Monday, April 12, 2010

The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

My aunt sent me the book "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" and I'm a few chapters in. The book has created a firestorm of controvery and Ms. Gottlieb has been on several talk shows defending her position. The truth may set you free, but to be honest, it's depressing me. Here's why: It's actually a realistic look at finding a partner after 35 years old... She' not saying to "settle" as we know it, but to accept certain flaws because we too are flawed. To lessen our list of "must haves" and look for a "good husband" rather than "Prince Charming". That all sounds sane and I can agree with all of that.

Here's why it's depressing. The whole first part(and maybe the rest, I haven't gotten to it yet) she writes about the difficulty, near impossibility, of finding a "good enough" husband. Take this excerpt:

"Having a child in the house changes the specifics - you're never alone and in fact, you desperately crave some solitude - but the longing for an adult partner remains. When I decided to have a child, it had nothing to do with staving off loneliness. It had to do with hoping to find The One without the time pressure of a biological clock. If I was aware enough to know that a child would be no cure-all for a lack of male companionship, I truly believed, in an astoundingly naive way, that I could simply do things backward: child first, soul mate later. But as hard as it was to meet The One before I became a parent, I hadn't anticipated that once you have a baby alone, not only do you age about tn years in the first ten months, but if you don't have time to shower, eat, urinate in a timely manner, or even leave the house except for work, where you spend every waking moment that your child is at day care, there's very little chance that a man - much less The One - is going to knock on your door and join that party."

Sheesh! True!

I've join Eharmony and over the past two weekends sent the first communication out to over 40 men, and gotten 2 responses. That's fine. I only need one husband. But the numbers have definitely changed from when I was 20 and there were 200 unsolicited overtures in my mailbox. I think I have also been naive to think a man would want to join my party... My family thinks it's possible, because they know me and think I'm wonderful. (Thanks family!) But a man would have to be partially insane to willingly jump in my boat, I think. I saw this over the weekend when I brought Charlie and 2 dogs out to eat with a friend and her autistic son. It was a circus. The dogs escaped, the autistic son shrieked, Charlie flung tacos on the floor for the dogs to eat, I got wrapped up in leashes.... Several men walked by and chuckled, but didn't stop to chat, even though my friend made several opening remarks that could have been taken as invitations.

Ladies, we're screwed.

I'm not giving up. After all, I've already paid for 3 months and I'm nothing if not frugal. I would never waste that amount of money. But my sunny optimism has seriously clouded over. Gottlieb has burst my "Prince Charming" bubble. Maybe that's a good thing. We'll see.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eyebrow Mayhem

Another thing I've noticed about this getting older thing, other than some wrinkles appearing and the diminishing ability to read signs in the distance, is some craziness going on with my eyebrows. I thought the hair growth thing only happened to men. Huh.

Does this happened to you in the mornings?

What are some other signs of age I've got to look forward to?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Steroids and Sugar Daddies

Last night Charlie couldn’t sleep. She’s hyped up on meds. She was bouncing in her crib like a baboon, with her whole body trampolining into the air, butt almost as high as her shoulders, nearly bouncing out of the crib. When I walked into her room, she’d start with the “huh huh huh huh huuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” which translates loosely into “pickmeuppickmeuppickmeup


A mother’s worst enemy. And best friend.

I showed Charlie the boo-boo on my finger this morning and explained it was an “ouchie”. She frowned with concentration. “Boo…. boo?” she asked. “Yes, a boo-boo. See? When Mama kisses boo-boos, they feel all better” and I kissed my finger and then waggled it for her to see: “Alllll better!” She looked at me with one eyebrow lowered in suspicion, like she was saying: “What hoodoo voodoo doth you spouteth, Mother?? Do you seriously think I’m going to fall for that???”

When I pick Charlie up from daycare, there’s nothing better than seeing her hurl her little body in my direction, little chubby legs pumping fast to get to me for a bear hug. Huge smiles. But almost as soon as we reach the car, she is whining… sometimes already crying. She’s so tired. It makes the evenings difficult, to say the least. Some days it’s enough to rock her on the couch with a bottle, to have that down time to regenerate. We all need that, don’t we? But some nights even that doesn’t work, and she seems ready to go to bed by 6PM. Which we can’t do or she’ll be up at 3AM. Add steroids into this mix and it’s a moody disaster. I wish I could help her more, but these are long days that I have to work, to afford her daycare. As Charlie would say: “Dah-jeee, whey ahh ewww??” which translates literally into; “Sugar Daddy, where are you???”

What? Doesn't your kid say that?


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheering My Old Ass Up

Not much could make me giggle this morning, but this did, so I'm thankful.

I'm taking comfort in the fact that 40 is the new 25.

