Category Archives: Fuck The Mommy Wars


Here are some numbers.

My mother had me when she was 21 years old.

I had my daughter when I was 38.

For most of their lives, my mother lived six blocks away from her mother, who was 35 years old when my mother was born.

Since I turned 17, I have never lived closer than 70 miles from my mom.

This past fall I flew 800 miles to be at the wedding of a girl I love like my own daughter.

I left my own daughter behind, in the care of my mother. For four days we were those same 800 miles apart.

There is twice as much space time between me and my daughter, as there was time space between my mother and me. Two generations, not one.

It was 40 feet from my daughter’s room to mine, in the condo that we lived in when she was born. From the day we brought her home from the hospital she refused to co-sleep, wouldn’t rest unless she could put that space between us. Forty feet, when she’d rolled and twisted underneath my heart, inside my body, caged by my ribs.

I looked at her in those early days and felt — love, pride, awe, fear, but not knowing. Not known. I had imagined a child would be many things. Not on my list, that she (her pulse inside mine, however briefly, an echo and an answer) would be a stranger.

A stranger to me, and I to her, and so we still are.

Strangers who like one another. Strangers who enjoy spending time together. But strangers, always. We love who we think the other is. We love the assumptions because we have to love something and we can’t know the truth.

I was reading last week about encouraging older children — she is so much older, in a week, than she was in a month last year — to write about this time, to draw about it, because they’ll remember. I say to myself, ten times a day, when we talk about someone we know being sick or something we can’t do anymore: She needs you to be calm.

She needs you to tell her how to feel about this, that’s how we learn. Human psychology, all of it, is based on projection. We do lessons at the dining room table. We do crafts, go on nature walks, I’ve been dealing with health problems for decades and sometimes I wish she had a mother who didn’t need to sit on the bathroom floor for 20 minutes in the morning and breathe until she can manage getting some toast and coffee and feeding the cats.

My mother tells me, “She doesn’t even see that.” But I don’t know what she sees. I don’t know if she’ll need me to tell her about the spring we stayed inside, about the months she didn’t see her friends. I hate that she has lost half of her kindergarten year. I barely remember kindergarten. It’s the hardest thing to reckon with: You don’t get to choose what your children remember, or how they remember it.

It’s the hardest thing to reckon with, as a mother, as a daughter: Our children don’t belong to us. We belong to them. We only think of our ownership because we are large and they are small. We are old, and they are young. We think once claimed is claimed forever, that love imparts some unspoken wisdom, that we know. A mother knows. A mother is supposed to know.

A mother doesn’t know. A mother has no idea.

At her wedding, the girl I love like my own daughter caught my hands up in hers and I tried to tell her, stumbling a bit after two glasses of wine, how important she was to me. I work with a lot of kids; none of them invited me to their weddings, until her. When she was thousands of miles away in war zones working I would check on Facebook, make sure she’d been active in the past day. The past hour. She flew to Chicago for my daughter’s first birthday.

No matter how much time passes between us talking, she could call, in the middle of the night, say I need a shovel and an alibi. I’d go.

It’s not a phrase that had been invented, in the 21 years between my mother and me: Ride or die.

Of course you’d die for your child. That’s easy. It’s chemical, it’s instinct, it’s survival, it has to be. You love them before you know them, so that you keep them alive. Can you still love them, once everything that has ever happened to someone has happened to the both of you? Once you’ve happened to each other like a speeding train happens to a car stalled at the crossing, like a tornado happens to a town?

Are you ride or die, then?

What does it mean to ride? Does ride mean feed you, keep you safe, put you in a carseat and cut your grapes in half? That’s easy enough, for all our mommy-martyrdom. Is that all it means? Does it mean piano lessons? Does it mean until you’re 50? Are you ever done? There are people who are, who would be. Streets the world over are homes for children whose parents were done with them. The reverse, to be fair, as well.

I shudder at the very idea of I would do anything, forever: You are giving the gods a middle finger. Your future is out there waiting and it hears you. I shout it out just the same. Anything isn’t a hangnail, isn’t just showing up for a class play. Sometimes it’s involuntary commitment to a mental institution.

I don’t question love. What’s the use? But I question time space. I question years and miles. Not if they exist, but what they mean. What they might mean to me and mine. What I get to call mine: the girl I love like a daughter is not my daughter, feelings don’t give you rights, and all the love I bear my child, who knew my voice before she had a name, doesn’t obligate her to anything. I will keep saying this until I believe it the way I believe gravity: She does not owe me.

We are commanded by every deity we have ever invented to love the stranger. We think it means the scraggly homeless man who screams obscenities behind the trash cans in the alley, the twitching pale hitchhiker who needs a ride in the rain. I’ve begun to think it’s something else: Everyone is a stranger. The faces across the breakfast table, every single morning come ruin or rapture, the faces that need feeding and washing and kissing before school. Something happens and we say, how could I not have known?

How could you have, ever, known?

Does any of this make sense? I’m trying to say we don’t make sense to each other, mothers and daughters, and I’m trying to say I think it’s all right, that the chasm isn’t as important as the bridge we’re stringing across it, which will hang there until it’s needed. It’s 21 years and 70 miles wide, that bridge, between my mother and I. It’s two floors, in the house my daughter and I inhabit now, and 38 years, and a single breath when I hear her stir in her bed, in her warm safe bed at night.

My grandmother died at 91. My mother-in-law, two years ago. My daughter asked me, after her Nana’s funeral, how long do people live? How much time will there be, between us?

I didn’t have an answer for her.

All I had were numbers.

I hope that someday she’ll tell me what they mean.


Mommy Martyr Day Sucks


This year’s guides suggest in their sometimes admirable, sometimes obligatory, attempts at semi-wokeness that Mom has her own life, they know! Which is why she needs this Roomba. Hey, she does a lotta stuff! Which is why she needs a face mask for those eye bags. The mom of today, as rendered by these guides, is “on the go,” “multitasking,” “out and about,” and “living her life.” But she’s also “stressed out,” “really needs a vacation,” and would like this bottle of wine with a label reading, “WINE BECAUSE KIDS.”

Let’s not dismantle any of this, let’s buy her some shit!

God, THIS. But there’s something even more insidious here, which is the topping of all this crass commercialism with displacement of our anger at society onto our kids.

Like yeah, raising children right now really sucks, especially if like most people you don’t have a shitload of money. But we’ve turned that into a joke at the kids’ expense. You’re why Mommy drinks! Hee hee! You owe your mother for her episiotomy! Mom hasn’t slept in 15 years, haha, aren’t you sorry for it?

I hate the marketing of this holiday as a way for kids to apologize to their parents for being kids. HATE. IT. “Your mom was in labor for 97 hours, so buy her jewelry!” How is that the kid’s fault? Jesus Christ. “You’re why Mommy drinks!” and ADS LIKE THIS ARE WHY WE’RE ALL IN THERAPY.

Let’s be honest. Ninety percent of what middle-class parents bitch about (with physically standard, neurotypical kids) is stuff the kids aren’t totally responsible for. Like show me a kid who doesn’t whine and who sleeps perfectly at all times and can always remember where their shoes are. Show me a teenager who doesn’t make dumbass decisions or avoidable mistakes or throw an attitude about their clothes or whatever. Their brains aren’t formed yet. Of course they’re pains in the ass. Because they occasionally say intelligent shit to you doesn’t mean they can be judged on your level.

Because I am An Older Parent (everyone else in her preschool has folks who got hitched in the last 5 years and Mr. A and I are working on our second score here) and because I have resources and good luck and years of meds/therapy and one very good kid, I can be amusedly detached about all of this. But I find it enraging that I am supposed to regard middle-class parenting as a horrible gauntlet and expect to be sucked up to about it by the person who had the least amount of choice in it.

