Tag Archive: parenting

The top ten reasons you suck as a mom


  1. You don’t own a hot glue gun.

  2. You don’t make tiered, artisanal cakes that look like dragons or castles or the Millennium Falcon.

  3. You don’t go to PTA meetings.

  4. You don’t bake for bake sales.

  5. You let your kids look at screens.

  6. You’re always at work, so you don’t volunteer at school.

  7. You’re not always at work, and you don’t volunteer at school.

  8. You don’t garden and teach your children to be one with nature.

  9. Your child’s favorite vegetables are zucchini bread and ketchup.

  10. You don’t make any sweaters or crochet socks for your children.

You know what? THIS LIST SUCKS.

Here are the ten things you really suck at instead.

  1. You don’t own a hot glue gun? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at crafts.
  2. You don’t make tiered, artisanal cakes that look like dragons or castles or the Millennium Falcon? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at artisanal baking.
  3. You don’t go to PTA meetings? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at driving yourself insane. (That’s good.)
  4. You don’t bake for bake sales? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at taking on annoying tasks.
  5. You let your kids look at screens? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at living in a cave with delightfully quirky hermits.
  6. You’re always working, so you don’t volunteer at school. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at bleeding yourself dry. But you’re very good at maintaining your sanity.
  7. You’re not always at work, and you don’t volunteer at school. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at being an unpaid school employee who ultimately takes work away from people who might otherwise get paid jobs in your school district.
  8. You don’t garden and teach your children to be one with nature. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at pretending to be an earth mother.
  9. Your child’s favorite vegetables are zucchini bread and ketchup. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at forcing your kids to eat vegetables.
  10. You don’t make any sweaters or cashmere socks for your children. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at knitting.

Do I suck at making lists? Did I miss the real reasons you suck as a mom? Let me know in the comments.

‘Pretty Woman’ is an ugly movie and needs to die


She’s the one in charge, because she’s holding his tie. And she stole his heart! We mustn’t forget how powerful that move is.

I can’t believe there are articles popping up telling me to celebrate the 25th anniversary one of the biggest piece of sh%$ movies of the ’90s, “Pretty Woman.”

It’s a Cinderella story of a prostitute who finds value in herself because some sleazy businessman who needs to pay for it decides he loves her. He gives her flowers. The End.

And no, the absurd dialogue about Julia Roberts rescuing him back does not make it OK. Just more painful, because we’re seeing a twisted, more sexualized version of the same old Disney crap and being lulled into some sort of sense that we’re being progressive.

People have let little girls watch this trash for 25 years, and wonder why there’s a whole new generation of girls who won’t identify themselves as feminists. (Duh, people. It’s about rights for females, not female supremacy. If you don’t want equal rights guaranteed, then you can go troll that fictionalized Hollywood Boulevard for rich beady-eyed gentlemen like Richard Gere, too.)

I consider myself lucky that I’m old enough that I was already 18 and quite surly when I saw this tripe for the first time. “Oh, look, the hooker is giggling so enchantingly when the jewelry box closes! I’m so happy. Yes, she’s still just there to decorate the room and warm men’s hearts, but she’s so empowered because she’s … uh, wearing a red dress, I think? Or because she looks a little cleaner?”

Now that it’s made it to 25, can we kill this movie, please? Do not let your kids watch this.

It does in fact threaten the morals of boys and girls. They’re much better off not knowing about businessmen who go looking to pay for sex but find love, which they then buy with flowers.

And they’ll benefit from never wanting to be like that pretty lady who stops selling her body and starts selling her big, toothy smile and goofy charm instead. Eek. And she does this so she can live happily ever after with the guy who really has no problem with buying a woman for a week.

He’s not exactly a champion of stopping human trafficking. She’s not exactly a paragon of self-worth and ethics, either. True love doesn’t make this all OK.

This is not something I want my sons seeing, and I don’t think anyone’s daughters should see it, either.

The End.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.


Plaything of the damned

Every parent has that one toy in the house that they’d put a mob hit on.

For me, it’s called Alphabet Pal. And it’s purple. And chirpy. And a caterpillar. And vile.

For one, it tries to wake up the kids, even when we don’t know it’s on. And it’s been doing this for five years. Why do I let it live with me? I’m not really sure.


But every once in a while, it senses a human walking near it and shrieks, “HI! I’M ALPHABET PAL! WANT TO PUNCH ME IN THE FACE?” Well, no, it doesn’t really say that, but that doesn’t mean I really refrain from doing that, either.

The irony — or rather lack of irony — is that we received this gift on The Elder’s first birthday with a note from my father-in-law, instructing the darling child, “Drive your dad nuts with this.”

