Why I'm an Unapologetic Angry Woman Right Now (AND THAT'S OK)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Because before I got pregnant, everyone tried to put a baby in my womb.
Because when I got pregnant, everyone claimed ownership over my body. They touched my belly without permission and asked inappropriate questions.
Because when I had a C-section, I was told it was the “easy way out.”
Because when I didn’t want to breastfeed for reasons that are my own, I was shamed for it by doctors, nurses, and other mothers. Formula is a perfectly good option to feed a baby.
Because when I got pregnant with my second child, a girl, people pitied me. They said “sorry you didn’t get your boy.” I WASN'T SORRY.
Because I was expected to “bounce back” after having babies. As if my former self, physically, or emotionally even existed anymore. My body was irreversibly changed by motherhood and instead of it being accepted, celebrated, and represented, it was shamed. IT STILL IS.
Because older men in the grocery store would tell my husband to get a shotgun to protect our girls. Reminding us all again about the underlying truth: MEN CAN'T CONTROL THEMSELVES.

Because rape culture. And rape apologists. And rape jokes.

Because when I was a teenager, boys and men didn't stop when I said "No." And I thought I deserved that. I thought I was lucky to have them wanting me.
Because when I was healing postpartum my husband said, “If you were a good wife you’d have sex with me” and “just do it anyway.” Through the pain. Through my haywire hormones. Through my own depression and misery I was expected to perform sex for him.
Because a car salesman asked my six-year-old daughter why she wasn’t smiling. She hid behind my hip because he made her uncomfortable. I had to explain to the man that she doesn’t need to don a non-stop smile to make him feel good. She’s probably bored, focused, or daydreaming. SHE'S NOT HERE FOR YOU.
Because people make assumptions about my daughters and hate them because of their Middle Eastern last names. Because of the travel ban that keeps our family permanently separated.
Because I live in fear of getting the phone call that my kids school has been shot up. Because America’s gun obsession and so-called second amendment “right” is more important than my child’s right to live. Can’t you hear a mother’s cry? I don’t want our kids to die!
BECAUSE CHARLOTTESVILLE. And white supremacists. And Nazis. 
Because I fear for my friends who are moms of black boys. And have black husbands. Their lives are not protected by the very people who claim to do so.

Because I sometimes think I shouldn't have brought kids into this world. To endure suffering. And I feel really guilty about that.

Because my rights are being stripped away. Because my right to have an abortion, could be taken away from my daughters. Because I remember what it was like to practice safe sex and end up pregnant anyway. And know that I’d be shamed for being a single mom. For being on food stamps. For not having a father for my kid. And my kid would be shamed. At least I spared the child. But either way, I GOT SHAMED.
Because no one showed me it was OK to be angry. Because my mother and grandmother will seemingly never admit they’re angry. And some of my girlfriends won’t admit it either. Because they wear the fact that they’re not angry like q badge of fucking honor. Like not getting angry about female injustices somehow makes them float above everyone else. They don’t realize that it’s called privilege. And delusion.
Because I’m called “too sensitive,” “difficult,” “cold,” or “shrill” when I don’t stroke a man’s ego. Or when I’m not agreeable.
When I’m not a ray-of-fucking-perpetual-sunshine. FOR YOU.

BECAUSE YOU POLICE MY FUCKING LANGUAGE WHEN I SAY "FUCK." And tell me I'm not smart. And I'm not lady-like.
Because I’m told “I’m on my period” when I do show anger. My anger isn’t taken seriously. It’s not valid.
I’m angry that sometimes, I have nothing left to give. And I get shamed for that.
I’m angry that you want me to shrink. Take up less room. Have less voice. Less power.
I’m angry that you beep at me while I’m walking on the street. Because you just had to tell me something “nice.”
Because I’m tired of preaching. I’m tired of teaching. I’m tired of being the so-called “nag” I just want a partner I don’t have to prompt, and people that I don’t have to school on Humanity 101.
Because some moms have judged and shamed me, and not helped or supported me. We’re all trying our best, and our best is different for everyone. Your internalized misogyny is maddening. Your lack of empathy makes me weary.
Because all of you who label me as “crazy” and the “angry woman” fear me. And you only fear me because I threaten to take back what is rightfully mine in the first damn place.
I’m angry about being angry for so long. I want to be free from so much anger. I want my daughters to be free. I WANT FREEDOM. I WANT PEACE.

As a Mom, My Self-Care Includes Therapy

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"...I believe functional parenting is the secret to world peace. And the only way to make functional parents is to heal psychological wounds with the same urgency we heal physical wounds."

-Excerpt from The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss

I always thought I was just a moody woman. Dark. Difficult. The perfect combination of my stinging astrological sign (Scorpio), my New York upbringing, and my Italian blood. I thought I was high strung, high octane, and tightly wound because I have a type A personality. I'm ambitious and a go-getter. I thought I was disconnected and distanced from loved ones, including my kids, because I am a product of divorce.

I relied on all of these old worn out tropes because that's what got fed to me. People who've never felt a goddamn thing in their life other than mundane nothingness, had the nerve to dish out their old antiquated advice to me. What was "normal," what wasn't. What was "bad" for me and what was "good" for me. And because they had nothing meaningful or authentic to say, they spouted worn out platitudes to me. And I hung on their every word because that's all I had.

Until I saw it was all bullshit. Until the anger and the restlessness in me became really noticeable. Relentless. Destructive. I was irrationally enraged when a person didn't use their blinker (I still hate that shit but I don't want to strangle the driver). I could not take criticism, or even accept another opinion about my work, to the detriment of my career and professional standing. I could not connect with my kids in a meaningful way. And I would blow up at them, my emotions would go from zero to 100 over the most benign stuff. And then I felt shame. And guilt. And it all piled on. I couldn't regulate my emotions and it felt really out of control.

I hate therapy. No, rather, I did hate therapy. My whole life I discounted the validity of it because I thought it was so predictable. Oh, what, we're going to talk about my childhood now huh? HOW ORIGINAL. Can we not do the childhood bullshit, please? Oh you want to talk about my parent's divorce...SHOCKER.

I thought I was so above all that. So evolved. After all, hadn't I gotten over all that? I was a functioning adult. Turns out, functioning doesn't mean shit. It means you're still fucked up, but you hide it better than others.

Then there's the societal stigma attached to mental health. Which is ridiculous and just needs to die forever because our minds are just like any other organ in our body we'd take care of.

So after a rather emotional one-week-booze-bender that ended with my husband pouring hundred-dollar bottles of champagne and vodka down the kitchen sink, I put my pride aside and made a call to a therapist. She was recommended to me from a friend. The second I got on the phone, my ego melted and I felt vulnerable. Which was awful and uncomfortable, but also super humbling.

I was lucky enough to really connect with my therapist in the first session. She was the therapist I probably needed in my childhood. I would've loved her as a teenager.

Immediately, our sessions became part of my self-care routine. Along with exercise, healthy eating, charcoal face masks, monthly pedicures, and night book reading - this therapy helped me take care of myself. It helped me take care of my kids better.

I won't lie, wine is still part of my self-care and helps me sometimes deal with the most Mondayest Mondays ever. You know those ones. Where nothing goes right and your kids ask for snacks five fucking thousand times a day and their homework is in some foreign math language and you don't have any groceries because there was no time to go in between the doctor's appointments and soccer practices... So wine. Bla. I KNOW THAT IS SUCH A CLICHE MOM-LIKE THING TO SAY. Hell, our culture rewards that shit. The boozy mom. The wino mom. There are jokes ad nauseum on coffee mugs, t-shirts, and totes about moms drinking alcohol. That wine I clung to as a cultural cliche was numbing everything I felt and making me avoid therapy all together.

But I gotta say - with my new found clarity, my consumption has dropped. It's still apart of my life though, I won't lie about that.

So is mint chocolate chip ice cream. So what say you about that! Whatever.

Everyone does self-care differently, I just never thought therapy would be part of my routine along with bubble baths and meditation.

You don't have to have severe trauma to go to therapy and become a better human, parent, spouse, sibling, or friend. I often feel like my trauma is woefully inadequate compared to some of the other people in my life. Compared to the people I read books about and see on TV. But I have to remember that it's not just a single traumatic event that can break a person down. It can be a series of little traumas, repeatedly.

And you pass your traumas onto your kids. It's inevitable. Unless you get help.

I was no longer willing to hurt my kids and keep them in a trauma cycle. I couldn't keep immersing myself in my work, or housework, or booze, or whatever I used to keep myself distanced or distracted from them- it needed to end. Some people use other things like shopping, sex, drugs, whatever. You can literally make anything an addiction, amirite? But, once I realized my kids, among other things, were the keys to filling myself back up, and I to them - the effort to connect came naturally, beautifully, and hopefully ... not too late.

I always worry about that. Was I too late? Did I fuck them up irreversibly? I can't know the future, all I can know is that I'm taking care of my self and them now. And I'm trying now. I won't ever stop trying now.

What Do Moms Wear? Whatever The F*CK They Want

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What do moms wear?

Including crop tops.

I am a size 10 and 5'6 and somewhere around 150 pounds.
You see that bulge of flesh near my tattoo? Yup, a bulge of fat.

My pre baby size was a waist size 6 and 20 pounds lighter.

I confess: I hated my postpartum body and tried to "bounce back" for several years, but I am done. I have scars, stretch marks, and veins.


I don't measure my happiness with waist size, pounds on a scale, or accolades.

My metrics is gratitude for a body that moves and feels.

There are three crucial things I learned on my body positive journey(that I'm still on): 1) HUNGER SUCKS 2) so does being a gym rat- my pursuit of the "ideal" body robbed me of important connections in my community, with my friends, and most importantly, my kids. 3) I AM. I don't need to assign an emotion to my body it simply EXISTS. It's not a sad or happy version - IT IS.

I understand that I'm the "acceptable" version of "fat" or "curvy" or "thick," don't cry for me Argentina, right? But the fact that me, trans, fat, people of color, post pregnancy, POST PREGNANCY LOSS, "too" thin, different limb abilities, and mobile abilities are considered LESS than worthy in our culture is bullshit. (And ps - less than worthy of a crop top.) All bodies represent the human experience. I am human. I love crop tops, I love bodies, I have a body that is worthy, and enough. MAKE WAY.

Why I'll Always 'Woman Up' And Choose My Kids First Before My Spouse, My Friends, And My Family Members

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Because I'm raising girls. 

Because I remember what it was like being a girl in this world. This culture. Most of my childhood was a string of educational and cultural experiences. Until I was a teenager. And a young adult. And in college. Then my fun experiences became cloaked with darkness too. What I found in my so-called fun times was a violent, rapey world.

Because after my own girls take their art and gymnastics classes, see beautiful ballets that I take them to, and go on lovely beach trips - they'll be on their own in college or young womanhood.

Because after all of the culture I teach them and show them, they will face another part of our culture that's not so pretty or fun to learn about: Violence. Violence against women specifically.

The world we live in is unforgiving to their gender. To their bodies. To their names. Their blood. Their culture. Their ways. Their voice. Their being. Their existence.

Because I AM IT. My husband travels for work a lot. My friends are scattered geographically. My family is distant.

I am their point person.

Because I can't breathe if I handle the emotional needs of another human being. I will literally suffocate. 

Becoming a mother takes every last shred of identity, energy, and mental strength that you have. As your child grows, you slowly get these things back to some degree, but never the same as before. Their emotional needs are the most important thing in my life. What I live for.

Because I give zero fucks. But many for them.

Because where is "the village?" Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't. I see more shaming and recording bad parenting moments on smart phones than actual help and support.

Because the rest of the people in my life are adults. They don't need me to choose them.

Because sometimes it feels like I have to choose between you and my kids. But I will always choose my kids.

I will choose them before asking you how your day was, I will choose them before answering your text, and I will choose them before agreeing to a "pick-your-brain" request. I will choose them before answering your phone call, your email, your Facebook message, your whatever-you-want-from-me requests. I choose my kids.

Because I can't believe this needs an explanation.
And I can't believe I'm giving one. I can't believe I feel guilty for this either sometimes. And ashamed.

Because I need to make that choice as their mother. Because there is strength in this choice and a certainty that I will no longer waver on. Not for you, not for anyone.

Special people will come along in my life, and I hope they understand this choice. I hope the special ones in my life already get it. The choice I need to make. Will always make.

