Posts tagged as:

the mom dilemma

This came from my 6 year-old boy last night when I was putting him to bed.

“I want you to know that you are very special, and I love you very much.”

“Even if you hate me sometimes?”

Alarmed. Pause. Deep breath.

“Why do you think mommy hates you?”

“When you are mad at me and yell at me,” he said, matter-of-fact-ly.

“Oh, sweetie…” Another deep breath. Think. Think quickly. What does the parenting manual say as a proper response to this?  Oh, right. There is NONE! So we have to make it up as we go along…

“Oh, sweetie.  Even if mommy is mad at you sometimes, it does not mean that I hate you!”

Musing on this, he turned his back towards me.  After a second, which felt like an eternity (cliche alert!), he turned towards me again,

“Well.  I want to be different. Deal with it!”

A non-sequitur response.  One that made me laugh out loud and hugged him even more tightly.

“I want to be different. Deal with it!”

I have been thinking about this the whole night and this morning.

Here is a passage from Almost Moon by Alice Sebold that, together with my 6 year-old’s infinite wisdom, will be haunting me for a long time…

“I walked to the center of my front lawn and lay down, spread-eagled.  I looked up at the stars.  How did I end up in a place where doing such a thing marked you for crazy, while my neighbors dressed concrete ducks in bonnets at Easter and in striped stocking caps at Christmas but were considered sane?”

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The following is a rant against men who do not help out around the house.  You have been forewarned…

I hesitate in calling myself a feminist. Because I am embarrassed.  Not because of the label, but because I would be living a lie if I call myself one.  I am the woman that Feminists hold up as a bad example.

An enabler.

The truth is: I still do most of the housework around here. I work full time. My commute is over an hour each way.  I travel for business.  I make as much money as my husband. (Even though this is not supposed to make any difference?)  I have a Ph.D. (I regretted putting this here: it was not my intention to brag. But rather a perpetual regret that I have wasted the best five years of my life getting a degree that has proven to be quite useless. And oftentimes a burden on my soul. I have let everybody down, myself especially).

Other couples fight about money, or so the myriad of studies showed.  We fight over who is doing what how much when with which one of the children for how long.  We fight over fairness.

“If you care about the house being neat, you should be the one that cleans up.  You are the one that’s anal.  I don’t care.”

I guess I can’t say anything about that if I don’t want to live a bachelor’s life.  And, seriously, I cannot expect everybody to want to get up in the middle of the night, like 3 am, to do the dishes, pick up the house, vacuum the carpet.  I am like Mr. Monk.  Mrs. Monk.  Ha.

I am one of those crazy women that get turned on when their husbands do the housework.  I am not making this up.  One of those women’s magazines did a survey and an overwhelming number of wives selected “My husband doing the household chore” as the thing that arouses them the most.

“How can you complain about doing housework if we have a cleaning lady?”

The cleaning lady comes every other week.  I guess it never dawns on him that ours is not ALICE from The Brady Bunch who lives with the family?

Hey, if they don’t mind a disgusting toilet bowl, why should they be the one to clean it up?  I can see the logic in that one too.

“If you spend less time on the Internet, you could have finished doing the dishes already.”

Oh. That. Is. A. Good. One.  Let me write it down for future references.

I have walked out many times in a fit of rage. Oh yes, believe me. Because I have a chip on my shoulder.

PSA to Men: You seriously don’t want an over-educated wife.  Just sayin’  Especially those that have taken Women’s Studies.

Most of the time though, I just swallow things that I want to say.  Because, when it comes down to it, do you divorce your husband if he does not pitch in a fair share of housework, on your mental scale?  Do you deprive your children of a father because you are tired of being the one responsible for doing the dishes, folding the laundry, picking up the house, and oh, everything related to the children?

Yes, he mows the lawn.  And he fixes things when things break inside the house.

Am I asking too much for some sort of help?

“I am going to clean up the house now.  I am going to turn on the music.  Do you mind moving somewhere?”

“Can I listen to the music too?”

“NO. To be honest, it annoys me to no end to clean up the house while you sit here and read your book.  So, it really would be better if you move somewhere else.  Just get out of here.”

He moved upstairs.  I turned up the music.  Way high.

Who is the Queen of Passive Aggressiveness??!!

p.s. Depiste my lament, I am relieved that I don’t have a daughter.  I don’t know what kind of an example I would be setting for a girl: “Don’t bother. It doesn’t matter whether you get an advanced degree or not. Probably worse. Because now you know to feel resentment AND guilt when you do everything around the house.”

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

It is almost a month since Mother’s Day and therefore I figure it is safe to ruminate out loud what I thought when I saw these loving and lovable pictures drawn by my 6 year old, with lots of love, without the risk of being accused as mean-spirited, bitter, spoiled, jaded, or worse, unfit-to-be-a-mother…

Turned out that my 6 year-old was more excited about Mother’s Day than I was. The weeks leading to Mother’s Day they had made so many arts and crafts projects at school to celebrate this day, and he was instructed to keep all these projects a secret until THE day so he could surprise me. Bless his heart. I am surprised that he did not burst from all the secrecy, and the trouble of keeping a secret from your mother when you are only 6 years old.

We had gone to the store in April when he decided that he needed to get me a Mother’s Day present. He was rather upset since he couldn’t figure out a way of getting anything without my knowing it.

He burst into tears when I saw the bag of chocolate he’s holding.

“You are not supposed to see this.”

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

“This! This is your Mother’s Day present. Now Mother’s Day is ruined! And it is all YOUR fault!”

“Honey. How about this? Mommy will pay for it and then you can hide it and I promise I will forget about it.”

“No, it won’t work!”

It took me an hour to calm him down, to convince him that yes indeed, I would erase the memory of this exchange from my brain.

When he proudly presented me with the book that he made at school, a book comprised of “Things my mommy does, and therefore I love my mommy” vignettes, I was really moved. Really, I was. He was beaming with pride, and naturally, I was beaming with pride too.

But later, it did give me pause to think my role as a mother. How I see myself and how I am perceived by my children, others, the world.

1. After 20+ years of education, this is what I am boiled down to: cooking and cleaning.

2. My job sucks, at least in my child’s eyes. If I were a hod dog vendor, or a street musician, it would probably be easier for him to draw “What my mommy does at work.” Truth be told, and in all fairness, he has attempted many times to understand what I do at work.

“So you work on the computer… But what do you MAKE?”

A conversation with him about my job always results in days of self-doubt in me…

3. Perhaps in all fairness, cleaning and cooking could be what he sees me do all the time. Is it telling that he did not draw “My mommy does the laundry” since our floor is constantly covered with laundered clothes transported straight from the dryer? And bless his heart that he considers grilled cheese and mac&cheese straight from a box cooking. I guess it is true that what you don’t know will not hurt you…

4. On the other hand, what if this is his ideal of a mother? A mom that cooks and cleans, while wearing an apron with a BIG smile on her face. So happy. So content. Perhaps this is a mother that he yearns for and not the harried, reluctant one he’s stuck with? Staring at the big smile in these drawings, I somehow feel ashamed. Guilty.

5. This is the conclusion I am most reluctant to draw; it took me a whole month to admit to myself: Maybe, just maybe, I am not spending enough quality time with my children. None of the pictures showed me doing things with him.

If I had made more efforts in doing arts and crafts, if I were more willing in playing Go Fish, if I had offered to go to the zoos, the parks, the playgrounds more often, if I had said, “Let’s go fly a kite” out of nowhere.

If. Perhaps he would have something other than cooking and cleaning to draw with.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

My Mother’s Day Phobia

May 13, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet It is the Wednesday after Mother’s Day and therefore I figure it is safe to reflect upon the impact of Mother’s Day on me personally, without the risk of being accused as mean-spirited, bitter, spoiled, jaded, or worse, unfit-to-be-a-mother… Although I have always been moved by the origin of Mother’s Day, an internationally recognized […]

“Is it difficult to take care of kids?”

January 7, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet My 6-year-old boy asked me this question last night when I was putting him to sleep.  (Actually, I still need to sleep with him every night to get him to fall asleep which has been a subject of heated argument sometimes between me and my DH…  I guess I do tend to take the […]

You are probably in the wrong place!

October 5, 2008 random

Tweet I am never one for planning even though part of my job description involves research and I am a very good researcher if I am allowed to toot my own horn, and I guess I am, since Goddammit, this here is my blog! “Serendipity” in my case oftentimes does not come because of good […]