Open Mouth, Insert Leg

I have been attending the Microsoft Women’s Leadership Conference the last two day.  It’s the fourth time I’ve gone, and the first time I’ve been underwhelmed. I did see two very good sessions today, so that likely makes up for the others. I’ve been chewing on one participant’s comment all day long, the longer I think, the more irritated I am.

This is also the first time I have seen so many men at the conference.  I only mention this as the participant I just mentioned is one. A man.

This morning Steve Ballmer came and did an interview-type discussion to kick off the day. Good questions, mostly good responses, and then time to open it up to questions from the audience.

A man was up at the microphone and asked two questions.  The more relevant one was about succession planning and how many women are on the executive plan. Great question, impressive. But…  The other question.  He asked Steve, of all the conferences and opportunities he is offered over the year, why did he pick the Microsoft Women’s Conference?

?

I’m sorry, WHAT?!

It was an odd response in the room. The air wasn’t sucked out, no collective gasp, no rousing emotion or “bitch” from all the (women) people surrounding him. It was more of an awkward – Wait. Did he really just say that? Did you hear that? ‘Cause I heard it!

It was a good response from Steve – who was very honest that he doesn’t own his calendar, the team and business managers around him own it. And if they tell him it is important, he knows it is important and therefore he attends.

Wow – how demoralizing. I’m still a bit irritated the question was even asked. Given the room dynamic, and how Steve responded to the question, I’m not sure the participant “got” it. I didn’t see him again once we disbanded from the room. But maybe, hopefully, some other person pulled him aside to give an insight into how he may have been perceived. By many.

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Mom “secrets”

I was at the gym this morning when I saw an up-coming Today story – What’s your deepest, darkest secret? Moms confess…  Today.com and Parenting.com surveyed 26,000 moms.  Mental note – go look that up online later…

So I read the article.

Uh…..nothing surprising. Really – any mom out there look at that and feel surprised by anything they said? Shocked at how many admitted to certain actions like medicating a child or using them as an excuse to get out of stuff?  Haven’t done the former, have done the latter. So what? I’ve sent a sick kid to daycare and I often want to be left alone. Are you judging me now? How about that I ponder the “Do Over” question?

So why am I writing about this? Besides shaking my head at the honest reality of it all?  Yes! It is so freeing to be able to say these kinds of things to my closest girlfriends (and I guess now the internets).  Blogs like dooce or All & Sundry have helped in laughing, crying or figuring out tips of my own in the whole parenting scheme. Or the ah yes I remember that moment…  Like at my 2-week post partum sobbing to my doctor that I didn’t want to be a mommy that day.

But those blogs didn’t exist when I was considering pregnancy – OK, they might have, but I wasn’t reading them. There was not a Loud Voice out there of Mommy Bloggers talking about the challenges and joys of parenthood. No one being totally honest and raw about what it meant to be a parent.

I remember coming back from maternity leave, Fall of 2003 and running into a pregnant co-worker in the cafeteria. She was in the happy pregnancy stage, no morning sickness, not physically uncomfortable, she was just joyous and bubbly. I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep.  She asked me how wonderful it was to be a parent and how excited I was to have a daughter. I looked at her straight in the eye and say “No one tells you how hard it is”, she smiles, “No really, there are not words to describe how HARD it is!” She gave a nervous laugh and walked away.  Months later after her maternity leave, she walks up to me with that wild-eyed new parent look, takes my hand and says something to the effect of, “You were SO right and I had no idea…there truly aren’t words…”

If you aren’t a parent – that may not have made sense to you.

I love my child. She is sharp, creative, caring, pretty and cunning. She is a force to be reckoned with now and will be until she leaves the nest for her own place. I love that she takes care of me when I’m ill, brings me art for my office, eager to share a dessert, read a book together and wants to cuddle from time to time. But sometimes….

sometimes….

sometimes….

….sometimes….

I just wish I could do it over.

Change your mind–are rape really “alleged”

This article on MSNBC today really burns me up, Report: Alleged Libya rape victim arrives in US.  Alleged.  ALLEGED?!  That word feels so accusatory to me. Here is what Merriam-Webster says about Alleged:

: asserted to be true or to exist <an alleged miracle>

: questionably true or of a specified kind : supposed1, so-called2 <bought an alleged antique vase>

: accused but not proven or convicted <an alleged burglar>

al·leg·ed·ly\-ˈle-jəd-lē\ adverb

Examples of ALLEGED

  1. The alleged thief was arrested.
  2. He denied the alleged conspiracy.

And what my Thesaurus comes up with:

Alleged

OK….OK….I understand it’s not proven, maybe she’s lying.  But maybe she’s telling the TRUTH!  When it comes to rape, why is the victim painted in such a poor light?  What about the accused?  Yes, yes, headlines often read “accused rape suspect”….but why put the woman (or man for that matter) under scrutiny that they did something wrong?  Who the cares if they were drunk, dressed provocatively or “asking for it”.  If someone says NO, it means fucking NO!!!

