Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Free speech, bad taste or criminal tendencies?

 

In a recent post, we discussed our disgust with a thread in which military personnel (or readers of a US military [we think] online publication) advocated violence and rape of women.  Read about the issue here.

Thanks to a wonderful reader, we have updated the information with a call to action as well.

I also appreciate all of the individuals who sent messages or left comments on the blog about the issues this raises.  I am still surprised and dismayed that this thread and ones like it are continuing and individuals associated with the defenders of our country are so openly advocating murder, rape, coerced oral sex, and racist hatred of ethnic and religious groups.

But, I am, at the end of the day, in favor of free speech.  I suppose that these individuals have fought to defend my freedom to say that they are uneducated, weak-minded fucktards.  I am troubled that they’ve also defended their own freedom to advocate secretly taping sexual encounters to be used as “evidence” to counterattack potential claims of rape.

I would be interested in hearing about your thoughts on this matter.  Weigh in here in our comments section and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook where many of these conversations continue.

The journey begins…

The December series relating to infertility stories submitted by numerous writers from all over the world is set to begin next week.

Please check back often to read all kinds of stories from very different folks with very different experiences.  Some will make you laugh and others may make you cry.  Some stories are unfinished yet — the journey for some of our writers continues.

The month of December is a time to celebrate, but it is also a very difficult time for the couples who are facing yet another holiday without little ones to help celebrate it.  Our goal here is to share our spirits and share our strength.  So many of us have been through this battle.  No one going through struggles with fertility needs to feel alone.

We are still interested in anyone who may want to share a story, specifically about adoption or nontraditional routes to family planning or family growth.  If you’d like to join our series, please visit the Guest Posting page here for information.

Thank you all for your ongoing interest in this subject.

To be (myself) or not to be (and bake cookies from scratch insead)

Since becoming a mother, I have grown.

I mean, I haven’t grown UP, per se, nor have I really become a better person, truthfully.  But, I have learned a thing or two about a thing or two.

Several months ago, I came to terms with the kind of mother I really was, regardless of the kind of mother I might hope or wish to be.  And in the time since, I have found great humor in re-learning over and over (sometimes the hard way) who I really was.

Totally.

However, I find myself still wondering how to reconcile who I am versus who I think the world wants all of us moms to be.

Before having kids, I worried that I would make a lousy mother because I never really liked to play in the yard, get dirty, crawl on the floor, make baby talk, design handprint turkey paintings or use Play Doh.

It turns out that I still don’t like any of those things.  I mean, have you ever SMELLED Play Doh?  Jesus.

But, I really feel as though I will rock at tailgating for varsity football games, hosting sleepovers, chaperoning dances and giving advice to wayward teenagers whose own moms aren’t cool enough to tell about experiments with Zima and Jolly Ranchers or about brewing girl feuds on Instagram.

I don’t know why the Universe didn’t just allow me to give birth to 14-year olds.  I don’t know what to do with my children until that point.  Right now they are running around the room using a remote control and an old telephone to “zap” one another in some sort of faux galactic war.  I don’t really know how to take part in this.  But, they seem fine without me taking part in it at all.  Some piece of my heart, though, tells me that I am supposed to pick up that hairbrush over there, tell them that it is the ultimate celestial laser launch rocket that was invented to destroy the galactic war once and for all, run after my tiny fighting space pirates, and declare my interstellar victory as we all fall, laughing, into a pile of pillows and stuffed bears.  I could pretend, but in the end, this is just not who I am at my core.

So, I wonder if I am supposed to fake it.  Or if I am supposed to just go ahead and be me.  I want to be the awesome fun mom who dresses in a superhero cape or mentions building a snowman before the kids do.  But, I wonder if this is contrary to what I have been teaching my children about how to be honest about themselves.

IS this really what most be “above all” else?

The lessons I teach my children about being true to themselves, I believe, is one of the most critical lessons I can give them.  Am I supposed to follow my own advice or do a “better” job at being “better” with kids?  And, what does that really mean, anyway?

I know that no matter what I do, my children will eventually end up blaming me for something in some therapy session years down the road.  That’s what we all end up doing, anyway, right?  But, I would like to think that I did everything I could to send the right messages, be the right example and provide the best childhood for them that I could.

That’s a Wilde thought for ya.

Until then, I am going to go find my youngest kid some rainboots so that we can all go for a walk and splash in puddles.  I will probably whine on the inside that I am cold and dirty and cranky.  But, the kids will have smiles.  And, tomorrow, I can figure out whether I need to learn how to make Christmas ornaments out of pipe cleaners and Cheerios or not.

