Motherhood is like Ivan Drago, it will break you, if you let it. Mouthy kids, messy house, everybody obstinate, demands unending, crying, whining, clinging, pestering, need, need, need. It is utterly exhausting.
Louis CK has a great bit called, “Why?” It about sums up what parenthood can do to you.
I share all this because I read via a friend’s Facebook feed this mom’s lament about a truly crappy morning with her darling angels:
I lost it this morning. Really lost it. After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV. I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels. Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule.
You can go read the rest to see how she proceeded to handle Annabelle. Let’s just say this, at least mom didn’t let the disobedience stand.
This mother is worried about people judging. Maybe some non-parent is going to judge, but most parents are nothing if not utterly humbled. Kids will do that to you. I’m convinced that it starts with pregnancy and the uncontrolled, public fart that happens at least once. A parent is not a parent if he or she hasn’t lost his or her dignity. Sometimes, it’s lost and never returns. And this is with normal, regular old kids.
In addition to my “normal” children, I also have an autistic child in the mix. Having a special needs kid sent me to the books. I needed help.
Through my desperate searching, I did find one gem. There is a great book for parents struggling with disrespectful, entitled brats. I wish I had bought and read and implemented the principles years ago, but I was so buried and overwhelmed back then and no one told me. So, I’m telling you.
Read this book. When things start spinning out of control again, read it again. Lock yourself in the bathroom (yes, I still do that and no, it still doesn’t work) and refresh yourself with the principles.
For me, the maddening parenting thing is making the same request over and over and having gifted and talented children looking at me slack-jawed and drooling and acting as though I’ve just spoken in an obscure Chinese dialect. Oh, you know The Look. We all know The Look. This book will help you with that look.
A friend of mine likes to quote that saying when she wants to provoke her husband. Works every time. The saying came to mind again when I read an article about the necessity of smart phones–to stay connected and working. From the New York Times’s Steve Lohr a week ago:
Such a digital connection can have its downside. The perils of obsessive smartphone use have been well documented, including distracted driving and the stress of multitasking. CrackBerry, a term coined years ago, is telling.
The smartphone, said Mr. Meyer, a cognitive psychologist, can be seen as a digital “Skinner box,” a reference to the experiments of the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner in which rats were conditioned to press a lever repeatedly to get food pellets.
With the smartphone, he said, the stimuli are information feeds. “It can be powerfully reinforcing behavior,” he said. “But the key is to make sure this technology helps you carry out the tasks of daily life instead of interfering with them. It’s about balance and managing things.”
James Joyner muses:
The social — and, increasingly, professional — expectation of being constantly available, however, is much more bane than boon. I’m generally more than happy to take a couple minutes out of my evening or weekend to help someone out with a quick question so they can continue progress on whatever they’re doing without waiting until 9 am the next workday. But, for many people, it has become more than that: a culture where one is never truly off work. While I have no idea what to do about it, that’s not a positive development.
Eh, I don’t know why these people are complaining. Moms are never off the clock. And there’s always a kid interrupting, bugging, and harrying the mother during her tasks. I’ve breastfed. The smart phone has got nothing on a 3 month old.
With smart phones, we’re all mothers now.
World Women’s Day: Pay For Stay-at-home-Moms
Heck yeah! [Note: That’s sarcasm.]
I guess it’s going to be all sex all the time today at the blog. Oh hell, why not? The Blago scandal is boringly devoid of sex.
Back in the 70s when flower children everywhere were making sweaty, hot, hallucinogenic, pill-protected, STD-infested monkey love, a strange thing happened: babies. I know, it was a shocking side-effect to all the lovin’, man, and some of the parents kicked their wanton daughters out to suffer the indignities of being a single, pregnant, shunned lady. Enter Stephen and Ina May Gaskin who took in these women at a place called The Farm in Tennessee. I actually dig these two hippies. They revolutionized prenatal care and were forward thinking about unnecessary medical procedures like episiotomy, shaving, knocking the mom out during birth, etc.
The Gaskins also introduced the notion of an orgasmic birth.
I’ve read Ina May Gaskin’s books and seen the pictures. She was a revolutionary, forward-thinking woman who cared for many, many women. Her work transformed lives for the better. Now, there is a “new” childbirth movement centered on “orgasmic birth“:
First thing next month (Friday January 2) will be the primetime debut of a film that has been making the “under the radar” rounds of women and film festivals since May. ABC’s 20/20 will air the documentary “Orgasmic Birth”, by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a childbirth educator and a doula, which asks the question: What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?
The message of the film is “that women can journey through labor and birth in all different ways. And there are a lot more options out there, to make this a positive and pleasurable experience,” Pascali-Bonaro tells ABC. “I hope women watching and men watching don’t feel that what we’re saying is every woman should have an orgasmic birth.”
But the title certainly catches attention, referring to what Pascali-Bonaro calls “the best kept secret” of child birth – that some women report having an orgasm as the baby exits the birth canal.
Having given birth rather easily, sans medication and more than once, the notion that women can experience sexual bliss during birth seems absurd. I’ve seen the videos and I’m not hating on any woman’s experience, but please. All sorts of changes need to happen in prenatal and birthing care, but the wild assertions and expectations of orgasms will defeat the true aims of the natural birth activists by making them look like wild-eyed nutters.
