There is No 'ME' in Maternity

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I’ve been poking fun at Meghann Foye on social media for the past couple of days for her new book Meternity. And I’m not sorry for ridiculing the idea of 'meternity' leave. But, I do wholeheartedly think her asinine, possibly opportunistic book title helped us do something. All of us women are talking about the shitty status of maternity leave in this country, we’re talking about how families and mothers are treated like garbage by corporate America and we’re talking about how childfree women are getting treated unfairly.

More and more women are claiming and owning their childfree status. Hell, they should. Half of women right now of childbearing age are indeed, childless. They’re taking a stand and telling the world that they don’t want kids yet, they don’t want kids ever or they can’t have kids. BRAVA. I’m proud to share this planet with women that do this. Huge kudos, it shows how far we’ve come as women.

Nothin’ but love for ya.

I’d be remiss to not show my love and appreciation to all of the childfree women that have been in my life since I was born. My mom was a single, teen mom and was very lucky to have childfree sisters and friends that helped out in the kid department. These blood aunties and my moms’ best girlfriends (who we also called aunties) babysat me and my sister FOR FREE. They spoiled us rotten by buying all sorts of toys and clothes for us that my mom couldn’t afford on her own. And they devoted their time. Childfree men and women all over the world do this. And it’s a wonderful gift to parents.

I totally get the struggles and challenges of childfree women. They are treated unfairly personally and professionally, and we as a country, need to recognize that. They are invalidated every time a person says to them, “Ohhh, you’ll change your mind about not wanting kids. It’s just a phase.” Or people say hurtful things to women who DO want kids, but can’t physically such as, “You could always adopt or get a surrogate.” Like adoption and surrogacy are no big deal.

In corporate America, childfree women are asked to stay longer than their parent colleagues because it’s assumed they have no life, if they have no kids. And that’s wrong. I would know, I’ve been the childfree gal asked to work longer hours and holidays because I don’t have a family.

But for some of you to suggest a “Meternity” leave, I’m gonna have to stop you right there sista.

Anyone suggesting that childfree women deserve anything within the vicinity of a maternity leave for self-discovery is bat shit crazy. You are comparing a leave of absence to heal from childbirth and keeping a human being alive during a fragile time, to a self-exploration hiatus. 

Can we pause there for a moment? Re-read that for me. Childbirth = self-discovery? Nah honey. I don’t think so.

You want self-discovery? How about ask your employer for a more flexible schedule? You could take your vacation time. You could take mental health days – that’s what they’re there for. How about this, explore your passions in your free time after work or on days off?

I don’t know if childfree women know this, but once women become moms, they have ZERO days off ever. LIKE FOREVER. A mother’s whole life is devoted to someone other than themselves and they don’t ever get a day off from worrying about them, or caring about them. Here’s the unicorn part of the whole thing - all of these moms that get no days off for the rest of their lives, somehow start businesses, find charitable passions and fulfill their dreams all while never having a day off since their babies were born. Truly magical if you ask me.

If you want self-examination time might I suggest you go on a yoga retreat? Go backpack through Europe? Do daily meditations? While you’re taking a good, hard look at yourself, I’d like you to recognize how ridiculous it sounds that you are comparing meternity time off, to maternity leave.

Asking for a meternity leave assumes that there is a “me” in maternity leave. 

The meternity leave requester apparently thinks that moms on an actual, legit maternity leave, have the luxury and the time to start an orange farm in Africa like they always wanted to. The childfree woman that is aching for a job hiatus similar to a maternity leave assumes a new mother gets to ignore all duties of her job, get paid a salary, while following her life-long passion of being an Olympic figure skater. Anyone that does not have children that is requesting anything remotely similar to a maternity leave, and calls it a “meternity,” leave, assumes new moms have the time and the funds to discover themselves while tending to the around the clock needs of a small human being.

To which I have to say, bitch please. Have you lost your fucking mind?

Anyone that can rub two brain cells together knows that a maternity leave is not a gift you get from your job for self-exploration. It’s quite the opposite. It is the most soul-sucking, self-identity stripping, self-obliterating experience of your entire life. 

You are literally pouring out all of your energy, to take care of a tiny, helpless human being. New moms would be lucky to get in a shower to wash away the poop and baby vomit currently forming a crust on their skin. New moms would be elated to eat a meal. Like just one…the whole day. New moms would be thrilled at the prospect of having one moment to take a piss in peace. By this I mean, not holding a sleeping, crying or nursing infant in your arms while you are peeing and trying to wipe yourself.

You know what else new moms would like while on this leave that you think is self-exploratory (that is actually tending to a newborn), they’d like to get paid for it. During the time in a woman’s life that she needs  the most help, the most support and the most money for expensive items like diapers and formula – she would actually like to fucking afford it. Did you know childfree friends, that mothers in this country aren’t mandated any type of pay during maternity leave? That’s right. Women who are pregnant either need to save up their 75-cents to a man’s one dollar salary for their maternity leave. Or new moms need to give birth and rush back to work while their breasts are still leaking milk and their vaginas still dripping blood.

Only 13% of all American workers have access to PAID MATERNITY LEAVE. All women, breeders and non-breeders alike, are slaving away at our jobs that we statistically get paid less than a man, and work harder at by putting in oodles of unpaid hours. 

If you do by chance get knocked up, please rest assure, you will be treated like absolute shit. Even in your most vulnerable state of pregnancy and new motherhood – you’ll be treated like garbage. You can thank society, the government and corporate America for that.

There is also a big portion of women that won’t ever get pregnant either because they can't or don't want to. But even without a fetus, one does know a mother’s experience in life partly because one has been exposed to a mother, yes?

Your own mother, a breeding sister, auntie or cousin? Do you honestly think it’s fair for them to work as hard as you have, all of their lives, and be forced into such a crap of a situation while going through unarguably one of the hardest times in their lives physically and emotionally? Not to mention, the small fact that maternity leave helps new mothers keep their babies alive?

Your assumption that a maternity leave is some paid picnic isn’t just absurd, it’s a slap in the face to all of the mothers in your life that so desperately need and deserve to be treated better by the companies they work for, and the country they live in.

Childfree women, this isn’t a competition or a contest about who has it better or harder. I get that you want to explore yourself and your interests. So do I. So does everyone else in this world. Our priorities when it comes to work and life balance in this country are way out of whack. The difference between you and me, is that I found a way to do it, while being a mother.

While it wasn’t fun, I stayed up sleepless nights drafting grand plans while my babies sucked on my boobs. I checked my work email and responded while pumping. I jotted down notes while endlessly cradling my screaming, colicky baby. I listened to informative podcasts while pushing my babies in strollers and on swings, when all I wanted to be doing was taking in a whiff of fresh air and listen to the fucking birds. I stayed up on the computer when my kids were sleeping, and ignored my husband. Admittedly, I still do. And that’s sad. It’s all very sad. But if you want some professional edge or personally fulfilling life given the current corporate culture – THAT’S WHAT YOU DO.

I took every single solitary second and yes, sometimes my productivity was split into small spurts of 30 seconds in between diaper changes, conference calls and endless mountains of laundry, but I did it. I stole away increments of time to make my dreams a reality. I didn’t squander a second of idleness. Not even on the drive to my kid’s pediatrician for a checkup – did I waste a single moment of self-contemplation or professional productivity. Is it fair? No. Is it the way it should be be? HELL NO. For no one. We shouldn’t be total fucking zombies trying to live our lives, live up to all of our responsibilities, while setting ourselves up for our future lives. It’s wrong. It’s heinous. And I wish it weren’t this way.

My maternity leave, and the months following it were the hardest, most emotionally up and down times of my entire life. I didn’t get ANY time to think about ME. What I wanted. What I loved. I didn’t even have passion for the things I used to love.

You want to know the secret to why women are so self-assured when they come back from their maternity leaves? Because during the time that they had NO time, they learned about priorities and values. In the absence of time, these women became more efficient with their time. Haven’t you heard that excellent time management skills surface when you have no time. You want to know why some new moms don’t come back at all to your office and start some new dream venture? Without the luxury of hours, minutes or even seconds to dwell on the should and should-nots of professional and personal risk taking, these women just went for it. They took leaps because there was no time to sit on decisions anymore. When you have a baby, moments in every day life are precious and valuable so you just go for it.

I agree with childfree women, the corporate culture really affords no one the time to discover and nurture interests outside of work. But, here’s your reality check for all those clueless childfree women: being a new mom on maternity leave- solidifies how much time you DON’T have and makes moments of self-contemplation even more scarce.

Childfree women using the term “meternity leave,” as if it deserves to be in the same phrasing-family as maternity leave, are indeed insulting mothers and fathers everywhere.

What we collectively need, all women, is understanding. I understand the struggles you face childfree women, because once upon a time – I was one. I know the corporate landscape. I played the game as a single gal, as a married gal, as a pregnant lady and as a mother. I’ve endured the inequality and discrimination at every angle in corporate America, just like you. And truthfully, more than you.

