So earlier this week, I see this image (with no sound) for a split second on the television…
and I think to myself… that poor woman. Her baby is so NOT cute. Sigh. Well, I’m sure she thinks he’s cute. I mean, doesn’t every mother think their own baby is cute? They must.
Then my attention is quickly diverted because 4 year-old Dylan says to me…
“I love coffee so much. Kira gives it to me all the time. I just love it.”
“Really? Kira [our babysitter] gives you coffee all the time?” I ask.
“Yes. I just love it.”
This story sounded incredibly suspicious since Kira is absolutely the best babysitter EVER and I really can not imagine a scenario where the two of them are sipping cafe lattes all afternoon.
But then I lose my focus on their supposed caffeine outings, because I notice some photographs in 21 month-old Summer’s crib.
“What are these?” I wondered out loud.
“I gave those to Summer,” Dylan explains. I pick up several photos of me and my ex-college boyfriend.
“Where did you get these?” I ask.
“From your drawer,” Dylan says. Apparently Dylan dug them out of a drawer that is packed with photos chronicling my life from high school angst to 30-something midlife crisis.
I look at the photos. I must say, I’m relieved the mock turtleneck is pretty much extinct.
For some reason (and I don’t really understand why), it seems inappropriate for my young children to be pouring over photos of my ex, so I shove them back in the drawer.
Later in the day, I call Kira. Turns out, she does not ever give my 4 year-old coffee. They split a cigarette now and then but that’s it. And only when they’re stressed.
Ok, the cigarette thing is most definitely not true.
And then I glance in the paper and see this….
along with an article explaining that this is Pingping, the world’s smallest man, hanging out with Svetlana Pankratova, the woman with the world’s longest legs. All part of the publicity for the new Guinness World Records.
Thankfully, not a mother and son combo after all.
I can’t tell you how much better I feel.
And there you have it – a whole post without one mention of Sarah Palin. Oh, wait. There it is.
If I have to defend Sarah Palin one more time, I’m really going to start to get pissy.
Because her policy positions are appalling to me.
And it doesn’t make a difference to me that she’s a woman.
Because having a vagina is not reason enough for me to put someone in the White House. I need a pro-choice, pro-environment, pro gun control, pro free speech, anti-war vagina. You know what I mean?
That said, I’m still a bit unsettled by this grassroots effort, Women Against Sarah Palin.
I just don’t like the idea of pitting women against each other.
The leaders of this anti-Palin effort are quick to point out…
“We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President.”
But still. Something just does not feel right about it.
For instance, “Men Against Joe Biden” is still an available web address. Probably because it sounds pretty ludicrous, right?
And I’m still bristling at the so-called “mommy wars.” How exactly did I miss this fierce battle between working moms and stay at home moms that the media just adores referring to?
I have friends who work full-time and others who stay at home with their kids. And a lot of moms do something in between. But our country loves a good cat fight so us moms MUST just loathe any other mom who lives her life differently from us. Really? Yeah, I don’t think so.
So frankly, I’m not a Woman Against Sarah Palin.
I am a Voter Against Sarah Palin.
And an American Against Sarah Palin.
This isn’t a female thing. It’s a future of the country kind of thing.
So let’s celebrate that we, once again, have a woman as the Vice Presidential Candidate.
And then let’s all go vote for the candidates that we believe will do the best job leading our nation.
I’ve been feeling something lately. Something that keeps percolating to the top of my self conscious. Then I quickly stuff it down, the exact same way I attempt to wrestle my daughter’s raspberry colored sleeping bag into its proper case.
But feelings are just bastards. They refuse to go away until you take a very deep breath and face them head on. So again and again, they bubble defiantly to the surface.
So I change my strategy. I will experience these emotions. And then, just maybe, they will stop following me around so relentlessly.
What am I feeling? A loss of some sort – perhaps freedom. Maybe youth. Or possibly choices.
I’m enormously, incredibly, unbelievably grateful for everything I have (you see that I fear being punished by the Gods for even admitting anything but sheer happiness at all times). I adore and love my husband, my children, my life. It is all I ever hoped for but never quite trusted could all come true. Not a moment goes by that I don’t feel overwhelming gratitude for all my blessings.
But lately I’ve felt a bit out of choices. Longing for a time, when everything was unknown and scary and filled with promise and fueled with addictive energy. I miss the exhilarating newness of those experiences that are behind me now. Behind. Me. Now.
I could hardly admit all this to myself, never mind dare to find out if other 30 something and 40 something moms felt the same.
But then I started to hear rumblings. A knowing nod from a friend. A similar confession from another.
And then I read this brave, honest, incredibly perfect post by IzzyMom. To quote IzzyMom, “You can call it whatever you want – a mid-life crisis, a housewife’s lament, whatever.”
My friend Alex suggested, a “late 30s, still sexy crisis” as a far better alternative to my self-described “mid-life crisis.”
But whatever you call it, it’s a relief to finally honor my own emotions.
