Your mom isn’t perfect

All right, it’s time to do some unpacking.

When a woman first has a child, if she chooses (and is able) to breastfeed, she’ll likely feed her child for 20+ minutes, every 2 hours. Here’s what that doesn’t mean:
Start breastfeeding at 1, feed til 1:30, take a nice break and breastfeed again at 3:30.

We’re talking 2 hours from the start of the nursing session. So:
Start at 1, feed til 1:30, change baby, rock baby to sleep, eat a snack, start feeding again at 3 while trying not to fall asleep or cry on her.

Anyway, my point is you’re feeding your newborn constantly! I get it, they have tiny, marble-sized stomachs. But it’s intense, neverending.

As hard as it is to believe in those first few days, at some point after giving birth you’re going to want to leave the house. And here’s where the anxiety sets in: breastfeeding in public! Dun dun duuuuuun!

As much as we hear “Breast is Best” from our doctor and get 12 pamphlets per visit preaching this, we have all heard stories of exhausted new mothers being harassed, bullied, or shamed while nursing in public.

What is this about? On one side, there is the deeply engrained American Puritanism. Nudity (especially female nudity) = sex = sin. Then on the other side there’s our predominantly male culture’s objectification and possessiveness of the female body. “Boobs are for men to look at and that is all.” It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that nursing in public has nothing to do with sex or men or really anything else but mom feeding her hungry infant to keep her alive!

Mix those two skewed beliefs together and add one more: MOM.

Mom is perfect. Mom is your protector. Mom knows how to save the day. You know all those movies where a fight breaks out right after someone says Don’t you say anything about my mother!

“Good” moms are above criticism. They don’t swear. They don’t pass gas. They have Pinterest boards, but they certainly don’t expose their breast in public.

But of course they should breastfeed. Because that’s good. Just… don’t let anyone see it. Because that’s confusing.

Good moms don’t fuck. Sure, if you’re a mom, you’re reading this saying “Hey! I’m a mom and I like a good fuck every now and then.” OK, but now think about your mom having a good— No thank you very much? Exactly. Your good mom doesn’t have sex.

Good moms take care and give of themselves. Nursing is giving. “But wait, boobs are for sex. So if I see you keeping your child alive with your biological magic (good) but also I can see your boob (sex) that… does not…compute. Are you a good mom or a bad mom!? Are you a mom or a sex object!? Wait am I objectifying a mom? Gah!”

“Ya know what, let me just throw a blanket over you so I don’t have to hold multiple ideas of you at the same time. Or better yet, do you wanna go into the bathroom? Moms don’t care about stinky, germ-ridden places right? Never mind, just go home. Yeah. That’s better. Moms are happiest at home.”

And that’s how moms become isolated, depressed, and anxious.

“Oh. But moms don’t suffer from depression because that would be less than perfect so… why don’t you go pin some developmentally appropriate activities, Mom? Your board always looks like your life is really together!”

News flash. Your mom isn’t perfect. No mom is. And here’s part two. You’re an asshole for expecting her to be.

Your mom fails. Your mom is selfish sometimes. She probably has sex and she definitely shits. Your mom is a perfectly imperfect, flawed and flailing human being just like every other human on this planet and you should let her be one. And so is my mom. And so am I.

I was asked to participate in a video for BuzzFeed about normalizing breastfeeding. Check it out:

Welcome to Mommy Mountain!

Happy New Year and welcome to the blog! Mommy Mountain is a collection of thoughts on motherhood as seen through my unique lens as an actor, comedian, and feminist.

You’ll find a new post every 2 weeks (probably) on Tuesdays (usually). What can I say? Motherhood is a big task and we should all look for ways to cut ourselves a little slack when we can.

Plus, I believe in trusting my instincts. So let’s say, for example, 10 weeks in, I suddenly get inspired to write a short “Welcome to the blog!” post and release it on a Thursday even though I normally release on Tuesdays… well, here we are.

I also believe in just starting, not waiting to “get it right” or for perfection. On election night, I knew it was time to begin. So I did. I started. And that’s how what was intended to be a mostly comedic-toned blog started on a sad, serious, honest note.

