A few days a go I got a call from an unknown number, which I missed. It was the middle of the day. I kind of mildly panicked. Tried to call back. Checked every possible way that I could to make sure that it wasn’t my kids’ school. If I ever nap in the day or if I’m ever anywhere where it might be noisy I turn up my phone to its full hearing capacity.
It’s not paranoia it’s just being a parent. Once I called I called one of my kids’ schools friends mom during schools hours, she didn’t know me at that time. For the first 15 seconds of the conversation I could hear the fear and panic in her voice. I didn’t understand why she was so freaked out. Then when she calmed down and I explained to her who I was, and why I was calling, which was just to rsvp to a bday party invite, she calm down. She explain that because it was school hours she for second thought I was calling from school, and thought something was wrong with her child at school. Parents, right? Worried about everything, anything. For no reason. Did they eat their lunch? Do they have too much work at school? Are they under too much pressure? Sleep on time? Move up bed time. Not enough rest. Too many hours. Not enough hours. Homework. No homework. Is he coming home too tired? Is he coming home at all? Is this this the day he’s getting shot? Was this his school? Did he get shot? Is she dead? Was it her best friend? Was it him who was taken in an ambulance? In critical condition? Did I say goodbye properly this morning? It might be the last time. Never again is today.
When school shootings started in the US I did not have children. Then when I had children, and they started school I left the country. So I’m not really anyone to speak on what it must be like to send your kids to school not knowing. All I know is being a parent is hard enough without this added fear. What I can tell you is that parents every where can relate just a tiny little bit because we are parents, and we care. Every time I hear the words “school shooting” or read the words written across my screen my heart sinks because I know too many people across the country that have children who go school. Even if I didn’t know them, a child is a child a parent is a parent. No one should have to face this, ever.
In the end: Ignore everything else and focus on the children in your life that are alive. Love them, hold them tight. Then think of those who cannot do that anymore. Then demand change. We have watched from the sidelines for far too long. We cannot hope that it wont happen again. We cannot pray that next time it won’t be us. It will be someone. Someone like you, and me. Some innocent child who did not deserve it; Parents who didn’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve it. Next time around you and I may not have the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Ask. Demand. Change.
Have you ever had that moment where everything is surreal? What is this place? Where are you? What is happening in your life? Sitting here watching my kids play in front of me, pretend to be one superhero or the other; hulahoops. No, now it’s cars. It’s changing, going by so fast. I can remember a time when they weren’t here, and we were trying so hard to bring them into this world. They were not getting here fast enough. For years we tried so many things, it seemed like it would never happen. Now that they’re here it seems like that time was just a dream. That time when they were not here or when we were trying to get them to bless us with their presence just didn’t exist. Now, I’m just looking for a break. Looking for a moment of peace from them. A moment to even think to myself. Everything without them around is surreal.
He keeps tripping over the hula hoop. That’s the only thing that’s real. I can’t imagine a life in which he doesn’t exist. Adam keeps telling him, “just wait for mom, she’ll help you with it. You’ll trip and break your face.” That’s all I can remember. Anything farther back is too far back. My mom brain blocks it out. I hear crying, screaming, and the words, “you have to share”, that’s my cue. Now I gotta go deal with reality.
Just recently I’ve written about how hard it is for us moms to get out, and chill. Sometimes in comparison to dads, sometimes at all. There is one aspect of it that I purposefully left out. I wanted to write about it separately. I didn’t want that side of it to get lost in being a mother, in just being my kids caretaker. That side takes so much from me that it does not get seen. like the rest of me it’s unseen, unspoken. That part of me is forgotten. It’s burden takes so much yet it’s as if it’s not there. There’s something noble about being a mother. I can claim raising a generation. I can claim being someone’s something. However, when that other thing weighs on me, and makes me tired people think I am just a complainer.
This is coming out to be somewhat of a rant. It’s really not. Okay, it really is.