Do you want to hear a litany of misery? I could give you one, especially about the two years after her turning 10 months old when I took a second part-time job to pay for the childcare that let me do the first job and went completely fucking insane from stress and guilt and started acting out like an adolescent and burned down my entire life.

But what, of that, was HER choice? Did she make Mr. A’s and my industries unstable from her place in the pack-n-play? Did she make all our prior terrible financial decisions? Shit, at least she snuggled and said thank you occasionally, which is more than I got from those two jobs combined.

You’re why Mommy drinks? Grown-up bullshit is why Mommy drinks, and Daddy too, and implying that kids are ungrateful little assholes who make their parents’ lives difficult is a shitty way to let society off the hook. My kid doesn’t owe me a card. The American economy might, or my own brain chemistry, but nobody’s lifing them all day in commercials.



Do most women want to stay home and wait on a wealthy husband? 

Andrews ties declining marital rates to financial insecurity and the impossibility of affording a middle-class life on a single income. She blames this on “the mass entry of women into the work force.” Instead of “shoveling women into the work force,” she suggests that it’s “time to focus on helping male workers specifically, their wages and their industries,” as a means of raising marital rates and increasing women’s ability to choose to stay at home with the kids. Never mind that we’ve already run the societally-backed man-as-breadwinner experiment and know exactly how it goes: An expansion of one single choice for some women and a shrinking of all others for all women. She suggests that, hey, women would rather have a husband and a child than equal pay, wouldn’t they?As though it’s a zero-sum game.

This tiresome bullshit is why we can’t get anything done. From the piece linked in the original:

The result is a two-tiered system that isn’t working for anybody. In the bottom tier, marriage is disappearing as lower-income women have too few men with solid jobs to choose from and as the growing number of men without regular work — by one analysis, 20 percent of prime-age males were not working full time at the start of 2018 — are being cut out of the marriage market altogether.

I am so exhausted of a “feminism” that imagines that poor women just found rich guys to marry instead of, you know, staffing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. We have this idea that before 1968 women married and stayed home, even if it was a poor home, while their MANZ went out and earned, even if he didn’t earn much.

To which I would offer up ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY in which women worked to pay the bills because they either didn’t have husbands, or their husbands were disabled or At War or not around or got fired or didn’t make enough. Women have always worked. Poor women, anyway. Middle class women may have stayed home but then say that instead of saying “women” because the Real Housewives of 1950s Connecticut have about as much in common with their female farm worker contemporaries as I have with the Mercury Seven.

Wendy Wang is the director of research at the Institute for Family Studies, and before that she worked at the Pew Research Center, where she co-wrote a report about unmarried Americans. “The number of employed men per 100 women dropped from 139 in 1960 to 91 in 2012” among never-married Americans 25 to 34, her report found. “In other words, if all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9 percent of them would fail, simply because there are not enough men in the target group.”

Well, lesbians exist, first of all, and with marriage equality being a reality now we may want to stop picturing all unhitched women as being deprived of a dude. Some of them may pine for each other.

Just … what a load. Nobody wants to get married anymore because nobody has any fucking money to do anything. When Kick was three weeks old Mr. A and I sat down on the floor of her nursery and tried to figure out if we could afford for me to go back to work, or if we could afford for me NOT to go back to work.

I had a low-paid nonprofit job serving the sort of Important Historical Organization I was constantly being told people my age didn’t value. I hadn’t had a raise in five years by that time. When we first hired someone so I could go back, I did the math. Subtract her salary from mine, and I took home $8 an hour. Before taxes.

(That isn’t, by the way, an argument to pay her less.)

Yeah, I needed to work, and we needed those eight bucks. And nobody who needs those eight bucks right now is going to be comforted by a study from the Ladies Against Women Institute about how mothers really shouldn’t be in the workforce because they’re making all the men unhappy. What the blue hell.

The answer isn’t to push out women in favor of paying men more. It’s to pay everybody more and every time I hear about not throwing money at a problem I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t try it just once and see how it goes.


‘Just’ Adopt

One of the many things that made me crazy when I was trying to have a baby was the people who said, “have you ever thought about just adopting?”

There’s nothing “just” about it: 

It also needs to amplify the perspectives of adoptees and birth families, especially when they raise uncomfortable issues that challenge the prevailing adoption narrative. “Children are cute, children are acceptable. Everybody likes babies,” McKee notes. “When these babies grow into adults like myself, an adoptee who also studies adoption, we’re less cute.” The idea of adoption as “a blessing for all involved” is a narrative that serves ethically dubious adoption facilitators, while pulling double duty as an anti-abortion talking point.

Mr. A and I did meet with a local adoption agency, one that did a lot of transracial and open adoptions, and might have gone further down that road if I hadn’t gotten pregnant. We have friends who’ve adopted children and others who are adopted, and being flip about it like you can just run down to the store and get a baby erases the work everybody involved does to make adoptions happen.


The Women Have Always Been Here


Before lifelong activist Florence Reece took the stage to sing her now-iconic labor anthems, she sat at the kitchen table writing those songs from the perspective as a mother and wife—and as a union agitator. “Unofficial social worker” Edith Easterling leveraged her local knowledge, and the federal resources she gained access to as a staffer for the anti-poverty program known as Appalachian Volunteers, to launch her own personal war on poverty at home in Pike County, Kentucky, with the Marrowbone Folk School—and saw her daughter Sue Ella follow her footsteps straight into the civil rights movement via multiracial youth organizing efforts. When Appalachian health activist Eula Hall opened the Mud Creek Clinic and Dr. Elinor Graham taught mountain women how to self-administer breast and pelvic exams and provided information on birth control, they were enabling poor women to take control of their own bodies and make their own childbearing decisions.

Discussions of women’s movements that leave out poor and lower-middle-class women who have always had to work and fight and scrap and “resist” for what they needed drive me bonkers. We have these “lean in” moments where it seems like it’s all about our personal fulfillment and our private desires, instead of about the baby eating or the roof getting fixed. Women have had to fight for those things long before (and will long after) the slogan-embossed tote bags wear out.


I Do Not Want a Grateful Child Today

Happy Mommy Martyr Day!

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I know this because I have been to the mall three times in the past few weeks (through no fault of my own).  You can’t walk past a single shiny window without being bombarded with the certain way to make your mother happy come this Sunday morning —  BUY THIS.  Mom needs that.  IF YOU LOVE HER, YOU WILL SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON HER.

I hate this stupid holiday. I hate the flower commercials and I hate the greeting cards and I hate the “spa day” thing and I hate the alcohol marketing, the you’re-why-Mommy-drinks little “jokes.” I hate all of it and it makes my skin crawl every year.

(I hate this holiday despite having a good mother, who cared for us and exhibited all the qualities lauded on greeting cards and in syrupy jewelry commercials: generosity, patience, kindness. I know for many of you, that’s not something that can be said, and it complicates the whole thing even more.)

Maybe it’s having lost my much-loved mother-in-law a few short weeks ago, a detonation in our lives around which the dust is still settling. More likely it’s my prickly relationship with my own motherhood, with the Mommy Wars that demand reflexive worship of childbearing without any recognition of the cost of mothering (or not mothering) in American society. I say worship because its implied adoration subtracts doubt and complication, replaces gratitude with supplicative guilt. It makes of a mother an object, to appease and to whom we atone. We direct feelings toward an implacable, unknowable, distant figure, and consider neither that figure’s motivations nor our own.

But what’s wrong with taking one day to say thank you? Nothing. Look, if your mom worked two jobs or gave you a kidney I ain’t telling you not to say thank you for that. If you were a screwup kid, and you want to apologize to your mom once a year for being an asshole, that’s one thing, as is simply wanting to say thank you and needing, I guess, a day other than every single one ending in Y to say it.

