Why Can’t I Be A Parent With A Lot Of Time On My Hands?

Dinosaurs

There are a couple of things going around the Facebook these days and I don’t like them. Not one bit.

One is about these parents of boys that make their action figure dinosaurs “get into trouble” every night in the month of November. I’ve had like five friends share it in the last day. Sometimes the dinosaurs just play with the fruit bowl. Whatever, that’s cute. Other times they get into an entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, or crack open a bunch of eggs.

The other is about people’s oh so clever Elf on the Shelf ideas for this Christmas. You know, you wake up and the kids find that the elf has gotten into the cookie dough and made a mess in the kitchen. Or he’s holding hands with Barbie in the dream house. Some dumb shit like that.

At that point I start to ask just what in the fuck is going on here.

First and foremost, we’re kind of deviating from the original purpose of these things, especially in the case of the Elf on the Shelf. They didn’t create and market that ugly, horrifying elf just so that people can have some mischievous character running around the house. Making a mess. Upping the ante for the rest of us mediocre parents, so to speak. They marketed it as a way to keep your kids under control in the month before Christmas.

If the elf is on the shelf, Santa is coming. If the elf is off the shelf, he’s not because you’ve been bad.

If the elf is dry humping Barbie in the dream house and porking down sausage links while raiding the liquor cabinet… well, just what in the hell does that mean?

I think we’re sort of confusing kids here.

Moreover, who with any sense of morality wastes money and food like that? When I saw the photograph of those dinosaur action figures with an entire package of destroyed eggs all around them, I thought – man, that’s like three breakfasts in our house. Sure, a dozen eggs is around $3 – or whatever – but what would a starving family living on the streets, or dying children in the third world, think if they saw that picture? I don’t mean to get all philanthropic up in here, but I’m pretty sure that being so wasteful is why (1) the world is completely falling apart, and (2) people hate Americans so much.

Lastly – and perhaps the most compelling – who the fuck with children has so much time on their hands to do this kind of shit? No seriously. Like… seriously, seriously. I barely have the time to take a shower, let alone figure out ways to make that sneaky elf get into trouble again. From the moment I get up in the morning, until the minute I pass out in a pile of messy hair, unkempt pajamas that I’ve been wearing all day, and my husband’s slobber, I’m taking care of people. I’m cooking. I’m cleaning. I’m taking periodic breaks to dick around on Pinterest or the blog – but you’d better believe I’m doing something else like cooking dinner or vacuuming at the same, exact time. Or answering homeschooling questions. Or wrapping Christmas presents.

Laundry! Don’t forget the laundry.

What I’m saying here is that there is little time for relaxation. And after kiddie bedtime, I have to … wait for it … fold the laundry and pick up the shit that didn’t get picked up during the day. And do the dishes, because I was so busy helping with math or running around from extra curricular to extra curricular.

Why can’t I be a parent with a lot of time on my hands? A parent that has the time to whip up a batch of cookie dough and then carefully and strategically make a planned mess for the elf on the shelf to be blamed for. Just to clean it up in the morning and come up with another plan for the next night. Every night in the month of December. Or to come up with ideas for my kids’ action dinosaurs or Barbie dolls to get into trouble over. Why can’t I have the time to wrap dolls in toilet paper and smash dinosaurs into a dozen eggs? And then the time to clean it all up the next day?

It sounds a little ridiculous when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why I don’t have the time, or the money, or the interest really, to be one of these over-the-top parents that just can’t let go and be mediocre like the rest of us.

But is it really mediocrity? Or is it just common sense?

Dear Biological Parents,

I don’t blog on this topic very often, mostly because it is far too personal and complicated, and more importantly the thought of some numb nuts commenting in a way that offends me is too much for me to worry about to actually put it out there.

Today is different, though.