So there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Turn 40 Tomorrow

"It's better than the alternative" is what everyone is telling me and that may be true but I'm not psyched about it.

That is all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mama Vs. Mommy

I'm teaching Charlie to call me "Mama".

I like it better than "Mommy" for some reason, it sounds warmer to me.

It's more caveman.

More Elvis.

Sometimes I slip, because "Mommy" is what I grew up on, and it's hard to change these types of things mid-stream. She has an easier time saying "mama" anyway. It's such a perfect sounding word, coming out of her mouth, even when she is insistently, impatiently, screeching: 'Ma-maaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! Ma-maaaaaaaaaa!" it always gets my response.

I'm curious, what do you like to be called and why?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Operating Instructions

Another book review.

“Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year” by Anne Lamott (of Traveling Mercies fame)

I love this book and I’m only ¾’s of the way into it.

Oh, it has GEMS!

Bright sparkly GEMS all over!

Here is one I can relate to: “I have these secret pangs of shame about being single, like I wasn’t good enough to get a husband.”

Or how about: “ …one of the worst things about being a parent, for me, is the self-discovery, the being face to face with one’s secret insanity and brokenness and rage. I have always known, or at least believed, that way down deep, past being kind and religious and trying to take care of everyone, I was seething.” Wow-sa, does that hit home. Those sleepless nights when the baby is colicky and you think you could ram your head straight into a wall from desperation…

About a decade ago, I recall an astrologist doing my chart, he put my birth date, birth place, etc into a computer program, looked up at me and said: “You are completely unbalanced.” I said, “Tell me something I don’t already know.” He said, “You are unbalanced in that you take care of everyone and no one takes care of you.” At the time it was so true. I had a dog, two cats, a townhouse, 14 residents in a halfway house I was directing, and 13 staff members who were mostly looney-tunes themselves. Nowadays, take away 2 cats, replace them with 2 more dogs and a toddler, and I’m in the same position. Except with more responsibility, another house and 200 clients. I can feel rage bubbling up at any given moment, at the slightest provocation. On the other hand, I’m blessed with a great job, a loving family, good health and everything is fine. Go figure. Is every mother like this? Or just me and Anne Lamott??

And the way she describes the dichotomy of motherly emotions is FUNNY: “I wish he could take longer naps in the afternoon. He falls asleep and I feel I could die of love when I watch him, and I think to myself that he is what angels look like. Then I doze off, too, and it’s like heaven, but sometimes only twenty minutes later he wakes up and begins to make his gritchy rodent noises, scanning the room wildly. I look blearily over at him and think, with great hostility, Oh, God, he’s raising his loathsome reptilian head again.”

She confides about her fears about giving birth to a son, rather than the more familiar gender. She writes: “…of course I’m edgy about the whole thing, about having my child having a penis instead of a nice delicate little lamb of a vagina…” and goes on to describe in colorful language the assaults she has endured at the receiving end of penis’ (penii?). I also thought it would be impossible for my body to create a male. When I decided to adopt, it never occurred to me to ask for a boy. I thought I wouldn’t be able to love a boy… they are so different. So foreign. Now that I’m a mom, I realize I COULD love a boy, very much, but it didn’t seem that way during the imagining stage.

She writes about the pain her son will inevitably go through not having a father: “ I don’t have any idea what I will tell Sam when he is old enough to ask about his father. I’ll say that everyone doesn’t have something and that he doesn’t have this one thing, but that we have each other and that is a lot…” I can see myself saying something similar to Charlie.

To try and fill the gap of fatherlessness Anne is amassing a “tribe" to help take care of him, made up of family and friends. Asking for help no matter how difficult that can be. She has people stopping by every day, bringing groceries, cooking, doing laundry, babysitting, taking her son to the park. Jeez! I’m missing out! I’ve been taking care of Charlie 24/7 when not at work, except for when her grandparents visit. Reading that part motivated me to pick up the phone and call a mom I know and suggest we trade babysitting hours on the weekends, which she agreed would be a great idea.

It’s not often I find a book that is both motivating, relatable, AND funny, so I highly recommend this one for all new mothers and even old ones. The love she feels for her son absolutely comes through, this is not a “bashing motherhood” book. Just a realistic, no holds barred type of motherhood book. There’s a gem on every page, every few lines for Pete’s sake! Too many to transcribe here. Go out and buy this book. It would also make a great gift for any pregnant woman, especially singles.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How Do YOU Eat an Oreo Cookie??

While I was making toffee, Charlie wanted to cook too. I put some cereal in a bowl and let her stir it around for a bit. Then gave her a cookie. What a mess! But lots of fun. I love her face when she hears the word "cookie". I remember how exciting that word was when I was little!