Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Given the state of things in the world (my own little world and the world at large), I've decided to start posting a "Thankful" message each week. Too often lately, I've felt the need to keep myself from spinning downward. I would love to hear what you are thankful for, too, big and small. So here goes:

Today I am thankful for the promise of a quiet day to do work that is meaningful to me. And I'm delighted that part of that includes watching a video on blaxploitation films that make me want to put on a bright tangerine minidress and dance to the theme song from Shaft. Yay for today!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've got Mommy Guilt, and it ain't like the flu

I had my first case of Mommy Guilt recently. Normally, I roll my eyes at the idea that I should feel guilty about most things Mommy-related. I do the best I can; beyond that, just get off my back, people! But last week my daughter's class had a field trip and she wanted me to go. Badly. Deeply. Seriously. She gets so excited about riding the bus and she wanted me to sit beside her. It's not lost on me that the moment is quickly approaching when she wouldn't want me within 100 miles of her friends, much less sitting beside her on a school bus. But she demanded that we buy her sack lunch immediately and she dutifully packed it about 900 days in advance. (Luckily she was willing to put it in the fridge until trip day--otherwise we'd have a Rudy Huxtable situation--anybody remember that episode?). Her teacher told her that mommies and daddies could go with them, so she came home and told me that I had to go. I told her that I had to go to work, that I had students who needed their teacher just like she needs her teacher (I'm sure my students would disagree, but that's not the point). The Babydoll wasn't buying it. She wanted me to go and no other answer would do. I felt awful. She felt awful. Her desire was so sincere. I apologized about a million times. I started to think that maybe I should just cancel two of my classes and get on the stupid bus. My husband thought that was a ridiculous idea; I guess he should be an expert on the matter since he was taking his happy behind to work that day without a thought about this field trip--not an ounce of guilt there.

Trip day came and she didn't mention my impending absence. I put a note in her lunch wishing her a fun trip. She was thrilled at receiving "mail" along with her lunch. When I picked her up she showed me her pumpkin. She told me how another child's mother helped her with her lunch (I'd asked the mom to coddle her a little). She reenacted the dancing chicken they saw (don't know why a dancing chicken was at the pumpkin patch, but okay). She had a wonderful report of a fabulous field trip. But then she asked again why I didn't go. She expressed--again--that she really wanted me to go "because I love you Mommy!"

Now how was I supposed to respond to that? I turned away to fiddle with papers and hide the tears that were threatening to spill down my face.

I have to work. Well, I don't HAVE to, if I adhere to the "stay-home-at-all-costs-because-it's-the-only-way-to-be-a-loving-mother" philosophy. Of course, I would expect the student loan police to show up at every turn. And we'd never get ourselves into a decent school district on one paycheck. And I'd be annoyed and lonely and unfulfilled because I really do feel like I was meant to do the work I'm doing. Have to or not, the fact is that I have a job and I'm going to keep on having a job. Ninety-five percent of the time, I feel no guilt for working. In fact, I feel so blessed that the work I love often comes with the possibility of two days a week at home, summers off if I choose, and a flexible schedule. But when it collides with mommyhood, I do feel like I'm abandoning my children.

What will I do to remedy this feeling? I don't know, but I'll have another chance next week: I have class during my son's harvest party. Any chance the flu shot will vaccinate against this, too?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

The Babydoll: Daddy, who's that?

Hubby: Oh, that's a policeman.

The Babydoll: Why is he standing there?

Hubby: He goes around and gets people who do bad behavior. He takes them to jail.

The Babydoll: Bad behavior?

Hubby: Yeah.

The Babydoll: Oh. I'm gonna go tell him that Brother hit me. That was bad behavior.

All children seem to have this thought, but I still laughed my head off! Hilarious!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thoughts inspired by Chris Rock's Good Hair

1) Nia Long should sooo play me in the movie of my life.

2) I had the culture of hair on my short list of dissertation topics in the beginning stages. If I had stayed with that, maybe I'd have been in Chris Rock's film.

3) What was Barbara Walter's issue on "The View" this morning? She asked a question about black women's hair that Whoopie answered about 5 times. Then she immediately asked Chris Rock, who gave her the same answer.

An addendum: Thoughts about my crappy day that should shock teenage girls into using birth control every single time:

1) I've actually had poop in my hands today. Twice.

2) Yesterday my son sat on the toilet and peed a straight line. Onto me.

*And happy, happy birthday to The Diva!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Done and done.

I spent part of the weekend purging. No, not upchucking the hot fudge sundae that I had, quite appropriately, on Sunday. I was going through boxes of baby clothes and toys, preparing to give them away to The Diva and her little Popcorn. It was hard. I think I may be a potential hoarder, but I also get really excited about organizing, so it's hard to do both. More than that, though, I realized that my time of mothering infants is basically gone. It makes me sad.

I held up each outfit, remembering a picture we snapped or an outing we took. I remembered dressing my babies, putting their tiny feet into the one-piece jumper, and receiving to-die-for dresses from loving relatives. I could not imagine at the time that my itty-bitty bundles would ever be big enough to fill out a large size. All the while, they were laughing and playing with the toys they have already outgrown. When people say that it all goes by too fast, man, they are not kidding. I felt like I was pregnant for more than two years continuously, and now I don't have any babies. Even my two year old is stretching out, his legs gaining some length and his chubby tummy slimming down.

I read an article not long ago that asked how we know when we're really done having babies. The answer was that mothers who are really done, say so immediately and without reservation. I can't do that, but I think our family probably can't comfortably handle another child. I watched Lynnette on "Desperate Housewives" deal with her serious lack of commitment to the twins she's unexpectedly carrying and wonder if I might feel that way with another baby. Then, of course, there are ck's heart-wrenching posts about her surprise third pregnancy, and the loss of it. They remind me of how complicated my emotions are around this issue. I kind of thought that this year would be the year of an "accidental/on purpose" baby because I promised myself that I would be done by my 35th birthday; that will happen next month. I don't think we're going to be having a surprise, on purpose or not. Hubby is talking about getting snipped, and he was nearly dancing with glee at the empty space created by the absence of those boxes. "Having all that stuff will not force them to be your babies again," he said.

So that's just it. I had a great time mothering infants, having them snuggle next to me, need me, love me. They changed my life (and my body) and then just went on with their lives, on the road to being big kids.

Of course, after all the stuff was given away, they showed up again, whining about this and fighting about that. Talk about a buzz kill. That's when I suggested that ice cream was in order.

Can you imagine me at high school graduation? Have mercy.