4 Reasons We Become Slacker Moms

26 Comments
little-girl-first-day-of-school Image via Shutterstock

The kiddos have been back in school for a week, maybe two or three, and so far you are killing it mom-wise. You’ve got your act totally together, and all systems are running smooth as buttah! You are a ‘night before packing, clothes laying out, shoes by the door, on time, dinner planning, lunch prepping, hot breakfast cooking, reading 20 minutes before bed every night’ school mom ninja right now. You are up before dawn, skipping through the house like Mary Poppins on Red Bull. What you are now achieving before 7AM would make a West Point cadet shiver. You have set up homework stations, backpack stations, and sports equipment stations. If you are homeschooling, your curriculum calendar is a color coded, expertly sequentialized, portfolio freaking masterpiece of educational pedagogy perfection. Rejoice moms! It is early fall and our organizational badass cups runneth over!

Unfortunately, somewhere, somehow, and sometime soon it is gonna go to pot. Total crap. Our once highly functioning school systems will collapse quicker than a sleep derived new mom after two glasses of wine.

This hit me yesterday when I was packing my little guy’s lunches. They were food magazine cover worthy, nutritionally balanced, damn pieces of Bento art. Why then, somewhere around late April, am I scouring through cupboards looking for anything that resembles food and begrudgingly stuffing it into lunch boxes? How do school routines go from happy to hellacious?

Stuff happens. Life happens. And then we hit the wall hard, collectively falling off the high achieving school mom wagon. Here are the four reasons we become slacker moms:

1. After school activities, and sports practices. Right now, you are in the honeymoon period of the school year. All of the fun, with none of the work. Sports leagues may not have started, your kids may not have had any homework, and after school clubs and activities have yet to take over your calendar. But when they do, watch out, because your lazy afternoons and family dinners together are out the window. Bedtimes get later, patience grows thinner, and well meaning efforts to prepare for the following school day are all but lost when you find yourself passed out on the couch at 9:15. We’ve all read that kids should not become over-scheduled, that they should enjoy free play every afternoon, and we should all strive to live more simple daily lives. I hear ya, and in a non-competitive dream world that would work. But here’s the thing, I have teenagers, and I have seen college applications, scholarship applications, and honor society applications. Guess what they all have in common? About three blank pages to write about all the teams you are a captain of, all the clubs you are the president of, all the hobbies you are an elite talent at, and all the non-profits you are the chairman of. And all this by roughly age 16. I would love to tell the colleges my sons are applying to that they are boys of great character, and everyday they helped their mom make dinner, do laundry, care for a home and younger siblings. Unfortunately, that’s not really gonna cut it. So for now we run around every afternoon like maniacs, playing this and that, attending meetings for this and that, volunteering here and there… and on and on and on. And our once perfectly planned out days turn very sour.

2. The Holidays. Somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when our already tight schedules are invaded with cookie swaps, company Christmas parties, and obligatory family celebrations, we lose some school zest. Honest to goodness holiday fatigue sets in, and digs its teeth into our school routines. Kids start forgetting things, dinners get skipped, we accidentally sleep in, and we can’t catch our breath or catch up with our days. How is it the busiest time of year ends up being in, well, the busiest time of year? When we finally come out at the other end in early January, and jump back into the school year, we feel behind before we even start. That school alarm clock chirping has long since lost its turn on.

3. Sick kids. The only thing more detrimental to a great school routine than a sick kid, is two sick kids. Then another, and another, and then a sick parent. In early winter when cold and flu season slaps everyone in the face, and for weeks at a time at least one family member in the house is wearing their pajamas 24/7, school days and daily routines take a beating. We spend the short dark days of the new year shuffling around and barely hanging on to any type of school routine. We may even start to be thinking of warmer days and that most craved week of the year…..

4. Spring Break. Ahhhh…seven days, and a magical slice of sunshine landing at just the right time. After cold months and weeks and weeks without a single school day off, we finally catch a breather. And we get just a tiny but sweet taste of the outdoors, of staying up late and getting up even later, and of resting our minds and bodies. Which makes the period of time between spring break and the end of the school year the roughest time of all. We are treading water those last two months. We are no longer organized and ready for school mornings, we are never prepared for the evenings, and we are just begging for all of it to be OVER already because we are done!