Because I need peace. My kids need love, support, education, and we all need peace. Our lives have no time for drama.

We want the people in our lives to be grounded, whole, self-aware people. I need those types of people around me, and my kids would benefit from seeing those types of people around them.

Because raising a loving home, with loving people, who will go out into this world and love other humans requires a lot of love. Love from me. That only I can give.

Because I chose them from the start, and that decision requires that I choose them, always.

Why I Absolutely Am The "Angry Mommy"

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I'm angry because you expect me to do everything. I'm angry because you expect me to be everything. I'm angry because moms are not seen as people, but as emotional dump buckets who are also somehow expected to turn around and nurture from the same bucket already filled with everyone else's baggage.

"Are you the angry mommy?" the woman sitting across from me at the large round table asked me smiling. We were at a writer's conference in Iceland and I was caught off guard for a moment thinking my ragey, mommy past had followed me across the pond.

What does she mean "angry mommy?" Then I remembered. And laughed.

"Yes! I mean kind of, maybe not so angry any more. I write for Scary Mommy," I replied laughingly (correcting the hilarious linguistic snafu).

The word choice was indeed funny and totally accurate. "Angry Mommy" well, yes, probably. For many years I was a very tired, touched out, fed up, lost, angry mommy. The trouble with calling a woman "angry" (even by accident), is that women who aren't perpetually happy and smiling ALL OF THE FUCKING TIME are called "angry" by men and women by default. (Ahem, men and women with very sexist, narrow, and misogynistic thought processes call women who aren't smiling rays of sunshine 24/7, "angry"). That or we're told we must be "getting our periods." Women who aren't June Cleaver constantly are deemed "too sensitive" or "too emotional." The jabs all originate from the same fucked up place. This woman, however, was not making a jab. In fact, it felt like a compliment considering the emotional, well-being journey I've been on lately. A talk-therapy-sabbatical if you will.

To be honest, it's been one helluva ride, lemme tell you people. Like a rough, wild, scary, and also exhilarating and liberating motorcycle ride on a crisp Spring day.

So, OK, I AM angry. But not in the way I used to be. Not since I acted like a total asshole to everyone I loved and even complete strangers.

Allow me to elaborate on what an awful, horrific, mean-spirited human I allowed myself to be for awhile. If you cut me off in the Starbucks line, it was like fight club up in the coffee shop. HOLD MY HOOPS YO. Little things constantly set me off at nearly every twist and turn. Completely benign things I would somehow perceive (irrationally) as a threat. Criticism was a total blow to my ego (and insult to my intelligence)...supposedly. I catastrophized the smallest of illnesses, hurts, or behavior changes in my kids. Why are they limping this way? Do they have cancer? (No, they don't). Why is little one acting sad all of the time, does she hate me as a mother? (No, apparently she just needs about 30 more minutes of sleep per day to not be a weepy mess).
I would blow any and all situations out of proportion without a rational, step-by-step approach. I've been in attack mode for longer than I'd like to admit, and I'm exhausted.

Even for a fighter like me, constant combat got a little tiring day in and day out.

Let's back up to the days when I was a mother to two babies under two. The time when being in perpetual fight mode became most apparent. The situation I was in might be a stressful situation for anyone, but in reflection, I made it harder on myself by not dealing with my shit. You know what I mean, y'all with "MY SHIT." My baggage. My story. My damage. My Issues (with a very capital "I").

I'm not totally angry since my kids are no longer utterly helpless, crying, screaming, little humans (I HATED the baby stage - with and without booze). I'm not angry since the days of temper tantrums and toddlerhood have ended (wasn't a big fan of the toddler stage either).

I'm not angry like I was when the broken parts of me ruled my life. Impacted my parenting. Impacted my marriage. Impacted my jobs. Impacted how much wine I drank (aka A LOT- and side note - apparently if you're a mom that drinks a ton of booze this is a thing to be celebrated and glorified in our culture with cute napkins and magnets).

But make no mistake, I'm still angry. Just more about the stuff I should be angry about (i.e- definitely NOT the asshole in the Starbucks line).

