Real talk: My health has been super shitty lately. My chronic pain is basically out of control (usually I can confidently say I have it managed) and it’s to the point where it’s so intense it’s clouding my brain and making it tough for me to concentrate– which means it’s next to impossible, and very painful, for me to write new blogs. Which sucks.
I’ll tell ya what, though, even with the high level of pain I’m experiencing, there are still things that make me laugh, and those are funny parents. Bless you all.
I don’t know who created these or when, but these are what have kept me giggling through the pain this week (and yes, I’m including some of my own. SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!), so I hope you enjoy!
The most serious letter I’ve ever written
Not asking for myself at all….
Million dollar question
Those are what’s kept me giggling. What about you?
Any time I get an idea of something to write about, before I sit down and type out the thoughts in my head onto my computer screen, I have a moment of pause. I find myself wondering–
Is this going to make me sound like a whiny bitch?
I’ve had plenty of people, family members included, whisper behind my back about how “mean” I am, how I sound “ungrateful”, how I should post more “loving” things, how they “don’t understand” me. I don’t really give two floating farts in space about any of that. What I never want is to come off as something I am not. I want to be clear in what I think, why I think it, why I’m writing it.
It’s this innate, almost cosmic feeling I think most parents get these days before posting anything online (especially moms, because let’s be honest)
“Who’s going to take this the wrong way?”
“Oh geez, I know so and so is going to disagree”
“Do I REALLY want to post this?”
You just know, deep down, someone is out there WAITING to shit on your opinion. WAITING to criticize you. WAITING to one-up, disregard, or mommy-jack your post.
You KNOW you’re going to be judged, one way or another, no matter what you do.
Over eight years of publicly putting my opinion out there, telling my stories, basically letting it all hang out and taking all kinds of heat, and still I continue, and still, in the back of my mind, I think “is this going to make me sound like a whiny bitch?”
Occasionally there’s a “what will my kids think in a few years if they ever see this?”
And a rare “maybe I should be more positive.”
The whole reason I started my blog, why I continued it for so long no matter what anyone said, was because I lived in a world where you couldn’t say a single negative thing about your kids or you were automatically labeled a “bad” parent. I was sick of it. I knew my feelings weren’t negative- they were real. I didn’t, don’t and will never understand why people pretend parenthood is some magical paradise where dog shit is made from chocolate and nothing ever goes wrong. To shame people for talking about the not so pretty parts is to force them to internalize totally natural feelings, and in the end, only makes them feel worse– when really what we should be doing is normalizing REAL parenting. The truth, no matter how ugly.
No, there’s nothing wrong with sharing the great things your kids have done, or announcing to the world how much you love them, but there’s also nothing wrong with having a shit day and expressing it. You’re looking for someone to relate to. You’re looking to vent. You’re just looking to speak what’s on your mind- whether it be perceived as positive or negative- without the sanctimommy police jumping down your throat about it.
Don’t stop. Don’t let anyone shame you. The less we talk about it, the more taboo it becomes to talk about, and I refuse to go back there.
Are your kids being assholes? Say it. Did you lock yourself in a closet and drink wine straight from the box because they were driving you insane? Let’s laugh about it together. Do you look forward to them going to bed so you can finally unwind? ME TOO.
Talk about it. Talk about it openly. Tell the truth. Hell, tell your KIDS the truth. They’ll grow up to be less of an asshole, and you’ll spend less time pulling your hair out. Maybe not less time drinking wine out of the box, but less time tearing your hair out, and trust me, that time you’ll save is so worth it.
As for the pearl clutching judgy biddies? They will always be there. They will always be whispering. They will always be talking shit with their bitter biddy friends. But hopefully, the talking will turn to whispers the more we become confident yelling the truth.
STOP SAYING PARENTHOOD IS A CAKE WALK. IT ISN’T. IT’S HARD. KIDS ARE ASSHOLES. WE LOVE THEM, BUT THEY’RE ASSHOLES. IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT IT. BITCHING FEELS GOOD.
There. Don’t you feel better now? I sure as hell do.
I’m not the betting type, but I would be pretty confident putting a hefty sum of money on that you wouldn’t at all be surprised if I told you that I got weird looks when people ask me how being a mom is going and I’m like “I dunno, dude. I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”
Not weird because I call everyone dude– WHO DOESN’T???– but people really think I’m kidding.
I snort. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I dunno, I might not survive.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m a shit parent. I don’t really think my kids are shit kids. But MANY days test me to the point where I really think I might not make it out of motherhood alive. I will perish from stress, or my head exploding, or sleep deprivation, or insanity. Or maybe a combination of all of those. Children are like the ultimate product testers, and the product is us parents.
How far CAN we push them? How long IS the battery life? How much CAN they bend before they break? Will they explode under pressure? How much does it take before they short circuit?
Not very far. Not very long. Not very much. Yes, absolutely. About 2 weeks of winter break, followed by a 5 day weekend thanks to snow, followed by only a 2 day week, only to be capped off by another 3 day weekend thanks to a holiday.
Yes, you read that right. After 2 weeks of whine-filled winter vacation, my brain had finally relaxed, knowing they’d be going back to school and I could get back to my usual grind of silence & writing, only to have my dreams and my sanity crushed by a disgusting storm full of stupid white snow that crapped on the very next school week, cutting it down to 2 days. By that time, I was so far gone, that I’d completely spaced that the following Monday was a holiday, meaning, yet another long weekend and shortened school week.
I’ve been through a lot in my years as a parent, y’all. Sick babies. Sanctimommies. Developmental “delays”. Baby therapies. Extreme sleep deprivation. Thirteen hour car rides. Being puked on while on an airplane.
These could have ALL been my breaking point, but no, I somehow made it through, and I thought to myself–if I can make it through all of THAT, I can make it through anything parenthood has to throw at me! Those were only the previews.
I don’t know why I bring this on myself. I don’t know why I have to go and jinx it. I didn’t ask for the snow! It’s all part of the curse! The main event, friends. Could I make it through the triple whammy of holiday-snow days-holiday? If that wasn’t enough, fate decided to toss in a 9 year old with a raging case of the man-cold, a little brother who seems to have decided to whine in between every word he speaks, and a bored husband with less patience than me. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell fellow parents how the time was spent, or how much time I spent nearly tearing my hair out, or hiding in the bathroom, or wishing all the rock shows I’d gone to actually made me lose my hearing like my parents always threatened.
Yeah… I was 99.99999% positive I was doomed.
And then, somehow, miraculously, it was over. I found myself driving the kids back to school this morning, each of us in one piece. Just like all the other times I thought I would fall apart, I didn’t.
I wanted to end this by giving you some uplifting note about how we can all make it through our most trying times as parents, even when we swear we’re about to sell our kids (and spouses) on the black market, but… sooner rather than later, the kids will be dating, and all bets are off.
There are so many different ways I could start this blog– and I’ve been sitting here for I don’t even know how long typing out each and every one of them, but backspacing them into oblivion because nothing feels quite right. I wanted some kind of unique opening, something to really pull you in and keep you reading. Maybe it would be mysterious, or interesting, or alluring. Maybe it would have you guessing what I was writing about, only to be wrong. Maybe you would instantly know what I was writing about and agree. None of those openings came to me, so I’m just going to get right down to it.
YOU ARE NEVER “TOO OLD” TO DO SOMETHING.
There. I said it. Now that felt right.
Most of us have heard it our entire lives. Too old to believe in Santa. Too old to play with dolls, or Legos, or matchbox cars. Too old to be sleeping with a stuffed animal or a nightlight. Too old to still be playing so many video games. Too old for this, that and everything.
But never have I heard it as often as I do now that I’m over 30. And not just people saying it to me, but people saying it to themselves, to each other.
And never have I heard it as often as I have since I strayed away from natural hair color.
I’ve been basically every color of the rainbow at this point, from black to platinum, red, pink, all kinds of shades of purples and greens and blues, and with every new color comes an onslaught of new comments about said color.
And not the kind you think. Sure, I hear some people tell ME I’m too old to still be dying my hair crazy colors, but mostly it’s women commenting on photos I post telling me THEY would love to do the same, but they’re “just too old.”
This breaks my heart, ladies (and any gentlemen who happen to feel that way, though none have ever expressed so to me).
How did we ever get it driven into our brains that we’re EVER too old to do something to express ourselves, something we enjoy, something that makes us happy? That once you’re a certain age, fuck it, time to get serious and be boring and just be happy with what you’ve got–stop doing new things, stop striving for success, stop reaching for new dreams, or making new goals, or finding new interests?
There’s no rule, no law, written or unwritten. No one can enforce this except, well, ourselves.
Much like the opening of this piece, I’ve been trying to find the right words to help get my point across. I wish writing for a living meant that all the words to help motivate you to treat age as what it is- a number- would come to me. To help explain eloquently and convincingly that, if anything, the fact that you’re “too old” should motivate you even MORE to do these things because you’re sure as hell not getting any younger, and why ever put yourself through living a life full of things you want to do but never did simply because of this notion in your mind, or the fear that others will say that you shouldn’t because of your age– but I don’t, and I’m not that eloquent, and I know it’s easier said than done.
My opinion might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll say it again- You’re NEVER TOO OLD.
Dye your hair crazy colors. Read the comic books. Play the video games. Jump out of a plane. Go back to school. Travel around the world. Learn an instrument. Try something completely new and crazy and scary (that is legal).
You’re NOT too old–and if anyone says otherwise, you’re also never too old to use your middle finger.
It’s a bittersweet moment when your kids going from watching all cartoons to watching real programming. And by real programming, I mean the kind that doesn’t want to make you scream. The kind you can actually watch together. While it’s awesome, because, FINALLY, you can actually enjoy TV together again– you wonder– am I actually going to miss Paw Patrol? Is this the end of Disney (NEVER!)? What shows are actually appropriate now??
I’m curious– as a parent– how do you decide when to move on to the next stage of television? For me, it’s not the ratings (PG, G, etc.) that are the be all end all deciding factor. Of course, that plays into it, but it’s also a gut feeling I get from the show, and from where I believe my kids are in maturity.
As I sat down with the kids to watch Netflix’s new series- Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Streaming Jan 13th), I definitely had that pause. It’s a dark book series, for sure. Were they ready for such dark undertones? Because the series definitely follows that path. Would they understand the Baudelaire orphans’ incredibly intelligent banter? Neil Patrick Harris is unshakably lovable no matter what part he plays, but were they prepared for just how evil, manipulative, and murderous Count Olaf is?
I took the chance, and I’m really glad I did. What I’ve noticed about opening your kids to new, more intelligent programming, is that it opens up more conversations as well. Lots of learning, and discovering, and thinking– and while it might get under my skin a little to have to stop and talk during a series I’ve found myself really getting into, I love that they’re paying enough attention to HAVE questions, and not just zoning out. I love that we have another show to watch together, and not me leaving the room, or playing on my phone, or them complaining that it’s boring.
Is this me recommending you take a chance on some more mature shows for the kids? Absolutely.
Is this also me recommending Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? ABSOLUTELY.
January 13th. Pop on Netflix and let Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton- KRONK- but seriously, can’t get enough of him) lead you down a dark and dangerous path. You and the kids will love it!
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