Friday, October 10, 2014

You're rude. And lazy. But mostly rude.

And now folks, it's time for a rant.

I recently set up a Facebook event to try to organize some fun times with our group of friends. I was looking for a date that worked well for everyone, so I attempted to start a discussion about what worked best for everyone so I could call and make reservations for our group. In order to book the most economical package, we needed at least 10 people. I figured this would be easy, since people normally like fun events and we were open to ANY Saturday in October for making it happen. This couldn't be easier, right?

No, wrong.

Because somehow, it's now acceptable to reply "maybe" or hell, not even at all to an invitation.

I had a few upstanding friends reply right away, but the majority of the band of idiots I associate with couldn't be bothered to even acknowledge my event. They couldn't be bothered to take a minute to look at a calendar, see if they were free and click a "yes" or "no".

That's fine, now none of us get to go have a good time.

You know, I used to throw holiday parties. Mainly Halloween and New Years. I eventually stopped because it'd be a couple days before the party and no one would have told me if they're coming or not. I'd have no idea if I'd have to cook/order food for 5 or 15 or hell, 25 people. Because I guess having manners, and RSVPing to an event you're invited to just is just too damn difficult. Because somehow it's become ok to just, not reply to invitations. Because being rude is ok now. Because making a decision about an event in a timely manner requires too much effort.

I got sick of hounding our friends, and nagging them about if they're coming or not. So I just decided, fuck it. These parties aren't worth the stress and hassle that is required just to get an answer out of people about if they're coming or not. You want to be rude and lazy? That's fine, no parties for you.

Being invited to something is an honor. Your host works hard to make an event go smoothly and ensure that their guests have a good time and are well fed. There is time and money involved in hosting an event, and to not acknowledge or appreciate that is just plain fucking rude. Deciding if you can attend an event takes a hell of a lot less time than planning one, so have some manners and tell your host what you're doing.

Of all the stupid nonsense Facebook is responsible for in the world, I personally hate this the most. With their fucking "maybe" reply on events they have made it an acceptable response to an event. From the dreaded "maybe", we have fallen even further from good manners to not even replying and having that be ok. It's become ok to be rude and lazy. It's ok to ignore any semblance of manners and ignore invitations.

Here, I'll break it down for you since apparently I'm one of the few people who still gets this.

1) If you are invited to an event, you should RSVP as soon as possible. I thought this was a "no duh" but congratulations, you have proved me wrong.
2) If you ARE able to attend, say so. If your situation changes, and you are no longer able to attend tell the host as soon as possible. Apologize for the change in plans, as your host has spent time and money counting on your presence. To no call - no show is rude. Apparently that needs to be explained.
3) If you ARE NOT able to attend, say so. Send your regrets as soon as you know that for whatever reason you have (and frankly, I don't give a shit what it is, if it's supposed to be cloudy and that upsets your delicate sensibilities fine, just fucking tell me) you cannot attend. Your host is planning on providing you with food and entertainment and once again, if you're not coming that affects the cost and scale of the event and that information is important to the host. Once again, if your situation changes and you are able to attend, tell the host as soon as possible and ask if it's ok to still come (if it's me hosting, I'll tell you of course, and thank you for letting me know to up my food prep). To just show up after you've said no is rude. Again, apparently that has to be explained. And if you just show up without telling the host that you're coming now, don't be surprised if you don't get to eat (impossible at my events - as someone who is Polish and Greek and married into an Italian family I don't consider it "enough" food unless I can feed three times my expected guest list) as your host has not planned on your presence.
4) If you are uncertain about your ability to go, communicate that to the host and give odds on whether or not you'll make it so that they might plan the food/supplies/reservations accordingly. Tell the host AS SOON AS POSSIBLE once your plans are confirmed. To just reply "maybe" and leave it at that is rude. Again, amazed I have to explain this.

Got it? Great. Now next time I attempt to host something I expect better of everyone.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dude. Let's do this later.

So My Little Guy seems to have inherited my delightful amoxicillian allergy. He's been on it before, but this time around (mild ear infection), he broke out in hives and splotchy red patches all over his body. I called the doctor who recommended Benadryl. I gave him some and it cleared right up.

At that point we didn't connect it to the amoxicillian because he's been on it several times before with no problems. Then my mom told me that my sister's allergic reaction didn't happen the first time she took it, but a couple times later. Apparently Dr. Google concurs that it sometimes takes several exposures to trigger an allergic reaction.

So we wake up today, he's hive-free so I sent him to school and called the doctor to ask about the amoxicillian allergy. They said they can't diagnose him without seeing the hives, which is fair. Problem is there were no hives. I would have gladly pulled him out of school to get this thing nailed down but he was hive-free. Curse you Benadryl and your effectiveness. Doctor agrees there's no point in bringing him in without the hives and we go on with our days.

Noon rolls around and I go to pick My Guys up. Hives! Hives! He has a hive on his face!

I've never been so excited to see a hive on a child before. I called the doctor and they got us an appointment so they could see the hives and we can get him allergy diagnosed.

Problem was that the appointment was smack dab in the middle of naptime, which mean no naps after school which meant my wonderful children were cranky, fussy messes by the time it came to leave for the doctor.

I manage to get them wrangled into the car and we head off to the doctor. Miraculously we don't wait long and the nurse calls us in fairly quickly.

Now, I love our doctor. We chose them based on a friend's recommendation and it's worked out very well. I have pretty much nothing negative to say about them.

What we found out after we started going there was that (now follow along here) the mom of one of the kids my sister went to grade school with is the office manager there. Normally this is no big deal and we say hi and exchange pleasantries (ok, so yes, that is awful - small talk, UGH) and move on with our lives.

But not today. Nooooooooo. Today this bitch follows us into the exam room and starts asking random questions about if my parents are still in their old house, and telling me about her family. Fine, whatever, I can pretend to care in a normal situation, but apparently she feels her small talk is more important than me answering the nurse's questions about My Little Guy's rash/hives.

So I have Mrs. Small Talk chattering on, the nurse is trying to get information about My Little Guy, My Big Guy is looking at pictures on my phone and telling us all what's happening  in them at volume 289473 in the tiny exam room, and My Little Guy is using the exam table like a playground.

I really feel like I deserve a prize for not turning to Mrs. Small Talk and just yelling, "Shut the fuck up! Just shut up! I don't care!" so I could, you know, attempt to medically care for my child.

The the kicker - Mrs. Small Talk tells us to say hi to Yiya.


Oh boy.

My Big Guy looks up from my phone and says, "Yiya died." Mrs. Small Talk looks at me and I'm fighting back tears and tell her, "Yes, Yiya passed away in April."

Then, while the nurse is STILL trying to get her answers Mrs. Fucking Small Talk starts asking me about Yiya.

Ok. I get it. You want to know what happened. You don't mean any harm. I understand that.

But seriously. It's like a fucking circus in this exam room, I'm obviously trying not to cry and YOU JUST KEEP ASKING SHIT.

I finally just gave up and basically ignored her while focusing on the nurse and finally was able to give her the information about My Little Guy's rash/hive situation and Mrs. Small Talk left but dude. Fucking time and place lady. If she had waited and accosted us on our way out it would have been so much better than attempting to have a conversation about where my parents live and who they're still friends with now. Dude lady, you're a mom AND you work in a pediatrician's office! Get a clue! Gah!

We eventually saw the doctor, and yes, it was noted in My Little Guy's chart that he now has an amoxicillian allergy and won't be prescribed that anymore. We grabbed a couple of suckers, said goodbye to Nemo and his daddy in the fish tank, and oh yeah, I ignored Mrs. Small Talk as she said goodbye on the way out. Immature passive-aggressive moves for the win!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up

So it's been about three months since I snarked it up around here. Part of that is just the general busy summer season, but part of it is that I still don't feel 100% myself and am learning to deal with and accept the new reality that my Yiya is gone. Yes, it's been a few months since she passed away, but this is some hard shit to handle and it's rough and it sucks and no, I'm not ok about it yet so you can just shut the hell up asshole.

Uh, sorry.

Any ways, I've reached out for help on that front because my anger has gotten even angrier (scary, I know) and as I said, I'm not myself. We'll see how it goes but I'm optimistic that things will start improving soon.

