Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I am thanking Mr. Trump for his locker room chat

I was looking for the "feminist" photo to match:
perhaps the power suit? But then again, the mom in  pajamas
reading to/teaching her kids is a pretty close second!

I've long considered myself a feminist.

Equality and opportunity for women became a passion of mine since facing the challenges of entering a male dominated field, experiencing my share of discriminatory treatment, and more recently, becoming a mother. Unfortunately, I have found the connotations of the "feminist" label I proudly wear tend to bring a surprising amount of negativity, assumption, and sometimes ill judgement.

Thus, I am glad to see so many come out across the country to march for women this weekend! I take the appalling commentary on women from our now president as a twisted blessing. Today, we address behavior (that is seen and felt by women every day) publicly and head-on -- instead of silently and privately as women are told "stuff like that doesn't happen anymore" or "you are being too emotional" or "too sensitive."

I hope that after marching this week, we will remember to continue to support the women around us. Especially as women, supporting other women. We have so many issues to confront! Unequal pay, sexual harassment, birth control, sexual assault, the glass ceiling, maternity and childcare decisions, to name only a few. Unfortunately, I have found we as women are often our worst enemies. 

Because we haven't seen sexism, we won't believe it. 
Or because we accept it ourselves, we ridicule those who won't.
Because we didn't choose it, we will judge it. 
We often choose to harshly judge life choices that don't mirror our own instead of compassionately looking at the variables that brought those choices forward or to find a way to help. Instead of criticism, maybe we should ask, "What can I do?" 

Or we accept the objectification and sexualization of ourselves and our daughters. It is so prevalent we may not even notice. 
Or worse, we label it "female empowerment.

"Feminism isn't just bra burning; it shouldn't be man-hating; and doesn't have to be about abortion rights. I think it should be advocating for women. It should be respecting women and their choices. It should be refusing to expect or tolerate disrespectful treatment even when it may be as common place as over-sexualized marketing or even "locker room chat."

So thank you to Mr. Trump for your abhorrent behavior, because for once, I have found many women and especially men fired up about issues I have long cared about. But for many of us, this isn't new or unusual or even surprising talk or behavior.

And thank you marchers for your visible efforts. I hope we can all continue to march on because we still have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Big One

photo credit Chelsee Sheffield

As an adult, I feel the change of time differently than I did as a child. I remember when each year and each birthday seemed like a huge milestone. A new grade! New pants (to replace the ones that now hit above the ankles)! A chance to say my age as a round number instead of one carefully measured in quarters (wouldn't it be funny if adults did this? "How old are you? "-- "33 and a quarter")! 

Besides the big milestones -- 18! 21! 30! I don't see or even celebrate much of the aging or progress I must be undergoing, except maybe by the slow development of fine lines popping up on my forehead or the increased difficulty I have getting back in shape.

I have noticed myself hesitantly measuring my own progression in life by the growing children of my friends:

Our marriage is a 5th grader now! 

My career in private practice is walking and throwing tantrums. 

And my time as a mother is a one year old (well two one year olds)!

People act like this is a big deal. "You made it!" I wonder if there was ever a question. (Was there???) I'm glad we did -- instead of the alternative, I suppose.  

And it does feel like an accomplishment, maybe especially with twins. 

Our parenthood is now one years old, whether you go off actual birthday or due date. It is growing up -- as old as two babies feeding themselves (although still a pretty messy job), crawling all over and even taking steps. It is outgrowing infant car seats, communicating with simple words like "hot!" and "thank you." And is a combined 50 lbs. 

I know it is still rather early, but we have gone far enough I find myself giving advice to new moms as if I am a seasoned pro. (Does having two babies accelerate me on the path a bit?)

Isn't it interesting how time has a strange way of going so fast and yet so slowly at the same time? It seems like these babies have been with us for a lifetime, and yet I am amazed it has already been a whole year! 

I wondered how I would feel when we all hit this big one year milestone. Would I cry like the other moms warned? Would I mourn the loss of my two little snuggly babies replaced with toddlers on the move? Or perhaps relish the moment like most of the twin parents I know -- so relieved to have made it through the time most refer to as " a blur" or a time they can't even remember?

When the big day arrived, I found myself happy and excited for the progress we have made and the future ahead. So far I have loved every stage with its challenges and joys and look forward to the progress and learning that is ahead with excitement and pride. 

It is strange but exciting that now I can measure the passing of our lives in the progress of my own children. 

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Written Fall 2016, shortly after birthday #1!