6/27/10

The Tankini Manifesto

You know what time it is? Time for my annual swimsuit post! So hold on to your cover-ups, ‘cause here we go…

First of all, can I just tell you how THRILLED I am that we do not live in Miami or LA? Because despite all the hoopla about body image and unrealistic standards for women, I do not live in a place where most people look like they just sashayed off the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. THANK GOD. Because battling my own insecurities is plenty without having to compare myself daily to hordes of thonged, bronzed goddesses.

No offense to my fellow pool-goers, of course, but I am very happy that most people I encounter on a daily basis look like normal people. Except for that one lady in the bikini with the tan and that stomach – holy moly, I’ve never seen a six-pack on a mom before outside of the Olympics! But I digress.

At our pool, you see all kinds. All ages, shapes, and sizes. You see everything from teenage babysitters in itsy-bitsy bikinis and belly rings to women who opt not to shave and wear swim dresses down to their knees. Seriously. I found myself wondering if that woman was Amish. But anyway…

Everyone knows I’m a bit of an O magazine junkie, but I almost choked on my chardonnay when I opened the June issue to see creative director Adam Glassman’s “10 Swimsuit Commandments.” #1 is Thou shalt not buy a tankini. Say WHAT?! Listen here, Adam. The tankini is my saving grace. It’s a GODSEND. And I know 90% of the women at my pool agree with me. That sexy maillot you’re pushing? Is a nightmare when you’re trying to go the bathroom with 2 kids in tow.

But wait – it gets worse. #5 is Thou shalt not hide under a skirted suit and #6: “Boy shorts are unkind even if you have toothpicks for legs.” I FINALLY embraced the swim skirt (remember that?) and bought a cute pair of swim shorts that I don’t constantly have to pick out of my butt every time I bend over to pick up my toddler and now you’re telling me those are DON’TS?!

I beg to differ, Adam. You try taking a couple of small kids to the pool. You try schlepping a carload of crap and changing 2 wiggly little people into swim diapers and board shorts and swim shirts and then greasing them up from head to toe with SPF 50. You try bending over to fish the preschooler’s goggles out of the pool and catch the toddler before he takes a header into the deep end. A toddler who, I might add, is constantly clutching and pulling on your bathing suit, risking a Janet Jackson moment at every turn.

And then you might realize that some of us dress for action at the pool, not fashion. And anyway, I’m pretty happy with my tankinis, so there.

LAUGH O’ THE WEEK: I may be the only person ever who’s gotten a bathing suit tailored. I bought a suit that came with, yes, boy shorts, and then decided they were too risqué so I got the leg holes sewn up a little. That actually seemed easier and more preferable to spending more time bathing suit shopping!

READ O’ THE WEEK: I was browsing through my archives and found that last summer wasn’t that relaxing either. Shocker.

6/24/10

You Get Used to It

I have an aunt who lives in NYC. Whenever we’d go visit her growing up, I could never sleep in her apartment. All night long, you’d hear sirens blaring, taxis honking, cars backfiring (or were those gunshots?). I couldn’t imagine how anyone could get used to all that noise. Conversely, when my aunt came to visit us in the “country” (relatively speaking), she complained it was too quiet.

The point is, you get used to your surroundings. I am reminded of this every time I’m around people who don’t have small children at home.

When my parents come to visit, for example, I have all these visions of getting out to the gym, going shopping, going out to dinner with my husband – basically taking full advantage of the free babysitting.

But then after the first day or 2, I begin to realize: most people aren’t used to our “lifestyle.” (I put that in quotes because the word lifestyle always makes me think of retirement communities or the Kardashians and that’s not what I mean at all.)

I’ve become so used to the noise and energy level around here that it’s not until someone else points out how crazy it is that I even notice. I’m so used to going 100 mph from the minute my eyes open (whenever the first kid wakes up) that I forget other people aren’t used to that pace.

