My Knee-Jerk, Mom Reaction to Today’s Events

My son and his friend are running around my house ‘shooting’ each other with Nerf guns right now. They are diving on the floor, collecting bullets, telling the other “YOU ARE DEAD DUDE” and generally being nine-year olds.

I want to make them stop. I want to freak out and take away their toy guns and stop their game and tell them they are DONE.


There will be no more fake gun fights in this house. I no longer want to raise a son that glorifies the gun culture. And as a parent I take full responsibility for allowing him to go down that rabbit hole. The toy guns. The endless video games with nothing but war play. Things we find totally normal.



I realize in his mind it’s make-believe. In his mind he KNOWS the difference. But today I just can not take the fake vs. real when a friend’s nephew was in that kindergarten class in Connecticut. When so many parents tonight grieve. When the unthinkable CONTINUES to happen again and again in our country.

It begins at home as the culture of guns and violence is forever put in front of their young faces. Even responsibly they are desensitized to the bloodshed. And yes, kids have been doing this forever. If not Nerf guns they would be making guns from sticks or out of their hands. But would they be doing it as much? Would it be as vivid? As real? As daily? As routine?

I just don’t know. I just know I can only control what happens in my own home. I can not control what happens in my child’s school not matter how involved I may be. Or if they are at a friend’s house no matter how well I think I know the parents.

I have to teach my children just how dangerous this world can be, without stealing their childhood…their innocence. Without taking away the very thing youth should be about: discovery and joy and laughter and play.

I watched the President cry. I felt the pain in my friend’s words from across the miles. And I agreed with the Governor when he said evil came to their community.

The problem being…I see no end to the tears, or the pain, or the evil until we, as a nation, face this culture we have created and now celebrate. A culture of hate and violence. A culture of “I’ve got mine, who cares about yours.”

A culture of not being your brother’s keeper. All anyone wants to do is make sure they’ve got their weapon, their safety, and to hell with anyone else.

This is the last lesson I want to teach my children. Ever. Yet this is the lesson so many are teaching theirs’.

As others fight to make further cuts to services we need…like mental health services. And education-the ONE thing that could save us all.

So as I debate all the toy guns scattered about my home, and the violent video games we play…I ask you to think about where this conversation begins as a community. Where it starts as a nation. Where we really dig in and make some changes so no parent, no family, no children ever have to go through this again.

Because I don’t think any of us can take this anymore. Our hearts can only break so many times before healing becomes impossible.

Four Years Later: Indivisible

I can tell you that many, many things have changed in our home in the past four years.

From celebrating the election of President Obama, who I backed earlier in the race than some which got me into a good bit of hot water, to my first visit to the White House.

Yes, the first year of the Obama Administration was a whirlwind for myself and my family.

I had taken on my first full-time  job since having our first child and thrown myself in the same way I throw myself into everything- with all I have. I traveled, I spoke in front of small crowds, large audiences, students, and chatted it up with national news outlets.

My mission was to make sure the world knew that women online were a force. They could not only be the difference in elections but also change the world.

I’d like to think I succeeded in spreading the word and creating opportunities for every woman. The stay at home Mom, the career woman, the childfree, the childfull, the hobby writer, the hard core moneymaking writer, and even the just finding her way blogger.

At home, I would like to think I put just as much effort into my children and into my marriage. Making dinner when I could, making sure everyone was where they needed to be, had what they needed to have in their possession, got done what needed to be done, and was loved ridiculously along the way.

I was exhausted, but happy. It was chaotic, but fun. I looked forward to important conference calls, parent teacher talks, and husband wife romps later on.

And just as my life began to reach the peak of where I had always hoped it would be, everything came crashing down.


And now nothing is where is should be. Where it was. Or where I want it to be. Parts of my body are missing. I do not recognize myself in the mirror and when I do, I struggle with what I see.

I try so very hard to keep the normalcy of what once was, only to find I’m the only one still trying. Or at least, the only one who seems to think life can go on just as it was.

Before Lupus.

BL. AL. It’s like Before Christ and After Christ, but without all the miracles.

I now cherish every moment I have with so much more enthusiasm than I thought possible, only to find blank stares from the kids with the typical ‘Mom, stop hugging me so tight’ eyeroll. And that romp in bed is more of a snore induced by drugs and the hope of maybe a kiss before work. Hope being a strong word.

I feel like I am living someone else’s life. Because this certainly is not the life I planned. It’s not the life I had. It’s not the life I want.

But it is, currently, the life I am given.

So I remain grateful that the stroke wasn’t even detected until after, and the rehabilitation was minimal. That I only lost part of my colon, not all of my colon, and I do not have to wear a bag…which certainly would have destroyed any hope I had of a sex life.

I remain grateful not having a gall bladder means I can only have one or two fried pickles instead of a basket full, keeping the 100lbs I have gained from steroids to just 100lbs.

And I will forever pretend I am grateful that the total hysterectomy, which finally rid me of the excruciating pain from the inflammation destroying my uterus and ovaries. I will never have another period and never have to carry tampons or pads or worry about any of that mess ever again. Even if it has destroyed me emotionally in too many ways to count.

I’m grateful my little family has grown closer in many ways, having gone through a tremendous crisis that my kids can now talk to producers on camera about it:

…the worst was when she got sick on Mother’s Day..WHY WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE THAT DAY!!

Now it only reduces me to minor humiliation and minor, inner sobbing.

Just like every single day when everyone finally walks out the door to go about their lives, and if I don’t have to leave for the doctor I sit here wondering what to do with my life…feeling again, only minor humiliation that I no longer am what I was to any of them, yet am something different. Some of which I am proud of, most of which I am not.

As I grow stronger, as we get a handle on this beast, I am getting a handle on me. And she’s pissed off.

I have no one to talk to about this anymore, because frankly no one should have to talk with me all the time about this. They deserve a break and a normal life. So I write here. After so many years- getting sick just after President Obama was elected, and now coming up on the next election, all of this is old old old old old.

And the truth of the matter is I hate it. And while I understand things will not be the same, I want them as close to the same as they can get. And I am fighting so fucking hard to get there. So hard. Too hard maybe.

I know I am the only one who can fight, I just miss doing it with locked arms all around me.  My husband, my mother, my brother, my father- all my biggest supporters have their own lives that must be tended to and they can’t spend four years on me, me, me, and only me. I don’t expect them to. And I do appreciate their support now when it’s given. They remain amazing and there for me. In very different ways now, of course. But they are there. For that I am grateful. So many have lost their family over so much less. I’m trying to remind myself of that as I trudge through.

So four years later I keep getting asked over and over and over again if my life is better than it was four years ago.

I got mail #Obama2012

No. No my life is not ‘better’- but that depends greatly how we are qualifying ‘better.’

It’s ‘better’ in that I am getting healthier. Stronger.

It’s ‘better’ in that our medical bills are becoming more manageable thanks to the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare.

It’s ‘better’ in that we did not lose our home due to foreclosure, or even get near foreclosure, because JP Morgan Chase worked with us to modify our mortgage (through HARP and HAMP) and I was finally granted the private disability check that took a chunk out of every paycheck I made with that full-time job I took after the President was elected.

It’s ‘better’ in that my daughter still has Title IX in place to play co-ed, PeeWee basketball, and she can score her very first every basket:

It’s ‘better’ in that the President has backed same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, he has repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he has taken care of Osama bin laden, he has put into place an Auto rescue of Detroit keeping many of my friends and family back in my hometown in jobs.

And, as always, his administration has taken the time to show the compassion to follow my illness and express their concern and thoughts when necessary. For that, I am grateful.

These are good people.

I don’t think any of us are where we thought we would be four years later. My family being probably more surprised than any of you.

But I know there is no way we’re going back. None. Just like I refuse to go back and allow this illness to overcome my mind, body, and soul…I refuse to let the political illness attempting to turn back the clock in this country to overcome our collective mind, body, and soul.

We are Americans and we do not give up. We have a strong family here in my home and we certainly do not give up.

I refuse to allow setbacks, and seeing that brink of the abyss, to scare me into thinking turning around is the right answer. I know nothing could be further from the truth.

I also know the hearts of all those involved. From my family, to my friends, to those working for me and you in the White House. And I know how hard *I* fight.

There is too much fight in me left to allow how far we have come to slip away with fast talking, slick, typical frat boys trying to sell me an easy fix.

There is no easy fix to Lupus, and as the President has said from day one, there is no easy fix to the mess we’re in. We will have to continue to work hard and continue to work together.

