It's really all about the shoes

You know your life has changed significantly when you find yourself sitting in your socks on a wood floor at 11 a.m. while your kids tear around the gym at the local community center and the talk turns to SAHMs vs. working mothers.

You realize you’ve taken on the self-righteous attitude of the “us” sisterhood as you scoff at those who pay others to raise their children. We are sacrificing, we say. We are doing what’s right and what’s best, we assert. Then, one of “them” on a break from work walks in, kicks off her pretty, pretty suede pumps with silver buckles and pads on stocking feet over to her little one with SAHDaddy.

We secretly drool at the womanly footwear slumming with our scuffed loafers and stained mom shoes piled in a heap by the door. We secretly admire her fresh haircut and stylish suit and maybe just a little bit, her freedom to leave the building.I remember when I was one of them, in my hot heels and sleek suits, walking past “the moms” in their sensible walking shoes and high-tech strollers. I wanted their freedom, their casual wardrobe, their comfortable shoes.
It’s all about the shoes.

One movie, a thousand thoughts

I’ve had my moments of despair being a stay-at-home mom: the crushing boredom, the (sometimes) lonliness, the piles of laundry and dirty dishes, and of course, the neverending supply of poopy pants.

But nothing, I mean absolutely nothing I’ve ever dealt with in my domestic sphere compares to the horror and hell endured by this movie’s central character. I saw this over the weekend and all I can say is, if it comes to your town, go see it. Otherwise, rent it on DVD.

It was not an easy view for the mother of a Chinese-born daughter. I couldn’t help wondering if my sweet Girl from the East would have faced a similar fate had she stayed in her land of birth. It’s harder yet to see how women have such a low standing in society and how much corruption exists on all levels of government. Hardest of all is to see the fate of many infant girls: swift death shortly after their first breaths.

I know these issues exist around the globe and even here in the United States to a certain extent, but I’d like to believe we still have due process here and our voices can be heard if we shout loud enough. But I won’t kid you, I breathed a sigh of relief that if I’m going to be a wife and mother and stay home, at least I’m doing it in America, where I have the choice to leave the home, leave the marriage or leave the country if I wish.

Pass the Xanax

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Last week at this time we were slowly working our way home through a massive winter storm that featured high winds, snow, sleet and ice. I didn’t doubt my husband’s ability to manage the treacherous roads. I worried about the reckless drivers going too fast, the multitude of semi-trucks all around (some in ditches) and my baby girl’s safety.

She was asleep and therefore oblivious of the dangerous conditions and our worries. But I vowed to kiss the floor of home sweet home if we got home in one peace. Fourteen hours later we were delivered to safety.

One week later we’re sitting in the emergency room of the local hospital, waiting for a doctor to staple baby girl’s head back together.

Will someone please tell Girl from the East that even acrobats train with nets? That gymnasts use mats to break their falls?

Will someone please pass me a Xanax?

Call it creepy

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Ever have one of those encounters with a stranger that just didn’t set well? That you thought about for quite a bit afterward, wondering …. was that creepy or what?

I had one at the mall yesterday. I was out with Girl from the East and Girl from the West, killing a beautiful but cold afternoon window shopping at our area upscale shopping district.

Our last stop was a quick tour through Victoria’s Secret. While Girl from the West browsed the colorful displays of panties, nighties and other secretive things, Girl from the East amused herself opening and closing drawers of well, drawers.

I think I must have zoned out for a moment, because something jarred me back to the present. I don’t know what made me turn around. Did Little Miss fall? Did she plow into someone and head butt them as toddlers are famous for doing?

First, I located my pint-sized terrorist, who had seated herself on a low pedestal under a mannequin. She was in one piece and smiling, so she wasn’t hurt. Next, I looked up, waaay up at a six-foot tall metrosexual kind of man with really odd eyes reminiscent of Norman Bates. His carefully groomed feathers didn’t seem ruffled so I ruled out a toddler incident. Mr. Bates’ thick black hair was slicked away from his deeply tanned face. He wore a high-quality leather coat, expensive leather shoes. Around him, an aura of expensive men’s cologne.

He was alone. And just stood there staring down at an oblivious Little Miss in her pink jumper and pink barettes. What just happened, I asked Mr. Bates, because the moment seemed to call for some kind of comment or question.

He didn’t answer my somewhat frantic question. (Why was I being frantic?) What he did do faster than I could react to was bend down, caress Girl from the East’s baby cheeks and say one word softly: “Beautiful.” Then he stood up and walked away.

WTF?

Girl from the West, a young teen, thought I overreacted to the whole thing. Even husband didn’t necessarily find it creepy. But a mother’s instinct is stronger than Mr. Bates’ designer fragrance. There’s just something inherently odd about the way that all played out. Of course, there are men who love babies and children and chuck them under the chin or ruffle their hair. These exchanges usually happen among friends or acquaintances or at least in a family type of setting. You don’t expect some brooding man to caress your baby daughter’s cheek in the nightie aisle at the local lingerie store. At least I don’t.

As usual, my mom-zombie mind traveled down a lot of dark roads: What if I hadn’t turned around? What if he had grabbed her? Most likely this wouldn’t have happened. It’s quite possible the guy meant only to compliment Girl from the East and just crossed a line he may not know existed. He should get a clue.

I feel we mothers of daughters have to be hyper vigilant in watching our girls and in educating them on the right and wrong ways in which strangers can interact and “touch” them. Pedophiles are everywhere and they aren’t all seedy characters. I hope to God Mr. Bates wasn’t anyone bad, because if he is, he’s walking our streets freely.

It’s not OK to go up to strangers and touch their children. Not every caress is innocent.

This one, Mr. Bates, I call creepy.