ADHD or Mommy Overload?

A while back, I happened to catch a Dr. Oz show. Don’t worry, I’m not a regular viewer–I tend only to watch shows that go well with wine like Madmen, or the Daily Show or the Muppets… But by the end of the show I was hurling my wine glass at the TV and cursing like a trucker.

Why?  Well, you see, Dr. Oz did an entire show on adult onset ADHD. “ADHD can cause forgetfulness, irritability and procrastination, all of which can put a healthy marriage at risk. In fact, adults with ADHD are twice as likely to get divorced.”
Dr. Oz Website

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Why Tiger why?

Okay, I must admit it. Being married to an Asian guy, and somewhat identifying with Kate in her sad attempts to maintain control when clearly control was nowhere to be found, I was more than a little bummed about Jon and Kate’s breakup. It was sad for the kids, yes. But more importantly, it left all those people who say “yeah, we’re dysfunctional, but isn’t everyone?” a little more uncertain. Continue reading

The Dance of Mommydom

dreamstime_16725141.jpgPeople will tell you that when you first have a baby, a lot of your non-parent friends will drop off the radar. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact your nipples hurt for a solid three months (all those midwives and breastfeeding experts lie to get you to hang in there), or because the mama bear killer instinct leaves you so hyper-focused on meeting the 24/7 needs of this crying lump of poo, burps and pee that a sleep-deprived bitchy Dr. Jekyl takes over. It all ends badly when you reach your breaking point and scream at your skinny, well-rested  yet perpetually whiney friend: “Do you really think I give a f**k about your stupid-ass job and loser boyfriend? I was ten centimeters dialated–TEN CENTIMETERS!”

 Okay, so when you think of it this way, it’s not that surprising.

What I never expected though is the kind of Junior High “will you be my friend” mentality that grips a lot of terrified new moms. Case in point: my trip to the drug store (yes for some reason the drug store has become a kind of Shakespearean playground for my blog).

I was innocently walking around the store with baby Noa sporting my latest insanely expensive purchase–a comfy but butt-ugly baby carrier that actually ADDS rolls of back fat. I passed a thrirty-something mom pushing her 4-month-old baby around in a top-of-the-line stroller. We exchanged obligatory smiles as  I continue on my way to the junk food aisle (sure, it’s the carrier that’s causing my back to look flabby).

After picking up and subsequently putting down about four different boxes of cookies, I switch tactics and head for the healthier dairy section. Again our mommy worlds collide. She smiles shyly at baby Noa. “He’s so cute,” she says in a tone that suggests she’s only saying this so I’ll comment on her stroller candy.

“So is she,” I respond taking her cue. There’s an awkward yet familiar pause…Ah yes, it’s like that uneasy feeling I used to get at nightclubs when some guy I had no interest in would buy me a drink. I’d politely stand there and answer his chit-chatty questions as I tried to down the beer as quickly as possible before making like Cinderella at the ball and fleeing.  Unfortunately now, there’s not even a drink in my hand (though it is possible that the Musac version of “Groove is in the Heart” is playing over the loudspeaker) and there is most certainly no dry ice to fog up that look of desperation. Instead it’s there for me to see in the fullness of the flourescent lighting.

“So, do you know anything about the Early Years Centre around here?” she says nervously.

God, can’t she come up with a more original line than that? I mean really, she might as well ask me if I’m from “around here.” Fortunately, though,  the question also provides me with the out I’m looking for. “Sorry, I don’t, I’m afraid I live in the southern district and the centre for this area is different.”

The hope that had lit her eyes quickly burns out. Like a slot machine searching for the right combination of cherries and dollar signs to claim even the smallest of wins, I can see her mind sorting through the different ways she might be able to connect with me. But I’m not into the instant gratification of slot machines. Instead, I prefer the gradual  comraderie that develops over a couple of hours sitting at a blackjack table.

And while she seems nice enough, truth is, I barely have time to brush my teeth in the morning, let alone befriend this new mom–this complete stranger–in the drug store. Her internal wheels are still spinning when I decide to cut and run.

“Well, I’d better go–it looks like rain,” I say cheerfully. “Nice to meet you.” God, please don’t ask for my number. Is it inappropriate to give another mom a fake number?  I had no problem doing it in my clubbing days.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to you later–” she says nervously. “Uh…I mean maybe I’ll see you around.”

“I’m sure you will,” I reassure her. I want to tell her it’s me, not her and that there are plenty of perfectly nice, somewhat lonely new moms out there who would cherish her friendship. My dancecard, though, is already jammed packed–with my Tuesday mamma’s group, work and marriage–and I’m just not looking for a new relationship.

Besides, I can be a pretty crap friend at the best of times: I’m almost always a day or two off when remembering birthdays, am perpetually late meeting my buddies for movies or dinner and still have all my completed, unsent Christmas cards from last year sitting in the top drawer of my desk (I’m thinking I might be able to wait it out and send them this year).

