Where's the village?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

OK, Argentina, go ahead and cry for me.

Chocolate makes me angry. I eat it, it makes me happy, and then about half an hour later, I get super bitchy.

Where's the fun in that?

So yes, Argentina, I think you ought to weep. Heck. The whole world should be donning the ashes and sackcloth for this one.

Can you tell I'm writing this after eating chocolate?


Just Say "NO" to Mommy Wars.

God knows I struggle with the decision I made, to stay at home with the dajamou. I mean, I know on many levels that it was the right thing to do for her, but for me? Some days it's a resounding "YES" and other days it's a "Hmmmmm." I'll admit to sometimes feeling trapped. Especially being in a new-ish city where we don't have any family or long-time friends. There is no village here to help us raise our child. Hence the tagline up top.

So the last, the very last thing I need is the media telling me that other moms are going to war with me for making the decisions I've made. (That, and the government telling me what to do with my body, but that's for another time.) So I'm jumping on the NAMC bandwagon.

The National Association of Mothers' Centers and its MOTHERS Initiative have been creating special projects for Mother's Day and this year is no exception. We are declaring a Ceasefire in the "Mommy Wars", the expression that many authors, journalists, TV & radio personalities have latched onto in order to sell their magazines and newspapers or to boost ratings for their shows. The reality is that women are not at war with each other. In most cases the tensions we feel are related to the fact that the choices we are faced with are NOT the choices we might make if there were more options available. Right now we can stay home to raise our children, go to work outside the home, work from home, work full or part-time. But we are always concerned about the road not taken. If we are at home, how much of a financial sacrifice is it for the family? And is our career being derailed? If we work part-time, are we denied benefits or the chance for advancement? If we work full time, do we have the flexibility we desire to be able to go to our children's soccer games or class plays? What if both mom & dad could work flexible hours that wouldn't require leaving our children with non-related caregivers? Clearly the choices are limited and not necessarily the choices that we would pick if we had other options. This is what we believe causes the tensions we feel in making these difficult decisions.

So we're asking women to participate in our Ceasefire on the "Mommy Wars" Campaign to send a message to the media that we are not buying in to the notion that women who've made different decisions are at war with each other. The use of this phrase leaves the impression that the issues are different for different "kinds" of mothers and that is not the case. Plus a working mom may need to stay home at some point and and at-home mom may find she needs to go to work at some point. It's a back-and-forth process for many of us. The policies and customs that would value and support the work of mothering would benefit ALL mothers. So our goal is to unite mothers, to point out what kinds of changes may be helpful, to encourage moms to work for the changes they feel will be beneficial to them, and to make the case that motherhood should be valued and supported.

Please visit our website and sign the petition to ask the media to STOP dividing women and address the real, underlying issues. Go to MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org to read all about it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Recent ideas for the blog.

  • My newfound automobile cravings after reading the "Top Ten Tech Cars" article in IEEE Spectrum.

  • The inevitability of death and why we should (or should not, depending on how much depression-inducing chocolate I've had) strive to avoid it.

  • How pretty much all of my regrets are for things I have not done, rather than things I've done.

  • All the fantastic stories and goofy songs and funny little sayings that come out of the dajamou at all hours. It's primo material, people! But I keep failing to write it down before I forget it.

Meanwhile I'll just keep doing the random thing. Perhaps eventually I'll develop my style and strive to be worthy of groveling at the base of the pedestal upon which stands the Laid Off Dad.

Monday, April 24, 2006

This just pisses me off.

So here I am, surfing the blogosphere, and I come across this. Apparently, for FORTY GOD DAMNED YEARS (and oh my yes do I use those swear words knowingly and deliberately), doctors have been using growth charts based on formula-fed babies, even for breast-fed babies. Grrrrrrrr.......

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Growing up.

I had an old friend in town for a visit this weekend. My oldest friend, in fact. Known her since junior high. We had a lovely time taking in the local Conservatory and playing with the dajamou and eating too much. And throughout the weekend, we had some great chats. Overall, an A+ weekend.

The only drawback was me, and I hope I didn't actually make my mental blunder obvious to her or anyone else: I kept being surprised at how wise and mature she had become. Like my image of her was stuck at age 17, when she lived with my family for a year and we temporarily couldn't stand each other, and click! It's the present day, and she's instantly morphed into this grown-up woman I can really get along with and laugh with. She's smart, clever, witty...

