Too many tabs

Sometime last week Tim and I were conversing about something and then I switched topic completely in my head. Before I totally changed topic on Tim I warned him, “I have about seven tabs open in my head right now. So a lot of random stuff is going to come out. Buckle up.” This. Is. My. Life. At one given time I have at least seven to ten tabs open in my head because as a mom and woman I constantly have things to think about and worry about. I’ve read articles and actually took a course in college about how this is how women communicate and operate. For some reason women are programmed to worry about many facets of life and home. I’m not saying that men don’t do this, that they don’t care, marwar rawr blah. It’s been shown that’s how this works.

I find it so true when I communicate with Tim. We’ll be having a conversation about one thing and in my head I jump over to a different tab. I’ll be a full five minutes deep into this tab and Tim says, “Wait, what? What does that have to do with *blank*?” and I have to reopen that tab that I had already closed when for Tim that tab has been open the whole time.

So, what are the most common tabs that I have open? Here’s a quick break down for you.

1.) Eva: There’s no specific part to this tab that’s just my number one constantly open tab. If I could have sub-tabs it would be, “Where is she?” “Is she okay?” “Do I play with her enough?” “Is she happy?” “Is her diaper still on?” etc. Really anything and everything pops up.

2.) Household to-dos: It took us a full year or so to get back on track with our lives. The house isn’t pristine by any definition but we can see carpet, we can see counter, we are miles ahead of where we were. Now that I don’t dread being in my house with hoarding like piles around me I begin to focus on other projects or chores that need to be done in the house. I keep a running list on this tab.

3.) Big house things: We need a new boiler. We need to have the pipe in the basement checked out. How hard is it to replace a faucet? Hopes of a finished basement. Hopes of a finished garage. When do mice come back to the house? Big picture issues that keep popping up every day of our lives.

4.) Money: Obvi. I’m sure this is a tab that many people relate to and constantly have open themselves. For me it’s, how much are we spending on groceries? Will we have any money to send Eva off to life with? Can we afford more Evas? Can we afford a new car? Will we ever retire? Will I have to crochet my ass off once the kids are in school full time and make monies? Why does the money make the world go round? Oooohhh, cute shoes, damn you, Amazon.

5.) Me and Tim: How are we doing? Are we having a good day (thankfully more often than not this is a resounding yes)? When was the last time we had time together? Should we make more time for each other? How unhealthy is us not really talking/spending time together after baby is in bed because we both have things to do/want to do? Can we handle more kids?

6.) The future: Can I handle more kids? A constant worry and fear in my head. Parents with one kid are all, “I love being a parent. It’s changed me life and I love it.” Parents with multiple kids, “My life is Mad Max 24/7 with Dora narrating. We have nothing nice ever. We have no money. We have no relations. We have nothing. Except children and goddamn Caillou” (take it away PBS. You’re supposed to help people, not hurt them). I don’t want to be that parent. I don’t really want that life sometimes, but I want more kids. It’s so messed up. Pregnancy and labor kicked my ass. I voluntarily want to do that again and again?

7.) What will kill my child: Being a parent today is difficult. Technologically speaking it’s great. Even today we walked downtown for breakfast with Eva in her stroller and a woman in her 70’s said how nice our stroller was compared to what she had back in the day. Ours is not fancy. I am not jogging anything around anywhere and I don’t need the stroller to talk to me. I have enough judgement in my life. As parents we have social media. Sage advice from generations before us. We’re a different society from decades ago and feel we as parents have the voice, so if I tell you my daughter cannot have eat hot dogs at the next family BBQ, my daughter will not eat hot dogs atournextfamilybbq!!! Yet I’m the one out of line. I constantly, constantly, see articles about how my child could and will die. Even if I keep her home in a play pen with the shades drawn and the doors locked, with no toys around her, she will die or be mamed. And it’s always met with, “We just wanted to raise awareness”. Believe me, whenever an unfortunate event happens to parents and a child my heart bleeds for them. I cry, I hug Eva, I pray to whatever being out there for her safety. But if I’m reading all these things correctly, she will either die or be horribly injured. It will be my fault. It will be a one in a million happenstance (I love the way that word looks, so sexy), and it will be god awful. It’s over saturating. As if I didn’t constantly fear every day that my life, my happiness, my everything will be ripped away from me. I need to hear about the dangers of choking hazards of the burp clothes I’ve been using for months. I hate this tab.

