areas of writing – health journalism, tax policy, a few failed attempts at children’s poetry, and even a science fiction short story which will never gain an audience larger than my husband.

This is what I hate about freelancing. I am perpetually wondering. “Am I doing this right? What am I doing? Should I keep this up, or move on? It is to forever be dating, without any hope for commitment.

Perhaps I should’ve grown up by now, and decided on a profession before I had children who have begun to tell me what they want to be when they grow up. Or perhaps this is the path I’m meant to be on, one of wandering without destination. After all, what else is writing but an account of the journey.

Every thought I had after hearing “it’s a girl!”

Months 1-3

I don’t care, as long as it’s healthy.

Months 4-9

That’s stupid. Healthy or not, I will still love it.

Week 39

I don’t care, as long as it gets the #$&@& out of me soon.

Friday

6:10am: @#$#$@!

6:12 am: If I push hard enough, I can find out.

6:13am: It’s here! And healthy!

6:13:01am: SOMEONE MOVE THE DAMN CORD OUT OF THE WAY.

6:13:02am: It’s a girl! A girl! A girl? I’ve never had one of those.

6:15am: It is a girl, right? Can someone double check? Did anyone else get a good look?

8:07: Family knows now. Everyone is excited. Too excited? Did they all really want a girl? What’s wrong with my boys?

8:08: I can’t believe I have a girl. I don’t know anything about girls. That’s absurd. I am a girl.

9:01: Guess I’m not a #boymom anymore. That’s a bit sad. Gotta admit, I kinda liked being Queen Bee of the wild ones. But I suppose it’ll be nice having some company in the testosterone zone my home has turned into lately.

9:36: Crap. I’m going to have to explain how to use a tampon one day.

9:45: I get to plan a wedding! Go prom dress shopping! There’s no way those will be emotionally fraught and stressful events because we will have a perfect bond because the media only makes mother-daughter relationships seem stressful and strained because sexism and OMG she’s going to hate me.

10:32: What will the boys think? One wanted a brother, one wanted a sister. We are in for some tears.

10:35: The big brothers are both excited, thank God. Life will be good.

10:37 They now have lost interest in her and now just want to make my hospital bed go up and down.

1:00 pm News alert on my phone. Harvey Weinstein is a terrible person. Having a daughter is terrifying.

1:36 I am still in so much pain. I wonder if she will have kids and give birth one day. Most likely. Poor little SOB. Well, DOB.

2:57: News alert on my phone. Harvey Weinstein is a terrible person. Update: Worse than previously thought.

2:58: Having sons is terrifying. Am I doing a good enough job? Which is harder, keeping a daughter safe or a son good?

3:31: Visitor time! Wow, that’s a lot of pink. And flowers. And pink. Man. Don’t they know I want her to grow up to be empowered?

3:49: Okay, she actually looks really good in pink.

3:50: Remembering I actually really like the color pink. Well, certain shades anyway.

5:16: She’s asleep. Dang, this baby is easy. Girls must be easier. Am I stereotyping already? Maybe she’s easy because she’s my third. Or because I’ve just gotten to be a really good mom. Or maybe I just deserve an easy baby for once.

6:47: Nursing again. Time start doing a little Christmas shopping on my phone. Does she need a Women of NASA lego set? Husband says she’s a bit too young. STEM-themed dresses with dinosaurs? YES, NEED. Okay, but maybe that can wait until she knows what a dinosaur is. Pippi Longstocking? Heidi? Harriet the Spy? Ramona Quimby? Anne of Green Gables? Having a girl is going to be SO MUCH FUN.

7:54: I should email clients and let them know I’m gonna be out of commission the next few weeks. How can I work AND have three kids? How can I have three kids? Maybe I should take more time off. No stop, I’m leaning out already! Quick, lean back in! Be a good role model for your daughter!

7:56: Eh, screw society’s expectations and lean out if you want to. No, lean in more! Maybe this is why moms are always rocking back and forth whenever they see someone holding a baby.

