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Ask Jen Anything: Slaps, New Parents & Thieves

by Jen Polvogt

Here we are again with another edition of “Ask Jen Anything” (“AJA”). It’s been a month since we last met, and a lot has happened. We have shifted from colder winter months to the hopeful, warmer spring months and have summer coming right around the corner.

It seems the days of quarantining and sheltering in place are mainly in the rearview mirror for most of the world, and we’re eagerly waiting for days of summer fun in the sun with friends and family.

Ironically, as I write this piece, Denver has taken a drastic turn from warmth and sun to rain and snow. That’s Denver for you, though. You never know what you’re going to get. That said, let’s see what’s in store for us from our readers this month and jump into this edition of “AJA!”

The Slap Heard Around the World

When is it “OK” to slap Chris Rock? He is quite sassy. – AJ, Colt & Ryan

It’s been nearly two months since “the slap heard around the world” haoppened, but it is long but forgotten. It occurred when comedian Chris Rock made a “G.I. Jane” joke regarding Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s short hair-do during the 94th annual Academy Awards.

While I don’t condone Will Smith’s outburst, violence and subsequent vulgar language, I can empathize with his protective behavior. Jada suffers from Alopecia which causes significant hair loss. She has been open about her autoimmune disorder and graciously handles the majority of jokes about her appearance (By the way, I think she’s a beautiful woman who doesn’t need to defend anything about her looks).

On the other hand, Will Smith needs to understand that Chris Rock is a comedian. He’s there for the laughs, which he did receive at his off-hand remark about Jada’s appearance resembling that of famed character, G.I. Jane. 

Since the slap, Will Smith has apologized, but the ramifications still seem unknown for the actor’s future. However, I’m sure he’ll rebound quite nicely, and this will go down in history as a lesson for award show hosts, comedians and entertainers.

Sleepy Time

Kids:  What would be your top three tips for first-time parents? – Anonymous

I’ve only been a parent for four years, but I feel qualified to give a few tips to first-time parents. I feel like I can speak on behalf of all parents, so please take these tips and incorporate them into your life if you’re expecting your first child. And, try to remember, most first-time parents get wrapped up in being the “perfect parent,” but there’s no such thing.

Tip No. 1

Sleep when the baby sleeps. We’ve all likely heard this one before. And for a good reason. As soon as you leave the hospital, it’s a jarring reality that the professionals have enough faith in you to care for another human being. It’s nearly impossible to understand until you’re in the throws of it yourself.

You get home and don’t know where to begin. You’ve spent nine months preparing for this moment, and suddenly you don’t know which direction to turn. The baby is likely sleeping or crying. You’re probably crying or freaking out. That’s OK! That’s what is supposed to happen.

The first couple of days will be a whirlwind. Diapers, bottles, breastfeeding, heaps of laundry and dirty dishes are all part of the territory. It’ll feel unmanageable, so you’ll want to tackle all of the regular chores that used to be completed with ease while the new bundle of joy is sleeping. But you have to turn a blind eye to those things and sleep when the baby sleeps. The dishes can wait. Laundry can be cycled with the baby in the bouncer. Trash can be taken out later. 

Sleep when the baby is sleeping. It’s so important. I remember the uncontrollable sobbing that came with sleep deprivation, and if I could go back and tell myself to listen to this advice, I would.

Tip No. 2

Ask for help, or take any help offered to you. So many people offered to help us with laundry, food, babysitting and chores when we first brought Jackson home. Yet, while we took help from family, we declined help from friends. Why? Looking back, I wish we would have accepted any help extended to us.

There was a sense of “I don’t want to put anyone else out” and “I can do this myself” that went through my head in the beginning. Those are common thoughts to have, but put your pride aside and hand over the laundry to Aunt June. You’ll need it, and you’ll have a chance to return the favor to new parents in your life when you’re able. 

Tip No. 3

Stay in the hospital for as long as your insurance will allow. We were so eager to get home to our bed, couch and way of life. Big mistake. Big. We checked out of the hospital a day sooner than we needed to because we just wanted to be left alone with our baby.

The first day after having a baby is filled with check-ups, constant interruptions and thousands of questions from medical professionals. It doesn’t feel like you’re getting any rest and you want to be in your own bed. What you’re not considering is that the help you’re receiving at the hospital is invaluable.

Bonus Tip

You only asked for three tips, but I have to throw this last one in because it’s important:  Remember that this is your journey and yours alone. Don’t compare yourself or your kiddo to anyone else. This might be hard but refrain from entering this trap.

Document progress and milestones but don’t compare those to anyone else. Enjoy the ride. It really does go by so fast, and before you know it, you’ll be sending your babe to their first day of kindergarten and looking back, wondering where the time went.

Smart Thief

What if your neighbor stole your recycling bin with your recycling still inside… like who the f*** steals a recycling bin? – Seth K.

I agree! Who would do that? My only thought is that they’re smart and sorting the aluminum to sell to the salvage yard or aluminum recycling center.

We have been an avid recycling family from the beginning of time. Since they’ve been available to us, we have paid to be part of recycling programs until recently.

We were paying $33 quarterly to recycle our cans, glass and paper products. After some research, we discovered that the U.S. sells a portion of our recyclables to foreign countries, but those countries don’t want our materials anymore, so recyclables often find their way to the landfill. It’s such a shame.

So, we sort our recyclables and sell them to local businesses that actually recycle the materials. I’m hoping that’s what your neighbor is doing! Otherwise, something nefarious must be happening next door, and you should look to sell your house immediately.

I’ll be here every month to answer any questions you have and to offer my advice. You can send me a direct message through Twitter or click here to submit your inquiry. I look forward to connecting with all of my readers!

Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.

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