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Yesterday, a random woman on Twitter felt the need to educate me on my hypocrisy regarding breastfeeding in public.  According to her, moms should be allowed to do it wherever and however they see fit.  This stemmed from a comment I made earlier in the day on Twitter.  It was not directed at her or hashtagged, so I assume she was just bored and searching for people to annoy.

What I said was “This whole right to breastfeed in public thing drives me nuts thanks to moms who have no respect for others & think they’re entitled.  Yes, you should be able to breastfeed in public, but YES you should cover up your jugs & not be an obnoxious twat about it.”  This was in reaction to a news story about mothers who harassed a business owner after he had requested a mother cover herself in his restaurant while breastfeeding.  The mother in question, according to all accounts, made no effort to hide her bare breast in full view of the patrons.


There is a big difference between a mother trying to feed her child and a woman using her child to make a point to whoever happens to be watching.  Just because you are still breastfeeding your child doesn’t mean you are entitled to be disrespectful to others.  Having your breast fully exposed in public, especially in places with a captive audience such as a restaurant, is not okay.  I’m not suggesting moms go hide in the restrooms or in their cars to breastfeed, but I do feel they should make an effort to cover up.

My sister-in-law used one of those massive tent-like covers that completely masked everything.  I’ve seen other moms carefully use a blanket to hide certain areas so you can tell what is going on but it’s not in your face.  My issue is with the women who feel that breastfeeding is something that needs to be announced to the world.  A child should not be used as part of some twisted statement.  Even if a business owner wrongly shoos you away while you rightfully feed your child, you should have enough decency to not react by turning your child into a tool for revenge.


Feeding your child does not make you special.  Providing the most basic of needs doesn’t make you better than anyone else or entitled to receive all sorts of special treatment at the expense of others.  Why should I have to hide my son’s eyes because some woman decides to whip out her breast at Applebee’s?  Why can’t she have respect for those around her and do it discreetly?  Why am I wrong for wanting mothers to make an attempt to not flash their milk jugs to the world?

I’m not a prude, but I’m also not okay with seeing random tits everywhere.  The “it’s natural” argument is lost on me, as a lot of things are “natural” but shouldn’t be blatantly done/performed in public.  If your true goal is to feed your baby in the best possible way, then do it.  But when your breastfeeding becomes not only an inappropriate public display, but a tool to shame mothers who choose formula and a tool to harass businesses, you’ve crossed a line.  Your baby is not a prop.

29th April 2014 PHOTO CREDIT SHOULD READ: MATTHEW PAGE Sports Direct Clumber Street, Nottingham.  Mums held a protest at Sports Direct after a woman was asked to leave the shop for breastfeeding her child.

I suppose I was called a hypocrite by random Twitter lady because I support breastfeeding in public, but I don’t support certain ways it is done.  What needs to exist is a mutual respect for each other by mothers and business owners/patrons/etc.  Mothers need to make an effort to cover so we’re not seeing nipples galore and everyone else needs to be understanding about the fact that babies need to eat on their schedule, not anyone else’s.  Moms should not be forced to hide in a dirty public restroom to breastfeed and I should not have to see nipples and giant engorged bare breasts while shopping at Target.  It’s give and take on both sides.

According to my new Twitter BFF, covering hinders lactation.  So because a small percentage of babies don’t like any type of cover whatsoever, all mothers should be able to skip using it?  I have yet to hear a good argument as to why I shouldn’t demand a bit of modesty from nursing moms.  I have yet to hear a rational reason why this angry group of breastfeeding mothers insists that frontal exposure is not only necessary to properly breastfeed, but is something the rest of us should simply deal with.  I have yet to hear a good reason why breastfeeding has to be an odd political statement instead of an act of providing nourishment to a baby.

Breastfeeding alone does not make you more woman or more mother than anyone else.  You might be the loudest person in the room but volume has nothing to do with your value.  If you want to be a good mother, be a good mother.  If you want to be respected when you feed your child in public, do so in a way that doesn’t also make you a public nuisance.  If you just want to get your knockers out and yell at passerby, no one is going to respect you or listen to a damn thing you say.  There is a way to make this whole thing a nonissue, once people get off their soapboxes, quit using babies as protest signs, stop shaming mothers, and start acting like decent human beings.


Growing Up

There comes a time in every child’s life where they have to step away from their parents, leave the safe haven under their wing, and truly become an adult.  It doesn’t happen when you graduate high school and turn 18; leaving the big yellow bus behind and acquiring the ability to buy cigarettes does not make an adult.  It doesn’t happen when you move out; one can get their bills paid and hold down a job while still relying heavily on good ol’ mom and dad.  It doesn’t happen when you snag a highly successful and well paying job; money and success are both great, but they don’t always go hand in hand with growing up.  In order to fully enter adulthood, one has to stop using mom and/or dad as a crutch to lean on for every little problem that comes their way.


That isn’t to say that a child must cease to rely on their parent(s) for everything ranging from a bit of emotional support to getting a ride to the airport before a vacation.  Grandmas are great babysitters, moms are fantastic listeners, and dads are incredible problem solvers; it makes sense to go home and get help when needed.  The problem arises when you’re picking up the phone every single time your car breaks down and calling only one number:  mom and/or dad.  Because you know they will not hesitate to help, they become the solution to your problem of having a junker for a car.  You don’t see a reason to repair the vehicle because mom is a few button pushes away and she’s 100% reliable.

As a teenager or a broke college student, it’s perfectly fine to take advantage of your parents a bit and let them bail you out of bad situations.  As an adult, you need to be able to bail yourself out.  Dad should not have to “loan” you gas money every time you come to visit because you forgot your wallet, overdrafted your account, or forgot to factor the cost into your weekend budget.  Mom shouldn’t be used as your personal (and free) daycare service while you work your night shift.  They shouldn’t be doing your laundry, packing your lunches, running your errands, or paying your bills.  When you reach adulthood, you have to stop using your parents as the solution for all that ails you, and you definitely have to stop with the “poor me” routine that makes every soft-hearted parent cave to your wishes.


It makes me sad to see someone I care about get taken advantage of by their child, who is older than me and who carries themselves as a very mature and well-adjusted individual.  I’ll be 32 soon and I spent quite a few of my earlier post-18 years relying heavily on my parents for certain things.  I put my first car in my father’s name to keep payments low and stayed on his insurance so my rate was low as well; even though I made the payments, I was still being carried.  I didn’t start paying my own cell phone bill until I was 20, then got back on my parent’s plan after I had my son and couldn’t afford a plan on my own.  I let them buy me groceries, gas, and other things I either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to spend my “fun” money on.  But eventually, as it always should, the time came to cut myself off and learn to live without using their help as a backup plan for everything.

I got criticized for putting my son in daycare when he was slightly over a year old because it was “too soon,” but it was necessary.  Not only did it help him socialize, but it allowed me to stop waiting tables and bartending at night and go out to get a real job with the normal schedule I would need when he eventually started school.  Having him in daycare meant I was no longer relying on my mother to play babysitter while I was away.  My husband and I currently ask his mother to take the boy here and there (we have a three day Chicago trip upcoming where she will be watching him) but we would never ask her to become a scheduled caretaker for him, be it full or part-time, because it’s unfair, inconvenient, and not something a responsible adult would put on a parent’s shoulders.

weight of the world

Most people would put their foot down after a while and tell their kid to knock it off and deal with it on their own.  Unfortunately for the person in my life, she is far too kind to even consider this so she is at the mercy of her demanding child.  Today, she was making phone calls and doing research for her child (who is sitting at her house and doing nothing) days after her child screwed up royally and had her chauffeuring her around town to deal with some other nonsense brought on herself.  She has been sleeping on the couch for over a week so her child can have her bed.  While her child’s spouse is at work (working 24/7 apparently), she is bending over backwards and then some for her child and has been working double overtime for nearly two years now.  She does her child’s laundry, packs lunches, cares for the kid, does the grocery shopping, cooks every dinner, loans out her cars, and caters to every whim (be it as small as wanting chicken for dinner or as large as fixing a legal situation for her child).  It bothers me tremendously.

An adult doesn’t ask these things of their parent.  An adult may take up their mom’s offer to provide full time help when a baby is born, but they must say enough is enough after a couple of weeks and give their mom a break.  Dad can treat you to lunch once in a while, but he shouldn’t be your go-to meal ticket.  As an adult, YOU should be treating your parents here and there; pay for their lunch, cut their grass, get the oil changed in their car, or offer to buy on the next shopping trip when they try and pay for the whole purchase.  Growing up means a lot of different things, but one of those things must be to let go of the dependence on mommy and daddy and truly become your own person.

Daddy Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  I hope your child(ren) treat you wonderfully and spare you the awful neckties, tacky t-shirts, and cheap BBQ accessories.  I’m writing this blog a few days before Sunday and postdating it to automatically throw itself onto WordPress because I plan to be busy with my husband and son all day.  This weekend will be filled with picnics in the park, bowling some great games, possibly a WWE Pay Per View and pizza, and gifts that I hope he’ll enjoy.

I have the boy making a card because to me, a handmade card from an almost 7 year old is more personal than a Hallmark card that I pick out and my almost 7 year old signs and hands over with little idea of what it says.  I also printed out a coupon book for him to write favors in; he’ll be choosing what to write so I expect quite a few will have to do with being good and not destroying the house.  I’ll also be letting him hand over most of the gifts I purchased.  Hopefully he’s excited.  The husband has a few things coming, such as a Shark Attack mug I wasn’t able to get for Christmas, the soundtrack for the movie Drive, some random items from a British food supplier, and a pack of ginger beer that he became a fan of when we went out for my birthday.  What I’m most excited about though are the three tickets to WWE Smackdown on July 31st and the t-shirt from that hopefully gets here by Saturday!

My husband is a hell of a dad and I could do three times what I’m doing for him for Father’s Day and not have it be enough.  He loves our boy and has gone above and beyond to provide for him and teach him what it is to be a man.  He’s a tough guy, but my son respects him and highly values his opinion.  I’m the pushover and Daddy is king; the boy knows he’s the boss, the protector, and the guy with all the answers.  He is the opposite of his own father, which makes him the greatest dad on Earth.

For me, Father’s Day is also a time for me to show that I appreciate him being an amazing husband.  We’ve been together for about 4 ½ years now, married for slightly less than that, and I love the guy more every single passing day.  He drives me insane at times, but he supports me like no other, is strong for me when I have weak moments, loves me unconditionally, and knows me in a way that no one else in this world possibly could.  I hit the damn jackpot when I said “I Do” to this man and while I know I don’t tell him that enough, I hope he knows it.

Father’s Day shouldn’t be a forgotten holiday where kids raid the holiday sections in Walmart and CVS on Saturday night to grab dad a gift out of obligation, getting whatever happens to be leftover or cheapest.  It shouldn’t be a day where mom buys a few gifts and the kids do nothing more than slap their name on it and hand it over.  It should be a day where you thank dad for all that he has done for the family and all that you know he’ll keep on doing.  It should be a day where you take over some of his responsibilities (dog walking, lawn care, etc) instead of just giving him a break until tomorrow.  It should be a day about family and a day where he knows you love him and he can feel like all his hard work is worth it and is appreciated.  Take time out today and give dad all the thanks that you missed out on giving him on the other 364 days of the year.

Mother’s Day The Right Way

The first mother’s day I can remember involved me getting up extra early and sneaking down the hall to our kitchen while my parents were still asleep.  I grabbed a platter from the cabinet and stacked it with napkins, a handmade card from the night before, and a fake flower I borrowed from the floral arrangement sitting on the dining room table.  With all the culinary skill of a four year old, I constructed a cheese sandwich on white bread, cut into fourths, and a cup of tap water, bringing it to my mother for breakfast in bed.  In the years following, mother’s day was always a day centered around mom with my brother and I doing the bulk of the work in order to show mom how much we love and appreciate her.  There were school projects and crafts that were brought home, allowance that was spent, and a lot of whispers of “I hope she likes it” between my brother and I.

In 2005, I became a mom and had my first real mother’s day in 2006, although my son was still too young to realize what it was.  As he got older, he began bringing home various works of art for me from school and started working on homemade cards and other cute gifts for me with the help of my husband.  This year I asked him to please behave himself at school as a gift, so hopefully I receive that for the remainder of his school year.  My husband participates as well in the gift giving, getting me little things that will be marked from my son that he’ll be able to give to me.  He never goes overboard, which I greatly appreciate, and always skips the flowers and jewelry.

Mother’s day is a day for moms to be appreciated by their children.  It’s not a day for dad to rush out and drop big bucks on diamonds and roses, not a day to make reservations at some fancy restaurant where you’re never sure of which fork to use, and not a day for the entire family to put mom on a pedestal and kiss her ass for 24 hours.  It’s a day for the kids to step up and do some chores to give mom a break, for dad to allow her to sleep in an extra hour or two, to say thank you for the countless things she does that she generally is never thanked for.  It’s not about how much cash you can drop on her gifts, but about the gestures you make throughout the day to show you care.

No holiday out there is safe from being over commercialized, especially not mother’s day, but that doesn’t mean you need to fall prey to the Jared ads and expect to receive an overpriced heart pendant to say “Hey, thanks for popping out my offspring and putting up with their nonsense.”  You don’t need to compare notes with the other moms at work or school on Monday to see who got what from their family and you definitely should not feel jealously or envy if you didn’t receive a giant bouquet like mom-of-the-decade over there or a huge diamond ring like Miss Prissy down in accounting.  If your kids woke up and hugged the hell out of you, then did their own laundry and made their beds without being asked, take that as a major victory and put a smile on your face.

Any idiot can spend money, so the dollar value of whatever you end up receiving or giving on mother’s day shouldn’t matter at all.  What matters is what you do with your day.  Treat your mom (or the mom of your kids) with love and respect, give her a break, handle the dinner preparations, keep the kids from fighting, let her do what she wants to do, and say thank you.  Don’t complain when she wants to watch her favorite movie for the hundredth time, give her some Xbox time, and walk the dog so she won’t have to.  Make her feel like the luckiest mom on the planet and make sure it’s centered on the kids doing things for their mom.  I promise it can be done without overpriced bracelets, a dozen roses, and a five course meal at some stuffy restaurant.

The Unemployed Working Population

On a glorious afternoon last week when my mother-in-law picked our boy up from school, my husband and I took a detour on the way home to grab dinner and do a bit of Christmas shopping.  I had a delicious Spicy Southwest Chicken Griller from McAlister’swith some creamy potato salad and perfectly brewed tea; I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!  After ensuring our bellies were content, we headed back out into the mini-disaster that is holiday traffic.  As we were leaving the parking lot, I spotted this bumper sticker on a van:

Here’s the kicker:  none of her children were buckled up, one was upside down, and I’m not sure if there were three or five of them back there because it was hard to count with all the flailing, tiny limbs and the toys and balloons being batted back and forth throughout the back of the van.  To call it unsafe would be too kind.  To call this mother irresponsible would be greatly downplaying her lack of attention to her children who would be in great danger in the event of an accident or even a sudden stop or a sharp turn.  This mother’s full time job was less of the great mom she proclaimed to be and more of an oblivious woman too caught up in her conversation with her passenger to pay the slightest bit of attention to the fragile bodies in the back of her vehicle, children totally at her mercy who have zero control over the quality of their caregiver.  I suppose maybe she thought she was on her lunch hour and free from her motherly duties for a few more minutes.

I’m a mom with a full-time job but contrary to what that bumper sticker proclaims and many women believe, being a parent is not a valid claim as my full-time job.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say that parenting isn’t hard work and isn’t challenging and demanding because it definitely is.  It’s time consuming and often thankless, rewarding at times and frustrating at others.  But it’s no more a job than my marriage or this blog.  By definition a job is many things; a piece of work done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price, a post of full or part-time employment, or an obligation such as being on time or being present for a meeting.

