Caryn: No offense to the many great nurses and doctors I’ve visited and known throughout my life, but today—at the Walgreen’s Take Care Clinic—I met my most favorite medical professional ever. “Met” may actually be strong because I don’t think I caught this nurse practitioner’s name, but still, loved her. Loved her. Loved her.
And not just because she called me a “trooper” for being so “chipper” with a throat that looked as bad and “streppy” as mine did. I loved her because when I started to explain why, in fact, it had been “‘uhhh…at least 2 years and 9 months ago” since I’d had my LMP (this little abbrev is to spare our male fans details that could keep them from ever coming back)—and that reason being that I was still nursing my nearly 2-year-old son and things just work that way for me—she said, “You’re a great mom!”
And then she proceeded to tell me that she nursed her kids for 2 or 3 years each and that her family thought she was a “freak” and said, “Don’t you just feel so judged sometimes? I mean, people look at you like you’re a child molester!”
So I shared with her my fear that my kids were budding addicts or at least bound to have total OCD because they were so hard to wean. She then assured me that her kids were long grown and seemed to be pretty normal.
Okay, so I loved her for that reassurance. But then she did my favorite thing: After the swab revealed indeed I had strep, she started to tell me about the penicillin, about my need for more fluids, and about my need for rest. She started laughing halfway through the word “rest.”
And said my favorite medical thing ever: “Don’t you hate it when people tell you to get more rest? Whatever.” Then we both laughed.
I really don’t know exactly what the point of this rambling is, but I was just SO excited to be in a setting—with a stranger, with an educated medical professional—where I felt totally understood, where someone GOT my life a bit. It was like a glimmer of what life would be like once the revolution reaches the rest of the world. Where people stop giving stock, stupid answers or advice to things we cannot do (or don’t want to do) and start treating us as individuals.
Man, I may have a med school lecture in here somewhere…..
Carla: I love her too! Do you think if I went to see her she could tell me that it’s no wonder I don’t get any exercise what with my schedule and I should stop worrying about it, and that I need to sleep a lot more–preferably in a hotel room by myself?
It does feel so good when we meet other moms who are honest, and who understand the fears that plague us. When they are people to whom we have bestowed “authority” it feels even better. That’s why it’s so frustrating when the parenting “authorities” give us advice that is so out of touch with our actual experiences. The very people we need to pull us through the doubts and fears are the ones creating those doubts and fears.
We have said–at least to each other–that the Mommy Revolution is about wresting conversations about motherhood from the hands of 70-year-old men and putting them back in the hands of real women. We want motherhood to be defined by mothers, for mothers. And we want those definitions to be as varied as the women who create them.
Oh, and I’m sorry you have strep. There is nothing worse than being a sick mom. Nothing changes, nothing stops. It sucks. I hope you can find a way to get some rest and get better.
Caryn: Thank you for giving my little ditty a point, Carla. I think you nailed why I loved this woman. An authority offering relatable, do-able, real-world wisdom—and offering it with mutual respect and understanding—rocks. And it’s something our mom world lacks. (Oh, I’m SURE she’d say to go ahead and do the hotel-room-rest thingy.)