“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)
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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?

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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Be Thankful: Finding Beauty in Your Surroundings

I live in a suburban town in KY.  A short drive will take you past a great many fields, some expansive, and most featuring dilapidated but somehow charmingly antiquated barns and farmhouses.   Tobacco fields in the summer.  Cows, horses, and deer.

And of course, there are trailers, and yards littered with children’s toys, one or many broken down and rusted out cars.   A great many of the yards are what you might typically expect of the hillbilly stereotype.

Despite the trashy look of some of the yards, there is much beauty to be seen in the farmers’ fields, shady wooded areas, creeks and rocks.  But when things become commonplace, when we are used to seeing them day in and day out, we forget how amazing some of the little things in our world are.

I admit to being dismayed when I drive through a beautiful area and a hulking industrial structure the nature of which I couldn’t even begin to guess mars the beautiful landscape.  I wish the skeletal looking scaffolds and dirty looking pipes would disappear, and I have to remind myself that it may be ugly, but it probably helps create a service or product most people including me use everyday, and is (or was, if it is no longer in use) a necessary evil, so to speak.

As I said before, I live in a sort of suburban area, still twenty or thirty miles from an actual “city,” but not quite in the middle of nowhere.  I live in an apartment complex, and my front door faces a shopping center.

But as I stood outside enjoying an ill-advised cigarette, I took a moment to enjoy the mild temperature, the look of the wet flora around the small patch of ground that constitutes my “yard.”

Last night I laid in bed thinking about how things are going in my life, and just being thankful.  I have a great husband and kid.  I get to stay at home with my child and write, and this blog, which I started a year ago, is garnering more views everyday.   Maybe it’s not the novel I wanted to have published, but it’s more than I had last year at this time.  My bills are paid up and I have a few bucks left over this week.  I’m looking into classes for something I’ve been thinking about for a while, something that would give me the skills to start the next chapter in my career life.

So I guess the point of this long-winded post is the cliche’d “appreciate the little things.”  Is it still a cliche’ if it’s true?

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Bah! Humbug! Homesick for the Holidays

Ah, the smell of BBQ, like a campfire in the fall.  My Peppermint Patty coffee creamer.  The joys of experiencing the holiday through my toddler’s eyes…

The ridiculous crowds at Walmart, the rude drivers, the stress of not having enough money to buy groceries, let alone presents…

Oh, and it’s currently 69 degrees outside.  Bah! Humbug!

But all of this I could handle if I didn’t feel so down and out.  The holidays are drawing inexorably nigh and it’s looking less and less like I’m going to make it home to see my family.  I was going to hitch a ride with my uncle in his motor home (he generously offered last year,) but he told me they had planned on taking the car this year.  This was a few weeks ago, and he said if they changed their minds, of course we could ride with them…  But it’s hard enough for my husband to get time off for the holidays ahead of time, so the closer the holidays approach before we ask, the less likely he is to be allowed off of work.  Last year, as we were the only one’s whose family is almost exclusively (with the exception of my uncle) out of state, he was the only one of his coworkers who did not get to spend Christmas with his family…any of them, because the baby and I flew home by ourselves (oh, holy night…mare that I will never repeat!)  He had off Christmas of course, but as we live 800 miles away from family, one day just isn’t sufficient travel time.

If my uncle were able to take the motor home to MD this year, I’d tell Hubby to tell his boss that he was takin’ off, and tough titty said the kitty if they didn’t like it.  It’s not right.  Seems to me they could spare him for a few days, as everyone else at his job generally stays instate.

“Tough Titty…” (Tough Kitty)

It’s bad enough I only see my parents like 3 times a year now (and consequently, they only see their granddaughter 3 times a year.)  It’s killing me, and I know it’s killing my mom.

I miss my family and I want to move back home… but I also don’t want to.  Simply put, I’d only move back to MD because most of the family is there.  Frankly, I don’t like what the place has become.  I feel safer out here with the good ol’ redneck, racist, ignorant, fat hillbillies than I would back home where I’d fear getting mugged going to the freakin’ Wawa.  I realize part of this is perception, and that there is crime everywhere…  but according to my perception, it seems like the people out here are more ignorant than actually malicious.  Prime example; last year, in my home state, a guy I went to school with was stabbed to death in his own apartment when a seventeen year old hood broke in to steal the gun my classmate had for home protection.  Did I mention he knew the kid from around the neighborhood?  Did I also mention this guy was legally blind?  Who the fuck stabs a blind guy?

But back to the point, suffice it to say this conflict of feeling is causing me some distress…

Were we to magically discover hubby had the time off of work, thus allowing us the opportunity to drive ourselves home, then there’s the question of the $300 dollars in gas we’d likely need to get there– one way.  Would our POS Explorer even make it that far?

Assuming we’re grounded and we just have to accept it, how now am I going to afford to get everyone I want to gifts?  Our parents usually understand if we can’t afford to get them anything, but I like to buy for my sisters, and then their are my nieces and nephews, and my best friend’s kids, and my cousin’s kid…

Obviously I am not the first person to observe with no small trace of irony that this holiday is not supposed to be this stressful.

Yet I feel blue, and despite what I intellectually know and what I would tell others in my position, I feel like I deserve a big lump of coal in my stocking for not being able to give my family, and most importantly, my child, the things I want to be able to give them this holiday season.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  That’s not what the holiday is about, if they really care about us, they’ll understand, and all the baby needs is love…

So why do I still feel like a giant, disappointing piece of crap?

Bah! Humbug!

Rather Weighty, This

So, I’m probably way more excited then I should be, but I got a new elliptical.  It’s not like we really have any room in our tiny one bedroom apartment, but, dammit, I’ll make room.  I told my husband, “I have to do it.  I’m tired of being fat.”  He always just laughs at me.

Dammit Janet!

Dammit, hubby!

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