A Short Message to Friends and Family for the Holidays

Christmas evening.

I’ve been wrestling with myself on whether or not to write this post.  I love the winter holiday season; whether you celebrate Christmas, the pagan solstice, or just the “season of giving” in a very general way, the holidays can be an exciting, happy time to eat, drink, and be merry with friends and family.

They can also be hectic, busy, and very stressful… emotionally and definitely economically.  The season of giving has become very commercialized.  It’s not supposed to be about “getting stuff,” and I think most people understand that.  People keep asking me what my daughter needs for Christmas.  I love that they are thinking of her.

But I also feel guilty.  I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to get me or my family anything. (But I don’t want to insult anyone when I tell them that either; I’m not trying to discourage the people that love to give, but rather let them know we understand if they can’t.)  Also, I feel terrible because I know this year we can not afford to get anything for anyone else either.  (I know everyone is suffering in this economy to some extent right now, but we are basically just struggling to keep our heads above water right now until tax time.)  I actually worry that family members or friends will get their feelings hurt if we do not at least buy for their children.  I know the holiday is not about giving gifts, but I also understand being very “protective” of a child and I know how I feel if I think my daughter has been slighted or forgotten.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people felt this same sort of guilt and pressure around Christmastime.

So what I really want to tell all of you is: please, don’t overextend yourself.  Don’t do more than you are able.  We will understand and the baby is not suffering from lack of books and toys. 

The second thing I want to say is: Please do not feel like we are purposely slighting you or your children, friends and family.  That is not our intention at all.  Know that we love you all and are thinking of you, even though we will probably not see many of you this year, because of how far away from “home” we live now.  

I hope you don’t find this message tacky or inappropriate.  It’s just something that’s been on my mind.  Anyway, this is the first year J* is really, really aware of Christmas (or, “crystal,” as she calls it) and I hope she will find it all magical and happy regardless of where we are and what she gets.  I think she will.

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I love you all.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas…

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

J* (my daughter): Milk? Milk?

Hubby:  You want milk???

Me: We don’t have any milk

Hubby: (rolls eyes)

Me: I told you we needed to go to the store!

Hubby: (turns and points at me): Make it so, number one…

Me: Uh… I’m the Captain up in this Bitch!

J* pipes up:  bitch! bitch!

Yes, this conversation just happened.

Our family...full of WIN!

Our family…full of WIN!

“Dogs are not kids.”

Becoming a mom has definitely changed me.  I’ve never been a kid person.   But my kid is fucking awesome!  

And now I am noticing something I hadn’t really noticed until I started posting on social media and reading comments on articles online; when the topic of kids comes up, it’s amazing how many people are hateful about children!

This morning, I saw this article on things parents shouldn’t say to non-parents.  If you don’t wanna read the whole thing, I’ll just outline the points.

1) “Dogs are not Kids”- based on the premise that the people that always compare their pets to our kids actually do know this.

2) “You think you’re [insert anything here]? Try having kids!”  Okay, I get what they’re saying about playing down others’ feelings, but if I’m exhausted from being up with my sick child, I don’t wanna hear about your post bar-hopping hangover woes.

3. “Don’t worry, when you have kids you’ll…”  Firstly, the author is insulted that parents assume everyone wants kids.  I definitely agree that’s not the case, and it does sound a bit condescending…

4. “Is the party kid-friendly?”  I don’t see what the big deal is with this one.  The author posits that unless you and your friend have a tacit understanding that your kids are always welcomed, you should assume they’re not.  I personally think it should be the other way around.  You call yourself my friend?  Then you’ll know chances are that I prefer to do things with my husband and child rather than without.  Common sense.  At any rate, why should even asking this question be discouraged?  By being insulted by the mere question, you’re just opening the door for miscommunication.

