A Childless Mother’s Day

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For those of you who live under a rock, yesterday was the famously Hallmarked, “Mother’s Day.” I spent a wonderful day with my mom and the rest of my family doing yard work, watching television, and eating ice cream! I can only hope that you all had just as wonderful of a day with your mothers and/or children. So, because yesterday was all about celebrating moms, I thought I would compose a post about how out of this world I felt not being a mother on Mother’s Day…or, just every day in general.

Yes, it’s controversial, and yes it’s a topic that’s been brought up before. If you’ve read TIME magazine within the last couple of months, you know that they ran a report regarding childless couples. In the report, TIME states that, “the birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.”

If you’re anything like me, you proudly raised your hand, and maybe even shouted, “That’s me!”when you heard the “1 in 5 American women statistic.” It’s no secret among my peers and family; I can’t stand kids. I’ve known since I was 12 years old that I didn’t want babies, and that I would do ANYTHING to make absolutely sure that a child never formed inside of me.  So, you might be asking, “Why 12? Why not before then?” In all honesty, I was on the fence. I knew deep down that I didn’t want children, but I had heard from older family members, the media, and my Barbie dolls how great having a family of your own was. And, I thought that maybe having one or two kids wouldn’t be so rough. I mean, it’s the American dream, right? Graduate from college, get a job, get married, start a family. I can’t tell you how many individuals I know from high school and college who are in their early 20’s and doing just that. In fact, I found out today that one of my married friends is pregnant, and another is engaged.

At this point, I feel the need to shrug my shoulders and sigh. Sometimes, I feel a bit awkward because I don’t want what everyone else seems to.  At the same time, many tell me that “I’ll change my mind.” But, I’ve felt this way for more than 10 years,  and every time I’m around a child (or anyone who is more than 5 years younger than me) I cringe and become very uncomfortable after about 15 minutes. Sure, babies and young kids are cute, but after a few moments, I’m more than ready to hand them back to their mother.

Also, let’s just say I can barely take care of myself. Do you really think I’d do well adding a helpless individual to the mix? No. I also have a short temper for ignorant idiots, I mean…kids. It’s not that I think all children are stupid, it’s just that I tend to get frustrated when kids can’t get on my level. We can’t have a conversation about the election? You don’t know the name of our Governor? Fine; get out of my face; I can’t handle you right now.

Needless to say, I’ve always wondered if a lot of us TRULY want to have children, or if we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that our lives take this natural progression and having children is all a part of it. 

When I was a senior in college, one of my favorite professors told us a quick story about when she was a new mom that, I think, a lot of new mothers can relate to. She stated that after her oldest was born, she was so sleep deprived, frustrated, emotional, you name it! This new experience really upset her because she obviously and quickly began to realize that motherhood was less than a bed of roses. One day, she went to her mother’s house said, “Mom! Why didn’t you tell me motherhood was going to be this difficult and crazy?” To which her mother replied, “No one told me. It’s something every woman needs to figure out for themselves.”

What a slap to the face! Can we pause for a moment while I get my tubes tied?

But, in all seriousness, at the end of the day, it’s our mother’s that brought us into this world and have helped us grow, learn, and become who we are. I know that I’d be a complete mess without mine! Almost every woman has the physical capabilities to become a mother, but not every woman can be a mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

Granny Smith – over and out

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Special Treatment for Those with Special Needs?

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Now, before you think this post is going to be some hateful rant, calm yourself and read on. My brother was diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 3 with Autism, and I’ve been an advocate for the rights of special needs children ever since. However, about a week ago I found myself re-evaluating how I react to those with special needs.

Long story short, my brother has been participating in the Special Olympics for the past couple of years, and every year I try to attend his regional competition, which is located at one of our local high schools. This year, as my family and I sat down in the school’s cafeteria to relax before heading to the gym, a young, special needs athlete named Cole from one of the other teams walked up to our table, introduced himself, and started carrying on a conversation with me and my parents. Cole was hilarious, but at the same time he was very nosy and kept apologizing for asking questions. After awhile, he began to solely ask me personal questions, and it seemed he wanted to be friends (or something more) and know every detail of my life. I can’t lie, even though I spend a lot of my time around individuals with special needs, I was uncomfortable around Cole. Hell, I’m uncomfortable around all strangers! Finally, Cole’s dad realized that his son was talking our ears off and came over to our table to introduce himself and redirected his son to the gym.

The weird and sad part of all this was I felt a sense of relief and a burden lifted off my shoulders when he walked away. Phew, don’t have to deal with him again, I thought. But, I was actually wrong…Turns out, as luck would have it, Cole’s group ended up sitting next to my brothers, so I had to pass him on my way into the gym. Once Cole saw me, he immediately stood up and rushed to my side.

“How are you doing, ma’am?” he said as wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
“Great!” I said, mustering up every ounce of pep I had.
“Would you mind if I sat with you for awhile?” he proceeded.
“Um, I think we’re supposed to sit with our teams,” I replied.
“Well, I don’t have to sit with mine, that’s the point I’m trying to make,” he shot back.

