Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's Talk About How Disgusting I Am

So, I have this problem. It drives Mr. F absolutely crazy - he has to give me a talking-to at least once a week. I haven't bothered to look into how common this behavior is, because I don't even think it's that big a deal. It cracks me up, actually. So what's my problem?

I hoard food.

We moved to where we currently live seven(!!!) years ago. There is nothing here to eat except the world's most pathetic Stop and Shop. If you follow me on Instagram, you know all about how I feel about that place. I feel really far removed from anything good to eat. I frequently travel 30 miles to Trader Joe's or even further for Whole Foods, I spend way too much money at the farmers' market every weekend, and heaven forbid I come across food I can take home if I'm in NYC.

Because I will take it home. And then I will NEVER EAT IT. I get it home, and in a fruitless effort to not eat it all in one shot and waste its glory, it sits and rots until one day I hear Mr. F in the kitchen, furiously slamming moldy food into the garbage can and cursing me out under his breath. Meanwhile, I'm hiding out in the other room, half laughing and half feeling ashamed of my wasteful tendencies.

A month ago, I was in such a situation where I found myself in a French-Korean bakery in the city. A French-Korean bakery is a thing! Did you even know that?? I did not. So that's why I spent a whole bunch of money carting home all kinds of delicious pastries. I didn't even know what they were. I can't read Korean. Who cares? They looked fun. I put them in my bag and went on my merry way.

Recently, I decided to finally unpack my bag from that trip (that was a month ago, remember?) I think you know where this is going. I unzipped my duffel bag, and flies came out. FLIES CAME OUT OF MY BAG. And then the smell hit me. Oh, it was terrible. It took me a second to realize what was going on, and when I reached into the duffel bag, moving aside some clothes that will never smell the same again no matter how many times I wash them, I knew. I felt that familiar feeling. I heard Mr. F in my head, as I sat there with a bag of unidentifiable black fur in my lap, letting the shame wash over me. I had done it again.

Look at this. Look at it! It's almost a thing of beauty, isn't it? Ok, I know it's not. You don't have to lie to me.

This one was equally horrifying to hold in my hands. Who's ready for some science?! Those are not poppy seeds.

Please just take a moment to appreciate the carefully cultivated fur. This one actually creeped me out when I pulled it out of the bag. I didn't even want to touch it, even though it was wrapped up.

So, yeah. I sat on my bedroom floor with these former pastries spread out around me, nervously checking over my shoulder to see if Mr. F was coming in.  I immediately felt violated as I realized that I had been sleeping in a room with this rotting food for a month. This stuff was just sitting over in the corner growing as we slept every night. Could it hear us? Was it watching us? I don't know. I spent way too much time thinking about it before sneaking the bag into the kitchen and burying it in the garbage like a well-seasoned criminal.

If you're reading this, my dear, patient, handsome, smart, funny husband... there's my confession. I bought expensive pastries and ate none of them. They rotted in our bedroom for a month. In your duffel bag that I stole from you. Sorry?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Story to Close Out World Breastfeeding Week

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
In my last post, I talked about how I've been interning with some awesome lactation consultants in my area. Part of the services they offer is a monthly support group for past and current clients. I've had the pleasure of joining the group for the last several months, but I've never led one by myself. Until yesterday.

All of my mentors were attending a seminar, so I offered to host the group by myself. I was nervous because I am an awkward jerk, and when I get uncomfortable I tend to say stupid shit that doesn't make any sense and usually makes me look like a total creepy moron. And I usually get uncomfortable when I'm responsible for offering some kind of good experience to everyone in a room. I figured the odds were pretty good that at the very least I would sweat through my shirt, and at worst, I would kick off a chain of uncomfortable moments that I wouldn't be able to stop once I got going. It's kinda my thing.

I got there early, set up the room, and moms started showing up. Things were going really well, I was surprised that I wasn't making everyone in the room want to crawl out the door! One of my goals was to make everyone feel comfortable enough to feed their babies in the group. I remember being a new mom and not wanting to whip it out in public. Even in "safe" places, like my own house sometimes. I made my dad leave the hospital room when I first had Kid A because I was embarrassed about it. I get it. We do have rooms where moms can go to nurse if they're not comfortable, but in this group, everyone was really cool about it and got right down to business. I was pretty proud of them, and myself.

No sooner had everyone gotten comfortable than the door busted open. There was the mailman, standing there holding his one single stupid piece of junk mail, gawking at our circle. He laughed nervously. I stared. He said, "Whoooooooa, sorry ladies! My wife's gonna be mad! Heh, heh." I just said, "BYYYYYYYE dude, happy world breastfeeding week!" I cracked a joke to the moms as he backed out the door nervously. Thankfully, the moms laughed it off and we moved on from the incident.

This might not seem like a big deal if you've never been a new mom, nervously navigating the challenges of breastfeeding for the first time. It can be a very fragile balance - for some moms, a bad experience or something that makes them feel ashamed about it can be enough to damage the whole relationship. I did not want to be any part of that happening!

I started out writing this trying to give it a funny spin, because it was funny. It was funny because I am in that office all the time and NOT ONCE has the mailman come inside. Every single time I'm there, he shoves the mail through a slot in the door. I've never even seen his face. So of course on the day that I was sitting there trying to hide my nervous sweaty armpits, the guy comes in and acts like he walked in on something weird. Of course. Because that's how my life goes, all the time. I've come to expect it.

There's the obvious underlying issue that makes it kind of not funny - the fact that the guy clearly felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing, when he would not have acted like that had he walked into a room of women giving their babies bottles. It's not his fault, I don't think he's an asshole or anything. I don't blame him for feeling nervous or uncomfortable. I used to wonder why we had to shove breastfeeding in people's faces. Why we had to post pictures of ourselves nursing our babies on social media and hashtag them and why we had to do things like "nurse-ins" where a bunch of moms get together in a public place and all nurse at the same to time as a form of protest. I honestly thought it was obnoxious. But I get it now. It's unfortunate that we have to have hashtags to #normalize something that IS normal.

Feeding babies is normal, however you choose to do it. Don't let any mailman tell you differently.