Friday, September 29, 2006

There's a Racist in My Living Room!

Posted by Lynsalyns.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I moved to the Midwest with the highest hopes. At last, released from the clutches of my family drama! Relieved of the images of my dead father that lingered around every corner! Free to pursue the writing life and immerse myself in a community alive with ideas flowing like a river from the high-profile university two miles from my brand-new tract home.

Alas, it was not to be. This locale has proved interesting, but not exactly as I imagined. Hey, what is? Was turning 21 all you hoped it would be? Did marriage suddenly turn your husband into Martha Stewart in a three-piece suit? How's motherhood treating you? How about those idyllic, lazy mornings breastfeeding in a beautiful negligee while your adoring spouse looks on and snaps award-winning black-and-white art photos?

But honestly, this is a little much even for me.

I was wrangling the baby for a nap when my doorbell rang this week. The woman across the street was standing on my front porch. She and her family just moved into the house right across the street and she took me up on my spur-of-the-moment comment of "stop by any time, I'm home most of the day!"

I invited her in and we proceeded to have a lovely conversation. A freelance writer! You don't say! Me, too! Kids in high school and elementary school. That's a tough move for them. Doesn't this development kind of suck?

That last discussion led to this:

"My son came home from school and said, "Mom, do you know how many white kids are in my class? One, me!" she said, looking distressed. She went on to tell me how she and her husband are requesting a variance from the neighborhood association because a four-foot fence isn't tall enough to protect her grill and patio furniture from "those people." At this she waved her hand in the direction of the apartment complex that borders our development.

Indeed, many of the folks who live there are African-American. They are families and college kids and who knows what else – you know, people who live in apartments. I lived in an apartment 11 months ago.

The apartments gave us momentary pause when we bought this place, because we'd long resided near very noisy rental housing. We swung by late one evening to find the complex as quiet as can be. The only people I even see out on their tiny balconies are kids playing with their toys.

So I didn't know what to do when confronted by this person, with these hateful opinions. So I did what any self-respecting parent would do. I leaned on my toddler like a crutch and told the woman I needed to get her into her crib for a nap, could we talk again some other time?

I wish I'd had the guts to tell her off. I wish I'd seen her to the door, announcing that her kind wasn't wanted in my house.

Instead, I sat gaping like an idiot at the racist in my living room. Perhaps it is I who needs a six-foot fence.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Posted by Laural.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I consider myself a pretty good friend. Those who are in my "inner circle," so to speak, know that I'm the kind of person who will support you in whatever you are doing, will have your back when it comes to gossip about you, and will generally throw herself into the friendship. The flip side of these qualities, though, is that once I feel close to someone it's possible to walk all over me. Or at least possible to get me to do what you want.

Need someone to go to coffee when you're upset? Call me. Need someone to listen while you talk ad nauseum about the guy you like? I'll sit there and listen. As my friends (slowly) start to get pregnant and have babies, I'm there for them. Yes, it sucks at first, let me watch your baby when you have a shower, what can I do to help.

I don't expect a ton in return.

But, what I hate - what I absolutely HATE is when friends try to talk me into having my own home business.


I've done the research. I've listened to the spiels. I've calculated the income. Before I went back to work I thought long and hard about selling candles or toys or kitchen products or make up (various kinds, no less). But at the end of the day I realized something - I don't want to.
Don't get me wrong. I've been a hostess. I've sold the products. I've been the person who sits and listens while you do a test demonstration. I've bought products I don't need for amounts of money I don't have.

That, to me, is being your friend. That, to me, is supporting you. Period. If you are making your millions selling candles more power to you. But I don't want to.

I like my job. I know that shocks people, but I do. I like my son being in daycare. I don't particularly want to be a stay at home mom. I'm making a high enough income that I can finally pay my bills and occassionally go out to dinner. I do not want to spend several extra hours in the week, the time that I do spend with my child, going to people's houses selling them various products.

