Friday, June 11, 2021

Blogaround

1. NFL pledges to halt ‘race-norming,’ review Black claims (posted June 2) "The NFL on Wednesday pledged to halt the use of “race-norming” — which assumed Black players started out with lower cognitive function — in the $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims and review past scores for any potential race bias." What the fuck.

2. Yes, But WHICH Hell Shall We Fear? (Journey Into Hell #1) (posted May 25) "There's no more reason to fear it than we have to fear the Chinvat Bridge or Mictlan."

3. Does God Have His Own Logic? (posted February 4) "Yes, of course there are things that are mysteries to us but not to God. That is not the issue here. The issue here is what a person is permitted to say if he or she expects to be taken seriously." Yes, THANK YOU, I am very excited to find an evangelical saying this.

4. Cruella (posted May 28) "Did you ever wonder how Cruella De Vil, the vampy fiend from Disney's '101 Dalmatians,' became evil enough to want to kill puppies and skin them for fur coats? You didn't? Ah, well—there's a movie about it, 'Cruella.'"

5. Still There for You: China’s Enduring Obsession With ‘Friends’ (posted June 7) Yep, it's like every Chinese person my age is a fan of "Friends" and used it as a key resource in learning English. My husband is a huge fan and so now I am a huge fan too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Adulting Happened When I Became a Mom, Not a Wife

A mom holding a baby while trying to get things done. Image source.

Remember when I was a teenage girl and people were like "don't be so sad about being single- don't focus on finding the right person, focus on being the right person!" This idea is present in society in general, but I also got the Christian version of it- "God wants to teach you to be a better person before He has you meet your future husband."

So basically, the reason I was single was being I didn't have all the right character traits- patient enough, compassionate enough, generous enough, trustworthy enough, etc. I should work on developing those and becoming a better person, and then Mr. Right will magically appear.

All of that had me believing that married people must have already achieved "good responsible devoted Christian" status, and that's how they got God to hand over a spouse for them. Surely married people must all be so kind and caring and trustworthy and all those good qualities- otherwise, God would have put their love life on hold so they could "focus on being the right person." Right?

Lol. LOL. Nope, turns out that's not true at all.

Turns out, in order to get married, all you need is a person who consents to marry you. It's literally that simple. Yeah, obviously you should put a lot of thought into the decision- just because you find someone willing doesn't mean you SHOULD marry them. But it DOES mean you CAN marry them.

And the way it works in reality is, you find someone with about the same level of general responsible-ness as you, and you kind of settle in to living your lives together, with some amount of overlap but also keeping a lot of your own personal habits, which may or may not be "responsible adult" habits.

Hendrix and I, after we got married and continued going about our day-to-day lives together, we would leave dirty dishes in the sink for days, order takeout for dinner every night instead of cooking, stay up late on the computer every night, did not even own a mop, etc etc etc. Like if you both have "not very responsible" habits that are compatible with each other, you just continue on like that. Just because you're married doesn't mean that changes.

But having a baby, man. Having a baby is what changed that.

When you're taking care of a newborn baby, you do not even have a chance to do the bare minimum to get your own needs met, because the baby constantly needs something. You learn to get things done in a reliable, responsible, optimal way, because you never know when you'll be stuck holding a baby and need to grab something and you don't have any time or spare hand to deal with whatever mess was left in the way by your past self.

Like you get up in the morning, your sheets are strewn everywhere, and you're like "oh whatever, I'll make the bed later, I don't want to now" and then next thing you know, your baby has pooped all over his clothes and you need to lay him down to get him changed and you're trying to use your elbow to pull out the changing pad and spread it out on your bed among all the messed-up sheets.

Then when your baby finally takes a nap, you're like "OH THANK GOD" and you're thinking about all the things you need to get done while he's sleeping, but you say "let me sit down and take a break and check Twitter real quick" and then 20 minutes later, the baby wakes up and you are still scrolling through Twitter, have not gotten a single thing done, have not even had a chance to brush you hair the entire day.

You're sitting on the couch breastfeeding, sitting up with your back very very straight so that the baby will stay in exactly the right place, and your shoulders hurt and your back hurts, but you're like "eh whatever, I can tolerate this, it's not that bad, I don't feel like getting up to get a pillow for my back." And you end up sitting there for hours and hours over the course of the day, and your back hurts so bad, you feel like you can't take it any more, but GUESS WHAT, the baby is hungry again. You have to hold him again. And so you learn to set up all the pillows correctly every morning, so you can sit and breastfeed in a way that's sustainable for hours and hours. None of this "well I'll just tolerate it because I don't feel like getting up."

You get up in the morning (after being woken up over and over all night) and your whole shirt is wet, soaked with breast milk. And you say, "oh I won't bother to change my shirt yet, because I'm about to get a shower, so I'll just change it then." Honey, I'm sorry, I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but if you have a newborn baby, you are not "about to get a shower." Your baby is gonna need something, over and over and over, and by the time the stars align and you have a chance to go shower, it'll be the middle of the afternoon. So go put on a clean shirt right away.

I learned to get things done immediately, when I had a chance. When the baby goes to sleep, the first thing you need to do is rush around and clean up everything you didn't have a chance to clean up before. Then take 1 more lap around the apartment just to check again if there's anything else that needs to be cleaned up. AND THEN, when that's done, then you can sit down and take a break.

I also started appreciating my parents more. While I was on maternity leave, I traveled to the US with the baby (this was before the pandemic) and I was so grateful every time they helped change his diaper, entertain him, hold him, get him dressed, give him a bath, etc. I noticed the work that they did in ways I never had before.

All this is to say, taking care of a newborn forced me to change my whole approach to housework/ getting things done. My approach now is what I would think of as a "responsible adult" way to do things. And maybe that's not the right word to use, because I don't want to imply that being a parent is somehow a more "valid" way to be an adult, or some nonsense like that. Mainly I just want to say that "you're single because you need to focus on being the right person" is totally wrong. Married people are not more "the right person" than single people. There's nothing about being married that stops you from leaving dishes in the sink for days, if you've married a spouse that also has that habit. Having a baby, though, wow that will force you to change.

Becoming a mom changed me and made me "grow up" so much more than marriage did. Just shows more and more that what I learned in church about singleness and marriage was completely wrong.

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Don't worry, the baby will only be this extremely high-maintenance for the first 1-3 months. After that, you still have to work constantly to take care of the baby, but it's no longer true that "you do not even have a chance to do the bare minimum to get your own needs met." Good luck!

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Related:

"God has one perfect guy for you!" Yeah, that's not biblical. 

What My Marriage Is Actually About (It's Not Sex And It's Not Jesus)

An Update on Whether or Not "Marriage is Hard" Now That We Have a Child

In Purity Land, a First Date is a Bigger Decision Than Marriage

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