31 December 2012

Letting it All Hang Out: Frank Parenting with The Nomad Mom

family portrait
photo c/o Anthony Milkus
As soon as I sat down (local time: 6:32 AM) to write this, goblin noises began drifting down the stairs. I quickly took an inventory of the possible sources:

1. kid (Mind you, this would be about TWO HOURS earlier than normal.)
2. radiator (Shit gets pretty wild in the process of heating an almost 120-year old house.)
3. mister (He has a pretty intense new mustache, and I'm not yet sure what the correlation between snoring and a furry lip is.)

A year ago, I would have run light-footedly up the thirty-six winding stairs and two landings to identify the culprit. Now, five weeks before my due date and generally more lax about child rearing, I'm choosing door number IGNORE. Instead of being a post about our eleven days in France, this is instead an homage to honesty, drollness, and keeping one's filter propped open off for sanity's sake.

Now that I spend almost every waking hour within arm's or eye's reach of a little human dependent on my for everything, I feel {insert any of the following: immature/selfish/ousted/judged/hamsterwheel-exhausted} for trying to maintain any semblance to myself. You know, the one who says fuck a lot, drives too fast, picks fights with family members, and frequently makes awkward dinner table conversation. The one who readily agreed with the even more inappropriate mister to send out the above photo as our Christmas card this year, and who included the photo's location on the back of the card. The card to our grandmothers with presumably less-than-perfect vision. (It was taken in Visaginas, Lithuania.)

These feelings of guilt/inadequacy/shame, however, are becoming less and less (and less and less and less) frequent, especially now that I have Lynn to call my sherpa (and to point a blaming finger at if I'm ever in the hot seat). She pens a blog called The Diary of a Nomad Mom, which will get any parent/pre-parent on a fast track to enlightenment (or, if you're eight months pregnant and in public, into an embarrassing bladder situation).

Lynne's been educating normal people on how to be superior expat parents via Nomad Parents for some time, which, don't get me wrong, is a fantastic site when you're in a foreign country and need information. But the unfettered voice driving her new blog is a guide for the other times, the ones all parents get into but mostly avoid talking about. I need to know I'm not alone in taking a bit of pleasure in giving the car door a swift push and hearing the brain-liquifying scream of a terribly-two toddler be silenced, if even for the ten second walk to the other side of the vehicle. And maybe, on occasion, I make it fourteen seconds.

Support doesn't always mean warm embraces and problem-vomiting; sometimes candor does the trick.

Happy end of the year, folks, happy or otherwise.

I'm back.