Gifts for Men who are MEN

Scrolling through Kohl’s “men’s gifts” section, I can only assume that all men are a 1950s stereotype of working fatherhood:

1. Ties, bowties, cufflinks

2. Travel  and/or hygiene accessories: executive toiletry set, leather luggage tags, shaving kits, shoe shine kits

3. Golf accessories: club holders, decorative golf balls, towels, books, framed photos

4. Cigar accessories: mostly just holders

5. BBQ accessories: books, tools, plates

6. Drinking accessories: wine bottle holders, flasks

7. Chess sets and book ends

8. Tools and car accessories

9. Jewelry boxes for watches. Multiple watches. Fancy smancy watches.

 

And that’s about it.

366alyBut since none of the men in my life are hard drinkin’, chess-playin’, executive golfers with a business wardrobe and a well-decorated office who spend their weekends fixin’ all the things and BBQin’ for the fam, I don’t really have any options. I mean, my dad smokes the occasional cigar, but I’m not supporting that habit. My dad and husband fix things but already have their own tools. None of the men I know own enough books to justify book ends or watches to put in a display case.

So…. Kohls is a bit of a dead end for me on gifts for men. And progress toward a more equal society, apparently.

 

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A Silly Amount of Ambition

Ok, Eda, here we go! Your challenge: write 1,000 words per day for 30 days.

Starting…. NOW!

This is my #NaNoPrep, friends. I want to finish the manuscript I’m writing before challenging myself to write a brand new one, faster and publicly. I’m about half-way through, I have a good idea of what’s going to happen and how it’s going to end, and I want to take a good long break once I’m done before I go back and start editing. The timing, in that sense, is perfect.

That means that I won’t actually be doing much in the way of preparing for National Novel Writing Month. I will not be filling in character sheets or outlining or doing world-building exercises. As of right now, I have no idea what my NaNoWriMo story will be. I’ve got a notebook full of ideas. I’ll start there… in 30 days, when my current WIP is finished.

Ambitious? Yes. Doable? Probably not. Gonna try it anyway? YEAH!

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My Beeswax is Over Here

Today I went to a playgroup and it was not awful!

A neighboring town’s library holds a 45 minute playgroup every week and since my search for affordable day care has gone horribly… so so horribly*, I’m checking out free options for kid interaction instead.

*I should explain. Daycare would be helpful for work reasons but more than that, I want to socialize my shy kid. Turns out, part-time day care is more than I would make working extra hours. I could have a fleet of cars for the price of part-time day care. I could have a much bigger house. I could spend a weekend a month in Las Vegas for the amount they want me to pay for part-time day care. So… playgroups, here we come.

We went on An Adventure today! Our first trip to the library! Our first playgroup! Our first time spent with multiple children of the same age as my little guy! Very Exciting… for Mommy. The kid, not so much. I’m thinking it might take more than one visit for him to acclimate.

c3701b8147a87663f25cf2bf55f4ba19The reason I’ve avoided playgroups until now, and I really am starting to sound like I have some major beef with them, but honestly it was because of Scary Mommy. I’ve read so much anti-other mom bologna, so many The Five Awful Moms You’ll Meet At Playgroup-type articles, so very many “Hover Moms are Ruining Everything!” rants that I got stuck in an introvert fear bubble and assumed the very worst.

It really wasn’t that bad. There were hover moms and sit back & watch moms and grandmas and a grandpa. There were kids who cried, kids who stomped around, kids who spun and fell down, kids who tried to take all the toys, kids who attached themselves firmly to their mommy and refused to let go until the instruments came out (that would be my kid), and totally chill participating kids. It was normal. Totally normal! This is how kids are. This is how the people who care for them are. It’s really not that big a deal.

Yeah, one kid hopped on the back of the chair my kid was sitting on and tried to push him off. His mom came over and grabbed him and apologized. There was a kid wandering around yelling adorably at people. We all thought it was cute and didn’t care. There was a 2 year old the size of a 5 year old who ran around at the back of the room. It was fine. There was a kid who screamed at 10 minute intervals. Whatever.

Maybe some of the caretakers were cranky, maybe there were glares and glances and judgment but I didn’t notice. I just focused on my kid and the group leader and thought it was lovely. Maybe that’s the secret right there: mind your own beeswax and everything will be fine.