I know it is a lot to ask of anyone. We are all tired.

I’m willing to go this alone and shoulder it all for myself and for you and yours. But I ask that you join me, because we are so much stronger together. We are so much stronger when we work as a team.

We are so much stronger united.

…indivisible. Through sickness and in health. With liberty and justice…

…for all.

Sugar 2.0

As I’ve done the speaking circuit for several years now on this whole social media thing I’ve always had my schpeil about it being my ‘virtual cup of sugar.’ You know, gone are the days where we borrow that cup of sugar from our neighbor and we talk kids and schools and life and we’ve moved that conversation and companionship online. I’ve found my ‘virtual’ cup of sugar in my blogging and social media communities. We still share the same friendship and advice and community-we just do it through our computers and smartphones and tablets and gaming systems.

After today though, I’ve realized the yearly (or sometimes less or sometimes more) face-to-face meet ups aren’t enough. I want my virtual cup of sugar to magically turn back into that real cup of sugar. And throw in some eggs I need for that cake I’m making too.

I want you all here.

I have seen it first hand with my illness: it does take a village. And while I LOVE that my village is available to me 24/7 with a click and a keystroke…it does not and has not replaced the need for actual kitchen table talks. For a long while I really thought it did. I truly thought this online community was what I had, and it was enough. It was all I needed.

I was wrong.

This week two of my friends came and just sat and chatted with me. I needed it. I needed just having girlfriends over to talk kids and life. Then my Mom called with news you expect parents to give after a certain age and I felt the tug of wishing they were closer so I could be there to help with doctor appointments and life. Then another ‘blog’ friend shared her trials and tribulations while she goes through a divorce and again I felt that tug of wishing she were next door, so I could walk over with tea and a pie and we could grab forks and talk and eat straight from the tin as we gabbed the night and fears away.

I love social media for this wonderful and robust community it has given me. Friends I never would have, people I never would know, true companions that have touched and helped my family in our time of need. But I also hate social media for giving me this ache in the pit of my stomach as I have become so invested in their lives and knowing so much more than I might without it- forcing me to care and love and give and curse the distance between us all.

We joke that we’d start our own commune, just so we could all be near. But even if we were, would we stay inside or walk next door to share that pie and talk shop? Hell even my husband and I tweet each other from the same couch.

Think about that for a second. We tweet each other from the same couch.

Part of why we are what we are…this community of misfits and writers and oversharers and friends…does involve the safety of our screen and keyboards. I tell you more some days because I know I won’t bump into you as I drop my kids for school and I won’t hear about it from my Aunt’s friend’s hair dresser who heard from the plumber’s roofer’s golf buddy who told HIS wife. You know, the small town thing.

So I lament our long distance relationship but wonder if it is only possible because it is the way it is. I get to have you and you get to have me because we feel safe becoming friends and staying friends this way. We feel safe falling in love with one another and one another’s worlds because we only occasionally dip our toes into those worlds and even then it’s under the guise of vacation or dinner or a brief meet up.

However with Lupus now here to stay many of you have gone from dipping your toes into my world to crossing the entire foot and body over the threshold of my door. Your luggage in hand, leaving your shoes in our cubby and figuring out which kitchen cabinet holds the mugs for tea.

And I like it. No…I love it.

I want your visits to never end and I cherish the moments from the fleeting drive through towns, to the long weekends, to the week-long stays to help.

And I think to myself…we could pull off that commune. We really could. And my mind wonders and I worry if you’ll find the right bakery or the right library or if your animals would eventually get on my nerves or if you’d quickly tire of my ailments and medications and constant need for a ride to the doctor and back.

It is because of all this I find myself wondering if we’ve gotten in over our heads with social media. Far, far over our heads. And yes, I realize I’m saying this as a professional social media strategist.

I now have more close friends who have supported me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to thank them for the love they have given me and my family. And these are NOT fake friends. These are people who have slept in my home, picked me up from procedures where I was barely conscious. I needed help putting on my bra or I told you I looked terrible with a tube down my nose and throat. You’ve met me at my doctor’s office to hug me or to hand me gifts, homemade for me or my kids.

These are the people with whom you do not just share a virtual cup of sugar. You share the real thing, so much so that it spills over the measuring cup and makes your fingers sticky as you walk back up the drive to your own home.

