... woke up with tractor marks on her palm at 8 am.
...watched two movies before 11 am because that was all the energy she could muster.
... finished a project she started one year ago.
... broke down the baby gate and Hollis' "zone" because he's out grown it.
... felt sad that her baby is leaving her by imperceptible inches.
... went through all her boxes of old baby clothes; organized them and reboxed them for distribution to the two new baby boys in her life. Something that would have been virtually impossible with a two-year old involved.
... visited her best friend for a wee bit.
... ate nothing but pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
... took a pain pill because of back pain with zero guilt about feeling loopy from it.
... feels extreme happiness at the prospect of the reunion tomorrow, but also just a dash of sadness for not getting a couple of more days alone. She's not quite ready to re-enter real life.
... feels more human than she did on Days 4 and 5 where she thought she was going to die of exhaustion.
... took the trash can to the curb like a big girl.
... went to bed thinking of these photos:
I've found fellow mothers (and parents as well as non-parents) whose experiences mirror mine and make me feel normal. (Did you hear that? I feel NORMAL in all this head-up-my-ass-what-the-hell-am-I-doing parenting thing because of others' willingness to share and open up. What a spectacular thing.) My blogrolls to the left are a compilation of blogs I adore and read all the time, blogs that I aspire to be when I grow up, and blogs that are like me. They are also bloggers who are loyal followers and commenters who most definitely deserve reciprocal support and blog love.
Take Foxy at Foxy Den. She's a fellow Austinite who has been around almost from the very beginning. And her blog is so very different from mine I might never have found it based on my usual haunts, and I would have missed out on her scary Valentine's Day Exorcist moment or where to find an Edward Cullen doll (Toys R Us, in case you were wondering). If it weren't for the powers that be in the blogging community t hat had brought her my way I would be missing out on her quirky sense of humor and laugh-out-loud posts.
And she even gave me an award back in October; this awsome "Over the Top" badge. How cool is that??
So of course I'd like to pay it forward to some other bloggers I respect and enjoy:
Cypress Sun - A creative woman and mother searching for balance, finding beauty and poetry in her journey and generously sharing it with the interwebs.
Pink Bliss - Ex-pat in Scandanavia, newly-minted lawyer finding her way with two fluffy cats, a husband, and an alluring wit.
The Wifey Blogs - Honest, funny, uniformly engaging in her writings, Gabrielle doesn't hold any punches as she works through her thoughts and life.
Unfortunately Peanut Butter - Ex-pat in the Netherlands, Renee (or Pinkypie as she's known as on Twitter), is thoughtful and brave as she learns to push her own boundaries.
Amber Page Writes - Amber writes about her husband and daughter with a clear, loving, droll voice. There's a vision of her personality in every line.
And likewise, Gabrielle of The Wifey Blogs also passed on an award back in December. I'm really touched because there are, literally, endless bloggers to choose from, but she added me to her list.
I'm supposed to pass this on to 10 bloggers, but I'm going to instead pass it on to the handful of bloggers with whom I've exchanged a bunch of email, chats, and/or Tweets. Their thoughtful responses, willingness to engage and open up, and outright friendliness have really helped me to keep my head above water the last six months. So, thank you, ladies. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Loukia at Mrs. Loulou
Amber at Strocel.com
Brie at Capital Mom
Elisa at Globetrotting in Heels
and One-sided Momma
Basically, these "awards," are really just the internet version of me calling you up and asking you to go to dinner or grab a cup of coffee, because isn't that what we do with the people in our lives that we admire and appreciate?
And last, but not least, Noble Savage (one of my very favorite bloggers whom I highly esteem) tagged me in one of the easiest memes ever. I just have to share things that never fail to put a smile on my face. (I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, but I'd love to know what does it for you. Lemme know if you post it on your blog and I'll link up to you.)
- Hollis' tense body freeze followed by a chortle whenever he toots
- My tempurpedic bed
- The sound of my grown up husband giggling like a little boy in spite of himself
- Attie Poo McJigglechops, the wonder-nephew.
So, thanks everyone. I look forward to more blogging lurv with all of you in 2010.
... added her husband's sweater to the must-sleep-with crew (Horse and the tractor didn't mind).
... talked to her man at 7 am and discovered her baby coughed so hard last night he barfed. Twice. Second time he tried to catch it - and hey! was successful!
... was able to go back to sleep until 11 - ELEVEN AM!
... went for a leisurely walk in the city park and the weather was so breathtakingly gorgeous she cried because Levi wasn't there.
... ate fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and fried artichoke hearts and spinach for breakfast with black coffee at 12:30.
... killed brain cells with afternoon TV consisting of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Everyday Italian, Life in the Fab Lane, and My Super Sweet 16.
