Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's the debate that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends

A web article has been making its rounds on my Facebook feed lately.  It's one of those "gotcha!" posts in which a man vigorously defends stay at home moms everywhere by lambasting working moms, because the best way to defend one group is to demean another, amiright?

In his article, popular blogger Matt Walsh hashes out how much our society degrades stay at home parents. To quote him,

"It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better... I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers." 

Yes those damn women MUST know better since, ya know, they have vaginas which automatically makes them knowledgeable in all stay-at-home mom things.  The catcher is, the things those women said to him?  They weren't contemptuous or hostile, they were conversational.  I can't tell you how many times I've said dumb things in the course of a conversation because I just don't know what to say.  Does Matt really need to mock these women publicly?

The crux of his article focuses on how stay at home moms aren't valued in society (absolutely true, they are much more valued in those crazy socialist countries we in 'Murrica are trained to hate) and how easy working moms have it given all the down time they have.

Sure, it's important we recognize the role stay at home parents play in our society.  Given astronomical childcare prices, and ridiculously low childcare regulations, many parents have opted to stay home with their kids rather than jeopardize their income (valid) or their child's well-being, all of which I have great empathy for.  However, Matt Walsh isn't writing about how society has ultimately failed to accommodate all working parents who wish to have more family time, he is basically writing an essay glorifying his wife for all the sacrifices she is making for their family that clearly those other moms are not willing to make.

He doesn't delineate how the US has ultimately failed to support stay at home parents, instead he chooses to pit women against women by 1) vilifying those two women who made off-the-cuff remarks (that cannot show their real attitude towards parents who stay home)  and 2) fails to acknowledge the difficulty all moms - heck, all parents - face when attempting the work/life balance.

This whole stupid debate that has raged on since the 1950's pitting women who stay at home versus those who work just needs to end.  It hasn't helped a single woman I know in her daily life.  Instead, it has added to the enormous mommy guilt we all feel.  So, let's just stop it, okay?  Parenting is hard work and we certainly don't need societal pressure on top of it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting In the Groove

Over the summer I took a very intensive calculus course.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I passed that course, like a boss.  On the way I learned a few things about routine and daily rituals.

Beep. Beeep. Beeeeeeep buzzes the alarm, waking me up from a semi-confusing dream of late papers, car accidents, and missed airplanes.  I close my eyes, pleading for just a few more minutes.  After hitting the snooze button twice - hey, I'm human - I roll out of bed.  The house is dark, except for the light in the kids' room, and I shut the bedroom doors to encourage their continued sleeping.

I fix my breakfast and warm drink, blearily make my way to the office, and sit in the comfortable chair.  Within minutes I have my Calculus book open, the computer buzzing its own morning tune, and my notebook paper filled clipboard ready to go.  The equations, a little blurry this early in the morning, soon waken the sleeping mathematical curiosity, and I start drawing and writing with vigor on my clipboard.

In class later that morning, I jot down ideas on how I would teach a mathematics course to a group of university students.  Allowing my imagination to go, I find ways of teaching myself through this process, as I ask the questions I am sure these students wonder - "what's the meaning behind this?", "why do I have to do this instead of what seems like an easier way?", and, the quintessential question for every math course, "how the he!! does this apply to my life?"

(Interestingly, I find the last question easiest to answer.  The implications for physics, biology, and daily activities - financial decisions, successful physical activity implementation, maximizing one's time and minimizing risks - are all found through mathematical equations.)

Writing, my first real interest, has helped hone my mathematical skills.  Communicating effectively, especially in writing, is essential for spreading ideas and disseminating information. It's also an excellent way to really learn an idea.  If I can write down the steps and processes by which I'm computing an equation, and explain these steps to a peer, I can memorize these steps and apply them in later equations.

In the typical school year, when the semester is still busy but not as busy as summer, 5:30 is my prime writing time.  Looking at blank screen and creating a post or essay about something that either excites and amuses me, is necessary for my mental health.  As words pour from my brain onto the screen, I can ignore or understand those anxious and depressive thoughts that too often plague me.

As with math, I find my writing is best when I keep a notebook handy for random thoughts, and think about verbally expressing my writing to a friend or stranger. Is my point clear? Have I left out an integral part of the story? Is their reaction expected with regards to the emotion behind the post?

And, like in math, I use available resources to facilitate writing: dictionaries, thesauri, grammatical books, etc.
Each of these rituals are natural components of my day.  I have several apps on my phone that allow my creativity to flow - even while I'm busy doing chores or walking - so I can write essays in my head.

I guess, as much as I veer away from the term, I would consider myself a writer.  Even if I choose to write about nontraditional subjects.

Today at Project: Underblog, we are discussing our daily creative rituals.  Link up with us!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cooking With Fire. Literally.

For years now, my cooking has been a running joke between Mr. B and me.  (Now a public running joke since I introduced my blogging buddies (back on my old blog), Twitter peeps, and Facebook friends to it.) It all started we found ourselves in Burger King, for the third time in a week after I ruined another meal.

"I just get too distracted by the kids.  I don't mean to burn everything to a crisp but, you know, I forget to turn off the stove when taking care of things.  Besides, I like to save time so I figure I'll just let some things cook - er burn - while I chop other stuff and clean the dishes and change diapers and, and, etc."

"Why don't I do the cooking for a while."

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah, I'll take over."

(Trying to contain my over excitement.) "Okay, only if you want to."

Fast forward 3 years later and Mr. B is still the primary cook.  His cooking skills, and I'm not being snarky here, are professional level.  Eating his food is like sitting in a high-end restaurant.  So. Freaking. Good.

A few weeks ago, when I caught the flu, my first (and, yes, selfish) thought was, "I hope Mr. B doesn't get sick."

