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.