Welcome to the Jungle: a Guide to Navigating Your Post-Baby Bod

Today I am pee-in-my-pants excited to be featuring a guest post from one of my favorite writers: Hannah Mayer of sKIDmarks. I was over at her blog talkin' 'bout pooping the other day, so she's returning the favor by dispensing some wisdom that should be graciously shared with every pregnant woman you know (which, for me anyway, is approximately half my Facebook friends list).

After you read this, go check out Hannah's blog (there's a link at the end). But only if you're in a place where you don't mind if people see you cackle like a crazy person. Don't say I didn't warn you.

And now, ladies and gents ... HANNAH. FREAKING. MAYER.

Five years after the birth of my first child, I still get a little startled when I catch a glimpse of my naked self in the mirror. Though I work out five days a week and have gotten back down to my pre-baby weight(ish), things are just a little more... different. For instance, my hips have the surface area of a coffee table. And after a few drinks I like to entertain my friends with a little game I call “Titty Titty Toe Touch."

Chances are, if you read Rita's blog (and who doesn't), you are deep in the family game and a primer of preparation for your first postpartum full frontal is useless. You're over the initial shock and well into the acceptance stage. But there are many women out there who at this very moment are curled in the fetal position on their bedroom floor while their mind races with images of butt implants and halter tops that will never again see the light of day. 

So if you feel so inclined, share this post with a rookie preggie. Because when it comes to matters of the flesh, I think we can all agree that knowledge is power.   

Unless you are a freak of nature or a Kardashian, chances are that pregnancy and childbirth have really done a number on your body.

Over the past nine months a stretch mark sneaked in here, a patch of fur cropped up on your back there, until before you knew it your body was a host to a cornucopia of foreign objects. Then, in a sudden blaze of glory, your many-pound baby was expelled from you in one of two equally cringe-worthy ways, leaving behind a path of destruction that is now your thorax.

At some point you're going to have to get acquainted with your new self in the mirror. This will happen once you're home; there's a reason hospital rooms are void of full-length mirrors. They've got enough problems keeping you healthy and alive and don't have time to prevent new moms from jumping out the hospital window.

It's not pretty, but knowing what to expect can help you digest what you're about to see. My recommendation is to just to rip it off like a Band-Aid. Dim the lights, shoot a glass of scotch, and drop your robe. Breathe in the monstrosity that is your new torso.

First, you will be disappointed to see that you still look seven months pregnant. Don't worry – your uterus has been through a lot and this is just her way of telling you that she's super pissed. Eventually she'll cool down and everything will shrink to its final resting place of only four months pregnant. Unless you eat a big Mexican meal or drink a lot of water or put on a swimsuit. Then back to seven you'll jump until you take a big poop. It's a good idea to bring a pair of maternity pants with you everywhere.

Moving further south you'll see something resembling a chipmunk skiing down a mountain on two gorilla fingers. Meet your new vagina. In some cases, there may be something that appears to be coming out of your new vagina.

At first I thought my friends were just trying to scare me when they told me these stories at my baby shower. Something fleshy and organ-like that is not surprise twin baby falling out of yourself? Where's the punchline? But as it turns out, it's not that uncommon for your small intestine or actual vaginal insides to fall right out of yourself because of all that pushing you did. No big D. You'll quickly learn that with your new vagina what was once cause for major alarm is now just a quick post on your New Mom community message board.

If you've had a C-section, you'll notice a large abdominal skin flap hanging roughly to your knee caps that certainly was not there before you got pregnant. It does not go away. I named mine Lucille. Lucille and I like to shop for tankinis together.

Now for the fun part. This will go against every God-given instinct, but you're gonna have to lift the flap. It's important to regularly check things under there and make sure your incision is healing properly. It's also important to ensure there are no homeless men hiding out looking for a warm place to spend the winter.

For every part of your body that sucks, there is one that is totally redeems itself after you give birth. I'm talking about your boobies. They are defying science and all laws of physics and they are glorious. Try staring straight ahead – chances are you'll catch them in your peripheral vision. See how the cartoon-like nipples follow your gaze? Paint a couple of eyes on them and you can surprise your husband with a little barn owl role play.

