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May 11 2007

Desperate housewife

pterrys_sandbox.jpg
One of my genius blood relatives sounds off in the sandbox at P. Terry’s Burger Stand (South)

I should probably just send this mildy amusing link to my sister Tidy, who is up to her amygdala in screaming brat soup, but I figured that you blamers — and I don’t mean the .0003% of you who will actually cop to watching TV — might get a sanctimonious bang out of seeing the result of TV poisoning.

Wisconsin woman calls 911 for a nanny

Not that I would object to a discussion of the nuclear family model that so deranges and isolates women that they resort to crazy shit like this. Or a discussion of the nuclear family model that creates a child-rearing underclass, an example of which I espied this afternoon: a careworn, middle-aged Latina riding herd on a sand-chucking toddler honky in the sandbox at P. Terry’s Burger Stand (South).

90 comments

  1. Shira

    She looks just like you and she isn’t even your spawn. And she’s already practicing her blaming face!

  2. kathy a

    heh. that link to the show says it’s about how to raise “perfect” children. what the hell is that supposed to mean?

    condolances to tidy and everyone else who is up to the nostrils with child-rearing. i miss the little bitties, but not enough that i want grandchildren yet. or am ready to sign up for fostering. my goal is scooting the last teenager off to college, and then breathing for a while.

  3. lawbitch

    What a cutie!

    Yes, I’ve been like that desparate mom. Love being a mom, but it’s not easy in our society. No nanny back up here. It’s the mom channel–ALL MOM, ALL THE TIME!

  4. Sean

    I can say that I absolutely hate kids. And I know this feeling is “immature,” but I don’t give a flip. It all started when I was at an ice skating rink (in Florida, no less) that was created because temps never get below 105 F there. I’m skating the same way as everyone else, counter-clockwise, and all of a sudden, wham!, I look down and some snot-nosed, ten-year-old brat has just rammed into my holy and sacred shin because he decided to be a rebel and skate the wrong flippin’ way. What. The. Flip. I believe abortion should be legal up to 18 years of age. That way, my mom (a single-parent, God bless her) wouldn’t've had to put up with me.

  5. Twisty

    Well, Sean, hating “kids” is the same as hating “women” or “niggers.” They are an oppressed class, and did not choose their oppression.

  6. PhoenixRising

    TV poisoning is ubiquitous among the short set, but I fear you are referring to the adult in this story. Scary.

    As to your suggested serious topics:

    Yeah, I would have been way happier to continue doing all the things I did before having a child without having to resort to abusing the women and men of the child-rearing class. But I’m not an heiress and kids and moms gotta eat.

    And you know who I blame for it.

  7. Sean

    I still think I hate that kid, though, err, well, that person of ten-years-old. At least, my shin still does.

    Sorry if that poor attempt at humor through anecdote sounded bad.

  8. Dr. Free-Ride

    I love my kids, but I can totally understand how a frazzled (and television addled) parent might call 911 for child-wrangling intervention.

    My parents (who had twice as many kids as I have) used to joke, when their patience with us was flagging, about calling the state to have us taken away to good homes. But then one of their friends, a social worker, explained that the state would not scoop up the children, but instead send people into the home to instruct them how to be better parents, perhaps even recommending classes on same. The prospect of having one more person underfoot was a deal-breaker.

  9. Twisty

    If I bit your head off, Sean, it is because I myself was once of the kid-hating persuasion, and now regret thoroughly the error of my ways. I see now that the perceived unpalatable behavior of juveniles is explicitly a function of neurosis engendered by patriarchal oppression (which includes the dismal failure of the nuclear family model). Kids have no human rights once they cease to be fetuses; no wonder they act out. Didn’t you? It’s a fucking travesty.

  10. CannibalFemme

    I also have a major child tolerance disability. I am immediately obliged to run away when faced with them–I have literally pitched myself out of the window of a slow-moving bus to get away from them. Especially infants. To me they look like big, wiggly 10-pound maggots.

    However, once they get to be teenagers and are all angsty and messed-up and pissed-off, I love them tremendously.

  11. Twisty

    You guys get that kids are human beings, right? Despising them as a class is just another form of acceptable hipster bigotry, like mocking those inbred hillbillies.

  12. ramou

    How about those scary screaming kids that pop out when you roll over the logo. That was unexpected and unpleasant, not unlike life.

  13. Sean

    Twisty, I’m sorry I seem to have derailed the thread. You are definitely right about childhood neorosis and its causes. I remember just hating the fact that I had absolutely no agency as a child (not because of an overbearing mother, I love my mom, and she was much more lenient than most are, but because you can’t even go outside without some legal restriction placed upon you), and of course that led to shouting matches at least a few times a week in the household. I’d never want to have a child because I know that no matter what I do, the very structure of childhood would inevitably lead to confrontations and emotional cyclones like these. Living with another person is hard enough (and I don’t do that either), but living in what constitutes a well-furnished prison without having done anything wrong is, well, criminal.

    As young people (and older people, but younger people in generally higher voices) often say, are we still friends, Twisty?

  14. Twisty

    “are we still friends, Twisty?”

    But of course! I’ve been blogging more or less continuously for 3 days now, and I think the patriarchy-saturation is making me extra cranky. Occupational hazard and all that. Time for a margarita. Goodnight, Irene.

  15. legallyblondeez

    The motherhood imperative (by which I mean patriarchy’s requirement that women not only birth children but also take primary responsibility for raising them) combined with sex discrimination in pay and a genetic predisposition toward conceiving multiple left my mother in a haze of angst, depression, and three daughters for at least two decades, including about five years of homebound solitude and another ten of part-time work she liked and full-time motherhood. It’s a damn good thing my dad really wanted kids, because my mom thought she did and found out that she and children really don’t get along all that well. It was just the patriarchy telling her she wanted them.

    Even adults who want to raise small humans get tired and cranky and overwhelmed. Luckily both my sisters are determined to be spinster aunts living nearby the theoretical offspring I may someday have, so those kids will have at least four adults who can take turns and thus hopefully avoid insanity. The happy nuclear family is a terrible myth.

  16. dream_operator23

    I too bought into the every woman loves and desires children of their own line of thought. I should have listened to my teenaged self that said she never wanted kids. I have three of them now and while I do like them as people, I am certainly not the mother type. I’m too much of an introverted loner really. I feel really bad, because I let them do their own thing most of the day without filling their day with cute little projects and activities like all of the parenting gurus tell you to do. Then I remember my own mother and the way she raised my sister and I…exactly the same since she is an introverted loner too and I think she was a great mom.

  17. hex

    I’m sorry for you, dreamer. I do not enjoy the company of children. I would be very depressed if I’d had children. That’s an irrevocable commitment that I never wanted.

    It makes me sad when women tell me they regret having had children.

