How to piss me off with words: a short guide

Full disclosure: I am currently on day 25 of my menstrual cycle, and am fully aware that my snark is in overdrive and I’m much more easily triggered by stuff people say and write than my usual happy-go-lucky self (shut up. i am so happy-go-lucky. don’t judge me.)

I thought, after having a conversation about this with a friend this afternoon, that I would share some of my (and, with her permission, her) most common OMGSTFU triggers.

1) I’m going to be single parenting this weekend.
No. You’re not. If you’re a single parent, it lasts a hell of a lot longer than a freakin’ weekend. If you say that you’re “single parenting” to an actual single parent, do not be surprised if she(he) wants to eat your face for breakfast. Being on your own with the kids is hard. No one is questioning that or negating it. But 2 days or even 2 weeks does not a single parent make.

If your partner is in the military and is currently deployed, there is some wiggle room for you, because you are, in fact, parenting independently for very long stretches. You’re also, however, still benefiting from the income of the other parent, so it still isn’t an equal situation.

2) Parenting teens is SO HARD! My child is getting Bs right now on her report card!

This one isn’t mine, but that of my friend (though I imagine it will become one of mine as time goes by). She has two children who have had profound mental health and addiction issues. To hear that someone else’s teen isn’t making the honour roll while hers is homeless because it’s no longer safe for the rest of the family to have regular exposure to said child is, at the very least, ignorant. My response to this peeve? “What the hell is wrong with your parenting? My kid got better grades in rehab. Yours really is fucked up.”

(i did warn you about the snark, yes?)

3) My child behaved in a completely age-appropriate though frustrating way, and my day is therefore harder than yours.

“Hard” is hardly an objective state of being. For anyone to say that their experience is hardER than that of another is challenging, because we all have different levels of exhaustion, previous triggers that day, levels of available support, and overall coping strategies. A child’s seemingly “normal” behaviour can be that straw that breaks someone.

But. When someone tells me that an age-appropriate meltdown essentially beats my child (who, as a reminder, I tried to hospitalize at one point for mental health issues) running away from home again and completely losing it on our street corner, and my other child screaming, throwing things and attacking the first child, I don’t get angry. I get unbelievably sad. I promise you: your toddler will outgrow that kind of meltdown. No one can make me the same promise. My “hard” will never end. And most days, I can cope with whatever gets thrown at me. Today, though? Not so much.

There are many other examples of things people say, and assumptions they make, that may set me off, but I think this a good introduction. I didn’t write any of this to shame anyone or make anyone feel bad about things they’ve said. I hope the snark didn’t override that.


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