Not only did she report being raped, she reported being gang raped.

This world can really SUCK sometimes you know?

I hope she finds solace and reassurance in what must be a very emotionally taxing time for her.  That she has someone to lean on.  That will listen to her.  And truly believe she is telling the truth.

I’m inclined to believe her…

Lilith 2010

Saturday I went to the Gorge Amphitheater for Lilith 2010.  It’s been 11 years since I was there, back in 99 for the last Lilith Fair tour.  It is truly beautiful there, and the music, a near religious experience.  I went with 3 girlfriends, all perfect.  Norman has taken to calling us the Momfia.  Watch out – it’s the English Hill Momfia, do not cross us!  I always get sappy reflective after a really good concert. 

It was the first time I had really listened to Sugarland – I was quite impressed with them.  They were full of energy and really good entertainers.  Jennifer Nettles was cracking me up – such a sense of humor and positive energy.  I was also looking forward to seeing Erykah Badu again and she did not disappoint.  Neither did Sheryl Crow.  Colbie Caillat was also good, her comment about being 11 at Lilith in the 90s and being inspired to become a singer/songwriter was touching – but OMG that made me feel old!  And then there is Sarah  McLachlan.  Holy cow that woman’s songs hit me in places.  Many have helped me over the years work through some tough stuff.  Particularly Angel as my “theme” song at a personal development course.  Chokes me up to this day when I hear it.

Norman had sent me a link on EW.com about some concerns, slip-ups and bad press around Lilith.  Some of it around trying to have the acts to draw crowds.  If the focus is women in music, does it really matter that Kelly Clarkson, Erykah Badu, Rihanna and Sarah  McLachlan could all share the same stage?!  My gawd people walk around if you don’t like the artist.  You cannot please all the people all the time, particularly at a venue and event like this.  All those times I went to Lollapalooza (before it was a destination event) I didn’t like everyone.  When I went to Lilith in the 90s I didn’t like everyone.  What I have found every time, is a new artist I would not have known before.  Tara McLean, Dayna Manning, Heather Nova, Bic Runga, Holly McNarland and Rebekah – never would have known them or discovered them as soon as I did without the exposure.  Now – Sugarland. 

Please leave your attitude and pessimism at the door.

Let’s try to take the message to heart – that Sarah reiterated again during the show – Lilith is about community and celebration.  So put on some music and get your brain and body moving!

Thoughts on Glee

If you all aren’t watching Glee now – you should catch up soon because it is so fucking good!!

Anyhoo – today I’m watching, what I will call, The Body Image show (or Home as the writer’s termed it).  Mercedes is grappling with peer pressure and unrealistic expectations on image and acceptance.  Then you see Quinn, the bitch of all bitches early in the season, be the one reaching out to tell Mercedes one of the biggest lessons she’s had since she got pregnant – if she can adjust to do the right things to take care of her baby, why wouldn’t she do it for herself as well?

So what I wonder – who is getting these messages?  I honestly, truly hope that there are teens out there watching this and taking it in.  That maybe they will show up at school tomorrow and tell that bully to kiss off.  And I mean the girl bullies, the ones that cut you with their words not physical acts.  Perhaps watching the characters like Quinn transform and learn lessons in high school that some of us didn’t even figure out until after college?!  One of the things I love about this show are those stories, the examples of real-life lessons that most of us may not learn until later.  Can you imagine if an army of teens got it 15 years earlier than most?  Although it may be a detriment to the mental health community – the rewards far outweigh those risks.  How fucking powerful would the future turn out to be? 

I may not allow A to read the Twilight series – but I sure will sit her down to watch Glee when it’s time.  I don’t want to control my daughter.  I want to help her avoid those extra stupid mistakes I made along the way.  How much time, energy and money have I wasted on body image and all that’s wrapped up in those two little words.  It scares me, it really does.  Because a few weeks ago, she started asking me how much “fat” was in the food she was about to eat and how she doesn’t want to eat any “fat” and that’s not good for you and she likes that she’s thin.  She’s 7!!  I cannot tell her enough times it’s about smart choices and moderation and getting exercise – that a human body does need fat to survive and isn’t it so much better to eat olives or nuts or regular yogurt than some crap off the supermarket shelf that has multiples-more chemicals listed than actual food product?  I should have known this was coming early. I still want to cling onto the innocence of being 7 and in 1st grade and enjoying her life – not have to reeducate and battle on the “fat” or body image with her. 

