Archive | April, 2009

There May Be a Better Title For This Than This Random String of Words.

So, there’s this really strange dichotomy of being a working mom.

You have to work twice as hard, be twice as nice, and accept twice as much crap in order to be considered an equal.  Because, generally, GENERALLY, men (even fathers) are not the primary caretakers of their children.

So when the child is sick, if both parents work, it is typically the mom who stays home.  I don’t know why.  It just IS.  And when that happens, the men in your workplace may roll their eyes and say, “Yeah, right.”  Or the men in your workplace may mutter something under their breath about wishing that THEY had that kind of excuse.  Or something else equally likely to make your ovaries suddenly swell and turn all green and HULK MAD SMASH.

And you can try and combat this by saying that you’ll work at home, but let’s face it, if you have a sick child who PROBABLY wants to be on you AT ALL FREAKING TIMES and even when on you must be in front of BLUES CLUES, you’re not going to get a lot done.  So you spend every.single.child.free.minute working insanely hard and fast to catch up and stay afloat.

You want to advance in your career, and also people just like volunteering your for shit, so you have a lot on your plate.  Like your program-wide, corporate-mandated training that everyone must complete within a week’s window.  So you set up tons of advanced planning.  You work like crazy to make sure it’s ready.  And two days before it starts (and a day before your OTHER event kicks off as well), your baby has a double ear infection.  EGADS!

So you take a day off and “work from home”.  Baby is sick, needy, and really Blues Clues dependent.  So the work is done at night, like a crazy woman, fast and furious.  You head back in the next day, excited to be back at work, but of course, the fires have gotten out of control and you spend a few hours on spin control before launching into, you know, your REAL job.  And then your husband wants to know when you’re going to be home because he “has stuff that [he] needs to do.”

(I should say here that Bryan is a very good father and often is able to trade sick days with me.  But this is not one of those weeks for him, as he’s double-booked.)

So you come home, hellbent on ironing out those last-minute wrinkles before your NEXT event kicks off, and the baby will.not.nap.  At all.  So you get no work done until the baby finally goes down for the evening, and as you log back on, you realize that this is no way to live.  HOW DO SINGLE PARENTS DO THIS?  I DO NOT KNOW.

You finally take a break and step away from the computer and decide to make yourself some dinner (it being 8:30 and all) and eat for the first time that day.  You turn on the tube, AND GUESS WHAT?  THE SCHOOLS ARE CLOSING FOR SWINE FLU.  AND SO IS YOUR DAYCARE.  FOR THE NEXT TWO (TWO!) DAYS.  AT LEAST.

After clearing my calendar for the day, I learned that our daycare is, in fact, NOT closed, but with the baby’s immune system being compromised this week, we’re keeping him home for now.  I say we, but it’s me.  Little ole me, here with this baby.  Again.  Getting no work done.  And knowing that the men I work with are at work, feeling resentful that I’m NOT there and that they are and again reinforcing that glass ceiling.

In other news, I officially detest Kelley from Real Housewives of New York.  It made me realize that when we launch Real Housewives of Huntsville that we will not include people we don’t like.

In other OTHER news, I bought a gift for my mom today for Mother’s Day. 

And lastly, do your part to avoid the swine flu.  Wash your hands and don’t do this:

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Comments { 3 }

Mother’s Day Wish List

This is, by all means, not a list of what I expect.. nay, not even a suggestion, really.. but more of a list for the greater interwebs of fathers out there who may need ideas for this coming Mother’s Day.  This is also to sway any fathers from buying a dog, no matter how much I may say that I fell in love with this little girl on Saturday.

So we all know that flowers are the traditional gift for Mother’s Day.  And I love flowers, really, I do!  But.. um.. they die.  Or they require copious care to empty/change the water, trim down the buds, repot in smaller bud vases as they bloom, etc.  This?  Homegrown and almost self-sustaining.  Too precious.

Your wife may have mentioned once or twice or umpteen times that she desperately wants to redo the bedroom because the PAINT ON THE WALL DOESN’T MATCH THE FREAKIN BEDDING or something like that.  Why not spend a little dough at Ikea and get some small changes to get things moving in the right direction?  The duvet cover (above) and these finials..

.. would make a world of difference in turning your boudoir back into the harmonious retreat it should be.

Of course, jewelry is the other fallback.  But guys, get jewelry that means something.  These necklaces (often referred to as “mommy tags” because of their dog-tag like nature) are my favorite gifts to give my girlfriends.  There are a bazillions kinds to choose from, so you can add your own touches to the gift you choose to give.

This made me laugh, because I am a stepmother, and I would TOTALLY wear it.

(Which brings up a valid point.  Fathers of children: stepmothers need to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day as well.  I know it’s a fine line to not overshadow the ACTUAL mother.. and she SHOULDN’T be overshadowed.. but even a nice card and a flower will mean the world to her.  Being a bonus parent is TRULY the hardest job in the world.)

Of course, in my house, we tend to give gifts that remind us to find the humor in our daily insanities.  I would completely expect this to be my Mother’s Day gift.

And this?  This is just cute.  Handmade.  With a giraffe.  So I wanted to share it with you.

You can always do well by having some sort of crafty thing done with the kids’ handprints.  They grow so freakin’ fast that it’s nice to have a moment in time glazed and cemented to remember.

Lastly, fathers of children, perhaps the best gift for Mother’s Day would be a Day of No Decisions to be Made.  I know that sounds silly, but moms are bombarded by guilt all the time when the chance to do something for themselves arises.  So make those decisions for them.  Have a day planned out where the children are taken care of (by you or family or whatever), and have gift certificates or money at the ready.  Don’t say, “What do you want to do today?”.  Because what we WANT to do and what needs to be done are two diffferent things, and we’ll almost always answer with the latter.  Tell us, “I made an appointment for you to get a massage” or “I bought us tickets to go see a movie” or “We have reservations to have brunch at your favorite restaurant”.  Being forced to spoil ourselves?  AWESOME.

Comments { 5 }

Why I’m Breaking Up with ANTM

Or at least why we’re separated and seeing other people.

So, I have long had a love affair with America’s Next Top Model.  I, out of stupid and feminist reasons, abstained from the first season because I thought, you know, why does the media insist on shoving stereotypes and body issues down women’s throats?  Then I watched it in Cycle 2, and I was kinda hooked.  If nothing else, I enjoyed the photography aspect of it.  Cycle 3 brought Toccara Jones, and I was instantly in love.  THEY LET PLUS SIZED MODELS ON THIS SHOW!

(Of course, they were all, like, a size 8 or something ridiculous, and then made out to be horrifically maimed with their cellulite and their curves and whatnot.)

And you know what?  As the show gained fans, it lost its damn mind.  The dramatic aspect of the show went from genuine hope and aspiration of young models to LET’S FEATURE TYRA BANKS IN AS MANY WAYS AS POSSIBLE.  Every gawddamn season premiere had some community college budget get-up (remember the “scientific” thing that was supposed to magically “turn them into models” and then Tyra stepped out like a robot and tried to act?!), and even Miss J, with his ridiculous judging outfits (this cycle, with the ever enlarging bowties as the contestants are eliminated) isn’t immune to this idiocy.  But you know, I stuck with them.  Because in Cycle 10, a plus sized girl WON.

WON.

Try and pick her out in here.  She’s the plus-sized one, right?

Um, yeah.  You see her?  Me neither.  Because NO ONE IN THERE LOOKS PLUS SIZED.

But then this year?

This year, I was flabbergasted.  And disgusted.  And I’m officially not seeing ANTM anymore.  I guess Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel will have to serve as my rebound.. and it’s not the same.