So yes, on any given day at an given hour these are the open tabs in my head. More often than not there are a couple more random ones in there for family. Friends. Pinterest. TV shows. Loosing that “Baby body…whatever that is”. Food. Alcohol. Food. You know, important things. Hopefully one day I can collapse all these tabs into one or two and focus on the here and now. I try to stop myself from looking at all these tabs at once and just stare at my daughter and my husband snuggling on the couch. The fact that I have a beautiful home that Tim and I worked really hard for. That my walls are full of pictures of family and friends that I love desperately. The fact that I do have multiple people outside of Tim and Eva that I love desperately. My life is open tabs. I want to some day close them out and only have one open at a time. Sadly, it’s not today and it probably won’t be tomorrow. Someday soon. Maybe when my life is Mad Max and I have drunk goblins all around me. Maybe I’ll close all the tabs then and just take it all in and save it to my cloud. I can’t wait for that day.

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It’s just so cool.

Children aren’t for everyone. It’s true. Some people don’t want kids. Some people feel they can’t afford kids. Some people feel that kids don’t fit into their lifestyle. To these people I say, “You do you, Boo.” Everyone needs to figure out what or what doesn’t work best for their life. Not their parents life, not their friends’ life, theirs. If people aren’t okay with that decision they can go sit on an ant hill with a honey covered hiney. I don’t get many people in my life asking me why I wanted or had a child. Mostly because I don’t ask people why or why not they wanted children. However, I have asked myself the question, “Why DID you want to have children? I mean I get it, but why?”

I feel it’s a fair question to ask myself before peeing on a stick and seeing the word “Pregnant” cause mama does digital. I can’t deal with fuzzy pink lines. I would go crazy. I asked myself this before we got pregnant with Eva because I had to answer this question. I needed to. I loved my life before baby. Tim and I could go anywhere we wanted whenever we wanted. I could shower whenever I wanted. And while they’re some maintenance, Tim and the cats were pretty easy to take care of. Just feed them and give them a good brush once and a while and they’re good (Tim had a big beard, people). Why was I so willing, so determined, so…desperate? Why did I need to have this soon to be blob in my life?

Before deciding to get pregnant we had the conversation of, “If this never happens for us, are we okay with just each other?” The answer was yes. This was if pregnancy didn’t work and adoption didn’t work. If all our options faded were we okay being a married couple sans kiddos? Tim and I had been together for 6 years before Eva and lived together for 5 1/2 years. We were good being together just us. When we got married and moved into our house that last piece was missing. Her name is now Eva, but for a long time it was a blank piece. Friends of ours had babies and I loved being with those babies. I loved holding them, playing with them, loving them. When they would leave with their parents I was jealous that those parents got to go home with those babies. I wanted to have that little one. I wanted to be a mom.

To say I totally understood why I wanted kids is wrong. I knew Tim and I wanted kids and I knew that I was meant to be a mom. I was called a mom all through college and by friends afterwards. But not a normal mom, I was a cool mom. I had unconditional love and attention to give a little one(s). Tim always said he wanted kids partly because there are so many people who just shouldn’t be parents and we would make awesome parents and kids deserve to have awesome parents. I knew the yearn to bring a baby home that was ours…not a stolen one because that’s not “okay” by some people’s standards or whatever. I knew and understood that yearn.

After having Eva people without kids may see me and wonder, “Now that you have one, what is so great?” For a while I honest to *insert your spiritual leader here* could not really tell you because it was so hard. Having a newborn was insanely hard. Yes being with her was wonderful. Having all the snuggles was amazing. Holding something that you and your love created was beautiful. But Dukes of Hazard it was hard. The months went on and Eva was growing fast. It seemed like every month was a new adventure and a new first. Then one day it clicked. It’s great having a kid because it’s just so cool. IMG_20170521_125238.jpg

Let’s start with you created this. Like you and your partner created this. And I mean that by any standards. You created this family unit. Either through labor, adoption, IVF, surrogacy, stork, plane, train, or automobile. You and someone created this. It’s truly awe inspiring. Then this thing that you created cries, poops, cries, poops, sleeps on college schedules, and then cries again. After all that they begin to move around. It starts with wiggles and then moves to rolling and then to crawling and then to speed racer crawling and then to walking and then to running. It’s so crazy you can’t keep up because you were juuuuussstttt getting used to the last phase. It all happens fast and if you don’t pay attention once and awhile you’ll miss it.

After the normal developmental stages they start to do other things. Yes eating solids was cool. Hearing mama and dada for the first time brought tears to my eyes but it’s the little things you didn’t expect. This week Eva started putting toys into bins which was a new concept for her. I’ve been working with her on it for a couple months. She can point to water when she wants it. When we say, “Do you want Cheerios?” she points to her Cheerios container. Yesterday we came home from grocery shopping and I said, “Okay, take off your shoes” and she did!!!! All by herself. I’ve been showing her how to take off her shoes but by no means was I teaching her what “Take off your shoes” meant really. Babies, man. They listen. Even at a year old they stare at you with that cold vacant stare that makes you want their approval or a glimmer that they are there watching you. And then they take off their shoes. Amazing.

The internets is a great place where moms and dads who are worn down and wore out can go and vent and expel and ask, “Am I alone here?” We can make blogs with a few key strokes. We can finally all come together in some way and say, “Today was hard. Yesterday was hard. Tomorrow will be hard”. I know. I’ve made those posts and I will make more but I also want to focus on the really great parts of being a parent because at the end of the day, it’s just so cool.

 

The invisible woman

A couple weeks ago I was getting Eva ready to do a quick run to the grocery store. Honestly quick. We were going to grab fixings for sandwiches for lunch that was it. Maybe a ten minute trip. I look at Eva and she was in her jammie jams from the last two or three or five nights, bed head, and a not so fresh diaper. I did what was the only logical opti18342828_10103985655521239_8432012106802694110_non. Hyper focus on what Eva looked like and what she should be wearing. I pull out our downstairs clothes tote and pick out an adorable pink peplum shirt, jeggings, and I brush out her hair. She was cute for our quick trip to the store.

I mean, right? How cute is that? Then I realized that I needed to get ready. You’d think that I would then put in at least a tenth the effort I just put into my daughter. Well, my friends. You would be drastically incorrect. Or maybe you guessed where this blog was going and knew all along and now your just shaking your head, “Yes. I knew that”. I was wearing a lovely pair of sweatpants about four years old and on their third day of wear. A gaming t-shirt that I took from my husband because he originally ordered the wrong size (I don’t game and barely understand what the shirt means). I didn’t brush my hair but did redo the messy bun so it wasn’t falling down giving Eva easy access. More or less, a pretty common outfit to run to the store in.

18425176_10103985655486309_1789087807096947863_nI was putting Eva’s shoes on her and they were cute and strappy and fun. I put on my knock of Birkenstocks and realized, “I didn’t care about myself or what I looked like for even a second. That can’t be good.” I’m a stay at home mom so I don’t have to necessarily care what I look like when I walk out the door. And yes I know, you should never care what others think of you. You do you, blarg rawr blarg. The point is, when I worked full time I put more effort into what I was wearing and brushed my hair…almost every day…almost. Any who, this picture is more common to walk out the door than anything else. All you can think is, “I’m a mom. My raptor is my first and only priority. I have to get her ready to walk out the door.” You don’t even put yourself into that equation because let’s be honest, most moms don’t feel they deserve to be part of that equation.

Now, moms who work full time or part time or quarter time that have to put in effort into getting ready. Props to you. So many props to you. It amazes me that you can wake up get yourself ready and a child ready and head out the door into the world. That is not my world and sometimes that makes me a little sad. I love doing make up and getting ready. Before Eva I had a whole routine I would do when going out or meeting with people. I had an awesome vanity set up. I would blast my music and truly enjoy getting ready. Now I hurry through a shower, usually just a body splash cause who has time to do the hair? I run and grab something cleanish that doesn’t involve video game references (I steal a lot of Tim’s shirts) or childhood references. Usually jeans or leggings. I maybe do a five minute face and that’s dependent on the internal question, “Will there be pictures?” and then run out the door apologizing for taking too long.

I posted the above photos on a mommy group I’m a part of on Facebook explaining what I was feeling that day.  I even say that I dress that way because I already am gross so why does it matter? Which is such a sad statement and I would tear up if any of my friends said that to me about themselves. No one should ever feel like they aren’t worth putting on a clean shirt and brushing their hair. I got a whole spectrum of responses. Moms who understood and said that they also have these days or weeks or months or years. Moms who supported me and said that I was not in fact gross. Moms who thought that was a great outfit and I should be proud of myself getting out the door. That’s when it hit me. I sometimes feel like the invisible woman.

My daughter is beautiful and funny and interactive. She has big blue eyes and will stare into your soul when you first met her. Like with any other baby, she gets a lot of attention when we go out. Strangers will talk to her at the grocery store. Sometimes I’ve had people talk to her and not even acknowledge me. She’s a year old *side lean* a year old. She can’t really talk. She can’t hold a conversation. She can’t even tell you that she’s a one. So stop asking, she clearly cannot answer you, juststopit! These people will have full “conversations” with her or creepily play peek a boo and not even look at me. Or if they do it’s a quick glance to ask me her name or age or if she’s a girl. Every once and a while I will have someone have a full conversation with me but it’s about Eva and where she’s at developmentally. It honestly feels like sometimes I’m just the bow on top of the package.

I think moms know what’s coming in terms of their existence once the baby pops out. You are not a sole individual anymore. You are someone’s mom. You are the carrying case for a tiny human. You are there to serve as the mouth piece for an adorable blob gremlin that can’t speak for themselves. You are a spokesperson. Nothing more, nothing less. All day I sit with Eva and play with her. I try to teach her. We practice walking. We practice communicating. We eat and we love. Please don’t misunderstand, I love my life. I love being a stay at home mom. I love my daughter. 99% of the time she is my favorite subject to talk about. Sometimes though, I’d like to talk about other things. I want to reach beyond the realm of Beat Bugs and Maisy’s Big Flap book. I’d like to have a conversation with someone where I can get out a full sentence without being interrupted or cut off because they want to talk with my daughter who is one *side lean* one.

I know this may all sound like complaints and maybe it is but this is my life. From what I got in response to my Facebook post it’s a lot of moms’ lives. It’s so easy to fall into an invisible woman role because that’s what our role is now. Especially for stay at home moms because that is our entire life. 24/7, 365 days a year. Sometimes it’s nice to be invisible because when you have been awake since 3 am and have read I’m A Truck 75 times before 6 am you want to be invisible. You want to disappear a little while picking up bread, cheese, and ham. You need to not be there, but sometimes you know, it would just be really nice to visible to the world. Sweatpants and all.

It’s not my job.

About three weeks ago on a Saturday I found myself in our bedroom to change my pants before running errands. I got into the bedroom and heard the quiet and looked around to find myself alone. No baby, no husband, not even a cat. I felt the sting in my eyes and the tears starting falling down my cheeks. It was a little after noon and I was already exhausted. Eva woke up at 6:30 that morning. I grabbed her from her crib and fed her while dozing in bed for another half an hour. From 7 to 9-ish I was downstairs with Eva playing with her, changing her, and just being here for her. Tim came downstairs and came into the living room to occupy Eva. I went into the kitchen and made breakfast. After breakfast I did some dishes. Swept the floor and half of Eva’s breakfast.

Going up the stairs I was thinking of everything that I needed to do. Figure out what was going to go on Eva’s sensory board. The bathroom needed to be cleaned. The kitchen floor needed to be mopped. Our laundry was so high I’m pretty sure I saw Frodo climbing it on his search for Mordor. With every step I thought of another chore, another thing to add to the list, another weight to put on my mind. I got upstairs feeling like I had just spent an hour on a stair climber machine…thing. I got into our bedroom and I think the weights on my mind collapsed and so did I. I didn’t physically collapse onto a fainting couch or anything, but if those were made for overwhelmed mothers, I totally get it now.

I wiped tears away as fast as I could. I changed and took in a few deep breathes. I checked in the mirror for that, “Does it look like me face was leaking weakness water?” look. I then pushed everything to the back of my mind and went downstairs asking, “Okay, are we ready to go?” I acted as though my vision quest was really just me going upstairs to put on “Adulting pants” AKA somewhat clean pants. I need to portray to Tim and Eva that nothing was amiss and I was totally fine and with it. I had all my ducks in a row, let’s do this. Off to errands we went. It was a lovely and productive afternoon that also resulted in Eva’s first big kid dinner to herself. An overwhelming day of emotions all together. I still had my ducks in a row attitude on full blast and needed to prove that I was good.

A couple weeks went by and then it happened again. I had this surge that I was drowning. AhhhhI was sitting in the living room watching Eva play. She was self playing like a champ. I had coffee and a content daughter why did I feel this way? I totally broke down. Not silent tears this time. Eva toddled herself over to me and gave me a hug like any good service being does when their keeper is in distress. I felt horrendous that morning because I didn’t want to be a mom. I was overwhelmed, over tired, and over all of it. Worrying about how much Eva was eating at meals. When was the last time Eva had a bath? How bad has the bathroom gotten since I last cleaned it? The kitchen still needs a good mop. Is Eva learning enough? I need to go grocery shopping. I was making to do lists every day that had no hopes of getting accomplished. Everything I thought about was either, Eva, the house work, errands, cooking, or schedules. In that moment, I was over being a mom and wife. To say the mom guilt became a Kraken on my soul would be accurate. It devoured me for about ten minutes. Ten long god awful minutes. I frantically texted a bestie searching for reassurance that I wasn’t alone. Of course being one of my best besties she assured me I wasn’t and all moms have these moments.

She told me that I should start looking for myself again outside being Eva’s mom or Tim’s wife. I needed to be Amy again, sassy pants and all. I thought all day about how I would talk to Tim about it. Then it dawned on me. It’s not my job to make everyone else’s life easier. It’s not my job to make Tim being a father easier. It’s not my job to make sure Eva has every single toy she may desire that day within a finger’s reach. It’s not my job to make sure my schedule fits in with friends’ schedules. It’s not my job to make sure people’s relationship with Eva was ideal for them. It’s just not my job to mold and shape who I am to make sure everyone else has an easier time. Tim was amazing. He agreed that I have done this since he’s known me. He also agreed to take on some of the load with me and he totally has. I can sit and finish dinner while he starts dishes. I tell him what needs to be done around the house and I don’t feel like I’m imposing on him to do things anymore.

I realized that it’s my job to raise a well rounded gremlin. It’s my job to make sure Tim feels the ridiculous amount of love I have for him. It’s my job to let my friends know I still have time for them even though none of us have time for anything anymore. It’s my job to also remember myself. I can’t keep putting myself on the back burner because that’s when things get burned. I can’t burn out because I have a job to do. Asking for help or realizing how far I can bend without breaking isn’t a bad thing, in the end it’s a really good thing. Being a mom is fracking hard, but it’s also a pretty amazing job to have.

Why I’m not okay

It’s been less than a week since Donald Trump was elected president by the electoral college (he didn’t win the popular vote, so I refuse to say America voted him in). I’ve seen all the posts, read all the comments, seen internet friendships implode before my very eyes. I’ve been pretty vocal about not voting Donald Trump into office, but I haven’t said much after he was elected. There’s a very simple reason for that. I am still very sad. I am still very confused. I am still very scared. I am still worried about the ramifications a Trump presidency will have on my daughter or any other babies that come along. Overall, I’m not okay and damnit, I have every right to be.