But let's focus on the fun/funny/weird stuff that's happened this summer shall we? I will use a list, because hey, laziness.

  • We tried going to a new place for fireworks on July 3rd and it was an unmitigated disaster. Over a mile walk there and back (We were told there was ample onsite parking! Ample!). The food vendors ran out of food. The kids area shut down an hour early, just as we arrived (is there anything sadder than watching a 2 and 3 year old watch a bounce house deflate in front of them?). It took us 45 minutes to get home - home is 5.5 miles away. See what happens when you try something new? Lesson learned. Never try new things again. 
  • We enjoyed many an experience with carnies as we went to every local festival that had rides. It was interesting to see how many of them took their jobs, and the safety of the children very seriously (measuring kids, counting tickets, buckling seat belts...) and how many didn't (I think both my kids snuck on a car ride without giving tickets multiple times). And My Little Guy fell in love with a neon blue fuzzy fish that my husband won at a local fest. Because carnies prizes make the best lovies. Dude, I was so scared to clean that thing, I thought for sure it would disintegrate in the washer but he seems to be made of tougher stuff than I thought. Blue Guy, as he's aptly named, lives on. As does My Little Guy's love for him.
  • My BFF and I continued our tradition of running obstacle course races every Saturday in June. It was awesome. Although seriously people, if you sign up for something called the DIRTY Girl MUD Run don't fucking complain that you have to (gasp!) get dirty and muddy. And stop screaming any time mud touches you.
Dirty, filthy girls. And notice my handsome mustache.

  • I went on a Girls' Weekend to Indiana. We stayed in a casino resort that sold us 100 ounces of beer for $15. We had a carb-laden dinner at the Olive Garden. We indulged in a spa day. An older dude who was a total Tony Stark-wannabe bought us drinks and hit on us. We went to an outlet mall. It was pretty much everything you could ask for in a weekend. 
  • I declared it a summer of park exploration and My Guys and I went to every new park we could find in the area. Some were awesome. Some weren't. Some had some weirdass parents there ("No honey, the slide isn't HUNTER green, it's SAGE green." WTF?). We had a great time though and discovered some kickass parks in the area.
My Guys thoroughly enjoyed this park, it was our best find

My husband shares my level of maturity

  • We went on what was (for us) the worst vacation ever to our regular Palm Springs spot- both of My Guys got horribly air sick on all the flights, My Little Guy got swimmer's ear (mmmm expensive ear drops), we all (including our friends who came to stay with us) got this horrible flu that lasted over a week, there was a standstorm that had winds so strong they knocked the baby monitor into the pool and we had to buy a new one, someone stole my credit card and racked up $1,500 in bogus charges (I don't even HAVE an iPhone, fuck spending $600 on accessories for one!), our basement back home in IL flooded while we were gone, our rental car had to be returned cause it had a leaky tire, and we missed Disneyland cause we were all puking. We still had fun though, and their swimming skills REALLY developed while we there.
     Look how happy!

That pretty much brings us up to speed. All in all it was a great summer, and I am NOT looking forward to fall winter. Although, you know, PSL's and football so it ain't all bad.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Don't Care

My general life philosophy is that I don't particularly give a shit about what you do unless it affects me. That being said...

I don't care if you breastfeed your baby.
I don't care if you use formula your baby.
I don't care if you pump, or combo feed.
I don't care if you use cloth diapers.
I don't care if you use disposables.
I don't care if you baby wear.
I don't care if you use a stroller.
I don't care if you co-sleep.
I don't care if your baby is in the crib as soon as he/she comes home.
I don't care if you birthed in a hospital.
I don't care if you birthed at home.
I don't care if you had an epidural.
I don't care if you had a c-section.
I don't care if you had your baby naturally.
I don't care if you helicopter your kid.
I don't care if you free-range it.
I don't care if you feed your kid McDonalds.
I don't care if you feed your kid nothing but organics.
I don't care if you plop your kid in front of the tv all day.
I don't care if you don't let your child watch tv.
I don't care when you started solids.
I don't care if you believe in sleep training.
I don't care if you let your baby set his/her own schedule.
I don't care if you let your kid cry it out.
I don't care if you make your own baby food.
I don't care if you stay home.
I don't care if your kid is in daycare.

What I do care about is that your kid is happy, healthy, and loved. And that you're not generally an asshat who tries to enforce your parenting style on me.

My family is different than your family. What works for my family might be the worst idea ever for yours. What you think is the best way to do things might be horrible for us. We're all different. We all do things differently. My way is the best FOR ME, I don't care if you disagree with it because guess what?  You're not me and your kids aren't mine. I generally work off the assumption that people are doing what they think is best for them and their kids. I know I am.

You do what you gotta do, and I'm gonna do what I gotta do and how about this - instead of getting into stupid arguments on the internet of all places about our parenting choices, how about we let each other do our own things?

I'm not defending my choices to you because they're that - MY CHOICES. And I'm not going to ask you to defend yours to me - because I don't care.

You are more than your parenting choices.

Are you fun? Are you funny? Are you a loving parent? Are you going to be there for me when the shit hits the fan? Are you going to understand that what I'm doing is what's best for us? Do you enjoy sarcastic sweary people with a biting sense of humor? Yes? Cool. Let's be friends. I don't care what your parenting style is.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

One Man's Trash...

Here in the CH we have a time honored, annual tradition that is near and dear to all our hearts.

Garbage Amnesty Day.

On this most glorious of days, you can throw away whatever the hell you want (except electronics since that law passed that they're not allowed in landfills anymore - you still gotta haul that giantass tube tv to that recycling center fool) without stickers or size restrictions.

The CH is a fairly well off suburb, and in it live some strange folks who like to throw away perfectly good items for whatever reason. To be fair, I myself have done this as well but based on what ends up happening I consider it more of a charity donation than throwing it away. Our garbage day is Monday, which means that the Sunday before this holy day (GAD as we like to abbreviate it) people start schlepping the crap they want to rid themselves of to the curb. Then the chaos begins.

Years ago Scavenging Sunday was a small time event. My husband and I went out picking through other people's garbage and found some lovely items making the saying true - one man's trash was indeed our treasure. We found a chair that we replaced the cushions on, several filing cabinets, some paintings, and a myriad of other items that we still use today. There weren't too many people who were into going through what others had thrown away (weirdos), but because my husband is a gypsy at heart we were out there loading up my SUV with trash.

The last couple years have been insane though. Word has gotten out that some crazy ass rich people are throwing away perfectly good shit and folks come from all over to pick through items left on the curb. I've actually not been able to carry my own shit to the curb - people have stopped and told me they'd take it before I could even set it down. It's crazy.

The streets are filled with every walk of life - you'll see a rusted pickup truck filled with anything metal for scrap followed by an Escalade, both driving slowly down the street, stopping to peer out the windows at what's been put out and stopping to pick up items of interest.

Free shit - the great class equalizer.

I find it hilarious what people will throw away. And I'm curious about the stories behind it all. And yes, I'm judging your garbage, deal with it.

We saw some dude with piles of pallets and wood about 4-5 feet tall at the end of his driveway. What the hell? What were you doing that you got those? Where did you put them all year? How long did it take you to get them stacked so neatly?

Toilets. So many toilets thrown away. Did you just keep the old one while waiting for GAD to arrive to carry it out? Where? Where does one keep a broken toilet for months at a time?

Some of the ugliest couches I have ever laid eyes. Dude, was that fabric complementary to your home aesthetic? Really? That much floral? I shudder to think what the inside of your house looks like.

This year was a decent haul for us. After the last couple of years of coming up empty handed my gypsy husband rejoiced when we found good stuff to bring home with us.

Two highlights of our scavenging:

Storage AND workspace? Hellz yes.

We scavenged the playhouse, not the boy. We already owned the boy.

I also managed to throw away a nasty-ass loveseat that I've been trying to dispose of for years. My hoarding gypsy husband had been refusing to let it go, but finally agreed that its time had come. As he put it, it was time to "honorably discharge" the couch. Meaning we hauled outside and threw it down on the curb and let it sit outside in a thunderstorm that night. Honorable. Sure.

Now we sit back and bask in the glow of our newly acquired garbage and wait until next year for the most beloved day in the CH.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Grief

My beloved Yiya passed away on April 25th.

She went peacefully in her sleep in the middle of the night. She was 90 years old and until she suffered congestive heart failure in February had been in good health. She had a very rapid decline in her health making her death somewhat unexpected (she was 90, death at 90 can't be too unexpected).

It's been a very surreal experience. We went to the funeral home and picked out prayer cards, a casket, flowers. We wrote her obituary. We had a wake. We had a funeral. We buried her.

She's gone, and this is what the new normal is and it's very weird.

I keep forgetting she's gone.

We went on vacation recently (let me tell you, having a loved one die right before vacation is some excellent timing), and while at the flea market there I found myself walking over to the tent advertising clip on earrings (Yiya never had pieced ears, and loved her clip on earrings which were strangely hard to find). My excitement quickly turned to tears when I remembered that no, I don't need to stop in at that tent and look at earrings because Yiya is gone.

When I was getting ready to go to my parents' house I almost called and asked if Yiya wanted me to bring her some leftover cookies we had in the house. Then I remembered she's gone.

I was going to call her to tell her something and then I remembered that I can't call her anymore.

It's been rough adjusting to this new normal.

Mother's Day especially was a hard time for me. My entire life I've celebrated and honored not only my mother but my Yiya on that day. It was a constant reminder that I'll never send her flowers, or buy her candy and a card, or go visit her again.. The whole day just sucked basically, and I spent most of it fighting tears. I didn't want to do any of our usual Mother's Day things. I didn't want to go out (having a crying fit at the zoo will really only get you strange looks), I didn't want to even acknowledge that it was Mother's Day, but I also knew that wasn't fair to my mom, my mother in law, and my grandmother in law. I toughed it out, but let's just say it will not go down in history as one of the best Mother's Days ever.

Life goes on, but grief strikes at the most random moments rendering you a sobbing mess. I was folding laundry last night when out of nowhere the tears came and I found myself having a cry-fest on the bedroom floor. I'll be in the car and boom, tears. Out running errands and I have to have a moment in the Target parking lot to get myself together because I cried most of the way there. It sneaks up and surprises me at the most random times.

The unexpected grief is the worst. I know certain things will be harder than others, and certain things will remind me that she's gone, but when I'm just doing my thing and it hits me and I lose it... That's the worst. You can't prepare for that. It's especially hard since I don't like crying in public, or around people. Hell, I don't like being emotional in front of people in general.

It's been rough.

I'm not sad for Yiya - I'm sad for me because I miss her. I know she had a long, full, happy life that almost anyone would enjoy but I'm sad that she's gone and that she's not part of my life anymore. I know it was her time, and I accept that but I'm still sad.

My Guys help. Not only do they bring me immense joy, but they keep me busy. I also have to try to keep it together for them - they don't like to see me cry and when I do they do their best to comfort me which really only breaks my heart more.

It's a process, and I know that in time it will get easier but right now it's hard and it sucks and I hate it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thank You

Being a ruthless, snarky bitch I often have a hard time expressing appreciation, or really, anything nice. Being an introvert, when I do feel the need to express these things I find it much easier to do so through the written word rather than verbally.

Our friends and family have been amazing during this time. All the kind words, all the memories of Yiya that have been shared, and all of the message of love that have been sent our way have meant more than anyone will know. To know that she touched not only our lives, but the lives of so many others brings me joy through my sadness. Every message I received telling me how much someone enjoyed knowing my Yiya made me smile through my tears, and I am so grateful for it.

We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who are there for us in these hard times. The offers of help and support have been numerous, sincere and amazing. And I am so very grateful for every one that we took advantage of, and those we didn't as well.

To say that the last few days have been hard would be an understatement. They have been surreal. It's just so weird to think that my Yiya is gone. That I won't walk into my parents' house and see her sitting at the kitchen table, yelling out My Guys' names as they sprint into the house. That I won't get to sit and chat with her while My Guys enjoy their time with Busia and Papou. I won't bring another fish sandwich from McDonald's, or another hotdog from Portillo's (everything but peppers, small fry). I won't help her out of my dad's car, or get another card with almost every phrase underlined and quotation marks used obsessively and unnecessarily. When we go out to dinner, I won't read her the items off the menu I think she'd like. I won't help her to the bathroom before we leave. I won't make cupcakes, or brownies or any other kind of sweet "just because"and bring them to her because she had a sweet tooth like you wouldn't believe. I won't fix her hearing aids for her to make them stop making that weird spaceship noise they'd make if they weren't in properly.

I won't hold her hand.  I won't give her another hug. I won't see her again. It doesn't feel real.

I imagine the coming days, weeks, and months will have their own new kind of difficulties and while I don't look forward to that, I do take solace in knowing that not only I, but my entire family, has a wonderful network of support surrounding us that is there to help us through it.

So thank you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Official Snarky Momma Rules of the Park

With the recent appearance of spring here in Chicagoland (FINALLY), we have spent a lot of time exploring the local park scene. My Guys love parks - slides, swings, a merry go round, climbing and exploring. And Mommy loves the naps/early bedtimes that spending lots of a time at a park results in.

What I do not love, is other people.

I have complied what I consider, the Official Snarky Momma Rules of the Park. Follow these and we can all have fun and I won't have to give you the rage glare of doom from behind my sunglasses.

1) Dress your child appropriately for the weather. This is sort of a "no shit" rule, however a couple weeks ago when we ventured to the park in 60+ degree weather there were kids at the park in full on winter coats, hats and gloves. What the shit people. After the winter we had here (big 'ol fuck you to the Polar Vortex!), 60 feels like goddamn summer. I dress my children the same way I am dressed (ok, they're not wearing yoga pants, but you know what I mean) which means that in 60 degrees they're wearing thing hoodies, pants, and their gym shoes. Not only would they get too warm in their winter coats, but they can't even really play at the park in them, they're too puffy. If you're not wearing a jacket as you sit on a bench and text, there's no reason that your child who is running around should be wearing one.

2) Ah yes, your phone. I understand that we all come to the park because it's somewhere we can let our children run free and not really worry about them too much and take sort of a mini-break but that doesn't mean you can completely checkout from the situation. I have helped many a child who was stuck at the park, or fell because their parents were too engaged in their phones to hear their kid calling for help. Sure, take a break and try to beat that awful level on Candy Crush while at the park, but make sure you're still aware of what's going on with your kid. Plus, when your kid calls out to you to watch them do something and you just ignore them you kind of look like a douchelord.

3) Teach your child how to properly use the playground equipment. My children, with their impeccable manners and consideration for others have been instructed that slides are for going down, not up and you should teach your children the same. Apparently this is a controversial view of mine, but for realz people. I can't tell you how many times My Guys have almost been injured because some jerkass kid was climbing up the slide while they were in the middle of going down. You wanna climb up the slide? Fine, do it when there aren't other kids who are waiting and wanting to use it the way God intended - for going down.

4) Make sure your children know how to wait their turns. Again, this is the sort of thing I thought was a "no shit" rule, but if your kid comes up and pushes one of mine in their attempts to get to something sooner I'm gonna be pissed. And yeah, I'm gonna tell your kid not to push others cause guess what - you shouldn't push people. I thought this was something we were all together on, but apparently not so much since your kid is shoving their way to the front of the slide line.  That's not cool people, not cool at all.

5) If you're gonna bring food/snacks clean up after yourselves. Honestly, garbage cans are aplenty at the park, fucking use them.

6) Let your kid play on their own (if age/maturity/ability appropriate, obviously). If your kid is in good health and 4 he should be capable of walking up a ramp and going down a slide on his own. You don't need to follow him up on to the equipment to ensure his safety, let him try it on his own, he might surprise you.

7) Dress yourself appropriately too. It's a playground, not a fashion runway. Leave the heels and hat at home please, you'll do just fine with your yoga pants (if you feel the need, go ahead and even wear those $100 ones, I'll be rocking my Old Navy ones personally) and flip flops. This isn't a fashion competition, it's a playground. How the hell do you think you're going to do on the mulch in 4 inch heels?

