Tuesday, October 9, 2012

But What About the CHILDREN?!

We hear about discrimination every day against women, homosexuals, minorities, and religions, to name a few. But what about the discrimination families face every day? Mothers get the stink eye for breastfeeding in public or, God forbid, having a baby crying next to the person who can't stand children.

The idea for this post came from a good friend of mine who is flying with a newborn for the first time (I hope you don't mind that I'm referencing you! I just feel strongly about this one). She is very concerned that her baby will disturb the people next to her. I remember going through the same fears when Alex was a baby. I was overly polite and wanted to kill people with kindness because my baby was doing what they do naturally - CRYING. Flying with a baby is stressful enough as it is, between packing enough diapers and making sure they're entertained. Add into the mix the hatred radiating from people's eyeballs as you can't stop your kid from crying or kicking the seat, and you've got one super stressed out parent. It's a shame that parents have to be so concerned about doing simple things with their children in public, such as flying, going out to restaurants, or going grocery shopping, just so they won't piss off the person who "hates kids."

I've heard people suggest things like separate seating in restaurants and planes for those with children, or separate flights altogether. So we are being discriminated against simply because we have children. Segregation much?? Let's just put them into a separate area so we don't have to deal with them and never have to practice the virtue of patience. Yes, some people's children are hellions. But some adults are too, yet we allow them to coexist in society. We don't ban adults from restaurants or put them on separate flights simply because they behave like children. Children are small people. We can't banish them to separate corners simply because we don't like the noise they bring. If you don't like it, YOU'RE the adult, and you can find elsewhere to go. To be clear, that's not to say it's appropriate to bring children everywhere. This is why I and most other parents will choose not to bring children to an upscale restaurant where others are enjoying a quiet meal. But to be told you don't have a choice in the matter is ridiculous, unless of course we're talking about a safety issue.

Many will also argue that they'd like to see kid-free zones because the majority of parents don't know how to control their children. I completely agree, there are many parents out there who let their children run rampant. But I think the majority of parents are, in fact, concerned about their children's behavior and are more embarrassed than they let on. Did you ever stop to think that the 5-year-old who is acting like a baby may have autism? Or that the parents have simply tried everything else and don't know what to do? How about instead of casting nasty looks, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how stressful it must be to go to places and be constantly judged.

Those who know me well know I'm not on the mommy crusade bandwagon. I don't think we should be entitled to anything or be given special treatment simply because we're parents. But I also don't think we or our children should be shunned because of this fact either. All I ask is that we be treated equally. Most of us are respectful of those who don't love children - now acknowledge that and show us some respect in return.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Thoughts on Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

As much as I can't stand seeing certain (key word: CERTAIN) welfare recipients mooching off the system, I have to disagree with implementing mandatory drug testing in order to get benefits.

You might ask, "Most of us who report to work every day and receive a paycheck have to get drug tested, so why shouldn't those getting paid by the government be required to do the same?" Well, I don't think our jobs should be drug testing us either. If people want to blow their money on recreational drugs, so be it. If they are performing their jobs well and not bringing drugs into the workplace, it doesn't matter in my opinion. The same goes with government assistance. It's definitely not right if people are using government money for drugs. But where is the line? If the government says people can't use their money for drugs, then should they have the right to monitor EVERY expense, such as alcohol, cigarettes, or a new shirt?

The other argument for jobs enforcing drug testing is safety. So should people with prescription pain medication not be allowed to come to work? Or should jobs enforce breathalyzers every day to make sure people aren't drinking on the job? The safety issue doesn't exactly apply to welfare recipients, unless you're talking about drug testing parents who are at home with their kids to make sure they are safely caring for them. But, again, same arguments as the workplace. Who's to say the parents won't be drinking all day long or loading up on other prescription medications (which are often more dangerous than illegal drugs). If their parenting is a safety issue, that's for CPS to handle.

One more argument is that if you have nothing to hide, what's the problem with drug testing?  I don't enjoy being monitored on the job - this does NOT mean I do drugs. Drug testing welfare recipients is simply a manipulation technique by the government. If I were in a position where the government was paying me in lieu of reporting to work, I wouldn't want to be monitored there either.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brides = The Ultimate Bitch Justification

I'll just say it: I can't stand the majority of brides at wedding time. Weddings are the one occasion where these women can be completely self-absorbed, insensitive, and downright bitchy and everyone thinks it's OK because "it's their day."

