Tuesday 31 January 2012


I'm going to get political here.  Bear with me.

If you like reading my blog then it should come as no surprise how I feel about motherhood.  Or rather, how I feel about the myth of what everyone seems to think motherhood should be.  The idea that somehow, through the process of childbirth, women must lose their identities.

We must become Amommymous.

"Hello!  My name is Kuato's Mom!"
We must proudly give up our own names.  We can no longer be Jennifer; a woman with interests, ambitions or desires of her own.  We become Aidan's Mom or Ashlee's Mom, so that all of our interests, ambitions or desires are replaced by those of our children.   Yes we must happily transform ourselves into mindless automatons, only capable of doing what we are programmed to do.

We must give up our appearance.  We must let ourselves go and use our make-up free visage and food-stained sweatpants as badges of honour.  Time and money spent on personal appearance are time and money not spent on our children.

We must abandon the things we used to enjoy.  We no longer belong in a bar with our friends we have to get up early for Gymboree or some other crap.  We have no business watching HBO, we can't even know about it because we are so busy watching Disney Princesses or the Doodlebops (whatever the hell that is.)  We can't blast gangsta rap in the car like we used to because it's been replaced with Raffi BUT THAT'S OKAY because, as good moms, we like all this drivel kid stuff even better.

We must never think of ourselves.  The minute we put our own needs ahead of our child's we have committed an act of child abuse.  No matter what.  We must, like dogs, gratefully accept whatever is left for us after our child's needs have been met.

And if we dare to express ourselves in anyway that deviates from this celebrated amommymity; if we fail to martyr and obliterate ourselves for our children, we are deemed unfit.  It is assumed we are bad mothers, undeserving of our sacred, ordained role in life.

Hell no.

I happen to think that sometimes prioritizing your needs is putting your kids' needs first.  I think my kids deserve a happy mom who is interesting and appealing to their father.  I think my kids deserve to have a mom who is refreshed from having some "me time".  I think my kids deserve a mom that isn't filled with resentment but a model of someone who knows how to take care of herself as well as others.  I think my kids deserve to get to know the funny, quirky, messed up person their mom is and not have to wait until they are adults.

I think my kids deserve to know that they are not the center of the universe.

Because all of those things are true.

And the rest, this Amommymous?  Looks and smells of bullshit to me.

Tuesday 24 January 2012


We live in a culture of entitlement, there is no doubt about it. Recently the one that irritates me the most is the entitlement of parents.

Why is it that some people have kids and when they find out how much it sucks they suddenly feel like the world owes them everything?  Is this surprising coming from a parent?  It shouldn't be.  This parentitlement pisses me off because it's stupid.  It pisses me off because it's selfish.  But more than anything it pisses me off because, as a parent, I am associated with these assholes.

It's embarrassing.

In case you are lucky enough to not know what I'm talking about I have decided to highlight for you some of the most face-punch deserving bullshit you are likely to run into with the modern parent.

Childism.  This term is used to describe prejudice against children.  Linguistically, this does't really make sense to me.  If you are anything-ist it usually means you are in favour of that thing.  Feminists are in favour of women.  Racists are in favour of their own race and sexists are in favour of their own sex.  Shouldn't this be adultism?  Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid?

There is a lot going on with this term that I don't like.  I don't like that it puts "childism" on the same level as homophobia and racism.  I don't like that it claims that any time a parent puts their own needs ahead of their child's needs it is some kind of abuse.  But I do believe that the intent behind the term is a good one and is born from a desire to protect the vulnerable from slavery and abuse.

And so I think it takes a special kind of asshole to fling "childist" at people who have the audacity to plan an Adults Only event or who want to eat in an expensive restaurant without the wails of a child providing the ambiance.  Because let's be real here: these assholes are not complaining about prejudice against their kids....they are complaining because life is different for them now that they have kids. 

Special Holidays.  You might be thinking I've got it in for Mother's Day now.  Wrong.  I love Mother's Day best out of all the holidays.  It fulfills my holiday longings in every way.  So it really boggled my mind to discover that some idiot dreamed up "Please Take My Children to Work Day"  Otherwise known as "Stay at Home Mother's Day".  Because she is too stupid to celebrate Mother's Day properly she had to go and create a special day for a very special kind of Mother.  And her response to all those working moms she pissed off?  They should go and make their own holiday. 

