I have been noticeably absent from writing. It’s the sort of thing where once you stop, it’s hard to get back in the groove. So sometimes you have to force it, which is what I’m doing today. Whatever this ends up being, I’m pressing “publish” just to get it out there and free this writers block. What I’m guessing this is about to be is a mish-mash of semi-coherent thoughts that have little to no relation to each other. Aren’t you just dying to keep reading?? Welcome to the ride!
Two articles I read semi- recently that had people literally LOSING THEIR SHIT online were on a couple who enjoyed child-free weekends every week (their daughter spent Friday night until Sunday morning with her grandparents) and a couple who hired someone to sleep train their baby while they stayed at a hotel for the weekend. World series of worst parents ever? You would think so upon reading the comments.
These parents MOTHERS were called sadistic, selfish, unfit for motherhood, cruel, and abusive. You know what was conspicuously missing from the critique? Oh yeah, the FATHERS. Like, completely missing. The burden of the judgement rested solely on the mother’s shoulders in these scenarios. Nobody criticized the fathers WHO WERE BOTH PRESENT AND 100% ON BOARD IN BOTH SCENARIOS.
My theory? We don’t like women to take the “easy” way out. It’s too easy to “take weekends off”. It’s too easy to teach your baby to sleep. MOTHERHOOD ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE EASY. IT’S THE HARDEST JOB ON EARTH. NO SICK DAYS! NO DAYS OFF! NO REST FOR THE WEARY! ITS YOUR JOB TO BE SLEEP DEPRIVED! YOU SIGNED UP FOR THIS! HOW DARE YOU SLEEP! HOW DARE YOOOOOOOOU!! Which of course, much of that is true – but is it true because that’s how we’ve set up our culture? Burden falls solely on the mama. We proudly say we have the hardest job in the world. We take pride in that. We complain about that. But I don’t think that’s the way it has to be. What if we had a culture that helped mamas out? What if when you got sick, you could call someone to help without worrying about the cost or work?
Reading these comments would lead you to believe we want mothers miserable and spent and working HARD for her children. We want them to accept that the hard work with babies is SOLELY HER RESPONSIBILITY. These mothers broke the rules. They dared to delegate “work” to someone else.
In both scenarios, the instant jump to judgement is that the mothers are doing these things for selfish reasons. Which apparently instantly invalidates anything good that comes out of it. Heaven forbid a child gets to go to grandmas house every weekend. HAVE YOU EVEN BEEN TO A GRANDMAS HOUSE?? Its like fucking KID HEAVEN there. Just because the mama is out enjoying time with her husband is what makes it so awful. Heaven forbid a happy, filled-up mama in love with her husband. That also sounds horrific for children.
And on the topic of sleep training, which I’ve said a lot about in the past (because I’ve done it): the go-to shame on mama is that sleep training is “bad” for your child. That the ONE to THREE days of crying before falling asleep that your child will never have a single memory of will cause a lifetime lasting negative impact on your child. I’ve read the research and I’ve read the research on the other side too. Guess what though? I have an interesting thought. What if I told you that it is possible that parents sleep train their children because they actually love their children? That some parents believe learning to fall asleep on their own is a gift they can give their children that will stay with them throughout their life? What if I told you that parent’s lives ALSO matter? What if I told you that parents ALSO have sleep needs? What if I told you that some parents are actually better parents if they are well-rested? What if I told you that some parents sleep train their babies and THE WHOLE FAMILY ACTUALLY SLEEPS and actually everyone survives and is *gasp* healthy and happy? Would that be too much? Is that too terrible a thought to consider?
On Weight Loss:
I recently have had several friends lose large amounts of weight through various means. It got me thinking about my own body. I don’t have a body that drops post-partum pounds instantaneously. Thus, after two babies, I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. But ironically, at the same time, I’m also the most comfortable and happy with my body I’ve ever been. It’s weird. Watching these friends morph before my eyes has me thinking about what it would be like if I dropped a large amount of weight. It’s tempting. If I’m happy with my body now, imagine how THRILLED I would be if I was like way skinnier, right? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am stuck now. I know too much about myself to believe that I could sustain 5 days a week of exercise and healthy eating for the rest of my life. It’s not feasible for me, and more than that, it sounds like shit. Like, I have NO desire for that lifestyle. I am perfectly happy with an extra 10 lbs if it means cocktails and cake and pizza instead of calorie counting and an extra workout if I want dessert.