Maybe that’s the answer right there though…just like everything in life, relationships are sticky. And the more real they get, the stickier they get.

Social media has just brought a bigger mess into our lives. A mess that which I, for one, am grateful. It has brought family closer together as the miles continue to push us apart. It has brought old friends back into the fold and new friends into our lives.

I guess we’re all still working on how we balance that virtual vs. next door. In every neighborhood there is always the busy body looking out her blinds too much, or the neighbor you avoid because you just know she’ll talk your ear off for an hour, or just one of your best friends who you really wanted to hug and help, knowing it didn’t matter how sticky, the mess was well worth it in the end.

And while I thank the medium for giving me this community, it’s time my cup of sugar got an update.

Survive Thanksgiving With Your Conservative Relatives

Believe me, I know. I have them too. I have cousins who call me a socialist hippie and I have uncles who still yell ‘Run N*gg*er! Run!’ during a football game.

Now I have the luxury of being far, far away from family in California…eating my elitist, ivy league educated turkey…while I’m sure they shot and killed theirs from Sarah Palin’s helicopter. But whatever our differences, family is family, and sometimes they all have to be in the same room together.

First and foremost prepare the kids:

The final word on #muppets

Of course we know that sort of talk is wrong, and we would never speak like that at our house, our school. I’m not sure why they believe that way, but they do, so we just try and be as polite as possible and tell them as nicely as possible they are offensive and wrong, and then we go home. But hopefully we won’t talk about those sorts of things at all and we can just discuss how nice the fall leaves look and how great you are doing in school, ok?

Of course that will lead to the discussion about their hippy, progressive, charter school….but let’s just take one issue at a time.

Luckily the great folks at NPR have your crazy Aunt that sends all those crazy e-mail forwards covered. You know, the ones in all caps that claim Obama is a secret Muslim and the Democrats are really building concentration camps to lock away all the Christians…or something. Check it out:

You should start by telling tell him that the emails are nearly always wrong. PolitiFact has checked 104 claims from emails and rated 80 percent of them “False” or “Pants on Fire.” Only 4 percent of the claims have earned a “True.” …

The chain emails cover a few broad themes:

Obama is unpatriotic! E-mails have said Obama complained that the troops were whiners (Pants on Fire), that he refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance (False) and that he wants soldiers to take a loyalty oath to him rather than the Constitution (Pants on Fire).

Democrats have passed a secret tax! Some recent emails claim that because of “Obamacare,” monthly Medicare premiums will more than double by 2014 (Pants on Fire) and that home sales will be taxed 3.8 percent (Pants on Fire) to pay for the new health care law. Another one in this genre says Obama’s finance team is seeking a 1 percent tax on all financial transactions (Pants on Fire).

Perks of office. Another theme in the emails is that members of Congress get excessive perks. The emails say members of Congress get full retirement pay after one term (Pants on Fire) and that congressional staffers and members don’t have to repay their student loans (Pants on Fire).

The government is coming for your guns/health data/light bulbs! Some of the conspiracy theories are truly wacky. During the health care debate, one claimed that under the public option for health care coverage, people would be implanted with data-storing microchips (Pants on Fire). A more recent email claimed the government was mandating that everyone get rid of their existing light bulbs (Pants on Fire). Another email said you must list your guns on your tax return (Pants on Fire).

Not enough to convince your Grandpa that he’s NOT about to face a death panel? Try this one on for size…the DCCC Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet!  it’s got everything from Health Insurance Reform (they call it ‘Obamacare’) to how to really appease your far right Tea Party relatives with FACTS:


· Three times, House Republicans pushed our government to the brink of a shutdown to put their radical agenda ahead of the American people’s interests. · Voted to repeal health insurance reform; Voted to defund NPR, PBS and Sesame Street; Voted to classify pizza as a vegetable for school children; Voted to defund Planned Parenthood and stop them from offering cancer screenings; Voted to protect companies that do business with the Iranian regime

· Pushing plan to privatize Social Security · Forced the Supercommittee to fail because they insisted on more tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil at the expense of the Medicare guarantee and creating jobs.

