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Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
I crack up sometimes thinking about my take on motherhood before and during pregnancy. I’d tell people, “I’m not going to change. I’m going to strap the baby on my back and go, just like I always have.” I was a world traveler before I became a mom. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Went to Fiji on a whim. Spent New Years in Timbuktu (sadly, overtaken this spring by Islamic Extremists). Now the most I do is look at a globe and thank my lucky stars I’m not globetrotting. For me, motherhood did what wanderlust couldn’t. It made me content. I would have never predicted the impact it would have on my whole way of life.
So I had to laugh — and cringe a little — when I read this week that Marissa Mayer, who was just named Yahoo’s chief executive, is pregnant, and — ya ready? — says, “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.” HAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
Clearly she has never had a baby before.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for working moms. And before I had kids, that quote would have made her my hero. But now? I think she’s being a tad naive. I can still be her biggest cheerleader, but first I think she needs to realize that today’s woman simply: Can’t.Have.It.All. Or at least not the first few weeks with a new baby. And why should she? You never get the birth of your baby back. And physically, a birth through the chute knocks you for a few days. A C-section? 2-3 weeks. Not to mention the emotional toll it takes on your entire being. I felt–and looked–like I had been hit by a bus. To run a $2-dollar company, much less a $20 billion dollar one? Impossible. Unless you want to fail. And right now, Yahoo isn’t the dreamboat. It’s a mess. This is no walk in the park.
Simply put, people who don’t have kids: Don’t.Get.It.
Even if she has a baby who comes out sleeping 12 hours a night and refuses the boob (so he can be exclusively bottle fed, which is fine, really. I don’t judge how women choose to feed their babies), I still think she will be so utterly turned upside down that she may have to eat her words.
There are a few things in her favor. Let’s face it: babies are blobs those first few months. I’m sure she’ll have lots of help. The baby will be cared for and loved, both by her, her husband, and her help. It will eat, sleep, and poop. And that’s about it.
But what’s not in her favor is Mother Nature — because unless you’re a zombie or a drug addict, she does kick in, swiftly and (hopefully) beautifully. No amount of money can keep her force at bay. She brings even the strongest women to their knees. The maternal instinct and motherly love is earth shattering. (If it’s not, then the postpartum depression is. These are the things you can’t predict.) I don’t think running a Fortune 500 company can compare to what a baby does. At least not initially.
So my question is, will Mayer battle the demons of guilt? Will she be too exhausted to care? Will she miss out on bonding with her baby while bonding with Yahoo? Or will she be the first woman to “have it all” and thus, will I be eating my words?
No doubt Yahoo is to be commended for hiring a pregnant CEO. But as blogger Julie Ryan Evans points out in her piece:
“I so wish she and Yahoo would set an example — that they would give her a full maternity leave, and that she would take it and still keep her position. Even just the minimum — 6-8 weeks, and show the world that it’s okay for women to have babies and then to care for them and themselves for more than just a few days. That they and their skills are important enough to the company that they’ll figure out something in a woman’s absence and welcome her and her expertise back with open arms.”
Maybe Yahoo did offer her the full maternity leave and Mayer is choosing to work through it. Regardless, it’s unrealistic and naive. I just don’t see how it’s humanly possible without letting something — or someone — suffer. Namely, her.
But I get it. Because you don’t get it until it happens to you.
Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps I’m being one of the “judgey” moms that my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott refers to in her very well-put piece on this issue. I’ll admit, she did make me pause when she wrote the following: “Instead of judging Marissa Mayer, and using her achievement as an excuse to rekindle the debate about whether women can have it all, why don’t we sit back and watch her work? I’m betting she’ll show us some magic–and probably teach us all a thing or two.”
I worry though, that Mayer could also send a message to the rest of the world that women can push through their maternity leave if they want; that all it takes is “a few weeks.” She could ultimately be hurting the case for the majority of us who actually want to enjoy our babies–and take care of them–before returning to the workforce.
Devon Corneal wrote a piece in the Huffington Post in which she says, “I don’t judge her for embracing her job — I hope she’s a success. I just want to make sure that her blithe decision to take a truncated, working “maternity leave” won’t be held up as the paradigm or used to pressure other women to follow suit. We all deserve better than that.”
