It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like F&ck This

Sorry for that whole censorship ‘o’ the title thing, but a lot of times blog posts won’t make it into email boxes if they have swear-y words in the title.

Fortunately that doesn’t apply to the content. So here we go.

It’s beginning to look at a lot like FUCK THIS. That has been going through my head over and over, AND OVER, again for about three or four weeks now.

I don’t know about you guys, but Christmastime is a combination of magical wonder and complete and utter bullshit for me. I have been screwed over, stressed out, raked over the coals, and that was just in the prep leading up to the *big day.*

Some of it didn’t even have to do with the holidays, either.

  1. Thankless Thanksgiving

I wanted to do that thing on Thanksgiving that yuppies do, where they go around the table and everyone says something for which they are appreciative. We don’t pray, and the other adults in our house have a hard time being grateful and complimentary; so I just thought it would be a good time to set a better example for the kids, you know?

I was too buried in mashed potatoes and mixed emotions to even remember to have everyone do it.

The thankful part of Thanksgiving – unfortunately – went largely unrecognized. This isn’t to disregard the sincere and kind comments made by our guests; I’m really just referring to the 25 times I had to ask the people that live here “is it good? Is the turkey moist? Do you guys like the sweet potatoes?” …only to receive grumbled “it’s fine”s, or to notice that many of the dishes I lovingly prepared went largely untouched.

Which was fine. We had enough leftovers for me to spend the day after Thanksgiving turning all of it into freezer meals that fed us for roughly 9 days.

2. Who has time for hurt feelings, though, when medical stress descends upon you?

We’ve had some medical situations that sort of pumped the brakes on the rest of life, anyway.

My oldest daughter – almost 16 years old – had been having weird pain symptoms for some time, and because she’s a woman, naturally, every doctor we had seen prior to the last two months has dismissed her as “just another chick complaining.” She’s had three, main things going on – simultaneously: migraine headaches, severe abdominal pain, frequent and unexplainable “sports injuries” (in bilateral joints). We’ve been blown off by doctor after doctor after doctor. “Just a chick with migraines.” “Oh obviously you are playing too much tennis and not resting enough!” “Cramps are normal.”

One doctor at UCLA Women’s Health – a woman, younger than me no less – had the audacity to look me blank in the face, say “believe it or not, pain is actually common in many women that experience periods.” Then she asked me to leave the room and asked my daughter what kind of birth control she was really there for.

So in the last couple of months, it’s all sort of gotten worse. My daughter has hardly played any tennis or worked out at all, and yet she’ll still feeling pain in her knees or her shoulders as if she’s been training 6 hours a day. Her migraine headaches have gone from once a week or two, to Imitrex every day. And a few weeks ago, she started having the abdominal pain she got intermittently, which she describes as barbed wire being wrapped and pulled around her waste and back (those of you familiar will immediately think endometriosis, I know…); well that’s been happening almost daily now, and so badly we’ve wound up in the urgent care, the emergency room, and a solid two weeks of one doctor’s visit after another.

What has made the situation all the worse is this: everyone is a fucking asshole.

Healthcare in this country is total garbage. And I’m not just talking about the expense of it.

I made an appointment with one specialist over 100 miles from our home. We got halfway there and were going to be a few minutes late for the paperwork check in time (but still on time for the appointment), so I called, only to find out that the person who made the appointment never actually scheduled it. We turned around, defeated.

In a startling turn of events, when it was time to figure out the migraine situation – in late November – I learned that there is exactly one neurologist in the entire county that sees children. And he isn’t taking any new patients right now. One. Apparently kids don’t have neurological problems where we live, this is just too perfect of a place, right?

Luckily I found a phenomenal physician in LA County, we just have to drive 57 miles each way to see. Every four weeks.

(But wait…the migraine maintenance medicine he prescribed makes her so groggy and sleepy she can’t even do her schoolwork.)

What else…

  • A kid in the ER one night threw up on me.
  • Over 6 different people have suggested that birth control will resolve everything (it won’t, in fact birth control makes migraines worse and if she really does have something like endometriosis, birth control or any hormones for that matter are not the answer).
  • We hit our out of pocket maximum, and yet everyone is still collecting the money up front, leading me to be owed over $4,000 now at this point in refunds, reimbursements, and “hey this is YOUR share of the medical expenses.”
  • For pain, someone gave her Naproxen, and even though she has no problem with Ibuprofen, with the Naproxen, she broke out in over 20 canker sores inside her throat and mouth.
  • I asked the nurse practitioner at our primary care physician’s office to send her for abdominal ultrasound, just to be sure…sure, sure, no one thinks her pain is anything legitimate, but can we just check? The ultrasound came back with her left ovary literally swarmed by ovarian cysts. (The nurse called to tell me the news and suggested I put her on birth control, even though one day prior we had discussed just how that was not a solution and would only worsen her migraine headaches.)
  • In response to the news that my teenage daughter, who has been experiencing pain in some way or another for at least six months now, to the point that she is unable to function in her normal life on many days, was going to have to start having tests and seeing specialists to get a handle on what is going on, my husband asked me when the budget would be freeing up for him to get some things preventatively done on his commuter car.

The good news is that we are – hopefully – finally getting to a point that we are going to be taken seriously. Why? Because finally the neurologist suggested I just take her to my OBGYN practice. They are old men and they don’t really deal with menstrual disorders, but they won’t blow her off and they will advocate on her behalf to get good care.

3. It’s beginning to look a lot like fuck this

And then there was Christmas. Because of everything going on, Christmas was a scurry in the last couple weeks to make magic. I think I slept about two hours a night, while the rest of the time baking like crazy, ordering gifts on Amazon, and – finally, in a moment of desperation – paying my 16 year old (who is too nonfunctional to do much else) to wrap the majority of the gifts.

I did manage to take the kids to a light show, like we do every year; although – lesson learned – my dad can’t go in the future because he just rushes everyone through it, complaining about how cold he is and ruining the evening with his griping.

When the real FUCK THIS came up, though, was about a week before Christmas, when I attempted to take my kids to the Polar Express train ride out of Fillmore and Western.

If you are in Southern California, you know that one of the priciest and – supposedly – magical Christmas experiences is actually to take a ride of the Fillmore and Western Polar Express. Everyone shows up in their Christmas pajamas, there’s lights and music and they act out the movie/book in front of you as you take a train ride and sip hot chocolate. Everyone gets a bell; it’s fun.

We had never been, and I decided with everything shitty going on, it would be a fun break one evening for my kids. So we attempted to go, and the bad news is that my 3 year old – who gets startled pretty easily – was getting on the train with me, and a man behind us started yelling to his kids who were ahead of us. It scared my little guy, and he started to cry.

Not like a screaming tantrum crying though. A basic cry. It was honestly so loud in there, my other two kids didn’t even know he was doing it.

Nonetheless, we were sitting in the front of that car, and had barely even sat down; he was still crying and I was starting to calm him down, when the train employee came over me and told me I should take him off the train to calm him down.

I understood, but I also didn’t. Like I know my kid, and I know that I can calm him down before the train leaves. We still had 30 minutes, and literally no one could have noticed what was going on. I also knew that if I did take him off the train, there was no way I would get him back on. When a toddler cries for a calmer situation and immediately gets what he wants, instead of learning to self soothe and adapt… well, come on…

Still, I understood that the lady was just doing her job. Right? And I don’t like the thought of being one of those people that ruins the experience for everyone else with drama; especially at an event for kids. So we got off the train, and I – obviously – couldn’t get my little guy to go back on. The train left, without us.

So I emailed customer service, and this is where it gets really annoying. I told them what happened and just asked if they could maybe send us the bells. At the end of the whole thing Santa gets on the train and gives everyone a bell. My kids just really wanted their fucking bells, and I paid for them, you know?

I got an email back from them not apologetic. Not saying I could have my bells.

I got an email back saying it didn’t happen. That what I said DID. NOT. FUCKING. HAPPEN.

At that point, I just gave up and gave in. Christmas became fuck this. I did the gifts, the day. All of it with as big of a smile as I could manage. I made Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, and we did all the things and I’m sure that it is a fact that my kids had fun.

But I was also just done.

The terrifying part is that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is just the start of it for us. Now we have birthday after birthday after birthday, Easter…Moms have it hard you guys. We don’t just do it all, we bear the mental and emotional load of it. We are the figure it out-ers, we don’t just have to take our kids to the stuff, we have to figure out how to make it all work and advocate for them and make sure everything is where it needs to be so that things don’t get worse.

But also, we do it all because we want to. And that is where being a Mom is the weirdest and most emotionally conflicting job of them all.

So if you had happy holidays that resembled the most picture perfect scenario you could ever imagine in a Hallmark movie or quaint Christmas card hanging on someone’s mantle, I am genuinely happy for you. If you’ve had it rough this season, I feel you also. Or, if you are like me, and it’s a mixed bag of negatives and negatives, but also positives and unbelievably happy children – in spite of it all… well, I am right there with you in the trenches, my friend. This is a weird place in life to be. It’s beginning to look a lot like fuck this, but also fucking bring it.

Everyone Shut Up and Listen To Me – NOW (STFU Fridays)

I’m super cranky, faithful blog followers. So cranky I think the best way to describe my attitude would be as snarly, and my facial expression as sheer hatred. Of everything. Between getting back to life after a crazy and long vacation to the Midwest; finding a new place to rent temporarily; and preserving any last bits of my sanity that remain amidst my current war against the tofu-eating, cereal and milk gastropub-opening, flannel shirts and neon green glasses when it’s 180 degrees out-wearing, tandem bike-riding, living in their parents’ basement and working at the local Urban Outfitters-Los Angeles hipsters …I’m a little tapped out.

Not so tapped out, though, that I haven’t had the time to make the changes with my blog I wanted to make, which included:

Redesigning my website

Rebranding my blog

Getting my weekly Podcast up and running

So, everyone just sit down, shut up, and listen to me. NOW. Or else I will declare war on you like I have the hipsters.

Redesigning my website

I know this is going to sound real exerting for those of you that don’t like to move your fingers very far beyond one, two clicks max (studies show Internet users have such a short and seemingly-pathetic attention span at this point that they will not stick around a website for more than two clicks); but I urge you to take a look around my website – extensively.

Because it’s changed. A lot.

Among those changes include making it primarily an author’s website. The blog is really just one part of me – who I am. Really, I am a writer. I write books. I write short stories. I read a lot too, but if any of you read my last STFU Friday post, my next publication has nothing to do with my blog, and everything to do with me as a writer.

You can find my other stuff easily now, as well. On the side bar are links to videos, my books, and my blog.

Which brings me to the next point.

Rebranding My Blog

So…

For some time now I have quibbled with myself over whether I should continue the brand of the B(itch)Log… or do something new. The thing is a lot of people never got the whole (itch) in parentheticals thing. Or they thought it was just a blog where I bitch and bitch and bitch and talk about nothing else, at all.

On one hand, I am a bitch. I mean … seriously. I can be really bitchy and mean. And it is true that a lot of times this blog is a bitch-fest. But not really all the time; and really I’m called a bitch because I’m honest. And blunt. To the point.

On another hand, this is a mom blog. While I do blog about all kinds of things besides just mommy-ass-wiping-puke-on-my-new-outfit-oh-my-God-why-are-you-asking-for-another-fucking-snack-you-just-had-dinner-life, the mommy-ness of it all is still the overlying theme.

And then I said something one day that was just in jest, but it stuck in my mind as a way to merge my love of being who I am, while at the same time making things clear that this is a mom blog (in spite of how many non-mothering things I write about). We were driving home from dinner one night on our vacation, and out of nowhere I said: “…you know, I think my job as a mother will be done right if one day my kids say ‘my mom… she’s a real bitch’ … then I will know I did something right.”

So I hope you will all stick around for the rebranded version of the same, old humor:

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Getting my weekly Podcast up and running

I’ve been talking about doing this weekly Podcast for pretty much as long as I’ve known what a Podcast was. But somehow I just never got it up and running.

TRexRadioThat’s not entirely true – I know exactly how it has gone un-launched all this time. I actually don’t know shit about computers and the Internet, in spite of how much people seem to think I do.

Now I won’t go into the embarrassing details of just how much I didn’t get it, but we’ll just leave it at this: I’ve finally learned how to paste the link to my uploaded Podcast into the area that says “paste here” on iTunes. It was that simple, and now I can do it. So yay.

T-Rex Radio launches this upcoming Tuesday, August 20th. It’ll be a 10 minute show, once a week. I promise I won’t rant and curse… too much…….

Jerry’s Final Thought

I always feel like I need to have a Jerry Springer-style final thought at the end of my blog posts, which is something I really need to get over. For one, I have too many random points to sum up, many of which I didn’t even touch on but would love to talk about in this post. Like how you should buy my book, read recent book reviews of my books, come to my book signings, appreciate the sexiness of old TV anchors like Wolf Blitzer, and so on.

But when it comes time to sign off, I also want to feel like I’ve had closure with a post. Much like closure with a relationship – you know, that thing that usually involves a gas can and a match, and a fire that destroyed all of the things that reminded you of your ex? (Kidding.)

The great thing about STFU Fridays is that closure can be as simple as this: sit down and look through my website. Like My Mom’s A Bitch on Facebook. Listen to my free Podcasts. Enjoy the laughs and the relatability to your own miserable lives (please…spare me the lectures about how your lives are not, in fact, miserable…I don’t believe you). And buy my books. Above all: SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Has the Blogosphere Become High School All Over Again?

Short answer: YES. Long answer:

I wrote a blog about six months ago called “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” In it I argued against the notion that bloggers are cliquey. I had seen some bloggers complaining about how they couldn’t seem to “break in” to the mom blog, and other blog community, cliques, and for this they felt a great injustice. In the post, I started by saying:

In high school, I hated the cliques. Now when I think of them I think of Mean Girls with Linsay-the-trainwreck-Lohan. When you have cliques, you have backstabbing. You have cheating. You have a load of gossip. You have more drama than a daytime soap opera. And you have people being excluded for no reason other than that they aren’t “cool” enough, by whatever standards of “cool” the clique collectively determines. I have a hard time believing that bloggers have become Mean Girls.

Either I was terribly wrong, or things have changed. A lot. Today – over six months after writing that blog – I believe more than ever that bloggers are the new Mean Girls. In fact, I know exactly who could be slated as the main characters (although I’ll keep that opinion to myself).

Let’s examine how my opinions have changed.

#1 Good versus Bad Content

In my post six months ago, I argued that maybe it isn’t really you or your blog, per se; just that you were not one of the more popular blogs because you had an absence of good blog content. And this is perhaps the most compelling reason in my mind now for proof that the blogosphere has become high school all over again: there is more bad content out there than my mom’s supply of edible panties.

It’s just like in high school. The meanest and ugliest girls were always the most popular. The douchiest guys with the worst acne were co-captains of the football team.

Sure, when you give access to a portal of information sharing to anyone and everyone, you’re going to have gads of bad content. But I’m not just talking about your run-of-the-mill crap that never gets around. I’m referring to the truly bad content that gets thousands (dare I suggest millions?) of hits. That everyone knows about. The bad content that people “like” and comment and share and find witty, in spite of its over all dryness, lack of whit, lack of insight, and glaring grammatical errors.

Here’s the deal: if you are going to call yourself a writer, be one. Only post what’s good. Get the opinion of others (and by that I mean objective others, not your BFFs) before you just assume that anything coming out of you is the next best thing to bars of gold. If you think you’re a writer, prove it with good spelling and appropriate grammar, and nipping your verbosity problem in the bud once and for all. Make sure everything you write about has something to do with your overall point. And for God’s sakes, make sure your blog post makes at least one ounce of sense.

Otherwise, you’re just another pimply captain of the football team, or mean girl wandering the halls of high school. You may be popular, but in the end your blog is nothing but garbage.

#2 Lying versus Honesty

I think that when I wrote that post last year, I was terribly idealistic as to the nature of the blog community. I suggested that your blog may not be that popular because you are dishonest. I really believed that truth prevailed in the world of the blogosphere – as if it is not merely a microcosm of the world at large, where the only people who truly prevail are those whose words uttered are rarely truth.

In high school, everyone creates themselves and others through a series of lies. That’s how the gossip train starts as well. In real life, we’re all supposed to transcend beyond all this lying bullshit and to achieve our successes off honesty.

How infrequently that happens – in life, as well as the blogosphere.

I know a lot of big gun bloggers that lie through their teeth, so much so that there is probably little truth to anything they say. It’s one thing to be anonymous or to change characteristics of people for safety and fairness and such. It’s another thing to fake celebrity endorsements. To claim site statistics that the public record on Alexa shows are clearly false. To say you write for all these different sites, when in fact those sites wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot poll.

To call yourself a writer.

Not to get too uppity about this, but there is actually a criteria for calling yourself a writer. Any old blogger is not a writer. For one, a writer of fiction and Fox News has the liberty to lie. The rest do not. For two, a writer writes good content with attention to rules of writing – as mentioned in point #1. (And to those you unaware, yes: there are rules of writing.) Without some attention to these things, some honesty and brevity, a blogger cannot call him or herself a writer any more than I can call myself the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa.

Well they can, but it would be a lie.

#3 Gossip and Exclusion

What I’ve learned more than anything over the last six months since writing “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” is that the blogosphere (at least the parenting blog blogosphere) is loaded with gossip and exclusion. Really great blogs are excluded all the time – and I can’t really put my finger on why. There is a lot of “you pat my back, I’ll then turn that back on you and pretend we don’t know each other” as well. I see it all the time, and is another thing I spoke to the contrary six months ago.

And the gossip is worse than high school. In high school the gossip hurt – don’t get me wrong, it did. People said I stuffed my bra when my boobs grew overnight. That hurt, but it went away eventually. I got over it. One time a friend of mine was dating another friend and a gossip train started that she was cheating on him. That caused some drama in our circle of friends; yet, perhaps more mature than some of the adults I know in the blogging community, as a group we talked about it and it all worked out.

Not in the blog community, though. Here the gossip runs rampant. There is no end to it. There are no resolutions. So and so is doing this to screw everyone else. This writer is stealing content. That writer is not giving us proper credit. God it’s awful, and everywhere – email, Twitter, and the ever-ominous Facebook updates that are meant to be vague, but cause such a ruckus you start to wonder what the point is of any of this.

Courtesy of FriendFace Town ... for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friendface-Town/484841884903320

Courtesy of FriendFace Town … for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friendface-Town/484841884903320

Here’s the thing about blogging: it’s a double-edged sword. Everyone can do it. But then again, everyone (with a computer and an opinion) can do it. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. There is a lot of good stuff out there too. There are popular blogs, sure; but there are no cool people. As a fellow blogger, or just a reader who likes information other than what the mass media puts out there, take a step back from your old-favorites and take a look around. Falling for the bad content and the lies, and narrowing yourself to a small group for no reason other than you don’t know any better, makes you nothing more than a bleating sheep. For every bit of crap you fall for, day in and day out, there is a world of awesome out there, just waiting to be discovered.

What’s the Deal, Mom Bloggers?

I know what you’re all thinking:  I’m probably about to alienate myself from the world of Mom Bloggers forever. I’m probably about to say something super bitchy, or downright rude. I’m likely about to become a total hypocrite, since I – myself – am a Mom Blogger. This would be par for the course, since it is the B(itch)Log and all. But I still think that’s all wrong.

Just hear me out, because I’m trying to understand what the deal is, Mom Bloggers.

What is a Mom Blogger?

A Mom Blogger is a mom that blogs. Next question.

No seriously, what the hey makes a mom that blogs deserve the title of Mom Blogger?