What we also need is for you not to be a total dick. To suggest a meternity leave shows lack of understanding and COMPASSION for what a mother endures.

What we all need to be doing is actively changing the corporate culture by speaking up out against unfair treatment, and demanding a new work environment for ourselves. Not making silly comparisons that degrade and insult each other. Maybe, you should think about that while on your meternity leave.

All I Want For Mother's Day Is For Mother's Day to Go Away

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother's Day is fucking stupid.

I don't want flowers that will die. I don't want a gadget, trinket or any other useless chachki. I don't want a surprise expensive gift that I've never expressed a desire for.

I don't want to fake a smile about any of these things either.

I don't want brunch surrounded by people I don't know. And actually, if I can be totally real here, I don't want a celebration for me and all my motherness glory to be spent surrounded by people I DO know either. (Unless it is a brunch of utter debauchery and 90's jams on a jukebox that's heavy on the champs, and involves a taxi home). That's the only brunch I wanna go to, ya hear me muthas?

Mother's Day is like a friggin' slap in the face. It's the perversion of honor. It's the opposite of glory. It devalues everything that a mother is, and does and ever will be.

I just want to be honored and recognized every single freakin' day like I'm supposed to be. Like a regular human being. Not some second class citizen that people look pitifully on.

Let's start with the real gift that we should be inherently entitled to for raising responsible and awesome citizens of the world. I'd say some type of monetary compensation is in order. A salary for all of the duties I do in my second and third shifts at home would be nice. Some type of stipend for teaching and molding the next generation of model citizens. That's a pretty damn important task. I'd call it a job - but a job means I'd actually get paid for these things. Calling motherhood a "job" would have one assume that I get sick days, and benefits. I don't get any of these in my "job" as a mother.

Praising mothers and telling them they have "the most important job in the world" is all lip service. If we put monetary value behind the hardest job in the world - it would actually be a job.

If you're curious to see what your actual salary would look like - just head to - they'll tell you what your worth is if you claimed pay for your duties. Yeah - six friggin' figures.

If we must recognize this made-up holiday, can we give moms what they really want? Time alone. I'm not even talking about sending mom to the spa. I'm talking about - like someone, dad, auntie, bestie anyone just take the damn kids and give a mom some space. FOR SEVERAL HOURS, WITHOUT CALLING OR TEXTING, kind of SPACE.

Moms want peace and quiet. Especially the stay-at-home mamas.

Working moms may want silence and relaxation, but they also might really want to be around their kids as much as possible because they feel like they're missing out while at work. I get it. I've been both stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom and working mom. All of the above.

For the working mom who works outside of the home -like, let's just make shit easy for her for at least a day. Make her life simple. Like, sure, I get if she wants to spend time with her kids. I mean if someone gives ME a free pass - I run for the hills. But, do you boo.

For the workin' mama that wants to hang out with her kids - just someone for gawd sakes make it easy for her. Don't let her be the one arranging all the crafts for the kids. Don't let her be the one having to the mundane stuff - like getting their food or feeding it to them. Or give the mom a break from pushing her kid on the swing maybe. Clean her house. Water her plants. Fill up the gas tank. Get her car detailed. Truthfully, we should be thinking of doing these things on a regular basis for all moms - because damn, we need some breaks y'all. We need some consistent help. Modern motherhood is demanding as hell no matter if you work outside of the home or not.

Mother's Day is also stupid because the men in our lives tend to fuck it all up. They do stupid shit. Like they might try to arrange a surprise day doing something you do NOT want to do - like going to a great restaurant to honor HIS mother. Awesome.

Or they get you some expensive gift that you know y'all can't really afford.

Or men do nothing, absolutely nothing, and you have all this hope and hype, or at least a little hope or hype, that the man in your life will do something...anything....and then they do nothing and you're like FUCK YOU.

I'd rather not have this build up to some superficial holiday. Or the let down.

So can we be done with Mother's Day? Can this country find a way to value and honor mothers more often? More consistently? More genuinely. Because for real, we're treated like shit in this country. Hell, we pick up the shit of these future royal creatures. And dressing that shit up in a cute bow or in a brunch at IHOP is just adding insult to injury.

So for Mother's Day - just leave me the fuck alone and stop acting like this holiday actually means something when I, and my fellow muthas are disrespected every day. Unless you come bearing babysitting services or 4-years worth of back pay - HOLLA AT ME NEVER.

Drive Like Your Kids Live Here

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I never really understood the need for speed. Okay maybe a speedy thrill on an open highway, or a country road or a racetrack with the wind blowing through your hair.

