Repeat After Me: It’s OK If People Want To Do Christmas Early

Ugh.

I am so sick and tired of people and their popular shit to be upset about on the Internet.

Like really.

As many of you know, Halloween was just a couple of days ago. I, personally, had a great Halloween. As in, I didn’t do shit. My kids dressed up in their annual themed costumes the week prior for a Halloween party at the tennis club (see below), and didn’t even decide to go trick or treating until pretty much the day prior.

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But my older kids are old enough to just go out with friends on their own, and the baby was way too young…I mean he probably would have had fun looking at all the kids out and about (he loves kids), but the last thing I wanted to do was run the risk of hearing some local asshole tell me “he’s too young for candy, it’s obviously for you.”

So I stayed home with the baby. We had not one trick or treater.

Sure enough though, the very next day I logged on to the good ol’ Facebook and every asshole was bitching and complaining about people jumping straight over Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I present to you just a few examples of the oh-so-clever memes I saw that morning:

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First thing, I get it. I. Get. It. A lot of people feel overwhelmed with Christmas, what with all the merry and joy and shit going around. I also understand completely that here in America, we love our Thanksgiving.

But there are a few things to consider.

1. America is not the only goddamned country on this stupid planet; really now when will you people get that?

The Thanksgiving celebrated at the end of November is an American holiday.

American.

Which means that if people over in France or Great Britain or Uganda or China or Iceland or – I don’t know – any country or province other than fucking America wants to start getting all jazzed and shit about the holiday season, why must we begrudge them?

The thing about the Internet is that it’s not an American-only thing, which means the constant griping and bitching about people skipping American Thanksgiving and heading on to Christmas on the Internet is seen by everyone, universally. Why should they have to listen to that shit? Why, I ask?

2. Did it ever occur to you people that the holidays are stressful, in part, because of how quickly they go by?

Especially when you are a parent, it is so hard to cram everything in.

There are the holiday events, the school plays (we homeschool, so thankfully don’t have those), the holiday shopping…oh wait, more holiday shopping, the outdoor lights, the indoor decorations, the Christmas parties with friends, Christmas parties for work, Christmas parties with family, nightly Elf on the Shelf nonsense, the cookie baking, the candy making…not to mention every day life and the onset of cold and flu season.

Life is fucking busy enough as is. Then you add the pressure and stress of getting all that other crap done for the holidays, it seems only reasonable that it would – or potentially could – be more enjoyable and much less stressful if we were given more than a few fucking weeks to get it all done.

3. Your reasons aren’t everyone else’s reasons. Narcissists.

There are people celebrating Christmas in the middle of June because they’ve been given one week to live and wanted nothing more than one more Christmas with their family.

That’s an extreme one, but can any of you get out of your own piddly lives for -like- one minute and consider that other people have different lives, and therefore different reasons for doing things?

Including getting geared up for Christmas early.

For us, our house has been a little glum lately. My husband’s grandfather – the kids’ great grandfather – died about a month ago, his funeral was just last weekend. It’s gloomy in our house. Beyond that, the busy season is in full gear at Nick’s job, meaning he’s gone or asleep for almost 18-20 hour periods, every day and night of the week.

We need some fucking cheering up around here, which was why I decided to let the kids pull out the Christmas stuff the day after Halloween, and why I cranked up the Christmas jams playlist on Spotify today while we worked on crafts for the baby’s birthday party.

And plus, my kid fucking enjoy Christmas. It’s OK for me to extend that a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Like really, their extra merriment is not a detriment to society. I promise.

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I guess I’m just getting sick and goddamned tired of everyone in this world thinking they can tell other people how to live their lives.

Or, if someone does something another person or two doesn’t approve of, that everyone and their mother has a right to question the legitimacy of that person’s decisions. Then it goes viral on the Internet and suddenly it’s like a culturally taboo thing to do whatever it was a couple people from the get go didn’t like.

And above all, I’m tired of this idea that we can all just make fun of and shame people into doing exactly what we want them to do.

So someone decides to decorate their own home before Thanksgiving. How in the actual fuck does this affect you? Really. How?

Does it force you to decorate your own home?

Does it cancel all of your Thanksgiving plans?

I cannot see any single scenario in which another person’s choices on Christmas shopping or decoration or Christmas movie-watching or Christmas music-listening or Christmas anything for that matter affects your, or anyone else’s, life. I just don’t see it.

Worry about your own shit. For real guys.

Repeat after me: it’s OK if people want to do Christmas early.

Christmas-Memes

 

 

 

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Groupon Is Basically A Scam Now, and I’m The Last To Know (Also Men Wear Rompers Now, So Basically Screw It All, I Give Up)

So I bought a Groupon last week for a local photographer.

Let me start by saying that finding a photographer worth the money around here is tough. The good ones are all working in Los Angeles, taking headshots of Justin Bieber. Out here in the ‘burbs, we have a conglomerate of people either licensed and way overpriced, licensed and trying to break into the Justin Bieber headshot business, or not licensed but owning a nice camera and doing this for fun but making themselves look like a legitimate photography business.

Nevertheless, I bought the Groupon. The reviews of the guy were great – five stars, in fact. I needed someone to take photos of the kids before they get any bigger. A deal seemed the right way to go.

So I bought the Groupon, opened the voucher, and contacted the guy by email, which was the only way the voucher offered.

The email kicked back as not being a valid email address.

I tried again.

Kicked back.

I emailed Groupon and asked what they’d recommend I do, stating clearly that getting ahold of the guy or getting a refund to my account would both be acceptable. I just wanted to get my photos taken I’d paid for.

They asked me to give them a day to investigate…

…let me pause here and say that several years ago we had a problem with a Groupon, and immediately they issued me a refund in funds to my account that would be good for a year. So them saying they wanted to investigate gave me pause.

Still, I responded: sure, keep me posted.

They then responded and offered me Groupon Trade In Bucks. The bucks would be applied to my account, and after I receive the email that the money was applied I would have 24 hours to use it.

This was – in a word – bullshit. I paid good, hard earned money for something they could not guarantee or deliver. Why, then, am I being forced to buy something else I may not be interested in within 24 hours to get my money back?! I had no problem with store credit with Groupon…but 24 hours to use it?!

Sounds like a scam.

It seems as though businesses are more and more getting away with this kind of crap – putting their hands in your pocket and showing no remorse when they screw you over. You go to the nail salon, they act like they are doing you a favor to give you ingrown toenails. You buy fruit at a farm stand, they hide moldy fruit under the good fruit in hopes you won’t check. This newest event with Groupon is no surprise, but being unsurprised does not make it right. In fact it’s as if people are so numbed by this kind of crap happening – money being thrown at services that are never properly rendered – that we’ve been numbed into complacency.

We just expect to be screwed over.

Several months ago, my husband and I ordered a baby changing table online at Babies R Us. It came broken, so we returned it to the local store as the instructions said to do. They ordered us a new one, and low and behold: that one came broken as well. This time when we followed the instructions, though, I said – enough! We’d been waiting for over a month for the table, and we just wanted our money back.

They refused to give us our money back, instead issuing store credit for the clearance price the table was currently marked at. When I questioned that, because I clearly had the receipt, they said it was their discretion. That was it! No more explanation, just their discretion.

I took the store credit and called their 1-800 number, and they gave me the same line but said they’d refund me to my card the difference and the cost of shipping we had wasted.

We never received anything.

Back to Groupon. Still, seeing no other options, I replied and said that I would take the Trade In Bucks. I know you will all be unsurprised to hear: I never got the Trade In Bucks.

Not only that, I emailed them today and they did not respond.

I went to live chat with their customer support, as the site said that was the recommended mode of contact…when I put in the description of what was going on and clicked to chat I got the response: “Sorry none of our agents are available to chat at this time.”

I clicked to receive a phone call, my phone rang once and they hung up (I only knew it was Groupon because I Googled the number).

They then emailed me this:

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Calling me and hanging up after the first ring, then emailing me to let me know you called IS NOT A RESOLUTION TO THE ISSUE.

I emailed again. No response.

So I finally took to Google and found tons of people with the same experience. Groupon is now nothing more than a money grabbing scam site. Millions of people in the last few months, alone, have reported them to the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs.

Then again, I feel like I have only myself to blame – I should have just clicked on the photographer’s website and seen how much this one wreaked of illegitimacy.

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Lesson learned.

This seems to be a greater issue, though. Not only that people just basically expect to be screwed over for things they pay for now, and companies (*cough cough* airlines *cough cough*) thinking they have a right to deny you the things you pay for, while still keeping your money…but there is another question about the legitimacy and transparency when it comes to online funding and selling sites, like Groupon.

Or GoFundMe, which is meant for charities or crowdfunding of a local cause or people in need; and yet people constantly head to it for things like vacations they can’t afford.

Or what about Kickstarter? A site that is marketed as being for innovative companies, and yet is often used for the antitheses of innovation – which people buy into, like the kid that launched a Kickstarter for potato salad. The kid did it as a joke and something like quadrupled his fundraising goal.

There. Is. Nothing. Innovative. About. Potato Salad.

Or the newest Kickstarter-abomination: RompHims. Rompers. For. Men. RompHims not only met, but largely surpassed their fundraising goal, and – like many Kickstarters – wasn’t to start a business, but to simply sell their product.

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Like the people that go on Shark Tank just to get on TV.

I don’t know what’s worse: the absurdity of what legitimately good ideas like crowdfunding and charity sites have fallen to, the scam that deal sites like Groupon have turned into, or the people that handily give over their money to all of it, no questions asked.

Probably the people, but I don’t know. I just want my Groupon refunded. And my family photos done.

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Swimming In Debt Is Cool If You Just Pretend Everything Is Fine

 

I have known so many people with that philosophy. They don’t have very good lives in the end – they foreclose on their homes, lose their cars, die of heart attacks at 40… but in the moment that they live it, where they swim in debt while pretending everything is fine, they really are happy.

And how couldn’t you be? Exotic vacations you can’t afford. Boats. RVs. Long weekends. Hair and nail appointments every week. All the while completely oblivious to the fact that sometime, at some point, you will actually – yes, this is real – have to pay all that shit off.

I, personally, can’t live like that. I am excessively frugal, to a point of absurdity. I think I learned it from my grandmother, who was most known for going to buy Diet Coke when it was on sale in her red pick up truck. She would pull up in her driveway, and open the back of the truck for us to see an entire truck bed lined with 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke that she had bought on sale. We’d all have to help her load it into the garage, and she would be set until the next time it went on sale.

So now, taking after my grandmother, when our groceries are delivered, and we get 75 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese, or 200 cups of applesauce, my husband always thinks I’m insane.

I also find myself envious of local family and friends, who get Botox while my crow’s feet under my eyes grow deeper and deeper. Or who get their eyelashes and nails done every two weeks, while my toe nails typically look something along the lines of what you would find on an elderly gargoyle. I wear make up maybe once a week, because there’s no need to waste the money on it if I’m not going anywhere; and my hair…well…let’s not go there.

Typically, we don’t take exotic vacations either. We don’t do trips to Cozumel or Europe; and sure, we have our family weekend trips out of the area, or occasional vacations to places like the Grand Canyon or to use our Disneyland passes. But it’s always carried with a sense of frugality, including always finding places we can stay where I can cook our meals to save money on eating out.

My kids and husband get haircuts by yours truly, and absolutely every single one of my purses was purchased at Target.

I think you all are getting the point: we live on a tight budget, and we don’t go for all the extra unnecessary things. This is all done so that I can stay home with the kids, and so that my husband can work in his industry of choice (film, a volatile and sometimes poorly paid industry to work).

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You can imagine, then, my frustration when we start getting socked with bills, and they just keep coming and coming and coming, and in spite of all the cuts and the tightening of the belts they just get worse. It seems wholly unfair. As if I have not sacrificed enough, suddenly our insurance doesn’t cover something they always used to cover and we have a $410 bill with a due date 10 days from now (and a hospital absolutely refusing to negotiate). I get a bladder infection, and the urgent care – who is legally required to notify us if they are sending out the “sample” does not – and they send it to a lab out of our network, and we get socked with another medical bill that is beyond reasonable, with everyone saying “tough shit, that’s life.”

Then our water softener alarm starts going off, and we find out the filters need to be changed even though we literally had no idea there were filters in the thing. Then one of our kids gets sick and – big surprise – the medicine she needs isn’t covered, and beyond that I have to spend a whole tank of gas driving all over the place looking for a pharmacy that has it. Then a short in our garage refrigerator triggers a chain reaction of all the things in the garage going out of power, which we don’t catch for over 48 hours and literally thousands of dollars of food being stored out there (between the fridge and the deep freezer – see previous notes about buying things on bulk when they are cheap) ARE RUINED.

It just never stops. You think everything is fine, you are in a good place and everything is working out and then a domino effect begins of one costly thing happening after another, until you finally get to a point where you just want to do what everyone else does and pretend like everything is fine.

Sure, we just lost thousands of dollars in food and I have no idea what we are going to do to replace it…but I’m going to go get my nails and hair did anyway.

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I mean yeah, tons of medical bills are piling up and we have probably $1500 in unpaid bills that suddenly found their way to our doorstep this week, alone…but I need a vacation, so let’s go on a little weekend getaway.

My current purse just ripped a huge hole in it, one that could arguably allow money to fall out…so rather than worry about the food and the medical bills and the electricity issue in the garage…I think I’mma just go get me a Coach purse because – honestly – every time I see someone carry one, I tuck my Target variety bag under my arm in shame.

Because this is California and your handbag is about as important as your position in life will ever get [sarcastic eye roll].

No matter how much I joke, though, the reasonable me just can’t do it. Instead, I sit here hours on end worrying about where the fuck all this money is going to come from, as my husband gets sent home from work earlier and earlier every night because it’s the slow season for movie trailers (and he is hourly, so an early night means…you got it, less pay). I contemplate going back to work every three or four days, but then spend an entire day working out the expenses that would be involved in doing that (daycare for the kids, extra commuting cost for me, and so on), and THAT doesn’t make any sense, so then I go back to worrying and trying to find any fucking sale price ground beef and ham steaks I can buy in bulk and freeze just to make myself feel like our finances are getting back on track, once and for all.

This is where I’m at right now. Swimming in debt is NOT cool, but I wish it were.

 

 

Let’s Clear The Air On This Whole Don Trump Thing

Unfortunately – and I say that not really meaning what I’m saying – I might lose some followers after this post.

It’s not really unfortunate.

It’s good.

It’s fucking great.

Bye Felicia.

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A little known fact about this here blog lady is that she (I’m talking about myself) used to work in politics. First as an event and fundraising planner, then as a community organizer, and finally – just before the burn out and disillusionment set in – as a voter registration coordinator. It’s very complicated really, and I’d prefer to not get into it; but I say the disillusionment set in because at some point I was at some bullshit political meeting and not a single person in the room I spoke to could describe to me any of the following:

a) what policies they liked that their candidates were proposing;

b) what they found to have been “jobs well done” by their current local representatives; and,

c) a goddamn thing about the Constitution or the way American government works.

So I got out and buried my head in the sand for many, many years. I went to grad school, thought long and hard about how much the world really did need to be educated; then in a rough and tumble-y turn of events, I became a Stay At Home Mom, and part time writer and artist.

As my kids age, and depend on me less, I have started reading more and following the political sector once again. CNN and MSNBC are on the television as background noise as I cook, clean, and fold the laundry. And while I will never get involved in local politics again, with the 2016 election I am rapidly finding myself embroiled – mentally – in everything-politics, for every minute my mind isn’t wandering into the “what did I do with my life???” abyss.

That being said, this isn’t a political blog. It never will be. Occasionally I’ll post something that could be considered a political issue. But to talk about policy, candidates, and the like – well you won’t be finding that here.

Except for today.

I feel like we need to clear the air on this whole Don Trump thing. And I’m sure that after clearing it, a select few of you will be out the door. Never to return. Goodbye forever. Sayonara.

As I said: good.

Don Trump Is Racist

When W Bush’s comments to Muslims shortly after 9/11, assuring them that we welcome and accept all of them and do not regard them as terrorists – when the comments of the man who was unambiguously the worst president in the history of our time are now becoming the voice of reason, you better believe there is something wrong.

Don Trump is a racist; but beyond that he is a religious bigot, a sexist, and a terrifying spokesperson for a very broken part of our nation.

Over the past few days since Trump’s clear rise in likelihood to secure the Republican nomination, I have watched video after video of people at Don Trump’s rallies being interviewed; and so many of them mimic his exact platform. Keep the Muslims out. Send the Mexicans back home. Build the biggest wall you can build to keep everyone out that isn’t white.

Don Trump Has No Substance

When asked about his specific proposals and plans as president, Don Trump shouts things like “make America great again” and “we’re going to help our vets and troops.” When he’s accused of just being vague and not actually talking about actual real-life plans or proposals, he fires back and says “I’m specific. I am a very specific person.” But then doesn’t go into any specificity.

His campaign is fueled by a negative policy. Negative in the sense that he focuses on how much he thinks is total and utter shit about this country right now. He’s going to get rid of the Muslims. He’s going to get rid of Obamacare. He’s going to get rid of all the behaviors and policies he thinks are wrong, and yet he never describes a) how he’ll get rid of them, and b) what he’ll replace them with.

In fact, the most detailed proposal he’s come up with was at a rally early in his campaign when he said he’d stimulate the economy by starting a war with Asian nations.

Seems like a legit policy plan.

Don Trump Is A Moron

At tonight’s debate, a question was asked regarding Trump’s tax returns. Something about Mitt Romney thinking there was something wrong with Trump’s returns, and that this was why Trump was not releasing them.

Trump was right in a lot of ways in his response; and quite frankly, he was on point this one and only time when he described how up front he has been in all of his financial disclosures.

Where he miss-stepped, though, was when he made up a word to describe something as being large. Or largely something-or-other.

Trump referred to something as “bigly.” BIGLY.

Yesterday, after the Nevada primary was declared his, Trump did say he loved the poorly educated. I can only assume he included himself in that demographic.

Don Trump’s Rise Is The Closest Political Rise Any Nation Has Come To Hitler In Modern Times

The hate speech that comes out of Don Trump’s campaign, and the idolatry of him by his supporters, is so terrifying that I am a mix of paralyzed and stupefied. Every day I read the statistics, scan over the polls, and hear all of the supporters coming out in droves, and I sit with my mouth agape that this is what our country has come to.

I remember several years ago there was a movement to raise money to do a full historical preservation of Auschwitz – the Nazi death camp that held prisoner millions of Jews during WWII. The rapid falling apart of that camp’s grounds, along with dwindling numbers of WWII survivors world-wide that could recall and share their experiences of the war, was cause for concern among many politicians and historians as to the consequence of people not being able to experience first hand, in some form or another, what happened during the Holocaust and the War.

If we don’t have these reminders, will we forget? And if we forget, could it happen again?

And now here we are in 2016, where the fear and hatred and lack of education throughout much of America is giving rise to this man who is nothing more than a Reality TV buffoon. A character of quirky faces, ridiculous hair, and scapegoating hate speech. He says he would like to punch dissenters in the face. He wants to build a wall and kick out anyone with a religion or skin color that he does not like.

And his supporters at rallies have been documented saying things like “I wish I had my gun, I want to shoot some Muslims so bad right now.”

At the very least, Don Trump is the alternative 1980s Biff Tannen when Marty goes back to find that Biff has married his mom in the alternate, fucked up universe in Back To The Future 2. The man is tyrannical, just as Don Trump no doubt will be if he gains power over this country.

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For me and my family, if Don Trump is – by a long shot – actually elected President, this country will have indicated that it is full of people with whom I no longer share values. My family and I will be out, not only for that reason but for our safety.

I just don’t see Trump and his supporters to be a good kind of crowd to hang around.

So now I’ve made myself clear.

Beyond that, I could give a fuck who you vote for. On the Right Ted Cruz’s appearance is terrifying, I have a major crush on Marco Rubio, Kasich is probably the only person remotely Presidential in the bunch, and Ben Carson makes me wonder if I too could one day become a brain surgeon, if his level smarts are all it takes. And on the Bernie/Hillary side, I just wish the Democrats would shut the fuck up with the attacks on each other, vote, and move on.

But Trump…if you plan on voting for him, let’s just say our goodbyes and move on. You with your guns and your hate and your bigotry and your idolatry of a man most foul. Me with the knowledge that we’re all better off with out your type around these parts.

Bye Felicia. Or should I say … you’re fired?

 

 

I Am – At My Core – A Sanctimommy.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.

I’ve said many versions of that over the course of the years writing on this blog. And in life, in general. It’s probably one of the only cliches I can really get on board with. I’m just not a big fan of them – at least as far as talking in cliche goes.

(My most hated cliched phrase is “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Fuck you. My grass is dead, like my heart. Ain’t nobody want my cold, dead grass.)

But then there’s the becoming a cliche thing, which I have done through my adult life over and over and over again. It’s just how I live – one standard, societally-dictated role after another. You name it, I have probably – at some time until I’ve hated myself enough to stop – fulfilled it.

The biggest one, the one that persists in spite of the self-loathing it creates within me, is probably the worst. I am – at my core – a sanctimommy.

If you don’t know what a sanctimommy is, in short it’s: a woman who becomes a mother and then suddenly has an opinion that she believes to be absolute fact on what is right and wrong for children. All children. Every child in the world, regardless of their situation. Regardless of whether those children are hers or not, her positions are the universal imperative. The Kantian maxim of absolute moral right.

It’s almost as cliche as meeting your husband at the door when he gets home from work every night with a smoking pipe and a martini. (For me, I’m lucky my husband works nights, or I’d probably have fallen to that one too.)

So I fell to the cliche of the sanctimommy pretty quickly after becoming a mother, and my list of sanctimonious views on mothering and raising children has continued to stack up over the years. And they just get worse. I have an opinion for just about everything, and believe those opinions to be the absolute right in my world of black-and-white, never gray, rights and wrongs.

It’s just the way things are, and I am.

12729097_1126111397433349_2977683069917066235_nThat doesn’t mean I share these sanctimonious views with everyone. I don’t take it the step so many do to judge others, and foist those judgments upon them. I’m rapidly becoming an Internet troll, making comments on news articles just to test out jokes or ideas for my blog (like my most recent: a comment on Starbucks when I don’t actually drink coffee…). But when it comes to parenting, I keep the tippy-typing in the comments to a minimum.

Were I to wield my sanctimommmy views upon the world: on the Internet, in my Facebook, at family gatherings and the kids’ weekly sports shit…it would be a wasteland. A wasteland of my universal maxims and everyone else hating me. A wasteland where I have zero Facebook friends left, and my invitations conveniently “get lost in the mail.”

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In fact, only recently I shared one of my particularly new sanctimonious views on being a parent in the form of a joke meme. In it, I basically said that people with only one child have no idea – NO CLUE – what tired is. Because I have two. And I’m fucking tired – no doubt way more tired than if I only had one. You might say double tired. Well all the backlash came within minutes of me sharing what I thought was a hilarious meme I, myself, crafted, and suddenly every parent of one child thought I was some asshole who had not a single fucking clue what I was talking about.

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Usually, and especially now, I’m so scared of the reactions I might get, that I typically only share my views on parenting with my husband. I’m not even sure if he agrees in earnest with me on most of this shit, some of it totally inconsequential to our current lives as parents. And often I wonder how he even tolerates someone as judgmental and sanctimonious as I.

But he does, and then there’s that whole thing where it seems like a lot of people in our lives hate me anyway. Like I said a few blog posts ago: I’m not everyone’s cup-o-tea. For every sanctimommy view I keep to myself, there’s at least three on other issues that I won’t shut the fuck up about. Many an invitation has been “lost in the mail” over the years.

So…why not just go full sanctimommy? Take the leap from holding my beliefs in my mind to outwardly and verbally judging others?

Why not tell people that I think at least one parent being at home with the kids at the very least part time until said kids graduate high school is what’s right? And that through sacrifices I have made, I know that oftentimes people claiming that they have to work is more a statement about their priorities in liking vacations and expensive things than what has been scientifically and statistically proven to be what is best for kids. (Note: I said oftentimes, and I am completely aware that in many families both parents need to work even multiple jobs each to meet the bills; though this does not change the fact that it would be categorically and factually beneficial for their kids if one of them were home at least some of the time.)

Or I could admit that for a brief period of time I seriously considered keeping pacifiers in my purse to slip into the mouths of infant family members whose parents – I can only assume on principle or the belief that they know better than trained medical professionals – had ignored the warnings of doctors that pacifier use decreases SIDS risk by 95%. That I believe people who put shoes on their children before their children can walk outside look at their children as a fashion accessory. And that people who pierce the ears of an infant – except in the case of Hispanic families, who have a cultural reason – are teaching their kids from the earliest age possible that their body is not something with which they have complete control over.

(I came close to outward sanctimommy recently on the piercing the ears of infants issue at a family dinner when I let a joke slip that I was going to buy my husband’s goddaughter big hoop earrings for her first birthday. When someone told me that was crazy, I said ‘almost as crazy as piercing an infant’s ears.’ But I knew then to shut my mouth and move on lest my true sanctimommy be released.)

There’s so much more I don’t share. About school work (kids should have a lot). About playtime (kids should have even more of that than school work). Like parents who line their kids up in so many extra-curricular activities that they have no time to be kids (that this is one of the worst things a parent could do).

My list goes on and on and on. I’ve already shared too much, and anticipate a backlash.

My point, though, is that I withhold from sharing most of it because it’s not my place to. I may think someone is doing something wrong by their children, but unless it’s actually endangering the life of the child – like legit endangering the life, for example when people choose not to vaccinate their children because they are insane and have no grasp of reality – then who am I to tell others how to live? You want to teach your kids particular lessons and values, by all means – do it. In the end, you will be the one to answer for that.

Just as I will be the one to answer for the lessons and values I have taught mine. And in that vein, no one has a right to share their own sanctimonious views with me on the way I raise my kids.

In the end, I think we are all sanctimommies. In our core of cores, it’s a mandate when you have kids. Otherwise, your kids flounder around, living life according to what a whole gaggle of people believe, and then you have taught your children something very damaging – perhaps the most damaging – that making decisions for yourself is not the way to live. That the opinions of others bear more weight than your own beliefs and feelings.

I would much rather feel like shit about myself for having so many judgmental views in my head, than raise my children to believe that they can’t make decisions of their own accord. If there is anything I’ll be sanctimonious and loud about, it’s that.

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Toxic People That Are Family Are Still Toxic

There. Someone had to say it.

I’ve written about family issues – generally speaking – on this blog before, and I am sure I’ll write about them again. But when I go through the history of my posts on this issue (the family issue), I can see a change in me as I’ve aged. As I have grown, I have come to realize something very important. Almost profound, at least as far as life and family and every day dealings go for me:

Toxic people that are family are still toxic. And there is nothing that requires you to allow toxicity in your life.

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If You Aren’t Someone’s Cup O’ Tea, Oh the Fuck Well

We have a lot of family issues, probably in part to the fact that we live close by to a lot of family (both on my husband’s as well as my side).

The other part I think is that I’m not many people’s cup o’ tea.

I am honest, and I speak out about injustice. I can be a little loud. I don’t say things like “someone has to say it,” or “I’m just telling it like it is” as an excuse to be a bitch, but at the same time I do speak up and out when I see something that I think is wrong.

And in two families full of work-a-day workers, who wear their busy schedules and hard work days like a fucking medal of honor, my lifestyle of writing into the wee hours, sleeping past 10, painting in my pajamas, reading for at least 3/4 of the day, and subscribing to more shows on Netflix and the DVR than any sane person could find the time to watch, has created – shall we say – a bit of tension.

It isn’t only all of that, though; my husband and I just have much different values than a lot of our family members. We believe in holistic care, my husband’s hair is shoulder length and he has a hippy beard, we homeschool the kids, and I can’t remember the last time I wore a bra. To top it all off: we eat gluten free.

I can’t tell you the last time we attended a family event where people weren’t harping on us about our lifestyle choices. Particularly my husband’s facial hair (I mean really, people, it’s just hair…); and then there’s that whole annual intervention where every single person we know within a 50 mile radius makes it their life’s mission to get us to stop homeschooling the kids (this is usually around the end of summer when the new school year is about to begin).

Of course there will always be the grandmother in the family that harps on the way people dress, or the aunt or uncle who have an opinion on everything. But then there is an innocuous old lady set in her ways, and people who legitimately believe that they have a right to tell you how to live your life. In the latter, the only thing to describe them as is: toxic.

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It’s only recently that I’ve realized, though, that you can’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea. And, that I’d rather be true to myself than someone else just to make people happy.

The Worst Comes Out Of People When You Start Saying “No.”

Especially when it’s hell no, but we don’t say it that way very often.

My husband and I only have ourselves to blame on this one: we used to say “yes” to everything. Ev.er.y.thing. Everything. Even when we lived 50 or so miles away from our respective families, we still would say “yes” to every fucking thing that asked us to do. And our health and relationship paid for it.

Finally, our kids started growing older and getting into more sports, which meant our time was limited. And then my husband started working the night shift at his job, making the “no”s a necessity. We didn’t have the luxury of being able to passively do what everyone else always wanted us to do anymore. Finally we had the reasons we had been looking for all those years to have balance in our lives, the balance we had been craving for so long.

We were going to have to say “no” to some things. A fair amount of things.

It is then when the worst comes out of people. After years of pushing us around and getting us to everything our families wanted us to be at, they have gone down kicking and screaming – in their own ways – since the first time we had to say “no” to something. So much so that now even when we say “yes,” what we say it to is never enough.

Go to a party for a few hours, “but why didn’t you stay longer?”

Have other plans the one day a week we have as a family with no sports and no work for my husband, “you should have cleared your plans with us first.”

This is why setting boundaries with people that have never had any boundaries set on them before is so difficult: they don’t like it, and become completely unreasonable and irrational. Because really, what kind of a person sits by the clock keeping time as to how long you stay at a party, or actually has the gaul to suggest people check with their social schedules before making their own plans? For their own lives.

I’ll tell you what kind: a toxic person.

Toxic People That Are Family Are Still Toxic, and Being Family Does Not Mean You Owe Them Anything

A meme went around the Internet the other day, something to that effect. You do not owe anyone anything, especially toxic people and in particular family that is toxic. Blood relation does not mean that a person has an uninhibited license to treat you like shit. Being someone’s cousin’s cousin or sister-in-law’s mother or even a closer relative, like a brother or a mother – be it by blood, marriage, or another association that makes these people call themselves family – does not predicate any obligation what.so.ever.

Let me be clear: the minute you identify a person as toxic to you, any obligations or shit you owe them (for example: owing someone for giving you life, as I often hear my father say) go out the window. Out the window. Out the fucking window. Out the fucking window and miles away.

You paid your debts to them tenfold just dealing with their toxicity for however long you dealt with it. Even if it was only once and for just a day.

And so for this reason, my husband and I have taken a pledge to our selves and to our kids to cut out all the toxic shit we have dealt with for so long. People want to say nasty things, be nasty people, and act in nasty ways? Well they will be flushed out with all the other nasty toxic shit that gets flushed out of our lives on a daily basis. We don’t owe anyone anything, especially our happiness and senses of self worth. And our kids deserve to be surrounded by good people, or else that cycle of being surrounded by bad ones will just continue.

I’m not saying that everyone in my or my husband’s families are toxic; and honestly this post isn’t about us or them or a particular incident. I’ve only been thinking about this lately because I’m just so tired of being mad at myself for letting people treat us, and me, in ways that I would never treat someone else. And I’m even more tired of seeing and hearing people overlook bad behavior for the sake of the family. What about the sake of the self? Does that not matter anymore?

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