Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

Albert (affectionately called Meowbert, Albie or Al)

I want to tell you about my cat.

But I don’t want to tell you about how loved Baked Doritos.  And I don’t want to tell you about how he always came when called or how he would wake us up by jumping on us or how he developed this amazingly aggravating morning meow that sounded like “Hello.”  He did all that, and I’ll miss all that – even the claw marks down my abdomen at 5 in the morning – but that’s what I want you to know about him.

I will miss Albert because he’s the only person who truly knows how I’ve been, grown and changed over the last thirteen years.  With Albert’s passing, I lose a big chunk of who I am.

Albert sat on my shoulders at 2AM when I wrote a ten page paper about books I’d never read.  He watched me verbally belittle a roommate that had once been a good friend.  He saw me cry when I said goodbye to college and youth.

He watched me get my first real job, where I was excited about earning $10 an hour working with underage drinkers.  Then he watched me say good riddance when I busted out from a company I had grown to hate.  When I finally got into teaching, lots of his orange hairs clamped onto the papers and papers and papers I graded.

He witnessed a major breakup, and didn’t say “You should have known better,” though he probably wanted to.  He saw me fall in love (and was really quite bitter about it until after the wedding.)  He helped me adjust to being a married woman by having a hard time adjusting to being in a new house.  (Don’t worry, we bought Chun Lee then and that fixed that.)

He sat on my lap when I typed.  He laid on my arm when I read.  He slept really close when I was cold in winter.

He put up with getting pushed off the bed (it was 5am!) locked out of the litter room (whoops!), yelled at for fighting (They don’t have claws!), and losing his favorite baby status to a human baby.

He sat with me when my grandmother died… He sat with me a lot for that.    I kinda wish his furry white tummy and shrewd amber eyes could sit me through this, too.

He knew me as a procrastinator, a troublemaker, a crier, a yeller, a reader, a napper, an eater, and a mom.  He saw me happy and sad and single and married and proud and disappointed.  And now that he’s gone, not only am I missing the cat that could somehow jump on top of the refrigerator, I’m missing the person who knew ME – the good and bad me – for the past 13 years and only thought less of me when I didn’t turn the faucet on for him to drink.

I love you, Albert.  Thanks for loving me.

 

Albert

Albert

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10 Things to Do By Summer 2014

I had the amazing honor of being asked by one of my students to mentor her for the Young Ladies with Purpose group she’s a part of. All the students and mentors met for a pizza and wing luncheon on Friday (that’s my kind of purpose!).

At the meeting, my mentee gave me an affirmation to hang up in my room and repeat every day. The affirmation she gave me is

I accept my uniqueness.

What does that have to do with this blog?

When I was in high school and college, I had fun. A LOT of fun. Loads of fun. All. The. Freaking. Time. Why? Because I let myself be unique and do things that normal people didn’t do.

I went pool hopping.

I made a study lounge in the handicapped stall of the dorm bathroom (desk, books and all).

I beeped and waved the other way.

I went to Pat’s at 3AM on a Wednesday just because.

I wore a Dr. Evil costume to lunch.

I played on the street in the middle of a hurricane.

I drove my two-seat Fiero across the highway while five people were in it.

I put corn stalks in people’s driveways.

I used the campus three-way calling system to prank call people. (It was genius!)

I did a lot of other stuff I just deleted because I don’t want to put it in writing.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. To get back some of that gut-busting joie de vivre I had back then, I need to do some crazy weird things. And thus I created a list of ten things I must do between the start of my school year (next week) and the end (June 20, 2014). (Hubby helped a lot with brainstorming.)

1) Wear my beret to school when we read Guy de Maupassant and whenever a kid asks to go potty say, “Oui, Oui?”

2) Take a walk after midnight.

3) Dress up for Halloween when it’s not Halloween.

4) Use the phrase “tit bit nipply” in conversation.

5) Take pictures with lawn ornaments in people’s yards.

6) Have an entire convo with someone using only Springsteen song titles (and not let them realize it).

7) Put an “out of order” sign on something at work. Then, during a busy time when people are standing around, go pull it off, use it and then put the sign back up.

8) Put a telescope in my room and put shoe polish on the eye piece.

9) Do the Monty Python Ministry of Funny Walks at the mall.

10) Build a snowman out of cottage cheese.

If you’re up for it, join my on the ride, and tell me what unique things you’ll do this year.

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What does the world have against Night Owls?

No, seriously, what’s the issue?

As you know, I’m a teacher.  It’s summer break and I’m loving every minute.  Every single, freaking minute!  Those who are my intimates know that I’m much happier now than I am during the school year.  One of the main reasons is that I actually get enough sleep. During summer break I can follow my preferred sleep schedule.  That puts me to bed between 2 and 4am, waking up between 10:30 and noon.

Already some of you Early Birds are aghast.  Mentally you’re thinking, “What a lazy piece of poo!” (Or something similar.)

Huh.  Really.  Lazy.  How’s that happen?  Check out the times I just listed.  If you go by my later schedule – 4am – noon – you’ll see that I get 8 hours of sleep.  Don’t early birds keep schedules like 10pm – 6am?  That’s also 8 hours!

I am often the brunt of jesting (at least I hope they’re in jest…) comments about my preference to sleep in late.

  • “Oh, you won’t see her up and about while the sun’s out.”
  • “Why don’t you get outside and enjoy the day?”
  • “Must be nice to be able to be lazy.”
  • “You’re wasting so much time!”

No lie, these are real comments I get (ask my hubby, since he reminded me of some of them). 

Why is it a problem that I run my day on the late shift?  I know people who get up early to write or exercise.  People who rise at 5am to get an hour of exercise or writing in are seen as dedicated, hard-working individuals.  That they are.  But why am I seen as less hard working because I went out for a jog at 9:30pm and am doing my writing at 11:30pm?

It shouldn’t be hard for Early Birds to understand schedule preferences, right?  Unfortunately, many of them seem to think it’s easy for Night Owls to adapt to the EB life.  I’m expected to be chipper and chirpy when work starts at 7:30 am.  Do Early Birds not realize that they’re not chipper and chirpy at midnight when I’ve hit my stride? 

I get that by nature more people are Early Birds because our caveman ancestors actually needed to follow daylight hours, blah, blah, blah, but come on.  Show some love to the Night Owls.

Don’t you like me better when I can choose my sleep schedule and not be the miserable, grumpy wreck I am when you make me get up at 5:30 in the morning?

At least I can stay up late knowing that I never make fun of Early Birds and how annoyingly sunshiney and bubbly (and annoying) they are at the buttcrack of dawn.  Well, okay, I do.  But that’s just because Night Owls are smarter.

Just saying.

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Colbert’s Tribute to his Mother

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The Real Reason(s) Why People Stay Married, Molar Mother

 Why don’t people get divorced, Molar Mother? I think the real question is, why do people choose to stay married, even when things get tough?
Dating

Dating

About 11 years ago (right before my hubby and I were about to get married), I remember being bombarded with the grim statistics of divorce. Constantly people and the media were talking about the epidemic of rising divorce rates, so much so that it made it seem like lasting marriages were becoming a thing of the past. I have no idea what the statistics are today, but now I don’t hear about the epidemic of divorce…ever, really. Maybe it’s because it’s less common (but probably not), or maybe because it’s more accepted (more likely the case).

Engaged

Engaged

Whatever the reason, it seems like more people around me are staying married, even when they are unhappy. This, Molar Mother and I agree on. What we don’t agree about it is why people choose to stay married and whether or not they should. Although some stay together because they are afraid to be alone, I do not believe this is the core reason people avoid divorce. And, I resent the notion that because me and most of my friends are in our 30′s(ish) and have children, we would be terrified of never finding anyone else, if divorced.

So, why do I think people stay married? Seriously, the reasons are endless.

-Commitment, people!

When you make a commitment, you should honor it, unless any or all family members are in danger. Unhappiness is not a reason to divorce. Life, marriage, relationships in general…they all ebb and flow. You made a vow to stick by your spouse through the good and bad times, remember???

Married

Married

-Love.

Just because a person is unhappy, doesn’t mean love doesn’t still exist. The root of the unhappiness could be stress, a busy schedule, a personal issue not related to the spouse in the relationship, not enough communication and/or not enough time together or, dare I say, not enough sex (Don’t laugh; this is a serious issue, people!)! Which leads me to the next one…

-SEX (I know; how dare I talk about this! Signal bright, red cheeks!)!

Seriously, sometimes it’s just that good. The bond that it creates cannot be undone. And great sex between a husband and wife can help to heal a relationship (Says Dr. Mea…). The closeness that it creates between two people cannot accurately be put into words. And a little bit of advice from me: men, if she’s not coming back for more, maybe you should reassess your strategy and/or do some research!

-Memories.

Unhappiness doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. Deep inside, cherished memories still exist and these memories can be strong enough to hold on to hopes for the future.

Just the 3 of us...

Just the 3 of us…

-Faith.

For some, the idea of divorce simply goes against every fiber of their being. And to break the bond that God created is simply unthinkable.

-Fear of Embarrassment.

There are people who would never divorce, simply because of what their friends and family might think about them…as well as what they would think about themselves. The shame divorce would make them feel about their seeming failure is unthinkable for some.

-Children.

Let’s face it; divorce is painful and costly for all parties involved, but the influence it has on children is profound. In a lot of cases, divorce is not a better option.

-Money.

Lack of money prevents some from divorcing; yet for others, the security of having plenty keeps them with their spouse, even if they are unhappy. Money, especially these days, is a source of security. Right or wrong, it’s true.

Memories

Memories

-The Past and/or Present.

Especially for the younger generation, some never get divorced because they never married in the first place. For whatever reason (finances, unexpected pregnancy, age, fear of commitment, restrictive laws…), they remain with their partner, without a formal or socially accepted showing of commitment. But, for some, living through their parents’ divorce was too scarring and for that reason, the idea of entering into the territory of marriage and possibly divorce is just too daunting.

In addition to these, I think there are plenty of other reasons people stay together. But, I think these are the big ones. To simply say that people should get divorced if they are unhappy is taking the easy way out. Also, saying people won’t divorce because they are too afraid to be alone is archaic and narrow-minded, Molar Mother. Heck, if any of my friends were to divorce, I guarantee someone would snatch them up in an instant. Because being with any of my strong, ladyfriends not only is a privilege, but each and every one (including you, Molar Mother) is a serious catch!

The 4 of us...I wouldn't trade any of our moments...good or bad...for the world!

The 4 of us…I wouldn’t trade any of our moments…good or bad…for the world!

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Talk to me…

To avoid “killing” each other, my tweener and I have been working on our communication lately. Woohoo!

Hail, eating...her fave!

Hail, eating…her fave!

This is what we’ve learned:

1) Always look each other in the white of the eyes when talking. That means no yelling from floor to floor.

(We live in a tri-level, crap! Oh well, more exercise for both of us, I guess.).

2) Leave the conversation if you become angry, because the frontal lobe of your brain is about to shut down completely.

(So, next time I’m angry, I’m leaving the house! Kids and husband, you’re on your own; mom’s taking a mini vacation! I’ll be back when my brain reboots!).

3) Revisit the conversation later and without emotion or judgment and discuss what each of you could have done better. Then, come to some type of compromise.

(I don’t see how this is possible…ever…my middle name is emotion.).

4) Apologize without explanation or justification of your actions, and ask for forgiveness. Then, walk away. Don’t say anything else unless the other person wants to talk or respond.

(Okay, this one I can do! Well…that is…unless the apology is followed by your tweener saying she has to forgive you, “because who else is going to feed me.” Yep, I’m the meal cart.).

5) Eat a snack, especially after a long day.

(I have noooooo problem with this one! I could eat all day and night…no joke!)!

The first week we put this into action, it turned out great and things have been better overall between us. But, this week, we have both been tired, busy, stressed and emotional, making it difficult to accomplish any type of civil conversation.

Honestly, I think I just need chocolate and a nap…a really, really, long nap.

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We Got the Liebster Award!

THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD

(Some of this text is copied from the award giver, because that’s how this award rolls, folks!)

Recently, Calm, Cool and Committed received the very cool, very fun Liebster Blog Award. We got the award from the equally cool and fun writer Katie Kenyhercz.

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The word liebster is derived from German and roughly translates to sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. (We did say it roughly translates.)

Here are the rules for receiving the award:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.

2. Answer the questions the tagger previously answered.

3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs!

Eleven things about us:

1. We all work in the same school, but not in the same building.

2. The four of us have never all sat down together.

3. One of our frequent topics of discussion is pregnancy.

4. There has never been a time where we all agreed on a topic.

5. Molar Mother and Mea almost always disagree, but still maintain a friendship.

6. TheDude has been MIA for a while now (on our blog), because he’s in grad school.

7. All but one of us are English teachers, but you’d never know.

8. We work with students in need.

9. 3 of us live in the ‘burbs, and 1 of us lives in the sticks.

10. We are all married and in the process of growing our families.

11. None of us missed the sarcasm gene.

Eleven questions about me and our answers:

1. Beach or mountain holiday?

MM – Beach!

Mea – Both!

TheDude – Beach

MF – Mountain

2. Where in the family do you come?

MM – I’m the baby. Which means the coolest.

Mea – I’m the oldest, most responsible and favorite child of 4!

TheDude – Youngest

MF – Oldest

3. Dog or cat person?

MM – I have three furbabies. You might call them cats, but I call them furbabies.

Mea – I love wild and zoo animals, as opposed to pets that depend on me to take care of them.

TheDude – Both. The cat is our firstborn, but our pups get the most attention.

MF – To play with and have fun – dogs. To own – cats.

4. What’s your favorite season and why?

MMSpring. It’s when everything comes alive again, and everything feels so much happier.

Mea – Summer! No stress, unlimited time with my kiddos (and family and friends), swimming, camping, beach, Vitamin D, the warmth of the sun, exercise, long days, yummy food, my birthday, my and my hubby’s anniversary…I could go on and on!!!

TheDude – I love photography in the fall, and I’m most comfortable in jeans and sweaters.

MF – Autumn. Everyone is outside trying to get their last big dose of Vitamin D before being cooped up for months. Also, I love not having to wear either a coat or sunblock!

5. What’s the last book you read?

MM – I finished Divergent over the weekend. I enjoyed it, but didn’t like the brand of morality it’s championing. I’m now reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, but I think I’m going to stop and move on. It’s not enjoyable to me.

Mea – My busy 2-year-old son and 12-year-old (going on 17) daughter leave me with little time to read. But, I “recently” finished Mockingjay from the Hunger Games series (I know, I’m a little behind!), and I am currently attempting to read Proof of Heaven: The Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

TheDude- 100 Years of Solitude Not the best book I’ve ever read.

MF – Favorite Wife & Codetalker. The first was about a polygamous cult. The second was about a Navajo code talker from WWII.

6. What’s the last movie you watched?

MM – When I was home sick this week, I watched A Bride for Christmas. It was cute!

Mea – The last movie I watched was with my tweener. I believe the title was From Prada to Nada. Can you guess whose turn it was to choose??

TheDude – The Dark Knight Rises. Amazing.

MF – El Orfanato. Awesome movie with a heart-wrenching twist.

7. What’s your favorite weather and why?

MM – I love a nice, slightly breezy 72 degrees. You can go outside in shorts but you don’t end up all sweaty.

Mea – 85-90 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze and absolutely no humidity! Ahhhhhh…take me away!

TheDude- 65-70 degrees. Jeans and light sweater. Awesome.

MF – Night time on the boardwalk weather. Lightweight sweatshirt and shorts. Or, early morning in the woods – cool and damp but not cold or windy.

8. What would you like to be written on your tombstone?

MM – Lived to be 25,043 years old.

Mea – I do not want a tombstone; a marker will suffice. I’d like my ashes to be scattered somewhere beautiful and close to my family.

TheDude – He loved God, and he loved his wife.

MF – The Hopi Prayer:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not
there,
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the
diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
On the ripened grain.
I am
the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the
swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars
that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not
there.
I did not die.
My Spirit is still alive…

OK, that’s long.
Maybe just the last four lines.

9. How would you like to be remembered?

MM – I’m not sure exactly how yet, but I want to have changed the world in some way.

Mea – I’d like to be remembered as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend who could never be replaced.

TheDude – I’d like to be remembered as someone who made people feel loved. Still workin’ on that.

MF – As an inspiring matriarch.

10. When and why was the last time you giggled uncontrollably?

MM – I cannot remember exactly what happened, but my husband and I recently were in stitches over something. I think we were making fun of something. Hmmmm, what was it?

Mea – When I was with my best friend, Naomi, we were renaming her kids for some reason. I can’t remember why it was so funny, but neither of us could stop laughing! Perhaps our utter exhaustion was also a factor.

TheDude – My giggles are always controlled.

MF – My toddler told me that his daddy had whiskers on his puppy belly. (giggling again)

11. What’s your favorite photo on display?

MM – Bud’s daycare sent home a Christmas picture of him. He’s so happy in it and his feet and arms are a blur because he was so excited when the picture was taken.

Mea – There’s no one picture I can choose! I have favorite pictures of my husband and me, my family and friends, from different stages of my life that are all on display in my living room or at work! Every time I look at them, they make me smile!

TheDude – There is a picture I took which hangs in our office. It’s of a Peruvian family sitting in the doorway of their crooked house. I had the picture printed , but then I lost the negative. This one print is all I have left.

MF – The photo of Daddy-O kneeling on the dock where he proposed to me, kissing my pregnant belly.

Here are the bloggers that we are awarding the Liebster Award to. Visit them at their blogs and congratulate them!

Really Cranky Dad

Fourtuitous

New Old Fashion Vintage

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Gluten, free me!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor! The information in this post is based solely on my personal experiences and recommendations.

***

I love food…ALL food! So, when my neurologist told me I was allergic to gluten, I reacted dramatically. I’m pretty sure I leaned forward, put my head in my hands and yelled, “Nooooooooooo!” Then, the beloved carbs I could no longer eat flashed through my mind. After that, I sulked and told my doctor that my husband was going to kill me. Gluten free? My hubby? No way…not happening…ever. Dinner was going to be even more of a royal pain…sigh.That was 6 months ago, and I can honestly say that I’ve been doing my best (which is pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself). Along the way, my rocky journey went something like this:

Month 1 – I’m not allergic to gluten, and I’m sure not going to waste all the food we just bought (kicking, stomping, holding my breath)!

Month 2 – Checkin’ out the gluten-free isle…I’m doomed!

Month 3 – Google search: gluten-free food, gluten-free recipes, symptoms of gluten intolerance

Month 4 – Food experiments, less gluten, this sucks, I want my mac-n-cheese.

Month 5 – Feeling better…feeling much better! Vacation – crash, recover…

Month 6 – Getting the hang of it, gluten-free can be yummy. Holidays – resist, resist, RESIST…crash, recover…

Eliminating gluten from my diet has been quite the process. Gluten is everywhere and avoiding it requires constant searching, label reading and question asking, not to mention a  heroic dose of willpower. It almost feels like I am learning how to eat, shop and cook all over again, and my family has been less than thrilled about some of my “experiments” (That’s what my husband calls any new recipe I attempt).  Having said that, it’s not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be, once I got the hang of it. And, I have to say that I feel MUCH better without gluten. The most difficult part, however, was finding a place to start. Even when searching the internet, I didn’t find anything that told me which gluten-free products were gritty or mushy and which ones were yummy substitutes for the comfort food I craved. I needed recipes, alternatives, brand names and pictures. So, here are my favorites so far (in addition to lots of greens and veggies, fresh fruit, pure meats and cheeses, rice, potatoes and beans!):

Favorite Links:

Betty Crocker Recipes

Yummy Gluten-Free Pie Crust

The Gluten-Free Lady

 Made with Love, Not Gluten (bakery)

Favorite Foods:

glutenFreeBakingMixes_Header_1011

So far, I’ve tried the brownie mix. My fam didn’t even know the difference!

Lucy’s cookies were great, especially the chocolate mint! Also, when using the gluten-free flour, add xantham gum. Note – Some gluten-free people cannot eat oats.

I cannot live without tortillas and pizza. While neither compare to the “real stuff,” I’ve found these to be great substitutes.

Some Prego flavors are gluten-free, while others are not. Remember to always read the label! This lasagna is awesome and the pasta pictured is almost exactly like regular pasta, while others I’ve tried are gummy and fall apart. And, if you stick to products made with brown rice, there’s more fiber (a serious, gluten-free challenge).

Most Coffee-Mate creamers are gluten-free, but their Natural Bliss cuts the chemicals out too. They just need chocolate flavors now! The cookbook pictured is from my hubby and has easy recipes for gluten-free comfort food.

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2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

 

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It Takes A Village…Or Does It???

Should non-parents “butt out,” or should parents take any advice they can get? Mamma Fratelli and Mea are on one side, and thedude and Molar Mother are on the other. What do you think?

______

Mamma Fratelli (infant and toddler mamma):

It takes a village to raise a child. We’ve heard the saying before and we probably agree on some level, but what do we really think about non-parents giving us parenting advice?

If a non-parent offers parenting advice, take it. By some strange twist of irony, people know everything there is to know about raising children – until they have one of their own. At the very moment the 7 lb cherub takes its first breath, all of our logic, reason, and wisdom dematerializes, leaving us in a perpetual state of HolycrapwhatdoIdonow?! I know that before I had children of my own, when I heard a toddler having a tantrum, it was blatantly obvious that all the parents had to do was tell him to stop. It is rude to scream in public and toddlers should never be allowed to do so. Telling them what you want them to do works every time. They will immediately stop and calm down when told. In restaurants, infants should not be permitted to grab silverware and bang it on the table or plate. Parents somehow forget what we all knew before we had children: just take the silverware away from the child! Forks are not for banging. Hand him a toy. He will be happy to play with the toy because it is a toy and babies like toys. If he expresses interest in the fork, simply tell him that only Mommies and Daddies get to use forks and he is just a child so he needs to be content with his plastic puppy. When school-aged children come home sad because they don’t fit in, just tell them that they are pretty, intelligent, and funny and the other kids in class are just jealous. They will quickly understand that it is not their fault that they are always picked last in gym class and tell their peers, “you’re just jealous” which will solve the situation immediately. In high school, when your child comes home past curfew, just tell her that she can no longer date because, clearly, she is not mature enough to do so. When your teen tries smoking, simply take the cigarettes away and tell him that they will kill him. That will stop the fascination with the forbidden before it becomes an addiction. All in all, I do not know what it is that happens in our brains when we look at our own misbehaving child and realize that we have exactly .67 seconds to come up with a response that will mould him or her as a person, set precedent for all future consequences, influence the family dynamic and resolve the situation at hand before it gets worse. This really is not difficult to do. If you ever find yourself lost, confused, frustrated or overwhelmed, simply ask a non-parent for advice. They always know exactly what to do.

______

Mea (toddler and tweener mamma):

hail

Stealing my make-up and up to no good!

If you are not a family member, a VERY CLOSE friend, have no children and/or cannot relate to my situation, DO NOT offer me unsolicited parenting advice…ever. There’s nothing more annoying than a non-parent, non-family member spewing unwelcomed parental advice. Seriously, “Butt out!!!” You may have insight, you may see things that I don’t see, and you may think you know what you are talking about, but you don’t…period. Yes, technically none of us can relate to the other, because our experiences in life all vary, but you cannot understand parenting, unless you’ve been there.

I wanted a picture of them hugging, but he decided to head-butt her instead!

I wanted a picture of them hugging, but he decided to head-butt her instead!

If you’ve never been sleep-deprived, longing for a shower after 3 days or puked-pooped-peed-spit on inadvertently, you can’t relate. If you’ve never experienced one of those really bad parenting days where you literally could just walk away…forever (But you don’t!), don’t talk to me about what I should/could be doing better – unless I ask. If you’ve never been forced to push back nap-time while in public, and your child is screaming and ripping your shirt from your shoulders – smile, help or ignore me (And then click here to see why you should use condoms! )! Your judgment and dirty/shocked glances are not appreciated; in fact, they’re downright rude and presumptuous. If you think you can do a better job with my hard-headed, nap-deprived child, go ahead and try…I dare you. Keep your judgmental, self-righteous thoughts to yourself, thank you!

______

Molar Mother (infant mamma):

Buddy

Buddy

When I was a non-mother, there was one thing that really bothered me. Parents who dismissed me (and my kind) with the simple phrase “You can’t understand, you don’t have kids.” WTF?

We’ve all been guilty of expressing similar sentiments at one time or another. “You wouldn’t understand, you never had your wisdom teeth removed.” “You don’t get it, you’ve never had your arm bitten off by a rhinoceros with mad cow disease.”

Those examples might sound ridiculous, but guess what, the original statement is ridiculous, too. When parents say this, they’re effectively saying, “Don’t even talk to me because whatever you say is invalid since you haven’t passed on any chromosomes to the next generation.”

From how much this statement angers me, you’d think I’d have gone out of my way to give parents advice on raising children. But, no, it’s not like that. This statement doesn’t come about after telling a dad to “Make sure you wipe your daughter from front to back instead of back to front.” No, it usually comes after you say something like, “There’s a sale on toilet paper at Giant in Hershey.” You think I’m kidding? Nope. The parental response resembles something like this: “You don’t understand how hard it is to get to that Giant. You don’t have kids. You don’t have to bribe your kids, including the one who doesn’t wear shoes without monkeys on, in order to even get in the car. Shop at Giant? SHOP AT GIANT??? YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO NOT HAVE MONEY FOR TOILET PAPER!!!”

Once I was part of a discussion about parents who have unchecked little hellions. A group of us wished we could intervene and tell the hellion-raisers to maybe, oh, not let their 10 year old run around the restaurant screaming obscenities and body checking wait staff. It came up that our opinions on child behavior are often dismissed because we didn’t have kids. One of my friends said, “You know, just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I’m stupid.”

And that’s really the point. When parents say, “You don’t understand,” they’re really saying, “Shut the heck up because you’re too dumb to figure anything out about children.” And this statement really comes from their insecurities about how they’re raising their kids.

I’d like all you parents to think about it, though. Sometimes the best advice comes from those outside a situation. Remember when you dated that jerk in high school? All your friends knew you should dump the nitwit, but you were so embroiled you couldn’t tell that it wasn’t a good idea to date someone who had “I’m Awsome” tattooed on his back.

As a parent, you’re bound to get unwarranted advice. I’ve discovered that experienced parents are the worst offenders. “My Johnny crawled when he was two months old because we fed him bean sprouts in his bottle.” Uh, yeah.

When it comes down to it, none of us like getting advice. So why do we hate on non-parents so much? As parents we’ve got to be really careful that we don’t end up hurting people. If your cousin says she read an article on baby wearing, let her tell you what she read. Because you never know why someone doesn’t have a kid. Nature keeping someone from being a parent doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent enough to understand how parenting works. Experience is not always the best teacher. And just because someone isn’t a parent doesn’t mean they don’t know good parents, haven’t had good parents or haven’t seen good parenting in action. Don’t belittle or begrudge them.

And let’s not forget that sometimes the people who see things most clearly are the people outside the situation. Have you ever watched Supernanny? Jo doesn’t have kids of her own, but that lady sure can see into a situation and shape it up. Wouldn’t you take her advice (This episode made me cry. )?

Now that you know what really bothered me as a non parent, watch out. And don’t get me started on people who say to childless couples, “Must be nice to go to a movie and sleep in. I haven’t slept past 4 am since I had kids.” @#$%ers

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thedude (puppy papa):

thedude's babies

thedude’s babies

I’m not a dad, but I have a dad. I’m not a mom, but I have a mom too. Does not being a parent mean that I’m automatically disqualified from ever giving parental advice? I don’t think so. After all, I’m at least a son. First, let me establish that the whole idea of giving advice can be a dangerous one. We live in an individualistic culture: people aren’t really interested in what you think…even if you are “right,” a term I put in quotes because of its subjectivity. People want to hear encouragement, not advice. But if you think about it, isn’t encouragement just as subjective as advice? Because of this discrepancy, I try to seldom give unsolicited advice. But for the sake of argument, let’s say I were to offer advice to a parent.

I would never walk up to a mother with a crying baby and say, “You should really try (fill in the blank) to get that baby to stop crying.” But would it be the rudest thing in the world if I said, “Hi, I don’t mean to be nosy, but you know my mom used to (fill in the blank) to get me to stop crying when I was a baby, and it worked every time”? I’m not so sure. I’d like to think that my intentions would be positive and without criticism. So what’s the problem? Let’s flip the coin for a second and ask a (somewhat) opposite question. Is it appropriate for a non-parent to encourage a parent? The mother with the crying baby somehow gets her baby to stop crying on the first try, and I walk over and say, “Wow, that was amazing; you clearly have a great connection with your baby!” Aren’t I merely giving my opinion as a non-parent? Is it really all that different because I’m saying something that the parent wants to hear?

Perhaps the bigger question here isn’t whether or not it’s appropriate for a non-parent to give parental advice. Perhaps the bigger question is how should the parent who gets the advice from the non-parent respond? I hope this analogy makes sense, and I in no way mean to turn this into a parochial conversation. It’s just how my mind works. I love Jesus – I love reading about Him and talking about Him – I especially love talking about Him with atheists because I know that atheists and I disagree. An atheist and I have little in common in terms of faith: I believe in Jesus, and they don’t. But were I to dismiss an atheist, and assume that because they don’t believe in Jesus that that means they have nothing to offer to me in the way of wisdom or advice surrounding my faith, wouldn’t that be a little closed-minded of me?

I’m not saying that all parents should immediately and graciously accept the advice of non-parents; however, I don’t particularly care for the response, “You’re not a parent, so unless you have something to say that I want to hear, just butt out.”

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