Thursday, March 30, 2017

Super Mommies

Just read a blog post written by a mother who feels judged and excluded by the "mommy group." Older woman’s perspective here: I never measured up to the super mommies when my kids were in school. I remember dashing out of work to watch my daughter play sports and sitting alone in the stands while the PTA booster mommies with their perfect hair and clothes gathered in a pack and whispered among themselves. Boy, did I feel like an odd woman out. And yes, it was almost always mommies. There were a few sports fanatic daddies, but they didn’t form packs, they were laser-focused on their poor kid to the exclusion of all else.  There is nothing wrong with being a PTA booster and hanging out with your “mommy group” if that’s what floats your boat; mazel tov says I. But for many of us it feels forced, awkward and induces a sense of inferiority.  Working outside the home saved my life.  Having a hobby (music) helped me create community. Yes, it is important to give our kids many opportunities to participate in activities and encourage them to try new things,, but it is just as important to occasionally do something that YOU want to do. Time and again I have observed super mommies lose their damn minds when baby leaves the nest. Their reason for being is gone and they have no idea what to do with themselves. Many have affairs, get divorced, pile up debt on shopping addictions.  Or worse, they cling to the kid and induce “failure to launch” syndrome.  Micromanaging helicopter parents aren’t serving their  kids' needs, they are feeding their own egos. For the sake of your family, for the sake of your kids, GET A LIFE. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Zadie Smith Writing in Billie Holiday's Voice

"All respect to Ella, all respect to Sarah, but when those gals open their mouths to sing, well, to you it's like someone opened a brand new Frigidaire. A chill comes over you. And you just can't do it like  that. Won't. It's obvious to you that a voice has the same work to do, musically speaking, as the sax or the trumpet or the piano. A voice has got to feel it's way in. Who the hell doesn't know that?"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March; so said the Bard in Julius Caesar. Twelve years ago today my mother came home from work in the early afternoon. My brother dropped by to borrow her car, as he often did, and found her laying down in the middle of the day. I cannot ever remember my mother laying down in the middle of the day. He took off for a few hours and when he came back she was moaning in pain with a blinding headache and asked him to take her to the hospital. She lost consciousness on the way and never woke up. She died the next morning from the massive aneurysm that caused the headache.  The hospital in Centralia is  poor and understaffed, they could have (should have) airlifted her to St. Louis but they didn't. Who knows if it would have made a difference?  The medical professionals tried to convince us that it was inevitable that she would die after the aneurysm, but I always felt like they were covering their ass.

I know this: she died too soon. She was the best of us and she didn't deserve to die so young.  She deserved some time of her own.

Mama in the 50s

Mom is holding Greg, dad is holding me, the two kids are my cousins Tommy and Kay with their mom, my Aunt Eva behind them and my Aunt Janie standing behind Dad.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Worker Bees and Squeaky Wheels

February was one of the busiest months I’ve ever had at work. I usually work 32 hours per week, but I worked close to 45 hours per week for three weeks straight. My boss left us hanging during our busiest time of year. In the grant writing world, many requests and reports are either at the end or the beginning of the calendar year so November – February is a hectic time.  My boss was out from mid-December through mid-February without giving us warning and without making any plans for how her work would get covered. As a result, I was doing my usual job, which is already hectic at that time of year, plus half of hers. It was brutal.

One good thing: my work was good. I did some pretty amazing writing. Although, who knows? There have been times when I thought I did my best writing and we were turned down, other times when I thought the writing was crap and we received funding. It's a crap shoot.

Whether my work is good or band, I could never get away with being gone for two months without making any provision for covering my work. I’d get fired for a stunt like that.

My closest co-workers and I had a long talk yesterday. We are the kind of women who take our jobs seriously, work hard, play by the rules and always try to exceed expectations.  We are loyal, dedicated and it seems to get us absolutely nowhere. Why is it that we worker bee, nose to the grindstone types get no recognition? The people who get promoted are those who make the most noise, the squeaky wheels.