Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bad Mommy Days

If I were to sum up my impression of motherhood these last few weeks in two words, they would be tub poopie. Or I could go with no nap. Or if you prefer something more general then it would be Mom down.

In this latest episode of Busy Bad Mommy, the Babe developed a high fever out of nowhere last Monday so she and I spent the entire day curled up in bed. I nursed her, gave her juice, tried several times to give her Tylenol, and even took her outside for fresh air. My Aunt and Dad checked in periodically with advice, but by 9 o'clock when the Hub got home from work, her fever had not broken. Around the same time I received a call from a cousin who asked me the most obvious question...which I could not answer because (head smack) I never took the Babe's temperature!!! So in my frantic attempt not to look like a complete moron, everything went haywire and we ended going to the ER. This is me at 3am right before we were released:

Diagnosis: too much wax in her ear.


The next night at bedtime she began screaming for no good reason after she had been asleep for about an hour. Her father came in and declared that he had it under control but she continued to shriek as if she was on fire. So I loaded her into the car for a ride around the neighborhood, which worked for about 5 minutes until we got back to the house. She went to sleep eventually (probably after my Xanax kicked in).

I recently saw a documentary on the Kennedy family and of course there was the always-smiling Ethel Kennedy with her 11 children. And I wondered aloud, how in the hell? I know they had nannies and servants and other kinds of help, but I struggle to manage one tiny little kid.

Mind you, I used to be great with children. My cousins can attest to that. My Niece has generally been easy to manage. The NY contingent of nieces and nephews love me. Even the new Baby Niece and I get along quite well. But with my own child I am out of my league.

For obvious reasons there is no asking my mother for advice. But even if she could offer me some motherly wisdom, she would not. She would ridicule my inability to do basic things like prevent the kid from eating cheerios off the floor. She would declare how superior she was as a mother, call me a silly girl, click her ruby heels, and take off on her flying broomstick. In her place is her sister, my Aunt, who also flies in on her broom to occasionally chime in on my ineffectiveness.

Surrender Dorothy...



There are no other close family members to offer me much advice or support. My Dad was away in graduate school during my early childhood, so apparently his memories of me began around the time I hit puberty. On the Hub's side, all of the nieces and nephews are grown (and his mother was around to assist). He has several friends and coworkers with young children, but I do not.

So, if I wanted advice, I would have to turn to the village council of senior mother figures. And based on my past experiences with a few of them, I would rather just clean up tub poopie. Remember how the pediatrician looked at me like I had six heads when I said yes, the Babe still nurses at nine months (now 16) and no, she is not in daycare? The play group nannies brag about successfully sleep training their charges at birth, while I wrestle with the Babe to take one nap. The library nannies, who always arrive early for story-time to secure the best spots at the front of the room, look upon me with annoyance whenever the Babe wanders too close to their well-behaved charges. And the FB mommies who work several jobs, have successful side hustles, and pursue advanced degrees, while I am a SAHM with a blog no one reads? Yep, lots of support there.


I do have good Mommy moments (I do, I do, I do, I do). After all, I was clever enough to buy her shoes with squeakers and she is reasonably well-behaved in restaurants. Perhaps we should spend a lot more time at the mall.

I know this time will pass quickly and one day I will look up and she will be a teenager. And then if I'm lucky, she'll call me on the phone one day with questions about her own toddler (and thanks to this blog, I will not be able to lie).

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hypocrisy, Confusion and the Futility of Arguing on Social Media

Long title to address a topic that has a long history...or just my way of stating the obvious. Arguments on social media really are futile, thanks in part to hypocrisy and confusion.

This week, after weighing in on a heated debate and reading through too many disappointing and frustrating comments, I should just let it drop and move on to other less controversial issues, like Ryan Lochte. I am sure that nothing I said swayed any opinions. Yet my ego compels me to attempt the impossible...

I admit to not having read all of the requisite facts, but I have read various news accounts, am intelligent enough, and have lived long enough to have an informed opinion. And in my opinion based on what I have read and my own life experience: Nate Parker might not be a convicted rapist, but he is an asshole. (Note, I have used a lot of profanity in this piece, so continue to clutch your pearls.)

When an adult R. Kelly married then-15 year old singer Aaliyah and later urinated on a 13-year old child, he became forever in my mind, an asshole. Children cannot consent to sexual behavior with adults. R. Kelly is a talented man who has written some very inspirational music, but I will change the channel and/or leave the dance floor whenever one of his songs is played. I do not want to hear shit in terms of how these children in question were somehow responsible for what happened to them. 

When Bill Cosby was accused by one woman of drugging and raping her, then another woman and then 40 other women, he is now and forever shall be in my mind an asshole. A drugged aspiring actress or unknown model is still a vulnerable woman who cannot give consent to sexual relations. His pioneering career, past philanthropy, and other good deeds are overshadowed by decades of alleged predatory behavior. I do not want to hear shit about the absence of a conviction despite multiple similar accusations.