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from one of my friends. Our friendship has been off and on because it seems like she is always using me. I've tried so hard to end the friendship, bow out nicely, and only get together occassionally.

In fact, when I started work - the day I started work and sobbed the entire way in because I was leaving my baby - she sent me an e-mail telling me that I was awful for leaving my child, and if only I sold her products I would be a good parent (seriously) and my child would be better adjusted.

I got over that - and forgave her.

But then an e-mail came a couple of weeks ago. And, she said that she really misses me. Could we please get together at the mall we used to hang out at. My guilt complex kicked in immediately. And, I shot an e-mail back saying sure, the date worked, the time worked, and I would love to see her. Because I would. I like going for dinner with friends. Her son and mine are close in age. I wanted to share pictures, chat about mommy stuff, husband stuff and laugh about clothes we try on. I was, stupidly, looking forward to it.

And then the day before I got an e-mail. Also very friendly and chatty, saying that Surprise! She was just picking me up at said mall and taking me somewhere fun.

And I knew.

Just like you know when you're about to be dumped by a boyfriend. Just like when you see your boss coming at you with a scowl and a report covered in red marks. This wasn't going to be pretty. But, I didn't bail. Friends don't do that, right?

Know what we did? We went to an "event" where I sat for 3 hours being told about why I needed to run a business from home. I watched as seemingly sane people chanted about slogans and discussed cold calling.

This is what I sent to another friend about my night.

So ...

Last night. Totally dragged to the candle cult meeting.

It was BRUTAL.

Hot hot hot hotel meeting room and then they lit all of their candles.

And we had to do weird little chant things

And we shook marraccas and talked about trips to mexico

And learned how to do cold calling.


And then at the end of the night I was asked to join them. In their weird candle worshipping cult. It was 3 hours of candle hell.

And I kept hearing lines like "I don't call this work. I call this fun." I was highly encouraged to quit my job and go sell candles.

At one point I cracked - when they kept telling us to illuminate our souls.

May I ask you - have you illuminated your soul?????

Have you?

For the record, my soul is not illuminated. I did not join or buy a startup kit.

My point here is this - I'm not knocking home based businesses. What I'm sick of, like completely utterly sick and tired of, is being made to feel like I will not be someone's friend if I do not sell their products.

If I stayed at home, didn't need the income I have, and wanted to make some extra money, I would do something like this. I think it's a great idea.

But I don't stay home. And I don't want to. I don't want to run my own business. And, if I did, sadly, it would not be a business where I sell a poduct I don't like. Sorry - but I hate candles. I never buy them. I don't really like putting out fancy knick knacks and I would never spend $85 on a little arrangement for the table. Sorry. I've said that a million times to her. I don't care about burn time. I don't care about the latest scents. I'm kind of afraid of fire.

And, I don't want to be made to feel like a lesser mom or person because I'm not interested.

All I'm saying is back off. Please. I support you. I'm your friend. But, if that isn't good enough, then enough is enough.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Posted by Debi from Southern California.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


September 13th I was lucky enough to celebrate my son's one year birthday. Such a happy day. During the "Happy Birthday" singing, the opening of presents, and the cake smashing I secretly began to mourn. I began to mourn the beginning of what turned out to be the darkest period in me and my son's life - a time of pain, fear, depression, and ultimately hope.

I suffered through the beginnings of motherhood like any new mom. The unbelievable nipple pain, the hemorrhoids, the swelling, the lack of sleep. I suffered well. I believed it was a small price to pay for a such a new life. After about two weeks, though, everything changed. The baby would not stop crying. He finished nursing - he cried. He tried to sleep - he cried. You put him down - he cried. You held him - he cried. He would not stop crying. I could not stop crying. He didn't sleep. I didn't sleep.

I begged him to stop crying. I asked him, "Please, just tell mommy what to do and I will do it if it will make you stop crying!" One day I thought, "I bet if I threw him in the pool, he would stop crying." Later I thought, "If I drive the car off the road, I bet the crying would stop." I had pills. If I took them, I wouldn't have to hear the crying.

