Monday, May 28, 2012

The Queen Mum Knows Fashion

I've never written any sort of fashion post. Well, that's not true, last summer, I did write about the ridiculous of over-priced flip flops (however, a year later, I sit here in over-priced Tory Burch flip-flops...). But, I just posted a picture of The Queen Mum in her 20's inspired (or old lady inspired, whatever floats your swim cap) swimsuit and swim cap.
The Queen Mum, hanging by the Pool

It was so stinking adorable that the pool I was at yesterday took a photo of her for their website. Everyone with a baby girl wants her suit. I'm sure they'll run out eventually, so there are other options out there besides Gap. One of my favorite stores for out of the ordinary baby clothing is Janie and Jack. While they are owned by Gymboree, they offer a more upscale version of clothing. All of their bathing suits this season are also vintage inspired.
Janie and Jack: Ruched Floral Swim Cap 
The Queen Mum has the Ruched floral cap, and it's just as adorable as the one from the Gap. Because summer is upon us, prices on swim caps and bathing suits are getting lower by the day. However, if you are looking for cheap cheap swimsuits, I'm not sure Gap and Janie and Jack are the best places to go. I so badly want to point you towards Target, but I'm finding their selection lacking. Plus, I worry their stuff will fall apart. (which is odd, because all my swimsuits are from Target...)

Against my better judgement, I checked Walmart. However, you will never see my daughter in a Hello Kitty Bikini, even if it is $9.97. (yes, you can take a moment to talk behind my back. I can't hear you anyway.)
Baby Mermaid Diaper Cover and Hat 

I also checked etsy, hoping to run across something awesome and handmade. While there were a few swim caps, none were really fun or had the vintage look I was searching for. Although,  I did run across a baby mermaid

I'm sure most of Mommyland has been on a frantic search for bathing suits since February. What do you like to see your little girls wear?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Small Victories

Getting back into the groove of work has been exceptionally hard. Harder than I ever imagined. The first time around, I was just getting back to work when The Great Rabbi turned five-months. However, with the baby, I went back to work at five weeks. I'm working on my third issue since the baby was born. I may be the world's most undomestic goddess, but I'm always good at work. My designer and I are a great team. I thought we can take on the world.

Yes, thought, past tense. Now, I feel her anger bubbling up through cell phone towers and email pings. I'm late with work, and I'm sloppy. She's sent me back articles that needed to be proofed again and again and again.  I'm supposed to be the editor! I kept missing so many details. It didn't help that at first, Psycho Postpartum Shosh lurked around every corner: constantly anxious and debilitatingly jealous (that's like 78 blog posts and a memoir).  I got help for that and Psycho Shosh has very much left the building. However, my work still suffers, and I didn't really know what to say.  What is there to say?

Finally, my designer had enough. She made a two-hour trip to kick my butt. We made a list of deadlines. I had to stick with them. I certainly didn't want to loose our team.

Today was deadline day. All of my final edited copy had to be sent. All photos emailed. I shouldn't have gotten through this day. It was the Giant Gentiles birthday, but he was leaving on a business trip. The Great Rabbi needed me to drop his many snacks off at Jewish Day School. (I could write a whole essay on the amount of food I'm supposed to pack for that kid's lunch). I promised I'd go to a staff meeting at 9 am. My babysitter is in Atlantic City.

Now, I'm lucky in many ways. I can usually work from home or a coffee shop. If I do go to work in the morning, I can put my baby in babysitting in the building until 11:30. The babysitting room is ten feet from my office. I can even breastfeed her in the babysitting room. However, if I don't get everything done by 11:30, I have to take her with me into my office or go home.
The Queen Mum working her magic
So, today, I got out the door on time, made it to the babysitting room, went to the meeting, brought The Great Rabbi his lunch (um, yeah, his school is also in the same building...), and started working. All of the sudden, it was 11:27. I had to run down the hall, grab the baby, feed the baby, and...go back to work.

I brought her into my office. Everyone acts like they don't care, but how can they not care? Even when she's not crying, she's loud. Is it really professional to walk passed my office with a baby on my desk? I put her on the floor, and she spit up on the new carpet. Then she screamed. Then, I had to close my door and feed her. Then, she screamed some more. The CFO came in and decided to walk her around the building. I fed her again. I moved her. I rocked her. I ran to my car to get my sling. She didn't want to be in the sling. She sat in my arms: both arms. All of the sudden it was pickup time for my son. I got another mom to get him. Then time passed and I had to run home. And then, and then, and then.....
Oh my g-d, I'm out of breath.

