Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mommy Bullies in the News Again

The topic of mommy bullying keeps coming up:
 Diapers...or Wine?: Hey, I Know, Let's Gang Up On Someone We Don't Know And Do Some Adult Bullying!!!

There are a lot of ways to make a mom feel like crap, but I'm wondering, while outright criticism of parenting choices certainly constitutes adult bullying, what about exclusion? It can cause just as much, if not more, hurt. But when we feel left out by our neighborhood mommy clique, is it always a deliberate, evil attempt to marginalize us? I have felt excluded on numerous occasions, but I suspect that the real issue was the fact that I am often reserved, an introvert, and when I have had too much social time, I shut down and am not exactly exuberant. People either pick up on that and realize I need space, or are turned off by my grimace of agony at the thought of having to say another word. (OK, a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.) Now, the topic of my Meeean Mommies post was how a mommy clique was so exclusive that a friend of mine was in a funk the rest of the day. That does sound kind of evil.

I did some research (fancy word for "googling") on mommy cliques and found a bunch of info. The two below are my top picks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not "Like"-ing This

Even before the kiddo, I would get really peeved when I put a lot of time into something only to have it messed up, making my work all for nothing. Now, as a mom, I get even more upset. I mean, there are so many things I could be doing--things that could save my sanity--and it's irritating to have to skip them because I need to redo something. Mommies, you all know what I mean: you help kiddo pick out clothes, the s/he decides to wear something else. Or you fix breakfast only to have it rejected. Even if you practice tough love (kiddo has to choose different outfit/fix his or her own breakfast), you most likely will be hijacked by a feeling of irritation and probably have to put away the rejected clothes or food. Extra work eating into your time. I understand, and I don't like it.

Now, I have found out that Facebook is messing with my posts, and my readers (not a huge amount, but a few faithful ones nonetheless) haven't seen the links to my blog posts. This is a fairly new blog, and I don't do anything fancy-schmancy--I just learned how to get a link to open up in a new window, for Pete's sake--but I write from the heart about a subject very dear to me. When I realized that FB was only showing my posts to "close friends"--and I don't even have any lists set up, so there's nobody on that list--I wanted to go up to Mark Zuckerberg and smack him and tell him to stop f*****g with things. I mean, I don't have time for half of the important things I want to do, much less dealing with his whims. I don't "like" this!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Drained by the Drama

Tonight, I tried out a new technique. I had been pondering it, but its use tonight was completely unplanned. After one too many arguments with the kiddo (along with the usual cooking and cleaning, not to mention--gasp--doing things for my own benefit), I was exhausted. As she was lying in bed, about to drift off to sleep, I told her that I was too tired and drained from arguing with her to snuggle with her and tell her stories. Of course, I kissed her and told her good night and that I love her, but we didn't do any of our other bedtime rituals. I could tell she was upset, but I kept walking.

This comes from a book that a friend has mentioned to me several times, but I can't for the life of me remember the title. The premise is that when your child does something (or doesn't do something) and it causes you extra work or energy, they owe you something to "restore your energy". This is better than just doling out an immediate punishment; they see how their actions affect you, and they have to make it up to you. My situation is not the kind that my friend has described using this technique for, but then her kids are older than mine, and I was just trying it out. I need to read this book! And I'll pass the title along to you!

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Mean Mommy Duties

 Another great blog post, this time by a mom whose kids were in The Danger Zone with her ex-boyfriend, a child molester. Oops, sorry, "alleged" child molester. While she's certain that her kids weren't his victims, she is aware that, had she stayed with him longer, they might have been.

Moms, whether you are single or not, this is a wake-up call. As a Mean Mommy, you must:
  • Monitor your kids' activities and be aware of who has access to them. Play date at Sally's house? Who else will be there? (I need to update my "More Dealbreakers" list)
  • Have the uncomfortable conversations with your kids (age appropriate, of course)--what is a stranger, what is inappropriate touching--all those subjects that make you queasy. Suck it up.
  • Ask the hard questions, to your kids, and to yourself. And friends, relatives, acquaintances, the Internet...How well do you really know John Doe? What does Google have to say about him?
  • Say "No" when you are not comfortable with a situation. Don't just try to appease your kids.
  • Be willing to appear strict, unreasonable, rude, standoffish, unfriendly, mean, vulgar, unwelcoming, flaky, crazy, suspicious, paranoid, over-protective, or antisocial when it comes to protecting your kids. 
Read the post here.

Succes at the Grocery Store!

Yesterday, the kiddo and I went to the grocery store. She was in desperate need of new crayons for school and I agreed to get some for her. However, there was a catch: if she cooperated with me, she could get the 24-count box like most of the other kids at school have. If she gave me any trouble, however, I would downgrade the crayon box to the basic 8-count. Any serious behavioral issues would result in NO crayons. My awesome kiddo really took this to heart and was very helpful in the store (maybe a bit too helpful, but her intentions were good). When we were checking out and it was time to pay, the kiddo insisted on paying for our groceries with her money, and got upset when I took out my credit card. So, I "let" her buy our food, with the cooperation of the cashier (and some distraction so that the cashier could pass the cash back to me). I know that this wasn't a good lesson in money management--seriously, $100.00 worth of groceries for $2.57...I'm gonna have to figure out how to explain that so that she understands the value of money. But, the fact that she wanted to contribute and buy our groceries--what a sweetheart!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

MOM 101

And sometimes you have to be mean to accomplish that. For instance, my kiddo wants to work on her cooking skills, but sometimes I have to interrupt her to make her work on her vacuuming skills.

Are You Kidding Me?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Common Courtesy and Common Sense

I just read a great article called "I Don't Want My Preschooler to Be a Gentleman". The author's point is not that she doesn't want her son to have manners, but rather that she wants him to be courteous to everyone, not just to perform empty gestures for girls simply because they are girls. The article prompted a post by a blogger entitled "Is chivalry sexist?" in which that author argues that" respect for women simply be called respect". Both the original article and the related blog post spawned hundreds of comments, many of which are well-thought-out responses to the authors' angst, and others that are ridiculous (but worth reading for the comedic value).

When people use the words chivalry* and gentleman**, I think they really mean courteous***, polite behavior. And if you act in a courteous and polite manner, you need to act that way toward everyone. Furthermore, you should not assume that the person you are acting courteous toward is incapable of handling things herself--or himself.

While I appreciate it when a man is a "gentleman" and holds a door open for me, I have noticed that both men and women appreciate it when I am courteous and hold a door open them. Now, if the door is abnormally large and heavy and the nearest gentleman  is built like a football player, I might accept a bit of help.

*According the the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition), chivalry is defined as "a gallant or distinguished gentlemen; the system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood; the qualities of the ideal knight". Um, while men are still knighted in England, the concept of a medieval knight is hardly an ideal in the 21st century. After all, they were warriors who killed in the name of religion.

**M-W also says that a gentleman is "a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior", or "a man of any social class or condition--often used as a courteous reference".

***Finally, the dictionary defines courteous as "marked by respect for and consideration of others".

Monday, January 21, 2013

Keep Your Microbes to Yourself!

Today was the kiddo's zumba class. This week, we made it on time with no drama. It was great, until I noticed that another little girl had her hands down her pants, scratching her rear. Eeeew! That is beyond disgusting, it is unsanitary. Do you know what kinds of microbes can be spread that way? Yes, I am slightly germ-phobic, but you look at the following list and tell me if you want any of those:
 She didn't touch my kiddo (or anything else that I could see), but if she had tried to, I would have intercepted her. I think I will call the teachers and alert them. Hand sanitizer, anyone?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

You Don't Need More Holes in Your Head

Mean Mommy "H" is not a fan of body piercings, not even double ear piercings. When her teenage daughter asked permission for a second piercing in her ears, H said "No way". However, H's husband was easily swayed by his daughter's pleas and secretly took her to the mall to get it done. It went well until the poor girl passed out, fell and hit her head on the hard floor. Worried about a concussion, the dad took his daughter to the emergency room. However, H was listed as her daughter's emergency contact, so the hospital called her and gave her all the details. Furious, H went to the hospital and stormed into the exam room to find her husband and daughter hanging their heads, unable to make eye contact, knowing they were busted. H made certain that her daughter was OK, then announced "I'm going home" and left her husband and daughter to all the paperwork and formalities.

I'm taking notes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

s-NO-w day!

No school today--snow day! Oh how those words used to excite me. Not so much any more. Instead of just being Mean Mommy, I have come dangerously close to being Yelling, Screaming,Totally Frustrated Mommy. Several chocolate cupcakes later, I am a bit more zen. And I'm hoping that the kiddo is getting tired out or at least bored with the whole snow day thing. Here are some of my Mean Mommy Moments of the day (so far):

  • Making the kiddo clean up scraps from craft projects.
  • Not letting her take stuffed animals outside into the snow.
  • Making her stay outside for at least 10 minutes after she begged to go outside then changed her mind about playing in the snow.
  • Turning my back on her and stomping inside after she spit at me.
  • Not helping the kiddo take off her wet clothes.
  • Not helping her put on dry clothes when she again changed her mind and wanted to go outside.
  • Yelling at her when she changed her mind yet again and came in but didn't take her wet shoes off.
  • Making her wipe up the melted snow from where she didn't take her shoes off. 
  • Making her vacuum up cupcake crumbs from the floor. 
  • Finishing off the rest of her cupcake that sat out for over an hour.
  • Ignoring her while I was on the phone. 
Of course, I could have let her sit in front of the TV all day, but opted not to do that. It is  now 3:48 PM; is it too early to have some wine?

This Book Rules!

This is fantastic! These girls have everything covered, from "Don't talk back" to "Don't bite the dentist" (and they keep coming up with more)! The girls lost their book for a while, but thanks to a considerate Walmart employee, they are getting it back. Their parents have imparted some good lessons. Read about it here:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Say What? Vocal Fry??

Many of you already know that I appreciate good grammar and all-around proper English; I don't hesitate to correct the kiddo's grammar, word choice or pronunciation when necessary. Now I have to worry about "vocal fry", too, because "If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it's immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid," according to Carmen Fought, a professor of linguistics at Pitzer College (Claremont, CA).

Don't know what vocal fry is? Read about it here: 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Signed Up For Torture

Yesterday, I took the kiddo to her second zumba class! The class is only 30-minutes, but it goes by really fast because all the kids have so much fun. Except last week, at the first class, one little girl cried almost the entire time. She was at least 4, maybe 5, and she wouldn't stop crying even though her mom was next to her. There are two ways of looking at this: (1) The class is paid for, it is good exercise, so gosh darn it, the kid is gonna do it; or (2) If the girl is so miserable that she can't stop crying, and the crying is annoying distracting everyone else, she needs to leave and try again next time. Yesterday, I was curious to see if the girl showed up for the second zumba class. What do you think happened?

Well, she was a no-show! I have come to the conclusion that this is an epic parenting fail, and the mom is a wimp. Wimpy Mom could have prepared the girl--dancing at home, talking about what was fun about the class and why dancing is a good form of exercise, and reminding her child every day that they were going to try the class again. Notice that I am not advocating forcing a child to participate in an activity she clearly dislikes, merely giving it enough of a chance to see if she will do it.

 What would you do if you took your child to an activity and he/she only participated under duress? Make him/her continue, or let him/her off the hook?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Better Late Than Never--Seriously

Confession: I'm late a lot. Usually, I feel bad about getting somewhere late, even if it's by just a few minutes. Sometimes, though, I enjoy it. Today, I embraced it. Here's why:

The kiddo had her zumba class this afternoon, and we were about to leave the house right on time when she noticed that her frozen yogurt cup from yesterday was still in the car (do not judge me). She tried to lick out the remnants, which I thought was too gross to allow. (I gotta draw the line somewhere.) I told her that she couldn't do it, and reached for the cup. She held on, and as I tried to pull it away, she started yelling. I calmly told the kiddo that I wouldn't take her to zumba class if continued to act like that, and I went back into the house. Almost immediately, she quieted down and was apologetic. So, I slowly walked back to the car and leisurely got going. We would have been just one or two minutes late, except...

We had to wait on a train! At that point, the kiddo knew we were going to be late to her class, and she was not happy. I reminded her that it was her behavior that made us late, and that she was lucky to be going to zumba at all. The kiddo grudgingly accepted this, adjusted her attitude and had fun dancing. And since then--no 'tude. Now, I have to go clean out my car.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mean Mommy = Sick Brain

Another Mean Mommy Story:
My friend, K, was trying to get her young son ready for bed, but he kept pleading to watch a movie. E, who is 5, was "sad and mad", and his big bro T, who is 16, asked him what was wrong. E replied that it was a secret and he couldn't say, but T wasn't having any of that. T said that holding in feelings of being sad and mad could make his brain sick. E really took that to heart, and gave his mom an earful, venting his feelings. The next morning, his mom had to put her foot down about something else, and E again got upset. This time, though, he told her that she was making his brain sick!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why The Self-Proclaimed "Meanest Mother in Wyoming" Rocks

This Mean Mommy rocks--not only is she punishing her son by selling his truck, she is announcing to everyone his poor decision! Love it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mean Mom's Cellphone Rules

Greg Hoffman is a kid who just got an iPhone from his parents. His mom, Janell Hoffman, wrote these [slightly edited] rules for its use:

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?
2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad". Not ever.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
8-9. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
10. No porn.
11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear -- including a bad reputation.
13. Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO -- fear of missing out.
15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Didn't Your Mommy Teach You Not To Litter?

So, people are visiting our neighborhood and unloading their trash. Not cool. I figured it was a high school student who lost parking privileges, so I called the high school and complained. Notice the parking tag for the Burton Center for Arts and Technology; you can't get in there if you are stupid. So he can't claim ignorance--he's just a pig. We'll see what happens...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Another Note!

Another friend of mine, M, once received a note from her son claiming she was mean! Her sons loved to watch Saturday morning cartoons (back in the day when cartoons weren't on TV 24/7), but before she would allow them to do so, she made them hone their writing skills. M wasn't confident that her kids' school did an adequate job of teaching some of the basics, like writing, so she gave them assignments that they had to complete before watching TV. One of her favorite assignments was to give them pictures from magazines and have them tell a story. However, one time, one of her sons decided to write her a note telling her how unfair it was that he had to write every Saturday morning! The forced writing seems to have paid off, since they are both very good writers, and both are very good speakers (often heard on the radio!).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

You Know You Are A Mean Mommy When...

...your child writes you a note telling you how "bad" you are!

This note is awesome! My friend, D, isn't even certain what prompted it! It could have been the fact that she forced her daughter to take her medicine...or maybe because she received $100.00 and plans to spend it on herself instead of buying her daughter an American Girl doll (gasp!)...could it be because D won't let her daughter paint her own bedroom? Or maybe because she nixes her kiddo's pranks...? Who knows? Keep up the good work! Mean Mommies rock!

I love featuring other Mean Mommies on my blog. If your child thinks you are unreasonable, please let me know. If you feel that you turned out OK because of your own Mean Mommy, I'd like to hear about that, too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Food For Thought

A good solution is to make the kids do the cleaning...just sayin'.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Owww! The kiddo got too close to  my hand and bumped her eye against it! Seriously, that is what happened, although she will tell you that I poked her. It was one of those boo boos that barely hurts until the "victim" gets a little attention, then the boo boo suddenly becomes severe and the fake crying starts. The fake crying and whimpering for attention are so annoying, because they are so fake. But, if the kiddo is complaining about something hurting her, I guess I need to take her seriously.

I asked her if it really hurt, and she said "yes". I replied, "Hmm, maybe we should go see Doctor B. He might have a shot and some medicine that will make it feel better. The kiddo suddenly stopped whining and told me that she felt better. Great, I said, but I asked her to please let me know if it started hurting again, so that I could call the doctor's office and get her in. Just in case she needed the shot. She didn't mention it again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Meeean Mommies

I am so sad and disappointed to find out that an incident (or series of incidents) involved friends of mine. Without giving too much away, one friend of mine attended an event where there were several other friends of mine in attendance. The individual friend does not know the other friends, but they all know each other. They are, in fact, a little clique. Individual Friend lamented how le Clique made a huge display of their love for one another, but couldn't even give her the time of day. Individual Friend, a rational, educated professional, was able to analyze the group's actions and attitudes in an impersonal way, but personally, the exclusion stung, since the event was supposed to be a happy, social activity. For me, personally, I am shocked, since, one-on-one, the members of le Clique are some of the nicest, warmest, friendliest, most outgoing women I know. What is it about the group mentality that turns some women into, um, not-so-nice-people?

What's worse is that there were kids in attendance; what kind of message does that behavior send? "Oh, I love you and your child and you and your child and you and your child, but I can't even acknowledge anybody else". Nice. And no doubt, those mommies will be shocked when they hear that their children are excluding and bullying other kids at school.

Beep Beeeep

The post-holiday mall situation is nearly as bad as the many weekends leading up to the holiday season--too many people, too few parking spaces, too long of a wait...However, rude, inconsiderate people make it worse. Trust me, I don't want to go to the mall when there are crowds; I'm not interested in clearance prices as much as I'm interested in saving my sanity. But, since hubby's gift didn't fit, I ventured out. I was really irritated to find a car that was parked in between two parking spaces*, forcing me to park waaay down at the end of the row. I don't mind walking, and I tend to get annoyed at people who drive around and around waiting for a parking place near the door, but hogging two spaces is one of those things that makes me mad. So, before I got out of my car, I wrote a note: "Seriously, you need two parking spaces?". The kiddo was with me, so I explained to her what the person had done, why it bothered me, and why I felt the need to leave the note (uh, so the jerk doesn't do it again!).

*I understand that handicapped people who use wheelchairs need extra room to get out of their vehicle into the wheelchairs. This car did not have a tag or plate that indicated such a need, and it was not a handicapped-designated space. It was a compact car that could easily fit in a single space...if the driver weren't a bonehead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Two Out of Three...

Aha! This explains it! I have been trying to have all three, which is impossible. No wonder I get so frustrated...