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.

  

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When all else fails…

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Every so often, my son fights his nap with serious brute strength. I’m not exactly Wonder Woman, and wrestling him back to the pillows for 30 minutes is a KILLER workout. So, every so often, I remind him of how he used to live to just sprawl out across me, and just freaking SNOOZE.

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Of course, we had to take a few selfies first. He’s the master.
Don’t backsass me, you backsassing backsasser!

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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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