Off Duty Mom

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

Archive for the tag “musings”

Day 4 of the Whole Life Challenge, or Please Make it Stop

I actually kind of fucking hate this challenge.

For those of you who do not know, the Whole Life Challenge is an 8-week fitness, health and wellness program that challenges you to treat your body well.  You are encouraged to eat right, get good sleep, drink lots of water, stretch, work out and be well.  There is a list of foods you can and cannot eat.  Let me break it down for you:  you can eat, like, celery.  You cannot eat any of the things that make you happy (dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, alcohol, soda, chocolate, etc.).

Today I am especially grumpy and I really want to quit.  Like, a whole lot.  But, I won’t, even though water tastes like unhappiness.  Yes, I have tried “detox waters” and I have put lemon in my bottle and, no, it doesn’t fucking help.  If it isn’t Diet Coke or beer, I don’t really want it.  While I am allowed one glass of wine per week, that doesn’t do much to make me feel better.  I haven’t partaken in this for the first week yet because I am afraid to waste it, should a day arise where I need that small glass of comfort later in the week.  But, nevertheless, it is not Diet Coke, nor is it beer, so it will only be a small comfort.

Look — I am terribly overweight and I need to take better care of my children’s mother.  For far too long I have sought asylum within the beautiful confines of junk food and chemical additives.  It is no good at all.  But, I wonder if this is any way to live.  A long life without chocolate is not necessarily a better life, amirite?

Everyone keeps telling me that it will get better.  But, my muscles hurt from my workout, my tastebuds are mad at me and I am tired despite getting enough sleep.  I want to curl up in a ball and feel sorry for myself.

So, there is your little ray of sunshine from me today!  Please comment and tell me something happy in your life so I can live vicariously through you.  Or comment with a picture of french fries or with a story of how fit and healthy you are so I can be happy for/hate  you…

 

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Grrrrrrrr…

Today I hate people.

Admittedly, most days I hate people.  I’m an introvert and I like quiet.  And, you know, NOT being around…people.

And, if this is your first time visiting this blog you might be surprised to know, given my general distaste for humanity, that I am a teacher.  Of teenagers.  Pretty much the worst people of all people.

I actually really seriously dislike children.  I mean, mine are cool, but yours suck.  No offense.

I kid only sort of.

On a serious note (for once), I actually tremendously love working with high school students.  I like talking with them.  I like helping them with their ridiculous dramatic bullshit.  I like talking to them about Star Wars.  I like watching them “get it” for the first time.  I seriously fucking love my job.  I am truly an introvert and I prefer quiet to parties, but my favorite thing of all of the things is discussing Hamlet with a group of hungry AP English Literature students.

But, today, I had to cover a 7th grade Math class.  Just let that sink in:  I hate numbers more than I hate people.  And, remember I hate children, but not teenagers.  Seventh graders are CHILDREN.  Don’t talk to me until you’ve made it at least one full day past your 14th birthday.  Even then, I don’t really want to talk to you for very long periods of time until about halfway through your freshman year of high school.

Seniors?  Give me all of the seniors all of the days.  Love ’em.  Lazy sons-a-bitches.  Those kids are my jaaaaam.

Sure, my piss-poor attitude today is colored by the fact that by 8:00 this morning, I had dealt with two students who were ethnically intimidating a Middle-Eastern refugee student and one student who told another to “eat balls.”  This week, I have been trying to stop a small group of boys in their attempt to mercilessly and evilly bully a weaker kid.  I’ve been failing at this miserably since the bullied kid is so bullied that he is too terrified to admit to the bullying so we can proceed with assistance for him.  I’m trying desperately to get a student scheduled into all of her appropriate classes for her junior and senior years because her parents do not speak English and they cannot advocate for her at school here.  So I do.  I’m trying to encourage a kid I’ve been mentoring for four years to finish all of the credit recovery programming he’s been working on so he can have enough credits to graduate in June.  He probably won’t make it.  I’ll be devastated when/if he ultimately drops out of high school.

I’ll go home today to a car with only three working tires.  My kids will need help with their homework.  I will have to cook dinner — from scratch because I am trying desperately not to pour a bunch of food additives, processed garbage and sugar into my family’s bodies.  I’ll care for my aging dog who was diagnosed yesterday with cataracts.  I’ll probably not get to the gym though I consider this a “gym day.” I’m not trying to get into a bikini or impress anyone, but I am trying to get stronger and healthier and today that will have to wait.

It is hard to be a working mom.

That’s it.  This is hard.  And I hate people.  And I’m tired.  And this is hard.  And I love it.  And hate it.  And…this is hard.

 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bear Hunters and Future Whores

The bar for overzealous geekery has been raised.

While watching an episode of “Cosmos” (which, by the way is A-freaking-mazing) I became giddy with nerdtastic delight when I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson refer to an Event Horizon as a place “from which no traveler returns.”

For my fellow book-snobs, you, too, may recognize that as a quote from Hamlet.

My nerd cup runneth over.

And, my brain hurts as I sit and ponder whether our Earth could really just be contained inside of a universe that was pulled into a black hole and only exists because the properties of physics in the external universe changed in such a way as to construct our existence.  And, I think about Kurt Vonnegut’s message in Slaughter-House Five when he wrote about the possibility of human understanding of time to be insufficient to the reality of it.

You see, geek though I may be, I do seek to increase my understanding of that which is around me.

Books (though much more so as an adult than they were when I was younger) open my mind to understanding reality in new ways.  It’s so empowering and exciting.

It would be important to note, however, that not all books have this impact.  In fact, some, I might assert, actually make humankind stoopider.  God (or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) help our children.  Literature for little ones is a minefield of suck.

For example:

1. The Rainbow Fish – My kid loves this book.  He has little cut-outs of fish all over his room now and he loves to look at and play with them.  But, this highly-regarded book really burns my ass.  Lemme lay it out for ya:  The story revolves around a pompous rainbow fish who has sparkly scales.  Personally, I believe that the sparkle is really what attracts kids (and some parents) to the book.  Nobody likes this fish because he (or she — I don’t care enough to remember) has such beautiful scales.  Many other fishes ask him if they can have just one scale and he says “no.”  Fast-forward to the end of the book when he gives away each of his sparkly scales one-by-one and then people like him.