9:03: Look at her. She’s so beautiful. Is it okay to say that? My boys were beautiful too. Still are. Ah, happy tears. And she’s asleep! Easiest baby ever.

11:32: Maybe not the easiest baby ever. Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, don’t let the weight of the world’s expectations grind you down, go to sleep pretty (and strong and empowered) baby.

Saturday

1:45: Husband, can you swaddle him? I need some sleep.

Husband: Who?

Me: You. I’ve done enough today.

Husband: Change who? You said him.

Me: Habit. The baby. Whatever I’m tired.

Me: We have a girl, huh?

2:24: This diaper thing is easier than with boy- oh wait no, apparently girls also pee during changes. Great.

6:00: The phlebotomist wants to know if I’m excited to have a girl. Everyone wants to know that. I want to know why the phlebotomist needs to do blood draws at 6am in the morning.

6:17 One day and four minutes old! I missed it. Should’ve sat an alarm. Am I excited to have a girl?

As long as she’s healthy.

Nope, that’s still stupid.

I’m just happy she’s here.

Captain’s Log

Day 38 of exile. I’m not sure how much longer I can last.

Earlier this year, we had heard the enemy had infiltrated our community and took the initial precautions. I placed tanks of elderberry syrup, tea tree oil, and hand sanitizer at every entrance. I stood guard, threatening to dump buckets of Purell into a moat built out of placebos and denial should the enemy approach our gate. But it stayed away.

At first we laughed. It worked! How clever we were, never touching bathroom door handles with our bare hands and foregoing any public gathering. Sure, we hadn’t seen anyone who didn’t share our last name in eons. But I had my ways to communicate across enemy lines. “OMG THIS WINTER IS THE WORST!” I posted. My friends sent back faces showcasing a variety of emotions and we patted ourselves on the back for having achieved some sort of human interaction for the day.

Daily, my husband tunneled through the snow into the battle zone. Each morning, he texted me the casualty report. “Three people out with the sniffles. Two reports of the stomach flu. One suspicious sounding cough down the hall.” In the afternoon, I would survey our rations. Our total sun exposure for the past month came from the amount of time it took to bolt across the parking lot to the doctor’s office in sub-zero weather. It was quite possible the children were developing rickets and/or scurvy. But milk and oranges were housed in an encampment set squarely in enemy territory.

We decided to make do with our store of goldfish crackers and multivitamins.

The inhabitants of the fort grew listless, but no one had resorted to cannibalism yet. Fine, just one or two cases of cannibalism but it didn’t break the skin and toddlers just explore the worlds with their mouths so don’t judge, OKAY? We kept up our training with fitness exercises such as “run around the couch three hundred times” and “pile everything we own that’s stuffed into the hallway and jump on it” and “barricade the bathroom door shut so I can eat a piece of candy in peace.”

Those were the first casualties of the winter. Those poor chocolate bars and stuffed animals never stood a chance.

I tried to keep my plans a secret lest the enemy discover them. It became a game of cat and mouse. We scheduled play dates only to promptly break them once one party had been infiltrated. When a rendezvous absolutely needed to occur, we would ask a series of questions to ensure the other party hadn’t been compromised. “Are you sick? Are your kids sick? Have you been exposed to anyone who has been exposed to anyone with an illness in the last six months?”

Then we cancelled anyway, just to be sure. This was war. You didn’t know who you could trust.

All communication became virtual. We texted friends, video chatted family. Then we took a Lysol wipe to our phone screens, just to be sure. You can’t be too careful.

But alas. No fortress can withstand powers such as these. Our walls were breached.

It might have something to do with that enemy training camp I send my kids to three days a week. They come back singing their ABCs and covered in hidden combatants. I had considered installing a decontamination shower in our doorway, but the department of common sense ruled it unnecessary. #MakeWinterGreatAgain. I regret that decision now.

