An interview with random people from the internet about parenting.

My interview with a dad series came to a screeching halt after I completed my interviews of Ryan and Andy.  Apparently I have fewer real life friends than I thought, and those that do exist refused to participate in an interview.  They claim that the photos I chose for other participants amounted to public shaming and that I was being unfair by making up quotes that made the parents seem neglectful.  I thought it was all in good fun, but I guess no one cares what I think.

Thankfully, the internet is loaded with insane, self-aggrandizing narcissists who will agree to just about anything.  Like Jennifer, a popular mommy blogger at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

Please note that Suburban Mom is not the same thing as Teen Mom, who has recently hit the news for appearing in a million dollar porno (NSFW but from HuffPo so also KindaSFW).

Jennifer and her husband, “B” kindly agreed to let me interview them.  They seemed like a perfect choice for this series because the Suburban Mom once linked to my blog and an army of humor-deprived moms gleefully clicked the link and laughed and laughed and laughed.  I’d like that to happen again, and I imagine she’s now obligated to share this link with her devout followers.  ‘Sup ladies.

Before we get started, a bit more context about Suburban Mom:

1) A portion of her website is devoted to Tupperware.  Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

2)  Another portion of her website reviews boxes.   I don’t understand the concept, so you’ll have to check it out yourself.  Just trust me that it’s worth a click.  I wasn’t convinced until I saw her review of the Boink Box.  The review wasn’t particularly interesting, but I laughed every time I said Boink Box out loud.  Twelve times.  I said it twelve times.  Boink Box.

3)  Suburban Mom and I are not facebook friends, so the photo-roast portion of the interview will be brief.  I scoured her blog for good pictures, but there were disproportionately more pictures of those stupid boxes than of her kids.

Here’s a picture of two kids that I am 80% certain belong to her.

And here’s a picture that was published under the guise of being a cute picture of her kid when it’s really a thinly veiled attempt by the dad to show off his abs in the sunglass reflection.  Nice try, B.  (more on this later).

Let’s get to the questions:

Rob Complains:  Thanks for joining me today.  You do realize that many of your answers will appear in highly edited form, correct?

Suburban Mom:  Of course.  But I’d do anything for a handsome, charming, physically fit specimen of a man like you, Rob.

Rob Complains:  You’re too sweet.

Rob Complains:  I’ve noticed that you write about 85 blog posts per week.  How do you find time to write, and do you think it’s acceptable to sedate your child for a few hours if you have a good idea for a blog post?

Suburban Mom:  Ha!!!  I stay up late, very late. Sometimes past Jimmy Kimmel late.  That’s why my grammar is so bad in my posts.  It’s way to hard to trie and right a blog post and entertain two kids at the same time.  Not happening.  Although; if I REALLY need to write a blog post, their our always snacks.  And TV.  I gotta tell you, Sponge Bob can entertain a kid like you wou’ldnt belief.

Rob Complains:  You ain’t lyin’ ’bout that grammar, girl.  Weird.  I’m not sure why this just turned into an episode of In Living Color.

Speaking of blogs, it’s normal for a spouse to demand editorial control over blog content, right?  Right?

Suburban Mom:  My husband might be the most laid back person on earth.  I think it’s the only way he can tolerate being married to me.  We are total opposites in that way.  He does not care what I write.  At all.  He’s a cool guy.

Rob Complains:  He does sound like a great guy.  Hmmmm.  Maybe a little too great.  How does he feel about having shirtless photos of himself posted all over the internet.  Do you give him advance notice, or does he just have a Google Alert set up for “sweet pecs” so he receives immediate notice when you post one of these:  

Suburban Mom:  B just laughed when I asked him this question.  He knows there are shirtless pictures but doesn’t mind.  He looks good.  I wouldn’t care either if I were him.

Rob Complains:  I wonder whether Anne would say such flattering things about me on her blog.  If Anne reviewed boxes, all of the reviews would be like, “I received an amazing box of flavored popcorn, candy, and ice cream.  Rob ate it all before I got home.  He said it was very good.  

And about those boxes:  When you review things on your website, do you get them for free, or do you spend a shitload of money on boxes of essentially worthless crap?

Suburban Mom:  I get this question a lot.

Rob Complains:  Oh really?

when you review things on your website  do you get them for free  or do you spend a shitload of money on boxes of essentially worthless crap     Google Search

Suburban Mom:  Anyway, I get a lot, okay most, of the boxes free.  The box companies will ask me to do a review and will send me a box free of charge.  Lots of the boxes have referral programs too, so like if 5 people sign up using my links, I get a free box that month.  It’s a pretty sweet deal.  It combines two of my loves.  Getting things in the mail.  And free stuff!

Rob Complains:  You hear that ladies – she’s using you.  Here at Rob Complains About Things, we’re in it only for the glory.  I would never sell your personal information.  Even for a Boink Box.  

By reading this post, you agree to allow me to sell any and all of your personal information 

Of all the things you’ve reviewed over the years, what are the must have items for a new parent?

Suburban Mom:  The baby crack machine and a sense of humor.  The baby crack machine is just a sound machine with a projector feature.  It’s like $20 and buy it for everyone having a baby.  It’s amazing and I swear, your kid will sleep better with it.  We used it with my older until he was maybe 3 and I swear, that kid sleeps like a ROCK.

And the sense of humor, well, you need one as a new parent.  It’s possible that, without a sense of humor, you could lose your mind.  I mean it’s not like anyone will be sleeping.

Rob Complains: Not Tupperware?  I know you’re into that shit.  What is this, 1977?  

Suburban Mom:  LOL!!!  But Tupperware is cool!  I swear.  They have so many cool gadgets and stuff. It’s not just bowls.  My husband even uses (and loves) all my Tupperware stuff.

Rob Complains:  Wow.  You really sold me with that.  Not just bowls but other things.  Like lids?  They have lids now?  WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!?!?!

Next question:  Do you notice anything missing from this list of blogs you love?  Anything?  Anything at all? 

Links I Love   Ramblings of a Suburban Mom (1)

Suburban Mom:  I suck right?  

Rob Complains:  Yes, that’s certainly what I was implying.

Suburban Mom:  In all fairness, I haven’t updated that list in ages.  When I get around to it, I will put you up at the top for sure!!!

Rob Complains:  Well, gee.  Thanks so much.  That means so much to me that when you get around to it at some yet to be determined time, you will move me to the top of the list.  

Question For your husband:  How much sympathy weight did you gain?  How much should I gain?  Did you try to keep up with your wife on the lb a week thing?  Because that’s a lot of ice cream, right?

Suburban Mom:  My husband is a jerk and didn’t gain any weight.  He can eat whatever he wants and never gains a pound.  Or if he does, he loses it all in like a week.  I kinda hate him because of it.  But wait, I didn’t know your wife was pregnant????  Where on earth have I been?  When is she due?  What is she having?  And again, where have I been?  I need all the details on this!  Can I send you guys a baby subscription box??

Rob Complains:  Well, I guess that’s why I’m not on the list of blogs you love.  Because you don’t read it.  I hate you and this stupid interview.  Which brings me to my next question:  Adult Boxes!  Heyo?

Suburban Mom:  This just proves there is a box out there for everyone!  They are also my husband’s favorite box category.

Rob Complains:  Really?  I would have thought he’d be more of a Tupperware guy.

Suburban Mom:  I think he likes when I text him pictures of these box contents when he’s at work.

Rob Complains:  Is it just me, or is anyone else getting uncomfortable?

Suburban Mom:  Ohh, and I gotta tell you, the “Adult” boxes are the ones that get the most clicks on my blog.  Seriously.  Maybe all the wives are buying them so that their husband’s don’t notice or don’t care when 10 other subscription boxes arrive at their house every month?  I can totally see that working.

Rob Complains:  That’s fraud.  What’s gonna happen when your kids find this interview and your blog in like 7 years?

Suburban Mom:  If my blog (and yours) are the worst things they find on the internet, I think we’ll be okay!. Heck, I hope I still even have a blog in 7 years.

Rob Complains:  Why’d you have to lump me into the worst things on the Internet.  This is not going well.

Suburban Mom:  I can say whatever I want now because no one’s reading this far down anyway.

Rob Complains:  That’s true.  Let me get to the boring questions that make it seem like you do actual parenting: 

How often can I justify eating ice cream by using it as a bribe to get my kid to do something?  And how early can I Start doing that?  On that note, can I ban my kid from eating sugar but just basically mainstream it into my system with no regard for how hypocritical I am being?  When do kids learn the word hypocritical?

Suburban Mom:  You can start bribing them AS SOON as they are born.  For example, when my oldest was a baby and I was a new mom up every few hours for weeks on end because my husband was out of town.

Rob Complains:  See!  I knew he was a dick.  He was probably at an Ab conference.

Suburban Mom:  I told the kid I would buy him a car when he turned 16 if he would just sleep through the night.

Rob Complains:  You know that he didn’t understand that, right?  

Suburban Mom:  And what do you know, he started sleeping through the night at 5 weeks.

Rob Complains:  I’m just going to promise our kid all the Tupperware in the world.  

What do you wish you had known before you had a human being to take care of?

Suburban Mom:  That kids don’t have to end your grown-up fun.

Rob Complains:  Yeah, we get it.  You and your husband get adult boxes.  Enough already.

Suburban Mom:  When people say things like, wait till you have kids, you’ll never go on vacation / eat out alone / sleep again, it’s not true.  At all. You can do everything you did before kids after you have kids.  And it’ll be more fun!  Except super duper long plane rides.  Kids aren’t too into that.  Taking care of another human is better than you think it will be.  People mention the long nights and the crying and they love to share their horrible labor stories with you.  But they forget to mention all of the good parts, like newborn snuggles and that newborn smell.

Rob Complains:  You mean, meconium?

Suburban Mom:  Mmmmmm yes!  It makes me want another baby right now!  Ohhh, and I also wish I would have known that everyone and their brother has an opinion on how you should raise your kid.  It’s quite annoying when some stranger at Target tells you your baby should be wearing a hat even though it’s 90 degrees out.

Rob Complains:  Yeah, good point.  Remind me not to take advice from any random strangers I meet over the Internet.  

Last question: What’s one thing that you did to your kid that you’ll never admit in public?

Suburban Mom:  I’m laughing just thinking about answers to that.

Rob Complains:  You should know that I exercised an amazing amount of self restraint by not writing an answer to that question for you.  Every one I tried made you seem like a bad person.

Anyhow.  Thanks for joining me.  I hope you send lots of your loyal readers to my blog and then they click here to follow my facebook page.

Advertisements

Men – The Answer To All Your Concerns About Pregnancy Is Here.

Everyone knows that pregnancy can be an anxious and trying time for women.  For years, savvy people have created profitable ideas for helping women navigate the process.

A wise person once said that behind every heterosexual, pregnant, egg-donor-free, “traditionally”-married, monogamous woman is a man.  As one of those men, I can assure you that we can use just as much help as our counterparts.  That’s why today, I’m thrilled to announce the greatest business idea I’ve ever created.

Introducing:  THE MOULA

Continue reading

Epididymis Isn’t a Greek Philosopher and Other Lessons I Wish I Learned in Health Class

A drawing of the IVF process by Rob Pollak

I learned a lot about life in 9th grade health class. I learned that condoms go on bananas, drugs are bad, and girls immediately get pregnant if you look at their boobs instead of their eyes.

Through a lot of trial and error — and one horribly embarrassing conversation in which I insisted that the Fallopian tube was part of a trombone — I now realize that health class didn’t teach me everything.  Particularly when it comes to pregnancy.  That’s because a wrestling coach who was coerced into teaching one semester of health may not have been the best person to teach me.

All of this is just a long winded way of saying that my wife Anne and I have spent the last few years trying to have a baby.  It all started when we realized that there were times when kids could actually be cute. (Overalls, yes. Spit up, no. Sunglasses, yes. Afterbirth, no.).

And since the entirety of my knowledge of human biology came from that health class, I was surprised at how difficult it was to add a little one to the family.  Believe me, after we pulled the proverbial goalie, we gave it a valiant effort:

Train .gif

As it turned out, you don’t get a baby just by watching clips of trains driving into tunnels, geysers erupting, or fireworks exploding in midair.  The real process involves way more than that.  For many people, it can take years, involves elaborate scheduling, and includes a monitor that measure ovulation on a 3 point scale.  If you pee a 1, you watch reruns of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  If you pee a 3, well let’s just say that one time Anne peed a 3 while she was in Delaware and I was summoned across three state lines.  It was perhaps the greatest moment of my life.

And for us, none of that seemed to work, so the process involved asking for medical help in the form of in vitro fertilization (IVF).  As if pregnancy wasn’t already scary and overwhelming enough, the IVF process is complex and intimidating.  When Anne first called to set up an informational meeting, the nurse walked her through the schedule of an entire IVF cycle, our child’s birthdate, the theme for his first birthday party, the song he’d dance to at his wedding, and the massive inheritance he would receive from the proceeds of my million dollar blog.

If you’re freaking out at the level of oversharing that’s happening in this post, don’t fret.  My intention in writing this post is to remove the veil of secrecy that prevents people from talking about this process and to help others navigate it.  Because, for me, it took a while to realize that the lesson from high school Health class — that pregnancy is easy — turns out to be wrong.  Pregnancy and fertility are way more complex and terrifying than I had ever imagined.

A drawing of the IVF process by Rob Pollak

Orientation and Background Testing

If you also didn’t pay attention in your high school biology or health classes, then you may be in for a surprise when you start the IVF process.  Thankfully our experience began with orientation, which consisted of an extremely patient nurse walking us through an interminable powerpoint presentation.

After the orientation we were herded into the blood room. I call it that because it’s the room where women go to provide vial upon vial of blood to a staff of nurses who constantly ask for their birth dates.  That first day, I watched a nurse remove 25 gallons of blood, one 2-ounce vial at a time, from Anne’s vulnerable little arm.  The experience looked terrible, and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have to participate.

A moment later, however, the nurse asked me if I was Jewish.  She probably had racially profiled me based on my massive schnoz, superior intellect, and yamulke tan.  I answered yes, but was unprepared for what happened next.  She sat me down in the chair, alcohol’ed up my arm, and stabbed me in the vein with an olympic javelin sized needle.

Moments later, when I came to, a group of amorphous blurs in scrubs were shoving smelling salts in my face.   My shirt was sopping wet with sweat, and I had achieved a level of paleness that bordered on translucent.  Our IVF experience was off to a great start!

A drawing of IVF by Rob PollakBecause I had thoroughly embarrassed the family, I was pleased to find that, from that day forward, my only responsibility was to hold Anne’s coat.  Anne, on the other hand, was the subject of constant examination.  Most of which involved a small army of doctors sending the Hubble telescope into areas of Anne’s body that she would be uncomfortable having me mention on the internet.

Up next:  Part 2 – Actually, there was one other thing I had to do… My trip to the Boom Boom Room (Follow my facebook page to receive an update when I post)