After a few trips to the doctor and a few mis-diagnoses (acid reflux and/or allergy to my breastmilk) and one trip to get an x-ray for a distended stomach, I got the phone call. "Your son has a massive tumor in his abdomen. Drive to Children's Hospital, room 124 immediately." He was six weeks old. I was alone in the house, it was 10:30 pm on October 25, 2005. I apologized over and over again to my baby for what was happening to him. "Mommy didn't mean to give you a tumor. Mommy didn't mean to think about killing you." "Mommy is sorry for everything."
Two days later, my son was reborn. He came out of surgery without a one pound softball-sized tumor in his abdomen. It was cancer, but the chances looked good. My baby began to get better and I crept ever so slowly into a deep depression. This wasn't how I pictured motherhood. I wasn't prepared to deal with cancer. NOBODY TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH MY SON HAVING CANCER. I was angry. I yelled at my husband. It was his fault, it was my fault, it was our fault. I was so angry and what was happening and I had nowhere to put my anger.

I sought help. The first therapist helped me to try and get over the cancer fear. For the most part, it worked. She did not, however, treat my marriage problems and my depression. We tried to be a family. I thought about divorcing him since he was no help anyway. I realized that was unfair to all of us. I still loved him. I needed him.

We moved to be closer to my family and the hospital in case we ever needed to go through chemo. The move helped. I was back in my old neighborhood, with friends and family close by. We started going to marriage counseling to try and pick up the pieces of a broken life. It's working. And after eight longs months of suffering through depression, I started on Lexapro and it's saving my life.

The reason I was unable to fully be happy on my son's birthday is the terrible sadness I feel when I think about what he and I lost. We lost our happy beginning. Our beginning together as mother and son was a total disaster and I can't ever get that time back to him. I can't take away the awful pain he must have felt for those six terrible weeks. For myself, I mourn the lost of a normal introduction into motherhood. I look around at all my friends who are new moms and I realize, "They don't share my experience - I can't relate to theirs." It's a lonely existence. I will not have any more children because I'm afraid of those first six weeks.

So, I look forward to October 27th. A day that gave me back my son. A baby that smiled for the first time in the hospital. A baby that was held by a family member, 24 hours a day, for over a week in the hospital. A baby that spent his first Halloween hooked up to monitors with a tube down his nose. A baby that does not cry any more.

You can meet Jack over at Jack Attack.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Know this feeling?

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters.)

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I used to say, "I love children"....What I have found is this: I love my own children. I don't necessarily love all children. All children are just not loveable. A lot of children that I encounter are not even likeable. I am thinking of a few children right now who really get on my freaking nerves. Thanks for letting me vent.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thoughts on Love

Posted by Anonymous, in response to this prompt.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


What is so hard for me is separating the ACT OF LOVE which brought the child, first to my womb, then to my arms. People often "freak out" when I tell them that labor, for me, was the opposite of making love. Same force, same irrisistible urge, same relief - in the reverse. From there it is not so unnatural for me to want to taste her skin- she was made from the act of love which was us and so, yes, there is such a fine line which can be easily misconstrued...

I read recently, also, that fear breeds binds us to that which we hold in awe. For me, that applies here, since I am bound to my child by the fear of what I do not know, the awe of visible evidence of the original act of our love...

Kissing her lips and having her gooey lips attempt to kiss me back reminded me where it all started. Holding her to my breast caused a shudder of elation, putting her down brought a flood of pain. I find it interesting that some parents don't share this same primal love... When I say that I have a physiological NEED to be with my children, I get looks. I need to touch them, even if it is (as it often is with the older ones) to brush them away in the busyness of the moment, I need that touch, they need that touch.

I also read somewhere that perhaps rapists as a group were subjected to inordinate lack of touch. I don't remember where I read it, it has been so long (and bearing six children pushed my memory to the farthest limit).

My favorite thing right now is to run my nose along their little cheekbones and ears and smell the scent of baby hair and kiss the backs of their necks. My husband doesn't seem to notice-- he gets plenty from me! Besides, I think he knows I find my children addicting. I am addicted to holding them, being one with them like I was when they were part of ME. I don't find it easy to let go...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Saying it out loud feels goooood

Posted by Anonymous.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


For the past two years my DH has been involved with helping start a new Cub Scout program in our itty bitty town. He did make it through Eagle Scouts and was the only parent/leader that actually was in the Scouts as a child growing up. Did that count for anything with the Cub Master? Oh hell no. For the past two years we have been putting up with her running it HER way and only HER way. And she has absolutely NO EXPERIENCE doing this. We have put up with her hanging the phone up on him simply because he questioned her about the # of pizza's she was planning to order. For two years we put up w/ her getting angry and bullistic about issues as small as that. Seriously.

Even though my DH is the Webolos leader, has done all the training, does his research both in the materials given and online... according to her… he is NEVER right.

DH and I were arguing every week after every meeting about what was said/done/ implied. I can take only so many rants and begged for us to go elsewhere w/ our son. Being the good and oh so stubborn man he is, he stuck to it. Week after week. So figuring I couldn't win that way, I tried to make friends with this woman, outside of Scouts. Turns out we do have some in common and I openly and honestly talked to her about how and what my dh was thinking. He's far too polite to say these things to her. Guess who's not? he he

I joined the blessed council at the beginning of this summer, volunteered and tried to write newsletters. I really shouldn't be so surprised that that didn't fly. She took mine, said something about spelling, and wrote her own. And, oh my, was it bad. I called her on it. And that's how I got to spend a peaceful summer this year without talking to her but once a month.

Before our first council meeting this weekend I again begged my dh to let us go somewhere else. I felt it coming. During that meeting we all got a FIVE minute lecture on how if we didn't like how things were done... to leave. She wasn't subtle, folks. Her philosophy? That no boy in her scouts… (and she calls them all "her boys") should ever have their feelings hurt. ALL craft projects had to be done w/ ALL the dens. Because she doesn't want them to feel left out. That her "boys" would not be going by the book because of that.

My son is mentally disabled, 10 yrs old w/ mentality and emotions of a five year old... and he already knows that there are things he can't yet do, no hard feelings and we move on. He already is treated differently by his peers and etc. He doesn't need to be babied quite that much! Nor do any of the other boys, in my opinion. It's a part of growing up.

The second lecture in this meeting was honesty and how leaders are to represent that. And then she goes " "DH" that means you cannot fudge the points for any kid in your den" and I was WTF??? He's the best leader they have and would never cheat and in fact has had parents resent him for that very fact!!!

We didn't agree with anything that was said during that meeting. DH tried to get his opinion and suggestions in. They were all shut down, ignored... but those were the two biggies to me.

After coming home from that meeting I couldn't even talk to him about it… as he was still willing to try while in my head I was thinking no way in hell.

Monday rolls around and she calls me. I wasn't really intending to discuss Scouts with her, but I had my last button pushed.

Me: You need to tell me...was that lecture directed at just us? Do you want us to leave?
Her: Well your dh and I never agree and blah blah blah
Me : (I interrupt, I know this spiel by heart) You and hubby do not communicate well...
Her: I am so tired of hearing this shit and I won't anymore


Yup once again she hangs up before anyone can explain anything because she's always right.

When dh got home last night I told him that we were not going back there again ever. Period. No more discussion we're done. After he figured out why, he finally agreed. I don't know who irritates me more at this point. I asked him how he wanted to do this… him call her or me. He decided me. I'm the bitch and he knows it lol.

So today I called her… and I started with an apology... it wasn't my intention to hurt her (I'm a libra ) and what did she say?



I said ok then Kevin and I are out. You've asked us to leave and...

