To The Mom That Doesn’t Want To Be Told She’s “Lucky” For Having a Husband That Helps Out Around The House

Alternative Title: To The Mom That Doesn’t Want What Her Husband Does To Be Called “Helping”

Third Rendition: To The Guy Who Feels He Should Receive Zero Praise For Changing Diapers (Yet Still Posts About It Incessantly On Social Media)

I added those alternative titles in there just so we don’t get hung up on any semantics and lose our critical audience.

Sometimes when I read things on the Internet, I worry for my own health. Like: can you hurt yourself when your eyes roll so far back into your head that you see your brain?

Is it possible to have a stroke from just looking at dumb things that show up in your Facebook feed?

Last week I saw a doozy of an article, written by a woman that had just had it UP TO HERE with people telling her she’s “lucky” for having a husband that helps out around the house.

Upon reading it, I almost swallowed my tongue in disgust.

Her premise, which does make sense on some level, was that their home is equally his home, just as their children are equally theirs. So taking care of all of it is, presumably, just as much of a responsibility of his as it is hers.

It sounded, frankly, like the most entitled and ungrateful thing I had ever read.

I constantly see people rally behind that sentiment among my own, personal friend’s list. Every Sarah, Janet, and Cindy that I know has – at one time or another – posted a lengthy Facebook rant about how it isn’t “helping” when it’s your own child’s laundry you are folding. [Insert another brain-viewing eye roll].

Joining with them are the handful of men I know from high school and college that now pat themselves high key hard on their own backs for doing the most basic of things, while hard core lecturing everyone else for acknowledging it.

The point is well taken at this juncture: men and women are supposed to be equals, the result of which is that the work should be divided just as that. Equally.

But it’s like we can’t just do things for or with each other and be grateful anymore without offending people.

Or lament your own situation without getting a lecture from some hippy carrying a Dude Bag (the hallmark of fragile masculinity, as I see it…carry the diapers in a Vons bag in the fucking glove compartment like the rest of us).

Now we have to ban words from our vocabulary when it comes to adult-y type things like cleaning the house and changing poopie diapers.

Proponents of this current trend towards word fascism argue that to say that a woman is “lucky” or “fortunate” because her husband “helps” is to say that the work is not just as much a responsibility his as it is hers.

Hives are breaking out on my arms just thinking about this.

Expressing gratitude or acknowledgement of a person’s given fortune does not in turn deny anything.

Initially – like years ago – I agreed with the sentiment. I thought for sure it would begin a change in paradigm when it comes to household responsibility if we start to reframe the way we say things. I would say things to my husband like “no, you aren’t helping me with the dishes, those are just as much your dishes as they are mine to wash.” Or at family parties I would say: “it isn’t babysitting when they are your own children.”

I can feel my stomach churning every time my Facebook soap box sermons show up in my “on this day” memories posts.

Guess what happened? Very little in the way of a paradigm shift.

Also, I sounded like a pretentious and ungrateful bitch.

This isn’t to say that my husband does much in the way of anything when it comes to our home and raising the kids worthy of praise anyway (there I go being an ungrateful bitch again, but really now…). You could call it helping or you could call it doing his fair share, the bottom line is he doesn’t do it.

And he would be in the statistical majority of men that just don’t. Banning words from the colloquial vocabulary doesn’t change that.

It is because I fly the ship solo when it comes to our home and kids that I feel I can say with some authority that women whose husbands do stuff around the house AND help with the kids, ALL while bringing in a decent salary AND also being good husbands (because these things are not, and will never be, mutually exclusive), need to accept the praise from others, and be grateful.

Honestly.

Be grateful.

Be grateful that you have a partner in life, not a roommate. A lot of women in this world have roommates and it fucking sucks. They would give anything to have a man that does dishes or picks the kids up from soccer practice, reliably, and with no consequences.

Recognize how fortunate you are that a man didn’t skate town when the pregnancy test came up positive, or that your husband didn’t come into hard times and now finds himself in prison, with you holding the bag for everything.

Be grateful that you didn’t wake up one day to a stranger in your bed. You woke up to the same man he’s always been, and he’s downstairs vacuuming.

Thank. You. Goes. A. Long. Way. In both directions.

Be grateful that you aren’t in the statistical majority of women who, even if you work full time and bring in an equal or greater income, still come home and do the majority of the house work and child rearing.

Be grateful if you are a stay at home mom and your husband still recognizes how much you really do every day, above and beyond what anyone could ever imagine.

And if you are a man that is taking on his equal share of the responsibility, take the compliment. You earned it. It does not hurt your ego or your place in the world one bit to smile and remember that you are a statistical anomaly.

It also does not change that statistic to lecture people about your role as Dad or post video after video after video with captions a mile long about how you do your part and don’t appreciate people implying that you shouldn’t be when they say you are a “good man.”

I guess the critical part of the equation is that this isn’t really a part of feeling like you really hit the jack pot as a woman, or like you are taking a stand as a man in the 21st century, so much as it is just being a good person in a mutually respecting relationship. Wife does laundry, husband thanks her. Husband changes diapers, wife say she’s fortunate to have a man like him.

Seems pretty basic.

Women unequivocally continue to be the main providers of care to the home and children, in spite of the word fascism growing over the years.

To deny the anomaly of a man that does his fair share is not only factually wrong, it is taking the situation and fortune of it for granted.

We live in a weird time. I say that for many many, many …many reasons. But this time it is because somehow we seem to have misunderstood what it is to change the way people view responsibility.

Banning words won’t change who our culture believes should run the household. Modeling it for our children over an incredibly long time, and acknowledging the ones who are doing things right along the way, will.

So, to the mom that doesn’t want to be told she’s “lucky” for having a husband that helps out around the house: suck it up. Stop being ungrateful, and take the comment in stride. You are fortunate. You are a rarity. Your husband is a real man. It’s OK to acknowledge that. I’m certain he will still put the dishes away and maybe change all the diapers that night too; do more than his half of the work because sometimes that’s just what people do.






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An Open Letter To My Family, Friends, and Casual Acquaintances

Today marks four weeks since my husband started his new job. Our lives kind of-sort of revolve around his work schedule – well that, homeschooling, tennis, and you know…daily life.

But everything is sort of geared around his very hectic, often unpredictable schedule; if it didn’t, our idea of being a family would be waving casually to each other in passing.

If there is one thing I absolutely, and without a doubt, refuse to turn into, it’s one of those families.

So he started this new job, and today is the end of the fourth week. It’s a night job, which has changed things for all of us – more than we could ever have imagined. He leaves at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and gets home sometime before he has to leave the next day. Last night he got home around 1 in the morning, and was wide awake so he and I watched a movie. Other times, he gets home when we’re leaving for tennis at 9:30 in the morning.

We’re all sleeping in later most days now, which is fine because we homeschool. In fact, we’re all sleeping better now (which makes little sense to me). And we’re all better off for him being home during the day. He’s a part of tennis, a part of homeschooling, he helps with the chores now, and he can even attend things like – gasp – doctor’s appointments and annual visits to the optometrist.

But it hasn’t come free of struggles. Because of our strange schedule, which works for our family but would not work for all, we have had to go through a longer-than-expected period of adjustment. Not only that, but because some days he’s gone for 14-16 hours of a 24 hour period (which, I have quickly learned, has a whole-house domino effect for the days that follow), we just really cannot commit to do much more than our own stuff.

This is why I decided it’s finally time to pen a little letter; an open letter to my family, friends, and casual acquaintances.

Dear Family, Dear Friends, Dear Casual Acquaintances –

It’s not you. It’s us.

We’re sleeping strangely and eating all the time. Dinner, for us, is now at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Lunch is at 7:30 at night. If you ask us to have a big meal after 5 pm, we’re all going to screw up our new sleep patterns and get sick. Our bodies are used to this now. We’ve adjusted. In fact, we like that we can eat dinner together, even though it’s in the afternoon after we’ve only started to get the day going. Until he took this job, we only had dinner together as a family on weekends. Sometimes.

As a result, any further dinner invitations will be declined. Unless they’re for mid-afternoon.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

I want to attend your candle party and your make up event. I really do. I want to meet up with you all at craft group. I really want to get my reading on with my book nerd friends, and paint like a professional at my art class. I’d love to go out for a girls night out. But babysitters are expensive, and what we have in terms of a regular sitter is for me to have time to clean the house, get the grocery shopping done, and to keep my garden alive.

As a result, it is unlikely I will attend much, if anything, in the evening any more. Unless everything else is already done, the babysitter hasn’t called in sick, and I happen to not be too exhausted. (So don’t count on it.)

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It’s not you. It’s us.

Yes, we get it that we still have weekends. And that weekends are for family and you are all our family, blood or otherwise.

But keeping in mind that some nights my husband gets a whopping 1&1/2 hours of sleep during the work week, with me never sleeping well when he’s gone, and all of us trying to tip-toe around the house during the day while he gets the few hours he does – the weekends have become the most critical time for us to decompress, catch up on ZZZZs, and – frankly put – get shit done.

As a result, it is unlikely we will be available for many weekend events either.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

We have lives besides my husband’s job.

We homeschool. Every single day of the year, and this is important to us – not only because we have little lives hanging in the balance of our very adult-like decisions, but because education is a value that is paramount in our household.

We play tennis. Every single day of the week, and this is important to us too. What comes with tennis is not only practice and lessons, but tournaments. So now we’re trying to juggle daily life, homeschooling, my husband’s insane and unpredictable work hours, and tennis too.

As a result, we’ll see you the next time someone gets married, graduates, or dies.

I wish I were kidding.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

At some point, we started talking about the impact this was having on us and our health. Trying to please everyone and everything under normal circumstances is a tenuous proposition. And there is nothing normal about this new lifestyle we have.

When things are tenuous under normal circumstances, and who knows what under abnormal circumstances, you eventually realize that you just can’t spend all your time trying to take care of everyone else and not yourselves.

We’ll be around when we can, and it’s not impacting our health and stress level too much. And we’re sorry, for what it’s worth.

So, dear friends, dear family, and dear casual acquaintances, if I’ve learned one thing in these first four weeks of my husband working his new, exciting, fun-filled, and yet incredibly exhausting and insanely unpredictable job, it’s that taking a step back from all the busyness and the chaos and the weekly parties and the nightly commitments is diluting our experience as a family unit.

Perhaps this was going on all along, and it was only through a drastic life change that we were finally able to see the truth.

 

Yes, I Judged A Kid Today. I’ll Do It Again Tomorrow.

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I am a believer in a lot of things. They range from really stupid things, like what color nail polish is appropriate to wear to a funeral (the answer is: clear); to very big and grandiose things, like whether or not God exists. If I learned one thing in graduate school, it’s that we  all have to have beliefs. It’s essential to our success as functional and happy human beings.

On the bigger side of things, I believe in love, compassion, and understanding. I believe in a universal “right” and “wrong.” I believe in not judging a book by its cover, most of the time. And I believe in boundaries.

I would go as far to say that I’m a big believer in boundaries; in fact, I believe so much in my belief in boundaries that I place boundaries on my beliefs.

I talk a lot on this blog about being understanding and compassionate towards others, especially parents. I want to understand that friends put their newborns in front of the television – knowing that TV is bad for developing infant brains – for a reason that is understandable and explainable. I bite my tongue often when I hear of friends birthing at home, rather than in the safety and security of a hospital or hospital-affiliated birthing center. I struggle to not judge other mothers, or other women or men even, for the choices they make: to work instead of attend a child’s school play; to bottle-feed over breastfeed; to serve McDonald’s night after night instead of healthier, at-home options. I try very hard to not look at a situation and say “what a shitty parent” over anything, even the most horrifying offenses (i.e. drug use, alcoholism, listening to Pitchfork) – I am not living in that person’s shoes and have no idea what they may or may not be going through. As with many parents in particular, my first instinct is to judge; my second instinct is to put that judge-y shit in check and act with love and compassion.

But then there are instances such as today, when I placed a boundary on my beliefs in compassion and decided to let the judgment out.

Yes, I judged a kid today. I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Last night I was bored and couldn’t sleep, so went through the typical humor sites to keep my wandering mind occupied, since my Kindle was dead so my book was unaccessible. A couple of pages into the most recent EpicFail.com posts and I came across this: a photo titled “Respect Fail” of a kid flipping off his teacher.

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My first mistake in putting boundaries on my compassion and making my judgment was to post it on my personal Facebook page and call the kid a dickhole. Let’s be clear: this kid is a fucking asshole. I don’t care what the circumstance was for him to do this – it was wrong. There is a line of right and wrong, and this crossed it so far into the territory of wrong, there is not a single fucking excuse on this planet that could even set it on the fence.

But posting that brought out the Mama Bears and the Papa Bears, very likely defensive about their own choices to parent in a way that would excuse this behavior of their own children for reasons they believe to be valid. It brought out the non-conformists who want to understand and fuck the man and be punk rock parents that are all about ending the corruption of authority, all that other happy horse shit that could otherwise be described as an unrealistic view of what it is to help our children enter the world well-adjusted.

Then it turned to being about how I’m a hypocrite and I live in a shitty town in California where people repress children’s feelings and create psychopaths that don’t know how to stand up to authority. My yoga pants were mentioned no less than five times (whateverthefuck that has to do with anything). Someone said “shame on you” because I obviously have no idea what some kids have been through – maybe that kid just lost a parent and is a total douche now because he’s really hurting!

All of the debate and the very sad statements aside, there is one thing I want to address, and one thing only:

Yes, I judged a kid today.

I judged that kid because regardless of whatever is going on in his life, he is a symptom of the bigger problem of our culture. Our excuse-making, back-patting, nobody-fails, everyone gets an award for participating, blame the teachers, scream at authority, fuck the man, it’s everybody else’s fault but my own – culture. A culture where people don’t want to call things as they are, and pussy-foot around it in the name of being nice and understanding.

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When I was ten years old, my mom abandoned my father and I to move across the country with a guy who was still married (and subsequently went back with his wife a few years later). No one let me get away with bullshit like this because of that. If I spoke to my dad disrespectfully, I got grounded. If I got bad grades, I didn’t get to go to pool parties in the summer.

When I was in middle school and high school, kids did stuff like this all the time, for no reason other than that they were disrespectful pricks who needed a lesson in respect. They got in trouble for it. I remember my friends’ moms grounding them for ditching school; I can think of countless times that people were yelled at by their parents, rather than their parents yelling at their teachers. I remember a boyfriend’s mom calling him a jerk…she said “you’re really becoming a jerk, you know that?” Maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong for her to name call him. But you know what? He was being a jerk. A big one.

But today I say what anyone would have said years ago – that this kid is a dick and needs to learn respect, effective dissent, and appropriate conduct towards authority, and everyone loses their fucking minds. People are taking it personally – attacks on them, attacks on their kids. Just another sign that I am a mean, heartless person who should not even be allowed near children with a ten foot poll.

In the end, I think this all boils down to something bigger than all of us; something that all of our free-loving hippy shit about being compassionate and loving and understanding does not apply. It’s about bullying, it’s about respect, it’s about authority, it’s about responsibility. First and foremost, it’s about us. We – as parents and adults, leaving our children a world much different than it was forty or fifty years ago – owe it to our children, to the little dickwad in that picture, to stand up and say this behavior is wrong. To say that maybe our behavior that allows it or contributes to it, or maybe even models it, is wrong. To look at other things that happen – kids destroying grocery stores; toddlers being allowed to crawl all over million dollar art installations at museums – and consider just when the fuck children became the masters and commanders of society. To admit our flaws and move forward together to make better people who would never – not in a million years, no matter how awful the teacher may be – think about flipping off a teacher while friends laugh and take photos of it with their camera phones. To give our children the tools of respect for others and themselves, and the resources to effective and healthy dissent and expression of their feelings.

Maybe I’m just as bad, because I’m calling this poor innocent child names. Maybe I’m the asshole for not understanding the context-less nature of the photograph. Yes, I judged a kid today.

For this, I’ll do it again tomorrow.

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?

Does Dad Ever Know Best?

 

Short answer: no. Long answer: sometimes.

Before you dads out there get all your tails wadded up inside your assholes over how much I’m emasculating you, let me be clear: there are some things that dad does know best on, although it’s the long answer and I’m not sure you want me to ramble on about it. Dad usually knows best about bar-b-queing, probably because he has no fear of fire-related death. Some dads know best about cooking; I can name quite a few friends whose husbands are amazing in the kitchen. Dad also traditionally knows best about bringing home the bacon, so to speak – at least in our house that is the case. Lastly, I will concede that Dad knows best about tools, unless of course he is one and that is an entirely different blog post altogether. Beyond that, it’s a little more complicated and drawn out. Like I said, ramble.

There are a lot of things that the short answer (NO!) fits better with. And while this may be generalizing a little, in my experience it stands pretty true for the majority of the men I know.

Dad does not know best on matters of housecleaning.

So you’re a dad and you pitch in your fair share to keep the house pretty clean. You throw on a frilly apron once in a while and prance around with a feather-duster. You pick up on occasion, toys and books and things laying around the floor. You help fold some laundry once in a while.

For some reason, a lot of men seem to think that this is all there is to cleaning. Last night my husband said he would be totally willing to help clean the house when it needs to be cleaned – once a month.

Once a month you say?

If any of you faithful blog followers have let your home with kids in it go for more than even a week at times without being cleaned, you know why the words “once a month” are probably the most ridiculous words ever spoken in the history of talking. I wish the house could go for a full month without having to be dusted, mopped, scrubbed, wiped down, disinfected, vacuumed, and otherwise cleansed of the disgusting mess that is daily life with kids.

Dad does not know best on matters of having respect for a woman’s feelings once she’s become a mother

To be fair, I’m sure a lot of guys don’t realize that when a woman becomes a mother, some of the things she previously overlooked would no longer be “cool.” Recently my husband and I got into a huge argument about a book (I know, stupid to get into an argument that can be called “huge” over something as little as a book) all about sex. The word “fuck” was on the cover, so I thought it was totally inappropriate to be out there – in the open – for little eyes to see. My husband thought it was no big deal and called me a “prude,” which ushered in the huge argument.

Sometimes it isn’t just about being a mother or wanting to avoid little eyes from seeing things, though, but really just a matter of respect for a woman’s feelings. For years, I overlooked this little figurine of someone taking it up the behind that my husband had for reasons I still do not know. For years, I said in the back of my mind “boys will be boys” until Pookie saw it and asked what those people were doing. It wasn’t Pookie seeing it that upset me, though (I told her “playing leapfrog”); what upset me was that my husband never considered that something like that might offend me – a woman. Not a roommate. Not another dude. A woman.

Dad does not know best on matters of personal hygiene

Ever woken up in the middle of the night because your husband ate way too much broccoli and beans for dinner and you’ve been dreaming of a loud tuba concert, only to be woken by the grande finale of the song which turned out to be loud, tuba-like sounds in your own room?

No? Okay, well I have.

Ever been laying in bed and thought you might suffocate because the smell of rotten feet was so overpowering in every crevice of the house and it was just so late for you  to go anywhere for escape but under the covers, where you were then confronted with those feet sticking right in your face?

No? Okay, well I have.

To make matters worse, it sometimes seems like Dad doesn’t know best on when to replace things. I keep trying to explain to Poor Nick that if only he would replace his tooth brush, his teeth and mouth might not be so nasty in the morning. If only he’d buy a new pair of cheap sandals – rather than wearing the same ones for over seven years that literally fall apart on his feet every time he wears them; maybe if he would just fork over the ten bucks and buy new ones, his feet wouldn’t be so rancid all the time.

Between the the rotten feet, the urine on the side of the toilet, the belching in your face, and the gas at the most inopportune times, Dad does not know best on matters of personal hygiene.

Dad does not know best on matters of interior decorating

When I met my husband, he was living in a condominium shared with his brother and two other roommates. They had sort of a mute, hodgepodge of decoration in the place. Really everyone used it as a place to sleep and that was about it. When we moved in together, I therefore inherited a world of wonderful goods he had just been waiting to put out for all to see. There was a fucking Lord of the Rings goblet placed on the TV stand when I came home one day. The treasures of course were really worthy of nowhere but the garbage dump. Besides the goblet and that anal sex figurine there was a rusted African figure, an entire bookcase full of out-of-date AAA travel books; there were guitars that are never played, two bins full of miscellaneous wires that “may one day come in handy;” and, a whole host of other gems.

Recently, I realized that my husband really is eligible to be on A&E’s Hoarders. He keeps things just because they may one day be useful. I used to be like this (a little), but as the years go on I’m getting more and more frustrated with keeping around a bunch of tacky crap just for the sake of having to clean it.

Case in point: in the last three or four years, my husband has played those guitars once. They are merely matters of decoration now.

I was talking about this last night, because it would feel so much better in our apartment if it always wasn’t so cluttered. At one point in the discussion, he referred to those guitars and the amp and all its cluttering accessories as “part of the decoration.” Odd, I didn’t know a beautiful vase with faux branches in it came with two ugly guitar cases, an amp, and a bunch of wires!

Dad does not know best on matters of interior decorating.

 

As I said, there are a lot of things that Dad knows best on. Maybe we could add a few things to the long answer: sometimes list, like playing catch with the kids, teaching a little boy how to pee standing up, and so on. But then it gets complicated and the answer gets long again, for example in the case of the peeing dad who obviously doesn’t really know best because if he did then why would generation after generation after motherfucking generation of men continue to have such a problem with aim? If only Dad really did know best on the matters of peeing standing up the whole personal hygiene thing might be a little better.

The bottom line, really, is that when push comes to shove – unless we’re talking about a bar-b-que or a game of catch or using a screwdriver, just assume the short answer. So who knows best then? Well, the answer is obvious: Mom knows best. Always.

Helicopter Down

Earlier this week, I talked about the CNN opinion article Why Men Are In Trouble, and also the broader issue of responsibility in our time.  I think the general consensus is that men and women alike have lost all sense of what it means to be responsible for their actions.  I see this being the result of a few possible things:

  1. There are no more consequences.  It seems that as time has gone on, less focus has been put on the consequences of our actions than the actual actions, themselves.  You can see this everywhere, even in the most intricate family or work situations.  Take for example the amount that people get away with petty crimes in this country.  When you speed, it is only considered wrong if you actually get caught; and when you do, (at least in California) you have a 60% chance of getting away with just a warning, as well as a 40% chance that in the event you do get a ticket, the officer will never turn it in.  There are a lot of places in society today where there are no consequences for poor actions.
  2. Even when there are consequences, there is always someone waiting there to bail you out.  I used to work with a girl that came in to work every day wearing some new, cute article of clothing.  She was a single mother, refused to ask her child’s father for child support (as a matter of pride), and worked at Longs Drugstore for a whopping $13 an hour.  One day I asked her exactly how she was able to afford such cute, new clothes all the time and she responded “well, I charge it and usually my boyfriend pays the bill .. and I figure that if all else fails, I’ll just declare bankruptcy.”  When all else fails, there seems to always be someone there to bail us out:  be it the government, bankruptcy filing, or family.
  3. Helicopter Parents.  Ultimately, I think what this all boils down to is the Helicopter Parent.  You know at least one of them:  that mom or dad that is so over-involved in the actions of his or her kids that there is an entire team of psychiatrists out there just salivating in anticipation of the situation turning ugly.  How the Helicopter Parent is to blame is simply that by always coming to the rescue, or by always handling the problems or being the one to trouble-shoot any of life’s troubles, the kids of the situation never learn how to deal with problems on their own.  Further, most children of Helicopter Parents rarely understand the notion of consequences and (most importantly) have a skewed understanding of what it means to take responsibility.  Helicopter Parents are most seriously causing a problem with the education of their children, for when things go awry the children always expect mom or dad to come fix the problem.  This, over years, transcends into a much greater problem, though, for in college children of Helicopter Parents are now being found to either suffer or still need “mommy and daddy” to come to the rescue; and there are even young adults with Helicopter Parents that have a number of difficulties functioning in society as a result of having been babied all their lives.

It is strange to me how much Helicopter Parents have become the “norm.”  As a parent, one of your principle responsibilities is to raise your child to become a functional and well-rounded individual; and included in that must be a sense of being able to handle things on their own.  Helicopter Parenting is rife with so many disastrous possibilities:  from social awkwardness to co-dependency issues, even to emotional or physical abuse on the part of the child simply because they don’t know how to deal with situations on their own.  So as all of you faithful blog followers are out there populating the already-overpopulated world with your love seed, just remember not to let your propellers get too close.