So, let me get this right:  I am teaching my kid to give up parts of himself to others so he can buy friends?  Thank God I don’t have a little girl.  I would have a serious problem with the idea of selling your body for popularity.  I venture to say that this is a slightly less terrifying message for the moms of boys, but perhaps not.

2.  We’re Going on a Bear Hunt — A family inexplicably goes, you know, on a bear hunt.  Pardon me for taking this to mean that they intend to catch, see, kill or meet a bear.  They even take their toddler to go visit one of Earth’s greatest killing machines.  They are subsequently shocked and terrified once they actually find a bear.  No one thought to bring any sort of protective gear.  They were gone all damn day and trekked through all kinds of treacherous bullshit and didn’t even pack a granola bar or a bottle of Dasani.

The final page, though, is what really pisses me off.  You see, the family runs away from the bear once they find it.  The bear, by the way, apparently lives at the beach, so I do question the authors’ understanding of environmental science, but whatever.  But, on the very last page, the bear looks completely melancholy with shoulders slumped as he skulks back to his cave not having been able to chase the ridiculously unprepared family into their home.  My nerdessness reminds me of Frankenstein’s monster and I wonder if the illustrator might have been trying to make some sort of philosophical statement about seeking someone/thing out just to reject it.  The pop-culture weirdo in me thinks of that scene from “Never Been Kissed” when Drew Barrymore is hit with raw eggs while she awaits her nonexistent prom date.  People are assholes.  That’s what I learn from this book.

3.  Harry by the Sea — A family of dickheads takes their dog on vacation with them.  Harry, the dog, is the only one of them cloaked in a permanent fur coat, but that does not seem to matter to them.  They banish him from the shade of the umbrella they brought with them.  Even the kids give Harry shit for wanting to play with them.  Excuuuuuuse Harry for wanting to be, oh — I don’t know — A DOG.  Harry wanders from his family, is mistaken for a sea monster, gets yelled at by a fat lady, is nearly trapped by two Keystone Cop-esque beach patrol numbnuts and suffers temporary deafness.  Only once a food vendor feeds him (perhaps because his asshole family wasn’t going to bother to) do the kids come and find him (where the fuck are the parents?), claiming that they miss him and want him to come back.

Keep in mind, folks, that the family nooooooow decides to get a new umbrella so Harry doesn’t have to die of heatstroke while on the beach in the motherfucking middle of the summer.  So, the lesson we are teaching kids is:  When irresponsibly taking your family pet to a place that is inherently unhealthy for him, don’t wait until some stranger feeds him processed meat products before you start giving a shit about him.

Maybe that actually isn’t the worst one, then.

Have a children’s book you’ve read (hell — ANY book, really) that doesn’t seem to resonate with you the same way it did with critics or others who read it?  I’d love it if you shared.

A Shout-Out to my Homies Rockin’ it on a 19th-Century Farm

This morning, while watching the news, I was struck with a thought:  What the hell is happening to this generation?

Y’all know I’m a mom.  And, I am a high school teacher.  In my tenure in both of these important jobs, I have seen some sees.

But, lemme just tell you that what made me wonder about current culture wasn’t the fatal shooting I heard about that happened within the city limits of the school district where I worked for a decade before taking my current job.  It wasn’t the entertainment news that seemed to make it everyone’s business to care whether Beyonce is pregnant or not.

It was a car commercial.

This commercial was for a vehicle that boasted that it had “125 horses.”

It irked me for a number of reasons.

I shall list them for you not so much because I feel as though you have been waiting on the edge of your seat since July for me to post something fabulous, but rather because I loves me a good list.

1. Why “horses” and not “horsepower”?  Is this a sign of our getitdonenow times that signifies we are now just too George Jetson to be bothered with saying two extra syllables?  Is this a sign that the Orwell-ocalypse is upon us and we are paring down our already paltry American vocabulary?  Are Big Motor companies just going to start calling things “double-plus good” from now on?

2.  Why are we even referencing horsepower at all anymore?  Is there anyone on the non-Amish parts of the planet that can even identify the physics of the power of a single horse, thereby being able to fathom the force that can be generated when this energy is multiplied to represent 125 horses?  How relevant is this as a reference and what does it even mean.  I defy even ONE carbuyer to explain to me, plainly, what horsepower is in basic terms of force.

3.  Who really cares about horsepower, anyway, unless you are currently somehow living in 19th-century West Virginia and are tending to your crops?  When you know that a vehicle’s weight, the amount of friction that can occur, and basic torque are other (and perhaps better?) factors on which to judge how well a vehicle pulls, what is even the difference?  I get that some of you gun-rackers need them horsies to haul home your kill of buck for yer kin, but realistically, how much does horsepower even factor in to the average buyers’ concerns?

4.  Marketing sucks.  Big donkey balls.  Tricky wordsmithery, flashy bullshittitude, empty language, meaningless boasts:  I can’t even figure out if I really want a Diet Coke anymore or if the evil elves at Fancy Pants DoubleTalk Advertising Agency, Inc. have crept into my subconscious psyche and have fooled me.  “125 horses?” Bah.  I shant be swayed by your reference to the earth’s most majestic creatures.  (But, if it had “125-unicorn power” I might be sold.)

5.  Finally, Big Car Company:  you’re not cool.  The cool kids are all abbreviating their words so that shit is barely recognizable anymore.  Things are “totes adorbs,” and if you don’t get it, you’re probably just “jelly” of those of us who do, aight?  But, srsly, you, BCC, are comprised of a boardroom full of fat white men with whitish, thinning hair, blah-colored suits and eyeglasses.  Y’all ain’t turnt up and popular.  Stop acting a fool and use regs words, else I keep throwin’ shade at y’all.

 

Now that I have gotten that all out in the open, I do feel a tad better.   I mean, not about the world in which I am raising my children, but just better because I got to rant for a bit.  Thanks for the indulgence.

 

Reality as a Geezer

There is no doubt I have lamented the aging process.  Having small children reminds me of how much energy I don’t have anymore.  And being a teacher of early high school students reminds me of how uncool I am.  These kids don’t even use the word “cool” anymore.