But there are all kinds of special moms.  How about special holidays for moms who need it even more than us run of the mill working or stay at home moms?  We should have a Single Mother's Day and a Mother of Multiples Day and a Mother of Special Needs Children Day.  In fact why not have just one very inclusive day that says to all mother everywhere that we think they are special and deserving of a special holiday?  Oh, we already do.  It's called Mother's Day.

Stroller Wars.  I have a confession to make.  I'm a mom and I hate strollers.  Whenever I see a mom on the bus with a designer baby-tank I feel a muted kind of rage (but then I do have anger issues).  I feel that it is important for me to come out and say this because the bitches who are attempting to defend their idiotic choice in infant transportation always assume that it is only "selfish childless people" who complain against them.  It isn't.  I do most of my traveling by bus, I have indeed needed to make use of a stroller when doing so and still I say that your giant ass stroller is unnecessary and stupid.  There are only a few cases where I will not judge:  if you have twins, triplets, or a special needs child.  But that's pretty much it.

The truth of the matter is we have choices.  Instead of the baby-van I chose a little umbrella model and a good infant carrier.  Yeah, it sucked for awhile but I did it out of consideration for other travelers as well as myself. With my itsy bitsy fold down stroller I never was told there wasn't enough room on the bus.  It wasn't easy or convenient but it was temporary.   That kind of makes it easier to deal with.  That and knowing that you aren't making life more difficult for those whose conditions are not temporary.

So it is not just the "selfish" childless people but other parents as well.  You want to talk about who's selfish?  People like this woman who refused to accommodate a wheelchair user when asked.  Or people like these moms who felt that it wasn't enough to inconvenience the people riding the bus but had to involve the police and public transit employees as well as causing a big traffic jam for an hour.  It's becoming quite political, too.  On one side of the debate you have elderly/disabled people telling us about what it's like for them to be passed over in favour of able-bodied stroller-moms  and on the other side you have a bunch of grown women going, "Waaaaaa!"

Way to set an example for the next generation, ladies.

Thursday 19 January 2012

How Much Am I Worth?

Lately I've been reading a lot about how moms are tired of not getting any recognition for the fact that they do everything and get paid nothing.  Usually this has been in the form of an obnoxious chain status on facebook, (which everyone loves) putting mothers on a scale with doctors and police officers and various inanimate objects such as a jungle gym and a kleenex.  Which is not ridiculous at all.  Instead of getting into how not ridiculous that is I will concede that us moms work pretty hard.

Well finally, someone came along and put a dollar sign on all that hard work we do.  Because in our society $ = respect.  According to this article the average "homemaker" should be earning close to $100,000 a year!  Which is amazing because you don't even have to go to college to be qualified for this almost $100,000 salary.  Kind of makes you wonder why people spend so much money on paying professionals when they could just get some mom to do it for them.

First of all I love the use of the term "homemaker" because in its attempt to be more inclusive by recognizing that it's not always the woman in the relationship who takes care of the home or that some relationships don't have a woman (or a man, depending)  it simultaneously excludes people who are single/childless.  I guess if you're not in a relationship/don't have children you also do not live in or make a "home".  Because if she acknowledged the fact that the single/childless portion of the population do indeed live in and make homes she would also have to acknowledge how ridiculous the idea of getting paid to look after yourself is.

But what the hell, I'm a forward thinking progressive female who by the definition of the article is a "homemaker", so I'll bite.

So the genius who dreamed up that article thinks I'm worth almost $100,000 a year?  Okay.  But she should know that by putting the work I do automatically on par with the paid professionals she is also going to get my work automatically as is.  You can decide if she's getting her money's worth.

Private Chef.  If you were to pay for a private chef you could expect the following services:

     -customized menu planning
     -grocery shopping
     -in home meal preparation
     -storage and cleanup
The services I provide for my family are slightly different.  Here is the customized menu: I don't really give a rat's ass if you like my cooking.  I don't particularly care if you're happy with whatever it is I feel like cooking that day.  I'll be happy to cook you a steak if you're paying the grocery bill but if I see a better deal on a pork roast I'm buying that and you're gonna like it with second helpings of "shut the hell up".  Because when this "homemaker" is your private chef that is how it is.  I prepare meals in home but that's because I live here so it would be pretty inconvenient for me to make it anywhere else.  Kind of seems stupid to even bring up the fact that the meal is prepared in the home.  As far as storage and cleanup go I'll put the food away but you had better damn well be helping out with the dishes after I slaved over that meal.

