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Modern Jewish Moms are Still Freakin’ June Cleavers

29 Feb

Written by Jenny Isenman of The Suburban Jungle

Every once in a while you have a conversation that is so cliché so stereotypically female, a la 60 years ago, It makes you wonder if things have truly changed that much.

I had one of these conversations last night, and the sad part?  It was so natural, I didn’t notice the irony until today.  This was the convo as close to verbatim as I can get… seriously.

It started with someone discussing her phobia of germy sponges.

spongebob sick
Germy Sponge

Mom 1: I totally rely on sponges.  You know, when they get dirty you can nuke ‘em?

Me: I run mine in the dishwasher.

Spongephobe Mom: I never use a sponge.

AND THEN IT STARTED: A conversation taken right from the script of a 1950′s commercial.

If any man were to overhear it, he’d undoubtedly say, “Dames, they love to yap about household chores.  Am I right fellas?”

guys and dollsThe rest of my little tête-à-tête with the team moms will require proper 1950s translation.

Spongephobe Mom (to us moms, who sat with our mouths agape at the idea of not using a sponge):  I don’t need a sponge. I just let my dishes soak in some hot water with JOY.

50s translation: JOY gets me “From grease to shine in half the time!”

Mom 1 (visibly shaken): What do you use… a paper towel?

50s translation: Towels can rip and tear, they’d never hold up to vigorous dishwashing.

Spongephobe Mom: Nope.

50s translation: I’m confident in the cleaning power of Joy.

Me (accusingly — like an evangelist being told about evolution): I bet you’re scraping that crud off with your nails.

50s translation: That explains why her nails look so uninviting. (Which would be said in a loud whisper to other woman at the mahjong table.)

Spongephobe Mom: Nope.

50s translation: Stop staring at my nails, gossip maven.

Me: But how do you get all the shit off?

50s translation: What about baked on caked on foods like dried cereal?

Spongephobe Mom: It  even works on caked on oatmeal.

50s translation:  It even works on caked on oatmeal!

Me and Mom 1 (in disbelief):  NO!?

50s translation:  Gasp!?

Me: But what if you sauté?

50s translation: How does it hold up to grease from deep frying?

Spongephobe Mom: No problem.

50s translation: It cuts right through the oily residue that frying can leave behind.

Me:  I nonchalantly inspected her hands for cracking and chaffing.

50s translation: “I bet your manicurist isn’t pleased with the way you do your dishes.” (Snicker snicker, then I would look to other girls for nods and implied high fives.)

Spongephobe Mom:  I only soak the dishes, not my hands, dumbass. (okay, in the actual conversation the dumbass was merely implied.)

50s translation:  Joy leaves my hands supple and soft, and it’s emollients condition as it cleans. Then she would look at my hands sitting in a bowl of what I thought was simply water and say, “you’re soaking in it.”

Oh, Madge, you sneaky devil, you.

That evening I couldn’t help using my new “now to 50s” translation on everything.

I came home and let the kids go for a quick dip in the pool.

50s translation:  I bathed my sweet children.

I put a frozen pizza in the oven.

50s translation:  I whipped up a nutritious meal for the whole family.

I Allowed my hubby to make idle chit chat during the commercials of American Idol.

50s translation: I got my hubby his slippers and cigar then gently rubbed his shoulders.

I put in a load of laundry in hopes that the cleaning lady would dry and fold it in the morning.

50s translation:  I washed, ironed and starched the family’s laundry.

I guess I never realized what a modern domestic goddess I truly am.

busy_mom_with_child_and_pets_clip_art_22864

50s Translation:

june cleaver

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The Break Up

26 Feb

Written by Lori Stefanac of Lola is 40

So, my youngest son was taking piano lessons.

I’m sorry. He was taking KEYBOARD lessons.

You can’t mix those two things up…

because, as it turns out?

One is very very cool.

And the other is L-A-M-E!

His teacher was a nice, proper older woman in her early 60s.

Although NICE, she was also, in a word: dull.

Every week after his lessons I would ask my child if he was having fun.

Mostly because I knew that deep in my heart, if he were ME…

I would NOT be having fun with Mrs.Stickuptheass.

