Land the Helicopter

A true bestie will ALWAYS call you out on your bullshit.

I read a thing today where this woman was talking about leaving her husband and kids for three weeks to care for her severely ill sister. According to her, the only time she had ever spent away was a weekend with her husband when their oldest was a baby. The kids are now 14 and 11.

I completely understand that three weeks is a long time. Especially when you’re dealing with a crisis, like a sibling potentially dying. Having said that, the whole thing irritated me.

Believe me, as a mom, I’m well aware there is no winning. You’re too strict/permissive/clingy/distant, the list goes on and on. However, there is nothing healthy about being so obsessed that you can’t emotionally cope with your kid having a sleepover with a friend at 14. Which I mention because she specifically points out sleepovers as a stressor for her.

She also seems genuinely amazed that her husband and sons handled things while she was gone. To the point of making a big deal out of her 14 year old doing laundry and her 11 year old making his own lunch, tasks she admits had never occurred to her they were capable of doing. It’s a sandwich lady, not the International Space Station.

I genuinely hope this was an eye opener for her, and she realizes she has been raising her boys to be completely dependent on her. I hope she deals with whatever is going on that makes her feel that her value lies in doing absolutely everything for her husband and sons.

What do you think Dissy, am I being too harsh?

I don’t know, Barb. What I see here is that a lesson was learned. A positive and good lesson. She doesn’t seem horrified to have learned that her boys are more self-sufficient than she gave them credit for. She even says that most of these activities had remained the responsibility of the boys when she returned.

In fact, I want to psychoanalyze the hell out of you for judging this woman so harshly.

Because I remember one of the first times we hung out. I remember the look you got on your face when Jason told you, “Go out with Dissy and have fun. I can handle the grocery shopping.”

It never occurrs to you to have girl child or him do many of the things you deem “your” job. In fact, I had to bully you to start visiting me so I could make you sit around and do nothing. Me thinks Barb may be projecting a smidge. 😉

So, my response is…

You know I love you, right?

Cent’anni, Bitches!!

Tis the Season to be Shitty

I came across one of those memes today, the “I asked for X and here’s what I got.” The premise of the “joke” seems to be the gift giver, presumably a loved one, pretends to misunderstand what the receiver wants, in order to give them something crappy. We’ve all seen them, “Asked my Mom for Beats headphones” with a picture of a box full of beets (the vegetable).

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never seen the humor in this, especially since its typically parents doing it to their children. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in people trying to get internet famous by posting videos of themselves subjecting their kids to cruel pranks, public shaming, and other nasty behaviors presented as fun jokes. An unfortunate amount of time, it works too. Comment after comment about how funny it is, and how the commenter either has done or would do the same thing. Anyone who dares to express concern is shouted down, accused of being soft. May the gods help you if you make the very valid point that these things are abusive. That gets you a barrage of personal insults, combined with stories about how their parents used to hang them in the basement by their thumbs and it was GREAT because it made them TOUGH, not like the “snowflakes” of today.

Because let’s be real, this is not a new phenomenon. Terrible people have existed since the beginning of people, they just have a much larger platform now, and modern technology has made it much easier for them to find one another.

So what can we do? I seriously doubt the people who need to hear this are going to be reading this blog. Do what you can, if you feel safe enough to challenge them, do it. If you can’t, that’s okay. Go forth and be just a little bit kinder, a little more compassionate. Every light we shine chases away a bit more darkness.

Until Next Time,

Cent’anni, Bitches!

WTF Friday: Vol. 2

Parent of the Year Nominees: Turn of the Century Edition

Barb here. No matter how many mistakes you’ve made as a parent, at least you aren’t these people.

Remember how every time you were being a little shithead as a kid, your parents would threaten to ship you off somewhere? Apparently in the early part of the 1900s, some parents actually did!

According to what I found out, up until 1913, only packages weighing less than four pounds could be sent. When that changed, humanity handled it with the precise level of logic and common sense you would expect. Which is to say, they lost their goddamn minds. Mail carriers ended up with everything from bricks to live snakes. And because things hadn’t gone far enough yet, some parent got a brilliant idea. Grandma wants the baby to come visit but travelling is expensive. What’s a budget conscious family to do? Plaster a bunch of stamps to the poor kid and mail them of course.

It took two years, and at least seven known occurrences for the post office to finally get around to fixing the regulations so human beings could no longer be considered packages. So Dissy, my former postal employee bestie, what do you think about this!

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night … nor shitty diapers…

My first inclination is to be incredibly disappointed that no one ever tried to mail child-Dissy anywhere.  But that’s 49-year-old me talking.  Child-Dissy was pretty much a chicken shit who was afraid of strangers and would probably be glad no one ever tried to express her off to parts unknown.

I did know this fun WTF fact, and, interestingly enough, I did not learn it during my brief tenure as a postal worker.  I did, however, narrowly miss a classic “postal episode” where a dude missed out on retirement by less than a week because he couldn’t keep that brain in check for just a few more days.  Well, maybe the prison retirement plan was more lucrative. 

I learned it on either TLC or the Discovery channel.  I am a huge fan of those “top ten” type shows.

Anyhow, I digress…

I think we’re only horrified by these things now because we’d never dream of doing them. Hindsight and all…  I’m sure it seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.  Logistics, now, that concerns me.  Who pulled diaper and feeding duty? I mean, there was no such thing as overnight delivery back then (was there?), so it’s not like the transport could take place during bedtime. I suppose it’s also a good thing that they didn’t have a ton of automation back then.  Who wants to send Junior through the machinery involved in the postage cancelling and sorting process?

You know, for all the packages I’ve mailed in the course of my life (maybe 8, tops), they’ve asked me all kinds of questions about what was in the package.  Is it this?  Is it that? You don’t have (insert thing that it would be very bad to try to mail someone) in this package, do you? Never once did they ask me if there were any children in the package.  Maybe they’re not so strict about this rule anymore.  I think someone should try it and see what happens. (do I REALLY have to put the “kids, do NOT try this at home!!” disclaimer on this? Yes?  Okay.  *sigh*)

DO NOT TRY THIS. IT WAS A JOKE. DON’T BE STUPID.

NOTE:  Dissy is a shit starter.  There are lots of stories of her goading her friends into doing ridiculous things in the name of a good time… think “peeing on electric fence” type things.  Don’t listen to her.  Ever. Unless it’s helpful, wise, or unless you sign a waiver relieving her of any responsibility for horrible outcomes.  Now, if Dissy’s shit starting generates millions for you, of course she wants her cut.  Barb needs some too because she’s Dissy’s partner.

Now that we got that disclaimer out of the way…

Bottom line:  Don’t mail Junior. 

Have a great weekend!!

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Those Damn Kids!

This is Barb, I’m flying solo today for the first time. I’ve been thinking about what to write for today, so I asked the Girl Child what she thought, and she told me I should write about her. So sure, let’s do that.

I mentioned in my intro that I have a teenage daughter, that’s not the whole story though. First, I also have an adult son, who wasn’t in that section because he has his own place and doesn’t live at home anymore. I’ll have lots to say down the road about the weirdness that is figuring out a relationship with a kid who isn’t a kid anymore, but for now I’ll just say it helps that he turned out pretty great considering his mother is a train wreck of a human being.

Second, I sometimes have two teenage daughters instead of one. Girl Child has a Best Friend, and the two of them are so close it’s not unusual for teachers to confuse one for the other. Best Friend spends a lot of time at my house, just like Girl Child spends a lot of time at hers. It just seemed logical that Best Friend’s mother and I both became Mom to the girls.

I’m very lucky that the girls are really good kids. They’re smart, ambitious, and have no time for anyone’s bullshit. Unfortunately, this has not shielded them from how stupid the world is. If anything, it puts a target on their backs.

If there is anything this world hates more than smart, tough women, it’s smart, tough teenage girls. According to society, girls are supposed to spend all their time and energy obsessing over boys, clothes, and makeup. Girls who don’t do that, who care about bigger things, are somehow “defective”. What do you mean you have plans for the future beyond catering to some mediocre dude who can’t operate a vacuum cleaner? I have seen how this world tries to snuff out the light that shines from my girls, tear them down, make them smaller, weaker, and more compliant. Girl Child has even been told, directly, to dumb herself down and stop getting such high grades, because otherwise boys won’t like her, and she won’t be able to get married and have babies. Because obviously that would be the worst thing ever, right?

I have to resist the overwhelming urge to throat punch a lot of people, both because it won’t help and because bail is expensive as fuck.

So what do we do? How to fight back against a world that wants our daughters to shrink themselves down? The only thing we can, be the obnoxious, loud asshole you want to see in the world. Be prepared for anger, disgust, and hatred aimed in your direction. Be prepared for trolling, threats, and apoplectic rantings about how you are everything wrong with the world. Face the vitriol and keep doing it anyway.

I know some people will hate this post and think I’m a whiny pain in the ass. It’s uncomfortable to look at things like this, way easier to keep ignoring it and let it be someone else’s problem. And if that’s your perspective, you’re probably not going to like this blog at all. There’s going to be a lot more talking openly about the things “we” don’t bring up in polite society.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Cent’anni, Bitches!