Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Old Married Ladies' Holiday Wishlist, vol. 2

Last year, we crowd-sourced some ideas for last-minute holiday gifts. This year, we are a half-step ahead of the game.

Let's get right to it!


Cheeky shirts

For a book lover or for the woman who loves cozy nights on the couch or for the woman who adores Beyonce (and greens).


A fancy, frou-frou,  spa gift set 

I like sugar scrubs, but it's not something I often remember to put in my own shopping cart. This one comes with body butter.

My sister really loves L'Occitane, so I'm throwing this in smooth body set as a symbol of what the special people in her life should consider buying. (NO SPOILERS HERE.)


Weird decorative things 

Ceramic ring holders that look like pale, chubby thumbs? It's the objet d'art you didn't know you needed. For the feminist in need of art, consider this delicate cut-paper sign. When in doubt, ask yourself: Would I love a ceramic hedgehog? (I hope the answer is yes.)


An overnight bag 

Because some of us are still using the same bag we got in college. Which honestly? It's holding up pretty well for a clearance-at-Macy's purchase that studied abroad with me.

But I like an update every now and then, and so do the Old Married Ladies in your life. Here's a bold print for car trips, a faux leather that looks especially nice in oxblood, or a unisex style in a nice olive.

Honey for a tea lover

Just like flights of beer, Terrain has a tasting of honey for enthusiasts. This is a tad pricey but great gift for someone who doesn't want things and is watching their diet. And I've got a whole group of people who fit in that category!

                                         

National Parks Print 11x17

National parks map

Visiting all the national parks is a big goal. If you have a loved one who is trying it (as we do), give them a way to keep track of their park travels with this awesome map. There are stickers to mark where you've been (sold separately). And for the kids, don't forget to get them a passport book to learn about each park they visit.

The Old Married Ladies don't have affiliate deals or sponsors. We are simple consumers, with simple wishlists. Happy shopping! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Adventures in Pregnancy, Delivery, and Motherhood


Here is Ada!

She has arrived in all her glory (as Granny used to say). Ada is everything we hoped for. She is a wonderful baby that is just starting to smile, loves eating delicious milk, and sleeps on a consistent basis.

As a new mom, let me share what I learned about pregnancy, delivery, and the first two months of motherhood. I read everything I could on pregnancy and delivery, so it is only fair that I related what ended up really being important.

Pregnancy


Pregnancy is both exciting and boring.
  • When you find out you are pregnant, nothing is better. Then you have to wait 12 weeks for the first ultrasound, then wait for test results, wait for the 20 week anatomy scan, and most of all wait for the birth. Because waiting is fun, right?!
  • Your pregnancy might be easy (as mine was) but you will still be fraught with anxiety. The doctor's only prescription for anything is to remove the baby. Yeah, that's not anxiety inducing.
  • The last trimester is no joke, you will be HUGE and have trouble doing things like staying awake, resisting the urge to pee every 3 seconds, and sleeping through the night (weird, right because you are so tired).
  • You will have no idea what you actually need for the baby even though everyone (good-heartedly) keeps asking what they can give you.
  • All the lists of WHAT YOU NEED to do before the baby arrives is just to keep you busy. None of it actually matters. The baby will probably sleep in your room to begin, so why did you stress your partner out about getting the baby's room done when she won't be using it for a couple of months yet. You read about what to pack for the hospital but really all you need is YOU. 

Delivery


D-day: It's all you've been waiting for! Time to meet your baby, time to use all you've learned from your childbirth classes, time to use that damned birthing ball you spent so much time bouncing on, and time for most of that to be inconsequential.
  • At the hospital things happen, pain happens, laughing at the stupid jokes your husband makes happen, and then a baby comes out! That's it really.
  • After you are holding her in your arms, you realize that all you wanted was informed consent and your baby. If you have those two things it doesn't matter where you gave birth, when you gave birth, or how you gave birth.

My Birth Story

My water broke at 9:45 a.m. I called my doctor's office and my doula. A nurse at the doctor's office told me to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, I wasn't having contractions yet. My doula and I decided that I could delay for a bit. My husband and I took our time getting ready and arrived around 1 p.m. 

