Open-minded, just not agreeing with you.

Most of you, since you’re reading this, understand I have a twisted sense of humor and I don’t shock easily. I’ve been told it’s biting, sarcastic, dry, droll, and once (by an exe) caustic. What I hear in my head though is “you’re funny”.

I maintain this blog for my own selfish enjoyment, to document our lives for my kids to read some day and know the joyous torment they inflicted upon us, and to be a solace to those that can relate to my neurodiverse circus of circumstances. What it is not is a bastion of perfection or self-improvement. I am not Brene Brown. She’s really good at being Brene. I am childish enough I want to order coffee when I hear her name because it sounds like “breve”. (Mmm, half-n-half.)

Parenting to me is like a Navy Seals level of training in love. Navy Seals are badass, don’t get me wrong, I’m not minimizing the sacrifice people make by being in the military. I am simply saying I’m a badass at being a mom (at least I hope). I try to emulate those folks when I’m carrying forty pounds of dead weight across a summer baked parking lot from the zoo gates to a roasting car only to discover that my hands are covered in faeces when I go to load him into his car seat under protest and get kicked in the jaw. I raise my hands to the sky and think of the movie “Platoon” and amuse myself by channeling Willem Dafoe so I can laugh instead of cry.

The love for a child pushes you to discover a type of loving that I think would be difficult to experience any other way. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, I just don’t know how. I’m trying to imagine the boot camp that would train you like being a parent to small children whilst being in your forties. I can’t help but imagine the victory of making it across a beach like a Navy Seal carrying a waterlogged piece of driftwood except it’s forty-something broken bodies crawling across broken bits of cold cereal and random Lego pieces in stained yoga wear with holes in the knees as you’re thwarted by dirty diapers and crusty clothing being swung at your face and you’re greeted by a warm encompassing hug and the person whispers just as you relax into their arms, “I have HFM.” (Hand Foot and Mouth for those of you yet to be indoctrinated .)

Recently I was lectured about how women “like me” don’t realize how hard “others” have it and that I need to be willing to listen to others opinions. This was written in all caps. That I need to listen to others scream their opinion at me to be considered “open minded”.

I responded, “That sounds like “marriage”. I have one already. Thank you though.”

She then approached me in person and said she was frustrated with women “pretending” to be victims of harassment and abuse just to be part of a movement.

I responded sarcastically, “Me too.”

She didn’t think I was funny. She mostly looked confused.

Side note, my husband keeps interrupting me while I’m writing this one-handed on my phone. Owen has his arm inside my left sleeve and my hand trapped on his tummy. I thwarted husband’s third interruption by shouting good-naturedly, “Be gone mere mortal!”

He pulled a face and stomped off only to return in seconds to innocently state,

“I just never really thought about the word “mortal”.”

Mind you, we recently have experienced loss in our lives and discussed at length with each other, and our kids, the concept of death. He’s very literal though and didn’t use the word “mortality” with them because, well, they’re four and six.

He proceeded to Google it and attempt to draw me into conversation for a fourth interruption. He looked up from his screen and I responded, “I’ll cut you.”

He huffed in silent admission of his guilt and stormed off again. This is life in our house.

Some find it amusing and you keep reading my articles. (Thank you.) Others belittle parents for sharing about their kids, especially if they’re in the spectrum, as if we’re exploiting our kids or injuring their privacy. All of which are legitimate albeit unfounded concerns.

One, I make no money off this blog. The rare sum I make goes towards paying for the website, coffee, and my therapy. (And it only covers the cost of the first.) Two, I sincerely do not share anything that I think would truly embarrass my kids. For real. I have some stories that I can’t wait to share with their future partners but I will not write them for public consumption. I write those stories in emails that I send to accounts I have setup for them that they can have access to when they hit puberty.

Where was I? Oh, yes, open-mindedness. I hear that term so often when what people really mean is that they want you to listen and agree with them. Listening without judgement is incredibly difficult for most of us but a goal many of us try for when parenting. It’s an active choice and not constantly sustainable since our brains make order out of chaos which requires to make decisions just to navigate through our day and some of those are unintentionally judgemental. For instance, “No it’s not ok, Owen! We keep our clothes on at the park…”

All of us want to believe we’re funny and are open-minded (I would hope) but the reality is that we can’t be both at all times and most of us fail miserably at either. Open-mindedness requires being willing to listen to others and on a good day I have trouble collecting my thoughts (over Owen chanting or Nora singing) long enough to organize a lunch bag let alone a political opinion beyond simply “be kind”. My point being, I don’t go out of my way to offend anyone in my writing or embarrass my children. I’m one voice, out of many, sharing its opinion and promising to listen to you if you want to share yours but I don’t make promises about my humor.

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