Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

Cracking Up: Not the Laughing Kind, The Crazy Kind

General StuffTeresa Strasser64 Comments

Feeling blue. Too literal?

With one goal in mind, to buy a car seat online, I sat with my laptop and a toaster waffle at the kitchen table this morning.

An hour later, I’m sobbing in bed, yesterday’s mascara smeared across my once white, noodle-shaped pregnancy pillow. There is a small chance I am cracking up, because I am weeping like Sally Field in “Steel Magnolias” during the funeral scene, only no one has died. Nope, I just can’t figure out which car seat to buy today.

Disproportionate emotional response + crying in bed before noon = going mental.

I consider calling someone, but how can I explain that I’m losing my shit because I can’t figure out the difference between a Snap-n-Go and a SnugRide?

I had wandered into an online netherworld of car seat bases, attachable strollers, locking clips, 5-point harnesses, boosters and retractable sun canopies. It’s like I didn’t get the travel warning from the Department of State telling me that going to the Republic of Car Seat alone was a bad idea. Honestly, I would have preferred taking a Sunday drive down Jalalabad Road in Kabul. That would have been more soothing.

There was no map, I didn’t speak the language, and I had not one coin of the realm.

When I went looking for an expert to translate, or at least tell me exactly what to buy, I found this on a popular baby site:

“Parents often ask which of the many car seats is the best car seat on the market. The truth is, the best car seat is the one that fits your vehicle, your budget, your baby and that you will use properly each time your baby rides in the car.”

Thanks, douche bag. That’s helpful.

You ever go to therapy and instead of just having your thoughts and feelings mirrored back to you (you seem angry at your mother, sounds like work is really frustrating right now) you just need the shrink to tell you what to do (break up with him, he has serious attachment issues and they aren’t going away)? Sometimes you need your GPS just to tell you which way to turn, not to ask you which route you think is best for you right now at this juncture of your life. Thanks, baby seat expert, for telling me I have to look within myself to find the right car seat for me, but I wouldn’t be going to you for answers if I had any clue so just give it up. Give me a link, a brand name, a model number, I’ll give you my credit card number, and let’s do this thing. Just tell me what to do because I am lost.

This isn’t a life or death decision, I try to tell myself as I click around.

Oh wait, I guess it is. There are numerous car seat experts telling me all of the things that  can do wrong, from buying a recalled model to installing it improperly. If you don’t want to take the time to figure it out, to purchase the perfect car seat system, it’s on you if the baby flies through the moon roof. It’s on you.

Worse than the overload, the onslaught of products and fear mongering and confusing plastic parts, are the reviews from moms on consumer sights. Wow. These are some opinionated ladies, and they know it all, know every niggling detail about why this travel stroller is too bulky for a trip to Costco and why that one has sub-par anchor straps.

I just wanted to have a baby with five seconds to spare before my fertility window flew shut on my fingers. I didn’t want to know about anchor straps.

It’s so difficult to work up any tolerance for these mothers, who post 400 word treatises on the relative merits of Britax vs. Graco. They intimidate me with their superior knowledge of which products are the most useful, and they rattle me to my very core with their single-minded momminess. I don’t like how repelled I am by these well-meaning strangers, who just need to share with the world, or at least to those on Amazon.com, how the cup holder on the Nautilus 3-in-I is just too darn narrow for baby’s fave sippy cup!

And maybe it’s not just about my inability to purchase the ideal base, seat, stroller combination that has me freaked, maybe it truly is the neighborhood. It’s Nightmare on Mom Street, where the monster doesn’t wear a clawed glove but instead dons a pastel yellow Slurp & Burp Nursing Cover Up and an all-consuming, full-time focus on babies and their gear. I’m six months pregnant. I live here now.