Copyright by Michelle Fried
Four years after giving birth, I’m still pregnant with all the useless junk I received at my baby shower. Pathetically, most of this stuff I actually asked for. Yep, that was me, waddling aimlessly through the aisles of my local baby store, laser gun cocked, attempting to blast away my parenting insecurities. Naive like an overblown puffer fish, I bought the mega-baby marketing claims hook, line and sinker. Today, with the gift of a good night’s sleep and steady hormones, I have a few ideas about the gifts I wish I’d actually received:
✓ A Jumbo Book of Deluxe Car Washes – While conducting research under the seats of my Honda minivan, I recently uncovered these treasures: moldy french-fries, a grasshopper (legs plucked free), an old (and possibly used) pull-up, a carton of chocolate milk and ten thousand Happy Meal toys. A book of ten car washes is number one on my revised baby shower wish list.
✓ A Custom-Fit Bra – After a forty-four month-long marathon of pregnancies and breast feeding, I’m in dire need of some major remodeling up top. Since my husband refuses to cough up the cash for a new set of hooters, a custom bra would be just the thing. Say goodbye to frayed, saggy maternity bras, nasty lesions across your shoulders and church mom style. Say hello to strategically placed padding, a pajama-comfy fit and red-hot candy trim.
✓ A Hot Personal Trainer – Despite the propaganda, those ten (or thirty) pounds don’t just melt away with breastfeeding. If possible, my trainer would look a bit like Robert Downey Jr. and have a thing for women who are a little thick around the middle. Robert would come to my house each week, whip my butt into shape and drink mojitos with me by the pool (unfortunately, since we don’t have a real pool, we’ll have to lounge in the yellow dinosaur blow-up one out back).
✓ Sex for my Husband – It may take a special girlfriend to give this gift, but honestly, if I could have outsourced sex for my husband legally, I would have done it. Lucky for me, he was delirious from exhaustion and easily conned into believing we were making the rounds every week. After about a year, when I began to muster up enough energy to give it up—I got knocked UP. So, with this cautionary tale in mind, I strongly recommend farming this one out until you’re ready to have more children.
✓ Spanx –If only I had known. If only someone had shared the dirty little secret of mothers everywhere, taken pity on my post maternity muffin top, and shown me the cellulite squeezing powers of spandex. Ahhhh…just to feel once more, the pleasure, the bliss, the satisfaction of squeezing into my favorite Lucky jeans without splitting the back-side seam. But I’m in the know now, and I want to share this fat sucking miracle of the modern world with you. If you haven’t put this on your registry, do it—now.
✓ Cold Hard Cash – With mounting bills for soccer uniforms, tutors and anger management classes for me, I now realize the folly of diaper wipe warmers and monogrammed socks. Today I’d request greenbacks, gold bullion, or stock in Exxon. Skipping the fluff and investing the savings at 7%, our college fund would have grown to over $5000. A good start on a college education or a week in Tuscany –whichever comes first.
✓ Tidy Troops – Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself crawling around on the floor sticky with Cocoa Puffs looking for my car keys. Like a good soldier, I clear zones of toys and trash, only to return a few minutes later to find them infiltrated again. A clean house is almost as good as Prozac, so send the reinforcements, send the girls in the short skirts holding the feather dusters, send someone to dig me out of this mess!
✓ Nourishment – There’s a reason meals pop up on every new mother’s wish list: food is comfort, food is fuel…food is not the BBQ chips and coffee ice-cream I limped through my first few months of motherhood on. Please make us food. Please bring us food. At the very least, send over a Domino’s pizza with a six pack of Bud.
✓ In-house Spa Call – During those first few months at home, a caviar wrap with dark chocolate detox would have done just the trick. Sadly, the only place for all this pampering would have been in the middle of my toy-strewn living room surrounded by shrill cries, leaky breasts and my husband asking where the diapers are. Ask for it anyway—your stabbing sciatic nerve demands it.
✓ Peace and Quiet – Watching me pound Excedrin Migraine with Coke all day, a close friend with a gentle spirit once shared the secret of her Zen-like parenting skills—earplugs. Happily oblivious, she wears them while toasting frozen waffles, carting squabbling siblings to school and during a certain playgroup run by an annoying vegan mom. And so now, while still keeping my eyes peeled for any signs of blood or broken glass, I’m a believer and a founding member of VoDMAP–the Voluntary Deafness Movement of American Parents. Let there be peace on earth–or at least in my own head–give me a lifetime supply of earplugs.
I’m a writer mama who spends her days at her desk making light of the sometimes heavy job of mothering and her nights mopping floors and reading Goodnight Moon. I have two boys, six and four, and I’m very grateful there are magazines out there like get born that tell it like it is. You can write Michelle at email@example.com
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