I am much nearer to 40 than I am to 20 (and to 30, for that matter).  I had never pictured myself at this age.  It’s kinda weird.

But, here are some realities I have come to understand about the aging process:

  • My body is older than my mind.  When I see a long hallway, I still want to do cartwheels all the way down.  I don’t, however, because I’d have to stretch for a half an hour beforehand and then take a bottle of Advil afterward.
  • My concept of time has shifted dramatically.  The concept of “a long time ago” has changed quite a bit.  I remember when Friends first came on the air.  It doesn’t seem that long ago.  It was 20 years ago, though.
  • My concept of “young” has shifted, too.  I once cried when I turned 24 because I felt so OLD.  Now, I work with people who have advanced degrees but are not old enough to remember the Challenger explosion.
  • I feel less grossed-out by plastic surgery.  I once wondered why people didn’t just “grow old gracefully.”  Now, I sit in front of a mirror and pull my face up manually and sigh as I wonder what it would cost for a nip and a tuck.
  • I actually care what I eat.  In high school, I came home almost every day and ate an entire family-sized back of potato chips (or an equivalently-sized snack of another type).  I wore a size 6 that my mother tailored smaller through the hips for me.  Now, I still love my potato chips, but each crunch comes with a side order of guilt, self-loathing and fourteen more pounds on the bathroom scale.
  • Nobody likes my music.  Two decades ago it wouldn’t have been hard to find someone who liked The Pixies, LL Cool J, Blondie, Nine Inch Nails, and who knew how to do “The Hustle” and understood that you were never supposed to “trust a big butt and a smile.”  Nowadays, we’re harder to locate.  Some of us came to enjoy modern music.  Some are stuck with the soundtrack to “Frozen” on repeat.  Some people switched over to “Adult Contemporary.”  Yeesh.
  • I’m okay (for now) with my glowing pale legs.  This time of year in my twenties, I was running to a tanning salon on rainy days and spending every damn minute outside to alter the color of my skin when it was sunny.  Nowadays, I don’t really have the time or the patience.  So, I just revel for now in the idea that I am staying away from skin cancer and/or wrinkles for one more day.
  • I don’t feel old.  This one is weird.  I don’t know what old is supposed to feel like.  I mean, I feel weaker and slower and fatter and more tired.  But, those things don’t alone signify an elderly status.  Are my knees supposed to ache when it rains?  Am I supposed to forget what day of the week it is?  Am I supposed to wear white button-down sweaters on 80 degree days?  I am not sure if I am doing this right.
  • I still feel like I am in high school — emotionally.  When all the stay-at-home moms gather to pick up their kids in their Lululemon or their Hunter rain boots and their big diamond earrings — and completely ignore the existence of those outside of their social circle, I remember feeling like this before:  for four straight years.

I still want to learn how to surf and speak a foreign language and read more books and run a 5k (no — actually RUN it this time — like, the whole time) and get a PhD. and a six-pack and a nose-piercing.

And I wonder if I will do any of those things.  Or even if I should

Conversations with my Post-Baby Body Parts

 

This might help.

This might help.

1.  EYES —

Me:  Hey!  Let’s stay up on Friday night and watch Gravity on Blu-Ray.

Eyes:  Sounds great.  We’ll be done with our job by like 8:30, though, right?

Me:  Well, no.  I will need you until the movie is over.

Eyes:  We can’t promise that.

Me:  Come on.  8:30?

Eyes:  We’re already tired of this conversat—-

 

2.  BACK —

Back:  I hurt.

Me:  I know.  I am not gonna tell anyone, though, because they’ll think we’re old.

Back:  But you groan every time you stand up and you sigh ridiculously loudly every time you sit down.  Who do you think we’re fooling?

 

3.  SKIN —

Me:  Discoloration, zits AND wrinkles?

Skin:  Yeah, and the kids’ college funds have made us too poor for surgical solutions.  If only you could exchange sarcasm for collagen…

 

4.  HAIR —

Me:  I am sure glad I had 9 months of prenatal vitamins that made my hair glossy, thick and luxurious.  That was nice while it lasted.

Hair:  It is so fun when we all jump out of your scalp at once and then the poor schmucks we leave behind all start to turn gray!  Good times!

 

And, it just keeps getting worse.

And, it just keeps getting worse.

5.  BOOBS —

Me:  What the hell?!

Boobs:  Hey, look!  We’re still here!  No.  Down here.  Hello?

 

6.  BRAIN —

Me:  Ugh.

Brain:  Totally.  Hey, let’s worry every minute of every day forever now.  I am totes going to make you cry at greeting card commercials and shout like a lunatic when your kid scores his first soccer goal.  Don’t delay the anti-anxiety meds, lady.  Get me the good stuff, too.  I have a lot going on up here.

 

7.  UTERUS —

Me:  I hate periods.

Uterus:  I hate not having a baby in here.  It’s lonely.

Me:  Hey, um, I put two babies into ya.  That was good, right?

Uterus:  Fuck you.  I want more babies.  Give me more babies!  Every month you don’t give me a baby, I’m going to tear down these walls and make your life a living hell.  I am going to make it feel like there is a giant fist inside your gut grabbing and twisting your vital organs like you’re being juiced.

 

8.  KNEES —

Me:  Hey, what the hell?  You guys never hurt before.  Now all of a sudden I can tell when it is about to rain.  What’s up with that?

Knees:  You’re old.  And chubby.  It’s hard to carry you around.  Less chocolate.  More kale.

 

9.  LEGS —

Me:  Wow.  That’s ugly.

Legs:  So’s your face!  Ha!  Ha!

Me:  No, seriously, veins?  They’re everywhere.  I can’t possibly need that many transport lines for my blood.  Can’t we do some rerouting or something?

Legs:  They got doctors for that, you know.

Me:  I know.  But that shit hurts.  Why can’t you all just straighten up and fly right?

Legs:  Why can’t you embrace our newfound blue beauty?

 

This is what we have to look forward to, then?

This is what we have to look forward to, then?

10.  BUTT–

Me:  Holy shit.  I think I could put a can of soda under my ass cheek and hold it there against my thigh.  When did you get so droopy?

