Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is an advocacy-less existence a meaningless existence?

I get tired of the sound of my own voice too, you know.  Sometimes, in the middle of some rant on breastfeeding (defending something that's never been attacked, for me, anyway) I pause and think, "this is going to be a blip. You're angry about a blip in time, a blip in Fidg's lifetime.  You'll be spending more time worrying about other problems later in her life."  Or maybe it will just continuously be something new to worry and rant about.  Is this why people have second (or third or fourth) children?  So they can feel like they are experienced in some aspect of parenting? Like something is familiar instead of each new age bringing an uncharted set of woes and worries?

WTF is the point of this site? There are other mom-bloggers I enjoy reading.  I'm tiring of the BF crusaders. And the BW crusaders. And anyone crusading for anything.  I like the writer-moms.  In fact, mom-bloggers get a bad title.  It's not the blog, it's the writing.  Rebecca Woolf's kids are going to either love or hate the detail with which she's captured their first years.  I like her style and voice.  She's not pushing anything, she's just storytelling and there's not enough good storytelling in the world.  Heck, her daughter's name is Fable, so she's hardcore into this scene, yo. And then there's Heather Armstrong, the mom blogger all mom blogger's want to be.  That is to say, fully paid by her blog revenue.

I've never been good at fiction.  I spent years and a lot of money in high school on writing conferences and such and I was never great at fiction.  I suppose creative non-fiction (love it) is my forte.  Feature writing. Being funny about things that happen. I like that. I have yet to create characters - ask my improv friends, I'm not the character person, I'm the reactionary person, the word-player, the smart-funny.  I'm not the character. I'll never be on SNL (unless in Tina Fey like capacity).

I frequently tell kids interested in CMC that one reason I was drawn to it - something touted by the recruiters when I was in high school - was its focus on a practical education.  Yes, there's ivory tower goodness in Claremont, but what do you DO with all that book learning?  So while other students paint signs and parade around campus, Stags and Athenas go to work for/get elected to the institutions establishing policies they don't like and they change the policies.

These posts are painted signs and this blog is the quad around which I parade.

I read another mom bloggers post yesterday that resonated with me. Not in a good way:
When do I get to punch out?

And what do their hearts feel, when they see their life-less mother, that's let herself go, on the inside and the outside,

does that bring shadows to their bedtime

like it does to mine?
Yikes. But I'm there and I'm not even a stay-at-home-mom.  I know her fear.  I was consumed by that fear for the first 6-8 weeks of Fidg's life.  Could she feel my breast-feeding-related resentment?  Could she feel my yearning for my previous, childless life?  Could she feel my desire to put her down and run the hell away, to search for my body, my mind, some sort of spirit, some kind of engagement and connection with the rest of the world? My friends?  Could she feel my need to get out of this isolation and get back to some kind of something else? I was sure she could - that the frequent postpartum tears stung her cheeks every time they fell from my bleary eyes.  And all of that just made me more upset because there was this small person in my lap who'd done nothing and didn't deserve any blame or resentment.

Today I'm angry about the lack of human milk banks and access to human milk banks.  And I stumble for the soapbox thinking, I can research, I can pull numbers, I can lead the effort to clear the way, legislatively, etc, for more access to human milk. Yes, I can do that! Then I look at the clock and it's time to pump again. And do my work.  And I have to finish so I can get out of work, get home, and feed my kid and get her to bed time, so I can spend an hour putting her to bed, so I can maybe sit next to my husband on the couch for an hour ignoring the filthy kitchen or that I haven't had an actual nutritious meal in days or I actually do the dishes and clean the pumping parts and then the baby wakes and I give up and go to bed at 9:30 or 10:30 so I can  get up at 6am and do it again.  And there's no punching out.  And this will go on for. years.

I can only imagine how my husband feels.  Except it's probably worse for him since he gets to attempt to keep entertained a being with a 10 second attention span and manic-depressive tendencies (because all babies have mercurial temperaments, no?).  Some days it sounds better, many days it sounds worse.  He probably wins where most women go insane, however, because he doesn't get as concerned about the laundry, dishes, or meal preparation.  Hell, he barely eats (then again, he seldom fed himself BEFORE the baby arrived).

Woe to the precocious child, the gifted child. Children remember the positive as well as the negative (though we worry about the negative, collectively, more).  Woe to those from whom much is expected who then step off that path without enough preparation.  

Forget the point of this site, what's the point of me?

I'll have to think about that later. It's time to pump again.

1 comment:

  1. OK, I should probably get my own blog, but here's my response to you.

    Is an advocacy-less existence a meaningless existence? I say, without reservation, NO.

    It's not that I don't care about the multitude of issues facing mothers, especially working mothers. I just made the concious choice to clear space in my head to be Alex's mom and provider. That doesn't mean I can't have a yard sign or donate wine for a candidate event I support. I can also raise a civic-minded child who cares about his community. That's pretty big. And who's to say I can't re-engage when my kids are less dependent on me? I don't see anything wrong with pressing the "pause" button for a few years.

    Yes, there are women who do it all. Fantastic. I'm not going to feel guilty for watching "Dancing with the Stars" instead of phone banking. (in fact, the quickest way to piss me off is to phone bank me during DWTS) In my life, I've probably put in more volunteer time than most of the population.

    It's nice to just reload once in awhile (to steal a metaphor from Queen Mama Grizzly). It may feel that the world and issues are passing you by, but guess what, I have a walking, talking, bundle of boy that was a month and a half out of the NICU a year ago. THAT is more important to me and that shit moves fast (metaphorically and literally).

    So I'm ok with being a mom, wife, provider, and tv addict; whose main contact with friends is through email (because they're really busy moms too!). I'm not perfect, but I'm functional. It was hard to accept, being the classic oldest child-overachiever, but I did. And sometimes I feel like I'm not nearly doing enough in Alex's development, my community, my relationships... but you find ways to muddle through.

    OK, I'm done now. Actually, no - let's grab a glass of wine sometime, please?