To the blogger who slammed motherhood

Just read a blog that is getting a lot of press right now, written by Amy Glass. I was honestly dumbfounded as I read because I sort of assumed that the headlines I had seen were over-reactions…surely this woman doesn’t really think every stay-at-home mom is doing nothing and that every woman who works, especially if she doesn’t have kids, is a super hero, right?  I shouldn’t assume because that is almost exactly what she said.

In her post, she laments that we now celebrate women for being average: Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?

I would guess that Ms. Glass has no idea how much work goes into a successful marriage or how difficult being a good parent is.

She also makes this statement: Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?

Ms. Glass seems to believe that every woman who chooses to have a significant other in her life has automatically resigned herself to a life of obligations and career failing. Every woman who chooses to have children has made the choice to be average and never accomplish anything great. In her own words: You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

Bullshit.

I know wives and girlfriends who are traveling the world doing amazing charity and mission work. I know wives and girlfriends who are small-business owners and leaders in corporate offices. More importantly, I know wives and girlfriends who are kind, compassionate, loving souls who are capable of thinking beyond their own needs and want to share their joys, accomplishments, frustrations, and tears with a supportive and loving husband or boyfriend.

I know mothers who are starting their own businesses and leading corporate America. I know mothers who travel the world, sometimes with their children in tow, to minister and rebuild. I know mothers who trust childcare providers and put in a full day’s work teaching, farming, facilitating small business and home loans, leading charitable organizations, running technology for large school districts, and filing your taxes and them come home and “manage a household.” I know mothers who are the childcare providers, who choose to stay home with their children and do a whole lot of everything every single day.

To assume that a woman with a husband or boyfriend is not taking care of herself is just ignorant. There are helpless women and worthless men in every stage of life and in various relationship statuses, just as there are completely independent and capable women and men who are single, married, and dating.

This next quote literally makes my heart race and the blood pump in my temples…..

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

Perhaps the question this should raise is: why aren’t men worrying about managing a household? Why does Ms. Glass assume that men aren’t? I know husbands, boyfriends and fathers who stay home with their kids. I know husbands, boyfriends and fathers who have chosen occupations that allow them the flexibility and time off to spend with their families. I know husbands, boyfriends, and fathers who do all of the cooking, grocery shopping, and cleaning; men who are (gasp!) managing a household.

Maybe Ms. Glass should look at her opinions from a different angle and rather than criticizing women for choosing to have families and careers she should criticize the men who do not make family a priority. That seems like a more feminist viewpoint to me. Or maybe she should rail against a system that forces employees to work until 10:00pm, regardless of who is waiting for them at home. (PS: stay-at-home moms work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no financial compensation, sick or bereavement leave, or PTO but that is beside the point.)

I also wonder why this woman seems to hate women so very much. If she really believes that there should be more women in the workforce and that they should be treated equally then perhaps she should be fighting for that equality rather than knocking down those who have made different choices. Maybe she should be writing about the glass ceiling, the Family Medical Leave Act, forced overtime, and the unreasonable expectations of employers for both men and women who choose to have a life outside of their vocation.

Maybe Ms. Glass should be encouraging women to pursue higher education and researching ways to help wives and mothers afford that education rather than condemning them for choosing a relationship and kids. I wonder what has happened in her life to make her so bitter and resentful and I honestly pity her.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lifted each other up rather than pushing the “others” down? I’m glad Ms. Glass published this post because it not only has started a necessary national debate but it has reaffirmed my desire to encourage, support, and assist rather than belittle, deny, and bitch.

The link to the full article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-glass/2014/01/i-look-down-on-young-women-with-husbands-and-kids-and-im-not-sorry/

Advertisements

It’s been a while…..

It has been a while but here I am, ready to smack you in the face with my witty opinions, laugh-out-loud anecdotes, and tales from the teaching trenches…or maybe I’ll just whine a little.

I took a blogging break when I started a new job teaching preschool; I needed to dedicate a good portion of my time and energies to figuring out what the heck I was doing and how to organize myself to get it done. I am also the director of the preschool so I had to learn DHS rules and regulations, paperwork protocol, and a million other little things in addition to lesson planning, classroom cleaning, supply management and, oh yeah, actually teaching.  It is a job that consumes my thoughts but that I love so very much…not sure how my own kids feel about it though.

You see, they sometimes get the short end of the stick when Mom is stressed out from managing “behaviors” all morning or has to spend Sunday afternoon at school getting ready for the upcoming week. My kids hear about the successes I see in the classroom and I fear that sometimes I neglect to show the same amount of excitement for their own successes.