But, in fact, it drives us both over the edge. And the batteries just don’t run out.

Someday, both kids will be done with it, and we’ll throw it away. Or recycle it. Or something. We’ll probably never be rid of it, since interpreting Seattle rules for throwing molded plastic detritus out requires at least a master’s degree in waste management.

So the mob hit may be our only recourse in the end.

What toy in your house would you most like to kill? I’d love to hear about it. 

This post is a throwback to 2012, and was first printed at The Two Boys Club (http://twoboysclub.com).


Hello, tooth fetishist! Please sneak into my child’s room tonight

It’s Throwback Thursday. This is a post from 2011 from The Two Boys Club (http://twoboysclub.com). This lady makes no more sense to me today than she did back then.

I almost blew the whole Tooth Fairy thing already, and The Elder is a few years away from even getting a loose tooth.

“Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy REAL?”
“Um, yeah — um, so, uh …. well, why do you ask?”
“You said fairies aren’t real!”
“Oh, uh, see, that’s because she’s like, a different kind of fairy. A, um, metaphorical fairy? She’s in the fairies … union, like the, uh, elves, but not exactly a fairy, per se?”

“Well, does she have helpers?”

“You mean like a staff? Uh-huh. Yeah, I think she has some employees. Possibly elves.”

Next up, he’s waiting to hear how Santa can live at the North Pole if there is no land at the North Pole (as he learned from “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Ice is Nice”) and why Mommy and Daddy have to be from another country, called the East Coast, where parents don’t allow toddlers to play “Angry Birds.” Ever. Or so his parents say.

I’ve also got to come up with a better explanation for why this lady wants his teeth. What does she do with them? Does she eat them? Study them? Wear them? Sell them?

When I was a kid, my mother very cleverly told me the Tooth Fairy was building a big house, and I bought it, briefly, but today’s savvy kids might just put in a call to the FBI. A house … made out of teeth? What is it decorated with, hair rugs? Fingernail mosaics? Is she a serial killer, or just your run-of-the-mill fetishist?

As a society, don’t we owe it to our kids to find better reasons to put body fragments under pillows? Let’s start today.

 How do you answer questions about the Tooth Fairy?

Are smartphones a dumb move for grade-schoolers?

My eight-year-old thinks he should have a smartphone so he can play Minecraft whenever he wants. I think that he shouldn’t have a smartphone because then he will play Minecraft whenever he wants.

Back in my day, a kid that age would call his friends on tin can “phones” attached by a string. (OK, maybe that wasn’t my day, but I sure did see that on reruns from the ’60s a lot.)

And back in my day, it was character building to sit and wait in a panic, with no phone in sight, when a parent was late picking you up from the bus.

Nonetheless, it seems I am way out of step with trendsetters in the children’s fashion world, who find it not only desirable but essential that my five-year-old’s winter coat have a cellphone pocket. (What five-year-old doesn’t have a need for a cellphone? It leaves me to wonder where he’s going to store his car keys and his cigarettes when he’s out on the slopes.)

But seriously, I do resent being nudged toward completely immersing my kids in the world of iPhones, Androids, iPads and Nintendo 3DSes before they’ve even formed a proper sense of what intersection they live near. They barely understand how to talk into a phone when it isn’t in speaker mode, which other parents tell me is now a grave epidemic among today’s under-10 set. The last thing we need is autocomplete messing with their newfound spelling ability.

But the products keep coming. There are little gloves for four-year-olds with touch-screen-friendly fingers — just in case your child wants to play Minion Rush while out in a blizzard. A tiny coat pocket is tagged with a picture of a phone so your preschooler knows, before he can read, that you are depriving him of valuable technology that he could be carrying on his person at this very instant, even though he is struggling with the concept of having to carry his very own nearly empty backpack to school each day.

My question is whether parents are really doing this: Are adults buying kids as young as grade-schoolers their own phones now? And are people actually buying young children smartphones? (And requiring pockets for them?)

Sure, the kids can call you when you mess up and accidentally forget to pick them up at school. The down side is that they might be surfing porn and watching bomb-making videos when you get there.

What are your thoughts on smartphones for kids? Are they too much, too soon, or just right?

If you kill the sugar, you kill the party

Kids love class parties. They love the tiny mass-marketed Valentine’s Day cards that train them to be dutiful consumers (“You are a Super Friend, Valentine!”).

They love that they get to glue things up and cut things out when they would normally be struggling to pay attention to some grownup inexplicably talking about something at the front of the room.

And they love the food — the junkier the better.

