Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Will Not Be Your New Puppy

There is something that's been bothering me for a few weeks now, since I discussed this phenomenon with my best girlfriend. The perception of single moms as romantic beings really pisses me off. Let's begin:

It has become evident to me that single moms are perceived as lust-driven, sexually starved cast-offs who would jump at the chance to fuck anybody who paid them a compliment. THIS IS NOT OK. Yes, I got knocked up once. No, that doesn't mean I'm easy. Yes, we are sexual creatures, so are goldfish and so are you. That doesn't mean we're driven only by those impulses when it comes to romantic interactions. And I'm not anybody's cast-off. In the immortal words of Princess Jasmine, "I am a prize to be won."

We are beautiful, confident women with beautiful, precious blessings of children. And, on behalf of single moms everywhere, I make this statement: We will not be your new puppies! We will not act like the poor little creatures at the pound who will go home with anyone who scratches behind their ears. We're not going out with you so you will adopt us, we don't need you to take care of us. And we sure as shit aren't gonna sleep with you on the first date to make you want us. If you're on a date with this fine specimen of womanhood, and you don't want me, you're doing it wrong.

It's a gift to be brought into my life, a gift bestowed on very few. If you don't appreciate that gift, I will take it back and exchange it for something I could use. Like a little bit of self-respect. Anyone can recognize my beauty and attractiveness. But it takes strength to pursue me for who I am. And if you can't do that, I don't want you.

So there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Mom Romance, and other things I know nothing (?) about.

The thing about having a baby is that it really puts your life into perspective. I've always had a great sense of direction; as a scout, I earned the "finding your way" badge. Twice. I've always known where I was going. Once I had Caroline, though, I spun out for a little while. And, while I had a plan for the immediate future, I had no idea where I wanted my life to eventually take me. And, you see kiddos, that was the problem. Life isn't taking me anywhere, I'm going someplace of my own accord and every action or inaction is getting me there. That realization really helped me focus my energy....and also kicked my monkey brain into high gear.

Many sleepless nights followed this epiphany until I finally had it figured out. Now that I know where I want to end up, I find myself on a series of convoluted side streets. I can see exactly where I want to be, but I have no clue how to get there...that scout badge sure isn't helping now. Maybe I just need to persist. Maybe I need to make a map. Maybe I just need to ditch the car and walk. But I'll figure it out, mark my words.

Having that figured out really takes the pressure off and infuses me with new-found motivation. It's a lot easier to want to go back to work when I know what I'm working towards. One thing that's way less intimidating now is romance. Now, I was never great at this before I had a baby and my new priorities don't really lend themselves to being trifled with for the sake of a good snog. To more fully examine the dating/romance scenario, we'll have to set aside a few things that infuriate me:

-the double standard of dating which requires women to be demure, coy and borderline ignorant in the name of finding love

-the complete lack of honest communication between people at the outset of a relationship

-the concept of sex as the desired end result of a date

-the absence of a good mascara in my makeup kit

Those are all topics for another day, preferably with a stiff drink and a healthy dose of feminism. As I was saying, I was never great at the whole romance thing before Carrie came along. I'm wawkward and neurotic with social anxiety. I have body issues and sometimes talk out of my ass when placed on the spot. I don't like to eat in front of people. All of these are good reasons why dates are a bad idea for me. Now that I've had this great shift in my priorities, though, there's pretty much no pressure. I know what I want and I know that I'm going to get it. So, really, dating is more like a screening process. I'm thinking of having cards made up that just say:

"Hello. I'm pleased to hear of your interest in my personality and body in a romantic way. My interests and hobbies are unimportant to you at this time. My goals for a relationship are X, Y and Z; I will settle for nothing less than X and Z. If you are still interested in beginning a romantic relationship, please respond via email. Thank you."

But can I really just come out and say that? Say, for example, that someone had expressed interest in me and it seems that our minds are on the same page. Would I really be able to put aside my self-doubt and be as up front as I wish everyone would be with me? That remains to be seen, but I think it would go something like this:

"On the highway of life, my directions have me taking the Stability exit to the city of Housewifery. If there's nothing to interest you at that exit, you'll need to find a different ride."

Because, and this is the point: I have a human being to love, support and cherish. I don't have time for petty games. I have a very specific picture of what I want in this life for both myself and my daughter. Either get on, or get out of the way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burritos and Baby Weight

My body still wants to eat like I'm pregnant. And my brain just wants to be comfortable in real pants again. How long does it take to get my brain and body back on the same page? Cause, right now, they're pretty much in different libraries...

Which brings me to a realization: more people should tell me how great I look for having just had a baby. No, really. Not that I need the ego boost, but that I need the reminder. It's so easy to lose sight of the amazing things my body has done over the past 11 months because I'm blinded by my huge ass not fitting into my favorite pre-baby skirt. So, next time you see me: tell me I look great. Even if you don't mean it :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Search for Truth and Meaning

I've been thinking lately about just what it is that I believe. As a UU, it's easy for me to be lazy and say that anything can have spiritual meaning without ever really determining where I find it. So, here it is: my truth.

I believe in Love, and I believe It is good. I believe we're all going to the same place, but how much we enjoy the journey is up to us. I believe in priorities - being happy is my number 1.

I believe in the miracle that is my daughter and I believe man alone cannot make that brand of perfect. I believe that childhood is beautiful. I believe in magic and whimsy, so I can give them to my children before they lose the faith. (Right about the time they start dating, I'd guess.)

I believe in wearing sexy knickers, even if no one will see them but you.

I believe my body is an amazing feat of engineering. I believe it is beautiful. But, just like a gorgeous house, I still want to add a personal touch. I don't judge you based on your curtains, don't judge me based on my body art.

I believe in the healing powers of music, water, coffee and friends. I believe that work goes more smoothly with love, and wine goes better with gossip.

I believe in reading. Pulp or Poe, it all evercises your brain. I believe cardio isn't the only neccessary exercise for your heart.

I believe sit-ups can be bad for you, and junk food can be good. (I believe I almost failed my college health class for this exact reason.)

I believe in honesty in communication. I believe in communication in relationships. I believe first dates don't have to be awkward but that, sometimes, it's part of the fun.

I believe in regional dialects, sweater vests and "cranium accessories" - everyone looks better with shades or a hat.

I believe in strutting when I walk. Mother Nature didn't give me wide hips for nothing. If you've got it, flaunt it. Like Ula.

I believe in driving in the mountains with beautiful music playing, and putting my arm out the window to touch the clouds.

And, because I'm UU, I believe that all these small wonders are holy. And I believe that your small victories are holy, too. Where do you find truth and meaning?

Baby's First Halloween (and other big choices)

Now, I'm not saying it's hard to choose Carrie's costume (although it potentially could be). It's hard for me to decide on two things:

1 - How does one go about celebrating Halloween (or any holiday, come to that) for a child so young that he or she will neither understand nor remember said holiday?

2 - Do I dress up?

Let's begin. Other than the photos we'll take - which won't be many, knowing my track record for keeping the camera handy - how will anyone even remember this event in the context of Caroline? Even in the course of the questions everyone asks about their childhoods, the chosen costume for the first Halloween doesn't usually come up. So, do I dress her and pass out candy? Do we go trick-or-treating with my older sister and her kids? Do we just have a normal night? This last option appeals to me the least, because Halloween is my second favorite holiday (right after my birthday) and skipping it altogether seems...lame. (Bear with me here, I'm too tired for vocabulary).

This leads me to choice number two: do I dress up? Once I got too old to go trick-or-treating, I always volunteered to pass out candy. And, every year, I dressed up to do it. Somehow, my parents were still surprised when I decided to major in theatre, but that's another post. I would go all out with the SFX makeup and thought-out costumes. I even invented backstory for the characters I became each Halloween. When I got to college, more of the same (except now with beer!) So, this will be the first Halloween that not about me. But, honestly, I want to dress up. I feel like this is one of those little things that makes me who I am and I don't want to lose sight of that. On the other hand, I might just look like a complete weirdo all dressed up and surrounded by adults in street clothes.

I may or may not have had a perfect middle ground: I could always dress up as a new mom. Put a burp cloth over my shoulder, clip a pacifier to myself, exaggerate the dark circles under my eyes and strap the baby in her carrier. Seems kind of lame, though, if you ask me. I mean, last year, I wore a corset. Just sayin.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coffee is the New Nightcap

Two days ago, I did some productive thinking and came to several difficult conclusions. I laughed, I cried, I questioned my principles. And then I took a shower. This post is not about that. I'm entirely too sleepy to manage a post of such magnitude, so I'll leave that for another time and will instead provide some simple tidbits:

Realization: walking through the mall with Johnny Depp attracts only slightly more attention than walking through the same mall with an adorable baby. This is why I practice my witty one-liners. For example: Stranger - "She's gorgeous!" Me - "Thanks! I made her myself!"

Realization: You gotta have your priorities in order. (I could care less is my laundry if piled to the ceiling, but I wash baby clothes every two days just so I can have my favorite burp cloths handy.)

Realization: I haven't been pessimistic since Caroline started smiling. I tried to get a picture of her smiling, but I just wasn't fast enough on the draw. It didn't bother me, though, because it just meant I could keep all of her smiles to myself.

Realization: If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Your mother does not know your baby better than you. She's really fine, Mom, take a chillaxitive. Today, my mother picked up Caroline when she was crying. As I proceeded to make Carrie Bear's bedtime bottle, my mother floundered. The baby kept crying, and all my mother could do was rock back and forth and say "She's crying." Yes, she is crying. And she's fine. And you're flipping out. Kind of made me feel better about myself, I'm not gonna lie.

Realization: Contrary to popular belief, love is not all you need. Sometimes you need a babysitter and an afternoon alone. And that's totally ok.

Realization: I sing Caroline the same lullaby my other sang to me. And she loves it. And that makes my heart glow; I feel like I'm passing on a tradition.

Thank you, and Goodnight.