Thursday, March 11, 2010


I was walking across my yard today in the rain with Owen in the sling on my hip and the big umbrella above us. We had just been across the street to tend to the neighbors' dogs who refused to go outside to pee and poop and well- that's just too bad for them. You try picking up a squirming thirty-pound dachshund with an eighteen pound baby in a sling on your hip and try to get that dog outside while manipulating a huge umbrella.

Yeah. Go ahead. I'm waiting.

But anyway, there I was, walking across our yard to the chicken coop so that Owen and I could feed Elvis and the hens and I had a realization and it may not be exactly an epiphany but it's as close as I'm going to come on a day like today.

What I realized is that I see my own worth entirely and I do mean entirely, on my actions and accomplishments. Is this normal?
When I can't get my tasks done, when I can't do what I'm supposed to get done, I feel like a failure. I literally cry when my husband hugs me and says, "It's okay, honey. You're sick." I apologize like a fool for not getting the peas planted and for not getting the laundry done. Do I think that my husband only loves me for the work I do around here? Is it possible that I really do, in my heart, believe that? And that if I stopped doing it for any reason, he would cease to love me?
Would he?
Do I have a slave mentality? Have I been watching too much Wife Swap where women are always discovering that their families take them for granted?

I don't know. I think about my friends. The people I love. I don't judge them as failures if they don't get their dishes washed or garden weeded. My kids could do practically anything or nothing at all and I'd still love them as much as I love them now. I'd be concerned but I'd still adore them.

I suppose I've been thinking about this a lot today as I've spent my hours with my boy. He just left a few minutes ago and we had a good day. Every day with Owen is a good day. I talked to Lis on the phone and I told her that if Owen hadn't been here today I probably would have hung my head and cried. It's been that sort of day, mostly due to the fact that it seems as if all I've done is clean up pee and poop, both boy and dog-produced. Now I do not mind cleaning up Owen's pee and poop one bit. Nah. I love our diaper change times. But I did let him pee DURING a diaper change and ended up having to change all of his clothes, mine, and the sheets and mattress pad. And when we went back over to the house across the street there was a small river of pee which the dachshunds had produced.

And of course my dogs decided that their butts were too cute to go outside to pee and poop in the rain and so...
Well. It's been that sort of day.
And although I do feel somewhat better, I am certainly now what you would call all well.

But, Owen WAS here and so it was a good day and I've taken some pictures and I'll give them to you here. And thank those of you who have gone to visit over at Gatorbone. It's made Lis very happy and making Lis happy is a wonderful action and if we are indeed judged by those, then I judge you to be a very fine person. Also, as soon as she figures out how to reply to her comments, she will.

And one more thing- I have definitely not had time to go check y'all's blogs today or respond to your comments but I hope all is well and that your day was a good one too and that it didn't have as much dog shit and dog pee in it as mine did although there are worse things.
Catshit and cat pee for instance but I we won't be discussing that.

And if you have any ideas on the are-we-only-as-good-as-our-actions thing, let me know because you know I'm here, judging myself as a blog failure because I haven't returned the love today.

Well, I am comforting myself thinking of the lilies of the field and how they neither sow nor reap, etc., etc. and here are some flowers who don't do those things either but I love them. And some chickens and a baby and although I think both chickens and babies work pretty hard at their tasks, that is certainly not the only reason I love them.

Bradford pear blossoms against magnolia leaves.

Azalea buds.

White chicken (Daffodil) scratching in black dirt.

Miss Betty in the oregano.

My heart.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Well, for what it is worth, I think I am a failure for all that and more, every day, so either every woman does or we are both really fucked up.

    I adore that picture of Owen sleeping.

  2. Oh, I wish I had wise words, but I have the same issues with what I do and don't do. I expect too much of myself sometimes. You do plenty.
    Just look at those chickens, scratching in the garden, and just look at that boy! Adoramous. There is nothing cuter than the hand under the cheek sleeping pose.
    Thank you for the flower pictures. I have a new bradford pear and redbuds, I planted them in memory of my Dad, and this will be the first Spring I see them in bloom. There are just tiny fuzzy buds on the pear, and yours are helping me be more patient. Hope the rest of your day is just fine.

  3. I just completely forgot about everything you wrote and all the other pictures because I saw Owen's little smushed cheek resting on his little hand. And then I died.

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  5. Boy did I relate to this post. I use to feel if I wasn't constantly doing work around the house then I must not be doing enough...I don't work outside the house..I was and am a stay at home mom...and I am lucky to have been able to play with my kids, go to the park, take hikes, walks, have coffee or meet with friends...etc..and my Love works hard for us to have a wonderful home and food on our table... Yes, at times I think I am suppose to be like the woman of the prairie and work constantly with no pleasure of my own...I don't know where I ever got that idea!! I surely don't....My Love has never...NEVER..made me feel guilty for what I do. He knows being a mom isn't easy..he thanks me for all I do and he calls me to ask if I need anything at the store (in other we have something for dinner?)..he will go after work and come home with a smile and hug. So why do I still at times feel like I don't do enough?

