Be Nice, Motherf—ers

SunflowersA few days ago, the website Scary Mommy published something I’d written. And since this was the first time anyone anywhere had paid me for my words on a page, it was pretty exciting. And by “pretty exciting,” I mean I would have rented an airplane which could fly around with a banner proclaiming the news; unfortunately Geico already has all those airplanes pretty well tied up.

Anyway, it was a fairly innocuous post, or so I thought, originally titled Justifying Myself to the Grocery Store Cashier Who Was Most Likely Not Judging Me in the First Place (Scary Mommy changed the title to one that I did not love, so I’m not writing it here). This particular post wasn’t my favorite thing I’d ever written, but I thought it was okay. Maybe a tiny bit funny, certainly harmless. Still, I was prepared for a few negative comments, I mean, well – you know.  We’ve all been around the internet a time or two, right?

What I was not prepared for:

  • “We . . . don’t give a fuck about what food you are buying.”
  • “Paranoid much?”
  • “Pretty sure this is called social anxiety disorder.”
  • “God I would hate to be so insecure.”
  • “Delusional.”
  • “Don’t be so vain.”
  • “WOW. Seriously, see a shrink.”

At first I felt mostly embarrassed, as well as a little bit shocked that anyone cared enough about what I wrote to respond to it.  Eventually, though, as the comments continued to pile up, I thought – Eh. So what. My feelings aren’t that easily hurt, and it was maybe 100 or so comments, in the midst of 100 or so pretty positive ones. I know there are trolls, haters gonna hate and all that, and, well, who cares. In the grand scheme of things, my little experience was really nothing.

Really. Nothing.

Still, though, I kept thinking about internet anger, and anger in general. Hostility and meanness. If people could be hostile to me over my imaginary thoughts at the grocery store – well, I don’t even know what then.  ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

Also, for some reason, I kept thinking about Tan Mom. Remember Tan Mom? She was accused in 2012 of taking her then five-year-old daughter into a tanning bed (in related news, she was also accused of being too tan). She was all over the internet, she was ridiculed and laughed at, she was spoofed on SNL and made into a doll – the “Tanorexic.” It’s really old news, I know, but for whatever reason it stuck with me. Tan Mom may have been too tan.  Actually she was definitely too tan. She may have taken a five-year-old into a tanning bed. She may or may not have been the biggest asshole ever to crack open a bottle of baby oil but my question is – what good, I mean, WHAT GOOD, does it do any of us to know about it?

Seriously. I’m asking because I don’t know the answer, but if I’m guessing, the answer is: NONE. It does none of us one goddamned bit of good to know that this too-tan mom may or may not have stuck a pre-schooler into a UV radiation chamber. And yet the story was A) widely reported by the media and B) even more widely shared via Facebook posts and Instagram photos and whatever else the kids were doing back in 2012. We ate this story up like freshly baked Christmas cookies. Someone in the world is a bigger fuckup than me! Yum!!

Maybe it’s just that we like to see the bad guys get what’s coming to them, which makes sense. I love a story that ends with the villain losing it all. Like that lady who duct-taped her dog to keep him quiet, or this pharmaceutical asshole who made life-saving drugs unaffordable to pretty much everyone except Jeff Bezos. I mean, I barely bother to follow the news and even I hate that guy (and I think it’s because aside from being an asshole, he totally looks like one. A lot. Don’t you think?)

But, I don’t know. It seems to me that all this hating can’t possibly be good for us.  I mean, say I’d never heard of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical asshole. Say he was caught and punished without my ever knowing about it. Sure, I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of seeing him led away in handcuffs, looking like the dick that he is. On the other hand, I’d also have been spared the anger that goes along with knowing about this guy. Anger doesn’t do good things for a person, even in small doses. And joy over a just punishment is always backed by bitterness and hate. It is not really joy at all. It’s bloodlust.

I am no expert. But I really kind of think we need less of this in the world, not more. It’s been shown that anger makes us sick, even decreases our life span. And our exposure to it, all the time, on every channel and web page and social network, has got to be bringing us down.


This is starting to feel very soapboxy.  I’m going to wrap it up.

So in closing, a few things. First, I want to tell the media to quit inundating us with things to hate. I’m not sure how to stop them, but, whatever. I’m going to try anyway.

Second, I’d be happy for someone to tell me why I’m wrong about this, all the better if it’s a respectful and well-considered argument. If it’s just a bunch of nasty comments similar to those quoted above, well, just know this is my blog and I will moderate the shit out of you.

Third – a nice and uplifting story about the power of love and a miracle bird-hatching. See it here. You’re welcome.

And, finally: my own good news, which is that on Scary Mommy’s Facebook page, I got more likes than Kim Kardashian’s placenta. See below for proof.

So, that’s pretty awesome.

Kim K



Wear Pants, And Other New Year’s Resolutions That I Totally Intend to Keep

Me in 2016

I like having New Year’s Resolutions, even though that “fresh start” feeling really only lasts like a week and a half, and then the end of the year comes around and you realize you only fulfilled 2 out of 56 resolutions. And suddenly the year you thought was such a success is exposed for the disappointment it was, but that’s okay, because it’s December and you think, forget 2015! This year will be different!