I reserve the right to amend these rules at any time, or add to them as I see fit, but for now I think that covers the basics. Follow these rules and we can all have fun at the park.  Don't, and risk my disgust and glares of hatred in your general direction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Color me shocked


It doesn't happen often, but I was rendered speechless by the reply I got from the owner of that kiddie haircut place.  Speechless.

Check this out, it's amazing.

Good Afternoon Snarky Momma,

First off, allow me apologize for the delay in response, my family has been recovering from a virus.  

My wife "Wifey" and I read your email which provided feedback on the experience your family had at our salon this past Friday; it pained my heart.  I say this not only as the salon owner, but because I too have a son who is turning three come July, his name is “My Little Guy”…short for Owner Jr.   He being so dear to my heart, I have not the words to express how Blessed we feel to have 4 equally wonderful and uniquely different young children. 

You are also a parent, so I do not need to elaborate further.  Your sons My Little Guy and My Big Guy are innocent and perfect.  

After having these 4 healthy children, who are such gifts, Ashley and I would do everything in our power to keep them healthy, both physically and emotionally. 

If I were to ever bring Owner Jr or his brother or sisters to any establishment…and have an employee refer to one of my children as a naughty, fussy, or not a nice boy/girl….I would do more than just send a strongly wording email.   It would fall into a category beyond unacceptable. 

We are a family of 6, our oldest is Eldest age 5, Second Eldest age 3, Owner Jr is 2, and our baby Baby just turned one.    We value ALL children, respect them as precious gifts, will cherish, and always protect them in every way possible.  That commitment stretches from good customer service to future adoption.  

My wife and I opened Haircut Establishment together, we committed ourselves to providing a level of service that would be “Best in Class”.  This after visiting competitors, both in Chicago and in Dallas, and seeing these chain in kid cutterys dealing in volume only, offering no personal customer experience except for TVs and toys to cover every inch.  It’s what we came into this to try and change.    

I write you this because omitting who we are as loving parents as it applies to our family owned business would make any attempt at an apology hollow and futile. In comparison to what was said to JJ there are no words that I can convey which would express the remorse we have for our employee’s words that day.   I am truly sorry Snarky Momma, to you and to My Little Guy, also My Big Guy as well…as that is his little brother who was misspoken to on Friday.

This salon is our life and livelihood. It is the food and shelter I give to my family.  We have risked all and I will not allow failure to affect my families future for the likes of an employee who cannot practice patience after a long day.  There are changes we are making at both salons (the kiddie and the adult version), these as the result to lessons learned in the past 5 months since grand opening.  One being a “free till its fixed” policy to address any service complaint.  I will not accept the fact that a salon cannot be 100% error free in service, so until we reach that goal all recuts are free.   

More crucial than the service itself is the customer service, and something that until today I could not imagine addressing.  The Haircut Establishment will have a zero tolerance for the type of behavior exhibited to your child as explained in your email.  I must add, it was written in a to the point, yet polite and respectful fashion.  I could not practice such restraint. 

I want to say with sincerity, that I am truly sorry for what our employee said to your son JJ.  My apology will not be limited to words alone, and you have our assurance that there will be action behind this so no child is ever spoken to inappropriately again.   It will be a salon violation that will carry immediate termination.

I have never received such a heartfelt, honest reply to a complaint in my life. I'm blown away. And frankly, it worked - we will give this place another try.

Most impressive Mr. Owner.  Most impressive indeed.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Adventures in Haircuts

Let's get back to normal around here. I have some feelings about a haircut experience yesterday.

The girl who cuts my hair generously takes care of my guys too.  It's a lovely arrangement because she does a great job, and the salon she works at is right next to the Children's Museum so I usually make their appointment and then we go play afterward.

True to their personalities, My Big Guy will sit nicely in the chair, watch the traffic go by out the window and patiently let her cut his hair.  No complaints, no fussing.  That's how he is.  It sounds stupid to say it, but he's a very mature 3.5.

My Little Guy is crazy when he's well behaved.  He does not sit still.  He does not like people touching his head.  New places/people sort of freak him out.  Some of that is his personality, but a lot of it is just being 2.

My stylist recently gave birth to a baby girl (so adorable!), so she's been out on maternity leave.  While I can go weeks/months between haircuts, my guys cannot.

They've started to look ridiculous.  Unkempt.  Bordering on white trash.

A recommendation for a local, supposedly upscale children's salon arrived in my inbox a couple days ago thanks to a local mom's list.  Perfect.  The people of this particular suburb have a reputation of being snooty, bitchy, and demanding.  That's exactly what I want in a salon.  I didn't want my kids to end up with horrible haircuts and I didn't want it to be a bad experience since it'd be with someone they don't know.  I figured if it was good enough for these discerning citizens it'd be good enough for us.  I didn't think they would tolerate bad haircuts OR bad service.

After naps yesterday we loaded up and headed over to this establishment.  I had been attempting to call and make an appointment, or at least inquire about how long the walk-in wait was for like 20 minutes but no one was answering.  We were approaching dinner time so I figured we'd just drive over there and it f it was a long wait we'd either leave or sit and watch the Metra trains at their train station (endlessly entertaining).  It's the town next to ours, so it's not like it involved a good deal of travel time here.

I parked, we watched a train go by, we walked over to the salon.

The women who worked there were just standing around at the desk, which I found odd since I had just spent like 20 minutes calling and getting no answer.  I figured maybe they just finished with a really busy streak and let it go.  I introduced my guys, explaining that My Little Guy is a bit high strung and doesn't have the best success rate when it comes to letting someone cut his hair (for realz people, I usually end up doing it myself in the bathtub with kitchen and/or nail scissors) but I had some confidence that these women, who were supposedly experts at cutting kids' hair would be able to handle him.

I was wrong.

My Big Guy's haircut went off without incident, other than I wasn't quite pleased with the way the woman cutting his hair was holding his head still.  It seemed a bit rough to me, but I had bigger fish to fry here.

I put My Little Guy in the firetruck chair and he refuses the cape.  No big deal, we can change his clothes when we get home, it's only hair.  The woman sprays his hair with a squirt bottle (without warning) and he gets a bit freaked out (well yeah, someone just sprayed him with water).  He is also very much in his "stranger danger" phase (normal for a two year old) and was a bit nervous in this new place with all these new people.  As he starts looking around and turning towards the person who is touching his head and grabbing his hair this bitch says to him, "You need to be a nice boy and sit still, you're not being a nice boy!"

What. The. Fuck.

Oh hellz no bitch.

I ended that shit so fast after that comment.  I told the woman, "We're done here, stop," and pulled My Little Guy out of the chair.  She asked if I was sure I wanted to give up, I glared at her and said yes and focused on comforting My Little Guy and telling him that he IS a nice boy.

When I looked up, this bitch was gone.  It was like she ascended from hell and once her dirty work of insulting children was done she returned to the pit of despair from where she rose.  I couldn't find her anywhere.

I let My Big Guy's haircut continue only because the woman who was doing his was right in the middle of it and if I had ended his then he would have looked like a fool with half his hair short and half long.

I paid for My Big Guy's haircut and we got the hell out of that place.

Once we got home I shot off a nasty email informing whoever is in charge of this salon about what happened and how inappropriate it is to tell a two year that he is not a nice boy because he's acting like a two year old.

I also attempted to inform my mom's list of our experience, but was informed by the moderator that negative business reviews are forbidden.


Apparently, in this particular group we can only post positive reviews of places.  So even though I went to this salon based on the recommendation of this group, I cannot inform them that our particular experience wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. So basically, any review that this group offers is worthless because we are only allowed to sing praise upon local businesses and not report when something goes wrong.

I get not wanting to badmouth local businesses.  Hell, I might work for a competing one and say something to try to sway the moms away from my competition.  I get it.  But if someone recommends something and I take that recommendation and my child is insulted there I feel like other moms MIGHT want to know that.

The lessons I learned from this are :
A) Don't cheat on your hair stylist.  Karma will come bite you and your children in the ass.
B) Don't trust any reviews from the censored moms' list.
C) Continue to cut My Little Guy's hair myself

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On Saying Goodbye

So fair warning that this is a emotional, sentimental, tear filled post about my grandmother and if you're not into that sort of thing and looking for my usual bitchiness you should stop reading now and come back here later.

