Sunday, 15 May 2016

Fan art... of a sort

After listening to the Honey Badgers' critique of a men's rights episode of Fox's prime time drama "Bones", in which the leaders of a prominent men's rights organization "just happened" to be named Karen and Paul, an ardent fan created this:

That is all.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mother's Day bullshit

So some idiot website I've never heard of published a Mother's Day article that pissed me off, so I'm going to respond to it here.

This Sunday, as we all pause to honor the mothers in our lives, 

Just FYI, my youngest came with me to Costco today. On a Sunday. Yes, Costco on a Sunday. It was a nightmare. And he carried $400 worth of groceries from the car to the house. My oldest brought me a bowl of my favorite soup from Subway last night so I could have a nice breakfast today. My daughter sent me double rent. This all, despite me having forgotten that it was Mother's Day today.

I have words of advice for men observing the day with the mother of their children: Do more. 

Why? You're not his mother. 
Okay, that was a bit flip, but if your husband isn't putting in an equal effort, then one day a year of going above and beyond isn't going to make you happy. 

If you’re debating between a spa gift certificate and flowers, get both. If you were planning to take the kids out in the morning so she could rest, take them out for the afternoon, too.

I feel like I must be some kind of alien. I was happy with warmed over Subway tomato basil soup for breakfast, some help carrying in a metric fuck ton of groceries, and some cash. What would I do with a spa certificate? How long would a bouquet of flowers sit dropping dead petals before I felt compelled to toss it in the trash? And why would I want to avoid my kids on Mother's Day? 

Isn't celebrating my relationship with my kids the whole point of the day? 

Mother’s Day should be the biggest holiday of the year, and it’s time moms said so.

You'll have to forgive me if I don't agree. Being a mother isn't easy. But it doesn't deserve anything special. You chose to become a mother. Presumably, you chose to become a mother because it was what you wanted to be. That being a mother isn't always easy doesn't mean it wasn't your choice. 

Basically, you're demanding that your decision to do what you wanted to do be celebrated by everyone above any other celebration, simply because that decision involves some degree of work, inconvenience and sacrifice.

That being a mother is and should be respected and acknowledged as a job at least as important as any other, is one thing. Demanding that it be respected and acknowledged above and beyond any other endeavor--like, you know, risking one's life in war (Veteran's Day) or giving one's life in war (Memorial Day)--is beyond silly. 

Think about the great dads you know. Easy, right? 

Yes. Yes it is. Part of why it's easy for me is because many of the great dads I know did not change diapers, did not burp babies, did not play catch with the kids in the backyard, did not give baths or jiggle colicky infants on their knees. 

Do you know what my dad was doing when I walked across the stage at my Grade 9 "junior high leaving ceremony"? He was en route to Swan Hills, 250km from where we lived. While I was attending the dance, and my mother was worrying whether I'd be home by curfew, he was on his back on the shoulder of a highway in the rain and the dark, with a flashlight in his teeth, underneath a Peterbilt, trying to figure out what was wrong with it. He'd bought a ticket, and I know he'd have loved to be there with me, to watch me walk across the stage in the dress my mom made for me, but work called him away. 

And since his work paid the lion's share of everything, including the taffeta for the dress my mother made for me, and the shoes, and the everything else, he missed my leaving ceremony. I got home that night before he did, and I waited up for him. He staggered to bed around 2AM, and was up again at 6 to be at work at 7:30, because that's what he did.

This is the difference between the way mothers like you and fathers like mine view things. 

You complain about how many of those moments you "have" to spend with your kids. Their fathers don't complain about how few of those moments they "get" to spend with their kids. They just do what it takes to make sure you're able to have those moments, as many of them as you want, so many of them that you take them for granted and even resent them.

You probably could come up with some right away. The ones who stand out because they do drop-off at school or cheer at Little League games. 
Whatever happened to kids walking to school? Whatever happened to unstructured free play in nature--you know, boot the kid out the door and tell him to be home when the streetlights come on?

The ones who give baths or read books. 

Is it TMI to say I used to have baths with my dad, up until I was about 4 or 5? It was a way to spend time together. To fit some time together into his schedule, when his schedule more often than not meant that he was gone more than 12 hours of every day. And no, he was never much for reading me books, but he did teach me the ins and outs of swearing under the hood of a car in the garage, and how to properly butter floor tiles and frame a basement.

Now think of the great moms. Harder, right? 

Nope. My mom was absolutely a match for my dad. She was more hands-on than my dad, because she was home. But together they were a force to be reckoned with. There was no playing both ends against the middle. There was no bullshit bickering over who was contributing more or less. She baked bread from scratch, and planted a vegetable garden every year, and did roof repairs herself to make it possible for her to stay home with me and my sisters. She babysat, and took in a little extra money feeding the neighbors' kids lunch every day. 

