Mom in Search of Peers

I’ve always gone my own way, for better or for worse. I don’t take too well to rules, unless I agree with those rules. You might say, I’m a woman of principle, and unfortunately, principles that I’ve cobbled together from my own experience. I stick around with a philosophy just long enough to take what I want, and once I start to get that One True Way feeling, I go back on the road and keep looking. There are great ideas out in the world. Useful, pragmatic ideas and principles can be found worldwide, along with a fair amount of bullshit. Even good ideas can have their zealots, and ruin it for everyone else. I am a pragmatist with anarchistic tendencies.

I’ve never had a guru. There have been a handful of people that have ended up as quasi-mentors or actual mentors, but the last one I recall having was in high school, and she was fired for being a bitchy badass (or so I remember.) I chucked organized religion when I failed to find a group that suited me, or could give actual answers to my questions. I’m not always proud of my stubbornness. You see, I’d like to have a guru, teacher, or some person or ideal that I could trust to not be full if it. I’m sure there are people out there that fit the bill at least 85% of the time, which may be good enough for me. The fact is, I just haven’t found them yet.

This tendency to reject teachers extends to child-rearing philosophies. I’ve rejected pretty much every mommyblog I’ve come across because so many of them are full of self-absorbed, self-righteous, insecure ramblings that I wonder what this person was like before they had kids. I’ll admit, to engage in blogging is to engage in a certain amount of those things, but I find it particularly abrasive when the topic is children, and the million things you could possibly be getting wrong.

My parenting style has become much like my personal philosophy. I’ve listened to a lot of opinions, and as time has worn on, I’ve started rejecting more and more. I admit, it leaves me a little more blind than I’d like, because in the absence of local maternal figures, commercial TV, parenting magazines and mommyblogs, I’m just kind of going with it from what I’ve accumulated through cursory reads of books and blogs, doctors visits, and some gleanings from our parents’ group. What I’m finding is that I do want peers, or perhaps even mentors/helpers, but there’s so much bullshit that especially as a full-time awesome (aka mom) I don’t have the energy to find them.

The peers I long for are my philosophical peers. They are people who are pragmatists that walk the middle path. They are people that probably wouldn’t want to join a club that would have them as a member. And, I would like to say they have an aversion to anxiety, but I would like to make it clear that it would not be immunity to anxiety. Just an aversion, as in the case of reading a mommyblog that provokes anxiety, they immediately go BULLSHIT and close the page. And finally, my peers are those who have maintained their own structural integrity, but have started to integrate their child into their lives, versus integrating themselves into their child’s life. My life has definitely changed since having my kid, but I’m much the same as I was before, I just have another variable. It’s sometimes challenging, but for the most part, not more than I would have anticipated. (Especially after the rude awakening of motherhood after the first six months.)

The hardest part is to find focus to move forward, but that’s been a problem of mine with or without a kid. Let’s face it, I’ve got some ADHD tendencies, and unstructured time is not my friend. I’ve put some books on hold at the library, and I’ll be trying to take advantage of more community programs. As always, it’s a start – maybe I can find a

Happy Birthday, Son – A Year in Baby Consumerism

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock and Play SleeperSeriously, people. There is an entire industry that is waiting for you to have children so you will spend stupid amounts of money to help you sleep longer and make the transition to parenthood easier in our foolishly independent-focused society. My family has spent some of this ridiculous money. Here’s a list of my favorite things, which worked well for us. Amazon Prime has been a huge help, especially for midnight shopping frenzies while the kid is up and you don’t know how you’re going to be safe to drive the next day. When you can, buy used or borrow from a friend – but always check to see if the item has been recalled. For instance, a bassinet we borrowed had been recalled in 2009, and a stroller I nearly purchased from Craigslist was a recalled version (but they had been shipped the repair, though not installed.)

Also, my best advice to new moms: ignore all mom forums and stay away from baby focused websites. They will make you crazy. Seek real-time, real-mom support in your communities.

Here’s my Top Ten Consumer Choices for the First Year:

The Happiest Baby on the Block – The basics in this book are a lifesaver for the first three months. Read this book, if you can, before the baby is born. It’s seriously one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Which brings me to one of the keys of the Happiest Baby…
SwaddleMe velcro-enhanced swaddles – These are key for those times you’re too tired to re-swaddle using the swaddling techniques in Happiest Baby on the Block
Swaddle Cloths by aden + anais – you (or someone else!) can make swaddle cloths using a 4’x4′ piece of muslin or flannel, but if you just need to buy some to start, this is a great way to do it.
Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper, Yellow
– We used the older version of this as a bassinet for the first six months, especially useful for reflux. It was crucial to getting more sleep for us and our baby. Please note that there was a recent advisory regarding the older model, as some caregivers experienced mold growth after some use, as that the old version was harder to clean. More information here.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump – I borrowed a Medela bump from a friend, and also rented a hospital grade pump. This was spendy, but wonderful to have if I needed to move around while pumping.
Maclaren Quest (and Raincover) – People laugh about how much you can spend on strollers, but the Maclaren is worth it, if you compare it to other strollers in its class. This folds easy, is light enough to carry and has a carrying strap. The rain cover is the easiest to deploy of all stroller covers I’ve tried. Skip the City Mini and pretty much any other stroller, and if you just buy one stroller, buy the Maclaren Quest.
Bugaboo Bee Stroller and Canopy and Bugaboo Baby Cocoon Light – This is an excessively expensive stroller. It’s great for around the neighborhood if you’re in a more urban center. I like the cocoon for making it into a mini-pram, but it’s still super compact, unlike other strollers.
Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher – We wanted to breast feed, but ran into supply issues. This was crucial, especially when traveling.
Ergo Carrier – This is a great carrier that works for the long haul. Definitely not for the totally new-born, but great once they hit 12 lbs.
Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Baby Carrier, Black – I loved my super-snuggly Moby for the first few months. I highly recommend it as a first carrier.

Where I am outed as negative, with difficulty trusting people

Just to follow-up on my post yesterday about a budding comment-spammer, I thought I’d share with you what happened.

I received an email back – however, Traci, the alleged originator of this product – asserted that she HAD been getting my blog (though she cut-and-pasted a Google news alert for “maternity products” of which, you’ll find, I’ve only written ONE blog entry) and that her intentions were not to mass market, but rather, be helpful. I could cut and paste all that, but I’m lazy and will spare you. To say the least, this made me rather sad and concerned about her and her company’s future on TEH INTARWEBS. For while her intentions were good (according to her) I saw other similarities – here’s part of what I wrote back to her:

I cannot fault you, as a business woman, for wanting to increase your business and the awareness of others to your product. However, the method you have chosen is one used by many spammers to sell pornography, pharmaceuticals, face creams and more – and I assure you all of these spammers have tried to use comments in my blog (often times, completely non-sensical or nrelated) to sell their product…

You have put yourself in the same ranks as people who run very shady businesses. As that you responded to me personally, I can only hope that you are NOT one of those people, but rather someone else that is just trying to get a start on Internet commerce. My unsolicited advice to you is to choose another avenue. There are many options, like banner ads on sites relevant to your product, partnering with other maternity Internet retailers, or Google ads – which is quite popular with many people getting started out.

I guess my first mistake was trying to be “helpful.” In her initial responses, she created a portrait of a small business woman, just setting out in a horrible economy (embellishment mine), with a product she needed to advertise, and not a lot of great ideas on how to get this product to a wider audience. Instead of coming off as an evil spammer, she came off as naive – so I took a chance that maybe I could share some of my Patented AdviceTM to be helpful.

I pout pitifully now, as I share with you her response.

I will tell you again that you are incorrect in your assessment, but believe as you will. You must have much more time on your hands to write than I. I do not need to explain how I was recieving your blog…you just want to see it your way…so be it. I hope your life fills with positive energy , you need it.

I’m incorrect, but you won’t tell me HOW. Oh, wait, you don’t need to explain it to me. Nevermind. Uh oh, is she saying that I’m filled with negative energy? Hm. Maybe I should get an exorcism. (Uh oh, no really, this DOES sound negative. I’m being sarcastic! OMG OMG OMG!) Ok, I’ll stop that.

All I can do at this point, as to not continue this discussion that seems to be one sided…is to hope that you find an outlet for you advice and negativity. I truly am sorry that I bothered you…and wish I hadn’t brought on all this negativity into my own life. You apparently must have difficulty trusting or believing in others. I know my intentions were good….that is all that matters.

Well, Traci of BellyPod, they say that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Even worse, I believe this is especially true for people who not just suspect, but KNOW that their intentions were good. Unfortunately (not to get too philisophical), even the concepts of good and bad are highly subjective. To reiterate, while I don’t fault a small business owner trying to get ahead in business, I do think that there are better ways than others to do that. I offered those suggestions to you – maybe so you wouldn’t make the same mistake of bothering another person who has “difficulty trusting” all the promises made on the Internet and uses their personal blog to dispense “advice.” As for the negativity – just as you see your intentions as good, I see my intentions as being at least helpful (though I wouldn’t say good.)

My simple point is this – to any legitimate business person on the Internet – don’t use the same method to sell your product as spammers who are trying to sell Viagra without a prescription. Unless you want your product to be thought of, and bought by, that same market, there are better ways to do it. Heck, I’m sure that even Amazon has some options for small businesses and their products. There are options, and I’m sorry if that seems negative – but you know, I have only good intentions.

A Note to those who wish to Advertise through Comments on Blogs

Good afternoon,

I have been receiving you blog info for a couple of weeks via Google news feeds and I wanted to congratulate you on your pregnancy and the journey you are taking as an expectant mother. I thought since you had a considerable following that I would try and network with a mom and share a product I have spent several years developing for expectant moms…the [redacted].

Wow, NETWORKING WITH A MOM. Uh. Dude. Not a mom. Yet. Also, very much against the Baby Industrial Complex and the Cult of Motherhood. (More exciting blogging on that later, perhaps.)

(Clipped, a lovely little creation story on how she came up with this AMAZING product.)

I hope you will take a look at the ultimate in comfort for expectant moms and will share my enthusiasm for this amazing product. I have included the website and I look forward to your feedback.

Kind regards,


OMG – ULTIMATE comfort?! OMG OMG OMG. How could I say no?! I mean, she’s like, been reading my feed for the past who-knows-how-long and is now GRACING me with this helpful tip!

Hey, here’s some feedback from me:

Dear [Redacted],

After receiving a comment on my blog, which was so obviously not-personalized, but meant to capitalize on my blog entry regarding a product that was related to pregnancy, yet totally different from the product you offer, I can only say that I will be deliberately avoiding your product during my pregnancy.

I believe that exploiting searches, and people’s blogs to hawk your wares is not only cheap and lazy, but also offensive. The way you are doing it fakes a personalization, “I have been receiving you blog info for a couple of weeks via Google news feeds and I wanted to congratulate you on your pregnancy and the journey you are taking as an expectant mother.” I not believe you have been reading my blog all this time. Now, this is an assumption that I’m happy to be incorrect, so if you could tell me what it is about my blog that you came across that made you so interested as to add it to your reader, that would be fantastic.

Furthermore, I will be posting this response to you in a blog entry of my own, as a warning to other people who might choose to try to market their wares through comments on my blog. Sadly, I believe most of the comments are not done by human beings, but rather by robots, and that they could care less. Regardless of that, I figure it can’t hurt to let people know where I stand.

Any future comments made to my blog by your company, or any other, that are explicitly intended to redirect to another website for the sale of a product or service, will be either altered by me to obscure the site or the original poster, or be deleted entirely. None of these comments will even be seen publicly without my approval anyway. I have already altered such means to take care of other comments meant to sell other products.

I’m sure that advertising is expensive. My request is for you to stop using non-commercial blogs, unsolicited, as a way to gain more customers.