Evans echoes that sentiment:
“Maybe she’s superwoman, but a few weeks is barely long enough for the epidural to wear off. To think that she’s going to be mentally and emotionally ready to go back and lead a company two or three weeks later and leave her baby is ambitious at the least; thinking that’s what a woman has to do to keep such a position of power is depressing.”
It’s even more depressing if this is all Mayer’s choice. I’m hoping she just doesn’t know any better. Then again, maybe I should know better and hold back the judgement. We’ll see.
Photo courtesy of Google Images
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips | Tags: CEO, daycare, full time, Google, infant, Marissa Mayer, maternity leave, nanny, newborn, part time, pregnancy, pregnant, sahm, sleep, sleep training, working moms, Yahoo
Monday, July 9th, 2012
Is it a milestone to suddenly turn shy? To go from boisterous to bashful?
The other day I went to pick Fia up from preschool. I asked the director if she was the wildest one in her class. What she said made no sense to me.
“Fia? No, she’s probably the quietest one.”
Huh? Feral Fia? The one who never stops chatting at home? Who oozes personality and spunk? Who dances and climbs and twirls? Even the other day while we were sitting at dinner, she squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands in prayer position, and went into a yoga chant. Phil and I almost died laughing.
“Fia, where did you learn that?”
“From yoga at school!” she exclaimed.
I’ve seen her do downward dog and tree pose, but the chants blew me away. It was so damn funny.
The school situation has me baffled. They said that during free play, she usually just plays quietly with herself, reading books or coloring. During the structured activities she is with everyone else. But other times she’s kind of a loner.
They told me she often stands back and just watches the other kids; that she is an observer, not a participant. I don’t know why the thought of that breaks my heart, but it does. Is she shy? Scared? Not confident? This is a girl that for months couldn’t stop hugging every kid she met.
She’s 2 years and 7 months. Is this still the age of parallel play? Or is she insecure? This side of her is a mystery to me.
She only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The teachers suggested we bump her up to 3 days in a row. Tue-Wed-Thur. Perhaps the repetition will make her more interactive with the other kids.
I have no doubt this is a great preschool. So it’s not that. Maybe my girl is just more subdued in unfamiliar situations? Or larger crowds? The other day our nanny had 6 kids over. Phil observed from his study that while all the other kids were running through the sprinklers, Fia just stood back and watched. She did that for 10 minutes. When she is one-on-one with a playdate, she is much more engaged. I’ve never seen her just stand back.
Should I tell our nanny and the school to pull her into the group more? Or is this something where you take a hands off approach and let her find her own way? Is going to preschool for 3 days in a row a wise choice, so it becomes more familiar? (It’s only from 9-1 pm).
I’m looking for advice from the moms who have been there before me. I don’t want to overstep my bounds with her, but I don’t want to ignore something either. Thoughts?
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: babysitter, class, daycare, familiar, independence, loner, nanny, playdate, preschool, routine, school, shy, sitter, toddler, yoga
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
It’s really hard to let someone else watch your kid. But most of us have had to take that leap of faith—whether it’s daycare, a nanny or a babysitter. No one is perfect (including us moms), so of course you’re going to find flaws in the help (i.e. read my sitter chronicles). However, I was appalled at the email I got from a friend about a recent babysitter fiasco. It’s so absurd I had to share. I am calling her kid “Y”. He’s three. And now in much better hands. Can anyone top this?
So I really wanted a drink last night because….
I have this sitter a few mornings per week (so I can work). She’s been with us for almost a year or so. She’s young (27) and an aspiring singer. So, you know–her heart isn’t really in this and she’s kind of dramatic and crazy in that performance-artist kind of way. Also, she has my least favorite quality in a sitter: Instead of asking questions, she pretends like she knows everything and is listening to me, when I suspect she’s not.
One time, she came to watch Y and she had no makeup on. When I came back, she was totally made up. She looked great so I asked her about her eye shadow. She said, “Oh, it’s yours!” Yep. She helped herself to my makeup. Since then, I put out some old “dummy” makeup in case she
goes digging for it again. I hide the rest.
