Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Infertile People are so Angry

In the last few days there have been several posts that I've seen, both on other people's blogs, and my personal page that have brought out the angry infertiles. Especially this one. I've even lost a few friends because of my bitterness and anger. As I reread the comments that I, and other people wrote I started to wonder how someone that hasn't walked a mile in these barren shoes of mine would view us. The one thing that stood out to me is how angry and bitter we all sound.

Why is that?

It's because we're walking around with a huge, gaping, bleeding, infected wound that just won't heal. It's so sore and tender. And you won't quit rubbing salt in it.

The worst part is, you don't even know you're touching it, let alone that your hands are covered in salt. You have no idea.

We know that you don't realize that you're doing it. But you not knowing you have salt on your hands doesn't make the burning pain hurt any less. You not realizing that you're touching our wound doesn't mean we don't feel the pain long after you've forgotten our interaction.

We have to walk around every single day with these huge, ugly wounds and pretend that we aren't in near constant agony.

Every day we see your pregnancy announcements.
Every day we see you posting ultrasound pictures.
Every day we listen to you complain about your kids.
Every day we hear another news story about another abused, neglected, or murdered child.
Every day we listen to you tell us to adopt.
Every day we hear you telling us to be patient.
Every day we get the same lecture about God's timing, our age, and how we haven't been trying all that long.
Every day we hear stories of people getting pregnant after years of infertility.
Every day we listen to you tell us what you think we're doing wrong.
Every day we get told to stop trying.
Every day we get asked to hold your newborn because you think it'll make us feel better.

And some's just too much. There are too many of you coming at us in all directions. Poking. Prodding. Rubbing salt in our wounds. Wounds that you can't see. Wounds you don't even know are there. And we just can't. It hurts so bad we just want to scream.

And those screams, they so often come out in harsh, angry words and bitter tears.

It isn't your fault.

We know it isn't your fault.

We're so sorry that we took it out on you.

But it just. Hurts. So. Much.

Some days we just can't keep it together any longer. All the prayers and the tears and the wonderful support you give us get momentarily overlooked while we cry out in pain.

We really are sorry we act this way.

We don't like it either.

We want to rejoice with you.

We want to support you.

And the parts of us that aren't so broken and scarred do.

We are truly happy for you.

But we're also sad for us.

And, unfortunately, that sad tends to escape more often than not.

We're working on it.

We've got the stitches and the antibiotics ready.

But there are so many of you coming at us all at the same time that it's impossible to heal because every time we start to, just a little bit, someone new comes up with their salty hands and aims right at the most tender part of us.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ten Christmas Traditions to Start

This is the ornament from our first married Christmas. Photo credit
goes to our dear friend, Amber of Amber Dawn's Portraits

Last year I wrote this post explaining why we won't be doing Santa with our children. We still stand by that. Recently I was asked what kinds of things we plan to do instead. Tom and I started brainstorming and came up with several things that we feel will be good additions to our Christmas celebrations and will help reinforce all of the positive things we want our kids to gain from Christmas. A couple of these are things we do already, without kids. But, as with everything in life, would be made more joyful with the addition of children. Many of these are traditions from other cultures or families. Some are things I've read in books.

I thought I would share our ideas with you, in hopes that you may find a new tradition or two, or an idea at least.

