March 8th, 2013
It happened again.
I had another several weeks of depression. It always seems to come around a time when I had hoped to start blogging again. So I don’t, because it’s just going to be day after day of the same thing.
- I’m extremely overwhelmed by everyday tasks.
- I find basic housework dreadful and energy sapping. It is a gigantic weight on my shoulders.
- It seems like clutter is piling and piling and it is severely oppressing me. (Though in reality it’s being managed – it isn’t growing.)
- I cry every day.
- My brain is in a continual fog and I cannot write.
- I can’t imagine ever accomplishing anything creative and “meaningful” with my life.
- I’m short tempered with my husband, my mother, and my toddler.
- I cry more because I feel like a terrible mother. (And daughter; and wife…. And sister; and friend.)
But I’ve continued to exercise a few days a week despite this and I’ve learned that that is the most essential piece to my mental health.
At my lowest these past several weeks, exercise didn’t make me feel any better and just sapped my energy. But I did it anyway.
Most of the time though, it makes my entire day better.
- I’ve started to feel those endorphins that my husband is always talking about.
- I think it helps with the insomnia and with quieting my intrusive negative thoughts.
- It makes me feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed about the chores and the clutter.
- I am able to adopt that healing attitude that life is not a race.
- I accept that my life is not currently designed around deadlines and social engagements.
- It doesn’t matter if I finally get the Christmas decorations that are sitting in a pile in my office put away downstairs this week or next week – or here is a crazy though – ever.
It doesn’t matter.
Exercise makes me more confident. I feel more secure about the state of my home – take me as I am world! I feel more at home in my own body. I feel better about my creative ideas. I feel like there will be time to make my ideas come to life. My thoughts aren’t such a jumble that I feel hopeless that I will ever accomplish anything creative or fulfilling again.
Because of exercise I believe I can weather this storm and arrive again in another season of creating, growing, and improving my life.
Oh, in case you are wondering, the reason I am even able to fit exercise into my life at all with winter weather and a toddler, is the new Gold’s Gym in town. Like the Stroller Fitness class I was invited to when Sebastian was 10 weeks old, and where I met my best friend in town, it has saved me.
I love the classes! I love the protein shakes! I love the childcare room!
I love meeting my good friend there and working hard together while our children play together. I love running into just about everyone I know there. I was never a big “gym” person until I tried this one. No joke, I thank the universe for bringing a Gold’s Gym to my small town.
August 11th, 2012
In a recent article Elizabeth Wurtzel begins by comparing 1% wives (the richest non-working women in America) with all stay-at-home moms. Apparently I can’t be a feminist unless I earn an income.
This was the response that I originally intended to post to as a comment to her article, but I decided to put it here instead:
Come on Liz, don’t conflate rich moms with nannies with ALL stay at home moms. I have an education and I want to have a career, and I worked before I had a child, but for personal reasons I’m just not cut out for a full time job while I’m trying to raise my little ones. And I wanted to have children.
I don’t think it’s my duty sacrifice my family or my desire to have a family just to go out in the world and have a career “for the betterment of all women.”
I don’t think it’s my duty to help Feminism, but I think it’s Feminism’s duty to help me. Stand up for my right to work AND have a family. Come on Feminism make it easier for women to have a career and a family and they will! Where are the policies for maternity leave, family leave, breastfeeding rooms, daycare, etc?!!!!! I don’t not have a career because I’m lazy. I do it because we are not “there” yet.
You are absolutely right that we still don’t earn as much as men for the same jobs and we do not occupy all the top positions. My husband gets to be more successful in his career and life simply because he has a wife. The reverse is not true for me. But I don’t want to fight that fight while my children are small. I choose to sacrifice my career – for now – because my husband and I make a good family unit.
I do not romanticize staying home. It is a sacrifice I make.
But I am still a feminist.
I plan to earn my own money someday because I want to experience that fulfillment of my full human potential. But whether I do or do not – I am still a feminist.
You chose to not get married and not have kids – perhaps you never wanted those things – but perhaps it’s because you knew you couldn’t do that AND have your career. Brava! You have solved nothing for women. A working feminist without a husband or kids – who completely ignores the issues surrounding working mothers – is not a feminist.
