Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Really Grinds My Gears:: The First Summer in Oregon Edition

Okay. A few of you have mentioned, (ahem, even complained about) how much happier I am here in Oregon. I get that. It's always more fun to read about unhappy people. It makes you feel less alone in your unhappiness. And frankly, I'm right there with ya. Whenever I see that someone has posted about their crappy day, their money problems, or just a random interaction with an idiot, I'm intrigued. It's not that I wish ill on people, it's just that for most of us, the 'bad' is just easier to relate to. The bad brings us together.

With that in mind, I've been trying to do a Grinds My Gears post for months now, but most days I'm just not feeling it. There is still a lot of junk in my life, but lately the good is outweighing the bad so much that I rarely even focus on the bad.

But today I'm feeling grumbly. So here is a short list of things pissing me off today:

*Summer. Really summer, I hate you. I don't like your sunshine and I don't like temperatures above 80 degrees. It hasn't rained here in about a month and I am miserable for it. I want my drippy, overcast weather back.

*My Children. Remember how motivated I was at the beginning of summer? I bought art supplies, had activities planned, a designated reading time, etc. Now, my main goal everyday is to not curse at them. Seriously, if I can get through the day without dropping the F bomb on my twelve year old, it's been a good day.

*Real Estate. My house still hasn't sold. It's frustrating because it's been getting a lot of action and most of the negative feedback is stuff we have no control over, like the floor plan.

*Real Estate Agents. This has got to be the most passive job in the world. They don't sell houses, they show houses and expect the house to sell itself, and we pay them thousands of dollars to do so. Listen, I don't expect my agent to talk someone into buying a house they clearly don't want, but please talk up the good and downplay the bad. It amazes us that our house still hasn't sold. We are practically giving away a huge house, in a decent neighborhood, in one of the better school districts in town.

*Smarmy blogs. This is one I've actually been keeping inside for quite sometime.(And fyi: If you're reading this or if your blog is in the sidebar, then chances are this rant isn't about you.) Generally, I don't like to complain about other people's blogs because I feel like, Hey, it's their little corner of the internet, they can do what they want and if I don't like it then I can just mosey on through. But lately, in some of the blog circles I travel in, it seems to have gotten to the point where you're excluded if you watch TV, yell at your kids, don't/didn't cloth diaper, don't eat all organic/locally grown/unprocessed foods, don't make all your/your kid's clothes, don't home school, etc....

Sigh. Here's the thing, I try to do all those perfect mom, socially responsible things. And most days I succeed, and succeed joyfully. But some days, probably more days than I'd care to admit, you'll find me wearing sweatshop jeans and screaming at my daughter to quit hugging the TV or she'll get Cheeto dust all over Alec Baldwin's beautiful face.

There are so many good blogs out there that strike a perfect balance between doing all the things I've mentioned, yet still being down to earth, accessible, and inspiring. But lately I feel like there's an attitude that certain parenting choices are the only right ones, and that's what I don't like. If you want to buy $30 crayons for your toddler, rock on. But don't make me feel shitty for buying the 49 cent Crayola ones. If you choose not to own a TV, good for you. But know that this act alone does not make you a better parent than I am. If you only ever cloth diapered, you are totally awesome. But I am not less awesome because my five year old still wears Kroger brand disposables to bed.

We all want the best for our kids. Quality food, and well made clothes and toys. No one sits around the house thinking, Boy I love all of my Made in China junk. But for most of us, there is a lot of give and take. For instance, I buy cheap diapers so that I can buy $6 organic milk. I let some things slide so that I can spend my money on other things. And frankly, I think this is most people's reality.

Like I mentioned, I've been holding this in for a while and I probably wouldn't have even brought it up but lately the smarm just seems excessive. I want you all to promise me that if I ever start sounding snooty, you'll knock me down a few pegs.


kat said...

OH yeah! Amen! to that!
I might have a cloth diapered organic baby and no tv but that is my own deal. Those "$30 crayons" blogs bug me too and their ridiculously expensive wooden toys blogs are pissing me off too.I can't help but wonder if a normal person can even afford 1/2 of it, without the sponsors giving a substantial discount. Maybe I am just jealous...
There is a middle ground and are kids will be the happier for it. Just ask my best friend who grew up in a "planned community"(read: commune)and would wake up her mom in the middle of the night crying for bubble gum!
ps I just made a great awesome play kitchen out of corragated cardboard for my son because I couldn't afford the fancy beautiful wooden ones but didn't want a plastic monstrosity around until supernova! I found the pattern on etsy. I love it!

kat said...

And since when did you have to be a consumer to be green?

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Wow...good for you!
There is a mommy world that I am not privy to. They are the same women who berate those who choose not to have children. I know the kind. I personally believe they have their own issues and they do what they do to feel superior in some way because their life is miserable. It's all a big gat Fa├žade.

Do you honestly think that because my parents gave me cheap shoes made in china or that because we didn't have organic anything that my parents were bad parents? As an adult that is not what comes to mind.

Why do people put value on money and things? Why so righteous? Does Elizabeth Hasselbeck belong to this group???? (Self righteous Queen bitch)

I so agree with you on the realtors. Defleck the negative and point out and add on to the positive. You build up the fact they will have instant equity or something. It's one of my top 3 pet peeves - realtors! Have you thought of renting it out to a corporate situation? Like if GE let's say was the predominate corporation in town you would see who handles their moves. Get in touch with that realty company for a corporate rental. They usually pay for the things that happen along the way as well. (we do those things for a realty company)

Sorry so long.
And hang in there Tam fall will be here soon and you will have 9 glorious months of gray skies and drizzle!

michelle said...

you speak it mamas! i'm right there with you. sorry i turn my more controversial blog off so often. i wish i was more consistent with it but for some reason that is a challenge! i always appreciate when you pop in though. :o) i got rid of all my google reader blogs of the nature you speak and only have the down to earth writers still around.

Tammie said...

kat: thank you! the wooden toy thing is another area thats been really pissing me off. they are lovely and gorgeous but i refuse to spend $40 on a Waldorf rainbow. and i refuse to feel bad for not doing so.

like you said there needs to be a middle ground. i love the idea of questioning old parenting ways and ideas,i would hate it if people stopped questioning them. but there needs to be balance.

and you hit the nail on the head: there is a HUGE portion of the blogging community that claim to be 'green' but are massive consumers. Spending $400 at Whole Foods does not make you a hippie.

peggy: youre right, its totally a facade. and the self righteousness is what gets me. i love all the hippie, organic things too but i hate the attitude that sometimes goes along with it.

weve thought about renting, but we're so far away and we really just want to be done with it.

Carla said...

I am so with you on nearly all of it! I love summer thought - sorry!

Theresa said...

"Now, my main goal everyday is to not curse at them. Seriously, if I can get through the day without dropping the F bomb on my twelve year old, it's been a good day."

I love that. I am SO right there with ya on that one, only in my case this goes for hubby and kids.

And I can relate to the smarmy rant too, and I don't even buy organic milk!! Like you, I try to do the best by my kids with what I have to work with, and that can't always include a 40 dollar "Green" lunch box. Seriously? Why bother when you can buy an el cheapo lunch box and use washable containers (for like $1.00 a piece). It's still "green" for crying out loud, it's just not smarmy.

And HA- my verification word is "crabirat"

Alisha said...

Sigh. I heart you Tammie. Thank you for making me feel better. And like I'm not a rotten mom.

Daphne said...

I have more to say than I have time to say it, but RIGHT ON. I've been holding in a mommyblogger rant for a few days now but haven't gotten around to it. I will tonight (or will comment more here). But, in a rushed word, AMEN.

Tammie said...

michelle: i know! i wish you were able to keep up with your blog too!! but absence makes the heart grow fonder and i always get so tickled when i see a post from you pop up in my reader. :)

carla: maybe after a few years of short oregon summers, ill appreciate the season more.

theresa: youre doing better than i am. my son always (accidentally)throws away our reusable containers. ive given up and have totally gone back to brown paper bags and baggies. definitely not green. but i was tired of replacing tupperware every week.

alisha: i heart you too. :)

daphne: i cannot wait to hear more of your rant.

Lia said...

How could someone complain about your happiness? I mean, I love a good bitch session, but I think your newfound happiness is definitely well-deserved.

I hear ya on the smarmy mama blog thing. After I fell in love with a few of those blogs, I started mine thinking it was going to be a craft blog. But I've recently realized I just don't craft that often. I do like to get on there and bitch, but I think I spent the entire second school semester complaining about something.

And I cuss at my kids, too. Not something I'm proud of, but certainly a reality around here. Thankfully not a frequent reality, but still a reality. I have a surprisingly short temper for a freaking elementary school teacher and unfortunately, I think after expending all of my energy all day long not losing it on my students, my own two kids get the worst side of me. I always feel instantly horrible, like THE worst mom EVER. I will never stop trying to stop.

Tammie said...

lia: the complaints about me being too happy are totally good natured and in fun. they arent attacks or anything.

i feel bad about the cursing too. but like you said, its a reality.

Maria Rose said...

I think your blog is well balanced!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Wait until your kids hit those teenage years -- I can't believe some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth (and their's). It's none to jolly. Some days I actually feel sorry for my neighbors. But then again, they've all either been there are are going through what I go through -- so I don't feel that much remorse.

I haven't really come across the judgment-making you are seeing in blogland. Thank goodness. That would be a turn-off.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

Definitely the best line I've heard this month, maybe all summer:
"some days, probably more days than I'd care to admit, you'll find me wearing sweatshop jeans and screaming at my daughter to quit hugging the TV or she'll get Cheeto dust all over Alec Baldwin's beautiful face."
And seriously, $30 crayons? WTF?

victoria said...

Holy crap! I laughed out loud and scared my child like 6 times while reading this. I need you. Don't ever leave blog land, please!

The TV ... I swore it would never happen. Not with anything, even educational DVDs. In my mind TV = Devil.

I parked her in front of the TV the second she was able to see it without going cross eyed. I think that was 6 weeks old.

However, I rationalize, I only put Spanish or French children's shows on for her. You know, because I'm going to raise her multi-lingual? How's that for smarmi?

And there was the natural childbirth that never happened, the breastfeeding that was supposed to last longer than a month ... the no pacifier thing - which went in her mouth when she was 48 hours old.

She is in gDiapers though. Probably because I bought cases and cases before she was born. Otherwise, that may have gone out the window as well.

When I visit those blogs, I find myself lingering just long enough to feel really badly about myself.

Also, you know, it's easy to make everything look good on the Internet. All those folks probably get drunk and watch porn all night after the kids go to bed. :-D

beki said...

Can I just cut and paste your post into my own blog? I'm so with you on summer, my kids, blogs - I'd probably be with you on the real estate thing if I were dealing with that. You know, you can only do what you can. And I love TV, junk food, (sometimes too much wine) and curse words. Amen.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I think I've somehow missed the $30 crayon blogs and hope to continue avoiding them.

I love a good dreary/rainy day (or more) in the summer. When I lived in CA, I was one of the few people who went for walks on rainy days.

So sorry your house hasn't sold. I would think a realtor would/should emphasize all the things you mentioned...huge house, neighborhood and schools.

Penny said...

I want to jump on the band wagon and complain a little too! I try really hard to do the right thing with my tv, as much organic bullshit as I can afford and blah blah yuppy hipster bullshit BUT I am still just doing the best I can most days.

I was recently reading a blog (not a parenting blog really) but they made a comment about how they were at the pool and some horrible person (not really what they said, but I swear it was implied) was spraying their kid with spray sunscreen.

I use spray sunscreen ALL.THE.TIME and really since I'm a dumbass I hadn't considered the impact on the environment. I recycle and compost and try not to use too much disposable stuff but really I'm guilty of buying too much crap and giving my kid frozen chicken nuggets just like the next person and then spraying them with the horrible evil spray sunscreen...oh I can't tell you exactly why that bugged me so much!

Visty said...

If you walk into my house you will see a lot of wooden toys and organic food, but know that yesterday we gave our older kids expicit instructions on how to best do their individual jobs in the drive-through lane, to make the process move faster "next time". Our hypocrisy knows no bounds, just like the universe.

Tammie said...

jodi: ugh. i dont want to think about it getting worse...

cyndi: thank you. i was wondering if anyone would comment on that sentence. its sad but true....

beki: i think you and i would get along very well in real life.

penny: im right there with you. thats the attitude i hate. barf.

visty: honestly though, i dont think of that is hypocrisy, i think of it as reality. no one can walk the walk 100% of the time and i dont like it when people try to make it look as if they do.

tammiemarie said...

"you know what really grinds my gears??" love it - love it, love it, love it. and i hate summer too. by the way - we have 4 tvs, one in each kids' room. something I NEVER thought I would EVER do with MY kids. until i HAD kids, and watched dora for three years straight. oh, and while i'm confessing dirty secrets, my 2 year old walks around saying holy crack! because crap sounds like crack i guess.

hester said...

I think that once again, you have hit the nail on the head. I hate smarmy my-life-and children-are-so-perfect blogs which is why I love blogs that show nice messy houses! I tried cloth nappies with Em when she was born but she ended up lying in her bassinet with her bum a few inches higher than her head so I moved permanently to disposables. Life was hard enough without extra washing, I'm afraid.

Dani said...

I'm late in was getting too difficult to keep up on my phone while in Cali. But I *had* to comment on this.


I'm with you on just about everything except for the summer hate. I adore it. A soul wrenching kind of adoration. But I'm a teacher. That explains a lot.

So, except for that I agree. With everything.

You summed up my feelings on certain blogs better than I ever could. The Mr. and I even discussed this post over dinner one evening.

So thank you for giving me a laugh and the sense that I am not alone in my negativity towards my children (and the struggle to keep from dropping f-bombs), real estate agents (not currently experiencing this one, but I agree), and especially the smarmy blogs.

You are tops.