Watching them together was like watching a well-oiled machine. Every Friday night they'd sit in front of the TV and go through receipts and balance their check-book. Between the two of them, they'd taught me what a credit rating was before I set foot in junior high school. 

It’s not because there are so few great moms

Wiping bottoms and filling sippy cups full of juice on demand doesn't make a great mom. Doing what your instincts dictate and consoling a crying infant doesn't make you a great mom. It just makes you a primary caregiver. 

Sometimes being a great mom involves making your kids walk to school, rather than driving them. Sometimes being a great mom involves booting them outside and telling them to be home by dark, rather than enrolling them in an endless array of structured activities they have to be chauffeured to and from. Sometimes it's about being hands-off, rather than hands-on. And not hands-off the way my best friend's mom was, either--you know, the mom who is too tired or apathetic to make an effort to be hands-on. And there are LOTS of them.

it’s because, barring a few bad apples, 

A few? 

most moms are pretty great. 

No, they're not. Most moms are competent. Few would qualify for the Nobel Mom Prize. 

Most moms do drop-off AND cheer at the games AND give baths AND read books and do about a million other tiny things that dads get so congratulated for doing. 

And my dad was lying on his back in the rain under a Peterbilt full of toxic waste when he would 100% have rather been attending my Grade 9 leaving ceremony. Imagine that. Imagine not being ABLE to be there for your kid's first steps, first words, first anything. Imagine instead being the person on whom the financial burden of the household rests. Imagine giving up all those moments to make it possible for your wife to stay home, and then imagine her writing a cunty, resentful article about how you're hardly ever there, and when you are it's treated as special. 

I've got news for you, lady. For way more fathers than mothers, being there to cheer at the game, watch your daughter walk across a stage, read a bedtime story or watch those first steps IS a special occasion. 

My dad worked 70 hour weeks so my mom could stay home when we were small. And he STILL managed to find the time and energy to make a thousand memories with me that were worth remembering. And my mom, instead of playing some toxic game of "who's sacrificing the most" did everything she could to encourage us to spend time together, and make his life at home more comfortable and welcoming than hard pavement under his back in the rain.

The bar is set so high for moms that a “great dad” is a dad who is somewhat involved in their kid’s life, but a “great mom” would have to go far beyond that to get her accolades.

Depends on your definition of a "great dad". What if being a "great mom" was working 40-70 hours a week paying the lion's share of the bills, being the only thing standing between the family and a cardboard box, and still managing to spend quality time with the kids on a regular basis? 

When was the last time you thanked your husband for work he does and the sacrifices he makes, including the bathtimes and bedtime stories, so you can have the opportunity to be just a regular mom? Not a great one, but just an ordinary one? 

As a mom, I worry about so many things. 

And fathers never worry.

What if my kids get sick? 

Yeah, my dad NEVER worried about us kids getting sick. He never worried about us getting hurt. He never worried about us getting sick or hurt while he was off in the field somewhere, 5 hours' drive away, either. Not even once.

What if I get sick? 

Yeah, my dad never worried about getting sick. He certainly never worried about getting injured on the job. Never ever worried about how his family would manage if he wasn't able to work for a week, or a month, or a year, or ever again. Not even once. It's not like he ever went to work the day after breaking his hand, or taking a shard of metal in his eye. It's not like he knew we were depending on him to bring in a steady paycheck.

Do I focus too much on my first-born daughter at the expense of my two younger sons? 

Yes, you did. Call it intuition, but I'm calling it like I see it.

Do I spend enough time with all of them individually? 

Ironically, you're worried over nothing. Individual quality time with each kid is much less important than them seeing you and your husband modelling a cooperative, loving, caring, supportive relationship with each other. 

Are they happy? 

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Stop worrying so much.

Can my too-sweet daughter stand up for herself? 

Not effectively if her mother is any example. Instead, I predict she'll rely on passive aggression and proxy bullying.

Am I on the phone too much around them? 

I don't know. 

When is picture day? 

Who cares? Take your own pictures.

When is our day to bring in snack? 

Tell the school you're not interested, and hand them some cash instead to make up for it, if it's such a problem.

Who’s that mom waving at me? 

Some bitch who thinks she's better than you, I bet.

Oh she’s not waving at me, phew. 

Oh, thank god. 

Are they making friends? 

They would make more friends if you gave them some freedom.

Are they kind? 

They'd be more kind if you allowed them unstructured, unsupervised play time with other kids. 

Are they challenged in school? 

If they're being challenged in school, it's almost certainly not in a good way. This has been true for a LONG time.

Oh no, I’m wearing denim on denim! 

Canadian tuxedo alert! Instead of "oh no!"ing all over the place, just own it and make it work.

How did I leave the house like this? 