It started two episodes ago, when my front-runner this cycle, London Levi, won an acting challenge.  She was my favorite early on, a normal looking girl with fabulous eyes, a strong jawline, and a natural pout.  She also was a street minister, and I loved her outgoing personality.  It was that personality and diverse background that helped her overcome this challenge .. a stage reading with Clay Aiken.. and netted her a prize of $5,000 from Joe’s Jeans.

Which, once she returned to the loft to play with, she realized she couldn’t fit into.  So instead of just whining and crying and doing the bitchy thing, she did the honest and noble thing and gave the other girls all of her jeans.  Yep, you read that right.  She gave away $5,000 of prize clothing that SHE, herself, won.  My heart broke for her.  Because I’ve been to the photo shoot before where they handed me a pair of size 4 shorts and said, “Here’s your wardrobe!” and I had to bow out from the running. (I’m glaring at you, Space & Rocket Center.)

But if that wasn’t enough, they had to ask the other models, in their confessionals what they thought, and they all agreed: London had put on too much weight.  She wasn’t eating right.  She didn’t care enough.

At judging, Paulina Pour..is..er..ko..vah.. the lady who is married to the lead singer of The Cars.. looked down her nose at London and sneered, “Don’t ever wear those shorts again.  They are EXTREMELY unbecoming on you.”  And then we got a big ole zoom in on her thighs as she walked away.  WOW.  Uncalled for.

Um, okay.  But then, in that episode, we sent the burn-victim home instead, so I was like, Okay, we’re finished with this storylineLet me go grab some more Ben & Jerry’s.

Next episode?  Back in London’s camp!  This time, the girls have a swimsuit challenge, and London is noticeably uncomfortable with wearing a two piece. (Sidenote: I firmly believe they got rid of Thalia, who suffers from burn scars over most of her torso, before this shoot so they didn’t have to deal with this same issue.) Jay Manuel, who is not exactly the most sympathetic man-doll, says to the camera that he’s “shocked” by her weight gain, citing that models “are supposed to treat their bodies like a temple”. 

OH.  Through, like, starvation and binging and purging and whatnot, right?

He calls her over for a “one-on-one”, and she admits that she has gained weight and she’s freaking out about it.  She also admits that she’s not confident at this weight either.  And instead of, you know, offering to help her LOSE weight.. effectively, safely, healthily, any of that.. he shoos her off. 

At judging panel, Tyra remarks that although London has a poor photo (not the poorest in the bunch, by far.. AMINAT), there is something unique about her.  “Yeah,” Miss J says from behind his Bozo bowtie, “there is something unique about her: all that extra weight.”

AND THEY SEND HER HOME.

Tyra, the lady who has constantly lashed out at the mainstream media when they portray her as having gained weight, sends her home.  Miss J, who has obviously had a long journey of not being the norm, not being the status quo, sends her home.  Paulina Pour-is-something-or-other, WHO NO ONE KNEW BEFORE THESE LAST FEW CYCLES, sends her home. (Did I mention she’s married to the lead singer of The Cars?)

Post elimination, London finally came out and admitted that she had suffered with an eating disorder all through her adolescence and her teenage years, and had only recently come to ask for help from it before she auditioned for the show.  So, um, essentially, this “shocking” weight gain was her body finding its normal state.  And we sent her home.

Yes, I know that sometimes they critique plus-sized models for losing too much weight.  And yes, I know that modeling is a small niche of measurements and in order to be considered for work, you need to fit in there.  But I also know, in the past, when a model has been exposed as having an eating disorder, the producers go to great lengths to show them “eating” on the show as well as receiving treatment.  Wouldn’t them assisting London, whom they saw great potential in earlier, in losing the pounds she’d gained.. in a healthy way.. do so much to help today’s youth?

Between not watching this and ABSTAINING from Daisy of Love on VH1, I now have several openings in my TiVo dance card.  I feel so lonely.

