So I've been thinking a lot this week and I've been "journaling" which is a stupid word but there it is, that's what I've been doing...writing in a book with paper pages with a pen. I purchased a new journal. It's got graphy cubes instead of lines to write on and it's helping me with that little issue of legibility.
As a poor speller, one of the tricks I learned early on was to write illegibly. Better to be thought a slob than stupid. But the sad thing, I'd go back later to reread my gorgeous prose and fabulously original ideas and, Huh? "Trehetnts ablinstenserlliting." Brilliant!
Anyway, I have recently read that writing about writing is not legit, especially if YOU ARE NOT A WRITER. So, I stand before you ashamed. I will now change gears.
I have been thinking a lot about what it is to be a mother. It was brought to my attention that "mommy bloggers" are exploiting their children by sharing intimate details of their children's lives. Again, I stand before you ashamed.
That revelation led me down a little path which I will attempt to describe to you.
In our country, Motherhood is weird. By Motherhood I mean the "institution" of Motherhood...and anyone who is a mother knows, it's a frickin' institution alright, and we should all have a safe room there and lots of nice meds. Motherhood makes us CRAZY.
No real maternity leave, daycare is hard to come by and expensive, it's hard to find work that is flexible, especially when our kids are small or if they have health issues.
We're fed a line that raising kids is the most important thing we will ever do and yet we get no support. Raising kids is the most significant life experience offered to women, but don't expect any respect or support.
We find ourselves in a bind: Motherhood is at once elevated and denigrated, and frankly it makes us nuts.
We moms sacrifice EVERYTHING for our families, that's what we are taught we are supposed to do, we get resentful, we feel guilty, and we're tired.
We think we have a right to our children's experience, like somehow we earned it, we are defined by our children we identify with our children and we think we are entitled to their stories. I'm not saying all moms do this, not all mom bloggers, but enough.
We've got to remember, our kids owe us nothing. We need to find ways to tell our own stories. We're all codependent and enmeshed, a codependent enmeshed mommychild tangle.
It can't be good for anybody.
I was thinking those thoughts and feeling all thinky when my husband, Library Man, brought home lots of books about motherhood and stuff, and low and behold my entire thesis was in book form, all written in lucid detail, recounted in succinct language, proper sentences, no run on hyperventilating red in the face sentences, not an ellipsis....or a hanging participle. In sight.
It was nice to see, but the minute that happens, I see a scholarly work nicely written and coherent about a subject I have been emotionally involved in, I say, "Oh. Look. Huh. Yup." And then I have to move on.
My thesis was, if you want American women to stop exploiting their kids, find ways to encourage women to do other things. We need women who identify as women first, moms second. In order to do that we need quality day care centers, we need flexible work schedules, we need actively parenting partners, we need equal pay, affordable healthcare, etc.
None of us lives in a vacuum, unless you're that housefly I sucked up in the Hoover but really it didn't live long in there so I stand by my assertion, none of us live in a vacuum.You want healthy women relating to their children in a healthy way you have to create a healthy environment with realistic expectations.
In other news, I've been shirking work. I feel guilty.
Also, many friends and acquaintances of mine have parents who have passed away recently or who are very ill and this is sad.
I think of my mother. Her health is fading and wonder how long will she be with us. At Christmas I thought, This might be Mom's last Christmas. I worry when I call her and she doesn't answer the phone. She's confused in the grocery story, she's lost a lot of weight, doesn't feel like eating, and she's sleeping a lot. But then again, except for the eating and the losing weight thing, I'm doing those things too, so really...
I worry that I'm entering the second half of my glorious run as a sentient being, and I worry that I've wasted the first half.
I wonder how my kids will cope as I head off into old age, I wonder what it will be like to die, and realize that one of my worst fears is losing control of bodily functions and being seen all naked and stuff.
I can't handle that AT ALL. So, I'll do that voodoo that I dooo so well and Fergit About It! I'll deny I ever thought those thoughts and pretend I live in a world were nothing icky or sad ever happens.
I've been thinking about what it means to be married to the same fellah for 15 years or is it 16 now? Next week we'll be anniversary-ing.
Most people have happy memories of their weddings. I have wedding PTSD.
I fucked so many things up, from the wedding photos to the wedding party, who was invited who was not, how I addressed the invitations, the time of year I chose, the time of evening I chose, ETC. I could not have made worse choices about so many of the details of my wedding.
I planned a shitty wedding. I am sorry.
My late stepmother told me that it was the nicest wedding she'd ever been to. She was the wedding reception coordinator for a fancy hotel. She was from New York City. She KNEW PEOPLE. She was NOT the kind of lady to say nice things she didn't mean, so I guess I have to believe her. We didn't serve alcohol at the reception so I know she wasn't drunk.
Why in my mind did it suck so bad and why do I have so much guilt?
It is the way of my people. Self loathing and guilt, passed down, family heirloom style. I hope to leave my own children a nicer legacy. Something that will serve them better.
Things I did right: my dear pal Diana was my maid of honor, my stepdaughter was my flower girl, despite the butt bow, my dress was okay, our dear friend Kent performed the ceremony. My mom looked pretty. Our friend Welch Everman played trumpet in a little jazz band and they played for our reception. Our first dance was Satin Doll. I guess I can try to put away that guilt about all the shit I did wrong. Try to remember the parts that were good.
Another thought that has been bouncing around in my noggin has to do with social media and community.
But I haven't the energy to delve into that right now.
Maybe another evening when I find that the dishes are done, the kids are happily occupied, and there are no emergencies to attend to. "MOM! The cat has POOP on her PAWS!!"
I'll try to articulate my irritation about social media another time. Unless of course, Library Man comes home with an armful of scholarly texts regarding facebook snarking. Then the wind will inexorably be knocked from my sails, and I'll be all like, you know. Ptht.
Actually it's nice that Library Man listens to my whiny chitter chatting and takes me seriously enough to look for more information about stuff. It's nice to know he hears me.
I'm lucky that way.
And also, if I sit here long enough, he might take on that cat shit cat paw problem...Yup. He's on it.