#sorrynotsorry: An Open Letter to Karen Schwartzkopf

Dear Karen,

Judging by the fact that you’ve deleted your twitter account and locked down the Richmond Family Magazine page on Facebook so no comments or reviews can be posted, I think it’s safe to say you know you stepped in it.

Your original tweet about how annoying it is to see teachers excited about a snow day was not well thought out and as a result, very poorly received. Most parents (working full time or staying home) probably understood the meaning behind it, but there was certainly a better way to phrase it. I think you knew this before you clicked “post”. How? By the use of the ridiculous hashtag, #sorrynotsorry. In my experience, when I see this hashtag on a post, it means the writer knows what they’ve said will not be well received. My question is this: if that’s the case, why post it at all? I mean, I’m sure your comment would have gone over big with your mom friends over a cup of coffee. If you had kept it offline, you wouldn’t be dealing with letters like this today. Think about that next time you want to be coy, sarcastic, or witty online for the sake of getting likes or re-posts.

By now you’ve probably received more communications telling you just how insensitive that post was than you can count. Well, here is another to add to the growing pile. First, let me say this; I am not a teacher. I am just a simple mother of four that is glad teachers exist because without them, my kids would be Neanderthals. I love my kids, and I nurture them well, but I have never claimed to be a teacher. I am not the mom who buys out the local Lakeshore Learning store in order to set up the perfect at home classroom. I rely on teachers, and they know it. How do they know it? Because I tell them. I write them thank you notes, and help in the classroom whenever I can. I buy supplies off their wish lists, cut large amounts of laminated papers, and have my kids write thank you notes to them as well. Everyone deserves to hear they are doing a good job, and teachers are one step above parents when it comes to never getting recognition for their work.

I have friends and family that are teachers and I have seen them work tirelessly to help kids who have learning disabilities that the parents and the school system refuse to recognize. I have watched them do their best to help students who need it, all while trying to keep their class' test scores as high as possible so they do not get in trouble with the principal. I have watched them spend endless amounts of their own time and money to keep their classrooms stocked and their students on the right path. I have watched parents berate them for suggesting ‘little johnny” isn’t well behaved, or needs the special reading class, or may benefit from an outside evaluation. Yeah, sure, they have the summer off, but do they really? Some work a second job, or they work on lesson plans, go to training, and read up on the new teaching methods being forced upon them in the coming year. Then they head to school weeks in advance to prep their rooms, adding just the right touch to make their new students feel welcome on the first day of school. Teachers work harder than most for a shockingly small amount of money (of which they turn around and use on their students!). So yeah, a snow day for them is pretty awesome.

Also, let’s not forget that some teachers are also parents. Parents of kids who usually do not see them half as often as your kids do. Parents that feel like they are failing their own children because they are tired and over it by the time they get home. Parents that want to spend more quality time with the kids they brought into the world, but can’t because the kids we brought into this world are falling behind and need their help. So, having a snow day to spend with their own kids is a precious thing. I think parents of their students could learn something from the joy these teachers feel being able to stay home with their kids to play in the snow
I did see you posted a retraction and that you apologized for your comment.

I read it. It was lame. Instead of a sincere apology, you made an excuse for why you said it. Let’s be honest here, when someone apologizes and then says, “but,” they don’t mean it. “I’m sorry that hurt your feelings, but this is what I really think and feel.” See how that doesn’t sound very sincere? Saying you’re sorry and have the utmost respect for teachers and then adding how hard it is to do your work-from –home job when your kids are around is simply insulting. How difficult it must be for them to do their job with 18+ students coming at them from all angles…EVERYDAY. Also, no parent, working from home, out of the home, or whose job is to be at home gets a snow day. None of us. Being a parent is 24/7. How you chose to spend the time you have with your kids, well, that is really up to you. I mean really, why did you even have to add that? Oh, boo hoo, you can’t write your latest article for your magazine because your kids keeps asking for lunch, and help getting dressed for the snow, and a movie to watch, and for you to play with them? Do you see how ridiculous that sounds now?

Karen, I wrote for a local magazine myself. Believe me, I know how hard it is to complete a thought, let alone a written sentence with four kids at home all the time (yes, I have four kids), but I managed to do it. Some advice, the night time is the right time! When they are sleeping, they don’t ask for as much. Which brings me to my next and last point.

Associating your post to the magazine you write for was probably the worst thing you could have done. Not only are people angry at you, but they are also angry at the magazine for employing a parent that clearly hates being with her kids. Oh, that’s not what you meant? You actually like being with your kids? Of course you do! I am sure you do, but take a look at the comments people have…they didn’t see it that way. A magazine with “family” in the title and you bash the teachers in your area for being lazy? For being excited for a day off? An editor even, someone who is reviewing the content of a magazine that boasts knowing what private schools to pick and which summer camps to sign up for? How can your readers trust you? How do they not know you’re just picking the camps that are giving you a free week for writing about them? 

You’ve ruined your integrity and the integrity of your publication. Karen, until you apologize without excuses, and until your publication addresses your comments, please do not expect any sympathy from me, or any teacher out there. I know there are working mothers out there who are with you, who get why you posted what you did. Who freaked about school being closed and having to find alternate child care because their offices weren’t. Hell, I even got your sentiment about how hard it is to be trapped by the weather, but you really do need to think about your word choices in the future.

