Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Working Mothers: Bane or Boon

I say bane. Before you all jump my case, let me make mine. Anyone who knows me knows I am anti-working-mother. I do not believe mothers should work. Call me old fashioned or anti-feminist or even late to supper. But I do not believe mothers should work. Mothers should stay at home, keep house, keep the finances and raise and be there for their children. I do not believe in "quality time", I think that's a bunch of bullshit designed to make mothers feel better about dumping their kids' butts in daycare.

Now, my mother worked. But she is not the basis for my beliefs. My mother hated children. Why she had four of them is anybody's guess and I know a few of the reasons, sad and pathetic as they are. But she never should have had them and would not have had them had she had the ability to recognize and marry a decent man. I say that because a good marriage was pretty much one of the few options open to the women of her time period. My mother graduated from high school when she was almost twenty years old (she was a functional illiterate)in 1955. In those days, it was expected that you met your husband in one of two places: high school or college. That's just the way it was. A few privileged women went on to break out of the mold and get a higher education other than their Mrs. degree. Seriously, my mother would have been better off being a nurse or a teacher and living out her life as an old maid. Unfortunately, she was from Canada and a textbook example of an illegal immigrant. (They're not ALL from Mexico) Her town in Bonanza, British Columbia did not offer a decent education so she came to the US to live with her sister and sister's husband.( at least that's what I was told) Once she graduated she faced having to return to Canada or continue to live in the US on an expired student visa. She chose to get pregnant out of wedlock instead. Her story doesn't end there but my brother is a textbook example of an "anchor baby". It's obvious to state that my mother went on to live a life of bad decision making evidenced by this first foray.

Career decisions in my mother's time were few and far between. It was Career or Wife and Motherhood and many women were just fine with the latter. There were a few that thought they could Have It All but it was rare. You stayed home. You washed and ironed the clothes. You made the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on homemade bread and brown bagged it for your kids with their names clearly labeled. Your children had a hot breakfast every morning. They dressed appropriately in clean clothes, brushed hair and clean nails. They sat still in class, they shut their mouths and "The Principal's Office" was something to be feared and to be ashamed of. Mothers knew who their kids hung with, knew what their grades were, knew when homework should be completed and knew what their kids were doing. There were very few fat kids in those days because fast food was a treat...not a meal replacement. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mickey D's wasn't on every corner but the Malt Shop was. And Malt Shops turned out burgers and fries like every other fast food joint. Kids played outside when chores and homework was completed. Yes. Kids had chores. They were responsible for keeping their rooms picked up and the lawns mowed, and in some areas, the chickens fed. Boys coveted bicycles because they could get a paper route to earn extra money. San bicycles, they bagged groceries at the market and earned ten cents per tip. Kids found ways to entertain themselves that did not include Playstation, Wii, Xbox, the Disney Channel and microwave Mac and Cheese.

We're doing a lot of things wrong in raising children these days because we're in such a fever to do things differently than from the way we were raised. Excluding myself because my upbringing was horrendous, I have to stand up for the Eisenhower-Happy Days-Joanie Loves Chachi-Leave It To Beaver Mom.

No. You don't have to wear a full dress, crinoline, pearls, high heels and lipstick to keep house...unless there's something really funky going on in your household and then...seriously...I can live my life happily without knowing the details. But I also don't buy this line from Julia Roberts in the film "Mona Lisa Smile":

"What will future scholars see when they study us, a portrait of women today? There you are ladies: the perfect likeness of a Wellesley graduate, Magna Cum Laude, doing exactly what she was trained to do. Slide - a Rhodes Scholar, I wonder if she recites Chaucer while she presses her husband's shirts. Slide - hehe, now you physics majors can calculate the mass and volume of every meatloaf you make. Slide - A girdle to set you free. What does that mean? What does that mean?"

Julia Roberts' character, Katherine Watson, is an art instructor at Wellesley College in the early 1960's. Her diatribe insinuates that it is pointless to educate a woman if all she's going to do with her life is be a wife and mother. So it appears to me that being a wife and a mother is lower than being an educated career woman which I call bullshit on. It's just bullshit. The most important job for a woman is her job as a wife and a mother. Perhaps back in the 60's and the fashion challenged 70's, the feminist movement found it necessary to prove that women were just as powerful and as smart as men. These are concepts that I honestly and truly have no problem with.

Women are strong. Women are powerful. Women are smart. If we are doing the same work as a man, putting in the same hours as a man, we deserve the same pay and chances for promotions as that man. But seriously, it ends there. Our mothers were sold some bullshit bill of goods that conditioned them and their daughters to not only believe they could "have everything" but that they deserved it...were entitled to it.

You're not entitled to anything. You get what you work for and even then sometimes you don't get that. There are only so many hours in the day and at some point, you have to make a choice between two things. You don't get to have everything you want just because you want it. This is something we were supposed to have learned before the first grade.

What prompted this blog was New York Times writer David Leonhardt's article: Economic Odds Stacked Against Mothers: 'women do almost as well as men today as long as they don't have children'.

Which is pretty much true but not for the "women aren't smart enough" or "women can't handle positions of authority" nonsense. No, Leonhardt goes on to explain that working women take far more time off from work than their male counterparts. They cannot come in early to work and they cannot stay late. He also suggests that those women who do have children and have made it into exceptional positions of power in their careers are the exception but not the rule. You know... the friends of a friend of a friend argument. "I have a friend who has three kids and she does just fine." I'm happy for the friend. But she's the exception. Everyone else is the rule.