My grandma, or my Yiya as we call her, is dying.

If she makes it to her birthday in June, she'll be 91 years old.  She's lived a long, full, happy life and up until these last couple weeks she's been very healthy and independent.  She recently suffered congestive heart failure and she's 90 years old and she just wasn't able to bounce back from it.  She's also been recently diagnosed with dementia.  She's had a very rapid decline in her health and she's not long for this world.

My Yiya (which I know is supposed to be spelled YiaYia, but mine is actually 100% Polish so we're cutting her some slack on the spelling here - she's Greek by choice, not by blood) helped raise me and my sister. She was the one who had a snack ready for us after school, and asked us about our days.  She was the one who picked us up from band, softball, or whatever after school activity we were currently involved in.  She was the one who hauled us to our friends houses and vice versa.  She cared for us when we were home sick, took us to the doctor when we needed it. She bandaged our scrapes and bruises.  My Yiya was always there for us, always taking care of us and loving us.

She has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember.

When my parents made the decision to move from the city to Lisle (asking the realtor, "Where's Lisle?" those 30+ years ago) she came with.  She was a widow and they agreed that she'd give living in the suburbs and helping take care of me (my sister wasn't born yet) a try for a year or so to see how she liked it.  She never moved back, staying with my parents and me and my sister until we eventually grew up and moved out. She's lived with my parents for over 30 years now.

My Yiya has been a constant fixture in my life, basically a second mother to me. We've always been incredibly close and seeing her suffer and struggle with day to day life these last few weeks has been very hard.

She has taught me many, many things but the main things I will always remember about my Yiya are her unconditional love and her unending patience.  I never remember her raising her voice at me, or expressing anger or disappointment in me.  I'm sure I deserved it on many occasions, but I don't remember it happening.

My Yiya raised me with the patience of a saint, and I try to remember that in my own life. I try to remember how safe and loved I felt, and still do feel, in her presence and hope that my own children feel that way in mine.

The ways in which my Yiya has influenced not only me, but my family are numerous - from our loving mockery of her mispronunciation of words to the traditions she has instilled in our family. I can thank her for my love of gambling (there ain't nothing she loved more than playing the slots), always knowing to hold on to the end of my long sleeves when putting on a coat (and passing this invaluable information on to my boys), my love of soup, my constant need to be cozy at all times, knowing the importance of a good tuck, and many many other things that make me who I am today.

These last couple of weeks have been rough, to say the least. I'm making every effort to get to my parents' house as often as possible to see her, and bringing my guys with me so that she can see them (they bring her a lot of joy). I'm cherishing the good moments we have - when she's lucid and we can have a real conversation, when I can tell her stories about the clever things My Big Guy said, or the silly thing My Little Guy did, when I can tell she's with me and enjoying the moment.  Those times are getting fewer and farther between. Her time is near, and while it's very very sad it's for the best.

I will miss my Yiya more than I can put into words, but I take comfort in knowing that she's lived a long, happy, full life and that we've all done everything we can to make her happy.

No one knows when her final moment will come, but until it does I will continue my long, drawn out goodbye to her. I will continue to visit and talk, even if she's not really listening.  I will hold her hand, and I will rub her back and I will hope to offer her the same kind of  love and support that she's offered me and my family all these years. I will hope that she feels the love that we have for her, and know that we appreciate the love she has for us.  It's our turn to take care of her the way she's taken care of us.

Her decline has been fast, and somewhat unexpected (as unexpected as the decline of someone who is 90+ can be). As terrible as it sounds, I am grateful for the quickness - she is suffering and I don't want her to. The sooner the end comes for her, the sooner she will be at peace.  The sooner she will join her husband who passed away so many years ago (long before I was even born). The sooner her struggle to survive will be over. As sad as this whole time is, I now that it is time for her and I'm happy that I was a part of her life, and I'm forever grateful that she was a part of mine and will always love her.

But I will miss my Yiya.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


So I recently started doing this:

Basically, what you do is take a moment every day for 100 days and record via picture something that made you happy. Upload it to facebook, Instagram or whatever your social media poison is.  I'm on Day 22 today and it's been a really fun and interesting journey so far.

It's part of the change I've been trying to make in myself in trying to not be so negative (, and it's something I'd totally recommend to everyone.  

It forces you to take a step back and realize that there are small, everyday, normal moments in your life that make you happy. And it makes you appreciate them and notice when they happen.  This project has made me more in tune with the positive things in my life, and how little things really can have a big impact.

Wow that was a totally cliche paragraph, but damn, it's true!

It's easy to get caught up in the negative and swept up into drama, but thinking about and hell, just noticing what makes you happy can make a big difference.

I spent far too much of my life letting my happiness depend on others and I was miserable for it.  I'm now in charge of my own happiness and turns out I'm in a much better place than I've been in years. I feel like I've really got my shit together and I think I can credit it to my change in attitude from being a Negative Nancy to someone who tries to see the bright side of things.

Now, I'm still generally a ruthless bitch who hates humanity but I'm a more cheerful ruthless bitch who hates humanity. Focusing on what makes you happy and what's good about your life doesn't change who you are - it just changes your perspective on things. 

Example - Yesterday was my birthday.  On paper, it was a shitacular day.  My Big Guy was really sick, I had to take My Little Guy for his 2 year old checkup, it fucking snowed (It is April! Stop it!), and my husband had to work late.  Sounds pretty crappy right?  Yeah, it was, but instead of getting all down in the dumps and bitching and moaning about my shitty birthday I realized that we had had one of the best weekends we've had in a looooooong time (It was 80 and sunny on Saturday - fuck you bipolar Chicago spring) just being together as a family and enjoying the weather and having fun.  I decided that the weekend was my birthday celebration because it was pretty much a perfect weekend and yesterday was a stupidass Monday of crapulence.  I didn't complain (much) about the shittiness of the day, instead I said, "Meh, bad days happen but let me tell you about my awesome weekend!"  That wouldn't have been the case before.

In the midst of all the snot and coughing and miserableness of the day, I had my Happy Moment.  We got the kids in bed and my husband and I snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie.  And it made me happy.  And that's what I remember the most about yesterday - not the crap parts.

I feel like sometimes it's a competition on social media to see who has it worse.  That's dumb. Life is hard for everyone.  Everyone has their burdens, everyone has their moments of suckiness, and I'm 100% sure that there's someone who has it harder than you out there.  Why are we constantly trying to one-up each other on who has it worse? Who the hell actually wants to win that competition (I think it might be one of the only ones I personally don't want to win)?  Good job, you had a shittier day than I did, go bask in your misery. Congratulations.  

How about instead of trying to see who's had a worse day we take note of the good moments in a shitty day?  That's what the 100 Happy Days project is all about, and I'm glad I'm participating and starting to realize and appreciate the good moments in my life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Know better...

I was reading a post last night about car seat safety, and was fully on board and in agreement with everything this mom was saying (I can be a bit of a car seat safety Nazi myself, we all have our flaws), until the end. She  ended her informative, cleverly written post with "Know better, do better".


People. There are few things that get me all riled up more than that phrase. Frankly, it makes me want to slap the person saying it. It comes off as smug, arrogant and makes you sound like a know it all.

Instead of having the attitude of "Hey, I learned this stuff and thought other parents might want to know it to help keep their kids safe" it turns it into, "I know how to keep MY children safe, and I deign to impart my wisdom on you, so that you can be a better parent - like me".  Just shut up at that point. You might have helpful information, but no one wants helpful information with a side a judgement and arrogance.

Do you think that parents were unaware of the information you're providing them? Ok, then inform them. Help them. Don't make them feel like they're shitty parents in comparison to you because they didn't know whatever the hell wisdom it is you're sharing with the world.

Better yet - share that hey, you didn't know this either and thought other parents might find the information useful. Parenting has a learning curve, we're all figuring stuff out as we go and we're all learning new things all the time. Sharing the things we learn is great - sharing your holier than thou attitude is not.

Because I can be a contrary bitch, when I read your "know better, do better" I think to myself, "No! Fuck off! I do what I want!" and your information is somewhat lost on me. While I will admit that being a contrary bitch is somewhat of a personality flaw on my part, I am also aware that there are many other contrary bitches out there in the world who might react the same way.

Look, all I'm saying is cut the crappy judgement out. There's more than enough of it in the parenting world, let's not incorporate it into the ways we share newly learned parenting information too.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

But, WHY?

We have entered the "Why?" phase.

Part of me embraces My Big Guy's curiosity and desire to learn about the world. I love that he wants to learn, that he wants know how things work, and why things are they way they are.

The other part of me, well, not so much.

I'm flattered that he thinks I know the answers to such pressing questions as, "Why is that street named Alabama?" or "Why are those people at the Arboretum?" but no, I do not.  Unfortunately, "I don't know" is not an acceptable answer.  My "I don't know," is merely met with another, "Why? Why don't you know?" Sometimes I can get away with a "Cause that's just the way it is," but not often.

Let's break down the "why's" of our car ride this afternoon.

"Why are we going down this street?"
"What does that sign say?"  (This is a new favorite question that falls into the same category - I love that he wants to read so badly, but he's sitting in the backseat and I have no idea what sign he's pointing at and on the rare occasions that I can figure it out it's usually a street sign and when he starts asking his he asks it about literally every street sign we pass. Every. Single. One.)
"Why is that street called (whatever the street's name is)?"
"Why are those cars on the highway?"
"Why aren't we on the highway?"  (or the alternate, "Why ARE we on the highway?" - if we're taking the highway he wants to be on "regular roads" and if we're on "regular roads" he wants to be on the highway.  It's great having to justify my route of choice to a three and a half year old)
"Why can't we get a car wash?" (both boys are big fans of the car wash and fail to understand why it's not a daily occurrence)
"Why is (My Little Guy) singing?"
"Why do you have the radio on?" (To drown out the constant noise from the backseat perhaps?)
"Why are those people getting gas?"
"Why don't we need gas?"
"Why are we passing those cars?" (Cause mommy has a lead foot and road rage my dear, that's why)
"Why are those cars going the other way?"
"Why is there still snow?" (To be fair, I'm asking the same damn question every fucking day)
"Why is it spring?"
"Why is the sun so bright?"
"Why is it daytime?"
"Why are those birds flying?"
"Why is there a tunnel under the highway?"
"Why are we turning here?" (the route justification really gets me for some reason)
"Why is there a store here?"
"Why can't I take my shoes off?"
"Why is that car turning there?"
"Why aren't we turning there?"

I think you get the drift.

And then, oh then, he has also started with the ever popular "Are we there yet?" which is just the icing on the question cake.

Again, it's awesome that he's curious and everything but I also just want some damn peace and quiet sometimes, especially in the car. I try very hard not to let my frustration at my constant interrogation show, and try to answer all his questions as best as I can but sometimes, as an introvert who needs some peace and quiet on a regular basis it drives me up a wall.

Something that I struggle with as a parent is the constant change. I am a creature of habit and routine and each habit and routine only lasts so long with kids. They're constantly growing and changing and developing and I have to do the same along with them.

In this case, it means I have to stop counting on car trips as a time to get my quiet recharging time and figure out another way to make that happen for myself.

And maybe invest in a portable DVD player.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Terrorist Yogurt

We have just returned home from a glorious week in the sunny, warm desert of Palm Springs, CA.  I'm fairly certain that if I hadn't gotten the hell out of Chicagoland sometime soon I was going to lose it, this winter was just too much.  Too much!

We made the 2 hour trek to Disneyland where we spent a Magical Day with good friends.  We swam, a lot. We went to parks that weren't covered in snow.  We didn't wear winter coats - hell, we wore tank tops and shorts and flip flops.  We worried about sunburn instead of frostbite.

It was awesome.

You know what wasn't awesome?  The travel experience.  I'm looking at you American Airlines, and you especially, TSA.

Traveling with small children is hard on its own.  Then you get the asswipes at American Airlines and the fucking TSA who, I am convinced, are actually trying to make it harder.

To be fair, our O'Hare security experience went very smoothly (if you ever travel with small children, bring your stroller - they see that shitstorm coming and they open up special security lines for you since they know you'll take forever, it's great).  Nothing out of the ordinary, no special treatment other than the new line.  American Airlines was actually helpful there - they rearranged some seats so that our family was actually sitting together (we were scattered in single seats throughout the plane before - I would have loved to see what My Little Guy's seatmate would have said if I had plopped him down and walked over to my seat), they gate-checked the stroller without incident or comment.  It was all fine.

What wasn't fine was the flight attendant being up all up in my business about having to hold My Little Guy when the seatbelt sign was on.  Look lady, he's not even 2.  No, he's not going to sit in a seat with a seatbelt on and his hands folded in his lap waiting until the damn light goes off to continue to mess with the SkyMall catalog and vomit bags.

This entertained him for much longer than expected.

He's going to scream and kick and fight me when I try to hold/restrain him for the 30 minutes you're demanding I do it.  If you're not going to get up someone's ass for getting up and using the damn bathroom when the seatbelt light is on than stop bugging me about making my kid miserable.  I'm not a moron, if the turbulence gets crazy guess what - I'll grab him and hold him tightly then.  Until then, he's cool standing between my husband and I.  If you're letting the dude in 12B stand up and rifle through his bag, why can't my kid lean against his seat?

We ended up getting diverted to Denver, and then when we were 30 minutes away from there they decided that Dallas was better. So what was supposed to be a 4 hour direct flight into PSP ended up being a 9 hour flight with a 40 minute layover in Dallas.  And then My Big Guy threw up on the rough landing into PSP.  And then I threw up as soon as I got off the plane.

I'll give you that in theory, that wasn't AA's fault, but I just hate them so much and I enjoy casting irrational blame when puke is involved.  But they gave us meal vouchers (which we ended up not having enough time to use at DFW) and 5,000 bonus miles for our troubles, so it's all fair now, right?  *snorts*

Our return flight involved drama at the airport rather than in the air.

I have traveled with small children a number a times now.  I know the security drill.  And it's asinine.

First off, the process is supposed to be the same across the board, but while security was a breeze at O'Hare, it was a fucking nightmare at PSP.

They did not open up a new line for us.  They made us wait with the masses, which was fine because PSP is a small airport (unlike ORD) and the line wasn't too bad.

That's where the good news stops.

We unpack all our shit, get it in those plastic bins and get ready to walk through the X-Ray machine (ok, fine, another good thing - when traveling with small children you get to skip the naked body image machine cause your kids won't hold still long enough for it to work).  The TSA dude wants my kids to walk through by themselves.  My Big Guy is ok with this.  My Little Guy, not so much.  He's terrified.  The TSA dude is yelling at me that he has to go by himself.  I look up at him, and as I walk through holding My Little Guy's hand say, "That's clearly not an option for him."  TSA dude says and does nothing.  Surprise, surprise.

Now, I am a mom who is prepared for shit.  I had a backpack full of snacks for my kids.  Especially after our 14 hour door to door travel adventure to get to PSP I wanted to be prepared for anything.  I had the audacity to bring sealed yogurt pouches and baby Tylenol in my carry-on bag.  Oh, and my kids each had a cup half filled with milk, because I'm starting their terrorist training early, obviously.  While none of these things raised an eyebrow at ORD (I believe the woman took the cups and tested them while we were putting our shit through the X-Ray machine so no time was lost) they raised hell at PSP.

While the rest of my family (we were traveling with my in-laws too) got the all clear, I was flagged as a threat because I was dangerously traveling with small children and snacks specifically designed (and sealed!) for small children.

My entire bag had to be emptied out, but of course I couldn't do it.  The milks had to be tested, but of course the agent didn't have any of the materials to test it with at his stand and had to wait about 7 minutes for someone to bring them to him - you see, I, as a terrorist threat, could not be left alone.  Then we got into an argument in which he wanted to open and test all 4 yogurt pouches I had.  You can tell that PSP doesn't see a lot of kids/babies because I also once had this argument with someone about opening my RTF formula bottles when my kids were younger.  No.  You cannot open my sealed food because then I'd have to throw it all away.  I know it raises a lot of suspicion that a mom might be bringing snacks for her kids on the plane, but I promise it's just regular yogurt - not terrorist yogurt.  I eventually won (of course I did), and he agreed not to open my yogurt but I'm pretty sure I didn't win myself a new friend in the process.  I'm pretty sure he, and everyone in a 40 foot radius could feel the rage waves I was sending out.

