Infinitely Young and Ultimately Old.

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When did I get so old? Seriously? I feel like my younger years are so far behind me, yet I know I’m nowhere near what is considered to be truly ‘old’. But when I look back to just a few years ago, I wonder not only how I’m still alive, but what happened to my life AT ALL? The obvious answer is my son, who for as much love as he gives me in return, has basically sucked every ounce of younger life from me until he moves out (or so I figure). But in not such a literal sense, life really DOES take a toll on you after awhile. Being an adult is exhausting.

But then again, do I consider myself an adult? I’d like to say absolutely, but honestly: not a chance. There are so many people my age or younger that to me, are the perfect examples of how to ‘adult’ properly: a ‘big kid’ job, house, money in savings, concrete plans for the future and, last but not least, somehow manage to look like they have their shit together every single day. 

Then there’s me: who is lucky to get a shower, let alone put makeup on and pick out a good outfit, went to college but has no serious direction of my future plans, and panics when it comes time to actually face most of my responsibilities. I always tell myself we’ll eventually get it together, but I can’t help but be clouded by my own doubts. And honestly, I think this stems from always allowing myself to enjoy the fun side of life and living by not taking anything too seriously, which I don’t think is always a bad thing. Mind you, I’m always wondering if growing up means accepting defeat of some part of yourself.
But no matter how my responsibilities differ from day to day (aka mom life), from the easy ones all the way to the ‘is this what hell is?’ category, I’m still that teenage weirdo, smoking too much in a random fox racing tshirt and holes in my jeans, wearing too much eyeliner and not giving a damn about much of anything. Even if I’m now setting an example for a little miniature human, I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. I can’t pretend to have it all together, but you know what? That means I NEVER have to pretend to be a good mother, because regardless if I’m in a hoodie with a messy bun at the store surrounded by Betty Cleavers, my kid is the happiest of all. This much I definitely know for sure.

I guess the point of this is give any mother a pat on the back, no matter what age they are and what doubts they face day in and day out. Don’t find yourself feeling so old that you lose your ‘you-ness’; don’t hide whatever little version of yourself might be lurking underneath all that ‘adult’. Seems like everyone has it all together? Maybe they do, but maybe they aren’t as vivacious as you are. Maybe their glimmer is a little duller. Embrace every little thing, and your little mini thing will thank you! ☺️

  

Do Your Thing, Momma…

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Any mother, at any stage, from pregnancy to raising teenagers, seems to thrive on sharing information. We flock to books, scour the internet, call our own mothers, bother the doctor: if something crosses our mind that has to do with our child and we don’t have an immediate answer, we suddenly become as questioning as Sherlock Holmes himself. And while thank god for the wealth of information we are blessed with access to these days, but it can be straight up overwhelming. While we’re quick to reach out for help from others, we often forget that WE and WE ALONE know our children and ourselves better than anyone. It’s a mom superpower, and it’s real! Trust me! 

It starts from the moment you tell anyone (literally, anyone) that you’re expecting. Don’t be surprised if people say “Congratulations! *insert advice you didn’t ask for here*”, or immediately start their next sentence with “Well, when was pregnant…”, and of course “Have you bought your copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting yet?” UNSOLICITED ADVICE WILL RUN RAMPANT, PEOPLE! But this is only the beginning, so put your game face on. While most people are trying to get all up in your mommy business because they truly do care and are trying to be helpful, you will undoubtedly feel judged, worried, and suddenly feel like second guessing every decision you make. But as my son gets ready to turn three (where the heck did the time go?!?!), I look back at the very beginning of this journey called motherhood and realize one thing I did (and still do) that helped mold me into what I would consider a good mom (some would say ‘cool mom’, which I also consider myself, with zero shame) was that no matter what anyone told me about what I should and shouldn’t do, I trust my heart and do things MY way. Is it the way every mom does things? Probably not, but judging by my always happy son, I’m doing something right.

Not every choice we make would work for every child: it’s SO important that every kid is fantastically different, and there’s not necessarily a “right way” to do things. Motherhood is really about learning as you go alongside your little one, so together you find out what works for BOTH of you. 