  • Have a designated jar for change and spare cash. Throughout the year, every time you drop money into the jar, say a prayer for the recipient. Shortly before Christmas count the change and exchange it for all cash. Fill the jar with candy or some other individually wrapped treat, as well as the cash. Attach a note or card explaining that all year you saved up money as a family and prayed that it would be a blessing to whoever received it. Explain that that was the jar chosen for them ((could have kids decorate it)) and that you hope they'll be blessed by it and perhaps bless someone else. Leave it on a stranger's doorstep Christmas Eve night on the way to Midnight Mass.
  • Talk about how Jesus was born in a stable ((no room at the inn)) set an extra place at the table. There's always room for one more.
  • Let everyone you know know that they are welcome to join you for dinner. Mean it. This is our policy at every dinner we host, has been since we got married. All of our meals are open invitation ((sadly, we don't get to host this year)) Seriously, how many leftovers do we always have? No one should be alone on Christmas...or any day for that matter. No worries, any time you knock on my door hungry I will find you food. No matter what month it is.    
  • Leave a candle burning or the light on symbolizing that the Light of the World has been born.
  • Take the children shopping for baby gifts and deliver them to a pregnancy shelter. The idea being that when someone we love has a new baby we generally buy them gifts for the new child. He said, "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40) 
  • Make up "movie night" packages with a package of microwave popcorn, a box of candy, and a two-liter of soda. If finances afford you could add cheap DVDs, a Christmas book, popcorn bowls, movie giftcards, etc. whatever you can afford. Type up a little note about slowing down and enjoying a family night together. Leave them on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors a few days before Christmas. We often forget to slow down this time of year.
  • Buy/make extra Christmas cards and send a few to strangers. I do this a lot. I do always make sure to mention that NO, they don't me, I just wanted to make sure that someone wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I do this randomly throughout the year too. I write them a note, pray for them and include one of these prayer cards. Of course, I really do prayer for the things mentioned.
  • Christmas crackers are apparently very common in the UK. I think it's a really cool idea. Here is a good tutorial on making them. I would print off scripture verses or prayers or get prayer cards to put in them and also have the children make small gifts to go inside. Open them after dinner.
  • Have everyone choose a gift to give to someone in need. Yes, a gift they just got. We often give our old, worn out, unloved belongings to those that need them. If we really believe Matthew 25:40 then wouldn't we want Him to have our best? Usually, everything you get for Christmas is new and shiny and you like it all. This should remind us to give our best, not just what's left over. Literally and figuratively.   
  • Every year we pick out and ornament that has some meaning to us that year and write the year we got it and why we chose it either on the ornament, on a tag attached to it, or in the box with it. We often buy them on trips or during significant events. 
There you have it. Ten things we do or want to do. We have several other traditions that I didn't list because they are more common like making a birthday cake, placing Jesus in the manger, getting new pajamas and having a special Christmas Eve meal, things like that. ((Our Christmas Eve dinner is steak and shrimp, it's something my grandma did with her kids when they were little because as a single mom she could never afford foods like that, so she would splurge for the special meal on Christmas))

What traditions do you have, or want to have with your family?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Allowing Myself to Feel Valuable

Sometimes being an adult really sucks. Aside from the bills, responsibilities and general life expectations, people expect you to have what they deem an acceptable answer to the question "So, what do you do?"

When you're a teenager nobody asks you that. As an adult, everyone wants to know. But, they aren't actually asking what you do, they're asking what you do to contribute to your household. Here's how the conversation goes with strangers:

Person: So, what do you do?
Me: Oh, I'm a homemaker.
Person: Awe, that's so nice, so how many kids do you have?
Me: Uh, none....
Person: Um...
Me: But not for lack of trying...?
Person: what do you DO?

This always results in me desperately trying to come up with an acceptable answer. Of course nothing I do is an acceptable answer because everything I do can also be accomplished by people doing those things AND bringing in a regular paycheck, thus, in the eyes of the stranger rendering me less valuable than all of the people that do what I do and contribute in a more tangible way.

This always leads to a comment about how it must be nice to get to stay at home while someone else does all the work. Which always leads to me deciding that I need to go to work.

Not for me, not for my husband, not for the betterment of our lives.

For you.

So you can stop judging me and so I can feel like society gives me some value as a contributing member of my household.

This always leads to my husband reminding of why we chose this lifestyle and how much value he places on me and my role.

Then, until I meet someone new again, that's enough and I feel valued and useful.

I do a lot to contribute to my household, and my days aren't always easy and super laid back like everyone assumes.

My days get messy.

My days can be chaotic.

My days can be stressful.

Just like yours.

No, I don't have little ones running around. No, I don't usually have a schedule to keep or deadlines or expectations to live up to. But I do do work, valuable work. My contribution is substantial. It may not be so in the way society sees things these days, but in my house my efforts, my days, the things I do, matter.

I matter.

I know a lot of people do the things I do with children and full-time jobs, and I admire them. I really do. I'm glad that they can do that and that they've made that choice. That isn't the choice that we've made. And it is our choice to make.

Here's the thing that it has taken is taking a long time for me to realize and embrace fully, it's okay not to be perfect and have a mile long list of my day's accomplishments always at the ready.

I often feel that because I'm home all day you shouldn't be able to find a speck of dust or piece of clutter in my house, that there should always be something in the oven or on the stovetop, and that everything should be in its place. When I start to feel this way, that my only value as a person is in what I do and not who I am I get bogged down and run myself ragged.

