Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I just make it look easy......

I was chatting with some mothers not too long ago and one of them commented to me that I had it easy

What do you mean? I asked

Well, you know, she said, it’s just so much easier for you

I tilted my head to the left, No, I don’t know what you mean I replied

Well you know, she said, it’s just easier for you because “you only have one….you’re barely a Mom”

Two of the other women who know me well enough to know me shifted uncomfortably unsure of what was about to fall out of my mouth

Who are we kidding…..I shifted uncomfortably unsure of what was about to come out of my mouth

The woman, unaware of the disturbance, in the force kept talking

You just have it so much easier…..and she started ticking off a list of things that make it so much easier for me:

You have less laundry to do and fewer toys to pick up
You’ll have less homework to do than the rest of us once Lucy is in school
You don’t have to make as many meals (what because only children don’t eat three meals a day?)
And, you only have to make one lunch every day
You only have to throw one birthday party every year and when you travel, it is so much easier for you to pack
You only have to school shop and Christmas shop for one
You only had to be pregnant once…so you only had to lose baby weight once
You are so lucky, you only have to pay attention to one kid; that is so much easier than paying attention to more than one

Her grand finale was the following statement:

You just don’t have to be as much of a Mom as the rest of us because you only have one…seriously, you’re like barely a Mom!

Up to that point, my blood had been slowly reaching its boiling point

In my head, I was articulating my response back to her…and I’m not going to lie, I also had visions, a fantasy, of bitch slapping her really hard across the face – once to the left and once to the right

But when she made that last statement, my heart stopped beating for a split second

I felt my blood go cold, my stomach felt like it was being twisted inside out and my heart…my heart hurt
My eyes started to sting and my legs, which felt wobbly, started to buckle a bit

Her last statement echoed in my head

You just don’t have to be as much of a Mom as the rest of us because you only have one…seriously, you’re like barely a Mom!

The other two women stood by waiting for me to respond
The talker just kept watching the kids completely unaware of the impact of her words

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for her
But I didn’t respond

Shortly after that, I was chatting with a friend and a friend of hers

Conversation shifted and they were talking about some people they both know
I don’t know the people except for having met them a couple time in passing and frankly, I did not find them to be all that endearing

My friend’s friend alluded to this very thing and my friend defended the group of people and turns to me and says

You’ve met them, what do you think?
Well, I say, they were….
What she says?
Well, they weren’t quite what I expected….
What do you mean she says?
Well, they….I mean the couple was very nice as was that one other guy but…
But what?
Well, they really weren’t that nice…to be honest, two of them were just straight up rude
See, says her friend, I told you they weren’t nice!

My friend looks at me and says that’s really what you think?
Yes, I say, I mean when I spoke directly to two of them, they blanked me….Did not even acknowledge I had said anything and I was addressing them

My friend was clearly getting frustrated as her friend continued to speak ill of the group
I did not add anything more; really didn’t have anything to add as I knew these people in a very passing manner

Then, my friend looks at me and says, you just don’t like my friends because they’re gay! 

I was in the middle of swallowing a gulp of coffee and did not respond straight away
And when I did, I probably should have been more offended
Her friend definitely was because the friend’s mouth dropped open so far and fast I thought it would bounce off the table

I’m sorry what did you say?
You don’t like my friends because they are gay

I inhaled sharply, took another sip of coffee and asked

Why do you assume I don’t like them because they are gay? And were they all gay? Because I’m pretty sure at least three of them were as straight as an arrow….

Yeah but some of them were gay and you just don’t like them because they’re gay

I pointed out that the two people I was specifically referring to were the two straight women at the table (obviously intimidated by my beauty) and that it was in fact her gay friends I ended up talking to because they were the only ones who would make eye contact with and by the way, I resent your implication

We’ll its true she responds
What’s true?
You just don’t like my friends because you’re conservative and Catholic and they're gay

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for her
But I didn’t respond

I’ve been steadily losing weight since February of this year
By August, I had lost 43lbs
And then I gained 3.2lbs
And then I lost it
And then I stopped losing or gaining weight
I’ve been stuck on the same number since mid-August

In the meantime, a woman I know, also began a weight loss regime
I did Weight Watchers
She did a fast and then followed some sort of strict “phase” diet
And she goes to the gym on a regular basis
I’ve yet to set foot in a gym

She lost her weight pretty quickly – and bought the clothes to show it off
And every chance she gets, she makes sure that whomever is in earshot knows she has lost weight
She's also made sure to point out how quickly she has lost her weight compared to my slow loss
And on more than one occasion has commented to me that she noticed I had stopped losing weight

Did you give up? she’d ask
No I’d say, just stuck
Oh well, I’m not, she’d say with a flounce
As a matter of fact, I was at the gym today and even one of the trainers told me I need to stop losing before I disappeared!
That’s great, you do look well I’d say
I know she’d respond

Not once has she ever commented, positively, on my weight loss

When I initially started on my weight loss journey (I normally would not say something like that but if you’ve ever been to Weight Watchers, that’s how we all talk…we’re all on a journey….and none of us are fat…we just struggle….and track and count points), I never really said much about it

I’d have a passing entry in a blog, and when I hit 30lbs I will admit to posting it as my Facebook status

But other than that, not said much about it…nor had I purchased any new clothes
Every piece of clothing I owned hung off me and it was actually hard to tell I had lost weight

In November, I had a day off
Sean begged me to please spend part of the day shopping and investing in some new clothes as everything was hanging off me
So I did

Now, for the record, I hate shopping for myself.....and I shop like a guy
So my trip went like this:

I found a shirt I liked, I bought it in 3 colors (cream, black and a sort of pink rose color)
I found a sweater I liked, bought it in 3 colors (black, green and cream)
And found two pairs of pants I liked; bought them both in black and gray

And then I was done
All solid colors, all the same style….takes me like no time to pick out my outfit in the morning

The next day, I wore some of the said new clothes
One woman I know, who met after I lost all my initial weight and while I was stuck on my 43lbs loss, commented to me that I looked like I had lost 20lbs

You must feel so much better having new clothes
I do I say
Well, you look way better than you did last week she responds
Oh, well, thanks
Yeah, maybe now you can think about buying clothes with a bit more…you know, color and character
Maybe I say, not really my style though

Oh, pipes up the other woman (who has lost all kinds of weight) and happened to be standing there, you have a style?!?

They make eye contact and laugh

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for them both
But I didn’t respond

So within a month, I was cited for being barely a mother, accused of not liking people based on my politics and religion and criticized for my clothing choices (or lack thereof) and borderline mocked for my weight

Sometimes it is amazing to me I am not in therapy

So my struggle right now….my need for getting this all down?
Well, most likely because I am not in therapy so this my outlet
But I guess I am just intrigued by these behaviors – by what people will say

Why do we think it is okay for us to behave like this? To say things like this to one another?
People wonder why there is so much hatred? Animosity? Jealousy?
People wonder why we retreat from one another?
We wonder why our kids behave the way they do?
Look at the examples they have to learn from
We breed them to be jealous, competitive and contemptuous

And I’m not innocent
I can be insanely jealous

It makes me crazy that woman lost weight as fast as she did in a shorter period of time I did
I am envious of those families with multiple kids
I long for the house and homes some of our friends have
I’m jealous of those people who have family close by to help them out
I can be jealous of my own sisters and the attention they get from my parents

And I can be critical
And judgmental
I’m not as competitive as I used to be – I’m far too old and tired for that
But sometimes I can be downright mean and cranky and impatient

And I know Lucy hears me say things and sees my behavior….and then I have to focus on undoing what I may have inadvertently done

But see what I said there?

I focus on undoing what I may have done

Wen Lucy hears or sees me doing or saying something that is a bit suspect, I talk to her about it
I let her know not only why I did it but why I should not have done it
And what I’m going to do to fix it
Now listen, do not misunderstand me and think I talk to my 4 year old about ALL my actions and emotions

I don’t

But when I royally fuck up, and I know I have, I talk to her about it

Like the Sunday night after our basement flooded
We had no hot water, a wet basement and we were exhausted from cleaning up
We were trying to get showers taken but Lucy was being a tad difficult and on the verge of tears and next thing I know, Sean and I are snapping at each other

Sean yelled at Lucy, I yelled at Sean, he yelled at me, I yelled at him but good and he stormed out of the house

Lucy stood by a bit unsure of what had just happened and then did everything I asked with no resistance

A bit later, Sean was still out cooling his heels and Lucy wanted to know why Daddy left

Because I yelled at him I said, because I said something I should not of
Yeah Mumma, you did yell!
I did honey
Was it because I was not listening?
No honey, it was because Mummy and Daddy are tired, a bit overwhelmed with what happened in the basement and we just….
You lost it Mumma!
Yes honey, we did

And the conversation continued….with me telling Lucy that though none of us were right in yelling at each other, it was OK, it happened but now we all needed to apologize

And Mummy will apologize first because I yelled the loudest
You sure did Mumma! You scared Daddy away….

I want Lucy to know that emotions and feelings are OK to have, we’re human….even if we did not want to have them, we will

And I am a big fan of letting your emotions play out
I won’t tell you not to cry, laugh or scream
I want you to do what you have to do to get those feelings out
I want Lucy to know its okay to do that

But I also want her to know it has to be the right time and place
That her emotions will sometimes have to be kept in check until she is in that safe place to explode…to laugh, cry and scream

I go to work every day unsure of what roller coaster I’ll be on
Sometimes, it’s like the inmates are running the asylum
But I’ve gotten really good about keeping my emotions in check…..until I get home and then rant and rave at Sean (about work, let’s keep it in perspective)
I tell him what I wanted to say, what was running through my head...... those things that would have been socially unacceptable to express at work……I’m lucky I have such a sounding board

Everyone should have such a sounding board

Not too long ago, ok, October, I had a….fight…difference of opinion…with my mother

And I’ve not spoken to her since

That is to say I used to call my mother every day on my way to get Lucy; I haven’t called her for ages

I think I have dialed her number three times since then: once to let Lucy say Thank You for something she was sent, once because she accidentally called my mobile phone at 10:30 at night and I thought something was wrong…ok so only twice

And I have seen her twice – once at my sisters for my niece’s baptism and then the Friday after Thanksgiving; they came over for dinner

Lucy asked me Saturday if I was mad at Noni

Why honey?
Well, you used to talk to Noni all the time and now you don’t…..and when she came over, you didn’t even really talk to her
Well, I don’t if I am mad Lucy….I’m more……well, it’s complicated

Lucy tilted her head to the side as if to say go on….so I kept talking

I don’t know if mad or angry is the right thing to say….it’s more that my feelings are hurt….and I want someone to say Hey, Maria, sorry we hurt your feelings
Did Noni hurt your feelings?
She did
Did you tell her?
How can she say sorry if she does not even know she hurt your feelings?
Well, you should probably fix it Mumma; I heard you tell Daddy you miss talking to Noni

Lucy, sometimes mummy and daughters need a break from each other….
I won’t need a break from you Mumma
You might someday Luce
No, it’s just me you and Daddy, if we take a break from each other, who would we talk too?
Well, uhh….

Are you being stubborn Mumma? Stubborn is when you don’t want to do what you’re supposed to do right? Like when I don’t want to brush my teeth so I lollygag?
Yeah Lucy, that’s being stubborn
So are you being stubborn?
Maybe a bit
Do you like it when I’m stubborn Mumma?
Not always….
Think Noni likes it when you’re being stubborn?

And the grasshopper becomes the master

I don’t know what the point of this post is

I’m not sure there is anything funny or poignant or a life lesson to be learned

I just needed someone to know that no matter how many kids you have, or don’t have, there is a bit of a Mum in all of us
It’s when you nurture and care and love unconditionally
I may only have one little person to call my own, one person to call me Mum.....but I’ll tell you what, I am a Mum with every ounce and fiber of my being

I just needed someone to know that my politics and religion have nothing to do with me liking you as a person
You have everything to do with me liking you as a person
And I like you (or don’t like you) as a person for who you are
Not for what label you or society has put on yourself

I just needed someone to know that though my clothes may be boring, I still have a bit of style and grace about me….just open your eyes and you’ll see it’s there…I swear

I just needed someone to know that I’m doing my best, I really am
And I’m still going to make mistakes but I’ll try to fix them as I go along

I just needed someone to know I’m sorry – for the hurt I may have caused when I yelled or snapped
For the stupid and thoughtless things I've done and said
I’ll make up for it by making my daughter a better person than I am

I just needed someone to know that Lucy is this incredible, insightful, empathetic being who is wise beyond her years…..and I am so proud and thankful to be her Mum

And I needed someone to know I’ll call my Mum..….soon…..I miss her

Maria the Mum

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