[As a quick side note, I am the worst sick person in the world. Summed up by this -


In all fairness, I do get really sick.  Perhaps because I get like a few hours of sleep max when in school?]

So when Mr. B woke up with a sore throat a few days later, I panicked. If he got as sick as I did, I'd have to cook, which means we'd probably end up in a restaurant 100% of the time and/or eating PB&J sandwiches.

Fortunately for all of us, before I broke out the pans and prepared the kitchen for a smoke overload, Ben got better.  (It helps that his sicknesses are typically 1/16 on the serious level, even when you factor in my melodramatic tendencies.)  Our stomachs and pocket book were saved.

Until 2 weeks later, when Mr. B went out with his friends.  And then this happened (via Facebook and Twitter):

Well I just set the stove on fire. AND THIS IS WHY I DON'T



**Don't worry, we were all okay.  Only my pride was damaged***.

***Except that I don't have any pride left, so.....

Monday, May 6, 2013

Breastfeeding Is the Perfect Storm

I always imagined breastfeeding would be like how my friends and family described it: a great bonding experience with my baby. I could use those quiet moments to snuggle and and really enjoy my baby.  It serves me right for believing in such myths.

Miss A, my baby, is a wonderful nurser.  Unfortunately, breastfeeding is anything but relaxing.  It seems that her brother and sister interpret those few minutes I'm feeding her as the perfect time to act out.  Whether it's running outside naked, escaping to our neighbor's house, and/or throwing and breaking various sized glass cups, E and A use those 10 minutes well.

Perhaps if I could lock them in their rooms, I could get that peaceful bonding experience people talk about.  But I don't believe in locking my kids in their rooms so, instead, I watch as they systematically destroy the house while giggling profusely.  I believe they see breastfeeding for what it truly is - the one time that mom is basically immobile and can only repeatedly ask beg that they sit down and read a story.  In other words, the perfect time to implement their well-designed plans.

But to be perfectly honest, I'll probably breastfeed Miss A until she's 4; thus becoming one of those moms. Fair warning, y'all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Morning Cocoa I

Welcome to the virtual coffee date. Pour yourself a cup of cocoa, iced tea, or whatever beverage you prefer and make yourself comfortable.

I'm listening to the birds sing their morning songs as I write this.  These pre-dawn minutes are precious in my book as they are often the only few uninterrupted moments I have during very busy days.

Last weekend was a wonderful blend of good food, good drinks, and great company.  The adults laughed as the kids provided endless hours of entertainment by dancing to the eternal Gangnam Psy, tumbing across the living room floor, and singing various songs.  We all enjoyed a walk down by the river and fully exhausted each child by bedtime.

This last week was an intense one.  Midterms, workshops, and hours of homework took up most of my time while mountains of clean and dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and other mundane household chores took up the rest.  Sometimes this busyness feels too much, like I'm stretched out as far as I can go, yet the alternative doesn't sound appealing either so I trudge through these really busy times and enjoy those weeks when things are busy but relatively quiet.

Yesterday was my birthday.  For those of you who follow and/or are friends with me on Facebook, you're quite aware of my sleep chronicles, or non-sleep chronicles as it were. So it was very apropos that my celebrations centered around sleep: I slept in, took a nap, and went to bed early while my sweet husband watched/entertained the kids for me.  It was blissful.  The rest of the day was spent enjoying my family, eating at a delicious Italian restaurant for lunch, and laughing as my kids and husband baked me a wonderful cake and sang Happy Birthday to me.  The most perfect birthday I've ever had.

How has your month been? Good? Bad? Busy? Any exciting news? I want to hear all about it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mourning With Boston

"Breaking news, there are reports of a possible bomb explosion at the Boston marathon. Details are still forthcoming."

"Mommy! Are we at the doctor's appointment yet?" Emily asked.

"Shhhhh.  I just heard something on the radio."

"But mommy!"


"We have eyewitness confirmation that two bombs exploded at the Boston marathon....."

I listened to the reports over and over again, tears stinging my eyes as the horrific details came out of Boston.  I thought back to the heart wrenching interview I had listened to just that morning of the Newtown Strong Fund running for the Sandy Hook Elementary school victims and how the Boston marathon had dedicated mile 26 to the victims and their families.  Sobs erupted from my throat.

I didn't write anything after the Newtown shootings.  My words felt inadequate.  After this tragedy, my words still feel inadequate.  But I am mourning for those who were injured, for those who lost their lives, for the families of the victims, for the loss of innocence and I write because I don't know what else to do.

I don't understand why these events happen or what events precipitated for a person or organization to feel justified in committing such a repulsive act.  Yet, as I've listened to and read reports of how Bostonians have reached out to victims and displaced marathon racers,  or how Newtown residents have created organizations (like the Strong Fund) to remember and support the victims, I feel hope.  I believe President Obama said it best during his press conference this morning:

"We also know this — the American people refuse to be terrorized.  Because what the world saw yesterday in the aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness, and generosity and love:  Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood, and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets.  The first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives.  The men and women who are still treating the wounded at some of the best hospitals in the world, and the medical students who hurried to help, saying “When we heard, we all came in.”  The priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and the fearful.  And the good people of Boston who opened their homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.
So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it.  Selflessly.  Compassionately.  Unafraid."
(Read more:

May we all mourn for the victims of this and other horrific acts of violence.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Morning Cocoa Revisited

Writing isn't easy lately. Parenting, homework, and other life things are getting in the way. Like so many of you, I'm sure, I just don't have the time to produce quality - or any - content.

Back on my old blog, I did a series of posts in which I invited you (the reader) over to my virtual house for a cup of tea (hot cocoa, Dr. Pepper, whatever beverage you prefer) and good conversation. I miss that. If I invited you, would you come over?  Just bring you and your beautiful words.  We'll make in a Monday tradition.

So, see you then?