I’m so used to eating standing up, grabbing something on the fly, and pulling together separate meals from whatever’s on hand that I forget other people actually plan meals, prepare them, and sit down together and eat them. Off non-plastic dishes, even!!

There was a moment during their last visit when my mom, out of breath and not having finished her first cup of coffee yet at 10 a.m., said to me, “Do you think I could go use the bathroom?” LOL! I almost said, “Well, you can try, but I can’t guarantee you’ll have it to yourself.” But I thought better of it and said, “Of course, I’ve got an eye on the boys.” I guess some people aren’t used to going with the door open so they can make sure the kids aren’t riding on the dog while they’re in there.

My parents always have the same reaction when they leave after spending a few days with us: relief, mixed with disbelief, sprinkled with equal parts sadness about leaving their grandkids and admiration and pity for me. “Good luck!” they say, clutching my hands. “I wish you strength. You’re doing a great job. Hang in there,” they reassure me as the taxi pulls away.

Then I imagine they heave a huge sigh of relief, close their eyes, and thank God they’re just visiting. Until a few months later when they decide their life is a little TOO quiet…

READ O’ THE WEEK: I came across a “Baby Blues” comic book in a bookstore once & have been hooked ever since.

6/22/10

Fit Mama

Whenever I spot a pregnant woman at the gym, I smile at her. I’m sure these people are like, “Why is this crazy lady grinning at me?” But it’s because I worked out during both MY pregnancies, and I often felt like a spectacle with my huge, protruding belly in a place where most people go to lose theirs.

It’s not like I was bench-pressing my body weight or training for a 10k when I was pregnant. It was more just to keep things loose (or tight, as the case may be) and honestly, another big benefit was stress-relief and mental health. Which I then proceeded to lose once the baby was born, but I digress… Anyway, you can read more about my quest to be a Fit Mama on TheBump.com:

6/20/10

A Father’s Day Post

This is a post about a great dad. It’s not about my own dad or my children’s dad, though they are great dads, too. It’s about my father-in-law, a man we call “Pop.”

This is a picture of Miles at about 3 mos. old. The person making him laugh is Pop.


This is a picture of Riley at about the same age. The person making HIM laugh is Pop.


This tells you a lot about the kind of person Pop is. He loves his family and they love him. There’s one day in particular that stands out to me as a perfect example. It was the first time we visited my in-laws on Cape Cod with Miles. The same trip the above picture was taken, in fact.

I was in new-mom hell. Besides trying to breastfeed in a crowd of relatives and worrying about my son’s cries disturbing everyone, I was having a hard time accepting my new situation. What kind of vacation was it if I couldn’t do any of the things I liked to do, like go the beach, bike, kayak, or even just sleep late?

One day the 3 of us and my in-laws piled into the car for a day trip to a quaint little town. I dashed into a couple shops while someone kept an eye on the stroller out front. We changed diapers in the back of the car. I stressed through lunch that the baby would start wailing at any moment. On the drive home, I was exhausted and grumpy. My father-in-law, on the other hand, smiled and said, “What a great day.”

A few months ago, Pop was diagnosed with cancer. It came out of the blue, with no warning, and his was such a rare type it took several weeks and doctors all over the country to figure out what it was. It’s rare, it’s aggressive, it’s scary, it’s unfair, and it sucks.

It sucks that such a healthy, happy, loving man could suddenly and inexplicably be stricken with an awful disease. It sucks that my MIL, my husband, and his siblings have been thrown into this awful situation where there are no real answers, just more questions. It sucks that my kids’ grandfather is in and out of the hospital, going through chemo, and losing his hair.

And it sucks that I have absolutely no idea what to do about it.

I struggle to comfort my husband. I offer up inadequate sympathy and meaningless platitudes. I dread having to explain Pop’s illness to my 4 y.o. son. I refuse to believe that Pop might die. I hate to talk about it to other people because nothing they say — NOTHING — will make it better.

But I feel like people should know. Especially today, on Father’s Day, I feel like people should know that there are dads and granddads out there like Pop. Men who have touched so many people and especially their own families. Men who have shown by example what it means to be a great dad. Men whose idea of a perfect day is a simple, nothing-special day with their loved ones.

Because that’s the kind of guy Pop is.

6/18/10

Toy Story 3: Lotso Terror at the Movies

*Guest post by Dad2Miles

This past week, my wife asked if I’d like to take our son to an advanced screening of the new Pixar film “Toy Story 3” in 3D with free tickets she’d won. Taking Miles to his first movie in an actual theater seemed very exciting to me.

I can still remember my first time at the movies. I was probably just about Miles’ age when I saw “The Jungle Book” with my dad. Back then the theater was the only option. (Weird, huh?) That amazing memory has stuck with me all these years. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue the tradition with my own son.

I knew he’d love it. After all, he already loves the other Pixar movies like “Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” and “Wall-E.” He can even recite their lines verbatim. The fact that this movie was also in 3D seemed like icing on the cake. So it was decided. This would be an experience of a lifetime for my boy (and me).

I made plans to leave work early, beat the traffic, and surprise Miles with this fun, after-bed-time adventure. This would be a night he’d remember forever, and I’d be a hero just like Buzz Lightyear!

On the drive to the theater Miles clutched the movie pass in his little hands and hummed a song with excitement and anticipation. So far, so good! Unfortunately, from this moment forward, let’s just say things didn’t go exactly as planned.

As we walked into the foyer we immediately noticed a line that stretched about 100 people long, primarily made up of 20-something, out-of-shape fan boys wearing black comic book T-shirts. (Cue the skipping record player.) Hmm, not exactly what I was expecting. So we queued up behind these Kevin Smith look-a-likes as the spectacle and wonder of the theater started to diminish a little amongst their “World of Warcraft” chatter.

After about 45 min. we were finally in our seats, with popcorn and our 3D glasses. Father and son, just like I had imagined. As the movie began, the booming surround-sound and 3D technology immediately had Miles in awe, and laughing hysterically.

Unfortunately, his amusement was short-lived. The storyline started to take some questionable turns. About 30 min. in, the boys at Pixar decided to paint a rather dark and emotional third installment of this classic series.

SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LEARN PLOT DETAILS

You see, in this chapter of the Toy Story trilogy, Andy, the owner of the beloved Toys, is heading off to college and the fate of his childhood playthings is up in the air. After a mix-up, Woody, Buzz, and crew end up getting donated to Sunnyside Daycare Center, where things are not as they seem.

What ensues next is essentially a turf war between the new toys and the Sunnyside toys, who are led by an evil, tubby, purple teddy bear named Lotso, whose southern accent and evil mannerisms give him the charm of a Klansmen. Our beloved Toys proceed to get tortured and dismembered by the unruly toddlers at the daycare while Lotso makes sure his clan gets quality playtime with the “good” kids.

The screenplay is actually quite hilarious and entertaining — for me, an adult. In fact, I was so entertained that I failed to immediately notice the fear and anxiety overcoming Miles. As the content clearly became questionable for a 4 y.o., I started to wonder what this movie was rated.

At one point I noticed that Miles had ripped off his 3D glasses in an effort not to watch. There were multiple scary characters like “Big Baby,” Lotso’s creepy baby-doll enforcer with a lazy eye who reminded me of Jason from Friday the 13th, and the Tambourine Monkey.

Finally, at the movie’s climax, I began questioning my own parenting skills as we watched the good toys facing their death at the garbage dump as they rode a conveyor belt into an incinerator. The Toys were holding hands as they prepared to meet their toy-maker in the sky. Was this a scene out of “Schindler’s List” or a G-rated cartoon?!

