Sunday, June 14, 2015

You're Not an Option - You're My Priority

How much stuff to you have to do in a day?

In asking myself that question, I came up with the following list of things I have to do each day:
Do my hair
Brush my teeth
Do my makeup
Drink a bottle of Spark
Feed Juno her breakfast
Eat breakfast
Drive to work
Check in with maintenance
Work, work, work. WORK
Eat lunch - quickly
Drive home from work
Feed Juno her dinner
Eat dinner
Do my squats
Clean the kitchen
Make my bed
Make breakfast and lunch for tomorrow
Brush my teeth
Wash my face
Go to bed
Watch whatever is on the DVR til I fall asleep

And then of course, there are the things I have to do sometimes, not every day, like running errands and grocery shopping. The point is, everyone has a lot of stuff to do in a day; there's lots of things we have to do.

But at what point do you sacrifice what you have to do, for what you need to do?

Say what?

What I mean is, at what point do you stop and open your eyes to the people in your life who may need something from you? How often do you tell someone you care about that you don't have time for them? How often do you tell someone important that you're busy, that you have too many things you have to get done, that you can't make a moment of time for them right now?

And on the flip side, how often do you drop everything you have to get done in the day, to devote your full attention to someone you care about? How often do you reach out to someone important to you, before they ask, and offer to put aside what you have to do, in order to be with them? When you get to Sunday evening and you're thinking about the week, how many times did you make someone else your priority? How many times did you reach out and make sure that someone important to you, is well aware of how important they really are?

We're all guilty of it; of letting our relationships fall by the wayside because of the daily shit we think we have to get done. But have you ever wondered what it feels like to be the person who is being told that grocery shopping is more important to you than they are? What it might feel like to have someone you really care about tell you that they're too busy to make time for you because they have to shop for work clothes or catch up on Teen Mom?

There will always be a long list of things you have to get done. No one's life is ever just all tied up in a bow, put together completely, without any obligation or requirement. That's not how the world works. There will always be a daily to do list; we'll always have today's list that turns into a longer list for tomorrow if we don't get our shit done. But more importantly, there will always be people in our lives who need us. There will always be a friend who got dumped; there will always be a buddy who needs a ride home when they're too drunk to drive. Someone will need you to care, will need you to make them a priority instead of an option. Are you the type of person who prioritizes what you have to do, or the type of person who prioritizes what you need to do?

Ask yourself what it is that you need to do.

When I asked that of myself, I had a completely different list:
Snuggle Juno in a sunbeam in the morning, and give her chin scratches
Open the blinds and feed the squirrels for Juno
Text Stace and say good morning to Blakey
Facebook my mama
Text good morning to Kattie
Send a funny e-card to Goose
Talk to - and listen to - my team at work, and figure out the best strategy to get us through the day
Listen to people who are speaking to me
Put a "thinking of you" card in the mail
Go home on time
Leave work at work (I am terrible about this one)
Give Juno more snuggles and chin scratches; feed her dinner and feed the squirrels so she can watch
Be available
Be open
Say #iloveyou
Text goodnight before I fall asleep

It's not the same list. Not even close to the same list. Because in all actuality, the things you have to do - the projects and deadlines and errands - are really not what matters. They're things that don't need to happen right this second. They can almost always wait. But the need to be someone's priority? That's not an optional feeling. The need to feel like we're first to someone else? That isn't something that can wait. How often are you making people wait to feel cared about? Do you make your friends and family wait around until you have time to love them on your terms? Or are you practicing that selfless, honest, vulnerable love, where what they need far outweighs what else you have to do today?

The truth is, people need us to care about them. Our friends need to be a priority, not an option. Our family needs to feel included in our busy life. People don't want to feel inconvenient, irrelevant, or disposable. When people don't feel cared about, they stop caring back. And yet, when we feel important, we are far more likely to reciprocate - the people who prioritize me are certainly the ones I prioritize! So the next time you are running through the 25 things you have to get done today, and a friend calls you to please meet them for a beer, don't make an excuse. Don't say you have to go to the store or finish your laundry. Don't let them feel like you don't care. Go. Meet them. Care about them.