And yet, somehow, in the middle of all this chaos; in the middle of this baby day that should have been completely unproductive that, in most working environments, would have gotten me fired, I managed to do it. I got everything into my designer by the evening. I made my Monday deadline.
What does this mean? Do I celebrate or do I just breath and hope everything doesn't fall apart in the morning?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Falling in Love with the Show: Listen To Your Mother, Philly

In the car before the show
It's been a week since I tried to convince my fellow cast mates that standing on a stool behind a very wobbly podium would make them feel powerful. Mostly, I wanted to show off my cleavage, which also turned out to be a silly idea 1) because it's pretty hard to hide my cleavage and b) my shirt was far too big and I ended up looking rather yuck in pictures. Of course, when my moment came, I decided that taking off my four-inch heals to step up on said podium would probably end is disaster. So I placed my papers in front of me, opened my mouth and started reading…

I discovered Listen To Your Mother while playing my favorite game: Jewish Geography. In short, my friend Amy asked me if I knew her friend Ann. I looked Ann up on twitter, and BAM, of course I knew Ann. I'd known her my whole life! As many of you know, when you're reintroduced to someone from your former life on facebook or twitter, you can't help but do a bit of cyber stalking: you follow their tweets, you read every blog post, you page through family pictures. During my…research…I discovered that not only was Ann the National Director for Listen To Your Mother, which she started in Madison, but they were having a LTYM Philly around Mother's Day. She told me to follow the directors: Cecily and Dresden on Twitter. And, follow, I did. 

After weeks of following, they posted the audition dates. First, I would have to send in a piece and if they liked the piece, I'd get a live audition. Finally, the moment I was waiting for! Now, I just had to figure out what to write about… I wrote the piece on my Iphone at Barnes and Nobles (do you know how many graduate school papers I wrote on my blackberry?). I sent it to my best friend. Then I sent it out. I waited, and waited and waited. I stalked and waited, and  stalked some more…

Iwon't bore you with the details, but from the moment I started bothering people on twitter (yes that's you punkymama) until the moment I stepped up to the podium I was taken on the kind of journey most people only dream about. I realize this sounds cheesy, but from the initial emails, to my live audition, to rehearsal, to the show, I felt like I belonged.

I never feel like I belong. Ninty-nine percent of the time, I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm more than okay with that, I've always liked it that way. I like being the odd-mom in my very real American Shtetl. I like that my cleavage looks out of place and no one's ever seen me in a pair of jeans. But it felt so good to walk in a room filled with boobs and bellies and crazy hair-- a room filled with other moms who sit at a computer all day trying to produce some semblance of something worth reading. At the lunch after rehearsal, the table was so filled with voices that it was hard to get a word in edgewise. It was glorious. I felt like I'd found my people.

The night of the show was no different. This may shock you, but I'm actually shy in certain social situations. If I've met people once or twice before, I don't know how to act around them and I start hyperventilating. I usually hide in the corner. However, I didn't feel shy. Instead, I felt welcomed. I walked in to smiles and hugs. We weren't there to compete for the bigger, better, sadder, funnier, more emotional story; we were there to tell a story together. Most of the stories were  the poignant retelling of Motherhood's underbelly that is kept hidden in family secrets and therapist's couches. But, these women (and Charlie) were brave. They didn't hold back: they told stories of abuse, alcoholism, adoption and Alzheimer's. They told of their childhoods and their children. Of their punk rock power and parenting prowess. The heartbreak of old age and healing of power of birth. The wonder of being a foreigner in a foreign land and a foreigner to the women that should know us better than anyone. Some were mothers, some spoke of their mothers. We were white, latino and black. We were lesbians and Jews. In our early thirties and heading close to sixty. 

 A small group of us were funny—comic relief in a sea of tears. (the kind of tears that make you want to hug your neighbor and sit down for tea).I was part of that comic relief. I didn't write about my grandmother, unknowingly lost in the darkness of Alzheimers or my struggle with infertility. I didn't write about growing up with a sick mother or the indignities of birth. Instead, I wrote about breastfeeding. It wasn't a TIME magazine, mother-baiting, attention-grabbing, attachment parenting manifesto—it was what happens when my baby is hungry and I have to feed her. (Okay, it's really about my cleavage. What else did you expect?)

Where is my piece? I haven't decided what to do with it yet. Do I want to put it on my blog? Maybe. Do I want to try to publish it somewhere else? Probably. I'm not even sure if it's funny on paper. It's really a monologue. So, for the moment, I'm sitting on it.

