5/9/11

The End of an Era

I’ve been living a lie, people. It’s been bugging me for a while now, especially whenever I meet a mom-to-be, or when a new person finds my blog.

Because the fact is, I’m not a new mom anymore. Not by a longshot. My “baby” – the one depicted in the cartoon lady’s belly up there in my header – is starting KINDERGARTEN next fall, if you can believe that. And I’ve got another baby now, too. Heck, that one’s not even a baby anymore – he’s a full-on toddler!

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have this motherhood stuff all figured out now. I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, sleep, or ANYTHING baby-related, really. Although I have become an unwilling expert on diaper rash, unfortunately. E-mail me for the nitty-gritty on that one.

And the truth is, new motherhood is sort of like wedding planning, in a way. When you’re in the midst of it you’re literally OBSESSED. No detail is too small to warrant hours on message boards and endless polling of everyone you know. For a few delusional days as a bride-to-be, I was actually concerned with tussy-mussies, if you can believe that! And don’t get me started on centerpieces.

As a new mom, I filled notebooks with charts of my newborn’s sleep patterns and bowel movements. I pestered his pediatrician with endless questions about how many ounces to feed him and whether a stray encounter with a peanut was the end of life as we knew it. If anyone dared ask me, after enduring a half hour of baby photos and a soliloquy about nap schedules, “So, what else is going on with you?” I looked at them blankly. What ELSE? I’m a NEW MOM, you moron! There is no “what else”!!

But after I became a wife, not a bride, and a regular old mom, not a new mom, I wanted nothing more to do with my former obsessions. Nada. You couldn’t pay me to shop for veils now, nor could I muster up any enthusiasm whatsoever on the subject of diaper pails. I’m over it.

So the time has come to say bye-bye to Diary of a New Mom. BUT WAIT! Don’t cry, freak out, or rend your garments in distress. Because nursing tops aren’t cheap. And besides, I’ve got a NEW blog! I do! It’s . It will be the same hilarious, heartfelt musings about life and kids and writing and all the other stuff you’ve come to expect from me. Only this time I’m using my real name! My real identity! And my REAL FACE, even!! (Insert gasp here.) So come on over and join me at , won’t you?

P.S. Don’t worry, new moms who just found this blog and think it’s the answer to your prayers. 😉 Diary of a New Mom isn’t going anywhere. So sit back and browse the archives to your heart’s content. You know, in all your free time when you’re not feeding, pumping, burping, washing, changing, or otherwise taking care of your new baby.

5/4/11

Raising ‘Em Right

Pre-kids, I was the type of person who wouldn’t do anything if somebody cut in front of me in line. It would certainly irk me, but I’d tell myself that person must have somewhere really important to be and wasn’t just a big jerk. What good could come from confrontation, anyway?

But now it’s not so simple. That’s because I often have 2 little sponges with me who are observing and learning from every moment. (And also, commenting. “That lady has a mean face, Mommy.” *Blush!*)

It feels wrong to work so hard at teaching my kids to share and take turns and say please and thank you and then do nothing when someone flagrantly ignores the basic rules of human decency. Like, who spits out GUM on a SIDEWALK? Were you raised in a circus?! (Speaking of which, go see “Water for Elephants.” It’s good. And Reese Witherspoon looks so glamorous.)

Of course, most times these badly behaved people are adults, not kids. And I’m not THEIR mom. But still. It bugs me to see people — especially fully grown people who should know better — setting a bad example.

For instance: We share a driveway with 2 of our neighbors, which is common in our area. Over the many years we’ve lived here, one neighbor has claimed the driveway as her own, parking at the end so no one else could get in or out. For the most part, we don’t care. We park in front of our house, and it simply wasn’t something that affected us much. Until…

We were having some work done on our roof, and the contractor needed access to the driveway. A non-issue, right? We’d simply ask our neighbor nicely to park elsewhere for a few days, right? Any normal person would be happy to comply, right? Especially one we’ve been cordial with for years and allowed to use our shared driveway as she pleases.

Instead, we found our requests ignored. First, she “forgot.” Then she left town for 2 days, leaving her car blocking the driveway. Phone calls, knocks on the door, notes on the car – ignored. One morning I was so irate I called the police. They got her to move her car, but the next day it was back. Because the driveway is private property, the police said, there was nothing we could do. It wasn’t nice, but it wasn’t illegal.

It’s hard to overstate how much this incident has upset me. I prepared long speeches in my head, ranging from friendly concern to vicious threats. It’s not fair. It’s not right. Who DOES that?! Wasn’t this woman raised to be considerate of others? To know right from wrong? Were we supposed to ignore her from now on? Tell the kids not to talk to her?

Somehow, this relatively minor issue became for me a metaphor for the monumental importance of parenting. What I teach my boys, through words, actions — and inaction — will shape who they become as adults. And God forbid they grow up to be the kind of people who would block a neighbor’s driveway! (On the scale of parenting failures, that’s below serial killer and puppy-kicking but above spitting and not recycling.)

I don’t know, fellow parents. Am I overreacting? Should I go back to worrying about grass stains and who’s eating their vegetables and other things I can control? What would you do?

PIC O’ THE WEEK: He finally learned to put the bubble wand in FRONT of his mouth instead of IN his mouth.

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