How Fairy Tales Prepared me for Motherhood

Photographer Dina Goldstein’s series “Fallen Princesses“ has actually been around since 2009 but I had never posted the photographs as a complete set before. The project looks at Disney fairy tale princesses and their harshly realistic modern day lifestyles. Seems not everybody lives happily ever after. This project has won several awards, been published internationally in magazines, analyzed by experts in the field of Fairytale literature and studied in High schools and Universities.:

You’ve read them. I’ve read them. We grew up on them, as did countless generations before us. We all know that fairy tales started out as cautionary tales to keep adventurous children from wandering off into the forest and eating a candy house while petting a wolf that looks like your Nana. I guess those things have happened in the past. I have a special place in my heart for fairy tales. I have always found them fascinating. I have written term papers about their importance even in today’s world. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that these stories beloved the world over also helped prepare me for Motherhood. How? well gather ’round children and I’ll tell you a story

Old Mother Hubbard: She lived in a cupboard. The poor woman never got out of the kitchen. Give me one example how that is not an accurate representation of being a mom. Go on….I’ll wait

The Little old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe: She had so many children she lived in a shoe. The same shoe. The same stinky old shoe. I mean really I guess it worked out because how often do you have to clean a shoe? Old shoes have a certain feeling of comfort. If this tale were written in modern times it would probably be titled “The little old woman who lived in her yoga pants”

Jack & the Bean Stalk: A small child being sold “magical beans”? Some strange thing growing in your garden? A golden goose that shits riches untold? This has 6 year old imagination written all over it. Bean is hell bent on convincing me one of her friends is a mermaid, because her friend “told her she was”. I also have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell her. On a side note, the only small animal in our lives most certainly does NOT shit gold.

Rapunzel: Ok so the original Rapunzel story is actually quite risque. So for all intents and purposes we will stick with the Disney version. Child……cut your hair or some shady shit will happen to you. Like reptiles living in your hair.

The Princess & the Pea: This should be changed to the Princess & the Pee. Because for a span of your life, everything will revolve around peeing and pooping. Sometimes even while sleeping. Sorry.

Aladdin: Sand, trinkets, a carpet, a monkey, a genie, a tangled web of lies. That is parenting in a nutshell. Except the genie doesn’t grant wishes. It holds dirty diapers.

The 3 Little Pigs: 2 words. Chin Hair. As in, you’ll wake up one day and it will be there. It wasn’t there the night before. “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin” will become your mantra.

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It’s not the kids’ fault

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I’ve often muttered to myself “I hate other people’s children.” I know, it’s ironic considering I’m going to be a teacher. But as I was working at my other job over the weekend I realized that it’s actually not the children I hate; well not entirely. It’s the parents. These asshole, responsibility shirking parents. Who in turn, raise asshole, responsibility shirking children.

Over the weekend I was hosting at the restaurant I work at. It was Saturday night and there were several important college football games on. Before I even clocked in I noticed 2 boys sitting at a table close to the bar completely unsupervised. Their parents were sitting at the bar completely ignoring them. Sadly, these were not the only kids to be ignored that night. These boys were completely without adult supervision for 3 hours. They were running around the restaurant and parking lot, climbing on restaurant equipment and basically annoying the ever living shit out of me. Then they were joined by 6(yes I said 6) more unsupervised children. Their parents were watching a later football game. Over the course of 3 more hours not one adult ever came outside to check on these children or tell them that running in a dark parking lot is dangerous.

Bean would never get away with that behavior. First of all I would never expect her to remain entertained at a restaurant while I watched football. Never mind the fact that these people basically got free childcare out of me, they also took up a large table for several hours so the server in that section couldn’t make anymore money. These parents are lazy. They saw fit to leave their children in the care of a total stranger while they drank and watched football. Because these parents set such a fine example for their children, these kids thought it was totally acceptable to run amok and act like little heathens. When did we become a society that teaches our kids that basic decency does not apply. Why are we teaching them that ignoring them and letting them run wild in a public setting is ok? When did people become too cheap to pay a sitter? These kids are going to grow up thinking that ignoring their own children is normal. When I was little if we acted up in a restaurant my mom snatched us out of there so quickly we probably got whiplash. We would’ve never thought it was ok to climb on equipment or act like little assholes. Even now, I bring a small bag to restaurants full of things to keep Bean busy. it’s got books, crayons, her tablet. And that is just for a normal length restaurant experience. I have never and will never take her to a restaurant to watch a sporting event unless she is as avid of a fan as I am and we are actually watching the game.

