Sunday, January 30, 2005

not even one original thought...

I've been officially unemployed now for five weeks, which is exactly three weeks longer than my over-confident self expected to be jobless. And since I allowed my morale to be boosted by my mother and B, who both pretty much said they expected me to have a good job within a few days, maybe I was delusional. Anyway, I'm embracing joblessness and have made a long list of things I could do if nobody ever calls me back for a second interview. Here are a few of them:

  1. Learn SQL and build a SQL server database for B's new business plan (there is always a new business plan). Plus, if business doesn't take off and reward us with billions of dollars, I could always add the SQL skills to my resume.

  2. Open an eBay store and sell off all of our junk, as well as all of my friends' junk. Since Entrepreneur magazine said this is one 13 Hot Businesses of 2005, maybe I could pay for daycare.

  3. Start blogging about the trials and tribulations of deciding whether or not to be a stay at home mom or to go back to work. Maybe try to sell some of the articles.

And idea #3 is what made me realize, officially, that I'm behind the tide once again.

My friend, Ally, and I always laugh about how our ideas constantly come too late. In college, while finishing up our degrees and dreaming about what our future families would look like, we talked about how we thought it'd be okay and not demeaning to stay at home with our kids, despite what our feminist mothers taught us. We thought that guys who opened doors for us were charming, not condescending, and we liked when they paid for the date.

"We're so okay with feminism, we're past it. We're post-feminists," we told ourselves. And then of course, we found out shortly afterwards that the term had already been coined many, many years earlier. Sigh...

While trying to come up with babynames during our pregnancies, we were looking for hip, original names that wouldn't require our children to tack on the initials of their last names to their nametags at schools. Everything we loved was later found in Pottery Barn catalogs and both of our sons ended up with names that made it onto the top ten lists.

And today when I woke up, B handed me my favorite section of the NY Times and I saw the article, Mommy (and Me). Now I knew there were a lot of people blogging about parenting, and I read a lot of blogs about parenting, too, including Heather B. Armstrong's blog,, which is great (and you can nominate it for a the Bloggies if you think it's a good as I do). And maybe this is naive of me, but I just didn't realize that everyone was blogging about their parenting experiences--that there are perhaps more parents blogging about this than not blogging about it. And maybe most of the parent bloggers are the readers for other parent blogs. I know writing about parenting isn't a new thing at all. I'm not sure it's a bad thing that we're all writing about it, either, but it sure makes it harder to stand out.

And that's the thing that struck me most about the article... It talks negatively about the parent blogger's need to stand out and validate his or her existence. Maybe it's true, but who doesn't need some validation? Especially when it comes to parenting in this totally child-centered world where taking your tantrum prone two-year old is stressful, not just because they might throw a fit, but because as a mother, your method of dealing with the tantrum will most likely be judged by the other parents on the playground. (I always picture them holding up score placards after the scene, the way they do with gymnastics performances.) And especially right now, while I'm not working outside the home (Like my SAHM-speak? I'm trying it out...). My kids are delicious, but they have never said, "Hey Mommy, good job on discplining me after I hit my brother for the umpteenth time. You're going to really help me to become a great person someday." And as loving as B is, I bet he'll never come home and say, "Wow, those kids are really looking nurtured and well-bred today!" I could use an outlet and perhaps, yes, some validation from time to time.

Ayelet Waldman is quoted in the article and she says it best. She says that "[a] blog like this is narcissism in its most obscene flowering. But it's necessary. As a parent your days are consumed by other people's needs. This is payback for driving back and forth to gymnastics all week long."

Yes, a little payback goes a long way.

And can I just say, I was psyched to see that she has a blog, too. Bad Mother is a good read.

I'm not sure I care who and how many people read these entries, but for the short time that I spend writing them, I get to concentrate on me. And since most of my day is absolutely not about meeting my needs, blogging seems even more important. Knowing that I need some time to myself to be a better parent, writing about parenthood even seems like a responsible thing to do.

I haven't been a prolific blogger, but I think that may be about to change. And I suppose I'm okay with being one of the crowd again.