3: Meet Nana

August 23, 2023

This week, Meredith brings her mother Janey on board to discuss the modern family they’re building, and their co-parenting plans.

The episode starts with a conversation about the upcoming baby and the evolving dynamic within the family. The discussion emphasizes the transformation in their relationship and the wisdom her mother will bring to the process, painting a vivid picture of the upcoming journey they are about to embark on.

Meredith and Janey chat about life’s unexpected twists and turns and the beautiful concept of a baby being a “comma” in our life rather than a full stop. In other words, how it’s important to maintain a sense of identity amidst the whirlwind of parenthood.

Description

Meredith’s mom, Janey,  joins this week’s conversation to discuss the way they’re reshaping their family, their co-parenting plans, and how they’re growing together in this new chapter.

Transcript

Meredith Kate:

Episode 3 of The Backup Plan! We’re here. We’re going. Wednesdays. This is when it’s happening. This is when we’re doing new episodes. I’m so glad you’re here again.

My name is Meredith and I am having a baby with my gay best friend. We’re very excited about it. Things are moving along. Next week, I’m going to have Michael on the podcast so that you guys can hear our dynamic. You can hear where we’re at in the process, the timeline of where we’re going.

But this week I bring to you: my mother. I’m very excited, for my first interview, it’s my mom. Please enjoy my interrogations of her which, in listening back, I was like, ‘I need to be a lawyer,’. I’m really getting down to the nitty-gritty with her, really asking her to expound on details. But it’s important that my mom be on this podcast because she’s going to really be a big part of this. She is going to be co-parenting this little baby with me because, as I said, Michael lives in another state and his part in this whole process is really contributing his bodily fluids and contributing a little bit of love later. But the day-to-day of it all is going to be me and it’s going to be my mom because she lives here with me part of the time.

I don’t expect her to 50-50 co-parent. She is of a certain age where I don’t want to put a lot of responsibility on her. What I’m looking forward to is the wisdom that she provides. I’m looking forward to the ways that she helped develop my little brain. She brings with her a lot of toys and tips and tricks, and she’s really great at laundry, guys. She loves doing laundry, so it’s not that I’m imposing upon her for that, but having her around to be able to get up and grab something for me or just stay here while I run to Target or something, is going to be really helpful. And it’s not going to be 24-7. I’m not going to have her do that all the time, but just part of the time. It’s going to be really great. And I think the second biggest influence on this little BB is going to be my mother. So I’m really excited for you guys to meet her.

For a pretty long time I would say the last four years – and kind of the middle two within there in particular – it felt like I was losing a lot. I lost my dad, I lost two pets, I got laid off from two jobs. It felt like so much security, and so much of what I considered to be foundation and structure, was being lost. It took a really long time for me to get to a place where I felt like newness was happening, that it didn’t feel like every single day was another collapse of some sort of security that I’d had. And everything felt old, everything felt like it was dying, and I didn’t have a lot of hope that those things were going to be in the past at some point. That I didn’t see a future, because of all of the things I was losing. And I do now. I see new and exciting things, stuff feels fresh and thrilling and I’m really excited to start a new version of family for myself. I’m really excited to contribute to a next generation. I’m excited to BE excited about something. My mom, and my relationship with my mom, is a big part of that. The way that she and I get along has changed completely – in that it’s good now, and it wasn’t so great before. There was just a lot of head-butting, but now I feel like we’re team members and this is just a really big project that we are preparing to manage.

So anyway, thank you for listening, thank you for all of your support, thank you for the follows, thank you for the subscriptions. It all matters, it all contributes and please, if you’re in a similar position or you feel like you are on an alternative path to parenthood, please reach out. I had a couple people reach out within the last week. I’ve got some coffees and lunches and meetings planned and I’m just really excited to be a part of something, y’ know, to be doing, something. It feels good after too many years of ” so, on that note, I will jump into this interview. Here’s me. Here’s my mom. Please follow at BackupPlanPod. Please go to the website at backupplanpodcom. Follow like rate. Subscribe all the things. You’re all beautiful people. Thank you For the record. State your name.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Janey Brace-Sloss or Nana.

Meredith Kate:

I like that, Nana. How did you come to be Nana?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I have a little grandson. He lives in Florida. I got to be Nana because I didn’t want to be a ‘grandma’.

Meredith Kate:

I don’t remember, did you choose Nana? Yes, I did You chose it– Yes. –a nd then instructed your grandson and that was the proper terminology.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Yes, well, his parents had to be instructed first.

Meredith Kate:

Did they give you options?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Nope. I just wanted to be a– I didn’t want to be an old grandma.

Meredith Kate:

When did you choose Nana?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

When… The finalization was probably when he was– When they were pregnant with him.

Meredith Kate:

Okay. Yeah. But what was the pre-thought?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I just– To me, “grandma was my grandmother. She was an old lady with glasses and clunky shoes, and I just didn’t see myself as being the same as she was, so I had to find something else. So I decided to go the Irish route and be a Nana. Okay.

Meredith Kate:

What did being a grandmother mean to you before you became one?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I don’t think I knew what to expect. It was going to be a little baby to cuddle and love and hug–

Meredith Kate:

No, but I mean, what did– What did– Like, what relationship did you have with your grandmother and other grandmother, Like, what was your idea of “grandmother?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Well, my grandmother was just– she wasn’t cuddly and loving and huggy, she was just grandma that lived up on the hill in Olyphant with my Aunt Anna. She watched me when I was little and she was kind of strict because my cousin Michael and I would love to get into little rows together. So she would sit in the archway between her living room and her sitting room with a yardstick and told said if either one of us went into the other room, she’d get us.

Meredith Kate:

How old were you?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Only about two, three years old at the most.

Meredith Kate:

So then, what were you supposed to do in opposing rooms?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Just, sit and talk to one another and want to be together. We really always wanted to be together because we were only a couple months apart. But the minute we’d get together we’d start arguing and bickering and she just couldn’t take that. She just would sit in the middle, because children did what they were told.

Meredith Kate: 

How long did you know her for?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

She died when I was 18.

Meredith Kate: 

Oh, so a while. Yeah, okay, was she ever… Did she ever put the yardstick down?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, she did. She’d put the yardstick down, but she was not a grandma that you could go and sit and talk to and cuddle with. I mean, you’d go to her house and visit and she’d make dinner, and then you’d visit a while and go home.

Meredith Kate: 

Did you ever enjoy spending time with her?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Christmas Eve. That was a big thing to go there on Christmas Eve.

Meredith Kate: 

Why, but like, why was that enjoyable?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Because we– it was a big family party.

Meredith Kate: 

So not her–

Janey Brace-Sloss:

No, but she cooked really good. Okay. And she was my mother’s stepmother.

Meredith Kate:

Right.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And I never knew that until I was like in my teens, because my mother just acted as though she was her regular mother. But again, like I said, she was very young when she married my grandfather and she inherited– Well, describe what young is. Wow old? Early 20s. Okay, because it could be something entirely different in the– Eh, she was early to mid-20s and she inherited four kids.

Meredith Kate:

Yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

And then had four more of her own.

Meredith Kate:

Oy, oy, oy.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

And my grandfather was a miner. He worked in the mines and life wasn’t that easy for them, I don’t think.

Meredith Kate:

No, I mean, it’s very rare that you hear a story from the– 1920’s, right?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It would have been… My mother was five when her mother died, so she might have been maybe 8 or 9 when her father remarried.

Meredith Kate: 

And what year is that, for the record?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

…1930. Okay.

Meredith Kate: 

So like 1930’s, East Coast, lower- middle class. Like, that’s not typically, like, a happy tale. Yeah well, they were immigrants.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

My grandfather was an immigrant. My grandma (the second wife) was born here. My original grandmother was also an immigrant and they had it hard. The kids used to go pick huckleberries and sell them on the side of the road. My grandfather died when my mother was 18. And my grandmother, who now at this point had nine children, got $17 a month to raise her family on. So maybe in that day and age $17 was a lot.

Meredith Kate: 

Right, right. But that was all on your mom’s side, so on your dad’s side?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I have vague memories of my grandmother and grandfather, because they both died in like 1953. So I was only about three or four years old and I can remember them walking up the steps to our apartment to visit us, and that’s the one thing I remember about the two of them.

Meredith Kate: 

How often did your grandmother take care of you?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

My mother used to work in a dress factory when my father was laid off from his construction job.

Meredith Kate: 

Which would happen, like, every winter.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Every winter, when the ground froze, he would be laid off and she’d go to work, and then in the spring he’d go back to work and she’d have to give her notice. So it would be a couple weeks that I’d be at my grandmother’s house with my cousin.

Meredith Kate: 

Right. And I ask because, obviously, in the situation that I’m thrusting the both of us into, like, I am looking forward to– Y’ know, over the weekend, we were with some friends of mine. And – was it you or was it Lala’s mom – who said, ‘Are mothers the new boyfriends?’

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It was me, yeah.

Meredith Kate:

‘Are mothers the new boyfriends?’

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

‘Are mothers the new husbands?’

Meredith Kate:

‘Are mothers the new husbands?’, Yeah, I have so many friends who have kids and their mothers are there to assist and there to partake, and like, I’m very much looking forward– I feel like I could do it on my own, I’m not concerned about that, but like, I am looking forward to the fact that there is somebody else here. Not only to wash onesies or to hit the button on the bottle sterilizer or get me a bottle of water if I need it, but that you are there to provide your wisdom and to play. And like, I have obviously seen how you are with Mars and you’re so good with him, you’re so wonderful with him, and I’m just looking forward to most of what you bring to the table. Maybe not staying up until 1 am watching YouTube videos.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Can I watch fireworks with them?

Meredith Kate:

Yeah, well, we have fireworks in our front yard that are so loud from Disneyland that there’s, kind of, I don’t think… I mean, maybe the baby will sleep through fireworks. Maybe they’ll be like, they might be really good at it. Like, the dogs in the neighborhood really aren’t too phased.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

… and babies are just like dogs.

Meredith Kate:

Babies are just like dogs. Moms are like husbands and babies are like dogs, so it’s just the way it is. But, the reason I ask about the caretaking that you received from your grandmother and kind of like, the notion that you have of like what a grandmother is… I just think it’s a very interesting perspective, especially in our situation.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I think grandparents used to be like, it was just part of the family. Like, my grandmother lived with my married aunt who never had children, but it was just an extended family. I always remember my Aunt Kathleen lived with her daughter and she had four children. Her daughter and son-in-law went to work every day and my Aunt Kathleen was the one who was at the house with the kids. She basically raised them, but the family could go on and do stuff and there was always a member of the family there with the kids. The kids were never given to over-the-day care.

Meredith Kate:

Do you think, then, that what I’m looking to do here? Well, let me back it up first. Do you feel like this is a return to form?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I think life is getting to evolve again into a new form. I think in my generation it was, as I always used to say to you – you get married, you grow up, you have a baby, but the baby was always a period at the end of the sentence. Nowadays I don’t think that happens so much. I don’t think so many young people are getting married. I don’t think they stay married if they do get married. I think it’s just a whole new evolving of what’s called a family situation.

Meredith Kate:

Well, that is a perfect segue into the basic question that I want to ask you, and I think it’s important, is that you have pressed upon me: ‘Baby is always at the end of the sentence. You can fall in love, get married and have a baby, or you can get married, then fall in love and have a baby.’ But you were very ‘Catholic Upbringing‘ on me, of like, ‘This is the way it is,’, and I don’t know how I felt about that growing up. Because it was just like you know, it was always impressed upon me that that sort of conventional lifestyle was a thing, and so it was just a part of the DNA that I had. And you know, I’ve talked to you at length about, like, I am bisexual. Like, I do have an attraction to both sexes, and I do think there was a little bit of confusion in my head at the time, because I did have it back then, too. How does that– I don’t think I ever thought, ‘How does that figure into it?’, but I think that I wondered about it. Does that make sense?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Mmhmm.

Meredith Kate:

Like I couldn’t put words to it, but it was confusing messaging in my head. And then, you know, I left. I went to college, had a fairly normal college experience, and then I left college and went to work in Orlando and was… I mean, kind of had a pretty routine life there, except that you’re hard pressed to find a worthwhile straight man in Orlando. So like, dating–you’re laughing–dating wasn’t great there. And then I moved to LA. Still pretty young I was 25, 26 when I actually got out here and tried a lot of different kinds of dating…most of which you were never really happy with and, to be frank, neither was I. And now I’m in a place where I’m saying I’m going to go forth and I’m going to do this on my own. And how would you say that your thinking has evolved on babies? Always at the end of the sentence, versus now where I’m like, ‘That spare room in the back, eh?’

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I’m thinking that the baby is now a comma in the middle of a sentence. Okay, and you grew up, you didn’t get married, you want to have a baby. There’s a comma. Who knows what goes from there.

Meredith Kate: 

But when do you think your thought process changed on that and did you have, like a–

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

When you moved to LA, I saw the dating experiences that were going on. And it’s like, you always find really nice gay guys, really great gay guys. But the straight ones are never so good. But I do see your friends that have wonderful husbands and I was like, ‘Where do they find these wonderful husbands?’

Meredith Kate:

They’re all taken.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

They’re all taken. So they’re either gay or they’re taken. I think a lot of my thought a process too about being married and having babies came from when I worked at the hospital in Baltimore and I had so many underprivileged young mothers.

Meredith Kate:

Well, let’s pause for a second. What did you do at the hospital?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I was the chief x-ray technician and then I’m with an orthopedic hospital in Baltimore.

Meredith Kate: 

Right, but you also did– didn’t you do some emergency room work there?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Not in there, no, that was in West Virginia.

Meredith Kate: 

So you saw some things there.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I saw some things there

Meredith Kate: 

Right.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Again. A lot of it was a university hospital, so they were going out into the backwoods working with underprivileged people who had whole different thoughts on lifestyles. But it was just seeing a lot of teenage mothers with babies and I just kind of, I guess I wanted to imprint in your brain you don’t want to do that, you don’t want to be 16 and have a baby.

Meredith Kate: 

Well, and I think I’ve told you this, but maybe I haven’t… Did you know? I was like obsessed – I would say from like 12 to 13 – I was obsessed with reading what we now call blogs. Back in the day, it was just like a GeoCities website. I was obsessed with reading diaries of pregnant teen mothers.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I may have remembered that it’s vague, something vague.

Meredith Kate:

I, like– it wasn’t called a blog. Blogs didn’t exist. It was just like, here’s a web ring– Which, I tried to explain to somebody what a web ring was once, and they were like, ‘What??’ I was like, ‘No, it was like a collection of websites that would get together and be like, let’s place this code on the bottom of our page. And then when people read our page, they can, at the end, go click next and it’ll take you to the next website,’. It’s sort of like a commune of web pages and you have to be like

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

–you have 20 teenage mothers.

Meredith Kate:

Yes! So I would follow these teen mom web rings and just read and I was like, obsessed; it’s just the only word I can think of. And it’s not that I– it didn’t make me want to have kids at the age of 15. But I mean, I always thought I’d be a young mother, like, I always thought I was gonna have a kid at like 19, 20, 21, because I had a lovely high school boyfriend – still the best boyfriend I’ve ever had – and I was just like, ‘This is it,’. And I didn’t.

You had me when you were 35. And I was, like…I don’t want to have a child old. Yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I was really old, at 35.

Meredith Kate:

So old!

Well, and part of that kind of played into like we were never really an active family. Like, we went and did things, but we weren’t–

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

–we didn’t hike and camp out.

Meredith Kate:

Yeah, and then dad, because he had so many back problems and stuff, like, he just wasn’t a spritely fellow. And I just wanted to be more spritely in life, which had less to do with age and just more to do with situation, which is something I didn’t put together until he passed away. Really, that I was like, ‘Oh wait, that was a different experience than some people had,’.

But I mean, I’ve asked what made you kind of change your mind about that? But like, how do you– how did you feel when I told you that this was something I wanted to do, and did you see it coming?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I don’t know how much I saw it coming. It’s like, I think you’re gonna be a great mom and I think you deserve the opportunity of being a mother and, if not… finding the quote, right man is… That shouldn’t hold you back. And I know the gentleman you want to use to be the father and you know he’s been part of the family since you were in college, so it’s like a husband that you’re just not gonna live with and you won’t get a divorce from.

Meredith Kate: 

It’s great, because I think too… because, I have a friend who has brought up to me – more than once, I think he forgot that I gave him an answer to this already – but he was like, ‘Do you not want to date? Like, are you giving up?’ And so it’s– And I was like, ‘No way, how many guys am I gonna meet at this point in my life hat don’t have kids?’

Janey Brace-Sloss:

You might meet a lot more guys that are responsible with children.

Meredith Kate: 

–with children, yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Or just that they’ve gotten to a point of realizing, ‘oh hey, yeah, maybe I do want a kid. Oh, here’s somebody with a kid,’…

Yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

…and if somebody loves you, they’re gonna love your child.

Meredith Kate: 

Well, and I don’t have to worry about, like, ‘Here’s the emotional baggage that comes with a relationship that has failed or has ceased to exist. And here’s the asshole I have to deal with,’. It’s like, no, ‘Here’s the like cool gay daddy who can take that baby for a week and then you and I can go on some romantic Grecian excursion,’.

Not you and I. Me. Like, you can go on your own romantic Grecian excursion.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Okay, thank you.

Meredith Kate: 

You’re so welcome.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah. Yeah, and I just think if somebody loves you, they love what comes with you.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, and if they don’t love what comes with you, then they’re not worth having.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Right.

Meredith Kate: 

And I said to you… There was one night – because we’ve had so many emotional dinners where we just sit and talk about our feelings over three glasses of red wine and cry – and one of the first conversations I had with you about this that really like hit home for me and it made me cry more because it was such a like, intense, deep realization was that: In terms of finding somebody who really truly appreciates me, I have to be myself. I have to be me. And the most me thing I can do is have a baby with my gay best friend. There’s nothing more Meredith than that–

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It’s true.

Meredith Kate: 

–and it made me cry because I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s the truth, man,’.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And yeah, having a baby with him is not– like you say, you don’t have to worry about, ‘Oh, I’ve got to take the kid to him. He’s got to watch him this weekend,’. Yeah, it’s going to be more of the, ‘Hey! You want the baby this weekend so we can go away?’

Meredith Kate:

I’ll have to worry about the sugar intake.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Oh, candy.

Meredith Kate:

Yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

And presents.

Meredith Kate:

Yeah, he promises my nephew. He says if Uncle Mikey comes around, you get presents and candy, which is another wonderful thing, was to see how excited Michael got about Mars, who he has no blood relation to whatsoever. But he’s like, ‘I am Uncle Mikey and I will bring you candy and presents,’. And he was so sweet with him over Christmas. Like, I wasn’t even there, he came to visit all of you guys for Christmas. I was– I FaceTimed in for that. So he’s a good, responsible gentleman.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

And he’s really great with his nieces and nephews, yeah.

