Category Archives: Others

I rant sometimes. This is one of those times.

Sometimes I rant about stuff. It doesn’t happen often but read on to find out what fired me up…

A few weeks ago, I read one of those First Person articles from the Yahoo! Contributor Network. The title “How the Recession Made Me a Better Mom” really grabbed my attention because a) it was another piece of recession porn that I read constantly and b) it’s always interesting to me to hear what another mom has to say.

Boy, am I sorry that I read this piece. And the hundreds of comments that followed.

To begin with, I am sick of the assumption that a child in daycare is raised by someone else. Yes, daycare does provide a safe place for a child to go during the day while her parents work. Yes, daycare does provide educational lessons and reinforces values taught at home like sharing, not to bully, and table manners. Yes, daycare workers do provide love and nuturing to the children entrusted to their care. But let me be clear–even if our kids are in daycare, we are the ones raising them. And it is insulting for anyone to say otherwise.

When my child is running a fever or has a nightmare or falls off her bike, does daycare take care of her? When she has questions about G-d and heaven and death, do the daycare workers answer her? Do they clothe and feed her? Do they read to her at night? Do they teach her the importance of family and what it feels like to be loved unconditionally? Do they teach her the importance of chores and contributing to a family? Are they the ones that have to endure her temper tantrums yet still look at her and say “I love you”? Do they  have fitfull nights of sleep worrying about her future and making sure she’s taken care of? Are they willing to fight to the death to protect her? To all of those, I say no.

So don’t tell me that daycare raises my child.

The other point this woman made that I take issue with is that it took her losing her job in order to teach her kids the value of a dollar. That’s disgusting. Why could she not do this while she was working? I understand that each dollar becomes more precious when there are fewer of them floating around. But to not understand the value of those dollars simply because they are in abundance makes me furious. Kids at every income level need to understand the importance of hard work and making smart financial choices. And if this woman was so wrapped up in her consumerist behaviors that she couldn’t recognize the horrible attitudes and behaviors she was instilling in her children prior to her unemployment, then I’m just sad.

I can’t even address the rest of the points she made without getting myself worked up into a frenzy. Well, I will address one. She mentions that she’s more active with her kids now that the recession has impacted her family. Mainly, now she’s learned to turn the TV off.  She says “Without the distraction of TV, I talk with my kids more. We play outdoors, take walks around the neighborhood, and go to the playground. We wrestle on the floor and set up elaborate wooden train tracks. We dance, read books, and sing songs. We visit family and friends.” REALLY??? It took you not being able to afford your cable bill to do this?

My husband and I have cable. We have internet service. But we–like hundreds of thousands of other parents–know how to turn it off and interact with our daughter.  All of those things she listed? We do those, or our own variation of those. Because we recognize how important it is to give her quality time and attention. Without the television. It’s a damn shame that this woman had to lose her job in order to focus on her kids.

Some of you may disagree with me (and that’s fine) but I can’t tolerate the fact that this woman is using the recession and her unemployment as an excuse to make amends for what she perceives as her past indiscretions as a parent.  None of us are perfect parents (well, maybe some people are. I am not) and those of us that aren’t admit our imperfections. We strive to improve, acknowledging that some days, we fail miserably while other days we emerge as victorious as Katniss. But to blame external factors like television–which come equipped with an on/off button–for those failings is just plain pathetic.

I suppose I can choose to look at it from another point of view. One that says “well, sometimes is takes a dramatic upheaval in order to realize our shortcomings and it takes a strong person to make changes” and “just be glad for her children and their future that she is making those changes”.   Perhaps I should be less judgmental and accept this woman for what she is–a mother just trying to do her best for her kids regardless of the circumstances that brought her there.  She’s just a mother trying to accept her new situation and making the best of it. But I’m struggling with looking at it from that point of view.

I’m jealous of you if you’re not struggling with it. Because that means you’re more accepting and less judgmental than I am. And you possess characteristics that I know I need work on. Except not today.

A rerun of Jerseylicious is on.

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People who actually do their to-do list

That's about right. I need to make a list to get motivated for my to-do list.

I am a to-do list addict. I have lists for everything: daily chores, blog post topics, bills to pay, groceries, household projects…it goes on ad nauseam. I have paper lists, iPhone app lists, and Google documents to house my lists. At this point, I need a list of lists as well as a directory for where I keep them all.

It’s kind of insane.

What I like about my lists is that they give me the feeling that I’m organized. I’m not a naturally organized person (you should see my desk at home. It’s frightening). It is work for me to be organized. Lists help me tell myself that even if I’m a mess, at least I’m trying to combat the problem (and effort is worth like 85%, right?) Additionally, I suffer from depression and anxiety and get overwhelmed very easily; having the lists on hand helps bring me back to reality and allows me to focus when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack.