We’re going again next week. I might be the more excited of the two of us.

I Refuse to Feed My Child Unless He Gets Me Facebook Likes

I am SO silly. Here I was complaining about all of those uber negative Scary Mommy Shamer articles not even REALIZING that the articles getting the most interactions were the super douchey ones.

Lesson learned. Wait, let me rephrase.

Three Things To Do If You Want More Nasty Comments on Your Articles:

  1. If you want all the attention, you have to be a turdface.
  2. If you want readers, you have to use clickbait titles.
  3. If you want to feel superior, you have to put down ALL THE PEOPLE.

 

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I think I need to stop reading Scary Mommy, ya’ll. It just drags me down.

 

The Day My Kid Stood Still

This morning, my toddler headbutted me in the cheek bone. HARD. My husband’s response was, “he didn’t mean it.”

Listen… if he “meant it”, then there’s something wrong with my kid. If my husband “meant” to do the things we end up fighting about, then I married the wrong guy. If most people “meant” to act like buttholes and hurt and lie and cut others off in traffic even though I CLEARLY had the right of way, then there’s something horribly wrong with all of humanity and I’m calling alien Keanu Reeves* to come clean up, nanobot-style.

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*I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still the other day.

Saying “I didn’t mean it” is the worst way to way to respond in situations like this, second only to “I did mean it. I hope you suffer. Ha!” It’s a pointless non-apology that doesn’t offer sympathy or take responsibility.

“He didn’t mean it.” Like I honestly believe my kid is trying to break my face and that’s why I responded with “OW! DAMNIT, that hurts!”

I guess the good moms respond with “I love you too, sweet snowflake. Do whatever you want to Mommy and I won’t complain because motherhood is pain and womanhood is pain and I am an alien robot mom who doesn’t understand the other side of humanity until I watch someone cry in a cemetery**.”

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**That’s how Keanu does it.

Change is Nature’s Way of Saying STOP SCREWING THIS UP

As a writer, I think this is beautiful. As a mother, I am horrified. HORRIFIED. And disgusted. You have a fucking village, you savages! I’ve got a village of 5 people and 4 of them work full time but we still manage to take care of my kid.

The old ways are bullshit. That’s why we keep inventing new ways.

 

“Those who are unable to believe in the old ways go south, where life loses this rawness.” In the Tin House archives, writer Emma Cline publishes flash fiction, “Perseids,” set in Tasiilaq, Greenland.

via Perseids — Discover

I’m the Best… Around

One of the things I try to impress upon the kids I work with in my after school program is that we can be proud of our achievements without being a braggart, that it is possible to celebrate ourselves without putting anyone else down.

I mean, of course there are people who will be hurt regardless which is why I hate Scary Mommy Shame Articles* promoting the idea that if you can’t have it/be it/do it, no one else should either. There will always be THOSE people who can’t let anyone else have anything nice. But most people, I’ve found, are able to celebrate our wins with us as long as we’re not a total turd about it.

Point being, humility doesn’t have to be “don’t look at me, don’t appreciate me, I’m nothing.” It can be, “this is what I can do/did well and I am proud of that.” And we can all clap and say WELL DONE, SIR! WELL DONE, MA’AM! and then move on with our lives.

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This is all just to say that I won #FriDare on Twitter this week and I’m proud of that. But let’s not make a big deal, huh? I’m trying to be humble here.

 

*I’m not trying to bully Scary Mommy because there are a lot of good articles on there. The ones that keep popping up on my Facebook feed (and maybe I just need more positive friends who share less hateful crap) are the rah rah, YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTAH THAN ME?! type and I am So Sick of them.

Flash Fiction for Free!

51aubuobgylShort on Time? Low on Money? Desperate for a fiction fix? Well, I have a solution for you!

New for Free Book Friday, download A Flash of Effect: Inside the world of The Homecoming Effect in four short-short stories for freeeeeeeee (9/16-9/20) from Amazon.com

Writing The Homecoming Effect was a long and painful process and when I’d lose steam or get lost, I found that writing a character sketch or a short story that fit between scenes would get me back on track.

Basically, it’s fan fiction of my own work. If that’s possible. Which… sure, why not?

Regardless, it’s a quick read and a nice little peek at the novel, if you haven’t read it, or a reminder of the good times if you have.

Regularly priced at $.99, it’s available for free for the next 5 days. Grab your copy now, read it whenever, and then, if you could be a dear, throw a star review at me so Amazon will take me seriously. It’s a book eat book world out there and mama needs some love.

Scent-related

Today’s #2bitTues theme on Twitter is SCENT and I have to laugh because… well, I don’t write every scene in order, you see, and my first draft stage is one of exploration and discovery, not so much organization and outline.

What I’m saying is that I use a searchable marker word so I can easily find where I left off. I choose a word I’m not likely to use in the story. And for my current WIP, my marker word is “fart”.

So the very first word I see when I open my WIP today to search for something SCENT-related for #2bitTues… is fart.

And today, I prove I have the wit of a 12-year-old.

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Smug Mommy Shame Writers

I think I should state for the record that this has nothing to do with any sort of bitterness over not having any of my submissions accepted, because I’m not bitter. You can’t be a writer and hold grudges like that or you’ll go nutballs. I’m much too busy to go nutballs, you see. So no, this isn’t about bitterness.
Scary Mommy is getting harder and harder to read. For me. In general. Because THE OPINIONS, my God, the OPINions! I can’t handle the “I’m never doing this again” or “Moms who do this are crazy” articles and there’s just so many of them.

I’ve been a mom for less than 2 years so I am hardly an expert but I gotta tell ya, the road to sanity for this parent is all about flexibility, adaptability, and an understanding of the bigger picture.

This is how it works:

  • I have a parenting theory based on a value so I’m going to do THIS.
  • Wow, THIS failed spectacularly. I’m gonna have to do something different. I’ll try THAT.
  • No, THAT didn’t work either. OK, how about THIS OTHER THING.
  • THIS OTHER THING seems to be going well but I feel bad that THIS and THAT didn’t work. Am I a bad parent? No. Because forcing THIS or THAT on my child when it clearly doesn’t work for him would be bad parenting. I have to understand that my job as a parent is to get my child safely through childhood, instilling good values as best I can, until he becomes an adult and can choose his own values.

 

smug-mom-meme-280x185And that’s all there is to it*. I’m not going to shame myself or let myself be shamed for failure to follow through on something that’s not working, something I don’t believe in, something someone else is pushing on me but I feel iffy about, or some bullcrap that some freaking mommy blogger with a PhD in skimming Parenting magazine articles and then forming a silly opinion that she thinks applies to every other human is touting as gospel truth. No, thank you.

I’m not saying I won’t read magazines or blogs or Pinterest or even Scary Mommy sometimes because I’ve gotten some really good ideas from them. But just because it’s working for one parent or even several doesn’t mean that it’s for me.

And that’s… ok.

Unless you’re writing one of the overwhelmingly prevalent articles for Scary Mommy where you bitch about all the people making bento boxes for their kid’s lunches because WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT CRAP?! Well, the parents making those boxes are using the time they have to do something they enjoy to make their kids happy. Does that mean you have to do it too or you’re a bad parent? No. I’m sure some of those box-makers are smug better-than-youers, but some of them just enjoy food art.

What about those stupid crafty parents making HOME MADE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES?! HOW DARE YOU use your skills and hobbies to benefit your child because it makes both you and your child happy? HOW DARE YOU then post your creations to social media where you can show your friends and family something you’ve made that you’re proud of? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT MAKES ME FEEL not having the same skills nor the time nor the patience to do the same for my child? I’m gonna write a Scary Mommy article about that shaming you because if I feel bad that I can’t do what you do, you should feel bad about it too.

Moms, Dads, Guardians of children, Guardians of the Galaxy, you all need to relax. There are as many ways of showing your kids you love them as there are children in the world. All you have to do is find the thing that you know how to do or that you’d like to learn how to do and figure out how to use that to show your child you love them. And it doesn’t have to be showy or impressive and you don’t have to post it on Pinterest or Facebook to make it count.

Just love your kid the way you can. Just… love your kid.

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Me and my son, pretty much.

*Haha, just kidding. Parenting is wicked hard.