Dear Mamas, Y’all B!tches Crazy

His mother puts him down and the child wails. He immediately spins around and lunges toward her wanting to be held. In his frustration the boy spins around again, screams and pounds his fists into his father’s thighs. The man reacts quickly, jumping back from the boy, embarrassed in front of the crowd. He bats the kid’s head back and forth like a cat with a ball of yarn. The boy wails louder. The man yells, “Yeah boy! Keep that shit up and I’ll knock you upside the head again!”

The boy can’t be more than eighteen months old.

It’s at this point that I stop staring, because clearly this man’s stupid and I don’t want to get into a confrontation. We get a few steps farther away. The kids run up ahead toward the next zoo exhibit. I turn to Rob and say, “See? We’re doing just fine. Our kids are going to be fine.”

zoo

The next day I’m watching my son’s gymnastics class. I love gymnastics, love watching him, hate listening to the other parents talk to each other. I grew up doing competitive gymnastics so listening to people ask ridiculous questions without knowing the proper terminology drives me bat-shit crazy. “Why are they having them hop on all fours on the beam like that? What’s that flippy thing they’re making them do on the bars?” Aaaaaah! Do us all a favor, go sign your kid up for soccer and get the fuck out of the gym.

Sorry, that was unnecessarily intense. But hey, so am I. Also, don’t talk to me while I’m practicing my floor routine.

Wait.

What?

gymnastics

Anyway, the parents at gymnastics are also annoying to listen to because frankly most parents have no idea what they sound like. They talk ad nauseam about the activities their kids are in. They do the humble brag. They talk about obnoxious mind numbing things every parent says while making small talk. “Well, it was weird because it just started as a runny nose, and he had a fever of 103 the first night. But then he was totally fine the next day. But then he woke up this morning coughing really bad. So I called the pediatrician but they could only get him in with the PA, and not until 2:00. Hello!? That’s right in the middle of nap time. I mean, why don’t they keep any other slots open for sick visits. God, it’s SO annoying, and . . .”

Oh my God. Please shut up. Just shut up.

I just sit and watch my boy, silently.

Then I get sucked into a conversation with these two women about the gym I go to. There are two major gyms in town. Both offer two and a half hours of childcare a day. I tell them how my husband was joking that I should join both gyms. That way I could hangout in the cafe at one and work out at the other. Then this conversation occurs.

Her:  Oh I actually know someone who does that. (Turning to her friend, dressed completely in Lululemon) You remember Sara?

Friend:  (rolling her eyes) Oh, yeah. I do.

Me:  Wait, you know a stay-at-home-mother who actually does that? So this is real. There’s someone out there who’s pulling this off?

Her:  Yeah, but it’s because she’s a really bad Mom. Like she should have never had a second kid let alone the first one.

Friend:  God, I don’t know how she does that. I mean when I teach Pilates I feel guilty even putting Everly in the daycare for two hours. I don’t know how you could have your kid in daycare for five hours a day!

Mmmmmmkay.

Alright folks I’m gonna give it to you straight here. Now I don’t know Sara but I bet she’s not a “really bad Mom.” Sara, who puts her kids in daycare for five hours a day. Sara, who maybe “shouldn’t have had kids.” Sara, the Mom who probably should have gone back to work immediately. You know, like the majority of mothers. The ones who have to put their kids in daycare much longer than five hours a day because they didn’t have the option to stay home. The mothers who were probably sitting right there within earshot.

This is fun! Hey, while we’re at it let’s say some other obnoxious entitled shit like, “Why even have a baby if you’re not going to raise it?” Or my personal favorite, “Well, I just think a mother is supposed to be with her babies.”

Yes, please tell me again where a mother is “supposed to be.” Tell me where a woman belongs. I love that conversation. I love talking about a woman’s place, especially with other women. It just feels right, wholesome.

Wait, hold up. While we’re chatting let me kick off these fucking rock star boots and get my ass back in the kitchen.

Let me just tell you that putting your child in a clean, well run daycare at an upscale health club is not child abuse. If you think this is child abuse you have lived an incredibly sheltered life. Talk to an ER nurse, a police officer, or a social worker and you will hear stories that will leave you wishing you could scrub your brain out with bleach. Now, I’m not saying that we should all slack off and console ourselves with, “Hey, at least I’m not shooting up heroine while my baby eats dog food.” What I’m saying is you’re not that important. I mean, sure, mother is God in the eyes of the child, blah blah blah. Pressure pressure pressure. But ask yourself this, when you look back on your favorite childhood memory, does it involve your Mom? I’m guessing not. It probably involves your best friend.

Not enjoying being around a whiney three-year-old all day doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother. It means you’re not good with preschoolers. Maybe you’ll rock the hell out of raising angsty teens. And let’s stop throwing around that label, “Bad Mom.” Because being a bad mother is just about the worst thing a woman can be. So if we’re calling a woman that’s found a loophole in the gym daycare matrix a bad mother, what do we call the ones that lose their children to the foster care system?

But really isn’t the bigger issue here that these gymnastics parents are just a bunch of entitled whiney little rich kids? I wanted to slap the Starbucks out of their manicured hands and yell “Y’all bitches crazy!” Then jump up on my chair and start stomping around like I was Kanye West.

What?

Anyone want to come with me to my son’s gymnastics class next Monday and talk shit about other moms?

