How to Raise Non A-holes

How To Deal With A Teacher You Or Your Child Can't Stand

When our oldest son, who turns 20 in a few weeks, was in elementary school, we were asked to fill out a form at the end of each year, indicating which teacher we wanted him to have for the next school year.

There were other questions on the form, too, where you could give more information about your kid’s personality and their learning style, which the committee would take into consideration when setting class rosters.

They might still do this. I’m not sure.

It’s a nice gesture toward the parents, and I’m sure the school administrators found it helpful when they were putting the classes together.  

I remember that early each school year, there would be rumblings from parents who didn’t get the teacher they put as their first choice. And sometimes they wouldn’t get their second or third choice, either.

Aah, the things we get riled up about. 🤷‍

When Your Favorite Things Turn Into Bad Habits

One of my favorite things about myself is my sense of humor. Not to be braggy, but I’m one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

Nothing makes me want to smother a cigar under my heel and strut off like Kate Moss down the runway more than laying out a funny one-liner that makes people throw their head back laughing.

I’ve always taken great pride in being able to laugh things off, even in times of sadness and stress.

Even during the cycles of depression I’ve experienced in my life, humor was there, although it wasn’t as accessible to me as it is when I’m out of the funk.

The Dangerous Mindset That Throws Us Off Pace

Part of our morning routine on school days is for Cody to tell me, “But we’re not late - we’ve left way later than this before,” when I tell him he needs to get moving so we’ll be on time for school.

I’ve tried explaining to him that we might not be late at that very second, but that if he keeps the pace he’s currently keeping - slow AF - we’ll most definitely be late.

Getting him to understand that he’s still got eight more steps in the 10 steps it takes to get out the door in the morning, requires a degree in childhood development that reaches far beyond the likes of my wildly average parenting.

I get it, though.

I’m basically a living example of how my life has played out with this very same mindset.

The mindset that says, “I don’t need to get started right now. Things aren’t that bad.”

How to Get Your Kids The Help They Need At School

When my youngest son, who’s now in fifth grade, was in first grade, we already saw the signs of a child with ADHD. He didn’t have hyperactivity or behavior issues sometimes associated with ADHD, but he couldn’t focus for shit.

We had parent-teacher conferences, I sent many unanswered emails to the teacher, and time after time, we found that she was lumping him in with all the other students, and completely overlooking the specific educational needs of my son.

I wasn’t asking her for an effing kidney. I just wanted her to consider for just one flipping minute that my son wasn’t learning the way she was teaching.

I have a very strong opinion on this, by the way.

4 Lessons From Hosting A Classroom Party (or, How To Have Your Room Mom Of The Year Award Revoked)

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how to win the Room Mom of the Year Award?  I didn’t want to just write about the craft that would help you win the award, I also did the craft myself, because what kind of person would I be if I just claimed I was sharing the magic recipe for Room Mom success, without even trying it for myself to make sure?

I want to take this moment to update you on the craft, the party, and about that day in general, so you’ll know how it all went down.  

Let me start by saying that a few days prior to the party, things were right on schedule and everything was coming together as planned.  

Community in Crisis Over Child Walking Home From Bus Stop Carrying Elf With Bare Hands

Trouble continues in a local neighborhood, where a mother is accused of allowing her daughter to walk down the street carrying her elf with bare hands in front of all the other children.

It all began last week when the incoming-text-notifications of eight moms’ phones and that of one stay-at-home-dad rang out simultaneously from an angry group text, initiated by Kayla’s mom, Patricia, stating that “FYI, the kids just got off the bus and there’s a little girl walking in the middle of the pack, carrying her elf. IN HER HAND, right out in the open where all the kids can see.”

A flurry of texts ensued, with everyone trying to figure out “who the hell is it?” and causing a data bottleneck that ultimately knocked out the nearby cell tower.

“We all suspected that it was that one lady’s bratty daughter,” one mother said, “because that woman always gives in to her child, and sure enough, my neighbor texted to confirm it after pulling out her binoculars.”