Enjoy being snowed in up in Richmond. Looks like you’ll be stuck with the kids for a long while. Me, I am in South Carolina. We had a two hour delay and now the kids are back at school, which is great, because it gave me time to write this.

Beth Young

Mother of four, writer, editor, and tireless teacher’s advocate. 

I'm an American Girl. Me, not you, crazy Ginger Ke$ha

You know that meme that goes around every now and then with Beyonce and Freddy Mercury? Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Anyway, I often feel this way when I hear the lyrics to today's songs.  One in particular that has a catchy beat, but the lyrics make me insane, is called "American Girl". Its performed (and written) by Bonnie McKee (someone I have dubbed, the ginger version for Ke$ha...aka, hot mess with red hair). Maybe its a look, since she is nearly 30, and I would think she knows better. Then again maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety. I also haven't overlooked that maybe its a song making fun of the Ke$ha's of the world, but seriously, the fact that this woman is getting paid big money to rhyme "la" with "fa" BLOWS my mind. This is in reference to all the songs she has co-written. She helped co-write "Dynamite" performed by Tao Cruz.  Really? a 5th grader could write that song (and don't get all, "well why don't you write a song if its so easy" with me. I am not claiming to have any lyrical ability, I just feel like they could be a bit more...I don't know...thoughtful?).  Anyway, The song in question has the following lyrics (my notes in Red):

I fell in love in a 7/11 parking lot (pure Klass with a "k" right there)
Sat on the curb drinking slurpees we mixed with alcohol (OK, maybe that's a thing I would do, but I have a car and I would drive back to my house before mixing them up)
We talked about all our dreams and how we would show 'em all (whoa oh oh oh) (How many of us have actually made the "big dreams" we come up with while sitting in a 7-11 parking lot, drunk on sugar and alcohol (rubbing, bourbon, vodka, she isn't specific) come true? I mean really?)
I told him I got a plan and I'm gonna dominate (this "he" is probably thinking about some pretty kinky mess and getting pretty excited at this point)
And I don't need any man to be getting in my way (total buzz kill for "he" at this point. He should bail)
But if you talk with your hands then we can negotiate (whoa oh oh oh) (you're sending "he" mixed signals at best. Do you want him to feel you up, or are you going to do that on your own?)
I just keep moving my body (yeah) (probably to keep warm because you're living in a 7-11 parking lot and who knows what season it is. get a cardboard box at least).
I'm always ready to party (yeah) (who wouldn't be, with a big gulp sized slurpee mixed with alcohol? Mobile party right there.)
No I don't listen to mommy (yeah) (Obviously, or you would have stayed in school and been drinking a real drink at a real bar, not in the parking lot of 7-11. )
And I'll never say that I'm sorry. (Rude.)

Oh I'm an American girl (are you saying this is what all American girls are like? if so, I take issue. I am an American girl and I don't drink in the parking lot of my local gas station.)
Hot blooded and I'm ready to go (most of us are hot blooded, unless you're part of the X-men crew, then you have other issues) I'm loving taking over the world (How exactly are you doing this while getting drunk in a 7-11 parking lot?)
Hot blooded, all american girl (Whoa) (thanks for the second "hotblooded" reference.  I was all, "are you sure you're hot blooded? You can never be too sure." and when you re-sang it, I thought, "yeah, she's totally hotblooded, she said it twice.") I was raised by a television (no argument here.)
Every day is a competition (Who are you competing against? the hobo in the opposite corner of the parking lot? If so, give up, that guy is a pro). Put the key in my ignition (Oh-way-oh) (a. you don't have a car, and b. I'm pretty sure you're just being a ho-bag when you say that, not actually asking someone to start a car for you, because really, I doubt you have one).

That's pretty much the gist. besides repeating most of the above, she goes on about getting drunk and partying. I believe there's a mad-libs out there for writing songs these days. just add your own noun, adjectives, verbs, and pro-nouns and you have a hit!  You can pick it up at Old Navy in the "impulse buy" area of the line next to the Dora coloring book and the fake mustaches.

Although I will fully admit to listening to pop hits today and liking them because I am a nerd that likes a good beat, I couldn't let this one slide. I'm off to listen to some Rock for a bit to cleanse my brain.

Naked Babies and Va-Jay-Jays

Life has contined to move along in our household, even if I never update this site.  You'll notice a new title, which is to tie this blog into a local radio show I may be getting in the near future.  Nothing fancy, but still exciting.  We'll see if it pans out.  Either way, I like the new title, because that is who I am.  I am an open book and I tell it like it is.  Welcome to Mouthy Mother.

After having four kids, my ability to "hold it" is pretty low.  in fact, its become quite a pain, especially when I have a cold, or allergies.  One cough or sneeze and I am off to my room to change my pants.  Yes, yes, gross, but come on, who reading this isn't going through the same thing?  If your'e not, then good for you.  I've had this issue since having my first kid, and after a particularly embarrassing moment at a cross training class at the gym, I asked my OB what I could do about it.  He told me about the surgerys that could help, but suggested I get all my kids out of the way before doing it.

