Growing Up

A conversation happened where I said “well, if my husband doesn’t put the cube storage together soon I’m just going to do it.” I received a response that I found to be a little bit shocking: “But, you’re a girl. You’re not supposed to do that.” Well, I’m not supposed to do a lot of things I guess but I end up doing what I want anyways.

I was very fortunate growing up. Sure, I was taught all of the “girl things” that I was supposed to learn. I can hem and patch clothing, I can do embroidery. I have a great eye for color and design. I’m also a pretty awesome cook. I say this because people actually genuinely enjoy my food so I use that as evidence of that. I love doing laundry and the only stain I have not been able to defeat was a marker that I sat on. I was able to get both blood and fruit juice off of a white shirt, so I’ll take that win. I may not be the best housekeeper, but we’re not at hoarder level of disaster. I am only human, of course.

However, I was also taught to do most of the things my brothers were taught to do. I may not be able to mow a lawn but I am pretty confident that between YouTube and common sense that is something I could easily figure out. My dad never once said the phrase “you’re a girl, you’re not supposed to do that.” In fact, I have always been convinced that my father wanted to teach me a lot of those “man things” because he did not want me to be stuck with someone forever because I needed someone to take care of me. So he taught me all about tools, what to use them for. He let me help and showed me how to do things around the house from what he could do. Yes, I even learned how to change out sockets myself but I’m too clumsy to even want to attempt it.

So the idea of “you’re a girl” was never something I have ever considered. I let my son play “daddy” with his stuffed animals and both of them cook with me in the kitchen. As soon as my oldest son was able to carry a laundry basket, I taught him to do his own laundry. Why? Because I will be damned if he’s 32 and single and I’m still doing this stuff for him. Also, why should his wife be his slave? Why can’t he pitch in around the house? If I had a girl, I would expect her to learn all of the same things I did: everything I could about everything. We should be teaching our girls independence and strength. We should not be training them to just be one thing. She can be a housewife and stay-at-home mom if she wants to but she can also be a badass that puts together a bookshelf so she doesn’t have to call her dad or wait for her husband to get home.

The same applies to our boys. We should be raising them to be independent and kind individuals that can do the same things girls do. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do all of the things girls are traditionally supposed to do. Why can’t a man patch his own clothing or cook a meal for his family?

We are the ones responsible for raising the next generation and its our job to ensure that this generation is better than the ones in the past. They need to be raised to work hard, do amazing things, and be themselves without worrying about what society tells them they should be. They need to be taught to be kind to their neighbors, whether they are poor, of a different race/religion/sexual orientation, or if they are rude to them. (Because fueling unkindness with more unkindness never gets you anywhere). If we don’t, we fail the future.


It’s All About the Bathrooms

There is a hot topic that revolves around bathrooms. No, it has nothing to do with which preference you have when it comes to how you put the toilet paper on the roll or the age-long argument about placing a new roll of toilet paper rather than just putting it on the empty one. First off all, in my house my husband has a preference whereas I just put the roll on any way I feel like because it doesn’t matter (scandalous). Secondly, my husband knows better and will put the nearly empty roll on top of the new one that he just put on the roll. There is no debate about this in our household.

The bathroom controversy that I am speaking about is where transgender people are concerned. Some people feel as though for the safety of everyone, people must use the bathroom according to their birth gender. So a transgender female in a dress using a urinal is not going to cause any problems, such as slurs and potential assaults in the bathroom. However, that same person in the ladies room would be likely to abuse a female child easier with lax rules on this topic? Do I get the argument?

If someone wants to assault a child in a bathroom, they already do it. Strict laws prohibiting people who are not “born female” are not going to stop it from happening. It’s really the same logic that is applied to gun control. Why should there be any gun control if the person is going to find another way to obtain the gun to cause harm? The fact is that there are some bad people out there and they are going to do what they want regardless of any laws out there. (Spoiler alert: I’m pretty sure there are laws that prohibit anyone from sexually assaulting another person.) That is a sad reality of the world we live in. Bad people are just going to do bad things and laws do not prevent this. Stricter punishments do. Though we all know how harshly rapists are punished: 2 months probation and gets to go to the college of their dreams without their lives being destroyed as they destroyed their victims lives.

