Photo by: Valentina Powers

Jobless and Addicted to Mothering

by Stinkerbean
Photo by: Valentina Powers

I tend towards the compulsive and obsessive. Always have. Said more positively, I am extremely focused.

Recently, a good friend of mine let me know that her pregnant sister was interested in learning more about safe cribs that were free of toxic paints and formaldehyde. My friend’s first thought was, “Well, you’ve got to talk to ‘Stinkerbean’. She loves researching safe baby stuff.”

I received this e-mail requesting my advice at 10 p.m. on a weeknight just before going to bed. There was no rush. She wasn’t in labor and was just shopping around. I couldn’t help myself though. I was exhausted and ready to don my cozy pants, but somehow sleep was suddenly the last thing on my mind. It was as if my fictional editor at The New York Times sent me a delicate assignment involving foreign affairs where the lives of innocent baby pandas hung in the balance.

I haven’t looked at cribs in over two years but plunged right in to the Internet to get my bearings and see what the current market had to offer. I started drafting the “report” in my head while I scanned articles on low-VOC furniture paint and organic mattresses.

This trait served me quite well in school and then later in professional jobs because I took everything so seriously and drove to solutions. But, now my job is being a mother. Since I’m not interested in transferring this manic energy to Lolo, I force it into product research and solicited (sometimes unsolicited) advice of these products.

It’s really absurd how much pleasure I take researching, trying, and testing baby stuff.

So, I sent the e-mail with my whole spiel to my friend’s sister. It was 856 words long and included 16 links. Sixteen links. I knew it would probably (completely) overwhelm her and give the distinct impression that I was a bit off. But I’d rather be perceived as a tad nuts than do a half-hearted write-up. It’s my job.

The exercise forced me to wonder why I do it? What drives me? The job does. It makes me feel like a professional, a functional adult who can speak and write. I may do silly dances in the kitchen while singing in the voice of a bear hungry for scrambled eggs. But, I can still tackle an assignment. That’s when it hit me. I mother via Internet research. If only it came with sick leave and vacation days.

Stinkerbean is a stay-at-home mama, former graphic designer, rabid blogger and major consumer of seltzer water. She says “we are a fun lovin’ family in the big city burbs and only one of us has OCD”.

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31 Comments

I know what you mean. I have the same problem. I get the most random things in my head that I have to research - products, something anyone has asked me about, something from a movie, areas we are going to visit. Well, I guess some are not random. I research whatever it happens to be until I am an expert at it.

I think it is because I am now staying home with my beautiful, wonderful, 16 month old son instead of working in the corporate world. This gives me a sense of using my brain...

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That is completely me! It is 3am right now and I was just trying to find a stroller for a friend of mine. In fact, just today I had a friend call me "The Stroller Whisperer"! It has gotten even worse since I got my Palm Pre - now I can research from anywhere and at anytime.

it's called being an aspie.

It's funny, because I'm a former graphic designer, and as a SAHM I get equally absorbed in online research, which can keep me up half the night. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent scanning, copying and pasting articles and patterns involving cloth diapering now that we're expecting our second child. I've got a pretty good digital filing system with all my folders and bookmarks. :-) I guess it's may way of being a professional parent.

Cute...and what a wonderful writing style!

I used to work while my kids were growing up, but am the same way when it comes to getting my teeth into something. Now, however, I don't work, and I'm a grandmother and my grand baby lives with me. While I love being a grandmother, not working after so many years left me feeling a bit "left out" of what was going on in the world.

I solved this problem by sinking my teeth into working at home for only a couple of hours in the morning...

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I'm smiling as I write this (at an very early am hour because I had something I wanted to research before sending it on to a client!:)...

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Stinkerbean, I'm currently pregnant and would love to see your list of the best, safest cribs. I just started looking and like every mom want the best for my little peanut. If you could send me in the right direction I'd be greatly appreciative.

Thank you,
Mechelle

I appreciate your interest in getting information on things. I especially liked your comment about loving to research safe baby stuff. I would love to give you some information on making your home a safer place and if you want you can also build a home business with the company but that is completely optional.So many products that we use in our homes is hazardous to some degree even the ones that supposedly are going green...

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If you receive pleasure and satisfaction from doing this type of research, than do it for goodness sake! We all need people like you in our lives. Everyone has their own gift to use and give.

However, if it is interfering with what must be done in one’s life or circumventing what should be significant relationships, then there is a problem and you must address it, unless you are willing to pay the price for the pleasure and satisfaction you receive...

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I can relate too well. I'd love to send you some of my "reports." You might find them fascinating but I'm sure you'd wonder if they were written by the rain man.

I've never worked in the corporate world but I run my own business. I'm sure I've turned a few people off who could have been clients because I've overwhelmed them with TMI.

Now that I'm almost 40, I think I might be ready to address this issue.....

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I think a lot of moms can relate to this! Baby Knowledge is my forte! Ask me anything about anything and I will give you tips out the wazoo! Its redicilous, how much I know with just two kids and i'm still learning so much! (lived in san diego for 6 years) its like the most organic place you could possibly experience.
I have learned that to much info...

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BTW, I know this isn't the main point of your aritcle, but for safe baby furniture, Ikea is a pretty safe bet, for both furniture and matresses - they're all formadehyde-free and all that jazz. They want to sell each of their products in as many countries as possible, so they just build everything to meet every country's safety standards. (Since they're a Swedish country, their own is probably near the top of the list.)

Plus they're quite inexpensive!

I'm just sayin'!

Sweet, want to find me a large toddler bouncy ball other than "Oball" that doesn't have BPA/PVC/ Phthalates/Lead, etc? LOL

My daughter is now 18 months. I love the internet! I practically made myself a resource manual while I was pregnant (giggle). It sounds like you have made yourself a pro at it though. I bow to you and your "Google Foo"

Sometimes, I have a hard time shutting off my brain-- sometimes it's just easier to get the answer than think about it all night. However, this particular issue seems to really not effect your life and maybe shouldn't be bugging you so much? Have you tried not looking at email for a few hours before bed? Clear your plate by 7 or 8 so you can relax?

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