Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: rants

Everything an experienced mom wants to say to the new mom pressuring people to have kids

I’m not ordinarily a fan of open letters but my panties were in such a huge bunch after reading this letter that I had to respond with one of my own. 

Dear Jessica,

I’m going to assume it’s okay to call you that even though we don’t know each other because you made so many assumptions about people you don’t know that we’ll start this by leveling the playing field. 

With that out of the way, I want to say, from one mom to another, congrats on your baby. Motherhood is a wild ride and I wish you only the best. 

Now let me say this–how fucking dare you pass judgement on anyone who doesn’t want to have kids. That is their business, not yours. How fucking dare you attempt, with your holier than thou attitude, invalidate all their reasons not to have kids. All of the reasons you sarcastically and condescendingly dismissed are legit, completely valid reasons to not have children. And you know what else is a completely valid reason? NOT FUCKING WANTING THEM. That’s it. That’s all that it is. If someone doesn’t want to have kids, that’s fine and it’s not for you to comment on. I’ve been a mom for 10 years now and if there’s one thing I learned it’s that someone else’s uterus is none of my fucking business. 

Also, I’m concerned why you care. Are you looking for mom friends? We can be friends. I’ll talk to you about all things motherhood. Are you looking for kudos that you’re a mom? Well, that you’re not going to get from me. Are you looking for content pieces that stir up controversy? To that I say, well done! Mission accomplished!

But seriously, it really shouldn’t matter to you if someone has a child or not. It is a huge responsibility and if someone doesn’t want to make that choice, it’s really not your place to push it on them. If anything, it’ll just make people hate you. I’m pretty sure that’s the last thing you want or need right now. Being a mom is hard enough without you isolating your friends or getting hate mail from strangers on the internet. And let me be clear–I do not hate you. I don’t hate someone I don’t know (usually. There are some exceptions). I do, however, take issue with most of what you wrote and I feel compelled to address it not only on my behalf but on behalf of my friends who are childfree by choice and those who are without children for other circumstances (and, if there’s any doubt I stand in solidarity with my childfree friends, you should check out these promises I made to them a few years back).

You mention that people with children are less selfish and more aware of other children and more concerned with the future. I don’t even know where to start with that. Do you know many parents? Because I do. And I can tell you that I know parents who are 100 times more selfish and less concerned for the future than a good number of my childfree (childless is a rude word, by the way) friends. I have friends who volunteer and raise money and advocate and participate in activities that work to secure a better country, world, and yes, future, for OUR kids. They don’t have to do that. But they do. And I know parents who do absolutely nothing except rely on the actions of people like my friends to protect their kids. 

Interesting, right? 

Also, not having a biological child doesn’t mean you have no kids in your life. Those same friends I mentioned above? Almost all of them are aunts and uncles, and some are stepparents, to kids related by blood and by choice. They show up to birthday parties and recitals and babysit and do all the things parents do. Sometimes they even do them when the parents can’t (or won’t. But we won’t discuss that). They are role models and positive influences and affect the daily lives of these kids. They appreciate baby giggles and toddler cuddles and getting school pictures and all that jazz. And, believe it or not, they are aware of the plight of all children  and want to see them live in a peaceful world as well.

Being a parent does not give you a monopoly or exclusive rights to awareness, empathy, and sympathy. 

You mention leaving a legacy as part of that sympathy so let’s address it next. I agree with you that having a kid gives you an irreplaceable legacy. But why do you assume that nonparents can’t leave one? Look at Dolly Parton. She didn’t have kids and I can assure you that what she’s done for her industry and for her hometown and yes, kids, will live on way after she’s gone. We are all connected to the future and we all want to leave behind something better than what we were given. Not just parents. 

Okay. Moving on to happiness. This topic is so broad that I could probably devote an entire website to it but rather than do that, I want to tell you this–being a parent doesn’t make you more or less happy than your friends who aren’t. It makes you differently happy. I don’t care what. “research” says. You cannot compare the two. There is a different joy that comes with seeing your kid walk for the first time than going to that amazing new restaurant. There is a different pleasure you derive from seeing your kid perform than seeing your favorite band. There is a different happiness you get from having your kid see Cinderella’s castle in person than hopping that last minute flight to London. I could go on but you seem smart so I won’t. But let me be clear–different does not mean less. It simply means different. And that is absolutely fine. 

One final thing. I agree with you that parenting changes your perspective on the world. Being a parent means that you have to think about and focus on events and situations and make choices not only based on how they affect you but how they affect that tiny person you’re responsible for. It’s a lot of fucking pressure. It certainly isn’t fun most days, particularly those grueling newborn days. But it’s rewarding and wonderful and challenging and crazy and interesting and a choice I’m so glad I made. I believe you feel the same way. HOWEVER. It’s not for you to peer pressure someone else into doing it because parenthood is the best choice you made. It’s wrong. And offensive.

Before I sign off, I want to give you this pro parenting tip: Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you lose yourself. Being “mom” doesn’t mean you cease being “Jessica”. It’s important now, more than ever, to make sure you stay connected to your friends, family, and hobbies. Especially since your husband is overseas and you live far away from family, it’s crucial to do what you can to stay active and engaged with others. Bring your daughter along! Trust when I say that most people don’t mind if your daughter comes to lunch or to a Netflix binge. Yes, you might have to pause for a diaper change or a feeding but if it’s a true friend, they won’t care. And those are the people you’re going to need the most. But if your attitude towards them is the same one you portray in that letter, they’ll leave you. I guarantee it.

So, that’s it. I hope, if anything, you’ve learned that passing judgement on someone else’s reproductive choices is bullshit. Doing so deepens the divide and really, it accomplishes nothing. You need to be happy with your choice and let others be happy with theirs. 

Love,

Jana

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Post-election words for my daughter

Last night, my country elected a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, socially regressive demagogue and his homophobic running mate into the 2 highest offices possible. I haven’t fully comprehended quite how it happened, although, if I’m being completely honest, I kind of do. And it makes me incredibly sad.

My daughter, the champion badass that she is, tried to stay awake as long as possible, keeping hope alive that things would turn and she would go to bed in a world where Hillary was winning. She cried when it didn’t. And now it’s my job to explain to her that even though our country is on fire, it’ll all be okay. And not simply because we live in a state that just elected our first female black representative but because we live in a country that, despite the horrific outcome of last night’s election, has this:

  • People who will stand up to the bigotry and hatred and fight for what’s right
  • A system that allows us to be outspoken and critical of our government and people screaming their discontent as loud as they can
  • A generation of kids my daughter’s age who see what’s going on and who have parents that encourage them to get involved and who will do so because they want to do better than we did
  • A Constitution that protects basic rights and, despite the way it might appear, will continue to protect those rights
  • Resilience
  • An election cycle that will hopefully undo this shitshow in 4 years

Donald Trump might be our president-elect but he can’t control what goes on in our living rooms. He can’t stop me from teaching my daughter the value and importance of compassion and tolerance. He can’t stop me from teaching her that bullying is wrong and acceptance is right. He can’t stop me from teaching her that her vote matters, even in a country that makes her feel like it doesn’t. He can’t stop me from teaching her that “NO” is a complete sentence and no one has the right to touch her anywhere he wants simply because he thinks he can. He can’t stop me from teaching her that love is love. He can’t stop me from teaching her that she needs to educate herself and not fall prey to shiny, empty promises. He can’t stop me from teaching her that name calling and mockery are not a dignified way to get what what you want. He can’t stop me from teaching her to use her voice to express her discontent. He can’t stop me from teaching her that we’ve come too far as a country to turn back now. He can’t stop me from teaching her that yes, you need to respect the office of the president, but that he is #notmypresident. 

He is not reflective of our family’s values and beliefs. He is not reflective of my vision and hope for this country’s future. He is not reflective of my vote.

So, to my daughter, I also say: I’m sorry this country let you down. I’m sorry we showed that the 2nd amendment is more important than the 19th. I’m sorry we showed that the behavior you’re learning is unacceptable was just condoned and given incredible power. I’m sorry we didn’t do enough. I hope that my deepest fears about the results never come to fruition and that it’s rage and sadness rather than logic talking now. I hope that as far as racial and social progress go, we continue moving forward rather than backward. I hope that we don’t leave you an insurmountable mess to fix when you’re my age.  

But please don’t surrender to fear and know that we, and our country, will survive this. 

It will all be okay. 

In the words of Bob Marley, Every little thing gonna be alright. 

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You have my permission

You know what I’ve noticed? And it’s something I am guilty of, too. 

I’ve noticed that women, in general, often wait for permission to do…well, just about anything. We sit and wait for someone else’s opinions or approval before we make decisions because we’re afraid of the ramifications, whatever they may be.

I think this is bullshit.

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So, for all the women, even though you don’t need it, if it gives you strength and confidence, you have my permission:

To express any and all opinions you wish. Someone might disagree with you but go ahead and say them anyway. Stop worrying who you offend. People take offense to everything anyway.

To wear whatever the fuck you want. And to love your body exactly the way it is. Or want to improve it. But throw that self-loathing shit out the fucking window.

To not feel pressured or forced to explain, justify, or defend your choices and decisions. 

To have lofty goals and work like hell to achieve them.

To unapologetically say no to anything or anyone that makes you uncomfortable, unhappy, or you simply don’t want to do. It is not your obligation to people please or jeopardize your own comfort level to accommodate someone else.

To go back to work after you have a child. Or to stay home. No judgment here.

To leave a job, relationship, friendship, or any other situation that puts your health (physical and/or mental), safety, finances, and self-confidence at risk. If you’re afraid, there’s resources and support. Can’t find them? Reach out to me. I got your back.

To be outraged, regardless of political affiliation, that in 2016, we are still fighting the same battles for equal treatment we fought 100 plus years ago. No joke. It’s okay to be pissed about that.

To spend your money how you please. Travel, buy books, clothes, spoil your kids or pets, go back to school, start a business, save it all for retirement…whatever you choose. You earned it. You get to decide. 

To live with no regrets. Yes, there will be things you wish you hadn’t done or choices you had or hadn’t made but you can’t change it. You can only learn, make amends, and move on.

To be private. To keep yourself guarded and quiet and protective of yourself and your feelings and cautious of who you let in and not share everything. Social media is not a requirement. 

To do the opposite of everything in the above statement.

To watch, read, listen, or create any form of entertainment or art you want. 

To ask for help when you need it. And refuse it when you don’t.

To put yourself before your kids. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, they require care and attention, especially if they’re young, but it is FINE AND NECESSARY to take care of you, too. In fact, sometimes, taking care of you first makes you a better parent. Breaks are crucial to reset and refocus. Doing so makes you a good parent, not a bad one (Note: this can be it’s own post).

To recognize that you are capable of accomplishing absolutely anything you set your mind to. It might take awhile and you might have setbacks but you are fierce and you got this shit.

To do whatever makes you happy. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

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Things that annoy me Thursday

Someone else absolutely thought of this idea before me. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who it was otherwise I would totally mention that person but please know, person whose great idea this was, I salute you (I think it’s Amber from Airing My Laundry but I am not positive).

Things are on my nerves lately. From the lingering hot weather to the routine of having pack lunches to trying to understand the moods of my toaster oven, I am out of patience for things. Here’s the top of the list: 

IXL. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s an online learning math program created by who I assume is a relative of Satan. It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad program and I am certainly not opposed to her doing this type of supplemental learning for homework. BUT. The program setup is absolute bullshit and her school makes the kids maintain a 100% standard in order to progress. Problem with that is, you earn points for getting questions right (the amount you earn decreases as you get closer to 100) and lose points for getting them wrong (the amount seems to increase as you get closer to 100). This is nonsense and serves no fucking purpose except causing parents to yell and kids to cry because these assignments take fucking forever. One hundred angry faces.

People who don’t follow simple directions and then erupt in fits when they get called out for it. I guess this is pretty self-explanatory but seriously, y’all, just follow the fucking directions. If you have problems, ask. Ten angry faces

Noisy library patrons. Look, I get that it’s impossible remain completely still and quiet. I certainly am not. But if you see all the people around you concentrating and working on things, maybe you should shut the fuck up. Do you NEED to make all that noise while unpacking your backpack? Also, are you moving the fuck in? Who brings that much shit to a library? And if you do, why do you need to take it all out? Twelve angry faces.

Brock Turner. I’m not going to launch into a diatribe about the ABSOLUTELY FUCKED UP way this has all played out or how serving three months is not at all justice when not guilty men, women, and children rot in prison for lesser crimes or straight up things they did not do or the way news outlets refuse to refer to him as he is (a rapist. Say it with me, news people. RA-PIST) and simply refer to him with euphemisms instead or how it should not be portrayed as a consolation prize that this poor little swimmer boy had to register as a sex offender (because, you know, HE IS) but rather just say this: FUCK YOU, BROCK TURNER. You are an overprivileged piece of monkey shit and karma, well, she’s a bitch with an elephant memory. Forty million angry faces.

Laundry. Of course it’s on this list because it perpetually annoys me. Forty-two angry faces

The word “girlboss”. Or it’s grownup version, ladyboss. Why can’t you just be a fucking boss? Why the need to put the qualifier on it? I know it’s the name of a popular book and pop culture lexicon has seized on it but seriously. Doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or not. Just be a badass boss. Fifteen angry faces.

Facebook. Or, more specifically, the people on Facebook who ignore the fact that you exist until you post something attempting to be funny and they take it seriously for no other reason than they are completely humorless and/or get off on being contrarian. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Go away. I don’t need that shit in my day. Twenty angry faces.

Processing fees. I like to do the things and see the things and experience the things and for many of those things, you need to buy tickets. I don’t mind paying the money. I truly don’t because I understand it costs money to put on events and the people need to get paid and all that. But for the love of fuck, why do I need to pay an extra $9 for tickets I am going to print at home? Or $8 for a pass to be mailed when a stamp costs like $.49? WHY? You tell me it’s a processing fee but you are not processing shit. I am. And how about the Broadway tickets we’re trying to buy for the child’s 10th birthday that tack on an extra $150 (yes, that’s approximately an extra $50 per ticket)?! It’s becoming cost prohibitive to have experiences. Seventy-five angry faces and 47 more for processing my anger. 

Alright, my friends. What’s bothering you this fine Thursday?

 

 

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Just some good old fashioned rants

You know what’s a good way to really get back into blogging? With some rants. 

  1. Instagram. REALLY?! Is the Snapchat ripoff necessary? I don’t use Snapchat for many, many reasons and I liked that Instagram was a safe haven from its nonsensery. And now it’s there, lurking at the top of my feed. All. The. Time. I dealt with all the other nonsense changes with nary a word but this. This is too much. 
  2. Does anyone else get irrationally annoyed when someone reads one book on one topic and then professes to be an expert and starts blogging or talking about it like a) they’ve actually discovered the wisdom they’re regurgitating and b) like they know everything? I love learning new things and hints and if you’ve discovered a new book full of helpfulness, then by all means share what you’ve learned and recommend all the resources. Talk about how it’s changed you. But pretending to be an expert? NO. Stop it right now.
  3. I just cannot with the whole Trump fiasco. I’m not so much appalled by his bullying behavior or his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and dangerous beliefs or his dictator-like and sociopathic qualities or his immense narcissism or his backtracking and refusing to own the horrible things he says and does or the fact that he claims to speak for the American people when in no way does he even remotely reflect anything I believe in or stand for but the fact that people continually excuse it. Or ignore it. Or accept it. That is precisely why it’s been allow to persist. Because the people that need to call him out aren’t and the ones that do, he dismisses. His level of arrogance is unparalleled and he is so unfit for office that there’s no actual word to describe how unfit he actually is. He has made a mockery of democracy the way The Bachelor has made a mockery of marriage. It is shameful and it needs to be stopped. And God help us if it goes on as long as The Bachelor has. We’ve all seen how those relationships have turned out. 
  4. I am in the market for red heels. I would like to wear them with a black dress I own and I would like to wear them when I present at a conference next month. While it is not impossible to find red heels, it is impossible to find heels that are not synonymous with stilts. And the ones that are a decent heel height are absolutely hideous. I am 39 years old and feel no compulsion to look like a hooker or a frump. I would like to look like a 39 year old woman pretending to be professional. This should not be difficult. Yet it is. 
  5. The Duggars. I cannot believe we’re still talking about these fuckers yet here we are. Apparently one of their other daughters is engaged and now she gets to have a whole season or whatever about her relationship. First of all, what the fuck TLC? You’re like the parent who knows the kid is overweight but plies them with cookies and soda. You know it’s no good for them but you do it anyway. Learn your lesson. TV IS NO GOOD FOR THE DUGGARS. It still gives them a platform to spew their horrid beliefs and showcase their fucked up family dynamics. For the sake of the smaller children, please stop it. Second, why is this show profitable? How? Who is advertising and associating with this particular brand of crazy? Is there some overlap between them and Trump because that would explain so fucking much.
  6. People who take a week to text or email back. Now, this really doesn’t irk me too much except when I am relying on information from said people and they take their sweet ass time getting around to giving me said information. It’s rude. Stop it. Have some common courtesy.

I think that’s all I’ve got. I’m sunburned and tired and still recovering from the embarrassment of slipping and falling on my ass after stepping on a squished grape in the middle of the supermarket. Yeah, you didn’t think the backwards underwear was the only stupid thing I’ve done lately, did you?

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P.S. Don’t forget to check out this week’s episode of The Armchair Librarians! We’re discussing RBG!