On the other hand, they get to help prepare lessons and have the advantage of knowing that Mom is just down the hallway if they get sick at school or, as happens entirely too often, they realize they have forgotten something at home or need money. My kids get to stop in for a quick hug (well, not the 5th grader so much) or to tell me about a great result on a test. I love that I am right there in the building and that they still want to see during the school day. Apparently I am not too embarrassing yet, thank goodness.

My additional impetus for breaking from blogging was that I am slowly losing my mind. Yep, it’s true. I used to be a fairly organized person and then I started having kids. I initially blamed my loss of memory and focus on pregnancy brain, then overly-tired-new-mommy brain, then terrible-two’s, then three-kids-under-5, and finally three-kids-in-school. At this point, I have nothing to blame my brain problems on but me so I will just lay it out there….there is something wrong with my brain.

For instance, I had a meeting last Monday night. I knew I had a meeting last Monday night. I saw it on my calendar on Monday morning and again Monday afternoon. I talked about the upcoming meeting to two separate people on two separate occasions on Monday. I started planning supper in the early afternoon based on my leaving for the meeting. Then 5:00 hit and I got distracted and didn’t start supper. At 6:15 my phone beeped, reminding me of my meeting at 6:30. Crap. I hadn’t showered (no school that day) and was still in sweats. Supper was not cooking and I had made zero plans for the kids. As I quickly washed my face and threw on some jeans, I gave the kids supper and shower instructions and rushed out the door. Ridiculous.

On a lighter note, my hubby got home just as I was leaving and fed the kids, made a delicious supper for us, and had a black-out Nerf gun war waiting for me when I got home. Maybe I should leave it to him more often!

My plan is to start writing again, posting here more often, and using written words to keep my brain focused.  Wish me luck….and remind me when I haven’t posted in a while because, most likely, I have simply forgotten.

Young People, Old People, Anyone Funny

Title courtesy of one of my favorite children’s books “Everywhere Babies.” I highly recommend it!

I spent Saturday with a 98-year-old and a 2-year-old and they had a lot in common. I will try not to be disrespectful because I do truly respect my elders, especially those who have earned my respect. However, some things that happen to a body as it ages are just simply funny when compared to a new little body so please don’t be mad at me.

Great-Uncle (GU) drove here from Texas with his 80-year-old niece and caregiver, and her 80-something sister, to visit for 3 days. Yep, 4 days of driving for a 3 day visit…and they do it at least 3 times a year. Silliness was playing at halftime of a mens’ college basketball game so Gma and Gpa brought GU up to watch the game.

Silliness, McGee, and Princess were all very excited to see Gma and Gpa but when I told them that GU would be here as well they lost a little bit of their excitement. Thankfully, they were troopers and when we met them at the stadium, both boys submitted to a long, “squeeze ya til ya holler” hug. The looks on their faces as they were getting them, however, almost made me cry…or laugh…poor things.

The same situation happens almost every morning when Princess wants to wake the boys up. She climbs on McGee’s bed and snuggles right in, whether he is awake or not.  He typically groans and tells her to get off but she will not be swayed, just tucks herself in right next to him and ignores his pleas, pushes, and occasional accidental elbows to the head. Once she has thoroughly annoyed him, she clambers out of his bed and makes her way up the ladder to Silly’s bunk. She then launches herself over the rail and invariably lands on his head or nuts, as he will so modestly shout out. Good times.

Back at the game, we took the elevator up the arena level and searched for our friends who had graciously saved us seats. Early arrivals, they had secured seats right in front, next to the court and the cheerleaders: perfect! Now we just had to get there.

Gma took Princess’ hand and let her set the pace around the arena. Gpa and Hubs each took a side of GU and let him set a snail’s pace as well. Hubs practically had a handprint embedded on his neck before they got halfway around the arena and we hadn’t even tackled the stairs yet. Faced with the daunting task of maneuvering Princess and GU down a set of steep and narrow stairs, we opted to split up the seating arrangements, leaving those with stair problems at the top.

In my head, Princess and GU would have gone both up and down the stairs in the same manner: 2 feet on each step, tight grip on the rail, and nervously darting eyes predicting danger with each shuffle down. We would probably have ended up carrying both of them back up the stairs so we made the right decision.