But, I'm not sitting on the relationships I've created. One of the best parts of the show was that when it was over, the audience interacted with us. They stayed around a bit and talked and then, they came to the after party. The fourth wall did not stay up. I was honored (and shocked) to connect with Holly, Varda and Deb, the producers of the New York Listen To Your Mother. I was honored to laugh with people in line at the bar. I always enjoy talking about my cleavage with strangers.

And when the night was over, when Jo-Ann and I left the bar after everyone else, the experience was far from over. I'm still connected. I've even connected to more women writers. Because that's what we do, we keep each other connected and we help each other.

I'm not finished writing. I'm not finished thinking about this. I'm not finished cultivating these relationships. We all need Listen To Your Mother in our lives. Whatever that may be. While I was trying to get the words out this week, someone else's words kept running through my head: an old Nike Ad from the early 90's that I was so in love with in high school that I memorized:

Falling in love in six acts: A Passion Play. Or what happens when you fall down that long well of passion, of a person, a place, a sport, a game, a belief, and your heart goes boom and your mind leaves town.

Thank you Ann Imig for giving me the chance to fall in love again. Thank you Cecily, Dresden and Jo-Ann for having the vision to make the Philly version their own.  And, of course, my castmates for having the bravery not only to write down their words, but get in front of a microphone and open their mouths.


One more note, none of my own bravery would have ever been possible if it wasn't for another piece of Jewish Geography. Our Listen To Your Mother stage manager, Jessica Kupferman, was the person who had the confidence in me to introduce me to my current boss and say, "You need an editor? Shosh is your gal."Sharing the experience with her made it truly, as we say in Judaism, bashert, destiny.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Silent No More

. For the past eleven years, my own Mother's Day has become a day of silence, a day of hidden secret grief. I'm sick of silence. I sick of feeling like I have to remain silent because what I have to say goes against my liberal upbringing. So, today, I'm opening my mouth.

On Mother's Day, eleven years ago when I was a junior in college, I peed on a stick. The two lines turned bright pink: I was pregnant. I told my boyfriend, who held me kindly. Then I told my mother, who immediately insisted I have an abortion. A couple of weeks later, I went home to Wisconsin and had, what my therapist later told me, felt like a backroom abortion. They forced me to stare at the ultrasound. Then, after waiting twenty-four hours, I was completely awake with no pain meds.

For as long as I can remember, I've been taught by my mother that abortion is a right that we should fight tooth and nail for. It's my body; it's not a baby, and it certainly doesn't make me a mother.

There was nothing and no one to prepare me for the aftermath. I don't just mean the physical pain of the actual abortion. The aftermath of guilt, regret, sadness, depression, thoughts of suicide, and, worst of all, grief.

No one warned me about grief. Why would there be grief? I'd been taught that it wasn't a real baby. It was a foreign entity easily expelled from my body. Worse, how could I grieve for something that I made the conscious choice to get rid of? It's not like I had a miscarriage.

As time went on, my grief clung to me, tackling me to the ground and leaving me spent and breathless.  When I wasn't hearing the cries of an unborn daughter waking me at night, I heard the whispers of "murderer, murderer." Neither the cries nor the whispers ever go away. I knew when that baby would have turned one. I knew when she would have started kindergarten. Every December, a deep depression takes hold of me.

I gained 50 pounds in the month before my abortion. It's stayed with me all these years. When I look in the mirror, a chubby stranger stares back at me. When I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of my baby.

After I got married and before I had my son, I started searching for answers.  I wanted to find a support community that got where I was coming from. More than anything, I wanted to find Jewish support. With every search, I came up with the same answer: Pro-Life evangelical Christianity. So, I decided to go the secular route. Again, nothing. So, I went the therapy route. But, my search left me angry. I'm not looking for the forgiveness of Jesus. I'm not looking for the light of the Lord. While therapy is great, I'm looking for like-minded women who feel lost like I do. I want a safe place to grieve.

A couple months ago, I read an article about an abortion campaign. Women were wearing t-shirts that read: I had an abortion! T-shirts! This seemed equally unholy. Isn't there something between Jesus and a t-shirt? I had an abortion and all I got was a lousy t-shirt.

I still have no real answers. At one point, I thought having children was the answer. While I'm madly in love with my children, I thought once they were born, my grief would disappear.  It hasn't. Now, I look at them, and think, "you had a sibling, but I wanted to finish college and your father wanted to finish law school, so I got rid of it."

Wow, I sound really fucked up when I say that out loud.

