Use Your Words - Hitchcock vs Good Mothers

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

Good mothers ~ bummed ~ society ~ try harder ~ size ~ sarcastic
They were submitted by Baking in a Tornado  - thank you, Karen!

The other day a mommy friend and I had a blog-worthy conversation. It started when she told me about picking up her younger son from Kindergarten. "So how's it going with him?" she asked the teacher. "Oh well, you know, he seems to be tired a lot." She answered. 

Apart from the fact that this was not the answer to the question, my friend immediately felt bummed. She's not usually apt to take offence, but  there had been situations like this before that made her feel like she didn't take care of her kids well enough. 

It didn't take long and she used the words: Mommy guilt, judgement, society, expectations, personal choice.

Oh man, going to work does that to a mother.

We agreed that it started right after giving birth. Breast feeding consultants visited us at the hospital. If you nurse, they praise you and maybe recommend how you could do even better. If you don't, they tell you you should. If you can't they tell you you should try harder, and they come back with teas, ointments, pumps and whatnot. Because… good mothers breastfeed.

Good mothers also had a natural birth, their baby doesn't need a pacifier, (s)he will sleep in their crib with a minimum of crying, and Mommy will cook their own organic baby food once the nursing is over which is just around the kids' 4th birthday. They go for walks every day, play with wooden toys, made by the crafty Mom. In order to do so she needs to stay at home, end of story.

We were being sarcastic, but somehow it felt like the two of us were justifying ourselves for our choices. 

"You know, people tend to ask me if I don't regret missing out on my time with the kids" she said. "Do people ever ask this question to Dads?"

"For some reason they think it's different. Does your Mom ever go on vacation alone? Mine does, and as soon as the dates are out, family and friends will invite my Dad over for dinner. He can cook perfectly fine, but he gets the royal treatment. I wonder if that happens to women when their husbands are away, say on business trips?"

"It doesn't. Why should it. We are supposed to manage, even when we're sick. You know what? We should take a break from the bleak daily grind. We could take a road trip. I installed "Route 66 Navigate" on my phone the other day, it's genius! 
Or escape to a resort on an island, just tap on a spot on the world map with a blindfold on, that's where we'll go. Spend hours reading on a deck chair by the pool, I alway wanted to read stories my mother never told me."

"What stories? Your Mom was a SAHM, she should have told you every story, right?" 

"It's a book title by Alfred Hitchcock. I need a break from parenting magazines. Although…"

She went on telling me about an article in a parenting magazine (that I still have to read. It's on my to-read pile. When does she have time to read? Must find out) It said that even though the average Dad today is more involved in child care, there are certain questions they get wrong every time.

"What questions are those?" I was curious.

"Haha, wait till our husbands join. We can ask them both."

Then we went inside where her husband was cooking. We sat down, had a glass of sparkling wine. And another one. We may have had another one, we weren't really counting. We had vacation destinations, drinks and books teachers, school rules, homework, daycare and the like to discuss.

The like being "It's one thing for the school to decide to have full two weeks off and call it Christmas vacation, but do they ever consider what this means for us? What are you going to do Monday and Tuesday, Dec 22nd and 23rd? And don't get me started on the random teachers' advanced training days during the year? If it was for us we'd divide our employees, some would mind the office, and the others could go and attend the course. But teachers? They all get to go, school is closed, and the Moms have to make it happen."

"I know, right? I asked the principle about that. You know what she said?
It has been announced in advance, so it's OK."

Can we ever announce in advance that the kitchen and laundry room are closed, and that Mom taxi is not operating? Is that ever OK?"

PS: I made those words up. Karen must have been shaking her head all through that post. "That's not what I've submitted? Good mothers? Try harder? WT&*@?"

The real words were

Hitchcock ~ bleak ~ resort ~ confirm ~ navigate ~ world

PPS: I haven't been around much these past days. Hubby unexpectedly had to undergo eye surgery. All went well, he got released today, and he's recovering at home now.

I've been juggling office, home, day off at school, elf on the shelf, hockey practice, fabulous day in the city, hospital visit and advent calendar window party including baking.

Which reminds me... Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools posted this quiz and shared her result. Of course she's the cheerful elf :-)

I wanted to be a cheerful elf as well. At the very least a mischievous one. This is what I got:

Right. Island resort, I am on my way!

PPPS: In case you are wondering about the question that Dads seem to have a hard time answering… it is about their kids' shoe sizes. Their answers confirmed that the article was right. Unless size 2.5 and 4 is the same thing.

Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:

Baking In A Tornado 
Spatulas on Parade 
Follow Me Home…
Battered Hope
Stacy Sews and Schools
The Bergham Chronicles
Evil Joy Speaks
Juicebox Confession
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Sparkly Poetic Werido

Pictures taken by my Mom - couldn't do it without her support!

"Singing Christmas Tree"
77 Kids, 3rd - 6th grade carolling

Regular tree along the Limmat River in Zurich
A window full of his favorite books - C in heaven!