My dad was (probably still is) a machine head. I know all about speed because he'd take me on Corvette and motorcyle joyrides and freak my mother the fuck out when I was a kid.

I get it.

But, a two-street, suburban neighborhood? Really, dude in the psuedo sports car, THAT's what you get off on? Or you, brah, drivin' an SUV, you get your rocks off putting pedal to the metal for 5 seconds before pulling into your driveway?

WOW. Imma need you to re-evaluate.

(And PS - it's almost always a MAN that's speeding through my neighborhood like an asshole).

If everyone drove like a kid they loved - whether it was their own kid, or their niece, nephew, godson, goddaughter, young sister or brother, student, whatever - if everyone drove like a beloved child was hangin' out on a neighborhood street - would we still have douschebag speeders? I mean, I hope not. Otherwise, I have zero hope in humanity.
Wait, I already do have zero hope. I'm not like totally nihilistic. But, I'm almost there.

Anyway - who in their right mind would speed, and take the chance of causing bodily harm or death, if they knew a child they loved could pop out any moment on their big wheel? Or on their Schwinn bike with training wheels and a rainbow basket? Or their scooter?

Would they still feel like a big man with a motor if they crushed a kid to fucking death?

Is it THAT difficult for people with an obsession for speed, to restrain themselves in a residential neighborhood? Like, I really hate to break it to you - but the Kyle Busch's, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s, Jeff Gordon's aren't racing around a neighborhood y'all. They're doing it on a professional track. With cameras. And a pit crew. And sponsors. And oodles of money. Something that will NEVER happen for ya brah.

We've had problems with speed demons in my suburban neighborhood for quite some time. I've complained to my HOA about it. I've asked that we try signage or speed bumps (I know people hate speed bumps - I do, I get it). My HOA is defunct and inept like every other HOA in the useless world. So yeah - no action Jackson ova hea.

But, I literally don't let my 4 and 6-year old kids ride their bikes in front of our house for fear of a driver barreling down our block. I, myself, have been almost mowed down near our mailbox by a douschebag in a Gold Mazda who thought he was a really cool guy speeding through Mister Roger's neighborhood. He blew through the front entrance stop sign, and proceeded to gas it to his house....10 houses down from where I was standing.

I yelled at him to "SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!!!" (exact words), as he was speeding by, but I'm sure he couldn't hear me.

I then proceeded to call him out on our neighborhood app. That was me being nice.
Not anymore.

I'm not saying the whole world, of childfree people need to bow down to parents and their leeeetttllleee cheeeelldreeen. Pah-lease. Never. But, have respect for children. Any children and their motherfucking lives. Have respect for people. An elderly person walking through my neighborhood could be just as vulnerable as a young kid.

Why are speedy fuckfaces so incapable of seeing how their stupid, selfish and immature behaviors put everyone else at risk?

What's my solution? First, I will shame da fuck outta ya. I will follow you to your house if possible. Wait for you to go inside, then proceed to write down your address, car description and license plate. I will report it on a neighborhood app (seeing as that's the fastest way to shame you). Then I'll report you to HOA to have you fined. HOA's love to slap a good fine on ya - they always need the money. So an HOA will be VERY motivated to fine muthafuckas for just about anything. And lastly, I'll call the police for your reckless driving.

You can do that. If anyone else is dealing with speedy drivers in their neighborhood, they can always call police and report the reckless driver.

Wait- no lastly, Imma crazy bitch. Y'all know that. Confession - I'll cut your tires. I will. I got no shame in mah game.

I'm fine if speed is your thing. If you feel hot when you rev up your engine. Do yo thang. But do it somewhere that's safe. And somewhere that doesn't make you look like total loser toolbag. And PS - if you're not using blinkers - you're also a toolbag - but a less tooly variety.

Don't Be a Ball Sucker, Dads Are NOT Babysitters

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“What are you doing this weekend? I was thinking of organizing a ladies night out with all the neighborhood women next week on Thursday, can you come?” I asked my mommy friend.

We were sipping a glass of wine on a rare, relaxing summer evening sans kids. We always had the kids in tow. Not tonight.

“Let me ask Sam if he can babysit Daisy,” she said.

*Enter mental record scratching sound here.

I must’ve looked at her, like she had five heads. I almost choked on my Pinot Grigio.
Ummmm, what the fuck? No really, what in the actual FUCK. Is this chick on LSD???

I was appalled.
I replied, ahem, lemme clear my throat for all you muthas, “DADS DON'T BABYSIT THEIR KIDS, THEY PARENT THEM."