And another thing, I recognize that the birth canal has multifaceted uses, still, I can’t help but to think that this orgasm business is just one more way to sexualize, well, everything. The birthing isn’t about having a healthy baby or a woman surrendering to the primal forces of motherhood. Oh no! It’s selfish and all about a peak experience, man. It’s the narcissism-part of the hippie thing that bugs me.
Motherhood isn’t entirely about self-sacrifice, but giving birth is pretty darn self-sacrificial. Your body isn’t your own. And out of the experience comes an entirely new creature. And yes, some women have babies to be the center of attention and make it all about themselves. They are annoying. They don’t need encouragement. This orgasm business will just add fuel to the self-obsessed culture. It will also delude women into thinking that it’s a likely outcome. Silly-headed women who believe this will often end up with C-sections because they have such inane expectations of birth. It’s called labor for a reason. Birthing is hard work.
One of the most barbaric medical fields in America is obstetrics. For reasons of liability, ignorance and tradition, a process that has existed since the beginning of time is made into a “procedure”. Birthing is a process for woman and child and with different treatment, women would be empowered by motherhood rather than being the recipient of medicine. Babies aren’t a disease to be cured. Right now, that’s often how pregnancy and birthing are treated. That needs to change.
Fausta adds this:
Certainly, childbirth is the most binding experience a couple can possibly experience. A considerate and supportive husband can and will do a lot of things to ease the wife’s discomfort during labor. In a sense, it is a spiritual experience, too. But take my word for it, having a fully formed, seven and a half pound, twenty-two inch human being squeeze out of a narrow opening doesn’t happen without pain. That’s just the way it is.
– Click here for this week’s top video clips
When you’re p.o.’d at work, remember that you receive a paycheck for being hassled by needy co-workers.
Thanks to my sister-in-law for the link.
On Friday I decide to join the churning masses and pick up groceries for the weekend. Normally, I grocery shop on Tuesdays at precisely 4 p.m. It’s busy, but not too busy, and I can escape without having to run people over near the flower department to get to the check-out lanes. Unfortunately, things have been hectic, my schedule has been all screwed up and I was forced, lest my children starve and friends shun me (we had to bring food to our friend’s house), to shop.
So I shopped.
Once again, it’s my belief that people suck. I don’t mind pushy, goal-oriented people. Hell, I can be a pushy, goal-oriented person. What I mind is the woman utterly transfixed by world-changing decisions like choosing between seedless and seeded raspberry jam. Her pondering is done while her empty cart sits in the middle of the aisle. Murderous rage bubbles within me and I find myself wanting to run her, not her cart, over. This does not speak well of me, I understand.
Here’s the deal: I put errands in the category of dumb shit I have to do to survive. Going to Target, buying clothes even, grocery shopping, filling the car with gas, sending mail at the post office, all of these tasks irk me. They are necessary evils, repetitive tasks that support life, but can drain life of meaning turning a person into a rat on a wheel. Ironic that I love blogging so much, isn’t it?
Anyway, so here I am, stuck in the stupid grocery store, with stupid, aimless people on a stupid Friday afternoon when I could have been doing something not stupid….like anything but grocery shop. Little did I know that the whole ordeal is about to be redeemed. I finally got to the check-out aisle. Each lane was four-people deep. The place was mobbed. The checkers look alternately distressed and determined. The baggers move as fast as possible to keep up. Well, most of them do. Turns out that my lane is being bagged by a mentally retarded fellow. Since I don’t shop during rush hour, I don’t know if this staffing choice is customary or not, but the decision seems unwise considering the stress levels at the store. Meh, whatever. At this point, like a cow in a chute, I had given up my autonomy and surrendered to the slaughter. My job was to move with the masses and submit.
Finally, it’s my turn and I get the pleasure of watching the checking, bagging interface up close and personal. Have you ever met a mean retarded person? I hadn’t. My cousin with Down’s Syndrome could be a stinker sometimes, but her nature was characteristic of the happy, sweetness most of us associate with Downs. My son has been in special education and the Down’s children were all absolute joys. Enter the Bag Man. His foul attitude permeated the area at the end of the aisle. Scowling at the checker, he goes on a temporary strike because she doesn’t send the yogurt cups down the chute properly. His stalling forces her to start bagging herself, thus upping the ante. Now, he stops and starts yelling at her. You’re not supposed to hold the yogurt. You’re supposed to send them down altogether. I like bagging yogurt. She ignores him. The line is building up, after all.
My mood brightens by the second. Maybe grocery shopping on Friday isn’t such a bad idea. This bagger is an asshole. First. Class. Down’s Syndrome or not, he is the coworker we’d all like to pound because he is simultaneously lazy, complaining, inept and unaware. Even better, no one can say anything because he’s (hushed voice) retarded. This is perverse, I know, but I’m laughing by the time I’m done here. His attitude continues to be foul. He starts caring less about placing the bags well in the cart because he’s too busy lecturing the checker about how three pizza boxes can fit in a bag not two. He rolls his eyes dramatically at her ignorance. She puts her head down, continues bagging and I think I saw her actually bite her tongue. The basket is almost overflowing. The job done. I try to make eye contact with my new favorite bagger but he’s fuming. I say thank you. He grunts dismissively still glaring at the checker.
Oh happy day. This has been the best grocery shopping experience ever. There aren’t too many new, cliché busting events in life. And me, I got one on a Friday afternoon at the grocery store.