7 things i failed to do before my baby turned one

Right before my son was born, I was a straight-up manatee. You could typically find me crying over the discovery of a new stretch mark or eating cold, leftover cannelloni with my bare hands like some sort of deranged gremlin.

Man.

Those last few days of pregnancy: not glowing.

being-pregnant-sucks

Hey, don’t get pregnant

But one year ago today (two days after the above photo was taken), my sweet little babychild was carved out of my belly and my foray into the bizarre world of motherhood began.

I bet you thought I was going to take this opportunity to bore you to death with an emotional tribute to the most adorable baby on earth (I’m not kidding though–he actually is the most adorable baby on earth and all other children are total garbage), but I’m not. Y’all know that ain’t my style, anyway. Besides:

  1. Shit’s lame, and
  2. Literally nobody cares

Instead, I thought I’d bring some hard-hitting realness to your Friday with my own personal spin on a popular mommy blog theme: Ten Things You MUST DO Before Your Baby Turns One and Learns How To Unlock Your Phone and Butt Dial Your Ex.

Still not familiar? Okay, here–I looked them up for you. Huffington Post did this one. BabyCentre did this. And Babble did this.

So, how realistic are these things?

Let’s find out.

7 THINGS I FAILED TO DO BEFORE MY BABY TURNED ONE

1) Get Fit You Big Fat Pig:Take A Post-Natal Exercise Class
Oh man, this is already the best. Okay, look–full disclosure. I actually signed up for a series of mommy-and-baby-yoga classes when Liam was about 10 weeks old. Disgusting, right? Quick–ask me if I’ve ever taken a yoga class in my life. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

NO. NO I HAVE NOT.

Mercifully, these classes didn’t exactly demand that you perfect Pungu Mayurasana or anything (yes, that is an actual yoga pose that I looked up, also known as the Wounded Peacock). They were more of an opportunity for mom to do some light stretching and get out of the house.

But that’s just it. Even 10 weeks in, getting out of the house with a baby was still a frantic ordeal. I arrived late and frazzled every time, and the worst part was I didn’t feel relaxed, or “zen” afterwards. Liam had no idea what the hell was going on during these classes, and I think it goes without saying that I was in no better shape than when I started. I was still fat, awkward and cranky. Wounded Peacock, indeed.

What is yoga, even?

2) Find A Babysitter So You Don’t Get PPD
The nearest grandparent lives 500 kilometers away (that’s 310 miles for my one American subscriber), and I haven’t befriended any teenagers because quite frankly, they scare me. I understand that having a baby means no more drinking until your Uber driver has to pull over so you can throw up on the side of the road, but if I don’t get a break soon, I’m going to start cutting myself.

3) Take Your Kid To The Library, You Degenerate
Confession time! The last time I set foot in a library was for my prenatal class over a year ago. That’s right: I HAVE NEVER TAKEN MY BABY TO THE LIBRARY. Not once. But his dad just installed a bookshelf in his bedroom while I double-fisted wine and leftover Halloween candy, so that’s pretty much the same thing.

baby-bookshelf-DIY

“I have no idea what I’m looking at here.”

4) Throw Your Baby In A Pool And See What Happens
Okay–again, full disclosure. I also did the baby swimming lessons thing. But I’m going to explain to you why it was also a massive failure that in no way benefited me, my baby, or that cesspool of a public pee tank.

First of all, the instructor was a 19 year old college bro named Bo, Zack, or equivalent. Affable, nice kid–but with absolutely ZERO understanding of how babies work, how a baby swim class should be taught, or even the correct lyrics to The Wheels on the Bus. He was a complete fish out of water (pun intended), and if it wasn’t for my white-hot rage at his abject incompetence, I would have felt sorry for him.

Secondly, I should have waited. Liam was barely four months old when I decided that yes, he’s absolutely ready to be snapped into a baby lifejacket and sent paddling downstream. I shouldn’t have pushed it. The poor guy was still working on his basic head/neck control, and here I was CIA-style dunking him like a power-hungry Guantanamo guard.

Finally, Liam peed in the pool every single time, and once I accidentally got pool water in my mouth and had to take a mommy time out. Swim diapers do NOT prevent baby urine from seeping into the pool–just a friendly public service announcement for the next time you decide to head on down to the old community centre to do a few laps.

baby-swimming-lessons

Spot the soaking wet, petrified baby clinging to my shoulder for dear life

5) Draw Up A Will Because You Live In Sin
Just because I hate the idea of marriage doesn’t mean my child should be exposed to the cruel possibility of becoming a ward of the state should both of his unwed parents tragically perish.

Okay, so that’s not exactly true, but I did some research and found out that common-law partners in Canada don’t have the same rights married couples do when it comes to estates–which quite frankly, is complete bullshit.