But the coercive, slavering Mother’s Day marketing — that implies children should feel ashamed of their weight in a family and try to make up for it — does nobody any honor, least of all mothers. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day to appreciate but there is something wrong with reducing motherhood to that day and nailing Mom to the cross on it.

I hear you already: You’ll understand when your daughter is older! Yeah, maybe, and then I hope you print this out and staple it to my forehead: I don’t want my child’s implied apology for the work I choose to do raising her.

It’s work. Of course it’s work. I play games when I’m tired and go to the park when I’m sick and read to her when her 5,000th request of Wheedle on the Needle bores me senseless, and I come home early for dinner when I could be out with friends. I cook endless pans of mac and cheese and cut her toast into quarters. I sign her up for soccer camp and make doctor’s appointments and ponder how she manages to rip holes in the knees of every pair of leggings she has. She’s the reason I function on six hours of sleep and eight cups of coffee and I swear to God the next time I have to remind her not to carry the cat around like he’s a feckin’ football I’m gonna lose it.

And I don’t ever even once want her to think that any of that was some noble sacrifice I made despite my heart’s desires, or think about how she was a bother or a chore or a piece of drudgery.

Because here’s the secret: We all are. Everything we do is in spite of our selfish instinct to lay on the couch and watch TV. I work hard for her and I work hard for Mr. A and for me and our friends and our families and for causes and causes and causes I care about. I work hard because I’m fecking breathing and that’s what you do. Parenting is hard work. Friendship is hard work. My two dumb cats are hard work. Love is hard work, and we do ourselves no favors by pretending it shouldn’t be.

Half of adult misery is waiting for a parade that isn’t coming or a rest that isn’t restful, thinking you’re due something you ain’t gonna get, and the problem with these days of special gratitude is that they end and then you go back to what you think is the grind. As if hard work can’t be deeply, deeply rewarding and not in an “it was all worth it, even the times you puked on me” grudging kind of mockingly resentful way.

I don’t want Kick to be grateful for a life we gave her, I want her to be a part of a life we’re all living every day, that we’re all working for, together. I want her to be kind and strong and unafraid, and I want her to love and be loved, and I want her to have joy in her work whatever that work is, and I want her to know that nothing is truly thankless unless you make it so.

Not even motherhood. Not for a minute. Not when every night there’s a pair of small arms around my neck and a whispered, “I love you, Mama” right before she pretends to fall asleep when we both know she’s gonna flop around in her bed for an hour talking to her stuffies and then whisper through the baby monitor, “Can I kiss the cats goodnight one more time?”



This scenario reads like EXACTLY what a pro-life organization wants a woman unexpectedly pregnant to do: 

Hanna Rief wishes she’d been more proactive: “I could have asked more questions,” she says. In late 2013, barely a year before the “ten essential health benefits” mandated by the Obama administration were signed into law, Reid and her boyfriend found she was pregnant. Working as a dental hygienist in Colorado, Rief didn’t have employer-sponsored insurance, but figured the first order of business was marrying the father of her child, who was also uninsured.

She had the baby. She married the father. And now she has this bill:

A full year and three months after she gave birth, Rief received an invoice for $8,996 for her delivery. When she called Blue Cross Blue Shield, they told her she’d been denied for the low-income program, and too much time had passed for her to appeal. She still doesn’t understand what happened, even after spending months on the phone. She called the hospital so often she says they started to recognize her. A few months later, they stopped working with her and sent her debt to collections. Rief is still paying off the bill.

So maybe some curiously well-funded advocacy group working out of a strip mall in Sheboygan could pony up for bills like these, instead of mailing plastic fetuses to politicians or whatever the fuck it is these garbage dickholes are up to now.

God, this pisses me off. And before you’re all cynical up in the comments like OF COURSE THIS SUCKS, THEY DON’T LOVE BABIES THEY HATE WOMEN, I actually did not hit my head when I fell off the turnip truck yesterday. I do know this. I just think we need to point out that if Mary, Mother of God showed up on their doorstep and was all, “knocked up by Yahweh but I’m seeing it through, can I have a glass of water and maybe a chair to nap in” they’d tell her to GTFO.

Of course the Professional Pro-Lifers aren’t concerned about people like these. But it’s important to note that people like these listen to them, and think, I should keep this baby, I should marry the father, I should try to make this work, and then they’re left utterly out in the cold.

Maybe some of the money spent making two-story pictures of people’s miscarriages and photocopying state legislation that mandates the width of hallways in Planned Parenthood clinics could be spent LITERALLY PAYING FOR A NON-ABORTION by covering a mother’s labor and delivery, and the baby after it’s born.

I’m not getting crazy up in here. I’m not asking them to feed all the kids they want brought into the world or anything. Let’s not go wild this morning.

Let’s just say that the cost of your average March for The Unborn could easily pay off the hospital bills of all those women who made the decision we’re told is the only morally defensible one. Maybe print a few thousand fewer T-shirts and fund that instead.


‘your husband will do anything for you—slay the dragons, kill the beast’

Ladies, stop agreeing with your husbands only when you … agree with them: 

Alpha women aren’t exactly new, but they were once a rarer breed. Today they abound. There are several reasons why, but it’s in large part due to women having been groomed to be leaders rather than to be wives. Simply put, women have become too much like men. They’re too competitive. Too masculine. Too alpha.

Strangely, this is never a problem faced by a human male.

Every relationship requires a masculine and a feminine energy to thrive.

I have some questions.

How is such energy measured and quantified? Is there a test strip, like a blood sugar monitor, where you can prick your finger and see how much masculine humour you contain that day? Is it something you can smell in the air? Does this apply only to heterosexual relationships, or do same-sex couples need to test regularly as well? Have you ever asked a gay couple which one is the woman? I feel like you have.

The roles may have changed, but the rules haven’t. All a good man wants is for his wife to be happy, and he will go to great lengths to make it happen. He’ll even support his wife’s ideas, plans or opinions if he doesn’t agree with them.

Lady, I do not know who you are married to but get out now. Someone in your relationship is an asshole. I don’t know which one of you it is (probably both) but I know if this is how you look at things, neither of you should be there.

What men want most of all is respect, companionship and sex.

Women hate these things.

If you supply these basics, your husband will do anything for you—slay the dragons, kill the beast, work three jobs, etc.

The 1150s  called. They said be sure to salt the beast-meat or it gets gnarly in the cellar and also your brave knight just died of something called “the pox” which apparently he picked up from a serving girl in the next village.

(Also? Plenty of people working three jobs for another person’s joy are fucking miserable and resent the living shit out of it and aren’t shy about saying so.)

Your husband’s actions are more often than not reactions. He’s reacting to something you said or did, or to something you didn’t say or didn’t do. He’s reacting to your moods, your gestures, your inflections and your tone. That’s how men are. Your husband wants you to be happy, and when he sees it isn’t working he thinks he’s failed. That’s when he acts out.

That’s when he gets sent to time-out to think about what he’s done and if he tells you that you started it, you take away his pacifier. Jesus Christ, ladies, don’t we have enough to do without adding another toddler to the mix?

I’d think to myself, How can I possibly make sure my husband isn’t negatively affected by my every mood swing? I’m a Pisces, for God’s sake!

Astrology is not a real thing. Nor is any of this Mars-Venus crap. When you were born is not an all-access pass to behave however the fuck you want.

Girls, embrace the laziness that comes from submitting to your husband’s every whim!

I’m an alpha all day long, and it gets tiresome. I concede that I thrive on it; but at the end of the day, I’m spent. Self-reliance is exhausting. Making all the decisions is exhausting. Driving the car, literally or figuratively, is exhausting.

