Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is the first of May. It will mark, or so I have read, the beginning of “occupy” season and the countdown to the end of the school year. The latter being a longer wind-down here than back in the States because – thanks to an interminable number of professional days – school won’t end until Canada Day is nearly upon us.

But, it’s like many things Canada. We have them but for shorter durations and after we’ve waited longer for them.

For me, tomorrow marks the beginning of the death march to freedom from the school year’s tyrannical focus on the child’s schedule. School. Girl Guides. Pottery. Indoor Soccer. Outdoor Soccer. Months where she seems to be on holiday more than she is in school.

Already the days are longer. The sun is up before I am. And I am up pretty damn early. It is only just setting when the child crawls into bed at 9 P.M. By some happy quirk of fate, this year marks an actual early spring, which is not early where I come from in Iowa but normal. Spring should arrive in April or even the tail end of March. Here it shows up in May, usually, and teases until June-ish, which is spring and not summer here.

Outdoor Soccer acts as my countdown calendar. Each game completed brings me closer to the day I don’t have to get up and make lunches, breakfasts and ensure the child catches the bus. Closer to summer.

Summer is an eye blink anymore. In my past, I enjoyed what seemed like endless summer, but here it’s over by mid-August and if we are exceptionally lucky it began in late June though typically it’s July-ish. All told? A month. Ish.

Fall, I will admit is lovely for the most part. Indian-ish.

So, in the season of Not-Yet-Summer, I endure. With more difficulty this year because it’s been hellish wet. Just enough rainy to trigger all manner of my non-allergies and non-asthma which aggravates my real migraines and keeps me trapped in my real indoors. Not enough sun and warmth to warm my imagination or spark my soul for the slog to actual summer.

Perhaps it has been too long since my last vacation?

It has been a while. And it’s been a long winter in spirit if not reality.

The stay-cation in March was not long enough. Our first real chance at a holiday is even longer away than summer thanks to a lot of conditions over which no control can be asserted.

But your life is just one long uninterrupted holiday, you say.

My life is a long serious of obligations and responsibilities, not all of which I find odious, but not all of which I would choose to do for just anyone. And because the setting is still a work in progress and some of the characters require more tending than others and particular characters have been a bit soul-sucking and even exasperating and I am forced to work in the evenings – when I work – I find myself more wearied today than I have been and waiting impatiently for summer.

With the Jillian Michaels post behind me and things settling back to a boring ho-hum around here, I thought I’d share a link to a board forum where my piece on Michaels was shared.

Well, not shared so much as lifted in its entirety via cut and paste though I appreciated the link back to my blog. That was nice of whoever scraped me*.

The poster actually liked my article until the last line, which inspired her to physical violence which she admits probably made my point, but it was the first few commenters who pegged me for a Carol Brady**.

What they seized on was a throw away line I just put in to see if anyone would notice and they did, but they didn’t find it funny.

I should just give up on the humor thing.

Any time you stretch the lower half of your body to accommodate a small person and then squeeze it out of an opening that normally only just manages to accommodate a … tampon … for example, it’s going to change things.

Some of the women seemed to think that I was referencing vaginal intercourse and the fact that things can get a little loosey goosey in the old vagina after a natural birth. Natural birth being a relative term that in reality means pretty much anything in terms of the circumstances under which babies emerge from the womb.

Okay, so they caught me on that one. I was in fact referring to what it reads like I am referring to in a way too cute to be tolerated from a feminist anyway.

However, I did not mean to imply that I thought women should forgo child-bearing to keep their “love-holes” tight. There is a lot of muscle in the pelvic floor. Loose or tight is more a matter of a woman’s fitness level than the number of children she’s born. Kegels, ladies. And yoga. But not for your partner, for you. A weak pelvic floor means that all manner of internal organs are going to start sagging and dropping out your opening when the aging process – aided by gravity – kicks it into high gear.

Here’s my favorite comment and a fave of others too judging from how many of them cut/pasted it into their own replies (or it was their reply),

I don’t think I agree with a single thing this blogger is writing especially that pregnancy is a negative for a woman’s body.  Um, ever heard of aging?  Your body is going to change over time, period.  Aging serves no purpose but pregnancy brings a life into this world.

As for being “less tight” – are we really as women going to allow a man’s pleasure to determine whether we have a baby?  Is that feminism?  Men should just DEAL.  It’s not as if their stamina and ability to get it up doesn’t change over time…what’s their excuse?

To address the aging, I won’t. I don’t think the OP had any idea of how old I really am. This forum is at The Knot, which is a bridal site, but is in their Nest forum, young marrieds mostly. I imagine there are middle-aged brides there but the board read young to me.

Age is a given. Sag is a given. No one escapes.

Pregnancy is a choice. Um, in the West, it is primarily a choice. Hmmm, among the privileged it is a choice. Probably.

It’s a choice with a roulette element because going in, one has no idea how the hormones and gestating are going to affect one physically or emotionally. Some people simply don’t want to go there – male as well as female. It will change you. No shame, nor should there be, in declining, and points should be given for being honest about your doubts and reasons.

Here’s one that gave me a giggle or two:

XXXXX said it far better than I could.  I really disliked this article.  Perhaps that’s because I haven’t yet had and really want kids, and have just now gotten comfortable with my body, so I’d like to keep that.  But I think it is also the exaggeration of the difficulties of pregnancy and raising infants: yes, sleeplessness impedes workouts, but that impossible phase passes in a couple of months.  Law school sometimes impeded workouts, too, but I didn’t drop out just because finals would make me skip the gym.

And re: the “tightness” issue, I imagine we were all tightest in our teens and early twenties.  I’ll speak only for myself in saying that I don’t think that’s exactly the best sex ever.  Experience counts a lot more than a few millimeters in diameter.

Soo boo to this article!  Not slamming the op in that.  I love to read things I can disagree with.  🙂

I remember being childlessly naive. She brings it all back. Sigh.

We all think that we will have the easy pregnancy. Gain ten pounds and jog right up to the hospital door. Our baby will not be discolored, have a misshapen head or monkey hair. And she’ll sleep through the night in no time at all.

Sure. Taking care of a newborn is not equivalent in any way to going to law school. If you fall asleep over a textbook, you won’t suffocate it, and sleeplessness during finals is finite – a kid will be keeping you up nights for the rest of your life.

Life has its own ideas, just as babies do. When Dee was two weeks old her father was already losing his mind due to his yet to be diagnosed terminal illness. Needless to say, my fantasies about getting back into shape were just that. Good intentions sometimes play out and just as often, they come to nothing.

Like the non-hating on me – the “op” in her last sentence. Unexpected sweetness of spirit on the Internet should be applauded loudly whenever it is chanced upon.

Loved this one too:

As far as tightness, that doesn’t just go to a man’s pleasure.

Sing it, Sista!

I am an inconsistent warrior in the feminist trenches at best. That I will admit to, but I don’t think taking the Jillian haters to task or pointing out that the female gender is more divided than the male makes me  Phyllis Schlafly.

Let me leave you with a classic episode of Maude – a make believe woman who was more feminist than I am.

*That comes off as ungrateful, I know, but cut/pasting excerpts is okay while plastering someone else’s post on your space isn’t kosher. Even on message boards, it’s a dicey practice.

**Let’s face it, even with the pants suits and the shag hair cut, she was so not a bra-burner.

Dr.Phil pimped the never-ending, though completely effective tool in the continuing subtle subjugation of women, working mom versus stay at home mom “discussion” on yesterday’s episode.

I didn’t see the episode but for this clip. I didn’t follow the Tweetie skirmish. I did follow a bit of the conversation at Jessica Gottlieb’s blog. Yes, the Jessica in the clip. I didn’t learn anything new. I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard for a decade or more. The argument is tired and ultimately pointless. Why? Because women are idiots. We let ourselves be diverted and distracted like Homer Simpson and with a sprinkled donut.

Watching this Dr. Phil clip and reading the comments on Jessica’s blog just adds to my conviction that women will never be equal on any playing field with men as long as we willingly divide ourselves. Men don’t have to use sexist practices against us. We do it ourselves.

Stay at Home or Work? Diet/exercise or accept fat? Age gracefully or wage war against every wrinkle, peeling them off with our teeth in our en suite if necessary.

Women don’t have the skill set to be a coherent group working towards a common goal. We are mommies or not. Marrieds or singles. Straight or lesbian. White or Black or Asian or Hispanic or Aboriginal. We simply cannot accept that women come in a variety of flavors and leave it at that.

“This mommy war thing is another example of why men rule and women are forever second class,” I said to Rob. “I mean, would men argue about what makes one man a better father than another?”

“No,” Rob said, “if fact it wouldn’t even occur to a man that this would be a topic needing discussion.”

Because when it gets down to it, mommy wars are really part of the larger debate on what it is to be a woman. What defines womanhood? The natural default – imposed on us by religion and culture – is vagina and uterine based.

Am I not more than an incubator with a cunt? This seems to be all that is truly required from my by society. That I continually service others and forget that God (or whoever) gave me a working brain too.

Men, by and large, accept that being a man takes on many forms and that at the end of the day they are united as one gender fighting for the greater advantage of themselves as a group. Of course, they don’t have to wage too strenuous a battle in the western world because women are obligingly taking each other out one subdivided group at a time.

I have played on both sides of the mommy street. The grass is the same shade of green though how green and lush is more dependent on the luck of the socio-economic draw than anything else.

I think what I object most to in this current debate is the fact that motherhood today is being perverted into a child worshipping thing that it was never intended to be. My mother lacked most of the modern conveniences of her day due to my Dad’s cheap nature and the fact that we were solidly lower-middle class descended from farmers. Mom worked. Hard. And she took care of us kids but she didn’t drool over us or think that she’d fulfilled some Lord of the Rings like quest by becoming a mother. I can only recall one mother on my block who parented from a child-centered view, and no one wanted to play with her daughter because she was entitled and had clearly spent too much time being treated as a mini-adult.

My grandmothers worked too. They were farmers. Kids were tended to until they could be tended by older siblings and elderly relatives, or could fend a bit for themselves, and the days were filled with chores. Work. Really hard work.

The idea that women have to choose between work and motherhood hasn’t really existed until the last few decades. And what a boon that has been for those determined to set the clock back on feminism and equal rights. They’ve barely had to lift a finger – just scream “stay at home or work” in a crowded Target (because here is our only touch point – shopping – and why isn’t that common ground enough for us to all just get along?)

I loved Dr. Phil’s comeback line for the beleaguered working mom,

“Step off.”

Because it gets right back to the heart of the matter. This isn’t an important issue. Health care is an important issue. The rising tide of fascism in America is an important issue. The fact that our daughters are being inoculated for HPV while our sons – the equal carriers of the virus are not – is a real issue. The fact that gays are still not afforded the right to marriage despite the fact that it is a state sanctioned function and clearly a violation of equal rights – that is an important issue. We are ramping up a war in Afghanistan to fight terrorists who aren’t there – big issue.

But women are notoriously shallow and unable to leave our high school musical days behind us, and so we glom onto any trivial issue to perpetuate the heated rivalry of days of yore.

We are idiots.