The good news is that, over time, most things will recoil back into the place nature intended. Maybe not your stomach, and your boobs will probably deflate and look like someone pinned a pair of fleshy socks to your chest. But your calves will definitely slenderize. A little. Let's just say that you're going to have to rely on your wit more than ever before.

So take a deep breath and congratulate your body for performing the miraculous feat of strength that is bearing a child. When you start to get depressed about how you look, just remind yourself that at one point in your life you were hot enough for someone to have sex with at least once.

And remember – everything is fixable.* 

*with enough money and plastic surgery 

 Now get out of here and go pee your cankles away.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

   Fun fact - Hannah is either:
a.) a former welder
b.) a former hand model
c.) a former Navy SEAL
d.) a former sandwich

You'll have to visit sKIDmarks to find out. And trust me, you won't be disappointed.

The Powerless Hours

Sometimes - MOST of the time - I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.*

*This may or may not involve overuse of Internet and/or interference from needy children.

Seeing as nobody is rushing to insert extra time (unless you count Daylight Saving Time, which all parents know is a colossal pain in the anus), I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to squeeze everything into the same twenty-four hours as everybody else.

One suggestion pops up over and over as the most practical solution to getting stuff done: do it in the morning before the kids wake up! Do it at night after they go to bed! This is the resounding advice about writing, particularly, from some of my favorite bloggers and authors. "Oh, I write while my kids are sleeping," they say casually, like it's easy or something.

It sounds so simple in theory, but here's my question: are people who do this some sort of superhumans whose brains just work whenever they need them to? Because getting mine to cooperate when it feels like sleeping is an exercise in futility.

My kids wake up just after six. (EVERY morning, not just on weekdays.) That would mean that in order to get anything done before they wake, I'd have to get up at like four-thirty or five. Like when it's still dark outside. Darkness signals that I'm still supposed to be sleeping. And when my body is forced to wake up when it's still supposed to be sleeping, it's not happy. It rebels in the form of crusty, heavy-lidded, blurry eyes and total brain-deadness. I peel open my lids, shuffle to the toilet, and sit there staring blankly for like five minutes after I've peed because I can't physically muster the strength to get up. My mind slogs numbly through the ten-bazillion things I have to do, and I feel defeated, and the urge to go back to bed is overwhelming and my eyes well up with tears, which is the only thing my body has the energy to do.

From that sleep-addled state, it takes me at least an hour to feel awake. And by that time, the kids are awake. So there goes my productivity. And yes, I know: this would be greatly enhanced with the drinking of some coffee, but I don't like it. As much as I've tried, I can't stomach the stuff. Boo hiss.

So we're on to Plan B: getting my crap done after the kids go to bed. Maybe this will work out better for me as my kids get older and more self-sufficient. But first of all, I practically have to herd the older three to bed with a cattle prod, and overseeing teeth-brushing alone is exhausting. ("Stop bothering your brother and brush your teeth. ... Yes, you have to use toothpaste. ... You didn't brush nearly long enough for them to be clean, do it again. ... Your toothbrush isn't even wet. ... Well the toothpaste tube wouldn't be gummy if you'd put the cap back on once in a while. ... Stop watching TV and brush your teeth. ... Yes, this is the only flavor of toothpaste that we have. ... No, you can't just brush the front. ... Stop running around and BRUSH! your TEETH!")

Then after the older three are in bed, I've still got a toddler to put to sleep - which, at this point, requires laying with him. Did I mention he sleeps in my bed? I have to lay my head on my own comfy pillow, in the darkness and quiet, and snuggle. Hoping this scenario won't make me tired is like taking six shots of vodka and hoping it won't make me drunk: completely unrealistic. So by the time he's asleep in fifteen or twenty minutes, I have to force myself out of the bed (if I'm not asleep myself). I can't even form a coherent sentence, let alone a quality blog post. And of course, I don't feel like doing laundry or unloading the dishwasher then. Because that sucks enough when you're not exhausted.

So until someone comes up with a way for me to snap awake and be brilliant at a moment's notice (come on, science!), I'm gonna have to keep trying to figure out how to get everything done during the day.

... Or just keep griping about it. I'm pretty good at that.

Spring Break(down)

So here we are in the middle of spring break. I use the term "break" loosely because that would imply that life was somehow easier, or that we were on vacation or something. Ha. Hahahahahaha.

I guess there are a few things that are simplified while the kids are home with me twenty four hours a day for a solid week. I mean, I don't have to get all ragey at the asshole parents in the school parking lot. And the kids do sleep in ... until six-thirty. That's fifteen whole minutes of extra sleep! ... Yay?

What I do get to deal with instead is the Trifecta of Parental Irritation, brought on by an abundance of togetherness:

- Tattling ("He's making a mean face!" "He's hogging the computer!" "He's sticking his penis through the underwear hole and waving it at me!") 

- Whining ("I'm boooooooored." "I'm huuuuungryyyyy." "He's bothering meeeeeeee.")

- Pestering ("Can the kid down the street come over?" "Can I have another snack?" "Will you get us some Oreos even though they're not on your diet?")

This is in part why I a.) am crazy, and b.) am severely behind on, like, everything, and c.) have a hundred million gray hairs trying to jack up my Walmart dye job.

To make a long story short, I'd write a shiny new post, but like ... I have the dumb. Whoever coined the term spring "break" must have been talking about the cracks in my normally-intact sanity brought on by seven days of listening to four bickering children.

However: I do happen to be guest-posting over at sKIDmarks today (thanks to my fantasy BFF the hilarious Hannah Mayer for letting me crash her site). It's a heart-rending tale of self and sacrifice.

Just kidding, it's about poop.

Because I am nothing if not an expert on that topic, y'all.

Click →HERE← to read it. Go on, I'll wait.

If you're here for the first time from Hannah's blog - or just want to laugh at my unfortunate bumbling through motherhood and life in general - allow me to toss you some fun posts from the archives to start out with. (Also: don't judge me.) Such as ...

... the one where I washed my kid with hemmorhoid pads.

... the one where I was asked the definition of "whore."

... the one where we lied to save a few bucks.

... the one where my son drew me a questionable picture.

... the one where I got sprayed with feces.

... the one where I had a baby with a celebrity.

... the one where I taught my son a dirty word.

... the one where I found Jesus in my mailbox.

... the one where I found poop in a really disturbing place. (okay, ONE of the many)

... the one where my husband compared me to a gorilla.

... the one where I accidentally called my husband a fat-ass.

... the one where I wrote a poem about how my kids are wrecking my stuff.

... the one where I drew a cartoon about what it's like to work from home.

And finally, my most popular post ever. Like by a landslide.

Happy reading! Or at least ... happy shaking-your-head-and-being-glad-you're-not-me.

Fun Mom Doesn't Live Here

I'll probably never be the fun mom. Actually, scratch that: I KNOW I'll never be the fun mom. There's no "probably" about it.

You know the one I'm talking about. I've never met her personally but I've seen her on TV. She's the mom whose children come bursting through the door after school with nary a "hello" and about ten friends in tow (without permission, natch), and she just, like, shakes her head in a smiling "kids will be kids" kind of way and fixes them a plate of pizza rolls or hot wings or something. She's the mom who says lightly, "Oh, all my kids' friends like to hang out here!" as though she truly enjoys having a living room full of loud, video-game-playing people with their grubby sneakers all over her couch pillows.


I don't like it when my kids have friends over. Yeah, I said it. And unless some magic metamorphosis happens during the next few years that makes them more tolerable (which is doubtful), I'm pretty sure I never will. I'm in the early phases of "get off my lawn!" I'm NOT down wit' OPP (which, in this case, stands for "other people's progeny").

First of all, let me clarify. I'm not the mean-ass Mommie Dearest who never lets her children have anyone over (as much as I wish I could be, I love my kids too much to deprive them of something just because it makes me all cringe-y inside and effs up my couch pillows). I'm just saying that there are things I'd rather do than supervise a houseful of other people's kids. Like, you know, have my left boob squeezed in a vise, or fashion makeshift shoes from super-absorbent maxi pads and wear them to a fancy restaurant.

It's just that ... well, I try my best to keep this place running like a well-oiled machine. My kids know my expectations of them, and what they can and can't do. But other people's kids don't. Their house rules are different than my house rules ... sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lotta bit. And it's like someone throwing a pebble into my smoothly running gears and jacking the whole thing up.

Like yesterday, for example. I was trying to write, working under a tight deadline. The kids had been home from school for less than ten minutes when one of their friends showed up at the door.

"Tell him you can't come out right now," I instructed my oldest, because if he went out they'd all want to go out and I didn't have time to wrangle the two-year-old, much less the desire to let them all roam the streets unsupervised.

"Well ... he wants to come in," my son said.

Initially I was irritated that the kid just invited himself over. (Is that a thing? Kids inviting themselves over to play? Because I taught my kids that you don't do that. Like, ever.) But then I thought about it for a second. These are fourth-graders. They know how to be quiet. They'd probably just hole up in the bedroom and immerse themselves in a game of Minecraft. So I relented. "All right," I agreed. "He can come in as long as you guys are quiet. I'm trying to work."

So the kid came in. And he and my son went to play Minecraft. And they were quiet.

But then the doorbell rang. RE-PEAT-ED-LY.

"That had better be the Publisher's Clearing House!" I bellowed. But no. It was the kid's little sisters. WANTING TO KNOW IF THEY TOO COULD COME IN AND JOIN THE FUN.

And what am I going to say? ... "No, your brother's cool, but y'all gotta bounce."

So I let them in.

And holy shit, little girls are talkative. My boys make a ton of noise, but it's like .... vrooming and hi-yah-ing and roaring and stuff that I've learned to tune out. These little girls were saying actual words and posing actual questions. They're asking me if they can have fruit snacks (no) and if the stair railing will support two people hanging off of it (hell no) and telling me about their dog and their grandma who is fat and isn't supposed to eat a lot of sugar but she does anyway (I feel you, sister). And my three younger boys were running around being obnoxious and showing off ..,. because girls. It was chaos.

Then the doorbell rang again, and it was two more kids wanting to come in. WTF.

I decided that since I wasn't getting any work done, I may as well start the roast I was planning to make for dinner. So I started cooking (amid chirps of, "What's that? Is it beef? Does it take a long time? Are those carrots? What's that green stuff for? Is that wine in your refrigerator?") I put the meat in the pan to sear it before putting it in the oven, and was standing there waiting for it to brown when I heard the front door open.

Now this is what I meant about other kids not knowing the rules. My kids know that when someone opens our front door, unless you're on your guard, our two dogs will go rushing out. Our lab, Josie, will run right to the neighbor's yard to take a dump, and then to the nearest dog to start a snarling match. And our pug? Well, she'll run directly into traffic and get hit by a car, which she has already done once.

But my kids' guests? DID NOT KNOW THAT. For some reason, they felt the need to leave the door standing wide open. And so there went both my dogs.

I ran outside after them. Did I mention I was in my socks? And that it's muddy, with slushy piles of melting snow everywhere? And that when kids try to chase Josie, she runs further away? And that while I was trying to corral the dogs, the toddler came outside, also in his socks, also into the sludge, and that both he and the dogs tracked all over my floor when they came inside?

Yeah. That.

Also, remember that roast I was searing on the stovetop? Let's just say it was pretty damn seared. "Blackened" is probably a more accurate term.

I mean, I'm not blaming the kids. I'm sure my kids are just as annoying at other people's houses despite my best efforts to threaten them into teach them the proper behavior. Why, just last week one of my sons accidentally broke our neighbors' fancy expensive trash can when he tried to close the self-closing lid (we still owe them for that one). And I myself have been "that kid" - I can recall clogging my friend's finicky toilet as a kid because I didn't realize you were supposed to put the paper in the trash or it would mess up their plumbing.

If you're the fun mom, I don't understand you in the least, but I applaud your ability to be cool with the crap other people's kids dish out - because honey, I don't possess that kind of easygoing tolerance. One kid over at a time? I'm reluctant, but willing. More than one? Break out those maxi-pad shoes.


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