Blogs, hmm, who does that?
I have found the few mom blogs I’ve viewed are often intimidating or annoying–who has the time to cook fresh meals from scratch (locally grown, organic ingredients), hand wash cloth diapers and start a charity for children and their families? Hippie Martha Stewarts. Right, except there is that fantasy lurking in the depths of my soul too. Clean, yet quirky home. Artistically talented, yet always polite children. Very accessible mom who also has a successful career. Whoa, so what I don’t like about these blogs is probably what I want but haven’t managed to manifest. I stopped looking almost instantly.
Besides, who wants to be boxed into a mom-blog? Ah, Doris Day in Please Don’t Eat the Daisies is told by her husband, David Niven, that she is so much more than a housewife. “All housewives are,” she tells him. That was in 1960. Does anyone call themself a housewife today? I doubt it, but the bill of goods my generation was sold was have it all–career, children and great style. And make your parenting attachment style. And your career creative and lucrative and your style flippin’ creative as hell. Yeah, well, it seems the sales force was setting us up for failure or at least abiding frustration.
Here’s my reality:
I’m a 46-year-old mom of four boys, ages 18 to two years old, and one daughter who is six weeks old. Truly, had the two-year-old been a girl, I’d have stopped there. But I just knew this one would be a girl (yeah, so what if I’ve been wrong before?) and when our daughter was born last month the first question I asked the midwife was, “Is there a vagina?” She told me to just look myself. Yep, the ultrasound had not lied, girl, girl, girl! Yippee! I held our girl and we looked at her. Bluish, alienesque newborn, as they all are when they first pop out, we quickly noticed some other things. “Her eyes look Downsy,” I told the midwife. She calmly told me she’d do a newborn exam in a few minutes. The skin on the back of her neck was voluminous, when she turned her head she looked like she had a handle of flesh back there. And her pupils were ghostly white.
Our girl was born with Down syndrome and bi-lateral cataracts. She has been the primary focus of life this past month and a half, but not our only focus.
My oldest son, the first three children are from a previous marriage, went off to the University of Michigan ten days after his sister was born. The second boy is in the throes of marching band season and puppy love with a young woman who lives in Montreal (we are in O-HI-O), the third boy is working through hard issues with his father while the two-year-old is just that, replete with tantrums and an explosion of language and ideas.
Claude, Hugo, Jules, Leif and Lyra. Until I was in my late 20s, I swore I’d never have kids. I was my mother’s only child and neither of my parents impressed me with their parenting. Frankly, I was afraid of becoming a mother. But the urge kicked in when I was in my late 20s (hormones perhaps, mixed with a crazy love) and now here I am, the mother of a family considered large by most American standards.
I’ve been looking for fulltime work for five years. I received my MFA in creative writing at the end of 2010 in the worst economy I’ve ever lived through (and unless you are 90+ or from Brazil, it’s the worst economy you’ve lived through too). Last year, I worked at the local Waldorf school, where my kids attend(ed) but the cost of two babies in daycare is $300 more a month than I was making. So I’m telling myself I’m on Maternity Leave (italics make it more official). I’m figuring out what’s next as things feel like a new segment of life is unfolding. One child launching, one arriving with a genetic disorder. I love having a job, feeling useful, collecting my pay. But if I’m on Maternity Leave I can ease up on the job hunt and start this blog, clean some closets, maybe even read some books. All while learning what Lyra’s needs will be long term.
It was a month before Lyra was born when a friend suggested I write a blog. It was all I could do to not impolitely dismiss her idea out of hand. But the idea geminated and I was given encouragement by my partner, Max (who is Leif and Lyra’s father). Claude started a blog as part of his homework for one of his college classes using WordPress and said it was easy to set up. And other than getting past all the ways I can give WordPress money, it was.
So here goes (yeah, the first post is mom-blog-ish).