When you get pregnant, people love to warn you about what will be missing from your new life once the baby comes. "You’ll never sleep again!!" They laugh upon hearing the great news. "Have sex now while you can!" His friends will tell him. "You are going to be so broke, those little suckers are expensive!" as if you just bought a tanking stock against their best financial advice.
What they don’t tell you is that you will worry constantly. About everything. An irrational, gut wrenching fear that is so far beyond the non-mom worries you once had, any other type of fear just seems absurd. Even rational, legitimate non-mom fears seem silly in the face of your completely irrational New Mom fears. Forget that old fear of getting mugged late at night in a parking garage that has always given you the creeps, what about a Zombie attack?! What would I do with the baby if there are Zombies? She’s like a tiny appetizer! Fear of getting cancer? Forget it, what if a Mountain Lion wanders into the house and wants to eat the baby! Again, she’s like a tasty little morsel! What would I do?! I need a plan!
You know how insane you’re being. You know it’s crazy. But you can’t help it. Forget sleep and sex and money, the hardest part of being a new mom is the crazy worry that wraps itself around you like a Boa Constrictor and squeezes the air right out of your lungs (Oh No! Boa constrictors?! What would I do if I’m at the park and one of those things got a hold of the baby?! Do they have those in California? Must. Google. It.)
So, for the sake of my own sanity, and I have to admit that I’m sure I’m WAY crazier than most of you, I’ve devised a few rules to help me cope:
1. Don’t watch the news. Especially local news. No good can come of bored reporters looking to sensationalize a story. Just watch reruns of Friends instead. This also applies to clinking on that story of a dead/missing/maimed toddler on the front page of Yahoo news. Just don’t do it.
2. Use the phrase, "Does it end well?" when those friends and family members, who LOVE to relay to you the most tragic news, start to tell you about a story that they just heard. And if they even hesitate for a moment, yell in their face, "WHY ARE YOU TELLING A NEW MOM A STORY ABOUT A DEAD BABY??" It’s therapeutic, I promise.
3. Sometimes you have to make a plan. Even though it’s insane and you know that you will never be adrift at sea after your plane crashes in the atlantic with a toddler and a group of hungry cannibals, sometimes it makes you feel better to just make a plan so that your mind can rest.
4. Dumber People than you have raised kids. Sounds harsh, right? It makes me feel better. When I hear stories about crack addicted mothers living on the streets, turning tricks in dirty hotel rooms while the 6 year old and a newborn baby are locked in the closet, most people think, "That’s awful! Those poor kids!" Not me, I think, "Well if she didn’t manage to get her kids killed or eaten by the ravenous undead, I think I have a pretty good shot!" When I feel like I barely have a 50/50 shot of getting my kid out of childhood alive and intact, it makes me feel better to think, "Dumber people than me have done it."
And when all else fails, bake. But watch those Hansel & Gretel nightmares, those will keep you up at night.
Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart
- 2 cups of chocolate graham cracker cookies (like Trader Joes Cat Cookies, or Teddy Grahams)
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 3 tbs melted butter
- 16oz cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbs corn starch
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a food processor, add the chocolate graham crackers and brown sugar. Process until only crumbs remain. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined and it resembles wet sand. Dump into the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (that has been sprayed with cooking spray). Press very well into the bottom of the pan using the flat bottom of a heavy glass, measuring cup or mug.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until well combined and creamy, about 3 minutes. scrape the bottom and add the egg, beating until well combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and then add the vanilla and beat on high for about 2 minutes. Pour over the crust and smooth out with a spatula.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the center of the cream cheese doesn’t jiggle when the oven rack is shaken. This is not a "toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean" situation. Remove from oven.
- While the tart is cooking, add the remaining ingredients to a pot over medium high heat. Allow to boil until thick and very bubbly for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Top the tart with the strawberries and chill until set, about 4 hours, before removing from the tart pan.