  18. V.

    Here’s a job description for you:

    Minimun committment: 18 years

    Life-and-death responsibilities

    Conflicting instruction manual

    Instruction manual often goes missing

    24 hour duty

    Boss holds you solely responsibility for all poor outcomes

    Employer trivializes the importance of your work

    No gratitude or appreciation for services until the project is twenty-plus years along

    Work culture demands stoic self-sacrifice and punishes complaints

    No remuneration

    It makes Inex sad when women regret motherhood?

    It breaks my heart when we don’t.

    I say this as the mother of two, only ten years along in my project.

  19. josie my source of most frustration

    Twisty, I am a reformed child hater like you. I think that what I really hated was the nuclear family, but I hadn’t thought it all through at the time. I now realize that kids right now have many ridiculous pressures on them, which is probably why many of them act like jerks. Cripes. I have a lot of empathy for their situation. I couldn’t imagine being 17 years old in this day and age, what with the expectation that you’ll look like a Pussycat Doll, but won’t sleep around too much or be too messed up by the mixed messages you’re receiving about your sexuality. Plus, you’ll still get straight A’s and get into a “good” college. Nevermind paying for that college.

    On another note, I know three days straight of blogging has probably left you a little burned out on this stuff. Yet, I appreciate all of the good reading material you’ve given your readers. Godspeed, Twisty, godspeed!

  20. smmo

    You guys get that kids are human beings, right? Despising them as a class is just another form of acceptable hipster bigotry, like mocking those inbred hillbillies.

    It is only the 11th and I’m sure I’ve surpassed my self-imposed monthly limit of “yeah! Twisty! You GO” but shit woman you are on FIRE.

    Hipster kid hating is at least partially just plain old misogyny. Notice it is never the dads that get mocked for talking to their kids in Latin or $1200 strollers or organic free range goldfish crackers. Or, to go to the other end of the class spectrum, it is never the dads who are judged for feeding their kids fast food or whacking them in Walmart. Maybe I’m just cranky because I have a two year old and can’t afford to hire someone with less education and/or darker skin to care for him.

  21. Errihu

    In my marriage to Eternal Child, I never wanted children because I was already acting mother to one who would never grow up, and he was calling himself my husband. However, that marriage has ended, and I’ve considered the fact that I do indeed want children, but only with one potential father in particular (one who I’ve seen change diapers and do nurturing type things to his adopted baby sister, so I’m reasonably confident that he’ll do that for his own flesh and blood). I don’t expect I’ll be the greatest mother ever, and I certainly don’t expect everything to be peaches and roses. In fact, I anticipate (you might even say dread) some pretty damn trying times along with the fun times that all the mommy-cult start harping about the moment you even THINK childfree.

    No woman should ever be forced to reproduce. If she wants kids, fine, as long as she really, truly, genuinely wants them, and is not simply capitulating to someone else’s desires – whether that be the potential father or anyone else. And someone really needs to declare a moratorium on the unrealistically glowing portrayals of the “joys” of motherhood that seem to be all women hear. Child bearing and child raising aren’t always fun tasks, and are quite often grinding and maddening.

  22. RadFemHedonist

    “You guys get that kids are human beings, right? Despising them as a class is just another form of acceptable hipster bigotry, like mocking those inbred hillbillies.”

    Twisty, you are amazing, I love you.

    (please note if this makes you uncomfortable I will never speak of it again.)

    Actually I also want to point out how unbelievable I find it when people make fun of people who are inbred, don’t they realise it’s the same as making fun of someone in a wheelchair, you are telling someone off for a situation they have no control over, it is not their fault that their (also oppressed and disadvantaged might I add) parents decided incest was a good idea.

    Seriously, how can someone possibly suggest that child murder is acceptable. I went through months of insecurity brought on by a total dumbass on the internet who advocated this position, I was 14 and my distrustworthy parents could not avail me of the fear that this person was not talking bullshit.

    Then I became a feminist and was happy again. I knew I couldn’t be bullied anymore.

  23. RadFemHedonist

    edit:

    as a woman or a child. I recognised my personhood and got the happys.

  24. Spinning Liz

    I feel really bad, because I let them do their own thing most of the day without filling their day with cute little projects and activities like all of the parenting gurus tell you to do.

    Ah, back in the day we called that “benign neglect,” and believed it was necessary in large doses in order for a child to cultivate a vivid imgaination and develop a strong independent sense of self. Of course that was back when Dinah Shore roamed the earth, in a world with a whole lot less tv and computer games.

  25. dream_operator23

    Twisty is right that kids are people too and when I realized that and acted accordingly instead of seeing them as the mansifestation of my sucess or faliure as a woman, we all became a lot happier. Though it is days like today that make me envy anyone that is childfree. In the five minutes that I had my back turned, my son that has autsim got into my art markers and systematically destroyed over a hundred dollars worth of markers (which is a lot of mony to me). Good thing I am just an amatuer artist and don’t need them for my lively hood.

  26. Jezebella

    dream operator, consider this possibility:

    THERE IS NO “MOTHER TYPE.”

    For tens of thousands of years, nearly all adult human women have been having babies due to limited recourse to abortion and birth control. The idea that you have to be a certain kind of person, a certain kind of mother, is completely artificially created in each culture. It’s like the beauty myth: a moving target, designed to keep women constantly worrying about keeping up with an impossible standard. You are the mother you know how to be, and you’re a mother because you have children.

    Just like I’m a woman because I was born with those chromosomes and those parts, and no amount of sexbottery is going to make me MORE of a woman. No amount of defying expectations of femininity makes me LESS of a woman.

    Fuck all those people who are making you think you should be something, anything, else. Personally, I think anyone raising an autistic kid should get a medal for every day she doesn’t run away to Montana.

  27. Stroll

    This is my second comment in as many days, though I try to just read and not comment because of the very nature of this here blog and the fact that my comments won’t be anything new i.e. add much to the discussion of the fine commenters here. Not to mention the fact that I am hugely benefited, like it or not, by the “P” in IBTP. I stand to learn, not illuminate. But I just can’t resist saying your views on kids (and “hillbillies” for that matter) are so right on, as are your posts in general. If only I had had a spinster aunt like you! I’ve enjoyed your frequent posting lately.

  28. Sunday School Dropout

    I think people are confused by me. I am very good with kids, and a very good babysitter as a result. It’s because I don’t talk down to them. I treat them like people, and I get great results.

    That said, I don’t want my own. In our culture, my emotional intelligence is supposed to mean I MUST BREED. Bah.

  29. kcb

    Child bearing and child raising aren’t always fun tasks, and are quite often grinding and maddening.

    I read some pap recently about how childrearing is the most fulfilling thing a woman can do. It’s certainly the most costly and time-consuming thing I’ve ever done. I hope that when my boys are grown I’ll be able to say, “Wow, on the whole, that was fulfilling!” but I don’t want to jinx it.

