The HomeWork Drinking Game

Homework is bullshit, y’all. It was bullshit when I was in school. It was bullshit when I was in college. And it is so seriously fuck ALL this bullshit now that I’m a parent with children who have homework. And, oh my god, do they have homework. They have all the homework that was ever homeworked. Not kidding. My daughter came home last Friday with 96 algebra problems to do. One class. 96 problems. Ninety-fucking-six algebra problems. On the weekend. During football season. And that was just that one class!

But anyhoo. So, yeah. Homework sucks donkey balls. To mitigate the fukkery, I thought maybe we could turn it into a drinking game. It might not help the kids get their shit done any faster, but it’ll tamp down on the suckitude, if just a little bit.

Ready? Let’s do this.

– Take one sip every time you have to remind your child to stay on task. Example: “Stop licking the dog and finish your homework.”

– Take one sip of you have to use a kitchen knife to sharpen a pencil, because none of the 43 cheap ass plastic pencil sharpeners you’ve bought are anywhere to be found and there’s no lead in the one mechanical pencil you were able to find.

– Take one gulp every time you ask your child, “Are you SURE your teacher said to do it this way? That’s not how we did it when I was in school.”

– Take one gulp for every audible sigh or eye roll — whether it comes from you or your child.

– Take two sips if you have to silently do some math in your head to make sure your child’s homework answer is correct. Double if you can’t do it without moving your lips.

– Take two gulps if you have to count on your fingers, scratch it out on paper, or use a calculator.

– Take three sips when you begin to wonder if you’re going to be able to finish preparing dinner, because of homework complications.

– Take three sips every time you have to text or call a mom friend to ask for assignment details because your kid forgot to bring something home.

– Take three gulps every time you have to text, call, or email your child’s teacher to get information that was allegedly sent home already but now we can’t find it.

– Chug if you find out about a project due tomorrow that requires supplies that you don’t have in the house. (Make sure to have Dad go to the store. Orange is NOT the new black.)

– When your child tells you about a MASSIVE assignment due tomorrow, and you ask how long they’ve know about it — and they say it was assigned any time longer than a week ago — take a shot.

– If your kids have been back to school less than two months, and they’ve already broken the strap on their backpack — take a shot.

– Every time you have to Google search, watch a YouTube video, or phone a friend to find out how to work your kid’s math problem — take a shot.

– If your child roots around in the depths of their backpack and pulls out one of those “buy this stuff you don’t want or need because school spirit” fundraiser campaign catalogs, and then excitedly tells you all about the 32-cent toy they will “win” for selling 75 items — take a double shot.

– If your child brings home a case of chocolate bars to sell as a fundraiser, pass the shot. Instead, horde and eat the whole box, and write the kid a check.

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Your Christmas PSA

This is your annual Public Service Announcement: Today is Christmas Eve.

(1.) You forgot the batteries. Go get some.

(2.) You do not have enough wine. Go get some.

(3.) If you have a camcorder or a real camera (instead of your phone) go put those battery packs on the charger RIGHT MEOW.

(4.) Go ahead and lay out what everyone is wearing tomorrow. Go do it now. You don’t want to be getting ready to go to Grandma’s tomorrow and have to get your kid’s GOOD jeans out of the clothes hamper.

(5.) At approximately 4:20pm, go ahead and set your clocks forward by an hour and a half so as to encourage the wee beasts to go to bed earlier, thus giving you time to assemble all those things that will have you cussing at 2am.

(6.) If you did buy shit that has to be assembled for real, you need to go check that out right now and make sure you have the right size wrench or screwdriver. Go. Do it now. The all-night Texaco is not going to be able to help you when you realize there’s no star shaped allen wrench in your tool kit at 1am. Also, my husband says to remind you that the instructions for assembly are included for a reason. Don’t try to be a hero.

(7.) Go ahead and clear out your phone’s camera roll so you don’t risk getting that error message tomorrow about not enough space! Is there a reason why you’re still keeping those selfies you took 4 months ago? If you haven’t posted one of those by now, it’s not gonna happen. Dump em and clear the way for the 4360984560984056 pictures of your blurry kid squealing into a pile of wrapping paper.

(8.) Take a deep breath, take a shot of something fortifying, and clean up the living room. Enlist your kids and spouse to help. Shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes with that many hands. You’ll be kicking yourself in the morning for not doing it when you see what’s showing in those pictures!

(9.) If you are traveling tomorrow, pack a bag. Seriously. I know you’re not spending the night, but pack a bag anyway. You need a clean shirt for everyone because spills happen and then pictures. You also need a phone charger, and a travel bottle of Pepto and Tylenol, because don’t count on Aunt Cheryl to have that for you anymore. You’re grown; you can bring your own drugs now.

(10.) Speaking of drugs, if you have any substances in your purse that you don’t want your 27 nieces and nephews to get into, then you need to go ahead and clear out your purse today and put your things into the medicine cabinet. Because they will, accidentally or otherwise, knock your purse off the deep freeze, where all your worldly possessions will be strewn out there in the kitchen floor for everyone to see and talk about.

(11.) If there’s a long drive or whatever, and you had planned to download some movies and such for the kids, go ahead and start those downloads now. Go. Do it now. Don’t wait until later. The internet connection will start acting crazy and it will buffer for 45 minutes and you don’t need that kind of aggravation in your life while you’re already trying to put a bicycle together piece by piece.

(12.) If you have a bicycle to put together, or a dollhouse, or anything else, trust me when I tell you that it will take longer to put it together than you think it will. If there’s any way to start now, do it. As a matter of fact, if there’s ANYthing you can do now to make tonight and tomorrow easier, then do it. If there’s a dish you can cook this evening and then just reheat tomorrow, do that. (I assume if it’s a dish served cold, you’d planned on doing that already.) Make things easy on yourself. It will reduce your stress, and you’ll be less aggravated and nicer to everyone else in turn!

(13.) If you have a single friend who doesn’t have family nearby, call and invite them to your Christmas dinner. Not everyone has a Mom, Grandma, or Aunt Cheryl to fuss over Christmas dinner with. There’s always room for one more.

(14.) Don’t forget to set up your coffee pot tonight, so that it will be ready to go in the morning when your kids wake you up at WTF O’clock.

(15.) While you’re at the store getting more batteries and wine and Pepto, don’t forget to grab an extra roll of tape, wrapping paper, and a pack of To/From stickers. You know good and damn well you always run out before the last two gifts are done. Grab some extra garbage bags, too, while you’re in there. You do this every year, and every year you forget again! Anything you have left over can be tossed in the closet for next year anyway.

(16.) GET IN THE PICTURE. I promise you, ten years from now, you will not care if your hair looked a mess, if you could have lost a few pounds, or if it was too early in the day for mascara. Your kids will treasure these memories and these photos regardless of how frumpy you think you look this morning. Your iPhone has a timer. Use it.

(17.) Don’t give yourself a coronary trying to make everything “perfect.” Good enough is good enough. Let it go. Your kids don’t care that the wrapping on their gift is crinkled on that one corner or that the folds aren’t sharp or if the tape or ribbon is crooked. They don’t. Couldn’t care less, in fact. You worry too much. Enjoy the holiday! You owe it to yourself and your kids to stop being a neurotic mess for at least a few hours tomorrow. Sit down, drink some cocoa, and let someone else worry for a change.

p.s. If you have advice to add, feel free to share it with us on the original post here. We keep growing this list every year! It’s a community service event at this point LOL

p.p.s. This is my original list, begun on Christmas Eve 2013, with contributions added year by year from friends. Don’t be a jerk, please.

WOMANIFESTO

Libba Bray

Congratulations.

You have woken the witch that lives deep inside me.

You have removed the slumber chains from the giant of old.

You have handed me a box of matches and no chaperone

And a world made of lies and polyester.

Congratulations.

You have barked up the wrong bitch.

Proclaim it:

I have shucked off the good, southern lady’s cloak,

Of the homecoming court, the cheerleader,

The preacher’s daughter, hands gentled in her lap.

They tied it at my neck with a bow, a Gordian girl-knot,

When I was young and bossy and sure-footed

“For protection,” they said.

Whose protection? I wondered.

Enough.

I have sent that shit out to the dry cleaners

I will not pick it up

They can sell it for a profit from a rack on the street.

From now on,

I’m exposing the raw pink edges of my true skin to the sun.

Some things…

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Let’s Do Something Drastic To My Hair RIGHT Before A Photo Event

I started going gray around 19 or so. It wasn’t a traumatic thing or anything like that, but when you have hair as dark as mine, it’s not something you can readily hide. When that inevitably happens, you have three choices:
(1) Let it happen.
(2) Dye it.
(3) Pluck the motherfucker.

(If you just heard Sam Elliot’s voice, we are soulmates and should elope immediately.)

The first couple, I plucked. Superstitions be damned, I plucked at least three. And then I decided to start the several decades-long habit of dying my hair. From 1996 to 2007, I faithfully colored my hair once every two months with brunette neutral level 2. In 2007, a funny thing happened. I went in to get some highlights for Halloween, and my stylist talked me into some cherry red streaks. Like a moth to a flame, I was hooked. I fell for that red, and I fell HARD.

