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An Open Letter to the Other Parents of Berkeley – Guest Post

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So a few days ago I asked the illustrious Jillsmo, from Yeah. Good Times to Guest Post for me.  She was super excited to do it for me (I bribed her with pizza and beer).  She meant to get it to me yesterday, but something happened with vodka.  I’m not really sure.

 BUT, she was SUPER excited to send me this one:  “I whipped this one out (of my ass) for you.”


 And here it is!


Dear Other Parents Who Live in Berkeley:

Okay, people: here’s the deal. Yeah, I’m super liberal, and it seems like I fit in around here,  but I’ve started to suspect that some of my parenting habits might get me kicked out of town if you all actually knew about them. So, I’ve decided to own these habits of mine and then get on with my life. I think it will be cleansing (you know, like in that stupid “spiritual cleansing” kind of way, that you guys do).

I didn’t breastfeed either of my kids. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, it just apparently wasn’t in the cards for us. You didn’t know about this because pulling a bottle out in a public location will actually get you a lecture from the hippie lady at the next table, so I kept all that stuff at home.

We go to McDonalds. Yes. We do. We frequent the huge mega-conglomerate evil fast food chain that makes our kids fat just by walking by one. I know, you’ve picketed and petitioned to get them out of town, but you lost, and there are 2 of these places in our town. And we go there. About once a week.

I go to Starbucks; like… a lot. I really like my mochas and I’ve been to every single place in town and tried every mocha available, and since there is no Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf around here, I’ve decided that Starbucks has the best mochas. I know, they use prison labor to make their cups. I KNOW they treat their employees badly, or something, I don’t know: who cares? They have good chocolate there, and good chocolate is the key to a good mocha.

My kids spend a lot of time in front of a computer; they each have their own (thank you, Grandparents!). I know, this will automatically make them fat and have  ADHD or something, and yet… I still let them. Because sometimes I have to work (or blog) and I don’t have the time to keep the 5 year old entertained. And you know what else? When YOUR kid comes over, that’s all they do when they’re here. Your kid really wants a computer, by the way.  Like… really wants one.

I drive my kids to school every morning. I know we only live 6 blocks away, but I always have to run off to some far away location to work immediately afterwards and I just don’t have the time to walk them up the street and then walk myself back to where my car is… so, we drive. Every day. And now that we’re in the habit of driving, I will even drive them on the days when I don’t work.

I hate bicycles. Fucking hate them. I hate riding them. I hate other people who ride them. They annoy the hell out of me when I’m driving. I don’t own one, neither of my kids have one (they have never wanted one; they have scooters) and as long as I can  help it, we will never get one.

I don’t do Yoga. I could never coordinate my frantic arm movements with all that crazy breathing you’re supposed to do, so I gave up very quickly. Also, I hate the sun and I like the rain, and if one more of you asks me if I’m enjoying this beautiful weather I’m going to fucking kick you in the shins.

I let my 5 year old watch Family Guy with me, and it’s had a really bad influence on him. The other day he wanted to know how old you have to be to have sex.

We have never done a family bed, because I never get a wink of sleep when they’re next to me.

I have never ever brought my own wooden silverware to a potluck, nor would I ever even consider it.

So, there you are: my list of sins against you, the City of Berkeley. OH MY GOD I hope nobody I know reads this, because I actually like living here, despite all of this, and I really don’t want to get run out of town for my sins. I do wear Birkenstocks every day, though, so that should balance some of this out, right? RIGHT?


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

22 responses »

  1. Wooden silverware?? That is theee most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard. Wood harbors bacteria. Next time you’re at a potluck, throw that shit in the fireplace like immediately. Wait. Are fireplaces allowed in Berkeley?

    • They are! But… interestingly… if you use them a lot your neighbor will stop by and ask if you want to borrow their space heater for the winter.

  2. Yeah, I’m with Grace on this one. Wooden Silverware? Don’t people get … splinters? I could NEVER live in Berkeley. I only breastfed 1.5 of my kids..Coleman was so huge I couldn’t make enough..and had to add formula, and Julia was actually ALLERGIC to my milk..I know that’s supposed to be a myth..tell it to her…we go to McDonalds’, I LIVE for Starbucks, my kids spend WAY too much time in front of electronic median, and I CAN’T STAND Birkenstocks. Oh, yeah…they would run me out on a rail. 🙂

    Great post, Jill!!!

