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  • How Do You Treat People When You’re in a Bad Mood?

    How often do you get in a bad mood? Every week? Every day? Every few hours?

    What do your bad moods look like? Do you take it out on the people around you? Do you retreat into yourself? Do you punish your furniture or punch walls? Or do you paint pictures of Donald Trump with your menses?

    Everyone gets into bad moods. It seems like an unavoidable aspect of the human condition. We can’t have happiness without moments of darkness. We all feel waves of pessimism, and ironically, our own thoughts are often the cause of the turmoil.

    Most problems we have are not the external interference of someone intentionally fucking with you. The majority of our personal suffering we put on ourselves by being upset over things we have little control over. We thus end up spending a huge part of our lives managing this self-induced pain.

    But here is the problem with being in a bad mood. NO ONE LIKES TO BE AROUND SOMEONE WHO’S IN A BAD MOOD!

    Negativity is more contagious than a strand of herpes infested Ebola virus mixed with measles. When you are around someone who is complaining, wallowing, or finding the fault in everything – it is hard not to sink into the pit of despair with them. Bad moods are the quick sand of the emotional spectrum, and most people will run the other direction so as not to get sucked in.

    So the question then becomes, what do you do with yourself when you are in a bad mood? If you don’t honor your feelings, they tend to fester and breed. That energy has to be expelled somehow, because denial only delays the inevitable breakdown. The ideal would be to notice your bad moods, but allow them to float through you without attachment. Just let them pass like gas! Yet that can be really hard if you are not a Buddhist monk spending your life meditating in the forest!

    When you live with a kid, their moods are in a constant state of chaos. They can get angry about something as simple as having too many raisins in their granola. Which although is maddening, is not a reason to throw yourself on the floor and weep as if you just ate your cat by accident.

    When Munch is in a bad mood, she also happens to be a total asshole. It is hard to be empathetic to her anguish when I also think she is being a dick. I don’t want Munch to feel like there isn’t space to be her authentic expressive self; but I also don’t want to be an emotional punching bag in the process.

    Toni: Listen, Munch. I totally understand that life can be frustrating, and sometimes you get in a bad mood. I am never asking you not to feel your feelings. But I am asking you to start thinking how you treat people when you are angry inside. If you are in a bad mood, is it possible for you to also be kind?

    The Munch was quiet for a moment while she took this suggestion in. Then she looked at me as if she totally understood what I was saying, then dramatically threw her head back.

    Munch: BUT IT’S SO HARD!!!!!

    Exactly Munch…

    (This was her first day of school… and boy was she in a bad mood!)

    first day of school

  • Being Spoiled vs Acting Spoiled

    Here in America, we are surrounded by overconsumption, overabundance, and overzealous materialism. Excess is everywhere. Go through your house right now and I bet you are surrounded by shit you don’t use, don’t need, but yet don’t want to get rid of.

    What if I need that second rolling pin later?! Say I was making a pie, and also wanted to beat someone over the head, but didn’t want to get flour everywhere. See ~ I NEED 2 ROLLING PINS!

    We have an obsession with stuff partly because of nostalgia, partly because of a fear of scarcity, and partly because it is so easy to get. Corporate Culture has made everything cheaper and more accessible. The seduction to buy things is so engrained in our psyche that we hardly ever question the impulse. Is it essential that I buy another pair of printed leggings with the Buddha’s face? Not really, but that doesn’t mean my butt won’t look cute in them!

    Often times we think we need money because we want to buy more things, but really what we should be looking for more of is time. More experiences. More moments that make memories. Who cares about material objects in the face of a life worth remembering?

    Because I don’t live in an urban environment, shopping is not one of my past times. Go in the woods and fart. Yeah, that is something I do. Go shopping for things? There really is nowhere to go. Except for Target.

    Even though I try to avoid supporting any multinational mega-business, I do sometimes wind up at Target. I mean, it’s not Wal-Mart. But sometimes, I have to get clothes for The Munch, batteries for the remote, a shower curtain, and, you know… leggings that make my butt look cute. YOU JUST CAN’T HAVE ENOUGH OF THOSE!

    The Munch and I probably go to Target once every 2 months and every time we go, she wants to buy a toy. Now I could say, “wait till your birthday or Christmas.” I probably should say that, right!? That way she understands the meaning of patience, and that she shouldn’t just try and fill The Void with crap.

    But then there is the selfish part of me that says, “Well, if I buy her this toy/Lego set/My Little Pony, when we get home she will leave me alone and play with it. Sure it was probably made in a sweatshop with materials that are not only toxic, but also off-gassing poisonous plastic secretions into the house, but did I mention she would also shut the fuck up for 10 minutes?”

    Not every time I enter a store with The Munch do I buy her something, but often times I do. It is not like she has expensive taste, but I also don’t want her to unconsciously devour shit around her that she later discards because it was too available. If we were living in Colonial times, and she only had one baby doll that was missing an arm and half it’s face – but it was all she had – she would love the shit out of that doll. But in my house where she has 10 fucking dolls, it is easy to lose interest because, hey, it’s just one of many.

    It is hard to pretend the world isn’t what it is. I don’t live in an off-the-grid geodesic dome. Acting like my child does, is borderline absurd. I could insist that The Munch only play with wool and wood I whittled into stick people. But I am not sure denial is going to empower The Munch to figure out how to navigate a world that is filled with longings. I want to instill values onto The Munch that build her awareness, not pretend like I can’t afford a $7 stuffed unicorn. I would rather talk about something being produced by a company that “isn’t kind to the people that make the toy,” than sheltering her from the fact that these things exist.

    Yet, sometimes I just buy her whatever the fuck she wants. Because fuck it. So yeah. The Munch is spoiled in that way for SURE! But there is a difference between acting spoiled and being spoiled. As long as she isn’t a selfish dick and gives a shit about child labor laws, this mother is happy.

    munch barette

    October 14, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 300

  • How Not To Be an Emotional Terrorist

    Even though emotions seem esoteric because you can’t tangibly experience them with your physical senses, that doesn’t mean they aren’t energetically tangible. We are all entangled in each other’s emotional webs. We feed off each other in an eternal feedback loop of feelings – like a snake giving it’s tail a blowjob.

    You are mad at me, so I then get mad at you, which makes you even madder at me, and that makes me SUPER mad at you. You know what? Forget it. I don’t even want to talk to you about this any more.

    People are so easily impacted by the moods of others. There is a contagious quality to our dispositions that spreads like a virus. It is really hard not be influenced by each others energies, and often we blame people for fucking with our chi. We say things like “you’re bringing me down,” “you’re putting me in a bad mood,” or “bitch don’t kill my vibe.” Yet even when we feel like we are victims of emotional terrorism, we are also the emotional terrorists when we take on other people’s feelings.

    Here is my 2 step guide on how not to be an emotional terrorist.

    1) Contain your own energetic temperament. If you are feeling particularly negative, perhaps keep to yourself until you can work through what’s going on. Just because there is internal turmoil doesn’t mean you have to externalize that experience and take it out on others.

    2) Don’t be an energetic sponge! It is one thing to be intuitive and notice that someone you love is cranky, sad, disappointed… whatever. You can have compassion for their experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to mirror their state of mind. You can still be happy and content around someone who is having a hard time.

    When we don’t own our own feelings, then we make it impossible for people to be authentic around us. We can’t go around being shitty and expect that not to impact people. But we also can’t get impacted every time we are around someone acting shitty. Maybe you come home from a hard day, and some motherfucker is in your house – like your kid, spouse, or dad who actually is a motherfucker. We are not academy award winning actors. I can’t always act happy just because someone is in my kitchen making a sandwich. When you live with people, they are sometimes going to witness your foul being, and that has to be okay.

    There is a fine line between allowing feelings to pass through us, and using them as weapons of mass destruction. If we all could learn how to better negotiate our moods, then we wouldn’t terrorize each other with them. Like when The Munch is really cranky, I don’t want to give her the impression that there isn’t space for that. I don’t scold her for having emotional complexity. Of course she can be in a bad mood about not finding the Lego piece. That is totally understandable. But it is also okay for me to leave the room as she processes those feelings. Just like she is free to feel, I am free to get the fuck out of there and do something else. I don’t to be the audience for that breakdown because holy shit kid; it is just a fucking Lego piece.

    Moments before the meltdown…

    lego much

    October 12, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Musings, Parenting, Playing, Relationships • Views: 303

  • Do You Get My Sense of Humor?

    Of course I want my kid to have her own personality, but I also like it when The Munch reminds me of me. The more like me she is, the more I relate to her, because you know, me.

    There are many ways in which The Munch and I see the world differently, and I embrace our divergent perspectives. She for one likes yogurt, where I happen to think it is worse than eating bear semen. She also has no interest in learning the rules to “Connect 4,” where I… actually that’s a really big problem and I need her to change that about herself immediately.

    My only hope was that my child would inherit a similar sense of humor to mine. If we can’t laugh about the absurdity of the world together, then how are we ever going to make it in this cold world? I know she isn’t sophisticated enough to understand the nuances of all my many vagina jokes, but I’m hoping the flaps and folds of her brain begin the birthing of that process.

    But you know what you guys? I think she’s starting to get it. For one, The Munch is beginning to wrap her mind around the concept of sarcasm. A few weeks ago some friends visited with their kids, and The Munch was really not into their children. They didn’t have a vibe she liked, they were pretty physically aggressive, and they made her room messy. We all had a plan to meet at the park, and when we got there, The Munch noticed that my friends’ car wasn’t there.

    Munch: Oh wow, it’s too bad your friends aren’t here yet.
    Toni: What do you mean?
    Munch: It’s just too bad they’re not here. I just really wish they were.
    Toni: You do?

    It was probably the proudest moment of my life. One single tear was shed knowing that my sweet little girl was slowly turning into the cynical bitch I know she can be.

    I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of pushing bruises. I mean what’s funnier than seeing a bruise on someone, and just giving it a little press?! So the other day I was giving The Munch an airplane ride, and she noticed some bruises on my leg. Even though said leg was holding her up in the air, The Munch looked at my bruise contemplatively, and then pushed the shit out of it! I almost dropped her from the shooting pain, but she didn’t care and just dug in harder. Munch then tackled me, trying to push the other ones. I mean… she just gets it. That is hilarious!

    You have to laugh at your own pain because otherwise you are overtaken by it.

    Okay so here is another one. About 2 years ago The Munch went to drink some juice, and an ant bit her uvula. You know, that punching bag in the back of your throat. The ant was stuck there for 2 days despite my many efforts to dislodge it. I never told Munch that it was an ant however, because I didn’t want to freak her out.

    That is until this weekend.

    Toni: Munch, remember when you got that black thing stuck in your throat, and you thought it was a blackberry?
    Munch: Yeah.
    Toni: Well, it wasn’t a blackberry. It was something else, but I didn’t want to tell you and make you upset.
    Munch: Well, what was it?
    Toni: An ant. An ant bit your uvula.

    She laughed the whole car ride home because that IS comedy gold.

    (Fun fact: I have received over 10 emails from people who had this exact same thing happen to them! I’m pretty sure I’m the foremost expert on Google for what to do when an ant bites your uvula. Just saying, I am kind of a big deal in that circle).

    I feel like The Munch is developing a sense of humor that is somewhat akin to mine, which makes me feel like I’m doing at least one thing right as a parent. Like when she saw this picture of herself, and insisted I show it to the entire dinner table (including her great grandmother) because The Munch knows comedy is more important than personal modesty.

    (Ps those are socks on her hands… for whatever reason).


    How could you not want to push these bruises?


  • What is Funny vs. What is Appropriate

    I like to challenge social convention. It makes me feel more comfortable when I am making other people feel uncomfortable. Something is soothing about the discomfort.

    As a result, this means I have a very fluid relationship to “appropriate behavior.” I like it when people tease acceptability, especially when trying to get a laugh. Sometimes you have to take things too far just to wake people up. That’s how you find the comedy gold.

    I also strive for authentic honest connection to people. So when my 5-year old is going to say something like “Let’s pretend this My Little Pony is really mean, and called this My Little Pony a ditch,” I’m going to correct her. It’s bitch honey…. Not ditch.

    Of course I don’t want my daughter to swear, but she can’t go around thinking people are “ditches.” That’s just absurd. I don’t have to shelter The Munch from the existence of these words, but I do have to explain that children aren’t supposed to curse. Only fucking grownups are allowed to do that.

    When The Munch and her little friend were showing me their butts the other day, I had to take pause. Either I could say, “that is rude,” or I could say what I actually said: which was “that is called mooning.” If they are going to moon me, they should at least know what it is called – because mooning people is hilarious in the right context. Of course you don’t want to moon the wrong person… like your teacher or a pervert at the park. But what kind of world is this when you can’t moon your own mom and crack up with your friends about it!?

    So this takes me to The Munch’s new favorite music videos to watch. They are parodies of her favorite pop songs, and she thinks they are wittiest thing every to happen to the Internet. “Mom, in this one video she keeps putting her butt in this guy’s face and it is soooooooooooo funny.” Yeah maybe it is not proper to let my kid watch videos with swear words and shit, but the fact The Munch is developing her butt and poop humor is the first sign of a future comedy genius. At least here’s praying.

    September 7, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Pee & Poop, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 531

  • I See How I Suck

    When someone does something shitty to you, the deed is done. They can never take away their past actions. The only thing they can do is change the way you feel about their shitty behavior.

    When someone refuses to acknowledge how they’ve been crappy, their crappiness is infinitely more intense in your mind. Yet if they some how recognize that they may have been crapalicious, then it is much easier to get past it.

    So basically, if you see how you suck, then I don’t have to think you suck anymore. But if you refuse to admit your suckage, all I can think about is seriously how hard you suck.

    I probably get into a fight every day with my kid about something. There are instances when these disagreements are because of my behavior, but 99.9999% of the time she’s just being an unreasonable twat. So inevitably The Munch and I will argue, and when she doesn’t get her way, she storms out of the room and slams the door.

    Now there is really no better treatment then the silent treatment. If you are mad at me, and want to ignore me, then that is fine with me. Go right ahead. But usually Munch’s silent treatment is preceded by her yelling in my face, which is just as annoying as it sounds.

    When The Munch returns back from her dramatic exit stage left, we have a moment where we make up. You can’t just act like that shit never happened! You told me you would poop in my shoe if I didn’t let you watch My Little Pony Munch! If I don’t make sure you know how I feel about your suckiness, then I can’t get over this! YOU MUST KNOW! We have to discuss the impetus of the conflict to truly process it, and that impetus is YOU!

    But… where Munch used to be a more passive receiver of my analysis of her shitty behavior, now she is turning the tables onto me!?

    Munch: Here Mom, I brought you this leaf.
    Toni: That is really sweet, thank you. I am sorry we fought, but can you understand that I don’t want you to watch TV in the middle of a beautiful day? It’s not good for your body or mind. You can play outside and use your imagination. I’m not saying “no” to hurt you, I’m just looking out! You really don’t have to yell at me for that.
    Munch: Okay, but you also don’t always have to tell me what to do.


  • The Art of Spoiling

    We all know that Grandparents tend to indulge their grandchildren. It comes with the territory. I guess for them it’s fun giving kids whatever they want, and then sending them back to their parents to deal with repercussions – because who cares!? And actually fuck you for your teenage years… here’s your child who’s high as fuck on sugar and will totally crash in about 20 minutes.

    My mom should lead seminars on spoiling. She has taken it to a fine art. I truly believe the MOMA should commission her for a live performance piece. Grandparents across the nation can learn from her ways.

    When I tell my mom things like “I like to be aware of Munch’s sugar intake so she doesn’t become a monster,” or “I like to limit her screen time so she doesn’t become a FUCKING MONSTER,” my mom usually just rolls her eyes at me. She insists I am being dramatic, and that The Munch is “a lovely child who is easy to be around and a great companion.” Yeah… do you want to know why she is a good kid? BECAUSE I DON’T LET HER EAT SUGAR ALL DAY, LIMIT HER SCREEN TIME, AND TELL HER “NO” ALL THE FUCKING TIME SO SHE ISN’T A PSYCHO BITCH!

    It’s like my mom doesn’t see the correlation between boundaries and decent behavior!

    Yet she is the Grandmother, and she will do as she damn pleases. For example, The Munch comes home from a sleepover the other day and tells me “Manna let me have 3 cookies for breakfast this morning.” I called my mom thinking Munch was exaggerating because surely NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would give a 5 year old 3 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST.

    Toni: Hi Mom, how did last night go?
    My Mom: She was an angel. I gave her 3 cookies for breakfast this morning to celebrate the American Iranian nuclear peace treaty.
    Toni: Are you fucking serious?
    My Mom: I want her to remember this momentous day where America and Iran became friends!

    A few days later I picked up The Munch from my mom’s and asked casually what she had eaten. You know, so I had an idea of what food groups, and if there was already a fair amount of treats I should be aware of.

    My Mom: She just ate healthy things – mango and some veggies
    Toni: Okay great!
    Munch: I had 3 cookies and a Nutella sandwich. AND Manna let me watch TV the whole time. I watched hours and hours of My Little Pony. Like so much, my eyes hurt.
    Toni: Did you now?
    Munch: Yeah! Mom, can I go to Manna’s again tomorrow?

    The look of a truly cracked out Munch.



    July 22, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Disciplining, Eating, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 527

  • Owning Your Shame

    The thing about doing something you regret is that you are often too ashamed to own up to it. When you are afraid to share your humiliation with other people, it ends up burrowing deep into your psyche. It then festers inside your soul like gangrene as you are left alone to deal with the remorse. Not only are you then shouldering the burden of your guilt, but also the heavy load of keeping it in.

    I feel like the only way to truly forgive yourself for misdeeds is to air them out like socks. Rather than tucking your offence back in like teenage boy with a boner, just let the mast of your transgressions fly erect.

    I had one of these experiences the other day. I was bringing The Munch to her last day of school picnic, and of course, was running late. I was also supposed to pick up her Uncle and Cousin Calvin on the way, so I was consequently making them late too.

    Of course in the grand scheme of life, it is not a big deal that we weren’t going to be on time. We were probably just missing out on some pagan Waldorf ceremony where the group sang to grandmother moon while making mazes out of freshly harvested wheat – but I was feeling anxious non the less.

    Part of my problem was that I was SUPER FUCKING STRESSED out that week. A lot was going on, and I was NOT on my best form. I am not usually one to take out my feelings on others, but much like those rare moments when you think a fart is just a fart – shit happens.

    So Munch and I got in the car, drove down the driveway, and were about to turn onto the highway.

    Munch: Wait Mom! Can we go back and get my Frozen Flip Flops?
    Toni: Dude no. We already have your sneakers and other sandals. Let’s just go… we are already late.
    Toni: NO!

    This wasn’t just any “no.” This was the kind of “no” where I screamed in Munch’s face with such vigor that her hair blew back from the velocity of my breath.

    The Munch turned away from me, looked out the window, and silently cried.

    Okay, there is NOTHING more disturbing than a child crying silently.

    I felt soooo fucking horrible about myself. But I was also still SUPER aggravated! GODDAMN THOSE FROZEN FLIP FLOPS! I HATE THEM!

    Toni: Munch, I’m really sorry. I should not have yelled like that. But sometimes you can be really annoying when you don’t take “no” for an answer. Can you understand that?
    Munch: Yes.

    Munch was still pretty damn sad. So just to totally mix messages, confuse things, and probably fuck her up for life – I turned around and got the shoes.

    Toni: Here are your shoes. I really resent doing that, but I did it out of guilt because I snapped at you, and I don’t like snapping. Just please realize that when people say “no,” you have to respect it.
    Munch: Okay.

    We hugged it out, but she was still pretty quite on the drive to her cousin’s house. So when her Uncle and Cousin got in the car, rather than let the energy chafe the vibe of the car like testes on a hot thigh, I just told them the story of what happened.

    Toni: On our drive here, Munch really wanted her Frozen flip flops, but I really didn’t want to get them, and I yelled at her super loud! Like I was a child! I acted like a big baby rather than the grown up!

    We all laughed.

    Munch: And then I cried! But we made up, and my mom gave me a hug.

    Then everything was fine. Why hide this outburst so we both had to pretend it didn’t happen? By talking about it, we both could let go of it. People flip the fuck out all the time, and the best way to deal with it is to look it in the face and admit it happened.

    This is me gearing up to be an asshole…


  • My Personal Parenting PTSD

    Over the weekend I hosted a women’s dinner where we celebrated our uteruses by winding our fallopian tubes around the moon, and dancing our menses deep into the earth’s core. Or we made quinoa and grilled some fish. Whatever.

    My goddess friend Olivia brought her precious priestess daughter, a mere babe of 7 months. They were like one glorious unit – the perfect depiction of the serene Madonna and child. As I gazed upon their unbounded beauty, and how physically/spiritually/emotionally interwoven they were, I thought to myself, “Holy fuck how did I ever get through that baby stage? That shit was hard as fuck.”

    Looking back, I still cannot believe how much work it was to keep that thing alive and happy. It was so intense, I actually blocked out a lot of the experience. Watching Olivia, I realized that she was in this whole other dimension of babyness that I couldn’t relate to – not because I didn’t understand – but because my mind has filtered away those memories to protect myself.

    Every description of motherhood Olivia revealed felt literally insane to me.

    Olivia: Well, I haven’t had that much time to do that because I haven’t really left Rosey with anyone else for more than an hour.
    Toni: WHAT? Are you serious?? You have been with her this whole time?
    Olivia: Yeah, basically. I mean, how long would you leave Munch with other people when she was 7 months?
    Toni: I mean maybe an hour tops. But I hardly ever did that.

    It’s like I have PTSD!! Baby Munch is my personal Vietnam! Not that she was a hard baby either. She was super chill. But the level of commitment and patience required for a baby was like nothing I ever experienced, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I ever got through it alive.

    Now that The Munch is almost 5, the freedom I have is unparalleled to what it was like when she was baby. She’s really independent and that has given me my independence. But I guess the reason why she’s so secure in the world is because of the hard time I put in when she was an infant. The breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and constant connection helped create a strong foundation between us, and now she is like a little bird that can fly away. Not too far though, she still needs me to make her sandwiches and charge the iPad.