Tag Archives: raising kids

Work-Life Balance and the Single Person

I’m starting to see what a lot of other single people, perhaps, already have learned–other people don’t think single people deserve work-life balance.

Now, I haven’t had anyone say this to me in person. But I have approached my current job a little bit differently than I have approached other jobs. I have indirectly let it be known that I am not one of those workers of whom you can just take advantage–that’s my friend Clara. I’m not worried about being the perfect employee or losing my job. I let people know that when the clock hits that time at the end of the workday, I’m gone.

Recently, a lot of changes have been made at my job. Essentially, everything I liked about my job is either now gone or likely will be very soon. The only thing that is still in the “very soon” category is a change being made to what time I have to be at work in the mornings and what time I get to leave in the afternoons. Nobody has told me that is about to change, but I’m not stupid. My job duties have completely changed, and the people I work with are totally different people.

They have me training with this guy, whom, I can tell, doesn’t seem to understand what my hours are at work. He’s the kind of guy who is very into his job, very dedicated. I’m not like that, especially not now that my employers have f*cked my job all up with these changes. Plus, I’m a contract employee and he’s not…so why should I be dedicated when my employer is not dedicated to me? You think this is true for every job. You also think it’s true that changes occur at every job. But neither of these things in a regular job is like how they are in a contract position. There is absolutely no stability in a contract job in any sense, no regularity or uniformity–you do whatever they want whenever, regardless of what you’re told in the beginning about the position or what you’re told while working the position. Contract jobs might as well never have job titles, at least not in IT, because the title won’t apply for long (if ever). And then to top it off, most contract jobs eventually end, usually in a year or less. Now that I understand this about how employers yank their contractors here, there and yonder with no regard for them, I will not be taking contract IT jobs ever again.

Given all of this, it should be of little surprise that I care little about what the company’s needs are, what their customers’ needs are. I will probably be getting tossed out of the company after my contract is up, regardless of how well I do, and I wouldn’t necessarily like to have my contract renewed there anyway. I plan to move to another city/state, and that has been my plan for a while and I am applying for jobs in those places…even have one interview lined up. So, I care about putting in my 8 hours and then getting the hell out of there. And even with a permanent position, frankly, I’d be the same way and have been the same way.

Every day this week, I’ve had to let this guy who is training me know that I get off work at X time, because he talks as if I’m going to still be around after that time or like I have time to stick around a little later and do XYZ. I flatout told this guy, “My supervisor said my hours are still the same, so until they say different I’m out at [X] time.” This afternoon, one of the other guys I now work with, this creepy guy, assumed I would still be around late, and my trainer heard me tell him what time I leave. Immediately, my trainer was like, “You’re ready to go home, aren’t you? Do you have kids you’re taking trick-or-treating tonight?” because it’s Halloween in the US.

Look, I know what that question really was–trying to find out if I have kids and is that the reason why I am adamant about leaving work at a certain time. Because having kids is the only legitimate reason for running away from your job, don’t you know. Especially if you’re a woman. My friend Clara lets people know she can’t stay late because of her son all the time or she’s leaving early because of her son, and people accept that. But with me, people are wanting to know why I “have” to leave at X time.

Three things:

1) Halloween is a fake holiday. It’s one of the most pointless days I’ve ever known. I especially can’t stand how there are grown adults who “celebrate” Halloween; they need to grow the f*ck up. Nobody should pay any attention to it, in my opinion, so it’d never have a thing to do with why I’m leaving work.

2) There’s so much wrong with thinking only parents have a legitimate reason to run off from work, including the fact that they probably are actually the main ones who need the damn money if they’re going to see any overtime pay from staying late. The average single person just has bills. Parents have bills and expensive-@ss kids. Yet parents are actually the main ones always trying to leave work early or on time. This guy at my job basically has a newborn, and ever since he had that kid he has never again worked a full day not called Monday (our busiest day) on the job. Yet he says he doesn’t have enough money. He’s an hourly contractor…hmm, he’s leaving after 4-5 hours of work…wonder why he’s not making anything.

He and I need to swap hours. Working 4-5 hours most days is my kind of schitt. They should have put someone like him in my new position (and they could have, but didn’t–wonder why?), where they’re talking about working overtime (which I loathe) and Saturdays (which is just sacrilegious and damn-near something to walk out the door over, especially if you love college football more than anything, as I do). Plus, let’s be real–who is more hands-on with babies and kids, moms or dads? What the hell does he need to be at home all the time for? All he’s going to do is say, “Here, hon, the baby is crying” or “Here, hon, the baby needs to be changed,” hand the kid to the mother and then go sit down in front of the TV or the computer. Sorry, men–I have had this kind of convo with dads before, and you guys just have no idea how little dads help with or do for their kids compared to the kids’ mother.

Ironically, the exact reasons why I don’t have kids are because I don’t want to have to care for anyone–financially or in any other way–and because I want a life and because I want my life to be about me. That includes work–I don’t want a life that is about work. This is where “work-life balance” comes in. Everyone I know who looks on the bright side when it comes to working overtime is a parent–usually, a man–and it’s always about the money.

My observation about women has been that women who have kids tend to know on some level that their life is not theirs anymore, it’s not about them–so they don’t even think that way. They think in terms of what their kids (or husband) need, what’s best for their kids. Kids need things that cost money, however much time you’d rather spend with them. My observation about men is that the vast majority of men care more about making money than the vast majority of women do, for a variety of reasons–probably the three biggest are status, attracting women and what they were taught about being a man growing up. As a single female, I have totally different concerns, concerns that really don’t involve making money. These different concerns leave me trying to figure out how to explain to the moms, dads and single men I know why I value my free time far more than I value the extra money I’ll get by working on Saturday (the extra money being something I don’t value at all). Yet all of them will be home on Saturday or enjoying some activity outside the home and outside of work.

3) Why do I “have” to leave at X time? Because that’s what time I’m scheduled to leave. And I have every right to leave at that time. Whether or not I have kids is immaterial.

One more point before I go–not too long ago, I was reading an article online where the author wondered why people speak of “work-life balance.” Is working really so bad and do people hate their jobs so much that they need to categorically separate it from the rest of their life, the author wondered. At that point, I wondered where in the hell this author has been her entire working life. Seriously, she must be part of the lucky 10-15% of people who loves their job. Ever notice how it’s always writers with real writing jobs, always entertainers who have officially “made it,” always people who work in the media, always people who make big bucks who love their jobs? Gee, I wonder why. No wonder they can’t relate. I know they didn’t start at the top, but the point is they’re there now and now they don’t “get it.”

Pay me a ridiculous amount to dish sports on ESPN three hours a day, and see how much I love my job. Pay me to write ridiculous articles about how I can no longer relate to mere commoners who need work-life balance because I make enough money to actually pay bills and eat as a writer as opposed to having to write on the side like 90% of writers do (myself included). Or how about those ridiculous articles about “do what you love for a living”? You do know that the average person “loves” things that either don’t pay, don’t pay enough to make a living or require expensive schooling only to be shut out of jobs because that person has never had a job in that industry, right? Oh, I forget–you no longer relate to the mere commoner because you’ve got the rare cushy, enjoyable writing job that actually pays bills.

Over the past week, I’ve confirmed that, yes, work and life have to be separated for most people, including myself. I am largely in that category where what I’d love to do generally doesn’t pay enough to make a living (writing and/or technical repair). I would agree with people who say to find a job you can tolerate, but that’s easier said than done. So, my best solution is to find a job I can actually do for the most amount of money I can get, because if I’m going to hate every job I get at some point then I might as well focus on the money. It’s not easy, because caring about money isn’t my nature. But I made more money at my last job, and the positives to that were now I have surpassed my initial savings goal and am on to my next savings goal (which I am close to meeting)…and I have still been able to buy everything I want (except a Mercedes), take trips everywhere I’ve wanted to go and enjoy myself outside of work. Although I hated my last job, it created a pretty decent work-life balance and I never had to work late or on Saturdays.

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I’m Going To Have To Stop Watching WE TV Because of Kendra

They’re killing me.

I mainly watch the channel because of “The Golden Girls.” And, unfortunately, reality TV has taken over to the point where it’s basically impossible to not have at least one reality show you like to watch, unless you just don’t watch TV. Being a sports junkie, I mainly keep my TV tuned to sports. But it’s that time of the year when the best sports are just about done (I’m trying to watch the NBA playoffs–really, I am–but it’s just not the same as football, or even college basketball). But other than sports and old shows, I have been watching some of WE’s reality shows–“Braxton Family Values,” “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” and even “Shannen Says.”

All three actually are kind of boring, but they have their moments. I definitely expected more from Shannen’s show. I love Shannen. I will not watch any episodes of “Beverly Hills 90210” unless she’s on it. As cheesy as those storylines were, those were the best episodes of the show. I even liked “Our House.” Shannen is cool. The show, though, wasn’t. Maybe if it didn’t focus on her getting married…

But I tell you one WE reality show I won’t be watching–that “Kendra On Top” crap.

WE is just crossing the line with that one. It’s sickening on so many levels, and WE is driving me nuts with commercials for it every single commercial break.

Kendra is some chick who got famous by using Hugh Hefner. She was one of three “women” featured with him on this show that came on E! TV called “Girls Next Door.” One of my friends watched the show, so I saw a few episodes. From what I could gather, Kendra seemed like she wanted to be black. The WE commercials they show kind of support that perception. She still comes off as very white. She’s not like the stereotype of that white person who can’t speak standard English, wears baggy clothes, only listens to rap, only hangs out with blacks and that kind of thing, i.e. a wigger. She’s more like the “I’m white, and I do and say ‘black’ things every now and then, but I’m very lame and poser-ish when I do it” type. Kind of like The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” white person. I remember this one episode of “Girls Next Door” when she took the other two “women” to see where she grew up, and they were kind of laughing because Kendra was always trying to make it seem like she grew up in the “ghetto.” Her house turned out to be this nice, suburban-type house.

I think about that episode a lot of the time when I see the commercial for this “Kendra On Top” reality show. And I also just think about…well…what a lot of people, particularly women, think about with the Playboy type of females. In other words, I get more judgmental than I already am.

I do want to share this thought:

I have realized that women who use their looks and their bodies to get ahead in society are smart women. It honestly just never would have occurred to me to do that, even if I could. These women don’t get credit for this. But I now just think about how I focused so much on doing well in school, academics and higher education, and I look at where I am now. And being intelligent academically and getting degrees have worked for a lot of people, and it’s still working for some people. It didn’t work for me, and there’s not much I can do about it. I know that I don’t have the looks to go out there and use that to open doors for me. But women like Kendra do, and I can’t really fault them anymore for finding some way to have the kind of life that they want. Other women, like me, still have to figure it out.

But she still gets on my nerves.

For one thing, do I really need to see a commercial featuring her every time a show on WE goes to commercial break? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–I don’t like having anything or anyone shoved down my throat.

Second, although I understand she has the type of look that’s valued in society, I don’t find her that attractive. It will probably always kill me that women can be considered attractive just because they are thin, blonde, have blue eyes and/or dress a certain way.

Third, the commercials show her kid a little bit. And I can’t help but think, “I feel sorry for that kid.” Probably for the same reasons a lot of us maybe used to think about Britney Spears’ kids–and maybe still do–and just feel sorry for them.

Fourth…[sigh]…you know…don’t want to offend anyone. Not sure this is something I can make some people understand. Interracial relationships are one thing. Having and raising multiracial kids is another thing. I just think that not everyone is cut out for either of those things, but especially the latter. For instance, there are just some white people who have no business with mixed kids. I don’t know Kendra, so I’m not saying anything definitively. It’s just, going back to this lame, poser-ish “I relate to black people” act…the way she comes off makes it seem as if she actually doesn’t really know anything about being black. She’s actually kind of offensive.

For one thing, you can relate to black people without having grown up in the ghetto or pretending to grow up in one…um, because not all black people grow up in ghettos. I read a thing or two about her husband, Hank Baskett, and it seems as if he might be an example of that fact. For another thing, if you really grew up in a ghetto, you might be proud of the character it has instilled in you due to challenges you overcame, but you also know that it’s not a walk in the park or anything to glorify, unless you’re trying to sell records or make movies off it. And, for that matter, I think the average black person knows that being black is not a walk in the park or anything to glorify.

Yeah…kinda worry about someone like this raising a part-black kid.  And right now, her child barely “looks” black, which might actually be worse. A lot of the time, kids with that type of look would hardly be raised as black or in touch with what it means to be black. But with a parent like Kendra, the real danger might be that the kid gets raised with all kinds of ignorant, incorrect ideas about being black and won’t have much of an opportunity to find out any differently because he will be around a lot of white kids and, because of how he looks, won’t necessarily be treated the way a lot of blacks are treated. So, another reason I look at the kid and feel sorry for him.

Again, as I said, I don’t know her. Maybe she’s a fine mother. You never really know.

Either way, I can’t stand the commercials, and I know I’m not going to be able to stand it when the show finally airs.

So, I’m going to have to give up “The Golden Girls.” I know it comes on the Hallmark Channel, too, but those times don’t work for me. Like, right now, there’s the usual Monday marathon on WE. It’s on after work, and I can watch it until I go to bed. Every weekday, there are episodes on after work. But I just don’t think I can take it anymore, and Kendra’s show debuts on June 5th (I know because, as I watch GG, there’s a little thingy in the bottom righthand corner that tells me this garbage).

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America’s Most Ignorant

I have never wanted kids. I just have never had a fondness for them. That’s not to say I hate kids, but kids feel as if they can completely be themselves around me because I am not parental or authoritative in my demeanor, i.e. kids behave badly around me. I guess that might be a reason why kids have always liked me, and I guess that’s why people in my family always had to give kids some version of a “Ren really is an adult, so you need to treat her like one” speech. So, because I have older sisters who have done the typical married-with-children thing, I have been fighting kids off with an invisible bat since I was about 13 or 14. Kids think I am fun and funny, and I always have stuff that they like. So, I can’t figure out how to get them to leave me alone.

Don’t worry–I’m never having kids. I know I have no business with any! Too many people don’t know that about themselves, though.

One of the reasons I don’t want kids is because it’s too much work and too much responsibility for me. I look at my sisters, and I just cannot imagine living the kind of lives they live. I don’t mean that in an insulting way. But if I were given two choices–to live the life I currently live or to be married with kids–I’d choose the life that I currently whine about on this blog, i.e. the life where I have all these expensive degrees that I don’t/can’t use, owe all this money, live at home with my parents in a city I don’t like and work a job where I’m bored and make peanuts. The way the majority of adult women live simply isn’t for me, that’s all. And I’ve realized it’s not even just about kids–I think I generally have anxiety when it comes to responsibility, at least in terms of tasks (and yes, I am the “baby” in my family). This is why I don’t run my own business, why I tend not to take initiative with things and why I tend to only want raises and not promotions.

Unfortunately, because I am related to one of the many people in the world who didn’t seem to understand that she had no business having kids–and her excuse for a husband likewise seemed not to understand this about himself–I am now in the position to have a hand in some kid being my responsibility.

I don’t know if I can articulate how uncomfortable responsibility makes me in a lot of cases. At work, it’s usually a scared sort of flipping out; at home, it’s usually an angry sort of flipping out. When I used to babysit, it would be more of a scared flipping out, though. So, imagine how I feel when I’m given other people’s responsibilities.

See, one of my nieces has moved in with my parents and me. Really, she was kicked out of her house. In most ways, she’s a normal teenager. So, she didn’t really do anything all that unusual to warrant being kicked out of the house. Her mother (my sister) and her stepfather are just, very frankly, fucked in the head, that’s all. My father has very little to do with my sister because of this, and I have very little to do with her because of this. My other sister doesn’t live in our city, so that kind of solves having anything to do with her. My mother is the only person who hasn’t known how to let go, but I think that’s changing, especially after this stuff with my niece being kicked out for no real reason.

My family is not at all full of geniuses. But my parents have worked as educators, and my closest aunt and uncle work as educators. I’m the best-educated person in my family on paper, having attended–what I call–an Ivy-Like university and a Public Ivy university, as well as earning a law degree. So, I never thought I’d be related to someone whom most people would consider dumb.

People, I’m not a politically correct person–my niece is dumb. I’ve known this for a long time, but now that she lives with me…wow.

My father still teaches at a college, even though he’s technically retired, so he is not shocked by my niece. No one in my family really seems to be shocked by it, except for me. My father sees it all the time–very dumb people who somehow make it through high school and into college. “Dumb” means they can’t read, the way they text and write on Facebook is the way they write school papers and school presentations, they cannot speak standard English or speak with any semblance of good diction/enunciation, they can’t think critically and they don’t know school basics. Obviously, I knew that my niece speaks like crap and writes like crap, but I didn’t know she couldn’t read or that she is learning absolutely nothing at school but is somehow passing on to the next grade most years (not every year, though). She’s either a sophomore in high school or a junior in high school…really can’t tell because she has failed a couple of classes.

I now know that she can’t read because one of the ways in which I’ve grudgingly become responsible for her, being known as the most intelligent person in the family, is by having to come home from work and “help” her with her homework. I was not asked to do this. This has been forced on me. And you have to understand something–you’re talking about an average Joe expected to do something that really can’t be done by an average Joe. That is, my niece, having gotten as far as she has and being as bad off as she is academically, is way beyond just typical help with homework that you’d give a kid or teenager. The girl…can’t…read.  She is in Spanish 2 and she gets all this Spanish homework, but she doesn’t…know…any…Spanish. Of course, no one else in my family knows any Spanish, except for me and my sister who doesn’t even live around here.

She needs professional help at this point. Honestly, she needed professional help years ago. Of course, no one wanted to pay for this professional help years ago when my parents knew she needed it, and no one wants to pay for it now. Money is not an issue for my parents. But these are people who have no problem with heading to the casino 2 or 3 times a week to throw away at least $100 each time, and they say, “It’s not my responsibility.” So, somehow, that makes it mine?

And it’s not, but I’d still pay to send my niece to Sylvan if I could afford it and if she could get to/from Sylvan (which, I can’t help with either of those things). I would much rather do that than spend 9+ hours away from home at work/in traffic and then be expected to come home and do some teenager’s homework. Because with someone this far gone, you can’t “help” them with their work–someone else either basically has to do it or it won’t get done. And doing my niece’s homework has been my parents’ answer for so long that now there is no hope that she can just sit down and do it herself. If she can’t read, she can’t do her homework. My parents just want her to pass. They are not necessarily concerned with her learning or developing the skills she’s lacking.

I don’t know if you think I’m selfish or not. But 1) I do not believe in doing other people’s work–and I am referring both to my niece’s homework and to the fact that my sister is the one who is supposed to have this burden; 2)  I don’t have kids and never will have kids in part because I do not want the kind of life where I have to spend all day at work and then come home and deal with kids, kids’ homework and all that stuff; 3) I don’t like drama, and years of drama related to my sister truly makes me wish she and her entire family would disappear because I’m tired of all of that. Furthermore, my niece is not that different from her mother. They are both the type of people whom, every time you turn around, it’s something. I don’t want to deal with that.

If these things make me selfish, then I’m selfish and smart at the same time…because I’m not one of those dumb parents who actually has kids they don’t want to come home and deal with and, thus, won’t come home and deal with.

See, it’s not my niece’s fault that she’s dumb. And America’s most ignorant is not just all these dumb kids who are in high school and college and who will someday take this nation down to even lower depths than we’re currently experiencing. A pretty good percentage of America’s ignorant people are today’s parents (and today’s school administrators/teachers).

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