September 2008


I moved up in the world (kind of) and have my own domain now …

You can know read me here at http://www.writemommy.net

See you there …

P.S.  Bear with me as I try to design my site.  I’m a bit of a design spaz and I’m learning the new software … 🙂

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So I don’t plop my 7 month old in front of the tv or anything, but when I put him in his exersaucer while I’m in the shower or trying to clean up the house, I think that PBS is a more appropriate back drop than other daytime options like General Hospital or Maury Povich.  I’d prefer Brody go around saying, “Elmo!” rather than, “You are the father!”

Needless to say, I’ve become familiar with some of the PBS daytime programming and I find it quite interesting.

One show that will catch B’s attention is “It’s a Big Big World” about some animal friends in the rain forest.  There are lots of bright colors, fun characters, music and singing.  That’s all most people would see.  Not me.  I can never get past the fact that the frog character is named Warts.  Seriously.  They couldn’t think of anything else to name the frog?  Warts?  I only think of a venereal disease.

I became privy to the Warts situation a few weeks ago and started to put my cynicism aside until I realized that Snook, the main character, always seems to be stoned out of his mind.  He speaks slowly, methodically, and is always sleeping.  The creators can get away with it, because he’s a sloth, but I know those production types and I’m sure they get super giggly about the fact that they’re creating a show with a stoner puppet (that no one knows is a stoner, except me) after they’ve smoked a giant doobie.

(Seriously though … the show is cute and the characters, stoner and venereal diseased alike, are endearing.)

Today I was in for a real treat when I turned on PBS to discover a show that B and I had not yet experienced, “Sid the Science Kid.”  Brody didn’t pay any attention to it, but it was the most entertaining 30 minutes of television I’d viewed in a while.  Check out this cast of characters …

There’s the highly annoying girly girl – To be highly annoying to me (a very girly girl) she has to be pretty terrible.  She’s always talking about fairies, doing cheers, and participating in other super irritating activities.

There’s the boy with ADHD – Sid the Science Kid was asking his friends what kind of pancakes they liked and ADHD boy came running up to them, jumping up and down, shouting, “Syrup!!!!! Syrup!!!!!! Syrup!!!!!!”  Later, inside their classroom, ADHD boy was bouncing up and down yelling, “I’m a bunny rabbit!! I’m a bunny rabbit!!!” while the rest of the class was seated for circle time.  This is not fabricated.

There’s the down-on-life gothic girl … She’s dressed in darker clothing and when Sid inquired about why his mother’s pancakes were runny and his dad’s pancakes were burnt, she stated in a very flat affect, “Did you ever think the pancakes are mad at the stove?”   What?!

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

Being that I’ve been on the hunt for a more satisfying and lucrative job, I’ve been on a million and one interviews.  The Lehigh Valley is not the most fabulous place for professionals that aren’t looking to commute to NYC, NJ, or Philadelphia.  There are some opportunities available, but if you’re not a nurse, teacher, or engineer the options are slim.  If I wanted to work in a warehouse or factory, however, I’d be golden.

That being said … I’ve been actively searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs since last November.  Job offers?  Zero.

My husband doesn’t get it and I think he secretly believes I’m an unemployable invalid.

What gives?  Besides the limited number of jobs for professionals in my field, there’s the discrimination factor.  I’ve only been out of college for a little over two years and I’ve already encountered a surprising number of accounts of employment discrimination and illegal interview questions.

Incident #1 –  I was hired by an internet-based homeschooling program.  The company was founded by Mimi Rothschild an evangelical Christian who I later discovered was up to her eye balls in legal troubles from a previous business venture.  Anyway, on day one of training, I was asked to fill out some paperwork.  It asked for the usual information you would expect like emergency contact information, social security number, and then it asked about my religion.  So, I answered, “Roman Catholic.”  I thought it was a strange inquiry, but answered nonetheless.  At the end of the day Mimi Rothschild called me into her office and asked me how comfortable I was working for a “Christian” organization when I was a “Catholic.”  I told her Catholics are Christians, so there would be no problem.  That evening, the woman who hired me called to tell me that they were not going to ask me to return to work because I “lived too far away.”  Think what you will, but I believe something about my Catholicism prompted that move.  How very Christian of her to judge me …

Incident #2 –  An interviewer pointed out my engagement ring and said, “Oh.  You’re engaged.  When are you planning to get married?”   She didn’t ask in an “I’m so excited.  I love weddings!” type of way either … Yikes.

Incident #3 –  I went on a second interview (my first interview was by phone) when I was just about 7 months pregnant.  Not the most ideal time to interview, I know, but pregnant women cannot be discriminated against legally.  Did I expect to get the position?  No.  I figured my pregnancy would scare them off, but what I didn’t expect was for the interviewer to make specific comments about my pregnancy and the “challenges it would present” because they “needed someone who could hit the ground running” and “be more available.”  A few other comments were made, but I’ve conveniently allowed them to leave my memory, so not to remain bitter.  (Although, I am bitter.)  The worst part?  The interviewer was a woman.  Wasn’t she supposed to be on my team?

