People I Want to Punch in the Throat


Things I Could do Before I had Children

I had a make over last night with some of my girl friends.  We got our hair styled and we got our make up done and then we went out for dinner.  Whoohoo!!

Sitting in the chair at the salon, the hair stylist noted that my hair style is "cute."  She said, "Do you always wear it so.....flippy?"  Why yes I do, I thought flippy was in.  Is it not??  She said, "It's OK, we can tone it down a bit with the straightening iron."  She proceeded to straighten the shit out of my hair and make it smoke (literally).  When she was done, she said, "There.  Now you don't look so much like a mom!"

I moved over to the make up chair and this woman was not as diplomatic.  She said, "I'm going to have to do something about your brows."  Oh yeah, I need to get them waxed.  "Yes, you do.  Soon.  I'll do what I can.  In the meantime, let's draw attention to your eyes so the brows don't stand out so much."  I told her to break out a new bottle of concealer, because I was gonna need it.  She chuckled, but didn't argue with me.

Girls Can't Refuse Boy's Invitations to Dance

An elementary school in Utah is having a dance and to promote "kindness" girls can not refuse a boy when he invites her to dance. 

Wait. What??? I have so many questions. Let me start at the beginning:

First, I'm all for promoting kindness. In fact, I'd love to see that be a real, actual thing, but this isn't it. Telling girls they literally can't say "no" is not promoting kindness. Not one bit. That's telling girls that any boy who wants to put his grubby mitts on you is fine, because, "Be kind, little lady!" Any boy who gives you the heebie jeebies or just isn't your cup of tea gets to hold you close while you sway to a song in the dark, because, "Boys have sensitive feelings, girl!"

I also have a follow up tangent/question: What happens if a girl asks a boy to dance? Is that even allowed? Why are we assuming that only boys will be asking and only boys need to be told yes? And now I'm thinking of something else. We all assume that this is to spare the hurt feelings of rejected boys, but what about the rejected girls? I was the girl at the school dance who never got asked much to dance. My feelings were hurt when I watched all my friends dancing and I pined for certain boys. I sat on the sidelines and watched. What about that girl? The girls can't say "no," but are we guaranteeing that every single girl has someone to dance with for every song or are we just assuming that girls are always flooded with requests? Spoiler alert: not all girls. So now what? You see? It just gets silly when we're trying to spare everyone's feelings.

Ugh. In this age of #metoo this is a gigantic step backwards for our girls. These kinds of rules teaches them that they are not in charge of their own bodies. That they don't get a say at all. That their happiness, their desires, their fears do not matter. All that matters is what the boy wants! He wants to dance and so, dance, damn it! We wrap it up in a "kindness" bow, but that's bullshit. This is just another way to control female bodies! Another way to make females obedient! Listen, she can KINDLY reject a boy's invitation. She can KINDLY determine who she wants to spend her time with and who she wants to touch her. And here's the thing, if he doesn't KINDLY take "no" for an answer, then she doesn't need to be kind anymore. "I will KINDLY punch you in the nuts if you don't step off."

And what about our boys? I have a son. I don't want him to think that nothing is off-limits to him. I don't want him to think that every single girl he invites out "owes" him the "kindness" of saying yes to him. What does this teach him? This shows him that he can take whatever he wants. That his feelings are the most important feelings in the room. That the role of females is to obey him and bring him happiness?? No, no, no, no, no. We are doing a disservice to our boys with this kind of thinking. My son needs to learn rejection. He needs to learn disappointment. Life is full of both and he might as well start learning to deal. He needs to be told "no" and he needs to learn how to respect that "no." You know who doesn't listen to "no"? Abusers. Is that what you want to be raising?

Also, why is an elementary school having a dance??? I know it's for sixth graders only, but still. Why are sixth graders having a dance?? My son is in middle school and they don't have dances. It seems a bit weird to me to have sixth graders hold a dance. If they're too young to go to middle school, they're definitely too young to hold a dance. If they're too young to deal with rejection, they're too young for a dance. Asking someone to dance is a mature thing. It takes nerves and guts that a lot of adults don't have. Refusing someone is also a mature thing. It also takes nerves and guts. These are life lessons that are better taught to older kids.

How does any of this promote kindness? Kindness is inviting a lonely classmate to sit with you at lunch. Kindness is offering to help a teacher. Kindness is cleaning up after yourself so the custodial staff have less work to do. Kindness is volunteering to tutor a fellow student. Kindness is intervening when you see bullying rather than laughing and joining in. Come on!! I could all this ALL DAY!! There are literally 100 ways schools could promote kindness every day, and telling a girl she can't say "no" isn't one of them. Not even close. We have taken this too far. I'm exhausted from being outraged, but this is outrageous!

