I took a bit of a brain-break there for a little bit. I had some things.
Before I get into this, I’d like to paint a little scenario for you, and it’s my hope that this definitely colors the way you comment to what is no doubt, going to be a fairly inflammatory entry.
I had some really cool opportunities lobbed my way that I am quite excited about. I made my little to do list, I set up my coffee for the morning, I went to bed: fully anticipating I’d wake up in the morning, leap into semi-coherent action over a cup of coffee and have a couple of quiet hours to write, feed my animals and tend to my little garden.
I woke up at about 4 am this morning with a grouchy 7 year old. Well, actually, the first time was about 3:45 or so. It turns out, he wasn’t feeling well, as evidenced by the massive ball of gooey green snot that got flung dead center of my right eyeglass lens. Before he could get around to telling me he wasn’t feeling well, however, he was acting like a super butt. (Learn from children, people- if there is something you need or want, or you are hurting, being an asshole to the one you hope can make it better is never really the way to go.) He finally passes out around 5 or so, but not after some pretty significant whining.
All right, great! I think. I’m still in relatively high spirits. A little groggy, to be sure, but hey, comes with the territory, right? I am a Mom. This is what we do.
As I sit down, I note, I myself am not feeling 100%. I figure, this is because I was jarred from sleep at 3 something in the morning, until my arm brushes my right tit. It hurts. Like crazy. Any mother who breastfeeds knows where this is going. Pull up my shirt, and sure as my boob’s hanging out, there’s a nice red blotchy streak. Why did I touch it? I don’t know, maybe I was feeling masochistic. Hot bath, hot compress, big first-in-a-series-of-many glasses of water, right to the only man who can save the day: The Fish. He latches on and I brace myself. Not my first rodeo with this kind of thing. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW, aaaaaaaah… and then, The Fish gets excited. Have you ever nursed an excited 9 month old infant? Have you ever done it with a big, irritated plugged milk duct? Some of you are out there, clutching your boobs in sympathy. That tender spot I just couldn’t help touching, just a bit was now getting slapped repeatedly. Pull the hands away. Firm no. Small seeds of discipline already being planted, that’s what that is.
He goes back to sleep. I check some emails, I sign up for the required things. I begin to familiarize myself with these things. As I am doing this, I’m discussing last nights’ little “AAARGGGH” with Sprog 2’s father via instant message. What we might do better, why he might be doing the things he is. Coming up with better structure and all that because hey, what’s parenthood if not an evolution. I note, rather teeth grittingly, that it does appear he didn’t just wake up at “Oh my god what?!” in the morning. He’s likely been up all night at this point. The Fish’s father sleeps next to the mighty munchkin.
Begin cracking out that to do list. I’m feeling pretty good, when I get hit with: “You can’t use hootsuite on a personal google + page, CRAP.” Okay, I knew that. One of my dogs knocks a glass off of the kitchen counter, it shatters, I get up to clean that as fast and thoroughly as I can, noting I should probably do the dishes and mop that floor today. As I finish that up, The Fish begins to fuss- I almost do, too. At this point, I’m just very frustrated and trying not to cry like a big wiener. He’s awake for the day, until his first nap, sometime between 10 am and 11 am. He’s mobile and his awake time is spent either chasing him across the floor, preventing him from tussling too much with the dogs, preventing him from pulling himself up on something that’s not so stable (His main area’s baby proof, other areas, not so much.), preventing him from eating something some unthinking person or just not knowing dog has left on the carpet, and nursing him when he needs it. We’re also playing with solids. This is the first year, yet- so all his tasting is, is getting used to and exposed to foods. Oddly enough, I got a blob of masticated broccoli lobbed squarely at the same exact spot the snotball had hit earlier. Needless to say, until he naps, I’m booked solid. I chose this hands on type of parenting after much research on my own, throwing in my own experiences, the collective anecdotes and experiences of people I know, and my convictions. I’m not whining, I’m telling you what it is. Thing is, what I just wrote out, no matter how a mother parents- is something every mother reading this is nodding to and understands very well.
The first thing I am going to point out is something I’ve pointed out before, in a much nicer way. If you weren’t there for any of that, and you aren’t there when any other mother goes through it: unless she asks you explicitly for your input: GET STUFFED. Because god knows any mother dealing with any amount of motherhood’s normal routine could use a spare pair of hands, if you’ve got one to offer with that mouth of yours. And if you’re another mother: maybe get a bit more security in your own parenting choices so you don’t have to take a crap on another mother’s. I’ll tell you, all through that, I wasn’t questioning what Mayim Bialik had to say. I wasn’t thinking, “Gosh, I wonder what that random person on the internet has to say.” You know why? Because she wasn’t here, and neither were you. That little rant’s brought to you by the Mommy Wars I keep seeing and the completely reprehensible amount of totally unsolicited, rude, judgmental advice I see spewed at mothers on a daily basis- to mothers of all stripes, and you are welcome.
And you know what the point of all this preamble was?
I was trying to let off a little steam on Facebook, when I happened across an exchange by two men. One was asking if the other was going to some event. The former says, “Nah, gotta baby sit my kids.” and an entire thread of pathetic, no balls having whining ensued wherein the mostly responsible parent was being slammed as being “whipped” and “On a short leash”. Yes, I used a gendered pejorative but it is so applicable here. There’s venting and then there’s acting like you, as a parent, don’t matter. If you refer to being a father as babysitting, if you act like your partner is somehow a big ol’ bitch and a half because she needs and rightfully deserves your help in raising your children, if you’re constantly dodging accusations of being “whipped”- 1. You need to gain some perspective from those of us who consider taking a pee alone a triumph, and 2. You need to ditch those friends. Anyone who gives you crap about growing up and being a responsible parent is not worthy of anyone’s time, let alone yours.
Now, it’s not that I think poorly of men. It’s not that I think we as mothers have it so much worse. It’s not that I’m whining because I cannot do things as freely as say, my partner can. It’s not any of that. It’s that I think you men are a hell of a lot better and more important- that you actually matter more than I see so many of you giving yourselves credit for or actually living up to that standard. It is unfortunate that we live in a society where you have to be a deadbeat dad to be considered anything less than a glorified babysitter. It honestly is.
You matter. Act like it.