Remember just a few months ago chanting ‘BRING ON SUMMER?” Yeah, me too. Then a few weeks ago we were all whining, “Is it time for them to go back to school yet?” Yep, I was. For now, this first month of fall, I still have my act together. Shoes are lined up at the door, and backpacks are organized nicely. Homework hasn’t been missed, and I’m still signing forms and slips happily and on time. I know what sports practice day it is, and I have all the proper equipment ready, and the pantry and fridge are well stocked.

I give myself to around early February before it all goes bad, and I inevitably send a kid to school with breath mints for lunch, the wrong uniform on, a very overdue permission slip, and late homework. Then we will have cereal for dinner, and I will totally forget to pick up a kid from a sports practice, we will all be wearing dirty clothes, we will have lost one backpack, three lunch boxes, four school books, and a set of golf clubs. (Seriously, how do you misplace golf clubs? ) At some point I will lose my purse, my phone, my sanity, and my patience. Finally, there will be that school morning, where by the time we get to drop off, everyone in the car will be crying, including me.

How many days until summer?

Related post: The Extra-Curricular Crackdown

The Things We Keep

15 Comments
old-ultrasound-picture Image via Shutterstock

One of my big goals this year has been to clean out the house.  I mean really clean it out. This undertaking is about more than sorting through toys, shredding old paper files, and purging unworn clothes from our closets.  It’s about wanting – and believing it’s possible – to live a lighter, happier, and more fulfilling life with less.  It’s about keeping what I truly need and having the courage to get rid of the things I don’t. Things that have no bearing on the authenticity of the memories they represent, like a T-shirt from a 5K or a ticket stub from a concert. With or without the things, I still ran the race and I still heard the music.

As I walk from room to room surveying the endless objects that fill my home and life and asking myself, toss or keep, I’ve discovered that the reasons we keep things – guilt (the kids’ stuffed animals), hope (my size four jeans), nostalgia (the shoes I wore to my wedding), and despair (my recently deceased dog’s bumblebee Halloween costume) – are often the very same reasons we eventually (and bravely) throw them away.

Eight years ago, I made a bowl in a pottery class on a summer family vacation in Colorado.  I took the class because there really wasn’t anything else I could do at the sprawling resort outside of Telluride.  You see, I was five months pregnant, so activities like horseback riding, biking, rock wall climbing, and drinking in the hotel lobby were off the table.  Just walking up the hill to the spa for a prenatal massage left me winded because of the altitude.

It was an ugly and beautiful bowl.  Ugly because it was so flawed and beautiful because even though it looked like a lopsided, vomiting tulip, I made it with my own hands.  The resort generously shipped it to me when we left, and to my great surprise, it arrived home intact.  It survived a few additional moves before it reached its final destination on the small, white shelf above the toilet in my bathroom (because where else would I put it?).

I should’ve thrown it out when it first arrived (it was hideous), but I kept it because it reminded me of the precious summer I spent floating in the bliss of the second trimester of pregnancy with my first child.  The nausea and exhaustion of the first several weeks had receded, my belly was round but not uncomfortable, my body was ripe but not swollen, and I had nothing but time on my hands to daydream about strollers, diaper bags, and baby names.  It was magical.

But that’s not the only reason I held on to it.

First pregnancies are magical, but it wasn’t technically my first.  That one happened a year and a half earlier around the time I embarked on a different family vacation, a holiday cruise to the Caribbean.  After taking a home pregnancy test, I raced to my doctor who smiled and said, “Have fun, don’t drink the water in Mexico, and we’ll do an ultrasound when you get back.”

What I remember most about that trip, besides the night I miscarried, was that there were Christmas cookies everywhere.  I couldn’t walk into a room on that ship without bumping into a tower of perfectly decorated cookies.

Within days of disembarking, I was admitted to the hospital.  Despite the crippling pain and discharge I experienced on the cruise, my urine and blood told the story of a woman who was about eight weeks pregnant.  The ultrasound, however, did not.

Heartbroken and scared, I counted backwards from 100 in the operating room uncertain if I would emerge from surgery with one less fallopian tube (if it was ectopic) or worse.  I woke up intact, but the relief was short-lived because the fetal tissue they found floating around my uterus was indicative of a molar pregnancy.  In other words, the “pregnancy” was nothing but a mess of abnormal cells that never would’ve formed a baby.

As if all of that weren’t cruel enough, four weeks later I found myself in the office of a gynecological oncologist because the sneaky thing about a molar pregnancy is that all of those messy cells can grow back and transform into something called choriocarcinoma, which is fancy talk for cancer in the uterus.

