Scribbling Dame

Preposterous Pondering.

Wise women are fat August 27, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 7:20 pm

Lately, over ice cream, I have been developing a theory: wise women are fat.

I cannot think of a woman that falls into the category of mentor or sage or role model who is thin. Which is not to say that they don’t exist but I am willing to bet that any wise woman you can think of has some unconventional characteristic be it crazy hair or weird clothes or a mole or something.

Which got me to the question, which came first? Is the wise woman fat or is the fat woman wise? (Insert any distinguishing characteristic to replace fat.)

In Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert (or Julia Roberts if you only saw the film) spends the first part of her journey of liberation in Italy gorging herself and buying bigger designer jeans. Did her newfound knowledge about her needs cause her to let go of her image or did letting go of her image allow her to find knowledge?

Most of us moms do not look the same way that we did pre-baby, unless you are a winner in the genetic lottery, to which I say congrats and fuck you, which I totally mean in a nice way. For the rest of us, some of this is genes and some of it is straight up energy: what mother has the time or money for that matter, to fuss over her image like she used to? Most of us feel lucky to shower! In some ways I have found my new body liberating and dread the times I have to squeeze into Spanx (for other reasons than appear in Do Not Trust the Peehole). It is a physical conformity and I frankly have more important things to worry about on a daily basis. Other times of course, I feel old or fat and well, matronly.  No matter what, I feel wiser than I was prior to motherhood.

When I think of being wise and the women I look up to, they all have a clear sense of who they are and they are not timid about showing that real self to the world. Because they are women, I believe their identity or self plays out in a physical sense, hence being rotund: I am a self who likes food. Crazy clothes: I am a self who has her own sense of style. Crazy hair: I am someone who likes to be edgy. Or, I am someone who doesn’t believe in hair product.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother just wouldn’t have the same influence if she was as svelte as Cinderella. Even Oprah is more accesible because of her struggles with weight. Maybe we take their advice because they are individuals–we know they are not just feeding us the usual bullshit and therefore we take the time to listen more.
I am definitely not encouraging anyone to become obese or unhealthy, I just find the correlation fascinating. This may just be me making shit up, and I did take a risk by trying to be “deep” on a Friday afternoon.
Just consider yourself more wise the further you get from the status quo.
 

Do not trust the pee hole. August 6, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome,Vagina — Scribbling Dame @ 8:12 pm
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I am about to reveal to you perhaps the most embarrassing moment of my life (okay actually the second–the first was getting drunk and leaving explicit messages on my best friend’s Grandma’s answering machine: true story).

I am about to reveal to you the most embarrassing moment of my adult life, which shockingly all started with this generation’s best invention for women: my friend Spanx.

If you do not know about Spanx you are a) not a woman or transvestite b)blessed with excellent genes and an elastic body c) an alien life form.

I went on a client visit and to prepare I figured it made sense to invest in the fancy Spanx that cost $80 and hook to your bra so that when you sit down your giant muffin top doesn’t make your Spanx roll down causing you to look like a giant circumcised penis. Know what I mean?

So, I am at the client visit with my boss who I’ve worked with for six years and is like my cousin and two other male colleagues, plus about 4 members of the client team. I need to pee. I exit the room.

Now I have friends who had the fancy Spanx and they always raved about what I call the pee hole–a cut in the fabric that makes it so you can supposedly pee without having to disarm your Spanx. My old non-fancy ones had no such hole. I am standing in the stall and thinking to myself–do I unpeel all my clothes to pee and then try and cellophane wrap myself again or do I try out this amazing pee hole function? Given that I was in Florida and don’t like to sweat and given that when presented with activity or sloth I choose the latter, I took a risk.

Here is me, sitting on the toilet, using my hands to spread the pee hole in the fabric wider as well as shimmy my thong to the side. I pee. I feel a giant warm liquid spread throughout my general ass area. You probably saw this coming. Whilst peeing, the back of my thong filled up with piss, puddled, and then dumped all over the back of my Spanx.

I jolt up, dribbling piss all over my legs and the floor. I am 30 years old and I just pissed myself. At a client visit.

I consider the options: I can take off my Spanx and walk into the conference room with piss-Spanx in hand and attempt to slyly tuck them into my laptop bag. Downside: probably won’t be that conspicuous, plus I will look fat the rest of the day.

