Monthly Archives: August 2013

Why I am not afraid to “Hide”

People can be self-centered, self-serving, hurtful, catty, and mean. And often they disguise it with religion, politics, or cultural beliefs. Personally, I think that no matter what your beliefs – the golden rule is never a bad one to live by.

Treat people the way that you would want to be treated. Consider how your words and actions could affect someone other than yourself. When you choose not to, and you widely publicize your closed-minded propaganda to the masses (friends, family, perhaps your children and their friends) I can’t help but want to call you on it, throw a bitchy comment your way, or perhaps even point you back to the old WWJD moniker.

But I try not to do that. I try to remember that I would just be stooping to a level that is beneath me. I try to treat others the way that I would want to be treated. Instead of allowing their words or posts to hurt or anger me, I hide them from my Facebook feed.

I'll Just Hide You

I’ll Just Hide You

The world would be a much kinder and gentler place if we all practiced this new social media golden rule. “When people make comments born of ignorance, hatred, bigotry, small-mindeness, jealousy, or self-righteous judgement – save yourself angst and energy – just click HIDE.”

The more you put this new mantra into practice, the more your life (or at least your Facebook feed) will be filled with positivity, cat videos, and shares from your favorite brand names and bloggers. All the bigotry, hate, racism, and discrimination creeping into your feed from those you still want to call friends (and maybe a few family members) will lessen.

Give it a try. Hide those folks who can’t seem to stop spreading hate and intolerance with their “free speech.” And perhaps when Hillary runs for President in 2016 and it becomes crystal clear that half the men, and possibly a few women, you know on Facebook are against a female POTUS, you won’t feel the need to leave Facebook entirely.

Rebecca

aka ‘ZenKitty2’

#riseabove
#hidethatshit
#Hillary2016

I’m down with Hillary

Reader Submission: Holiday Road to Nowhere

Chaney writes:

I admit it, I range from catty levels 3 to 5 about a million times a day; I’m trying to keep this story at level 3 or below, but might fail.  My story today is really asking for help to deal with resisting cattiness.  I conceptually recognize that cattiness is not the right direction for this situation, but my brain keeps generating catty things to say and or do to the point that I can’t sleep.

My sister-in-law has hurt my feelings.  In May I invited her and her husband and two adorable sons to visit my husband and me sometime this summer.  She declined my invitation, and indicated the reason was that she didn’t want to drive 15+ hours with toddlers in the car.  I don’t have kids, but I didn’t question it because, well, I know I wouldn’t want to be in a car for 15+ hours with toddlers, even if they are super cute!  In July, she and her hubby drove the boys to Sesame Place for a vacation which is almost a 20 hour drive.  I expressed my hurt to my husband (with some choice catty words) and he pointed out that really one vacation a summer is practical and Sesame Place is more age appropriate for the kids (we live about 20 minutes outside of Williamsburg, VA) Though I was hurt, I knew he was right, and thought I was over it.

–UNTIL TONIGHT–

Just before I put on my jammies, I found pictures on Facebook from a SECOND vacation, this one to Niagara Falls and it also included flying, not driving.  My claws came out faster than a knife fight in a phone booth, but I kept them off of the keys and away from Facebook.  Oooooooh the things I wanted to say were so level five I might have been catty enough to create a level six!! I wanted to slap her to sleep and then slap her for sleeping.

–Then I took a deep breath–

I know that no good will come from saying any of the things I’ve thought.  I know that Facebook is not the appropriate place to comment  on how betrayed I feel.  Most importantly I know I’m mad because she hurt my feelings.  She was probably (hopefully) just trying to be nice in May when she declined my offer.  Driving seemed like a good excuse when talking to me–but then she drove the kids even further away and then later took an airplane.  The options of things to do with toddlers here is not as high as Sesame Place–but it’s still much nicer than Niagara Falls.

That brings me to now as I write these words.  I’m still upset and my feelings are still hurt.  I want so much to believe that my sister-in-law has no idea what she has done.  My brain says keep your mouth shut and retract those claws, but every other fiber of my being wants to make her cry until she’s run out of moisture to filter through her eyes.

How do I follow my brain’s advice?  Thank you for listening, Chaney

Dear Chaney,

Let’s just go ahead and address the elephant in the room first:tumblr_mm049gu6SX1rgfrg4o1_1280

Whew!  Glad that’s out of the way!  Nothing like the thought of spending vacations with the family to make us glad we’re not  the Griswolds!

