Are You There, Judy? It’s Me, Ally-Again

Hey, Judy. What happened when Margaret grew up and became a mom? Did she become a mom? And what happened when she birthed her teen into adulthood? I mean, sheesh, the hormones…they’re worse than when I was 13. Or pregnant. And the nesting! It’s still happening. Why? Is this normal? With social media, we get tons of parenting advice until the kids are about nine or ten. Then it stops. We have to figure it out and only when we mention something happened does anyone ever say, “Oh, that, yeah, it’s normal, but wait until…”

Maybe we ignore the advice because we don’t get it when we need it. Either too early or too late, but when we’re in the middle of everything, we try to claw our way through. This birthing a teen into adulthood emotionally rips you up. Random tears on a run. Random tears when an old picture pops up on the screen. Random tears in line at the grocery store when my eye lands on a gummy SpongeBob Krabby Patty I’d buy as a treat for a tantrum free grocery trip years ago. Hollering sessions griping about homework, chores, junk food, being online for too long, you name it…and it’s me doing the hollering. And then random tears second guessing that meeting (or those meetings) with the teacher when the kid was in sixth grade. Why didn’t I say something different? I should’ve done this instead.

Did Margaret spend too much time at work in those earlier years or was she a stay at home mom? Her kids turned out okay, didn’t they? Did her mind linger over the what ifs and what can be? A ton of time passes between the first birth and the second birth. They both hurt though, but I don’t know which one hurts more. I think I was better prepared for the first. The second one creeps up on you. I thought I was ready. Here we go anyway. We’ll figure it out. It’ll be official tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Are You There Judy? It’s Me, Ally.

SOLSC Day 6

This is the cover of the copy I checked out to read as a sixth grader. The covers have been updated, but this is my favorite.

Are you there Judy? It’s me, Ally. And I read your popular book about the girl who talked to God. It helped me because my mom wasn’t the type who talked about what to expect in my changing body. Nana certainly didn’t help either. I got bad information from friends and embarrassing information from films at school. How I imagined a perfect puberty through your book didn’t quite happen the way you described. Hell, even Meggie from The Thorn Birds (Mom’s favorite mini-series) got advice from Father de Bricassart.

Me? Nothing. No one helped me. I had to figure stuff out on my own and this one, one of the most concrete and visible manifestations of puberty was all mine to figure out. As I muddled my way through, learning the ins and outs, I helped my two younger sisters. They didn’t read your book, but they had me to help as much as an older sister would help.

It hit again, on a much larger scale. This, with the advent of technology where information was at my fingertips, but way before the blogosphere was a thing, I became a mother. Round two, here we go again. There were books I didn’t have time to read, A Baby Story on TLC (or was it Discovery?) was the closest thing I had to pregnancy, childbirth, and the fourth trimester. My lamaze class helped a little, but it was NOTHING like going through it.

No one warned me my pre-pregnancy clothes would. Not. Fit. At. All. No one said I’d rip, or there would be stitches. Or adult diapers. No one mentioned having to take a squirt bottle full of warm water to every bathroom visit only to wish U.S. toilets were equipped with bidets. No one mentioned nursing was a whole new level of hell (shoutout to the mammas that make it work), how my body felt like mush, and how I felt that I floated outside of my body in a zombified daze for three weeks.

There were no mommy IRL Instagram accounts, no FB support groups, and my mom wasn’t up to speed on new child rearing trends like nursing in public, co-sleeping, and putting babies to sleep on their backs only because they can freakin’ die if they sleep on their stomachs. Which is exactly the only way my son would sleep. Period. Because he came out hollering at me and he rarely slept. When he did sleep, I panicked because I thought he was dead. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was the stupidest first time mom advice I ever received.

After my daughter was born, it was a little easier because I knew what to expect and immediately decided nursing wasn’t a good fit for my personality. Dehydrated DH3 enriched powdered cow’s milk all the way, baby! This kid slept. On her stomach, because to hell with those motherhood trends. Do what works.

We parent our kids the best we can. There are milestones, family trips, and birthdays.

The birthday.

The 40th one.

Hey, Judy, I’m in ‘tweenhood again. How did Margaret handle puberty 2.0, the sequel, the second part? I know about menopause, but there’s this ‘tween stage to prep the body for it and it’s called perimenopause. God forbid women be strong enough to hit it head-on. Weight gain that does. Not. Come. Off. No matter how little you eat or how hard you exercise, it won’t budge. The kids sleep now, too much, but insomnia is the wicked little step-sibling that likes to wail at 3:00 a.m. Smothering it with a pillow doesn’t work. After those films in middle school, the teachers nonchalantly told us we’d outgrow the acne. They lied. Popping a puberty zit isn’t the same as trying to deal with that nasty hormonal stress acne that likes to hang out on my jawline.

Judy, you didn’t warn me about this one. Did Margaret stop talking to God?