Tag Archives: Rants

Blast from the past

Was going through my hard drive today and I found this-written years ago.
I work in a bookstore. Last week a woman came up to me and asked me for help finding a book. She said she didn’t know the title, or author, however she had heard it featured on a television show recently, and it was about “How to make your husband happy, keep your house clean, and be a good woman.” One of the other things she remembered about it was that the book offered three different versions of the cover so that you could get the one that represented you best. I guess Happy Housewives is definitely getting a lot of publicity.

On a similar note, a few days ago a gentleman came up to me looking for a book that talks about why feminism is dangerous and bad for society.
Hmmn. We didn’t find the book he was searching for, but I wonder what that was…

Honestly, I have never really had the time to learn much about feminism or the issues, because I had children young. I married my high school sweetheart and was 19 when I had my first baby. And, I couldn’t work, because his job was far more important, and we couldn’t afford daycare. I couldn’t finish college because he decided we needed to move constantly. My job was to clean, cook and be a mother. I was not allowed to have a social life, or friends, but he could do whatever he wanted because he worked. It took many years of my life for me to realize that I deserved better. I deserved to be respected and valued for what I did. I deserve to be a person, not just a mother-wife.

But leaving a situation like that is not easy. I ended up alone while pregnant, and without a clue how to get along in the real world. Eventually I figured it out, but in the process I lost custody of my older children because I couldn’t afford to fight for them, or care for them alone, not to mention, losing my house and 90% of my belongings. And then I got to see first-hand what it is like to be a single mother in America.

I stayed with a relative, paying rent, and sleeping in her hallway with a playpen next to me. I worked 3rd shift with a newborn at home, for as long as I could manage. (Read: until she stopped sleeping during the day.)Then, I received assistance to put her in daycare just so I could work to make barely enough to eat with. I couldn’t save enough to get a place of our own; I couldn’t save enough to get a car. My income tax returns each year still go to paying off the student loan I took out for the education I wasn’t allowed to get. And the more I made, the more I had to pay towards daycare myself, so I never really got anywhere.

I did eventually meet someone who values me as an equal, and am currently sharing living space with him. That has allowed me to work in the evenings, when he is home, so that I am home during the day with my daughter, who is not yet in school. The vain part of me, would like to say I do this because I don’t want to have her in daycare all day long, but the fact is, I can’t afford daycare. What I make would pay for daycare and leave…nothing. So what is the point of it?

So I stay home during the day now. I clean (with Flylady), I cook, and I spend time with my daughter. (I don’t, however, vacuum curtains on any kind of regular basis.)
At night, I leave for work, working from 6pm to 12pm, generally. On these nights, I don’t get to see the person I have a relationship with. He gets home at 5:30, and I leave for work then. When I get home, he is asleep. On weekends, I work. I still don’t have a car, and haven’t for years. So I am trapped in my home, with a small child, every weekday.

Even though my life is significantly better now, I will never forget how everything was for me and the lessons I learned throughout this.

We should all be working together to make things better for all women. If they stay at home full time or work full time or have to do some thing in between to make ends meet, they need help. We all need help. The system here at least, I know from experience, sucks. Being a mother here is hard, and we have no support. Being a single mother here is nothing short of impossible. Yes, it can be done, and yes it helps to start off with an education, and skills. But, it’s damn hard. And it shouldn’t be this way.

I would like to help others. I would like to see more help for women who are stuck in situations like I was, or worse. I would like to see more support for those women who can’t leave their relationships because they can’t afford to live without them, even if their husbands/boyfriends are physically or mentally abusive. I know several women currently who would leave unhappy relationships, but cannot, because they cannot face the challenges of doing it alone, because they don’t have enough financial or emotional support. They stay for children’s sake or because they feel they’re supposed to, because society or their religion dictates.

