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Today's word on journalism

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

On the hooplah surrounding Katie Couric's ascension to the CBS News anchor chair:

"The difference between newspapers and television is that you couldn't care less what a female newspaper reporter looks like when she tells you about a tsunami in Indonesia, fighting in Sudan or the Kentucky Derby. Many of the bylines only give the initials and no one stops to think, 'I wonder who did her hair?' Or, 'She shouldn't wear a navy blue Oscar de la Renta suit.'"

--Art Buchwald, columnist, 2006

Super-mom? Nearly every mom is, trust me

By Elizabeth Livingston

July 24, 2006 | Super-mom: an exemplary mother; also: a woman who performs the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job, as defined by Merriam-Webster online.

Although I don't have a full-time job, I do have a part-time job and am a half-time student. So I think that counts.

Once upon a time I was single. Once upon a time I was able to sleep in and go out with friends when I wanted to. Now I have a curfew which forces me to be home strictly by 6:30 each evening or I will be forced to suffer the wrath of my nearly 8 months old Dennis Michel.

People without children just don't seem to understand that life with babies isn't happy most of the time and frustrating some of the time. No, it's definitely more like frustrating most of the time and happy some of the time, at least when it comes to Dennis.

When we first brought Dennis home, I laughed when one of my professors made sure to tell me to get some rest. I was getting plenty of rest! This baby slept all the time. What was everyone complaining about? Then he started waking up more.

He spit up everywhere, constantly -- and not just small amounts either, big huge bottle-worthy amounts of spit-up. I took him to the doctor and he was diagnosed as a kid who had trouble keeping things down. I practically gave up wearing clothes they were so messy all the time.

Then he started to get colicky. He cried a lot, not as much as some babies with colic, but a lot. The doctor said it was because he couldn't get his poo out. Great. So for months we have been helping him with that. And at about the time the doctor said it was going to get better for Dennis, it actually got worse.

This brings up back to the super-mom idea. There are lots of working mothers in this country today. I am not going to bash them by saying they can't be a super-mom because they leave their child with a sitter.

But if I were to go by the definition given above, then nearly every mother in this country would be considered a super-mom.

I don't feel like a super-mom because I think there are a lot of things which could be done better for Dennis. However, if I say that I do a lot of work taking Dennis to three of my classes nearly everyday with me, doing all my homework, still managing to clean at least part of the house and work from home part-time, I would be calling myself a super-mom and sounding full of myself.

I think doing all of that is necessary and done by hundreds of mothers every day. Frankly, I'm wondering if a super-mom even exists. When I think about the word mother, it means so much more than just a woman who has children. The responsibility is often on her shoulders to make sure the children she brings into the world are raised right. The amount of work is endless and ever-changing as the children grow.

One year its doing ABC's homework and the next it will be helping them with science fair projects, then prom, then graduation.

Since bringing Dennis home I have thought about the term super-mom because I have had people call me that. Yes, I am trying to get an education and help bring an income to my family. But I see this as a responsibility I am required to do. When I figured out without the doctor's help that Dennis was having all these problems because he was lactose intolerant, I received praise from many people and other parents. It's great that I figured it out, but I had a child who was in pain and I knew the doctor was wrong. Things weren't going how they should have with Dennis, and as any parent should, I set out to find the problem.

I think every mom that I haven't seen literally throw a child into the backseat of a car and yell at is a super-mom. Everybody gets frustrated. Everybody gets mad. But you don't stop loving the person you carried with you and you don't stop trying to answer the call of responsibility which was given to you. How could any mother who has to answer to all the responsibilities and not complain (much) not be considered a super-mom?


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