I have every right to not be okay not because I’m a woman and fall into one of his persecuted categories. It’s because I am a human and a citizen of this country. I have never so badly wanted to pack our bags and get the hell out of dodge after an election. I truly asked Tim how feasible it was to move to Canada. I didn’t want to think of my future here anymore. On Wednesday morning I held Eva in bed while looking at my phone in utter disbelief. I went to bed without looking at anything because I’ve been saying for months, “He’s going to win. Everyone said he wouldn’t get on the ballot and he did.” I was hoping with every neuron in my being that I was wrong. Unfortunately I do have the annoying trait of being right 95% of the time. Please don’t laugh, it awful and true. I didn’t want to be. I know I wouldn’t be okay.

I am sad for our country. For a long time now so much of our country feels forgotten about and disregarded. Their pleas of help for jobs are going unheard. Hopes of a livable minimum wage have been thrown out the window. A hope for a life without an EBT card  and support from a government have waned. It becomes more expensive to live in America but our wages don’t reflect those changes. Outsourcing of jobs makes it nearly impossible to logically keep factories in America. We are so broken as a whole that we’ve turned against each other. If this was a musical “You’re Fault” from Into the Woods would be playing right now. We were all desperate to blame someone, anyone, that the blame has ended with our neighbors and friends.

Sadly a Trump presidency has brought out the worse in all of us. Those of us who preach love and understanding have now spewed vile words against Trump and Pence because we feel they don’t follow the same principles of love and understanding. Those of us who were keeping quiet on racist thoughts and ideals based on a Great America that never existed have a voice to yell out through. The biggest worry I have with this presidency is that, say Trump and Pence bring up the number of jobs. Say they help with the economy, hell let’s go so far into the benefit of doubt and say even foreign affairs improve. At what cost? The cost of most of the population of our country being terrified to leave their house because they may or may not be accosted and beaten that day? The cost of rights of the LGBTQI community has tirelessly fought for? The cost of women throwing their arms in the air and saying, “Oh sure, government. Let’s take this a step further and have you tell me how I should conduct my own sex life. Seems appropriate.” The cost of children asking why they have to act one way when even the president of the United States can act however he wants? How can we yell that pro athletes aren’t stepping up enough as role models for the youth of America, but Trump gets a pass because hey at least he tells the truth.

Now, I have friends and family who voted for Trump. They say they are sick of government sticking their noses in their business. They say they don’t want their rights infringed upon. They say they want someone who understands what it is to work for what you have in life. All I can say is, that won’t happen with Trump. At least the Trump he has shown us. As much as you want your 2nd amendment rights, that how much I want the right to do with MY BODY as I see fit, not my husband. ME. As much as you are sick of government sticking their noses into your business that’s how much a homosexual couple wants all of America to stay out of their relationship and family dynamic. And choosing someone who grew up in the upper 1% of society is not your advocate for working hard for every penny. I understand the thinking of you are passionate about your views, I’m passionate for views that don’t leave out people for being who they are. Someone who lives their life in a peaceful and loving way. Honest to god, I have never understood why you should hate someone for no reason other than they are walking down the street and look too black or too gay or you know, have boobies.

This week has been difficult for many of us. A lot of us have mourned the opportunity to see history be made and see the first female president. A lot of us have run to the mountain top to scream to the sky. A lot of us have turned to social media to get our message across, whatever it may be. Our country is hurt right now no matter which side you’re on. There has been a line drawn in the sand and we’re yelling at each other over that line. All I can hope for is that when we cross that line it’s to shake hands and figure things out. I hope beyond hope that Trump leads that handshake because that’s what a president does. I hope beyond hope that he leads his supporters towards a path of peaceful and loving relationship with his non supporters. I hope beyond hope that we can repair our country. These are all hopes I have because no matter how many times I go over it in my head, right now, I’m not okay.

