Mom Enough

I wasn’t planning on writing about this.

But it’s especially odd when something somewhat old-hat in one area of my life suddenly bursts into the mainstream and takes over the conversation in another area.

I’m not in the mommy world, I’m merely close to it. My son is two and half and I’ve been watching and helping my wife find her own way of being a mom. It’s a fascinating thing to watch. No matter how much she does, she always feels like she’s not doing enough. My job is to talk her down and make sure that she’s not going too crazy.

The same thing goes with all of her friends.* Every mom feels insecure. While it’s not a competition to determine quién es más mamá, moms fall into the same trap with themselves that they do when it comes to comparing kids—they only compare the best things that each mom does and try to measure up to a completely unrealistic composite of those bests.** Then they feel guilty at having failed at something even though the child is perfectly fine.

*Except I don’t try and talk her friends down.

**Dads do the exact opposite. Instead of looking at the best things each dad does and feeling guilty that we aren’t that awesome, we look at the worst thing each dad does and feel good about ourselves for not being thaaaat bad.

There’s also tons of advice out there* so moms are constantly being told what to do. And what not to do. And, most often, why what they’re doing is wrong. As a result, there’s a lot of defensiveness** when it comes to dealing with advice.

*Professional, cultural, and social advice.

**Mostly deserved.

Which brings us to the Time cover. The only criticism I have of it is that there’s no way the article, whatever it is, can match the brilliance of the cover.

Time chose to own this. It’s completely considered and, so far, they haven’t backpedaled with any “we’re sorry if anyone was offended” pseudo-apologies. As a result, it’s been completely refreshing to see people talking about a photo content “controversy.” And while many people have dismissed the image as being merely cheap provocation for selling magazines*, there is more going on.

*It’s a fantastic image for this too since it has a little bit of everything—most importantly the unexpected hook.

Every mother* has also already gone over this territory—to the point where I’m pretty sure the general reaction was a tired “not this again”** sigh. The Time cover isn’t a decree about how mothers should be—the general reaction has shown that we, culturally, know how unreasonable this is. It shows how the existence of this extreme results in pressure on every mother out there.

*Well, first-world mother. The whole worrying about parenting methods and whether or not to work or stay home etc. etc. is something that only people privileged enough to be given a choice in the matter get to deal with and guilt over.

**Hence my snarky comment about how attachment parenting discussions are the ruin porn of mommy blogs

The content of the photo is such that it’s very clearly a challenge. There’s a bit of “don’t tell me how to be a mom” mixed with “be as much of a mom as you want to be.” Both points are completely valid. Time did not run with a “You are not mom enough” accusation. It ran with a question, the answer to which should be, and usually is, “fuck, yes!”

Baby name help

So we’re having problems coming up with baby names. Especially boy names (since we had a son first, we’ve had a three-year head start on girl names). Our general guiding principles:

  • Must not result in people breaking out into song.
  • Similarly, no obvious phrases or greetings from movies.
    • No Clarice.
    • No Adrian.
  • Would be nice if it works in both Spanish and German.
  • Japanese is also open for consideration.
    • Miho however has been vetoed as being too clever.
  • Not too popular.

Any suggestions will be appreciated and considered. We’re currently calling the baby Lorem and as amusing as it would be to unleash someone named Lorem Ipsum on the world, neither of us really wants to get stuck with that name.

Valley Trip

walkies

A couple weekends ago, we took a trip to the Central Valley so my son could visit his great-grandparents and the rest of us could recharge away from computers or anything other gadgets. I usually don’t post auto-everything family photos* here but I ended up with a number which I really really like.

*Especially those taken in idiot-mode using the pop-up flash. 

picture time
trocas!
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pancake!
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Hawaii scans II

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A second batch of scans from Hawai‘i. The first batch was pre-marriage and pre-kids. This batch is random family photos from the 1950s through around 1970. These photos correspond to the stories which my mom tells about her childhood. These are various film formats—some 6×6, some 135, some 4×4 (I think). As before, it’s a bit odd how everything is scaled to fit the same size online.

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I’m also including two other previous scans from the same time period

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Hawaii scans

HI-1

Part of the family vacation component of my Hawai‘i trip was to come back with a pile of photos to scan. A lot of them are extended family so I have to do some work to identify who they are. The first batch I’ve been scanning has been photos of my grandparents. Mostly of my grandmother. Mostly taken before my mom was born.

So we’re talking around early 1940s for most of these. The non-studio photos all appear contact prints from 120 or 620 film (~2.25 inches wide).

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The studio photos are interesting since they’re much more like the kinds of photos I would see on people’s walls during my childhood visits. Professional photos were framed, everything else went in albums.

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And a couple notes on scanning. It’s a tough decision between trying to correct the color and contrast of the aged print and maintaining the sense that these are old, faded, and beat up items. I hope I’ve found the right balance here. Also, it’s very strange to see all of these scaled to exactly the same 500-pixel widths. In person, the prints are all slightly different sizes. Scanning everything results in a forced uniformity which loses some of the character of the artifacts.

SJC

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Photography is not something I ever feel like doing while traveling.* Which means that it’s difficult to take photos of airport interiors unless I’m experiencing a lengthy layover or delay.** That said, airports are often very interesting places architecturally*** and so, when I got the opportunity to visit the new terminal at San José,**** I took it.

*“Traveling” in this case referring to the actual point A to point B component of a trip where navigating airports, transportation, luggage etc. takes precedence over pulling out a camera.

**Neither of which I enjoy encountering.

***I would definitely use my camera if I were to take a Jet Blue flight to JFK.

****This was also an opportunity to take my son to see airplanes. He loves them and was quite happy just watching and staring out the window.

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