If driving the car is that tiresome, reconsider either the particulars of your commute, or the make and model of your vehicle. Or, you know, suck it the fuck up. Being an adult IS exhausting. Everybody wants to just lie down and eat pie for lunch. Yet somehow most of us persist.

First I’d handle something the “right” way—i.e. by not arguing with him, or by not directing his traffic, or by being more service-oriented—and marvel at the response. Then life would get busy, and I’d resort to my old ways. Sure enough, I’d get a different response. So I’d make a mental note of how I messed up and make sure to get it right the next time. Eventually, it became second nature.

“Eventually, treating my relationship like an experiment in which I provided differing responses to various stimuli became second nature, and I no longer saw my husband as a person in the same house but as a lever I could push to get a pellet. Then life REALLY started kicking ass!”

This garbage is the same as any other relationship advice garbage, which is that, delivered to everyone in the house, it makes a lot of sense: Don’t pick fights just to pick fights, don’t agree to shit just to agree to it, try not to be assholes to each other or have to be in charge all the time, etc. But somehow this advice never DOES get delivered to men and women.

It gets delivered to someone who’s unhappy in a relationship because she doesn’t feel valued and respected, and the advice always boils down to: Don’t ask for that. If it’s making you unhappy to want to be treated like a human, learn to want something else.

To which all I can say is that it is absolutely ASTONISHING that fewer young people are getting married, or marrying later, with people like this out there making it look like this much fun.


‘no word on who was watching baby’

When I had Kick and returned to work people would see me on the street and ask, “Where the baby?”


I once asked Mr. A if people asked him the same question when he went to the office. Then I asked the same question of all the awesome, fully involved, some-of-’em-stay-at-home dads that I know.


It is the year of our Lord Jesus Cracker Jack Christ 2016: 

Fox wasn’t having any of it. They dove in first for Hillary, reminding us that she also missed Chelsea’s first day of school. Well, Chelsea turned out ok. But nice job digging the claws in to the first presidential female candidate.

Then they reminded us that Chelsea just had her second daughter this past July. Aw, sweet, right? Nope. They actually said “no word on who was watching baby Charlotte (their second baby) while her parents and grandparents were “away.”

All together now, girls: FUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!

I’m sure it was really hard for Chelsea to miss her daughter’s first day of preschool. I’m also sure it would be really hard for Chelsea, her daughter, and all other women to have a president elected who does not think that women are people, and a vice president who thinks the same thing but uses better words about it.

You know, I don’t love shaming ambitious women in the public eye. Could Chelsea afford to be a stay-at-home mom? Probably, sure, and just because she could, she should? In shaming her these assholes are implying that every woman’s job is optional, “me time,” something to eat and pray and love about. I know every TV show about women presumes we are just in the workplace for the self-actualization and forming our own identity and shit, but some of us don’t work just to fulfill ourselves.

Some of us work because we have skills no one else has; you tell a female astronaut she should keep her feet on the ground, fucko, or a female neurosurgeon she should put her brain to work watching PBS.

Some of us work because our babies have a powerful need to EAT, sleep in a bed, under a roof, put shoes on in the morning. Some of us work because our husbands are in unstable industries, or have disabilities or illnesses, or want to stay at home with the kids, or whatever the hell. Some of us work because we’re supporting more than our husbands or our kids. Some of us work because we’d LOVE to stay home, and we can’t.

Some of us work because that’s what we do, that’s what human beings do, and the American economy don’t give a fuck we gave birth.

So crab about Chelsea missing a day her daughter won’t even remember, while Chelsea and her mom fight to make a country where more families have more choices about how they want to work and live. That’s not being “away” from the kids, and even if they were “away,” like on a beach somewhere, it would still be nobody’s fucking business but theirs.


Who Works Sick

It’s a joke, the “mom cold” versus “dad cold” thing, a bad unfunny joke that plays on traditional middle class family roles and stereotypes, and I saw it repeated over and over on social media when Hillary Clinton nearly passed out after what surely was her 10 billionth event in 2 days and then waited like six seconds or something to tell everybody she had pneumonia.

(Can we please stop acting like she hid her dementia for years? We had a president who did that, and a bunch let their wives/aides run stuff, and no they shouldn’t have done that, and everything was fine.)

Of course she was working sick. The president doesn’t get a sick day ever. But a WOMAN president especially doesn’t get a sick day. Mom doesn’t get to stay in bed all day the way dad does, amirite ladies? Mom doesn’t get a cold. Mom has to be dying before somebody takes her seriously, whereas if Dad stubs his toe he’s in traction for weeks. Har dee har har.

You know who else doesn’t get to have a cold? You know who doesn’t get to take sick days, really?


Spare me talking about Hillary’s health by referencing comfortable women whose husbands are assholes. Those women can have honest conversations with the dickheads they’re married to, or find a new husband who is less of an adolescent.

Let’s talk instead about what it means when nobody in the family gets sick time.

Let’s talk about if you’re hourly, and your spot on the line can be filled by pretty much anybody.

Let’s talk about if you’re contract, and the work has to get done no matter what or the check don’t come.

Let’s talk about if you’re the owner of a one- or two-person operation, and being sick means closing the doors.

Let’s talk about if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Let’s talk about if you don’t work, your kids don’t eat. Let’s talk about if you don’t work, within a non-trivial amount of time you will be living in your parents’ basement at the age of 50.

Let’s talk about that, in addition to how much it sucks that your dumb failed-adult partner doesn’t do laundry.

Sick time isn’t just the privilege of men (there are plenty of stay-at-home dads whose partners’ careers depend on their health). It’s the privilege of WEALTHY men who can afford things like “paid leave” for themselves but refuse to grant it to their employees.

I mean, look at this shit before you get all mom cold on me here:

They’re usually part time: About 74% of full-time workers get paid sick leave, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, while around 24% of part-time workers get the perk.

They work for small businesses: Smaller companies are more likely not to offer paid sick leave, largely because of cost. Around half of firms with 50 or fewer workers offer the benefit while 81% of those with 500-plus employees have it, according to Paul Harrington, director of the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University.

They’re often in the service industry: Workers with service sector jobs, like food service or hospitality, are likely to go without sick time, along with those in health-care support services, including home health aids or dental assistants.

“Those are the exact type of jobs that you want people to stay at home because they have such high interactions with customers and co-workers,” said Jessica Milli, a senior research associate at The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Many are Hispanic: Hispanic employees are less likely to have paid sick leave than white, Asian or black workers, according to Milli, with less than half of Hispanic workers getting the benefit.

They’re on the lower end of the income ladder: Government data show 90% of the top 10% of earners get paid sick time off, while 21% in the bottom 10% get it.

“Part of that is that you are more likely to be part time in the [lower bracket],” said Harrington.

It sucks that mom doesn’t get a day off, and that even at the executive level women are judged more harshly than men on this.

It also sucks that executive-level women’s employees don’t get a day off, and that they — men and women — have to work sick at least as often as Hillary does.


There Is Literally No Way to Be Married or Work or Raise Your Kids Right

IT IS 20FUCKING16, latest in a series of occasional RAGESMASHes: 

[…] Weiner isn’t just facing questions about his political career. He’s facing questions about his parenting skills. And for the third time, his questionable decisions are ensnaring his wife, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, by raising questions about her decision to leave their son alone with her husband while she’s on the campaign trail.

It’s written in the standard contrarian perspective of a lot of politics blogging; the “what if” tone that carries an internal defense that it’s “just speculating.” Phillips isn’t, after all, actually saying that Abedin is a bad mom because she dared to leave her son with his father, she’s just raising the question. It’s a tired approach to writing about women in politics, though one we’ve seen quite a bit in this particular election. It simply posits that this will be a line of attack by the opposition and thus is a fair line of inquiry.

