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Next Life, NO Kids: April 2013

April 26, 2013

It's Possible Disney Princesses Were Just A**hole Teenagers


Next Life NO Kids: Are Disney Princesses Just Asshole Teenagers? Good question... #Hilarious #Teengirls #Motherhood
 I miss my little girl; the one who used to think I was awesome. The kid who always wanted to sit right next to me on the couch, and used to draw me pictures so I wouldn’t forget how much she loved me. 

I've been thinking about that little girl a lot lately while I sift through text messages laced with contempt. 

She loved classic Disney movies about beautiful princesses in castles, and the evil stepmothers and witches that usually wanted them dead.

All my little princess wants to do with me these days is go shopping, because I have a credit card. I'm barely allowed to speak during these trips because I'm "so annoying."
 
All it takes is trying to have any kind of meaningful conversation about her future to turn me into a "total psycho."

And then it hit me…

Most of our favorite Disney movies are about a beautiful young girl and some "wicked" wench ruining her life.

Could it be that fairy tales are the back story of mothers and daughters? Now, now,  no one wants my daughter dead (in case you went there). Let me explain.

Next Life NO Kids: Are Disney Princesses Just Asshole Teenagers? Good question... #Hilarious #Teengirls #Motherhood
Rapunzel:
Would I love to lock my daughter in a tower for an indeterminate period of time? Obviously. Not just because the peace and quiet would be awesome, but also to shield her from the pressures of society - and boys. If you have a daughter between the ages of 13-18, and can say you've never thought about locking her in her room, you're either one of the "lucky," have a generous prescription for Valium, or you're lying.

The "evil" mother in this one, if I remember correctly, just wanted to brush the girl’s hair every once in a while to feel young again. What’s the big deal

If I had a tower, I would totally lock my daughter in it, and only let her out for bi-weekly haircuts. We have to be one step ahead after all, and no strange boy is going to have the chance to climb up on my princess.

Next Life NO Kids: Are Disney Princesses Just Asshole Teenagers? Good question... #Hilarious #Teengirls #Motherhood
Sleeping Beauty: 
Okay, teenage girls sleep a lot. My daughter has grown out of the whole sleep all day and get up for dinner thing, but when she is sleeping, she’s quiet... and not yelling. I would love to have more awake and not yelling time with her, but if I had to choose? I'd take sleep for $1000, Alex. 

She’s always really grouchy when she wakes up, and usually wants me to make her something in the kitchen that requires a lot of dishes. The longer she sleeps, the less yelling and dishes we have to deal with, so basically everyone wins. The moral of this story is that the wicked chick who cast the sleeping spell was brilliant.

Cinderella: 
Okay, this is an easy one. Who wouldn't appreciate if their daughter did some laundry and cleaned the house once in a while? If she could cook and clean, even just for herself, that would be nice too. After all, she has less than a year before her eighteenth birthday, and it would be fantastic if she was open to learning some life skills before I kick her out.

The "wicked" stepmother in this story is a tough one. My daughter thinks I’m a total bitch if I ask her nicely to pick her gym socks off the kitchen floor, so it is unclear if this broad was a complete tyrant. Perhaps she just wanted the lovely angel to keep her room clean or make her own toast, and it was blown way out of proportion when the story was later told. It makes sense as shit goes down in my house just like that every day.  Strangely enough, the privilege to attend junior prom is currently at risk of being yanked. Her behavior and attitude is so horrific lately, and if I could take toast away, I would. So, for her sake, let there be a fairy Godmother, pumpkin, and some friendly mice available that night.

Snow White: 
This could be the story of a mother's fading beauty and lost youth and jealousy. Nothing on my daughter’s body sags, her hair does not fall out every single time she takes a shower, and she wears skinny jeans.

I personally hate skinny jeans, mostly because I can't wear them. My body is like repellent for skinny jeans. I can barely fit into my Spanx. Spanx are like the skinny jeans for my body.

Do I look into the mirror on occasion to be reminded that I am not the fairest of them all? You bet your ass I do. Do I want to hire a man with an ax to walk my daughter into the woods to “chop down a tree”? Not today.  Besides, if she got lost and was approached by a pack of dwarves, I’m betting that she wouldn’t agree to follow them home and cook them dinner. She knows better than to talk to strangers.

While we're on the subject of tiny men, can we also just discuss the fact that all of these distressed girls still somehow found time for boys? Not even a fucking comma got in the way of that shit! Let this be a lesson to all of us. Prince Charming is always just right around the corner waiting for hair to be let down, or a slipper to fall off, or a chick to make out with. 

