No One Understands What It Means To Have Toddlers (Or Just Kids In General) Anymore

I’m not sure what the reason is for it, but it’s as if no one remembers or understands what it means to have toddlers (or just kids in general) anymore.

Or maybe it isn’t that they don’t understand. They just don’t care.

I have three kids, at various ages. One is a teenager, turning 16 next week. The second is a tween, having turned 12 last December.

And then, I have my toddler. My 3 year old. The baby of the family who keeps all of us on our toes.

Well… he keeps me on my toes…

There’s something I’ve noticed with this, my youngest child, that I never noticed before: people, generally speaking, don’t seem to get it anymore.

They don’t understand that several hour-long phone calls to insurance companies or to fix the cable, or to just gossip about what aunt so-and-so is up to over coffee, is rarely – if ever – an option.

They don’t understand that if I do actually do something other than entertaining the toddler (and/or making sure the toddler doesn’t roam out into the street of busy traffic), I can’t just – like – drop everything to show them how to change the ink in their print cartridge, or send them a detailed email about how to start a blog. Or even sometimes engage in a twenty minute conversation about [insert just about anything here]. That if I work or go to school, the time I have carved out in my schedule is literally the only time I have.

Or – shocking as it may seem – usually when I have free time away from my toddler, I am taking care of my other kids.

They don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that there are three of them and one of me, and I can’t actually split myself into three pieces to be at three places at once. Sometimes, appointments have to be scheduled around the other kids’ things. Sometimes, I can’t get them to an extra curricular activity that day. Occasionally, other things in the house have to wait so that the children can be cared for first.

Sometimes, if I’m sitting at one of my older kids’ tennis matches, I’m not a “bad mom” for having my laptop open and my school books out (as many parents so eloquently “joke” to me). It’s that it’s literally the only time I have that I am not talking about Toca Boca or Paw Patrol with a 3 year old to get that other stuff done.

When you have a toddler, that’s how life is. It’s a delicate balance between having enough time to fit everything in, and making sure your toddler is cared for.

This is honestly the way it is when you have multiple kids.

It is a lot of time cleaning. Cooking. Picking up food they threw at the wall.

Having a toddler is not showering sometimes. It’s going days without realizing that all you have eaten in 48 hours is Goldfish crackers and Jell-o.

Add two other kids at completely different stages of life to this, and forget it.

My time is spent driving my teenager to her college- and life-preparatory things, helping my middle schooler with her school work and making sure she gets to all of her extra-curricular activities on time, and taking care of my toddler. That includes developmental things, play things, reading times, and interacting with other kids and the world. When I’m not doing one of those things, I’m cooking dinner for all of them, making lunches, serving breakfasts, and cleaning up the messes.

It’s balancing screen time and play time. It’s taking a kid to an appointment and letting the other kid have more screen time so you can hear the doctor speak, then it’s managing the tantrum because that kid had too much screen time, all while answering the phone when people call you back about the one kid’s appointment and helping the third kid with her SAT prep book.

What I’m saying is, I have my hands full. A lot of people are in this position now. A lot of people have been in it at some point in their lives.

A lot of people have forgotten.

I’m referring to the people that ask me over and over again at tennis matches for my older kids where my little guy is, but then complain when he even breaths too loudly when I do bring him.

I’m referring to the people that don’t do their jobs, too. Like a doctor’s office, that owes me a refund and says they’ll refund me automatically, only for me to find out a month later they never did, resulting in an hour of sitting on hold to get it straightened out. Or a local water company that charges us six times for the same, one, bill, requiring me to both call and sit on hold, as well as go in to dispute the extra charges.

Maybe I’m just complaining, because I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I’m not complaining about the fact that I am taking care of my three kids and have these jobs to do with caring for them.

I’m complaining about all the interference the world outside of me and my kids is interjecting into the mix of it all.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been asked to do all of these things, and then some, and then a little more, but – and this is a big but – I have to do it with my hands tied behind my back.

Or when I read articles about Stay At Home Moms or Working Moms, I sometimes feel like I’m going to explode. Not because of anything the article says (usually), but rather the comments from the working moms “oh, imagine having to do all of that and work a full time job.”

Except you don’t. When you are at work, someone else is doing all of this (vaguely gestures at school/cleaning/working/feeding/watching/caring for/etc) and the difference between a Stay At Home Mom and those people that provide those services so that you can do your job at work is one thing, and one thing only:

Those people get paid.

I’m not suggesting that I should be paid to care for my children (although it would be nice if somewhere in the budget were things for me like toiletries, healthcare, makeup, hair appointments, clothing, or – oh I don’t know – anything)?

And I’m not suggesting that Working Moms do not have other challenges or concerns or sacrifices that are distinctly unique from mine.

I’m just saying that at the very least, I could be paid in support.

I could be paid in understanding.

I could be paid in an occasional “hey, did you do something different with your hair today? It looks nice.” Even if my hair looks like a crow’s nest on top of my head.

I could be paid in the conscious decision to let things go and not harass me about stupid and mundane things, or demands that I drop everything to deal with X, Y, Z thing that – in the grand scheme of things – can wait. Or… dare I suggest… could just not happen. I could be paid in competence by insurance companies, so I don’t have to spend my time on the phone with them. Or a cable service that is good and doesn’t require regular and routine cable man work done by Mom (keep dreaming on that one, I know). I feel like everyone is constantly breathing down my neck for things they want – be it my husband, my dad (who lives with us), outside family members, or the lady at the allergist’s office, who has called me five times in the last 24 hours to fill out patient paperwork. Like I’ll get to it when I can, Linda. I’ll get to it when I fucking can.