... showered at 3 o'clock, was tired from the exertion and sat back down on the couch for another hour.
... gussied up and met friends for a happy hour... or two.
... was home by 7:30 and back on the couch, bleary, red, scratchy eyes and all.
... got a hoarse-y, sweet message from my baby that consisted of Anthony whispering, "Say HI to Mama!" in the background over and over and then "Night-night!" blurted into the phone by his unamused charge.
... watched everything in the DVR queue before eating more leftovers for dinner at 11 pm.
(Seriously. Have I died and gone to heaven?? Someone better pinch me.)
... doesn't make the bed.
... drinks as much wine as she wants.
... drags in the litter box from the garage because now there's no threat of turds ending up a) hurled all over the house or b) ingested.
... thinks she hears her Sweet Baby Hollis making snuffling sleeping noises in the other room.
... has to stop herself from "peaking in" on SBH sleeping every time she walks by his closed door.
... calms down a harried and desperate husband at 11:30 EST as she can hear her toddler thrashing around desperately exhausted and under the weather in the background.
... sleeps with a tractor and a Horse.
... wakes up at 4:15 am for NO REASON WHATSOEVER.
... watches endless makeup tutorials care of Pixiewoo (and FashionFace.tv).
... drinks an entire pot of coffee by herself before 9 am.
... unlocks all the magnetic child-safety locks on the doors and cabinets.
... gets a 10 am phone call telling her not to worry about a bruise that may show up on her baby's head. He "just fell down the stairs, but he's fine."
... continued to use the magnet key to unlock the previously unlocked drawers.
... had a midday anxiety attack because, well, WHAT IS SHE SUPPOSED TO DO???
... didn't get showered and dressed until after 4 pm.
... was grateful for that much because the neighbors stopped by for a chat.
... FREAKED when she saw this because it does NOT look like "a bruise on his head," it's a fucking BLACK EYE:
... received a lovely afternoon update that all was well in Boston; naps, snacks, and hijinx had been had with no more bruising to the body, just lost boots and a smashed finger.
... rocked her makeup from her inspiring makeup tutorials.
... ate shrimp and grits at chez Mrs. Jesse James' with a dear old friend.
... missed Levi something fierce after driving by an old duplex they lived in together.
... was home by 10.
... desperately missed her boys.
The three months was a very gracious offering. Ordinarily, my sister would have gotten approximately 6 weeks paid, but her company gave her an extra two, and she used a month's worth of vacation time to patchwork 12 weeks of time to have her first child.
I don't think I have to tell any of you how cruel this is. More so for my sister than for Atticus.
She's being a soldier about it, though, and in all honesty I really admire and appreciate her attitude about it all. She can't change it, she has to make it work, and ultimately she knows (as do I) that Attie and his new parents will be just fine, if not a bit shaken up for some time as they all get used to the new de rigeur. But she's been blessed with a baby that happily takes her breast milk from anyone, who is colic-free, and who will good humoredly try out new things such as a bouncer or a warm stranger's shoulder while mommy or daddy takes a shower. I'm hopeful that the transition will be an easy one.
When Atticus was just a week old I was talking to my sweet sissy poo on the phone and I asked her when she had to go back to work. "February 22nd," she choked out and I could hear her breath catching as she quietly sobbed with her baby at her breast. "You'll be ok, Gabby. I promise," I gently replied not really able to understand what she was about to go through and hoping I was right.
I imagine leaving your infant with anyone when you've spent every moment thinking and/or touching him up until then nothing short of unnatural. And I don't mean that in a judgmental sense, not at all. On the contrary, I'm just looking at it from an objective, historical point of view. No 12-week mother-baby pair would be separated if it weren't for modern day imperatives and responsibilities (or the luxury of at least a wet-nurse prior to pumps and formula).
Gabby loves her career and happens to be the major bread-winner and so such is her journey. I told her it was ok to cry in her office, to ask Maury to bring the baby to her to nurse or cuddle, to even leave early to be with her baby. Of course, even I understand that there is a cut-off for this kind of behavior, but I say go for it for as long as necessary with no compunction. Fuck it. It's your baby and really nothing is ever as important after they appear in this world. It's too bad that no company would allow that kind of flexibility forever, but so far they're being very understanding of their first-ever pregnant employee (amazing, isn't it?? And they've been around for over a decade!), and have also even given her the option of working 4 days a week.
I haven't talked to her yet, so I don't know how her first day back went, but I remember clearly the first time I was separated from Hollis. I cried off and on for roughly 24 hours, and then I was fine, but it was still heartbreaking. I couldn't figure out WHY I was crying; I just did. But he was also 27 months old. I don't know what I would have done at 12 weeks. Probably what thousands of other mothers do: suck it the fuck up.
And that's why I'm not going to wallow in my current state of loneliness. Hollis and Anthony are currently en route to Boston to visit Anthony's twin sister for 7 days. I've stayed behind to reclaim a semblance of sanity and just relax for the first time in over 2 years. I miss Hollis keenly, but won't allow any tears because, really, what's the point?? He's with his dad, he's going to have an amazing time, and I have been BEGGING for this alone time forever so why ruin it with yearning for something that isn't here?
So I plan on drinking wine, watching chick flicks, reading stupid magazines, working out, sleeping in, never getting dressed, and eating ice cream for dinner for a week. I'm going to think about my sweet baby sister who's going through one of the worst things all working moms have to go through and send her good vibes. I'm going to write every day until my eyes blur and I start repeating myself. I'm going to research what I can do to start changing the current mat-leave policies here in America to more closely resemble those of Canada and Europe because 12 weeks is far too short. I'm going to sit and spin on how lucky I am to stay home with my son, regardless of the unique struggles it brings because it's an amazing gift to be able to participate in every part of his day. And, of course, I'm going to contemplate my doughy navel some more. I'm sure I can come up with some more interesting posts than what I've been generating and it's my goal to fill up my queue with witty, droll musings.
What have your experiences with maternity leave and separation been like? Is it always this hard for moms to be away from their kids not matter what? Or am I just being a weenie?
I have been such a big downer on my blog lately. I admit it. I'm not apologizing for it, but I do recognize it for what it is. Shit happens. It ends up on my blog. However, not apologizing for it isn't the same as wishing it were different. Because I do! I wish that I could take my ire and my irritability and spin it into sheer humor genius. I think I actually do a pretty good job in real life, but when it comes to my writing I lean towards the serious, not the silly.
Which is exactly why this month's worthwhile post is Maria's (of Bored Mommy) script for her husband's press conference. She took Tiger's pitiful plea for forgiveness and crafted a brilliant opus for her own man. I laughed my ass off. It's bitingly funny and spot on. I couldn't wait to fire off an all-caps response to her regarding men and taking out the trash. I mean, COME ON, HUSBANDS! Hahahaha. Anyway, read it and weep... with laughter, of course.
I do believe my husband owes ME a press conference
But it got me thinking – press conferences can be a good thing, if done the right way. In fact, I think I’m owed a press conference. Yes – I believe MY HUSBAND owes ME a press conference. So, I made it easy on him and prepared his script for him. I’m sweet like that:
Good Afternoon Everyone – my name is Husband (also known as SuperGoob) and I am here today to set the record straight on why I believe Maria is a GODDESS for staying with me after all these years, and why I truly owe her the largest and sparkliest diamond available. And a new camera. And a new house. And a Gucci handbag.
First off, I would like to apologize for all the years I’ve put my dirty laundry next to the hamper, instead of IN the damn hamper. My wife did not sign up for touching my nasty drawers on a daily basis, for the last 10 years of her life. I’m sorry, because truth be told, I suck. From now on, I will be doing all laundry, including folding it and putting it away to make it up to her.
Also, I would like to say that I’m ashamed to admit that every time my perfect wife has attempted to make me dinner, I feel the need to douse it with salt and various condiments, before I even taste it. I cannot blame her for wanting to throw said dinner at my head on a daily basis, and am greatful that she fights said urge.
Indeed, making her yell at me to do the garbage and recycling every Thursday night is so wrong, that I insist she go out and buy herself that new handbag this very moment, and any time that this ever happens again. Darling, I will feel so much better if you go ahead and spend a ridiculous amount of money on it. The enormous balance of that upcoming credit card bill, will fill my heart with joy.
But most of all, I would like to BEG for forgiveness, for every minute that I have slept in. (That’s a WHOLE LOT OF BEGGING in case you’re wondering). For every time I have slept through screaming and crying babies, sick and vomiting children, I owe you BIG TIME. For every time, I pretended to sleep, or ignored you when you were trying to talk to me, and every time I spoke to you rudely when you were trying to wake me, resulting in me acting like an insensitive prig, I owe you a million junk punches (with a jock on of course).
I will never live up to your fabulousness, or stunning beauty, and most importantly, I will never be as smart or funny as you are. No matter how hard I try, I will never beat you at Scrabble, or gin rummy or any game, ever. I love you so much that I will end this perfect press conference with as many cliches as I can muster, because being embarassed will only make me feel better about all those craptastic moments I’ve put you through over the last 10 years.
With my sidebar feature, "A Worthwhile Post...", my hope is that I will spread some blog love and give due nods, props, and high-fives to the writers I stumble across without having any rules or strings attached.
If I ever feature your post, please feel free to grab a "This is Worthwhile" button. There's no obligation whatsoever. Do whatever floats your awesome writer's boat. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't use the button.
I'll also do individual codes for each blogger, because I want anyone who clicks on this button to come directly to the post that says why I think it's worthwhile.
So, without further ado...
Name someone with the same birthday as you:
Elisa and Loukia! - Yep, I swear! And Charlie Sheen haha.
Where was your first kiss?
On my mouth.
hahahah And on my boyfriend's couch.
Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Does egging count? It probably does, and so sadly, I have to say YES to this.
Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Not in anger.
Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Once at 17 and I'll never do it again.
What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex?
Shoulders and eyes.
What really turns you off?
Being a weanie.
What do you order at Starbucks?
Decaf soy latte.
What is your biggest mistake?
Not listening to my gut.
Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
Oh lordy, what a question for a meme! Every time I have that extra glass of wine!
Say something totally random about yourself:
I am excellent at parallel parking.
Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows?
Yep! Movies, anyway.
Did you have braces?
Are you comfortable with your height?
Eh, pretty much.
What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you?
Anthony once surprised me on my doorstep with a bouquet of tulips.
When do you know it's love?
When you'll do anything for it.
Do you speak any other languages?
Have you ever been to tanning salon?
Have you ever ridden in a limo?
What's something that really annoys you?
Endless, scorching hot summers.
What's something you really like?
The cold and rosy cheeks.
Can you dance?
Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
I won't tag anyone, but if you would like to participate, let me know and I'll link to yours!
Despite all my struggles I still see the beauty in my every day life; the wonder and loveliness of it all. And to aptly reflect this I'm going to start peppering my blog with Daily Digby photos. I have hundreds of pictures of him as it is, but I have been reluctant to post them because I don't like posting more than 2-3 times a week.
However, I'm allowing an exception and creating a sub-blog within my blog, much like my "A worthwhile post" and the "And the marquee says..." sidebars. (What can I say? If I used wordpress.com I'd have tabs. I'm a tab-lover!)
Here's my little furry friend, and his friend Lola (not mine), from earlier today sunning themselves on the couch back in my bedroom. It's really gotta be nice being a cat of mine. I mean, seriously.
Exact replica of my Celtic thistle pendant.
I am a marked woman.
I lost my shit completely while in San Francisco. My bubble burst and I realized just how unhappy I really am. For months I've been doing my best to keep the truth at bay, until one January day, while walking in the Musical Concorde in Golden Gate Park with sweet, rosy-cheeked Hollis surrounded by all the towering eucalyptus trees I love, I was hit in the gut by the truth I could no longer escape.
I'm seriously miserable.
Nothing in my life right now is going the way I want it to.
I feel trapped.
I fought tears and tried not to screw up my face as passersby ticked past one after another. Crying in public is just so dramatic and always pulls up memories of a really bad Danielle Steele novel for me except I doubt anyone would think I was the most beautiful woman in the world. I would just look like a woman pushing a stroller who was sad and defeated. And honestly, I guess that's ok. Life happens all around us and sometimes it goes outside the lines where everyone can see it. Fuck it, right?
On my way back to the apartment I resolved to talk to Anthony about it and as soon as we had a private moment we dove in. On and on into the night we talked. Red wine, a glowing TV screen, navy blue couch, tears, anger, buses roaring past, voices rising outside below the windows. Of course nothing was resolved, but I felt a thousand pounds lighter. I had finally admitted the truth of my feelings.
The next day I felt like commemorating this time in my life. It is one of great emotional upheaval, a reawakening of sorts to the strength inside of me: I have the right to pursue happiness. I have the right to be me. And I have the innate strength to pursue both.
Hence, the tattoo (a far better cry than buying a Corvette, if you ask me).
Every time I see it I am reminded of the promise to myself to be strong, be true, and to be happy. That I am lovable just the way I am, faults and ugliness and challenges included. I think I had forgotten that over the years.
I have a loving family and a sensitive, intelligent partner. I will get through this.
What are your reminders to be true? Did you get tattooed? Is it a photo you've framed? I'd like to know what others do.
We were hungry, irritable, and struggling to make lemonade out of our lemon-like evening when we climbed out our bedroom window to the rooftop patio. It was a chilly November night and you could just barely hear the lick of the coastal waters on the shore in the distance.
I remember this night so vividly for a few reasons, but one of the biggest was this was when we had our first real talk about parenting, our vision and our desires. Sitting on that chaise longue with a glass of white wine in one hand and cracker in the other I mentioned that I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and that it was something I'd always wanted since I could remember.