When my doctor checked on me, he said that I shouldn't have come in for 12 hours but since I was here, I should stay. (Damn it!) Then I labored for 12 hours. I finally took some pitocin to get things moving and had indescribable pain until I asked for an epidural 5 hours later. Then I slept and when I woke, I was fully dilated and ready to deliver. Only 25 hours of labor. I pushed for 30 minutes and voila! A baby! My baby! 

Motherhood: First Two Months

Early motherhood is both tiring and awesome.
  • Don't feel ashamed that you keep checking to see if she is still breathing. Everyone does it. (Except my husband, so I have to  keep asking him to check, lucky guy!) I fear the SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding is an eye-opening experience; you realize your breasts actually have a function. At first, it will be awkward, but eventually it will comfort both the baby and you.
  • Having a supportive partner with six weeks of paid paternity leave is the best thing ever! Pump some milk, hand him the baby, and disappear for two hours. It is glorious.
  • Hormones are REAL. You may find yourself crying at ridiculous things, like an episode of Deep Space Nine. Yep. Best thing to do is tell someone. Lean over on the couch and tell your partner through sobs and tears that you are feeling trapped, inadequate, tired, ugly, and that you are afraid he doesn't like your body anymore. Then watch as he holds you close and tells you how ridiculous you are and that none of that is true. Then cry some more and finish that emotional episode of Deep Space Nine (hopefully there is some ice cream nearby).
  • The bleeding. Yep, gonna mention it. If you happen to be a woman, then you know how to deal. It won't be that bad. You are just making up for lost time.
The one thought I kept repeating to myself is that everyone has children. This whole pregnancy and birth might seem strange and alien but is one of the most common things people do. Your grandma did it, your mom did it, so just relax and you will do it too!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Confessions: I'm afraid to wear white


Even before I had a walking stain-creation machine (also known as a toddler), I was hesitant to wear white. I have a handful of white shirts, but they're all machine-washable pieces that I change out of when I return home from work. I'm spill-prone, generally clumsy, and I like doing hands-on things like cooking, baking and playing in puddles with a toddler. So in the season of "WEAR WHITE," I find myself staring longingly at summery white dresses, colorless shorts, eyelet shirts, gauzy peasant tops and all things pale, creamy or ivory.



But in addition to the mess factor, I can't get a handle on the fashion. There's a weird clinical look if you opt for a white jacket or a certain kind of dress. If it's a dress that's too long or formal, it veers toward bridal. Some cuts and patterns look futuristic. Like a world where white culottes are the rage. DO WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE?

Is there a secret to wearing white? Do you invest in a lot of bleach? Clorox also scares me. I haven't bought Clorox in my adult life, though I regularly purchase stain removal sprays, scrubs and treatments. What am I missing here? Has anyone mastered the secrets to including white in your wardrobe?


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day!


We couldn't be Old Married Ladies without men in our lives, so what better day to celebrate them than Fathers Day? In honor of the sort-of-holiday, we're belatedly posting a few of our favorite recent finds related to fatherhood.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Notes to a new mom


Dear mama-to-be,

Before you have your baby, I want to tell you a few things.

First: You have to go through this brief, very physical rite of initiation. You've been training for it the last nine months, and the actual marathon event is *almost* here. One day, one event, one baby at the end. Labor and delivery is such a teeny sliver of motherhood. It's the crumb before the cake of parenting. It's the doorway you pass through, not the hallway or the room.

I was so nervous thinking about what that experience would be like, to bring my baby from a parasitic creature wholly dependent on my body to a free, unattached being out in the world, mewling and wailing, kicking, grasping at air with tiny fingers. For weeks before the delivery, I drank raspberry leaf tea and listened to meditations about birthing. But in hindsight, those hours are just a microscopic dot in the timeline of motherhood. The most important thing about labor and delivery is that it is the process by which you get to meet your baby. How that happens will be a blur compared to the awesome experience of meeting your child.

Second: Trust yourself and trust your partner. If you feel nervous about something, talk to each other about it. If you're tired, ask for relief. Don't fret if a friend, relative or stranger opts to parent their kid differently than you parent yours. I follow the Amy Poehler school of thought: "Good for her, not for me!" You and your baby-daddy are the only two people whose opinion ultimately matters. But when in doubt, vent to a fellow mother you respect.

