Monday, May 28, 2012

File Under: Things that Piss Me Off

Apparently, Dan Quayle was right:  Single mothers are terrible people who have no right raising children.

ENOUGH with the mother bashing, people.  E-freakin-NOUGH!  If we put as much effort into lifting mothers up and celebrating their accomplishments as we do psychoanalyzing their "poor" choices (many of which they don't control), wouldn't everyone benefit?  I'm certainly not saying we should sweep poor parenting under the rug, but WHY aren't fathers as quickly bad mouthed as mothers?  Why is okay for the tech guy from my church, of all places, to tout this anti-mother nonsense on Facebook without countering it with anti-father crap, too?  When was the last time he posted anything pro-parent or pro-family?  Pro-mother?  Not that I remember seeing.

I'm not a single mother.  I wasn't raised by a single mother.  Until my generation, the women in my family were all married before becoming mothers.  But that didn't prevent them from marrying alcoholics who disappeared on a regular basis, beat them, and abused their children.  Stories exist on both sides of my family - written accounts in railroad documents or newspaper articles - going back 100 years or more, giving detailed accounts of absentee fathers and severe spousal abuse.  HOW is that better than being a single mother?  And don't tell me that it's because the father contributed financially.  It's hard to contribute financially when your primary role in life is to be the drunk who falls asleep on the railroad tracks and is killed by a train or the engineer who is so drunk he causes an train accident.  (How ironic is that? One great-grandfather was killed by the same train company that employed the other great-grandfather who cause a major accident.  No idea of the two events were related... but ironic, none the less.  Poor DL&W.)  Come to think of it, I'm one of only two women in our family to NOT marry an alcoholic since this family came here from Ireland in the 1880s!

So please, let's stop the single mom basing, the helicopter mom bashing, the attachment mom basing.  Let's just all agree that motherhood in any form is a challenge and deserves to be respected and supported, despite flawed and imperfect sociological studies.  We're all human and we're all in this together... like it or not.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm watching my little guy sleep in the bed next to me.  His 8 year old body sprawled out, lanky and long.  The smell of little boy wafting from him, despite having just taken a shower.  Sweet snoring sounds and wimpers occasionally come from his side of my bed.

He doesn't usually take naps in the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon and he never sleeps in my bed.  But he camped with Cub Scouts all weekend and came home happy, filthy, and freckled.  And of course, completely exhausted.  As he snuggled with me before he dozed off, he asked me questions about his new brother.

"Will he be in Cub Scouts?"

"Well, he'll want to be just like you, so I think he'll insist on being in Cub Scouts."

"How old will he be when I'm an Eagle?"

"I'm going to guess he'll be 8, just like you are now.  And a Bear, just like you are now."

"Will you buy him a radio kit?  And take him to camp and wear your mom uniform?"

"Probably, but you know, you can do that stuff with him, too.  You'll already know how, so you can teach him stuff."

He blinked.  "I can teach him stuff?"

"Yep.  You're his big brother.  You're the best teacher he'll ever have."

"Wow."  He yawned and rubbed his eyes.  "Better than Dad?"

"Maybe.  Definitely cooler than Dad."

With that he smiled, rolled over, and snuggled against me.  The baby kicked at his big brother.  The kick was met with a gentle poke.

"Love you, brother."  And he went to sleep.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


You know those moms?  Their hair is perfect, they're a size 2, and they always have beautiful make up?  And their children are dressed in matching outfits, complete with creases from the hours spent ironing?  Everything is organic and whole grain?  The house is beautifully organized, the car is spotless inside and out, and their pure bred pet never ever sheds?  The moms who could have written that entire paragraph without once saying something like, "Dude!  Do NOT put your underwear covered hiney in the window!  The neighbors don't want to see your skinny buns!"?  Those moms.

Yeah, that's not me.  In my head it is.  In my head I have a garage I'm not embarrassed to open and laundry that isn't pouring out of baskets in the hallway.  In my head, my minivan doesn't spawn empty water bottles and occasionally have "My brother eats buggers" written on the dirty window.  In my head, life is perfect.  Too bad we can't live in my head, eh?

So how do I come to terms with the fact that I am NEVER going to be Martha Freaking Stewart?  There's a big part of me that feels like I should live up to these completely unrealistic expectations.  Then there's part of me who wants to curl up on the couch and watch copious amounts of garbage TV.  Right now it's really easy to use the pregnancy induced exhaustion as an excuse not to be more on the ball, but that's all it is - an excuse.  I could should manage my time more wisely.  I just don't quite know how.

Here's the reality, though:  I am an involved mom.  I know my kids' friends.  I know what they're watching on TV (except the super hero stuff.  That's David's domain.).  I know their teachers, schedules, and homework.  I check up on my teen's Facebook account on a regular basis.  I go on field trips, attend the parent-teacher-committee-association-organization-whatever meetings.  I help with graduation slide shows and vacation Bible school.  If there's a school or Scout function, man, I am there.  (In part because if I am there I don't have to be home... cleaning.)

So maybe I've traded Martha Freaking Stewart for... awareness?  And maybe I'm not wired to be both an uber organized mom and an aware mom?  Is one better than the other?  Hard to say, really.  I'm sure it's less stressful to be a Martha than juggler.

Regardless, I should do the dishes and clean the kitchen and do the laundry and clean the dining room before my husband gets home... we have a First Communion party on Saturday and I've been so busy at school today, I haven't do much of anything to get ready for it!