Across the white linen table cloth the woman with wild salt and pepper, wavy hair and hip thick-framed glasses, and the most gentle and genuine smile says to me:

"Wait til I tell the ladies I know that I saw you here, they're going to love it. They love you and follow your work."

We were at a writer's conference in Iceland, OK? There were several smart, successful, and published authors at these workshops with me. The kind of brilliant minds that make you feel like you're surrounded by Joan Didion's and Stephen King's and you're the idiot they let just slide in because they felt bad or because they felt "Eh, she looks like she has potential." I know my place, but this woman knew who I was. Or knew of me, more accurately. Either way, I wanted to mouth kiss her in a room full of foreign people over a lunch of the most succulent lamb you've ever had.

When you say to a writer A) I've heard of you (or my friends have) that's like angels singing, clouds parting. Like, what? Who, me? SOMEONE BESIDES MY TWO BEST FRIENDS READ WHAT I WRITE- SHUT UP. Then B) "They love you" it's like this transcending moment- let me get this straight - people you know read my work ... and they still like me?!

I wanted to explain to the woman that I'm not angry in my writing (anymore so much), but certainly still very much aggressive

I aim to show the depths of pain mothers feel, women feel, whoever feels, but in a less fight-club, my-way-or-the-highway kind of way. (PS-I write about happy stories, and happy moms, and happy people too, ya know).

Sitting across from this woman - had I been my former, angry mommy self - I probably would've grabbed a glass of wine (or five) during the conference lunch buffet, got drunk, then made jokes to this woman about why all little kids who walk the earth are selfish assholes. Simultaneously I would've self-deprecated the shit out of myself and "mom life" with worn-out punch lines about unwashed hair and yoga pants....knowing....I don't do either. I wash my hair because I hate when it's greasy, and I don't wear yoga pants for anything except exercising.

I would've told her all of the reasons I am supposedly angry like, "I don't ever sleep," "I hate making dinner for people that won't eat it" and "I never have time to take a shower" and "my stomach looks like it's been hit with a butcher knife" or "I can't connect with my kid because she likes her tablet more than me apparently." Knowing that all of these supposed grievances are actually misdirected rage about bigger stuff. Stuff that's been piling up. Bad stuff that's been perpetuated over and over again throughout the generations in my family. Stuff I let be perpetuated in my own parenting. Disgusting stuff that has been a symptom of horrific societal and cultural problems.

"...it's not your fault you're fucked up. It's your fault if you stay fucked up, but the foundation of your fuckedupness is something that's been passed down through generations of your family." - Jen Sincero, author, life coach, badass

What I was really mad about back then  - I couldn't articulate. When you're a new mom you're operating on almost zero sleep with haywire hormones. Your mind goes into this very primitive mode where you basically attend to all of the things that will make your baby survive. Then you barely make yourself survive (somehow by magic). When I had babies I lost my language. I was in such a primitive state of survival that I lost my words, my ability to articulate, and my ability to communicate in a way that made sense. Nothing made sense.

So I swore a lot. People use profanity when they are in fight-or-flight mode. My whole being was expletives. Hell, that's what readers supposedly love about me. My ability to use fucks like commas.

I still swear a lot, but how do you effectively articulate an experience in motherhood you've never heard anyone talk about before? Furthermore, how do you voice your dislikes and issues with motherhood when in the past when you've even hinted at these things, you were shamed, silenced, and stigmatized?

When I complained about the total lack of sleep I was getting as a mom (to anyone that would listen and let me drone on) - what I was trying to say was: Why does our culture expect moms to do EVERY DAMN THING? Stop stealing my sleep away dammit. Everyone in my house, everyone in the world- I can't nurture everyone, every day, nor should I be expected to.

What I was really mad about when I complained about making dinner every night for my family, was that I was always the one expected to put it on the table. My energy was sucked up by this supposed maternal task. Cooking dinner, shopping for it, and planning for it totally stole hours away from my days. It tapped my energy that could've been used for something else- like connecting with my kids. Like putting more hours in for work. Like exercising. What kind of fucked up society puts the task of meal-making solely on one gender? Is marriage institutionalized slavery? (why, yes, yes it is).

What I was angry about when I said I had no time to put my body under a water spout for five fucking minutes and rinse it clean was, WHERE IS THE HELP? WHERE IS THE VILLAGE? WHERE CAN I HIRE SOME HELP? Oh that's right, not many families can afford quality childcare because it's too damn expensive and out of reach even for middle class families.

What I was mad about when I complained about my stomach looking like a chopped up piece of meat (because of 2 C-sections and a really doughy mid-section post-babies) - is that who groomed me to think this way about my body? Who taught me this unhealthy self-hatred towards myself? I'm pissed that someone (or several someones) got it in my head that the metrics of a woman's whole worth hung solely (or mostly) on the shape of her body and numbers on a scale. I'm still pissed about this whole "bouncing back" mantra as if women, post-babies, can ever go back to the way they were before in any way, shape, or form. They are new beings, wholly transformed, physically and emotionally. We don't go back, nor should we try.

What I was livid about when I blamed tablets and TV shows for making the connection between me and my kid weak, what I was really saying is: I have no time to connect because all of these other little tasks I'm expected to constantly compute in my head (as the mother and do-everything person)- are taking over my life all of the time. Logistics of soccer practice, dinnertime, doctor's appointments, dentists appointments, etc. AND I'M GIVING INTO THIS IDEA THAT ALL OF THIS CRAP MATTERS. Why did I think putting all of these supposed necessary things ahead of quality time with my kid was OK? Where did I learn it was OK to detach and not connect, I mean truly connect, uninterrupted, with my kid? Why am I prioritizing busyness and filling up time and not quality time?

So many sick cycles here that were passed down from several generations in my family, perpetuated through society, and validated in modern MAINSTREAM motherhood.

So, yes I'll be that angry mommy. I'm angry as fuck about a lot. Especially about expectations of women, mothers, and girls. But I'm taking my anger to get razor sharp focused on the heart of these problems. The root. I'm keenly observing my interactions and experiences without the wolf lens of my totally warped and damaged self. I'm looking at life and writing about it with my ever-growing, still evolving self. The one that wants to expand, and learn, and be mind-blown, and stay curious.

I can be the angry mommy. But I don't have to act (or write) in anger.

This Mom Is On STRIKE: Don't Ask Me For Sh*t

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2016 was a crazy fucking year. 2017 is shaping up to be a crazier fucking year. We have literally been in an abusive relationship with a woman-loathing, manipulative, controlling, gaslighting, all-people-that-aren't-white-men-or-Christian hating, egoist, freak of motherfucking nature. I feel like I've been trying to escape him and his garbage human supporters by staying the hell away from them physically in my real life, and figuratively in my virtual life. Unfriending, blocking, ignoring, deleting, not engaging, and in some cases trying to leave these relationships entirely... over, and over, and over ...until I break free.

At the same time, I've been planning, organizing, and supporting every single woman's cause I possibly can. I call my representatives and text them when they yet again, threaten my human rights. I give money to Planned Parenthood, ACLU, anyone that defends the rights of my fellow women to exist. I marched like a motherfucker. I went to Washington, D.C. on a bus with my 5-year old daughter and marched until I couldn't feel my feet (and she couldn't either), and then we marched some more.

And now I strike. And I will wear RED. Because red is the color of revolution.

This woman is striking for International Women's Day and #ADayWithoutAWoman because I motherfucking can. Seriously, people don't ask me for shit.

I am in a state of resist (like my rhyme?;)

I get that I'm a privileged white woman who has the luxury of protesting in D.C. (my 2 bus tickets were not exactly cheap, nor were the fleece-lined leggings I bought myself from REI so I wouldn't literally freeze my booty off out there). My boss also gave me the weekend off when I told her that I was going to D.C. (it was not a problem). Not many people get to tell their boss they're going to a protest and need two days off from work. Some can't afford to take two days off from work.

I get that I'm privileged to strike because I work for two companies that honor striking. In full disclosure - I have March 8th off anyway. It's my one day off a week (seriously, I work six days a week, just like many of you). Besides not doing any paid work (freelance and otherwise), I've informed my two daughters (5 and 7-years old) to fend for themselves. I won't be driving them to school (nor obviously, picking them up). I won't be getting their cereal, lunch, or dinner - all food in this house is at eye and arm level for them. I won't be cleaning, doing laundry (unless it's my own), nothing. Nada. I will be enjoying the company of my girls, dressed in red, and may even go out for lunch with them at a woman-owned restaurant or cafe.

Why do I march? Why do I strike?

For starters, I gotta give throwback love. I protest to honor those that were in the marching lines and strikes before me and make sure they know – the walking, the fighting, the movement goes on. We’re still here, we’re not giving up.

All the greats – Angela Davis, Gloria Steinum, Sylvia Rivera, too many to name here in fact. And another important "great" -  my great aunt. My great aunt was in her twenties in the 1960’s and she was a fighter of women’s rights and social justice. She protested in the streets, she sent her white kids to inner city schools that were more diverse, she volunteered at a women’s domestic violence shelter in upstate New York and she’s gone door to door for Hillary Clinton. She’s in her 70’s now and suffering from the early hell that is dementia. As a woman who is normally "ra-ra women power," and "women can do this and women can do that"  - this last election broke her heart and it broke her spirit. She doesn't have many happy or uplifting days as it is with this illness, but it seemed a new hopelessness had fallen over when she heard the results. In her admittedly singular mental state, she kept saying "a man that grabs women without their consent and brags about it, how could this happen?" I protest to give her hope in whatever time she has left on this earth. I've looked up to her my whole life.

I protest for my two daughters. Their identities as girls and eventually women, and as little girls with Middle Eastern blood. As much as it pains me to reckon in my brain, the union between me and their dad has made them a target of discrimination, sexism, bigotry and hate on a level that I've never experienced. I can't help, but to blame myself. I should've never fallen in love with their dad. I should've never gotten pregnant and brought them into this world. Their oppression will likely be worse and more brutal just because of who their family is. And I cry for that. A lot. Their descendants, ethnic names, and body parts could make them targets of harassment and physical abuse.

And sadly, at ages five and seven, in their short lives, their identities as girls, and Middle Eastern girls has already proven to be gashes against them.

Boys IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL have made inappropriate comments about their bodies. Comments that I don't even think these boys understand, they just heard them somewhere. Which is precisely the problem. While the meanings aren’t understood by neither the young boys or girls, their unwarranted sexual undertones… are. And it’s troubling and heartbreaking to witness. My daughter's claims of unfair treatment have been ignored and dismissed by some of the people that they trust most in this world.

My daughters should be able to walk down their small neighborhood street without someone yelling xenophobic sentiments from their windows at their dad.

I protest for them to be heard. I march for them to know I fought for them. I strike to let them know I did better for them.

I march and strike for my friends and people I don't even know, who are in more marginalized groups than myself. I listen to them. I will amplify their voice, and never silence them. I support them. I stand with them.

I know that women who caretake for their elderly or ailing family members can't strike. I know that women who will get fired from their jobs for striking, can't strike. I know women who can't afford to strike, won't be striking. I strike for them too.

I strike for my motherfucking self. For all previous patriarchal fucked up gashes made against me – the subtle snubs that seemed unprovable and made me feel like I was crazy – to the overt, and violent – all that I put up with – only because I thought my very survival depended on it. My professional and financial survival depended on me "shutting the fuck up." Not complaining. Not whining. My very own blood-pumping life depended on me not making a peep, not making waves, not reporting, and not leaving.

I won’t anymore and I refuse to go back. I march and strike to be changed, and create change for future generations.

If you are fortunate to work for a company that is cool with you striking, don't waste your day. Support women in any way you can, call representatives, volunteer or donate your time to organizations that support women, donate money to these organizations, and simply be there for girls and women in whatever way, shape, or form that looks like for you.

PS- my nails are ready. I am seeing RED.

10 Times Grandparents Are The Literal Worst

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sometimes free child care, isn't so free.

The kids are going to grandma's house for a week while mommy and daddy are away on vacation, yeaaaahhhhh!!!!

That's what I say at first.

A vacation with hubby looks so enticing. I crave time away from my kids so much that  it apparently makes me a delusional idiot. Hand my kids over to grandparents for a week? Really, mama? Are you ready for TTHHHEEEE AAAFFFTTERRRMMAATTHHH??

I said that in my best Darth Vader voice.

Scary stuff, for real parents.

If your kids hang out with grandma and grandpa for long enough - you can pretty much expect obliteration and destruction of everything you've taught your kids thus far. Your kids turn into DEF CON 5 monsters. Your kids will become needy a**holes. Manners, disciplinary milestones, chore responsibilities down the friggin' toilet folks.

Your kids will start crying, YES BAWLING over stupid stuff, all because good 'ol gram and gramps put them on a sugar-filled, carbilicious bender.

Thank you grandparents. No really, THANK YOU for making me regret my decision to leave you unattended with my children EVERY TIME.

Sometimes, it takes a whole week to get your kids back to "normal" after a grandparent encounter. Getting your babes back to reality after grandparent la-la-land is a hot mess.

And while, I'm not waging war against grandparents - cuz you know you my peeps...I'm gonna have to let you know why grandparents can sometimes...be the worst.

1. Sugar. Grandparents inebriate your children with ice cream, cookies and lollipops.


And there ain't a damn thing you can do about it. When the kids are crashing - oh, lookie at that - it's time to go home to Mom and Dad. SHOCKER. Upon arrival - be prepared to do some serious detoxing.  Let the reality check of food rehab ensue. Kids, time for your rhubarb-raspberry smoothies!

2. They never say 'no.' Can we have ice cream? Yes. Can we watch TV and play video games for 10 hours even though the sun is shining outside? Yes. Can we go to the mall and pick out presents like it's Christmas? Yes.


All this coming from a place of 'yes' brings me toooooo.......

3. They make you look like sh*t in front of your own kids. You're definitely the bad guy if you deny your kid a cookie, or bag of chips in front of a grandparent. They'll be all like "It's no big deal, they can have ooooonnneee little cookie."


4. They hover. Yup - helicopter grandparents. They watch over their grandkids in ways they NEVER watched over you as a child. You feel slighted.

5. Gifts. Gifts. And more gifts. That you don't have room for in your house. Gifts for no reason. Gifts for made up reasons. Gifts that make your kids feel entitled. Gifts that go against everything you've been trying to teach your kids like that consumerism isn't cool. And Barbie doll is definite no. (Will all the millennial, feminist moms put your hands up in the air, and wave them like you just don't care!) Gawwwwddd ddaammiitttt GIIIIFFFFTTTSSSS.


6. They act like your kid, is their kid. You put the baby down in the rocker to sleep, MEE-MAA picks her up to hold her. WTF?! You tell your kids not to play with sharp objects, grandpa gives them a demonstrative chainsaw lesson in the garage while you're cooking dinner. Grandparents think they can decide what's best for your kid. They sometimes forget, you're the parent.

7. They love their grandkids, more than they love their own kids. And while, it can be annoying, and slightly unnerving to see them pour out all this love for a little person that's not YOU. It's a very magical love, unburdened by financial stresses, parenting pressure and daily responsibilities. But for real, I don't remember my mother getting down on the floor and playing with me like that.

8. They DON'T love their grandkids, as much as you thought they would. I know, this is opposite of above. But, uninvolved nanas and pop-pops is a reality many families deal with. Many grandma and grandpas don't seem very interested at all in the grandkid thing. Not interested in visiting. Not interested in spending quality time. Not interested in babysitting them, let alone spoil them. They're off in la-la land most of the time, and when they DO come around - they fail to engage with your children in any meaningful way.

9. They give parenting advice that's 40 years old. Okay fine, the whiskey on the gums of a teething baby advice- that one works. But the rest - save it mee-ma. I'm a millennial mom with google and a Facebook mommy group for advice.


10. They don't ask for permission. They didn't ask if it was okay to buy your daughter, who's in shoelace-tying-training mode, new sneakers that HAVE VELCRO. They didn't ask if Susie or Johnny could get a haircut. They didn't ask you if it was okay to buy a pet rabbit.
All this stuff that makes grandparents the worst to YOU, makes them the BEST to YOUR kids. Even the uninvolved grandparent. If they don't want to be around - then frankly, you shouldn't want them to be around either.

So let's raise our glasses to the bat-sh*t crazy stuff grandparents do to annoy us, and be thankful every day they are still here.

Writer's Note: A version of this essay originally appeared in Redbook
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