Guest Blog – Poe, on the topic of Mama Gurus.

by heirtoblair on January 26, 2010

You know those people that you meet over the interwebs & you just know they’ll be the greatest thing that happened to you since you removed your braces, discovered vibrators, & married the man of your dreams?  That’s Poe.  We met on an internet board a few years ago & after I lost Harpie, we both threw caution & safety to the wind so that she could bring me a fifth of tequila as a mourning gift.  (at my house.  I made her bring her boys along as exchange for the knowledge of my address.)  & since then, she has truly become one of the most solid, empathetic, come-to-Jesus-now women in my life.

My Mama Guru, as she likes to put it.

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“Sister, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, your nips are going to be hating life.”  That was the gospel truth. The gospel truth according to my Mama Guru.

I am no stranger to babies.  My parents deciding to expand our family when I was 11, and that was  my hands on education in baby.  They used the pregnancy as a teaching tool, from the biology of the miracle of life to the old fashioned values regarding, what they felt were the ideal conditions that go into bringing a baby into the world.  Those being a strong marriage, the financial ability to care for a child, and a sense that family is the above all things.  And once the pregnancy ended in the birth of my brother, they continued the teaching, and they were not shy about using their eldest daughter for free babysitting.  Or as I like to call it, my period of indentured servitude.

They say do what you love. And according to The Man, my hobby is pachinas. In my professional life, I have spent a good deal of my time educating and counseling women, both grown-ass and trifling teen alike about most things lady-bits.  Birth control, STD’s, TTC.  I’ve taught parenting classes, getting pregnant classes, avoiding getting pregnant classes.  I’ve run groups regarding issues on healthy relationships. I have dispensed birth control, Plan-B, and antibiotics for bacteria that occur after bumping uglies.  Hell, I taught a breast feeding class at the tender age of 21.  Me and my virgin nips. Oh, the stories I have!  I loved my jobs, but as a result of them I suffer from a form of PTSD TMI.  Basically, nothing is off limits in my world.  Much to The Man’s mortification. I make a hell of a dinner guest.

So, while all of the real life experience of having a kid brother, and teaching teenagers how to care for their babies certainly had a huge hand in preparing me for parenthood, my Mama Guru has been what had gotten my through the landmines that parenthood has thrown my way.

She was the first person I met at my new job after moving cross country to be with my future husband.  Mama Guru was five years my senior, and we clicked from the word “GO” despite being at different stages of life.  She was married, the mother to a 3 year-old, and TTC her second.  I was fresh out of college, living on my own, and in discussions with The Man regarding maybe getting hitched.

She had her second child 6 weeks before my wedding.  We experienced these life events together, laughing all the way.  I was one of the few people who knew she had been TTC, and she popped my  TCOYF cherry.  Now I had, at my previous job, taught classes about birth control, but I would mostly skim the parts about Natural Family Planning, because it was my job to educate teens who were either pregnant or already parenting.  NFP in the hands of teens is not a birth control method.  PERIOD, but that is especially true for teens who had already failed to master basic birth control methods like condoms, The Pill, or keeping it in the pants.  So, being handed TCOYF felt a little dirty, a little wrong since preventing pregnancy was pretty much my religion.  In a very real way, her introduction of TCOYF to me was the birth of the Mama Guru.

Fast forward three years.  She is the only person I tell that I am going to be TTC (well, The Man was in on the plan.)  She is the first person I tell, after The Man, that I had POAS and that it was positive.  She is the first person I call after my first OB appointment.  The first person I cry to as I tell her that there is one healthy embryo, but that there had been another that did not have a heartbeat. She says all the right things, the things I know but that I need to hear in that moment.  She was the first person who heard “It’s a BOY!” after my big ultra sound, to which she appropriately replied, “Oh, a little masturbator!”  The first, both because she is in the same time zone as my uterus, whereas my parents are three time zones away, but also because she is the one who will answer my questions with humor and brutal honesty.

I have a wonderful mother, a nurse no less.  But it had been 15 years since she had put breast to babe, and she remained a breast pump virgin.  So after discovering my first attempt at pumping had produced a lovely liquid the shade of DARK PINK, MG calmed my shit down and told me my nips would recover.  Eventually.  Her sage advice has continued throughout the years.  I have, more than once called her before calling the pediatrician, initially when I was in the throes of new parent-crazy, and later in the throes of Mother to wild-crazy.  She has saved me co-pays (“Nah, it is eczema, put some Aquaphor on him.”), pain (“Astroglide, it is the #1 choice of gay men!”)  From embarrassment (“Just go ahead and warn him there will likely be poop on the table tell him it is his job to deny that there was poop on the table.”) And my sanity (“Co-sleeping is always an option, and it doesn’t make you a hippie. As long as you still shave your pits.”)  She is my Mama Guru, telling me when that thing my kid just did, while vile/smelly/against the laws of nature is totally normal–even age appropriate.  Always validating my concerns, assuring me that I am not an overprotective, overreacting nut-job mother, except when I am.  But she lets me know and keeps it real.

When not being my lifeline, she is sharing the stories of what her boys are doing.  The good, the bad, and the WHAT!?!  We both blanche at the reality that her oldest is needing more private time, with a locked door.  And a box of Kleenex  That her middle two have turned her into a referee in her own living room.  And that she can no longer smell that baby smell on her boys’ skin.  These phone calls are the ghost of parenting future for me.

Of course, in some ways, that is what successful “Mommy” bloggers have become to the internet village of plugged-in women.  The stories of their foibles in parenting are often for entertainment and yet they humanize and make common the shenanigins of NOT eating the young.  Like most people, I have a few bloggers I follow, and I have gleaned many useful tidbits from them, what to do, what NOT to do, and what I want to do with my hijos.  I wouldn’t trade my real life Mama Guru for the most famous Mommy bloggers in the world, even with their fancy Bloggie Awards.   But, as I have tapped into my Mama Guru for shaping my parenting, I have turned to these online Moms and have used their stories and experiences in my parenting.  Simply put, the experience of others can make you better, can help solve what ails you, and can help you from reinventing the wheel.  Mostly, these Mama Gurus, both in real life and internet, provide a warm blanket of NORMAL in the middle of ashitstorm of crazy.  I am lucky to have my Mama Guru.  So are my kids.

As I am finishing up this guest blogging piece, my phone starts buzzing with a text message. My girl-friend, just home with her first born son is in the throes of new Momma-crazy. I pick up the phone, find her number in my phone book. I try to invoke the tone of voice that my Mama Guru used with me almost four years ago, because it was like instant calm back then.  I know that I will tell her everything is going to be ok.  Even her nips. Eventually.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Shar January 26, 2010 at 4:50 am

Well said.

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Laura January 26, 2010 at 5:22 am

Awesome. What a great post, Poe!

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MJ January 26, 2010 at 5:25 am

Blair! I hope this Mama Guru of yours has her own blog. She is fantastic to read! Please tell me she does, that or she is going out to get one right now!

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speed January 26, 2010 at 5:35 am

And I guess Hilary Clinton was right… It really does take a village…Of internet creepos :)

Well done, Poe. Well DONE!

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mrsbro (thebump) January 26, 2010 at 6:04 am

Awesome post, Poe rules!

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Lacey January 26, 2010 at 6:05 am

Love it! I hope she has a blog!!

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Mandy January 26, 2010 at 7:27 am

“Just go ahead and warn him there will likely be poop on the table tell him it is his job to deny that there was poop on the table.” > awesome!

great post! not to be repetitive, but does she have a blog?

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Shanni January 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

LOVED this!! At first I was like WHOA! Novel read! But it was a great read! =)

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heirtoblair January 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

She is supposed to have a blog up & running soon. I will let you know!

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mjb January 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

Such a great post (even if I had to look up a couple acronyms that actually apply to me – doh). I've been enjoying your blog for the past couple months – we just had an early stage miscarriage before Christmas and are going to keep trying, so I think often of your descriptions of being "pregnant for a year".

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Meg'n'Eric January 26, 2010 at 8:46 am

::sigh:: I wish Poe was MY always on call Mama Guru. Great post Poe!!

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Buckin January 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

As always, I love me some Poe. I just wish she wasn't over an hour away. I need a mama guru myself! :D

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Jennifer January 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

What a wonderful post, nips and all!

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Lauren From Texas January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

This is awesome. Who wants to be my Mama Guru when I pull the goalie? You have a couple years to prepare.

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Fingers Crossed January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

haha – awesome post.

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Isha January 26, 2010 at 10:14 am

Poe! I Loved it! When will you start blogging all the time? I need a Poe fix in a bad way! :)

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Karen Bannan January 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

Totally relate! I remember meeting one girl at the baby yoga class I was teaching when Katelyn, now 6, was just a month or so old. Her daughter was 9 months, and she seemed so cool and in-the-know. I was almost afraid to be friends with her. Why would someone who so obviously had her stuff together be my friend? She and I never became BFFs, but she provided me with a lot of sage advice, and made me feel really good about being a mom. That I wasn't screwing it all up. (Okay, maybe I do screw it up sometimes, but it all works out in the end, right?)

Thanks for the great post!

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Anne January 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Great post. Thanks for sharing Poe with us.

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Molly January 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I don't have a mama guru. I'm officially depressed. Although I will say that I truly lost my sh*t when you commented on my blog. I suddenly felt like the clouds parted and God sang. Yeah, I have a blog crush.

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Rachel January 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Had to look up the acronyms (bows head in shame) I am out of touch with the baby makin' world!! Poe is awesome, wonderful guest post!

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Nicole January 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Love it, can't wait to see her blog.

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maggie January 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm

LOVE THIS. Can't wait to read her blog – fantastic!!

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Jessica January 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Loved it. What does TCOYF mean?

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Jessica January 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Nevermind. Google just taught me the answer.

Am so very tired… 4 month sleep regression and all that.

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NFPworks January 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

"In a very real way, her introduction of TCOYF to me was the birth of the Mama Guru." Awesome. I love your wit, your realism, and your ode to NFP/FAm with the TCOYF reference. Keep it up!

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Rachel January 27, 2010 at 5:52 am

Great post!! :)

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Chaggisee January 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

Thank you ;-) check out this emo boy style over this blog: http://emo–boys.blogspot.com

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Jenny January 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm

This made me tear up. Thanks to my busted pachina, I'm gathering a plethora of my own Mamas Guru (Mama Gurus?). Soon, I'll have one for every day of the week – kinda like weekday undies.

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Marsha Rivera February 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm

First-rate work. You have brought in a recent reader. Please keep up the good writings and I look forward to more of your gripping updates.

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