I was so relieved to discover that he wouldn't spank either, that he loved the idea of breastfeeding for however long I wanted, and also (eventually) was warm to the idea of me dropping out of the workforce to care for our children.
It was a really difficult discussion to have so early in our relationship. We'd only been living together for six months and marriage had never even been discussed, but I had dated other men who had differed wildly from my core beliefs in the past and I had always known that those differences were deal breakers. I could never be with a man who wanted to strike my child. Nor could I be with a man who viewed my full-time care-taking as "lazy" or "not working." And neither could I be with a man who decided what I should do with my breasts.
Fast forward almost three years to the day from that night and Hollis was born. I had read The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears, and What to Expect the First Year and I was definitely more drawn to the attachment parenting style. Cry-It-Out and Ferberizing and all that just seemed too easy (and frankly painful) and when it came time to put our money where our mouth was we fell towards an AP lifestyle naturally.
Anthony took off a month of work that first month to bond with the baby and take care of me; we co-slept, I nursed on demand, and Hollis' needs always came first those first several critical months. Anthony always supported whatever decision I made since I had moved into the expert-role of parent while he switched gears to head back to work full-time.
Very occasionally we differ on a topic, but it's usually about a nuance, not on the fundamentals. In an old post about my parenting philosophy I described it like this:
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care - Anthony and I work very hard to be consistent with policies and active parenting. It's hard when we have such different styles. I like to think of it as a color. Our over all philosophy is Blue and I'm a Dark Blue and Anthony's a Light Blue.I am so grateful for a man in my life who supports my vision. Sometimes wistfully I wonder what it'd be like to not be the one making all the decisions, to just be able to say, "Yeah, I totally agree with that! What a great idea!" Because I definitely feel the pressure and responsibility of captaining this ship. But with great power comes great responsibility and I've become ok with that. It makes me feel strong and more like a Mama Bear.
I may not be making all the right decisions day in and day out but at least my partner backs me up on my voyage. This job is so unbelievably difficult and to have someone butting heads with me all the time would be disastrous for everyone. My heart goes out to those in struggling situations and I only hope that one day you can both get on the same page. Our only real argument comes to bear when there's a break down of communication regarding expectations, but never about philosophy.
I can even take this a step further and say that everyone in my life backs up me and my style of parenting. All of my friends embrace my open, natural attitude and my parents, sister, and in-laws have all followed suit as well. No one ever tells me "shut Hollis up" if he screams in a restaurant. No one ever tells me to spank him if he becomes defiant. No one told me to stop nursing when Hollis turned 1. They all look to me and Anthony for guidance and then mimic our responses to our son.
My friends and family may find it frustrating or difficult, but they've never let on to me. They have all been nothing but supportive and loving. And in my opinion our reward is a happy, loving little boy who trusts the adults in his life.
I've come across countless blogs where mothers are fought against for their decision to be a natural, gentle, loving mother and I count my blessings. No mother should have to fight against anyone to ensure her child is parented in the way she feels best.
So, thanks, everyone for being so loving to and supportive of me.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- A Thank You to my Husband — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl thanks her husband for keeping her grounded and giving her unwavering support in the face of discouragement from within and without. (@lactatinggirl)
- My Reverse Traditional Husband In the Wild — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries gives us a lesson on how dads in the wild parent their young. Can you guess which male animal actually nurses its young? (@babydust)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. (@TopHat8855)
- Parenting Together — For Alison at BluebirdMama and her husband, parenting is simply an extension of the way they live. (@childbearing)
- If We Had A MIllion Dollars — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and her husband would both agree to be crunchier parents if they had a million dollars to ease the way. (@bfmom)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Co-Parents — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written a letter to her husband, thanking him for his incredible support in every aspect of their natural parenting journey. (@CodeNameMama)
- Natural Parenting Fathers — Sarah at Natural Parenting is balancing being all there for her son with being present for her husband. (@considereden)
- Just Wonderful: Love and Partners and Natural Parenting — Zoey at Good Goog let her husband lead her to babywearing and cosleeping. (@zoeyspeak)
- All that stuff I don't get comes so easy to him — The Grumbles is taking this opportunity to say thank you to her husband for his mad parenting skills. (@thegrumbles)
- The Power of Having a Supportive Co-Parent — Chrystal at Happy Mothering and her husband started with vaccinations and moved on from there. (@HappyMothering)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners — Lauren at Hobo Mama makes do with babbling incoherently about how her husband practices natural parenting in such an effortless fashion, with bonus video. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Love and Partners — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her husband's moving account of her birth story, and his testament to the power of a woman. (@myzerowaste)
- labor support... — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is thankful that her partner has provided her immeasurable labor support through each of their last three unassisted homebirths (and will again for their upcoming fourth!).
- What co-parent? On prams, routines, ideals, sickness, and finding my way alone. — Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades describes life without a present co-parent: making new choices and taking care of things herself. (@brightravenmum)
- Parenting With Support — How many people can say that their husband talked them into cloth diapering? Darcel at The Mahogany Way can! (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Co-Parenting Support — Summer at Mama2Mama Tips knows the importance of being supported in the face of criticism. (@mama2mamatips)
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Love and Partners — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start has been blessed with an incredibly involved partner. Her husband loves to take part in every aspect of parenting! (@pchanner)
- Daddy's Little Girls — Kate Wicker at Momopoly finds her husband right at home in a tangle of girls. (@Momopoly)
- How do I love my parenting partner? Let me count the ways. — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is thankful that she and her partner co-parent fluidly and gracefully. (@mamamilkers)
- Interview with a Daddy — NavelgazingBajan brings us a highly amusing peek into her husband's perspective.
- Being Supported in Natural Parenting — Sarah at OneStarryNight has witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum, and is grateful she found a father who is comfortable with natural parenting. (@starrymom)
- Moments in time: a love letter — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick will make you cry with the beautiful way she describes the complete relationship between father and child. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Natural parenting converts — Jen at Recovering Procrastinator brought her reluctant husband around to cloth diapers, bed sharing, and time-ins as a discipline method. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Breastfeeding Father — Amber Strocel at Strocel.com describes how her husband helped her overcome the breastfeeding challenges she encountered with her premature daughter. (@AmberStrocel)
- A Natural Parenting Village — Acacia from Art, Body & Soul, in a guest post for Jamie at Suddenly Stay at Home, broadens the term "coparents" to embrace supportive extended family on both sides. (@SuddnlyStyAtHme)
- A Natural Dad — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest doesn't have a husband who merely supports her — she has a husband just as dedicated to natural parenting as she is.
- Love and Support From My (sometimes pantsless) Man — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma describes life with the sometimes bumbling but always lovable Pantsless Man. (@kitchenwitch)
- G-O-T-E-A-M! — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile made sure her future husband agreed with her parenting choices early in their dating. (@tisworthwhile)
- how we come to parenthood — Michelle at womanseekingmother dances with her husband around the subject of cosleeping. (@seekingmother)
The face of the little man who erased the most important 15 minutes of the Super Bowl!!
Last we saw it was 24 - 17, Saints up. Next thing we knew the channel was changed and our buffer lost and it was 31 - 17!! Turns out ol' Hollis got his chubby little hands on the remote and decided to mix it up a bit!
Good thing they replayed that winning interception for everyone AFTER the whole thing was said and done.
Beware of toddlers with freakish technological skills!
I have so many posts I would rather write than this one, but I am overcome with desire to pour my heart out instead; to process my hurt and confusion, my bitterness, my anger, and my sadness.
I don't think anyone knew what the nuclear family would really do to families, I mean, it sounds so great on paper! Self-sustaining! Independent! Privacy! But really, it just breaks us up, isolates us and makes maintaining connections of the daily-variety with peers nearly impossible.
It doesn't matter if you're in or out of the house, if you're the main caregiver of children you're doing it alone and mysteriously so. No one sees the machinations of a working mother or a stay at home mom. We don't know what her days and nights are made of. How she balances her needs with those of her family. We are separated from our larger communities on a basic level I'm not so convinced is totally natural and are left to recreate the wheel. Women are essentially robbed of other women and learning from their experiences first hand.
In our current nuclear set up women who leave the house to work are revered as super-women, often trying to do it all and often to their own detriment, and women staying home with children seem to be looked upon with both disdain and an odd kind of admiration for turning down the chance to earn cash. - Oh, how many times I've heard from working mothers, "I could never stay home with my children all day long! I wouldn't know what to do!" As if I somehow have a secret weapon they don't know about it. My only weapon is sheer grit and determination, honestly, and even that is waning in the harsh light of my unhappy reality. [Ed. note: the opening paragraphs were changed to better match my feelings of this particular post. My earlier version wasn't as well connected to my thought process.]
The nuclear family, something right-wing conservatives are trying so desperately to "protect," is eroding our families. This whole "someone leaves the house to make money and the other stays behind and tends to the children and the house" thing or the "both adults leave to make money, check the kids into daycare or school, come home and try to squeeze an entire day's worth of household duties into 3 and a half hours" thing SUCK. They plain S-U-C-K.
