If Caillou’s Mom Kept a Diary

caillou mommy oneFebruary 26, 2013        

Caillou’s Daddy hasn’t touched me in weeks.  Make that months.  I don’t get it.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how Caillou and Rosie even entered our lives.  It’s like they’ve always been here.  Caillou has interrupted us in bed so many times, but God knows he’s never interrupted any lovemaking.  The last time he sauntered in here whining about shadows and some nonsense, Caillou’s Daddy actually got out of bed and made him hot chocolate.  That child is never going to learn proper boundaries with that kind of parenting.

I’d accuse Caillou’s Daddy of sleeping with Miss Martin, but he’s such a eunuch I don’t think that’s possible.  I’m sure Miss Martin wouldn’t turn him down.  She’s such a floozie and a complete alcoholic.  I smelled vodka on her breath this morning, I’m sure of it.  But truthfully, how can I fault her?  She teaches preschool for God’s sake.  To that red-headed little heathen Leo, no less.  God knows it takes me at least two cocktails to make it through breakfast with the rest of this Sunshine Family.

March 3, 2013

Let’s get real for a moment and talk about the color scheme of this house.  My eyes bleed each time I walk into the kitchen.  Red and blue and yellow this and red and blue and yellow that.  I feel like the colors are mocking me and my true nature.  I’m an introspective woman at heart, and I prefer muted tones.  Tans, beiges, a nice ecru.  I ask you – who the Hell has a bright red roof over a bright blue primary structure?   Me, that’s who.

And to think I used to listen to Bauhaus in college.  Le sigh.

cailloumommytwoMarch 14, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa are coming over AGAIN tomorrow, damn it.  I feel like clipping some research about the importance of the nuclear family having time to strengthen and develop on its own and leaving it in a prominent place in the (primary-colored) living room.  Grandpa with his forced joviality and aggressive masculine nature, Grandma submitting to such obvious heteronormative roles (not that I can talk, truth be told).

Oh, wait, Grandma is an artist.  I forgot.  Throw some pots at the Senior Center once a week and now you’re Marina Abramović.  As if.

March 22, 2013

Caillou, that LITTLE TWERP.  I washed his shirt for art class and made him pancakes in the shape of a dinosaur and all I got was a whiny temper tantrum at the grocery store.  I know the doctor says there’s no way I can up my dosage, but I’m calling him tomorrow.  I simply must.

Rosie is a sweetheart and I clearly favor her, I realize, but it’s only because I see her future trapped in the same limited, thankless role while that bald-headed son of mine moves on to some other woman in some other ridiculously-painted house and expects her to make him dinosaur-shaped pancakes just like me.  Did the movement’s second wave ACHIEVE NOTHING?  Sometimes it feels that way, I will tell you.

Only Gilbert understands me.

 cailloumommythreeApril 2, 2013

Park, school, kitchen.  Park, school, kitchen.  And the mothers at the park.  Morons!  I tried to discuss Judith Butler’s latest essay with Clementine’s mommy and the mommy of those damn twins no one can tell apart, and all I got were vacant stares.

I’m a Vassar girl, for Christ’s sake!

 

Horrible Things I’ve Done as a Mother (So Far)

The following is a list of horrible things I’ve done as a mother (so far):

  • Had an epidural
  • Fed my son formula
  • Nursed in public, including a time on an airplane where I’m pretty sure everyone saw most of my left boob
  • Shared a bed with my son (co-sleeping)
  • Gave my son ice cream for dinner without even trying to feed him anything “healthy” first because I knew he wasn’t in the mood for anything healthy, so I just gave him ice cream
  • Applied the methods of Dr. Richard Ferber and let my son cry in his crib for prescribed amounts of time
  • Let my son go outside without sunscreen or a hat once (and it was way sunny!)
  • Let my son mindlessly watch television for hours and hours as I stared into space
  • Nursed while drinking a beer
  • After a day at work, left my son with a sitter so I could go out with friends or my husband, meaning I saw my son for a total of about an hour all day.
  • Knowingly allowed my son to eat dog food off the floor – okay, to be honest I was pretty sure he was nibbling on it, but I went into denial mode and thought, “He’s probably just playing with it,” when in my heart I knew he was actually eating it but I was too damn tired to get up off the couch and make him stop.

Okay, so – the truth is I actually don’t think any of the above items are horrible.  They are all perfectly fine, in my opinion, and yes, I have done them all.  But I’m willing to bet I could find plenty of angry ladies on the Internet and in real life that would disagree with me and threaten to call CPS.  The militant Dr. Sears types might weep at my use of Ferber and formula and wonder how I could ever think of not giving birth all natural in my bathtub despite the fact that I had back labor and contractions for 52 hours (but who’s counting).

The more conventional types would probably be super freaked out by the co-sleeping and the boob on the plane thing, and everyone might be a little disturbed by the dog food.

All right, the dog food thing is disturbing.  I’ll cop to that.

But regardless, it doesn’t take a lot of trolling around on the Internet or listening to moms chatting at the park to realize there’s a lot of mom-on-mom violence going down these days, and it burns me up.  I remember when my BFF from high school had her first kid, and I went to visit her.   Being sort of rules-oriented and somewhat hyper about doing things “right,” I projected myself into her shoes a few years down the road.  How, I asked her, did she know what to do?

“I always thought there was one way of having a baby,” Lisa told me, “and that when I had a baby, I would just find out what that way was and do it.  But it turns out there are lots of ways.”

Oh was she not kidding.

Once I had Elliott, I was completely taken aback by the number of mom blogs and forums and online debates about the best way to parent.  I was utterly shocked by the militancy of some of these ladies, and their obsession with spewing their opinions in comments and posts all over cyberspace.  I’m willing to bet that in real life parties and get-togethers, they might be too shy to say what they’re thinking out loud.  But they’re thinking it, no doubt about that.

And what are they thinking?  Here are just a few examples: You’re gross/weird if you breastfeed past twelve months.  You’re awful if you choose to work.  You’re stupid if you choose to stay home.  You’re endangering your child if you co-sleep.  You’re the spawn of Satan if you let your little one cry it out.  You’re a criminal if you give your kid Similac, which is akin to nothing less than rat poison.  (You think that’s hyperbole, but Google “formula and rat poison” and check out the absolutely psychotic commentary that exists out there.)

When I first encountered this Army of Psycho Mommies, I could only think to myself, “Wow.  These women suck.”

And it was always ladies, you know?  Dads didn’t seem to care much about such issues.  (I know my husband didn’t seem too concerned about any of our parenting choices as long as Elliott was healthy and happy most of the time.  Wow, how novel of him.)

And maybe I’m wrong, but this Internet raging doesn’t just seem to be the purview of women, but of a certain kind of woman.  A middle to upper middle class lady (usually white) who loves to tell other moms what to do.  That’s not to say that some working class woman of color waiting tables at Denny’s doesn’t have the intelligence and sophistication to self-reflect, but she’s probably too worried about being sexually harassed by her boss or busy finding affordable health care for her family to navel-gaze about how she feeds, diapers, and comforts her kid.

I’m not saying we can’t have debates or discussions.  Frankly, debating and discussing are two of my very favorite things, right up there with whiskey and pizza for dinner.  But what we can’t have is whacko, super judgy women jumping down other women’s throats over nonissues.  It’s not feminist, it’s not productive, and frankly, it’s not very nice.

I mean, think about it.  Did these women ever consider that if we stopped beating up on one another and banded together we might, oh, I don’t know, finally achieve parity in the Congress?  Just sayin’.

I’ve been a teacher for seven years and I’ve seen kids who were the victims of abuse.  Real, break-your-heart, make-you-sick-to-your-stomach abuse that had me calling CPS.  And I’m here to tell you that none of those cases involved giving your son formula or letting your daughter sleep in your bed or hiring a babysitter when your kid is 2 months so you can get a break or putting your child in day care or nursing your kid into toddlerhood or making organic baby food or spooning mass-produced Gerber out of a plastic dish absolutely covered in BPA.  I’m here to tell you none of those things qualify when you call CPS.  Not a one.

Like my friend Lisa discovered and I quickly learned, there are many, many ways to be a mom.  Probably about 95% of them are okay.  So why don’t we all just relax a little and do what works for us and for our families.

Although I’m willing to admit you should probably hide the dog food.  That’s just gross.

P.S. One of the best sites for moms ever.