Meredith Kate: 

So, yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Yeah.

Meredith Kate: 

Candy intake.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Presents.

Meredith Kate:

Meteorology facts. Alaska facts. 

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Stuffed fish. Toys.

Meredith Kate:

Stuffed fish?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

He gave him this stuffed fish.

Meredith Kate:

He gave Mars a stuffed fish?

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Yeah.

Meredith Kate:

Wonderful.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

I believe it was from Alaska.

Meredith Kate:

Well, one in Rome.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

When in Rome.

Meredith Kate:

In this whole period that I’ve been going through for preparing for like this podcast and all the preparations that I’ve been doing, going to doctors and stuff like that. Has any of it been weird for you or unexpected?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

No, it’s just Meredith.

Meredith Kate: 

What do you mean by that Expound? You’re just well.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I always think we’re all a little unconventional in our family. We’ve never been a conventional family, so why start now?

Meredith Kate: 

Says the woman who was married for 51 years, and has two children and dogs and a literal picket fence.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yes, I had a picket fence. But people used to always say to your father and I, before you guys came along, ‘You two don’t act married,’.

Meredith Kate: 

So maybe what does that mean?

I don’t know, because I just was me.

Well, you guys got married when you were 20 and 21 and you waited 15 years to have kids.

Yes,

so that’s unconventional, pretty unconventional.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, yeah. And then we went to Disney World every year.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, well, that’s normal now Is it According to TikTok, or I mean, for some we’re Disney adults, so I am going into motherhood. Hopefully you have been a mother, so still are. So I want to ask you a couple of questions that I want to ask other moms who come on the podcast. And what better mom to have on my podcast first than my own mom? Here I am, so did you always envision yourself as a mother?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I always had baby dolls. I was always going to be a mommy.

Meredith Kate: 

But you waited 15 years.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, I did. I just never was the right time, and then all of a sudden it was you’re 35. You better get on the ball here.

Meredith Kate: 

How did you envision yourself as a mother, though, like did you have any kind of plans for the kind of mothering you wanted to do Any rights that you wanted to wrong in your own upbringing?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

My generation didn’t think about being right or wronged and aren’t growing up, we just grew up.

Meredith Kate: 

You didn’t sit around stewing in your own feelings. No.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I mean. Now I’m told, oh, that’s trauma, oh really, no, just be. I just wanted to be a mommy and be with my kids. It’s funny, though, as I was in my professional life, I thought to myself oh you know, so of course you’re going back to work after you have a baby. And then the doctor that I was working for at the time, at the age of 45, dropped dead, and I just decided to have another baby, and so then your brother was born, and then I just didn’t want to leave home. I didn’t want everybody else to see your first steps or hear your first mama or take you to the hospital, because you fell off a chair and smacked your face.

Meredith Kate: 

I did that for you, you did that for me. Thank you, you’re so welcome.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

But your brother was the first one who took me in an ambulance. Yeah, for your first ambulance, but you were excited about that.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, well, it was a pretty boring summer camp we were at.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It was a boring summer camp and his cracked open head was very exciting in the ambulance and he had just seen karate kid too.

Meredith Kate: 

What does that have to do with it?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

They put a big bandage on this head that looked like karate kid.

Meredith Kate: 

And so he was excited about that, or? I was, you were Okay well, he was young, he was like only three. Yeah, I remember that. I remember his little face.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Mm-hmm, and I did one of their people doing that I wanted to do, I guess maybe because they waited until it was 35. That I wanted to accept all that and envision all that and be engaged with it. The one who did it, yeah.

Meredith Kate: 

Right, but when we were kids, like daycare and all that was different than it is now, wasn’t it?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It was usually in somebody’s house, like a mother, would you know, fix up her basement with.

Meredith Kate: 

I remember some ladies in the neighborhood that thought that was like their jam.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Mm-hmm, and they take in maybe you know usually no more than five kids and just do it in their house, Right?

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, now it’s a whole ordeal. Yeah, I wonder, do they still have those kind of daycare? Yeah, definitely there was some like. I remember some houses near the neighborhood I used to live in in LA that you’d walk by, but I don’t know if they were actually like sanctioned daycares or that kind of like mom’s just watching Cause you know there’s some businesses in LA where you’re like, is that a house or a business? I’m not sure.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, yeah, but it’s Mostly now. It’s these big like bright horizons and sunny veil or sunny deals, something like that.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, places that are more that was the one they were talking about that are more organized and government inspected, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Right Government inspected, et cetera. No, I mean that’s important, but there were still like Montessori schools and stuff like that when I was a kid, but that was more.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

you didn’t do that until your kids are like maybe three or four. Like your nursery school started when you were three, right, and then three and four. You went to nursery school and then five kindergarten Right. Now it’s more like these. A lot of these places take in infants like newborns. It’s institutionalized.

Meredith Kate: 

Right. Well, I don’t know if I’ve explained to you, because I mean you know me, I prepared. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The elementary school up the street they do pre-K for three year olds. They take three year olds. I mean it’s those half days and stuff, but yeah.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

So you’re not to worry so much about nursery school.

Meredith Kate: 

No, I mean, if you want to do fancy schmancy, there are fancy schmancy options, but if I’m here, that’s an option which is great and it’s a dual immersion. See, you’re at the Latin quote. Well, in this neighborhood, that’s good, Exactly.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

We can teach Nana some foreign language.

Meredith Kate: 

Nana knows Spanish.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Eh poquito.

Meredith Kate: 

Maybe you’re a boiler here. Oh, I didn’t think about that one. You could be a boiler on the side. Now you’re Nana. You’re Nana, it’s cemented now. Okay, so we’ve been talking about motherhood and stuff, but in terms of becoming a mother, the pregnancy stuff, pregnancy stuff what are some funny stories that you have about your pregnancies?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Mexican food. I just couldn’t eat enough Mexican food.

Meredith Kate: 

With me and Dylan.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

No, with you.

Meredith Kate: 

Just me.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Dylan was Chinese food, you were Mexican food and double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s Classy Plain double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s. And Dylan was boardwalk fries and Chinese food, and the Chinese food could never be hot enough.

Meredith Kate: 

And I don’t like what about?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

the Mexican food. It just had to be Mexican food and I would order a lot of it because I would want a lot, but then I couldn’t eat at all. So your father would have to eat it, and after a while he stopped ordering food and just let me order whatever I wanted, and he ate all the leftovers.

Meredith Kate: 

How much did you and I mean we do not have to get into any details here, but how much did you plan getting pregnant in the pregnancy?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It was just okay, we’re gonna have a baby now, let’s go do it. And two months later I was pregnant.

Meredith Kate: 

That’s why I’m not worried about it.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And with Dylan it was not even a month later, thanks, yeah, well, I guess we were fertile, healthy. How did we stay not pregnant for 15 years?

Meredith Kate: 

I don’t wanna ask. I don’t wanna ask. Now, there’s always there’s a lot of talk, and maybe there always has been. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s like a lot of talk about birth plans and stuff. Did you make a birth plan?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I read no pregnancy books whatsoever, absolutely refused to do that because that can get you into a lot of trouble. And then we did go to Lamaze classes, which I don’t know if they still do anymore.

Meredith Kate: 

There are birthing classes, but I don’t know. I mentioned the term Lamaze to someone once and they were like it was like I was speaking a different language.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, well, you went like for six weeks or something and they taught you these breathing exercises and they taught the fathers how to keep the breathing. Yeah, I just sat at the end of the bed eating my dinner and I sat in labor.

Meredith Kate: 

But that’s what I hear about like a lot of couples now I’m just disappointed in like what I see. Oh God, I don’t want this to be a man rant, but like Well with you.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

I went, my water broke at six o’clock in the morning. I went to the doctor and then they went. Has anybody mentioned that this baby may be Breach?

Meredith Kate: 

Which for?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yo.

Meredith Kate: 

I know, but for the listeners you maybe don’t know what Breach means Upside down.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Okay, you were butt first and I told them that I do remember sitting at the kitchen counter and an earthquake occurred in my stomach. Like I went to the doctor on Tuesday.

Meredith Kate: 

I was born on a Tuesday.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

So I went on Thursday and you were born on Tuesday. So between Thursday and Tuesday you flipped and they said we’re gonna have to do a C-section. Well, you still. We don’t want you to be upset because we don’t want you feel like you’re not a woman if you have a C-section. I’ve seen people talk about that and I went I don’t care how you get this baby, I’ll just get it out and I promise I’ll be a woman when we’re done. So there was no labor with you. I mean, my water broke and my pains were five minutes apart and I was right to the hospital.

Meredith Kate: 

But in the lead up for that. Like you know, there’s a whole thing about birth plans and like how you want it done and the music you want playing, and like the things that you pack in a bag for the hospital, Like how much preparation did you do and how many.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Mary, just look at me.

Meredith Kate: 

I know, but not everybody can look at you right now and not everybody knows you.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

So no, there was no books read. I may have had a bag plan. I remember telling your father to get out of bed and hurry up, we have to go to the hospital now. And he panicked a little bit and kept going back and forth like where’s your bag and where’s this and where’s that? I do remember saying stop. He said what first thing to do is put your pants on. And then he put his pants on and I said I had to tell him each thing to do as we went out the door.