I spent the next two months undergoing weekly chemotherapy injections and the year after that doing regular blood work to monitor my hormone levels because even though the cancer was curable, it wouldn’t have been if it had come back unknowingly and metastasized to my liver, abdomen, lungs, or brain.

In a way, my first pregnancy was magical.  It was an illusion of epic proportions.  A disappearing act unlike anything I’d ever seen.   I wanted a baby, but I got cancer instead, and everything I believed to be real and true and good and safe and normal vanished before my eyes.

I never liked the lopsided, vomiting tulip bowl I made on that summer vacation in Colorado, but I kept it because I believed it possessed the collective memory of the hard-fought journey I endured to reappear.  To fall and get back up.  To heal and trust and forgive.  To eventually experience the precious second trimester of a real pregnancy, and to finally have a baby.

But, it didn’t hold any of that.  It was just a bowl and an unsightly one at that, so I threw it out because, with or without it, the memory of that magical time would always be mine.

10 Ways Toddlers and Frat Boys Are The Same

37 Comments
falling-asleep-while-eating Image via Shutterstock

Now that I’m a mom of two boys, I’m slowly starting to realize how gross they really are. Even though there are not any Greek letters hoisted above my front door; the smells and mess you encounter when you enter – will definitely have you questioning whether or not an entire fraternity lives here.  Hopefully one day, I’ll have my own private bathroom or a live-in housekeeper (you know, if I win the lotto). Until then, here are 10 reasons why living with a toddler (son) is like living in a frat house:

1. They Are Proud Of Their Bowel Movements. Every time my son goes to the bathroom, he has to show me. “Momma, look what I did – Ta Da!” (You know you’re a mom when you actually go look and then react by giving a high-five.)

2. They Have Sub-Par Hygiene. I have to threaten my son to brush his teeth.  I usually tell him his teeth are going to fall out if he doesn’t brush them.  Mean, I know, but I can’t stand his rotten breath.  He wipes snot on his arms, his feet smell, and I’ll spare you the details and not discuss his butt-wiping capabilities.

3. They Have Poor Aim. Pee is everywhere.  Riddle me this – how hard is it to pee into a giant hole when you’re standing less than an inch away from the toilet? Why is this concept so difficult for men / boys?

4. They Pass Gas Anytime – Anywhere. Usually any breaking wind is accompanied by giggles, so I don’t mind this as much. (If you’re a grown man, then it’s not cute.)

5. They Like To Touch Themselves.  Even my eight month old immediately reaches for his boy parts the second his diaper comes off. Just last week, my toddler pulled his pants down to show my mother-in-law his privates.  Men and their pride – I guess it starts at birth.

6. They Pull All-Nighters.  My son is going through a growth spurt and he’s a night owl, which means sleepless nights for me too.  Even if he goes to bed late, he’s up by 6 am. I can’t wait until he’s a teenager and sleeps around the clock.

7. Their Rooms Are Trashed. I clean my boys’ room  at least four times a day and it still looks like a tornado ravaged it. To find a pair of socks, my son insists on pulling every piece of clothing out first and then proceeds to throw everything on the floor.

8. They Try Sneak In Your Bed.  Every night my son goes to sleep in his bed, yet every morning I wake up and he’s in mine.  (Secretly, I love this because one day he won’t want to cuddle with me, and I’m not ready for that just yet.)

9. They Are Vomit Comets.  Toddlers are projectile vomit machines – in case you didn’t know. It usually happens when you’re wearing a nice outfit and it comes out of nowhere.

10. They Have No Filter. Leave it to your kid to embarrass you every chance they get. Offensive language is just part of their daily lives. Honesty is a virtue, but when you have a toddler, it’s a curse.

While I try teach my son to mind his P’s and Q’s now, I’m hoping as he gets older his manners will be more prominent in our daily lives. But first things first – we need to focus on his aim.

Related post: 10 Ways Pregnancy is Like Toddlerhood

10 Things You Can’t Do In Public While Pregnant (But Totally Want To)

68 Comments
pissed-off-womanImage via Shutterstock

When you’re pregnant, there are myriad things you wish you could just up and do no matter where you are and whom you’re with — things you probably do in the privacy of your own home without reserve. The thing is, you can’t in public. I mean, you could, but you’d either no longer have any friends or get arrested, and nobody wants that. Here are just a few of them:

1. Ice your vagina. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only pregnant person who’s had swollen labes and excruciating pelvic pain for the majority of the third trimester. Add to that a previous c-section incision or two and you’re talking a serious case of Super Snatchitis. Life would be so much easier if you could just excuse yourself to the frozen food aisle and apply a Lean Cuisine to your crotch without judgment.