You must be a good mother-wife, ever happy and uncomplaining. No matter if you chose to/have to work or not. There is this pressure to be Martha Stewart at all times. Pressure to have vacuumed drapes and perfect meals and well mannered spotless children. Pressure to have the perfect relationship, or to at least pretend to have the perfect relationship. Pressure to breastfeed exclusively and feed your children only organic health food that the average person can’t afford to even buy exclusively because it’s so much more expensive. It isn’t fair, or right that society and the media just add to that pressure constantly while still not offering support for moms and women in so many areas.

Who do we talk to when staying at home with three children under the age of 4 is starting to drive us insane? What kind of homemade cookie shape is appropriate for children with autistic sensory disabilities and gluten allergies? Where do we go when we can’t afford to stay home anymore, but can’t afford childcare? Who listens when we have those days where we feel like all we did was clean up poop and prepare meals? Are we not even allowed to vent because then it’s taken as us not loving our children enough to enjoy every second we have with them?

I suspect there’s more to happiness than just embracing the dusting. The problems run deeper than this. We need to feel like we have value to society and in order for us to do so we need to be treated like we have value. More value than just a trophy wives, soccer moms, second-rate employees, or maids. Value as human beings. And it needs to be easier for us to “choose” the paths we want to take in life, whether it is staying at home or working or some combination of both.

And frankly, its not just society, or men that make us feel undervalued, it’s other women, all the Martha’s and Happy Housewives out there make us feel like crap because we can’t all be perfect, but we feel like we should.

I have resisted the urge to edit this at all, despite the fact that my fingers are just dying to. This was posted at the old blog. I wrote it about three years ago, back before the sick, when I was still able to work. Things have changed a bit in my world, but it’s still not any easier for moms out there. The one thing I am thankful for is the ParentBlogger community. It’s nice to know you are not alone.

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Filed under Rants, Rambling, and Musing., Stories From the Past, Things That Suck

The Wal-Mart effect

I used to have this theory that Wal-Mart was designed specifically to make people crazy. Perhaps some marketing guru somewhere figured out that fighting couples and crying children added up to people buying any random thing in an attempt to get out of the store as quickly as possible.  I swore, every time I went there, I’d get in a fight, my kids would start screaming, and I’d end up spending at least two hundred dollars on shit I couldn’t even recall putting in the cart.

I finally stopped going there altogether, partially because their business practices suck, and partially because I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Trips to that place became something I dreaded and avoided. I’m not really a shopper to begin with, but I would have panic attacks at the idea of having to go into that place for something.

So, I saved money buy using coupons and hitting the sales at the local, grocery and specialty stores instead of going to the Super Wal-mart. It was more work, granted, but I felt, and still feel, that it was worth the extra effort. Every time we got meat or produce from Wal-Mart, it sucked. Clothes-sucked. I realized we had been sacrificing quality for convenience.

It wasn’t until I moved to Florida that I realized how seriously some people take their Wal-Marts. Man, crack a Wal-mart joke in the wrong crowd and people get offended.I’ve had people go off on tangents, vehemently defending the store and their choice to shop there. You can tell me how your aunt worked there and it saved her life until you are blue in the face, I simply don’t care. It’s going to take much more than just your words of praise or anctedotal evidence to convince me that Wal-Mart is not pure evil. Don’t waste your breath.

The most used argument for why people shop there despite their dislike of the company behind the chain, is simply that they can not afford not to shop there. Sorry, but I can prove without a doubt that you actually save more money by shopping sales and using coupons at other stores.  You may think you are saving money, but you aren’t. For example: How often do they run buy one get one free sales? How many can’s of corn at 2 cents off do you have to buy to save what you would have, had you stocked up elsewhere when they were B1G1? Do you buy a shirt there because its only 3 dollars, but its cheaply made and you have to buy a new one every month, or do you buy a 50 dollar shirt that lasts 10 years? I understand you may not have fifty bucks to spend on a shirt right now, that’s not the point. Well, it kind of is, because it ties in to our instant-gratification mentality, but thats another post entirely.

The main reason anyone goes there, I feel,  is because it is convenient. And we are lazy. It’s much easier to run to one store for food and diapers and dog food and- Oh! Wait! You can get all that shit at the grocery store now. Well you know, sometimes, you need to pick up food and diapers and a television and some cheap pants, and don’t want to go to four stores.

Seriously though, If you shop there, I don’t hate you.  I’m lazy too, sometimes. Just don’t try to defend the place, OK? Because you can’t honestly tell me that you feel the quality of merchandise you get from them is better than your local stores. It’s not. Unless your local stores suck incredibly bad.  And if that is so, two words: Internet. Shopping.

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Seriously World.

Wow. The universe is not even making me work for blog material (Why doesn’t the WordPress spell check recognize the word “blog?”Or WordPress for that matter) and sources of joy anymore. Seriously, just this week  the internets were blessed with this awesome video of the president ducking shoes thrown at him,  I won a Wii, Amazon screwed up an order of an intimate nature,  And someone linked me this, which I have thus far, resisted commenting on, because really, need I say anything? I think that speaks for itself.

And it’s only Wednesday.

****

Yesterday, on my way to get the kid from school, I felt a resurgence of the never ending anger that wells up inside me without warning, as of late. I get angry, for stupid reasons, over inconsequential things far too often lately, and I know I need to just let these things go. I know how stupid it is. Not to mention futile. But still it comes.

There is this woman, whom I see every single day, that I hate.  I don’t know her, I have never even so much as said “Hello” to her, but I hate her nonetheless.

Every day, we all line up to get our kids. And every day she, or someone like her, pisses me off.

I used to show up in the line,  around the time school actually got out, Like we were told to in the letters we got at the beginning of the year. That is, until my kid, who is five, and in kindergarten, wandered off from the parent pick up line, and got in the line for the daycare buses. They found her eventually, and I am told it happens often, everywhere, but still. It bothered me. You are a school, it is your job not to, you know, lose my kid.

Since then, I have started arriving early, so I can get a spot in the front of the line, where I am able to watch her walk out. So she can get right in the car and is not tempted to wander off. I’m sure the teacher’s aide’s whose job it is to keep an eye on the children are lovely people, but, I just don’t trust them anymore.

I’m not the only mom that does this, and it’s not that bad, I being a book and its kind of relaxing, in a sitting in the car for an hour unnecessarily kind of way.

So, nearly every day, this one woman in particular, she does something to piss me off. Sometimes she moves the  big orange cones (used to block the second lane to keep people from making two lines or cutting out once they’ve gotten their kid), to get out before everyone else and does not bother to put them back. Sometimes instead of pulling all the way up, she stops 3-6 car lengths behind where she should be, and refuses to pull forward. Sometimes she gets out of her car and wanders off, forcing the rest of us to wait while she waddles back ever so slowly.

Yesterday, she cut through the cones just to get in front of me, who took the long way around the circle, and then forced me to sit there for an extra twenty minutes after I had the kid already, because her kids are in different grades and come out last.

If your kids don’t come out first why the hell are you there so early? Why did you cut me off, just to be first in line, if you were going to have to wait anyway, just like you always do? Why?

Ugh. Sorry for the hate, but, random stranger, I do think I hate you.

The aide eventually made her pull off to the side so I could leave.

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Parenting is Hard

I know,  it’s common knowledge that parenting is a tough job. And more and more people out in the interwebs are willing to admit that being a mom is not always sunshine and kisses. There are days, weeks, even months where you feel like you aren’t going to make it. Where you feel like they made a mistake and gave you the wrong kid. Where you think there was a clerical error in the parenting degree department and you really failed that qualification test. (What’s that you say? They don’t actually have tests? Well. Perhaps they should.)

I admit to having moments where I changed my mind. Hell, I changed my mind when I was in labor. “Um. You want me to what? Screw you guys. I’m going home.

I came dangerously close to losing it completely during the first few months with two kids under two, when one of them was beating her head against the wall (she was autistic, we just didn’t know it yet) and the other screamed night and day because she had that lovely unspecified wonder that is colic.

Some of the issues are expected, the sleepless nights and the crying. The tantrums and the terrible twos.  Some of them, not so much. People don’t usually talk about the ‘roids, and the please-don’t-do-that-in-public conversations.

As the kids get older, the problems change. You get to sleep more usually, but you have to deal with a whole new range of problems. How do you deal with a bully at school?  What about when they have their first broken heart? Not to mention algebra.

Most of this,  the spoken and the unspoken, is common to most parents. There are some difficulties specific to special needs parents, but generally, they are shared among other parents of kids with similar problems. And if you google just about any problem, you’ll probably find a blog somewhere written by someone who has been through it before. You are not alone.

Sometimes, I feel a little bit isolated over here though.

Lately, the impending holidays have been giving me some interesting new problems to deal with. For instance: How do you explain to a child who is constantly bombarded with Christmas, that she does not get to celebrate it the way everyone else does? That there will be no Santa? How do you make her feel that her holiday will be just as special and magical as everyone else, even without the Fat Man? How do you keep her from feeling left out? How do you buy things your kid will love while avoiding all of the  shitty plastic toys being pushed on little girls today?  (Speaking of shitty plastic toys, save the indie toys)

And how do you shop for kids without having any idea what they already have, what they like, or what size they wear? Do you send them gift cards or cash, as impersonal and depressing as that seems? What do you do when you have no idea if they will even get the gifts you send, or if they do, know they are from you? (A few years back, I got to take them shopping during my one visit per year I was allowed. We let them point out things they liked. and went back later to get them. We dropped them off at his mothers house the next morning, where I found she had gone out after we left for the evening, and bought and given them the exact things they picked out, even though she knew I had already bought them. Just to take away the one thing I was able to do for them that year. And another year, I was told they were not given my letters because the pictures of Myself and their sister might have made them feel bad.) What do you do if you fear their father will take any cash or gift cards you send them and use it on himself? Do you send nothing, knowing that it will only be used against you later?

Sigh. Parenting is hard. Need better manual. Need help.

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Filed under Festive Things, Rants, Rambling, and Musing., The Kid, and The Other Kids.

Stop Pretending There is a “War” On Christmas.

Do you know what war is? This.. thing, this issue non-issue over people saying Merry Christmas to you in the stores, is not a war. And if you thought this was over, just Google the news for “War on Christmas”.

I repeat, this is not a war. By any stretch of the imagination. There are no people being murdered. There are no bombs randomly exploding, there are no gross human rights violations happening here. In fact,  every time I see one of those “Keep the Christ in Christmas” car magnets, I cringe a bit. Who ever said you couldn’t have your Christ? All I recall seeing is people asking to not have it shoved down their throats all winter in public places.

I don’t personally give a shit if people want to run around saying “Merry Christmas” on Christmas, or put up shrines to the baby Jesus or whatever on their lawns, but I draw the line at setting up a manger scene on a state building, unless you are going to put up a shrine for every religion that has a holiday in December. Why can’t you just put up lights and snowmen and call it a day?

Why is it such a big deal? Why do some religions insist that they are so much better than everyone else? That they deserve shrines all over the place? Yes, I have heard that there is a large majority of Christians in this country. I have heard the argument that we are a christian nation, and as such should be able to put Christ wherever we you want him.

It’s crap. We  are actually a nation that was founded on the principals of separation of church and state. And, despite popular belief, not everyone in this country is some kind of Christian.  And so we shouldn’t even be having this conversation, as a nation. We should all agree that people can put whatever displays they want on their own properties, and say whatever they want –when they are not working in a grocery store– and move on.