About your partner: There are moms in the world who don't trust their partners with their kids. That sucks. But if you have a smart, caring husband, then let him take charge of the baby so you can rest, shower, or get some alone time. There are few joys in the world better than standing back, eavesdropping from another room and hearing your husband and your baby giggling at each other.

Third: Make time for yourself as an individual and make time for your relationships. Being a mom is so important to me, and I enjoy being around my kid. But I realize after 19 months of parenting that I let my social needs lapse somewhere along the way. Don't lose yourself because you have a baby. Your identity will now include the word mom, but it hasn't become only mom.

Connect to things that make you feel human and adult: A good meal at a nice restaurant, a stroll around an art museum, an indie music concert. Or maybe it's just time spend buying supplies for a home craft project, or leisurely strolling through a grocery store without a kid to mind. Maybe it's going to a yoga class. Maybe it's watching a movie, in a theater, with a box of overpriced theater candy in hand.

I got so many offers of free babysitting when my boy was a squishy, immobile infant. I should have said yes a little more. A few more date nights would've been nice. Even though you and your husband will be spending a lot of time together, carve out space for the two of you, child-free. Talk about non-baby things. Talk about pop culture and life and vacation plans. Talk about work. Talk about neighborhood gossip. Or just stare exhaustedly into each other's eyes, hold hands and drink very large cocktails. You deserve that, too!

Fourth: Be kind. To your baby; to your self; to your husband. This is really a re-hash of the above points, but a good lead-in to one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quotes. Feel free to read aloud to your baby when she arrives or to yourself when you need a reminder about how to live life generally.

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind."

Monday, June 1, 2015

Baby talk: Good reads, vol. 3



Mrs. Crafty's due date approaches! As she starts her pre-baby maternity leave, I've got a few more helpful reads for her (and anyone else stockpiling good links on parenting, motherhood, kids and life).

  1. There's a whole Instagram feed dedicated to breastfeeding art. I discovered the top image on the post ("Madame Helleu Cradling Paulette in Her Arms" by Paul C├ęsar Helleu) via that feed. I'm sure it won't be long before Instagram tries to shut it down and controversy ensues, so enjoy it while you can! 
  2. Is modern parenting "all joy and no fun"? What ails modern parents? Slate talks to an author who asked NOT the question, "What am I doing to my kids?" but rather "What are my kids doing to me?" 
  3. ALSO, remember that routines matter
  4. I know that Mr. Crafty tends to be the official photographer in your house, so share these six tips for photographing your child. (And get mega-inspired by checking out You Are My Wild, a one-year time capsule in which professional photographers shared beautiful photos of their kids in everyday life.) 
  5. Makes me laugh: It's Like They Know Us is dedicated to ridiculing stock photos and terrible advertising choices.

And finally, one very weird image discovery after the jump.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Baby talk: Good reads, vol. 2


A couple weeks ago, I shared some of my favorite starting reads for parents-to-be, filled with gems about registries, birth plans, labor and delivery, and decorating. But now it's time to move on to the tougher topic at hand: Parenting.

I won't lecture you about motherhood, but I'll sum it up as best I can: It's beautiful, messy, colorful, frustrating, rewarding and tiring. When I started sifting through some of my favorite pieces of writing, I found a common theme: They made me laugh, and they made me feel good about my parenting abilities. So here's the next part of your parenting-class syllabus:
  1. In a nutshell, the best parenting advice is "don't kill them."
  2. Prepare yourself for lots of well-meaning, but totally irritating advice from strangers on the street. McSweeney's lays it out here.
  3. People tell you lots of lies about infant sleep. Don't believe the hype. Every baby is different, every parent is different, and every household is different. 
  4. Calm the fuck down: The CTFD method is the sweariest parenting philosophy.
Two pieces of practical advice:
Do any parents out there have some favorite reads to add to the mix? As you can see, we're willing to consider all sorts of parents scribes and screeds. 

Image from here 

PS - Vol. 3 to come in a week or two!