Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

Getting Schooled- January 22, 2015

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Getting Schooled: Kindergarten Choices

Last week I watched my Facebook feed fill with posts from friends with kids a year older than mine. Many bemoaned that their babies are aren’t babies anymore. There were Instagram photos of  kindergarten registration forms with a caption like, “I can’t believe this is happening!”

It’s kindergarten registration season! My daughter just turned 4 in November, so I have another year before this madness begins. I got into a conversation with another mother about this process the other day. She is interested in a traditional calendar magnet program for her daughter this year. “Oh! That’s cool. Good luck with the whole process! We don’t have to worry about it until next year. We really want a year-round schedule. Our base school is year-round.”

That’s when her nose scrunched up. You know, how people do when they disagree with you and are sort of disgusted with what you just said? She said, “Year-round? Why would you want that?” I went on to explain how I went to the first year-round school in our state as a third grader way back in 1988 or 1989 when the concept was first introduced here. I told her how as a young elementary school student, I was very restless in the summer and had a hard time, so my parents tried it. It was great. We loved the breaks through the year and still had some summer vacation. Plus, our base school is year-round and is rated a 10 out of 10 so, why not?

She said, and I kid you not, “Right. A year-round schedule for a Disney vacation in January or whatever.”

::pause::

::blink::

Yeah lady, I base decisions on my children’s education solely on making sure they’ll have shorter lines at the Magic Kingdom in three years. What?! I looked around. Surely I was being punked or something. I wasn’t. I can’t even remember what I said. It got awkward. I smiled and walked away.

Here’s the thing. Why are you worried about my kids’ education? I’m not worried about yours. I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for your family. That’s what’s so great. You can choose whatever type of kindergarten you want for your kid. Any kind! I could cite studies for or against every kindergarten choice. I won’t do that. Who has the time? Here are just some of the options parents I know are looking at for kindergarten:

  • Public traditional calendar
  • Public year-round
  • Another year of private Pre-K before kindergarten
  • Spanish immersion
  • Montessori
  • Private religious school
  • Public Charter school
  • Public Magnet
  • Home school

I don’t need to go on. The point is, do what you want for education. Has anyone else run into this? Catching attitude from other parents about kindergarten choices? Have other parents disparaged your school choice? I mean, I know it’s a big life decision full of emotions. It can often be competitive to get a spot in certain schools. I get it, but I remember learning “do unto others” in kindergarten, so let’s all remember that during kindergarten registration.

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Snot Season- January 14, 2015

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Your baby needs a tissue

It’s everywhere. It’s looming over us wherever we go. Preschool, the store, church, friends’ houses. Name a place. We are all in fear of any one of the numerous plagues wreaking wintertime havoc. Last week Henry and I were down with a seriously nasty cold. He had the cold on top of Roseola which resulted in a 4-day fever. In Charlotte’s class there has been a child stricken with flu and another with strep throat in the past week.

The germs! My God, the germs! We can’t seem to escape them. No amount of grocery cart sanitizing is gonna save us this winter. Seriously, ya’ll.

I’m glad we got flu shots, but we all know the strains going around aren’t being covered by the shot. Sweet Jesus, I keep having flashbacks to 2007. 2007 was the ONE YEAR I was too lazy to get my flu shot. Well, I got the flu and I wanted to die. Seriously. Praying for death. People who don’t get the flu shot have never had the flu. I mean the kind of flu that is diagnosed as actual Influenza. They give you Tamiflu and you are on your ass for 5 days. That kind of flu. Not the “Oh, I feel achy and my my nose has been runny for two days.” I mean the flu.

I feel like I was pretty responsible when Henry was sick, paranoid even. Paranoid about spreading germs. We cancelled all New Years plans. We stayed away from everyone until the pediatrician told me he was “no longer contagious.” (FYI: For Roseola, that’s when the rash appears. Our doctor said you are not contagious by the time the fever breaks and the rash appears. Here’s more on Roseola.)

However, some cold symptoms remained, turning into an ear infection. We are now on a round of antibiotics. I know the answer, but I always ask about ear infections, “It’s not contagious, right?” The answer is always, “No, not contagious.” Cool. Okay.

As he’s getting over it, but boogers remain. Nasty green boogers and the occasional slug of yellow snot stick to his sweet face. I wipe it, and wipe it and wipe it again. With wipes, with tissues. He screams. It sucks.

Here’s what bugs me: The stank looks I get from other parents and adults in general when my kid’s nose is crusty. I want to shout, “I know it’s the peak of flu/strep/puking season. I’m SORRY! I’m doing the best I can! He screams like I’m skinning him alive to wipe his face! Boogers and snot are part of being a human child! The doctor says he’s not contagious anymore!” 

I feel like I’m constantly reciting his recent medical history when someone says, “He needs a tissue.” I just can’t stay ahead of the snot. I’m sorry, but we can’t stay inside forever. Occasionally you will have to witness my boy in his natural state during snot season.