Option 2: wear them and hope that I don’t get a huge wet spot on my ass since I am sans sweater and in meetings all day.

I chose option 2, walked into the conference room and feigned needing to stretch my legs after a long day of flying and sitting, when really I needed to stand to air out my piss Spanx and pray that I could dry off enough to sit down.

Eventually my standing becomes awkward and I have to sit. I am sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to get some air flow going, praying that I air-dried enough not to embarass myself.

We break and I immediately call my boss into the hallway for a priceless conversation that goes like this:

Me: “Bobby, I am going to ask you something and I need you to not ask me any questions.”

Bobby: “What?” (Look of terror and curiosity in his eyes)

Me: “I need you to look at my ass and tell me if it’s all good back there.”

Bobby, with incredulous expression, laughs a little. I turn. This is the moment of truth–will I be thoroughly humilated for the rest of the day in front of my boss, colleagues and our clients?

He says “You’re fine.” Relief!

I say: ” You don’t even want to know.”

He says: “I know.”

So, while I am humiliated, the universe decided not to make it too public. I am thankful that I have the most compassionate boss with the best sense of humor and discretion (he hasn’t asked me yet what that was all about).

So, consider this a public service. Do not, I repeat, do not trust the pee hole in your Spanx.

 

This is totally what I look like and do in my Spanx. Oh yeah, and piss myself.

 

Disabled My Ass July 30, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome,Vagina — Scribbling Dame @ 9:55 pm
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I often find myself having to start out my posts with an explanation or disclaimer. Today’s disclaimer award goes to the disabled and seriously ill. My comments below in no way reflect a disregard for the disabled–in fact it is the exact opposite.

I do, however, have a serious mother fucking problem with pregnancy and birth being considered a disability and/or an illness.

This is disabled.

I just came out of an info session on benefits enrollment for my company. Ugh. I am lucky to work for a company that is taking parenting seriously and working to make the environment a family friendly one (me=squeaky wheel), but I cringe when we get our reps in and they discuss pregnancy as an illness and a disability. In fact I am shocked that Americans still classify this in such a way given the progress we have made over this century regarding understanding the contributions of women. I was never more superhuman and able than when my body created another healthy person and delivered her into the world.

Was the Virgin Mary disabled? I think not.

America, why do we consider pregnancy, the making of a complete new human life, a disability? Simultaneously an athlete who makes loads of money, uses performance enhancers and gets to dedicate everyday of his life to practice for the purpose of beating  some stupid record or team is a superhero genius. One contribution is more miraculous and beneficial to society, and if you cannot guess which one, you are sorely fucking misguided. My vagina and organs have done way more in one ten month period than many people do in their whole lives (see Lindsey Lohan, former BP President Tony Hayward).

The Wiki entry on Disability is quite interesting:

“Impairment in bodily structure or function is defined as involving an anomaly, defect, loss or other significant deviation from certain generally accepted population standards, which may fluctuate over time. Activity is defined as the execution of a task or action. The ICF lists 9 broad domains of functioning which can be affected:

  • Learning and applying knowledge
  • General tasks and demands
  • Communication
  • Mobility
  • Self-care
  • Domestic life
  • Interpersonal interactions and relationships
  • Major life areas
  • Community, social and civic life”

Anyone who has had a baby knows that in all of the above categories, with the exception of mobility in the third trimester, women’s abilities in these activities become significantly enhanced, not impaired.

Now I will be the first to say that transitioning into a parent does render one slightly disabled as you adjust to your new body and lifestyle, but by no means is this a permanent disruption to a person’s ability to function at full capacity in society.

Now, the history of pregnancy being considered a disability is actually a remnant of a positive occurrence–getting disability coverage for new mothers was in fact a feminist benchmark. That was decades ago, however. It is time to start differentiating between miracles and wonders and debilitating impairments.

While I am working on getting a new category for pregnancy payouts established in our society, I will hitherto refer to short-term disability checks as any of the following more snazzy titles: “A Paycheck Because My Vagina is Too Tired to Work.” That’s seems accurate. We could also consider “Bonus for being able to Procreate like a Gremlin who got Wet after Midnight.” “Trouble with Tribbles” is shorter. Hmm.  I must go now and write to my Senator about these suggestions. I highly recommend you do the same.

