Monthly Archives: August 2012

“I have a gift for you! …These are RAGS.”

No seriously. That was what she said.

Her gift to me – the gift for giving her a grandson?

Rags.

And not just ANY rags. No, no, no. They were “good rags” that she sacrificed a “good towel” to make. Not only that, but each one had a purpose that had to be explained to me. One was for the bathroom. One for the kitchen. One for other sorts of cleaning.

Now here’s the thing: Even if it weren’t so insulting to be given rags, I HAD spent the better part of two weeks cleaning my house to an almost-completely-tidy state. Only a month ago had I given birth, prior to which I was on bed rest/limited mobility for 3 months. I had done so so that she wouldn’t be too upset by the state of the house, since I know she’s an insane neat freak. Considering that I was pumping milk every two hours, and caring for a baby as well who was not sleeping through the night, resulting in my…basically not sleeping at all, I thought I had done a pretty fantastic job.

But even IF she had thought that she’d give me rags IF the apartment was a disaster, to still go out of her way to not only explain their use, but also to try and make me feel guilty that she had cut up a towel, packed it up, taken it all the way across the country, JUST so I could have them…it defies explanation.

And let’s re-emphasize a few points:

~ She had come “to help us out”.

~ She had promised “to play nice”. (yet more words that I understood as a warning sign, but was begged to ignore)

~ She had said, flat out, that she understood post partum depression, and that she was going to help me through it.

I’ve been wracking my brain ever since, trying to figure out how this was a positive gift. How you could be warped enough to really, REALLY, think that you were helping someone, being nice to them, and not actively trying to hurt them and not trip their depression…by making their new-mother-gift…be rags?

I managed not to burst into tears, though I recall my cheeks coloring and my throat closing.

I was furious, but actually, somehow, managed to thank her. My mind did also immediately flicker to the huge pile of rags that were sitting in my art studio. Which then begs the question, did you really think an artist wouldn’t have rags? Really? C’mon now.

Oh and a few hours later we got this comment: “I know you don’t keep a clean house, but I’m dealing with that.” In a very sympathetic tone.

I…I’m still beside myself.

And if any of you understand this, I have one thing to say:

How do you play with a 3 month old?

I ask this not because I don’t play with my three month old, it’s just that his favorite games are (now) just complex enough socially that I’m forced to really pay attention to him, but they’re so very subtle that I get very distracted by…well…knowing that I should probably be doing the dishes, or maybe making myself something to eat for lunch, or heck, maybe just taking a nap (since I do not sleep well!).

His latest favorite games are as follows:

~ Blow bubbles so Mommy will wipe them off.

~ Make a “Hmm” noise repeatedly so Mommy will look over.

~ Slide down onto my back and whine so Mommy will sit me up.

~ Shove my fingers down my throat and make myself barf so Mommy will clean me up.

The issue is that he’s able to now play these (or combine them) for hours. And because they basically require my undivided attention, I’m getting even less done around the house.

Now while I’m of the opinion that it’s more important to have a happy kid than a messy house, and that you really can’t spoil a baby under the age of 6 months, I’m still very tired out by all this because well…no matter how I scold myself, I still get terribly bored and distracted. I try to make new games with him, to read to him, or to play exercise games or practice sitting or standing, but he would really much rather do more social things and babble at me for hours.

And then there’s the curse of “the little eyeballs” – sometimes he just stares at me, smiling, watching, cooing and blowing bubbles at me. At first it’s sort of cute, but on another level, I have extreme social phobias, where I much prefer to limit my social contact to a set design where I can break eye contact when I like, back off when I like, and be standoffish when I like. When I feel exposed, I really freeze up, panic and want to run away.

And maybe that’s why this is so especially tiring for me. Because he wants me to look at him, and he wants so badly for me to approach him, and he wants so badly to be held and loved…and I’m just not that way. My husband and I love each other very, very much and do cuddle, but we often do so while the other is preoccupied. It’s okay for us, because we’re both that way. We’re both highly distracted and need to do things iwth our hands or eyes and do so while hugging on the couch.

But you can’t be like that with a baby. He doesn’t understand that I love him even if I’m looking at the computer. He needs to see it on my face. He needs to be hugged and held.  But I still stress over it so very, very much, because I know what I’m like and I know what makes me happy, and I’m very content to just…entertain myself and be comfortable.

But with him, I need to entertain him, and make him comfortable.

I know the whole socializing thing is SO important, and during SUCH a fragile time…but man it’s hard for me.

