Life · Parenting

Passing on Pumpkin

Pumpkin pie came up the other day, which probably isn’t hard to imagine given the time of year, and I confessed that I don’t care much for pumpkin pie. I don’t hate it. But it’s not something I reach for if there are multiple choices.


I know, it’s un-American or something. But I realized that it’s not actually the pie I don’t care for. It’s the association.

My most vivid memory of pumpkin pie is from about seven years ago, when Levi was just a few months old. I always loved my babies, but … I did not so much love the baby stage. I don’t do well with constantly interrupted sleep, or the bottomless pit of constant need that is a child’s infancy. (Mothers of multiples: RESPECT.) I spent most of the first six months of both boys’ lives feeling not entirely sane. There was a lot of weeping. Sometimes I could even come up with a reason for it.

And so one evening Paul came home from work to find me sitting at the kitchen table, holding an unhappy infant in one arm and eating his mother’s pumpkin pie straight from the pan with the other. “Did … you eat supper?” he asked, very carefully.

“No. <sob> I just … I can’t figure out what to cook. <sob> And I was so hungry. But I can’t figure anything out and I don’t think I’m cut out to b-b-b-be a m-m-mother!!!!”

The worst part about this is that Paul probably isn’t going to remember this story because while the pumpkin pie bit was unique, the spiral into despair (especially at right about supper time) was, well, not.

Seven years later, I find this pretty funny, and the teenager I shared it with laughed at the idea that pumpkin pie could taste of tears and exhaustion. (She also promptly vowed never to have children. Oops?) But it was not funny at the time. Not even a little. Paul didn’t laugh, either, and we know this because he is still alive.

So this is for the mamas of babies who are tired and can’t figure out what to cook for dinner and want to crawl under the table and cry, or maybe just check into the hospital for a week of nice sedated rest.

It gets better. None of it is funny now, but a lot of it will be later. You will still hate deciding what to make for dinner, but they’ll put on their own pants and shoes most of the time. You will make it. And – this is very important, so pay attention – you are doing fine. You are. I know it looks like everybody else knows what they’re doing and you are the only one floundering, but we are all faking it. I swear this is true.

And pie doesn’t make everything better, but it is way better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Have some pie. Anything but pumpkin.

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