Now send me a check!

P.S. I actually don’t hate Lindsey Lohan–she just for some reason is always top of mind when I think of a wasted life. I blame Extra.

P.S.S. I do hate Tony Hayward.

 

Time Travel July 23, 2010

So we did our annual trip to the hometown or what I like to call Baby Tour 2010. Once a year we go back to the Bay Area and parade our child around for all of our relatives to gawk at and spoil. They also get to see how fat I’ve gotten and watch my mothering techniques and ask me how teaching is going–even though I haven’t taught for over five years now. Ah, family.

It’s funny how your history holds you captive. Whatever I was at age 15 is what I will always be to my family; academic, well-behaved, wordy, an independent woman. My husband is always going to be what he was at 21 when he first met my family; a film student and a brainiac. These are not bad, I know. There are worse things to be labeled as, but the truth is these are stale versions of a former self. As we all know, I am no longer articulate, and I am especially not well-behaved.

Still, now that I have a two-year-old and not a baby that I can totally control, I found myself a slave to the pressures of perfect parenting, praying that my kid would be the well-behaved one and kiss all the old people on command. I crossed my fingers that there would be no tantrums for fear of being labeled as having no control or over-spoiling. I know how my family talks about people when they aren’t there and I didn’t want to give them material for fodder. I wanted Sofia to choose Angel, not Demon, because I know she would never be able to change out of it again.

Why did my child have to learn how to scream?

Sofia followed suit, upholding my pristine reputation as the “good” “smart” “articulate” one by showing she inherited those traits as well. Of course she is even better because she is still little and innocent and cuddly and easily excited by things like drinking apple juice from a wine glass or yogurt covered raisins. She did her job, and I sort of hated it.

Let me be clear, my kid behaved in front of others on our trip. She is not a perfect saint all the time. In fact, lately she’s started up with screaming, at the top of her lungs, especially in the car. It completely makes me lose my shit and she knows it.

But, if there is ever a time to have an excuse to misbehave, it is when you are a child. And, what does it matter if I get labeled as a bad mother? And, why don’t these conversations revolve around “bad” fathers too? I suppose this all goes back to Vagism, but the inner teenager in me says “you have no idea who I am or what I am about, so you can’t judge me.”

And yet I let them sometimes. Sigh. Eleanor Roosevelt would be disappointed (“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Which, does anyone watch the Bachelorette–she totally used this quote and it made me like it way less…Ugh.)

I sound far more depressed about this than I am. It was just a phenomenon that I noticed, a little moment of inner turmoil that is another day in modern mom life.

On a brighter side I got to see all the special things about my Grandma’s and Nana’s and friends that make me love them so much. It is nice to watch their interactions with Sofia and her responses to them. It is amazing and terrifying to watch my little girl play with my high school friend’s little girl and think that they may get into some of the adventures we did.

Sofia and Bridget: Future Double Trouble

I noticed age a lot more on this visit: how old my grandparents and parents are getting, how I am no longer part of the young crowd that gets invited to the clubs or bars with the cousins, and how my friends and I talk about our kids, careers and healthcare when we hang out now.  I was worried about not hitting the gym at all that week and feeling the creaks in my bones.

I guess I am dying. Okay not really. It just seemed like the next logical thing to say, and technically every second we are all dying a little bit. I didn’t think I was depressed until I wrote this posting. Sorry to ruin your week. Jesus.

My life isn’t so terrible. As I blog my feet are being massaged by my Homedics foot warming massager, so all in all, it’s not so bad.

 

Gym Retard July 2, 2010

Filed under: Boobs,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 10:03 am
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Apologies for the use of a potentially offensive term. I mean it in the literal sense. Although I am guessing that if you are offended by the word “retard” you are probably offended by just about all my writing and probably aren’t reading this anyway…that means if you are still reading this you are totally inappropriate and we would probably be great friends.

So as part of Operation Be Healthier Than Mom I mentioned I am going the gym. I like my gym because it is literally across the street from my job so I can go during lunch and avoid eating out–two wins! I also like it because America’s Next Top Model wannabes do not work out there. It is a bunch of desk schmoes like me. Still, I am a very round mushy peg in a teeny toned hole.