I thought about letting her go then, but it’s hard to find a new person. I dread the process. Hate it actually. Plus, I don’t use her that often and Y loves her. He doesn’t take to many people, so to start from scratch just seems daunting.
So yesterday, she shows up and I compliment her on her outfit. “Ugh,” she says. “I just got my period so I took my underwear off. I need to wash them in your machine.”
I leave to go get my car washed and sit at Starbucks with my computer, to work. I get a call around 4 that Y locked her out of the house.
My husband (X) went home (since my car was being washed) and let her go for the day. He’s relatively unfazed. He said, “Well, I guess that’s something that could have happened to us.” It’s like I’m married to an ape. I’m pretty pissed. I asked him if he paid her. He didn’t. Did she tell him not to bother paying since she screwed up? Nope. So now I owe her.
Two nights before this incident, I said she could bring her friend from out of town over. I came home to them all watching Ironman on television (not talking about the Triathlon either). Maybe it’s unrelated, but Y had nightmares that night. The more I think about it, I am going to find someone else. I’m not using her again. But do I still have to pay her for the half-shift she served before she got locked out?
Jill here again: What do you all think? Crazy, right?
Picture of Baby by Himself courtesy of Shutterstock
Friday, November 11th, 2011
Author’s Note: Join me every Friday for a dose of cuteness as I share snapshots of Fia. Adorable photos are guaranteed on Fia Friday!
On Monday I cried. On Tuesday I had a mom date. On Wednesday night I mourned–but this time for the victims affected by my alma mater, Penn State. Today I am getting my feet on the ground. Finally.
Since Monday when I felt so overwhelmed by the move, the lack of mom friends, Fia’s sleep issues and lack of childcare for Fia, a few things have fallen into place.
First: the pre-nursery school. I found an amazing one called Segray. The woman who runs it, Annette, is all about keeping things simple. She wants to teach the kids gardening, and using recycled materials. She’s not about fancy toys. She doesn’t like chaos. Her program is 9-noon, and I’ve enrolled Fia two days a week. Today was her first day and she loved it. I put her in pigtails for the first time, though I need more practice. They look like a seesaw on her head, though here you just see one side.
First Day of Pre-Nursery
Tuesday was my mom date. A friend from when I was out here for a few months in 2010 came over. Her daughter is also Fia’s age and we all hit it right off. Another wave of relief. We are going on another date next week.
What’s not resolved is the sleep issue. And my anger at the crib tent. Click here for details.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read | Tags: crib tent, daycare, fia friday, mom date, mom friends, moving, moving to LA, nursery school, photo, pregnancy, sleep, sleep training
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
My sweet, sad girl when separated
Fia has been a champ when it comes to sitters. I credited it with my superb parenting skills. Having never been a parent before, I’m not sure why I thought I was so brilliant, but I had this theory: by exposing her to a lot of different people from the newborn stage on, she would be used to different caretakers and be okay when I wasn’t around. So what happens to babies at 21 months with their separation issues? Or is Fia just a late bloomer? I thought this was an issue much earlier on in their development. I was feeling relief for dodging that bullet.
Now, anytime one of her sitters walks in, she starts wailing. Real tears and everything. It blows. They tell me as soon as I leave she is fine, and I believe them. But why such angst? I also just enrolled her in this Spanish playgroup thing. It’s from 9-noon twice a week and I drop her off. It’s not that she cries so much after I leave. It’s more the clinging and whimpering that happens while I’m still there. She knows I’m going to go and gets herself all worked up. Once I’m gone, the teachers say she recovers quickly. But I don’t understand why this is happening now.
I work from home, so my schedule is flexible. Phil also works from home. So we’re probably around more than most people. Could therein lie the problem? Is it possible that the lack of a sitter schedule/routine is throwing her into turmoil? Would I be better off not having the sitters so irregularly and instead when we move to LA find a part time playgroup like the Spanish thing so there is some consistency? Or is this just a phase she will work through?
I await the wisdom of you who have been here before.