Love them.

And remember that truthfully, if it's important to you, you'll find a way, but if it's not, you'll find an excuse.

Don't let the people you care about the most, feel like they're optional.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Not Every #BabyDaddy is a Deadbeat

I'm not a mom. I've never been a mom.

I have no experience co-parenting, good or bad, with my own child.

I did, for three years, live with a boyfriend and his child, so I do have a limited frame of reference as far as experience in co-parenting with someone else's child.

I don't claim to know anything about being a mother (or a father either, really).

However, I am also not a fucking idiot.

Why is it that women - and yes, I am going to go out on a super sexist limb here and come down hard on my own gender - cannot treat the fathers of their children with any respect?! I'm serious. You all are a bunch of bitches.

I get it. There are a lot of deadbeat, bull shit sperm-donating dads out there, a lot of guys who make a baby and then do nothing to help raise it. I understand that the number of deadbeat dads likely outweighs the number of deadbeat moms in the world. But those are clearly not the ones I am talking about. I'm talking about the guys who have stepped up, paid child support, asked for more time with their kids, remained actively involved in parenting their child. Those guys. The ones you are lucky are dads to your kids. The ones you should be thanking, not berating on the internet.

Not a single day passes where I don't see something on Facebook, posted by some mom, bitching about her child's dad. It's a daily thing on social media. Rant after rant about everything these guys are doing wrong. They didn't feed them the right thing, or they dressed them wrong, or the kid got a little bit of a sunburn or missed his nap, or he stayed up late or got up too early, or he let her watch the wrong movie, or whatever other insignificant, minute, stupid mundane thing you feel like being an ass hole about. Nobody wants to see your #babymamadrama blasted on Facebook. It's rude and disrespectful, and it makes YOU look like the idiot. All of us who see your drama, know you're the one making life difficult for yourself. We know that in reality, your kid's dad likely is just doing his best to help you raise a child, and you're being a control freak about how he's "doing it wrong."

For the record, outside of negligence and abuse, I'd argue that there's really not much of a "wrong way" to parent a child...but that's for another day.

Listen bitch. Be a little more grateful that the guy keeps your kid clothed, comfortable, and safe. You don't get to be such a jerk and tell someone else how to raise your kid. You're raising this child together, and you may not be doing it exactly the same way, and that's really not a big deal. If you want to be the be-all-end-all decision maker in the life of a child, literally try to make yourself one all alone and see how that works out for you. My mom and dad did not parent me exactly the same as each other - and guess what, I didn't die. My brother and I are now two functioning adults, despite the fact that my mom spanked us and my dad didn't. or the fact that my mom said no and my dad bought me a car. It's not going to kill your kid that you and your ex don't do things exactly the same. It really doesn't matter. Your kid will be fine.

I got into it recently with a single mom, who is famous for posting condescending, passive-aggressive deadbeat-dad memes on Facebook, like at least once a week. I know her, and I know her son's dad. Neither of them is a bad parent. They are both effectively parenting; but they sure as shit don't make it easy on each other. I finally just had to say something - girl, your kid's dad is a good guy, get off this tirade! Was he a great boyfriend to you? Doesn't sound like it. Was he making some poor choices earlier in this kid's life? Could be. But to be honest, you maybe were too. Because  *shocker* neither of you is perfect. Just let it go. Open your eyes and see what he's doing now, and stop hanging on to your past drama. You look petty, and you also look mean. And a little bit pathetic, to be frank.

I just honestly, have had enough of seeing women bash and chastise these guys on such a public forum, when they're really just trying to be a damn dad to their children. He's likely not doing it perfectly, but guess what bitch, neither are you. There is no perfect parent out there, no perfect way to be a mom or a dad to a kid. All of you moms who are demanding perfection from your child's father based more on your own fucking ego than anything else, please take this as a reality check. You are being an ass hole. You look like an idiot every time you post something mean about him. You're doing a disservice to your child every time you say something nasty about their daddy. You're the one your kid will grow up to resent for putting them in the middle.

Just seriously, stop it.