[Just A Long Post About Laundry]

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.

We need to talk about laundry.

I don’t know about you guys, but laundry is probably going to be the thing that does me in.

Honestly.

It’s not the cooking, which I loathe and yet find myself spending about three hours a day doing.

It’s not the cleaning, which – again – I’m not really a fan of; though being a health and sanitization freak, I see the necessity of. (Still, it would be nice if the second I wipe down a counter, my family could not immediately spill food and walk away…)

The errands. The kids’ sports. The homeschooling. The breastfeeding, largely unsupported.

It’s none of that shit.

It’s the laundry.

I never understood – before having three kids, plus my dad, husband, and myself – just how much laundry a family could produce. Like I kind of understood. When I was little, we had a big basement and the laundry would just pile up higher and higher until my dad or I finally got around to doing it.

But holy shit. Laundry.

LAUNDRY. WOAH.

Every week, the piles get bigger and bigger, and I’m just not sure how to go about doing it. I have a teen, a tween, and a toddler, so naturally all three of the worst laundry-with-kids phases. My kids also play sports too; and my husband and dad… well, men.

I tried one load a day, but that was insufficient for a family of six.

I tried two loads a day; somehow also insufficient.

I tried just continuing the laundry all day, every day. The problem with that was then the folding never got done and we just had piles of clothes waiting to be put away laying around everywhere.

I’ve tried one or two, specific, laundry days a week. But busy lives and a lot of people means that for the days afterwards, there’s still the laundry piled up everywhere waiting to be folded or put away, like with my daily laundry routine. And also, with a family of six, the longer it takes to finish “laundry day,” the more laundry gets added to laundry day.

And you guys get it; it just never gets done.

I’m at the point, now, of thinking: ‘let’s just burn all of our clothes once they start to smell.’ We can start fresh with the latest Target wardrobe du jour. Right? (Honestly, it would probably cost less than the endless amounts of detergent, combined with the water and gas bill from the washer and dryer – essentially – running constantly.)

It’s not just the doing of the laundry, it’s the folding and putting away. We are a family of six, and we live in a small house (duh, California cost of living). So we have to squeeze things in as best we can.

Which basically means we don’t.

There’s also that whole Gain thing.

Do you guys remember a while ago Gain laundry detergent had that Gooder campaign, and I basically lost my mind about it?

I wrote blogs, Tweeted, Facebooked, and even wrote a letter to the president of the company. I just could not handle a marketing campaign that used improper grammar. (Because, at the time, I really was that much of a pretentious grammarian. I know, I know…I hate me too.)

To my surprise, those motherfuckers over at Gain had the BALLS to respond to me, and their response was even more appalling than the campaign: they said THAT THEIR GOODER CAMPAIGN WAS GOODEST ENOUGH FOR THEM. (Or something along those lines.)

Like they not only defended it, they went so far as to bate me further. I. Was. Livid.

So I stopped using Gain for quite some time, which I’m sure was a real crisis to them. I mean I do a lot of laundry, so much so that I was once asked for identification because my local CVS security team identified through camera and cash register surveillance footage that I was purchasing Tide pods at an “alarming frequency and quantity” (their words); still, I’m fairly certain my lone boycott of Gain and their bullshit GOODER campaign had absolutely no impact on the company whatsoever.

But it was the point, you know?

So flash forward to last summer when we went on a little mini vacation and had to buy one of those one time use packs of laundry detergent – because, duh, I have a huge family and even vacations include Mom doing laundry. The only option was Gain, so I begrudgingly bought it…

…WELL… have you guys smelled that shit lately? They were right: IT. IS. GOODER. It was like someone had sewn roses into my clothes when I washed them with Gain. Like all of the good smells in the universe have been infused into a tiny pod, that they don’t even call a pod – they call it a fling. Some romantic shit you had the summer between your junior and senior years of college is now working overtime to get the scent and stain of your daily filth out of your Cotton On underpants. Like heaven is real, and it’s the smell and feel of my freshly laundered linens.

So now I feel like a hypocrite because I took Gain to task during that whole Gooder campaign thing, now I literally stand at the washing machine with my nose in the Gain Fling container like I’m sniffing a fine wine for the first time.

I’ve clearly lost it in the thick of all these socks that need to be folded, and bras that need to be hand washed. I don’t really know where to go from here.

My Kids’ Sports Are Starting To Drive Me Insane

This month – May – is National Tennis Mom’s Month. At least that’s what the USTA says, and since May is Mother’s Day, it makes sense.

I am a tennis mom. I drive my kids hundreds of miles a week, spend close to $2000 a month, and live my life on the sidelines as my kids do what they love with their free time.

I even have the ‘Tennis Mom’ decal on the rear window of my SUV.

To be clear: they love it, and it’s the only reason I am doing it. That doesn’t change the ever-increasing fact that their sport-of-choice is starting to drive me a little insane. Last night, while picking up the house and finishing the day’s chores, I decluttered a drawer in the kitchen and took Marie Kondo’s advice so literally to heart that I was – out loud – saying thank you to the things I threw in the trash, the things in the junk drawer which no longer brought me joy.

That was the moment when I started to see the cracks forming in my mental health. I blame it on the kids and their sports.

 

A Lot Of Parents Are Living Through Their Kids

…so much so that it’s the de facto assumption of all parents.

So many people at this point assume that I am forcing my kids to play tennis, and it makes me really mad. Like REALLY mad. Like ANGRY mad. Because along with it comes comments like “you need to stop forcing them to play every day.”

Or straight up asking my kids if they like tennis. The other day, my daughter was working with a coach and when she got in the car after the lesson was over, she said “he asked me if I liked tennis.” That’s an odd question to ask of someone he’s been working with for close to a year now. Why the fuck else would she be out there practicing, attending clinics, playing tournaments, and taking lessons?

My kids are not easy to force into any situation. Putting their shoes away involves a twenty minute argument in which I have to reason with them over and over again about all the reasons why their shoes need to be put away. If my kids didn’t like tennis, if I were truly forcing them, cattle prods and massive bribes would be involved. I would have to threaten my kids with no dinner for an entire week to get them out of the car at the court, and even then they would probably consider the merits of one less meal a day if it meant not having to do something they didn’t want to.

What I’m saying is that it isn’t easy to force my kids into anything. And, moreover, that I’m therefore obviously not having to force them to play tennis.

It’s Starting To Feel Like Everyone Is Trying to Rip Me Off

Last summer, I paid for a week long tennis training camp that was only fulfilled for one day. After that, the coach had to “go out of town” and promised he would reschedule the remaining four days.

He has yet to reschedule it.

Routinely, I take my kids to local clubs for clinics, and they always have these deals. Like buy X number of clinics for X number of dollars, which is discounted from the one-at-a-time price. That, I have quickly learned, though, requires an enormous amount of bookkeeping and arguing. One club has been so bad about it that I’ve paid hundreds of dollars for a month’s worth of clinics, only for my kids to show up a week later being told we owe them money.

I probably have twenty stories like these of me shelling out dough, only for it to come up with no, or less-than-promised, services rendered. Is it because tennis is traditionally a sport of the wealthy, so people just assume the payees won’t even notice they’re being ripped off? Or is this just how things are now?

There Are a Lot Of Terrible Coaches

Playing a sport in college does not implicitly qualify a person to go on to call themselves a coach of said sport.

I think this is the primary reason why, in any sport – and especially tennis – there are a lot of really bad coaches. Coaching is another word for teaching, so unless you have some subsequent training in teaching, psychology, sociology, or whatever, it seems wrong to be able to just say “yeah I’m a coach.” Because you aren’t.

In tennis, anyone can *technically* declare themselves a pro, but there are also designated exams for certification as such. I don’t take my kids to anyone that lacks one of those certifications. Beyond the fact that if I’m paying good money for them to play, I should at least be able to get someone actually qualified on paper; there’s also just the simple idea that putting my kids in the hands of someone under-qualified seems – well – dumb. Right?