The private chef makes around $1,000 a day, and because I'm legally obligated to feed my kids I cook I can call myself a private chef and make a claim for exactly the same income.  Right?

House Cleaner.  Professional Maid services will come into your home on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and they will:

     -clean your floors
     -clean your bathrooms
     -make beds
     -clean your kitchen and wash dishes

Some of them even come with guarantees of using earth friendly cleaners.  What do you get with me?  Well, the dishes and kitchen should be covered under the private chef, where I make everyone else help out.  I'm pretty bad at making my bed everyday and I make the kids make their beds if I happen to think of it at all.  Basically they get made about half the time and when they do I'm not the one really doing it.  I sweep the floors because I hate constantly walking on crumbs but I have to admit that I'm never in a hurry to mop the floors until they are sticky or covered in some bio-hazardous substance.  I do keep the bathroom pretty clean but that is a must when you have two little boys with incredibly bad marksmanship.  And I clean everything with whatever toxic substance is the cheapest.

A professional house-cleaner will set you back about $120/week.  Okay, I don't feel bad about charging that but would you pay it?

Child Care.  Because it makes total sense to feel entitled to money for looking after the children you voluntarily brought into the world.  Why not?  According to the International Nanny Association (the people with whom the article's author compared us "homemakers") a nanny will provide you with:

     -the "highest level of customized child care"
     -specialized child care skills
     -a deep understanding of children
     -a love of caring for children

With me you get a mom who was totally unfit and unqualified to be a paid professional Nanny, a parent who is making things up as she goes along.  I have no deep understanding of any children, least of all my own and I do not particularly love caring for them.  I do not love changing poopy diapers and wiping poopy bums.  I do not love making them eat their vegetables and fighting with them over hygiene.  I do not love playing the referee and trying to search for truth in the quagmire of their lies and I do not love making them do homework.  But I do love my kids so I do all of that stuff for them, and never, not in a million years would I be so crass as to suggest someone ought to put a price tag on that.

Day care is about $600/week.  If you leave your kids with me you should have your head examined.  It's a miracle that the state lets me keep mine.

Driver.  Hiring someone to drive your ass around is expensive.  Good thing for you I don't drive.

Laundry Service.  If you go with Susie's Suds Home Laundry Service, Inc. in Texas you will be charged a buck for every pound of laundry and she will have it:

     -hung and steamed (that sounds dirty doesn't it?).

Mommy's laundry service is slightly different.  My husband works in an office.  He wears button down shirts and slacks to work every day and every day he wears them wrinkly.  That's because when I do his laundry I stuff as many clothes as I can into the washer, and then into the dryer.  Then I forget that they're in the dryer so they dry all crumpled up and full of wrinkles.  Because I have to do around ten loads of laundry per week and I'm a private chef, a day care worker and house cleaner I won't can't possibly iron all those shirts and slacks.  Also I've taken to getting Frick to fold and put away his own clothes recently.  My service is far from prompt because if you want clean clothes you either wash them yourself or wait until I get around to it.

Susie's Suds ends up costing around $1,000/year.  How much is a year's worth of wrinkly shirts worth to you?

Lawn Maintenance.  This was described as a "less common but possible duty of a homemaker".  Not this homemaker. My husband cuts the grass and I'm pretty sure that for the purposes of the article they were not thinking about people who already have full time jobs and then come home to cut the grass (or any of the above.)  But that's how it is.  I do not cut the grass.  I take care of the garden but I consider that to be more of a hobby than something I should feel entitled to be paid for.  Soon we will be making Frick cut the grass because what is the point of having and taking care of children for free if you aren't going to get the unpaid labour in return?

Honestly this is really just a pathetic stretch to get the bottom line of this pathetic article closer to $100,000.  She's got us paying $30/week on lawn care when you can get one of the neighbourhood kids to do it for 1/3 that.  This from a woman who promises to use "the lowest value for each calculation".  If you saw the weeds coming out of our lawn you'd pay us money to stay away from yours.

