Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dumb Daddies, Trendy "Bad" Parents, My Obsessiveness, I'll Shoot You Dead

I enjoyed this guest post on Lisa Belkin's New YorkTimes blog Motherlode, which is a must read for parents who want to keep up on the latest buzz and controversies in the (urban/suburban) parenting world. "Neanderdad" seems to portray a clueless daddy whose 3 year old can care for the new baby better than him. Or, as readers posted in the comments, is it more a commentary on moms who "overparent"- whatever the hell that means. I'm defensive about that because if there is such a thing as overparenting, I do it. "Can you monitor his poop while I make my oatmeal?" I've been known to ask my husband. But that just makes sense. Either he does a huge, loud, dramatic poop, or he doesn't, but I want to know so I can stop waiting for the poop explosion (because it happens every morning) and get on with my day. (Of course, my husband refuses, and sputters, "No, I will not monitor his poop! Get out of here!" Oh, we have some laughs in this household. And some tears.)

The latest buzz is about being a "bad parent" being trendy- like, saying your kids don't rule you, and not letting your baby take over your life. All I know is, this baby is my angel, and I'd shoot any of you people dead if it came down to a choice between you and my baby. You know, like if a crazy killer made me choose. That's the kind of things new moms lie in bed thinking about, by the way. I would not shoot your children, but I'd shoot you. Like, easily. Like, it's a good thing this is a gun-free household, because I'd do anything for this baby.

But I understand the idea of not being a slave to your kid- I just wouldn't want anyone to think I'm a "slave" if like, I always want to give him what he needs. My husband advocated "balance" on this issue, and I said, "Have you ever known me to be a balanced person in anything? Remember when I took that writing class in the summer, and afterwards, you asked me to never take a class again?" I totally ignored him for a month while I hunched over my laptop obsessively researching and editing- interrupted by a couple freakouts about not finishing pieces in time.

I was also completely obsessed with my nephew when he was first born, so to think I wouldn't obsess over my own kid, well, that's denying a facet of my personality. Obsessing over things is my thing. It gives me great joy to leap into a subject, sometimes to the exclusion of other things. When I started my blog, I worked on it full time. When I was into healthy eating a few years ago, I was really into that. And my baby is way cooler than a salad. I want to enjoy this time with my baby before I have to go back to work in January, so if I take it to an extreme occasionally... it's because I feel pretty strongly about him.

But, I do understand that I still need to spend time with my husband. But come on, you do have to admit, a baby's babyhood is pretty precious and quickly evolving, and an adult, well, if you miss a month of them, you don't miss that much. Like, my desire to visit my middle sister every few months- it's not exactly to see her. (No offense, A.) I can talk to her on the phone and get in great conversations and keep up with her life. I need to see her children, who grow and change so rapidly that I could sob just thinking about it. Missing so much of their childhood kills me. My sisters being far away, do I like it? No. Can I deal? Yes. My niece and nephews being far away, can I deal with it? Not really. Having my own kid now distracts me from the despair I feel at not seeing them enough, but if I think about it, that deep sadness is there. So, I try not to think about it.

What am I blabbing about? Oh yes, my obsessiveness. And, being a slave to your kid vs. being a "bad parent" who doesn't let their kid rule their life. My point is that if I seem obsessive about my baby, it's because I know how much I'm going to be missing when I go back to work in January. It might be making me a little crazy, but I don't think I've ever been a very balanced person. That's part of my charm.

You know, balance does sound pretty good. Appreciating your kid, and enjoying them, and meeting their needs while enjoying all the other parts of adult life. Maybe I'll get there when he's like, two. Right now I am really enjoying toting my precious little package around... every second of every day.


Anonymous said...

Sistah, it never ends! It's not about "obsessive" it's about self-sacrifice, because let's face it, our babies - along with being "way cooler than a salad" (I love that!) - are pretty much completely defenseless and at the world's mercy. If we don't worry about them, who will?

Those of us who never had to leave the kids to go back to work (but may have to in the near future - groan) feel the same exact way.

And please, when you find the parent who IS balanced, truly balanced, let me know. I'd love to meet them! In the meantime, don't go buying any guns! Baby Q does not need his Mama in the slammer!

Dr Horder said...

I have had way too many conversations and asked way too many questions about the consistency of poop if I am not the one changing her. Luckily, she has a very distinct "poop face" so I know when she is going number 2.

Hell's Bells drove me insane. I could not wait to get back to work. But, I find myself gazing at her picture several times a day and counting the seconds until I can go get her. I sit on my hands to not call every 5 minutes and check on her. It is nice to have that balance between work and mommyhood. It made me feel a little more like myself .... very busy and severely unbalanced, but a bit more like me.

Julie said...

Of course you are obsessed! Baby Q is too cute to be otherwise. But seriously, enjoy this time with him however you choose and ignore other people's opinions. They are just jealous :)

Anonymous said...

this is your first baby, so you *should* be completely obsessed with Q, how could you not be? i was the same exact way with Ryan. cant even tell you how depressed i was when he turned 13 and realized i was only human and was completely full of crap and had no idea what i was doing. it was a big bummer for both of us.

im on the opposite side though, maybe because i did it alone with ry for all those years as a single parent, but i know i just can't live without daniel keeping me sane, and well as much as i dont want to put these babies down, i find that i *have* to because i have ry and two dogs and a whole sh!tload of other stuff i have to do. i know the kids will be okay with me being a little hands off, and i need to be for my sanity. i agree with your FB friend who said you should just get preggers again. it'd be nice to have them close in age, and you get to stay home a bit longer. would Mr.Fancy Pancakes approve?