NY Resolution1

I am here to tell you that this year actually will be different for me, because I have come up with a list of to-do’s that I feel are vaguely feasible. This is a tentative list; I welcome suggestions, but only from Pinterest devotees. Because I know that they have way better ideas than I do.

So, my list.

  1. Have unlimited patience with both my children and my husband. I wrote this one a few days ago and have since realized that unless I’m hoping to fail miserably right off the bat, this particular resolution might not be a keeper. So I have changed it to “Have moments of superhuman calm in which I do not become enraged over stupid and inconsequential things.” That seems better. Way more doable. And on a related note . . .
  2. Convince my kids that it really is okay to call me by my first name. As a result of my long struggle with patience (see #1), I have come to realize that the single most-uttered word in our household is “Mommy.” Even by my husband Jim. I have also realized that while I don’t necessarily mind getting the cereal bowl or finding the left shoe or watching an hour or three of Minecraft, I do quite intensely mind hearing the word “Mommy” six million times in the course of any given hour. So in the interest of family harmony, I have instructed my 6- and 7-year-old kids to call me by my first name as often as possible. So far they’ve been a little slow to get on the bandwagon. Which I think may be due to the fact that I have not yet managed to . . .
  3. Convince Jim that it really is okay for our kids to call me by my first name. He sees it as a mark of disrespect, an absolute travesty and possibly the gateway drug to heroin. I don’t know what I have to do to get him on board. It will be a challenge. But that is what progress is all about.
  4. Wear pants. First, let’s be very clear on this: I do wear pants. Every day. It’s just that they have no buttons or zippers, and at the age of 44, I feel like my lower body wardrobe should consist of more than sweatpants and leggings. Some might say that at the age of 44 I shouldn’t be wearing leggings at all. To them I say, too damn bad, they are comfortable and my shirt is long enough and who are you to judge, anyway? Are your stupid eyes really that sensitive? SHUT UP BECAUSE I’LL WEAR WHATEVER I WANT TO WEAR. And so it appears that maybe I should scrap this resolution. Easy enough. Consider it scrapped.
  5. Wear dresses. This seems a little easier. I rarely wear a dress, but maybe it’s time to reconsider. Nothing fancy. I am talking about a casual dress, maybe even one with pockets – maybe even one that could be worn with leggings. Perfect.
  6. Eat less food. Due to a nagging suspicion that my caloric intake might somehow be related to the pants situation (see #4), I fear this resolution is mission critical. The fact is that if I keep expanding at my current rate, I will weigh approximately 7,415 pounds by the time I retire. Also I will not have gotten any taller, the end result being that my BMI may enter the slightly unhealthy range. It’s just that I get so hungry. And like cookies. And, I guess, calories.
  7. Cook more. Everyone knows that “healthy eating” does not involve “ordering pizza” or “eating 500 snacks and calling it dinner,” and so I think I must buckle down and get with the cooking program. I read all of these things about crock pots and cooking several meals ahead of time and turning your leftovers into a tasty dinner the whole family will love, and I think . . . eh. This year, I resolve to think, eh . . . maybe. At the very least I resolve to print a recipe now and then, and hand it to Jim and hope he will run with it.
  8. Drink more. I always see other moms posting things about “glass of wine this” and “cocktail hour that.” I used to be much better at drinking than I am now, primarily because pregnancy #2 followed pretty quickly after pregnancy #1 and, blah blah blah, you know the story. I can’t travel back in time, so instead, I will try to find a happy medium between my twenties and my forties. Which I guess technically would be my thirties, and that ship has sailed. All the more reason to climb aboard Captain Morgan’s vessel. Which totally doesn’t sound right. Perhaps I need a drink now.
  9. Speak to my husband. I mean, of course I already speak to my husband. But I would like to occasionally say more than “did the cable guy come yet” or “you are too snoring” or “they’re in the dryer.”
  10. Stop procrastinating. Honestly, this one is such a good idea that I’m not even going to wait for 2016 to do it. I’m going to start this one tomorrow!
  11. Introversion: own it. I am always going to walk away from a small talk situation feeling that four of the five things I said were alarmingly awkward. I am always going to be better at reading dialogue in a book than I am at performing it with a live human. These things I can accept. However, I think the time has come to really embrace my introverted nature and live it fully, without apology. How does one do that? I don’t know. It seems like “refusing to speak at social gatherings” might be even more awkward than saying the four of five stupid things I say. Same with “reading The Martian on my Kindle” at a wedding or “frowning at anyone who tries to engage with me” at a class reunion.  So clearly I need to give this one more thought. Which is fine. I’m good at that.
  12. Quit feeling like every list has to have an even number of things. This one might be the least achievable, because as you can see, I added a meaningless resolution to this very list just to keep it from having an odd number of items. Stop reading now. You have wasted enough of your time.

You didn’t stop reading. I’m not sure why. But since you’re still here, I’ll tell you that I hope you’re inspired in some way by my resolutions, even if that inspiration is simply to “not end up like her.” I wish you all the best in 2016.

Also, unless one of your own resolutions is “have my organs harvested after the fatal car crash” – don’t text and drive!

Love to you all.

Happy 2016