This blog is dedicated to working mothers everywhere.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My husband got “friendly” with an ice pack, while I cried in the closet.

VasectomyMy husband spent the weekend with a blue cooler icepack on his crotch. He had a vasectomy on Friday. I was never able to take the pill as it made me nauseous and kooky. So I gave in to my husband’s reasoning. He said, “you’ve done enough, 4 pregnancies, 1 miscarriage, 3 C-sections, breast feeding, and dealing with that diaphragm for years.” AMEN! I’m ready to burn my diaphragm in the fireplace. (For the record I asked my husband if I could write about this and use his picture)

The thing I wasn’t prepared for, were the raging emotions, I cried the entire weekend. I am a mother of three and my last pregnancy wasn’t planned. Don’t get me wrong. He was the best darned mistake I ever made. And my husband would have more kids if I were so inclined. Which is why I didn’t really want him to know about my sadness. And even though three is enough (for me), it is the finality of no more tiny bundles that makes me sad. No more rolling little Burritos in hospital receiving blankets, or delicious newborn scalp smells. No more endless bounds of potential born just to you. I’ll have to hold the babes of others to satisfy my newborn tingles. These Darwinian urges are fierce!

I went to a playgroup birthday over the weekend and one of the moms looked down at my three year old and generously said “you make such beautiful children.” I burst into tears. She asked me what was wrong so I told her. I am discovering, this isn’t a very “talked about” subject, though many couples have taken this route. I wish I had talked to another mom about how this might feel. I wasn’t prepared. It’s funny how they have the man go through a consultation. Asking them all kinds of horrific, yet important questions like, “what if your wife dies, or you get a divorce and remarry.” I think the women should get some consult as well. Like will this feeling of “loss” go away soon?

After the Friday procedure, my husband couldn’t play his usual Saturday soccer game, so he sent out a team email that he had gone in for a little “snip snip.” One by one the guys came forward (4 on his team) and proclaimed they had gone through it and not to worry.

Their advice: pop a couple Advil and make yourself comfortable on the couch.

It’s interesting to hear how it's happening all around you, but many chose to keep it private. In retrospect maybe I should have kept it from my mother. It was like I was telling her someone died. She said, “WHY ON EARTH WOULD HE DO THAT!” I guess since I am her only child, I am the only one capable of giving her grandchildren. Those fierce Darwinian urges again. And yet another reason for some consultation.

Plus I think there is still a little “vasectomy stigma” amongst her generation, like you’re less of a man. Which is interesting, because in my book you couldn’t be more of a man than to take on the responsibility of birth control. In terms of the actual medical procedure, it wasn’t that big of a deal, he was back to work on Monday. But the deeper stuff will need some healing time. My husband’s pretty open about it. He was quite the site at the pool recently as some of my playgroup moms gathered around peppering him with questions. "Did it hurt?", "How do you feel now?" "What comes out of there now?" I kid you not! He gave them all the gritty details while they took note for a later conversation with their respective husbands. I also mentioned my sadness. It may be an easy Laparoscopic snip, but you can’t take a percocet for the emotional stuff.

Too much stuff leaves little respect for any one thing.