Butt:  I started heading South during Baby #1.  You were too busy designing a nursery motif to notice.  Ever hear of Prenatal Yoga?  Come on, now.

Me:  Sorry.

Butt:  You are sorry.  In about three more years you’re going to have to start getting your drawers at Sears.  SEARS!

Me:  Are you sure?

Butt:  And, they won’t be called “panties,” anymore.  They won’t make “panties” in your size.  They will be “underpants.”

Me:  That sounds awful.

Butt:  And, stop having kids.  With your constant expansion and refusal to do Kegels, you’re going to be a fatty who is also, charmingly, incontinent.  Then, you’ll be on to adult diapers.

Me:  That sucks.

Butt:  Yuppers.

If they fit, we should just get them in every color.

If they fit, we should just get them in every color.

11.  FEET —

Me:  Hey, guys.  My shoes hurt.  I don’t ever remember complaining about that before having a coupla babies.  What gives?

Feet:  Oh, so you thought we’d go back to “normal” size after your babies were born?  That’s cute.  Hey, Cankles, that sparkly boutique downtown called and said they had shoes in our size.  You know the place.  They also cater to guys like Larry who stocks lumber at the Home Depot by day, but who by night hosts a cabaret show under the name of Hillary Clit-Ton.  Sure, Larry’s alter ego’s typical footwear choices make Gaga look more like Amy Farrah Fowler, but whatevs.  They have your SIZE.

 

 

body

 

Pubic Garanimals Dry Hump Samurai Schematics

I am huge in Uganda today.

And, a few weeks back I frickin’ killed it in Sri Lanka.

 

And, in the past few months, people have found this blog by searching for

  • lime juice vagina
  • pubic chia pet
  • Garanimals for men
  • slut whore
  • I’m a girl with hair on my vagina and I don’t care
  • dry humping mom’s ass cheeks
  • Flowbee schematics
  • being ashamed
  • my kids are alive
  • Samurai swords
  • sticky pube
  • dork snatch
  • messy hair with twigs in it
  • Do people with uncircumcised boys get peed on less?

I don’t know what this says about my blog.

Please put your interpretations in our “Comments” section.

Ways I will judge you

I am not terribly likeable in person.

It’s okay.  I’m cool with that.  People who get to know me learn that what appears to be a proclivity toward stuck-uppitude is actually a little anxiety and a whole lot of self-consciousness.

Just because I tend toward the shy side in small groups doesn’t mean that I am not just a little stuck-up, though.

For example, I will make fairly irreversible judgments about…

1.  Your ability to use “THERE,” “THEIR” and “THEY’RE” correctly in writing.

ttt

2.  Whether you are out in public wearing an anklet.

Anklet under nylons with open-toed shoes= even more judgment.

Anklet under nylons with open-toed shoes= even more judgment.

3.  Whether you open the door for others.

4.  How firm your handshake is.

5.  Whether you drink any type of wine (sparkling or otherwise) that is pink in color.

Even better:  pink wine in a box.

Even better: pink wine in a box.

6.  Whether I can say the words “oligarchy,” “cerebral,” “phantasmagorical,” “echelon” and “fuck” in your presence without feeling either condescending or chastised.

7.  Whether you have read a book – in its entirety – in the past 6 months.

8.  How nice your teeth are.

smile

9.  Whether you ignore your children when they attempt to run around among all the tables at Olive Garden.

10. How much very personal information you post about on Facebook.

tmi

What about you?  Anything you see in others that you just can’t help judging immediately?

Hooray for Mother’s Day!

Off Duty Mom is proud to feature a special “Hooray for Mother’s Day” special publication!

************************************

GUEST POST BY:

Meredith Ethington

My hands are literally cracking and bleeding. My husband said to me innocently when I was complaining, “Can you just try washing them less everyday?” I scoffed, “No! I wash them when I wipe a butt, and before eating, or fixing a meal, and after going to the bathroom. Which of those should I skip?”

I was thinking about how my hands look like they belong to a 90 year old woman even though I am just a young, 35 year old mama. And, I thought of all the beautiful mother’s day poems out there about a mother’s hands. They are beautiful aren’t they? But, my hands? Not so much. Do these poems really get down and share the nitty gritty that every mother experiences everyday? Not really.

So, I crafted a short little poem of my own, which is ironic since I pretty much hated every poem I had to read during my high school and college years. But, this one came to me pretty quickly.

Busy, Dirty Hands (A Mother’s Day Tribute)

I’m thankful for my mother’s hands, which keep us kids at bay,

From destroying everything she loves, each and every day.

It seems that when I need some help, she says, “Do it yourself!”

So, then I climb up  very high and reach up on a shelf.

Her hands know how to clean up each and every mess I make,

When the shelf falls down, and I move on, to wreak havoc in another place.

Her hands know how to feed the baby, while making dinner too.

They send a text, and help with homework, while the house feels like a zoo.

Those hands wipe our bums 10 times a day, and rarely she complains,

Except, of course, when poop floats in the tub, and she’s almost gone insane.

Her hands are patient when we draw on the couch with a bright red pen,

She uses them to cover her mouth when she wants to remain quite zen.

Her hands catch every single thing that comes out of my mouth,

chewed food and vomit, are just two that no longer gross her out.

Her hands clean up the crusty things that come out of my nose,

when I wipe them on the wall, she says, “That isn’t where it goes!”

Her hands know how to clean and wipe, and clean and wipe again,

They do the same thing over and over, to clean up our pig pen.

Her hands show me so many things, like how much she must love me.

After all those hands have one dirty job, taking care of little ol’ me.

-Written by crazy toddlers everywhere

Meredith is a native Texan, recovering perfectionist, and mama to 3 kids living in Utah. She has been blogging for over 5 years, but just recently decided to make her blog public and get real about motherhood. Her tag line is “far from perfect, but blogging about it anyway”. Because that is exactly what she wants to do. Her goal is to be honest and not just blog all the happy, pretty moments. You can find her over at Faking Picture Perfect.

Advice for Moms

Want my advice?

If you knew me in person, you probably wouldn’t, but here we go…

Whaaaaaat?

