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The Whatever Works Club

21 Feb

Any of you who are mamas or have mama friends know that there are two main, and diametrically opposed, parenting philosophies: attachment parenting (babywearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding) and…actually i don’t know the name of the other philosophy, but it endorses crying it out among other things.  When I was looking for a Mommy & Me group, I specifically avoided one (even though it is located less than a mile from my house and came highly recommended by a friend of mine) because the description was very attachment parent-y.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I am all in favor of parents doing whatever they want to do, and have absolutely nothing against people sleeping with their babies, wearing them 24 hours a day strapped to their bodies, etc.  (I actually wish Lucy liked being worn, but she seems to feel too constrained.  I hope she’ll change her tune when she’s older and we can forego the infant insert.)  I just don’t want people judging me for my choices, and I get the sense that attachment parenting enthusiasts tend to be more judgy than the average mama bear (is that me being judgy about them being judgy?  Ok, now I’m making my head spin).

I love discussing all things mamahood with my dear friend T. because we don’t ascribe to either of these camps and rather share the same general philosophy, which is a hybrid best described as “whatever the hell works for you.”  Yesterday T. sent me this blog post with the comment, “finally a moms’ club we can join!”  The author shares our viewpoint and eloquently describes her club as the “I think I’m doing this ok but I might be wrong, but that’s ok too and maybe you’d like to join me group.”  I loved this paragraph so I’ll just paste in the whole thing:

Whatever happened to just being a middle-of-the-road mom? Can you try to feed your kid organic food, but still let them have a Nutter Butter? Can you insist on bedtime routines, but occasionally let your kids stay up late and or let them sleep in their superhero costumes? When did the rules become so rigid and extreme? I’d like to start a new club called the “I think I’m doing this ok but I might be wrong, but that’s ok too and maybe you’d like to join me group.” We meet every Wednesday night after the kids are asleep. And if you’re late because your kid was on a sugar high and you caved and read her 10 stories instead of two because you didn’t have the strength to argue, that’s ok. We’ll save some wine for you.

A couple of things:  First, I totally want to have a glass of wine with this author, based on this post alone.  Second, I ended up looking up this author’s bio because her tagline says “Lawyer/Mother,” and I thought, “I’m a lawyer / mother!”  It turns out in addition to having her J.D., she also has an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies (which explains why she’s qualified to blog for HuffPo and I’m qualified to blog for my enormous audience of 27 followers — no offense, I love all 27 of you, by the way!).  I have a close friend who also blogs for HuffPo (also one of the most impressive people I know), so I think I will try to find out how one gets that kind of gig.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get my crying child and feed her a bottle of pumped milk.  Don’t judge!

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The Old Girls’ Club

20 Feb

It’s no accident that shows like Sex and the City and Girls are so popular.  (Ok, maybe I’m a little bit obsessed with Girls right now, sue me.)  I’m a die-hard SATC fan (even movie 1, but not movie 2 — shudder — except for one part I’ll get to in a moment), and I love Girls.  There is great writing in both shows, yes, and they are both risk-taking and include lots of sex, but what I personally adore about both shows is their focus on female friendships.  

These shows celebrate what all women know: there is simply nothing like great girlfriends.  In SATC movie 1, the part that gets me to cry every single time is when Carrie rushes to Miranda’s house in the snow in New Year’s Eve so that she won’t be alone.  Carrie went through many men (and, though I love Chris Noth, I was never a fan of Mr. Big),  but it always came back to the four women.  In the second movie, which I highly recommend avoiding, Charlotte and Miranda have a late-night tipsy conversation that is the only moment in the movie that does not reek of frivolity and excess.  They commiserate about how motherhood is hard — OK, just watch the clip.  And in Girls (spoiler alert!) Jessa comes over to Hannah’s house to take a bath and drown her sorrows.  (I can’t say I’ve ever gotten to the level of bathing with my girlfriends, but to each her own.)  And when there are conflicts with girlfriends they can be as difficult and heart-wrenching as any fight with a significant other — think about Carrie and Miranda’s falling out in movie 1, or Hannah and Marnie’s blowout at the end of season 1 of Girls.  As I wrote about previously, Susannah Sonnenberg’s memoir She Matters explores the passion and friction in her female friendships in a very interesting way.

When I got married, in her toast my friend M. said something to the effect of “Men come and go, but girlfriends are forever.”  Setting aside the fact that statement may not have been entirely appropriate for a wedding toast, I do appreciate the sentiment.  I hope and expect that Hubs and I will be together forever, but because we met a little later in life our relationship will still never be as long as my friendships with my girlfriends.  And while Hubs knows all my ins and outs and I can talk to him about anything, there are some things that are just better understood by a girlfriend.

For example, since Lucy was born, I feel like I have some strange kinship with other moms.  Not just my close friends, who I love trading war stories with, but also casual acquaintances.   A friend of a friend, who I used to see regularly for dinner with our mutual friend but hadn’t in a long time, had a baby this month.  Suddenly after I had Lucy I became very sympathetic to her and bought her a baby gift and made plans to see her.  I also feel compelled to regale pregnant friends with advice (since I am such a veteran – HA!), which I hope they don’t feel too annoyed about.

As I’m trying to write about other things I keep coming back  over and over again in my mind to this theme of female friendships.  Although I worry a little bit about tackling this and seeming too derivative of the shows I talked about in this post, I wonder whether this is speaking to me for a reason and perhaps I need to just go with it and see where it takes me.

My Tiny Muse

27 Jan

 

photo-24

Those of you following my blog over the past couple of weeks are probably wondering by now what the heck is going on.  I started off doing a basic mama blog and now I’m posting poetry and writing about writing and… ????  I guess the best way I can explain it is like this:

When I was younger (starting in elementary school) I wrote all the time — poetry, short stories, journaling, you name it.  My parents love to tell me (and everyone else) that we’d be in the car and I’d ask them for a piece of paper (which would sometimes have to be a brown paper bag) because I’d “feel a poem coming on.”

At some point, around the time I left for college, I mostly stopped.  I would occasionally still feel inspired to pen a poem or a journal entry — in particular, I remember journaling in Spanish during my semester in Madrid — but for the most part I was focused on other things.  (Studying?  Or, more likely, guys and going to parties?  Sigh.)  Then I became a lawyer and I think my lawyer brain just took over my creative brain.  I may have still been using the creative juices somewhat for lawyering, but there wasn’t much energy left to apply them elsewhere.

But now, post-Lucy, I find myself struck with an overwhelming inspiration to write (yes, even poetry!) that I haven’t felt since high school.  I think part of it is being free from school and work and other things that might usually sap my energy and my attention.  And I think part of it is that mamahood is such a hugely intense, emotional experience that in some ways mirrors being younger, when everything is felt so deeply and on such a grand scale.  Drew Barrymore had a daughter, Olive, a couple of months before Lucy was born, and when interviewed she’s said that she feels like she has a crush on her daughter, butterflies and everything.  (I really think Lucy and Olive could be BFFs if only I could arrange a playdate…)  I totally identify with that.  The way I feel about Lucy (and, I’m sure, the way most mamas feel about their babies) is so raw and makes me feel so vulnerable that it’s like being sixteen all over again, when I was constantly experiencing the highs and lows of (what I thought at the time was) love and heartbreak, before I developed a thicker skin.  Maybe it just took my skin getting a little thinner again to get here.

In any event, I recognize that this blog hasn’t quite found its voice or its tone, and it will probably continue to be all over the place.  But I hope that you’ll stick around for the ride!

At the Beginning

27 Jan

Before she had Los Angeles, or even the thought

Of places beyond the next town

There was still the urgency of words and summer nights where

Every moment so many things seemed on the verge of

Happening.

There were drives down Belt Line to feel the rush of travel without distance.

Sometimes I think that girl

Who understood the magic of language and not the weight of adult concerns

Already knew, without knowing, who she was going to be.