TLC Channel vs. Lifetime TV In a Battle for Women’s Souls

I feel sort of like a soldier committing treason or a gang member wearing the wrong colors for saying this, but I must speak the truth.

Lifetime TV better watch its backside because TLC is coming at it ninja style with the current quality of its Ladyvision programming. 

I have been a Lifetime TV addict ever since I realized I was a woman.  This happened in college when I began to understand the way that patriarchal oppression affects nearly every facet of my life.  To be honest, I also realized I was a woman when I found out I could get away with doing “girl” push-ups.

Anyway, ever since realizing I am a woman, I have loved me some Lifetime.  And what was not to love?  Tori Spelling getting stalked and countless reruns of The Golden Girls.  Female empowerment indeed.  (I’m only being partly facetious there.  The Golden Girls was actually one of the most empowering shows for women in the history of television, for serious.)

But despite the greatness of Lifetime, lately, I have to give it up for TLC.  Let’s see which shows are keeping me coming back for more.

Four Weddings

Well of course the ladies are gonna love this.  It’s about stuff ladies love to do.  Namely, planning weddings and talking shit about each other.  And not just talking shit, but talking shit in, like, the super nicest way possible?  Where everything they say comes out like a question?  Like you know what I mean?

The deal with this show is four ladies attend each other’s weddings, compare and contrast, cast a secret ballot, and then the winner of the “best” wedding gets a dream honeymoon.

And as you watch you can talk about, like, did she know the line for the food was gonna be this long?  And like, do you think she knew her dress was god-awful ugly as sin?  And, um, don’t you think their vows were sort of overdoing it?  Like, not to be mean but you know?

 

I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant

Since most people who get pregnant are ladies, this is super perfect for TLC’s lady-driven programming.  This show is about the dumbest women in the world and how they give birth in amusement park toilets after riding a roller coaster.  (True episode.)

What I love are the reenactments where the newborn baby is played by a six-month old covered in red Jello.

 

The Little Couple

One half of The Little Couple is a woman, hence its inclusion in the TLC line-up.  The deal with this twosome is that other than being little people, they have to be the most boring couple I’ve ever met.  They’re affluent with a lot of disposable income, so I get to watch little people golf, travel, build their own home, have nice dinners, etc.  Fantastic.  It would be more exciting if they were alcoholics, or they got into knife fights with other little couples, or just something like that.

 

Cake Boss/Next Great Baker/DC Cupcakes/Fabulous Cakes

Women eat cake, right?  Like, especially when they’re PMSing like sooooooo bad?  So this is perfect.

 

19 Kids and Counting

Okay, so despite reading this well-researched, well-written book about the repressive and sexist Quiverfull movement, I can’t help but get all transfixed by the country-kitchen vibe of Mama Michelle Duggar, her hubby Jim Bob, and their brood.  What amazes me is how GOOD Michelle looks for having had and raised 19 children.  I don’t know what her secret is.  Perhaps it’s quality skin moisturizer, or perhaps it’s the fact that she uses child labor to do her dirty work.  Of course I’m talking about her eldest daughters, who are apparently forced to sublimate all their own dreams into clean laundry and tubs of mac and cheese as they care for their younger siblings in a patriarchal-driven environment that reduces women to only one basic role of wife and mother while limiting their contact with the outside world.  Woah, woah, woah!  Sorry about that…getting all college on ya.

 

Sister Wives

The title alone tells you how perfect this is for a female audience.  Women are sisters and women are wives, and in this show, they are also polygamists!  Four ladies center their lives around Kody Brown and his dreamy golden locks.  Where the appeal is after that, you got me.

 

Make Room for Multiples

The show that all ladies who are also mothers should take the time to watch just in case they’re ever feeling overwhelmed.  Today I watched an episode where a couple had four kids under two.  I want you to think about that for a minute, parents.  Four kids under two.  I know, right?  After the show was over, I went and took every birth control pill in my pill pack, just to be safe.

 

Toddlers and Tiaras

There is nothing to say.

 

So there.  That wraps up my review of TLC’s best and brightest.  Lifetime, are you listening?  Because pretty soon, TLC isn’t going to stand for The Learning Channel anymore.  In my eyes, it’s gonna be known as The Lady Channel.