Unshowered, legs unshaved, covered in baby vomit, with your shirt inside out? Join the club. We've all been there. Maybe not in denim on denim, but that's more a matter of luck than design.

Is it because I only sleep two hours at a time? 

Probably. But you know, you don't have to worry about it. Eventually, you'll get more sleep. Eventually, you'll either remember to look in the mirror before you leave the house, or you'll stop caring. And that's fine, because none of the people whose judgments you are worried about are able to really hurt you. It's not like showing up at some school event dressed the wrong way, or with sleep goongas in the corners of your eyes or your hair unbrushed is going to cost you your job. 

Telling the school you could give two fucks about snack day, and handing them 20 bucks and telling them to deal with it is not going to cost you your job. When some busybody cunt corners you to demand why you haven't volunteered for this or that school fundraiser, you can tell her to fly a kite and it won't cost you your job. As a mom whose income is primarily brought in by the father of your children (as I assume you are, not that there's anything wrong with that), he's the one person whose opinion you should care about. 

Who gives a fuck what those other moms think? Are you doing right by your kids, who you chose to bring into the world? And since when does that deserve a medal?

And so on.

Thank you for not elaborating further. 

As a dad, my husband worries that raising them in Brooklyn might lead to them becoming Nets fans instead of his preferred Knicks. The end.

I highly doubt that this is the only worry your husband has. Unlike you, he chooses not to burden others with his worries. He jokes about the trivial worries because the real ones are so awful that he chooses to spare you hearing them. 

He worries that he'll die on the job, or on his commute, and how you'd be able to get by. He worries about how you'd be able to manage if he were crippled or got seriously ill. He worries that if that happened, you'd dump him like dead wood and find someone else who can be more useful. He worries about whether he'll be able to juggle your demand for his money with your demand for his time. He's seen friends of his get served with divorce papers because their wives required a lifestyle that necessitated them working long hours, and who then felt neglected. "I want a cabin on the lake! I want a boat! WHY ARE YOU NEVER HOME???!!" I guarantee it. I've seen it. He's worried that while he's at work, some douchebag is hitting on you and might be just convincing enough to lure you away. He worries that his kids are healthy and happy. He worries.


I don’t begrudge his lack of worry, 

You don't understand or care about his worry. Fixed that for you.

and if I didn’t exist I’m sure he’d have the burden of thinking about most of the things with which I concern myself. 

You assume he doesn't think about them, but he does. He assumes you have it covered, because you guys are supposed to be team players. 

And if he didn't exist, I'm sure you'd have the burden of thinking about how many hours you have to work this week to make the mortgage payment and the car payment and the utilities and everything else, and you'd be calculating how many hours extra you have to work to pay for that video game the kids want that's only $60, and that's just an hour and a half of work, except it's not because after all the necessities are spoken for you're really only earning $8 an hour. You'd have the burden of knowing that if you decided to flake out and show up in denim on denim with unwashed hair for a week, your boss would put you on notice. That if you decided to be lazy for a few days and phone it in, someone else would be gunning for your job. 

I know this, because I did this, for three years with three kids. It's horrible. Even given that my kids were old enough to get themselves to and from school, and be at home unsupervised, and help with chores and the rest. Even given that I had help from my parents and sister, and that no one was going to come home and bitch me out because the house was a disaster (and it was, holy shit). Just the understanding that I was solely responsible for the financial wellbeing of four people, and if I failed we would all go down the tubes... 

You have no idea how lucky you have it if your husband makes it possible for you to be there every day with your kids, and worry about bullshit things like whether some mom at the school is waving at you, and GET AWAY with wearing denim on denim and not have it impact anything but your ego.

But that means that yes, once a year I expect my husband to bring it and celebrate me as the mother of his children. 

He owes you a "happy mother's day" and a kiss. They're your kids too. And he's obviously doing his part. And while I know it feels like your part is unpaid work, it really isn't. Imagine for one moment what your life would be like without him. Take a moment to understand his role, and appreciate that it is only because of him and what he gives you and your kids that you can indulge in these petty worries and trivial complaints. 

Take a moment to understand that while your work doesn't come with a tax bill and a pay stub, it is being paid for with another human being's sweat and effort. Being the primary breadwinner for a bunch of other people sucks. You should try it some time. But what sucks even worse than being the primary breadwinner is doing it and then having someone demand you give them extra special thanks for the work you're already paying them to do. If he earns substantially more than you do, he's paying you. Not because he has to, but because he values what you do enough to WANT to. And that's not enough for you.

That means he can’t just wake up on the day of and pick a restaurant, it has to be somewhere special, and while I don’t expect a gift (though, it doesn’t hurt), I do expect a nice card with words of appreciation for all I do. 

I am really, really hoping that you guys celebrate Steak and a Blowjob day. Because if you don't, I pity your husband.