The real thing is that you sometimes don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of people lie about their qualifications in an effort to justify their coaching. There’s a woman who plays in local leagues, that – it is rumored – played in college; and now I’m hearing her tell people she’s a pro. Uh…really? Because the registry of pros is actually public and, well, you aren’t. That doesn’t stop other people from going to her, though; and – I’m sure eventually – a lot of kids will quit playing the sport altogether, simply because this unqualified lady that happens to play in a local league decided one day she needed some extra cash and could give lessons to innocent people that don’t know any better.

So Much Money, and So Much Driving

As I said, between the two kids, it’s close to $2000 a month, when all is said and done. Playing a sport isn’t just showing up and doing it. You have equipment, travel, clothing; then all the add ons. In tennis, you can’t just do the lessons, you have to do the clinics too. And you get to a point when the standard issue clinics aren’t that good anymore, so you have to upgrade to more elite clinics (elite = a lot more expensive). And then you’ve got to do a certain number of tournaments, join teams, play in leagues – all with hefty fees; have a back up racket for the tournament; new strings every couple weeks. Your shoes wear out in a couple months. Then everyone tells you the only way to get better is to play matches against players better than you; but the players better than you don’t want to do that shit for free.

All of that for two kids.

And because they are so far apart in age (four years), a lot of times they are on different sides of the county, with only one Mom to handle their transport.

I read an article recently that the nature of youth competitive sports in America is essentially pricing your average kid out of having the opportunity to do it. Either the cost or the ability to travel around, or both, make it near impossible for most kids to play. Knowing the ramifications of kids that need sports to stay out of trouble doesn’t lower the prices, either. In fact, the knowledge that everyone price gouges youth competitive sports now seems to only justify it.

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The silver lining in all of this is that my kids really love to play tennis. Sometimes I have to force them – against their little wills – to take a day off. Next to their schoolwork and the various household pets (two dogs, one guinea pig, and two fish), tennis is everything to them.

Which is why, as crazy making as it is, I do it all. May is Tennis Moms Month, you say?

 

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.

 

 

So I Guess I Have Three Kids Now

For two weeks, now, I’ve had a shocking revelation rise to the surface of my brain at least once a day. I mean I’ll just be going about my business when suddenly it hits and I’m like OH MY GOD THIS IS REAL. Just now, I had it again. I was wrapping Christmas gifts, getting them under the tree. When suddenly I looked over to the little rocking-vibrating baby sleeper thing that has been on permanently for two weeks and I – genuinely surprised – thought to myself:

So I guess I have three kids now.

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It isn’t that I was unprepared. I knew I was soon to be a mother of three. From the minute I peed on the stick and immediately drove to tennis, where my husband (who works overnights) was sleeping in the car while the kids had their lessons; got in his car and woke him up, him surprised I drove over, and just blurted out “oh my God Nick I’m pregnant,” I knew.

For the months I did not have a lick of morning sickness, did not throw up once (take that, pregnancy!); but instead lost all appetite for anything but cream of chicken soup and cantaloupe, I knew.

On the day I went to get dressed, when it was about 95 degrees out in the heat of summer, and the only thing that fit me was a pair of sweatpants that I could barely tie, forcing me to spend the day at the mall sweating profusely as I looked desperately for maternity clothes, I knew.

And while pregnancy was relatively easy for me, it was still an ordeal. My back rarely hurt, as I said I didn’t get sick; no headaches, no pains in awkward places – for these reasons I was fortunate. But it’s pregnancy. You never know what’ll happen, so I did go a little bat shit crazy with seasoned-mom worry. At the end the acid reflux was like a constant volcano of terrible coming up my throat, and his breech position jammed his head into my left rib cage more times than I would have liked. So I knew. I knew the day was steadfastly coming that I was going to have three kids.

But it was also like I didn’t.

During the c-section, I stayed awake and calm for the entire time. Had I fully grasped what was truly happening, I would have been freaking out and panicking and going nuts – OH MY GOD I AM HAVING A THIRD CHILD THAT THIRD CHILD IS COMING OUT OF ME RIGHT NOW. THAT is who I am. Instead, as my OB shot staples into my gut, I laid there calmly as we had a nice conversation about a New York Times article we had both read about c-secion in the 14th century.

