Mother of invention

My Instagram feed is choked with ads for seemingly ingenious solutions to the myriad inconveniences and aggravations of parenthood. I am not immune to the siren’s song of an easier life offered by things like a bathtub shrinker or a shirt you can wear your baby in, despite my pursuit of minimalism (and to varying degrees of satisfaction). Sometimes, when you’re really tired and really desperate and really overwhelmed, you throw money at the problem.

I bet a mom invented whatever this is! Also it may look like these kids were ridiculously overacting, but The Toddler has demonstrated this move almost exactly, almost every singly time he’s carried food into the living room.

Somehow, though, motherhood continues to be difficult even though there are bluetooth white noise machines and refillable baby food pouches and dual-action breast pumps. In fact, I’m not sure parenting is any easier than it was 30 years ago without these space-age gadgets. (And back then you could leave your kids in the car while it was running for 10 minutes to pop into the store without someone calling CPS on you, and there was no such thing as sexting, so in many ways I think parenting back then might have actually been easier.)

I digress.

I’ve been encountering a number of instances of necessity that are birthing ideas for invention that I simply don’t have the resources to bring to fruition. So, Internet, if you beat me to production on these items, please message me so I can direct you where to send the royalties. Here’s a list of things that, if they existed, would make my life a little easier:

Compostable, one-wear nursing shirts.

I just spent $30 on like 6 clearance-rack Target t-shirts to serve as my postpartum uniform for the next few months. I did this the first time around, too, when I was still figuring out my new (temporary?) body shape and not interested in spending real money on clothes. They’re actually pretty soft and not horrifically unflattering, but after one wear apiece I already can’t wear them out of the house without feeling like a dirtbag because they’re stained front and back with breast milk and spit up. (which, for those of you who have never gotten breast milk stains on anything, is like salad dressing or butter. It’s just grease stains.)

Yeah, yeah, I know I could pretreat. I could also hypothetically dust my fan blades or organize my pantry. The very nature of my life right now is I have to prioritize feeding my baby and keeping my toddler from accidental death at every turn over all other activities, so carefully sorting through my laundry and applying extra soap to every shirt I own is a laughable fantasy.

So, how about somebody invent really cheap, biodegradabe one-wear shirts that I can just toss on my compost pile when Baby 2 upchucks down my back? They could even be somehow made out of recycled cotton shirts from all those 5ks and local political campaigns that get dumped in developing countries when Goodwill rejects them. They don’t have to be particularly durable. They just need to be cheap. (Wait… is this secretly the LulaRoe business model?) And they need to be eco-friendly enough that I don’t mind wearing them once or twice. These would also be great in toddler sizes.

Child-proof humidifier

I don’t have any further guidelines on this. But I’m super tired of The Toddler picking up the tank on our humidifier and running wild with it.

Electrical outlets that are 6′ high on the wall

This is not an invention so much as a building specification. We installed those cool slidey outlet covers when we moved into this house, which is all well and good when there’s nothing plugged in, but we either have to shove heavy furniture in front of anything that is plugged in or just accept that we’re in a perpetual state of having half our stuff unplugged at any given time. (Yes I know we could buy these, but I would like it a whole lot more if more of my outlets were just at eye level. I’d hang pictures over them.)

Ceiling-mounted shelving on pulleys

For all those electronics, mugs of coffee, permanent markers and other items your toddler seems better able to reach with each passing second no matter what you do. There isn’t a surface in my house he can’t access, and we just aren’t blessed with enough space to have anywhere truly be off-limits. Again, yes, I could just get more organized! Have a place for everything and everything in its place! But whenever I suggest to my husband that he leave with both kids for at least a week so I can finally clean enough for us to live our best life, he looks at me like I’m crazy. And even when I get part of the way there over an especially fortuitous naptime, it’s undone in a matter of minutes.

It would just be nice to have very high, adjustable ledges and shelves all over the place that I can quickly set down my coffee to chase after The Toddler before he trips with a kazoo in his mouth and knocks out all his teeth.

Cheap, nonceramic lamps

First of all, I’m not talking about night lights, so don’t send me night light ideas. I’m talking about a light by which you can read bedtime stories.

This certainly must exist, but judging by the selection at my local and online go-to retailers, you’d think no one else’s two-year-olds spend their naps knocking lamps off their bookshelves. Why are they all ceramic? Why are any nursery lamps ceramic? You understand that babies become toddlers, right?

Lamps intended for children’s rooms anywhere in a house that has children should exclusively be made from wood, or… a metal rod shoved through a very plush stuffed animal, I don’t know. Yes, I know those both sound like fire hazards now that I say them, but they’re fire hazards no matter what when they’re switched on and lying sideways atop a rug.

Ok, so a cheap, nonceramic lamp that easily bolts to the surface upon which it sits.

With fully shatterproof, heatproof LED bulbs.

And a lampshade that doesn’t crinkle and break if you throw the whole thing across the room.

Is that so much to ask?

Like I said, I don’t have time to bring any of these ideas to fruition, but I look forward with great hope and anticipation that these products will start showing up on my Instagram feed in the extremely immediate future.

Mother of invention

Real people

Today on the way to open gym at a local gymnastics place, The Toddler was explaining to me from his car seat that only real people ride in flatbed trucks and only real people live in houses.

“You not ride in flatbed truck, only real people.”

“Only real people? Am I not a real people?”

“No, you Mommy. You not ride in flatbed trucks. Only real people.”

So, confirmation of my persistent suspicion that parenthood has stripped me of my identity.

I thought I was making progress because I tweezed my eyebrows this weekend for the first time since November, but nope. I look forward to returning to my state as a real person in the eventual future.

Real people

Friendship application

Please fill this out to the best of your ability and return to DON’T LIE. I’ll be able to tell.
Your name:
Most interesting social media handle:
1. The latest you would ever call Reanna in the evening is.
A) 7 pm
B) 9 pm
C) 10 pm
D) Trick question. I would only text, and I know Reanna has a DND setting on her phone beginning at 8:30 p.m.
2. You walk into Reanna’s house and notice everything is covered in dog hair and graham cracker crumbs. You feel…
A) Disgusted. You’ll just stand up the whole visit.
B) Aroused. Here’s a freebie: This is the wrong answer.
C) Confused. Reanna doesn’t have a dog?
D) Relieved. You won’t have to clean your house if she ever visits.
3. The best approach to resolving conflict in a friendship is:
A) Stop communicating until enough time has passed that you can both pretend it never happened.
B) Immediately pretend it never happened.
C) Use humor or sarcasm to suppress any real emotions.
D) Have a mature and respectful conversation full of “I feel” statements, but goddamn if I’ll ever be emotionally mature enough to use that approach.
4. Please choose the least reprehensible situation on this list:
A) You are driving in the rain at night.
B) Despite the rain, you arrive safely, but it’s to a party where you only know the host.
C) The party is a LulaRoe sales party.
D) The party ends early due to a small house fire in which no one is injured.

5. True or false: It’s OK to drop in unannounced.
6. You have two free hours to yourself and you can’t take a nap. Which of these activities is most appealing?
A) Mimosa mani-pedis with your friends
B) Go to Target and impulse-spend $75 on household goods then go through the McDonald’s drive thru and eat in secret
C) Hit the gym, intending to sit in the sauna, but you forgot a towel, so you slowly walk on a treadmill while scrolling Instagram
D) Are you sure I can’t nap?
7. Essay question: Disclose an embarrassing moment or confess a guilty pleasure that you think may make you relatable, or at least, unintimidating. Bonus points if it elicits laughter.
This concludes the test portion of the application. Below, please list five references–that is, five cultural references that you believe are central to your identity.
Here’s an example: “Workin’ on my night cheese.”
(You may link to gifs as appropriate.)
Thank you for your interest in befriending Reanna. The committee will review your application and respond within 2-3 weeks.
Friendship application