Thursday Open Thread

When did you first feel like a “real” mom? Was it when you felt those kicks in utero? When you heard that first cry? When you strapped your baby into a car seat for the first time and headed home?

For actress Elizabeth Banks, that moment didn’t come until she had her second child.

She spoke to People this past weekend about how life has changed significantly since she had her second child in November. I don’t doubt that. But then she went on to say: “You don’t realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”

Some people took offense at her comments, especially on behalf of parents of only children. I don’t think she meant any harm, and I kinda get where she’s coming from. Parenting one child felt like a breeze. DD was an angel baby and we were besotted with her from day one. DS came five years later, and wrangling the needs of two children in very different developmental stages was a whole different ballgame. For the first time, parenthood felt like some serious work. Insanely rewarding work, but work nonetheless.

But then there was her next woe-is-me anecdote:

She described to the magazine how over the holidays she and her husband, Max Handelman, had no help for 10 whole days:

“We had no help, no nannies, no babysitters. It was crazy. You forget how difficult it is to wake up in the middle of the night, how exhausting it is. I lost all my nails. I did dishes and cleaned bottles for 10 days so I lost all those nails!”

Oh dear.

Aaaaanyway… I am also fairly obsessed with the Catfish-like story of Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o and his faux dead girlfriend. Seriously, I couldn’t read this story fast enough. What do you make of it? DH thinks he was in on it. I tend to think he was a most unfortunate, innocent rube.

What else is up? Chat away!


89 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Where is our emoticon for the SOD? Because that’s what I’m giving Elizabeth banks, whoever she is. Poor dear.

    In case you missed my pity party last night, we lost out on our dream house to a cash bidder. Well done, rich people. Oh well. Cried my two tears in a bucket, now we are back in the house hunt and going to see a few tonight. Our lease is up in may and we would really like to settle somewhere for reals. The selling and moving twice thing (plus having a baby in between) is getting very tiresome.

    I started off today with a peed on couch, explosive carseat barfing, and dd and dh stepping in dog poop on our parking pad that was not from our dogs. Gross. However, there is good news: my boss called last night and was thrilled that I was coming back. I don’t know how but a rumor was swirling that I was leaving. I decided I want to work one full weekend a month for a while, plus filling in when needed, to avoid the stress of shuttling to daycare for dd1 and constantly working out weekly babysitting for dd2 (who I am not putting in daycare). My boss agreed to my work and call schedule and I get to work with just her all weekend! We get along great and working weekends is so relaxing for me (opposed to weekdays). Really looking forward to starting the first weekend in match.

  2. Elizabeth Banks can bite me…. when your only child never sleeps, screams bloody murder, eschews all forms of comfort and grows into a kid with anxiety so great she runs screaming down the sidewalk from a bagel shop thinking the steam from the bagels is fire, when you have teachers prying her off you at drop off and it takes you nearly 13 years to even begin to have a relationship with your own child… when you cry every F*cking day over your failure to parent, when you have literal scars on your body from your ONLY CHILD who must be SUCH a BREEEZE to parent then you can say moms of onlies aren’t real moms.

    seriously… now we’re comparing NUMBER of children? I guess that makes michelle duggar the queen bee of us all then huh?

    • Seriously. Fu(k that. Obviously, I do have two kids now. But I really was a mom for 5 1/4 years, just as much as now. I admit that there’s some additional juggling that comes along #2 that makes life a little trickier (2 diff school dropoffs, 2 sets of germs entering the house). But in our family, parenting #1 was and still is a big job. Our easier kid came second, so it’s really no biggie being the parent of two over one. And in some ways, it’s easier to have 2 because they can entertain each other some times and leave me out of it. It *definitely* was easier with 2 in the back seat during our recent 2000+mile roundtrip driving vaca.

  3. Yeah, I’m not even going to touch the Elizabeth Banks one. I will say that Mothers Day 2011 came 9 days after La Bebe Bacon was born and it felt weird to get Mothers Day cards and gifts – I didn’t really feel like a mother yet. That was more a function of still being a newbie and those feelings of being a fraud (what if “they” find out I can’t do this? etc) that I hear nearly every first-time parent experiences.

    As to the Manti Te’o thing, I believe he was in on it. Further, DH and I are inclined to believe that there’s at least a possibility that Lennay was a cover identity for a same-sex relationship. This makes me sound like a conspiracy kook, so let me be clear that we’re both very open to other interpretations, but there’s enough in the story to make us think that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (the person who’s alleged to have run this scam) might have been his bf. I can think of other reasons why Te’o would have been involved in making up something like this, and that it just got really out-of-control.

    • I see where you’re coming from. But this whole story is just so damn weird. Some Arizona Cardinals player swears to Zeus het me this woman, long before she became involved with Te’o:

      “One source close to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man suspected of being behind the hoax, says he created Lennay Kekua as far back as 2008 and Te’o “wasn’t the first person to have an online ‘relationship’ with her.” So it’s entirely possible that Tuiasosopo, from a big Hawaii football family, found marks in other local football products—like Reagan Maui’a. But his story of meeting “Kekua” would mean there was an actual, physical woman involved at one point. Every answer leads to twice as many questions.”

    • Speaking of catfish, I love that show! Got totally addicted during late night feedings. But now that my baby is sleeping through the night (#humblebrag!) I’ve missed a bunch of episodes.

    • Yeah, I think he was in on it, and that fake dead girlfriend was a coverup. He’s a Mormon at a catholic university playing machoball. Coming out is barely an option for someone in that situation.

    • I read a theory that I thought seemed plausible. Maybe he was having a relationship with the guy but started out lying to his Mormon family about it. Telling them “she” was visiting Hawaii and he was going out to meet “her,” talking on the phone to “her,” etc. Then it snowballed as perhaps his family told friends or the media about her. Then the two killed her off as a way to end the lie when people seemed like they were getting suspicious. So it was not an intentional lie to the press from the start but became one over time when he couldn’t get around making a small lie bigger.

      It seemed like it made more sense than some other possibilities.

  4. She’s nuts. I felt like a mom the month after I married DH, which is surprising since I didn’t have kids for another 10 years.

    How’s that for a bit of insight into my marriage?

  5. Talk me down ladies. My daughter is behaving like a child who has not had any upbringing lately. She is having weekly tantrums leaving her ballet class because she doesn’t like the reward stickers that the teacher hands out. This is a you get what you get and don’t have a fit situation and the girl is throwing fits despite having been talked to by my mother and me for doing it. She knows that she needs to say “Thank you” and accept it graciously but instead she has been having screaming tantrums. She is 5 and too old for this nonsense. Today I marched her right back in to apologize to her teacher. WWMTD?

    • Unqualified armchair psychology here: If this is specific to ballet and not a pattern everywhere in her life, I would assume this is where she is displacing some of her stress. She’s trying to keep a lid on the anxiety about her father, so she simply cannot tolerate the disappointment of getting the wrong sticker. The daddy free zone is supposed to be free of all disappointment. I don’t know what your husband’s health/mobility/scheduling limitations might be, but if ballet is something that you always bring her to, maybe let daddy take her for a couple of weeks so he can be the one to give the hugs and express admiration at the end of class.

      • what Lyn said… I don’t think it’s about ballet or stickers but they are one definable thing in her life when so many things are un defined and uncertain. It’s like when my brother’s eldest was five and we were all up visiting my mom and my nephew threw a screaming fit b/c he “missed his Lion King Candy bar” that was at home… he didn”t miss the candy bar, he missed home but he couldn’t verbalize that… just like M.R. can’t verbalize that things aren’t right b/c daddy is sick… but she can zone in on that STICKER ISN”T RIGHT and she wants things to be RIGHT dammit…

    • I agree with the others that it is probably rooted in the issues you all are going through . A concrete suggestion I have though is to talk to her at a time when she isn’t upset and ask why the stickers bother her or what would her solution be to stop herself from having a tantrum. I am sure I have read that here somewhere and when I used it with my son it did help.

  6. Don’t forget how common it is for people to think they are excellent parents until reality smacks them upside the head in the form of #2. I think I know what she was trying to express when she stuck her foot in it. It was only with the second child that motherhood subsumed my identity. With my first I was as much a mother as I’d ever be, but I was still a scientist with a kid and that’s the way I thought of myself. When the second came around it was like, whoa; who and what am I now? At the time my thinking was that you can incorporate one child into your life, but at some point – two with me, maybe different for someone else – the balance tips and you have to incorporate your life into theirs. However like Banks, my first was my easy one. I’m sure if you start with a challenging child the tipping point can come at one, while someone who finds parenting to be a breeze might not tip until four or more.

    • yeah, that’s kind of how I took it. And the stuff about being on your own without nannies….well….that is her world, and that was different for her. Like if I said, man it sucks living in an 1800 square foot house with four people and a dog, sometimes I wish my house was bigger — if you live in an 800 square foot apartment, that sounds entitled and offensive. I am a stay at home mom with kids who are as tall as me, and in school all day. If I say “I’m tired, look how busy I am” that probably sounds ridiculous to a single mom who works outside the home all day and parents two kids on her own.

      Maybe because I like Elizabeth Banks in general, I don’t know, or maybe because that whole bottle washing phase is so far behind me — I took her comments as she’d had a wake up call over the holidays.

  7. OMG. I was just in the book room at DS2’s school doing the book exchange which I do once a week. There was another mom in there doing the exchange for another class who got a phone call to come pick up her preschooler from his preschool on campus. It turned out there was a guy in the apartments near there (I believe these must be the graduate student apartments) who was making a bomb and it blew up on him. The police went in there and there were all kinds of bomb making materials, so they closed the preschool and called all the parents to pick up their kids.

    I guess we will be hearing more later but thank goodness the kids weren’t hurt. I hope nobody else was hurt but have no more details right now.

  8. Stormy’s a really good baby who may quite possibly remain an only child, and I don’t think it’s at all offensive to say that (no matter how hard or easy your first baby is), it’s much more difficult to have a second child on top of the first. Why do we have to assume she’s saying that must be the universal absolute truth for everyone? Why do we assume she’s telling us how *we* have to feel about it, and why are we then leaping to tell her she’s wrong to feel that way and presuming to tell her how *she* should feel?

    And if *she* didn’t feel like a mom until she had to deal with two, so what? (I can see what she means, actually–so far Stormy hasn’t completely taken over my life, but having two probably would, and maybe for her, the “I’m a mom” moment came when she had a moment of that being her entire identity.) I’m not sure I really feel like a mom all the time yet (it’s really surreal to be in my office and think of there being a baby at home waiting for me), and I certainly didn’t even *start* feeling like one until a few days after we got him home.

    It reminds me over the furore over so-called “humblebrags.” Why are we competing over how hard we have it, anyway? Someone asked her how she felt, she told them, and now we’re tearing her down because it’s not as hard for her as it is for other people. Everyone *could* have it much harder, including every one of us. Fundamentally, 99% of most people’s complaints, including mine, could be seen as humblebrags by someone who has a more difficult time of it. Stormy’s misshapen ear is entirely a cosmetic fix and we can afford to fix it if we want–does that mean I shouldn’t complain about how hard the decision is? My job pays well and has excellent benefits–does that mean I can’t complain about what an @$$ my boss is?

    I saw a Facebook meme going around that really resonated with me lately. It said “Telling someone they have no right to be down because other people have it harder is like telling someone they have no right to be happy because other people have it better.”

    • I completely agree. I wrote here a few years ago about how bizarre and perhaps life changing it was for me to receive sympathy from another mom at the treatment clinic about my son’s situation. After all, her daughter was going to die. I didn’t feel I could accept this from her, but her sympathy was genuine and despite my discomfort it would have been ungracious and downright wrong of me to reject it. Our stresses, tragedies, and triumphs are our own. We have the right to feel them, and others have the right to share in them without prorating them on a competitive scale. How else can we support each other?

      • Thanks, Lyn. Can I quote you on that? I could use the reminder now and then myself.

        I think the moment it hit home for me was when many of my friends were having babies but I still wasn’t planning to have any, and I saw a rant from someone who also didn’t plan to have kids about how judged she felt because all her friends were posting about how in love they were with their babies and they’ve never felt love like that before and it changed their life and yadda yadda. And I suddenly thought “Why do you assume what *they* feel is meant to say that *you* should feel the same? If they’re your friends, don’t you *want* to know how they feel?”