And if that weren’t enough, and things get REALLY ugly, Colorlines put together a nice guide on how to discuss RACE:

Instead of just being reactive, why not be proactive? Start with a question. Use plain language. Set the frame and tone you want. Create an opening for some constructive dialogue. For example, “Did you see that video of the police cracking down on the non-violent student protesters?” Or, “What do you think of the plans to shut down the neighborhood health clinic that serves mostly low-income people of color?”

Remember, if you get flustered, I’m home on Thanksgiving and if you have to, you can tweet me or text me and I will talk to Grandma and tell her that I’ve sat in the West Wing, looked these people in the eye, and they are NOT out to take her money, her 401k, or her guns.

I am a mother. I am disabled. And I have every reason to believe there are good and bad people in government -just like there are good and bad people in the world. In our own families. But at the heart of it all, we want the same thing: the American Dream. We are not that different regardless of if we show up with the big turkey or the vegan casserole. We want to make sure those we love get what they deserve and those we care for are taken care of. We may just not agree on how to get there. But make it clear that no one wants anyone to suffer. I know that one is hard to swallow when we all could swear those conservatives really do not care if we live or die, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt this holiday, and tell them you expect them to give you and their President the benefit of the doubt as well.

The First Lady isn’t trying to take their burgers. She is simply trying to help kids exercise and eat better- right along with moderation in many things she enjoys her fries and her ice cream and allows her kids to have treats just like we do. Her overall goal is to just make sure kids know what brocoli is and that it’s better for them than a chocolate bar. No biggie, right?

Now, with that in mind, and some ammo in your pocket (the factual kind I provided above, not the real kind your Uncle has behind that glass hunting case you’ve told the kids they aren’t allowed to go anywhere near) try and enjoy your family. Give thanks that our country is so diverse that we can argue and not be thrown in jail for speaking out. Tell them you stand by the PEOPLE not the BANKERS (if they dare bring up OWS) and that you would expect they too would be for hard-working citizens, not heartless foreclosure mongers who give out billion dollar bonuses while charging them extra claiming they aren’t making enough money.

And always, always, eat the dark meat. It’s the best by far, and it will piss off your racist Grandpa when you tell him dark is best.

Good luck.

*updated on Thanksgiving morning – it’s been pointed out that I have not mentioned how to handle the ‘gay’ issue with your family. It saddens me because I’d hope that we’ve come far enough where even the craziest of families HAVE GLBT at their TABLE helping cut the turkey, so they’d keep it civil…but alas I am probably giving too many families the benefit of the doubt that they even acknowledge their family who prefer the same sex or are transgendered people…so here is what you do…and buckle up, this is where it gets really ugly:

Listen, Aunt Betty, in our family all men and women are created equal. That means they get all of the same rights you and Uncle Bob do. Now, you might not believe in that, and your God might not believe in that, but this is America- and in America we have many Gods and many different kinds of people. So if you are a GOOD American, you will make sure everyone is EQUAL under the law. Believe me Aunt Betty, if I could take away you and Uncle Bob’s marriage I would…considering he’s been an alcoholic and has been beating you or threatening to abuse you for as long as I was a baby, and why you two get to be married and some of my best friends don’t seems like a real shame in the eyes of the Lord….but I digress. Oh, what’s that? You say ‘why do they have to call it marriage and can’t they just have some civil rights marriage or something?’ …you see it doesn’t work that way for real. Marriage and civil unions come with VERY different rights. In fact, marriage has over 1049 rights while civil unions has 300 with NO FEDERAL protection. What does that mean? It means if Chris and Chris get married in Vermont, legally, and they decide to go vacation in Mississippi…and Chris ends up in the hospital, her partner can’t make her medical decisions for her in Mississippi. There is also the problems with immigration, child support and adoption (think of all those NOT aborted babies that you want to have homes…and the LOVING homes they could go to -instead of the fucked up homes like yours) and many, many other unequal problems. Now yes Aunt Betty, I know, it all comes down to God. But again, this is America…and if I have to tolerate your God- you have to tolerate mine…or my lack of one. Was this nation founded on Christian values? Yes. But our founders were smart enough to know we’d abuse that and put protections in to make sure we didn’t. So please Aunt Betty…go get Uncle Bob another scotch and piece of pie, so you don’t get a black eye tonight and just don’t tell him you voted in favor of same-sex marriage in your state. I won’t tell if you don’t.


