Oh the perspective a lunch date with a dead cow can give…

 

Steak

I’m in Texas, and if there is one thing I have learned in my four days here, it’s that the Texans like their meats.

We don’t eat meat very often in California. That’s not entirely true, I serve a very meat-and-potatoes-with-vegetables kind of menu for most dinners; but we aren’t talking Texas meat. Red meat. Beef. Cattle. Blood on the plate and shit. That kind of meat is infrequent in our house.

So naturally while in Texas, I am trying to find as many Texas-style places to eat at as possible, which I am finding is very beef-centric. Today’s lunch date with the dead cow was at none other than the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse – a place I have heard of only in fables of the Lone Star State.

1514236_734566880473_1057909597_n

Sitting in this place, with decor I hate to admit gave me all kinds of ideas for my own home (I’m a fan of taxidermy), I couldn’t help but notice a lunch meeting going on at the elongated table next to me. There were eight or so people there, and they all wore those weird things I can only remember vaguely from my days as a worker bee in the 9-5 business world: regular clothes. Suit pants. Collared shirts. It made me feel weird just to look in their direction.

And of course, because I am a self-professed misanthrope, they started to annoy me with their business mumbo-jumbo-jargon about 401(K) plans and cost analysis almost immediately. Puke. Puke in my pile of dead cow. What upsets me about these business meetings is that I was once one of those people: those self-important, arrogant bastards who takes themselves, and their meaningless bullshit that doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things, entirely too seriously. My husband talks like these people were sometimes – the pitch in his voice grows deeper and suddenly he’s talking in terms I do not understand, with acronyms and inside-jargon that makes bile form in the back of my throat. It isn’t that it’s contemptible (I mean, to me some of it is); it’s that some people so frequently get so wrapped up in this workaday world that they forget there is life beyond the numbers and the business of it all. That there is sometimes lunch which does not involve business, but rather personal growth. Or even just a pile of dead cow with a friend.

This certainly isn’t the first time I have observed one of these business lunch monstrosities. I’ll never forget the time I was eating at my local Macaroni Grill on a Wednesday only for the loudest and most obnoxious group of nurses to come in and loudly regale horror stories to each other of people’s bowels and boils, while they held a business lunch planning meeting for implementing a new computer system. Perhaps (though unlikely) to streamline the process of classifying the bowels and boils.

But it seems no coincidence that this always happens at the most opportune time. At times when I need to be reminded that I am no workaday, collared shirt-pant-suit-wearing kind of girl. Even when I worked full-time, I worked from home in yoga pants the majority of the days. I take very little in this world seriously, either, and feel that my time with my family and my soul take far greater precedence than some bullshit workaholic career that can go nowhere with me but to an early grave.

Years ago, I made the choice to become a Stay At Home Mom. Nothing more, nothing less. I do have hobbies. Like painting. Reading. Knitting. And writing. So I write my mom blog when I feel the itch; and am working on books only insofar as I have something I feel is important to say. (Not often.)

And while I would love for my writing to be seen as something with even a relatively small amount of redeeming quality to it, it is nothing more than something I do when I enjoy it. I am not a professional writer. I will not speak at conferences, nor will I teach classes on the subject. For me it is a craft and a love, not an occupation.

I veer off that track of certainty as to my station in life, though, quite frequently. I take on more technical writing projects than I’d like. I start thinking about more professional-looking business cards, and even apply for a job or two writing – vomit – SEO or ad copy. I veer off track for whatever reason, and am never happy in the process. Never.

So it is in times like today, when the most contemptible of things – the business lunch – plays out before me, that I am again grounded, and reminded of how happy I am to just be a mom. Oh the perspective a lunch date with a dead cow can give. Of course there is so much in that title (of mom, not dead cow): healer, nurse, chauffeur, chef, cleaning lady, kisser of boo boos, secretary, teacher…the list is endless. And while the workaday collared shirt-wearers of the world sit around the table at the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse; talking so seriously about their numbers and statistics and plans and retirement packages (should they all be so lucky to make it that far), it is in those endless list of tasks that encompass being a mom that the only truly serious jobs in this world are found for me.

10154540_690165014358611_800244601_n

Advertisements

So I Now Realize How Annoying I Was When I Worked…

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_n

I’m a Stay At Home Mom, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting on my ass, eating bon bons and shit since my high school graduation.

In fact, it is arguable that in the few years I did work, I worked harder than a lot of people do in their entire careers. I mean there are a lot of really lazy people out there.

But I’m not here to defend how hard I worked then, or how much harder I actually work now in spite of the whole bon bon joke up above. I’m talking about how annoying I was when I worked, which I now realize to the fullest degree.

Where to begin? I suppose, at the beginning.

Article One:

Yes, I did used to work.

In fact, full time for some of it.

The very first job I ever had was as a Burger Bitch at Burger King. That Burger King no longer exists, actually. Nonetheless, in the late 90s I worked there after school and on weekends.

The craziest thing happened when I worked there, well at least it was crazy to me – a young and relatively naive 16 year old. When it was Christmastime, I had to go to visit my mom in Seattle, so I took two weeks off work and left, completely unaware that I would return to find that everyone who worked there had been fired in this completely idiotic, marijuana-induced Christmas Eve internal theft scandal. Not me, though – remember I was in Seattle. But despite not being there to participate in the stupidest drug-induced burger-related crime ever, no one there as the replacements even knew that I worked there. So they gave me a couple hours a week (assuming I would be stealing like all the rest had) until I decided to find work elsewhere.

So I went to Wendy’s. While at Wendy’s I was awarded Employee of the Month. Probably one of my few award-winning accomplishments in my lifetime. I still have the plaque, and yes I am aware that this isn’t saying much.

Also, that Wendy’s doesn’t exist anymore either.

When I went to college I decided to get my shit together on the job front, so I went to a department store and got a job in Handbags and Hosery. But then they revealed about a month in that they weren’t going to work around my school schedule, so I quit. The department store was Robinson’s May, by the way. That entire company doesn’t exist anymore.

Are you seeing a theme here? It gets worse, and now that I’m typing this all out I am wondering if I am cursed.

After Robinson’s May I went to Longs and worked as a pharmacy technician for six years. I still know a fair amount of drug information, though am also out of the loop on newer drugs and insurance law changes and shit. And I also would never, not in a million years, go back to working in a pharmacy. I would force my family to live in a refrigerator box on the corner before going back to a pharmacy – it was that horrible.

A few years ago all the Longs stores were sold to CVS. So there’s that too.

My last job-job was in politics, after college. First I was a community organizer for the non-profit wing of the AFL-CIO. Then I was a contract community organizer for a partisan political action committee. After about a year the PAC had me do an underhanded smear campaign (against my better judgment) on a local candidate (of the same political party – i.e. one of their own) and I was done. I went back to school, left school, became a Stay At Home Mom and the rest is history.

That was the last “real” job I ever had, with the exception of working for a professor.

And if you are wondering if either of those political organizations exist anymore, the non-profit wing lost its funding a year after I left, and the ladies that founded the partisan political action committee liquidated it two years ago. I am definitely cursed.

Article Two:

When I actually worked for a living, instead of running our insane asylum, I was an extremely annoying person.

1493189_736294496381017_1592366349_n

I’m not saying that I am lacking the quality of annoying sonofabitch now. Not by any stretch of the imagination – I know I am a tough nut to crack, a bitter cup of tea, and whatever other cliche you could spew out that indicates I’m annoying as shit.

You get the point and no doubt are nodding your head in agreement.

Now this is going to be quite a stretch, but if you can bare with me for a second and use your maximum imagination powers, think of how unbelievably obnoxious I am now. And quadruple it. Then add ten, more parcels of annoying as balls and you still aren’t even close to how un-fucking-believably annoying I was when I worked.

You know why? Why I lost friends – like literally lost friends – and was excluded from family events because I was so fucking intolerable to be around?

