Tag Archives: conciliation

How The Fairy Conquered The Troll (Tales From The Mommy Wars)

You can be childlike without being childish. ~ Christopher Meloni

Here I go again.

Another rant about “The Mommy Wars”.

See, I was on Facebook today (surprise, surprise, right? When am I not on Facebook?) when I saw a post by Scary Mommy. She does a rather wonderful bit on her blog called From The Confessional, where people can anonymously post their bad parenting moments, awful marriage issues, secret desires … really, whatever they want. Sort of like Post Secret, only without the pictures.

Like this, only online and with fewer priests. (Photo by sgarbe84)

Every so often, Scary Mommy posts one of these confessions on her Facebook fan page. They often generate a lot of discussion, and today’s was no exception.

The confession was: “There needs to be a law giving SAHM’s a couple of sick days a year. A professional childcare provider would show up at your house and send you off to bed.”

Most of the comments were supportive, commiserating over how difficult it is to catch a break when you’re sick and can’t find anyone to fill in with your kids for a while. But then this one happened:

“Oh yes, let’s give sick days to SAHMs who could at least stay home or in their jammies if necessary. Working FT, I earned one sick day last year. ONE. And I spent it staying home for my kid, who was sick, taking her to the doctor. As a single mom, I still went in to work when I was sick more often than not. Please don’t think working mamas have it easy….”

Now, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m being oversensitive, or reading into the tone and the words more than I should. But this sounds very much like, and forgive my paraphrase, “You whiners are full of it. Get a job and you’ll see who actually has the harder life. You don’t deserve to complain, when you have it so damn easy.”

Great. We have a Mommy Wars combatant on the comment thread.

It’s a troll! (Photo by kfawcett)

And this is where my position as a citizen of Mommy Switzerland gets difficult. See, I’m human. I’m a stay at home mom, and I’m not always so very confident in myself and my choices, just like every other human. And when I feel that my lifestyle — my JOB — and thus myself, is under attack, I get defensive. I want to justify my choice to stay at home, I want to argue at length about how difficult I find it to be, even though I know that the person who posted this comment won’t want to hear it. She won’t be swayed by pleas of feeling isolated, of feeling that all the responsibility of raising this child healthy and happy is squarely on my shoulders and that to hand him off even for a few hours indicates some sort of failure on my part. She won’t soften her position if I speak of my jealousy when I hear about “working” moms (meaning those who work outside the home — ALL moms work) who eat lunch without anyone screaming for their attention, who go to the bathroom with the door closed, who’ve showered within the last five days. All she will do is tell me that I have no right to complain, that I don’t know how difficult working moms have it, and so I should just shut up.*

And that makes me mad.

Angry cat is angry. (Photo by grngobstpr)

It took me a really, REALLY long time to own my own pain. I’ve struggled with depression for all of my adult life, and for much of my adolescent life as well. And through a lot of it, I felt that I didn’t have the right to hurt, because other people had it worse than me. It took years of therapy for me to admit that my pain was real, and that whatever the causes, I have the right to feel it and to expect support from my loved ones. To have people suggest that I don’t deserve my pain hits a very sensitive nerve.

But here’s where I’m proud of myself. When I feel attacked, when my personal demons start riffing off the words of a random, bitter woman on the internet, I don’t attack back. I don’t hide in my shell. Not this time, not anymore. I take a deep breath and attempt to, calmly and rationally, call her on her lack of sympathy while refusing to escalate the situation or to make it personal.

Here’s my response to her: “This was not an attack on working mothers. This was just a cry of frustration from a SAHM. We all have difficulties as moms, and they’re all legitimate. If we can all be sympathetic towards one another, maybe we can come up with some solutions, or at the very least we can offer emotional support.”

BAM. Done. I didn’t vent my frustration at her tone, or my hurt at feeling attacked. And I’m so, so proud of myself for that. Am I bragging? Absolutely. Where ten years ago I would have allowed myself to become defensive and possibly irrational, saying things that I didn’t really mean or that I would later regret, I kept my cool. Yeah, this is just a Facebook comment thread. But I feel like it is an indication of a greater pattern in my life, and that it shows how I’ve grown as a person. It shows that I’ve attained a certain level of emotional maturity. Maybe I’m even a grown-up now.

Maybe. If by “grown-up” you mean someone who really, really loves a good fart joke. And who doesn’t mind one little bit when she’s covered in glitter, because it makes her feel like a fairy.

It’s a fairy! (Photo by cheeki)

Well, either way. A fairy is better than a troll.

*I just want to note here that it’s true, I don’t know what it is to be a mother who works at a job outside the home. But if you are one, and you need to vent, let me assure you that you can always find a shoulder to cry on and a person to commiserate with in me. I won’t ever, EVER try to make you feel bad for feeling bad. We’re all in this together, right?

Dr. Kathy, Marriage Expert

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

I’m coming up on my tenth wedding anniversary. That’s right — I’ve been married to one man for nearly a full decade! As such, I am an expert on marriages. All marriages. Even yours!

So here are some tips I threw together on how to have a happy marriage.