So when Nate Parker has been accused, tried and acquitted of having raped a woman back in college, he is now an asshole as well. A woman who is intoxicated is not a willing sexual participant despite the fact that there had been a prior consensual sexual relationship. An intoxicated woman cannot consent to having sex with multiple partners. His current project is indeed important, as a film about the Nat Turner slave uprising is long overdue. But I do not want to hear shit about an acquittal being sufficient to justify supporting his work.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Free Melania!



I was all ready to write a second piece to urge compassion for Melania T…but did I read that she might have gamed the system and entered this country illegally??? Girl bye!

I could make a lot of this little detail, but I shan’t. She will get far worse in the weeks to come from the journalists whose job it is to vet her “qualifications” to compete in the First Lady Pageant. I have already staked my position against that entire enterprise, so she gets a pass—but a little tiny one like the size of Zoolander’s cell phone.

Of course there is the UGE irony of her little scandal and the invective spewed by her husband against undocumented immigrants and a visa system that allows in too many people who “take American jobs”. Yeah, whatever Max. We expect you to fix that just as soon as you bring back those well-paying sweatshop jobs that employ the folks who make your clothing line. We believe everything you say.

We want to believe your wife, who in all sincerity, is merely a passenger on that private plane. She surely is not the co-pilot (a job that must belong to one of your kids because it sure ain’t your running mate either). No, the beautiful Melania is…

Well, I will not refer to her as the pretty stewardess because no one uses such politically incorrect terminology. No, she is not the pretty mermaid on the mast of the ship—just an artful way of calling her a mascot. Nor is she the pretty trophy Stepford wife; the pretty Gold Digging third baby mother (who performed her function of producing both a male heir and anchor for her to stay); the pretty May to his gray December; or whatever other sexist description that we could think of to diminish her. She could be a real life Pretty Woman and this is how a second movie might have ended…
However, in all seriousness she is pretty obviously trapped in a gilded penthouse. 

The facts that we know about her are these: She came to the US from Slovenia as a model sometime in the mid-90s, met Max and became his consort, bore him a son, and is now infamous for swiping a paragraph from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. The fallout from her botched speech prompted a more thorough review of her background, which led Maxy’s people to scrub her bio and build a wall of sorts (perhaps using cheap Mexican labor) to repel those who seek the truth.

In a more delicious twist of the ironic, Melania has herself, been silent (or silenced). In the same week that Max questioned the silence of a grieving mother while her husband spoke on their behalf about their dead son, Melania has gone quiet. Sure, there have been tweets…but not written by her (unless I missed the cut and paste function on Twitter). Actually, Melania has been rather quiet all along.

I recall one interview she gave a few months ago about her husband’s candidacy. In response to a question about his rhetoric, she said that she has told him to tone it down. Then I don’t think I heard from her again until that convention speech. And I suspect that we will not hear another word from Melania again…unless it is HELP!

Omarosa Manigault, a Maxy minion (ha), offered a reasonable defense of the Melania speech scandal that was way more credible than the explanation offered by the alleged ghostwriter. For a woman who rarely speaks in public, it was a challenge to do so with the poise and grace Melania demonstrated, especially in front of an audience of millions. It also must be damned hard to have the attention of an audience of millions and NOT beg for someone, anyone to set you free.

I noticed the icy body language between Maxy and the Missus a few days later when they arrived for his Ascension. The moment before they both realized they were being filmed, he shot a glare at her and her recoil suggested that he was reminding her not to say or do anything except smile and wave. And on cue, she did just that. 

Later when the camera panned over to her, I scanned her face to see if there was any hint that she might drop the supportive spouse facade and blink out an SOS. Nothing. So maybe she really is happy, she and Max are equals, and that she gets with Lady Ivanka every week to gossip and braid each others' hair.

And if you believe any of that, I'm building a UGE wall along the Mexican border out of Chinese take-out boxes.

In Defense of Melania

I read an article last week that called for an end to the slut-shaming of Melania T (remember, I won't write his name) and because I agreed, I reposted it. It received a few likes, a couple of responses, and a share. After reading the responses, I began to think about slut-shaming generally and the quadrennial First Lady Pageant specifically.

It would seem that those two concepts are about as far apart as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but this is an election year in the Twilight Zone. And with a 50% chance that a woman will be the next President, we are witnessing unprecedented scrutiny of women in the political arena. Your choices: Mom in Chief or MILF.

Before I go down that rabbit hole, allow me to amend the cartoon depiction I attached to Mrs. T's husband last week. I initially chose Yosemite Sam, a classic Looney Tunes character that seemed most appropriate given his tendency to shoot from the hip. But the orange Mr. T is not a Southerner and in the updated Looney Tunes universe, there is a more appropriate character that you may not know, but should:

Montana Max! He's petulant, he's mean, he's rich and he has bad hair. Voila!

