Why you should never purchase a precooked holiday dinner (unless you know it will, like, actually be good)

With a 6-month old who is teething and family arriving for the rapidly approaching holidays, my husband and I decided that this year would be a really good year to try ordering holiday dinner. A few local grocery stores offer the purchase of a complete holiday meal including a cooked ham or turkey and an array of sides—including a pie! Can’t beat that, right? Since we were having seven adults for dinner, we figured we would order a turkey dinner and a ham dinner. Since each fed 4-6, we assumed that in holiday math that meant it would feed more like 3-4.

So after putting the baby to bed one night, instead of going to bed like we should have done and instead of ordering dinner weeks ago like we should have done, we pulled up the website and prepared to order dinner. The ham dinner was sold out. The turkey dinner was now not available until January 1. Good gravy—pardon the pun.

So we went to our backup store’s website—the turkey dinner was still available. Thank God. The food might be a little subpar but fuck it, it’s free food so everyone can be grateful, right? We placed our order, agreed to make one extra side to feed the masses, and went to bed to un-blissfully sleep with a wakeful baby.


Christmas Eve day arrived faster than we expected. Since I had my husband take an extra shift with the baby the night before, I had to wake my tired AF ass up to feed and change the baby and let the neighbor’s dogs out (Since we had also decided that we could handle dog sitting the neighbor’s dogs while trying to wrangle a 6-month old, in-laws, family, and the holidays. Brilliant fucking idea.).

Baby fed, dogs settled, and other boob pumped, I handed my son off to my mom to get back into bed and try to catch some extra zzz’s before everyone arrived. No sooner had my head hit the pillow than my husband groggily asks, “Did you pick up the dinner?” FUCK. I tear off the sheets, throw on yesterday’s clothes (which pass the smell test) and head out in the rain for the grocery store. It’s like a scene from a bad movie. Rain—not snow for Christmas—pouring. Headlights lighting my way like a cheap Rudolph imitation. I check my rearview mirror and notice my wayfarer frame glasses are crooked on my face. I’m a literal mess from head to sockless toe.

I fight my way through the hordes of morons who decided to wait and do their holiday food shopping on Christmas Eve day, while ignoring the fact that I myself am now part of that crowd. I throw some avocadoes in my cart for good measure. Who doesn’t love guacamole? How festive.

I make my way to the deli counter where I ask for my prize possession—my fully cooked, no work needed, holiday dinner. The guy responds with “Uh…you ordered it already?” Why yes, I told him, I ordered online and was due to pick it up 36 minutes ago. He shuffles off to the back while images of cooked dancing turkeys and zero dish washing start to fade from my eyes. He brings out a giant Butterball cooked, air suctioned, packaged bird, and a bag of sides. I fish through the back to make sure that everything is there, my stomach sinking to my knees when I process how fucking tiny each of the sides are.

I call my mom (of course) in a panic, and relay the ludicrous size of the sides. “It’s okay,” she assures me, “we have plenty of food.” I throw some sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, kielbasa, chips, and a lot more wine in the cart for good measure. This cheap and easy holiday meal is getting to be really expensive.

I finally make it home, glasses fogging from the combination of rain, cool air, and body heat. As I make my way inside my house with the last of the bags I grab a Straw-Ber-Rita beer from the garage. Is there such a thing as “too early” to drink? Not on motha’ fuckin’ Christmas Eve it’s not. I proceed to unpack and colorfully review the dinner for my wide-eyed mom.

“So we start with the miniature size pumpkin pie that Barbie must have cooked in her fucking dream house kitchen. No dreams left here,” I say, “And what the fuck is this? The tiniest tray of mashed potatoes I’ve ever seen! At least there’s butter on it. THIS SERVES 4-6?! Where the fuck are we, the North Pole? Does this serve 4-6 Christmas elves?! How many humans does it feed, two?! These green beans look disgusting, what the hell is poured over it? Last year’s gravy pan scrapings? Oh look, they gave us a gallon each of gravy and cranberry relish, well thank God for that because we know everybody is always like ‘Oh, me! I want the cranberry relish first!’ What else is in here? Oh right, this miniature cubed sweet potato and potato oddity. And they even put in three cranberries for color! The forethought of preparation here amazes me. Look at this turkey! I thought it would be a fresh rotisserie bird! Not a water injected bird on steroids that is shrink wrapped for shipping. I could have bought that myself! Where is my drink?”