Because I never shut the fuck up about my job.

When I was at Burger King, I told stories about the sauces for the chicken tenders and the episodes with the drive thru timer. When I was at Wendy’s, it was similar only added on were the tales about the times they made me dress up in the Wendy costume.

At the department store, it was constant bitching about how the management was over scheduling me and trying to get me to work when I was supposed to be in class. And about the girl that worked in Handbags with me who I later saw on an episode of Blind Date. I knew it was her, too, because she was always talking shit about Asians even though she, herself, was Asian; and she did it on the show as well.

Longs there were the neverending stories about the customers and the old men that hit on me while picking up their Viagra. There were the tales about insurance problems and how my boss was so seemingly helpless he couldn’t even schedule his employees without my help as well.

It was the worst when I worked in politics, because there weren’t just the stories about what I did at work, but what political bullshit horsecrap issue or candidate I was all fired up about at the time. Health care. Immigration. Gun rights. In-fucking-tolerable is what it was.

Now that I’m heading on to 32, more people I know are getting promotions. Or going back to work after being at-home moms for a while. Even a few are just graduating from college or graduate school. Don’t get me wrong: I am extremely, like over the moon, happy for these people. Their work opportunities are wonderful for their situations. It’s awesome.

I just wish sometimes people could have things to talk about other than work. Like post a Facebook status about what you did with your kids. Or at a family party, could we talk about something other than your innovative quality control systems? There is so much more in this world to talk about than work, and maybe it’s only when you don’t work that you realize that.

6 Things No One Told You About Becoming a Stay At Home Mom

When I became a Stay At Home Mom, I quickly learned that most people have absolutely no idea what it really means to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don’t mean that they are missing something about how hard it is.

Well, some are. A lot are…

Some don’t have much respect for it either, which is another topic of conversation altogether.

What I really mean, though, is that the essence of a Stay At Home Mom – what it is really and truly like day in and day out, what it is reduced to – is just never truly clarified for you before you become one. I’m talking about the feelings of it, I’m talking about the actions that become commonplace – that soon define you. Sine qua non SAHM.

Above all, there are six things no one ever told me about becoming a Stay At Home Mom. Things that – above all the hiding in the closet to get a break, and having people assume you are a complete moron because you don’t have a high-powered career – I just wish I had known in advance. So I could have mentally prepared myself for them, you know?

Lucky for all of you, I’m going to do what no one did for me and give you that head’s up.

6Things

1. Fucking. Laundry. Never. Ends.

In the last two weeks, I have actually kept a count of how much dirty laundry our household produces. Right now – Friday of the second week – I have done twenty-four loads of laundry.

Twenty-four fucking loads of laundry.

Twenty-four. Fucking. Loads. OF LAUNDRY.

And I have six more of miscellaneous things sitting there by the washer, waiting for their turn.

The thing about being a Stay At Home Mom is that you notice when things are a little dirtier than you’d like them to be. You look for things to keep you busy sometimes, too; and you spend more time reading articles in the news while you eat breakfast and pick oatmeal out of your hair. What I’m saying is you have more time to be a little bit more paranoid and neurotic about germs and stuff. So you wash the blankets more frequently. The stuffed animals all get cleaned after a cold.

When I was working, I didn’t even know that people washed stuffed animals. Now someone sneezes more than twice and everything is in the washer. Maybe I’m a hypochondriac, or have terrible OCD. Is the hand-washing disorder next for me?

But in all seriousness, when you are a Stay At Home Mom, you usually don’t do one big bout of laundry, you know like once a week. Laundry day and so forth. You just keep doing it as it comes up, so eventually it feels like it never ends. Ever.

Because it doesn’t.

2. The only way to keep things together is to run a tight ship.

I have recently realized that when people say you should let go and let others help; allow more sleepovers with the grandparents or let the babysitter take the reigns on homework once in a while … well, those people are full of shit.

A total recipe for disaster in your household is to let go of your status as Stay At Home Mom – slash – Prison Warden.