(Incidentally, my husband does all the cooking after coming home from his job as a physician, so I’m not sure I’m *completely* losing in this situation.)
In a response to the article on the blog Feministe, the author, Jill, at least separates the act of staying home from whether or not someone is a feminist (emphases are mine):
“…she tries to draw lines around who’s a “real feminist,” which is a pointless exercise, and she defines a “real feminist” as someone who earns a living and has money and a means of her own. Obviously there are plenty of “real feminists” who don’t earn a paycheck. Obviously there are plenty of people who, because of age or ability or socioeconomic status, are dependent on someone else and are still “real adults.” And obviously stay-at-home wives can be feminists, even if I cock an eyebrow to the claim that staying at home full time is a “feminist choice.”
But that aside, Wurtzel poked some things that needed to be poked – “I choose my choice” feminism first among them.
In any comment section on the internet where feminism comes up, someone will pipe up and cry, “But feminism is about CHOICE!” No. Feminism is not about choice – at least not insofar as it’s about saying “Any choice women make is a feminist one and so we can’t criticize or judge it.” Feminism isn’t about creating non-judgmental happy-rainbow enclaves where women can do whatever they want without criticism. Feminism is about achieving social, economic and political equality for all people, regardless of gender. It’s not about making every woman feel good about whatever she does, or treating women like delicate hot-house flowers who can’t be criticized.
And maybe Jill is right by criticizing “I choose my choice” feminists instead of all stay-at-home moms. And maybe you can argue that my “choice” to stay home wasn’t exactly feminist – at least that separates my action from whether or not I’m a feminist. But I’m not a “I choose my choice” feminist either, just because I don’t work. I don’t feel it’s really an equal choice. Again, for me it’s not a “choice” it’s a sacrifice.
Saying that “feminism is about achieving social, economic and political equality” – but saying that that should be achieved by all women going to work and men stepping up at home just isn’t effective. It’s shooting us all in the foot. What we need is policy that prevents women from being punished for working AND having children.
Show me the feminists who are working on those goals.
August 9th, 2012
(I wrote this two days ago and it took this long to get it posted.)
It is plum hard to blog while a toddler, just shy of twenty months old, is awake.
Ditto when packing all one’s possessions into boxes and moving them across town, just to have to get them all out of the boxes and into some kind of order.
And it got sooooo crazy at the end of the packing. All of the boxes are scrambled – and the unpacking is not working out at all like I had hoped.
And do you know just how irritating it is when you thought your toddler was going to take a nap, to let you finally write! – and finally break this cycle of blog silence – but he just won’t?!
So you pack him into the car – in which instantly falls asleep – except now you have to waste this nap because you really need to run the couple of errands that you were going to do later after he woke up. So now, out of sheer stubbornness, instead of going directly to your errands, you’re sitting in a taco restaurant (Panchero’s, which we used to frequent in Iowa City, how crazy is that? It’s not a very big restaurant chain but there’s one in this small Colorado town) typing on your laptop, while your toddler sleeps in his car seat in the booth across from you, because you don’t want to waste the precious time he’s asleep on errands, because you don’t want to give up the idea that today you are finally going to post something again, darn it! (Seriously, I haven’t taken my laptop out with me in months.) And then you notice you forgot to put your wedding bands back on after you put on lotion this morning. Ick! Don’t you hate that eerie feeling of having your bare ring finger out in public?
Whew! It’s been rough. It’s been rough because I really, really want to be blogging. But this boy is just so demanding of my time. I am not going to plop him in front of the TV just so I can blog. (Though it is tempting.) But man, I hate wasting his nap on errands when I could be using it for me time.
Yeah, so that’s where I’m at these days. If I’m not blogging, you know why.
Here is a picture I took this morning after breakfast.
This happened to his hair all on its own. We put him into the stroller and went for a run and that’s what he looked like when we took him out. The picture does not do the hairdo justice. And do you know how difficult it is to get a toddler to pose for a photo now that he knows he can instantly see it on your camera phone? I have countless blurry photos of him running at me with a big grin on his face while I’m shouting “No! No! No! Stay there! Stay there!”
He is at a delightful age though. (Even if he sent me from calm and this-is-going-to-be-a-good-day-finally to irritated-beyond-belief when he popped up in his crib for the umpteenth time and I realized that my plans were going to be foiled again.) He is starting to try out more and more words, parroting back things that we say. Tim and I had a laugh-attack last night when I was asking him to say words, “Can you say mama? Can you say daddy? Can you say car-car? Can you say doggie? Can you say car keys? (He does, ever so cutely – with a velar fricative to make a linguist’s knees buckle.) Can you say coconut?”
And for coconut he suddenly made up a really convoluted sign with his hand. And he repeated it again and again while we asked him to say “coconut” while sharing a good belly laugh. Losing our breath a little – but trying to downplay it so he wouldn’t get worried we were laughing at him.
I know it’s not funny, really, to anyone but us. (And you really had to be there.) But that bizarre invention of a sign, for no reason, from my child – that is the kind of moment that manages to ease the irritation of my day-to-day and the realization that I’ve given up all notion of free, or me-, time for the next decade or so.
Here are a couple more pics from our photo shoot today.
July 16th, 2012
Here is a cheesy-happy photo of me after we finally closed on our first house.
The day was pretty wild and dramatic – yet anti-climactic. Here are the events of that roller coaster ride.
As we were handing over our cashiers check to close the deal – it was discovered that we had made it out incorrectly and we had to run to the bank to print a new one. While doing that we got caught in a sudden, wild thunder storm (we’ve been in the middle of a drought for months). I dropped Tim off at the bank and began to drive around to induce sleep in a very tired baby. Suddenly the rain was pelting my windshield so bad I could barely see. I inched my way back to the bank and barely avoided a lightning bolt that came straight down like the hand of God onto the intersection I was turning into. The boom of thunder shook me senseless. I wish I had a photo of Tim’s face when he got back into the car. He had been certain that the bank would loose power before they finished printing our check. We made our perilous way through the blinding rain, back to the title company as another insane bold of lighting came straight down out of the sky – onto what I was sure was the title company! We were laughing and joking maybe this is a sign that we shouldn’t buy this house! Nervous laughter.
When we got to the title company we had to figure out how get into the building while keeping the check dry and the baby sleeping. It was a blur of umbrellas (a stroke of luck that we had two in the back of the car from a recent trip), wind, rain, and soaking wet jeans. Once we were inside, we handed the check over and that was it. We now had an awakened and disoriented baby, wet clothes, and keys to our very first home!
But, the drama wasn’t over. My mother is also trying to buy her very first home in the same town as us, which means she’s doing from long distance. There was a deadline for her that day too, so we spent the next couple of hours talking back and forth between my sister and brother-in-law in Louisiana, mom in California, and us in Colorado, while the thunder and rain kept coming. Our realtor let us use take over his office so I could use the Internet in the storm and Tim graciously chased around our toddler while I handled this.
When it was finally finished and we got back in the car we were three tired, cranky people. It was the witching our between dinner and baby’s bedtime. By this time were too tired to even stop by the new house. But I persuaded Tim to pick up a pizza to eat on the floor in the dining room anyway. We had to christen our new home, right!?
Unfortunately, when we got there the power wasn’t on yet. This meant that our garage door opener didn’t work and we had to get out into the rain again. (Luckily we have a sweet circular drive so we were able to pull right up front).
When we got inside, all of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were going off at the same time.
Let me not be overly dramatic here:
It was hell.
But when it was all said and done and we returned to our rental that night, we were greeted with a giant double rainbow.
I’m still processing the feeling of being a new homeowner. We won’t get to officially move until next Saturday – and the past week and a half have been full of stress over the house mom might be buying, as well as trying to pack by myself with a toddler while Tim was working two weekends in a row.
I’m looking forward to the end of this limbo that I’m in. But if you bear with me, I swear I have lots of new posts planned for after I move. Yeah, I know you’ve heard that before. But I’m serious this time. I’m on the threshold of a new life of home-ownership and homemaking and I have lots to talk about.
Tim and Sebastian each appreciating the finer points of the backyard.
I think we're gonna like it here!