Madge discusses etiquette with her daughter Libby.
Thank you all so much for your submissions for funny blogs! I found a few new people to follow and I appreciate it. And I got several new readers. Thanks and welcome!
Most of my readers know my story but I’ll give a little Cliff Notes version to the new readers. I have 3 children, a boy in college at NYU who will be 19 next month, and two girls, one just turned 16 last week, the other turns 14 in three weeks. Just writing that gives me agita. I’ve been divorced since 2000 and their Dad lives out of state and has been mostly out of the picture for the past 4 years. Even when he was in the picture he traveled with his job all the time, so I have basically raised these kids all by myself from birth.
So I’m a one man band. (I play a mean tuba and knee-cymbals) I’m constantly running. My kids are slight overachievers and are involved in everything. Sports, choir, band, theater, student government, friends. It’s always something. And I support that because 1.) All that shiz got my son into a phenomenal school like NYU with scholarships. and 2.) None of my kids has even ever had detention let alone run-ins with the law or substance issues or promiscuity issues. Oh but wait, I know there’s still time! The youngest one is only in 8th grade, keep your fingers crossed! But me, my job history has been less than stellar and I’ve been broke trying to juggle being there for kids and work. I tried every trick in the book to have a job with flexibility but I didn’t always choose wisely. 😦
Having said all this EVERYBODY has something to say about this. Everyone wants to give me their two cents when I have a mini-meltdown about how tired I am of running around. I get everything from “only allow them one activity each” to “make them walk” to “make them wait at school while you work”. To which I say – politely – f*ck you and mind your own business, I’m just venting. 🙂
But it’s when it comes to the special man in my life putting in his two cents, I can’t really give him an FU if I want to keep things peaceful on the home front. I had to explain to him how things work these days as he has never been married and has no kids. And you know those people think they have all the answers. hahaha Oh I can see how he has some valuable “outside looking in” advice but yea, it doesn’t always work.
So I had to give a lesson on “The New Parent Code”. Oh who am I kidding, we all know it’s all about the Moms. “The New Mom Code”.
First I had to tell him that it’s a new world. It’s not 1979 anymore where he was hitchhiking to his private high school and I was sitting at my high school for hours waiting for a ride after swim practice. Here’s the difference…
In 1979 you could hitchike to school. In 2013 if you hitchike you end up on a milk carton.
In 1979 you could walk anywhere anytime. In 2013, I hate to be paranoid but there is a lot more risk. We live in a medium sized NY city and I have 2 teenage girls. If they are walking in a group, sure. But alone, not so sure. Pervs and killers seem to be more abundant these days.
In 1979 if you were a latchkey kid you could go to school early and hang out and eat your Pop Tarts and listen to your transistor radio. In 2013 students aren’t allowed in the school until 20 minutes before school begins. Probably to prevent all the free daycare they’d be providing.
In 1979 you could stay after school for a few hours waiting for a ride. In 2013 they would be calling Child Protective Services on your ass to see why you haven’t picked up your kid. Not to mention you’d get a reputation with other parents (and students) as the parent that neglects their kids, which could be a fate worse than CPS.
In 1979 you could bum a sandwich or something off a lunch tray from another kid. In 2013 if you forgot your lunch, somebody’s calling CPS again saying you don’t feed your kid.
In 1979 you could show up at a neighbor kid’s house and ask to hang out until your parent got home. In 2013 chances are nobody is home there because the parents are at work and the kid is at an activity because the parents work. Also if they were home, somebody would be calling CPS on your ass again saying you leave your kids home alone.
In 1979 you could send your kid to the corner store for smokes and beer. In 2013 a child can’t even walk in a store alone without someone questioning them… and well the beer and smokes thing stopped a long time ago. Damnit. *snaps fingers*
In 1979 an adult could sit down and enjoy a meal while little Johnny went up to the bar to get them another Manhattan. In 2013 a child can’t even be within like 10 feet of a bar or some such thing according to law. For Christ’s sake how are they going to learn to be waiters as a second job to pay off their student loans some day?
In 1979 you could leave your kids home alone to go work the night shift. In 2013, you guessed it… CPS.
In 1979 nobody’s parents ever went to any of their sporting events. In 2013 if you don’t go your kid will cry because all the other parents go because everyone is a “helicopter parent” (a hoverer) and everyone judges you as the parent who never shows up to anything and obviously you don’t care about your kid.
In 1979 18 kids could pack into a car with one other kid driving. No seat belts, no rules for teen drivers. In 2013, at least in NY State a kid can only have one family member in the car or no more than one other kid at age 16, then maybe 17 you can add one more kid. I don’t know there are so many rules now. All I know is teens can’t carpool to school or give each other rides home anymore.
You think I’m kidding right? No. It’s a whole new world. My kid can’t even wait at school or get a ride. I try to get my children rides with other parents but you definitely need to reciprocate at some point or they will stop giving your child rides as they are “the neglected kid that always needs a ride”. And before you know it… yup, CPS.
It’s funny how in this day and age most households have 2 parents that work. Living expenses require two incomes now with cable, internet, cell phones and high gas bills, things we didn’t have in the past. And with a 50% divorce rate there are a lot more single parents households. Not to mention non-divorced single parents are very common these days when they weren’t in 1979. However, society more than ever expects us to live like it’s 1950 and all the Mom’s stayed at home and could be available night and day. What gives, Beave?
Being a parent is an amazing gift for me. An incredible blessing beyond compare.
It can also be a gigantic pain in the ass.
Oh you all know it. I just said it out loud for us.
However on the other hand… being a child of a parent can be an amazingly love filled and joyous experience.
It can also be a pain in the ass. And unfortunately for some can be unspeakable horror. But we hope those parents are in jail or rotting in hell.
But the parent-child dynamic has always been filled with strange twists and turns. An emotional roller coaster (a physical one too, if they drive like my Mother). We all have fond memories of our parents. Then we all have those quirks that stick out that may have driven us to drink. Then we also have those moments of revelation that our parents aren’t perfect. They are human.
I just quickly quizzed my kids on some of their warm thoughts about me. They had none. No, I’m kidding but they are all teenagers and were hard pressed to think of things at first. Finally things came to mind – that I’m funny and make them laugh, they remember being snuggled up in bed reading with me every night, and that I was there for everything. Oh also my meatloaf, which is funny because “cook” is not the first thing anyone thinks of when they think of me… not even me.
And then I asked for annoying things. I was surprised to hear about my cough. In the last couple of years I developed allergy related asthma, so I get this dry hacking cough in response to my lungs feeling like they’re closing. It kind of goes away when I use an inhaler. I’m sorry I ever made fun of any nerds with asthma. It’s a pain in the ass. Anyway my annoying cough is annoying to them as well. Other things… that I’m starting to forget things that they tell me. Oh I’m sorry that you told me 4 days ago you were going to Erin’s after school, I only have 800 other things to remember with 3 overachieving kids and my job. That’s why I made all 3 make a Google account and share their calendars with me. Smart, eh?
It’s funny that there are some things that one loves about me that another one hates. Like me talking to strangers. One thinks it’s great that I’m so friendly another one is always thinking “Jesus Mom, can we just get the f*ck outta’ here?”. Also I’m not big on primping, it’s tiring to me. But when I do, oh look out girl, I’m fierce! So I tend to go out in sweats, no makeup and a top knot (that’s a hairstyle fellas) which embarrasses the hell out of one. I think I look sporty, she thinks I look homeless. Another one says it shows I’m not shallow and have confidence that I don’t care what others think. Um, maybe that’s a backhanded compliment…
Anyway, I also know that overall we go through the whole thing of thinking our parents are superheros when we are young and then discovering things when we are adults that prove they are mortal. As I’m sure my kids have and will find out about me. I just hope they realize I always landed on my feet (so far) and always gave them 100%, and always put them first.
I just went through this with my Father. He passed away just 3 months ago. I thought I always had a kind of strange relationship with my Dad but in the end I figured out it wasn’t that strange. See, when I was growing up I had a lot of friends that always talked about being their Daddy’s little princess. I was always so jealous as I would hear friends in college talk about their Dad coming to bring them to lunch or send them flowers or getting a letter.
My Dad didn’t ever do any of that. My Dad was a typical Irishman where no great praise was ever given but lots of love was given in the way he knew how. The Irish are historically sarcastic and negative. And my Father was that to a tee. Any great fete we told of, was met with a “well don’t f*ck it up” by him. That used to piss me off, but now I see it as part of his charm. You could have told him “I just won the Nobel Prize” and he would have said “Well don’t blow the prize money”. I understand now, he was really just watching out for us. No really, he was. I get that now.
But as I knew he was at the end of his life, out of nowhere these thoughts came to me. My Dad used to whistle a lot. But it was this very melodic whistle filled with trills and key changes. He was like one of those professional whistlers on the Ed Sullivan show. He would always whistle this tune “Peg of My Heart” which was his favorite song. (Guy Lombardo’s version was his favorite) Peg is the nickname for Margaret, my given name. I was called Peg sometimes as a little girl. While my Dad was whistling he would often grab me to fox trot. My 10 year old self would cringe and think get the hell away from me. My 47 year old self would give my left arm to have him do that again.
How lucky am I? How many girls were serenaded by their Dad often and named after his favorite song? Why didn’t I remember that show of affection all those years when I was busy bitching about his sometimes cold demeanor?
I sat with him at his bedside in his final days and told him he was my hero. He mustered up one of his very animated facial expressions that I realized where I had gotten mine from. I remembered my Dad was actually a really funny sarcastic guy his whole life. He made the “what the hell are you talking about” face. And whispered “why”? I told him because he always sacrificed everything to give us the best. He was always there, and always trying to love us and provide for us (in his own way). He gave a typical answer “hmpf, not much of a provider”. I was like Dad, you put 6 kids through college, we went on trips, we belonged to a country club, you had a second home before you retired, I think you did ok. But now I know where I get the self-doubt from too. Apple —> tree.
It all came full circle. That was a most incredible gift that I got to realize that. To understand that people all love and communicate in their own way and you can’t judge your relationship with people by a certain event here or there. Especially with your parents and children. It’s a big complicated puzzle. Eh, maybe not to some of you. Maybe you had the perfect “Leave it to Beaver” or “Cosby” home. Either way, look at the whole picture and appreciate what you’ve got. Even if you want to stab it with a screwdriver sometimes… 🙂
Here is another attempt at a vlog. This time I discuss my least and most favorite reality stars.
Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!!!! I’m so excited!!!
I did it, took the plunge… I just got a new video camera! And at a total bargain price. Like half price! Weeeee!!!
But… I’m not prepared to do any video tonight. Because…
1. I’m tired.
2. I’m not groomed to perfection.
3. I had a martini a little bit ago, I don’t want to look silly. Someone might mistake me for a stroke victim.
Yes, I know the thought of tipsy Madge sounds like a lot of fun. Oh trust me, it is. But not tipsy tired Madge. I’m just kind of a slug. A dirty hooker slug. Wound up tipsy Madge is worth a chuckle. This Madge is not.
So, yea hopefully tomorrow I will put together something. I am really happy with the quality of the camera I got. Now I have no excuse not to look like a reject.
By the way, my daughters are watching “Pretty Little Liars”. A show to which they are addicted. I love my daughters but… anything on ABC Family is just filled with prissy twatty girls. Really, this is entertainment? If my girls turned out to be ya’ know TV show characters, well I would hit them with a shovel. Now wait though, if they were TV show characters then they’d be on a TV show and making lots of money, so ok I’ll allow it.
As long as they weren’t twatty in real life. Then I would have to revert back to the shovel.
Hope to be here with a video blog tomorrow.