There are no helpful aunts and uncles and cousins galore to help tend to things every woman has to take care of. There is no moment where she can engage and talk and recharge while in motion. Everything must keep going. When I am with friends and family with Hollis I let go. I find myself completely disengaging for that 30 minutes or an hour and allow the other adult to relieve me of some of the burden of tending to a small, but extremely busy, tornado. I often wonder what kind of mother they think I am because I will all too happily sit in front of the TV or the computer while they tinker away with the boy.
I know for a fact that Anthony worries that I put Hollis somewhere below priority #1 because what he sees, and all he ever sees, is me taking a step back to relieve myself of the intense pressure and emotion I feel every second of the day when I'm with him. How often does your child EVER leave your mind completely when you're alone with her? Even when she's asleep I bet you go and make sure she's still breathing and snugly covered up. Your ears are trained to find "suspicious" silences, your eyes honed to notice the smallest pinch of the lips that tells you to make her spit something out, your lips finely tuned to the tracest change in body temperature, the pads of your fingertips sensitive to any new cut, bump, or rash.
[I must add here that it BREAKS MY FUCKING HEART to know that Anthony looks on my mothering with even the tiniest sliver of disappointment and skepticism. It's such a volatile topic for me that I feel fangs grow and my irises turning red when he broaches the topic of, "Is this what it's always like with Hollis when I'm not around??" There is literally nothing else he could possibly say to me to get me to shut down so emphatically and completely while simultaneously enraging me. Ever heard of don't poke the bear? Well, this is more like don't poke the starving, sleep-deprived, angry, cannibal bear.]
It is so wholly exhausting to be in charge of someone's life. I finally get it; how to explain it to others. Being alone, fully responsible for another person's life, personality, development, health, growth, and happiness - all while basically directionless and alone - has done me in.
This is what is so singularly hard about being a stay at home mother in a nuclear family. I can't believe it's taken me so long to finally get it. I've felt horribly guilty about finding it so hard because I had no schedule, no one to tell me what to do and when. I was my own boss and I was doing what I loved: raising my son. - And only one son! Not 3 or 4 or 5 kids. I've often wondered if I were busier I might not notice how shriveled up as an individual I've become, but I suppose eventually the shit hits the fan. So why not now?
I can't speak to working mothers' experiences, obviously, but I'm sure it's a shade of this for them as well. Like they can't imagine doing what I do, I can't imagine doing what they do, either: working so hard in an office then having to come home and cook, clean, love, maintain a marriage, a life, sanity, friendships. Jesus Christ. I'm overwhelmed thinking about it.
I hate to bring this up because I feel like such a fucking whiner. Some of you may be nodding your heads thinking, "Yes, she is whining. She's got it so much better than me!" and to you I say that everyone's experience is different and our hard wiring makes everything even more experiential and personal. I even look at myself and think I'm a big baby, but I can't change how this life is affecting me. I've tried.
I am so sick to death that I have to fight for live interaction with other adults. I struggle with it every day as I wander through the hours trying to keep Hollis engaged, happy, stimulated, and loved. Where are the villages of parents and friends I keep hearing about? They're like goddamned Big Foot to me at this point.
How did we let it come to this??
And I ask that question of myself and of society at large. Obviously, it's mostly rhetorical, but seriously. When did it become cool to bend over a barrel like this? And suffer and be lonely and have to sign up for adult interaction on internet websites in the form of a mommy group??
I am a swirling mass of frustration, confusion, and sadness. I wanted this life so badly and now that I have it I am drowning in it. I feel like a massive ingrate and a weakling. I am so awed by the women who have figured out how to make this work for them and humbled when they share their struggles with me. But the nuclear family is still not my friend. If it had a Twitter page I would unfollow it; a Facebook page I'd unfriend it.
Of course I don't say all this without having a plan. I always have a plan. I'm working towards happiness. I really am. Like my last post suggests we do, I am changing things and I do know how to change. I have goals to do some part-time work soon. I made a schedule of activities for me and Hollis next week which fills me with relief to have some structure. I will soon have my husband home again for a full week.
I really wish I could share everything with the Ether, but I can't, I'm afraid of some of it myself, but this is the most I can put out there while still protecting myself. I hope it's enough to pull back the curtains a bit and shine the light on the darker corners of our middle class Western family culture - and even more personally, me. Take me as I am or not at all, I say... thanks again for being here for me.
Some of you may recognize the above image. It's Twitter's Fail Whale image that users receive when Twitter basically breaks down from usage overages, glitches, etc. It's a fitting photo for me since I basically fail at Twitter.
I'm not sure when I joined, but it wasn't that long ago. Maybe a year? I don't know. I got a user name (@tisworthwhile - because thisisworthwhile was too many characters) and started searching for real people that I knew. The first 30 people on my Following list are those guys (well, I don't really know @lancearmstrong, but he's the one who even got my attention turned onto Twitter so he's there at the #1 spot).