Part of successfully holding a job includes handling people and things you have become responsible for, and I feel this is where the confusion comes in. Children are a responsibility, a rather large one with numerous demands and little time off.  Taking on this responsibility, however, is not equal to taking on the jobs of housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, facilities manager, van driver, psychologist, laundry machine operator, janitor and chief executive officer as this website claims.  Anyone holding one of these jobs, now or in the past, should feel greatly insulted by this site trivializing their professions this way.

Becoming a parent is a choice we make because we decided to start a family for personal reasons, be it wanting to know the joy of having a child or just for the tax break.  Being employed is a choice we make because it means the difference between living comfortably and living under a bridge in a box or in our mom’s basement.  The two are separate and unequal in nearly every way and comparisons need to stop being drawn between them by stay-at-home parents feeling inadequate about their station in life.  A homebound parent doesn’t deserve a salary for caring for the kids and tending to the housework because as challenging as that work may be, it’s what you sign up for when you decide to have kids and desire to be a responsible and productive person.

As far as importance, being an outstanding parent is just as, if not more important than being an outstanding employee or boss.  It’s tough as nails but is often looked at as a cakewalk or a choice for people too lazy for a job outside the home.  People like the van-lady give great moms a bad name with their less than satisfactory mothering accompanied by their entitled attitude and need to be acknowledged as just as important as the spouse/partner who gets the paycheck.  If you are a great parent and a great wife/husband/partner who cares for the home and your family, there should be no need to seek out the approval and recognition of the rest of the world.  You shouldn’t need to compare yourself to a doctor or an executive and you shouldn’t demand a stay-at-home salary from the paid spouse if you’re handling your business, caring for your family, and finding happiness in your life’s duties and tasks.  The minute you feel the need to slap on a bumper sticker justifying your choice to stay home with the kids or the minute you begin coming up with fancy names for being a stay-at-home parent is the minute you need to reevaluate your life, step outside your front door, and find something else you can contribute to that will fill the void you’re attempting to mask with mom-salaries and homemaker titles.

Not Every Mom Is A Mother

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to deal with my father a couple of times each month.  If you happen to be unfamiliar with my situation, try to imagine how hard it would be to deal with a parent who has written you out of his will even though you’ve never asked for anything or taken advantage of them.  A parent who has sued you for somewhere around $50,000 of bogus claims and charges.  A parent who calls your marriage a sham.  It’s quite uncomfortable and after years of dealing with more than I can put into a blog, I gave up trying to reconcile with my mother and father.

Last Friday, my father presented me with an overstuffed manila envelope with my name crudely scribbled across the front.  He said “your mother thought you would want this.”  Having manners, I said thank you.  He turned his back on me.  After he left, I brought the envelope upstairs and cut through the packing tape that was wrapped around it multiple times.  Inside were my photos.  Or rather, photos of me from the day I was born up to around the time I had my son.  There were also certificates from silly accomplishments in elementary school, ribbons I won on field days, badges I had earned.  I went through the photos slowly; me in the hospital looking like a little Chinese baby, my first dive during swimming lessons, various dance recitals, vacations, awkward preteen moments, high school graduation, prom, my whole life in pictures.  In an envelope.  When I reached the end of the envelope’s contents, I found a piece of paper that in large black letters said “DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH THESE, I DON’T WANT THEM ANYWAY!”  All it was missing was a “Love, Mom.”

My mom is notorious for taking jabs at me and doing things intended to hurt me and make me feel three inches tall.  My husband has seen the cruel letters she’s written to me and he’s heard her lay verbal assaults on me.  Whenever I angered her, I was sent to my room for weeks at a time without radio, books, or anything to entertain myself with other than gazing out of my window.  The very first time I brought a guy to the house, she told him with a straight face: “I don’t like people.  I don’t like you.”  That pretty much sums up how she treated each and every one of my friends and boyfriends since that day and currently; she didn’t approve of my husband from day 1 and never even gave him a chance or even bothered to meet the guy, although she did lay an evil look on him in Target while he visited me in Georgia.  My mother absolutely hates me, no question about it.

Thankfully this act of giving me all my pictures and effectively erasing the photographic presence of their daughter from their home wasn’t hurtful as intended.  I had been feeling regret that I had no photos of my childhood to show my son and (maybe) future kids and now that issue is solved, as I now have my life from birth to early 20s covered!  I toyed with the idea of sending my mother a thank you email, but decided against it.  She would take the email as 1. Proof that she had emotionally scarred me by sending them to me, 2. A reason to reply with a scathing email about how God hates me and I’m going to hell, something I really don’t have time to read or make fun of, 3. Interpreting my thank you as an attempt to reconcile rather than the half sarcastic message it was meant to be, or 4. A sign of my weakness and proof that she once again found a way to break me.  I do send her non-verbal thanks though for gifting me with memories.  I also have come to terms with the fact that it will never make sense to me and I should stop searching for reason where there is none.

Some people aren’t meant to be parents and sadly, my mother and father fit into this category.  What it all comes down to is the simple fact that having a kid doesn’t translate into loving your kid.  I’ll always be their daughter in the genetic sense, but that’s where it ends.  They’ve made it clear throughout my life that I didn’t fit well with the rest of the family.  Once my grandfather, my biggest defender, passed away, there was no holding back my mother from making it clear that I was a terrible person.  What I’ve realized is that maybe it’s not entirely their fault.  My parents weren’t programmed to have an independent child; they needed someone who would remain under their influence and do what they saw fit at all times.  They weren’t prepared for someone intelligent enough to see through their lies and someone bold enough to call them out on it.  I wasn’t the prissy preppy daughter they wanted, who planned to marry rich and become a baby factory with a bachelor’s degree that never got put to use.  And for some reason, rather than accept me for the person I am, they chose to treat me like trash and then cast me aside.

I’m lucky though when you think about it.  I didn’t get stuck in a microwave or a cage like some parents are doing to children nowadays.  I was never beaten badly enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.  I didn’t suffer any permanent damage, physically or emotionally.  I learned the unfortunate lesson that the ability to have a child doesn’t come with the ability to be a parent.  The unconditional love I feel for my son isn’t something that came with donating my genetic material to put him together.  The love my husband has for our son didn’t come from any genetic bond; he met my son during his toddler years and became his father by choice, loving that kid more than I thought possible.  People have given me that judgmental glare when I mention that I don’t communicate with my parents, thinking that I owe them something for raising me or thinking that they HAVE to love me, I just need to apologize.  No, I don’t owe them anything for raising me; they chose to have me and wouldn’t let me leave their house until I turned 18.  No, they don’t HAVE to love me just because they made me and no, an apology from me won’t mend fences, I know from experience.  The truly unfortunate part is that the parties involved constantly refuse to take the high road and agree to disagree.  Maybe we should view parenting in the same way we do a romantic relationship or a long friendship; sometimes things just don’t work out and the only thing left to do is to go in separate directions.

“Just because someone spits you out of their crotch doesn’t make them your mother.” – Agent Paul Kellerman, Prison Break

Black Sheep

Do you like hearing about or seeing the failures of others?  Go talk to my mother, she’ll tell you many tales of how horrible her daughter has been from toddler baby steps to adulthood decision-making.  She’d probably invite me over so I could hear from her once again what a screw up and embarrassment I am.  To demonstrate, let me share with you some highlights from an email I received from her the day before Christmas in 2010:

