It's been a few weeks since The BadAssMama has been around. True, I've sent out my share of funny e-cards and memes on Facebook or Twitter, but I must admit that I've neglected The BadAssMama Chronicles as of late. When I'm off the blog for a week or more, writer's block or a crazy work schedule are the usual suspects. Either I can't seem to think of anything to write or just can't find the time to write it!
This time around, the culprit is all together different. While things are crazy-busy at work and I am in the midst of the rush-to-the-finish-line preparations for a new school year, I've actually been away from the blog because I almost have TOO MUCH to say. The past few months have been filled to the brim with issues, both global and personal in nature, that have The BadAssMama spinning. Nothing in particular is wrong, per se, but things just don't seem to be as right as they should be.
Since I haven't been able to wrap my head around any particular subject enough to write about it, I figured I'd rip off the band-aid and list out all of the things that have been rattling my brain of late.
So, in no particular order, here are The BadAssMama's Top 10 Things That Keep Me Up At Night (or, more accurately Top 10 Things That Continue to Boggle My Mind):
10. Leaning In or Opting Out It seems that every other week there is a book, article, blog post or morning news segment on the myriad of decisions that women have to make regarding family. We have Sheryl Sandberg telling us to lean into our professional careers, because true change for women (and in the world) can only happen when there are more women business leaders. Anne Marie Slaughter and others detail how it is impossible for women to have it all. The New York Times went back to profile women who 10 years ago decided to opt out, and found the majority of them back at work, by choice or out of necessity, sparking a discussion of whether it is responsible for women to ever leave the workforce. The Times then followed up with a depressing article on the crushing costs of childcare in the US - with middle class and even higher-income professional women spending up to 85% or more of their take home income on child care, with many lower income women are forced to "opt out" of the workforce (whether with a partner or not) because they simply cannot afford the child care required to go to work every day. I certainly don't claim to have all the answers, but I do know that if we do not address the issue of affordable child care, we will never have equal representation of women in the upper echelons of business. More importantly, the rising number of women who are forced out of the workplace due to crippling child care costs is likely the most under-represented factor contributing to the continued depression of job growth in our country.
9. Miley Cyrus What the HELL is wrong with this child, and why has her mother not SLAPPED HER YET? Oh, I know - because we live in a society that not only celebrates but rewards crazy behavior (see Jersey Shore, any installation of The Real Housewives, The Kardashians). Once we stop tuning in/tweeting/You Tubing this mess and networks stop making money from it, believe me, it will go away.
8. Sticks and Stones I read somewhere that this is the biggest lie that we ever tell our children. Forget the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. The notion that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is load of crap. While I'm sure that it would hurt to have sticks and stones thrown at you, and can speak personally to the pain of broken bones and things, the truth is that words do hurt. Be it the sting of a taunt from the playground bully or a careless insult from a loved one, the wounds we cause with our words cut deeper and linger longer than most any physical scar.
7. Back to School Next week we start our second school in two years (or fourth school in 3 years if you count day care and Angel's first nursery school). While the uniforms and backpacks are ordered and school supplies lie in wait, I can't help but worry. Will Victor like his pre-K class, or will he complain that "everyone bothers me" like he said every single day of summer camp this year? Will Angel thrive in the newly rigorous first grade environment, with a single teacher and solid academic objectives, or will his attention issues be too much of a hurdle? Will I be able to survive the mad dash from school to the railroad each morning? Will they be happy there? As excited as I am - and they both are - to start a new school year, I must admit that the anxiety is keeping me up at night.
6. Wine Why does it taste so good? Why does it make all of the problems of the day seem so much smaller? Why must it go from a good thing to a bad thing so quickly if over-indulged?
5. Ice Cream See #6
4. Lee Daniel's "The Butler" I must admit that I was hesitant to see this film. As an African American Studies major in college and history buff in general, I didn't know if I was ready to revisit the wounds of the past when so many of our historical injustices are being played out in real time across this country (Trayvon Martin, challenges to the Voting Rights Act). But we are also in an historic time with an unprecedented wealth of important black films hitting theaters. I saw the movie opening weekend and was absolutely floored. Not only is this an important film from an historical perspective, an important piece of work highlighting not only the struggles but the contributions of African Americans from Freedom Riders to domestics in changing the perspective of this nation, but The Butler is simply an exquisite piece of film. Truly well done and a joy to behold. EVERYONE should see this movie. Stop what you're doing and buy tickets now...I'll be here when you get back.
3. Guns and Vaginas Why is it easier to legally purchase an automatic weapon in some parts of this country than it is to obtain affordable women's health care, or for a woman to decide for herself if she would like to continue a pregnancy? I am bombarded daily with articles on yet another state passing more and more restrictive abortion laws that are unintentionally (or intentionally) limiting access and funding to critical women's health screenings like free or low cost mammograms and pap smears. No wonder there are not more women in positions of power in business and government in this country. We still seem to be under the impression that women shouldn't even be in control of their own bodies.
2. Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop My children are healthy and happy. Victor has not been hospitalized for sickle cell in over a year (hallelujah!) and Angel has not had a crazy ADHD tantrum in months. I had my first clean MRI and breast ultrasound in nearly 10 years and there are no surgeries or medical procedures in sight. All is relatively quiet on the home front. So why am I waiting for the other shoe to drop?
1. When Does it Get Easier? My mother used to say that it's time for me to switch the tone of this blog. To talk about how I have the whole mother thing figured out and that things are starting to get easier. I'd love to say that, but it's not true. While the IronMan triathlon-worthy endurance race of the baby years have come and gone, we're entering the emotional marathon of the school years. Will they be bullied? Are their medications causing more harm than good? How can we help them to succeed? Am I a good mother? I'm not sure if these questions will ever go away.