Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Word Causes Parental Reality Check

One word,  There is one word that makes parents (mostly mothers) everywhere cringe.  It sets my teeth on edge, makes my blood pressure rise, and ignites my temper.  A word that is innocently said everyday everywhere, but when said "that way" in "that tone" the meaning changes entirely.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with my third grader.  When we were done, I asked her to clean up her room.  That's when I heard it.  When that awful, eye-rolling, word that I would expect from her when whe is a teenager came out of her eight-year-old mouth: "Whatever."  Sounds innocent enough, right?  Wrong.  It was not a chipper, light "whatever."  It was a "whatever" full of irritation, frustration, and ill-will directed towards me, the mother.  Where did this come from?  This was not supposed to happen for years.  This "teenage-like" attitude was not supposed to appear yet, I was supposed to still have time to prepare for this.  I have to admit that I reacted badly.  I told her that I never wanted to hear that word said in that manner again.  Do you know what she said?  Can you guess?  NOTHING.  She did not utter a word, she just shrugged her shoulders, rolled her eyes, and walked out of the room.  I just stood there.  I stood there with my mouth wide open staring at where she had been standing.  I could not believe that my precious little girl had just copped an attitude towards me.  What am I supposed to do with this?  Now I can only imagine what her teenage years are going to be like.

Later, after my husband came home and the kids were in bed, I informed him of how his eldest child had treated me that afternoon.  Do you know what he did?  He laughed.  He laughed so hard he had tears coming out of his eyes.  I had them coming out of mine too, but for different reasons because I obviously was not laughing.  When he finished with his fit of laughter, he asked me what I expected, she is just like me.  I wasn't sure how to take that.  Was he insulting me, complimenting me, or just stating facts?  Then he said, "How do you think I feel?  I have to live with two of you!"  That's when it hit me: my daughter is just like me.  This should be interesting, and I'm not sure I mean that in a good way. - Please don't grow up to be like me. You are much too sweet to be sarcastic and moody.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Smart Phones Cause People to Make Dumb Decisions

Today is the first day of spring.  However, because of our mild winter, it has felt like spring since February.  So since the weather has been conducive, I have taken the kids to the park, as have a lot of other mothers.  And they have taken their iPhones, iPads, or some other technology to the park.  Before I get started, let me point out that I have no problem with mothers having their phones at the park, I have mine there too.  What I have a problem with is the fact that some mothers stop paying attention to their children and pay more attention to whatever is so important on that phone.  Seriously, it seems to be more important than their child.  It seems to be more important than how their child is behaving at the park.  Here is where I get frustrated: when their child is not playing nice and it affects my kids.  True story.  There was this kid who was about 8 or 9 who was completely terrorizing my 8-year-old and 6-year-old by chasing them, pushing them, not letting them go down the slide, the list goes on and on.  I even stepped in and asked the child to please leave mine alone and play with someone else.  Do you know the response I received from this child?  "You aren't my mom."  So of course I asked where his mom was, and the child pointed to the mother so immersed in her iPhone that someone could have kidnapped her child and had him in the next state before she realized that he was no longer in the park.  Because this child had irritated me to no end, I marched over to the mother intending to enlist her help with her child, but I might as well have been talking to the tree behind her for all of the attention she paid me.  I almost asked her kid what her phone number was so that I could Facetime her so she might listen to me.  After this, I was mad, frustrated, and literally wanted to throw something at that mother.  Because of this, we left the park.  My kids had an afternoon ruined because of some brat and his uninvolved mom.  This is not the first time that this has happened to us, nor is it the first time that I have seen this happen to other people.  This is an issue that I think plagues many play areas.  Mothers who are too busy to pay attention to their children and how their children are interacting with other kids.  How are children supposed to learn how to behave when their own parents do not seem to care how they behave?

Another thing that I ran into this week (literally) was a mother in the grocery store who was so busy surfing her iPhone that she pushed her shopping cart right into mine and made my daughter (who was in the cart) cry.  The mother, who also had a little girl about one-year-old in her cart, mumbled some kind of an apology while never looking up from her iPhone.  Seriously people, you are in the grocery store supposedly to shop, so get off of your phone.  We had to dodge this lady throughout the store, I'm not even sure she ever put anything in her shopping cart.  Maybe she was searching for an app for that.

The last thing that I am going to preach about today from my soapbox is the driver who is so enthralled with their phone that they forget they are driving a vehicle.  Stop lights are not place to check your email, Facebook, Twitter, Google, text, or whatever else that seemed more important than paying attention to the fact that the light turned green.  These people irritate me to no end.  They seem completely shocked when they are honked at for sitting at a green light.  I have self-admitted road rage, but this takes it to a new level.  People need to be more courteous to others that surround them because they are not the only ones in their small little world.  Other people exist too, and we are just trying to get through this life the same as they are.  Preferably without wanting to ram into the back of their car so that they wake up from the phone-induced daze that they seem to be in. - If I don't stop playing with this phone and pay attention, you are going to do what???!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Socializing Parents

Once upon a time in a life far, far away, there was this thing called a social life.  A thing where you actually did things with other people, where responsibilities were forgotten and fun was had, where there were plans every weekend with friends.  Yes, friends.  You know what those are.  If you have forgotten, look at Facebook, I"m sure you have a list of your closest 500.

Friends.  That one word is used to describe the people we have been trying to surround ourselves with since the first day we found out that other people had toys we could play with if we called them friends.  My kindergartner uses the word to describe every girl that she knows.  My third grader has never met a kid she didn't call a friend.  My one-year-old doesn't know the word, but I am pretty sure that if she could articulate it's meaning, she would consider anyone that paid her any attention a friend.  Kids have friends.  They just have to be in the same orbit as other small people their age and they are happy and have best friends.

Then why is it as adults that we have such a hard time finding friends?  I'm not talking about your high school friends or college friends that you still communicate with on Facebook, but friends that you do things with.  When we were kids it all seemed so easy, but as adults the rules have changed.  Or maybe we have.  Maybe it's not that we can't find friends, but it is our lack of time and energy it takes to build a friendship in which the two (or more) families hang out on a regular basis.  I mean, I have friends.  Ones I see quite frequently.  And to be honest, they are some of my favorite people.  They are the parents of my kids' friends.  Maybe that is how we as adults (parents) meet friends.  We use our kids as wingmen to meet new people.  I have "mommy friends," and I love mommy friends.  These are the friends that understand what you are going through on a daily basis, and they are usually too tired on the weekend to even plan a get-together.  Which is fine because I'm usually too tired to go.  And on that rare occassion when you do have the energy to be social, it's nice when the kids can entertain each other.

Things change when you become parents.  Actually a lot of things change when you become a parent, but for now I'm talking about socially.  Now you are the one in the restaurant with the loud screaming kid that other people (the ones with no kids at their table) are glaring at, silently judging you for not being able to make your kid be quiet.  When people suggest going out to dinner after 6:00, you inwardly cringe because you know you will be that parent with the screaming kid at the restaurant.  You also can no longer be patrons of quiet restaurants.  You have to look for the loudest restaurant in the town because there is a chance that someone else's kid might be louder than yours so you won't receive the glares. 

There is the thought of a baby sitter.  However, I am too much of a worrier to hire one.  We had a good baby sitter in the last town we lived in, but she wouldn't move with us so now we have no baby sitter.  I also like to actually spend the weekend with my kids (I know, weird concept), so I don't like shoveling them off onto other people.  So we are back to that thing from a life far, far away called a social life.  It is not as it once was, nor do I want it to be.  I enjoy my life and the friends I have, and on the rare occassion that we are able to get together and do something, I enjoy it.  And if we can even hold a conversation over the loud roar of the kids, even better. - Friends are like therapists, only they don't charge you an hourly rate.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Childish Games Grown-Ups Play

Lately there have been a lot of blog posts written about how people have changed since they have become a parent, and how they shouldn't judge anyone.  I agree, but I think we need to go a step further.  I'm tired of the "one-upping" on how tired people are or how busy they are or how they are super mom and still have energy left over.  Seriously, it is becoming a problem amongst moms and I don't think anyone even realizes what it is that they are doing.

I have this friend who, since the day I had my first kid, has tried to one-up me on everything.  And to be honest, it is annoying.  I'm talking one-upping on things that you don't want to be the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) at.  You know who I'm talking about, I'm sure you have one or two or three or 500 of these friends too.  When I had one kid and I was tired because she was a baby and not sleeping and I had to go to work.  This friend said, "Wait until you have two, then I'll listen to your complaints."  Then I had two, my husband was traveling every week all week, I was taking care of an infant and a toddler by myself, I still had to go to work, and I was tired.  I wasn't allowed to complain then either.  "Just wait until you have three."  I always wanted to scream at her, "Just how many kids do I have to have before I can complain, 50?!"  Note:  I now have three and I have heard the "just wait until you have four."  For the record, I'm not finding out.

My point is, it is not up to you to judge a person on what puts them at their wits end.  Ok, well, you can silently think it, just don't let it actually come out of your mouth.  What did me in when I was right out of college and working makes me laugh at myself now.  What killed me as a mom with one kid makes me scoff at who I was then.  But you can do that to yourself, not to other people.  People are only as educated as their life experience.  If they have one kid and you have ten, you are more life experienced (and maybe a bit more stressed, but don't tell them that).  Don't belittle how they feel, commiserate with them.  Let them know that they are not alone, don't make them feel as if they are stupid for being stressed.  Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, don't try to one-up someone on a social network because it just makes you look as small and simple brained as you are being. - Don't you tell me you are tired, you only have 4 kids, I have 10. I can be tired, you can't.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Do you have MJ or know someone who does?

There is something that I have been preaching and teaching about since I was in middle school (back then we called it junior high).  It has always been one of the most important things that a female of any age should know.  I have now passed the knowledge on to my oldest daughter.  She now knows placement.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should find the nearest mirror, turn around, and look at your derrière.  If your booty hangs down 2 or more inches below your pockets you need to take off your jeans right now and burn them.  I mean it.  And take all of the jeans in your closet and burn them with them because you apparently have no clue about pocket placement.  You are a wearer of "mom jeans" (MJ), and this makes moms everywhere look bad.  Note: if your jeans are stone-washed or elastic-waisted or have no pockets (or God-forbid all three), you too need to burn your jeans.  If you still aren't convinced, turn around now face-forward in the mirror and look.  If the "zipper line" is really long and makes you look like you have a melon for a stomach, you are wearing "mom jeans."  If you look down at your feet and can see your socks, you are wearing "mom jeans."  Please take these off, seriously, you are embarrassing yourself (think of your kids), and don't ever wear them again.  Trust me, at this point, you would look much better as a "mom slob" (read about that here).  These are definitely not the jeans that Katy Perry was referring to in "Teenage Dream" (not that your jeans should be skin-tight, in fact they shouldn't be unless you are in phenomenal shape and I will get to that in a minute, muffin-top people), nor are these the jeans Flo Rida referred to in "Low" as "apple bottom jeans."  People, look around you, do you see other people wearing mom jeans?  Do they look attractive?  I'm hoping you answered this with a resounding "no."   If those two references alluded you, let's try this one:  they aren't the kind of jeans Mel McDaniel was singing about in "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On."  I hope you understand by now that these are highly unattractive.  Don't believe me, take a picture of you wearing them (front and back shot), upload the picture on Facebook, and ask your friends what they think.  Hopefully you have some honest friends.

Now, lets talk about where the pockets should be on the jeans.  They should NOT start right above the rump and stop half-way down (this leaves excess booty hanging out).  They should not be high.  They should start ON your hiney, follow the curve of the rear-end, and stop where the curve of your booty ends.  They should not be so low that they continue down your leg (this makes you look like pancake-butt).  Let's go a step farther, the waist of your jeans should NEVER go above your belly button (neither should your underwear, granny-panty wearers), they should always be long enough to cover the tops of your shoes so that your socks don't show (really, are you waiting for a flood?!), and they should NEVER EVER be tapered.

All of this being said, your jeans should also fit you.  They should not be too big, but they also shouldn't be too little.  Too tight creates "muffin-top."  Not the kind from Seinfeld, but the kind where your jeans are so tight that it pushes all of the skin and fat that won't fit into your jeans up and over the top of your jeans.  Sound disgusting?  It is to look at too.   Speaking of disgusting, does your buttcrack show when you bend down?  Newsflash: it shouldn't.  Look in the mirror, do you have any of these issues?  If you do, go put on a pair of sweatpants and go jeans shopping.

Now that we have had this talk, go spread the word.  Let your children know how jeans should fit.  You don't want them to have a muffin top with buttcrack anymore than you want to wear mom jeans.  They shouldn't even sell them anymore, it should be illegal.  I think we should start a TV campaign against mom jeans, are you with me? - Why didn't my friends tell me I have been wearing Mom Jeans all these years??!!!