November 28, 2021

My Only Child is Not Spoiled - Privileged Yes - But Not Spoiled

I have an only child.  A daughter if you've not read previous posts of mine.   I have friends and peers that have or planned to have only one child, so in my world it hasn't been that big of a deal to proclaim that decision to others.   And I've not received many comments related to having only one that I recall.  But it could be that I and we don't really care if someone disagrees with that decision, because it's really none of their business anyways.  However some that I know have heard many unsolicited comments about the decision to have one including their child is or will be:

  • Lonely
  • Selfish
  • Antisocial
  • Spoiled
  • Bossy
  • Dysfunctional
  • Won't know how to share
  • Won't work well with others
I only had one only-child stereo-type mentioned to me that pissed me off, however I bit my tongue.  It was a new colleague who came to talk business in my cube many years ago when my daughter was still young.  She saw the picture I had up of my family and asked if she was an only child to which I affirmed.  And she said 'oh she must be spoiled.'  I'm pretty sure I gave her a confused look as it seems a pretty bold conclusion to draw about a child you've never even met.  

As I've grown up and gotten further out from it, I honestly don't think she meant it with mal-intent or as a shot at our parenting as compared to hers or others with multiple kids.  She just didn't think that how she phrased it comes across as a negative shot at such a decision.  I think she probably meant it as we spend more time and money on her since we don't have other kids to spread it out on.  Which is true, but doesn't equate to raising a spoiled kid.  But she made a statement without knowing that we:
  • tell her no
  • considered that we would have to teach her to think about others
  • take the time to demonstrate thinking about others as a value worth putting time an effort into. 
  • consider a budget for Christmas and birthdays  
  • participate in efforts to be generous to those less fortunate so she understands that she is indeed privileged 
I myself came from an upbringing where I was the youngest of 2.  My husband is on the younger half, but in the middle of 7 kids.  So we were both very well aware of the nonsense and/or chaos that comes with growing up with one or more siblings.  When we decided to have only one, we didn't make that decision lightly or without research.  We actually realized that we'd have to make more effort than we might normally like to ensure she has social interaction outside of the normal school schedule and year.  Honestly this is probably a good thing for a couple that is 1. introverted and 2. extraverted but borderline introverted socially.  This means we end up hosting her friends at our house more than other parents host her.  But honestly we don't always know her friend's home situations and so we are more than happy to have them over for lunch and and afternoon of fun.  When I think back to the parents (particularly the moms) that hosted me during my turbulent high school and college years, I'm incredibly grateful for them allowing me to dominate time at their homes with my friends.  They taught me so much about who I want to be as a mom to my daughter's friends going through the same tough times I did as a kid. 

She is on the other hand incredibly privileged in the following ways:
  • She was born in a rich and free country relative to much of the world.
  • She has parents who love her dearly and don't want to screw her up.
  • She doesn't have to share a room.
  • She doesn't have a sibling to break her toys.
  • She doesn't have a sibling to fight about everything with including not crossing the center line in the car.
  • She was born to parents who can provide food, shelter, and private education for her.
  • She was born to parents willing to move her across the country to provide her opportunities within their value system that she didn't have just a few short years ago.
  • She was born to parents who can afford to make sure one of us is currently at home for her and can take her to various activities that she likes to participate in.  This wasn't always the case for her.
  • She was born to parents that believe vacations should include her and they don't mean only going to visit grandparents.
  • She was born to parents that can and do teach her the value of a dollar and how to manage money including expenses, charity to those you don't know, and generosity towards those you care about and love.
  • She was born to parents who know their limits.  Even when that means telling her No!
We have very much thought about the fact that when we are old and decrepit, that she won't have a sibling to share that stress with.  We both can currently talk to our siblings about the stresses that come with our parents aging or other frustrations that come with that.  However, we are doing our best to make sure that we are not a financial burden to her.  My own personal worry is that I will do or say something to screw up her desire to be part of our lives when she is an adult.  That concern is what reminds me to own up and apologize to her when I've been an unreasonable hardass.  Plus I have a wonderful husband that isn't afraid to call me out when I need it.  I also think of these times as opportunities to show her I'm not a perfect parent/adult and it's ok and important to own up to and learn from mistakes.   

We are trying to do our best just as reasonable parents who choose to have a heard of children generally try to do their best. She's privileged yes, but not spoiled.  My dog on the other hand, completely spoiled!

November 20, 2021

Metaverse, Reality, or Twilight Zone

Proceed with caution.  The thoughts below are my own opinions, and in this highly volatile and political climate we find ourselves in these days, I'm sure it will be offensive to some.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes miss the good old days before the internet. Some days I'm not so sure we aren't living in the Twilight Zone. 

We live in a world now where you can create your own reality.  Facts are whatever you believe and anyone that disagrees with you is a sheep deceived by fake news.  You can find anything on the internet to support your version of the facts since someone put it out there it must be true.  They don’t have to present legitimate credentials, experience, or expertise to back up anything they say.  They just have to say it, post it, and suddenly it’s true and any evidence counter to it is just false. This is our new reality, or thanks to Facebook, the new ‘Metaverse’ we live in.  While Mark Zuckerberg wants you to think of the Metaverse as something different from Facebook where you essentially have an avatar and can go have fun around the world from the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the cost, we have been living in alternative reality for years and years now thanks to Facebook.   The pandemic has just amplified it since people somehow had nothing better to do with their time than fall into the Internet abyss.

People are now morally conflicted about a vaccine because of the unsubstantiated 'research' they have found to support their created reality.  They are no longer morally conflicted about what’s best for the greater good of society and those most vulnerable in it.  A public health issue has been politicized, and so we can only get into a self-righteous argument about which stance is morally superior if we are to discuss it.  They aren’t antivax in their version of reality because they have all their childhood immunizations and so do their kids.  They just need more time to feel comfortable, and thank God they didn't hit the death lottery when they or their kids actually got Covid that one time.  Followed by 'thoughts and prayers' for those that have lost a loved one, or more fake news they were all going to die anyway.  They have ‘done their research’ even though they don’t have the training, expertise, jobs, or resources to actually ‘do the research.’  But the people that do can't be trusted and are just lying or publishing altered results in order to push something that is 'unnatural' on us.  For a purpose that still hasn't ever been articulated to me.  Meanwhile there is nothing ‘unnatural‘ about ingesting a pharmaceutical at the advice of Joe Rogan or other blow hards on tv or radio, none of whom have any training, experience, or expertise in pharmaceuticals or medical science.  They are instead patriots standing up for freedom and being persecuted for it.  Now in the face of vaccine mandates, they are morally conflicted about whether to support their families or stand by their convictions and leave their jobs.  Providing for one's family is not something anyone should be morally conflicted about.  And I don't know if it is a truly a useful exercise for those that are able to work from home and don't have to interact with the public given all of the misinformation polluting the Internet right now along and the inability to by many to cut through the clutter.  Most weren't taught about discerning nonsense on the Internet in school. 

Let me tell you what is real.  I work in corporate America now (not for Facebook/Meta) and many of my colleagues in my division were just fired, laid off, told they didn’t align with organizational changes that were taking place.  Six months earlier they were told the new boss coming in was told it wasn't a rebuild or division that needed to be fixed.   Five months later after an assessment period, in a matter of hours our lives are changed forever.   There was never any opportunity to discuss if there was a good fit for any of them that made sense in the new structure.   To make matters worse my impacted employees told me when they received the news.  This shook me to my core. I didn’t know it was coming.  My boss didn’t know it was coming.  And yet we survived what I can only describe as a blitzkrieg attack, the likes of which I have not experienced before now. 

That is real.  I saw it happen. HR didn’t help or advise me or others how to address what happened with our surviving team members.  I didn't know when they were hit if any of the others were next.   I was called to a meeting that basically laid out the new structure and confirmed it was over.  That was when I found out how many were impacted and it was many more than I had even heard about to that point.  I called my surviving team together and broke down in front of them as I shared the news and told them I had no clue, and how I felt like an ass for trying to allay any concerns or fears only the day before advising them to treat rumors as just that. I apologized for how this happened and went down.  I apologized for not maintaining composure. 

I got the crass emails from the system at the end of the day to go over the termination checklist to transfer data etc. from them.  Their system access was cut off well before that could be done because one of them tried.  I told them not to worry about it.  Those emails were followed by the system emails that their terminations were ‘successfully completed.’   A termination that neither my employees nor I had initiated.  So those words are ironic, callous, and robotic for such a traumatic event. It happened to them. It happened to others.  It happened to me.  

I’m still trying to provide for my family.  And I am now living with survivor's guilt because I am genuinely relieved I didn’t lose my job.  I am grieving for those that did.  I will return and I will support and participate in the rebuild, until a I have an exit strategy or alternative offer, because I have a family to support.  I don't have to agree with how it was executed to support the future.  This is real and this is hard.  But I have no delusion that I should ever feel comfortable as I watch the top leaders make moves that serve their future positions at the expense of average everyday grunt workers and low level managers that live paycheck to paycheck.   

I also live in a reality where my second X chromosome is considered weak because I got emotional.  Sure I had my game face on in the meeting with leadership that I was summoned to, but not with my team, and I should have handled it like the Y chromosome would.  I live in a reality where, thanks to a form a feminism I don't subscribe to, those that came before me said we are the same as or better than men.  Indeed if we want to be men by all means we can turn ourselves into them and our 'dreams will come true.'   They chose that route rather than fighting for equality where it matters and celebrating the strengths we each (XX & XY) bring to the table and embracing the differences that come with the 2nd X chromosome.  We are expected to be stepford wives, stepford mothers, and stepford leaders all at the same time.  They created an expectation that is impossible to live up to if you want to join the ranks of executive leadership in the work place.  And for those that actually do, they are royal bitches that lack empathy and compassion.  So you're either weak or a bitch, and it is possible to be a weak bitch.  But you can never be a great or even good enough leader, because let's face it, that's still men's work first and bitches work second, all others need not apply.  Depending on your perspective or maybe upbringing, one is better than the other.  This is the world I'm trying to raise my daughter in.   I hope she never feels compelled to apologize for what comes with her second X chromosome, or that she somehow handled a situation poorly because of what came naturally with it.  I'm optimistic that as the pendulum swings, she will have an experience better than mine, and gracefully contribute to a better experience and work environment for the women and men that come after her.  

Finally I live in a reality where "Me Too" cherry picks some bad behavior and gives passes to others.  As long as Q (or is it god?) ordained them to save the world from all the evil in it, then their "Me Too" behavior gets a pass.  Also this person suddenly cares deeply for the average person in spite of the fact that his business and personal actions demonstrate he only cares about himself.  I was taught that actions speak louder than words, and I still believe that.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Metaverse.  I just have one question Mark Zuckerberg, when your vision for the Metaverse is realized, is it still rape if it happened there?  

For those that once had or still have identity in Christianity, your (our) religion has been hijacked.  Though since history repeats itself, this certainly isn't the first time.  The Bible is full of wisdom about not being deceived (Mathew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).  It also says the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-39) are: 
    1. To love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, and mind. 
    2. To love your neighbor as yourself.  
Notice it doesn’t say to love yourself first then them.  And if you’re unclear on who your neighbor is, go watch the documentaries on Mr. Rogers.  He understood it well and taught it to many of us. 

The Bible also says pure and undefiled religion is to care for widows, orphans, and strangers (also known as refugees and qualify as your neighbor)  (Matthew 25:31-46 and James 1:27 among others). 

You don't have to be a Christian to find these to be good principles to live by, or to find resources other than the Bible that teach these principles.  If 'we' spent as much time learning and living these principles and less time with cultivating passion and distress caused by own personal self involved Metaverses, maybe, just maybe this world can be a better place for you and for me in the few short years in our lifespans that we have left on it.  How do you want to be remembered?