Now, I'm not kidding myself. I'm almost positive I had said moments as a bride-to-be. But for the most part, I think I at least tried to be considerate of my friends and family who were bending over backwards to make my day happen for me. It's just common decency. Yet all that goes out the window for the one day when you get to wear a pretty dress and have everyone look at you. Forget about the people who can't afford to pay $300 for a designer bridesmaid dress (AND still buy you a gift because we all know you're expecting that too). Just don't pay your rent for a month! And forget about the people who can't find sitters for their infants to attend your child-free wedding...the dog can watch the baby so you can come to my wedding, right? If it were really just one day, fine. But this whole process takes place over a year, if not more. So really, it's not just their DAY, it's their year.

This whole attitude is glorified with shows like "Bridezilla." Then, when it's all over, the bride can pretend to be sweet as pie while everyone ignores the fact that she treated them like animals. All this to celebrate something that, statistically speaking, will be more likely to fall apart than last forever.

Don't get me wrong. I might not be a fan of romance, but I am a fan of love. I think weddings are beautiful and the celebration of love is a wonderful thing. But if you want others to be a part of your declaration of love, then show them love in return. Get a hold of yourself - if one of your bridesmaids needs to get her shoes from Payless because she spent all her money to be in your wedding or if your friends with five kids can't afford a gift because they're paying $20 an hour for a babysitter, don't say a word. Hopefully some bride-to-be out there will read this and get a clue, or maybe a former bride who realizes she was everyone's nightmare will make some apologies. Show some love and respect. It's not that hard.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Uterus, My Business

Why do people care so much about the reproductive choices of other people? As soon as couples declare "I do" at their wedding, it takes about 30 seconds before every single guest starts asking "So when are you going to have a baby?" God forbid you wait a year or two (or five, in our case) to even start thinking about children. And it never ends. After you have #1, people are constantly nagging to find out when #2 is coming. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the following phrases:

"So when are you going to give A a little brother or sister?" Who said he wants one? He has been perfectly happy as an only child so far.

"You don't want to wait too long, you know." Yes, I realize my biological clock is ticking. Thank you for reminding me. I'm so glad you're keeping track of it as well as I am.

"You'll never truly be 'ready.'" Not true. We both had the same epiphany when we decided the time was right to go for #1.

The bottom line is, it's my body, so stop asking when I'm going go have another one or make it out like I'm doing my child a disservice by not giving him a sibling. Instead, I choose to give him unconditional love and devotion. He's one of the least spoiled and most friendly and well-behaved children you'll ever meet, so the argument of only children being spoiled rotten and poorly adjusted obviously doesn't apply. If and when it happens, I'll let the world know. Not everyone has to have the "perfect" two-child family. Maybe I can't have another child. Maybe I don't want to. Or maybe I want to wait until he's much older. Maybe I'm trying right now. Whatever the reason, it's insensitive and inappropriate to ask.

I've noticed this goes for everyone in our society. When couples choose not to have children, they're practically burned at the stake. The ones who can't have children are made to feel inadequate every time someone asks them when they're going to bring babies into the world...this also brings up a plethora of other questions as well - Have you tried this? What about this? Everything you've thought of, they've tried, trust me. We try to control everything from how many kids people should have to their reproductive rights (birth control, abortion, adoption, etc.).

It's fine to bring up reproduction casually and very occasionally with a close friend or family member. But for the most part, mind your own business. Every family is unique whether they have no children or ten children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Motives for Being Lazy

I made a comment on my Facebook status earlier saying I hate when I call a business and the message on the person's voice mail says, "You've reached the voice mail of (insert name). He's not available to to come to the phone right now, but if you leave him a message, he'll be sure to return your call shortly." I then commented on how people like this are so lazy they can't even take 30 seconds of their time to record their own effing message.

Yep, you guessed it. That opened the flood gates for a blog. I was going to write this as a commentary on the laziness of Americans, but then I started wondering if it's truly laziness or if people are just plain spoiled. Another theory is that these sorts of actions contain undertones of hierarchy - they can and would do it, but they have their minions who will do it for them because they're being paid to do so.

If you think about it, with the exception of technology, a lot of "lazy" actions are based on this hierarchy. I say technology is the exception because it's a gadget...obviously it doesn't have a socioeconomic status. Let's look at some hierarchical lazy actions: going out to dinner when you could make the food yourself (and often skimping on the tip), getting mani/pedis, having a chauffeur, or asking your assistant to walk your dog. Some things are limited to the upper class, but some things like going out to dinner are actions the majority of the population does every day. 

So is it an unwillingness to succumb to demeaning tasks? Or is it simply because the options are available and convenient? For example, is the big cheeses asking his secretary to pick up his dry cleaning for him because she is available and willing to do it, or is it because the boss is unwilling to pick it up himself as long as he has people who will do it for him? Or is it a little bit of both? (PS: yes, I do realize this may have been portrayed as a bit sexist with the male boss and the female secretary. Perhaps we'll cover that in another blog. LOL.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

America's got talent...or maybe not

Does everyone really have a talent? Or when we hear that everyone has a talent, is that just a way of instilling false confidence in others and not being able to tell people the harsh truth of, "Sorry, but I don't think you have any natural abilities."