Whaaaaaat?

It occured to me that we really ought to be able to offer better advice to mothers of little ones than “sleep when the baby is sleeping.” ‘Cuz that advice sucks, anyway. I don’t know about you, but when I was going through an 8-month stretch with a newborn who not once in that time slept for more than 2 hours at a clip, the whole sleep-when-the-baby-is-sleeping idea was unrealistic, unhelpful, and not at all restful for an adult.

Now, I am a total nutjob, so I am absolutely in no real position to be offering advice to anyone, really. Seriously, I am NOT keeping my shit together. Like, at all. But, I have learned a thing or two about feeling less likely to jump off of a clock tower. So, if you are exhausted, depressed, anxious, and lonely with a child or children at home under the age of 6, or if you know too well that weird feeling that comes when you know your eyes are open and stuff, but your head feels like you just swigged a bottle of Benadryl and chased it with a few shots of Tequila and a handful of quaaludes, then, maybe I can offer some thoughts.

1. Take a shower. ‘Cuz you stink. That was a joke. Sort of. You might stink, I actually don’t know. But, in reality, there isn’t a whole lot that a good, steamy shower can’t wash away — even if it is only temporary. Sometimes the shower is the only quiet place in your house, right? And, it smells like lavender and honeysuckle. And, there are no feces, crayon-stained walls or those tiny legos that make your foot feel like it is being murdered by itty-bitty Samurais when you step on them. Besides, taking a shower makes you feel human again when you are sleep-deprived, frustrated and hallucinating. Get some of the aromatherapy stuff that is energizing. You’ll feel a little better. Then someone will vomit on you. But, you felt better for a bit.

2. Wear real pants. Now, look: no one (and I do mean NO ONE) loves yoga pants more than I do. I rock some flannel pj pants about 35 seconds after coming home from work every day. But, when I was on a very long maternity leave, I started to feel as dumpy as I looked as I sat around everyday in fleece, elastic-waist pants and an old sorority sweatshirt. You don’t have to try to squeeze your ass into an old prom dress. You don’t need that kind of bullshit making you feel bad. But, put on a pair of jeans for crying out loud. Go outside. Get some air. Even if it is warmer in your fridge than it is outside. You own boots and a heavy coat, right? Your kid has a parka. Come on. A body at rest in stretchy pants tends to stay at rest in stretchy pants.

3. Listen to your kid. Hard. My older son has prepared a dissertation on the merits of Buzz Lightyear’s heroism versus the entertainment value of Super Mario Brothers. I have no fucking clue what he is talking about most of the time. And, I always feel way too busy with important things like laundry, drinking wine and blogging to really pay all that much attention. He mostly gets thoughtless replies of “Yeah,” and “That’s nice.” But, I have tried to make it a point lately to listen to some of his stories as though they are the most fascinating things I have ever heard. I look at his eyes (something I try to tell him is important to do when he talks to adults). I ask questions. I try to make him feel as though someone really hears him. Because no one listens to a goddamn word I say all day and I know how shitty that feels.

4. Adopt a mantra. In a previous post, I talked about how lifesaving it was for me to hear someone talk about training the mind to repeat a positive statement. She was a yoga instructor and mom and she told us we could steal her mantra: “It won’t always be this way.” I think about it all the damn time. Yours doesn’t have to be that one, but when you are on the brink of tears (always, right?), adopt a better voice to hear in your head other than “I can’t.” You might try “Just breathe,” or “Right now, I am grateful for______.” Someone I know uses “At least.” For her, when her toddler threw a Tonka Truck at the living room window and cracked it, she said to herself, “At least it’s warm outside. And the window can be repaired.” Find what works for you. And, don’t let 2-year olds play with Tonka Trucks near antique glass windows.

5. Do something mindless (but awake) each day. I am a television junky. I love when I have the opportunity to watch some of my favorite shows. But, I can only take so much Sprout. Speaking of which, when any other co-host in the Sunshine Barn with Chica sings the birthday song, the camera cuts to Chica dancing her little birthday puppet dance. But, Kelly gets the camera on her the whole time. Who is she fucking at PBS? That really burns my ass.

So, I should tell you that I am absolutely certain that these things all work to help you feel more alive, more alert and more like being a better mom. I know that these things all work because I don’t do them. And, I am certifiable, so clearly, doing the opposite of what I do will make you well-adjusted and happy.

Regardless, though, of whether you follow this advice, we should all just hang in there, right? I mean, there are a whole lot of cruddy parents out there and if you are reading blogs trying to get advice on how to keep your cool and be better for your kids, you are not a cruddy parent. You are tired. And sick of hearing people scream things like “No!” and “But, wait!” and “I don’t wanna!” at you. It’s okay. Really. It is.

And, of course, if you are concerned about how much you are not keeping yourself together, please talk with your doctor. You are not alone. I promise. And, it is okay to ask for help. Call your doctor, call a babysitter, call for takeout and call the Winebulance. Did you know there was such a thing? Criminey. None of us need suffer any longer.

I know you are but what am I?

She was the kind of girl who smoked cigarettes in a car with rolled-up windows while fuzzy dice dangled on her rearview mirror.  I am sure she owned plenty of leopard print.  I would be certain that whatever her name would be, it would end with an “i.”

He scrawled on desks in high school with the end of a pen that no longer worked.  And he only owned clothes with band names on them or things that were made out of threadbare denim or cheap, knock-off leather.

Her friends all loved pink and had big hair and wore plastic bracelets and shoes.  One had a button on her purse that said “Save Ferris.”  Another knew the perfect way to scrunch up her socks at the ankle so that they were just awesome enough.

He hung with guys who snarled a lot.  They couldn’t afford muscle cars, so they hung calendars of them in their rooms instead.  They pretended to know about the world.

Everyone believed, firmly, that these kids were going nowhere in life.  Now they’re 40.  They wear shirts with buttons and pants that have to be ironed.  They have kids and a mortgage and a sensible SUV with a top-rated carseat inside.  They have no idea what the coolest music is anymore, but they do know all about Doc McStuffins.

This might sound like people you know.  One of those people might even be you.

The person who wrote this was once cool, I am sure.  Now she uses adult diapers and complains that the rain hurts her knees.