“You and your husband do not believe in Christ and are not living according to his beliefs, so i am confused as why you celebrate Christmas. Oence again i do no care how you feel about me, get that through your thick and sick head, all i care about is my grandson, i do not care about you, you are nothing to me, nothing is going to change,  Go on living you litttle make believe world with that man you married, and leave us alone and allow us to have a relationship with Dominick. Merry Christmas and may God have mercy on you.”
She is right about one thing; my husband and I don’t share the same beliefs as she does.  Growing up, my parents treated church like a place you were obligated to go in order to prevent being struck by lightning.  I was baptized, received communion and was confirmed as a member of the Catholic church while my parents took a lazy position in the church, going once in a while to Sunday service, always complaining of how pointless it was afterward.  I made a serious effort to involve myself in the church though; even at age 10 I was very independent and sought out ways I could involve myself more in the church.  I went on a retreat where myself, other preteens and teenagers, and some supervising adults and church members participated in a 48 hour fast and numerous faith building activities.  Upon returning home to talk about my experience, my mother called me “self-righteous” and requested I shut up about it.  So I did.  I still continued participating in church sponsored after school activities for a couple of years without the support of my parents.  It was a while before I lost the faith that seemed lost to my parents years prior.  I still baptized my son because I don’t want to hinder him if he chooses to involve himself with the church (he goes to services, just not with us) and I want him to be able to have a choice.  My mother began down the preachy path you see above about a year after my son’s baptism, taking a cue from my younger brother who found God after high school.  She doesn’t go to church or read the bible, just talks like what is above a lot.
I will admit, I was somewhat of a problem as a child and teenager, so my mother does have some room for complaint.  Colic as an infant, sibling rivalry issues at age 5 when my brother was born and the attention was no longer on me, acting up in school out of boredom (I was in the gifted program and ahead of most in my classes), detention for skipping class in middle school, kissing a boy when I was only 13, in school suspension for holding hands (yes, I’m 100% serious) and skipping gym class in high school, dating boys and having friends they didn’t approve of, the usual things.  I angered them by not getting straight As, by not dating rich boys, by not dressing girly, and by liking the wrong music.  I was a disappointment later on for failing to follow the path my cousins took and dropping out of college to join the National Guard (stemming from a score of 99 on the ASVAB) then a bigger let down when I decided not to go out of fear of my safety.  Having a kid the way I did was the ultimate fail as was declining to date the guy at NASA my mother adored who could “take care of us.”  When I broke the news that I fell in love and was moving to eventually marry my husband, they both flipped out.  Nevermind the fact that my husband had (and still has) a steady high paying job and is a brilliant and loving person, he wasn’t right for me in their eyes and I was once again screwing up my life for “some guy.”  I was, am, and always will be a loser.
I honestly don’t think I was that bad; my parents seemed to enjoy focusing on the negatives rather than the positive parts of my life.  When I was going to school in Connecticut, as an after school activity myself and a few friends would head over to the Teen Center to play pool and video games and just hang out.  A large part of our experience there was community service.  I volunteered at soup kitchens, camps for disabled children, and homes for mentally and physically disabled adults, just to name a few.  My friends and I did this totally voluntarily because we wanted something to fill our afternoons and it was exciting to be young and able to go around town without our parents around.
As far as grades go, I didn’t get straight As but I was close.  I was in the gifted program for as long as they offered it in my school.  I participated in volleyball and track and excelled in both.  I played alto and bass recorder (yes, the little plastic thing) from 6th grade until 10th grade when I moved to a different state and was part of a very talented group of kids who accomplished a lot.  I was an extremely talented writer, and although I did engage in a bit of dishonesty in selling papers in college, most of what I did was for positive and productive reasons.  I dealt with transferring schools and moving 2 months into my second grade year and again before my junior year of high school, adjusting better than most kids would.  Oh yeah, I also never got allowance and worked jobs around the neighborhood starting at 10 years of age, getting a real job as soon as I turned 16, bought my own car and never looked back.  I was an all right kid.
So what if I’m the outcast, the black sheep that exists in every family unit?  Living a different life isn’t the same as living a bad life; my path was certainly out there in comparison to my cousins and brother but it worked for me and taught me more than I can say.  It’s a damn shame that my blood relatives cast me aside because I followed a different timeline than they would.  Out of my brother and our cousins who live in the US, it does sting a bit to be the only one out of the 5 of us who doesn’t have a diploma, but I chose to explore another option.  It didn’t work, then I was slightly tied up raising a kid but I’m enrolling in school once again on the 15th of this month because I am finally ready to finish.  I’m unsure why my parents act like my husband is some sort of criminal or scumbag, as he is a highly intelligent and incredibly loving and understanding man who, prior to my father doing some underhanded things to us both, never did or said anything even slightly negative or unsavory to or around my parents, or anywhere else for that matter.  And while I get that tattoos aren’t for everyone, I fail to see how having them makes me a bad person or holds me back from anything in life; mine are easily concealed for certain purposes such as work and don’t contain anything that would be considered bad, such as pot leaves or guns or naked women.  What it boils down to is that my mother can’t stand me because I went against her wishes as far as how to live my life, so she went on a mission to bad mouth me to everyone to the point where I felt forced to break contact with relatives our of concerns for my privacy.
I wish I knew what I know now when I was still a teenager.  Having the ability to create a child doesn’t come with the ability to raise a child properly.  Ideally, I’d have somewhat of a relationship with my parents.  Sadly, after years of trying I had to give up in order to better take care of myself and in the best interest of my well-being and that of my husband and son.  You can’t force someone to love their kid.  How else can you explain the number of deadbeat moms and dads, the babies abandoned in dumpsters and on the sides of roads, children locked in cages and neglected, or the countless spineless folk who beat their children?  Had I realized this earlier, I would have cut ties after high school and saved myself a lot of heartache, as well as saved my mother a lot of time spent creating stories to save face and straining her vocal cords yelling in my general direction.
Too many parents fail to understand that their kids are growing up in a different time than they and they can’t choose their child’s path, they can only provide the map and hope their baby picks the right road to venture down.  We are the products of our parents, but only to a certain extent.  The majority of what we are and what we become is up to us.  No one else.

We’ve All Got Issues

I am chronically imperfect. I take things personally and have a long memory. I have bucketloads of issues lying around in a storage unit somewhere, and rather than stop payment and let my goods be auctioned off, I pay the monthly fee like clockwork and keep my issues safe.

The biggest box in my storage shed of shame is saved for memories of past relationships, familial and romantic. My mother beat me until I was 16, my father pretended it didn’t happen, trying to passively repair it by buying me stuff. The verbal abuse from her continues to this day, although now in email form. My little brother endured a few beatings at a young age, but was soon established as the “good child.” As much as I want to put her out of my mind, part of me still wonders what I did to deserve such a bad mom.

My high school boyfriend attacked me during my freshman year of college with the assistance of a friend. My college boyfriend threw me across a room and into a wall. But the gold metal goes to my middle school boyfriend-turned-fiancé, AKA DirtBag. He checked my cell phone and email after cracking the passwords, took credit cards out in my name, ran our joint bank account into dust with overdrafts, and caused me to lose apartments due to his lack of financial contribution. He threw my bedding out on the lawn after suspecting me of cheating, called me names I wouldn’t call my worst enemy, and threatened to take back my engagement ring every time he was angry. He punched me, hit me, slapped me, and gave me a black eye when I was 7 months pregnant. He turned me into one of those “I walked into a door” storytelling, weak-willed women who think they can’t do any better than the pile of shit they currently reside with.

I stayed with him for nearly 3 years, going through more crap than I can relay to you here. It took the birth of my son for me to finally get the guts to leave. The fact that DirtBag landed in jail soon after helped me maintain distance. Still, even though I was able to get away, the damage was done. My husband can attest to this; when we first began living together, I would flinch if he moved close to me too quickly and I would panic when he was upset, even if the reason for his distress had nothing to do with me. My husband would never lay a finger on me in anger, but I expected it. He would never verbally assault me, but I kept waiting for it and even provoked him without thinking. I had to relearn what it meant to be loved, and I’m damn lucky my hubby had the patience to see me through it.

Stories should have a happy ending, right? My mother is 1000 miles away, and I have a mother-in-law 10 minutes away who would move mountains for me. The high school boyfriend was a fry cook last time I saw him, still living with mommy and looking like hell warmed over. Last update on DirtBag was that he was conning chicks at church to get money, way behind on child support for his first son, and on felony parole. Me, on the other hand, well I’m sitting here at a cushy high paid government job (blogging, so you can tell how overworked and stressed I am), happily married to my soulmate and approaching our 3 year wedding anniversary, and mom to an amazing little boy who was a miracle child created from a horrible situation. I would love to say I’m fully healed from my past experiences, but I’d be lying. Unless you know how to change someone’s DNA, my mom will always be my mom, and my son will always be half of DirtBag genetically. I just hope one day, I decide to skip payment on my storage unit and finally let all the issues and bullshit go for good.

Burn The Past

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