It turns out that since Monday, all three of my companions from the weekend (Bryan, his dad and his stepmom) have been suffering from violent bouts of food poisoning or stomach flu. Bryan has missed two days of work and our family members are faring no better back in Florida. So the big question: was I spared? I know there are bigger things going on in the world, but I am crossing my fingers. Someone did offer me a seat on the tube today and I accepted. A small victory all around.
Speaking of this spawn thing… I have been interested for as long as I can remember in the bizarre tension about motherhood and women working outside the home vs. staying at home and all the semantic landmines involved in that discussion. For example: if it’s true what Oprah says that “mothers have the hardest jobs in the world”, does that mean a mom that goes to an office every day has a dual career? If you have a nanny, are you only a part-time mom worker? These are rhetorical questions because they’re just part and parcel of the way women analyze other women’s choices endlessly throughout time until something actually important comes along to think about.
But this week it came back on my mind because this 2007 Washington Post article recently found a resurgence on Facebook. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the “friend” being maligned, but a powerful retort nonetheless.
And then I am reminded of the controversial 2005 New York Times article by the always-discussion worthy Ayelet Waldman in which she said she loved her husband (who happens to be Michael Chabon) more than her four kids. The day her article was printed you could practically hear the sound of one million mothers lowering the volume on the Elmo cartoon so they could better hear the sharpening of their knives. But I am better for reading it.
A friend recently sent me a jokey survey about how one knows they’re ready for mini-me’s. My stomach hurt a little while reading it. I live on a daily dose of delusion right now and when I worry that I am caught too close in the cross-hairs of thousands of baby products and admonitions that my entire being will become a slave to my child- I think wistfully about an article I read once (which I cannot find online for the life of me) about a young couple that strapped their infant into some flowy fabric papoose thing and travelled the world for a year backpacking. It turns out the child did not die, and changing a diaper on top of a mountain is pretty cool. And so there it is- the shocking truth- nomadic herds of people who have babies do not register for Pack N Plays. And I hope you’re sitting down when I tell you this: they do not watch Baby Einstein either.