I sobbed on my husband’s shoulder begging for relief…

when. when will we catch a break? it all has to stop. it just has to stop. now. i can’t take this any more. it’s not fair. when will it stop?

It may have been one of my worst moments dealing with the news that one of my most beloved Aunts has been moved to hospice and it’s only a matter of time.

Hala and Aunt Georgiann

I got the kids to school and went immediately to see my doctor and was told I am not healthy enough to travel. So when the time comes, I can’t be there. I can’t be with my family who needs me and I can’t say good bye. I can’t read at her funeral like she read at my wedding and I am so very tired of all the ‘can’ts’ in my life.

I have spent 48 hours keeping myself in check while the kids are looking, so I don’t scare them anymore with my tears. I have told them and my husband and my brother and my cousins just how much I love them over and over because I am so very tired of losing people that mean so very much and I refuse the miss out on letting those I love KNOW that I love them.

I have thought about how to best pay my respects to my Aunt who did nothing but give herself, her life, to everyone else. She was there for me always. She was my sponsor for my confirmation. She never missed a birthday or a holiday or any of my surgeries with a card or a pair of pjs or even some flowers. We had this love of sunflowers together. And we’d send them to each other whenever we could.

When the time comes I am in charge of making sure there are sunflowers at her funeral. From me. It’s a task I dread and yet will do with love. For her. Because it’s all I can do.

My kids didn’t get nearly enough time with her. They knew she always sent ornaments at Christmas and gifts for their birthdays. They remember the summer in Michigan fishing off the docks. They know her from our wedding photos, and how she was so nervous reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning for me. But she did it, for me.

My other Aunt held the cell phone to her ear for me the other night and I rambled off as much as I could when you only have a few moments to say everything you’d like to say over a lifetime. I told her I loved her. But I also begged her to fight. And then I eventually told her I would see her soon.

I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye.

For as long as I can remember she was one of the remaining relatives who went to Mass every Sunday. So I did the only thing I knew to do and packed up the kids and headed to our local church to light a candle for her. And the doors were locked. The church doors were locked.

I was so angry the doors of a church were locked when I needed to light that candle. I had to light that candle. Didn’t they know my Aunt was dying? Didn’t they understand that lighting a candle was all I could do? Who locks church doors? Shouldn’t they be open so people can pray whenever they need to pray? Or light a candle to Mary or any other Saint they choose?

I can’t believe that not only am I unable to get on a plane to be with my family in Detroit, but I can’t even manage to light a candle. Failure thy name is Erin.

Just this once, I am asking the universe for a break. Let her pass without suffering. Let her be at peace. And please let my family be comforted. She was a selfless woman, who deserves that much. And my family has been through enough.

I love you Aunt Georgiann.

Embarrassed By That Mom On Stage

When a mother takes the national stage, the media is never fair.

There are the expected barbs at her parenting skills, her career, and that well worn question ‘how does she do it all?’ heard over and over again so the drum beat of sexism becomes more of a dull thump in the background noise of our lives.

I do not envy any woman running for office in this day and age. As we have seen time and time again the press asks questions of a woman they never seem to ask a man, and the question of what sort of mother she may be almost always comes into play.

As we hear more and more about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and what she believes, I feel the need to offer a counter perspective. Taking a cue from Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, conservative women seems to be raising their voices to promote their brand of ‘feminism.’

I love that they are speaking out in what I have always found to be a very patriarchial society. I love that they are running for office and bringing attention to the issues they care most about. So I am quick to point out that my issues with their campaigns have nothing to do with their sex, and everything to do with their stances. They use the word ‘feminism’ a lot-and taut their motherhood in order to push their agendas. Which is exactly why I think it’s important to note this is not my kind of feminism or motherhood.

It’s something I am, admittedly, not intimately familar with. Talk of being ‘submissive’ to husbands, protecting the unborn from ‘genocide’ and championing women like Phyllis Schlafly who actively worked to stop the Equal Rights Amendment. Yes, Bachmann and her fellow conservative feminists revere a woman who said ‘By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.’ Yup, these new conservative feminists bow down to Schlafly who believes if marriage is to be a successful institution, it must…have an ultimate decision maker, and that is the husband, and she believes it is a women’s role to support men in their positions of higher authority through altruism and self-sacrifice.