You are not better than your neighbor that is Jewish, or Pagan or an Athiest, or a Santa worshipper. You do not deserve special treatment because you are a Christian. You would not like it if people started telling you “Happy Hannukkah”  or “Happy Kwanzaa” every time you went to Wal-Mart to buy Twinkies.   So, please, forget about this imaginary war and just enjoy the season. Enjoy your celebrations, if you celebrate. Enjoy your family. Be at peace. And shut up about this non-issue.

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And Then There Was Stupid…

My post about the god stuff at school has reminded me of another incident that happened almost two years ago now.

There once was a woman, in our local playgroup. She wasn’t there very long, but she sure did make an impression in the short time that she was there. I managed to piss her off in many ways, during her time with us, but this one was epic.

It started with an email about the Easter Bunny, of all things. She set up a playdate at the mall to meet up and let the kids see the Easter bunny. And she happened to set it up on the same day as something I had already planned. I didn’t care, and no one else seemed to notice, but she immediately posted this message to the group about the crisis. With four !!!! in her subject line I might add:

Sorry to say that we have two events booked on the same day..

I have the  Mall Easter Bunny ~ Lunch ~ Play

on the same day as Pando’s in house Playdate.

Please make sure that you don’t double-book yourself…

***Sorry this was the most popular day voted , the Easter Bunny leaves on the 6th, and I wanted not to tie up that week for more easter egg fun events at parks….***

Thanks, CrazyPlaygroupLady

Emphasis and text size hers.

I  sent off  this  somewhat snarky reply without thinking too much of it, other than being slightly annoyed by the.. tone and  fluorescent-ness of her unnecessary email.

It’s the day everyone voted for in my poll as well.

We have no desire to see the easter bunny here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one! There’s enough people in the group that I’m sure there will be a good turnout at both events. There’s always more than one playdate a day, it seems! 🙂

-Pando

Oh, god the shitstorm that started.  I immediately received an email from her, off of the board with the subject line, ” I AM OFFENDED!” Here is the text of that email.

I wanted to discuss this off the board…
I thought your response to my email, of kindly reminding everyone that I double booked Friday.. WAS RUDE!  Ref:We have no desire to see the easter bunny here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one! “
I am sorry that it was a popular day.. I know that you will be having many more inside play dates in the future every month, so I didn’t feel like this was a big deal since we were just there on Friday.
I hope I am reading your “Tone” wrong and you are more calm than you sounded about the Easter Bunny. It wasn’t for us adults….it is for the KIDS obviously..
Also because I know others have different beliefs and views.. that was the reason I offered to come to 1 or all three of the events in the mall that day.
My tone writing this email is a very “Hurt” and a “Offended” one.. I enjoyed our time at your play date, even though the drive was a bit far.. I had looked forward to attending another one here in the future… Now I am not sure.
Thank you, I hope you realize that I am emailing you my feelings because I cared enough about you after meeting you to hopefully understand how you could be so rude.
CrazyPlaygroupLady
Seriously, I don’t hate the Easter bunny. But aside from that, I’d thought that my tone was obviously flippant, and not at all foaming- at-the mouth-crazed-bunny-hating.  I was just pointing out that I was probably not the only one who didn’t care to see the fucking creepy guy in the crusty, pee smelling, rabbit suit. Also.. What. The. Hell?
I immediately replied to her in an attempt to do damage control. I also emailed the group with a note stating that I didn’t  hate the fucking bunny, in case I had seriously offended anyone else. The reply I sent to her is as follows.
I really wasn’t trying to be rude!! You totally read me wrong. Was absolutely NOT intended to be RUDE.   Just honest.
I said what I did because…we really don’t care about the bunny here, that’s all.. It’s not a BAD thing, just a reference to the fact that we don’t celebrate Easter, we are not Christian or Catholic (in case you didn’t notice the menorahs while you were here)…  Not rude… HONEST.  I am not anti-easterbunny, and I do participate in spring activities, but the kid really doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t want to wait in line to see some scary guy in a costume! (joking here again)
Seriously… I’m very calm  about it, it was a flippant remark.
I absolutely do not care that there is another playdate scheduled for the same day, it happens ALL the time, and it really wasn’t even necessary to inform people, there’s almost always more than one playdate on any given day… they will chose whichever one they feel like going to! It is very much NOT a big deal and I’m sorry it bothered you. I’m sorry if I scheduled a playdate that coincides with yours, i just went with what people voted for!