  3. If by some chance you get kicked out, you can totally come slum with me. I will be the one with my Venti Latte sitting on the park bench letting the kids yell from the jungle gym because their fat butts got stuck eating their Happy Meals. 🙂

  4. They can’t kick you out—you wear Birkenstocks, it’s a loophole sure but you’re in. And if you go out and get your granola and organic wheat germ at Whole Foods your in too. Just for good measure go hug a tree and you’ll be OK.

    And family beds tank

    And we actually did a taste test of the Fast Food places and we like Arbys (curly fires, enough said), Wendy’s, Burger King and then McDonalds—in that order. So yeah, we have that one nailed….

  5. The real question is, Do you wear Birkenstocks for their environmental friendliness, or because you can be kinda lazy and don’t have to tie them? Cuz, me? I’m lazy.

  6. I have 2 guest posts up today and they both referred to me as “illustrious.” If I knew what that meant I might have more of an opinion about it

  7. I love this – I’ve committed all of those parenting sins myself, and you know what? Kid’s doing o.k. and I’m not crazy.

  8. Geez, all the big names are out guest posting everywhere I go!

    Jill, I’m thinking that as long as you keep your windows closed, tint the glass in the car, hide the McDonalds and Starbucks trash, and wear the Birkenstocks out, no one will be the wiser.

  9. I hope you at least dress fair trade. Sheesh. I think the breastfeeding thing is pretty universal. Where the universe = California. I was a closet bottle feeder down in San Jose too.

  10. I suspected Berkeley was the West Coast version of Park Slope but now I know for sure. This is hilarious.

  11. Um, ok. So, IDK if you were being facetious with the whole “wooden silverware” thing, but I have seen it. And I think it is really cool! It is made from bamboo, so to be technical, it is a grass. See, in 2004 we redid our house in VA and put in bamboo flooring, we were trendsetters (because it was a hella lot cheaper than the Brazillian cherry we really wanted). The Hubs and I actually started the whole bamboo craze. You’re Welcome, World.

    We got the boys in Central Cali and whew! Hippie central! We had an attachment therapist who totally was bummed (dude) that we refused to do the family bed thing. SHE breast her kids until they were 5. FIVE. FRICKING FIVE YEARS OLD!! I didn’t breast feed the boys for obvious reasons…

  12. Phew–now i can say it. i LOVE McDonalds! I actually don’t get to go there often because whatever they put in their Fry oil turns Ben into Demon SPawn–but that doesn’t mean i dont sneak ti when i can. We do hit In-n-out alot though…

    ANd i guess the Breastfeeding nazis are only in NoCal—because i got flack more than once here in LA for breastfeeding in public. Prolly cause they were jealous of my cans. haters.

  13. My husband and I have a saying. “….not in Berkeley.” Begin the sentence with whatever you like. The fun police have a rule, law, fine, or ordinance for everything!

  14. Where’s Berkeley? Maybe I have even bigger things to worry about than the fact that I actually just pretend to recycle.

  15. Jillsmo, I think you might be my long lost twin sister. Mochas, anti-bikes, and driving six blocks? Seriously, this is a little spooky.
    I might have you beat in how close my kids school is though… I’m also involved in the ‘Walk to School” campaign and we drive 90% of the time! Please don’t rat me out.
    That’s why I don’t live in Berkeley, I’m not that good of an actor and they would totally sniff me out.
    Keep living the glam double life. We will live vicariously through you and your hip hammock loving lifestyle.

  16. OMG Jillsmo! I DID read this…thats ok, I’ll love you anyway 🙂 Bethany does have a computer in her room…but we dont own a TV 🙂 I am kind of scared to move because we will be the freaks of the town anywhere else.

  17. We go to McDonald’s three times a week. The lady who works the drive thru knows H’s first name and H knows hers. Ask me how many fucks I give? Also, where does one even GET wooden silverware? You know, if you bring McDonalds to the picnic, you don’t actually NEED silverware. Like, at all.


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