Every week he told me that that his lessons were “fine”.

“fine?” I’d repeat back. “Well, how do you feel about your teacher? Do you like her? Are you having FUN? This should be FUN!”

He would tell me that his teacher was “fine”.

Look, I’m not one of those moms who has my kids signed up for music lessons because it teaches them to work hard and exposes them to culture, blah, blah fucking blah.

I want my kid to ENJOY his classes.

This is a hobby.

I don’t expect him to be the next Chopin.

I don’t even expect him to be the next Alan Goldblatt.

You don’t know who that is?

Well, that’s kinda my point…

but he played a mean chopsticks at the last school recital.

Anyway, my goals are reasonable.

Eventually, I want my kids to be ROCK GODS so that they can support me and buy me fabulous shit.

And this isn’t going to happen if they aren’t enjoying their lessons.

So if his teacher isn’t making the class fun? Well then something’s got to give…

and that something is NOT me, giving HER even more of my money, if you know what I’m sayin’!

Anyway, seeing my kid’s lukewarm response to his lessons, I decide that perhaps I need to address his teacher’s choice of music.

I mean, personally if I had to listen to “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” more than once, much less practice it again and again, I might grab that teacher’s stupid metronome and gouge her eyes out with it.

But that’s just me.

That being said, I understand that learning piano,

I mean KEYBOARD,

ahem,

requires one to learn specific skills in a certain order, and one can only play at a given level of difficulty until these skills are mastered.

It’s not like I expected my kid to sit at the keyboard and jam out “Bohemian Rhapsody” in one day.

It’s gotta take at least a week to learn that little ditty.

BUT there has to be a compromise, right?

So I set up a meeting with the piano teacher and ask if there’s a way to incorporate more “Rock” into the lesson.

She says she will try.

And she did.

She had my child playing “Rock Around the Clock” and “Blue Suede Shoes” and a few other simple songs that he could feel a little enthused about.

The problem was that she was still her.

After a few more lessons, my child decides that he doesn’t like his teacher after all.

He decides he wants a different teacher.

He wanted the young, cool, pierced and tattooed “rocker dude” of the music school to teach him.

Who doesn’t want a young, cool, rocker dude?

“He just seems more fun” my child tells me.

Yeah. Fun.

Dreamy sigh.

Damnit.

So I’m not simply dropping out of music.

I have to break up with his teacher and explain why we are switching to another teacher in the same music school.

Of course, my kid is right. This teacher DOES seem more fun. And a better fit.

But now I have to have a really awkward conversation.

And I hate awkward conversations.

After his music lesson I ask if the teacher can hang back to talk for a minute.

“sure” she says, “what’s up?”

I’m starting to sweat and shift my weight from foot to foot.

I’m finding it difficult to look her in the eye.

“I’m not sure how to tell you this…” I begin,

“I think we are going to see someone else.”

“Excuse me?” she asks.

Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, Honey. It’s just going to make this thing all the more uncomfortable.

“Look I’ll just say it. We have to break up. It’s not YOU, it’s US. I just don’t think this is working out…”

Suddenly I feel very badly for every douchecanoe ex-boyfriend who ever dumped me.

Being a heartbreaking asshole isn’t as easy as it looks!

Well, I feel badly for all of them except the one from Chicago, who was going to call me back after he did his laundry.

He never called.

Which means that technically, we haven’t broken up.

20 years later, I wonder if perhaps there was really no laundry at all.

Either that, or he was doing laundry for all of Chicago…on a washboard…down by the Chicago River…in which case he may be almost finished.

He’d better call soon so I can free up my weekend.

She still looks puzzled.

“Look, you are a perfectly nice person. And I’m sure you are a perfect fit for…well for someone else. But I think we are just not on the same page. What we want and what you want…they seem to be very different things.”

Holy shit, Woman! Say you understand and let me off the hook all ready! But no. She is silent, allowing me to dig myself deeper and deeper.

Women.

“Um, what I mean is…Hey! You’re great! Really! You are. But…but…”

Still, blank stares.

