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7 Nov

Happiness Wears Pipe Cleaner Glasses

I wrestle with guilt, as you know. Also, anxiety. It’s a fun combination, guilt and anxiety. I have a lot of experience with both.

But whereas when I was working from home my guilt and anxiety tended toward the mild, ‘shouldn’t I do more volunteering at my daughter’s school; I mean, isn’t that why moms work at home? So that they can do things like spend more time with their kids?’ and ‘why do I never get out of these yoga pants?’ variety, now that I’m working outside of the home my guilt and anxiety are tending toward the more dramatic ‘OH GOD I AM NOT THERE FOR MY CHILDREN, LIKE, EVER variety. Which, I know. It’s like I look for things to worry over and feel guilt about. You can roll your eyes at me. I roll my eyes at me.

Anyway. I’m feeling more guilty this week, because her birthday is coming up and I have no idea how to deal with that, what with an apartment full of boxes and a calendar that is wildly out of control and the fact that I have no idea what one does for birthdays in New York City when one can’t host a party at one’s home. And with more guilt comes more anxiety, and with more guilt and anxiety comes more of an attachment to Ativan, which brings with it more guilt, whence more anxiety, and a kind of ouroborosian cycle ensues, etc, etc, etc.

31 Oct

Two-Headed Robot Zombie Monsters Are Not The Only Fruit

Here’s the thing about Halloween with kids: dressing kids up is wildly fun, when you have control over the dress-up process. When you get to decide what they wear – which is to say, when you dress them up in whatever fashion amuses you – the whole exercise is awesome, and well worth the energy required (and you do need energy. Wrestling squirmy babies into chicken outfits is not for the faint of heart or weak of arm.)

Okay, so she was a duck, so, more fowl than poultry. Also, she was in pasties. Which is like fowl with garnish.

It’s most awesome when you can dress them up in ways that are borderline inappropriate, or would be if your neighbors had any familiarity with the works of Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick (ours did not):

19 Oct

Down This Long Distance Line Tonight

Of all the types of mother that I imagined I’d be – when, that is I did imagine being a mother, which was not all that often – I never imagined that I’d be an absentee mother.

I imagined that I’d work, of course – staying at home was nothing that I ever aspired to, which is why it was so surprising when I ended up doing exactly that, for a time – and I imagined that I’d travel and I imagined that I would, broadly speaking, have a life outside of motherhood. That was, in fact, a condition that I imposed on my future motherhood: I would be more than ‘just’ a mother. I would do things other than ‘mother.’ But even given the conditions and parameters that I placed upon my future motherhood, I always assumed that wherever I was as a mother, there I’d be. Putting my kids to bed and getting them dressed in the morning and hugging them and kissing them as often as I could. You know, mothering.

Which is what I did, mostly, for the first few years of my motherhood. I worked some, I stayed at home some, I worked from home some… but regardless of what I was doing, I was always there.

But now I’m not there.

21 Jun

Parents In Glass Houses

A couple of years ago, I wrote about spanking. I wrote a few posts, actually, and one magazine article, because I’d spanked my own child, and admitted it, and the ensuing uproar from outraged observers demanded its own commentary. And then the commentary kind of got out of hand – the topic was, after all, spanking – and I decided to just stop talking about it, and, indeed, I thought that I’d never write about spanking again. But then the issue of spanking hit the interwebs again yesterday, with this story about a mother who lost custody of her kids after spanking her daughter, and I feel kind of driven, against my better judgment, to comment.

The arguments in response to the story skewed in two opposing directions: there was the argument that spanking is okay, because, hey, we were spanked, and we turned out fine, and then there was the argument that spanking is never, ever okay, no way, no how, and any parent who does it should have their parenting license taken away. I’m not comfortable with either of these arguments. I’m also not comfortable admitting to that, which is, really, the thing that I want to talk about. That is, why is this all so hard to talk about?

28 Feb

They Said Shut Up

Last year, I received the following Facebook message:

Catherine –

I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have to ask you, how did you end up a “stay at home mom” with no job after all the university you took? … I have to take you off (my Facebook) as it is such a disappointment that you never did anything with your life and you do this all day… it was not what I would have imagined for you Catherine… so sad.

That’s an awesome message to receive, obviously, and – again, obviously – I wrote about it, because when the universe hands you that kind of awesome, you blog the hell out of it. This is what I said: