Monday, December 7, 2009

The Post in Which I Bemoan the State of the Mama

Last night, we were all sitting around the table, eating breakfast for dinner which is what I fix when I don't want to go to the grocery store and purchase real food. Given that my car was under about 3 inches of ice and snow, this was not based solely on my own laziness. Anyway, we were finishing up, and my son asked for seconds. I got up to get him some more, basically just happy that he was eating (my son is a finicky eater, and a great deal of my time is spent begging, pleading and cajoling him into sticking something into his mouth), and he goes, "Yeah, you have to serve me because you are a WOMAN."

And that is when my heart fell fifty feet, landed in my toes, and decided to peace out for the next few seconds while I fumbled with the pancakes and tried to think of something to say.

I talked to him and found out that he thinks that women are supposed to do the laundry, feed the babies, clean the house and do the cooking. He said this, not with the usual silly grin on his face that he uses when he is telling me that a robot that frequently turns into a truck is the star of a movie he is going to make, but a look of full-on earnestness. This is what he thinks.

And he has no reason to think otherwise. As I was sitting on the couch later, holding the baby, watching Law and Order and trying to hold back my sobs, I realized that this is what Sam sees me do. When Sam is around his mom, the most influential woman in his life, I am always doing one of the above things. Every time I am at home, I run around, going in seven million different directions, trying to do laundry and keep the house from looking like something from Hoarders. I cook nearly every meal we eat because we live in a rural area and healthy restaurant choices are few and far between. I also try to keep a cookie jar full of cookies at all times, especially now at the holidays. Really, the only time I sit is when I am nursing Alice.

I tried to explain to Sam that women don't have to do those things, and that women do other things too. I tried to tell him about my job, about why I do the things I do, but he just stared at me, his placid blue eyes imploring me to shut up and say something interesting about the Transformers. He doesn't care what I say, because he only sees what I do. And that sucks.

I brought it up to my husband, who was typing a paper for a class he is taking and therefore, totally not in the mood for any of this. He goes, "Well, he'll be happy about it later and have good memories of you keeping clean clothes on his back and good food in his stomach." WTF?!? I explained that that wasn't quite good enough, and he goes, "What am I supposed to do about it?"

And what indeed. I have sat through waaay too many Women's Studies classes for this to be my reality. But I don't know what to do about it. If I don't do those things (cleaning, laundry, cooking), they will not get done. Period. My husband wouldn't know what to do with a chuck roast if it sat in his lap and called him "mama." He tries to help every now and again, but he is so slow in his tasks that I always get fed up before he finishes and do it myself. We started out as this couple who used words like "partnership" and "50/50" and somehow we have ended up here at this traditional, awful place. And I'm miserable.

Well, I take that back. Not miserable. Just tired. Part of it is a good tired, a kind of tired that I actually crave. I love the busy-ness of having three kids, love the constant noise and motion. I grew up an only child, and was always kind of jealous of the commotion I saw at other people's houses. I have it now, and it is infectious and wonderful. BUT. I am also just plain tired. I get up every morning and go to work (where I mentor and tutor homeless kids--a very emotionally exhausting way to spend six hours) and then I drive home, swing by my kid's school and pick them up and meet my mother in law to pick up my baby. When I get home, I either head right back out again to either dance or karate class or I spend the afternoon with the kids--cleaning, and talking with them. I discuss the day's dramas with my 10 year old, construct Lego fortresses with my son, coo at and tickle the baby. I fix dinner. I get everyone in the bathtub and do laundry. Since Alice is now going through a phase where she will only sleep when I am asleep next to her, I hold her until I finally collapse in bed at around 11. On the weekends, I am just up doing this same schedule, minus the work part. Which means that on Monday, I end up getting up even more tired than I was on Friday evening.

I would love to have some time just to sit down under a blanket and read. Just an hour. Sometimes I think I would give up anything just to have one evening at home alone where I could take a bath, drink some wine and watch Lifetime movies. I daydream about that. Sometimes in the daydream, I am wearing a Snuggie. I don't own a Snuggie, and I have frequently made fun of them. I am tempted by them now, and I suddenly realize the appeal.

I remember sitting in a women's studies class my freshman year of college and discussing how one raises feminist kids. I will do that, I thought. And here I am. It saddens me. Somewhere, I have lost that girl who sat in the University Center (it is not even called that now) and passed out petitions for better lighting on campus, that girl who inhaled theory like air. She is not here anymore, that girl, and I am left here, and I am sad and I want her back. I just want her to come back long enough to show Sam what women can do. That is all I want.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pumping Sucks.