*fast forward to 15 minutes later*

I legitimately just called a lawyer and set up an appointment. Blogging: helping me sort out my life since 2014.

6) Join A Playgroup And Exacerbate Your Already Crippling Social Anxiety
Now I know what you’re thinking–hey Becca, you’ve got such smooth blogger swag. I bet you’re a hit at parties.

But truth be told, I’m fairly awkward in real life despite my captivating online presence. It’s easier to hide behind a screen and make self-deprecating jokes about being an unfit mother than it is to engage socially with others about the frequency and volume of spit-up.

I’ve avoided playgroups for that very reason, thereby depriving my child of a welcome change of scenery and valuable social interaction.

At least he has his kitty friends to keep him company.

7) Do Something For Yourself And Make Sure It Isn’t Exercise
Please refer to my above rant about my lack of babysitting services. I think my leg hair can be braided at this point. I don’t even remember what being alone for more than 10 minutes feels like. But even more outrageous–can you believe that one of these blogs actually had the audacity to suggest that ‘entering a race’ was something you could “do for yourself”?

Something I do for myself: eat jumbo packs of KitKat bars while sitting alone in my car in the driveway.

Something I don’t do for myself: run a f*cking marathon.

This has made me viscerally angry. To calm down, maybe I’ll book a massage because THAT IS ANOTHER THING YOU DO FOR YOURSELF.

cat-massage-funny

Okay, so sure. I failed at at LEAST seven things this past year. But you know what? I also kicked ass in a hell of a lot more.

I really hope people don’t take these blogs too seriously.  Yes, there were some reasonable tips. But not all of us have the means or capacity to run marathons, go on lavish holidays or literally beg someone who isn’t grandma to babysit.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Did your baby smile at you today? Then congratulations–you’ve failed at nothing, mom.

Now go get that massage.

Happy birthday, buddy. You're the best thing I've ever done.

Happy birthday, buddy. You’re the best thing I’ve ever done.

i changed my mind about having a baby and i hope that’s okay with you

I used to be in favour of the death penalty.

Whoa.

This is a little heavy for a Friday, no?

Don’t worry. I’m not about to have a capital punishment debate on my baby blog. But yes, I used to support it. And then one day, I had a serious discussion about the moral, ethical and socioeconomic implications with a friend, and I started thinking about my reasons for backing it.  I invested the next few days into reading as much as I could, and striking up some heavy conversations with some unlucky friends.

At the end of those few days, I realized that my previous reasons no longer made sense to me. They just didn’t feel good deep down in the pit of my stomach (presumably where my conscience lives, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor).

So I changed my mind.

what-if-i-told-you-meme

Changing your mind is rad. It’s how we learn and grow. I mean, I used to believe that being a loud-mouth, intolerable alcoholic was an acceptable way to live your life. Today, I believe that slightly less.

Progress.

I also used to not want children. In fact, I was very open and adamant about that, to the point of it being obnoxious. But truthfully, I never liked kids–and not just because kids were the fashionable thing to hate on in your 20s.

I was just never really that comfortable around them.

I guess I never gave them a chance, much like high school math. Save the one or two arbitrary babysitting experiences in my gawky, gap-toothed teenage years, by the time I reached technical adulthood, I was about as experienced with kids as I was with boyfriends.

Spoiler alert: I had 0 boyfriends in high school.

You can fact check that little diddy with all the cute boys who looked directly through me in the hallway for four years, or who nicknamed me “Becky Foreskin” in grade 9 music class.

(Before you question me any further on that moniker, you should first know that my last name is Ford–a name that teenage boys somehow believed sounded more or less identical to the technical term for the tip of the male genitalia).

Moving on.

So ya–kids. Never really liked ’em. Never really understood ’em. They always made me kind of uneasy, and they knew it. It’s like when a cat knows you’re deathly allergic to it–it just rubs up on you more.

most-interesting-cat-in-the-world

Child-minding was not my calling, and kids weren’t my bag. So naturally, I figured motherhood was also out. I spent the majority of my 20s partying, traveling, and generally being an insufferable waste of space. Kids never crossed my mind.

Then one day I woke up in my 30s and revisited my reasons for not wanting kids. A lot of them no longer made sense, much like my views on the zippy zap chair. And although I’ve grappled a lot in the past with the misguided notion that changing your mind makes you a hypocrite, I’m at peace with it now.

mom-baby-park

For what it’s worth, I also finally feel pretty comfortable with this thing.

So what if you used to believe one thing, but now you believe another?

It’s perfectly okay.

Hell, I used to go to church every Sunday, and I turned out just fine.

that-look-you-give-other-atheists

Sorry, mom.