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Tag Archives: motherhood

“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

9 Aug

Earlier in this year, I got into an argument with a friend of a friend on Facebook. As you do.

Mind you, I try not to do such things. I’ve even gone as far as to take the subject at hand, and post about it on my own page so not to start a fight on a friend’s page.

But this day, I didn’t.

Why?

The friend of my friend started making up a new “tard” word. As in “this person’s so retarded that we have to come up with a new “tard” word to show just how stupid they are.” (please note – all conversation is paraphrased from memory)

I was all “Yeah, “tard” words aren’t cool, stop it.”

Friend of friend. “I can say anything I want.”

Me – “Well, as someone who has a daughter who is, to use the more outdated medical terminology, mentally retarded, I am telling you that “tard” words aren’t cool.”

Friend of friend – “OMG, I can’t believe you used the phrase “mentally retarded”, I am a teacher and we don’t use such language. I have never used the phrase “mentally retarded” in all my years of teaching!”

Me – “Da fuq?”

Yes, dudebro called me out for using “mentally retarded” after defending his use of his made up “tard” word, trying to paint me as the insensitive one. So I said something snippy and brilliant and kinda mean that I don’t recall because it’s been months. But I’ll own that I was being snippy and rude at that point.

Our friend steps in…my friend who has proclaimed their love of my daughter, who has always been super supportive, who has always shared what I written…and my friend told us to cut it out, and me basically to shut up.

My friend told me to shut up.

I may have seen a wall of white hot fire. I don’t take well to being told to shut up like that.

I was all “You have got to be kidding me.”

My friend was all “It’s my wall, people can say what they want, I won’t censor them.”

I was all “Seriously, are you kidding me?”

My friend said “Is this the hill you want our friendship to die on?”

Hmmm…let’s contemplate that hill. That hill that’s built on a slur for people with my daughter’s disability? The slur that I have been vocal about not using? That’s sort of been my platform? That I’ve written blog posts about and you have shared? Is this the hill I want to die on? Want to sacrifice our friendship on?

My first thought was “Do you not know me?”

My second thought was “No. Honestly, I will not unfriend you over this. You are my friend.” And I said this.

One or both of us may be having a bad day. I was definitely now viewing the post through a red haze of anger. The friend of a friend was at that point, offering to not use “tard” words on our friend’s page.

But as it turns out, the damage was done.

I steered clear of commenting on my friend’s social media, partially because I was angry and obviously posting in anger wasn’t working out. Then it looked like my friend took a break from social media. Summer came along and I got busy with things.

But last week, my friend posted something on Instagram. And I commented with a long-standing running joke between us.

Today, I realized that my friend has blocked me on Instagram. We are also no longer friends on Facebook.

So here I am, alone on this hill that one of us was apparently willing to let our friendship die on. I stood my ground. They walked away.

If I could go back to that day with that post, would I choose to stay silent?

No.

Who would I be, as a mother, to allow people to use slurs based on my daughter’s disability? How is using a disability slur any different than using a racial slur or slurs against LGBTQ+? In my world there is no difference.

So yes, I guess in the long run, it’s a hill I’d die on.

 

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Photo – me with my kids. on a hill. in Ireland. 2011

 

 

 

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Life Interrupted

7 Aug

“No excuses!” life shouts at me.

“But…you see-”

“NO EXCUSES!” society shouts, cutting me off.

And there is my excuse.

“You keep saying you’re cleaning your house but…” they say as they wave their hand to note the piles of crap everywhere, waiting for the final sorting and putting away phase.

“You keep saying you’re going to lose weight but…” they say as they eye my not-decreasing waistline and the cake in my hand.

“You keep saying you’re a writer but…” they say as they imply that I’ve yet to be published.

“Well…you see-”

They interrupt me. “NO! NO EXCUSES! JUST DO IT!”

And therein lies the problem.

My life is a series of being interrupted. Not only that, but Maura’s latest thing is to start a show, watch five minutes of it, and then switch to another show, watch three minutes of that, switch to another show, watch 27 minutes of that and flip shows five times in five minutes. I already have a list of things to do that’s a mile long and now I have to figure out how to break Maura of her tv addiction. And yet I have curtains that I need to hem that have been sitting there for six weeks but I can’t do those yet because we rearranged Maura’s room and in doing so, she got into all the stored winter clothes, so someone moved them all into the laundry room and started washing the already clean clothes, so now I have to finish that, but I also need to wash my clothes because it’s been so hot here that I haven’t been doing laundry because I’ve been avoiding turning on the dryer. But I also need to get Maura out of the house, but I also need to go grocery shopping, but Maura and grocery shopping don’t always mix. I could have groceries delivered, but that costs extra money and I’m trying to be thrifty. But then we have no food and so I end up ordering pizza, which is not a healthy diet food, and at that point, I just don’t care.

And then, because of all this, I have to get down on myself for having the messy house, the disorganized life, the lack of writing, the lack of weight loss. Then I start feeling I can’t do the “fun” things like writing or sewing because I need to do the cleaning or the laundry, but I really don’t want to those, but I feel like I should, and then I end up not doing either thing and just surfing the internet feeling overwhelmed, or reading and ignoring the mess around me. Which is a step up from laying in bed binge watching shows.

I’m overtired, overwhelmed, and overweight. I am, apparently, also my own worst critic. My new therapist has named her Mean Phoebe, and Mean Phoebe is actually quite mean. She is comprised of all the people who have been over-critical and not accepting enough of me throughout my life. I need to work on that as well.

I keep forgetting to though because people keep interrupting me to shout “NO EXCUSES!” Or to fix the batteries in the remote. Or put Maura’s hair in a pony tail yet again, even though I put it in a pony tail ten minutes ago, and she keeps pulling it out just for me to redo it. On top of normal daily interruptions.

And to be honest – being super busy just isn’t my style. I need down time. Probably because with Maura, I always have to be on.

My life is chaotic in ways others don’t understand. It’s normal chaotic family life topped with the unpredictability of life with Maura. I crave organization these days. If everything is organized, then maybe I can stop having to choose between cleaning and writing. Maybe if everything was organized and hidden away, Maura would stop pulling everything out and depositing it all over the house. If everything is organized, maybe the visual of neatness will bring order to my brain. I walked through Ikea the other day and all those little show rooms, where everything was laid out just right and shelves were full of little boxes of things organized….it was so tantalizingly delicious.

Reality is, I could be all Kon Mari organized and Maura will still create a mess. I will still be interrupted. Laundry would still be backed up. But at least I’d look like I had my shit together, and that’s something, right?

But I have to start. And starting is hard. Especially when Mean Phoebe is muttering about how we’re just a slob, we’ve been a slob our whole life.

And society yells “NO EXCUSES!”

And I flip off both society and Mean Phoebe, and start a list. Not a bullet journal. Not a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Just a list. A little list. Do my laundry. Do Maura’s laundry. Change the sheets on our bed. Baby steps to the laundry room. Baby steps to the kitchen. Forget meal planning for two weeks, just figure out what we’re eating tonight.

Because some of us have excuses. Some of us have lives interrupted.

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The one where I try to leave the house

26 May

Monday nights, my friend Not Jenn and I have a standing date. Sure, it’s because her kid has a thing near my house and she has time to kill, but that’s just how us parental units roll these days.

So Monday, I got ready to leave. My eldest looked at me, looked at Maura happily watching tv, and asked “You couldn’t possibly leave via the side gate?”

Me, for one second – Son, I will leave this house however I dang well please.

Also me – realizing that Maura has a tendency to reenact the platform scene from “Sophie’s Choice” as she begs me not to go – “You have to go move the brick from in front of the gate.”

Yeah, we have high-tech security to ensure Maura’s safety – or in this case, a cement block on the outside of the gate so she can’t escape the yard. (Yes, there’s also a latch. But some OT taught her how to manipulate latches.)

I make my escape unbeknownst to Maura, and go to the other side of my car to hide from here while I wait for Not Jenn to come get me. Which is a bit silly as my car is a Fiat 500 and I’m actually taller than it. But not by much, so it’ll be fine.

As I play on my phone, I suddenly hear terrified squeaking. I look up and across the street from me, a scene from Wild Kingdom has decided to play out. There is a tiny baby bunny, a mama bunny, and a crow. The crow is trying to get the baby bunny. The mama bunny hops at the crow. The baby bunny then hides under mama. The crow still tries to get the baby.

So I step into the street (we’re on a side street, it’s not that wide) and do the whole “Not today Crow!” thing while yelling shoo and waving my purse.

The crow leaves.

And I realized I’ve just been loud.

I hear Maura’s voice through the open window. “Mom? Mooom? Where Mom?”

Crap.

So I ducked behind the car.

 

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me, hiding behind my tiny car, looking perfectly normal

 

Meanwhile, I’m watching the bunnies. Mama bunny hops back up onto the curb. The baby bunny – who’s like the size of a large hamster – tries to get up the curb. But the curb is huge compared to him.

Now I’m trying to figure out what to do. If I go over and scoop the baby bunny up, will mama bunny run off? Will mama bunny launch herself onto my face? I don’t really know. So I watch and wait. Baby bunny tries the curb again, and manages to stretch its tiny little self up enough to reach the top and then scoots its little bunny butt up over the curb and reunites with mama bunny.

Hooray!

But then they just stay there.

I’m like “Woman, take your baby home for crying out loud!” But she won’t. Maybe because I’m there. Then baby bunny crawls under her for a while, and I’m like “Awww…baby’s still nursing.” And then mama bunny hops to the side – knocking her baby right back off the damn curb and onto the street again.

And now I’m crouched on the side of my car cursing at this failure of a mama rabbit under my breath. “Get on the street and take care of your baby!” I hiss.

Because obviously, I don’t care what this might look like to the neighbors.

You can picture it –

Neighbor – “Honey! That woman across the street is crouched behind a car muttering to herself. Is that normal?”

Neighbor’s Wife – “Does she have kids?”

Neighbor – “Yes.”

Neighbor – “Then yes, it’s normal. She’s probably just hiding from her own children.”

Meanwhile, mama bunny finally chose to go see what her own offspring was up to, and hopped down onto the street, following the bunny until it wiggled its tiny bunny butt back up onto the curb, and then they disappeared finally into shrubbery. Hopefully to where the mama bunny had some sort of bunny playpen to keep her offspring in.

And then my friend finally appeared, and I slinked into her car, disturbing neither bunnies, nor catching Maura’s attention.

And that, my friends, is how I leave the house.

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crappy cell phone pic of mama bunny – baby bunny is just to her lower left, on the street. Yes, he was tiny, and thank goodness, blends well.

 

 

 

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