2. Scream, “I JUST WANNA SHIT! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?” from the stall of a public restroom. Not even upon reaching dangerously toxic levels of concrete-esque excrement in your bowels is this ever a good idea.

3. Whip your boobies out to apply a soothing cream or salve. Where my fellow sistas with the saucer-sized areolas and chafey nips at, hmm? You know what I’m talking about.

4. Apply hemorrhoid cream during a staff meeting. It’s just not sanitary.

5. Walk around naked. Even the largest of maternity wear can be so restrictive. There’s nothing more comfortable or freeing than letting it all – and I DO mean IT ALL  hang loose.

6. Fart audibly. Of course you’re still farting; you’re just doing it as quietly and discreetly as possible. Only in fairy tales can you let those juicy ones fly and still be invited back to the neighbor’s next dinner party.

7. Give up on grooming. This is totes something you can get away with in small amounts, but I wouldn’t recommend giving it up cold turkey. Chances are you want your friends and partner to still be there when the baby’s born. Here’s how to know if you’ve let it go too far: When the doctor starts performing your routine exams in a Hazmat suit, it’s time to break out the soap, brush, and razor.

8. Eat other people’s food when hungry. Yes, pregnancy hunger can strike without warning, and yes, it’s one bitch of a whore. Even still, it’s not advisable to pick from the plates of patrons in area restaurants or rip items off the grocery store shelves and tear into them like a rabid honey badger.

9. Ask complete strangers to evaluate the viscosity of your vaginal discharge. Is it pee, vaggie juice, or amniotic fluid? Your concern is understandable, but it’s probably best to leave inspection of your panty paste to your doctor or spouse.

10. Hump your hubby on the breakfast bar at Big Boy. If you’re one of the lucky* ones to be blessed with a raging libido during baby baking, you know the urge to sex it up is both frequent and emergent. Still can’t fornicate on the fondue**.

*or unlucky; depends on how you look at it

**just kidding; they don’t have fondue at Big Boy!

Related post: 10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman

An Apology to My Friends And Family

281 Comments
sorry-mother Image via Shutterstock

I’m sorry.

To the man I fell in love with in the days when I had no worries, to my two beautiful darlings who make everything brighter, to my family who keep everything going with their endless support, and to my friends who I’ve been rubbish to for too long: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for shouting.

I’m sorry for snapping.

I’m sorry for being grumpy.

I’m sorry for not being much fun these days.

I’m sorry for crying.

I’m sorry for not seeing the brighter side.

I’m sorry for rarely laughing.

Sometimes, after changing that millionth diaper and being up all night worried sick about a child; sometimes, after running out of Tylenol and forgetting a doctor’s appointment; sometimes, after not being able to convince your toddler to eat anything or your baby to stop crying, sometimes, after answering the why question 1700 times in a day while you still have a headache – sometimes it’s hard to see the funny side and it’s hard to see things rationally.

I don’t want to make excuses for all of this. Milin is two, Jasmin is nine months today – I’m probably not even a ‘new mum’ anymore. But I am a mum of two very young children who still has no idea what she is doing. I’m still learning this thing that is motherhood. I’m still navigating the maze of parenting. I’m still getting it really wrong, all the time.

I don’t want to make excuses. But along with my apology, I want you to know that this sleep-deprived, distracted, forgetful, impatient and snappy woman you now see before you isn’t the woman I thought I would be.

I wish I was still that woman who made you smile because she tried to be entertaining. I wish I was still that woman who didn’t care about the consequences – fun came first. I wish I was still that woman who you laughed with like nothing else in the world mattered but your silly joke. I wish I was still that woman who had the confidence to believe in herself and simply accept that everything would work out. I wish I was still that woman who had the energy and patience and creativity to make life more fun.

Maybe, one day, I’ll find her again.

But right now, she’s lost. She’s lost to the mum who is tired and worried. She is lost to the mum who just wants a break some days. She is lost to the mum who is still messing stuff up when it matters.

Please, bear with me, smile at me, still try to make me laugh. I don’t know if I deserve that, but just stay with me a while.

That other woman will be back.