There have been weeks where I felt like such a useless waste of space because of comments that I've gotten from people that I've worked so hard and tried to do so much just to prove myself worthy and useful that I've done nothing but cook and clean all day to the point that when my husband got home in the afternoon I was so exhausted I couldn't spend time with him. That was part of the point of me staying home, us getting to be a couple. Getting to spend time together that we wouldn't otherwise.

He gets home at 1:30 most days which leaves the entire afternoon for us to just be together. If I worked outside the home I'd either be working or rushing around to get all of the household things done after work and we'd doth be too tired to relax and enjoy each other and just being together.

We sacrifice a lot to have the lifestyle we do. I bake all of our bread, make our food from scratch, we don't buy soda pop [I lost a bet], snacks, or even disposable sandwich bags. We don't have cable, we only have one car, we tried to shut off our cell phones ((long story)) and we rarely go out. We don't buy paper towels, napkins, pads, or plastic cups/plates/silverware. I make our cleaning products and we don't have any of the latest gadgets.

But you know what we do have? A whole lot more us. And in this house, that's what counts. For this house, for my husband, I matter. I have value. I am more than what I do or don't do during the day, I mean more than a paycheck.

You may not see it that way, society may not see it that way, but my husband does. And so does God. And, I'm getting better at seeing that every day.

Please understand two things: We are not on any assistance whatsoever [not that there is anything wrong with that, just putting it out there before I get asked/accused]  Second, I understand that you may not live this way or want to live this way, and I respect that. This is our choice for our family, this is where our values lie. I don't expect everyone to make the choices we've made, I understand that not everyone can or is willing to. That's fine. I respect that.

I'm asking you to respect me too. I may not have a role that our society deems valuable or important, but I have a role that I deem valuable and important, a role that I find fulfilling and worthwhile, a role that my husband loves and appreciates.

One day I may need to work outside of the home, but not today.

Today I stay home.

Today I bake the bread.

Today I wash the clothes and hang them out to dry.

Today I allow my house to remain cluttered and a little messy because truthfully, it's comfortable that way, we live here.

Today I will spend extra time with my husband cuddling on the couch and laughing about nothing or arguing about getting a hedgehog.

Today I have value beyond a paycheck.

Today I ask you to stop asking me when I'll get a 'real job' because I already have one.

It's here, at home.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thank You For Not Inviting Me.

Dear Friend,
I was invited to your graduation party, your bridal shower, and your wedding. I was very grateful to be there to help you celebrate these momentous occasions, knowing that I matter enough to be invited means the world to me.

Now that you're expecting though, I couldn't help but notice you posting about a baby shower. A shower I wasn't invited to.

Thank you.

Thank you for thinking of me, thank you for understanding my pain and not judging me for it. Thank you for crossing me off the guest list. Thank you for caring enough about me to NOT send me an invitation.

We're close enough that I know it isn't because you don't want me there. I know it's because you don't want me to feel like I have to be there. You want to save me the pain of wandering the baby aisles to find you a gift. You want to save me the pain of letting you down when I find a lame excuse not to come.

You want to save me the pain of feeling like a jealous jerk-face for crying all the way home, and maybe having to leave early because it's just too hard.

I can't thank you enough for thinking enough of me, and caring enough about me to not have any expectations of me, and to not make me feel pressured.

I know being the pregnant friend of an infertile person can't be easy, but I want you to know that I noticed. I noticed that you call to check in on me and don't mention your pregnancy unless I do.

I noticed that you don't ask about the adoption process unless I want to talk about it.

I noticed you pay attention to the things I posted and thought to leave me off the guest list.

I'm sorry I can't be a better friend to you, but thank you for being a good enough friend to not invite me to your baby shower. You'll never know how good not getting an invitation made me feel.

-Your infertile friend  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Almost Parents.


Our almost adoptions are something I don't talk about often. For a few reasons. One of the main ones being that I'm friends with and genuinely care about all of the people that we've had "almost adoptions" with and I don't want to hurt them or make them feel bad for the choices they made. Another is that it makes me feel like a failure as a human.

There, I said it. I feel like my inability to not only conceive but also successfully adopt a child is a huge personal failure on my part.

I'm not even going to tell you how many times we've been *this close* to being parents just to have something happen, it's absolutely horrifyingly heart-wrenching.

I want to make one thing clear before I even get started, we have no hard feelings towards the women that have changed their minds about having us adopt their children. Each of these women had their own struggles and reasoning for even looking into adoption, and each had their own reasons for choosing to keep them. None of these women intentionally hurt us by beginning down the path to adoption and then changing their minds. I honestly believe that at the start of each of these journeys these women were certain in the decisions they made and simply had a change of heart later on.

I love each of these women dearly and we have no hard feelings towards any of them. The pain we feel is not their fault, and I am NOT writing this to make them feel guilty. In fact, I normally avoid talking about it so that I don't hurt their feelings.

But, I need to talk about it. For me. For my broken heart. And, maybe for you, too. Maybe you need to hear that you aren't alone and that someone else has felt this.

But, I need them each to know that this isn't about them, that my hurt isn't about them, my anger isn't from them. And I need you to not be angry at them for their choices either.

Things happen. Plans change, life moves in ways we can't predict. That is no one's fault.

Having an adoption get derailed is the strangest kind of mourning. It's hard to know how to feel, and you just feel all mixed up and broken.

First you feel let down and disappointed, you tried not to get your hopes up in the first place...but you did anyway. As soon as you have that awkward conversation that starts out with "I know I promised you, but..." your heart plummets right out of your chest. You curse yourself for ever letting your stupid hopes get up in the first place, for ever believing that someone would actually want you to parent their child, for ever thinking that you were good enough to be a parent. You feel dejected and unworthy. Every. Single. Time.

Then come the tears. These are always saved until after "the talk" the one that ends it all. These are not pretty tears, these are shirt-drenching, body-wracking, ugly sobs of defeat, bitterness, jealousy, and just about any kind of sad you can think of.

These emotions probably don't come as a surprise to anyone that hasn't dealt with this. That actually sounds pretty normal, I'd bet.

The weird part is twofold.

The first part being the mourning. The baby didn't actually die, but rather isn't existing in your life, so the plan and the idea of parenting that child does die. So, you begin the normal grieving process that we humans go through when we lose a loved one. But, it feels really weird to grieve the loss of a living person, morbid almost. You feel selfish for mourning someone that was never really yours to lose in the first place. You also feel selfish and guilty for mourning the loss of someone that is being celebrated as an addition to another's life.

Actually, now that I think of it, I wonder if that's how parents that choose adoption for their children feel? I would imagine so.

You are grieving and mourning what almost was, yet you feel AWFUL for doing so.

The second part of the weirdness comes in with the happiness you feel.

Yes, happiness, joy over a new life coming into the world, joy for someone choosing to parent their child. Joy for THEM. Happiness for THEM.

Even though it hurts for you, you do feel joy for them. It feels like you're being split in half by the grief and the joy. The two emotions are at war with each other, and each wins a few battles.

I can't really say which wins the war in the end, ours is still going on. And, everyone's war is different. It's personal. The emotions I described may not be what you felt if you've gone through this, but they're what I've experienced.

What I am experiencing.

It's been several years since our first, and only weeks since our last two, yes, I said two, I won't really elaborate on that, but there it is.

We still find ourselves wondering about the first one.

Sometimes we sit and cry for hours and just hold each other while praying for each of those precious children that have lives and homes elsewhere. It comes out of nowhere and hits you like a freight train.  They may never know how close they came to having an entirely different life, but we do.

That may be for the best, then again, it may not be. Only God knows that.

Either way, for us, for right now, it sucks.

It hurts.

My heart is broken and every day I wonder what I've done wrong. Every day I ask God why I can't have a child, why we're always so close, yet so far away from parenthood.

I don't have answers for you, or for me.

I don't have something I need to hear, or anything you can do to fix it.

I just need to express what I'm feeling, I just need you to at least try to understand why I am the way I am.

Eventually it hurts a little less, but every *almost* child we have adds a new scar to our hearts. They never fully heal, they're always a little tender to the touch. And every talk of adoption, every unwed mother upset about her pregnancy, every news story about another murdered, abused or neglected child, every talk about abortion, every pregnant family member is another touch on each of those scars.

One would think that every time this happens you'd grow a little more numb to it. But, no, it seems to be the opposite. Every scar leaves you a little more sensitive to the topics that touch them.

This is why telling us to do foster care, just adopt, or that we can have your kids really eats at me. I know you mean well, I really, really do. But, don't you think we've thought about these things? Talked about them, maybe even explored them? We have. We are. I don't mean to wince when you say these things, but you're hitting on my wounds and scars.

Does this mean we're giving up? No. Some days I'd like to, some days I think that all of this is God telling me I suck too much to have children ((yes, I know how irrational that sounds))

But, we're not giving up. We just have to keep trying, and yeah, maybe we have to keep hurting and never fully heal. Maybe we'll have to go through many more almosts. Maybe the next time will finally be forever.

We just have to keep trusting and loving God and each other.

That may sound insane to you, to willingly put ourselves out there to potentially risk this crippling pain again and again, but it's because we know a simple truth: They are worth it.

Our children are worth it.

They are worth every single tear, every scar, every hurt, every almost. We love them, even though we don't know them and may never know them. They are completely and totally worth every single second of what we're enduring. Even though many days it doesn't feel like it, we know they are.

Yes, we know we may never have kids, we know we may never meet our children.

We also know it won't be for lack of trying on our part.

We aren't going to say no to the next offer of adoption, we aren't going to say no to tying to conceive naturally, and we aren't going to say no to a child in need.

Sure, they may end in heartache again, and again, and again. We could avoid the heartbreak and all the pain by just quitting and saying no, we could do that.

But, doing so could mean saying no to our children, saying they aren't worth the fight.

They are.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stop Using God as An Excuse for Hate

When we say "bigot" generally a certain image comes to mind. Often times a Bible thumping, fire and brimstone preaching, snake handling, overweight, red faced, middle aged, white dude in a cheap, ill fitting suit. Right? Yes, sometimes bigots look like that, and other times they look like this:

Let's start with defining bigot, shall we?


noun \ˈbi-gət\: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

Now, I'm sure you're all thinking I've done lost my ever loving mind. Of course liberals can't be bigoted, bigots are only religious right wingers, right? Nope. No, a bigot is ANYONE that strongly and unfairly dislikes others. Liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, it doesn't matter. And, yes, I'm calling Macklemore out on being bigoted. And disrespectful.

I was watching the GRAMMYs while reading, when Queen Latifah caught my attention. I looked up just in time for Macklemore to start singing "Same Love" I've seen the video once before, and noticed the clear angst towards religion, specifically Catholics. It bothered me, but I sort of just shrugged it off. Don't we all? We just say; "Oh, well, that's how the world is, nothing we can do to fix it." And move on with our lives. We're complacent while people blatantly attack our religion and make false, broad generalizations about us. We sit back and allow ourselves, and the God we claim to love to be mocked and ridiculed while we do nothing. I'm just as guilty as the next person.

As I watched him perform this song the other night, I didn't just shrug it off and chalk it up to our culture, I got angry. I watched him stand up on that stage and sing the words "When I was at church they taught me something else If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned" and as he did so, he made the sign of the cross. That beautiful, powerful prayer was mocked, and no one cared. He wasn't doing it in reverence and love. He was being blasphemous, hateful, and bigoted. When I watched him do that, an image popped into my head from just earlier that morning.

On Sunday the sweetest old lady sat behind us at Mass, she was wearing a rosary with an Our Lady of Guadalupe medal. Some of you know this, and some of you don't, but we have a baby living here right now...okay, so she's more like a toddler((16 months)). Kid has a serious love of Jesus and Mary, pointing out their images whenever she sees them, sometimes yelling out "Jesus" in the middle of Mass, with arms raised up to the statue of Jesus. So, she spots this lady's rosary immediately, and literally dives over the pew to get to it, all the while saying "Mary Jesus Mama" I am mortified at her outburst. The woman reaches out and picks her up, cuddling her close, and encouraging her to say "Jesus" they were totally smitten. The baby pressing the medal to the woman's lips, the woman smiling broadly and kissing it, then the baby would hold the crucifix up to her new friend and she would kiss it. I was glad the woman wasn't offended at the diving baby. She just has a love all people that love Jesus. This is not our first rodeo with people wearing religious jewelry near her, thankfully people that wear religious jewelry tend to be pretty tolerant of little people . So, after Mass is over the woman starts talking to us, and we covered like ten topics, and then we started on my conversion, and her reversion. She was so excited! Me too!She looks at me, her eyes bright with happy tears and says, "The most powerful prayer we have is this" and with more reverence than I have ever seen in my life, she fixed her eyes on the crucifix just above the altar and made the sign of the cross, she bowed as she said "amen" and then she looked heavenward, and just above a whisper she added; "and thank You for the power in that simple prayer" It was the most simple, beautiful display of faith I think I've seen, ever. She was so sincere, you could literally feel it. It gave me chills watching this older woman, her faith oozing from her pores. It wasn't a show, it wasn't put on, it is part of her. Who she is. Her faith is so ingrained in her, she loves the Lord so much you can see Him shinning through her. Oh, to have faith like that.