Now on to the meat of the issue:

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You have ranked yourself between Catty Levels 3 and 5 consistently.  But, you’ve shown a great deal of restraint and a desire to create peace within your family that doesn’t match your confession.  So, you’re either on the road to recovery, or you’re your own worst critic.  We think that it might be a combination of the two.  Regardless, we don’t think having hurt feelings over an issue as blatant as this is remotely catty.  We’d be hurt, too.

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So, let’s review just a few of the myriad of reasons why your sister-in-law might have declined the invitation:

  • Could either trip have been work related, gifted or won in a contest?
  • Is it possible that your sister-in-law was avoiding the stress that accompanies bringing a destructive toddler or two into a non-kid-proofed house? (She could have been trying to save your Hummel figurine collection from certain death!)
  • Might there be grudges or hurt feelings on her part from previous trips (you DID admit to having catty tendencies, after all)?
  • Do you think the other two trips were already planned and she just didn’t know how to tell you?
  • Does your home have the room to accommodate her family comfortably?
  • Does your sister-in-law have other family or friends in your area that she’d be obligated to visit (but might not want to) while there?
  • Is it possible that your sister-in-law was hoping you’d offer to come to her?

Now, we’re not excusing her.  Regardless of her reasons, she should have been honest with you from the start.  And, while your first inclination is this:

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It’s always a good idea to consider all possible motivations of the person who hurt you.

You asked for help communicating your feelings so we’ve written an email for you.  All you have to do is copy/paste it and send it on its merry way.  Feel free to edit it, adjust it, or addend it as you feel fits your family situation.

Dear __________,

I hope that you and your precious family are well and that you have had a great summer.  I’ve enjoyed the pictures you’ve shared on Facebook, and have poured over each and every one, studying the little faces of ______ and _______ as they discovered the wonders of Sesame Place and Niagara Falls.  The kids are so lucky to have such a great summer of awesome experiences!

<optional insert if you want to discuss your feelings with her>I have to admit to a bit of shock and hurt, though, when I realized you had scheduled not one, but two family vacations to distant locales when you’d stated that distance was the reason you couldn’t visit us here in _________.  I find myself wondering if the real reason you didn’t visit is because we have offended you in some way.

If so, I’m very sorry and want you to know that I would never intentionally hurt any of you, and would love the opportunity to make right whatever is keeping our families apart.  </optional insert if you want to discuss your feelings with her>

_______ and I love and miss you all, and hope that we can plan a visit together in the near future.  Our home is open to you always, but know that the mountain is always willing to come to Mohammed if the distance is still a problem.

Love,

Chaney

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And there you go, Chaney-Cat!  We hope the email works to open the lines of communication between your family and hers.  And next year, why don’t you visit her or suggest a half-way (and kid-friendly) meeting point?  We’ll help you load the car.

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Best of Luck,

The Am I Being Catty Team

Reader Submission: My Business Card Kicks Your Card’s A$$

“Amelia” writes:

A guy and I work in the same field, so we had known each other for several years before he came to work with me.  I helped hire him into my company in 2010.  I left in 2011 and with my departure, there was just some bad blood.  I felt like he was part of a group that was “in” with the boss, the same group that pushed some of us who had been there for a while out the door.  I have no proof, but I feel like he told lies about me to the boss. He just got promoted to a director, a position that was suppose to be mine, until the guy who hired me left. A week or so after finding out about his promotion, I wrote him a nice note on my finest stationary and congratulated him, told him that I know he worked hard, just like me, to get to where he is. I closed by saying please keep in touch, and I enclosed my business card which included my new title of “Executive Director.”   HA HA!!!!!!  It was gloating for sure.  Ultimately, I wanted him to know he didn’t ruin my life. In fact I wound up a 1,000 times better.

Now, that’s a nice business card.

Dear “Amelia”,

First, congratulations on your promotion. Since you don’t seem to have a question for us, we’re going to make up a few for you, and answer them.

Question 1: Am I being catty?
Answer: HELL, YES YOU ARE! In fact, you’re so catty that if I had two dead mice, I’d give you one!

Question 2: Could I have been cattier? If so, how?
Answer: Well, there’s always room for improvement, dear. You could have sent him a cake like this:

Let him have his cake and eat it, too!

Let him have his cake and eat it, too!

Question 3: Do you think I’m witty and funny?
Answer: Well, your heart was in the right place. But, then again I think I am witty and funny. In fact, I’m pretty sure I may be the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. I wish “Am I Being Catty” had business cards, because I’d send you one.

I’m CEO, Bitch.

Now, we have questions back to you.

Question 1:  You think this guy lied about you? Spread untrue gossip?  Is this like a “I’ve heard from reliable sources” kind of thing? If so, what a douche. Or is this more like the pope conspiracy theories?  Paranoia is the land just east of CrazyBitchistan.

See what a short hop it is between these two places?

See what a short hop it is between these two places?

Question 2: Why you care? Did you feel the need to prove yourself? If so, have you ever heard the phrase, “living well is the best revenge?”  Keeping up with who’s who at your old job shows you still have resentment toward the situation or lack of resolution. Why do you need him to know you came out in a higher ranking position?

Question 3:  Did you think your jab was on the sly? It does get you a level 3 catty badge and membership to the Disney Villain club. We know it’s a cutthroat world in corporate America, but why burn bridges?

Look, Amelia.  If anything, our questions show you that we really haven’t walked in your shoes.  If the guy was spreading rumors about you and sabotaged your chances at a promotion, we totally get why you did what you did.

We’re not endorsing it, but completely understand your motivation.  And, if that’s the case, then it sounds like he belongs on Team Disney Villain more than you do.  BUT, there’s an upside, as you very well know: Every Disney villain loses in the end, and the princess always gets the guy and/or the Executive Director role.

So, congratulations on the promotion, you Level 3, you.  Now, go enjoy it and stop stressing over how the undeserving turn out.  Captain Karma will take care of that for you.

Just our two cents,

The AIBC Team
#iwinatlife #yougoindownsucka #disneyvillain #crazybitchistan #karma #level3 #amibeingcatty

Don’t Judge Me…I Judge Myself

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For years, well actually the last four, I have struggled with what I believe to be “Self Imposed  Mommy Judgment and Competition.” I have the sense of paranoia that other Mommy’s judge me and even compete with me based on my child’s behaviors, cleanliness, appearance, development and manners.

Why do I feel the judgment to be self-imposed, you ask? There are a collection of stories that showcase my “Not Good Enough Mommy Moments.” And I have over-evaluated, loathed and poor-mouthed my own parenting to anyone with a set of ears.

I remember one ocassion at a friend’s over-the-top toddler birthday party when  my child became the “Main Event.” To say that my little Prince Charming is strong-willed would be an understatement. He began his “show” by running and screaming through the yard during what would’ve been THE SWEETEST STORY-TIME EVENT EVER. All of the other children were quietly sitting on a blanket in front of Mother Goose, sipping juice boxes, and listening to EVERY SINGLE WORD she read. After repeatedly trying to coax him to sit down (by all means necessary), he began launching rocks at Mother Goose. Holy Mother of God, I felt my face burning. Finally and thankfully, the story-time portion ended and everyone was left unharmed UNTIL…..Operation STICKITTOMYFRIENDS began.

He single-handedly swiped every child’s party favor and claimed it for his own, then started a grand game of Keep-Away (from his Mother). Once I finally caught up to him, he collapsed on the ground at my feet and began throwing the Mother of All temper tantrums! I felt what I believed every Mother fears in that very moment. It was the sting of every judgy Mommy eye glaring AT ME! SOLELY AT ME!

I left there with the “All Judging Eye” burned into my retina. I just knew they had gathered around and swapped equally horrifying stories of my failed parenting. I could imagine their snide, judgmental comments as we left followed with a round of roaring laughter. “Did she just lose control of her two year old? Seriously?”

There have been many more elaborate stories that showcase my failed attempts at successful parenting. Yes, I have been guilty of forgetting to brush my child’s teeth before preschool and later realized it halfway to work. (He sleeps with his mouth open!) I have also been known to let him dress himself to go to the grocery store…which usually entails mismatched clothing and some article on backwards. It never fails, we run into a Mommy we know. I leave feeling embarassed we left the house like that and imagine her judgment and what she thought of my failed parenting, “Bless her heart, her child always looks like an unmade bed. I should really stage and Mommy intervention.”

At times, I have allowed my child to eat non-organic, sugary substances like a piece of cake (or two) before his school day begins rather than fight with him. And sometimes in the evening, when I am dead-dog tired, I may even forget to ensure that he has adequately eaten from all of the four food groups (ie, I failed to serve that green vegetable) or, regretfully, even read his favorite bed-time story. Again, I envision what a perfect Mommy would think of me. “Did she really just feed her child that? I’m pretty sure I witnessed her feeding him cardboard chicken nuggets with french fries, an ice cream cone and a sugary drink to wash it all down.”

For years, I have felt inadequate to all of the displays of Parenting Perfection and believed that these Mommas existed only to shine the spotlight on my “not good enough” parenting. I have continuously shamed, criticized, ridiculed and even hated myself. The thought that other Mommas would find my parenting unsatisfactory haunted me and I often compared myself to them,  “Sally Sue ALWAYS looks so well put-together and even finds the time to make sure the triplets  have matching tops and bottoms. She even goes the extra mile to braid their hair and hand-ties equally impressive matching bows.”

I was equally convinced that if you lined me up and graded me along with each and every one of my fellow Mommy peers, I would be the one responsible for setting the curve. Even worse, I would’ve willingly removed myself from parenting circles so that I could avoid being identified as “THAT Mom.”

But then I had the epiphany that my shame only existed because I believed in it and allowed it to be there. After sharing my woes with one of my Mommy friends, she very truthfully informed me “Krissi, we do the best we can to get by. Do you honestly believe we invest our well-deserved down-time worrying about what YOU perceived to be your parental shortcomings. Get a grip and start believing in your unique gifts.”

She was right. I needed to hear that and I believe very differently now. I recognized that there were all “types” of Mommas out there. Feeling judged by other Mothers was an extremely self-serving, egotistical way to live. I now believe no one was actively judging my parenting. I was doing a fine job of it myself.

I realized that most Mommas were trying to carefully weave together a family life while using their personal talents. It wasn’t that they never faced life’s challenges. They simply knew how to work with the tools they were given to the best of their ability. And although I imagined they were spending a great deal of time judging my inadequacies while rubbing their perfection in my face, they were actually far too busy enjoying their beautiful lives than to concern themselves with what I was or wasn’t doing in mine.

As it seems, there is a very vulnerable nature to parenting. For most women, parenting may very well be the most important and difficult job we will ever have. We are all just a little afraid we are sometimes doing it wrong. Even when we are scared, we have a choice. We can choose to believe it is a competition and others are judging us, or we can choose to believe that we are members of an elite sisterhood of Warrior Moms….Fighting for one goal and as one united team.

Today I am in a much calmer, comfortable place than I was before. It allows me to  feel at peace with my efforts in parenting. And when I have those moments that make me question my parenting skills and I feel inadequate, I am reassured that other Moms like me have my back.

Krissi

AIBC Team Member

Reader Submission: A Family Quarrel and Lost Pie

“Danielle” writes:

My sister-in-law invited me and my husband and kids to a cookout at my MIL’s home a few weeks ago. (Because my SIL doesn’t have a traditional job she brings her two boys, and they stay at her parents’ lake home with them over the summer.)

We go over there and have a really nice dinner. When it’s over, my MIL passes out desserts. I notice my SIL begins to bang dishes in the kitchen and slam cabinet doors. Then she goes over to my hubby and whispers in his ear. I hear him respond: “No, that’s not going to happen.” Well, I just try to stay out of it after that. I figure he’ll tell me later at home. Then she walks over to me and snatches my dessert that I have not even taken a bite of! I say: “Hey! I’m not through with that.” She responds with “Oh well.’ And then proceeds to dump my dessert in the garbage!

I try to ignore it because she is always a little weird, and I just go and get another dessert. I notice she and my hubby go outside. After about 30 minutes, I go out to check on him, and she is yelling at him. When I ask what is going on, he says: “She is mad because we didn’t get up and go wash dishes for everyone.

Huh???

We were invited. She never said we were hosting. Who does that? I told her if I invited her to our home, I would never ask her to do that, and she told me that would never happen because she would never come to our house! We just walked away and ignored her the rest of the night.

I told my in-laws later what she had done, but they didn’t seem to really care and chalked it up to a sibling quarrel.

Dear “Danielle,”

Ok, first let’s talk about the elephant in the room. She threw away your dessert?!

That would get you cut at my house, regardless of catty behavior. Thank God there was extra dessert or it could have turned into a Hatfield and McCoy mini-series.

No pie for you

No pie for you

This does seem like a bit of a family quarrel, especially since the in-laws didn’t seem to blink an eye. The fact you tattled on your sister-in-law would earn you a level 2 catty badge, though.

Second, let’s discuss the difference between catty and bitchy. We agree, the SIL’s behavior is a little off… Who does dishes before dessert is over? If you’re washing dishes before dessert is over, you miss out on dessert. HELL-O? Her behavior is a classic example of bitchy. These aren’t underhanded, snarky comments said with a smile. She was being overly pouty and whiney, and then taking it out on the Marie Callendar’s chocolate silk pie.

A true catty comment would have gone something like this:

“Danielle, you always have the most beautifully styled manicures. You must never do the dishes at your house. Or anyone else’s, obviously. More pie?”

More of my homemade pie?

More of my homemade pie?

With that said, when we host functions at our house, I always assume I’ll do the dishes after the guests leave. That includes family. Why clean up when you can be visiting and gossiping, right? Now, if someone goes into my kitchen and helps themselves to the dish soap, I’ll happily bring the wine and gossip to them while they do the dishes. And I don’t feel a single ounce of guilt. You know why? Because I don’t expect it of my guests, but when it’s offered, I don’t refuse it.

Now that we’ve decided that you’re not at fault for this one (except the tattling, you naughty girl), next time I would go into the kitchen and tell her that you AND YOUR HUSBAND will help her with the dishes later, and to come back and visit until dessert is over. Since your husband was the one who was originally asked, I’m afraid her anger was at him, you just got caught up in it.

The good news is that apparently you’ll never have to host the family dinner at your house because of her little tirade, but if you do, I would suggest paper plates.

The Am I Being Catty Team

Because I need to keep my job

You may love your job and your coworkers may be the salt of the earth, but despite that at some point you’ll likely want to throttle their idiotic little necks. I know, because I’m right there with ya, baby.

Ok, ok, I can admit that sometimes it’s my own stress level at the moment that takes whatever…shall we generously say, naive?…questions/comments my coworkers make and pushes me from zero to MegaBitch inside of 0.02 seconds. Well, inside my head, that is.

However, since I am not a horrible person and because I need to keep my job, I keep Cruella De Vil in a muzzle as much as I possibly can and try to keep that civil and helpful tone on the outside. I can admit that I don’t always fully succeed in not being short with them.

So when one of them says that she doesn’t know about this thing that we work with on a weekly — if not daily — basis — I want to scream, “How the hell do you not know this? You have worked here for over 5 years! We deal with this everyday! Really? REALLY??”

However, because I need to keep my job, I take a breath and explain it.

When one of them talks in a circle for 10 minutes during a meeting, I sit and endure it while trying to discern a point. Because I need to keep my job, I never ask, “If I were to squeeze your head like a pimple, would anything come out?”

I don’t care if people talk. If the noise bothers me, I can just turn up my earphones. I can do that even when I’m doing your work because you’ve been assigned a project and you’ve been sitting there yapping for over an hour (which means I’ll have to do your work even longer). Because I need to keep my job, I don’t hurl things at your head. I don’t remind you that it’s extremely inconsiderate and that I’m already drowning in the piles on my desk, and hey, thanks for adding yours! Making sure you do your work is above my pay grade and I’m not a tattle tale.

We don’t all have the same strengths or skill sets. Some of my coworkers are great with customers on the phone (though I hear them give incorrect information), while I’m okay on the phone and great with details. I can lack patience, and that is what I constantly struggle to improve upon. Because I need to keep my job, I’ll leave it to the boss to tell them how to improve. Though my resentment continues to fester, I’ll simply continue to hide it.

Nyx

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To know you, is to love you.

We are taught that in our families we have the one place where we can find love and protection, not to mention acceptance, so when we are attacked on our home turf the sting of the insult seems more painful and longer lasting.

Our families know things about us that we wish never happened; they’ve seen your snaggle-toothed 4th grade picture and they are all too aware that you slept with your parents well past your 10th birthday.  They have ammo that should be outlawed by NATO.

That is why family functions can become super charged with tension; your skin begins to crawl at the mere mention of introducing that new main squeeze to your ever expanding brood and let’s not even discuss the dreaded first holiday season with the cousin who witnessed you wetting your pants during the annual family bottle rocket war.

We tend to tread lightly when entering into a family occasion but after a few minutes we relax, we remember all the stories of our childhood and our hearts and faces begin to glow with the feeling of love and laughter. Then it happens, someone goes too far. The story of you forging your Mom’s name in crayon leads to the regaling of the time you sang so loudly in the restaurant bathroom that all the patrons clapped for you when you returned to the table. You are ashamed, you are hurt, you are pissed; how could they say that?? How could they bring up the time you were made fun of, and in front of your love?

It is in that very moment that we forget that they re-tell these stories out of adoration, we forget that the person who said it would do anything for us. All we remember is the time they ate their weight in grapes and they pooped their pants while on their father’s shoulders; and before we know it each story gets retold with more biting humor and pent up hostility.

At times we leave out of anger and other times we sit with the family, stewing in the awkward silence, and wishing someone had pulled up the emergency break so we could have all avoided the wreckage.

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It is true that our cattiness can come out during our less-than-stellar moments, but whether it be with a stranger or with those that we hold dearest, we need to remember to breathe.  Next Thanksgiving when the story of you running into the sliding glass door becomes fodder, laugh it off and silently relive the night your cousin rammed his car into his prom date’s living-room in your head.  Just taking those few seconds to breathe can make the difference; save a relationship and even help you.

– NinjaKitty

#biteyourtongue