Please Stop Telling Me I Should Do Things For A Living

The title, alone, sounds ridiculous. Please stop telling me I should do things for a living? What do I expect – to sit around and do nothing as a grown ass adult?

No. That’s not what I mean at all.

A couple weeks ago, we had a little family and friend get together for my toddler’s second birthday. It wasn’t too extravagant. About 20 people came by. We had burgers and broccoli cheese soup, a cake, and a donut display. Truth be told, he slept for 75% of it, having started his nap that day a little late.

As I always do: I made the party set up a little on the extra side. The table of desserts and foods looked Pinterest-perfect, which truth be told I always do. Not because I feel that I have to, but simply because I want to. It’s what I do to feel alive.

Yes. I want to have personalized water bottles and theme-specific drink glasses. Yes, DIY tables cape projects actually make me feel like I’m living my best life. This is just something that’s important to me as a parent, to give my kids some of these fun picturesque memories that I didn’t have as a child.

Sue me.

Just as with all parties I throw, meals I cook, or hostess gifts I bring, the comments almost immediately rolled in:

 Oh Heather, you should do this for a living! Seriously you should get into event planning, think of how much money you could make if you did this for a real job!

You are doing too much for someone that doesn’t get paid!

Imagine how nice this party would be if you were getting a paycheck to throw it!

[Insert drawn out eye roll]

I completely get that this is meant to be a compliment, and isn’t it just so late-stage millennial of me to be offended by something someone said that was meant to be nice?

But honestly: is there ever going to come a point when a woman can be a mom and have that be enough?

As in this is just what mom does – she throws parties, and those parties are extra.

Or when a woman, who is a mom, does something nice and it’s just a part of what she does as a mom – not something she should do in another sphere for a financial payoff; will that ever just be enough? That Mom did something really nice for us?

And really, when did we fall into this black hole of equating the things people do solely by how much money they bring in?

When people tell me that I should event plan or personalize shop or bake for a living, they are telling me that what I am actually doing for a living – raising and educating three human beings while running a household so my husband can pursue his dream job – is of little or no value to them. Like it’s temporary, or just something I do for fun while figuring out what I’ll do when I become a real adult.

Every time I am told that I should do something else for a living than what I am actually doing, a little piece inside of me breaks in half and turns on itself. What if what I do has no value?

Moreover: what if my children heard someone say that to me (which they have)? Will they begin to find no value in anything I do? If they want to do what I do when they grow up, will they feel as worthless as this makes me feel?

And the big one: what in the hell am I doing spending all this time with people who share values I don’t espouse, or want to raise my kids to learn?

There’s a folly to it all because it is meant to be a compliment: that I do something so well I could make money by doing it professionally. But does it really teach our children the value we want to teach them – that something is only really valuable if it brings home a paycheck? And, taking it a step further, that if someone does something for free they are either wasting their time and energy, or not contributing to some grander vision?

I’ve asked so many questions, to which I have one answer: a mother’s contribution is not defined by how much money she does or does not contribute to the household budget.

As I said, I do these parties, the Sunday dinners, the homemade gifts because I want to. The things I do that I do not get paid for as a stay at home mom go well beyond that, too. It’s the homeschooling, the Mom Therapist Mode. The extra curricular activity taxi cab driver. The scheduler-medication administrator-personal chef- laundry woman-housekeeper. It’s all of it.

Becoming a stay at home mom was the most valuable decision I ever made, and one even my husband continues to believe is not what I really want. Women have come so far, how could I ever want to define my life as just a mom? You could do so much more if you did something for a living.

Please stop telling me to do things for a living. As I see it, I am. I’m doing a lot of things for a living – not for a paycheck or a promotion. But to live.

Today Was A Strange Day, Indeed

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_nHave you guys ever had a day that was just so bizarre it seemed like someone may have slipped some magic mushrooms into your lunch? We’re talking crazy strange – like out of this world strange; and it never happens like just one weird thing and then it’s all over. It’s like twenty weird things in one day, and they just get weirder and weirder as the hours plug along until the moment you go to sleep questioning whether or not you will wake up in a mental hospital.

Today was one of those days for me.

