And don’t just read the first line of this blog and think “Oh, okay.”
This is what a sea of bullshit clickbait has done to us. People think they can just read the headline, or the first line, and know the full story- but blogs are more than their opening sentences. Stories are more than their headlines.
We claim to love the back and forth. The uniqueness and eccentricities of life, and people. It’s what makes us, us. It’s what makes people interesting. It’s what keeps us searching and learning- yet so many people are happy with being able to be summed up by a meme, or getting their news from headlines, or passing over an article because it’s “TLDR.”
Case in point: I recently wrote a piece about my boys growing up. I started it with a humorous anecdote about my 8 year old’s newfound body odor. It was one line in a piece of over 800 words. One line that was only intended to bring in readers, while the rest would hopefully relate to how most parents feel when they realize they can’t stop the hands of time. It was a funny blog, but with a moral that hits home for everyone- kids grow up, and we have to let them. They can’t remain children.
But instead of giving the blog a read in its entirety to find that true meaning- someone decided to just read the first line. The preview that shows up with my articles when I post them on Facebook. And that preview just-so-happened to be about body odor. And that resulted in a comment from this person telling me I should bathe my child before bed.
I was mystified, and annoyed. Not only at the nerve of a stranger telling me to bathe my child, but that, of the entire article- that’s what they took away from it. One line. One line that truly had nothing to do with the rest of the piece. And that’s when I realized- I got the headline treatment. This person didn’t even read the blog. They took what they wanted, assumed what it was about, and left a snide comment based on their false assumptions.
Not only was she wrong (my child is more than capable of bathing himself, and his stinkyness is just… being a boy), but she missed out on something that might have meant something to her had she actually clicked and read. Had she looked beyond a headline and a sentence.
I don’t want to go down the route of being preachy about this. As a writer, of course I want you to read the entirety of what I write, but it’s about more than that. It’s about giving life and experiences a chance before assuming. It’s about taking time out of our days to see where someone else is coming from. It’s about caring that we have all of the facts before responding. It’s realizing that not everything can be summed up in a title, or a sentence, or a single photo.
Stop. Read. THEN if you want to be an asshole…. well, you still shouldn’t, but at least you’ll be an informed one.
My kids make me say a lot of weird things. Over the course of ten(+) years, I’ve heard myself say some things no other human should probably have to say to another human, but as they are just civilized humans in training, weird is often necessary.
Y’all, I’ve told my kids not to sniff the toilet paper after they wipe before.
I’ve instructed them more times than I care to admit that their snot doesn’t count as a snack.
I’ve questioned what they ate because of the remnants of turds the size of Buicks in the toilet.
I’ve had arguments about the importance of showering and clean underwear.
They’ve given me cause in the past to ask almost absolute strangers about the healthy colors and consistencies of shit.
I have actually said, out loud, in full mom-yell voice, “It’s NOT a bloody doodoo, it’s a tampon!”
While putting all of that into a list just makes it sound weird, and disgusting– at the times they were spoken, and with the correct context, every parent knows that they make total sense. But as many times as I’ve said all of the above– and trust me, it’s a lot– there’s still ONE thing I thought I said more than anything else. Over all the weird, random shit, the tried and true go to word for me?
Two letters, so much impact. I would put a sack full of nickles on that I have said it more in my 10 years as a parent than all my years prior to parenting combined.
Truly, I thought that when the sweet angel of mercy finally took me from this earth, “No” would be engraved on my headstone.
But it’s simply not true. As much as I object on a daily basis, I don’t hand out a succinct “NO” as often as I thought. In fact, I have a list of other shit I say far more frequently. Annoyingly. Necessarily.
All of us parents have a list of our “most frequently saids” that extend beyond the realm of “NO” (although, it is old faithful, and I do fall back on it when nothing else works.)
My list, in no particular order, is as follows:
Can you not?
SERIOUSLY. Can you NOT? (oh, a combo!)
Oh, for fuck’s sake
Because I said so.
I’m not gonna say it again (blatant lie. I always say it again. Usually more than once.)
I SAID PUT YOUR SHOES ON/BRUSH YOUR TEETH/EAT YOUR DINNER
I’d say that I was trying to do better about saying all of these things so much, but…… No.
2017 may have ended, but do you know what didn’t? The constant stream of memes that speak to our souls– and thank GOODNESS for that, because without laughing at my life as told through images on the internet, I think I’d have gone nuts here in 2018 already. Not kidding. It’s January 5th as I type this and we’re on snow day #2 already.
I’m not amused.
Or, actually, I am- because of these memes that speak to my frustrated parental soul.
Well, they can… but I don’t care
*flails hand wildly*
Are we having fun yet?
One moment you think they’re 100% potty trained, and the next they’re unleashing 2 quarts of urine into a highchair in an Applebees 10 feet away from the bathroom. You might think you’ve taught them to efficiently wipe their own ass, but a year later you’re still finding 10 car pile-up level streaks in their underwear.
I know I’m going with all the most disgusting comparisons– but you see what I’m getting at. You always have to be on your toes. That’s why we’re so exhausted all. the. time.
It could be my anxiety taking the lead all the time, but I rarely ever let my guard down. Once I do, something always goes wrong. Something gets broken. The kids decide to start World War III up in the play room. I get distracted by their antics and don’t realize that the reason dinner isn’t cooking is because I have it on the wrong fucking burner.
The entirety of winter break, I felt on my guard. Every other minute it seemed like there was a fire to put out… luckily not from having the wrong burner on. I could. not. wait. for it to be over. Many people were counting down to the new year, but not me. I was counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until I got to send the kids back to school where they could annoy anyone other than me for the majority of their waking hours. I started the car early to make sure it was warm. I had the lunches ready to go. Their outfits picked out.
Does wanting to get rid of my kids back to the hallowed halls of elementary school sound awful? Ask any parent who gets stuck indoors with their spawn for two weeks and ask the same question. You’ll basically be categorizing 99% of parents on earth as awful, because we’re all going insane. Get cooped up inside of a house with anyone for that long and you’re bound to feel some friction.
I was so excited for the kids to gtfo, and that is where I made my mistake. I was so comfortable in the notion that they’d be going back to school, and I’d finally be able to get back to my routine of getting work done without having to pause to break up fights, take toys away, and solve menial problems that are considered by children to be the absolute end of existence as they know it, that when–2 hours after I’d dropped the kids off– I got an email about my 10 year old starting FAMILY LIFE classes soon, I about fell out of my chair.
I AM NOT PREPARED!
It’s not his first family life class, or even his second–and it’s not like I’ve shielded him from anatomy other than his own for his whole life. No. We’ve had plenty of conversation about penises and vaginas. I made sure to let him know early on that girls do not pee and poop out of the same hole (trust me, there are plenty of GROWN ASS MEN who believe that)- but this isn’t just “Oh hey look, you have a peepee” kindergarten level, and it’s not “those saggy things are testicles” last year’s level. This is his last “family life” class before middle school- where shit gets really weird, voices start cracking, and interest beyond friendship develops.
Thing is- I’m happy about anything he learns from someone who has experience teaching kids about it that is NOT me, but I am woefully unprepared for him to come home spouting off knowledge about sperm fertilizing eggs and giving me that horrified look like “oh my god, you and my father have sex.”
If you need me, I’ll be hiding under a table and forcing his father to deal with the aftermath.
Contrary to popular belief, the Grinch does not crawl back into a hole in a far away mountain once Christmas has ceased to echo into the dark recesses of his lair. He takes up residence in my home. Like a grim reaping body snatcher.
I am the Grinch, aka, the meanest mommy ever.
There are no elves on shelves, present prisons, or threats of the naughty list left that will work. The kids have another 360-whatever days to earn back their place as “Nice”, so they can be as awful as they normally are without much worry. Or so they think. Because I don’t play that game.
Christmas being over is not a reprieve from good behavior. The watchful eye of Santa is always watching. Only now, the gifts are already here. They’re tangible. I can put my hands on them.
I didn’t even have time to come down from the high experienced while watching the kids unwrap gifts I so painstakingly picked out, wrapped, and placed under the tree. No opportunity to shoo away the sugar plum fairies still dancing in my head. The plate of crumbs from Santa’s mostly-eaten cookies was still sitting on the mantle. The shredded paper still on the floor, the echoes from the glee while shredding them hadn’t even stopped echoing through the house when I heard it.
Arguing. Fighting. Screaming. Shrieking. Over the very gifts they had been given just moments before. The ones meant to signify good behavior, love, sharing, cheer. It was the absolute opposite of what I think of when I think “Christmas”. It was the seventh circle of hell, and I let my children know in no uncertain terms that it was absolutely unacceptable. At first, I was very calm about it- “Quit being a dick to your brother. It’s Christmas.”
By the fourth time I had to get up from what I was doing to walk my ass up the stairs and warn them when I just wanted to be relaxing, I broke it down in a way I knew they wouldn’t understand.
“If you don’t start being kind to one another–which is BASICALLY THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS AND WHY YOU WERE GIVEN THE GIFTS YOU ARE PLAYING WITH– you will lose them.”
I dunno, y’all. It’s like they just don’t take me seriously until I’m a stark-raving psychopath.
It was the morning after Christmas. Everyone was still in their pajamas (new pajamas for the boys, as per Christmas Eve tradition). My repeated warnings and chances had not been heeded in the slightest. I heard the screaming kick back up in new, obnoxious ways. Not only were they arguing about the other making noise, but they were refusing to share toys that were given to both of them to… wait… what’s that word? OH. SHARE. SHARING TOYS. What a novel fucking concept, am I right?
A strange, rage-filled calm possessed my body as I slowly walked around the house collecting every. single. present. they received on Christmas and put them in a box. This includes the things they were refusing to play with together, and their pajamas. YOU’RE DAMN FUCKING STRAIGHT I HAD THEM TAKE OFF THEIR CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS.
They needed to get dressed, anyway.
I then informed them that if they wanted to get them back, they would have to earn them.
You can think it’s harsh, you can think it’s overkill, you can think that I ruined Christmas– but Christmas was lost the second they started treating each other like garbage instead of at least pretending to get along in the name of the spirit of the season.
One chore per present.
It’s not that I expected them to be scrubbing on their hands and knees like Cinderella after she’s promised she can go to the ball. I just hoped it gave them some time to think about why they were given gifts in the first place, and what they did that was so wrong that they lost them all. And like the movies, a Christmas miracle occurred.
No, not much cleaning got done, but the boys started to work together to get the chores done. Without fighting. For the most part, anyway. They actually had fun doing so, which is the biggest shocker of all– especially to them.
I’m not happy about having to pull the Grinch card after Christmas. I’m not happy about them forcing me to go to such lengths. I’m aware it won’t last forever- I’m frustrated, not delusional. But it worked, for at least a little while, and maybe even taught them a lesson in the process. Oh, and I now don’t have to do a couple loads of laundry or clean the microwave… so, yeah, win/win.
Screw the Elf on a Shelf. The Christmas Repo Reaper is where it’s at.
@AtypicalMiriam I am frightening *and* tall 😂
@AtypicalMiriam He fears me. I am the only female I this house. All penis people live in fear.
Me: Just ripped the ass out of my pants. I mean, they were OLD pants, but I feel like it's because I was bigger than I was 10 years ago. 10yo: Everyone's bigger than they were 10 years ago! I am! Me: YOU WERE AN INFANT 10 YEARS AGO 10yo: ... 10yo: *slowly backs out of room*
Person on tv: Age is just a number! 10yo: Yeah, a number that pulls you closer to death.
Party animal over here pic.twitter.com/OVpKPuu4Yc
Proving to my kids that they ARE Friends goo.gl/fb/QbSSNp
Writing my next book Me: My period inspired a whole new chapter! Husband: Your lack of period inspired a whole book... Me: pic.twitter.com/fpNHwnYeAF
The card my kid made me at school. I truly don't know why I expected anything different 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/T7nai0ycqS