Perhaps I am just complaining right now because I find my situation to be particularly Cinderella-esque at the moment. I don’t even get “Happy Birthday”s or “Happy Anniversaries” or thanks for meals anymore. The other adults in the house don’t talk to me about anything but what they want and things they need, and my text messages are largely ignored.

But maybe my situation isn’t that unique, and it’s what a lot of Stay At Home Moms experience. We – as a society – tend to think that if a person doesn’t contribute financially to a household, they aren’t contributing anything. Of course the stupidity of this is self-evident, and yet large groups of people believe this way.

Or maybe it’s something more.

Maybe it’s that people just don’t remember what it’s like having a toddler or having kids. Or maybe they always had other people taking care of things for them, and they were never aware of how acutely precious a mother’s time really can be.

Maybe no one ever said anything about it, because they knew their words were just falling on deaf ears.

Well I’m here to say it today. I’m a mother. A Stay At Home Mother, at that. My kids are my job. And just as I wouldn’t march into someone else’s place of work and criticize them, tell them what to do, interrupt them multiple times for mundane things, or actually have the balls to expect them to stop working so I could get or say what I need to… I’m going to have to start expecting the same courtesy.

“Please be quiet during the meeting” is a sign now permanently hung on my door. At least for the next decade or so.

My Maternal Instinct Has No Kill Switch

1480580_734163942963_1102044926_n

My mother used to tell me that “they say once you have kids, your maternal instinct never goes away.” I suppose this could help to explain why a lot of mothers experience that Empty Nest Syndrome after their kids grow up and move away from home, or why many women mother their husbands. But then there’s the problem that anything starting with “they say” is usually reducible to nothing but a pop and cocky Old Wive’s Tale. So when my mother told me this (and especially because we are talking about my mother here), I pretty well dismissed it.

Over the years I wondered if I should have taken it more seriously, though. Since the abrupt appearance of children in my life, I have learned that this Old Wive’s Tale may actually (against my very rational and empirical judgment) be the truest thing there is about being a mother. About human relationships on the whole.

My wonder started slowly. At first, I just worried a lot. About a lot of things. Things I never would have worried about before were suddenly a natural thing for me to be concerned about – like whether or not it’s safe to let a child walk down to the mailbox on her own, or what kind of plastic the drinking cups I’m buying are made of.

Then the feelings started. Some things didn’t feel right. Or – on the flip side – sometimes it felt like there was no other way. Suddenly I would know if something was wrong, even when no one was home. Twenty minutes later everyone would come clamoring in the house complaining – someone fell, a bruise, a scrape, can I please apply seventy-five Minnie Mouse Bandaids to make it better?

Around the second or third time this happened, I began to accept the irreversible bond between children and their mother (the woman who cares for them); the bond that has little to do with blood relation and everything to do with the metaphysical and spiritual connection that absolutely no one and nothing but each other can break.

I’ve blogged recently that my ten year old was being required to have a try-out visit with her biological father. She used to see him infrequently even though he lived close by, every other weekend when it was at its most. Then he moved to Houston – suddenly expecting to have tons of vacations per year where she would be uprooted from our home and taken to stay with him and his wife. Eat three square meals of Taco Bell a day. Get eaten by scorpions. Shoot guns. And so on.

Quite obviously these were unrealistic expectations, especially given the history of the situation and the precocious and sensitive nature of my ten year old. Rapidly his behavior became harassing and obsessive, though. Suddenly I was a terrible person who forced him to move away, of his own free will; and I was robbing him the rights God bestowed on him because he had no idea how to properly function a rubber, lo those many years ago.

That was too far, wasn’t it?

Needless to say, it stressed us all out, and my little Pookie – with the most delicate and fragile heart – broke into a million pieces at the thought of having to communicate with him regularly, and be taken from her home to a place she did not wish to go. Thousands of dollars were socked into therapy to help her get through the try-out visit, and right at the moment when she started to get better – to forget about him and the fact that she had to take the trip – she had her required birthday Skype with him. As the Skype came to a close, he finished with “OK, see you in a month” and she fell apart all over again.

Now that month – the most difficult month – has passed. We are there, in Texas. In Houston, having arrived roughly four hours before we scheduled to have him come pick her up from the hotel room. He didn’t show up, though. He sent his wife. The interaction was awkward, and immediately sent up a red flag that after all this time he could not even be bothered to come pick up my delicate, little angel himself. Nonetheless, I packed up her things and walked them to the elevator, where I said goodbye, reminded her where her cellphone was and to take her allergy pills every day; and as the elevator door closed she shouted “Mommy!” only for the door to close and whisk them to the parking garage.

Since she shouted that single word – “Mommy!” – I have tried to ignore the feeling that something terrible is happening. Surely they cannot be that stupid and ignorant – he and his wife. They are neglectful, manipulative, emotionally abusive, unrealistic about parenting, unhealthy, and flagrantly stupid – but even the worst of the worst people can keep a child alive and in one piece for 10 days. Right? RIGHT?!

They say once you have kids, your maternal instinct never goes away. 