Without getting into all the sordid details of my life and those of my little chitlins, I will just say this: for a few years, now, I have been trying to foster some sort of a relationship between my Pookie and her biological father for her own sake, and because he seemed to want to – at the very least – know her. He has not had her in his life much since she was a little baby, and quite frankly this is a good thing. He is very irresponsible, he does not have financial security, and he did not really want to have kids. He lives with his parents, has a wife, and loves his hobbies. I am fine with all of that, really – I am happy to try and facilitate some kind of relationship with her, since he actually indicates he wants to (which is more than I can say for a lot of other people that have been involved in her sweet, little life).

But there comes a time when I have to look at the situation and say exactly what the courts say: is this really in the best interest of the child?

This weekend we let her go to her biological father’s house for a couple of days, at which time she was exposed to cigarette smoke, things they are aware she is allergic to, and fed nothing but crap. When I asked him what she ate because she had an allergic reaction to something that caused her to break out in hives yesterday (upon getting home), he said: spaghetti, cocoa puffs, lucky charms, frozen pizza bites. What a diet, right?

Today I took her to the doctor because hydrocortisone cream and her regular allergy pills didn’t cut it on the hives. The culprit was that it’s apparently a fucking zoo over at their house. Not only does grandma smoke regularly, but they have two cats, two dogs, some wild rat in the back, and a shit-ton of fish. At the very least, she is allergic to the cats. The doctor’s bill, in the end, came to way more than we had budgeted or intended on – of which we will see not one bit from him – and which she admitted was because they let one of their cats bother her repeatedly through the entire visit, despite the fact that she is terribly allergic and they know.

Then this evening, Pookie informed me that they told her over the weekend that her biological father and his wife have decided to have a baby. This boggles my mind in ways you faithful blog followers could never understand. Boggles my fucking mind.

So I’m a little mad. And tipsy, because I allowed myself more than the standard “glass of wine with dinner” tonight. If I were to write a letter to biological parents that aren’t really parents, it would look something like this:

Dear Biological Parents,

Just because you can’t keep your dick in your pants or you spread your legs so wide people think you might be in the circus (with that flexibility and all), does not mean you are a parent. There is much more to being a parent than just creating a zygote. There is much more to being a parent than squeezing that thing through your chachi, or standing by while it all takes place and calling out “I’m a dad!”

If you don’t pay your child support, you are not a parent. If you believe a steady diet of Cocoa Puffs and chocolate chip cookies is adequate, you are not a parent. If you do not know the difference between toxic and non-toxic, clean and unclean, safe and unsafe, you are not a parent.

If you think it’s okay for your kid to have cigarette smoke blown in her face, you are not a parent. If your kid has a very serious allergy and you just blow it off because you are too busy or lazy or tired or stupid to limit their exposure, you are not a parent.

Being a parent is so much more than sticking your dick in some ho and calling it a day. Being a parent is staying up all night because your child had a nightmare and can’t get back to sleep. Being a parent is sacrificing your trip to Sephora for makeup so that your kid can have her allergy medicine. Being a parent is never making a food again that your kid is allergic to, unless they aren’t home. Being a parent is ensuring your child eats healthy and has a fruit or vegetable first every, single fucking goddamned time they have a snack. Being a parent is doing homework with your kid, and sitting with them while they read for a minimum of 15 minutes a day – because you know that’s what they need to succeed in life. Being a parent is sacrificing day fucking in and day fucking out.

Being a parent has nothing to do with your dick or your hoo ha, or a zygote that happens to have the same DNA as you. Being a parent is everything that happens afterwards – from the first time your kid wakes up and says “mommy, I had a nightmare,” to the minute they tell you “momma, he asked me to marry him.”

I am so fucking sick and tired of these worthless scumbags that don’t have the slightest idea of taking responsibility for the actions they choose to make. I’m tired of it in every walk of life, but today I am especially tired of this. Biology has nothing to do with being a parent. All this other shit does. As I slather cream all over my sweetheart’s hives, sit up with her all night because she is upset about feeling sick, and then wake up tomorrow to no make up because I had to spend all my make up money on this unintended visit to the doctor.