I may have continued on in this manner for another few minutes. It was not my proudest moment. As it turns out, my poor mother ended up slaving away in the kitchen all day anyway, making more dishes because of the paltry amount our purchased dinner had provided us. What I should have done is said politely, “This is not adequate for our needs” and handed everything back and cooked everything ourselves. Instead, I spend the day hovering—and not really being much help—in the kitchen, while making sure the baby ate enough, but also having to strap him on in the baby carrier because he was so overwhelmed by the people, while also trying to make sure the needs of our family guests were met. And that our dogs and the neighbor’s dogs were let out, fed, and watered. Merry fucking Christmas.


I think there are several important lessons here. The first is that I should have just let it go. Accepted what is for what it is. Instead of worrying about it, I should have made it the minor detail and not a major focus like I did.

The second lesson is to let enough be enough. The reality is we had plenty of food (as was evidenced by all the leftovers) and even if we hadn’t, people would deal with it. We tend to get so caught up in the gluttony of the holidays—food, presents, decorations, more, more, MORE—that we forget about the important things like being lucky enough to have food, lucky enough to have the money to buy gifts, and lucky enough to have family around us.

The third lesson is to realize what is truly important. Did it really matter how the sweet potatoes were cut or how shrivel-y that fucking turkey skin was? No. The truly important moments of Christmas were spending time with my precious family and loving on my new beautiful baby boy. Enjoying the fleeting moments of togetherness is what I should have been focusing on.

All good lessons to be remembered for next year, right? Oh, and of course, the last lesson: don’t order a fucking precooked holiday dinner.

4 things my baby has taught me in the first six months of life

My baby is almost 6 months. That’s almost 183 days, if we are being exact. He has made his first half-trip around the sun. It happened in a blink of an eye. Less than that, maybe.

The holidays always bring about a lot of nostalgia for me, and now that I have an infant, it makes it a lot worse. Like I’ll look at his newborn photos and want to cry at how fast he is growing kind of worse (maybe I let a few tears go, but don’t tell anybody).

If that wasn’t enough, his first tooth is slicing through his perfect pink little gumline and it almost sends me over the edge. I want to shake him and yell STOP GROWING UP SO FAST! But I don’t, obviously, because that would be inviting a visit from Child Protective Services. The only visit I am trying to earn is from the fat man with the white beard. I’ve been good as shit this year, so bring the good stuff.


Where was I? Oh right, the sappy emotion-inducing nostalgia. As his half-birthday grows nearer, I can’t help but reflect on the last six months and everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve accomplished, and every way in which I’ve grown. Motherhood has a funny way of forcing you to grow up and out of your adolescence and adopt those adult ways that many of us fear but never admit to fearing. I not only birthed a son, but also immense responsibility. His little life—well-being, growth, and happiness—rests entirely on my shoulders. Okay well my husband’s, too, but I’m trying to make a point here.

I used to constantly look at the past and be depressed that those good times were over. No more excessive partying, no more meeting friends easily. No more freedom to come and go as I pleased, my whole future lying ahead of me. When I graduated college and started working, I felt like the best times were behind me. I couldn’t seem to shake the sadness and anxiety that accompanied my daily life. The present was so hazy, and forget the future—it was like trying to see through storm clouds. My emotions felt like a storm cloud—unpredictable and always threatening to give way to a downpour.

Then my angel arrived in the form of a teeny, tiny, tomato-red baby. What is it that they say about the best things coming in small packages? All of that. My sweet-smelling, adorable, poop and pee filled, little angel has changed the way that I look at life. He has also taught me so much.