It’s not about spending money on me. I’d be just as happy with a nice dinner at home, or other free gestures, but I better see real effort.

Unlike him going to some shitty, soul crushing job every day, then coming home and throwing all the money in a joint account for the two of you to share?

Being a mom has changed me completely. 

Lucky you. 

It’s not just the corny “I’ve never felt this kind of love” thing which, obviously, is true. It changed the way I am in the world. 

It turned you into a neurotic, entitled bitch who cares more about other soccer moms than her own husband?

I have a gravitational pull toward home that precludes me from going too far or staying away too long. 

And your husband valiantly and diligently strives to provide you with the freedom and wherewithal to choose that.

I’m more interested in what my son drew at school than I am in world affairs. I think more about my daughter’s social calendar than my own. And that’s not even getting into the physical changes that motherhood has wrought.
My husband gets to stay mostly the same man he was, and that’s in large part because of me. 

Sure. He gets to continue working. He gets to work longer hours, or at a more burdensome job, in order to provide for more people than just himself. He gets to do all the same difficult, stressful crap he did before you guys had kids, only more of it. What a lucky guy! 

Here you are, saying that when you had kids, it changed you. It changed how you felt, and because of that, you changed how you live. You CHOSE to stay close to home. It's what you claim you want. 

In order for you to be able to do that, your husband has to choose to spend more time or effort at work. If this fulfills him, more power to you both. Lord knows, I know men who are monomaniacal when it comes to work, for whom work exerts that same gravitational pull that you feel toward home. 

But ask yourself. Even if your husband was one of these guys, these monomaniacal workaholics who thrive on work, the way you claim you are regarding being a stay at home mom, would he demand that you "bring it" on Father's Day? Would he demand that you show your appreciation?

You have literally said that you are doing exactly what you want to do with your life right now, and that your husband makes it possible for you to do it. And you're demanding a reward from him for doing what you want to do? Seriously? 

And have you ever, for even a moment, considered that in being the primary breadwinner so you can stay at home, he's doing not what fulfills him, but what fulfills YOU? 

You are literally demanding he appreciate you for taking advantage of his sacrifices so you need not make any of your own. You are getting everything you want from him, and you're requiring he thank you for it.

He’s an amazing dad, what with his cheering and bath-giving, but fatherhood is just not as involved as motherhood. 

I bet you'd be singing a different tune if the money ran out. Because it's awfully hard to be a parent when you're searching the couch cushions for change, and then deciding whether to buy milk or bread. 

My dad wasn't lying on his back on the pavement thinking, "I'm so glad I got out of going to that boring school thing..." He was lying on his back on the pavement thinking, "this is what I have to do for my family." There's very little in life that is more "involved" than risking having your legs run over by cars while fucking with a truck in the rain at 11PM. 

If there’s an issue with the kids, he hears about it — but the details of our kids’ lives get filtered through me.

Like he did when you told him about their first steps, and their first words, and how they went down for a nap on the floor spooning the dog, and how fun it was when you went to the park today. 

All of the worries and concerns are filtered through you, but so are all of the milestones and moments that will never be repeated.

Of course there are dads out there who are full-time parents in the way that has long been the mom’s role. 

Yes, there are.

And they should absolutely be commended for it. 

Yes, they should.

But for most men, Father’s Day isn’t so much a celebration of what they do as an encouragement to keep doing it. 

Yes, stay on that treadmill. Keep performing and not resenting the time and milestones missed. Just keep working so she doesn't have to, and if you're lucky, she won't write some fucked up screed about how you owe her more than you've already given her, because she wiped more bums than you and angsted about how she was dressed in a social situation while you were at work struggling to pay the bills. She sacrifices so much to do exactly what she claims to want to be doing! And the very fact that you make it possible for her to do that means that you don't care enough. Better get on that whole spa day thing. It'll only cost you three hours of time with your kids, right?

Mother’s Day is different, and it’s ok to say so. 

Mother's Day is the day of the year when the largest volume of long distance calls are made. Father's Day is the day of the year when the largest volume of long distance COLLECT calls are made. 

You tell me who's appreciated and who's not.

It’s not crazy that one day of the year the extreme sacrifices mothers make are noted with serious celebration.

You literally said that becoming a mother changed you so that you WANTED to be close to home. Now you're calling doing what you wanted to do a sacrifice? And you're demanding the person who makes it possible for you to do that thank you for it, and thank you above and beyond the thanks you would give him? Seriously?

It’s really the least everyone could do.

I don't know. I was happy with help carrying groceries in, getting a bowl of my favorite soup and an extra bit of money from my adult daughter who lives with me. None of it was expected. It was nice, but frankly, I'd forgotten it was Mother's Day. I'm just not that obsessed with external validation. 

Maybe this is why I have such well-adjusted kids...