Oh. My. God. I have three kids now.

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There are so many jokes about three kids pushing you over the edge. In fact, on my first visit with my OB – who has been my lady bits doctor for over a decade now, and knows virtually every facet of my life – I was laughed at, scorned, and told “three will do you in.” Because three, apparently, did him in.

Oddly enough, there was a day when I told people I didn’t want to have any kids. None. Babies were gross and spat up and depended on you and I was just such an oh-so-cool hippie that I was going to spend my days childfree in trendy clothes with a glass of whatever flavor drink of the month permanently dangling from my well-rested, hands that had never – not ever – wiped a single ass, other than her own.

Then we had kids and all of those pipe dreams changed. I’m not saying that having kids was an unplanned or unexpected or unwanted thing. Just that the plans changed and we found ourselves with kids, so my husband and I figured – you know, why stop with one, let’s have twenty five.

Or three. Same difference.

In any case, I have three kids now.

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My oldest – Alexis, as many of you know, is 12, and snarky and basically a small version of me. Which is unfortunate because it means she’s well on her way to be a world class smart ass. She has had the great fortune of completely skipping over puberty, and is now a full blown, gorgeous woman with minimal awkwardness that makes me wring my hands in jealousy that my between years were not so easy. She likes to tell people that her name means “helper” (which it does), but at the same time she insists she will not be changing any baby diapers. (She has still changed several.)

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My now-middle – Ava – is 8 and she’s sweet but in a sweet way like candy. It’s delicious and wonderful but also rotting out your teeth and contributing to your genetically predisposed Type 2 diabetes. There’s always a motive to that sweetness. Nevertheless, when we told her she was going to have a baby brother, she immediately started promising she was going to change diapers and hold the baby and help with everything, and – so far – she actually has. She’s even changed a blow out.

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And now, there is the baby. He’s cute and a really good baby. His face is squishy and he’s definitely a holder, as in don’t stop holding me Mom. My dad says he looks like an old man. My husband seems to be disappointed that the baby’s cheeks are not skinny like his, but rather chubby like mine. And while we originally had a whole cadre of terribly atrocious names in consideration, I am certain that one day he will look at that list and be grateful that we stuck with a simpler, more traditional: Andrew.

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So there it is: three kids. All with the same initials. All with chubby cheeks and big, blue eyes. All with me for a mother. Snarky, independent, misanthropic me.

Heaven help us all.

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I Lost 31 Facebook Friends Today Because I Posted About My Anxiety Disorder

By “lost” I mean that I gave them the boot. They were all family. My husband’s family, to be specific.

I have an anxiety disorder. It’s mostly hormonal at this point, but the more I deal with it the more I realize it’s also situational. Situational in the sense that I feel a huge conflict between who I am and what I feel I’m allowed to be.

What I feel my husband’s family allows me to be.

To the point, though: right now, I’m in a bad place anxiety-wise. Depression too. It’s OK for me to say that. It’s OK for me to talk about it. And it’s OK for me to set limits and boundaries with all of that in light.

That I feel I have to say any of that is absurd.

So we have been thinking about moving out of our neighborhood basically since we moved in about two years ago. There’s a lot of crime in the community, which is crazy because it’s a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of wonderful people. But moreover, the situation with living in a family-owned home was stressful. And…it just wasn’t enough room for our family.

Finally, several weeks back we found a couple rentals within our price range. Rentals that were bigger. Rentals that didn’t make us feel we were responsible for maintenance because of the family nature of it. Rentals that were a real step up for our family. We started looking at them, applying for them…and within a day or two of even looking, we got the best of all of them.

So we’re moving out of the family-owned townhouse in the crime-ridden community with AMAZING neighbors (that part is in no way sarcastic…except for the ones from that whole pee gate episode a while back, I have never met nicer people)…and the family owned townhouse is up for rent.

Today, my father in law just showed up at the townhouse, though, insisting he be allowed to come in and inspect the place to see what kind of work he would need to do.

