Most of you know that a while back, producers from Steve Harvey's new daytime talk show (premiering September 4th on NBC) contacted me via the Facebook page regarding appearing on a show about "modern" parenting. Honestly, I thought it was a hoax. I assumed every parenting blogger got a similar message and they were really hard up if they had come to me. Turns out, I was wrong. It was completely legitimate and they wanted me. Well, blow me down and shiver me timbers!
After many daily chats, emails, text messages, Skypes, and every other form of communication other than telepathy, the stars all aligned and we headed to Chicago for the taping. Now, I very rarely get anxious or nervous about anything. It's just not in my nature (aside from my little foray into PPD-induced anxiety). But let me tell you, I was anxious, nervous, and even a little panicked about several things:
How would my son do flying for the first time? (AH-MAZING!)
Would security freak him out by making him walk through or doing a pat down on him? (Nope, he was in my arms the whole time.)
I can't force him to breastfeed during take-off and landing, so are his ears going to cause him great pain? (Breastfed during take-off on the way there, ears hurt on the descent, ears hurt on the way up when we returned, breastfed on the way down, so it was a 50/50 split, but he was such a trooper.)
Is the car company going to remember to send a car seat for him when they pick us up? (First ride, yes. Second ride, no. Third ride, yes.)
Will it be the right size? (No, and neither of them were installed. My one and only beef.)
Is the change in location and time going to mess him up so much that he feels out of sorts the whole trip? (Nope. Dude is a wonder-traveler!)
(As you can see, the vast majority of my concerns were regarding my son's health, safety, happiness, and overall well-being. Although this was an important and exciting opportunity, I would never have gone through with if had it been a problem for him.)
Is the show going to pit me against other parents and make things into a debate all Jerry Springer or Maury-style? (Thankfully no, since we got to be onstage by ourselves.)
Are they going to ask me questions and twist my words in a way that make me look nuts? (No, in fact, Steve said to us during a break that he thought we were going to be weird, but we ended up being really cool people. He said it again on camera. Too funny.)
Am I going to let down the whole Zen Parenting and gentle/AP community? (That is up to you to decide.)
Am I going to look fat? (Ya, that one crept in and I'm not proud of it, but if I'm being real and honest here, which I always am, I have to include it.)
Is my husband going to say something doofy that negates all that I say? (Sorry, honey.)
And on and on and on...
A few page creators helped me out with these issues (The Badass Breastfeeder, Evolutionary Parenting, The Intact Network, peaceful parenting, Saving Our Sons, On the Fence) and for that I am eternally grateful and in awe of their vast knowledge. I have to take a moment, though, to mention Our Muddy Boots. All those questions and concerns vanished with one Skype to her. She took the time to create a score of questions and comments she thought I might get on the show, discuss and critique my responses, talk me down from my potential anxiety attack, and just be there for me as a true and wonderful friend. Thank you, J. Thank you.
As I mentioned, thinking of all the potential issues with my son traveling was overwhelming. As it turned out, it was also a total waste of time. That kid is an uber-traveler! He fell asleep on the boob before take-off on the way there, slept for the first half of the flight, woke up, looked out the windown, said "Wow! Wow! Wow!" and proceeded to absolutely revel in the rest of our journey. I did not see that coming! We were picked up by a car service, which he thought was great, because "guy" was driving us. (Every unknown man is "guy" to my son.) Our son jumped on the bed (just like his great-grandma still does in every hotel room even at 82 years old...clearly, it's genetic...I'm proud of them both!) from the moment he entered the room until two hours later when the inevitable happened and I ended up reciting "No more monkeys jumping on the bed" to myself over and over. The plane ride home was more of the same wonder-traveling. He's a better traveler than my husband! We've decided to become independently wealthy (haven't worked out the details of how yet, but that's just semantics), forgo road travel, and just buy a private jet and travel that way from now on. It's going to be stellar! (Not a word. Don't harsh my mellow, man.)
Our call time wasn't until 2 p.m. on Friday, so we were able to venture out a bit and explore the streets of the city. My son would've preferred all three of us stay cuddled up in bed together all day and who could say 'no' to that? Eventually, though, we went out to play. I love Chicago. If it weren't for the humidity-induced bad hair days for this curly redhead, I could easily live there. (Those with curly hair will understand that choosing where we live based on humidity isn't nearly as superficial and odd as it sounds.) And the 90 degree temperatures felt like autumn to us, since we came from 110+ degrees in the fiery furnace that is the Arizona desert.
Upon arriving at NBC Tower, we were taken to our private green room filled with goodies and breastfeeding-friendly couches (comfort is always important, you know!). We were immediately bombarded with producers, sound people, hair, wardrobe, makeup, more producers, craft services, and more producers. It was a tad overwhelming. There were no surprises, which was good and went a long way toward easing any lingering anxiety. Steve Harvey had already gone over my previous conversations with the staff, so he already knew what types of questions he was interested in asking. They came in to make sure I knew what I wanted to say no fewer than five times. Eventually, I laughed and asked, "Is all this prep really necessary? I mean, I know what I believe. It's not going to change between now and showtime." They agreed and let the oral quizzes go. Hair and makeup was fun. Who doesn't like a little pampering from time to time? I was afraid they'd make me up too heavily, since I'm more of a natural-type, but they stayed true to who I am, which definitely boosted my confidence. Toward the middle of our wait, producers just started coming in no longer to prep, but to hang out. That's when all the tension left and I started to feel like everything was going to be OK.
And it was. I can't tell you exactly what I said on stage. I'll have to watch and see right along with the rest of you. I did the bulk of the talking. My husband, the listener, could probably tell you better. I do remember that the audience gasped and humphed at everything we said. Honestly, though, I had gone in with such low expectations that the moans and groans of 200 or so people I don't know bothered me not. I do remember being asked about the infamous Time Magazine cover from I Am Not the Babysitter (which I just misspelled as "Babyshitter," because my mind was on the picture of me breastfeeding while going to the bathroom, which is what got me on the show in the first place...oh, Freud...).
I got an email a couple days ago saying how great we did and thanking us for being there. They really were the sweetest staff we could've hoped for. As of that time, the show was scheduled to air September 6th on NBC right before Ellen (or at least that's what producers told me, but they're in Chicago, so you should check the "where to watch" tab on his site). I have no idea how it will all shake out. I have no idea what they'll do in the editing room. All I know is I did my best to help normalize normal-term breastfeeding, cosleeping, and all around Zen Parenting. Let's see how it goes, shall we?