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The Worst Holiday- January 2, 2015

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

I love most holidays. Christmas is my favorite. I’m not alone there. It doesn’t get better than presents and food in honor of Jesus’ birthday. As an optimistic extrovert I do enjoy almost all the other holidays too. I made the most of single Valentine’s Days and 100 degree July 4th’s in the past.

July 4, 2009. It was insanely hot, yet I am so happy. (And young. Geez.)

July 4, 2009. It was insanely hot, yet I am so happy. (And young. Geez.)

There is one holiday, however, that I don’t like. New Years. I hate it. New Years Eve is the sad, cold and drunken let down to Christmas. I had no problem working the New Years shift when I was a TV news reporter. No social plans I ever had on December 31 came through. No one in the group could ever finalize plans. Someone always drank too much. I always spent too much money and was left too tired the next day. No thank you.

It got better after I got married and had some chill restaurant-then-champagne-toast-at-home evenings, but New Years still symbolizes the holidays being over. Twice in my life it meant I had to go back to work because maternity leave ended in January.

I spent all day January 1, 2015 being cranky and bummed out. Part of that was because my one-year-old is feverish and snotty. I was cooped up with him as my nose got stuffier. I lashed out at my well-meaning husband who did absolutely nothing wrong. I sulked at the Rose Parade, which sucks compared to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanksgiving, now there’s a holiday.

I think what I hate most about New Years is the insane amount of pressure we put on it to “start over” or “resolve to be better.” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking through friends’ “Year in Review” or “Best of 2014″ videos and collages on Facebook or Instagram, but I don’t like making empty resolutions.

I think I hate it more this year because I don’t really want to make any changes. I’m happy. I’m blessed. I feel almost too lucky, like something is going to happen if I make changes. It’s easy to be complacent when you’re in a good place. I’d rather just enjoy myself and watch my sweet babies grow than force myself to make strides. See…look at them! This picture makes me want to freeze time in December, 2014 instead of leaving the holiday season behind! Ugh!

xmas professional 7

I owe it to myself and my family to keep getting better. So with a giant eye roll to the institution of New Years resolutions, in 2015 I resolve to:

  1. Write more.
  2. Take more risks.
  3. Be more patient with my family.
  4. Have a better attitude about New Years.

Happy 2015.

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Retail Workers: You’re Not Alone If You Work Thanksgiving- November 21, 2014

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2014 collage

I keep seeing all these posts on my Facebook and Twitter news feeds saying things like, “Boycott Thanksgiving Shopping!” or “Big Retailer X is opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Show them that is not okay!”

Um. Alright. To me, if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, don’t. Why the fuss? Why do you care if others do? What, you’re concerned for the religious sanctity of a secular national holiday like Thanksgiving?

I come from a family that shops on Black Friday. We are not the extreme crazies who crawl over children and old ladies in wheelchairs at 4:00 am to save $50 on a Playstation. We’re not those assholes. But, I join my extended family at the mall for some shopping and lunch after we draw our cousin’s name. You know, the cousin we shop for that year.

One year my dad gave each group of shoppers one of his high tech Walkie-Talkies. This was before smart phones and group texts. They were color-coded and we had code names. If you had the yellow Walkie-Talkie you were “Yellow Bird.” There was “Green Hornet,” “Blue Bird” and “Black Bear.” This was how we stayed in touch through the crowded mall. We could find the lunch spot with the shortest line, or notify everyone if they found the sweater for Grandma at the best price. My dad required us to use the code names, say “over” and “over and out.” Yes, that story about my family is absolutely true.

I understand why everyone is not all about Black Friday. When people misbehave, it’s a ridiculous display of everything that is wrong with capitalism. I get it.

I heard about the petition calling for Kmart workers to get time off at Thanksgiving. I understand they’re opening at 6am on Thanksgiving Day and remaining open for 42 hours. That’s a lot, but come on! Hospitals are open all the time. Those people want to take off, but may not be able to.

While I’m not working this year, in my adult life I have worked more Thanksgiving weekends than I have had them off. I worked at two different retail stores in college. Immediately after college I was in TV news and I knew that was part of the job. I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving mornings I covered the local rescue mission’s turkey dinner or the Turkey 5K. If you get a job as a Sales Associate at Best Buy, chances are, your Thanksgiving is cut short because you gotta be in the store by midnight. That’s part of the job. I was always told, “If you want holidays off, get a job and the bank or the Post Office.” You know who else works Thanksgiving? LOTS OF PEOPLE! Including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Law enforcement
  • EMT
  • Firefighters (You know some idiot will catch their house on fire because of a turkey fryer.)
  • News people (Someone has to cover the house fires.)
  • The Detroit Lions
  • Whatever NFL team is beating the Lions.
  • Al Roker with his giant scissors.
  • The other hosts and crew of the Today Show. (Somebody has to put on the Macy’s parade.)
  • The up-and-coming pop star on the Carvel float singing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” in the parade.