No. Here's my bitch with women in the workplace: I have not worked with one working mother that didn't resent me for my single childless status, didn't come in late or want to leave early for child-related issues, called in sick whenever her child ran a fever and flat out just didn't want to be there.

That is my number two biggest pet peeve of working mothers. The ones I have worked with do NOT want to be there. Flat out. They don't want to be there. There are a myriad of reasons WHY they are there but that doesn't mean they want to be. They don't. They are tired. They are exhausted. They are sleep deprived.

Let's face facts: anyone who has ever been a mother knows that kids are unbelievably demanding. And it never lets up. Ever. Ever. The demands never ever let up. One of my biggest bitches about people who have kids these days is that they don't seem to get the concept that children are a lifestyle change. It's not something you do to get the attention that was lost when your bridal glow faded. It's not something you do to get the parties and the presents and the special favors you got when you were the Princess Bride. It's Parenthood. And unlike the Bridal Glow, Parenthood doesn't fade away. There's no baby shower game that is worth the child that you sigh away resentment with when he demands more and more.

Kids are a lifestyle change, not something you do on the fringes of your life. I've seen brides put more thought, stress more decisions, weep over stupid shit like color schemes and party favors in their weddings and put next to no thought over the child they conceive and how in the free hell they were going to raise said human being. No one really gives a damn about some dorky party favor with "Mike and Sue Forever" ribbons attached to it but we're damn sure concerned that you don't raise Mikey Jr to grow up to be a criminal. What's more important?

Now to the job front. There hasn't been a mother that I've worked with that didn't resent being there. Resentment. Flat out. It's rude and it's crude but there it is. They resent being there. They are there for a variety of reasons, most I don't agree with. Anyone who knows me knows I don't buy the "You need two incomes today to raise kids" bullshit. If you need two incomes (and I know people who've raised six to ten kids and didn't have two incomes and their kids did just fine) you can't afford to have kids. But they resent having to be there. Mostly, they're tired...flat out exhausted. But they are resentful.

And NewsFlash!! Children aren't a right. They are a privilege. On a colder note, as a taxpayer, I'm sick and tired of paying to publicly educate your ill mannered children. But THAT'S a whole other blog.

No, I don't think it's sexism that thwarts women in the workplace. I think it's something they still refuse to acknowledge: their poor decision making in all aspects of their life that led them to be a working mother.

My Number One Pet Peeve regarding working mothers is their talent, penchant, and finely honed ability to bring their kids' sicknesses into the workplace and spread that shit around. Nothing pisses me off worse than catching a nasty cold because some working mom came to work carrying her kids' sick germs. Then she has to go home because whatever daycare she abandoned them in called her to tell her that "Nice try Mrs. Working Mom. But the Children's Tylenol you filled little Jessica-Amber with this morning has worn off. She's rocking a temperature and we can't have her here." So much for Working Mom carrying her load.

As a child, I do not remember ever having chickenpox. I don't remember being vaccinated for it either so as far as I know, I'm susceptible to it. Adults always suffer chickenpox worse than if they'd had it as kids. Did I ever see red when some dumbass mother came to work one day and announced "My kids have the chickenpox so if you want your kids to get and get it over with, come over by me, because they're contagious!" Like she was doing the office some great big favor. Never did she once consider that there might be some adult there who HADN'T had chickenpox and really...truly... wasn't interested in catching them from her snot-nosed spawn.

Currently, I do not work. I am a stay at home wife (whatever in the hell that means). No, I'm not sitting on the couch with bon bons watching Jerry Springer and Oprah. I volunteer with dog rescue, I'm trying to fix up our 112 year old house, the lawn is growing out of control, I'm a product reviewer, I have a popcorn business and I'm trying to get two books and a cookbook published. My husband works from home and I take care of him and the household. I have plenty to do and Jerry Springer would only get in my way. But even though I do not work outside of the home now in the traditional sense, I do not seek a return to the office environment. Nor do I ever see myself wanting that. I hate working with mothers. This next statement may be sexist but working with men poses far less trouble, angst, drama and upheaval than working with mothers.

I don't think it's sexist to say that working women cause more issues in the working environment than men do. You're too emotional, you take things far more personally and seriously and some of you just can't help bringing your personal lives to work and making the rest of us pay for whatever in the hell went wrong that morning. And if you're anything like my mother was, you just can't help causing trouble in the workplace. That woman had the worst thirst for causing trouble in the workplace of anyone I've ever known. If nothing angsty was happening, she'd just make shit up about someone just to get the ball rolling. It's called schadenfreude and it means taking pleasure from the unhappiness of others.

So just stay home. Don't tell me that it's not fulfilling. If you can't find enough to do, you're not very smart. And if enough of you stayed home and tended to your children and realized that they really not slices of heaven but little bastards that will con you for whatever they can get, you might instill a little discipline instead of asking public school teachers to raise them for you. Yes. Little bastards. Kids are smart. That's why they're so demanding. They will demand any and everything they can get. When they're babies, that's one thing. Demands are their only means of communication. As they get older their schemes become more insidious unless you put the smackdown.