I’m raising a daughter. (We’ll call her Baby ABC.) I live in Los Angles. I love to swear and to go for the funny but I’m planning to talk about some of the hard stuff too, because that’s how it gets out into the light. I hope you’ll enjoy reading and perhaps be inspired to share your own hard, funny, messy motherhood experiences with me and others. Sometimes I find just sharing the weight of a challenge helps me find humor in the telling and lightens the load a bit.

Finally, if Mommy Mountain does move you in any way, please share it with someone you think might enjoy it as well. Thank you for reading and welcome to Mommy Mountain. I should have trained for this.

Too Close To It

My sketch group informed me that I’m too close to shit. Not like a generalized “shit”, like as a replacement for the word “stuff” or “things”, but “shit” as in poop. I am apparently, too comfortable with poop.

I pitched a sketch called “Meryl Takes a Shit”, the premise being that Meryl Streep is so beloved that people would watch her do anything so she decides to make a movie about… well, do I really need to spell it out?

They loved the sketch but took issue with the idea of showing a (fake!) turd at the end. Too far. Too gross. Too much.

Is it true? Am I in too deep to this mommy thing? I nannied for years before, too. Have I just wiped too many asses? Also I have a cat. I do. I put my hands near lots of shit each and every day. It’s not like I like it! But have I been desensitized?

I’ve decided I’m getting them all copies of “Everyone Poops” for Christmas.

Check out the finished sketch (now turd free!) here:

What’s your problem, Mother Nature?

So here’s a fun fact. When a nursing mother’s period resumes after birthing the baby, not only does she get the acne, cramps, and general fuckery of PMS back, but now she may just get an extra fussy baby as well. Whether due to the hormones passing between mother and child or due to breastmilk production diminishing slightly, the kid is a mess right exactly when you are. This seems like either a huge oversight or a big middle finger from Mother Nature; one of many, I might add. There are plenty.

If Mother Nature truly is a mother and not, as I’m beginning to expect, a mother-fucker, she should have made the opposite true. Mom gets period. Baby becomes incredibly self-sufficient and independent for 5-7 days. Instead of whimpering and clinging to your ankles while you fight back pain, weepiness, and a generalized-yet-intense annoyance with the world, your baby will entertain herself. “Go ahead mama, you lie in the fetal position on the couch. Imunna stack these blocks for myself to knock over.” Your baby will stop chewing the remote, put on Project Runway, and maybe use her tiny but strong hands (previously used exclusively for pulling your hair and pinching the cat) to rub your feet. Or maybe she’ll wake you up in the morning, not with cries at 6 am, but with breakfast in bed at 8; fried eggs, fried hash browns, short stack of pancakes… fried…

Ok, clearly I’m just joking about that last bit. Obviously it’s dangerous for a baby to be near a stove. But surely she could at least microwave a damn muffin and start the coffee maker couldn’t she!? Come on!

Sigh. You really blew it on this one Mother Nature.

A New Mother on November 8th

November 8th I woke up filled with expectation and pride. I dressed my 8 month old daughter in her “Females are strong as hell” onesie and we, along with her father, stood in line for an hour and 15 minutes, rocking and distracting a bored baby. Growing misty-eyed, I wore Baby ABC in her carrier into the voting booth and together, my daughter and I voted for our first female president.

That night, as things started taking a turn in the wrong direction, I cried, I felt sick, I raged, I despaired as I watched my daughter’s future, every woman’s future, threaten to do a U-turn. That morning I had been overcome with joy at the thought that my daughter wouldn’t understand the significance of a woman president. ”What’s the big deal? Women do all jobs.” she’d say, rolling her eyes.

And now it seems as if she may have to fight the exact same battles we are fighting for a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, to support herself and her family, and to be viewed as a human being equal to men.

When Joe and I had used all our emotional capital, we turned the TV off and I carried a sleeping ABC up to her crib. Here’s what I said to her through my tears.

“I’m so sorry.

I thought today would be the day but it isn’t.

We still have a lot of fighting to do.

But I will protect you as best I can, with all I have.

And I will give you the tools for this fight.

I will wrap you in warmth and love and give you good people for your tribe so you will never have reason to doubt that you are worthy.

I love you so much.

There is hope.

I’m sorry today wasn’t the day.”