What Marriage Vows Really Mean



I’m a happily married woman, but don’t tell my husband that. I like to keep him guessing.

We recently celebrated our anniversary and discussed renewing our vows next year. This isn’t so much because we need to remind ourselves of the contract we entered into — I’m reminded of that every night when I listen to him snore. Rather, we thought it would be good to have an excuse to leave the Midwest in April and return to the beach where we wed. After all, it beats scraping frost off of our windshields.

When discussing our plans, I got to thinking about our vows and what they actually mean. I know what they’re supposed to mean and I take that part seriously, but after being married for a few years, I have realized there are alternate meaning to the vows…

· In sickness and in health … I will limit my eye rolls when you complain about being sick.

· I take thee to be my lawfully wedded spouse …  and I look forward to joint filing on taxes.

· I receive you into my life …  and my bank account.

· I promise to be faithful …  I don’t have time for anyone else.

· I will obey you …  as long as you agree with me.

· I promise to laugh with you …  and at you.

· I promise to be a patient parent to our children … and count to ten before I yell at them.

· I will help guide you through life … After all, I am the boss.

· To share in the gift of offspring …  because I can’t do it alone.

· I promise to comfort you in times of need … but not give up the comfortable spot on the couch.

· No matter what lies in our path …  or when I total our brand new car.

· I promise to hold your hand until the end of days …  or until your palms get sweaty.

· With this ring I wed …  but it won’t be the only ring we’ll purchase for me.

· To have and to hold …  but not to spoon or snuggle too much.

· For richer or poorer …  but hopefully just for richer.

· ‘Til death do us part …  and until life insurance kicks in.

Even after analyzing these vows, I still think I will renew them next year. After all, I’ve discovered the secret to a happy marriage: It’s comprised of two parts love, one part honesty and respect and one part fear of the wife.

It’s a formula that works for us.

12 Truths About Boys And Bathrooms



Whoever said that a man’s best friend is a dog lied. A man’s best friend is his penis, and that friendship goes all the way back to the first day someone tried to cover it up with a diaper.

In my house I have cleaned up enough messes in our family bathroom to know that boys are wild animals. I say that with love. They are compelled to heed the call of the wild with every urge to whiz. What most moms don’t know when they sign up for the motherhood gig is that potty training starts on day one and continues right on through adulthood.

Don’t believe me? In the spirit of honesty and unabashed sharing I will share a dozen dirty truths about boys and bathrooms. Grab your rubber gloves and a glass of wine, ladies … you’ll need them!

1. Potty training starts the day your son is born. It’s true. The day a nurse or midwife hands you your son you will immediately be thrown into potty training. It will start with being peed and pooped on while learning how to finagle a cloth diaper or how to fold a disposable diaper into a neat and trash-ready package.

2. Welcome to poop rodeo. I am almost certain that an infant boy trying to prevent his mother from changing his freshly filled diaper invented wrestling. The amount of wriggling, squirming, and whining that a child makes during a diaper change is like a demonstration for his right to be naked all the livelong day. In this process to be as free as a bird, your little wonder will get poop everywhere.

3. Boys LOVE to talk about their poop. Every single morning I hear at least one comment from my four-year-old about his poop. He wants to tell me everything about it from its size to its color to just how stinky it is. If that isn’t enough, the child wants to ask me questions bout my thoughts on his poop. I get it, already! You made poop! That’s great! Guess what?! I make stuff too! I made YOU! Imagine that.

4. Farting will become a full contact sport. The fastest way to make a boy laugh is to make flatulent sounds. By the time my oldest son had turned three he realized that he could make himself burb, and by extension he could also conjure up a fart in a dire moment of comedy. This hidden talent has morphed into a game of farting on people by running up to someone (me) and tooting followed by squeals of delight.

5. Houseplants that sit on the floor are potential targets for “pretending to pee outside. My poor rubber tree plant. The thing died one winter after we discovered that our son had been practicing how to pee in a bush outside. His imagination went wild when he was told that in the spring he could pee anywhere he wanted if he was in the woods.

6. Boys will discover their fun parts MUCH sooner than you think. Before their first birthdays both of my sons had firmly discovered that their most awesome body part was indeed their peen. Not a day goes by that either of them hasn’t grabbed, shaken, twisted, or pulled on their fun parts at least 100 times.

7. Peeing on the toilet seat, the floor, and possibly the bathtub will become a sport. I swear there is a secret point system to this game that no one is telling me. I find pee puddles everywhere in the bathroom and it drives me absolutely bonkers. Sometimes I wonder if the boys in this house are conspiring against me.

8. Putting the seat down will be a life long battle. My husband is 37 and still hasn’t mastered this feat of engineering: a toilet seat has a hinge on it, which makes it GO DOWN. I utter the phrase “put the seat down” about as often as my constant threat to put someone in timeout for jumping off the couch or trying to tie something to the dog’s tail.

9. Peeing outside will be the single most amazing thing in the world to a boy. The day my husband told our oldest son that he could pee outside was the same day that he realized what freedom is. The kid has peed on nearly every flowering plant in my garden beds. He has claimed more territory on our 3 acres than the family dog has.

10. Explaining why Mom doesn’t have a penis is awkwardEvery mother knows that peeing alone is something that will likely never happen in her house once she has kids. If those children are boys the inevitable observation will be made that Mom doesn’t possess a penis. Try explaining that to a two-year-old without incurring more awkward questions. Well, dear, I don’t have a penis because I have a vagina. No, I said vuh-gina. Yup, it’s what girls have. I don’t know, it just is. Because it just is. No, I can’t pee outside. Uh…go ask your father.

11. If a boy asks for privacy at the age of four, it is because he is trying flush toys down the toilet. There is a rule at my house that unless you are old enough to know why a person would need privacy in a bathroom then you don’t get to have it. Case in point: my kid keeps trying to flush stuff down the toilet. He totally fascinated by the whooshing sound and the fact that things seemingly disappear (like his dinner last Thursday).

12. The whole world will know when you son finally poops in the toilet. It will happen one day when you are grocery shopping that your son will tell the checkout girl that he made a giant poop in the toilet and that it stunk up the joint. And guess what? He flushed it all by himself too! And then later, he will retell this story to the neighbors. If you try to make a phone call he might be excited and ask to tell his story to whomever you are talking to…like the mortgage company.

Potty training isn’t just about teaching a child to do his business on a toilet without destroying the bathroom…or his pants. It is a learning process about how a body works, social boundaries, humility, humor, and a poor mother’s patience.

Related post: 10 Things Boys Should Know About Being Men

This Is Not A Test: Motherhood in Israel



It was one of those evenings when the biggest problems you face with your kids is whether there should be seconds on strawberry ice cream (there were), whether we had time to play one more round of Go Fish before bed (we did) and whether we would read King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub or Where the Wild Things Are (we went with both.)

Their hair was still wet from the shower, their eyes starting to droop when the siren wailed.

No. This is not a test. This is not a test. This is not a test.

We live in Israel, and our country is at war with a terrorist organization just an hour’s drive away; a terrorist organization committed to destroying Israel, a terrorist organization hurdling rockets at us for the last 10 years. And anyone living in this country – Muslim, Christian, or Jew – is a target.

And you know what’s crazy? Just like I learned STOP DROP AND ROLL as a kid growing up in LA smack dab in earthquake country, my kids knew exactly what to do when the sirens screech through the night. They ran to their flip flops lined up by the door – thank GOD for cheap slip-on shoe. My daughter struggled with hers, so I swooped her up in my arms while my son and I fled our home, past the purple scarecrow my children built “to keep the rockets away, Mama, so they don’t hurt us when we sleep,” over rough and rocky ground to a public bomb shelter.

Um, can I get a WTF? We have a public bomb shelter.

Like everyone else in Israel. Bomb shelters are all over this country.

Air raid sirens, Iron Dome – a system to take down rockets mid-air before they land on families like us – bomb shelters and safe rooms, they’re part of the rhythm of this place. And thank God for them, because just before we reached the shelter, the ground moved. Like literally moved.


No, keep running until we’re safe inside.

“Red Alert, Red Alert” my children sang. “Hurry hurry hurry because now it’s dangerous. Hurry hurry hurry, to a safe area.”

So basically, while I grew up on “The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round,” my kids know a song about what to do during a rocket attack.