5. “My life didn’t have meaning before I had kids!”  The author seems to assume this statement of personal feeling implies something about their life without children.  To which I say, if that’s how you feel, the problem is with you, not me!  I have not ever personally uttered this phrase because I don’t feel my life was meaningless before, just that it has more meaning now.  But if I was to say it to a non-parent, it would not be to infer that I think their life is consequently meaningless, it would just be a statement of how I felt.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across a question on Yahoo! Answers asking people what they thought of a restaurant that banned kids under 18 (not a bar, a restaurant.)  Almost without exception, the “answerers” were either under eighteens who felt this was insulting and discriminatory, and responses like “This is a great idea!,” full of inferences that if a person had an upset toddler they couldn’t possibly  be a good parent.  Let me tell you guys a secret…

I used to feel this way. 

But– and you may not want to hear it– this IS one thing you can not know until you have your own kid… no matter what you think you’d do, or how you “plan” to be with your kids (should you wish to have them,) it is subject to change; you never really know what you’ll feel comfortable doing until you have to do it.  I always thought if my kid acted up, I’d just bust her ass the way my mom did my sis and I when we were kids.  We aren’t “emotionally scarred” (not much anyway.lol.)  But now that I have a daughter, I find myself loath to lay a hand on her in anger.  It’s just not how I want our relationship to be.  I’m not the same disdainful towards kids person I was before.  

And the fact is that some people seem to forget that children are people too.  They have feelings and thoughts and needs, and often not the maturity to frame them properly.  And yet, by the way some adults behave, that sometimes never changes.  Some people forget that they were kids once too.

At any rate, where’s the list of things that childless people shouldn’t say to parents, like telling us how to raise/discipline our kids, and or (#1) comparing their dog to our kids?  My cats and dogs have always been like family to me, my furry kids.  But…they do not require the same time, attention, or responsibility as a real child.  Deal with it.

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Ha! Joke’s on you! My kid already knows how to swear!

  • Parents (meddlesomeness.wordpress.com)

On Birthday and Mother’s Day Wishes…

First, let me take a minute to wish all my fellow okaasan a happy Mother’s Day.  I feel like this is acceptable.  Aside from the fact that mother’s day is essentially a Hallmark Holiday, some of you are overseas, many of you are still very new acquaintances, and none of you are my mother, thus an actual phone call may be impractical, and possibly even weird.  This may sound like a “Captain Obvious” kind of observation, but it segues nicely into my point.

Thursday was my birthday.  I got a lot of birthday love via Facebook.  My bestie took me and my family out to lunch.  My neighbor brought me fresh strawberries and a mojito.  I was frankly touched.  Even though we’ve become quite good pals lately, the fact that she thought of me even a little was pretty cool.  One of my other friends brought me a whole DQ ice cream cake on Friday (my waistline thanks you!)  I had a very lovely birthday, despite spending at least part of it in the pediatrician’s office with my daughter for a weirdly vacillating rash.

And I got a few birthday texts.  Which is cool…  Except that not a single one of my four sets of parents or three sisters actually picked up the phone to call me on my birthday.  Ironically, my Dad just called to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”  Maybe it’s easier to call on a Sunday than a Thursday?  My mom, for her part (and weirdly) wished me an early “happy birthday” when I spoke to her earlier in the week.  But why?  Was she planning on being in absentia on my actual b-day?  (Hubby seems to think she just wanted to be the very first to wish me a “happy birthday”.)

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Anyway, it’s not a huge deal, but I have to admit it’s given me pause, and once again made me consider how our ever increasing technology is changing our culture…and our manners.  Is it okay for close family to text or Facebook a birthday greeting in lieu of an actual call?  I have mixed feelings.

I wonder if everyone will mind that I have not, as of yet, made any of my Mother’s Day cards, let alone sent them.  Maybe I can just shoot my three mothers (mom, stepmom, and MIL) a text.

So, readers, just wondering your opinions on the changing times and tides of socially acceptable behavior and cultural traditions and holidays.  What are your experiences and feelings on the topics?

In Which I Bitch About the Duggars

Happened across this article on People about the Duggar family; apparently they’re considering adding to their already ginormous family of 19 by adopting.

While I think it’s lovely for a family to open their hearts and their homes to orphaned children, and while supposedly there is no question of the Duggars being loving parents, I can’t help but be a little annoyed.

I know, I know.  I’m generally a proponent of the mind your own fucking business theory and practice, I can’t help but wonder…

At what point are these people considered child hoarders?

What is this pathological need they feel to “collect” children ?

They say they have to make sure God wants them to adopt first.  Do they have a direct line to God? A toll free number maybe?  If so, I wish they’d share that shit with the rest of us.  We could maybe clear up some of these pesky questions about same-sex marriage and prayers in school…and meat on Fridays during Lent.

At least we don't live with the Duggars...

At least we don’t live with the Duggars…

“Uck”…Uggghhh

And the Parent of the Year award goes to…

While I won’t be winning any awards this week (or singing “We Saw Your Boobs,”) I’m also sure I’m not the only parent that still has a potty-mouth.  I know a lot of people feel that they won’t change when they have kids.  Well, for obvious reasons, if you don’t change at all– even if in just a few very fundamental ways– you’re probably a dick who shouldn’t have had kids in the first place.  You put your children first, you love them unconditionally, you are more fiercely protective of your child then you have ever been of anything or anyone else…ever.

Some people maybe do a 180–  they fall headfirst into the mommy or daddy role (perhaps much to the chagrin of their single or childless friends.)

Aside from that, some people change very little.  They generally enjoy most of the same past-times (even if they don’t get to enjoy them as often,) they probably still dres,s the same, act the same… speak the same.

Yep… I have always fervently defended my right to curse.  I usually temper it slightly depending on company, but for the most part, I iz me, and me cuss a lot!   You can deny it all you want, but in my opinion, saying “schizzle-nitz!” or whatever, when you crack your little toe on the coffee table at night just does not help you feel better comparable to an explosive “Fuck!”  I also maintain that you’d have to say “shit” three times to get the relief of one good “fuck.”

But anyway… so my daughter J* is picking up words pretty rapidly now…new words every other day.  And a still lot of that toddler jabber that only she understands.  On occasions, hubs and I have heard things that sound suspiciously like curses, but as they are often apropos of nothing in particular, we really just can’t be sure…

Is she saying “shit,” or “sit?”  in toddler-lisp?

I guess you all know where this going…

Last night, I was playing Resident Evil.  Hubs and J* were each doing their thing.

Something annoying happens in the game; I probably got grabbed or knocked down but some gooey, deformed something-or-other.  And I hissed, “Fuck!”

And like an echo, I hear off to my right, “Uck!”

Hubby and I look at one another– we’ve probably been in denial until now– and he says gently to J*, “Don’t say that word,baby.”

I add, “That’s a big girl word.”

And hubby amends “That’s a bad mommy word.”

*glare*

Well…we have no one to blame but ourselves…  we curse a lot.  I’d almost say we like to curse.  Some people will get all snooty and say cursing is a sign of someone with a weak vocabulary.  I assure you, that’s not the case here.  My vocabulary is fine…better than fine, I’d wager (but to you Pious Pollys, thanks for your concern over my alleged impoverished vocabulary and its implicit reflection on my morality.)

But anyway…  it got me thinking about the concept of curbing my tongue again.  I’m rather fond of something my step-grandfather used to say– “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Are you going to go to bed at 7:30, just because your kid has to? No, because you’re the adult.  Does setting a good example mean you can’t have a candy bar before dinner because your child can’t? No, because you are the adult, and you know you’ll still eat your dinner.  Kids can’t drink, adults can.  If you have friends over for a game of cards or Sunday football, are you not going to have a beer because your kid can’t and you “want to set a good example?”  Not likely.  And as long as you’re not raging drunk, there should be no issue with that.  Well, you get the point.

However, I’ll not deny the merit of setting good behavioral examples.  And I plan to set a good example for my child—  kindness, compassion, fairness, (kindness to animals,) respect for elders, manners (holding doors, offering seats, tolerance, etc.) are all things I hope she learns by my and my husband’s examples.