The best (or worst, really) part was the molestation pat-down.  I do not know what creepo thought this process up but for the love of all that is holy, please don't give me a 5 minute speech on what you're going to do AND THEN also narrate it as you're doing it ("I'm rubbing the back of my hand over your buttocks.").  Just fucking get it over with.  And then, THEN, the bitch had the balls to ask me to "lift my shirt up a bit" so she could see the waistband of my pants.  What. The. Fuck.  Fine, the good passengers at PSP got a nice glimpse of flabby, pale, Midwestern mom tummy.  Because I dared to bring children's Tylenol and yogurt pouches with me.

I got to take my shoes off and put them on 4 different times, because the dude and the chick TSA agents couldn't agree on whether or not they were done with them.

They fully unpacked my backpack and made zero attempt to repack, instead handing it to me and saying unceremoniously, "You're done, you're clear."

Really?  You mean my yogurt and children's Tylenol AREN'T going to blow up the plane?  What a relief.  I'm sure all the other passengers felt safer knowing that you left no inch of my body untouched and tested my milk and yogurt for explosives.

Look, I get that we need security.  But all I'm looking for here in some fucking common sense.  "Hey look, there's a family with small children traveling with snacks that are made for small children, let's assume that they're going to use that yogurt to feed their kids, and NOT blow up a plane."  That would be nice, wouldn't it?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

And the battle rages on...

I've been seeing these articles about people, particularly fathers, singing the praises of SAHM's, and recognizing how hard of a job it is popping up.  I've also been seeing a lot of articles about how rough working mom's have it popping up.

What bothers me about these sorts of things is that I feel like the authors are just trying to say that for whatever reason, their situation is harder than the other side's.  They're working harder.  They're suffering more.  They're spread thinner.  Whatever it is they've decided to focus on makes it harder for them to be a good parent than the other side, and because they're overcoming that it means they're a better parent.  Especially better than the other side, who clearly has it WAY easier.

Even the ones from the dads saying how wonderful their wives are bug me because they're doing the same thing - they're saying, "Hey, look what my wife is doing - she's a better parent than yours!"  I appreciate the sentiment that these husbands love their wives and are telling the world how much they value them and what they do, but I don't appreciate them saying that what they're doing makes them a better parent.

Here's the deal - parenting is hard.  Parenting is hard if you're a SAHM.  Parenting is hard if you're a SAHD.  Parenting is hard if you're a working parent.  Parenting is hard no matter what your situation is.

We've gotten to this place in the world, and especially with parenting, where it seems the more you suffer for your kids the better parent you are.  The harder it is, the more you overcome, the more you struggle, the better you are as a parent and a person.  That's what these articles seem to be encouraging, and I find it to be offensive.

We should definitely be proud of accomplishing something that was a challenge, I'm not saying that we shouldn't.  What I'm saying is that we shouldn't put MORE VALUE on someone's experience because they struggled with it, especially when it comes to something that is hard across the board - like parenting.

I feel like it takes the joy out of the job.  You should ENJOY parenting your children.  You shouldn't be focusing on how hard it is, or how your situation is harder than someone else's.  Make the best of your own personal situation instead of writing a novel on how difficult it is for you.  It's difficult for everyone, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that as bad as you think you have it, someone out there has it a million times worse.

Parenting is not a competition, as much as it pains me to say that, because I love me some competition.  And it's certainly not a competition to see who has it harder.

These sorts of things just fuel the fire and further the divides between all of us as parents.  Instead of trying to prove that you're somehow a better parent than me because of XYZ let's try to find some common ground.  Do you love your kids?  Me too! Do they drive you crazy sometimes?  Me too!  Do you sometimes feel totally overwhelmed and like you're screwing them up?  Me too!  Would you walk through hell and back if it meant your kid was happy?  Hey, me too!  Look at that!

Every family has a different situation, and every family has decided to parent in the way that is best for them. What is perfect for my family might be the worst possible situation for yours, and vice versa.  That doesn't mean that we're doing it wrong and you're doing it right - that means that our families are different and have different needs and we are addressing them as best as we can.

We're all doing the best we can when it comes to our kids, let's not try to make it about who's doing the better best.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Negative Nancy

Obviously having kids changes you.  That's like, the biggest "no shit" statement ever.

One of the major ways having kids has changed me is that I've come to realize there are people who are just Negative Nancy's, and I've decided I have no time for their nonsense and drama.  I don't have a lot of free time (shocking, I know) and what free time I do have I want to spend with people who appreciate their lives and what they have and want to be happy.  I want my kids to be happy, and I want them to grow up not focusing on the negative stuff in life but the positive.  

I know, super cliche, but it's true.  And it's harder than it sounds.

Turns out, the world is full of Negative Nancy's.  Turns out MY LIFE was full of Negative Nancy's.  

The main problem with people like that is that they somehow manage to suck you into their world of negativity.  You find yourself complaining and bitching and moaning and stirring up the drama pot and you don't realize it right away.  The smallest problem becomes a huge issue.  A meaningless interaction becomes the focus of hours of thought.  You end up wasting so much time and energy bitching about shit that doesn't matter.  And then eventually, the bitching becomes your default attitude.  You LOOK for the negative.  Sure, you don't realize you're doing it, but you are.  And other people realize it.  Soon there's nothing that's good enough, and nothing that makes you happy because all you see is shit that sucks.  You're judging everyone and everything and hating every second of life.  That's a pretty crappy way to live.

It's hard to get out of that world.  Trust me, I was there.  It was partially my own fault - I have a natural tendency towards "bitch" that makes it easy for me to hate everyone and everything at the drop of a hat.  But part of it was some of the people in my life.  There were family members, close friends, and acquaintances that were pulling back into Negative Nancy Land and sucking me into their drama.  

Once I realized what was going on I realized that's now how I wanted to live my life.  That's not how I wanted my kids to live THEIR lives.  It was time for a change.

Turns out, changing myself was the easy part.  There's a fine line between Bitch and Negative Nancy but I think I figured it out and can cheesily "look on the bright side" while still retaining the natural ruthlessness and snark that those around me love so much.  There's being happy and bitchy and then there's being judgy and whiny.  It's a subtle difference, but an important one.  

I complain less.  I bitch less.  I'm not on the lookout for drama and trouble as much.  I see the bright side of things more.  I laugh more.  

I'm happier.  It's good - for me AND for my family.

The problem is that while I was able to change, there were still Negative Nancy's in my life.  I tried keeping them at arm's length.  I tried getting them to see the bright side of things.  I tried telling them to just plain shut up, and that I didn't want to hear their complaining. 

It did no good.  They were firmly planted in that world.  And I get it - I was there too, it's hard to escape that mentality.  It really is.  But I really wanted no part of it anymore.

I ended up having to cut people out of my life.  Family members and friends.  I decided that my happiness and the happiness of my family was more important than some relationships.  If a relationship is sucking more out of you than it's giving you it's time to cut the cord.  It's not easy, it's painful, it's not something done on a whim, but sometimes it's what needs to happen.  And those Negative Nancy's were certainly draining me, and having a negative effect on my family.  I let them change my attitude and outlook on life and since that's something that I struggled with and clearly couldn't compartmentalize, they had to go.  It hurts, but in the long run I think it's for the best.

Sometimes you need to be selfish and stop thinking about what others might feel or think and do what's best FOR YOU.  For some of us that's a hard thing to do, but I'm glad I did.  The decision to cut out the Negative Nancy's has made me a better person, and a better mom.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A snarky response to nonsense

So there's this:

Yikes.  Someone needs to chill the fuck out, huh?

Look, we're all entitled to our own opinions on any and everything in the world.  And we're free to share them as well ('Merica!) so if this Amy Glass person wants to write a blog post ripping into stay at home mom's that's cool.  She can do that.

