Friday, April 11, 2008

A strange kind of deprivation

I deprive myself of basic things that most people don’t think twice about. I tell myself that I deprive myself because money is tight. Or it just isn’t necessary. But I would LOVE to stop wearing maternity pants and have some clothes that fit me. Or Bras, or moisturizer that promises beautiful skin or makeup that hides my dark undereye circles. These are not necessarily luxuries. I mean, if I lived in the slums in South America, I would hardly be worried about these things, but they are not the same as $500 shoes or a $10,000 piece of jewelry.  But then I think they kind of are.
  
Every day I choose between deprivation and indulgence. I seem to choose indulgence only when the reward is fleeting, like having a $15 lunch. If I told Ben that I needed some cash for bras that fit my post-baby boobs, he would surly help me out. But I would rather not ask him, and then spend the rest of my day feeling bitter that I can’t go out and get them. Not being fully exposed, nipples and all, every time the kid yanks on my neckline is not really something that I should feel is an indulgence. As that one comedian said “How can ‘instantly improve vision’ not be at the top of your priorities?” And yet, it isn’t. So obviously silly and yet so true. It just isn’t.

It is a strange “neurotic deprivation” and I want to know why I do it.

When I was younger my mother never needed anything fancy. She used generic maxi pads. She used whatever lotion happened to be in the house. She bought pantyhose and earrings at the dollar store. She was not a fancy woman. And yet, every so often, I would hear her arguing with my father and saying things like “Can’t I just have anything nice?...Don’t I deserve something special once in a while?”

I never understood this. We were not poverty stricken. Money was tight but we always had a roof and food and enough to have fun outings. My mother worked and would take me shopping when she got paid and spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothes and toys that would only see daylight once or twice.
I used to call her “the martyr”- always making sacrifices just so that she could complain about them and have everyone feel that she was a Goddamned hero. It made me crazy. I used to drag her into the Women’s clothing sections of fancy department stores and try to force her to spend $30 on a shirt. But she acted just as happy with a $10 one from Kmart….most of the time…

But then there would be a stressful day or my dad would forget Mother’s Day (again) and my mother would get hysterical and I would see that she felt deprived. True, it was often her choice to live like that. In the moment, she felt that she would rather take care of us than take care of herself. But wasn’t she entitled to her own care? If she always gave up nice stuff so that we could have things, who was giving things up for her?
But in truth, it’s deeper than this. I could see it all the time. She walked around like she didn’t deserve to have nice things. Because it was us or her. And we always won. But then she somehow knew that she did. She felt like she was missing out. All the time. She didn’t take care of herself because she had no pride in herself, she showed her pride through me. She loved me more than herself. And even more so she just didn’t give herself things. My Dad wasn’t going to do it. Why didn’t she realize this sooner? Why did she sit around waiting for someone to do it for her?

Is this the curse of motherhood for me?

Am I just doing what I think “being a mom” is all about? Deprivation, resentment and finally reaching a breaking point? Do I think I have to prove my love by not caring about myself? Or is it more than this even?

Because I think it is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blind Dates and the horrors of the MOMMIE friends

I feel like a total dork. Ever since someone planted the idea that making new friends is like dating, it has stuck and now I keep thinking what a total idiot I am sometimes.

I have known since about 2001 that what I really needed was to reach out and make some new friends. Not that my old friends were bad or anything, but they were old friends. They had moved across the country or gotten real jobs or grown up and over me and I still called them my bestest friends. But something about having a kid made me realize that maybe my long-distance email myspace yahoo facebook selenaland contacts weren't really working for me anymore. Maybe it's because spending too much time in my own head is bad, but attempting to spend time in the head of an infant is really really bad. Besides the fact that I have no idea what I am doing as a mom and I believe that I am doing everything wrong, I also spend too much time not knowing how to entertain a baby. I just knew that I needed some perspective. So my "friend dating" life began.

I was determined to find some kind of "Mommie and Me" group. I joined meetup.com and after joining several of them, managed to make it to one meeting in a month. It was nice. We had coffee. Their kids were all cute. But did I feel that "magic" with any of the moms? No. I decided I was content just to get out of the house, and if once and a while I got a meal out of it, then awesome. Man, I felt like I was dating boring IT guy again.

I read some of the profiles of the other moms. Blah Blah Blah...Married...blah...LOVE HAVING BABIES...Blah blah...Manicures and fashion and shopping addiction...and on and on. Not really interested. A couple of the moms and I exchanged some emails. It went no where.

Then today I had a good "Date". It was her that referred to it as a "Blind date" and I appreciated the humor in that. See how fucking insane I have become? But here's the important thing: I finally met another mom who doesn't get her nails done...Who admits to being medicated during (two of them) her pregnancy. She calls her kids demons (one of them) and totally knows that when I say Lila is the Spawn of Satan that it only means that I adore her. We hung out at the bookstore and talked about things. It feels so good to just connect with someone out here. I admit, I didnt realize how bored and miserable I had become (become????Hahahahahaha).

It's sad that I feel all happy like I would if I went on a good date. Seriously. Just to have a mom friend is a very exciting prospect for me. And to have one that is actually not a soccer mom is quite a find out in these parts.

I have become the lamest dork in the universe and it's all because I had a kid.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Book burning party at my place

OH MY GOD!!! I swear that I am burning all my parenting books. All 1,759 of them (give or take).

I am tired of comparing my kid to the "normals". So she doesn't crawl yet. She is extra good at manipulating adults to bring her where she needs to go. So she won't sit still and eat 3 solid food meals a day. She is smart enough to know that lounging back on mom's lap having her bottle held for her leaving her hands free to pull the strings on mom's pajama bottoms is, by far, a better use of time.

I am also over the advice about sleep training (aka passive-aggressive child abuse) because none of the so-called experts bother to explain that when you get one area under control (like now my kid will go to bed easily at night) another ridiculous problem creeps up in its place (she now wakes up at 5:30 am ready to go).

I refuse to be held captive by the "experts" anymore. I am only listening to other moms. And not just any other moms. The ones who go on and on about how their kid started sleeping through the night at 2 weeks old and never went back can suck it. I am determined to find mom friends who had terrible children who made them question if there wasn't some one night stand with Satan that she forgot about which could have led to such a completely wild (seemingly evil) baby.

I WORSHIP the written word. It is my comfort and my friend. I would never hurt it because it has gotten me through some tough times. But the parenting books are going up in flames because I'm convinced that reading them is good for NOBODY.