Five indicators I don’t belong:

1) I sweat buckets. No one else seems to sweat at my gym except a couple really overweight dudes. I have very efficient pores, what can I say? I need a sweatband but I am not sure which is more embarrassing–a sweatband or dripping sweat. If this was the era of Flashdance, I’d be set.

2) I have giant boobs. Everytime I bend over while weightlifting it’s like a peep show bursting out of my sports bra. No one else has boobs at my gym. This is probably because they go more than three times a week.

My boobs: a blessing and a curse.

3) The old ladies are in better shape than me. The gray hairs have better asses in their work out tights. It makes me cry a little inside.

4)  Even though I work with a personal trainer once a week I still have no idea how to use gym equipment. I went to try the other day to do strength training in the weight room, which is a total sausage fest, and the bar on the thingy was missing. I looked for it, but then gave up. I also totally blanked on any exercises I have done with the free weights.

5) I can’t shower at a gym. It would take me too long to shower and reapply my make up and dry my damn hair. I just blow dry the sweat and touch up and go and it still takes me an hour and fifteen minutes to workout and disassemble and reassemble myself.

Do you ever go to a place where you just know you don’t belong? Do you pay to go there? I have a running joke in my family–I am an academic, not an athlete. Sheesh.

This baby has more game than me in the gym.

 

Operation be Healthier Than Mom June 18, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 10:14 am

Dear readers,

I am tired today. Part of it is because of my life, and part of it is because of Portland weather–it is 64 degrees here and I am truly concerned that I am doomed to be indoors with my two-year-old for an infinite amount of time.

I have been going to the gym for over a month now, three times a week, and have not lost a pound. In fact, last time I checked I gained one (and I am eating mostly healthy, so don’t even fucking ask me that.)

I am bored at work. Sigh.

I have no idea on earth what I want to do with myself. Some days I want to have a power career, others I want to be a stay-at-home mom, and others I want to be a writer in a cafe in Europe.

And today, I happened across yet another article on how to be a SuperMom. So I am here to write to you and share with the world that I have no desire to be Super.  In fact, I’d be pretty satisfied with just being Decent, but I have found no articles on how to be a decent mom, which seems like there is more of a need for given the horror stories I know we all have of our mothers.

My baseline goal is to simply be better than my mom was. This is why I go to the gym, I got a degree, I waited until I was married to have my kid, and I make sure to take time away for myself to decompress my troubles. Oh, and I earn the income. Isn’t that enough?

Wow. Can't wait to be her.

 

Taking Parenting Seriously June 11, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 11:56 am

Don’t worry readers. This post is not going to get all proper or anything…

You have got to see this: http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/2/you_re_not_my_boss

Did you laugh as hard as I did?  Taking Children Seriously? The beauty of children is that they are in no way serious!

Take me Seriously!

So let me back up because this article and this theory are not total bullshit. Just most of it. I can completely get on board with respecting children and not treating them like they are inanimate objects. I talk to Sofia with the same multi-syllabic words as I do my husband, and I try and make sure that just because I am bigger than her and in charge, that I take into account her feelings and what I am teaching her with my actions. So, I don’t eat her gummy bears without asking, and if she won’t share them with me then I respect her right to not share (even though it is not very nice). I do actually think about these things most times.

But then there are times that it doesn’t matter what she wants because if I left it up to her she’d eat dog food and stay in bed all day naked, putting chapstick on her butt.

Girls without structure and discipline grow up to be strippers and druggies and damaged goods. Just look at Lindsey Lohan. She is in her early twenties and she looks thoroughly used up.

View Image

Here is another clue as to why this TCS theory can’t be taken as gospel: “I go out of my way to explain my thinking to my son, but eventually I get tired of his relentless arguments and I put my foot down. By doing so, say the TCSers, I am crushing my son’s inherent rationality.” The fact that TCSers think that infants and toddlers are rational is a clue that they are full of shit. Did you know that infant girls have the same level of hormones as a grown woman? (For more on that, checkout “The Female Brain,” by Louann Brizendine.) So many hormones in such a small body does not a rational person make. Why would toddlers push boundaries if they did not in fact, want to understand the structure?

I claim no expertise on the theory of TCS–my only knowledge of it is the above article. However, I find it interesting that for all their theories, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to prove that the TCS parenting actually works. And frankly, I think the less seriously we all take ourselves, regardless of age, the better off we will be.

