Category Archives: Politics

Look over there…

I wrote a post today for How Do You Do It? on kids and politics.  Check it out

In the meantime, it’s a screamy day here.  The kids are going through a melodramatic phase.  Equal intensity for “he’s trying to play with my book” and “I’ve been shot in the leg.”  Or, at least, that’s how it feels.  All of the crying wolf makes me a little slow to respond.  Which makes me feel bad to realize that Daniel is stuck under the endtable.  Whoops.  Stellar mommy day, clearly.

3 Comments

Filed under Politics, Toddlers

On Motherhood and Ambition

I wrote a post today for How Do You Do It? about my decision to be a stay-at-home-mom, and marked the beginning of my second year living outside of the academic calendar.  Check it out.

Clearly, I’m not a particularly ambitious person as far as career trajectory and such things.  Not that ambition is inherently bad in any way, it’s just not my thing.  I always worked to live, not the other way around.

Which leads me to this whole Sarah Palin thing.

I know, I’m stepping way outside my usual topics.  I’m not a political blogger.  I’m a mommy blogger.  But she’s a mom, and I have a few things to say.  And, well, it’s my blog.

When McCain announced her as a running mate, I was baffled. An insulting appeal to holdout Hillary supporters?  “Look, she’s a woman! You like women, right? I mean, she’s the antithesis of everything Hillary holds dear, but who cares?”  An odd appeal to the right-wingers?  It’s been a trainwreck to watch.  She’s under an ethics investigation, McCain listed Governor, Mayor, and PTA as her executive experience. It completely undercuts his whole “ready to be Commander-in-Chief” argument. It’s just weird, and I’m at a total loss as to why on earth this was his choice.  I keep waiting for something new to jump out that would have it make sense, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

But hey, I’m not supposed to like his running mate.  I’m a Democrat, through and through, and wasn’t going to vote for him in the first place.  His choice of a right-wing nutter just gave me another reason.  Fine.  But as a fellow mother, I have to question Sarah Palin on her judgment.  And as everyone wants us to remember, it’s all about good judgment, right?

Let’s ignore the conspiracy theories about her youngest son actually being her grandson. It smells fishy, but I obviously have no basis of proving or disproving it, so fine. And really, I could care less that her daughter is pregnant, even if it gives me a brief laugh at “so, how’s that abstinence-only sex ed working out for you?”  But fine, things happen to teenagers.  And while it sort of adds to the media/political train wreck, fine. I have really no beef with that at all.

My beef is with putting ambition before family. I know that sometimes there are sacrifices in life. But you have a very young child with special needs.  If bits and pieces of the conspiracy theories are to be believed, you were going into preterm labor and yet continued to give a speech and then fly across the continent instead of seeking medical attention. She went back to work after something like three days. And she’s campaigning and running for Vice President with a newborn with Down’s syndrome.

Sure, I suppose being asked to be the Vice Presidential candidate for a major political party is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And it would be hard to turn it down. But with a newborn? When you have almost no high-level political experience? Ambition wins over family.

Yes, it’s a double standard. People wouldn’t be saying the same thing of a man in her position. But it’s no secret that being a mom is different than being a dad, like it or not.  Is it fair?  Maybe not, but I’m not sure that’s the point.

I’m rambling, I know.  This, among other reasons, is why I’m not a political blogger. But this Sarah Palin thing is just getting under my skin.  She wiggs me out. When she speaks, it just feels wrong to me.  Let’s just hope that my candidate actually wins for once, and I can forget Sarah Palin’s name after November 4.

14 Comments

Filed under Politics, SAHM, Working

Things I love about Massachusetts

After spending about 20 of my first 21 years in Illinois, I moved out here to New England eight years ago this month. I was ready for a change of scenery, an adventure. Six months later, I met M, and the rest is history. Now I live in the ‘burbs in my four-bedroom Colonial with my husband, two kids, and a dog. I’ve mentioned my internal conflict about whether or not to return to Illinois someday, but in general, I’m pretty happy here in Massachusetts.

There are things, of course, that I do not like about this crazy state. The roads, in particular. They’re neither parallel, nor perpendicular. They curve and twist and change names with alarming frequency. Not that you’d know about the name changes, since there are no legible street signs. I don’t mind semi-aggressive driving, but the fact that turn signals are viewed as a sign of weakness is a problem for me. While there are plenty of nice individuals here, people as a whole are a lot less outgoing and friendly than the midwesterners I grew up with. And don’t get me started on the lack of good Mexican food.

But there are plenty of things I really like. The seasons, the scenery, the history. Liberal politics and marriage equality. The fact that you can drive for two hours and be in three states. I really am digging the fact that Massachusetts has a rate of twin births 34% higher than the national average [some people don’t think this is a good thing, see my post today over on How Do You Do It? for my response], and that my twin club has well over 200 members. And I love that we have awesome health insurance.

I know, that’s a weird thing for me to write about, but just roll with it.