Here’s what I know

This is kind of a different post. It’s not so much about being a housewife and mom with the events happening in our country over the last couple of weeks. Then again, it is because I am raising a daughter and I don’t want her to grow up in the world that I grew up in and into. Now, don’t get me wrong. The world we live in now isn’t horrendous. For me it’s great. I am a white middle class female stay at home mom. I chose to have that title (well, the white and female part was pre determined) and because of my husband’s job I can be a stay at home mom. I digress though. The last week has lasted a lifetime in terms of politics and media cycles. Donald Trump’s leaked tape about women has thrown open the doors to talk about sexual behavior in our country. It made me wonder, what’s been my experience?

Overall, I have been very fortunate. Let me explain what I mean by fortunate. I grew up in a house where I was told that girls could do anything boys could do. I had a mother that knew how to use tools and a father that would vacuum. I have never been molested or raped. My first job that I had for seven years (on and off) didn’t discriminate against me because I was a woman. I was a team lead in my department. I was given projects that were important to what we were doing and was surrounded by executives that were women. In terms of being a woman in this world, I grew up and and have been very fortunate in my experiences. The sad flip side to that statement is that I was fortunate because I wasn’t abused somehow. I was fortunate because I was treated as an equal in my company. I was fortunate because I didn’t grow up thinking women belonged in the home and that’s all they were good for. I was fortunate to have things that should be god given, not things where luck is a factor.

I have had my fair share though. There are two instances that I remembered when I started thinking about writing this post. In high school I had to do community service like most high schools. My father works heavily with United Way through his work. They were putting on a charity golfing tournament. One of my jobs was to watch a certain hole. If someone got a hole in one they won a car. There was an older man playing through who said, “Let’s make this more interesting and put some team bets on this. Shirts vs skins!” the other men chuckled and then the man who spoke looked at me and said, “You can be skins *wink, gross old man laugh*” I was 14. I was 14 and an older man thought not only was it okay to imply he wanted to see me with my top off, he laughed about it. Needless to say, I asked my dad for another job that day.

The other instance happened when I was 20. I was driving home from college. I was at a stop light that had two lanes. At the red light I stretched and looked over to the 4×4 next to me. Another older man held up a sign that said, “Show me your boobs”. Really think about that. Not only was this guy willing to pull up to random women and show them this disgusting sign, he made the sign in the first place. He sat down somewhere, took a piece of paper, a marker and wrote “Show me your boobs” and then thought “I should put this in my car to show random women. How will they resist?” and while it was super tempting to do so I somehow did resist his lovely offer and did show him something. My middle finger which was met with his middle finger and him actually showing anger towards me.

Those are the two incidents that will always stay with me. I am a curvy girl and have been since I was 12 (thanks, puberty on steroids). In college I was grabbed and I was told my nickname for a group of guys was, “The RA with big boobs”. In clubs I was invited to bathrooms to take a ride on a disco stick. Good lord, I feel so respected in our society why would I agree that what Trump said was completely disgusting? If you’ve seen my Facebook you know I am not on the Trump train to the White House. But this isn’t about politics. This is about women living in a country where we feel truly lucky if we aren’t raped in college. Are these the standards we want to continue for our daughters? How can I look at my newborn daughter in the eyes and honestly hope, “I hope you never have to call me one day with awful news”. By allowing what Trump said to go without consequence is us giving our consent to these behaviors for future generations.

Here’s what I know. I am a female and I was offended by what Donald Trump said on that bus with Billy Bush. That’s the end of the discussion. No one gets to tell me that I can’t be offended by this. No one gets to tell me that I overreacted when I was 14 and was hit on by a man in his 60’s. No one gets to tell me that the man in the 4×4 was just exercising his first amendment rights. No one gets to tell me what makes me uncomfortable and violated. There are so many posts I could write about this but hopefully I only have to write this one to get the message across to someone out there. People may feel like we are beating a dead horse but this is one worth beating. Mostly because that bastard keeps coming back to life. My daughter will be badass but I don’t want to add zombie horse killer to that list…or do I?

I am a woman…kinda.

