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What the Rangers Can Teach a New Mommy

Texas and San Francisco are tied, 2-2, bottom of the third.

This is where we begin this blog.

I am sitting on my couch on Wednesday night watching the first game of the World Series. Under normal circumstances, you are unlikely to find me sitting at home watching baseball on TV of my own volition, but with the home team now before the world in the biggest display of classic Americana for the first time in its history, I must do as the old song says and root-root-root. But this is like Haley’s Comet, you won’t see it very often, if ever again.

Gordon and I were actually at the game Friday night when the Rangers won the American League Championship. He practically begged me to go and bribed me with vague unnamed presents of glory. But by the end of the night, I was jumping up and down screaming, practically inhaling the rush of ticker tape that covered all fifty-some-odd-thousand of us. I even had a little lump in the throat. And then I realized: hey, I’m a FAN!

But then I realized I am so NOT a fan.

A real fan would have been paying attention long before this.

But I cut myself some slack because who wouldn’t get caught up in the insanity? It is pretty funny though how many Rangers hats and t-shirts I’ve seen around town, and how many Facebook posts and conversations now suddenly involve the Rangers. I guess it’s no surprise because this is obviously a big, BIG deal, but I’m like, yea right, suburban mom with your Seven jeans, I bet you totally knew who Cliff Lee was before this week. Right. Uh-huh. I’m sure your love of the Texas Rangers is just another one of your endearing, unexpected qualities. But I guess unless you are a big blow-up Frankenstein like the ones in my neighborhood, you are going to care.

(Still tied at 2, into the bottom of the fourth…)

How could I have known how fun baseball could be if I hadn’t gone? If I hadn’t been promised presents of glory? Some things you can only appreciate provided you actually show up. I think I should get credit for showing up.

Also, the difficulty of certain things can only be appreciated by experience.

I’ve had a friend tell me recently that she sometimes thinks, “What have I done?” She is referring to the recent birth of her first baby. She thought, of course, that it would be a lot of fun and sweetness and light to bring a new life into the world with the wonderful man she married and still kind of likes. And yes, I agreed that it did sound like a good idea. Isn’t a baby the perfect accessory to a well designed life outfit? Isn’t this why all the movie stars are having babies, because massive stardom and riches seem to leave something wanting? 

(Oh no! It’s 3-2, San Francisco! Those trolley-riding morons!)

But having a baby is way more than you bargain for. I totally KNEW that after having Thing One, and STILL I forged ahead to bring Thing Two into the world. Call me crazy.

(What? They’re pulling Lee after only FIVE innings? Oh boy. This is serious. Better bust out the Double Stuff Oreos. There now, don’t I sound like a real fan to you?)

Our culture is almost Intelligently Designed to tempt anyone with a uterus big or small to jump in because the water is fine. Hollywood and its starlets — Nicole Richie with her hip maternity fashion line, Heidi Klum with her hot Victoria Secret runway shows mere seconds after her episiotomy repair, even that girl from the Playboy mansion who made having a baby look like something fun to do after drinking shots from other people’s cleavages — make motherhood seem like the latest Jimmy Choo bootie. In purple suede. Get one or be hopelessly passé. I'm not saying that's the ONLY reason people have babies, but it seems to sand away its serious, sometimes jagged edge. Even our parenting magazines try to lure the uninitiated into the ranks: they have Cutest Baby contests for the cover image, then dress that Cutest Baby in the Cutest Clothes Ever which are handmade by white bunny rabbits sitting on marshmallow tuffets, and then the whole picture is airbrushed within an inch of being rightly called “photography” and printed on glossy paper that smells of hopes and dreams. If they truly want to represent true Parenthood, they need to give that Cutest Kid a bucket of grape jelly after depriving him of a nap. Then snap the picture with a crappy iPhone camera and print it on the backside of a Cheerios box.

(Good Lord, a three-man homerun. A “majestic blast,” the announcer so poetically calls it. 8-2, SF. We’re getting slaughtered. So…uh…how ‘bout them Cowboys? Wait, no. No. And NO again.)

I’m not saying having a baby is a bad idea. I’m just saying we are set up for disappointment. I mean, first-time mommyhood can be awful. There are awful, awful days. I think it’s time we started telling the truth about this a little more because then we can truly help each other. Pretending things are “fine” just makes our desperation crystallize into bitterness.

So if you just had a baby and are feeling a little disillusioned right now, just know that you are normal. Know you are OK. You will not go to Mommy Hell. I have it on good authority that Wal-Mart, within view of a SuperTarget but separated by a fiery chasm, is Mommy Hell. But you YOU, my friend, won’t be going there. Yes, yes, we KNOW you love your baby, that you WANTED your baby, that you are so GRATEFUL to have your baby. We know how GUILTY you feel because of all the women out there trying to get pregnant and can’t, and here you are bitching about it.

Just stop. Stop right now.

You don’t need to explain all that to me. Your love for your baby is a given. You’ve just been a victim of false advertising, nothing more. You thought you were going to a princess party and so far it’s really, well, just a tedious baseball game.

But take it from me, you still get credit for showing up.

And someday soon, you might actually become a fan.