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In Which Mother Deals with Doctors

Don’t you just love taking your child to the doctor? I mean, any doctor – pediatrician, optometrist, dentist. They all have this wonderful way of making you feel like the worst parent on earth, don’t they?

I don’t know about you, but I think there is nothing more thrilling than that very first moment you sit down with the forms the doctor hands you, going over the checkboxes, and seeing “Mom Works” rated as a negative item if you check it off. Never mind that dad stays home with the child(ren) – men can’t possibly parent them correctly. How do I know that? I know that because when the optometrist asked my husband who The Boy’s primary care physician is, my Devastatingly Hunky Man could not answer. Awful, isn’t it? Such a travesty!

Fortunately, I had provided that information on the paperwork I gave my husband to turn in at the appointment. Unfortunately, they neglected to read the paperwork. Tsk. Shame on my husband for not knowing things off the top of his head.

But let’s get back to the negative of mom working, shall we? Yes, I just love that little bit of goodness when I go to The Girl’s pediatrician and fill out the form for her annual check-up. “Mom Works.” Because, you know, dad should work and mom should stay  home. Dads are incompetent. All they do is contribute a little semen and *BAM!* Baby! After that, it’s up to mom to make sure the child is not screwed up in any way.

Certainly, you should never, ever allow a child’s step-parent to bring them to a medical appointment, because that is even more violently against the natural order of things.

Do I sound bitter about how working mothers and stay-at-home-dads are treated by medical professionals? Surely not…

Published: April 25, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Shares a Smile with Karma

February 1993

Me: “Is your brother gay?”

Husband #1: “No. He’s slept with more women than me. Why would you think that?”

Me: “I don’t know. Just… the vibe. It’s not like it’s a big deal if he is.”

H1: “He’s definitely not gay.”

July 1993

Brother-in-law: “My family doesn’t even know I’m gay.”

Me: “I know.”

BIL: “They’d never understand.”

Me: “I know. It doesn’t bother me.”

Years go by, the family engaging in their business-as-usual rampant homophobia, racism and misogyny, much to my horror. When they find out this particular son is gay, they deny it for over a decade.

May 2015

H1 (ex-husband over the past 5 years): “So my brother got married.”

Me: “To a man, I hope.”

H1: “Yeah. Um, also, you remember my youngest brother?”

Me: “Yup.”

H1: “It turns out he’s a man who wants to be a woman, but still date women. So how does that even work?”

Me: “He’s transgender. It’s not like it’s a big deal if he is.”

H1: “But how does that work?”

Me: “Well, first you start off by respecting his life path and calling him ‘she’.”

Me internally: “Ohhhh, my ex-laws are sooo hating life right now. Pffffffft.”

So, yeah. Here’s the thing. If you’re a gay-bashing, woman-hating, racist douchebag, odds are something major is going to happen to test you. Like, really test you. Maybe not to the extent my ex in-laws have been tested by having one gay son and one transgender son.

Seriously. Just love everyone. It doesn’t matter if he’s a she or if her skin color is different than yours, or if she’s a lesbian, or if that lesbian wants to worship pineapples. Really. People are people. Just be cool.


Published: April 18, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Takes a Bird Break

Black-headed caique This is my bird, Avery.

Avery is a black-headed caique. In the hierarchy of pets in our home, it goes something like this:

Avery – King of Beasts and Beaks

Shiva – Cat God of Destruction (he think she runs the world until Avery rides him like a rodeo bull)

Kobold – Stupid Ninja Cat (dexterous enough to take out flies and mosquitoes, but begs even though her food bowl is full and behaves more randomly than the average cat)

Avery is truly a doll of a bird. He is mommy’s little baby. He loves to rub himself all over my hair and nibble on my ear. His favorite place is my shoulder and he likes giving kisses, taking showers with me, and saying his own name.

Birds have interesting hormonal behaviors. When he’s feeling frisky, he lets my husband know he is unwelcome by hunching over and stalking him. When he wants to show me a little extra love, he regurgitates for me.  He smells of fresh cardboard, and his feathers are crisp and bright. Because he has the intelligence of a 3-ish-year-old human, he is potty-trained and can speak a bit. But he also has the self-control of a 3-ish-year-old human. He does come from a wild lineage, after all.

We don’t flight him, so when he’s out of his cage he has the freedom to fly where he chooses in the house. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he will growl until it goes away or until it freaks him out and he flies to me.

Parrots like Avery can live for a few decades. They also love to play on the floor, hopping and scampering around, especially on carpets with patterns or playing with a ball. And they love to get on their backs and play, so I tickle his belly often.

Some days there is nothing like coming home from work and snuggling my birdie.

Published: April 11, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Loved “Zootopia”

I love movies, but I don’t like going to the movies because it’s such a hassle. It takes a minimum of 3 hours out of my day and I just don’t like that.  My husband drags me to the movies constantly, because he didn’t go much as a child. I went all the time as a child – from “The Empire Strikes Back” to “Candyman,” I saw all the great 80s movies in between and then some, thanks to my dad. Not many of the new movies today interest me, so I pretty much have to be wheedled into going. Once I get there, I usually enjoy myself.

So last weekend’s “NO, I DON’T WANNA” was “Zootopia.”

After two Disney disappointments (“Frozen” and “Inside Out”) it was a pleasure to come out of “Zootopia” very happy. Yes, I thought it would suck. It certainly didn’t look like anything special in the trailer or ads. But it turned out to be very special to me, with a message close to my heart.

That message of transcending racism and small-mindedness, packaged in Disney cuteness with nary a stupid snowman or singing princess, was fantastic. The draw for children is unmistakable, but the larger meaning works for all of us.

There were some great jokes that go over younger heads, like about rabbits being good at multiplying. And I laughed uncontrollably at the sloths at the DMV. It was nice to see Disney reaching out on a variety of levels with a multilayered story that poked fun at humanity, and also urged it to take a deeper look at itself.

No goofy characters, no impromptu bursting into song… it was a concrete story that mirrors our world today. That reminds us not every creature of the same species is the same at heart. And also reminds us that we can’t judge a book by its cover or lump everyone of a single race or religion all in together.

Thank you, Disney. Our world needs to remember that.

Published: April 4, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Hopes She Doesn’t Have the Dead

Let’s just remind our journalists and their editors that proofreading matters, shall we? I saw this on my preferred local news station’s website last week:

“A man has dead after being found unconscious by police in downtown Omaha.”

My only thought was, “He has dead. IS IT CONTAGIOUS? I don’t want to catch the dead!”

Published: March 28, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Blames March

The month started off so beautifully. We had a couple weeks of 60 and 70+ degree weather. It was gorgeous. We bought the seeds for our garden and organized them in order of when to plant. We started our herbs indoors under the sun lamp. I wanted to wait on pulling the plastic off the windows, but hubby insisted it was time, so we did that too.

And then the temperatures plummeted last week and our “early spring” was back to reminding us of the truth – that it was still actually late winter.

That’s March for you – in like a lamb, out like an asshole.


Published: March 21, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother is Evil

Mother: “So now I’m going to beat this person up for refusing to compliment me.”

Husband: “Um, why?”

Mother: “Because that’s just wrong…” *slap* *yell* *brawl* “I won again! HA!”

Husband: *shakes head*

Welcome to my husband’s world.

Every night I come home, thank him for the delicious dinner he has waiting for me, ask him and the kids how their day was, help out by doing the dishes, and then spend quality time with the children. After that, the little wee beastie gets tucked into bed, while the adolescent gets electronics time, and then… and then it begins. My descent into evil. Into bitchiness. Into making enemies, slapping them around, and then screaming “I WON AGAIN!”

My descent into the Sims.

That’s right. I play the Sims 3 every night. Well, I game every night. Most often, it is either the Sims or Minecraft, but it can just as easily be any of the games in my Steam library (Don’t Starve and Game Dev Tycoon are two of my favorites; Lego Worlds is hilarious; I love, love, love tower defense games, like Dungeon Defenders), or World of Warcraft or a console game (usually the Super NES, because nostalgia FTW!).

But I love the Sims most of all and here’s why:

I am, at heart, a Type A, super bouncy control freak of a person. Their lives are mine, mine, mine to play with! Mwahahaha! I can make them beautiful people and have everything fall apart by simply forcing them to make bad choices based on a personality trait that enables me to do so (Sims with the “Loser” and “Insane” traits are hilarious to play; “Mean-Spirited” is fun too!), or I can give them perfect lives.

Lately I’ve been playing two vampire sisters who are horrible, nasty people. They start fights, intimidate and frighten people, and one of them is a bit of a klepto while the other is a diva.

The thing is, you just can’t be that evil in real life. You can’t walk up to a complete stranger and say, “Pardon me, but would you say something nice about me?” and then deck them if they refuse to compliment you. That’s where that line between reality and video games is a fun one to cross. You can be an asshole in a video game. You can do all sorts of things you would never do in real life and it’s OK to feel a little guilty, even if you’re just playing with virtual people. It reminds you that you have a conscience and know how to behave like a mostly socially-acceptable adult.

So for me, the Sims is a great outlet for frustration or stress (and not all in negative ways; for example, my Sim version of Katy Perry is now a 3-star celebrity, getting bigger and better gigs!) and the situations are hilarious. No matter what, it’s fun to relax and let go of the worries of the day. For me, I find that stress relief in video games and books (preferably the old-fashioned kind with paper pages).

Excuse me – I need to go slap someone for implying my mother is a llama.

Published: March 14, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Appreciates the Soul-Deadening Job

Embrace that job – the one that is slowly killing your soul, melting your mind and making you dread that 6:45 a.m. alarm clock beep. Relish it. Let the hate flow through you.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you embrace the soul-deadening job? Because it builds character. No bullshit. It makes you want to strive for something better. “Desire is the engine that drives us” according to the Dear Sugar podcast, and it’s true.

A job that makes you dread going to work might also fuel that desire to do something else with your life. Something better for you. Something more aligned with your goals. Something that makes you proud to say, “Yes, I did this.” Something that allows you to walk in one day and tell your boss:


Because you have something better in your future. Probably something you created or really fought hard to get.

Look, I’ve been there. In my job history, I’ve had one job I really, truly hated. It was one that made me feel pretty worthless. Every day, I asked myself, “What the fuck am I doing here? I can do so much better than this.” So I worked hard and I did find something better.

You’re going to learn what you want and don’t want, you’re going to at least have something to put on your resume that fills in some time (unless it was so horrific and useless, that you’re better off not listing it), and you’ll have a reason to finally start a band, write a book, climb the corporate ladder, or sell away all your possessions and hike cross-country.

So if getting up to go to work is a struggle – if you would rather get a colonoscopy than spend another day doing what you do, that’s not a bad thing. Let it be a wake-up call to get your shit together and focus on what you do want to do every day.

Published: February 21, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother Finds a Reason to Like “Frozen”

OK, so Pixar and I haven’t really been on speaking terms lately.

By the beard of Zeus

Yeah. I know. Sorry. We all know in a fight between the giants of the computer animated film industry, Pixar would Hadouken Dreamworks so hard, there’d be nothing left. But Pixar has been missing the mark for me lately.

I guess it could be my fault for getting my hopes up after Brave. I mean, Brave was incredible. I cried. My husband cried. We named our daughter Merida. OK, I’m kidding. I didn’t even consider naming my daughter Merida.

So when I saw the stills from Frozen, I thought it was gonna be so spectacular because it looked beautiful and they were giving a cool (no pun intended) story some attention. That Pixar magic was going to be all win for an adaptation of The Snow Queen – a Pagan-friendly one, to boot!

And then… *sigh* …I borrowed the DVD from a kind and generous friend, watched it, and I was incredibly disappointed. Horribly, horribly disappointed.

It was an animated Broadway show with a rotund, snowy Jar Jar Binks toddling around after a guy, his reindeer, and an absurdly romantic princess. It was horrible. I mean, some movies are better off on Broadway, for sure (and some aren’t, such as Exhibit A: Shrek the Musical). I just didn’t expect the singing, the dancing, the fucking snowman… KILL OLAF WITH FIRE.

Fast forward to January 2016, when a funny thing happened on the way to the office almost two years after I saw and disliked Frozen. Our CFO told me he wanted me to include the song “Let it Go” on the playlist I was creating for our big annual company event. My reaction wasn’t exactly favorable.


But like a good employee team member, I soldiered on and did as he requested, sandwiching the offending song between some David Bowie and some Fleetwood Mac. Naturally, I listened to the entire playlist to make sure the placement of the songs flowed well, which meant I listened to “Let it Go” and tried to hate it.

Bear with me – I know the song has been out for a gazillion years, the way time passes and things advance in this millennium, but it was my first time really paying attention to the lyrics. They kind of… resonated with me. So I sat down and watched a video of just Elsa singing the song.

And then it finally hit me. The rest of the movie might suck, but it doesn’t matter, because Elsa’s story doesn’t suck. Because Elsa’s story is about female empowerment and, hot damn, that’s something I can get into.

So, Elsa, I owe you an apology. Lose the sister and her dude (dudes?), the reindeer, and especially the snowman, and maybe we can hang out sometime.

sacrificed yourself for me

I sure did, Elsa. Well, I sacrificed my ears, anyway. But they’ve learned to appreciate “Let it Go” and the message behind it.

Published: February 10, 2016 | Comments: 0

In Which Mother is Entitled to Bum Warmings

Hear ye, hear ye, all you Mothers.

When you get a pretty pink plush butt seat warmer for your vehicle, the inevitable response of your teenager will be, “Why don’t I have one?”

Because, child, you don’t spend an hour a day driving to and from work. Because someone at work gave this to me for free. Because I choose my own bum. Because I work hard for the money, so hard for it honey, so I’m entitled to treat my bum right.

Also, you really ought to remember to wear your gloves to school every day, kiddo. I have no idea what this has to do with bum warmings, but there’s still a good point in that sentiment somewhere, dear child.

Published: February 8, 2016 | Comments: 0