Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taking the long road

I feel like I've been on a long road in my marriage/separation, because just when I thought that my decisions were finalized, I took a detour. Not a detour onto another road, but a deviation off of the road... through the trees; and I stand, staring at a fallen log blocking my path, as the sunshine breaks though the tree tops and warms my arms.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Celebrity Moms - Tell me why am I supposed to feel a connection with them?

Again, and again, I read articles about celebrity Moms which go on, and on, stating that these women are in baby/child bliss. The articles talk about how "normal" these Moms are, and how their concerns are the same as other women.

I read one article about a particular 20-something celebrity who is a single Mom, and she was talking about how great she feels in her life, and how she's started dance classes. Now, if I wasn't paying attention I might feel a connection to this woman because we're both single Moms, but I read between the lines of the article. This celebrity gained 70 pounds during her pregnancy, but she had personal trainers to help her get her tiny shape back. She talked about her love of cooking for her son and friends, but she has a personal cook too. She talked about the stresses of being a single Mom, but she has multiple live-in nannies. She talked about the freedom and enjoyment she feels while taking classes, but she has the childcare [and money] to actually get out to classes.

(I understand that they have some stresses that "normal" women don't have. I don't have to worry that I'm not perfectly put together when I go to the grocery store - no paparazzi will be following me around. They have pressure to continually look good so that they can keep getting work post-baby - that must chip away at their self-assurance.

On the other hand, I wasn't applauded when I got back into shape post-baby - no one wrote about my "beauty" and "amazing" life.)

I think that it's unfair for women to compare themselves to celebrities, and it's especially unjust for Moms to do this. We already feel like we're not doing enough for our children ("Mom guilt"); we already wish that we had more resources to work with (money, time, sleep, more hands). These celebrity Moms look great, but wouldn't we all look fabulous if we had personal stylists, professional makeup, loads of money, personal trainers, 24 hour nannies, 8 hours of sleep a night, and vacations on the French Riviera?
(I'd be interested in receiving free designer clothes and shoes.... I may delight in trends based on what my 2 year old wears....)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Manners - Are they important to any one else?

Over the past two years, I've observed the interaction of
parents with their toddlers regarding manners. When a child acts out, or does something to cross the boundary of another child, I wait to see if the parents will involve themselves. Yes, we need to give children the time to resolve a conflict/speak up for themselves, but there are also times when we need to step in.

Today in music class, a little girl slammed right into Ava while dancing, and Ava stopped stunned. It was an accident, but completely the other toddlers fault, and I waited for a moment to see what her parents would do. The Mom started laughing and riled up her child more, so I looked to the Dad, and he too encouraged his little girl to keep on dancing. This was a perfect opportunity for either parent to quietly crouch down and ask the girl to say sorry - but neither person acknowledged Ava.

By pretending that nothing happened, and continuing to laugh and clap, her parents were letting a teaching moment pass by, and this girl will continue to push others around. (Last week she started pulling Ava's hand and hit her feet several times. She also did this to other children.) As this girl is several months younger than Ava, and it's not my place to parent her, I just reached for Ava's hand and quietly said, "Just say, excuse me", and I pulled her around the other girl. (Ava's very aware of her boundaries, but she gets quiet when she feels bullied.) I told Ava that it was an accident and then I smiled and encouraged her to dance again. As the class continued I watched the girls' parents, and they continually encouraged her in her misbehavior - calling everything she did "cute" and doting on her. Yes, she's a toddler, and toddlers can't be expected to "behave" all of the time, but at what point do we start instilling manners and politeness - age 5?

(I watched all of the parents interact with their children and most of them were doing the same thing - praising every move regardless if it was appropriate. I caught some of them watching me too, and I knew that they were wondering how I was able to keep Ava sitting in her chair, following what the Teacher was doing, without speaking to her.)

I'm not blaming these small children for their actions, nor am I saying that they should be expected to act like adults. I'm just observing how some adults who lack manners are raising some children who lack manners, and some adults who have no children are lacking manners in public too. Perhaps most people are always in a rush and don't think to take a moment to be courteous. Perhaps some people just don't think beyond themselves.

When I was 6 months pregnant, I slipped and fell on slick tile - I caught myself on a sandwich board and prevented landing on my tummy. I was right beside a very crowded bus stop and no one came over to help me up or to ask if I was ok (I hit my knees so hard on the tiles that I couldn't get up for a few minutes.) Not a single person - they all looked away, and I even heard laughter from some male teenagers.

When I was 7 & 8 months pregnant, I rode the bus frequently and I can't remember a single time when someone offered me their seat. Many times while walking in crowds this pregnant, people bumped/elbowed my tummy because they were in a hurry and not paying attention. Once Ava was born the same thing happened except people bumped into her stroller.

One time, I opened a door for Ava (in her stroller) and myself, and a man squeezed through from behind and walked in - because I was obviously holding the door for him.

I get frustrated that basic courtesies have been lost by enough people that these things happen frequently. I secretly smile when Ava says, "Excuse me" to an adult because they squeezed passed us without saying it. (She started doing this on her own before she was 2.)

Maybe I can change the world one polite moment at a time. If this is too daunting, at least I know Ava will think about other people.

(The other day I was struggling to open a door with Ava in the stroller and a woman [walking by] came over to hold it for me. Moments like this make me feel good.)

(On dates I've walked up to a door [and paused] and the men walked past me to open it, and kept on walking through. None of these men had a second date.... I have no interest in teaching politeness to grown men; perhaps their Mothers should speak to them.... Besides, if they don't do something small like this, I have to wonder what other kinds of things do they not give attention to?)

PS. I'm a Feminist and I like to have a door opened for me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Library book

Library book,
Oh, library book,
I am so sorry I left you alone with a 2 year old.

You were wounded,
It was all my fault,
I knew better.

I am sad that a great book had to die,
I am cheerless that I have to shell out $25.00 to replace you.


He feels like Home to me.... Unfortunately, this Home has squeaky stairs and wood across the windows. As I stand knocking at the door, I see a few fingers pull the drapes to peer out from the darkness. He doesn't answer; he doesn't think I can see him. He's scared to face me because he fears letting go of his relationship patterns. He's scared to face me because he doesn't feel he deserves my love.

Part of him hopes that I'll give up and walk away, and part of him hopes that I'll keep knocking. He wants me to keep knocking in spite of his low self-esteem; he wants me to keep knocking in the face of his immaturity. He prays that I'll keep knocking, and that I won't give up on him. The truth is, he long ago gave up on himself, and I will never give up on me.

I realize that this feeling of Home is centred on a smell, his smell, and I will not base my future on a scent. This smell will be an archive in my memory, and if One walks past his Home they will see a grown man, silhouetted on a shade, crying into his hands.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Keep on keeping on

It's amazing to me, that after all of the years, and all of the accomplishments that we women have made, we can still move into low self-esteem at the drop of a hat. It's absolutely ridiculous that we can feel so small inside because of something someone else says. Why does this make us forget what we feel for ourselves? We spend our lifetime up to this day growing our view of ourselves, and with one thoughtless, or insecure, comment we forget our self-love.

How is it that the lack of shown love from a man can make us question our greatness? We're the same fabulous ladies we were before the so called men came around, so why would this change? Yes, sometimes we lose ourselves in a relationship, but there's no shame in that. At least, we love openly, and we gain knowledge about our weaknesses; when we're strong again we bring more to the next relationship. It's called learning, and there's no disgrace in that. Perhaps the dishonour should fall to the men who can't step up and look us in the eye (and they're such pretty eyes).

When we make decisions in our lives, big or small, we tend to look to others to run the idea(s) by. Sometimes we talk to people who will say what we want to hear. These people think that they're supporting us by just going along with what we say, but perhaps we need to hear their opinion.
Sometimes the "support systems" in our lives don't have our best interests at heart, but they think they do. What they're actually doing is projecting their ideas of who we are onto us. They give advice based on what they would do. I think that the real support comes from people who will be supportive regardless of the decisions - these people truly respect us, and the women we've become.

Ultimately, inside we do know what paths are best for us, and even though we may linger before stepping onto these paths [and people may question, "Does she have it all together?"], we need to trust ourselves.