  30. roamaround

    What about Mother’s Day mania? I was subjected to humiliation by omission today when *every other* woman in my department got roses and hugs for being a mother. This spinster aunt smiled and wished everyone a happy Mother’s Day, hoping my face was set with the right beneficent smile. I like all these women, but it was really too much.

    I love kids, but have never felt any necessity to spawn since there are so many clever, funny and adorable children out there already. The photo above is evidence. Does look just like you, Twisty.

  31. slythwolf

    I think those of you who claim to hate kids haven’t met enough kids. I submit that you would have thought I was adorable.

    At the age of 3 I am assured I lectured a woman shopping at our garage sale because she was planning to purchase a toy for one of her children but had refused to purchase one for the other. I told her that it was wrong to practice favoritism in such an appalling manner. Apparently she told my mother I was going to become a lawyer.

    Sunday School Dropout, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I can’t remember the number of times I have tried to explain to people that you can’t just tell kids, “No, you can’t do that, you have to do this,” and expect them to blindly obey; you have to tell them, “Look, here’s why this would be a bad idea, and here’s why this would be a better one,” and you have to answer their questions and have a reasonable discussion. They aren’t incapable of understanding, for example, the concept that it’s dangerous to play in the street, or that shouting in the grocery store is rude and disruptive, but if all they hear all the time is, “No, you may not,” they certainly will.

    And I also have no desire to spawn. I like and respect kids but I’m not about to sign up for raising one. It’s just not me.

    Something I’ve been thinking about, though, is the venom our culture spews forth at women who hire nannies instead of doing it all themselves. Men, of course, can cheerfully go off to work every day and play with the kids on the weekends, leaving Mom to do all the messy parts of childrearing, like cleaning up the puke after Dad buys them too much junk food at the carnival. But women who say, enough, I’m not doing this, nobody’s paying me for it, and actually elect to pay someone for this devalued work, you know, possibly implying that maybe people who do this work should get paid, are just beyond the pale. Horrible mothers, all of them. Lazy bitches who sit on the couch eating bonbons between their multiple expensive shopping trips. IBTP, for this stereotype and also for the low wages childcare workers receive.

  32. Shell Goddamnit

    That child looks just like Twisty. Funny how that happens.

    This reminds me – lord knows why, maybe the margaritas – of the old Regency England admonishment: Never Comment On A Likeness. Because sayin that Lady Daisy Gefiltefishe’s third child looks **just like** Viscount Rodrigo Portulaca might really be sayin somethin.

    Ah, patriarchy – where as long as Lady Daisy has already produced The Heir, there’s no hangin offense in peopling one’s household with a few other men’s children.

    Unless yer of the bourgoisie, of course, in which case you don’t get the Aristocratic Morality Pass that Lady Daisy was born with.

    The Aristocratic Morality Pass still works of course, but only if you’re a Republican. Thus IOKIYAR and all that. Direct descendant, I tell you. Yes.

    What?! Tangent? Oh. Yeah. You mean rambling. Sorry.

  33. LMYC

    slythwolf, I think the problem is that it’s just one more example of a woman picking up male slack. I know that’s what ticks me off about it.

    I get so pissed also when I read about women who praise their “feminist” husbands to the skies and then in the next breath talk about how hiring a nanny “saved their marriages” or whatnot, and I’m Not Apologizing For It.

    You know what? I live with my female roommate, and we never hired a nanny. And we don’t need one. Whhy? Because we can fucking well expect one another to clean the shit that needs cleaning. Why is it when a Sacred Male enters the picture, suddenly we need to go get another woman to do the work he should be doing?

    That’s why it ticks me off — because it means that Daddy porked Mommy, and Heather STILL has two mommies.

  34. Sniper

    i You guys get that kids are human beings, right? Despising them as a class is just another form of acceptable hipster bigotry, like mocking those inbred hillbillies.

    Please. The term is “the shoe-free genetically challenged”, thank you.

    You know, I don’t dislike kids, finding them rather a mixed bag, rather like other people. I have actually spent rather a lot of my life taking care of other people’s children, starting when I was still a child myself. What I actually dislike is being unable to interact with a child without being told, “you should have one, you’re a natural.” I’ve been physicallly able to have children for decades now. If I wanted kids, there’d be kids.

  35. pandapan

    I’m not going to do the whole marriage and kids thing. I’ve never even dated. It’s just not my style. I’m not even going to try defending myself to those who insist I’ll change my mind. They won’t listen. They just stare with that patronizing grin. However, if I come across someone who is genuinely interested in my lifestyle choice, I’ll be glad to tell them all about the evils of the patriarchy.

  36. kathy a

    i do love kids. it’s just that i’ve been a mommy-sister since before i can remember [seriously, and i have clear memories of diaper-changing and bottle-feeding at age 8, followed by a stellar babysitting career], and i’m now 20 years into caring for my own. a person gets tired.

  37. MedeaOnCrack

    Yeah, childless women think who they do it better, with something those dumb breeders just haven’t figured out. But just like dad they get to hand the kid back when it starts to irritate them. Or women whose kids are give or take a year or so from six and are (especially the boy childs) so feminist why just listen to what he said today!

    He. He. He. C’mere little Alex…

  38. Cecily

    I was actually thinking of e-mailing you, Twisty, on the very topic of Motherhood. My pseudo-inlaws (not married, not getting married, the ‘inlaws’ trying hard not to notice), who are raging Fundamentalists, fill my inbox with saccharine hate speech. I accidentally read some today, about mothers. Oh look, it’s by a man! I’m sooooo surprised!

    Please forgive me for copy-pasting the whole thing. I simply must show it to some blamers before the excess blame pressure explodes my brain.

    Mother

    by Ken Pierpont

    “Her children rise up and call her blessed…” – Proverbs 31:28

    She dreamed of you from the time she was a little girl cradling a baby doll in her arms. She always saw you playing around the little cottage in her childhood dreams. She carried you in her body and you made her sick every morning for weeks and weeks. She bore you into the world through intense pain but when she heard you cry and saw your wrinkled face she forgot all about it and wept tears of joy.

    She fed you at her breast and her whole world revolved around you. She stole into your room at night just to watch you sleep and she was sure you were the most beautiful child on earth. She sat up through the night to bathe away the fever and at breakfast your dad said: “Sleep well, honey?” oblivious of the all-night vigil. She somehow always knew when you needed her, even in the middle of the night, and she came to your room and changed your bedding and made sure you were warm and dry.

    She covered your ears and gave you your coat and checked your homework and made you practice the piano and set through all your ball games and recitals like they were the seventh game of the World Series and a debut at Carnegie Hall. She nagged you to brush your teeth with words of wisdom like: “Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.” She changed your diaper and cleaned up when you were sick and washed underwear no one else would touch without a chemical suit. And who do you think always cleaned the gunk out of the kitchen sink and bathtub drain?

    She made sure you had the drumstick and your dad had the breast and acted like she preferred the wings. Her oatmeal cookies made you forget the beating you took from the neighborhood bully.

    She listened to you and didn’t laugh when others would have mocked you.

    She believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself and prayed for you even when you didn’t think you needed it. She made you think you could do things you were sure you couldn’t do. She was tough enough to call your bluff and discipline you and give you a sense of boundaries and the security that comes with it. She spanked you when “Spocking” was all the trend with lesser mothers. She knew when you needed a spanking or just a nap and she didn’t always give you candy though she longed to indulge you.

    She was always waiting when you came in late. When you complained about it, she pretended to be asleep the way you always did when you wanted her to carry you in from the car after a long trip.

    She read the Bible to you and read the Bible in front of you and did what mothers have to do to make sure the family is faithful in church. She made your dad a much better man than he ever would have been without her.

    She mended clothes as a labor of love and it broke her heart to see how quickly you grew out of them. She knew you were loaned to her from God and soon the house would fall silent again. She washed mountains of dishes and truckloads of laundry. She put up food on the hottest summer days and didn’t complain.

    Her most sincere prayers were the ones she sent heavenward in gratitude for you. She filled your home with fragrance and beauty and music, the smell of her perfume and fresh-cut flowers, bacon for breakfast and Sunday roast.

    Her eyes were bright and happy and full of life. She wept though, wept and worried a thousand times for you when no one ever knew.

    She rose early on holidays so you could enjoy a festive meal and an enduring memory. She planned for days and worked for hours so that in a few minutes you could gulp it down and go watch football. You didn’t always thank her or help her with the dishes, but those meals have been a cherished memory for years.

    She baked you special treats just to watch you eat them. Something inside made her happier the more you ate.

    She wore old dresses so you could have a new ball glove. She skipped vacations and second honeymoons so you could go to camp. She limited expenses for her hobbies so you could get your band instrument. She was happy with last year’s fashion so you could have this year’s tennis shoes.

    She didn’t abandon the family when your dad was insensitive to her needs.

    She took the blame for your failures and stood back and let your dad have the glory for your successes.

    And having done all these things and a thousand others that make mother a sacred word, she still felt she wasn’t the mother she should have been.

    Shit, just formatting the thing has exposed me to more of its poison. It’s a Patriarchy Handbook. It admits half the things they do and acts like they are a blazing good. (Oh, and did I mention that it was a woman who sent it to me? A woman who sent it to a mailing list that includes her divorced daughter? Better hope she doesn’t notice that paragraph, you saintly mother you!)

  39. Frumious B

    I get that kids are human, and I still hate them. I hate pretty much all humans as a class. Vile species, I’m interested in its perpetuation only in so far as it supports me. Otherwise, I prefer my cats.

  40. MedeaOnCrack

    Spam it off to every K-Tel and thigh exerciser marketing company you can think of Cicely. Eventually they’ll stop. Or, respond with passages from Shulamith.

  41. Spit The Dummy

    She took the blame for your failures and stood back and let your dad have the glory for your successes.

    Thanks, Cecily, I think I’m going to puke.

  42. BubbasNightmare

    On the whole, I’ve enjoyed my two, despite misadventures and a wayward 19-year-old running from the armed forces. I never minded others’ children much, especially with barbeque sauce (insert wry emoticon here).

    I’ve changed their diapers, cleaned their spitup, went to all of their concerts and school activities, taught ‘em a moral lesson or two, and now I’m almost done with the exercise. It’s me time, now.

    I can’t bear a child, and I cannot suckle one, but I can do anything else for it–and have. (And was better at it than their mother, when it came right down to it).

  43. Cecily

    Spit the Dummy –
    Yeah, I know it was mean of me to share it, but I’m pretty vicious, I guess.

  44. kiki

    She spanked you when “Spocking” was all the trend with lesser mothers…

    Oh no,not the dreaded lesser mothers. Spocking? as in Mr. or Dr.?

  45. kate

    “It makes Inex sad when women regret motherhood?

    It breaks my heart when we don’t.”,

    It breaks my heart that child rearing is seen as a lonely, trivial responsibility to be borne solely by one or possibly two individuals. It kills me that people can and will turn their backs on the most helpless members of the human race and relegate them to the status of dogs, kittens or ego ornaments.

    Raising children is difficult, causes way too much economic hardship and emotional cost. But that is no fault of biology. It is the workings of a social system that places no value whatsoever on a woman or that which comes from her. Value to children is only given in accordance with the value of the woman and her family. Even then, the task of rearing them must fall to the lesser, so the woman can do that which is ‘important’. Because in a patriarchy, any activity that does not benefit the machinery of production is devalued. Children are seen as a drain in a production oriented social system, second only to women who do not position themselves as man pleasers.

    So it is not children, it is not raising them in the purest form that is perverse or sick, it is the social system that has decided that the woman and her womb and all products thereof should be isolated and protected as property.

    Children who grow up in isolated nuclear families learn early on that the only important goal is to compete and succeed, at whatever cost; to eliminate empathy as it holds one from opportunity to ‘succeed’; stop caring, stop giving a damn and you’ll be fine.

    Problem of course is that someone must make up for the caring and nurturing the others in the community will not share. That falls to the woman and falls down the social ladder as well.

    Maybe I’m just cranky because I have a two year old and can’t afford to hire someone with less education and/or darker skin to care for him.

    No, you’re cranky because some fucked up social system has told you that you can’t depend on your family and community lest you be labeled inferior. A social system that demands that ‘healthy’ people demonstrate such by running and hiding to their own hovels, attempting to deal with their problems alone, then when is watching they call emergency assistance because they feel like they are about to break in two. Its such an event for shame and tongue clucking that it gains reportage in a newspaper; a woman showed her weakness in being the All Nurturing. Crise, in another day, the town would be out to hunt her down and hang her high.

    And we call them fucked up? No, its the system that’s fucked beyond belief.

  46. CafeSiren

    At one point, when I was in my early twenties, I told a male friend that I didn’t think I’d ever want children of my own. His infuriating response? “Don’t worry — you’ll change your mind.”

    I didn’t.

    Re: dealing with problem children: a recent weekend spent with my brother’s family (including 4 year-old niece, whom I adore) taught me to stop giving dirty looks to parents with screaming children, and to sympathize more than my own spinster-auntly ways would have it: Sunday morning, at 8 a.m., just before breakfast, Adorable Niece set up a wail, for no discerning reason. Piercing, like a siren, and it went on for 8 full minutes, waking all the neighbors in my child-free apartment courtyard. She could not be consoled or quieted, nor could it be ignored, as I live in a 1-bedroom apartment. We never did figure out what was causing it. Apparently, it was just time to wail.

    I love my siblings’ children, but I think I’ve made the right choice for my own life.

  47. CafeSiren

    Sorry: that should have been “no discernible reason.”

  48. Spit The Dummy

    I vote for Mr Spock: he blushes such a nice shade of green and he and Kirk look so pretty together.