In my defense, I haven't been able to spend a lot of time with her in the past 16 years since high school. But I'd like to think that I've changed and grown, so why can't I settle it in my head that she has too? I mean, cripes, she's the one who's remembered all these years to call now and then to check in. That right there should have been my clue that she's further along on the maturity scale than I thought, probably further than I am.

Anyway, it was still a lovely weekend, and now that she's just a $100 plane ticket away, hopefully we'll see more of one another. I know the dajamou will vote for it. She hasn't bonded to a new person that quickly since...um, ever. Well, maybe to me, at birth.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Up days and down days.

When I was in college I used to get so exasperated with one friend. He was one of those people who would keep bumbling along in this pattern of self-destructive behavior (or other-destructive, for that matter). And he knew it, and talked to everyone about how he knew it. But then he never did anything about it. It seemed like he felt that acknowledging his shortcomings was enough to make it OK. He'd do this hangdog penitence act: "Yeah...I know...I'm so bad...I mess everything up..." Drove me freakin' crazy, because I could see so clearly what he had to do, and most of it was just to for God's sake STOP. Oh yeah, and think.

Here I am, almost 15 years later, and I'm in the same pattern. I know what I need to do to feel better, I know what activities I need to avoid or cut back on. And it's a rare day when I do what's best for me. I'll skip the morning exercise. I'll eat the chocolate that triggers my depression. I'll watch hours and hours of TV after the dajamou goes to bed. I'll avoid the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, claiming that they stress me out too much, even though if I just for Chrissakes did them I'd have way more peace of mind.

The super-scary thing is, now I'm a mom. I don't have the leeway I used to have. I have really really GOT to have my shit together if I want to do right by the dajamou. And lately I've been feeling even less together than usual. Which is not very.

Recently, on one of my parenting lists, I read something about taking care of yourself vs. treating yourself. A lot of the members agree that giving yourself "treats" as a way to feel better can often backfire. But if you use your "me" time to really care for yourself, then you can get back the energy and mental/emotional reserves to deal with the world. I'll paraphrase what one member said: "I think of the person I wish I were. And I think, what would that person be doing right now to improve her quality of life? She'd be going to the gym. And then I go do that."

So this is what I'm trying to keep in mind these days. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Moral dilemma.

I put mouse poison in my garbage cabinet tonight. I can't stand those little mouse poop pellets everywhere. It infuriates me beyond proportion. Before tonight I was kidding myself that they couldn't get out of the cabinet. Too weak to push open the door or something. (Yeah, I know, pass me some more of the crack I was smoking when I came up with that one.) But tonight, I found mouse poop on my counter. Near the stove. Right next to the crock where I keep my cooking utensils - can I just say, EW?

So finally, filled with righteous territorial wrath, I stomped to the hall closet and broke out the box of d-con that had been sitting, unopened, for the six months since I'd bought it. Unopened because I can't stand the thought of killing the little suckers. (Some kind of mammalian bias, I'm sure, because I have no such compunction about insects of any ilk.) The idea of the mice eating poison and suffering somewhere in the crevices of my walls just fills me with remorse. At least a little.

So what's a semi-desperate housewife to do? I've tried the home remedies, like driving them off with the smell of fresh drier sheets. I've even taken to putting the dajamou's diapers in the kitchen garbage. (They're just her wet nighttime diapers. Don't go thinking my kitchen smells like toddler poo.) I've tried to live and let live. But come on. They pooped near my SPATULA.

Are live traps really feasible?

Monday, April 17, 2006

The world according to dajamou.

One of the many purposes of this blog is to record some of the fleeting moments in dajamou's life. Here's one I managed to write down a few weeks ago:

When I was just three years old I got bonked on the forehead and I said, "Ow!" But then it was T and I said "Oh it's just my friend T." And then T got bonked on the forehead and she said "Ow!" And then she said, "Oh, it was just my friend V." And then we lived happily ever after. And the next day, V ate egg with her mommy and she just didn't bonk anybody on her forehead. And the next day, she had some milk with her eggs.

And another:

When I grow up high! to the mountain, I will reach up to the mountain and go up on the mountain and I will find Uncle K and reach him up. And then I will drive him and take him back to Chicago and then I'll come back! OK?