Me Trying to Avoid Lame Book/Baby Metaphors. Failing.

Books, like babies, are hard to deliver. They can tear you apart on the way out.

I finished the first draft of my book this week. The baby, well, that rough draft will be on my hard-drive for years to come. I hope Buster will be compelling, rich and hard to put down, but if he ends up in the remainder bin, I guess that will also be on me.

Like having a baby, writing a book is something I thought I could never do, even though I’ve been a writer since I was 19, even though I’ve been turning out copy for years, I didn’t see how I could be an actual “author” a title that, like “mother” seemed too saintly and profound to ever belong to me. There are other parallels, although while babies and books are both challenging and life-changing, the baby at least smiles at me, whereas the book deadline mostly just glowered.

When I was writing the early chapters, sneaking off to the library in four-hour increments and pumping breast milk in the car of the library parking lot, I often wondered what I had gotten myself into, a sentiment that I assume other new moms feel from time to time about motherhood itself.

This morning, without the book crying to be picked up and rocked and fed, I took the baby to the park, where I realized that what mostly happens at the park in the early hours involves vagrants collecting cans and old people doing what appear to be very specific and very strange workout routines. As Buster looked up at the trees chewing on his lip, an elderly woman strapped her elastic exercise band around the slide in the playground for some squats. She eyeballed us like, “What the hell are you doing at my gym?” and we looked back like, “Listen lady, we got a lot of hours to kill so deal with it.” Meanwhile, an even older dude stretched his hamstrings out on the swing set.

Buster is decent company. He doesn’t just smile with his gummy mouth, but seems to express joy with his entire body. At just under six months old, I take this as a good sign that he’s turning out all right so far. On the other hand, he is easily bored, and taking care of him is often a matter of switching his position every five minutes, moving him from station to station at home (the ExerSaucer, the play mat, the pack and play, the bouncy seat, and back to one) or engaging him with various toys, songs and positions while out and about. Either he isn’t the kind of kid, or isn’t at the stage, to amuse himself for long periods of time.

It dawns on me that you can be a good mom, attached and in love, while also finding this time in your child’s life mind numbingly dull at moments.

I’ll shut up about comparing the book and the baby, because that can only lead to cloying metaphors about chapters ending and the future being unwritten, and I don’t want to sound like that Natasha Bedingfield song I’m embarrassed to like. I hope the book is good. While it’s a memoir about being pregnant, it turns out that the process for me wasn’t just about dealing with acid reflux and the like, but about exposing the other stuff that comes up and burns, the issues about my own mother, whether I would turn out like her, how motherhood like my old clothes, might not ever fit right.

Writing this blog helped, the posts were like notes I kept along the way. Still, the term “mommy blogger” makes me gag more than morning sickness, and I’m not sure why.

When I was a columnist, and wrote about being single, I hated being called “singles columnist” because it seemed so reductive and belittling, and I was just writing about my life, which at the time, involved dating. Now, I’m still writing about my experience, and I guess that makes me a “mommy blogger,” and I guess it’s snooty to think to myself, “I’m not some lady who had a kid and now thinks she’s Irma Freaking Bombeck; I was a writer before.” And let’s face it, the good mommy bloggers have figured out how to make money from their online enterprise, and I certainly haven’t done that yet, which makes me an amateur baby exploiter and only two-bit mommy blogger at best.

Only now, I’m dangerously close to also being an author. Because books kind of raised me, when my mother shut her bedroom door and left with me with a stack of them, I only hope the book I birthed can do the same for someone else, just keep her company for awhile. Or him. Whatever. I gotta sell books.

As for Buster, he didn’t kill my dream or turn me into a bore, as I sometimes feared. For one thing, I was already a bore, and for another, having a baby not only gave me new material to exploit (why else have one?) it also gave me the discipline to just hack away, a page at a time, knowing there wasn’t some brilliant, perfect, literary masterpiece out in the ether that I could never capture, but just the simple things I have to say, pedestrian as they may be, the best I can do and still make it home in time to nurse the baby and relieve the sitter.

When I had a child, I lost the right to show up only when I feel inspired. While that’s not something I would have thought to put on my baby registry, it’s a gift I love almost as much as I love my ExerSaucer. And I love my fucking ExerSaucer.

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30 Responses to “Me Trying to Avoid Lame Book/Baby Metaphors. Failing.”

  1. silent reflux sympthoms
    June 28, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    When my son was 3 he had to have an endoscopy and the GI asked me about the reflux he had as a baby. I said, they told me he was fine, that it was just colic. He showed me the pictures of the scars.I was furious for weeks that no one had listened and stole his babyhood from me. Caring for a baby that screams like that is an obligation more than a joy. He’s turned into a wonderful kid.

  2. jeffiba
    May 5, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Teresa, I plan on buying several copies of your book and handing them out to friends and mothers. I’ll prolly get around to reading it, but at least know that I’ll buy a half dozen copies. Thats really all that matters, right?
    Love ya T, keep up the content.

    “Sometimes Teresa can be emotionally volatile”
    -Senor Nelson
    ….one of the best, and most “duh” quotes ever

  3. Lara
    April 17, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, listening to you on the radio, and the podcasts…so when is the book available to buy? It would be a pleasure to support your writing!

  4. Lara
    April 12, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Love your perspectives, and love your writing. When can we buy the book???

  5. blissfully caffeinated
    April 7, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    I think there are a total of two mommy bloggers who make money from their various blogging enterprises. It’s not a growth industry.

    I love your description of moving your baby from station to station during the day. It’s so true. My little one is a couple of weeks younger than yours and we do the shuffle from bouncy to mat to standing jiggle on a rapid rotate. Once they are up and walking they start to keep themselves entertained for longer periods. By the time they’re about 4 they stay so busy you can almost forget they’re at home with you.

  6. Stacey
    March 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    I saw you on Dr. Phil today and had to come check out your blog! I so appreciated your humor (and yes, an infant can be mind numbingly boring). I’ll definitely check out your book when it comes out. Being a ‘mommy blogger’ isn’t all bad. At least that’s what I tell myself! Have a great day!

  7. Sally
    March 30, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Can’t wait for the Dameshek episode. And yes, I’m buying the book, too. You’re awesome.

  8. JD
    March 29, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Hey T. Thanks for the post. My son is a couple of weeks younger than Buster and this blog has been great. I hope you keep it going.

    I’m not hacking away at a book, just hacking away at life, and your words make the axe a little easier to swing. Thank you.

  9. Amommyof2
    March 22, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    I’m sure we are not supposed to ask questions but please please tell me how you got Buster off the pacifier!!! I have a three year old paci addict and I want to avoid the same with my eight month old. Also–don’t believe people who tell you that having two is easier. It’s about 10 times more difficult.

    I can’t wait to read your book. I’m sure you get this a lot but I really feel that we are a lot alike. It’s too bad we don’t live in the same town! I too can feel isolated even in a room full of people. One piece of advice that really helped me–I joined a mother’s club. I know, it sounds horrible, but actually it’s the best thing I ever did. I joined a playgroup and met a nice bunch of moms and my daughter has a whole group of friends.

    It’s funny, I always thought I worried more than anyone in the world…I am clearly second to you! Love you T! Thank you for being a smart, witty woman.

  10. Ramie
    March 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    I love TPE and only wished it was on more. I am enjoying more than Adam’s podcast. That is probably because I’m a mom and can relate. Although, I’m still a big Adam fan too.

    Can’t wait for the book to come out, I will totally support you and buy a few (one for me and others for mom-gifts)!!!

  11. erika
    March 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    first of all I have to say I cried when you announced your pregnancy on the adam carolla show. I was about a month ahead of you with my own pregnancy so maybe it was just the hormones but i think you are pretty awesome. It was my first kid and he was a boy too so reading your blog through your pregnancy i was going through a lot of the same.
    I wanted to offer a suggestion (unsolicited advice i know…but here i go anyway) you say you have to keep moving him from station to station all the time, have you looked into baby carriers or wraps? I have the excersauser too but sometimes they just want to be right there with you watching what you re doing and they stay in there a good amount of time. check out slingsilove.com they have a ton of info and really great carriers (and no im not affiliated with them in any way so im not spamming your site)
    anyway good luck! and keep updating! i love your writing

  12. Lakewiz
    March 18, 2010 at 2:38 am #

    Hey T

    The last “almost live” with Adam and Bryan was great.

    The conversation regarding depression was moving and oh so relevant. Let the pundits argue over the relevance of the evidence. What you three provided was that dialog that is sorely missed in today’s world. As usual Ace put it in layman’s terms by equating the soffit/construction task being screwed up by his doom and gloom to the inability to concentrate and deliver with serious depression. But also as usual your (unfortunate but shared by many new parents) recent bout with a bad couple of nights with Buster was moving and appreciated. Hang in there T, its gonna get better …and worse lol.

