I guess the smart thing to do is start off with an explanation of why I even use the words motherhood and gonzo so closely in the first place.
My obsession with all things Hunter S. Thompson may or may not be the cause (more on that later), but to me it’s much more than that. Hunter created gonzo as a brand new kind of journalism; a distinct style and method unlike anything seen before him. I can’t say that my approach to motherhood is completely different than anyone else’s, but I’m willing to bet that my approach isn’t exactly common, either. Basically, I just do things my own way. Period.
It started long before my King of the Wild Things was even born. While some girls dream all their young lives about being a mother and raising a family, I barely gave it a passing thought. I’ve always been less than maternal: my family had a long-running joke that kids and I simply didn’t mix and I gave up babysitting long before I should have, considering my clients were easy and the pay was superb, and I’d be the first to glare at the screaming infant on any airplane.
And marriage didn’t change my opinions on children. Not at first, anyway. When I’d be in the company of my friends’ kids I just couldn’t muster that incredible patience to deal with pointless questions and run amok toys in their living rooms. Plus, Jas and I were and always will be the ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ kind of couple. We’ve been known to take off to the casino at random and not return till we ran out of comped rooms, (he’s a poker tournament regular so it didn’t happen much!) or sleep till whenever the hell we felt like it. Plus, he got me a dog, a yorkie named Lewis (named after Ray Lewis, of course) so I was in no rush to be a mother. If the idea ever surfaced though, my mother (who may be a little gonzo herself at times) always pictured me having one son who would probably be a football player and always dress well.
Turns out, that premonition would turn out to be true. But instead of acting like most moms-to-be, I barely changed a thing. Unless you count reading a few chapters of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I basically had no plan. From the very beginning I knew that I’d just figure it all out when the time came, and to this day that’s how it’s always been. I placed no headphones playing classical symphonies on my giant belly, never took those weird pregnancy photos with my husband holding me, and definitely made ZERO elaborate birth plan to control my labor experience. No, I simply ate when I was hungry, went to the doctor when I had an appointment, and went crazy buying all sorts of adorable clothes.
Nothing sounding too Gonzo-esque yet? Well, suddenly I was blessed with this tiny blue-eyed monster with a precious dimple and phenomenal sleeping habits. And there was no maternity leave for me; I was about to experience motherhood 24/7. Literally. But from the moment he was born, I knew I wasn’t like so many mothers I’d come across on blogs or in books, or anywhere, really. My tattoos were an obvious difference, but the fact that I decided that I would do things MY way, the way I wanted and figure things out for MYSELF seemed downright rebellious. I was offered advice left and right and rejected most of it. I sang him hip hop songs instead of lullabies and put him to bed when I was ready, even it was WAY later than normal baby bedtime, and never said no to partaking in my favorite “herbal refreshment”. I read to him even when he was tiny, and it was always whatever book I happened to be reading (he’s already learned the wisdom of the Good Doctor) and travelled 18 hours in the car to Pennsylvania at 2 months old. Jas and I felt like pioneers in a world that seems overrun by convention wisdom.
My son will be 2 in three months now and I’m proud of what kind of mother I’ve been. He’s healthy, smart, and full of mischief and personality; not to mention he is DARLING, and not just in that ‘all kids are cute’ kind of way. He’s strong, funny, dances to whatever music I feel like listening to, loves to be read to and adores being outside and playing with his ‘pup pup’. I dress him in all sorts of fabulous little boy swag and he poses for me like he knows how fly he looks. And he laughs when I watch Fear & Loathing, looking up at me with such joy that I know I’m doing something right. But perhaps the greatest thing is how truly sweet he is and how much he absolutely adores me, no matter how often I drop an F bomb or how many tattoos I have.
Gonzo and motherhood may seem like two categories not in the same realm, but I’m here to tell you that doing things as Hunter would do is a powerful approach to being a parent. I hope that as I share my experiences on how I tackle being a mom, I can give other rebellious ladies a reason to not feel bad for being who they always have been, even with a little monster attached to their hip 🙂
“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”