I Hate this City

Drag yourself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn because you have a 12 mile commute that needs to get you to work by 7:30am.

Walk into work to the nanny job to children yelling, “No, I don’t want [Short and Feisty] to be here! Go away!”

But it’s not the first time you’ve heard that and it certainly won’t be the last because who punishes their kids for being rude every morning, these days? Sure, they’ll recover in 10 minutes and start hugging you, but it doesn’t erase the shitteous start to the day.

Grandparents galore are in town so you’re routine is off kilter simply by them being there. Add in the fact that one of these grandparents enjoys rearranging the schedule with their preferences and their crappy ability to make you late for things, and your day is lining up nicely.

{Dear Parents: for the exact reasons why YOU don’t want to hang out with your annoying parents, your nanny does not want to spend 10 hours a day with them, either.}

You make plans only to have them interrupted by, not only the presence of the grandparents, but the fact that both mom and dad are home rearranging your plans as well.

WHY THE HELL DO YOU HAVE TO BE THERE IF THE ADULT TO CHILD RATIO IS OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOR OF THE ADULTS?!

Welcome to the world of high-net-worth nannies, where they can afford to just have you there sitting around twiddling your thumbs.

Oh, and one of your kids is a two year old. A raging, drooling, snot nosed, two year old who you alternate between wanting to shove in a corner and hugging. Because sometimes they can be so darn sweet and literally less than 2.5 seconds later and their screaming at you to “un-cut” the slice of bread that you cut in half…after they asked you to cut it in half.

You leave your job by sprinting out of the door and get in the car with three hours to get from the far West Side of LA to Hollywood to see a show for a sketch writing class you’re taking.

GUESS WHAT, THOUGH.

Just because you have somewhere to be that evening, every single solitary route you could use to expeditiously get to your destination is a bumper to bumper wall of solid metal and rubber tires.

You sit in the inching traffic, cursing your luck, and then you realize that the audiobook you were enjoying (Bossypants, again) only has about 10 minutes left while your GPS predicts you have an additional 90 minutes left.

Pull over for some food. Yum. Sit. Eat. Listen to that last 10 minutes of Tina Fey. Try and get BACK on the road. Attempt to stay awake, you’ve been up for well over 12 hours at this point.

Almost 2 hours of traffic later.

You pull up to the theatre of the comedy school you’re attending. You try to find parking but

  1. It’s dark,
  2. The signs on the streets of LA would confuse a WWII codebreaker,
  3. You can’t tell if the curb is painted red, or if it’s just the glare from some light.

While you’re searching for a space, your anxiety disorder comes out to play and you’re wondering why the hell all the comedy schools in this godforsaken town are located in the shitty dumpster parts of the city (cheap rent, most likely). You guess comedy needs an “urban/edgy” feel that you’re not going to find in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills (also, cheap rent).

Your brain is ticker taping the following: “You’re going to get shanked, you’re going to get stabbed, you’re going to get jumped, you’re going to be assaulted” all while trying to concentrate on finding some GD street parking so you don’t have to pay $5 for valet to have a stranger drive your car AND THEN TIP HIM FOR TURNING THE IGNITION ON AND OFF AGAIN.

You pull back around to the front of the theatre to see NO parking and several homeless people start to settle in for the night and a rather skeevy guy lurking around on his cell phone. Probably selling street pharmaceuticals.

STAY FOCUSED DON’T PULL OVER YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE AND GET SHANKED.

You pull onto a side street a second time just in time to see a sizable rat jump into the undercarriage of a Rav-4 in front of you.

Nope, nope, fuck that noise. I’m out.

And you hate this city and you’re tired of trying so hard to just end up treading water and you want to run away and–

shhhhhhh.

You’re going to go home, blog, eat some tortilla chips, sleep, and pray that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that makes all of the bullshit worth it. Because you don’t hate the city, you hate your circumstances and it’s up to you to change them.

looks-like-its-fuck-this-shit-o-clock

An Ode to the SAHM

One of my friends and readers pointed out that one of my previous posts seems to shine a negative opinion on mothers that opt-out of the workforce. The Stay at Home Mom (SAHM).

So totally not my intention, you guys! I’m deeply sorry if it came off that way.

In my post, I was reflecting on a topic that seems to constantly flow through my brain like ticker-tape. That is, to find a guy (any guy), get married, and devote my life to my kids because I’m too scared to reach for a goal where the odds aren’t at all in my favor (yep, I’m re-reading “The Hunger Games” Trilogy).

