Tag Archives: feminism

What one word describes you?

A few nights ago, my husband and I were in bed having a grand ol’ time. The baby was finally asleep, the house was clean(ish), all work emails had been returned and all deadlines met(ish). We had a whole luxurious evening all to ourselves devoid of any responsibility.

Which is why, as I’m assuming you’ve already guessed, we were lying side by side in bed taking dumb pop culture quizzes on our phones.

“Hey, in the ‘Which ‘Star Wars’ character are you?’ quiz, I got Han,” I proudly announced.

“I got C-3PO. That can’t be right. I’m taking it again,” he replied.

This, naturally, soon spiraled out of control as these things tend to do and we found ourselves down the Internet Quiz Rabbit Hole. We found out I’m a Picard and he’s a Kirk. He’s a Jane and I’m a Daria. I’m a Hermione and he’s a Snape. And we are both, in fact, Jim from “The Office” (although one of us may have had to take it four times because she kept getting Dwight).

Eventually we both landed on the “Which ‘Supernatural’ character are you?” quiz. And suddenly, things turned serious. Sure, all those other quizzes were just fun and games. But this was “Supernatural” we were talking about. Our joint all-time favorite show. The show we make sure never to miss. I mean, we own the “Supernatural” version of the board game Clue. I own multiple shirts with the characters’ faces splashed across my bosom. We even have an ongoing joke about how my husband goes on Supernatural forums to discuss the show with other geeks under the handle “MishaLover43” (although I’m 93 percent sure this actually happens despite his protestations to the contrary).

Of course, we both wanted to get Dean. Everyone wants to be Dean. And if you don’t want to be Dean, you’re lying to yourself. Stop it.

Considering what was at stake here and the immense pressure I was under, I got stuck on the question “What one word describes you?” The choices they gave were endless: Dependable. Confident. Lovable. Clever. Etc…

“Hey, what one word describes me? I can’t decide since neither ‘sarcastic’ nor ‘goddess-esque’ is a choice,” I asked Ryan.

“Here, let me see the choices,” he said, taking my phone and scanning it. “Hmm…want me to pick what I think?”

“Yes, please. I’m assuming it’s not cheating since we’ve been together 10 years and you’ve seen me puke naked.”

When he handed me back my phone, there it was, a bright green checkmark beside the one word the person I was closest to in the world thought described me.

Strong.

“You think I’m strong?” I asked, taken back.

“Yeah, I do,” he casually answered before going back to his own quiz.

Strong. It had never even crossed my mind to choose that adjective. Tears actually started brimming my eyes before I sucked them back in less I be caught crying over a stupid Internet quiz.

He thought I was strong.

Correction: He knows I’m strong.

It can be easy as a woman to lose your identity, to only see yourself in relation to others. This is especially true once you become a mother but happens at all of life’s stages.

Nurturing, patient, loving. These were the things I strived to be with my son. As a wife, I strive to be passionate and compassionate. As a friend, I try to be loyal. As a daughter, caring and understanding.

All good traits to have and reach for, even if you fall short of the mark sometimes (and we all do). But too often we only think of ourselves in these sweet, nice categories. Sugar and spice and all that. Because too often society tells us that these are the only categories that matter when you are woman (besides the MOST important category of all: Is she pretty?).

And not often enough do we think of ourselves, of who we really are, outside our relationship to others.

Who am I? Just me? Not as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, employee, neighbor. But as Aprill.

Just Aprill.

I honestly didn’t know that night. Because the bathroom mirror I look into everyday often told me that I was tired. That I was getting fine lines and sprouting random gray hairs. That I shouldn’t have lost my temper when Riker threw his juice at me. That I forgot to call my cousin back AGAIN. That my husband would never want to be intimate with me again if I kept wearing my old pregnancy underwear every time I forgot to do laundry. That my writing had gone stale. That my career was flailing. That I was failing on all fronts.

And so, I want to thank my husband for being my mirror that night and showing me what I had trouble seeing.

I am strong.

And also, apparently, I am Crowley, the King of Hell, according to that dumb quiz.

But that’s a topic for a different blog.

Stay-At-Home Moms vs Working Moms

For those of you in the betting pool who picked that I would fail as a mother within a month, bad news: Riker is still alive. Not even maimed yet. Or as far as I can tell, permanently psychologically damaged (granted, that might change once he finally learns to reads and goes through all my old pregnancy blog posts…”Really, mom? My nickname in utero was Demon Wizard? Really?”).

However, now that we have made it to the one month mark fairly unscathed, the real test of parenthood is beginning. All the visitors have left. My husband has gone back to work. And I am now solely responsible for the lil’ Nipple Slayer (“Really, mom? Really?”) for most hours of the day.

Now, I was never one of those people who thought that stay-at-home moms had it easy. Nor did I think working moms were walking on down Easy Street in their pantsuits. And this is because (…brief pause while I dust off this here old soapbox…) I believe myself a true feminist who recognizes that women should not be judged for their life choices just because it isn’t the same as your life choice (…steps down and gently places soapbox back in its hiding place in the closet, right beside seven year’s worth of BUST magazine…).

But now that I am a few days into this new visitor-free, husband-less child care routine, while simultaneously still working from home writing my (WARNING! WARNING! Shameless self-promotion ahead!) award-winning newspaper column, I feel I can fully empathize with both sides.

In fact, just for fun, let me take you through a typical day of mine.

It usually begins at 4 a.m. That is, if my son decides it starts at 4 a.m. He could also decide to start it at 2 a.m. Or 3:17 a.m. Or, if he’s in a really festive mood, we simply blend the previous day into the next day with no discernible break in between.

Still half (occasionally all) asleep, I attempt to change his diaper, which he has turned into a fun game I like to call “Let’s Poop And Pee As Much As We Can In The Tiny Window Of Time Between Removing One Diaper And Thrusting The Other One Underneath My Tushy.”

He usually wins.

He also almost always wins what I call the Bonus Round, which is when he manages to pee on me no matter where I’m standing at the changing table.

We then eat breakfast, and by we I mean him and by breakfast I mean he gnaws on my breast for 35 minutes like a starving, feral piranha. Repeat three times until mid-morning when I finally get 47 free seconds and use it to eat my own breakfast of a moldy blueberry muffin, daintily crammed into my mouth whole.

After that, I usually kjfjfjfjfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff…

Oops, fell asleep on the keyboard. Sorry about that. What was I saying?

Well, anyway, at some point he finally falls asleep again, which is when I put him down in the crib for a nap, which is apparently the international baby sign for WAKE UP IMMEDIATELY AND START CRYING HYSTERICALLY! So I pick him back up and try to calm him while at the same time trying to clean my house at least a little bit considering I haven’t seen the dog in about three days and I suspect he’s stuck underneath the world’s largest pile of burp cloths.

Day in the life 2

At some point, I will actually get to go to the bathroom, which is when I notice I have run out of maxipads. And with necessity being the mother of invention and all, I make the executive decision to use one of Riker’s diapers until such time as I can get to the store (which I’m guessing will be in June).

By now, I’m lkkdkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk…

Oopsie. Fell asleep again. Um…where was I?

Well, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say at this point I realize I have a looming deadline and need to finish (re: start) my column. So I put the baby in the magical vibrating bouncy chair I got at my baby shower and proceed to write exactly one sentence before I start to feel guilty because the baby is just sitting there, staring at me, doing nothing. And all the stupid baby books say you have to stimulate your baby CONSTANTLY or else he’ll end up as a drooling vegetable by the time he’s an adult. Or worse yet, an employee for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

So I then pick him up and try to write with him in my arms but this, as you can imagine, is less than sldddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd…

AH! Where am I!? Oh. Sorry. Happened again.

Well, at this point we’ve reached what is usually called “the witching hour,” which is when your baby decides to cry for three hours straight for no discernible reason. Although if I had to discern the reasons why he was crying, it would look something like this:

Day in the life 1

And now it’s the end of the day (the term “day” being subjective to my son’s whims, of course), I still haven’t showered, I have a tiny diaper shoved in my underwear and my column has exactly one sentence written and this helpful note below it:

“Something funny about soapboxes here.”

So, to all you mothers out there, I feel your pain. But let me share with you the one piece of advice I received that has truly saved my life and works whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or working hard at the office or doing both like me. And that advice is dffffgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg…