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

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.)

10 Stupid Blog Comments

Most of us learned the saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” back when we were kids. Unfortunately, this phrase doesn’t seem to translate to mommy blog world, where anonymity presents a free-for-all in the comment section. And even then, it would be different if the same snarky, sanctimonious comments didn’t keep repeating and recycling over and over and over, with the same obnoxious tripe masquerading under the guise of “It’s just my opinion. Sheesh! Free speech, anyone?” Some of the more supercilious comments are as follows:

1. I don’t get this at all. My experience was nothing like this, therefore this entire post is completely ridiculous and in no way representative of life outside my personal bubble. It is incomprehensible to me than anyone else might have a life experience divergent from my own. But I won’t be content with happily regaling all the ways my experience was superior, I’ll also need to throw in a few smug lines to shame others about their own situations. Just to let them know how badly they’re failing at life.

2. My kids are not like that/have never done that. I don’t understand why people complain so much about whateverthispostisabout. My situation has been a breeze. You are probably doing something wrong or else you wouldn’t be having so many problems, therefore I cannot relate and have zero empathy for anyone who doesn’t do things exactly the way I do with the exact same outcome.

3. I don’t understand what the author is so upset about. It sounds petty to me. People are too quick to get offended over the least little thing. This situation has never happened to me, so I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I would still like to pretend that if it did, I would have a lot more grace and class about it than to rant and rave about it on the internet! In the meantime, I will continue saying/doing whatever it is that other people find offensive, because I cannot comprehend the point of this post is to tell me how and why those things are hurtful. And since it doesn’t affect me directly, I really don’t care that it’s hurtful to others.

4. If you weren’t prepared for the challenges of raising children, you should have kept your legs together. Birth control much? Stop breeding and stop complaining. Meanwhile, I will continue to bitch about my hideous non-career and what an asshole my boss is, but everyone else should just STFU and put their big girl panties on and deal with it. It’s called real life. Grow up and stop whining about it. I mean, it’s okay if I do it because I have free speech and I’ll say whatever I want, but when you do the same thing, you just sound like an entitled brat and it is my douchey prerogative to call you out on it.

5. #NotAllHusbands #NotAllWives #NotAllMoms #NotAllDads #NotAllKids #NotAllAnybody Since I happen to know that there are minute exceptions to whatever generalizations you are making, your entire post is invalid and should never be said at all, ever.

6. You sound really bitter and angry. I don’t have the comprehension skills to read the post and understand what you might be bitter and angry ABOUT, but the whole tone of this post is just…bleh. Not digging it. You should cheer up and be thankful for what you DO have. I don’t care what you’re particular situation is, it is my opinion that you should change the whole tone of your story to suit my emotional needs, complete stranger on the internet.

7. This snapshot of your life experience is reprehensible and irresponsible. So many people in the world will read this and only this and think that it is stone cold fact. You need a disclaimer that says “This is a semi-satirical post complied of hyperbole, humor and sardonicism, and should in no way replace expert advice from a licensed physician, attorney, or therapist,” or else no one will ever know any better because people are in general pretty stupid and are incapable of seeking information from more than once source.

8. Your sense of humor is not like my sense of humor. Therefore, I don’t find this amusing in the slightest and will now proceed to be a huge sandy vagina all over the comment section, berating both the author and other commenters who share the joke because I failed Internet 101 where they showed us how to scroll past things we don’t like.

9. I didn’t even read this post. But based on the photo caption or the title alone, I will now comment heatedly about an issue that is in no way related to this post, because I’d rather throw a pompous opinion into the pool before being unduly influenced by the actual article itself.

10. I disagree with everything you just said. I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s an emotional response that I can’t articulate, so instead of respectfully disagreeing using my grown-up words, I’ll just throw some sanctimonious name-calling around, and then get butt-hurt from the rebuttals. I might even say I’m unfollowing this page and storm off in a huff. So THERE.

© 2014 MyLove Barnett, as first published on Scary Mommy