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Hey Girl . . .

I don't know about you, but I spent many a Valentine's Day home alone wishing someone would spend his allowance on a ridiculously over-sized teddy bear holding a plush heart that I could perch in the corner of my room as a constant reminder that someone loved me.

I've written a letter to that girl.

Dear Jenni [because you know, I was still Jenni in those days],

How's it going, girl? Happy Valentine's Day. I'm from the future. Yeah, your style doesn't get much better as you age. Sorry. But look how good your teeth look now! I know those braces seem like a real pain in the ass, but they're really going to pay off. And look at your hair! Amazeball invention: the straightening iron. It's like your very best friend in the future. I know it seems crazy to think you might actually want to straighten that glorious permed hair, but someday I think you might realize that you've got a face for straight hair - and hats (you might try a hat now). I'm not trying to be bossy or anything. It's your hair. But between the braces and the perm it's just . . . a lot going on. That's all I'm saying.

Top 10 Reasons to "Love Me" or "Get With Me"

In honor of Valentine's Day this week, the Hubs has submitted a guest post for today.  He has no filter (this is the man who called our neighbor's 2 year old a liar) so this should be interesting.  I've given him absolute freedom to write whatever's on his mind without any edits from me.  So here you go:

Help. My Kids Are Trying to Kill Me.

Yesterday my children tried to kill me. I know this because I watch a lot of true crime TV and there was a very similar case a few years ago. There was a husband who was trying to kill his wife, but make it look like an accident. For instance, they would go upstairs to kiss the kids goodnight and the stairs would be well-lit and empty and then he'd go down first. When she'd come down a few minutes later, the lights were off and the treads were littered with Matchbox cars because he was hoping she'd slip and fall to her death! Or once he called her down to the basement to show her something and when she got down there he said he couldn't remember what he wanted. So they laughed and headed back upstairs. He insisted she lead. He was following so quickly and closely on her heels it caused her to lose her footing. She reached for the banister but it was GONE! Luckily she fell forward instead of backward into the pair of scissors her husband was holding in a casual, but totally murdery way!

I should have suspected something was afoot when my kids offered to wash my car. Yesterday was a balmy 50 degrees and they were both running around in shorts and tank tops complaining of being hot. They said they needed to cool off and an easy way to do that would be to wash my car. Now, my car was a pit. I don't think it's been washed since November. After school on Friday Adolpha was reluctant to jump into at pick up, because she couldn't see the license plate and she wasn't sure if it was really my car. I don't turn down free labor, so even though my Spidey Senses were tingling, I agreed to a wash.

"We need you to pull the car out of the garage," Gomer said. Again, this should have been a clear sign. In one short year he can get a learner's permit and any normal boy his age would be begging for the opportunity to pull the car out the garage.

"Okay," I sighed. I was really hoping to get some uninterrupted writing time while they played outside and suddenly this free car wash was costing me precious time.

After I moved the car, I was walking back through the garage to the house. Normally my garage is a shithole, as our president would say. It is a literal dumping ground for everything. On a normal day, navigating the garage is like weaving through a minefield. But on the first warm(ish) day in months, it was even worse than ever. Rollerblades, bicycles, helmets, baseball bats, basketballs, and more had all been pulled out, played with for thirty seconds, and then discarded to litter my path. Now, a normal, non-lazy person would probably bend over and move some of these items out of her way, but my kids know who they're dealing with. They knew I'd never move anything, not even kick something out of my way. So, when I stepped over a football I didn't realize there wasn't a clear landing zone until it was too late. My foot caught a well-placed flip flop and because I am graceful as fuck I went down like a ton of bricks. I flailed my arms and tried to grab anything to stop myself, but to no avail. Instead of flailing, I should have put my hands out to break my fall. If I'd done that, maybe I could have grabbed the railing on the staircase into the house. Instead my head took the full impact. We keep folding tables closed up and stacked up, leaning against the wall near the staircase, so for good measure, I pulled a heavy folding table over on myself as well as I went down.

I remained on the floor for quite some time, stunned and swearing profusely and thanking the Lord I had enough stuffing to protect my weak, old lady bones from breaking. The kids heard me fall (or maybe they were lurking close by watching) and came running.

There was a lot of (fake) concern where they asked me if I needed ice packs or an ambulance, because we all know they were just hoping I'd concussed myself enough to offer ice cream for dinner. "Mom! Mom!" Gomer said. "What do you need?"

I lay there whimpering in pain and finally I whispered through gritted teeth, "I just need you to clean up your shit!"

Today I am sore and I have a lump on my head from the railing and a large bruise on my rib cage from the table and last night I was Googling "how to tell if your ribs are broken." My car looks terrible, because my brainiac kids couldn't get the hose attached to the water spout, so they "rinsed" my car with water guns. My garage is still a shithole.

Maybe they didn't try to kill me, but just in case, I did let them have ice cream after dinner last night.

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Rules for Parents of Daughters

I realized when I wrote my sons' piece earlier this week I titled it Rules for Mothers of Sons.  I was so wrong to just single out mothers.  These rules are for all parents.  Sorry, dads, you don't get a pass.  Kids need as much guidance as they can get!

Tonight I went out with the girls and I told them I was going to write this post so they helped me come up with some good ones!  Thanks, girls!

So here we go:  PIWTPITT 25 Rules for Parents of Daughters (because as I was making this list it seemed to me that I can screw up my daughter easier than my son so I needed more rules):

1.  Teach your daughter to never allow herself to be anyone's property and that you will cut her out of your will if she ever wears shorts that claim otherwise.

Mike's bitch would get a kick in the ass

Don't Take a Holiday From Tough Conversations With Your Kids

I have a large extended family and so when we get together for the holidays we do it potluck style so one person isn't responsible for all the food. The hostess has to clean her house (if she wants, we don't insist) and make sure we have enough seating. She decides on the menu and sends out the sign up list to the rest of us and we pick what we want to bring. It really helps with the stress of having to plan a huge dinner for a lot of people and it gets everyone involved. I don't know when we started doing this, but I vote we never stop.

This year I signed up to bring dessert, but I had no idea what to make. So, I went on my Facebook page and asked for some dessert suggestions. I got the usual suggestions of peppermint brownies and gingerbread cookies, but I noticed that mixed in there I had a lot of people suggesting I skip the dessert and just bring booze. I know that many of my friends were joking, but it got me thinking. This is the time of year when it seems like everyone talks slash jokes about needing a drink to get through the season. Moms need the big bottle of wine to wrap presents, dads need a six-pack to hang Christmas lights, and everyone needs something a lot harder to deal with the in-laws. (I get it. I do. I wrote a whole book about the holidays for goodness sake!) 

Many of the people imbibing over the holidays are doing it responsibly. They're watching their alcohol intake, eating first, and always getting a ride home from a sober driver. But we've all got that one relative who can't seem to get his or her shit together. That one relative who is a boozehound and makes an ass of themselves at every family event. The drunk uncle who wants to talk politics with everyone on the opposite side of the aisle or the drunk aunt who can't stop weeping into her drink. Family get-togethers are tough enough without that kind of nonsense to deal with! And now that my kids are 11 and 13 that sort of behavior doesn't go unnoticed. At. All. And because I'm that parent, I get alllllll the questions. (Seriously, why don't they ever ask the Hubs the hard questions???) “Hey Mom, why was Uncle Bill yelling at everyone to shut up? Hey Mom, why was Aunt Frieda fighting with Aunt Karen over money she borrowed in 1987?”

Instead of ignoring or deflecting their questions, I use the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with my kids about responsible drinking and making good choices. We talk about why Uncle Bill and Aunt Frieda feel the need to drink so much and why they tend to drink more when they get into stressful situations. We talk about positive and healthy ways to deal with the stress that the holiday season brings. Now that I'm on my third holiday season partnering with, I am armed with all kinds of useful info. As a blogger for their Ask, Listen, Learn program, I feel confident that I can guide my kids through these tough conversations. Here are just a few of the tips I use during the holiday season to help keep my stress levels low and my drinking at a responsible limit:

  1. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Yes, I'm the mom, but it shouldn't all fall to me. The Hubs can wrap gifts or bake a pie. Sure, it won't be pretty, but he'll get the job done.
  2. Limit your time with stressful family members. If you know that your spouse's Cousin Hilda pushes your buttons, come up with a safe word so your spouse knows it's time to go. Might I suggest: “Tinsel Tits.” As in, “Hey, Tinsel Tits, this has been great, but we have that other thing we need to get to...So...Yeah...I'll be in the car.”
  3. Stay in your lane. Don't worry about what the neighbors are doing. Worry about you and your family. If you don't want to put up a big light display, you don't have to. If you do want to put up a big light display, then you do you. You know your comfort level. Stick to it.
  4. And in the immortal words of Elsa, “Let it gooooooo.” Seriously. Every day does not need to be magical and memorable and special and glitter-covered. Just spend time with the ones you love and the ones you want to be with.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

This post was sponsored by I am an Ask Listen Learn blogger. They pay me to write, but I say what I want. Check out their site for more helpful tips for talking to kids about responsible drinking.

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