I don’t normally feed my children Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip and Pixy Stix for dinner, but I am certainly not opposed to them receiving these items at a class party, or chugging them when the party monitors aren’t looking. And I certainly do not mind them partaking in treats other than fruit and cheese at a party. But I hear that many class parties are being thrown with absolutely no sugar. Just fruit, thank you. A little cheese, merci. 

Grownups, let’s be serious. If we were at a reception and someone offered us just fruit and cheese, they’d better be damned certain there was some wine to go with that.

For kids, the cupcakes or cookies would be that main event. Because a party without cake or cookies is just a regular old snack time. The kids know this, and they know we know this. And they know that we know that they know this.

So, barring a few health issues and allergies, please, please, let your kid have a cupcake this year.

Just don’t do it every day, and I promise they will all live to be safe, happy adults.








So you need to use the booster AND the seat belt?

Most parents are good about getting their kids to stay in car booster seats at least until state laws tell them they can do otherwise. But there’s no accounting for HOW they put the children in those seats.

Or for the common sense of photographers and other professionals on the set of car rental company photo shoots.

It’s great that an ad campaign on Alamo car rental buses is letting us know that the company can give us access to child safety seats (usually at a cost per day above the price of outright purchasing a seat from a store, that is). But then they advertise that convenience service for a kids’ safety device with this photo:


Why not make the seat belt extra comfy and loose? What harm could come of that?

Why not make the seat belt extra comfy and loose? What harm could come of that?

Whoa, there. That seat belt is looking might nice and comfortable. And unsafe. You’d think someone at the company might have noticed that this is not the best way to tout safety to American parents — reinforcing images of a highly ejectable child sitting lounging with a slack seat belt, ready for optimal toss-around.

He also looks like he’s on the younger side for sitting in a belted booster.

Yes, you could say I have a few issues with this stuff. It’s not rocket science, but 93 percent of parents bring home newborn infants either incorrectly strapped into car seats or in safety seats that were installed flat-out wrong, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

And this photo campaign is reinforcing an image that says it’s all right to keep the belts loose, when all usage rules indicate that the strap needs to be pulled close to the body in order to work in a crash.

It seems we could use a little more guidance on this stuff, and clearer instructions all around. For everyone.

Sure, there are a lot of dumb Americans breeding, but the idea that a full 93 percent could be idiots is a little ungenerous.

The instructions in the manuals just aren’t sticking with the general public, and this needs to be fixed.

This is how the Graco booster manuals say to belt your kid.

This is how the Graco booster manuals say to belt your kid.

I have made my share of mistakes with safety seats over the last few years. What mistakes have you made? Have you noticed others putting kids in wrong? 

No shots, no school: It’s that simple

Measles are back. And I blame Sherwood Schwartz.

Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, “The Brady Bunch” was the rerun show to park your kid in front of while you made dinner. And from that Schwartz-produced show, we have today’s measles mini-epidemic.

For today’s parents, those six kids made measles look fun. A lark. A reason to act really bratty and ring dinner bells as your parents and the family maid were at your beck and call. It was just a rash, right?

No. That’s a sitcom, people. Real measles might be almost fun, and it might also result in blindness, brain damage or death. Those after-effects are proven. By science. The stats.

One thing that hasn’t been proven is the supposed link that autism has to MMR vaccines. Not proven, and please don’t say the name Andrew Wakefield. It’s unbecoming to cite falsified results. If there’s a connection, there would be proof from other sources. There’s not. People have looked.

I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want to get your kid vaccinated, you don’t get to send your kid to public school. You want to be off the grid as far as vaccinations go? Then go ahead. And it’s my right to keep my kids away from people who don’t believe in preventative care for their kids.

Do you really think that modern hygiene is the reason we no longer have this disease around much, and that perfectly coincided with the widespread introduction of measles vaccines? Did hand washing appreciably improve in the late 1970s? Should we thank Ivory soap? No. It’s the vaccines, stupid.

You want to go off the grid? Then go do that. But it’s our right not to be part of your measles-, mumps- and rubella-carrying herd, so please stay the hell off the grid once you do go there.

Turning down a shot does affect my kid and other people’s kids, and grownups, and I could go on. The vaccines work by breaking the chain of contagion, and when you turn down the shots, you are volunteering to be one more link in that chain. Immune-compromised people who cannot get the shots for actual medical reasons would be protected if you would stop being so ignorant of history and human disease.

The shot isn’t perfect, but it is effective, and that’s proven by the fact that we haven’t all had measles, and that a sizable portion the general U.S. population isn’t blind, deaf, brain-damaged or dead as a result of it. Before vaccinations began in the early 1960s, hundreds of people died of measles each year, and more than 45,000 were hospitalized.

This isn’t eczema.

And this shouldn’t be optional.