Incident #4 –  This incident happened just recently.  One interviewer asked, “Are you married?  I thought I saw a wedding ring?”  Tsk. Tsk.  You cannot ask a person’s marital status.  In his quasi-defense, I did ask if the position offered full benefits and he answered my question with a question about my marital status.  However, it was still none of his business.  I didn’t get the job.  I got my letter saying “thanks, but no thanks” yesterday.  Can I say that I was discriminated against?  Not entirely, but I was asked an illegal question that had no relevance in terms of my ability to complete the duties of the job successfully .

There have been other times throughout my almost year-long job search that I have come across clueless interviewers who ask illegal questions.  And while sometimes I think I should opt to not wear my wedding ring, I’m not comfortable doing that.  There’s no shame in being a young professional whose married and has a child.  I don’t want to work for someone who thinks there’s something wrong with that.
My general feeling is that in an employer’s mind, marriage means the possibility of children and children mean the possibility of child care issues, a child’s illness, and other distractions and time off  from work.   Do I think it’s right?  Absolutely not.  I’m not a crazed feminist and I’m far from being considered liberal, but what’s with the sexism?

Which brings me to the Sarah Palin issue … Whatever your political affiliation, whatever your opinions about Sarah Palin’s policies, the fact that she is a mother should not be used as an argument against her and her ability.  Those who question the intentions and the capacity of a woman with children as a successful candidate for VP or any job make me sick.   They’re no better than the slew of people I’ve come across in my job search who feel that motherhood and marriage are an employment handicap.

And so, my search continues …

I consider myself a faithful, spiritual person.  I’m probably more in tune to my faith than some who attend church regularly, but there’s where I falter.  I’m a pseudo-practicing Catholic.  I wouldn’t dare eat meat on a Friday during Lent, the Virgin is my home girl (and even more so now that I’m a mom), I don’t go a day without praying for the souls in purgatory, and the saints hear from me pretty much daily on everything from parking spaces (seriously … try St. Polycarp … works every time), to lost items, to safe travel.   But then there’s that regular church attendance thing.

I’m not so sure how it happened.  Skipping out on mass certainly wasn’t a product of my upbringing.  Or maybe it was – sort of.  I remember the first time I told my mom I wasn’t going to church.  I was 17 and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go.  I just didn’t want to be told I had to go.  So, I resisted and didn’t.  Ever since my attendance at mass would be considered spotty at best.  I’ve had phases of regular attendance and then months where I haven’t attended at all.  Boo to me.

Despite my craptastic attempts at being a church-goer, I think it’s really important to have a faith base and so I intend on making church and faith an important part of B’s upbringing.  My husband is reluctantly on board.  He didn’t have the warmest welcome into the Catholic faith (the joy of annulments {sigh})  and he really doesn’t get the Mary situation.  All I heard in the days leading up to our wedding was, “I don’t get it … Why are we walking over to that statue?  Why do we say a prayer in front of it?  You’re going to talk to it?!  Why do we have to do that?  Do I have to pray to her too?  Because I don’t get it.”    Regardless, he’s going to suck it up and let me rock on with my Catholic mommy self and Brody will experience Catholicism in all its glory.

And while we’re on the subject, a University of Iowa study reveals that students who regularly attend a religious service have higher GPAs.  Oh, snap … I need to get B to mass immediately.

Go grocery shopping with Mom

Puke on Dad

Crawl through exersaucer

Throw dog food all over kitchen floor

In short, my labor and delivery experience was hell.  Twenty six hours of labor, two hours of pushing, resulting in an emergency (and super frightening) c-section.  To add insult to injury, I didn’t even get the “preserved region” benefit of the cesarean.  I, like women who deliver vaginally, had a battle wound.

During my hospital stay I knew exactly when there was a shift change.  A nurse would come in to change my bed pads and I’d see her head fly up in alarm from between my legs, “Oooo … I thought you had a c-section?”  No, lady … I’m just bedridden and catheterized for kicks.  All the cool kids are doing it.

I often wonder if when I have my next child I should have a repeat c-section or attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  There are risks involved in a VBAC, but good Lord do cesareans suck.  Then again I’d also list hemorrhaging and an unplanned hysterectomy as pretty high on the suck factor.  Sometimes I think a repeat c-section is the way to go.  I try to convince myself that maybe it won’t be so bad the second time around if it’s planned.

And then I read this article from BBC News that reports, “Mothers who give birth naturally are more responsive to the cry of their baby than those who choose to have a Cesarean.”  According to new research women who undergo a c-section do not experience the same release of hormones as women who deliver vaginally and this initially affects the mother/baby bond.

My favorite part of the article is the little ditty about how women who have a c-section should cuddle their newborn skin to skin “straight after birth.”  Ummmm … hellooo?  What are they going to do?  Lay the kid on my leg?  The abdominal region is pretty much out of commission and my first c-section involved an oxygen mask and all kinds of crazy contraptions on my face.  And by God, they better not lift that flimsy, paper curtain.  If that goes up and I get a glimpse, I’m dead.  Coronary.

Basically … this sucks.  If I’m not responsive to the cry of my baby I will only be like 25% perfect.  That is just not good enough.  Now I have to weigh my options.

VBAC – die … or not die and be like Mother Earth, responsive, fabulous, all-nurturing.

C-Section – be the worst mom ever, detached, “Baby?  what baby?  I don’t hear my baby.” … or beg them to lay the kid on my leg and hope we connect.
Decisions, decisions.

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