Saturday, January 11, 2014

there is value in motherhood. just look at my children.

A new semester started this week. It's going to be a doozy as I have four classes this term. I am also getting over a nasty head cold that managed to damper my happy first-day-back-at-school spirit.

What would I be without a plug for sympathy on occasion? Anyway.....

Today was my first class of Rhetorical Communication. It is a writing course but before we write we make speeches.

Make speeches, you say?

Why, yes, that IS what I said. Making speeches? For grades? Yes please.

As a mother who nags people to death makes speeches on a regular basis I figure I am made for this class.

So, as part of today's class, we were given an essay and told to evaluate it. The essay was written by a woman who put herself through university without a student loan or any money from her parents. She compared herself to those who were put through school by their parents and how spoiled they were and how their grades weren't as good as hers because she sacrificed for a greater cause and they didn't. She pleaded with all parents to not give money to spoiled, entitled teenagers and to make their kids put themselves through school.

It was a silly essay.

And in this essay, the writer goes on to say that she married in college and is now a full time mother. She also said she was grateful for the life lessons learned.

We were asked to say whether we were persuaded by her arguments one way or another and what it was that persuaded us. A debate ensued as to whether it's better to pay your own way through school or to accept funds from parents to lighten your load. We talked about her tone, her diction and her voice. The debate was excellent, many persuasive and differing points were made.

And then the prof said this, "What I don't understand, as a non-mother, is why on earth anyone would work so hard to get a degree, getting all As along the way, just to become a mother."

Now, deep in my soul, in the innermost reasonable recesses of my rational being, I know she did not mean this the way she said it. But, nonetheless, I had no choice to but say something. After all, this class is about persuasive speech. It's about making people see another side. It's about persuading others into another realm of thought.

I didn't even raise my hand. I just spoke.

I don't remember now what I said exactly but I am fully aware of the point I wanted to make and that is this:

The article never said what her life's ambitions were. Whether they were to become a mother, working or stay at home, or if her priorities changed along the way. The article never said what her degree was in because that wasn't the point she was trying to make. I assume. She had a goal. Get a degree. She got it . She wanted to get good grades. So she got them. She had to do it all on her own without financial aid from anyone. So she did. That is what she chose to do.

And then she got married and had babies. Her choice. She chose to be home with them. These were her priorities at the time.

So these were my questions to my prof, and the rest of the class:

Did staying home with her children devalue her degree? (I sure as heck hope not!) Does her choice to get a degree and then have children devalue her commitment to her own personal education and further learning? (Please tell me that can not be so!)

Did she waste her time getting an education during the years when she either didn't want to or wasn't ready to have children knowing that when the children came she would stay home with them? (The answer to this will never make sense in my head if it is a yes. And this is certainly not what I am trying to teach to my daughters and sons.)

Would she have been more of a woman if she'd never had children?  Or if she'd worked with her degree regardless of the children? (No. No. No. No.)


Look people, we all make our choices and everyone's choices are worthy when there are children involved and education as well. We do those things because we see value in them.

How many people do you know received a degree in something and proceeded to work in jobs where that specific degree was not required? Why does your specific university degree have to dictate the choices you make for the rest of your life? Why can't it be one of the elements that make up the whole? The YOU! 

Why can't a woman get a degree, have children and allow that degree to better their lives in whatever way she chooses?

Well I say she can.

Just like I can understand and appreciate why a childless woman, who openly acknowledges that fact that she chose career over babies, might not understand why putting a career on hold or off to the side for a time to be with children might be just as valuable a decision as believing having a career is.

The choices people make with their lives, their educations and their children have to be their own. And that has to be okay with me and everyone else, otherwise we would spend all our time disappointed with the choices of others or not feeling good enough about the choices we make ourselves.

So, to my prof, I sweetly implied that her choices included much education and no children. And I am fine with that. My choices included full time motherhood and education and possibly a future career and I am fine with my choices, as I hope she might also be. Both of our choices have held value in our society. We both contribute. Is there less value in my contributions because they look different than hers?

Nope. Of course not.

And then I was done.

Had it not been a course based on the premise of argument I probably wouldn't have said anything (okay, yes I would have said something) but when you make it clear that class participation is a large part of the grade and then you push my stay-at-home-mom button I will gladly bring forth my side of the argument.

It was glorious. But, of course, like I said, I know that's not what she meant......

When class was done, she did approach me to apologize and to make sure I understood she was not trash talking moms. Of course, I understand. I am a big girl. I can appreciate the difference of opinions and that maybe those opinions are not expressed appropriately all the time. (I just thought that last part in my head, not out loud.)

I mean really, who wants to tick off the prof on the first day?

Not me. Heaven forbid.

Friday, January 3, 2014

eileen was her name

I had the most moronic Christmas tree ever this year. And this is how it came to be.

Right before we decorated for Christmas my neighbours from directly across the road came by. They are a teensy bit older, like maybe not as old as my parents but definitely older than me. They carried with them, like wisemen following the Dabels star, a ginormous Christmas tree.

It's fibre optic, they said. It's 9 feet tall, they said. It's too big for our living room, they said, but perfect for yours. We don't need it anymore but would love to see it lit up in your house, they said.

You see, I already have tree. It's fake but it's great and has served me well for many years. But a 9 foot fibre optic tree? Already with the wee little lights and such? So tall it would take a ladder to decorate? Yes please.

I said yes please.

Well, the tree was so ridiculous it needs to be acknowledged on this here blog, because I am nothing if not a full blown believer in the ridiculous.

I couldn't get it to stand up straight. I tried fixing the base. I tried fixing the tree. It had a natural born tilt, there was nothing that could be done. I decided that maybe a 9 foot tree with a tilt was exactly the kind of tree this family and home deserved. We let her be.

But every few days she tilted more.

And she hummed. When lit up she hummed this horrific hum that aggravated Gemma so terribly it is a wonder anyone in this house got out alive.

We needed to name her, obviously. She was about to ruin our lives and anything with that kind of power deserves a name.

My friend Shauna named her. Eileen. It was perfection.

And so blatantly obvious it begged laughter of the out loud variety.

The man kept saying he'd fix it. He said he'd tie it to something as to keep the inevitable from happening.

Until, the inevitable happened. Eileen leaned. You know what I'm saying?



Once it finally fell over and I begrudgingly tipped it back up, and I say begrudgingly because what I wanted to do was set fire to the world and burn that stupid tree right up (and plus, the wee one cried when I said there was going to be no tree this year so obviously I set it back up), it had this sad little curl in the tip thereof. We left it as is, the big giant squooshed up mess it was and went on celebrating Christmas despite the tree, that was now fish lined to the blinds.


Because of the hum aggravating my mental state so dramatically we had to stop plugging it in, therefore leaving it light-less, which was the exact reason I took the tree in the first place! 

And that is the sad tale of the tree that leaned and is now covertly hidden inside a dumpster as to not alert the generous neighbours whom injected my life with this hideous burden.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

the resolution that was. or wasn't?

Well, it's a new year. I feel obligated in a sense to make grand plans and reinvent myself. But I'm not going to. It might be because it's 8:30 in the morning. Or it might be because I'm extraordinarily lazy by nature. But then, it might be because it's just not something I do.

I do plan on things being different in certain aspects of my life, like adding three more semesters to my university repertoire and watching my kids grow another year. Hopefully Cicely will get her learners license in 2014. Finally. She has already failed it three times and if you tell her I told you that I might have to add murder to my repertoire as well. What is the deal with this child of mine?

She said to me, "The test is so hard. Not even you could pass it."

To which I replied, "Ummmmm, I did pass it. 26 years ago."

To which she made a grunting noise and rolled her eyes at me. I love her.

I have seen many people in the nets of the inter (that was Catietalk for the internet) proclaim a word they want to be the focus of their lives for the next year. I have never done this but have always thought it a perfectly lovely idea. So this year I chose one. It took exactly .3 seconds to come up with and I have no intention of telling you why I think it came to mind so quickly.

Well, not yet, anyway. I will one day. Because after all, we are BFF's and I tell you everything.

It is Recovery. Chew on that for breakfast.

I will tell you, however, about a sweater I bought for the man. I figured it was time he had a new sweater, a good-going-out sweater, something to go out on the town with.

Yes, we go out on the town!

No we don't. We don't ever go out on the town and to be honest, I don't even know what that would mean for an old married couple. This might be why he has chosen to wear this fancy new sweater as his daily lounging sweater. I was almost certain he wouldn't even like it but as it turns out he loved it and didn't take it off for days and days. I was forced to hide it under the bed until I could wash it. It was like his man muumuu. He came home from work, showered and put on his good-going-out sweater with sweatpants and lounged in it all night. All he needed was a pipe to complete his ensemble. I tried to take a picture of him, daily, wearing his good-going-out sweater in different positions about the house. But he gave me that look and that look means don't mess with me, mama!

Actually, that look means nothing to me but bless his heart, he tries so dang hard.

Okay, off topic, as per usual. Back to the new year's resolution thing.... Really when it comes down to it, I'm just glad church switched to the 1 pm time slot and that I hired a cleaning lady to help me out this semester and that my children are so healthy it should frighten me but really it just pleases me to death. And I have great friends and a super duper husband and many many many children who hardly ever make me irritated or frustrated and one of my new years resolutions should be to cut back on the sarcasm....

But then, what would I be without a constant dose of sarcasm on this crazy high called life?

Happy New Year!!