My mom friend (oh, forgot to mention - EX- mom friend) dismissed the comment, maybe because she was completely clueless. Or maybe she disregarded me as a feminist fanatic that couldn’t possibly relate to her antiquated marriage norms. Or maybe she was as drunk as I was.

Listen, I know you've heard this argument before. Don't devalue dads. They're not hired help. They're parents. They're don't deserve to be on a pedestal for parenting. Bla bla bla. But imma break it down for you a little more.

Modern parenthood basically demands that both parents be involved and engaged equally. No one should be getting an award for being a good dad. Or a good mom. It's what's expected. It should be the norm. Every adult should pull their weight when raising children.

In the moment my ex-mom friend said I'll see if my husband can babysit my daughter - I lost it. Not my temper. I lost respect.

(Side note -I didn't dump my mom friend for her dumb ass comment - she was basically an overall delusional bitch. But for real, the "dad babysitting" comment sealed the deal.)

It takes both parents to wipe butts, feed chicken nuggets, do bath time, bedtime stories, homework and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter if both parents work, or one stays home. It is completely unacceptable for one parent to be off in la-la land going to work, social events, watching mindless television, or bullshit cat videos on YouTube and acting like they don’t have a care in the world – while the other parent busts their ass. On what planet is that acceptable? There is a second-shift starting at roughly 5PM. That shift requires all hands on deck. Hell - I even make (yup, MAKE) my kids help with domestic duties too at night. I'm not the only one that knows how to set a damn table for dinner y'all.

This isn't the 1950's. I know those old cliches persist. Some old nostalgia for family life of "simpler" times. But imma break it down for you. That shit wasn't even real. We all have some warped, rose-colored impression of what family life usta look like 60 years ago. The women were annoyed! They were pulling their hair out in utter FUCKING boredom. The ennui of daily cleaning, cooking and appliance management drove the moms batty. Their husbands would come home, have a drink or two, eat dinner, give their kids a pat on the head - and the mother would do the bedtime routines while the husbands relaxed after a hard days work for the remainder of the evening. What about the HARD (free) work the 1950's wife did all day? Why was she the only picking up 2nd shift?

In my world, me and my husband both do the parental and domestic heavy lifting.

I'm not saying ooooo - look at me and mah man we know how to do this son! We're so progressive...yaddi yadda yadda.


We don't know how to do jack shit.

But, this. THIS we get right.

I'm not saying it's always in perfect, gender-norm defying harmony. We sometimes fall into our societal roles. We slip up. But, my husband doesn't deserve an award for doing the laundry. I don't get the designation of "good mom" for making sure all the threads up in this house are clean. It's what needs to be done.

My husband doesn't get a pat on the back for helping with the bath and bed routine. He doesn't get a "good job honey!" for reading stories to our girls. Or for helping dress or feed our girls. He's expected to. He's a parent. He's a member of this household too. Everyone pulls their weight in this house, because I don't expect anything less.

Every day we try to equal the playing field between us - mother and father. We're both working. Both career-climbing. Both ambitious. We love our kids. And we value quality time with our kids.

Some weeks, he'll bear the brunt of kid duties, some weeks I will. It's a balancing act, always. But, no one gets off easy.

We are raising girls. We want them to know that equality absolutely can exist between the sexes. As parents, it's our responsibility to show them how it's done.

A babysitter is someone who watches, plays and feeds your kid(s) for money. A maid is someone who cooks and cleans FOR DA PAPER HONEY. In a household and with a family - there is some serious free labor jobs that need to be tended to everyday. By every-mother-fuckin-able-body in the house.

8 Reasons Peggy Bundy is the BEST Damn Mom (And I Love Her)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It was 1994. I was 10-years old eating my dinner in front of the television with my parents and little sister.

Firey red hair illuminated the television screen. Peggy Bundy bopped around in cropped carpris and open-toed mules. Her signature style was a joke - tight and tacky (lots of spandex) and off-the-shoulder shirts cinched at the waist with a ginormous gaudy belt. When she wasn’t downing candy bars a perma-cigarette hung firmly from her mouth. Her daily routine consisted of neglecting her children, shopping and watching daytime television shows.

She was America’s “bad mom” for 11 seasons on Married With Children. After the show went off the air, Peggy Bundy snagged the number 1 spot in TIME Magazine’s list of “10 TV Moms June Cleaver Would Hate.”

