Greetings from Privilege

Since I got this blog up and running again, I haven’t known how to write about our current state of affairs.  I’ve been silent on them.  I’ve kept it light-hearted.  Funny postcards from over here in my life of privilege.

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But my silence feigns acceptance.  I may not know how to write about it, but I do not accept it.

The climate change denials.

The treasonous meetings with dictators.

The trashing of the FBI, the disabled, the Gold Star families, the decorated war hero.

The hush money to porn stars.

The transgender troops.

The ‘sons-of-bitches,’ ‘very fine people on both sides,’ ‘low IQ,’ ‘not very smart’ racist rants and dog whistles.

The ‘grab them by the pussy’ mentality.

The Supreme Court.

But mostly I wonder how to write about the children.  The mothers, the fathers.

Theirs are horrifying images of grief and despair.  Suffering brought on by the hands of my country.  Like the suffering of so many families decades and centuries before them.  The circumstances may be different, but the grief is the same.  And there are still over 500 children separated from their parents. Alone among strangers.

You don’t need children to know the inhumanity of separating kids from their parents, but if you have kids, you can’t escape the inhumanity.

Though my privilege be loud, my keystrokes insufficient, I cannot permit my voice to be silent.

 

No Kinda Homemaker

When my husband and I went on our honeymoon, my mom surprised us by getting our condo professionally cleaned while we were gone.  It was very kind of her, but I have a sneaking suspicion she was trying to fool Chad into thinking I was good homemaker.

We walked in fresh off the plane and I didn’t immediately notice.  Sure, I thought the place looked clean, but I figured it was because neither we nor the dogs had been there to kick up our dust or dog hair.  It took me until I got into the kitchen and looked into the sink.  I had never seen a sink shine so brightly.  After I figured out what happened and called my mom, I was sold on a good housecleaning.

But alas, one move and five years later, I still couldn’t bring myself to pay for it (little known fact; I’m as cheap as my husband, he just talks about it more).

Finally, with baby 2 on the way, I pulled the trigger and contacted a housekeeper.  For $125 I could have that gleaming sink once more.  And I did. For approximately 27 minutes I had clean floors and surfaces and a beautiful sink (Why 27 minutes? Because, well, kids).  A month later, I scheduled her again.  I had 24 minutes of all that and fresh sheets.

But all told, 51 minutes of cleanliness wasn’t enough to justify the two fitty I just slapped down.  That could go toward some hot shoes to put in my dirty closet.  I pulled the plug.  No more housekeeper, at least for now.  It’s just some dust. I got this.

And I thought I was doing a pretty good job.  I really did.  Until I went downstairs and saw this:

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Yep.  A spider’s thread zig zagging from the couch to the table to the ceiling and back again.

The hot shoes will have to wait, cause this girl is no kinda homemaker.  At least I’ll have my sink.

 

Pregnancy PSA

PSA – Don’t ask when she’s due unless you’re at her baby shower.

So there was this (two weeks postpartum):

“Oh, what a cute baby!” says the neighbor, looking my newborn who is currently napping in the arms of my well-toned friend.  We’re in my front yard.  The front yard with two pink ‘Baby Girl’ balloons floating above it.  The front yard she’s presumably seen me waddling through for weeks.

After some more ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and my murmuring ‘thank you’ at her praise of the baby, she turns to me and says, “And I see something going on there!” her index finger wagging at my belly, “When are you due?”

Did I mention the ‘Baby Girl’ balloons and the fact that she’s lived by me for many more than 9 months?

And this week (12 weeks postpartum):

I am signing in at my local exercise class.  The kind of class with class managers.  Who say hello and more often than not know your name.  Your business.  The place where again, as I was huge, the instructors called out modifications for me.

And she says,

“Now, when are you due?”

“I’m not due.  I’m done.”

A nervous giggle from the class manager beside her.  The obligatory, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry!’

And the part where I have to be gracious even as the blood is screaming toward my face.

For many reasons – most worse than just stubborn belly fat – don’t ask a woman about pregnancy. Not where, when, why, how or, God forbid, who.  Just let her be her.

Hives on Hiatus

I’ve been known to get a little nervous about things – hives and shingles kind of nervous (see this post when I gave my baby the chicken pox).  I’ve gotten hives from no less than leading the annual staff meeting everyone hates, going on the first vacation with my baby, and having a difficult conversation with a colleague.  And let me tell you, being two and a half months postpartum doesn’t exactly chill a person out.

But I’m working on it.  Here’s what helps.

Listeners.  The mom anxieties are the most paralyzing.  Author Elizabeth Stone once said, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  Amen, sister.  Thoughts of traveling with the kids does it for me.  Also, flashes of horror they’ll likely never encounter (alligators, mountain lions, careening off a bridge) leap into my brain at random times. When I talk to my sister about my kid anxiety, the tightness in my chest eases.  She gets it.  Reminds me to breathe and pray.  Breathe and pray.

Gardening. Ripping shit up and eventually making it prettier than you found it really feels amazing.  My backyard has never looked so good.

Accomplishing something.  This one gets me because moms, especially those with little babies, should feel free to relax.  They should be able to do exactly as they want any damn time they please.  And if relaxing feels good, do it, do it, do it!  But, truth be told, for most moms I know, it’s not built into us.  It feels better to get shit done. Not emptying-the-dishwasher kind of shit.  That day to day stuff is lame.  But working with your hands to create something. Two days ago, I chased that sense of accomplishment by rearranging my daughter’s room.  Demolished it just so a couple hours later I could high five myself.  After all, the messy bookshelf was out of the line of sight and the stuffed animals were all in the same basket. A win. The accomplishments don’t have to be big, they just has to be there.

Laughing. My elder daughter is funny.  Crack me up funny.  My husband can tickle my funny bone too.  And baby girl just choked out her first laugh today, so I’m sure she’ll fit right in around here.

Turns out my family, the ones I worry about most, bring me the tears-streaming-down-my-face laughter.  They’re the best anti-anxiety medication I got.

Four Things

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“Mom, I need you to do four things,” proclaimed my three year old daughter as I tucked her in for the seventh time that night.

She continued, “I need you to get me a milk and water, tell me a story, rub my back and tummy, and sing me a song.”

That’s six things you little rascal, I thought.

Bedtime is always the first thing to go when we have some sort of change.  Vacation?  Bedtime ruined for a week.  Big girl bed?  Bedtime ruined for a month.  New baby?  Bedtime destroyed possibly forever.

But seeing as it was about 9:45, I finally had a plan, “Ok. When it’s quiet in here for 10 minutes, I’ll come back and do those four things.”

“Ok,” she agreed.

As you might expect, she was fast asleep before those 10 minutes were over.  And I relaxed on the couch with my husband and a glass of wine before my eyelids demanded to close.  Bliss.

Fast forward to 1:30 in the morning.  I snuggled back into my pillow, drifting off to sleep after a midnight feeding.

Suddenly, “Mom! Mom!” I threw back the covers and stumbled into my daughter’s room.  Incredulous and with odd middle-of-the-night clarity, she calmly stated, “You didn’t do the four things.”

Bleary eyed, I knocked off my tasks one by one.

Touché little bit. Touché.

A World of Change

A million big and little things have happened since last I wrote (with so much to write about, how do I fall out of writing?).

Let’s recap the past year:

The country is going to shit.

I got pregnant and had daughter #2.

Ok, so maybe its just two big things, not a million.  And maybe what’s wrapped up in those two things aren’t little, instead, they are pieces.  Millions of pieces to those two whoppers.  That’s what I’d like to write about again.  Children ripped from their parents, baby coos, gardening, feminism, bedtime stories, etc.  No biggie.