A blog is born.
Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We are so past the mocktails...

As a new mom who is also breastfeeding I have no time to be sick, much less hungover. I already feel semi-crappy most of the time because I am so damn exhausted, so the thought of consuming enough alcohol to exacerbate the crappiness is enough to make me swear off alcohol all together. I used to be a pinot grigio girl, but now I can only handle 1 glass -- stretched out over several hours. Plus, if I drink any more than that I have to pump and dump, and if you have ever been hooked up to one of these milking machines you understand the frustration of wasting even a drop! With that said, if I choose to indulge I must choose wisely.

For my 30th birthday, a family friend bought me a bottle of my new favorite cocktail -- Skinnygirl Margarita. Yes, it is the pre-mixed marg sold by none other than Bethenny Frankel. Now, I don't just love it because it tastes delicious -- which it does, but it also helps get me back to pre-baby weight by packing only about 100 calories per 4 oz. serving. It also doesn't have all of the sugar of a regular margarita, so I don't end up feeling sluggish and crappy after drinking it. Genius! I am going to be stocking a bottle of this magic next to my other "Mommy's Helpers" items - my secret stash of oreos and peanut m&ms. Remember that bubble bath commercial "Calgon take me away"? Well, my mother used to say that a lot when my brother and I were driving her nuts. Now when my son is screaming, the dog has just peed on the floor and the house is a mess I can crack open my Skinnygirl and float away guilt-free.

If you don't want to support Bethenny (and pay for her baby nurse) you can make your own Skinny Girl margarita with the following recipe (although as a new mom, it is much easier just to twist the cap on my bottle, but to each her own): Put ice in your glass and mix 2 oz white tequila (100% agave), about 1 tbsp fresh lime juice and about 1 tsp. of Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

So simple that I wish that I had been the one to think of bottling this and selling it. Okay, I have to go watch tonight's Bethenny Getting Married? and drink...water...breastfeeding is making me so damn thirsty!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I like my TV families supersized...

My baby will not sleep through the night yet and I am going nuts. I have been following the "Baby Wise" schedule and it has not delivered the promised results. My mother assures me that every baby is different and that most breast fed babies don't sleep through the night for a very long time. So, instead of quitting the program and switching to formula in order to save my sanity, I am taking the ol' one day at a time approach and trying not to anticipate my son's every move. Needless to say, my Type A self is still feeling hopelessly out of control. So this is parenting, eh?

When I am up feeding my baby in the middle of the night I try to remember that thousands (if not millions) of other women are doing the same thing around the world. In imagining all of the other half asleep women sitting in recliners with a baby attached to them, my thoughts seems to come around to one woman in particular -- Michelle Duggar. For those of you not familiar with the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, Michelle Duggar is the matriarch of an extremely large family - 19 children (hence the show title). She has given birth to every single one of them and has breast fed them all. WHAT? Yes, she has been breastfeeding with very few breaks for approximately 21 years.

Although I don't mind breastfeeding right now and I like the concept that it is something that only I can do for my child, the idea of breastfeeding 19 children seems like cruel and unusual punishment. The thought of having a child attached to my nipple for the next 20 years seems ridiculous and insane. I worry what my breasts and nipples are going to look like after breastfeeding one child and I cannot imagine the damage that 19 hungry babies could do. Yikes. Calling Dr. 90210...

The new season of 19 Kids and Counting begins next Tuesday on TLC and I am looking forward to it. I have an obsession with big families. I also have an obsession with people that take things to the extreme. Thus, the Duggars are like a drug for me. There are 19 children and the family is extreme conservative Christians of the long skirts and no dancing ilk. Oh, and did I mention that all the children are home schooled? Awesome. Michelle and Jim Bob (yes, his name is actually Jim Bob) are part of a conservative Christian movement called Quiverfull. Quiverfull eschews birth control and promotes procreation as God's will and blessing. Families adhering to Quiverfull often homeschool their children and believe that having large families is a mission in populating the world with Christians. I had never heard of this movement until I stalked the Duggars and checked out their family website. Thoughts?

Their way of life is soooo foreign to me that I cannot tear myself away. My experiences in college, traveling and dating gave me such perspective and I think that by home schooling and not encouraging the type of independence that comes with going away to college the Duggars are doing their children a disservice. I admire their tight knit clan, the wholesome values and their work ethic, but I just think of all the real world things that the kids are missing by being so sheltered.

Being the big family voyeur that I am I was also at one time very into Jon & Kate Plus 8. Families with multiples are so interesting to me -- even more so now that I have my own child. I feel pulled in several different directions with just one child and I cannot imagine how a mother of multiples does it. One thing I loved about Kate Gosselin was how organized she was...talk about obsessive! As vigilant and shrill as she was about keeping an organized house, a schedule and order with her eight children, I can understand the need for control amidst chaos. I have one child, a husband and a dog and I get super agitated when the house is a mess and my son is off of his schedule -- know why? Because I am the one that pays. So, if I can head off the minor disasters and baby melt downs, then I do it.

I don't like the new Kate Plus 8 because it is BORING. First of all, Kate is totally different than she used to be and a large part of that is now she doesn't have to worry as much about money and she has a fair amount of help -- not to mention that she doesn't have a beat down husband to boss around. Second, the kids are getting older and just aren't as funny as they once were. Sure, they are still pretty cute, but we've already seen all of their firsts and family adventures. I really cannot bear to watch ANOTHER Gosselin family vacation. So you travel with 8 kids, we get it already. I don't even know what happened to Jon -- he seems to have fallen off the map -- or at least out of the news. The last I heard about him was that he got a new tattoo of a gigantic dragon to symbolize his "rebirth." Ummm...okay.

Big families seem to be a big business for the reality TV world and I have an idea for a show -- how about one about a polygamist family? Again, it marries (no pun intended) my love for overgrown families and the extreme. Of course, there may be problems with chronicling an actual polygamist family considering that it is illegal, but Big Love is on hiatus right now and I need my fix of sisterwife drama!

Off to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, which always gives me parenting nightmares.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A "Real" Mom

Before I delve into what happened Monday night on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, I have to plug a product that I now cannot live without. For the past month, I have been easing back into work by going in a few afternoons a week and working from home. When I go into the office, I have to pump there so that I can keep my milk production up and provide bottles for my son who stays with a sitter (my mom or husband for the time being). Being at work and pumping is awkward enough (luckily I have a door on my office), but being indisposed for 10-15 minutes was driving me nuts! I'm a multi-tasker and I was not loving sitting there holding the apparatus to my chest and counting down the minutes. So, I asked around and found the best hands-free breast pump product. It is basically a tube top with a zipper and cut out holes for the pump shields to fit through. When I wear this amazing invention I can email, talk on the phone, eat a sandwich...whatever I want to do because I have use of my hands! Imagine that. As a new mom I am often wishing for one or two extra limbs so that I can accomplish life tasks while holding my baby and this hands-free helper does the trick! For those of you out there breastfeeding and needing to pump often, I wholly recommend investing in this device (around $35). Check it out at: http://www.easyexpressionproducts.com/ I bought mine at a maternity store at the mall, but it is also sold on Amazon. Totally worth it! Oh, and it seems that Kourtney Kardashian may also have one (at least that is what it looked like on her show)...not that her having one is an incentive to get one...

Okay, on to the "real" business of the day. So much happened Monday night on the Real Housewives of New Jersey that I don't even know where to start. First, Teresa and her family play monopoly while she basically tells her husband that she wants a HUGE gift for their 10 yr anniversary. I hope that they are teaching their girls fiscal responsibility because from what is sounds like in the news these days is that they don't even have monopoly money to rub together any more. I found it sweet that Teresa and Joe are still in love and want to celebrate their anniversary, but there seems to be some reality chip missing when Teresa expects diamonds while admitting that she has a property in foreclosure -- I'm just sayin'.

I'm only going to touch on the Ashley / Danielle feud because it is just such a train wreck. Ashley - grow up! You can't counter sue Danielle for anything. Danielle - grow up! I'm pretty sure that the tapes of that fated evening will show that no one really wants to kill you. Get over yourself. Enough is enough!

The next big event of Monday night's episode was the sweet 16 for Danielle's daughter, Christine. I have to say that I don't know how Christine and Jillian turned out so normal, thoughtful and un-bratty. Just listening to the way that Danielle talks to the girls is so disconcerting -- she talks to them in these "I want to share a life lesson with you" way and brings them into very grown up issues. Monday's grown up topic was "will you find it weird that I am wearing my gazillion carat engagement ring from your dad to your sweet sixteen, even though I haven't worn it in years?" It just seems like Danielle brought it out to show off and grab her ex-husband's attention -- it was actually kind of psycho. It came off as desperate for attention and stealing the spot light from her daughter. I also loved the way she was ALL OVER her ex, thanking him for coming and hugging him. Weird! Oh, and not to be too snarky, but doesn't it seem like he has had some plastic surgery as well?

My favorite line was Danielle saying that she was "the best mother." Well, if you judge by the grace her girls display, then maybe she is doing something right, but seriously, what she says to them on camera is completely bananas. Please let these girls find good therapists later in life!

I also enjoyed Caroline's analysis of the Ashley / Danielle altercation. I've heard that the measure of a true friend is if you (hypothetically of course) had killed someone accidentally and then show up on that person's doorstep with blood on your hands that person would welcome you in, clean you up and help you make a plan. Let's just say that Caroline seems like a "true friend" type of person. In the Bravo poll taken during Monday's Watch What Happens Live asking which housewife you would want as your own mother, Caroline won by a landslide. I was torn between Caroline and Teresa...Caroline for the security and Teresa for getting spoiled rotten. A hybrid of the two may be the perfect combination!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peeping Mommy?

When I found out that I was pregnant last fall, I found myself seeking out stories, gossip and pics of celebrity and reality star moms or moms-to-be. I still do it. I watch, read and consume everything having to do with famous (and infamous) mommies. It is a way to relate and compare my own existence and now that my son is here, it has only intensified.

I wonder if Bethenny Frankel, who gave birth about a week after me, is struggling with getting her baby to sleep through the night -- or does her baby nurse worry about that? I watch Kourtney Kardashian pump and dump after a night of heavy drinking and the whole time I'm thinking, who stayed with the baby while she was out partying? Surely not her irresponsible, sociopath baby daddy. I am not envious of the help that these women surely have, but because I don't have the full-time (or even part-time) nanny or baby nurse, I wonder what kind of parenting burden is actually relieved by the hired help.

When my son doesn't burp adequately after a feeding, I wonder if he will asphyxiate in his sleep. Even when my own mother is watching him, I worry that she won't know the exact way to hold him so he will calm down and go to sleep. I read the books, search the internet and compare my son to other babies to make sure that he is healthy and developing right on track. Do these celebrity women also do this?

I would like to think that all of the help changing diapers, feeding and rocking does not erase the worry, anxiety and guilt that comes with having a child for the first time. Because struggle yields to learning and sometimes joy, I hope that the celeb moms that I watch on television also have a chance to calm their screaming child and relish that sweet smile that only comes when a baby hears his mother's voice.

I have been following Bethenny Frankel's pregnancy (and engagement) on her show Bethenny Getting Married? and I must say, I love her. I love her sense of humor and the fact that she and her husband literally had no clue as to what having a baby entailed (or at least that is what the magic of TV wanted us to believe). She looked so cute in her personalized hospital gown on her episode last week. I can't wait to see this Thursday's episode and get a glimpse of new baby Bryn. I know that my own mother remembers what celebs were pregnant and having children at the same time she was and I will always feel some strange motherhood kinship with Bethenny just knowing that she is also going through a lot of the same experiences that I am. Pathetic? Maybe a little. It is not like I have some kind of delusion that I will meet her or something, but having a child can rock your world and it is nice to know that there are other people going through it.

Now to women who have no nannies or baby nurses -- teen mommies. My co-workers and I are fans of Teen Mom on MTV. I was pregnant during the first season and I would hop on the couch with my 2nd dinner and watch every trainwreck of an episode. The next day during lunch my co-workers and I would pick it apart -- everything from what Amber was doing with her hair and make-up to what kind of a parent we thought Farrah was. Picture three women all around 30 years old hashing out the lives of the teen moms over our Lean Cuisines and salads. And we are not alone! My age group (let's put it at 28-35 yrs old) seems to love the spectacle of teenagers having babies on TV -- in fact, I think we love to be voyeurs as women have and try to raise children, no matter what age they are. It is in our biology. In our child bearing years we are studying others to figure out our own desires, fears, expectations and challenges when it comes to having babies and caring for them.

I truly could analyze how trendy pregnancy has become for hours, but I have E! News to watch so that I can blog about what new batch of pregnant celebs are doing. I just found out about Christina Applegate's baby bump. What? I didn't even know she was dating someone.

Off to catch up on the goss -- oh and feed my baby! More later -- after all, The Real Housewives of New Jersey is on tonight and I can't wait to see what crazy sh*t Danielle is going to say!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Couch + Baby = Blog

Babies bring all kinds of new things to your life -- diapers, bottles, never ending laundry, lots of rocking, sleepless nights and tons of new hopes, fears and joys. The commercial does not lie when it says having a baby changes everything and when I look at my son, I never ever consider going back to my pre-parent lifestyle. There are many insights into life that come with being a parent and I have discovered one that no one seems to talk about -- the time you now have to keep up with the Kardashians.

During my maternity leave I have spent an average of 6-7 hours on the couch per day nursing my son and watching every minute of E!, Bravo, TLC and MTV that I can clog my DVR with. My husband couldn't be prouder. I think my son now perks up with the theme song to the Real Housewives comes on.

To tell the truth, I've always been somewhat of a reality TV and celebrity gossip aficionado, but I've taken it to a whole new level. As a new parent I still want to know about baby gear recommendations and parenting advice, but you bet your baby's bottom, I still want to gossip about Bethenny's wedding and the teen moms on MTV. So what is a girl to do?

A blog is born.

Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.