Bottom Line?  This is life, people.  You gotta eat.  You gotta be clean and you gotta take care of your kids and if you can't do any of these things for yourself then you have to pay someone else to do it.  And if you do pay for it at least you get to expect higher standards and better quality.  When you pay someone it is their job to focus on just that one job and do the best they can.  That is why those people are paid professionals and we are just homemakers.  This need to put this puffed up price tag on what homemakers do smacks of insecurity.  Yes we work hard, yes we don't get paid but we aren't worth $100,000 a year and saying that we are renders any attempt at garnering respect ridiculous.

Now quit your whining and do your job.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA

We interrupt our usual Rotten programming to show solidarity in the stop SOPA and PIPA.  I'm not American but this isn't just an American thing.  You just know the Harper Government (tm) is going to be all over this.  I just know censorship and I would not get along.  I'm probably too little for anyone to notice me but who knows?  Imagine having to live without my foul-mouthed snark or my kick ass advice. Scary, isn't it?  This will affect so many great blogs and websites and worst of all it will affect everyone's access to the free information provided by Wikipedia, one of the leaders in this protest.

If you are American (and according to my stats, the majority of my readers are) then you can act by going here or here.  If you are not American (and according to my stats that means the rest of you) you can go here if you're Canadian and I'm too lazy to figure out where to direct Germany, Beijing, France, Australia etc. so you guys are kind of on your own for this.  Sorry.  I can't do everything although according to my next post I already do everything and should get paid for it.  You'll just have to wait for that until tomorrow

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Everybody has them.  Every January I kind of take stock of my guilty pleasures to see if I should or would give any of them up in the interests of making myself a better person.  I usually don't.  But I thought it might be fun to take you all on this futile journey of self un-improvement with me.  Also, because so far it seems that the purpose of my blog is to highlight to the world my personal flaws in the name of entertainment.

1) Celebrity Gossip.  Dirty, dirty gossip.  Because their flaws and failures are my entertainment.  Do I care that  Beyonce and Jay Z had a baby?  Nope.  Do I care that they named it "Blue Ivy"?  Well, that is mildly entertaining.  Do I care that they cockblocked a bunch of nervous NICU parents from seeing their babies so that they could have a catered, designer child-birth or that they compromised hospital security just so they could protect their rights to the million dollar baby photos?  Hell yes!  That there is better than dinner and a movie for me and I am looking forward to seeing how they manage the damage control.  In my opinion celebrities get way more respect than they deserve just because they are famous, they have a lot of money and people like the people they pretend to be.  When it becomes evident that they are often entitled, over-privileged assholes I eat that up like it's ice cream.

This kind of schadenfreude is not pretty.  When Charlie Sheen had his little tantrum and everyone was praying he would get help for his addiction I made popcorn and wished that I could Fed Ex him a congratulatory eight ball.  That ain't right.  Indulging in this guilty pleasure makes me less of a human being.  Will I give it up?  Probably not.  Because in my world of self-justification, anybody who acts like an asshole deserves to get laughed at.

2) Trashy Novels.  This is a life-long addiction.  It began even before I learned to read.  Mummy used to read V.C. Andrews novels and I was always fascinated by the book-jackets with those weird family portraits behind the window.  It was years until I found out how wonderful garbage writing really is.  When I was twelve I stole a copy of "My Sweet Audrina" from Mummy's stash underneath the bathroom sink and I was hooked.  It blew my twelve year old mind and probably contributed to creating the twisted individual writing for you now.  Is it badly written and full of cliches?  Great!  Does it have ridiculously named, two-dimensional characters?  Awesome!  Is there some kind of bizarre or gruesome sex act described therein?  One that I find abhorrent but can't stop reading because of its trainwreck-like fascination?  It will be finished within the hour!

This trash takes away from the time I could be reading something worthwhile like Moby Dick or Great Expectations.  And the worst part is, some of the trash I have read not once, not twice but multiple times.  "My Sweet Audrina" is still a summertime go-to book.  I've even hidden a copy of "My Sweet Audrina"  between the pages of Jane Austen so I wouldn't look like I was lying when I said "I'm just doing some light reading".   That makes me a hypocrite.  A pretentious hypocrite.  Will I give it up?  No way!  Look, I love books.  So much so that the truth is I will read anything that's written, even trash.  For me trashy novels are a brain break, much in the same way a lot of people like to zone out in front of a TV.  I don't have to think very hard or ponder the symbolism or character development, I can just relax.  Having the tendency to be a little bit hypocritical is much better than being the insufferable asshole I would be if I were always reading Moby Dick.  Because Moby Dick is a fucking boring book.

3) Failed Prophecies.  A little background here:  I grew up thinking that the world was immanently coming to an end.  And my family is not even religious.  Apparently my cultural heritage is being a part-time eschatologist.  Every Easter we all sit around the table and I listen as they discuss Nostradamus, the Book of Revelation, nuclear war, plague and earthquakes (thank you History Channel).  It used to scare the shit out of me.  When I was 14 and the Gulf War broke out Mummy declared it World War III and turned our fruit cellar into a fallout shelter*.

(*Note:  Our fruit cellar was a 4X6 foot closet with cinderblock walls and a considerable gap between the door and the floor.  Somehow a family of five was going to live in there defecating into Costco sized pickle jars and eating dehydrated fruit in the dark.)

After watching about six Doomsdates come and go without incident I began to grow skeptical but the fear of the End Times stayed with me well into adulthood.

Ever since Y2K didn't happen all I have been hearing about is 2012.  It's Mayan calendar this and Solar storms that.  The earth's going to wobble and change poles and the sun is going to travel in a different direction and the sky is going to fall blah, blah, blah.  I even read some of the books my family has been citing as sources and now I'm just pissed off that they got swindled out their money.

In recent years after enduring a serious amount of 2012 bullshit and (believe it or not) spending a year and a half hanging out with Jehovah's Witnesses (love the people, despise their church) I began to notice that I feel an inordinate amount of pleasure when a Doomsdate fails.  I do a touchdown dance and shout out with unmitigated glee "Ha ha!  You were wrong!  Suck it, Prophet!"  Then I spend the rest of the day basking in the warm afterglow of their failure.  I am so looking forward to December 21 this year.  It might take me a whole decade to get over myself.

This end of the world stuff seems to be the stuff that my family put in their God-hole so every time I crow over  those wrong dates I feel like I'm shitting on their deeply held pseudo-religious beliefs.  Indulging in this guilty pleasure makes me smug.  Will I give it up?  Not bloody likely.  See my opinion on laughing at assholes above.  Also I love my family and so I want them to have a healthy amount of skepticism in their souls so they won't waste time, money and anxiety on books whose writers tell you that the reason they didn't leave you a bibliography to check their work is because they were too busy preparing for the end of the world.

Monday 2 January 2012

I am the Overlord. All Shall Worship Me and Despair.

Most of my life I've had no control.  I've just always had to cope with whatever bullshit was going on around me, knowing I could never eliminate it.  When you're a little kid you think you're going to be a GROWNUP someday and as a GROWNUP you will surely rule the world.


Kids are stupid.

As a GROWNUP I barely have control over my own brain, nevermind my own household, so forget about ruling the world.  As a GROWNUP the closest I've ever come to ruling the world is being free to choose what flavour of yogurt I want to eat and I don't even have that much control because Frack won't eat any yogurt that isn't vanilla flavoured.  I guess I could get a different flavour but I don't want to listen to the noise he'll make if he sees a strawberry on the package and no amount of showing him other vanilla flavoured yogurt in the fridge will shut him up.

Until now....

Shirley from Shirley Ewe Must Be Joking has awarded me with the Overlord Award which allows me to change anything (ANYTHING!) I want to, in the world.  Well, any three things.  But that's okay, I don't really want the responsibility of changing the whole world.  I only really want to change a couple of the things that affect me directly because I am selfish like that.  That's right I could end world hunger or poverty or the energy crisis, but like other people who have the power to change stuff like that for the better, I won't.