I sometimes wonder why  some people don’t take on their responsibilities as parents, though. Because despite how upset I am about it now, and how much I complain, it’s so worth it.

A Few Open Letters From My Day…

Yeesh, what a day! This may be Hump Day, but for me it was “Fuck Heather’s Brain Until It Bleeds”-Day. I have a few open letters to write from my day. Shall we begin?

An Open Letter to the lady at Natural Cafe

FUCK YOU.

I heard you standing in line behind me, having a pithy little conversation with your friend about how you don’t dress down and “lower” (your word) yourselves to wear Team Shirts outside of the house, or at the very most sporting events. I heard as I stood in line in front of you wearing my White Sox shirt. I heard your bitchy comments after you noticeably sized me up, right before I turned my back on your oversized, posh ass.

I wore my team shirt today, you might know, because I am overwhelmingly homesick at the present time. I hate California because of assholes like you and thought a good way to deal without making everyone around me miserable would be to wear my White Sox shirt. Sue me. And kindly shut the fuck up.

An Open Letter to the guy that commented on my blog

FUCK YOU.

I really and truly enjoyed receiving your comment this morning on my post about the Pubic Parking sign outside a local elementary school. Sadly, I cannot approve it because you are a dick. I don’t know who you are, and your vague pseudonym “CaliGuy” leads me to believe you are too much of a pussy to reveal your true identity. I will, however respond to your three sentences here:

“You clearly have no compassion for simple mistakes.”

Sir, I kindly invite you to fuck off. I do have compassion for simple mistakes. I do not have compassion for mistakes that leave my kid to ask me what “pubic” means, or that are a direct result of laziness. In a public school, simple proofreading should be taught and shown by example. Period, end of sentence.

“I have read other posts of yours. If you hate California so much, why don’t you leave, and while you’re at it stop sucking up our tax dollars?”

Short answer or long answer, oh douchly one? The short answer is that I would gladly leave if I could. The long answer is that my husband works in the film industry, so just up and leaving California because I am unhappy is not as simple as you suggest.

And in regards to my sucking up the tax dollars, the only way in which I reap the benefits of the taxes I contribute to is in the extra-curriculars I take advantage of run by the city. I still pay fees for those, though. I homeschool and am not on welfare. I rarely use any public services whatsoever. This means that I pay taxes and reap very little actual benefit at all. I pay taxes for that public school to put up the “pubic parking” sign, and further to educate other kids while I pay for my own educational materials.

Now, I again kindly invite you to fuck off.

“You really are a bitch.”

Yes, sir. I am. Proud of it.

An Open Letter to the lady at swimming that accosted me today.

FUCK YOU.

Oh, woman that accosted me at swimming today, told me my kid crying during the class was ruining it for everyone, and proceeded to yell at me that you wanted to know how long we would be there so you could return after we are gone: kiss my grits. Seriously. The swimming staff and instructors informed me that my kid crying is a normal part of swimming and water confidence, and if you have a problem with that you should take it up with them. I will be bringing my kid back on Monday and if you so much as look at me the wrong way, I won’t be as nice as I was today.

You see, today I stood firm to my belief that it is an extremely bad example to set for children to act like such a pompous, overbearing, self-righteous asshole. I don’t believe it is OK to tell other parents at extra-curriculars that they are “bad parents” or “rude” because they will not indulge in petty arguments. I do not believe in getting into huge, loud, verbal confrontations over something that is unambiguously wrong on your part, so I kindly said “none of your business” and we left. If you continue harassing me, though, I may not continue to be so nice.

You are a bitch. As with all the other people I encountered today, I invite you to kindly fuck off.

This was a bad day, full of assholes. It is true that I hate California, but I think I really just hate people.

What I will do if your kid screams in my face or hits me again …

Long title, eh?  Almost as long as my day.

Today was another one of marathon activities:  swim class, bubble baths, errands, art classes, and a puppet show at the library.  All these activities, of course, meant being around a lot of little, screaming children.  Now, I’m all for kids having a good time, and I know that at some of these things you should expect there to be at least a few obnoxious kids around – but sometimes parents are … how do I say this … too hands off.  It’s as if the parents think they bring their kids to something in a public place and they no longer have to monitor their behavior.

Photo credit Adventures of El Destructo

Well, I’ve got news for you ladies (and sometimes men):  your kids are brats.  Not all of them – some are polite, saying “excuse me” and “please and thank you” when they should.  But today none of those nice kids were out.

My day began at the public swimming pool, where I desperately tried to squeeze in thirty minutes of writing while I waited for swimming class to end.  About ten minutes in a woman and her four kids showed up and the children began jumping and screaming on the very bench I was sitting on.  It didn’t stop there, though:  one of the kids actually started screaming and spitting in my face.  When I asked the woman to get her unruly children under control, she told me that (being that it was a public pool and all), I could move if I didn’t like it – they had a right to harass me like that.

No ma’am.  No they don’t.

The fun continued later on when I made the mistake of packing the family in the car and heading to the public library where a summer program puppet show was being held.  Screaming children were everywhere, walking in front of each other and blocking the views of the more well-behaved kids.  The worst, though, was that there was a long line and tickets to get in.  We waited, and waited, and waited, and suddenly three mothers with four kids (each) walked in front of us and got in line with a friend, with her own cadre of brats, that was right in front of us saving a place.  Again, if it were no more than a couple of people she was saving a place for, that would have been one thing.  But fifteen additional bodies packing into the spot in line right before us?  They acted as if they were entitled to take the place in front of us in line.  At the high point of the event, one of the kids stepped on my foot and then looked up and stuck out his tongue – his mother then too busy gabbing with her friends to pay much attention.

I really hate it when I see other people disciplining children that are not theirs.  It really just isn’t their place.  But when I am in a public place and a kid’s parents are not acting like … well, parents … I can now see why the gloves come off.  Just as the woman’s kids at the public swimming pool had the right to play however they wanted at the pool, by virtue of the fact that the pool was public, I and my family have just as much of a right to not be impacted by such blatantly self-centered and outright rude behavior.

So here’s the deal, parents that are wrapped so tightly around their kid’s fingers that they really think bad behavior (by objective standards) is okay, here’s what I will do to your kid if he screams or spits in my face again:  I’ll scream and spit back, and believe you me I have twenty years of yelling on your child.

Photo credit dreamchildmethod.com

And for those of you that really believe it is okay for your kid to run wild whilst you stand by and chit-chat with your friends, pretending that nothing is going on, occasionally muttering “kids will be kids,” your child will not be exempt just because you are too ignorant and self-absorbed to pay attention.  If your kid steps on my foot intentionally, smashes into me, hits me, or does anything else to cause me (or my family) bodily harm, I will break out the spanking-hand and show you how to be a parent.

Those of you that know me know that I would never actually hit anyone, and I actually (while I may be pretty loud and swear a lot) don’t believe in screaming or spanking.  But the truth to the matter is that my parents and my parent’s parents would have never tolerated the type of behavior that is tolerated now.  What has happened to basic discipline, respect, common courtesy, and instilling in children an idea of who has the authority and who is to abide by the rules?  Sure, screaming and spanking probably got a little out of control, which is why such a backlash came up against it towards the late 90s.  But the pacified, hands-off approach to parenting that replaced it is making a situation far worse than a kid with a temporary sore bottom ever was.  It’s time for parents to start acting like … well, parents.

And to the line-cutters, the ignorers, and the people who think they are entitled to encroach on other people’s space:  stop teaching your kid to be as obnoxious as you.  Because if you don’t, one day someone won’t just blog about wanting to spank and scream at your kid, they’ll actually do it.