“Ok. Now you are forcing me to say things I really didn’t want to get into…but the truth is, you are cramping our style. We’ve grown in different directions, plain and simple. We can’t breathe around you! You are STIFLING us!”

“Does this mean you need to change our time?” she asks.

“NO! It’s not about TIME! Wait. YES! It is about time. It’s about time-ING. BAD timing. We just have bad timing. Can you understand that?”

“So would Wednesdays be better?”

“Look, Gail!”

Her name is Gail.

“I see what you are trying to do. But let’s not make this more difficult than it has to be. You have to stop begging.”

“Um, so NOT Wednesday?”

“No. Not Wednesday. Not Thursday. How’s a week from never look to you. Sorry. That was sarcastic, and I can see that you are hurting. That was unfair.”

I bite the knuckles of my fist and turn away dramatically.

“I told myself I wouldn’t cry” I say as I gaze upward towards…well, nothing really. I was just trying to strike a remorseful pose.

Turns out, I don’t know how to do that.

“Uh, Lola? What are you looking at?” asks Gail.

Poor, pathetic Gail.

“Gail. Oh, Gail. We’ve had some good times, haven’t we?” I say as I graze her cheek gently with my finger.

“Sure. I guess…” she says as she backs away from my touch.

A touch that clearly electrifies her.

“Look” says Gail, “I have another student waiting in my office. Are we rescheduling or do you just want to let me know what works for you at another time?”

“That’s a grand idea, Gail” I say, feeling nostalgic for the good ole’ days.

“Let’s just say we’ll play it by ear. Perhaps another time. In another life. We’ll just say that. Okay?” my voice goes up a few octaves and cracks a little at the end.

It can’t be helped.

I’m emotional too.

“Yeah. Good. I gotta go” she says as she turns on her heels and heads back to her office.

I watch her go.

As I watch the sway of her hips I start to second guess my actions.

I’m about to scream out “GAIL WAIT!…

“Can I get some fries with that shake?”

but at the last moment I control myself.

I.MUST.BE.STRONG.

For her.

For me.

For both of us.

And I learned a very important lesson during this very emotional “goodbye”.

The next time I have to break up with some instructor because one of my kids has decided that they are finished with a fleeting hobby?

I’m just going to drop a “Dear John text”.

SO much simpler:

G,
BIN REAL. TTYN
L

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Do Your Kids Ever Try to Make out with You or is it Just Mine?

13 Feb

Written by Jenny From the Blog of The Suburban Jungle

Okay, so the title isn’t exactly PC.  Sure, they tell you not to make-out with your kids, but sometimes it’s a fine line between so cute and ummm, scary.  What parent doesn’t secretly love it when their child says they want to marry them?  I mean for how many years are they going to want to hug, snuggle, or hold your hand?

On February 14th 2 years ago my daughter came in to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day, to give me a stunning hand-made card, and to neck.  “Oh, this card is awesome.  Come give Mommy a kiss,”  I said in a very innocent non-incestuous way.  My daughter, maybe wanting to show me the magnitude of the holiday, grabbed my face with both hands and planted the biggest smooch on me, I almost started to giggle mid-peck.  But, she wasn’t done; she started turning her head from side to side in her best Victoria Justice imitation.  “Ummm, okay cutie,”  I said feeling partly amused and unexpectedly violated.

“But, Mommy I want one more kiss,” she said as she came in for another.

“Hon, you gotta save those kinds of kisses for your husband, a random friend in camp, and pillows” I said, as if they’re in limited quantity.  “I think you’re confused my love, we don’t kiss mommies or daddies or brothers or cousins or friends like that.   It’s inappropriate.”  I feel I have the “inappropriate” convo way more than any mom of a 5 year old should, but “inappropriate” beats “slutty” any day –though I’m thinking she’s not allowed out of the house until she’s 20.

“Hey, you wanna go on a date?” she asked ignoring me, and coming in for another.

“What???”

“Yeah, let’s go on a date and kiss and get some lollipops!”  She said trying to woo me, and then planted another smack on my lips.

“Sure, I would love to go on a date and get lollipops with you.”

What?  For how many more years will she want to date me?

The days of her telling me I’m “so gay” (or whatever the equivalent will be at that time) and asking me to drop her off a block from the mall, so she doesn’t have to be seen with her queer mom, are around the corner.  If she wants a lollipop date, I’m in.

“Let’s go, but we gotta stop making-out.”

“But Mom, I love you sooo much” she said squeezing me tight.

Awwww, is this not the sweetest moment EVER?  I thought.  Well, until she followed up with “I want to puke of love!”

Okay, so she’s a bit confused, but she said it in her “sexy voice,” which means it was a compliment.  I will overlook the fact that it also means it was an attempt to pick me up.

PS my son’s card read:  You are my lover and I love you… Will you be my valentine when I’m with you? … Just askin.

To you, my insecure child, who is also clearly a bit confused, yet doesn’t want to make-out with me, but I hope still wants to marry me, “Yes, 1000 times yes.  You make me want to puke of love!!!”

Who knows what this year will hold?

Have a HAPPY V-DAY!!! even if it’s mildly inappropriate.

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Barbie and I Can’t Get Our Skinny Jeans Over our Thighs

2 Feb

Written by Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog of The Suburban Jungle

So, yesterday while trying to dress my daughter’s Barbie in a stunning pair of silver lamé jeans, I realized they were not going to go over her thighs. What was it? Had she gained a few? Was it her time of the month? All I know is, this scene seemed oddly familiar. Trying to yank some slim pants over unyielding thighs… where have I seen that before? Oh right, my closet for the last year and a half, that’s where. At first I felt a tinge of pity for Barbie. I breathed an empathetic sigh as I resolved to get those once fitting lamé pants over her rubber legs. It felt like trying to pull up a wet bathing suit on dry land… no budge. Maybe a little Crisco would work? Wait, does that mean I should be buttering up my legs to get those J Brand Cigarette jeans back in the rotation? Well, in lieu of greasing her down, I accepted the fact that this chick needed to drop a few. It was then that I felt an odd sense of camaraderie. You know like I could look in her painted on Barbie eyes and say:

“Yeah, I know, it sucks right? You and your hot pants with the built in belt and me with my skinny jeans… we’re quite the pair. Remember the old days? You know when we could eat anything and still make Ken’s head turn?  Oh, to be young again. What are you now Barbie, like 50? Seriously, you look good girl. You shouldn’t be looking at me with those sad eyes.
Sure, they gave you a breast reduction, but frankly those things were getting in the way of your modern career options. Pro tennis player, Doctor, Veterinarian, Lawyer, no one could take you seriously with those measurements. As soon as they started calling you an “airline attendant” instead of a “stewardess,” your days with those puppies were numbered. Now look at us? A couple of has been sexpots zipping our pants with a pair of pliers. What have we resorted to? Barbie, this may be a touchy subject but, I saw you throwing up the other day after my daughter fed you that plastic turkey at a pretend dinner party. I saw you and so did that token brunette Barbie, what’s her face, it was an embarrassment and an eye-opener.”

After our “moment” of bonding, I felt something I never expected… joy. Yep, that’s where I think the story gets sick. (I know you may have had that thought a while back when I outed Barbie as a bulimic.) But, for me it got a bit alarming when I felt a sudden trace of delight in Barbie’s pain. Like, “Wahoo, I’m not the only one assessing my need to go back to the gym. Now, you know what it feels like Barbie! You and your perfect hair and your perfect tan, you’re not so perfect anymore. So, suck it!” I don’t know what this all says about me, other than my need for a new workout regimen and a visit to my therapist. I like to think that I’m usually a person who is excited over other people’s accomplishments, beautification-wise and otherwise, but I realized there is some evil part of me that enjoyed watching someone else deal with less efficient metabolism and a thigh complex, even if that someone was Barbie.

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You May Just be a Jewish Redneck if…

17 Jan

Jenny From the Blog of  THE SUBURBAN JUNGLE

After Seeing Lori’s hilarious post yesterday, (Redneck Jews – Myth or Reality?) it got me thinking about Redneck Jews and yes, I’ve known quite a few in my day.  Pair that with my recent midlife crisis B-day post - 10 Things I Wanted to do With my Life and Clearly Never Will - where I decided I would follow in the footsteps of Jeff Foxworthy  (Oh, that really happened) and you get  this list for your enjoyment.