I really think there are people who simply don't possess natural gifts. These people have to work harder at everything they do. That's not to say they aren't GOOD at anything. They just won't excel in the things the way that people who have a natural talent for it would. These people will be mediocre in most things and good, but not great, at others.

Perhaps the reason we blow the talent smoke up people's asses is that our society has become obsessed with making everyone feel good. You're unique, just like everybody else! Everyone is smart, beautiful, and can do whatever they put their minds to. Great, so let me bring my 5'1" average Janeane Garofolo-esque (who I happen to think is gorgeous) self to the modeling agency and I'll outshine all the tall, beautiful, blond, size 0 chicks! Because I can do it!!!! Let's get real. I'm happy with the way I look, FYI, but I am under no misconceptions that I can be America's next top model.

So I think the point here is that you might not be exceptional at anything and you might not have any talents. But that doesn't mean you can't still be confident and comfortable in your own skin. As long as you know you're doing the best at what you can do in that moment, no matter how high of a skill level you might reach in that area, you're a rock star. Being honest and realistic doesn't necessarily mean destruction of someone's self esteem. But at the same time, there's also nothing wrong with telling the delusional aspiring model that she's a downright butterface. Although given my Southern manners, I'd probably find a nicer way of saying "butterface" :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Abundance of Meat in America

Ever since I took a college ethics course 11 years ago (yes, I'm THAT old), I've contemplated becoming a vegetarian. After the thought of animals being tortured from birth to death weighed heavily on my conscience and being completely grossed out every time I ate meat, I finally decided to give up meat as my New Year's resolution. The first few weeks went extremely smoothly. I thought, "Why the hell do people think they need meat so much? Giving it up is so easy!"

Then the cravings kicked in. Big time. I craved red meat so badly I could have killed a cow with my bare hands. I figured my body needed the iron and nothing else was satisfying the craving, so I gave in and ate some beef. Magically, the cravings went away. Until a few weeks after that...

As of yesterday, I've decided vegetarianism just doesn't agree with me. For starters, an anemic probably isn't the best candidate for a vegetarian lifestyle. I also noticed I was gaining weight without having changed my food intake or exercise routines. I did some research and found out that meat is a metabolism booster. Sorry Bessie, but I'm not going to become a fat ass to save your life. Not to mention, when it gets to the point where you're shaking and ready to kill someone, that probably means your diet isn't working for you. 

I keep wondering why I failed. Do our bodies really need meat that badly? Or is it because America is so obsessed with meat that it's impossible to escape? Look around you. The Chik-Fil-A ads feature a cow fearing for his life, holding a sign saying "Eat More Chikin" and people think it's cute and funny. Everything is a competition over who can eat the biggest hamburger or steak. Gelatin, which is made of animal connective tissue, is in practically everything. No one gives a second thought to where their meat is coming from or how many lives were sacrificed so they could be happy enjoying their gummy bears. The main argument I've always heard as to why people can't give up meat is because "It's just so yummy." Really??? I'll bet your precious cat or dog is yummy too but you're not eating it, are you? What's especially funny is that I've heard this statement often from fellow Christians. That and the "animals are meant to be eaten" argument. Doesn't the Bible say to respect God's creatures and his creation? So if you don't give a flip about the fact that God's creatures are kept in a tiny cage from birth and are so iron-deficient that they have no choice but to gnaw on the cage rails to get iron, isn't that a bit hypocritical? And do you really think when God said to eat meat that he had in mind what today's industry would have become?

I'm not knocking those who haven't considered vegetarianism. I'm simply presenting some things to think about. If you're buying locally grown meat and avoiding the factory farms and fast food industry meat, you're helping the cause. That's what I intend to do. I think that's my happy medium between being morally torn and completely apathetic. If you're one of those people who says, "Sure, I feel bad about the animals but they just taste so good," then guess what, you can have your meat and eat it too! All-natural meat is available at most grocery stores now. It's only .$50 to $1.00 more per pound and is cheaper than organic meat. The only difference is that organic farms have to produce their own feed that only comes from other organic ingredients. Both are free range, torture-free, and hormone-free. If you can't afford to do that all the time, then at least consider doing it when you can (although I think you'll find that it IS affordable if you get creative with it. Maybe put those cookies back on the shelf and get the happy animal meat). And, well, if you just don't care then keep eating standard meat and throw your hands in the air like ya just don't care. I'm just happy I've found a middle ground between the two.