Neither Princess or GU could really follow the basketball action; Princess because she simply didn’t care and was more interested in slurping up and protecting her ice cream and GU because we were too far away and he couldn’t see or hear. If only we could have sat closer to the court….

Silly performed magnificently at exactly mid-court at halftime. There had been 235 kids at the skills camp and at least 100 showed up to strut their stuff at the game. It was a super cool experience to be on the court, using a real game ball, and smelling the sweat of the players. Silly doesn’t always express excitement but his face was pure, priceless joy when he ran back to the stands.

The journey out of the arena and back to the car was filled with many pitfalls, including the jostling crowd, a long walk, and overly tired old and young people. We made it but McGee and Silly were forced to run ahead, wait, run ahead, and wait numerous times due to the ants in their pants.

After reminding both GU and Princess to pee when we got home, everyone settled in to watch some football. Princess and GU again had trouble following the game due to a lack of concern and lack of hearing respectively, but we were able to find something they could play together.

Scene: Princess standing between the couch and coffee table, GU sitting on the couch next to her. A container of markers and several pieces of paper are helpfully placed on the coffee table.

Princess chooses 2 markers and asks GU, “Which one you want?”

GU looks at her as if she recently hung the moon and is also speaking gibberish, glances at Gma to ask what Princess is saying and finally just chooses a marker for lack of a better option.

Princess chooses 2 more markers and asks GU, “Which one me have?”

GU has the same response as to the previous question but eventually they each have a marker.

Princess proceeds to direct GU into the finer art of coloring, scolding him if he colors on the wrong portion of the paper or in an incorrect manner. There are times when dots are in order, others when a line must be drawn. Coloring is a specific project and GU had some trouble understanding what she was commanding him to do. At the same time, Bridget didn’t even bother to try to listen to GU, just continued coloring and barking orders as if he were mute.

Silly, Gma and I were playing a game on the floor when I was struck with a fit of giggles so intense that I couldn’t hide them from my impressionable son. He asked what I was laughing at and I had to embarrass myself and tell my son that I was laughing at GU’s chin drool. I’m not proud of it but I did manage to explain, with Gma’s help, that sometimes when you are very old you aren’t aware that you are drooling, just like when babies drool. To his credit, Silly didn’t join in the laughter, just stared at GU’s chin like it was a science experiment. Not my best parenting moment.

Dinner time was interesting as GU sat at the table with the 3 kids. He loves chili and I had done my best but I had not thought about the messy repercussions of a chili meal. Add in the bread crumbs and the floor beneath each of their chairs was mildly disgusting.

Before you judge me too harshly, let me say this: GU is a lovely man who takes a genuine interest in me, my husband and kids, parent and siblings, nieces and nephews. He is not a perfect man and he provides plenty of opportunities for complaint but I believe he has a good heart and good intentions. I can’t help it if I find his strange quirks entertaining…someday someone will be laughing at me too.

Day of Anomalies

Kids didn’t have school today and it sort of threw everyone out of whack…

Drew and Sam were taking turns riding in the tractor with Daddy, Drew this morning then Sam after lunch. After naptime I took Drew out to trade places with Sam but as I pulled into the field, Drew started sobbing and looked terrified. This is a child whose favorite job on the farm is scraping poop in the barn and I was taking him out to do his second favorite job, spreading poop in a field. What the hell? I told him he didn’t have to go with Daddy, we’d just pick up Sam and go home, but he managed to calm himself down and let Daddy carry him to the tractor. Then he called me and asked if he could eat supper on the tractor with Daddy. Seriously? From crying about going to not wanting to leave and I got the crying end? Thanks.

Sam & Bridget and I took our neighbor’s dog, Jetta, on a walk when we got back. I asked Sam if he wanted to stop and ask a friend to ride bikes with him so that he didn’t have to wait for me and the stroller. He quickly rode to his friend Ben’s house and was disappointed that he wasn’t home. He then asked if he could go ask his friend Emily, who lives around the corner. Remember that Sam is typically very shy and not willing to ask anyone to do anything and now he wants to go ask a girl on a bike ride? Sadly, Emily wasn’t home either but he knew that another female classmate lived in our neighborhood so he took off for her house and knocked on the door but she wasn’t home either. Sad day for little Sam until I noticed another of his friend’s playing outside. I encouraged Sam to go ask Orion to ride bikes with him and he stopped by the house, made eye contact and waved, then rode away leaving Bridget and I standing there like idiots. Thanks.