These ideas are the direct opposite of feminism, unless of course the woman chooses to live this way and the rest of her female sisters may choose to live another.

No, this Bachmann, Coulter, Ingraham, Palin, Malkin feminism is certainly not my kind of feminism. And it is NOT the way I mother.

Why is that important? After all we all mother differently, right? It’s important because right now the Mom I see hogging the spotlight is promoting a dangerous and disgusting type of motherhood I want to make sure does not go main stream -and to show the media we’re not all like this.

As a mother, I will not be teaching my children there is something ‘wrong’ with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or a transgendered person. Despite what you may see during the debates, being a good Mom does NOT include demonizing the LGBT community or supporting any measures that would force to change the sexuality of any person. I would also go so far as to say a good mother would be addressing the unusually high suicide rates of LGBT teens in her community.

As a parent, I would also be doing anything I could to protect my kids. While there are many different view points on vaccines, at the very least we can all agree that scientists and studies should be used when making your decision to vaccinate. What should not be used are scare tactics, misinformation, and rumors. As a mother I educate myself as best I can when it comes to decisions I have to make, and I certainly do not tell a national television audience lies that could cost lives. Shame on Bachmann for resorting to the gossip whispered at PTA meetings about the HPV vaccine instead of the facts.

Another job I have as a Mother is to show my children we are all created equal, regardless of skin color, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Recently Bachmann showed ignorance at best and racism at worst when she said immigration in America worked very well under the Asian Exclusion Act. Yet another example of a mother taking center stage and spouting racist rhetoric, while many of us watch from our living rooms screaming at the tv ‘NO NO NO SHE IS NOT LIKE US.’

These are just a few examples of just how different one ‘feminist’ mother is from the next, and how those of us who are not ‘conservative feminists’ disagree wholeheartedly with the policy and stance of the current crop of mothers talking politics.

So keep in mind as you see female after female take to the cable news shows calling themselves feminist pundits and politicians that these women do not speak for me. They do not speak for the women I know who call themselves feminists, truly fighting each day against the patriarchy (not submitting to it) and working hard for equality. An equality that includes more than one path for women and girls who wish to be anything they want to be, under terms they, themselves, set.

Because despite all the rhetoric you hear from these women on stage and tv claiming to be champions of all females, the absolute only thing we have in common is the name ‘Mom.’

Dear DC, This Mom Is NOT Impressed

I am really ready to declare all of Washington incompetent.

I know, I know, this sounds like everyone…and anyone right now. However the current state of affairs has me more frustrated than any Mother really should be about politics. It has been said many times before, but I must say it again: these politicians are acting worse than my children.

And instead of me making cutesy comments about giving them all a ‘time out’ or telling them to ‘play nice’ I’m going to speak with a bit more adult directness:

Enough already.

I’m not impressed that our President’s love for America was questioned on a national stage by Republican candidates for office during tonight’s debate. This is not a time to pander to the lunatics and fringe of the country, this is a time for solutions to very serious problems. Calling into question if our PRESIDENT is pro-American is not only ridiculous, but a time waster in this day and age.

I am also not impressed that some Democrats might sit with some Republicans at the President’s job’s speech. Are you kidding me? This is the best bi-partisan move you can come up with? My daughter’s 1st grade can manage to sit boy, girl, boy, girl without tantrums and you’re proud you can sit with someone from across the aisle? Whoopdefuckingdo.

It really is no wonder we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of this economic crisis and get the country moving again. You all are throwing insults back and forth and getting giddy when you sit together. I’m sorry but I expect better from adults tapped to lead this nation.

Speaking of which…this whole ‘attack on science’ nonsense that is going on needs to stop. If only to show the children of the country that our adults are not babbling idiots. If you want to attack how best to deal with what scientists discover, have at it. But attacking science is beyond the pale. And has me more worried about the state of the US than anything else.

We have become a people who demonize teachers, teamsters, scientists, academics, and even first responders. We have sunk to making fun of the President because he gets too wonky, and rail against educators because they dare ask to be compensated for taking care of our most precious resource.

The poor have become mockable as ‘Get a job!’ echos throughout townhalls. The sick and disabled shunned and left for dead, their ailments considered a sign from God in the survival of the fittest.

And in Washington, DC these topics of discussion might as well be the same as what happens when your family gets together for the holidays; with no one agreeing and your crazy uncle making veiled racist and sexist jokes while carving the turkey.

