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Showing posts with label #thatsmessedup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #thatsmessedup. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Springer's Final Thoughts

Parents Behaving Badly During A Split: Some 'Springer's Final Thoughts' on Olivia Wilde's Crap at Cinema-Con 


I got in a Facebook fight with someone over some internet noise about a celebrity, because that’s definitely what I should be doing late on a Friday night instead of sleeping—or at the very least, watching Inkmasters

Scary Mommy had this sloppy piece on poor, hapless Olivia Wilde, who was apparently minding her own business while talking to some nerds at CinemaCon when a wild process server appeared.  As the story goes she was suddenly served with some custody papers in public.  And although celebrities have been known to professionally embarrass themselves for hours at a time (read: hanging out at a comic book convention for people who own theaters), this may have been a little jarring for Ms. Wilde. 

But Scary Mommy sympathized with her and it was triggering as sh*t. And I’m having a hard time sitting on my keyboard hands with this one. 

The major parental dumbassery in the news these days actually has more to do with parents of a couple of grown children. But both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s respective kids are gonna be pretty wigged out when they inevitably hear about their mom and dad laying Cleveland steamers in each other’s beds and stuff like that. So maybe I shouldn’t worry too much (duh) about this. 

But as someone who suddenly had to be both mommed and dadded by my dad when I was a kid, I have thoughts. 

Don’t wanna feel awkward about custody stuff, celebrities?  This isn’t rocket surgery—don’t leave your kids. 

Celebrity news is often curated by PR peeps when their charges aren’t doing well.  It’s no surprise to many that it’s actually someone’s job to fire people up about things relating to a famous person.  This might make people care enough to see their movie.  These are reps, bloggers, and who-have-you.  But I’m taking the bait.  You see, I was a child of an ugly divorce and its customary custody brawl, and as such I'm familiar with what happens to minor kids when one of their parents decides to leave. 

I’m just a mom and a wannabe internet pundit, but here’s my deep thought. Don’t leave your f*cking kids. Just don’t. Don’t do it. 

Don’t do it unless you are quite literally a real-life version of Monica from Shameless, with intractable addiction issues and wildly untreated psychiatric sequelae.  And even then?  Don't leave permanently and take up with someone else; take a time-out and get your sh*t together.

I am almost certain I am getting some of the details wrong here, but unless I’m completely mistaken, Ms. Wilde is a parent who peaced out.  But just because you wanted to play the skin trombone with a new dude’s peen doesn’t mean you should like run off with Justin Bieber or whoever.  And if you do, your little kids shouldn’t have to take a spin on Mr. Toad’s Wild (Custody) Ride every however-often with a visitation agreement that's particularly generous to you. Even if somebody's separated parents live close to one another, that's still some exhausting sh*t. 

There are good reasons that courts don’t look as kindly on the parent that moves out. Studies have recently confirmed that it’s actually worse for you to be abandoned by your parent than to be HIT BY THEM with a high-heeled shoe, Eddie-Murphy’s-mom style in Raw.  I don’t want to make light of child abuse or relationship violence in any way (especially with terrible puns). But it is truly striking how harmful it can be for a kid to not be around their parent very much anymore. 

When you leave, you forfeit more than just a logistical upper hand in custody stuff or the low-hanging fruit that makes up an easy PR plug.  You lose any moral relatability, too.  Something was awkward for you?  Too bad; you left your kids and people can't relate to that.  You tripped over a concrete median and knocked your two front teeth in while spilling a crackhead's cup of p*ss all over your Louboutins?  Too bad!  You f*cking left your kids.  And a lot of moms can't relate to that.

Most importantly, your kids lose the innocence of when they used to have a parent who wouldn't ever harm them for selfish reasons.  So the parent who stuck around is the one they inevitably trust more.

For all parties involved, get over yourself and understand that when you birth some other humans into the world (or just bring them into your orbit, as with fostering and adoption), that world is no longer just about you. Would I still be saying this if Olivia Wilde were being kind of a lame MALE (or non-binary) parent instead of a female one?  Yep.  People don’t exactly love Dean McDermott—he left his wife and the mom of his first kid for the mother of all superfluous reasons (Donna on 90210), so now he gets to lie in a bed he made with her badly-done boob pillows. 