If you have an issue with  me or something you think I’ve done, please just call me and don’t react like this. I am the LEAST high strung person there is, and I am not at all confrontational or intentionally rude. I am however, sarcastic, and people sometimes take what I say the wrong way.

And, then, I went on with my life.  I came home a few hours later, after going out with some other girlfriends for a drink, to find that she had called while I was gone. And spoken to the Jewish man of the house. Told him all about our little issue and how much she had been offended.  At which point he pointed out that we were at least half Jewish over here, and therefore didn’t do the bunny thing. It wasn’t offensive, it just was. He stuck up for me, and tried to explain this strange concept to her. We didn’t let our kid sit on santa’s lap either. JEWISH. Apparently she had never met a real life Jew before. Around this point in  the conversation, she asked: ” But how do you guys celebrate Christmas without the Christ?

I am pretty sure that if he had had a spork handy at that time he would have stuck it right in his own eye right then.

I laughed, a lot, after he told me this, and then made the mistake of checking my email. Where I found this gem:

Thank you for the clarification..but your Honesty on the board, came across RUDE. I just don’t think, on the board, unless everyone, personally knows you. That it wasn’t written rudely. For the record, the Easter Bunny to most of us “Religious” people. Is a symbol of Spring and the celebration of Easter. Gotta love how people can separate the two, for example..those who celebrate Christmas as a Holiday wouldn’t even have that option if it wasn’t recognized as “Christmas” nationally. (OK I will get off my soap box now..)
I am trying to tap into my memory of what a menorah stands for.. I believe if I am correct it is Jewish? My girlfriends are Jewish and they celebrate Easter,Passover etc… some of the same things us Non-Denominational Christians do.. So I am a bit confused how that explains your comment, about the Easter Bunny…
I will always, make a notation, if I have double-booked something on the board to any group that I belong to, whether necessary or not, just out of politeness. Hope you guys have fun on your 2nd play date this month. Take Care.
I love the little passive aggressive shot there at the end about my ” 2nd play date this month”. Seriously, are you twelve?
To explain my comment re: “My girlfriends are Jewish and they celebrate Easter,Passover etc… some of the same things us Non-Denominational Christians do.. So I am a bit confused how that explains your comment, about the Easter Bunny… ” At this point, my head just explodes. Perhaps her friends are Jews for Jesus or something. And this email was sent after she had called and he had TRIED to explain Judaism to her. Yes, many people participate in the rituals of some of the popular holidays without actually believing in Christ.  Easter and Christmas were both there BEFORE Christ was, under different names. I know you like to think everything revolves around your beliefs, but that is just not the case. So you actually CAN have a Christmas without the Christ, (called YULE, you moron) and you CAN also choose to ignore the Easter bunny if you are JEWISH. How hard is that to get?
I’m mostly a “Pagan” myself. For the record, the bunny himself is simply a symbol of fertility and springtime. A symbol that does not have a fucking thing to do with Christ in my book. Unless Jesus was carried out of his cave by a disciple in a giant dirty bunny suit, in which case, please send me all artists renderings of said miracle.  At any rate, I generally let the kid eat unhealthy junkfood and hunt for eggs at Easter. And we don’t talk about Jesus Any more than we talk about Jesus on his birthday-that-isn’t-actually-his-birthday-so-read-your-bibles people. We celebrate the season. There. Separated.
Oh, and, we generally don’t sit our kid on strangers laps, because, that’s just fucking creepy.

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Dear Advertisers:

Please stop using the term “bailout” to  ply your crap, promote your sale or endorse your contest.

Thank you. Have a nice day.

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