I have a great idea. How about we make transgender bathrooms that are both separate but equal to the “normal people” bathrooms? That has worked out so well for us in the past, why wouldn’t it work now? (Since sarcasm doesn’t always translate well in text, I will clearly state that this statement was dripping in sarcasm.) You are not going to know if a transgender person is in the stall next to you. They just want to go to the bathroom, hopefully wash their hands, and leave just like you do. They are not stalking you in the bathroom, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. If someone is, they are a sexual predator and they should be arrested. For instance, Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the ladies room and he is not a transgender female. If you want a scary fact, look at the high numbers of the transgender community that have been sexually assaulted (and even murdered afterwards). Again, bad people are just going to do bad things.

The transgender community is the new minority that people need to fight for. People do not understand this community and let’s face it: people are afraid of things that they don’t understand. I cannot stand by and watch a community of people have to struggle for the basic freedoms that everyone else has. Did we not learn anything from the Civil Rights movements of the 50’s and 60’s? Why do we always have to fight for these things? I am a proud ally and others should stand up for those who can’t. We cannot let an entire community struggle with the rights that they were born with as an American citizen and to allow that to happen is truly wrong. Everyone had to deal with this struggle in their history, so we should know better by now.

So, That Happened

For those people that may live under a rock, or are just in extreme denial, the seemingly impossible happened: Donald Trump is our newest president. I had difficulty sleeping as a result of worrying about the outcome. Not because I like Hillary or even voted for her, but because I was terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency. And no, I don’t feel as though I wasted my vote on a 3rd party candidate nor do I feel guilty about it considering the outcome. Allow me to explain myself, and do read until the end before you judge me. Also, this is all I have left to say about this election.

First off, here is why I’m afraid: As a mother of a child who is mixed race, I’m worried that hate speech will have an effect on his life. I am afraid that the climate of hate will cause him to be so bullied that he can’t deal with it especially if he never does outgrow his development issues. I worry for my loved ones in the LGBT community and what could happen with a conservative Supreme Court. Will gay marriage be reversed? Will the transgender community never get the freedom everyone else has to be who they really are and live their lives as such? Why do guns have more rights than the body of a woman? These are all things that do worry me.

Then, I have more selfish concerns. I have benefited from Obamacare. I don’t have to pay for a prescription that I actually need to function and may not be able to afford if it gets repealed. Had I given birth before the potential repeal, I would have gotten a free pump and have an easier time paying the hospital bill. Because of Obamacare, I get 2 dental insurances for our children, making their dental care essentially free. Plus, who says rates will even go down if it is repealed? Insurance companies are a business and they do not care about the people. The same applies to all parts of the healthcare world. Now that they know they are able to charge outrageous prices, why reduce them along with the overhead?

After all of this though, I remain hopeful. The turnout for the 3rd party made a statement that people are tired of being held hostage to a two-party system. Even more importantly, I remember that Trump is a businessman and marketed himself to win. Why does this make me hopeful? Maybe he will go back to leaning more liberal on social matters as he had in the past. Maybe he knew that acting like a crazy, misogynistic racist would guarantee him  the win and he conned the base into thinking he was one of them. Maybe he lets the states decide, and as someone who lives in Massachusetts, I have nothing to worry about personally. These are all possibilities.

Make no mistake though; Trump didn’t win. Hillary lost. This is an important point. This was not the 3rd party’s fault. This was entirely the fault of the DNC for rigging the primary. The success of the 3rd party was very much a product of the DNC corruption and the polls at the end of the day were proof of that. Today is a day to focus on what’s important. It’s not about gloating that your team won or depressed over your loss. Why? Because the game isn’t over. If the Republican do nothing to better the nation in 2 years, they will ultimately lose at the midterms and may even lose the next presidential election. If they do improve the state of affairs in America for all people, everyone one wins. Plus, checks and balances are there for a reason so there will be no Madison King Aerys to deal with. What we do know for sure is that Trump is a loose cannon and nobody knows what to expect. This all depends on the “experts” that he hires to be his advisors and his cabinet. Just remember this: United we stand; divided we fall. Be kind to each other and respect others, even if you disagree with them.

The State of Today

Has their really been a more divisive time in American history than there is right now? The answer is “yes” and that time was the Civil War. Races are against races, religions are against religions. Political parties are a civil war amongst themselves. There does not seem to be any common ground anymore or even any compromises willing to be made. People are awful and hateful and this does not seem to be changing anytime soon.

The fact is that people don’t seem to care that they are worsening the situation. If you go to 4 different websites to see the statistics of racially motivated police shootings, you are going to see 4 different numbers. Everyone has something to gain on their side of the politics. What about the facts? I’m a person who enjoys facts. This is how I base my opinions. I want to know if there are a disproportionate amount of lethal police shootings towards minorities or if there are a lot of lethal shootings period. I want to know if it’s just that one group yells the loudest in outrage that makes it like it is an everyday occurrence. Because guess what? Now it is just about to get a whole lot worse.

The argument is that police officers are all racist and don’t think black lives matters. If that is a fact, than that is something that should outrage the masses. But what does shooting and killing innocent and caring police officers prove? That you are just as savage as these horrible corrupt police officers that you so choose to be against right now? You have turned a movement with reasonable issues that should be addressed and turned it into a terrorist organization that have made things worse for their cause. Now that a second group of police officers were plowed down by a person of a specific race and cause, the police officers are going to be even more on edge and this cycle will just keep continuing on with no end in sight.

There is a civil war brewing in America. It is the fault of people who dismiss that there are problems with race in America. It is the fault of people who look at all people who even seem to be Arab as if they are Muslim terrorists about to tear down America. It is the fault of any group that wants to put the lives of any citizens above the lives of others. What is the point of treating everyone equally and “everyone is the same on the inside” if we turn against anyone who isn’t like us? The lives of all kind human beings matter. There is racial inequality in America and that’s a fact. My youngest son has been called derogatory terms for Asian people. I have seen vandalism at establishments owned by Muslims because of their religion. Anyone who says that there isn’t a problem with race in America is blind or unwilling to admit the truth. This does not mean that innocent police officers need to be slaughtered in cold blood because that makes you no better than the struggles that you are fighting against. That is profiling. That is wrong. What happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge will happen again and that is sickening. We need to fight against this shedding of innocent blood because we should be better than this.

Why This Keeps Happening

This post isn’t meant to offer any answers. Why? Because with acts like this most recent one in Nice, there really are no answers. There are speculations and theories, but rarely any actual answers. What does it matter anyways?  There are no answers that could make things like this suck less.

I hope that society is just in the teenage years of existence. Anyone with a teenager knows that they just want the world to burn. Then they eventually grow up and they get out of the stage. I hope this is a temporary thing because this state of affairs is becoming too much. So much so that at this point far too many people are desensitized to these things. People have become too used to the hate and anger that causes these events that they seem to just accept this as the new normal. We can sit our children down to tell them about these events and instead of questions, it was just like you were telling them something insignificant. There is no shock anymore and that in itself should be shocking.

Why this keeps happening is a mystery. If it weren’t a mystery, we could do something to stop it. But we can’t. These people who are out to make the world burn always seem to be one step ahead of us. But we get stuck because we know that if we give up our celebrations and events, that they win. And they can never win. The minute that they win, it’s all over. We will never let them win.

My Son, The Preschooler 

In previous posts, I have mentioned about my son and his struggles. I discussed evaluations and specialists and his journey through Early Intervention. I shared those struggles because people don’t seem to be aware of just how common problems are. They think that these types of struggles are embarrassing or show some level of failure on their part. I even questioned if I was failing him and that was why he was struggling with words. It’s natural as a parent to feel like they are totally failing when something is going wrong with their child. However, I wasn’t failing him; I was fighting for him.

When you tell people that your son is in the special needs program at their school, you get a few different reactions. You may get a look of pity; poor you for having to deal with that burden. You may get questions interest; well, what’s wrong with them and what is their diagnosis. You may get questions of how to avoid it; do you think if you spent less time working that this could have been avoided and is this something I can avoid? You may get questions of your stance on medicating them. Sometimes you even get a look; the look of distaste that is aimed directly at your child.

My son still has his struggles. He has an infinitely better vocabulary that when he started this journey. He can say sentences that clearly state what he wants (if he has the words for it), he can answer basic questions, and he can show that he actually has a hilarious sense of humor and personality. He cannot always use his language effectively. He still struggles with expressing what he wants, which leads to hours long tantrums. He cannot really think in the abstract but he excels in any fact based knowledge. He has no impulse control at all, a shorter attention span than most almost 4 year old children may have  (unless it comes to something he stays fully fixated on), and pinches himself/pulls out his eyelashes. But most importantly, he is my George and none of this matters to me when he is curled up in arms, struggling to tell me the story that he wants to.

