Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just a Coward

It's amazing to me how becoming a mom can make you into a total coward. I used to be fearless. (OK, not totally, but I would do stuff without batting an eye that would give me a heart attack if Charity did it. Guess my mom's tougher than I thought!) I mean really, I used to scoff at 'overprotective' parents, but I can totally see how a parent can be that way. We were at the Mall of America the other day, and Charity wanted to ride the Gondolla Wheel. So we took her, but instead of being thankful to be off my feet for a few minutes enjoying the view, I spent almost the entire ride envisioning nightmarish scenes of Charity falling out, or the tub breaking, or some equally horrid fate.

I guess this kind of goes along with Playgroupie's dilemma on how much sheltering is too much. I don't want to be a parent that allows my fear for my child's well-being to keep her from experiencing the fun stuff, learning from her own mistakes, or just being a kid. So far, I think I've done a good job. OE is the neurotic one, who would possibly keep her locked away until adulthood just to keep her safe. The fact that he's a little crazy over all of the little stuff helps me keep perspective, I think. It makes me see how irrational some of my fears are, and honestly, most of the stuff does when she's with me doesn't raise my eyebrows. Climbing furniture, jumping off of whatever she can find, etc. - this stuff's all part of being an active toddler. And really, this stuff I have a semblance of control over, so it doesn't bother me.

But what about the stuff I can't control? I can't be with her 24/7, it's impossible, and besides, I would be in a loony bin in no time without a break every now and then. How would I stand it if she went somewhere with OE and got in a wreck? Or what if he took her to the store with him and somebody took her? I know these types of possibilities will only increase as she gets older, goes out with friends, and honestly, if she's a daredevil anything like I was as a teenager, I'm in for many sleepless nights. I don't want to keep her from experiencing things, and will do my best to protect her without smothering her. But how do I deal with my fears for her? How does a parent keep from being ruled by fear, when we should be enjoying the experiences we are fortunate enough to have with our kids?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Moms are Handicapped Too

Recently, when coming out of a handicap stall in a Walmart restroom with Charity in tow, a woman using a cane gave me one of those looks, you know, the one that says "I have a cane, therefore I am handicapped, and I was put out by waiting for you to finish using my stall." Of course, being the civilized, un-confrontational person that I am, I said nothing. But that got me thinking. (Uh Oh, never a good sign).
Aren't we, as mothers to toddlers and infants, handicapped too? Granted, it may be a handicap that we choose, but really, I know that my ability to get around has been seriously compromised since shortly before I gave birth. So I just thought it might be fun to list some of the arguments for giving mothers of young children temporary handicap status.
1. I have a growth that is attached to my leg, arm, hip, neck, back, or wherever it chooses to be throughout the day. This 30 lb attachment severely limits my maneuverability.
2. My hearing is limited by the screams I hear echoing throughout my head whenever I attempt to temporarily remove this growth so that I can catch my breath.
3. Whenever I am successful in removing the child attached to me, my line of sight is drastically reduced to anything that may be in her reach or destructive path. Therefore, I may or may not see oncoming obstacles.
4. When traveling through a parking lot, I have limited use of my appendages, since at least one is dedicated to restraining my little heathen and keeping her out of the path all those people who think its their right to speed through the parking lot like it's a racetrack are just trying to get home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Three's a Crowd

It's no secret that I like it when OE is working. I love the peace and quiet, in addition to the time I can spend with Charity, or on the computer, work, or whatever I feel like without his constant interference/interruptions. He really is worse than another child would be I think. The longer we're together, the more helpless he becomes. When Charity was a baby and we were visiting my parents in Indiana, he actually called me to ask if he had any clothes to wear. And of course I answered that they were in the same place they'd been for over a year. It's not even the stupid stuff like that episode that really bugs me though. It's just him. We used to work together, live together, play together. But then Charity was born, and more often than not, it was just me and her. I've felt like a single mother more times than I can count, although that would possibly be easier since I wouldn't expect help from him.

Now we're on the road for the summer/fall, and in (extremely) close quarters. I can deal with that on a 'part time' basis, I knew what to expect when we decided to come back on the road this year. However, I was counting on him getting off his ass working and not being constantly in the house... Unfortunately, we have an abundance of employees for this early part of the season, so that leaves him with nothing to do but bug me. I get nothing done that I want to, Charity cries because she doesn't like what he (constantly) has on TV, he bitches that Charity is whining, and I just want to run away.

You know, it used to be fun to be together all of the time. I used to really enjoy spending time with him, but after 10 years together (8 1/2 married), it's just become another chore. Instead of feeling more like I can be myself with him, I feel less that way. We do fun family stuff sometimes, but overall, I feel like the maid/babysitter/personal servant and it gets really old. I'm not sure my marriage can take all of this togetherness.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Me... A Trophy Wife?

Before I became a mom, OE and I were just another husband/wife team with concession stands. I would spend hours upon hours in the stands, just like so many others out here. Of course I still did all of the behind-the-scenes stuff, but the "me" that others saw was generally the owner/operator. Nobody thought twice if I had bags under my eyes from working 12 consecutive 15 hour days in the heat, if I had flour on my face, or batter on my clothes, or even mud or smudges from fixing a leak or rolling up hoses. When I became a mom, I essentially gave all of that up (such a tragedy, I know...) for diapers, housework, and playgroup dramas. We've stayed home and played at a "normal" life for almost 3 years. Now I find myself back in carnyland. So many of the faces are the same that I remember, but somehow it's different. I guess it's because I'm different now, both in real life, and in the way others perceive me. Gone are the days that it's acceptable to 'look' like other carnies.

Since re-entering the carnival world, I find myself making sure my clothes are acceptable, that my hair isn't perpetually pulled back into a pony tail, and I've also taken to wearing makeup every day, not just when I plan to go out somewhere, since inevitably, I will be out and about at some point during the day. I'm expected to make idle conversation with people I used to just nod and wave at. Yes, I still do all the running, accounting, and misc crap that goes with the day to day life out here, but nobody sees that. They only see me living a 'leisurely' life, socializing and playing with Charity.

All of this makes me wonder... Have I become a trophy wife? Now anybody that knows me IRL definitely knows that the idea is somewhat absurd. On the other hand though, the life I've been describing sounds suspiciously like one. If the shoe fits, right?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Just Muddling Along

I used to be a computer whiz. Twenty three years ago, I knew all about how computers worked, how to make them do what I wanted. You know, back in the days when DOS was the only real way to navigate, before Windows, highly interactive Microsoft programs, the internet, and most importantly, the internet. Now, I will readily admit that I am a dummy. I manage with Google, email, and online shopping, but the rest of it leaves my head spinning. Html, blog rolls, rss feeds... these may as well be written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics for all the sense they make to me.

I have a problem with my seeming lack of ability to make sense of all of this. You see, I have a tendancy to be quite the over-achiever, and have visions of an awesome blog, with all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately, the current state of my knowledge doesn't support these visions. I'm hoping that time, some 'hands-on' trial and error, and a little patience (which, admittedly seems to be lacking in my bag of attributes) will correct this problem. However, I make no promises, so consider yourselves warned if I can't live up to any expectations you may have if you stumble across my blog.