Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

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!

 

Share

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.
Share

Pout About- October 3, 2014

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

I’m over here pouting. Lips twisted, arms crossed, eyes rolled. Pouting. So is my nearly 4-year-old. She is pouting too. We sit and pout for one reason. The same reason. She’s trying to give up her nap.

I want her to sleep the same time as her baby brother so I can tap away on the laptop or unload the dishwasher without anyone trying to grab a serrated knife. I just want to watch “South Park” on the iPad while I clean the kitchen. It’s a new season! I want Eric Cartman to fire away with all the “shits” and “damns” he wants to without it falling on my children’s ears. I want to sometimes take my own nap because I’m tired after waking up at 5:30am with the baby, I’m getting over a cold and it’s Friday and I just can. If she would go to sleep, I could.

Other mothers say “Just do quiet time in her room!” We do that. She is still restless and begs for my attention. They say, “Put on a movie and crash on the couch.” Yeah, I could do that, but I’m always taking TV and movie privileges away as punishment and I have to follow through. Damn my conscientious parenting! Really, I just want her to take a freakin’ nap because she acts like someone else’s menacing, naughty child when she doesn’t.

No one feels my pain. No one cares about this plight. This is the look Erin gave me when I told her Charlotte was giving up her nap. It says, “Really, Amy?! No one feels sorry for you.”

erin edited

A dear sweet reader reminded me “You’ve had a good run.” after I was complaining on Instagram. ::sigh:: We HAVE had a good run. She’s almost 4. I hear horror stories of kids giving up naps at 2. I can’t, ya’ll. I can’t. That’s too early.

Never mind me. I’m just going to pout. I’m in good pouting company, after all.

pout edited

Share

This One Time, At Starbucks September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26th, 2014

"This one time, at Starbucks" photo of cup.

When I was a TV news reporter and I needed a “man-on-the-street” interview, Starbucks was my go-to place. Not only could I get my latte fix, I could almost always find an Average Joe, enjoying some joe with an opinion on the national story/city council vote/election result I was covering. Weird things happen to me at Starbucks. I’m not sure if that shows I spend entirely too much time there, or if Starbucks is just a good sampling of the public, thus resulting in better odds of weirdness.

I’ll confess, I had a strange request of the barista. You see, I was helping with a playgroup outside of the Starbucks in the common area of the shopping center. It’s an outdoor shopping/dining location in our city with a grassy area for children where my workout group frequently hosts playgroups. This week’s theme was bubbles. As one of the hosts I went to the dollar store and got some bubbles. I got my daughter this bubble gun thing from Target on clearance for the playgroup. She was SO excited. As toys are, it was packaged so that no human adult could open it without performing surgery to the packaging. Of course, the bubbles were blowing and I had no scissors. The three-year-old was getting anxious. I told her to hang tight with the other moms.

children at the bubble playgroup

I ducked into the Starbucks where they practically know my order. I asked if I could borrow some scissors to open the package. The barista had no scissors, but did have a box cutter to open all the pre-packaged goodies we enjoy. I thanked her and started cutting the thick plastic straps choking this cheap toy.

That’s when I heard, “Careful!” from a voice behind me. I was confused. Surely no stranger was scolding me!? I glanced over to see a man in his fifties waiting for his drink. His tone was patronizing, like I was his 10-year-old daughter and I needed to be aware of the dangers of Exacto-knife usage before my Girl Scout camp-out. I ignored him and kept cutting.

He tried again to get my attention and be clever, only it was pretty demeaning. He said, “Whoa! A woman with a knife! Look out!” He went on to chuckle at his own joke and look around to see if anyone else agreed. When I still paid him no mind he said, trying to be funny, “I’m just gonna get out of the way so I don’t get hurt.” I didn’t look up and said, “You’re fine.” He got his drink and walked out of the store, looking at me like I was the stankest bitch on the planet for not yukking it up at his brilliance.

Sir, did you think that you were the funniest, most clever man in Starbucks that day? Did you just have to hear your own voice and weigh in on what I was doing?  Did you want me to giggle at your condescending comments like a sweet little woman? I bet you never would have never spoken a word if it were my husband opening the toy or any man using a knife. You are not my dad. I’m a grown woman who knows how to open a package with a box cutter. Sure, It was kind of weird that I was doing it in Starbucks,  but understandable with the crowd outside and certainly not worth commenting on.

I got the toy open and the kids had a great time. This little encounter really wasn’t a huge deal and had little impact on my life except for writing this blog post. Maybe he was just trying to be funny. It didn’t really hurt my feelings, it just annoyed me. I could have done without, the “Oh, you’re a typical bitch.” look that he shot me. Maybe I’m making too much of it. Really, I feel sorry for him that patronizing women is a way that he gets a laugh. What do you think?

Share

How I Broke My Foot- July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21st, 2014

foot breaking pic

It was warm when we got to the pool Friday. The sun was shining on the faces of my smiling, sunscreened babes. All the stuff we have to carry suddenly felt light when we walked through the gates. I saw it! They finished construction on the swim-up bar in the center of our neighborhood pool! Finally! I couldn’t wait to wade up there for a cocktail. Some other moms waved at me, drinks in hand while their kids splashed happily nearby. They had extra lifeguards patrolling both the shallow and deep ends since alcohol was now on the pool menu. Pool management had instituted the new “Baby Cabana” complete with certified babysitters in a shaded nursery by the pool for my baby. I knew I had stepped into the paradise I’d always dreamed of.

I was sipping. My 3-year-old was splashing. My baby was napping in the cabana. It was perfect. That’s when it happened.

I saw the fin first. It was bobbing and sliding between children on rafts. I thought it was another toy. It got closer before swirling at my feet as I sat perched on the underwater bar stool. I looked at one of the other moms, “Wait! Is the pool now saltwater?” She confirmed that it was. I saw another one, and one more by the deep end. “They let sharks in the pool?!” The bartender/lifeguard said, “What?! Those are only for swim team practices. You know, to make the kids swim faster. They aren’t supposed to be out!”

The whistle blew. “SHARKS!” I heard screaming. There was splashing. Kids and moms were scrambling as they desperately tried to escape the water. Cocktails flew as mothers grabbed tots. I saw a shark pop a child’s inflatable arm swimmy things. I looked for my daughter in desperation. I saw her flailing and crying just feet from me. That’s when one shark burst through the water gnashing its jaws. It’s teeth were just inches from my first born’s precious face. My motherly instinct kicked in, I grabbed the shark by its fin and jerked it backwards into the water. I scooped her up and jumped out of the pool.

What happened next, happened so fast it felt like a dream. As I comforted my little girl poolside, I saw another shark swirling. I knew from watching “Shark Week” that spinning behavior meant the shark was about to attack. It was right next to the Baby Cabana. I saw my son snoozing in the shaded cradles provided for the babies. I knew it was going to leap out of the water.

Still clutching my daughter I jumped. I scooped up my baby with my other arm and grabbed a pool float to block the beast’s mighty jaws. The toy exploded. My children cried. The shark fell back in the pool. It swirled again. I knew what that meant.

It exploded out of the water with even more force heading right for me and my precious little ones. The mother instinct went to a whole new level. It was a Molly Weasley-style protective reflex. I screamed, “NOT MY BABIES YOU BITCH!” I jumped and did a roundhouse kick through the air, smashing the side of the shark and knocking it back in the water. The impact of my fierce kick snapped the bone in my foot. I held my children tight as the shark swam away in defeat. We cried and kissed each other, grateful to be alive. The other mothers and children cheered my bravery.

broken foot

Okay, so not a bit of that is true, but it’s way better than the real story. I had to come up with something better than what really happened.

I was loading the car Friday morning to go work out. I missed the last step and my foot twisted just the right way, breaking my fifth metatarsal. Yes, I was wearing tennis shoes. I’m now  in a boot. I have leftover prescription Ibuprofen from the hospital after labor and delivery. I take that and ice it. I’ll see the orthopedic doctor later this week.

I’ve never broken a bone before. I always imagined a better story than what really happened, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. “I broke my foot in a pool side bar brawl while protecting my children from a shark attack. If you think my foot is bad, you should see the shark!”

Disclaimer: Our pool is not saltwater, has no swim up bar and no Baby Cabana. A girl can dream. The sharks are a rumor. 

Share