Last call, y’all

Tomorrow is the deadline to submit a post for our December fertility series.

Please remember that you may remain anonymous if you wish, but these stories-your stories- are important to tell. So many of us have been through struggles with infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy illnesses, birth issues, testing, sterility and a host if other issues related to the process of conception.

I am still hoping to add a few more stories to this series. It would be particularly important to hear from those of you still in this fight, and/or from the men impacted by these issues since these stories are less common to read about. Many of us don’t speak up until after we’ve found peace. Many men don’t talk about their roles in these fights at all, but for men these battles are no less painful to endure.

Please share your thoughts.

Send us a message through our Facebook page or via the Guest Posting page here.

Happy holidays. Thanks for considering working with us!

The clock is ticking, y’all!

If you are still considering guest-posting with Off Duty Mom for the December series on fertility, time is running out.

We are still searching for three more stories about families, couples or individuals who have all types of stories about infertility, miscarriage, premature births, in vitro procedures, and all manner of struggles and triumphs relating to baby-makin’.

Help us to make this series a success! Guest posts can be short or long; funny, touching or heartbreaking. We are open to all of it. You can stay anonymous if you’d like, even.

Too many of us know how difficult it is to start and maintain a family. If we share stories, though, more of us may come to realize that we are not alone.

Join us, won’t you?

Check out the Guest Posting page here or visit us on Facebook to submit your story.

Thanks!

Bad Grammar, Sluts and the Undead

As a teacher and a mom, I wonder sometimes.

I wonder (and worry) about the future of my community, of my country and of humanity.

Every time I make even the smallest decision relating to my child, I worry about the impact that decision will have on his growth and how that decision might lead him to success or, ultimately, into eventual therapy one day.  Is there too much refined sugar in his lunch for today?  Should I let him watch Caillou when I know it will just teach him how to whine better?  If he refuses to eat dinner, how should I handle that?

We are all bombarded each day with a cacophony of critical moments — one after another.  Robert Frost never warned us that there’d be so many roads to choose.  I’d give my eye teeth for the opportunity to choose between just two paths in one day.

I find myself in a constant state of questioning how I am helping to make an impact on future generations, and how I – as just one person – can forever make a positive dent in the seamless shell of human time.

Even with being as introspective as I am, and working with young people everyday, I am consistently shocked to hear about how my finger is absolutely NOT on the pulse of youth culture and (subsequently) the promise of tomorrow.

…and Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare and Plato all simultaneously rolled over in their graves.

If you are over the age of 25 and do not work with or regularly have contact with kids ages 12-18, please let me enlighten/terrify you with the following:

1.  We are raising a nation of illiterate jackasses.  Not only can people born after 2Pac died not write a sentence that makes any kind of coherent sense whatsoever, they (and just wait until you learn this) CANNOT READ HANDWRITING.  If I teach a lesson to 10th grade students, I must write on the board using only printed, block letters.  Otherwise, moans and groans will erupt, followed with complaints of “I can’t read cursive!”  I blame an over-eager generation of text-o-philes for this phenomenon.  And, it sucks.  Kids today can only process typed language.  Many 16-year olds I know do not know how to sign their own names.  If asked for a signature, they print instead.

2.  This is really showing my age, but for people who are too young to remember the Challenger explosion, some weird social convention has come about.  Everyone turned into a big bag of whores after Generation “X” got real jobs.

I was at a party in 1999 where a wet t-shirt contest was taking place.  The final “contestant” to be revealed were actually two 19-ish year-old women who got water poured all over them while they stood in their thong underwear and white tees making out with one another.  They won the contest.  But, I remember wondering (and, I was completely shit-faced, too, mind you, but I don’t ever recall being drunk enough to think that this was a good idea): what would possess young women to degrade themselves for the gratification of young men?  I’ve never been a complete feminist per se, but come on, people.  I was only slightly older than 19 at this time, but the times they were clearly a-changin’.  Have you been to a dance club recently?  If not, just stay the hell home.  It’s gross.  And loud.  Chris Rock once joked that a dad’s only job in life is to keep his daughter “off the pole.”  If you have been out of your house to witness the under-24 set lately, you may have found already that deciphering between who sucks up dollar bills with her ass cheeks for a living and who is on her way to Philosophy 101 at the local community college is tough since they look an awful lot alike.

3.  Technology is a way of life now.  Isaac Asimov tried to warn us about the rise of the machines, but the damn kids these days seem to be welcoming it all in.  My child could use an iPad before he could pour himself a glass of juice.  At the time, I thought that I was just allowing him to be immersed in educational experiences.  But, I realize now that he’s likely sitting back and secretly plotting my demise.

