Monday, October 30, 2006

Names have been changed to protect....

I woke up the other day in a life that I never dreamed I would own. Has this ever happened to you?

I mean most of my life, I thought, was going to go a certain way. I was going to excell in High School. Rock right on through college and then go on to many, many prestigious letters following my Ph.D and M.D., or D.V.M. The last ones I ever thought I would be happy to have are S.A.H.M. (Stay At Home Mom).

I was raised by the usual overachiever parents...MSW and PhD, and in our house it was just assumed that each of us would go on to higher education and achieve/produce, and achieve/produce some more. It was also assumed that eventually each of us would marry and have kids who would attend daycare, thus giving us, the parents, ample time to achieve/produce more and more. (Because what does America need more than many, many people all intent on achieving and producing?) I was hot on the trail of all of that achieving and producing and then a funny thing happened.... a small, helpless, beautiful baby boy came from my body and entered the "square box" life that my husband and I were living.

I have to say that this took me by surprise.... not the "how?", but the feelings and the instinctual urge to place this little fellow's needs above my own. Now, let's get something straight, I am an older sister to 3. I have taken care of children since before I could think of saying "they're not MY responsiblity", but this "having one of my own" took me by suprise. I extended my maternity leave until he was 4 months old and leaving him at daycare that first day was a pain unlike any I had ever experienced. After a few weeks the pain dulled to a steady ache, but it wasn't until I almost had a nervous breakdown that I realized that my life was not as it was supposed to be.

I think that my therapist said to me,
"What if you just quit your job?"

"Whoa, lady, are you high?" was all that I could think.

I think what I actually came back with was something like,
"I could never do that, we couldn't afford it."

And not missing a beat she said,
"Can you afford to be angry at your self, and your husband, and your baby?"

This lady really knew how to hit below the belt, she was just one cruel, cruel nasty woman.
Why would she dangle the one thing that I wanted in front of me....the one thing that I didn't think that I could ever have.

I left her office that day thinking this was one hour I wasn't ever going to get back.

Looking back on it now (I have since had another baby so the finer details are blurry) she saved my life, saved my marriage and probably saved my kids a few years of therapy down the road.

I think that I was caught on a path to something....making money, having a house, a nice car, achieving, producing, really living the heck out of the "American Dream". I was really unhappy because I wasn't getting to do what I loved doing, being a mom. I was really confused because it never was an option for me growing up, I was raised to want "more" and a career in "motherhood" doesn't pay the rent. Yet, while I was out achieving and producing, someone else was seeing my son every morning growing and laughing. What price can you put on that?

So, I got out.

I guess I really owe that crusty therapist a box of chocolates or something....thanks to her for helping kick me out of my extremely uncomfortable "comfort zone".

Now, I need to work on knowing that staying at home is the right thing for me and my family, independent of American societal "norms". I need to stop justifying my S.A.H.M. degree to people who look at me weird (maybe step 1. is not calling it a degree....) I am producing the next generation and that is a hard achievment to beat.

Monday, October 23, 2006

CD/video review 4U

"Here Come the ABCs"
They Might Be Giants

Disclaimer: While no one would say that I have ever been "hip", back in "the day" I did enjoy music more on the alternative side, including many of They Might Be Giants' songs for the older set. Now, I mostly listen to Raffi.

As a mom of a preschooler, I can now say that I have logged some serious hours of listening to trite, predictable, irritating kid's music. After listening to this CD and watching this video, I was overjoyed that I had found something that both my three-year-old AND I could enjoy. "Here Come the ABCs" is a refreshing and inventive take on learning the ABCs. It contains funny, non-sensical songs that are enjoyable for kids as well as parents.

Both the songs and the video are reminiscent of the early Sesame Street years, silly voices and for the "Q U" song, silly people dressed up as letters and appearing around, what I think, is New York City. Some people may think that the lyrics are too weird and bizarre, but young kids love that stuff. They are so mystified by how things work in the adult world that a song about how "E Eats Everything" is just strange enough to make sense or at least amuse. So give it a try, at least it is not another rendition of "Wheels on the Bus".