At this moment I turned to see Miles bawling. I could hear the toddlers in front of us screaming as well. What had I DONE? “Do you want to leave?” I asked him. He managed to squeak out a yes from his knee-clutching, rocking position in his seat. “Wait,” I thought. “We can’t leave now. He’ll never go to the movies again. Certainly they’ll be rescued in the end.”

So for what seemed like an eternity, we waited for the happy ending and escaped the theater. On the way out, Miles — who was obviously exhausted from this experience — was clearly not happy and stated the obvious when he said he “did not like that movie.”

So much for the magic and mystery of the movies. At least he’ll have lasting memories of his first cinema experience with his dad. The question is, how many years of therapy will it take to suppress them?

6/16/10

Gisele and New-Mom Body Issues

It was Gisele who put me over the edge. There I was, flipping through Vogue as I walked on the treadmill, feeling pretty good about myself for getting to the gym. The baby was at the sitter’s, since he has no love for the gym daycare.

Then I saw it: a softly lit, black & white photo of the Brazilian supermodel cradling her naked newborn. In the pic, Gisele is sporting cashmere boy-shorts and a bare midriff.

Let’s set aside for a moment the utter impracticality of cashmere underwear and focus on the really disturbing part: her perfectly toned BARE MIDRIFF. On a NEW MOM. I flew into a Google frenzy trying to find out when the photos were taken. Maybe the baby was 10 mos. old? Nope. I believe they were taken when he was about 3 mos. old.

This means Gisele hadn’t spent half a year on a high-intensity diet and exercise program. She didn’t have time for a tummy tuck. The photo didn’t appear to be excessively airbrushed. I couldn’t even claim she was wearing a triple-layer of Spanx under her clothes. Because she was flaunting her flat, BARE MIDRIFF.

Now, you should know that I’m not one of those people who’s against thin models. I don’t want to look at people like me in magazines. I don’t need to see any more stretch marks and stomach flab, thankyouverymuch. HOWEVER.

Showing a new mom who, I’d venture to guess, looks completely unlike 99% of the new-mom population is a low blow. I mean, yay for Gisele, but imagine all those normal, exhausted postpartum women reading her interview in which she chalks up her superhuman post-baby physique to “muscle memory.”

Right. I guess my muscles have amnesia, then, because even 15 mos. post-birth I am not ready to bare my midriff. In fact, my belly button will never again see the light of day in this LIFETIME, mark my words.

It was shortly after the Gisele incident that heard about a book called “Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby,” by Claire Mysko (a new mom herself) and Magali Amadeï (an international model, BTW).

Drawing from interviews with more than 400 women and men, as well as their own experiences, the authors set out to forewarn expectant moms “what to expect from your changing body, as well as a reality check for each stage of your pregnancy, exposing the myths, challenges, and insecurities you’ll face throughout pregnancy and beyond—and what to do about them.”

I can tell you unequivocally that based on the search-engine traffic to my “Pregnancy Butt” post, those of us with pregnancy-related body issues are not alone. In fact, I’m so interested in this topic that I plan to do a Q&A with author Claire Mysko, former director of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association, in the near future. If there are any questions you’d like me to ask her, jot ’em down in the comments.

READ O’ THE WEEK: Pregnancy magazine ran an excerpt of the book recently, called “The Big Lies of the Bump Watch” Sample quote: “Airbrushed images of slim celebrity moms also give us a very warped view of what a new mother’s body really looks like. Short of wearing blinders or moving to a remote village, there’s no way to block out the baby-weight coverage completely, but for new moms and moms-to-be, it’s important to keep a healthy perspective.”

6/13/10

A Dangerous Dinner Guest

So we were invited to dinner the other night at the home of one of Miles’ school friends. The boys are great buds, but I only know the other mother casually. Sure, I said, we’d love to come. But my husband has to work late so it’ll be just me and I’ll have to bring the baby, too, is that OK? Of course, she said, no problem.

So the 3 of us show up to their house, a diaper bag, portable highchair, and various other baby paraphernalia in tow. Immediately, I get a little nervous. They have several flights of uncarpeted stairs and, since they have no babies, no baby gates. That’s OK, I tell myself, swallowing my concerns as we head into the living room.

The boys are coloring. Riley instantly swoops in on a black marker and runs off with it. And, yes, he knows how to get the caps off. I pry it from his sticky grip as he screeches. We’re off to a good start.

Next, we go into the playroom. We’re bound to be safer in here. The older boy starts demonstrating his electric train set and nearly has a fit when Riley comes crashing over and picks up the caboose, derailing the whole train. The boy gets it set up again, only to have the baby trip over the track as he’s trying to escape. Oh, lordy.

I swoop him up and try to distract him with some wooden blocks. But when I take Miles to the bathroom for a minute, Riley seizes the opportunity to grab a giant box of Legos off a shelf. Which he then proceeds to dump out — ALL over the floor. The tiniest, sharpest Legos I’ve ever seen scatter in a zillion directions. And of course he quickly shoves a handful in his mouth.

The other mom leaps to clean it up, apologizing that her house is not baby-proof. Don’t be silly, I reassure her. My child ferrets out danger like a heat-seeking missile.

In a room full of pillows, he would injure himself on a feather poking out of one. He has managed to get a ball lodged in his open jaw, his fingers caught in toilet seats, and his head stuck in shirts. He regularly falls off tables and chairs, and snatches knives from the dishwasher. The other day I found him walking around with an outlet-protector in his mouth.

Dinner proceeds with Riley flinging food and utensils off his tray, and grabbing for wineglasses and napkins. Then, when I let him down from the table, he amuses himself by digging in our hostess’ potted plants. I bet she’s glad she invited US over!

Personally, I can’t wait till the evening is over and we can return to the relative safety (as it were) of our own home. At least I know what to expect there. Like how at any moment the baby could whisk the placemat off the table, taking my cup of coffee with it and showering us both with hot liquid. Is it any wonder we don’t get more dinner invitations?

6/9/10

Dream Big

The other night when nothing was on TV, I found myself watching the 1988 movie “Big.” First of all, how cute was Tom Hanks? And second, how horrible that his parents thought he was kidnapped all that time he was really living it up in NYC? (Even in my downtime, I’m still a mom!) But that’s beside the point.

In the movie, if you recall, Hanks’ character lucks into a dream job as a product developer for a toy company. Of course, they don’t know he’s really a 13-year-old boy in a 30-year-old’s body, but that’s not the point either.

The point I’m trying to make is that he finds success, happiness and even a girlfriend, simply by being himself. Is that a great message or what?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with what to do with my life. I certainly did not know at age 13 that I wanted to be a freelance writer. I distinctly remember the day my friend Tracy DID announce on the school bus that she was going to be a freelance writer when she grew up, because I had no idea what that meant. I probably intended to look it up later, but got too busy applying my Bonne Bell lip gloss and worrying whether my bangs were big enough.

Anyway, my career path has been a long and circuitous route, to say the least. It’s always felt like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It never seemed like my talents matched up to what employers were looking for. But Tom Hanks got me thinking: if someone WAS willing to give me a big, fat paycheck to do whatever I wanted, what would it be? I’ve got some ideas.

Entertainment consultant. I read about this ex-Marine who is a military consultant to the TV and movie industry. Basically, he goes to the set and tells them what wars and army bases and stuff should really look and sound like in real life, not Hollywood’s idea of military life.

I would like to be a “motherhood consultant.” I would tell producers and directors what life with kids is REALLY like. For instance, there would be more than a single baby bottle on the counter to signify an infant in the house. And most moms certainly do not gallivant around in full makeup and stylish, body-conscious clothes at all times. Also, most of us do not suddenly go into labor and give birth in the time it takes to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” (6 min., I Googled it) like Quinn Fabray on the season finale of “Glee.” Just saying.

