I Donated Plasma (and Possibly Some of My Dignity)
As you may have heard (or not, whatever, you know now), I have been spending what are typically my working hours at home now for a few weeks, searching for new and more gainful employment. Not being bound to a desk all day by this invisible chain called a paycheck, I’ve spent my time producing more delicious but very possibly (say it with me) diabeetus-inducing home-cooked meals, and fewer blog entries. Just in case you were wondering.
I guess we’re a fortunate little lower-middle class family, because, with his job, B has been able to keep us afloat and even pay for a few weeks of daycare in the name of an uninterrupted job search for Mandy. Unfortunately, though, this tragic (shut up, it IS tragic to me) budget squeeze has required us to cut back to the necessities - and I think we all know how I feel about necessities. Unless I get to define them, you know, but, as the only person in our home who prefers wine to three square meals, AND the one without a job, I’m pretty much SOL on this occasion. So, today, I decided to give back a little by donating plasma for some extra
beer money cash.
From the jump, I felt a little slighted by the fact that I would receive a smaller sorry-we-stole-part-of-your-blood compensation package than my fellow donors who were lucky enough to weigh over 150 pounds (THE HUMANITY!) would be given. I wasn’t too unhappy with the amount they gave to people who can’t help that they’re small dammit, so I moved along with the process.
No one has ever had trouble accessing my veins. I’m not saying those little blood subways are EASY, but they don’t typically object to being poked, either, if you get my drift winkety wink wink. Today, though, of all days, when we actually stood to make some money instead of losing it to a doctor, my veins suddenly developed some dignity and retreated far beneath my armskin to sulk and refuse to come out and play. Or, you know, maybe the phlebotomist sucked. Either way, they plunged the needle what turned out to be way too far into my right arm, took only half of what they needed before it was tapped out, and had to stick me again in my left arm unless I just wanted to leave without my blood or my money which NO.
As I sat there, wondering how an organization that pays individuals to give up their bodily fluids in a fairly unpleasant procedure has the gall to turn away individuals who have had sex for drugs or money since 1977, my phone rang. Taking the call would have violated the rules of the donation floor, and I didn’t want to risk an infraction that could get me kicked out without what appeared to be most of the blood in my body, so I let it go. I did, however, manage to discreetly (I think… my bar for this shit is so low) listen to the resulting voicemail, which was left, it turns out, by my job recruiter. She had called to report good news, although she revealed no details (but, I mean, really, there are only so many kinds of good news an employment agency can deliver to a job seeker). I’d been in a pretty docile, it’s-all-good-I-don’t-use-that-vein-for-anything kind of mood, up until that point, but, after hearing the message, I started clenching and unclenching my left fist with a vengeance, unable to think about anything other than returning the call, in hopes that I would soon be spending my afternoons earning more than the $30 this vein-abusing place was paying me.
After I finally escaped into the main lobby and returned the call, it turned out that the news was, indeed, very good: I passed the online test I took earlier this week as a perquisite for an interview with the company I’ve been dying to work for. Can I get a HOLLAAA up in here?! The final interview, in all its glory, is tomorrow, followed, hopefully, by my acquisition of 100% company-paid insurance, guaranteed bonuses and the extra $10k a year that I did not earn at my last job.
I’m not trying to sound like I’m better than all my fellow donors, but I’m pretty sure that nobody walked out of that place happier today than me.
The New Stay-At-Home Moms: How the “Privilege” of Staying At Home is No Longer
After exchanging bad mom secrets last night with the so-much-like-me-it-has-to-be-fate Lessons from Layla, I took a walk down memory lane and cruised the blog I kept on Open Salon when I was pregnant with Graham. After crossing myself and thanking Jesus and all his friends that pregnancy isn’t a permanent condition, I was inspired to re-explore a few of the topics I’d written about before I knew that breastfeeding is a form of torture and that, despite eveything I read in The Mommy Brain, there is no regaining all or even most of the intelligence that the female brain hemmorhages during pregnancy.
One topic that I had written about while I was pregnant is actually one I’ve been meaning to bring up on this blog, now that I’ve gotten some first-hand experience in the matter: the inherent privilege of being a working mother.
When American mothers first began to join the work force due to the absence of their husbands during World War II, they did so out of necessity. Even though many women realized that careers are empowering anad chose to stay in the workforce after their husbands’ return, the undercurrent of thought that mothers who work outside the home do so out of necessity has remained prevalent.
Besides being sexist as fuck, the idea that all or most women who work outside the home do so for financial reasons is problematic and classist, rendering a large segement of American mothers invisible.
For mothers with the education and skill necessary to earn a fair wage, working outside the home is an attainable and profitable option that can provide their families with much-needed extra income if they’re parenting with a partner, or, for single mothers, the only source of income her family may have. For mothers whose earning potential is lower, a group composed largely of women who became mothers at a young age, before they were able to obtain a college degree, relevant job experience, or even a high school diploma, words like “necessity,” option,” or even “obtainable” are often simply incompatible with the concept of working motherhood. These are the new stay-at-home moms - and we need to start paying attention to them.
This obstacle to employment for mothers is most pronounced in those with very young children, for whom the dream of providing for their families is typically shattered when they compare their first minimum-wage paycheck to their child’s first daycare bill. For example, my son’s weekly daycare cost, for a child under a year old, is very reasonable, at $145. If I worked a forty-hour week, earning $7.50 an hour, which is the minimum wage in Texas, I’d earn $300 a week BEFORE taxes. Throw in the cost to travel to and from work and daycare, the cost of missing a day of work but not a day of paying for childcare when a child is sick, and add another kid or two to the mix, and the title of my profession would be Stay-At-Home Mom, whether I liked it or not.
One thing that conservatives criticizing mothers raising their children on the public dole fail to understand is that these women simply cannot afford to raise them any other way. The encouragement some states foist upon single mothers relying on public assistance to raise their children to get and stay married is equally despicable, as it puts the woman at the mercy of the man she must depend on to support both her and her children.
As a mom who also has a career, I’ve made the choice to make my very own clumsy pass at Having it All. Not because we couldn’t survive off my partner’s income alone, but because I enjoy working. I love my son with the same disturbing level of intensity that I suppose all mothers do, but the thought of having only him for company all week long sounds like torture on a stick. I’ve worked alongside a lot of other women, though, who don’t feel the same way. They’d rather be at home with their kids, and they wish that their careers were not a necessity due to a husband who didn’t earn enough to pay the bills, a husband who didn’t earn enough to pay for the no-good beer he drank, or a lack of a husband, entirely.
In a perfect world, we’d all be able to choose. We’d be able to consider the implications of motherhood both at home and at work, without the heavy weight of financial factors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But, if you feel like you’ve been compelled to make the decision to juggle a career and a family, just take a moment to remember that there are a lot of other mothers out there for whom going to work was not a decision they were able to make.
So, I was butthurt about this morning’s light dusting of snow UNTIL I got to work and found all these treats singing, “MERRY XMAS, MANDY!” And I was like:
BTW: Now referring to all Holiday Season holidays as Xmas from now on, because last year’s “The Holidays” didn’t piss Evangelicals off enough.
Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah: TREATS.
And I am so eating all of this. Sorry not sorry.
Don’t even try to tell me that this isn’t the fucking cutest.
He’s been running an itty bitty baby bit of fever since yesterday afternoon, so he’s spending the day with his Mimi Z. All parents say that they hate it when their kids get sick because they don’t like to see them suffer, which does suck, but, honestly, the part we REALLY can’t stand is the frantic scramble to secure an alternative source of babysittings because the daycare whose services cost as much as a drug habit (ok, not cocaine, but you get it) is like, “Get this feverish germspreader out of our sight and do not return him until he’s gone 24 hours without fever, diarrhea, sniffles, coughs, disgruntled facial expressions or any other symptoms of the T Virus that he contracted here in babyjail in the first place!”
Hey, American uterus owners: want to be completely put off by the idea of ever procreating? Then read this expose in the NY Post about how many women have gotten screwed by our country’s Stone Age maternity leave policies.
In Canada, you get 50 weeks of paid maternity leave. In England, you get 20 weeks paid. In Mexico, 12 paid. As a matter of fact, 178 countries around the world mandate paid leave for creating a totally new human. In America? Twelve weeks, unpaid, and only if you’ve worked for the company for at least a year, and only if your company has more than 50 employees. And they *technically* have to give you your job back, but as this article proves, your employer can probably find a way around that.
So hey, pro-lifers: where are your voices on this? Where are your rallies and signs to support new moms, instead of expecting ones? Where is there a single pro-life legislator fighting to make it easier to have a baby and keep your job? Where are the “family values” politicians when it comes to actually having a child and raising it?
*this doesn’t just effect women or effect all women but rather anyone who could get pregnant.
When I gave birth, I took less than three weeks off. My former employer worked with me to make sure that the time I took off was paid, but I was still back at work with stitches in my biscuit. Li’l G returned to work with me, which was kind of awesome, since it allowed me to breastfeed my kid, wear my kid and generally practice the attachment parenting style we’ve totally tossed to the wind at this point. I got lucky, but, really, only by American standards. It’s pretty depressing that so many other countries implement more realistic and generous (generous probably isn’t such a great word choice, here - FAIR?!) policies for new moms than America. I hope that, upon reelection, Obama does us a solid. Not that I want to gestate another baby anytime soon because NOOO