When You Do Something Right

Listen. I support all women however they chose to act today. I feel like last year, International Women’s Day came with less “This Is How We Do” because we weren’t actively fighting for our lives. Literally. But today I saw a lot of, “I am/am not participating in #ADayWithoutWomen because reasons.”

All of those reasons are valid.

Of note: All of the men telling all of the women that all of their reasons were invalid are why we need a day dedicated to women around the world. But I digress.

Today for me? Well, today was a day.

I woke up the youngest child a little later than usual, hoping the extra sleep might magically make him all better from the illness he procured from a friend the day before; germs are gross. I took his temperature. No fever. I asked him how his belly felt. “It feels good now.” I fed him oatmeal. He got ready. They waited for the bus. And off he went to school.

You know what’s coming right?

He got to school and within 15 minutes, the kid puked. Because of course he did.

I went and picked him up, drove us home, and covered him up in bed. He slept for a few hours while I did a little work. And then he woke up in a state that I can only call Post-Sickness Hyper.

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Hey, mom! Do you wanna do this? Do you wanna do that? Mom! MOM! HEY, MOM!”

When you work from home and you have a Sick Child at home who, post-nap becomes a Very Unsick Child, the guilt rolls right on out. I mean, especially if you already sent him to school once and he puked. Way to get it wrong, mom. I tried to find a balance between sitting on the couch and watching Ninjago (…blink, blink…) and getting some work done.

If you’re wondering, I failed this task in an epic manner. No balance was to be had. I didn’t get my daily workout in until 8:15 after I rushed my sons through their showers, tapping my toe like some kind of task master. I hate feeling like that, doing those things. It leaves a truly awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

We’re told that we’re supposed to enjoy every moment of motherhood. Don’t rush bedtime. Spend time reading and resting together. Like some kind of linen or pajama commercial. You guys, I just can’t hang with the commercial style life. I’m a mess nine times out of ten, flying by the seat of my pants. No company is ever going to put me in a commercial about our bedtime routine.

But I need to back up. Way to the beginning of the day, before I even woke the hopefully-better but still-sick-child.

Our oldest son always wakes up first. He’s an early riser in a family of non-early-risers and has been since birth. His face is always the first thing I see every single day. THISCLOSE. I got him situated with breakfast before I went to wake up his brother, so he was done, teeth brushed, and off to get dressed while I got Booey up and to the breakfast bar.

I heard him call from his room.

“Mom! I thought you said you were going to lay out a red shirt for me today.”

I nearly sat down and cried.

As you know, women who, for whatever reason, could not strike today during #ADayWithoutWomen, as well as feminist men, were asked to wear red in a show of solidarity. During the news the night before, which yes, my sons ask to watch every night, International Women’s Day as well as the strike came up. Our oldest son asked what wearing red meant. I explained. He asked to wear red. I, being the giant, overwhelmed, semi-failure that I am, had already laid out clothes for the next day, and didn’t remember to switch out his shirt for a red long-sleeved tee.

And he remembered. And called me on it. At 7:35 AM.

I don’t even know my middle name at 7:35 AM.

“Your red shirt is close to the top of your long sleeved shirts drawer. Grab it and put it on.”

And he did.

Yes, I had to work today, both in the form of a working woman and in the form of a mother who has to clean pukey things and wash dishes and do laundry and take dogs out as well as the trash. Yes, I did both paid and unpaid work today. I also shopped from a few women owned businesses. But my eleven-year-old son, my tween, recognized some kind of importance in something I said. Somethings I said, because it’s not like this is the first time I’ve discussed feminism and equality and respect and protest to my sons. No. My greatest task in life is to raise these boys into men who will go to bat for their female counterparts, who view women as equals not as sexualized objects, who don’t view feminism as a bad word.

Today I learned that I’m doing just that. Well. I’ll be.

 

Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids

International Women’s Day and Female Firefighters

Munchkin Fire Truck

Munchkin Fire TruckToday is International Women’s Day. In fact, today is the 100th celebration of the day, having got its start in 1911.

I was reading through some of the coverage this morning, and it pleased me to read about two separate female firefighters. Louise Hine-Schmidt is a firefighter in Ottawa, Canada and Dany Cotton lives in Orpington, Kent. I read the separate articles and was both moved and amazed at the hard work these two women — and the countless others like them — do in order to work at a job that they love. I mean, how many of us would be better people if we worked at a job we truly loved? These women are doing it despite the fact that they get all kind of grief and deal with issues most of us never consider.

Hine-Schmidt’s fire department still only has one bath and shower room. As so many fire departments were built before women were allowed to join the force, this is a common occurrence. Our department has no separate bathroom, no separate shower. Hine-Schmidt and her department make it work, just like others do, but it’s a constant reminder, I’m sure.

I also adore Cotton’s piece. She, like Hine-Schmidt, works to teach girls that they can have a career in the fire service. She makes a point that made me nod:

I’m not suggesting that being a firefighter is a job for all women, but neither is it a job for all men. If you like the idea of something different and worthwhile, it is a job for you. It can be physical, but you’ll also spend a considerable amount of time working with and helping people. It sounds like a cliché, but whether it’s through attending an emergency or passing on fire safety advice to a vulnerable person, there’s no better feeling than saving someone’s life.

I’m never going to be a firefighter. I’m scared of heights. I’m scared of fire. I don’t like to be hot, and turnout gear is really heavy and, in turn, really hot and sweat-inducing. (I know. I’ve worn it.) It’s not a career choice for me. And it’s not a career choice for all women or all men. But it’s a real choice, and the road has been paved for our young girls by these amazing women who have come before them. And the fact that the choice exists at all — for firefighting or whatever — is really the key.

For more information on the fire service and women, visit the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services.

And, since I’m a woman and this is my blog and I’m a writer and photographer, I want to take a minute to thank the women writers and photographers who came before me and allowed me to pursue my passions. I feel honored to be given so many choices for what I want to be, what I want to create, what I want to give back.

Take a moment today to tell a little girl in your life that she can be whatever she wants to be when she grows up. I know a special little girl who is going to be amazing no matter what she decides to become someday. I’m sure you do as well. Don’t forget to remind her.