To start, we have put so much work into the place simply because my husband and I felt it was our responsibility. Nay, it was said it was always his and his brother’s responsibility. So to be so freaked out and worked up about how much work it may or may not need before it goes up for rent again was a little…suspicious… Moreover, we paid through the 31st. If we need until then to move out, we sure as hell can. And if you really have to get all freaked out and come over – is it so hard to make a phone call and ask when a good time would be? REALLY?

Apparently.

In any event, my husband walked outside and asked politely that he come another time. Today was not a good time. My anxiety level was already through the roof. I have spent every day since Saturday (today is Wednesday) crying, most of the time for reasons I’m not sure. I’ve used more Xanax this week than in the last several weeks. In short: I’m a mess.

The move, however, has been going PERFECTLY. We have just a couple more days in the townhouse and the new place is basically all set up already. And my husband knew that I needed to know that THAT aspect was under control, since everything else seems to be falling apart. Not to have the added pressure of any complaints about the townhouse on my shoulders.

Also, my home is – right now – my only safe place.

His dad pushed his way past him, and barged into the house.

Terrified of my personal space being violated like that, I went up to our bedroom and shut the door. I stayed in there trying to stay calm until he left. It isn’t that I can’t be around other people, it’s just that my home is my only safe space and I need to feel that way. And who knows, anyway? I could have been in the shower. The kids could have been running around in underpants… Who thinks they can just show up and barge into another person’s house like that? ESPECIALLY someone you know has an anxiety disorder?

Once he left, I felt completely panicked and violated. My safe zone was taken control of. I’ve been working so hard to have safe zones – things that help me stay calm, help me keep my anxiety under control… now I have lost that one. Sure, we are moving out in just a couple more days…but a couple days with a panic disorder is an eternity.

So, naturally, I took to social media to vent my frustrations. I did it as vaguely and anonymously as I could. There was NO WAY anyone would know who or what I was talking about. NONE!

I had no intention of even going into specifics as to what happened. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, like I just did. I. Planned. Nothing. But. To. Post. A. Vague. Vent. And. Reminder. (And note: my husband’s dad is not on Facebook, so would never even see this.)

Here was the pertinent part (the rest was me talking about how much I truly hope to keep the friendships I have with my former community)…

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Within minutes, though, the family brigade came out in full force. First, my husband’s mother, who is never online and was at work at the time, suddenly became active enough on Facebook to see my post and decided to reveal in the comments who the offender was. Suddenly aunts were telling me I am ungrateful and should delete my post. That I should be thankful for everything they’ve done for me (to be clear: the only person that has done anything for us has been MY dad, and my husband will be the first to admit that). Shame on me for being such a terrible person!

Shame. On. Me. For. Having. An. Anxiety. Disorder. That. Necessitates. I. Need. A. Safe. Space. That. Being. My. Home.

I tried not to respond to their shit, but finally I did and just defended myself. Which I know I shouldn’t do. I’ve been going to therapy for this anxiety, and the therapist even tells me if I don’t stop defending myself to these people nothing will ever change.

But it just kept going. Suddenly uncles were revealing gossip that had clearly been spreading through the family about us moving out (the idea that we gave no notice that we were moving out). MY near and dear and long time friends were coming to my aid, and family were telling – Internet screaming – at them to butt the fuck out of family affairs. Family members were making public calls for other family to join in and back them up about not tolerating MY TOTALLY AND UTTERLY EGREGIOUS BEHAVIOR ANY FURTHER (it sounded a little drunk-Facebooking at that point). My husband, at work, started getting phone calls from people not even affiliated with me online to get me under control.

Like really?

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To all of this bullshit, I have a few things to say:

  1. It is not OK to just show up at someone’s house, under any circumstance, for any reason whatsoever, and just barge in. You may be stupid. You may have no manners. You may be a blood relative. Doesn’t matter – it is never OK.
  2. It is not OK to shame someone for having an anxiety disorder that requires a little extra consideration about the rude and ignorant shit you do and say.
  3. People are allowed to have feelings and express them.
  4. If you are so stupid so as to respond to someone’s vague post about something with all the specifics, YOU ARE TO BLAME when that escalates out of control.
  5. Facebook friends should be people I would actually be friends with in real life. I would never be friends with people that shame someone for having an anxiety disorder and asking that their personal space at home be respected because of it.
  6. My husband’s family never responds to all the positive and bad ass things I post online about our lives. Adorable pictures of the kids. Silence. Husband got a promotion. Nothing. Heather has an anxiety disorder. FUCK YOU HEATHER YOU DUMB CUNT HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT THIS FAMILY LIKE THAT.