1) My Asshole Brain.  The first thing I would change would be my brain.  My brain is an asshole.  I have a very uneasy relationship with it.  Sometimes I swear it's trying to kill me.  Basically my brain spends most of its time running on some kind of hamster wheel in my head and chewing at the edges with thoughts like this:

"Hey, you forgot to call your grandmother.  You should call her.  Yes, it is two in the morning but I may as well keep you awake thinking about this now when there is just nothing you can do about it but think.  She's old and you didn't call her.  She could die you know.  Old people die all the time and she could be dead or dying right now and you didn't call her because her opinions on your mothering are annoying.  But she's probably dead or dying and it's all your fault because you didn't call.  Oh and you know what else?  You're totally going to die, too (scary).  Yup. You're gonna die and it will all be over and done for you because maybe there isn't a God or a heaven (scarier) but if there is you won't go there because you made your grandmother die from lack of calling her (scariest)."

When I talk about my anxiety people tell me I shouldn't worry about those things.  They are right but they don't understand my asshole brain.  I have no control over it and I care too damned much about stuff.  As Overlord I would like to give my brain the power to Not Give a Fuck.  Christmas driving me crazy with stress?  (Pow!) I do Not Give a Fuck.  Regretting that racy joke I told at Church the other day? (Pow!)  I do Not Give a Fuck.  Worrying about the neighbourhood moms gossiping about my drinking? (Pow!) Hand me another because I do Not Give a Fuck.

(*I do not have a drinking problem.  My severe low tolerance of alcohol often makes it appear as if I do have a drinking problem.  I can quit ANY TIME!)

2) Everyone Else's Asshole Brains.  Thinking about my asshole brain got me to thinking about other people's asshole brains.  Brains are, by their very nature, assholes.  You don't even have to have anxiety or any other psychological disorder for that to be true.  In fact our brains being assholes is the reason that evolution has allowed our species to survive this long.   There's no escaping it.

Since I was a teenager nothing pissed me off more than stupidity and I have often found that the most stupid people are smart educated people who don't know their brains are assholes.  Look, if you don't know your brain is an asshole then you will trust it and listen to it indiscriminately and that is just the very thing that causes people to join suicide cults and consider voting for Michele Bachmann.  We have tried educating people, we have developed entire schools of science, logic and critical thinking but it just hasn't been enough.

Now that I have taken care of my own personal problems with the power of Not Giving a Fuck, as Overlord I will help the world after all by evolving the human brain to think properly.  And with that one simple step just about everything in the world is solved and I will get to be a lot less pissed off.  We'll stop screwing around with issues like global warming or gay marriage and just set to fixing all of our shit.  I'm not sure what this would do for human tendencies towards greed or lust or selfishness but it would go a long way towards pulling our collective heads out of our asses, non?

3) No More Dishes!  I accomplished a lot with the first two things so picking the last one was hard.  But after much deliberation I decided that I would like for the men in my house to do the dishes.  All the time.  If there is any one issue that has caused consistent and reliable dischord in our home it is the washing of the dishes.  If I spend any time away from home somehow every dish, every cup and every last utensil from spatulas to teaspoons gets dirty.  And they are lying around all over the house.  And they are full of nasty, crusty, smelly food.  And I am the one who has to hunt them down and wash them all. 

You know what I hate?  When someone makes a tea and then leaves their teabag in the tea and then doesn't throw out the teabag when they are done drinking the tea and then I have to put my hand in there and touch their cold, squishy teabag and no matter what weird and creative method of disposal I use I always end up touching it.  Ew!  I also hate the ring of milk or cream crusted inside the cup and the fact that once I find all the dishes I can't even wash them right away because they have to soak first.  And sometimes I don't find all the dishes, but I do find them all eventually.  (One of these days I will do a post on everyone's favourite game:  What's That Smell?)

I used to want them to wash any dishes they dirtied.  When that failed I lowered the bar to only scraping, rinsing and stacking them.  Now what I wouldn't give if they could just end up in the kitchen somehow and not under (or inside) the furniture.  So for my final act as Overlord I would like for the guys in my house to just wash the dishes from now on, no arguments, no fights, no begging.  I have done my share of dishes for several lifetimes and I would like to be done now, please.

And now that I have used up my (imaginary) powers it is time to bestow them onto other deserving individuals.  Drumroll please....

Stephanie at Momma Be Thy Name
Ashley at Random Thoughts From a Mad White Woman
Alex at Diary of an Accidental Dad
Destiny at Rockin' Mama
Jen at People I Want to Punch in the Throat

After reading their blogs for a while now I would love, love to see how they will use their Overlord powers.