He has taught me the power of a woman. I have never before been so awed at the power of a body to create, carry, birth, and feed another human being. Have you ever really stopped to think about it? That’s some powerful shit. Because my son showed me my own power, I also look at myself a lot differently. I used to hate my body. Every. Damn. Day. But today? I don’t mind that roll when I bend over. I don’t care what the other people think of me in a swimsuit at Splish Splash Baby Class. Am I still trying to get some weight down? Sure, what postpartum mom isn’t? But I’m not in a hurry, I know that extra fat is helping me to breastfeed my boy. I might actually be transferring rolls directly to him, if that is even possible. At least on his thick thighs they look a lot more socially acceptable.

He has taught me the power of love and marriage. If you ever want to truly test your marriage and its foundation, have a baby. No, really. It takes a solid couple to make it through newborn days and infant months (and from what I also assume toddler, teenage, and adolescent years). Although our relationship looks drastically different than it did before, my husband and I feel a bond that we never have before. We might bicker more, make love less, and look at each other differently, but the new way we look at each other is with adoration and awe at the beautiful parent each has become. It’s hard to watch my husband and son and not get teary, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same, although he would deny that. Damn I sound like a sobbing mess—I promise I’m not…most days.

He has taught me how to believe in myself. There is no way to ever prepare for a baby. Period. Sure I read books, blogs, and heard the horror stories, but it turns out I knew nothing. Throw the book away and take a lesson from real life. Baby will do what babies do, and most days I am scrambling to keep up. Just when I think I have something figured out, it changes again. But I never used to believe in myself the way I do now. I’m thoroughly empowered. I know I can do this because, partly because I have to. So I do it, day after day, and excel—most days.

He has taught me love. Forgiving, patient, and whole-hearted love. There’s no point in getting upset with an infant. They don’t understand you. They can’t reason their behavior away. All I know is that if I am upset, it makes him more upset. We both escalate out of control. I figured this out early and put a stop to it. If I respond with love each and every time, it helps. It might not help this little banshee deceptively slumbering against my chest every single time he is upset, but I know he is reassured that I am there for him, I love him, and will always take care of him.

The bottom line is that I still have no idea what I’m doing. But what I do know is that I’m not the person I used to be, and for the first time, I am completely okay with that. I feel that I am better because of him. I know that I am better because of him. I have to be better for him. He needs me, and I need him just as much. In only six months, in the blink of an eye, in half of the planet’s rotation, I have learned more about myself from him than I have in the past two decades, and I couldn’t feel more blessed. Sometimes ready to lose my f—cking  mind, mind you, but also blessed.

I never thought I’d regret having my son.

It dawned on me one night when my husband and I were finally able to watch some TV in peace. Although the volume was turned down low so as to not wake the baby, we were silent because we needed to be. We needed to just “be” for a minute. No baby giggling. No baby crying. No bickering about the right way to hold or change the baby. No discussion about baby poop. Nothing. Silence. Finally.

We felt like our old selves for a minute. I looked at my husband and asked, “Do you ever just miss the old days of just being…us?” “Yes,” he answered, more quickly than I had anticipated. But there it was, the unspoken message between us. Confirmation of my own secret shame. In that moment, and often in the dark nights of endless rocking and wishing for sleep, I regretted having my son.


It’s been a particularly hard fucking month. Baby T hit his sleep regression around Thanksgiving, making it almost 4 weeks of completely broken sleep—some nights worse than when he was a newborn. I now understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I am beyond tired. I am mentally exhausted. I am physically exhausted. I don’t have it in me to be angry at him anymore. I don’t feel anything. I am broken.

Truly, though, T is a beautiful boy. I know all parents say this, but really, he actually is the most handsome baby I’ve ever seen. The days are mostly blissful. Those delightfully chubby cheeks just begging to be eaten up. I don’t even mind getting peed or shit on, he’s that cute. Metaphorically, T saves his biggest shitting on for the midnight hours. He doesn’t sleep. We don’t sleep.

Footsteps echo repeatedly down the hallway. Back and forth. Back and forth. Like a big cat pacing his pitiful enclosure at the zoo. I swear there are treads in the carpet now. My nipples are sore and pink. He is an insatiable pit of need—food, love, and physical contact.

But it’s more than the sleep. It’s everything. I don’t have time for my husband. I don’t have time for myself. I plan my entire day around feeding, changing, and sleep patterns of another human being. I don’t go out. My social life consists mostly of text messages or trolling Facebook until the tendon in my thumb hurts; it’s the only finger readily available while breastfeeding. I don’t paint. I don’t exercise. What’s left of my disintegrating muscle structure is laughable.

The biggest hurdle has been and still is losing myself in motherhood.

At first I rejoiced in my changed status. Motherhood felt like the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Months later, it’s changed. I’ve changed. I’ve seen how my life has changed. It’s the most drastic thing that has ever happened to me.

Talking to other moms has really helped me from falling of the ledge. Some days I feel like I’m losing my fucking mind. But they do, too. Life is so different. It’s isolating. It’s joyful. It’s lonely. It’s the greatest love. It’s the greatest pain. It’s the most impactful thing that has ever happened to me.

In the end, it’s not my son I regret, but the death of my old life. It’s hard to let go of something—and someone—you’ve been for the last decade. Every behavior and thought pattern changed. Once the immediate and blind bliss of taking care of a newborn wore off, there was a new life staring me in the face. The unknown is scary. The unknown with a child when you’re tired as fuck and feeling about the same level of alone is frightening as all hell.

Now the nights are sometimes improved. Sometimes not. I try to keep in mind that he is still a baby. So early, so small, and still so helpless. He needs me and depends on me. I am his food. I am his comfort. I am his warmth. I am his safety. I am his everything.

Even though the mourning phase for my previous life is just about over, the dawn of my new life breaks. I realize it’s impossible to regret him. I can’t regret him, because he is now my everything, too.

This post was featured on Scary Mommy and can be found here

What to actually expect at your postpartum visit

I arrive at the doctor’s a little late. That’s my mantra these days… “a little late.” The six weeks at home have flown by. It feels like just yesterday a watermelon was tearing out of my vagina. But hey, I can probably carry the car seat and the baby combo to the building and back, I think to myself, it’s not that heavy. What a stupid fucking idea. I finally make it the elevator with a swagger that isn’t out of ego but of struggle, and make it to the front desk sweating. Why the hell didn’t I just use the stroller?

The nurse finally calls me back and I hoist my overloaded diaper bag over my shoulder and schlep the car seat and baby down the hallway to get weighed. Oh joy. Yes please tell me how much baby weight I haven’t lost yet. By the way, this whole breastfeeding-burns-a-ton-of-calories-and-the-weight-just-falls-off is a big scam to conceal the nipple-tearing agony of nursing. But I digress.

The nurse takes me down the winding hallway to an examination room, pulls out a pink paper jacket and a white paper sheet and leaves me with the instructions to strip down to my birthday suit and use the paper products as a deft cover. I carefully undress, peeling away layers of confidence along with the clothing. Not exactly sure what to do, I stand in the middle of the room, swaying a little out of newborn-holding habit, and wait for the doctor.


Minutes that seemed more like eternities pass. Suddenly, the baby decides he has had enough of his arch-nemesis, the car seat. Wailing ensues. I unstrap him and pick him up. He wants to eat. Of course he fucking does. Still struggling to get the hang of breastfeeding, the thought of doing it in a room without my beloved support pillow leaves me feeling unequipped and inferior. I thoughtfully lay my baby’s blanket on the only chair in the room as a measure of barrier, and sit bare-assed and struggle to arrange baby, thin paper lap sheet, and pink paper jacket in a modest assembly.