Related post: Lost in The Parking Lot of Parenting

25 Reasons I’m Glad My Kids Are Grown Up

69 Comments

woman-relaxing

As I watched my youngest packing boxes to head back to college for his senior year, I felt a mixture of Momma pride – he’s all grown up (almost!) and also a tinge of the empty nest blues. I guess that never really ends, but it does get easier. I’ve grown to love the empty nest, and so will you. Much as I miss many parts of being a parent of school-aged children, there are many reasons I’m glad my kids are grown up…

1. Filling out the same forms with the same information every.single.year. Maybe it’s different now, but back in the day (um, that would be 2010), in my school district, we still had to fill them out by hand. Most in duplicate, a few in triplicate.

2. Writing checks for: Lunch tickets, books, fees, donations, classroom supplies, bus passes, ID cards, PTA memberships.

3. Writing more checks for: Booster clubs, activity fees, uniforms, costumes, yearbooks, overdue fines, cookie dough, gift wrap.

4. Making lunches and then having the lunches come home in the backpacks, uneaten (I just wanted chips, mom).

5. Carpools. Carpools. Carpools. Did I mention carpools?

6. Waking my son up for school every morning for 13 years. Every morning. He gets himself up now that he’s in college. We’re so proud.

7. Shopping for school supplies that no one ever used, like those pink erasers and endless packages of 3-whole punch lined paper. Plus the supplies for the classroom, like Kleenex and sanitizing gel. Where did all that lottery money go, anyway?

8. Small talk in the parking lot waiting to pick up your kid with the mom whose kid is better than yours at everything.

9. Buying two dozen mechanical pencils for my son who promptly lost them all or gave them away within 48 hours of starting school. Every year. You’d think I would have learned.

10. Buying clothes for my daughter that she wore once and never again. A few weeks into the school year, she would default to a school sweatshirt and jeans, hair in a messy bun, more often than not.

11. PTA meetings. Painful. But the guilt of not going was even more painful. And now I look back and think “why?”

12. Back-to-school night. Did anyone really want to be there? Well, maybe the new teachers. And the parents of the kids who do everything better than yours do.

13. Parent-teacher conferences. The icky feeling that you’re being judged because your kid isn’t perfect. Although, that feeling passed after about 2nd grade.

14. Annual check-ups. Shots. More forms to fill out.

15. Driving by the school to see if my kid was one of the kids walking along the fence, alone, while the other kids played with each other. (Happily that never was the case, though I checked periodically.)

16. Head lice.

17. Smelly sports uniforms that had to be washed every day. The football uniform was particularly delightful.

18. Middle-school angst and drama. Oh the heartache.

19. Colds, coughs, flus.

20. HOMEWORK.

21. Auditions, try-outs, contests, elections, prom kings and queens. The never-ending popularity contest and competitions.

22. Waiting to be asked to prom/winter formal. Asking a girl to prom/winter formal. (Not me, of course. My kids.)

23. First day jitters and senioritis. Senioritis should be an actual illness in the DSM-III.

24. College applications, essays, application fees. The common app, submit buttons, extra-curriculars, teacher recommendations, PSATS, SATS, ACTS, SAT IIs, Merit Scholars, valedictorians, legacies,financial aid, deadlines, safety schools, reach schools, match schools.

25. College admission anxiety, a parental illness that should also be in the DSM-III and is a perfectly legitimate reason to get a Xanax prescription.

The 10 Fights You’ll Most Likely Have With Other Moms

337 Comments

women-fighting

When I was a new mom, I found out pretty quickly that there were two things about the experience that I really disliked; other children and their parents. Of course, that all changed as I started to make more and more friends, and realized that the problem wasn’t moms, it was assholes, and just made a point not to make friends with assholes.

Still, even if you aren’t friends with assholes, they will still come and find you, wherever you are. The fact is, you can be the nicest person in the world, but someone will always manage to rub you the wrong way. Of course it’s important to pick your battles, or else you’ll end up a lonely husk of rage, but there are times you don’t want to be spineless either. At some point or another, most people will end up fighting with other moms about the following:

1. Who gets to discipline whose child. I am that annoying woman who walks around at birthday parties, giving people permission to yell at my kid if they need to. I want them to know I don’t feel weird about it. Some people do feel weird about it, and they will tear your fucking throat out if you tell their kid to knock something off.

I once told an older kid to stop pushing toddlers off of the monkey bars when they started to climb up. The mom flipped out on me, all “WHAT DID YOU SAY??” That experience hasn’t soured me, though. I love saying “no” and if your kid’s a dick I will tell them “no”, too.

2. Snacks. Oh my god, snacks. This is a minefield. A delicious, delicious minefield. Listen to me: You are being judged on the snacks you serve your child at the playground. It is either too sugary or too crunchy-granola. Hide it in your purse and let your kid dip their head in there every once in a while instead. Do not ever give other people’s kids snacks unless you are hoping to get into fisticuffs.

3. What counts as age-appropriate. I never knew this was even an issue until I had a playdate at my house when my daughter was four. She was obsessed with SpongeBob SquarePants and was watching the show when the other kid came in. I promptly turned it off, but halfway through the playdate the mother said she “couldn’t just keep my mouth shut anymore!” and actually started to cry because she felt so bad that my daughter was being subjected to SpongeBob.

4. Stroller real estate. Stroller parking, stroller rolling, being in the direct path of someone’s massive Escalade-type stroller. You might be surprised how pissed people get if you are in the way of their stroller, take their parking “spot” or don’t move all of your shit out of the 5-foot horizontal corridor of space they need to maneuver through the library/Starbucks/playground.

5. Sharing. Most parents want their kid to learn how to share. And then your kid meets the kid whose parents hate sharing, and you’re fucked. They’ll be in the sandbox together and you’ll tell your child to share the red bucket and then the dad will say to you, “how would you like it if you had to give all of your things to someone else??” And then suddenly it’s a fight about Obamacare.

6. Something related to school or preschool. If you think playground annoyances end when your kid gets to school or preschool you are wrong. So very, sadly wrong. Welcome to the world of fights about attendance, who is gifted and talented and who should be responsible for volunteering at the berjillion parties your kid’s class will have. Hint: It’s you.

7. Multi-level marketing gigs (Think Pampered Chef and Mary Kay). Obviously.

8. What kind of a job you’re doing (spoiler: not a good one). Back in the day, I would get into fights with older moms about this very thing. There was always something I was doing that wasn’t quite right, probably because I was an idiot, unlike them. You would think that a group of women who face criticism based on their age would not turn around and criticize people based on their age. You are wrong.

9. Carseats. Car seats were not the bastion of bicker-fuel they were when I was a new mom. Now, you will get in fights about everything from head supports to proper Y-strap formation and it will make you wonder if you need a hobby, and also if that hobby should be carseats.

10. “I could NEVER [insert thing you're doing here]” I could NEVER send my kid to daycare. I could NEVER give my child Lunchables. I would NEVER put SpongeBob on T.V. Honestly, who cares what you would never do? Gratz on never doing it. But why do you care what other people do? Short of hauling off and backhanding a toddler for spilling their own juice, it’s none of your business.

Related post: The 10 Most Annoying Moms You’ll Meet

This post first appeared on Mommyish. Read more here

Motherhood: The Big Fat Fuck You

3,497 Comments

kid-middle-finger

I lost it this morning.  Really lost it.

After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV.  I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels.  There is so much crap on TV – shows geared towards teens and preteens, shows that showcase kids calling other people “idiot” and “stupid” and generally behaving obnoxiously – and in all seriousness, I have a hard enough time keeping my kids under control without exposing them to those kinds of influences and role models.  So the rule is, Mom sets the channel, and you don’t change it without permission.  Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule.  The moment I walk out of the room, she’s got the remote in her hand, channel-surfing, looking for some obnoxious show featuring smart-ass teenagers.  It happened this morning.  Within thirty seconds of my turning the TV on to Nick Jr. – really for Finn – Annabelle is changing the channel.  “Leave the TV alone, Annabelle,” I said.  I left the room.  A few minutes later, on my way to the kitchen, I saw her there, remote in hand, channel surfing again.  And I lost it.

Screaming and yelling ensued.  Swearing.  “I’VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES TO LEAVE THE TV ALONE!!” I shouted.  “GO TO YOUR ROOM!  GO SIT IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL IT’S TIME TO LEAVE FOR SCHOOL.  NOW!!!”  She just stood there staring at me, not moving a muscle.  “GO!!”  I yelled.  All the kids froze in their tracks while I chased – literally chased – Annabelle into her room.  She beat me by a half a second and locked the door against me.  Locked the door!  “I’m going to kill her!”  I muttered.  “MOM!  Are you really going to kill Annabelle?  Did you really just say that?!”  Daisy shrieked.  “OPEN THIS GODDAMN DOOR!”  I yelled.  Annabelle unlocked the door.  “Don’t you ever lock the door against me again!  Do you hear me?!” I yelled at her.