Sometimes s/he blogs about parenting issues. Sometimes s/he blogs about being a housewife. Other times (most of the time) s/he blogs about some random, mundane bullshit that has nothing to do with being a mom at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely benefit from this sort of laissez faire attitude towards what the content should be. But it still can lead to a little confusion.

So I will repeat: a Mom Blogger is a mom that blogs.

Exactly who is qualified to be a Mom Blogger?

This question seems almost redundant now, doesn’t it? A Mom Blogger is a mom who blogs; therefore, “a mom that blogs” is the qualification to be a Mom Blogger.

But it’s way more complicated than that. Dads are Mom Bloggers now, or Dad Bloggers or Parent Bloggers (as they like to be referred to so as to avoid the emasculation that would necessarily come of a dude being called a Mommy Blogger). Moms of cats, dogs, birds, and other pets have become Mom Bloggers too. Daycare ladies without uteruses write Mom Blogs. Sometimes it seems as though anyone who has ever taken care of another human being or other type of species that breathes (or maybe not) in a motherly or caretaking capacity can – at any point they deem appropriate – be referred to as a Mom Blogger. Also people that plan on one day doing any of that –  maybe, if they feel like it – can be Mom Bloggers too.

Are you starting to get the frustration, here? What’s the deal, Mom Bloggers? Is there anything left about motherhood in the Mom Blogging Universe anymore?

Who supports a Mom Blog?

It would seem that the community of Mom Bloggers would support each other. But that’s not always necessarily the case.

Sure there is a small group of Mom Bloggers that talk about each other, tag each other, Facebook each other, Tweet each other, reference each other, collaborate with each other, and other BFF-ish online interactions-with each other. But there are also a lot of Mom Bloggers that are pretty well left out of the group.

And every once in a while (and by that I mean at least a few times a day) Mom Bloggers of even the most popular and widely-read sort run into other Mom (or Dad or Parent) Bloggers that do not reciprocate support. That ignore certain factions of the Mom Blogging community, for whatever reason.

Again, I ask: what’s the deal Mom Bloggers?

No but really, what’s the deal Mom Bloggers?

So we already asked what the deal was with Mom Bloggers basically being anybody and anyone, male and female; whether they are really moms or not. We sort of alluded to asking “what’s the deal?” on the issue of the content of a Mom Blog (which is basically anything and everything). And the matter of reciprocation between Mom Bloggers – big and small – got a big “what’s the deal?” I would even upgrade that one to a “what the fuck” because it’s messed up to ever believe that you’re too big to be supportive of others in the community.

But the real question I have, Mom Bloggers, is about the skill level.

I used to tutor and TA when I was in graduate school, so I have read a lot of really shitty writing. I mean really shitty. I mean academic papers with “WTF” and “OMG” and one even with a smiley face emoticon. I once had a student show up having a hard time reading the word “philosophize.” And yet still those academic papers with all their illiteracies and their poor grammar and their 2nd grade reading levels were still better than some of the Mom Blogs I’ve read lately.

Some of the worst writers on this planet are the most popular Mom Bloggers. Some of the stupidest, most boring, most mundane content I have ever read in my entire life is coming from Mom Bloggers that are read more widely than the New York Times. And by contrast, some of the best writing I have ever read in the blogging world – from Mom Bloggers and otherwise – gets three or four hits, while “OMG pee poo diaper time whassup” got millions of views.

What. Is. The Deal. Mom. Bloggers?!?!

So you might say I’m feeling a little perplexed or reflective as to just what the deal is with the Mom Bloggers? I believe that a blog is just like any other piece of writing – it should be done well. It should be widely supported within its group of peers. It should have meaning and purpose, and it should be free of stupidity. Call me crazy, this is just how I’ve tried to run my own Mom Blog.

What do you think the deal is, Mom Bloggers? Or are you ignoring this post like many of the others because you believe you’ve grown too big?

Speaking of Mom Blogs, have you voted for me on Top Mommy Blogs lately? Just click the link and your vote is registered … http://topmommyblogs.com/