I am reminded of a friend of mine whose daughter is a talented figure skater. Her daughter skates because she likes it and because she's good at it. Make no mistake. Figure skating looks easy but physically, it's the hardest damn thing you'll ever try. One of my friend's pals is a Typical Skating Mom who says to her own daughter, "Madison-Olivia, (or insert pretentious trendy name here)if you skate really well, we'll get you a new dress." Upon hearing that, my friend's daughter looked to my friend with hope and gleam in her eyes. To which my friend replied kindly but firmly to her daughter, "The day I bribe you to skate is the last day you skate."

Mothers need to be at home. And make no mistake. There's no shame in being childless. If you choose a career but eschew motherhood, no one's going to tar you and feather you. Too much child abuse in the news these days negates the whole "You're so selfish for not having children" argument which just steams of bovine excrement anyway.

Mothers need to be at home raising their kids. That's it. Until you can bring it completely to the workplace (and let's face it honestly, you're human... you can't keep up the whole separation of home and work thing forever) stay out of the workplace.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Parents and Bullies

We’ve all seen and read the news story about 15 year old Phoebe Prince, the young Irish immigrant living in South Hadley, Massachusetts who committed suicide when the bullying by six bottom feeders at her school got to be too much. The coup de grace came while she was walking home and a car load of the bullies drove by and threw a can of soda at her hitting her in the head. Hours later, she hanged herself.

Well, now it comes to light that Prince sought help from her school’s administrators only to be met with deaf ears. Two teachers at her school also reported two separate incidences of bullying towards Prince and nothing came of that either. The six bullies involved have finally been taken out of that school, charged with a host of crimes, (two of the boys involved face rape charges) and everyone’s lawyered up. School officials, according to District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, the fact that school admins knew about it but did nothing was “bothersome but not criminal”. School officials do not face charges in this matter.

There isn’t a parent alive that has not come across a school bully. It’s an oft told story and to date, we can put a man on the moon, we can perform heart surgery on a fetus in utero but we cannot solve the problem of how to get our children to behave. And quite frankly, I’d like to know why.

Back in the day, when schools actually had some disciplinary authority over students, bullies got reported to the principal’s office and were disciplined. Some were thrown out of school, expelled as were. Bullies retaliated by making it “uncool” to tattle and so bullying went on. Then schools were, bit by bit, divested of any real disciplinary measures because parents began wringing their hands over “self esteem and paddling is abuse”. We can’t throw the little bastards out anymore because, for some reason, they have a right to be in school causing trouble. We refuse to allow our teachers to discipline them so now teachers, faced with falling wages and triple classroom sizes have to find creative ways to keep order but not “stifle anyone’s creativity” or “break their spirits” with any kind of hardline discipline.

So, we no longer have public institutions of learning, we have free, glorified daycare. And what’s worse…mom and dad are apparently NOT doing their job at home.

So I would like to hear from teachers and parents alike. Where does a bully come from? What goes on in a home that gives some brat the idea that it is acceptable to go to school and bully anyone else. I’m not talking about Jimmy and Joey fighting on the playground. No…bullying and the lack of action towards it has taken a far more sinister turn. I want to know… would you support statewide anti bullying legislation that required the parent to be punished for their child’s behavior? In other words, your kid gets caught under age drinking, loitering, shoplifting, and bullying other kids just to name a few transgressions. How willing would you be to bend over backwards circumventing this behavior if you, as the parent, were faced with a very stiff financial penalty for each transgression? How likely are you to know where your child is, what your child is doing, how your child behaves and if your child is bullying another student if you are the one who has to pick up trash and dead animals on the roadside all while wearing a bright neon vest emblazoned with the words “I Raised My Child To Be a Bully” or “ I Raised My Child to Drink and Drive”, “I Raised My Child to be a Shoplifter”, “I Raised My Child to Be a Thief”. No mani-pedi appointments to keep, no soccer practice to get to, no…you’re rocking some serious community service hours out on the roadside wearing an embarrassing vest emblazoned with your child’s behavioral crime so that all of your friends, neighbors, work associates, bosses and people you don’t know can see what a lousy parent you are. Seriously, if you had to do the time, how likely is your kid to do the crime? I want to know.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The argument regarding Public Schools and Driver's Ed

Anyone who knows me knows I have no love for public school. Once upon a time when there was real respect for education and people realized what a privilege it was to have a public school, there was true instruction, discipline and respect.

Nowadays, public school, in most forms, is little more than a glorified daycare. As usual, I blame the parents. Parents have gotten so mind numbingly lazy and clueless these days that honestly, they shouldn't even be allowed to procreate. Much of the mess that public school is today is due to lazy, clueless parenting.

And here's another example:

Here's the story anyway:

Some schools are dropping driver's ed to cut costs

Beginning driver Ashley Crawford grips the worn gray steering wheel and warily begins maneuvering the 1999 Ford Escort through a set of bright orange traffic cones outside Killian Senior High School.

Associated Press Writer


Beginning driver Ashley Crawford grips the worn gray steering wheel and warily begins maneuvering the 1999 Ford Escort through a set of bright orange traffic cones outside Killian Senior High School.

She considers herself lucky: Because of budget cuts, many schools around the country are leaving driver's ed by the side of the road. They are cutting back on behind-the-wheel instruction or eliminating it altogether, leaving it to parents to either teach their teenagers themselves or send them to commercial driving schools.

