I’m a mother of both and you’re wrong

This has been showing up on my news feed recently. I saw it and my blood boiled.

I’m gonna call bullshit*t right here.

As a woman, I feared for my own safety walking back to my dorm alone, late, after fencing practice. I was the only dorm resident. I would keep the closest blue light in my sights at all times. I feared walking alone from my car to my dorm after a party. I always kept tabs on my girls at parties and never let anyone pee alone.

As a woman, a male gas station attendant felt it was his right to reach into my car window, which I “foolishly” left open on a hot summers day. He groped me while my tank was filling. I yelled, he seemed spooked. Didn’t my friendly banter and cute top invite him to touch me? From that moment forward, I wouldn’t open the car window more that enough for the credit card to go through. Even on a hot day. I sat in the car sweating because it was safer. Only when I wasn’t alone would I dare open the windows. That trauma has strongly subdued since leaving New Jersey where I was at the will of a station attendant to fill-up my car.

As the mother of a daughter, I fear for what could potentially happen years from now in college. I fear for potential issues in high school as well. As I’m sure my mother feared about me before. I fear that what I went through will happen to her. Or worse.

As the mother of a son, I have no fears that someone will cry rape towards him. Because I’m raising him better than that. I’m raising him to stand up with women, all women, all people, for the betterment of everyone.

As a mother to one of each, I mindfully teach both of my kids consent. I do this with the purpose of Witchlette knowing the power within the word know and her use of it and Witchling to understand when he hears no, he is to back away.

It seems to me the only men to have to fear the “cry” of rape are those who are potential predators. The cat callers. The gropers. The rapists. The only mothers of sons who have to fear their sons reputation are those who allowed their sons to be raised in the patriarchy and follow along with it. Those who allow their sons to see women as a prize, as seen in almost literally every macho action movie.

Then there’s this:

“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other.

Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’

Then I ask the women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.

Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.”

Jackson Katz, “The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help”

Advertisements

First time in a long time…

The lure of stay at home mom has always been strong for me. After all, it’s how I was raised.

In the back of my mind, it was always something that I wanted.

Going back to work after Witchlette was born wasn’t by any means easy, but it wasn’t overly difficult either. It just was. I transitioned back to work and life continued. We had bills to pay and, if nothing else, couldn’t afford health insurance without the benefits from my job even if my take home pay was significantly decreased with the cost of childcare.

The first summer of stay at home mommy time with Witchlette was magical. It was glorious. It also included a two to three hour nap period where I got to just binge on my own shows and take my own naps. The second summer with just Witchlette was much more tiring, mostly because I also was carrying Witchling. Nap time as we knew it was gone at home, though she did still occasionally fall asleep on the couch. As did I. Both summers ended and both transitioned into new school years with a return to work.

The lure of stay at home mom was always there, but it was just an illusion.

My maternity leave with Witchling started just a few weeks later. The lure ended and the drive and desire was strong. The postpartum issues were strong. Returning to work just 12 weeks later was heartbreaking. It wasn’t returning to my normal routine, it was the death of a dream.

The next summers, leading up to Witchling’s first and second birthdays, still held the pull of throwing my hands in the air and walking away from it all. Spending all of my time with my kids and just being a full-time parent. I’m an amazing mom.

But I’ve watched other friends who are full time moms, or who were full time moms and walked away from it. They were good mom’s, but they lost a balance to themselves.

Perhaps I am an amazing mom because I’m a mom that works. Perhaps because I prioritize my time with the littles, I am better.

This summer was the first time that the pull wasn’t there in three years. This summer was the first time since Witchling’s been born that I haven’t felt the need to throw my hands up at work and walk away.

My summers are sacred and I am going to extreme measures to keep them with both kids (hello charter school!). I will always revel in my full time momhood. And keeping them to the fullest. But I am back to seeing thaty time for what it is: a vacation.

Coming off the break

Summer vacation as a teacher means sleeping in. It means a break from the hustle and bustle of setting lessons and grading papers.

For me, most of all, it means enjoying my children full time all day long.

Except when it doesn’t.

Beginning the first day of summer vacation, I said goodbye to my sunrise alarm. I no longer woke up early enough to walk the dogs and do morning yoga before the kids awoke and it was time to be Mama. Well, I figured I would just reallocate my time to the evening.

Except I’m not an evening meditator. I never have been. Ever.

I felt the drain this week. Yesterday, I felt the drain big time. Nothing was wrong, everyone was happy. Everyone was wonderful. Except I couldn’t shake this feeling of annoyance. Everything rubbed me the wrong way. The kids didn’t seem to notice…so I’m glad I hid it well! It culminated this morning with a feeling of fog that I couldn’t shake. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t get out of my own head.

Then I said the words aloud to Hubby. I think I need to go back to my sunrise alarm. I need to go back to my yoga and meditation every day.

Go meditate now, was his reply, and then start fresh again in the morning.

I can’t. Once I go upstairs, it’ll be fly your helicopter and play baby and do puzzles.

But that’s why there’s two of us…I still couldn’t get out of my fog, so I retreated to my altar, lit some cedarwood inscense, and went right to work. Within twenty minutes, the fog was gone.