The problem is this, though: I  never actually adhere to my lists (except at the supermarket. Most of the time). Lists have become like the speed limit on most roads. They’re a guideline. I use them as a way of telling myself what I need to do and what I want to write about but usually I kind of toss them aside and do what I want. Lists, for all their good intentions, are really a way of setting myself up to fail. When I look at a to-do list and realize I did nothing on it, I get sad and angry. Mostly due to the fact that I took the time to write it all out and then completely ignored it. But a little bit because I can’t even follow my own directions.

And all of this makes me jealous of people who can adhere to their to-do lists. I don’t know how you do it. How do you make a list and actually stick to it? Don’t you look at some things on there (like laundry) and say “screw it. I’m not going to do that today”? What keeps you motivated to actually accomplish what you intend to accomplish? And what do you use to keep your to-do lists safe and secure so you can actually use them (have I mentioned that I have a problem of writing lists and then losing them and then writing a new one and then finding the old one?)?  I’m serious–I want to know.

Because if not, I think I’m going to put “master my to-do list” on my to-do list. And I have a pretty good idea as to how that’s going to go.

People who aren’t ticklish

This morning, my 5-year-old looks at me and says “Mommy, can I tickle you later?” Being the awesome mom I am I hesitate for only a second and then reply “Of course you can”.

Now, if you’re ticklish, you know this is akin to a cruel and unusual punishment.  Knowing that you’re about to be tickled is knowing that you’re walking into a torture chamber, unable to escape. Tickling is painful and tiresome and horribly awful. It is the worst thing on Earth (well, almost the worst thing on Earth. There are only slightly few things that I can think of that are worse than being tickled). But the worst part is that, although you know it hurts and you want it to stop NOW, you can’t stop laughing. Hence the torture.

It’s one thing when someone accidentally tickles you. When someone you know and love does it, it’s 1000 times worse because they know…your tickle spots. And they target those spots. Repeatedly. Until you can stand it anymore but you’re stuck and paralyzed with laughter and uncomfortableness. Those who are ticklish and in new relationships, heed this warning: Forget never letting them see you sweat. Never, ever let them know you’re tickle spots. Because they will lord it over you and use it to their advantage whenever possible. At the most inappropriate times and sometimes, in the most inappropriate places. And once they know your secret tickle spots, you are powerless.

And to those who aren’t ticklish, please understand this: tickling isn’t funny. It’s excruciating. Just because we laugh doesn’t mean we like it, and it’s certainly not an invitation to keep doing it. Laughing when tickled is like breathing while alive–you can’t help it.

So to that end…

I’m jealous of people who aren’t ticklish. But I wish it upon you. Because you must know what it’s like before you inflict the horror of tickling on someone for your own amusement. In fact, if tickling had been part of The Hunger Games, those kids would have been begging for nightlock.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

People who can cut onions without crying

They look innocent. They are not.

For reasons that are inexplicable to me, about 98.7% of the recipes I cook with involve onions. This is fine because onions are inexpensive and I’ve managed to convince myself that if an onion is in a meal, we are eating a vegetable (please let me have this one). It works out well for everyone.

Except there’s one little problem. Onions make me cry.

I’m not talking a few little tears. I’m talking full on floods coming out of my eyes, the kind akin to hysterical sobs. Sometimes it’s so bad, I can’t even be on the same floor as the kitchen; I need to outside to the deck or upstairs to our bedroom to shield my eyes from the horrible blinding onion fire.  When I do need to leave the kitchen, it’s a kind of obstacle course to get out of there safely thanks to my temporary blindness, small dogs who live at my feet and the knife that I usually forget to put down. It’s a good time, really.

Short of not cooking with onions, there is nothing I can do about the situation. I’ve tried everything short of wearing complete snorkeling regalia. I hate admitting defeat, especially to something so small but usually, I wind up having to ask my husband to chop the onions for me. Which brings me to my point.

I’m jealous of people who can cut onions without crying. Or going temporarily blind. Or both. It must be such a joy to cut open an onion and go to work on it like a cucumber or tomato. It must be nice to not fear for your safety (and the safety of those around you) when you make that first slice. It must be pleasant to look at an onion without wondering what torturous punishment you’re in for. Because I long for the day when I don’t weep at the sight of that tiny little vegetable.

So, if you can cut an onion without crying, will you share your secrets? Please?

People who are funny on Twitter

Twitter is perfect for people like me. I make observations. Lots of observations. In fact, a good friend of mine once told me that I need to write a book titled “You Know What I’ve Noticed” because that’s pretty much how I start off most of my sentences. And, thanks to Twitter, I can unleash those observations on the world. Provided they’re short. Which is way more difficult for a verbose person like me than you would expect.

Here’s an example of my finest (not sent from the official Jealousy Files Twitter handle. That one is still in development):

Pretty hilarious stuff, right? It took me at least 5 minutes to edit it down to that one sentence.

I think that when you sign up for Twitter, there should be a questionnaire that you fill out and your answers will determine how many characters you get to make your statements. Not everyone needs the same amount. To help create balance, I think that there should be a character sharing program where those who need less can donate to those who need more. You can sign up to be a donor or a receiver. Or maybe you could deposit your unused characters into a bank that you can withdraw on later when you need it. I totally think the head honchos at Twitter would go for those ideas. No? Well, then I guess I’ll just have to settle for being jealous of people who can be funny and entertaining in 140 characters.

You know the ones. Everything they say is witty and clever and totally awesome and make you wish you were that witty and clever. They have mastered the art of short, pithy statements. They’re the ones who have 18000000 followers and get featured on The Huffington Post’s “people to follow on Twitter” and  Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and all that other cool stuff.

But mainly I’m jealous of them because they have figured out a way to be funny in 140 characters or less. Which, sadly, I cannot. I need at least 279.

People Who Live in Clean Houses

This car is speaking on behalf of my house.

My house is a mess.

Not a mess in the hoarders or CPS is going to come and take my child away because it’s completely uninhabitable sense but a mess enough for me to know that I really, really need to clean it. But I don’t want to.  Because I hate cleaning.

I get absolutely no enjoyment out of vacuuming (even though I have a Dyson, which kicks ass!). Sweeping? I don’t even know where the broom is. Dusting is a bigger pain than vacuuming (I’m too short to reach most places and besides, who looks up there anyway?). Picking up toys is a waste of time because they just wind up back on the floor anyway. Mail multiplies like Gremlins fed after midnight.  And I don’t clean the bathroom on principle (my husband cleans it. I’ll tell you the story some day if you want). Actually, the only room I clean daily is my kitchen. Dirty dishes and all of that make me kind of nauseaus and bring bugs and I hate bugs more than I hate cleaning.

I’m not really sure why I hate cleaning. It may be because I’m not good at it (yes, it is possible to be bad at cleaning. It’s difficult to achieve, but entirely possible). It may be because I grew up in a house that was immaculate and never really looked lived in and I don’t want my house to look like that. It may be because I’m lazy. Perhaps it’s because I just think I can use my time for things that are more fun than actually cleaning (like writing about why I hate to do it). Maybe it’s a combination of some or all of these factors. All I know is that I hate to do and I’m really jealous of people who either like to do it or pretend they like to do it enough that whenver I walk into their homes, their homes looks beautiful. And sparkly, shiny clean.

You know these people. You’re probably friends with some of them. The people who say “cleaning relaxes me”.  The people who have homes that are so damn clean you don’t want to walk on the floor for fear of making it dirty. The homes where you know the 5 second rule can turn into the 5 minute rule and no hair, dust or anything else unsavory would attract to your food. The homes that make you say to yourself “You know, I’m really going to start cleaning my house just as soon as we get home” (is shame not the best motivator?).

I wonder how you get into this secret club of people who enjoy cleaning their house (do you have to get voted in? Do you apply for membership? Do they give you a test, like at the DMV?). Even if they won’t let me in, and, judging by the state of my house, they most certainly would not, I’d really like to know their secrets. Because for me to enjoy cleaning, I’d need to drink a lot of beer. And I’m pretty sure that would make a bigger mess.

Neat eaters

You've eaten too many of my kind. And now you must pay!!!

It is virtually impossible for me to eat anything without dropping food on myself. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it’ll wind up in my hair or on my face or in my lap rather than on my shirt but for the most part, whatever I eat, I wear.

It used to be, if it was red, it’d get on me. Tomato sauce, ketchup, salsa, enchilada sauce…red foods and I were not on good terms. I invested in some Shout wipes in order to prevent more of my clothes from looking like I engaged in some sort of tomato warfare. Not to be outdone, the red foods lodged a campaign against me and now all foods attack my clothes. Soup. Milk. Peanut butter. Crumbs. Ice cream. Any sort of sauce. Chocolate. It’s impossible to make it through a meal without having tangible proof of what I’ve eaten. Honestly, when your 5 year old looks at you and says “Mommy, you got food on you again?!”, you know you have a problem.

To that end, I am jealous of people who can eat without dropping food on themselves. I’m jealous of the fact that their clothes aren’t stained with their meals and they don’t have to carry Shout wipes with them everywhere they go. I’m jealous of the fact that these people can eat in public without being shamed. I’m jealous of their ability to wear anything they want when they eat because they don’t have to worry about the aforementioned stains showing. I’m jealous that they’ve probably never been offered a bib. As a birthday present. More than once.

I don’t think I eat any differently than they do. I use utensils and napkins and plates and everything a person with even basic table manners is supposed to use.  It doesn’t matter, though. But I think the tomato overlord is angry with me for some unknown reason and he’s using it to rally all the foods against me in some large stain producing conspiracy.

I’m starting to think that maybe the tomato overlord is in cahoots with the laundry czar. And they’re winning.