    Dr Spock-meh. I dislike it when dudes, who have no idea what it’s like to be a full-time mother, want to give advice to mums as if they are the experts. IBtP

  49. Cecily

    At one point, when I was in my early twenties, I told a male friend that I didn’t think I’d ever want children of my own. His infuriating response? “Don’t worry — you’ll change your mind.”

    I’ve been guilty of rolling my eyes when teenagers (of either gender) say they don’t want children, because I have an evil bias against teenagers. However, I find this response to women pretty infuriating. I have even exaggerated my own desire to be childfree (I actually want children, but I don’t want to be the primary caregiver, which means we’ll only have them in a financially beautiful fairyland where the artist makes enough money for the engineer to be a stay-at-home dad.) just to mess with this attitude. It doesn’t seem to work. I still get serene soccer moms crooning, “Oh, that’ll all change! You’re young yet!” (I’m almost 30, ma’am. When can I be considered a person with agency and valid opinions?) and my personal favorite, “The ones who don’t want children are always the best mothers!” Whiskey tango foxtrot, OVER.

  50. dream_operator23

    CafeSiren, so true! Before I had kids I use to wonder why moms let their kids scream in Walmart and stuff. I wonder and judge no more! In fact I don’t even take my kids to Walmart or places like that anymore. I stopped after the nightmare of my austistic son sceaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of the store one day. I had no where to take him (the van was getting an oil change), plus I had things to get done and I didn’t know what was wrong with him or how to calm him down even though I tried everything. If floors had holes I would have happily dropped into one that day!

  51. pippa

    I just listened to the 911 call made by the woman in Wisconsin. It is heart-rending in its simple plea for some help and some FRIENDS. I could just cry for this woman. Really.

  52. Catherine Martell

    You know what this discussion needs? Shulamith Firestone.

    Though her views on child liberation are exceptionally controversial, and I don’t necessarily endorse them entirely (the sex bit is hard to deal with), I rethought radically my views on kids after reading The Dialectic of Sex. I’ve never been a full-on child hater. I’ve always liked some and disliked others. But I had definitely developed an instinctive dislike of precisely the traits she identifies (correctly, I think) as reactions to oppression. And I had adopted a default pose of not being a child-friendly person – not as a reaction to children, per se, but as a strong reaction against the cult of motherhood.

    Firestone’s analysis struck a distantly-remembered chord, making me recall how it felt to be a kid. To be patronised, forced to do boring activities, kept back intellectually, imprisoned in a school, and so on. And how it felt to be disdained by adults just like me. Not a comfortable realization.

    I don’t have kids myself, nor am I likely to acquire any. However, the issues of child liberation brought up by Firestone have made me think completely differently about the children I do interact with. And I wish I’d read her book when I was 12 or 13. I’d have loved it.

  53. V.

    You want to change the nature of children’s oppression?

    Help their mothers.

    I do my most oppressive parenting when I am lonely and exhausted, and I daresay that is true of all mothers.

    Very few mothers are lucky enough to have intelligent spinster aunts in their corners.

    If you offer friendship, intelligent listening, and some real interaction with their children (not “babysitting”)you can transform lives.

  54. RadFemHedonist

    I get that kids are human, and I still hate them. I hate pretty much all humans as a class. Vile species, I’m interested in its perpetuation only in so far as it supports me. Otherwise, I prefer my cats.

    Gee, because the thread really needed some misanthropy, if you hate the human species why bother with feminism?

  55. tinfoil hattie

    Thank you for this psot, and thank you for taking to task those who declare their “hatred” for children. Other feminist websites, not so understanding.

    I get frustrated because motherhood is another situation where women just can’t win (so what else is new?). Hire a nanny or babysitter? You’re a selfish, uncaring bitch who is only interested in her career. Give up your career for a while and raise your kids? You’re a selfish, lazy bitch mooching off the hard work of some man, and when he leave you, THEN you’ll see, you should have never depended on him!

    If your kids scream in Wal-Mart, you’re a bad parent. If you let them watch TV, you’re a bad parent. If you let them leave your yard, you’re a bad parent. If you don’t spend every waking moment doing crafts, you’re a bad parent. Aw, hell — why am I even saying this? We all know it means you’re a bad MOTHER.

    As for Mother’s Day? I hate it, because it is a bullshit, made-up holiday watered down from its original intention. Its purpose is to say, “See how much we loooovvvve mothers? You’re so great, you sacrificial, oppressed thing you! Now crawl back into your cave and DEAL with raising the next generation of decent human beings all by yourself! See ya 364 days from now!”

  56. tinfoil hattie

    P.S. “psot” is the hip new young generation’s way of saying “post.”

  57. RadFemHedonist

    “If your kids scream in Wal-Mart, you’re a bad parent. If you let them watch TV, you’re a bad parent. If you let them leave your yard, you’re a bad parent. If you don’t spend every waking moment doing crafts, you’re a bad parent. Aw, hell — why am I even saying this? We all know it means you’re a bad MOTHER.”

    I agree, I have an automatic distrust for parents, but that’s because of the oppression of children, not because I think that children watching TV, or having two working parents is a bad thing. My mom has a lot of issues, she’s sometimes suicidal, and clearly has an eating disorder, I am way pissed off at the bullshit system that made her this way, she’s miserable and I never knew what to do when I was a child… it’s kind of difficult to articulate it all. My Dad’s a total dumbass, the person he lives with now, yesterday they said something about real women, that raincoats might be cut for “my mom’s name here types” but not for real women, plus I’ve heard my dad use the words ” typical feminist response”. It’s things like that, on top of the general bullshit (my Dad tried to fill my head with conspiracy theories and make me a solipsist when I was home educated), that make me incredibly keen to move out. Also he has an entitlement complex, he’s fifty and the other day I heard him complain “no-one ever takes care of me”. You are fifty, why would they? He can take care of himself. Anyway I agree with you that Mother’s day is a bunch of crap

    A) because not violating the rights of any born homosapien is the default.

    B) because if you want to appreciate those who are caring for the vulnerable, help them day to day, not once a year.

  58. B. Dagger Lee

    One of the best things about kids (of a certain age) is getting to play Katamari Damacy* for, like, five hours straight.

    yrs, BDL

    *Playstation 2 game, in which one rolls a katamri ball around the world rolling up stuff. Also the gayest video game I’ve ever played. Miss Patsy’s crazy about it, although she’s also strangely crazy about a driving game.

  59. stekatz

    AAAAAHHHHH. Word that there is no mother type. In the immortal words of my wonderful sister with six nice children, “Different children inspire different parenting.”

    And I’m going out on a limb here to say that most (if not all) of the women I know who’ve chosen not to have children and say things like, “Kids aren’t really my thing.” are the ones who my daughter always likes best.

    Maybe it’s your very sensitive and deeply felt knowledge of how hard it really is to be a kid that makes you not want to wish that upon another human being.

    And not liking bratty kids is just plain normal. Particularly those ten year old boys who have already learned the ropes of the patriarchy and feel no need to not run into women on the ice rink.

    I lost in the thread whoever said this: “Notice it is never the dads that get mocked for talking to their kids in Latin or $1200 strollers or organic free range goldfish crackers. Or, to go to the other end of the class spectrum, it is never the dads who are judged for feeding their kids fast food or whacking them in Walmart.”

    Brilliantly stated. I reminded me of this one time at the zoo where some poor kid’s liberal white dude of a dad was trying in vain to tempt him with a wonderful treat of delicious…
    …sliced green pepper. Mmm mmm mmm. Fortunately the kid seemed to be well adept and blowing off his control freak loon of a dad and kept on playing.

    And Tidy’s offspring is just plain adorable.

  60. medrecgal

    “Up to her amygdala in screaming brat soup”…LOL, Twisty! How many people out there actually know where their amygdala is, I wonder? (I do, but then I’ve been a neuroscience-curious nerd for a very long time!) The other reason I laughed upon reading this was because I currently hold a job where one of my least favorite things is dealing with screaming children, who usually make me want to reach over my register, grab them by the shirt, and say, “Listen, you little brat…shut up and behave yourself!” Of course, I would be fired on the spot if I ever did such a thing, but it seems like in our current culture, it is OK to allow your child(ren) in public places to run wild, disturb others, and generally cause havoc. If I had behaved the way I see many children behave these days, I would have had my mother’s size 10 shoe right up my butt! (Oh, no, can’t do anything like that today…a mama would be arrested for such discipline!)

    I’ve always said I like kids when they’re about 8 or 9…not young enough to be babies or toddlers (I like small babies, but the noise level would make me want to drive a stake through my brain), but not teenagers, either. I work with the latter group…sometimes they’re OK, but collectively I don’t much care for them…they’re gossipy, backstabbing, hypersexual creatures generally. I like the ones who are more like I was…more concerned with their schoolwork and making something out of themselves than with who their next “conquest” is. I’m not being sexist, either…the girls in this age group are just as likely to be having these conversations as the guys are. Yecch!

    Needless to say, I have no burning desire to parent anytime soon. Perhaps never…and if that’s perceived as weird or anti-feminine by some people, too bad. I’m not interested in becoming another instrument of the sexual roles prescribed by this crazy world we live in. IBTP.

  61. whyme63

    At 43, I’ve spent the last 25 years or so being accused of hating children, due to my refusal to give birth to any. Annoying, when you consider that (although I’m not a spinster)I am a very devoted aunt.

    I have a deeply held belief in the importance of that role, and I repudiate the nuclear family, because I think the extended family is necessary to plain old happiness for kids. I know I’d never have survived my own childhood without the support, protection, encouragement, friendship, and love of two generations of aunts and uncles.

    To anyone who brings up my lack of offspring, in any context, I point out my very firmly established role of aunt, and end the topic.

  62. EN

    “You guys get that kids are human beings, right? Despising them as a class is just another form of acceptable hipster bigotry.”

    As long as I’m still allowed to despise hipsters, I’m cool with that.

  63. Silence

    When I was seven, my cousin was born and my family went to visit my aunt and uncle. Said cousin was promptly deposited on my lap while family gathered around to squeal over how cute it was — future mommy with baby in training or some crap like that. I remember feeling tremendously uncomfortable, helpess, trapped under a hot wriggling thing that could pee at any moment, and beneath it all, angry. It seemed like the people around me were telling me my future was set in stone, completely unavoidable. My aunt asked me if I liked holding the baby and I said “no!” quite firmly.

    And of course everyone laughed and told me I’d change my mind. My brother, by the way, four years older than myself, was asked if he wanted to hold my cousin. He said no and everyone instantly took him at his word. Because he was male, you know.

    And I’m in my mid-thirties now and don’t have children and don’t have any plans to have any. For which I’m glad. I don’t mind babies, although I admit when one is seated near me on the bus or restaraunt I clench my teeth waiting for the inevitable banshee wail. And I have met some seriously cool kids in my life, and how can you not love an opportunity to play video games or go on an Easter Egg hunt without guilt?

    I don’t blame kids for acting out. Hell, I still act out. I don’t want to sit in a row and not fidget and listen politely to some authority figure droning on about something I don’t care about. The way children are raised and taught is shameful, it places far too much stress and blame on women and it does little to nurture childrens’ natural curiosity and imagination. IBTP. In spades. When the revolution coming?

  64. Rugosa

    Cecily – I only got as far as at breakfast your dad said: “Sleep well, honey?” oblivious of the all-night vigil

    That happens to be reason #1347 in an infinite series of why my child’s father is my ex-partner.

  65. Random Lurker

    I think a lot of the reason kids are so bratty today is that its no longer hip to have generationally-separated spaces. Alternadad drags his spawn everywhere he goes, hogs his kid’s playstation and comic books, and is horrified by the idea that anyone–whether his kids or his friends–might perceive him as being uncool. The kids don’t want to go to the bar with you and they don’t want you in their clubhouse. There’s nothing wrong with that. Kids think adult stuff is boring and they’d rather play in the backyard with their mates than do anything you consider cool. On the same note, adults shouldn’t try to prolong their own childhoods by stealing their offspring’s.

  66. vera

    This morning as I did my best thinking for the day, which takes place in the shower, I was struck by a thought that I’ll bet Twisty never imagined inspiring: I wish I’d had Twisty’s blog, instead of Spock and Brazelton, to read when I was raising my daughters.

    I’m presently in Southern California, about to witness my older daughter’s graduation from college. Last night she visited me here in my hotel room and we shared some deep thoughts before she moved on to join the circle of radical young women she runs with.

    She spoke about many of the same profound insights I read here in Twisty’s writings and in the comments. It’s not that she reads IBTP (she doesn’t, in spite of my constant urging). She sees the Patriarchy/Matrix, sees it all very clearly, and can talk about how she feels about it. I don’t know how she figured it out so young. It took me much longer.

    I told her that while she was growing up, I saw that her generation of girls was being sold a toxic bill of goods that horrified me, and that I had felt helpless in the face of the empowerfulness message, the “every girl must learn how to give a good blowjob” mentality, and even her high school’s pressure to conform. I didn’t have the words to tell her what I was seeing. If I’d had IBTP to read, maybe I would have been able to better frame, for her and her sister, my tirades against the patriarchy. (Oh, I delivered tirades, yes indeed. She can attest to that. Unfortunately, in those days, they were incoherent.)

    I couldn’t protect her from the patriarchy whispering its messages into her young ears, and I failed to even clearly articulate for her what soul-killing bullshit those messages are, but she’s emerged a blamer anyway.

    A brilliant, beautiful patriarchy blamer. And now she is loosed upon the world.

  67. edith

    Sometimes I think I exaggerate my own childfree status, too. Actually, I know I do. I do want kids, because I think I would be the greatest parent in the world. I think I need to create a feminist army, like the quiverful people, except not. And I also want a partner, because I want someone to worship me and assure me that I’m the greatest parent in the world. And I want that person to do most of the child-rearing, while I get to be the admired, daunting figure that my kids look up to and want to be like. Basically, I want to be a husband and a father.

  68. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    I used to have zero interest in kids, too – when my middle brother had kids, I spent almost no time with them, which I now regret, being horribly aware of how little involvement my own extended family has had in my life. I wish it could be different, but my brother and I are somewhat estranged, which makes it pretty tough to cultivate a relationship with his kids.

    My younger brother, though, is pretty cool, and I love his three girls (all under the age of 6, yikes!) What’s interesting for me is that I didn’t get comfortable with kids til I’d worked through my old, unresolved emotional issues from childhood. (On my own, no shrink help.)

    What seems to happen is that when I open up to the old childhood stuff in myself (pain, anger, fear), I also become open to whatever’s happening with the child at hand – screaming, angry, sad, needy, clingy, whatever – since I’m able now to recognize the feelings in myself, I can accept them in her as well. I think when I was younger, obnoxious kid behavior would bump up against my own unresolved hurts and it was so painful that I would sort of shut off, or tune out, or quickly get away from the situation. But now that I’ve figured out how to deal with my own stuff, I feel like I get what the kids are going through, and it doesn’t scare me, or repel me, in fact I actually hope that I can help take the edge off the Nuclear Family Disaster scenario as mentioned by others above.

    That last paragraph isn’t as clear as I’d wish for, but I’ll go ahead and post and hope somebody else with a similar experience might say it better. And I hope these comments don’t come across as too two-bit-shrinkological – it really was an eye-opener for me to see that doing my own ‘work’ (emotionally speaking) made it possible for me to connect with kids in ways I never expected.

  69. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Vera, I do my best thinking in the shower too, in fact I often have to dash out dripping wet to scribble down some burning insight that I fear will escape if I wait til I’ve finished drying off.

    edith, I’m with you – I think I could be a great mom, too, and am at the age where time’s running out on that option. But I’ll pass on being a ‘wife’, thank you very much, and that feeling was bolstered with a little ‘aha’ moment with your while I get to be the admired, daunting figure that my kids look up to and want to be like. Basically, I want to be a husband and a father. Word.

  70. MedeaOnCrack

    Congratulations Vera.

  71. A.Non

    I have actually been turned down for co-op housing because I said “NO” when at the interview I was asked if I would babysit other members children as one of my co-op commitments. That followed right after I said “NO” when asked if I could help with roofing and the like. When they sent me the FOAD letter they said it was because they needed people who could help with repairs, but I know it was the babysitting. It’s a radical thing for an older woman to say “NO” to looking after children. Not just once in a while, but make it clear it’s NEVER.

    They were all radical progressive, world changing lefties. Of course.

  72. CannibalFemme

    Vera: thank you for that lovely post–your love for your daughter is palpable, and I’m glad that you and she have come to where you are together. I appreciate you sharing that.

    On the child tolerance issue: I do indeed understand that children are human beings. I acknowledge that I carry a whole lotta baggage around this, among other things. And to what is undoubtedly nobody’s surprise, I am moved to elaborate on my particular baggage, to wit:

    1. White children freak me out more than children of color. Boys freak me out more than girls. When I see white children, and especially white boys, being hugely overindulged, or bear witness to their growing entitlement, I have to go.

    2. I have indeed met children that have not triggered my pedophobia. To date, I’ve met two. In both cases, I eventually determined that this was due to the way the adults around them related to them, and not because of any particular quality of the children themselves, although they were both cool little beings.

    3. Despite my personal wiggins, children are one part of my instinct triad (women, children and animals) of beings that I am hypervigilant about: when I see abuses happening to them, and when I further perceive that there’s a dudely knob perpetrating the abuse, that’s when I go do things.

    I know, intimately and completely, that children are helpless. I sure do. I don’t hate children. I just don’t want to be around them.

    I am tremendously fond of tarantulas, however.

  73. LMYC

    CF, I’m with you on all of it. Especially #3, which is especially perplexing to the patriarchy when it becomes clear that I have all the maternal instinct of a 2×4 pine plank and cannot stand being around kids for more than about seven milliseconds. Hurt one though, and you’ll be puking buckshot.

  74. RadFemHedonist

    1. White children freak me out more than children of color. Boys freak me out more than girls. When I see white children, and especially white boys, being hugely overindulged, or bear witness to their growing entitlement, I have to go.

    What is this you speak of.

  75. RadFemHedonist

    seriously, I dunno what you mean, what entitlement, most of the kids I’ve met are scared of someone or something, seriously, I don’t know what you mean by entitlement, all the men I have met have a misguided sense of it, but the children generally don’t, are you one of those spanking is OK vicious psychos?

  76. roamaround

    “Maybe it’s your very sensitive and deeply felt knowledge of how hard it really is to be a kid that makes you not want to wish that upon another human being.”

    stekatz, you are on to something: that is exactly why I am not a mother (Happy Mother’s Day), and it is also, I think, why kids invariably adore and trust me.

    It’s worked out well since I have found my vocation in teaching other people’s children and helping them with myriad problems they often bring to me and no one else. It’s emotionally draining to hear about so much abuse, but there’s nothing more rewarding than feeling like you’ve helped.

    Just yesterday I consoled and referred three (!) children who who had been seriously abused and neglected. Those children happened to be boys of color, but any hint of hostility towards children for their race or gender makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I prefer cats and dogs to most adults (I hear you Frumious B), but to me kids are off limits. They are still innocent. It’s adult indoctrination that ruins them.

    Happy Mother’s Day to Spinster Aunts!!

  77. RadFemHedonist

    I don’t tend to use the word innocent, I care for children because they are people, not because they haven’t done anything wrong (I am not suggesting they have). Also the word has many pedo-ish and sexual repression indications, what with the “let us protect children’s virginal innocence”.

  78. CannibalFemme

    RFH:

    Vicious psycho, yes. Spanking is OK, no. Just as I would not spank my animals, I am not in favor of physically abusing children. I thought I made that clear in my post.

    On entitlement: yep, children, even as an underclass, experience privilege vis-a-vis other children and develop a sense of entitlement, usually along the lines of gender, race and class. I see it in the children around me, and more than that, I remember very clearly from when I myself was a child.

    Children, as Twisty said, are humans. To think of them in any other way is a disservice.

  79. TinaH

    Vera, thank you for sharing that. My Mom did a pretty awesome job of teaching me as much Blaming as possible, even without Twisty’s genius. I thank the Goddesses of the Internet that I can raise my 3 year old son with patriarchy blaming firmly entrenched in my mind.