Meredith Kate: 

I can’t imagine dad being in a red alarm situation like that because he was so like ah, not everything.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

But I mean, I remember them telling us things in Lamaze, but I don’t remember like an actual birth plan, like we have music ready and oh yeah, playlists. Now, meredith, you’re not gonna really care about what you’re saying.

Meredith Kate: 

I don’t know. I think I will, because I’m very particular about things. You know that about me I am a particular person. Turn the volume down at night. Turn the lights on in the morning, open these curtains.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Oh pity your labor room nurses.

Meredith Kate: 

I know, I know, bye. I also see myself as being very prepared of like. I already have the playlist made. I already have the bag packed I must have packed. I’ve already been watching YouTube videos about like one of the best things, packing a baby bag for the hospital and like I’m not anywhere near it.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And I don’t remember what was it, dylan, either. I remember the exact same thing happened. It was a Tuesday morning. My water broke, but they let me labor all day long with him because the doctor had office hours, and then they ended up doing a C-section anyway because he was backwards.

Meredith Kate: 

Was it the same doctor?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Was it the same doctor? I had a lovely doctor who was pregnant at the same time as me.

Meredith Kate: 

Both times.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yes, that’s wild, the exact same doctor, but she was like two months ahead of me so I could go to her and say, oh, this is bothering me. Oh, yeah, I remember two months ago that I had that same problem. Yeah, it’s normal. Yeah, so it was great to go through pregnancy with my GYN.

Meredith Kate: 

When you were pregnant, what things did you get excited about?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Probably biant stuff Color me surprised I had to get like the right crib had to be a Jennyland crib.

Meredith Kate: 

And I love Jennyland beds. Now I see that, and it was a water bed.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Hmm, safe, yeah, real safe. And nice big fluffy comforters oh great, it’s amazing. And you slept on your stomach all the time.

Meredith Kate: 

Perfect, just face first in the water, rocking back and forth too, wasn’t it?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Well, it was a very yeah, it was like a bouncy kind of a mattress.

Meredith Kate: 

Wasn’t it? No, isn’t it that same crib that I had in my room that all my stuff to animals were in? Oh, that was your cradle.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

You had a Jennyland cradle and a Jennyland crib. I see the water.

Meredith Kate: 

The cradle was. That was rock-a-bye baby. Indeed, it was on its own, little like spindle.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

It did have a pin in it where you could stop it.

Meredith Kate: 

Oh great, one singular pin could have fit down my throat.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

No it was pretty, it was a big hook.

Meredith Kate: 

Oh cause even safer Giant hook.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

But you didn’t sleep in it that much, because you were never a sleeper. You were always awake. Yeah, of course I was, except you. I mean, you slept all through the night. I can’t complain, but you would be. I don’t remember you really sleeping during the day. You would take these little cat naps. So I would just have you in a baby carrier and I carried you around the house with me.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, when you look back now, does that baby remind you of me? Like to a T.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, always, you always had to be busy. You always had to be active. Yeah, you always wanted to do stuff you know play games and Watch TV. Oh yeah, watch Wheel of Fortune.

Meredith Kate: 

Did you think I was a little weirdo?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Well, I hear you using that expression all the time and I guess if you were around you might have called yourself a little weirdo because you didn’t want to watch Sesame Street. You always wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune. That’s how you learn the alphabet, and kind of I think you started learning how to read by watching that. You should yell at them, tell them which letters to pick and then get mad at them right Right.

Meredith Kate: 

Ha ha ha. Little weirdo. I was a little weirdo. I think weirdos are the best kind. Yes, I’ve, like you know, a little muppet. I loved Wheel of Fortune and dinosaurs Like Get up in the morning and you’d say to me can I watch Wheel of Fortune?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

You whisper, it was like I’d be asleep and I’d say, yes, you can watch Wheel of Fortune. And you’d go zero first, to the two first, because you could never remember if it was channeled.

Meredith Kate: 

I’ve never been good at math.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Dyslexia, I guess. Every morning zero first and you would yell from we had like the living room was a couple steps down Split level yeah. Yeah, and you’d yell from the living room.

Meredith Kate: 

Zero first to two first. So I whisper to you in bed if I could watch it, and then I go downstairs and scream and ask yeah, yell up the steps which number first.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And you could have, you must. You’ve only met about two, because I think I was pregnant with Dylan at the time.

Meredith Kate: 

Right, Were you ever like? What a strange child it didn’t occur to you that I was?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

a true strange, you just fit in the family.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, I guess. So I don’t I guess so.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah.

Meredith Kate: 

I mean, I’ve asked you this before about kind of like envisioning motherhood and like envisioning your life. You didn’t do a lot of that, though envisioning no. Well then, if I ask you, is this life different from what you envisioned? I guess you don’t have an answer to that to you.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Well, it’s probably I was older than maybe I expected. Probably when I was a kid I thought at 19, when I was old I’d have a baby Right Then, but I waited to 35, but don’t regret that because I got everything and did everything I wanted to do, and then I never regretted having children because, oh, I didn’t get to go to Mexico or I never went on a cruise, cause I did all that stuff and bought nice cars and we bought a house, so that when we had children then we were happy about having a family.

Meredith Kate: 

Classic boomer answer. Well, I bought a house and I went on vacations and I was happy and everything felt safe and secure, but a lot of my friends had kids early and then their excuse was well, if it doesn’t work out, we can get a divorce.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And that did happen with them, where your father and I I mean uh-uh we stayed together. I always used to say I waited 15 years, gotta wanna make sure he was the right man to father my children. That’s not bad, see, and you’re waiting this long with Mikey. I know I’ve known him since I was 18.

Meredith Kate: 

Go ahead and take a sip. I’ll take a sip too. We’re just two gals having gin and tonics.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Thank you for introducing me to them.

Meredith Kate: 

You’re so welcome. Oh, so I think that going into this, I’m not saying, oh, I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do, because generationally, my millennials and I kind of got fucked over economically, so I have not done everything I’ve wanted, although, arguably, like I’ve done more travel than you did by the time you had me, like I’ve been all around the world.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, you’ve done a lot of it. You have a car. I do have a car. You have a car. It’s paid off you own a house.

Meredith Kate: 

I do it’s with you, but I did buy a car Condo course.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

And that put our renovations here up for good. You’ve traveled more than, I’d say, a lot of your friends, yeah. So you see, you did the same thing I did.

Meredith Kate: 

You bought a car, bought a house. I’m very hard on myself because it isn’t the way I mean. I guess that’s why I ask about what you envisioned, because what I envisioned for my life was different sometimes and it’s not different other times, like I did think I was going to get married younger, but then when I think about what I think about family, it’s always been like, oh, here’s what I’ll do as a mother and not here’s what I’ll do as a mother and a wife. And like I think about weddings, but not necessarily my own wedding, just like kind of I’m like this is what I would do, but like the groom is never involved in the thing in my head. So just have a wedding with yourself. I mean I might you know, like I think about what dress I would want to wear. I think about the music I’d want to play. I think about the food I’d want to eat. I think about the cake I’d want to serve. I think about like the general, like run of show, but a guy is very rarely in this envisionment, so I don’t know what I want.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

But and you have a baby plan.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, I have a baby plan, there’s just no guy in it. I’m prepared before we end.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yes.

Meredith Kate: 

What advice do you have for me that maybe you haven’t given me yet?

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Oh, that’s a good one. I think you have to make the baby be part of your life and not your life revolves around the baby, and how else to put that? It makes sense to me, yeah, that they’re coming into your life. You’re not going into their life, but you are, but you understand.

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, I mean I see a lot of people who their identity shifts completely. And it’s not that I don’t expect an identity shift Like that will happen. If anything, I feel like it’s going to shift into the identity that I’ve kind of always had for myself. Like, when I talk about, like my sense of style, I tell people I’m like, well, I’d kind of dress like a cool PTA mom. I think that I have always been meant to be a mom and so that this is just going to be like me. I’m going to slip into the identity I’ve always been waiting for. But I mean, when I’ve told people what I want to do, I’m like I just want to again a little weirdo. I just want to strap a little weirdo on my back and have adventures. Like maybe I haven’t traveled to all the places I want to go to, maybe I don’t want my egregion adventure to be romantic, but so long as I can put a baby in a carrier and walk up those hills of Santorini, get in shape.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Those are big hills.

Meredith Kate: 

I know. That’s why I want to do it before the kid can walk. Well, they’ll be up the hill before you.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Huh, they’ll be up the hill before you. Yeah yeah, it’s like a little Mars. He’s always 15 feet of everybody, yeah Well not me.

Meredith Kate: 

I’m there with him. To me, it’s just, I want to add this to my life rather than have it become my whole life.

Janey Brace-Sloss: 

Yeah, and, just like I said, make them. I guess the thing is we never talked to you like you were a baby. I always talked to you like you were a person, and that’s again, that’s bringing them into your life and not you sinking down into ga ga and goo goo all the time?

Meredith Kate: 

Yeah, fuck ga ga and goo goo.

Janey Brace-Sloss:

Yeah, no, I can talk about cool things like Will of Fortune.

Meredith Kate:

Yeah, very, very cool, awesome. Do you have any last words? Good luck, thanks, you couldn’t beat her, you are.

The Backup Plan is created, produced and hosted by me, Meredith Kate. Julian Hagins is my co-producer. You can find us on social media at backupplanpod. The best place to get updates is to sign up for our newsletter at backupplanpod.com, where we also post all episodes, show notes and transcripts. Thank you for listening.

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