Risking Embarrassment Worse Than Spinach Teeth To Keep The Important Things From Being Left Unsaid

Most of my professional life was spent in the advertising industry. Almost 25 years, in fact.

There are a lot of weird people in the ad industry.

As a tender little sapling in “the biz,” I always worked for the wackiest of wack jobs and had the most bizarre experiences.

It’s one of the reasons my college BFF, Jen, who - over the phone, when I’d steal a moment of privacy behind the dark, closed door of a utility closet, I would whisper the latest “story you’re not gonna believe,” she would say to me, through tears of laughter and shock, “Oh my God, did you write this down? You have got to write a book someday - you couldn’t make this stuff up!”

Incidentally, it’s the reason I named my funny memoir, “You Should Write A Book, True Tales Of An Unstable Life.”

Then I found a job where I felt like people were normal.

4 Things We Don’t Do Anymore

About 18 months ago, when we decided to put our house on the market, we had already found the new house we wanted to buy, so we had to get our old house staged as quick as little bunnies to get it listed and sold in an effort to not carry two mortgages.

The plan was that, while we were packing up stuff to clear the house out and make it look the exact opposite of how my family lives in real life, instead of culling out stuff to donate or trash at that time - which is stupidly time-consuming, but is what people have to do if they don’t want to MOVE THINGS TWICE, like a bunch of idiots - we would just have to chunk everything into storage and deal with it on the back end, after moving to the new house.

Sigh.

3 Of My Biggest Regrets In Life

I remember it like it was yesterday. The initial shock at what I saw, and the horrific realization as all the pieces started to click into place, sending me through the various stages of panic: first the pins-and-needles tingling in my fingers and toes as adrenaline shot through my veins.

Then the questions I’d ask myself about what I was seeing before me.

And what it meant.

Then the inevitable, “no, no, no… God no.”

But, alas… yes.

I gagged a little and wiped my mouth, swallowing down the disgust welling up inside me.

My 2nd Biggest Fear In Life (also: Cooking With Cody, October Edition)

My second biggest fear in life is getting hit by a bus, leaving my children without having taught them all the lessons they’ll need to function in life, because I can tell you that if they had to do it on their own starting today, they don’t stand a chance in hell.

I should mention that one of those children I’m referring to isn’t even a child, anymore. He’s almost 20. A grown-ass man.

He’s a good guy and all. Kind and sensitive. Super smart. Funnier than shit.

But lazy af.

We’re buckling down a little more on this second kid, just to see what happens.

"What Do You Do?"

We all get asked this question and we all ask it - here in the States, at least. They don’t really ask the “what do you do” question in other countries.

We Americans ask it almost immediately upon meeting someone.  

We use it as our way of getting to know more about that person, but we - subconsciously, maybe - also use it to make a decision. We decide what we think of the other person based on what they do for a living, placing them on an invisible but very present ladder of sorts.

“I’m a used car salesman.”  Ok, we’ll put him down here, about midway down.

“I own a flooring company.” Got it - ok, we’re sticking you higher up there where business owners go.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom.” So - nothing. Doesn’t even make it on the ladder.

Sucks that stay-at-home-moms don’t get on the ladder, much less get their rightful spot at the very top of it.

But that’s not what I want to talk to you about.

You May Find This Post Offensive

I’ve been so productive the last week and a half, I’m intimidating my own self. Seriously! I told you last week that I was overhauling my pantry and getting it organized, and then I did something I almost never do: I did it!

If you get my emails, you got the before and after pictures in your inbox yesterday. I also included a quickee 1-question survey about blogging (by the way, if you’re interested in learning how to start your own blog, click here because over the next week, I’m sharing all the best blogging tools and resources in the whole blogosphere with my subscribers!)

But here’s what I want to talk to you about today: this getting-offended-super-delicate-and-thin-skinned-over-the-top-political-correctness bullshit.

Why Are My Kids So Effed Up?

Did you know I used to be a teacher?  I taught 8th graders and I loved being in the classroom so much!  I got out of teaching when I was on maternity leave with my youngest son.  I was in denial most of my pregnancy with him about having to leave him at daycare after maternity leave was over, so I put off the daycare search until the last minute.

You can’t do that.  

By the time I got my head together, all the daycares in our area had a waitlist, so I was pretty much screwed.  

I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy freaking right the eff out because the only “daycare” with availability was one of those places you see on the evening news, with crooked shutters and names that start with a K in klever - ahem, clever - ways. Ack!!

Your "Perfectionism" Makes My Eyes Roll

Let’s talk about perfectionism.

I go insane when people say they’re perfectionists, because in most cases, they aren't using the term correctly*, which makes my left eye twitch spasmodically.

There's nothing worse in life than for some skinny, young PTA mom, freshly scrubbed and dressed up like a show pig, to harp, “Ugh, I feel like I’m just too good at yoga.” 

Or, “Sheesh, I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to housekeeping. It drives me bananas when my sofa cushions aren’t just so.”

Or, “I try to do just 50 burpees, but I can’t help myself from doing 75. I’m a perfectionist!” 🙄

No, no, no. That is not what perfectionism means.

Too Old To Be Trendy?

One night a couple of weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook and a hair tutorial caught my eye because the girl doing it was just so cute, but also seemed somewhat relatable.

She wasn’t one of those stick-skinny 20-year-olds that look super cute no matter how busted up they are.

No, this girl was a little older and a little curvier and her hairstyle ended up super cute: it was just a basic bob blown out with a tiny bit of sea salt spray and she scrunched her hair up in her hands as she dried it, so it was tousled and airy and just adorable.

I did my hair the same way the next day - it was meet-the-teacher night at my son’s school and I felt cute. My makeup was on point and my hair looked tousled and airy and just adorable, if I do say freaking so.

5 Fun Things To Do With Kids - In Air Conditioning - In Austin This Summer

In between breakfast, video games, letting dogs in and out and in and out, lunch, and watching YouTube videos, we barely have time to fit in a bunch of fun summer activities.

And I'm not interested in enjoying a bunch of "fun in the sun."

The sun makes me freckly.

Besides, I’d rather eat soup right out of the toilet bowl of a port-a-john than be hot.

12 Things I Would Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

In honor of my 30-year high school reunion, I have some thoughts to share with my 18-year-old self:

1. You will not always be thin, so stop saying you’re fat. Around the age of 30 or so, you’ll be shooting your younger self a pudgy bird as you wipe queso from the corners of your mouth. Enjoy your perky, tight figure and take it easy on the carbs. 

2. Stop slathering yourself with baby oil and laying out in the sun. In fact, you have got to start wearing sunscreen. In 30 years, your dermatologist will use you as a poster model for What Never To Do, meanwhile your twice-yearly laser therapy appointments will fund summer trips to Bali for his wife and kids, AND new boobs for his girlfriend.

Stuck in the Middle

We drove 45 minutes to the ice rink this morning so the 10-year-old could get some much-needed ice time to help slow the loss of muscle tone while he’s in between hockey seasons.

Reaallly annoying to have put in 45 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to get back home, considering his total on-ice time was MAYBE 15 minutes

It doesn’t normally take quite so long to get to the rink from our house - it’s usually just about 25 minutes, but today’s one of those days when we hit everything juuuust the wrong way, starting with catching the tail end of rush hour traffic.

How To Avoid Losing $2,000 To iTunes

If you're signed up to get my emails, you probably saw my note about how much I love Apple right now because they refunded a hefty sum of iTunes charges back onto my credit card last week.

Here's the story (you know there's always a story):

When we were in the tippy top of a clock tower last week in Lucerne, Switzerland, I got a call from my credit card company saying there was a great deal of unusual activity on my card.

Turns out there was a flurry of iTunes charges onto that card happening since April 2nd.

To the tune of $1,923.47. 😱

What Moms REALLY Want For Mother's Day

Ok, guys - you have exactly six days to get the mommas taken care of and show them how appreciative you are of all the b.s. you’ve put them through.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking Mom wants a new coffee mug. Unless it’s funny, like this one.

And I promise she’s not been losing sleep wondering if this is the year she gets an engraved snow globe or any jewelry etched with “World’s Best Mom.”