Breastfeeding On The Battlefield (Literally?)

I said I wasn’t going to blog about breastfeeding. It’s the proverbial dead horse, drug out in the street being beaten with sticks. Then, right after I posted that Time magazine came out with their ridiculous cover an article on extended breast feeding and attachment parenting. The cover was ridiculous, not the article, I didn’t read it. And the cover was only absurd because it was so obviously staged to be as dramatic and shocking as possible. The mother looked angry, the boy looked bored. I still managed to get away with simply reposting a few clever blogs about other opinions on the subject. Then this.

These women are breastfeeding their babies while wearing a uniform, in case, like me, you are wondering what you are looking at that is supposed to be such a big damn deal. It’s the uniform.

I wanted to leave this one alone, too, but the comments are everywhere and they are beyond misguided and insulting. The Time article featured something a little harder for me to grasp, extended breast feeding, so it was easier to ignore. I don’t know the “right” age to stop breastfeeding and I am glad it’s not up to me to decide. I know I would have quit before my kids went to school but that is me and my family, I don’t know when anyone else should quit. My thoughts on extended breast feeding begin and end with, “I don’t care what anyone else does with their breasts as long as they aren’t doing it with my family.” Show ’em off for money, whip ’em out at parties, reserve them for mealtime until your kid is 10, none of it matters to me as long as you don’t breastfeed my kid or stick them in my boyfriend’s face.

This “controversy” though, annoys the hell out of me. I don’t know a more eloquent way to say it. Above is a photo of two women feeding three babies. We should all be commenting on the fact that she is feeding two babies at once, because I find that pretty cool, or that they look amazing even with very young children and careers. I mean in general, not their breasts, but I’m not going to claim I didn’t notice. There is a lot to be said about this picture and none of it has anything to do with what they are wearing. It has a lot more to do with what they are not wearing. They are not draping blankets over their babies or hiding in a restroom stall to feed them. To quote my wonderful sister in law:

“As I understand this article, the women were part of a larger group and were doing and wearing what they normally do and wear when nursing their children. The controversy can be distracting but it can also illustrate just how much more work needs to be done for this society to understand that the function of breasts is to feed a baby, no matter when, where or how, there is no reason to hide or be ashamed.”

So, suck it, haters. <— That’s all me, that’s really not her style.

I read several articles, forums and Facebook conversations about this photo last night. People are comparing breastfeeding in a military uniform to urinating or defecating in it. These would probably be the same people that think mothers should breastfeed in the bathroom.  Others suggest it is a disgrace to the country. I can handle these haters, not because I agree, but because I think they are morons and I have no reason to respond.

The statements that spurred a response were from intelligent, well spoken women, many were advocates of breastfeeding. The following are all real quotes from women that I had conversations with on Facebook in the last 24 hours.

“Women in the military have unique situations and positions we are put into. If we let the whole world see our boobs guess what the men will be thinking about instead of following orders or working together in combat.”

I am not suggesting you should breastfeed during combat.  If your breasts are so sexy that they are still distracting men from combat days, weeks, or even months later, then yes, please keep them covered. And seriously, if you know any men that see you breastfeeding and are suddenly too horny to follow orders there should be someone you can report them to. That is their problem and they may need help.

“And as far as men being distracted by breast feeding it’s different in the military world versus civilian.”

No. I was a married to a man in the military and even though I am a mere civilian, I have known a few others. They are all pretty equally fascinated, indifferent or disgusted about breastfeeding and it varies more by their maturity level and general feelings about children and women than it does by career.

If anything, men in the military should be more disciplined and better able to show restraint.

“And men by nature are always going to see boobs and think sex. Unfortunately it’s the world we live in and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. “

Not as long as we keep saying it’s okay for them to decided when and where we breastfeed because they can’t handle watching us nourish our babies without all the blood flowing to their wieners and subsequently losing the war.

“You can’t expect a man to see boobs and not get distracted from battle.”

What are all these babies doing on the battlefield?!?

“The military is no place for breastfeeding mothers, though. They should be at home.”

… making me a sandwich.

Why are we constantly lowering the bar for men? Why do we set the standard so low and how do we expect them to improve if we just assume they can’t even handle a little flesh? I remember when Stepson was about 4 and wouldn’t flush the toilet. A friend said, “Oh, boys do that, even grown up boys.”  The hell they do, not in my house. In my house everyone flushes the toilet, even if they have a penis. If you hold the opinion, “boys do that so it’s ok” then boys will think it is okay and continue to do it. I hold this in the same reguard as, “She had it coming, did you see how she was dressed?” It is the basic idea that men are not responsible for their actions, we are.

I have never been rendered useless at my job by a shirtless man, even if he was attempting to be sexy and not just feeding a baby. (I would probably find a hot, shirtless guy bottle feeding a baby way sexier than just posing, but that might just be me… I’d still get my job done.) It’s time we start sending that message, too. Men do actually have the same capacity for self control as women. Men, we expect you to protect eachother in battle, even if you did glance a little side boob yesterday.

And since we are on the topic of breast feeding… I think we can all agree breast is best. You already know the facts or you can Google it yourself. The controversy over public breastfeeding will probably take quite some time to die down but I’d like to see the breastfeeding controversy evaporate for one simple reason. I didn’t breastfeed and I’m tired of hearing how my children are somehow less than children who were breastfed. I have two teenage daughters that are not obese. They are gifted. They never get sick. the only reason they ever miss school is because I let them take a “mental health day” when they need one. I expect the boys to follow a similar pattern, or if not I expect it will have little to do with how they are fed. Breastfeeding didn’t work for our family but my formula fed babies are perfect.

There ya go, everything I never wanted to have to say about breast feeding. Be kind to eachother in the inevitable debate. May the odds be ever in your favor.

And GO:

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Keep It In Your Pants

I know, I know, I just blogged yesterday, but this has been on my mind for awhile and then Friday night it became very relevant so I need to get it out there in the world so I can stop being so pissed off.

Every time I see another news story about yet another horny, stupid politician or celebrity sending pictures of his wiener to girls he met online or sleeping with his babysitter or some other ridiculous type of affair my first reaction is: *giant eye roll* Could you be any more cliché? *yawn* My next thought is, that is so, so sad.

In my observation it seems there are two kinds of guys who cheat or very nearly almost cheat by showing off their junk to random strangers or buying them enough expensive jewelry to put my kids through college. First there are the misogynist b-holes that treat women like objects and don’t care who they hurt. This guy is handsome and charming until you get to know him. He usually only has a wife and family to look socially acceptable so dragging them through a media circus isn’t the hell for him it would be for most people. He is more concerned about how it affects him and how it makes him look.  He will continue sleeping around and cheating until he loses the ability or women are too repulsed by him. This guy is a jerk and I hope he ends up alone. Ya know that guy drinking alone at the end every bar who says his kids won’t even talk to him because his ex-wife is a vindictive bitch? That’s who this guy should and will turn into. Rot.

Then there is the more common cheater. This guy is generally a good guy, with good friends and a family he genuinely cares about. Unfortunately he is also an insecure child that lacks the skills to acquire the validation he so desperately needs, so instead he asks random women to look at his peepee and tell him it is very big and he is very powerful. This type is more depressing than the first because you probably know him and like him. Seeing his family fall apart is sad for everyone and eventually he will regret it, if not immediately. He will probably get a new wife or girlfriend and he will probably pull the same stupid crap with her because he probably will not learn how to communicate open and honestly to get the validation he needs to feel secure.

I know women cheat, too, but that’s not what I’m ranting about today so just sit down and read and don’t get your boxers in a bunch. I’m pissed at the boys right now, girls can have a turn some other day. Trust me, I’ve got some cheating wife stories.

My friend’s husband left her for a woman he met on a dating website. Two weeks ago. So, obviously it wasn’t a chance meeting with destiny (barf) and they are not madly in love. He needs someone to tell him his penis is as big as his ego. I would think my friend’s complete and total dedication during his serious (and really gross) illness would have been validation enough for both his penis and his ego but no, this spoiled brat needs more. I hadn’t mean to make this so personal but, like I said, I’m pissed.

I’m angry on behalf of all the women who stroke the egos of these children only to have the real children in the situation get wounded by their asshole father. That’s why I get depressed when I see news stories about idiot politicians and celebrities doing stupid things that destroy their lives, because while the rest of the world is clamoring for more details and more dirt I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know about his wife and what she did or did not do to “deserve” his indiscretions. I don’t want to think about his children because clearly he was not thinking about them when he picked up the phone, keyboard, check or condom. While they make the pages of People all I can think about is that these are people.

When Boys Become Heroes

My (former) Stepson leaves for basic training for the National Guard next week. (Yes, I know, just when you thought you had my family figured out I throw in another player. Get used to it, there’s more.) He’s 17 years old and for another week he is still a junior in high school and then he leaves to begin his training as a soldier.

I always thought of soldiers as men and women, never teenagers just learning to drive, girls giggling about boys, boys giggling about farts, kids playing football in the yard. Soldiers are heroes, every one of them, for the choice they made when they signed on the dotted line. Soldiers, in my mind, are not the kid I just stopped buying Pokemon cards for not that damn long ago.

As I wrestle with this dichotomy I realize my own parents must have, too. My Oldest Brother is a Marine. I have only vague memories of the time right before he left for basic training and they are most likely skewed by time and my own ideas. I don’t remember being upset that he was leaving or fearing for his safety. I was probably only 12, though. When you are 12 and come from a safe home in a safe environment you tend to assume the world is safe. It still seems strange to me, though, that I have no memory of my parents’ reactions or emotions during this time. As an adult, I find that I am intuitive and empathetic. Was I dense as a child or just wrapped up in my own little world? Probably both.

I do remember conversations on our kitchen phone and a letter he sent. He liked Guns-N-Roses and wondered if I did, too and wanted to know if I could send him some of the books I lifted from the school because he wanted to read everything. I remember that his visits home were always a “big deal” and he looked different every time we saw him. And I remember that suddenly my parents were worried about a possible war and I was probably 15 by then and war was something that only happened in history books and the background of Mash. I can tell you so much about 15, what kind of clothes I wore, parties by the boat docks, the notebook my friends and I passed, the fights we had, the trouble I got into, but I can tell you very little about Desert Storm.

My brother was deployed to Saudi Arabia and it might as well have been Narnia, to me. He was still very far away, just in a different far away place. CNN was on night and day at our house. I wasn’t doing much to make anything easier on my parents, I know that. My Middle Older Brother went to University and that left just Youngest Older Brother and me at home and I’m pretty sure we were both ridiculously naughty for the entire year.

It was some time during that year, though, that I started to pay attention. I still wasn’t worried but I was starting to form opinions, such as, my brother should come home immediately because war is dark and ugly and bad. I think this was my mother’s doing. She had a notebook with poems she wrote as a teenager and newspaper clipping of friends that didn’t make it home from Vietnam. (Note to self: Ask mom if that actually existed or if my memory is skewed yet again.) If our home had a soundtrack of the year it would be Bob Dylan and The Beatles and the steady drone of CNN in the background. You can’t help but form opinions under those conditions.

I have my opinions. I would not choose the military for Stepson, but it was his choice and I am proud of him. It was expected. Everyone he looks up to, including his father, my ex-husband, is or was in the military. It was not a surprise. It was only a surprise that the idea “someday he will join the military” suddenly became the reality that he is leaving next week.

I worry now. It started when Oldest Brother was no longer in danger. His time in Saudi Arabia was over, he was back to Hawaii and would be home soon, this time for good. A “big deal” was scheduled and everything was a celebration. That is when I started to worry, not about the dangers of war, but that something else would happen and he would not make it home, something more realistic than a war, like a car crash or a mugging or some freak accident. I’m an adult now and I don’t need to channel my fears into something more realistic. I have no problem worrying about the most far-fetched of possibilities, let alone the very real danger of joining the military in troubled times.

I always thought of soldiers as men and women, not teenagers just barely older than I was when I could not grasp the reality of war. But they almost all start that way, as kids, not even old enough to drink legally, but prepared to serve their country in any way necessary.

That is the thought I want to leave you with this Memorial Day. We grill out, we swim, we gather with friends and we do it all under the protection of our armed forces, the sons and daughters of our friends and family.

Do not forget.

In The Company Of Rockstars

Going out with rockstars can be fun but there are some drawbacks.

They always need a drink. You can never just walk out of the house empty handed.

They’re messy. You never know when you might get puked on, peed on, drinks spilled on you… but you still have to dress nice because they are apt to draw attention your way at any moment, either by being loud and unruly or incredibly charming.

Everyone wants to talk to them, touch them and give them things and tell them how wonderful they are right up until all the attention goes to their head and they turn into a hot emo mess, then their adoring fans scatter, taking their trinkets and smiles with them.

Sometimes they’re weird and do weird things that don’t make any sense.

One on one they are okay people but in groups they become even more unpredictable and prone to hysterics.

Rockstars?

I’m seriously laughing out loud at what some of these stock photo companies consider rockstars…

Did I say rockstars? I meant toddlers…

I took Sharkboy and Little S shopping today. It was meant to be a quick trip but it is rare and exciting for us to be out during the day on a weekday and it is always an adventure to travel anywhere with young children. I wanted to pick up a Baltic amber necklace for Little S because he finally has teeth coming in, and they are coming in fast and fierce now. Sharkboy has one of his own that he was getting annoyed about sharing. I’m not going to advocate teething jewelry because I am still sort of shocked that it seems to work, I’m just going to quietly keep putting my boys in their necklaces everyday and if someone asks I will admit that it seems bizarre but they are more pleasant children in the evenings when wearing their jewelry. If you want to try it I recommend Inspired By Finn online. That’s where we got Sharkboy’s necklace. They were out of the kind we wanted when I went to order one for S and since I had the day off and access to the van we trekked over to the local natural parenting store.

The plan was to head straight home but then I saw it, a Block Sale sign! Sure you can go to block sales on Saturday… if you don’t mind picking through the junk all the stay at home parents and retired people left behind on Friday. The boys were loaded up on Burger King, (lettuce and pickles can be vegetables, right?) and we still had a little while until nap and I had cash in my pocket, perfect block sale conditions.

In case I have not previously mentioned it, my kids are unbelievably cute. They attract a lot of attention in public. Sharkboy is usually quiet but he has terrific manners and a killer smile. Little S is pretty noisy but he is charming and social. And they are just so incredibly handsome. It really is like going out on the town with rockstars. I also do a lot of weird, somewhat non-conventional things. We use cloth diapers, my boys wear jewelry and BabyLegs, I “wear” Little S in a carrier. Put all that together with a social butterfly mother and it’s hard to even get out of the car without someone striking up a conversation. Usually I don’t mind and I must have that look because people talk to me a lot. It’s not always friendly. I had an elderly woman tell me I was making life harder for myself by wearing my baby. It was July and she insisted he was suffocating in his sling, as if going from the hot car seat in the car to the hot car seat in a cart would be so much cooler and more comfortable… in July. Just today someone asked me if Sharkboy’s BabyLegs were knee highs. Maybe, dickhead, does it matter? They are keeping him warm in the rain, meanwhile your kid is shivering. I’ve had more comments than I can count or repeat about how gross and unsanitary cloth diapers are. They’re not, but I don’t bother to argue or correct, I just keep quietly saving money.

Maybe BabyLegs deserve their own blog! ❤

Today, though, we had almost entirely positive comments from the boys’ adoring fans. Sharkboy said he was hot so I simply pulled his BabyLegs off from under his shorts, immediately attracting the attention of other moms. I shared the code for the huge sale going on right this minute. (FAN50, 50% off of everything AND free shipping!) A young girl asked me a ton of questions about cloth diapers before I finally realized she was a mother and interested in switching. We always save the cutest prints for going out in public, just in case anyone is interested. Everyone oohed and ahhed  over Little S waving and gave Sharkboy cookies and kool-aid so he was able to impress them with his stellar manners.

(It rained off and on, giving me a chance to mention that we had our towels with us for Towel Day. In honor of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and many other amazing books and an all around brilliant man, I happened to be  carrying a towel today, which oddly, no one asked me about. Please refer to my comment section for an explanation. The towel made a nice umbrella for S.)

Then we found a slide. And other children. Getting Sharboy back to the van became a scene from Get Him To The Greek. We finally returned home three hours later with a new necklace, books about owning and running a bar, new toys, a diaper bag, empty cups, mustard stained pants, a shirt covered in kool-aid and two hot emo mess little boys. My little rockstars needed a nap.

How Not To Scar Your Children: Part One

Last night I took a shower at midnight. I couldn’t sleep, I knew I wouldn’t have time for one in the morning and it’s the only way to be truly alone in my house. If everyone is sleeping no one needs to use the potty rightthisveryminute or barge in for eyeliner or knock on the door with questions. This gave me time to enjoy the finer things in life like leaving conditioner on for the recommended amount of time, exfoliating with my daughter’s body wash and other luxuries.

When I got out I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized my stay-at-home-mom tan had gotten out of control. I’m a glowing white Irish girl that spends as much time outside with the kids as possible. My flip flop tan lines are enviable but the tan ends just above my knees. My arms are a lovely bronze but my chest is barely beige. After almost no consideration or forethought I decided to use the sunless tanning lotion I had leftover from last summer. Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.

How To Use Sunless Tanning Lotion:

  • Make      yourself a drink. I prefer Bacardi and Diet Pepsi but you can switch up  the recipe to fit your needs.
  • Use a  good brand. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Don’t buy this stuff at the dollar store. I like Loreal. The gradual types are wonderful for luminescent girls like myself.
  • Exfoliate. It feels good. Slough off the dead skin cells.
  • Use a light layer of lotion on your wrinkles and creases, around your knees and ankles and such.
  • Wash  your hands after applying it to each area so you don’t get a build up on your hands. Use hot water and soap.
  • When you are done, use a tissue to wipe around the wrinkles and creases and anywhere else the lotion may have built up.
  • Do not get dressed for 15-20 minutes. Let it soak in and dry up.
  • Clean  up mistakes with facial astringent on a tissue.
  • Finish your drink. Look fabulous

Just be aware, you may look fabulous, but you stink. Even the pretty scented tanning lotions I picked up at Bath And Body Works smell awful. Don’t do this before you go out on the town. A random Tuesday at midnight is a good time to start.

I applied my sunless tanning lotion in peace, taking time to make it worthwhile, and on a whim I used some of the leftover lotion from my arms on my face. I have to be really careful with this because even though I have pretty good skin it doesn’t take much to upset the balance and give myself a raging zit. Also, as you can imagine, there are a lot of ways to mess your face up with sunless tanning lotion. (All the same steps as above but use a lot of regular face lotion on your angles and around the eyebrows, ears, mouth and hairline.) Don’t worry, I’ve got this covered.

This particular sunless tanner boasted “instant radiance” and I was indeed able to admire a very light tan immediately. I was quite pleased with it… until I looked in the mirror. My face was not orange or blotchy or even covered in acne.

I was sparkling light a Twilight vampire. I blinked and did a double take but it was not from the Bacardi. “Instant radiance” is apparently code for “enough glitter to relive 1999.” I washed it in hot water, then cold, then scrubbed it with astringent but I already knew it was useless. I lived through 1999 the first time, I know how hard body shimmer is to remove and I know how absurd it looks on a face.

So, here I am on this random Wednesday with my ultra sparkly, mildly radiant facial tan, thinking this is probably one of the least embarrassing looks I’ve sported while dropping the girls off at school. I’m an embarrassing mom sometimes. I try to keep in mind how important their social life and outward image is at this age but they need to respect that sometimes their ride to school is my social life and I rarely have time to remember I have an outward image.

It is for this reason that I decided our family deserved some level of anonymity while I write this blog. I’m aware that most readers came here because I begged you to on Facebook so you know exactly who I am. I’m slowly pulling in more readers though and I’d like to embarrass my children as little as possible.

That is why I am giving them ridiculous, embarrassing nicknames instead of using their real names. I suspect that from time to time I will write things about our family that they do not want to be associated with. Little S is my 10 month old that slithers like a Little Snake and he is little and his name starts with S. Sharkboy is my 2 year old son. He had a full set of teeth by the time he was one and unfortunately he uses them aggressively at times. My 17 year old daughter, Goldilocks, or more likely, Goldy, because I am lazy, has locks of gold. Beauty is incredibly vain. I’m kidding but she did pick her own nickname. I believe her excuse was that she loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast and we often use Belle as a suffix to her real name. (Begging the question, why not Belle?)  Confusingly enough, in contrast to Goldy, Beauty also has dark hair and eyes like Belle. Her “boyfriend” was shocked to discover she would not be having a quinceanera. (Boyfriend is in quotes because, seriously, they are 13.)

The Barkeep was hard to name because I don’t expect him to like anything I pick. I thought about The Grill Master but in case you have not noticed I like to keep it short. I have been up every 5 minutes while writing this to drag Little S away from Sharkboy, the cats, the DVR, the mess in the corner… I can’t be expected to type out long names.

Now that you’ve met my family feel free to tell me a little about yours.

Mind Your Pints And Quarts

Historians can’t agree on the origin of the phrase “Mind your Ps and Qs” but I like the one that suggests they are referring to pints and quarts in the pub. The bartender would holler out for a rowdy crowd to mind their Ps and Qs. Don’t be a bunch of jerks. Use your manners.

Maybe it’s because I work with young children who are not prone to listening all day, or because my teenagers come home and use up what little patience I have left, but I have very little tolerance for adults who do not use their manners and even less restraint when they are blatantly rude. I am so appreciative to the parents I work with because sometimes the few minutes we converse at drop off and pick up are my only reminder that I deserve to be listened to, not because I am asserting my authority, but because I am interesting. I deserve and engaging conversation because I am an engaging person.

I don’t want to give you the impression I spend the day with naughty kids, but I spend the day with two 2 year olds, so I’m not going to try to convince you that this is easy. It is a constant challenge to remind them that there are expectations and rules and consequences for their behavior.

An actual conversation from yesterday:

Me: The couch is for your bottom, feet go on the floor.

Sharkboy: *jump jump jump*

Me: Your bottom goes on the couch.

SB: I can’t want to sit my bottom.

Me: The rule is, feet go on the floor.

SB: I can’t want the rule.

And today:

Me: It’s time to go in.

SB: I can’t want to go in,

Me: We are going in.

SB: I can’t want to go in.

Repeat until exhausted. Not really. I just go in and he follows me because after two and a half years he knows I am not, in fact, going to wear myself out playing two year old games. With anyone.

So, my patience level wass about topped off when speaking with Oldest Daughter’s school. (I’m still working on clever nicknames for everyone, sorry.) I have no idea who they transferred me to. I know her name but not what her function is or exactly why I’m being redirected to her office. She answers her office phone, “Hello?”

I’ve worked in an office. I answered the phone with the name of the business and my name so often that I sometimes said the whole spiel in my sleep.

Me: Er, hello, is this Mrs. Bungleface?

MBF: Yes.

(This is where her boss should shoot her a look for not saying, “How may I help you?” I can only assume Bungleface works in a void with no boss and no pleasantries.)

Me: I was calling about a discrepancy in my daughter’s attendance report.

MBF: Ok.

(Long pause as I wait for her to confirm I am on the phone with someone who can help me. I was not.)

Me: *explain issue* *ask question*

MBF: I can’t fix that.

Me: Oh. Can you…

MBF: If you would have called a week ago maybe.

Me: Oh. Sorry. Then can…

MBF: But nothing can be done now.

Me: You can’t even…

MBF: No.

(I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.)

Me: *too quickly and much too loudly* Youcan’tevenanswermyquestion?

MBF: Which question? No.

Maybe I just got punked. Some random teenager just happened to be in Mrs. Bungleface’s office waiting for her return and decided to answer the phone. That would explain the unruly teenager type talk we had. It wasn’t that awful, I haven’t gotten to awful yet, but it certainly wasn’t professional.

When I was 20 I was promoted to a quality control position in a carpet cleaning business I had just joined and knew nothing about. I knew nothing about our products, our services or quality control. I knew I was a young mother who needed a job and could not turn down a promotion. After two weeks of training, mostly on the telephone, answering calls from irate customers, I was given a raise. No one else wanted to talk to these people and it turned out I was well suited for it. The complaints didn’t offend me because they were not about me or my services and I could knock any call out in about 5 minutes with my bag of tricks. I’m going to share my secret with you now.

Manners.

Please, thank you and the ultimate get down to business and get off the phone conversation ender, “How may I help you?” Now, in troubled times, like say the carpet cleaner kicked a poodle when he though the owner wasn’t looking, I had to pull out, “What can I do to make this better for you?” Which is the same thing but it sounds more serious. Commit that line to memory. Make it a habit. Next time someone is in your face about something simply ask, “What would you like done about this?” Most of the time you will find they just wanted to bitch about it for awhile.

This brings me to Ms. Awful. I called her to return some tiny doll sized swim diapers I bought for my normal sized children.

Me: Hi, I am calling about the email form I was asked to fill out for returning these diapers. Your return policy does not indicate that I must make an even exchange but that seems to be the only option on the form.

MA: Uh huh. I know.

Me: So, what do I do to get my money back?”

MA: If there wasn’t nothin’ wrong with ’em you can’t get your money back, you have to just send ’em over for a new pair the exact same.

Me: Well neither of these pairs fit and the bigger sizes don’t come in the same print so I…

MA: Now you just hush and wait. Too small ain’t our fault so the policy says if there’s nothing wrong you need to exchange them.

Me: The policy I was sent in an email after I requested help returning them indicates they must be exchanged, your return policy, though…

MA: I know what our return policy is, I work here.

The whole conversation went pretty much the same until I asked to be connected to a supervisor who was quite helpful. You can argue that this isn’t about manners, but rather poor business practice, and I would have to agree, but I think manners are a part of sensible business.

I try not to judge people based on their fashion sense or lack thereof, even if they are wearing black socks with tennis shoes and shorts. I try to ignore weird habits, close talking, bad breath and many of the other small indicators we often use to pre-judge one another, but I can’t go around just automatically liking everyone. I used to do that and it got exhausting. I need some indication of who is worth getting to know and who should remain a  friend of a friend.

Manners.

Good people have good manners. I know it’s not really that simple but… yes it is. Say please and thank you, don’t interrupt, chew with your mouth closed and hold the door open, for everyone, not just women and the elderly but especially mothers with a load of children and groceries and the elderly. Listen and respond. Take turns. Share. Cover your mouth when you yawn or sneeze and say excuse me if you burp or bump into someone. All of these things indicate to me that you have a sense of decency and the ability to form good habits and interact in society. If you can’t handle that, I don’t want to share my pints and quarts with you.

What Dads Really Want For Father’s Day – A Mom’s Point Of View

What We Really Want For Mother’s Day: Batsmoke was quite popular on Facebook with the moms but not so much with the dads, it seems. (Some dads, other dads were actually the ones sharing it! Thank you.) Yes, I stalk my Facebook shares and read their comments. It’s like an addiction, don’t judge me. I know I should wait and post this in June but the time I spend indoors, near a computer, is dwindling daily. I am a stay at home mother and childcare provider. Sunshine and a big back yard are my two best friends. I have something like a farmer’s tan already, except I call it a provider’s tan. I have lines from flip flops, board shorts and modest neckline tank-tops. That’s a lie. I apologize. On one hand, I want to be honest, but I also want you to think I’m the most awesome caregiver ever. I wear skimpy tank tops when I take the kids out so I won’t have terrible tan lines. They say the truth will set you free but I feel about the same. Anyway… See, the sun is already affecting my writing. I’m all scrambled. June. I won’t be blogging much. So, this one is for the dads to pass around on their special day. Bear with me and my social generalizations, please. I know there are a lot of stay at home dads and moms who work outside the home, too, but it’s much easier to write from one perspective- my own.

You can only buy so many dragon figurines, neck ties, grill accessories, witty t-shirts and such before even you get sick of them. Dads are difficult to buy for. Most men just buy the things they want and need. In their defense, and falling off the feminist bandwagon once again,  this is often because they have a much shorter list. You can’t go wrong with a quality steak, a night out doing something he enjoys or a massage from a professional, but I think there is something higher on his list.

I think that Dad would like to come home and not be in trouble for something, or if he is in trouble I think he would like very much to flash one of these puppies and have it end abruptly. I go to great lengths to not be a nag. By “great lengths” I mean I attempt to count, take deep breaths and meditate away my nagging feelings, but I have to admit sometimes, “I slipped in the cat puke you didn’t clean up and fell face first in your dirty laundry,” just slips out before I can strike a yoga pose.

I’m not a control freak. If I were, I would not have time to blog. That being said, I do have a routine, a system, a way of doing things to keep everything running smoothly in the house that chaos built. I communicate these routines and their minor changes often. I have no idea why. Instead of a lengthy and unnecessary diatribe I will just say that the dad in our house, like dads in most houses, needs reminded of the routine more frequently than I am currently keeping up with. I’m certain he knows this, I tell him often. Yet I am also just as certain he would like to duct tape his “get out jail free” card to my mouth sometimes.

Then there’s the broken stuff. For us, it’s half the house, literally. I would like the addition finished. I would like to take all this junk and spread it out across the finished house. I’d like the dryer to stop squeaking. Ya know, I might just pass him a card on that one, I bet I can figure it out. I’d like our screen doors to make sense and not create a maze on the front porch. Just little things, well, and that half of a house. I’m sure he’s tired of hearing it, even when I dial down, count backwards from ten and say it in a calm voice.

I think dads would like to come home to Batsmoke almost as often as we’d like to use it. I think we should propose some sort of trade. Dad takes the kids at least one night a week while Mom disappears in a puff of smoke. She returns slightly tipsy to a mostly clean house with safe, happy, sleeping children who may or may not have followed their usual routines, but she does not comment on or question Dad’s methods. Dad, meanwhile, enjoys a beer without a single word of nagging about anything, even the laundry.

Do you think it will work? Me neither. Get him one fo these instead.

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