    When I hit the menopause state in my life..well I just felt a bit different. I need to enjoy my life, I need to live in life more fully. I need to drop my personal guilt. My Love has taken to saying "You should write more on your blog!"..he is so happy for me to write! He will tell me from time to time I should write about this or would be good for you to write!

    I don't know what the heck that feeling comes from but it needs to be purged...simple as that. being loved, giving love is way more important than dog poo and pee! Hugging a grandbaby is way more special and is what we need and by darn living is what you do do Ms. Moon..your feeling sick...I need to bring that cup of tea to you..wish I could.

    (I wrote an awful lot....get me going and watch out!)

  6. Well, ditto ditto ditto. Years ago I noticed that down here in Mexico, they talked about how chubby and pretty the babies were, but NEVER what they had accomplished, and i began to realize that we are nuts about bragging about babies' accomplishments and just all around placing so much emphasis on doing vs. being. So that's where it all started, perhaps, this thinking we're not worth crap other than what we manage to DO and do well, gold stars and all that.
    So, well, that doesn't help much, I guess. Hmmmm.

  7. If misery loves company, you've got it. Buddy (the cat) who just moved from Washington St. to S. Water with your sister Jezebel decided her closet was the best place to poop instead of the brand new liter box. Just got back from Fred's with rug cleaner, febreeze, etc. etc. Fortunately my significant other doesn't judge me by what I've done or I'd really be in trouble these days! That sweet man took all the laundry to the laundramat in the pouring rain this morning while I "organized" (as if) around the house. Love you. See you Saturday!

  8. Ms. Moon, I have ALWAYS felt that way about myself, despite the assurances from friends and family that I was anything but a's not what I have or haven't done, but how I go about things and how I treat people that gives me my worth and respect from friends and family they have all told me, and I try to keep that in mind when that little negative voice tries getting a bit louder..

  9. changing nappy time is great. you know, babies have it hard, they cant talk, cant tell us what's wrong. it's so great to realize what's wrong (a poo crime for example) and to efficiently fix it (clean nappy).

    i consider it, yes, a pleasure, a priviledge, to change nappies and be peed on and clean up. simple but a basic true service...and one of the first communications with those little ones

    hope you feel better soon


  10. I think there are many reasons why we all judge ourselves harshly for not living up to our expectations or that of others. Part of it is how we are taught as children, which is not at all bad... A child does something and we cheer and kiss them or whatever. We reward them with love in some way... Also, it is a bit cultural. However, I think those of us who grew up with abuse have an exadurated perspective of ourselves in this regard. Because we are not taught to value ourselves just because we are here, we have to make up for that by being popular... or DOing stuff for ourselves and others. It's all crap. It's just a really hard mindset/habit to break.

    Good for you for seeing it! Now will you get some rest? hee hee!
    xoxo PS We have a key to the neighbor's house.. If you want, Harley and I are happy to take them on. Let me know.

  11. Kori- I think we women are far more apt to feel this way. And it it's crazy, even if we all feel this way.

    Mel- Happy blossoming! And I know I do plenty, but somehow it never seems enough.

    Stephanie- Come back!

    Ellen- We have so much in common and you have given me much to think about.

    Lopo- No. That helps A LOT. What part does culture play in all of this? Puritanism? What?

    Jan- Oh dear. Well, hopefully the kittycat will feel comfortable enough to shit in the box soon. Cats. They do not think the way we do. Which is good. And bad.
    And you do have a sweet man. And organization begins IN THE BRAIN! So, you can be organizing and look as if you are doing nothing, nothing at all.

    Mr. Mischief- Glad to hear it's not JUST a woman thing.

    Screamish- Yes. Especially when they are young'uns. Now when they get so old that they come and tell you their diaper needs changing- well, that gets very old very fast.
    As I recall.

    Ms. Fleur- Good thoughts. And can one ever break it?
    P and L are home so the doggies are back in their loving hands. Thank-you, though. I thought about calling you this morning but it worked out.

  12. Elvis is a pretty rooster, he won't be mad because I said he is pretty, will he?

    Owen is so precious sleeping with his little hand on his cheek.

  13. I try to judge my worth on my thoughts and intentions and ideas and comprehension, because if I judgedmysel on what I achieve on a day to day basis, I'd be a percent or two way from worthless.

    It's not a good way to be, but I try not to let my fuck-all-usefulness define me...

    but seriously. Blog failure?? Who made that up? I think you did, and I think as a stick to beat yourself with, it's something of a crock.

    I wish you'd get mr M to build an outside dog palace you could just hose down...

    wv: warti

  14. Love the Elvis singing header! Gorgeous shot.
    Love these photos too.
    I don't have any wise words about the worth thing. Just wanted to say hello and I think you did fantastic today.

  15. ms moon- i have to say that its incredible for someone with such a popular and great blog, that you pretty much answer all our comments, and then comment on our blogs too...i mean, it's lovely...and appreciated. thaks for the good vibes!

  16. Bethany- I think you did fantastic today too.

    Screamish- How can I not? We are family.

  17. i still hear the voice of my birth mother and her mother in my head when i feel as if i have failed.

    sometimes the biggest accomplishment i have in a day is not listening to those voices tell me all the things they have decided i will be or amount to.

    the point being we have to decided once, twice, a thousand times a day if we are the sum of the negatives in our heads or not.

    it's easier said then done. nowadays i hear the voice echoing in the failures of my students which i still take very personally. the new chorus is' they fail because i too am a failure'.

    shit i think we all need some sunshine, a hug and a stiff drink. or two.


  18. Mrs. A- I think this might be a really important topic. I keep thinking about it. Are we the sum of our productivity? What does that mean? That can't be true so why do we believe it?
    I'm still thinking.

  19. The more I think about this, the more complicated it gets. I think maybe it's cultural, maybe x-linked, maybe linked to fragile feelings of self worth. I definitely think of myself as the sum of my productivity. It's an unfortunate way to think as it can lead to self-recrimination when something doesn't get done. It also makes it hard to sit and relax and do NOTHING.

  20. Have only just come across your blog, rally enjoying it! Am so with you on your days pondering. I don't know if you are American but I am and there have been times when my husband came home and I would be teary and frustrated at how much I had intended to do in the day and how much I actually was able to do and he reflected back that maybe it is an American thing- our identity so tied up with our jobs and what we 'do' not always how we 'are' in ourselves and with the people around us. Just a thought in response to your posting.

  21. You are a scribe and photographer of early 21st century American life and today you have done useful and beautiful work in that art. And you have carried a baby boy close to your heart, slept next to him, reflected his smiles, loved him. On top of all that pee moppin and poop scoopin.

    C'est suffit, mon ami Mary.

  22. There's nothing to say or respond when that picture of sleeping Owen sits in front of my eyes. So, I'm just going to gaze at him and it's almost like I can feel his little warm hand cupping his face.

  23. We are still stuck somewhere in the past, an emotional DNA strand that allows for much but not enough. We are not the sum of what we do, we are as good as we are, that is how good we are. So if we are loved for what we do, goodness be merciful, because if we were to be in wheelchairs for the rest of our lives or for any reason we were unable to do whatever it is we do now, there goes the love we get now.

    It has taken me years to look at a basket full of laundry and let it be for another day without guilt. We beat ourselves into the images we think - notice I don't say we believe - others have of us. Since each one has a different image there are the chances of an ice cube in hell we are going to make ourselves fit all those molds. No wonder we are walking living samples of schizophrenia to the square.

    When is "me" time? What I mean is we are more than happy to see someone we love relax, take a nap, go out for a walk, we bring a cup of tea to someone reading and we feel good doing so. When are we going to bring that cup of tea to us without thinking that the floor needs to be cleaned? that we cannot sit down with a book because there is something, somewhere that needs to be done? The tyranny of self perfection. We want to be all those things we are told we "need" to be. And we refuse to grant ourselves the same tender mercies we distribute in abundance and with great alacrity to others.

    Living with cancer has taught me many things, but being kind to myself has not been one of them. I am learning that life is truly a brief episode in the book of time. And that what we write in it has little to do with doing, but most of all with being.

    I am stealing that photo of the cherub with the hand under his chin, my son used to sleep just like that and if that doesn't show you how time is well spent, nothing I may tell you here is going to be worth another pushing of the keys. I love you Ms Moon, take care of yourself. You are valuable because you are you, and I don't care how clean your house may be or not. Your house does not hold my hand when I need comfort. Remember that. I do.

  24. Miss Betty is purdy. And I think that work ethic thang you've got going on is a hold over from organized religion--idle hands all that shit. I think some work is good because it keeps our minds focused, but I also think work is overrated. It's just as important to slow down, sit on the porch sometimes, and enjoy your damn life.

  25. Rebecca- No, Elvis embraces his prettiness. He is quite aware of it and uses it shamefully.

    Jo- I love it when you get stern with me.

    Michelle- I know! It is so complicated! And you are right about just...sitting.

    Juniper- Yes, I am American. And yes, your observations are true, I think. Come visit us any time. You have a BEAUTIFUL blog.

    N2- Oh, thank-you, sweet woman.

    Elizabeth- Aren't I so lucky? Yes. I am.

    Allegra- You made me cry. I love you so.

    Ms. Bastard- I know, I know. How?

  26. Owen in a sling on your hip… go Grandma! We need to see a picture of that.
    I love your photos of the plants and trees waking up to spring—we have many of the same flora and fauna which are just starting to stir. And I LOVE that photo of Owen. Oh my gosh how sweet is that face and hand???!! My third son was born on our bed with his hand on his face.
    P.S. Awesome photo of Elvis!

  27. Michele R- Our third child, too, was born on our bed with her hand up beside her face!
    Ah lah. What sisters we all are somehow.

  28. Oh my goodness, doesn't he just look like a little cherub! I'm so happy you get to spend so much time with your little man.

  29. You are enough. Feel that and believe it and you'll feel better. That's my aim as well.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.