Bridget has asked to go to the farm every time we’ve dropped a boy off today but has not thrown the screaming fit, which is strange and wonderful. She did achieve another anomaly today on our walk, however. For the first block of our walk, she was fascinated by Jetta and giggled and talked to him from her stroller. Then she pulled out a little princess coloring book and multi-colored pen and colored for the rest of our trip. What the hell? But honestly, thanks Bridget.

I don’t know if this is an anomaly but I feel like I should mention it. Remember when I scolded people for wearing inappropriate things in public and proclaimed that I always try to look appropriate? Well, I just walked around our neighborhood in sweat pants with the saggiest butt ever and haven’t showered. Thank goodness we got home before most of our neighbors got home from work but I was still embarrassed.  Now I must go shower and put on something that fits!

#*&@ My Kids Say

Bridget got my water bottle out of the fridge and took a drink. I informed her that she was drinking out my water bottle and she replied “Me drinkin it though.” Yes ma’am, I guess you are.

Drew called his friend Blake last night to invite him over after school but got their answering machine. I was trying to guide him on what to say but this was his recorded message, “Blake, please call Drew…after the beep.”

Blake and Drew eventually connected on the phone and Drew asked him to come over and play after school. Blake said he wanted to and they both hung up. Three minutes later the phone rang and Blake’s mom was laughing on the other end. Blake had told his mom, “Drew wants me to come over but I don’t know when.” I love 5-year-olds.

Bridget was holding a package of gummy worms in the car this morning, in anticipation of decorating cupcakes when the boys and their friends get home from school. When we got home I noticed that the bag was open and asked Bridget about it. Her response, “Me…I just open it a little tiny bit.” Is it wrong that I’m sad that she is starting to correct her grammar from “me” to “I”?

I entered the boys’ room to kiss them good night and Sam shouts out, “Well fancy seeing you here!”

Sam to Drew. “You know, you don’t have to talk about poop and the farm all the time. All you want to do is go to the farm, watch cartoons, and play Wii. You should find something else to do.” Wow, wonder where he’s heard that?

Drew, “Can Grandpa come over and play tomorrow?”

I told the kids that I had a phone interview with someone in Los Angeles, California yesterday and Drew gaped at me and asked, “You have to drive all the way there in one day?”

Before I could respond, Sam answered him with “No, Drew, California is even farther away than the farm plus Grandma’s house.”

Bridget to Grandpa, “No Bumpa, me talking to Nama.”

Drew called Grandpa earlier this week to give him directions to his classroom. In the midst of his convoluted explanation, he interrupted himself to ask me, “Is this my left arm? Ok, Grandpa, you turn this way” (while pointing with his left hand).

Sam told Bridget this morning that her new name was “Princess Crazy Hair”…I think there might be a good title for a story…hhmmmm….

Good Enough Mom

Everyone has days when nothing seems to go right and you feel like you’ve failed in every aspect of life. Today was a day when I felt like I was doing just fine and, as those are rare, I want to commemorate it.

I was up and showered before the kids needed to be up, which as a stay-at-home mom isn’t always a priority. The boys had silly sock day at school and I managed to find them something to wear, thank goodness, and we were only almost late after spending 5 minutes tucking the pants into the socks.

Bridget was dropped off at the sitter with no crying, a godsend, and I went back to the school to help in the school store. Six very responsible and well-mannered 5th graders manned the store while I supervised; helping kindergartners pick out toys really brought out the adult best in the kids. My only regret of the morning was watching Drew buy 3 more silly bands…ugh.

Ran a few errands, gave my mother-in-law my sympathetic ear for a little bit longer than I planned, and picked up Bridget before lunch. For a child who wasn’t sure about going to the sitter’s house, she certainly didn’t want to leave. As we walked out the door she told me, “That nice Audi, yea.”

Got some work done while she napped (and watched one episode of General Hospital) and then played with her a little bit before the boys got home.

Homework done and supper in the oven before 5, watched the boys play Wii and Bridget play with stickers while I worked out. Working out is hard to fit into my schedule with Bridget the snack-nabber so it was great to have the boys home to supervise.

Everyone has been read to, everyone got to tell me about their day, I sold an article and applied for 2 freelance jobs and supper is not hot dogs and macaroni (although I do contend that it is a perfectly fine meal).

I may not be the best mom but, for today at least, I’m good enough.

Grown-ups Should Act Like Grown-ups

These posts have gotten a little serious lately so today I’m all about humor. Everyone needs a little laughter every day so here is my attempt to get a giggle.

