“Oh, I Think That I Found Myself A Cheerleader” Is My WTF Moment

Cheerleader. It has a catchy beat for sure. I often find myself tapping my thumbs on my steering wheel while listening to it on the radio.

But then I pause to consider the message. For some reason, it feels particularly heinous- a subtle form of narcissistic misogyny that instructs girls and women that they are tools or pawns to the ego of the man singing: If she knows her role, knows her place and remains subservient and responds to his every whim, she will be granted the ultimate reward- a ring.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Penny, what about all the rap songs about “hoes,” “bitches,” “sluts,” etc.?

Those messages are also insidious and overt “status” symbolism for the men rapping. They are usually sexually and physically degrading on their face. But rarely do these types of songs take the time they pinpoint and exploit the insecurities of young women in such a psychological fashion. Reading the lyrics really made me ponder the ridiculousness of this man’s message in 2015.

What do I mean by this? Consider the “Cheerleader” lyrics:

When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cause she stay strong (Yeah yeah)-
She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
And I’m like no, not really cause

(Okay, so she’s strong because she knows about all these other women tempting him, but yet stays in his corner and plays her role to prop up his ego. Also notice the little insecurities of all the devious other women trying to get him to cheat. Apparently, he’s got to bat these women off with a stick!)

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

(She’s his cheerleader, building his ego, in her role and in her place.)

She walks like a model
She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle (Yeah yeah)

(Objectifying, subservience and immediate response to his needs when he summons her).

‘Cause I’m the wizard of love
And I got the magic wand
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

(So he’s so amazing in bed metaphorically and beyond, and although he’s thought about cheating enough to notice other women being “tempting,” he’s steadfast in his loyalty because she is there to fulfill his needs.)

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
And I’m like no, not really cause

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

She gives me love and affection
Baby did I mention, you’re the only girl for me
No I don’t need a next one
Mama loves you too, she thinks I made the right selection
Now all that’s left to do
Is just for me to pop the question

(Again, it’s a transaction. It’s what SHE can do for HIM. I mean, she is his cheerleader after all. Where’s the love? Just because she fulfills his immediate needs, that does not a marriage make).

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

I’ll take the risk of sounding like a feminist. Hell, it’s in my bio so I’m going to embrace it. It would take years to analyze the misogyny of songs and the same degree in which women objectify men in their songs, so it’s an impossible task to do a comparison of one song to another.
My only purpose is realizing that this catchy, up-beat song that I find myself singing along with was my WTF moment as I paused to consider the message.
I think I’ll stick to simple, sappy love songs for awhile…

My Dad’s (Not So) Helpful, Stone Aged Dating Advice

Copyright 2015 Mumz the Word...

Copyright 2015 Mumz the Word…

During my weekly chat with my father, we somehow broached the topic of dating in this day-in-age. His “wisdom” never ceases to amaze me. He reminded me that I was nearing 30 and that studies show that the longer-in-the-tooth women are, combined with higher education, a career and a little one, the dating pool is narrowing by the day.

He offered some fun, little tid bits of “advice” cloaked in pseudo-scientific research:

  1. Studies show fewer men prefer marrying women with higher degrees and careers, much less women with higher degrees, careers AND a child from a previous relationship.
  2. Even when a woman is childless, her age narrows the dating pool because men tend to prefer younger women at the biological peak of their child bearing years.
  3. Women should resign themselves to having more children, even when they don’t want more, because biologically speaking, men don’t like to raise other men’s children unless they also have one of their own.
  4. Men as hunters, prefer being the breadwinners and feel threatened when their wife makes more which can cause marital problems (totally hypocritical since my mom was the breadwinner in their marriage).
  5. Divorce rates are astronomical, and with all the online dating apps around, men have greater opportunities to stray (ummmm….what about women? Don’t they have the same opportunities to stray?)

Sorry dad, I love you, but this patriarchal thought process does nothing for women empowerment, nor speaks to the modern woman.

How about this: A stable, loving relationship with a man is a NICE TO HAVE and not necessary for my well-being, drive or sense of accomplishment. I’d rather take my time, even if it means it will take years, than settle for a man less than what I deserve. The “old maid” and “cat lady” stereotypes no longer apply when you know who you are, what you want and how to get it.

Ladies, never let this type of silly rhetoric scare you from finding the right guy or settling with a jerk off just so you have a pretty ring on your finger.

If my mother had anything to say about it, who held out and married at 34, she’d tell him it’s hogwash.

Right on mom.

Parents’ Irregular Work Hours Psychologically Affect Kids

A new study from the Economic Policy Institute is looking at how social class characteristics effect children’s development and achievement to suggest policy changes — found that kids of all ages can suffer fallout when parents are called in for erratic work hours.