This thing – this instinct that there is something wrong – has no kill switch, and so each moment that passes I am paralyzed by these fears that continue to creep slowly over me like spiders over a fly stuck in a web, threatening to consume me. I cannot just shut them off: these feelings that there is something wrong and that I need to get to her, all-the-while feeling as though I cannot because I have no real excuse to other than a feeling that will not go away.

1511994_733715716213_1006205867_o

I watched Ricki Lake poop out a baby tonight…

…didn’t see that one coming, did you guys? To be fair, neither did I.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me first tell you all about how I got into the position to see Ricki Lake poop out the baby to begin with.

Today began like any other Saturday. Of course my husband was off work, so we milled around – bullshitting each other and pretending to enjoy each other’s company; until that got old, and I decided to get in the shower. I was also pretty suspicious because he kept complimenting me. It was like three times in under an hour, which is highly dubious; in fact, I’m still wondering what he did.

After my shower, my husband’s shower, and all the arguing about everyone needing to stop playing Barbies for five minutes and put their fucking toothbrushes into their fucking mouths, we were ready for the day. Which we weren’t entirely sure what to do with, still.

So we headed over to my father’s house to do the housecleaning for his open house tomorrow. I’m not talking about a fancy party kind of open house, where he serves those little cucumber sandwiches to high class kind of friends. I’m talking about the kind of open house you have for the sale of a home. You know: where tons of strangers traipse through your home, fuck everything up, break shit, leave doors open, and then try to low ball you with offers more insulting than “I’ll give you three crayons and this carton of milk.”

Anyway, so we did the housecleaning, then we were at a total loss of what to do with the day. So we went home – stopping at the grocery store (of course) to pick up stuff for me to make dinner with. Once home, we did what we always do when we don’t know what to do: watched movies.

We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club. That was phenomenal. Then we watched The Hunger Games – finally, after all this time postponing for me to read the book, only for me to never get around to reading the book because I don’t like reading that Young Adult shit anyway.

Then The Hunger Games came to a finish and it was still early. Too early to go to bed; too late to go anywhere or do anything. So we scrolled through our Netflix Que for something relatively quick. Which is when we happened upon it: Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Birth.

Let me start by saying that I did enjoy the film. I thought it was very informative, and while a little too graphic and outdated for my tastes, it was – by and large – something that, at the very least, made me think. I like to think, so that’s good.

But I took issue with two things in particular.

Towards the end…

…the conclusion was made by an OB/Gyn, as well as the filmmakers and Ricki Lake, that if a woman does not experience the raw pain, intense emotion, natural induction of hormones, and vaginal-vaginal-out-the-vagina birth that she does not experience the bonding of motherhood, nor the love of being a mom.

To be clear: women who had to induce? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood. Women who had caesarians? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood.

If you are angry, you are with me.

And you should then be asking yourself: are you fucking kidding me? What kind of a horse’s ass opinion is that? The belief that a woman unable to birth naturally, or who chooses medical intervention (for whatever her reasons may be) DOES NOT EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF MOTHERHOOD AND BONDING WITH HER BABY is the most horrendous, destructive, narrow-minded, and ignorant view of motherhood and, well, reality I may have ever heard.

Truly. Truly this infuriated me, which was unfortunate because (at least to me) it greatly discredited a lot of the other things said and discussed in the film. If they are that wrong about something so great as this, couldn’t they be wrong about a lot of the other things?

Documentaries always do this to me. They always fucking let me down like this.

…and documentaries always let me down in another way, which had to do with Ricki Lake’s vagina…

They show me more of something in particular than I really want to see. In this case, that thing in particular was Ricki Lake’s vagina.

Now I know what you are all thinking. If I watch a documentary about childbirth, I should expect to see at least something of women squeezing babies out of their v-holes. I get that, OK? It didn’t make me scream any less, or be any more horrified by all the nuances of childbirth I would like to keep in the deepest, darkest caverns of my brain – never to surface for fear of fainting. I just can’t take some of it, the majority of the time. (I can’t be the only mother that feels this way, right?)

Sorry if that bothers you. Maybe I too cannot experience the love and bonding of motherhood.

But what I really wasn’t expecting was to see Ricki Lake poop out her second baby in a bathtub with a bottle of Suave sitting on the shelf behind her. Nope, I really was not expecting that. Not one bit.

I feel so cold now. So very, very cold.

007649-ricki-lake-giving-birth-at-home

The premise of the movie was essentially that home birth is better. I tend to disagree with this, mostly because of the fact that I’m a big, ol’ scaredy cat. I suppose if everything were in the woman’s favor, home birth is a perfectly safe and healthy option – with, of course, the help of an experienced midwife. Though at the very end of the film, the filmmaker went into labor (not Ricki Lake, thank God I’d had enough of that bullshit) and she had to rush to the hospital after all because her baby was breech. Long story short: the baby would have died had she naturally delivered at home. This raises some serious concerns that women face when deciding their birth plan, which I really don’t feel the film did even the slightest bit to address.

MjAxMy0xYWIzOWMyZGExMWEwN2Ez MjAxMy04Y2M2YzY2MGU2YmMwNjc3

I don’t know what all of your thoughts are on the topic, but I’ll just say when you’ve seen Ricki Lake squat a baby out of her vagina, with her bare boobs flopping all over the place, you just really start to see things a lot more skewed. Really, I don’t even know what to believe about anything after that.

Yes, I Judged A Kid Today. I’ll Do It Again Tomorrow.

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_n

I am a believer in a lot of things. They range from really stupid things, like what color nail polish is appropriate to wear to a funeral (the answer is: clear); to very big and grandiose things, like whether or not God exists. If I learned one thing in graduate school, it’s that we  all have to have beliefs. It’s essential to our success as functional and happy human beings.

On the bigger side of things, I believe in love, compassion, and understanding. I believe in a universal “right” and “wrong.” I believe in not judging a book by its cover, most of the time. And I believe in boundaries.

I would go as far to say that I’m a big believer in boundaries; in fact, I believe so much in my belief in boundaries that I place boundaries on my beliefs.

I talk a lot on this blog about being understanding and compassionate towards others, especially parents. I want to understand that friends put their newborns in front of the television – knowing that TV is bad for developing infant brains – for a reason that is understandable and explainable. I bite my tongue often when I hear of friends birthing at home, rather than in the safety and security of a hospital or hospital-affiliated birthing center. I struggle to not judge other mothers, or other women or men even, for the choices they make: to work instead of attend a child’s school play; to bottle-feed over breastfeed; to serve McDonald’s night after night instead of healthier, at-home options. I try very hard to not look at a situation and say “what a shitty parent” over anything, even the most horrifying offenses (i.e. drug use, alcoholism, listening to Pitchfork) – I am not living in that person’s shoes and have no idea what they may or may not be going through. As with many parents in particular, my first instinct is to judge; my second instinct is to put that judge-y shit in check and act with love and compassion.

But then there are instances such as today, when I placed a boundary on my beliefs in compassion and decided to let the judgment out.

Yes, I judged a kid today. I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Last night I was bored and couldn’t sleep, so went through the typical humor sites to keep my wandering mind occupied, since my Kindle was dead so my book was unaccessible. A couple of pages into the most recent EpicFail.com posts and I came across this: a photo titled “Respect Fail” of a kid flipping off his teacher.

1013492_723462408923_179521185_n

My first mistake in putting boundaries on my compassion and making my judgment was to post it on my personal Facebook page and call the kid a dickhole. Let’s be clear: this kid is a fucking asshole. I don’t care what the circumstance was for him to do this – it was wrong. There is a line of right and wrong, and this crossed it so far into the territory of wrong, there is not a single fucking excuse on this planet that could even set it on the fence.

But posting that brought out the Mama Bears and the Papa Bears, very likely defensive about their own choices to parent in a way that would excuse this behavior of their own children for reasons they believe to be valid. It brought out the non-conformists who want to understand and fuck the man and be punk rock parents that are all about ending the corruption of authority, all that other happy horse shit that could otherwise be described as an unrealistic view of what it is to help our children enter the world well-adjusted.

Then it turned to being about how I’m a hypocrite and I live in a shitty town in California where people repress children’s feelings and create psychopaths that don’t know how to stand up to authority. My yoga pants were mentioned no less than five times (whateverthefuck that has to do with anything). Someone said “shame on you” because I obviously have no idea what some kids have been through – maybe that kid just lost a parent and is a total douche now because he’s really hurting!

All of the debate and the very sad statements aside, there is one thing I want to address, and one thing only:

Yes, I judged a kid today.

I judged that kid because regardless of whatever is going on in his life, he is a symptom of the bigger problem of our culture. Our excuse-making, back-patting, nobody-fails, everyone gets an award for participating, blame the teachers, scream at authority, fuck the man, it’s everybody else’s fault but my own – culture. A culture where people don’t want to call things as they are, and pussy-foot around it in the name of being nice and understanding.

1653312_10100792749535682_1544364111_n

When I was ten years old, my mom abandoned my father and I to move across the country with a guy who was still married (and subsequently went back with his wife a few years later). No one let me get away with bullshit like this because of that. If I spoke to my dad disrespectfully, I got grounded. If I got bad grades, I didn’t get to go to pool parties in the summer.

When I was in middle school and high school, kids did stuff like this all the time, for no reason other than that they were disrespectful pricks who needed a lesson in respect. They got in trouble for it. I remember my friends’ moms grounding them for ditching school; I can think of countless times that people were yelled at by their parents, rather than their parents yelling at their teachers. I remember a boyfriend’s mom calling him a jerk…she said “you’re really becoming a jerk, you know that?” Maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong for her to name call him. But you know what? He was being a jerk. A big one.

But today I say what anyone would have said years ago – that this kid is a dick and needs to learn respect, effective dissent, and appropriate conduct towards authority, and everyone loses their fucking minds. People are taking it personally – attacks on them, attacks on their kids. Just another sign that I am a mean, heartless person who should not even be allowed near children with a ten foot poll.

In the end, I think this all boils down to something bigger than all of us; something that all of our free-loving hippy shit about being compassionate and loving and understanding does not apply. It’s about bullying, it’s about respect, it’s about authority, it’s about responsibility. First and foremost, it’s about us. We – as parents and adults, leaving our children a world much different than it was forty or fifty years ago – owe it to our children, to the little dickwad in that picture, to stand up and say this behavior is wrong. To say that maybe our behavior that allows it or contributes to it, or maybe even models it, is wrong. To look at other things that happen – kids destroying grocery stores; toddlers being allowed to crawl all over million dollar art installations at museums – and consider just when the fuck children became the masters and commanders of society. To admit our flaws and move forward together to make better people who would never – not in a million years, no matter how awful the teacher may be – think about flipping off a teacher while friends laugh and take photos of it with their camera phones. To give our children the tools of respect for others and themselves, and the resources to effective and healthy dissent and expression of their feelings.

Maybe I’m just as bad, because I’m calling this poor innocent child names. Maybe I’m the asshole for not understanding the context-less nature of the photograph. Yes, I judged a kid today.

For this, I’ll do it again tomorrow.

What You Should Do The Next Time Someone Calls You A Bad Mom

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_n

The last twenty-four hours have been a little bit surreal for me. I’m not sure why – as my husband said just this evening, weird events mixed with our usual day-to-day at-home nonsense is the norm. We did our homeschooling work. I do folders for each six-day period – yesterday was Day 2 (worksheet day), today was Day 3 (learning project and TAG pen time). As usual, we took our long walk around my father’s neighborhood, in the middle of the day when there aren’t a bunch of people and cars around. Breakfast-lunch-dinner-cleaning the house, working on redoing the kiddie bedroom …it was all pretty much the usual, with miscellaneous hilarity mixed in.

But the weird events were not as fun as they usually are.

First, yesterday afternoon my mother told me that I am a bad mother. She had called to give me the “big news” that another family member is having a baby, and rather than just express excitement she had to use it as another opportunity to cut me down. “…and I’m thrilled because now your grandmother will have another baby in the family, because God knows no one wants you to have any more kids. You aren’t very good at even handling what you have now.”

What the fuck? That’s what you should be thinking. I did too, then I remembered who I was talking to.

Par for the course.

In spite of that being par for the course, this morning I woke up feeling like I had been socked in the gut. And it only got worse as the morning drudged on.

As I was getting out of the shower – around 8:30 – I heard some noise outside and saw that a car was parked in the walkway between the parking lot and the walkway. It had a California Exempt license plate and two business-y-looking people were escorting two, young children from the townhome of one of our neighbors. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that someone had called Child Protective Services, and those children were being taken away from their parents.

It didn’t go as I always thought a visit like that would go. There were no dramatics. No one was screaming or crying. Even the kids seemed a little calm, vaguely as though they expected it. Immediately the neighbors began to congregate in the walkway, as they always do. The gossip began and the term “bad mother” was said so many times, I almost walked out and told them all to shut their filthy, judgmental mouths.

It was in these events of the last twenty-four hours – these unusual, weird, painful events – that I started to think about just who has a right to call someone a bad mom. And the answer I came to is simple:

Not a single goddamned person.

Every time I start to question the parenting of another person, I stop myself right in my tracks. Who am I to judge? Who am I to say what other people should do, in their time with their kids in their situation? What do I know? Nothing.

Sure, there are things that I would love to comment on. Like when friends let their infants watch TV. Or when iPads become the main focus of a child’s education. I have feelings about public school, just like a lot of people have feelings about the fact that we homeschool. And of breastfeeding. And of diet and exercise. And of a lot of things – we all have ideas on what we think is best for our families, as well as everyone (in some instances).

Do any of us have a right to call each other a bad anything for any of it, though?

Even the child support service people don’t call the parents they have the misfortune of interacting with “bad.” At least I don’t think so. Today I heard them give the mother of those two, poor children her card and said she hoped this would be resolved soon. Beyond that, it isn’t their judgment call to make – they are simply enforcing rules and doing their jobs.

But when I turned to Facebook to ask my blog followers if they have ever been called bad parents, or told how to be a parent, I got a resounding YES – to my utter shock and horror.

I don’t have kids. However. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I shouldn’t because I would be awful at it.

Well, my SIL tells everyone BUT me, LOL!

My son’s donor tells me that all the time.

Oh hell yes I’ve been told I suck as a mom, by my stepmother.

Both directly and indirectly.  People will use your insecurities as a parent against you and to make themselves feel better about their short comings in their own situations.

My MIL said I was a bad mom and I neglected my child- because I didn’t bathe him 24/7 and I let him out of the house with unbrushed hair. He was 3.

I was a bad mother for homeschooling my son, for allowing him to roam the neighborhood without watching him every second of the day (or even knowing which of 3 possible streets he was actually on at any given time), for not allowing him to get a job while in school so he could focus on his grades, for refusing to medicate him as a kindergartner so he could stay in school…

Someone who was supposed to be my best friend sat and told me my son needed to talk to a psychologist because he was displaying behavior any typical 7-8 year old boy would display.

What the fuck? That’s what you should be thinking. I still am.

Now if Child Protective Services comes knocking on your door, that’s one thing. Maybe then it’s time to start evaluating – with your partner, if you have one; or any close and trusted people – how you are running the show. It still doesn’t mean you are a bad mother, though. It just means you may need more guidance or support, or to change some habits that are not in the best interest of your children.

But if anyone else – mom, dad, grandma, mother in law, sister in law, friends, cousins, strangers – tries to tell you how to be a parent, what you are doing wrong as a parent, or – God help them – that you are a bad parent, there is one thing and one thing only that you should do:

Tell them to shove it up their ass. Sideways. With a pitchfork to get it in their real good.

No seriously. No one has a right to say anything to you about your parenting, just as no one has a right to say anything to me. We are all in this together, whether anyone realizes it or not. But that doesn’t mean we are in this together, like we can tell each other what to do.

It means we are supposed to be supportive of each other. That’s it.

We are all entitled to our opinions, but opinions are like assholes. Just like I don’t want your asshole wide open in my presence, your mouth and the opinions that fly out of it should stay shut too.

To my mother and anyone else that thinks I’m a bad mom: shove it up your ass. Sideways. With a pitchfork to get it in their real good. To the rest of you: you are good mothers. You are good parents. No matter what happens, I know that your intentions are only in the best interest of your children. We may disagree on this or that aspect of parenting, but that we love our kids is the foundation we must look to in reminding ourselves that we are doing at least something right.

The Main Reason You Should Never Use My Bathrooms

301634_664845193293_1893818845_n

I have two bathrooms. One is the kid bathroom, which is decorated with this cute kid-ish nature wall art. The other is our bathroom, which has nature stuff all around it too, only it’s more “mature.”

You never want to use my bathrooms.

Let’s say you’re a friend who has come over to babysit. You are there for a long period of time, have a lot of the drinks I said you could help yourself to. Ate one too many chips with my low fat ranch dip. You’ve got to go.

Hold it. You do not want to use my bathrooms.

Or you are a family member. You’re at Christmas dinner. Yams don’t usually agree with you, but you went for them anyway. In fact, you didn’t just go for them; you porked down three helpings. Suddenly you’re reminded that yams usually cause problems by the gurgling in your lower bowels.

Hold it. You do not want to use my bathrooms.

You are a neighbor! As such, you are likely a big, pot smoking, vandalizing burn out. While out on some kind of get-wasted binge, you and your other drug-using friends went to the Mexican stand down the street from the apartment. Then on your way in, you bought some of the tamales from that lady that comes to our doorsteps once a week. You get to your door only to find that in your intoxicated state you locked yourself out of your apartment. It’ll take about an hour for the locksmith to show up. Suddenly you realize that maybe following up the extra-spicy enchiladas with Guadalupe’s tamales may not have been such a good idea. You see my apartment, and that we are home.

Hold it. You do not want to use my bathrooms.

There is one reason why none of you – whether you are family, friends, strangers, or otherwise – want to use my bathrooms. Because I’ll make a motherfucking video blog about it when you do.

Enjoy!

MWF Seeking New TTF

I wanted to do SWF, because that would sound more like that creepy Single White Female-movie with Jodie Foster correction: Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh (you are so right, Jeremy … I have no clue about movies). But then my husband would get upset and/or confused; and my mother in law would call. We would have massive levels of family drama and the gossip train would continue on down the rail line.

You know the drill.

So I stuck with MWF – Married White Female. I always look for MWF in the personal ads to see if anyone ever actually puts an ad in the personals when they are married. What would they look for? Friends? That’s sort of sad if you put out a personal ad for friends. I’m sorry if I just offended any of you faithful blog followers, I just think there would be better places to find friends – Meetup.com for example. I always thought that if anyone that was an MWF or an MWM or even an MBF, MBM, or any other designation starting with the Married, chose to put out a personal ad, they were looking for something kinky.

Kinky. Dirty. And nothing we want anything to do with.

So now that I’ve digressed for way more than I should have, let’s get to the point. I’m an MWF Seeking a New TTF. What’s a TTF you ask?

Trailer. Trash. Family.

Reason #1

My mom is the trailer park queen. She never used to be this way. No, she used to be normal. Pinafores and frocks and cookies at Christmas and shit. Then something snapped in her brain and she started digging at the bottom of the barrel for love, and other assorted frills.

We’ve discussed all of this before.

As a result of her being a trailer park queen, she inserts as much bullshit drama into every single moment of life as she can possibly manage. The most recent was that her hillbilly husband had skin cancer then he didn’t then he did then he didn’t then he was going to start chemo, now he doesn’t again. What’s the fucking truth?

Now she says she has some spinal problem that is going to require surgery before the end of the year. It all sort of came out of nowhere, and I’ll see her walking normally until she sees someone is watching her, then the acting and dramatics come out. She told me recently too that I haven’t a clue what back pain is like.

Have I mentioned I had spinal fusion for scoliosis when I was only 13? That was a 14 hour operation.

Reason #2

Over the years, my mom has poisoned her family members’ minds to believe that I am some awful person that lies all the time. It’s almost as if she is projecting her own issues onto me to them to create some weird, fucked up family drama.

When I was living with my boyfriend and he beat the shit out of me (and you faithful blog followers know I do not exaggerate – he beat the living shit out of me), my mom got upset because she loved him so much. So she told her whole family that I made the whole thing up and that he was just such a nice guy.

A couple years ago, we had a birthday party for Pookie and no one from my mom’s family came to it. She didn’t either, which was kind of messed up; but it was only later that I learned that the reason for this is that she hadn’t communicated it to anyone as she said she would. They hosted their own party – hours away, near my aunt’s house – and didn’t invite me or my husband. When we didn’t show (obviously, because we thought it was just a grandma day playdate), she told everyone that we were bad parents and just didn’t have the time to be bothered.

Sadly, those dumbasses are just as bad as her; so they buy into all of it. When I’ve talked to them about it, they’ve told me they have “allegiance” to my trailer trash mom. Nonetheless, I have continued to attempt to extend the olive branch. It’s hard living here and having no family of my own except my dad.

Well the olive branch can extend no more, after I got this comment this morning from my cousin, whose wife had already RSVP’d a simple “no” to my kid’s birthday party. (I should mention we have driven down to every one of their little bastard kid’s parties for as many years as I can remember):

“Maybe if you would show up once in a while for family events, we’d show up for yours.”

You don’t say? I seem to remember I just went to your ugly ass kid’s birthday party over two hours away just last month.

In Conclusion

Hillbillies are way overrated. For some reason they’re really into fightin’ and shootin’ and gossipin’ and lyin’ and trailer parkin’ and I’m just not really into that shit. If you are, cool. If you like to four-by, post videos of yourself on the toilet on YouTube, screw your sister, and other assorted things only the most hillbilly of all mountain williams do, far be it for me to stop your fun.

I really wanted to try and nurture this stupid relationship for the sake of being able to continue to see my grandparents, but then sometimes they act just as bad and nasty. I’m not sure what I’ll do about them, but in the meantime it seems that my trailer trash mom and her fucked up family have complete control over grandma and grandpa anyway at this point.

So I guess really it isn’t MWF seeking new TTF. Because the trailer trash part of that is a little much at this point. It’s MWF seeking new F. The F is for Family. Or maybe, because I do have a family, just thousands of miles away, it’s really MWF says FTTTS. The FT is for Fuck That Trailer Trash Shit.

Hottie Maintenance Man and My Trailer Trash Mom’s Crap Pants: A Love Story

Those of you that follow me on Twitter and Facebook (if you aren’t, well why the hell not?) have seen me bitching and griping all morning about how my mom was supposed to come over for breakfast around 10 o’clock and did not show up. Well, she eventually showed up, and in her grande, late entrance proved yet again why she earned her title Trailer Trash Mom.

A quick rundown on my Trailer Trash Mom, for those of you that are relatively new faithful blog followers. My mom left my dad when I was eight, and she high-tailed it shortly thereafter across the country to be the “other woman” for a guy she met at a bar. My dad raised me alone, with regular visits to see my mom in which I was subjected to one boyfriend after another, and slowly watched her descend from normal person to crazy hillbilly. When my dad and I moved to California, she was still living near Seattle, but decided that her dream of moving back to California where she grew up would then be coming true. That’s right, she followed us and started using us in every way she possibly could. In my adulthood, she’s lied to me, she’s stolen from me, she’s mooched off of me, she’s flaked out on me time and again, she’s eloped with some hillbilly she hardly knows, and she’s basically become a wart on the asshole of society. Many of you are probably asking: whycome you still have a relationship with this woman, B(itch)? Simple: my grandparents think she’s the greatest thing next to stick butter, so I need to let her hang around (within reason) for the sake of having a relationship with them while they are still alive. And plus, after all is said and done, the stories that come out of interactions with her have me rolling around, laughing hysterically after the fact.

But I keep my distance.

So yesterday, my Trailer Trash Mom called and asked if she could come over this morning to hang out for a bit. Wanted to see the Pookies and all, so I figured it would be OK and even asked if she wanted breakfast. She said she’d bring donuts, to which I said “NO!” (stupidly), and then we resolved that she would bring a carton of eggs and I’d make eggs and toast and we’d eat the raspberries we picked yesterday.

The time was set: 10 o’clock.

This morning 10 o’clock came and went. While I was finishing putting on my make up and doing my hair, 10:15 rolled on by. I checked my phone: nothing from my mom. 10:30 came and I went ahead and made breakfast, figuring she wasn’t going to show up. I called my husband to start my bitching. I then was mad, so start Tweeting and Facebooking. 10:45 rolled on by and we were done eating breakfast. 10:56, I saw Hottie Maintenance Man outside (there is only one good looking maintenance man in our complex, and he happens to be “assigned” to our building). He was repairing the light above the stairway that goes to the apartments above us. I looked. And looked some more.

And then I saw my Trailer Trash Mom walking up the walkway to the apartment.

Quickly I opened the door lest she ruin my future look-a-thons with Hottie Maintenance Man by coming onto him with her teeth falling out or something, and creeping him out. This was my biggest mistake of the morning.

What I should have done was let her open the door and come in. I’m still kicking myself for not, because by opening the door I opened the flood gates for her to start making her excuses right there, in front of Hottie Maintenance Man.

There, standing in front of Hottie Maintenance Man; with the Pookies at my side and neighbors walking by, my mother blathered out her hillbilly nonsense:

“Hi! Sorry I’m late. Grandma and Grandpa and I went out for Mexican food last night, and I had way too many beans. Anyway, I was drivin’ here and went to let one from all those beans and I accidentally crapped my pants.”

Yes. Yes, you read that right faithful blog followers. My mom was late because she shit her pants, thinking it was just some arbitrary gas leftover from last night’s spicy beans.

What the fuck?! is right. I may swear a lot, and I may be uncouth, but goddammit I’m a fucking lady. That is just too much for me.

Hottie Maintenance Man started to laugh. I turned around and walked in the house. My Trailer Trash Mom followed and said she wanted cheese in her eggs.

Does Dad Ever Know Best?

 

Short answer: no. Long answer: sometimes.

Before you dads out there get all your tails wadded up inside your assholes over how much I’m emasculating you, let me be clear: there are some things that dad does know best on, although it’s the long answer and I’m not sure you want me to ramble on about it. Dad usually knows best about bar-b-queing, probably because he has no fear of fire-related death. Some dads know best about cooking; I can name quite a few friends whose husbands are amazing in the kitchen. Dad also traditionally knows best about bringing home the bacon, so to speak – at least in our house that is the case. Lastly, I will concede that Dad knows best about tools, unless of course he is one and that is an entirely different blog post altogether. Beyond that, it’s a little more complicated and drawn out. Like I said, ramble.