Over the weekend I went on a caffeine induced rampage through the kids playroom. Maybe that third cup of Joe was too much, but the place was a cacophony of junk! Puzzle pieces everywhere, shredded papers pulled out of good books, uncapped magic markers, smashed hand-painted toys, Sharpie pen scribbled on the chalk board, and endless amounts of plastic chotchkies. I could not believe what chaos had transpired within the past year. My working mom status leaves me little time to keep track of those big toy bins. I'm not quite sure how my husband became exempt.
I went into the playroom with the kids and a box of garbage bags. I told the kids I was upset with the total lack of respect for their things. While reflecting on that thought, I instructed them to throw away broken or unwanted toys. I’d figure out punishment later. My only rule was to keep anything made out of wood. I spared my 3 year old from the process simply because he doesn’t understand. But my soon to be 7 and 9 year old certainly do. What was amazing is how easily they threw everything away! Favorite teddy bears, a perfectly good bingo game, they would have tossed the Lego's if I didn’t set them aside for their little brother. Mister Potato head was toast. I just can’t get over their total disrespect for their toys. I tried to explain to my girls that those matryoshka dolls that grandma brought back from Russia were hand painted by a woman who spent weeks on them. There were 2 sets of 12. One for each grand-daughter. What was left of them is shameful. They looked at me like little puppies, heads tilted, when I explained how every single stroke was painted by hand. With very little enthusiasm, my 9 year old tried to salvage what was left and stacked them pathetically one into the other. We ended up throwing away 8 garbage bags full of broken mismatched unwanted toys. I hate to do the “when I was a kid” lecture, but there was no way around it. When I was a kid, I remember getting a big plastic sleeve of magic markers. I kept those markers capped and in their original arrangement of color scheme for years till I used them up. My favorite collectables were Hello Kitty items, which I was afraid to use for fear of “using them up.” I had the same Monopoly game, with all of its pieces for 15 plus years. I also watched a black and white TV, of which we only had one. Which brings me to another point. I don’t feel like we are a household of excess. We don’t allow televisions or computers in the kid’s bedrooms, we don’t even have one in our bedroom. Our kids don’t have video games as I prefer to send them outside. They have bikes and rollerblades and skateboards which get lots of use on the driveway. But “in house” toys? NO RESPECT. So we’ve started a new rule. From now on, for Birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions relatives will donate to a fund for each girl. I realize this won't be possible for birthday's with friends. When the fund reaches a certain amount then can spend it on one item that is special to them. My 9 year old is already saving for a laptop. I'm not sure she realizes this is a $2 thousand dollar item. My 6 year old's only worry was that Santa wouldn’t know what to do. I assured her I would call him and make the same arrangement with Santa. We’ll still put up a stockings for little stuff.

Ursula vonRydingsvard is a mother of 3. She runs a business at

My kids gave me Strep... now the house is a mess.

100_1866 Guess what my kids gave me...? Unfortunately NOT some fabulous popsicle stick art. They brought home strep throat. I hate to complain, its just when mom is sick everything else goes. The house is a mess, there are clothes everywhere, dirty dishes piling up and dog hairs on every surface. It's probably my own fault since I should give my kids more chores. I've been meaning to make a CHORE corkboard for years. My 3 yr old won’t go to bed unless I put him to bed. And why can’t my husband just order pizza for dinner? Lets face it, moms can never get sick!

Back on subject. I’m not sure which kid gave it to me. And the interesting thing is both my school-age girls do NOT have it. However both of them brought home one of those dreaded notes that say it’s going around their class. So it is possible to pass the streptococcal (strep) bacteria to someone else via your hands and body without actually contracting the illness. I had no idea! Did I mentioned my throat hurts? Man, this isn’t your garden variety sore throat. This is throbbing, great big globs of lovely white stuff back there… you can barely swallow type sore throat. Your glands are so swollen you can’t turn your neck.

So I went to the Doctor for a culture… and yep… it’s strep. Now I have to be careful not to give it to my kids or husband and start a vicious cycle. I am totally not a germa-phobe but when I was at CVS for my z-pac, I went on a germ killing shopping spree. Its unbelievable how many products are out there claiming to kill bad microbes. Funky hand sanitizer spray pens, anti-microbial wipes, sanitizer pumps in all shapes, sizes and smells. I bought them all! They know how to play on those mommy germ fears! Maybe I’m buying into the marketing hype – should I care? At least it makes me feel like I have some control. I gave a pen to my colleague at work. He has no kids… so it would be very clear if he got sick that it was from me. I brought some of the gel home, my 3-yr-old thinks it’s for his hair. I gave my husband some wipes for work. He looked at me in that kinda sad way… like I’m pathetic… but took them without commenting. And I put new yummy smelling hand soap pumps next to every sink. The shining moment was when my little boy brought me an “ice-pack” from the freezer. It’s what I give the kids for every little ache and pain. He told me to put it on my neck so I did. It actually made me feel better.