It started innocently enough. We’ve been helping my dad get ready to sell his home, and the last step was to replace the carpeting. He garnered a nice discount from the realtor’s brother, so it was scheduled and we all hung out watching and chatting as his disgusting, old berber carpet was replaced with what I can only describe as walking on a cloud.

1478984_720711377013_1621913057_nSeriously, it is so soft I may just stay at his house until it sells, curled up on the fluffy floor with a blanket and a book.

Around noon, one of the guys used my dad’s microwave to heat up his lunch and it smelled so good I had saliva literally pouring out of my mouth – that is the type of drooling we are talking about. When I checked the cabinets, though, I realized that I was being a fucking idiot by even bothering – my dad doesn’t keep food in the house. He eats with us at our house. Or goes out.

So I went to Subway.

While at Subway, I apparently gave off some sort of a moron vibe, though, because suddenly and without warning, these two bitches making our sandwiches called me a “stupid white bitch” in Spanish! It was crazy! I mean… really crazy, mainly because we live in California so you’d think these broads would realize that most people in California – Hispanic or not – know at least some Spanish.

In this instance, I’ve been called a stupid white bitch in Spanish enough times to know how to respond in their native tongue, which is exactly what I did: “fuck you, I’m going to the Subway down the street.”

The strange only got stranger from there.

About a half hour after we all finished eating and the carpeting was still being worked on, my daughter came running over to me crying that she had stepped on a nail that was sticking out of the ground.

Didn’t Mommy say to leave your shoes on? Of course Mommy did. Why didn’t you leave your shoes on?

Radio silence.

Had this happened a year ago; two years ago… even a few months ago, it would have been no big deal. The kid would have still been covered under her last Tdap vaccine and there would be some Neosporin and a band-aid, and all would be done. But as I calculated the time and my husband called the pediatrician, we realized that she’s due for her Tdap in less than 30 days.

So to the pediatrician we went. The carpet still being installed. This dumb white bitch wondering what’s next to come up. It took us 30 minutes to get there, 15 seconds in the office to get the shot, 45 minutes to get back.

1010221_720770648233_2098248793_nThen some non-strange things happened. I cleaned the toilets in my house. I baked some small cakes shaped like owls for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. I uploaded photos of the cakes to Instragram and invented the hashtag #happybirthdayjerkface. Non-strange things like this.

But then jerk face got home from work and the strangeness resumed.

He got me my Hot Men 2014 calendar.

Those of you that have not been around the blog for long, or who skip the majority of my posts may not know: I made an explicit list of requests for Christmas from my husband. They were pretty simple, and for the most part I got them. But I got no hot men calendar, which I had even taken the time to request specific men in specific months.

As Christmas Day, and the days that followed, drudged on, I made it clear that I was unhappy about the absence of my hot men calendar, until finally my mother in law yelled at my husband that he could order one from CVS for super cheap to get me to shut the fuck up already. I think the only thing he needed to hear was that there were options out there for cheap to get me to shut the fuck up, and he was sold.

Today he picked it up from CVS.

Among my favorite months are, of course, January (Wolf Blitzer), April (Vladimir Putin, topless with a horse), July (Hulk Hogan), and September (random nerd in the middle of a Live Action Role Play – LARP). Albert Camus, my motto towards men, and Jim Cantore are in there too. Also, December is FUCKING GANDOLF.

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In the coup de grace of the strangest of days, we headed back over to my dad’s house after my husband ate his dinner to help put the TVs and computers and junk back into place. And to start doing some more free laundry.

Suddenly, and again without warning, I realized that my daughter needed her nails clipped. So rather than – I don’t know – go home and clip them later like a normal person, I decided to just do it with my dad’s clippers as she lay on his bed. She doesn’t like to get her nails clipped, though, and started crying, so for some ungodly reason, my dad thought it would make her laugh if he said the following:

“Hey, if you leave them on my bed, I’ll eat them in the middle of the night.”

Say what?

Next thing I knew, he was asking if I would clip his toe nails for him. I don’t even know what to say about that, except that I usually say no and then start to feel guilty because he needs to have one of his hips replaced (he had the other done a year ago), and it’s hard for him to bend over…and I don’t know, I have a guilt complex.

So then he was laying on his bed, and I was clipping his gargoyle toes. Each one that came off included comments from me like “this one looks like petrified wood!” They just rolled off the tongue. Then for added measure, my husband jumped in and I clipped his nails too.

In the end, the only one whose nails were not clipped were my own. I’ll go to the nail salon for that. Tomorrow. That is, if I don’t wake up in a mental institute – which I’m starting to wonder if that will happen.

I mean this strange conglomerate of things today can’t actually be real, can they?

A Merry Cantankerous Christmas To You

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Have I mentioned to all of you faithful blog followers before that I hate the holidays? The spending and the family and the lines and the gimme-gimme-gimme-what’d-you-get-mes… it is all just a little much for me.

So as we now close into the final stretch, I’ve pretty much been drinking heavily, swearing profusely, and emotionally eating my way to the end. But those aren’t the only ways I’m ensuring a cantankerous Christmas for me and the people that have the great misfortune of being around me.

A Crotchety Christmas Eve

I’ve decided that Christmas Eve is going to come with a side of crotchety bitch.

For two weeks or so, I’ve had a really bad chest cold; this of course did not excuse me from having to cook a multitude of meals, clean the house, get the gifts wrapped, run the errands, and do every other random bullshit preparatory thing that needed to be done. Because while everyone else gets sick and gets to sit around on their asses whining and being waited on and shit, mom gets sick and everyone just demands more.

So on Christmas Eve, my mother and father are coming over and Santa will have come in the afternoon somehow (stealthily, I might add … I have yet to figure that one out). Then we’ll open presents while I get shitfaced, eat dinner, have dessert, and I’ll shuttle the two of them out the door before they either (a) get into an argument, or (b) get back together after 22 years apart.

But remember that I’m cranky because I’ve been sick and no one really seems to have given a damn, so I plan on inserting some crotchety behavior into Christmas Eve. Just in case they thought they were all off the hook for being a bunch of ignorant jerks while I hacked and spewed everywhere. Somewhere, somehow (another thing I have yet to determine) I plan on throwing some freakish bout of hostility into the mix. I’m thinking that since I still have a cough, I might throw myself onto the floor and start banging my fists into the ground while I hack. Nothing says “crotchety old bitch” like proving your point.

A Cuntly Christmas Brunch

When I was in middle school (fuck this “middle school” west coast bullshit, by the way … where I grew up it was called junior high … but I digress), I learned what the term “cunt” meant. It makes me cringe to even say/hear/read/type it, so I’ll keep it to a minimum, but nonetheless that one day in junior high (motherfuckers … it’s motherfucking junior high), I learned that this is a crass way to refer to a woman’s vagina. And if you are trying to insult someone, of course it would be only natural to use a woman’s body part as the deepest of offenses.

I myself even call my husband a vulva and/or hairy labia in a derogatory fashion when we argue. I also call him a vulva and/or hairy labia when we’re in bed, but that’s another story altogether.

Besides being sick, I have gotten more details on people’s medical problems, health issues, bowel movements, and other assorted bodily things than I have wanted to as of late. I think it has to do with the fact that I mostly hang out with old people. My dad needs hip surgery. My mother in law has a cold in her eye and it makes her look like a rabid raccoon. My grandfather had a very productive bowel movement the other day after seven doses of Dulcolax and a bowl of prunes.

TMI, right? Well to get even with all of these people for conjuring up images that I never in a million years would have wanted to think about, my revenge will obviously be my own TMI.

I think I’ll start by talking about a strange vaginal itch (disclaimer: I do not have a strange vaginal itch). Then I’ll move on to discussing the fact that my labia smells like butterscotch (disclaimer: my labia does not smell like butterscotch). Then I thought I would tap off the whole Cuntly Christmas Brunch by standing in the middle of the kitchen, my hand down my pants and scratching vehemently, then turn around just at the right moment and ask if anyone wants butterscotch liquor in their egg nog. It’ll be super crass, super horrifying, and fucking awesome.

A Callous Christmas Dinner

OK, Christmas Eve (tonight) I’m cooking dinner for my parents and we’re opening gifts. Christmas morning (tomorrow in the am) I’m making a huge brunch for all segments of our families and friends that are local (albeit, very few are coming). Christmas Dinner we are going to my in-law’s house to open gifts with them, have dinner, and pretend like we all enjoy each other’s company.

