Let’s Just All Simmer The Frick Down

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There’s been a refreshing and, simultaneously, not-so-refreshing trend this last week or two on the Internet, and that is that people have stopped talking about the demise of American society  and values as we knew them pre-Trump, and moved back to the ol’ getting offended at everything on the Internet.

I say it’s refreshing because – you know – it’s a break from this Trumpian shit show that none of us seem to be able to do a single thing about.

I say not-so-refreshing because we should still be standing up for ourselves within our American government and politics and, well, people getting offended by everything on the Internet is obnoxious.

Case #1 – Legging-Gate

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If you didn’t know, earlier this week some people were heading out on a flight through United Airlines, free of charge by way of an employee friend and family benefit. To be clear: their tickets were free. *Free under the explicit condition that they follow the dress code and behave appropriately on the flight. Three of them (the kids) showed up wearing leggings (a violation of the dress code) and they were not allowed to board without changing into proper attire.

Completely understanding that they were breaking the rules, I hear the kids threw on dresses over the offending leggings, and just went about their business – being appreciative of their free tickets, I assume. Except some nosy nelly standing in line went crazy, snapped photos, went viral, and the world lost their fricken minds.

All jokes and arguments about the moral fortitude of dress codes aside, those free tickets have always come at a cost: a simple dress code and appropriate behavior, which, I will repeat, the flyers were aware of. Which they – in fact – had no problem with when reminded.

But not the Internet! The Internet had to lose its ever-loving collective mind over it, and instantly a new viral story, a variety of memes, and 200-comment-length debates were born.

Of course I engaged in one of those debates, because I am me. I was accused of being opposed to progress. Of being a robot. and a whole host of other things by someone who is at least ten years older than me, and yet is most known for posting photos of herself in her super hero underpants on Instagram.

The bottom lines to Legging-Gate are:

  1. Rules are rules. Get over it, unless you want to ruin that benefit for everyone; and,
  2. If you want to change the rules, showing up and being all “screw you I do what I want” is not the way to do it; finally,
  3. THE PEOPLE GUILTY OF SHOWING UP IN LEGGINGS FOR THEIR ENTIRELY FREE UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT DID NOT EVEN CARE.

Case #2 – The Prom Dress Good Girls

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I don’t know all the facts of this case, but it’s another dress code thing that I think has been blown way out of proportion.

So prom season is coming, and some high school in somewhere – I don’t know – posted examples of what was acceptable attire and what was not acceptable attire. The acceptable said “good girl” over it, and I don’t know what the tone or connotation of that was, but it pissed people off.

Then it raised the whole dress code for young women thing, which I am in the minority (it seems) on these days, in that I believe dress codes are a good thing. I think they teach kids to respect authority (which will be important when they have jobs with dress codes they absolutely must follow as adults). They teach them how to dress for certain occasions. I also don’t always think that dress codes are about calling a girl/woman slutty or inappropriate or something to be ashamed of, but rather for their protection. And while I know that the real issue is teaching boys/young men the appropriate way to act, we just aren’t at that stage of the game yet. I wish we were, but we aren’t and thinking that pretending like we are will stop young men from acting poorly is irresponsible thinking.

Beyond that, I live in a town where the local high school has virtually no dress code that I am aware of. I have seen girls walking to the school in booty shorts and bikini tops – no jokes, and boys walking to the school with their pants around their ankles. Moreover, our old babysitter knew several kids her graduating year (just a couple years ago) that were suspended for having sex on the dance floor during homecoming. Let that sink in for a minute. In light of those incidences, alone, I’m all for dress codes for prom. And sex ed classes prior to prom. And open conversations with our kids about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. But dress codes too.

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Side note: the school has since apologized for the dress code signs and good girl comment, so  everyone seriously does need to calm down on this one. It’s over.

Case #3 – Kid With SPD Gets Rough TSA Pat-Down, Handles It Like A Champ, Mom Records It To Go Viral On Social Media, World Explodes With Anger

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Did you guys hear about this kid with sensory processing disorder who triggered a red flag with the TSA and had to get a pat down? Instead of – oh I don’t know – standing there and helping him through it, Mom instead demanded the presence of two police officers, and broke out her video camera, posting it on social media instantly with the caption “we were treated like dogs.”

I presume she was opening her GoFundMe account for mental anguish  immediately afterwards.

Of course if a kid got through with a bomb – a tactic often used by terrorists – the world would have wondered why the kid hadn’t been treated more doggedly.

Now even though the kid handled it like a champ, and there were police present so obviously no misconduct took place, the comment sections of the Internet went wild with people calling it molestation, calling for the firing of the TSA agent, and – my personal favorite – “no one could see what happened behind that TSA agent’s fat ass, he likely groped your son, sue the government NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Okay.

Case #4 – Daddy-Daughter Dances

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I guess it’s Daddy-Daughter Dance season. News to me, but I’ve seen all kinds of posts by friends and family taking their kids to them. (I think we may be too introverted of a family.)

This raised a whole issue, though, about eliminating gender-specific-themed events with kids altogether. Which I totally get – as a child that grew up in a single family home, my mother having left us when I was only 10, I was constantly left out of mother-daughter events because …well… I didn’t have a full time mother.

The issue was raised because a single mother apparently tried to take her daughter to a daddy-daughter dance and was turned away. Now, I get that the situation was a little weird – the woman dressed up as a man, she even colored on a beard. That’s just strange, even though she was clearly just trying to make a sad situation cool. Except it turned out to be completely uncool when she was turned away simply because she wasn’t actually a man.

Because. She. Was. Not. A Man.

And this was not the first time this kind of a thing has happened.

So some articles go around the Internet about eliminating gender-specific events in schools once and for all, and – big surprise – a debate breaks out. Is there anything on the Internet that doesn’t result in debate anymore?

The bottom line is that irrespective of the sanctity of your husband taking his daughter to some stupid dance every spring, or your son having a special mother-son school breakfast, this is 2017. It’s time to recognize that not everyone is living the same life as you, and sometimes those events hurt people’s feelings, especially the kids’. Go on dates with your kids on your own time.

Case #5 – Another Wardrobe Malfunction

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Had enough of debates inspired by clothing yet? I sure as shit thought I had, and then I saw an article calling for an end to poking fun at dumb dads.

I guess it was inspired by a onesie that has instructions for a dumb dad printed on the face of it. For one, it was cute. For two, dumb dads do actually exist. For three, I want to know where I can get one for my husband, because really Nick – it isn’t funny anymore that you can’t figure out where the baby’s arm goes.

Boy did the trolls come out for that one, though – writing multi-paragraph dissertations in the comments section about patriarchy and sexism and reverse sexism and dads are perfectly capable of dressing their kids in fact they are more capable than moms and JESUS FUCKING CHRIST CAN PEOPLE SERIOUSLY NOT TAKE A JOKE ANYMORE?

I am going to say something quite shocking right now (apparently): there really does exist a subculture of male parents that could otherwise be described as dumb dads.  They are given chance after chance after chance to be just as qualified of a parent at the little things as mom is, but no matter what they do, they always fuck it up. That’s just reality, really of the human condition because – newsflash – we are not all perfect at everything. Dumb dads are actually capable of being really good parents and at the same time too stupid about little things like putting on a onesie or throwing a pony tale in their daughter’s hair.

My husband is one of them. While he’s a great parent in certain ways, he just can’t in others. On more than one occasion he’s asked me for help getting the kids dressed, and today – ironically about ten minutes after I read that article – he put the baby’s diaper on (AGAIN) in such a way that it fell off and I was peed all over.

Being peed on sucks and it’s nice as a mom to be able to vent to the Internet about that. Except you can’t because then you are questioning the parental capabilities of all fathers (seriously, WHY?).

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Honestly, the issue isn’t about sexism or patriarchy, but rather the inability to admit that we aren’t perfect at everything. More appealing than a man so effeminate and insecure in himself that he has to get defensive every time a woman questions his parenting abilities is – without a doubt – a man that owns his inadequacies and buys the onesie with instructions himself. Because it’s funny.

I assume this is only the beginning, you guys. Trump has been in office for a couple months now. America needs to get back to the important work of being offended by everything, believing everything we read on the Internet at face-value, and refusing to ever admit that we are ever in the wrong about anything. Ever.

I think we all just need to simmer the frick down, but then we would have to pay attention to what is going on around us again. So continue on, people of the Interwebs. Continue on.

 

 

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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.

 

Mr. Man-Panties

Special thanks to my friend Jeremy for this one; my husband does cry as much as this lady does too, as he laments over what I will do next...

Special thanks to my friend Jeremy for this one; my husband does cry as much as this lady does too, as he laments over what I will do next…

I am in no way attempting to wage any mom-dad-husband-wife-bloggie wars here. In fact, I don’t really even know much about the blog that inspired this post: The Daddy Files. It would be terribly unfair for me to take a blog of his and pick it apart without knowing much about him, his intentions, and his blogging or writing style. So I won’t.

However someone shared with me his post today and – much like he preambles the man-pantie post of misogyny and insecurity with – I thought it my moral duty to at least address an important issue in the mom-dad-husband-wife blogging world: sexism.

Like I said, I find it terribly unfair for a blogger to take a blog or blogger s/he is unfamiliar with and pick everything apart (I’m looking at you, Daddy Files). But I would like to pay attention to one thing mentioned (perhaps in jest) when he took to task a fellow mom-blogger’s recent post over at Scary Mommy. Her’s was titled “10 Reasons Your Husband Is Just Another Child” and his response was titled “10 Reasons I Feel Bad for Your Husband.” You faithful blog followers are intelligent enough to assume where things went in the latter.

In the beginning, he says: “…all the man/dad bashing is so fashionable lately that letting it go unchecked seemed borderline irresponsible, so once again the dad blogosphere finds itself defending ourselves against idiotic, sexist and unfunny crap that litters the Internet.”

Woah there, sparky. Let’s settle down and not get our balls so twisted. There is a stark difference between making jokes, poking fun, or making light of the truth; and, acting idiotic and sexist.

I have posted many blogs about my husband. Some referred to them as “over the top;” others suggested that I was intentionally trying to emasculate him so as to assert control over him. One time my mother in law called my husband and asked if we were getting a divorce. I’ve poked fun at my husband, and all husbands – I’ve called men pigs (which many are); I’ve called him insensitive and misogynistic (which he is); and I’ve discussed all the horrific nuances of cleaning stubble out of a sink, crumbs off the kitchen counter, and urine off the back of the toilet.

And I shared with everyone the time I discovered the Pussy Master 3000 (an artificial vagina, I assume for masturbation purposes) in my husband’s drawer of miscellaneous crap.

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In response to these types of blogs, I get a wide range of responses, many of which are clearly penned by insecure men, unable to take jokes because their man-panties are so wedged up their assholes they can taste the fabric. Just a few days ago, some unbelievably pig-headed tightwad commented on an old blog of mine with the following: “Wow, must have been a heavy-flow day for you huh? Get your tampon out of your asshole.”

Now who’s being idiotic, sexist and unfunny?

The whole point, here, is that there are good things and bad things about living with a partner of the opposite sex. Even of the same sex. As for living with a man, it’s urine on the back of the toilet, too many ball scratches to make anyone comfortable, acting unappreciative when appreciation is greatly needed, gas at inopportune times and in a way that is completely irrespective to other people’s sensibilities (would an “excuse me” fucking kill you, Methane Man?), and bachelor-type behavior even when bachelorhood has been over for decades.

The only thing idiotic and sexist is expecting us to stay quiet about it. To omit (thereby lie) and act as though men are pristine gods, whose glistening ball sweat smells like roses and whose shit-stained underpants are yummy enough to roast up and serve with a side of asiago cheese bread, is just ludicrous. On the flip side, if my husband had a blog in which its focus was to talk about marriage and parenting, I would fully expect him to write about my period stains and the fact that this evening I flashed and jiggled my boobs for the complete strangers driving past our bedroom window, in the apartment parking lot (to be fair, I didn’t realize people would drive by as I joked about changing my clothes in front of an open window). It’s honesty. It’s reality. And it’s fucking hilarious.

It also reeks of something terribly narcissistic to just assume that everyone wants the same thing. Perhaps the mom-blogger that wrote that article about husbands being another child (which, case in point fact: many are) has a husband who can laugh a little at his own childish behavior, admit his faults as a human being, and fucking move on. Not everyone thinks the same, lives the same, laughs the same, loves the same, and expects the same out of a relationship. It doesn’t always have to turn into a reason to backlash with just as much sexism and misogyny as happened in the Dark Ages.

Unless, of course, the man who lashes out at such differences in experience wants to be a permanent Mr. Man-Panties. We all have at least one of these in our lives – a man that cannot take a joke; who thinks his bullshit is lined with 14-karat gold. I get comments from them all the time; the best was when a man told me I was “the most miserable cunt on the planet who just needs to die now” (that gem was for saying that women shouldn’t feel obligated to clean the house to a daily sparkle if they have physical limitations). There is a female equivalent, I’m sure. She probably gets uptight when people say “TMI” to her expression of cramps; or when people make jokes about living with a woman (of which there are many).

The point is this: I think as bloggers; but not just as bloggers, but as human beings, and as citizens of the 21st century – a time when we have a synthesis of traditional roles with a more liberal playing field when it comes to women and men having an equal voice – it’s time to lighten the fuck up. Can it with the “how sexist”s and “your poor husband/wife”s (unless, of course, there is some truly backwoods shit going on). Maybe instead of lashing out because a woman says that men act like children by leaving their leopard printed thongs on the floor in the bathroom, everybody should just chill the fuck out and retaliate with some kind-hearted jokes of their own.

And of course admit that your thong could be picked up, or the piss should be wiped off the side of the toilet. I’ll be the first to say that describing my daily period flow to my husband is about as disgusting as his eating an entire brick of cheese, followed by a King Sized Hershey bar is irresponsible. These things are funny, not idiotic. They’re honest, not a soap opera. Reality, not sexism.

Yes, that is my husband ... another thing he did for my blog. You can make your own meme of Maxi Pad Man at http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3st15a/

Yes, that is my husband … another thing he did for my blog. You can make your own meme of Maxi Pad Man at http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3st15a/