Hubby popped his head in after a bit to check in and also to share the ridiculous hilarity that is our children’s imagination. I again, without thinking and without filter, said aloud, I went on vacation from taking care of myself and that’s stupid.

He chuckled and affirmed- quite stupid.

Being full time mama fills up my cup in many many ways. But I have many facets and I was neglecting one of them. Night time I use for purposeful Magick or divination, but true grounding meditation is best met for me in the early hours.

Slightly unrelated, I found a photo challenge app and I’m enjoy it a lot. Here is my idea of silence (one challenge) as well as my idea of calm and serenity (a second challenge).

That’s the cedarwood surrounded by Frigg prayer beads and vibrational cleansing bell from Box of Shadows.

What they know…

Children are what they know. It’s nature.

My kids speak English because they’re parents speak English. They sing songs in Spanish because that’s what they learn in school. Witchlette recognizes me in a croud when I give her the I-LOVE-YOU sign, because that’s my second language.

And, so it seems, that any word or phrase with “guard” in it, for Witchling, gets an “As”.

When playing sword fighting, and adding fencing rules, the kids now start with “En garde… Allez!” Except Witchling hears, and so shouts, “Asgard… Allez!”

At a friend’s pool the other night, he noted all of the “Asgards” around. And he asked when the “Asgards” would blow their next break whistle.

Asgards, keeping everyone safe, one pool day at a time.

Talking about language

Language is one of the best evolutions of humanity.

Language is an amazing connection that bridges worlds together.

Language is awesome.

Every fucking word.

Now that we have kindergarten settled, and after school dance registration complete, I can think about other elementary school topics.

Both of my kids know the phrase “son if a bitch” thanks to Modern Family and, hilariously, Ant-Man.

The school Witchlette is going to is a K-8 school. My understanding is that the school is broken into three wings and the kids transition between wings every three years. K-2, 3-5, 6-8. I don’t think Witchlette is going to be around the middle school students much, if at all.

But she is going to be around order kids. And kids seem to be getting older every year.

And she’s going to hear some things that she doesn’t know, some words she’s never heard before. Some words she doesn’t have context to.

Last night, I laid the foundation for now and for years to come.

When you’re in big kid school, you’re going to hear some older kids say grown-up words. Like son of a not-biscuit.

You mean \whisper\ son of a bitch?

Yes. And other grown up words. I want you to know that if at any time at all you hear a word you don’t understand, you can come and ask me. Even if it’s a grown-up word. You can say it to me and we will talk about what it means. And if it’s a grown up word, you have to wait until you’re a grown-up to say it.

Ok.

Remember when I said precisely and you asked what it meant, and I told you?

Yes.

Well, you can ask me about words other people say, too. And we’ll talk about what they mean. Even grown-up words.

Mommy, what does /whisper/ son of a bitch/ mean?

Bitch is a word used to describe ladies in a not nice way. It’s a very insulting word for ladies. And by adding “son of a”, it’s insulting women and their sons. So it would be insulting to me and Witchling, Ms. K, C, and T, G and his mamas…

Daddy and Nana.

Right. And Daddy and Nana.

Why do people say it?

It’s become something that you say when you’re frustrated. But its meaning is insulting. That’s why we say biscuit. Biscuits are yummy and delicious foods and you can’t insult a biscuit.

And biscuits don’t have sons.

My ultimate hope is that last night I laid the foundation for the teenage years. For the mommy, I went to a party and now I’m buzzed and uncomfortable and please pick me up and please don’t be mad. I hope I have set up the continuous constant flow of communication that will keep her safe and whole for all her years to come.

Roses

My work roommate became ill this year. While she is certainly on the mend, to say it was an easy time would be an understatement.

To thank her cohort for their support, she crafted a vase for each of us. Mine sits on my front entry table, which is slowly being refined into the common-area family altar space.

After Witchlette’s dance recital, we got some roses and they have been sitting nicely for a little over a week. Just a few days ago, they started the really show signs of wilting.

The kids realized something beautiful happened to the felled petals when they were put in the stream of the oil diffuser.

Needless to say, felled rose petals became plucked rose petals and before I knew it, there were no more rose petals.

BUT

The Littles had a surprise for me waiting in my bedroom.

They used the rose petals, along with a few silk petals, to decorate my Frigg totem “because Allmother likes pretty things.”

I am so beyond blessed.

Observations

Yesterday, driving home from school, the kids and I passed an abandoned church. Witchlette saw it, and the cross sitting high above it, and the three of us had the following conversation:

W4: Mama, is that x a Jesus x?

M: yes it is

W4: why is it there

M: the people who follow Jesus as their god go to that church. They know it’s a Jesus church because of the cross on top.

W2: the star?

W4: no that’s an x for Jesus

W2: who’s Jesus?

W4: another god but not our god. What other gods are there?

M: lots and lots of God’s from lots of different places

W4: like who?

M: Thor, Odin, Frigg are all from Germany. I wonder if Ms. S (Pre-K teacher) holds Ganesha, Buddha, or Jesus as her god. Or maybe she doesn’t have a god.

W4: who’s Ganesha?

M: a god from India

W4: like Ms. S!

W2: I think her has a yellow Buddha like we have a blue Buddha

M: maybe

W2: who’s Jesus

W4: the x god

W2: I like Heimdall

W4: I like Skadi