Things I have noticed grown-ups doing lately:

A woman in Hobby Lobby was asking for a job application wearing sweats and a grungy ponytail. In my opinion, asking for an application is your first chance to make a good impression on a future employer and you should prepare yourself accordingly. If you don’t have the money for an “interview” outfit, you can at least make sure your hair and face are clean and put together. For real, this woman looked like she had just rolled out of bed.

Another woman in Hobby Lobby was sporting a Tweety Bird tattoo on her calf that must have been 4 inches tall. I understand the urge to get a tattoo and can even almost understand that sometimes you aren’t thinking about the rest of your life when you choose a design but I do think you should consider tattoo placement. Do you really want to be 70 years old and flashing Tweety Bird all summer?

Picking my kids up from school, I noticed a grandmotherly sort picking up a child. She was wearing a maroon fleece jacket with Tweety Bird embroidered on the left chest. The grandmother, not the little girl, was wearing Tweety Bird….. I think there should be an age limit on purchases of clothing with Disney or other cartoon characters, punishable by a fine. I’d cut some slack on pajamas if everyone would promise not to wear them outside the house but I don’t think people would abide by this rule.

In fact, I know people like to wear pajamas outside the house because I saw a man in pajama pants in Target today. To his credit, he and his wife had newborn twins and a 2-year-old little boy so I’m sure he was exhausted but changing into sweatpants would be preferable to the plaid flannel when in public.

I felt a little bit like a 10-year-old today when I noticed a gentleman riding his bike along a busy thoroughfare in Cedar Falls with almost his entire bottom hanging out of his pants. I don’t mean that his crack was showing because, let’s be honest, almost every one of us has flashed some crack at times. I am telling you that more than half of his butt was perfectly visible as he pedaled. His pants weren’t moving, his shirt wasn’t semi-covering as his legs pumped, his butt was simply hanging out. It is chilly today so he had to have noticed that his rear was cold but he either didn’t care or couldn’t do anything about and decided to just go with it. Either way, we were lucky to avoid an accident because I was giggling and gawking like a 5th grader.

Other silly things

I have created a monster and have no one to blame but myself. Bridget and I stopped at Target today because I had coupons (and I actually used them!) for detergent and such. I also wanted to get the kids some plain long sleeve t-shirts for layering but got just a little bit sidetracked in the little girls department. I picked up an adorable polka dot shirt and said, “Oh this is cute, Bridget, do you like this?” Of course she did so in the cart it went. She then asked for a dress and some jammies but I told her no and pushed her over to the boys section. We found the boys some shirts and started to walk toward the checkout area but some plum purple corduroy pants caught my attention. I stupidly picked them up and Bridget immediately said, “Those cute, me really want those.” Damnit! Luckily, or unluckily depending on your perspective, they were on clearance so I got them…and another matching polka dot shirt. Damnit.

One more Bridget story for today: we found some pink and princess socks in the Dollar Spot when we entered Target which she carried throughout the store and retrieved as soon as they had been scanned at checkout. After placing our bags in the van, we put the cart back and I carried her back to the van. As we walked, she started singing “my pink socks…my 2 matching pink socks….match 2 pink socks” in the most hilarious sing-song voice. I laughed and she stopped and looked me right in the eye and said “No laugh Mommy, not funny.”

I told her that I really liked her song and she said, “No laugh, not funny song….just happy song.” Stinker.

Drew strutted around book club on Tuesday with his jammie pants pulled up to armpants declaring “I’m big pants guy” in a carton superhero voice. Those in attendance who didn’t know my kids very well got the very best introduction to my Drewster.

While I mowed the leaves in the yard this week, I asked Sam to take a broom and sweep all the leaves off the deck and cement so I could mow them up. After each section was completed, he would come ask me if I had “any more impossible jobs” for him to do. Once he was done, I kept catching glimpses of red as I mowed and couldn’t figure out where he was or what he was doing but I noticed that little orange cones were appearing all over the yard. The little turd was running all over the yard like a spy, trying not be seen while placing orange cones in various places. He continued to run and hide while I visited with our neighbors, peeking his cute little face out periodically to make sure we were still playing along and pretending not to see him.

 

Facebook friends, I have a question for you: how often do you scroll through your Friend list and eliminate people? Do you “unfriend” people who post mean or snotty comments or those that post too much information? Have you ever unfriended someone because they hurt your feelings or offended you in some way? How do you decide who to accept, delete or keep? I’ve been told that I need to be more selective and I’m wondering what the general consensus is….