It’s not just at restaurants either. I see it all the time. I’ve seen it in Vegas. Yes in Las Vegas. Kids sitting in the hotel lobby while their parents do whatever. I’ve seen it in Target. Its so commonplace now for parents to be completely oblivious to their children and then act surprised when they do something wrong or even worse, go missing or get hurt.

What are we teaching them? What kind of impression is this behavior making? Also, how are they accomplishing this amazing feat? I can’t go 10 minutes without acknowledging Bean, let alone 3 hours. how are they pulling this off? What is their secret? I must know.

Sancti-Mommies Can Suck It!

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I get it, you only give your kid organic, non-GMO, locally sourced, fair trade certified, antibiotic free, vegan…..water. He’s been able to read since he was 18 months old because you quit your job to stay home a be the best mother you can be. You never used formula, you parent like parents in Europe do because you read on a mom blog that it’s a better way to raise a child. Your kids only play “enriching games” and watch “educational shows”. Guess what? your kid still eats boogers and leaves skid marks in his underwear.

Sancti-mommies” are a bane on the existence of mothers everywhere. They suck. I’m sure we’ve all met one. We might even be friends with one. The thing that makes Sancti-mommies so awful isn’t the fact that they do these things with/to their children, it’s that they have to tell you in a way that makes what you’re doing seem like a feeble attempt to keep a rabid animal alive. They have to broadcast their mothering because it validates them. It makes them feel superior to the moms that are obviously doing the best they can with what they got.

Here’s the thing, as long as your kids are reasonably healthy, happy and safe then you are killing it in the mom game. You want to exclusively breastfeed? Awesome. You want to use formula? Fantastic. Working mom? You are a superhero. Stay at home mom? You also get superhero status. Moms need to stop competing and stop judging other moms. Everyone’s circumstances are different and we are all just trying to stay afloat in the Sea of Parenting. I believe it’s located right next to the Bermuda Triangle…..that’s where all the socks from the dryer go. I have held both roles of working mom and stay at home mom. I can Honestly say that Stay at Home mom was not for me. I am a better person when I am working. I have better time management. That makes me a better parent. I couldn’t breastfeed. at 10 days old, my little sweetling flat out refused to latch on. I even tried to wait her out, until almost a full 10 hours went by and we were both just cranky assholes. We switched to formula and never looked back. My pediatrician didn’t even make me feel bad about it. The doctors that do make you feel bad can also suck it!

I do my best to feed Bean a healthy diet. We pick and choose our battles when it comes to all the garbage that is out there food-wise. But it’s also my choice and I don’t feel the need to compare with the mom down the street who gives her kids something different. Maybe if healthy non processed food wasn’t so damn expensive more people would purchase it, but that’s a different post altogether. Bean knows that fruits and veggies are a priority. She knows that water is the best thing she can drink. She doesn’t care if her yogurt is organic. It makes me feel better to know that she has access to as much good stuff as possible, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast it or pass judgement on the mom who just shoved a Star Crunch in her kid’s face. Have you ever had a Star Crunch? Those little fuckers are delicious! I’ve been known to have them in the house. What’s the point of having kids if you can’t share your awesome childhood memories and snacks with them? Seriously, go to the store and buy a box of Star Crunches. I don’t care what they put in those little pieces of bliss….I don’t want to know.

Sancti-mommies are the Mean Girls of the mom world. They have perfected the art of simultaneously giving unsolicited advice and letting you know they are judging you all in one breath. They think their kid has better playground etiquette than yours, even though hers just threw a handful of sand at some toddlers while she wasn’t hovering over him. She took a break to make herself feel better by judging another mom and Junior saw his opportunity and took it. Because all kids, even hers, will eventually act like heathen monsters. That’s part of being a kid. Sancti-mommies will interfere in these instances and proceed to tell you how to discipline your toddler for instigating him and forcing him to throw dirt. What she needs to do is sit on the sidelines and wait until someone is A) bleeding….profusely, B) has a stick in their eye, C) something or someone is on fire, or D) there are teeth involved. Kids are trying to work out their own “food chain”. They have to learn to stand up for themselves because one day Sancti-mommy won’t be there and that poor kid isn’t going to know what to do. So really, sit it out and watch. Think of it as a playground cage match. Toddler Thunder Dome.

Maybe if Sancti-mommies used their powers for good, they wouldn’t be so annoying. Like dedicate all that energy to getting fresh produce available in your kids school instead of just sancti-judging the parents who don’t pack veggies in their kids’ lunches. Maybe instead of playing referee on the playground, you sit down, drink a pumpkin spice latte and really make a friend. The playground hierarchy is necessary. They have to learn it. They have to fight for their place in this world. The playground is their first taste of that. Don’t interfere unless severe bodily harm is going to be the result.