(For more of this list you can go to JewishRedneck.com. – Oh, that’s really a site)  I feel I got the best of the best, plus I added some of my own.  ENJOY! 

You May Just be a Jewish Redneck If…


-You know which brand of squeeze cheese is Kosher

- You have a gun rack in your Sukkah

- You don’t ride on Shabbat because your car has a boot on it

- You think that a hora is a high priced call girl

- You wear shit kickers to synagogue

- You think that “KKK” means really really Kosher

- Your favorite Passover snack is spam on wonder

- You’re disappointed when your son tells you he wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, and not a NASCAR driver

- Matzo Balls are the most solid things you can eat with your tooth

- Your yard has car parts lying around to Volvo’s, BMW’s, and Porshe’s

- Your Seder plate has a picture of Elvis on it.

- You open the door for Elijah at Passover and have to chase away possums.

- You turn off your bug zapper on Friday night.

- You use dynamite in the pond to get gefilte fish.

- You request your Rabbi to certify roadkill as kosher.

- You know how to play Hava Nagila on the banjo.

- “Larry the Mohel Guy” ‘nuff said.

- Your yarmulke has fishing lures stuck in it.

- Your tallis is camouflage

- You store left over matzoth ball soup in old Cool Whip containers.

- You play drinking games with your dreidel.

- You had a combination Bat Mitzvah / Wedding.

- You painted over letters on your Toyota pickup’s tailgate so it now says OY.

- Your synagogue used to have wheels, but now it’s up on blocks.

- You end all prayers with “get er done” instead of Amen

Feel free to  comment and tell me your favorite one or write your own You may be a Jewish Redneck ifs…

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The Jesus Question all Jews Dread | Jenny From the Blog

12 Jan

Written by Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog from The Suburban Jungle

This conversation occurred a couple days ago.  What it taught me? As my children get older, I’m less capable of competent parenting.

My Sassy 7 YO Little Girl:  Mom, see it’s after Christmas and they still have Jesus on their lawn. I told you they leave him out all year.

The one on the lawn was bigger.

“I guess you’re right.”

“Who’s the pretty girl with him in the pink dress?”

“That’s his mother, the virgin Mary, though I doubt her dress was pink.”

“The what Mary?”

“Umm just Mary” – Wow, it just dawned on me that Christian people have to broach the whole virgin/impregnation/immaculate conception thing rather early, huh? In my defense, I am currently broaching this conversation…

“Is Jesus dead?”

“Yes.”

“Then how do you know his mother?” she asked, as if we must have gone out for drinks at some time or at the very least met at Starbucks. [...]

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So, I Have a Cleaning Lady – No Need for Verbal Assaults

9 Jan

Written by Jenny From the Blog of THE SUBURBAN JUNGLE

This story ended up in a book of hilarious Mom essays, but it was originally run when I first started blogging, by a major newspaper and their coordinating website, I will not name where.
No, stop asking, ‘cuz I won’t.
Don’t tickle me… stop it.  
ENOUGH.

Ok – the response was a mostly a verbal assault and a judgmental lashing from people who would never spend their hard earned money to have someone else help around the house.  Personally, I have no problem spending my husbands hard earned money to have someone do that.  (What, you think blogging pays a ton?)  

Ironic, comparison right 'cuz she was the hired nanny.

Frankly, I would consider spending my last dollar on it.  In fact I would clean someone else’s house to make the money to pay someone to clean my own.  I feel I don’t need to apologize for the sanity and extra time I get to play with my kids or the joyful feeling I get from walking into my home- like Julie Andrew’s character feels in the Sound of Music when she’s spinning on the mountain top singing, “The Hills are Alive.”

Oh, you can picture me doing it right?
Cuz I do.  
With song.  
And a flowy 1940‘sesque dress.  
Every time I walk in and smell the fresh scent of Lysol “Fresh Scent.”

I thought I would let you all decide if you can relate or if I’m a horrible person  – for liking a clean house – for putting this extravagance in my budget – for wearing frocks…

Here goes: [...]

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