Hello all you fantastic Damn Pants friends! How are your lives going? I’m hoping better than ours. We’re all bogged down with work and kid freak outs and allergies and life in general. When I started this, my goal was to have lots of contributors so if someone was swamped there wouldn’t be a ton of pressure to post. It honestly never occurred to me that we’d all go crazy at once. Blah blah bad joke about cycles syncing blah. So, a new actual post will go up when someone gets some energy and inspiration. Until then, we love you, we miss you, we think you’re grand.
My mother was supposed to be a stay at home mom. That was my parent’s arrangement.
My mother made friends with the other military wives on base, where we lived. She and her best friend, Vicky, were much ahead of their time. She wanted to do more for her family. She wanted to look out for her kids, going against societal pressures. She and Vicky joined the La Leche League, they led their own group. My brother is not circumcised. We wore organic cloth diapers. We didn’t have strollers, she carried us around in slings close to her chest. We coslept. She gave birth at home, with an underground midwife. We weren’t vaccinated. She homeschooled all four of her kids for a number of years. She was really, really fucking committed to this raising kids thing.
She would go on to start her own cloth diaper business. It started out as a mail-order business. She took out ads in Mothering Magazine. She opened a small store front, in Maine, in a teeny tiny little town. She employed a few women, Part Time, as business picked up. She sold wooden toys, books, cotton kids clothes, and of course her handmade cloth diapers. It only lasted a few years and she sold the business, along with her diaper designs.
Like pretty much every woman these days, I have a Pinterest account. I love Pinterest unashamedly. My boards are a ridiculous collection of delicious foods, beautiful clothing, whimsical DIY projects and gorgeous home interiors. I can and have spent hours lost in a Pinterest hole, much to the dismay of my husband who likes to do things like “have conversations” and “spend time together” when he gets home from work. However, beneath the shiny exterior of my Pinterest boards, I keep a deep, dark secret. I don’t like admitting it out loud, but it has to be said.
I suck at crafting.
I KNOW. I’M SORRY.
I feel like I’m living a DIY lie.
I want to be so good at crafting. Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom, I feel guilty just sitting around doing nothing. The logical part of me knows that my life is the furthest from sitting around, since I am constantly doing laundry, picking things up, moving things, cleaning, chasing a toddler around, grocery shopping, etc. But the secret part of me feels that I’m not doing enough, so I have a constant need to work on crafts.
About a month before I got married, my Aunt Pat sent me a sizable gift card to Victoria’s Secret as a wedding gift. It came with instructions to buy myself some fancy underpants and whatnot. Brushing aside the fact that I was about eight weeks pregnant (because I was obviously going to be a magical unicorn of a woman who lost all baby weight two weeks after the serene birth of my son), I tore through the Victoria’s Secret website, buying all manner of lacy, frilly, generally useless pieces of clothing with my honeymoon in mind. It was a lingerie bonanza, and being that I had never really cared about matching my bra and underpants, it was a revelation.
About a year and a half later, those fancy underthings sit in my drawer, pretty much untouched since my husband and I returned from the world’s tamest trip to Las Vegas. I currently sleep in something Ross affectionately (I think) calls “Sexy Fester”. Basically, when maxi dresses started appearing everywhere, I convinced myself to buy one, because clearly nothing looks more attractive on a six foot tall woman with child-bearing hips than a straight column of long fabric. It was black and basically looked like the world’s longest wife beater tank top. When I got home, I realized that it looked terrible and decided to use it as a night shirt. My husband told me I looked like Uncle Fester. I wore it rarely, until it got warmer and I realized that if I cut off about two and a half feet of fabric, the maxi dress would become a kind of tolerable nightshirt. I wore it to bed and Ross said something like “Ooooh, sexy Fester!” and we never had sex again EVER.
As a lady, I find myself in the position of having my decisions publicly judged on a daily basis. From the old dude who tells me to “Smile!” because “It ain’t that bad!” to all sorts of legislators telling me what I can and cannot do with my own body, every day feels like a goddamn shitshow. But the one that’s really been the hair in my ass lately? People, some of whom I barely know, playing concern troll for my son’s lack of siblings. No, really. This is a thing that happens. I was just as surprised as you are! People really seem to care about the contents of my uterus, and seem to be surprised, offended, or a combination of the two when I tell them that I would prefer that it has no further occupants. Sigh.
Dudes. Duuuuuuuudes. Here is a secret about me that actually is not a secret at all if you talk to me for more than, say, 20 minutes. I don’t really like kids. Let’s back up because GOD KNOWS the shit flies like a swarm of killa bees when you make statements like that. I love my son. He’s mine, I made him. He is hands down the worst roommate I’ve ever had, but jeez, yeah, I love the shit out of that kid. And my friends’ kids? Sure! They’re okay too. Many of them are adorable, and some keep my own child occupied so we can sit on the porch with beer and Parliaments. But generally speaking? If given the choice of being around a bunch of kids and the opposite of that scenario? I will choose the latter. Some people are kid people, just like some people are dog people, others are cat people, and some are CENTAURS. (For the record, I am none of those things.) (Sorry if you thought I was a centaur.) Babies are cute, but I like to give them back to their rightful owner when they get fussy or poop up their backs. Kids are loud and mean and if I wanted loud and mean, I’d hang out with…well, me. I’d hang out with me.
I used to roll my eyes when friends complained about “mommy blogs”. “Why do you care what some twat said about raising kids? You’re doing a good job; just don’t read her stuff anymore.” I didn’t understand why it was such a big freaking deal. I mean, I didn’t go around reading sites praising George W. Bush. That’s how the internet is, you pick and choose and everyone else can go to hell. Or wherever.
Then, this really strange thing happened. I started dating a single father. And then I fell in love like a dummy. Now we live together and I’m suddenly a mom-type. So I spend a lot of time online, researching and finding new things to try out with them. And that’s when I found out how hideous the mommy blogs really can be. All of the sudden, I was the one feeling judged for working full time. For allowing chemical-filled cleaning sprays into our home. I was the horrible parent that used food as a reward. I let them watch tv all day, and play video games, and have pizza rolls for dinner on the regs. And I curse! Sometimes in front of the boys, sometimes as I yell at them to PUT SOME DAMN PANTS ON.
As much as I tried to take my own (dismissive, bitchy) advice of just don’t look at it, that’s really difficult. Because everywhere you turn there’s some stay at home mom with a lot more time, money, and patience making me feel like Asshole of the Year. Which is BULLSHIT because I’m a great parent. Even if I drink and smoke and curse and eat fast food, I still love those boys with all of me and they know it. We have a home filled with laughter and joy and craziness, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. (At least not permanently, but if someone wanted to give me an all-inclusive week to a resort all alone, I’d so do it.)