And depressingly, I know if I DID drop a lot of weight, it would more than likely just slowly creep back. I’ve done enough research to know it’s the rule rather than the exception that people usually gain back whatever they lose PLUS some.
But let’s be real – no matter how happy I am with my body, I could for sure stand to drink more water, and eat less COMPLETE SHIT (I’m looking at you, Dr. Pepper and all the junk I shove in my face while I’m working and the kids are napping). And being active is good for more than just my body, its good for my anxiety too. What would be most beneficial for me is a “gentle” lifestyle change. But “gentle” also equals “slow” and “not a lot to show for it right away” which is not very appealing and doesn’t lend itself well to dramatic 2 month before and after pictures, amiright??
Also, I am still very slowly coming out of survival mode from having a baby. This survival mode is when you are still physically very tied to your baby (hello breastfeeding a baby who refuses a bottle) and gorging myself on delicious snacks is one of the few creature comforts I can have right now. I’m not ready to give that up yet. Not even super gorgeous “after” photos can entice me.
So more yoga and less pop may be in my future, but not yet.
I’ve been added to some political groups on Facebook post-election of fellow liberal-minded people. And while there are certainly many good ideas and positive energy and uplifting stories, there is also a shit-ton of doom and gloom. I know the theory of many is that the world is falling apart and if we don’t fight it, we will all die etc etc. I can’t go there. I just can’t. It is exhausting. And the whole “I’m unfriending anyone who voted for Trump”? That sounds helpful. Not. I mean, tempting, yes, but not helpful.
The other day I saw a rant on Facebook of a woman complaining about being called “sweetheart” by a man, and directly underneath it, a story and photo of bloodied families and NEWBORN BABIES attempting to flee Aleppo. And something snapped in me.
And I get it, we don’t need to have the suffering Olympics over which “wrong” is worse, but dude, ALEPPO IS SO MUCH WORSE ITS NOT EVEN A CONTEST. For a minute I felt completely disgusted with myself and anyone else who complains about such obvious “first world problems” when the complete horror of things like Aleppo are happening. I know the doom and gloom-ers may say “well, that’s where we are headed” with Trump, but THAT’S NOT WHERE WE ARE TODAY. Not even fucking close. Its embarrassing for me to think of all I’ve complained about when this is going on. I mean, just read a few paragraphs up and you can find me whining about weight loss and mom-shaming.
And what the fuck can I do about it? It’s a helpless, horrible feeling. “Praying” for Aleppo seems so hollow. We donated money to relief and medical efforts but I know there are people critical of that idea as well. You can’t win, but you can’t just sit there either.
I’ve come to realize that the way people react to “bad” news, “bad” scenarios (like this election) is very personal. Some channel their anger into activism, they get louder, they get more in your face. Some shrink away in exhaustion, fear, being overwhelmed. I’ve done both, but I’ve temporarily (? Time will tell) settled into a place where I feel like the best response for me is radical love. Which feels so damn hokey to say. But that’s where I’ve settled, where I’ve felt called. I feel a duty and calling to shout less and love harder and stop trying to “win” debates and word–wars with my brain. It’s a challenge for me. I want to have real conversations and sit through the discomfort and STAY OPEN rather than instantly formulating defenses.
I told my husband weeks ago how I was genuinely scared for our country, and how eerily it seems to be mirroring Nazi Germany. He laughed and said “Oh my God, Ashley, you sound just like someone who watches Fox News.” Instantly I felt defensive. I wanted to snap back something snarky, but instead I asked why. He listens to a lot of conservative talk radio (not a lot of talk radio options in MT that aren’t conservative) and he relayed stories of hearing conservative hosts using the exact same comparison of Nazi Germany to the Obama administration because of the belief that guns would be taken away from them and government run healthcare would take place. And my brain instantly went to “but they were so wrong about both of those things!” But instead I stopped and stayed open. And I was like “oh shit.” Because I got it. Though I completely and totally disagree, I got it. I could see how a calm, rational, open conversation about these things from opposite sides could be so helpful. That’s where I want to go. That’s what I want to be able to accomplish.
And since you made it this far, a random conversation with my 3-year-old at lunch:
G: Mommy, you look different.
Me: How? This is how I always look. (It really was)
G: Your eyes look different.
Me: How so?
G: They look crazy.
ANNNNNND until next time.