A Revenge Greater Than Living Well

After every breakup, dissolution or just plain bad ending, I always remind myself  that living well is the best revenge. I keep moving forward, bettering myself, learning from my mistakes and building on my experience. I mean, there is usually a lot of drinking and dancing, and eating ice cream in my pajamas, too, for a short while, but then it’s all about progress.

I work hard to make any partnership work, whether in business or in my social life, so that if it does not I can end it with no regrets, knowing I did my part. I don’t burn bridges but that’s only because I don’t bother to look back. I might be one of those super cool chicks that is above concern, but it’s more likely that I’m just too lazy to waste my energy on nonsense that won’t further my own agenda in any way. Putting others down, trying to make them miserable, trying to undo what they have done, none of that helps me or my family in any way, so I have no time or energy to spend on it.

The problem with this sort of laziness or indifference is that it leaves you open  to attack. When you turn your back to walk away it makes it very easy for others to gather there and talk. By the time I reached “real” adulthood there wasn’t anything you could say about me that hadn’t been said so I was pretty much desensitized to the BS that is gossip and slander. If you wanted to light a fire under my ass and really get me riled up you had to attack me where it hurt, my soft spot, the people around me.

I would get riled up, all right, and start calling upon all my resources, which are many, and then… there we were, all my “resources” and I, hanging out, maybe having a drink and just generally living well, and suddenly whatever mission we were on to protect one another seemed far less important. We were living well and that truly is the best revenge. Or, so I thought.

Until the night when someone asked me if I had heard what someone else was saying about me and all that is mine and I had to reach for a picture in my mind of that person’s face and could not conjure up an actual memory of why they would hate me so thoroughly. It was then, as I heard stories of my Facebook being stalked and my name being drug through the mud, that I realized living well leads to a far greater revenge. Forgetting.

Imagine going out of your way to make someone miserable and they are simply too happy to notice or care, how frustrating that must be. Makes ya laugh, doesn’t it? Let’s do it. Let’s choose to live so well we forget others that would have us stew in their misery with them. I know it’s not easy. I know it may involve some amount of going out drinking and dancing and then coming home to eat ice cream in your pajamas. What exactly do you think living well is? That sounds like the good life to me. Let’s move forward, let’s choose to forget… whoever that guy was.

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Sharkboy’s Potty Training Chronicles – I Drooled

Just a quick update.

Sharkboy: *frantic* Mama, I drooled. I drooled. I drooled. I drooled.

(This is the new thing repetition until I come up with the appropriate response. I have never heard him say drool before and I rarely say it, myself.)

Me: You drooled?

Sharkboy: I drooled.

Me: Are your teeth bothering you?

Sharkboy: No? I drooled?

Me: Like, out of your mouth?

Sharkboy: No.

(long pause)

Sharkboy: Out of my penis. On the floor. I drooled. Come see.

He walked over to a tiny spot on the floor and pointed. Sure enough.

Me: Did you pee?

Sharkboy: Yes. I peed. From my penis. On the floor.

You can’t laugh at kids when they are upset. Especially while potty training. So, I put a positive spin on it. He had been running around in his underwear playing and started to pee. But he realized he was peeing and stopped. He finished on the potty and got a sticker.

Out Late

I didn’t take Goldy to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, not because she was only 6 but because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle. I could have and sometimes I think I should have, but I didn’t. Millions of other parents around the globe did.

Some parents would not even let their children read the books. Is that still a thing? Do people still boycott Harry for being into witch craft? I started checking them out from our library for Goldy when she went into kindergarten because she already showed a high aptitude for reading and I wanted her to read something that would captivate her and draw her is so she would want to read. It worked. I started reading to her at the beginning of her kindergarten year and by the end of the year she was reading herself book two. I read them, as well, so when I heard about the boycott and parents not appreciating the way Harry got away with so much and never got in any trouble (except almost getting killed a lot, the apparently missed all that?) I wanted to ask, “But did you read the book?”  Harry Potter isn’t Curious George. He doesn’t go around letting all the zoo animals out of their cages and win and medal for putting them back. He saves the world, you know. Even us Muggles. It just goes to show, someone will judge you no matter what you do.

