Moms The Word

When Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder was asked how she could be both a politician and a mother, she replied, “Because I have a brain and a uterus.” On the second Sunday in May we celebrate Mother’s Day- a day that historically has tended to salute only one of the organs Schroeder mentioned.

Mother’s Day evokes all sorts of emotions in people. Generally, attitudes fall somewhere between the cynical “Bah Mumbug” stance, which holds the position that Mother’s Day is perpetuated by retailers as a way to line their pockets, and the “Apple Pious” belief that motherhood is a sacred calling placing mothers right up there with doctors, popes, honest politicians, and switch-hitters batting over 300.

It is in this abyss between emotions that most of us decide just how to celebrate Mother’s Day. Do we ignore it? Do we give it a passing mention with a token gift? Do we create a spectacle of love worthy of a mini-series starring Melissa Gilbert?

If we decide to give a gift, the process of choosing the gift is not terribly difficult because mothers love anything you give them – even the mother who every year says “Don’t buy me anything; Save your money; I have everything I could ever want.” Flowers and candy are traditional choices, especially for people who need to send their gifts across the country. Clothing, perfume, photographs, dining out, knickknacks, are also common choices. But retailers will try to persuade you that their product is an excellent choice, so you will need to use common sense. Think twice before wrapping up that power drill, gerbil, Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” CD, steam iron or Monistat 7 gift set. And even if you do find choosing a gift to be fairly easy, you will soon discover that choosing a Mother’s Day card is hell.

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Changing Times

Today I was in the women’s restroom at a local restaurant and saw a changing table. These are such a nice amenity for moms who used to have to try to change a child on the floor of the bathroom while people walked around her as she was questioning all the decisions she had made in her life and longing for a strong adult drink. And this got me to thinking which, of course, got me to Googling, which got me here. Stay with me — I’m going somewhere with all of this.

I started wondering if there was a changing table in the men’s restroom. Now I haven’t been in a men’s room since the Bob Seger concert in 1987 when the line for the women’s room was too long and the beers in my bladder were too many so I boldly went where few women have gone before, and by “went” I mean the double entendre. So I truly didn’t know if there were changing tables in men’s rooms. I had a feeling if they were in men’s rooms they weren’t in very many. Then while Googling I found this on the Huffington Post:

On Oct. 7, President Obama signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, aka the BABIES Act. This legislation requires that both men’s and women’s restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings contain baby changing tables.

The entire article is here.   President Obama thought of everything except how to run for a third term (damn you Franklin Roosevelt for ruining this for us). Of course our current president will probably have this Act revoked by executive order because he doesn’t like anything that was enacted during the Obama administration, but until then it is the law.

After finding out about this law,  I found an article by a dad who was concerned that a changing table in a men’s room should be in an area that allows privacy. In this article “The Problem with Having Changing Tables in Men’s Restrooms (find it here), Jonathan Church stated:

I imagine it is rather unsettling for men relieving themselves in the restroom to be forced to maneuver around a table where a father is wiping down the private parts of an infant before applying a diaper, however deferential or understanding they may pretend to be.

I never realized how delicate men are when they are peeing. I have seen men peeing in public parks, at bus stops, on subway platforms, on buses, even into a beer cup at a rock concert (ironically the Bob Seger concert of 2016 but Kid Rock was the opener so I wasn’t all that surprised). So I guess I’m surprised at how a child having their diaper changed would be “unsettling” to men. And by “unsettling” does that mean it could result in an inability to vacate the bladder, visible shrinkage of the peepee, or could it result in CVSD (Changing Viewing Stress Disorder)?

Okay — I’m wrapping this up; thanks for hanging in with me. Today, seeing this changing table in the women’s restroom sent me on this journey. Why?

Because I know men, and I too have a concern about having this installed in a men’s restroom. It’s not because I think men are too fragile to witness a baby being changed; it is because I have a terrible feeling that intoxicated males will mistake it for a urinal. And wouldn’t that be sad. Maybe Jonathan Church was right and this should be hidden — drunk guys cannot be trusted.

Thanks Dad

My dad was a wonderful guy — and he had a great sense of humor and a big laugh. I was lucky enough to have those passed on to me. I remember one Easter when I came downstairs my dad had put chocolate covered raisins on the floor by our Easter baskets. He said “Look, the Easter Bunny pooped on the floor” and then picked up one of the droppings and ate it. I thought I was going to die at first of disgust then after I knew what it was I was going to die laughing.

When I was a bit older my dad came with us to church on Easter — this was unusual to have my dad in church with my mom, my brother and me — he preferred to stay home and watch reruns of “The Bowery Boys.” When we were singing an Easter anthem we all sang “Christ The Lord is risen today,” and during the alleluia my dad leans down and the next thing I hear is “Now we all are going to pay.” Well he and I are laughing so hard and my mom is giving us the dirtiest of looks.

Easter always reminds me of those great moments. Thanks Dad.