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

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

Why Moms Love Social Media

Oh, Social Media, how we love you. Let us count the ways! Ha, just kidding. Aint nobody got time for that, and your ego is swollen enough already. Just suffice it to say that most people we know with a few minutes to spare can be found perusing various social media sites via wi-fi now days, rather than leafing through this month’s issue of Reader’s Digest. In fact, there are a large number of people lately who confess that most (if not ALL) of their bestest friends are primarily people they’ve met online! Of course there’s also a portion of the population who think that’s crazy weird (maybe even slightly pathetic. So to THOSE people, let us explain why our internet friends are so amazing:

No housekeeping necessary.

No last minute, Omg I can’t let the house be seen like this, flight of the bumblebee cleaning attacks required. Just tilt the webcam toward the other wall, away from the piles of laundry you haven’t folded yet. Problem solved!

There’s no dress code.

Did I say the house was a mess? I meant I’M a mess. Aint nobody needs to see this spectacular fashion fail, either. My internet friends care not a bit that my hair is in a messy bun, I haven’t put on eyeliner in two weeks, my leggings have a hole where I snagged them on corner of the broken clothes basket, and I can’t even find my comfy bra. Seriously, I haven’t seen that thing in three days, and it’s the only one I have that doesn’t cut off my circulation.

Kids underfoot is a non-issue.

I don’t need to get a sitter or lock the kids in their room to have a semi-adult conversation. I can log in anytime of the day or night with no appointment necessary, and without having to yell like a maniac over the din to be heard.

Less filtering required for foot-in-mouth syndrome.

I’m less likely to type something accidentally hurtful than run off at the mouth in person. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m better with the printed words than the spoken ones, and I think a lot of it has to do with the time to think in between opening my mouth versus typing a message and pressing “send.”

Three-way calling? Girl, please.

The internet means that now we can have as many people in the same conversation as there are stars in the sky, and no one has to feel left out or missing something. Just scroll up, catch up, and get in where you fit in.

Different time zones – No problem.

Actually, it’s pretty fantastic. The days of worrying about “long-distance” phone bills are pretty much non-existent now, so we don’t have to worry about taking out a second mortgage to catch up. And even if you’re on the other side of the globe just starting your day as I’m tucking my kids in for the night, we can still chat online, without having to hide in the pantry whispering.

Hook-ups can be more meaningful.

It’s way easier to connect with new people online than it is in person. When you take out all the superficial bullshit that normally attracts (or repels) people at first glance, and replace that with common interests and well spoken words on a page, human interaction takes on a whole new level of “you get me!” that transcends classes, races, income levels, etc.

It’s easier to be nice to people online.

Even if you’re rolling your eyes at their latest dumbassery, it’s easier to keep those lips zipped when they’re not standing right in front of you regaling you with the most current episode of The Poor Choices of Our Lives. For people who have problems with their brain-to-mouth filter, this can go a long way towards NOT seeming like the judgemental twat that none of us want to be but can’t help sounding like sometimes.

It’s easier to deal with assholes online.

It’s easier to think of snappy comebacks when the hostility isn’t nose-to-nose. Or you could, um, take the high road and ignore them. I know–where’s the fun in THAT? I’m just saying, if you want to get all technical about it, there IS that option to just act like they didn’t just say what I clearly just read.

Total honesty here: It’s easier to lie online.

(See what I did there?) That doesn’t mean create a fake profile and become an internet phony. But sometimes when people text or call, the messages they leave are so banal or inane that I just don’t know how to (or if I even should) reply to that. I might need a minute. (Or a day or two. Sometimes I don’t brain very well.) But the damndest thing about these new smartphones is that once you open a text, it shows that it’s been read, so you’re kind of obligated to say SOMETHING. On FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram, that’s a big fat “Get out of commenting FREE” card. (Unless you’re tagged. Bitches love to tag. Don’t tag me, bro!)

It’s a lot easier to pretend to be less of slovenly blob online, too.

Really, I totally don’t mind admitting that I’m about to sack out with an entire bag of cheetos and binge watch the entire second season of House of Cards after the kids go to bed. To a select audience, of course.

 

© 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

Reasons To Love Summer Break

Rants abound as we stare into the dreaded summer vacation from school. (And if you haven’t seen them yet, just hold on. They’re coming. Promise.) But the end of the school year isn’t always something to eye with trepidation! Consider these 10 Reasons To Love Summer Break:

1. No getting up at the ass crack of dawn to scorch a PopTart and search frantically for missing shoes while you try to detangle hair on a child that must have slept in a rat-infested wind tunnel.

2. No more lunch packing nightmares, or frantic perusal of Pinterest for hours to find new things to put in their lunches that might actually be consumed.

3. No more squinting through bleary sleep-crusty eyes trying to decipher “Please sign and return” notes that mysteriously just appeared out of thin air before time to walk out the door for school.

4. No midnight trips to the nearest store to grab something “must have” for school the next day. No more projects. No more HOMEWORK! WOOT WOOT!

5. You can live off of popsicles, bologna sandwiches, juice pouches and popcorn at least 4 days a week, without having to worry that some concerned authority figure at school will ask what they ate and call you in for detention.

6. Grandma is S.O.L. on that whole “noooo you can’t spend the night tonight, you’ve got school tomorrow” excuse.

7. Loose and breezy summer schedules mean we don’t have to be any damn where. Zero obligations. If we *want* to sacrifice our free and easy schedule with summer activities or sports, we can. But we don’t have to.

8. We can stay up as late as we want, no fights over bed time. We can also sleep as late as we want. (Or until 6 am when your toddler, who gives zero fucks about your fun summer sleep late schedule, decides it’s time to get up any damn way.)

9. The Ice Cream Truck. You may hate the Ice Cream Truck in your neighborhood, but it’s our summer version of Santa Claus. You better not pout, you better not cry, ice cream trucks only put out for big kids with dry eyes…

10. Pool time totally counts as bath time AND can double as a sleep aide when combined with exertion and fresh air. Off to the pool at 3-4 in the evening? Hellllo 7pm bed time.

Try to keep these great summer perks in mind while you wait out the last few weeks of school. And just keep holding that through through June, when you’ll start to hear “I’m booooooooooooooored” for the 17210456413442157464th time.

 

© 2015 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy