Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saying no to the Mommy Wars. And a scrapbook page.


My poor neglected blog. 
It's been a very long while since I felt I wanted to write anything. 

For Get It Scrapped- Scrapping with trendy scrip font elements.
Photo by my brother in law Luis Martinez.
A Flair For Buttons The Good Life button, Water color paper, #6 round brush, Ranger Dylusions ink spray, My Mind's Eye enamel dots.
Currently, I'm inspired by the working Mom flap caused by Ms.Gwyneth Paltrow, consistent provider of  "Let them eat cake" bon mots.

Case in point- In an E! News interview:

 "It’s much harder for me, I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine 
and you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. 
When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ 
and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult."
"I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, 
but it’s not like being on set," 

What the what?

Are we seriously comparing a voluntary million dollar temporary contract (negotiated by someone else) to a 9 to 5 job?  
When she has live-in child care? 
And a personal assistant? (several actually)

Or how about THIS one:
“I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.”
Dear Gwen- no one's asking you to pretend anything (although- it's your JOB.) 
Just, you know, get a freaking clue.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend a while back. 
She was very unhappy because she had to leave her 4 month old to go back to a job she detested.
Her job was creative and paid her enough to cosign on a mortgage to a home she loved. 
Her Mom and husband where pitching in to care for their new baby as both had flexible schedules.

Ever the sensitive and understanding friend I said:
Why don't you just quit that job?
Lol- what an idiot I am.

This was certainly NOT what I should have said (a listening ear is what she needed.) 
But but but
I wonder if that isn't a bit of tough love for a friend I admire and worry over.
Constantly carrying that much anxiety around is bad for anyone.

If something makes you that unhappy, why not switch things up?
This was my point but you know- my brain failed to provide those actual words.

The conversation went onto some pretty uncomfortable truths.
That's what real friends do- tell you the truth.

Like when she said my not working for 3 years was a 'luxury".

I hadn't "left work". 
I was fired (woo that's the first time I ever admit THAT out loud in public!) 

But screw it- I can only run from my past for so long.
Hello? Living in Utah- I ran FAR.

So I became a stay at home Mom. 
I was pretty happy.. and a little bored because Lola didn't talk- or really MOVE much.. so I started this blog.

Then I became a low wage earning full-time working Mom.
No sad words from me on this state of constant compromise- it's just what I have to do.

Neither qualifies as a first choice.

But I grew into both my roles. 

I thanked my lucky stars for my "work break" and for the utterly random jobs that came after.

This journey has allowed me to see myself as more than a professional failure.

Being a Mom has allowed me to see there are many "wins" in life. 
Frankly some are more important than others.

I have SEEN, FELT and LIVED the financial bottom- what scared me most.

It's not scary anymore.

I won't be shamed.

But imagine if I had Gwinnie's horrible soul destroying job....

Schedules that change so I know this 14 hours a day work week isn't forever!
Frequent travel! 
Kissing Robert Downey Jr. without causing marital strife!
(Wait- maybe not. "Conscious uncoupling" and all that)
People to help with house cleaning, cooking and babysitting! 
And the kicker?
When working, all that help is paid for by my employer who's got a jumbo insurance policy covering my health and staff to ensure I am happy so I actually finish the job.

I imagine I would be pretty sad indeed- while I play in my air conditioned personal trailer with my kids in between takes.
Oh the agony.

You know what helps  depression about staying at home all day? Not actually staying at home all day. My rule was breakfast, clean everything in 1 hour if it doesn't get done OH WELL! then get on out till dinner time.
Needless to say I lost some weight.... and ate a lot of pizza for dinner. 

Hmmmm.. I wonder what Blythe Danner thinks about all this.

Perhaps we should blame YOU Blythe? (or not! That's just MORE Mommy bashing!)

There you were- a working Mom in the 70's. 
You bring up your daughter to the best of your ability- (with hired help of course).
Your daughter makes no apologies and lives quite happily thank you.
She is strong. 
She is successful- even if totally oblivious.

That's motherhood.
No simple choices.
No easy answers or the guarantee of healthy well-adjusted adult children.
It's a lot of risk, a lot of judgement calls, and many many tests.
Somehow joy STILL manages to sneak in there!
And hope!
And laughter!

There will be dilemmas, drama, constant worry and pain no matter what you do.

In the words of a certain movie Moms love (and dread- due to incessant viewings)
Let. It. Go.

Stop killing yourself over your choices- your 'mistakes" (your blessings in disguise)- your past- your imagined future.

There is only 
Right now.

Stop comparing yourself.
Stop comparing others and spreading negativity.
Stop the complaint sessions where no solutions are sought. 
Don't get addicted to the negative
as I have.

Motherhood is the best job a woman can have. 
(In my opinion- I haven't tried being a blonde 130 pound,  6 foot movie star yet)

But it's not the ONLY job a woman should or could have.
Motherhood has a million iterations.

Why do we try so hard to find fault with that?
We must demand everyone get comfortable with the variety.

Gwyneth is.
Comfortable, that is.

She's all over the place in her happiness and delight.
She talks about hanging out with Beyonce! 
She eats squid sauteed in squid ink with famous tv chefs!
She calls her divorce whatever it takes to make it sound enyoyable and holistic.

She defines her own reality and gets on with living her life- beautifully.

Don't hate on her.
Call her on her silliness. She deserves it (and ignores it- that's why she's so freaking happy)

Most of all get cracking.
Make some happiness.

It's YOUR turn.

Hugs mi gente,


  1. Sounds like you've been doing some serious reflection on where you're at right now and why. I'm glad you are choosing happiness and it's working for you.
    I'm a head-in-the-sand kinda woman, other people's lives and opinions rarely register on my radar unless I know them personally, probably a good thing otherwise I'd be on a soapbox too about the things silly Gwynnie says, lol

    1. I first came across this story via Facebook. A friend posted and was quite hurt by it. So many Moms carry around guilt about returning (or not) to paid employment outside the home. Stories like this just hit right where it burns most. I totally agree with you and rarely pay attention to what movie stars say because it's usually incredibly idiotic or self serving. Modern society/culture/media seems to want to have it's cake and eat it to. As Moms
      a: you are terrible for working outside to earn your lifestyle while young children are home.
      b: you are terrible for preferring to stay home and care for your children rather than give your best years to a company that would drop you in a second when the economy hits the skids.
      This post was my message to Moms: let the sheep bleat- do your thing ladies- whatever it is and be proud.

  2. Another inspirational post. I miss them! Beautiful page too. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  3. Oh, how I miss you, Brooklyn Girl!! (That's how I've always referred to you when I start convos with my husband based on your blog posts. :) He won't keep track of all the scrapbookers names, but he knows who I mean if I say "Brooklyn Girl". Lol!) Yes, I've missed your heart and your passion, your MIND, your take on the world. And, your beautiful one-of-a-kind layouts. Love!!

  4. I love you, Michelle. Just, love. :)

  5. Wonderful, Michelle. You always know how to write from the heart, with your personality shining through. You're no-nonsense, but full of kindness. :)

  6. I came across your blog through Natalie Kalbach's post not too long ago. I felt a kinship because I too am from Brooklyn, and felt a similar wavelength resonating through me from your writing. And then I read this post...I too lost my job, unwittingly became a stay at home mom, and am consistently torn between gratitude and frustration at the inequities for mothers. Somehow despite my 18 hour days where I am a chauffeur, chef, child care provider, kisser of boo boos, finder of all things lost, organizer, event planner, laundry goddess, lover, and housekeeper, it's still not enough. There is a subtle, but still present undercurrent that I still don't matter as I used to because I don't receive a directly deposited paycheck anymore. It stings, and digs, and is so sad. Thanks for your transparency. It is exhausting reading blogs by women who always have "nice" things to say. Have a great day.

    1. Hi Helen. Thank you for reading. If I left the impression that I think stay at home motherhood is second please forgive my failure to put thoughts into words properly. I believe stat at home Moms are amazing and take first place. I acknowledge many (me included and my friend) simply cannot do so for purely financial reasons. That's why Gwyneth's words struck so close to home. If I were in NYC I would immediately ask to meet you as I was quite lonely there when i was home. Meeting a fellow crafter would have been the highlight of my week. Please keep coming back. Please keep pointing out any failures in my arguments- that is how I grow.

  7. Thanks for responding. I just read it. Your message was perfect, and wonderful. Maybe my comment missed what's in between the unfairness that plagues women/mothers. As a mom to six awesome kids, I have had periods of stay at home momhood, and years of working like a dog, running around trying to keep up with everyone's schedule. But it's a double-edged, and perhaps twisted sword, and no easy answers as each of our circumstances as mothers is uniquely ours. I think your phrase, "low wage-earning mom" really spoke loudly for me. As well as "make some happiness." I'll keep plugging along...gracias!

  8. Love this post - can't say how much, just love it Michelle x


Ok peeps lets CHAT! You tell me what you REALLY think and I PROMISE to keep it open minded here.