Thursday, August 1, 2013

Square Pegs in the Mom-Brain

 This guest post is a part of a series featuring my amazing and hilarious co-authors of the book "I Just Want to Pee Alone". 

I love Patti from Insane in the Mom-brain so much that it hurts my heart. Many of you already know about her, because her blog is wildly popular. I was a fan of hers but then fell very deeply in fan girl love when I asked all the women who contributed to the book we wrote to send me pictures of themselves for a write-up I was doing, she sent me this.

This is her professional headshot. And this was her bio:

Patti Ford holds the title of Breakdancing Champion of The World in 1984, 1986, and 1987. In 1985 she lost her boogaloo, but with hard work and lots of head spins and body slides, she got it back in time to triumph in '86 and '87 before retiring in '88 to pursue perfection in the art of The Running Man Dance. Today she is a wife, mom, and blogger who dreams of some day owning her own miniature donkey and running a Unicorn Ranch which she will call The Ranchicorn.

She is so funny that she makes me shake silently while tears come out of my eye holes. Her Facebook updates are funnier than anything I have ever written ever. I'm hesitating right now. Because I'm scared if you start reading her Facebook wall, you won't come back and I NEED YOU AND LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Ok fine, go look at her updates. I'll be right here.


((Lydia sits forlornly at her computer, her face in half shadow. She is softly singing "Don't You Forget About Me". But not the Pitch Perfect version, which is somewhat cool, at least according to 12 year olds. Rather Lydia sings the sad girl from high school in the early 90's version. A single tear falls.))

For those of you who made it back, do you believe me now? DO YOU GET IT NOW? DAMN HER. For those of you who are all, I don't need to click over there. I'm good. Look at what she does with her best friend when she gets bored? LOOK AT IT. They put on coordinating outfits and sometimes a wig and they go to the Walmart Portrait Studio and do this:


YES. That is the kind of person she is. And I have brought her into your life, so you are very welcome. This is her post, which is actually slightly less funny than this one but really inspired me to feel like myself today. Today, I am a Boobstain, and I hug for too long, and I'm cool with that. 
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Last week I got an email from a woman who wanted to know if I have ever had to deal with stick-up-the-butt moms judging me because I am so silly and off-the-wall, and if so, did I worry that my being different would make them unfairly judge my child.

My answer to that is Hell. To. The. Yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I have had to deal with that on many occasions. Way too many occasions to count, actually.

And if any of the uptight Judgy McBitchholes are reading this right now (which let's face it, they sooooo totally are, because the people who claim to hate you are always the ones that obsess over your every single move) I am sure they are now judging me because I used the word "hell" up in here and in their closed little minds the word "hell" is not a word that a respectable mother would use.

What will the neighbors say???

I can tell you with absolute 100% honesty that I do not ask myself that question.

Why?

Because I don't give a flying fuck.

Yes. I just said "fuck."

My usual "frick" just didn't seem to capture the essence of just how totally and completely zero I care about what people like that think of me.

Was I always this way? No. Like most of us I have gone through stages in my life where I wanted to fit in.

When I was in 6th grade and I left my cozy little private school to go to public, I suddenly felt the need to fit in and I wanted to dress like everyone, have hair like everyone, be accepted by everyone, look like everyone, and talk like everyone.

That lasted for about a day.

When your mom forces you to get a new hairdo that "all the cool kids are wearing" and you end up being the new kid at school with the hairdo that nobody but the lunch ladies are wearing, then you know that the whole fitting in thing just isn't gonna work out for you:

So what do you do? You say "fuck it" and you start doing your own thing.

Then you meet kids who also said "fuck it" and are doing their own thing.

Those are your people and you are happy with your people.

I spent the next many years doing whatever the heck I wanted to do no matter what anyone else thought of me. You can ask my dad about that. He will totally back me up.

Then one day, years later, I squeezed a screaming little person out of my in-between.

That is when I went off the rails. Or back on the rails. I guess it depends on your definition of rails.
If you are a mother then you know what happens when you have your first baby: You get a little cuckoo majuckoo.

You want to do the right thing so bad that you sometimes overdo it. I was obsessed with being the perfect mom and making sure that The Boy became the perfect boy.

I read all the parenting books that told me all of the things that I had to do so that I wouldn't screw up my kid. I joined all the headachey mommy and me kinda classes and I met other moms and I tried to fit in and be perfect like them. I tried to wear what everyone was wearing and carry the purse that everyone was carrying and feed my family the foods that everyone was feeding their families and push the stroller that everyone was pushing and throw the awesome birthday parties that everyone was throwing for their kids and be accepted into The Sisterhood of Motherhood.

It sucked.

It took me awhile to let it all go. To realize that if I loved The Boy and took care of him then I was a good mom. End of story. Nothing else mattered. I didn't need every other mom in a 50-mile radius to agree that I was a good mom. I knew. The Hub knew. The Boy knew. Everyone else can fuck off.
Oops! I said it again.

After I dragged my ass out of the Stepford Motherhood I started to speak my mind and be my weird little self again.

One day when The Boy was about 4 I took him to a McDonalds playland and he got into a little scuffle with another boy in the dreaded tunnel of germs.

I was sitting at a cluster of tables with a bunch of other moms and The Boy came up to me crying and telling me that some kid was hitting him. I told him to go back into the germ tunnel and tell that kid that it isn't nice to hit people and that he wanted to be friends. A few minutes later he came back to the table and told me that he did what I said and the kid hit him again. I told him to try again. He did. The kid hit him again. And he came to the table to tell me again. So I asked the women at the tables which of them was the mother of that kid. One woman said that she was, so I asked her if she would talk to him about hitting The Boy and she said "Boys will be boys." Okay. Sure. And pissed off moms will be pissed off moms. So this pissed off mom told The Boy to go back in the tunnel and if that kid touched him again he should hit him, kick him, push him, scratch him, do whatever he had to do because that boy's mom says it's ok for boys to do that.

That's when all the women at the tables let out a collective gasp and that mother said I had problems and I said "No. Actually I don't. I have a super sweet kid who is nice to everyone. You are the one who has a problem, and some day that problem will be bigger than you. So good luck with that."

Even the women at the table who were my friends, were horrified with me. Actually I think they were more embarrassed that I had spoken my mind and stood up to a table-o-bitches, because they wanted to fit in with them. I didn't care about fitting in anymore. I wasn't 16 and trying to get in with the cool crowd like in some John Hughes movie. I'm not a mindless suck-up and I don't care about your Mercedes SUV and your million dollar house and your full time maid. If you're an asshole I really don't mind telling you so.

This was a turning point for me. It made me realize that I was still the person I had always been. I have been an independent thinker since birth (again, ask my parents) and I have never been afraid to go my own way or speak my mind and motherhood didn't have to change that. Trying to fit in with the herd was going to make me a worse mother, not a better one, because that would be teaching my son that it's not okay to be yourself. It would be teaching him that you have to do what the "popular" people are doing. It would be teaching him that you have to fit in.

Guess what? Trying to force yourself to fit in super sucks.

It's much more awesome to find the people who are gonna like you for you. It's freeing to just say what you think and do what you do and not worry about someone getting all butthurt about it.

I deal with this in my own neighborhood sometimes. I deal with this on my Facebook page too.
There are people who don't like me because I make jokes about something they might not think is funny. There are people who don't like me because I drop an "F" bomb now and then. There are people who don't like me because I talk about nonsense. There are people who don't like me because I talk about poop. There are people who don't like me because I think that sometimes kids are assholes. There are people who don't like me because I act immature or silly or weird. There are people who don't like me because I want gay people to be able to get married. There are people who don't like me because I want women to have the right to choose. And guess what? I don't really mind if people don't like me for those things. Because those are my things.

And that's what I want to teach The Boy.

That as long as you are being true to yourself, it doesn't matter.

If people don't like who you are, that's okay. Anyone who doesn't like you for being yourself isn't worth knowing anyway. You will find your people. And they will be people who like you for you and not for the things you have or for the person you are pretending to be. And in the meantime you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you see. You are with yourself 24/7 until the day you die so it's kind of important that you like yourself or shit can get old really fast.

End of story.

Want some more Patti? Visit her blog or find her fine ass on Facebook.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

25 comments:

  1. Can she be my friend? I love her already. I am certain she would approve of my orchestrating stick horse races with kids in Bass Pro Shop while my husband is shoe shopping. The kids and I made sure that everyone knew he was the daddy.

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  2. Awesome.

    I needed that and not in a way most would think.

    My husband has marched to his own drum since he was a kid. Lately he's stirred the pot in our little conclave of parents and being the meek subservient me I've tried to be supportive but also worry how this effects our kids.
    This post strengthened my love for my husband. He's an awesome dad and I'm so proud of him for being a wonderful role model for our kids.
    We shouldn't be afraid to rock the boat especially if we stay true to ourselves and or beliefs.
    I so needed this today.
    Thanks.

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  3. Trying to fit in with the herd was going to make me a worse mother, not a better one, because that would be teaching my son that it's not okay to be yourself."

    I needed this sooooooo much! Actually this sentence could have ended with just the first statement. The lesson for the son is clear but think about what trying to fit in does to our own personalities and how it effects our parenting.

    Love this.

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  4. I love love love this. Now, I must get to the Walmart portrait studio.

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  5. Wow, like this poster I too need to suck it up and realize I am the most awesome me I know how to be and I don't need to be any different for anyone else. THank you, I think you just saved me months of therapy. lol

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  6. Love this so hard and this post was right on time!

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  7. Omgawd! I love her and you and everyone in between. I'm gonna plaster this up on my wall so I can see it every moment until it gets in my head and surrounds me like a snuggy blanket. So SO good!!!!

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  8. That's the way Patti/Lori.

    Be your ownself. :)

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  9. I have to go to a family wedding this weekend. I've been dreading it because I'm (to be said in hushed tones) "The Fat Sister". So much so that my aunt told my father that the reason I was unemployed last year was because I was fat. (The economy had nothing to do with it. Apparently, the unemployment crisis we've been facing as a nation is because my thighs jiggle.) I've been near tears thinking about facing all these people who will be judging me and my floppy bits...and now I don't give a rats ass. I'm funny and nice (really nice) and a great mom and I hold the door for old people and I'm super good at the job I now have - All while having floppy bits. Thanks for reminding me of all that.

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  10. i hope when this happens to me and my sweet sensitive boy in the tunnel o' germs that I have the balls to say what you said to the mom. You are my new hero! (sorry, Lydia. I will still always love you too, "one is silver and the other gold...")

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    Replies
    1. YES! If I was in the midst of all "new" friend mom's I would so HOPE I'd have the balls to say this, (but in reality probably not), but I would REALLY High Five the mom who'd say this and be her friend forever! LOL

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  11. That's it! I'm going to start saying shit around my mommy friends and see how they react! I've been feeling so tongue tied since I've had children that hanging out is no longer fun. Thanks for the wake up call!

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  12. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this RIGHT NOW! No. Idea. I am in a "Why don't people like me?" phase right now, and I so needed the reminder that it is obviously because they lack taste. You get to be my new friend. Seriously, thank you.

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  13. LOVE with all of my nonconforming little heart. After the birth of my son, I too decided to become "a mom" and try to fit into that crowd, though they were people who I would never have hung with in my previous life and people whose whole existence was so utterly mind numbingly dull. "Wherever did you find such a divine sweater set???", that sort of nonsense. I lasted about 3 years before I let loose one day on the fact that these women had NOTHING in their lives outside of kids and birthday parties and play dates and didn't they want more??? They didn't really appreciate that. I have real friends now. And I'm back to being my snarky confident who-gives-a-fuck self.

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  14. My own sister said I was stupid for speaking my mind in my facebook posts. I haven't spoken to her since. If you don't like what I have to say, why are you my "friend?" Thanks for the reminder to be proud of myself!

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  15. Hells. To. The. Yes!
    Patti, I'm sure you are my people!
    Thank you for scooping this right out of my brain and laying it out here for us to read :)

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  16. I would have stood up on a plastic McDonald's bench and applauded you for that comment! Love this!

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  17. I would also like to submit a Friendship Application!

    This also makes me feel better. Because I do what I feel that I need to, but The Guilt just kind of hangs over me like smog :(

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  18. My stomach was churning with angry bile on your behalf when you began that story. But then you came out with:

    "You are the one who has a problem, and some day that problem will be bigger than you. So good luck with that."

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

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  19. Patti, I like your perm and your grosgrain ribbon bow. It's purdy! You kick butt lady. Nice post!

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  20. This is the first i've heard of her, and I want her to be my best friend. lol This was a great post. Super enjoyed it. Now I have to add another blog to my list of blogs I read, while keeping up with mine.. Thanks ladies! :)

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