Her Bad Mother

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exhausted Mom Miscellany

The girl-child is home sick today. The boy-child is in on some kind of demon growth-spurt that requires him to suckle at tit every hour upon the hour. The double all-terrain sports stroller that the husband brought home yesterday so that the wee ones and I could travel further than three blocks together is missing the infant insert (you know, for inserting infant) and so we are trapped, TRAPPED I TELL YOU, in a miserable vortex of snot and exhaustion and toplessness - all of us - a spiralling vortex of headachey badness that will not stop until the husband comes home. With liquor.

In the meantime:

1) This is my libido on hormones, painkillers and sleeplessness. So is this. Disturbing, I know.
2) This is - or should be - the last word on The Apocalypse of Feminism.
3) You should do this poll. Because it's about mommyblogging and Internet privacy and whether you avoid naming names or posting pics (any pics, or just the nekkid ones) and that sort of thing. You know, that stuff that we all worry about as we madly broadcast our lives to the world. Oh, and it's being done by a really awesome lady who only some of you read but all of you should. (ALSO! She's going to be at BlogHer, and would love to interview people. Interviews are fun!) Full blurb and deets and contact info here.
4) You all saw mah babee busting a move yesterday? Break it down.
5) Baby toes: are awesome.

These particular baby toes are attached to a baby who was, at the moment that photograph was taken, shitting on my leg - note flexing - but still. Awesome. Makes the vortex worthwhile.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We Interrupt This Broadcast To Bring You A Very Important Dance Break

STOP. Hammer time.

Word to you muthas.

(San Francisco: y'all better be ready for this.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why Anyone Who Says We Live In A Post-Feminist World Should Be Cuffed In The Head

Because, seriously. The Jezebel Apocalypse (discussed HERE) makes my worrying about my daughter's possible exposure, someday, somewhere, to a Bratz doll seem the equivalent of worrying about one day getting a hangnail, oh my god.

(What apocalypse? The one where influential young women - 'feminist role models' to at least some impressionable girls - get up - or slouch down, drunk - in a public forum and say shit like 'only stupid girls get raped' and 'pulling out is the funnest birth control omg!' and 'I was raped once but I like didn't do anything about it because I had better things to do, like get drunk.' FOR SERIOUS.)

(Weeping a little bit.)

All I want for my daughter is a world in which she gets to decide, always, when, where and how she takes her leaps, and for her to recognize that that world was - and continues to be - hard-won, and to never, ever take that world for granted. I want her to be a feminist girl in a feminist world, always fighting with and for and because that feminism. I want her to fly, and to know and appreciate that she flies because being a strong, smart woman gives her wings.

And I want her to never forget that those wings can be torn. I want her to never tear them, to never be tempted to tear them.

Because the tearing of those wings? A hideous, terrible, tragic thing. I so want to spare her that. I so want her to grow into the sort of woman who will spare herself that.

That is all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Body, No Wonderland

My body - my post-partum, baby-slinging, breast-feeding body - defies metaphor. I look at it and figurative language escapes me. I look at it and I don't want to find just the right words, I don't want to put it into poetry (oh body of mother/life-giving belly/breasts that nourish/what-the-fuck-ever). I look at it and I think, ugh.

I know that I am being hard on myself. I just gave birth seven weeks ago. I'm in my thirties. I can't expect my body to just bounce back. And in any case, bounce back to what? To my pillowy, matronly post-Wonderbaby badonkadonked self. To heavy thighs and pouchy belly. To a body that bore all of the signs of childbirth and cinnamon rolls, and none of the signs of grapefruit and granola and exercise. To the body of a mom who looked in the mirror at some point in her child's babyhood and was all, like, whatever.

I didn't care, for a time. I enjoyed not caring. I enjoyed having finally arrived at a point in my feminine psycho-social development at which I did not care, to any significant degree, what I looked like. It's not that I gave up or let myself go or became slovenly (excepting the early days of new, first-time motherhood, which were an exercise in extreme physical disrepair and unparalleled slovenliness) - it's just that my appearance ceased to be a priority. I had never had an intimate relationship with my perfect, youthful body - I wrote (in an essay for future publication) this past fall - I hadn't needed to. So I didn't really know it. But this body, this stretch-marked, lumpy, heavy-breasted imperfect body - this body I got to know. And love. I came to love my imperfect body. And in loving it, I stopped caring about the imperfections. I embraced the imperfections. Somehow - I wrote - unexpectedly, my big, battered maternal body became beautiful - erotically beautiful - to me in a way that my perfect youthful beauty never could, because of its perfection.

I came to love that body, to not care about its imperfections because the imperfections became beautiful to me. I have, now, fallen out of love. The scales, as they say, have fallen from my eyes and when I look down at myself in the middle of a nursing session or while tending to aching breasts or just standing, stock-still from exhaustion, in the shower (having avoided all mirrors, because, oh my god, are you kidding?) I just see pasty, lumpy flesh. I don't see a miracle of nature, I don't see physical accomplishment, I don't see the hard-won padding of a mother in her (rolling brogue here) prime. I see a body defeated, beaten.

Why? Why have the imperfections ceased to be beautiful? Why do I look down at the vast expanse of soft belly and pendulous boob and cringe?

You should be proud of that body
, says my husband. It's done amazing things. And: I love to see you like this.

But still I cringe. And I struggle to find words, to reclaim the poetic embrace of my physical self, the embrace can came so easily before this last pregnancy. I struggle to know this physical self and to feel comfortable claiming it as my own. I long to regain the comfort with my self that I had not so very long ago. I long to not gaze at myself so critically. I long to gaze at myself and summon words like snowy and soft and strong and battle-worn-but-beautiful.

I long to see what my mind's eye knows is there: a beautiful new mother. I long to see this, and hope with all hope that I will see it again. But I just can't right now. And that's hard.