For toddlers, that can mean hampered sensory perception, learning and problem-solving skills, and verbal communication.

Young teenagers, meanwhile, are more prone to depression and risky behaviors, such as smoking or drinking, when parents work at night.

The biggest takeaway from the findings is that policy changes and new laws are needed to prevent employers from disregarding the scheduling needs of their workers, especially those who are parents. “Employers should avoid these practices,” Eisenbrey stresses. “When you change a schedule without notice, childcare plans get disrupted or are impossible to even make, especially when it comes to high quality care, which requires regular drop-off and pickup times.”

Doesn’t seem like Amazon would care about this study too much…

Coming Clean

So, there is a reason why my posts have kind of fallen off the wagon. And no, it’s actually not due to moving.

I just started my own business!!!!

It’s about three weeks green, a couple sleepless nights and many “what if’s?”

I know, I know, I’m crazy.

A new mom in school every weekend and working full time + a start up = WTF.

But now that I have a better idea of where I’m going and what my company should be (a new take on the PR boutiques floating around D.C.), I want to come back to the community I love= you guys.

Seriously, I have gained so much inspiration from the blogs I follow. Everyone who has shared a little slice of their life has taught me invaluable lessons: namely, to go for it.

This will not be another blog hocking my wares. I want to keep my voice authentic and my face bitchy on here.

Happy to be back :-).

The Struggle Is Real: Mommy Exhaustion Sent Me To The ER!

I think to some degree, most mothers think their body is in alignment with their million+ checklists. I certainly did.

After a week of fitful sleep due to a crying toddler (probably 4 hours a night), incessant caffeine consumption, dehydration, a full time job, my weekend master’s program and a prickly sinus infection, I was standing in line at the grocery store last Thursday. As the cashier bagged my groceries, I searched my wallet for my credit card. In that moment, my vision started to narrow. I saw blotches of black and the lighting began to fade. I felt woozy, dizzy and  extremely lightheaded.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” I heard the attendant ask.

I was confused. I handed him my credit card instead of swiping it on the card reader.

“Ma’am? Do you need to sit down?”

I briefly looked up and nodded. I remember making a beeline to the wall, probably to sit down, stumbling and then crashing into the wall. My knee hit the wall, I saw a flicker of black as if the lights went off and then regained consciousness as my butt hit the tile floor.

I remember hearing the store go up in a mini uproar.

“She’s diabetic! Get her some Gatorade!”

“Look for a medical bracelet!”

“Call 911. She looks like she had a seizure!”

“I just called 911.”

I AM calling 911.”

Two cashiers swarmed, asking if I was pregnant, one asking if they could call someone. I feebly handed my cell phone to an attendant and said, “Call home.” I was unable to sit in the chair they provided.

My dad answered and the attendant tried to explain the situation. She handed the cell phone to me (which was on it’s last life) and I heard more frantic questions on the line.

“Where am I?” I asked the cashier. I knew it was a grocery store but I couldn’t articulate the name.

In a state of complete confusion, I couldn’t remember which street the grocery chain was located, so I gave the phone back to the cashier.

Before I knew it, fire fighters, EMTs and a police officer were all loading me onto a gurney asking similar questions. Drugs? No! Alcohol? No! Pregnancy? NO! Medical issues? Not that I know of.

The lovely EMTs ushered me into the ambulance, took my glucose levels (normal), vitals (rapid pulse), and hooked me up to an IV. We took a short ride to the hospital where I answered the same questions and paid my fee.

It took $125 and a few tests to tell me what I already knew: I was over taxed, exhausted, dehydrated and in need of a BREAK.

I’m okay now. I was able to complete my final during the weekend with an A+ and start work today. But I learned an invaluable lesson: Mommy exhaustion is real.

To all the single working mothers or mothers in general, take care of yourself first and foremost…

A big thanks to all emergency responders, doctors and nurses out there- you guys are true angels.

Granny Panties Making A Come Back… Are Bloomers Next?

The New York Times got a little frisky in it’s Fashion and Style section with the article:

Young Women Say No to Thongs

The New York Times

The New York Times

Data provided by the research company NPD Group back her up. Sales of thongs decreased 7 percent over the last year, while sales of fuller styles — briefs, boy shorts and high-waist briefs — have grown a collective 17 percent.

“I noticed that a lot of women would come in with a friend, and they’d be asking: ‘Do you like this? Do you think he will like it?’ ” said Ms. Simpkins, who previously worked as a counselor to young girls at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass. “They’d be thinking about everyone else but themselves,” an attitude she thought the store encouraged. She was also frustrated with how many trends, colors and frills the lingerie industry pushed each season.

“Most women just want something basic for every day that will make them look and feel good,” she said.

So, in December, Ms. Simpkins introduced an underwear line with just one design: a white cotton panty with an unusually high cut and narrow back. The name, Hello Beautiful, is meant as an affirmation. She already counts Chloë Sevigny, an arbiter of all things cool, as a fan.

Fuller styles are a welcome alternative for Myla Dalbesio, a size 10 underwear model. “The high-waisted and high-cut styles hark back to a time when different body shapes were in style,” she said, adding that many larger women find high-rise briefs flattering because they define the waist and cover areas a woman may be less comfortable with.

Ms. Dalbesio said she was hopeful that the greater diversity of offerings was a sign that the lingerie industry is beginning to recognize that “there is not one ‘ideal body,’ but a plethora of them.”

In the end, it is about options.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more traditionally sexy and wearing a thong; that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist,” Ms. Toledano said. “This is a step toward embracing more variety in what’s offered.”

So ladies, I guess granny panties aren’t just for that time of the month anymore- they’re a fashion statement!

“Single Mom” Vocabulary: Harmful, Helpful Or Just Fact?

I started this blog with every intention on “owning” my single motherhood. I found it difficult (and still find it difficult) to label myself as a single mother because of all the social stigmas that say single mothers are women with the following attributes (some of which are based on credible and non-credible statistics, studies or outdated, but long-held beliefs):

  • Divorced (because they couldn’t keep a man), single mother-by-choice (because they couldn’t find a man during their fertile years) or unmarried/never married (because they were poor decision makers or couldn’t get the father to marry them).
  • Dependent on child support with other forms of government assistance.
  • Dependent on welfare and/or other forms of government assistance.
  • Lower socioeconomic status.
  • Uneducated, with the highest education level as some high school, a high school diploma, GED or some college credit.
  • At risk for chronic illnesses and diseases later in life.
  • Poor judge of character and poor decision makers.
  • Sufferers of mental illnesses, drug addictions or relationship addictions.
  • Chronically exhausted and prone to drama and instability.
  • Viewed as less desirable to date.
  • Other character flaws that have led to their current circumstances.
  • Contributors of the breakdown in traditional family values.
MTV's 16 & Pregnant Show- Jenelle

MTV’s 16 & Pregnant Show- Jenelle

If you Google “single mother” and click on the news element, some of the headlines look like:

  1. Single Mothers at Risk for Poorer Health Later in Life
  2. After East Village Fire, Internet Helps Single Mom Of 3 Who Lost Everything
  3. 7 Invaluable Love Lessons From Single Moms
  4. Single Mother Who Worked For Brink’s Says She Was Fired for Participating in ‘Fight for 15′ Protests
  5. Terminally Ill Single Mother From Santa Clarita Sues for Right to Die in California
  6. Single Motherhood, in Decline Over All, Rises for Women 35 and Older

I noticed a few trends:

1.) The distinction of “single mom” headlines versus the “mom” without marital status in the headlines were meant to elicit sympathy, empathy, pity, a call to action or a similar emotion.

2.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mother’s in the news had a overcoming adversity, positive, strength-building or character-building tone.

3.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mothers who opted to parent by choice were older, highly educated and of higher socioeconomic class and the tone was more neutral or positive than articles of single mothers by circumstance.

4.) Studies on single mothers had a subtle, negative tone that seem to reinforce social stigma. Authors make assumptions in the first article: “Single motherhood is associated with poverty in most societies, but more so in the USA than in Europe,” the authors explain. “This may lead to different mechanisms of selection into lone motherhood between countries. Particularly in Southern European countries, strong social and family networks may offset some negative effects of single motherhood.”

So here’s my conflict: Should we be talking about “motherhood” or “parenting” rather than “single motherhood”? There are obvious differences from a married mother and a single mother, but when it comes to the basic foundations of child rearing and parenting, why do we need to assign marital status?

Playing the devil’s advocate: Is it still relevant to use the term “single mother” so that we can connect with other like-minded individuals with similar experiences?

I’m not suggesting that one term is better than the others, but rather hoping other bloggers have some insights to the question:

“Single Mom” Vocabulary: Harmful, Helpful Or Just Fact?

What Do You Think About Multi Colored Hair?

I often dye my hair a few shades darker than my natural dark brown. Not quite black, but close. In my mind, it accentuates my olive complexion. On my last visit to the beauty salon, my hair stylist asked if I wanted to refresh my look with some colorful low lights like blue or purple. Since I work a 9 – 5 job, I wasn’t keen on a new, more daring look.

Some of my friends have jumped on the colorful hair bandwagon with red highlights but nothing too crazy.

Katy Perry In Blue

I see the mult-color hair trend as perfect for celebrities interested in reinventing their look or on the covers of a glossy teen/college magazine.