Monday, May 25, 2009

Turning over a new something or other....

For the past couple of weeks, I have not been sleeping well. I'd wake up groggy, stumble through the morning (with much assistance from coffee), crash for a nap when Benevolent Dictator went down, got up groggy and stumbled through the day until evening, when I'd be up putzing around until about midnight.

Which is not how one should do things as a parent. Especially the parent of an acrobatic toddler who will exploit any weakness she can to wreak havoc around the house.

So today, I'm attempting to get my nap addiction under control. What used to be a delightful respite once or twice a week has gotten out of control. And hopefully, by doing this, I can also get some writing done. It sounds strange, but I think I need to write more. I need to exercise my literary muscles, or else they get flabby and I suddenly am not sharp as I once was. You know, to point where I'm sitting on my ass watching Sandra Lee and thinking, "The woman has some bright ideas!"

Thankfully, it hasn't gotten that far. Sandra Lee is still the culinary equivalent of Nickelback.

Anyways, to kick off this attempt at writing exercise, I wanted to address this:

I will admit, I HOWLED with the "Who's the father?" line and the "Bitch." But it also kind of stung as a formerly pregnant woman. Maybe it's that I've been seeing stuff like STFU, Parents and a rather long article talking about women and their Facebook profiles, which feature status updates of their kids and pictures of their kids for user icons.

First off, if you have access to my Twitter updates, you'll see I talk about Benevolent Dictator A LOT. I'll 'fess up to it. Because really, that's my job. People will talk about the thing that occupies their life the most and for me, that's a nearly-two diva that sprung forth from my uterus. If you knew me beforehand, I talked about my job a lot. Or how tired I was.

But I can switch up the topic to something else. I can talk about bad reality television, music, politics, cooking, animals and horror stories. I'll even expound on how with the new Star Trek movie, it's like Lord of the Rings in that there's every type of man for every type of woman -- only this time IIINNNNN SSSSPPPPAAAACCCCCEEE!

To simply assume that I'm a brain-dead twit or that all parents lose themselves to their children because of a handful of status updates is a bit much. If I did that, I'd assume that most of the people I've seen on the public Twitter timeline are drunken geeks who love to follow celebs, eat and gossip.

And as for the "Pregnant Women are Smug," I will also confess that I used the cliches when confronted with "Do you want a boy or a girl?" Because seriously, I heard that question about five billion times. And I got sick of it as well as people who insisted on pressing the issue. You're lucky I didn't say, "Right now I want you to SHUT THE FUCK UP."

I mean, you wouldn't get up in someone's face with "Why aren't you married? No really. Why aren't you married? Do you hate men/women? Do you fear commitment?" So why do people feel they can get up in a parent's face and press matters regarding development, pregnancy, parenting styles, etc.?

There are mothers who are that smug, I assume. Admittedly, I've never met them, or I have a high tolerance for people who suffer from the asshat syndrome. I've met more parents where I wanted to talk about something other than my children, but was unable to because the topic kept returning to the wee beasties. I tend to think that I do that and other parents do that because kids tend to be the safest topic to talk about among people you don't know very well. And with friends, well, if you're going to ask me how I'm doing or how the kids are, don't be surprised if I tell you.

I guess what I don't understand is the vitriol behind all of this. Yes, having kids is no big deal and may not warrant some of the fawning that occurs. But cripes, who the hell are these people hanging out with and why haven't they reevaluated their relationship with these folks? If you wouldn't put up with this from a parent, why would you put up with this from anyone else?


Sid said...

Three things:

1. I cant speak for anyone else, but I *am* a drunken geek who follows celebs, eats and gossips. It's part of my charm.

2. You know, I thought this was just smarm and that I didn't know any of these people, because generally, the parents I know personally *are* really laid back. And then yesterday, coincidentally, a woman I know used a Louis CK joke as her facebook status: "You're not a woman until someone has come out of your womb and stepped on your dreams." Which was meant to be funny, I'm sure! But there is that attitude among many, many people who have chosen to have children: if you haven't made the same choice, it's because you're selfish, and not as grown up.

3. People do get up in the faces of unmarried people who haven't married. Most of my friends are unmarried in our thirties, and the women among us, especially, do get exactly that kind of intrusion. And people want to force us to have babies. RIGHT NOW! Lord, the number of people who half jokingly informed me my fertile time is running out, STARTING in my late the top of my head, my old pediatrician (recently told me I only have 4 years of good eggs left), step-father's family, maternal family, strange australian woman I shared a hostel room with in London...we do get it. Honestly. Out of left fucking field, most of the time.

This vid to me seemed less like vitriol and more like smarm/snark - but I'm not a mother, so I wouldn't be sensitive to it. I doubt these women are genuinely angry at pregnant women as a group- but there is, in our society, this bizarre divide that I think these women probably hear a lot about and are lashing out at. You marry, you have kids. If you don't? People will ask you what's wrong with you, insinuate that you're too picky, too selfish, immature, or gay. And that's when they aren't assuming that secretly you're just JEALOUS you haven't gotten married and popped out a tyke yet (I have a friend whose parents suggested she was just getting a dog because her brother's wife was pregnant, and she was jealous of the attention. WTF? Really? She can't just want a dog?) So even if you're fine with your pregnant peeps, OTHER people will start shit by suggesting you must be so saaad it's not you!

You and your hubs have been married a long time (you got that locked down early!), and I don't know how many of the rest of your friends married in their 20s, and are having kids around the same time. Maybe you don't see the kind of shit married people with kids actually do give to single women without. Not in the form of hostile accusations, but just in subtle ways ("Oh my god, I'm so tired - work and bobby and my husband...oh, you wouldn't understand." "Oh, well sounds like your career is going well! Now we just need to find you a man to settle down with...") There is a tendency to reduce a woman's worth to her ability to catch a man and have kids - and it does show in the fact that, like in the stupid clip here, one woman was talking about how excited she was to have published a novel and blah blah blah, and the other was like, "yes well I'm pregnant and nothing I did was as important as this!"

Really what these women should be lashing out at is a patriarchal culture that values women's contribution to society as incubators MORE than as individuals, and tells women you aren't a fucking Woman until you've given birth. That would be great. Because that's really the problem here. I'm sure PLENTYof pregnant women would much rather NOT have strangers giving them the third degree, and the strangers probably are only doing it out of politeness because they think the pregger lady is probably So! Excited! when really she just wants that shit to be OVER already.

I just wish people would STFU and respect each other's life decisions, really.

Whoa. /blog on your blog.

Viv said...

Sid I love you for your drunken geekery, celeb-loving, craziness. And this quote:

"Really what these women should be lashing out at is a patriarchal culture that values women's contribution to society as incubators MORE than as individuals, and tells women you aren't a fucking Woman until you've given birth."

But one of my friends also had a good observation about second wave feminism and how a woman's worth in that feminist movement was about NOT having kids, NOT getting married and NOT choosing to stay at home instead of working.

So admittedly, I am sensitive to this from the angle of, "OMG. You stay at home and raise your child? You took a break from your career to be a mommy? How droll. How 1950's."

Which is the flip side of what you have to deal with. And when I saw that stuff, it just hit that nerve again that if you become a parent, you lose your identity and turn into a pod person.

But ultimately, I think you're right in that everyone needs to mind their own damn business.

And I promise not to say anything about your dating status, ovaries, reproduction or crap like that unless you ask.

SiddityintheCity said...

Oh, I hear you re: second wave feminism. And I think women in the third wave/post-feminist/whatever are only now beginning to realize what a mistake that tack was, because all it does is further divide women, and again, fails to respect individuals and their choices (and the choices *available* to them, but that's a whole 'nother issue.)

One of the feminist voices I really love on the blogosphere is Twisty over at I Blame the Patriarchy, who keeps trying to hammer home that it's not about getting men and women into the same sized societal cages, it's about getting *everybody* out of the motherfucking cage.

And I don't feel like simple discussions about dating and marriage and reproduction are necessarily problematic. I think they become trouble when we start trying to use our own metrics to judge each others choices, and see differing choices as either indication that someone is therefore disapproving of our own, or they must be wishing they were us.