What’s in a Name?

Pink LisaLong, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, MomBrain wore miniskirts. This is a true fact. Also, she had big hair. So big, in fact, that drunk men would bury their hands in it and use it to tie her to a pole in a subway car. (Okay, that only happened once, but STILL.)

Between the miniskirts, the big hair, and the simple fact that I had lady parts, I needed a “bar name” to give to any drunk man who might possibly want to tie me to a subway pole. I chose the easy to spell “Lisa.”*

Fast forward. I no longer have big hair, and I’d have to be drunk myself to wear a miniskirt. But I’m still “Lisa.” It’s my Starbucks name. My pizza delivery name. My take-out Thai name. I have used “Lisa” so much and for so long that I answer to it when someone yells it in a crowd. In fact, my tombstone will probably say “Lisa: We Hardly Knew You.”

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* I also used the phone number 867-5309 and NOT ONCE did anyone raise an eyebrow. Maybe they were too drunk.

Time In!

Here at MomBrain HQ, things are mighty cold. In fact, this blog has been on ice for five long years. But this hiatus was not without much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Five years of blogging and hundreds of readers were hard to release. But when the Little Guy learned to read and squawked about privacy, MomBrain was put in Time Out until she promised never to do that again.

Why did it take five years to emerge from my corner, facing the wall? I do not know. But here I am, full of promises to play more nicely.

I considered starting a new blog, but I will always be a Mom, even though the Little Guy (who is now taller than me) has retired into privacy. As for the Brain part, it’s definitely still there, though perhaps more like a shriveled raisin than an actual human brain. So MomBrain it is, with a little less Mom and a little more Brain, ready to sound my barbaric yawp.

 

 

Tick tock, tick tock … 5 years goes by … tick tock, tick tock …

 

 

Spitting Feathers

featherIn which MomBrain descends into the fiery pit and emerges as a bird of a whole ‘nuther feather …

I have been blogging as MomBrain since 2003, embarrassing my family with some success and myself with even more. But it’s time for MomBrain to write about something else. For one thing, I’m finally emerging from the Baby Blur of those first six years. The total immersion of early motherhood is nearly over, and I’m beyond ready to reclaim my old life. For another, the Little Guy is now the Medium Guy, and I need to respect his growing self-awareness. I mean, it’s one thing to write about your toddler’s mud-spattered antics. But when your baby is big enough to wear your socks, it’s time to redraw the boundaries of what you say in public. Besides, he can read now.

All this to say that while MomBrain will continue, probably in another guise, you’ll be reading less about the Little Guy and maybe a little more about … um … I don’t know yet. But the winds of change, they are a-blowin’ …

Sing It, Sister!

PunditMom has issued a challenge. She writes “The term mommy blogger, for some, has a stigma and conjures an image of a woman in stained sweats, a couple of toddlers in tow, using a blog as a journal of her daily toils and troubles. What if we came up with some phrases that more accurately describe what tens of thousands of us are doing here in cyberspace — trying to harness the power of social networking for business and political purposes.”

She suggests moving away from the word “mommy” and more toward words like “mother” or “maternal.” I dunno. Is it really the word “mommy” that’s inaccurate? Or is it society’s assumptions that are wrong? I admit, I feel the stigma, too – it’s the same icky feeling of going to a party and telling someone you’re “just a mom.” And even if you finesse it — even if you say you’re a fulltime mom, or home with your kids, or that you work from home as a freelance writer and editor so you can spend more time with your kids — the listener still hears “just a mom.”

Your ideas?

Danger, Will Robinson

Warning!!! Iceberg ahead!!! It seems that Blogger and Netfirms, MomBrain’s gracious host, are in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and no longer speak to one another. Updating is next to impossible. So over the next few days, MomBrain HQ will be moving out of the Blogger slum and into a waterfront TypePad condo. You, dear reader, should notice nothing except more frequent updates. But there may be a design hiccup here and there … so please, pardon our dust while we move.

Hold Your Applause

MomBrain will be attempting more frequent updates in the next few weeks. Why, you ask? It’s simple: I want to test a theory. Sister K says more frequent updates = more readers. I say more frequent updates = more tired mommies who just don’t have time to read everything so they give up in despair (i.e. fewer readers). So let’s give it a try, shall we? (And while you’re holding your applause, please do feel free to throw twenty-dollar bills.)

In Other News … We have bid ciao to our charming Italian houseguest. In less than two weeks he has managed to line up an apartment, furniture, a bike, and a bank account – all in a country where the money, language, and food are completely foreign. I stand in awe.

My personal theory is that we chased him out with the coffee. American and Italian coffee are two different beasts entirely, and after his first polite cup of dishwater at MomBrain HQ he’s been allergic to everything but triple espressos at McStarbucks. Polite refusals don’t stop MomBrain, though – I make dishwater every morning for him, press it upon him, and pretend that it’s fine, just fine when he refuses.

Blogging Angst

So here’s the deal. When I blog a lot, I don’t write much. And when I write a lot, I don’t blog much. Blogging and writing draw from the same well, and unfortunately my well just doesn’t refresh that quickly.

Writer’s Digest interviewed me about MomBrain, which was heartily gratifying (check your newstand in June). But one of their questions really made me think: “Why are you giving it away on a blog when you could be selling it as a column?”

The short answer is: I ain’t no ho. I do it for love, not money. In 20 years of writing books, magazine articles, essays, and reviews I have only once seen a letter to the editor about something I wrote. And that was because I made a math error in a software review. Imagine it: Innocent, dimply-cheeked MomBrain added wrong, and a flood of pimply-faced geek boys broke the magazine record for letters when they checked my math. (Hello? Get a life!) Oh – and once I got a piece of hate mail that called me a “scum-sucking smut monger.” That one arrived at my home. Thanks for the feedback!

Apart from that, nada. Writing for publication is like shooting an arrow into a black hole: you have no idea where it lands or how it’s received, only that it doesn’t come back. A $500 check definitely eases the pain, but hey – there’s that ho thing. Just leave the money on the dresser, and use the back door please.

Blogging is entirely different. No money changes hands. But I get comments. E-mail. Links. I know where my posts land, and I know how they’re received. I have a much stronger connection with my readership – and isn’t that worth something? Blogging just earns a different kind of compensation than writing for publication.

I genuinely believe this. But the part I didn’t tell the interviewer is that I like money, too. Sometimes I want to put on my fishnet stockings and do a bump and grind for cash. Everything has a price, and in the last two weeks I’ve been selling it left and right. I am nothing but a Hoochie Mama, and that’s alright by me. For now.

Blogging and Narcissism

Today’s NY Times Sunday Styles section features mom and dad bloggers, who evidently are quite the self-absorbed lot and mourn the the me-me-me-ness of our pre-baby adult lives. We are obscene narcissists struggling to rise above invisibility and to remind the world that we still exist. Oh, and our blogs are just a primal scream that expose the “dark underbelly” of parenting. To which I say … DUH. And your point would be?

Of course I am just jealous because the author didn’t profile MomBrain. So perhaps I am just exposing my own dark underbelly. But sheesh, since when is it bad to want to exist in the world, to be seen and known and loved? There is so much anti-parent bias in this article it makes me want to scream. Primally.

Or perhaps I just need a little less caffeine and a few more reminders of the joy of being isolated, invisible, and devalued. Oops – there’s that underbelly again. MomBrain really must be more careful.