Children’s book consultant. I don’t really want to be an editor (that’s far too much like real work!) but I would like to work with authors and publishers to help them tailor their books to real kids. For instance, they should never use the word “pooped” to mean tired. You’re just ASKING for potty-talk.

And what’s with the delicate pop-ups and lift-the-flaps for the under-3 set? Those books are destroyed in MINUTES. Also, beware of incongruous illustrations that don’t relate to the story. In one of my sons’ books, there’s a random snake on a beach – a detail which never goes unnoticed, not even on the 117th reading.

O magazine columnist. But why stray too far from my writer roots? Writing’s really what I love to do best. So I propose that O magazine should make me a columnist. I’ve been reading it for years, and I think I share O’s mission of helping women — moms especially – accept and embrace their true selves, fulfill their potential, and find happiness. And a cute pair of shoes.

Oprah’s always saying that motherhood’s the hardest job there is, right? Well, I have the war stories to prove it, and I’d package each one neatly with an inspirational message about what the experience has taught me and how others might look at their own lives differently.

For instance, getting out the door in the morning with a small child who operates at an excruciatingly sluggish pace is a reminder to slow down and live in the moment.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s a lesson in patience, the supply of which required for parenthood would tax even the Dalai Lama himself. But what was I saying again? Oh, right. Be true to yourself and success will follow. It worked for Tom Hanks, anyway.

LINK O’ THE WEEK: I’ve gotta give props to fellow blogger Stephanie Stearns, aka @MinkyMoo. In addition to “Big,” it was a vlog on her new and improved DialMforMinky.com that got me thinking about this topic. This girl needs to be on TV, don’t you agree?

6/6/10

A Batman Birthday

At some point during my third trip to Party City, this time with both kids and an overflowing pile of Batman paraphernalia in tow, I had this thought: what am I DOING?!

I mean, seriously. I was standing there, buckling under the weight of a basket stuffed with streamers and plastic forks and paper masks and bottles of bubbles, while Riley shrieked in his stroller and Miles whined, “But, Mamaaaa… I want THESE for my party, too! And THOSE ones.”

I’ve said before that I dread am not a huge fan of kids’ birthday parties. I’m all about celebrating milestones and having fun with friends, but my goodness — the venues, the guest lists, the catering, the presents, the GOODY BAGS!! It’s all too much. I see years of licensed-character-themed cakes and staggering Target gift receipts flashing before my eyes.

So I try to keep it simple. A backyard BBQ, a handful of friends. But before you know it, I’m dashing all over town searching for individually packaged sidewalk chalk and Batman-blue napkins. (It is NOT just plain old navy blue, people.)

Part of what pulls me in is my son’s excitement. Just because I’ve suffered through a kajillion kiddie birthday parties and would opt for a bikini wax rather than attend another at the same damn place AGAIN doesn’t mean Miles feels the same way.

Especially when it’s HIS birthday. He’s basically been talking about it for a year. He was all about Batman until he saw the Spiderman cake at the store. (Yes, I got a store-bought cake this year. I drew the line at black frosting. Also, our oven broke. I took that as a sign.)

Once again, I tried to keep the guest list small, but somehow it grew. Miles made an exception to his all-boy rule for siblings and his cousin. Then C. and I forced the parents to come so we wouldn’t have to suffer alone. Plus, I think family parties are more fun than a bunch of parents standing awkwardly on the sidelines of some kids’ gym, no adult beverages in sight.

Anyway, the party was a success. Yes, the kids screamed and ran around and trashed the house and our lawn will never be the same. But it was fun. Even the piñata — which I had serious reservations about — was a crowd-pleaser, and only caused one minor injury (To C.) My 4 m.o. nephew even took a swing at it.