From 2008 to 20011, regardless of what style I had my hair cut into (and I had a new one every month, because my bestie was a stylist and I was her guinea pig), I always kept those bright-ass red highlights. And then, it happened. I had to go to court, and our attorney was fairly certain that my wild-ass hair wouldn’t put on the best of appearances. We lifted them out, and just left some white blonde streaks. BOOM. Respectable once again. For about a month, and then I was itching to get some color back in there. This time, though, we went with a hot pinkish fuschia shade that made me weak in the knees. I never loved anything more that seeing that first glimpse of that bright-ass shade in my hair. I kept that until late 2012, when I became obsessed with blue. Blue we went, and blue we stayed, until yesterday–a week before Christmas, 2016.

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My husband has been after me for years to let my gray come on out. He has a thing for Emmylou Harris, and he’s said many times that I shouldn’t feel like I have to cover my grays. I get that. But also, I’m not covering my grays because I shun aging or looking old or anything. I cover my grays because I don’t like the way it looks to have just a handful of silver tinsel growing out of my head randomly. If it was in streaks, I’d be all over that! But it’s not, so I cover it. But I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, and I covet this look fiercely!

silver-hair

And so, yesterday, I began the long and arduous journey into silver hair. I will stop right here and say very clearly: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. If you want this look, get thee to a salon and let a professional handle it. I’m serious. Don’t do it. The chances of a DIY home project like this turning out well are slim to you will absolutely fry your hair off.

But I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I’ve been self-coloring for decades, so here we go. It’s only hair. If I fry it off, I will wear a wig or rock a pixie until it grows back and be a walking talking warning to everyone else 😀

Let me insert some of my favorite selfies here, so you can see the look I started with:

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(Also, if you ever see me with anything other than kinky waves, please know and appreciate that I spent hours with a smoothing brush and a flat iron to make it happen, because the natural state of my hair is kink.)

Okay! Now that we’re clear on our starting point, let’s get this party started! First, I slathered my hair in coconut oil, covered it with a shower cap, and slept in that overnight. And then I got up and washed my hair. (No conditioner, just shampooing the oil out.) Then I towel dried and sectioned my hair to start the bleaching process.

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I used 40 volume lifting bleach, and I left it on there about 40 minutes total. I did start about 3inches down from the root first, and then did my roots last. So it was on the new growth maybe 20 minutes. (Virgin hair bleaches faster, so never start at the root when bleaching your whole head!)

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So, for the first lifting, we did make it to a bright-ass YELLOW! Which, if you have dark hair, you know is pretty great for one take, because we usually get a rank orange nastiness LOL So this was a great first run. The next step is to tone the fuck out of it and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! In a few days, I will do a second bleaching and see where we are.start3  start2

I did manage to get some makeup on my face the next day, but I will also most likely be wearing a wig or a hat if I need to leave the house in the next two days. I will go ahead and post this so you can laugh at my dumbassery, and will update this post as changes happen!

My Husband Is A Writer

No Purple Walls

Adam wrote this recently, but he is without blog and this was too good to not share. So I’m posting it for him and also beaming at how talented my husband is. I don’t post a lot of political stuff here, but that’s how good I think this is. Whenever he writes, I bug him about starting his own blog. Please join me in bugging him.

Clerk: Welcome!  What can I do for you?

Customer: Saw your ice cream shop here and thought I’d stop in.  I’m dying for some ice cream!

Clerk: Well you came to the right place!  We have two flavors here today: Make America Great Again, and Stronger Together.

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10 Kids Who Totally Suck

Let’s be honest here for a minute, ok? As adorable as babies may be — in that puppies and kittens kind of way –eventually some of them grow up into kids who suck. Ok, ok. Not all of them, but some of them. Too many of them, in fact. Any of these sound familiar?

1. The Kid Who Won’t Share – He’s the one at the park or the beach with the coolest new thingamabob, waving it around in front of your poor deprived kids who only WISH they had a mom cool enough to buy it for them, but even worse– he’s got that neiner-neiner attitude about it. It’s his, and he’s proud of it, and he rightly should be. He just hasn’t learned yet how not to be a jerk about it.

2. The Kid Who Thinks You Should Just Give It To Him – He is the exact reverse of TKWWS, only on steroids. Everything he sees, he wants, and you will hand it over or you will face the consequences. The consequences, of course, may include glass-shattering shrieks which may or may not be coupled with some pushing and/or some “I’m going to tell my Mom that you’re not sharing!” Sure, kid. Go tell your mom that you jerked something out of my baby’s hands and then pushed her over and made her cry. I’m sure THAT conversation will go well.