… Again with the yelling of GOOOOOOOOOOOOD because I'm so tired of....

I interrupt and still I don't yell, I have kids in the house...

I also want you to know that I will always be entitled to my opinion.

And that I never want to speak to you again.


Not the best come-back. Still pissed because I couldn't or didn't do better. Then I sat and cried. And cried. I thought that outside of Scouts she was an ok friend. I don't have all that many friends… as I don't trust. And she had gained some of my trust. And I don't know why this is so upsetting and my feelings are so hurt when in all honesty a huge STRESS has been removed from my life.

I know some of this is guilt… my dh loves the Scouts and what they stand for. This was his hobby not mine. And when this woman wasn't at the meetings? He had an awesome time. I tried so hard to respect that. Yet I will never allow him near that pack or that woman again.

My dh and I are taking son to a new program and we have a bet. That within two months… all those boys from this pack... will be right there with us.

The tears are gone now. I realize that I haven't lost a friend, as she was never that in the true sense to me. She only got some of trust and some of my loyalty which will now hopefully go to a more worthy person. (Can you tell I've had therapy? rofl)

However I did send her this because I just have to have the last word:

And you believe I have a hard time with forgiving and controlling my rage?

Think about that for a second. I called to sincerely apologize for what popped out of my mouth yesterday. I'm human. I assumed you were also my friend and an adult and that after letting me apologize that you would stop yelling.

I also want to thank you. I've been trying to pull "dh" out of this crap for over a year. But he's a good guy, he made a commitment. He cares and DID compromise and do it your way last year. He, however, is also entitled to an opinion and only hoped that you would listen and then TALK with him about decisions.

Me? Well I can't tell you how glad I am that this stress will no longer be in my life. I am not a social person. I am not what you would call a Christian, and am extremely liberal. I'm just not your kinda people. I accepted that many moons ago. I have bitten my tongue, and have really not told you all my negative thoughts, criticisms, feelings and etc. as I knew and now know for sure... that you’re not capable of handling it.

Now it's time to say good bye, which is always hard for me. You see, like you, I want people to always like me... I just don't try nearly as hard as you do.

But you know what else, you are very right in feeling and thinking


(end of e-mail)

I highly doubt that she will ever respond to that. So putting it here… well kind gives me a wicked sense of satisfaction and yes, that may be evil and selfish. But it makes me feel oh soooooooooo gooooooooooood!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Don't Lower My Worth

Posted by Anonymous.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


There comes a time in every woman's life when she is forced to realize the truth. And in truth, what she finds is something she herself covered with layers of paint to hide its ugliness.

Upon hearing the compliment, "your daughter's speech is astounding," my husband quickly explained she'd been with his mother for a week. "She's an English teacher."

It doesn’t matter that his daughter's mother -– his wife, I might add --is a writer, nor does it matter that her daycare provider of the last two and a half years is a former English teacher as well. It doesn’t even take into account his daughter has some talents of her own.

"Well, I'm an English teacher," responds a blinking babysitter, just to make him squirm a little. After all, she knows he often speaks before he thinks. "I probably didn't have anything to do with it. And, you know, your wife has a better vocabulary than mine. I'm sure her influence hasn't left a mark."

He didn't bite, he just sucked.

"You are? An English Teacher? Oh … well. … Yeah, but my mom has a PhD."

The comment, relayed after the fact, sent me hurtling back to the movie "Party Girl," a film that introduced me to Parker Posey and a lithe, snide Holly Golightly of the '90s that I wanted to be.

It's the scene where Posey's character, Mary, dumps her boyfriend, Nigel, played by Liev Schreiber, for urinating in her shower.

Her explanation to him is elegant: "You lower my worth."

It occurs to me now just how often he lowers my worth. How often he lowers the worth of all women who didn't singled-handedly raise boys while getting themselves a higher degree than even he ever aspired to attain.

And I think to myself: "I bet he pisses in the shower, too."