      • I love this:
        “We have the right to feel them, and others have the right to share in them without prorating them on a competitive scale. How else can we support each other?”

        Love. it.

    • I think it was the stuff about the servants and having to wash her OWN bottles for TEN WHOLE days and get up at night with her OWN child for ten days that kind of pissed us off. The other bit wasn’t particularly offensive.

      • It was an interview, you know? I can’t find the original article, but I assume they *asked* her what had been the hardest part or something like that. What was she supposed to say? “There’s nothing hard about having children when you’re rich”?

        • Pretty much, lol!

          I dunno, maybe something about loving someone outside of yourself so deeply yet and letting them take steps toward independence, that sort of thing. Not “I had to take care of my OWN child when he cried in the night!” Sounds like the editor didn’t like her much, or that part would have been left out, lol

          • Well, we also only have what someone who was determined to take offense quoted out of the original article in People, which was itself what the interviewer quoted out of what she said.

            I don’t have a nanny or housekeeper, but if you’d asked me what the hardest part of having Stormy had been so far, I’d have said exactly the same thing—the first long stretch where I had to take care of him without having someone else there to help me. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable response to me.

      • You’re as free to disagree with me as I am to disagree with you. Just ’cause I love you doesn’t mean I agree with you all the time (although I do most of the time). 😀

    • Yes, but I took offense to the universalizing way she said it. “YOU don’t realize how easy one is until you have two.” It was not about how she alone felt, she didn’t say, “I didn’t realize that my only child was easy until I had my second child.” I wouldn’t have bristled at that. Sure, she has the right to feel what she feels and to say it without people getting all offended and personalizing it. But as someone with an only for over 5 years, and who dealt with lots of people making comments that inferred was Banks seemed to be saying, I took offense at her generalized statement that one is easy and two is hard.

      • Eh, as one who speaks with breathtaking imprecision at times, I can see where “you” may have been a stand-in for the “one” or “I” she should have used.

        I tend to think that she was speaking her truth as she’s living it, which is all she can do honestly. So…whatever.

        • Maybe I’m just not as generous as some of y’all. Maybe the only/multiple kid issue is not a hot enough button for everyone here. I think if she would have said, “you have to breastfeed because it’s the only way to truly feel like a mom,” she might have just been talking about her own feelings. But I think most of us would be been pissed at that comment on behalf of moms who didn’t breastfeed. It’s one of the things I treasure most about MT–that we try to be respectful of others choices and don’t take kindly to those generalizing comments.

  9. So today a 55+ male co-worker asked me how my kids were and hen asked me “Where are they, in daycare all day?” He probably means nothing really but these questions, along with the comment “oh, it’s such a long day” to the hours my kids are in daycare always just hit me the wrong way. You know, I have to work but I work a reduced schedule and I work weekends to minimize the time my kids have to be in care. But besides that I LIKE to work and my kids’ daycares are great and the women that care for them are wonderful and have added to immensely to my kids’ development. Why must this at home mother (or parent) ideal continue to exist? Can’t it just be what works for every family?

    • Oh boo hiss. I’m a mostly stay at home mom who had 1 in full day head start for 2 years (because he was getting early intervention) and now 1 in full day daycare 2 days a week for social interaction. I get a lot of “it’s such a looooong day” comments. Just brush it off. If I could swing it, I would prefer to work full time. Not that it’s anyone else’s business. Shake it off mama. You’re doing the right thing. Haters gon’ hate.

    • just do what I did… reply ” not as long as a day home with me would be… trust me,she’s better off..”

      that used to stop them every time

      • Brilliant line. I must work with really kind people, because no one ever pulls that kind of crap with me (and it’s not because I’m some sort of Katie-verbal-gem-spewing badass).

        • well, this particular guy is a sanctimonious jerk who is a chauvinist in feminist clothing if you get what I mean. Also, I work with alot of 50+ guys with grown kids whose wives were at home when their kids were young.

          • Ah. I had a boss like that at one point. He used to tell me all about how “we are home schooling our kids because the education system is just jail…” blah blah blah. I got fed up one day and said “You’re working 80 hours a week. Who exactly is homeschooling your kids? I’m sure you didn’t mean that you have anything to do with it!”

            I’m so not meant to have a boss.

      • Oh, I use a version of that on my own kids. “I don’t want to go to school.” “Well, your alternative is staying home with me, and that is not on my agenda. Trust me, you’d rather go to school.”
        My mom is critical of women who are “obsessed with their careers, she should be home with the baby.” No, probably not, in their cases.

    • I worked briefly with a sanctimonious prick whose kid was the same age as my elder but being raised properly at home by a stay at home mom. He was very proud of the fact that she limited his son’s TV viewing to four hours a day, though of course there were exceptions and that didn’t count considerable TV time after dad was home (parents deserve time for each other, you know). Whereas the only thing my poor kids were getting during those hours (and I only worked part time) was early childhood education, and poor mom and dad had to interact with them after work. Um, ok, juicebag; I bow to your higher standards.

  10. Erika – you are not going to believe this but one of my young coworker/friend’s boyfriend’s brother is Manit Te’o’s best friend. They played together both in high school and at Notre Dame. I will see if I can get any scoop for you.

    As for feeling like a mother I definitely felt like one right when my daughter was born. She was just an unbelievably lovely easy baby and has pretty much remained that way over her almost 15 years. My son was a more challenging kid and that started early. I guess for me until I had two I didn’t see any of the downside of being a parent. Bank’s comments were definitely not very articulate, but I didn’t take it as one is not a mother until they have two. And I know people in my personal life who have enough money to have a lot of help. I think they simply don’t understand how people in the “real world” live. I’m sure her publicist wishes she would have phrased that differently. For example Sarah Jessica Parker always says how appreciative and how she knows how lucky she has it to be able to afford a cook and child care help. Somehow that just makes me like her more.

    • Jenn says that CNN called her boyfriend! (They are also childhood friends.) According to everyone that knows Manti he really is a nice guy – and very seriously into being Mormon. Her bf knows that he was upset about the death of this girl – just not sure how much she really was his “girlfriend”. We were just speculating that he used this “girlfriend” as a way an excuse not to party and be crazy with a lot of girls as is expected of a star athlete. Just a total guess.

  11. Here’s my question. How do I know that any of you are real? Maybe most of you are all 15 year old boys with fake mom personas out to fool unsuspecting progressive moms like me who just want to talk about temper tantrums, celebrities, and gun control.

    • We did, way back when I first met Katie, have a fake Mom on a parenting board. We never found out who “she” really was, but it tore the group apart – some people believed her, some didn’t, and there was a lot of bad feeling. It made me very suspicious of online people. And we had our own questionable person here on MT.

      I cannot figure out how people have the time, and what motivates them, to the fake stuff. I barely have time to do the real things (like here!)

      • Well if you didn’t have kids you’d have more time to be posting here. So yeah, most of us are probably fake, except maybe tgfaa who never has time to show up any more.

        • Some of us have gone to extreme lengths to appear as our avatars, though. Whoever dressed as/hired stunt doubles for Katie, Sue, Carina, Gloria, Hillary and mpg over the years has devoted some serious time to their craft.

          As for me, I keep a Stepford Wife in the cupboard whenever someone wants to meet “Rachel”.

      • As always, I’m late to the party. I didn’t know what the term “catfishing” meant in the online world, so I googled it- yikes.

        I’ve met a few MTers, and they’ve met a few others, so I’m confident there is a solid base of super-cool, progressive, smartypants mama-types who represent honestly here. And, any 15 year old boy who can hang with us was likely raised by one of us :)

  12. Ya’ll. I am all by myself. DH is on a trip, DD is sleeping over. So it’s just me and da boyz (aka the dog and cat.) I’m drinking wine, eating leftover pizza, and watching cheezy movies on netflix streaming. (Currently Brian’s Song. Don’t judge.)

    One small problem – there’s a storm moving in, and the power has blinked. So I’m afraid it will go out when I’m all by myself.

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