 

My Plan for My Thirties–and Fried Plantains May 16, 2010

Filed under: SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 5:35 pm
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I am back from Mexico. Well, almost. Technically I am on a plane somewhere over the U.S., but by the time I am able to post this, I will be back. TMI.

Couldn't wait to leave this shit-hole. Kidding. Sort of.

So I survived a week without the Muffin. I knew I would of course, but it wasn’t always easy. The first few days were pretty easy as I was distracted with the novelty of an all-inclusive resort and simply put: down-time. It was lovely, but it got old. After the fourth day, I was ready to go home, even though I was having a wonderful time with my husband. This is not a complaint—I needed this trip and so did my husband and frankly, we needed time together. I am just saying I am glad to be home.

I know what you are thinking: I am nuts, to which I respond, if you have read this blog at all—duh. But I spent time thinking about this more trying to figure out what it was that was making me want to leave a place most people will never get to experience: pool-side waitresses seeing to my every need, a crystal blue ocean with sand like butter and warm waves. Was my inability to relax this bad, I wondered?

Then it hit me. I have a fucking fabulous life.

Lucky me! I have all the fundamentals of happiness: loving husband, hilarious and lovable baby girl, an interesting job, beautiful home complete with cuddly dog. The fucking American Dream. I have made all my dreams from my youth come true!

Look mom! I'm 30. Oh and there's an Ancient Mayan pyramid, blah blah blah.

Now I want to mix things up a bit.

As some of you may know I turned 30 whilst in Mexico, the onset of a new era in my life, I decided. My twenties was truly about getting somewhere and being somebody. I would characterize that decade as my “drive” years. I had to focus on going to college, unlike my forebears, and choosing the right person to build a happy marriage with, also unlike my predecessors. Next came career, proud home and dog owner and finally motherhood. I spent the decade in my head, staying determined and focused and grounded with endurance that no one in my family has demonstrated before.

Now that I am 30, and have my life, I am no longer interested in drive. My next decade is the “passion” decade. I want to feel more than I think. I want to explore and be curious more than I create structure and order and stability. I want to make art and become a vegetarian and create a non-profit organization. I am going to embrace my more granola side. (Actually, funny story—we were at an Italian place in Mexico and they served a terrible coffee and these are the actual words I said to my husband “We should start a non-profit for coffee education:” final proof that I have assimilated into a true Portland bleeding heart.)

Anyway, I don’t exactly know what this decade of passion looks like yet, but that’s sort of the point.  I will know it when I come across it.

It is good to be me, and thirty. I will miss the fried plantains, though.

Sunburned, tired and pickled from a long week of all-inclusive love and fun.

 

Smart person. Sometimes. April 20, 2010

Filed under: SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 9:34 pm
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I am a smart person on most occasions but there are some things I do that I know are dumb, but I just can’t help myself from doing.

1)Feeding my kid sweets. I don’t do this excessively so her teeth rot out or anything, but I love giving my kid ice cream or candy just to watch the sheer enjoyment she gets from it. This is obviously dumb because after the sweetness of her pleasure, I am susceptible to her sugar-crazed zoo animal behavior.

2)Listening to my horoscope and astrology in general. I am not sure this is dumb as much as it is hokey, but I figure, the Aztecs did it and so did a bunch of other smart people so even though there is no logical proof that it works, there is also no logical evidence that it doesn’t! So, every day when I get my coffee at Starbucks there I am reading the daily horoscope and giving pre-emptive dirty look to the suits I can feel judging me…

3)I do not know how to use fucking Excel even though just about everyone else at my job does. On the one hand I am smart for getting away with it for so long. On the other, I am dumb for not just taking a weekend class for God’s sake.

4) I watch T.V. far more than I read which is actually a sin since I have 2 degrees in English. I don’t just watch smart people T.V. like OPB and Nova and shit, but I spend an equal amount of time watching trashy vapid T.V. like Millionaire Matchmaker and The Bachelor. Although, if I watch the trash on hulu commercial free is that maybe a little smarter?

5) I do not fucking floss, even though I know it literally adds years to your life. I barely have the energy to brush my teeth. I will live dangerously on this one and be sure to always wear my seatbelt to balance it out.

