Tag Archives: mother

Mother may I?: When will women stop asking for permission?

21 Mar

It’s 2013 and women have not made up their mind as to what it means to be a feminist; whether we want to be celebrated for our achievements professionally, for the social good, as a mother, or as all three – whether we should be working outside the home and whether we should be telling other women how to live their lives according to our individual epiphanies for the holy grail: defining our version of a perfect work/life balance while being excellent mothers. We haven’t stopped wanting validation on how to live our lives within our desired parameters, in many ways we have not stopped asking, “Mother May I?” when shaping our role as women.

It seems we always have a need to espouse our personal beliefs and best methods for parenting unto unsuspecting innocent bystanders and expect them to join the madness of bullying and peer pressure until the world realizes that our mothering skills and choices are superior over anyone elses, as seen in recent stories.

I have no qualms about sharing what works for you personally; stories of self-discovery and joy are always welcome but blanket statements on who should be doing the majority of child rearing and house chores based on the belief that one gender is “innately” better at parenting makes me want to hurl, literally, on their kitchen floor.

I won’t make any attacks on either Kelly Makino, a non-profit employee turned SAHM, or even journalist Lisa Miller; the media tends to spin these gold nuggets of controversy into a frenetic storm so that you can’t help but go into the story already with an arsenal of prejudices. Ms. Makino is in her every right to CHOOSE the lifestyle that best complements her objectives as a mother, good for her and her family for coming to a compromise for the benefit of their vision of family bliss.

But to brand this personal choice made by two women as a trend of an emerging feminist domestic goddess while Dad goes off to work and gets a break from Mommy and the Kids is insulting. Not only because it lacks substantial research (Lisa Miller couldn’t find a third mom to prove her case?), scientific backing of statements made that women tend to have stronger “motherly” instincts than their male counterparts, baseless statements that women tend to be more efficient in the domestic realm (didn’t Lisa mention Ms. Makino’s dirty dishes in the sink?), and also irresponsible in ignoring an actual growing trend: the single parent and same-sex parents. The Boston Globe states that 1 in 4 children in the US is raised by a single parent. The numbers for same-sex parents are harder to identify as given the political and social climate in many cities, this is not a statement nor figure that is highly publicized.

I have friends who are same-sex couples and make wonderful parents, sharing both the responsibility and the joy of child-rearing without thinking about dividing the tasks based on gender identity roles. One parent might have more responsibility due to a higher flexibility at work while the other focuses on higher earning but no one stops to think about who was born with better pre-disposed patience and parenting sentiments.

In terms of the single parent, be it mother or father, how can you dictate that you are being selfish for pursuing a career and relying on supplemental childcare to carry your household forward if you are the sole bearer of that responsibility? I am a big fan of Sandberg’s “Lean In” initiative and I subscribe to the thinking that women’s rights is far from over, we are nowhere near an egalitarian society. I firmly believe that women should always have a personal choice to seek the lifestyle that brings them the most peace of mind and fulfillment and to have the right to define what their role will be in life without fear of judgement from others, especially from other women.

I get snide remarks, sideways glances, “well-intentioned” advice to scale back on my multiple commitments. As a single parent the onus is on me, and only me, to advance my family financially, emotionally, and to create a thriving environment for my two girls so they can grow to be happy (in whichever way they choose to achieve that satisfaction from life).

I have a full-time career that is demanding but also highly satisfying to my professional goals, my social network, my ability to push myself, and let’s face it, to my ego as well. I am highly involved in a non-profit, in a growing parent group that I founded almost five years ago, I am committed to my writing, to furthering my education, to being a good daughter and sibling, and to my social life. My children do not even make the list because items on lists are essentially line items, all of the above, can come and go and change over time; but not my commitment, love and care of my children. They are as part of me and essential and naturally occurring as breathing. They give me life, motivation, kindness, happiness, the ability to admire humanity – they simply are part of me.

I live my life the way it makes me happiest. I try not to judge others for what they choose but I do hope we can all agree on this: embrace who you are and your version of happiness and celebrate the ability to choose how to be a woman in modern society and what kind of mother you want to be including whether you want to be a mother at all.

Never Thought I would Lose you

28 Aug

Happy Times

We understood each other from the first moment we sat down to talk.  You took me in as your own daughter and never questioned the love you had for me.  It was almost painful to be around you at the beginning, I felt foolish and incompetent, unfit to receive the love in your eyes.  But I was drawn to you like a bee to honey, I felt safe and accepted.  Slowly I stopped flinching and tensing when you drew me in for a hug and a kiss.
I treasured our outings for brunch, shopping, and long talks.  I looked forward to seeing you every Sunday to chat about the week, the girls, news or silly Hollywood gossip.  I felt so normal when I was with you.  As if I was living episodes from an early 50’s sitcom.  And yet it felt so real, with your encouraging words pushing me forward to reach my potential, to see myself for who I really was and not as a product of where I came from.  You inspired me, you continue to inspire me with everything you accomplished, a real self-made woman.
I loved you so much, and because of that love, I continued on a path that I should have veered off long ago, years ago.  I put up with personal unhappiness so that I could continue to be in your light, so that I could feel the warmth of your love and smile.
The love you gave me, the love and unselfish welcoming you gave the girls and I, is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.
I kept working towards professional success because I had you as a real life role model leading the way with your kind words and your kind eyes.  I never had to tell you about my personal scars and emotional turmoil because you knew, you’d been there too.  I never felt so connected to someone nor as validated by someone’s belief in me.  I began the process of self-love as you broke through my many layers of self-loathing and stubborn belief that I deserved my past.
I can’t even write how I feel, what you made me feel, without sounding choppy and restricted.  You are so special to me that I feel that with each word that I write, a bit of you escapes from my heart.  But deep down I knew that it couldn’t last, that even I, who grew up thinking I could always just “get through it”, could no longer stay where I was just to continue calling you family.
It has been the most painful event in my life to lose you.  And no one knows.  I kept it strapped deep down in the back of my throat, swallowing it down each time it threatened to undo my self-control and break me down into a ball of grief.
I lost someone again without being able to say goodbye.  Without any words of explanation though you needed none, you knew why, and I think you were happy that I reached that decision based on the happiness of my most loved ones.  But I have not shed a tear for you, I have not allowed myself that luxury because I won’t be able to hold back.  It catches me at the oddest moments.  I can be driving on the highway by myself and my shoulders will start shaking, the pain running up my spine like a cold shiver.  And when I feel a taste of the excruciating pain lurking within me I quickly take a deep breath to recapture it in my chest securely.
But it goes as quickly as it comes and I remind myself that I am incredibly fortunate to have had you at all.  You showed me what kind of self-respect, love, compassion, and kindness exists not only in a human being but in a relationship as well.  You made me see, by example, never by lecturing me, that I was not broken, that I was not a lost cause.  You helped me see the strength I had all along, the resilience I had shown in getting through yesterday, and the undeniable statement that I would be happy and successful in every way.
Some day I will allow myself to think of you uninterruptedly.  When I am alone, I will find a quiet desolate place, where the wind can carry my voice onto nothingness and only the leaves will whisper the echo of my cries.  I will give full reign to the pain within and howl at the moon about my loss.  And I will feel relieved as I exhale the emotions out of my soul but I fear the emptiness that might replace it.
You were my mother on all accounts, you carried me through terrible times, and you taught me to look at my blood not with contempt or anger, but with kindness and forgiveness.
I never thought I’d lose you, not because I thought you were mine, but because I never thought I’d have the strength to walk away.

You’ll stay with me right?

9 Nov

He is on his knees, tears running down his brown leathery face – his cheeks sagging under the weight of booze and pain. I’m walking out the door with a black trash bag holding my most prized belongings: a brown teddy bear, a purple My Little Pony, and broken pieces of plastic that are my toys. I see my mother opening the door to our beat up blue station wagon and my sister already down the porch steps.

An incredible pain takes residence in my tummy, spreading up to my chest – making it hard to breathe.

“Susy, mi Pozolito, tu no me vas a dejar verdad? Me prometiste que tu te hibas a quedar conmigo.”

I look down at my scuffed shoes and step down hard on my big toe preferring physical pain to seeing my father – that big tall figure who never cries – lose all self control as he drapes his body onto my little frame.

I bite my lip and look outside into the darkness, the cold numbing my hands and legs. I wring the edge of my Scooby Doo pajama dress; the thin material wrinkles and curls into place.

“Vamonos Susana! Apurale!” My mother yells at me from the car.

They had been at it again; always the fighting, the endless yelling of abuse and cursing. I can’t remember why my mother was angry; dad had probably staggered home again from a bar or had insulted her in his alcohol induced stupor.

“Ya no puedo mas!” My mother was on the phone with her brother, asking if we could stay with them but I could tell from her face that we would be roaming the city in our car again. Cramming our belongings and bodies in the backseat to keep warm from the chilly winter air. “Carnala, yo no me puedo meter. Quedate con Yani.”

“Vayan y agarren sus cosas!” She yells at us, thrusting a trash bag to my sister and I. Her voice becoming shrill as her sanity wears thin.

We knew the routine. Instead of packing clothing and necessities, we packed what four and five year olds see as essential: our dearest toys. We ran to the room we shared with our parents and started to pack.

My father pleaded with my mom not to leave and when her tear-streaked face would not meet his he turned to my older sister to ask her; she just kept packing. He ran to me and kneeling down to look into my bewildered eyes he asks if his pozolito would stay with him. “It’s okay Papi, yo me quedo contigo,” I say, anything to keep my papi from crying.

“Vamonos!” My mother pulls me out of my tortured state and drags me to the car only to cause the pain of seeing my father’s face as I leave to sear into my brain forever. “Papi”, I whimper as the smell of old leather, burnt oil, and snot make me gasp for air.

My mother is crying hysterically in the front seat behind the wheel. Her yelps of pain becoming jagged knives that stab my stomach; like broken glass they shatter throughout the car and I want to pick them up and devour them – chew on the glass until it slices my tongue into ribbons and the blood flows out. Until the anger and confusion are drained from my body and I become a spirit hovering over everyone. Until I turn into nothing, light as air, and the voices stop screaming and crashing inside my head.

Silicon Valle MX

The Mexican tech scene

Lucesitas.com

Inmigracion: Intercambio de experiencias, consejos y preguntas sobre la CITA en CIUDAD JUAREZ

On the Fast Lane with the Flying Monkeys

Taking Life by the Horns and Making it Mine: Bad Ass Student, Professional, and Mother to 3

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

ChicanaBlogs

Smile! You’ve entered the poet's Blog

Flat-Footed

Surviving Los Angeles one step at a time

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.