Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mommy Wars

Facebook has always seemed pretty benign to me.

Until a friend posted
this link from the Wall St. Journal on her page and all hell broke loose.

Should children be put in pre-school or daycare? Is it helpful or harmful?

The conversations that followed bordered on vitriolic. And definitely veered off-topic.

A conversation weighing the pros and cons of daycare/pre-school became, "Are you less of a mom if you put your kids in pre-school or daycare? Is that the best decision for your children?"

Working moms vs. Stay–at-Home moms. The Mommy Wars are alive and well.

I had a Director-level job before S & J. I had a very successful 13-year career in a field that I loved. But it never occurred to me that I would continue working outside the home when I had babies. Never. I always knew that my new job would be “mom” and I would treat that new position with as much gusto, commitment and creativity as I did previous jobs.

But I know that most working moms really struggle with this. And feel guilty and sometimes angry and so, so torn over making the decision to work outside the home, especially in the early years. And then feel the need to defend their decision. In fact, those defenses seem to always be up and ready to rumble.

At times I’ve been tempted to defend mine.

Former colleagues have questioned why I went to college or worked so hard at my career if I was “just going to be a mom.”

Ouch. JUST be a mom.

Incredulous tone: “How could I stay home with the kids all day? Don’t I miss being in the outside world? Don’t I miss making a difference?!”

Then it dawned on me that they just don’t get it. There is no malice involved. And I don’t defend my choice. There is no need.

If I am pressed to respond I just say that I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Ever get really paranoid and wonder, just for a moment, if your kids are actually yours? I wondered about this when S & J were born. I practically saw them being lifted out of me, for Pete's sake, but I wondered anyway. I think it's one of those irrational fears we develop from watching 1) the news 2) afterschool specials.

I don't wonder about it much, almost never, since S is a little Danger Dad Mini-Me and J, well, sort of looks EXACTLY LIKE ME when I was her age.

But now I have concrete, absolute, no-doubt-about-it proof that J & S are mine, all mine.

I will question no longer.

We were reading the "Elmo Loves You" book that talks about how much Elmo loves "you" and other stuff like "birds love singing, babies love noise, Ernie loves his rubber duckie", etc. and at the end it asks "Now what do you love?"

J's answer?

"Mama, I love words."

'nuf said.

As for S, a picture is worth a thousand words:

That there is guacamole that he is snarfing down like it's his last meal. MY homemade guacamole. The guacamole that has fresh garlic and real lime juice and kosher salt and loads of Vidalia onion and home-grown tomatoes and lots and lots and lots of cayenne. (I buy it by the pound. Really.)

He even asked for a SPOON.

Mine, all mine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Purge Urge

Having twins changed me in more ways than I imagined. I’ve learned to go with the flow, look at the big picture and live minute-by-minute. Things, my good friends will tell you, I didn’t generally do before I had S & J nearly 2.5 years ago.

I’ve also always had lots of STUFF. I've always needed lots of stuff around me.

If anyone needed decorations for anything, I was the first phone call. How about costumes? Got those too. Plus nearly every cooking gadget known to man, acres and acres of wrapping paper and at least 3 sets of really great dishes.

But now I have twins and everything must go.


About 2 months ago I made a pledge to Danger Dad: I would reduce our stuff by HALF. I've been Freecycling the heck out of our belongings and Craig List-ing the rest. (I recently found a nearly full box of raffia. Please people, why have I been lugging this crap around?!?) That Total Gym we almost never used? Gone. Shoes I haven't worn in over two years? Gone. Plastic chairs that were collecting dust? Gone. Ice climbing gear? Mostly gone.

And it feels good.

All I can think about these days is getting rid of everything we own, buying a motor home and hitting the road. Not in a "Paskowitz" kind of way (Get Surfwise from Netflix. Oh. My God.) but in a very simple “we-don’t-need-all-this-crud” kind of way. These days’ heading out for the great beyond seems not only doable but necessary.

Any takers for a box of American flags?!?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guilty Winner

Most days I feel guilty for having it so good.

