Measure of Success

 

 

 

For a lot of people, a parking spot with your name on it is a measure of success. If that’s the case, strike up the band, pop open a bottle of champagne and let’s celebrate. Because I have officially arrived!

Image

Amy Glass has recently been stirring up a firestorm with her comments that women shouldn’t aim to get married and have children (I won’t repost her blog here, because I don’t want to send anymore traffic her direction.) Her theory is that anyone can do that, so it’s not an accomplishment. “You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.” Ouch!

Six years ago, I chose to become a stay-at-home mom. That decision was partially because of the ridiculous cost of daycare for an infant, but it was also largely because I wanted to raise my own kid. I didn’t want to pay someone to spend time with my child that I could have been spending. I made the choice to put a possible career on hold so that I could concentrate on raising my kids the way I wanted them to be raised. It was a tough decision to make, and sometimes I still wonder if it was the right one. But when my daughter sits down with her pretend laptop and works on writing an article, or my son reads his own fortune cookie, I know it was the right one for us.

My mom raised three kids. She is an exceptional midwife, as well as an exceptional mother. I know moms who are teachers, counselors, nurses, doctors and lawyers. I also know moms who, like me, devote their time to taking care of their kids. Whether they work or stay at home, the world NEEDS exceptional mothers. If every halfway intelligent woman decided not to have children because she wanted to concentrate on her career, where would society end up? Mothers are not just brainless incubators that are responsible just for making sure that the human race continues to exist. They are responsible for raising the next generation to be exceptional. 

What it really comes down to is the fact that everyone should be allowed to make their own choices in life without being criticized. There is nothing wrong with a person who chooses not to get married or have kids so they can concentrate on their career. But there is also nothing wrong with a woman who chooses to spend her hours cleaning up toys, washing laundry and wiping snotty noses.

So for me, I’ll take my name on my parking spot, which has now been decorated by my children, and I’ll keep doing what I do. Because these are the choices I make, and that’s all that matters.

 

Advertisements

Failure

It’s time to admit it. I’ve been hiding it for far too long, and it’s just not a secret that I can keep anymore. It pains me to admit it, but I am a failure as a coffee drinker. Now I know what you’re thinking. So what? There are plenty of people out there who don’t drink coffee. In fact, there are people out there who are actively trying to wean themselves off of their caffeine habit. And good for them. But I am trying to be a coffee drinker, and it’s just not working.

I have never liked coffee. I drank it for a short time in high school because I thought it was cool. I had to add so much sugar and milk to my parents’ Folgers that it was unrecognizable as coffee, and nearly impossible to drink. It left your teeth feeling like they were wearing Mohair sweaters when you were done. In retrospect, I should have started selling it and given Starbucks a run for their money.

Recently, however, my husband started buying some relatively expensive coffee beans that come in awesome flavors like Dutch Chocolate and Black Nutty Fudge (am I the only one who thinks of poop every time I think of that name? Maybe it comes from living with a five year old boy.) I’ve discovered that I can drink this stuff with only a little sugar added.

When I realized this, my husband started leaving me a cup of coffee out of his pot every morning. One measly cup. Surely I could drink that much. But, alas, I’m probably the world’s worst wanna-be coffee drinker. I’ll pour my cup in the morning and put it in the microwave to reheat it. Half an hour later, I’ll remember it’s there, so I’ll hit the add minute again to warm it back up. Sometimes this happens two or three times before my husband gets home and finally drinks the coffee himself. Other days I remember it, but only get halfway through the cup before lunch time rolls around. Some people know how to nurse a beer. I can nurse a cup of coffee like no one’s business.

Still, you’re asking so what? If I’m so bad at it, why don’t I just give up? Well, first of all, I’m a stay at home mom with two young kids who have an endless reserve of energy. But that’s not the most worrying aspect of it. I’m a writer! How will anyone ever take me seriously if I don’t suffer from at least a caffeine addiction? And I worry that they’ll find out. I could just see going to a meeting with a big, fancy agent who wants to represent my work.

BFA (Big Fancy Agent)- Can I get you a cup of coffee?

Me- Oh no thanks. I don’t drink coffee.

BFA-(Painfully awkward silence while they stare at me like I have the numbers 666 tattooed backwards across my forehead to match my horns that have just popped out.) Oh I see. Well thank you for your time.

Me- But we just started.

BFA- (Walks away mumbling incoherently.)

In fact, more and more I’m thinking that’s why I haven’t found an agent yet. (Let’s ignore the fact that I’ve only queried a handful, and the first few queries I sent out were not very good.) I’m sure it’s because they’re looking for the telltale coffee stains on my letter to know that I’m a member of the club. (Again, we’ll ignore the fact that I’m emailing everything.) The point is, they know!

So I’ll keep on keeping on. I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. As I sit here, typing and nursing my mug of coffee that I reheated over an hour ago, and it’s still over half full, at least the glass is half full right? I’ll keep drinking, and maybe some day I’ll get to sit down and have that meeting over a cup of coffee with an agent or editor. Or maybe I’ll just order tea.