I had a baby five months ago and I have never felt like less of a woman before in my life. I feel like I should be walking around our house singing, “I am woman, hear me roar”. Before I had Eva I was a housewife. A run of the mill housewife with a little more swearing and a little less (not a lot less) drinking than your 50’s sitcoms. Our house was clean 90% of the time, my husband got a home made breakfast, lunch, and dinner more days than not. Going out for date night or a family function I was perpetually showered, dressed in clean clothes, had a full face of make up, and in general felt good about myself. Let me be clear, these were and are all my choices. My husband does make the income but he does not decide the use of the income. I can believe in feminism and still be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, cause who wears shoes in the kitchen? Were we raised in barns?

So yes before Eva I felt very womanly like for the most part. During my pregnancy I also did feel fairly womanly. I was a swollen, emotional, internally screaming most of the time woman. When I got pregnant I felt like it was what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a mom, at that moment I was meant to be a mom to be. I was a prepping machine when I was pregnant. Every day was mostly centered around getting ready for our bundle of…change? The nursery was on fleek with a great outer space theme. Our hospital bags were packed and ready to go. All the necessary paper work was filled out and done. Our house was clean. I was able to shower and put on a full face of make-up, no problem. I, overall, felt like the kind of woman I wanted to be.

After having Eva, it all changed. I didn’t think it would. I thought that if anything I would feel my womanlinest….mostest womanly…best woman?…I would feel the pinnacle of my womanhood. I had given birth. I had screamed, grunted, and cried my way into producing life. I continued the circle of life. I was Rafiki presenting Simba to the tribe. The truth was and is I feel more like a shapeless blob in Flubber. While it’s amazing that I grew and pushed a human out of me, it’s also amazing how quickly I also feel like I left my sense of being a woman at the hospital. Something I’m not sure when I will get back.

My body is not mine anymore. Starting with my breasts. In our culture, the symbol of womanhood. They are fun in the bedroom and sustain life. Yet they do not belong to me anymore. They belong to my daughter. She is still feeding on demand. She lets me know when she wants them and my breasts let me know when it’s been too long since Eva has seen them. I have to wear shapeless bras that give no support because I need easy access and can’t have underwire clogging and ducts. For ten months my stomach was rented by Eva. Well, she left it a mess. My hair is falling out in hand fulls, my stomach and hips are a different shape, and I was super swollen for about two weeks after she was born. Overall, I don’t feel like my body is a woman’s body. I feel like it’s an instrument solely for someone else’s survival.

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My schedule and everyday life. There was a saying in my family growing up, “It’s all about Amy”. While this was very unfortunate for my lovely sister, I truly understand the flip side of that now. Everything, everyday, every minute is all about Eva. What’s Eva doing? Is Eva okay? How old is she? A girl or a boy? The only question that is directed to me and who I am is, “How are you adjusting?” meaning, how am I doing with the notion that my whole life has been taken over by a demanding biped with toilet issues. I’m also a stay at home mom so I honestly never get a break. Which I knew that was going to happen, but some days, yeah it freaking hard. I am not Amy Gagnon anymore, I’m Eva’s mom.

Lastly, my own personal care. I don’t want to say that I’ve given up on my appearance and personal care, but I don’t want to lie either. It’s not so much that I willingly thought, “I shouldn’t shower for a week” it just happened. It’s hard to want to take time to put on clothes that have spit up on them and put on only a little make up because your daughter loves to Hannibal Lecter your face and the mom messy bun is a must in this house. The gist of all this? I don’t get ready anymore. When we run errands or have appointments I make sure Eva has a clean diaper and onesie on, her diaper bag is ready to go, and at the last second I look in the pub mirror by our front door. I tuck the feathered hairs behind my ears and we’re good to go. I wouldn’t call myself a woman anymore, I would call myself a mom.

Could I change this perspective of myself? Yes. Could I go to others for help so I can get out of this slump? Yes. At the end of the day I’m not sure I’m ready to. We just started getting into a routine and feeling somewhat normal in my house. I sometimes cook dinner, I sometimes clean things, and I sometimes have discussions with Tim that don’t center around our baby. These things used to have a never in front of them for months. I don’t think I was prepared for this part, doing what could be called the most womanly thing to do and feeling not so womanly. I’ll get there someday, I know this. I just wish that were today.