It was in no way meant to make the SAHM out to be some crappy alternative for when your plans don’t work out. I know a plethora of women that choose to stay home and raise and educate their children. Many of these women in my acquaintance are complete badasses and could run rings around most other people with the amount of energy and dedication they place into their family.

For me, though, I know I would suck at it. Even as a rich SAHM, I would drop the ball.

And here are just some of the reasons why:

  • I am not a selfless being--right now, I’m all the family that I have to take care of. There is no way I could put the best interests of my children (and significant other) in front of my own.
  • I have not the patience— yes, I am a full-time nanny to two children under four. This does require an inordinate amount of patience. HOWEVER, at the end of the day, after the 1000th tantrum, I hand those kiddos over to their mother and father and say sayonara!
  • I’m not that skilled–Cooking is something entirely new to me and I’m just passing the “boil water” phase. Cleaning is something I do naught at all (Hoarders: Buried Alive has been asking me to sign a contract for decades). The general fix-it-ness of most SAHMs that I know didn’t quite make it into my DNA. Budgeting for an entire family on one income isn’t something I would be able to master. And speaking of money matters:
  • I’m too much of an impulsive buyer–I realize that when working off of one income for an entire family, budgeting becomes a factor. Although my bills are paid regularly, I will admit that I do have several items in my possession that nobody needs (I’m looking at you, LEGO Diagon Alley). One day, I’d be sitting at home in front of Amazon Prime and BOOM, there goes Ullyses’s tuition for the month on a pair of Moon Shoes and a diamond encrusted cocktail shaker.
  • PROCRASTINATION–Little Chauncey doesn’t need a bath today, he had one two days ago. I’ll just keep reading this Harlequin romance novel while Little Ferguson gnaws away at that extension cord (it is pretty thick). What’s that? The dishes are piled so high in the sink that it looks like some strange homage to the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Well, one more plate won’t hurt.

There are many more aspects and facets to the SAHM, you guys, but the above are just a few of the reasons why that path just wouldn’t work out for me. I’d drive myself just as crazy as my children would.

But there is a very rare subset of woman out there that completely ROCKS the SAHM path and I just wanted to give the ones I know a shout-out. Y’all are awesome.

Stay-at-home-mom

This is true for me, though.

If Kickstarter Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It.

Hey y’all, it’s been a while.

How are you?

Are your azaleas blooming nicely?

You get that raise you wanted?

AWESOME. Glad I asked.

SO, before I continue on with my awesome Hawaiian adventure, I’m going to take a minute to insert another kind of adventure into the conversation.

CROWDFUNDING.

this is sparta kickstarter 2

And, forreal guys, this adventure is way more unpredictable than the other.

I’m helping my friend market her campaign to get her children’s picture book published.

You should definitely. Check. It. Out.

NewTeal

Here is the link to her project. 

Watch the video.

Get your heart warmed.

Then pledge.

It’s pretty much the cutest video with one of the most wonderful ideas to introduce kids to a different kind of family structure. I’m going to be pumping her project all over the internet because I truly believe in what she’s trying to accomplish.

BUT I figured I’d share a few insights into the journey, just in case you’re interested in creating a similar project:

  1. Kickstarter is “ALL OR NOTHING”: if this project doesn’t reach it’s goal, no one is charged. So there shouldn’t be any reason for people to hesitate on backing a project. Even if she doesn’t reach her goal, pledging to the project is like giving an internet “high five” and you lose nothing.
  2. The “Green Bar” effect: Kickstarter, and other sites like it, used to be about people backing projects that they believe in. Now, people aren’t inclined to donate unless they know it’s a “sure thing”, or until the little green ‘progress bar’ is filled in. Why this is? I have no idea. But most people don’t “jump on the bandwagon” until the wagon is pulling out of the corral. I think it’s because they think they’ll be charged WHEN they pledge, which we (the educated few) know is incorrect. See item #1 for further clarification.
    • That’s why it’s crucial that we reach out to friends and family (yes, you are my blogging familia!) to donate first to get the snowball effect going. We’re working on that, now.
  3. Finding one’s audience ain’t easy: I’ve sent out many emails on this project’s behalf and even helped my buddy, Angela, write her press release. Getting media onboard has been TOUGH. Many nanny agencies and a few nanny blogs have jumped on board, though, which is incredibly nice to see. But we’re still searching for those backers.

So, now I’m asking all of you in cyberspace: when you’ve watched the video and made your pledge, will you contact me and let me know if you have any media outlets out there willing to give this project some face time?

Maybe your uncle’s 3rd cousin works at your local news station.

Or maybe my blog is a ‘guilty pleasure’ read for someone who works for the New York Times.