It’s ok to have longing for a time that has passed. It’s ok to miss the newness. It’s ok to confess that everything which brings you such incredible joy and happiness in your present life, can sometimes, now and then, feel a bit limiting.
Because we are just human. We are wives. And mothers. And we are real and not perfect. And it’s ok.
It doesn’t make me love my husband any less. Or my children any less. Or my life any less. Because this is truly, deeply the life I want.
So it’s ok.
And with this understanding, I suddenly feel a bit more free. The freedom to feel what is real.
mama bird notes:
Contributing mama Daphne Biener’s kindergartner is coming home in tears because of… art class. Say what?! Click on contributing mamas to find out who’s causing all the trouble.
I mean, how long has been since I’ve done a giveaway?! Too long mama birdies. So this week I am giving away a cosmetic brush travel set ($45 value) from Design Brushes. Includes 6 essential brushes including a powder brush, shadow brush and angled liner. Because I think you deserve something new in that makeup bag. To enter, just leave a comment this week on the mama bird diaries and I’ll randomly choose a winner. Thanks ladies.
So today, my beautiful Dylan is 4.
We bought her a princess dress. I know, a bit hypocritical (ok a lot) after my criticism of the princess/barbie bikes, but Target finally broke me. The human spirit can only withstand so much princess mania without finally surrendering.
Today is also my 6th wedding anniversary.
Do you think Rick and I are one of those couples who are starting to look alike?
To celebrate, we visited my dad and some of his close friends, Dan and Sally, in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Man, is it gorgeous up there with rolling hills, lush greenery and majestic horses.
And wow, it’s incredibly dark at night.
And breathlessly quiet.
And everyone leaves their doors unlocked.
Is it me or does this scenario beg for a serial killer?
Since we had lots of free babysitters on hand like my father and his friends, Rick and I, decided to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We stepped out in the pitch dark night and climbed into the car.
“Why is it so dark in here? Why aren’t the car lights going on?” Rick wondered out loud.
“I don’t know,” I responded. “AGHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
“What?! What?! What are you screaming about?!!!!” Rick shouted back.
“Oh sorry. Nothing. I thought there might be an intruder in the backseat so I reached back and felt something, ” I explained. “Turns out it was just one of the car seats.”
Rick just rolled his eyes.
And think, he’s got only six years with me under his belt.
A whole bunch more to go, buddy. We’re just getting started here.
I might as well tell you.
I went to this Starbucks Better Breakfast focus group thingy. I just felt in my heart they would give me a free coffee card. Sometimes you know these things deep in your caffeinated bones.
Before I headed over, I actually enjoyed a large latte from a small neighborhood coffee shop. One that doesn’t even offer breakfast. Believe me, I felt a great deal of shame.
But then I refocused my corporate energy and headed to Starbucks.
These Starbucks representatives were so nice (clearly, they missed this post) and generous with their healthier breakfast alternatives – like oatmeal (140 calories), apple bran muffin (330 calories) and a cherry fruit and nut bar (250 calories).
I must say my fave offering was a power protein plate (hard boiled egg, mini-bagel with peanut butter, fruit and cheese). Definitely something I would share with my kids.
Of course the power platter, plus a grande latte, plus a couple of those organic chocolate milks and well, you might have to apply for a second job as a barista just to cover the cost. But if you can swing the price tag, it’s a nice little breakfast.
And these Starbucks folks really listened to me and my riveting ideas for the future of their company… like recycle bins! String cheese! A kid’s play area! Ok, I didn’t mention the play area.
I wanted to but I got intimidated by the fancy foodies in attendance like Food Mayhem, Serious Eats and Cheap Healthy Good. Plus exercise smartie Fit Esteem. And I had already admitted to giving my kids candy to get them in the stroller. So really, I had said enough.
Turns out, I did get a free coffee card. $5 bucks. Seems a little stingy, but the company is floundering a bit.
After I brought Better Breakfasts to the world, I still felt a wave of corporate longing so I headed to Target in New Jersey.
I wanted to buy Dylan a bike for her 4th birthday. After wandering through so many aisles I thought I would have to send for a search and rescue party (next time I’ll bring more water and extra layers), I finally found the bicycles.
And here were the options for a girl Dylan’s size.
1. Barbie (A bike for you and your Barbie. Barbie actually has her own seat on the handlebars!)
2. Disney Princess (Beautiful princesses adorned the entire bike.)
3. Jewels and Pearls (Wait, aren’t pearls a kind of jewel? Not sure. Will research.)
Wait, that can’t be it.
Yup, that’s it.
Now I’m a very girly girl who isn’t usually bothered by the plethora of princesses and Barbies in our 21st century culture. But even I was sort of disgusted. My gosh, don’t they just sell normal bikes anymore? Like a nice yellow one with colorful tassels hanging from the handlebars?
After much internal debate, I just couldn’t. I left without a bike. But I did purchase the plastic Hannah Montana musical microphone. At least Hannah is a girl who doesn’t sit around and wait around for some dumb prince. That gal went out and made something of herself.