If your kid isn’t vaccinated and can be, you’re simply not doing your part.

Comments, please. What do you think about parents who choose not to vaccinate? What do you think about parents who do choose to vaccinate?

The real reason kids’ pajamas are ridiculously tight

Every parent learns that you have to buy kids’ cotton pajamas two sizes too big. We’re not supposed to, according to the yellow hang tags from an unidentified authority, but that is how it’s done in reality.

Otherwise, kids look and feel like they’re wearing too-tight body stockings, and no one wants to sleep that way. (What if you get an itch? You’d then need to completely undress, sliding off that clingy cotton peel just to scratch your thigh.)

If the pajamas you buy in your kid’s size fit more reasonably, it’s because they are made of synthetic fibers (which may or may not have been chemically treated long before the fabric became pajamas) or have been made thoroughly coated in flame retardants that must make it through at least 50 washes in all their chemical goodness.

How did these pajama rules come about? And how many kids in loose cotton jammies were truly in danger before these regulations first came into effect in the 1970s? (And couldn’t that risk have a lot to do with the vastly greater numbers of parents who had cigarettes dangling from their lips in 1975?)

The tight fit is considered protective because no loose fabric means less of a chance that a sleeve or pant leg will be set ablaze.

And the rule change in the 1970s did result in a significant reduction in fire injuries to children. That was back when the manufacturers were using a few flame retardants that were so obviously hazardous to health that they were swiftly banned in 1977.

Today, I can safely say I seldom hold my children over an open flame. Particularly not when they are wearing pajamas. But then again, mine hardly ever wear pajamas anymore since they’re are so darned uncomfortable. The synthetic fibers are too heavy, and the cotton versions are too clingy. I like fire safety, but I also like having kids who will fall asleep at night.

But these fire-safe jammie laws mean nothing if everyone buys a bigger size or ditches the clothes for loose T-shirts and shorts. It’s common sense to avoid clothes that smell like chemicals. It’s common sense to buy clothes that fit. And it’s common sense to keep the kids away from things that make fire.

Until recently I was under the impression that these laws existed to protect kids who woke up in burning homes, but I was wrong. In 2000, a memo from the Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that children should only wear cotton pajamas when they are snug because loose garments catch fire fast. The press release notes, “Children are most at risk from burn injuries that result from playing with fire (matches, lighters, candles, burners on stoves) just before bedtime and just after rising in the morning.”

It sounds to me that rather than changing the clothes, fire prevention experts need to work on looking into households where kids routinely play with fire before bedtime. Limiting access to matches and lighters and teaching kids not to turn on the stove might be, say, a whole lot more effective. Guards that prevent young children from being able to turn on the stove would be a good move, too.

And maybe the parents could just make sure they occasionally look in on the kids. (Sadly, I know, that’s sometimes too much to ask.) I’d have to say that tight cotton pajamas and chemical-coated polyester blends certainly do seem to be a Band-Aid here.

They aren’t really doing the job, either, if most people avoid buying the products. It’s a little like banning brown wooly coats so children don’t get shot by hunters. It’s the free-ranging gun that’s the problem! Just like it’s the free-ranging fire sources that prompted these rules.

Let’s start a movement instead to get the lighters and matches away from kids, and outfit every home with a stove guard.

Do you break the fire safety regulations, too, or do you follow every last rule to the letter? Let’s discuss that in the comments.

Kid, get out of my hair

Raising kids can be a scary business.

The latest manifestation of this, for me, has lately come in the form of hair pulling. Hard hair pulling, at close range, with an adorable, smiling two-year-old cackling, breathing directly into my face, chanting: “Let go! Let go! Let go!”

Forget “What to Expect.” This is some “Sopranos” shit. Who knew a toddler could be such a chilling assassin? And when did he learn to sound like Gollum?

I really did a bit of mental arithmetic during one attack lately, such as, what happens if he does not actually, um, well, let go?! Do I lose hair? Skin? Platelets? His nasty, sticky little fingers are not coming loose, and I see some sort of weird trophy lust in his little blue eyes. Mocking my previous requests to stop rending follicles out of my scalp was not particularly nice of him, either.

Pediatrician/parenting expert Dr. Harvey Karp likens toddlers this age to charming chimps, but, as we all know, one lovely chimpanzee ate that lady’s face off a few years ago. I love my kids, but, hell no, we are not going there. I draw the line at no nursing while eating, and no gnawing off Mommy’s discernible features.

Well, maybe … but only if he promised to finally sleep through a night.

Previously posted at The Two Boys Club site: http://twoboysclub.com

What have your kids done that made you fear for your own safety?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

%d bloggers like this: