Kitty Time

Motherhood, babies, life, celebrities, politics…kitty’s claws come out when she’s in the mood.

Why have more than one? February 25, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 4:20 pm

My child is approaching 2.5 years old. As avid fans of KT know, people feel compelled to start asking you when you are going to have a second before your stitches even heal. I mean – this question drives me up a wall and makes me want to poke the question-asker’s eyes out with a dull fork.

Why do people feel like they have the right to ask? And furthermore, since when isn’t one enough?

So now that we are busy parents with an active, talking, walking, sentence-speaking toddler, anyone who isn’t blind is quick to ask us about having a second. I’m not even safe from the stupid BabyCenter emails that tell you what your child is doing this month. The most recent one I received and actually bothered to read, included a link to how many parents are starting to consider a second now. Even if that is true, and frankly, the only way I’d consider a second is if they are at least three years apart, why are we parents bombarded with the need to have more than one?

So, as my husband and I have debated whether or not we want to, feel compelled too, or even have the desire to have a second, I asked my mom.  She had four kids. I explained that I feel very fulfilled with my child, she’s exceeded my every expectation, so why in the world would I want to go through this all again? Unlike new moms, I don’t somehow think my baby will have his/her day or nights confused. I actually know now that they come out thinking night is day and day is night. There actually is no confusion there on the part of the baby.

Last time, I was naive. This time, I suffer from too much information. So really – why? Why in the world would we do it again?

My mom just laughed and said “I’m not touching that.”

Hmm. Not helpful. Wasn’t the answer I was searching for really this “Because don’t you know, honey, all second children are not only perfect but they come out sleeping 12 hour stretches and never get sick.”

Then my husband and I concluded that we are each the second child, so if our parents just stopped with our elder sibling, then we wouldn’t exist. So isn’t that reason enough to have another?

I’m a believer in not making things more complicated than they need to be. I like existing. Seems like a good reason.

But see, any talk of having a second inevitably leads to a conversation on how “only children are weird.”

Don’t pretend like you haven’t been a part of this conversation. Especially if the only reality you know is like mine, that of a big family.

Now – like you – I have many friends who are only children and I’m always quick to think “Well, only children are weird except X”

You know who you are.

So really – ARE only children weird?

So then the next question is this – are PARENTS of only children weird?

Now this one, I’ve wondered many times. Again, coming from a family of four children, I have parents who, well, let us get away with murder. Was it because by the time my youngest sister rolled around, they’d seen and witnessed it all, so we had more than paved a wide open highway for her to roam free? Or was it because they were so dog tired and beaten down, we could go out partying until the wee hours and get away with smelling like a beer hall in Church on Sundays? Or was it cause if, god forbid, something happened to one of us, there were still three more left?

I mean really – isn’t that one thing all parents worry about?

Regardless of why, the truth is, people marvel at parents of only children. Why did they have only one? Why didn’t they want more? Is the only child a holy terror so they couldn’t face another? Are they freaks?

Admit it, you’ve heard this. But WHY – why is this the case?

A friend of mine made it clear from the time she was preggo with her first that she would have one and only one. The thing about me is, I like people who are straight up. I don’t have time for nuances and well, I really like knowing where people stand and so I liked her even more for being so up front.

She then went on and had her baby, he’s almost one now, and because we are close enough, I knew I could ask her if she’d changed her mind on only having one. She was so matter-of-fact and just was like Nope.

Again, I dig it. She knows what she wants and she’s happy.

But see – will people just leave her be? This piece in today’s Washington Post suggests that they wont but they really should:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/24/AR2008022401750.html

Right now, I am the mother to just one child and I am fulfilled, happy and feel like my circle is complete. Why can’t everyone just leave singles alone?

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Stressorexia February 20, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood,Uncategorized,Work — Wired_Momma @ 3:46 pm

Kittens –

I’m here to bring you new words all the time. A few weeks ago it was choreplay. Today it’s “stressorexia”

Ever heard of it? Probably not. But I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of it around you.

First let me be clear – this is not a problem I have. You can pretty much be sure that on any given day, I’m thinking about my next meal and if it’s contents will include cheese and/or chocolate and/or ice cream, or better yet, all three. A deep thinker, I am not.

And yet, I’m thinking that many of my fellow over-worked, over-tired, stressed out BFFs out there might know a little something or two about stressorexia.

According to our British friends, this is a new form of an eating disorder symptomatic to overworked working moms, though I’d venture to guess plenty of women who also do not have children. These women are running ragged and tend to skip meals because they are too busy trying to get things done at work to move on to the next task – and suddenly they start losing weight and well, we all want to be a MILF, and so it goes.

Here’s the link to England’s Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=511848&in_page_id=1774

So while this might be very much the case for many women – I still take issue with it. As professional working women, especially if you are the mother to a daughter, it is a damn shame to bring negative body language associations and poor eating habits into the house, to only then start your young children off on the path of eating issues. I also wonder if it’s more than just women being over worked – it becomes a martyr issue.
“no one can take care of junior as well as me, no one can clean the house as good as I can, my idiot husband doesn’t get everything right on the grocery store list, so it’s just easier if I do it, none of my colleagues can do this project as well as I can and if I don’t step in and just take over, we’ll screw it up and lose the account all together.”

And then suddenly you are doing everything and well, along the way, your own health and well being falls to the side.

Who knows.

I get it that eating issues are rooted in complicated psychological issues..and though I’d love to pretend I’m an MD, I’m not. But I guess the other side of me sits backs and wonders – why make life so complicated? What’s REALLY going to happen if the house isn’t cleaned to your standard all the time? What’s really the result of the husband forgetting a few items on the grocery list? So, he gets to go back out to the store again. Does it REALLY matter if your co-workers don’t fulfill the task as well as you would? And do they really suck that bad or is there some kind of insecurity buried deep within us?

If you are a KT fan, you know that I am no fan of martyr-hood, especially once children enter the picture, and well, I guess I’m annoyed by this stressorexia article. It’s stupid.

Did I fire anyone up yet?

 

Michelle Obama for President February 14, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood,Politics — Wired_Momma @ 5:33 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day Kittens! I’m sure you’ve been waiting obsessively for a V Day update from me but the truth is, I’m being coy with you. I like making you wait for me…it only makes you want me more….so at long last….I am here to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

I should also note that, like last year, I am blushing from all the flowers and chocolates and cards that you, my adoring fans, have heaped upon me. I could barely make it to my desk this morning because my office is jam packed with messages of love. Particularly blush-worthy was the pair of leather crotchless chaps…..You really shouldn’t have…….

And with that, kittens, I ask you to wait no more. On this day of love, I will refrain from pondering the ways of the American husband, the exaggeration of the price of flowers and dinners tonight and if there is any merit to this holiday. Instead, I will express my deep love for a woman….a Presidential candidate’s wife who should really be running for President….I’ve said it many times before, I’ll say it again, Michelle Obama for President!

Oh Michelle…how I love thee….what I wouldn’t give for a one-on-one conversation with you…

A KT BFF tipped me off to the piece on Michelle in today’s NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/us/politics/14michelle.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

And starting with the picture of her in that fabulous turquoise necklace at the top, all the way down to the final quotes in the piece (I know, right? I actually read an article all the way through – despite my adult ADD and inability to focus unless it’s celebrity gossip or food related)….Michelle rules. And so, kittens, here is a haiku for her:

I love her because she is intelligent and has opinions.

     I love her because she has no fear about stating those opinions, even if it creates extra work for her campaign staffers…she’s keeping everyone on their toes.

I love her because she is sarcastic and pokes fun at her husband, reveals that he makes messes or doesn’t always smell great. She’s authentic, she’s real, she’s got something to say and she’s going to say it. 

          Of course, I love that she is a mom to two little girls and isn’t afraid to talk about how she keeps them a priority and how she manages it all – without shedding tears or coming off as a martyr (Hillary).

Do you like how that wasn’t even close to a haiku? I never really paid attention in poetry class.

Are you all left wondering if I love her because I feel like she’s a really cool, wildly successful, smarter and older version of how I’d love myself to be? Yes well…..there’s no shame in aiming high, kittens.

And to be serious for a moment, if I’m going to invest my sacred time in actually reading an article in its entirety and not letting my mind wander off and start thinking about my next meal and if there will be any cheese involved….I like to learn something valuable about life in that piece. Some great perspective or nugget to carry forward in my own life. And I took something like that away from the interview with Michelle.

I offer you this:

“My parents told us time and time again, ‘Don’t tell us what you can’t do,’ ” she said. “ ‘And don’t worry about what can go wrong.’ ”

What a wonderful thing to teach your children and though I might have already been doing that in my own home, I certainly haven’t articulated it out loud but I intend to as my daughter gets older. Particularly the bit about not worrying about what can go wrong. Instilling a sense of confidence and adventure in my daughter is fundamentally important and reading this about Michelle’s upbringing makes me adore her even more.

Enjoy this day o’ love Kittens. And remember, you can keep your tokens of love and appreciation for me coming every day of the year, you don’t have to wait until just Valentine’s day…….

 

Observations from an Obama Mamma February 13, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood,Politics — Wired_Momma @ 4:06 pm

Well kittens, the Potomac Primaries came and went..and how about that full Obama sweep? Even with last night’s treacherous weather, and I mean TREACH-ER-OUS – yours truly still got out to vote.

I will note that now I appreciate why there are those signs before bridges to alert you that the bridge/overpass can freeze…..turns out that actually happens…..I can be a little slow on the uptake……

Anyhow – as my day progressed yesterday, I started getting some interesting comments from friends into my inbox about the day’s primary. I really noticed a trend that aligns with my own thinking.

It seems that many KT friends all agree it would be incredible to have a woman hold the highest office in the land, we really would. We want this for ourselves, we want this for our little girls, it’s an amazing chance. But on the flip side, many of us just don’t feel like Hillary is the right woman for that job.

Again, I’m continuously impressed with how versed she is on every topic, how she has thorough plans for various issues facing our country and can speak so eloquently on them – but the common thread I kept hearing was this – she just doesn’t inspire us. We want some inspiration. After 8 years of lies, not even mediocrity and hell – poor speaking skills coming out of the Oval Office – we want to feel excited and inspired.

Thus…it seems many of us are Obama Mammas. We are excited about the prospect of a woman becoming President but obviously not excited by that woman.

It’s quite the conundrum for Hillary. She has more experience, a real handle on the issues and clear policies that she is communicating – yet at the end of the day – what she stands for isn’t that different than what Obama stands for – and many of us are picking inspiration over experience.

I will note that one of my sisters was feeling kind of “vagina-ey” (her words) – so she settled for Hillary because she really couldn’t decide down to the wire between the two – and that’s fair. I can support someone who feels “vagina-ey” in those final seconds before casting a vote.

Yet I remain intrigued by this predicament many of us are facing when push comes to shove – and that inspiration is helping make the final decision. It seems that in this day and age, we are still pretty old school and facebook pages or sophisticated targeted marketing strategies can’t outwit good old fashioned inspiration.

And it seems that you cannot manufacture inspiration – it just happens.

 

Hillary & Obama – Where do they stand? February 12, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood,Politics,Work — Wired_Momma @ 2:59 pm

Well, the day of the Potomac Primaries has arrived. The weather is crummy and promises to get worse, so who knows how or if that will impact the outcome of today’s votes. I intend to go cast my vote this evening after work, rain, snow, sleet or whatever.

So, in honor of the primaries in my home state today, let’s talk about where Hillary and Obama stand on issues that might matter to KT readers: maternity leave, flexible work, health care, education, etc.

As I’ve been paying closer attention, I can’t say that I like Hillary much better because I think she lacks any authenticity but she really is more detailed and thorough in her explanations than Obama. The Washington Post has a quiz you can take to gauge which candidate is most aligned with what matters to you – and I came awfully close to scoring with Hillary. Truth be told, in some of the statements, I could tell Hillary said it instead of Obama and wondered if I might have picked Obama for fear of coming out as Hill’s twin.

I actually encourage you to go to the Post’s web site and take the quiz, it will force you to really have a better understanding of where the candidates stand on all issues. I caution you this – it takes some time if you really read what they say on big issues – but it’s worth it in the end. Here’s the link:

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/candidatequiz/

With that, here is a link to Hillary’s web site. She really lays out where she stands on federal maternity leave, childcare and work place flexibility. I don’t want to really elaborate on it because I’ll start drawing my own conclusions – so best to just provide you with the convenience of a link. See, at KT, I’m like a 7-11 – quick stop shopping and easy. Quick and easy. Always been that way…..

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=3743

Our guy Obama is not quite as thorough as Hillary…….and while I noted some similarities in their ideas, Hillary’s are much more detailed. I will refrain from comment and just encourage you to read this:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20071108/ai_n21106204

Go forth and vote today, dear readers!

 

L’Amour February 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wired_Momma @ 3:25 pm

Ahh kittens…..so much to write about this week….between it being time to celebrate our deep love for our partners on Valentine’s Day and of course, the primaries out here in DC, MD and VA tomorrow. I can barely contain myself, so much excitement.

The thing is, I’ve got to start the week off talking about L’Amour, of course! I mean – when I stumble upon a piece discussing love and age in….France, my rightful homeland, far be it from me to pass that one over.

Indeed. In yesterday’s Post, there was a story on French women – apparently they don’t get fat and they still have a lot of sex as they age, as compared to American women.

C’est vrai. Here’s the link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/08/AR2008020801607.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

What I love about this piece is the following:

1. It’s about French women. I love France. I love Paris. I love all things French. I am a true Franchophile and my child is turning into one as well – she’s only two yet she already says she wants to “go see pretty pictures in woove” (that would be Louvre. My heart swells with pride).

2. It’s about French films respecting women of a certain age for being just that – and not trying to make them appear to be 20. Turns out women in their 50s are given roles for women in their 50s and aren’t airbrushed. I think this is one of the most important points of this piece – it shows a vast cultural distinction between the US and France. Let’s face it – female celebrities who are older than 50 in this country are revered when they don’t look their age. Don’t get me wrong, women like Glenn Close and Meryl Streep are two of my all-time favorites – but are they generally considered sexy? Or given roles that encourage them to play the role of the sexy seductress? A french actress approaching 60 is interviewed and she points out that French cinema is “faithful to its women.” What a refreshing thing to read.

3. Speaking of faithful – that would be the final thing covered in this piece – and another enormous difference between our two cultures. We all know by now that the French aren’t necessarily a faithful bunch in their marriages. Their whole view of marriage and fidelity is very different from ours. Though I’d hate to admit it, perhaps I am too American in this regard – but I just don’t know how you work through a marriage when you both are unfaithful. I don’t know how jealousy and anger and distrust don’t end up ripping it apart.  That said, the French are quite open about their marriages and affairs and it seems that older women in France are less discerning than older women in America – and are quite happy to take up an affair with married men, younger men, maybe not even the most attractive of man. Seems they enjoy having sex and they keep at it into their 70s.

So the question is this – in this week of love – should we just move to France? We can eat all the cheese and baguettes to our hearts content, walk all over Paris, receive a very generous maternity leave including cleaning ladies sent to our home by the French government, and then we will be considered very beautiful still into our twilight years as we have lots of sex.

See how I keep things simple here on KT? 

Vive  la France!  

 

Maternity Leave, continued. February 7, 2008

Filed under: Husbands,Motherhood,Politics,Work — Wired_Momma @ 3:25 pm

Kittens –

As promised, I am researching where the presidential candidates stand on issues that might be important to KT readers – with a special focus on federal maternity leave policies. I am only looking into McCain, Obama and Clinton for this particular entry – refuse to waste my time on Romney or Huckabee.

That said, along the way of researching the ways these candidates have addressed issues like maternity leave, I stumbled upon stories about European countries and their maternity leave policies. Hell, even our neighbor to the north, has an incredible policy as compared to ours.

So, while you are waiting at the edge of your seat for my Campaign 08 overview, I’ll give you something to feel depressed about.

As if it’s not bad enough that we’re not all living in Europe, here’s my effort at making you feel worse.

Take, for example, this story I found on maternity leave in Norway. Norwegian women are entitled to 12 months off with 80% pay or 10 months off with full pay.

And before you go spewing your coffee all over your keyboard in a fit of rage, allow moi to just make it worse and rub it in – fathers are encouraged to take as much time off as possible as well – and are required to take the first four weeks off. Apparently they believe in parental equality over there and somewhere along the way, someone got the memo that forcing fathers to stay home and learn how to take care of their own children, puts working women at an advantage because their spouse is then equally as participatory.

Wow. How shocking.

And further evidence that we are screwed here in the US – five out of 6 Norwegian mothers work.

You heard me. Five out of Six. And finally – to finish it off – they have state-sponsored daycare facilities in Norway.

So the next time we hear yet another story in the news and read a review of yet another book about why educated, professional women are “off-ramping” and staying home – perhaps we could stop a minute and realize the answer isn’t that difficult. It’s called lack of support from employers and our federal government.

And before I go and get all Michael Moore – one sided on you – it is important to realize that the Norwegian government and employers can afford such a generous plan because the taxes in Norway are sky high. That’s the catch. We have to be willing to pay substantially higher taxes to reap the benefits of such a system. But again, the flip side to high taxes is that when the sweet little babies grow up and want to go to college, instead of having to fork over $100k a year, university is free there. So what do you prefer? Pay now or pay later, kittens.

The woman featured in this piece on Norway ends with a quote on equality between men and women that should give you something to chew on because this, frankly, never occurred to me because if women in American can’t even get paid time off to have a baby, then we’re light years away from addressing equality between men and women in the workplace when balancing families:

“The system will not be completely fair to women until parental leave must be shared 50-50 between mother and father, by law. Only then will women be completely equal in the work market, and perhaps then we will choose to have even more children.”

If you’d like to read the article and start looking into moving costs to Norway, here it is kittens:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4786160.stm

And if you’d like to get paid 10,000 euros to have a baby, then you should move to Poland:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4768644.stm