I am a mama bear, some would even say to an extreme. I will fight for him but luckily I haven’t had to yet. His preschool, which gave him another year in the program with interim speech therapy until they could test him fully, never made me fight for him because they fought for him. I know it may not always be easy and this isn’t the case for everyone, but right now his entire team is working with us to ensure he is getting exactly what he needs, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

To answer the typical questions I get, here it is. No, there is no diagnosis yet though early reports show he’s borderline on the autism spectrum and may have apraxia, which is often wrongly diagnosed as autism. No, there is nothing that I could have done differently. This is my son and as quirky and OCD he may seem to you, he is who he is and I love him and accept him for that and you should to. I should not be pitied because I have an amazing and intelligent son and everyone should be as lucky and I will do whatever I can for him. Finally, no I am not going to medicate him unless there is something that absolutely needs it. I don’t like the idea of messing with the chemical makeup of a brain that has not fully developed and that there are a lot of incredible therapies that can help without medication. Neuroscience is a field that is always evolving as is the understanding in cognitive psychology and I have more faith in those therapies than I do with pills. However, that is my personal choice and I don’t push that on others or judge them for their choice to medicate anymore than I would about anything else in their life that is really none of my business. I just answered the question that you asked.

At the end of the day, any good parent is going to do whatever it takes to give their child the best life possible. They will fight for them, send them to the best school for them, and make sure that they have everything that they need to survive and be happy. Some parents have more struggles than others, but it’s not a contest and parents need to stop treating it as if it is. As long as you love your child and do whatever you can to give them the best life possible, you are a winning parent. It can be hard, but never forget that.

Do We Really Want Change? Part 3 of This Election Series

Do we want to truly make America great again? This is a valid question that we need to really ask ourselves this election season. This upcoming election has a lot of serious implications. There are going to be a few Supreme Court seats up likely during the term of the next president, including the currently vacant one that will not get filled before the election because politicians only seem to care about screwing the other side over, ignoring the fact that potentially nothing in the Supreme Court will be decided because there is a tie right now. We could likely elect a criminal or a toddler businessman, both prospects that should bother the American people but surprisingly doesn’t. Too bad there isn’t any other option. Or is there?

If we learned anything during the primaries, we learned that there is a political revolution that is going on. People obviously don’t want the same old, which is why Trump is going to end up the Republican nominee and Bernie nearly beat Hillary if not for the DNC being not very subtle about giving her the election. But in actuality, you are getting the same old with these two options. The political revolution ended and people are now giving up their dignity and America by voting along with their party. But what people seem to forget is that you have options. And if you truly wanted a political revolution, you would fight for it.

There are 3rd party candidates. I know, you are saying but a vote for <insert candidate of choice here> is a vote for Trump/Hillary (depending on which party you talk to). Sure, that’s true. That is until America regrows the balls that were responsible for dumping tea out and started the American Revolution. We have a chance now to join together and stand up for ourselves against these typical politicians. We have a chance to vote with our conscience and not back who we think is going to be the winner or a woman because we want to make history or because we registered as Republican/Democrat and that’s who we have to vote for. If enough people stand up and say “enough”, then we can finally have the change that we have been promised. But only we can be the change.

If you are going in and voting with one party because that’s what you always do, you are part of the problem. If you are voting solely based on gender or race, you are part of the problem. If you are voting for anything other than your conscience, you are the problem. I vote for people who I can stand behind. I voted for Scott Brown twice. I voted for Obama. I voted for Charlie Baker and Deval Patrick. I voted for a Republican mayor and a Democrat representative. I vote based on who I think is a better choice and one that I can say I believed in when I voted for them. I don’t care about the letter next to a person’s name; I care about their platform and what I think they can offer us. I cannot vote Hillary. I cannot go with Trump. However as a woman, people fought hard for my right to vote and while it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the electoral college, I still have to vote otherwise it seems a slap in the face to history. But, if enough people rebel and stand behind a 3rd party candidate, we will finally get the change that our country needs to get on the right foot again. That will be what makes America truly great again.