Absolutely no sympathy from me. 

Before you say, "Hey, some people leave and don't even want to hang out with their kids anymore!", wait a damn minute.  This is 2022, not 1962.  Golf claps are in order for you if you think it's reasonable these days for someone to set the bar so pathetically low in parenting a houseplant, much less a human.

So be a hard-charging, modern, millennial-@ss parent.  Suck it up and go to hella amounts of therapy if you’re really that unhappy in a romantic partnership that involves minor children.  Should you stay in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of your kids?  Hell no—fix that sh*t with years and years and years spent with a fleet of family, individual, and couple's therapists. Therapy isn’t magic but these people are pros. If you try hard enough and for long enough, you will eventually stop thinking it’s cool to bust nut with someone who was only seven months old when your babies’ daddy hit the legal age of consent.

Therapy’s expensive. But don’t tell me OW doesn’t have the money.  If you have a PR person and a stylist you can find a professional person to talk with about your life.

You may also be wondering why, if therapy’s so good, why do I still have obvious capital-M Mommy Issues?  Because, while you can accept your parents’ limitations as humans and even get to a place of forgiveness as a grown woman with children of her own, oftentimes that intense mom-daughter bond never quite makes a comeback.  I wrote about this (scroll down for the tangentially related story of how I finally broke up with my mom).

Also. This may sound judgy but I strongly believe that if I were a celebrity I would pick a more believable stage name for myself.  I'm looking straight at you, Ms. Wilde. 

Come at me, bruh. 

And “till next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.”

Thursday, March 24, 2022

I Broke Up With my Mom Using a Meme

 I swear to God this blog isn't all just heartless digs at my mother.  She had an incredibly hard life, with two alcoholics for parents.  Just because I'm not able to continue a relationship with her doesn't mean she doesn't deserve compassion.

But sometimes, you're just done.

I remember the beginning of the end.  I was about to have my fourth child and was having a lot of pregnancy complications.  I was scared to death about the baby and me, but I was most worried about how our other three kids—9, 8, and 6–were going to handle being with a sitter for days and ending up with sleep-deprived parents to boot.

This girl right here needed a mom.

I screwed up my courage and called her.  I asked her--begged her--to please come and help with my kids when I was in the hospital delivering.  We’d already had three babies but this would have been a first. Plus, there is only so much Joe can do to support us all, and unless he figured out how to be in two places at once, he needed to be at UCLA with me.  We don't have any family that lives nearby, and like I said, I was sick with three young children and desperate.

Why didn't I just call Aunt Kay?  I can't remember exactly but there has to have been a good reason.  I think she had just been out to visit us and she was pretty busy with her own four kids.  I don't like to impose on anyone, >>even that *other* woman in my life who actually birthed me and is kind of supposed to be into that sort of thing<<.  I know AK would have loved to help but would have felt badly if she couldn't make it happen.

Mom could have made it happen, and she didn't.

Even she had to admit it was for a stupid reason.  Her boob job was overdue for a re-do, as she eventually confessed when I pressed the issue, and my brother's wedding was coming up.  She was sure to see her ex and about 40 other people from Dad's large, close-knit family she hadn't seen in 20+ years.  Not that the Millers cared one bit about how round her t*tties were looking these days.  Nor were there more than a handful of them who could possibly have wished her well.  She hadn't budgeted for this, though--she never did budget for any of this.  She picked the surgery.

Surprisingly high price somebody pays to be vain.

But what was the final nail in the coffin?  I asked her, for the 199th time, to stop compulsively buying a bunch of sh*t for my kids and mailing it to us.  I sound like a spoiled-@ss brat when I tell this story.  But her shopping addiction is seriously detrimental to her whole life, to the point that she cannot afford any travel to spend time with my children due to spending it all on Pottery Barn.  

