Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In Case You Need a Laugh as Much as I Do

ROFL button

Mommy Off the Record and IzzyMom have started an exciting new blogiday: the ROFL awards. The great thing about this particular award is the objective criteria used to determine the nominees: you simply measure the volume of tears dripping off your chin (rounding off to the nearest millilitre) and cast your vote accordingly.

My nomination (coming in at 3.46 litres) is Kristen’s post, Dreamland, from Home on the Fringe. One of the drawbacks to a funny-award (and to comedy clubs) is that things are often funnier when you don’t know ahead of time that they’re going to be funny. So I’ve tested this post with multiple re-reads, and every time I go back, I can feel that weightless sensation as the laughter shaves years from my age (and based on the prevalence of pooping, barfing, farting, and nose-picking among this month’s winners, all the laughter has reduced most of us bloggers to a four-year-old’s mentality already).

For this month’s winners, go here and here. And whatever you do, make sure you click on Slacker-Mom’s link to this German guide to the birds and the bees. My college German is a bit rusty, but the text is still hilarious (and anyone who can translate the terms "Scheide," "Glied" and "Hodensack" for me will earn my deepest gratitude). Enjoy!


At Emmie’s suggestion, I’m putting out not so much a "call" as a tentative query. Does anyone have a post about rage simmering on the back burner? I don’t know that I personally would want to write a rage post just out of intellectual interest – for me, the act of writing yesterday’s post was deeply cathartic. I spent the morning keeping track of all the absurd little things that made my chest tighten and my breath go shallow with the effort of keeping the cyclone contained – and then I realized that I had entered "compose" mode. The relief was immediate: I stepped into that tiny space of distance from myself, selecting words and images and rehearsing them in my head as I scrubbed the kitchen floor with more than my usual degree of elbow grease. As therapy, writing out my rage is invaluable.

Aside from such venting, is there value in talking/blogging about our rage? Like Cinnamon Gurl, I’ve seen those startled looks of blank disbelief, like the woman at my moms’ group who gaped openly when I mentioned my collection of cardboard paper towel rolls (suitable for banging the wall, or the husband who steps between me and the wall for fear that I’ll damage the paint). And that reaction is so much less helpful, really, than that of my friend who showed me the dent in her wall, and the bandaid on the fist that put it there.

It was not without a twinge of misgiving that I hit "publish" on that post. I was braced for sympathy, and what I found instead was recognition: far more recognition than I had ever expected. So those of you who have met that woman, the angry one, the tight-lipped one, the fist-through-a-doorway one: Where does that rage come from? What are the safe ways you’ve found to express it? How do we incorporate that experience into our sense of ourselves as mothers? If you’ve got something to say, and it will help you to say it, write a post about your rage and let me know about it. I’ll decide what to do with the links when I see how many takers I get – somehow a link-fest love-a-thon doesn’t seem like quite the right approach. Maybe I’ll write a haiku and link them up that way: Yesterday’s jeans are / on the floor, sprawled. How can I / vacuum you bastard?


sunshine scribe said...

A rage haiku ... sounds very interesting. Only an English professor :)

And, yes, I do need a luagh as much as you do and that one did the trick! Thanks for sharing.

jen said...

nicely done, sister. and nicely done on the post before, as well. naked realism is always best, even when it's not shiny or pretty every moment of every day.

Jennifer said...

I just had the chance to read "The Rage Post" (*wink*) right now and found it to be so descriptive of "that feeling" that, yes, can lurk beneath the surface and no, is not often discussed. The blank stare you described when you opened up to one mother about this -- I've been there. So often, too often, motherhood is only described in terms of the amazement and love and cuteness and the funny stories. Of course, of course, we all love our children to the end's of the earth. Of course. But sometimes the surprising bursts of anger are there, too, and we really should discuss it more. Thank you for doing so.

Kristen said...

Thanks again for the nomination, B&P. It reminded me that sometimes things are funny around my place, and not always stressful and overwhelming. :-)

And I have things to say about rage, but it's probably stuff you already know. I need to determine if I should write more about it, or leave well enough alone at this point.

bihari said...

Oh yeah, I hear you on the rage. I was glad to find your post. I wrote a post called "Hissing," a while ago, dealing with the same stuff...I am all for getting it out in the open.

Your comment about, "because the law is a good profession for anyone looking for a short work week" left me in stitches, by the way.

Minnehaha Mama said...

Does it count that I just wrote about my husband's rage? Probably not. It wasn't cathartic or anything, but I sure had fun making fun of him.

Pieces said...

