Hey folks. It’s been a while since I wrote but that’s cause I’ve been mildly preoccupied with my now toddler and a newborn. If you still want to read my stuff, you can follow me here too or @ Workerbiatch Mama.
Teaser for my new post is below.
I’m dizzy. I’ve arrived an hour early for an event at my 2-year-old son’s daycare and while trying to make sense of the flurry of activity unfolding around me something becomes blatantly clear. Clearly I’ve entered a world of sophisticated negotiating I’m ill-equipped to navigate.
Having just gotten back from Israel, I was struck by some of the attitudes moms there have towards moms in America. There’s a perception that exists among some Israelis that, in America, moms don’t work. I didn’t mean to disappoint but while I was there I shed the stereotype with at least 2 working moms I met. To boot, they seemed to think that the hours we working moms log in the US (namely me) are less than desirable. I can’t blame them. I feel the same. Per usual, guilt followed, and had me reeling and second guessing every decision I ever made with regards to my son. Disclaimer here: Yes, I’m this sensitive.
In short, as a mom and a working one you’re always going to feel guilty. The bigger over-arching theme here is that if you’re predisposed to feeling guilty being a working mom sucks. Scratch that. Being an over-achiever and a mom sucks cause there’s not enough time in the day to be awesome at any of them. The most you can hope for is being great at any one of them and for a girl that always needed a star on her homework assignments and could delineate being the “Good,” “Very Good,” and “Great” attached to those very same stars and whose mood was dependent on which modifier I received… well, let’s just say “sensitivity” is not a word that’s taken lightly in my household without at least a coat of defensiveness running a few inches deep.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t leave my son in the morning that I think to myself, “Shit, I forgot to tell his babysitter this and this could have potentially affected that which ultimately affects this which could cumulatively could affect everything. “
If I was always borderline neurotic post-baby, having something left to my responsibility more precious than anything in the world put me over the edge. I spend so much time exhausting scenarios in my head, I wonder if my analytical mind is being put to waste here. Is it possible that the very career I’ve trained for which requires me to break things down to their very essence and rigorously assess schemes and their feasibility works against me in my role at home?
At the end of the day I have to hope not. I have to hope that the sum of all of my experiences only empowers me in my most important role – that of mom.
What do you think?
“Lost” ended last week and went out with more of a WTF than a bang or a whimper. With the finale of the show, chapters closed in all of our lives and overall, people were satisfied with the send-off of our beloved characters – even if the final scene where Jack’s eye closes after he finally comes to terms with his fatality was entirely misleading since everyone knows peoples’ eyes are open when they kick the bucket or in the case of “Lost,” pass on…to some brighter place where Jack and Kate can finally get it on for eternity.
One thing the “Lost” finale did for me was reaffirm the pure McSteaminess that is Matthew Fox and if I cried the entire last half of the show it was at the mere thought of not being able to share each Tuesday night with the dude. But on to the real point of the finale which was to reunite characters – both dead, alive or stuck somewhere in the netherworld – with each other in assisting Jack in his quest for salvation or at least spare a chuckle at the whole Christian Shepherd as guide to the afterlife thing.
Here’s the major gripe I have with finale – if we’re to believe that the island world was “real” and the sideways world “made-up” it marginalizes everything that took place this season and negates the notion that the island dwellers would have found each other anyways – crash or not.
While the crash might not have been a Dharma Initiative project, it may as well have been as far as social experiments, kumbaya, and the whole see-what-happens-when-you-put-seven-strangers-in-a-house-and-they-start-getting-real go. Of course intense situations elicit strong bonds among those that share that very common experience. Think summer camp, college dorm life, pulling successive all-nighters at work driving toward a do-or-die deadline. We don’t need to be passengers/voyeurs on Jack’s ride to self-discovery to get that relationships and people matter, especially when those very people are grappling with their mortality alongside you.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved “Lost” – watched the finale, not once, but twice for added commentary. I even flinched my way through the terrible post-show with “Jimmy Kimmel Live” all for the chance at seeing my favorite characters again. Will I know what to do with myself now that “Lost” is gone? Most likely, I’ll be practicing what the show preached and finding my time better spent strengthening my relationships with those loved ones around me.
Cue closing credits.
Back in the day, Tina Fey aka Liz Lemon aka Sarah Palin was in her element alongside Amy Poehler aka Leslie Knope tearing it up on “SNL” with her weekend updates. The comic duo were sassy, sharp, and never missed a punchline. They represented a new prototype of feminist – they weren’t your mom’s brand of feminist whose extremist tendencies of either too traditional or too workaholic repelled you from the whole notion of “women’s lib.” Poehler & Fey proved that funny, smart, and confident with a hint of vulnerable could work and moreover, women could be successful at this shtick.
So imagine my disappointment this season as I watch Liz Lemon on “30 Rock” pathetically whining, mooning over past loves, and contemplating the concept of settling for the dreamy Michael Sheen over going at it solo. Her cynicism reaching new heights, Lemon’s once empowered femme drole is merely a shred of her former hip lady self. The compelling storyline involving Liz’s desire to adopt a baby (something many single, career-minded women in their late 30s might be able to relate too) which was ongoing for the past few seasons has all but vanished with her character shifting into more of a slapstick sidekick providing occasional comedic relief for the venerable Alec Baldwin. On a side note: Do I really care if Jack chooses Julianne Moore or Elizabeth Banks? Just bring Selma Hayek back! Note to network television: In case you didn’t notice from the ratings success of “Modern Family,” Latina relief is the only thing working on sitcoms these days…
On the other hand, Amy Poehler has managed to transform Leslie Knope, a rather plain yokel and no doubt the anti-Liz Lemon hipster chick into a comedic heroine by steering clear of the “SNL” footfalls of vitriolic NY-bred humor – the type of bagel humor that might have worked with “Seinfeld” 15 years ago but doesn’t do it for the iGeneration. In contrast to Liz Lemon, Leslie is kind and giving to a fault and like Liz, she is not without her ambitions and her desire to win at all costs. The difference is Poehler’s affable delivery – it’s her refreshingly candid demeanor that endears her to us and also at the same time represents a true shift in in what we want our female role models to look like.
Today’s Mary Tyler Moore doesn’t need to wear black, live in the 100- zip code, walk around all day muttering “oy vey” under her breath, and sip soy lattes while dreaming up the wittiest retorts in preparation for their next rendez-vous. They can date park rangers, go hunting with the boys, and put it all on the line for a friend in need. They don’t need to arm themselves with sarcasm to shield themselves from being vulnerable or employ self-deprecation as a means to communicate with others for fear of actually conveying any shred of authenticity.
Today’s lady can be geeky, socially responsible, single, self-aware, sassy, and genuinely happy. Welcome to the ’10s ladies. It’s a bold new world and you, too, can be cool in this one – even in NBC’s impossibly hip Thursday night line-up.
A few weeks ago when I was a woman on the verge of ending up the “Inside Edition” docu-trama-du-jour, I took it day by day. Truthfully, it was all I could do since it took that much out of me just to make it through the day. Now, however that I’m a bit better health-wise, my mental faculties have resumed their full throttle hyper-worried pace where they operate and while I wish I could focus solely on the existential as opposed to being thrust head first into the here, now, and future, as pertains to life-altering, big and scary decision with serious repercussions, turns out I need to start coming up with a plan and fast at that.
Here I am faced with the option of going back to work in a month and a half full-time and working at a pace that tired me out before my son for a job that didn’t ultimately fulfill me even if I did love some of the people I worked with (yeah, not so much...), possibly dialing it down a notch and seeing if I can work part-time, or simply throwing in the towel on being a web producer. If I do go back to work it means sucking myself back into the vortex of working to live rather than loving my work life.
Am I demanding too much at this point in my life if I want to love what I do professionally AND have a rewarding home life that permits me to see my family and spend time with them almost as much as I work?
I’ve read the articles that dictate to me how to navigate effectively the work-life postpartum high wire – the Mayo Clinic articulates the pre- and post-preparation of maternity leave quite well with wonderful step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately rationally dictating these steps to a new, first-time mother who is in denial that she will ever have to part from her son for 2 straight hours to run to the grocery store- let alone 60-hour-week sacrifices – proves utterly futile.
And while there is something to be said for not living in squalor due to low cashflow and finding a compromise that works, I’m also worried I won’t be able to conjure up the exact scenario I want. I guess the key is starting with the scenarios you don’t want and in the past few weeks I’ve met a few people which make me want to never leave my kid in anyone elses’ care ever.
There was the chain-smoking, toothless grandma whom I wasn’t sure if her lack of oral hygiene offended me more or the White Diamonds perfume she doused herself in to mask her nasty nicotine habit. Then there was the woman with 7 kids of her own whose experience in childcare attracted me but whose “belagan” (Hebrew for “mess) mantra of learning to live with mountains of crumbs piled up like snow drifts on the living room floor and “no-gate” policy whereby my kid when he crawls could potentially end up at the bottom of the 19 winding, narrow stairs leading up to her apt. after bathing himself in matzo crumbs – well let’s just say wasn’t something I wanted to entertain.
The key is to keep my options open and to give myself time (hopefully earning $$ in the meantime) to really carve out the here and now I want for my family. That will be my pledge to myself for the time being.
If cats have 9 lives and humans only 1, how can you explain the fact that I’ve gone and knocked off 2 lives in the past 2 months? If this rationale is correct (and #s aren’t really my forte) I must be some sort of she-cat.
By now you must be curious how I evaded the clutches of death not once, but twice. I never expected to go down the route of death by drowning but it turns out my body had other plans for me after the birth of my son. Births are supposed to be miraculous, life-changing events and seeing my son for the 1st time was.
It was all the stuff after that really defined the overall experience for me.
After 22-hours of laboring from induction, being 9 cm dilated, I had a c-section anyways. Somewhere in all of this marathon which included a really crap episode of “Lost” (Seriously JJ Abrams, you deserve a drastic cut in pay for that one) I contracted some less-than-5%-of-the-population-get-this-and-your-body-could-turn-septic-on-you-and-kill-you-or-at-best-render-your-uterus-a-thing-of-the-past. Oh, and breastfeeding? You can forget about that. You’re hanging on by a tiny thread here. Get serious!
Yes, I almost died and much to every woman’s nightmare my body was flooded with infected fluid which not only threatened to shut down my vital organs but made me incredibly bloated with distended belly which prevented me from walking or seeing my toes for that matter. In short, I got fat and after being fat for 9 mos. that is the last thing a pregnant woman wants.
But the worst of it was the constant memory of my own mother’s tragic turn. Memories flooding my mind of her telling me she didn’t want to leave us and worried about who would look after us and then in the end after all the radiation, kicking the bucket in her 40s after cancer ripped thru her body the way a weedwacker hacks it way thru an unkept field. I know most healthy, active people my age don’t resort to thinking they are dying but when doctors throw words at you like “life-threatening” and this is what you know, you resign yourself to being done for.
But I’m not dead – or at least I hope not because in heaven you should NOT get your period. I’m here writing this post after a month has gone by and I’ve been able to convalesce at my house and while I would have preferred to be 100% healthy with all the sleep deprivation that goes on looking after a newborn, I’m also grateful I got to be home and to get to know him, 2X daily IV infusions and all – even if I am, as one doctor put it, a “postpartum disaster.”
I guess there is no point to this post at all (like many of my ramblings) but what I’m left with in all of this is this familiar adage my husband taught me and now feels branded on my soul, “We make plans and G-d laughs.” If you could have told me 2.5 months ago that I would have needed a c-section and to boot I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed that would have been my greatest fear. Turns out that stuff is all bubkis. The best gift you can give to a kid is the one you don’t really have 100% control over – being healthy. For now, I dodged a bullet I think and let’s hope that this whole she-cat thing buys me more time on this earth. I now have 2 very important reasons not to travel too far from this planet anytime soon.
And here you probably thought I was going to close this post out on a cheeky, irreverent note…
Everyone’s still talking Tiger Woods – especially in light of his imminent golf comeback at the Masters. Whether it’s our nation’s president laying to rest speculation of Tiger being the greatest golf player ever (seriously?) or marketing mogul Donny Deutsch going head-to-head with MSNBC’s resident “Gossip” gal Courtney Hazlett and “Today” show commentator Natalie Morales yesterday on subject of Tiger’s harried ethos, opinions are rampant and far too dime-a-dozen when it comes to whether Tiger’s infidelities will do any long-term damage to his career.
But let’s not forget that before he was every sponsor’s wet dream, Tiger was a golf prodigy and had talent to back his brand. This talent will carry him much further than the threat of illegitimate children, genital herpes, or perhaps a worse fate than all of these – the prospect of ending up on an episode of Dr. Drew’s “Sober House.”
In short, while not infallible and undoubtedly smarmy, the guy isn’t ruined, nor should he be condemned to the court of Oprah or any of the other celeb naysayers that try to back him into a sex rehab corner only to resurrect him from the grave of shame at some pre-ordained showstopping date to drive ratings through the roof.
The bulk of your personal brand is measured by how you interact with the people that come into your life on a daily basis – more so than how credible you are. If Tiger can abide by this and go on doing his humble, modest dude thing given enough time has passed and sufficient public statements of apology go by, his transgressions will all but be forgotten. This latter is merely a by-product of the short-term memory pandemic our nations falls prey to on an hourly basis.
So in the end whether Elin takes him back into her arms, sponsors will embrace this humbled Tiger because his golf game will walk the walk. And the rest of us continue to talk talk.