"If my parents would have taught me, it would have been different," said Ashley, a 16-year-old sophomore. "When I drive, they try to tell me what to do, and I get nervous."

Some educators and others worry that such cutbacks could prove tragic.

"As soon as people start taking driver's education away from the kids, we're going to pay for it with lost lives, collisions, and ultimately that costs everybody," said John Bolen, past president of the Florida Professional Driving School Association.

Some worry also that many parents can't afford the $350 to $700 that private lessons can cost or don't have the skills to teach their kids themselves. Even for those who can do it, the combination of parents, teenagers and learning how to drive can be volatile.

In more than half the states, minors who want a license must take driver's education from a certified instructor, said Allen Robinson, CEO of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association. However, that doesn't necessarily mean schools are required to offer a class. (Generally, after age 18, would-be drivers do not have to undergo any formal instruction.)

High schools started rolling back driver's ed after their effectiveness was called into question in the 1980s. The more recent cutbacks have been driven by school funding shortages, and the trend might be accelerating because of the downturn in the economy, said J. Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Robinson said the nation's schools have all but eliminated driver's ed as an elective course offered during the school day.

Here in Miami-Dade County, the nation's fourth-largest school system got rid of driver's ed during the day at all but Killian and another school. Students can still enroll in a free after-school course at one of the district's adult education centers. But that is not an option for the many thousands of students who play sports or are involved in other extracurricular activities, or cannot get a ride.

About 10 high schools in Georgia eliminated or reduced driver's education this school year. A dozen more did the same in Kansas last year. In Volusia County, Fla., schools eliminated daytime driver's ed three years ago, replacing it with summer, after-school and Saturday classes. Enrollment plummeted two-thirds, saving about $400,000 a year.

"This is not because they don't believe in driver's ed," said Bob Dallas, director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "They do, but they're facing the same financial pressure that everybody in government is facing."

In rural Pennsylvania, the Titusville district got rid of the behind-the-wheel portion of its program last spring, saving about $20,000. In Blountville, Tenn., the driver's education program was cut in half about five years ago because of budget woes. Administrators considered eliminating the $130,000-a-year program last spring, but did not.

"It could save lives. It's very simple," said Jack Barnes, director of schools in Sullivan County, Tenn. "We don't want any of our students injured or killed because of mistakes they made that possibly a program like this could help."

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens; in 2007, an average of 11 16- to 19-year-olds died every day. But Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said studies show there is no difference in crash risk between 16- and 17-year-olds who take driver's ed and those who don't.

"In some cases, driver's education has a negative effect because in some states you can get a license sooner if you take driver's ed," he said.

Private instructors aren't necessarily picking up all the students who can't take driver's ed at school.

Julio Torres, an instructor at the Easy Method Driving School in Miami, said he suspects the downturn in the economy is playing a role. He also said some parents simply prefer to teach their kids.

But Torres and others said parents, despite their best intentions, aren't always the best instructors. For one thing, they may pass their own bad driving habits on to their children.

Also, "the kids are at a stage where they're confrontational with their parents," said Brenda Bennett, owner of a driving school in Erie, Pa., that holds contracts to teach driver's ed through some area high schools. "Then you add driving with a parent and you have more confrontation. Whereas someone like myself, when we take kids out, there's no personality going there. It's just all business."


Now, I get why most parents don't teach their teens to drive. But I also know SCORES of teens who've been driving on their farms and ranches since they were twelve and thirteen years old and when it comes to being taught something by their parents it's not "Like OMG, like totally Mom, like you SO don't know what it's like to be a teenager and driving", it's "Yes sir, and No Sir and Yes Ma'am and No Ma'am." See a difference? I do. It's called "How You Raise Them to Respect You"

But that's not my point. Anyone who has ever read my blog knows what I think about liberal, hands off, don't stifle my precious baby's creativity style parenting.

No, what pissed me off about this story was THIS quote: As soon as people start taking driver's education away from the kids, we're going to pay for it with lost lives, collisions, and ultimately that costs everybody," said John Bolen, past president of the Florida Professional Driving School Association."

Um....excuse me??? You mean if a child doesn't learn how to drive in school...somehow that child will get a license anyway and go out and kill people? Even if I COULD wrap my head around that philosophy, since when did some idiot modern day teenager EVER listen to anything taught in a public school???

Public schools teach them (ad nauseum) about the ills of drinking and driving...yet every year I see more and more of these asshole roadside memorials dedicated to someone's high school pal who decided, at the ripe old age of 16 or 17, that she/he knew better with a gut full of alcohol that taking that turn with a car load of asshole friends was a smart move.

Public schools pass out condoms and require 8th graders to tote around a baby doll all day to teach them that the responsibilities of parenthood at an early age are cumbersome. Doesn't stop "hookups" in college or teen pregnancy or teen STDs.

These are just two examples of curriculum that schools teach that students pay absolutely no attention to so what makes me think that statistical deaths on the road will increase if Driver's Education is not taught in public schools.

There is another argument to this that also just royally pisses me off: "The parents won't teach the children so the public school has to." No. If a teen wants a driver's license, the teen can go to a school that will teach them what the parent won't. Do I care if the parent can't afford the school's fees? No I don't. The public schools can barely get classrooms of fifty or more disrespectful, obstinate louts to read and write with any success and NOW parents want the schools to teach them more??

Just what, exactly, are the parents teaching their children? Well... let's start with what the parents AREN'T teaching their children: the word "no", discipline, respect for others, self esteem, some kind of work ethic, self respect, respect for teachers and authority.

Zip, Zero, Nada. And it's simple as to why: Americans have, for the most part, become a society that does not like to be told they are doing anything wrong. School administrators tippy toe around parents when they have to call them for disciplinary reasons only to have to parent, irritated that THEIR personal time is interrupted, proclaim that the school is picking on their child, the child said they didn't commit the infraction and they stand behind their child, or (my favorite) boys will be boys or girls will be girls.

Now I'm not a school administrator. But if I were a school administrator, I'd be the biggest asshole and a bain to the existence of parents and students alike. You see, I'm lucky. I don't care if people like me. I don't live to have people like me. I'm immune from being validated by popular opinion. And school admins, hear me, are not in the business of having people like them. They are there to enforce the rules and, if it comes to that, make them hurt.

The ONLY way in today's society that you are going to get parents to take their brats in hand is to make them what they are: Responsible for Their Child's Actions. Parents are going to make damn sure they know where their kids are and where the alcohol came from if THEY have to spend 48 hours in the pokey due to a law that requires a 48 hour mandatory incarceration for first time DUI. Think about it. If you serve two days in the county lockup along with prostitutes, drug dealers and people who piss all over themselves for the fun of it because YOUR teen got caught drinking and/or driving.... how likely are YOU to make damn sure that you never have to do that again? Why you? Your child is a minor and YOU the PARENT, are responsible for your minor child's actions.

How about a nice fine that can be paid through your home owner's insurance? You think money is tight now? Wait until you get nailed with a fine that YOU have to pay as the parent because you teen went out and did something stupid. And the judges can do it. In order to get a judgment, they can clean you out: savings, stocks, 401K, insurance... and good luck ever getting insurance again. How about if, in addition to the fine, YOU are the one who has to perform the community service picking up trash along the main interstate? Like bright orange? How likely are you to take your child in hand and make them fly right if YOUR neighbors, friends, co workers, bosses etc are the ones driving by watching you pick up trash, weeds and dead roadkill while wearing an orange vest that says "I'm Doing Community Service so My Precious Teenager Doesn't Have To".

Is that the school's responsibility too?

Americans are requiring schools, just like they are requiring their health insurance, to cover everything. Problem is, covering everything costs.... and parents are too busy covering their credit card debt ceiling to pay for something additional like bad lifestyle habits and educating their children.

Well, sports fans...the Roaring Twenties Ride is over. It's over for the housing market, for the job market, for the jack asses on Wall Street and most likely over for Unspooled Spendthrift Congress people come Nov. 2010.. It's also over for public schools. They can't teach your child everything because there aren't enough hours in the day and you, as the parent, do little if anything, to help out.

You don't teach the basics to your children so you send these ill mannered, spoiled brats to school and then you hamstring the disciplinary options for the school. To add insult to injury, you pay public school teachers just a little better than a full time night manager at Mc Donald's and for that, you want an Einstein. With little or no responsibility.

Teaching children about drugs, sex, drinking and how to drive responsibly was and is and will always be a parent's responsibility. If you cannot handle it, scrape up the cash to find someone who WILL teach them this be it a driver's school or a good counselor or both. For those of you who are childless, NOW is a good time to ask YOURSELF if you have what it takes to be a good parent and teach your child what needs to be taught, get behind the teachers and enforce the lessons they teach and sacrifice that cute blouse or latest whatever to pay to have someone teach your child what you're not able to.

Death stats are not going to be appreciably altered by a school's driver's education curriculum. That is a scare tactic and if anything, adults should be angry at having their intelligence insulted like this.

Get real people. If you do not require your health insurance company to cover everything (sorry, your inability to put down the smokes and booze and booger sugar is NOT my problem) then your premiums would go down. If you do your job as a parent, you won't HAVE to worry about your kid winding up as a roadside memorial or a teenage rehab or pregnancy statistic. Your public schools cannot teach your children everything. Start taking some responsibility.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tiger Woods and the Mystery of the Midlife Crisis

Yes. Ok. I got it. Tiger Woods, America's All Star Athletic Role Model Hero for the ages is.... gasp....human!!!! OMG!!!!! He's human. Far from perfect and not exactly Mr. Morality on the homefront.

Here's what Pink knows: Tiger Woods, Mr. Unstoppable on the Golf Course, dipped his nib outside of the marital pool. Wife found out about it and took a 9 Iron (allegedly) to her philandering husband whose escape attempt resulted in him running over fire hydrant and hitting a tree. Husband issued an apology, wife is now checking out her pre-nup (just in case) and the world continues to turn. Divorce may or may not ensue. We don't know because.... well... we're not married to Tiger Woods or Elin Nordgren.

Now, frankly Scarlett, none of this is really our business. We know about it because Tiger Woods is a superior athlete and he rakes in Big Fat Stupid Bucks from his endorsements and tournaments. (mostly endorsements) and the press follows his phenomenal golfing escapades. He's also a pretty nice guy and up until this Thanksgiving Whoopsy Daisy, pretty much kept his name and mug out of the tabloid press. He is, essentially, a nice guy. He gives to charity, doesn't do drugs, doesn't abuse animals, isn't photographed getting out of an SUV without panties on, isn't shooting up speedballs outside of the Viper Room.

His marital transgressions do not take away from the fact that he is a superior athlete and knows his game.

Am I excusing Tiger Woods' behavior in cheating on his wife with whatever bimbo-looking-for-a-book-deal-cocktail waitress that catches his eye? No. I am not. I neither condone nor understand his actions.

But I am also not surprised nor am I terribly disappointed in Woods either. This is because I, unlike almost everyone else whose life seems to be in upheaval over this scandal, never put Tiger Woods on a pedestal and assigned to him standards that no mortal could ever live up to. I don't worship athletes, movie stars, television reality show contestants, singers, musicians etc. I grew up in Las Vegas. And until you've gone to school with kids whose dads or uncles are Elvis impersonators, you really have no idea just how human performers are. Celebrities, be they athletes, singers, musicians, actors...whatever.... they're humans. They breathe in and out just like you. Put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you, eat and drink and go potty. Just like you.

Did I go crazy over a hot rockstar when I was 16? Yes. His name was Rick Springfield (I am REALLY dating myself here) and he was just to die for. Actually, he's still kind of hot. But I knew at sixteen years old that I would never grow up to marry Rick Springfield so I really didn't care when he married a couple of years later. I met Rick Springfield when I was 16...along with everyone else at my school who was working the Jerry Lewis Telethon that year. He was a nice guy but that was it. He didn't fart butterflies and I never saw a halo around his head. Growing up in Las Vegas, you meet or run into a LOT of celebrities. Andre Agassi (I'm still kind of pissed off at him to this day) pulled out in front of me in traffic (back in the day) and I damn near hit him. Understand that I was driving the crappiest Dodge Omni that Chrysler ever made at the time and he was in a flashy, black Porsche 911. He pulled right out in front of me and I had to hit the brakes hard to keep from hitting him. Tom Cruise accidentally knocked me down in the Ceasar's Palace casino when he was in town filming Rain Man. To be fair, he was actually sort of pushed into me by a crowd of fans and other people and I had no idea that he was on the other side of a slot machine block. ( I had taken on a part time job as a professional child care sitter and was leaving an assignment which is really the only way you'd ever find me in a casino in the first place.) He helped me up, asked me if I was ok and the crowd pretty much pushed him onward. Let's see ... who else? I mean come on.. it's Vegas. You live there long enough (and I no longer do) and you meet and run into pretty much anyone. They're just people who do something either extraordinary or unusual for a living.

Tiger Woods is no exception. He's a gifted athlete. But he's human. Nothing changed when he hit the big time. He was still human. So he's going to do human stuff and that means, stupid human stuff like chip around on his wife. I don't condone what he did.

But seriously. All this weeping and wailing and tearing of clothes and removing of photographs (see Scott Kelby's blog here: and bitter disappointment is a little too much.

Why the big disappointment? I'll tell you why... because people worship him. They expected him to fart butterflies and hallucinated that a halo glows around his head. So he acts human, screws up, gets caught and now everyone is ready to slit their wrists? They're upset because he's no longer a "role model for my child"?

People, he never should have been a role model for your children in the first place. He never should have been worshiped in the first place. You're disappointed because YOU set standards for him that no mortal can live up to. You decided that he should be above all humans, above all reproach and never, ever, make a mistake. YOU decided that he was a deity to worship. If you're upset and disappointed, well... that's too bad. Because YOU set yourself up for this disappointment. Personally, I worship someone...but you're not going to find Him in People Magazine's Sexiest Man issue. People, Sports Illustrated and the like usually don't see a lot of press mileage in a humble Jewish carpenter but I do. My Savior is definitely a role model because I'm always being asked What Would Jesus Do? Not: What would Michael Vick do?

See the difference? Tiger Woods never went into golf promising us anything other than his best work out on the golf course.

And while we're on the subject... C'mon Man!!!!! I don't condone cheating on one's spouse. But when you compare what Woods did to the transgressions of Ron Artest (Former Indiana Pacer and current LA Laker) aforementioned Michael (dog fight) Vick, Ray Carruth (former Carolina Panthers player who shot and killed the woman carrying his child because he didn't want to pay child support) and Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens player was arrested for murder but got off when witness testimony placing him as a perpetrator was altered. Lewis later reached monetary settlements with the families of the victims. To date, the criminal cases remain unsolved and no one has been held accountable for the murders) et al, what Woods has done hardly warrants these calls for his head on a silver platter or burning at the stake.

Get over yourselves, Sports Fans and accept that while these people might be extremely gifted, they're still human, they're going to do stupid stuff and their yearly income, lavish lifestyles, press attention, fame and fortunes are not passports to safety from being human. And stop worshiping them. Admire them for their talents, musicianship, game play, abilities, acting talents... whatever. Admire Tiger Woods for being (for the most part) a nice guy. Look at his transgressions and think for the first time in your life "I'm really glad I'm not him". And then teach your children to look up to someone else. And if you set the right example, the role model they will have will be you. And while you're at it, take a leaf out of Scott Kelby's blog (aforementioned) and rather than pass judgment on Woods, pray for him. Pray for him and for his family that they heal from this rift and move on and become stronger.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Johnny Can't Read

I haven't blogged in awhile and for that, I apologize. I've certainly been pissed off about enough events and happenings TO blog. For instance, I don't know WHY this country can't muster enough intelligence to vote in a President with a set of balls like Ronald Reagan's.

