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

No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family

What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.

In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?

And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.

You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!

I tell you: sooner than you think.

Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.

When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.

And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.

I understand. I do.

I understand that some women do not want to birth children.

I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.

I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.

But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.

And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.

We need families.

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If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:

Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.

Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”

Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.

Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.

Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.

Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?

Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.

Sunday, October 6: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Nix

©2019 Chelsea Owens

9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!)

There’s a snap in the air; a cold, refreshing bite that reminds us of impending change. Leaves are turning colors, scarves are coming out, and pumpkin spice is in everything.

Ah, autumn!

Not only is it officially fall on this side of the Earth, but it’s also almost Halloween! We’ve got to take out a loan for costumes and candy. We’ve got to pumpkin up our porch. We’ve got to drag out our Halloween decorations. We’ve also got to start what’s become an annual family tradition: watching a family Halloween movie each week.

I love Halloween movies! Not all films are created equal, however, and most are not suitable for children. Many of the children’s varieties are not suitable for adults, on account of a terrible story and too many crotch-kicking jokes.

So; not only have I included a list of the best Halloween movies for families, I’ve included a bit about what to look out for if you’re hoping to keep things clean.

  1. Hocus Pocus
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    Hands-down, this is one of my favorites! Released in 1993, it features the one and only Bette Midler (and maybe some others).
    Midler plays a witch from Salem times who, along with her sisters, comes back to ‘modern’ ages at the hands of some naïve teenagers. This brings up my one qualm with the show: the characters mention that the candle-lighter is a virgin three times, like it’s a bad thing. Seriously, people; why was/is it so unusual to be a virgin?
    That and a few, “God” swearings are as dirty as it gets. Oh, and Sarah Jessica Parker is pretty hot as a witch so a few guys notice.
    I’d rate this as a film for at least third-graders, but that depends on how sensitive to nightmares your child is.

  2. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest
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    Twenty years later, we’ve got studios making scary shows a preschooler can handle. Seriously. I was worried about this from both a lameness and a too-scary-for-my-kid perspective, but George’s writers came through.
    The story is that George learns of an old, haunted tree near his house. They say a scarecrow comes out on Halloween night to kick off people’s hats. Yep; kick. off. hats. George and Ally set out to solve the mystery and save Halloween, plus win a costume contest in order to earn the prize of a leaf-sucking machine.
    It’s not that bad, and does a decent job at not being too scary.

  3. The Private Eyes (1980)”
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    In only the way Don Knotts can, “The Private Eyes” takes us to a cheesy murder mystery in a house full of loonies. The butler is crazy. The housekeeper is oddly violent. The staff all have issues. And; one by one, they die off in cliché ways. If that weren’t enough, each time a murder happens there’s a bad poetry message left behind….
    Knotts and Tim Conway arrive on the scene to bumble their way through solving the thing in their usual manner. If you like that sort of corny humor, great. It also works well for kids.
    I have to fast-forward a part where the two spy on the sexy heiress dressing. She and the obviously-buxom maid are the only bad parts, plus the fact that the detectives find people with cleavers in their back -but that all resolves at the end.

  4. The Time of Their Lives” (Abbot and Costello, 1946)
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    Bud Abbot and Lou Costello were comedic geniuses of their time. They made a few films appropriate for Halloween; including ones about The Invisible Man and Frankenstein.
    “The Time of Their Lives” is my favorite. In it, Costello plays a Colonial American tinker, accidentally cursed to forever haunt an estate with one of the ladies of the house. Abbot plays both malicious butler and the butler’s great-great-great (or so) grandson once the property is rebuilt in ‘modern’ times.
    Can the new owners figure out why their harpsichord is being played or their dress is walking down the stairs on its own?
    This is also a bit creepy for younger children, even though the story resolves. It’s squeaky clean: no swearing or sex. The only violence is in showing Costello and the woman get shot at, then buried at the bottom of a well -immediately followed by their appearing as ‘ghosts’ who are unaware of their death.

  5. Casper
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    Many adults are already familiar with this film, since it came out in 1995. Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman play a daughter and father who move to a really, really cool-looking old house. Unfortunately for them and the incredibly selfish and mean woman (Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan Crittenden) who owns the place, the house is haunted by Casper and his three uncles.
    Crittenden has language problems. Some of the things the uncle ghosts do (turn someone around, haunt the place in general, attempt to murder Pullman…) are things to talk to the kids about. For those looking out for it as well, Ricci’s character’s mother has passed away and so there are bereavement issues. Crittenden also tries to kill her friend(?) and ends up falling off a cliff herself…
    Yeah; so, we’ll say you ought to be 12 years old or so, or have parents who pause the movie to talk about Life Issues a few times.

  6. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)”
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    This is a great time to bring things back down to General Family levels. “It’s the Great Pumpkin” is wholesome, a cartoon, and doesn’t rely on cheap jokes and swearing to entertain kids.
    It’s about Charlie Brown and his belief in The Great Pumpkin. I suppose someone somewhere might get offended by something with this, but you’ll have to dig into very conservative, tight-belted religious circles for that.

  7. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)”
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    Although Disney did not make and release this film as a Halloween production, we slide it in there because of its immortal skeletons and spooky pirate curse.
    Plus, who needs an excuse to watch Johnny Depp in one of his best roles?
    There’s violence. There’s cleavage (of both kinds). There’s jump scenes. Heck, there’s a skeleton hand that tries to chase after a character. There is also drinking (dude; pirates), hints at womanizing, law-breaking (again, pirates), references to hanging; yet no cussing beyond one, “Hell” that I can recall.

  8. Ghostbusters
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    Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis play marginally-productive members of society who go into business ridding people of paranormal creatures (e.g., ghosts, phantoms, poltergeists, and Slimer).
    It’s an oddly humorous cult film that also stars Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis as unintentional participants in the possible End of Times.
    Scary stuff: lots of otherwordly beings; including a librarian that turns into something worse and chases the Ghostbusters from the library, something that makes Weaver’s eggs pop on the counter and boil by themselves, a creature that attacks and possesses Weaver and Moranis, and a giant marshmallow that attacks the city at the end.
    There is an exchange I always have to skip for language purposes, where Murray says the prick from The EPA is something that rhymes with “prick,” plus assorted cursing. Watch and censor accordingly.

  9. The Addams Family
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    No twisted family can complete their Halloween movie marathon without the strange, macabre humor of this 1991 classic. I’ve yet to see if the 2019 animated variety will come close.
    In this film, we see that The Addamses are more than a little eccentric. The parents get off on each other’s morbid activities. The children are constantly subjecting each other to near-death games. The extended family makes questionable meals involving body parts. And, of course, the butler is a Frankenstein-like man named Lurch and the father’s right-hand man is only a right hand.
    Besides the twisted nature and violence, this is fairly clean. I’d say to wait till kids are older (12+) to be safe, or go ahead and show them around 2nd or 3rd grade level if your kids are twisted already.

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Here’s what I wrote this past week:

Sunday, September 22: “I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother,” my short summary of the main theme of this blog.

Monday, September 23: Wrote a poem titled, “You Just Can’t Win.”

Tuesday, September 24: Shared a funny Pinterest meme.

Wednesday, September 25: Recommended at-home haircuts -at least for boys.

Thursday, September 26: “Help or Hindrance,” a snippet concerning how ‘helpful’ kids are.

Friday, September 27: Hit a bit of a depressive point in discussing Me Time in, “Make Time for Yourself (A Parenting Myth).”

Saturday, September 28: Shared Undercaffeinated Mama‘s tweet about “Paw Patrol.”

Sunday, September 29: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Ehud Neuhaus

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

“Mom?”

“Mahm?”

“Mom mom mom mom mom mom…”

Fingers press beneath the door and bodies bash against the wall near it. A few seconds of proximity results in my four boys turning to their neighbors in frustration.

“Don’t shove!”

“Gerroff!”

“I didn’t; you did!”

They all seem surprised when their goal, Mom in the now-unlocked door, stands before their wrestling pile. Written over most of their faces is confusion. Why is her face red? Why does she look sad? Was Mom crying?

Their confusion is warranted. I live in a nice house, am able to be the stay-at-home parent, and have access to health care, good food, and kind neighbors. My family lives close enough to visit occasionally. I even finished reading a novel sometime this year.

As my husband also confusedly wonders, “Why is Mom sad?”

I’ll tell you: I didn’t want to be a mother.

I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an engineer. Heck, I wanted to be a fairy. My wants and desires and future goals changed as I grew, morphing as my interests and aptitude emerged; as my exposure to reality and opportunities increased.

Really, the only consistent life goal I had was to never do housework again.

-Which is depressing enough in itself that I am now the primary housekeeper around here.

But the real rub is what I wanted to do; to be. I did not want to only be a mother. Perhaps I didn’t expect to attract someone with my mediocre appearances. Perhaps I thought motherhood was only dishes and laundry. Perhaps I saw women tied to the occupation as somewhat brainless and clueless; those tied to real occupations were intelligent, impressive, talented, and noteworthy.

I mean, how many quotes from just mothers do we read in school? How many do we post as uplifting messages on walls or social media?

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted prestige. I wanted my daily tasks to be laudable ones, not unseen ones. I wanted I wante I want….

Why is Mom sad?

Because, years ago, a tiny infant began growing inside me. He came out, squawking and gasping and clawing at the world. In his first, completely helpless month I had to make a life-altering decision: live for me or live for him.

I chose to live for him. To live for my husband, who wanted more of them. To live for the more of them that came after.

I had to.

Because if I had chosen to live for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

So, Mom is sad. Mom is depressed. But, they have a mom. That’s what’s important, right?

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Sunday, September 15: “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” my brief discussion about the realities of boy children and our realistic rules.

Monday, September 16: Wrote a poem titled, “Happy Hour of Parenting.”

Tuesday, September 17: Shared a funny meme.

Wednesday, September 18: Plated a dinner tip involving butter.

Thursday, September 19: “This Space Reserved for Fetus,” a snippet concerning baby movement during pregnancy.

Friday, September 20: Shared Dude-Bro Dad‘s tweet about picky toddlers.

Saturday, September 21: Had no advice in “I Have No Advice.”

Sunday, September 22: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Zach Lucero

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“We Don’t Point Guns at People”

Once while browsing through clothes at a consignment shop, I witnessed an interesting mother. She and her daughter were looking through dresses. A small boy zoomed past; I guessed him to be 3 or 4 years old. He waved a toy pistol he’d ‘borrowed’ from the toys for sale and made shooting sounds as he ran.

“Pew! Pew!”

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The woman stopped the pretend assault and relieved him of his weapon. “Now, Garrett**,” she admonished, “We don’t shoot guns.”

She might have gotten offended if she’d seen my expression, a mixture of hilarity and shock. For, in our house of 4.5 boys, we possess a full arsenal of Nerf guns, Nerf crossbows, plastic bows, Nerf swords, Minecraft swords, and many off-brand toy hand guns. When not shooting darts all over the basement; my kids and their friends hurl pillows, socks, and each other at each other.

The consignment shop mother’s comment reminded me of my own mother’s words, once upon a time. My oldest was two years old, and he had been fascinated with guns since he’d learned to speak. After aiming a squirt gun her way, my mother said, “No, Samuel**, we don’t point guns at people.”

All this talk of guns and swords and pro-gun rights for children might peg me as a weapons-happy, gun-lovin’, dyed-in-the-wool carrier who won’t have my right to bear arms ripped from anything but my cold, dead fingers.

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Although I am in favor of that amendment, my support of the boys and their pretend weapons stems from logic.

  1. My children turn most objects into weapons, and then use those weapons to attack each other. The toy guns with their sponge bullets give them a better outlet for that aggression.
  2. It’s impossible to play the sorts of war games mentioned in #1 without ever pointing a gun at a person.
  3. All of my rules have been created to channel the boys’ actions into somewhere productive instead of trying to make them stop feeling the way they do.

So, what’s a mom to do? Our official rules are:

*You can’t shoot anyone not playing The Gun Game and not holding a gun.
*You can’t shoot heads or sensitive parts.
*You can’t shoot at close range.
*Swords can only hit other swords.
*Only wrestle with Dad.

Actually, our #1 rule, the one I made years and years and years ago is:

*No heads, no necks.

My sister thinks it’s hilarious, but now she has children of her own….

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Sunday, September 8: “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” a post encouraging parents to put the phone away.

Monday, September 9: “The Boy Mom Poem

Tuesday, September 10: Shared a funny parenting meme.

Wednesday, September 11: Outlined the steps for framing a beautiful food picture.

Thursday, September 12: “Underpants and Floor Food,” a snippet about what children prefer.

Friday, September 13: Discussed teaching how income and credit cards work in, “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money.

Saturday, September 14: Shared Anxiouscougar‘s tweet about funny things we tell our toddler.

Sunday, September 15: That’s today!

**Names changed

 

Photo Credits:
Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Photo by Alex Kalligas on Unsplash
Image by นัทธิ์กวี แก้วบุญ from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens