Wednesday Advice Smackdown
July 20, 2005
GODDAMN. IT IS HOT.
STUPID CITY THAT WAS BUILT ON A STUPID SWAMP WITH THE HUMIDITY AND THE WHATNOT. FEET ARE TOO SWOLLEN FOR CUTE SHOES. HAIR IS LIMP. MOOD IS CRANKY.
LET'S GET THIS ADVICE THING OVER WITH BEFORE I MELT OR RUN SOMEBODY OVER WITH MY CAR.
Dearest, Smartest, and Most-Worldliest Amalah,
I am going to be 26 soon, and have been married for a little over a year to my wonderful husband. The marriage was sort of a surprise to both of us, having both been consummate singles with no real plan of finding "the one" ever in our lives, EVER, but we have found each other and are madly in love and etc etc etc.
My question is about children, since I know nothing about them or the gestation process which comes with them. I have plenty of years left with viable eggs and spanking-fresh ovaries, but my husband is 11 years older than me and we spend a lot of time talking about when we should have children. I mean, I'm ready now in the sense that "yeah, a baby would be nice because I'm female and married and mostly ready to procreate," but I'd like to wait until we're more financially stable. The husband had pretty much written off children because of his late-in-life bachelor stage, but he would like a baby as well, but has the opinion that we should wait another year or so, which makes sense because he's still getting used to the fact that he's married.
So, here's my conundrum: How long should we wait before kids? We're both ready now, but we keep putting it off until "we get a house." Until "he gets out of the navy." Until "we have more money in the savings account." We keep seeming to put it off, which is fine with both of us, but I keep wondering if we should be waiting SO long because he is so much older than me and I don't want him to be 80 when our kids graduate the oh-so-expensive college that they'll probably want to go to. We're both ready in a sense, but there are so many factors to factor in.... What do you think?
I think you should not care what I think. Or what anybody thinks. There are only two people who should be involved in this decision: you and your husband.
For starters, you should both really, really want a baby. You should feel ready to give up the life you have now and turn everything topsy-turvy and upside-down because you really want a baby that badly.
You should also realize that there will never be "the perfect time" when the stars align and your bank account is overflowing and you find the house of your dreams and look! The previous owners left us a crib and a fully-decorated nursery! It's a sign!
And you should remember that trying to get pregnant can sometimes take a lot longer than you think it will. This is Jason's advice to any of our friends who are debating the To Kid Or Not To Kid Question. He was understandably freaked when I went off the pill several years ago (mostly because of my dad's poor health and a complete freak-out on my part when I imagined having a child who might never know him). A year later, he was puzzled and a little frustrated. A year after that, he was all, "Okay, WHAT THE HELL."
(Five minutes after that, I was pregnant.)
But more than anything, don't let people like me scare you with stories like that. Don't let your family be all up in your "So when are you going to have a baaaayyy-beee" grill. Don't let your friends sway you with the "It's the greatest thing we've ever done! Join us! JOOOOIN US!" crap. Don't do anything just because you feel like it's what you "should" do.
Have a baby because you want to, when you want to. Enjoy your time alone with your husband, and make sure you're really ready to say goodbye to that for another 18 to 20 years. Go on some vacations.
And then one day, when you look at someone else's tiny baby, you may feel your chest go tight and your arms will ache and you'll be overwhelmed with the urge to smell that baby's head. Then you'll know. It's time.
I'd bet dollars to donuts you have covered this before but, unfortunately, beauty and its related paraphernalia are not my strong suit (which is why you won't be seeing pictures of me on my blog). People get to talking about Bed Head this and emulsifying that and my eyes glaze over.
Anywho, I am about to go get an awesome haircut next month when I go to California (yes, I have to travel 1500+ miles to get a decent haircut. I live in Hell, also known as Oklahoma). What I'm in the market for is a good styling product. I currently have some Paul Mitchell garbage-in-a-can and some sorry, half-assed excuse for hairspray (also Paul Mitchell) that manages to, at the same time, both NOT hold my hair in the slightest AND glue the top layer together in a crunchy mass. My hairstyle is going to be short and I have to blow it dry to get it to lie flat. (It's board-straight except it flips up at the ends.) It's very thick and fairly fine. Also I have Issues with excess oil production so I don't want anything that's going to make me look like a big fucking slimeball who never showers five minutes after I've put it on.
Something readily available in the stores would be good, though if the best solution involves a purchase at a salon I'm cool with it. Thank you!
Well, in my experience, no matter what your Styling Issue is, Paul Mitchell is NEVER the right answer. Loathe, hate, seethe.
(Apologies to anyone who loves Paul Mitchell products and...oh, fuck it. No apologies. Get your own advice column and keep your defensive huffiness out of my comments section. Is too hot for this shit.)
From your question, however, I'm not quite getting what your actual Styling Issue is. Frizz? Volume? Cowlicks? A refusal to blow-dry straight?
Believe it or not, I do not advocate the use of styling products JUST FOR THE SAKE OF USING STYLING PRODUCTS. Especially on fine, oily hair. If your hair is doing what you like it to do without any products, then great! Don't use any.
I own a lot of styling products just because I like to wear my hair in a lot of different ways, not because I actually goop on 17 different products every morning. Some days, I don't use anything other than some leave-in conditioner on my somewhat-frizzy ends. Other days, I go all out with the root lift spray and straightening gel and spray shine and texture paste.
So Mary, if you're reading today, leave a comment and let us know exactly What Your Hair Does That You Wish It Didn't, or What You Wish Your Hair Would Do That It Doesn't (besides the oil production issue, which I covered in last week's Smackdown), and we shall pool the collective Hair Talents of all Amalah.com readers and offer some specific suggestions.
Beyond, you know, that Paul Mitchell products are crap in a can.
Not so very long ago you shared your sacred advice on how to get knocked up with me. And like any loyal Amalah reader, I followed it. And VOILA! Here I am, 16 weeks pregnant.
Now, not that I'm not grateful for the previous advice, but I forgot to ask you something: Once you get pregnant, HOW DO YOU STOP THE PUCKING????? I mean, I'm in my second trimester already!! Don't you think this should have STOPPED by now? How did you finally get it to go away, oh wisest of expectant mothers?
(Since this question was sent to me, oh, four hundred weeks ago, I sincerely hope that Bellabelly is no longer puking and that my answering this question now will only help other pregnant women currently caught in the Evil Grasp of the Puking, and that Bellabelly can leave a comment along the lines of AM FINE NOW, BITCH, THANKS FOR NOTHING.)
(Although, if the puking hasn't stopped, she has my deepest sympathies, but also my command to NOT EVER TELL ANOTHER NEWLY PREGNANT WOMAN ABOUT HER NEVER-ENDING PUKING. People LOVED to tell me about some woman they knew who had morning sickness for the full nine months or until she stopped breast-feeding or some other horror story, and they are SO LUCKY I felt too sick to murder them, because SHUT UP. NOT HELPING.)
I tried EVERYTHING to stop the puking. (Well, everything short of the prescription drugs like Zofran, which I was not NEARLY sick enough for, although that didn't stop dozens of people from telling me that my doctor was an idiot and an asshole for not putting me on it, because apparently, some doctors are prescribing the stuff to anyone who wants it. And not to get all Tom Cruise on you, but that's just wrong and insane. Zofran is serious stuff for SEVERE morning sickness, not for someone who is tired of throwing up once or twice a day. I could keep my prenatal vitamin down and never got dehydrated, so I didn't need it, so please stop questioning my medical decisions.)
(Beware the tangential soapbox!)
Anyway, I tried every folksy remedy people threw at me. Sucking on lemon candies made me gag, and after finally tracking down a ginger ale that had actual ginger it in (because everyone told me it would be SO much better than the sugar-water stuff at the grocery store), I couldn't even take a sip without puking it right back up.
What did help? Well, water, saltines and Canada Dry. Eating whatever sounded relatively good to me at the time, regardless of nutritional value. If I got worked up about not eating enough healthy stuff and then tried to eat the healthy stuff, I learned that I would just throw up the healthy stuff so why bother? Eat the goddamn chicken nuggets and be done with it.
I took my prenatal vitamin at night, with some crackers, and never threw it up once. I tried adding a vitamin B6 supplement too, but didn't feel a difference.
My mother-in-law gave me the best advice: a heating pad (set on low) right on the belly, as if you had really bad menstrual cramps.
I didn't really see what good this would do, but OH MY GOD, THE RELIEF. It totally stopped the dry heaving (which on some days was even worth than the actual puking -- I just walked around gagging on like, oxygen, and feeling like I would projectile vomit at any moment).
I still wasn't able to really EAT until week 16 (although I noticed a marked improvement right at week 13). And I still can't really handle chicken in anything other than a processed nugget form. Oh! And let's not forget all the heartburn, ingestion and constipation that starts in earnest during the second trimester!
Pregnancy: One Big Joyride Down the Gastrointestinal Tract.
Dear Amalah, Oh Sassy Goddess of Life,
I have a question. And I'm not quite sure if you can answer. But you seem to know everything about everything and so here goes.... I'm now a stay-at-home mom. In my "previous life" I paid the bills by writing. (At one point I was a reporter. When I needed more money to get OUT of my parents' house, I worked at an engineering/architectural firm writing (corporate) magazine articles, newsletters, press releases and white papers.)
My dream has always been to write for magazines. There's FINALLY a very cool local fitness/health/fashion mag in St. Louis and I'm DYING to write for them. They do look for freelance writers, but I'm guessing the competition is tough. Its the ONLY local mag worth writing for.
How in the HELL do I get their attention? (I've already written the editor an e-mail about how I LOVE their mag and offered my services). I found out the next issue would cover plastic surgery. I told them I've had a procedure done and journaled the experience. SO are they interested? I haven't heard anything from them yet. Was this completely lame? How do I get my foot in the door? I would give them the story for FREE just to have the experience.
Also, the women who started the mag are very hip chickies that look like they are MAYBE in their late 20's. I'm a stay-at-home suburban mom in my 30's -- so very white bread. So very mom-ish. Definitely NOT sassy and sophisticated like you are. (At least not anymore.) And ok. I really don't know what my question is here but....
How do I get my foot in the door? I really don't have any real contacts in the magazine arena. And besides its been forever since I've been PAID to write -- for this mag or any national one for that matter. If by some act of God, my work is accepted what do I charge? How do I determine what I charge. Can they read the "momishness" in my work? Will that help or hinder me? Eeek!
Dying to feel like a person instead of a care-giving robot who spends too much time playing with Matchbox cars and reading "Walter the Farting Dog".
GOD. I DON'T KNOW. Does anybody know? Because DUDE, I just this minute found out that I? Really, really need some extra money all of a sudden.
I talked to my HR department about maternity leave MONTHS ago, and I was directed to our company intranet and the information about short-term disability and blah blah blah. "Short-term disability payments continue for a maximum of 12 weeks," the friendly intranet told me. Perfect!
And HR said not to worry about filling out all the actual paperwork until closer to my due date, so la la la, I lived in happy 12-weeks-of-short-term-disability land until today, when I actually went to get the paperwork so my doctor could fill out his part at my check-up this afternoon.
And the friendly intranet left off a CRUCIAL BIT OF INFORMATION, which is that while yes, short-term disability will continue for a maximum of 12 weeks, when you're talking pregnancy, they'll only pay for six weeks after delivery.
SIX. WEEKS. After that, you're unpaid. Unless you have lots of vacation time, which I? Do not. And I? Am a colossal idiot. I KNOW, OKAY? PLEASE DON'T YELL AT ME FOR MAKING STUPID ASSUMPTIONS OR WAITING SO LONG TO FINALIZE EVERYTHING. BAD STUPID AMALAH, YES, WE GET IT.
Jesus Christ. We still need a fucking CRIB, and like, STUFF, because all I have are some onesies and a bib and two receiving blankets, and we've already put down deposits on all the home renovations and we did stupid things like buy a new car and a camera and I bought that new purse and who knows if daycare will come through right at 12 weeks and JASON is freaking out about six weeks of unpaid leave and if JASON is freaking out than we MUST be royally and totally SCREEEEWED.
So hello! Magazines! Newspapers! Would you like a freelancer? Perhaps a funny story about blogging culture? Fake advice columnist? Anything? I need money.
Normally, this is where I put the firstname.lastname@example.org link and invite your questions, but since today's column has imploded so spectacularly into chaos and panic, I'm just going to sit here and hyperventilate for a little bit.