Here is the issue though; when people get tired from their work it’s right in front of everyone. You go to work, you come home tired. Then you take care of your kids. Help your wife, your partner, put away a few dishes, and whew, that is just the end of you. Understandably it’s a lot of work. When the STAHP complains about their day you say, “I help you. In fact I put in more hours then you do. At work, and at home.” That shuts them right up, doesn’t it? Yeah. You see them walking away with those clenched fists. I’ve had those. What are the charges for punching your spouse in the face? I’ll have to look that up. Unclench, and walk away. Absolutely NOT a true story! Moving on.
I can lie, and say I’m not bitter but that would be a lie. I’m trying to figure things out as I go along.
I’m also trying to take out my frustration. Along with all that I’m trying to clear some things out.
My closet mainly. What is the point? Laundry, dishes, cooking, picking up crayons, markers, so many papers every where, paint. Crayons are back on the floor. There is so Much bending all day. Why do they have to pee so much? Oh I should let them wipe themselves. Yeah. I do. Every time. Only they announce when they enter the toilet. Then they announce when they are done peeing. Then they announce when they’re done flushing. Then they announce when they’re pulling up they’re pants. Then they announce when they’re washing they’re hands. And they don’t move on to the next step until I respond. Also, I have to tell them to stop washing their hands, turn off the faucet, and come out. Also, sometimes they ask me if they need soap or not. Then sometimes we have a healthy discussion about why or why not they need soap after urinating. All the while I’m either picking up crayons or putting away paint for the 5th time. Or Adam is waiting at the bathroom door asking Dawud to hurry up because he has to use the toilet because he is does not want to use the 3 other bathrooms in the house.
You see it’s these things…ALL of these things that we can’t repeat when people ask why we are so tired all the time.
I can’t hang out tonight because my sons peed 6 times each today. And I put away paint 3 times. Also blocks. They are so tiny, and they are every where. I looked for a Lego-man for 2 hours. We’re not done looking for him. He’s supposed to be old McDonald you see. So I’m gonna skip the hang out. He’s important. He’s so important, there will be bloodshed if he’s not found, we want to Dubai for him. How does one explain this? So we say “I’m tired” instead of what we want to say, which is…
It’s barely 6 pm on a Friday night and I’m done for the night. One of my kids has been sick with a tummy ache and nausea. The other one can’t be happier because he gets all the toys and gets to have the iPad without anyone timing him. Yes, this is one of those mom posts where I tell you how many days it’s been since I’ve showered. Also, I’m adding vomit to the mix, so…fun! Have you ever wondered how gross it is to announce all this stuff? I mean even if you do have vomit, and booger on you at all times, and you don’t shower for days, why would you want people to know?
I mean I would want people to think that fresh breeze coming out of me is actually fresh breeze of clean water, soap, and sunshine. Not of some fancy STRONG deodorant that I bought to hide the fact that I just don’t have time to shower after every accident, and tummy trouble.
Anyway, moving on…as I was sitting by myself having my third cup of coffee. A mother is never truly by herself. Yet, she’s always by herself. Let’s explore that for a sec, shall we? Because like I said my day is over, and we have time to explore all sorts of nonsense. Where IS everyone? When people need us there are herds, and I mean HERDS surrounding us. Yet, here I sit alone, with my thoughts, which oh my God don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for, however, where do all of those people disappear to when the children are sick or I need a shower?
I truly understand not wanting to sit with someone who is so tired she’s not able to speak in full sentences and obviously looks like she smells, and is starting to smell like she looks. But that situation didn’t happen alone.
I sound like I handled the entire 3 days of sick children alone.
I absolutely did not. I did get called on a whole lot more by the kids, because that’s what kids do. I did wake up at night a whole lot more, because well…that’s what moms do. Now I’m here alone because when it was time to be alone in the evening to go out for a cup of coffee with friends…
No one said, “hey mommy you can’t leave the house because you are the mom and you MUST stay in”. He just said, “hey I’ll be back in a few hours.” Us moms just don’t have that luxury.
In theory we do. Practically we don’t, because we can’t. If we say it out loud our partners get upset because they think it’s a jab on them. Honestly, it kind of is, it kind of isn’t.
Bottom line is, we just can’t.
I know it’s been written about before. I want to in any case want to break it down how I want to be spending my evening. And why it wouldn’t be possible for me to leave as easily as it is for my husband.