I don't care if you're a liberal Dem or if you're a Republican or if you're Green Party. I don't really care. We've had nothing but a series of bumblebutts in office since the Reagan years. Everyone wants to prance around and be politically correct and make sure that those individuals who DO speak out are prevented from buying football teams.

In two words, America, GROW UP. Just grow the frick up already. This is MY country. I was born here and I love my country. If you don't want to defend her to the sword rattling third world toilets, then get out of my country. If you don't want to take responsibility for YOUR part of this crappy economy, go live in Canada. And take Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi with you. If you don't want to work hard, use up what you have and make do without credit cards subsidizing a lifestyle you never worked for, get out of my country.

Barring that: Grow up and get your head out of your ass and back into business. Your life is a shambles. Your financial situation is bleak and your kids can't read. Why? Because you're lazy. You are fat and you are lazy and the reason you can't pay your bills is because you've learned nothing from the 1920's.

It's all fun isn't it? Using credit cards to buy clothes, meals in restaurants, French manicures, those stupid trendy blouses that look more like pregnancy shirts, name brand this, bought-at-the-mall that, a cell phone that can remote detonate your dishwasher...hefty loans for cars that show off just how "cool " you are.

Well, the Roaring Roller Coaster ride is over. And rather than live within your means, you've got credit card bills and car loans and quite possibly a house loan that is choking the life out of you. And now that the credit limits are maxed, the car needs repairs and the kids want a bigger and better cell phone, and you're deprived of the right to buy something new every day, you realize how petty and limited your life is.

Hey. I get the whole lure of the credit card thing. I do. I did it myself. Was I stupid? Oh God yes. Ridiculously stupid. I could make excuses like, "I was never taught anything about money" and I would be right. Doesn't absolve me though. I could make excuses about why I like nice things but it's pretty damn shallow. I was shallow. I was an absolute idiot. The difference? I'm not stupid anymore. We've used every ounce of money into constructing a debt snowball and now we have a few debts paid off, our car is paid off, we only have one car where we used to have two, and it's taking a long time to renovate our 112 year old Victorian Cape Cod cottage because we're paying for it as we go. We have a few more debts to pay off. And we make do.. A friend asked me why I was patching my husband's jeans the other day with those iron on patch thingies instead of buying a new pair of jeans. Well, why in the hell would I buy a whole new pair of jeans when these only have a couple of holes in them and can be patched. These jeans have tons of wear in them...more now that they're patched.

And guess what? No one cares. No one cares that they're patched. No one cares if they're new. No one gives a crap about a designer handbag either. At least I don't. I used to. I really did until I realized how stupid it made me look. And a lot of today's "designer" handbags are so ridiculously ugly, it's an insult. I mean, come on. Gold and silver lame' belong on kid's Halloween costumes, Vegas showgirls and Elvis jumpsuits. In short, gaudy, tacky and not to be taken seriously. And folks,... some of you MIGHT be carrying the Real Deal...but to me... it looks like a knock-off. That's right. No one cares because they pretty much figure you bought a knock-off so any effect you think it's having....isn't. And how's that pricetag working out for you?

But this is a blog about how Johnny can't read. Not why his Mommy would rather spend his college fund on her tacky designer handbags and passe' French manicures.

Johnny can't read for one fundamental reason:

Mom and Dad are lazy. That's it. Lazy. They don't care. Reading is "the school's job". That's the familiar refrain. That's first excuse I hear from parents who think worrying about the H1N1 is proof that they're being a good parent. "I'm/We a/are working mother/father/parents. I/we am/are doing my/our best.

Hey Mom and/or Dad... Your best? Your best isn't good enough. It's not even in the friggin ballpark.

Mom.. you had Johnny on your lunch hour. You took a long enough maternity leave to get some cool gifts, bitch about sleep deprivation and cause a ruckus at the mall because Victoria's Secret wouldn't let you use a dressing room that they keep for paying customers for you to be able to breastfeed our Precious Darling. Before you even knew what you had, you dumped his butt in daycare and got back to your precious job that you swear you just have to have in order to make ends meet.

If ends weren't meeting, why were you adding another mouth to feed and extra expense to the mix? But that's another blog. Now Johnny's in daycare and you have huge daycare costs. Johnny's not learning anything in daycare like his ABC's, making complete sentences, how to share, how to make friends or how to eat with a fork. When he comes home, he's dumped in front of television while you figure out if dinner will be catered by McDonald's or KFC that night because you couldn't organize your household to save your life. Oh, and you're just TOO tired. But you're not too tired to run to the mall to run up your credit cards for cute new clothes for work and lunches out and pretend you do all of this "for your child".

Now it's time for Johnny to go to school. But the only pre schooling he's ever gotten has come from a dirty, smelly overcrowded daycare where mothers like you dump their kids off with just enough Children's Tylenol in them to keep a temperature at bay while you pray he lasts through the day before you're called to come and get him before he infects everybody else.

You haven't taught him how to share, you haven't taught him discipline. In many instances, you haven't potty trained him either. He's never slept in his own bed. He doesn't sit still for longer than two minutes and warthogs have better dining manners than he does. He has no respect for authority, the world stops and moves at his every scream and he's gets everything he wants at the drop of a temper tantrum. Then you send his little butt to school to a teacher who has forty-five more just like him. And then you hamstring his teachers and school because you don't want your precious darling punished for behaving in the animal-like manner for which you have trained him. Now the teachers are being told they have to stand on their heads to get these kids to read and write and learn simple math when many of these kids have never held a fork in their hands. None of them have learned the word "no". On top of that, you pay your teachers just slightly better than what they would make working full time at Target. When the kids get home, you've gotten into a "I'm too tired" habit to even make them a nutritious dinner much less go over their homework. It's a dinner of processed or fast food and then hours of eye glazing television. It's toys and gadgets and games to shut them up and keep them from bothering you. At least until the next doctor's appointment where your little Chubsy has now been diagnosed with Type II diabetes and he's not even in the fifth grade.

And woe, woe, woe to the teacher who seeks to break your children out of this cycle by assigning homework and holding YOUR feet to the fire if it's not done. "What about soccer?" you cry. "What about football", you cry. "What about modeling school so he can become the next child star and support his parents on his child star wages until such time as he becomes a hasbeen and has to go into rehab" you cry.

Where in the hell are your priorities, American parents? Where did you get the idea that giving these spoiled brats a cotton candy life was a good idea? Because you want them to have what you didn't have???

Well... let's examine that. I would LOVE my kids to have what I didn't have. I plan to give my children what I never had. Want to know what that is: I'll tell you. I plan to give my children a home with a mother and a father who love each other and have a sound marriage. I plan to turn off the television unless "Unwrapped" or "How Do They Make That" comes on. (Or Live from Lincoln Center featuring classical music artists). Starting from three 1/2, my children are going to have small chores to do around the house. I know some of you think that's impossible but I've employed that tactic and if the children have consistency, these chores become habits: cleaning up your room, picking up toys, making the beds, putting clothes in the hamper, putting clean clothes away in the right drawers. They're going to have decent religious training. They're going to understand why we have traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. That's it's not ALL about the dinner and the presents. They're going to be taught respect for authority, self respect and self esteem because they will have a sense of accomplishment. You work with these children until they understand a chore and why it's necessary to do it. My children will know music, and learning and be able to point out their home state on a damn globe. Especially my daughter. If, for some reason, she winds up as a contestant in a televised beauty pageant, she will be able to coherently answer the question of why children can't find their country on a globe. "I firmly believe that today's children cannot find their home country on a globe because their parents are lame and never taught them properly. You see, my parents made sure that we could find Iraq on a map even if we had to go down the public library and look at the atlas."

Get where I'm coming from now? If your daughter is in a beauty pageant and gives the kind of moronic answer that Miss South Carolina did in the Miss Teen USA pageant, you only have yourself to blame. And here's the comment that will probably piss all of you off.


If your child fails at school, it's 100% your fault. Not shared responsibility. ALL of your responsibility.

You control the home your child lives in. You control his environment. You control what he wears. And to the mothers of teenage girls who dress a little better than your average street whore, this goes double. That lame excuse about letting her "express herself and her individuality" is bullshit. Who wants their daughter to express her inner slut with today's TrampWear found at Aeropostale and Abercrombie and Fitch? If you didn't buy those clothes, she could not wear them and the designers would have to come up with something a little more decent that parents WILL buy.

No. No passes. No "Get Out of Jail Free". "Do not Pass Go". Do not "collect $200".

Your fault, American Parents. 100%. You control their schedule. You control the rules they abide by. You decide what friends they can see and what friends will result in them getting arrested or pregnant. You decide what they watch on television, you monitor their internet and text messages, you monitor their chores and you know if they're hiding pot in their rooms. You're in their face, you're checked into their lives.

Militant? Ok, if that's how you choose to see it. But here's a wake up call. You're not the "cool parent" by letting them do their own thing. You're the "chump parent" if these kids have absolutely no respect for you or their home or enough self awareness to pitch in. Here's another wake up call: You're not doing them one single favor by doing this. You're not training them to be independent and take care of themselves. Parenting is not fun. It's not supposed to be fun. It's called being a parent and only Bill Cosby can make parenting look fun. It takes being a hard ass sometimes as well as tough as nuts consistency. But if you do not do this, you are setting your children up for a lifetime of struggles and clueless existence and I should know. The only things my mother was consistent in doing was berating me, lying to me, resenting me and destroying whatever self worth I had. I struggled for years as a young adult because I had never been taught to be independent. She didn't do it because she was trying to be a cool parent. She did it because she was lazy, neglectful and she just didn't want to bother.

And if I sound harsh and militant to you, I refuse to apologize. I went through hell in my childhood, teens and early adult years because of her neglect. No, I never got into drugs, sex or truancy although God only knows how I avoided that.

And although you may love your children or maybe you just don't know what in the hell to do with them because, unlike your other bright ideas, you can't sell this kit on Craigslist to someone else, the fact is that you're not doing them any favors by checking out or thinking of yourself first or dumping gifts on them.

What you're doing is setting them up for a life of struggles too. They don't know how to read, write, spell or learn anything. They have no work ethic. They cannot do for themselves because they don't know how because you didn't teach them and the schools are not responsible for teaching them everything. Especially not on the shit wages they earn these days.

Wake the hell up, American Parents. If not, then move out of my country and leave it to be people who actually want to work for what they get.