Some nights when I'm having trouble sleeping I lie in bed and compose future blog topics. I always come back to “Lottery Winner” because that’s how I feel nearly all the time.

Yes, I have bad days. Really bad days. Some days that are too dark to explain and jumping off a building seems to be a good fix. But they are rare. So rare that I feel guilty for being so thankful. So rare that I don’t want to share with the other Stepford moms just how good I have it.

So rare that I keep it a secret.

But it’s true. Everyday I feel like I’ve won the flippin’ lottery.

I have two robust and healthy not-so-much-babies-anymore kiddos that are funny and smart and engaged and active and a wee bit precocious. A husband who’s loved me for 18 years. (Even when earlier on I tried to push him away and most certainly didn’t deserve his attention or admiration.) I live in a beautiful house with lots of space and light and green and creative stuff all around. I live a stone’s throw from a big city that has a world-class symphony, cutting edge art museum, ginormous aquarium, great, interesting food and loads of diversity coming out its ears. I live near the busiest airport in the world. I can drive 15 minutes and go anywhere on the planet. Did I mention my kids?!?!?

Maybe I feel guilty because I have it so good.

Is everything perfect? No.

I deeply long to be back in CA. My gills are drying up. I ache to be near family-friends and to raise my kids with theirs. I mourn the time I am missing with my Alzheimer-riddled grandmother.

But I have it so good. I always come back to how good I have it.

I can long and ache for a different geographic location but nothing will take away from the lottery winnings I enjoy now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pure Magic

There is no other way to explain it.

Successful bloggers must practice magic. Not in a hobbit, wizard-y, fantasy-kind of way but in a pure, simple, "how-do-they-do-that?" kind of way.

But not me. Just everyone else.

There is no other explanation for it.

And by IT I mean how do find the time to read, comment and keep in touch with *all* the other bloggers?

It's magic, I tell you.

While S & J are careening around the house I barely have enough time to run a brush over my teeth (and occasionally my hair), feed myself something other than barely-warm pasta and wilty salad and keep the house standing (sort of). And forget about actually bathing. At least with any regularity. (That's what the pool is for, right?)

In the spare moments (usually while kiddos are asleep) that I get to sit down, by myself and surf the blogsphere so I can read and get to know the other fantabulous blogger gals out there I'm AMAZED how they 1) all seem to know one another 2) comment on each other's blogs and 3) HOW THEY WRITE POSTS SO REGULARLY.

I can't keep up.

Must. Learn. To. Practice. Magic.

(Please note that it took nearly a week to post this...)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Recession Reschmession

We are positive people, Danger Dad and I. But this year's motto is We Hate '08. It's been a sucky year. Turning 40 coupled with the rising prices of EVERYTHING and then, blammo, the business falling into a million little pieces... SUCKY. What gives? Each time the shoe falls (and all ten have fallen plus then some) we try to laugh it with a sing-songy "We Hate '08" and a shoulder shrug. We haven't rung in the new year with all the customary bells and whistles and copious adult beverages since the twins were born but, GOD AS MY WITNESS, we will drink ourselves silly and dance naked by the light of the moon when 2009 arrives next January.

Then I hear/read about other people's stuff (death, misfortune, and more misfortune) and I feel pretty lucky.

We have each other. We'll be o.k. And we don't (yet) rely on this blog to help bring in the bacon.

But in this time of stress and strife and friggin' $6.49 for a GALLON OF MILK we could all use a little peace, love and understanding (and moolah) so I'm taking the suggestion of my good friend Kristen over at Motherhood Uncensored and am "Blogging the Recession." She puts it best (but go read her blog today for the entire poop): The premise is simple. If you read blogs, then for the month of August, make the "pledge" to click through from your feed reader. No obligation to leave a hilarious comment or send a long stalkerish email (although both, within reason, are always lovely). Just click through to the blog (not on ads unless you are so led) and if you're feeling generous, click around to their older posts. Just those extra page views can make a big difference for bloggers who could really use the help.

So get click-happy, people. Help out your fellow blogger and increase your good karma.