I don't know if anything will completely help. But now, instead of suffering in silence, on this Mother's day, this liberal Jewish mother will no longer be silent. My baby meant something and I'm sure yours did too...

read to be read at

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mommyland Goes Wild

It started as a joke between me and my best friend. She told me that all these women in mommyland were reading the newest romance novel that not only spawned from Twilight as fan fiction, but really crossed the line into erotica. Now, it wasn’t the first book she’d told me about mommyland readers who usually pushed books like Sarah’s Key were deeply engrossed in. Quite frankly, besides the giggle, I never thought much about it. Not because I’m a literary snob, I’ve been known to reread The Babysitter’s Club while staying at my parents.  I simply don’t read romance novels. Words like moist and panties and member make me want to crawl out of my skin. The covers make me squeamish. It’s odd, because I’m probably the least prudish person I know. I read Savage Love religiously. The dark side of the internet doesn’t bother me in the least; however, when someone calls a live person HOT, I want to crawl under the table and hide. I used to think it was men calling women HOT that made me uncomfortable. However, after hearing it from women, I’ve realized that I just don’t want to hear anyone say it. My best friend even created a Pinterst Board: Things That Make Shosh Uncomfortable. The first pin, I believe, was a fake half-naked picture of Paul Rudd. The next? Ryan Gosling. Why? I don’t get him. I hate hearing grown women fawning over him like he’s the prom king. Don’t even get me started on Zac Efron. 

(If you’ve stopped reading by now because I’ve greatly offended your animalistic urges to talk about male celebrities you’ll never meet, don’t worry. I realize this is my problem, not yours. I know that I’m the one with the hang-ups that should probably dealt with in therapy)

Anyway, my best friend, started posting literary criticisms on my Facebook page. When my friends in mommyland saw these offensive posts, they went crazy! Everyone loved the book so much. They weren’t ashamed: It was great. It was awesome. A real page turner.  Their anger and offense was palpable—these are my friends: women I respect. I had to know what they saw that I couldn’t see. I had to read it for myself:

The following are my random tweets about the book:

I couldn't get through Gone With the Wind because I found it too trashy and here I am with mommyland smut. #fiftyshadesofgrey

Am I reading #fiftyshadesofgrey because I like it or to drive @DEHausfrau crazy?

                @shvaygshosh Oh you like it, you can't fool me... #fiftyshadesofgrey

Now that I know all your mommyland kindles and IPads are smutted up with #fiftyshadesofgrey-- no more raised eyebrows at my@SuicideGirls

FYI #ELJames I hate the word panties AND the use of the word baby. Since when do stunning rich men wear black jeans?#fiftyshadesofgrey

And PS, your inner goddess? Please, I'll tell you what you can do with your stupid inner goddess. #fiftyshadesofgrey #mommysmut

OMG @DEHausfrau @SuicideGirls I've figured it out! I'm a smut snob!

Because @DEHausfrau was out of town, no one was here to stop me from buying the second book. #Fiftyshadesdarker #damnyoukindlebuybutton

@DEHausfrau I feel like I shouldn't be reading a book that causes me to scream get a freaking room every two minutes. #smutsnob

@theBitchinWife I can't speak ill of anything right now because I'm reading fifty shades of oh my gd don't you have any fun at home?

@theBitchinWife it's awful. I want to punch each character, but they might like it too much. Although I've decided that I'm a smut snob.
                @shvaygshosh Life's too short! Throw that book aside and read something good.
@theBitchinWife the Anne Bolelyn books are much more enjoyable. Videos with the ability to fast forward are much more enjoyable.

You know it's bad when you're skipping the sex parts of a plotless book. #fiftyshadesofgetaroom

Is my #Kindle dead because the Great Rabbi stepped on it or because it doesn't want me reading #fiftyshadesofgrey?@AmazonKindle

The woman behind me in line is buying the #fiftyshadesofgrey trilogy. The woman in front of me is laughing at her

On the phone, the woman behind me says, "hmmm, this says erotic. I wonder if I should get a book cover." #fiftyshadesofgrey#mommylikessmut

You might as well be walking around #barnes&noble with an unwrapped #playboy and a pack of condoms. #50shades

Then, of course, there’s my commentary I posted on my Pinterest Board: Things that Make Shosh Uncomfortable:

Where to begin? I complained all the way through it. The end made me want to throw up, and somehow I'm in the middle of the second book. However, I find it so irritating that I've been skipping the endless naughty spectacles. That's pretty bold in a book of plotless smut. We get it Anastasia, you have no idea how beautiful you really are. Cry me a river. You're overly connected to your inner goddess. Money makes you squirm. Christian Gray is so hot. Worse, what billionaire wears black jeans?

So now, how do I feel? You’ll have to wait until I read book three: Fifty Shades Freed