Here’s the thing about it all that I have come to realize and think about over the last several months – not just today. Our kids are witnessing all of this. They hear about it or see it or feel the effects of it at a family party. Is this really the lesson I want to teach my kids? That people can bully and shame others for sharing about their mental health? My oldest daughter has generalized anxiety disorder – should I teach her that she should hide it and not set boundaries with others to keep that under control?

At this point, this isn’t even about me anymore. It’s about my kids. They deserve extended family that is accepting and loving and compassionate and doesn’t act like a bunch of psychotic drunks calling publicly for a revolt against someone that says something they don’t like. If someone doesn’t gel with those values I want to raise my kids with, they’ll be deleted and blocked from online and real life. Tonight, it happened to be 31 of them.

 

 

Peegate

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Peegate. If you are thinking that I’m talking about urine. Human waste. Pee. Pee pee. Wee wee. A scandal about wee wee of Watergate proportions.

You would be correct.

Today we had tennis lessons in the morning for the kids. After getting them there, my husband and I decided to run home and throw dinner in the oven. When we left home to go pick the kids up from tennis, my husband happened to notice something shocking happening outside our home.

A mother had pulled over, taken her kid out of the car, and was letting the kid (5 or 6 years old) pee all over the bushes and sidewalk. Private property bushes and public sidewalk. Where children play.

I, frankly, was at first shocked. In fact, I double-taked a few times. I mean really, who does something like this?

Then I considered my obligations. As the coordinator of my neighborhood watch group, and after hearing about incidences like this happening through out the community in the past, I figured it was time to mention it. So I posted in the community Facebook group, as well as the neighborhood watch group.

But before I could even have an opportunity to extend the posts to our other affiliated sites, the mommies started commenting.

They thought it OK. In fact, they thought that if a family is out for a stroll, they should be able to drop their drawers and pop a whiz wherever and whenever they want.

They defended the mom’s choice. In spite of the fact that less than two blocks away – a 1 minute drive – there are a host of stores with bathrooms available. And that less than one mile away – a 3 minute drive – there is a public park with public restrooms.

They still erred on the side of the mother.

One person even went so far as to say that if a child has the stomach flu – the norovirus – that they should be able to pull over and have the child take a shit in a person’s bushes and lawn. When I went to highlight the fact that this would actually be a public health emergency, that commenter seemed to recognize the absurdity of this statement, and deleted her comment.

Just…let that…sink in a moment…

And then the personal attacks started. People told me I should stop nagging. They told me I should relinquish my neighborhood watch coordinator duties to someone else. They said I needed to “get a life” and one person emailed me and told me to go to hell.

It all got out of hand, and all over a little wee wee.

The bottom line of the situation is this: public urination, even of a minor child, is illegal. If a police officer had seen that, the mother could have been fined, or worse – if she became belligerent – arrested. Moreover, urinating on someone else’s lawn is a no brainer: there is never a scenario in which that is OK. This isn’t like the fucking sticks either. We live in the suburbs. A townhouse community in which houses are stacked atop each other. You whiz on someone’s bushes, you whiz on their patio, neighboring plants, and side walk too. By posting about this, I was simply highlighting as neighborhood watch coordinator a safety and legality issue.

But even when I tried to quell the situation with a level-headed comment, things just continued to spiral out of control.

I recognized at that point the issue:

We live in an entitlement culture. An entitlement culture so hellbent on what they are owed that they seriously believe it is justifiable to excrete human waste on another person’s personal property.

If it sounds absurd to you, you are in the right. If you understand the reasons behind the law, you get the hygiene reasons behind it.

If you think it’s OK to let your kid piss in somebody’s yard, please move along.

