Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reckless Mothers

When I reflect on my quality of parenting the scab I pick at most is of a basic form. Variations on the theme: risk, isolation, change, recklessness. I have to get off book more I think. I have to stop punishing myself because of the elusiveness of control. They are not bad children and I need not perfect them. Perfect parenting is a cruci-fiction.

On Friday I walked the two kids to school, about a block. It was a struggle and a triumph. I was stressed with my little guy by the hand and his sister free to run off and on all around our street, down the new park sidewalk where we inspected two backhoes and a digger. I was afraid. They were at risk. More than when I take them in the wagon on contain one of the two in a stroller. They could fall. A car could...

I look at moments like these with contempt convinced that, in fact, this has much more to do with stroller salesmen, such as they are, than with me. Still, I resent the knowledge I am a pretty easy mark.

We did it. All parties visibly enamored of the outcome of freedom and independence. This is it, I realize it now. The scabs, scraped knees even the dangers are the point. It is what I embrace and want for them. I have, of late, managed to let go of their birth. I have till now fully worshiped their coming to me. The separation of our bodies and those brief moments in which they were pure and new.

I see the stains (sorry to sound so New Testament about this) and am delighted. I am now suddenly open to their errors. Dreaming not of what has been but instead of the deep blessings (see there I am at it again!) of their having a future I can see. Imagining how when she is 14 covered in pimples and feeling insecure I might be the only one in the world to see deep inside. The one to say, as my mother did, you are so beautiful, if only you could realize. Knowing no matter she is as beautiful as that day she was born. I will sneak a hand hold of the little big guy when the little part drops. I will embarrass him, and enjoy it.

I don't know where I get this sort of wisdom.. but it feels good. I guess it comes from lots of places. Including the chance to move myself to dust off my dress shoes and look into the eyes of reckless mothers I know. To think a little about how I am different from them and vice versa. To move to common ground -- and that ground is spotted with a cheap merlot and some nerds. Reckless mothers might be the best kind? Who knew?

Last night I saw..

Bite My Cookie and THE Girl's Gone Child right here in Vancouver. Me and the radiant and clever CC went to the book event and hooked up. Wicked!

Only thing better is to follow up with a free afternoon to go read her book.
A hoot and bite with a real cookie? How lucky am I?

Thinking of you Chickies next time I see Anthony's bony ass dart across the club.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bad Parenting Confessional: Away

I wrote you last week about my vocational challenge now that my old job has come up again. I really appreciate all the witty and wise commentary on that post. Helped enormously. If you ask me this is just what I need this blog for; my friends and family thank you all, too, for your contributions to my sanity.

The saga will continue. I don't have to do anything right now but a lot is suddenly on the table again. What about being a two income family? Do we need it? And, childcare what do you do anyway with kids three and a half and almost two for care -- is there a slam dunk to see them through school starts? Or is it really not worth it at this point with kids 22 months apart? You have to remember Vancouver childcare options are abysmal.

And, staying at home? Wasn't I just committed? (pardon the pun) I was and I wasn't. I mean I feel I can make anything of these choices they are stressful and, in my opinion, too numerous for those addicted to tranquility but I have found out I am not among that group. My family though entirely plain in many respects is not static; we have our chaos. Blessedly benign chaos. It will ever be thus, I expect.

There is really only one outstanding bit of major business. You see back in November when I was sure I was going to work my kids were driving me crazy and vice versa; the bad behavior all around was a concern. I told myself many times that going to work would improve our family. That being away would actually make me a 'better parent' relatively. For shame. Earlier this month when I mentally moved myself to being 'at home' I felt that my previous mind-set was pretty sick. I looked at everything and decided I couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't ever think absence would be a means to my being a better parent. Like a quest for the holy grail I was set to one task; to find something -- and everything -- else available to make me a better parent besides that. One who is better with the full acknowledgement of the impossibility of being good enough.

But now am I back to square one? How will I apply my new found knowledge to this scenario? Am I a stay-at-homer at heart? You know I have never had a childcare arrangment that lasted more than 7 months? Do I sabotage them since I want it to be me?

(A bunch of this goes to the SAHM's myths of perfection. I will still be keeping up my 52 reasons. Who knows maybe those 52 will represent the 12 months service I am supposed to give my employer before I am allowed to resign from work scot-free.)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Messy Breakup

So we had a nice luncheon for nanny today, ice cream, cards and little prezzies. She is entirely sick of us, our instabilities, our renovations; she is off to a new job. She says she's done with nannying. It was as nice a goodbye as I could muster...

...Considering work, called at 9:18 today to tell me the guy who took my job has resigned. I could start back as soon as May 5. To make it all worse I have seen this coming for 3 weeks, or maybe it was 5 months?