Obviously I am in fact, a stay at home mom.  Since I am at stay at home mom I don't work outside the home, nor do I take care of myself.  In fact, I don't take care of myself, my children, or my husband.  Ohhhhhh wait, she means financially doesn't she?  Cause that's the ONLY way someone can POSSIBLY take care of themselves or others.  It can't mean physically, emotionally, spiritually, or in any other way that a stay at home mom might care for her family.  It only means bringing home the bacon - not frying it up to feed the family.  My making sure my children and husband are healthy and happy doesn't mean I'm taking care of them, in fact, according to Ms. Glass it means I'm actually doing nothing!

She is right.  I do nothing.  I sit on the couch and eat bon-bons all day laughing to myself at the clever "stay at home mom" ruse I've constructed and delighting in the fact that my husband fell for it.  Although really, what should I expect?  I just grabbed a random man off the street and convinced him to walk down the aisle with me and then knock me up.  Anyone can do it, there's nothing involved in maintaining a healthy marriage/relationship or getting pregnant.  It's not like I searched for someone who I have a deep meaningful connection with.  Hellz no! I just found some poor unsuspecting dude and convinced him to marry me.  People do it all the damn time!  We shouldn't bother celebrating happy occasions in someone's life because they're so common.  Screw weddings and births!  And hey, fuck birthdays too - you have one every year!  Why should we celebrate something that happens for millions of people literally every day??  Screw happiness and having a good time and celebrating the beginning of something - those are things REAL feminists don't believe in.  They apparently only believe in working your ass off and not having anyone to celebrate your life successes with.  Got it.

By staying at home to raise my children I'm apparently "staying in the box".  Ha! Little does she know how right she is!  I'm staying in the box all right - the box that is my home!  It was the easiest move really.  I'm so lazy and have no desire to actually DO anything so I chose to be a SAHM.  Caring for a 3.5 year old and a 2 year old is a piece of cake, and like I said, I really just lay on the couch all day.  I don't do laundry, or clean, or cook, or entertain my kids, or soothe them, or teach them, or run errands or any of the tasks that being a SAHM requires - because it requires none!  It requires no skills, no thought and no intelligence.  I could have a monkey in my house taking care of my family and the results would basically be the same.

In all seriousness, I consider myself a feminist in that I think men and women are in fact equal and CAN both do pretty much anything they want to do.  Since I'm a SAHM my opinion will obviously not matter to Ms. Glass, but again, I am entitled to have it ('Merica again!).  Women (and men) should be free to make whatever choices with their lives that they want.  If that means focusing on a career and getting fulfillment out of those successes that's great.  If that means marrying and having children and forgoing a career to stay at home and care for them the that's great too.

It's not about validating WHAT the choice is - it's about having the opportunity to MAKE the choice.  People make stupid ass decisions all the time, we shouldn't celebrate and applaud that.  We should celebrate and applaud the fact that the choice is ours to make.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have some unimportant and meaningless tasks to accomplish.  You know, just raising my kids.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Yet Another Reason I'm a Bad Parent

So there's this:

Long story short is that an appeals court in NJ ruled that leaving any child, of any age in a car alone for any amount of time is child abuse.


Stuff like this makes me crazy because it's so black and white and such an extreme overreaction.  Child abuse?  Really?  You're going to equate leaving a kid alone in a car for a matter of minutes with beating the shit out of them?  That's insane.

I routinely leave my almost 2 year old strapped in his car seat, with the car running alone for the 90 seconds it takes me to walk my 3 year old into preschool.

It's part of our routine now, he's used to it and knows I'm coming right back.  He usually sits in his seat with a book or a snack and is completely happy for those perilous 90 seconds.  The preschool is in a safe neighborhood, and the only other people around are other parents.  If I thought weather was a concern (which it's usually not since I just leave the car running), I'd take him with me.  I just feel he's 100% safe there and frankly it makes my life a hell of a lot easier.  My Little Guy doesn't want to leave the preschool room that My Big Guy is in and letting him go in there only to rip him away from those amazing new toys seconds later seems more cruel and more upsetting (tears! screams! fits!) than just letting him enjoy a snack and a book in his seat.  Everyone is happier this way - apparently that happiness is abuse.

In fact, my biggest concern is some jackass seeing My Little Guy in the car and calling the cops.  I'm not worried about him being kidnapped, or the car blowing up, or him freezing/overheating (again, the car is running) or whatever crazy ass thing these people think will happen if you leave a kid alone for 90 seconds.

Would I leave my kid strapped into an off car in the desert for half an hour in the parking lot of a Target?  Hell no!  That's stupid and dangerous.  I'm not a moron, and I love my kids and I wouldn't subject them to anything that I thought might cause them harm.

I'm his mom, and I know what's best for him and what's too dangerous.  I have decided that leaving him for 90 seconds in a climate controlled car is not dangerous.  That is my choice to make - not the cops, not a random passerby, not another parent.  Mine.

The link to the Free Range Kids site lists the statistics, which no one ever hears about.  More kids die from car accidents than from be left alone in a car.  Way more.  You know how many kids are kidnapped by a stranger each year?  About 50.  You know how many kids die left alone in a car?  About 40 (and as Lenore of FRK points out - those kids are forgotten in the car {sidenote: wtf is that?  What kind of awful dickwad forgets their kid is in the car?} not left alone for a couple of minutes).  Driving your kid around in your car is probably the most dangerous thing you can do with them (over 1500 kids under the age of 15 die a year in car accidents) but we all still do that and no one is call the authorities and reporting someone driving with their kid.  It's ridiculous.  I as the parent am the judge of what is safe or not for my child, not you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Things are finally settling back down after the insanity of the holidays.  To make things more fun we were on an alternating child weekly visit plan at our pediatrician between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Nothing makes the holidays more enjoyable than ear infections, croup, stomach viruses and toddler molars (toddler molars don't warrant a trip to the pediatrician, but they sure do make My Little Guy a miserable, drooly, gnawing mess).

Between the sicknesses (which also was passed on to my husband and I multiple times) and general Chicagoland winter (Hey high of -12, you were awesome!  So were you unending snow storm!) we hardly left the house all of December.

Winter is a challenge for me.  I've pretty introverted and all the cold and snow and awfulness really just fuels my natural inclination to stay inside and lock all the doors and never leave.  I have to remind myself to venture outside, even if all my instincts are telling me to stay in.  It turns out it's better for me AND the kids.

When we were in hibernation mode I found myself slipping in my parenting duties.  I developed a bad habit of turning on the tv and putting on a Bob the Builder/Thomas marathon for the kids almost every day.  I wasn't playing with them as much as before.  I (gasp!) even let my housewifely duties slip.  As much as I wanted to just stay inside and ignore the world it wasn't good for anyone.

This week really kicked me back into gear.  Well, the second half of the week.  Stupid record windchills closing preschool and preventing us from leave the house AGAIN on Monday.  We re-established our routine.  My Big Guy is back in school, My Little Guy and I are back to building The Island of Sodor during our alone time, I'm taking the kids out to run errands, we played in the rain the other day...  We got bundled up and went exploring our park while it was covered in snow, and tested out our sledding hill a couple times.  While I hate winter and snow and cold it does make it a little bit more acceptable to see my guys enjoying it so much.  We pulled our "sleigh" on the driveway and up and down the sidewalks.  We ventured into the backyard and filled our birdfeeder.  We explored the snow covered neighborhood and I hated it less than I thought I would.

That's pretty hard to hate.  I mean really, look at those two.

We're back to being real people again instead of lazy, hibernating, introverted jerks.  The kids are happier, and imagine my surprise when I realized I'm happier leaving the house.  My general instinct is still to hibernate, but at least now I realize that that's not good for anyone and I have to fight that instinct.

Parenting a learning experience.  Not only are you learning about your kids every day, but you're learning about yourself.  I never realized how really introverted I was until I became a parent.  It made a lot of things make more sense, and it helped me adjust the way I do things to make everyone happier (mommy NEEDS that hour or so of nap time to herself or no one will be happy in the evening).  I'm learning how to be the best person and mommy I can be every day.  Sure, I still suck some days and do a whole lot of nothing but even I am not perfect.  Everyone has crap days.  I just gotta remember to shake them off and not let them become our regular days.