I could go on and on. Kmart employees, you are not alone. Lots of people work on Thanksgiving. This petition and all this drama is making news because stores announced they are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. People having to work on Thanksgiving is not new. Get your holiday hours, bitch to your coworkers and survive. Yay capitalism! Happy Holidays!

 

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Working Is Harder Than Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom October 15, 2014

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Me with my kiddos.

I hang with moms and kids. That’s my crowd as new stay-at-home mom. I joke that there are days that the only adult males I interact with on the regular are my husband and the Starbucks barista. I’ve noticed a distinct difference between two types of  SAHM’s. There are moms who have never worked outside the home since they had children, and those who have. Meaning, I know moms who stayed home with their first child and I know moms, like me, who started staying home with their second child.

A conversation with a group of moms holding babies went something like this:

A SAHM with two kids who never worked after her first child was born asked me, “So, Amy. Do you miss work? Are you glad you’re staying home?”

I say, “It’s great! It was a really good decision. My daughter loves her preschool. We were a little nervous pulling her out of her daycare. We were sad to leave there. It’s a great place, but I love being home with the kids. I’m actually a ‘stay-in-the-car mom’ Ha! We’ve been so busy.”

She says, “Yeah, but it’s so hard taking care of the kids all day!”

A new mom holding her first baby chimes in, “Yeah, being a stay-at-home-mom is the hardest job in the world.”

::blink::

I looked around the group to try to catch the eye of a mom like me, one who went back to work after her first baby. No one like that was in this circle. I stayed quiet. I faded out of the conversation that turned into complaining about nap schedules, unhelpful husbands and struggles to decide what to cook for dinner.

Hardest job in the world? No. No it’s not. Working outside the home while still being a parent is harder. It is. It just is. I feel I can say this because I’ve done both. Take all the stress of caring for children, cooking for your family, maintaining your home and add the intense pressure of a full-time job to it. Add the commute. Add the limited time. Add the daycare bill. Add the pressure of counting up paid and unpaid maternity leave days. Add the agony of leaving your baby. Add the guilt. It makes it all harder.

I’m not saying it’s all roses being a homemaker. I’m busy, no doubt. My kiddos keep me on my toes. Napless days of wicked tantrums are exhausting and infuriating. Those are times I miss the outlet of work. I know there are mothers of children with special needs who have much more taxing days at home than I do. I understand there are mamas with colicky criers and mothers of multiples trapped in the house all day. I feel for them. I know they have rough days too.

I’m just saying that since I started staying home, our lives are so much better. There were days that I would spend less than two hours a day with my child. We’d get dressed in the morning. Eat in the car and I’d drop her off. By the time I got to her, I had two hours before she went to bed. That time was mostly for dinner and bath.

When two parents are working it’s like being shot out of a cannon on Monday morning and the cannonball lands on Friday afternoon. The cannonball falls exhausted into a messy house and an empty pantry. While we did have lots of fun on the weekends, we often did not. We often had to clean, grocery shop and do all the mundane things we couldn’t get to during the week. The weekend culminated with the Sunday night dread. I’d prepare with a gripping feeling in my chest because another work week was beginning.

I understand job satisfaction is part of this. I know some women who are very fulfilled in their jobs and feel that’s where they get the most validation. Other women I know work for companies with 12 paid weeks of maternity leave, mothers’ rooms for pumping that have lounge chairs and half-day Fridays. While I liked my job and the people I worked with, I chose careers that were not as conducive to parenthood. I knew that when I went to college and majored in journalism and communications. It’s hard being a mother reporting the news live on TV at 6:00 am or answering my public relations client’s email at 7:30 pm when it’s bath time. My friends who work in banking, for example, start at 9 and end at 5. That’s the nature of their business.

Now I can let my daughter play on the playground after preschool. I can take half an hour and make a gingerbread house with her. Hell, I can lay my head on the couch and take a nap when the kids do on a Tuesday because it’s raining and I have a headache. One parent is home to unload the dishwasher and start dinner so it doesn’t become this huge issue or argument. I can take the kids to the doctor when they are sick without scheduling it on my Outlook calendar or calling five people to make sure things at work are covered. None of that was possible when I was working full time and it was hard. Harder than this.

My biggest fear about staying home was that I was going to be bored, lonely or unstimulated. Those are the complaints I hear from SAHM’s. I can say that I have not felt that way AT ALL. Not once in the last 8 months have I been bored, lonely or unstimulated. Maybe it’s because I immediately planned stuff for us to do and groups to be a part of, I dunno. But, I really attribute not being bored, but being happy to two things:

  1. I am not home with only a baby. I have a preschooler and a baby to keep me busy. Yeah, babies can be boring. Add a toddler, preschooler or older child in the mix? Party time! Boredom be gone!
  2. I know how crazy it is to have two working parents and I know this is better. It just is.
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