3. The Crybaby Kid – If you’re like me, you want to stab yourself in the ears every time you get within 40 feet of this kid because this child whines about EVERYTHING. Offer her a popsicle? “I waaaanted the reeeeeeed one, waaaahhh!” Invited him over for a birthday party? Better not open the presents! “Where’s miiiiiiiiine??? Waaaaahhhh!” Trying to chat with the mom? “Mooooooom, I’m ready to goooooooooo, waaaaah!” Trying to have a meal? “My French fries are too hard/too soft/too brown/not brown enough, waaaaah!”

4. The Kid With No Volume Control – I’m sure you’ve heard this kid coming and bolted the other way. This is the kid who learned to whisper in a sawmill, the one who thinks you can’t understand him unless he’s shouting, the one who acts like his words only beget action if they come out of his mouth at a thousand decibels. There’s no amount of SHHHHHHHHH’ing in the world that will quieten this kid–he only has two volumes: mute and ear-bleed.

5. The Hulk – Also known as the “I Will Break Everything I See, Just Because I Can” kid. This kid just plain digs breaking shit. No rhyme or reason for it, he just breaks everything he touches. You can ask him to be more careful, but you may as well be talking to a brick wall. He throws things to feel joy. Stop trying to steal his joy, why don’t cha?!

6. The Bad Influence Kid – You can only pray that this is not YOUR kid, but…well…chances are… This is the kid that can easily and consistently talk ALL the other kids into doing shit that they KNOW they’re not suppose to be doing. This kid is probably most closely related to …

7. The It Wasn’t My Fault / I Didn’t Do It Kid – “It wasn’t me.” “I don’t know who did it.” “I think the dog knocked that over.” “It must have been Dad.” “Maybe we have a ghost.”

8. The I Know Everything and You’re Just Dumb Kid – This kid is most likely somewhere around 8ish, or 12ish, or 16ish, and unless you’ve written THE book (and can prove it) about whatever-it-is that you are discussing, you may as well give it up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and no amount of anecdotal evidence will prove otherwise. The IKEAYJD kid most likely has a parent who has resorted to either “Ok, whatever.” “Because I said so.” or “Just shut up.” On more than one occasion.

9. The But WHY? Kid – This kid responds to any and all conversations (even questions WTF?) with a familiar refrain: Time for bed! “But whhyyyyyy?” Eat your peas, sweetie! “But whyyyyy?” Put your shoes on before you miss the bus! “But whyyyyyy?” If you don’t pick up your toys, they are going in time out. “But whyyyyy?” Because I fucking said so, kid!

10. The You’re Not The Boss Of Me Kid – His favorite phrases may include such gems as “I don’t have to.” “No, I don’t want to.” and “You can’t make me.” He will repeat said phrases over and over, no matter how many times he is asked nicely, told firmly, or begged desperately to stop. Who IS the Boss? I dunno, but if you have to ask, it’s probably not you.

*Note: My own children went through every single one of these phases at some point, so if one (or more) of these strike a nerve, fear not. We’ve all been there.

 

© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

15 Reasons Homework Sucks

Homework blows. Is there anyone on the planet who actually enjoys homework? If so, I’ve got a house full of kids who need some of whatever you’re smoking. Homework seems to be especially painful for parents – parents who want nothing more than for their kids to do well, as long as that happens without us having to spend a bajillion hours (and tears) trying to help our kids do things we haven’t even seen in thirty years. We did our time, kid. This is all you!

Here are 15 of the biggest reasons that homework sucks for parents:

1. Having to use Google to help with fourth-grade math.

2. Running out of lead in the mechanical pencil and having to actually sharpen a #2.

3. Trying to explain the difference between “c” and “k” to a 5-year-old.

4. Midnight trips to the craft store for hot glue and popsicle sticks for a project due at 8 a.m.

5. Watching your kid work an iPad more efficiently than you.

6. “Family Homework Projects” HAHAHAHAHAHA!

7. Bribing your way through the whines and tears just to get it done, and knowing that the only thing actually learned was how many treats they can sucker out of you for finishing three pages of math problems.

9. Repeating “Are you finished with your homework yet?” a billion times each evening.

10. Eye rolls.

11. Insisting that your kid do his own work, and then seeing all the obviously parent-completed projects at Science Night.

12. Hiding in the corner of the laundry room with your spouse for a best 2 out of 3 in Rock, Paper, Scissors for whose turn it is to help with homework tonight. Losing the battle.

13. Incomplete or vague instructions on tonight’s homework due tomorrow.

14. Getting notes back from the teacher on all the things wrong with your kid’s homework, when you helped them with a majority of it.

15. Homework kills trees. It kills all the trees. Save the planet. Stop the madness.

© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

10 Reasons Kids Get Shown The Exit

Not everyone likes kids. And not everyone who does like children likes all kids. But for the sake of our grown-up relationships with those kids’ parents, and for the sake of our kids’ friendships with the aforementioned little monsters, sometimes we put up with a tiny bit more than we’d rather. Where do YOU draw the line? How bad does a kid have to be, before they are forevermore banned from your house, and damn the consequences? As for me, our house is the block’s fun house, and there are a gajillion kids here all the time. I totally don’t mind. In fact, I pretty much love it. But it’s not always kittens and rainbows, and sometimes, it can get downright nasty. Ten reasons to burn the welcome mat at our house are:

1. Screaming, shrieking tantrums. Sorry, Charlie. My own kids don’t get away with that shit. I’m sure as hell not catering to you while you proceed to make Linda Blair look like an amateur. We have enough crazy here to deal with already; there’s no need to borrow more. If there’s a known issue, of course there are exceptions that we learn to adapt to, but if your super special issue is that you’re a spoiled brat who uses tantrums to get your way, you can scream and wail and stomp your feet all the way back to your mom’s house.

2. Hitting, kicking, spitting, biting, pushing, throwing/breaking things, and swearing. See #1. I’ll warn you ONCE. And only once. After that, it’s Bye Bye Birdie, and don’t make me out to be the bad guy when your mom gets here to pick you up. My house, my rules. I prefer for my kids to feel safe and comfortable in their own home, not terrorized and threatened by a peer, thanks anyway.

3. Being mean to family pets. Now, if we’re talking about a toddler or up to, say, around 6ish…then maaaaaybe shaving the poodle or trying to bathe the cat in the toilet might get a pass. There’s no reason for a little kid to associate hair cuts or bath time with trauma or torture, right? But old enough to know better—oh hell no. And trying to hang the puppy by his neck, or tossing baby kittens into the lake? SoMuchNOPE. Those kids need help, but they aren’t going to get it at my house. Go away, and stay away. And tell your mom to expect a visit from child services, because I report psychotic behavior like that.

4. Stealing and destroying property. Kids break shit. This we know. And accidents happen. But when they mysteriously only happen when you’re here, and EVERY time you’re here, we’re going to have a problem. Also? Our kids share. They LOVE to share. If you ask to borrow it, they’d be glad to give you the shirt off their backs. But don’t take things home with you without asking, and then deny where it came from. Honey, that’s not sharing; that’s stealing, and we’re not playing that game. We’re not stupid, and I don’t remember ever agreeing to personally finance your addiction to Xbox games or Pokemon cards. Keep your sticky fingers to yourself, or I can just invoice your parents for the cost of everything you stole and/or broke and we’ll see if you can swing a five-finger discount with them.

5. Setting shit on fire. No. Just…no.

6. Failure to overcome separation anxiety, and failure to inform US of this. Now look. I know sometimes those first sleepovers can be hard. Sometimes even traumatic for some kids. But if you consistently BEG to spend the night here, and also consistently decide around 2 or 3 a.m. that you need your mommy to come pick you up…Every.Single.Time… you may need to wait a few more years before you get to try this again. I don’t want to be a meanie, but we just can’t keep doing this. And parents of these kids: if you KNOW that this happens all the time, but fail to mention that it might be a problem because you “just thought it might go differently at your house”? Oh honey. Don’t be that parent.

7. Lice and/or bedbugs. This is more of a parenting thing than a fault of the kids, but regardless. It’s nobody’s fault, and we’ve dealt with lice before and probably will have to again. My issue is the knowing, and the not telling. A heads-up costs you nothing. If you bring either of those nasty critters over here knowingly and don’t tell me? Banning will be the least of your worries. Do you even KNOW how much it costs to get completely rid of bedbugs?? What kind of sick freak knowingly inflicts that on anybody, especially your kids’ friends? Quarantine that shit and handle your business. And then maybe we can meet for a playdate at the park in a year or two. And P.S.: I am very sorry for that creepy-crawly feeling that you are all having right fucking now, but it had to be said.

8. Getting aggressively religious OR anti-religious in my house. I love when kids have a good enough sense of self to start talking about their faith. I really do. But if you flip crazy evangelical and start telling my kids that they are “going to burn in hell” or some such nonsense for watching Spongebob, you can holy roll your little butt back to Sunday school. Similarly, if you get up in my kid’s face putting down their religious beliefs or worse, demeaning the way we choose to celebrate our holidays or whatever, you’re going to be persona non grata until you learn some manners. Respect is this sweet new thing all the cool kids are doing. You should totally try it sometime.

9. Persistently engaging in risky behavior. Soooooo your mom said you got suspended for drinking at school, and I let that go and OK’ed my teens having you over anyway. Everybody makes mistakes, right? But then I caught you smoking weed out in my garage a week later. I’m glad you feel like this is your safe place… I think? But erm, nooo. I don’t have enough cash on hand to pay my bail when I get carted off for contributing to your delinquency.

10. Failure to GTFO. Generally, when my kids have friends over, there’s at least a vague plan for when it’s time for them to go home. Sometimes that’s in a few hours; sometimes it’s overnight; hell, sometimes it’s a few days! But there’s generally a plan at least, and an expectation, or at least a conversation. Now, being a few minutes late, I get. I’m always late. Always. It’s a flaw. But “running late” does NOT mean eight hours after your mom said she was coming to get you. (Seriously, that happened one time. Mom just didn’t come back until the next day! She got “busy” and made “plans” and figured it would be “fine” so she never even called.) We’ve also had teenage visitors (in the summer) who just showed up out of the blue some mornings and hung out ALL FREAKING DAY and we practically had to shove them out the front door sometime around midnight so that we could go to bed. (Where do your parents think you are right now??Seriously. If you’re moving in here for the summer, I kinda need a heads up.) If you continuously overstay your welcome, then that welcome gets weaker and weaker until eventually, there’s not one. Or let’s try this: You know what happens to milk after its expiration date? Yeah, now multiply that times, ooooh say, 3 weeks. Now take a big whiff. Smell that? Yeah, THAT. Don’t do that. Don’t linger past your expiration date. For the love of all things holy, GO HOME.

© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

The 20 Stages of Laundry

Just in case you’ve never personally done your own laundry at home, there’s a process. You need to know that process, in order to make sure you’re doing things the right way, and so that you know what to expect.

1. Stare at the pile of dirty laundry.

2. Laundry did not magically disintegrate under the force of your glare.

3. Swear at the pile of dirty laundry.

4. Laundry did not take the hint that it’s unwelcome here and leave.

5. Think about starting a load of laundry.

6. Think about how long it will take to finish all this laundry.

7. Pour a glass of wine to cope with the trauma induced by that thought.

8. Consider joining a nudist colony.

9. Consider the mom body.

10. Scratch #8. Have another glass of wine.

11. Consider Febreezing everything and re-wearing it one more time.

12. Consider how long that’s been going on already.

13. Scratch #11. Dispair.

14. Decide to start the laundry.

15. Rewash what’s already mildewing in the washer from yesterday.

16. Restart the dryer with the same load for the 3rd time.

17. Stack the clean dry clothes neatly in the laundry basket.

18. Repeat until Thursday when the clothes are still in the laundry basket.

19. Shove the pile of clean clothes to the other side of the couch.

20. Decide to never buy any more clothes for anyone else in the house. Ever.

 

© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

Top 10 Topics In-Laws Should Avoid

Hello, Parents-in-Law! Today’s PSA is brought to you by adult children everywhere.

First of all, we adore your child, and we think you did a mighty fine job of raising him/her. Thank you for that.

Secondly, since we love our spouses so much, we also really want to have a good relationship with you, too. REALLY, we do.

We promise to respect your position as their mother, but there are some things you can do to make this relationship a little smoother, too. In order to make our interactions as pleasant as possible, we ask — we beg — you to avoid broaching the following topics with us. Or at least stop bringing them up over and over and over and over.

1. Where we live. We know you want your kids and grandkids to live near you, but that’s not always feasible for a number of reasons. We don’t appreciate when you keep bringing up the house for sale just across the street from you, or how you know somebody who knows somebody at the a bank who might be able to help us with the mortgage, or how this school district is SO wonderful and how you couldn’t find better neighbors if you searched the world over, and how the neighborhood we’re currently living in seems to be getting *ahem* a little rough around the edges. Enough already. We get it. And it’s not bringing us any closer.

2. The names we’ve chosen for our kids. Your best bet is to just smile and lie if you need to, “That’s nice, dear. Is that a family name?” We’re probably pretty stoked about the names we’ve chosen, and your poo-pooing won’t end well.

3. Feeding our kids. As long as your grandchildren are not wasting away due to malnutrition, this should be a no-brainer. We don’t need a 45 minute lecture on the health benefits of the vitamins you made their dad take when he was a baby, or how you breastfed until he was four and look how he turned out. We’ve got this. And by the way, if you could avoid filling them up with sodas and candy and cookies and stuff while they’re over there visiting with you, after we’ve clearly and specifically asked you not to, that’d be awesome. We know you love our kids and want to make them happy, but if you could find a way to do that without undermining our choices that we have clearly and repeatedly reiterated, that would be swell.

4. How we spend our money. We may be better off than you think, or we could be two seconds away from calling a bankruptcy attorney. Either way, if we wanted to talk about money with you, we would. Even if we had to swallow our pride like acid-soaked broken glass to do it. We’re doing the best we can, and we’d like for you to treat us as adults and respect the fact that we can balance our own checkbooks and we know if we can afford to take the kids to Disney World this year or if we need to wait for a clearance sale to buy that new shoe rack for the kids’ room.

5. How we discipline our kids. While we DO appreciate those funny anecdotes about how our husbands misbehaved as tots, and we probably find ourselves at our wit’s ends with the kids’ temper tantrums sometimes…unsolicited nagging about how we’re letting our kids run amok and how that would never have stood back in the day is distinctly unhelpful. (And even more stressful than the tantrums, truth be told.) You had your chance already with your own children to do things your way. We’re living with a product of your ways, remember?

6. How you never get to see the grandkids. Especially if this comes up during another one of your unannounced middle-of-the-day visits that send us scurrying. Trust us, we know exactly how often you see the grandchildren. If you’d like to see them more often, maybe we could get together with our handy little pocket planners and set up a nice visit sometime soon when it’s good for both of us.

7. Taking sides in our arguments. Sometimes, we’re going to go head to head with your sweet baby boy. Hopefully, we’ll keep our fights to ourselves, but every now and then, one of us may open our mouths and say something unfortunate. While this is going to totally suck for you, you’re going to be in a lose-lose situation, no matter who you side with. If you say he is right, then obviously you’re biased because he’s your son, and if you say we are right, then obviously you’re biased because women stick together in their man-bashing. The best thing you can possibly do is keep it zipped and just suggest they talk it over again when they’re both calm, and leave it at that.

8. Our housekeeping skills. No more passive-aggressive comments about how our house looks “lived in,” or gifts of cleaning products or cookbooks, okay? We get it. We don’t cook as good as you, and our houses will never be as clean as yours. You win. Here’s your trophy. Can we drop it now?

9. Our family planning decisions. Whether you think we should have more kids, or think we’ve got enough already and need to look into sterilization, our reproductive business is frankly none of your concern. We do not want to discuss our sex life with our husband’s mother. Ever. Or his father. Ew.

10. Our appearance. Obviously nothing negative (like a weight gain comment–HELLO), but beware even offering a compliment if there’s a hostile environment already. “You look nice today, dear” can sound a whole lot like “Wow, you do know how to brush your hair every once in a while, huh? Who knew!” to an already stressed-out and keyed-up daughter-in-law. We know it sounds counterintuitive to refrain from compliments, but when emotions are already high, it’s a really good idea to stay away from personal appearance remarks completely.
© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

10 of the Dumbest Things Parents Say

As parents, we’ve all had those moments when we wonder “Did those words actually just come out of my mouth?” The WTF factor gets even higher when you realize that it’s probably something your own parents used to say– things that you swore you’d never say to your own children. Never say never. Chances are, we’ve all uttered at least one of these gems at some point…

1. “Who is the parent here: Me or you? Variations include: “Who’s the boss?”, “I’m in charge here” and “You’re not the boss of me!” If any of these come out of your mouth, you’re probably already losing this argument and in need of a mommy time out. It’s ok. Sometimes we do actually need reassurance that we’re supposed to be the authority figure, because it seems like the toddlers are running the show 92.843% of the time.

2. “Do you want me to turn this car around right now? Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen. After the two hours it took to get everyone bundled up and buckled into the car? Not on your life!

3. “Money doesn’t grow on trees! Okaaaay. And Skittles don’t really fall out of a rainbow, either. Can’t we just say “No, you can’t have that today” and leave the finance (and botany) classes for later? Any kid with any sense already knows that money doesn’t grow on trees because it’s magically embedded in Mommy’s debit card, of course.

4. “You need to put on clean underwear every day. Usually said even as we’re sitting in the same yoga pants we wore yesterday. And maybe the day before that, too. Hypocrisy, thy name is parent.

5. “You want some cheese with that whine? Umm, maybe? Is it string cheese? Who doesn’t love mozzarella? Puns usually don’t go over very well with the under 3 foot crowd. Your older kids probably won’t get it either. Unless you’re in the habit of taking them to wine and cheese parties for family night, no one under 30 has any idea what you just said.

6. “We’ll see… There is no kid in the universe who doesn’t know that this actually means “I want to say No, but I can’t think of a good reason right now, so ask me again later after I’ve come up with a plausible excuse.

7. “Go ask your Dad/Mom. Ditto #6 above. And/or “I don’t want to be the bad guy/make this decision/have this conversation/be responsible for the outcome. This is me passing the buck to your other parental unit.