I certainly hope the guy that's scheduled to rescue my princess from "all this" is thoroughly prepared... and knows how to make toast.









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April 22, 2013

Logic is Stupid...This is OCD



I read a lot about depression, its stigma, but also how common it is postpartum. I'm so glad to have so much support surrounding my PPD, and happy that I wrote about some of my struggles months ago. I feel so blessed to have received so much feedback and even more support from so many of you. 

Here's a bit about something else I struggle with, that I don't often read or talk about. Perhaps some of you will relate and be comforted by the fact that you are not alone. I'm WAY more nervous posting about this subject than I am PPD, but here goes.

I'm stuck today.

I remember an old counselor I had joking about being up in our own heads. "Don't go upstairs without a grown-up" he'd say, and I'd laugh because I could so totally identify.

I'm up in the attic today completely unsupervised.

I just keep hearing that stupid commercial for whatever medication of the week say "Depression hurts." Well no shit it does, but the OCD that comes along with mine makes it even more painful. Luckily, I have a very good friend that struggles too because otherwise I'd lock myself up.

I've had a mild case of OCD for years, but when I'm pregnant and postpartum, WATCH OUT. Germs are everywhere, and they fly and jump, and the baby is going to get sick, and we're all going to die. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but only because "logically" I know better. Logically, I know a whole lot, but try explaining that to my OCD. The words obsessive and compulsive are pretty strong words by themselves, but together? 


Brutal.

Talking about this issue is about as fun as I imagine playing leap frog with a unicorn might be. I suppose that the desire to immediately fix a friend's problem is an amazing first response, but this is not just a simple fix for me. Trust me, I wish it was way more than you do. 


If logic or self knowledge were the answer, I'd be cured. I know all about it. I know it's a control issue. I know that when I feel "out of control" it gets worse. I know also that control is an illusion, and that I never have any. I have trust in God, and turn my will and my life over to Him on the daily.

With this power, I have overcome all sorts of horrible things; like alcoholism, and an raging eating disorder. The OCD is a tough one. When I do reach out to anyone other than my fellow OCDer, the standard response is usually logic. I don't want to touch that thing and you say "It's not going to hurt you, just stop thinking about it." Again, I'm really smart I swear, but this thing is often stronger than my intellect. 


Saying these things to me is equivalent to telling an anorexic to just eat. I get it, it's crazy, but it feels completely out of my control. I open doors with sleeves or paper towels, I ask everyone to wash their hands immediately when they come through my door, and then again before handling the baby, and I have been known to sanitize cell phones with antibacterial wipes, ointment, and Windex. 

It's exhausting, and it's tedious, and it's infuriating, but the alternative is even more unbearable. Sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating. I had a therapist specializing in postpartum depression tell me that being a "good mom" means introducing my baby to germs. Apparently I'm a bad mother because I would rather not. If you don't know what to say to someone struggling with OCD, please don't wing it, we feel bad enough.

Here's an example: 


Preschool is an obviously germy place, I think we can all agree. So, when I pick my son up, every fiber in my body screams to get him, and get the hell out of there -- quickly. I ask him to wash his hands before leaving, which may not seem terribly insane to anyone watching. However, the other day he kept putting his whole arm in the trash barrel to throw away his paper towel, and I took him back to the sink and made him wash his hands THREE times before we left.

I was really embarrassed and felt small when we left, but also compelled. All I could think was that he was going to touch the baby and get him sick. We couldn't leave until his hands were clean.

When my OCD is intense, I find it hard to show my children actual affection. Can you imagine?? This feels awesome. The baby seems safe because he doesn't go anywhere or touch anything that I do not control. The others are more of a threat. Yes, I just used that word to describe my own kids. 


THIS. FEELS. AWFUL. I feel awful, and I want it to stop. I missed every single one of my daughter's basketball games this year because I couldn't justify bringing my baby into a room filled with the plague. She's only going to remember that I wasn't there. OCD doesn't offer assistance when filling out my Mother of the Year application.

I suppose medication might be your suggestion. Well, I'm nursing and also obsessed with how medication might hurt the baby, even though really smart people in white coats keep telling me it won't. I have nothing against it, I know it works, and I'm totally supportive of the fact that you took it with your last five pregnancies and while breastfeeding. 


I just can't. I respectfully decline, and I feel the judgement for it. I'm in therapy and working through some trauma, and dealing with one thing at a time. I'm quite certain the therapy itself is fueling some of the OCD, but I need to get through it all to feel better. Medication CANNOT be the only solution, because if it is, I'm screwed for the next three months.

In conclusion, depression sucks and it hurts, and OCD is pretty fucking awesome too.

Oh, and logic is stupid.

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April 08, 2013

Postpartum Shape Wear For Ants???

I'm fat. So much so that my New England friends might say that it's "wicked." They don't though; which I think is just cruel. I get the standard, "You just had a baby!" blah blah blah, which in my opinion is like handing me a VIP ticket to morbid obesity with a back stage pass to diabetes. 

I'm currently the biggest I've ever been, and barely fit my 'wow, yer super fat' postpartum clothing. So, after checking out some super cute skirts (that would never fit me) my friend Tracy @ Momiacal is selling on eBay, I decided to search, "postpartum shapewear."

Here's what I found...


(And yes, I did totally rip this picture off the web, but that's only because they wouldn't let me borrow it. It's for science or something! This picture stole my joy AND ruined my day so... whatever; they started it. You can report me if you want, but at least finish reading this first, then decide. That's all I ask.)

A few things come to mind when I look at this woman modeling "postpartum shape wear." 

The first is, WHAT THE FUCK!?! 

It's possible that this woman has never even seen a baby, never mind carried one inside of her for a year. Why is she modeling "postpartum shape wear"? Am I supposed to believe that I will look like this if I buy it? I don't know about you, but I hate her guts. Looking at this photo however, it is questionable whether she even has guts, so I'll just hate her. 

The other thing that popped into my mind after seeing this is postpartum shape wear is clearly for ants. How can it make me look thinner, if I can't even fit in the building?? So, there's that. (That's a Zoolander reference for the younger crowd. Dear Lord, now I'm feeling fat and old. Awesome.)

You're killing me over here people. Clean it up! Can't you just give me like a realistic idea of what my huge body might look in your space suit for fatties? Even if you promised me that you could slim 20% of my cake top, muffin fanny, I'd totally dish out the dough. But this is just silly. What's the return policy? Are they going to take this back after it's all stretched out, frayed at every seam, and stained with sweat marks? I didn't think so.

It appears I will not be leaving the house any time soon. 






Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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April 04, 2013

Slut Shaming Pregnant Teens Is NOT Okay, New York

If an adult was taunting your child, teasing her, mocking her, every time she sat at the bus stop, you would be horrified, right? If a whole flock of adults were poking at your already sensitive teenaged girl every day on her way home from school, we'd call that "bullying" wouldn't we?
       
Well, it would appear that the New York Human Resource Administration (HRA) is doing just that with posters like this one. There are others that mention how unlikely a child of a teen mom is to graduate from high school, and another about the father paying child support his whole life, etc.

Slut shaming teen moms is NOT okay, New York
       Shame on who? I'm confused. 


Dear New York Human Resources Administration (HRA), 

I'm confused and hoping that you can help shed some light. I understand that you don't want my teenage daughter to get pregnant, but I am really unclear and concerned about the motivation behind your ads. Telling my daughter that her boyfriend is going to leave her if she gets pregnant does two things. a.) Gives my daughter another statistic to try to fight against with, "That won't happen to me" and  b.) Gives my daughter's boyfriend a justifiable and inevitable out.

Telling my daughter that if she gets pregnant, her child will unlikely graduate high school not only sets her up for failure if in fact she happens to get pregnant, it affects her own future. She is the child of a teen mom and for the record, he did stay with me and she is on track to graduate in 2014. Guess who else went to college? Me.
  
Now don't get me wrong, I can totally appreciate your desire to lower the rate of teen pregnancy. My daughter turned seventeen this year and is the age I was when I had her. I cannot believe how grown up I thought I was and that I believed I was ready. Let's be clear though, who's ever ready for the emotional, physical, and psychological toll motherhood takes? I'm not advocating for teen pregnancy, I'm just stating the obvious for you. I know first hand what it's like to have the eyes of judgment staring. I knew what they were thinking, but no one said it to my face. I know the embarrassment, struggle, and sacrifice. I get it, I was there. 

Being a seventeen year old mommy was not fun and if I could have done things differently I would have before I got pregnant. If I could ensure that I would have the same exact kid, but ten years later I would go back. The truth is however, that I would not have the same kid. I would not be the same mother as I am now. I would not be the perfect person to tell you that you're wrong to post these.  

These may work to deter teen girls from getting pregnant. Your tactics make me sick, but they might work. Let me ask you though, what about the teen that's already pregnant sitting at this bus stop? What reaction should she have? Do you think she might feel hopeless and helpless enough before your condemning poster? Are you prepared for the rate of suicide or babies found in dumpsters to increase? Because as we've seen in the past, these are also alternatives for scared, ashamed, pregnant girls to avoid being teen moms. Are you planning on following them home after seeing your posters to make sure that they're okay? Will you slap them with reality to their faces? Are you prepared to provide them with counseling? I didn't think so. 

These are our children!!! They are making poor choices, but poking a judgmental finger at a problem doesn't solve it.

I also find it interesting that the only references to the daddies I've seen on these "ads" involve financials and fleeing. Hmmm... It sounds kind of like you might be placing the brunt of the blame on the girls then? Perfect.

Our girls are feeling the pressure from every single angle possible. MTV is saying that it's totally boss to get preggers at sixteen 'cuz you can totes have your own reality show! Seriously though, how many seasons of this shitshow train wreck do we need access to? How many teens are out getting pregnant right now so they can audition for season 35? Focus on that shit! It seems pretty obvious to me that these shows have pull. Why not produce a "Sixteen and Celibate" or "Sixteen and Savin' IT" show? Maybe we could follow these kids through the pressures of NOT having sex and support the teens that aren't having sex too early just because everyone else is. Make abstinence cool by making those kids famous.

I don't know, I guess I don't have the answers either, but these posters are cruel and only perpetuate the stigma. Teen life might end due to the birth of a baby, but life itself doesn't. I am a success story. There is and always should be hope for everyone, regardless of their circumstances. Even though it was hard, and messy, and intrusive, and scary, I did it. 

Then again, I didn't have too many people around telling me I couldn't. 

Sincerely,

-An Amazing Example That Anything Is Possible With Support




For more information about this campaign, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/hra/html/programs/teen_pregnancy_campaign.shtml


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April 01, 2013

Judgment Sucks Both Ways

I am having a horrible day with my PPD. My head is telling me that I'm a loser. That I'm a terrible mother, wife, and friend, and that all of my choices are wrong. I'm convinced that I'm going to screw up my kids somehow and believing a little of the lie that they'd be better off without me. I'm scared and I feel alone, but don't want to see or talk to anyone.

I'm hanging by a thread here and I'm wondering how many other women are feeling this way right now. I feel ugly on the inside and the out. I can't get my head on straight.


I'm using facebook and twitter to "connect" to others while still totally hiding, but there's so much negativity. I'm sick of negativity. I start my day on that foot and as much as I know it's not anyone else's responsibility to make me feel better, it would be great if I didn't feel worse. We women are SO mean to each other. I'm reading some of the comments and blogs and articles lately and I'm overwhelmed with blah and bleck. Someone judges and then someone else posts about how terrible that person is for being judgmental and then 70 other women comment. It's overwhelming and exhausting. Judgement hurts both ways. 

Maybe it's the depression causing me to feel "over-sensitive"? How many other women that are in my spot are feeling the same way? What if out of fear I made a comment to you that sounded judgmental? What if you didn't know that I'm suffering and suffocating over here. What if my comment was just a defense mechanism to protect myself? What of instead of offering support or digging deeper you just posted about it on facebook or twitter? What if 80 of your friends and followers also commented about what a terrible person I must be or how I have no right? What if I saw your post or even just identified with it? What if that was all it took to throw me over the edge? Is it worth it to make a point or teach me a lesson? Do my friends then get to judge and attack you etc.? Where does it end?

My husband says that social media is the devil, and I'm starting to wonder if he's right. It doesn't have to be. I keep thinking about poor Amanda Todd and how social media beat her to her death and then, even after her passing, kicked her around some more. Maybe we're failing our youth because we're failing each other. I cannot be the only one feeling this. Where is everyone?



When do we get to take responsibility for each other and support each other instead of kicking each other while we're down? Aren't we all the same? Don't we all have days when we're unsure and full of fear; days we worry that we're doing this whole mothering thing all wrong? Why can't we use these same tools as a supportive outlet rather than a damaging one? Is that way too much to ask? 

I wished everyone a Happy Judgement Week a few weeks back, but sadly it appears it has been extended. Please help me to stop Judgement Year. This is so unnecessary and has the power to be extremely harmful. 

I'm going to say and do things that you don't agree with, that's life. When I do, please be gentle because I'm really not sure what it will do to me if you push. I'm fragile and exposed and vulnerable and I need your support. It's not a weakness! 

Let's please stop this cycle and make some changes in our approach towards each other. Hopefully our daughters will see the changes in us and want to join us. Maybe we can stop this and help prevent more women from harming themselves. 

Maybe I'm stupid, silly, and naive, but isn't it worth a shot? 

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