Hey New Lady Friend, Why’s Your Husband Such a D?

It happens to me all the time. I meet a woman and I like her. She’s smart, funny, kind and down to earth.

Then I meet her husband.

I’m left scratching my head in confusion. “Why is such an intelligent, charismatic woman with a man like that?”

I spent a decade behind the chair. I can rock out a precision bob and do extreme color correction like nobody’s business, but my real area of expertise is women. Over all those years I spent thousands of hours talking to women. Small talk is one of the most important parts of being a hairstylist, if not the most important part. But I shouldn’t say “small talk” because when women are in the salon, therapy happens. You’d be amazed by some of the deeply personal information I knew about my clients. I knew two of them were pregnant before their husbands did. I was also one of the few people who knew that a client’s son was in prison for child molestation.

What did I learn from talking to hundreds of women for all those years?

Most women have very little confidence.

Women will change who they are for love.

Women settle.

I’m not just talking about straight women. This isn’t me bashing men. I love men. This is about women and their lack of self esteem, their desire to please at the cost of their own identity. I watched my lesbian clients do this too. They meet someone new and soon they’re listening to her music, watching her shows and going to her stylist. They would eventually break up and come back to me.

They always came back.

If you’ve ever thought I have a lot of self confidence, this is why. When you listen to this kind of self deprecating drivel all day you start to view it as weak and boring. I began to see it as self absorbed. Come on ladies, get over yourselves.

But I do know how hard that is. I’m not immune to a society that is constantly telling us we’re not good enough.

Here’s what I do know.

If you’re one of my female friends, chances are I think you’re too good for your husband.

We all met for drinks once and he made a homophobic remark about the waiter. But your best friend is gay.

How the hell does that work?

Sure, I mean no one is perfect and we all have off days or suffer from making a bad first impression, but you’re telling me he went on a golfing trip when you were thirty-eight weeks pregnant. You’re telling me that he finds most women’s voices shrill and annoying.

Really ladies?!

Get your shit together. I’m sure he has good qualities, but you have to ask yourself how this happened.

I have a guess.

I think so many of us grow up wanting so badly to be the object of some man’s gaze, that often we date a boy simply because he likes us.

We want them because they want us.

J_says

And here’s where it gets really messed up.

When your husband actually turns out to be impressive, we tend to think you’re a princess. We get resentful. “Oh yeah, her husband does everything,” we say. “Did you know he actually gets up in the middle of the night with the baby? And did you see on Facebook that he sent her away on a surprise trip with her friends? She’s spoiled.”

We get angry. We label you as pampered, and undeserving. Some of us wonder aloud what you did (or do) to deserve this type of treatment.

The truth is we know what you did.

You had self confidence. You didn’t settle. You didn’t win the husband lottery. You chose wisely.

I’m sorry ladies, but this has to stop. We have to figure out a better way to raise our daughters. We need to take a long hard look at “girl’s” movies, shows and books. Gone are the sexist shows like The Brady Bunch and games like Mystery Date, but we still have a long way to go. Look at most of the movies geared toward girls. There is always a love interest.

Sure the end message of Frozen is sisterly love but remember the entire first part of the movie? The part where Anna sings about meeting a special stranger and then agrees to marry a man she just met. Yes, Disney works in a major message about how that’s problematic, but the focus on romantic love is still there. And those two major musical numbers in the beginning? Little girls won’t just forget that shit. They’ll remember that they’re supposed to care about getting married. They get that message loud and clear.

I’m not saying marriage is bad. I’m just saying we don’t do this to boys. The movies/shows my son watches don’t focus on the male character obsessing over a girl. Cody on Rescue Bots isn’t pining after Doc Greene’s daughter Francine. Hiro Hamada in Big Hero 6 doesn’t have a love interest. It would seem silly and forced if he did.

It’s 2016 and we’re still selling this lie to our girls. They’re supposed to attract a mate. Plain and simple. We reinforce the message that if no one is romantically interested in you then you’re defective. So it’s no wonder that so many girls grow up to settle for less than they deserve. We’ve taught them that their value as a person hinges on the desire of someone else.

15_Annie

Me at fifteen, gorgeous but hating my ugly self while obsessing over a boy.

It’s the craziest shit in the world when you think about it, right? As comedian Dave Attell once said, “The ladies have all the power because the ladies have all the vaginas.” Men should be the ones out there peacocking. We shouldn’t be the ones with the perfume, jewelry and make-up on. We shouldn’t be the ones out there trying to “catch” a man and convince him to settle down. Why are men so scared of getting married anyway? Hell, if I could find a good woman I’d marry her ass tomorrow, and I’m a straight lady. Getting to share your home with a kind, nurturing, and loving woman (or gay guy) is the best thing on earth. Sign me up for that whole sister wives thing. I’m down.

I don’t have the answer on how we fix this. Keeping my baby girl from watching Cinderella isn’t the panacea here folks. But I can control how I speak to her about her future, dating and about marriage. So, let’s stop teaching our daughters that pairing up is important and inevitable. Let’s use the word choose, as in “If you choose to get married one day.”

Because ladies, marriage isn’t the prize.

We are the goddam prize.

 

 

 

[On behalf of my deliciously bearded husband I must tell you that he is fantastic. Although he has never sent me away on a girl’s weekend. WTF dude?]