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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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