Monday, May 23, 2016

Busy Black Baby

I am writing this at the end of a very intense week of over-scheduling myself and the Babe, with moderate success. If you are reading this on Monday when it posts (or thereafter) it is entirely possible that I will not have learned my lesson and will either be at a library story time or a funeral. In either event, the entire month of May has been one grand experiment at trying to be that perfect, always-have-a-plan Mommy.

Let me rewind to the beginning of the month when I was having one of my self-pitiful panic attacks about being a bad mother. This was how I comforted myself after the Babe's birthday fiasco and how I chose to address some of the conflicting emotions I was experiencing at the approach of Mother's Day (still writing that piece) and well, whenever I convince myself that I am under-doing it...

I began plotting and researching ways to enhance the Babe's social development. I investigated home schooling; purchased tickets to child-centered performances; populated my calendar with free cultural events for us to attend; finished her passport application; am taking an eight-week class on baby language development; am also learning some American Sign Language to teach her so that we can communicate; and plotted every library story time within a 15 minute drive from our home. And I still have another full week left in this month!

Mind you, no one has suggested that I am over-doing it, yet.

And no one will because I have learned that motherhood is a competitive contact sport (like roller derby without the skates and the skimpy outfits, but in heels/sneakers and classy sweater sets/yoga pants). The goal may be to raise a decent, honest kid, but there are so many, many ways that simple plan can be derailed. No one expects half of this effort from fathers, but we all recognize that the success of one's child(ren) is wholly dependent on how intensely the mother pursues every possible opportunity to gain an advantage. Do not be fooled into thinking otherwise.

For example, the husband and I took the Babe for her 9-month checkup and let's just say, we left that appointment feeling like illiterate teenage parents. The doctor suggested that there might be some language delays and it immediately tripped the Hub's inner defensiveness switch, which led us to investigate a variety of services and programs for which we were ultimately deemed ineligible. And that might have been the end of that line of inquiry, except by chance we took advantage of another opportunity that convinced me that we have been seriously slacking!

Of course which is not true, but clearly my job as a stay-at-home-parent is not merely to keep the Babe from killing herself. It is to expose her to any and everything she is missing by not being in day care, which in addition to communicable germs, is pretty much everything. So she goes to play group once a week to see and play with other children. And upon that foundation I began formulating a master plan which is what led to the creation of a massive color-coded wall calendar in my kitchen filled with daily Babe-centric activities and events.

The fact that I am exhausted is irrelevant. The fact that she might be overwhelmed is too bad since she cannot protest, yet. The fact that this is only the beginning and that things will become much more complicated and involved as she gets older is well, LIFE.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mother's Day 2.0

The first year of motherhood is behind me and now that the second has begun, it is once again time for me to decide how I feel about Mother's Day, the Hallmarkiest of holidays.

My decision is to make peace with it. No grand expectations, no drowning in a sea of overwrought emotions. Dress up, go to church and treat it like any given Sunday.

I started on this piece several days before the big day and had all kinds of internal battles: should I focus on my history with my own mother and how she made the day feel like a grand test of how much I loved her, or should I write about my ambivalence in seeking to celebrate myself? Should I mourn the slow loss of my mother or the actual loss of others who had been like mothers to me?

Or should I just let the day pass, the feelings recede and just come back to it later?

I chose to revisit this piece to address some of those emotions. Yes, Mother's Day was bittersweet for years when my mother was well and made me feel like I was the only child who really did not appreciate her. Perhaps that was all in my head, except it was not when I think back to the last Mother's Day before we I really began to recognize that something was wrong. She refused to speak to me because of an argument over something trivial and stupid, and then she repeated that same behavior several times that year...and it took another year for anyone else to believe that this was unusual.

Then there is the irony that as I should be excited to celebrate my first year of motherhood, she continues her slow decline. Milestones that I might want her to acknowledge with me, she cannot even notice. In the years since her diagnosis, but more intensely this year, I have missed her.

But she is still with me, so that is what I chose to celebrate. Every year I could lament what has been lost forever, or every year I can chose to remember for her. So that morning, we made it to church on time and that evening at dinner, she ate all of her meal. Best Mother's Day yet.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Belated Anniversary...

This is not really intended as a new post, but it is for the sake of posting something that has been on my mind for a while as I contemplate how to move forward with this blog. It was five years ago this past week that I bought the domain name for my blog. And as you already know, these past five years have been a little rough for as I have been trying to re-engage, I am on a mission of sorts.

I need lots of stuff in order to make the Busy Black Woman concept more than just a blog I post to whenever I find time and energy (which is essentially when the Babe is asleep and I am not totally exhausted). But I want a cooler website, a better tee shirt design, a way to actually take and process orders for those snazzy new tees, and possibly the expansion into other media platforms (like a podcast, perhaps).

I want a lot. I need help. I have no idea where to start.

So, I am just putting it out there. And admittedly, I am no good at asking for help. But if I were creating a vision board (ha, as if), I would put improving my blog and all of its possible future incarnations at the center. Along with making my bed, getting my child to eat off a plate instead of the floor, and finding a way to teleport.

But none of that in any particular order.