Money for Nothing and Your Chicks for Free

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In 1985 Dire Straits came up with a catchy tune intended to be a jab at what the average working man thought about musicians. While the lyrics were at times sexist, racist, and homophobic they had a point: “How can we justify the large salaries that popular musicians earn?”

Here we are, 20 years later and it’s as if Dire Straits was able to see the future. Earnings for jobs that seem easy (compared to daily manual labor) have skyrocketed. Salaries for those 1% (the amount of people who make it in certain fields) of Athletes, Politicians, Musicians, and Actors, are over the freaking moon, and you’ve either become totally pissed off about it, or completely complacent in your own feelings because it’s not like things are going to change anytime soon.

Maybe my complacency isn’t as complacent as I thought. That might be why the little things are starting to really piss me off. Little things like the message we are sending to our kids when we tell them it’s okay to ask for money for nothing.

Money for nothing is the belief that just because there is something we want, that maybe we feel we deserve, but can’t afford or even we can afford, we rationalize that it’s okay to ask for the funds from strangers… for nothing. I’m not talking about GoFundMe, or fundraisers based on natural disasters, or illness, or Walkathons, I’m talking about these groups of kids and parents that it seems you can find on any given weekend, asking for donations for sports teams.

The reason this irks me so, is that we live in a commerce based society: I want money, I create a product, you want my product, I sell it to you, I earn money. I’m not just going to give you money because you asked for it. If you want money then you have to EARN it. You want to solicit donations to play on a specific team, then ask your family and friends for donations. They love you, they love your kid, they have your best interests at heart. If you want money from me, a stranger, then sell me a cookie you baked, or some yummy lemonade, or wash my car… that would be freaking awesome, I hate washing my car, but don’t just ask for donations outside the supermarket and give me a dirty look like I belong in the depths of hell for not sponsoring your kid’s dream. That is your job! My job is to look after the dreams of my children and I will donate when I’m able to a charity. You do remember charity right? Organizations that help people in need? Yeah, I thought so.

After this past weekend where this EXACT thing happened to me and I then watched the “dirty look mom” drive off in her Lexus SUV, I threw my hands in the air. All these parents are doing is raising little beggars, and I, for one, think that’s a not-so-fantastic life lesson. Call me crazy but I’d hate to see the product of that work-ethic.

There are currently so many different charitable organizations that need help, school arts programs are being slashed in half, veterans are being treated like second class citizens, war-torn countries are on the news every night, and you can’t watch the TV for 30 minutes without seeing Sarah McLachlan and those poor animals… if little Johnny wants to go to football camp, if Amber wants to be a cheerleader, if Joe wants to play on a soccer team, then bake some cookies for Christ’s sake.

I could totally use a cookie.

 

8 Children’s Shows That are Making me Crazy

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My oldest child is almost 10. Which means I’ve been exposed to the annoying barrage of children’s programming for 10 years. 3,650 days of the talking animals, the sing-song-repetitive bullshit, the nonexistent story-lines, and the guest-stars. When it comes to kids shows I’ve seen them all, from Barney to Blue’s Clues,Upside Down Show to Sesame Street, I’m a walking episode guide. I will stop at nothing for 22 minutes of downtime from this crazy-train called Motherhood.

Now, before you come at me with the suggestions of the American Academy of Pediatrics and their proposal for limiting, if not, eliminating television access for children under the age of 2  please understand: I really don’t care. The AAP isn’t living my life, or raising my kids, and I’m obviously not the only one who is allowing my children TV time, because if I were, they wouldn’t be a billion different shows for children on TV. So lets just acknowledge that, at times, I’m a mad woman on the brink who needs a break and continue from there.

In allowing TV time for my children I’ve opened myself up to a whole new world of wonky… the shows themselves. While I’m able to get a small block of time without someone saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mom, Mom.” on loop, I now have some personal preferences about the shows that are going to drive me to the loony bin first. Here are my top 8 maddening children’s shows.

Dora The Explorer:

Oh Dora, you had some redeeming qualities but in the last couple of years you’ve really jumped the shark. Once you made Swiper a good guy it was over for me. He’s a “sneaky fox who steals all your stuff”, you said it yourself… over and over and over again. Children live to yell, “Swiper, no swiping” at the damn TV and now, now he’s your buddy and you’re having slumber parties with him? I think not. Dora has obviously never seen Sleeping With the Enemy.

Go, Diego, Go!:

Like Dora, I used to think Diego was okay. I enjoyed the fact that he spoke Spanish and rescued animals, but then they brought Rosie Perez in for a bit to play “Click the Camera” and my mind exploded. Guest-star aren’t always a good thing. It was like Diego was dropped onto the set of White Men Can’t Jump and I’ve never been able to stomach the show again.

Max and Ruby:

I’ve hated Max and Ruby since the first time my mesmerized child sat in front of it. Ruby is a demanding, self-righteous, bitch and I just want to cover her mouth with duct-tape, while Max says one word, over and over, on every show to drive you right to the edge of sanity. And where the hell are their parents? They take the bus to Grandma’s alone? NO. Hell no.

SpongeBob SquarePants:

This show is not for children. At all. I know some adults enjoy it but I am not one of those adults. Between SpongeBob’s voice, Patrick’s blatant stupidity and Squidward’s pompous attitude that’s the trifecta of bullshit. Not to mention I don’t need a cartoon to introduce my child to the words: dumb, idiot and stupid. I’ll wait for the kids at public school to do that.

Sam and Cat:

My 9-year-old LOVES Sam and Cat. I believe that one day my tombstone will read “Killed by Sam and Cat”. Cat’s annoying monotone voice haunts me when the show isn’t on. With Ariana Grande’s increasing popularity as the second-coming in the pop world, I’m hoping that means Sam and Cat won’t be filming anymore episodes.

Caillou:

Caillou is a bratty, whinny, Charlie Brown wannabe. Avoid Calliou at all costs. Calliou is like kid heroin… hard to kick. Trust me on this.

Curious George:

Aww, Curious George… these once-cherished, children’s books have been made into an animated show, and ugh. George is still a free-to-roam, up-to-no-good monkey who never gets in a bit of trouble. The Man with the Yellow Hat is still the biggest parenting pushover in the biz. No thanks. I’ll just read my kid the book.

Yo Gabba Gabba:

I have no desire to watch my children experience a 30 minute acid trip, and that’s exactly what this show is. It’s only redeeming quality is that Biz Markie does a small rap segment on some shows. That’s cool as hell. Otherwise, skip Yo Gabba Gabba.

 

The Difference Between Feminism and Good Manners

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I identify myself as a feminist. Feminism has gotten a bad rap over the last 30 years and now the mental image connected with that word is somewhere around a man-hating-militant-beast. I can assure you I am none of those things. I don’t have penis envy, I have wallet envy. In my world, feminism is the thought that women and men should be treated equal on all levels. I married a man with whom I am equal. If we have established gender roles, such as, he works while I take care of the children that is not because I am less of a person in our relationship, it is because it makes financial sense.

This morning I needed to go grocery shopping. Of course it was raining because, you know, Mother Nature is a feminist too. Obviously… no one gets a free ride around here. I was walking from my car holding an umbrella, my 20 pound baby (in his car carrier), and the hand of my 3-year-old. As I approached the store entrance there was a man, around the age of 60, standing by the door, staring at me. My assumption, as a member of the human-fucking-race was that this other member of the human race would open the door for me… note-to-self: don’t ever assume anything. He did not. He just stood there. As I went to place my baby carrier on the ground, in the rain, I muttered something along the lines of, “Thanks for grabbing the door.” to which this Archie Bunker impersonator replied, “I thought y’all ladies didn’t want doors opened for ya anymore.”

Touché Archie. Touché. I don’t want you to open a door for me because I’m a lady. You would offer to open the door because I was struggling, and having good-manners isn’t about what you are packing in your pants, it’s about common decency.

When women decided to ask for the same rights as men, sadly, some men took that as if we didn’t want them to have good manners at all anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Now I’m raising 3 sons, and teaching them there is a difference between rescuing the princess and just being kind to your fellow-man, is the most important lesson they will ever need to know. Human decency didn’t have to go out the window with the suffrage movement and I don’t care if it’s an old lady or a big strapping guy, if you get to the damn-door first you hold that sucker open, because that’s just good manners.

My kids might be assclowns… they might fart on each other’s heads, never put the toilet seat down, always forget their lunch bags at school, play too much Minecraft, sing Gangnam Style at the drop of a hat, have a full glossary of words that they shouldn’t have, and fight me tooth-and-nail over meals, but they will be assclowns that know to offer help to someone who needs it.

My kind of assclowns.

Aging, Sisterhood, and Clarity

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Getting older can be a real buzzkill. One minute you’re 18 and the world is laid out in front of you like one of those naked chicks acting as a human plate in a European sushi place, and the next minute you’re attempting to do 8 minutes of abs on the floor of your baby’s room but all you hear is your hip cracking with every reverse curl.

It can bring you down. Okay, I’m being nice, it can get you down and make you stay down.

But today I had this epiphany about aging. Although my body and gravity are far from BFF’s now, aging has given me something I never had before… a bit of clarity. Clarity about our place in the universe, and mostly about the feelings I have towards my friendships with other women.

We all know at least one woman that we look at and say, “Damn, girlfriend has got her shit together. I wish I had my shit together like that” and contrarily we also know many who we look at and say, “Bitch needs to get her shit together. I’m so glad I’ve got my shit more together than that.” I think I’ve fallen into both of these categories at some stage of my life. Some more than others. What freaked me out about having these types of attitudes and opinions about other women, was the fact that I’d pegged it as jealously, and the idea that I was jealous of someone else’s success made me feel pretty sick about myself. In hindsight, I wasn’t jealous. Not in the slightest, but I didn’t know better then.

Recently though, I’ve started to realize that being enamored of someone didn’t make me a jealous person. I didn’t want what they had, I didn’t want to take their mojo away from them. Well, maybe I wanted a little bit of their good stuff to rub off on me, but I’m not a mojo sucking vampire. That’s when the truth jumped up and bit me, some people just have that “it” factor. That little thing that makes them a true shining star in your day. Even when their life isn’t going according to plan, even when things are really screwed up, you won’t know because they shine bright in your You-niverse and that’s all you see.

Ironically it took someone, telling me, that I had that “it” factor in their eyes, which brought me to this mind-blowing-moment. Me? Who-the-hell would look at me like that? My first thought? A crazy person, but this is actually someone I love and respect. I was just so floored with this revelation that I needed to take a step back and see myself the way she saw me. Sure I’m old and tired, sarcastic and silly… but maybe, just maybe, on a good day, I can be the center of her You-niverse, that little thing that makes her say, “Hahaha, Yes!”

Women are usually their own worst critic and rarely give ourselves the props we deserve. I’m that type of woman, normally… but I’m gonna bottle up that good feeling from today, take her amazing compliment, keep it in the kitchen, and whip it out when I’m feeling down.

So I guess this is growing up.

The Accidental Slut Run

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Another Wednesday, another running day.

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve gotten off my ass and started running again. I’m still not very good at it but I was actually looking forward to hitting the pavement this morning. Monday’s attempt at a run was awful. I had to run later in the day and by the time I was able to go, it was 97 degrees out and I forgot my hair tie. I turned around halfway. Mission aborted.

Today I was gonna rock it. Although It’s not easy to digest that I’m using my “me time” for something physical when I’d prefer to be watching crappy TV or reading a good book, it has to be done. I have to do something. Running it is.

Now I’m rocking a new playlist, a new pair of kicks and holding my head up high. The baby and I hit the main road outside my development with a nice breeze and the Florida sun shining in the sky as we go.

5 minutes in and I’m surprised at how good I feel… maybe my body has resigned itself to the fact that the brain is the boss here. You hear that old, tired, body? I run the show! Mind over fat! A lawn truck drives by and the occupants whistle and honk. Shit, I actually look good doing this? Me? I can’t even process that idea as Adam Levine croons in my headphones.

So this is what doing running right feels like? I make a mental note to text one of my crazy marathon friends when I get back home. She’s gonna be so proud of me. Hell, I’m so proud of me. Now I can almost feel the skip in my step. I’m not a runner, I’m a freaking supermodel. Take that, self-deprecating me!

It’s around the 11 minute mark of my 30 minute workout that the second catcall comes, this time from some old guys in a white van. What? I must look phenomenal today. Maybe it’s because of that full moon, maybe it’s because I’ve lost 5 pounds? Who knows? Who cares? Just enjoy this feeling knowing disgusting old men find you wanton. Actually, that’s a bit of a creepy thought but whatever, just keep running.

At the halfway mark I see the baby is asleep. Good baby, the perfect running buddy. I’m making a mental checklist of the things I’ll need for dinner and this time, a County garbage truck honks and waves. Okay, something is up. I look down… nope, no nipples showing, running skirt looks okay… hmmm, maybe the Rosie the Riveter look is back in. Eat that Betty Boop! I’m not usually the person who relies on the compliments of others but when you’re not afraid for your safety, a honk during a workout can feel pretty good for your self-esteem. Although… 3 honks in one day? That’s a bit over the top? I ignore that thought and continue on… almost done, 5 more minutes.

I’m almost home, basking in the glory of a really good run and some very enamored spectators when I hear another whistle… this time from a neighbor I know…

“Hey, good run?”

{taking off my headphones} Yeah, one of the best. {I’m smiling ear to ear}

“Yeah… Ummm…”

{He looks uncomfortable, why does he look so uncomfortable?}

“Your skirt is tucked into your shorts.”

That’s when I turn around to see the reason behind my popularity this morning.

My behind.

My cute little black running skirt has been tucked into the attached purple shorts for 30 minutes!

While I was running! In public! In my hometown! With my baby!

Am I surprised? Nope, not one bit.

Whatever. That was the best I felt while working out in a long while. Maybe I’ll invest in some of those little running shorts that the Olympians wear.

I’m sure to get some super honks then.