Fair Weather Feminist

“Shame on you,” is what I hear Gloria Steinem saying to me as she tsks tsks away.  I am a feminist, loud and proud.  I speak up, I have an opinion, and I’m not afraid to use it. I credit my older sister/hero with exposing me to feminist ideals as a young girl.  She went away to college when I was just seven and I grew up admiring her ideals, and disdaining her hairy legs.  For criminy’s sake, I named my blog after an early feminist icon.  My feminist street cred is intact.  

All of my lofty feminist ideals, though, go by the wayside when I sit myself down in front of a computer.  There I immediately revert to wife.  1958 style wife.  Barefoot and pregnant standing in the kitchen wearing an apron wife.  It’s embarassing.  I’ve taken to referring to Mr. Mary Tyler Mom as husband/technical consultant.  In some instances it shifts to technical consultant/ husband. 

I don’t exactly understand it myself.  It is willful, I will grant you that.  And it does not make me proud.  This revelation came today when a fancy pants new computer was delivered to my cube .  My eyes widened with the ridiculously cool monitor and then my heart raced with the reality of Office 2010.  And that unspoken expectation that I know how to operate it.  You see Mr. Mary Tyler Mom does not work in the same office as I.  That is a problem. 

Here are some basic tech things I simply refuse to learn:

  • how to send and/or receive texts
  • how to transfer photos from digital camera to computer
  • how to insert photos into this here blog
  • excel spreadsheets
  • maintaining calendar on computer
  • online bill payment
  • computer passwords in general – – seriously, programmer jerks, how many passwords is one person expected to remember?
  • sending photos taken with my ancient flip phone

And I could go on and on.  It is important to be self sufficient in this world of ours and I fully embrace that until technology is on the table.  Then I fluster easily and bat my eyelashes.  And I’ve convinved myself that this is okay.  Mr. Mary Tyler Husband will take care of me, right?  I mean, what’s a 1958 wife to do?

That said, does anyone out there know how to transfer documents from the H drive onto my desktop?  (Batting eyelashes now . . .)

Potty Training for Mommy

Let me apologize in advance for the blatant use of TMI to create this post.  After last night’s meet-up with fellow mommy bloggers, I knew these words had to be written, that I had an obligation to mothers everywhere, and to share I must.  Forgive me my incontinence. 

A couple few weeks ago we were invited to a birthday party for a newly minted six year old super hero.  This kid rules, as does his mom.  It was held at a gymnastics center in rural Wisconsin and featured seven of the most amazing homemade cakes I have ever eaten:  Ho Ho Cake, Oreo Cake, Snickers Cake.  I am not joking – – it was snacktacular, as only can be done in rural Wisconsin. 

The party had a superhero theme as the birthday boy, a cancer survivor (take that, bastard cancer), is as close to a superhero most of us will ever meet.  Kids were provided with capes and masks upon entering and a cadre of game middle aged men dressed as heroes and villains ran around this gymnastic center for a couple of hours while a zillion kids ran after them.  It was the best.  Poor Mary Tyler Son was freaked out by the villains, though, so Mr. Mary Tyler Mom and I kind of kept to ourselves to give the poor kid some space.

That’s when I saw it:  the twin built in trampolines.  Who knew these things even existed.  Not I.  I strolled over, trying to wait patiently for the kids to have their turn and finally got my chance.  I jumped on it – – literally and figuratively.  I jumped and I learned.  Trampolines are fun.  Capital “F” Fun.  Seriously fun.  I jumped and I jumped and I jumped.  I giggled and jumped some more.  And then I jumped again.

And then it hit me.  I felt a little damp.  Down there.  Yes, that down there.  So what did I do?  I jumped again.  Jumping on a built-in trampoline is freaking Fun.  I jumped and giggled and finally moved so the pushy two year old girl could take a turn.  She didn’t even jump, she just kind of walked around on it.  But while I waited for her to finish I wondered aloud to Mr. Mary Tyler Mom why I was the only adult jumping.  His response?  “Because they’re moms.  They leak.” 

What’s this?  Why does he know this and I don’t know this?  Yes, it was in fact leaking that had been happening down there.  I tried to ignore it.  In the end, despite the joy and freedom and weightlessness the trampoline provided, I thought it best to find a bathroom.  Thank goodness for dark rinse skinny jeans.  I had wet myself.  Right down to my knees.  That little old pad I had on was no match for the gallon of pee that must have escaped my over-taxed pelvic muscles.  Worthless freaking muscles, those are.

Why don’t they teach us about incontinence?  Why don’t we talk about this, moms?  “Hi, my name is Mary Tyler Mom and I leak.”  “Hi, Mary Tyler Mom.”  I mean the first step is admitting there is a problem, right.  My problem is that I leak on trampolines.  I did the best I could, removed the offending pad, cleansed if you will, and made the best of it.  Apparently rural Wisconsin does amazing cakes, but they don’t do sanitary pads.  Couldn’t find one anywhere.  Anywhere.  Seriously, we left the party and had to drive to the Target about 20 minutes away. 

So now you know that I leak.  At least on trampolines.  But you know what?  I would so do it again.  Trampolines rule.  Next time, at the seventh birthday party, Imma come prepared with industrial strength pads.  Imma jump on that trampoline again.  And again.  And again.  Ladies, we gotta jump on those trampolines, cause life is too damn short.  Are you with me?

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WTF: Required reading for the toddler parent.

This book is not even published and I already love it:

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Admit it.  You’ve had this thought before.  More than you may choose to admit.  Embrace it, I say.  Revel in the liberation of wailing loudly (inside your head of course – – it’s just rude to curse at a toddler, yo), GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. 

Right now Mary Tyler Son is generally pretty considerate of his folks.  Yes, there is the bed time dance.  A ritual involving undressing, dressing, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, water sipping, reading (three books, board books if we’re tired), three songs, then “loving,” our word for hugging and canoodling just before dropping Mary Tyler Son into his crib.  This dance takes 45 minutes, start to finish, and from what I understand, we get off easy.  I’ve heard tale of 90-120 minute dances.  Nightly.  Damn.

But seeing the chatter on facebook today about this book transports me to a different time, in the not too distant past when I wasn’t so lucky with the bed time dance.  The Spring of 2009 was spent in the lovely environs of Bloomington, Indiana where my beautiful three year old Donna was having her brain and spine irradiated five days a week for twelve weeks at their proton beam center. There I was with Donna, and newborn Mary Tyler Son, just eight weeks old at the time.  Four of the seven bedtimes weekly I managed alone as Mr. Mary Tyler Mom spent half the week working in Chicago.  He came down for extended weekends. 

Like clockwork, Donna somehow stopped going to bed at a reasonable hour the day we arrived.  Imma talking midnight or later each and every night.  I don’t know what it was, but there was no fixing it.  It was like a light switch went off every night at 8.  Bing!  Wakey-wakey!  Honestly, folks, some of my least favorite parenting moments occured during those hours between 10pm and midnight.  Lights were out.  Newborn sleeping in a car seat in the bathroom with the fan on (Lordy, that’s a whole ‘nother post), me lying in bed next to my beautiful, cancer ridden daughter, knowing she would have to be awoken in just seven short hours to dash to the proton center where they would use drugs to induce her back to sleep so they could irradiate her tender, battered brain.

All of this is happening, the reality of cancer thick between us, and all I could think was, GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, CHILD.  I didn’t use those words, but they brought me some internal comfort, expressing them silently, like a mantra, in my head.  Instead, I would hiss at my girl in the darkened room, “go to sleep right now, missy, or you will be in BIG TROUBLE.”  Do you know what it’s like to have evil thoughts about your poor daughter who is smiling up at you so sweetly, with such innocence, despite her cancer? 

See, when you have a very sick child, you don’t have the privilege of losing your cool.  Your time together is limited, you know this on some deep and painful level, and trust me when I say you do NOT want to be THAT MOTHER to such a vulnerable soul. 

But, alas, sometimes I was THAT MOTHER, minus the language.  Despite our best  intentions, sometimes we are all THAT MOTHER or THAT FATHER, which brings me to the genius of Adam Mansbach’s book.  I think it’s okay to be THAT PARENT.  Think it, embrace it, let it go.  And for the love of God, go the fuck to sleep, already.