Tag Archives: working moms

I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically

It’s no secret that when you become a mom, you go through a bit of an identity crisis. It can be hard to remember who you were when it feels like who you are now is someone who spends all of her time cleaning up mystery stains. Is that poop or chocolate? Apple juice or pee? I used to be on a first name basis with the mayor and win journalism awards. Cottage cheese or vomit?

Which is why these days I always dread the moment when someone asks me “so, what do you do?”

And they always ask it. Always. Because we are Americans and as Americans we need to immediately know what you do with your life so we can then determine how harshly to judge you.

God bless the U.S.A.

I didn’t always hate this quirk of American society. I proudly declared “journalist” for a long time. I worked hard to become a journalist. I loved being a journalist. It was a badge I wore with honor.

But the waters muddied a bit when my husband and I moved to Boston. Unable to get a full-time job in my field, I started working from home, writing a regular column for a handful of different newspapers and websites. I’d also occasionally take on a freelance writing project. So, I told people I was a “freelance writer.” But since that wasn’t as clear-cut as “journalist,” I’d have to describe what that entailed and watch as people’s eyes slowly glassed over because they were just being polite and oh, is that Susan over there? I should go say hello. Nice talking to you, Amy, was it?

And then we had kids and the waters got downright murky. Because now my main job was keeping those two suicidal lunatics alive while trying to squeeze in some writing time on the weekends.

“But I’m still a writer!” I’d practically scream at people, less they be confused as to my real identity. Sure, “technically” I stayed home and “raised” my children, but that didn’t make me, you know, a “mom.” It’s more like a hobby, really. I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically!

It took me awhile, but I finally realized why this stressed me out so much. The current language we have for women without a clear-cut “job” is awful. Take the word “housewife.” I hate that word. I didn’t marry my house. I mean, that thing is filthy. Even if it proposed, I’d politely decline and then hand it a broom and whisper “I think you know why.” (And “homemaker” is even worse. Especially if you have kids. Because when you have kids, you aren’t “making” a “home” so much as you are trying to prevent said kids from burning it down to the ground).

I also loathe the term “stay-at-home mom.” I don’t stay at home. No mom does. We’re constantly lugging those adorable damn kids everywhere. And yet, no one refers to us as Playground-Library-Gas Station-Coffeeshop-Liquor Store moms.

Alas, these are the terms we are stuck with if we are the ones primarily taking care of the domestic side of life (and fellas, I haven’t forgotten about you; “househusband” and “stay-at-home dad,” even when used tongue-in-cheek, is equally inaccurate and ridiculous).

Can you imagine if we referred to everyone by their most common location and their role in the family? Oh hey, let me introduce you to my other half, Ryan. He’s an office husband.

Or, hey, nice to see you, Sheryl, I’d like you to meet my bar grandpa.

This is Lila, my stay-at-the-yoga-studio sister-in-law.

My crackhouse cousin had a rough upbringing, what with being raised by my prison uncle and my motel aunt.

Why yes, I have two teenagers, a couch son and a Burger King parking lot daughter.

You get the picture.

Why do we still use these terms? Even “working mom” is a bit of a misnomer. No one calls my husband a “working dad.” He’s a graphic designer. Who happens to have kids.

And I wouldn’t even care about how inaccurate the current words are that we use to describe women who deal in the domestic arts, except for the fact that they have a faint whiff of negativity surrounding them. Housewives are considered vapid or desperate or gold diggers. Stay-at-home moms are boring or unambitious or lazy. Homemakers are busy wearing gingham dresses and churning butter in the corner of the kitchen.

So, it’s time we start changing these outdated and, quite frankly, unfair titles. I haven’t come up with the new terms just yet (what with spending all my time sniffing mystery stains and all) but maybe something like “I parent full-time” or “I’m a professional mom” or “I’m my toddler’s juice bitch.”

Or maybe all of us ladies can take a page from the Tyrion Lannister playbook and when people ask us what we do, we coolly respond “I drink, and I know things.”

Because that one is 100 percent accurate.

 

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Give it a breast already

In case you guys haven’t heard yet, I’m pretty much the best person on the planet.

It’s true. I mean, sure, Pope Francis had some good moments this year. But when it comes down to it, no one can compare to my pure and humble unselfishness. My pure, unadulterated courage. My pure and utter lack of pride in how completely amazing I am.

In fact, I’m so amazing, I feel bad for everyone else. No matter what anyone ever does from here on out, they’ll never compare to me.

So just what have I done to deserve the title of Best Person Ever, you ask?

Well, I…(cue dramatic church organ music)…am planning on breastfeeding.

breastfeeding 1

OK, OK, perhaps breastfeeding alone doesn’t necessarily make me the Best Person Ever (pretty sure I’m still in the Top 5 though). But judging from how people react when they find out I’m planning on breastfeeding once I pop this kid out, it does automatically put me in the category of Better Person Than You.

Yes, apparently any woman who breastfeeds in this day and age deserves her own parade, carried through the streets on a litter by the lowly parents who decided to feed their children formula.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the following:

“Good for you! You’re going to be such a good mom!”

“Breastfeeding is tough. You’re so brave for making this decision.”

“You’re obviously the superior parent. Will you raise my children?”

And that’s all from just planning on breastfeeding.

But here’s the thing. I don’t deserve all these accolades. One, because even though I want to breastfeed, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to or that I can hack it as a breastfeeder. Many women stronger and tougher than I have tried and failed.

Two, here are the reasons I decided to breastfeed, in order of importance:

1. Cheaper than formula.

2. Will help me lose weight.

3. Good for the baby or some junk.

And three, while breast may be best, our society has gotten out of control with the Judgy McJudgerson act regarding those who decide to bottle feed.

breastfeeding 2

Seriously, I’ve heard people compare using formula to child abuse. I have friends with babies who have had to sit through lectures from strangers about how selfish it is that they aren’t breastfeeding. And God help you if you can’t breastfeed for medical reasons but then don’t spend your life savings to buy breastmilk from some hippie mom you found on the Internet.

Sadly, as I’m quickly learning, the breastfeeding debate is just the front line in the bigger conflict known as the Mommy Wars, where every parent feels they know not only what is best for their child but what is also best for your child.

And I’m about to enter the fray woefully unarmed.

But, truth be told, I’m kind of glad I’m unarmed. Because I’d rather just assume you’re doing what you think is best for your child and I’m doing what I think is best for my child. And regardless of what we are actually doing, chances are still high that neither one of them will turn out to be a serial killer.

And if we’re REALLY lucky, neither of them grow up to be that know-it-all co-worker who interrupts every conversation with “well actually” either.