Comments { 4 }

Stuff I’ve Bought Lately

Alright.  Y’all, it has been an INSANE week, one that proved to me that I am not strong enough to do the SAHM thing, one that made me THANKFUL to have a job, one that made me feel like I am failing miserably at both of the formerly listed things.  Tomorrow is Friday, which means an early day in and out, and then I need a nap.

I SO NEED A FREAKIN’ NAP.

(Update on something weird: Lent is now over, and I can’t cuss.  I just can’t.  I have retrained myself and now I have to force myself to use words that used to flow from my lips like water: ass, fuck, shit, the like.  I just can’t.  Stupid sacrifice for Jesus.)

(Update on a weird side effect: I have become just hatefully mean.  Hold on, homeschooler who was going to snarf and say, “SNFF, just become?”; yes, just.  As in, REALLY mean.  Watching The Biggest Loser  the other night and Bryan missed the end of a segment.  “Who won that last challenge?” he asked.  Not looking up from my iPhone, I answered, “The fat one.”  I KNOW.  WHO IS THAT SNARKY PERSON?)

(Me.)(And so endeth the parentheticals.)

So, the post I’ve been writing in my head for two weeks: STUFF I HAVE PURCHASED LATELY AND YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT!  I know you love these.  I love writing them.  Because, inevitably, someone will mention something in the comments that I have to run out and buy.  Don’t you love this symbiotic relationship we have?  And the science terms that I misuse to make myself sound educated?

Philosophy’s MicroDelivery Exfoliating Wash is my new love.  I don’t remember how I first came across a 4 oz sample size, but I had forgotten how much I adored it until I was bequeathed a full 16 oz bottle.  It is THE BEST exfoliator for your skin (face included), and it takes, like, five seconds to do your entire body.  Gentle for even moi’s sensitive skin, I use this two or three times a week before putting on heavy-duty lotion.  It’s AWESOME.

I am a bit of a mascara-phobic.  My eyes are the most sensitive part of my body, and anything could trigger a crazy, puffed-up reaction.  Mascara is ESPECIALLY prone to do this.  But someone of a similar circumstance raved of the Rimmel products, so I gave in and purchased their new “Sexy Curves” mascara.  Um, the brush freaked me out.  Cause, seriously?  But DUDE, I LOVE THIS MASCARA.  It REALLY does increase the curl in your lashes (and I use a eyelash curler, so LOOK OUT), and most important, it comes off easily and is gentle on my eyes.  Love.

Boots No7 Quick Thinking makeup removing wipes are my current lovahs.  I am just too friggin’ tired in the evening to go and wash my face.  I know that’s lame.  I know I should be able to muster a mere five minutes to wash my face, but you know?  I HAVE HAD A SCREAMING TODDLER ON MY HIP FOR THREE DAYS NOW, AND TIME SPENT WASHING MY FACE COULD BE SPENT SLEEPING.  So bite me. Dr. Spock.  Anyway.  These wipes are gentle, cheap, and don’t require water.  You literally take them out of the pack, wipe all your makeup off (and it works! it comes off!), toss the wipe, and pass out in your bed.  And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: I have INCREDIBLY sensitive skin (see every post ever for reference), and this doesn’t irritate.  One bit.

I had a DUR/AH-HA moment a few weeks back, when Binja’s eczema kicked up so badly that we were considering seeking medical attention for him.  EVERYTHING was irritating his poor skin, no matter how much it claimed to be “gentle” and “for baby’s sensitive skin” (I’m looking at YOU, Aveeno).  And then I was .. well, I was .. okay, I was NOT on the toilet so don’t you dare assume I was.. and as I turned around to flush I saw this handy no water needed cleanser that I use for MY face when stage makeup has irritated it.  And a light bulb exploded above my head.  His skin has been AWESOME and clear ever since.

She’s gonna hate me for this, but my friend Steph the Hairless Wonder has been telling me FOR YEARS that Target sells the best bras.  And we were all like, yeah, okay, but you can wear a Dora the Explorer training bra, so I don’t think that counts.  Turns out, and I’ll admit it cause I’m that kind of girl, that she was right.  The Gilligan & O’Malley line of bras at Target?  ARE PHENOMENAL.  My Victoria’s Secret bra finally gave out on me (what? I’ve only had it since 2004!)(and I just tried to write 2004 in all CAPS cause I’m a genius), and I knew that Bryan would piss blood if I spent another $50 on a bra.  So I gave in and tried the $11 bra from Target. (Mostly because it was on sale for $9.) I promptly fell in love.  It’s more comfortable (dare I say it?) than my VS bra, and at $11?  I can own MORE THAN ONE!

I am notorious for not stopping to eat lunch.  There are many days when I’ll even skip dinner and realize the next day that I’ve gone 24 hours without eating.  I KNOW THIS IS A STUPID PROBLEM.  So to curb that habit, I keep an On-the-Go Canister of Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds at my desk at work.  A handful of vanilla bean roasted almonds give me the protein and energy to get through my day, and I don’t feel all fat and bloaty from it.  Killer snack to have on hand.

Lastly, I wanted to throw this one out there because it’s nice to have a go-to when my regular dishwashing liquid (Seventh Generation Natural Dishwashing Liquid in Clementine Zest) is hard to find (which is, like, always): I offer you Clorox’s GreenWorks Dishwashing Liquid.  I we (I) handwash a lot of things daily (sippy cups!), and I have always insisted that we use a plant-based cleaner to do that.  I know it’s stupid, but I just feel better that the back reads that if you accidentally ingest this stuff, you’re just supposed to down 8 oz of water.  Versus, you know, making yourself vomit.  Anyway, this new product actually does a STELLAR job of cleaning.. even the caked on, baked on, yucky stuff comes off after a brief soak.  HIGHLY recommend it.

Alright!  I’ve shown you mine; now you tell me the good stuff you’ve checked out recently.

Comments { 13 }

Grief Removed

“I don’t own anything purple,” I said this morning.  My hair still wet and in a towel, me still clad in a bathrobe, I climbed back into bed and sighed this into his neck as he still slept.  We were both exhausted.  We had spent many, many hours at the pediatric ER the night before.

“Hm?” he said, pretending to be awake.

“Purple,” I said, rolling over to glance at my closet.  “I used to own TONS of purple.. in college.. but I’ve not purchased a single purple thing since.  What am I supposed to wear today?”

Today is Maddie’s Day, the day when Mike & Heather are laying their baby girl to rest.  Their baby girl, Maddie, was only a month older than my baby.  And last night, as we sat in the ER and I held his feverish body to me, all I could think of was Maddie.  I wouldn’t let Bryan hold him until we had gotten an “all-clear”; I would not part with my baby.  I didn’t speak.  I just held my baby, rocking him, singing to him, praying, praying, praying.

And thinking of Maddie.

A thousand other heartbroken bloggers have already said what we’re all feeling far more eloquently than I could, so I can’t even begin to summon words to say that I understand.  I don’t.  I can’t.  The fear of potentially understanding is clogging my throat even as I type.  My heart shatters for them, a thousand times over.

My family wore purple today.  I even wore purple eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara.  I wore my dangly, purple chandelier earrings.. the ones I never wear because they always feel too dressy.  I wore a purple sparkly shirt that I’ve only worn once before, to ring in the New Year with my Coven so many years ago.  I wanted to feel different today.

I pegged it this morning.. it is survivor’s guilt.  It is the feeling that some invisible lamb’s blood spared your family from this heartbreak, and we all must pay our penance in order to offer thanks.  Typing that sounds trivial, but that’s how I feel about it: heartbroken, thankful, and very apprehensive of “there but for the grace of God go I..”

Thanks for the kind thoughts and messages last night.  Baby is home and resting.  He is on an inhaler for the time being until he can breathe freely and unencumbered.  If you haven’t yet donated to Maddie’s cause, please stop by here.  Even $2 from each person can make a world of difference.

Comments { 3 }