In Massachusetts, they recently passed a law that requires all residents to have health insurance, and nearly all employers to offer it. I think this is a good thing, though I’m sure some people resent it. MA also has good laws about what insurance companies are required to cover. For one, we have among the most comprehensive insurance for fertility treatments in the country, as MA requires insurance companies to cover it, including IVF (hence, in part, the unusually high rate of twins). Prenatal and maternity care is great, too. I barely paid anything in co-pays for my entire pregnancy, delivery, and hospital stays for all three of us. MA also requires health insurance companies to cover a minimum of 48 hours in the hospital post-vaginal birth, and 96 hours post-c-section. If everyone is doing well and wants to go home, some doctors will discharge you earlier, but I felt no pressure at all to leave.

I had no idea this wasn’t the way of the entire country until my niece was born last week. Mom and baby were doing just fine after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, but why does that mean they were all but booted out the door 24 hours after she was born? Literally, she was born around 5pm, and they were out the door by 6pm the next day. My cousin, who lives in the same area, apparently had the same experience a few months ago when her daughter was born. I know some people hate being in the hospital, and want to get up and go as soon as possible. Not me. Sure, I had the surgery to recover from, and babies in the NICU, so that contributed to my lack of desire to leave. But seriously, in the hospital, you have professional help! You have nurses, wonderful nurses, to help you get up and out of bed, to help you in the less dignified moments, to help you take care of this strange new being that you’re supposedly responsible for creating and now raising. You have lactation consultants! The early days of breastfeeding can be so hard, I can’t imagine being at home and on my own after barely a day. You get food delivered to you! I know some hospitals have a bad reputation, but mine had pretty darn tasty food, and I was even able to order from a menu!

Thankfully, my new niece and her parents are doing just fine, and my stepmom is out there being as helpful as she can, while trying to walk the fine line and not be overbearing. But still, and extra day of nurses wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, in my opinion.

Didn’t I tell you? Practically perfect in every way… I can’t wait to meet her.

3 Comments

Filed under Family, Hospital, Just me, Newborns, Politics

Yes, We Can.

I stayed up entirely too late last night, but I couldn’t miss this moment. It was just too exciting to see this man finally proclaim victory. My dad started telling everyone he knew that Obama should run, and could win, about four years ago. I can’t believe he was right. I’ve made no secret of my endorsement here, so I was obviously very excited to finally have the primaries done and a winner declared. The first primary was the day my kids turned five months old. The last was the day they turned ten months old. It’s been a wild couple of months on all fronts. As someone said on NPR yesterday, “It’s all over but for the shouting. And there may yet be some shouting.” Sigh.

I won’t go into my reasons for choosing Obama, and I won’t go into the myriad ways in which I’m unhappy with Clinton. I’m just going to take a day to be happy that, for the first time in my voting life, the candidate I’m supporting for President has actually won something.

OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!

5 Comments

Filed under Politics

Like a big gay hug

A brief pause from twin talk (there will be more later today, we’re off to the pediatrician this morning), so that I can say HOORAY, CALIFORNIA!  Unless you’re living under a rock (apparently, a rock with internet access?), you have already heard that the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s marriage law banning same-sex couples from marrying, saying yet again that separate is NOT equal.

I live in Massachusetts, where same-sex couples have been allowed to get married for almost exactly four years.  And let me tell you something groundbreaking: the world has not ended.  We have not been struck by lightning, our buildings have not crumbled.  “Traditional” marriages have not gone by the wayside.  Our children are no less safe.  What did happen?  People who want to spend their lives together, pay taxes together, raise kids together, and be there for each other in sickness and health, have been allowed to do just that. Have there also probably been some foolish matches, people who rushed into it without thinking carefully, relationships that ended?  Um, yes.  And how is that any different from what the straight folks do?  That’s what I thought.  If anything, it was a boom for the local economy!  My former boss is a church organist, and he made a killing that first summer, along with the florists and the caterers. 🙂

Honestly, I just don’t understand the people who are anti-gay-marriage.  I mean, I suppose I get the homophobia.  But the ridiculous argument that I heard this morning on the Today show, that “redefining marriage to include same-sex couples undermines the very meaning of marriage,” is just insanity.  I suppose the basis for this argument is that marriage is for the creation of children.  OK, then what about couples who struggle with infertility?  Or those who just plain decide not to have kids?  Do they not deserve to be married, either?  Ugh.

Nope, the court got it right.  “providing a separate designation for same-sex couples … perpetuates the notion that gay individuals are second-class citizens.”  And that’s just plain unacceptable.  I can only hope this ruling sticks, and California can find out what we learned here on the East Coast a few years ago: the sky does not fall.  Why not let two men or two women live their lives together with the same protections someone else has?  It hurts NO ONE.

I can only hope my kids grow up knowing that what’s important is to be kind, responsible, and thoughtful. I hope they believe enough in their own value that they choose a person to love who loves them back, treats them with respect, compliments and challenges them in all the best ways.  Regardless of whether that person is a man or a woman.

And here’s to hoping that Massachusetts and California serve like a big, tolerant hug for the rest of the country.  I think we could use a few more of those.  Yes, I know that there are large swaths of people who think MA and CA are two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but if that’s the case, maybe the apocalypse won’t be so bad!  Ooh, am I going to hell for that one?  Hrm, don’t believe in hell.  Sweet…

7 Comments

Filed under Politics