Career and Family

By Chastity Lillicreme
September 30, 1999

Well, I have to say I was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of responses to my last column regarding jobs that women shouldn't do or that men just do better. I have received 403 responses to date, and they keep pouring in. Gladys Stempleton writes, "It is about time a woman had the guts to speak up against an extreme, amoral feminist ideology that has turned more women into whores than my son has." Alice Twele agreed, adding, "I thought of another job which I feel should be added to your list that women shouldn't do: Doctor. I don't know the first thing about medicine or anatomy or biology, so why am I a practicing physician in the state of Wisconsin?" A very good point, Alice. I never trust a female doctor.

There were also at least 400 responses that disagreed with my views, but as per divisiontwo's mission statement, columnists don't have to print responses that disagree with the content of their columns, and so I will not.

For my column this week, I am going to write on how my role as a mother has changed now that my two little girls are growing up and have recently started middle school. It seems like just yesterday I was breast feeding my daughter Jennifer in a rocking chair while watching soap operas and eating Cheetos. But that was more than two months ago. And it feels like just an hour ago that little Kelsie soiled her Pull-Ups disposable training pants in the neighbor's back yard and cried until I came over and changed them. But that never actually happened, I don't think.

My husband insisted we have the girls right next to each other, so they are only a little less than a year apart in age. This was his idea to save us on private school tuition; we could just pay for Jennifer, and then Kelsie could go on Tuesdays and Thursdays and pretend to be Jennifer. In reality, it never quite worked out as well as it did on paper, because Jennifer is white as snow and Kelsie is mulatto, for reasons my husband still hasn't figured out.

When the girls were toddlers, being their mother took a lot more effort and concentration than it does now. It's like riding your bike for the first time. At first, you keep crashing into the mailbox and getting concussions on top of concussions, but after a few months your dad finally inflates your tires and you're good to go. With kids it's the same thing. At first, you're afraid to leave them alone for even a second because you think they might just suddenly die or something, but by the time they're two or three years old, you just pop in the Video Babysitter and head off to step aerobics class for the afternoon. I remember how, when the girls were newborns, I never let strangers hold them, never let them out of my sight at the mall or the grocery store. But by the time they were five and six they would go off with so many different strangers they met at the mall that a social worker tried to have me arrested.

Now that both my girls are in middle school, Jennifer in seventh grade and Kelsie in the sixth grade class I teach, their girltalk isn't about cartoons or TGIF shows or racist Nancy Drew books anymore. Kelsie has started to notice boys, and has even brought a couple nice ones home to spend the night recently. I like that Alex kid she has a crush on, he's nineteen and very sweet.

Jennifer is more mature than Kelsie, of course. She's starting to develop a rather proportionate chest, just like her mother's. I tell you, those boobs of hers just crept up on me. One day, I looked away and she was flat chested, and when I turned back around, I almost whacked myself in the face with her huge left bosom. I suspected some sort of inflatable bra, and I was right, but less than a week later the real ones started to come in.

And I'll never forget the wave of emotions that surged through me the first time I found a soiled tampon stuck to the bottom of Jennifer's garbage can. As I peeled it off, a single, salty tear came to my eye, not from the stench—which was horrific—but from the bittersweet mixture of emotion I was feeling. I was very proud that my little girl was growing up to become a fertile woman. But the flipside of that feeling was the unavoidable sadness that comes from realizing the passage of years in one's life. Yes, my little girl was becoming a woman, but that meant that her mother, a homeless girl we paid to be a surrogate, was getting old. She'll probably be a grandmother soon, if she isn't already.

Now that my girls are older, I miss having them around all the time. Fact is, I barely see them anymore. Oh sure, Kelsie is in the class I teach, but I don't get to pay much attention to her when there are twelve other more attractive students demanding my time. And I usually only see Jennifer on the weekends when she comes home to get some clean clothes and money; she spends most nights of the week at her boyfriend's loft. I can only hope she's keeping her grades up.

But such is motherhood, I suppose. What I feel now is probably the same thing my mother felt when I ran off to Mexico with Raul at fifteen. She said I was ruining my life, and I'll admit it was a stupid move, but look at me now. I'm a sixth grade teacher and a regular columnist for the Como Daily Shopper as well as divisiontwo. I sure wish my mother were still around to see it; it's a shame Raul and I sold her into white slavery. But hey, it was the '70s. Times were crazier.

If anyone has any comments about this week's column, go ahead and email them to me and divisiontwo@yahoo.com. Only positive feedback will be included in next week's column.



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