6) I always have to make the sign of the cross when I am taking off in an airplane. I am not Catholic, but I have always done this and I am sure that the ONE TIME I don’t do it, my fucking plane will crash and it will all be because I didn’t do this stupid fucking hand gesture.

7) I refuse to poop when someone else is in my workplace bathroom. I also generally try and go to another floor. Bathrooms are for pooping, yet I censor my butt.

I am sure there are more dumb things I do,but for now I could only think of seven. Stay tuned…

 

Lost: one mother, one father April 5, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 5:40 pm

In my last post I was on a glamorous (!) business trip. I have been back for over a week now and am still dealing with the ramifications of my absence with my darling and heinous two-year-old.

It occurred to me that this was the first time I had been away from her that she was conscious of, and I have been paying the price ever since.

On the days Sofia goes to daycare they give a one-page day summary of all the essentials: how much she ate and pooped, if she sat on the potty, what activities they did and also her temperament. My kid ALWAYS has gotten the “helpful, happy, cheerful” qualities circled. Until I went away. Then she was “sad.” She also went on a hunger strike and has not, for the past two weeks, really been willing to eat at school. Her school called me one day because she would not eat and kept crying all day and asking for Mommy. This was right after my trip so I figured some dedicated Mommy time would help. I picked her up from school early and we went and had cupcakes and went book shopping (that’s right–I am not above bribery.)

But, here we are a couple of weeks later and she is still not back to her “normal” self. At bedtime she has been struggling as well–when it’s Daddy’s turn to put her to bed she wants Mommy and vice versa. So, after letting Daddy try to calm her down I caved and went to put her to bed. (Note: it is a fatal mistake to leave the monitor on while your spouse is putting your kid to bed. Whatever you hear can lead to nothing good in this world, I assure you.)

So I go in there and have her in my lap and have my therapist mommy soothing voice going and I ask her why she is sad and she wails, with her head back in anguish and eyes towards the ceiling “I lost my mommy and my daddy!” Repeatedly.

Let me pause here and say that not all blood is crimson red. I assure you I was so pained that I was bleeding invisible mommy heart blood from my eyeballs–this was before the tears hit me.

Mother fucker! What a completely sucky statement to hear from your kid. All the working mom guilt that I coach myself out of, my philosophy that “providing for your family is another way of being there for them” was no match for this scenario. I was guilty and mean and an abandoner and it’s all my fault that my kid is living a miserable existence.    

I have no answers for this problem. I know guilt is a waste of energy, but it seems to be a constant in the life of a working mom. A couple things we have tried is bringing a picture of mommy and daddy to daycare so she can bring it out anytime she misses us. This is helping. Today my friend gave me a “mama bear” that she made–it’s a picture of my face on a cloth bear that she can hold and hug when she misses me. She says it worked on her kids. Fingers crossed.

Have I mentioned my husband and I are going away for a week next month to Mexico to celebrate my birthday and make baby #2–and baby girl is staying with Grandma?

I am Cruella DeVille.

 

Jet Setting March 23, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 5:49 pm
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I am typing in my hotel room in Albany New York. I had a great day on a client visit where I totally nailed it.

I have mixed emotions about travel–especially since I became a mother. First I am a total control freak so letting the pilot control my fate at 30,000 feet in the air is not something that sits lightly with me. The older I get, the worse I am about this–I had to take a Vicodin on the way here just to chillax. Just one more notch on the typical suburban mom belt–abuse of perscription drugs.  

On the one hand I love to travel for work–I only have to do it once or twice a year and it means I get to eat hot meals uninterrupted and watch really bad TV in my hotel room. I usually paint my toenails or read a book (note to self: bring swimsuit on future trips just in case there is a hot tub). I can get up 30 minutes before I have to leave because that is how fast I get myself ready versus the usual 1.5 hours when I am trying to get baby girl and husband out of the house (I understand why the two-year-old is high maintenance but I swear I don’t know what the man does that takes so long to get ready…)

But, there is a downside. First of all leaving is awful–this was the first trip where I explained to Sofia that mommy was going on an airplane and would not be home for a couple of days. I got the cold-shoulder that night when I went to give her a kiss goodnight–not just the cold shoulder–I was actually denied! She was angry with me and of course that made me tear up because what if that was our last goodnight kiss ever (in case the plane breaks in half from turbulence or gets hijacked which totally happened in every Hardy Boys book I ever read). Even though it’s been two years since giving birth, that instinct is still there and strong–the sense that it is wrong, even dangerous, to leave her side. It’s a drag.

Then there is the whole realization, in a hotel room by myself, gassy with travel food, watching Extreme Dr. 90210 (hypothetically speaking of course) that I don’t even like alone time anymore. That as much as I might complain about cold meals and noise and no rest I can’t wait to get on that plane, survive the flights home, and get that welcome hug and kiss from my baby girl and hubby.

My life as a modern working mother is a complete fucking paradox all the time.

 

Scaredy-Mom February 21, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 10:33 pm
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I pride myself on being a pretty fierce broad. I have done and said things that other people in my shoes would probably not have the balls to do or say. In fact, part of my charm is that I will still have more balls than people around me in most cases, when it comes to saying or doing things that might be hard to do or say.

However, and it feels like since motherhood my life has become full of howevers, I find myself scared now more than usual. I am less willing to take risks and there is an instinctual caution that I experience. At the most basic level I just cannot watch the news, movies or shows where children are kidnapped, maimed or abused. I have an intense physiological reaction and I can so worked up that I start feeling nauseated. The only explanation I could come up with was instinct–like a mother animal who knows her kids (and husband 🙂 ) would starve without her, I can’t allow myself to get into any scenario where death is a possibility, and the unknown is definitely risky.

I am starting to think that almost any questions that come up after becoming a mother can be answered with two things: hormones and instinct. For men it’s death and taxes.

I also noticed the fear phenomenon when I went on a business trip to Atlanta a few months ago. I was by myself and had never been there, and I was unwilling to take a train at night to my hotel. I also wouldn’t go out to eat alone at night. I suddenly became dainty and fragile and fearful, which I had never been before Sofia. I would have torn up the town in my younger sans-child days.

Now I find myself scared again at making some pretty big life decisions about my house and my career and what directions my husband and I should pursue, and I am terrified of risk. I am not one to dwell in the ambiguous in general–I like my routines and everything to have its place, but I recognize that we need to change direction or we are going to live a waking death, numb to happiness, and slaves to routine.

I think that as much as I am responsible for Sofia’s survival, she is in fact more influential on mine: I suddenly analyze the weight of all my decisions and actions–or lack thereof, and I constantly ask myself, “Is this what I want to teach Sofia? Is my decision or action showing her the best way to live life?”  Being able to answer yes to both of those questions is the only thing that gives me the gusto to do what I need to do, even when I think I might crap myself.

 

Stuff Stuff Stuffed. February 15, 2010

Filed under: SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 11:01 am
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I have been shocked–even while I was pregnant, at how much stuff comes with having a baby. Sofia had her entire first year wardrobe hanging in her closet before she was even born and I hardly bought any of it. Part of this is because she is the first grandbaby on all sides, so years of pent-up Grandmother buying was to blame. Blend that with a modern family (i.e. Sofia has 3 Grandmas, and 3 Great-Grandmas) and voila–we are buried in trinkets and ruffly outfits and stuffed animals.

On the one hand I am so grateful that the people in my life are thinking of us, and I absolutely do appreciate their generosity. On the other hand, the type A anal-retentive side of me is getting stressed out from all this shit closing in on me! It is exhausting to keep tidy and tidiness is needed for me to think straight!

So, my defense mechanism is to organize, which in my world requires equipment, which requires money I don’t really have (God, story of my life!). It is astonishing all the neat structures that are out there for bringing order to children’s toy chaos. I found toy bins and boxes combined with bookshelves! Anal retentive heaven!

My husband and I have lately been fantasizing about moving to Copenhagen because they seem to have their heads on straight. Maternity leave is one full year with full pay, unemployment is four years of full salary, almost everyone rides their bike–most people don’t own a car, and life is much more simple there–too many things are seen as unhealthy. So, in preparation for our fantasy move, we have been trying to streamline and get rid of things that we have not used in the last year. Simultaneously, my in-laws are moving and gave us half a household worth of stuff.

