Keeping Up With The Joans


Finding out you're pregnant is perhaps the most exciting and wonderful moment of your life.

Except, I guess, if you're 50 and your husband had a vasectomy like 20 years ago because neither of you wanted kids.

Or if you're 16 and you know your father is going to flay you and hang your boneless, skinless body over a branch on the tree in the backyard to ponder a life of GEDs, missed proms and bitter resentment.

So, please allow me to take a moment to rephrase that statement.

If you're between the ages of 25 - 45, were actively trying to get pregnant, live in a home in the suburbs with 3+ bedrooms and 1.5+ baths, have a healthy balance in your 401K plan, are covered by private insurance with a low co-pay, enjoy scrapbooking and have a Golden Retriever named Penny, finding out you're pregnant is perhaps the most exciting and wonderful moment of your life.

Of course most of that excitement is supposed to be geared toward the whole miracle of life part.

But a close second, and in many cases actually a secret first and I suspect why many of my friends got pregnant in the first place, is something else.

Something that women have been dreaming about since we were little girls.

Something that we are prepared to invest more money in than the baby's college fund and more time on than raising the child itself.

The Nursery.

While I was certainly excited about decorating The Nursery, I truly realized its importance when it became a staple question in the daily pregnancy barrage:

Is The Nursery ready?
What's your theme?
What bank are you using to finance the chandelier?

I also realized that these questions are in no way asked out of friendly curiosity or to facilitate small talk. These questions are born from a primal competitive instinct because even if you don't have kids you're constantly taking notes to ensure that yours will be The Nursery that commands envy in the eyes and ears of all who learn of its magnificence.

Unfortunately when I had Ellie, Nick and I lived in a one-bedroom condo with a small office attached to that one bedroom which I made into as much of a nursery as I could.

But if I told them the truth, that we had wedged her beige co-sleeper in between an office chair and a book shelf filled with Nick's medical journals and taped a picture of Winnie the Pooh I cut out of a Pottery Barn catalogue to the wall, I would lose.

So I usually made up something fabulous, using words like applique, collection, posh and whimsical.

Of course Ellie could have given two shits - her only needs at the time involved my nipples and her dry ass. We could have easily lived in the condo for a couple of years, saved some money and took our time looking for a house.

But that was in no way acceptable for me. I had to have The Nursery as soon as possible.

I had to win.

So we moved into our 30-year nursery mortgage three weeks after Ellie was born. We will still be paying off this nursery mortgage long after Ellie has grown up and moved out and is paying for a nursery mortgage for her own children.

Make no mistake - The Nursery is 100% a woman thing. If your husband actually cares what The Nursery looks like then you should probably just proceed with a rainbow theme.

Lucky for me Nick used to completely freak out every time the UPS man pulled up to the house or he came home from work to see the credit card laying next to my laptop. But after some subtle reminders of how important it is to keep a post-partum woman happy he quickly changed his tune.

You know, subtle reminders like dumping buckets of ice water over the shower door, performing midnight haircuts or encouraging him to accept a life of celibacy.

Here is an actual conversation we had after learning that one of my friends spent $2,400 on a crib:

Me: So you can't be upset with me any more that I spent $60 on a dust ruffle.

Nick: Yes I can, it's still unnecessary.

Me: WHAT? I mean, relatively speaking though...

Nick: Relatively speaking? That's like saying I'm a nice guy compared to Omar Al-Bashir.

Me: So three things:
1. You're comparing one of my best friends to the mastermind behind the largest acts of genocide in the history of the world,
2. Your argument does not hold up because Omar Al-Bashir is not within our social circle, and
3. I think I'm getting a headache that will last the next 10 years.

Nick: I mean I like the ruffle.


Lisa said...

The headline of this post cracked me up.

Hey, your post for is up! Great job!

Hannah said...

Hey Lisa - I saw it this morning! Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to contribute. I'd love to submit another post in a couple of weeks, if that's ok with you?