The best parts for me: After I hung up all the tacky Batman crap Miles said, wide-eyed, “Thanks for decorating for my party, Mama!” And seeing him race to the door every 10 min.: “Is that a guest?” (His word.) And seeing him with his friends. At 4, they are real little people, with unique personalities and manners (sometimes) and inside jokes, even. Crazy.

Well, Miles, I can hardly believe it, but you’re 4. FOUR! Happy birthday, buddy! Here’s a look back at birthdays past:

Your original birth day. That was a loooong day.

Your 1st birthday Q&A.

Your 2nd birthday, “The Year of the Truck.” (check out that dump truck cake, people!)

Your 3rd birthday was all about Spiderman and your new baby brother.

What will next year bring, I wonder?

6/3/10

Everyone’s a Critic

I’ve realized parenting and writing have something in common: at some point, you’re going to encounter critics. Whether you want their opinions or not, people are going to tell you what they think. Often inappropriately, rudely, or even anonymously, if we’re talking about the Internet.

It’s a fact that if people like something they will keep it to themselves or tell only a few people, whereas if they’re unhappy they’ll shout it from the rooftops. That’s just human nature. Unfortunately, this means that parents and writers are often the targets of unsolicited, unconstructive — if not downright mean — feedback. Really, what part of “Can’t you do that somewhere else?” is helpful or supportive to a nursing mother? And what lesson might a writer or blogger glean from someone who comments, “Are you trying to be funny or are you really that dumb?” Um…

Let’s say, HYPOTHETICALLY, that you were to publish what you thought was a glaringly obvious satire of “inappropriate” themes in children’s books – say, cannibalism (Hansel & Gretel) and the glorification of eating disorders (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). Let’s say this essay was published in a prominent, respected national magazine with an educated readership. And let’s say you were especially proud of this accomplishment, since your professional life has all but fizzled out like a dying campfire due to the demands of raising 2 small children.

Now let’s imagine you received not 1, not 2, but perhaps a dozen or more rude e-mails or mentions in blog posts that basically boil down to “I read this completely literally and you are what’s wrong with America. And your article sucks, too.” Your first reaction as a writer might be to question whether, if these people cannot recognize GLARINGLY OBVIOUS humor, published in a known HUMOR COLUMN, they have any business reading this prominent, respected national magazine, or whether they might be better off sticking to Us Weekly, where the most taxing intellectual challenge they will encounter is to determine “Who wore it better?”

But your next reaction might be, “This sucks. People suck. I suck.” And that’s pretty much the exact same reaction I have when some holier-than-thou parent responds to my jokes about “Wow, Wow, Wubbsy” by saying they wouldn’t DREAM of allowing their child to watch TV since TV has been proven to kill children’s imaginations, strangle their souls, and make them fat and antisocial to boot. Or when someone gives me crap about wandering 3 feet from my cart down a grocery aisle while my poor, abandoned baby risks being kidnapped on the other side of the avocado display.

GIVE ME A BREAK, PEOPLE!! Consider the power of your words and actions. I do, every day. Every time I sit down at my computer to write an article, a blog post, or a comment on someone else’s work, I think of the person on the other end. I really do. And every time I say something to another mom I don’t know, I think of their feelings. That’s why I usually say, “Oh, mine does that, too” while rolling my eyes instead of, “What the hell’s the matter with you and your damn kid that he won’t stop throwing sand at everybody?!”

I’ll leave you with this: perception is often very different than reality. One of the people who reacted negatively to my essay actually wrote back to apologize when I explained that the piece was published in a humor section (and therefore MEANT TO BE FUNNY). She didn’t know, because she didn’t read the magazine regularly; she’d read the piece online. Well, how about them apples?

In thinking about the themes in this post, I collected some of my favorite writings on these topics. All of these people are both parents and writers. Funny. 🙂

Scary Mommy: “A**hole Comments: A Collection of the Best”
Alisa Bowman: “My I Don’t Suck List”
Finslippy: “In the Locker Room”
Connie Schultz: “A Connecting Flight”

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