Some might argue that language (particularly foul language) is a behavior.  And maybe I’m a hypocrite because I yelled at my neighbor for saying the N-word in front of my kid.  I guess I do draw the line somewhere.  She is two and while it may be embarrassing to hear her repeat the F-word, the N-word is not something I want her repeating.  No one should say it.  And I’d rather have people thinking I am uncouth by cursing around my child, than a racist twat.  After all, where would they assume she learned that word, if not from being around others who say it?

So I suppose, like anything else in parenting, your decisions regarding “cussing” in front of your kids is fairly relative or subjective.  All parenting decisions are personal so long as the child is not in physical or emotional danger.

I’m curious though–  to my fellow potty-mouth parents (or those with similar vises that we might not want our toddlers mimicking) …what are your tactic for dealing with the dreaded “Uck!”

Low Blow…and Not in the Good Way

I really hate to admit when someone gets under my skin…especially if it’s someone who is unimportant to me in the grand scheme of things.  But after a Facebook “conversation” that devolved rapidly into mud slinging, I got to thinking about it, and discussing it with friends, I decided to write a little bit about it.

Aside from being irritated and disappointed by the fact that it seems many people are no longer capable of having a conversation with anyone who does not agree with or validate their own point of view, I am so fucking tired of people judging me based on my life choices.

Tyler Durden said it best: “You are not your job.”

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I guess some people do identify with their jobs, especially if their line of work is a career, rather than just a “job…”   And especially if their career is one that corresponds with their hobbies or pleasures.  For instance, writers likely internalize their career as a part of their personality; cashiers likely do not.

At this time in my life I have found myself in role I hadn’t necessarily foreseen when I was growing up.  I am a stay at home mom.  That’s right.  I said it.  I have a double degree from a University college and I stay home and watch my kid.  And I think it’s awesome!  Sure, I have put off my own career for a bit (however, I am considering going back to school soon.)

What really galls me though is the ever-widening gulf between “women like me” and the opposite extreme of career women.  Aside from the backhanded “advice” I have received from a few of my friends and family about how I “have a degree but haven’t done anything with it,” there often seems to be a sort of implicit judgment that because I do not work outside the home right now, I can’t possibly find my life fulfilling, let alone be a productive member of society.  Today, I regret to say someone I once considered a friend (in high school) attacked me personally when I dared to weigh in on the subject of women in the work place.  Flat out told me to come back to the conversation when I got out in the real world.

What I want to know is…what makes her world more real than mine?

What about the fact that I have a family (and a child with whom I am lucky enough to be able to stay home, during the precious and  formative years of her life) makes me less qualified to have an opinion?

What about the fact that she is single and has a career makes her superior to me, or more informed than me?  I have worked.  I don’t live in a hole in the ground.  I even happen to be a woman.  (Imagine that.)

This world takes all sorts to go around.  Not everyone can be a high-powered business executive.  Not everyone wants to.  Furthermore, projecting your own bitterness or insecurity about your life onto someone innocent is not cool.

Basically, my message for today is two-fold:

1) Think before you type speak.  Even if you think your words are benign or you “mean well,” that does not give you license to judge someone else for their life’s choices, especially when they don’t impact you.  If you really care about and respect the person to which you are speaking, you don’t want to hurt their feelings or insult them.   Even if you don’t know them (ie: random people or mutual friends on social media,) how about remembering some basic fucking manners???

2) If you are one of those people who does believe you are somehow superior to someone else because of your life choices (or theirs,) please do them a favor and take their name out of your phone.  Take them off your Facebook “friends” list.  Don’t mail them any Christmas cards.  They don’t need you in their life, and, since you clearly have your life “together” enough to judge your friend’s, you don’t need them in yours either.  

I think these two principals could conceivably have very wide applications.  Religion, sexuality, appearance, parenting styles. Just about anything you can think of… I might even go so far as to say they’re genius. 😉

And if all else fails…

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