“Breathe deep, it’s ok to laugh!” they sang as we reached the inside of the shelter with several other families.

We shook with the blast and my daughter screamed – the kind of horror movie scream you hear when the monster slithers out from under the bed, or a deranged clown crawls through the sewer – because these are our monsters, these rockets hurdling towards us, seeking to make a direct hit.

Inside the shelter, what can we do?

We ate Pringles and chocolate milk. We played Go Fish with our neighbors, and prayed.

In Judaism, we have an expression: When shit gets real, first you cry. Then you get angry. And finally you laugh. With your mouth wide open and all teeth showing, you laugh as your body reels.

And as the news broke on Whatsapp that the rocket landed less than a five minute walk from where we were eating strawberry ice cream only minutes before, we skipped the tears, hopped past the anger and went straight to laughing.

Really, there is no other choice.

7 Ways Moms Are Like Mother Teresa

angel-mother Image via Shutterstock

Every time I demonstrate my superhuman ability to remain patient and calm in the midst of one of my kids’ shit-storm meltdowns of whining, complaining, crying, or general pain-in-the-assing, my husband tells me I’m Mother Teresa. In case you’re wondering, I’m not. Mother Teresa died in 1997, and anyway, she’s a lot shorter than me. I always just shake my head and mutter like a lunatic when my husband gives me this label, because he says it right as I’m about to blow my lid, and now I can’t blow my lid because then he won’t think I’m like Mother Teresa anymore. Damn him.

Lid-blowing tendencies or not, it must be said that in many ways, I do bear uncanny resemblances to MT. In fact, ALL mothers do. I’m over-exaggerating you say? Likening mothers to someone who’s nominated for sainthood is sacrilege you say? Are you calling me a heathen? If you knew my history, you’d know those are fightin’ words, and let’s not go there because I really hate violence (snorts in hysterical laughter). No, but seriously, here’s a better question. Do you even HAVE a mother? If so, then you should already see the following comparisons.

7. Mother Teresa tended to the sick.  Mothers are the sole caregivers, whether there is a father living in the same household or not, when one or all of their kids are sick. They are puked on, shit on, coughed on, drooled on, and cried on while dragging their unreasonable little sickos to the doctor, entertaining them whilst spending an infuriatingly long purgatory in the germ-infested waiting room, sitting on their squirming bodies when they fight to near death against getting a strep or any other kind of test, cart their miserable asses on over to the drug store where the kids make a sudden recovery and start going ape-shit in the toy aisle as the prescriptions are being prepared at a snail’s pace, and then, back at home, beg, plead, negotiate, bribe, and finally force the medicine down the sick child’s gullet to get him better ASAP. (By the way, that last part is called HEALING the sick. I don’t think MT has that one on her resume. BOOM, shawty)!

6. Mother Teresa fed the hungry. Mothers feed the hungry every 2 to 3 HOURS, and many of them produce the food from their very own unwieldy and leaky teats. Even beyond breastfeeding, Moms with older kids are required to serve them food on this very same demanding schedule. If it’s been 2 hours since breakfast, and the resident emaciated, ravenous 7-year-old doesn’t have a school of Goldfish in his snapping, salivating jaws, the apocalypse with its Four Hungry Horsemen will trample the pantry.

5. Mother Teresa took a vow of celibacy when she became a nun. Mothers take a vow of celibacy after they shoot a baby out of their hoo-ha. (Oh? You’re 10 cm dilated? Sweet! Well, FYI, you’re about to push a THIRTY-FIVE CENTIMETER HUMAN HEAD out of your vagina! To channel Austin Powers: Does that make you horny, baby? DOES IT)? Even after the six weeks of doctor-mandated abstinence, mothers stick loyally to their vow of celibacy, which is unofficially called I’m Too Tired From Being Pawed At By This Needy-Ass Kid All Day, So Get Your Damn Hands Off Me, You Sex-Crazed Caveman.

4. Mother Teresa gave all she had to the Needy. Please refer to #7, 6, and 5.

3. Mother Teresa helped to clothe the naked. Mothers have been diapering and clothing naked baby butts since the dawn of time. And come to think of it, there’s an awful lot of intentional streaking that goes on, way after infancy, possibly into the teenage years, requiring mothers to chase their children around with swaddling clothes, jock straps, or other modest garments meant to cover unsightly asses or genitalia.

2. Mother Teresa protected the children of Calcutta. If you mess with a mother’s children, she will CalCUTya.

1. Mother Teresa sacrificed her feminine vanity by becoming a nun. Mothers sacrifice their vanity as soon as a baby starts turning their body into an alien host. Furthermore, they spend the first year of the baby’s life in yoga pants or PJs, and forget about taking the time to apply make-up, because even if they had the energy, their new 2 ½ foot tall boss isn’t gonna let them take a 5-minute beautification break. “Where do you think YOU’RE goin,’ Mama?! Where? To the bathroom to apply some Maybelline Great Lash Mascara? Aww, HAIL naw – get your ass back here and make me some damn Goldfish!”

Ain’t No Mom Got Time For That



Sweet Brown captivated the nation – nay, the world – when she burst onto the viral video scene with her signature phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” If you’re like me, you think of that phrase several times a day during the daily grind that is parenting. So, for shits and giggles, I give you 30 ways ain’t no mom got time for that:

1. Washing hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice. Really? By the time I’ve gotten through a few words, my child is already down aisle 12 at Target.

2. Shopping. Gone are the days of wandering the aisles, searching for the perfect dress. One word: Amazon.com

3. Bikram – 90 minutes for sweaty yoga? I think not.

4. Blow-drying the back of your hair. No one really looks back there anyway, do they?

5. Clipping your children’s nails. Until they come out with a bloody scratch on their faces, ain’t nobody got time for that.

6. Massages. Le sigh.

7. Going to Costco on a holiday. Nope. Just nope.

8. Oil changes. Is the light on yet? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

9. Socks. Is there anything that takes longer than getting socks on a young person?

10. Speeding tickets. There’s a reason we were speeding in the first place, k?

11. Trying on clothes (see former comment re: shopping).

12. Small talk at school. Really, just small talk in any form. Got a point? Get to it.

13. Getting sick. Moms can’t get sick. Ain’t nobody got time for puking and/or diarrhea.

14. TV-watching while lounging on the couch. TV-watching while folding laundry and packing lunches? Now that’s a whole different story.

15. Hangovers. Children wait for no hangover. “Milk NOW, Mommy!”

16. Drama. We may have been drawn to that at one point but, once you pop out those kids, ain’t nobody got time for that.

17. Anything that starts with “gourmet” or ends with “from scratch.”

18. Sewing. Home-economics failed most of us and, besides, ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s called the dry cleaners, people.

19. Cleaning out your car. Really – what’s the point?

20. Putting together photo albums. We’ll take pictures all day long but doing something with them? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

21. Makeup. Just so we can take that shit off later? Puhlease.

22. Waxing. Of course, most of us get it done here and there but we’ve all had that moment when we’ve looked in the rearview mirror and saw a chin hair that could be donated to Locks of Love.

23. Teacher conferences … in preschool. Really? He’s great with crayons? You don’t say! I’ll look into Ivy League schools as soon as I get home. (Sarcasm, on the other hand? We always have time for that.)

24. Marathon training. A 3-hour practice run on the weekends … when we could be sleeping? WTF?

25. Bento boxes. Ain’t nobody got time for compartments.

26. Jury duty. There should be an excuse that you can check that simply says, “I’m a mom.”

27. Car trouble. This is akin to death. Seriously, just shoot me.

28. Phone trouble. Sadly, most of us would rather probably have the car trouble.

29. Boo-boos. When they’re really little, we fuss and fuss over boo-boos. After a few years it’s, “Here’s a Band-Aid, kid. Go nuts.”

30. Sex. ‘Nuff said.

35 Things I Survived The First Year of Motherhood

one-year Image via Shutterstock

As we all know, the first birthday is really a party for the parents and you might as well schedule the party during naptime. But you aren’t celebrating any old birthday that happens every year, this first year is a celebration of survival.

Surviving a time when you really thought you might starve your newborn because you forgot to set your alarm to feed him exactly three hours after the last feeding started (which only gave you a 32 minute nap after the feeding took an hour and then took another hour to put the baby to sleep and then 28 minutes for you to fall asleep). Surviving a time when you tried to make lunch plans with a friend and after taking 25 minutes to remember all the stuff you should pack in the diaper bag, spending 50 minutes feeding your baby, changing your baby and bundling him in four layers to go outside, your baby poops just as load him into the car. Yep, surviving that time.

As my son prepares to turn one this week, here are the reasons I’m celebrating… me:

1. I survived spending 12 hours a day alone with a newborn and two sleeping cats.

2. I mastered typing on my phone while breastfeeding. (Even a bigger success in the dark.)

3. After week three, stopped caring that my nipple was known to every waiter and bartender in my neighborhood.

4. Only cried for 5 minutes when I forgot to put on breast pads and my boobs leaked all over Old Navy.

5. My son didn’t ingest any foreign objects severe enough to require an ER visit.

6. I limited middle of the night binge orders on Amazon to twice a week.

7. Figured out how to make baby food and not poison him.

8. Didn’t always buy organic food, and didn’t poison him.

9. I only attended a “few” baby yoga classes for the free childcare.

10. I only fell asleep while breastfeeding every other night (and miraculously never dropped him).

11. My son only peed in my face twice.

12. My son never pooped in the bathtub.

13. My son only face-planted into the Ipad screen once during binge viewing of “Orange is the New Black”.

14. I accepted that poop explosions, OxyClean and laundry replaced girl’s night of wine and cheese.

15. It only took me seven tries to figure out how to use the Bjorn.

16. We only had one episode of projectile vomiting.

17. I only cried once to the checkout lady in Target.

18. I didn’t forget I had a baby and leave him somewhere.

19. I only wore mismatching shoes to work once.

20. My husband and I didn’t get divorced (and I only thought about it a few times).

21. My son didn’t swallow any cat litter.

22. My son didn’t eat any dog poop.

23. I accepted that I have half a wardrobe that may never fit again.

24. I smiled and pretended it was cute when my son was the only kid shrieking with excitement in the Gymboree class.

25. I only panicked, called my doctor and Googled “why isn’t my child crawling” a few times when my son didn’t crawl until 11 months.

26. My son didn’t fall through the bucket swing.

27. My son only bit one other child.

28. My son didn’t choke – or figured out how to cough it up before it became a dire choking situation.

29. I went to the beach and managed to only burn myself, not the baby.

30. I didn’t lose my job, even though I spent the last 3 weeks planning his birthday party during work hours.

31. I didn’t smother my husband in his sleep, as he slept through our son screaming at 3am.

32. I didn’t smother him the next morning when he said “the baby was up last night? I didn’t hear anything!”

33. I didn’t smack all the people who asked me if my son was crawling when he wasn’t.

34. My son never once fell off the changing table – even without using that buckle. (Does anyone use that?)

35. I accepted that my saggy boobs and gray hair are a fair trade for an adorable son.

So, happy first birthday to ME!

Related post: 50 Lessons in Parenting Young Kids

Conversations At The Pool

kids-playing-in-pool Image via Shutterstock

Jane! Hey! How have you been all year? It’s been so long since…

“Whoah, Whoah, Whoah! Get back here mister. Sunscreen first.”

Sorry. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. How are the…

“Would you stop moving?! I’ll get the sunscreen in your eyes if you keep moving.”

How are the kids? Did they have a good…

“No! STOP!!!! Back away from the baby pool! Who do you think you are going in there with no floatie on?”

So um yeah, what was I saying? Oh yes, school year. Was it a good one?

“No you can’t have a snack! We just got here.”

That’s great! So happy to hear…

“I don’t care if you are hungry. You just ate lunch, there is no way you could be hungry. Now go swim.”

Sorry again. So happy to hear you guys are doing well. Do you have…wait, wait a minute, one…twooooo…three…Ok got a count of all the kids. Phew! Do you have plans for…

“Stop splashing your brother, please. He obviously doesn’t like it, and no one else wants to hear him cry like that.”

Where were we? Oh, Summer plans! Going anywhere fun?

“No! I said no snack yet! If you ask again you won’t get anything. Swim! Go!”

The beach! Oh how fun! We plan to go…Crap! I forgot suncreen on the baby. Hang on.

“Ohhhh! I know you hate this buddy. Sorry, but you’ll thank me some day. Ok. There you go. Back to your water bucket.”

Yeah, so we plan to go to the beach at the (sniff, sniff, sniff). Holy mother of…ugh!!!! Seriously! He pooped.

“Why couldn’t you have pooped like 10 minutes ago? Ok kids. Everyone out of the pool for a minute. Into the locker room. Because I said so. Do you want a snack later? That’s what I thought. Now march! Okay (deep breath). Let’s try this again. Does anyone have to go to the bathroom before we get back in the water?…No? Ok. Good!”

Ahhh, the beach. Sounds so rela…one, twooo, three…relaxing. Speaking of, do you think we will ever get to…

“OH MY GOD! STOP! Do not EVER squirt the lifeguard again! You go apologize right this minute!”

Do you think we will ever be one of those moms who gets to close her eyes and sunbathe… Oh no! Where is two? I see one and three but not two! Omigod, phew. There he is!

“Get away from the snack bar! You just gave me a heart attack! No. snacks. now. Understood?”

Geez Louise. Do you think we will ever be able to read a magazine? I’m not seeing that happening.

“Oh no! Baby down! (cries and screams) It’s ok. You are okay, little buddy. You just got a little water in your mouth.”

Yeah, I am not seeing sunbathing happening anytime in the near future with these crazy…

“Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Did you really just squirt the lifeguard again? That’s it. You’re in time out. Get in the chair now.”

Gosh my kids are so insane. Why do you seem so…

“Where is two again? Oh no! Omg! Where is he (big sigh), WHY ARE YOU OVER AT THE SNACK BAR AGAIN? Did you not hear me the first two times?”

Why do you seem so calm? Is it just me? Am I the only neur…

“Get back in time out, Sir.”

Neurotic. I am completely neurotic. God I could really go for a…

“Ok. Fine. You can get out of time out now, but you will be right back in that chair if you squirt the life guard again.”

What was I saying? Oh yeah. A drink. Wouldn’t that be…

“In ten minutes, okay? In ten minutes, you can have snack.”

Ugh. Yeah. Maybe I’ll skip the drink and have a shot.

“No. Ice cream is not a snack. A snack is chips or pretzels.”

And to think people think we just lounge by the…

“Because I said so.”

People think that, right? That we just sit by the pool all afternoon and…one… twooo…three…hang out. Jane? Jane?

“Honey did you see where mommy’s friend went? Dammit. Now you guys scared away mommy’s friend! Why can’t you just sit and play with buckets and be good, and not poop and whine and squirt the people who could potentiality save your life one day? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?”

Oh, but fear not fellow neurotic mommy friends, this can happen in our dreams:


Related post: Talk to You in 30 Years

I Cannot Be a Mom Today



“I cannot be a mom today,”

Said little Lauren (also known as LBK).

“Fiona’s crying, Liv won’t pee,

Dylan’s temperature is one-oh-three.

The house is a mess, the laundry’s piled high,

My baby has a twitch in her left eye!

I spend so much time at the kitchen sink,

It’s no wonder I’ve been driven to drink.

The dog is barking, the kids won’t sleep,

I’m trying hard not to weep.

I buy groceries, make dinner, and then,

The next day, I have to do it again!

It seems all I do is wipe noses and butts,

Kiss boo-boos, and put band-aids on cuts.

The baby is attached to my boobs,

I wonder why I didn’t tie my tubes.

My kids are annoying, my husband is rude,

This should clearly explain my bad attitude.

I used to have friends, I used to have a life,

Now I’m just some little kids’ mom and a big kid’s wife.

I have five pounds I just can’t lose,

I think I’ve paid my baby-weight dues.

I have a million pacifiers but can’t find even one,

It’s too bad I don’t think hide-and-seek is any fun.

I spend all my money on diapers and wipes,

I believe I’ve more than earned my Mommy stripes.

I haven’t slept soundly in at least six years,

But I guess that puts me on par with my peers.

I haven’t showered and – what?

What’s that you say?

You say the babysitter’s on her way?

Oh how I will miss these faces while I’m away!”


{Illustration and inspiration via Shel Silverstein’s Sick.}