The end result of Peegate is that there are a lot of changes that will need to be made to the way our neighborhood watch group shares issues in the community. That’s a positive, in my opinion – no matter how much drama it took to get there. We actually lost two block captains over the issue, to which I say: good riddance. We gained a new one in a key area, and she promises her street as been pee-free for ten years.

I want to know what you guys think. Do you think that there are some laws that were made to be broken? And if so, is Peegate one of them? Would you ever urinate in someone’s yard? Or is this the most uncouth, redneck thing you could ever imagine to come out of the the suburbs?

I’m thinking of making yard signs that people can post saying things like “Peegate: it’s cool to make a wee wee if you need need.” Or, for the flip side: “This lawn accepts strange dumps.”

Sounds absurd, right?

I Did One DIY Project For Easter. One. Not Twelve. Not Twenty. Just One.

And even then, it nearly killed me.

I don’t mean that it was dangerous or wracked with mishap that could have severed my head or anything. I mean I hated doing it so much, I could have died.

I literally could have died. Literally. Not figuratively, like a spiritual death. I mean laid down on the floor and just stopped breathing – that is how over DIY projects I am these days.

(I did burn my finger on my glue gun, so maybe it was a little dangerous too.)

I think I’ve really evolved over time. First I hated Pinterest and all this perfect Mommy -DIYs everything crap. Then I felt guilt for that, or guilt for something, and went all Pinterest Mom crazy. Like everything was over the top DIY and perfect with all its perfection. Now I’m back to hating it, but mostly because I’m lazy and just over doing things.

Like any things.

So my devolving to this slovenly lard ass who would rather just buy something online than have to actually go and burn my fingers off with my glue gun again…it has been a slow one. It’s gone piece by piece, so that no one will ever notice that I went from DIYing everything to DIYing nothing. My theory is that the change will have been so slow that it will be hard to even remember that this wasn’t the way things were all along.

This Easter, I am officially down to the end game. The goal of DIYing absolutely nothing is within reach. In this – the final phase – I did but one DIY project.

And if I was going to be totally honest about it, I’d admit that the only reason I did it was to save money.

We gift all of the kids in my husband’s side of the family every major holiday. That’s Christmas and mini-Christmas, aka Easter. (Just kidding, we don’t consider it to be mini-Christmas, although I do find that a lot of people have turned it into that…)

Now at eight kids besides our own, this is starting to add up. And especially with holidays like Easter, it’s always the wrapping that makes the expense out of control. The baskets, the extra large eggs…whatever I wrap the Easter goods in for these kids, it always ends up being a hefty chunk of the overall cost.

So I made my own bags this year. Out of burlap. Burlap and buttons and some leftover chalkboard tags I had from something else.

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I hated every minute of it too, so I hope those kids realize how much effort went in to even convincing myself to make the bags to save the money. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could give the gifts in CVS and Trader Joes bags – those kids would probably never notice.

This raised a bigger issue, though, in my mind: how has it come to this? How has it come to the point where I hate doing DIY projects so badly that I would prefer to lay down and cease to exist? What happened to that Heather that just a few years ago would hand-paint the wrapping paper, and cut party cheese into shapes that went along with the party theme?

It’s possible that I burned myself out, as I do in so many other areas of life. But it’s also, and more likely to be the case, just a sign of this new era of parenting I am in – the my kids don’t want shit to do with me anymore phase. The themed parties aren’t really what they do anymore, now it’s all cellphones and God mom why do you have to embarrass us. So I may as well just stop caring about some of this dumb DIY stuff that doesn’t do anything but cost me frustration and heartache, and – apparently – embarrass them.

(Newsflash: everything embarrasses them.)

There’s also the distinct possibility that I am just on a Pinterest hiatus. That it’s only a matter of time before I am back in the saddle and DIYing everything to the point that other mothers hate me for all that I do.

I’ve written about this many times before, and I am most certain that I will write about it again. But just one DIY project this Easter. Not twelve. Not twenty. Not even two…just…one… I can’t help but think that is a sign of a much different and terrifying time to come.

For if I am no longer a Pinterest Mom, well then what kind of a mom have I become?