My Cantankerous Christmas wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t do something to reinforce my title as “Queen of Bitches,” so I think I’ve decided on being as rough, callous, and uninterested as possible. Fortunately, we’ll be at my in-law’s, and this is what they are used to. They hate me. I respond by pretty much sitting and not saying much. My husband is similar, which I noticed very early on. I remember one time we were at his parent’s house and I noticed he was very callous when he was around his parents. He would stand there silently, with his arms crossed. He never really talked about anything unless he was asked a question.

When I asked him about it, he said that he knew he acted that way, and that he was callous like that on purpose. He said if he wasn’t, then his mother would spew her emotion everywhere and manipulate him to get things from him (in the way of commitments, time, and career and otherwise sacrifices). Whether this is the case or not, I still don’t know. What I do know is that I typically follow his lead and keep my mouth relatively shut (well, shut for me) because it is his family. And most of them hate me too.

So what are you doing for Christmas, faithful blog followers? Being chipper and loving it? Hating it in a bout of vehement misanthropy like me? Deleting yourself from my blog now that you realize how much of a truly crass and angry woman I can be?

I know that I can be a tough pill to swallow, but this whole Cantankerous Christmas really couldn’t be any better of a situation for me. I get to be a misanthrope. I get an excuse to drink copious amounts of alcoholic grape juice. And I get to open myself to a world of stories to tell. People always say to me: “Christmas is what you make of it.” They are of course referring to the fact that I’m far away from my family and in an unhappy place in life right now. But I think it goes beyond Christmas being what you make of it; it’s about Christmas being about who you are. Many of you don’t know me in person, so it isn’t really fair when you send me your hatemail and tell me I’m a “fucking asshole,” an “ugly whore,” and a “miserable cunt.” Because you don’t know me in person and you don’t know that I really am one of the nicest and most caring people you will ever meet.

But that doesn’t come without a price: I am called a bitch for a reason, and I am referred to as “blunt” because I say it exactly how it is. You might say I’m a little … cantankerous. I think Christmas this year is what I make of it, sure; and my Christmas is about who I am. A Merry Cantankerous Christmas to you, faithful blog followers, or whatever respective holiday you celebrate around this time of year. I hope it is what you make of it, and you are you in the process.

Party Peeves

We went to a couple family parties this weekend. One was a Labor Day bar-b-que – which was relatively mild; the other was a family dinner in honor of the seventh birthday of my cousin’s kid. These parties (the latter for the most part) inspired me to compile yet another list of pet peeves. Today while we were eating lunch at Panda Express, I got a little teary over the music they were playing and realized it must be getting close to Rag Time, so excuse me if my reasoning sounds particularly bitchy.

Party Peeve 1:

You Scratch My Back, I’m Not Scratching Yours

How many birthday parties have we gone to where the other person never comes to ours? These people with this seven year old kid (relatives of my Trailer Trash Mom) are the worst offenders. They are the only real family we have in California – which makes it particularly difficult – because every kid party we have they never show up for, making ours sort of un-kid kid parties.

Year after year, though, I send down a gift when it’s time for one of their two kids to celebrate another birthday. When they have a family party for it, we make the two hour drive there and two hour drive back and bring wine and a side dish. We smile. We listen to people talk about their hillbilly family dramas. We show interest when my aunt talks about all the oppressions put upon her working for the Girl Scouts. We laugh when her husband tells jokes about watching pornography on the Internet.

But when it comes time for a kid party here, they can’t make the same trek.

Party Peeve 2:

Cow-Towing To the Old People

I’m sure when I’m elderly, I’ll want everyone to cow-tow to me like they do at my family parties. Kiss my ass and act like everything I say is plated in gold and shit. I’m not being a dick, either, by saying it’s a problem to let the elderly have the comfortable chairs or use the bathrooms first or whatever would make me sound like a real asshole. Because that’s not what I mean.

By cow-towing I mean that everyone in the family acts as they always do – as though what the old people say goes. An example: my grandma and grandpa went to college in Nebraska, so of course are Cornhusker fans. But if you aren’t a Cornhusker fan too, you have to sit there for forty-five minutes while grandpa fucking yells at you for being such a dumb ass. It’s really mean, actually, if you think about it because he will shout at you and tell you to get out of his presence if you support a team other than the Cornhuskers.

Just about everyone in the family swore their allegiance to the Cornhuskers a long time ago just to get grandpa to shut the hell up.

Party Peeve 3:

Feeding Kids Different Food

Oh dear God, this really roasts my ass. If you think it’s totally acceptable to let your kid drag you around by your she-balls, and therefore prepare meal after meal after meal until you settle on Spaghetti-O’s because your precious cargo has been conditioned (by you) to be a terribly picky and unhealthy eater – well then you should stop reading now. Because I don’t tolerate that shit, and so it really pisses me off when other people do it at a kid’s party we attend.

I can see that not all kids at the party are healthy eaters and the host just doesn’t want them to go hungry. I’ll accept that a lot of people were born and raised in a barn and, therefore, don’t care much about instilling basic values in their kids’ upbringing.

At our house, you have to try everything that is put on your plate. If we go out to eat or to someone else’s home for dinner, we all eat what is served. We do not request that people make us something special because we’d rather have neon-orange fat-O’s in a can.

At the family dinner Sunday night, they served BBQ chicken, bread rolls, fresh fruit – all in all, a pretty healthy meal. You can imagine, then, that I was fucking livid when I saw my mom carrying plates of per-request food for all the kids, none of which had BBQ chicken or fruit. All of which were covered in Spaghetti-O and macaroni and cheese slop.

Party Peeve 4:

Inadequate Planning

When I plan a party, I typically plan everything down to the “T.” It isn’t what you faithful blog followers are probably thinking: that I’m terribly anal retentive and OCD. (Well I am, but that isn’t what this is about.) The thing is that when people take the time and effort to come to a party you’ve thrown, the least you can do is have things organized at least enough so that things don’t get out of control and chaotic.

I mean, every party in which kids are involved is going to have a little chaos. But at least have it be organized chaos.

This party on Sunday was so poorly planned (go figure, it was done by my mother and her sister with the porno-watching-husband). It was supposed to be a kid’s party (sort of), but they really didn’t plan anything for the kids to do besides terrorize everyone else with chaos, out of control screaming, and whining that they were bored.

Of course my Trailer Trash Mom was too busy rambling on about her recent Hillbilly Husband sagas to actually entertain the kids. My aunt was busy cooking the food. My grandpa was yelling at me for being a Notre Dame fan, instead of the Cornhuskers. My aunt’s husband was in the other room looking at his Internet porn. Pretty much everyone else was just sitting back, watching carnage unfold until finally, towards the end of the party, Poor Nick and I took charge and played Duck-Duck-Goose with the kids to try and get things under control.

Party Peeve 5:

Dresscode

This is always a sensitive subject for some people. I get it: people didn’t come to the party to see my fancy house or my fancy clothes. So the place isn’t perfectly cleaned, and I’m wearing sweatpants – but we’re family so it should be OK, right? Or as a guest, you should just be grateful that I came and spent the money on a birthday gift and the time preparing these appetizers and the gas driving down and my Sunday that could have been spent doing something else I actually want to do, so I should be cool in these coolots and halter top, no?

Actually, NO. You should not be “cool” or “down” with people dressing down for a party. As is the case with organization, the least people could do is wear regular clothes or even just pants. When I opened the door to my aunt and her husband’s home Sunday, you can all imagine my surprise when I was greeted by her porno-watching husband wearing nothing but a t-shirt and Cornhusker boxer shorts. Maybe he was trying to impress my grandpa. Maybe he needed easy-access for when he’d be spending the duration of the party in the other room, looking at Internet pornography. Maybe he was just really hot. I don’t know, I just thought he could have actually put a pair of pants or at least shorts on. His boxers, in combination with my mother’s pant-wedgie that lasted the duration of the entire party and seemed to cause her nothing but pleasure, made the dresscode at this particular hillbilly brawl just intolerable for me.

After the lack of organization, the food problems, the underpants, the screaming at me for not pledging my loyalty to the Cornhuskers, and my mom rubbing her pant-wedgie further and further up her asscrack during the inevitable family photos that always cap off a family party with these people, I had just about had it.

What are your party pet peeves, faithful blog followers?