Literally. And figuratively.

Yesterday, in a feat of forgetfulness the likes of which I haven't been prone to in a long time, I managed to leave my pump, id badge, wedding rings, lunch, and assorted other goodies at home. My husband realized it some 10 minutes after I left, but by that time I was well on my way and singing to the radio so I didn't hear my phone buzzing in the charger. He ended up bringing the stuff to me, but didn't get it here until almost 1:00, during his own lunch time. Which meant that I missed one of my normal pumping times. I managed to pump one time yesterday, and wouldn't you know it but yesterday was the day that my mother in law commented, "Wow, Alice sure ate a lot today! I might have to break into the freezer stash." So, I of course, freak out because I am bringing home much less milk, plus the freezer stash is a source of sanity for me and not something I want to bust into because of my own idiocy in forgetting my stuff at home. I make plans to pump at night after Alice goes to bed to make up for the lost milk.

Guess who decides to stay up until 11:00? Now, she is going through this little phase where the only way she will go to sleep is to have me nurse her laying down in bed when I go to bed. She eats and then I lay her down beside of me and roll over with my back to her. Then she falls asleep. It is the only way, for the past three nights at least, to get her there. It is not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it does not leave for quality pumping time. Plus, I end up falling asleep too and then she ends up sleeping with us, and none of us sleep as well all together. ANYWAY, at 11:00 last night, she is awake, but falling fast. I put her to bed, thinking I will just get back up and pump the other boob after she is asleep. Guess who is a hungry, hungry hippo? Yeah. She ends up eating from both and then falling asleep on my arm. Great. Since there is no point in pumping at that point, I go to sleep too. However, because we are sleeping together, she wakes up at 3:30 (not something she usually does if she is sleeping in the bassinet). Great, I think. I'll feed her and then pump and then come back to bed. She does manage to eat quickly and sort of falls back to sleep, but definitely seems like she wants to cuddle. So I lay there, dozing, until she is good and asleep. By this point, it is 4:30, so I get up and pump. Do you know how much it sucks to pump at 4:30 in the morning? A lot. Especially when all you can think about is crawling back under your new flannel sheets and getting that one and a half hour of sleep that you crave so much. I manage to do it, and then to wash the pump, and then I come back to bed. And guess who slept until 7:00 this morning? This girl.

So I get up and pump again. At this point, my boobs were TAPPED.OUT. I managed to get about 3.5 ounces and just called it a day. But now I'm nervous that she won't have enough today and will bust into the freezer supply, which is fine I guess, but not something I want to make into a daily occurence.

And the worst thing is that I remembered my pump and everything today, but I do not want to go do it at 10:00 (my normal pumping time). I have a decent room to pump in (locking door, nice chair), but it is a long way from the room where I do most of my work. Plus, I have to walk through the auditorium to get there (I work at a high school), so I have to go at times when the drama kids are not in there. So I have to lug my heavy bag down there twice a day and sometimes there are kids around and I know they are like, "Why is the mentor going into the janitor's anteroom with that big old bag and a J. Crew catalog?" Cause it kinda looks nefarious. Moreover, it just takes time out of my day when I could be working with students. The best case scenario would be to do it during this block (planning period), but I can't because the auditorium is in use by the competition drama team, and I can't bust up their performance to pass through. Sigh. What's even worse is that my other pumping time is during my lunch and it is so tempting to skip it because I can use that time to talk to other teachers (two of which are also experiencing pumping drama right now) about my students and other adult topics. I almost feel like I need that adult conversation time because I spend the rest of my working day talking to teenagers and the rest of my time at home talking to my kids. So tempting to skip it! But I can't... I have to keep telling myself that.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I hate to pump, especially at 4:00 in the morning. And when I do it, I end up coming to work in cargo pants. Yes, you read that correctly. Cargo pants. Why? Because they are technically not against the dress code (not jeans!) and because it is raining and icky, I overslept, and I had to do laundry and find a magazine picture of something that starts with the letter "u" this morning for my son. Plus, they pseudo-fit, especially since I consumed a whole ton of sugar yesterday and feel kind of bloated/icky today. So I am wearing cargo pants, a J.Crew t-shirt, and a puffy vest. And my hair is not washed, and I am only wearing a tiny bit of foundation, mascara, and Yes To Carrots lip balm. Sexy. The funny thing is, my husband remarked on how "cute" I look this morning. And my 10 year old, who normally only gives me an eye roll in the morning (not a morning person, that one) told me she liked my vest. Welcome to Bizarro World!

