Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do AS I say, Don't say WHAT I Say

The new hot button issue in my house has been the use of vulgar language. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not help much in the promoting of "clean" language. It’s not like every other word that comes out of my mouth is a swear, but sometimes I will let one slip. My favorite tends to be "Son of a bitch!" I don’t say this at my kids, but I do find it funny that if I did then I would be said "bitch". I often think of the scene from the movie "Old School" when the guy says "ear muffs" to his son. The boy covers his ears and the father spews out some choice words. My problem is I tend to swear and then scream "ear muffs!" I’m having trouble figuring out what to do now that the damage is done. Most advice I get on the subject suggests that I should simply ignore it if my child swears. Oh, OK. So when my child is in a group of other children (some of which have parents that have given me this advice) and he says “shit”, you want me to ignore him, right? No problem...but don’t call me complaining when your kid starts saying it. Then there is the problem of addressing it and now the word has some power. Anyone with kids knows that the more you tell a child to stop something, the more determined they are to keep doing it...

Parent: "Stop touching that!"
Child: "What...this? (as they are touching the object) You don’t want me to touch this?"

Well, it's the same thing with swearing...

Parent: "I don’t want you to use that word"
Child: "What word? Ass? You don’t want me to say ass? Why can’t I say ass?"

An incident that happened the other day really got my attention. My son had my IPod and was wearing the headphones so I didn’t know what he was listening to. I was laughing to myself because he didn’t notice me watching and starting dancing all around and screaming the lyrics to the song. Then it happened...he dropped the F bomb. The sound effect that would be most appropriate for this scene would be that of tires on a car as it comes to a screeching halt. WHOA!! What did he just say?!? OK, the first thing I actually thought of was how he was probably doing a perfect imitation of me when I hear that song in a bar. But then I snapped out of it and wondered how I was going to handle this. I calmly gestured to him to give me the IPod. When he took off the headphones he asked why he couldn’t listen anymore. I told him there were words in that song that children shouldn’t say. "What words" he asked. Oh no, I’m not going to play that game! "There are just some words that are for adults only" I explained. Since he wouldn’t understand what "vulgar" is, I’ve decided to refer to swears as "adult words". Besides, he seems to understand the concept of "adult beverages". I know some people call them "bad words", but I was afraid to call them that since a lot of adults that he is around use these words on a regular basis. I don’t want him to assume that bad words are said by bad people.

Let me point out that I am not the only guilty party here either. They repeat all kinds of words that I wish they wouldn’t. They hear them on television, the radio, and from other children. I’ve always appreciated Disney movies because they always seem to add content that may go over a child’s head, but makes adults laugh. But the Disney Channel has a lot of cartoons now that have my kids saying things like "idiot", "stupid", or my favorite; "dill weed". Granted it’s not the F bomb but I’m still not fond of my kids calling other people these things. Especially me. Regardless of whether or not I let them watch these shows, there will be other kids that watch them and say what they hear. I guess I could just have them watch the old cartoons that I grew up watching like Tom & Jerry. They don’t even talk; they do however chase each other around all day and kick the crap out of each other. I just can’t win.

Last week my doorbell rang and it was my neighbor’s daughter. I opened the door and she said "What is a dick?" Hold up, what?!? (There was the sound effect of a that car trying desperately to stop again) "Umm, honey, huh? Who said that?" Thankfully it was not one of my children. My mind was spinning while I tried to figure out what to tell her. Let’s see; a Dick is what people sometimes call a private investigator. Or...Dick is often used as a nickname for someone named Richard. Think...think. Finally she must have sensed my duress and broke the silence with "Is it a slang word?" I said "Well, yes, I guess so". "Does it mean I Love You?" Umm, well I guess technically it could be used to show love...good grief. "Go ask your mom what that is dear". I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall over there. I was just praying she didn’t go home and say "Mom, Mrs. Farrell wants me to ask you what a dick is".

Honestly, I think some people may be a little too uptight about the whole thing. One woman was telling me that her son brought home a letter from his teacher saying he had to be disciplined because he used the word “penis” at school. Mind you, he didn’t call someone that. He was actually talking about...get this...HIS PENIS! Really, would she prefer that he call it his "junk", or his "package" or his "twig and giggle berries"? I suggested to the mother that she have him ask if he could call it his dick. Let her try to explain that word to him. Actually, I really want to hear what she would know, just in case someone rings my doorbell and asks ME...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Girls Night Out

Girls night out hardly happens for me and my friends anymore. There was a time when we would go out for any reason; a birthday, a new job; because someone found out they weren’t pregnant or maybe just because it was Saturday. Now we never can go out because of; birthdays (our own children’s), a new job, or because someone is pregnant. We all seem to have reproduced at an alarming rate. It’s not like we don’t want to go out anymore. We usually try, and by that I mean we go back and forth trying to pin down a date that will work for all of us to no avail. I’m tempted to try and befriend someone that is getting married, just so I can attend a Bachelorette party.

When the girls get together I tend to plan for it as if I am attending a wedding. I feel the need to buy a new outfit, sometimes with matching jewelry. I make my yearly appointment with my hairdresser to have everything cut and waxed. My husband gets suspicious about my intentions when I prep for hours on the big night. Don’t worry honey...I’m not going out to impress other men. It’s a well known fact that women dress up for other women. It may have something to do with all the compliments that women get from each other after all their hard work. The great thing about complimenting women is that you can find out not only where they got the item you are complimenting them on, but also how much they paid for it. "I love your shoes" is followed by "Thanks, I got them on sale at Macy’s for $15".

I used to be able to go out for girls night with not much more than lipstick, my license, and a few bucks that I would just stick in my pocket. Now when I go out I practically need a suitcase. I have to travel with all of my makeup. Basically it’s because if I dance, even to one song, I sweat like a whore in church (my apologies if I’ve offended any religious prostitutes that may have stumbled upon this post). I frequently have to reapply all of my makeup and fix the eyeliner that has melted down my face. Also, for that reason I now have to travel with deodorant. I still bring my license, but not out of necessity. It’s just in case a sweet bartender may be looking for additional tips by carding me. I definitely have to bring more money now. Gone are the days of drinking for free just by wearing a low cut shirt. Occasionally someone will ask me now if they can buy me a drink, but they usually come on with a line that sounds like Joey from Friends…"How you doin?". My immediate thought is..."I would love for you to buy me a drink, but what are the odds that once you do you will just walk away as if you hadn’t?" Probably not likely, so no thanks. In addition to all these new items I also have to bring; gum, perfume, hair spray, a brush, lotion, Pepto Bismal, aspirin, and Band-Aids. Being a mom makes me prepared for any situation.

Going out with my friends is like going to see a therapist. We talk about everything from current events, to our kids and husbands. We laugh until we cry, and there is usually one of us that just ends up crying. The one that cries is usually to one that begins the night by saying "Wow, I think I have a buzz already...I haven’t drank in a while", after their first drink. You know the crying is coming when they say..."You know, I love you guys". My friends are pretty entertaining too. One in particular tends to find any type of pole in the establishment we go to and use it as her dance partner for the evening. It really never gets old, and it tends to be the highlight of the night.

Throughout the years, girls night out has definitely changed. Although we can still party like rock stars, the recovery time needed after such an event isn’t really worth it. Sleeping away the entire next day isn’t an option anymore. It sucks to have a hangover, but even more so when you open your eyes with that hangover and the first thing you hear is "Mommy, I’m hungry...I need a drink...Why do you have all that black stuff under your eyes?".

Oh well, so when are we going out ladies?!?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Will Work For Sanity

Being unemployed has really begun to take its toll on me. I’ve been without a job before, but it was always with the constant distraction of a newborn. After months of searching, interviewing, and semi-stalking employers the result is always the same. I am either "overqualified" or "under educated". My kids are in school most of the day and the time I spend alone seems to be causing the re-emergence of a condition I had prior to having children. Most people’s exposure to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is through television shows which highlight extreme cases. Even at its peak my OCD was mild at best. I never viewed it as a problem because it didn’t affect anyone but me. My isolation has made me go back to my old ways...

For me OCD manifests itself in strange ways. I have an obsession for counting things, i.e the steps I take, the number of times I chew while eating, and the result must always be an even number. I’m not sure if it’s because I like even numbers or I hate odd ones. I think it may be the later since I actually hoped at one point during labor that it would last longer so that my first child would have at least one even number in his birth date. This is probably when I decided I may have a problem. I also have heightened anxiety when things are not where they "belong", and by that I mean where I want them to be. I’m sure many people feel that way but it was a little extreme for me. Things didn’t belong in a certain "area", they had a very specific location as in; 4 inches from the wall, or the exact center of the mantle. I spent my days walking around my house slightly moving things to their "correct" positions. Someone watching might think I didn’t move it at all because it was so slight, but for me it was where it "belonged".

Once my kids became mobile, I really needed to work on my "problem". It would make me insane that this little person would go around and move my stuff all day long. Not only that, they now had their own stuff that I had to find a specific place to keep and they refused to leave it where it "belonged". I followed them around all day putting things back in their place. It was consuming me that they had a blatant disregard for my condition. I always felt on the verge of screaming "stop touching my shit!" Finally (with the help of prescription meds) I waived the white flag. I was able to discipline myself and allow them free reign during the day, and once they were in bed for the night, I could go around and fix everything. Besides, this was my problem, right? Why make everyone else suffer?

Up until now, it was working. Now I find myself going around the house while they are at school, putting everything (including all their stuff) in the place I have designated as its home. Then it happens...they come home. All of the obsessing I did during the day is completely undone in minutes. As I watch everything being ripped from its "home" I start to shake and sweat. The urge is back... "stop touching my shit!". I've also noticed the development of a facial tick whenever I write my son's date of birth. I fear that the longer I am out of work, the worse it will become.

I’ve been plotting a new strategy for my next interview to ensure that I will get a job. I picture the interview to go something like this:

Interviewer: Tell us about your accomplishments, any awards or certificates achieved, and the skills you have acquired at your current job…

Me: Well, my first accomplishment at my current job was that I made a person. I did actually receive a certificate for this feat. It’s called a Birth Certificate. I then proceeded to figure out everything this person would need in order to survive. The skills I acquired resemble those of a nurse, teacher, police officer, lawyer, psychiatrist, and on one occasion, a firefighter. In addition I was able to retain a client throughout the duration of my employment...he’s known as my husband. I would like to add that I performed all of these tasks without any formal training, or prior education in the field, and for the first few years with minimal sleep. I have never used a sick day or taken a vacation...any questions??

As I walk out of the room and close the door behind me I envision the interviewers turning to each other. One will say to the other..."Clearly she is overqualified"