That is how it should be prayed. Not on a stage to make a point. Not only did he use this important prayer to mock our religion, the entire stage was set up to resemble a cathedral, there was even a choir akin to a church choir. How do we think this is acceptable? The song is clearly a misguided attack on our religion. The author doesn't really get the teachings on marriage and why they are the way are. Though, that I'm not going to hold that against them. That, I hold against us. Christians don't do a very good job of explaining our issues with with same sex marriage. But, I'm not going to go into all that right now.

Right now I want to talk about the double standards in this country. If I was up on that stage and started singing about and mocking Muslims, you had best believe someone would have noticed and I would be all over the TV, radio and newspapers for being "bigoted" and hateful. So....what's the difference? I see two groups of people using the same shield of hate, from opposite sides. You have the religious bigots claiming Jesus as a reason to hate others, and the non-religious bigots doing the same thing. They are literally fighting the exact same battle, with the exact same weapons...but from opposite sides. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

Why is it not okay for me to mock Jews, gays, Muslims, or blacks, but it's perfectly acceptable for anyone that wants to, to mock me? I don't want to go around and start mocking these groups. I don't want to mock anyone, I love people. I believe all people are deserving of respect and love. Why do I believe that? Because I'm a Christian. Because I believe that we were all created by, and are loved by God. Who am I to reject someone that Christ loves? No one. Not my place. If you are loved by Jesus, you are loved by me.

Now, I want to get one thing straight; loving you, caring about you, being there for you, and praying for you is not the same as agreeing with and indulging every life choice you make. I don't agree with a lot of choices that people I love make, but that doesn't make me love them any less. I love them despite our disagreements.

I am not at all, in any way, shape, or form condoning same sex marriage. Don't go putting words in my mouth. However, that gives me no right to hate gay people. I simply cannot. They are people, and as people deserve my love and respect, period. Not my indulgence, but my respect. We tend to get those lines blurred in our culture. They aren't the same thing. My not supporting same sex marriage will not stop me from chowing down on some Chinese food with a dear friend that knows I don't agree with his lifestyle, and you know what? He still loves me too! Because we aren't five. We see past our differences, and see a person that we love, and care for. A person that has shared interests, and a shared love of dry humor and crab ragoons. We see people that we care about.

The red faced preacher and Macklemore have the same way of tackling this issue. With fear and hatred. They both want to be right, they both try to turn their followers against the other, they both use my God to cover up an unjustified hate, they are both scared that the other will prove them wrong, they both think they have to yell louder than the other, and they both think they've got it all figured out.

They're wrong. None of us do. It's not okay to bully gay kids. It's not okay to mock prayer. It's not okay to tell people they're going to hell because you say so. It's not okay to denounce all religion just because it cramps your style. It's not okay to use God as an excuse to hate anyone, ever. It's not okay to be bigoted.

It is okay to say that you disagree with someone. It is okay to love someone regardless of your views in life. It is okay to accept that people think differently than you. It is okay to stop hating and judging. It it okay to start trying to see the other side.

Both sides need to do a better job of understanding this issue. I see so many Christians that have no clue why they don't agree with it, they just do because the red faced preacher told them to. They take that and turn it into hate. I see so many liberals that have no idea why Christians disagree with same sex marriage. They once heard the red faced preacher quote Leviticus, and they took that as the only reason. They turned that into hate for what they don't know and don't understand.

Both sides are missing a huge piece of the puzzle. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've heard someone start to whine about the Christian bigots and their hatred of gay people, and I've cut them off and asked them what they really know about what the Bible says and what we believe and why, and they have no clue. You want to know the crazy part? Majority of the time they go into the conversation wanting to punch me, and come out hugging me, and still not agreeing with me, but understanding that I'm not being hateful, bigoted, or intolerant. Believe it or not, they often come out understanding why Christians don't support same sex marriage. Why? Because instead of yelling and preaching at them, I took the time to love and respect them. I took the time to research and understand it, and I took the time to explain it to them, lovingly.

In closing, stop mocking my prayer, and my religion. Stop using God as an excuse for hate, no matter what side you're on. And, take the time to understand WHY we feel the way we do. Stop being bigoted, no matter what side you're on.

And hug someone. I am so sick of all this bashing and hate. Just go hug someone, we'll all feel better.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

In Response to "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry"

My best friend reads way too many articles. She reads a good portion of the daily happenings on the inter-webs, and then passes on the most worthwhile and the most cringe worthy to me to read, so we can discuss them. It's a great system, that way we always read the same things and I don't have to think or seek out enlightening material on my own. Although, on the rare occasion that I venture out and find an article all on my own I send it her way, so it's sort of a two way street...I'm just lazy and co-dependent, so I let her do most of the work. Once in a while she sends me something that makes me question her sanity and want to ask why she was hanging out in the strange places of the blogosphere. Today was one of those times. She sent me this post and the title alone made me want to punch something. So, let's start there, shall we?

"I Look Down On..." those four words said enough. You should not look down on anyone, for any reason. At all. I don't care if you don't agree with them, it's not your place to sit on your little thrown and determine them less than you. Who died and made you decider of all that is good and worthy? Nobody, that's who. So, keep your judgments and your "I'm better than you" attitude to yourself. I guarantee the world contains at least one person that feels that way about you. So, already I can tell that the author thinks they are more awesome than people they know nothing about. We're off to a great start. They are looking down on young married women with children. This tells me that they are either single without children and have no intention to have them, and are likely met with animosity about this decision from family/friends, or they may possibly be married, but likely have an intentionally childless marriage, and are even perhaps in an "open marriage" they definitely don't see marriage as the union of two people into one. They have a lot of bitterness where both marriage and children are concerned. They know people will expect them to regret this statement, but they refuse to, they aren't sorry. And, they need you to know that.

The picture is a mom with a pot on her head and a concerned looking child. Clearly the author thinks that child-rearing and "domestic work" is just insane.

"Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit. 
Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers."
She's being honest. I like her. Here's the thing: majority of feminists aren't honest about their thoughts and feelings, they want to placate you. She doesn't care if she offends you. These are her feelings, and she owns them. Way to go Amy. Whether I agree with her or not, I respect her honesty. I like honest people. I don't like having to wade through a ton of crap to determine how genuine a person is. She's gained my respect by having convictions and voicing them honestly, though I completely disagree with her whole premise, I respect her as a human being deserving of my respect. 

Most feminists claim that they support any choice a woman wants to make, no matter what that is, then they turn around and tear apart those choices. In reality they don't want you to have any choice you want, they want you to make their choices, the way they want you to. They'll dress up it up and make it look nice, while degrading and belittling any choice that they don't support. She's upfront about it and says that she doesn't believe in validating every choice a woman makes, she doesn't think all choices women make are of the same value. She has some serious disdain for women that choose to stay home and raise babies. 

"Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?"

No, I don't. Not equal, not above or below, but different.  These two women are playing in two totally different ball games. The woman who "works and takes care of herself" is a woman concerned with self, a woman who is solely focused on her needs, wants, and desires. In her universe she is the center, and often times, only occupant. The stay at home mom is concerned with the needs of her family first, and herself last. She is focused on the needs, wants, and desires of her family. Her family is the center of her universe. She is self sacrificing, and finds great fulfillment in being so. The two women have different goals in mind. They aren't playing in the same game. Sometimes the woman worried only about herself quits that game and joins the other, sometimes they play a little of both[by working AND being awesome mothers], and sometimes the stay at home mom switches to the game of "me" but they aren't on equal footing. They are on different footing, they are different women, with different objectives. Both equally deserving of respect, neither one "better" than the other in any way. They are both women, both human. Therefore, both equally deserving of the same general rights and respect. One woman may be valued and respected for her amazing abilities in the court room, while the other is valued and respected for her amazing abilities at home. That doesn't make either right or wrong. Just different, they are different women with different desires. Nothing wrong with that.

 "Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with."

Getting married and having children are life milestones, they change who you are. They represent a new direction on your path in life. We also throw going away parties, retirement parties, graduation parties, and housewarming parties. Each of these events symbolizes a news step in our paths. Each of these events are accomplishments, and important in their own rights. Each of these events shape who we'll become. At the end of your life if you made a timeline of the most life changing events you experienced, those would all be on it. Those life events matter, they make up part of who you are.

