Monday, June 17, 2013

Slouch down

Last week, my dear friend A'driane made a comment on twitter along the lines of "Should I just be leaning in to all this motherhood/artist/writer stuff?"

After pointing out that if she leaned in to everything, she'd fall down, I suggested an alternative.  My new motto:  instead of leaning in, "Slouch down so no one can see you and ask you to do anything else."

Let me back up a little.

In case you are the only person in the world who hasn't heard about it, Lean in is the title of a book, and subsequently a movement, written and orchestrated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.  Because when you're in an executive position at the largest social site in the world, it's pretty easy to turn anything you want into a movement. 

The idea behind lean in is that more women should lean in to career and leadership positions.  I actually haven't read the book, but my understanding is that "lean in" kind of has two different meanings.  First that we can change the trajectory of women in industry by making our careers and advancement a priority, by leaning INTO these things and leaning OUT OF other things (it seems that people forget that part).  But also that you can tell who is engaged at a meeting, and consequently who is going to get ahead, by looking at who is physically leaning in.

When I was a teacher, I totally didn't lean in at faculty meetings.  I sat in the back.  I tried to sneakily grade papers when no one was looking.  I slouched down.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I didn't slouch down in the classroom.  I don't think I even sat down in the classroom.  I was all up in everyone's face, all the time.

But here's the thing.  I wasn't trying to get ahead.  I wasn't going to get ahead.  In teaching, the only way to "get ahead" or "move up" is by not teaching anymore.  Which I wasn't at all interested in.

Motherhood is kind of the same.

So here's what I'm trying to get at.

I understand leaning in.  I do.  I think it's important for women to get ahead in the workforce.  I think it's great for the women who are in a position to do that, who are interested in doing it.  I am grateful for those who are doing it because I believe that they really will change the world.


We won't all get ahead.  We can't all get ahead.  We don't all want to get ahead.   Some of us just want to be exactly where we are right now.

And working harder won't get us anywhere but busier. 

Many of us, I would venture *most* of us, aren't busy because we're getting ahead.  We're busy because we're reacting.  

So, when I suggest we slouch down, I'm not suggesting we not do our jobs.  What I am suggesting is that we CHOOSE our jobs.  That we do the things that we are here to do with all  our hearts, but that we stop letting other people shove their purposes in our faces. 

In your classroom, close the door and do the right thing.  In your house, close pinterest and look at your babies and yourself.  In your heart and head, shut off the noise and trust that you are already doing enough and don't need a single other thing to be a success.

Who wants to slouch down with me?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's time for food

I was dreading solid food.  Dreading it so bad.

I had pronounced that I was going to wait a really long time.  Possibly forever.  I wasn't going to let anyone pressure me otherwise.

I had considered foregoing cereal and purees in favor of BLW.  I'd start with spaghetti.  And a fork.  Some time around 3 years of age.

I had perhaps become a little irrational.

But around 5 months?  My baby seemed hungry.  She wanted to nurse all the time, and she was waking up more at night.  She tried to steal my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Guys?  I'm not great at signs,. but I'm pretty sure she was trying to tell me something.  So, without anyone suggesting it or  pressuring me or in any way influencing my decision, I went out and bought a box of rice cereal.

I still wasn't convinced that this was a good idea, but I figured I'd give it a try.  I gave myself escape clauses. If she didn't like it (which I was sure she wouldn't), I'd just put it away and not think about it again.

But then a funny thing happened.  She liked it.  She leaned into the food.  Tried to take the spoon from me and get it into her mouth.  Swallowed every bite.


So, for the past month, I've been spooning cereal into my smiling baby's mouth once a day.  About a week ago, I thought to myself "Oh, maybe we should have something else."  So I made some pureed squash and pureed sweet potatoes.  Now once a day I spoon pureed vegetables into my smiling baby's mouth.


At BG's mommy and me class on Tuesday, I mentioned to a few moms that we'd started solids.  They asked how it was going and I said "So well!  I'm so surprised!  She likes food!  She wants it in her mouth."

And then I realized they were all giving me the "you're special" look.  "Uh huh.  Well, how was she?" (indicating my older daughter)

"Oh.  Awful.  She used to spit it out.  Knock the spoon out of my hand.  Hit me."

"Oh.  Huh."



But anyway.  Food is going well this time.  Who knew?  I'm still not sure how much to give her or when or in what combinations.  But as long as she keeps smiling, I'm just going to keep spooning food into her mouth.

I like food too, sweet girl.  I really do.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

In which I rant about rants

Lately, I've seen a lot of posts about how it's cool to hate being a mother and how negative a trend that is.  About how you're not allowed to say you love being a mom.  About how people want to stop reading so much negative talk and think parents should stop snarking and complaining so much because we're all so lucky to have our kids.

And you know what?  It really bugs me.

Maybe I'm not reading the same things as everyone else.  But I don't see a trend of complaining about kids.  I see a trend about complaining about mom bloggers complaining about kids.  I don't think it's cool to hate being a mom.  I think it's "cool" to hate on each other.

As usual.

So here's what I have to say.

I love my kids.  I'm glad I'm their mom.  I'm grateful. And sometimes it sucks.

And if you feel that way too?  I think you're doing great.

And if you don't feel that way too?  I think you're doing great.

Because, dude.

Everyone has to navigate parenting differently and everyone has to feel her own feelings.  Not has a right to.  Has to.  And people use social media for different purposes.

And you know what?  If you don't like what someone's writing, most browsers have this little x button somewhere on the top bar.  Close the window.  Unsubscribe.  Unfollow.  No one is making you stay.

And I realize now that I'm writing this, that this is a tirade about blog posts saying that I don't understand why people write tirades about other blog posts.  So I guess maybe I do understand.

So what I really want to say is this.  Tell your truth.  If your truth is that you are happy all the time, say it.  If your truth is that you aren't happy all the time but you work really hard at being positive and grateful, say it.  If your truth is that you don't like the way your life is going, or that you're struggling, or that your kids are making you crazy, say it.

And then be kind to each other.  And give each other the benefit of the doubt.  And if you really don't want to read what someone is saying, walk away and don't read it.

That's what I'm doing.