All the great houses fall eventually and ours was no exception. Air raid sirens rang out hourly from my children’s beds. Buckets and humidifiers were stationed in critical combat zones. We pulled out every device that could show a purportedly educational cartoon and set it at full blast. Tissues were also left at strategic places, but my soldiers regarded those as torture worse than the enemy itself.

Eventually, we struck a deal. The enemy would retreat from our fort if we agreed not to leave the premises until winter ended. It was quite possibly a trick, given the several feet of snow outside threatening not to melt until the spring after next.

Beer supplies are low. Attitudes and temperatures are negative. Send in the damn robins already.

Hey Mamas, it’s not about you

I don’t mean to brag, but my three month old slept through the night three nights in a row.

I promise you I’m not bragging, because my three year old did not. No, he crawled into our bed, slept their for an indeterminate number of hours before being discovered and returned to his own room. He then returned at an ungodly hour, repeatedly yelling, “Guys! It’s morning! Wake up, guys!”

It was, according to the sun, decidedly not morning.

Our middle child simply does not like to sleep, unless it is in his car seat at a decidedly inconvenient hour. Or on the couch right before dinner. Or in the middle of the hallway, mid-temper tantrum. When he was a baby, and well into his toddler years, I read every article on sleep possible. I soaked up every bit of advice I could. Nothing worked. When he was about eighteen months old, our sleep schedule looked like this:

* Put him to bed at 8pm.

* Comfort him when he woke up several times over the next two hours.

* Rock him in rocking chair from 11pm to 1 am.

* Put him down in his crib from 1am to whenever he woke up, 2 am, 3am, 4am.

* Switch with husband who would sleep with him in the recliner from then until about 5:30 when he would be awake for the day.

It was not ideal.

He has gradually gotten better, but I still wouldn’t say he sleeps through the night on any consistent basis. We tried everything to help him do so, from cry-it-out (fail) to co-sleeping (also fail). All he wanted to do was sleep in our arms, while we stayed awake.

When this baby was born, we braced ourselves for the onslaught of fatigue that was sure to hit. We went to bed each night, fully expecting to wake up never having slept. But it never came, and not because we have tried some new fantastic method (unless you can count giving up all hope).

Because it has nothing to do with us. Mamas, if you are exhausted, overwhelmed, and wondering what the hell you are doing wrong, let me tell you: Nothing. It’s got nothing to do with you.

We like to think it does. All day long, all of the parenting advice I’ve read from leading child psychologists and experts swims in my head. “Acknowledge emotions without condoning bad behaviors.” “Tell your child when you need them to do something, don’t ask.” “High iron foods are best absorbed in conjunction with Vitamin C.” “Children need at least 1 hour of active time a day, but 15 minute spurts are best.” “Calling girls beautiful hurts their self esteem.” “Overexposure to branding limits creativity.” All these tidbits of advice and rules I’m supposed to follow are harder to remember than formulas I was supposed to memorize during that semester of organic chemistry in high school.

Do you memorize formulas in organic chemistry? I don’t even remember.

We start to think that we can craft our children, making them exactly who we want to be if we just follow all the rules correctly. It’s a lie modern parents are sold (often by writers just like me, who want to share with you the latest research or interesting study). But we can’t craft them, because in reality, parenting has so little to do with the parents. We only get to guide our children down the path that nature has chosen for them. We don’t get to choose it ourselves.

Because I know you might not have chosen for your kid to be the biter in the preschool class, or to refuse to eat anything other than crackers (but the RIGHT crackers), or to scream uncontrollably every time it’s time to get in the car seat. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen for my kid to wake up approximately 37 times every night.

That’s not all to say all that research or advice is useless. For instance, I absolutely believe that early exposure to vegetables, not exclusively serving “kids food,” and only making one meal for dinner does make your kid less likely to be a picky eater. It just doesn’t guarantee it. Otherwise, my kids wouldn’t fuss every time I served a meal that doesn’t include ketchup as one of the sides. And I’m sure there are a good number of babies that can fall asleep if laid down “drowsy but awake.” And there are a good number who will scream bloody murder if you come within three feet of a crib before they are comatose.

