Friday, November 15, 2013

Women!

Over Ellis' door hangs a sign that reads:

Here's to good women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.
 
 
It was given to me when I was six months pregnant by my mother-in-law. She's a good woman and she raised two good women as well. This is comforting to remember right now as I am faced with yet another woman who, bless her heart, does not seem to be a friend to other women.
 
This may be an unpopular post. I may look conceited after this and perhaps I may expose some of the stories I tell myself about why other women don't like me. This will be embarrassing and terribly exposing and yet, I feel compelled to write about it because I know I'm not the only woman who has dealt with this.
 
So here goes. I am pretty convinced that there are two types of women. The kind that help other women and the kind that do not.
 
I have been lucky to know a few of the former. I have also had the opportunity more times that I care to, to learn how to interact with women who do not have my best interest at heart, who do not want to see me succeed and who will actually hurt me to help make themselves feel better. Even though this happens on a personal level as well, I am speaking mostly about my professional experiences. Particularly with women who could be mentors. They are older, they are "wiser", they are more experienced, they could teach me, make me better, their legacy could live on in the good work that I do because of them. This is sadly, so rarely what happens. I can count on one hand, the women who have helped lift me up professionally. The women who have knocked me down, diminished me, fired me, made me doubt my abilities are too numerous to count.
 
I can not, for the life of me, understand why we do this to each other. Don't we see that competing with each other is the big lie. We are so fierce, so powerful, so brilliant in all ways, we will never reach the heights we seek if we kill each other off. What are we fighting over? Money? Power? Oh God, men? Really?
 
I am dealing with a woman at work who is angry about my age and my achievement. She is jealous and sabotaging wherever she can. I feel powerless to address it because it seems so insane to me. I can't help but feel sorry for her because it must feel so lonely to look at other women as the enemy.
 
I have been spoiled by my current boss. She has lifted me so incredibly high. She has inspired me in so many ways. Before her came Laurie and Susan. Before them, my professors. Before them, my mom who is such a fierce champion of women, their behavior has driven her far into her cave for solace.
 
I suppose all I can do is continue to love women and raise Ellis to do the same.
 



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Weaning

Learning to breast feed was, as my dear friend Laurie said, "The first dragon you and Ellis will slay together." Man, was she right. I don't know what was more difficult: my pregnancy, my longer than  The Brother's Karamosov birth, or discovering, that despite my na├»ve assertions that all things related to motherhood would be easy for me, I didn't have the faintest idea how to feed my baby.

Somehow we all survived and we became so good at breastfeeding, as we turned the corner on two years and my friends stopped eating out with me for fear I might whip out my now numb to the world breasts, I started to think, "Oh shit. How am I going to slay this dragon?!" I don't pray very often, mostly because I'm too concrete of a thinker in a lot of ways so it's hard for me to pray to something that I haven't quite figured out but I did pray when Aaron got hurt and I prayed when my mom's heart was under duress and I prayed that I would win when I found those skinny, black corduroy True Religion jeans on eBay, and to be totally honest, I prayed that Ellis wouldn't cry when I decided it was time to wean her. Listening to her cry is my least favorite activity. It literally hurts my heart.

So imagine my surprise when she suddenly stops latching on and she starts taking "sips." A term she coined by the way. So I took notice and starting quantifying her sips. Day one, she got 5 sips per breast. Day two, four. Day three, three and so on until the milk was, "all gone." She seemed to enjoy the process and I think she cried maybe once and it was nothing to write home about. I couldn't BELIEVE my luck. Was this possible?! Could something this scary really be so easy? Oh I'm goooood!

Then yesterday she started to pout, cross her arms and tell me that she wants to be left alone and she's mad at me. My response, though difficult because I want to cry now, is, "OK honey, I love you so much. I'm here when you're ready to cuddle." "NO!" is usually her retort and then she comes around after about 10 to 15 minutes. So my concern is that a) I have traumatized beyond repair, b) she now has attachment disorder, and c) she is going to hate me for the rest of her life.

Any thoughts on this would be helpful. Please don't collude my distorted thinking though by agreeing that I have ruined my child. Really, I'm just interested in words of encouragement and praise.
Many thanks.

And no, I didn't win the corduroy pants. I refuse to pay the same amount as a new pair of pants for a pair that someone else's vagina has already touched.