There are a lot of things that the short answer (NO!) fits better with. And while this may be generalizing a little, in my experience it stands pretty true for the majority of the men I know.

Dad does not know best on matters of housecleaning.

So you’re a dad and you pitch in your fair share to keep the house pretty clean. You throw on a frilly apron once in a while and prance around with a feather-duster. You pick up on occasion, toys and books and things laying around the floor. You help fold some laundry once in a while.

For some reason, a lot of men seem to think that this is all there is to cleaning. Last night my husband said he would be totally willing to help clean the house when it needs to be cleaned – once a month.

Once a month you say?

If any of you faithful blog followers have let your home with kids in it go for more than even a week at times without being cleaned, you know why the words “once a month” are probably the most ridiculous words ever spoken in the history of talking. I wish the house could go for a full month without having to be dusted, mopped, scrubbed, wiped down, disinfected, vacuumed, and otherwise cleansed of the disgusting mess that is daily life with kids.

Dad does not know best on matters of having respect for a woman’s feelings once she’s become a mother

To be fair, I’m sure a lot of guys don’t realize that when a woman becomes a mother, some of the things she previously overlooked would no longer be “cool.” Recently my husband and I got into a huge argument about a book (I know, stupid to get into an argument that can be called “huge” over something as little as a book) all about sex. The word “fuck” was on the cover, so I thought it was totally inappropriate to be out there – in the open – for little eyes to see. My husband thought it was no big deal and called me a “prude,” which ushered in the huge argument.

Sometimes it isn’t just about being a mother or wanting to avoid little eyes from seeing things, though, but really just a matter of respect for a woman’s feelings. For years, I overlooked this little figurine of someone taking it up the behind that my husband had for reasons I still do not know. For years, I said in the back of my mind “boys will be boys” until Pookie saw it and asked what those people were doing. It wasn’t Pookie seeing it that upset me, though (I told her “playing leapfrog”); what upset me was that my husband never considered that something like that might offend me – a woman. Not a roommate. Not another dude. A woman.

Dad does not know best on matters of personal hygiene

Ever woken up in the middle of the night because your husband ate way too much broccoli and beans for dinner and you’ve been dreaming of a loud tuba concert, only to be woken by the grande finale of the song which turned out to be loud, tuba-like sounds in your own room?

No? Okay, well I have.

Ever been laying in bed and thought you might suffocate because the smell of rotten feet was so overpowering in every crevice of the house and it was just so late for you  to go anywhere for escape but under the covers, where you were then confronted with those feet sticking right in your face?

No? Okay, well I have.

To make matters worse, it sometimes seems like Dad doesn’t know best on when to replace things. I keep trying to explain to Poor Nick that if only he would replace his tooth brush, his teeth and mouth might not be so nasty in the morning. If only he’d buy a new pair of cheap sandals – rather than wearing the same ones for over seven years that literally fall apart on his feet every time he wears them; maybe if he would just fork over the ten bucks and buy new ones, his feet wouldn’t be so rancid all the time.

Between the the rotten feet, the urine on the side of the toilet, the belching in your face, and the gas at the most inopportune times, Dad does not know best on matters of personal hygiene.

Dad does not know best on matters of interior decorating

When I met my husband, he was living in a condominium shared with his brother and two other roommates. They had sort of a mute, hodgepodge of decoration in the place. Really everyone used it as a place to sleep and that was about it. When we moved in together, I therefore inherited a world of wonderful goods he had just been waiting to put out for all to see. There was a fucking Lord of the Rings goblet placed on the TV stand when I came home one day. The treasures of course were really worthy of nowhere but the garbage dump. Besides the goblet and that anal sex figurine there was a rusted African figure, an entire bookcase full of out-of-date AAA travel books; there were guitars that are never played, two bins full of miscellaneous wires that “may one day come in handy;” and, a whole host of other gems.

Recently, I realized that my husband really is eligible to be on A&E’s Hoarders. He keeps things just because they may one day be useful. I used to be like this (a little), but as the years go on I’m getting more and more frustrated with keeping around a bunch of tacky crap just for the sake of having to clean it.

Case in point: in the last three or four years, my husband has played those guitars once. They are merely matters of decoration now.

I was talking about this last night, because it would feel so much better in our apartment if it always wasn’t so cluttered. At one point in the discussion, he referred to those guitars and the amp and all its cluttering accessories as “part of the decoration.” Odd, I didn’t know a beautiful vase with faux branches in it came with two ugly guitar cases, an amp, and a bunch of wires!

Dad does not know best on matters of interior decorating.

 

As I said, there are a lot of things that Dad knows best on. Maybe we could add a few things to the long answer: sometimes list, like playing catch with the kids, teaching a little boy how to pee standing up, and so on. But then it gets complicated and the answer gets long again, for example in the case of the peeing dad who obviously doesn’t really know best because if he did then why would generation after generation after motherfucking generation of men continue to have such a problem with aim? If only Dad really did know best on the matters of peeing standing up the whole personal hygiene thing might be a little better.

The bottom line, really, is that when push comes to shove – unless we’re talking about a bar-b-que or a game of catch or using a screwdriver, just assume the short answer. So who knows best then? Well, the answer is obvious: Mom knows best. Always.