Watch your backs, old timers.

Kids view technology as essential for life now.  Many adults I know cannot be separated from their smartphones, but the whipper-snappers these days very literally cannot function without electronics.  As a teacher, I cannot remember the last time I saw a teenager do even simple addition without a calculator or cell phone.  Well over 90% of my students show up to school every day without a pen or pencil.  It isn’t that these are bad kids, either.  They just don’t typically USE these items in their daily lives.

And, now I have come to realize that kids know that we don’t understand C++ coding techniques and Java Script, I realize that these illiterate sex fiends are poised to be the only survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse (which, for some reason, every 14-year old INSISTS is imminent).

I wonder sometimes about whether I am just becoming old, senile and out of touch with the changing landscape of human society or if that very human society is disintegrating into a wasteland fed by cell phone radiation, whipits and ramen noodles.  Either way, I fear I am pretty screwed.

So, adults, beware.  I have spoken with the future of this country.  And, they are prepared for zombie war and careers as fluffers, but not for writing thank-you notes to their grandmas.
Sleep well.

What not to do

After reading a hilarious list of recommendations one parent makes for her growing children, I decided to search my own past in an effort to see if there might be a way I could pass on the lessons I’ve learned from making mistakes and seeing people close to me make them, too.  With luck, my children won’t have to repeat some of these most embarrassing, dangerous, stupid, thoughtless, illegal, and careless moments.

So here it is:  things you should learn NOT to do…

Good times…

1.  At the age of 19 do not get rip-roaring drunk on St. Patrick’s Day and then throw up in front of a city police officer.  He may chuckle at your misfortune at the time, but he is only not arresting you because the paddywagon is full.  Know your limits, kids.  The next time there just might be a seat for you.

2.  Pulling the fire alarm in a dorm full of students – multiple times – over multiple days – is not funny.  And it is a felony.  Ooops.

3.  When you get your first real job, keep your mouth shut for the first three months.  This is a hard-and-fast rule.  Learn it.  Live it.  Your new coworkers are not your friends yet and you don’t know who is the office snitch, who is the office kiss-ass, who is the office gossip, who is the office backstabber and who is the office slut.  You do not want to find out who these people are the hard way.  Speak to no one about anything other than your immediate projects for at least three months.  For realsies.

4.  Everyone needs therapy.  EVERYONE.  So, when you navigate through life, do not waste time here.  Be jealous of no one.  Everyone is carrying baggage.  Some of us are just better at hiding it.  Take making friends seriously.  Only a few people, in the end, will truly be there for you, so choose them very wisely.  And, if you choose to allow the people with the wrong kind of baggage into your world, you’ll learn some valuable lessons, but only after cleaning up a whole lot of crap first.

5. Do not trust people who do not have real names.  If you know a bunch of guys who are known only as “Iggy Fresh,” “The Sandman” and “Blue Cheese,” you should think of keeping them at arm’s length.  If you find that as a college freshman, after a night of partying, you are no longer able to see your own reflection in a mirror, but are able to see everything else in the room, you should stop hanging out with these guys altogether.  They are bad news.

6.  Under no circumstances should you believe that there can be such a things as “friends with benefits.”  I have seen this situation end in every possible scenario from simple jealousy to date rape.  Stop it.

7.  Speaking of this…If you own a penis, keep it to yourself.  There is no limit to the trouble that thing can get you into.  Make a commitment and fuck only the woman who you also plan to take to dinner the next night and introduce to your friends.

8. Do not be a bump on a log.  In childhood, the teen years, college and young adulthood, laziness and inactivity lead to everything from obesity to an inability to form meaningful relationships.  You need to learn teamwork and discover your interests and talents.  Join a club, play a sport, volunteer.  Get out of your mama’s basement, yo.  Walk away from the X-Box.

Like, totally…

9.  Dumb is not sexy.  Ladies, if you think that the way to snag a man is to twirl your hair, giggle and say that math is hard, you will surely attract only men who like vapid, useless, mindless women.  Can you think of the kind of men who prey on vapid, useless, mindless women?  Do they sound like keepers?  Read a book.  When the right time comes, the right man will find your extensive knowledge about re-purposed fossil fuels and the Electoral College process to be intensely attractive.

10.  Finally, do not ever think that you are “grown up.”  When you are young and naive, you want everyone to think you are “grown up” so that they will give you responsibilities and trust and respect.  When you get older and wiser you realize that being “grown up” sucks.  If you keep a sense of humor and remember to try to stay (appropriately) youthful, you’ll remember that you are never a completed model, there is always room for growth and there is always time for FUN.  Never be too busy to make snow angels.

 

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