Maybe you’ve already guessed this isn’t about the Harry Potter series, though. It’s about including your children in something you love, even when others disagree with it. It’s about sharing an experience. It’s about taking your child out of the house past their bedtime.

When I taught preschool I knew a 4 year old boy who watched The Dark Knight before bed every single night. His dad loved it so he loved it. That movie scares the hell out of me so I asked him, “Isn’t it scary?” He told me a little but that Batman was a good guy and he saved everyone and anyway, he liked scary movies. Of course, at 4, there was a lot he didn’t grasp about the plot of the movie, but he still loved it. I let the girls watch a lot of things other parents may find questionable, but I doubt the boys will be watching The Dark Knight or it’s sequel at four. This kid, though, he was fine. He didn’t have nightmares, he wasn’t violent in class, he was just an ordinary four year old boy that liked scary movies. His parents made a choice I would not have made and he was still okay. Even if he wasn’t okay, though, even if he turned into a little freak, it would not be my my place to pass judgement.

I wondered for a moment, after the shooting in Colorado and all the hoopla that surrounded it, if he went to the midnight premiere. He would be about 7 now and his dad really loved the Batman movies and he was one of those dads that really enjoyed his kids and I could totally see him taking his kid to see The Dark Knight Rises at midnight so they could share that experience. He knows what his kid can handle. He knows that he likes scary movies. It’s not a choice I would have made because just the previews with Bane terrify me but I can’t say this enough, it wasn’t my choice to make.

Statistically, a six year old is more likely to be harmed in their own home or by a babysitter than at a theater, even at midnight. There is no sensible reason to believe that your child will be permanently damaged by a late night movie. There is no reason to fear for their safety at a midnight premiere.

Two weeks ago if someone had asked you, “Do you worry that your child might get shot in a movie theater?” You would say no, that thought had never occurred to you. (You can lie to yourself and say that yes, you considered that, but don’t try to lie to me.) If, two weeks ago, someone had asked you, “Do you ever worry that your child may be abducted from your home or hurt by a babysitter?” you would most likely have admitted that yes, sometimes the thought crosses your mind. Because that actually happens. It’s in the news more frequently than any of us want to discuss. Theater shootings, pretty uncommon. You are not a bad parent for assuming your child is safe in a theater, even at midnight. The parent shamers would have you believe that they saw this coming but their pants are bursting into flames as they read this.

My parents used to take us to midnight mass on Christmas. Church bombings and shootings are also statistically more likely than theater shootings. As previously mentioned, I had to take my kids to Walmart at midnight for medicine and the crime rate at Walmart is ridiculous.  Bad things happen everywhere at every time of day but not commonly in theaters, even at midnight. No one could have predicted this. I’m just going to keep reiterating this point until the blamers and shamers of the world get it. Stop blaming the victims of this tragedy for wanting to share an experience with their children.

I’m running out of time so I just want to throw in a side note for the parents of the infant that was also present. Again, it’s not a choice I would have made, but not for the reasons you are thinking. We took Sharkbaby to movies when he was really small because it was the only way to get out of the house. We always went to late shows so he would sleep and planned to leave if he woke up. He never did. We never had a single problem. I would not have taken him to a premiere because it would be too crowded for my personal preference and because I would not have wanted to leave in the middle if he woke up. I assure you the teens and 20 somethings in the theater were louder and more unruly than any of my own babies ever have been in a movie. I saw a comment somewhere where a woman said, “Even if you leave the theater or give him a bottle, babies are loud, that split second before you get the bottle in can be ear splitting and I want to hear my movie.”  She must not go to midnight premieres of geeky movies. People talk, laugh, clap, yell at the screen, and have a good time. I’m assuming a lot of these blamers and shamers aren’t familiar with a good time, though.

