Super Parent or …Me?

I recently had a brush with a Super Parent.

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Between coordinating math competitions and drawing up homework schedules and suggesting vinyl cutouts of inspirational quotes to stick around the school, the Super Parent (SP) texted me to ask how my overachiever plans were coming along…?

I assured SP that all’s well, then accidentally sent my son to school in his younger brother’s pants.

While I could blame my lack of motivation and involvement on the number of children I’m keeping alive (five), I know I’ve had about the same level of parenting for all of them. They just get things like the wrong pants when I’m recovering from popping out their sibling.

Thing is, I have a different reaction than action compared to SPs.

Problem: Son needs a real volcano for his Science Fair Project? He needs it now? It’s due tomorrow? But it’s bedtime…

Solution: Meh; this will build character. Go to sleep and cobble something together in the morning.

I’ll teach the values of project management, ingenuity, and last-minute b.s.-ing. Frankly, that last one will help him more times than he’ll know.

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I’ll admit to some guilt when my laissez-faire approach comes out. What if not having five hours of piano lessons since he was five means he never goes to college? What if he catches pneumonia because I couldn’t leave my hour-away appointment to pick him up because he felt “sniffly?” What if that real volcano impressed little Julie Jenkins, super-intelligent and talented daughter of the SP that texted me, and she therefore agrees to go out with and marry my son when they’re twenty, and my adorable grandchildren (whose upbringing and education will be handled by their SP grandparent) never come to be??

That’s when I reassure myself that, if Julie Jenkins doesn’t love my son for who he is, she shouldn’t marry him. I mean, volcanoes can only take a relationship so far…

That, and I’d rather be a consistent and level-headed parent than a volatile and high-strung one. I’ve seen those go-getter types in school, and they were only happy when they had the good stuff. I don’t want that for my kids if we can avoid it; I want them to be balanced and truly happy.

So, SP, things are going well. My kids are alive, my son’s wearing pants, and my other son just pulled some paper into a mountain and painted it brown.

He says the vinegar and baking soda will be red.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Valeria Zoncoll
Xavier Mouton Photographie
Aaron Thomas

Hi. My Name is Mom and I Can’t Think

There’s a strange phenomenon centered around parents stuck at home all day for longer than they expected. Those experiencing it term the condition Mom Brain (a male equivalent is still in dispute).

Early symptoms include drop in IQ, fatigue, and restless toddler syndrome. Continued exposure to isolated home life results in more serious complications: further cognitive loss, addictions, poor eating habits, not-getting-dressedness, and hopelessness.

Unfortunately, there is no medication currently approved by the FDA that can actually cure this malady.

There are, as many sufferers may admit, several home remedies. These are also not approved by the FDA or even their own mothers.

Those experiencing Mom Brain should not see their doctor; partly because said doctor will have little to contribute besides a confused head-scratching, but mostly because those experiencing Mom Brain will forget to even make the appointment…

Survivors of the condition have no suggestions, alluding to something called “time.” They then add a laugh, commiserative pat, and a walk-away with a spring to their step that they are no longer going through life looking like a zombie.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Jen Theodore

What C-Section Recovery is Like

I’m no stranger to surgery, even when that surgery is a Cesarean Section. Why? Pregnancy #2 ended a bit dramatically, culminating in a Traditional C-Section. Turns out one’s not allowed to labor after that.

This Ol’ Pregnancy Rodeo happened a few years after the others, however, so I’d forgotten a few everything. So what have I learned so far?

  1. It hurts.
    What hurts? Everything. My stomach is tender, my uterus aches, my intestines can’t quite figure out where they’re supposed to end up, and my nether regions are trying to remember how to function.
  2. I can’t bend over.
    I can, but am certain that action’s bringing on the rupture of something I need later, like my bladder. Mostly I shake my fist at everything that drops and curse gravity.
  3. I am SO EXHAUSTED.
    Right after my first C-Section, I remember trying to dust the furniture in the living room. I did one table before collapsing on the sofa, ready for a nap. I’ve had even more to do this time and am therefore entirely dependent on chocolate and threats to my other children.
  4. Babies don’t sleep.
    Well, they do sleep A LOT. If the baby boy’s not eating, he is only content to be asleep. Still, his schedule’s enough to make Buddy the Elf want a nap. This is true whether I had a C-Section or not, but makes Side Effect #3 that much more difficult.
  5. Babies need stuff.
    From diaper changes to laundry to walking around, the baby’s needs are tricky to meet when you consider Items 1-3. Just holding the little one to nurse and burp involves dexterity in order to avoid my midsection.
  6. I’m fat.
    In the space where the baby once occupied there’s a big, squishy void. It hurts (see #1), it can’t firm up yet, and it makes me feel like Totoro since I put on an extra 50 pounds during pregnancy.