I'd tweet now and then and was really into all the pithy things my friends were saying. Then I started to "network" and that's when shit hit the fan.
I added all the bloggers I knew of. Then I added bloggers THEY knew of. I searched for terms like #Austin and #sahm and #feminism and I added everyone who tweeted about those topics.
Soon, I'd gone from roughly 65 people I followed to well over 300. The 65 had been manageable and fun. I'd interact and get involved in conversations. With 300 I was lost. Conversations whizzed over my head like so many criss-crossing telephone lines. And so I went radio silent.
How could I possibly catch up??
Luckily for me, before I'd become overwhelmed, I met Maria (of @boredmommy). She was brand new to Twitter, but had an impressive Following and Followers list. At the time, she was following roughly 600 and had nearly as many, if not more people following her. What really caught my eye was that she wasn't selling anything and she wasn't [over] promoting her blog. She was participating and getting out there and she seemed to really do it well. She was making friends. (Today she has over 3000 Followers and is Following less than half that herself.)
We struck up a friendship almost immediately (it's hard not to with her quick wit and virtual warmth and openness) and maintained contact via our blogs and email even though I dropped off the face of Twitter, so of course she was the one I turned to for help in getting back in the game.
Why do I even want to get back in the game??
Well, because I'm missing out on a wonderful community of bloggers and women. Twitter is a way of making connections and that's what 2010 is going to be about for me. Maria's ability to connect on Twitter has enabled her to create her own community of like-minded, funny women that frequent her blog, Bored Mommy, and it's also allowed her other writing opportunities (check her out at Yummy Mummy Club column, Phat Mummy, some time). How awesome is that?
Last Friday Maria gave me my first week's worth of Twitter homework. It looked like this:
In addition, Maria's rules were simple:
PEOPLE FOLLOWING YOU, THAT YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING – BUT SHOULD BE:
Go follow these people asap:
Names removed to protect my lameness for not following them.
PEOPLE YOU ARE FOLLOWING THAT YOU SHOULD UNFOLLOW: Because they suck
Names removed to protect the sucky. (Ed. note: This list only had 3 names on it, one of whom I wasn't actually following and the other 2 I'd never heard of, but I guess they have a bad Twitter rep.)
PEOPLE THAT YOU FOLLOW, BUT DO NOT FOLLOW YOU – BUT WILL FOLLOW YOU IF YOU INTERACT WITH THEM:Names removed to protect the ladies who don't waste their time (and rightly so).
PEOPLE YOU FOLLOW THAT WILL NEVER RESPOND TO YOU AND/OR FOLLOW YOU BACK NO MATTER HOW “HARD” YOU TRY:
Names removed to protect the too busy.
And all those famous people you follow – Lindsay Lohan? WTH?PEOPLE YOU SHOULD FOLLOW, ACCORDING TO MOI (a work in progress):
Names removed because I'm too lazy to cut and paste, but I DID add all 50 names.
- use Tweetdeck
- be genuine
- log on to Twitter 30 mins every day - AT LEAST
- add at least 10 people every day - look for conversations you like and add them
- add tweet feed to blog sidebar
The one area I've been remiss in is the adding at least 10 people a day. When I first cleaned up my lists I added about 120 new people and I've seemed to have lost my urge to keep adding. But I vow to do better this week.
I'm not sure what Maria has planned for me for week 2, but my guess is it'll take me about 4 weeks to really make Twitter a habit and for me to make some relationships. My Lists are a mess and my Tweetdeck columns are a jumble. Maybe organizing will be week 2's theme.
And to that end, my over all goals for this Twitter Bootcamp are threefold:
- Master Twitter, don't let Twitter master me - i.e., I log in, hook up with friends, engage in conversations, Retweet interesting info and posts, promote my writing, and then log off.
- Get organized - Pare down lists, beef up others as I become more comfortable. I hope that making connections will be easier once I have better focused targets.
- Double my followers - This is a completely random goal, but thought I'd see what happens. When I started this a day or two ago I had 340 Followers.
What are some of your Twitter tips?? I need all the help I can get!
Direct Message - noun: a private message between people on Twitter; verb: to direct message (or to DM) - the action of sending a private message to another user on Twitter
Following - noun: a list of other people on Twitter that you follow
Followers - noun: a list of other people on Twitter that follow you
Hashtag - noun: the name for "#" which tags themes on Tweets
List - noun: a form of organizing Twitter users into personalized categories
Listed - noun: a list of lists you might be included on
Retweet - noun: a resent Tweet; verb: the act of resending another user's Tweet
Tweet - verb: to type in 140 characters or less and send information and messages via Twitter (also: tweeting, tweeted)