Well, the last kid was born almost 2 years ago and at my last OB appointment the doc asked me if I had any other concerns and I said, "yeah, I'm tired of peeing on myself."  She said, "Oh, we can help with that!" and before I knew it, I was in physical therapy for my vag and scheduling a urethra sling procedure.  The surgery was done this past week and I was pretty nervous.  Not only because I would have to wear (wear?...is that right?) a catheter home, but because after four kids, I am tired of my lady bits being messed with.  I didn't know what to expect pain wise.  The surgery took about 20 minutes, which sucked, because I would have liked a longer sleep! I also begged them to let me stay at the hopsital, but they refused.  They kept asking why I would want to stay at a dirty hospital and risk infection.  Aparently having four crumbgrabbers at home wasn't reason enough.

I'll admit, having the catheter in SUCKED.  My husband was a champ though and he took care of everything for me.  What a guy.  "Do you take this woman to be your wife, to have and to hold, to empty her catheter when its full?"..."I DO".  anyway, The next day the packing (yes, sorry, forgot to mention they packed up the vaj for a 14 week stay at the met) and the catheter came out.  Taking the packing out felt like they were taking my intestines out.  I swear he packed a king size sheet in there, which doesn't surprise me..hello, four kids.  I have room.  Once the catheter came out, I was a new person.  Things have gone well, I have no pain and the only down is that I can't life more than 4 lbs for six weeks, which is nearly impossible, but I am trying my best because I don't want to screw this up.  Not peeing on myself when I run bases during kickball...LIFE CHANGING I tell ya!

Thankfully our littlest bundle (who will be 2 in April) is in a bed now.  Well, he isn't in the crib.  We put him in a bed, but he usually ends up someplace else between the time we put him to bed and check on him.  The other night, I went to check on him and found this:

I usually put zipper jammies on him backwards so that he can't strip, but none were clean, so I had to make due with regular tops and bottoms.  I came into the room and noticed three areas where he had peed, then looked up to find him sleeping on the ottomen like this.  It doesn't even look comfortable!  Why do kids hate sleep so much.  He has a nice bed with warm blankets and instead of drifting off into sweet slumber, he gets up, strips, pisses on the floor, then falls asleep half hanging off this tiny ottoman.  seriously.

Happy New Year (I guess)

2013 has begun, and we are all still here.  Come on, who out there thought the world would end in December?  Raise your hands, you know you're out there and secretly spent the day going through moments of pure panic while you waited for that blast, or rush of silence to signal the end.  How did you feel when it didn't happen?

Well, the world is still spinning, and according to the show, "How the Universe Works", will be for a few more million or billion years.  That said, its time to move on and begin the new year, which is getting harder to do each year.  I mean, its fun to have a new year to look forward to.  I always think about how each of my kids will be a year older and how fast they are growing up.  Then I think about how I will be a year older and how fast I am "GROWING".  Seriously.

I have posted about this to no end, I know, I know.  I used to be in excellent shape before kids, I tried losing the baby weight, blahblahblahblah.  Here in the south, it seems I am surrounded by a plethora of blond bombshell housewives with 3, 4, 6 kids that are toothpicks, and I really have no idea how they do it short of starving themselves thin.  I have four kids, and have been over 200 lbs for 3 years.  It sucks nuts.

I could blame a few things, the number one thing being my inability to make working out and eating right a priority in my daily routine.  Then there are the meds that keep me from going off the deep end.  Those tend to cause weight gain, but one actually promotes weight loss, so maybe between the two of them, I am breaking even.  I am old(er).  I keep hearing after 35, losing weight is nearly impossible, so what the damn point, right?

Recently, I tried to train for a half marathon.  I was doing well, then got sick and just bagged it all together.  Truth is, I hate to run and have done a half before, so I convinced myself there was really no reason to continue doing something I really hated.  With the end of my training, went the end of going to the gym or working out all together.  I was exhausted from training, and needed a "break".  That break lasted from August until now, today, where it will continue.  Sure, I work around the house and keep up with four kids, that's hard stuff, but its not a zumba class, or a short walk on a treadmill.  I've decided to think about training for a triathlon.  Those are more fun for this ADD mama.  We'll see if I stick with it.

But, alas, life is what it is.  I will see friends and family this year at the same weight I was a year ago, even though a year ago I vowed to change before the next meeting.  I wonder what makes folks like me continue to just give up and not really follow through.  There are plenty of things I do follow through with at home, maybe those are more important.  Who knows.  One thing is for sure, I wouldn't mind having this ass again (orange shorts)!

You're Welcome

Do you like Rock and Roll?  Do you have kids that talk back?  If you answered yes to both, then this song is for you.

Recently, I discovered Pearl Jams cover of this great Clash song while listening to their Sirius XM channel (yes, I am huge nerd for Pearl Jam).  It fits my life perfectly.

When the kids start to talk back, I turn my life into a Glee episode and break into this song and sing it right to their faces.  It either startles them enough to shut 'em up, or makes them laugh and move on from whatever they've been fighting me on.