Thankfully, before the moment got any more awkward, one of Cole’s coaches called him over to sit with his team. And, of course, the fun didn’t stop there. After the opening ceremonies, I noticed Cole coming over to my brother’s team. To avoid another uncomfortable encounter, I used my brother’s larger build as a barricade and hid behind him until Cole was finished talking to my brother’s teammates. Seriously, this kid would not let up. He seemed to be doing everything to try and get my attention.

And, of course, once I thought I was free of him, it turned out he was competing against my brother under the same division…that meant I was going to have to run into him again at the awards ceremony after the competition.

Flash forward to the awards ceremony and my brother took first place (of course he did, we’re related). So, after all of the pictures are taken and everyone disappears, Cole came running up to my family, and that’s when I decided to make a break for it. I grabbed my things and briskly walked down the hall to hide in the women’s restroom. Cole saw that I was busting my ass to getaway and yelled after me, “DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME YOUNG LADY!” And then..he proceeded to ask my dad what my name was. Of course, my father thought this whole thing was hilarious and told Cole…who ended up screaming my name down the hallway until I disappeared.

Just at the point where I thought I had gotten rid of him, I realized that the exit door was at the other end of the building, which meant I would have to walk past the cafeteria where I last saw Cole. After a few minutes, I stuck my head out of the bathroom only to find him talking to someone right outside of the cafeteria. Well, eventually Cole’s new found friend decided to head back towards the gym and get some popcorn, which prompted Cole to follow him. I realized then and there that it was now or never. I swiped up my stuff and RAN towards the exit. FREEDOM! I thought as I reached the parking lot. And as my family and I drove away, all I could think was, I’m safe now

As I reflect back on the day that I had with Cole at regionals, of course I feel awful, but I’ve realized that even if he didn’t have special needs, I would have treated him the same way. With this situation, I’m reminded of the VERY FEW TIMES I’ve ever been “hit on” at bars while I was in college by guys that I had absolutely no interest in getting to know. And, what did I do in those situations? I politely blew them off, just like I did with Cole. I had no interest in hanging out with Cole that day. I was there to watch my brother kick ass and take names. And, I have a boyfriend. I’m not looking for any more male companions. And, did Cole suffer? Of course not! Being the friendly guy that he is, when I wasn’t around him he ended up talking to so many more people who were willing to engage in a bit of a conversation with him.

Personally, I think there’s this argument out there that we have to treat individuals with special needs as a “special case,” or be nicer to them than we would someone who doesn’t have special needs because they “unfortunately can’t be normal functioning adults in today’s society.” And most days, I think that’s a bunch of crap. With all of the special needs individuals that I’ve gotten to know through my years of volunteering and meeting my brother’s friends, people with special needs don’t want to be treated as “special cases,” they want to be seen and treated as though they don’t have a disability. They want to be treated how we want to be treated…like a human being. So, if you’re not interested in forming a connection with them, don’t! They rather have a genuine connection than put up with something that is forced….and wow, what does that sound like? Hmmmm, how about something that everyone wants, no matter age, race, gender, etc. So, at the end of the day I’m not advocating for everyone to go out there and treat individuals with special needs like shit. Of course not! Treat them as they are, human beings, and form a genuine connection that the both of you will benefit from.

Granny Smith – over and out

I’m An Author?

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So, while embarking on a journey to figure out who I really am and what I’m really good at, I decided to begin writing a book about my life a few months ago. I know, I know, it seems like that’s what everyone is doing these days because their lives are sooooooooooooooo toooootttallllllllly interesting, right? Yeah, not so much. But, I thought, if Kris Jenner can do it, why can’t I? Thus, I’ve begun my journey. The book, properly titled “Ignorant Bitch,” is about different moments and people that have come through my life that I thought I knew all about..but was definitely proved wrong. And, I think a lot of people can relate to that…because I’m assuming none of us had lives or situations that turned out EXACTLY the way we thought they would. Needless to say, the ultimate goal is for individuals to laugh at my stupidity. Below is an excerpt from the section of the book regarding relationships. I broke it up into guys I have dated in the past or came “close” to dating, our background, and what I learned from being a part of their lives. Enjoy!

Justin

Let me start with my experience in elementary school. From an early age, I thought that all boys were just naturally attracted to girls, and if a female worked hard enough, she could land any man that she wanted. I made this my mission as I went through all of my awkward moments as a pre and regular adolescent. Now, of course, I’ve always been attracted to the most expensive item in the store, so I set the bar high in elementary school and only went after the popular guys. My personal favorite was a kid named Justin. Justin was the class clown of my grade and went after anything that moved (seriously, he had ADHD). I thought that Justin was an easy first attempt at my man-handling goals, so I began plotting my attack. I studied hard! I took every move, cheesy line, and style cue that I could from popular movies, television shows, and even video games. Justin came into my life in the early 90’s, so, I naturally stole a lot of my tricks from “Saved By the Bell.” Now what seemed like a long, hard journey to the perfect plan probably only took me a day, but I was a kid! And when you’re a kid, everything seems to take too long. But finally, I meshed together the perfect plan, and as the night before my attack set in, I prepared my outfit, took a bath, and plotted out each move. I was ready!

  Luckily, Justin and I were in the same core class, so even though we sometimes went to different rooms for our reading, math, or English lessons, we were in the same room for the majority of the day. For this man plan, I decided that I would perform my execution closer to the end of the day so that Justin wouldn’t have a lot of time to become distracted by other things (like I said, he had ADHD).

And finally, the moment came, it was perfect. Justin’s assigned seat was near the front of the room, mine was near the back. As the clock quickly inched forward, I stood up and slowly waltzed my way to the front of the room. Once I neared his desk, I lengthened my pace, thinking that he would look up if he felt that someone was standing close to him… But, as I dillydallied my way across the front of his desk, no such luck. For once in his life, Justin was paying attention to the work he had in front of him instead of focusing on others in the room. Fuck, I thought, now I just look like an idiot wasting time. But, I decided that I wouldn’t just go back to my desk because part one of my plan had failed. I would finish what I had started! So, I inched my way over to the water fountain in our classroom and lightly pressed down on the knob. I slowly drank the water that came out, making sure to keep my lips pursed and some of my hair near my mouth, just like in the movies! And, as I finished my 45 minute drink, I mustered all of the adrenaline that I had in me and flipped my hair from one side to the other. And what do you know, out of the corner of my eye I saw Justin looking at me! Success, I thought. But, I still had to complete the walk back to my desk. So, I lifted my fingers to my lips and wiped away the “extra water” that was left and elongated each step past Justin’s seat and beyond. At this point, I was feeling very talented and proud of myself because I was watching him watch me from the corner of my eye and still acting like a total babe. Damn, I thought, I do have this in me. As I began to slowly drop down into my seat, I noticed that Justin had fully taken his eyes off of me and began staring at two other kids in the class who were probably having an in-depth conversation about boogers. My heart immediately sank. All of the planning, practice, blood, sweat, and tears that went into this; wasted. He wouldn’t even come up and talk to me? He’d already forgotten about me? “Fuck you, Justin” is what I wanted to scream. “You’re supposed to be paying attention to me!” “I just pulled a “Save by the Bell” move on you. What the hell?”

Needless to say, Justin never did get up and talk to me that day…or ever for that matter. So, what did I learn from this experience? Sexy, slow moves that you pick up from TV shows will get a man’s attention. But, if he has ADHD, these moves won’t keep his attention for very long.

Update: I have no idea where Justin is now. Shortly after this incident happened, he moved to a different school district. But, do I think my efforts to get his attention were a complete waste of my time? No. I just look at this instance as a practice session for the next hunk I tried to reel in. If I had to guess, I’d have to say that Justin’s current journey is probably no different than a lot of other former class clowns that I know… a technical college dropout trying to make it as a musician. So Justin, wherever you are, thanks for the practice session! 

Granny Smith – over and out

Networking for Introverts

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Recently, I attended a networking event with my boyfriend to try and get my name out there and hopefully make a few new business connections.

So, how did it go?

It was ok, but mostly awkward. Why?…

Because I’m an introvert, that’s why.

Now, I was very happy that I took my boyfriend along, because otherwise I would have spent the entire evening standing in the corner with my wine glass up to my noise and staring at the ground. Luckily, I was able to break out of my shell and speak with a few people, but it all just felt so..wrong. I continuously felt like I was playing the role of a salesperson, and the product that I was trying to sell was myself.

For the record, I can’t stand salespeople. I’ve never liked them. Even when I was younger and didn’t know what a salesperson was, I still got that uncomfortable feeling every time I was around one.

So, now that we’ve established the fact that I hate salespeople and can’t stand talking about myself…what if you’re in a similar situation? Because I want to continue networking (it’s a must in the business world nowadays), I consulted my friend Google to help me figure out how to become comfortable with networking as an introvert.

Here are three great tips that I found:

1) Prepare in advance for the event: There are many different ways of preparing for an event, but this one is all about self-care. For some, event preparation could mean being more quiet than usual for a few days in advance of event, and also building in a “buffer” of alone time to decompress after the event. If you’re an introvert, this kind of pre- and post-event planning is critical. You must make it a priority to recharge your batteries if you want to avoid burn out.

2) Set a reasonable goal for the event: Another good word here would be an attainable goal. What is “reasonable” for everyone varies, and even seemingly small successes are important. One possible goal could be to stay at the event for an hour. Another goal could be to introduce yourself to three new people (or just one new person if three is too daunting). You can even set goals for after the event, such as contacting the people you introduced yourself to via e-mail. Setting a goal helps you focus on something other than your introversion, and gives you a reason to stretch beyond your comfort zone.

3) Bring a friend: Just knowing someone there already can help you feel more relaxed, and that comes across in your body language and voice. Even better, bring an extroverted friend who’s willing to play “networking wingman” for you and help make introductions on your behalf.

Hope these tips help, fellow introverts!

Granny Smith- Over and Out