Of course, the speculation is underpinned by ridiculous stereotypes about working mothers, as well as the moral responsibility of wives to persistently monitor the inevitably bad behavior of men.

Several things, in order, about this regressive bullshit:

  1. Sexting around one’s toddler is not, by itself, a dangerous thing for the toddler. It’s not like Dumbfuck McChucklehead was lighting off fireworks and chugging Bud Lite and texting pictures of THAT to his sidepiece. Should you be subjecting your preschooler to the sight of your peen? I don’t know, I doubt it, but the kid in the pic was sound asleep. People read porn when their kids are asleep, probably. Is that endangering those kids? Before we make wild accusations of basically negligent sexual abuse, shouldn’t we think about this a little more?
  2. Something does not “raise questions” all by itself. People raise questions. Those people should put their names to their bullshit questions so that we can laugh at them, or take into account whether they have a history of being assholes, or on second thought just laugh at them. Fuck this tendency to write as if stupid conclusions are like the weather and just descend upon us.
  3. If it “raises questions” about anybody, it raises questions about Anthony Weiner, who is the husband of a person who is an aide to a person who is running for president so just out of curiosity did Trump not talk today or something? Are we this bored?
  4. Anthony Weiner can’t get hisself a job because of how he is embarrassing, so someone has to feed that baby we are so worried about. I don’t think Huma Abedin would be a better mom OR JUDGED ANY LESS if she didn’t work and they were homeless.
  5. It is not any woman’s responsibility to keep a man from sticking his dick in any other woman. First of all, it’s ineffective. If the only way you can keep your husband faithful is by constant surveillance, your husband does not want to be faithful, and will figure out how not to be no matter how many nannycams you buy. Second, ladies, our own lives are complicated enough that we shouldn’t be spending valuable time running other people’s, even if those other people are our spouses. Huma has to manage HILLARY CLINTON’S LIFE. I’m surprised she has time to cut her own food, much less corral Daddy’s dingdong.
  6. Just shut up and stop it. Women are bad if they stay home because they are stupid fat cows whose brains have melted and women are bad if they work because they are selfish shrews and women are bad if they work and send their kids to daycare because they are letting strangers raise their kids and women are bad if they work and their husbands stay home because CUUUUUUCKS and women are bad if they don’t even HAVE any kids because that is tragic and women are bad if they have too many kids because a vagina is not a clown car and there is literally no way for a woman to Kobayashi Maru this shit so let’s stop giving the dumb fucking test already.



Science Babies FTW or, Why Chrissy Tiegen’s Critics Can Suck It

I swear, we hate no one in the world like we hate female celebrities. The amount of bile spewed at Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and now Chrissy Tiegen would, if properly directed towards Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney, solve nearly all our country’s moral crises.

What did model and actress Tiegen, who happens to be infertile and public about it, do? She chose to have a female embryo implanted in her uterus during an IVF cycle. People are fucking idiots, no thanks to the morning Mommy talk shows, and accused her of “designing” her baby and personally murdering all children available for adoption and being a dumb whore and all kinds of stupid things.

Is this a good idea?

You can find opinions across the spectrum.

Some people believe that using gender selection non-medically is the wrong use of medical and health care resources. Critics worry about the potential gender bias in selecting one sex over the other.

Others believe this is a personal decision that parents should be allowed to make.

Of course they don’t understand how human reproduction and IVF work. Doctors often perform tests on embryos prior to “transfer,” meaning placing them in the mother’s uterus. Those tests will tell parents if an embryo is male or female, among many other things, like if the embryo has certain conditions or genetic disorders that would make life impossible for the little critter.

We conceived Kick through IVF but didn’t do those pre-transfer tests, mostly because our insurance didn’t cover them and they’re thousands of dollars. If we had done the tests, and had known that we had both male and  female embryos, we would have had to choose which ones to transfer first. You have to pick if you have a certain number of embryos; Octomom notwithstanding, you can’t just fling everything you have at the uterine wall in the hopes that something quite literally sticks. Our doctor would have asked us what we wanted to do.

There’s nothing Mad Scientist-y about it; nobody’s splicing genes in an underground lab to create alien hybrids. I know it’s fun to think about that because it allows you to be a bitchy scold to women who can’t get pregnant and thus are going through something you can’t possibly understand. I know it’s fun to shudder about “designer babies” and imagine women, especially pretty and famous young women like Tiegen, as flighty creatures who are just all DOO DAH DOO DAH THINK I’LL HAVE A BLUE EYED ONE. I know it’s hard to take women seriously about their own reproductive choices, but I’m gonna have to ask you to put your shoulders into it and consider some things.

  1. You’re being an asshole. “But she’s a public figure!” I don’t care if she puts on swimsuits for money. I don’t care if she killed Kennedy. If you’re being a dick to her, you’re being a dick. You are responsible only for you.
  2. “Just adopt” is not only trivializing to people who don’t adopt for various reasons. It’s also trivializing and dismissive of those who DO choose to adopt, who work hard to go that route and aren’t “just” doing anything. Don’t use courageous and admirable adoptive parents just to denigrate someone else.
  3. Also what are you expecting people to say when you say, “Just adopt!” HOLY SHIT I FORGOT YOU CAN ADOPT KIDS I’LL JUST RUN DOWN TO THE STORE THEN AND GET ONE THANK YOU FOR THIS SECRET INFORMATION. Again, this is about respecting families, so do them the credit of assuming they’ve considered their options and are picking the best one for them. Assume women are rational and smart. I know it’s tough, but stretch those muscles.
  4. If you support women’s reproductive freedom then you support it, full stop. Even the Duggars. Even Octomom (God, remember that collective cable-news freakout? What a fucking waste of our time). If you support women making their own choices, then you don’t get to bitch about this stuff.

To her credit, Tiegen told everyone on her case to get off it and refused to let them make her all shy and apologetic about her baby.

Damn right.


Women Need to Hate Other Women to Protect Their Men

What the hell part nine:

So what can moms do to protect themselves from sexually predatory nannies, according to CBS2 News? First, don’t hire anyone too beautiful. Leslie Venokur, co-founder of parenting website Big City Moms, say that moms should screen potential nannies based on how they dress. “If they’re wearing dangling earrings, that to me is a no-no,” she asserts.

Then, CBS2 tells moms that surveillance can be necessary.

Moms, it is your job to screen all people around your husband to make sure they are not going to trip him so that his dick will land inside them by mistake. Raising a young child and figuring out childcare and scheduling all that stuff, well, on top of that you now basically have to be some kind of Sex KGB, mommies, always on watch for someone out to steal your mayunn.

You know what would be a good tip to protect your family from “sexually predatory nannies?” Not marrying a douchemook who would screw the nanny. The nanny promised to take care of your kids in exchange for money. Your husband promised not to boink other people while he was with you, so if he’s not doing his job maybe he’s the one you should fire.

God, we are still blaming women for “tempting” men away from their loving spouses, and not talking about maybe the dude needs to keep his pants zipped, especially if he has young kids who will notice him skeezily feeling up their caregiver. We are keeping an eye out for those wily nannies who are just spending their days caring for children in an effort to score some hot suburban dad tail, because that’s the easiest way to get laid, you know, schlepping kids to the park. So much more fun than dating apps.

As usual, in the comments someone will pop up to tell me I am being a prude or refusing to admit attractions happen and boundaries get blurred and OF COURSE THEY DO. People get attracted to one another and when you’re in a new and uncertain situation the boundaries are uncertain. And I don’t advocate pointlessly tempting yourself, which is why we didn’t hire Harrison Ford to watch Kick while I’m at work. I would have a hard time with that.