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The upside of the whole thing was scheduling exactly when I would deliver. This came in handy for arranging babysitting and planning out the month’s events afterwards. I also didn’t have to deal with labor pains or tearing during delivery.

Now, someone may be reading this when she didn’t schedule surgery. My second, unexpected, emergency C-Section fell into that category. No, there’s no scheduling. Still, this can give one a handy guide if she’s wondering what’s normal and what’s not.

Hang in there for a relaxing six weeks, buy a belly band, and accept any and all offers to help. And have hope: this is my fourth time recovering, and I’ve always bounced right back to bending and sleeping. I even lost the extra weight …eventually.

 

Photo Credit: Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman

As I’m more obviously pregnant now, I’m getting a few well-meaning comments and questions from people. While most know to avoid the “are you pregnant” one, a few of the others I’ve heard left me thinking that I really need to make a list.

So, without further ado, here are The Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman:

10. “You don’t look pregnant.”
Since I first felt the wonderful joys of ‘morning’ sickness, this comment has hurt. I realize it’s coming from good intentions, I do. Still, when you’re already aching in your lady parts and constantly feeling like tossing your Saltines, hearing that you don’t look pregnant is the worst.

9. “You look so cute.”
I don’t know why, but I’ve heard this one several times lately. No, I do not look cute. I look like a whale. I look like an elephant. I look like myself in a Sumo wrestler suit that I cannot take off for …a few years. Cute things are little and precious, and I am neither of those whilst pregnant.

8. Assurances of how long it took them to bounce back.
This is more of a stinging comment for older women who are pregnant. If it’s their first time in the ring, they might be more severely depressed post-partum when they can’t go jogging within a week. If it’s not their first time, they know better and don’t need the reminder -especially from someone who looks like she never carried anything heavier than a baby guppy.

7. Lists of risks for the foods the pregnant women is eating.
Another helpful one. If the person is really looking to be helpful, a kind reminder BEFORE any money or effort is spent would be nice. Or -as the best idea- show up with perfectly safe foods for the pregnant woman and her entire family.

6. “You’re eating for two.” Wink, wink
Lady, I know I’m pigging out. Maybe I’m just excited that the food’s staying down this time. Maybe I really do have cravings that seem to involve the wrong side of The Food Pyramid. Maybe I need to eat every hour because my stomach is being smashed in an upside-down direction.
Whatever option you pick, keep it to yourself. And, pass the ice cream.

5. “It’s only nine months.”
You know what? YOU try it.

4. Horrible delivery stories.
Again; as helpful as these are intended to be, maybe keep them to yourself. Especially if the pregnant woman has done IVF or prayed for ten years or whatnot, stories of botched or nearly-botched deliveries are terrible. Didn’t you know that stressing the mom out can cause premature labor? -Yeah, don’t tell her that, either.

3. Shameful comments about her birthing plan.
I addressed this somewhat in my article on planning a C-Section. If you know the person well enough to comment, maybe begin with a simple question: Are you choosing that plan because of past complications?
There’s always a nice way to say things and I know people can choose that way.

2. Horror stories of what the baby looked like, or how it changed sexes.
Like I mentioned in #4, just don’t. No one needs to worry that she’s going to pop out some alien with tentacles where they shouldn’t be.

1. Stories of babies dying.
I once expressed my anxieties about birth to a former neighbor, who responded that at least the child would be “teaching people in heaven.” That is not comforting; that is strange.
Getting a baby to attach, grow, not have complications, and pop out is HUGE. Please, please don’t tell an expectant mom about someone losing her child at birth. Save it for if that happens to her, when you give her a genuine hug and help her to cope.

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Sunday
, October 6: “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” an observation of society’s changing expectations.

Monday, October 7: “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

Tuesday, October 8: Shared a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Wednesday, October 9: Recommended mixing your own cleaners.

Thursday, October 10: “Eat a Balanced Diet?,” a snippet concerning dieting.

Friday, October 11: Thought about raised voices in “The Merits of Yelling in the House.”

Saturday, October 12: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about kids and their feelings of ownership.

Sunday, October 13: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:

©2019 Chelsea Owens