If anyone has a therapy method, book, pill, or drink that will make this all go away name your price!

More to come....

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

52 reasons: When a myth is more a mistake

Here is the latest installment in my 52 reasons for never thinking I could be a stay at home mother, and now where am I?

I don't really fit in as a SAHM because of the all the protocol shit. Sure I once worked in a royal palace, and I have invited two lieutenants-general to dinner without incident but preschool? I am an hick!

Yep, I'm the mom who loses the birthday invite and misses the party. And then I'm the one who still doesn't get it that I need to cough up a gift until I get given the deluxe in absentia loot bag. I can't pick the birthday boy out of a line up but I guess I better wrap up a nice gift by lunchtime tomorrow.

I guess I might hope to be better than this... but I'm not. No myth here some of this etiquette is too serious for me.

ps... We have turned on comment moderation. We haaaayte it! but we wanted to whack the spam a bit and thought we'd try it out. I figure we'll turn it off soon, it is only slightly less/more irritating than word ver. stay tuned.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Marketing Director

I owe a great debt to the lovely and talented notsosage for the hot hats she added to our lives a few months back. I owe you pictures. Can you dispute the cutness?

Onion Head Hat, as seen on blogger

Vying to be the West Coast Mad Lids Girl.




Come on and play along, etsy is good.

And if that ain't cute enough for you how 'bout you go see the corporeally reduced cheesefairy and her NEW BABY ... NEW BABY ... BEAUTIFUL NEW BABY!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


Western civilization is set for decline. There is adequate proof of that. My proof?

There are no socks.

I have bought many socks. Cheap socks, expensive socks, womens and mens. They all fail. Within about 5 washings all socks fail. Collapsed calf sections, pilling, size 4 ankle knit to size 8 foot segment.

If this society cannot even supply socks then it is all over. Case in point, Rome. No socks. Atlantis? No socks. Machu Picchu. No socks.

Please, if there are socks, my dear distant ethereal friends, tell me where. How.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

52 reasons: People are People

I have a lot of reasons why I thought I would never make a good stay-at-home mom. Sure I could start with something easy like, I don't have enough patience, or I am addicted to my career but no. No. Sharp inhalation, here goes.

I never thought I would be a good stay-at-home mom because.... I don't really like women.

Oh for shame. What was wrong with me? I thought raising children was women's work? and androgyny my defense?

I was always sort of weak at being a chick, suspicious of girls -- and women it seems. But dudes? Well, I was the soccer mom at 18. I was driving my co-worker bellmen friends from the tourist-compound mandatory hospitality service I did in '88, call it Rocky Mountain Hotelerific piss up and pinch stuff for a summer or two, to their soccer games in Canmore. Ah soccer, is it not the very best sport for the display of fine male specimen buns? I lent them my car to make extra $$$. The other waitresses? Oh, no, thanks. I'm not here to fit in, woman-person.

I ultimately drifted to the fringes of my lady-laden library profession? Note, my expertise falls outside of books or tale telling. My skills are grafted, instead, to IT. I routinely advise some geek, as a means of conflict resolution "Oh come on. We can do it this way just this once right? Try it or I'm breaking up with you."

So is it true? If I hate going to the mall... and If I haven't read a diet book in 25 years...and If I am selfish and superficial and like to watch sports on tv, sometimes. Does that mean I can't be a stay-at-home mom?

Well it turns out. No.

Facet #1 of the mythology. Stay-at-homers aren't all Moms. Seems roughly half the population of parentingland is made up of men. Good, that keeps it interesting. Why hadn't I thought of that?

Then. Facet #2 The girls are alright. Women are what makes this game run. Sure there are the competimommies and the cliques and the deepening political divides. But all that seems a lot more gutless here in the glow of afterbirth than it ever did at under the dim lights of the dance palaces of youth jostling for mirror space to perfect each application of mascara and every slink of a blouse or hem. We are all, or at least many of us ready to admit, hacks. At work I was out to be the best in the business -- so many of us were. In the mothering game for every 1 out to succeed I would suggest there are 4 or 8 sane, self-effacing and affable mother-people. This based on my well-sourced bloggy research acumen.

As one friend says, I just need to get back to the hut. The heterogeneity can be overrated. I just want the women and children together in the hut awash in comprehension and support. I wont [sic] some other woman to hold my baby while I have a shower! Today I had a date with M. (not her real name) and I was happy as could be wrapt in mom on mom action for nearly 2 hours. Just a cuppa and her bouncing baby girl (10 months, since I know you're wondering). We shared our failings and our outlandishly high standards. We came to the agreement that to completely suck 3-4 times weekly was a good baseline.