  80. Astra

    Twisty, I’d like to hear your thoughts on how doing away with the nuclear family model would abolish the child-rearing underclass. I mean, I do get it – in what’s become the traditional nuclear family, the parents share the household responsibilities of earning money, cleaning the house, raising the kids, cooking meals, watering the plants, cleaning the litter box, etc. And should both parents be working outside the home, it’s a necessity to hire childcare, because the plants and cats don’t need so much supervision.

    So presumably you’re talking about replacing the nuclear family with the extended family. How will that eliminate the child-rearing class, exactly? That responsibility belongs to someone, after all, even if it isn’t the parents themselves. Spinster aunts and uncles? Grandparents? (Speaking of babysitting grandparents, you ought to see this article, with the catchy headline “The Incredible Flying Granny Nanny.”) Suppose the grandparents are too old (then who looks after them?) and the aunts and uncles are unwilling, then you’d still have to hire somebody.

    Perhaps it’s just that I’m still seeing this in the patriarchical paradigm where unpaid caretaking (of children, the elderly, the plants and the cats) is the traditional domain of women. Through that lens, hiring someone to look after the children seems pretty fair to me. If only we could do away with the race and class issues involved in that kind of hiring.

  81. hex

    Curioser and curioser: I recognize a kindred spirit in you and I must say that yes, children totally start my old hurts resonating. More ugly inner stuff to work on.

    Cannibal Femme: Yes, thank you for expressing yourself. I am in agreement.

    Male entitlement in little boys: I see it all the time. The girls in one family have chores to do around the house. The boy has sports. No one is even conscious that there is anything objectionable in this. This is the way things are. I am thinking of two different families who are living out this scenario.

  82. Jezebella

    As I may have mentioned once or a thousand times before, I live in the buttcrack of Mississippi. And, heaven forbid, I am childless by choice. EVERY SINGLE TIME I am seen interacting in a positive manner with a child, somebody proclaims, “You’re so good with children! You should have one of your own!!” as though anyone who can get along with a toddler for ten minutes should – SHOULD – become a parent. The subtext is: “Hey, I thought you HATED children. But you like them! Why don’t you have any?” It used to be infuriating, now I just roll my eyes and say, “Well, I like *other* people’s children a lot.”

    I’m hoping that soon enough, people will decide I’m too old to recommend parenthood to, on the grounds that my sad, spinster self is surely wretchedly barren. It was certainly a relief when I hit thirty and people stopped recommending marriage to me, no doubt because they figured it was a “sensitive subject.”

    I do see a great deal of entitlement from children of all ages and genders, but it does get stronger as boys get older, and it’s annoying as hell. On the other hand, I think it’s the nature of children to be self-centered. Kids generally don’t have the maturity or experience to have empathy until they’re in their teens, and it seems like empathy with one’s parents is the latest to develop.

    My favorite thing to do when confronted with whiny or bossy children is to congratulate them on their excellent whining or bossiness: “Wow, you’re a GREAT whiner! Good job on the whining!” It totally throws them off their kilter. Sweet.

  83. CannibalFemme

    Thanks for the kind words, Hex. Just ‘coz I’m prickly doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy resonance every so often.

    Jezebella: I take ruthless advantage of my own fucked-up past around this. When I inform people that I can’t carry a child to term due to massive internal scarring inflicted by one of my Mom’s brilliant boyfriends who thought jamming things in me would stop me from getting pregnant after he settled down to raping me on a regular basis, that usually shuts them up.

    I agree about the offset of entitlement being self-centeredness, and that that’s what should be in children. It’s about the only survival skill they have, after all.

    I shall try the enthusiastic complimenting trick on bossy boys, the next time I wind up beseiged by such. Thanks!

  84. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    My sister’s pediatrician advocated carrying a small water-pistol in your pocket and squirting the little darlings in the face when they did that eardrum-shattering screeching thing. I’ve never tried it myself, but my nephew’s passage through that particular phase was mercifully brief.

    The last time I sat with my nephew’s 1-yr-old son he developed an incurable fascination with the stairs. So I placed his big sister’s hideously ugly rubber lizard on the third stair. Instant cure. And while I may be guilty of torture, the rubber lizard was not so cruel (or expensive) as a trip to the emergency room following a tumble down the stairs.

    I love them dearly, and have never, ever regretted not having my own.

  85. Tyler D

    Vera, I do my best thinking in the shower too, in fact I often have to dash out dripping wet to scribble down some burning insight that I fear will escape if I wait til I’ve finished drying off.

    Two words – washable crayon.
    Seriously, there is something incredibly fun (and even useful) about writing stuff on the wall of the shower. Who needs kids when you can be your own?

  86. LMYC

    CF, your description just motivated me to add yet another person to the list of People I Plan To Exterminate When I Finally Achieve Omnipotence.

    Damn, but that list is getting long.

  87. CannibalFemme

    I am pleased to say that the gentleman in question is no longer among the living. And that I came within .05 seconds of being busted for pissing on his grave–but jeez, it had to be done.

    I admit, I now prepare and carry pee-in-a-jar on these occasions. Which is ridiculous and very silly and entirely unsanitary, but it does make me feel better and the chances of being busted are much less. Just watering the flowers, dude.

    And yes, the list is long. And I *totally* nominate you for Omnipotence!

  88. LMYC

    Cf, okay — add him to the list of People Whose Graves I Intend To Marinate In Piss When I Achieve Omnipotence.

    And it’s sweet of you to want to give me omnipotence. I’d love it, every fucking minute of it. Gimme power. I’m too much of a slacker to abuse it; no true tyrant sleeps past 10am.

  89. b-file

    i’d kinda stayed away for awhile due to a combination of things: too much horrid news of patriarchal bullshit, work, depression… and i thought you were totally anti children. i hate the patriarchy and have to deal with it every day. and a decent portion of my looking at the world through patriarchy blaming eyes i do owe to you.
    so, i’m glad you see children as the oppressed human beings they are.

    not many folks have a clue what it’s like to be reamed by both the patriarchy AND society as whole. you have that clue.

    thanks. ibtp.

  90. Cathy

    I had just been thinking, at my shrink’s office, about my brother’s entitlement (only did sports, not even school; while I cleaned up after him AND did well at school). I wondered about why he seemed to turn out OK in spite of that entitled upbringing so common in religious families. He sure liked to rub my nose in it back then.

    I have one child, a daughter, and I regret bringing her into this shitty world to face the same crap I’ve had to face, only she won’t have to clean up after any brothers. I will teach her that men are potential rapists, not the trusting BS I was taught. Still, I’m woefully inadequate in really preparing her for what lies ahead (wish I were more like Vera). My parents “taught” me to be a Blamer without even realizing it!

    Tinfoil hattie is right about the damned if you do/don’t of Motherhood. Either way, you’re selfish, and a bad mother. Not only the husband, but all society blames the problems children have on the mother. Not a boy? Off with her head!

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