The point is that attractions and feelings are not an imperative to mash your genitals together, and get your shit straight, people. You didn’t promise to love, honor, and never notice any hot people ever again. You promised to love, honor, cherish and keep you only unto. If Dad can’t figure that out, maybe he’s the one who needs the surveillance.


I’m Done With All Your Hillary and Bernie Feelings, Internet


Genuinely, I think he does. I think he wants to bring about the end times. I think he is living in a comic book and none of the rest of us are real to him.

Marco Rubio is six years old and he keeps thinking if he talks faster and louder it will make him sound smarter. Debate moderators ask him why his own people think he sucks, and he yells about his Lord and Savior.

Jeb Bush once ruined an entire family’s life just to make points with the Jesus freaks over Terri Schaivo, and the freaks are not even voting for him now. Like, think of that. You mortgage your soul for someone, and they’re like, “Ick, get away.”

I don’t know what to worry about more, that Donald Trump is gonna pick somebody for his VP that he has already publicly called a giant shitlord who will then sink him from within, or that he’s gonna choose a military dude like Petraeus. Then he’ll win, and quit, leaving us with a morally dyslexic G.I. Joe in charge.

ANY ONE OF THEM gets to appoint Supreme Court justices, as Sainted Dead Scalia reminded us last night, and Notorious RBG ain’t gonna live forever. If we make her deal with one more Republican president, she would be well within her rights to give the concept of existence on this planet the finger.

So if I read one more thinkpiece about ageism, sexism, Bernie-ism and who isn’t respecting who enough online, I will send this whole Internet to bed without supper. I have a Mom Voice now. I can do that.

I mean, dear God. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, writers. It’s not about you. It’s not about you, people who have time to be penning this or that for a publication that exists to explicate the zeitgeist or whatever. God damn, what is happening in this country right now during this political campaign, it is not about you.

Some of the things being said at and near Bernie’s fans remind me of how I was treated as a young person at my first paying gig: You’re only 22 so nothing you say is legit, like call us when you grow up. Some of the things being said at and near Hillary remind me viscerally of how I was treated the last time I asked for a raise at my job: You need to be nicer because that matters more than any other skill you have. 

Some of the things being said to younger and older voters are making me ragey and some of them are making me sad and you know what those feelings of mine, those deep and real feelings mean to a bunch of people in Flint, Mich. whose kids have been poisoned by lead in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ Two Thousand Sixteen?



There was a Democratic debate Thursday night or during the Super Bowl or whenever, and two candidates on stage — a Jew and a woman, both the first of those groups to win major primaries — were discussing their responses to systemic racism. Systemic. Racism. They were discussing institutionalized hatred of black people and the dehumanization of them by the government.

Yes, later John Lewis and Bernie Sanders supporters snapped at each other on Twitter and yes, Hillary could not get away with having a prominent supporter who goes by “Killer Mike” because of sexism. But at that debate OUR PARTY HAD A GODDAMN DISCUSSION ABOUT FIXING RACISM.

The Republicans, at their debate last night, were fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the German Shepherds. 

And not for nothing, but a few weeks ago we had a sitting U.S. Goddamn President name of Barack Hussein Obama who spoke not tentatively, not neutrally, not cautiously but ADMIRINGLY of the courage of young gay men and women living their lives as full citizens of the United States. He PRAISED THEM. As role models not just to other gay people but to everybody, in front of a joint session of Congress, behind a fucking podium with a seal on it, to thunderous applause.

Later, at the Republican debate, a bunch of guys talked about if we could put Don’t Ask Don’t Tell back into effect somehow and make everybody forget if Gunny Highway likes dudes and stack the Supreme Court with people who will go around forcibly divorcing every gay married couple on earth.

The differences between Bernie and Hillary are real (see Kissinger, Henry and Dead, Why Isn’t He Yet) and explanations of them are welcome and necessary. But the constant online whining about behavior of campaign supporters towards one another and the over-identification with the candidates personally* is starting to feel like therapy for the comfortable commentator class. Maybe we’re forgetting that BEN CARSON DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE DEBT CEILING IS..

It is starting to remind me of 2003 when Yes Hippies Are Right But They Smell, or 2004 when Yes Democrats Are Right But The Midterms. I do not want to see President Trump elected so that all U.S. progressives can Suck On This for not supporting Bernie. I do not want somebody else’s kids to fight three more wars so We Can Learn Something This Time It Serves Us Right for not supporting Hillary. We who are here to type stuff into the Internet don’t get to write checks for other people’s asses to cash.

I am supposed to be freaking out right now because calling someone a Bernie Bro is reductive and mean and makes you less likely to vote Hillary? I will call you anything you WANT, okay? What do you want me to call you so we can get some work done? I am sorry I was born after Roe v Wade but I’ve had by conservative estimate 37 transvaginal ultrasounds, so if I give you a pin commemorating the fight to make abortion legal can we please elect Bernie to stick a probe up Scott Walker’s bunghole?

President Bernie, President Hillary, are not going to lead-poison our children to save a few bucks and then be all LET’S NOT TELL ANYBODY when they get a memo about the poisoning. They’re not going to make cracks about turning Syria into a glowstick and they’re not gonna slap their junk on Putin’s dinner table and they’re not gonna forget where China is or whatever it was Trump did last week. They’re not going to punish poor women by faux-investigating the only medical clinics that give a shit if those women live or die.

I want a woman president, maybe this woman. I want a non-Christian president, maybe this dude. I would rather have CLAIRE as president than any combination of any of the Republicans currently running and I’m sincerely afraid that we might not survive a couple of them. Far too many of the things I’m reading lately are forgetting that soon and very soon that will be the fight we’ll have to have.

At that point the therapy sessions will be over, and not a moment too soon. So work for your chosen candidate. But don’t confuse that work with the kind you need to do on your psyche, because the latter you can get done on your own goddamn time.


*Call me, John Kerry, you are 8 feet tall and it still charms me senseless.

Mothers, Here is How You’re Screwing Up Your Baby Today: Cellphones!


Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That’s the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.

HOLY SHIT. That sounds terrifying! I will never text in Kick’s presence again lest I warp her brain for life! Hey, maybe Mr. A can handle all my calls and work e-mails and everything else that happens, you know, on a 21st century basis in the world. This lead says nothing about fathers using their phones while caring for their babies! Fathers must be safe.

I’m so glad they warned us, though, ladies, because it doesn’t sound like we can be too careful OH WAIT:

While the study was conducted with rodents, its findings imply that when mothers are nurturing their infants, numerous everyday interruptions – even those as seemingly harmless as phone calls and text messages – can have a long-lasting impact.

I don’t know where to start here. This study was conducted with rats. This leads to a conclusion that human mothers should put down their smartphones. Because the rats had smartphones? The female rats, only? And they made and received phone calls and texts? Which were seemingly harmless but damaged the baby rats’ brainmeats? We are two paragraphs in. I’m meant to be terrified for my baby’s brain development, but I can’t be scared when I’m this confused.

Help me out, article!

The UCI researchers discovered that erratic maternal care of infants can increase the likelihood of risky behaviors, drug seeking and depression in adolescence and adult life. Because cellphones have become so ubiquitous and users have become so accustomed to frequently checking and utilizing them, the findings of this study are highly relevant to today’s mothers and babies … and tomorrow’s adolescents and adults.

Erratic maternal care. Like looking at your phone. Will turn your kid into a drug dealer.



The UCI team – which included Hal Stern, the Ted & Janice Smith Family Foundation Dean of Information & Computer Sciences – studied the emotional outcomes of adolescent rats reared in either calm or chaotic environments and used mathematical approaches to analyze the mothers’ nurturing behaviors.

What was a chaotic environment, that these baby rats were in? Did Mother Rat just chain-smoke and watch soap operas? Did Daddy Rat come home drunk after banging his secretary? Were the meals late and were they tiny Rat Happy Meals? I don’t meant to get all After School Rat Special up in this business but this article is the opposite of specific and I saw it tweeted by a lot of mommy-advice accounts that are supposed to be smarter than this. I need to know what these rats were up to.

I mean, fuck’s sake, of COURSE you should pay more attention to your kid than to your phone, and we all have horror stories about This One Mom I Saw in the Grocery Store Whose Kid Was Throwing a Fit and She Was Just Talking on Her Phone. Not that we know that bitch’s life. But here’s the thing: Scold-y headlines aimed at “mothers” who are no more interrupting their childcare to send a text than they once were by picking up the mail do not do jack OR shit to actually help create a stable environment for a kid to grow up in.

While we are all freaking out about Overparenting and Helicoptering and Are Your Rich White Children Watching Too Much TV, politicians have poisoned the fresh water in a state surrounded by it. One in ten young children lives in extreme poverty, like they live on less than 10K a year. Refugees and immigrants are hearing screaming about walls and Christianity exams, and Chipotle is giving everybody the shits. Childcare costs more than college, and also college costs more than college. The entire country needs a goddamn nap. Can we please get it together over here?

You know what would help the shit out of creating a stable, non-“chaotic” environment? MONEY. Shitloads of it, for buying groceries and paying taxes and sealing up cracks in the walls and keeping the lights on. That would help both mothers AND fathers spend less time frantically trying to work and parent around the clock using GASP their smartphones and laptops and any other means at their disposal in the year 20FREAKING16, and maybe then those baby rats could have dinner without some kind of drama for once in their lives.


The Generational Feminism Olympics, Yay!

I am so not looking forward to the next 10 months of this bullshit: 

Do you notice a difference between young women and women our age in their excitement about Hillary Clinton? Is there a generational divide? Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

Guys? Which one of you forgot to send Debbie Wasserman Schultz the list of stuff ladies younger than 40 care about? Because she seems to be under the impression that young women aren’t working as clinic escorts, or donating to Planned Parenthood, or supporting pro-choice candidates, all of which is the case. Moreover, she seems to  be under the impression that if she doesn’t “see” it, it doesn’t exist, so obviously we need to make sure to do stuff on her timetable if we want any respect as people.

Christ. First of all, most of the serious assaults on Roe have come at the state level, in places like OH I DON’T KNOW WISCONSIN where lots and lots and lots of young people tried to recall the anti-choice governor. Where was the DNC while this personhood-amendment-supporting, 20-week-ban-signing asshole was riding roughshod over a pro-choice man and then a pro-choice woman opponent? I mean it, where were they? Because if they want to talk about complacency, I’d like to hear an explanation for the WAREHOUSES full of dry powder they decided not to waste in that case. I’d like to talk about that before we go full metal jacket on the college kids.

Second of all, if anyone is to blame for the erosion of Roe, it is the anti-choice men in statehouses and Congress and the Supreme Court eroding it. I’d like to hear a little more about THEM, and what Democratic and abortion rights groups intend to do to stop them, and a little less about those ungrateful teenage bitches who just don’t understand real activism or whatever. Something something Twitter.

This is WHAT ANTI-CHOICE MEN WANT. This is what rich old jackwagons who hate women and especially poor women WANT. They want us yelling at each other so we’re not yelling at them. They want the DNC chair talking shit about her own voters instead of saying “I think young women are incredibly energized and excited about the possibility of a female president, and even if there are generational differences in how women approach the issues, in the end any movement that doesn’t welcome the contributions of younger members will dry up and blow away. Look at the Republican party, for example.”

They WANT us to jab about the menopause caucus burning their bras and the girls who care more about the Kardashians and being naked than they do about their rights. And here we are giving them exactly what they want. Look, people will always try to play you, but you don’t have to welcome it. You don’t have to follow the script. You can refuse to dump on other women to make yourself look better. You can refuse the premise of the question.



A Tale of Two Stories: Helicopter Parenting and Poverty

The Washington Post: 

And how can parents help their children become self-sufficient? Teach them the skills they’ll need in real life, and give them enough leash to practice those skills on their own, Lythcott-Haims said. And have them do chores. “Chores build a sense of accountability. They build life skills and a work ethic.”

Lythcott-Haims said many parents ask how they can unilaterally deescalate in what feels like a college-admissions arms race. How can they relax about getting their child into Harvard if every other parent is going full speed ahead?

The Washington Post: 

The 86 members of Ruleville Central’s senior class had attended a school given an F grade by the state. Nearly everybody qualified for government-provided lunches. The school was so strapped for teachers that in 2014 it brought in seven from India — during the middle of the year — to instruct math and science classes.

And then, with graduation, those students walked out the door.

Some new graduates went off to local colleges. Others lacked money or test scores. One turned down an offer from his dream school — the University of Mississippi — because of the cost. Another who had bragged about an awaiting football scholarship ended up working at a truck stop. The school’s guidance counselor said she can count on her hand the ones who will finish college.

Five’ll get you ten which one is all over the morning housewife TV shows like Today and GMA. Three guesses and the first two don’t count. This is what we should be worrying about: Helicopter parents. Not unemployed parents, not poor parents, not addicted parents who can’t find help, not parents working three jobs who still can’t move anywhere safer than the set of Escape from LA. Helicopter parents, screwing up their babies with Spanish lessons and complaining about test scores.

I get it, right? You talk to your audience and your advertisers’ audience and I am the audience there, so I get it. I’m a middle-class white chick with a so-far neurotypical, physically healthy child whose college education, should she wish to have one, will not require going into hock to the Russian mob. We live in a metropolitan area where she can find a job whether she chooses to dig ditches or practice law, and though I lock my doors at night it’s pretty much Mayberry in the ‘hood. Clearly my worry should be whether I am over-parenting.

(I am under-parenting. We watch a lot of Curious George in our house. I take Kick to a music fun-time session where the other children show up adorably coiffed in outfits for a Pinterest-worthy violin recital, and she rolls in looking like she’s there for Rave of Thrones. The other day she ate Cheddar Bunnies for dinner, and I’m only teaching her another language if smartass counts.

“What does Mama do at work?” I ask her. She grins and replies, “Make da money.”)

My worry for the future isn’t a worry for her future. It isn’t that she’ll be intellectually inferior to some richer girl down the road, who will get into Harvard instead of her, make partner instead of her. My real worry is that the world she will grow up in will be some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape in which a college education and making partner won’t even matter, because parts of this country will have absolutely caved in and the people who come from there will be murderously pissed at anyone who isn’t them and rightly so. My worry for her future is that the things middle-class America is furiously convincing itself are important for its children are going to be washed away. My worry is that instead of worrying, I should be stockpiling dry goods and WE’RE ALMOST OUT OF FLOUR.

Over and over we’re told that the biggest problem with Kids Today is technology and helicoptering interference, not bombed-out schools and open-air gun markets and Grandma getting the heat shut off because she can’t pay the bill. We’re spending a lot of time making economically comfortable moms and dads feel like shit for driving their kids to too many activities, and absolutely no time making wealthy politicians feel like shit for allowing children to grow up in a world that raises its middle finger at them. Then we’re making those kids feel like shit for being desperate and broke. We’re worrying about all the wrong stuff, all the time. We’re worrying about the wrong people. We’re worrying about ourselves, instead of about others.

My kid’s biggest problem is not going to be that her overprotective mom sat in the principal’s office and argued she had a good reason for blowing off an assignment (she’d better have a good reason). My kid’s biggest problem is that the kid two desks over got evicted from his apartment because his dad threw his back out three years ago and his disability checks kept getting smaller and his mom lost her job and they’ve been eating out of the restaurant garbage bin and this kid has had it with the universe fucking him over and he’s going to make a big noise before he goes.

Maybe while we’re freaking out over little Johnny needing to have mom do his laundry until he’s 30, we could spare just a few minutes to make sure Johnny and his mom have enough to eat.


Your Daughters are Beyond Your Command: Susan Brownmiller, Slutwalks, and the Responsibilities of Feminists to One Another

Young women, before you make any mention of rape, or rape culture, or how it is bad, you must first cite Susan Brownmiller! 

I was wondering if you have been following the discussions of rape activism on college campuses.
Yes, very closely. In the 1970s we had an extraordinary movement against sexual assault in this country and changed the laws. They [the campus activists] don’t seem to know that. They think they are the first people to discover rape, and the problem of consent, and they are not.

Jesus TITS. How exactly should they be demonstrating that they are not the first people to discover rape? Should they make sure to say your name loudly? Should they be sure to add footnotes to every Take Back the Night flyer to demonstrate they’ve read the required texts? Maybe you should give them an exam, and grade them on their history, before you let them be people.

Since you apparently were the first REAL feminist, how large a parade should you be thrown anytime anybody else wants a right or privilege not previously granted, and what color ticker tape would suit?

The women’s movement in the ’70s was not a campus movement at all. I like to see activism wherever it rears its head, but this is a very limited movement that doesn’t accept reality. Culture may tell you, “You can drink as much as men,” but you can’t. People think they can have it all ways. The slut marches bothered me, too, when they said you can wear whatever you want. Well sure, but you look like a hooker. They say, “That doesn’t matter,” but it matters to the man who wants to rape. It’s unrealistic. I don’t know what happened to the understanding people had in the 1970s.

Well, possibly lots of people who have been born SINCE the 1970s have different opinions about the ways we live now. Lots of them maybe have ways they want to act up, want to protest, want to live. Lots of them don’t WANT to have the “understanding” that men can get away with raping them if they are drunk whores, that apparently people had in the 1970s.

Since they live in the 2010s, lots of them seem to want to live in the 2010s, with new understandings they make themselves. Some of them even want to “discover” things like rape and consent, the way we all discover things when we encounter them for the first time because we are all 22 sometime.

So annoying.

By the way, there were lots and lots of feminists before the 1970s, and I don’t see them mentioned in Brownmiller’s complaint. Alice Paul called and she said you’re welcome for that hunger strike in PRISON, and also for that right to vote that you bitches take for granted nowadays. (Emmeline Pankhurst called and said you should all suck her dick, because that’s how she rolls.) You were not the ones who discovered the idea of women’s rights, rape, or consent, either, so back up off the college campuses.

I am so sick of this noise. It is not  time for younger women to fight your fight. They don’t make protests like they used to? They don’t make women’s movements like they used to? Nobody’s doing it right anymore? Then get OUT THE FECKING BARCALOUNGER, GRANDMA, and get in the street. Because until you can’t, until you are no longer breathing, you have the same responsibility as anyone who is alive no matter how young or slutty they are.

I am so sick of hearing people declare that they selflessly fought for their daughters, and then insult those daughters for not “appreciating” it by doing the exact same thing in the exact same way. It’s not selfless if you think they owe you one. It’s not selfless if you guilt them about it. It’s not selfless if all it was, was a to-do list.

I get it. I do. I want everybody to be better, too, and I want people to listen to what I said the first time I said it, and I want credit for being right. I turned 40 today and my inner 19-year-old is righteously pissed off about it. I have my own fights I wish were over. I’m tired and I can’t believe some of the stuff we have to keep pushing back against. I sat through three hours of that debate with you all, too, and I can’t believe this is still the way the world is.

But it’s not the fault of young people anymore than it’s the fault of old people. Why do we always jump to, “The fight isn’t over and it’s because these young women aren’t fighting like we did?” Just as easy to argue, “The fight isn’t over and it’s because all these old women didn’t finish the damn job.” Both are equally pointless; the fight isn’t over, after all. That’s the important part. That’s the part we should be listening to.

It is everybody’s job to keep working. There is not a protest quota after which you get to kick back, yell DON’T YOU DUMB HO-BAGS KNOW WHO I AM, and scold 22-year-olds about slutwalks. You want to live in the world, you have to live in the world, and you have to keep fighting. And if some reporter asks you what you think about how other people are fighting, instead of making the tiresome argument that Kids Today Just Don’t Know How, quote them some Susan B. Anthony, who I’ve heard tell was quite a feminist in her day:

Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.


In Which We Learn It Is the Wife’s Job to Stop Her Husband from Cheating

accidental affair

Part the 11,000th: 

Holy shit, ladies, what the hell is wrong with you? Why would you agree to hire a hot nanny, especially if you have a celebrity poonhound husband? I’d never let some hot dude prance around my house in his skivvies, unless I was ok with him banging my wife. Because the assumption has to be that it is happening. Unless Jen is ok with it, that has been known to happen too. But that is not the case with most women.

Yeah, LADIES. What is wrong with you? Why do you keep sticking your husband’s dick in other women? I mean, God, here you were thinking you were hiring somebody to take care of the kids while you, I dunno, worked or took a shower or whatever, and all the while you were forcing your husband to fuck someone! GROSS. Get it together, moms.

(True story time: None of the people we interviewed to take care of Kick were particularly hello-lookit-me-swimsuit-model sexy. I was, however, so fucking out of it with post-partum despair that even if they’d shown up looking like Nicole Kidman I don’t think my first thought would have been, “We can’t hire her, she’s too much of a babe and Mr. A will wind up screwing her.” Most likely I’d have thought, “Great, someone who knows about skin care, the baby will need that someday.”)

I’m not saying there are no urges, or that deliberately tempting those urges is a good thing. Of course there are urges. People are people and putting a ring on your finger doesn’t mean you don’t look at somebody and go, “Wow, you’re cute and 15 years ago you’d have been all my sort of thing …” We don’t talk about this and I think it knocks some of us flat, the first time we’re attracted to someone after we’re married or committed. Like how can this still be happening, I’m married. Yeah, you’re not blind, though.

And while I wouldn’t advocate hiring a busty redhead to babysit for your adorable toddler if busty redheads are what you’re into, you don’t get a free pass when you find someone attractive, either. Put a good-looking man next to me and have him buy me scotch and talk Babylon 5: If I make out with him, I’m still doing that which I have agreed not to do, and the level of temptation involved does not decrease my culpability. (Unless it is Harrison Ford. There is an exception for Harrison Ford in our house. For either/both of us.) This isn’t about your feelings, it’s about your actions.

It’s not anybody’s job to police yours except your own.


They Don’t Care about the Consequences

What the culture wars cost: 

Conservative political forces in Indiana were driven by religious fervor to gut all public funding from Planned Parenthood. They led the nation in demonizing the organization because 3 percent of its services involved reproductive services — abortion.

To sterilize that contagion, the remaining 97 percent of Planned Parenthood services would be expunged as necessary collateral damage. Private interest became public mandate.

The people of Austin bore that burden for Indiana’s War on Planned Parenthood.

In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions.

Mothers-to-be in Scott County must drive 50 miles to visit a gynecologist or an obstetrician. That’s not an isolated insight. Of Indiana’s 92 counties, Scott County has ranked 92nd in unhealthiness for five straight years.

Fewer high school kids there go to college than anywhere else in the state. There is one mental health provider for every 3,500 residents.

There is one physician in town. He saw the HIV outbreak coming and begged the state for help. None came.

The Legislature was too preoccupied before 2013 trying to defund Planned Parenthood and finally succeeded despite court objections.

Scott County has been without an HIV testing center for two years. That’s how long it took the epidemic to flourish.