Where’s that village I was promised?

Alternative Title: The Things You Do To Distract Yourself When You Really Have to Pee.

Village to raise a child

I’m typing this post in the notes section of my phone while literally (okay, metaphorically) handcuffed to my 20 month old who would currently rather watch YouTube than interact with me. Yet he still doesn’t want me to leave the room. I’m typing with just my left hand as my son insists on having my right hand holding his as he stares at the numbers and animals popping in and out of the screen.

Does this sound adorable? I could see it looking pretty adorable in a photo without much context. The lack of context is crucial. With more context, you’d know that my leg was cramping and I’ve been needing to pee for exactly 13 minutes. But my toddler is content and no longer screaming. So here I stay.

It’s fitting that I should be writing my first blog post with a full bladder and “Counting Farm Animals” on the television screen. There were a lot of things I’d imagined about how my life would change after I became a mother. I’d underestimated the amount of hours that would be devoted to quality time spent watching cartoon monsters on YouTube sing about the number 4.

Before I was a mother, my evenings consisted of happy hours, dodgeball (I promise I’m an adult), reading, and TV shows with characters whose heads got smashed in (looking at you “Game of Thrones”). And if you’re a mom whose life has changed drastically since having your child – well, FUCKING SAME.

You’re not going to get any “children are such a blessing” from me here. No tips on how to use standard household items to create rocket ships or some shit like that. No recommendations on activities to do with a toddler that avoid screen time. Despite my current position, James doesn’t generally sit still too watch my TV. So, frankly, if I can get him to sit quietly in my lap and watch “Moana” for the fifth time then you’re damn right that I support screen time, and not just because Moana is amazing (and The Rock is ridiculously sexy even in cartoon form).

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the shit out of my son. And I know I’m a good Mom. But if you’ve heard of a crunchy Mom, then think of me as the exact opposite. There’s a term for people like me that I read about once: silky moms.  The very first decision I made when I found out was pregnant was to accept any drugs offered to me at the hospital during labor. I still remember the tears of mirth that streamed down my face after being asked whether I planned to make Jamie’s baby purées myself. It’s too hard to take the cussing out of my vocabulary so I figure that I’d rather Jamie hear it from me than some random kid in fifth grade. I did consider cloth diapers for about three seconds. But Jamie, as I soon found out, tends to shit between 2 and 5 times a day. So I’m supposed to wash those diapers each time? Ali Wong (who is my spirit animal) said it best: “I have suffered enough.” NO THANK YOU.

Prepackaged foods, YouTube, and drop in daycare centers are gifts from the Lord and don’t you dare tell me otherwise. I like sleep and I like convenience and sometimes I’m just kind of lazy.

More importantly, though, I find the constant battle to retain some of my identities outside of motherhood to be so exhausting and time consuming that the “shortcuts” seem to be the only way to prevent insanity.

I write that last sentence with the intention of being slightly tongue in cheek. However, I don’t want to understate the struggle I’ve gone through, the struggle many new parents go through, when your identity changes to someone who is completely responsible for the life of a small, innocent, helpless, frustrating but absolutely lovable human. There are so many days that I have no idea what the hell I’m doing trying to raise a child who isn’t an asshole while retain some sense of self along the way. When I was at my lowest points during my pregnancy and following, I craved to have someone else there who just got it. I wanted that village that everyone promised me would be there to help me raise my child.

So, all that to say, if there’s just one person out there who needs the same thing – you’ve got it.

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