Lasagna and mom rage

Lasagna

I’ve been reading a lot about mom rage lately (70 MILLION RESULTS ON GOOGLE GO FIGURE). I wasn’t really connecting, because I had rage before I had kids, and now I’m medicated, so I don’t have rage but instead a tingly sense all over sometimes where I’m like, This is what anger feels likeHmm.

But on Sunday at the playground another mom asked my kid to get off the slide OH THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT.

I had seen this woman earlier and thought I might like her. She had a ponytail and a baseball hat and a baby in a front carrier and she was playing with her son, who was older than mine. I had more of a hands-off approach — playing with my son if he wanted me to, but otherwise keeping my distance.

I was standing above everyone on this enormous, circular construction that led to the slide, and I’d watched my son son slide down and then do what he generally does, which is turn around and try to climb back up. Ponytail’s son sat uncertainly at the top. I’d assumed he would eventually slide down and kick my son in the face and my son would get the message. But he didn’t, because Ponytail was standing at the bottom. She told her son to stay put, and eventually she said something to my son like, “It’s time to get off the slide so he can slide down.”

OH NO YOU DIDN’T AND WE’RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT IF THAT PONYTAIL COMES OFF.

I did nothing. I mean, I was 10 feet above them, so I couldn’t, but I did have fantasies of throwing myself over the side like Wolverine and flattening her right into the spongy, playground floor. Together we would have risen above the earth, locked in battle, spinning around each other and clawing at each other’s eyes, two middle- to upper-class white women fighting to the death.

But I didn’t intervene, either with her or my son, because that’s not my M.O. on the playground. I can’t even remember what happened, because of my head exploding all over the slide, but I think eventually my son ambled off and her son slid down.

I got off the structure and took a seat on this white rock-looking thing. My son went for the slide again and lingered at the bottom. And FINALLY, a little girl who did not give a fuck slid down right after him and knocked him in the face. He started crying, and a dad who probably thought I hadn’t seen it and assumed I would race right over and scoop up my wittle baby and buy his way into college and whip out my AK, gently explained that my son had been in the way and had gotten knocked over.

“Yep,” I said.

I wrapped my son in my arms. I held him tight. I asked him if he’d felt surprised, and he said yes, and we reviewed what had happened. I told him that if he didn’t want it to happen again, he could get off the slide next time. He stopped crying and went back to playing.

Oh, I’m not done.

A couple weeks ago, the New York Times published an article described as “our guide to time management for new parents who go back to work.”

Yay! I thought. This article is for me!

Which quickly turned into ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. Here’s why:

Some children … don’t sleep much, but many babies and toddlers go to bed early. This presents a problem for working parents whose jobs require longer hours.

RIGHT THERE. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT FOR “NEW PARENTS.” IT’S FOR “WORKING PARENTS” WITH 9-TO-5’S THAT ARE REALLY 8-TO-10’S. YOU COULD HAVE SAID THAT.

… if your job has some flexibility, you could leave the office before all the work is done (at, say, 5 p.m.) and then do more work at night after your kids go to bed.

FUCK THAT. CULTURE CHANGE NOW.

People who made extensive use of the split shift could work 50-plus hours per week, yet still preserve family time.

WHOOP-DEE-FUCKING-DOO. THIS IS PERPETUATING THE PROBLEM NOT SOLVING IT.

I could barely make it through the next section, but it’s so one-percent here’s the whole thing:

Choose child care that supports your life. High quality child care is expensive …

YEP.

but it means you can focus and work more predictably, which boosts income over time.

WHY IS THAT THE FUCKING GOAL HERE.

Track your time (and ask your partner, if you have one, to track his or her time) for a few weeks so you can be realistic about how many hours of care you need. If you and your partner regularly have work commitments at 8 a.m.

AGAIN WHY IS IT OK TO ASSUME THAT ANYONE WOULD HAVE REGULAR WORK COMMITMENTS AT 8 A.M.

choosing a day care that opens at 8 a.m. will result in more time stress than one that opens earlier.

ALL I’M THINKING ABOUT ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE UP AT 7 A.M. TAKING CARE OF YOUR KIDS WHILE YOU DRIVE TO WORK.

A day care located by one parent’s workplace will be convenient, but also means that one parent will always do the drop-off and pickup. The other parent may need to do something else to equalize time commitments.

WE ALL KNOW THAT THE OTHER PARENT IF THAT PARENT IS MALE WILL DO NOTHING OF THE SORT.

Hiring in-home child care (i.e. a nanny) can make morning and evening routines easier, and an employee might be able to take on errands and household tasks, thus freeing up parental time.

OKAY. OKAY. OKAY. NOT EVEN A FUCKING NOD TO THE FACT THAT THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED FOR “PARENTS.” IT’S INTENDED FOR “RICH PARENTS” WHOSE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS MAKING AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO SQUEEZE BEING A PARENT IN AROUND MAKING AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE. ALSO IF YOU’RE MAKING YOUR NANNY YOUR PERSONAL ASSISTANT YOU BETTER FUCKING BE PAYING THAT PERSON’S HEALTH CARE AND SICK TIME AND LENDING THEM YOUR CAR.