Michael’s trying to calm me.  “Leave me alone!”  I yelled at him.  “I do EVERYTHING for you people – including YOU! – and you all treat me like shit!  Every last one of you!”

I know.  All this over an eight-year old changing the channel on the TV.  But really, of course it’s not just about that.  That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning.  It was my eight-year old changing the channel after I told her not to – again.  It was dealing with Finn tantruming his way through breakfast – again.  It was Joey throwing a dramatic tantrum and copping a major attitude last night when I said no, he could not have an Instagram account (he’s ten, for crying out loud!).  It’s the bickering and tattling all the time.  It’s the “I want, I want, I want” all the time, and the lack of willingness to do much of anything I ask.  Ask somebody to set the table for dinner?  Tell them to clean up their room?  Oh myGOD!  You would think I’m asking them to pull their own fingernails out!  It’s my husband being gone so much of the time and me feeling utterly alone, like I’m dealing with all of this single handedly.

I’m not excusing my losing it this morning.  I’m ashamed.  I wish I held it together better, I really, really do.  And lest I start to sound like my own mother who seemed to believe that her kids were responsible for her happiness/unhappiness but she, the adult, was not responsible for theirs, let me just say that I know kids are kids, they don’t actually mean anything personal by their behavior – I know that, I really do.

Sometimes motherhood just feels like a big, fat Fuck You, though.  This is why people say that motherhood is a hard job.  Not because it’s especially intellectually challenging or physically demanding – I mean it is those things, but there are certainly other pursuits that require for far more intellectual and/or physical output than motherhood.  Not because it requires a great deal of bravery – of course, it does call for that, too, but certainly not as much as being a soldier or a police officer, for instance.  No, it’s not those things.  It’s because it’s so fucking emotionally taxing.  It’s because it’s so incredibly thankless so much of the time.  It’s because I feel like I’ve sacrificed so much of myself for them, and they don’t appreciate it.  It’s because I do and do and do for them, constantly, and it often seems like all I get in return is complaining that it’s not enough – or just outright ignored.  I’m not looking for accolades or awards or fanfare.  I’m not even looking for “thank you.”  It would just be nice to get a little cooperation.  A little respect for the rules – rules which aren’t onerous or unreasonable for crap’s sake!

And, you know, it’s hard to admit these things.  Everyone wants to talk about how great motherhood is, how fulfilling it is.  Sometimes it is.  And often, it’s not.  I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it this morning – opening myself up to criticism and judgment, exposing the flaws in the pretty picture.  I don’t want to feel alone, I guess.

After I got back from dropping the kids off at school this morning, I discovered that Annabelle had left her lunch at home.  Who do you think packed the baby and Finn back into the truck to drive her lunch to school?

Because that’s what moms do.

Related post: To the Unwashed Masses of Mothers

20 (Questionable) Ways To Name Your Baby

68 Comments

picking-baby-name

Once the lines have settled on the pregnancy test, and your prenatal vitamins are placed prominently on your nightstand, it’s time to choose a name. Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” and I’d like to respond with, “Uh. EVERYTHING.”

Having trouble picking a name? Why not try these:

1. Tell everyone within earshot what names you’re considering, so they can shoot them all down and offer their own superior suggestions.

2. Open a baby name book to a random page, close your eyes, and point. If it’s in the book, it’s gotta be good, right?

3. Name the kid after a pop culture icon who will be obsolete by the time your baby enters preschool. Kardashian, Gosling, and Twilight are great options.

4. Better yet, combine the names of TWO pop culture icons who will be obsolete by the time your baby enters preschool. Kanyeiber (Kanye + Justin Bieber) or Beyoncyrus (Beyonce + Miley Cyrus) for example.

5. Go with where your child was conceived. Sure, “Neighbor’s Pool Table” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but oh the stories you could tell!

6. Let the doctor decide. He does this all day long, so he has to have some good ideas.

7. Put a poll up on your blog and ask your readers to vote. Because the internet deserves the power to name your child.

8. Spell out your favorite TV station. Emteevee looks super cute when you write it like that.

9. Play pin the tail on the alphabet. Tape all the letters in the alphabet to a wall, put on a blindfold, and place 5-7 stickers on random letters. Pray you choose a vowel.

10. Let your older kid slam on the keyboard for three seconds and use whatever comes out. Gyjuvyurdtxpijoty for the win!

11. Go the nature route. Don’t do typical nature names like Meadow and Forest though. Choose unique names like Magma or Dung Beetle.

12. Pick a classic name, but jazz it up with some extra consonants and vowels. Daniel becomes Dhahnyiell and Sara turns into Zhszhairrah.

13. Choose a tech-related name. Dotcom, Siri or British GPS Lady could work.

14. Use their name to choose their future profession. Linebacker or Flautist for example. Name it and claim it!

15. Find a meaning you like and choose a name accordingly. I’m certain there are plenty of names which mean “one who emerges from the womb destined to color on walls in permanent marker.”

16. Don’t give the kid a name. Instead, allow him or her to choose their own name as a present on their third birthday. Kids have great judgment skills.

17. Combine two or three of your favorite elements from the Periodic Table. What about HeNaPb?

18. Do like Prince and just draw a doodle on the birth certificate. You can always pull a Puff Daddy and change it later.

19. Pay homage to your favorite food. I’m a fan of Pho, Ribeye, and Cheesy Gordita myself.

20. Or your favorite drink. How badass would “Michelob Ultra” sound at high school graduation?

Happy naming!

Related post: Shit, I Chose The Wrong Name For My Kid

5 Ways to Please Your Man! (Or, Not)

107 Comments
Ways to Please Your Man Image via Shutterstock

I have come across a few “5 Ways to Please Your Man” articles recently which, more than anything, leave me rolling my eyes instead of feeling inspired. Here’s how the article suggestions would go down in my house…

Article suggestion #1: Greet him at the door wearing an apron and high heels when he gets home from work.

What really happensPut kids to bed early and assume the attire. The only apron you can find says, “I’m not aging; I’m marinating,” but it will do. And you haven’t worn sexy heals since before your first child was born, so you find yourself hunched over boxes, digging through basement storage wearing nothing but an apron. Your four-year-old sneaks out of bed, finds you and announces, “Eeeweee! Mom’s booty!”

Fast-forward to husband gets home late to find “just marinating” wife passed out on the couch, waiting for him with a bag of potato chips on her chest and one navy blue/one black high heel.

Article suggestion #2: Go to his work at lunchtime wearing nothing but a trench coat and high heels; surprise him in his office and lock the door behind you.

What really happens: Your 20 year old babysitter and 65 year old retired neighbor scratch their heads as you leave the house looking like inspector gadget in July. Kids whine, ” I wanna dress up like Perry the Platypus too!”

When you finally get to husband’s work, the gate security guard tells you he needs to search your jacket and bag before giving you a visitors pass. You turn cherry-red and make a beeline back to the minivan.

Article suggestion #3: Send him a sexy, seductive selfie. Bonus points for nipple.

What really happens: Google “permanency of text messages” and contemplate appropriateness of sending a sext to husband’s work cell. Nothing says sexy like locking yourself in the bathroom, experimenting with seductive pouts and poses while ignoring children’s banging on the door. And try not to slip in the puddle of pee surrounding the toilet. You finally decide to just not include your face.

Husband replies a few hours later to boob-pic: “Did Johnny get another spider bite? Looks bad this time.”

Article suggestion #4: Sit on his lap, look lovingly in his eyes and tell him he is your hero and the man of your dreams.

What really happens: As you attempt to sit on his lap, husband keeps moving over on the couch to make room for you. Finally you announce, “I’m trying to sit on your lap,” to which he replies “why? We have a big couch that we can all fit on.”

Eavesdropping two-year old gets great idea and claims territory on daddy’s lap. Two additional kids squeezed in-between you, so you lean across two little heads and whisper, “you’re my hero” into husband’s ear.

He scratches his ear and says, “Huh?” Oh, okay,” while switching the Netflix to the Superman cartoon.

Article suggestion #5: Make a reservation at his favorite restaurant and tell him half-way through the meal that you’re not wearing any panties.

What really happens: Hmmm…His favorite restaurant? You contemplate the $3/slice pizza place and the local fast-food place with the play area, but then remember you will be kid-free.

After the salad course, you lean close to your husband and whisper, “I’m not wearing any underwear.” He informs you of the spinach in your teeth and asks, “Oh, are we running low on clean laundry?”

You each have two glasses of wine, not enough to impair your driving, but enough to help you pass out with your mouth hanging wide open before your head hits the pillow…(right after you’ve gotten into your comfie draw-string PJs and back into your booty-covering undies.)

Related post: Why You Should Say Yes Tonight