 All of this is meaningless, however, because I’m sure in her mind, I’ve left her standing alone at the bar with the tab.

10 Facebook Revelations

Okay, so this isn’t really par for the course on my blog. Pretty much cause it isn’t really about motherhood–other than the fact that when you’re a parent, you start to understand your own mortality and suddenly feel the need to reconnect with your past.

 Enter Facebook. For a while I resisted. After all, I’m busy enough and have plenty of friends. What the hell did I need with a virtual high school dance?  Finally, after about eight invitations, I decided to check it out and was kind of hooked! Not in the actual networking element, but as a voyeur. It’s like a giant “what ever happened to…” game. 

Anyway, after trolling multiple networks, here are a few universal facebook truths:

  1. If you’ve gained 50 pounds and look like crap, putting your kids pics up is a good way around this.
  2. If you were a Rick Astley look-alike in the late 80’s, chances are you’ve now come out of the closet.  
  3. If I never talked to you in highschool, I’m not going to be drawn in by your friggin “poke” 20 years later.
  4.  Late bloomers will always post their picture as a way of saying “nah nah nah nah nah nah” to all those popular kids who now fall in to the category mentioned in number 1.
  5. Loser guys who think they hooked a hot wife will always post a wedding pic.
  6. At least one of the total party animal kids from high school has now found Jesus.
  7. Even if you reject facebook as your social saviour, chances are there’s still a nagging voice at the back of your head saying “You need more friends!  More! More!”
  8. There’s always a temptation to look up old boyfriends or girlfriends in hopes that they’re now fat and/or bald.
  9. Someone you know from your past will have a totally bizarre occupation (like funeral director–no kidding!)
  10. Hanging out on Facebook on a Saturday night is almost as good as clubbing for a new mom so long as you’ve got some music on in the background and a cocktail.

Recipe for a Good Mommies Group

I must confess: I’m not really the mommy group type. Sure I like to cook, but that’s really where Martha Stewart and I part ways. I’m not into scrap-booking, failed Grade 8 sewing and am generally turned off by all the “oohing and aaahing” over china patterns and pressed flower arrangements.

 Which is why I dropped the first mom’s group I went to like a very wet diaper. Before I get any hate mail, let me just clarify: I like doing crafty stuff (I suck at it, but that’s what makes it kind of fun). I’m even thinking about making my own baby food. But while all the women at the mom’s group seemed very nice, I couldn’t crack their veneer. They were too nice. Too happy. Too damn pleasant and perky. 

 There I was, making a baby foot print shadow box for my in-laws and I gotta say: I wasn’t feeling the love. I was tired, cranky and dammit, my nipples hurt. Sure I love the bejesus out of baby N but I was having a bad day.  Apparently, I was the only one.  Everyone around me was all smiles and hugs and “oooh that paper is just the cutest!” and “I’ve already made two scrapbooks to commemorate the first two weeks of little Janie’s life!” I left there feeling disconnected and glum: maybe mommydom wasn’t for me after all.

 But a great thing happened. My neighbour (who I didn’t know all that well) invited a couple of new moms and I over for lunch and yes, even a glass of wine (before I get more hate mail about being a deadbeat alcoholic mom, breastfeeding guru Jack Newman says it’s okay to indulge now and then). The four of us sat there, babes in arms or tucked away in a vibra chair and something amazing transpired: we dished it out straight, even though we barely knew each other.

 We all, it turns out, have moments of sheer love, panic, joy, insanity, peace and frustration over being new moms. We sat there and laughed and bitched and laughed–about sleepless nights, stupid things our mates sometimes utter, the cute little things our babies had started doing, the consistency and regularity of poop, the crying, the cooing, the hormonal up and downswings, the fact that we felt unprepared. And then we laughed some more until we realized we’d been sitting there for over four hours. All without having made one shadowbox, assembled one scrapbook page, or having decided on which ‘special guest’ we could bring in to tell us how to feed, bond and burp our babies.

Yet something was acheived that day: we all found a place where we could be our messy, complicated new mom selves without judgement and without having to accomplish any task other than to enjoy each others’ company. And now a group of six, we’ve decided to do it every week.

 It’s real, it’s raw, and I must say, it’s something I look forward to every Tuesday!

Things Your Partner Should Never Say to You in Baby’s First Two Months

  1. “Don’t you have any sexy nursing bras?”
  2. “If you didn’t get the laundry done, what did you do all day?”
  3. “Really? The baby was up five times last night? I didn’t hear him.”
  4. (five minutes after a feed) “I think the baby’s hungry.”
  5. “What do you mean ‘do I have any protection?’ “
  6. “Wow, I can’t believe how good Katie Holmes looked  just five weeks after Suri was born.”
  7. “Do you really need another donut?”
  8. “I had a hard day at work, I need some time to relax.”
  9. “When do you want to start trying for another.”
  10. (while you’re pumping) “Moo!”