Mommy Blogs

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The blogroll on the right is a poor indication of the blogs I actually read on a daily basis. Almost all the blogs listed are political, while my actual blog-reading is as varied as my entries. A blogroll more indicative of my interests would include a couple of "mommy blogs", among other things.

I can't remember when or how I first came across a mommy blog. It probably came up as an extraneous hit when I googled something. It had to have been a fluke, because mommy blogs form their own universe on the internet: they aren't listed on the blogrolls of other blogs, and they only link to each other. Or so it seems.

Nor can I remember how I came across "The Big Yellow House," since renamed "notes from the trenches" . This blog is now one of my daily reads. Chris, the author, has seven children, six boys and a girl, whom she home-schools, although not for any ideological or religious reason. She and her husband are renovating a huge old house in Connecticut, doing all of the work themselves. Chris writes well and she's funny. Moreover, she has the world's cutest kids. Seriously.

Chris is living proof that we are not doomed to become our parents. As the only child of a mentally ill mother, she decided to have lots of kids and give them all Norman Rockwell childhoods. I'd say she's succeeding; she would probably laugh and say "riiiiiiight", or "oh, fuck yeah."

I read Chris's blog for a long time before I found another mommy blog that I liked as much. I browsed her blogroll and the blogrolls of those blogs, dozens of them, but it's a rare treat to find one that pulls me in. The other mommy blog I'd add to my list of daily reads right now is She Laughs at the Days. Carrien, who is expecting her third child, graduated from college and disappointed her professors by abandoning a career as a professional pianist in favor of motherhood. Carrien's blog isn't as consistently funny as Chris's, but it's thoughtful and well-written.

I live an alternate life vicariously through these mommy blogs. This is my life in a parallel universe, one in which I didn't marry an emotionally handicapped man (if you're new to my blog, check the Asperger's Syndrome archive)--sorry, to avoid giving offense I have to say "a neurologically atypical man." So atypical that he couldn't tolerate a child in his life and broke down following the birth of our son, never to completely drag himself out of the pit of rage he fell into upon realizing he would have to share the planet with this small person. I'm not imagining this. On the day he killed himself, in the last conversation we had, he regretted not having spent more time with his son, saying "I guess I just couldn't stand not being the center of the universe anymore." (I suggested they go to the driving range the following day, like that would fix everything. Riiiiight.)

But anyway, I can't blame him for the direction my life took, because by the time I met my husband I'd already educated myself out of the possibility of marrying a normal guy and becoming a stay-at-home mom. Normal guys don't date mathematicians. I mean, the set of guys who wouldn't immediately cross a woman with a PhD. in math off the list is vanishingly small.

And while Chris and Carrien both have college degrees, I haven't met a woman who went through five years of grad school knowing she intended to stay home and raise a family when she finished. I've heard of lawyers giving up careers to raise kids, but, sorry, law school can't compare. It only takes three years, and only the first year is really hard, supposedly--the third year is a joke, or so I've heard. I've never heard of a woman MD giving up a medical practice to stay home; nor of a tenured professor giving up her job at a university.

I did almost that very thing. I was working as a physicist at a nuclear weapons lab when I decided I couldn't stand it anymore. I couldn't stand having my son in daycare; I cried all day. My husband's emotional breakdown made the situation infinitely harder. I tried in vain to make him happy and at the same time shield our son from his father's resentment and rage. It was indescribably stressful. I couldn't go on; one of us had to stay sane. So I quit my job, against the strongly-worded advice of a female colleague who said it would be devastating to my career. We sold our house and moved so my husband could ride his bike to the university where he taught. Not that he was ever happy again.

And my colleague had been right; it was devastating to my career. When my son started school I was able to get back into my profession only by going in through the servants' entrance: I was never rehired as a government employee, but rather as a government contractor.

Government contractors are treated like dirt. We are the day-laborers of the professional class. We never have more than two years' job security and are subject to the chaos of government spending (imagine having a five-year-old run your household finances). When funding on a project gets cut, contractors are the first to get the ax. When a project fails contractors are blamed; when a project succeeds government managers take the credit.

So anyway, I read the mommy blogs and feel like a voyeur when I do so, like someone standing outside a house looking through the window at a party I would love to have been invited to. I've left a couple of comments on Chris's blog but for the most part I don't comment because I don't feel that I belong there. The mommy bloggers are younger than me, they have multiple kids, pre-school-age kids; they don't work outside the home. But I'd like to be able to say to these mommys: I'm just like you; my single child is my universe, my strength, my rising and setting sun.


Not at all related, and I love you too mom, but how cool does this sound...,72263-0.html

YES!!! :-) I guess this means I'll have to buy a new computer...

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