Friday, May 27, 2011

vibrating with irritation: on boredom and perspective

(Photo: Matthew Spevack)
I've felt burnt-out. And I've not dealt well with it. Rather than slowing down, I've pushed through. It's not been pretty.

You know how your children look so precious when they sleep? How sweet it is to "gaze lovingly" at your child, as Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project), puts it, when she's sleeping?

When I do that at night, I regain perspective. The countless times I've felt my body vibrating with irritation, as my friend describes it, melt away and I can be in the moment with her. While, ironically, she's asleep.

After I found myself on the verge of dumping a pot of dirt on my daughter's head last week, I've made an effort to claim a moment each day where I'm truly present with her; where I embrace the "everyday beauty," to quote my friend again. Whether it's kneading the pizza dough together, she gleefully boxing at it with her fists; making lunch into an outdoor picnic in the backyard; or taking a break with her at the porch in the afternoon sunshine to give her all my attention, perchance as we savor cocktail hour together.

Sometimes I feel like I'd be a much better mom if I did not have this constant urge to write. It's so much easier to, say, cook with Lilly, or clean, dance, read, sing, talk, play--I'll even say to garden--than it is to try to think and write with her around. If I can let go of work, I'm not as prone to snap; I'm more present, I have better perspective.

Friday, May 20, 2011

not a magical garden

not a magical garden
The sun's been out, but it's been a sad week. We will not be expecting a magical garden this year. For Easter, Lilly received a garden kit from her grandparents, Gerome's Magical Garden, and she's been pretty psyched about getting out to plant. We've been reading the book about Gerome the Garden Gnome, watching Curious George Goes Green!, and I've been looking forward to including her more in my gardening than last year where the goal primarily seemed to be to keep her out of my garden.

Gerome's Magical Garden
Finally, on Tuesday, we got her pots and seed packets out, the little figurines of Gerome the Gnome with his rake & trowel tool and Terra from the Land of Worms, and one cubic foot of potting soil. Lilly got her new gardening gloves on and following the illustrated instructions, we filled the three pots with soil, watered the dirt, added more soil, and then planted the seeds. Aside from the fact that this small feat took the entire morning, I felt pretty good about it; at times bursting with pride at my little toddler gardener who was executing the tasks with laborious meticulousness.

My inflated pride deflated after I'd gone in to get her some milk. Returning outside, I find her covered with dirt, one pot half emptied, the dirt stirred in another where some daffodils and sticks had been planted alongside the figurines. The third appeared untouched.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

quizzical mama at BlogHer

You might imagine my excitement when I received an email yesterday from a BlogHer editor announcing that one of my posts had been selected to be featured in their Family topic section; especially when I tell you that BlogHer (founded in 2005) is the largest community of women who blog with 25+ million unique visitors per month (Nielsen/NetRatings).

So today my post titled "Children's Sex Education Book Too Graphic?!" has been featured on BlogHer's front page under "What's Hot on BlogHer:"

And even more prominently on the front page of the BlogHer Family section under "What's HOT:"

I've had a profile page since February at BlogHer where I feature posts from my three blogs, and recently my quizzical mama blog was approved for inclusion in the BlogHer directory too. Some of my posts have received really high reads, like my post on Lust Films. But today is the first time a post by me has been selected to be featured. Fun!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

what I got for mother's day

This year for Mother's day, I got the gift of time, and this card. Inside it reads: "Do whatever it takes to get some peace and quiet today. Happy Mother's Day." My husband had added this:
Dear Anne-mor,
You have been a good mamma for almost 3 years running now. Go on, do what the card says; get out of here, and get some peace and quiet!! Take the magazine and go!     Love, Leighton
Dear mamma,
DON'T listen to pappa!! STAY with me, I love you so ... 
I love you for all the neat things that you do for me, helping me to grow and be a strong big girl - and someday hopefully into somebody like you. Here's a book to remind you of all that only you and I can give to each other; to say thanks for all that you've done already.     Love, Lilly
Mother to Daughter, Daughter to Mother: A Daybook and ReaderThe said magazine was the latest issue of In Style for my occasional escape into fashion and gloss; the book a daybook organized by month and theme featuring poems and excerpts short enough for my brief amounts of devoted quiet quality reading time, all written in the voices of mothers and daughters capturing "the special connections and separations between mothers and daughters." Seeing that I have "paper memory," as my friend puts it, and therefore always carry a notebook in my pocket, I appreciate that the book also provides room for my own notes.

My post this past winter about glossy magazines spurred quite a bit of discussion on my Facebook wall. Most of the commenters bemoaned all the advertisements in these sorts of publications, advising me to shun them.

The thing is, I'm not too bothered by the ads; they're all part of the hyperbole gloss just as much as the catwalk shots. And more than once, the featured interview has inspired some thoughts in me, like Cameron Diaz' words on the challenges faced by women who want to pursue both kids and career, and more recently Julianne Moore's comments about pressing social issues and the need for reproductive rights ("If you don't have control of your own body, you have no control of your life." InStyle / March 2011).

True, mostly the magazine contains a lot of glamorous fluff, but on days when I can barely contain my frustration of motherhood, that's the sort of thing I crave.

Like yesterday.
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