Since I’m already sweating, the paper clings to me. The baby can tell how fucking uncomfortable I am and his flailing arms conduct the symphony of his cries. I finally give up on modesty and throw the shredded, tiny paper napkin cover to the floor. I finagle his latch, and he slurps happily away. I also feel something warm and wet running down my belly. Oh right, the fucking milk let down of my other boob.

The doctor comes in to see a sweaty, milky, breathless mess of mother and baby. She graciously doesn’t stare at my condition and proceeds to get the basic questions out of the way. She seems relieved that I’m an easy postpartum patient, no baby-blues-depression or physical ailments to speak of.

Finally it’s time for the exam. I put the baby back in his car seat and he decides that since there is an additional audience he wants to be the compliant, quiet baby who makes people look at me sideways with doubt and a little judgement when I tell them that no he’s not an angel and yes in fact he does cry.

The doctor is impressed with my lipstick-red nipples, telling me that no they actually don’t look bad at all. Maybe she doesn’t know that they’ve been through a tiny, toothless meat grinder, but even if she did, she’s already moved on to the fun part of the visit, guiding my heels into stirrups.

She prods my outers and I feel kind of like a canine on a judging table at the dog show. She carefully lubricates her finger, and says to take a breath. I want to scream. How the fuck does a finger hurt this bad after a human head has done its damage? I whimper and grimace, and she tells me that the pain is normal. She also tells me everything looks good, I can resume sexual activity. I almost laugh in her face—I mean I would have if she was up at my shoulder level. After that exam it seems like a cold day in hell before that happens again. Sorry, hubs.

I ask her a few questions, she answers, slowly sliding towards the door. She hurries off to another patient, another mom-to-be or another postpartum-mom with more questions and more vaginas to examine. I look at my little guy in his car seat. Unaware of my adoration, he looks around at his fuzzy surroundings. I do my best to wipe myself free of the fluids that seem to be coming out of every surface, and notice that my breastmilk seems to have caused my fashion-forward paper jacket to stain my breasts and belly pink. How feminine.

I don’t know what I expected out of my postpartum visit, but probably like motherhood, it wasn’t this. Motherhood has been a unique challenge that I don’t think I would have ever been totally prepared to deal with. My tiny offspring and I are making it though, and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. Finally we are on our way home. Me to shower, him to poop (again), and my husband to disappointment.

Dear Stay at Home Mom: I used to judge you so hard

Dear Stay at Home Mom,

I used to judge you so hard. I used to think you had it so easy. You didn’t have to work, you just took care of your kids. You played all day, and had time to do whatever you wanted to do. Your house could be immaculate if you took the time to clean it and pick up—I don’t know why you wouldn’t since you didn’t go to work. You cooked dinner at your leisure and tried all kinds of fun recipes. You worked out—or should be, since you aren’t working—and so could be in great shape all year round. Yes, you had it good, and I would be slaving away at my 9-5 envious of your life.

Then I had a baby. Then shit got real.


During my maternity leave I felt like all I did was feed and change my baby. I didn’t sleep much. I didn’t take good care of myself—even just showering!—because I didn’t have the time. We decided I would stay home when baby was two months of age. My dream come true! I figured it would get easier once the baby was older and had a little bit more of a schedule. It didn’t.

Now I understand all the coffee and wine memes. Now I understand the moms who sport yoga pants and haphazard buns, wearing nothing but dark circles on their faces. Now I understand the messy house, the baby belly that never went away, and the takeout meals. Now I understand you. When baby is sleeping, I usually choose either shower, food, or laundry, but never all three. I’m always tired, I never have time for myself, and my entire day is based around when my baby eats and poops and sleeps. I get irritated when [childless] friends ask me why I can’t just do things when baby is sleeping—I have a hard time keeping myself from laughing at them. And now I feel judged. I feel judged that I– like my house, kitchen sink, and laundry basket—am a mess.

It takes having a baby to turn your entire life upside down. It takes having a baby in order to be able to walk in another woman’s [mom] shoes. It takes having a baby to understand not only the exhaustion, but also the deep and infinite love for something you created. Funny thing is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.