The thing is…Congress and these Governors aren’t supposed to be like my family gatherings or a townhall. They are supposed to be a bit better than that. Knowing some of their constituents might be a little off their rockers, and making sure they are sane and at the very least leaning towards the middle- so that everyone has a voice.

No. Instead I have to explain to my six-year old and eight-year old why the man on the tv hates the leader of our nation so very much. And why the woman on the tv hates gays and lesbians and transgendered people. Even they pick up on the not-so-subtle bigotry behind their nasty words, dripping with a polite tone.

I shouldn’t have to tell my kids that some people think others do not deserve to have the same rights, and I sure as hell shouldn’t have to explain to my kids why some people think their mother doesn’t deserve the benefits she receive to feed and clothe them. Or have to tell them that when the big earthquake hits our California home, some of these people on stage don’t want to send us help.

It is no longer a matter of wanting to put these politicians in a time out, they needs to be expelled from playing. I am embarrassed at the state of discourse and political policy in this country and disgusted at how far we have sunk.

I am not without fault. My anger at how ridiculous this has all become bubbles over frequently, pushing me to lash out at the uneducated and at the conservatives I encounter.

How dare they. How could they. How stupid are they.

When science and reason fall under attack, my manners escape me quicker than I’d like.

I wish I felt some remorse, or that I could tell my kids I am sorry. Instead I find myself telling them that Mommy needs to fight harder for them. Yell louder. Demand more. Demand better.

I hope I am teaching them that some things you just don’t tolerate. You stand up for the poor. You stand up for the sick. You stand up for those being denied basic rights.

You do not settle on these issues. There is no compromise for common decency and common sense.

I also expect others, in Washington, to do the same. It is time to say enough.

This has gone far enough.

Candles and Pink Coats

Someone is going to have to rent a storage unit when I die and move all my shit into it’s sorry, cement walls because my husband does not know which candle in our house was used during our wedding.

Ok let me back up.

Everyone needs to stop, find those they love, and explain to them what they want when they die. This might be as simple as what to do with your jewelry, to what you would prefer happen to your children after you are gone.

Morbid, I know…but necessary, even if you are not facing a life threatening disease.

Which leads me to what I want, and how you all will need to force my husband to keep everything I own until it can be properly sorted, because he’s going to throw away our wedding candle.

You see we have been having these important conversations and the other night I expressed to him that I didn’t want him to throw anything of mine away. I mean, I don’t want him to go all Hoarders on everyone, but that he needed to hold on to nearly everything so that when the kids are older and wiser they can sort through it all and decide what they would like.

This lead him to looking at me with that look he always gives me, the one that is half ‘you are insane, woman’ and half ‘go on.. go on…because I’m going to totally make fun of you once you finish explaining.’ THEN he proceeded to say something like ‘that’s crazy… I mean, like that candle over there, I’m totally throwing that out’ … which lead me to screech something like ‘YOU MEAN OUR WEDDING CANDLE??!!!!’ which made his face drop slightly, realizing he had no clue that was our wedding candle and he was busted, before blubbering some nonsense about me having too many candles around the house and how the hell was he supposed to know…blah blah blah. Thus totally confirming my suspicions that I need a storage facility for all my things to be kept in after I die.

Is this all making sense yet?

Let me take another deep breath and try again.

See that pink coat I am wearing in the photo above? I had been teasing my friend Gregg that I was going to will him that coat upon my death, because he got such a kick out of my purchase and subsequent flaunting of said coat. It amused him greatly that not only would I just up and buy an obnoxious, vintage, hot pink house coat with a faux fur collar and broach…but then wear it out to an event where he could snap photos of me in the monstrosity. It made him laugh. And it made him laugh even more that he could take that picture you see up there, complete with me drinking a dirty martini.

This morning I woke up to find out Gregg lost his battle with cancer.

Gregg who was supposed to be the one to take the obnoxious pink coat off my hands when it was my turn to leave this world.

My wedding candle sits on my dresser. The pink coat remains in my closet. And everyone needs to have these conversations, because sometimes you wake up and the whole world has changed.

Now I’m off to rent that storage facility…unless one of you promises to do it for me.

Gregg, I will miss the hell out of you my friend.