Payroll services can help you set up systems for withholding taxes. However, nannies can’t work excessive hours

SO YOUR AUDIENCE NEEDS TO BE TOLD THAT NANNIES HAVE THEIR OWN CHILDREN AT HOME OR AT THE LEAST LIVES OUTSIDE OF MEETING YOUR NEEDS.

… in my time-diary study, I found that many families with two big careers “stacked” child care coverage to get the hours they needed to support their career requirements.

HOW ABOUT CHANGING THIS PARADIGM TO GET THE HOURS YOU NEED TO SUPPORT YOUR PARENTING REQUIREMENTS.

They would host an au pair and put their children in part-time day care or employ a full-time nanny for 40 hours and enroll a child in preschool.

OH MY FUCKING GOD EVERY BLOOD VESSEL IN MY EYE HAS POPPED SO I CAN’T SEE THE SCREEN.

Parents and non-parents all have the same 168 hours per week, but parenthood creates enough time demands that hours can feel in short supply. Smart time management means focusing on the highest impact activities both at work and at home. … This applies at home as well. Time spent reading and playing with kids is more valuable than maintaining a daily vacuuming schedule.

YOU’RE SPEAKING ABOUT “READING AND PLAYING WITH KIDS” AS A “HIGH-IMPACT” AND “HIGH-VALUE” ACTIVITY WHAT FUCKING MINDSET IS THAT.

ALSO WHO VACUUMS DAILY.

Simple meals will suffice. Outsourcing chores costs money, but it doesn’t cost anything to lower your standards.

BUT WHEN IT COMES TO WORK, KEEP THOSE HIGH STANDARDS IN PLACE, YO.

One more thing:

I was crossing a street near my work during lunch when a woman in a white Porsche SUV swung past me — still in the crosswalk! — and yelled out her window, “COULD YOU WALK ANY SLOWER?”

That is who I am in my head! But this woman was living it! Respect. I watched as she pulled into the parking lot of the local shopping area, where the only businesses are Bed Bath & Beyond, Trader Joe’s, Ulta, and Nordstrom Rack. I couldn’t imagine what emergency awaited her in any one of those stores. But I was tempted to run after her and find out.

I made this lasagna again (from my hit blog post, “Lasagna and catching my new husband masturbating in the shower“) because my stepdaughter said she likes lasagna and I am the best stepmother ever. It took two days because I didn’t outsource it to my au pair/nanny/daycare/preschool, but it was delicious. You need:

Bolognese sauce

  • 1 med. onion, coarsely chopped (1-in. pieces fine)
  • 1 lg. or 2 slim carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 3 TB olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground chuck, brisket, or round or combination
  • 1 1/4 cups tomato paste (from 2 6-ounce cans)
  • 2 cups red wine, preferably hearty but really, anything you like to drink
  • Water as needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs thyme, tied in a bundle

Pasta (TRADER JOE’S NOODLES WILL DO OOH MAYBE THAT’S WHAT WHITE PORSCHE SUV WAS AFTER.)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 to 2 TB water, if needed

Béchamel sauce

  • 1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To assemble

  • 1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

You need to:
Go to the Smitten Kitchen website and read the directions because this lasagna turned out so well I don’t want to do the ethical thing and adjust a few details so I can post the recipe as my own. Just use her recipe. REMINDER: Lasagna takes a long time. NOTE: I cooked the sauce 1.5–2 hours, not 3–4, and it was delicious.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. dcpphotos says:

    Great…could be opening scene for whole series on parenting.

    David C. Pritchett 2134 Maple Avenue Evanston,IL 60201 davidpritchett1@yahoo.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I developed multiple body twitches while reading this. WTF NYT

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cina Kraft says:

    Jen, There were multiple moments here when I wanted to shout: STOP READING THESE ARTICLES! You and I share this syndrome…..partway in, we think “Hmmm, this might not be -” – or – “it might get better”. 1 minute later “Strike TWO!” But we keep watching. And even my highest-level OCD friends DO NOT VACUUM EVERY DAY. And by the time we get to the white SUV, it’s all over. And one of my latest obsessions is that all parking lots (including the one here anchored by Trader Joe’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom Rack, and Pottery Barn, plus a store that only sells items that are BLACK AND WHITE) now have cars that are 90% SUVs, and they are 90% either black, white, or some micro-shade of black (charcoal, silver-grey,medium grey, etc.) I started taking photos of the collections, always with my 21-year old Mazda sedan (which was candy-apple-red when I bought it in 2001) squeezed in between, with one fender now developing a rather iridescent Grand Canyon copper tone – and another developing a sweet faded rose shade that would make a good lipstick for a sweet, faded cocktail lounge singer. I’d attach a photo if I knew how – – meanwhile – this post was another great read, as always!! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ds says:

    That article would be perfectly fine if they just changed the word “child” to “heir.” This morning I was enjoying cuddling with my toddler in bed so much I decided I could be an hour late to lwork. If I had prioritized work, I would have missed my 22 month old BLAMING HER MASSIVE FART ON ME.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These times are precious. 😀

      Like

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