But we don’t get to choose. We get to nurture, guide, influence, and hope. We just don’t get to choose.

Five

I never understood why parents made such a big deal about turning five. Or ten or eighteen for that matter.

“I can’t believe how much you’ve grown! Just yesterday I held you in my arms!”

As if the passage of time were somehow a shock. Of course he was going to turn five. He was always going to turn five. And I’m not surprised at how quickly it came because I have lived each and every one of those sleepless nights, unending tantrums, and days that we just simply had to survive. And I know they equal five years. Not one day more, not one day less.

I remember holding him when he was a baby, as I did for almost every single hour of my maternity leave. For months we sat on the couch, nursing, watching tv, and getting used to the idea of each other. I studied his hand, the curve of your ear, and thinking that no one on earth knew him as well as I did.

Now he surprises me. He tells me facts about dinosaurs I did not know. I look them up and find out he is correct. He has preferences and opinions that I do not know, and frankly, do not always understand. His interests blossom and we connect, and diverge. He has grown into his own person.

Occasionally when I think to, I check his wrists to see if the little line between forearm and hand, the hallmark of baby chubbies, is still there. It’s been a while since I last looked, seeing as how I’ve come to the realization he is no longer a baby. I don’t believe it is.

I see his hand, and wonder when he became.

I had a baby and everything went to hell

Having a baby sucks.

To be clear, the baby doesn’t suck. Well, actually, the baby does suck – all night and all day. But that’s not what I’m referring to. The actual having of the baby is not a fun process.

For the first six weeks after birth, you are basically wet.

Sweat. Tears. Milk. Blood (yes, of course there’s blood. You didn’t know that? Neither did I until I had a baby). Spit up. You rock the baby and read sweet articles about letting laundry slide and cherishing this time, then you go do three thousand loads of laundry because everything you own is wet.

And that’s how I expected everything to go with this last baby, number three. A couple months of misery mixed with joy and then you know, you get on with your life. But of course that’s not how it went down.

For one, I had a really slow recovery. My OB basically put me on bed rest after delivery. (“Modified couch potato status” she called it.) I couldn’t unload the dishwasher without starting to bleed again.

Sorry, is that too much information? I’ve got a few things I need to get off my chest today. Moving on.

I had a hernia and a torn muscle in my stomach. I couldn’t walk across the room without holding everything together.

Then I got an ear infection. Because I’m four years old, apparently. I don’t even think I had one when I was four, but I got one, one week postpartum.

Then I got a stomach bug which is just one heck of a post-baby diet plan. “HOW TO LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT: Don’t keep anything down for 24 hours.” Not exactly what you typically see advertised. Also, it doesn’t work. I still can’t wear pants.

The next morning I shattered my iPhone.

Luckily, my mom was here for all that. And we did a lot of sitting around and talking about what an unlucky month it’s been and thank goodness everything was on the upswing now before she left.

And then she left.

And I decided that was a good time to go back to “work.” And I say “work” because I only work like 5 hours a week, so I need to emphasize it’s not like I’m punching in 9-5. I also say “work” because I’m self-conscious and self-deprecating and I don’t want anyone to think I think too highly of myself.

The next week my ear infection came back.

Which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you’ve had an ear infection that you’ve been treating incorrectly for two weeks go haywire. I believe the doctor’s words were “horrible infection” and that was before a week of using the incorrect medication. Pro tip: if you ever want to get in to see a doctor right away, sobbing so hard on the phone that you can’t make an appointment helps.

So that came and went and things were finally on the upswing!

Until we totaled our brand new-to-us-minivan.

While driving it home for the first time.

Obviously this is a bigger deal than an ear infection and warrants more space in this essay but I don’t know what else to say other than WE TOTALED OUR MINIVAN BEFORE EVEN BRINGING IT HOME.

(Everyone is OK by the way).

And everything is fine, except my ear infection then came back again and I got another stomach bug. This time I had to go to the hospital for fluids which is a fun way to get much needed away time with your husband except that I couldn’t stand up or see straight.

And everything really is fine. My husband bought a lottery ticket because just what are the damn chances.

On the bright side, we have a baby. And a fun fact about parenting is that no matter how many babies there are in the world, and no matter how many you personally have had, every single one is the cutest in the whole wide world. It’s a scientific marvel I tell you. Mathematical improbability. Schroedinger’s parable or something. That’s not a thing. I don’t know, I haven’t slept in five years and had two cups of coffee like a wild woman this morning so I’m not liable for anything I say.

But the baby really is awesome, and occasionally, in spite of everything else going on, we remember to change and feed her. Also the other two kids are around here somewhere.

She started smiling recently which is basically a baby’s way of saying, “I know everything is awful and I’m partly to blame but isn’t life AMAZING?”

And she’s right. Because yes, yes it is.

Easy Postpartum Halloween Costumes


The internet abounds with ideas for cute Halloween costumes – for pregnant ladies. But if you’re due just before the big costume party, a little more creativity is required.Here are nine costumes you can rock immediately postpartum with little to no effort.

1. Zombie

No makeup required! You already have the gray skin, bloodshot eyes, and dark circles to pull it off. The stained, ill-fitting clothing that you are already wearing will really finish off the look. Stumble (or limp) around aimlessly with a vacant look in your eyes to truly scare those around you.

2. Stripper

If you can time it so that your milk comes in right as it’s time to party, you might be able to pull this costume off like never before. And you don’t even have to get dressed! Like you were planning on it anyway. Of course, once those super-grande knockers make their debut, you will be too sore to cover them up with anything that would make it legal for you to go out in public. And wearing pasties will leave at least one person in your life sorely disappointed.

3. Shadow

Aww, would you look at the baby! So beautiful! So sweet! So picture perfect! Um, but what is that dark figure hovering in the background? It’s The Shadow (dun dun dunnnn!). Where the baby goes, the shadow goes. No matter where innocent bystanders (or not-so-innocent great aunts who haven’t washed their hands since coming into the house) are standing – its gaze follows. Quick, someone try to snatch the baby away so we can snap a picture without it in the background.

4. Water Fountain

Think a plump and curvy Roman Goddess fountain in an Italian piazza. You’re already mostly naked, with just a sheet covering half your breasts in case your mother-in-law walks in. Without that pregnancy glow, your skin looks stony-gray already. And to really finish off the look, you’re leaking fluids all over the place! From your eyes to your boobs, you’ve got the waterworks down.

5. Throw Pillow

You spend so much time on the couch feeding the little one that you might as well become part of it. Plus, you’re pleasantly soft and squishy, a fact any older children you might have are constantly reminding you of. So just fade back into the décor, and hopefully close your eyes for a minute or two.

6. Frankenstein’s Monster

Have you recently been torn apart and stitched back together? Do you feel vaguely undead? Are you not quite sure if any of your body parts are actually where they are supposed to be anymore? Are you a sickly shade of green? Perfect! You’ve already got all the makings of Frankenstein’s Monster, no bolts-in-the-neck required. Please delegate handing out any Halloween candy to someone who can formulate full sentences easily, lest you start scaring the villagers.

7. Pregnant Lady

Well, you’ve still got the belly. And for whatever reason, people think that bump is way cuter the day before you deliver than they do the day after. There’s no reason to stop flaunting it. Proudly get a little extra use out of those maternity clothes you are wearing anyway. So slap on some makeup (remember when you cared about that?), brush your hair, and tell people that the baby you’re carrying around is one you are just borrowing for practice.

8. Nothing

Let’s be honest – you’re turning off the lights and cursing anyone who rings your doorbell Halloween night. Maybe you’ll make it to a costume party next year.