Because now that I am officially a fugitive-at-large scheduled for surgery that I wasn’t quite expecting to happen so, well, SUDDENLY, I am now carefully spraying down every surface of my house with bleach. And Lysol. And then more bleach. Why? Because GERMS EXIST WHERE CROTCH PARASITES LIVE.
Also, one of the major risks for a surgery like mine is infection, so there you have it. I am trying to minimize my risks WHILE staying sane. Also Also: if anyone knows anyone local who can paint some walls, like, in the next three days, CALL ME.
(and yes, I was serious about the come sit on my couch, yo, offer)
I invited my home slice Mompetition to guest post for me. So I could go buy more bleach. And maybe stare adoringly at my John C. Mayer pictures. A lot.
Aunt Becky asked me to do a guest post. Besides a moment filled with excitement and glee, I felt an overwhelming sense of, well shit, what do I write about? Typically, I like to write about amusing topics. Perhaps one of my tales from days cooped up in a laboratory, pounding out the cure for cancer. Or I could tell you the tale of worms who frolicked in my toilet. That’s right, worms. Someone (not a member of my family), had gone poopoo in a guest toilet we never used, and failed to flush. A week went by and I noticed a horrid smell. I opened the lid and to my horror I found black water and worms swan diving into the sewage. Yes. It happened.
But instead, words that Aunt Becky told me (ok, not me specifically, so I guess I should use the word “US”) resound in my ears. It is important to be honest with your audience. People yearn for truth and hence, will be drawn into the prose. Let’s talk about feminism aka, wearing your vagina on the outside, as well as the inside.
Growing up I was constantly told I could be anything: a veterinarian, an artist, a brain surgeon, anything my little pig-tailed heart desired. I did my time in high school and then went to college. I majored in genetics. It seemed that was not enough, I felt the canines of Virginia Woolf, piercing through my brain.
Next, I continued on to graduate school and completed my studies in cancer biology earning a PhD. During this time I struggled with infertility and triumphantly gave birth to boy/girl twins after my graduation. At the same hospital, I had found a fantastic job that I loved. I utilized my writing talents, people incorporating skills and even had a boss that understood my quirky sense of humor. Then, I gave birth to my babies and 12 weeks after their birth returned to work. I smiled each day and enjoyed the coffee break complete with alone time at my desk. But inside, I was dying.
No one told me it was OK to “just be a mother”. Staying at home with your children was something our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. Stanton and Anthony didn’t work their bustles off so that I would merely sit at home and be a wife and mother. Oh no no. I owed it to our sub species to work work work and be proud of my success. I would stare at my business card mounted on my desk and daydream about what my babies were doing at daycare. Were they sticking to their routine? Did the ladies there remember to not do tummy time with my daughter? Is my son smiling at that other woman who is holding him close.
I worked and worked, some days I would only see them for 30 minutes total. I was not happy. Then, it happened. I got the best news I ever. We had to move. My husband’s job relocated us halfway across the country to the sweltering craplands of Miami. I was in heaven. Now, I had an excuse to quit my job and not return to work. “OH! getting a job in Miami? We may only be there for a few years, it’s not worth it for me to try and find a job.”
We moved. I stayed home. I was happy. Sure there were a few days (weeks!) that sucked here and there. Nap refusals, food thrown in my face, children rolling around on the floor trying to bite one another, all that good infant-toddler transition stuff, but it was the happiest I had ever been.
Then, we had to move back. We all came back to Texas and suddenly it wasn’t an anomaly that I was unemployed. Back in our home state, back with connections, back where people spoke English, I had no excuse not to go find a job. I chose not to and decided to be, a STAY AT HOME MOM (dun dun duuunnn).
I hate it when strangers ask what I do. I still feel the need to justify or say things like “well just until they start school”. Don’t worry, I will work again, please don’t think less of me. I also hate forms. “Employer?” “Work Phone?” My answers are always bitchy or full of sub-text. I wonder if anyone catches it.
I find it interesting that as little girls, we are given baby dolls to play with. Yet, when I was growing up I was never told it was “OK” to be a mommy. Playing mommy was for fun, but you better finish college. Where was all my inner struggle coming from? GUILT. Guilt that I was letting all the women who had come before me down. I had the brains and drive to be a successful working woman, I owed it to them to climb that ladder. And then, one day, it hit me. Feminism is not about being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or being the chief of medicine, it was about having a CHOICE. I can be a woman in a suit or a woman in a rocking chair. It’s OK to be a stay at home mom to support my husband in his career and be with my children 24 hours a day. If that is what I chose to do, so be it.
Many don’t get it. A woman I once worked has called it a “shame”, and “such a waste of talent”. Others comment on why I bothered to get my doctorate if I’m JUST going to be a mom. My friends without children constantly ask me when I’m “going back to work”. Every time someone says that it makes me want to hurt them, possibly slowly and painfully with voodoo needles. But instead, I normally follow it up with the passive-aggressive “what do you mean?” Whether they meant it or not, I thank my fore-mothers for standing up for my rights to be employed by my husband and children.
My only hope, for anyone out there who struggles with the insecurities of this job, is that you are comforted in knowing you are ALLOWED to be whatever you want to be, even if it is a bugger rag for your babies.