Before you judge me, don’t forget, I’m judging you, too, for your absolutely certainty that you are a better parent or a better person. Be smug. Be self righteous. Just know that not everyone is judging you through your eyes and your experiences so we are not all as enamored by your angry words.

Throwing Stones

I really wanted to spend this nap time either drinking, reading, or both, but I made the stupid mistake of reading Facebook first. So. Much. Judgement. And ya know what? That’s normal. That’s cool. We are all making judgments all of the time. Sometimes they pass idly through our heads as we witness or read about an event, other times they strike us passionately and we feel compelled to react. Many people reach a certain age or point in life when we realize that our judgments, while valid, may be based on limited information. We can only judge a situation based on our own experiences and that doesn’t make us right to anyone but ourselves. In other words, sometimes we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about.

For example: The Barkeep works late, often past 2am, leaving me at home with Sharkboy and Little S.  One night both boys were sick and not sleeping well. I gave LS some Tylenol and carried him over to the couch to give SB a dose, as well. LS leaned over and threw up all over my hand and the full medicine bottle. I dug through the medicine cabinet and found less than a dose of ibuprofen. My options were fairly limited. Sharkboy was miserable and needed something to help his fever immediately but it would be hours before The Barkeep was home and then we would have to wake him up to give him medicine. So, there we were, past 11pm on a week night at my least favorite store. We were in and out quickly. I gave SB his medicine in the car and they were both sound asleep when we got home. I smelled like puke so I took one of my famous middle of the night showers and then of course I couldn’t sleep so I jumped online. Facebook informed me that one of my friends had commented on a status and my jaw plopped on the computer desk when I read,

“What kind of idiot takes her kids to Wal Mart at ANY time, get a babysitter for that.”

Indeed. I could not agree more. I would actually rather set my hair on fire during a root canal than go to Walmart, let alone take my kids, but I live in the real world. Target closes early and I do not have an au paire. I do not know what sort of “free and always available babysitter fantasyland” she has been hanging out in but I don’t even get to visit that place.

The status she was responding to said,

“just saw some dumb bitch at wally world at midnight with a baby and a kid who could barely keep his eyes open. they were all in their pajamas and smelled bad. i swear you should need a lisence[sic] to have kids.”

Ah yes, the old “needing a ‘lisence’ to have a baby” insult. All I need to get pregnant is a dirty look from across the room, so I’d like to see them make that license thing work.  I could only assume since I had just been at Walmart in my pajamas, reeking of vomit, with a baby and a sleepy boy, that I was the dumb bitch.

If I had started this blog with that Facebook quote, I believe many of you would have been nodding your head in agreement, thinking yes, I too have seen that dumb bitch at my Walmart. You would have similar stories to share. But because I started the story with an explanation for why I was there, instead many of you were nodding your head thinking, yes, I have been in a similar bind.

This isn’t an isolated incident. For almost every rude thing you can say about another person I, or someone else, can offer a reasonable explanation. Think about every time someone has passed judgement on you. You probably had an explanation for why they were wrong. (Most of the time. Sometimes we legitimately fuck up. We’re human. I’m not going to judge you for that, at least not out loud. I won’t make you feel bad about it. I might call H-Bomb and tell her.)

Why, for the love of all things pink and sparkly, is it so hard to stop and think, “Hey, this looks really dumb to me, but I may not know the whole story. Kind of like that time I did a dumb thing and everyone was mean to me for it but I actually had an intelligent explanation if they would have listened.” In short, why not just mind your own business? You can actually judge your own business because you presumably know the full story, and if not, you sure as hell have no place sticking your nose in anyone else’s business.

I wasn’t bothered, by the way, by this description of my midnight outing. I never even told my friend that I was the negligent parent. The only standards I worry about living up to are my own. I don’t need to justify myself to some random woman who also happened to be shopping at Walmart at midnight. If I were to say anything to her it would just be that I judge her right back for being the kind of person who is absolute in her certainty in the wrongness of others even though she knows nothing more than a tiny sliver of one evening of their lives.

We do not learn from self righteous thinking. If you never open your mind to the possibilities you may always believe you are right but your mind will begin to stagnate and eventually you will be the only one who believes you are right.

Have fun with that.

I am reblogging this because the entire time I was reading it I was nodding my head saying, yes, yes, yes.

I’d like to add that the other night as I was buckling Sharkboy into his seat someone on a motorcycle drove by and yelled, “Hey New Bar Bitch!” And flipped me off. Instead of “new bar” though, he said the name of my new bar. I didn’t recognize what little I saw of him but he must have spent a lot of time looking at my ass because the rest of my body was in the van strapping a two year old down.

We live right down the street from a few bars, including the one The Barkeep used to own, but I’m a nice girl and hardly ever point out to people what scumbags they are, so I can’t imagine why they would target me. *shrug*

That is what it’s like to own a bar.

Ambrosia

I stopped by my friend’s house one day to pick him up so we could get a drink. We usually chat over drinks at least once a week but he recently bought a pub and it has been keeping him busy. I deserve an award for “greatest understatement” and “most patient friend” for that last sentence. My patience is running thin, though.

I stood in his doorway tapping my toe while he handled a situation at the bar over the phone. “It doesn’t matter who started the fight, everyone has to leave if there was a physical altercation. Alter… a fight.”

He had to listen to three different accounts of the fight in question and in the end he said, “I don’t care who started it, our policy is no fighting. They both leave.”

I wanted to call my mother and apologize for every summer vacation when my siblings and…

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You Have Already Won The Mommy Wars

You may not like me for saying this.

In my 17+ years of parenting I have had the privilege of experiencing almost every parenting situation possible except being a father. Though, I have been a single mother so I did sort of have to fill that role, as well. I’ve worked outside the home. I was a student. I was married. I was divorced. I was dating. I’ve been a stay at home mom and that is my role of choice but I do love what I’m doing now. I am a work at home mother.

It’s the hardest role I have taken on  and I used to work in a nursing home so I hope you appreciate how hard that is. It also has the best perks, which is saying a lot because I used to do online promotions for a live music venue that paid me half in cash and half in free drinks. Being at home with my kids and watching them grow is amazing and I would not trade it for anything.

Generally when people start the SAHM v. Working Mom debate it starts out defensive. “This is why what I’m doing is right, don’t judge me.”  Then it becomes offensive. “This is why your way is wrong. I’m judging you.” Then it snowballs into insults and personal attacks. “You think your car is more important than your kids,” and, “You sit on your butt all day and watch YouTube videos.” Somewhere in the midst of the cat fight the whining starts. “I have to work all day and then come home and cook and clean,” and, “I never get a sick day. I never get vacations.”

Here’s the thing, you’re all wrong. Well, okay, not all of you. Some parents really do choose a fancy car over being at home with their kids but it is a very small percentage of a minority of assholes. Some moms really are sitting on the couch with a bag of M&Ms and a laptop, watching 16 and Pregnant on TV and surfing Facebook on the computer. Again, a small sampling of the laziest of lazies. (When I was a SAHM these images and ideas annoyed the hell out of me because I worked with my kids all day, very much the same way I did as a preschool teacher and as I do now as a childcare provider, and the notion that SAHMs are not working can be blamed entirely on these candy popping fatties that I am so jealous of some days.)

The rest of you, though, are wrong. When you weighed the options between staying at home and going to work in the end you made the decision that was best for your family. It may have been a hard decision. You may have had a lot of reasons to make another choice but you had to do what worked for you as a family, not just for you. Almost every single parent you encounter, online and in the real world, faced that same dilemma and had to make a very hard choice.  Are you so naive or egotistical as to think that you were the only one who wrestled with the pros and cons of your choices? Do you not realize that the person across the table or across the country that you are insulting and complaining to also wrestled with those very same choices and came to the conclusion that was best for her family? Nothing you can say is new to this parent.

While you are reflecting on this I want you to consider one other important question. Why do you care? Why do you care if I stay home with my children or work my way to the glass ceiling in the corporate world? What effect does it have on you? (That is not merely a rhetorical question, feel free to answer in a comment.)

The two most common, yet unspoken, effects on each of us are also the driving force behind this battle of The Mommy Wars. They may even be the catalyst of all Mommy Wars. Guilt and envy. When you hear or read statements from another parent about their choice your own emotions bubble up inside of you. Maybe you wanted to stay home and it wasn’t feasible with your current situation or maybe you left a career you loved and realize now you miss it. Maybe the sacrifices you make to stay at home start to wear you down or the time you miss with your children while you are at work is eating away at you. Maybe you wonder what if you worked and had more money for your family or what if you stayed at home and had more time.

That is when you need to step back from the play group  or computer and remember- you made this decision. You examined the rewards  and benefits of each choice and in the end you did what was best for your family. There is no need to tear another parent down for making a different choice. It won’t change the reality of what is best for your family. You don’t have to defend yourself. You don’t have to explain your family situation. It is likely the other parent feels very much the same. Just step back , lay down your gun and choose not to fight this battle anymore. By doing what is best for your family you have already won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I *Need* A Daiquiri To Tackle Etiquette

Recently, I  answered some questions about modern social etiquette  for a local paper. If you read my blogs back before I gave them a clever name and a website then you know I’m not terribly fond of social etiquette. I think it’s silly and unnecessary. (Do not confuse etiquette with manners. I think manners are a wonderful thing to be shared liberally and with abandon.) For every rule of etiquette that I actually adhere to and believe in there is a situation or an example that is the exception.

Guys, a lecture about chivalry is next.

Here is a copy of the Q&A exchange. I answered the first question on Facebook and she liked my answer, which is journalism code for “I needed that perspective for my story” so she asked me a few more.
Again, when should you (or should you at all) declare your relationship status on Facebook?
I think it is fine to make your relationship “Facebook official” any time after you both agree in person that it is an official relationship. To avoid the embarrassment of constantly changing your relationship status and to build healthier relationships you should date longer. Even if you are only dating one person there is no reason to rush into calling it an official relationship.
Is it appropriate to date a friend’s ex? Why or why not?
Define friend. I think it depends on the friend and the ex. If you are referring to an acquaintance from the bar who changes their relationship status weekly it is probably okay to date one of their exes. If you’re talking about a friend from high school’s boyfriend from sophomore year it’s probably fair game. If you’re talking about someone you hang out with frequently and a guy she used to bring around then definitely no. That is not a situation you should put yourself or anyone else in on purpose. All that being said I don’t think I have dated any of my friend’s exes. Too weird for me.

What is the best way to break up with someone and why?
I think you should break up in person and as honestly as possible. Skip the insults, though. You don’t have to be friends but once it’s over there is no reason to be mean. I’d like to go back in time and add a “generally” in front of all of those statements. That is why I find etiquette so complicated and unnecessary. Nothing is as simple or as cut and dry as social etiquette proponents would have you believe.Is it okay to date your friend’s ex? In theory that sounds like a terrible idea but I am sure as hell “dating” my ex’s friend and it seems to be working out just fine for us. Should you break up in person? Definitely. Unless you can’t. Then you just do the best you can. Should you take your relationship slow?  I prefer mine at glacial speed. That is based entirely on my own dating history, though. You may like yours fast and furious.

This is why etiquette, in my humble opinion, is ptooey. Below is a blog I wrote in March of 2008 that I feel describes my thoughts on etiquette quite well, especially the end statement.

Without Blenders There Are No Daiquiris

(edited to apologize for the weird formatting, something to do with dictionary.com and edited again because I am a genius and fixed most of the formatting issues)
Rise above. Rise above your initial reaction, rise above your antagonist, rise above the situation. Most of all rise above what is expected of you. 
I intend to handle this with a touch of class and class is nothing more than integrity upheld.

I decided that my last blog was likely to do more harm than good so I saved a few of my favorite bits for you and closed it. I stand firm behind the basic idea, though, and that is that common sense… is not so common. Trite, but true.

When I got my first job my dad told me that I should always work towards the goal of taking over even if that was not my intent. I was thinking, “I don’t really want to run a movie theatre in Perry for the rest of my life,” but I understand now what he meant. If you go into a job or any situation with the goal of taking over you will do well. You’ll call in “sick” a little less, you’ll dress a little sharper, you’ll impress a little more and you will conduct yourself in a professional manner. You will treat your superiors and co-workers and staff with respect. You will treat other professionals in your field with respect, as well.

To me this is… common sense. It is as elementary as looking both ways before you cross the street or not eating yellow snow. These are things not in the employee handbook or the company mission statement, but they are what seperate you from the one who is overlooked, or the one who gets the promotion. If you do one day take over the business common sense may mean the difference between simply surviving or going beyond and succeeding.

So, I had been on a bit of a rant about common sense when I came across a discussion about social ettiquette and it made me wonder… why? Er… who? Um, what?

Precisely.

The discussion was about baby showers and the gift registry. Apparently, etiquette dictates you do not throw your own shower (duh) or include a note about where you are registered in your invitation. Etiquette states you do not actually even deserve the shower, but your friends and family may throw it for you because they care about you. Your guests should hear about your registry through word of mouth, most likely from the person who cared enough to throw you the shower you were unworthy of because you are a greedy whore that wants a Winnie The Pooh blanket for your unborn child and please god, absolutely nothing with The Wiggles on it.

Does anyone else think this is absurd? I never questioned it before tonight but suddenly I am perplexed. Why can’t we tell people where we are registered? The theory is that it appears greedy, like you expect your guests to bring a gift. Erm. Hm.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shower

5. a party given for a bestowal of presents of a specific kind, esp. such a party for a prospective bride or prospective mother: a linen shower; a baby shower.


So, it is somehow greedy to expect gifts at a party thrown almost entirely for the sole purpose of… giving gifts?

**I know, I know, some of you are reading this, saying to yourselves, “but its just what you do, its the proper way,” and I understand, ettiquette says so, but who came up with this notion of ettiquette? And why? And who decided on the conventional requirements we adhere to so vehemently? Who has the authority to change the rules?**

I know some of the rules have indeed changed over time. Such as, some people now believe it is okay to include a small card saying where you are registered, but never ever put it on the actual invitation. Thank goodness for these radical women pioneering the etiquette frontier for us or we may end up with two toasters and no blender. How would we make daiquiris?

Do we need etiquette if we use common sense? I don’t expect an etiquette revolution but I hope we will all start to question the rules we live by. (I used to have one of those “Question Authority” bumper stickers, little did I know by “Authority”  it meant Miss Manners.)

You may have noticed I specified women above. When was the last time you noticed a man concerning himself with social etiquette? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but… yeah, it probably doesn’t.

If your friends think you are tacky or greedy for including a note about where they can find what you need so they don’t waste money on things you don’t need my own personal standards dictate that you need new friends. Immediately. Furthermore, if social etiquette dictates that I do not deserve a party then I want nothing to do with it. I am throwing myself a party here and now to celebrate my freedom from the absurd notion that I do not deserve it.

Not getting how all of this is tied together with common sense? Take notice tomorrow of how people conduct themselves. Are they going beyond the rule book or are they following a set of directions laid out by their boss or their mother? Too many people lack the ability to think, they have to be told, and if they aren’t told they just act without thinking first.

That annoys the fuck out of me.

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