 

Reminds me of a quote: “I see these mothers that can do everything and I think…maybe I should get them to do some stuff for me…”

To a moron who would deny motherhood’s place in feminism…

Oh yes. That’s what I want to teach little girls. “Don’t be a mommy if your family can afford for you to do so! That’s not a real job! You should be working and paying someone ELSE to be your kid’s mommy! Go back to work and make sure those men KNOW that you can be completely disconnected from your children in order to make a buck!” Wait. Does that mean that nannies aren’t doing work? Why the hell do we pay them if being a caretaker of children (and a manager of the household) isn’t work?

It’s MORONS like this woman, that help men think that being “JUST” a mother isn’t enough to be worthwhile. Homemaker on a CV shouldn’t be a mark of shame – it should be a mark of “I wanted kids, I went out and got them, and now I’m back in the workforce, way more able to take care of my life because hell, working 18 hours a day pushing papers around and “crunch time” moments of “going to have to work this weekend, too” ARE A FUCKING JOKE NEXT TO 24 HOUR, 7 DAYS A WEEK mommydom.” I’m sorry that your dusty old vagina never managed to pop out a brat, bitch…but your job is a fucking joke next to being a mother.

Oh and you really want people to believe that 86 percent of full-time mothers spend the same amount of time with their kids as a stay-at-home mother? Where the hell does THAT add up? 40+ hours of the full time mother’s week are missing from that child’s life, until that kid is going to school. Unless the mother is working overnights, all of those hours are going to be ones that the child is awake for – in the care of…you guessed it…ANOTHER PERSON (probably another woman!). I’m sorry but ZERO percent of full-time-working mothers spend as much time with their kids as stay-at-home mothers. That’s just fucking LOGIC.

And just because “anyone can get stuck in this situation” doesn’t mean a damned thing. With the advent of abortions, if you’re not willing or able to keep that child, guess what? You don’t have to. Which means that being a mother is a choice, not an inexcusable “oops”. And for those who make the choice to keep their kids, doesn’t make them any less a hard worker, or any less worthy of a job when they head back to the workforce (whenever that might be!). YOU are the one reading failure and regret into a pregnancy. No man wants to fathom labor, and reminding them of the awesome power of your body is a good way to one up them.

You could note that she brings up the “women who are stay-at-home moms” as ones who are insanely rich, that have nannies, which results in their spending all their time freeloading and spending their husband’s money, but it should be noted that having kids or not, these woman would be doing just that. It’s got NOTHING to do with motherhood at that point – just being a freeloader. Not to mention that for the majority of the article, she is fiercely stating that if you are not able to support yourself without a man in your life (for any reason), then you are the cause of (not the victim of, BUT THE CAUSE OF) sexism in the workplace. Well fuck you, darling. Most countries in the world give a mother the chance to be a mother to their children without being a “freeloader” and this leave? Not always called Maternity Leave – it’s often called PARENTAL leave…and can be taken by the father, if he wishes!

If you want to change how the 1% view motherhood…you need to learn to respect it yourself.

There is nothing that anyone should be more proud of than being a mother who is willing to be a mother (not a freeloader with a fucking nanny doing their job for them!).

You aren’t edgy, and you aren’t a feminist. You’re an apologist for chauvinistic pigs who would vomit if they ever had to do something like clean a dirty diaper in their own.

Baby clothing…

So finally went through, washed and sorted all the baby clothing (again). There’s so many things that he never got to wear, and even more things that were perfect on him just after he was born…that are so small now I can’t even imagine him in them. People always say “they grow so fast” when you’re a kid, but you never see it – you’re just you. My little man has only been around for 3 months, and it seems like years when I look at these tiny, tiny outfits.

One thing that’s cool in my area is a store called “once upon a child” which deals in baby clothing – you give them your old stuff, you get store credit for bigger stuff. Again, this is something I didn’t understand until recently, but when you have a baby, everyone gets you clothing, which then results in piles of outfits that will never be worn simply because they grow JUST that fast!

But anyway – new(ish) clothing for Ollie is exciting! Hopefully we can get that done this weekend.

Now I’m off to sleep!

“He’s not a little man! He’s a little boy!”

First quote from the lich-in-law series.

This was stated to my husband while I was not present, during a conversation about how controlling I was (love the lich-in-law!). Some context: we both refer to our son as “the little man”. It just sort of came out of the blue, and was never a label with intent. It’s partly, sort of in reference to The Anchorman:

http://www.hark.com/clips/thwktrwbyk-baxter-you-are-my-little-gentleman

Because well…Ollie’s not a normal baby, just like Baxter’s not a normal dog.

Most babies scream and cry and spend a lot of time being really, REALLY miserable. Ollie just doesn’t do that. He’s very content – so much so, I will at times glance over to see if he’s okay – since he’s being very quiet in his sleep, and he’ll be looking right at me…and just smile because I happened to look over. It’s heartbreaking, because I get this feeling that he was probably watching me for some time – but instead of demanding my attention, he just hoped that I’d look over. I still wonder how many times he’s done that, and I’ve not looked because I was busy and he went to sleep, still hoping I would notice and look over. He’s abnormally patient – will shove his hands in his mouth and as soon as he hears the water to warm his milk start to flow, he immediately calms down and WAITS for his food.

Which is why, when this was brought to my attention, I realized that calling him a little boy…felt wrong. Little boys are messy. Little boys are rough and tumble. Little boys are noisy. Ollie is just none of those things. On a given level, he might one day be a “little boy” because he’ll be getting into trouble and causing a riot…but for now he’s just so relaxed and so loving and so quiet and so delighted with the smallest amount of attention that he is more a gentleman than some fully-grown men are. My father’s girlfriend once called him an “old soul”. I think that suits him.

“Oh Ollie! You are my little gentleman! I’ll take you to foggy London-town because you are my gentleman!”

Lactation Olympics…

This morning: 9 ounces.

This afternoon: 7 ounces.

Tonight: 9.5 ounces.

Note: My tits hurt.

The Lich-in-law…

I’m going to have a section on here that are things that my mother-in-law has said that are just outrageous, but are things that have made me think more positively on how I’m raising my son. Not because she was ever remotely uplifting, but because her outlook is so bleak and distorted, that she makes me realize that I’m not as miserable as I could be. Now I have to say that when I was young, I was always of a mind that I would always love my mother in law because no one could be as evil as my own mother (she’s not that bad, really!), and later on, I thought would love my mother in law because well…hell, I was going to be the ‘different’ daughter-in-law. You know, the one that is just good friends with her husband’s side of the family, since they could in no way be as screwed up as MY family.

Well, it turns out that this just wasn’t possible for me, not because I didn’t try and not because I am a total bitch (though that IS still possibly on the table about other things!), but because my mother-in-law suffers from depression as well. Her way of coping, however, is to play insane mind games and deal with everything in a snippy, passive-aggressive manner, and to meet the conflicts she creates by this behavior with a smirk, pursed lips, crossed arms and a big old “I told you so” – which by the way, rarely makes sense for the situation at hand, but is still her answer to everything.

A brief history – I’d met her twice previous, the first time while I was in the middle of a massive breakdown, the second time at our wedding.

Highlights from the first visit include: Her cleaning the already clean apartment, her telling my husband in no uncertain terms that no one with depression was “too sad to get out of bed”, her saying that our less-than-50-total, all-given-to-us-as-gifts DVD collection was an example of our “bad choices in life”, and her telling my husband that being sad was no excuse for not getting a full time job, and not keeping the place clean. Note: She had come to “help” me with my depression, since she suffers from it. I think we spoke directly for all of two minutes. The rest of the time she spent huffing and puffing with her back to me while she cleaned and recleaned everything in the place from top to bottom.

Highlights from the second visit include: Her forcing us to change our honeymoon plans at the last second when she revealed she was not getting a hotel and was now going to be sleeping on our bed, and her other son was going to get the couch. No money for a hotel? Well, don’t look at her! She might have money, but this is a lesson in “doing right”, we should be *grateful* that she’s “getting us out of the house”. She also bought me a pair of walmart-quality earrings after I had detailed to her on the phone that my “something borrowed” was going to be a pair of beautiful heirloom earrings from my great-grandmother. She told me that they were the “something new”. I found out later that she found it disgusting that I would wear earrings someone else had worn. Never mind that rubbing alcohol exists. They didn’t match the rest of my jewelery,  looked cheap and gaudy and made my ears break out. Oh, and the house? Too dirty again. She was insulted that things were messy, shouldn’t we have cleaned instead of oh, I don’t know…been working on our wedding.

So when she let slip that she intended to be present for my due date with Ollie, I just lost my head completely. The house was a wreak – I’d been on limited movement, and bedrest for over 3 months (her comment to my husband on the phone was that even if the doctor said that I shouldn’t be walking, that I was just faking it, and needed to get back to work, or at least pack the house so we could move!) – I managed to delay the visit by a month, but she was bound and determined to come. My husband said she promised she was there to help out, to make life easier, to let me get a little sleep. She had 8 siblings, she’d taken care of a zillion children, she’d been doing this for 40 years, and well, she was just so happy to have a grandkid, all her cruel remarks and insensitivity would be smoothed over by the presence of a baby.

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

But rather than put to words here all the things she said or did before things came to a head and she became so abusive that my husband told her to leave – I’m going to take specific quotes and deal with them with a post each. Because to be honest…one needs time to actually react to how horrifying the experience IS when one deals with this woman.

And yes, that might make me a bad daughter-in-law, but I can say, honestly…that I don’t give a fuck. I’m just glad that my husband was largely raised by his father…not his mother.