"These aren't accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. "
Anyone can do them? Seriously, tell that to my uterus, it apparently missed the memo. They aren't average because we aren't average. We are all extraordinary in our own rights, therefore every major turn our life  takes is above average. Not everyone is cut out for marriage and family life. Everyone is different. No, not "everyone" can do them, not everyone desires to do them. Again, that's okay. I am sensing some serious bitterness coming from the author. It feels almost as if in order to justify her own choices she needs to belittle the choices of others. 

"And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?"

Joining your life to another's isn't nothing. Bringing forth new life isn't nothing. Raising children is far from nothing. It's something. Your definition of what's important and what's average differs from mine. We're different people.  I find contentment and value in cleaning, cooking and chasing children. You may not. You may find value and contentment in science or math. I don't. I see that they have value. I see that others may find their personal contentment in them, I simply don't. Contrary to what Amy is saying here, that's okay. We're different people, we hold different ideals and values. Just because it isn't your thing it doesn't make it not a thing. You can't just go around deciding what matters and what doesn't based on your preferences.

"I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.
You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids."
 Life is meant to celebrated, so go forth and throw those showers! Go right ahead, don't forget my invite! But, don't devalue other people's desires in the process. You don't get to decide what matters to everyone in the world. You get to decide what matters to you. You probably value things I don't, that doesn't make them less than the things I value, it just makes them unimportant to me, personally. I don't get to decide that they don't matter to anyone, ever. I value them because I value you, and they matter to you. Why can you not be exceptional  in the way you go about your marriage and how you raise your kids? Who sets the level for that anyway? I think that's in the eye of the beholder. Everyone's idea of family life looks different. Lots of people travel and accomplish great goals while married with children. It depends on the person. Some people's goal is a successful marriage and healthy, happy children. 

"I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren't conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.” "

I don't know what men you're listening to, but some men are talking about how difficult it is. Here's a lawyer talking about why his wife's job is harder than his, here's Matt Walsh talking about how difficult it is to be a SAHM, and I'm sure my husband would love to tell you all about his adventures in managing the household while I sick for a few days. He always tells me that my job is harder than his. For him. For me, I love my job. I find it challenging and rewarding. I find it fulfilling. I know some people don't feel that way about my work, and that's okay. You don't have to bow at my feet and declare my awesomeness. No stay at home mom does it forth the glory. That's the big difference, isn't it? The woman she's describing with her career and accomplishments galore is doing it for the response, for the glory. SAHMs don't. They sacrifice everything for other people, they put themselves last. They do it out of love for the betterment of someone else. That is something important. Lots of men stay home too. And, all of them [that I know at least] will tell you hard it is...and also how worthwhile it is.

"Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back."

I have to wonder how Miss Glass feels about nannies, school teachers, maids, and financial planners. Does she deem these occupations important and worthwhile? Are they worthwhile because the job holder is receiving a salary?  I'm a stay at home "mom" to someone else's child. I sacrificed a very successful business to stay at home and cook, clean, and wipe a little hiney. My work may not be important to Miss Glass, but it sure is important to that little girl that I'm raising. It's important to my husband. It's important to me. Clearly she doesn't know the inner-workings of being a SAHM, or a mom at all. It is hard work, it's the same work that many others get paid for. With the experience gleaned from being a SAHM alone I would meet the job qualifications for a nanny, a line cook, a maid, an assistant, and a childcare professional. That's not including my work history, my experience as a business owner, or my education.

Essentially Miss Glass is saying that because we choose to forgo payment for our services, and because we choose to give up everything for another person that we are unimportant and less than. I'm sorry, but I do work. I do do something. I do the same tasks now that I used to get paid money for. Now, I just get the love and respect of my family, and that's more than enough. I work hard every day.

What's holding us back is seeing ourselves as better than anyone else. What's holding us back is deeming some work unimportant. What's holding us back is bashing other people for their career choices when we know nothing about them.

In the words of my great grandmother, may she rest in peace, "It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round." It does. Every occupation is valuable and important in its own right. From the janitors to the CEOs, they all matter. By devaluing the job of a stay at home mom we are devaluing the importance of marriage and children. That's exactly what people like her want. Don't let them win.