Please just give me some more time with the innocence.  Please…

Another Installment of When I Rule The World

Did anyone see that Octomom interview last night?  I’m disgusted.  Yes, I found it all fascinating from a media and cultural perspective when she had the babies.  I would really rather not fan her flames any longer.  She’s got issues and needs to deal with that and 14 kids.  Not national television or reality shows.

I saw about 4 minutes of it while flipping through channels last night.  I happened to be on the station when she was ranting at John & Kate Plus 8.  Granted, that 10-some has their own issues and I’m not writing about that now.  So here is what I see.  She’s on the bed, there were 4 or 5 crying babies on the bed around her, one attached to her breast feeding, not sure where the rest of them were.  Her other kids – one was sitting on the crib railing, a few were wrestling on the floor, not sure where the rest of them are.  Can only imagine how hard it is to keep tabs on 14 kids.

Anyhoo….Octomom was ranting on Kate about having 8 kids and she shouldn’t complain and blah blah blah.  Um…Octobitch…you should be careful where you are throwing stones.  Kate was married when she had her kids.  Kate has a husband/ex who is still the dad of 8 kids and still shows up to be part of that family.  As messed up as her life is, Kate is providing for her children and focused on being a mom (when she isn’t a reality star or on a book tour).  I tend to believe the stories I read about Kate.  Yes, I get she can be a bitch.  But what wife hasn’t lashed out at her husband in the face of life and children.  Do we really all believe she acted that way 100% of the time?  Personally, I don’t think so.  Also tend to believe the stories about John.  Got married earlier, has lots of kids, pressures of reality fame and scrutiny…and is out sowing his oats.  Seems more apparent that both had a hand in their marital troubles huh?

OK – I did get sidetracked there – didn’t mean to write about those two.  So back to my original intent:

Kate has a support structure around her to care for her children that were born out of a relationship and (hopefully) love.  She has not gone through ump-teen invitro procedures, when there was not a clear path of support.  And this doctor – what sane, professional, up-standing medical doctor would implant a woman with 8 more knowing she had 6 at home and no husband or boyfriend (or girlfriend) or support system.  She lives with her parents.  She relies on their support.  Didn’t the house go into foreclosure when she was in the hospital?

This woman needs serious help.  Badly.  Or she is going to mess those kids up!  Can’t you see the headlines 12-15-20 years from now?  Octobaby arrested for X, Y and Z….

To the title of this post – people like Octomom won’t be allowed to mess up another child.
It sick how many people that should not have children have children. 
Or ones that desperately want one struggle and go to the most extreme measures to conceive or adopt.
It’s not fair. 

It’s an injustice I would like to change When I Rule The World.

Alienating Advertising

I love loved a Klondike bar.  The last month of my pregnancy I ate one every day.  There was NO substitute (as my husband found out the hard way).  6 years later, not sure how many times I’ve had one.  Regardless, there is was a special place in my heart for a Klondike Bar.

I was on some website this morning.  Not sure which one.  That doesn’t matter.  There was a display ad for Klondike Bars.  It had some flashy animation thing, and I saw something about more chocolate.  Knowing how much I have enjoyed them in the past – I clicked on the link.

klondike

See that highlight?  The one about the “Man Cave”?  Sure, I clicked it.  Sadly, the deeper you go into the cave, the more offensive it is to me as a Woman.  Here are a few highlights…

  1. How about that moose head?  This Guy has known it longer than “your girl” – really?
  2. “Khaki Pants Pete” – oh jeez, it is SO hard being a man, being nagged all the time by your wife, life is so fucking hard, then you have to drop off the sitter, but also get a “gift” for the bachelor party, so do you go to the sex shop first then drop off the sitter?  Can you say harassment?!
  3. “Michael Ian Black” TV – different vignettes on what a guy would do for a Klondike bar.  This riled me up the most! Women in French maid costumes serving a bar and getting an ass goggling?  They guy agrees to kiss the next woman coming out of the gym, after a parade of well toned, pretty girls in work out wear – the next one out the door is an older, heavy set, homely looking woman. That he kisses on the cheek.

klondike3klondike2

  klondike4klondike5

I tweeted a fail on Klondike for the Man Cave.  I got a response back that asked what I would do for a Klondike Bar.  Are they kidding me?!?!  So I tweeted back to them that they are missing the point.  They have alienated half their audience.  Would you want to support a product that had very little regard for women.  I haven’t heard anything back.

I get that people are tired of the whole PC environment.  I get that many women would not find this offensive.  I get that many (most?) guys don’t see the problem here…  It matters to me.  I have friends with a similar mind set that would support me.  All it takes is one voice…

What would you do?  Think about it.