Back to Mrs. T. The past few weeks have turned an unflattering spotlight on her, the glare of which must be overwhelming. I feel a little sorry for her. She is merely married to the maniac; she is not the one running for office.

Of course, that means nothing in the quadrennial First Lady Pageant (and how ironic is it that Max used to own the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe family of pageants). While typical beauty pageants rate the contestants on poise, talent, congeniality and the all important ability to model a bikini in stilettos, the First Lady Pageant potentials are graded on poise, education, child-rearing, patriotic advocacy, and cookie recipes. The swimsuit competition is replaced by an overall wardrobe competition.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Politics Unusual

At times the 2016 Election cycle has felt like an episode of Looney Tunes. On the one hand there is Yosemite Sam and his running mate, Elmer Fudd and on the other hand there is...well I have to be honest, I do not remember the name of the girl bunny who was not a major character until the 90s which seems a tad condescending, so here is cartoon Hill from the Presidents Song (she appears at 2:58). But I hope you get my point. This is the craziest election I have witnessed in my lifetime.

And while this election will indeed be historic, it is also quite sad that in order to elect a woman her opponent has to be someone so ludicrous that the best compliment is to compare him to a cartoon character. But I am jumping way ahead of myself by declaring a winner...

Several of my friends on social media are practically obsessed with proving Yosemite's unfitness for office, almost to the extent of waging a religious crusade. And I agree, he is totally ridiculous which is why I refuse to even say his name anymore. Apparently he thrives on seeing his name in print, even if he is being criticized, which then results in his saying even more outrageous things to keep his name in print.



So, my first point of order: STOP. The articles, the analysis, the editorials, the tweets, the quotes, etc...we get it. We're already convinced; however

Friday, July 8, 2016

ENOUGH!

This has been the WORST WEEK EVER.

In one week, there have been two police shootings caught on tape, which was outrageous enough. Then today I woke up to the news that there had been a sniper-like attack on a dozen police officers with five of them killed.

As we mourn publicly the senseless loss of lives, the sadness I feel is compounded by the resignation that this will only polarize us into camps of black lives versus blue lives versus all lives versus gun control versus gun rights versus whatever else is out there to make the world worse than it already is.

ENOUGH!

I am a mother now, and something strange happens when a little life enters the world with half of your DNA. You see everything with new eyes. You ask different questions of yourself. You look upon this little person with his/her emerging personality and wonder about the future. Your reactions to events is much more emotional. You realize your shortcomings and pray that in twenty years or so, the therapist will be kind.

So when I wake up every day this week to one tragedy after another with my baby girl sleeping so peacefully next to me, I am at a loss. Some of you have to explain this to your babies; luckily I do not, but one day I will and it hurts. Because she will ask me why and what will make it stop, and I will have insufficient answers.

Yet we do have the ultimate answer inside of us if we are willing to ignore the anger, the hate, and the fear. We can choose LOVE. We can decide that not just for the children we have been given, but for all of the children we will choose LOVE. Choosing love allows us to feel compassion for the families of everyone who lost someone this week. Choosing love allows us to participate in peaceful protest with police protection with the expectation that our legitimate grievances can be met with policy that serves all of our best interests. Choosing love is not choosing to value one life over another. Choosing love is to disagree about the means, but to agree that the end is certainly not more senseless death.

Live and LOVE.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sick of Lemonade

When life keeps giving you lemons...I mean, how about an occasional lime so that I can make margaritas or mojitos?

I recently had another BIG Busy Black Woman meltdown over a slight that I could have overlooked, but chose otherwise. The details are unimportant, but let's just say that the Hub will might think twice before forgetting to text me the full details of one of his half-baked, last minute plans involving the Babe.

Yet, the real reason for my meltdown was not the Hub's sin of omission, but the postlude to time spent with my mother. We had such a good start to the day that I was lulled into a false sense of satisfaction, then shit went awry. Add to that the fact that I was hangry and probably operating on maybe four hours of sleep...so yeah, I unleashed a category 5 Busy Black Woman Hurricane.

So just know that there are days when I am not hearing the life and lemons speech because I have had enough lemonade. I am too through with trying to make the best of a fucked up situation. I am not feeling any motivational memes or biblical truths about adversity making me stronger or hardships setting me up for something greater. Screw that.

Sometimes when I catch myself wondering whether this is all really happening, and then reality bites to prove that yes, this shit is real, I fantasize about the Glamorous Life. You know, that blissful, unapologetic existence of perpetual self-involvement. The freedom from guilt or anxiety for choosing to do for myself instead of everyone else.

I get it though...I invented this persona, gave it a name, and have proven time and again that I really do have superpowers. It is the ability to handle everything even though there are plenty of other able-bodied and of-sound-mind folks in the vicinity.

Besides, you would not be reading this if I were a Busy Black Man (unicorn).