Oh, my dear, I remember the rage well. I still encounter it but not nearly as often as I did when I had little ones at home all the time. I can't write a whole post about it--just too painful--but I did hit a wall when I thought I was nothing but anger personified. And then one day I asked my husband if he would characterize me as an angry person and his answer was yes. On Christmas Eve. Painful.

The book that saved my life is The Anger Workbook. It changed me in so many ways and helped me understand how it is that I could get so angry with a helpless child and how to manage it when it happened.

You are in good company, my friend. Do not lose hope.

Mommy off the Record said...

I could definitely do a post about rage, but I think I’ll wait a little while. It seems like it would be bad timing to post about rage right after the funny awards. But believe me, I’ve punched a couple walls in my day. In fact, I’m much more prone to these types of strong emotions than my husband whose mellowness often throws me into a rage!

So, what’s the solution? I don’t know. I need to personally figure out a way to deal with it because I don’t think it’s good for my son to see me freak out and punch walls. But even though in my head I know I shouldn’t have these fits, they happen almost uncontrollably. I’d like to see what other people write about this and I’ll put it on my list of blog topics to get to. Thanks for the prompt.

Julie Pippert said...

I like the ROFL awards.

As for a rage post...I've written and pondered anger a lot. I've never posted it.

It goes largely unspoken because I think it goes largely judged.

I think your post was fantastic.

I'll think about it.

Julie Pippert said...

Okay the truth is I just taught a class/seminar about mom anger. I have an entire presentation and lots of honesty all written up.

I even cite of the best explorations and definitions of mom anger I've read (She's Gonna Blow), one of the most straightforward plans for Conflict Resolution and anger management (the Bible, believe it or not, six easy steps), and one of the best helpful and unhelpful self-talk sheets I've ever seen.

I still get angry though. Maybe I should post it.

Momish said...

I read through the comments on your Rage post and was very relieved as well to know I was not the only one who could identify all too well. I am not sure if I have ever posted as honestly about my explosive temper and the boiling that goes on inside (just from a drop of milk on my newly cleaned floors, for example)... But, I am sure I have at least hinted about it. I recently wrote a post about my misplaced blow ups towards my husband (an apologetic one). I guess I was also worried about any judgemental backlash, so you have definately reached me with this one. And, inspired me to be more honest and brave in the future. Like probably within the next ten minutes...

Anonymous said...

I wrote about my rage in this post - http://threecountriesthreekids.blogspot.com/2006/09/ugly-truth.html

Were going through a better patch at the moment so the negative feelings have subsided... but when I'm raging again I'll be sure to write about it - because that's what helps me (and talking and getting the support I need to survive another day).

Anonymous said...

Trying again


Marian said...

Such a diverse post! Hence, a diverse comment:

-I once came across a book of Haiku for moms in a book store-- hilarious stuff! I'm not sure if this is the one, but here's the link of one such book listed at amazon.

- OK, you got me curious about the German book and I took a look. Very German, that's all I'm sayin'! Really, you want the translations of those words? I'm not sure I can post these directly without somehow giving your blog an XXX rating in the blogosphere! How about "The Scheide Monologues?" Glied actually rhymes with "venus". And a Hodensack is, um, a "holdin' sack" for all of those little swimmers. I'm blushing in German. But, how about this? I didn't know the word "Schlitz", used on the same page of that book, and looked it up. It's used as an alternate for Scheide, and means "slit/opening". Do you remember the show "Laverne and Shirley" in the 70's? I'm almost completely certain L & S worked at the Schlitz brewery! Could it be that the writers were being naughty?
- And the rage. A good, honest post. Good to bring it into the light. Bad to stay in that place for too long. I've found that the antidote to that rage can be summed up in one word: surrender. I'm the mom now, and I will die a little in the process of mothering, and it is ok. Surrender to that fact brings me to the point that I can "find my life in losing it", carried by God's love . Not that I'm there in every moment of every day, but that is the essence of what brings me back.

nomotherearth said...

I've been - and still am - unplugged due to illness, but I just caught a lucid moment to read your Rage post. Thank you for it. I know that angry version of myself, and I am trying desperately to avoid her. Glad to know I'm not alone - sometimes I really feel like I am. Now I have to sleep...

Girl con Queso said...

I hate running. But when I rage, I run. And it is fantastic.

Aliki2006 said...

I have definitely felt the rage--and I would venture to say that most women--most mothers--have, too. Liam hardly ever slept "right" and I was exhausted most of the first year with him. I wrote this poem about 6 years ago and your post reminded me of it, so I dug it up. I remember my mother-in-law came across it by accident when she found the manuscript and I know she was disturbed by my allusion to rage.

A Sort of Solitude

I can’t get you to stay asleep.
Each time I set you down you awaken,
arms stiffened, fists balled up
in anger--you scream.
Outside your room I wait,
and cross my arms around my chest
to keep the anger in where it wells and wells
and turns around upon itself.

It’s hot, the floors creak,
and this apartment is suddenly too small.
The temptation is too great to leave you
and run out into the street,
where the sky is blue
and there is peace and solitude.

My little burden:
I pick you up and cradle you.
You close your eyes once more.
Outside the street lies flat and empty,
I lower myself into the chair and rock,
your body heavy against my chest,
your breath warm across my neck.
Here is peace,
and a solitude of sorts.

copyright-A. McElreath

bubandpie said...

Aliki - That poem is so true, it hurts to read it.

wordgirl said...

I don't have a post like that...yet...but maybe that's because I know that writing one would probably take about four or five hours to do. And it would be so long that no one would read it. And someone might be tempted to call "crisis hotline" on my behalf afterwards.

T. said...

You are not alone with that rage. I know that when the rage overtakes me, I write. I don't always publish, but I always write.

Sometimes it just helps to see the words in front of me. Other times, I need to pound the wall.

Often, I find that writing about it is as cathartic as telling a friend about it. At least it helps to clarify my thoughts.

julia said...

I could write a 200 page thesis on rage right about now. It's ever-simmering and often not very well-supressed. I've had one half-written in my drafts for a long time but haven't published it because it makes me upset and embarassed.

Rock the Cradle said...

One of the firsts posts I did was just a page from a journal I started when the Impling was heading into her 5th month of colick. There is no kind of self actualization about my rage within this post, just moment to moment existence, which was all I was really capable of at the time.


Off to check out those ROTF sites...

Anonymous said...

I have avoided writing about the dark side of motherhood because I didn't want Swee'pea to read it when he's older. But I think there is value in writing about it for other mothers too. I ended up writing a post about another part of the dark side today though.

Anonymous said...

Oh - I remember drinking Schlitz when I was a teenager. It had a blue bull on the label. I think it was one of those beers with very high alcohol contentlike Old English.

And I've just read aliki2006's poem. As the mother of a baby who doesn't sleep "right" either, I love that line "a solitude of sorts."

kittenpie said...

Funny, I picked up a book about anger and parenting last month when I was going off the deep end and figured I'd write a post around it relating to my experience of anger once I had read it. Better get on with it, I guess...

Mrs. Davis said...

I have not done a "rage" post of my own, but seem to recall reading others. I agree that it's cathartic, but it's also valuable for finding the recognition and "me, too" with other women.

There's a fantastic book called "The Bitch in the House" that I wish all moms could read. It talks a lot about women/moms and anger, and I was so relieved to read it and find out that other women get as angry as I do. It's a collection of essays by lots of different women-writers.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I've had a post about rage swirling around in my head for months. I've been taking the opposite route and going with the happy stuff lately but I think it's almost time to let it out. Honestly your post made me want to get it out onto the computer screen. I think writing about it is better than acting on it by throwing a coffe cup at your husband's head. Not that I've done that or anything. ;)

Nancy said...

I just read your previous post, and it definitely resonates with me. I have struggled with how to write about the feelings of anger within myself that seem to inexplicably rise up without warning -- that leave me quivering and emotional and struggling with trying to keep balance. When it's possible to do so, I do let the rage out in some way, whether it's through writing or singing or cleaning.

I haven't written about it a lot on my blog -- the anger -- I think because it's still hard for me to express in a cathartic way. I grew up with parents who hardly ever got outwardly angry or argued, except behind closed doors. I don't want to be that extreme myself, because I want my girls to know they can express emotions without bottling them in -- but I think my intentions are obviously better than my follow-through.

mad_hatter said...

I notice there is no comma between "vacuum" and "you bastard"--a delightful ambiguity.

bubandpie said...

MH - Hehe. I put that comma in, didn't like it, and took it out again. The ambiguity was not intentional, but on the other hand I did recognize it and left it there anyway - does that make it a Freudian non-comma?

Julie Pippert said...

All right. You made me do it. ;)

Oh and I also noted that last line with no comma and loved it. Freudian? Sure I'll give that one to you. :)

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

You're right, that was cathartic. Thank you.

A post on mother rage:

karrie said...

I recently stumbled on Home On The Fringe and love it.