Or maybe you have your own blog and would be willing to spread the word (if so, let me know your email address in the comments and I’ll be sure to give you more information).

Either way, holla at me! This project only has 28 more days of life, and my gal pal needs some pledges NOW.

(HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PROJECT ONE MORE TIME. CLICK IT!)

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Yahoo! Boo Boo? Attacking the Working Mom?

I’m late to the party on this one, but I really wanted to throw in my two-cents re: the end of Yahoo! employees’ ability to telecommute.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Photo Credit | Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Photo Credit | Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

The long and short of it is that Yahoo!’s newest CEO, also a brand new mom who built a nursery in her office, put a universal ban on the work from home option. Most critics cry “NO FAIR!” on the privilege of having her child in the office, but I’m assuming that nursery comes stocked with a team of nannies. Also, this is Corporate America where there is still very much a hierarchy that comes with perks. Note: Yahoo does provide employee childcare options.

It’s hard to find a “just the facts, ma’am” article on this change, since by now everyone’s thrown their opinion into the mix, or else I’d provide one. There has been speculation of rampant abuse of the telecommuting option by Yahoo! employees and Mayer seems to have recognized it and acted accordingly.

Keep in mind that Yahoo! is currently a “sinking ship” and may be trying to model mega-giant Apple’s requirement that everyone be under one roof (Google also strongly encourages it).

Being someone who now  works primarily from the comfort of my couch (and bedecked in my pajam-jams) I will be the first person to advocate for working outside of the office.

In this instance, though, I think it’s a good idea for Yahoo! to try every avenue they can to get their company off of life support.

In all of this, Mayer has been accused by many of attacking the working mother (or parent) by taking away their option to work while simultaneously caring for their young children.

I think that’s bunk. And this journalist also happens to agree with me (check out this article–she takes the words right out of my mouth). Here is its crux:

“Marissa Mayer is a CEO first and a woman second. Indeed, she is a role model for many precisely because she made it to the top job. And as a CEO, her first job is to save her company. If she fails in that, the employees she is insisting come in to the office will have no jobs to come in to.”

I only want to address the part where people are accusing her of assaulting the sensibilities of family-focused employees:

Being a former live-in, full-time nanny (as I’ve mentioned multiple times, previously) has me convinced that there is absolutely no way one can effectively work an office job from home while wrangling rug-rats younger than school-aged. I can not imagine having to juggle the two. Well, I can imagine it, but it ain’t pretty. Here goes:

Wake up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy…wait, no, just kidding. Wake up in the morning feeling like crap because your 1.5 year old is teething and refuses to sleep in more than 3 hour spurts. Instead of getting dressed and joyfully dropping little Johnny off at daycare, you’re bracing yourself for a day from Hades as your partner makes a B line for the front door. You feed Johnny and his 3 year old sister Katie, do full diaper changes and bottom wiping, and make sure sippy cups are filled. By now it’s 8am: time to get to work.

8:01: Johnny has a blow-out-diaper that’s quickly inching up his back. Take a moment (at least 15 minutes) to clean him up.

8:21: While you weren’t paying attention to Katie, she’s gone and played a solo game of tic-tac-toe all over your office memos and the client contract you were supposed to fax…yesterday. Redirect her attention, re-print all of the documents, break up a fight over who gets to play with the blocks first.

9:00 am: Put Johnny down for his A.M. nap and try to convince an ultra-clingy Katie to look at some picture books by herself.

9:10am: You’re getting nowhere with this negotiation so you promise to read just one book to her that quickly turns into 8.

9:40 am: Plant Katie in front of the T.V. because, darn it, you need to do some work! But not before you throw in a load of laundry and clean up the mess you left in the kitchen from breakfast. Might as well prepare lunch while both kids are occupied.

10:15 am: Sit down at your computer and wonder where the morning has gone. Send the belated fax, read your newest barrage of emails, check in with your manager and start your day.

10:20 am: Except, you don’t because Johnny is getting to that age where he’s giving up his morning nap and he wakes up earlier than expected screaming to be rescued from his crib.

10:40 am: Johnny is isolated in his playpen and it’s time for round three of ‘Dora the Explorer’ for Katie. “Would her time have been better spent in morning preschool?” you begin to wonder.

11:00 am: You’ve just signed-on to an ‘all important’ conference call when Johnny’s molars decide to rear their ugly enamel. Screams to rival a banshee shatter your eardrums (as well as everyone else’s on the phone call) and you shamefully bow out.

11:30 am: The teething gel kicks in and Johnny is finally quiet. Back to work? Nope–it’s lunch time. And there goes your productive morning–out of the fashionably draped bay window of your home office.

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