1. Marry Someone You Like. This is where many people make their first big mistake: by marrying someone who is sort of a douchenozzle.

See? They like each other. (Photo by steelrose1)

2. Do your own laundry. I can’t stress this enough. Nothing strains a marriage like finding out that your husband put your expensive bras in the dryer on high heat when he should have hung them on the drying rack. Do your own laundry; your marriage and your underwires will thank you.

Seriously. It took me years to get that man to read the washing instructions in his clothes, I’m not letting him touch mine. (Art by k_vohsen)

3. Don’t be so serious. Nothing diffuses a tense situation like laughing. My favorite method of producing necessary gales of laughter is by letting loose a long and resonant fart, but you need to figure out what works best for you. Not everyone finds flatulence as hilarious as my Loving Husband and I do.

4. Objectify. Yes, your marriage is based on love, trust, and mutual respect, but everyone wants to feel sexy and desired as well. A little healthy objectification between two consenting adults never hurt anyone. How can this be accomplished? Butt pinches always work, as do unexpected gropes. PDA’s are nice as well, though you really should try to stay within the bounds of legality. There’s a fine line between being appreciative and being arrested.

That’s right ladies, that’s my fella! Well, part of him, anyway. Eat your hearts out.

5. Forgive. You know all those little things that drive you crazy about your husband or wife? Forgive them. So, yeah, he holds his fork incorrectly, and his toes crack EVERY. TIME. THEY. MOVE. Those things will never stop making you nuts. But if you can forgive them, then those little things won’t break you. As for the big things … if you can find it in your heart and conscience, if it’s not a deal-breaker (like domestic violence, emotional or verbal abuse, or constant watching of the Three Stooges), forgive those too. Love requires a lot of forgiving.

Love.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll have a happy marriage! Probably. Or maybe not, if your marriage is different from mine. Or if you married a douchenozzle. In which case you’re on your own, kid.

Aurora

We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict. ~ Jim Morrison

Sometimes, something happens in the world that sticks in my mind.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that it doesn’t happen very often anymore. I just don’t have the time or energy to become fired up about world events at the moment, at least not the way I used to. I used to read the headlines at CNN every morning before I went to work, and then delve more deeply into the day’s events once I was home again.

On Friday morning, I didn’t look at CNN. I checked my email, I fed and entertained my baby until his nap, and during his nap I wrote a fluffy little post about Rage Fairies, an idea that I’d had floating around in my head for a while. Just before he woke up, I hit Publish.

It was only hours later that the expressions of horror and sympathy that my Facebook friends were posting got through to me, and I finally went to CNN.com to see what had happened.

Aurora borealis (Photo by dyet)

You know, if Sausage had been a girl, his name would have been Aurora. It’s a beautiful name, I think — classic, but not overused; quite elegant. We would have called her Rory, fulfilling my desire to have a little girl with a boy’s nickname.

It means Dawn. New beginnings, bright colors flashing across the sky, filled with promise.

I’m not going to talk about the event itself, though my vivid imagination has put images before my eyes that have kept me awake the last two nights.

I do want to put in my two cents on the way the parenting community has responded — parents who are apparently completely devoid of empathy or compassion, condemning the parents of the underage victims as if it is their fault that their children are dead or injured. One of the victims was a six-year-old little girl.

Sunrise.

I can perfectly well imagine Sausage at six years old. He hero worships his father and is obsessed with Batman. He loves the comics, the cartoons, the action figures. He wants to wear his Batman tee shirt every day, so I have to have enough of them that he can wear one while the others are in the laundry.

I can imagine myself agreeing, against my better judgement, to let Sausage go with his dad to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, in spite of its rating. He’ll be with his dad, after all, and he’s very mature for his age.

I can imagine myself working for weeks on his costume. Sewing, gluing, pulling out all my screwed up stitches, cursing at the costume, sewing again. In the end … well, it’s a good thing that it’ll be dark out. Sausage loves it, and that’s all that really matters.

I can imagine sending my Loving Husband and my excited son off to see the movie; Sausage is ecstatic about the treat of staying up so late, about spending guy-time with his dad, about being the first of his friends to see such an anticipated movie.

(Photo from bat-blog.com)

And that’s where I stop. I won’t imagine the rest of it. I can’t bear to.

But I will say to those who think that they can judge the parents who were there, who may now be both injured and grieving; to those who think they have the right to condemn; to those who comfort themselves that their children will never be in danger because they are superior parents: How dare you?

The cruelty and lack of empathy that some people have displayed is astonishing. How dare you attempt to punish people who are already in so much pain? How can you be so cruel?

I won’t link to any sites that are being condemnatory. I don’t want to send any traffic their way, to legitimize what they’re saying with attention.

I do want to ask my readers to please be kind. Send some loving and healing energy to those who are hurt and grieving. This is a time for us to support one another and to exercise our empathy glands.

I apologize if you came to my blog today hoping for something funny to lift you out of your daily grind: I will try to be funny again later in the week. Right now I just don’t have it in me. I need to spend some time hugging my little boy close, knowing that I can’t protect him from the world’s malice. I need to hug him close, and then let him go.

Life goes on. The funny will return. Really. It will.