I feel mildly bad because I always used to make fun of this girl I used to work with in CA because she would wear elastic waist black velour pants to work because they were technically not against the dress code. She would just wear a blouse with them, like she was wearing normal black pants. It was horrendous. But I am doing the same thing today. Karma--she is a bitch.

And finally, I must add that the fates are conspiring against me because my husband is getting...sick. To be honest, I would rather get amoebic dysentary with a side of typhus than for my husband to get a cold. Why? Because it lasts FOREVER and he documents each bit of horribleness for all to hear. As in, "This morning my throat is a bit scratchier and my nose is more stuffy than runny on the left side, not the right. Oh, and I've sneezed four times." Grrrrr.... Plus, he thinks having a cold gives him every right to go to bed at 8:00 and remind me to do his laundry. Which is what I was doing this morning.... along with determining that "u" is a very unfrequently used letter in the English language.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Strike That...

Ok, so maybe it is not worth it. I may or may not have just mooned a 16 year old. He dropped his biology book and I leaned over to get it for him JUST TRYING TO BE NICE, and then I remembered. These pants do not fit. That breeze floating over the top of my lower back...evidence that the pants do not fit.

Let me see how quick I can get those cords to me....

Trapped in the Closet

So I am a big fan of R. Kelly songs and the videos that go along with them. R. Kelly the person...not so much. But the videos! Are there better works of American cinema? I doubt it.

Anyway, I wanted to title this post after an R. Kelly song, but I'm really not trapped in any sort of closet. But I am trapped in the library. I came in here to check my email and then a student teacher/librarian person started doing a presentation. And the only way out is directly across the library, right in front of her. Great. Since I don't want to be the douchebagess who interrupts some poor girl who is giving a truly awful presentation on the Dewey decimal system to a bunch of bored ninth graders, I am stuck here. I figured if I typed something, that would make me look busy. So here I am.

So I am going to lament my lack of pants. I have no work pants that fit, save a pair of Gap denim trousers that I am currently wearing. And I use the term "fit" very generally--they are one size two big, but since they are not two or three sizes too big, they are still in my closet. And I am wearing them. I actually kind of hate them, I think.

Anyway, why do I have no work pants? Well, because I've lost weight, which is an awesome thing, both for aesthetic reasons and health reasons, given that I was born into a family with the genetic predisposition for every horrible disease you can think of. And also because I took the money that I should have spent on pants for work and bought skinny jeans. Yes, folks. Skinny jeans that I can't wear 4 days out of the week.

And yes, before you doubt my intellectual capacities, I do have a bachelor's degree from one of the best public universities in this country. A bachelor's degree that I bet that esteemed university really regrets giving me...

Because you see, I NEEEEEED skinny jeans much, much worse than I need trousers or skirts or even dresses (but I also NEEEED dresses because they are awesome). Why? Because I have three kids. And I have a better body now than I did when I was a senior in high school, thank you Weight Watchers. For the past 10 years, I have been trying to buy things that flattered my zaftig frame. But you know what? Screw it. Are skinny jeans the most flattering,useful thing that I could buy? No. But they are hot. And they fit. And when I am wearing them, all the other mom's who wear their husband's hand me downs talk about me behind my back. And that feels GOOOOOD.

This past weekend, we went to Target and IHOP which qualifies as a date night if you have three kids, one of which just recently acquired the ability to support his/her head. I wore the jeans, along with a cute t-shirt and a cardigan that I got at 3:00 in the morning on Black Friday. All night, my husband was checking out my ass. Even as I took some very gratuitous bites of his gingerbread pancakes. And our 16 year old waiter in IHOP openly flirted with me. My husband thought it all hilarious and left him a $10 tip. But it made me feel wonderful. Truly, truly wonderful.

So I will gladly suffer through the wretched Gap trousers on Tuesday, just for that shining moment on Saturday. Very gladly.

And guess what is currently in my Ann Taylor Loft online bag? Skinny corduroys! With any luck I will be wearing those to work next week!