We are all in this together. Moms should be the most united front on the planet. Why are we so busy judging each other instead of helping each other. Instead of offering your unsolicited insight into why another mom’s kid is having a public meltdown, give her a reassuring smile or something. The last thing we as moms need is to feel like being a mom is a competition that we are losing. Instead of making it all about them and how they would do it, they need to realize that everyone is different and we are doing it our way. And as long as our kids aren’t in mortal danger we are all doing a good job.

I’m allergic to your problem

'Would you like your child be in the gluten-free class, the lactose-free class, or the peanut-allergic class?'

‘Would you like your child be in the gluten-free class, the lactose-free class, or the peanut-allergic class?’

I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I don’t mean to come off as a bitch, but honestly unless your kid is either directly related to me or is my child’s really good friend, your kid’s allergies aren’t really my responsibility. That probably sounds callous, and I truly don’t mean it in an “I don’t care” sense. I simply mean that it’s not my job to accommodate your child. Now before you get upset and offended, please hear me out.

I realize that food allergies are a real and often life threatening thing. I am by no means discounting that. My older brother has food allergies so I know all about them. He has a wicked lactose allergy. But also, my mother didn’t make it the other parents’ job to accommodate him. During grade school when each student was responsible for a snack day, my mother would send in snacks and juice boxes because that’s what he could have. She also sent in a case of juice boxes just for my brother for the rest of the month in case other parents or the school served milk for snack. She took it upon herself to make sure the teachers and school were aware of his condition, but she by no means made it their responsibility. In fact, I’m pretty sure none of the other parents were even aware of it. Because she didn’t pass the buck. She always made sure that she brought water or juice to family gatherings and birthday parties just in case.

Bean went to a private preschool, and the school provided daily snacks. Because nut allergies can be so life-threatening the school had a “Nut Free Facility” policy, which is fine with me. It was to make sure there were never any incidents with any children and parents had peace of mind. Even IF her current school had that policy, which it doesn’t, I would of course abide by it. I would never knowingly endanger any child, even ones I do not know personally. But her school does have a “No Food Sharing” policy. This struck me as odd because i remember in school trading things in my lunch for something else my friend had and vice versa. But now the kids can’t do that because one kid might eat something that could possibly send them to the hospital or worse, and in our litigious happy society that would mean lawsuits galore. But there comes a time when the parents, and even the kids, have to take responsibility. Bean is at an age that if she did have a food allergy she would be  educated and aware of it. She would be able to communicate that there are certain things she can’t have.  And when she wasn’t in our presence she would have to be responsible. They make these super cute little bracelets for kids to wear that tell you what allergy the child has. Also the kids have to learn to take care of themselves and be able to have the thought process of “hmmmm I shouldn’t have a bite of so and so’s PB&J sandwich because I’m allergic to peanuts.” When did this issue no longer become the child’s responsibility? One of my best friends hosted a birthday party for her son and 2 of the kids in attendance had egg and peanut allergies. She was considerate enough to make special goody-bags for them so they weren’t left out. But those kids are also neighbors and good friends with her son, so there’s a sense of comradery there. She knows those kids personally,she is friends with the parents. Had the bags been for a classroom party, I doubt the same care and diligence would have been taken. Why are we teaching our kids that their circumstances are everyone’s responsibility except theirs?

Just so you don’t think I’m being a huge bitch……

Bean does not have a food allergy. She does however have a skin issue. She has eczema, which is agitated by bleach. She has been aware of this since she was 3. She will very audibly tell you she can’t touch bleach if she so much as smells it in your home. All of our family members are aware of it, and they are mindful of their bleach use WHEN BEAN IS IN THEIR HOMES. I don’t expect them to not use it completely. I don’t expect my friends to not use bleach simply because we might go to their house. Bean is aware of it and will steer clear of it. Of course being in Florida she swims a lot. The chlorine has an adverse effect, but she also knows that she’s supposed to rinse off and put her lotion on after wards to keep it in check.

If we are friends, chances are I’m aware of your kids allergies, and will always keep them in mind when your child is at our house or in our care. I’m not going to cover your kid in peanut butter any more than you’re going to douse my kid in bleach. If I don’t personally know you, chances are I am not even aware of your child’s allergy and therefore cannot act accordingly, because it is after all, your child’s allergy, not mine. If your child is able to form coherent sentences I firmly believe that they should be able to communicate to me if there are any said allergies. If i don’t have anything suitable for them, as a fellow responsible parent I’m hoping you’re prepared for such an occasion as it is your child who requires the special consideration.

I feel for the parents whose children have serious food allergies. It must be so stressful, especially when the kids are somewhere out of your control. Which is why educating the kids is vital. You can tell everyone from here to Kingdom Come about your kids allergies, but your kid isn’t educated about them, how can you hope that they will be safe out in the big bad world?

I’m severely allergic to stupidity, so it’s my responsibility to avoid it at all costs.

For the record I can’t promise that my family is Nut-Free……have you ever met them??

My Village is Full of Idiots

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We’ve all heard that old adage “It takes a village to raise a child.” I always took that to mean that parents sometimes need help. That factors outside the home help in development and everyone has a part to play in the raising a highly functioning adult. So what do you do when your village is populated by idiots?

I don’t mean my immediate neighbors-my family and friends. I mean the rest of the village. The outlying huts, the outside influences, the neighboring “villages”. What’s a parent to do when the surrounding environment is overrun with idiots? Hope & pray? Never let my kid out of the house? Ban all social media? Think about it, how many times a day do you come across something someone said on Facebook  that is so painfully stupid you actually question Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? How many times do you hear a story about someone who is offended by something as simple as a T-shirt or a toy? These are the idiots I’m talking about. I came across a video on Facebook the other day made by a mother who was offended and upset that her son’s WORLD HISTORY book had a chapter dedicated to Islam civilization and it’s influence on the world early on. This chapter DID NOT touch on the Islamic Extremists or the bad apples that spoiled the bunch. This chapter talked about Islamic religion, the influence of Arabic numbers (the MOST COMMON symbolic representation of numbers in the world TODAY!!!) and other things that the early Islamic Civilization contributed to the world we know today. This mother went on a 15 minute rant about the fact that her son’s history textbook featured this chapter at all. She contacted the principal and wants the book removed from the curriculum. I’m guessing she also wants those pesky “I-rabic” numerals removed as well…….I’m also guessing she isn’t burdened with an overabundance of schooling herself. But that’s my point. This woman is clearly her village’s idiot. But what if she’s not? What if her trailer park village has an even bigger idiot? That kid is doomed to grow up thinking anyone who isn’t just like him is wrong.

Let’s talk about the teacher in Oklahoma (shocker) who forced a 4 year old to write with his right hand because the left hand was “evil”. She actually told her class of Pre-K children that the left hand is the bad hand and that they couldn’t use it to write. This woman was entrusted with the guidance and education of these very young impressionable minds. She was telling her students that parts of their body were evil. A teacher is vital in a village, I’m hoping this village is currently in the market for a new one, but at the time I’m typing this no action whatsoever has been taken against the teacher in question, not even a suspension or a stern talking to. Maybe that kid needs a new village.

Last month was the 9/11 anniversary. Bean learned about it in school, as much as you can safely teacher a 1st grader without offending parents. She came home and asked me questions about the Twin Towers and the men that committed that atrocious act. I explained to her that those men believed something so strongly that they felt it necessary to commit those acts. I also made sure to stress that those men are NOT a reflection of their chosen religion as a whole. Because it’s the truth. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Most are actually peaceful. They believe and value different things that Western Culture. We may have an opinion on the way they live their lives and we may think that their beliefs are archaic, but it doesn’t make them wrong. Fanatics can ruin anything. Westboro Baptist Church, Kim Davis, people who protest things they don’t fully understand or don’t realize that the thing they are protesting is actually legal.

My current favorite idiots are the people wanting gender labels removed from toy aisles at Target. Really? Because I have no problem buying Bean any toy she wants regardless of what the aisle may say. They are labeled like that because years of demographics have told companies that those genders are the primary purchasers of those toys. It by no means is meant to indicate that a girl can’t play with a army guys or Star Wars Legos. Or a boy can’t have an Easy Bake oven or a doll. The parents are the real problem and I’m ashamed to say it’s my generation causing a lot of these shenanigans. Why does it matter what the aisle is labeled as. Hotwheels, Barbies, Legos, Nerf…at the end of the day they are toys and that is all that matters. The parents create the problem when they attach the stigma of gender to any toy. A rose by any other name people…….

Kardashians, Be-liebers, twerking, gun violence, painfully stupid politicians, small-minded people, religious fanatics, people who get offended by toys or clothes…they should all be put on a village populated just by them. On an island. Far away from the rest of civilization. Those people are the reason this country has to put directions on shampoo bottles.