-- yes I am trying to put that song in your head!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

52 reasons

Two years ago when I was SURPrISE pregnant and childcareless and job-share becoming job-partner-annulment I became Mother Woman.

I started to blog.

I was reluctant to surrender to a life mothering. I had a laundry list of reasons why it was not for me. I was for one thing, a very adult-oriented person. I didn't fit the mould mother-woman.

There were other reasons too. Last week I said their were 52 myths I had against staying at home. Starting tomorrow I will take advantage of you all to try digest those myths. Yes, witness the eating of words.

But before I list the reasons I wouldn't stay home, and why they were a myths, let me list why I would. Why I am? staying home.

1. No decent childcare
2. No strict financial imperatives
3. No energy
4. Vocational crisis
5. Curiosity about what it would mean to eschew the rat race for the egg and spoon race

And, let me take this moment to also promote the very interesting Mothers Voice project. It is a PhD research project that touches on my issues here. What about yours? Please see the link to participate in Mothers Voice, a blog-based Canadian mothering research project.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Having a Ball

We have recently completely dovetailed the bedtime routines of the two kids. All the story times are held to complete the day on a blanket in my son's room. When we wrapped up Sometimes I like to Curl up in a Ball a few days ago the kids got up and headed for the door. Seems they were out to put us to bed.

Hand in hand they prepared to exit the room. Looking back briefly Miss Fancy said to her father and me, "Nigh-night. And, don't worry. When you wake up in the morning we will be here."

By the way. I do like Wombat books. Check them out!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mother-Woman Defined


I have never thought that anything about my life would prove applicable to another's life. Don't think I am a hard-line individualist; that's not it. I just never saw the need for any other person to be able to operate as a p-man loving, tree-hugger, wo-grandma daughter, librarian, ad hoc home designer, womanly, gardener, feminist, cook, single-malt drinking, friend of the computers. The world need only one.

That was/is me.

The thing about being a Mother-Woman is it crosses over. It translates? Dwelling and inhabiting (literally) the commune... the community. It is not just a piece of each of my offspring that I gave over to society with those final pushes but also myself.

My potential resentment of the fact has likely kept this realization on the fringes for about four years. But facts are facts, that's just the way I am.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Conspicuous Consumption

I ran screaming from a mall this week. Count me as one who simply cannot cope with the environs. I have a sincere sense of being ripped off just being there. Everywhere a scam. Look out behind you! There is some ridiculous overly-expensive duplication of a near-duplication of a knock off you will pay full price for. I don't really have an eye for quality after so many years in thrift stores.

Remember, too, that we, of course, are blessed with one of each. So blimey the expense. I look ahead and feel it will do me in to navigate all the product that we say we need to get to the actual items we do need. I dunno, size 10 flip-flops for 9 dollars. Is that a good deal? Do I need that?

Bear in mind that this is the woman who will (God willing) wrap up a six month renovation of three bathrooms and a kitchen this coming week. Exactly, how much did that cost, eh?
I believe I spent a good part of Thursday playing Design, Inc. out looking for that perfect pendant light. Did you know that pendant lights cost between $60 and $800? My profound design fatigue had me settle on this striking beauty.

Yeah I know. White. Plainest plain white you ever did see. We might do some fingerpainting with it or something.

Times like these I do think I hate my life. The banal dilemmas. The petty wayfinding. Come please, poverty. Purify me. You will likely hear about it. Dumping the dual in dual income breeds a lot of home cooked chick peas, thick sweater wearing and turned down thermostats. I can't wait. Envision my fingers turning blue as I rinse every dish in cold water only. Will the righteousness warm the cockles of my heart? Or are we just cocksmokers?

ps. I do promise to someday post some pics of our lovely refreshed, chic dwelling. That is if i can ever finish my argument with the overfull startup disk on the machine at which I run my archive iPhoto.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

At Home: Redux

I gave notice to our nanny yesterday. It was an interesting 90 days of childcare with no work to justify it.

I drove through rush hour to get home to my family after another aimless grievance discussion. It is firm. I am unemployed. While a thread or two remains to connect me to my working world the realist in me must put it into words. I am unemployed. Put me out of the discomforts of limbo.

Today, I feel like a stay-at-home mom for the first time. Silly isn't it? I have been looking after my kids for pretty much 3 out of the last 4 years and only today I felt I crossed that threshold?

I put it all down to being so conventional. I guess in my own mind Maternity leave was just that. It seems that what Foucault tells us is real. I was let to leave. But yesterday. Today. I quit. I left. And, where did I go? Here. At home.


ps... In the coming weeks you can expect to assist me with the 52 myths of SAHM'ing I must confront. My own prejudices, stereotypes, fears and inadequacies. P-man and I like to call all this CANHer; bloggy enough?

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