This all makes sense if you consider how she grew up.  When you’re a neglected kid who doesn’t have enough clothes that fit, you never want your loved ones to feel those awful feelings of insignificance.  It made her feel worthless not to have stuff she needed.  Buying people random crap they don’t need or even want is her love language. I know her heart is in the right place.

She has a problem, though.  A stepmother-please-bail-me-out-again, credit cards routinely declined, drive three hours to go to the Restoration Hardware at that one mall, all-out clusterf**k of a problem.  Lying. Insolvency. Chaos. More pieces of high-end furniture, more rustic farmhouse tables, more Belgian Flax Linen duvet covers, more f*cking lamps than she can fit into her modest living space, renting a storage unit that is exclusively for them.  She lives paycheck to paycheck, despite making good money.  She never stops moving residences and is always looking for the windfall that is sure to be just around the corner, if only her rent were lower or they just paid her enough or she'd married that doctor who never got around to getting divorced.

She has a problem that helped to end her marriage.

Still, the kids really needed to see her face.  No excuses about that eel skin wallet “demagnetizing” that MasterCard again, or it costing a lot to fly out.  No surprises. No bullsh*t.  It was pretty tough when she didn't.

A few years later, it was time for me to give it one last try to have a mature and honest relationship with Mom.  I braced myself for things to come crashing down. And then I finally mustered the words to tell her how I have felt, over and over again over the years, when she consistently chose to nourish this addiction.

"Mom, I feel so sad when you can't afford to come out here because you've made these decisions.  Yes, it is your money and your choice.  But we can only fly ourselves and all of the kids out to see you so much. It is super hard to see you harm yourself like this, and I know that not hanging out with your grandkids for years at a time is probably not what is really in your heart."

Her: [Denial of any self harm or problem whatsoever with these behaviors]

"I can't enable this anymore.  It needs to stop now."

Her: [She blocks my phone and I can no longer text her for what ends up being a day or two.  I promptly move on with my life, so very tired of this dynamic.]

[She unblocks me and sends me a meme:]













I wasn't even going to bother.  But I sent one, too.













And that was that.

Six and-a-half years later, I don’t regret a thing about our “breakup”.  I finally feel that I can talk about these shameful secrets without fear of judgment.  Most of the judgmental thoughts were coming from inside my own head, anyway.  You can't even manage to have a relationship with your own mom.  She will die someday and you will regret all of this.  It's your fault you couldn't get her to listen.

It all turned out okay in the end. Dad ended up coming to help us.  As has happened many times before, he was the adult in the room.  I have also learned a lot since then about being my own adult in the room.  I still don’t know why I kept hoping my mom would be there for my kids when she wasn’t ever really able to be there for me, but that was the day I stopped hoping.  I have learned to let go of what never will be, and to quiet the critical voices within me that refuse to acknowledge the obvious--she has no real interest in changing even if she might actually get to hang out with my family.

It's her loss.

And. When I am (hopefully) a Grandmaw one day, I’m going to have the saggiest t*ts you ever did see flapping around through an evening gown. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Catroulette

*****Warning: Gallows Humor******

Cat Roulette: My Mom’s Weird World of Pathologic Pet Ownership 

Thought it might be too much if I
pasted Dr. Kevorkian’s face on my mom’s,
so I just went with God from Monty Python










I complain a lot about the weird sh*t my mom used to do. 

She’s totally still doing it, but I’m not nearly as affected by it anymore since I haven’t even answered a text from her in six years. 

But sometimes I still have to laugh at the dark absurdity of some of the things she would do when I was still trying really hard to have some semblance of a daughter-mom thing with her.  I still hear about some of these things tangentially, when I talk to my brother. It always makes me think of temperamental G-d from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Not nearly as animated a character, Mom, but that fickle, “get ON with it” disposition comes to mind when I hear about these exploits. 

My mother is a serial pet monogamist.  I swear on my favorite childhood pet’s grave (RIP Woody, the affable and fat orange tabby of ‘85-‘95) that, post-divorce, Mom has had somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty cats over the span of twenty-odd years. One or two at a time. That’s a whole lotta cats. 

Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration.  And the perverse part isn’t her fondness of felines. Hell, even though over the years I have developed allergies to the tune of Will Smith’s face in Hitch, I used to fantasize about a Millions of Cats scenario. I would totally have scooped up every kitty cat in sight, ability to feed or house them be damned. Everyone can relate to that. 

It is the bare fact that she keeps killing them!  Lest you think I exaggerate, I spent my teens to early twenties wondering how in the hell is she not on some sort of pet adoption blacklist?  I still wonder that.  Animal shelters are not flush with cash or tech but there has got to be some kind of database for this f**kery.  The mysteries of the universe are not mine to understand, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that there are WAY the hell too many domestic cats outside killing the wild birds of the world, which turns into a pretty big species-diversity problem.  We also collectively euthanize far too many innocent, healthy pets. But while a lack of ecological balance may be our destiny as red blooded cat-loving Americans, a future of only cockroaches kinda pales in comparison to the bleak enormity of letting people like Mom continue to blow through cute animals.

She euthanizes cats like it’s going out of style.  Barfs on the carpet a few too many times?  Euthanize.  Pees on her dirty laundry (which, due to her being a nurse, usually smells like cooter and @ss anyway)?  Dr. Catvorkian’s a-comin’ to town.  She needs a new one then and nihilistically pops by an animal shelter—never the same shelter twice.  Like some of the drug-seeking patients in the ER, she is the worst kind of “frequent flyer”.

Joe doesn’t believe me. 

“That’s more than one cat per year,” he protests.  Yah.  It is. Maybe thirty’s a high estimate but it’s definitely been at least ten. And it’s plausible—probable, even—that she gave some of them away.  Fancy, the longhaired gray tortoiseshell she let me keep when our calico had babies, wouldn’t come out from under the bed often enough. She went into the recycle bin of pets and was gifted to our interior decorator.  At least she wasn’t one of the disposable ones.

One time she picked up a pretty Norwegian Forest Cat, a highly collectible breed, who had a bad case of giardiasis from its life on the streets.  Even gave it a middle name.  She wanted to kill that one too but the vet volunteered to adopt it herself because it would have been such a waste of a perfectly good status symbol.  Ask my brother if you don’t believe me.  

Some of my cynicism around this issue may come from the way my allergies took on a life of their own in my adolescence, while Mom kept right on acquiring.  My dad had very few pets, mercifully, as he was the kind of owner who would have played the “cat bagpipes” with them and actually—no sh*t—set our hamsters free in the backyard when they grew tiresome.  So at my house we had a home free of pet dander.  Then, when I would make a visit to Mom’s every few weeks or whatever, I’d be breathing in a cat-infested apartment again. For us non-allergists, this is called sensitization.  You can eventually get more and more allergic to these allergens over the years.

Contrast this inane scene to that of my friend and former neighbor, who tragically lost his wife to cancer which left him with four devastated kids.  This had just happened when their hamster (when it rains it pours) also got cancer and he very responsibly brought it to a vet’s to have it put down for its own good.  “We’re not going to discuss end-of-life scenarios,” scorned the veterinarian, at a man who was absolutely haggard from nursing his terminally ill wife for the previous year.  Nobody wants his loved ones to suffer a drawn-out death and that is precisely what the real Dr. Kevorkian was getting at. I guess some vets aren’t down with hastening a compassionate, quick end to everyone’s suffering.  But my mom took an incredibly liberal interpretation to it.

Anyway. About she of the death knell—whatever, man. As with Eric Cartman from South Park, there is a certain “whatevah, I can do what I want” mentality in some folks that makes a terminal case of pet hoarding NBD.  Or allows it to make any sense at all.

We got our kids a “guilt” kitten for Christmas after having had a hellish year. I wash my hands and face every time she looks at me and she does NOT rub her @sshole on my pillow or whatever those cats at my mom’s used to do.  Holly the Christmas kitten is (hopefully) here to stay. 

Unless somebody gets to her first.