8. “Finish your peas. There are starving kids in Africa. Will those kids not be starving anymore if Junior finishes his peas? Has science finally proven that guilt builds an appetite for veggies?

9. “If you don’t pick up these toys, I’m going to throw them away. Good luck with that. You paid good money for those crap toys and we all know full well it didn’t happen the last 50 times you said it anyway…

10. “Your face is going to freeze like that” or “You’d better pick up that bottom lip before you trip over it!” Neither of which is actually possible, but they’re still ever-popular warnings against the pouty face for some reason.
© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy

Social Media and Online Friends: Real Connections



Once upon a time, before FaceBook was even a thing, there was MySpace. There was probably something before that too, but I never knew it. I loved MySpace, and I spent many a non-productive block of hours connecting with people and playing Mafia Wars.

(Circle of Bosses–represent!)

 

I know many people criticise social media and look down on those who use it frequently, but I’ve truly met some of my best friends online, women with whom I share a bond just as real as if I’d met them in college, or at the grocery store, or in the school drop off line. They’ve been just a click away every time I’ve needed to vent, cry, laugh, or even just when I need to know another adult is available to validate my existence.

MySpace had this thing, called Top 8, where you got to choose people from your friends list whom you wanted to be in your row of connections listed on your profile. (Sort of like the older-than-dirt Friends and Family circle on your phone line–if you’re old enough to remember that!) Being chosen for someone’s Top 8 honor was a pretty big deal. So one day, I was glancing over my husband’s page, and I saw in his Top 8 a picture of THE most adorable little blonde girl with a ponytail. I’d never seen this woman before and I didn’t recognize her name, and I’m thinking to myself, “Who the hell is this bitch in his Top 8 that I’ve never heard of??”

As it turns out, she was an old high school friend of his, and we connected and started chatting. At first it was just a little comment here and there, and then direct message conversations, until one day, we exchanged phone numbers and all hell broke loose.

Now let me be right up front, I hate talking on the phone. HATE. IT. I’ve never been one for phone chatter. So when I say that we spoke on the phone that first time for three hours, that’s like a huge thing. I mean I feel like I should get an Olympic gold medal or something. But we did. We spoke for a little over three hours, about anything and everything and nothing. We discovered, much to our mutual surprise, that we are basically the same person inhabiting different bodies, and we couldn’t wait to put those two bodies in the same room. We made a date, forced our husbands to fall in love with each other as well, and we’ve all been best friends ever since. (Love you Shona!)

I know that not every connection made online (or in person) turns out to be a lasting one. Even given the previous story and his place in it, my husband still likes to tease me about my friends that live in my computer. But I’m willing to wager that for every horror story you hear about online wackos and trolls, there are just as many, if not more, connections that are made that don’t get as much spotlight. Connections that turn into long term relationships that would never have happened if not for social media. I say we shine a light on THOSE for a while, and let our online friends know what an impact they’ve had in our lives. They probably would like to hear that they are as important to you as you are to them.

I say this because a man died today. A kind, witty, compassionate, intelligent man that I met on Facebook five years ago, through a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend on a comment thread of no lasting importance. He was one of a handful of people I met on that same thread that day that I’ve kept in touch with over the years. I don’t know them in real life. I’ve never met them, and probably won’t ever. But I liked interacting with them. I liked reading what they had to say. Their words made an impact on me and in my life, some in a big way, some in smaller ways, but in ways nonetheless. But I never told them so. And now it’s too late to let him know that his absence will leave a hole in the world. We weren’t close, in any kind of way, and we only interacted directly a handful of times, but the world was truly a better place for having him in it, and I am a better person for having known him however slightly. And I wish I had taken a couple seconds somewhere over the last five years to let him know that.

I didn’t mean for this to get maudlin, but tragedy has a way of making one think. When I hear about bad things happening to kids, I want to hold my own children a little tighter. When I hear about an abusive spouse, I’m grateful that my partner is one of the good ones. When one of my friends loses a parent, I want to call my own and tell them I love them. Not that we shouldn’t be doing all this already, but losses in my face always make me more grateful for what I have, and remind me that I need to be more demonstrative of it.

So this is me telling each and every one of you, whether you are in my world by way of physical presence or DSL connection: I appreciate your presence in my crazy life and I’m glad that you have allowed me to be in yours.

***

Now on a lighter note, this blast from the past I submit only in fun, because I don’t want this memory lost! I just stumbled across my husband’s old MySpace account by accident when I was looking for the C.O.B photo, and this was the only video he’d ever shared. (Thanks for that, Babe.) I won’t embarrass everyone by naming names, but I will say that there was no small amount of alcohol involved in the production of this memory. And I still love that turquoise bra, but I think he wears it much better. (My husband is the one playing the guitar.)