There will ALWAYS be hot issues in the parenting world: Breastfeeding, sleeping, diapering, diet, vaccines, child care; I could go on and on. It can be SO overwhelming when you think you’re doing the right thing, only to get a snooty look from another mom because she does it completely differently. Feeding is probably the best example of this: no matter which way you choose to feed your child, there’s going to be someone who finds something wrong with it. Breastfeeding? Wonderful! You’re giving your baby an amazing start! Bottle feeding? Great! Your baby is getting what he needs! I was personally horrified at the thought of breastfeeding until I was semi ganged up on by certain members of my family (See what I told you about unsolicited advice…☺️) who couldn’t believe that this was even a debate and OF COURSE I’ll be breastfeeding! Looking back, I’m glad I did (he was actually a combination baby, both boob and bottles!) but I’m not going to lie and rave about how special breastfeeding was for me and how much I loved it, because quite frankly, I didn’t. I was not at all sad when he decided he was done with the boobs. My goal was three months and I made it through six. Boo Ya! But here’s where the second guessing comes into play: if you breastfeed and happen to (gasp!) feed your baby in public, you’ll get judged. If you pump like a maniac at work or while away for the night, you’ll get judged because you’re not home with your child. If you use formula and are mixing bottles of powder like a baby bartender, you’ll get judged because you’re not breastfeeding for whatever reason. We forget that with any of these methods, we are FEEDING OUR CHILDREN, but someone will ALWAYS think you’re doing it wrong. As long as your kid is eating and healthy, you’re rockin’ it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Let’s talk sleep. I am always ready and willing to discuss my son’s bedtime routine, because I admit it: we do things our way and we love to co-sleep. Period. If that means an adorable toddler in our bed basically every night since the day we brought him home, so be it. Or maybe it means that same toddler is up till 10:00 at night, in jammies and bedtime ready, but up watching Family Guy with his parents because we know he likes to sing the theme song. We have a slightly regular schedule, but I don’t apologize that my child doesn’t do specific things at specific times. “You’re just making your lives miserable in the future! He’ll NEVER get out of your bed!” Actually, I’m just enjoying every moment my little boy is still just that: little. I promise you, the day will come too quickly that your kid will want less and less to do with you (atleast for a few years), and you’ll miss that sweet little one that always wanted your cuddles. Plus, YOU MADE THEM. That’s right, you are responsible for creating that amazing little being that everyone is so concerned about. So if you want to hold those tiny hands and snuggle up all night, DO IT. Don’t let ANYONE tell you you’re loving your kid too much. There’s a difference between being spoiled and being loved. You can never show your child too much love. There is NO such thing.

Diapers are an interesting (and often terrifying and downright nasty) child experience: you will quickly realize that no matter how disgusted you may think you are cleaning another person’s gross-ness, it really is “ain’t no thang“. You are a boss woman and a little stinky toddler is no match for your power. But be prepared for the inevitable when it comes to what your kid poops in: “Disposable diapers?! Someone must not care much about the planet!” This argument is ridiculous enough to me that I barely feel the need to mention it, but I will say Kudos! to you if you’re a cloth diaper momma-you impress me greatly! I, however, hope that I do enough for the environment elsewhere that I’ll still have good karma with Mother Earth, because I know nothing about that cloth magic. I used disposable because that’s all I knew and what was convenient. But thank the universe those days are almost behind us!

Some parenting issues are deeply personal. Choices you make for your child are yours and yours alone, and it’s SO important to trust your gut and know your child. Nothing will always work out the way you think it will. There will be bad days, but the good days will far outnumber them. I always say that you’ll drive yourself crazy comparing your child to others (Her son is three months younger than mine, why isn’t mine progressing that fast?! But the baby books said NOT to do that! I wish my child would sleep like that child!) and it’s definitely true: remember that they are all COMPLETELY different human beings! Don’t feel bad if your child doesn’t have the newest, fanciest new child rearing fad of the month, and don’t worry if you don’t have ALL of your shit together ALL of the time (I can’t tell you how often I feel like a slimeball in my sweats and messy bun next to the impeccably dressed SAHMs I see at the grocery store), because guess what? Being a mom is hard. But STOP getting down on yourself! After all, if your child refuses to eat anything but mac & cheese for three days straight, is it really going to hurt him in the long run? OF COURSE NOT. 😆

No matter how often someone tells you how you “should” be doing something, or how often you stress yourself out wondering if you’re doing a good job at this whole parenting thing, or how embarrassed you are when your child melts down in public to the obvious annoyance of many, JUST BREATHE. You are a superhero, a genuine badass and a giver of life and love. Do your thing, Momma. Whatever your way of doing that thing may be.

❤️ gonzo momma  

  

Until You Have Kids…

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We’ve all been there: a younger, child free version of ourselves, enjoying a night out when *shudder* you suddenly see the hostess setting up a child’s seat at the table next to you. Ugh, there goes our peaceful dinner, you might have said. Or maybe Why would you bring a kid to a place like this?! Even if the child didn’t make a peep, you were horrified at the thought that this little creature could have possibly interrupted your evening. 

Fast forward to today, and suddenly you’re that table that the hostess is setting up a child’s seat for, the one that the patrons are glaring at for possibly ruining the kid free atmosphere you just walked into. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were enjoying a Saturday date night without our son at one of our favorite restaurants. The weather was nice so we sat on the patio, listening to music with a pitcher of sangria. An adorable girl about my age sat down next to us with who was probably her mother and sister, along with her precious toddler, a little boy who I soon learned is two (the same age as my little dude). He immediately didn’t want to sit still, and popped his head up at our table. His mother immediately apologized, to which my husband and I replied: “No worries, we have one too. We get it!” A wash of relief rushed over her face and we traded toddler stories back and forth. I said this to her because I do get it, and it really does make you feel better to know that not everyone in the world is out to judge you as a mother. I’d heard the phrase “Until you have kids…” a million times, but it couldn’t be more true. You don’t know until you have one, so cut us a little slack until you really know what we’re going through.

Lately I’ve seen lots of babble on social media like “Maybe parents should put the phone down and play with their kids instead of posting about them!” or “Don’t you think a mom should only talk about certain things once she has kids?” Let me ask you something: when you woke up this morning, did you decide what you’d be doing with your day? Ok, maybe you have a job, but did you simply wake up, get dressed, and begin your day? That must be so nice; I definitely remember those days. Want to know how my day starts? From the moment I open my eyes, my day is dictated by a two year old. What I’m doing, when I’m doing it: all in the hands of a two year old child. 

Adult conversation? Forget about it! An hour of reading with my coffee? Haha! Riiiight! A real shower everyday, whenever I want? Dear God, I wish! And don’t think I’m complaining, because I’m definitely not. I am well aware that there are definitely chunks of my day spent in sweats catching up on Real Housewives. But being a mom, even one whose happily married, can be SO lonely. Your interactions with your child are amazing, but they can’t chat with you about real life; about the big stuff or the stupid little things. So I’ll use that “Until you have kids…” line to tell you: if I want to take five minute breaks out of my kid friendly day to escape on my iPhone, I will. And until you have kids, you’ll probably keep judging me, but I’ll be there to reassure you that it’s ok when it’s your turn, regardless. 

What topics are off limits for moms? Oh, you gave birth, so no swearing. And no talking about drinking. Or drugs. Or anything remotely inappropriate. Tell me why people (especially younger people!) without kids get to decide what’s right and wrong for mom conversation. I understand not blasting your personal business for everyone to see (especially because there are some nasty souls out there who threaten moms with CPS calls. I’ve seen it and find it disgusting. How dare anyone just loosely throw around such a thing?!) but guess what: I’m still a cool person with a rad opinion to offer the world, and I just so happen to have a precious sidekick to do it with. Stop making moms feel like they are only defined as a parent and nothing more! Because again, until you have kids, you have no right. None. Zilch!

Things are tough enough out there. Protecting our children from all the sick things that unfortunately exist in our world these days is hard enough. Don’t make mothers feel like they have to shield their and their childrens’ lives from judgement from those who don’t even know what they go through. 

Next time you’re at a restaurant, smile at the family with the kid at the next table. You have every right to be annoyed when the kid starts wailing, but until then, just stop and think how to go to dinner that night, you got dressed and drove there, simple and easy. But I promise that that mother you see had to change two sets of clothes atleast twice, put on two sets of shoes, remember to pack a bunch of nonsense, wrestle a mini sumo wrestler into a carseat, and listened to mostly incoherent child babbling for most of that day, all to simply enjoy a meal outside of her own house and feel like a normal person for a few hours. 

Until you have kids…” don’t be so quick to think you know what it’s like to actually have one. Us moms you’re busy judging will be here to answer all those questions you’ll definitely have, and to make you feel less bad when people (like the current, judgemental  you) question every move you make.

  

Pure Gonzo Momma-ism.

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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.”

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Well it’s about time…

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I should have started this long before now. Writing has always been such a huge part of my life, but I think now is the time to share my experiences, especially those I’ve had now that I’m a mom.

I’ve never really found a perspective on motherhood that’s relatable: I do things my own way with my family, and I think there’s plenty of mothers like me that get tired of seeing the same sort of blogs that make us feel like we’re doing things the wrong way because we’re unconventional.

So here’s to those moms who are ‘gonzo’ like me-unafraid of going against the norm and causing a little trouble while we’re at it. After all, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting.

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”