    Our oldest nursed once or twice a night in her first few weeks then settled in for months of blissful all night sleeping. Easy now….we paid later. To the day this girl does not know what a nap is. yes we paid.
    Our next little girl napped like a champ and started out with good all night sleeping but alas…now, she is up at 3am asking for water, hugs etc ever since. Constantly scares me at 5am by standing at the edge of my side of or crawling in the bed. Hey she isn’t holding a hammer or shotgun so I guess we are ok. For the record she is SUPER clingy and is a big time daddy’s girl. Its nice. Daddy isn’t complaining, just hope I can keep her close to me after 17 when I wont be the only man in her life. Ugh…I got a few yrs to enjoy. I’ll worry later. Finally my Sonny was a mixed bag of sleep. Nursed once or twice a night then gave us months of all night. Changed to up at 4 or 5 am for months and now is the “Town Crier” at 6 am for the house. He has taken it upon himself to rouse the girls and us for the days events. Hes polite too lol. Get up girls time for school and same with us. Time for work Daddy. You are gonna love three. Talking ….demanding you read ‘Green eggs and ham” or “Wheels on the bus” for the fifth time….can tell you what hurts and what hes feeling and thinking. Its gets better…and worse.

    As much as I would like to tell you to buck up and don’t let the blue birds get you down….I dont think that works for folks with slightly more intense depression. What I will say is you are not experiencing anything out of the norm in the NON sleep and non conformance by Busters varied sleeping patterns. And what I will add to hopefully help you get past the harder of times is the following: Pretty much no matter how many books you read and how much online info you read…what you will end up with is Little Nate will be his own man. He might slide into a awesome, symmetric, symbiotic sleeping pattern that fits yours. But if he doesn’t you will adjust and it will be fine. You will adjust to the minimal sleep and like we all have you will find a way.

    By the way if you haven’t seen the standard “baby picture/ gotta have it” mention yet, just wanted to share how cute it is to put him on his belly once he can support his head more and take pictures of him looking at you. Even at that age ..really cute pictures.

    Hey your book will be great. Love having you and BB on the podcast and cant wait till you are all back together full time. I download them all and save and savor the almost live ones. You bring so much to the table and you and Adam are like peas and carrots. While I couldn’t see “sushi David’s” expression, you could feel the vibe as you and Ace riffed on the “Nazi” use after soup and sushi. While I bet you get ripped by some of your tribe for trivializing some of the suffering at times with humor …I say WTF…make us laugh so we don’t cry! By the way…hearing you use the F word…..well…I like it when you don’t…don’t ask why. Stupid caveman philosophy…cant shake it. You are too pretty for such ugly words to come out of your mouth. Thats a better way of putting it. But when you feel it….lol “let the pigeons fly”.

    Awesome, intelligent, funny, caring, down to earth, pretty and a good mommy.
    We love ya T
    Lakewiz

  13. Adam Carolla's #1 Fan
    March 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Tee – just hurry up and have another. Then you can get the older one to entertain the younger one. Thanks for keeping it smart, articulate and real. And please consider updating your “mommy blog” more frequently! Always a fan, Jessica

    • Vic
      March 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      ha – yah people SAY that it works like that. But then you just wind up with TWO kids begging you to tend to their needs! Or else you wind up spending every waking moment yelling at them to stop antagonizing each other. Ugh. ;)

  14. Tawnie
    March 17, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    Thank you for continuing to brighten my day with your witty and honest blogging–I mean writing. I wake up at the butt crack of dawn, before my two year old, so that I may enjoy your blog, your podcast and a vat of coffee in unadulterated peace and quiet. Keep up the fabulous work. Oh shit–the kid is up. I knew these keys were way too loud. : )

  15. Tammy
    March 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    T-

    My daughter is the same way! Needs constant interaction, stimulation and action. I call her “spirited.” The number of toys we have for her far outweigh the number of times she’ll ever use them, as she gets bored at the drop of a hat. I often find myself pleading for her to play. Quietly. Alone. But I’d miss her too much. I’m quite obsessed with my wee nugget.

    I’ve read your blog from day one. My little brother thought we had a lot in common. Your c-section was a month ahead of mine. You’ve been my kindred spirit.

    - the other T

  16. Bobbie
    March 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    It’s about time! How wonderful to hear from you again. We have missed your blog. I, for one, will be in line to buy your book as soon as it hits the shelves. I am able to relate to much of what you say and it makes me feel a little less crazy to know I’m not the only one that feels this way or thinks this about that. Being a mom can be downright insanity at times, as a single mom more so for me, but we mom’s we gotta stick together.  Thank you. PS..missing you (and Adam) on the podcast!

  17. Amanda
    March 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    I’m very much looking forward to the book. And while I personally never think of you as a “mommy blogger,” if the shoe fits, you should wear it with pride. Your posts about Buster are always a pleasure to read.

  18. Jason From California
    March 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Well put! Another shockingly great post from my favorite co-host(lol I should rap!). Anyway I just watched Adams live podcast(after which I read your tweet which brought me here) and was sad to see that you weren’t there this week. Hopefully you’ll be able to join Adam for the next live podcast(or any podcast) because I loved the old radio show you did such a good job with Adam and you as a guest on his podcast is the next best thing. Ok good times, bye (I’m never sure how to end a comment, sorry).

  19. Vic
    March 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Good luck with the book! I know it’ll be an interesting read!

    And I know what you mean about being totally in love with your baby but also bored out of your mind at times. When I took my baby to the park I’d look at the older kids running around having fun and couldn’t wait until he got old enough to be a “real kid”! I wasn’t disappointed! It was SO much fun taking him there as a toddler or preschooler…no longer boring at all. People SAY you’ll miss the baby stage, but eh, I never do. It just gets more and more INTERESTING the older he gets – and I’m sure for you, more inspirational for your writings as he develops his own little personality!

  20. Kay
    March 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I’m tempted to say something terrible about you so I can stand out amongst the crowd, but it ain’t gonna happen. As a childless, single, immature 20-something offended by ultrasound pictures, I am always appreciative of your honest reporting on the facts of life. Love ya, T!

  21. Ellie
    March 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I lurk here – I think this is the first time I’ve commented?

    i will totally buy your book, too.

    Your insights, humor and intelligence inspire and amaze me. I’m hacking away at a book too, and spend way too much time feeling sorry for myself that I can’t write when I want to, but only when I have to. And I don’t even have to pump breastmilk in the car. You rock.

    Thank you!

  22. Jennifer
    March 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    When does your book come out? OMG I want to put the date on my calendar! :)

  23. Mark
    March 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Wow! Another awesome post. And I didn’t even have to pay for it. Although I would.

    The “simple things you have to say” elevate you far above any “mommy blogger”. Plenty of your male readers, some of us far removed from parenthood, simply enjoy your insight, honesty, humor and the way you say stuff.

    Bravo! Congrats! Looking forward to the book.

  24. poorjavier
    March 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    T T T T T T Don’t worry, we’ll buy the book. We’ll read the book. It will be our shield. We will use it to prop up a crooked table. Whatever it takes!! I hope if I where it like a hat it will block out the radio waves from the gov’t. You all need to listen to the Hot Moms Podcast, aka, The Parent Experiment…..hubba hubba;)

  25. Troy
    March 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    T – I have no interest in ever having kids, but I’ve always loved you and your blog and I can not effin’ wait to read your book. You are such a compelling writer. As I read your columns I find myself filled with anticipation… just wait for the next ridiculously-hilariously-intelligent & sarcastic references that make your columns and articles so brilliant. You always deliver. You rock!

  26. Paul
    March 16, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    You are an inspiration and a joy. The book you write will be great. Your writing is always getting better, this post is even more book like then the others (more quotes, semicolons and still no explanation points).
    It is hard to write something to compliment a writer who is as good and full of potential as you are.
    Thank you you for all that you have taken the time to write. Your book(s) will be a welcomed addition to the world of books. Best of luck to you and please write as many books as possible.

  27. Kyle
    March 16, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    You’re so smart it’s almost intimidating. Thanks for not neglecting this blog! Finish that book soon! I want to read it.

    If you’re interested in what some internet dude has to say on a mommy blog, I’d wager that you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit. The world is just one writhing cauldron of selfishness. Glenn Beck writes 7 books without one sincere, considerate thought while you kill yourself for decades over the idea of writing a book. Please don’t sweat this. You’ll do just fine.

  28. amanda
    March 16, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    I will totally buy your book. That is all.

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