It goes something like this: he gets off the phone and says, “I’m meeting with so and so for coffee I’ll be back in a couple of hours. You’ll be okay?” Of course I’ll be okay. One kid is asleep. The other is off somewhere playing. I obviously don’t have any plans. You heard the rant about vomit, and not having showered right? Yeah, so he’s off. And I’m on my third cup of coffee with legos all over my room and a kid’s head on my lap. If a friend called me, first of all my first reaction would be, “no way my kids are sick there’s no way I can leave.” If I even thought about leaving, even entertained the idea this close to bedtime and dinner there would be so many things that would need to be taken care of. I know, I’d shower, that’s understood, and that’s not what I meant. “Don’t forget this one’s meds, Adam doesn’t like to sleep with the red pillow on his bed these days take that off before bed time. But leave it there until then because that’s his favorite one. Oh and I told Dawud he can play for 5 minutes after he puts on his pjs so you have to let Adam play for 5 minutes too. Also, don’t feed them too close to bedtime because then there are more chances of them throwing up again. That’s just a thing that happens. Just go with it, don’t ask questions. Dawud is going to ask for his Captain America pjs, those are in the laundry. Settle him on Spider Man. So…you’ll be okay, right?”
I usually tire myself out just by hearing myself in my head. And if by some miracle I make it out, more often than not I get a phone call asking me where the Spider-Man pjs are.
And then I get a text, “how long you gonna be? No rush. Just checking.” That’s when mom guilt kicks in. No ones making me *guilty* per se’. No one means to. It happens to us moms. Husbands, partners don’t realize how easy it is for us to think that we know our kids want us to be there all the time. We translate that want into need. It’s slightly harder for our partners because of our children’s want for us that we translate as need. And everything gets muddled into us feeling guilty, kids feeling entitled to mothers at all times, mothers feeling trapped and our partners feeling…well…mostly…confused I imagine.
I’m not letting partners off the hook. They could do more. We could do more too. Explain, better. They could do more. Pick up the slack more. Together we could try to raise less entitled children who would in a few years need us less and we can all be free. Basically what I’m saying is, I don’t have a clue. I’m just complaining. After all that’s what we’re all best at, right?
Speaking of being womenkind and actually BEING womenkind are completely two different phenomenon. We speak of lifting each other up. We talk about having a certain comrodery. We speak about “getting” each other. We say, we just know one and other. But I’ll be honest. Us women folk are the most viscous creatures I’ve ever seen on this planet. We get hurt the most from others, be it men, be our children and instead of creating an environment of love and comfort for one and other we are cruel and hurtful. Someone asked me about liking women or something else of the sort…I told them: I don’t like my kind. Isn’t that the most viscous thing to say?
We don’t believe in building each other up. If a woman is doing better than us, somehow we feel she’s taking something from us. We feel that the only way we can be on top is to bring her down a notch or two. If we are in any way in a position of power we have to keep every woman under us “on their toes”. And God forbid we think any of our friends are prettier than us.
I sound like a woman hater. Is that even a thing? No, I’m actually the opposite of that. I’m a firm believer of women lifting up other women. I believe that unless we start doing this for one another, and we start becoming each other’s strength we can’t accomplish anything. This cannot be mere words. It can’t be about writing big fancy words, and big articles that are greatly researched with great women mentioned in it all the while we are being petty in our daily lives with the people we know. That’s where it really matters.
It doesn’t matter if you are on board with a concept. Where it matters is when you can see that you called your best friend chubby even though she looked really nice in that black dress which you knew you could never pull off. What matters is that your neighbor’s kid got all A’s and you felt a pang of jealousy and said, “well we need to let kids be Kids and not put so much academic pressure on them” rather than saying “oh that’s so great I’m so happy for you guys”.
Because let’s face it, each and everyone of us is working hard. We can all use a pat in the back from our friends and family every now and again. Also, guess what? Even though those pats on the back would be nice, we are not doing it for you or anyone else. Your female co-worker is not looking for that promotion just to annoying you. She’s doing it because she’s got mouths to feed and her life to live. So when you put her down she gets annoyed of you but her life goes on. Did you know that women mocked Kendall Jenner about having acne? Yeah I know what’s up.
How sad is that? We talk about supporting powerful women and then we ourselves reduce these women to a few bumps on her face. She should be ashamed of herself for walking out unless she looks perfect regardless of what she’s accomplished. That what we’re saying or is there more? despise the Kardashian/Jenner’s however this was just sad for our kind and in light of everything that’s happening around us it keeps getting sadder when we pull stuff like this.
I remember how upset people were when Alicia Keys walked out without makeup. Women mostly ate her alive for not being “perfect enough”. We just could not handle how she dressed, how chose to wear her face. She’s successful, powerful, but we drag her down because we can’t lift each other up. We choose this because she’s choosing something different. Because she she wants to be unique and it’s working for her and we feel threatening by it or simply don’t like it so she must stop it. You do you just does not exist for other women in our world. Why?
Would we say the same thing about a guy with acne who was rich and powerful. Or who decided to dress a certain way, or not dress a certain way? You’d think it would just be about these tiny little petty things but it’s not.
There is a big picture. You’ve bet your bottom dollar I’m about to say something about men, aren’t you? Well guess again. We like to blame all our problems on men and just be free of responsibility. It is true that they are responsible for a lot of it but this one is on us. It’s also true that it may have started because we wanted to please men by putting each other down and be accepted by them. But it’s not the same anymore. Now it’s just us, and how we think. Now it’s stripped down to our mental condition. We just need to accept that this is how we think. We can’t blame anyone for it. We need to accept responsibility and change how we are. As long as we keep playing the blame game no change is going to happen.
The main issue is problems only get solved when we start to really truly stand by each other. We start to move forward when we start to stop being petty with our sister, friend and neighbor and truly understand that this doesn’t make us less important in the big scheme of thing but makes us more important and makes us a very important team that has to accomplish very important tasks that cannot be accomplished solo.
Here’s the real issue how do we understand this lesson? That’s where I will leave you as let you figure this out for yourself. The hope is that there was some realization that we have a problem. The solution is not one, and cannot be explored right here and now. Let’s keep working because I don’t want to fight “us” while I fight everything else that’s thrown my way.
“That’s not what you do to people,” I couldn’t do it anymore. I gave in and, opened the door. Took him in my arms, and asked him what he meant. “That’s not what we are supposed to do to people?” “No.” He repeated. “That’s not what YOU do to people. You’re a kind person mama.”
Okay so a little context. First of all my little boy is a huge drama queen. We were all having dinner. I made them their favorite meal. Pizza. He decided to cry about one thing or another. Kept getting off his chair. Finding reasons to fuss. I just couldn’t deal so I left him, and his brother with their dad, and came up to my room, and locked the door. I thought I was super discreet but I never am of course. He followed me and started banging on the door. I told him, I’m doing something important, as soon as I’m done I’ll open the door. He had been clingy and fussy all day I just needed a few minutes to myself.
That’s when these words came. He started crying and sobbing. I never lock my door usually. Only when I’m changing and/or showering. Even then I tell them what I’m doing, and they know I’ll open it right after. This time he didn’t know when I’ll open it. The uncertainty freaked him out.
I didn’t understand because his brother and father were with him. Also, I’m not kind. I’m more strict than their father. I have more rules. Even he gets in trouble for not following them. I don’t think it was about any of that. I think it was about me being his constant. My room and I are his always available. We don’t go away ever. The door never gets locked. When he cries he always comes to me, and I took that away. When he is sad he runs to my bed saying, “nobody touch me.” The day his father took his brother to the doctor’s the only thing he wanted to know if I was staying home with him. He didn’t insist on going with them he wanted to stay with me.
So when I locked the door with me on the other side I took his constants. Both of us. I’m not supposed to do that to him. In his tiny little mind I’m always supposed to be here. That’s my purpose. That’s what I’m here for. If not this, then what? And he’s kind of right. The world that he lives in, it does revolve around him. Him and his brother.
I guess he is right. Moms don’t do such things. Moms don’t take breaks. They don’t hide from their children and eat fancy chocolate. They don’t say that they’re showering and then watch two hours of Netflix.
No, mom’s always want to be with their kids. Because when they say there’s nowhere else I’d rather be, they really really mean it. All. The. Time.