As I write this I think to myself–why didn’t we just say no? The answer is we might use some of the stuff–like the porch swing will probably get plenty of use in the summer, but the rest of the year it will clutter my garage. The garden tools are a similar case. The pantry full of dry goods would be wasteful to throw away and we don’t like to waste.

We try and get rid of stuff on Craigslist, but that is time consuming. I wish I could trade all our useless crap for more time. I will give the universe the 4 boxes of honey grahams that I can’t throw away (that Grandma bought), and in return I should get a three-day weekend. I will gladly trade the 50 stuffed animals for a week off.

If only I ruled the universe…

 

Ambitchon January 15, 2010

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 6:48 pm
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This is the new Angel in the House, ladies. We no longer have to kill the voice that says “serve men, be gentle, be selfless.” We have a much more forbiddable enemy that I have, with affection, named Ambitchon.

This is the modern demon that those of us who want to be more than mother and wife have to face (and to be clear, being mother and/or wife is more than enough!). In fact, Ambitchon is the residue of the legacy our feminist mothers and sisters worked so hard to establish for us. That is,  creating the opportunity and expectation for us to be accepted as more than mothers and wives in society. However, greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses and what started out as an amazing gift has now shapeshifted into an inner oppression, a self-imposed guilty conscience.

Before, the voice said “Dare to dream. Don’t be afraid to take time, take money, create space to make it happen.” Now, the voice says, “You should be doing it all–at once! Be an excellent mother! Be a tigress in bed! Be the breadwinner! Exercise! Whatever you do, be the best at it!”

I am having the hardest time calming the fuck down and I want nothing more. I want to relax. I want to savor the moment. I want to STRIVE FOR STATUS QUO and balance. I even got myself a four-day work-week to support this goal! But, I am having the hardest time respecting my own boundaries. All this time I have blamed my company, or my financial situation, or my need to be the first in my family, or to prove that “it” can be done. Even starting this blog has been a challenge because what started out as a fun outlet quickly turned into–“how do I become the BEST at this?” Bloody hell!

I now feel that Ambitchon is the greatest threat to modern feminism. Regular ambition is still good: it’s the thing that motivates us to live to our fullest potential. Ambitchion is unchecked, throbbing, and destructive. It convinces us that we are not good enough where we are–that we must do more or be better even when it doesn’t really align with our values. 

I am not as violent as Virginia Woolf was. There is no killing necessary here. I find it sufficient to say “Fuck you Ambitchon! I am an excellent example of female strength right where I am. I have nothing left to prove to you. Punk ass bitch.” (sorry, that last part was the ghetto roots coming out…)

 

Confessional November 17, 2009

Filed under: Mommy Issues,SuperWoman Syndrome — Scribbling Dame @ 10:02 pm
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I am not Catholic but I do believe in the power of confession.

1. My kid watches too much T.V. I try and make myself feel better about this because she does only watch PBS and the occasional Pixar film. Still, she watches T.V. more than she plays outside or reads books. If her brain turns to mush  or she becomes fat and diabetic, I will know this is my fault.

2. I have fed my child McDonald’s. I live within a block of McDonald’s and I am too damn tired to make dinner every night and I need a cheap way to eat out. If she becomes fat or diabetic, I will know this is one of the reasons why. (And it is also my fault.) I also really enjoy watching her eat cupcakes.

3. I know it is vain and horrible but I am pleased that my kid is adorable and I think she is cuter than about 50% of the other kids I know. I know it is not a competition, but I am glad my kid looks amazing.

4. I am more confused now about pretty much everything, but mostly what it means to be a good mother, what it means to be a strong woman, and what is important in my life. I thought I might have more figured out by this time (since Sofia is almost 2 and I am almost 30) but I have not.

5.  I have lied to my husband about whose turn it was to change the poopy diaper. I know this is not nice, yet I figure since he is not keeping track, he could deal with a little more poop and give me a break. I have also pretended not to know that Sofia was poopy, and conveniently disappeared knowing that he will discover the “deposit” and change the diaper–even if it’s my turn. Catholic friends–how many hail Mary’s is that I wonder?

6. I don’t care if my kid hates sitting on Santa’s lap. I love Christmas and she needs to learn to love Christmas too.

7. I am totally jealous of moms who get skinny after their babies. But, I don’t hold it against them.

I feel better.

 

 
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