The person who wrote this was once cool, I am sure. Now she uses adult diapers and complains that the rain hurts her knees.

So, you’re old.  That sucks.

I understand.

But, I offer no solace.  There shall be no respite from the weariness of your lamentable aging today.

Instead, I offer you this:

*next summer, Forrest Gump will be 20 years old.  That makes Haley Joel Osment (young Forrest) now 24.  He could be your coworker.  Or worse, your boss.

*it has been 30 years since Michael Jackson first did that Moonwalk on TV while performing Billie Jean and 30 years since Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America.

*If you had had a child the night Seinfeld aired its final episode, that child would now be a freshman in high school.

*If Nirvana’s Nevermind were a person, it could now legally drink in the United States.  Actually, it was released 22 years ago.

*It has been 43 years since the first heavy metal album was released.  Original headbangers would now risk serious injury for rockin’ out.

*It has been exactly 40 years now since psychology experts removed homosexuality from its list of disorders.  It took Denmark another 16 years to be the first to legalize same-sex marriages.  It took 26 total years from that date for California to offer some rights for same-sex couples in committed relationships.

Remember these guys?  If so, you are at least 30.  The show ended in 1981.  Muppet Babies ended in 1992.

Remember these guys? If so, you are at least 30. The show ended in 1981. Muppet Babies ended in 1992.

*It has been 34 years since Nickelodeon first launched as a channel.

*It has been nearly a decade since Facebook launched as a social networking site.

*28 years have passed since the launch of the first Super Mario Brothers.

*If you were 13 years old when Pac Man first came out in the US, you are now 45 years old, geezer.

*If you were 18 when Jimi Hendrix died, you are now 61 years old.  Criminey.

*Cyndi Lauper is 59.

*Gene Simmons is 63.

*Pee Wee Herman is 60.

*TuPac would be 42 years old now, had he lived.

*Denise Huxtable from the Cosby Show would turn 46 this year.

*William Shatner is 81.

*Chuck Norris is 72.

*Brad Pitt is 48.  Two and a half years younger than George Clooney.

and, finally,

*Ralph Macchio, the Karate Kid is freaking 50 years old.

Wow.

 

YOU’RE OLD.

Getting old is awesome.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Getting old is awesome. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Coulda Done Without…

Tell me, friends:  who among us cannot appreciate the beauty in the little things in life?

Ah, the beauty of the world around us.  Some days I just can't fucking find it.

Ah, the beauty of the world around us. Some days I just can’t fucking find it

I can’t.

Sometimes even the voices in my own head are of people I’d like to punch in the trachea.

The past two days have been days like that.  I have felt a permanent snarl on my face.  It isn’t iconic like Billy Idol’s or quirky like Elvis’ or cute like a puppy’s.  It is the physical manifestation of disappointment in the human race.  It is the muscular byproduct of my involvement in a culture of stupidity.

Let’s explore some things that are wacky, ridiculous, senseless or just generically aggravating for thinking people.

Strange Days, indeed

Strange Days, indeed

1.  Television.  I have before chronicled my irritation with some modern-day children’s programming.  What has happened?  Where are the Snorks?  Can I get some Great Space Coaster up in here?  I miss my Electric Company.  I feel sorry for kids today who will never learn who is “bouncing here and there and everywhere,” with “high adventure that’s beyond compare.”

2.  Modern technology and inventions.  Now, I am not going to bitch about kids who try sexting, or about the problems with Windows 8.  I am going to complain about the inventions of items such as antenna balls, the Snuggie, the ShamWow, The Shake Weight, the Flowbee, the KFC “Double Down,” and the laser disc.  Where are we going, world?  I don’t want to know what is next up for a world that has invented the wearable DVD player, “Two Broke Girls,” and those little decorative pieces of junk that you cram in the holes of your equally stupid Crocs.

3.  Baby Names from Mars.  What are some of you thinking?  Now, I am really sorry if you are the proud mother of an Orangejello, Nevaeh, Q’Daunteus, Le-A, Yummalewis, Princess, Rambo, Angelbaby, Cha Cha, Kredonshea, Sugar, Zither or Falopiana.  Actually, I am sorrier for your kids.

4.  Prissy Drinkers.  When I was in college, I was repeatedly annoyed by girls who would go to frat parties and not be willing to drink beer.  “I don’t liiiiiike beer,” they’d twirl their hair and whine.  Really, assclown?  You came to a FRAT PARTY.  Oh, yes, Sweet Cheeks, let me get you a Pomegranate Cosmo.  You’re 19.  Drink Schlitz with the rest of the crew.  And, get your hands on that barrel and your feet in the air and be fun, dammit.

5.  The Discriminatory Childless.  Everyone’s an expert, right?  There is no shortage of people out there who have no children of their own, but who will roll eyes, scoff, or even offer unwelcome advice about you and your kids.  Now, I used to be one of the Discriminatory Childless.  And, then I had two kids.  And, now I am sorry to that mother I yelled at at Wal-Mart that one time.

Tell that to the perky-perks.

Tell that to the perky-perks.

6.  The Habitually Optimistic.  I am a grump by nature.  It is just who I am.  My husband asks me all the time “what’s wrong” or mentions, sweetly of course, that I “look miserable.”  Most of the time I am not what I would say is “miserable.”  But, I am adorably misanthropic.  Well, at least that is how I like to think of myself.  But nothing makes me grumpier than when I am faced with a perky, doe-eyed happy-cat.  You know the type.  Ever see “Office Space?”  I think about “Accounts Payable, Nina Speaking…JUST a moment!” repeated enough times to make me want to vomit all over her rainbow-colored world.

Feel free to share with me the things you could do without in this world.  Grump with me.  Try it.  First one’s free.

 

When a Bitch is just a Bitch

I wonder sometimes whether I am a little…too much…for some people.

I rant.  I whine.  I condescend.

But, what I think about (too often, really) is when complaining is a sign of someone who knows what she wants, hates injustice, believes in honesty, and isn’t afraid of what people think.  And, I wonder when it just makes me a bitch.

Why is this fool famous?

Why is this fool famous?

Furthermore, are men who complain ever bitches?

Maybe sometimes.

Here are some things I really hate:  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, homeschooling, socks that won’t stay up, smelly markers, other people’s cats in my yard, people who drive slowly in the passing lane, Randy Quaid, cinnamon gum, Barney, people who say “mischevious,” beards, popcorn balls, boats, and being farted on.

Am I allowed to hate those things?  Even though I know others will not understand or agree? (especially about the Reese’s.  I know.  I know.  I hate peanut butter and chocolate together.  It is sickening.  I realize I am in the minority.)

When we founded Off Duty Mom, we promised that we’d be honest — ugly-kind-of-honest — about everything we published.  So, on our end here, we’re not really feeling that broken up about putting it all out there.

But, I guess I would like to know in real life, how much “honesty” can you take from someone?

I once wondered why mothers weren’t more honest with one another about how unpretty motherhood could be.

Then, I found out.  The childless don’t want to hear about vomit, varicose veins, tantrums, and worrying about 10-year olds sexting.  And, those who are in the mix of it just want to drink vodka slushes and forget about the above for a bit.honesty

So, what we’d figure we’d do here at ODM is to create a forum for judgment-free ranting and complaining in the parenting community.

Join us HERE to tell your story!

Sentimental and introspective (just for now)

I kind of want to learn conversational Spanish.  And Sign Language.  Just because I feel as though these things might make me more interesting.

I’d also like to say that I’ve been skydiving, though I am not sure I actually want to go skydiving.  And, I would really like to get my PhD. and learn how to drive stick.

Someday, I want to visit Greece.  And, I would like to have an idea of mine patented.

I want to learn to tap dance.

Tell 'em, Red.

Tell ’em, Red.

Some days I am afraid that I am living a bit of a hollow existence.  Now, being a wife, mother, teacher, friend, daughter, neighbor, doggy mamma and spectacular driver are all really great and all.  But, if I were on my death bed right at this moment, I don’t know if I’d feel satisfied that I’d led a life well-lived.  I don’t know if my life is interesting.

Now, people with attitude problems all over the place might get all pissy and leave comments about how a real mom would be satisfied simply with her role as a mother.  It is the most important job in the world.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

It is important.  I am thankful every day for the gifts I have been given.  My children are amazing.  And probably awesomer than your kids, anyway.

But, every once in a while I wonder which of my dreams I am letting die because I am watching America’s Next Top Model instead of learning expert knife skills at the local culinary institute.  I have a bucket list.  That bucket list itself is dying.  I am getting too old to learn how to surf now.  And, I think every so often about how many more things will simply never get crossed off of that list because I can’t leave my house since my kids are sleeping upstairs.  And, toddlers aren’t welcome at Knife Class.

I know that the simple answer to all of this is just to get off my ass and start crossing things off of that list.  But, as any responsible parent and working adult will tell you, doing things that are just for YOU isn’t something that happens too often for many of us.  I am certainly not deprived.  And, I have a good life, but I still haven’t ever tried a ridiculously expensive glass of wine or run a 5K.  No.  Really.  RUN.  The whole way.  And, that makes me just a little sad.

You Shaw it here first, people.

You Shaw it here first, people.

I wish I could go back and tell the younger me to live it up a little more.  Everyone tells you to be so responsible, save your money, get a good job, buy a home, settle down.  But, not enough people tell you to have fun, get drunk, laugh, make a memory, take a funny picture of a friend at the base of the Eiffel Tower at 3 AM, sleep in, and own your stupid 2-seater dream car before you have to become an exhausted, minivan-driving, in-bed-at-10:00 grown-up.

As I sit today on the eve of the beginning of Off Duty Mom’s series on fertility issues we’re featuring via Guest Bloggers this month, I realize the seeming hypocrisy of it all.  I blog and crab and complain about how tough it is to be a parent.  Yet, I sat in doctor’s offices for YEARS where I cried and blamed God and cursed and puked because I was incapable of carrying a baby to term.  And now, I have brought two amazing young angels into the world.  And I still cry and whine and curse.  And I blubber about how I wish someone would give me the time to travel to Scotland or learn how to skateboard.

Nevertheless, I realize that we all feel as though we’re missing something sometimes.  We all wonder if life would just be better IF

And, at the end of the day we all have something that we take for granted, but that someone else is wishing and hoping to have.

Starting tomorrow, we will publish our first in the series of guest posts about issues of pregnancy, adoption, fertility and miscarriage.  Some of the posts are funny.  Some are heartbreaking.  Some are touching.  Some are uplifting.  I encourage you to check back often throughout December to read all of the posts.

Then, in January, I will stop being introspective, sappy, thoughtful and melancholy.  Off Duty Mom will return to tackle important issues such as the classical philosophy of Handy Manny, bathtub turds,  toddler beauty pageants, gray hairs, and public drunkenness.

Tune in tomorrow, though, for our very first (and very funny) installment in our December series from Pile of Babies author, Meredith Bland.

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.

 

Making Promises Matter

I saw a friend’s Facebook post today, advocating for the following movement. I was intrigued by the title of it as I hoped it would give me information about better comebacks for when my spawn cries, “But WHYYYYYY did you put me in time-out?”

This movement is so much awesomer (More awesomerific? Awesomelescient? Uber awesomeified?) than that, though.

If you check out http://becauseisaidiwould.com/, you will see what I mean. It’s such a great idea. I think we should help this to go super-viral.

If you have people you love in your life, consider getting involved with this, either officially (by ordering free cards) or just by thinking about the concepts and maybe spreading the word.

I am inspired. Let me know if you are, too. And, if you know of other amazing or inspiring things on the interwebs, let me know. I love hearing from you.

20121007-151952.jpg

Growing up, Getting better

Before I was married, I lived on the second floor of a duplex in a beautiful neighborhood. Having just graduated from college, I couldn’t afford all of the luxuries I might have now, but I did have the most comfortable bed of all time. I slept in it, diagonally, using 5 or 6 pillows at any given time to prop, cover, cradle and comfort my body perfectly. I slept well. Every night.

Before we had children, my husband and I never made plans for anything. Ever. We typically ate dinner at about 8 pm, on the floor or on the couch in front of the television. We had both a dining room table and an eat-in kitchen, but we were just too informal for that. With the exception of having to let the dog outside, we had few responsibilities that dictated that we be home at any specific time of day. It was easy and normal for either one of us to stop for drinks with friends after work or to run errands at odd hours.

I miss parts of my old life. Before becoming a responsible, married, home-owning adult with children, I was a different person entirely. In fact, I suppose I have gone through several incarnations of myself over the course of my lifetime. The person I was in my youth is vastly different than the person I became in high school. That person doesn’t even resemble the person I became in college. And, that person differs, still, from the person I became as a young professional. And, even so, that person differs greatly from the person I became as a newlywed. And, of course, that person is so different from the person I became when I became a mother.

I miss some (but certainly not all) of the pieces of my former selves. I don’t want to go back to being any of them, though. Make no mistake about that.

It is interesting to me how as a mother I have the privilege to watch a child become a full person even while I am certain I, too, am becoming more of myself each day. I suppose growing, changing, developing and evolving never really end in a human life.

Each day I will try to learn more about myself and answer questions like, “Why did I like ‘Magic Mike’ enough to refer to it as a ‘film?'” and, “Why do the Olympics make me sad that I never thought to pursue a career in beach volleyball even though I have never played volleyball of any kind?” And, I will learn more about the little ones I hope to mold into responsible men, hopefully answering questions like, “Why do little boys think kicking each other in the head is hilarious?” and, “What makes automatic flush toilets so terrifying to a 4-year old?”

It is poetic, and aggravating, never to be a completed model– always to be a work in progress. But, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know that the best thing to do upon making this realization is to have a glass of wine and stop worrying. My oldest son always wants a cup of juice if he is hurt or sad. “Juice makes everything better,” he says. Yes, it does, son. Yes it does.

Laying down the law

 Having posted recently about not understanding some people’s affinity for some of the worst popular music of all time (which I insist was all made after 1995), I started thinking about pop culture more.

Truthfully, I am obsessed with movies, music and tv from the 80’s and 90’s.  I even tried out for VH1’s “World Series of Pop Culture” with a team of other pop-culture addicts.  I am still floored that we didn’t make it past the first round.  There just couldn’t have been anyone better than we were.

But, in my pondering about the pop culture of my youth in that last post, I made reference to the fact that my parents banned hardcore rap in my house right at the height of the gangsta rap movement when everything was very political and driven.  They, of course, never listened much to the lyrics to know anything beyong the fact that they were violent (or so they had heard) and used racial slurs.  A whole lot.

That has led me to think at length about other things my folks banned at our house.  Warning:  this list is odd.

1.  The Simpsons — My mother insisted that Bart Simpson (who she didn’t know by name, but instead referred to as “that child”) was “disrespectful.”  Most of my questions, however, regarding her reasons for disallowing this program in her household were simply met with a pursed-lipped sour scowl and disapproving head shake.  So, I am still not 100% certain what her beef was, but I think that she probably heard the “Eat my shorts!” tagline once and decided that it was NOT for her precious baby girl’s ears.  It’s funny how philosophical, political and deep the social commentary is on this show, though.  It’s a shame mom never got the chance to learn that guns are “for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!”

Is that Immanuel Kant or a Tracey Ullman spin-off?

2.  Married With Children — This show was notoriously forbidden in my home as a kid.  I never really showed much interest in watching it, though, so I am not really sure why my mother so vehemently protested against this in my presence.  It kinda made me want to watch it, actually, though, so let that be a lesson about getting your kids to do (or not do) what you want them to do (or not do).  But, I always thought that the show was a little…contrived.  At my age as a young teenager, I didn’t really get the winky humor.  My husband would now cringe since he was actually a big fan, but honestly, I just never really found it that appealing. 

Keepin' it classy.

Hey, Baby.

3. Dirty Dancing — Now, I know that the only reason I was not allowed to see this movie was because of the title.  I know this, of course, because my mother told me that “no child of mine is going to watch something called Dirty Dancing!”  Fast forward to a few months after the movie’s release when on a chilly February night I showed up at a friend’s house for a huge sleepover birthday party where the featured presentation involved Patrick Swayze’s gyrations and a botched back alley abortion procedure.  Scandal.  I thought for sure mom was going to turn me right around in the doorway and march me back home where everything was safe and we could peacefully watch “The Cosby Show” snuggled on the couch as a family.  But, she didn’t.  I stayed.  I saw the movie.  I had a nice time with my friends. I didn’t subsequently become a mass murderer.  Crisis averted.  And, now it’s my mom’s second favorite movie.  First is still “White Christmas.”  Nothing’s ever going to trump that.  Not even shirtless foxtrots.

NOOOO!!!! Casual shopping!!!!

4.  The mall — Well, to be fair, the mall itself wasn’t completely off-limits.  I just wasn’t allowed to drive there, be driven there by anyone who received a license after Nixon’s resignation, be left alone for any length of time there, or “hang out” there without a specific purpose.  To this day, I cannot browse.  It isn’t in my nature.  The desire for it was sucked out of my soul via my mother’s version of the  Ludovico Technique, apparently.

5.  Earrings — The rule in my household was that I would not be permitted to have piercings of any type until my 13th birthday.  Granted, piercing anything other than one’s ears was  not heard of in 1989 among the suburban masses, so their intention wasn’t to ban my becoming a punk, but was to ban my growing up too quickly since earrings somehow signified (perhaps to my father more than to my mother) maturity.  My mom’s needle-phobia wasn’t putting her in a position to want to rush me out to Piercing Pagoda to watch a dart gun press metal alloy through her daughter’s flesh, either, I am sure.

As a parent myself now, I wish I could say that I am more reasonable than my parents were, but that would be a lie.  I am totally irrational and have ridiculous rules and look forward to embarassing my children by dancing at their school dances.  One might say that I have learned NOTHING from my parents’ example.  They made things difficult for me and they made me want them to walk three steps behind me in public.  But, I maintain that they taught me everything I needed to know about how to have a loving marriage and how to raise a clearly briliant, thoughtful, well-adjusted child.  Who is also beautiful.  And a genius.  And just awesome.

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