It was only after I became a mother myself, that I fell in love with Peggy – the bad mom. Because, I too was a “bad mom.” Peggy’s image was a parody to the 1950’s housewife and pre-antidote to the millennial mom. She wasn’t lazy when she refused to cook or do laundry. Peggy was protesting gender and marriage norms. Peggy rebuked the whole notion of doting housewife and gave no f*cks or apologies for it. Peggy was smart and witty. She was a renegade. She was a feminist. She was a rebel.

Peggy was portrayed as a “bad mom” and “bad wife.” But really, Peggy simply refused to be the completely self-obliterating mom and wife that we romantically and unrealistically equate with being a “good mom” and a “good wife.”

Peggy loved her kids. She even loved her husband Al. She loved her family in her own way – and not in the way society expected her to.

Now it's only right that I dedicate an article to my favorite TV mom!

Here are 8 Reasons Peggy Bundy is my favorite mom EVER.

1She had her own style.

Fashion and feminism and motherhood have always had a rocky three-way relationship. Many women feel we should not be defined by our frocks, and therefore feminism and fashion cannot exist. Many moms feel the need to change their style when they become mothers to clothes that are more comfortable. Which means fashion and motherhood can’t exist. But, I think fashion and what we wear is a form of self-expression. You’re never “too old” to wear something. You should never NOT wear something because you’re a mom now.

Peggy got dressed every day for her DAMN SELF. Not for her husband’s male gaze (Al Bundy was hardly ever home). She didn’t dress for anyone out in public (she hardly went anywhere, except to the mall). She dressed for herself. For her own pleasure. And her style was entirely unique.

2. She was self-aware.

Peggy owned her shortcomings, and laughed them off. Peggy wasn’t trying to be a wife and mom that she knew she wasn’t. Peggy was like here I am. I don’t cook. I don’t clean. I don’t care. BYE.

3. She’s practiced self-love. Peggy valued ‘me time.’ Many moms since the 1950’s have felt societal pressures to be engaged with their children every single solitary second. Mothers who obliterate all of their own needs and wants for the sake and well-being of their families all of the damn time are labeled as “good moms.”

Moms don’t need to be slaves to their families to be good moms. They don’t have to abandon their personal desires and passions outside of child-rearing to be good moms and wives. There’s a lesson we can learn from Peggy pounding candy bars and smoking cigarettes while lounging on the couch every day. Mommy ‘me time’ matters. I’m not saying moms need to embrace deadly and unhealthy habits every day. But, a glass or two of wine, some chocolate, trash TV every once in a while, WHATEVER YOUR VICE OR GUILTY PLEASURE  - ENJOY. Doing so can go a long way in preserving a mom’s sanity. Peggy was always HAPPY.

4. She had a healthy body image. 

Peggy didn’t get tripped up by a number on a scale. Hell, I don’t remember her getting on a scale. She didn’t give into diets or health crazes. She burned calories by hop-bopping around the house in her kitten heels all day. No gym membership or calorie-counting required.

5. She didn’t live by the dollar. 

Peggy didn’t care about being broke. She was mostly content in her family’s financial status. In one episode, Al and Peggy receive a tax statement that says they owe thousands of dollars. They both start laughing – “What are they gonna do – garnish my wages? Take our retirement fund? The kid’s college savings? Hahaahahaha”

6. She’s a good friend.

Marcy is Peggy’s next door neighbor who is a feminist and environmentalist. The women are portrayed as polar opposites in the show. But they always respected each other’s lifestyles. They never tore each other down. They exchanged tips and information to help each other and to laugh. The ultimate female friendship.

7. She Embraced Her Sexuality. 

She felt sexy regardless. Al was visibly and vocally repulsed by Peggy. But, it didn’t even phase her. She was a sex goddess in her own mind.

8. Peggy demanded equality in the household. 

Domestic duties didn’t rule her world. A laundry basket with unfolded clothes in it, was considered domestic decoration…not duty. She didn’t cook dinner. Ever. The whole Bundy family gave up on a hot meal. Peggy never felt pressure to engage in housework even though it was expected of her.

Peggy mocked 1950’s motherhood and housewifery with every flippant toss of her hair, drag of her cigarette and blatant disinterest in domestic duties. 

I see myself, the mother I am, in Peggy.

I might suck at domestic duties, not because I physically suck at them (please bah-lieve I can clean a mean toilet) but I mostly refuse because I have other paid work I should be tending to. I also refuse to don an apron and rubber gloves because the ennui of domestic duties can be so painfully unfulfilling and undesirable to me. I might not fawn over my children and pour out my entire personal being for them every single day. I don’t ever want to be on the PTA. Or do travel teams. Or volunteer at bake sales. I might go out for girls’ nights and get so drunk, that I hang out with my kids the next day hungover as all hell. I let my kids have bowls of cereal for dinner. I don’t always hold their hands or catch their falls because I’m admittedly distracted on my iPhone or reading a good book while they play at the park. I can be flawed in all the ways society tells me I am flawed as a mother. 

