One week ago, my sweet baby girl turned the big 0-1. For the days leading up to her birthday, I held my Facebook pals captive and reminisced by binge-sharing photos, memories, and everything I’d ever written for or about her. By the end of the day on April 14th, my ovaries were in overdrive. “PLEASE!” I begged my husband to no avail, “Please just one more baby!”
He gave me The Look, which coming from his kind hazel eyes is more like a please stop this nonsense rather than a shut yer cakehole already, woman! which I appreciate. So quietly and alone, I cried when I picked up the baby’s birthday cake, I cried when we sang to her, and I cried again when I put her to bed the night of her birthday, no longer a baby, so say the email reports I get from Baby Center. And as I was pining for one more kick in my belly from a precious baby instead of a Chipotle burrito, I came across this:
One of Baby Sideburns’s fans posted that gem to her page, and Karen loved it so much she featured it in one of her Facebook posts. As I was recovering from a hormonal meltdown (SHE IS TOO STILL A BABY, BABY CENTER ASSHOLES!), I appreciated the laugh more than is probably socially acceptable. I can totally see why Karen spotlighted that bad boy–HILARIOUS! So I reached out to Andrea, the owner of the above child, and by “I reached out,” I mean I stalked her on Facebook and finally worked up the nerve to private message a complete stranger with my even stranger idea: I told her I wanted to interview her because I liked her spunk! To my surprise, she was like, “Sure, creepy lady. Sure, let’s do this!” And so we did.
Instead of celebrating the first year of my baby’s life like business as usual, I’m flipping the script, blowing my nose, and now we’re celebrating the amazing Momness of Andrea G. I had hoped her hilarity and willingness to overshare would translate in writing, and I was NOT disappointed! And while I’m hoping for things, I’m throwing a big ass penny in the closest wishing well that one day I, too, will be madly in love with my teenagers as Andrea is. You hear horror stories about that age (every age, really…), but Andrea isn’t afraid to laugh, which I personally think is half the battle of parenting.
My Interview With the Baby Sideburns Fan I Stalked On Facebook
Q: When should a mom stop posing her kids for age/bday photos?
A: Um, never. No, just kidding. I think until they’re a year old. After that it’s just toooooo much. Yes, your baby is adorable, we know!
Q: What inspired you to take the pic of your son and does he hate you for it?
A: Honestly, we were trapped in the house because it was snowing yet again, and I think I was starting to just lose it (I literally caught myself just randomly cackling like a crazy person for no reason. Not even kidding). It was my son’s birthday, we couldn’t go out to celebrate, and I thought it would be hilarious to take his picture to post on Facebook. And it also gave me an excuse to do arts and crafts to make the sign, which means I couldn’t help shovel; “Sorry babe, I can’t help you shovel, I’m way too busy coloring!” And No! He is so incredibly laid back and good natured, he’ll grumble for sure, and I know that I drive him crazy, but there’s not much this kid won’t do for me (or anyone else in the family).
Q: How does humor help you parent?
A: Without humor I have no idea how I would make it though the day, and there are not many things that I can’t manage to find the funny side of. I spent a decade as a single parent to two children (I have a teenaged daughter, also. And, yes, she is also the subject of my torture- gotta spread the love!) and if I didn’t find a way to laugh through the struggle of those times, and now the reality of living in a two-teenager household, I would likely be taking large doses of Xanax right now. Honestly though, it seems like nowadays everything is taken so seriously, all the time, and it baffles me. One time, my son drew a picture at school of a stick figure running away from a monster. The stick figure had a giant black “O” for a mouth, and the word bubble above him said “HELP!”. His teacher was so concerned by this; “Is this Alex in the picture? What does the monster represent? Is Alex calling out for help?!” I’m not even kidding, this meeting happened. And I was like “Um, it’s a picture. Are you for real?”
Q: What did you get my new 1-yo for her birthday?
A: I am a health insurance nerd. I love talking about health insurance, all day every day. I’m not kidding, it’s the saddest thing ever. But I would love to be your nanny! Unfortunately the commute is a *little* too long, otherwise I’d be all over that.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being a mom?
A: Right now, I think my favorite part is having kids that are just “smaller” adults (smaller in quotes because in reality my son towers over me). Being able to sit at the dinner table and talk about books and movies and current events with two people that you made is so cool! We watch Jeopardy, and they know so many of the questions- it always blows my mind. Looking at my son and daughter, and seeing the awesome people they’ve grown up to be (despite all the ways I’ve messed up along the way!) is my favorite.
Q: How have your dreams and fears for your child changed since his first birthday?
A: In so many ways. When my son was small, it was all about hitting the milestones- talking, walking, potty training, preschool, sports, etc… and I spent a lot of time focusing on those small things, and looking forward to the time when he (and my daughter) would be older and more independent, and doing what I could to help them get there. As my kids get older, the focus shifts more to the real future- things like choosing a high school, deciding on a college, and this takes the place of the “little” things, and it is terrifying. Now my hopes and dreams are basically that my babies will continue to grow into successful, happy, and self-sufficient adults (that I would really like to live with me forever).
Q: What do you want to tell me/warn me of since I’m in the younger state of kids? Basically, what am I in for?
A: There are so many cliches out there about kids, and all of them are completely true. Time really does go by so fast, and one day you’ll wake up and your tiny baby boy will be a giant stinky teenager, and it will break your heart. But that giant stinky teenager will still be so excited to see you when you get home from work, and when he’s sick he’ll still snuggle up to you in the couch, and when you look at him you’ll still see the little boy who once told you that “mom, you should exercise, because then you’d look more sexy”. The other thing that’s true is the bigger kids= bigger problems. When someone gives them a hard time at school and you want to find that child and exact sweet revenge, but you can’t because your child has to learn to handle and deflect conflict. And when they struggle with high school math and you can’t help them because it’s too damn hard, and even the Google doesn’t know what the hell the answer is or how to figure it out. What you’re in for is the joy of watching your kids grow into the people they’re meant to be, the people that you raised them to be, and the heartache that comes from realizing that the older they get, the less you can protect them.
Q: Why do you follow Baby Sideburns?
A: I love Baby Sideburns because she is hilarious and REAL. Yes, she calls her kids assholes, and maybe some people object to that, but if your kids don’t act like assholes sometimes I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with them. She isn’t afraid to highlight the realities of being a parent to small kids, but at the same time leaves absolutely no doubt that she loves and adores her family more than anything. That is something that I can 100% identify with.
Q: How has the parenting community on Facebook (and other social platforms) helped you as a mom? Who else do you follow that you’d recommend to other parents?
A: I had my kids when I was “young” compared to my other friends- they were still out dating, drinking, and partying, and I was home and married with two babies- and this was before the advent of social media. So for a long time I’ve felt really isolated as a parent. I didn’t have anyone who could really relate to what I was dealing with or who could identify with as a young mom. Having access to parenting communities on Facebook, and the rest of the web, has really helped me to not feel so alone and to keep things in perspective in terms of what I’m dealing with on any given day with my kids. It’s a small thing, but knowing there are other moms with teenagers who seem to hate their guts one day, and love them desperately the next, brings me some comfort. The parenting community out there makes me feel more like we’re all in this together, and with the exception of the crazy sanctimommies who refuse to admit that sometimes their special, special snowflakes get the best of them, we all share in the struggle and triumphs of being responsible for the next generation. I spend a lot of time on the Scary Mommy site/page, in addition to following Abby Has Issues, The Bloggess, Dooce, and Single Dad Laughing. I sometimes poke around on Babble, but for me there are too many articles that basically talk about how you don’t need to worry about having a clean house because your kids won’t be small forever and you should spend time with them instead. Which I don’t completely disagree with, but I like to have a clean house, also.
See? Andrea is smart funny and I love it. Wonder if she’ll be my new BFF and invite me to her fancy beach house with the elevator. Andrea? Oh, Andrea? DON’T YOU IGNORE ME!