Recently, I let go of the reigns to try and get some more “me time” and all hell broke loose. It was like the state of nature in my home. The laundry wasn’t getting done every day. Meals were consistent of crap thrown together or through a drive thru. No one was following the rules – like brushing their teeth, washing their hands, doing their homework before TV.

And what happened? My kid fell while camping with the in-laws and got a mild concussion, then she got food poisoning, then she went to the dentist and came in with an unexpected cavity. And did I mention she admitted that all the times the babysitter had her doing her homework she was allowed to skip reading time? For years I have kept everything in our house in tip-top condition. Let go a little bit to have six hours a week to myself and everything goes to hell.

Rules

Now I don’t know how Working Moms keep everything together, having to rely on daycare, spouses, and family to help. I sometimes think that maybe they don’t have to because they aren’t in it all the time. But because Stay At Home Moms never get that 8 hour with society-time, running a tight ship and keeping shit under control is absolutely essential.

3. Absolutely nothing will ever be just yours.

At least once a week I wake to find that my daughter has helped herself to my expensive lipstick. Usually it’s smeared all over her face ala the makeup stylings of 1990s Courtney Love.

Almost always the lipstick is destroyed.

When you are a Stay At Home Mom, you don’t have a work place that you can hide your nice NARS lip gloss, or keep your adorable pink Martha Stewart calendar book from little hands drawing all over the inside of it.

And for this reason…

4. You will envy your Working Mom friends.

While I will probably never go back to work in an office, at a desk, again (hear that one, honey?), I envy my Working Mom friends. Big time.

They have that desk or that work locker, where they can keep their most prized and cherished possessions – to never be touched by anyone but themselves. Like lip gloss and hair barrettes. And Twix bars.

They have 10 minute breaks to sit in a break room and read. They have lunch hours. Sure, some of them use lunch hours to run errands or volunteer at their kids’ school. But some use it to sit down and be quiet.

They have quiet.

I’m not saying they have it better, or I have it better. I’m not saying anyone’s plight is worse, either. I’m just saying the grass is always greener, and in some instances my yard is dead as shit and my Working Moms, well their yards are lush and beautiful and glorious. And full of non-destroyed lipstick.

5. That whole thing about yoga pants and being unkempt is not just a joke.

I live in California, so often I see Stay At Home Moms out and about town looking very cute. I’m talking adorable tops. I’m talking expensive CK jeans. I’m talking sparkly TOMS.

Yesterday I wore regular pants for an hour and forty-five minutes. That was a bit much for me.

People joke about yoga pants or not wearing makeup, and you think it’s silly and – oh my friends are Stay At Home Moms but surely they don’t really look that unkempt all the time! They are just joshing me!

When you’re schlepping groceries in the house, juggling everybody’s shit because they are too lazy to carry it themselves, vacuuming, cooking a bagillion meals, scrubbing oatmeal out of your hair and fingerpaint off the kitchen floor … there just ain’t no time to be fancy.

YogaPants

6. The world outside your home will start to seem very odd, very soon.

It didn’t take long before I started to look at life before becoming a Stay At Home Mom as entirely bizarre. Some of the way my life was before didn’t even make sense.

I always hear my father and his retired friends talk about how they don’t know how they got anything done when they worked. The same goes for a Stay At Home Mom. How did all this laundry get done before? How were meals on the table every night? How did I have the time to actually do my hair, when I’m home all the time now and sloppy pony tail complete with dried oatmeal is my normal 30-second go-to? And why are all these people so dressed up anyway, it’s just the grocery store!

Moreover, you start to love it, and that is perhaps the weirdest feeling anyone could ever experience.

If I were to make a word cloud of all the words that best describe being a Stay At Home Mom, it would be the most confusing, fucked up word cloud ever – including phrases like ‘completely isolating’ and ‘euphoric chocolate hidden in the bathroom.’ But it would also include phrases like ‘greatest job in the world’ and ‘wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.’ I guess it’s like the old you have to experience it to understand what I mean.

At least now you’ve all been warned.