I don’t uphold some unrealistic standard view of motherhood. So if that makes me a “bad” mom fine. 

If not doing the laundry or cleaning up after everyone in my house bans me from the “good mom” club, I’m happy to not be in it. I teach my kids humility, respect, equality and tolerance and above all, self-love. So that makes me a good mom in all the ways that it ACTUALLY matters.

A Bustier Changed my Big, Saggy, Mom-Boobed Life

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The luxe lace forms exquisitely around the molded cups, and sucks in my mid-section.  There is built in boning in between the lace. I hook the 10 tiny clasps on my back.  I let out some air, and take a look at myself in the mirror.

My breasts are high.  They’re spilling out of the cups- in a sexy, not sloppy way.  My stomach is perfectly slimmed by the bustier.

I run my hands down both sides of my rib cage, and turn 30 degrees in the mirror.

I look at my body, for once, approvingly.

I turn 30 degrees the other way to examine the other side.

BAM. This thing is worth every penny. Dollar. Hundred. 
Feelin' mah self. Ya hurd me?

Lingerie transforms my post-baby lumps and bumps, into a smooth and sexy silhouette.
The black lace makes me feel bodacious, sensuous, spicy.
I’m a bad, sexy, mutha-bout to get fuckered in this mesh.

The corset makes me feel in control of my body.  I own the sex I’ll have in this get-up.
I rule this raunch.

A romantic rendousvous with my ravenous Romeo. Okay fine, sorry for the spoiler - the only sex in the champagne room is with my huusssssbbbaannddd. Booorrrriingggggggg.

But, before my corset, I wasn’t so confident.
I’ve wanted a breast reduction since college.  I’ve longed for a smaller rack.

I’m a size 6 (8 if I eat pasta that day) around my waist – with a size “F” rack.   That’s right, 32 inches around my rib cage – F boobs.  Ohhhh, boo hoo over my bodacious boobs. Right?

Not so much.  Because my boobs protrude out from my belly at such a long length, I do indeed, look pregnant.

Some shirts, 3 months, others I look 6-months pregnant.  I can’t buy a shirt that accommodate my boobs without looking pregnant, or utterly slutty.  It’s homely, or whorely.

I’ve hated every outfit on me because of my boobs.
I’ve been unable to buy cheap bikinis because of these boobs.
I’ve been banned to the ugly bra section in the department store.
I’ve gone through humiliating plastic surgery consultations – where the doctor requests you to put your arms up like air plane arms– while they draw on your breasts with black marker – and take pictures.
I’ve endured endless back pain, several chiropractor appointments, and X-rays and MRI’s and physical therapy.
I’ve begged insurance companies to consider covering the costs of a breast reduction.  Of course, they wouldn’t.  Unless, I was morbidly obese.
How insurance companies figure out the financial formula for a breast reduction is beyond my F-cup comprehension.

All of that changed when I found a bra boutique.  Every combination of cups and underwire and straps, and hooks.  Every possible mixture of fabrics and colors.  All pretty. FOR MY SIZE.

Over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders aren’t always the prettiest product in sight. Especially the ginormous ones.
They’re mostly beige, black or white.  They’re mostly designed with the most hideous, granny fabric alive. And yet, they hold my out-control breasts in place.

How am I supposed to feel bone-able in those bras?

Back in the changing room, I shimmy, shake, pull and tuck myself into these tit-tumblers.
It’s instant satisfaction.
My bosom is beautiful.  I am beautiful.

Breast-feeding my babies didn’t ruin my boobs.  They filled them to a beyond “F” cup size, then deflated them to a new “F”….fucking flabby. "Sloppy" as my 6-year old daughter tells me.

Two years after breastfeeding my boobs are feeble-filled pockets with a most motherly, meniscus.
My kids transformed my ta-tas.

My teats were torturous.

Now,  in this contraption of a corset - they’re are terrific. It's all about silver-linings I mean underwire and boning in bra.

I Listen To Gangsta Rap in The Car With My Kids

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I listen to gangsta rap in my car with my kids in tow.  

“Keep Their Heads Ringin’” is a good school drop off jam. I play gangsta rap on Pandora while cooking Sunday brunch. Protein-packed, organic-schmorganic pancakes with a side of “F*ck Tha Police” anyone? I bumped “Dear Mama” next to my swollen, pregnant belly.

And while Naughty by Nature is technically hip-hop, I’m proud to say that my kids sing the words to “O.P.P.” Although, their sing-along lyrics are more like this, Ya gotta go pee pee. That’s what they’re saying, right mom? Ya gotta go pee pee?!

Rap music and hip-hop are the soundtrack of my youth. 

Not that I grew up in Compton. Or Queens. Not that I grew up in a gangsta neighborhood. There's no appropriation here.

I’m a white, Italian-Polish ethnically mixed girl from upstate New York. I grew up in the suburbs during the 90’s and gangsta rap was extremely popular. Gangsta rap evolved from hardcore rap and had this edgy sound. Sick beats. And lyrics of struggle and strife. Even if I couldn’t relate with the gangsta reality – the lyrics were just so raw – I couldn’t help but to drawn to them. That’s what me and all my friends listened to while we hung out, drank booze underage and smoked menthol cigarettes (and weed) on the suburban playground. Did gangsta rap make us do it? Nah. We were gonna be doing that crap anyway. Rebellious teenagers are going to be rebellious teenagers. Peer pressure and all that good stuff.

My middle class neighborhood was in close proximity to the urban core of my city. Undoubtedly, the urban culture had a big influence on my music choices. And while I lived in a very middle class neighborhood – my family was in the poor sub-group of that middle class strata. I may not have related to the murders and the drugs and fuckin’ bitches – but I related to the underlying struggle of a gangsta. I felt a pang of financial struggle. I wanted to better myself. I always wanted more money. I wanted to rise above my roots as a product of divorce and a single-parent household. Like Biggie said, Sky’s The Limit.

I had dreams, just like the most ride or die gangster. Putting a beat, and catchy lyrics to that struggle made it all that more powerful and relatable to me. Something to really feel, and nod my head to.

Me, high school.

I’ll also confess GASP! That I totally fantasized about being a girl in a rap video. The women were beautiful and oozing with confident sexual energy. The hip-hop honeys were diverse. They came in all different shapes and sizes. Different skin tones. Being a super model was never in reach for my curvy, 5’6 self- but being a video vixen – that was totally a graspable goal. Not that my life-long dream was to be a video girl, but it wouldn’t be a bad life, right? I’d get to dance to my favorite music, be on TV and get paid to do it.  I had a curvy body – curly hair – and loved me some oversized – gold hoop earrings (still do). I saw my own image in them. I wanted to be them.

And thus, my affection for gansta rap, hip-hop and majority black-produced music is a life-long love affair that has followed me through my twenties and now, my thirties.

I’m a mom now with two daughters, (a feminist mom), and I still can’t imagine breaking up with the abrasive, profane and sexist lyrics.

I connect to those lyrics – even though I most certainly know how morally wrong most of them are.

There’s a certain nostalgia that goes beyond just liking how rap music sounds in my ear. That nostalgia connects me to a certain time in my life that was so filled with rawness, confusion and strife. A time and a place that I made it out of. Unscathed – and stronger than ever. Did gangsta rap make us do it?

Who knows? Maybe I would’ve made my own way regardless of what Biggie or Tupac said. Maybe innately I have the drive built into me to do what it takes to be financially secure and socially aware. To be a good mom.

I still find the bars of rap music to be intoxicating, just like I do, Shakesperean sonnets. The lyrics and prose of rhythmic rap, shouldn’t be ignored. There is a real skill of flow there – that should be recognized linguistically and musically.

So, do I want my kids listening to rap music? Abso-fuckin-lutely. No parental advisory here.

Rap music represents voices that went unheard for so long. Too long. Rap music is creative. It’s political. It’s essential to the dialogue of the past and to our time. It describes social struggle in a guttural and visceral way. 

Rap music is the good that came from such ugly and darkness for so many artists. Yes, it’s profane. But then again, to me, expletives are just words like any other words. I swear in front of my children, and give no fucks about it.

It’s my language. It’s the language of my real voice. My real life – past and present. I want my kids to listen to rap music so they know unequivocally, no matter what voice you have – even if it’s not proper, or if it’s considered crass or offensive -it needs to be heard. Talking about your struggles and passions in perfect, “Queen of England English” – just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I want my kids to learn from rap music. I want them to learn the same thing I learned from it. That if you put your voice out in the world in whatever medium you choose – it will be heard. The people, will listen. And if the gangsta rap made you do it – then so be it.

Do you let your kids listen to gangsta rap?

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